Pistol Packin' Presbytera

Presbytera, in the Greek culture, is the wife of the Father, or parish priest.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Keeping Warm in Church

This is the scene which greeted us as we prepared for church this morning. Our snow shovel, unfortunately, was loaned out so we plowed through the snow with our car. I was on altar duty this morning and the other woman assigned to serve lives too far out to drive in with the snow. No problem, I told her, as a pastor's wife -- I'll hitch a ride with the pastor....he HAS to be there : ) As I prepared the communion items I realized that with the snowy weather, I probably didn't need to put too many hosts on the paten. It turned out that I was right.

We have 2 Sunday school classes; the one teacher was out of town and the other had to turn back because of the blowing snow. That turned out not to be a problem because there were hardly any children there for Sunday School and most were late.

Here is a picture of some of my grandchildren keeping warm after church. They are sitting on one of the big heating vents on the floor. This one sits right next to the pulpit. While the adults were changing paraments in readiness for the beginning of lent, the children occupied themselves in a warm spot.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Prince of Tarts

We recently were invited to a friends' home for dinner. The hostess served delicious corned beef and cabbage with a tangy horseradish sauce on the side. The meal was wonderful. This young man, their youngest did manage to eat some of the meat, potatoes and bread but he was really waiting for dessert. My battery was low in my camera so I can't show you the lovely raspberry tart which was served but I am showing you one happy boy. He really got into eating his tart as evidenced by his whole body approach to eating : )

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day plus one

We did go out on Valentine's Day for lunch at a neighborhood bar called Jimmy J's which features typically food for this area -- stuffed cabbage, kielbasi, pierogis etc. We enjoyed our time out so for dinner, I prepared a romantic dinner for two. We always have napkins and generally have candles but it still seemed special. I think after (almost) 34 years, I'm getting this down pat. Since we have an empty nest, most of our meals are actually romantic dinners for two. We had barbequed pork cutlets, baked sweet potatoes and Greek salad but the best was yet to come.....

The dessert was made by my very own candy man! He took cashews and covered them in dark chocolate and then put them into special heart papers. They taste even better than they look!!! Since my candy man is currently not eating sweets, this entire plate was for me. I am happy to report that it is 24 hours later and I still have some left : )

Our plan for Valentine's Day included getting together with my daughters-in-law and their children and baking Valentine's cookies. The weather changed that and instead we made Valentine's-Day-plus-one cookies. I used the actual recipe from Valentine's Day in the past. Here is my youngest grandson Dean watching the decorating that is going on. He can hardly wait until it is his turn to put the sprinkles on the cookies. That's his mom behind him getting the paper bags ready to absorb the excess butter from the cookies.

As you can see, I had plenty of help this year! The granddaughters are getting very good at helping and also very good at absorbing the tradition and continuum which is happening here. Cookie baking is really memory making.

We also made chocolate dipped pretzel rods. Some were white chocolate with milk chocolate drizzles and some the reverse. I want to assure you that they taste good either way. After we finished the baking and cleaning up, we divided the treats into Valentine's-Day-Plus-One loaded with carbs plates and delivered them to our Pastor, Grandmas, Great Grandmas and of course to YiaYia.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

SBA Closed

Last evening, as the Headmistress of St Barbara's Academy, I made the executive decision to join the other 609 schools in NE Ohio and close for Wednesday. We are a homeschool but a homeschool with a twist; our students are bussed in....well actually, driven in by their parents. Looking at the forecast for the day, I figured the school bus drivers, I mean parents, would find it challenging to get to school. I woke my husband early with the news that the Federal Building was closed, City Hall was closed, 610 schools were closed and I was playing hookey. The governor made a plea for everyone to stay off the roads unless they absolutely needed to get out. The head of ODOT made a plea that people remain off the roadways while his crews cleared the snow. We were not daunted. We were not going to be dictated to by politicians, bureaucrats and weathermen. We were going out for breakfast!

Into the car we went, bundled against the cold and proceeded to back out of the driveway and got stuck at the end of the driveway. The car was not going forward. The car was not going backward. Back and forth, back and forth and we couldn't even get the car to rock. A young neighborhood boy soon heard out plight and came over to help out. They eventually got the car out of the street and I went inside. After a strenous time, the car was in the garage and the driveway was clear. At this point, my husband decided that he would grab his laptop and go to the restaurant alone and work on his sermon. He left; I made coffee and contemplated the leftover Cottage Cheese pancakes in the refrigerator. After approximately 5 minutes, he returned after getting struck in the street just one house away. The back streets of our suburb were not plowed and we were definitely snowed in.

Not wanting to give in and eat at home, my husband asked if I thought I could walk to the nearest restaurant through the snow. I figured with my knee replacements it would be questionable but I was ready to give it a try. We bundled up and covered all parts, stowed our cell phones in our pockets and stored our glasses in their glass cases and started off. The snow was almost to our knees so the going was slow. We stopped several times so that I could catch my breath. It was quite a cardio workout! I will always remember Valentine's Day 2007 when my heart was beating quickly at the thought of having breakfast with my honey....well, OK, it was beating from the exertion but it sounds feasible! About one third of the way there, we were defeated by the extreme effort it took to plow through the snow and headed home.

Shortly after we ate at home, we heard the snowplows going down our street and we rejoiced that we were no longer snowbound. At that point we determined to go out to lunch : ) This is the picture of our back patio with the fire pit. I love the way the snow is piled on top. The next picture is a summertime picture of our patio. Notice the pond on the right side towards the back.

Here is a picture of the pond today. The pond is over 3 feet deep so we know that the koi we have are hibernating on the bottom and will make it through the winter. I know that the pond is there and I can't even see it!! I'm thinking that my husband will have to go out and break a hole in the ice although as far as we know, the pump is continuing to circulate the water. We'll see when it thaws a bit.

Anyone for a picnic?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What color purple are you?

Thanks to Barb the Evil Genius for this one!

You Are Grape

You are bold and a true individual. You are very different and very okay with that.
People know you as a straight shooter. You're very honest, even when the truth hurts.
You are also very grounded and practical. No one is going to sneak anything by you.
People enjoy your fresh approach to life. And it's this honesty that makes you a very innovative person.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Worth My Weight In GOLD

This morning as my dear husband and I were returning from our standing Saturday morning date, he had a perplexing problem to which I mentioned a simple answer. He turned to me and said "You are worth your weight in gold." He paused and then said "And with the price of gold these days, that's saying a lot." I returned with my own quip of "And with the weight I've gained, that's really saying a lot!"

Gold isn't weighed in pounds and ounces like we think of ounces. Gold is measured in troy ounces so we had to convert my weight into troy ounces. At yesterday's close in NY, gold was $666.70/ounce. This makes me worth: $ 1,944,497.22. Of course, I already knew my price was far above rubies : )

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Soup Kind of Day

The cold weather seems to be warming slightly here although we started the day in single digits and only made it into the teens. Brilliant blue sky and the winter sun bouncing off the snow cover made for a cheery day for me : ) It was a hot soup kind of day.

I chopped and chopped and chopped....carrots, onion, garlic, celery, stewed tomatoes and a head of cabbage. I added a can of kidney beans and found some leftover cooked brats in the freezer. I spiced it up with red pepper flakes. Lots of red pepper flakes. Maybe too many red pepper flakes!! It was delicious! My dear husband agreed that a crusty loaf of bread was in order with this soup so off I went to Panera's to purchase some. I had no time left in the day to bake.

A nice ride in the warm car, fresh bread sitting beside me and a pot of soup simmering at home....the only thing which made it better was knowing my honey was there to share it with!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Who was Balto?

Our homeschool group recently went to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for a fantastic presentation on Balto and the race to Nome Alaska with anti-toxin to fight the outbreak of diptheria 1n 1925. You can read more about it here.

Several months ago, my friend asked if I wanted to go see a presentation on Balto at the Museum. I asked, "Who's Balto?" She gave me a brief explanation and I agreed that would be a good field trip. We got several books from the library and read about the grueling dog sled relay to save the lives of the infected children of Nome.

The children of Cleveland helped to raise money to bring Balto to Cleveland several years after his famous race. He and several of the dogs lived out their natural lives at the Brookside Zoo. Balto was later preserved for future generations -- some of those future generations are pictured with him here!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Personality fun!

I got this by email from a friend and had fun jotting down the answers. If you'd like, take the test and leave your score. I got a 38 on the test and was amused by the answers. Have fun!

Below is Dr Phil's test. (Dr. Phil scored 55; he did this test on Oprah - she got a 38.) Some folks pay a lot of money to find this stuff out! Read on, this is very interesting! Don't be overly sensitive! The following is pretty accurate and it only takes 2 minutes. [Barb insert - don't know if this is true but enjoy] Don't peek, but begin the test as you scroll down and answer. Answers are for who you are now...... not who you were in the past. Have pen or pencil and paper ready. This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. It's only 10 simple questions, so...grab a pencil and paper, keeping track of your letter answers to each question.

1. When do you feel your best?
a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon and early evening
c) late at night

2. You usually walk...
a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
d) less fast, head down
e) very slowly

3. When talking to people you..
a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with.. [Barb insert - I answered this pre-surgery]
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) your legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with...
a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering you...
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed!

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted......
a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most? [Barb insert - is there any doubt about mine?]
a) Red or orange
b) black
c) yellow or light blue
d) green
e) dark blue or purple
f) white
g) brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are..
a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...
a) falling
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant

POINTS:1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy.They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you're boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Catechesis for Septuagesima Sunday February 4 2007

A note about the Gesima Sundays These Sundays are the 3 Sundays between the Mount of Transfiguration and Lent or the journey to Mount Calvary. They are a chance for the church to catch her breath so to speak from the high holy day of Transfiguration before we enter the figurative valley of Lent. We call these gesima Sundays, pre-lent. In the ancient church you would notice a difference in Matins and Vespers which the church prayed daily. During the pre-lenten Sundays, the choir would not sing the alleluias in the Gradual and there were no alleluias after the Gloria. It was a subtle change so that we could become accustomed to the approach of Lent with it's restrictions and changes during the service. Today when the church no longer corporately prays Matins and Vespers there is not much difference between pre Lent and the services leading up to Transfiguration Sunday. We continue with the tradition though of calling these the Gesima Sundays.

Begin with Luther’s Morning Prayer

Recite the Books of the Bible Ask how many books in the OT (39), NT(27) and entire Bible (66). Ask what language the OT was written in (Hebrew and Aramaic). What language was the NT written in (Greek).

New Lesson Point out that Transfiguration is over and we are now in pre-lent. The color remains green on the altar. This Sunday is called Septuagesima Sunday because it contains the day which is 70 days(Septa) before Easter. Even though a week is 7 days, next Sunday will be Sexagesima because it will contain the day which is 60 days (Sexa) before Easter.

Memory Review:
You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love and trust in God above all things. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it. Honor your father and mother. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities. But honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them. You shall not murder. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need. You shall not commit adultery. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other. You shall not steal. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation,

Explain/read/enact the Gospel lesson Matt 20: 1-16 (The workers don’t come to him, but the landowner comes to them. Jesus came to seek the lost. We are the lost found by him. The vineyard is the kingdom of God – forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. What He pays has everything to do with HIS generosity and love toward us and has NOTHING to do with whether we earned or deserve it.)

Memorize Lamb of God Pure and Holy TLH 146

Lamb of God, pure and holy, Who on the cross didst suffer,
Ever patient and lowly, Thyself to scorn didst offer.
All sins Thou borest for us, Else had despair reigned o’er us:
Have mercy on us, O Jesus! O Jesus!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sausage Stromboli

Ages ago, all right it was actually 20 years ago so I guess I should have begun, decades ago....we had stromboli quite regularly. Our son Theo's Nuno (the Greek term for Godfather) would work a swing shift and often came home at 11:30 p.m. hungry as could be. We and his wife were waiting for him on Friday nights and would share some of the stromboli which was ordered from the corner pizza joint. That pizza place just happened to be named Athens -- not a very Italian name, eh? We enjoyed those strombolis very much. On occasion, since then, I have ordered them at a pizzeria. Now they have gotten all healthy with chicken stromboli or even all vegetable stromboli. Back then, decades ago, it was sausage, ham, salami, banana peppers and double cheese. Yum!! This week I decided to make my own stromboli and pictured is the result of my effort.

The dough was made with half whole wheat flour and half white flour. I cooked the sausage with a chopped onion, green pepper, minced garlic, Italian seasoning and tomato sauce. After the dough raised and was punched down, I spread it on a large baking sheet and put the sausage mixture down the center. That was covered with sour cream which was mixed with a little bit of chive and onion cream cheese, then cheddar cheese and finally mozzarella cheese. The dough was folded up and over the sausage and pinched closed. I topped it with egg white and fennel seeds. WOW! It almost took me back to Athens : )

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Boy Was I Behind

Some of you may remember this picture from the summer. My pristine ironing board with a few nicely ironed napkins. Those were the days. Days when I had lots of time on my hands and not too much to do. BIG SIGH.

Here is a more recent picture of my ironing board. SIGH, BIG SIGH. On this ironing board is the tablecloth from Thanksgiving, napkins from Christmas and various other clothes. I don't have an ironing basket because I usually iron things right away!! The day after Thanksgiving is certainly not a day I would shop so I always wash and iron the Thanksgiving linens. Well, now that I mention it, most days are days I prefer not to shop! So the big sale day after Christmas will find me right on top of the things used on December 25th. Not this year. SIGH. Good thing the Chaplain wears mainly permanent press clericals!

I did persevere and it is now cleared of clothes and the way I cleared it was to actually iron them. I also got my January house decorations down and everything is decorated for the LOVE month -- St. Valentine's Day and our wedding anniversary. I feel like a woman reborn. Happy sigh : )