Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'd Rather Do Math than Wash Dishes!

I know it's bad when one's mind wanders away from prayers during Divine Liturgy. I know. Usually such thoughtful meanderings involve thinking judgy thoughts about other people, or being annoyed or experiencing self-pity over one's hunger or the aching in one's feet...come on, I've spoken with enough other people about this to know it's not just me.

Anywhoo, last Sunday during liturgy, I acutally had a useful and beneficial thought. Truly inspired. I will now share it with you.

You know how, when you've made a big pot of soup you have a big pot of soup? But the burning quesiton remains: How many CUPS of soup do you have? (I don't know about you, but for my currently-calorie-counting self, this is a relevant and burning question because not knowing how many cups of soup there are in that pot means I don't know exactly how to figure the calories of each portion.)

One option would be to pour the hot soup into my pampered chef measuring bowl, risking burning myself, spillage, and creating more dishes to wash because not only would I have to pour the soup into that bowl, I'd have to transfer that measured soup into yet another container so that I could measure the rest of it. I have a big pot. I've done this. It is not fun.

Another option would be to guess. Wildly make something up. I've done this. It is not accurate.

OR, I could apply some simple math:

First, find the area of the bottom of the pot. pi x radius x radius. (do this in centimeters). Then, measure the depth of the soup in centimeters. Multiply this by your pot bottom area and you have the metric volume of the soup in your pot. cubic centimeters, baybee. One cubic centimeter is one milliliter. Fun stuff.

Now that you know how many cubic centimeters of soup are in your pot, you can go here: CalculateMe.com and enter that number and effortlessly know how many cups of soup are in your pot.

It's true. I'd rather do math than wash dishes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pictures of St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church

Here's where I go every Sunday to offer my worship to God.

I've been wanting to post pictures of our new parish home for a while now, but I'm not a good photographer. These were taken by Larry Vest, not by me.

This is a view of the nave and iconostasis from the choir loft.

It's easy to forget or take for granted how stunningly beautiful and huge this place is during the hubub of Sunday Divine Liturgy when loads of people are crowded in.

Orthodox worship and Orthodox worship space is intended to portray and participate in the worship that is going on in heaven, described in the book of Revelation. Much of the furnishings of our temple space are based on the furnishings of the tablernacle/worship space described in the Old Testament, with their fulfillment in Christ.

Christ, the Pantocrater-Ruler of All. The immensity of the icon in the dome is overwhelming. Dare I look up?

The Royal Doors are open and we can see the altar in the Sanctuary. The open doors remind us the the veil has been rent asunder, and Christ comes to us in His Body and His Blood-the Eucharist, meeting us.

Heaven touches Earth once again. But even with all the beauty of this building, and all the icons that remind us of the saints...it's the PEOPLE who are the Church.

And it's also really good for my humility to be a part of a parish I did not help to build.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Faerie Queen Invades Domestic Woodpile

Fata Querca---oak fairies. They seem to have invaded my living room yesterday evening, with a particular attraction to the woodpile. The little ladies from a couple of nights ago were just the advance guard, spying out a good place for their little clan to winter.

As you can see, the scene was a bit hectic, and it was difficult to get these creatures to stand still for a portrait, so I had to settle for several somewhat blurry candid shots. The little soldier fairy was particularly keen on marching back and forth. Each time I tried to approach the queen, he menacingly waved his wee little stick in my direction, and shook his bow, shouting and ululating like I imagine an ancient warrior might have done. Finally the queen ordered him to stop, so that we could have a conversation.

My main inquiry as to what they were doing in my woodpile and how long they would stay was simply greeted with tiny peels of laughter, as if I had told a very funny joke. After the queen had calmed down (faeries live like bees, with a queen, and worker fairies, although what their role in the eco-system is remains unclear) we were able to talk a bit, but with difficulty. I learned that each group is called a "band". The queen of this particular band seems to have ADD. But perhaps that's just the nature of the Fata Querca. As I've only recently been forced to start learning about faeries, my information is still limited and my experience with them shallow.

I did gather that they like woods, wood and wooden things. And they like people who like the woods, which is why they decided to visit my wood pile. Perhaps they shall stay awhile. In the pictures above, the queen is the one in the flame colored flower dress.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Boy Scout Camp Out Report

Well, the phone rang at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am this morning. They guys were at the door and couldn't get in because I had it chained from the inside. Wes woke up at 4:30 am and soon realized a thunder storms was coming in, so he whisked himself, their gear and Eric into the car as quickly as possible.

Wes of course, grabbed a shower and crawled into bed and slept for another hour or so. I was awake. Oh well. So much for sleeping in.

Glad they're back from camping. Good times had by all. Eric earned is permission token to carry a knife and has started working on his tenderfoot requirements, and has been assigned a patrol to be in. Most of the boys in his patrol and home schooled and the leader is the Dad of a home school family, so that's encouraging.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Well, Wes and Eric are off in the wilds, camping with the Boy Scouts this weekend, so it's been "just us girls". We planned to make the most of it. The wonderful thing is, no one watched cartoons this morning, and that was nice. We all agreed that we pretty much hate Saturday morning cartoons. It must be a "guy thing"...

So we went to the farmer's market and got our chicken and a couple of dozen eggs. Honey, some local cheese, and some squash, a tomato, and a bunch of radishes and some ground cherries. Those were new and different. We like them.

The biggest thing on our agenda: Getting our apartment clean. I made a list and we tackled those jobs. While we did not get all of them done, I worked until past the end of my energy. The girls worked, too. And our place looks a great deal better. I'm grateful for their help. It's humbling to know that my health isn't good enough for me to clean my whole house. I didn't get Eric room done, nor my own bedroom. Nor the bathroom floors, but everything else got done.

So this afternoon, we wanted to do something fun but not strenuous because of my fatigue. So, I took the girls to Baskin Robbins (my ten year old didn't even KNOW what Baskin Robbin's WAS...that's how often we don't ever do this) and then we went and saw UP at the discount theater which is near our house. We enjoyed it, we guess. But each of us cried. A pixar movie about loss and grief and hope and moving on. So sad. Not my fave film of all time. And I dont' like heights, so even a pixar version of dizzying heights....eeeew. Of course I wasn't expecting too much, since I also didn't care for Finding Nemo or Mosters, Inc. What is it with me?

Anyways, we came home to a crockpot full of chicken and veggies and a clean house and a very quiet evening. That would have been nice until things degenerated into a bit of a fight in the girls' room and I had at least an hour of post-bedtime-tears-and-hugs-pre-adolescent-angsty conversation with my youngest. I guess it was time to really be a parent. Those sorts of things make me tired, and I really started missing Wes. Badly. He's so much better at that stuff than I am.

So here I sit. Missing Wes. I made a pan of brownies. On the same day I had ice cream. What is with me? I ate just one piece and didn't go back for more, but it wasnt' all that small.

So, there's my day. I also spent quite a bit of time detangling and balling up some wool we dyed at the nature dying workshop we went to yesterday. The colors did not take as well as I'd hoped, so we got pastels instead of brights. I didn't have time to pre-wash the wool, and that might have been the difference. But here it is. Detangling was good prayer time, so that at least is something good.

The pink/beige is a combination of pokeberry and black walnut. We soaked half of that skein in each. The yellow is a combo of pokeberry and way more marigold. I have no idea what the smaller ball in front was dipped in. Perhaps blueberries that did not take at all. Many of the t-shirts people were dyeing came out much brighter than these colors. It was a fun workshop, and by going to it yesterday we discovered another nature preserve right here in Louisville which is fantastically lovely. I can't wait to go visit there again. We also met some folks, which was nice.

I don't usually find myself in this situation, but I now have quite a stash of wool to knit up! Woo hoo!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I found two little acorn fairies frolicking in the wood pile by the fire place. Bright bits of wool fluff seems to be the fashion for acorn fairies this fall, and they informed me that my air conditioning was too cold for their taste. I tried to explain about unexpected sweats and such, but had honest trouble getting a word in edgewise. Very opinionated, those two are. We had a nice little chat about the environment, though, among other important fairy news. They wanted me to know unequivocably that I should stop joking about lepruchans so much (and that they knew, being fairies, of my tendencies to joke about lepruchans...creepy...), since everyone knows that lepruchans belong in the same category as the Loch Ness monster and Sasquatch.

I did not quite have the heart to tell these two little ladies that I thought those were real, too. And it's too bad I'm not a better photographer. But being rather mischevious, they kept making bunny ears over each other's heads, or sticking their tongues out at the camera, and this is the best shot I could get.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Current Knitting Project

I'm making this gorgeous leaf scarf in green.

I don't want to steal a picture, so click on the link to see it. I'll probably have some socks going simultaneously pretty soon.

On Friday we are going to a workshop for nature-dyeing (using leaves, acorns and such as natural dyes) and I think I'm going to pick up some cream fisherman's wool to dye.

Fun stuff.

Shoe Drama (I never promised to only write intelligent or important blog posts...)

I'm having shoe drama. Shoe angst. Shoe obsession. This happens to me every once in a while. It's probably not good. Yet another example, as a matter of fact, of a small way in which it would benefit me to just CHILL OUT. But, being me, that's not likely to happen, so I'll blog about it, instead.

You see before you every single pair of shoes I own, for every season of the year:

Not such a big pile, compared to what many people own, but ridiculous from my perspective. (I always think of the people in Haiti, for instance. Meh.) Back in High School I developed the philosophy that I only needed a pair of black flats, blue flats, white flats, and sneakers (as cheap as possible, too. My husband and I used to argue over whether one should spend good money on quality shoes. He's won the argument and my bad back helped him win). Over the years my "simple shoes philosophy" has grown a little bit, but I've been thinking a lot about it these days, and would like to get even more basic. You see, I have this dream...I dream of the perfect utilitarian pair of shoes that will somehow suit every single occasion of my life (even if making me appear somewhat eccentric or mismatched) and that I would be OK with that. I imagine myself blissfully donning black sneakers and black tights on all occasions, with all my outfits. Sort of a bland, shoe uniform. And I imagine myself being OK with that. But then there's reality. I would fret. I would feel OK about such a choice sometimes, but then at other times I would worry about being weird. See above on the comment about chilling out. Yes, I know.

So, having lined up all my shoes as you see above, I had some hard choices to make. So many of those shoes, especially my beloved birkenstock sandals and my adorable chako sandals simply don't work anymore since I got prescription custom orthotics for my shoes. And yes, my back is MUCH better with the orthotics, so the sacrifice is worth it. But it makes me sad. Those sandals, each and every pair, sort of represent an evolution of my learning to take care of my body's needs, even when those needs are somewhat expensive. They were the best shoes I could wear. But the custom orthotics are better. I wish a company existed that made custom orthotic sandals. I would SO be a customer! But I digress.

It's time to let those shoes go. So here's what's left after I eliminate the shoes that don't work with the orthotics:

Now, not all of these shoes are wonderfully supportive, but they are all sufficiently flat to accomodate the inserts. But truthfully, I've not done myself ANY favors by slouching around in flip flops (even with orthotics velcroed in) all summer long. And those black canvas cheapos are not very cushiony. Also a problem. So, if I set aside to only wear very occasionally for short amounts of time the shoes that aren't all that good for my back, here's what's left: I really should have eliminated the black shoes in the front row as well, in the last purge, because I would only wear them like twice a year on a Sunday morning, and they are only so-so for my back, since they have a tiny heel. But I digress.

And I discovered that the sneakers are worn out and have a huge crack in the sole.

So I guess I'm going to be shoe shopping for sneakers soon, after all. With my small selection of "church shoes", I'm thinking those sneakers are going to be black. Mostly so that they aren't as glaring as white athletic shoes would be if I wear them with my normal clothes (99.9% of the time I wear skirts) as every day shoes. I notice that with supportive shoes on my feet I get up and move more, take more steps each day. I've been tracking with a pedometer lately, and it does make a difference. So, I'm back to the point I was making at the beginning of my post: Bring on the black sneakers! But I'll have a very few pairs of decent shoes in reserve for dress-up occasions. Perhaps that will suit me best.

What are your favorite shoes?

A Giveaway...

is happening this week over at A Joyful Handmaiden!

She's such a great seamstress, and she is clearing some tote bags out of her etsy shop, and is giving one away.

Check it out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're Number 37

Pumpkin Sock Love!

How about these adorable clog socks? I call them "Pumpkin Love". Imagine crunching through crisp fall leaves in these warm wooly socks. Show off your love for pumpkins, or wear them on a visit to a pumpkin patch. Fits women's shoe size 6-9. $25.00 On my as-of-yet-non-existant Etsy page.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Headcovering of the Day

I didn't wear a scarf to the pro-life walk this morning. I'll admit that my own insecurity and desire to "fit in with the crowd" played a part in that decision. Also, I'm signing up to be registered as one of the adult "leaders" with the American Heritage Girls troop my girls have joined (aka-they need an officially registered parent who is already planning on attending camp outs with her kids so they can comply with their "two deep" policy) which will involve me wearing a bit of a uniform: Blue logo shirt and khaki bottoms (have fabric, will sew skirt).

So how does a head covering fit into that? I'm still trying to figure it out.

I feel like sometimes the headcovering is a barrier between me and other people.

But after I got home, something fabric-like did wander onto my head, even as I had to wander back out to the grocery store.

These are my ups and downs.

All Hell Breaks Loose

I took the girls to the Louisville Walk for Life this morning. It counted as a service project for their American Heritage Girls Troop, and it was a really good experience.

We met at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, and after some Ra Ra speeches, we got started on our 5K trek through downtown. It was a big crowd and lots of the kids were carrying balloons, and the AHG troop sported their uniforms, carried signs and chanted "We are pro-life" the entire. five. kilometers. Oh my. I don't know how they did it except that I think this was a case of Aspie-ish perseveration meets opportunity, and the chanting was egged on by my middle daughter the entire way who tends not to notice when the rest of us mortals get tired of that sort of thing.

I decided to prayerfully carry an Icon of the Incarnation of Christ with His Holy Mother as if the occasion were a procession. Nobody asked me about it and I certainly felt like the odd-duck Orthodox in the midst of a crowd of Roman Catholics, some of whom have already turned cold on me as soon as they learn I'm not Roman Catholic. I'd hoped to avoid that sort of reaction, and for the most part it hasn't been an issue with the other troop moms, but it seems like these things do happen sometimes. But I soldiered on, nonetheless. (A newspaper reporter took lots of pictures of the troop and several of me, straight on while he was doing the backwards reporter walk, with the icon. I might be in the paper tomorrow, where oddity has photographic value.)

The walk went well, and then I got massively lost on the way home because a street that I thought was a street that I knew turned out to be a street that I didn't know, or else i was going the wrong direction on it...I'm not sure which. But we meandered for a while, and finally found something of an artery street, which crossed a street name I recognized and I spotted a sign pointing out the direction to the zoo. So we drove to the zoo, and then drove home.

When we got home I felt sorely tempted because the rest of the family who had not gone on the Walk for Life had NOT done what they said they were going to do, and were still pajamadwellers. I got grumpy and controlling...of course. Because that's how I get. Forgive me a sinner. I ate some lunch and fussed at people in general that they needed to get themselves some sandwiches.

While I was cleaning up the kitchen, someone pointed out that there was blood dripping out of the bottom of the freezer. This could only mean one thing: The freezer door had somehow been left open and the grass fed ground beef-ALL SIX POUNDS OF IT! that some kids had helpfully put away in the freezer door shelf had thawed.

So, in order to clean up the semi-frozen blood and the bloodsicles, I had to put all the things in the freezer over into our smaller freezer (Thanks be to God all the vital things like the meat and frozen veggies fit!) while I just let the one loaf of bread and the toaster waffles defrost. Those can go in the fridge and we'll eat them soon.

And I had six pounds of beef to cook right that minute. So I made one meatloaf (in the fridge to be cooked for dinner), nine beef patties (can be reheated later), and cooked two pounds of beef on the stovetop (will be handy for casseroles later this week).

Somewhere in the process of all of this, the phrase "all hell breaks loose" came to mind and I wondered if I'm being tested, or if someone did not like the fact that I took that walk this morning.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:11-13

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Church in a tree at Plataniotissa

Amazing! This tree must be so happy!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A Post for Jane Austen Fans

I picked up this book at the library today. It's called the Independance of Miss Mary Bennet.

Ooooo, I thought to myself. Fan fiction! So I promply checked it out and started reading it. I've always, after all, mused on what the other sisters did with their lives, after Lizzie and Jane were happily married off to Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, respectively.

I often wondered if Mary would wise up a bit as the years go by, perhaps marry a nice homely bookish wcountry gentleman, a widower or somesuch, from nearby environs.

But after reading about a half a dozen pages of the above mentioned book while sitting at the library I decided I'd given it as much of a read as it deserved, and I promptly returned said book to the RETURNS slot.

You see, Mary was, if nothing else, very conventional. Pedantically so. And the Mary of this book is a rebel renegade about to burst loose. Supposedly almost twenty years of doing her duty has soured her to "conventional" and has her ready to go hie-ing off to do God only knows what. Furthermore, the authoress of this tale could not even cloak her 21st century biases and pre-conceptions very well at all in order to fit with the supposed setting of the first half of the 1800's. She also did not even attempt to copy Jane Austen's writing style (Ok, perhaps she attempted it, but in so doing failed miserably at it). Lit based lit ought to do that, I think.

And to add insult to injury, she ignored the character development that Austen gave to the character of Mr. Darcy in the original book, Pride and Prejudice, and veered off in a "men are jerks" direction. With both him, and the supposedly adoring-yet-unfaithful Mr. Bingley. (How is THAT EVEN POSSIBLE????)

Quite frankly, it turned my stomach. And this was all in the first five pages or so.

So, Austen fans: If you like stories based on P&P characters, consider yourself forewarned.

I, for one, would rather stick to the original, and imagine for my own self what became of Miss Mary Bennet.

Now, to be fair, I didn't read the book. Perhaps if someone has read it, and I am wrong with my first impressions, you can correct me.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Look What My Sweetie Bought for Me!!!!

Wes went to Target. I knew they had stainless steel water bottles there for around ten dollars. Way cheaper than the SIGG water bottles for sale at Whole Foods. I batted my eyelashes and asked if he'd pick me out a bottle. They are, after all, much less expensive than the SIGG water bottles.

And I have not been drinking enough water lately. Just can't seem to force myself. And I've been feeling sickish, and whether or not that's part of the cause, I'm sure my current state of perpetual semi-dehydration does not help.

Back ground info: Ever since I saw the SIGG water bottles in plain red with the Swiss Cross on it many moons ago at the store, I've been very vocal about "If I ever have a SIGG [read: Never] water bottle, this is the kind I want." It was mere wishful thinking.

HA! Every once in a while, Wes seems to have a surprise up his sleeve.

Today he brought me home THE SWISS CROSS SIGG WATER BOTTLE (yes, I'm yelling)!!!!! Happy squeals.

So utterly unexpected. I feel loved.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

I'm going to open an Etsy store!

It's not up yet, but please know that it's in the works. I guarantee it will have a hodge podge of things, and will have some excellent gift items just in time for your Christmas shopping.

Crafting is actually something I can do while I'm supervising the kids' school work.

A Bit More than Nothing

I decided to wear a pedometer yesterday, to see how many steps I get in a normal day. Yesterday was actually a busy-normal day, since it was the day I go to get the milk (but that's a drive not a walk), and the day I go grocery shopping: Kroger and Whole Foods. Additionally, my friend took me to a thrift store and we wandered around there for a little while.

The result, even with all the shopping I did, which left me utterly exhausted by the way:

Just a little more than 5000 steps!

That's really really bad, y'all! That's sedentary.

I'm so out of shape I almost have lost the will to do anything about it. I certainly have gotten to the point of not believeing it is possible for me to be fit. I keep hitting that wall of pain and fatigue that I can't get past. Stinkin' Fibroymalgia!

So, what's this old gal to do?

When I figure it out, perhaps I'll blog about it. Meanwhile, two changes I will make: I will start wearing better shoes instead of those don't-walk-in-me flip flops I've been wearing all summer, and I will start wearing my pedometer, and try to inch my daily step count up very very slowly.

The all-or-nothing approach that I've always gone for in the past clearly seems to settle most often on the "nothing" side of things.

So here's the plan: A bit more than "nothing".

Friday, September 04, 2009

Sock Addiction

It all started when I got very attatched to a particular pair of red wool socks that I hiked the Swiss mountains in, when I was a kid. I still own those red socks. But they are worn, with a hole in the heel. And somewhat felted. I wore them until last winter, believe it or not. I think I might have given birth to someone in those red wool socks.

Well, last year I learned to knit socks, and since then I've definitely become slightly addicted to knitting socks! Wool ones.

And here's my latest pair. These are made with forty stitches to the round at the cuff and forty-one stitches to accomodate the lace pattern. Patton's Wool, worsted weight, on size 3 needles.

If I have an at-home day, I can knit about one sock per day. If I am busy, it takes a few days longer.

Delicious pumpkin colored socks! Now if only the weather would turn cooler, so that I can wear them already!

Now to go cast on my next pair! Brown with pumpkin-colored fair isle...

New Thrift Store Woot!

My friend C took me to the best biggest most wonderfullest thrift store I've found so far. Ok, their clothes section wasn't so great, but they had tons of furniture, and glass wares and books! I came home a with big stack of classics, a very cute long denim skirt (thank you Jesus, you knew I wanted one!) and an old fashioned blue flowers on white platter.

The Least of These

When Moms get together, sometimes big things happen.

Organizations like La Leche League, or Citzens for Midwifery get formed. People get encouraged, lives get shared, love gets passed around. And hopefully we are better equipped to go back to our children, our families, and do a better job being Mom.

Well, some of us Moms have started a new group. It's called Alphabet Soup Homeschoolers. We found each other through the Home For His Glory home-schoolers group here in Louisville. But our kids are different. They have special needs, special challenges and parenting them, not to mention home schooling them, is a bit more difficult at times than an otherwise already challenging job normally is.

The first time we got together, at a park, the kids got bored of playing before we moms got tired of talking to each other. The second time, at a McDonald's play place, the children could hardly hear themselves to play because the din of our conversation drowned everything out (just kidding...but still...you know what I mean).

So the yahoo list was born.

Now we have a location for monthly meetings, and guess what: Unofficially, it looks like I'm sort of kind of at the helm this time. Auuuuuuuuugh! People keep looking to me for leadership, and I keep stepping up to the plate. And God have mercy, I'm going to need grace for this one! The meetings are only once a month, so that will be manageable, I hope. I have a big notebook going these days, where I keep everything (The Big Book of Chaos and Disorder aka my Home Management Binder), so I can add an Alphabet Soup section to there. And hopefully my sieve-of-a-brain won't drop the ball too badly.

The plan is to at first get together and let the moms encourage one another while the kids play, but eventually we want to get some curriculum and form a social skills group for our kids. That might be challenging, because there are many different kids at different levels and ages with different types of diagnoses: ADD, ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, PDD-NOS, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Adoptive bonding issues...just a whole mixture of kids with special issues and the moms who are raising them.

And if I can give ONE other mother hope and encouragement that she will make it through, and that she is not alone, and that the difficulties she might be facing with her special needs child are not unusual given that diagnosis, then I will be happy.

Jesus said: "Whatever you have done unto the least of these, you have done it unto me." I hope this work pleases Him. Pray for me.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Will You Still Love Me If I Cover?

I've wrestled with head covering back and forth off and on for years and years. I was first charmed by the order of Swiss Reformed Deaconesses (think protestant nuns) who were in the church were I grew up. I liked the simplicity of their uniforms. I was intrigued by the idea of a prayer veiling during my early 20's, and tried it out at home "in my prayer closet". It felt right. I was ready to jump in whole-hog when I was a part of a Mennonite group, later in my twenties, but in so doing, found myself running in the opposite direction from the rest of the women in our congregation, much to my sadness. I liked what I was doing but I didn't like feeling "weird".

Enter Orthodox Christianity ca. 1998: There is a tradition of wearing a head covering, based on the Scripture, during Church worship. But barely anyone practices that here in America. It's almost a ludicrous "convert thing", silly American women trying to look like Russian Babushkas, or semi-monastic wannabes. But there was enough of a head covering element that I did not feel too strange. In good conformist fashion I traded in my doilies and caps for things like paisley head scarves and mantillas. A gal's gotta fit in, after all. And besides, everyone at my first Orthodox parish knew me back in my Mennonite days and I figured they figured I was just weird.

So where does this urge to cover my head (full time even outside of "Church") come from? Why can I never get this off my back, or let it go? Is it a God thing? That seems the height of hubris, when I can think of many baser motives that might be pushing me.

The wrestling with this question and not resting about it, however, almost defines me. Should I? Shouldn't I? What's my real motive? I don't have to but I want to...or I want to want to. Unless I don't want to. And back and forth. Basically, I want to but I want it to be easy instead of hard. I wish I were in a situation where everyone else were dong it. Where it was normal. But I'm not, and it's not.

What is this about for me? Am I obeying/disobeying a Scriptural mandate? Tradition? A pious custom? Am I using religion as an excuse to do what I want to naturally do anyways? What does it all mean to me? (rhetorical questions)

On any given day, my answer to these questions differs. Depending on what? My mood? The weather? My need for privacy or a sense of "modesty"? My desire to "not be weird"?

Does feeling "a call to cover my head" all boil down to an urge to be "different" and to stand out from the crowd? Perhaps I just like scarves and lacy things? Could it be that simple? Perhaps I want to sort of stick it to an anti-feminine culture that would tell me that in order to be a "real woman" I have to be more like a man.

Maybe I just like Fiddler on the Roof and the Mrs. Bennet look (Pride and Prejudice, y'all)?

Maybe the answer to all of these questions is "all of the above".

But I think underneath the waffling lie some very important questions that I'm asking every time I encounter another human being with whom I am in community: Will you still love and accept me if I cover? What if you don't like my reasons for covering? What if my reasons for covering offend you?

What if it's as simple as the fact that I like scarves sometimes? Or that I'm broken, and I tend to make everything about "religion"? What if I'm really feeling like I need to literally obey 1 Cor. 11 and the "pray without ceasing" bit?

Because the kicker is: When I can simply put on that scarf and go about my day, for some reason I'm more prayerful...at least in those moments when I'm not worrying about my scarf.

Broken?...methinks me is.