Tag Archives: lector

An absent-minded priest and a moist turkey

We’re in the middle of a very nice four-day Thanksgiving weekend, at least for me, that is. This is Mrs. Poolman’s year to work the Thanksgiving holiday and to be off for Christmas. She was at the hospital  on Thursday and today (Saturday.)

With Mrs. P taking care of babies and both our children doing the day-side of the holiday with their husband’s and girlfriend’s families, I had a quiet day to myself.  I went to 9 o’clock Mass where I was scheduled to lector. That is usually an adventure, especially when Monsignor C is celebrating. I really like the Monsignor. He is a 70+ year old Irishman with a dry sense of humor. We get along very well. However, he tends to change things and not tell the other members of his team. On Thursday, we couldn’t find any copy of a “Prayers of the Faithful” for that date. When I asked Monsignor about it, he said, “Oh, they are in a special booklet. I’ll have to give them to you at the altar.”

Oh, great, that meant a “cold read.” That’s not usually a problem unless there are some difficult names in the petitions for the deceased, sick, etc. Then Monsignor decided to skip the Creed, which is normally my cue to go to the podium to read the Prayers. As it turned out, as I walked up to the altar, our other priest, Father John, met me half way and handed me the booklet. No problem, after all.

Actually, I have been doing the lectoring long enough that I can roll with the action pretty well. Just about everything that can go wrong has done so for me at one time or another. I do become a little concerned about some of our younger lectors, many of whom are some of my former CCD students who I have recruited and coached. They are significantly less confident about handling some of Monsignor’s curve-balls.

I spent the rest of the day hanging out, working on some photos from a friend’s daughter’s wedding I shot a couple of weeks ago and finishing preps for the Thanksgiving meal. My main responsibility was the turkey. At Mrs. P’s suggestion, I tried a radically different roasting technique. I have cooked holiday turkeys more times than I can count. Usually, I roast it covered with foil at 325 for about 4-5 hours,, uncovering for the last hour and periodically basting. I may never do that again. Here is a great method that produced a fantastic, very moist bird.

1. Prepare the bird as usual, seasoning it and placing an apple, celery and a bay leaf in the cavity.

2. Place in a covered roasting pan and put it into a cold oven.

3. Turn the oven to 450 degrees and when it pre-heats to that temperature (about 15 minutes) set your timer for one hour.

4. When the timer goes off, turn the oven off and just let it sit for five hours. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN!

I was a skeptic. I didn’t think it would work, but it sure did. Our turkey was a little over 15 pounds. You might need to adjust a little for a larger bird. I really don’t know. The key was the white meat was very moist, which I can’t say is always the case with my more traditional roasting technique.

Another advantage of this technique is that it would work very well to cook overnight.

The rest of the family came over in the evening and Mrs. P got home around 7:30 pm. So our holiday dinner was at 8:30 pm, but it was a great one anyway.

A new camera, shoes and a lousy movie

Too much of a good thing? For the second Saturday in a row, Mrs. Poolman and I changed our plans for a dinner out because we ate too much at lunch. It’s a shame to spend money on a nice restaurant dinner when you aren’t really hungry. We need to change that pattern in the next few weeks, as we have a gift certificate at a local Greek restaurant that will expire in mid-August. Don’t want it to go to waste.

Lunch was just part of a busy Saturday. After lunch at our favorite Mexican place, we went shopping. I have been putting off buying a new digital camera for some time. I have a digital SLR that belongs to my job, but is assigned to me full-time. However, my 8-year old “point and shoot” camera finally gave up the ghost a couple of months ago. I have been doing on-line research and reading a lot of reviews. I ended up going to Best Buy and purchasing a Canon Powershot A4000. I think I will like it.

From there Mrs. P and I went shoe shopping. You have no idea how much I absolutely HATE shopping for shoes. I have gouty arthritis in one of my big toes so finding shoes that don’t torture me can be an extremely frustrating and painful experience. I will “milk” a pair of broken-in shoes long past their natural death, just to avoid having to go shop for a new pair. When I find a brand and style that work, I usually stick with it.  That is why I came home with a pair of Rockport Eureka (11-wide) casual shoes. They look amazingly like the brown pair I’ve worn to work almost every day for the past two years. Exciting, huh?

I was scheduled to read at 5:30 Mass so that didn’t leave much time left in the afternoon. I have been trying to recruit some new lectors for the Saturday evening masses. We are down to six lectors, which means our names come up every three weeks. That isn’t a problem right now, but when the fall hits, the weekend schedules become much busier.  I know Mrs. P and I will be totally occupied for at least seven Saturday evenings between Labor Day and mid-November.  I’ve asked a number of people if they would join this ministry, but so far, no takers. Ugh.

We finished off our Saturday by ordering a pizza and renting a movie. (We are SO exciting!) We thought “Wanderlust” with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Anniston looked cute. I am very glad we didn’t spend $20 to see it at a theater. If you like to watch Jennifer Anniston being herself, go ahead and waste a couple of dollars and hours of your life. Otherwise, don’t bother. The story is about a yuppie-couple (Can you still use that term?) who are forced into unemployment. On their way to live with his brother in Atlanta, they stumble onto what must be the world’s last hippie commune in North Georgia. It has an R-rating mostly for vulgarity and one nudist guy in the commune who treats the audience to repetitive full frontal shots. There is plenty of guy-nudity, but almost none of the female sort. In any case, it’s a pretty stupid film that is not well written or acted.  My recommendation – take a pass on it. Definitely keep it away from the kids!

Tomorrow, we’re off to the beach for the first time this summer.

A rainy, but party weekend.

Just checkin’ in after a busy, but not particularly noteworthy weekend. A few short thoughts…

Mrs. Poolman and I agreed we really should not have pool parties on both days of a two-day weekend. It’s fun, but between the initial clean-up prep for company, entertaining and then the post-gathering clean-up, nothing else gets done and we are pooped. We need to balance things out.

Our friends Lynn and Sam brought their twins (Helen and Brittany, 20 month-old twins) over on Saturday.  A few other friends heard about it and came over too. The cloudy, rainy weather we’ve had for the past two weeks has kept the pool temperature in the low 80s. That’s August-warm for the northeast, but it is ice-bath cold for some thin-blooded Southerners. The girls were perfectly happy to entertain themselves with some sidewalk chalk. I had to blow-out to read at 5:30 mass, but most of the group was still there when I returned.

One of our friends did bring a couple of frozen pizzas over, so that took care of Saturday dinner.

Mrs. P and I watched the second segment of the Swedish version of the Millenium series “The Girl Who Played with Fire” on DVD Saturday night. Actually, I should say that I watched it. Mrs. P fell asleep sitting up before the last opening credits were finished.  Like the first movie in the series, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” I really liked it. The movies follow the books very closely. The actors, especially Noomi Raspace who plays Lisbeth Salandar, are excellent.  Aside from having the dialogue in English, I’m not sure how the next American production (Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara) can do better.

One important note – there are great films for adults, but they are not for children. They are rated “R”. Believe them.

We got up on Sunday and started the clean-up in prep for our second “party” of the weekend. We had long-planned an end-of-the-year party for my fellow CCD teachers. I started the yard and pool clean-up around 10 am and finished up everything I had to do just in time to get a shower in advance of our 3 pm start-time. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate very well. It was cloudy and drizzly off and on, and I think that scared away some of the families from a pool party. As it was, the eight or ten people who came enjoyed themselves, and the kids never got out of the water.

We had a ton of hamburgers and hot dogs left over. Mrs. P called our children and told them there is a free meal available for dinner tonight at our house.

A little OCD can be good for you

Mrs. Poolman thinks I am slightly neurotic. She is probably right. I am a little obsessive-compulsive. Most of my OCD revolves around turning off hot appliances. An hour or more after using it, I’ll ask myself…

“Did I remember to turn off the oven  /grill / iron?”

Mrs. P makes fun of me, but actually there have been a number of times I have discovered the oven left on overnight. Usually this has been when one of our children had been using it, or we had a party and a guest used it to heat up a dish. All the same, I may be neurotic, but I’m not completely crazy.

I have a way of compensating so I don’t drive Mrs. P or myself totally bonkers. When I turn off one of these appliances, I “tell myself” to remember that I have done so.

“You are unplugging the iron, Poolman. Remember this later.”

I’ll have a solid memory of performing the act to fall back on.

As I have told Mrs. P, “Not all neuroses are bad.”

I thought of this last Sunday, when I sat at Mass and listened to the lector read an entire set of readings that were entirely wrong. I felt sorry for her because she was the only person in the church who didn’t realize she was “on the wrong page.” She read the readings for the same Sunday in the next annual cycle. She wasn’t off by a week; she was off by a year. Ignorance is bliss, at least for awhile. She probably figured it out eventually.

I’ve had just about everything go wrong that possibly can go wrong when I have been a lector. Painful experience has encouraged me to get to the church early and double check everything — the Gospel book, the announcements, and especially the page-marker in the lectionary. I hate unpleasant surprises in front of large groups of people. So I”m pretty OCD about making sure everything is lined up properly.

I don’t know if a little OCD can be contagious. Why should I be selfish and enjoy all the benefits?

Slow weekend and bean soup

After a very busy last couple of weeks and two very busy weekends, I was ready for a a “nothing weekend.” It felt great!

I slept late and then ran a few errands on Saturday. I “read” at 5:30 Mass and then Mrs. Poolman and I enjoyed an early Valentine’s Day dinner at a local seafood restaurant that is part of the Paula Deen empire. Got home early and watched the Gators squeak one out against the UT Volunteers in a basketball game I recorded while we were out.

On Sunday, we just hung out around the house and took care of some of the usual weekend chores. I fixed Mrs. P a bacon ‘n egg scramble for brunch. Then I went to work on a ham & navy bean soup for eating sometime later in the week. (The recipe is under the tab at the top of the page.)

Ham and navy bean soup

We had a house full of company two weeks ago, and we had picked up a spiral-cut ham from Sam’s Club for sandwiches, etc. One of the best parts of any ham comes when most of the meat is gone and you just have scraps of meat left on the bone. I have a navy bean and black bean soup recipes that work pretty well – or at least Mrs. P thinks so, and that counts big.

Actually, I started the process on Saturday. I usually boil the meaty ham bone the day before I really want to prepare the soup, and leave it in the refrigerator over night. That way the fat congeals on the surface and can remove it before adding the remaining ingredients.

I finished it off on Sunday afternoon. Mrs. P was so excited she put aside her plans to make chicken marsala for dinner (Or she just didn’t want to mess with it.) and we had the soup for dinner.

We watched some of the Grammies after dinner, and I was reminded how totally out of touch I am with the current music scene. Aside from the old timers, like Bob Dylan, I had barely even heard of most of the nominated artists, let along actually been able to name one of their songs. If I ever make it onto Jeopardy, “Current Pop Music” will not be my strong category.

No rest for the weary

Busy, busy weekend.

Saturday was a race from the time we rolled out until the evening.

–A memorial service for one of our faculty to died in an accident a week ago.

–Rush home to meet the flooring-guy who was coming by to give us an estimate on installing our laminate flooring in the bedrooms.

–Much-needed haircut. Marie, my favorite Hungarian hair stylist, went “home” for a couple of weeks over the holidays and just got back to work. Been lookin’ a bit shaggy.

–Back home to pick up Mrs. Poolman and head over to friend-with-pickup truck to borrow truck. Friend offers to come and help, so Mrs. P stayed to visit with friend’s wife (also Mrs. P’s good friend). We drove to large home improvement store to pick up 1000 sq ft of flooring along with underlayment and transition strips. Deliver flooring to our house and then back to friend’s to exchange him and truck for Mrs. P and my car.

–Quickly change clothes for about the third time today, back into suit and tie and head to church for 530 mass. This was my first assignment back on the schedule as a lector. I did it for several years in the 90s, but dropped out when I was working out of town for a year. I guess I didn’t screw it up too badly, because two nuns came up to me afterwards to extend compliments.

Mrs. Poolman and I were going to go out someplace casual for dinner, but after that day, once we got home, we didn’t want to leave again. Steaks on the grill. Tough life.

It turns out the flooring guy said he and his helper could handle all the installation in a single day. That really screwed up our plans, because we figured it would take at least two or three days. We thought we would be able to shuttle furniture from one room to another between the sessions. Instead, we need to have all four bedrooms mostly clear of furniture and clutter on Wednesday morning. So Sunday was spent finishing the painting in our bedroom and doing a massive clean and move-out of the other bedrooms.

This has been a lot of work, and we aren’t even doing floor installation work. We’ll get back to  normal…eventually.