Thursday, October 30, 2008

Random Kerfluffle

I have the urge to write, but my thoughts are about as chaotic as my house right now. Our living room is an ocean of boxes with narrow little walking paths to get us to the chairs and couch.

My bedroom is the same. The kids' rooms, on the other hand are mostly empty. I guess their boxes wandered down to the living room.

Today, my goal is to similarly turn my kitchen into such a zone of chaos and pack up the remaining stuff that seems to spawn on my already packed desk and the coffee table. Oh, and sort out toiletries into suitcases and pack the rest of the bathroom. That stuff, I believe, will fit in one box.

Seriously, I'm THAT close. Wouldn't it be fun to bust a move and have it all done, and then take my kids to the movies this afternoon??????

I'm pretty excited about the move. I keep having anxiety thoughts, like what if we wreck the moving truck, or what if no one shows up to help us...or not enough people, that sort of thing.

And I'm sad about leaving all my friends and everything familiar. I don't normally battle my way though rush hour on Wednesday nights to make it down to Vespers, but last night I did since it was an Akathist for to the Saints of North America and we prayed out on the land. I was in the car for more than an hour coming down, but it was worth it. The sunset was glorious, and I got to make my last confession with Father J. That was really sad, but I'm glad I got to do it outdoors on the hill.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 God wills.....

Well, after my brilliant report this morning, today, I'm slow to launch. The last bits are the hardest, including getting the laundry sorted, and deciding what to put in suitcases and what goes into boxes and doing the same in the kitchen. I bought paper plates.

I went to Kinko's this morning to fax some medical forms to a new doc for my daughter, to expedite getting her seen hopefully next week. Wes had spoken on the phone with someone from there two days ago to get their fax number. So I spend eighteen dollars plus on a long distance fax, only to get a call while I'm in Walmart telling me they are NOT taking new patients right now.

Mega Grrrrrrr.

But I need to say instead: As God wills. I have been praying that we can find the right care provider for my dd, and so perhaps this is part of how it will work out. We need some divine intervention, what with our "make phone calls until we find someone taking new patients and who takes our insurance" method of going about this. It is difficult, at best. Nerve-wracking, self-pity inducing and grief causing at worst. I try to be calm and together.

So, I'm at Walmart and I get that phone call, and it sends me for a loop. I gather the few items I need today, such as paper plates and beans to put in a crock of chili. Oh, and FELT to make DONKEY EARS for an impromptu Sunday School play being held out on the land our parish has bought (future site, blah blah blah) TONIGHT. This was billed as a "last hurrah to say goodbye to the Sheldahl kids." Balam's Ass. I have to make Donkey ears. Fortunately for me, the hot glue gun is in an open topped tool box on the back porch and not buried underneath mounts of cardboard and tape like most of the rest of my possessions. But still. This is NOT what love feels like to me. As God wills.

And once I get out to the parking lot, I realize that I FORGOT THE FREAKIN' SMART BALANCE MARGARINE, which is a small thing, really, but a thing we really need and (oh the irony!) the very item I originally went to Walmart for. So I trundle down to my car, wishing fervently I had a handicapped sticker for it, since it was at the bottom of the lot and by now my legs were dragging (fibro thing), unload my groceries and trundle myself back into the store. Wouldn't you know the margarine lives at the very back in the dairy section? More steps from my daily limited amount being taken. Energy drain happening fast.

But I survived.

When I was complaining the other day at Church about how achy the fasting makes me (fibro/hypoglycemia thing) a brother said to me: "As God wills." I felt gently corrected and decided to take it to heart, and try to make this my prayer: "As God wills." And to do so joyfully. Especially when things aren't going my way or my legs aren't working right or my daughter is not doing well. I'll still try my best though, in all things. As God wills.

A Day Ahead of Schedule

I sort of have it laid out in my mind, what needs to happen prior to the big move on Saturday.

And surprisingly, this is Wednesday, and my list is short. Everything is packed except for clothes, towels, and kitchen...oh, and a few last items in the living room that will likely get dumped into a box labeled "Misc." late Friday night.

Today I need to pack the clothes. That involves folding some laundry and sticking some hanging things in the wardrobe boxes, a few items in a suitcase, and boxing up the rest. All the kids clothes are in big rubbermaid totes already, so that's automatically done.

After that, it's just the kitchen, and let me tell ya, I think I can pre-pack most of that as well. Not having much to eat in the house is helpful. Seems I'm making daily grocery runs for random things we run out of like smart balance margarine.

Last night I emptied the big freezer the rest of the way and unplugged it, so a bit of spray and wipe action and it will be set to go.

So I guess I'll be twiddling my thumbs come tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, we drive out to Louisville to sign the lease, take possession, and put toilet paper in the bathroom and beer in the fridge. Perhaps we'll make it to the DMV and the library.

Feeding people amidst all this chaos is rather interesting. Especially with B's GFCF diet.

So, that was an exciting and insightful post, wasn't it?

Monday, October 27, 2008


I think it happens in stages. Perceptions get distorted and for a while, before you are very far down the slope, you still know that the distortions are distortions. That the voices aren't real, but you hear them anyways, and at first the voice is your own voice and you don't know if it's your own thoughts or what. (And the irony is, that it ALL is...). That for instance your hand doesn't really have a face on it, but it seems like it, anyways. Or that the sofa or church pew is not actually projecting your thoughts at you, but it seems like it, anyways.

And its a twilight zone of trying to cope, while you are still on your way down that slope into being totally out of touch with reality.

And everyone around you is normal, and you are huddling under a table...literally.

Of course, I don't know for sure.

I'm just the mom.

Please pray for us. We are moving this week and my daughter is NOT doing well. Do we run to the doc here, or do we expedite getting her seen by someone ASAP in our new town???? Both?

O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on her. And on us. I pray that she NOT need to be hospitalized. Amen.

And now I take a deep breath and remind myself that worry is NOT a superpower.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Some Guy at Church

was complaining today that I don't update my blog often enough. I told him it was because if I wrote something every day, my posts would be very stupid. Case in point.

Tomorrow I'll have a funny picture to post.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Candy Recall

go to

This is a TRUE recall of chocolate coins that are from China and have the same chemical in them that all that contaminated milk in China contained. It's something to be aware of.

We don't do Halloween here, but we are not above eating chocolates, and you know how it is. I told one friend and her son had gotten some chocolate coins at a library function the night before. No way to tell if they were the recalled brand or not, but better safe than sorry.

They are istributed at Costco and Dollar Stores in Canada.

What I'm doing now

Egads. A week from tomorrow we move!

The house is full of boxes and chaos, although I'm trying hard to keep things sane. It's not easy to do. The packing is slowed down to a crawl as we approach the last minute flurry of boxing things that we will need up until Thursday or so. Next week I go hard core on the kid's rooms, etc.

I had the yen for a thrift store run (this yen always strikes me when I'm in a particular lowish-mood, since I find rifling through racks of mostly ugly clothes rather soothing) yesterday, and I scored two identical pairs of GAP bluejeans (low rise, flair leg) that fit me perfectly. yay. Now I shall get rid of the ugly pinchy ones cluttering up my closet. Also found some black shirts which I needed for my fall/winter wardrobe. Woo hoo.

I learned from this experience that Wes does NOT like to wear sweaters with a big stripe across the chest. Oh well, it only cost $2.50 and maybe I can return it. Funny how you can live with a person for sixteen and a half years, and then suddenly learn something new about them.

I've got some shopping to do (sort of fun and sort of not fun if I factor in the fatigue that inevitably follows), a prescription to fill, and some food to cook, which activity generates dirty dishes, which I also hate.

So, that's what I'm doing. Nothing much philosophical coming from me today. For some reason I can't get myself off this chair to actually do much, though.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What I said...

...versus what I meant.

Last Saturday at Handmaidens meeting, some folks were suggesting that I ought to make the trek back for Handmaidens meetings once a month, from Louisville.

I said, rather vehemently I think, something to the effect of "No, I can't come back! Let me go!"

I know what was being said was an expression of love. I feel loved, that was wonderful. What I meant by that, is that when we move, as hard as it is to say goodbye and to "let go", we really need to firmly plant ourselves in our new parish.

This does not mean we won't show up at St. Athanasius now and again. We fully plan to do so. We plan to come back for baptisms and such, for sure.

St. Athanasius will always be the place where we became Orthodox Christians, and for that reason will always be "home" in the sense that one might "go home" to Grandma's house for a special occasion or whatnot. It's our launch pad.

But we also need to find a new home at St. Michael's.

I did not mean, by what I said to in any way reject my dear sisters and brothers at St. Athanasius. Not at all. I get a big lump in my throat and gut just thinking about saying goodbye. I can barely even picture our nave with everyone gathered and the icons and the choir and the prayers ascending without wanting to cry.

I have a hard time imagining what it will be like to make our home outside of the OCA, with a new bishop and a new priest. These are big changes.

And our decision to move to Louisville has nothing to do with any form of rejection of our Church family, but rather it is necessary for the survival of our biological family. Louisville is where God has provided work for Wes, and for that we are grateful. The past two years have been very hard, wearing and wearying, on us, what with Wes driving to and from Louisville every day. He's tired. I'm tired. The kids are tired. Most nights we don't have family dinner and he usually rolls through the door in time for evening prayers at 8:30 or so-if we're lucky. Not the way we want our family life to go.

So, dear blog-readers-who-go-to-St.-Athanasius , please know that we WILL show up from time to time, and we WILL keep in touch and we DO still love all of you and we WILL keep receiving the bulletin and the prayer list (and keep praying for you). Our cell phones will still be 859, so not long distance. And I'll still be blogging, for what it's worth.

And we'll keep our noses plastered to the wall on facebook, too.

I love you all so much and I'm sorry if I caused offense.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Am I there Yet?

Sometimes as I travel down the road of life, I hear my own voice asking from my own backseat: "Am I there yet?" in that whiney voice only a child who has been traveling for more than ten seconds can muster. You know the one I mean. Fraught with impatience with the journey and eagerness to get to the destination. "Are we there yet?"

So, for years I've been thinking off and on about Titus 2: 3. I'll quote it in context:

"But as for you, teach what befits sound doctrine. Bid the older men be temperate, serious, sensible, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Bid the older women likewise to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husband and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God my not be discredited. Likewise urge the younger men to control themselves. Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us..."--Titus 2:1-8

Am I there yet?

I'm starting to definitely feel "older", but really I'm sort of in the middle. There are many young mothers in the parish I attend, and I clearly see myself as being past that. Diapers and slings and crawling babies and breastfeeding...I thought those days would never end. And there's so much I can share with these younger women. Sometimes I do.

I wasn't an Orthodox Christian during many of those young baby years. For most of them I was in the Mennonite church. I was still of rather conservative ilk (as I still am) and I strove with all my heart of follow Jesus. I remember rocking my babies and singing hymns every evening, trying to get them to sleep.

But now that I'm Orthodox there are so many more resources that I have at my disposal. What would I say to the young mothers, that I've learned over the years, along the lines of Titus 2 stuff?

I think I would say: Keep a prayer rule, even if it's short. Be consistent. Bring your children with you to the icon corner and teach them to be quiet and reverent while you model what it means to pray. Teach your kids to make prostrations. Help them to learn how to fast. (I watched a one year old doing bows yesterday in was TOO CUTE, but bows they were!)

Read your Bible, and read it to your kids.

I think I would say that one way you can love your husband and your children is by taking good care of your own health. It's not just a cliche, its true. Taking care of your own health does not have to degerate into the worldly "you must be sexy" lure that so much of women's health gets affected with these days. It truly can be about your health. And while you might have lots of "bounce back" while you are in your twenties, as you get older that natural vitality will begin to wane. Taking care of yourself is a good investement in the future of your family, as God grants you years.

I think I would say that it is better to be gentle and meek than to roar and try to get your own way. It is better for your soul. Is there a way to be meek and still hold authority as a mother? I think there is. I achieve it in moments, but still do my own share of roaring, unfortunately. Pray to God about it. But also ask the Theotokos for her prayers. I think most mothers yell sometimes. But if we can yell less and then less again, and less again, we have achieved something great.

In times of stress, recognize that there is stress and that this will bring about a greater temptation to fight with your husband or yell at your kids. Being aware can often diffuse these family fights. Go to confession often. This helps, too, to increase the love in a family.

For my part, I was all about having a family bed when my babies were wee and I was still nursing them. Not everyone is into that, and that's OK. But if you are getting weary, know that there are ages and stages and that the "wee ones" stage really does go by quickly. Now that the kids are older, I'm looking forward to my bedroom being MY bedroom and no longer grand central station. For instance, when we move, the computer will be out of there! Perhaps think about how your home is arranged. Does it meet your needs currently? Be creative in rearranging or thinking outside the box on what you do with each room. I'm just sayin'. Just because it's one way now, doesn't mean you can't change things up on the future. Being flexible is good.

So all of the ins and outs of our days with our children can be spent preparing for heaven. And what else is there but heaven? Really? The psalmist says "Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and beside Thee I desire nothing on earth? My flesh and heart are weak and may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

I like to pray while I"m washing dishes or doing laundry folding. And I no longer get livid while cleaning house like I used to. (Yes, it's true, the very act of house cleaning used to make me roaring mad with rage...why, I wonder?) I'm growing and hopefully bearing fruit. If you are a younger woman and are struggling with some of this stuff, rest assured that God has not abandoned you. Because He hasn't abandoned me. I've been at this long enough that I can look back and see the changes, but I'm really still on the journey.


I'm up to my neck in boxes around here, and I've officially given our home school a three week holiday. There's just no way I can handle helping kids with their school work along with getting ready to move.

It seems like each box holds so little, and an endless supply is needed. But I've not run out yet, and if necessary, I can always send Wes to fetch more at Kroger, 11pm. That's when the stockers are busy and the boxes are available. Mind boggling how much cardboard gets used and baled and recycled each night. I hate to think what was done with boxes before recycling existed.

Which brings to mind some thoughts on possessions: We (and by this I am talking collectively of most Americans) generally own too much. Our lifestyles necessitate each family unit owning "one of everything", and in general people don't share very much. The idea of sharing items such as a lawn mower, or other yard tools is perhaps more palatable than the idea of two families sharing a washer and a dryer. That would just be "weird". Counter cultural.

Imagine doing that, though. You'd have to communicate. You'd have to work out differences, and agree on taking turns and things like that. Is that a bad thing?

I'm just asking. Because business as usual here in the good ol' USA leaves people indebted, isolated, and overburdened. How is it possible to simplify our lifestyles to the extent that we aren't being creepy but we are living in community with our neighbors?

We own too much stuff, and just like there are always too many opportunities for eating too much food, there also seem to be too many occasions to accumulate more stuff. Christmas is coming. Don't think I haven't been thinking of it. Christmas, Pascha, birthdays, name days. What if these occasions were used to gift each other with more of the necessities of life rather than the toys? Or with gifts that don't take up space? (I think there's some information at about non-material gifts. I'm just brainstorming, here.

But all this to say, we've gotten rid of A LOT of stuff. Our whole garage was filled with the possessions of my in-laws, deceased since 1994. That's all gone. We are being ruthless with old mementos, too. (Must and mold is helping to motivate us!) It's not coming with us if it stinks. It's not coming with us if it's worn out. It's not coming with us if we don't like it. It's not coming with us if we don't use it or love it.

Unfortunately, in my kitchen there are those items like the veggie tray that I only use once or twice a year, but at those holiday times I need that stuff. This stuff takes up space. But happily, I can go ahead and pack them now, twelve days out from moving day.

And so it goes.

I'm really grateful for the opportunity to lighten the load of possessions a bit. And ironically, I still have a bit of a wish list. Part of it is stuff that legitimately could stand to be replaced, like kitchen linens that are raggedy and frayed and threadbare. But some stuff is because I just like the pretty embroidered handkerchiefs I have been oogling from this website.

Learning to live in this world without my heart being attached to temporal things is rather difficult sometimes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some Good Children's Books

I was at a women's Bible Study tonight...rather a discussion group discussing a book written about one of the books in the Bible...

But one of the women there was mentioning wanting to find good books for her to read with her daughter, aged three-ish.

This made me remember my very favorite series of books when my own daughter was wee:

The "Alfie" books, by Shirley Hughes.

The illustrations are so charming, and the stories are comprised of little vignettes: They types of adventures only the very young who are disovering the world around them for the first time can experience. These books are charming through and through, and have enough text in them to make for some substantial reading time, enough interest to keep mom happy, and beautiful illustrations to charm anyone who peruses them.

Here's a link to one of them: The Big Alife and Annie Rose Storybook

Friday, October 10, 2008

Soy Yogurt How To

Scald a quart of soy milk in a clean pan. Boil little glass cups from yogurt maker.

Stir in 1/8 tsp of yogurt starter (or a tablespoon or so of soy yogurt), once it has cooled to tepid. Don't do what I did one time, and stick your finger in there to check it, though, or you will deposit all kinds of bacteria into the milk which will then multiply in the yogurt maker, yielding a very stinky mess instead of yogurt. I test the milk by getting some with a clean spoon and sticking my finger in that, and then throwing what's in the spoon, and the spoon itself into the sink.

Pour into glass containers and place in yogurt maker. Plug in, turn on and forget about it for eight hours.

Try not to wonder whether the fly that ever-so-briefly landed on one of the cups before you got the lid on will have deposited wondrous amounts of bacteria which will incubate as well. You will find out soon enough.

A Picture of my Day

outside my window ~ Sunshine, blue skies, changing trees except for the huge evergreen holly bush that dominates all, neighbor's lawnmower humming.

daily rhythm ~After lunch quiet. Kids doing school work and asking more questions than I'd like for them to. Blogging and giving a spelling test simultaneously. Feeling stressed and in pain.

I am thankful for ~ No errands to run today.

in the kitchen ~ soy yogurt in the yogurt maker, a few dirty dishes in the sink.

Everyone's been grabbing their own food today. Don't know what dinner will be.

I am wearing ~ clothes that don't match very well: A striped skirt, an orange t-shirt and a sage green t-shirt fabric long sleeved "jackety thing" , and a pink hat.
I hate my outfit. Would it be frivolous to change?

I am creating ~ A blog post, and some flannel pads.

Bringing beauty to my home ~ By plotting to pack a few more boxes later today.

I am reading ~ Nothing much, currently.

I am hoping ~ To move in a few weeks. Hoping to be able to afford a new couch cover, some cushions, and some new bathroom goodies like toothbrush holders and soap dispensers. Just hoping. I'm also hoping for some new bedding and sheets because ours are all worn out.

making plans ~ For the move, what to give away, what to take.

a picture thought ~ Some beach...somewhere....
The sink is full of dirty dishes and the couch is covered in unfolded laundry. There is even more of that waiting in the laundry room. Half the living room seems to be filled with boxes waiting to be packed, and to top it all off, I have several phone calls I need to make today.

And here I sit. On the computer.

Sipping coffee.

And I didn't even mention that fact that I should be guiding the kids through their lessons. Thankfully, that means doing morning prayers and Scripture reading time, and then telling them to get to work. But it's Friday, so it also means giving spelling and vocabulary tests.

And here I sit. On the computer.

Sipping coffee.

I'll get it all done. Really, I will. It's a gorgeous day, and I'm not required to go anywhere except out to exercise later on.

So here I sit. On the computer.

Sipping coffee.

And now my daughter wants to make yogurt in the very icky kitchen, and she doesn't seem to get the fact that icky kitchens are NOT good places to make yogurt.

So, here I get up. Off the computer.

And my day begins....

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My Trip to Holy Cross Orthodox Monastery

I'd like to say that my trip to the monastery was something in the category of the spiritually sublime, amazing or wonderful. But it wasn't. It was actually just rather ordinary with moments of frustration and moments of joy sprinkled thoughout.

It was good to go, and very good to be there. Don't get me wrong. The grounds were just so beautiful, and I always love being in the mountains. The monks were holding a prayer service in the outdoor chapel with a tent set up to expand it, covering the icons we could venerate, and the cross, and the pilgrims gathered outside the tent.

There was also a large tent set up with tables and chairs where we sat to eat the simple supper that was provided. It was all very lovely.

A gentle atmosphere prevaded amongst the people. Everyone was kind and wonderful to one another. I could tell that many holy prayers filled that place.

My first thought, since it was a monastery and all the women were wearing headcoverings was "Hey, it's a head covering convention!" That's what we used to say back in our Mennonite days when we attended the Annual Conference of the Conservative Mennonites. It's just striking when a large group of people gather and are doing something as unconventional as that.

The best part of the trip, I must say, was having the opportunity to kiss a piece of the ACTUAL CROSS of Christ. Or rather, I should say, the reliquary which contained it. Close enough. Wow. The thought gave me chills for days.

It's really hard to pray sometimes, and being at a monastery did not change that fact.

But here are some pictures from the journey. I took more, but in keeping with my policy of not posting face shots of my kids (and anyone else's) some pictures are staying in my computer.

The choir of monks singing during the vigil service. I wish a picture could convey their beautiful voices!

Here is B, who traveled with me, sort of from behind.

Headcoverings done Orthodox style.

My first thought when I saw this shed with hand chopped wood was: Wow! That's a lot of "Jesus Prayer"!

The monks keep goats. I know they sell goat milk soap, and I wonder if they make cheese, too.

This little pond, set back in the woods near one of the Monks' cells, has a free floating island of earth, with a tree growing on it. I watched while one of our friends shoved the island with a stick and it floated across the pond. Like the islands on Perelandra.

Father Justin with a bag of cookies, and Noel, at the rest area on our way up to West Virginia.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Where my thoughts are coming from

The post I wrote about my political misgivings is just that: My political misgivings based on a bit of personal paranoia, worst case scenario thinking.

I can't seem to find the article I read which spawned yesterday's post, and I can't remember where I found it linked from (bad grammar), but in my snooping, I came upone an article that summarizes very well some of my concerns.

I will say that I have a great deal of respect for Hospice care, etc. But my misgivings are based on a conversation I had with a friend of mine who at one time was in a situation where a lethal dose of morphine was involved. Then my mind got to spinning and I started (see above about the worst-case-scenarios going through my head) thinking of the possibilities.

Nowhere did I actually read anything written that there's any sort of Right-to-Die push on a national level, or by any political party right now.

It's just my own paranoid speculation. My mind goes there.

Of course, what do I know? I also happen to believe in Sasquatch and that 9/11 was an inside job....;-)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I may not get to vote!

If we move on Nov. 1, it will most likely mess up our chance to vote, won't it? I dont' know. Seems like it would. I need to figure out who to call to get an answer to that question.

But that's OK. Lately I've been very flummoxed.

I"m against the war. No way no how no McCain/Palin (I keep typing Pain and have to go back and add the "L").

But then I'm totally creeped out by the following idea:

As in Oregon currently, where assisted suicide is legal...and where folks on the state medical plan don't get medical treatment paid for if they are given only 6 months to live, but only "comfort care" as the state run suicide plan is soon in Washington State.

Once it's in Washington and Oregon, how about someone decides to make a push for this lovely culture of death idea to be nationalized?

...All at the same time that National Health Care goes into effect.

And suddenly we are living in the land of the free and the home of the "it's your patriotic duty to bump yourself off and if you don't we'll put all kinds of pressure on you anyways"... (from what I understand, this is happening in the Netherlands, and as they do, so we do a few years behind).

Survival of the fittest, and those on the margins of life are not worthy?

I don't know...I'm just imagining the worst.

And it gives me chills.

So even though this very pro-life and cautiously democrat (there, I said it, now you all know my political affiliations...I just don't fit) would like to see an end to war and more support for those in poverty, the idea that this might be a possibility in the very near future just creeps me out.

So, perhaps I'm glad that I may not be able to vote this year, due to the vagaries and upheavals of my life. But I surely can pray. God have mercy.

Cooking: Great Depression Style!

Here we go again, folks, and it's time we dust off those skills our great grandmothers and grandmothers could have taught us. I'm sure every family has some home grown recipes, some sort of kitchen lore on what was for eatin' during hard times.

Perhaps hard times are here again. Anna, over at Veiled Glory posted a charming YouTube video of Depression Era Cooking. The meal has some remarkable similarities to my newly dubbed "Deliciousness"

This has inspired this post: What Depression Era cooking lore does your family possess which might be resurrected, dusted off, and reinvented for these coming hard times?

Two things that come to mind: My mother always made this hideous soup when I was a kid, and swore the recipe came straight out of the Depression. I think it might have been dubbed "Depression Soup", and that's certainly how I felt when I had to eat it. But it was food. And it was never quite as bad as the anticipation of it: The soup consisted of potato chunks, sliced onion, and tomato. Not bad, over-all, but it could have benefited from some road-kill or an overly loud rooster. Thanks for feeding me, mom, even when I didn't fully appreciate it.

Nowadays, what with skyrocketing grocery prices and all, just thinking of that soup gives me a special thrill. It would be VERY cheap to make.

Another recipe I've only ever heard about, since the maker died in 1981, I think, was Mama Brown's famous vinegar cobbler. Yes, that's right. Pie crust dough, layered with sugar, butter and vinegar. I guess that's what you do when you want dessert and you are out of fruit. Or can't afford it. Or the crops fail. Now this one sounds yummy!

Perhaps I should make some, to go with that soup.

OK, ladies, call your grandmothers, if you are still blessed to have them. Find out what they cooked during the depression, blog about it, and point me to your blog.

A List of Happy Things

I've been so stressed out and in the doldrums lately, that this morning, I have determined to make a list of happy things.

Went to the monastery this weekend. IT was a wonderful whirlwind trip, and I promise I will write a post with some pictures on that topic soon. Later today, after I upload the pics.

We have a moving date: Nov. 1! I packed my first sixteen boxes yesterday. Glad I've been culling and decluttering as I go along. This is a good time to do even more of that. We filled our rosie (recycling bins are NAMED here in Lexington) with lots of papers this past weekend.

I find that I LIKE the physical aspects of moving, because it's a good chance to clean everything.

Got up early enough this morning to see the sky go from dark to pink out my window.

Coffee...drinking coffee...yum!

Our new dwelling place is going to be bigger than our current dwelling place. And newer. With more bathrooms. I consider that an upgrade.

A brother in Christ was very kind to me on Saturday, and I now believe that gentlemanly behavior still exists in some people. (My van was parked at the bottom of a huge hill and we were at the top jackets which were in the van, and a brother from my parish found out what my plans were and put a quick stop to them, and walked down and brought my van to the top of the hill for me. Very kind.)

The weather has been gorgeous "October in Kentucky" weather: Sunny and warm but not too hot, with a hint of coolness around the edges. The trees are turning and it's a wonderful time of year.

I made a wonderful little scale map of our new dwelling on graph paper, and cut outs of our furniture (also to scale), with tape loops on the back and I've been having fun arranging furniture and such.

My kids are sweet and wonderful. Pray for them. Moving is always hard, especially on kids. They are having lots of anxiety driven nightmares.

So, these are little things, but thinking of them makes me happy.

What are you happy about today?

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Hardest Thing

Is admiting that on some level it makes me really really angry when I can only get a fraction of the things done that I need to get done. I've blogged about it before.

Today started out with an emergency dentist visit for my son, who had a crumbling and loose baby tooth. He ended up having it pulled, and it came out in four pieces. The dentist said it was cracked due to some sort of trauma, but that the tooth had also been in the process of dissolving. Or course for me, this conjures us creepy images of the Senator dissolving, on the first X-Men movie. Eeeeew. E was brave though, and I bought him a deck of Pokemon cards to reward him for his bravery whilst getting the shot.

Buying a kid who has painful dental work done a present is a family tradition that goes back to when I was a kid, and my mom did the same for me. I remember one particularly charming rubber ball, patterned in red, yellow, blue and white. It was bouncy and cute and going to the toy store after my dentist visit was a treat that helped me cope better.

When we got home, I came in to find a broken thermostat. One of the girls had been doing high kicks (just to see if she could!) and of course had whacked the thing right off the wall. It was broken clean in two. But thank God for small mercies, the part with the big wad of mercury in it was still intact, so no mercury spill today.

So I bagged up the broken parts, and went to Lowe's to try and find another one just like it, so I could just screw the front part on without having to mess with WIRING!

I made my purchase, bought furnace filters at Walmart, and then headed home, only to discover that no, the thermostat only is identical from the OUTSIDE, (where it counts???). Internally, very much different. So, with much fear and trepidation, I took the back plate off the wall, detached the wires, and installed the new one. I even glanced at the pictures in the directions, which is saying something.

I'm happy to report that I got the thing installed though, and now that the house has cooled down sufficiently for the furnace to kick on again, it has. So at least I know I got it on there correctly. Woo Hoo! First time for that sort of thing.

But all that made me tired. So I sat down to try and type up the kid's assignments, and after an hour of that, realized that I just. don't. have. the. energy. I'm going to make them get their assignments from the big teacher manuals, and be done with writing it all our. Their completed schoolwork is proof enough here in KY that the work's been done. The fact that their assignments are divvied up into 180 lessons is proof enough that we got the school work done and accomplished the requisite number of days for the state's purposes. Not that anyone is ever checking...

And it's hard to admit that I can't do everything. And it makes me MAD sometimes.

There, I said it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Snaps of my Day

Finally I have the fabric purchased for my Goods 4 Girls donation project!

Here is a very cute and colorful basket of knitted bears that my daughter has made. That's a bushel sized laundry basket full, and they keep coming!

Alas! I made way too much hazelnut iced coffee. Too bad you weren't here to drink some with me.

The Balancing Act

I'm having a little bit of trouble balancing my stuff these days. I tend to always fall behind on grading the kid's schoolwork, not so much because I'm slacking off (indeed, every day is full and I am going non-stop until I run. out. of. energy. ) but because I do run out of energy. That's a bummer, and I have to work really hard to NOT fall into self pity.

But I have to live with my body as it is, and not sit around wishing for that which is not, so it's time for me to find some ways to cope with my 2/3-3/4 situation. What I mean is, that's the fraction of energy I have compared to what I need.
My plan is to do school for five days, and a grading day in between. Then school for five days...etc. But I don't mean Saturdays. Saturdays have their own work. So this means that our summer "break" will be shorter, but that our on-going lives will be more sane during the school year.

Another thing, besides grading, that I'm finding particularly challenging is finding time to create the kid's school assignment lists. I have been writing them all out by hand in these nice manuals that the curriculum provided, but that has left me with permanent writer's cramp. I am thinking it will be faster to type up their weekly assignment lists, have them check off the work as it gets done, and at the end of the week, file the paperwork.

So, that's what I'm doing with school.

Additionally, I am working on monetizing this blog and increasing the traffic here. This means that I'll be working harder to provide some higher quality blog posts, more contemplative contemplations, more thoughtful thoughts, etc. And yes, that will mean being part of "the blogosphere conversation" in a more intentional way. Once I figure it out, I'll be adding tags and trackback features. Cleaning up my blogroll is also on the agenda. So now is a good time to let me know if you want to be added to my blogroll.

Also note that I added a new Gadget at the top of the sidebar for blog followers. Go ahead and sign up! Once I get my blogroll cleaned up and updated, I'll be doing the same.

I'will continue blogging about Orthodoxy, thoughts on Scripture readings, cooking, a few parenting snippets now and again, frugal living, homemaking, sewing how-to's, GFCF and Autism issues and occasionally posts about Fibromyalgia or living with chronic pain. Did I miss any topics?

And on top of all that schooling and blogging, I have a home to run, meals to prepare and clean up (and that includes recruiting help), and exercise to get.

Not to mention a hopefully soon upcoming move.

So, that's me in a nutshell. Now I need to go grade some papers. And drink another cup of coffee.