Pistol Packin' Presbytera

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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

We Were Impressed With Ourselves!

My friend Deb and I decided that the altar flowers needed sprucing up for our church. They have been around for many years and as hard as it is to believe, fake flowers can look droopy! Our first step was reconnaissance to the local craft store. Neither Deb nor I have vast experience in arranging flowers so we desperately needed help.

We found an arrangement which we really liked and took a digital photo of it. One thing which Debbie did remember is that odd numbers of things are used in an arrangment. We settled on 3. These roses in full bloom look amazingly real.

After positioning the roses, we added height with another red flower. We chose to replace the red flowers first since the Chaplain will be installed as Pastor at Christ Church on August 24th which happens to be the festival for St Bartholomew.

We added contrast with the white flowers. Notice that they are in 3 locations. We finished it off by filling in the bare spots with greenery and adding Spanish Moss to cover the foam in the vase. Hey, I think we're getting the hang of this!!!

What do you think??? We each made one flower arrangement to go on the side of the altar on pedestals. When we finished, we shook hands like partners in a venture. Then we hugged and congratulated ourselves on our impressive work. Now that we have one down, we may just use the same form with different colors.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Walking in Downtown Milwaukee

This footware was seen on a walking tour my husband I took of downtown Milwaukee. Can you just imagine the clothing possibilities which would coordinate with these foot-loose-and-fancy-free shoes?

These shoes cry out black and white tux affair...or maybe a Mardi Gras dance....or maybe a chess tournament.

Obviously, these shoes would be worn by the well-shod pastor during the Trinity Season, don't you think? Or maybe they should be saved for once a year on March 17th to wear to the St Patty's Day parade. They might cause a PETA demonstration or by a firm well-placed kick, end a PETA protest

I really had to dissuade my husband from purchasing any of these.....do you believe me?????

Phase III has arrived

I am finally in phase III of therapy for my shoulder and I am happy progress is continuing to be made. If you are bored and want to see what is involved, you can find the information here.

At long last, my therapist has reduced some of the exercises I have been doing and we are just concentrating on strength building actions. Therabands are my friends!!

She has also given me the OK to do the exercise regime only once a day....except for the therabands which I will continue to work twice a day.

Stepping out in faith (and with a pillow under my arm) this weekend, I will drive to Chicago and WI to visit my friends Susan, Melody and Cheryl. I'm happy to say that I will also get to see Sandy (Saranita's other grandma) on the way there and on the way back.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Smooth Time of It

I told you I would report back in on more blueberry recipes. I saw this luscious looking smoothie at The Pioneer Woman Cooks and thought my husband would love it. I offered to make it for him this morning and he quickly agreed. I went to the cupboard and the cupboard was bare. Well, not actually bare, just devoid of a blender. I don't know if a smoothie can be made without a blender but I wasn't going to try! While I was at exercise this morning, he planned on stopping at some garage sales to see if they had any coins for sale. I encouraged him to find a blender if he could. As you can see, he was successful (with coins too)!
The only change I made to her recipe is that I used vanilla yogurt since I wasn't certain that I would like it with plain yogurt. I do know that it was fantastic with the vanilla yogurt.

The blueberries were picked by my own little hand. The little bit of honey I used was extracted by my friend Polly from her own beehive. The yogurt I purchased....I guess if I want a totally homemade smoothie, I should send him out to find a yogurt maker!!! Try this. You'll like it!


I am cleaning off my desktop -- not the horizontal desktop I have to dust but the vertical one where I store my digital photos until I blog about them -- I came across these pictures from last summer. OK, it's been a reaaallly long time since I cleaned off the desktop!!

My friend and fellow blogger Barb loaned this book to me and my granddaughters were delighted with it. The Boy Who Saved Cleveland, written by James Cross Giblin, is the story of Seth Doan a 10 yr old who rescues the 3 cabin settlement where he lives. This was the girls' first exposure to harsh life on the frontier and it really captured their imagination, especially because it is about our hometown. In the book, Seth saves his family and neighbors by lugging bags of corn to the mill to be ground and then returning 4 miles with the cornmeal. They lived mainly on cornbread at that time so Seth helped keep them alive by having food available.

Ding, ding ,ding! A light goes off in my head because I had just seen a post on The Pioneer Woman Cooks about cornbread in a skillet. Lily and Marina were enthusiastic about cooking cornbread like they did in the book. I downloaded the recipe and voila!

This happens so often in homeschooling that you start on one thing and another dovetails nicely. There is a word for that -- serendipity.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Join Me!

This past Tuesday was the day we picked to pick! The blueberry patch was open for business last week in the 90 degree heat. Thankfully we couldn't arrange to get there so avoided the extreme heat. There were clouds on the day of picking so we got a little relief from the sun. My sister-in-law Crina joined us as she did last year. My other grandchildren are in Arizona so only Marina and Saranita were there to help. Naomi is a veteran blueberry picker and has been pregnant 2 of the 3 years she's joined us!!

The blueberries were gorgeous this year and we had an easy time of picking. I knew I could pick with my left hand and I was ever hopeful that my right shoulder would cooperate and participate! We lasted about an hour and 1/2 which I was pleased with. I have to say that I was exhausted later in the day. After sitting on my duff for 9 weeks, this was a big outing! We also had my friend Barb and her girls join us. Marina was glad to see friends from church joining us. The idea of blueberry picking originated with my other friend Jean who was there with her daughter Hannah. Jean invited us back to her house for lunch (and air conditioning). What a fun day.

Saranita provided much fun and as she tired -- vocal incentive to leave. Sometimes she used her little bucket to "pick two, eat two." Sometimes she used her bucket as a hat -- whether it had blueberries in it or not. She did NOT like the netting over the bushes so we moved to some rows with no netting. The Japanese beetles were in plentiful supply. We seem to have an abundant crop of the beetles everywhere I go. Saranita was also content to sit on her mom's lap when she tired and pick berries from the bottom of the bush. This is the 4th year that Marina has gone and she is getting really good at actually coming away with blueberries in her bucket. I can only imagine that Saranita is aspiring to follow in her cousins footsteps.

Marina came over yesterday and helped me bake blueberry bran muffins. I will freeze some of the berries for pies later on but I want to try blueberry cornmeal pancakes and also blueberry dumplings (a dessert). I'll let you know how they turn out. In the meantime, want to join me for a muffin and a cuppa?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Banana Toast

Some would look at this banana and say "Yuck!"; I look at this banana and say "Yum!"

Banana toast was one of my favorite breakfasts growing up and I have to admit, it still is. I rarely eat plastic white bread, the term we use in this house for almost-nutritionless-white bread from the store. For banana toast though, nothing else says childhood memories like toasted plastic white bread. My mom always added salt to the banana once it was sliced lengthwise and lined up on the toast.

When I was watching my calories, I omitted the butter.
When I was watching my carbs, this whole idea was a no-no.
When I was eating in a healthy way, whole wheat was a must.
When I am feeling quirky, I add chunky peanut butter.
But right now, I am not watching anything and only feeling hungry so I think I will just eat my breakfast.

For my husband growing up as one of 7 siblings, fresh fruit was a luxury which did not stay around any length of time. Consequently he likes his bananas green at the top and his pears as hard as rocks. He thinks it's taste preference; I know it's habit from being one of the oldest siblings and grabbing the fruit whenever it appeared!!!

My brother Tom always had banana toast for breakfast on Sunday morning. As a pastor, his Sunday morning time was at a premium. This was a breakfast that was dependable, easy to fix for himself and did not take time away from his last minute sermon study. You may ask how I know this? Once when I was visiting Tom and family, I saw him squirrel away 2 perfectly ripened bananas. Into the cupboards they went on a Saturday afternoon not to see the light of day again until Sunday morning. Hmmmm. I wonder now if he was hiding them from me!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

9 weeks and counting

My shoulder surgery was 9 weeks ago! Whew! As most of you know, I had rotator cuff surgery on May 15th and I am still in physical therapy to regain complete use of my shoulder.

The first 6 weeks I was in a sling and not allowed to use my arm at all! I did go to therapy during that time where the therapist moved and stretched my arm and shoulder muscles. I could just lie back and enjoy the movement. This phase of therapy was called Phase I and it involved passive movement. At home, my wonderful husband did the moving of my shoulder following the instructions of the therapist. Twice a day we went through the exercises - he was a relentless taskmaster. After 2 weeks of this, we reached the goal most people take 6 - 8 weeks to achieve. I had full range of motion in my shoulder!!! That meant that I would recover full use of my shoulder once the muscle strength returned. Hooray. But wait, that also meant that we were in a holding pattern for 4 weeks because we could not begin Phase II until the 6 week mark.

I had completely torn 2 of the 4 muscles in my shoulder and one of them was a large tear. Dr. Gittinger was very pleased with the progress but because of the size of the tear, he wanted me to wait the entire 6 weeks before beginning the next stage. The only thing holding the previously-torn muscles to my bone was sutures and we did not want to risk tearing those supporting sutures.

June 27th we began Phase II which is called active-assistance. I could begin to use my shoulder and arm but most of the movement needed assistance. For instance, I could carry something which was not too heavy as long as my left arm was assisting. I could finally eat with my right hand as long as my elbow was resting on the table. That was not an easy thing to do with the words of my mother echoing in my ear "Barbie, get your elbows off the table".

In the past three weeks I have continued to gain strength in the shoulder and arm muscles. Some of them have not been used in over a year which is when the injury originally happened. I can not believe how weak my arm got from the 6 weeks in a sling. As far as the therapy goes, my left arm is helping my right arm. As it continues to strengthen, my right arm is taking over more of the work. I can now brush my teeth, reach for things at chest height and actually tie my shoes. Doesn't sound like much but they really are worked for accomplishments.

Earlier this week I had a different therapist since Karen (the regular) was on vacation. Maria really pushed me and gave me some exercises which were Phase III. My body did not react well; tears were shed in frustration as I tried to make my body do what it was not ready to do. I ended up with much swelling from aggravated muscles which in turn increased the pain I had. Yesterday's therapist suggested I tone down that really-hard-impossible-to-do-now exercise. My wise husband suggested I take 800 mg of ibuprofen for the inflammation and by last night I was a new woman!!

There are still things to accomplish. Soon (I hope) I will be in Phase III, the last phase! That will be adding weights to build up the muscles even more. Here is my personal list of things I look forward to
  1. Driving!!!! Then I will be released from my prison : )
  2. Carrying a purse so I can have all my things with me
  3. Physically picking up my grandchildren. I have not held Thomas with both my arms since May!
  4. Washing my own hair although I really do like my husband doing it for me!
  5. Reaching into the cupboards for things on the second shelf.
  6. Being able to chop, chop, chop so I can increase the things I can cook.
  7. Pulling weeds so the flowers show through!
  8. Being pain free so I can stop taking so many pills.