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mamehmeemomoo Below are the 12 most recent journal entries recorded in the "mamehmeemomoo" journal:
June 12th, 2007
11:14 pm


Recipe for Summer
Picnic table
Patio chairs

Grilled chicken breasts with Dinosaur BBQ Sauce
Marinated & grilled Portobello mushroom caps
Steamed little potatoes
Vegetarian baked beans (Bush’s)
Chunky August Salad (my own recipe)

Hard cider
Iced tea


Big trays
Plates, flatware, glasses, platters, etc.
Napkins, hot mats, etc.
Margarine, salt, pepper, etc.

Scrub the picnic table and chairs. Check the grill fuel tank (& refill if necessary). Go to Wegman’s & buy the groceries. Peel, chop, marinate, mix, grill. Load the trays, carry them out and set the picnic table. Load the trays again, carry them out and spread out the food. Call the neighbors. Enjoy, enjoy.

We’ve had plenty of warm weather but have been very slow in getting into summer mode this year. Finally, tonight we were there

Current Mood: Pleasantly relaxed

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November 6th, 2006
01:51 pm


Carl Krebsbach and me
This week's News From Lake Wobegon included a salute to Title IX. Carl Krebsbach is watching his daughter and her teammates play volleyball. It was a beautiful description of strong young women and their physical skill. (Of course they lose -- this is Lake Wobegon.) It reminded me of the deep joy I felt watching my own daughters running the cross country course and the soccer field, their strong young bodies a beautiful sight. When I was in high school, the only athletic opportunities for girls were cheerleader or homecoming court. What might I have done if only I had had the chance?!?

I did have a small chance some years later on a company intramural softball team. One year we had a coach who took practice seriously. The other women weren't entirely happy about this, but for me building my skills, modest though my accomplishments were, was very satisfying. We won the playoffs and the coach bought us each a trophy.

I am glad my daughters had the chance in school to learn to work as part of a team, to build self-confidence by learning physical and mental skills and testing themselves on the field, and the satisfaction of extended physical effort and of the good, honest tiredness that comes after.

Current Mood: appreciative

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October 15th, 2006
05:40 pm


My commitment
As part of a stewardship sermon this morning, several of us were asked to speak about the origin and nature of our commitment to our church. This is approximately what I said:

It is appropriate that I step up here in my choir robe because that is where I started in this church. I had moved to this city several years before but, although I had been active in church while I was growing up and in college, I had not been associated with any congregation for several years when a friend suggested I come here. After I had attended worship several Sundays, someone invited me to join the choir. A bit later someone invited me to join the church, but singing in the choir had been a very meaningful and important part of my worship experience since I was in grade school and that invitation to join the choir really made me feel welcome.

So that’s where I started. Over the years, my connection to this church has grown. My two daughters were nurtured by the Sunday school and youth programs. I was nurtured by the adult education and the fellowship of small groups. But I was also nurtured by the service that I gave as a Deacon, serving on several committees, and currently as a Session member.

If you come to a house and just sleep in one of the beds, eat at the table and sit on the sofa and watch TV, then you are a guest, a visitor. But if you are a member of the family you are expected to help out: to wash the dishes, sweep the floor, mow the lawn, help pay the bills, and help make the decisions about how the household is run. This is how you become part of a family whether you came there by birth or some other way. As I have participated in the work of this church, I have come to know the people here, learned how this church works and what it is about. I have become a part of this community in a way I could never have by just sitting in the worship services. And I have grown and am nurtured by that.

I don’t know who may read this, perhaps someone who has no interest in any kind of church, but I think the value of commitment applies to membership in any worthwhile organization.

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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September 29th, 2006
01:10 am


HIPAA hype
For my new job, there is the usual health physical and as part of that they want my immunization record. So yesterday I called my primary care doctor's office to request that they fax my record. Oh, can't do that. HIPAA, you know. Have to protect your personal medical information. Now my entire record consists of the fact that I had tetanus shot on 10-31-1997. Somehow this doesn't seem like very sensitive information. If you can figure out how it could be misused, let me know.

Anyway, they could mail it to me. Or if I want it today or tomorrow I could come pick it up. (What's another 11 miles? Only time and gas.)

So I decided I'd go get it today. (I stopped at the Farmer's Market too so I did get some other good out of the trip.) I maneuver my way through the road construction, park and go in. On the other side of the front desk are more than half a dozen staff. But I don't know any of them, and none of them knows me. I tell the woman at the window my name and that I am picking up my immunization record. She goes to a shelf, gets the paper, and hands it to me. Does she ask for any identification? No. I could have been anybody.

I'm not saying that HIPAA isn't important, but let's use some sense. Their bureaucracy has a rule that inconveniences their patients without providing real protection. They think they are avoiding risk but what they are really avoiding is requiring anybody to have to think.

I had already decided that it was about time to look for a new doctor because of his attitude. Seems like this is just one more reason.

Current Mood: opinionated

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September 12th, 2006
12:53 pm


When I am old and perhaps living in a nursing home, play contras and old-time waltzes for me and I will glide around the floor in my head and my heart even if my legs won't any more. And I will smile sweetly.

Current Mood: uplifted
Current Music: lovely old-time waltz

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August 2nd, 2006
02:52 pm


Purple ooze
My husband loves a bargain. Well, ok, so do I, but I flatter myself that I subject my bargains to a practicality test before dragging the item home. My husband doesn’t seem to so much – or maybe it’s just that his criteria are different.

My mother liked to tell a story about this kind of thing. My father once presented her with a 25-pound bag of table salt obtained at a good price! He was a farmer and was used to buying 50-pound blocks or bags of salt for his livestock. It didn’t occur to him that household use was more on the order of a pound per year. I think some of that bargain ended up going to the animals.

Anyway, a few months ago, my husband presented me with two gallon jugs of window cleaner. These two jugs found their way to the shelf in the basement over the washer and dryer next to the detergent, bleach, fabric softener, etc. Fortunately this is a fairly generous shelf and also fortunately, it is wrapped in some very heavy duty plastic sheeting (may have once been a waterbed mattress).

Yesterday, with an “excessive heat warning” in effect – that’s National Weather Service terminology for “stinking hot” – it seemed to be a good time to catch up on some laundry because:
  • my husband reported he was out of socks,
  • things hung out on the line would dry quickly, and
  • it was a good excuse to make a number of trips to the basement where the temperature was a refreshingly cool 80 degrees.
So I did three loads is a relatively leisurely fashion, making sure to have a good rest in front of the fan after hanging each load on the line. Oh yes, and a glass of ice tea or ice water by me at all times.

As I poured the detergent into the first load, I noticed that the shelf looked more than a little grubby. Clearing it off, I discovered that the main contaminant was not detergent drips (and lint) but that one of the jugs of window cleaner was leaking. It was a very slow leak, a purple ooze actually. I cleared off the shelf, wiped it and the other items clean and put them back. I didn’t have another jug handy to pour the window cleaner into so I just left the leaky jug on the laundry sink drain board.

This morning I went down the basement (it’s still hot) and there was the jug still oozing purple. Could I pour some into the other jug? No, the other jug has a seal under the lid. Hmm, the leaky one did not. Had it been partly used when my husband acquired it? How long had it been oozing?

I remembered that there might be a plastic half gallon jug in the cupboard upstairs. Sure enough, there was. Down to the basement with it, I leaned over the laundry sink and started to pour. What’s this? Instead of an ooze, a dribble, a spurt! The half gallon jug has a hole in the bottom corner! Quickly I pour it back into the oozy one.

Now what? I really don’t want to put the cleaner in a glass jar even if I can find one big enough. Finally I check out the fridge and by pouring the rest of the milk into a pitcher, liberate a gallon milk jug. Soon the milk jug, labeled in black marker, sits on the shelf half full of purple window cleaner.

Not until I had finished the transfer did I put on my glasses and read the label. Turns out this is not your standard blue stuff colored purple but commercial concentrate. You are supposed to use 1 oz to make 32 oz of working solution. Diluted, two gallons of concentrate would make 256 gallons of cleaner, enough to fill 4.6 of those 55-gallon oil drums. If I was a real window cleaning maniac (which I assure you I am not) and used a gallon a month, it would take me over 21 years to use it all up.

Or would have. Since I only have a gallon and a half of the concentrate, it would only take me 15 or 16 years to use it up. Better start cleaning!

Current Mood: hot and sticky
Current Music: fan

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January 30th, 2006
09:39 pm


In memoriam
Today would have been my mother's birthday, her 96th. At her funeral in late October, my older daughter and I each got up and spoke briefly. If you know who she is, you have read what she wrote about her grandmother. I wasn't quite ready to publish my piece back then, but here it is now, slightly edited:

After Mother's death, I heard many tributes to her, as teacher, church member, friend and in other public roles. The day before her funeral lying awake before dawn, I realized that I had a unique tribute to offer of her less public roles.

When she and Daddy were married in 1947, she left teaching for what was to be twelve and a half years. It was part of the deal that she would be able to devote herself to the role of farmer's wife. When they moved to the old family farm file miles from town and almost a mile from the highway, the old house did not even have electricity for the first winter. Heating was fireplaces and a Warm Morning stove.

There she churned butter in a 6-gallon crock churn and made cottage cheese in a large pot on the stove. She gathered eggs from the hen house and separated the milk, disassembling and washing the separator twice a day, so they could sell eggs and cream. She grew a large garden and canned and froze quarts and quarts of fruits and vegetables. In the winter Daddy had a hog killed and she cured hams and bacon, rendered lard, and made sausage. She washed the clothes in a wringer washer, hung them to dry and ironed and mended.

Meanwhile she took care of me, washing cloth diapers when I was a baby and grubby play clothes when I was older in that wringer washer. She sat up all night when I was sick, read me Bible stories and other stories. She altered the hand-me-downs I was thrilled to receive from my cousin and attended to what I expect was an above average number of scraped knees. As I got older, she drove me to town again and again to church and the library and all the other places I went.

When I was in sixth grade, she returned to teaching. She no longer made her own butter and cottage cheese or sold eggs and cream. Heating was now a coal furnace. But she still washed in that wringer washer!

In February 1968, Daddy died after some months of illness. I was in college and, in the middle of the school year, she was left alone on the farm with livestock and a full collection of farm implements. During that spring, she arranged for sale of first the cattle, then the sheep, finally the horse. Three days after the end of school, she held an auction to sell the farm and implements. By June she was noticeably thinner, but everything was in order. All that was left was to move to town, to the house where she lived until she moved to the retirement home in the city in 2002.

It was not till I was in college, that I had even a hint that by some standards we might be poor because our home was provided with all that was needed. We never had as many hugs and spoken I-love-yous in our home as there are in some, but Mother was a living example of the phrase “Love is something you do.” This was just one aspect of who she was, but it is a part I will always be grateful for.

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December 28th, 2005
05:16 am


Mincemeat pie
When I was a little girl, my mother would often make mincemeat pie at Christmas. This was not the kind of mincemeat pie you sometimes see these days with only fruit. This was the old fashioned kind with meat in it. According to a couple of cookbooks on my shelf, these pies were originally mostly meat and eaten as a main dish. Mother's recipe is about half well cooked beef and/or pork cut into small pieces and mixed with apples and some raisins and currents and boiled (i.e. reduced) cider. It is flavored with sugar (which I omitted), cinnamon, allspice and cloves. She cooked these together and then put it into a standard two-crust pie.

Some years ago I asked Mother for her recipe, since I had always liked her mincemeat pie, but not what I called "mince" pie, that inferior product with no meat. She dictated a list of ingredients with some vague notes about amounts and I made one at Christmas. The family did not like it. Since then I have made it again maybe two or three times but not for several years.

Two months ago, after five years of gradual decline and fortunately only a couple of months of rapid decline, Mother died, peacefully at the end. She was very old and many family, friends and former pupils attested to a life well lived. This Christmas I determined to make mincemeat pie again. We had been given some venison so I used that for the meat.

The last several years have involved a lot of responsibility caring for Mother with many six-hour drives to Ohio where she lived. The last couple of months, especially the last two weeks when she was in the hospital and then hospice followed by the funeral, were very intense. There was much to do, difficult decisions to make. I was there doing what needed to be done, carrying out her wishes about as well as anyone could have. And I was with her just being there. Now it is over, I have thought of her often and felt sad that she is now gone, but it was not until I was making the mincemeat that I finally cried.

The pie turned out reasonably well although not perhaps quite as good as hers. But the family still does not like it. Part of me understands that everyone has likes and dislikes. Part of me appreciates that unlike earlier years no one is giving me a hard time about my odd kind of pie. Part of me is glad that I can have as much as I want and it has not vanished like the pecan pie did.

But it feels a bit lonely to eat the pie that I made in some sense in memory of my Mother and not have someone to share it with. It reminds me that even though I have a loving family, I am an only child and now an orphan. And I cry a little more.

Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: just quiet

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December 2nd, 2005
04:27 pm


Gender differences
The teacher says, “Good morning, boys and girls.”
The teacher says, “Good morning, white children and black children.”

One of these is perfectly acceptable; the other is startling and not acceptable. Yet each implies that there are important differences, and since it is coming from a teacher, that these differences affect learning ability.

This provocative point came out in this afternoon's NPR program Talk of the Nation: Science Friday. The topic was Gender Differences and Cognitive Abilities. Online audio of the program will be available after about 6pm today.

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: More NPR

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November 12th, 2005
11:18 pm


Inch by inch...
Inch by inch, row by row,
Got to make this garden grow.
All I need is a rake and hoe
And a piece of fertile ground...
-- Garden Song
by Dave Mallet

Somewhat unexpectedly, I found myself home alone for the weekend (which is ok). But I thought, I should plan something for this evening. The cheap solution would be a video from the library, or for a bit more, a rental. But feeling a bit more social, I browsed the Weekend section and found a folk concert, a fellow named Dave Mallet (sponsored by Heartland Concerts). I listened to the samples on his website, then bought a ticket on line with a plan to spend the difference on one of the homemade dessert offerings.

Imagine my surprise to discover him to be the author of the above song. It is a favorite of the lower school children at my daughters' beloved former school, an essential part of the annual pageant! It was a great evening. I bought a CD. Umm, and the Welsh Cake was very tasty (see Recipes).

Current Mood: delighted
Current Music: Dave Mallett: Here We Go

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08:45 am


November Sunshine
November in upstate New York is a dreary month, often gray and rainy, dim and chill. Each day the daylight is shorter; the recent time change brings the darkness earlier. December’s promise of sparkling white of snow to multiply the light is only a dream.

There are two large maple trees in my back yard. The silver maple at the back of the lot loses its leaves early and uneventfully. The color of dust, one day they are down and gone, shriveled into almost nothingness.

In contrast, the Norway maple, the one too close to the house, changes to yellow, a bright cheerful color -- November sunshine. When the leaves finally fall, brought down by the wind and the rain and mixed with the warm brown leaves from the neighbor’s oak, they fill the yard and cover the driveway with heaps of captured light. Their crunchiness clusters around the back door inviting you to rake them up and call the children for a jump.

The rain may be drumming dismally against my windows, but each time I walk through the upstairs hall, there through the windows in the door to the upstairs back porch, at least for a couple of weeks, is the cheerful glow of sunshine. I step out onto the porch and am surrounded by it. I breathe in the freshened rain-washed air. It may be too cold to stay long but a brief visit or even a glimpse from the warmth of inside cheers me.

I always hate to see the leaves raked up. I know it must be done before the arrival of snow turns it into an impossible task, but I always feel a bit sad to see the ground tidy, but bare and dark, as the November sunshine, now fading, sits in heaps at the curb waiting for the trucks that take it away.

Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: comforting silence

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October 6th, 2005
11:09 am


First entry - maybe last
I didn’t join LJ to write entries. But isn’t that supposed to be the whole point? Umm, maybe. Instead I am here to be able to read entries in a particular restricted group after several years of being an anonymous reader. We’ll see where it goes from there, if anywhere.

You may be wondering about my username. It took me several weeks to come up with it. The heck, you say! Several weeks for that mumble? Well, what is a username? To some maybe anything will do: what you had for supper, the song that just came out of the radio, whatever. But to others, me included, a username is another name, and a name can be very important. The Bible is full of examples of this. Who am I? Who do I want to appear to be?
  • My own unique self
  • Somewhat anonymous
  • A little bit serious
  • A little bit fun
  • Positive to inspire me to strive to be my best self
  • My present self, but also my historic and future selves
  • Not already claimed by some other LJ user (practical!)
Who am I? I made a list, including my origins, relationships, career, interests, philosophy, world-view. I generated some possible names and plugged them into LJ. That eliminated some potentially good ones. It also left some possible good ones, but nothing quite clicked.

Then last night at choir practice we were singing a warm-up:
             ma – meh – mee – mo – moo. (1-3-5-3-1)
And something clicked. There were my initials and references to a couple of my important life roles and behind it the connection to music. And it sounded kind of funky. Ok, that’s still a bit vague, but maybe you get the idea. And now you know a little bit about me.

Current Mood: pleasedpleased
Current Music: NPR (Diane Rehm Show: Bruce Feiler: "Where God Was Born")

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