Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Starbuck's Virgin

I'm a Starbuck's virgin...never had it. And if I can help it, I never will. It's not that I'm intrinsically opposed to Starbucks, or that I think Starbuck's is somehow evil, or anything like that. I've read good things about the company, and how they treat their employees and how the employees are trained to treat customers.

I'm a Starbuck's virgin just because I can be, because I want to be....just because, I guess. I've never drank any of their grocery store products, either. Just because I can be. I have enough addictions and passions in this life without adding another.

And there is a delightful, locally owned, unique coffee shop in my neighborhood called Third Street Coffee, where a large decaf comes with free refills and funky back ground music. They make a mean sugar free mocha as well. A good place for some quiet non-conversation, or to meet friends. And they have a very nice menu. A good place for the impromptu date night with the husband. A good place for those who need wireless internet access. A good place to meet up with friends.

It's down on Third Street and Limestone. Two thumbs up.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Not blogging much

Life is busy. And until Wes buys a laptop to do some of his business on, he's hogging the 'puter all day every day with his work. And by the time I get a chance to do important things like BLOG! I'm too tired to think of anything good to write about.

So I leave you with this:

God is good.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sturm und Drang

I was SHOCKED, shocked I tell you, when I noticed that L----- AVE. is NO LONGER CLOSED. Well, at least this morning it was open, at least for a little while. I don't know if it has truly "stuck" or not, but now the crews are mucking about at the corner and onto the erstwhile detour street, so who knows, perhaps O-- H--- will be closed soon, instead of L-----. Hmmmm... At least it might make traffic quieter around here.

Just in time for the elections, too....

I mean, for those who don't live here: It's literally been YEARS that this road has been closed off. YEARS! So long that on the orange striped "Road Closed" Barrier, someone had stenciled (very neatly, I must say) "Forever" underneath. Now, even that "Forever" is weathered and fading. That's how long it's been closed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An Evening Gift

is the energy to dig in rain softened earth, and me, with kids at my elbows, stomping the shovel into the ground. A sack full of shared-from-a-friend iris bulbs lies waiting.
Hoping it is not too late, as light frost has already found us, I lay them in their winter beds. Sleep well, iris bulbs. The earth is soft and warm tonight. The ground is fragrant, soft from the rain, so I will let you rest. And I will cover you and leave you in the maker's hands, and hope, come spring, to smell your worshiping fragrance. And hope, come spring, that you will teach me about resting and about growing, about seasons, and about blooming where planted. Teach me about beauty and about sharing and about peace.

I hate election day

I just do. There are never any good choices and I feel like I'm choosing which liar to vote for. I care about alot of things but either party is a vast sea of compromise. I just don't like it.

That's all.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cause and Effect

We here in the USA need to know. We need to know how the Christians in Iraq are doing
And we need to pray. And we need to repent. Martyrs are being made daily and some Christians in this country still believe there will be a rapture to spare them from tribulation? Puh-leeeese!

This seems good and right

I wonder if any Orthodox Hierarchs have spoken out against our government using torture to gain information, etc. It chills me to think that laws are being monkeyed with on this issue, and it chills me to think of policies against torture being ignored or blatantly violated, although I'm not so naive to think that America is lilly white or has clean hands. We are, however, degrading ourselves more and more. It just ain't right.

Here's the link . Learn more. Sign the petition. Say a prayer. Do what you can.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Reinventing Christmas

This is a conversation I am going to have with my family. We MUST reinvent Christmas. Is has GOT to be different. And as far as it goes, our family has always had a scaled back version of the holiday, but there in lies the problem: scaled back, whilst a good beginning, can cause its own sort of stress. The stress comes in, at least for me, in the mental "keeping up with the mythical Joneses" that occurs despite my best efforts. Christmas morning at DL always finds me feeling distincly shabby next to those who are glammed up in their new Christmas outfits.

Last year was a fiasco because it was scaled back but not scaled back. I've heard of families saying they are scaling back to a hundred bucks per kid, for instance....HA! That would be the ultimate luxury for us. So I say this realizing that this terminology is loose and it is all relative.

So, scaling back just has not worked for us. I've done the homemade gifts out the yin-yang. I've looked in toy catalogs and created by hand doll dancing stages, rag dolls, doll clothes, etc. I've given framed kid's art to grandparents, etc. etc. It's all been done, tried, worn thin.

I even tried creating for myself a maroon velour christams dress: nice idea in theory but somehow it came off looking like I was wearing pajamas to Church.

And then there's the dread b-word: Budget. Last year we had a budget, which was great, and kept our spending on a cash basis, no Christmas debt, etc. BUT then it became this big stressor: how much bang can I get for my Budget Buck? And it was all about creating a whiz-bang gift giving occasion times four. And what happened? I failed miserably. Most of the gifts I got for my kids fell flat, weren't that great or broke very quickly and were a disappointment. How crappy is THAT?

So, how do I reinvent Christmas? The reinvention started several years ago when Divine Liturgy became the start of our day, and not opening presents at the crack of dawn. A good change. The reinvention continued as we developed the tradition of having people over for Christmas dinner in the evening: people who perhaps don't have family, or who can't get "home to grandma's". So that is a good thing. Much cheer and fellowship.

Part of the reinvntion needs to involve a change in gift expecations, both giving and receiving: I would like for the feast of the Nativity to not be more than Pascha, somehow. We always get a basket full of goodies like good foods, perhaps an icon, gifts, etc. for the whole family to enjoy at Pascha. How can I use that as the base line, and re-invent the Nativity celebration to be similar, not more, still being its own thing?

Here's the brainstorm: at Pascha I do try to get each of us a new outfit (at least the kids, and a new shirt or something for dh). Perhaps one cozy clothing item each at Nativity: you know, P.J's or gloves or something.

At Pascha, besides the fast breaking foods, I try to include a gift for each that will somehow help their spiritual development. Perhaps for celebrating the incarnation of Christ, something personal and material would be appropriate: One toy, or for those beyond toys something to care for one's body...hmmmm, sounding like the traditional Christmas gift list already. But what if the volume were kept low, smaller?

And something for the family to enojoy together: a game, or a movie or a new CD? But what if the total volume was not to exceed what would fit in, say, a pic nic basket? What IF it did not have to be piles of stuff under the tree? Would the kids be OK with that?

Because I remember all the broken toys, all the attempts at fashionable clothes that have gone unworn, all the stuff that just does not get played with, and I just don't want that sort of thing mucking up the holiday anymore. I'm so done with it!

Making Christmas like a LITTLE Pascha....that would be a joy!

75 Days

...until Christmas.


Friday, October 06, 2006

A life fraught with murphy...I mean mercy...

Today was one of those days when I had too too much crammed into my schedule and I knew it and was dreading it...but not knowing a way to excuse myself from any of the activities planned.

This morning, from ten until noon, was a wonderful Kentucky History field trip to Raven's Run where we heard from an historical re-enactor how our ancestors (literally in the case of myself and my kids) came to Kentucky (then the commonwealth of Virginia) after receiving land grants for serving in the Revolutionary War. Of course I could barely walk at the end of the two hour tour, in which I stepped into a two hundred year old house and confirmed that whether they are in Switzerland or the USA, two-hundred year old farm houses have very much the same smell about them: old wood smoke, old stone, old wood. Very nice smell, in my opinion. Smelled like La Malmaison. What a surprise! I learned about native Kentucky plants, about Asian Honeysuckle (not native!~) and chickory (also not native), and about indian grass and goldenrod (the state weed...I mean flower).

Barely shuffling back to the van, I took the kids to McD's for lunch, to round out the fun-ness of our first homeschooling field trip.

Then home and I was oh! so! tired! But nonetheless, off to get E's eye's checked and most likely glasses.

But....the car that I'd been driving not five minutes before, would not start. We called the service department and they sent out a tow truck who jumped it and suggested we get the battery checked. Fortunately, since dh is currently vastly underemployed, he was able to run that errand. So, no trip to the eye doc today, but woo hoo...I settled in for a much needed "I have fibromylagia" nap on the lazyboy recliner, along with some "no more driving today" type pain meds.

I WAS going to run like mad, pick up one of the kid's friends for a sleepover, go grocery shopping, etc. Now, instead, I get to stay home and rest. This is what I should have planned in the first place. Dh is off with dd picking up her friend, and if the house is not as spit spot perfect as I'd wanted, well, it's only a blow to my pride and nothing else.

I think I"ll go put my feet back up and bribe some kids to get the living room clean.

Mercy's law strikes again! (Whenever something NEEDS to go wrong, there is an angel of mercy on hand assuring that it will.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Woo Woo Audioblogging

Ah yes, so as per all-four-people-who-read-my-blog's request, I tried singing one of my songs on Audioblogger. An unmitigated disaster to which I will not subject the world. But if anyone wants, just let me know via e-mail and I'll send you a demo CD with a selection of my stuff. How's that? alanaatigloudotcome is my e-mail.
this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How much is mercy?

Well, the saga on the furnace: we had a guy in here yesterday to check out why the motor did not kick on on our furnace. There was absolutely NOTHING wrong with it, turns out. He just flicked it and got it to turn over....BUT...it was a mercy that it did not turn over because our air vent, somehow, was completely full of WATER, since we had that water leak last spring and the vent hose had not been strapped up to the underside of our house when it was installed, and if it had sucked water into the electrical motor of the furnace, that could have been bad. So, our guardian angel was sitting in our crawl space with his/her/its finger stuck in the motor, preventing it from turning over, I guess.

And that makes me wonder: How much is really mercy? I like to say I believe in Murphy's law: That if something can go wrong, it most likely will. But what if the reality is that it is Mercy's Law instead, and that all these seeming mishaps are actually God's protection of us, from greater and more harmful disasters?

Do I have eyes to see the mercy and the grace in my life, or am I going to continually be a puddleglum and only see that bad?

Thank You

O Lord, I thank You for this cross.
For by it I am awkened
to the reality of You.

O Lord, thank you for this cross.
By it I have learned of my dependance on You
and of Your love and care for me.

O Lord, thank You for these fears,
for by them I have come to know
You: the Comforter and banisher of all fear.

O Lord, thank you for the need I'm in,
for through this I am coming to know
that You, O Lord, supply all my needs.

O Lord, thank You for this physical pain,
for it is teaching me compassion and long-suffering
and it keeps me ever mindful of your sacrifice.

O Lord, thank You for this fatigue,
for it has forced me to slow down and become
mindful of the priorities in Your Kingdom.

O Lord, thank You for this cross.
It has become the crucible where I am
being refined.

O Lord, thank You for this cross,
for it is teaching me to say
"Thy will be done!"

O Lord, thank You for this cross.
It is for my salvation!