Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Five - Olympics

 It's been a while since I've participated in a RevGalBlogPals's "Friday Five".   This week's is such a no brainer for me, it's a good way for me to get back in the game.

1) Which of the Winter Olympic sports is your favorite to watch? HAHAHAHAHA.... FIGURE SKATING...Of course!  Second favorite~short track racing. But I watch it all. 

Who do you think had the best-looking uniforms?  Don't remember.  I fell asleep during the opening ceremonies.

3) And Curling. Really? What's up with that? 
My late husband used to love to watch curling.  If they showed it, I'd watch it.  I remember the year the US curling team had the oldest Olympic athlete (he was in his 50s) and the youngest (don't remember) on their team. 

4) Define Nordic Combined. Don't look it up. Take a guess if you must.   Ski jumping and cross countryskiing.   But I like the biathlon that combines SHOOTING and cross country skiing.

   You do the work - GUESS
  5) If you could be a Winter Olympics Champion just by wishing for it, which sport would you choose for winning your Gold Medal?

(There will be a prize for the best answer, but be aware, this is a judged sport.)

Bonus - Last night was the BEST skating I have seen in any figure skating competition in years, maybe ever.  Usually SOMEONE in the last group makes a heartbreaking mistake and other years they all seem to be saying "no you take the champtionship, no YOU take it"  Sasha Cohen got the silver medal 4 years ago simply because she made fewer mistakes.  But EVERYONE in the last group had the skate of a lifetime and that's what you want.

Who I felt bad for - Racheal Flatt got hosed!   Even with downgraded jumps (and come on that was pretty nit-picking) she should NOT have been placed so low and certainly not below Miki Ando. Miki Ando had cheated landings and take offs.  She takes off on the wrong edge on her lutz which is also supposed to be a deduction.  Her layback is horrible, she was slooooow and her posture is awful.   Hey but that's figure skating.  Part of the fun is to be pissed off at the judges.  And Rachael skated about as best as she could and to do that at the Olympics, well she has to be happy about that.

I felt badly for both Yu Na Kim and Mau Asada and the incredible pressure their country's put on them to win.  They are just teenagers!  I remember back with Midori Ito had to publicly apologize to Japan for bringing home a silver rather a gold.  Wonder if they will require that of Mau.  

Now it's over.   It's always so sad when the skating is over at the Olympics.  Oh well...Apolo skates in short track tonight...I'm competing myself tomorrow.  And the World Championships are coming up.   And there's always EASTER!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Skating Through Grief

Well if you are paying any attention to the Olympics at all, you know the heart wrenching story.  Canadian Figure Skating Champion Joannie Rochette's mother died suddenly of a heart attack shortly after arriving at Vancouver
to watch her daughter compete.  Tuesday night, just days after the loss, Joanie went out and skated her heart out, ending up in third place overall.

I have to admit I am finding it impossible to stay up late enough to watch skating to the end.  I think I might have to take a nap today so I don't miss the live ending of the Ladies Final tonight.  But I only watched the short program on DVR yesterday.
Yea um, no way should Miki Ando be ahead of Racheal Flatt with her cheated landings but whatever.

I think I also resisted watching Joannie's performance because I knew it was going to make me cry.  What really got me was the shot of her father sitting in the stands, alone when he should have been sitting there with his wife.  The painful combination of grief and pride etched into his face was just about too much to see.

People say "how could she go out and skate like that - I could never do that"  Well you don't know how  you will respond in grief until you actually go through it yourself.  Part of the answer is that elite athletes are not like you and I.  They have an ability to focus and shut out everything else that is beyond our abilities.  

But there is another answer and it is not that Joanie is so different than the rest of us.  First there is the shock and numbness from a sudden loss.  I had sprained my ankle a week before my husband died and was still using crutches.  The days following his death I literally "forgot" about the pain and walked around on it until a couple of days later I woke up and my ankle was the size of a football.  So it was probably actually easier for her to do this now than it would be a few weeks or months from now.   That's the thing about grief.  About the time everyone else thinks you should be "getting over it" is about the time it sinks in and is the most painful.

Also in grief you have choice.  You can withdraw into your grief and yourself and begin a descent into hell.  Or you can own the pain, but look forward and do what you have to do.  Honestly some days I think it took as much strength and courage for me to get out of bed and cook my children breakfast as it did for Joanie to take the ice the other night.   And so I admire and applaud her choice to skate.  Tonight whatever she does, whether or not she takes home a medal, she has taken an important step, she has refused to go down into the pit and decided to live.  The days, weeks and months ahead are going to be painful and difficult for her, but the strength she showed on the ice will get her through. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Women Ice Dancers are Strong!

Sinead & John Kerr, British Ice Dancing champions, they finished 8th over all

Monday, February 22, 2010

Free Dance Tonight

 Going into the the free dance the standings are:

1.  Virtue & Mohr - Canada
2.  Davis & White - USA
3.  Domnina & Shabalin - Russia
4.  Belbin  & Agosto - USA

Just a couple of thoughts.  My favorites are Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto.  He's a magnificent  skater.  A judge I respect says their Original Dance last night was more difficult than Davis & White's.  But I liked Davis & White's OD much better.  It was different and interesting to watch.  I just didn't get the bird thing.  And  I liked Davis and White's free dance better at Nationals so we'll see tonight.  I liked Belbin & Agosto's tango interpretation the best but can live with Davis and White being ahead.  

They are both better than the Russians who were not only offensive last night, 
they just were not that good.  They get points for being Russian.   Also I think anybody wearing a cowboy costume last night should have received a .2 deduction, that's how tired I was of that.

In a perfect world I'd say it would be a fight beween the top two Americans for 1 & 2.  But it does look like the Eastern Bloc judging is at work again and so don't be surprised to see the Russians on the podium with a subpar performance.    

And don't even get me started on that whiney baby poor sport, out of shape, should shut up because the silver medal was a gift Plushenko.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hate to say I told you so....

Since way back I have been saying that women clergy are going to be the next target of the Word Alone/Core types.  This prediction has been met with much huffing and puffing by folks from that side as well as "Naw that'll never happen--look at all their women leaders" from those opposed to the Word Alone/Core POV.  

People people people, read your church history.  Women have often been given positions of leadership and respect in the church and church movements when it suited the people in power.   Kind of like giving  Rosie the Riveter a job when we needed women in the factory and then escorting them out the door back into the kitchen when the menfolk came home and needed their jobs back.  

Thank you to Spirit of a Liberal for taking the time to read Lutheran CORE's Vision and Plan for The North American Lutheran Church–NALC for short.  Cuz I sure as heck have better things to read.  

Here's a little gem:  
...the NALC and Lutheran CORE will recognize both women and men in the office of ordained clergy, while acknowledging the diversity of opinion that exists within the Christian community on this subject. 

Obie points out the obvious ...Um isn't that what the ELCA wants to do with rostered leaders in committed same-sex relationships?  That little inconsistency aside...that statement leaves the door back to the kitchen and Ladies Aid wide open....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Molly 2009-2010


Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.~

Martin Luther (died on this day 1546)

Some animals want and need to be wild.  Some animals want and need to be with people.  Molly was a feral cat who wanted to live with people.  

She showed up crying in my garage last winter.  It was so cold it took little coaxing to get her to come into my house.  She promptly made a beeline for the basement and found a cubby hole to hide in.  

Everyday I would come downstairs and sweet talk her.  She liked to be talked to.  She would come out of hiding to listen to me talk to her.  Pretty soon she was coming upstairs to eat with the other cats.   She made friends with Mr. Boots.  Well, I think she wanted something from Mr. Boots he was not physically capable of providing her but she seemed content with his affection.

While laying in the same bed with Mr. Boots she let me pet her.  And she realized she liked being pet.  She became one of the sweetest, most affectionate of all my kitties.  

I noticed last night she didn't come up to bed with me which was a little unusual.  Then this morning when she did not come to eat I knew something was wrong.  I found her sitting in the basement, lethargic and with labored breathing.  

By the time I got her to the vet she was having an extremely difficult time breathing and so we put her out of her pain.  She had fluid on the lungs.  Lots of reasons for that.  It was something of a shock since it came on so suddenly.  My pretty little Mollie.  I'm so glad I took her in and gave her the home she so obviously longed for.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blogging for Lent

Pastor Clint over at Lutheran Confessions has made a commitment to blog every day during Lent and he even has a plan for each day.  I have liked the idea of having a theme for each day.  I fear I'm just not disciplined enough for that.  I couldn't even keep up the Monday afternoon skating videos!

I have found writing to come very hard to me lately.  I haven't even kept up my Tues-Friday  email devotions.  Part of it is that I'm so public I fear I cannot be truthful about what I'm really thinking and feeling.  And if I cannot be truthful how can I write?

Perhaps during Lent I will find my courage to speak my truth.  And the hell with consequences.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting in the Harness

I'm kind of in a theological dry spell right now - I will write about what is going on sometime when I'm not in the thick of it.  But I need to write.  So my next love - skating

I drove through blowing snow at 5 am this morning to get to my lesson. My coach is moving to California the end of March and I have two competitions coming up so I cannot miss ANY lessons.

So me and the waltz jump.  A waltz jump takes off from a left forward outside edge and you land on a backward right outside edge. It's what an axel is based on but  for an axel you take off forward, rotate one and half times and land backward...double axel two and half, triple, 3 and a half.  For any jump you must get up on you toe and vault off your toe pick.  For me this is not a problem with jumps that you take off going back going backward - half flip - you put your toe pick in behind you vault up and land foward, same with a half lutz.  But there is something about going up on my toe gong forward that I just can't get myself to do.  So I have really pansy itsy bitzy waltz jumps.

So today my coach Mandy suggests I get in the harness.  Which in itself terrified me.  Because it works by a pulley system and so I have to trust her to hold me up.   Yea I got trust issues--so?  

"I HATE THIS I HATE THIS I HATE THIS" she caught me mumbling under my breath "Okay Joelle that is not the mantra I want to hear from you.  You have change that mind set or this is never going to work"  Okay we have to do the little engine that could.  I can do this.

I did it.  I jumped off my toe pick. Several times.  In the harness.   Didn't try without the harness.  But I got in the harness.

I'm gonna really miss her.  Who else will put up with my whining?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"The Fairly modest Requirements of the Mother Denomination"

I have mentioned how much I enjoy Magdalene's Egg.  Sometimes it takes a little patience to figure out where Father is going with his reflections.  Today it was worth it to go back to his home town, his detours on "Old Catholicism", ancient gossip about a church scandal, and a hippie priest and you will get to this - what it really takes to be part of community:

"...don't sleep with your church members, for example.  Put up with meetings where nothing gets done, and learn to work and worship with people who share your creed but not your reading of it.  And all the other stuff that the rest of us do more or less easily, because we know that living in community, while difficult, is worthwhile."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow days

I'm really weary of winter and cold and ice and shoveling or as the Iowans call  - "scooping snow"  Doesn't scooping sound much more fun than shoveling?  Yea well it's not.

Ah but the snow days.  When all the roads are closed.  The children stay home.  You can't leave the house.  So you make a fire and make some soup or cookies.  I really feel sorry for people who never get snow days.  Snow days are really all we have left of a Sabbath in this society. 

Snow days are Sabbath for me.  No guilt about some place I should be because I can't be anywhere else.  Yes I will work on confirmation or a sermon or a bible study on a snow day.  Or I'll clean house.  But it's still restful and peaceful because no one expects me to be anywhere but where I am.

The difference is that Sabbath doesn't just give you permission to stay home and rest.  It commands that you stay home and rest.  Sabbath isn't just about "going to church".  It's about rest.  It's about God loving us so much that he commands us to rest because he knows if we don't have that excuse we will adhere to the command the world makes on us to go here, go there, buy this, do this, take your kids there.  At least when the roads are covered with ice and snow we cannot obey those commands.

I wish you in warmer climates could have a snow day.  But we all do have the Sabbath.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Plug for Pretty Good Lutherans

Yesterday Susan Hogan, the writer for the independent ELCA news blog Pretty Good Lutherans disappeared from the face of the internet.  Her blog went down.  Her twitter was de-activated and she didn't answer emails or phone calls. 

And her friends, people who only knew her online got worried.  I was ready to try to figure out who her pastor was and call that person.  Because people who poo-poo the internet and social networks as not a "real" community just don't know what they are talking about.   I actually have met Susan in real life but even if I hadn't, I would not have been less concerned.

She's back, the site is back up and she explains what happened over there.   Basically she's burning the candle at both ends.  She thought the blog was just her little hobby and no one would notice if it qietly disappeared.  She was shocked at how wrong she was.

But that blog takes a lot of work.  I read it everyday and had ignored the donation button.   When it went away and came back I realized I could not afford to ignore that donation button.  It's a full time job to keep that site going.  Susan says she doesn't like to ask for donations because of Haiti.  Oh please. EVERYONE reading this can afford a donation for the PEOPLE of Haiti, the ANIMALS of Haiti, your  Sunday offering, a $3.00 cup of coffee AND  a donation to Pretty Good Lutherans.

Black Bean Hummus

Whatever you have planned for your Superbowl party tomorrow - you want to add this to your menu.  It's just wonderful.

I got the idea for black bean hummus from Melissa d'Arabian at the food network  but that girl is TOO afraid of spice.  "Now this raw garlic so just use a little bit"  Garlic is your FRIEND - especially in hummus.  So this is MY version.

I did like her idea of cooking up beans and freezing them so they are available cuz it takes time to soak and cook beans.  Doing that you never have to buy canned beans. 
I cooked my beans in my vegetable stock.  

2 cups cooked black beans
2 or 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
small handful of cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
a few shakes of balsamic vinegar
a little kosher salt and pepper
a few shakes of cumin
about 3 tbl olive oil

Throw all this into the food processor.  To me lime and cilantro is about the best combination ever.  This wonderful stuff.  You will want this at your superbowl party tomorrow.  I'm having a bible study on Jeremiah myself and frankly I'm probably not going to share my hummus.  Probably too much garlic for those Norwegians anyway.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Legend of the Snow Drop

After Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden, they experienced the cold and snow of winter. Eve began to weep, fearing she would never be warm again or experience the beauty of Spring. As she wept, an angel of the Lord took pity on her and turned the tiny snowflakes into tiny Snow Drop flowers, given Adam and Eve hope that winter would soon turn to Spring.

“The Snowdrop in it’s purest white array, first shows her head on Candlemas Day”To a Snowdrop

                William Woodsworth

Lone Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as theyBut hardier far, once more I see thee bendThy forehead, as if fearful to offend,Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylayThe rising sun, and on the plains descend;Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friendWhose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed MayShall soon behold this border thickly setWith bright jonquils, their odours lavishingOn the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,And pensive monitor of fleeting years!