The Christian Community Women’s Luncheon

Was a success! Everything went without a hitch and the ladies say they had a great time.

Around 55 people attended this year’s CCWL. I was the kitchen facilitator, so all things food fell to my leadership. I am not a micro-manager, as their usual leader is. Many of the women liked having more freedom, but a few of them didn’t. Even so, we all worked together well.

I let the table crew, Gloria, Mary and April, set up and decorate tables. They picked the color-scheme and decorations and had a blast. They also did a lovely job using live tulips and pansies and bright spring colored table clothes.

For lunch we served various salads and asked the women of our church to drop off assorted nice serving bowls (we had 7 tables and served lunch family style at each one). I appointed the table committee to sort the bowls and decide which ones went together for each table. My job was to make the salads and fill the bowls. I had a couple of kitchen helpers. April and Mary also did dishes and kept the coffee and tea pots filled. Peter — the only man in attendance — was my assistant cook and he made the most incredibly gorgeous fruit trays. Pam was in charge of baking the dinner rolls and Kathy put the dessert buffet together. Irene and Candy helped where needed with set up and clean up. All of us did some of the cooking at home and brought things in for salad assembly Tuesday afternoon.

The main meal consisted of Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad (my recipe), Parmesan Pea Salad (Candy’s recipe), and Molded Cranberry Salad (Irene’s recipe). All were great hits. Pastor slipped in the back door and made himself a plate. He had no wish to make an appearance at the lady’s luncheon, but he’d heard there was chicken salad in the kitchen and wanted “a taste”. He took a tiny bit and went to his office — then came back and filled his plate. He now has a standing order for chicken salad whenever I make it.

After the luncheon was over half the women at the banquet flooded into the kitchen to help. That’s how church women are. At one point I said, “Excuse me” to Irene and there was no where for her to move. She said, “What do you want?” And I said, “Since you asked, I think about three more women in the kitchen would be nice.” Irene looked quite startled. Across the room April said, “You know, I think you are right. There are still a few women in the Fellowship Hall. Why don’t we call them in here?” Then Irene said, “Well, if you think the kitchen is too crowded, you could go home and get out of the way of the clean up crew. Your job is over.” I finished packing the fruit to freeze and did just that.

I was in the kitchen from 9:20 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. My feet aren’t used to that any more and they wanted me to sit down! Instead I came home, grabbed some orders and delivered Avon.

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Quilly’s Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad

  • 10 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 5 celery ribs, diced
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups chopped, toasted pecans
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard

Stir together chopped cooked chicken; celery ribs, diced; green onions, thinly sliced; toasted pecans; sweetened dried cranberries; mayonnaise; and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill up to 3 days.

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Candy’s Parmesan Pea Salad

  • 2 – 10 oz. pkg. frozen petite peas
  • ½ C celery, chopped
  • 2 T green onions, sliced
  • ½ C sunflower seeds
  • ½ C grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ C cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped
  • ½ C mayonnaise
  • ½ C sour cream

Mix all ingredients. The frozen peas will cool the other ingredients, but it will need a bit of time for them to defrost before it can be served.

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Irene’s Molded Cranberry Salad

  • 6 oz. pkg raspberry Jello
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 16 oz can cranberry sauce (whole or jellied, but whole adds texture)
  • 8 oz can crushed pineapple
  • ½ C grape juice (or red wine)
  • ¼ C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Stir in cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple & grape juice. Refrigerate until slightly thickened. Fold in chopped nuts. Pour into mold or 9×13″ dish until set.

Brain Freeze x2

I was asked to run the church’s brand new audio-visual equipment for our second Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (more about that here — The Christmas Party).  I practiced, and I practiced, and I marveled over the state-of-the-art equipment and the primo presentation software.  I knew what I was doing and I was all set to go.  Sylvia had stressed to me how important it was to stay focused, and I already knew a bit about that because I often ran the A/V stuff at Heritage UMC in Vegas.

I was diligent.  Everything from “Welcome” to Pastor’s sermon went smooth as silk.  During Pastor’s sermon the screen goes dark, and I managed to listen to the message and still be ready for my cue to bring the Nicene Creed up for Communion.  After the Nicene Creed, when Communion was actually being served and the music team was playing, the screen goes dark again.

When it was time for the screen to come up again, I was Janey-on-the spot.  As is common in many churches, we ended the Candlelight service in candlelight and singing Silent Night.  It is a wonderful tradition and I love it.  Despite being at the controls I stood and sang the first verse along with everyone else in the sanctuary.  As singers we moved on to the second verse, but the screen did not change!  I frowned.  What on earth was wrong with the system?  Not now, I thought.  And then it dawned on me that the only thing wrong with the equipment was that the operator hadn’t pushed the “next” button.  Oops.  That’s me! PUSH!

Sunday Sylvia was still off-island visiting her family, and the Pastor’s wife was to operate the machine.  We’d trained together and before the service she went over everything with me again.  She was set and I knew she would do a good job because she’s one of those competent people that make the most challenging things seem easy.

The “Welcome” screen came up right on time and remained up during the pre-service messages.  Then the praise music started.  Everyone stood, the Praise Band started the first song … and the welcome sign remained on the screen.  I looked over my shoulder.  No one was in the audio-visual booth.  Oh-oh.

I figured that the pastor’s wife, because she is the pastor’s wife, was called away on an urgent duty and hadn’t gotten back in time.  I stood and made my way to the back of the church.  Halfway down the isle I see the PW standing off to the side at the back.  She flashed me a bright smile and waved.

I know I looked at her like she was nuts. I pointed at the screen where the welcome sign still glowed.  She did the Macaulay Culkin “Home Alone” Face Slap and then ran for the A/V booth.  I chuckled my way back to my seat.  After church was over we both decided it wasn’t so bad not being perfect if we could be not-perfect together.

My Apologies

I didn’t make it to the blog world last night and, as you know by now, Punny Monday didn’t go up.  I completely underestimated how much stamina I would have.  After three days of pain and then a very busy Sunday, my body just crashed.  I left the party early and came home to bed.

And this is Monday — I have to run my Avon kiosk at the coffee store from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  After that I will have to go shopping because Tuesday I am cooking dinner for 15 or so ladies who are attending a seminar at the church.

I hope to visit you all tonight.  Tomorrow I will be very busy.  And Wednesday I start volunteering at the elementary school so I won’t be around in the morning.  Phew!  I piled my schedule full this week!

Catch you when I can!  I haven’t forgotten you and I want to know what you’re all up to — as soon as I can see over my own stack of stuff!

I Need a Video Converter

I am working with the 5th and 6th graders at church. They came up with a really cool video idea and the head of the Sunday School department called me. She said nobody in the Sunday School department had the technical expertise to help the kids, could I? I said yes, and I do have the knowledge to help them, but I am short a couple of tools.

I have already found a couple of video cameras (multi-angle shots) and camera operators lined up. I have the kids busy designing their storyboard and deciding on locations, stars, etc. The kids have to do all of the coordinating. This is their video. Their teacher is available for support and guidance. I am running/teaching the tech (and occasionally providing support and guidance for their teacher who knows she’s over her head).

What I still need is a good video converter. The scenes are going to have to be edited and spliced. I know how to do it but I am far from an expert.

One of the 6th grader’s parents said she had a video converter for Mac, but I’d have to use it at her house because it came bundled on their Mac desktop.  I don’t want to be stuck in their house at the mercy of their schedule and they likely don’t want me underfoot all the time, either. I need a program — it can be Mac or PC, but with Mac software I could get Amoeba’s help — that is easy enough for me to use and teach 11 and 12 year-olds, but will still produce a quality video. Anybody have any experience or products they recommend?

Strategic Retreat

I am out of here again.  This time I’ll only be gone overnight.  Most of you won’t even miss me.  A few of the church ladies and I are talking the ferry across the Sound and we’re going to spend the night … I don’t quite know where.  I just know they said, “retreat, worship, and prayer” and I said, “Count me in!”  I also know that we are being hosted by a United Methodist Church and I am going to a United Methodist Women’s event.  Having been a member of the United Methodist Church for years, I have participated in many such events, so I am sure I’ll have a mountain-top experience.  Yes, I’m taking my camera!

So, I’ll be back sometime tomorrow evening!  Play nice while I’m gone. (I’m taking a laptop, but I don’t know if I’ll ever even open it.)