Friday, December 28, 2007

Very white and ridiculously friendly

(No, I'm not describing my dog, though the words certainly do just that.) I'm enjoying the view of Iowa through the eyes of our now east-coast-dwelling son, who hasn't been home in six months. Home is very snowy. We're getting another 3-6 inches as I write, and this one looks heavy. New Haven had no snow -- none! -- when Noah left there on Christmas Day.

Apparently, business transactions in some parts of Connecticut don't have that peculiarly midwestern flavor. N's exclamation after a bank stop: "People are ridiculously friendly here!" It's true. They are. We'd just stopped noticing.

Fellow travelers, please take care out there, especially all of you returning to Chicago this weekend for the upcoming exams whose name shall not be spoken. Know that I hold you in my prayers.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thunder snow

When dramatic winter weather gets ready to make another appearance, and when the forecast includes thunder snow (with 1-2 inches per hour), this is NOT a good time to lower one's car window all the way.

Sometimes, windows do not go back up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Third Sunday of Advent, Snow and Ice

As my rector pointed out, we've had snow, ice, and a winter storm advisory all three Sundays of Advent -- and snow/rain/ice is expected this weekend, too. Last Sunday morning, I drove cautiously and counted 26 vehicles in the ditch between our house and Iowa City. Many of those cars were upside down.

When I got to church I wondered whether the trip had been worth it. I gave ornaments to the three students who showed up. One had a particularly challenging week ahead. I told her that I was glad she'd have four weeks off at home with her family. She's glad, too, but she said, "But I'm really going to miss coming to church here for a month!" Those words were delicious, like a great big scoop of peppermint ice cream.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Blessings upon the ordinands

As we head to the Cathedral in Davenport for the ordination of our friend Roman, I send wishes for a joyous day to our friends in Chicago and Kentucky also being ordained to the priesthood. Cheers and blessings to you: Heidi, Susan, Jeanne, M.E., and Janey. May the day be glorious.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Current Weather in Iowa City

The trees are raining. It's so fine to see the sun.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


We got a call at 6 a.m. that our flight to Hartford was cancelled -- as are other flights out of the area today, due to the ice draped over the midwest. The tree branches look beautiful in a way, but our disappointment is great. I sure wanted to see my kid's face today and be present in the recital hall tomorrow noon. The good part of knowing ahead of time, at least, is not spending the whole day in the airport, hoping.

If it isn't still snowing in April, we'll see Woolsey Hall, meet the famous Martin Jean, as well as the fine people at St. Thomas's Church. This weather is just plain sucky. I hope that my blogger friends are careful out there in the wintry mix that's soon headed east.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sleet, ice, pizza, cake and all that jazz

We braved the icy roads and got to church in time for Evensong rehearsal. Patient, kindly John drove us down the slippery streets, bought drinks, set up tables, paid the pizza guy, and gave up his entire evening to support me.

They came, they ate, they left. In less than 45 minutes all the pizza was gone, as was an entire cake. It took longer to drive back home, as the freezing rain caused constant windshield challenges.

And now we get ready for the next adventure. Tomorrow, God willing and weather permitting, we fly to New Haven for Noah's first graduate recital on the famous Woolsey Hall organ. I've only seen pictures, and have heard that this is one remarkable instrument.

Winter travel.....eeek.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How to pray a cake

First, ignore advice such as "You're baking for the campus ministry supper from scratch? Don't do it -- just buy something!"

Assemble ingredients for chocolate chip cake, adding more chocolate chips than necessary. Use brown sugar instead of white. Fret slightly about the imminent snow/ice/sleet that may prevent this cake (and its creator) from even making the trip to Iowa City. (The text of my sermon is printed and waiting in my office, just in case someone else has to officiate and preach, but the cake and I need to travel the interstate.)

Turn the useless episode of fretting into an opportunity to pray for the students who have walked through the church doors this fall. Pray each name aloud while stirring the creamy, thick batter: Sam, Carrie, Annie, Kevin, Christy, Andy, Kelsey, Dan, Brent, Anna, Kate. I hope I see them tomorrow, and I hope that the cake tastes as though there's something extra added -- because there is.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Behind an able man, there are always.

The above title shows you the exact wording of the funny fortune inside John's cookie tonight. This beats my all-time favorite, which read, "Alas! The onion you are eating is someone else's water lily."

I returned through more sleet and snow from a two-day retreat with other priests in the diocese to find that John fell on the ice while walking the dog yesterday, and now has a sprained ankle.

On my way back from the retreat, I stopped in Iowa City for a luncheon at the home of the new president of the University of Iowa. She hosted twelve of us from the Association of Campus Ministers. Her chef prepared some lovely dishes and the conversation was exceptional.

After I unpacked, it was time to head to our home parish to accompany the Taize Eucharist for Advent. So afterwards, we decided that some Chinese takeout sounded good. But we're not so sure about that "able man." There are always...slippery sidewalks?

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

December storm

Snow started blowing across eastern Iowa at 9:09 this morning. It lasted for five minutes. Now our windows, sidewalks, and housetops are covered in ice. More snow is predicted. Sunday travel could be iffy. This would be an excellent day to bake something with chocolate or cinnamon...but I think *someone* ate the chocolate chips.

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