Thursday, December 15, 2005

Getting the Tree & Seeing the Family

Last Friday night, J & I had dinner at The Olive Garden. It was great, surprisingly. Not that the Olive Garden is bad, it's just not usually so good. J had 4-cheese penne & I had some kind of balsamic-drizzled beef tenderloin with fettucine in gorgonzola cream sauce. Then, we went right home to bed.

Saturday, we had lunch at The Winds. We split a wonderful pear-based salad with blue cheese crumbles. J had the organic sandwich, packed with cheese & veggies, while I had Christmas lima beans stewed with veggies & served over rice with a wedge of cabbage & a smattering of blue cheese crumbles. They call it "Blue Christmas" & it's divine.

After lunch, we went out to the school forest festival & had a little boy (well, a high school freshman) cut our tree down for us. It was so much fun to tromp through the snowy woods looking for just the perfect tree. I get extra punches on my butch card because I got the tree to the car & loaded nearly all by myself. J did do some tugging from the other end to get it more securely into the trunk. I love having fold-down seats!

We just had a little time before we had to head out for the UCC church, so we changed from our lumberjack clothes into bling, in preparation for Rosemary & Brent's pre-wedding cocktail party. I was the liturgist for the church service & had fun doing that. Then, we headed over to Brent's folks' extremely swanky neighborhood of winding streets & gigantic houses. The party turned out to be not so swanky, which was very nice. Despite the large amount of money (both Brent's parents are surgeons & the party was basically to show Rosemary & the baby off to their friends), the people were not at all pretentious or snotty. We had a good time, especially chatting with Rosemary's parents & playing with the bambino boy.

However, since the food was light rather than heavy appetizers, we grabbed dinner (well, breakfast for me) at Frisch's on the way home. J was up & down all night cooking a turkey & a ham for her family Christmas get-together. We stopped at Borders for coffees & a tide-over snack on the way down to Hamilton. We had a nice visit with J's family, but had to leave before they started eating so that we could greet the boys when they got home. I quick whipped up some artichoke dip & we took that as our contribution to Christmas Family Night at the Presbyterian church. We munched & visited with our former pastor's wife & little boy, as well as Brendan & Laura. They brought a gorgeous pannettone for their contribution. I am not entirely sure the congregation knew what to make of it. This is the sort of carry-in dinner where there are generally at least 3 buckets of KFC. Our Sunday school class did a skit & also J & I told some childhood memories of Christmas. Then, we headed home & I worked on Hebrew while the kids went to bed & J read Artemis Fowl.

One Semester Down...

That's right, today was the last day of my first semester of seminary. I had a ball, even learning Hebrew, which is hard and took up any spare time that might have been spent blogging. A quick recap of my classes:

Hebrew 1: Lots of hard work, but rewarding & with a great professor. He tells me that I am doing well. I guess he would know. It doesn't feel like it. But, I signed on for more Hebrew next semester. I am told that I must be a glutton for punishment. It has been suggested that I could just forget the Presbyterian denominational requirements since they won't ordain me, anyway. I can't.

Intro to Old Testament: Great class, great prof, think I did fairly well. Our team, The Hammerers (Maccabees) won the "Jeopardy" game we played the final day. Woohoo! I think this class was pretty rough on some of the literalists among us.

Ministry Formation: A necessary part of study, but I get frustrated with the lack of structure in the core group. Our facilitator is very nice, but not too organized. Really enjoy chapel, though, and getting to see different ways to worship. Also enjoy the fellowship of common meal.

Church History: Heavy reading load, but most of it very interesting. Got to write a paper on Christian syncretism of pagan holidays (& got a high pass) which was fun & interesting. Loved my prof even though she is a tough grader.

Next semester's line-up:

Hebrew 2
Hebrew Exegesis (I must be mad...Tim, the prof, assures me I can do it, though)
Ministry Formation
Reformed Theology (directed study with maybe 4 other students & my friend Laura as prof)
Intro to Theology (with a retiring prof who I hear is very good & very tough)
Church History (from the Great Schism, with a prof whose 1st semester it will be & who assigned us some readings over the holidays)
Minsterial Sexual Ethics (weekend intensive)

Now, I'm off to clean house & work on Christmas cards & wrapping!