Was this a momentous week for you? It was for me. I woke up early some days and dragged myself to the Y. I lingered in my warm bed other days, sipping tea my husband brought me and spending a ridiculous amount of time calculating the exact moment I would have to step out of […]
Monthly Archives: January 2016
“God moves in a mysterious way. His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm.”
William Cowper 1779
I thought about that quote as I sat at the 10:30 mass last Sunday at St. Pius.
Pure laziness had brought us to this mass. We normally attend the 9:00 a.m. mass at St. Therese but decided to linger a little while over our pancakes and mosey over to a later service at a neighboring parish.
As it happened, an adventurous pilgrimage also delivered three busloads of teenagers to this particular mass, and a cool call to service brought a delightful young family of missionaries as well.
I spent a good part of the mass looking around in wonder and thanking God that all of us had converged.
Later, I spoke to Daniel Aragon, one of the chaperones on the Green Bay Diocese March for Life road trip that spent nearly 24 hours stranded on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. He also spoke of the God’s mysterious ways.
“Either I didn’t read God’s email, or He didn’t tell us, but I think maybe God planned all along that we would end up at that mass on Sunday,” he said. “I think He wanted all those young people to hear that there are other vocations and different ways to live their lives in faith…Had we left five minutes earlier, or five minutes later, we would have ended up in a totally different place on that turnpike.”
Instead, they arrived in Appleton just in time to attend mass and listen to young missionaries Jacob and Calena Rudd speak about their upcoming trip to Nicaragua to work in a settlement there.
It turned out to be the perfect coda to a weekend of faith that could have stalled in the Pennsylvania mountains, but instead gathered steam.
The group made its first adjustment to the weekend plans Friday night. In light of an approaching historic snowstorm, Aragon and the rest of the chaperones met with the priests and bus drivers and decided to leave Washington D.C. a day early. As they approached the Somerset, Pennsylvania exit, only about an inch of snow had fallen and they were poised to make it past Pittsburgh ahead of the storm.
Thanks to an accident five or six miles in front of them that shut down the interstate, they ended up stranded for 23 hours and 15 minutes although, according to Aragon, stranded is a deceptive word.
“When people hear the word stranded, it sounds like we were alone, lost and in the middle of nowhere and no one knew where we were,” he said. “This couldn’t be further from our situation.”
With plenty of food, water, heat and bathroom facilities on board, the students and their chaparones made the best of their situation. Many went to help clear off cars and semis nearby, and invited drivers to join them on their bus. As they relayed information the National Guard provided them, they also listened to stories.
“It was really amazing. Some people were trapped for 24 hours and they were only five or six miles from their destination,” Aragon said.
One man in a rental car borrowed a cell phone charger. No one thought anything about it until the buses were freed and the group stopped at a restaurant to refresh themselves as best they could.
“When we parked our bus the man was there and he had the charger in his hand. He was looking for the student who had given it to him,” Aragon said. “Those are the kinds of things that happened. People were so thankful for the help they received from other people.”
The lessons of faith and love proved invaluable and, though they wore the same clothes they’d marched in 46 hours earlier, the group themselves had evolved by the time they arrived back in Appleton.
“You feel the hand of God playing there,” Aragon said.
(The following pictures are courtesy of the Green Bay Diocese)
Appropriately guided by a blaze orange sunset, we went tramping Saturday.
We followed an impressive line of tracks into the woods, our boots recklessly crunching through the hoof prints of a hundred deer.
I imagined them rolling their big doe eyes at us as we cautioned each other to be quiet so we might spot them.
Thick-coated, relaxed and wily, they rested, easily hidden, while we clomped along. We’d been down this road before, and they knew our visit would be brief. They may have passed each other big bowls of tasty roots as they kicked back their hoofs and enjoyed our show.
We followed our frozen breath around their favorite spots, circled a pond, and waited near a small hill where our paths diverged.
Darkness spread and cast an eerie air over our adventure. I heard a howl.
“Wolf?” I asked.
Both relieved and disappointed, I walked on, eyes darting back and forth, cold finger poised on my camera’s shutter release.
In other seasons, I’d seen plenty of wildlife as I tramped through these woods, and had even found myself embarrassingly pinned by a porcupine once on that very path. We’d seen twin eagles swooping high above our heads, whole families of deer darting back and forth across the path, gaggles of turkeys loudly running with their awkward wattle waddles.
Saturday, though, we tramped alone, eventually consoling ourselves with the wonder of a rare opportunity to make our own tracks through the snow.
This gallery contains 10 photos.
Thanks to a couple of type A travelers, a hungry millennial and a universal craving in our car for Colver cooking, we found ourselves at Pittsburgh’s No.1 Polish deli Sunday afternoon. Ojej! We’re glad we did. With four hours to spare before our plane back to Wisconsin took off, we had plenty of time to […]
This gallery contains 18 photos.
Ninety-one-year old Lido poured the Yuengling. Cousin Julie baked the walnut roll. Uncle George and Aunt Martha brought the memories. The NFL provided the occasion and Central Cambria High School did all the rest. My dad, Ron Kostelnik’s, Golden Football Celebration turned out to be a rip-roaring good time in which we collected stories from […]
This gallery contains 5 photos.
It isn’t easy to get to my father’s hometown. At best you have to fly into Pittsburgh and drive 76 miles east over the Allegheny Range, hoping the roads stay clear as you climb Chickaree Mountain on route 22. We made the pilgrimage entirely by car for most of my life, an excruciating 12-hour road […]
This gallery contains 12 photos.
There’s really just one street corner in all of Hofa Park, Wisconsin but, with a tavern on one side and a church on the other it has everything you need. As a bonus for those who find their thirst quenched, soul cleansed, and a little time still on their hands, Hofa Park boasts a state-of-the-art […]
We take our game day preparation very seriously around these parts. For cold home games we dress for warmth, for early season games we dress for comfort and always, always we dress to honor the juju.
If the Packers lose when I’m wearing my favorite vintage jersey, of course I put it away for the season. A win streak makes my game day attire easy. I choose every single thing I wore to the previous game.
You don’t mess with Big Mo.
Yesterday, in a flurry of uncharacteristically thorough house cleaning I can only attribute to pre-game jitters, I discovered our Packer flag stuffed into the back corner of our linen closet. To my horror, I realized it had been there all season.
Normally, we open the season by hanging the Packer flag from our balcony. It stays there until the Packers lose. Then, we take it down, shake out the bad mojo, and wait until the timing is right to hang it back up. In 2011 the flag hung on our balcony all season; we worked it into our Christmas decor because we knew if we took it down we would threaten our beloved team’s historic win streak.
During normal seasons, the hanging of the flag ritual prompts earnest discussions — should we put the flag back up to turn this thing around? Should we leave it and its current-season-bad luck tucked away?
There’s a lot of pressure when you hold the fate of an NFL franchise on a shelf in your linen closet.
I shook it out and, due to the unprecedented nature of the situation, called for a committee vote. We had never gone a whole season without hanging the flag. Would it offend the football gods to hang it now? Having found it, would it be even more offensive to stuff it back on the shelf?
We bravely decided to risk the former, and, with 27 minutes to spare before kickoff, I stepped out onto the balcony (wearing my Christmas present Packer sweater that I would need to remove just before game time because the Packers lost last time I wore it) and I hung that flag.
I sat down to watch the game (having switched out my Christmas Packer sweater for my Kostelnik jersey that was too big in an unflattering way but had brought the team a win last time I had worn it). I remained poised to jump up and remove it through the entire first quarter. But, the flag worked its magic as the game went on. It flapped out there in the wind, and our offense began to click.
As the sun set on the flag’s first day, I saw Aaron Rodgers grin and I knew that, finally, all was right with the season.
You’re welcome, Packer fans. I’m just sorry it took me this long.
For the most part, our kitchen is more Big Ten than Ivy League.
Inspired by a sweatshirt Molly’s brother Charlie gave her for Christmas, though, I invited my family to spend the week at Kale University.
Lux et veritas.
We’ve long been kale fans in this house. I like the way it holds up in soup and salads, especially in packed lunches. I also like the way it tastes and its crazy nutritional value. A cup of cooked kale has 35 calories and 1,180% of your daily requirement of vitamin K. That’s not a typo, that’s a super food.
Given a choice, we both prefer curly kale to baby kale. I’ve learned that kale season peaks right now (as, hopefully, will our Packers).
So, this week I bought a big bunch, and had a little fun.
I am including two of the dishes that developed. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms
1 large package common button mushrooms, cleaned and de-stemmed
1 large sweet onion
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 smoked Mozzarella sticks cut into four pieces
5 large leaves of kale
5 green olives
Penzeys Frozen Pizza seasoning (a Christmas gift we wanted to try out)
Preheat oven to 375
Place mushroom caps on a jelly roll pan, cap side up.
Sautee onions and chopped mushroom stems in olive oil for three minutes or so, until onion is translucent. Add chopped kale and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with pizza seasoning. Cook for a few minutes more, until kale wilts. Do not over cook.
Spoon mixture into mushroom caps. Top each cap with a piece of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Pizza seasoning. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese bubbles.
Pork Roast with Kale and Apples
1 boneless pork loin (Ours was 2.5 pounds)
Four apples, peeled and chopped
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup leftover dried fruit from Christmas if you have it. Raisins if you don’t.
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 large leaves kale, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350
Drizzle olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Brown pork loin on both sides over high heat. Season on both sides. Add minced garlic, onions and apples. Sautee for two or three minutes.
Remove from heat. Add dried fruit. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes (depending on the weight of your pork loin).
Remove from heat and add chopped kale. Cover and let the pork rest and the kale steam, about 10-15 minutes.