Showing posts from April, 2008


If I thought it was daunting to go through my closet yesterday and look at how things looked on me, today's axe had to swing as well: Colors.

Most of my clothes are of the hand-me-down variety. Very tasteful. Nicer than anything I could ever imagine. But from my very pale very blond friend. I, on the other hand, have gigantic almost-black eyebrows and dark brown hair. It took me a long time and much scrutiny to figure out what the undertones in my skin are. Warm, not cool.

So, I need to be wearing browns, creams, corals, olive...those sorts of colors. Not black. Not white. Not violet. Not blue.

And black has been my staple! Almost all my shoes, cardigans, artsy looking wrap, velvet tops...all in wash-me-out black.

And a great deal of violet and white. Colors that look just perfect on my friend. And Hideous on me.

No wonder I feel "ridiculous" so much of the time. I look in the mirror and I just don't fit myself.

Wednesday's are "family da…

Just Wondering

I have a fun little tool that you can see if you scroll down to the bottom of the page. It's called MapLoco and it lets me see how many hits this blog gets. And where. Cool map.

So, I'm lying in bed this morning, thoughts drifting around, wondering who could have checked my blog from nowhere in the middle of the indian ocean? (Turns out there's an island called Mauritania with over a million people out in the middle of the Indian ocean).

But all that thinking (I now have a headache!) made me wonder: Would MapLoco be able to track someone logging on from a Submarine?

Is this a national security hole?

Probably not, you know, but I was just wondering....

It's So You

I'm currently working my way through the book _It's So You_ by Mary Sheehan Warren.

Oooof. I shed many a tear today. The book is about helping yourself develop a nice wardrobe that reflects your style, personality, etc.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a really really REALLY bad dresser. Really. I'm not just saying that.

I was half way afraid that I would take some quiz and that the test result would read as follows:

You are a hopeless frump. In order to best express this fashion style, you must always wear lumpy old cardigans in unflattering colors, birkenstock sandals, tunic tops and vast floral skirts.

Oh wait, that's pretty much how I dress. Lately I've flattered myself to be improving, so I've been buying long sleeved t-shirts in skirt-coordinating colors to update my look a bit. Oh yeah, THAT was a brilliant move, let me tell ya! Turns out those tops were shaped all wrong for my "body type".

There are four different body types…

Knee Pain

I think I know why the Orthodox Church forbids kneeling between Pascha and Pentecost: It is so we can all recover from the bursitis in our knees and hips which we developed during lent and Holy Week.

You would think, having just been kind enough to my body to loose 20 pounds, my body would be kind to me and NOT get something like Bursitis. BUT NO!

This article was helpful for me, and might be helpful for others of you who are in the same condition as myself.


Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead
trampling down death by death
and upon those in the tomb bestowing life!

Image found here .

Pascha Preparations

We've been so blessed. Here's our very full Pascha basket. I sort of paid attention to some traditional things, and sort of ignored what's traditional in favor of stuff that suits us.

The bread is a Swiss "Zopf" (which just means "braid") but it contains loads of butter, milk and eggs, so I decided it would do. There's a cream cheese and horseradish spread in the basket with XB, the Russian initials for "Christ is Risen", on it.

Beyond that, there's just loads of salami, summer sausage, Nutella, Toblerone, Milk chocolate, dried fruit (for my health nut daughter who does not like candy), Cadbury eggs, Wine, Cheeses galore (I'm particularly looking forward to the Gruyere Cheese!)

The only non-food items we crammed in this year are a small Psalter (Purse sized!) from the LXX!!! and a decoupaged Icon print of the Passion. The other books and presents are going to have to stay home.

And here's a shot of the dogwood and redbud bo…


I lifted this picture from John at Orthographika (see my blogroll). This is a picture of my little store-front Church this week. The icon that is on the table dates from the early 1800's (yes, it really is 200 years old, is an historical artifact, and is one of the earliest, if not the earliest pieces like this with the embrodery in English instead of Russian or Greek). The words are: The noble Joseph took Thy most pure body and laid it in a tomb."...or something close to that.

The icon is of Christ's dead body. The gospel book is sitting on top of it, and His face is covered with the same cloth that is used to cover the Holy Gifts (the bread and wine that are used in the Eucharist).

When Orthodox Christians approach this icon during Holy Week, we make two prostrations, kiss the feet, the gospel and the cloth, and then another prostration. All forms of love and veneration belong to the prototype. So what this really means is that the bows and kisses are for Jesus…

Dreams and Wishes and Hopes

I don't normally allow myself to dream or to wish, so this is sort of like therapy for me.

-I dream about going to the beach for camping and resting. Why the beach? I don't know...but there it is. I want to look at the ocean. And build a sand castle. And get gritty and itchy.

-I wish I had a camera that worked, that I could take more pictures of my kids and life. I'm really bad at taking pictures and I'm desperately camera shy. I've started making friends with the photo booth on this mac, and the fact that I have a picture of my face posted on my blog is HUGE progress.

-I wish my back yard were mowed. And that dandelions did not grow so fast.

-I dream and wish and hope to deepen relationships and friendships, both new and old.

-I wish I had more time and energy to have people over for dinner more often.

-I wish for a fire pit in my back yard and for summer time weenie roasts.

-I wish my back weren't so messed up and that my knees did not hurt.

OK, that&…

The 12 Gospels

Actually, there ARE only FOUR Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. "The 12 Gospels" is what we call our evening service on Great and Holy Thursday because Orthodox believers gather to read the entire account of Christ's betrayal and crucifixion from all four gospels, and they are divided into 12 readings.

In between each Gospel reading are litanies and hymns and the priest censes the Church. It takes a long time. For during the gospel reading, we each had a beeswax candle that we lit. There's always plenty of fire to be easily reached, from the oil lamps under the icons, so it was easy to re-light our candles for each gospel reading. The service was about three hours long.

In an Orthodox Church, the icon of Christ on the Cross is removable, and almost life-sized. At St. Athanasius we usually keep it up front, on the left hand side if you are facing the iconostasis (icon screen), and as we enter the Nave and venerate the icons, we get to venerate the cross w…

A View from the Back Porch

Earth Day: Was that yesterday? Or recently? It was hardly on my radar screen, except for some mention on someone else's blog. In my world, it's holy week. Here's a shot of my current back porch icon collection.

But by happy circumstance, my dryer broke down yesterday, so for my ghetto Earth day celebration I procured some clothesline and clothespins. The repair man can't get here for another week. A good way to use some of that free solar energy. I think I shall keep this up as long as the weather permits, which ought to be most of the time for the next several months.

And what's really sad is, I wonder whether the neighbors will be upset, having to look at our laundry hanging on the line. Oh, for simpler times!

In my neighborhood, walking and hanging out your laundry is sort of a poverty thing. Funny how it's good for the environment, too.

An Ancient Byzantine Hymn

in the voice of the woman who annointed Christ's feet. Also known as the "Hymn of Kassiani" the 9th century Nun who wrote this song. (I love the way that in Orthodoxy we remember everyone's names.)

Sensing Thy divinity, O Lord,
a woman of many sins,
takes it upon herself
to become a myrrh-bearer
and in deep mourning
brings before Thee fragrant oil
in anticipation of Thy burial; crying:
"Woe to me! For night is to me,
a dark and moonless madness
of wild-desire, an eros of sin.
Receive the springs of my tears
Thou Who gatherest the waters of the oceans into clouds,
bend to me, to the sorrows of my heart,
Thou who bendedst down the heavens
in Thy self-emptying Incarnation,
I will kiss with my lips Thine immaculate feet
and dry them with the locks of my hair;
those very feet
whose sound Eve heard at the dusk in Paradise
and hid herself in fear.
Who shall count the multitude of my sins
or the depth of…


I was feeling very sick during Church this morning. Exhausted, but also my back was hurting very much, shooting pain down both my legs. I've not been to the chiropractor in too long a time. (I need to find a new one.)

After Liturgy, I asked Father Justin to anoint me with oil and pray for me. We quietly did that. He used oil from the vigil lamp of the grave of St. Xenia of Petersburg. We prayed to the Lord, of course. "...just as you healed Peter's mother-in-law..."

My back and leg pain went away, and I was able to help clean up after common meal.

I'm still going to lay down and try to sleep this afternoon, though.

Glory to Thee, O Lord! Glory to Thee.

An Overview of Holy Week for the Curious

And so the whirlwind begins. Last night and this morning we gathered for Vespers and Divine Liturgy to commemorate Lazarus' being raised from the dead after four days of rotting in the grave.

As he is, so are we all. Rotting and dead, that is. The same thing struck me when I was reading the Gospel this morning. I'm about midway through the Gospel of Matthew, and Jesus is going around having compassion on the sick and the suffering, healing them, and forgiving their sins. I realized that that is me. The sick and the suffering. Spiritually more than physically, but that Jesus came to heal and restore that which was broken and sick.

And the resurrection is the logical extension of that reality. Father Justin spoke of the horror of this great feast. The horror of this beloved friend of Christ being dead. The horror of God weeping at the tomb of a mortal man. The horror and shock of Jesus saying "I am the resurrection and the Life", a short time after having sa…

Orthodox Women's Fashion Show

OK, I'll admit it. I like clothes. Most of what I get is from the thrift store, but that's OK. I still like to look nice. And appropriate. And modest. My biggest picky-point is that if one googles something like "modest Christian Women's clothing", one often comes up with stuff that looks like it's trying to recapture "Little House on the Prairie".

So, I was thilled to see this:

Recently a fashion show for Orthodox Women's Clothing was held at the Kremlin Palace. According to the article, which I read translated on Babel Fish, this fashion show was very well received.

I am so very amused because this is SO how the women in my parish dress. In America. In a mission parish. Never having been to Russia. (Except most of us are a bit fatter and less pretty than these Russian Supermodels...but still).

I find it interesting, that without a specifically stated code of "how to dress modestly" most tend to gravitate towards the s…

A Fun Party Game

I'm obnoxious at things like Baby Showers and places like that, because I'm good at word games. And so many shower games are word games.

Well, tonight was no exception, and I had particular fun turning this list of 20 words (only half of which had anything to do with baby stuff) into a story. And yes, it's rather braggy of me to blog about it, but here I go anyhow...

breast feeding
traffic light
cell phone
chain saw

_A Very Bad Day_

My diaper was dripping while I was stuck at the traffic light in front of Walmart. Eighth week of Lent. My mobile phone was fried due to a lack of blanket coverage by my lousy cell-phone provider. Clearly, customer service takes a backseat. Light turns green, but the water table was over-flowing into the street, so I'm helplessly stuck in front of this huge puddle. What a bad day. If only I hadn't lost my calendar! Then it might not BE…


As you all can see, I started a blog roll. My blog reading is rather eclectic. Don't be offended if you aren't on there yet. I'm adding to it slowly, as I get organized. There are some really good blogs out there that quite put mine to shame.

Drop me a line if you are regular reader and want me to include a link to your blog.

A "Get to Know You" Quiz

Lifted from

Let's play tag-if you have a blog, TAG you're it! Copy and Paste your answers to these questions onto your blog!
Four Things about Me

A) FOUR PLACES I GO OVER AND OVER: Church; The library; The grocery store and the thrift store.

B) FOUR PEOPLE WHO ENCOURAGED MY FAITH ALONG THE WAY: My parents, Father David Rucker (and Matushka Rozanne!), Father Stephen Freeman, who chrismated me and my current priest, Father Justin Patterson. There are many others, but having a spiritual Father is SUCH a good thing!

C) FOUR OF MY FAVORITE FOODS: chocolate, biscuits, spaghetti with meat sauce and parmesan cheese, and nachos.

D) FOUR PLACES I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT NOW: Bed, some beach somewhere, a really really comfortable bed, on vacation anywhere. Europe would be nice.

E) FOUR MOVIES I WOULD WATCH OVER AND OVER: Anything Jane Austen, Hunt for Red October, K19 Widowmaker, Ostrov.


Fait Accompli!

I know, I know! It's not like it was rocket science or any particular accomplishment for me to produce this dress (meaning, it's not my first dress, I'm very good at this sewing thing and so this does not represent a stretch on my behalf.)

However, I do get excited and attached to my projects and I want to share...

This one was Butterick B4443 from the Sew Easy line of patterns.

Was the pattern easy to use? I suppose. Since I lined it, I basically just used the pieces for cutting purposes, and then put it together my own way. So, it's not possible to give a good review of the pattern's ease. However, the dress looks so very much like the drawing/model photo that I am tickled pink.

Oh, and I made the skirt longer.

Reading this Week

Just finished: _A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue_ by Wendy Shalit. (I believe this author has a new book out called _Girls Gone Mild_, as well.) I LOVED this book. It is a scholarly and insightful critique of our culture. For me, as a woman, it really put some focus on vague feelings of discomfort that I've carried with me for years, but have had trouble putting my finger on. I would say it is a "must read" for anyone over the age of 18, men and women alike. Lots to think about.

And in stark contrast, a few weeks ago I read _Bridget Jones's Diary_ which embodies, ironically, the epitome of all that Shalit pundits against in her writings on modesty. (Can "pundit" be used as a verb? I did, so I guess it can....)

Also recently completed: _Virus Hunter_ by C.J. Peters. If you liked _Hot Zone_, you will like this autobiographical book by a scientist who regularly traveled to hot zones all over the world to hunt down viruses, work on e…

How to Make a Fully Lined Bodice

Updated with more pictures.

1.Cut two of each piece that comprises the bodice, except for the facings. Ignore any facing pieces. One set of pieces will be cut from the main fabric, and the other from a lining fabric. It is always possible to line the fabric with the main fabric, but if your material is light/see-through, use something solid for lining.

2.Sew the bodice pieces together if there are princess seams or anything like that, and then sew together at the shoulder. Do the same with the lining. Press all seams flat as necessary.

3. Sew the underarm seams together on the bodice. Do the same with the lining. Press seams flat.

4. Right sides of the fabrics together, carefully pin the lining to the bodice at the neck line, and down the back or front, depending on where the bodice closes.

5. Sew the seam you just pinned, being careful to keep things smooth around the neck curve.

6. Clip the tightest parts of the curve with traingular notches so that the seam will turn righ…


This is the last week of Lent, and I can hardly believe it!

And now it's time to reflect a little bit on Lent. Was it anything big, spiritual, transformational? I always enter into Lent with high hopes and great expectations. And I'm always somewhat struck by the ordinariness of it all. We fast, and attend church more (and get grumpy more!), and pray more and give alms intentionally more and go to confession for the grumpiness (among other things)...and yet it's all done by the same old "me". Instead of a big tranformational moment of glory its just the drips and drabs of an ordinary life lived in pursuit of communion with God.

My eyes are thus opened to my own poverty. The smallness of my own faith. How lax my efforts are, and how easily I dismiss the still small voice in favor of chasing my own desires and passions.

And it's so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of this business of life. What am I going to feed the kids? Does everyone have c…


Sometimes, when I'm driving home from Divine Liturgy, I look around and am amazed that there are people for whom nothing has transpired. I want to shout "THE WORLD HAS CHANGED TODAY!" "CHRIST HAS VISITED US!" "HEAVEN HAS TOUCHED EARTH AGAIN!" "THE BODY AND BLOOD OF OUR LORD HAS BEEN FREELY GIVEN TO US, COME AND SEE!"

But people are walking down the street, as usual.

Or jogging along with their ipods full of music, as usual.

And my hope is that for them, something has transpired, after all. Even if they do not know it...yet.

Because when I look at the world, the veil seems so thin, and there are all these people, God have mercy!, whom He loves. It's not that God isn't constantly pulling all to Himself. Because He is.

And I don't want to be asleep, as a human, if my role in worship is indeed to stand and offer up all the world to God, and ask in prayer for his mercy on us all. I truly hope that this includes all my friends,…

Goodbye, Debbie.

Today we had to put our very old and very very sick kitty, Debbie, to sleep.

We are all sad.

Goodbye, Debbie.

Mind Games

Some thoughts on the weight loss process:

One thing that I've noticed is how much of a mind game losing weight is. For instance, for several weeks I've been ekeing along, barely losing anything, and even a small gain. After the small gain I decided to get focused and boom, lost more than expected, and suddenly I'm down into the bottom five pounds of this decade (ten pound increment) and I'm SUPER motivated to push it down into the next decade. Whereas two pounds ago, it seemed like a huge hurdle and that it would take me forever. It's all in my head, and it's all a numbers game. And what's in my head is what determines what happens in my kitchen and on the scale.

Why does motivation wane and wax and wane and wax like that?

Another thing I notice: slog, slog, whooosh, slog, slog Whooosh! And it averages out to be about five pounds a month. That's niiiiice and Slooooooow in the grand scheme of things. Mostly the slogging happens when I make exc…

10% Goal!

Today I hit my initial "lose 10% of your starting weight" goal with weight watchers. I'm very happy, but also very aware that I still have a LONG way to go.

Pascha Dress

Today's work was sewing dd2's Pascha (Easter) dress. I cut it out yesterday, so it only took me two hours to put it all together. It is based on Simplicity 4163, which is a girl's blouse pattern in the "That's So Raven" line. I altered it in the following ways:

1. Instead of messing with an interfacing around the neck line, I just lined the whole thing. It's much simpler, and the fabric we chose was so thin it had to be lined. I always opt for lining something rather than messing with interfacing if I can.

2. I lengthened the bottom part of the blouse to be the skirt. It falls to just below the knee.

3. Because of the embroidery on the fabric itself, we decided not to put any lace trim on the dress.

I really like the way this turned out. It looks even prettier on my daughter, but since I don't post pictures of my kids on the internet, the hanger photo will have to do.

The dress has sort of a modernized "Pride and Prejudice" loo…

I LOVE that I got to say this today:

Heard coming from the back yard: "Moooooooom, such and so kicked me right in the BUTT!!!!"

My response: "So, TURN THE OTHER CHEEK!"


Weighing in on the whole "Pregnant Man" thing...

...this is nothing to do with biology or a miracle or anything. After all, this person who is having a child has, lemme see....TWO X chromosomes, a vagina and a uterus, and until suffering an ectopic pregnancy recently, two ovaries, fallopian tubes...all the girly bits, except for the breast which had to be surgically removed.

So, a woman is calling herself a "man". Yentl lives!

The only reason the media (Oprah) has made a deal of this is that someone, somewhere, has an agenda to push the idea that there is a difference between biological sex and this something something we call "gender". Ya think?!?!

Is there, or isn't there? A difference between sex and gender, that is...

I tend to be conservative on these sorts of things.

I wonder how long it will take before this discussion filters into the churches and becomes the hot topic there? I give it five to ten years, and mainstream protestant churches will have yet another thing on their dockets to rant …

Don't I Wish!

...and yet another day starts with a youngster informing us that she threw up in bed. The same youngster who was vomiting the other day. So much for our afternoon outing to a friend's house.

But the sun is shining, the coffee is strong, and the day awaits! How bad can it be, really? (This is what a pessimist sounds like who is trying to be optimistic). This way, I'll get further on the sewing work I'm supposed to be doing this week.

Does anyone feel overwhelmed yet, about how soon it will be Holy Week? Two weeks before the madness begins! A mere two weeks!

And then it's daily rushing hither and yon, wondering what to feed the kids as we madly dash out the door for yet another worship service. It's hoping that they manage to figure out something decent to wear. It's hoping I manage to figure out something decent to wear...not that anyone's keeping track, and not that it's about keeping up appearances...more like respect and please don't wear…


Home alone on a Sunday morning...The only time this ever happens is when I’m feeling sickish. Yeah. That would be me. And the real bummer is, I’m sitting here, and there is so much right in front of me TO DO. Starting with the screen of this laptop: it needs to be dusted. How does one dust a lap top screen, anyways? (It’s a mac).

I currently, without removing myself from my chair, can see three baskets of laundry that need to be folded.

The top of the coffee table is completely covered in crap: a box of colored pencils, books, papers, hair brush, kleenex box, CD’s a pair of scissors, junk mail, my planner, a bug catcher...sigh.

I see that the jumbling tower game has fallen off the game shelf in the corner and is spilled all over the floor. (I ought to save that for one of my minions to clean up later when they get back home. )

An open box containing a new modem from our internet provider sits in front of the dusty TV, waiting to be instelled. Cat food is scattered under my desk, my shoes …

Sitting Still on a "Sick Day"

so I may as well do this fun-looking survey that I lifted off a friend's blog:

Your ex is on the side of the road, on fire. What do you do?
Football tackle him to the ground and roll around to get the flames out. Hope I don't get burned too badly.

Your best friend tells you she is pregnant. What is your reaction?
Congratulate her and be genuinely excited for her, and secretly thank God that it isn't me. Ask her if she needs me to sew a baptismal gown for the baby.

...realize that I don't officially have a "best friend"....

When is the last time you wanted to punch someone in their face?
The only time I ever had the urge to punch someone in the face was in college and I ended up boxing him in the ear instead. Not a good moment in my life, but you should
've heard what he said to me...

What is the last thing you spent money on?
groceries, yesterday...sigh.

Do you think you gained or lost weight this past month?
overall, lost

Crunchy or Puffy Cheetos?
crunchy, b…

Score: Four

Four kids feeling sick, that is. Two of them have vomited.

Just now, and at 3:30 am last night.

My constant nagging refrain to the kids now is: "I WILL PAY YOU MONEY IF YOU VOMIT IN THE TOILET!!!!"

Big Feet!

My nine and a half year old son wears a men's shoe size--and not the smallest one, either!

(We went shoe shopping today. I guess his days of superhero light-up sneakers are OVER.) :-)))))

Just thought I'd share.

Bad Dreams

I was going through a set of rooms where I'd been staying. Seems like it was a hotel room or something but it had weird dark wood paneling. Suddenly I had a very creepy feeling, like "something is different". I looked at a small table near the door and realized the telephone that had been sitting there earlier was not there anymore.

I heard the lock click and knew I was locked in. With an intruder.

Nowhere to run. Panic. I will be harmed.

Then I woke up.


I'm trying to decide if I like this recurring dream or the one I used to have, of slipping off a cliff ...or the one where I'm drowning in a river.... the least.

St. Mary of Egypt

Today it really blessed me to read the life of St. Mary of Egypt. Today is the day of her repose in the Lord. This from the OCA website:

Commemorated on April 1

St Zosimas (April 4) was a monk at a certain Palestinian monastery on the outskirts of Caesarea. Having dwelt at the monastery since his childhood, he lived there in asceticism until he reached the age of fifty-three. Then he was disturbed by the thought that he had attained perfection, and needed no one to instruct him. "Is there a monk anywhere who can show me some form of asceticism that I have not attained? Is there anyone who has surpassed me in spiritual sobriety and deeds?"

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, "Zosimas, you have struggled valiantly, as far as this is in the power of man. However, there is no one who is righteous (Rom 3:10). So that you may know how many other ways lead to salvation, leave your native land, like Abraham from the house of his father (Gen 12:1), and go to …