Sunday, October 31, 2010

Playing with Pippin

The kids think I bought the gerbils or them. Bwahahahaha!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mantilla Musings: A Cross Post from my Other Blog.

I was at my sewing machine this evening, putting some lace edging onto a lace triangle I'd cut out (not a hard job) to finish off a prayer veil, and while I was sewing I got to thinking....

I've been pondering writing a post on this blog about how the meaning of women's veiling is different for Orthodox Christian women than it is for...oh, say....Mennonite women. I can say that, because once upon a time I was Mennonite. Now I am Orthodox. I liked covering then, but it came with a great deal of "baggage".

Instead of being called a prayer veil, often a woman's covering was referred to in Mennonite circles as a "headship covering" and it specifically symbolized a woman's place under the authority of her husband or father. Very patriocentric and very hierarchical.

In Orthodoxy, I don't find such a meaning attached to wearing a prayer veil, or prayer covering, at all.

When something is covered, it is done so because it is a holy thing. I'm thinking of the coverings that are draped over the Holy Gifts when they are brought out during the Great Entrance. (See photo above. Notice what the priest is holding: A covered chalice.) I'm thinking of the Holy of Holies, in the Old Testament. I'm ALWAYS thinking of the Theotokos (that's Mary, the Mother of God, for any readers who may not be familiar with the Greek word. It literally means God-bearer.) when I think of head coverings, for some reason. And I'm thinking of the angels. St. Paul writes that women are to veil "because of the angels." I'm not all the way sure what that means, fully, but we do know that when we enter the Divine Liturgy, we are joining the heavenly hosts in their continuous worship. Interesting side note: In Orthodox Iconography, women saints are ALWAYS depicted with a veil on their head. Angels have what might be misinterpreted by some as a "woman's hairstyle" with what looks like a head band. But angels are NEVER depicted in a feminine way, but rather as warriors.)

In a world that treats women pornographically, it is quite a bold statement to put on a prayer veil. It is a radical thing to cover up that which is uncovered and reduced to a sex object by the world. Covering is giving a woman honor, when the uncovering of women is all around us. (Seen any billboards or commercials lately? I rest my case.) It is precisely because women are sexualized by the world that they are veiled in Church. It is a radical thing, and an elevating thing to take a woman and say: "She should be veiled." Especially in the context of a religion that veils it's holy mysteries.

Now, I'm not saying that this means that women are somehow better than men, or above men. Not at all. St. Paul balances it out: Woman is for the man, man comes out of's a balance. And because of the Incarnation of Christ, and Mary's "Yes" to God we can boldly say that God also came out of a woman when He took on human flesh to save us from sin and death. We women are icons, in a way. Icons in the midst of the Church composed of male and female persons of what it means to be the Bride of Christ, who is Himself the Church's bridegroom. In our veiling, we have something spiritual to show.

It's a mystery.

photo credit here.

Original blog post: Here.

A Gentleman Jumping Into the Fray

A few posts down I mentioned that a friend of mine had written a blog post asking me, specifically, to defend women's role in ancient (Orthodox) Christianty, and why I would say that women aren't oppressed in the Orthodox Church.

In the comments to that post, Justin jumps in, and out of curiosity I clicked on his link and found he'd written an entire blog post on the subject. Here it is.

Check it out!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1 of 10 UC Berkeley: Gary Taubes 11/7/2007

Here's a start. You can find the rest of the series on Youtube.

Tornadoes, Tired and Gary Taubes

Whenever the weather is turbulent, I feel extra tired. It's my fibromyalgia. I'm used to it.

Today I managed to run some errands and do some mending. What do you do when your rapidly growing girl outgrows the length of a pretty dress? Why, find another in similar fabric (bigger size) at the thrift store, cut the bottom off the bigger one, top off the favorite one, and sew the top onto the longer bottom. Problem solved. And I put a button on a shirt and did and a bit of mending on a blouse. OK, enough about my sewing corner. It was the type of afternoon where I kept spilling the trash can due to clumsiness, knocking over my thread holder and having to pick up, re-wind and re-stash multiple spools of thread....glad to be out of there.

There was a very exciting tornado warning in Jefferson County today just before noon. 80 mph winds and various twister clouds that may or may not have touched down. I put the kids in the hallway and watched the weather on the news. So glad we live on the downstairs level of our apartment. Ah, good times!

Currently reading (yep, I did it again...put down the book I was reading in favor of a library book) "Good Calories Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes.

Very thick and sciency. Not a diet book. I recommend it to all, but especially those who might be fluffier than they wish they were.

I'll post a video by Gary Taubes to serve as a good introduction. Well worth your time. Whether the reiteration of information I technically already know will enable me to apply it to my life in sufficiently stringent ways to get my very sluggish metabolism to actually let go of some of my fluff...well, we shall see. God's will be done.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thrift Store Score

Today's haul:

A bicycle for the kids. I promised the kids when I found one at the thrift store I'd buy it. Today was that day.

Bike helmet

Wooden bread box w/ harvest scene etching and "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread". A "want" not a need, but will keep my kitchen tidier.

Corningware 9x13 casserole baking dish. Needed another 9x13 since my pampered chef stone one broke. One casserole dish for the family just doesn't cut it sometimes.

Small high quality stainless steel saucepan w/ clear glass lid Again, I needed this as I only had one saucepan, had been thinking of buying one new soon.)

A pink glass bell (to be used by sick people when stuck in bed and need help so they don't have to use their voice to what my mom had when I was growing up.)

Sweaters for Eric (needed them)

Leggings for Ariana (2 pairs. She needed them and I was going to buy some someplace else this weekend. These were new w/ tags at thrift store prices!)

A pretty blouse for me (like I NEED more clothes...ha! But it was a soft ocean blue w/ pretty floral print and embroidery on it and I could not resist and it was only two and a half dollars, so there.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Projects in my Head

If you are like me, you have a mental wishlist of things you would like to do someday. For me, these include the following:

Reading through the big stack of books I have started but not finished-The Atheist Delusion by David Bentley Hart, The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhhoweveryouspellit, The Great Upheaval by Jay Winik and The Brothers Kharamazov by Dostoyevsky. Oh, and St. Necktarios.

For some reason, when reading is thick, I struggle to get through it. Whereas, when reading is lite, I can fly through a brain-candy book in no time at all. I have a really really bad habit of starting a book, and then starting another book, and another, and another. Of the above stack, I have started ALL of them and finished none. So I have picked up The Atheist Delusions and am forcing myself to finish it. And then the next and the next, and so on. So that's my stack of reading.

Then there's the stack of unfinished crafts. I have a sweater I'm working on, a child sized cardigan in purple, with cables. I stoppped knitting it when the pillow project came my way. Of course work I do for people takes precedence over my own personal projects and knitting is one of those time consuming things that can only happen when I'm not too tired, and when fibro is not making my arms and hands ache too badly. It's a miracle I get as much done as I do, I guess.

I also have in mind to make a quilt and have been collecting fabric scraps to that end. I'm not there yet, but the collection has begun. It's definitely a project in my head.

I would LIKE to knit myself a sweater or sweater jacket out of natural fisherman's wool. I think that will be my next thing, in the realm of knitting.

Oh, and I have in my head to design some American Girl Doll sized (18") ethnic costumes from other minority nationalities who have come to the United States: Greek, Russian, get my drift. There might be a small market for such crafts, perhaps?

And I have yet and still to open that etsy shop I dream about.

Oh well, I'm busy enough as it is.

So, those are the projects in my head. What are yours?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Marshmallow Gun of Forgiveness or "Laughter is the Best Medicine"

One of my kids, who shall remain nameless got reaaaaalllllly mad at another one of my also nameless kids. It was after Vespers tonight and it was just me and the two of them and I was inside doing confession and they were outside playing and wondering where I was.

So, I came out of the chapel, and there were happy kid noises and based on the shouts I heard, some kids were pretending some sort of wizard of Oz game because I heard certain voices trying to include nameless kid number one as the cowardly lion. Obviously, based on nameless number one's reaction, he/she did NOT want to be the cowardly lion and so nameless1 hit nameless2 TWICE and there was a bit of a frakas.

I made them apologize to each other, but nameless1 was really really mad. Way out of proportion to the situation. Part of me was wanting to scream and yell and holler "Just get over it already, it'd no big deal." It was an Asperger's Sydrome moment for nameless1 and he/she did NOT have the oooomph to get over anything and was actually quite raging mad. I managed to be patient.

That's the dark side of Asperger's syndrome: Rages. Those rages do frighten me a bit sometimes. But we've never really had anything violent happen in our family and I do feel blessed for it.

So, we got home and nameless1 contained him/herself fairly well and went into a private room. I sent Wes in to deal with nameless1 while I cooked dinner. At this point, nameless2 was completely over it.

So dinner is made, and nameless1 decided to eat alone in another room. Fine, let him/her. So we ate. After dinner I took nameless1 a cookie and told him/her that he/she HAD to forgive his/her sibling. I told nameless it was for the sake of his/her own soul and that holding on to anger will only damage oneself and not the other person. Nameless1 was holding a PVC pipe marshmallow gun.

"Do you think you can forgive your sibling?"

"Well, if he/she waves a white flag."

"Ok, shall I get a white flag?"

"No, I have plans..."

"And then what are you going to do? Shoot your sibling with the marshmallow gun of forgiveness?"

"Sure that works!"

So I fetched some marshmallows and nameless1 put a hand knitted white sock on an old walking stick with some string and nameless2 agreed to wave the white sock flag, kneel and try to catch the marshmallows of forgiveness in his/her mouth. Nameless2 did not quite succeed at catching them orally, but did eat them off the floor, and all was made right again as they giggled at the hilarity of it all.

Silliness, once again, seems to win the day at our house. I do want them to learn good lessons, no matter the cost. Even if the price is silliness and laughter. It is, after all, said to be the best medicine.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Get in on the Discussion

Over Here.

About women in the Church.

Western Christianity
Eastern Christianity
Post Modern

This might get interesting.

Are you saved? - an Orthodox Christian answer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Don't get me wrong

Please don't get me wrong. I am not about to stop blogging. I do see the value. I was having one of those "what is my pee-waddlin' little commentary on my pee-waddlin' little life" moments. Ya know? I have those sometimes. I bet others do, too.

Just keeping things real, as usual.

The Sick Report or "Since I'm the Mom..."

Wes stayed home from work today, and has been running to the bathroom between bouts of napping and playing on the computer. For a while he was running a fever. Now he's up and feeling a bit better and has even eaten something.

I've been feeling run down and sickish today, but nothing too terribly been doing laundry, running out to the store to buy ginger ale and fruit and toilet bowl cleaner, disinfectant wipes, etc.

We (me, kids) went around and wiped down surfaces we touch a lot and I cleaned the bathrooms, too. I'm on a germ smashing campaign.

Did I mention the fruit salad and the vat of chicken soup my no-so-well self made at lunch time? Yes, that too.

And then, late afternoon I had to sleep. HAD. TO. SLEEP. So I did.

And when I got up and told a teenager to make a pizza for supper. So SHE did.

I'm sort of glad I don't have to run to the bathroom every twenty minutes like some people, but on the other hand, I'm not feeling so great either. But since I'm the Mom, I did much today.

So, that's my wonderful life today.

I've really been digging Psalm 41 lately. The Jordanville monastery translation from the LXX version. I'll post it soon. It's about depression.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sheesh, what has happened to this blog?

Sometimes I seriously question the value of continuing this blog. But I've been doing it for so long that I find it difficult to give it up. And I'm vain/narcissistic enough to feel like I have enough "fans" (semi-regular readers who don't know me in real life) who would be sad to see me go.

So I continue on. This is just one of those late night self-reflection posts that you all have to put up with (or skip over) occasionally, I guess.

When I first started blogging I was full of so called deep thoughts. It was shortly after my conversion to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and I was full of stuff to write. Convertitis, I'm sure.

And then there's been all the drama with B's health, and dealing with that. And then there's been my fibromyalgia. And lets not forget my crafting/sewing bits. Those bits might be interesting. Who knows?

And so somehow this blog has morphed from something rather self-aware and theological/spritual to posts such as the one's I've been making which amount to homemaker caveman speak, in my opinion. Pretty low level blogging.

For that, I apologize. I officially recognize that somewhere along the lines, I have ceased thinking deep thoughts. That's not to say I've ceased thinking spiritual thoughts...or that I've ceased praying. Not at all. It's just that those things don't present themselves as good things to blog about. Sort of like I don't blog about my sex life. Some things are private.

And so I see my blogging shrinking and shrinking and shrinking some more... and I don't know where it's going to end up, in the end.

I admire people who blog well. But I seriously wonder if I am one of them. (I suspect not, and honestly, I'm NOT fishing for compliments.) I often say in real life that I see one of my missions in this life to be the fact that God put me on earth to make other people glad they are not me (said in a funny humorous way, not in a self pitying way, please don't misunderstand). Sometimes I wonder if that's what this blog will ultimately represent.

I don't have any worldy success in life. I don't have any riches or much beauty. I barely have patience and my passions violently battle my virtues. I struggle. And life is real and real life is hard. And I love God and I love His Holy Church and all that stuff. And I get down and I get lonely and I pray for people even if I'm not standing in my prayer corner while I'm doing it. And I hope in the end I'm a good and faithful servant. That's all. And so I end up blogging the nitty gritty.

I hope that's enough.

Testing 123

So, I set up a new network thingy...see, it's over there on the right. What I THINK this will do is make my blog posts show up on facebook. I think. I'm not sure.

And part of me is not even sure if I even want that. Hmmmm.

Well, it's not like I tell any majorly great secrets here or anything very profound, after all.

Now I'm going to go check facebook and see what happened.

Ills, Chills and...

...spills? I spilled a glass of water today when I set it on the floor and kicked it over a few minutes later.

...wills? Will I get up off my butt and do some laundry and tidy the kitchen? Will I? Will I?

...pills? I ought to organize my pill organizer. Really, I should.

...what else rymes? Dills? Nah. not too fond of pickles.

...gills. Don't have 'em. Don't need 'em. Not a sea creature.

Ok, this is getting random. I'll stop and start writing something better, I promise.

Three of us were able to go to Church this morning, thank God! The other three...still sick w/ at least two different illnesses. I think I'm just about to the point of getting some lysol disinfectant wipes and cleaning everything in the house. Especially the keyboards, I reckon.

Nothing else is new. I hope we all get well soon. Lord have mercy on us, please!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Not drowning in my hair anymore!



I like "after" better.

Next Good Habit: Walking

I've decided to challenge myself. My challenge is to walk for an hour each day, six days a week. Maybe seven. Yes, it's a steep challenge, and instead of building up gradually, I've decided to just take the plunge and do it.

Today was day two. Day one left me sore in my tendons, but not in my muscles. Today felt better, actually. My teenagers are walking with me, at least when they feel like it.

I bet walking an hour a day will help me to sleep better. I bet it will help other sedentary-lifestyle-related fitness ills that plague me. Walking gets challenging when I"m in the middle of a fibro flare. I hope to just slow down my pace and keep on trudging, though. I've forced myself to exercise through flare ups before. It is to my good when I do.

I'm not expecting to lose weight. Nor am I "dieting" other than the normal attempt at healthy eating when I'm hungry routine. I'm just walking. That's my next new good habit.

I'm still off the coffee. Mostly off the artificial sweeteners. (I say mostly because while I was sick I had some diet seven up.) And sugar has been relegated to "out of the house special occasion" type of status.

Now it's time to fill up my water bottle and head out to run some errands: A hair cut (!!!!) and grocery store trips. Got a chicken thawing for dinner. I'm thinking of making it into African cinnamon chicken...with whole wheat cous cous. YUM.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Cymbalta and Insomnia

I go to bed and sleep does not come. Last week it was 4 am one night. Well past 2 am on most nights. And I'm totally off caffeine.

Last night, I was feeling sleepy. It was just a wee past midnight and I was thinking "Tonight's the night. I'm drowsy, I will sleep!" And then I hear a moaning from the bathroom. Needless to say, someone needed loads of parental help involving massive amounts of cleaning spray, comfort and doing laundry. Wes took care of most of the "eeeeewwwww" parts, but I was up for the drama.

Then I remembered my meds. Forgot to take them earlier, so I took them. Instantly my heart started racing as if I'd had a cup of coffee. Bam, bam, BAM! All drowsiness was GONE and I lay in bed for a long time waiting to fall asleep.

4:48am. More moans coming from sick kid in the bathroom. Wes is asleep. I wake up. More cleaning spray, more paper towels, more fetching clean undies, more laundry.

And then there's just me: Unable to get back to sleep. Watching the clock tick towards 6am. So here I am, not-so-bright and oh, so early!

I am going to call my doctor and talk about getting off my medication, or switching to another one. Something. Because this insomnia is interrupting my LIFE. And yes, I'm writing this so that someone doing a google search about their own symptoms will have my story, too. Cymbalta, I just learned, causes insomnia in 16% of users. Apparently I'm one of them.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Still Sick

The chicken soup's done been et. We slogged through the weekend noshing leftovers and various pasta dishes in small quantities. Somewhere in there Eric started eating again, and mostly keeping it down. Today his appetite is back and his fever is gone. I think he's over it.

I'm still running a low temp and feeling achy, but had a few hours this morning before that started up again where I wasn't feverish and was able to do a few chores. It's not like I'm too sick to rotate laundry, ya know. And it's stinky.

It's so nice this time of year to have the windows open, although my sensorily over-sensitive Ariana acts like temps in the sixties breezing in through an open window are an arctic blast designed to give her toes frostbite.

I just wish I had the energy to go out and take a walk in the lovely fall weather. That will come in a few days I trust.

Now I just have to figure out what's for dinner. And cook it later on. Sigh.