happy haunting…

happy halloween…or happy reformation day, depending on how you celebrate.  the city-wide reformation service was yesterday and it was spectacular.  so you can bet that today i’m feeling much lighter!  we don’t get any trick-or-treaters, but michael and jessica brought olivia by and she did a pretty good job of cleaning out our smarties…

week-end wrap-up #12

i hit the road for west frankfort, il on saturday morning and arrived about noon at my aunt almeda’s house for her 90th birthday celebration.  i was early, so i had the honor and pleasure of helping her get ready for the bash.  she’s pretty deef, so i used my best shouting voice while i fixed her hair and talked about her health and such.  almeda is my mom’s sister, the 2nd of the 9 siblings–mom was #7.  she, uncle junior, and aunt shirley are the 3 still living.  her daughter, cousin janice, had a very nice open house to celebrate and i got to meet again my cousin kim ann pod.  kim’s dad was my cousin bobby, almeda’s son, who was about 13 years older than me (though he was only 9 years younger than mom).  when kim was a baby, her family was living in evansville and my mom took care of her while her parents worked.  i was 9 or 10, i think.  she was the first little kid to call me “doe” .    she was such a little dollbaby…and she still is.  it was great to meet up with her and we’re going to get together again next summer…for sure.

aunt almeda

i know i should know the way to west frankfort by heart, but i’d gotten lost once, so brought along the gps aka gypsy.    gypsy was determined to make me drive the interstate and was quite stubborn, even cross as she recalculated again and again.  at one point she was telling me to turn on a rock county road—i fear she may have been setting me up for some ambush.  i kept her on the whole time and just let her recalculate until her throat hurt…gleefully going my own way.   i might be losing my mind…

cousin lana and i caught the sunday matinee of “chicago” at the civic theatre.  that’s a great musical and they did it well.  the guy in front of us needed to scoot down in his seat, though;  he must have been 8feet tall.   civic has a great season planned and we’ll see as many as we can.

we’ve got our winter birdfeeders filled and hung from their shepherd hooks.  i’ve bought some tulip bulbs and need to get them into the ground before the rains start on wednesday.

i’m gearing up for the city-wide reformation service this sunday.  practice is the only way i can take care of my nerves before these events, so i’ll be up at church every afternoon.

counting the days till i’m in NYC…15…

pesto presto

my next music challenge is the city-wide Reformation service on 10/30. while i’m expecting my usual bout of stagefright, it doesn’t seem like it’s that big a deal—i got some great psalmody for the choir to sing with the handbell choir and we’ll do some hymn stanzas a capella.  there will be brass doing both the prelude and the postlude and the handbells will play the offertory, so all i have to do is accompany.   okay, so that’s a bit of new music, but hey…i’m a professional, aren’t i???

it’s immunization deadline time, folks…please keep up with the ammurrican peedeeactric ass. for their binding recommendations for your child’s schedule of inoculations…(listen to the 1%, they should know) and take advantage of the last year you’ll get them free here in indiana.

in order to reset my balance, i’m headed out to NYC on 11/8 till 11/13.  yes, taking time off of both jobs…  eliza is growing so fast and i need to hang out with her for a while.  emma and i are going to see the saturday matinee of Lion King and i’m planning on a cathartic cry during The Circle of Life and He Lives in You.  the usual good food, good friends, good walks and good talks that make me heart my daughter will surely restore my peace.

in the meantime, i made pesto…didn’t have much of a crop of basil left, but it was enough to share.  i put it in the ice trays and freeze it;  the cubes are just about right for soups or sauces, and easy to share.

you just put the basil, garlic, walnuts, shredded parmesan in the food processor and pour in enough olive oil to get it to the right consistency…oila!!

  hope you have a good week, folks!

the missing wink

geez, why do we have pets???  as if people-relationships aren’t enough, we crave the domesticated  animal to feed and stroke.  so it was that i came to own a 1-eyed cat called wink.  my aged feline, the legendary Sonny (of Sonnystone Acres fame) died at the venerable age of 16-or-so…i was volunteering at the lutheran school library when the librarian noted my distress and decided that i should take on a new kitten.  this kitten had been thrown out on her countryside property with its eye hanging out of its socket.  her brother is a veterinarian (which is why she gets a lot of throwout-animals) so she took it to him.  at first, they tried eyedrops and such, but finally his eye was removed and when i met him he was about 3 months old and his stitches were still covering his missing orbit.  he was playful and seemingly unaware that he was different—i fell in love and brought him home.  he hides…especially from children (who i think may have contributed to the eye-loss).  he’s a Great friend…loves feet…vigilant protection from salamanders…always hungry.   he never went outside of the house, but when we built the screened-in back porch we would keep the window open so he could go from the kitchen in and out.  i’ve never seen him try to get out of that porch, though he runs wildly window to window when critters come near.  i’m thinkin’  he must have been planning this escape…like the shawshank redemption…he probably would wait until we were soundly asleep and throw himself at the screendoor (held shut by a snap-latch) until…last night…he finally broke out….

he won’t talk about where he’s been for the last 24 hours.  we just kept checking, listening, and finally he showed up at the screendoor…hungry…”okay, rub me, but feed me Now”…he’d lost his collar (we put his old leopard-skin-bell back on)…i’m pretty sure he’s going to write a book, though, so i’ll let you know.

wsncff…party on…

i’m not a westsider, and if you’re not born there or born to people who were born there you can’t be one.   i’ve observed this culture up close and personal and it’s quite clannish and exclusive.   the Westside Nut Club Fall Festival is the shining glory of these folks, and they have every right to bask in its success.

i’ve been working on the Westside of Evansville for 15 years now…7 of them right across from the library where the carnies set up their pukinator-rides and tilted games.   the brain-sandwich- line became a source of fascination to me, snaking around the building by 7am.  winding by my office window, for 5 full days faces peered in while i peered out, wondering why on earth folks loved brain sandwiches sooo much, watching as the people in the booth (not youngsters) worked feverishly to keep up with the orders.  i ate lunch from the booths every day:  corndogs, onion rings, bean soup, pork chops, funnel cakes, caramel apples, corn-on-the-cob, apple cider, and so much more.  at least one day we’d plant someone in the brain sandwich line.  we were obligated to go to the booths of the groups we support—and Every school and church in town has a booth.  during lunchtime the streets are full, but by the time i left at 6pm or so, the evening crowds were already overflowing.

when it’s dark and all the lights are on at the carnival, on the rides, down the boulevard and over the booths,  it feels quite magical, though you can hardly move through the crowds.  the grease is hanging thickly in the air over the hordes making their way from the stage at the west end to the rides at the east end and back again, over and over, stopping to stand in line or talk or stand in line and talk.  the week is filled with talent shows, the king and queen contest, the tug-of-war;  a pet parade, a light parade, and a morning shriner/tractor parade.  it’s generally pretty safe, but there’s a significant police presence to be sure.

this one-of-a-kind fall festival raises hundred of thousands of dollars for the Nut Club as well as the non-profits who run the booths.  each westside school gets about $10,000;  reitz and mater dei (westside high schools) get $15,000/each.  all of the schools get a portion and if you write a good grant request, they’ll help.

frankly, i don’t care for it.   maybe i overdosed during my franklin st. years, or maybe i just am grouchier, but i haven’t been down there since 2004.  sadly, i can’t think of one thing i’d like to eat from  there and i’m not too keen on running into every student or patient that i’ve ever known.  i’m glad, though, that many people take their vacations for this event (really) so that the show goes on and on like a brain-sandwich-line.

the weather’s beautiful this week, so i might have to head on down…maybe…