define( 'WPCACHEHOME', '/home/predigtamt/carolrutz.com/blog/wp-content/plugins/wp-super-cache/' ); //Added by WP-Cache Manager An Aspie In Kentukia http://www.carolrutz.com/blog Kentuckian, Smalcald Anglican, Autistic, Libertarian Sat, 12 Jan 2019 15:15:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.4 Song of the Moment: White Mice by The Mo-dettes http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2019/01/song-of-the-moment-white-mice-by-the-mo-dettes/ Sat, 12 Jan 2019 15:15:15 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=1014 ]]> Officially an Anglican http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2018/11/officially-an-anglican/ Tue, 13 Nov 2018 20:57:50 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=1003 As of 11 Nov 2018, I officially become an Anglican and broke ties with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. It was a needful thing to do, and I feel very very glad about this. My mental health has improved over these 4 months and I do not want to return to an unwelcoming place that inflicted so much pain over these years. I have no ill will towards my friends within Synod; in fact, I wish them the very best and I tell them that I love them and that I will always be for them.

One of Preggie’s fieldworkers became an Orthodox priest and wrote an article on his journey. And the guys at Logia considered Fr Genig’s move as a “renunciation of a confession.” And both sides call for each other to come (back) home to their confession. I will not entreat anyone to jump ship to any confession. If you serve best as a Lutheran, remain with Wittenberg. If you serve best with the Orthodox, remain there. Ultimately, the Gospel shines differently yet brightly and together we are the Una Sancta!

Now, my recap of last week:

I took a day off to have lunch at Millionaire’s Row and to see Rare Form race. The Derby Museum invited their volunteers for a day at the races. They also sponsored a race in which some of us get to be in the winner’s circle. I managed to get a spot in the circle.

Julie Henry, the volunteer co-ordinator, was talking with an aide of another Autistic volunteer. I introduced myself to the aide and told her: “I pity Julie for putting up with my shenanigans…and I pity her more as I will ask her if she could be my confirmation sponsor.” Julie was thrilled and hugged me, accepting the honor.

After the race and the pictures, I told the group that I will remain with the Churchill Downs Racing Club to see my horse compete. So I was at the paddock with my fellow Club members and Rare Form was acting studdish and even kicked a horse… who happened to be the favorite. The horse got scratched as he had a bleeding wound.

Rare Form must be in high energy, as he won his maiden and I got to be in another winner’s circle picture.

Two days later, it was another day off as I get to meet the bishop of the diocese. The rector and the bishop picked me up from the bus stop and we chatted all the way. It was a great meeting, and then the congregation had a potluck. You’d never believe how the fried chicken from ValuMarket was hot and delicious.

That night I dreamt that I was being tested by catechism questions and I saw the rector telling me that I was not qualified. I woke up, all a dream. Took a hot shower, drank a Diet Coke, and listened to music.

Tammy picked me up at 9am, and she gave me an old Bible from 1928. Authorised Version, of course, and had a nice concordance. We arrived at the church and got ready for Bible study. The Bishop came in and I kissed his hand. (I’m old school like that.) He said: “Actually, you kiss the ring.” To which I replied: “As long you don’t keep the ring in your back pocket.” Everyone laughed uproariously.

After the study, we had a small crowd. Amy brought cake from a nice bakery in Indiana. Julie and her husband hugged me. We all sat down and the service started. And here is the video of the rite:


Image description: Two women kneeling before an Anglican bishop in a confirmation rite.


Image description: The back view of the rite.


Image description: Amy’s cake in white frosting with a green cross and orange writing: “Receive the Holy Spirit”.


Image description: A signed certificate of confirmation for Carolina Rutz.


Image description: A group picture of the new members of St Stephen Anglican Church.

After the service, Tammy took me home and I plotzed. Slept for several hours, had a pizza. Went back to bed. And that was my week.

I’ve hung the certificate underneath Silver Charm’s Kentucky Derby finish photo. I figure that it took a Kentucky Derby horse to direct me to a better and saner point in my life, might as well post this up next to his pic.

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Happy Trails to Mind Your Biscuits http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2018/10/happy-trails-to-mind-your-biscuits/ Wed, 31 Oct 2018 17:23:40 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=997 The Breeders’ Cup is in a few days, and soon I will see one of my favorite horses race for the last time. I first heard of Mind Your Biscuits when I was at the Winner’s Circle OTB in 2016, a month before the Derby. As usual, I was at the bar watching Aqueduct before I report to work. That was when I paged through the Daily Racing Form and saw the entries for a Maiden Special Weight race.

Mind Your Biscuits with Chad Summers

Photo Description: Champion horse Mind Your Biscuits with his trainer Chad Summers. Mind Your Biscuits’ mouth is open, showing his teeth, as if he was talking to Chad.

“Mind Your Biscuits”. I thought it was a very cute name for a horse. And as some Autistics are, I enjoyed the sound and arrangement of these letters. B-I-S (Latin: “twice”) C-U-I-T (from Latin: coquere, “to cook”). From the Old French word bescuit, so named because back in Ye Olde Days, biscuits were made in a two-step cooking process. First baked, than baked again to keep longer. Later, I found out that the horse’s name came from a Country music song.

“Hey! Look at that name!” I said to the bartender. “Very catchy and so cute.”

“Yes, and he has great odds.”

“Let’s bet on him.”

He won that day, and I followed him on that name alone. I wanted MYB to win and succeed so that he can have a long and happy life after his career is over. And over time, he began to be on the board. I was thrilled to see him made it to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

“Carol, your heart cannot rule your betting. He’s a long shot.”

“But I think he’d do something real special.”

And he made it to the board, and then got 2nd due to a DQ. Then, the Dubai Golden Shaheen. I read that during training, Biscuits would have rap music from the 1990s piped into his earbuds. So when he won, the bartender and I cranked up Wu-Tang Clan’s “Triumph” and shout out “BISSSSCCCUITSSSS!!! BISSSSCCCUITSSSS!!!” whilst dancing.

A few weeks later, I saw that the connections donated a Breeders’ Cup hat with his name. I could easily get an Arrogate cap or a California Chrome cap for cheaper, but the only ones who have official MYB caps were the connections themselves. So I paid 60 bux for it and I wear it proudly. I shall wear it this Saturday.

And after all this time, I’ve seen changes in my life, yet I can count on MYB to do his best. He won the Golden Shaheen the second time, and got second at the Met Mile. When I heard that Biscuits will enter stud duty to Japan, my heart sank. I was hoping to see him here and take a picture of him, and most of all, kiss him with love and gratitude. At this year’s Equestricon, I met his connections and wished them the best. I also told the breeder to take good care of Biscuits as he is a great talented horse. His career kept me happy and eager to follow various stakes throughout the year. And now, he’s retiring, outearning Funny Cide as the top New York-bred horse. Racing won’t be the same without him. I hope I can find another horse with a cute name to follow. Chances are, he’d had huge hoofs to fill.

And I am hoping that one day, I will visit Japan and see Biscuits in person. From what I heard, MYB will strengthen the gene pool of Japan-bred horses. Most of all, I hope he’d be healthy and pensioned to Kentucky so I can kiss him. Thank you, dear Biscuits, for the ride. May you have a long happy life ahead. I will cheer for your progeny, especially if he comes to America and race at the Derby.

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Welcome Equestricon Readers! http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2018/10/welcome-equestricon-readers/ Tue, 30 Oct 2018 20:39:05 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=994 I’ve passed out buttons featuring my website’s logo at Equestricon and I want to welcome all of you, especially those from the Thoroughbred Women’s Network. Although I only got to attend Sunday’s preparty and all of Monday, I had a great time, despite not having enough dosh for Breeders’ Cup merchandise. No problem; I got enough swag to keep me happy, which included one purple wax-dipped BC glass, seven caps, three little squeeze horses, two shirts, and a New Testament from the Race Track Chaplaincy of America. (That particular one will be very important.)

Now, this New Testament has a cover of Mike Smith on top of Justify, celebrating their win. Inside the Bible are colored pages featuring Christians who work in the industry. Mike Smith is one of them, and so is Justify’s former owner from Winstar. In fact, Justify’s name is a reference to the book of Romans. I thought: this is the perfect gift for a fellow horse racing fan who will be baptised soon.

Met with several members of the Churchill Downs Racing Club and we are super excited as Warrior’s Club is going to race in the Sprint. Then…it was time for the post draw. We gathered at the connections’ seating area and sat on the couches at front.

And then, one of the Racing Club members told us that Mike Smith is close by us. It was the perfect moment.

I walked up to him, and showed him the Bible with his picture on it. I had him signed it with Lindsay’s name and I thanked him warmly. At the same time, the convention media taped the encounter and I found that out this morning. Check out 0:07 in this YouTube video.

And yes, it was very wonderful. Thank you, sir.

It was a great time and I was thrilled to meet Seattle Slew’s jockey and Bob Baffert. I also got to wish the connections of Mind Your Biscuits and Gunnevera good luck and a safe ride. I passed an invisible joint to one of the connections of Promises Fulfilled. No real visible joints yet, as our Governor won’t even budge on legalisation. That, and the convention center does not allow vapes and smoking. :P Pity I have to work today as I can’t get a day off this week due to Breeders’ Cup week. I tried to cite religious reasons, but no dice. I will need to add some pictures tomorrow of the conference.

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Without Apology http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2018/10/without-apology/ Tue, 30 Oct 2018 19:41:43 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=985 (This is for Autistics Speaking Day 2018. Content warning: Misogyny, depersonalisation, ableism. I wanted to include the picture of this protester, but I do not know if I could secure permission, so I left the picture out. Also, I’m posting this today as I will be too busy dealing with Breeders’ Cup work.)

To the Tattooed Bald Feminist on Facebook: Thank you.

I do not know who are you and where you are, but I figured that an open letter might reach you eventually in hopes that you read this with a open heart and with the hope that you are doing well.

I am an openly Autistic woman who have been deeply religious for over 30 years. I am a widow of a Lutheran pastor and I hold a consistent pro-life ethic that seeks solutions to the deeper problems of the human lifespan. We are different as day and night.

Yet… we have several things in common. First, we both have shaved heads and tattoos on our bodies. Second, we speak our minds. But most of all, we value self-expression. The right to express and present our personae as we see fit.

You came in the picture several months ago on a Facebook post. I was on the fence for various months. I was coming out of the dark night of the soul, a period of 11 years. When I moved to Kentucky, I was looking for a place to worship. I thought I could stay with the Missouri Synod. However, I was reminded by little things that I don’t really belong. The voice of my deaconess studies director haunted me. “You are not suitable for church work.” I pick up my Book of Concord. “You are not suitable for church work.” I try to read my Bible filled with academic notes. “You are not suitable for church work.” So I would visit the Orthodox Church, but that too felt alien. So I came back, hoping for a community in which I can do service.

I wanted to do things on my own terms. My hair was unmanageable and uncomfortable. So I got myself a buzzcut. I got another tattoo on my leg, and I’m hoping to get a Triple Crown themed tat on my right arm next year. I also have an eyebrow piercing.

I went on Facebook. And your picture was there, posted by a Lutheran pastor I knew. The comments were mocking your appearance. One pastor suggested that no guy in his right mind would be with you. To which an actual professor from my alma mater said: “Did you assume its gender?”

“It”. In the eyes of the “holy” men, you are an unf*ckable object. I looked at my own body and saw that if these guys never knew me before, they too would view me as an “it” who threatened their way of life. It was bad enough that they saw me as an useful idiot unsuitable for service. Seeing their unChristian behavior out in the open was the last straw. I mean, you might not care as these people are beneath you, but suppose you are an inquirer to the Faith and these profs– who are PhDs for heaven’s sake– told people publicly that you are too ugly to get laid or whatever. I doubt they got the stones to tell you in your face if you were to set foot on the Fort Wayne campus. I no longer want to remain in an organisation that only catered to what they considered as acceptable.

As an Autistic woman, I wanted a Church that won’t force me to pretend I am their “normal” kind of woman. I want to worship without feeling othered and alienated. I had to write a letter to the Lutheran Witness in response to some Synodocrat alluding to the scriptural “Foolish Things” to describe people like ME. I refuse to let people in the Missouri Synod look down on me as an object of pity. Christians are content to let us pass out bulletins so they can get ego strokes for “including the disabled.” But when a Blind guy or an Autistic seminarian wanted to serve the Church because as a member of the Una Sancta they felt called to serve, we hear “There is nothing suitable for you. Find another vocation.” They might as well have their eyes telling their feet: “I have no need for you. Get stuffed.”

Most of all, I want to attend a service in which *you* and I are valued and welcomed as a forgiven guest. So I blocked their asses on Facebook and announced that I’m bailing out of the toxicity. Those who attempted to justify their colleague’s behavior by saying that your clothes and style are inciting others to confront you, I blocked them too. That was when things were looking up. Those who questioned my competence cannot touch me any more. Believe it or not, your presence on Facebook revealed the lack of love and grace of those who I once respected. We all need that love and grace from God, from humanity, from each other. You cannot get that from an abstract, detached ivory tower. Your sign said “Without Apology.” I want to exist as an Autistic and be part of the One Holy Christian and Apostolic Church– without apology.

Last year, I’ve written an Autistics Speaking article about how I found love and acceptance from the kiss of 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm. His hoof prints were all over my quest for a good church home. I thought of places in Louisville to attend when I remembered that Silver Charm’s owners were Anglicans. So I thought: if it was good enough for Bob and Beverly Lewis, it might be good enough for me. So I took an Uber to a small church near the Outer Loop area of Louisville. I met the rector and had a good meeting. I’ve mentioned your protest picture and how the insults against you have me leave a toxic situation.

And you know what? He understood. And then, he invited me to worship and I’ve met the AV guy…who is Autistic himself. My first impressions of that parish was very positive and I felt happy during worship. When it was time for the Prayers of the Church, the AV guy prayed face down to the ground. Some people would think… too Pentecostal. I say: Y’all do not know the implications of talking directly to God! No one thought that his worship was weird. In fact, after the service, the kids hugged him and the members greeted him with sincerity. I thought that if he was accepted as a full-fledged member of the parish, I too can worship with people who can accept me as I am– buzzcut, tats, and all. With love and grace.

In less than two weeks, I will be confirmed into the Anglican Church. After that, I will serve as an acolyte. Thanks to you, I found a healthy parish where my competence is acknowledged and I am not invalidated by my disability. Granted, you rather be thanked for other things, but at least let me thank you for revealing the need for a healthy spiritual environment.

I do not know whether or not I will be called to serve as a deaconess. Right now, I am happy to receive instruction as laity, knowing that God has a place for me. Although it is unlikely you would attend my church, you are invited to sit with me at the pew. Or at Barbaro’s grave at Churchill Downs. Either way, without apology, I will tell you that God loves you dearly and I think you look great as you are.

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Stronach 5 Picks, 11 Oct 2018 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2018/10/stronach-5-picks-11-oct-2018/ Thu, 11 Oct 2018 20:16:15 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=980 y0 y0 y0!!!

As useful as glitter on your carpet, here are the Stronach 5 picks. Last week, about 70 people got about 1,100 bux each. My picks guarantee you a boot to the head.

1) RACE 7, GULFSTREAM PARK WEST

Try Box of Gold, his first race has decent results.

2) RACE 3, SANTA ANITA

Try Rumpus Cat, he did well in one of the downhill races.

3) RACE 8, GULFSTREAM PARK WEST

Someone has the finickies. His name is Forever Taken. Rios has ridden him at that track where he got nipped by a nose. And he’s a value at 10-1 ML.

4) RACE 9, LAUREL PARK

China Cat looks like a good play. Major class relief.

5) RACE 4, SANTA ANITA

Giveherdalute did well in her debut. She is most likely to improve with her speed.

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STRONACH 5 PICKS, 5 OCT http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2018/10/stronach-5-picks-5-oct/ Fri, 05 Oct 2018 17:35:42 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=978 It’s Friday and it’s time for my Stronach 5 picks. I got 1 out of five and I want to improve my ratio. Other people did better; I heard that a few horseplayers split the pot to a bit over $9000.

Obligatory, Gratituous Dragonball clip.

1) SANTA ANITA, RACE 3

Try Twitterati, she looks like she can strike close. Graydar is her sire, BTW. Sometime back, a friend and I visited Taylor Made Farm and met California Chrome. We noticed Graydar, all alone. We talked to him and made sure he has some attention.

2) GULFSTREAM PARK WEST, RACE 8

You can have a cup of Spiced Rum Punch, but I don’t know whether or not Maragh would do well up. Try Shall Return, first time Lasix and a daughter of Kantharos.

3) LAUREL PARK, RACE 9

I would pick Spartianos, he likes the Laurel Park turf. Nice speed stats. However, I would throw in Speed Gracer, who does well with Feargal Lynch up.

4) LAUREL PARK, RACE 10
Lifetime Citizen can go the distance and has raced in the NYRA circuit.

5) SANTA ANITA, RACE 5
It’s quite simple…try Cimpl Man.

Let’s see if I nail at least one pick.

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Recap of the Anglican Theology Conference http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2018/09/recap-of-the-anglican-theology-conference/ Sat, 29 Sep 2018 19:26:38 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=971 Earlier in the week, I attended the Anglican Theology Conference at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. I heard about the conference via the Anglican Church in North America website. So, I decided to go. First, I looked at hotels near the university. The Motel 6 was about a few miles away and quite cheap and clean. And it was cheaper to buy a Greyhound ticket than to purchase a plane ticket. (It would take just as long to travel via bus. I take into account the time to arrive at the airport before departure and that there were zero non-stop flights to Birmingham.)

I left after midnight on Monday and arrived around 7am. After checking in, I crashed and slept. I woke up and had a BBQ lunch in the afternoon. The next day, I woke up early and attended the Eucharist service at the Hodges Chapel.

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(Photo description: Hodges Chapel in Samford University. Hodges Chapel is a domed building.)

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(Photo description: A mural inside Hodges Chapel, depicting the events of Ascension, Pentecost, a mass baptism somewhere in the Roman Empire, and Martin Luther posting up the 95 Theses in Wittenberg.)

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(Photo description: the dome mural above the nave of Hodges Chapel, depicting major Christian figures in Church history encircling Christ with the company of heaven.)

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(Photo description: A close up of the dome mural with portraits of St Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and Christ above them. Aquinas has a nimbus around his head composed of cherubim. In his hands he holds the Bible. In front of Aquinas is a scroll that reads “Summa Theologica”. Luther holds a scroll that reads “95 Theses” in one hand, and a Bible in another hand. Luther is standing behind a scene of Wittenberg. Above Luther’s head is an angel blowing a trumpet.)

Christ the King Anglican Church hosted the service, and they hold their Sunday services at the chapel. Various people entered the chapel and took their seats. The service started and the rector gave a short reflection.

After the service, we registered at the commons located on the side of the Chapel. I was having a coffee and cinnamon roll when I met Shannon, a local nurse who is a member of Christ the King. She is working on a project to serve those with mental illness. I told her that it is a laudable task as the Church needs to address this in a holistic fashion. I explained that I was Autistic and bipolar and I take medicine that is covered by insurance, which would be too high for me to purchase at market price. We chatted at length at the misconceptions of mental illness and spirituality. She invited me to sit with her and her newlywed husband during the talks.

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(Photo Description: Carol with Shannon.)

Several Anglican [arch]bishops presented their talk. I did not know how important they are until later. One is the Primate of Kenya and the current chairman of GAFCON, a large organisation of orthodox Anglicans within the Anglican Communion. Real nice guy. Another was the bishop of Egypt. He emphasized that you don’t have to be British to be Anglican. His diocese has seen huge growth. And I have met my archbishop, Dr Foley Beach. He will be GAFCON’s new chairman in April. (Intriguing since the Anglican Communion does not recognise the ACNA but considered it as a schismatic church. The establishment considered GAFCON as an offshoot faction. The orthodox faction disagrees as they are the majority of the Anglican Church. So to have the majority of the Anglican Communion handing the leadership to Archbishop Beach is to tell the establishment faction that they done goofed.)

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(Photo description: Carol Rutz with Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America.)

Various presenters had their idea of what constitutes being Anglican. At the panel, I asked them how come they do not include adherence to the 39 Articles as a sign of being Anglican instead of stating allegiance to Canterbury. In other words, I suggested that the earmarks of Anglicanism should not depend on recognising Canterbury (the establishment) as the spiritual head but upon the subscription of a common confession. Being a former Lutheran, I appreciate how our subscription to the Book of Concord is a safeguard against errors of any establishment/leadership that acts contrary to Scripture.

I still categorise like a Lutheran: if someone asks me what is being Anglican, I would say, “An Anglican is someone whose congregation subscribes to the 39 Articles, uses some form of the Common Prayer Book, and recognises apostolic succession.”)

After the morning prayer service, I met Bishop Stewart Ruch from Wheaton. Funny story, a bunch of us were hugging each other and the Bishop walked in and he hugged. I was behind him when one of us hugged him and I hugged him in the back, declaring, “Apostolic Sammich!” LOL! We all went to lunch at the cafeteria and Stewart and I were chatting about Dr Beach’s sermon. I told him that if the Christian Church wants to make progress on sexuality, we should promote celibacy as a fulfilling path and not as an admission that one is incomplete. (More on that in a future blog post.) We had a great talk and he’s a swell guy.

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(Photo Description: Carol Rutz with Bishop Stewart Ruch.)

After more presentations, we had another panel and then we adjourned for dinner at the Vestavia Country Club. I sat with Bishop Stewart and Dr Barbara Gaultier and her husband. They invited me to attend a conference in Wheaton Illinois next January. Fares are cheap, I will have a place to crash…I’m there. Food was good.

The next morning, I attended the morning Eucharist and visited the book shop. Bought several books on spiritual formation. Sat with Shannon and after the conference was over, she took me to the bus depot and I went home.

It was a great conference and I am looking forward to next year’s conference, it’s about the Jewish roots of Christianity. I felt happy and and unlike the Symposia, I did not suffer a mental episode. I have a feeling that I am on the right path towards a healthy relationship with Christ.

Thank you all for chatting with me and it was a pleasure to meet you. See you next year, keep in touch!

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Stronach 5 picks, 28 Sep http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2018/09/stronach-5-picks-28-sep/ Fri, 28 Sep 2018 17:08:25 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=968 Today the guys at The Stronach Group are introducing their Pick 5 bet. The Stronach 5 features 5 different races from TSG-owned racetracks. It’s a buck per bet, so pick your horses wisely. Since yours truly is not allowed to bet pentafectas, Pick 5s, or higher wagers, I thought I should give you my picks so you can try playing the Stronach 5 for yourself.

(A digression: I have a stuffed horse doll named Stronach. I got him in 2016 when I was working at the OTB. Will need to post up a pic of him. How I got Stronach and why I named him that will be for another blog post.)

1) RACE 9, LAUREL PARK

Try Bay of Rocks, a 6-1 morning line, Edwin Gonzalez up. The class relief will help him. Throw out the Timonium race, look at the Laurel Park race he completed in August. He was the pace before he finished third by 3 1/2 lengths. Also, first time Lasix!

2) RACE 4, SANTA ANITA

Here, I will use two horses, both 6-1 ML. Movie Moment kept steady speed at her last race in Del Mar, a Grade I. Gary Stevens will be up. The second horse, Sappho (IRE), did well with Geovanni Franco up, plus she likes Santa Anita.

3) RACE 8, GULFSTREAM PARK

Try Take Notice, a 9/2 ML, Nik Juarez up. He has Saratoga and Churchill Downs bona fides.

4) RACE 4, GOLDEN GATE

Try Table for Three (10 M/L), Julien Couton up. He seemed to do well at the all-weather track. And note that he was bumped twice at his last race. I think he’d would be in the money if that did not happen. I think he can win.

5) RACE 9, GULFSTREAM PARK

Peggity (8 M/L), Miguel Vasquez up. She gets along with the jockey. She’s steady. And her name sounds like “Preggie”. :D

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Spaghetti can get you wed. http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/2018/09/spaghetti-can-get-you-wed/ Thu, 27 Sep 2018 17:56:24 +0000 http://www.carolrutz.com/blog/?p=965 Yes, that’s clickbait right there. Hear me out, it’s a sweet story about how I won the heart of my Preggie.

The Prelude: Concordia Irvine

I got into cooking when I have a kitchen at the student apartments. At that time, my alma mater’s upperclassmen living quarters are apartments, not mere dormitories, while freshmen live in dormitories. I would say “I’ll be back in the barracks if you need me.” After I spend my freshman year, the barracks seemed spartan and I was ready to live in an actual apartment.

At the same time, I was hanging out with the pre-sem Confessional crowd, who made theology look like serious fun. They were liturgical, they were heavy thinkers, and they seek the finer things in life– good food, good beer, cool music. I was unable to drink as I was underage, but I had a cookbook and the internet.

I turned 21 and at the same time, I discovered wine. I became the university’s student wine expert. I would read Wine Spectator and Wine X magazine. Wine X was not stuffy and old-school. It was not pretentious, gourmet without the snobbery. I came across this recipe for Caesar salad, in which one Toronto woman claimed that she would “get laid” everytime she prepared her salad. I learned that if I were to be successful in love and adulthood, I would need to cook good food. Soon, I became the Confessionals’ grill mistress. I would make batches of meat sauce and fed anyone who want spaghetti.

After I moved to Fort Wayne, my wine skills followed with me. I ordered wine via phone and circumvented Indiana state laws to get some exclusive vintages. Then, I served wine to my classmates. My spaghetti became a cult classic.

One Month after Symposia 2002

I met Preggie and we hit it off instantly. About a month in, I knew that if I want to secure future happiness, I must cook my spaghetti and serve it to Preggie. An unwritten rule of a budding relationship: You must cook a meal for your date. It will make or break it. The factor was that Preggie was a widower, which meant that 1) his late wife Evie cooked for him and 2) at the current time, he mainly eats at fast food places or made stuff via microwave. I figured that if I cook something homemade, I better cook my signature meal.

I visited Kroger’s and gathered the ingredients. After that, a trip to the liquor store for the sweet sparkling red wine. I made garlic bread with real butter and cheese. (It was a recipe I learned from a PBS show. Very easy to make.) By memory, I made my dad’s sauce: tomato puree, browned ground beef, chopped onion and garlic, bay leaf, herbs, parmesan cheese, s & p to taste.

Preggie came by and smelled the air. “Wow. Smells great.” I boiled the thick spaghetti, it was the Barilla brand as I prefer a thicker strand. I served him the garlic bread and wine. He smiled as he bit into the hot slice of bread. The noodles were ready. After draining, I served into two plates and gave each plate a generous ladle of meat sauce. I brought the dish before him and I awaited his reaction. “Ah! Spa-get!” Preggie took a bite. He smiled wider.

“Last time I had spaghetti that good, it was when I was in Denver over 50 years ago.” He told me of this now-defunct place where his family ate and he thought it was the best spaghetti he ever ate.

Score.

Years later, a stint as a sample lady gave me insight and a theory. I called it “The Flavor”. The Flavor is that key gustatory moment in which it sets the standard of what is truly delicious. It is nostalgic in nature. Once a person enjoyed a particular bite of food, they will compare future meals and snacks to that moment, chasing The Flavor. It could be as simple as giving a kid crusty bread with Irish butter (that’s a future story) or serving someone a homecooked meal. By evoking Preggie’s childhood memory, I evoked The Flavor.

To quote Public Enemy:

Kickin’ da flavor gittin’ busy
Ya goin’ out, I think ya dizzy
I think ya hungry, ’cause ya starvin’ fa flavor
Flavor most, put it on toast
Eat it-en taste it en swallow it down
Imperial flavor gives you da crown
Of the king called Flavor, da king of all flavors

It was a coup that did cement my status as marriage material. For many years after, I would cook this dish regularly for the both of us. I knew that it will convince him on some deep primordial level. Wayne enjoyed food until shortly before his death. One August morning, he was unable to eat anymore as the food would go into his windpipe. So the hospital installed a stomach tube. After recovery, he went back to his dorm…and he breathed his last. I think Preggie did not want to live in a world without the ability to taste food.

Nowadays, I would occasionally cook a meal, sometimes for my job coach. It keeps me happy, though I dread cleaning up the frickin’ mess. One of these days, I’ll cook my sauce. Maybe my rector and his wife would like that.

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