Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eating Us Out of House and Home!

The day at church went very well...we had a much larger crowd than I expected for the afternoon service, and the joint choir numbered about 50!  We sounded pretty good, at least from where I was standing.

We got home in plenty of time for the onslaught of little beggars to darken our door...and boy did they ever!  I counted a total of 91 kids, and they came in bunches, HUGE BUNCHES!  Sometimes there were 8 or 10.  Sometimes there were 12 or 14.  We even had one group that numbered 17!  There was a pirate named Brady...a couple of dead looking girls from across the street, and countless others who were dressed in costumes that went by so quickly that I couldn't identify them.  I think I even saw a couple that were bigger than I am.  My only regret is that our candy bowl was almost totally depleted...with very little left for me.

Well, tomorrow brings us the beginning of November, and the snow will be in the air soon.  The best thing is that Tuesday is Election Day, and that means all of those absolutely stupid and annoying political ads will be gone by Wednesday.

Pretty Scary!!!

It is finally here...the day of Halloween.  Guess what?  It's raining again!  That is actually a good thing since the rain is coming down early this morning, and by the afternoon and evening things will be drying out nicely for all of those little pagans who will be hitting the streets to beg for food.  It is going to be a cool day, but what would you expect from the last day of October?

More important than Halloween is the fact that today we celebrate the Lutheran Reformation, which purportedly began this day in 1517 when Martin Luther tacked his 95 theses of debate to the door of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church) in Wittenberg, Germany.  He also included these theses in a letter to Albrecht, the Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg.  The letter was forwarded to Pope Leo in Rome and...there you have it...GAME ON!  The bottom line is that we will have our regular church service, commemorating the Reformation, this morning, and a special service for all of the area Lutheran folk, and those with nothing better to do, this afternoon beginning at 3:00.  Hey, if you are in the area why not stop in?  Following the afternoon service it will be time to head home to prepare to terrorize all of the little tykes that come to our door with designs on taking food from my table...or our of the huge metal bowl with all of the candy in it. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Off Day, Or Day Off?

Being that it is Friday it is my usual custom to stay as far from the church as possible, enjoying a day of rest, or some such other thing.  Well before the day dawned, as I rolled out of bed to get ready to teach this morning, the rain began to fall again.  It kept on coming down right into the afternoon.  What had been planned as a day to do yard work, getting things pretty well ready for winter, had to be re-planned.  The new plan included a nap that I am happy to say was successfully executed.

Getting back to the early morning, I did manage to make it to class before the 7:30am start time.  It was still dark as I arrived...I HATE THAT!  Friday is lab day for the group, so the students get to play around drawing meteorologically based pictures and the like, while I do my best to keep myself occupied.  It is considered bad form by the community college for the teachers to fall asleep in class, snore and drool all over themselves so I am faced with a challenge.  Following the class period it is time to hit the tennis courts again with the posse.  One of our regular members, Bill, is down in California helping one of 413 sons move into a new home.  Bill's assignment is to build a fence to keep the dog in the yard.  Anyway, Jim filled in for Bill, quite well I might add, and we had a spirited morning.  To start with I was paired with my good buddy John, who is usually meaner than cougar &*$%.  We got off to a slow start, getting behind 5-2, but John's meanness kicked in and we came roaring back.  We managed to get to a tie breaker...6-6...and we went on from there to beat Jim and Tuck.  That took about an hour.  The second set featured Jim and I, and we were cruising along 5-2 when John decided that he just wasn't mean enough anymore to continue, so that was that.  This evening we are going to be meeting some friends downtown for a glass of wine and appetizers.  Tomorrow and Sunday it will be back to work as this is the weekend that we Lutherans celebrate the Reformation, so I have two different services to prepare for, and a couple of classes to teach.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Winter's Not Far Away!

That's correct, the snow and cold are near, as a matter of fact for the past couple of days it has only been a thousand feet or so above our heads.  Snow has been falling, and as it reaches elevations of about 3,000 to 3,500 feet above sea level it has been melting to become rain.  The average elevation of Spokane is about 2,000 feet, with the higher parts of the metro area up to 2,500.  Check out the DOT web cams from Idaho and Washington tomorrow.  Over the mountain passes you will see lots of snow!  Over the next few days it appears as if the cool and occasionally wet weather will be continuing, with generally cloudy skies.  That is the way things will probably be all the way through the weekend.  Daily high temperatures will be in the mid 40s to near 50, with overnight lows falling into the 30s.  Speaking are now lasting until mid morning!

I may have been a bit conspicuous in my absence over the past few days.  I am still recovering from the weekend.  On Saturday I had a rather strange experience, especially considering that I have been involved in this ministry thing for relatively short period of time.  Saturday morning, for the first time, I buried a person that I had baptized!  Before you get too emotional let me assure you that this was not a little child.  Back in the spring an elderly lady, a close friend of a friend of the church, was desiring to be baptized as she had never been in the 75 years of her life.  She had come to faith late in life, and has been battling cancer for several years.  Before beginning what she knew would be her last round of chemotherapy she wanted very badly to be baptized, and I was asked to do it.  That occurred back in early June.  Cancer took her earthly life last Monday, and she stepped out into eternity at that time, into the arms of our Savior.  The family called and asked if I would lead the burial service on Saturday morning.  That was an easy decision so there I was on Saturday morning out in a cold rain amidst 50 or more of her family and friends.  I spent the afternoon indoors, warmer and drier, working on the details of two services for Sunday, our regular morning worship, and our evening contemporary service that we have been doing once each month, usually on the 4th Sunday.  During that time my beloved Badgers were battling it out with those pesky Iowa Hawkeyes in college football.  The game was on TV, but I was too busy to watch.  That is probably a good thing as I probably would have been attending my own burial today due to the heart attack I would have suffered watching those beloved Badgers pull out a very hard fought and agonizing victory.  Sunday came quickly, and the morning service was highlighted by the baptism of a little 4 month old guy...cutest little fella I had seen all day!  There was more prep work in the afternoon for the evening service, so I spent the afternoon putting the finishing touches on the message and creating the Power Point presentation.  6:00 o'clock came, and the musicians were in place, Kay and I were ready, but that was one else showed up!  I can't say that I am shocked, as our congregation is not all that hepped up on contemporary style worship, so now it is time to aim our efforts in another direction.

Monday morning came WAY too quickly, and so here we go again...another week is off and running.  There was my early morning class to tend to, and then it was off to the tennis club to meet the "Lay Posse" for a few spirited sets.  Things went pretty win some and you lose some...and now on got hurt, except for tuck somehow hitting his left hand with his racket, thus tearing a fingernail half off.  How he did that we will never know!  Fortunately John had a Band-Aid, so repairs were made and we were about our business.  Since then the routine continues inside and the chilly and damp weather continues outside.  Tomorrow's Wednesday, so it will be time to get cracking on two more sermons...both for for the morning service, and one for the special service in the afternoon to celebrate the Lutheran Reformation.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting Wet

After a week of textbook October weather...sunshine and cool crisp temperatures...things have taken a turn today.  We will continue turning through the weekend.  Today has dawned very cloudy, and there have been a few sprinkles.  That is about all we will be getting today, a few sprinkles this morning.  Tomorrow and Sunday are looking rather rainy as a cool low pressure system drops in from the west and northwest.  Temperatures will be cooling down as well, due to the lack of sunshine and the impending wet weather.  Today we should still make the mid to upper 50s, while tomorrow and Sunday we will have a hard time getting much above 50.  It looks like the chilly and damp weather will last into a good part of next week.

A little look back now...last evening I did return home at a more reasonable hour, and right on cue we had our little visitor come to the door.  This time I was there to welcome him, and we spent about an hour and a half building what Brady called a "farm", which looked more like a houseboat.  I should say we were building when he wasn't climbing on my head or trying to slice me up with his light sabre.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Wife Has Taken Up With A Younger Man!

This week has turned out to be a bit overcrowded, and as result I have not been able to pay as much attention to my domestic duties as I probably should.  In my absence my bride has found comfort in the company of another man, one who is much younger than the both of us...her "Boy Toy" shall we say.
Yes...the builder of airplanes, helicopters and spaceships is now making time with my wife.  In my absence he has been coming over to our house for regular visits.  I am crushed...absolutely devastated!  I mean Brady, HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?  I thought that we were buddies!  I feel so betrayed, not to mention the anger and jealousy that I am having to deal with in knowing that Kay is moving in on my turf.  I thought that Brady and I had a good thing going, and now she is trying to get in between the two of us in order to break us apart.  Can you feel my hurt?  From now on there will be no more working late.  I am going to be getting home earlier to take back what is rightfully mine.  Perhaps as a peace offering she can have the dog.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oh What A Night!

Wisconsin 31, Ohio State 18...'Nuff Said!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Ahead!

It is now late on a Friday evening and we are all staring straight into the face of the weekend.  The weather here has been very nice...warm and sunny on Thursday, and a little cooler but equally as sunny today.  Tomorrow and Sunday are going to be some more of those textbook October days, crisp and cool with a beautiful blue sky.  Saturday will be starting off a little bit below the freezing mark, so I have the tomato plants covered.  We have gotten to that point in the year where the end of the gardening season is inevitable, so we will probably be picking all of the tomatoes that have the ability to ripen this Sunday afternoon.  For the next 5 to 7 days we will be enjoying sunny days with highs in the 50s to low 60s, but the nights will be consistently having temperatures dropping into the upper 20s to around 30 degrees.

A brief comment on my tennis extravaganza with the "Lay Posse" earlier today.  I was the first of the group to serve this morning, and I was going to have no part of the experience that we had this past Monday...where for 14 straight games the serving side lost the I got all of my first serves in and John and I won the game, in route to a 6-0 set win.  The morning went very well for me, for reasons that I am not really sure of, and I played pretty well.  I guess we will see what next Monday brings.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life With Brady

Today was a beautiful much so that we were able to spend a little time on the porch.  After soccer practice Brady came flying over, and we spent a good deal of time building airplanes, bridges and a kitchen.  We also spent a good bit of time singing "This Old Man".  Obviously the song was targeted at me!

Favorite Days of the Year

Next to Christmas, Easter and St. Swithin's Day today is my favorite day of the year.  Today is the day that I get to hand out the first of 3 exams in the aviation meteorology course that I teach, and then watch the students squirm.  Actually, they are doing just that as I write this.  I am amazed that all of them managed to show up, and almost all on time.  That seldom happens, even for the lab sessions on Friday where attendance is mandatory.

I must provide you all with a Brady update.  Since the weather now is, in general, no longer suitable for long periods of sitting on the porch, most of Brady's visits are of the indoor variety.  Whenever the garage door is up it is a sign to the little fella that it is open season and he is welcomed to enter whenever he wishes...he very often wishes.  Lately he has taken to climbing on me (I make a fine mountain) as I sit on the couch working on the construction of spaceships and helicopters using whatever building materials that he can locate within the house, usually Lego blocks or Tinker Toys.  He likes to perch himself on my head (pictures to follow), for a better view of what is going on in the house.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I am absolutely disgusted!  Imagine the shock that I experienced last evening as I was perusing the food ads from the newspaper (we don't actually get the local rag...there is nothing there worth reading...but we do get the advertising sections delivered to our front porch every Sunday and Wednesday) and a came across the Safeway section hawking Kokanee beer for $10.99 a 12 pack.  Now that is not a very favorable price, but that is not the problem.  Much to my shagrin I read the fine print regarding one of my favorite brews and discovered that they are now delivering this liquid gold in bottle of only 11 and a half ounce volume.  Calamity...catastrophe...a considerable setback.  They never asked me if this move was acceptable!  Now I say NO!!!  I will not put up with this.

As the scientific researcher that I am I decide to stop by one of the local grocers to investigate the volume of the bottles offered by the other brewers of the region.  Each and every one of them...other than Kokanee...still gives us the full measure of our malted beverage...the only ethical supply of a full 12 fluid ounces.  Brothers and sisters I call you to join me in saying "we are not going to take this!"  I call for a boycott of Kokanee beer until such time as they repent of their wicked ways and restore their bottles to their rightful size.  All evening long I have been doing my best to rid our household of this devil's brew (hic').  I should be finished in few hours.  Again, I say, rise up!  Don't let the corporate greed hit us where it hurts the our beer!  Join me in my boycott...until these rubes see the error of their ways.  Let's hit 'em where it hurts...below the belt!  I mean in the wallet.  Beer bellies unite to squash this terrible injustice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Really Bad Service!!!

Okay...the week from Hades is finally over, and some semblance of normality (whatever that is) should be returning.  This morning the alarm sound at 6:30am, as it is wont to do, at which time it took me almost a half hour (at least it seemed that long) to find it and shut it off.  I had to ask Kay if it was Sunday or Monday as I was in a totally confused state of consciousness.  I was hoping that she would say Sunday, as I would have another hour before having to drag my backside out of bed, but alas, reality set in as I was informed that it was indeed another Monday morning.  Off I went to teach my 7:30 aviation weather class at the Community College, and then it was time to meet my "Lay Posse" at the tennis court for our usual Monday morning romp.  Something must be totally out of whack with the earth-atmosphere system and the space time continuum as all I can say is that this morning's results were way to weird to qualify for any "normal" explanation.  The fun began with John and I one one side of the net looking into the eyes of Tuck and Bill on the other.  They had one the right to serve, and Bill was first to do the honors.  He let loose with some blazing smashes, which were then smartly returned by John and myself.  we managed to break Bill's serve and win that first game, at which time we gave each other a little wink that meant that we just knew that we were on our way to a resounding victory.  I was next to serve 'em up, and our glee was short-lived.  Bill and Tuck broke back.  What followed has never before been recorded on this blog site, and too their knowledge, never before been seen in the somewhat lengthy lifetimes of the posse.  In the entire first set, not once the did the serving side hold...that is 12 straight games.  The score was knotted at 6-6, so it was off to a tie breaker.  In the end Tuck and Bill came out on top 9-7 in the tie break to win the set.  Set number two began just as set number one had ended, except that it was now Tuck and I looking across the net at John and Bill, as the first two games were lost by the serving team.  FINALLY, Bill broke through, and the streak was broken (so to speak).  Tuck and I meekly succumbed 6-1 in that set, so I went into the 3rd without having won a service game.  That was finally remedied in the final set, as Bill and I went on to claim victory in a shortened set, 5-1.

In the world of weather, what was a gray and wet day yesterday has turned into one of those textbook October days today.  The sky is blue, the sun is shining and the air is crisp.  Tonight there will very likely be a lot of frost and freezing temperatures in the valley areas around our area.  The coldest air is most dense, so it slips down into the low lying areas when the sky above is clear and the wind is light, as it will be tonight.  Up on the hill, where we live, we will probably be okay, but I will be keeping a close watch on the temperatures so as to best protect my tomato crop in the backyard.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Strike Up The Band

Another full day...starting with the Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML) zone rally, which consisted of me and about 80 women.  There is about a hundred different directions that you could go with that one!  That all began about 8 this morning.  The day came to a close with the announcement of the winners of the Pacific Northwest Marching Band Championships at about 9 this evening.  In between was all sorts of excitements ranging from sermonating to reading Band-O-Grams...little messages from friends and family members of the band members who were performing in this evenings competition.  Does all of this seem rather disorganized and disheveled?  Therein lies the current state of my brain!

The morning session of the LWML rally began with the invocation and devotion, which was my assignment.  That went pretty well, as I had a plan for what I was going to do and say.  Once we actually got things started it was 10am, and be the time that and the Bible study got finished it was pushing 11.  My mind was a bit preoccupied by college football, as at the same time my beloved Badgers of Wisconsin were tussling with the Golden Rodents of East Dakota...more commonly known as Minnesota.  That turned out well as Wisconsin won the game 41 to 23, and it was not as close as the score might indicate.  When lunch rolled around it was my intention to make myself scarce, reason being that a mayo infested chicken pasta salad was on the menu.  I happened to walk through the fellowship hall at just the wrong time, and was therefore corralled into joining the ladies for the meal.  You would have been proud of me as I courageously gutted it out!  Following lunch I gave my presentation to the group on the educational program that I have embarked upon through the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana in order to fill the role of pastor at my church...St. John's Lutheran of Spokane.  I managed to hold the crowd for about a half hour, and then ran out the door, headed for Joe Albi Stadium, in order to fill my annual commitment as the announcer of the band competition.  The biggest concern this year was when the rain might hit.  An intermittent sprinkle was over the area through most of the competition, but I am happy to report that the steady rain held off until the evening's festivities were concluded.  At this point I say bring on the rain.  The bands...all high school...did an excellent job, and those gathered really enjoyed the shows.  It is amazing that mostly 15, 16 and 17 year old kids can perform at such a high level.

Now it is time to turn in...tomorrow is another busy day.  If you are in the area...why not stop in for our worship service at St. John's starting at 9:30am.  We will even feed you!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I've Gone Viral!

Again, it is amazing to me that anyone ever reads this, but I have noticed that I have picked up two more followers!  This blog is now up to 35.  Perhaps I should pay a little more attention to customer service, and offer something more worthwhile, but that is just not in my nature.

For those who are following from the Spokane area you know how wet the weather has been in the past 24 hours.  It has been raining almost constantly in that time period, but we have only picked from a quarter to a third of an inch.  This morning is very gloomy and damp, but the weather system that has been dribbling on us is on the way out, so I see some improvement by the afternoon.  The rain should go away, and the clouds will thin.  They won't completely disappear as there is another front approaching from the west, with its own set of middle and upper level clouds.  That front will stall out to the west of us over the weekend.  As it sits out there over the Pacific more and more moisture will be drawn up ahead of it, and by Sunday some light rain will again start to fall.  It had better hold off until Sunday, as tomorrow is the Pacific Northwest Marching Band Championships out at Joe Albi Stadium.  Last time I was there I noticed no retractable roof, so dry weather is important.  The past couple of years have been very cold, while this year things look a whole lot more comfortable.  There will be some high clouds, but daytime temperatures should reach well into the 60s, and then only slowly fall into the evening.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Digging Out of the Hole?

Could it be that I am finally seeing the light of day? Have I dug my way out from under the pile of things that built up while I was away? It seems that I may have caught up and can now take a brief breath. That would explain my absence from these rather one-sided conversation for the past week (Sheesh!!!). At least, that is the excuse that I am using. We all know about excuses...they are like rear-ends; everyone has one and they are all full of ________(Go ahead, fill in the blank). Anyway, I am back in the saddle and ready to reach out into the blogosphere.

Let me fill you in on what has been happening since we last communicated. Last Friday at noon I jumped into the car, leaving the cloistered world of the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne for the city life of Chicago. The trip was very routine and uneventful except for the machine at the end of the Indiana Tollroad the ate my debit card. I really hope that it choked and puked (was that a Christian thing to say? Its a machine for goodness sake!) I arrived in downtown Chicago just before 3pm, and headed straight for the tavern. Where else could I go as Kay and her sister were riding a water taxi and there was no restroom in my rented Ford Focus. They soon caught up with me, in more ways than one, and we spent a rather subdued evening at Kay's sister Ann's condo. The weather was nice so we were out on the patio for awhile. On Saturday the weather changed. The wind was howling, the temperatures chilly, and the rain was falling on an occasional basis. After going out for brunch it was time to head for the airport. What was most interesting about the flight(s) from Chicago to Spokane was the fact that we set foot in all 4 time zones of the continental United States that afternoon and evening. We left Chicago (Central), flew to Indianapolis (Eastern) where we made an unscheduled plane change, went on to Denver (Mountain) and then home to Spokane (Pacific of course). We crossed the threshold of our house at about 9:00pm, which was midnight in the eastern time zone that I had grown accustomed to through the previous week.

There is no rest for the wicked, so of course I was on duty at the church on Sunday morning. We got up early to head down the hill, and get ready for service and Bible class. Things went about as well as they could have. I drove up to the north end of the Spokane area, almost to Canada, in the afternoon to pick up the dog. While we were gone she seems to have worn out her "barker" and has pretty much been asleep since returning home. Monday brought the Inland Empire Pastors Conference to town, and of course being that we have a new church, the worship service was scheduled her on Monday evening. After returning early to the classroom to teach aviation weather to budding airline pilots, and then the tennis court to resume my regular battles with my "Lay Posse" ( went rather well) it was time to head for the church to make all things ready for the evening service. It can be a bit unnerving to have about 50 preachers and their wives in the house critiquing everything that you do. The evening did come off without a hitch, so another hurdle was cleared. These last couple of days have been consumed with catching up on last week's work, preparing for this weekend, and grading research papers from the meteorology class.

Looking ahead there is a mountain in that direction as well. On Saturday about 100 Lutheran ladies (The Lutheran Women's Missionary League) will be gathering at our church for their fall "Zone Rally". Again, when you have a new building everyone wants to see it. I will be involved in giving the invocation at the beginning of the day, doing the installation of their new officers, and then providing a presentation on the educational program that I am involved in. Once that is finished I am heading to the northside of the city, to Joe Albi Stadium, to serve as the public address announcer for the Inland Northwest Marching Band Championships. There will be 14 high school bands from this part of the country competing, so if the event starts at 3:30 in the afternoon I am hoping to be home by 10. I've done this for the past few years, and really enjoy it, but there are always a few bands that I really don't need to see and hear...if you know what I mean. They all work hard, and perform as best they can, its just that some a little more "musically challenged". Of course there will be church again on Sunday, and all that goes with it. I'm not complaining mind you...just embellishing my excuse!

See you soon...I hope.