Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 6: An Ending and a Beginning

Ending: On Saturday I graduated from my last Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Course. My sister and I are now certified ages 3 to 12 and ready to take a break from learning for a little bit before learning to be formation leaders. It's a great program that gently brings together the Child and Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

Beginning: Today Little C began Cross Country practice for his first year of high school. I'm not sure how it's all going to go but I'm sure he'll be great at whatever he decides to do.

Food: After eating salads and fruit all week at class, we're going easy with homemade sauce and pasta tonight.

Faith: Tomorrow is a Holy Day of Obligation so we're going to relax and attend a Mass that I'm playing for.

Family: My parents announced the vacation site for next year so we can starting thinking about VFV 2018!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Week 5: The Dangers of Working

I like working.

I like having a desk, I like paperwork, I like taking a problem and fixing it.

But...I only have so much energy. Not in the sense of some diagnosed ailment or a mental block, but physically and psychically and spiritually, when I work full time, I end up giving most of what I am at work. In a way that's good because I help people and usually do a good job.

In a bigger way that's bad because there's none of me left for my little family. Even though there's only three of us, one is autistic and needs a lot of my psychic energy for reassurance and relies on my calmness to help him through storms. The other one had a transplant and has plenty of his own psychic energy but only has so much physical energy, so I need to make sure I'm not relying on him to carry me through household chores.

Spiritually, then I start beating myself up over not being "there" enough for my family. Even though I've done it at times, I don't have to work full time right now.  Occasionally, I take on a longer term job, like covering the desk at church full time this week.  That's long enough to remind me why I don't work full time and why I'm so grateful that I don't HAVE to work full time right now.

That said...

Food: We are trying Slow Cooker Sausage and Chicken today over egg noodles. It smells yummy. We're also having a chocolate cobbler (like a depression cake or, for you Great British Baking Show fans, a self-saucing pudding.

Family: My little brother returns from a trip to Canada, Less Little Brother comes for a trip after passing his dissertation defense, and everyone relaxes after a week of working.

Faith: No big days this week, just continuing in Ordinary Time. Continuing to color a big timeline of the Plan of God.

Next week should be better because I'll be more rested!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

VFV 2017: Hanging out in Kansas City

I missed the last two weeks because I was here but holding down the fort for our 11th Voboril Family Vacation.

Here's a list of where we've gone in the past:

2001: I chose to do a trip to NE that included the Great Platte River Road Archway (Kearney, NE)
2004: We all went to Iowa: Amana Colonies, Grotto of the Redemption, Pella, and LeMars
2007: Elk Falls, KS (Sherman House Bed and Breakfast) with day trip to Independence
2008: Cabooses at Two Rivers State Recreational Area outside of Omaha, NE
2009: None--Kidney transplant and 3 graduations took care of that
2010: Colorado for niece's baptism
2011: Wahoo, NE with trips to Lincoln and Omaha
2012: Cedar Bluffs, KS (cabins)
2013: Yankton, SD
2014: Fort Robinson, NE with day trip to Mount Rushmore
2015: Just a day trip to Omaha to save up money for...
2016: Door County and Wisconsin Dells with shorter trips to Chicago and South Bend, IN
2017: Kansas City with day trips to Jamesport, Weston, and Hermann, MO

Who knows where next year will take us? We have not yet had a vacation with all of us on it, except for the two early trips for college graduations.

Our favorite food this year included:
Beethoven #9 in Paola, KS for schnitzel, sausage, and potato pancakes
Q39 for all things barbecue
The Wurst Haus in Hermann, MO for sausage
Gingerich Dutch Pantry in Jamesport, MO wasn't fancy but it was very tasty
Spin Pizza in Crown Center
Bolognese Sauce from my sister
Bob Evans (always a favorite for my dad)

Not so favorites included:
Green Dirt Farm in Weston, MO (they just weren't prepared for the number of people they had)
Frozen Lemonade at Worlds of Fun (it was really frozen, not just icy)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Week 3 of Writing to Myself Out Loud

Food: Today I tried an Almond and Orange Cake from Everyday Food (a defunct Martha Stewart production). It was good, but I worry it was too much like cornbread.

Family: Father's Day! We enjoyed a quiet day with my brother's family from Raytown, admiring the new Switch and Zelda game. Hopefully we are also listening to the Royals win.

Faith: Corpus Christi Sunday also falls today, a celebration of the Eucharist. This celebration also happens on Holy Thursday with the Institution of the Eucharist, but because the focus of Holy Thursday moves to the Paschal Sacrifice the Church has a separate day to appreciate the gift of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ.

Fatigue: I worked close to full time last week in our church office and appreciate anew how bad I am at being a full time worker and mom and wife. I just can't do it all, and I appreciate that my family is willing to do without the income I could produce so that I can be a better wife and mom.

Next week: The beginnings of family vacation!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Checking in for week two!

Faith: It's Trinity Sunday which means pastors have the careful dance of "here's what the Trinity is" while avoiding limiting the Trinity or committing heresy. Fr. Jim did a pretty good job, giving some descriptions of what the Trinity means to him by function, season, job, saints, and celebration.

We're also back to Ordinary Time, so back to giving up meat on Fridays--this week we tried a mixed greens and tuna salad that was pretty good. I borrowed Twelve Months of Monastery Salads by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette.

Food: The boys say the best thing we ate this week is the chicken and Parmesan risotto with herbs. For Little C (now Big C because he's taller than me) the worst was the Portobello and provolone sandwich...because he hates mushrooms. It's a texture thing.  We had a mostly meatless week (the chicken came from the freezer) to cut down the grocery bill.

Family: This was a recovery week between having lots of family for class and lots of family at the end of the month for vacation (here in KC). Big C started Geography Class in addition to cross country running, so he's dipping the other foot in the high school pool.

Friends: Today we had a lovely impromptu lunch with friends from Lawrence; their twins enjoyed our nerf gun, bouncy balls, and bug catcher. We enjoyed catching up and hearing about their travels.

No pictures, Betty, but I'll try to have one for you next week.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

VFV 2016: Door County

Distance traveled: Around 100 miles  
Method of Travel: car, foot   
Number of people: 20

Stops: This part of the trip became very different because different groups of people went different directions. On the first day, Big and Little C went with one group to Green Bay, WI to see the Green Bay Packers stadium, the Cathedral, a train museum, and a chili place for lunch. My brother, sister-in-law, and I traveled a circuit of the Door peninsula with my dad. Along the way we bought cherry jam; brother J tried hard apple cider, locally made; we bought some smoked fish spread from Charlie's Smokehouse; and we got to see a really windy road and the tip top of the peninsula, looking out at the ferries and the islands. We stopped by Rowleys Bay to see Grandma's Swedish Bakery, but it was more like a resort--not us at all. The cookie was okay. We ate lunch with my mom and the Colorado family at Wilson's in Sister Bay (address Ephraim) and dipped our hands in Green Bay. Little A got her artwork displayed on the drink station and she was so, so proud--like a published artist. Again, they had an interesting gift shop but I didn't get to stop and look. Our last major stop of the day was at Not Licked Yet.

The second day was slightly derailed because Dad's car had a flat tire. He had to wait around to get that fixed, so my family and my mom and my brother traveled to some stops we wanted to see. The day before, my mom and the Colorado family had climbed a lighthouse, but they told us it wasn't worth it. So we went to Whitefish Dunes State Park to climb sand dunes, Lautenbach's winery, Door Peninsula Distillery so Big C could try some hard liquor, and met up with C from Raytown to eat at the restaurant with goats on the roof, Al Johnson's. After a family dustup (frustrations, hard feelings, etc.) we ended with a disappointing stop at Renard's Deli. They only had a few cheese curds to try and they didn't have many interesting cheeses to look at. The Colorado and Rose Hill families (8 small children, 4 adults) chose to spend the day hanging out at the house or at the lake shore in Algoma. 

Finally, it was time for all the families to head out. Raytown family went back for work and the rest of us headed to Wisconsin Dells. On the way we made time for Cherry Delite in Forestville and the only approved Marian apparition in the United States, Our Lady of Good Help. Oh, and a brewery in Stevens Point for the gentlemen and a wildlife refuge for the children and ladies. 

Food: We ate breakfasts and suppers at the house. Breakfast was usually cereal or leftovers; one night of supper was baked potatoes with fixings from the Raytown couple, and the other night was supposed to be a fish fry, but we ended up eating leftovers and one pizza.

Lunch was various as we were in different places, but I had lunch one day at Wilson's, in Sisters Bay, with the Denver branch and the Homestead. We enjoyed burgers but most importantly fried cheese curds. Ah, Wisconsin. We also saw one of my nieces get her art posted on the drink machine--she was so, so proud.

Our other food stop this day was ice cream from Not Licked Yet. I have to admit that it wasn't as good as reviews had led me to believe; I think it might have been that the young girls running the stand weren't quite sure what they were doing. Tasty granola ice cream, but not mind blowing.
My other lunch was at Al Johnson's, famous for goats on the roof. We had swedish specialties including meatballs, pancakes, and lingonberry lemonade. It was slightly pricy but still tasty. They had a wonderful gift shop but I was the only one who wanted to linger.

Lodging: See previous post for Meadow Road Country Retreat.
Best and Worst: I really loved seeing the very tip top of Door County and gazing out on Lake Michigan. I also went with my sister K to walk along the Lake one evening--also wonderful. Worst? I wish we weren't staying so far from Door County itself (about 30 minutes). That was a bummer.

Trying Something New #1

It's been a long, long time since I tried writing in this blog.

For a long time I felt rather egotistical about trying to have one--who am I to share my ideas? Why should my thoughts on liturgy or food or family be out there, when so many other people are sharing their thoughts ad nauseum? Doesn't our world just need a little quiet?

That's true, but I also think it's good for me, if nothing else, to organize my thoughts. So I'll try this: I'll write a little once a week, share it, and after a few months delete it. That way I'm not worrying about what people may think about me based on something that might have been an impulsive outburst. We'll see.

So what's on my mind today?

1. On the bookshelf: I just finished The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin. I loved her early  Earthsea books but not so much the later ones. This book is more like a dystopic time travel on the idea of what would happen if dreams could change the world. I enjoyed it very much.

2. In the kitchen: Not much, because I just finished four days of intense class for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level III (ages 9-12). In two months I'll be done with class and probably begin the slow, slow work of becoming a recognized formation leader. Meanwhile, lots of reading and lesson plan writing with my sister.

3. On the chore pile: The big chore for the coming weeks is sorting my "keepsake box." You have one of these, don't you? All those cards or awards or memorabilia from days past that doesn't belong out but that you can't get rid of. When we left Wichita I put most of my teaching material in there, and now that four years have passed I'm ready to purge most of it.

Have a blessed Pentecost Sunday, and may you always be open to the movements of the Holy Spirit.