Showing posts from November, 2009

The Brown Dress Report

Well folks, I did it!

I wore two identical brown dresses for 31 days in a row. (With the exception of the doctor's visit-but I changed when I got home, and an appointment at an exercise place, where I changed right after...well, right after I did the laundry, that is).

I liked the ease and simplicity of not having to think about what to wear. That aspect of the project appealed to me.

Not focusing on my clothes for a month has allowed me to delve into my inner self and gain some personal clarity on some issues. That's been good and somewhat unexpected. I don't know that I truly expected that. I learned that there's really nothing new inside of me. I'm still me. How exciting. Not.

I saw more clearly how broken I am. Into the desert, and I see this blubbering, broken mess of a person who is me. In the ultimate reality of things, clothes are just clothes. Not important. And that can go both ways. Plain brown dresses are not holier than any other type of …

Something Pretty

Wes and I were cruising around Bed, Beth and Beyond this evening on our Sunday night date. We needed a roasting pan for the ginormous Turkey we bought, and also some pan scrapers. After we found our needed items, it was fun to look around.

I, of course, wandered into the fine China section, having had no success in convincing my husband of almost 18 years to pretend that we are engaged and picking out china. Oh well, I said to myself. I guess I'll look at the fine china myself.

I looked. I liked. Several I liked, but then I saw some I liked even more. Waterford. Of course. Then I noticed the name.
It's Alana Waterford China. And it was my favorite out of all of the ones I saw. Isn't that strange, and neat? Sigh. Maybe in heaven I'll have something similar. Or better.

I did too much...

and still more to do! Aaaaaaggggghhhhh!

Turkey pick up from our farmer early this morning. Had to stand in line at the Farmer's market. Meant I was slightly late for Church.

Rush home, get girls, put Turkey in freezer, off the Church.

After Church, give friend ride and she wants dunkin' donuts. mmmmm. Good idea. So we get some dunkin'. Home again. Eat said donuts.

Then it's time to make a to-do list, have discussion about holiday cooking with mother on phone, make more lists, etc.

Run off to store to get some supplies. Brave dreaded mall traffic to get a bottle of ear lobe cleanser at Claire's. Meh.

Know you are tired but it's time to dig really really deep and do stuff anyways: Time to start cooking for the holidays: I have to bring GAPS stuff so my daughter can eat while we are with relatives. Knowing the menu in advance, I'm cooking GAPS versions of the things that my mom and SIL will be making: GAPS chicken curry into crock pot. GAPS …

My Grandpa during WW2

Second from the right, in the back, standing in the shadow. Serving our country in the Navy.

Offer it Up

I'm having a really really hard time focusing on the need-to-do details of my life right now. Like I'm all ADDish or something. Constantly feeling overwhelmed, like there's a phone call I'm forgetting to make or a list I ought to be writing or a chore I ought to be doing (well, we all know that is true) but I'm all a-muddle and get pull myself together enough to figure it out.

It is difficult to go through life feeling like this and not feel like an utter failure.

Next week is Thanksgiving and we are packing and joining family at a cabin in the mountains, which means we have to coordinate and import all our food, some kitchen gear, etc. Along with clothes etc. And I need to think about that, and make that happen. Along with a goodly pile of other things. Schooling the kids? Perhaps they can do that themselves, eh? Mostly they do.

And I've had a caffeine withdrawal headache for two days because I'm going off caffeine once again. How do I keep gettin…

Putting my Clothes Back

Since next week is going to be busy, and Monday is my last day of offcial brown dress simplicity I decided to get my clothes out again.

But I sorted as I went. A whole entire bag's worth of stuff I just don't want. Probabaly even more than that that I don't NEED, now that I know how little I really do need.

But to be quite honest, this little experiment as been good for me in that it's stripped away some layers of stuff and shown me some inside-of-me isssues that I need to address.

I also learned that no, I really don't want to be this plain all the time. And perhaps I don't really want to full time uniform. Just a mostly uniform. A classy smaller wardrobe that is less of a hodge pode and more coordinated, for sure. Putting my things back made me realize that I do own some good pieces of clothing.

And I learned that there needs to be a difference between every day wear and Sunday Best. That's perhaps my biggest lesson. Before, I would wear nice s…

Breaking my Own Rules

Well, I'm gonna have to break the rules of the brown dress experiment. Eeeeek. Here's what's happening: I signed up to try out Curves for a few sessions, for free, and this afternoon they want me to come in for a tour and fitness assessment (har har har! Fitness? more like how UNfit am I?). And they want me wearing workout clothes. Brown dress not included.

So, it's sweatpants, long sleeved t-shirt and sneakers for me at 3 pm.


tomorrow I'm going to see my allergist for my nut allergy testing. They are going to want my back exposed. If I wear my brown dress, the entirety of my back side will have to be exposed. If I wear a skirt and top, I can probably just remove my shirt. Skirt and top wins due to modesty issues. Even in a hospital gown.

So...Just for the sake of being up front, I thought I'd share.

I AM going to be glad when this is over.

New Hair Cut

and color. I'm like a fat, brunette Meg Ryan now. he he he.

One Week Left

I've only got one week left on my brown dress experiment. I need to sit down with myself and ferret out all the goodies I've learned about myself during this process. There has been some self discovery, or at least some clarity. Folks, I have me some ISSUES. Ha! like you all didn't already know that.

Will I be glad when it's over? Yes. Will I still wear my brown dresses often? Oh, yes! Will I go through my wardrobe ruthlessly and cull? Definitely.

Mostly, I'll be very glad to wear something dressier to Church again. I feel dressed down and too comfy there. Like I'm wearing sweat pants to Church. That's how cozy the brown dresses are. I understand the concept of "Sunday best" now, like never before.

I'll blog more about it later.

Photos Online of St. Michael's 75th Anniversary LIturgy

Here is the link I'm still not used to the size and grandeur of this place. But oh, when the whole congregation is thundering out the Nicene Creed, it gives me chills of joy.

Of course this was a hierarchichal liturgy, with our beloved Bishop Mark.

Many of the pictures are of an ordination to the diaconate of one of our own.

Update: I did not take these pictures. I just found the link and posted the link on my blog.

Nativity Fast Angst

It is upon us once again...the fasting season. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) I've made lots of really really healthy changes in our diet since last Lent, and now I'm caught flat footed, not knowing what to do or what to feed the kids this Advent season.

So, for this week, I bought all the old usual stuff. Weston A. Price is probably spinning in his grave right about now. I can't help it. I have to get meals on the table and food into some very very picky bellies and it take BABY STEPS at this house! BABY STEPS!

So, what's an Orthodox Christian to eat if soy anything is totally off the table? No margarine, friends. No tofutti, no boca burgurs, no TVP or Tofu or any of that stuff.

I hate to say it, but I did buy corn chips and lots and lots of things like canned beans, salsa and corn, chiles, etc.

I know, I should be doing my own beans, from scratch. Maybe in a week or so I'llo ramp up to that. Meanwhile we compromise.


jokerman - BOB DYLAN

one of my fave songs evah!

Time to do a gratitude post

Grateful that M emptied the dishwasher this morning, without me asking her to.

Grateful for the back rub Wes gave me.

Grateful for coffee.

Grateful for piano lessons my son is getting and how much he enjoys practicing.

Grateful that it's Thursday. For some reason I like Thursdays.

Grateful there are no appointments today.

Grateful that my kids are home schooled and we can take it easy in the morning.

Grateful that its Thanksgiving soon and I'll get to see my family.

Grateful for the drop in temperature back into November chill as opposed to indian summer weather.

Grateful for this very comfy chair I"m sitting on.

Grateful for friends, near and far.

Grateful that Wes is packing his own lunch today.

Off Balance

I'm feeling stressed this morning and I can't quite figure out why.

Other than the fact that my back is hurting. A Lot. Put ice on it last night, and went to the chiropractor yesterday evening. I may just have to break out the TENS unit, but how will I wear that without a waistband to clip it to if I'm wearing my brown dress?

Ever have one of those days when you just can't get your head around much of anything? My week's been like that. A muddle.

Perhaps I'm stressed out about the upcoming Nativity Fast. I have not taken the time yet to figure out a menu plan. Quite frankly, I'm scared of it. I need to eat more vegetables and less bread this time around. Yeah. Famous last words.

I've pretty much given up on ever in my life "getting healthy" or "losing weight". All my efforts in that arena are too short lived and too much in vain. You know, if I'm going to be hungry every day for hours on end I need to see some motivat…

Brown Dress: 19 Days in!

Has it only been 19 days? Really? ONLY 19 days? It seems like I've been wearing these brown dresses forever.

Not that that's a bad thing. A bit boring, yes, but anxiety free. I did not realize how much clothes angst I live with, until I decided to go without...not without clothes, LOL. THAT would get me arrested and would blind people with my magic superpowered ugliness death rays. But without the choices that plague me normally.

Now, I know that choices don't plague everyone. (Yum this Venti decaf Cafe Americano with Sugar Free Caramel syrup that I got with a Starbucks gift card I won at my chiorpractor's office sure is tasty...just thought I'd share.) But they do plague me. Clothing choices, that is. And sometimes about an icon of American Consumerism. What is it I'm drinking, again? But I digress...

So, I'm 19 days in. I like the simplicity. Sometimes I feel a tiny bit awkward, but then I remember that strangers at the sto…


Awesome knitting, so-so star embroidery, and horrible photography.

Finishing Touches

Tonight at knitting group I finished up this blue hat and added a bit of whimsy to the crown.

And I wove in the final threads on these scrumdillyicious dish cloths.

The hat has a home, but I'm still trying to decide to whom the knitted dish cloths belong.

Woo Hoo, I got linked!

*(the “least of these” in whose eyes? God’s or ours? It was uttered for the enlightenment of our eyes and hearts, by the Lord Jesus Christ our God, concerning His folks at the bottom, on the margins, with whom He most identifies- our God, so aggressively downwardly mobile, now glorified with wounds of love on His hands and feet, with the holy martyrs)

I like that quote. Especially the "agressively downwardly mobile" part.

And seriously, folks, if anything I write is something you feel the need to pass on to someone else, feel free. Just keep my name on it.

And if you have not noticed, in the sidebar, on my blogroll, there's an excellent blog called Arms Open Wide that is all about Orthodoxy and disabilities issues. Check it out.

Losing It

"Happiness is fleeting, but sorrow lingers on and on and comes back to bite you in the butt when you least expect it."--me.

Living Deliberately: Imitating the Saints

Ever since my patron saint, St. Juliana of Lazarevo adopted me, I've had strange urges to imitate her life in certain ways. In baby step sort of ways. There's no way I'm as godly as she is (she knew the psalter by heart and I spend time on facebook), for sure, but it seems like a good idea to start being intentional about how I live and to intentionally incorporate some copy-cat-ishness into my life. A good reason to do this is that I'm not automatically holy, you know, being the worst of sinners.

And the little pitch-fork toting guy that sits on my shoulder wants to discourage me from such a plan with thoughts such as "Oh, but that doesn't count...if you are PLANNING it...your good works need to be spontaneous." Thoughts such as these.

But is that true? Of course not. Liturgy is planned out prayers that teach us and guide us and help mature the prayers of our own hearts. Holy Tradition is planned out Scriptural interpretation that keeps us faithfu…

False Fixes

My house is a mess because I've been so busy doing things like running to the library, running errands buying things that people in this family need, etc. I can barely wrap my head around what's for dinner and I'm just plain tired and behind.

And oh. so. tired. I mentioned that.

Today is the kind of day when I'm tired, aching all over, stressed, busy and very very very prone to depression. OK, prone to is an understatement. Depressed.

I was really struggling today at stuffmart. I had to go there to buy a hat and some camping dishes for my boyscout, printer ink...stuff like that, and while I was meandering along, I was oh so tempted to feel so very very down about myself. The depression is always expressed as disssatisfaction with my own looks, my clothes (those are easy to change, aren't they... but my brown dress project is making me realize that is a false fix) my body, my hair, my personality, my weaknesses...when I get depressed my thoughts…

Rambling thoughts on Mental Illness

I've been thinking for a while that I should write something about mental illness that sort of parallels the post I wrote recently about how the Church can minister to the chronically ill and I've had a hard time wrapping my head around the subject.

Perhaps the subject is so huge, and perhaps I don't want to invade my daughter's privacy too much, but I do want to write about it. Forgive me if this post is less well organized than that other post.

First of all, a bit of background: When my oldest daughter was 13 (two years ago) she had a major psychotic break and was hospitalized for 10 days. Now we know that she suffers with Catatonic Schizophrenia. She takes medicine and sees a therapist (most psychiatrists require that). Her illness started manifesting itself when she was 11 years old, but we weren't sure of the extent of things until her break.

So, I am parenting and attempting to home-school a teenager who is "mentally ill". Based on how much s…

An Attempt at NT Granola

The NT part stands for Nourishing Traditions. No, I didn't get the recipe from Nourishing Traditions, just the idea that it would be good to pre-soak my oats. So I did.

Now, normally when I make granola (which has happened often enough for me to feel confident throwing it together, but not all that often in the grand scheme of things) I don't soak the oats, and it all comes together, crispy in the oven.

Here's the basics, which I learned from the excellent More With Less Cookbook:

take several cups of dry stuff: oats, wheat germ, whatever.

Mix in some oil, half cup maybe, and some sweeteners such as brown sugar or honey.

cinnamon, vanilla, etc. to taste. Get creative.


Spread into a large flat pan and bake at 300 degrees, stirring every ten minutes or so until the correct crispyness is achieved. Let cool. Add in nuts and dried fruit if desired. Store in a sealed container, if it lasts that long.

But this time I modified it by soaking the oats.

It was mushy! I…

Blocking my Green Leaf Scarf

I'm really happy with how this leaf scarf has turned out. Just thought I'd share.

A Daybook Type of Entry

FOR TODAY November 3, 2009...Tuesday
Outside My Window the sun is down and the sky is dark, I can hear cars driving on the expressway.
I am thinking about God.
I am thankful for facebook chat and the ability to get to know people that way.
From the learning rooms: American History: Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies
From the kitchen: Meatloaf, carrots, broccoli and turban squash.
I am wearing brown dress, brown leggings, brown shoes.
I am creating a hat in my knitting basket.
I am going to bed in a few hours.
I am reading lots of things. Gospel of St. Matthew among them.
I am hoping to relax with my husband this evening and watch House MD on
I am hearing my son yodeling and a general clamor as we gather at the supper table.
Around the house are crunchy leaves on the ground.
One of my favorite things: Church when it's dark outside and the chapel is lit by candles, filled with incense and singing.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Getting started on a baptismal gown that I …

The Brown Dress at Church

Since I was sick last week, this was my first Sunday in the Brown Dress. Now, at my old parish, I would have fit right in. It's a "poorer" parish where we ladies would regularly brag to each other about our thrift store finds.

At St. Michael's, only a tiny subset of people might shop at the thrift store. Most folks are dressed to the nines in whatever the latest fashion is.

And I was in my brown dress.

I did make an effort and wore some knee highs, some nice shoes and a pretty head scarf...with the brown dress.

I think I might have had one or two fleeting thoughts about not looking so dressed up as others, but then I quickly got over it and was fine, comfortable and OK. The dress is not that casual, being a stretch knit courduroy/velour type of fabric. And it fits me well.

And so I was able to concentrate on singing the liturgy this morning and that was fine.

Yesterday I spent the day at Church listening to talks on various topics by Mother Macrina from Dormi…