Showing posts from December, 2006

My New Favorite Blog to Read

I recently found out that Fr. Stephen Freeman from St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge Tennessee has a blog. He's the priest who chrismated me, along with my whole parish, back in 2002.

Each time I read this blog, my heart is uplifted. It even seems to sing a bit at the words written there. Fr. Stephen has a way of expressing Orthodox spirituality in just the way that I would, only better. Reading his blog is like a window into many of my own ponderings, the things I keep silent about.

Might I recommend Glory to God for All Things ?

In the News


Members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Plants (PET-P "pet pee") gathered in a protest demonstration at the local Farmer's Market last weekend. Eating nothing but genetically engineered frankenfoods, these pale specimens had pockets bulging with McDonald's wrappers and Hostess desserts, and hips bulging to match. "It's a matter of conscience," one member who asked to remain anonymous, shared. "I mean, it's like, think about all those poor little baby carrots being ripped out of the ground while they are still tender and young! I just can't stand for it!" Others milling about murmured their agreement, while cans of Mountain Dew were passed around and candles were lit as the sun was setting. Demonstration posters sported a horrific images such as that of a little girl clutching a fistful of dandelions with the caption "STOP THE CRUELTY! PET-P FOR PLANTS!" and "PET-P Helps Your Grass Grow Greene…

2006: A Random Overview

fight for morning prayers
counting calories
testing the limits of body and soul
anaphylactic reaction to peanuts
wearing black on Great and Holy Friday
incense in my scarf
just breathing
loading the dishwasher praying the Jesus Prayer
housework without anger
unused epi-pen in my purse
saying goodbye to a priest
saying hello to a priest
watching a friendship die
trying to be a better daughter
officially Asperger's Syndrome
"wasting" my life on the mystical
bought a cane
U-Boot 505
a sinner and the sacrament of repentance
walking on good days
reading good books
reading silly books
silk wedding dress
plans for a baptismal gown made from the scraps
recycling wool
a good Christmas
happy birthdays
home school
lost at the zoo
museum by wheelchair
camping in Kentucky
he job hunts, I pray
writing new songs
open mic night!
a new niece is born
intentional quiet
farmer's market and my guitar
20 pounds down
food allergies
Sunday School storyteller
perfect sour milk biscuits
wasted love

Christmas Joy

It was so good to go to Divine Liturgy and meet Jesus this morning in communion. It was nice to get up before dawn. We all had our clothes laid out the night before, so getting ready was a snap and we were out the door by 7:15. It was still dark while we were driving.

The Nave looked beautiful: garlands of greenery, poinsettias and red and white roses. Our parish flower guy, Brian, invariably does an excellent job.

And my heart somehow filled with joy. It's like God knew exactly what I needed and He was there to meet me. It is a comfort to know that God comes in humility and meets us in our humility. Humility is actually attainable. Perfection isn't.

Now we are home again, the presents are over and done with, thanks be to God! This "keeping it simple" thing is really the way to go for me. Life is calm the kids are content and happy and there is organic beef and onions with chilli spices browning on the stove, awaiting the crock pot and tomato sauce for l…

Blue Devils

Well, it was a disappointment that the friends we invited over for caroling and cookies were not able to make it. So, plan B: we got some veggie pizza and had a family movie night. The kids certainly appreciate the spritz cookies (a Swedish favorite, must-have at Christmas time at our house) that my daughter had made, and the chocolate covered pretzels.

And it turns out I was able to get some much needed rest instead of cleaning house all afternoon. Silver linings, and all. But I'm still sad that plans did not work out as originally anticipated. Sigh.

I, as I often do when I'm feeling down in the dumps, got me some alone time at the thrift store. And while there, I SCORED!:

Hunt for Red October video!!!!!! (This is SO COOL, I've wanted this movie for my submarine collection for a while. I still want the DVD but this will keep me happy until I get it.)

Hunt for Red October book. Can't have too much Clancy or too much Submarine stuff, in my opinion.

Wedding Plan…

Avoiding the Christmas Crap

As you all know, Christmas is usually a source of panic and stress for me starting in about August. I believe I even blogged about it...extensively. Someone asked me yesterday how my plans were coming, and if I was able to make Christmas this year be more like a "little Pascha" than before. I THINK the answer is "yes", although Christmas day needs to come and go before I know for sure.

Here's what I've done to cut down: ONE gift per person. Not one clothing gift and one toy gift, not "wouldn't fuzzy slippers be nice...oh now I need to buy four pairs", not "If I get this for him I'll need to get one for each of the girls as well". Just one gift. I almost fell into the pajamas trap, but after I'd purchased one set with plans to buy more, the person I'd gotten them for received FOUR sets of PJ's via hand-me-downs and I did a return the very next day. Thank you, Lord!

I have learned that the restraint really n…

More about the Heimlich Maneuver

After the incident with my daughter the other day, I decided to check out if there was an official Heimlich maneuver website, and there is. I sent an e-mail, expressing my thanks etc. and today I got one back from Henry Heimlich himself!

He wanted me to spread the word that the Heimlich Maneuver is not just for choking. It is also life-saving for drowning victims, and can get the water out of the lungs quickely. CPR is much much less effective, for one cannot force air into water logged lungs. The Heimlich maneuver is also effective in the case of a severe asthma attack, to force air out of the lungs and get the mucus out of the way. Thousands of kids could be saved each year with this simple procedure.

If you don't know how to perform it, go check out the website. It's quick and easy and may just save someone's life.

Life the Universe and this'n'that and food stuff

I had a particularly horrid weekend. Church yesterday was especially bad and I found myself crying alone in the nave after common meal was over. I blame PMS and a bad conflagration of unfortunate circumstances. Saturday was equally bad for various reasons.

January is coming, and with that the inspiration to loose another 20 pounds this coming calendar year. I'm happy to report that despite all my imperfections, I am about twenty pounds lighter than I was this time a year ago, so on that front, 2006 has been a success. The world's slowest on-going weight loss and maintenance project, starting year three now, fueled by my fibro diagnosis two years ago and by the addition of some very sensible tools last year is continuing apace, I guess, despite a small recent setback and some very slow learning on my part. I shall continue to try, though, and that is worth alot.

In food news:

Two packs of mori-nu firm tofu fork crumbled and mixed with 2 T. lemon juice, 2 T. roasted garlic …

Movie Review: Eragon

Yes, I know. We went and saw it on opening day. The trailer, after all, was SO cool. So, how was it?

My seven year old is gonna LOVE this movie. The director did a brilliant job of taking a rather complex and adolescently mature (if not original) book and reducing it into a movie barely over an hour and a half in length that any little girl would love. I mean, what's not to love: There's a blue dragon with a voice that sounds kind of disney-princessish, a blond haired brown eyed seventeen year old upstart farm boy that will do for this crop of pre-pubescents what Mark Hamil did for me, and very very obvious bad guys, including that guy with the creepy voice that sounds the same in EVERY role he plays...what's his name again? Ah yes, John Malkovich! Rhymes with Galbatorix...sort of.

Obi- Wan, I mean Brom, was played by someone I recognize from having watched Kingdom of Heaven on DVD the other night, and he was killed by orcs...I mean Urgals.

In the book, Tolkien …

In the Zone: Life and Death

At no personal risk to myself I saved my eldest daughter's life yesterday.

She and I were sitting at the table, and having an after school chat. She was eating fritos. Well, I said something mildly funny and suddenly, there she was. She leaned over, her face turned red, she was not breathing. She grabbed her throat. "Are you choking???" She nodded. It had happened so fast, instantly! I told her to stand up. I got behind her and did the Heimlich maneuver, and at first it did not work. So I kept at it. The thoughts going through my head: "I have no car (stupid, not like I'd be able to drive her anywhere if this were not to work, duh). This has to work. This has to work. I can't believe I'm Heimliching the same person for the second time in her life! What are the odds? This HAS to work!!!"

And in this process, the skirt I was wearing somehow came unzipped and fell off my butt, so I'm standing in the dining room performing the Heimlich …

Countercultural...sort of

So, last night dh and I sat down and listed all the pros and cons of buying another car now. You see, dear reader, I'm and living la vida local, not having a car, while he takes the family vehicle to work every day. It's not a commute where I can drop him off at work and pick him up in the evening. It's a "download a techie podcast to listen to while you drive" sort of commute. But it's working out.

So we listed our needs. Why do I feel like I need a car? Well, what if dd misses the school bus? That's a source of stress. What if someone gets sick and needs to go to the doctor? That's another. And there's the monthly chiropractor visit that my back desperately needs. Well, we decided to set aside a bit of cab money for the "just in case" emergencies. And I can either take a cab or beg a ride to the chiro once a month. It is, after all, once a month.

And I also can re-orient my thinking: We have a physician a mile away, the…

One cool thing

about the internet is that sometimes it enables a person to find another person. So here's to my good friend from High School, Joi! If you start reading this blog, a big welcome!

That has really brightened up a rather boring doldrummy week. Seems all I'm tempted to do these days is complain about how expensive life is, and about my I categorically refuse to go there.

Movie Review:

I watched Kingdom of Heaven last night, and I liked it, sort of. Not as a historical movie. I know it wasn't that at all. I watched it as fantasy-fiction, which it is. I really liked Orlando Bloom's character, mostly. He maintained purity in that he refused to kill his nemesis and marry the queen, but he lost it when he was willing to sleep with her anyways. That's just so Hollywood: No concept of sexual virtue. I appreciated the emphasis of the movie that the Kingdom of Heaven is not a piece of real estate, but is rather in the hearts and minds of the people. …


1. That my fibro has calmed down for now and I actually have some energy!
2. For all the people in my parish
3. Old friends and new
4. New babies, new pregnancy announcements (not me!) and people in the world falling in love.
5. Nieces and Nephews
6. For kids who are past the diaper stage and into the mercenary chores for money stage (my kitchen floor has been mopped twice in the past week, and not by me!!!!).
7. Humidifiers
8. For the chance to make a baptismal gown and go crazy with embroidery and beading on it (drool, drool!)
9. Cotton bras.
10. That Oil of Olay in shower body lotion: saves my skin in winter!

Second Worst Supper Ever

Don't try this at home!

Shrimp Garbage (Pronounce the second part with a fake French accent, soft "g", you know the drill)

In hot skillet:

Tablespoon of minced garlic
small can of diced green chillis
small can of minced olives
Package of broccoli and cauliflower florets
Seasonings to taste:

Oregano, Parsley, chilli powder, cumin

Cook until veggies are almost done, then add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is done.

No lie...this smelled and tasted like the bottom the the kitchen garbage can! That's what I get for off the cuff cooking, oh, man oh, man!

My husband and I both agree that there was one meal that was worse, but neither of us have any clear memories. I seem to think it was something involving an unfortunate use of quinoa and one of my daughters seems to think it was lumpy and brown with sad bits of vegetables in it. Her description fits close enough.

Fortunately, the Shrimp Garbage inspired us to clean out the fridge, so many leftovers were happily consumed.

"Baby's got the Blues...

...Day after day, after day" (from an old Randy Stonehill song)

Down that wintry slippery slope:

1.I find myself on the computer all day long doing nothing but reading blogs and e-mail
2. A strong desire to own some sweat pants (multiple pairs) and wear nothing but those or p.j.-esque outfits all day every day. Plotting to purchase some. Why don't I own any sweats? Well, I'm skinnier than I was last winter and I got rid of the clothes that were too big for me.
3. Difficulty focusing on domestic chores
4. Nowhere to go, carless, nothing to do but stay at home and be here.
5. Find myself mentally checked out. Somehow my kids are managing to get their daily lessons done in spite of me.
6. Everything I do takes an effort of volition, feels like climbing a mountain.
7. I want to eat everything.

Ways to combat it:

1. Hair and makeup every day.
2. Exercize: get out, go waking, do somehting.
3. Force self to keep house tidy and laundry done.
4. Prayers
5. When t…

Heard at our house

You know you are in Kentucky when it is snowing outside, and your excited eight year old exclaims: "It's Snowing!!!! Maybe we'll get an inch!!!"

Something Positive

For someone who can't have any "real sweets" or fruit juice:

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
3 packages Stevia Plus
Half a cup or so of sugar free Tang (high in vitamin C!)

Blend in blender of "Frappe" setting...


180 calories

Defeated (aka #%$#%$ Bootstraps)

I give up. You win. Now go away!

Not you, the reader. I"m speaking of life's difficulties. Especially the long-term financially annoying kind that involve major home repairs.

Our gutters were baaaad. So we go to get them replaced. And our back porch roof was leaking. It got contracted on the same job. You see, water leaking into the formerly dry crawl space has so much long term potential for mold and damage, our house has been getting more and more dilapidated as time goes by and nary a handyman in the bunch here at our house...

Well, yesterday while the workers were doing the front gutters, lo and behold: They find termite damage, especially on the boards that were the worst water damaged.

I can't say I'm very surprised. But now we get to do a termite inspection and get treated for those buggers. I know it won't be as expensive as the gutter work, but still.

Nothing minus something equals debt. Debt and more debt.

It's like you gotta put a roof…

The Feast of St. Nicholas

Growing up, this was one of my favorite days. In Switzerland it was called "Sammi Glaus Tag", and we often celebrated in school by going on a field trip into the woods where someone dressed as Santa would be waiting for us. For a poem or a song, Sammi Glaus would give us a bag of goodies: nuts, dried fruit, tangerines, sweetbread, cookies, chocolates. We were admonished to be good boys and girls because if NOT...(somehow it was always the boys who were most threatened for their exuberance with this prospect) Schumunzle, Sammi Glaus' helper (who not surprising tended to be dressed like a novice in black cassok) would put you in a big burlap bag and take you into the forest for a year of hard labor, doing wh the Swiss Santa does year round: feeding woodland creatures and living in peace and harmony with God and nature. Sammi Glaus lives in the Black Forrest and comes leading a Donkey packed with goodies. Befitting the lifestyl…

My crummy metabolism

So, I've been in a bad way with the fibro this fall. Fall is always bad. Extra pain, less energy...therefore less walking. In fact the walking sort of came to a grinding halt due to leg weakness and pain/fatigue. I know in part the increase in my symptoms was due to the stress of my husband's "career transition". It's been weird, crazy, up-in-the-air and stressful. I was doing so well before. And now I've regained ten of those hard-to-loose (easy to gain!) pounds. Sigh.

And so, I try again. I keep putting forth the effort because I know if I don't keep it at bay, I'll be as big as a barn. I know dh appreciates my efforts, paltry though the results are. We all know what I'd look like without any effort. But it's so ding dang stinkin' HARD.

I feel so fluffy that I'm having Weight Watcher's flash-backs, and the thought of re-joining, frighteningly enough, is holding some appeal. Although I'm still 15 pounds lighter …


Well, in this quest of mine, I have decided to wrap my brain around just what it means to be a postmodern person, and what it the term "postmodern" or "postmodernism" means. Definitions help. So, I went over to wikipedia, which ironically enough owes its very existence to postmodernism. The very concept of an encyclopedia which is "of the people" with anyone able to contribute, the only check and balances being other knowledgeable folks who edit each other is a brilliant example. I would refer my blog readers to the wikipedia article on postmodernism for a very thorough and boring read, links included.

In many many ways, we post moderns are being ye olde pendulum and reacting against modernism, enlightenment, etc. This comes through in our piety, spirituality, our quest for God, in the fact that we don't like Walmart or McDonald's very much (even if we shop there due to limited options etc.). It comes through in the questions we ask and th…