Two Pairs of Keds

"One for dress, one for everyday."


December 2014

Open cupboards: what do you see?

My mother-in-law, Shirley, is the best ever….and for years, she hid her famous cheese ball recipe from me.

The first time I requested it, when Bill & I were newlyweds, she gave me a fake version. I could tell when I tasted it. Turns out, it’s a secret recipe, and you have to earn it. Now, years later, we talk about where we’ll be each time we make it.

We look out our kitchen windows and consider.

Each time we mix the ingredients, we’re at a different place in life. Moved ahead. Moved on. Things have come and gone. The cheese ball and its secrets remain.

I can’t tell you – – I’d have to shoot you, but it’s one of the most requested items at every Preston family gathering. cheese ballEven still, I think she’s held something back. Mine never turns out like hers. Maybe it’s the shredder…maybe she adds more hard-boiled egg. This year, I tried a little more pimento.

Where was I, this year, when I made it? I’m 54. The kids are somewhat grown…only one in college, coming and going. I’m in college, sort of, at least I just finished my first Master’s level class. Certain things have changed.

But I’m still the same person, too, the one that opens too many cupboards when she’s cooking, but still likes a tidy kitchen. One that prefers vintage recipes, although I still try new ones. One that bakes a dozen kinds of cookies and watches old  movies over and over.

At this time of the “rolling year,” its time to open your cupboards and look around. What do you see?christmas eve eve 1






(PS This is actually how I cook…I did not stage these cupboards. It may surprise some people who think I’m always organized.)

The Christmas cross?

The Christmas cross?.

The Christmas cross?

Oh, I understand where you’re going with it, I say to my three neighbors who have Christmas lights in the shape of a cross on their houses.

If this is your holiday (as it is mine), you realize that with the birth of a baby in a manger…or, arguably, with the annunciation, that the walk to the cross has begun.

But it’s not here. Not of wonder 5

What we await is the light.

John has a testimony (1:4-5): “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Luke (2:32) speaks of Jesus as a light (beautiful language from the King James Bible): “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Even Acts, as in the acts of an early church, uses light in talking about the crucifixion (Acts 26:23): “…that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

Behold, the star.  “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (KJB)

This is the reason for lyrics to songs like “The First Nowell.”
They looked up and saw a star,
Shining in the east, beyond them far:
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and of wonder

This is, to me, the problem with most non-denominational churches’ move from a liturgical calendar. Without the pacing, without acknowledging the process from prophecy to fulfillment, you mix your history, not to mention your symbolism.

Will this baby boy eventually die on a cross, convicted by your sins? Yes. But not today. Not on this silent night.

You may be  battling against the commercialism. You may be proclaiming your salvation, but this season – no matter your method of celebration or theology – is about the hope brought to mankind through the birth of a baby.

A simple baby. A simple star. The cross is complex, but this scene brings peace. Let it be.

The Mystery of Abandoned Bikes

The Mystery of Abandoned Bikes.

The Mystery of Abandoned Bikes

This is short. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I just can’t understand it. There are two bike racks outside of Mason Hall. Locked to both are abandoned bikes.

Why? What did they ever do to anybody?

What? Some student just rode up one day, hopped off, went inside for classes and said, “Damn it, I’m not riding that home. I’m walking. Forever.”

These are nice bikes. There’s a really lovely yellow touring bike that I, personally, could enjoy. They stand, or lean, on the racks, waiting for their owners who never come.

I’ve asked about them. Back when there were more funds there was, apparently, a bike crew who posted warnings and then came and clipped their locks, releasing them into new lives. I’m not sure where.

This frustrates me.

In my ED769 (Philanthropy & Development) class, Back Alley Bikes was a nominee for foundation funds, but did not make it to the final round. Still, their cause spoke to me.

Actually, it spoke to me through my husband, Bill. I said something like, “I like the idea of bikes, the teaching of mechanics, the providing of transportation. I’m just not sure we can correlate it to education.”

And Bill said, “You can’t go anywhere if you can’t get there.”

So, there are these bikes. And there is this organization.

And I wish I could hook them up. There are a lot less-worthy hook-ups out there.

What do you think I could do?

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