Saturday, January 27, 2007

Did you know...

that it has been estimated that a pound of body fat contains a mile of capillaries?

So, my heart is happy this week. One mile less to pump the blood.

Nothing measly about a mile of capillaries!

Friday, January 26, 2007

I should blog something

But life is so quiet. Nothing much to blog about. Much to pray about. Go pray!

Monday, January 22, 2007


I just have to share, because I've had several days of boring eating and tonight's dinner was anything BUT boring.

All on the HG strict diet:

Curried chicken: I took a dozen frozen drumsticks and put them in a large roaster pan, drizzled olive oil over, salt, pepper, chopped green onions and curry powder. Stirred it all around so that the pieces would get coated. Baked until done (about an hour) at 400 degrees Farenheit. The house smelled SOOOO GOOOOD!

Then I removed the chicken pieces to a platter. Added a cup of water to the juices/curry stuff in the bottom of the pan, and then poured it all into a small skillet. In skillet I added another tablespoon or more of curry powder (to taste), whisked in a dollop of sour cream and then a sprinkling of guar gum. I brought it just to hot (so the sour cream would not separate) then poured it over the meat on the platter.

On the side I sauteed mushrooms until almost done, with a few drops of lemon oil (I just sprayed cooking spray in the pan) and black pepper. Then added baby spinach. The mushrooms picked up the lemon flavors nicely and it really complemented the curry.

I did some leftover broccoli on the side but mostly ignored it once I started eating the chicken and spinach dishes. Leftover broccoli is boring.

But my goodness that was a yummy meal! And easy to make. Good for body and soul.

And THOSE leftovers won't be boring!


Today is one of those days of dreary damp cold that slices with a sharp wind through coats and mittens and scarves. The air is heavy with wet: more a threat than a promise. Not quite cold enough for snow flakes, yet not raining either. More like little balls of sleet and misery clanging onto sidewalk, face and roadway alike. A city kind of day, the sky as gray as the underfoot pavement, as gray as my mood. A picture of dreary.

All things green are sodden, and muddied from yesterday's ice. And some confused crocuses have pushed their way into the world, fooled by Kentucky's schizophrenic winter weather, days of delusional spring temperatures keeping us all sick and making days and weeks like today all the more torturous for their memory.

A day for scarves and blankets and a pot of chocolate in the thermos. Kids sipping gladly after an aborted attempt at out-of-doors exercise. A day for a nap.

Books, lasagna, etc.

I've plowed through most of Omnivore's Dilemma, and that fine. I've sort of figured out his whole point and am having trouble mustering the energy to finish it, although in order to be fair, I must. Ho hum.

I've also plowed through the Kievan period in my Russian History book. (Riasanovsky)

Fr. Justin gave me a book by Serge Schmemman about two centuries of his maternal family's history. Happens to be the family of St. Juliana (my patron saint) as well. All of it very fascinating.

At least one time-waster romance novel thrown in for some R&R.

OK, enough about books.

Going to confession is good. House blessings are good. Made an extraordinarily good lasagna yesterday that I fed to my new priest and his family after the house blessing. The thing that made this lasagna so good was that it was not runny and did not fall apart. It was big. I used a container and a half of cottage cheese and three eggs. I cooked the whole thing slow in a 300 degree oven for however long it took. I think it was the three eggs and the slow cooking that made it hold together so well.

Of course, I didn't get ANY. I'm working on following my doctor's diet.

Time to face the January cold and go for a walk. Blarch.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Some Thoughts

My bad day yesterday had absolutely nothing to do with turning 37. I don't think 37 is all that old, and as far as it goes, I'm looking forward to the decades that are ahead in my life, should God choose to grant them to me.

What's really been crowding my thoughts and feelings lately has been this feeling of burden. The burden is chronic illness. What does it mean to my life to have three overlapping and exacerbating chronic conditions that affect me every day? And today I'm NOT going to be polite and brush it off, so as not to bore my blog readers with it...again. Today I'm going to be honest.

I've been grieving. Grieving the loss of dreams, grieving the loss of hopes, the loss of energy, the loss of plans, the loss of being the way I wish I could be. Grieving the frequent pain and the frequent lack of enenrgy to do more than the bare minimum each day.

And there is no where to turn with this grief, and it's palpable every day. Some days are like a fog and I'm just surrounded by this deep, deep sadness that pulls me down. And I force myself to reach out. I force myself to be kind to my children. I force myself to get back to my routine. These things become the rungs in the ladder of my salvation. But it's so forced.

And sometimes when I'm in a safe place, I cry. And it's not that I'm wallowing in self pity, although there is that constant temptation. No, this feels more like grief. I'm a year older and what have I to show for it? All the hopes and dreams that others have had for my life are not coming into any sort of fruition. All the hopes and dreams that I may have had for my life are dead by the roadside, sitting in the ever more distant past, left behind.

And I feel so very very incredibly alone. I KNOW others suffer. I can name at least a hand full of people that I personally know that also are in chronic pain and worse than mine no doubt. (How can pain be measured, though?) But we sure don't talk about it very much. And perhaps that is best. Because I would never ever want to be in a conversation where it becomes a comparison: My suffering versus your suffering. Because thoughts and words like that are destructive of the human experience we each have.

And yet I do it to myself all the time. When I'm having a bad day, I think to myself "Yes, but what about all the people in X? THEY have it much worse than you...(and they probably do), so therefore yours doesn't count." It's that "yours doesn't count", or that "mine doesn't count" that is killing me and not allowing breathing room...grieving room.

And so how does this become prayer? Can the very grief become prayer? Can the loss become prayer? Can this little hemmed-in life be an offering, an oblation? Can it? I want it to be, and I don't know if it can be. It's just so little.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm in a funk

Just thought I'd share. I'm so very very full of sunshine these days, donchaknow? (Sarcasm). I hate my birthday.




This must be why it's so hard to loose weight.

:-) Well, that and the birthday cake I plan on making later on. :-) :-) :-)

I just can't decide what I'm in the mood for.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Comment Settings

I changed comment settings at the request of two of my readers. Sorry about that, I did not realize I'd had comments on such a restrictive setting. Now anyone can comment. More spam, spam, spam, spam....

So, comment away! It's what I live for, after all.

Low Back Pain tips

I am realizing that I am in a certain danger of falling into this thinking trap that is so easy to fall in to: Defining myself by my problems and illnesses and wearing those things proudly on my sleeve, as a way to define myself, get attention, make things go my way, whatever.

How does one live with several chronic overlapping conditions and not have this happen? Perhaps just recognizing this temptation/sin is the first step in doing something about it.

So, all that said: I learned some helpful things for my degenerative disc disease at the Chiropractor the other day. In other words, a few little things I can do to avoid making low back pain worse. Thought I'd pass these along since I know many folks suffer from low back pain for one reason or another:

Get a Swiss Ball and sit on it, thighs should be parallel to the floor, feet firmly planted. Make very very slight movements front to back and side to side, and in circles like a belly dancer. But very very slight. These little movements should not hurt. If they do, and you are suffering low back pain, you are moving too much. Five minutes of this, and I find a good amount of pain relief.

Another thing: If sleeping on your stomach, put a pillow under your ankles or under your hips. If sleeping on your back, always put a pillow under your knees. I tried this and I felt so much better than I normally do this morning that I hardly wanted to get out of bed.

A Note of Gratitude

As much as I've been moaning and complaining here lately, I just thought I'd mention a few answered prayers, and say how grateful I am:

--A ride so I can take my daughter to her Honors Band practice session this Friday.

--A ride for some appointments I have next month

--The fact that my new schedule is working out so nicely with my energy levels and time.

--That my daughter's doctor gave us enough free samples of her meds to last until we get health insurance.

--That I was able to use some of the savings on the meds to go to the chiropractor yesterday (much needed!).

--The fact that the blower on our furnace is now blowing beautifully. Last week it was grinding and not blowing once the temp inside hit 64 degrees.


So, today we are going to bundle in cold weather sleeping bags and read books and sip hot bevarages whilst awaiting the heater guy (And no, I'm NOT calling Stewart Air Conditioning and Heating who have been tinkering with our ill functioning Trane Furnace off and on all winter. No, they've lost my business. I want someone who can actually get this thing working.)

Last week when the furnace guy was here, he mentioned that a certain part sounded loud, but that if it went out, the whole thing would not work (so I don't think that's the problem). He said it would cost four or five hundred to fix it, which he, personally would not do. HE would spend four or five THOUSAND to get a back yard unit installed. Geeez, that makes FINANCIAL SENSE!!!!!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Where are all the Farms?

As I've mentioned before, I'm plowing my way through The Omnivore's Dilemma. Love it and hate it. I woke up this morning with a nightmare of a pig chewing Ariana's ears off. Horrible.

I'm currently fascinated with the idea of taking a set-in-stone grocery budget and at least running some calculations on how much (as in, what percentage) sustainability can be purchased by making some alternate cooking choices. Now, mind you, my cooking already has some severe limitations, and already does NOT contain any prepackaged meals, the big exception being mac-n-cheese boxes and ramen noodles which make up at least some of the kid's lunches. (They prefer it when I make the mac from scratch. Maybe I should take a hint and get hard core about that one more thing.)

So I'm knocking about on the internet, seeking to find some local sources of decent meat and eggs and the farms are all a hundred miles away. Are there any local sources of meat and eggs? If so, WHY don't they have web pages? (Sheldahl Consulting would be happy to design a few).

Pathetic, I know, but I was wanting to run some numbers and think about it a little. From where I'm sitting, I feel proud of myself when I shop Kroger instead of Walmart. Only two items were unavailable at Kroger that I normally buy: Sugar free Ketchup and Sugar Free bread. Both of which I COULD make from scratch if I decided to put time and effort into it. Time I have, energy not as reliable. But it's worth thinking about.

The other question knocking around in my oversized head is this: I know Laura's Lean beef is grass fed, etc. and that is how the leanness is achieved. How, then, is the leanness achieved in Kroger brand extra lean beef (93/7) if feedlots and grains fatten beef more than this? I don't even know where to begin to go to answer this question.

It's all so interesting, forgive my rambles. I find this is always, like I alluded to above, about one more thing: The whole wheat pastry flour replacing the white flour. The local Mennonite-made all-fruit sugar free jellies that my whole family loves replacing the two jars: jar of generic strawberry and the jar of generic sugar free nasty chemical strawberry for me. It's about making a smaller, leaner meatloaf and cooking an extra serving of vegetable to round out the meal. It's about picking up Laura's Lean Beef when it's on sale. It's about choosing stevia more often than splenda. It's about smaller portions. It's about at least getting the eggs that don't have meatpacking castoffs in their feed. Always compromises, though. But which ones? That is the operative question. I could go on and no. No, wait. I DO go on and on.

I find, despite all my rantings and ramblings, that I'm very very willing to spend twenty cents more for Earthbound Farms organic lettuce than I am for the Dole. Ok, so even that choice is not as "pristine" as a nice basket of CSA veggies or even better, something I grow in my own back yard. A twenty cent difference I can deal with. A three or four dollar difference I can't.

So, where are all the farms? Are there any farms? Surely there are? Where do Farmer's Market die-hards buy their eggs in the winter time?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hungry Day

Every once in a while I have what I call a hungry day. For whatever reason, my usual amount of food just does not suffice. Perhaps this is hormonal. Or perhaps it is in response to an accumulation of a sufficient number of days in which I have eaten at a slight caloric deficit, and this is my body's way of INSISTING that it wants me to weigh what I weigh and not a drop less. My brain on the other hand, would like twenty pounds gone. Unfortunately, on these hungry days, my body usually wins. And no, it's not cookies. I lost track of my calories somewhere around mid-afternoon in a huge protein craving. So I made some soup and have been noshing on that and rye crackers, trying to do as little damage as possible while satisfying this urgent need for protein, warmth and calories.

It probably would do better not to put fat on those rye crackers, but's winter and I'm HUMAN.

In addition to being hungry, I feel like a little old lady today. Sore, stiff, frumpy. My favorite clothes are frumpy cardigans and comfortable sandals and wool socks.

Perhaps I should go out grocery shopping to get some relief from five days of persistent domesticity. I HAVE stepped foot out of the house this week, don't get me wrong: coffee with a friend Monday night and some good fresh air walks with my kids, too. Oooooooooo.

I learned the hard/expensive way, this week, the virtues of vacuuming out one's furnace air intake filter. I guess the world this winter is unusually dusty, because I've actually neglected the thing LESS this winter than heretofore, but the lack of having it vacuumed caused our furnace to quit getting our house much warmer than sixty degrees. After a stubborn week in a relatively cold house, I called the heating guy and he fiddled around while I vacuumed the filter. Too bad I wasn't the one who got paid fifty-nine dollars for that job.

If your furnace is not working, I'll be happy to come over and vacuum your furnace air intake filter. It will only cost you fifty-nine dollars. He he.

I also learned that at sixty degrees, children behave indoors as if they were at a park on a crisp fall day. Like hyenas. Imagine that!

Someone told me they'd read in a book somewhere that dust is actually the decomposed body parts of dead fairies. If it was in a book, it must be true! Suppose I should send the fairy guild a bill for my furnace service?

Currently reading that book about how omnivores are a delimma. Well, I'm happy the the virtues of eating an idustrial organic meal have been filed down to almost irrelevant. I also want to know what planet the author of that book lives on because he says that Americans spend only a tenth of their disposable income on food. Where? Huh? Which Americans? DISPOSABLE????? What's that supposed to mean? You mean like I take all the things like housing expenses, heat, electric, etc and subtract, and then see what percentage of what is left over we spend on food? I'd LOVE to be on the planet where two hundred a week is TEN PERCENT of our disposable income. Whoever that Berkley-living author is, he need's to do some research journalism over here in Kentucky. HA!

But speaking of local farmers, if I start smoking, I will endeavor only to buy locally grown pipe-weed. Longbottom leaf, perhaps? But then again, half of what is locally grown in this state is somewhat suspect in its legality, so I shall remain smoke free, except what I blow on this blog.

The ONLY things, so far, that I'm inspired to perhaps do food-wise, from reading this book is pick up some Laura's Lean beef when it's on sale (which I already do), make more of an effort to barter for, or purchase venison if I get the chance, from friends or family who have access to such, and PERHAPS see if some lettuce and tomatoes might grow out back this summer. While I'm at it I might plant some butternut squash. I sure do love butternut squash!

Maybe some day when my grocery bill represents a mere ten percent of my disposable income, then I'll be able to shop off the grid or afford to go hunting in the wilds. The author's arguments notwithstanding, I just don't buy the idea that most of us have the option were we to so choose, to buy all local and/or organic all the time. Cause I don't have cable and the twenty bucks it takes to add my cell phone to my husband's business phone would buy ONE organic chicken per month...a partial meal for a family of six, and then soup a few days later. Whatever.

As my friend says: I am always the gadfly on these issues. I suppose I am. Zzzzzt. Zzzzzt.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Resolved to stop reading junk lit and start furthering my education. That is, after all, why the public Library system was developed.

Currenlty in my book basket. Plowing through multiple things at once. Need a speed reading course.

From Under the Rubble, by Alexander Solzhenitzyn
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
The History of Russia, by Riassanovsky Fr. P. Reardon

Crazy? Yah, I think so.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Today in the gospels I read the words of Christ Jesus when he said that it is better to go through life with one eye than into hell with two eyes, and so if the eye causes one to sin, one should gouge it out. He went on to say the same about if your hand causes you to sin it would be better to cut it off and go into Life maimed than into hell physically whole. Tough words. Violent words. Violent repentance.

And then there's that verse about the Kingdom of God coming in violence and violent men taking hold of it. More tough words. And this afternoon on the phone, a friend of mine asked me what my take on that verse was. I recalled this morning's gospel reading.

I also recalled an incident at the county fair when I was a kid: Ten or eleven years old. I went on a ride called "The Octopus" which had extendy arms and seats that spin and the arms go up and down and the seats spin and the whole thing is also spinning. Quite a whirl. Quite a thrill.

Unless, that is, your safety bar does not latch and you are sliding and clinging with all that is in you so that the few minutes of the ride aren't your last. Violent clinging, that was. There was that adrenaline, that fear, that sense of life or death.

Obviously I'm here blogging about it, so I did not die that day. But that's what came to mind when I was thinking of taking the Kingdom of Heaven by force, with violence. It's about being adrenaline-awake to the things of God because our lives, our souls, our being depends upon it. It's about clinging to Him violently, seeking peace violently, ruthlessly, with all that is in us...with that kind of energy.

Just some thoughts.


I'm a flylady washout. I really am. I learned some stuff from her, though. I also have the book that originally inspired the Flylady that I inherited from my Mother-in-Law, may her memory be eternal, called Sidetracked Home Executives. Yes, I'll admit it, I'm a S.H.E.

So I've been thinking about what a good routine would look like for ME, according to the structure of MY day, and MY life...not something somone else would impose upon me. We are, after all, each of us unique. This is something I've been working on for years. Getting better year by year. But not perfect. Never will be.

I like a tidy and clean house but tend to have a cluttery "shabby chic" personal style. Can the two go together? Since I"ve been getting slowly better at house keeping over the years, I think the answer is "yes". To hear me talk, my friends might conclude that I live in a total stye. This, naturally, is not the case. I guess I run my housekeeping down because it's not up to some internal standard of mine.

This routine has been brewing in my head for some time now. Here's what I came up with today. The morning and evening routines are pretty much what I already do. Adn I already am in a habit of doing some house chores after lunch. This is just an addition of systematic intentionality to it, so that all areas get hit at least every once in a while. I hope there will be a visible difference. I don't want to do too much at once and make myself sick, either:

Morning Routine:

Get up use bathroom
Make coffee
sandwiches for Wes
Breakfast served
Morning prayers
Clear kitchen table and put out table cloth
kids empty dishwasher
Me load dishwasher and wipe down counter tops and stove
School begins
Me to take shower
make bed
rotate laundry
Reading/computer time

Mid day: Do daily cleaning chores after lunch, one monthly chore
Go for a walk after that
Reading/computer/rest time after that
Rotate Laundry

Evening Routine:

tidy living room (kids to help)
Cook and eat supper
empty dishwasher and reload it (kids to help)
Wipe down counter tops, put stuff away,
clean table cloth on table
Rotate Laundry
Fold laundry as family
evening prayers
kids to bed

Daily Chores:
feed cat -kids as needed
rotate laundry-kids can help as needed
swipe bathroom-me when I take shower
straighten couch cushions-anyone
clear hot spots: table in living room, coffee table, brown table by the door, my basket area
sweep kitchen
sweep dining room
sweep living room
kids make beds
kids bring dirty clothes to laundry room

Weekly Chores:

Sweep or sweep and mop bedroom bath and hallways floor (50 cents)
clean sheets on my bed
Read bible story for next week’s Sunday lesson

shop vac and mop dining room kitchen, laudry room floors (50 cents)
sheets on Eric’s bed
Make a list of characters to draw, do sketches

tidy books on living room shelves and in basket (me to do)
tidy game shelves (25 cents)
Sheets on Maia and Ariana’s bed
Ink and color for SS.

clear off stairs (25 cents)
Dust cobwebs all over house
Dust and shop vac living room
Sheets on Bethany’s bed
Cut and paste for SS

Clean the bathtub
Tidy Bathroom
Make out shopping list

Go grocery shopping
Cook of pot of stew, chilli or soup to have on hand

Cook for Common meal
home/rest/tidy/library trip
cook dinner
Guests in evening (every other week)


1. Dining room walls and cabinets
2. Fridge and freezer wipe down
3. fronts of kitchen cabinets
4. Walls by the stove and dishwasher
5. Front of stove and dishwasher
6. Dust the windowsill by the sink in Kitchen
7. Clean Eric’s room (include shop vac window area)
8. Clean Girls room (include shop vac rug and window area)
9. Shop vac carpet in living room
10. Shop vac stairs
11. Vacuum stairs
12. Clean off top of washer/dryer in Laundry room and wipe down
13. Sweep back porch
14. Sweep front porc h
15. wipe down dining room walls
16. wipe down bathroom door (both sides)
17. wipe down woodwork in hallway
18. wipe down inside front door
19. wipe down walls in stairway
20. Cull/tidy kitchen drawers

3 Months:
Wash couch cover and curtains
Sweep front walkway
wipe down front door

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Day Gone Awry

I got sick at Vespers last night and had to leave early. Nothing major, just a blood sugar crash and over tired. Sometimes I think that I push myself too hard to make all the services. Who am I trying to impress?

So today I decided it would be best to stay home from the Blessing of the Waters, and work on my Sunday School lesson, so that I could go to Vigil tonight and of course make it to Liturgy in the morning. Besides, I have to teach Sunday school, so I'd better be there tomorrow morning.

Well, I sat down with my box-o-stuff to make drawings and flannel graph pictures of the story I'm telling and I am so totally OUT of the right kind of paper and am missing half my markers. Sigh. So, no drawings this morning. When am I going to get it done?

I can go to the store this afternoon (dh has the car at liturgy this morning) but that will leave me very tired. It always does. Will I be able to do the planned shopping (groceries and markers and paper) AND do the artwork AND go to Vigil? OR will I miss Vigil as well as missing the Theophany service this morning?

Is there a lesson here about slowing down and pacing myself better? Something about not procrastinating comes to mind as well. I should have known last weekend that I needed supplies...not the day before.

So I'm at the front end of a day already not going according to my plans. This is a test. How am I going to respond?

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Finished the Temple Grandin book this morning. Very good reading, and I learned so much about animals and their behaviour patterns, what makes them tick, etc. I love learning new things.

I went to the library web site and put that Anthropologist on Mars book on hold, along with Omnivore's Delimma and some stuff on Russian history.

I decided to do some house cleaning today and so after the kids were done with school, I shopvac'd the dining room and actually washed the walls. I was able to do most of that work seated, but still ran out of energy faster than I wanted. I was thinking about what I'd read while I was working, and it occurred to me that one reason I hate housework so much is that it makes me hurt. No animal likes to do something that causes physical pain. But I have plenty of hausfrau guilt in me, so there it is. Maybe I would be a neat nick if I had a real life and normal energy levels. Too much of the time I look at something on the floor and think: If I had the energy to bend down and pick it up, it would be so out of there. And it's easy to get angry.

Gosh, I hate being this obsessed with how my body feels. But I am. It's always in my head like some twisted hedonistic calculus: If I do X then I'll get really tired/in pain and won't be able to do Y...or I can do Y and just push through the pain and fatigue but that means that I definitely won't be able to do Z. Except Z absolutely must be done, so I have to skip Y and rest so I can do Z. Meanwhile A, B, and C just remain undone, not a part of my life because there's no energy for it.

Every once in a while I do A or B or C or a combination of them anyway and then pay a really steep price for, like, the next week or so. And at night I lie in bed and adjust myself to be perfectly even, just so, on my back, and the covers have to be straight so they don't irritate my over sensitized self, and the pj's have to be out of a certain type of fabric for the same reason. Then I lie there and try not to think about where it hurts.

Or I go walking, despite being tired, and play mind games with myself: I play games with my watch, make deals with myself, focus on breathing, focus on the scenery, focus on that bird over there, just keep moving, don't think about the price to pay for getting necessary exercise. Don't think about you legs or your back or your arms, or whatever is hurting. Just go gently for a few more minutes. Then collapse at home. (yeah, yeah, I'm not bedridden or in a wheel chair. I know I have lots to be grateful for and there are others in this world who suffer worse than I do. I'm just very very grumpy right now and I wish my fairy godmother would swoop down and cheer me up, OK?)

That's me. Today.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pointless Drivel

Well, the Christmas decorations are put away, and the living room is rearranged. That's always one of my favorite things to do. I'm convinced that we moved so much when I was a kid that I don't really know how to deep clean a room, but that's not really true because I KNOW my mother taught me what to do. Maybe I just don't like doing it. Maybe I don't quite have enough energy. So whenever I need to get a room really clean I end up rearranging the furniture. This summer will see us in this house for ten whole years! At least the kids are old enough to be helpful. Shop vac-ing is fun when you are eight and getting paid to do it.

Today is the start of a new semester. My oldest is off to school and my other three are dutifully getting their school books out. Meanwhile, here I sit, in my jammies and a cup of coffee and my blog screen open. So very responsible of me, isn't it?

Just about killed myself yesterday with getting the living room done, so today I must take it easy. Nothing harder than cleaning the kitchen and cooking for me! I keep thinking I should make a grand plan, new-years house keeping resolution schedule...but I can never get my foggy brain wrapped around the concept, nor my
foggy body to cooperate.

Currently Reading: Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin Temple Grandin is an Autistic woman who has a ph.D. in Animal stuff. She goes around designing and implementing and inspecting feed lots and slaughter houses and things like that to make them more humane. And she's really really good at what she does. A very interesting voice in the whole ethical treatment of animals/food discussion. I like reading her stuff because she writes in a very straightforward style. Check out something written by her. I find this book fascinating.

Also reading: Chronicles of History and Worship: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Books of Chronicles by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon. Oh, I like me some Old Testament stuff!

Special Goals for this year (above and beyond what I normally do each day):

Read A History of Russia by Nicholas V. Riasanovsky

Design, sew and do embroidery and beading on at least one infant baptismal gown

Loose the last 15-20 pounds that need to come off.

Grow my hair long (already through the wretchedly hard part)

Complete the wool shawl I'm designing and crocheting

Write some more songs

Improve my guitar playing (learn new chords, and some more theory)

Things I'd love to do but don't know if I'll be able to:

Spend more time in Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry and take as much time on the U505 exhibit as I want, without kids in tow.

Go camping

Re-do the curtain/window treatments in our living room

See my parent's new house

Acquire and read at least one book on Nuclear Submarines (dh got me one on WW2 era U boats from the library to read last weekend, that's a start but I want more modern stuff.)

Monday, January 01, 2007

How I'm doing

Not so good.

One of the symptoms of fibro is depression, and that is what I've been fighting for the past few weeks. And an evil headache that does not want to leave.

I did a blocking test, which is like the "Crazy Ivan" of the guai protocol...I upped my dose to see if I'm blocking on something like shea butter. Shea butter is a plant product but butters are supposedly salicylate free or low enough in sals not to be a problem, and supposedly won't interfere with guaifenesin's activity on my fibro...but I got's me lots of dry skin and stretch marks and so I've been using it heavily.

So, I'm doing a blocking test. Upped my dosage. Today will REALLY tell, because I'm not using the shea butter today. If yesterday was any indication, I'm NOT blocking, because the thing I'm looking for is an increase in symptoms. If I were blocking my symptoms would stay the same.

Yesterday was miserable. I was in alot of pain and by the time I got home from Church, the fatigue was unbearable, except I was not sleepy. I just could not move: my muscles were very very stiff and very very fatigued and I was having the random pain thing, too. OK, that bodes well for my continued shea butter use.

The other thing that's been going on is that I'm lonely. My marriage is great. And that's about all that is great. For weeks on end, this has been happening: I get my food at common meal at Church, I sit down, and the table around me stays empty. What, do I have horns growing out of my head????? Do I have bad breath? No, just a cane and a tired look on my face.

But I go to Church and I intentionally think kind thoughts about everyone. I pray for people. I love them. I get up and try to help with set up or clean up. I'm nice to the babies. I smile as much as I can. I go out of my way to make new folks and visitors feel welcome. And it feels like a flippin' junior high lunch room experience where I'm alone at the reject table. And no, I'm not sitting in the far corner, either. Week after empty table in the middle of a very crowded fellowship hall. My husband joins me when he gets in there from helping to do treasury stuff, and even HE notices. He joins me, so it's me and him, alone.

And everyone is making grand plans, get togethers, pizza parties, birthday parties for their kids, etc.

And we are not welcome.

What is God trying to teach me here? I'm open to finding out, learning my lesson and getting on with things. Because this has been going on for some time now, and it hurts.

Holy St. Xenia, fool for Christ, pray for me!

How to Pray?

What do you do when an impossibly evil person like Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein dies? Do you do as Saddam's executioner and mentally dance a jig around their dead body? Or do you weep at the prospect of another human soul who is perhaps in hell? Or do you say a prayer and somehow ask God's mercy, even for such a one as this? Even while wondering if such a prayer is merely a useless gesture on your part?

How does love your enemies fit in with all this?

I didn't plan on starting my new year with tears streaming down my face over the death of a brutal evil dictator. It's all the drudgereport's fault, I suppose, for putting his dead face surrounded by a hangman's noose on the website.

But he's dead. And God made him. And Christ died for him even if he spurned that fact. Even if in this life his life was an extension of hell. Perhaps he needed to die. He probably did. And we humans can take life so easily, just like he did. What a mess.

God have mercy, Christ have mercy on the soul of this departed man. He's undeserving. And so am I.