Sunday, June 22, 2014

Putting things off. . .

So I bit the proverbial bullet this week and went to the dentist. Some of you know that I've been putting this off for a long time . . .

Blooming Prairie may be small but we have first rate dentists. They used equipment so state-of-the-art that I had never even seen some of it before!

So I'm smiling because a) I finally started something I've been putting off for a long time and because b) I got my chipped front tooth repaired.

Some people in my circles would call this procrastination. And they would probably be right except every time I start to get cured of my procrastination it pays off again. . .

A couple of weeks ago my cousin scored a second-hand window air conditioner for my apartment.  It was raining when we got it here so we stowed it in the garage. On Friday, the warmest day we've had so far this year, I was kicking myself for putting off getting it installed.

Then there came a knock at my door. It was my landlady and she came bearing a gift: a brand new, energy efficient combination de-humidifier and air-conditioner. And she had reinforcements who got the whole unit installed in about the amount of time it took me to find and use a screwdriver to open the remote control and install the batteries.

So, dear reader, what do you put off? Or, if you are one of those git-r-done types, how do you put off the urge to put it off? Do you think it is habit? Temperament? Attitude? Fear?

Life is funny. . . As I wrote git-r-done I wasn't sure of the "proper spelling" so I googled it. (Google can be a procrastinator's very best friend!) Guess what? Comedian "Larry the Cable Guy" has a foundation called, appropriately enough, "Git-R-Done" which raises and contributes money to children's charities. Now, I'm sometimes really put off by ol' Larry's humor, but turns out we both have a soft spot for kids and hail from the Midwest. Who knew?

OK, I've put off my other reading and writing tasks for this evening so I need to stop meandering and say goodbye for now from 1100 Miles North. . . but I'll write again when I get around to it!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Tortilla is Mexican Lefse

I couldn't believe what I was seeing! My worlds collided in the grocery store this week; I may never see this again, as long as I live, but it was a memorable moment. Lefse and tortillas sharing space in the cooler! If I had a dollar for everytime I explained lefse to someone in Texas by saying "Lefse is like a Norwegian tortilla. It's made from potatoes and rolled much thinner" I would be RICH. Now I find myself explaining about tor-tea-ahs (not tor-till-as) that they are Mexican, kind of like lefse but made from flour or corn.

It's mid-June and summer has not really begun yet. The corn is up and will likely be knee-high by the Fourth (of July) which is a good thing. Sweet corn from points south is starting to show up in the store but I'm holding out for local. This is, after all, where the Green Giant gets his corn. Just up the road in fact! The days are sunny and cool and the nights are perfect for campfires. I've been enjoying a weekly campfire worship on Wednesday nights at church, plus an occasional lazy evening around the fire ring with my neighbors, in my very own back yard. The sun stays up late (official sunset tonight is 8:53 pm) so we don't wait for dark to start a fire. Here are a few pictures from around 7pm last Wednesday:

The door you can see in the upper left side will take you into the hallway where you'll find my office. As these helpful guys built the fire, we were having VBS in classrooms up and down the hall. Parents and children have three 20-minute faith experiences together in the 6-7pm hour while the fire is being built in preparation for our campfire worship. So far it's been fun, and well-attended.

Our musicians are getting tuned up and ready to go. It's a very intergenerational evening - so far our youngest attendee has been around four months old, and our oldest (who drives himself and arrives in a sporty, red, brand-new Cadillac) is 95. The worship service is built around the FAITH5 exercises for families: Share, Read, Talk, Pray, and Bless. It's fun for all ages. 

And then, as singing and blessing wrap up our worship experience, and the sun begins to dip closer to the horizon, one last favorite summer experience remains:

In between these wonderful Wednesdays, I'm fitting in a lot of continuing education: a half-day last week, a full-day next week, and a four-day class at Luther the last week of June. I'm spending a lot of time reading ahead for the class at Luther. In addition to re-reading Almost Christian by Kenda Creasey Dean, I'm also diving into a book by Sharon Daloz Parks called Big Questions Worthy Dreams which is focused on mentoring young adults. The other two books are on Romans and are written by Terry Fretheim who will teach that section of the class. This has to be one of the biggest pluses of my move north - the density of Lutherans here allows for a lot more opportunities to refine my work skills and recharge my batteries.

I still get homesick for Texas - just seeing tortillas at the store make me long for Chuy's and Torchy's and all of you who made those meals so festive but at least my life is filled with lefse and Lutherans - these are also my people. I don't believe I'll ever stop being partly Texan, but in the meantime, I'm eating both tortillas and lefse 1100 miles north.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Excuses, excuses

Seven weeks without a post. . . time to get back to my keyboard. This last stretch has been full to overflowing nearly every week - and most of it has been about family:

  • Oliver, the first member of the next generation of my family, arrived just after Easter. I am not a grandmother yet, but my sister is, (and I have envy issues.)
  • My mom, now a great-grandmother, arrived about 10 days later to officially welcome the sweet young man. We spent a few days together and then on Mother's Day we left right after church to drive out to South Dakota and met him in person. She stayed on, and I came home on Monday to work.
  • My sister Laurie brought her back at the end of the week and stayed over briefly before returning to her growing flock.
  • Mom left for home on Tuesday, and I returned from the airport to visit with Clyde and Joyce, part of my Austin/TLLC "family". It was fun to catch up a bit and hear about their planned summer adventures.
  • On Wednesday I hopped a plane Washington, DC where Gracie is clerking for a law firm this summer. She didn't start until the day after Memorial Day so we had a couple of fun days playing tourist. The Millses were great hosts and I had a wonderful time. 
  • Came home on Memorial Day in time to hang out with my wonderful cousin Jane who was kind enough to pick me up from the airport and indulge me with a trip to IKEA for towel racks. (I am still getting settled. . .)
  • Jane came to Blooming Prairie on Wednesday evening so we could make a surprise Koi delivery (long, convoluted, fun but irrelevant story.)
  • Friday night Emily and Paul made an overnight stop on their way home from a camping trip to Yellowstone. It was brief, but oh so wonderful!
  • So, those are my excuses for my long hiatus. I'll try to get back on some kind of schedule and stick with this for the full year I intended when I started.
Yesterday I attended the Blooming Prairie High School graduation and was amazed to realize that I recognized three of the four people handing out diplomas, ten of the graduates, many faces in the crowd, and probably one-third of the students in the band and the choir. I am not as much of an outsider as I sometimes think I am!

I also jumped aboard the 100 Days of Happiness project yesterday. I am tweeting @jklock228 #100happydays if you care to follow. I'm sure a substantial portion of those pictures will also show up in my blogs so if you aren't on Twitter, don't worry. This just seemed like a fun way to learn to use my camera and my Twitter accounts better - Lord knows there are plenty of things to be happy about!

One last note - the snow is gone. In fact I bought a fan on Friday because it was so warm and humid. The joke is once again on me. Saturday night brought severe thunderstorms and we now are going to have about 5 days of rain and cool temps. . .   

As I pass the one year anniversary of the personal earthquake which sent me here, I can only marvel at how God has blessed what seemed to be a devastating event. Even as I continue to miss my Austin "family",  my new/old family connections abound, 1100 Miles North.