29 July 2011

The Final Countdown

It (the end of vacation/study leave) is almost here, only two more full days then, then it ends. I have had a blast playing with the kids, hanging out with the First Lady, reading up a storm, working on some internal stuff, celebrated #2's and #3's birthdays, remembered my father (no way he died five years ago), got my fiddle back out, re-discovered exercise & cooking, and a host of other things.

I am fully celebrating this last weekend with some good eats: pulled pork bbq and grillades and grits. But like all good eats, painting a car, or working on a sermon, the majority of the work is prep work. Today after we returned from the Cool Zoo I got to work on some beef stock (nothing makes a house smell better than beef stock!), brined the pork shoulder, and mixed my dry rub. The stock is cooling in the frig (I will need the fat that hardens on top as lard on Sunday) and the shoulder is resting with the rub massaged on.

Tomorrow morning will be a time of smoking on the grill, followed by lunch, a trip to the snowball stand, time at the pool, and then a feast of pulled pork bbq, clint eastwood baked beans, ember roasted sweet potatoes, and slaw (for the F.L.). I will also introduce my very own smoked pablano bbq sauce. This is a coveted recipe that I am saving for a potential "throw down" with the pastor of the Presbyterian church this Fall.

I have enjoyed this time off more than any other time off before. It was the most refreshing and recreative time!

P.S. The First Lady is back to blogging to. Take a gander when you have some time.

20 July 2011

Flying Away

Somewhere in this amazing creative mix of jazz and bluegrass there is fodder for a month of Sundays worth of sermons.

Enjoy. (Yes, get the record it is amazing!)

More on Suits and Making Groceries

I have tried not to pay much attention to the Roger Clemens trial (or trial that almost happened). But when the paper boy (late as usual) delivered the NY Times on Friday I couldn't help but notice the suit of Clemens's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, a...white suit! Take a look at the contrasting suits between Clemens and Hardin. It was 93 degrees that day, who wears a black wool suit when it is 93? Not Hardin.
Doug Mills/The New York Times(please note the credit of this photo)

I do not know much about Hardin but you gotta love the suit!

Since it is summer break...I bought the kids some Pop Tarts for breakfast this week. I tried to steer them to purchase Chocolate Fudge (my personal favorite as a boy) but they chose their own flavors: Cookies and Cream, Smores, and Strawberry. They could not eat two of them, too sweet. Amazing! I remember downing thousands of those scrumptous delights throughout the years as a last minute breakfast wrapped in a paper towel and with a glass of milk on the way to school, and never thought of them as too sweet!

Speaking of groceries...the other day it happened again. I went to Rouses to pick up some coffee and bread when a lady stopped me and asked if I cared for a sample. Up to this point everything is perfectly normal. The sample: rum and iced tea! This still amazes me - free samples of hard liquor at the grocery store. Granted the samples are barely 1/2 ounce but still samples at the grocery store!

08 July 2011

Dad's Camp

In a couple of weeks the lady of the house will be hosting a sewing camp for girls. The first lady is quite a talented seamstress and designer. As she concocted this fabulous idea - the thought ran through my mind...but what about the boys? So I decided to devote one entire week to the boys, not that shouldn't be taught to sew but 2 boys and 10 girls is not a good recipe for a fun time. So I came up with...(are you ready for this, drumroll, curtains ready to be pulled back, man with gong anxiously anticipating the signal) Dad's camp. One day of golf, one day of tennis, one day of fishing, one day of rocket building, and one day of basic car repair.

Dad's camp got off to an early start yesterday with haircuts or get your hair cut like daddy today, i.e. buzz cuts. ( I went to the barber and got my usual summer fashion on Wednesday. My barber is an elderly gentleman; he cuts good hair but will frequently miss spots. When I asked for a buzz cut I expected him to rush through it and be done in five minutes. No way. This man lives for buzz cuts, he cut my hair with the precision of an open heart surgeon. It began with a consultation on guard sizes. He would cut then take a few steps back to observe then cut some more. He pulled out his scissors to clip any stray hairs. I have never seen or experienced anything like this. I was mesmerized. When I cut the boys' hair I too used the same precision. I must say they look quite amazing). The day continued with a picnic, trip to the book shop then library and wrapped up at the pool.

prequel day two of dad's camp brought even more fun - bicycle riding at Audubon Park. Inside the park is a small oval track, perfect for learning how to ride a bike. (By the way I would love to host a big wheel racing contest for kids here). I provided all kinds of agility and skills drills. I jumped out in front of them to test their braking skills, placed a large stick to see if they could ride over it, made them cut through the grass as if they were taking a short cut and timed them around one lap.

Suffice to say Dad's camp is a smashing hit. Aint it amazing how a slight change in wording makes a world of difference. I could have simply said, "hey kids lets go ride bikes at the park" too boring. But if you say day two of Dad's camp: bicycling at Audubon Park all of a sudden it is pandemonium - maybe not pandemonium but you get the picture...

Postscript: I think maybe I am having more fun then they are.

05 July 2011

Reading List

Many people have asked, "hey preacher what are you gonna do on your vacation?" The vacation is broken down like this: two weeks of vacation and two weeks of continuing education; some days will be both, others will be demarcated.

The First Family has several day trips, museum trips, and many days of play on the calendar. I, meanwhile, am planning an ambitious menu - trying to cook lots of dished I have been wanting to. Today for example I am cooking up a big pot of chicken and sausage jambalaya. More than anything the First Family plans to enjoy the company of each other.

For the continuing education part of the break I plan to read, read, read, and plan sermons for the following year (Aug '11-June '12) I have a skeleton now I just need to but some sinews and muscles on it. I first planned to read according to sermon subjects but instead I found a reading list that is more imaginative, playful, and well...re-creative.

-Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness by Eugene H. Peterson
-Centenary Translation of the New Testament by Helen Barrett Montgomery
-The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner
-Longing for Home: Recollections and Reflections by Frederick Buechner
-Memories of God: Theological Reflections on a Life by Roberta C. Bondi
-Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
-William Sloane Coffin Jr. A Holy Impatience by Warren Goldstein
-Word of God, Word of Earth by David Napier
-Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
-As many of the Harry Potter series as possible

This list found me. I kept placing books in a pile on my desk then going through them to thin it down. I finally whittled it down to about four books then for some reason I found myself in the library checking out some books I stumbled upon (the Buechner books) from there the list emerged anew. There are two commonalities: memoirs and imagination.

I looked over my sermons for the past year and found many stories in my sermons but not sermons in my stories. Reading the Harry Potter books has been a great joy and a surprising delight. Why shouldn't a sermon keep one on edge the way a Rowling written book does? Why shouldn't folk be challenged in a way William Steig book does? And why not look at the world around you to find inspiration for life's work the way Buechner and Coffin do (and did)? And why shouldn't a preacher re-read the New Testament in a new way to see it as a narrative?

I am having a blast cooking and reading. I am also having a blast hanging out with the kids.

02 July 2011

The Agony of Defeat

I am sorry to report that the mighty Pelicans lost their playoff game. The boys played hard but the bounces did not go our way. I am proud of the boys, they made great leaps forward in their skills and baseball knowledge. Until next year...

01 July 2011

It Starts Today

I suppose I will always be haunted by the 80s and use it as my lingua franca. Anyway, today is the first day of, what else...Vacation