Saturday, December 30, 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 ?

Friday, December 29, 2006

In the News

--Rooters:

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 Greener!"

At a nearby booth scientific study results were being passed out, although results have yet to be published in a peer reviewed journal. PET-P members advocate only eating hydroponically grown free range plant and grain products. "We are worried about the effects of limiting plant movement. Humans have a bad history of expecting plants to stay in one place," quipped one booth volunteer. Another chimed in that there was a great debate raging among the PET-P scientists as to which was worse: The negative effects of chemical pesticides or the suffering plants undergo from so-called normal insect pest leaf nibbling that may occur in more organic environments.

Members acknowledge the tension that exists between the PET-P organization and other groups such as Organic Farmers Associations, PETA, and local Gardening clubs and retailers with produce departments.

Genetically modified plant products also may appear on the PET-P table. "If it's not got the plant DNA intact, then it's not a plant, and we can eat it without qualms," stated the president of PET-P. "This is about conscience, this is about morality, this is about making the world a better place for the children and the baby carrots. Surely we can find a way to live together in peace."

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
grieving
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
lonely
blogging
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
crochet
intentional quiet
farmer's market and my guitar
20 pounds down
food allergies
Sunday School storyteller
perfect sour milk biscuits
wasted love
intercessions
published poem
organic beef and kosher hot dogs
the odd family
Akathist to Jesus, Light to Those in Darkness
St. John the Wonderworker
www.sheldahlconsulting.com
happy marriage
seeking simplicity
balloon hover craft
spelling lists
Summer at the pool
Heimlich maneuver
prayer
"the least of these" in the parking lot
pannera bread drop off
prayers for the inner city
isolated in North Lexington
Third Street Coffee
on and off caffeine
fibromyalgia cycles
late thirties looming
growing kids
sockmonk is the best
Eureka "Barefoot Sally" Pizza
goofy
dying to self

Monday, December 25, 2006

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 later when our guests come.

In a minute my oldest and I are going to make some fudge.

And then we are going to watch Superman Returns. That was one of the family gifts that found its way under the tree this year.

Have a blessed Nativity! Christ is born! Glorify Him, Alleluia!

(...only about 95 days until Pascha!)

Friday, December 22, 2006

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 Planner video.

Ender's Game, book: I've heard it's good and have not read any sci-fi in a while.

John Keats (Regency era) Poetry collection...this will greatly enhance both my literary acumen and my knowledge of that era. Yeah, so I like reading Regency romance books...whatever.

Soft pink sweater. Can't have too many soft things in life. My husband likes me in pink. It's my favorite color. What more can I say?

Wine red poncho type shawl. It's always cold in our church building. This will be perfect for those "I feel fat and inelegant" days. I'll wear all black under it and look good no matter what.

School uniform pants for my daughter.

A basic brown booster seat (you know the type) that will get donated to our Church. Lots of kids that age, or kids who are going to be that age soon. It will come in handy and it was only two dollars.

Yeah, I know. Shopping when I'm down: not the best thing in the world. But this was done with awareness of that particular dynamic and with permission. I needed to get out of the house, that's for sure.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

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 needs to come from within, because the pressure to buy buy buy is coming as much from within as it is from external sources. I've managed to avoid watching TV or going to the store unless absolutely necessary, and so that helps, too.

And then we've purchased some group family gifts that we get to open up and enjoy together: some DVDs to add to our collection, a jar of Nutella (my kids don't read my blog so I'm not worried), and a couple of games. I relly think gifts like this promote family solidarity and sharing.

Most important is that I did not break the budget. And I don't feel stressed.

Unfortunately, on top of this grand simplicity will be laid a layer of dollar store purchases. The kids have a tradition of getting each other and their parents dollar store gifts. I know they want to give in this way, so that is important, even if I'm less than thrilled about the stuff for sale there.

Food and fellowship:

This is new for me, having some neighbors over for cookies and Christmas caroling this Friday night.

Christmas Dinner is going to be a big vat of beef chilli. And some Killian's liquid bread, and chips. (I don't drink beer or whatever he calls that dark stuff, but the man does sometimes, as will some of our guests, no doubt). Not very traditional, but that's what is being craved around here, so that's what it will be. I'm not big on Turkey dinners and I am even less enthusiastic about Ham. And I certainly WON'T do loads of cooking on Christmas day.

I'll get some cookies made earlier in the week, starting today most likely. And some sugar free stuff so I don't make myself sick. And there's always those lovely lovely lovely Mrs. Smith's pies in the freezer section of the grocery store.

So, that's the plan.

And yes, this is abundance. I don't even pretend to think that we are "poor" or that we are less fortunate than others. We are not. We are materially blessed, even through these lean and shaky times of an autumn of joblessness followed by contracting work. God has helped to provide every single one of our needs. I hope and pray we can always give back to Him and to the "little ones" he puts in our path.

Monday, December 18, 2006

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 (2 minutes in the microwave did the trick) and some italian spices makes an excellent vegan lasagna filling.

"Just the chocolate" Hot cocoa: 1.5 heaping spoons of cocoa powder, pinch of salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract (unless using davinci syrup) and sugar or artificial sweetener to taste (OK, so I use 3 pumps of splenda sweetened vanilla davinci syrup and 2 packets of Stevia plus) and boiling water in a mug makes a good cup of chocolate. Notice that it's dairy free.

Exercise news:

I clocked the distance to Wallymart this weekend, and found out it's only 1.5 miles from home. That's walkable, not that I have any great desire to go there, but it's the only foot accessible store where I can buy splenda.

My kids can't wait, however, to take our "redneck stroller with a laundry basket stuff transport system" on a similar treck to the down town library.

I'm happy to report that we took our redneck cart (dubbed the "Ecotrekker") to Save-A-Lot for groceries and some exercise last Friday. One of my kids, while we were discussing fuel sources observed that the only environmental impact of something we push ourselves is "burps and farts"...not quite accurate when you consider the environmental impact of modern food production methods, but a very cute observation nonetheless.

Friday, December 15, 2006

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 meets up with Lucas in an eighteen year old boy's fantasy life. In the movie, Tolkien meets up with Lucas who crashes into the set of a Hallmark movie.

Two good things: The kid playing Eragon looks remarkably similar to the boy I had a crush on in sixth grade. No wonder my seven year old spent the afternoon staring at Eragon pics on the internet. And Saphira looks EXACTLY like the cover art on the book.

Imagine that!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

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 on an adult-sized twelve year old in my skivvies. Lovely. Just lovely. But I didn't care. I was in the zone. You know the zone. It's the place women who are in labor go to, where physicality is subsumed by the task at hand and modesty just does not matter anymore.

Eventually (less than a minute of Heimliching, I'm sure), she could breathe but still felt the chip lodged in her throat. She was gagging, it was less than lovely, but in the zone lovely does not matter. The chip had gotten out of her windpipe and into her esophagus and nothing but lots of water could help.

Imagine swallowing a Frito like a pill. Yikes.

To Do today:

1) Put some elastic in that skirt!
2) Crush all fritos into fine powder. (Well, perhaps not...)

In other News:

I was tossing and turning yesterday morning in the wee hours, coughing my head off at intervals when I heard an explosion. It was loud. A BOOM! My mental image was a big gray ball of rapidly expanding smoke and debris. My first thought was to inventory smells and household noises to ascertain that the explosion did not in fact take place in my own home. No, it must have been down the street somewhere. Should I call 911? Within seconds I started hearing sirens. Someone's on it, I think. Why are they so far away, when the explosion was just down the block?

Later in the day my husband says to me: "Did you hear about the explosion down at the Smucker's factory? I heard about it on the radio while I was on the way to work." "I heard the explosion! It was in the wee hours."

The Smucker's factory is about a mile from here, as the crow flies. Apparently there was an explosion in the sugar silo. Employees had the fire contained by the time the Fire department got there, and we did not hear of any casualties, thank God. This incident, however, gives new meaning to the term "Sugar Bombs".

So, next time you dip into your JIF Peanut Butter or your Smucker's jelly, say a prayer of thanks to God for the protection and safety of the people who make the stuff.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

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, there's a vet a mile away in the other direction. The grocery store is also about a mile away, as is the dollar store, and a Pharmacy. If I really really need something, a two mile walk will get me what I need. The bank is a mile and a half, as is the down-town library. That's a bit more of a stretch, but do-able if I'm having a good day physically and am desperate. More likely one of us would hit the ATM in the evening, or do the banking Saturday morning.

So, perhaps I should strive to be intentional about running errands on foot, combine it with my exercise program and get one of those baskets with two wheels and a handle to trolley purchases back and forth.

Live like a European, I say! After all, poor people have no choice but to walk all the time.

So, does this mean we are "poor people", or that we are being smart about our lifestyle choices? Hmmmmmmmmm?????

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

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 health...so 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. I expected there to be gross anti-Christian bias, and there was some, but not as bad as I anticipated. Like it only ever showed the Muslims at prayers but never the Christians. And it showed more Christian violence and in-fighting than muslim violence although history tells us that it went both ways during those days. Additionally, I'm wondering about the bit about there being what essentially amounts to a dhimmi tax in Christian controlled Messina that allowed the muslims to practice their prayers. That seems like a convenient twisting of history. Just ask the Orthodox in Turkey and Greece about being under Muslim control for long periods of time...dhimmi tax and all.

In many ways the movie was really naive. Nobody who is willing to kill for the sake of their religion is going to pick up an icon (in this case an altar cross) of another religion and restore it to its proper place.

All that criticism aside, the seige of Jerusalem was so cool, if battle scenes can be called that. I loved the trebuchets and catapults, and the creative ways the siege towers were effectively toppled. War is horrific, to be sure. It makes the battles in LOTR look clean and lovely. For one thing, Orcs bleed black and so one forgets that blood is being spilled. In Kingdom of Heaven there is no covering up the ugliness of war.

All humans bleed red.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Grateful

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!

Friday, December 08, 2006

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.

It goes without saying where the Shrimp dish will end up.

"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 pilates...do somehting.
3. Force self to keep house tidy and laundry done.
4. Prayers
5. When that despair hits my gut here's my new rule: Clean something, fold something or put something away.
6. Write down what you eat and count calories.
7. Give thanks to God for He is good, His love endures forever.

It's that time of year again. I'm sorry when my blogging gets whiney and pathetic. I've had enough stress, at least for me. I know I don't suffer all that much in my life, I know there are persons in much worse shape physically, financially, mentally, all of it. So, I say a prayer for them.

But this battle is hard, nonetheless.

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!!!"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

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...


Yeeeee-Uuuuuuuummy!

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 over the head, and you gotta have a car to get to work, and it's always pinching and always never enough...and I get so sick of self-righteous rich people who can moralize about how bad it is to shop at Walmart! Who turn organic eating and ecologically correct living into their theology, their acts of righteousness and their holiness, and whose superb evidence of godliness is good financial management, no chronic illness and no debt.

Somehow, that's not the gospel, either.

What's the line between poor and poor? It's all shades of gray. I am not delusional enough to think that we are really poor (after all, we have DSL!), but all I have to do is walk three blocks and there it is. Literally. And yet, it lurks. Feels like it's ever waiting to pounce. I just feel defeated and I want to curl up and cry.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

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 whhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifat 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 lifestyle of a hermit forest dweller, he's rather thin, and usually wears a red robe trimmed in white. Long white beard, the works. Here are some drawings by Swiss kids on the subject.

When I was in in Kindergarten, I remember "St. Nicholas" coming to visit. This one was dressed like a Catholic Bishop: All blues and whites and gold, with a Mitre sporting a big cross, and a shepherd's crook.

So, this was probably more accurate, although the vestments might have been a bit anachronistic. Who knows? I have not studied a history of Christian Vestments...yet.

At any rate, our beloved Archbishop Dmitri visited our parish last weekend, and in some ways it really took me back to my childhood. He did not pass out sweets, but I did receive a blessing, and kissing his hand, I just felt like he could be Santa. Geez, I wonder why?



And that, is the point. One saint should remind us of another Saint. Our hierarchs should all have that aroma of godliness about them and recall Christ to us in special ways, just as we are all to remind each other of Christ as we live our lives. Vladyka giving little Becca and little Theresa hugs goodbye and commenting that for this, he'd not want to leave...this was the highlight of my weekend. Such kindness, such love. And these little girls, I hope, will NOT have to treck to Walmart or the Mall to get their pictures taken with "Santa" because this is the real deal.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

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 than I was this time a year ago.

But I need to get the ten off before they turn into twenty.

It is SO HARD, and SO MUCH WORK. And I'll be doing this for the rest of my life. That's a depressing thought.

But, here I go again.

Anyone want to join me?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Postmoderns-R-Us

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 the thoughts we think.

In my life I see that I am a postmodern in a po-mo millieu coming out in the following ways:

-A rejection of enlightenment standards and rationalism as it pertains to things spiritual for a more mysterious approach (but there's still a large element of pragmatism: I look for the mysteries to work, and they do). And I do not mean to say that I do not strive to be a rational person, or a ration follower of Christ, just that I reject Rationalism as an "ism" that then would trump other aspect of the human experience. And I admit (shhhh, don't tell), I also secretly think it would be cool if gnomes and fairies and elves exist in hiding. Perhaps they do. Wouldn't it be fun! The angels and demons I'm more certain about.

-I value continuity with that which is ancient, pre-modern.

-A quest for silence in a world that would bombard me with information, technology and "input".

-A quest for personal silence in a world that tells each person that their voice MUST be heard. (So why am I blogging???? he he he. Good question. I didn't say I was perfect.)

-The creation of original arts.

-Intentional community with those who are my fellow travellers. One act at a time. This is hard.

-Approaching life holistically. This is hard, and I feel like its more in my head than in my deeds at this point. Because we have inherited so much that is compartmentalized, fragmented...I mean the very structures of our society, the fact that one has to drive everywhere to get anyplace and exercise intentionally in order not to get ill because we are so sedentary from all the driving necessitated by the very structures of our cities and towns is a fine example of this sort of brokenness. Living cut off from food sources is another such example. It goes on and on.

-Eastern Religion: tangible, mystical, holistic, involving all five senses, the whole body and the rational mind, challenging.

OK, that's a start.

How do you see yourself as a postmodern in a postmodern world?