Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Indulge Your Nostalgia and Carry On

I am embarrassed - I am watching Secret Princes on TLC just to get a glimpse of the old home town. I couldn't help but smile when I saw the view of the Capitol looking up Congress Avenue. It's funny, I used to watch the beginning of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, just to catch a glimpse of downtown Minneapolis. Place has power. Every story has its setting, and for 30 years and a couple of weeks, Austin was the setting for most of my life's stories.

Two of the princes have arrived in the Austin airport, but so far no guitars. . .  finally! Number four, the Italian prince, brings a glimpse of the guitars to the screen.  (I recently read Chris Bojhalian's Light in the Ruins which is set in Italy during WWII, so it's fun to hear him talking of his part of Italy and his family heritage. One lovely by-product of living where I'm a relative stranger is that I've had a lot more time to read than usual!)

Oh - they just showed a shot of downtown at night. Blue lights on 100 Congress. And one of the princes was just dancing around Goodwill or Savers or some such place in a Westwood tee-shirt. It's a hoot!

How come I never ran into these guys when they were filming in Austin?

But, in other news, Saturday I attended the 41st annual craft show hosted by the Blooming Prairie Chapters of AAUW & Women of Today. Cindy Leonard, a new friend and spouse of my senior pastor, invited me. It was at the local high school (you can get a glimpse in this picture:

I met a lot of really interesting women and I have been invited to join, which I think I will.

I found a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and had a chance to talk stamping for a bit until she got busy. (Don't you love those wreaths? I've been a little chicken to try them but this was inspiring. I may have to give it a whirl.)

I did do a little stamping a few days ago, and made these boxes for the confirmation gifts the Board of Education is giving to the confirmands:

Later this week I will head over to Brookings, SD to work at a craft show organized by my sister. I am looking forward to another road trip.

So, missing Austin, but carrying on!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Missin' Manners

Maybe it was just because I caught the second half of Sweet Home Alabama on Saturday night but on Sunday evening I found myself irrationally insulted when a man didn't stand up to greet me. No kidding! On some level I wanted to throw a little hissy fit. . .

I went out of my way to find this man at an event last night. He had sent me a note asking for a favor and I was seeking him out to grant it. AND HE DIDN:T EVEN STAND UP! That was really only one small part of his lack of manners, and bless his heart, he probably just didn't know any better, but I am amazed at my own reaction to it. I didn't even realize I expected it!

I am also missing the easy way the kids from Texas called me Ms. Julie. They do it here because I asked them to, but it doesn't flow naturally. However, the pastors love it and keep promoting it to the kids and their parents so eventually it will probably stick. The kids are definitely disappointed that I don't sound very Texan, but they dissolve into giggles every time I say y'all (so I'm going to keep saying it!) and I got to explain the difference between y'all and all y'all in the kitchen last night, so I haven't completely left Texas behind.

My sandals are packed away until spring. The weather the last couple of days has closely resembled Austin in January. The highs won't move beyond the 40's this week and we can expect to see the occasional snowflake early in the morning or after sundown when the temperatures drop. Yesterday morning was a dreaded window scraping morning (although I took a Southern girl approach and let the defroster do its thing while I shivered inside the car.) Beginning November 1st I will be parking in the garage (thank you Jesus!)

There is nowhere I am more homesick or at home than in worship. I am acutely aware that I don't yet have friends to seek out and sit with but at the same time I am at home and fully part of the group in a way I am not the rest of the time. I am very grateful for this hour each week.

On Tuesday I registered for a conference in Houston so I can begin looking forward to a visit to Texas in January. I will be in Austin either before or after the conference. That makes more sense than any of y'all coming up here in January!

This was my first week without visitors and by Friday I was ready for a familiar face. Thanks to Beth and Niel Wiegand for letting me drop by for coffee on Friday afternoon. I needed a fix of the familiar, and their presence and their home provided the perfect medicine.

And now, back to Blooming on the Prairie where I'm planted. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Monday, October 14, 2013

There's something fishy going on here. . .

Today I got to witness a well-oiled machine at work. Throughout the church there were clusters of people performing unusual tasks. When I arrived there was a pickup at the back door filled with potatoes.

Near by, a strange machine was rumbling like a washing machine and shooting water out one side into the grass while the potatoes bouncing around inside got naked.

Inside I found a classroom full of people peeling still more potatoes, and apparently having a jolly good time doing it. Pastor Charlie was one of them and got a lot of good-natured ribbing for bringing his own knife.

When they were done, they had peeled enough potatoes to fill garbage cans, these, and several others!

Across the hall were large storage bins filled rosettes and krumkake baked in the church kitchen by many dedicated volunteers last week. Most of them were back today, working on other kinds of food.

This is what Norwegian desserts for 1600 people looks like.

Around the corner and down the hall there was another huge crowd. I christened them the Holy Rollers, and they seemed pleased to have a nickname.

How many meatballs will 1600 people eat?

And around another corner they were filling still more trays with meatballs.

All of this for an event called a Lutefisk Dinner.  One brave group tackled the "food of honor". Here are the brave souls who "wrapped the fish". While it didn't have quite as dis-stink-tive aroma as I remembered, I was definitely happy to move on after recording the main event.

The tickets are sold, the tables are set, and tomorrow the building will be filled with members, neighbors, and friends gathered to celebrate their heritage, their community, and each other. It's an amazing project. I can't wait to see it all come together tomorrow. I post some more pictures of the actual event. Think about coming next year! You'll be welcomed along with everyone else.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

It's Relatively Complicated

Something has been slowly dawning on me since I started work: there are a lot of multi-generational families here at FLC. In true "Sons of Norway" fashion we have households made up of:

  • Amundsons (3) 
  • Andersons (10) 
  • Bensons (2) 
  • Carlsons (3)
  • Christiansons (5) and Christiansen (1) 
  • Erickson (3)
  • Hansons (4) and Hansens (7)
  • Hillsons (2)
  • Ingvaldsons (10)
  • Iversens (1) and Iversons(2) 
  • Johnsons (22) 
  • Kittelsons (5)
  • Knutsons (6)
  • Nelsons (3) and Nielsens (2)
  • Olsons (2)
  • Pedersons (1) and Petersons (22)
  • Seversons (2) and Severtsons (3)
  • Sorensons (2)
  • Swansons (2) and Swensons (7)
  • Thompsen (1) and Thompson (3)
  • Williamsons (4)
  • Gullicksons, Jordisons, Larsons, Matsons,Thorsons and Tollefsons are clans of only one household

And many of them are related - to each other and to the -bergs, -ruds, -dahls, and -stads, not to mention the descendants of German and Czech settlers and people with boring last names like Smith and Brown. To further complicate matters, sometimes these people get divorced and remarried, and still all go to church here.

I will get them all sorted out eventually, or at least most of them, but coming from a church that made families out of strangers, it's fascinating to see the dynamics of a church where so many people are connected by blood or marriage. That's enough for now, just thought I'd share. More soon!