Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Celtic Knotwork Bonnet

I designed this bonnet a little differently from the others. There was no way a Celtic cross would fit on the side of the bonnet without distortion so I copied the knotwork from the blanket instead. I also bit the bullet and added pompoms. Unless someone requests not to have them, I'll add them to all of the bonnets.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our surprise visitor last week...

...was Metropolitan JONAH!  Sorry, I forgot I'd dropped a teaser and never came through. I don't have very good pictures but I didn't want to look like the paparazzi. He only stayed about fifteen minutes but we were delighted to see him. He was in the area to serve Liturgy in Greenville that Sunday.

Don't forget...

Tomorrow is the last day to suggest a name for the Celtic Cross Blanket! Remember, you can enter an unlimited number of times. On Thursday, Father will be choosing one name for the blanket and we'll be drawing one entry at random out of the hat. And I failed to mention earlier that the winners get to choose which style of bonnet they want for the prize. So hurry and get your suggestion in the combox before midnight on the 29th!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

[Rerun] Population Implosion

From time to time I find a good article on the myth of overpopulation. This myth is used to support anything from abortion to sterilization and is used as an argument for the funding of birth control and abortion availability in third-world countries. A little publicized fact is that many countries have a birth rate (defined as number of children born per woman) that is below the accepted replacement level of 2.1. Consider the birth rate of these countries [Below replacement, replacement or above

(a small sampling - see this chart for the entire list):

Afghanistan 6.9  Armenia 1.5 Australia 1.8  Austria 1.4  Belgium 1.6  Bosnia 1.3  Brazil 2.3  Bulgaria 1.2 (tied for lowest)  Cambodia 4.6  Canada 1.6  China 1.8  Costa Rica 2.8  Cuba 1.5  Denmark 1.7  Egypt 3.0  Finland 1.7  France 1.7  Germany 1.3  Ghana 5.2  Greece 1.3  Guatemala 4.9  Hungary 1.4  India 3.1  Iraq 5.3  Ireland 1.9  Israel 2.7  Italy 1.2 (tied for lowest)  Japan 1.4  Korea (North) 2.0  Korea (South) 1.7  Liberia 6.3  Mexico 2.8  Mongolia 2.6  Netherlands 1.5  Norway 1.9  Romania 1.2 (tied for lowest)  Russia 1.4  Singapore 1.7  Spain 1.2 (tied for lowest)  Sweden 1.6  Switzerland 1.5  Ukraine 1.4  United States 2.0  United Kingdom 1.7  Yemen 7.6 (highest). 

Note Yemen with the birth rate of 7.6. Sounds scary? Consider that Yemen's population is around 23 million and ranks as the 49th most populous country. China has around 1.3 billion people, ranking first in poplulation. Its birth rate is 1.8. Let's look at the top three most populous countries and compare their population to their birth rate: China 1.3 billion: 1.8   India 1 billion: 3.1   United States 300 million: 2.0  If you look at a graph of Russia's population, it has shown a steady decline. Russia is currently the 8th most populous country with a population of 140 million...and a birth rate of 1.4. It would appear that the problem will not be an exploding population, but a declining one.

You might say, "So what? The population declines, big deal." But there are more implications than just shorter lines at Walmart. The people alive right now, in their forties, fifties, sixties, etc. will still be alive twenty to forty years from now. But here's the catch: there will be fewer young working people to support the tax base and care for the elderly. Being a nurse, health care is something that I have a personal interest in. The population in America is graying, bringing with it a need for more doctors, nurses, hospital beds, nursing homes, home health agencies, etc., etc., etc. There are, however, going to be fewer people to support all of this. Rod Dreher summed it up nicely here. If you think this is an exageration, watch this animated graph.

Here's a current example of what I'm talking about:

TOKYO (AP) - After getting struck by a motorcycle, an elderly Japanese man with head injuries waited in an ambulance as paramedics phoned 14 hospitals, each refusing to treat him. He died 90 minutes later at one facility that finally relented—one of thousands of victims repeatedly turned away in recent years by understaffed and overcrowded hospitals. Paramedics arrived at the accident scene within minutes after the man on a bicycle collided with a motorcycle in the western city of Itami. But 14 hospitals contacted to provide medical care for the injured 69-year-old all refused to admit him citing a lack of specialists, equipment, beds and staff, according to Mitsuhisa Ikemoto, a fire department official. The Jan. 20 incident was the latest in a string of recent cases in Japan in which patients were denied treatment, underscoring health care woes in a rapidly aging society that faces an acute shortage of doctors and a growing number of elderly patients.


Similar problems have occurred frequently in recent years. More than 14,000 emergency patients were rejected at least three times by Japanese hospitals before getting treatment in 2007, the latest government survey showed. In the worst case, a woman in her 70s with a breathing problem was rejected 49 times in Tokyo.


Health Minister Yoichi Masuzoe told a parliamentary committee late last year that the rising number of elderly patients hospitalized for months was in part clogging up space for those needing emergency treatment.

Stuff to ponder... Other reading:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Sadiron

You know, I really don't like ironing.  As a result, I try to limit my clothing purchases to things that are wearable right out of the dryer. But you can't live in knits all the time. Or wrinkles, for that matter.

Which is why I found myself ironing a twill skirt and a few button-down shirts tonight. I plugged myself into my mp3 and ironed away, cursing the fact that while tailored women's shirts are very wearable, they are fiendishly difficult to iron: no straight lines. Father was around and I told him (for the 7,239th time in thirteen years) that I don't like ironing.  He reflected that he, in fact, did like ironing. This brought to mind an image of my father, happily ironing away (his shirts) with starch that he made himself (XXXX Strong). I pondered why I don't like ironing, my mother didn't like ironing, very few women I know like ironing, and yet so many men do. Why?

Well, for one thing, there's the difference in shirt construction. Men's shirts are boxy. All straight lines. And they're big. No tiny corners. Go get any man's dress shirt and put it next to a comparable woman's shirt. Totally different. And with rare exceptions, men's shirts do not have ruffles.

For another, men usually wind up ironing their own clothing. Women usually wind up ironing everyone's clothing and the table linens. [Short disclaimer: Father has on more than one occasion graciously offered and ironed something for me. He's wonderful. But he's mine: you can't have him. Sorry.] And some of that clothing is absolutely awful. I will never ever forget some of the time, monstrous amounts of time, I've spent ironing little, tiny baby dresses for church. Those infinitesimal puffed sleeves. All of those tiny pintucks and delicate bits of lace. The miles of tiny ruffles. It gets a little easier as the dresses get bigger, but you're still ironing sashes, appliqued flowers, puffed sleeves, etc. Even if you're not ironing every-day wear (I never did), those church dresses are time-sinks. And while we're at it, little toddler boys' dress shirts are pretty bad too. They're too small to fit around the end of an ironing board so you're reduced to trying to iron it pancake-style (which never works).

Now, there is at least one person reading this who says, "But I love ironing! Seeing all of those wrinkles come out...the lovely hanging line of freshly pressed shirts and dresses..." All I have to say to that is:
Wanted: Woman to iron mountain of clothes, tablecloths and napkins. Long hours with no pay. Must be able to handle a mix of fibers. Please send resume and provide references that include at least one daughter. Pictures of pressed garments preferred. And hurry.

Snips and Snails and Kitty Cat Tails

Someone joined us for homeschool this morning...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wow. Now THAT'S power!

I'm sharing this just because I can.

My favorite line: "Yes, the 2CV really doesn't like cross-winds."

So given that that's what happens to automobiles...

Why on earth do they allow people on beaches right behind the runway??

And, hello! There's a road there too!

Crocheted Latin Cross Bonnet

Here is the first prototype: The Regina Bonnet

More to come very soon!

Music Monday: The Lindy Hop

Ok, a little departure here. This video features the dance part a lot more than the music part, but I'm excusing it because I like swing music. And I am Green. With. Envy.  I want to be able to dance like this!

I'm coming back later here and adding this. Partly because I love it, partly because I love Wodehouse and partly because I feel guilty about the downplayed music in the first vid. This is "Jeeves and Wooster" by Graham Dalby and the Grahamophones on their album Transatlantique. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Textiles of Weddings and Babies

My Grandmother's wedding dress

Made by her mother

A fitted basque with puffed sleeves and overskirt

And a high-waisted underskirt

She looked exquisite.

A hand made dress for some long-ago baby

Carefully pintucked

And with beautiful lace insertion

And the not-so-anonymous baby (Aunt Susan) with Grandmother

Friday, September 17, 2010

Crocheted Celtic Cross Baby Blanket

The [unnamed] Celtic Cross Blanket

Here's a close-up of the simple knot-work:

The Cross itself:

And the entire blanket:

You may notice I said "unnamed" above. That's right. I like to give each blanket a saint's name. For this blanket I felt a saint from Ireland, Scotland or the British Isles in general (first millennium) would be most appropriate. I've had a few suggestions. My first inclinations were toward Brendan and Bridget. Then I realized that when I said it out loud, it came out "Brendan Branket" or "Brendan Blanklet" or "Bridget Branket", etc.

I started looking for other names. Father pulled up a list of qualifying saints' names on line. We quickly realized that such names as "Ninnidh", "Beoaodh" and "Suaibhseach" were not going to work (holy as those saints might be). Father suggested using a place name instead of a saint's name, like "Iona".

That would make it the "Iona Blanket". (Say it out loud.)

That's when I decided to open the floor to you all. So we're going to make it fun!

Leave a comment suggesting one name.  You can leave additional comments with other names if you like. On September 29th we'll close the contest. On the 30th I'll have Father pick the saint's name from all of the suggestions. Then, I'll draw one additional entrant's name out of the hat. Both entrants will receive a crocheted bonnet in the mail. (Between now and then I'll have a picture of the bonnets available to view.)

Plain and Good

This is my favorite recipe for lentil soup. I make it all year, but it seems especially wonderful in the fall. Unfortunately, with highs still in the low to mid 90s here, it doesn't feel like fall.  But we can dream!

The recipe I make I adapted (quite freely) from a cookbook I inherited from my mother sometime around the time I was married. It's "Popular Greek Recipes" (c. 1976) compiled by the Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Charleston, SC. I have it memorized, but I still know I can always find it on page 22 if I need it.  The book naturally opens to that page.

Fasting/Vegetarian Lentil Soup

5 c. water
1 can tomato sauce
1 c. dry lentils
1 sweet onion, diced
1 heaping T. minced garlic
1 t. salt
4 T. olive or vegetable oil

Throw all ingredients together in a pot and bring to a boil. Then lower temperature until it's simmering and cook for at least 1 1/2 hrs, stirring occasionally. [note: this is a recipe that works really well in a crock pot. Also doubles well for taking to church.]

Preferably serve with homemade bread.

One miracle of the Cross

Since we're in the postfeast of the Exaltation of the Cross, this is appropriate.

The Power of the Cross ~ The Hodja Who Became a Christian

According to reliable sources, a well-known Hodja (Muslim theologian) of Egypt with his family abandoned Islam and were baptized Christians. As he says, it was because of a miracle.

The former Hodja, now a Christian convert, said that his daughter was suffering from an incurable disease. They went to every hospital and saw many doctors where they lived in Egypt, and even travelled abroad. They would recommend treatment, but did not have much hope. Indeed they would inform the desperate father to take his daughter home since there really was no treatment. The Hodja prayed daily to Allah for help.

A close friend saw the father's grief, and offered to put a cross on the pillow of his daughter. On hearing this proposal, the father responded: "It is not possible for me to do something like that..., I will not sell my faith." The idea however began to occupy his thoughts. Without telling anyone, he bought a cross and placed it on the pillow of his daughter. The days passed and his daughter entered a comatose state, losing all consciousness. The whole family and the people of the area served by the former Hodja waited for her death. The desperate father day and night sat next to her, crying. Inside, as he confesses now, there was a hope that something would happen.

One evening as the depressed father held the hand of his daughter, he saw the cross that was on the pillow to emit a bright light which spread all over the bed. Initially he thought that it was a dream or something wrong with his mind because of his sadness. However, the light he saw was obvious. Suddenly he saw his daughter getting up from bed and saying: 'Dad, I am hungry, bring me something to eat." The Hodja could not understand what had happened. He went to the kitchen overjoyed. The voices roused his wife and the neighborhood. Soon the house was crowded. He told and re-told what happened. He spoke about the miracle of the cross. He even phoned his friend who had proposed to put the cross on the pillow of the daughter and thanked him.

Neighbors and friends tried to ascribe the miracle to Saint George, who is accepted by Muslims. But he knew the power of the Cross. He experienced the miracle. The daughter no longer had anything wrong with her and physicians aware of the situation did not believe their eyes when they saw that the new tests did not show anything. A few days after the miracle the former Hodja had made a decision. He told his wife he would become a Christian. She initially was against this and thought of the persecution that will follow the entire family by Muslims. "They will kill us" she said. But he was already on his way. He notified her that they leave permanently from Egypt. "We will be baptized and live in another country." So it happened.

However, the news of his entering the Church of Christ was widely circulated in the city he served, and to Muslim clergy. Today, the former Hodja and now Christian convert studies theology. For Muslims today, he and his family are outlaws.
(taken from Fr. Alexander Fecanin's daily e-mail)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You inadvertent climate modifier, you!

I can't help but find this article on the re-naming (i.e.-rebranding) of "Global Warming" very amusing. It sounds very much like Kentucky Fried Chicken changing to "KFC"...officially. I remember the explanation was so the focus wouldn't be so much on "fried chicken" but other parts of their menu, but it seemed all too likely they thought the word FRIED would scare away the health crowd. Remember when Martha Stewart Living changed to Martha Stewart Living after her conviction and sentencing? They were trying to shed the negative image.

I think the GW crowd is anxious to avoid a similar negative perception. Remember the Global Cooling Cover-up? Well, if you change the whole thing from "Global Warming" to "Global Climate Disruption", then you have a convenient, all-purpose basket to throw weather/agriculturally-related disasters into. No more cat-calling when there's a blizzard! Just chalk it up to good old Global Climate Disruption!

I think I'm kind of fond of NASA's new term myself: "Inadvertent Climate Modification". 

Sounds like: "Oops!"

New Prayer Request

I know I ask for an awful lot of prayers, but prayer works! And part of our job is to pray for one another.

This little angel's name is Mariana. She was born with a severely defective liver and was put on the transplant list only two weeks ago. She was granted a transplant three days ago on Monday and is doing so well! She's still in PICU and needs our prayers to continue healing and fight infection.  Look at the difference in color pre and post-op!



"...a long series of zeros."

The only thing man has is his will, and God helps him according to this will. This is why I say that all the good things we may have are gifts from God. Our works are zero, and our virtues are a long series of zeros. We must try to constantly add zeros and beseech Christ to put a digit at the beginning so that we may become rich. If Christ doesn't put the digit at the beginning, our efforts will be in vain. - Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos

From the book Spiritual Awakening, published by the monastery of St. John the Theologian, Souroti, Greece, 2008.

(h/t Fr. Benedict)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shop Updated!

I've finally updated the shop with prices, types of yarn available, etc. The only things I don't have up yet are pictures of bonnets or the smaller blankets.

I'm also considering starting a photo gallery. If you would like to have a picture of your blanket in use placed in the gallery, just e-mail me the photos and let me know if you would like to be identified or kept anonymous. No last names will be used as a matter of policy.

I hope to have pictures of my latest design up soon: a Celtic cross blanket.  I also haven't named it so feel free to leave any suggestions in the comment box!

Wow! Where's the coffee...?

This might just turn me into a confirmed coffee-drinker!  How would you like to get a cup of coffee, settle comfortably into a chair, and watch and listen to an actor (complete with British accent) read from a literary classic? Now you can! (This, one of my favorite scenes from Pride and Prejudice, is quite nice.)

(h/t Sarah)

(Oh, go on. You know you want to.)

Pure and Lovely

I feel bad that I've never shared this hilarious blog with all of you.  Rarely do I come across a blog that makes me laugh every. single. time. Plus, she's brutally honest about parenting. Did I say brutally?  Here's an excerpt:
It's kind of like driving around your old car forever, until you can afford a new one, and you're all, lusting over the potentially shiny new wheels. But the inside of your current ride looks like a frat party thrown by twenty toddlers high on breast milk. And you're all, "When I get a new car, that actually has room for my three children, I will never trash it. I shall keep it sparking clean, as if daily polished by house elves." Before you know it, you're all sporting your new swagger wagon, and after a month, it's not just a frat party. It's a rave. Thrown by your two year old for all the neighborhood kids. It has smashed cheerios, misplaced pacies, and curdled, milk filled juice cups galore, just waiting to be rediscovered. The kids totally think it's a game. They're all, "take that, suckas!" while they hide junk and then wail about it. Extra points for curdled milk!

(Ahem.) I'm not saying that's ever happened to me. BUT I would be extremely empathetic if that happened to anyone I know. Because I'm good at's a spiritual gift.

She is good at empathy and admits things you never would. Her post today, "a confession involving an involuntary shout out to the lady parts. {whoops}.", is snort-milk-out-your-nose funny. And to boot, she's a fantastic designer with all kinds of ideas for your house. Check it out!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Exaltation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross

O Lord save thy people and bless Thine inheritance

Grant victory to Orthodox Christians over their adversaries

And by virtue of Thy cross

Preserve Thy habitation!

Joyous Feastday!

Prayer Request

Mary Evelyn is eight and just starting second grade. She loves shopping, playing with her daddy, crafts, and imaginative play just like other girls her age. Last winter, when we told her that her cancer was back after four years of remission, she hoped we were joking. Then she was very quiet and thoughtful. She made a snack, prayed, and thought some more. Then she told me that she had been speaking to her cancer. She told me “I told that cancer- I beat you once and I can beat you again in the blink of your evil eye!” It was the first moment I felt hope.

When she started chemo, Mary Evelyn said she wanted to throw the cancer off the roof of Egleston and then stomp on it. I told her that the chemo would do something like that to it, but it would happen inside her body. We hoped the cancer would stabilize or be reduced but, despite two rounds of chemo, it continued to grow and within two months, she had almost unbearable pain in her legs. Her doctors hit back with targeted radiation and a higher dose, different chemo which stopped the growth of the cancer. Six weeks later, my husband and I were stunned when Mary Evelyn determinedly climbed Stone Mountain. She has now gone four months without pain.

Mary Evelyn being prayed for before the Kursk Root Icon
Recently, Mary Evelyn told me that for a while she thought she might die, but now she believes she’ll live. I wonder if she swings between hope and fear like her parents do? When I have my hopeful times, I’m happy and things are almost normal, but it can all change in an instant. For instance, I make plans to redecorate her bedroom, but then suddenly I feel fear: will she be here to enjoy it? As soon as I let myself think that, I can tumble into an aching sorrow but it’s for something that hasn’t happened yet and may never happen. Sooner or later, I come to my senses and I’m hopeful again. It is a constant struggle for me and I hope being a child protects her from most of that.

There is no known cure for relapsed neuroblastoma, but we have hope that one will be discovered in time for Mary Evelyn. She is currently on a clinical trial and had a Big MIBG- radioactive isotope therapy followed by a stem cell rescue and we pray that this has helped reduce the cancer. It is hard to explain to her that there is no set plan and no end in sight. Thankfully, she simply enjoys her good days as fully as possible and endures her bad days while always trusting that we are taking care of her. Watching her has taught me to be thankful for God’s grace and care for us each day and helps me deal with my struggle with hope and fear.

Mary Evelyn, as a child facing cancer without a known cure, is still a happy child and is full of life. People love to be near her because she gives them hope. We’ve seen an outpouring of love and help since she was diagnosed and even on hard days there is joy and laughter. We feel surrounded by people who deeply care about Mary Evelyn and who are standing with us in our time of need. People pray for us, help us in many ways, and the hospital staff has become like family to her. I’m thankful for all of that, but I also like to think that somewhere, there are researchers working as hard as they can to find a cure for neuroblastoma and give children like Mary Evelyn a more tangible hope for their future.

Sunday of the Precious Cross: Unction service for Mary Evelyn by seven Atlanta priests.

About September & CURE’S Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time:

September is recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This September, CURE Childhood Cancer has committed to raising awareness and raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer in our lifetime and put an end to this terrible disease through a special program CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time!

Please help us in our goal of raising $60,000 in the month of September while honoring special CURE kids each day of the month who have been affected by childhood cancer.

For more information, please click here.

About CURE Childhood Cancer:

Founded in 1975, CURE Childhood Cancer is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through research, education and support of patients and their families. Since its establishment as a grass-roots organization, CURE has focused its efforts on improving the care, quality of life, and survival rate of children with cancer.

The founders, parents and a dedicated pediatric oncologist, joined forces to support laboratory research that would translate into immediate care for children with cancer.

Since that time, CURE has raised millions of dollars to fund cutting edge research at the Aflac Cancer Center Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.

Through innovative programming, CURE also provides support for stricken families, providing them comfort and support during their time of devastating need.

Visit us online at for more information.

Secrets of Happily Married Women

It sounds like there's going to be an interesting discussion on the roles of men and women in marriage over at Mat. Emily's blog, Charming the Birds from the Trees.  Head on over and see what's going on. Here's the video being discussed, but please direct your comments to her blog.

Music Monday: Master Singers Weather Forecast

This is an amusing arrangement of a typical forecast for the British Isles including the shipping forecast.  Since I like weather and Anglican chant, this is a great combination!  I'd only ever heard this in a music file, but found it on YouTube with a slide show attached (for your viewing as well as listening pleasure). Enjoy!

(For the backstory, go here.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Happy Kitchen

This afternoon, my kitchen is an unbearably happy place.


I don't know.

But I thought I'd spread some sunshine around!

Glen Miller playing In the Mood 

Clean dishes in bright colors

Bright sunshine coming in the back door windows

Cooking with butter!

Cheerful fridge decorations

Shiny silverware

A lovely view over the sink

Vintage utensils from our family beach house

My favorite linen apron in the whole world

A cool pantry

A happy me
The menu:

Pork roast with roasted red potatoes
Cheese rice
Sauteed Vidalia onions
String beans

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years

Remember when you could see someone off at the airport - all the way to the gate?  I never would have had the courage to face my first flight alone if my father hadn't been practically holding my hand all the way to the little hall that leads to the plane. And I was a teenager.

Fast forward a few years.  I have two little girls, aged 5 and 3 1/2, wearing backpacks. They're hanging tightly onto Mama and don't want to go through the metal detectors alone.  Nor do they want to have their precious backpacks taken away, put on a conveyor belt and disappear into a dark hole. Nor do they want their shoes removed. I shove them through, crying, one at a time, and then try to get two little pairs of shoes on without the benefits of chairs or a space where we won't be stepped on, grab their backpacks, my backpack and two little hands and take off for the gate. By this time I'm almost in tears. I'm doing this all alone because my husband, with the younger two children (aged infant and 2), is heading back through the busy Sea-Tac airport to the van.  [We were in the process of moving across the country and grandparents had volunteered to host the older two for 2 weeks during the process.]

Why the difference?


The most dramatic part lasted for a day, hours even.  But the ramifications will last forever.  We do not live in the same world.*  We live in a world in which people are suspected of shoving explosives in their children's shoes.  In which mothers are suspected of disguising liquid explosives in bottles as breast milk.

Lord have mercy.

I detailed my personal experiences on 9/11 in another post.  I won't do that again here. Today let us pray for the souls of those killed on September 11, 2001.  But let us also pray for ourselves, that we might not be tempted to hate.  Because it is all too easy to hate the people that brought it about.  But aren't we all made in the image and likeness of God? Even the hijackers? Even the Muslims who were videotaped dancing and laughing in the streets when the news was spread world-wide? Even the people who defaced and burned churches and mosques alike?

Yes. And that is a hard thing to accept.

But we are no more worthy of mercy than any.

Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!

*In fairness, I will admit that is an Americentric view. My world changed. There are many millions of people world-wide who live in fear every. single. day. I have not forgotten that.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Theme Songs

This afternoon I threw all caution to the (non-existent) winds and plugged myself into my MP3 player and my crocheting for an hour.  Part of it I spent on the porch but the heat started getting to me.  I moved inside to the couch for the second half.  Father was working on the computer in plain sight (and earshot) so I felt I could safely ignore the kids. They would walk up occasionally and I would recognize the "whining face" or "complaining face" or the "I-don't-have-anything-to-do face".  I smiled benignly and kept on. It was like putting my fingers in my ears and singing out "LA-LA-LA-I-CAN'T-HEAR-YOU-LA-LA-LA.." except the music was better and I had my hands free. 

Something funny I noticed while listening this afternoon.  Well, a couple of funny somethings: (1) When listening to piano music I still "pedal" my right foot like I'm the one playing.  This after sooo many years. Funny. And (2) I have a generous amount of theme music loaded on the player.  Some of them are movie themes but a surprising number are TV theme songs. I used to think this was really low-brow and would hide it, but I guess I don't really care anymore.  Plus, through the miracle of ear buds I'm the only one who knows what's causing the beatific smile and the tapping foot.

Being the generous person that I am, I decided to break away from "Music Monday" for a moment and share some of my favorites. (You may thank me later, preferably with chocolate.)

Some of them are theme songs that I really liked (and still do) but never or almost never actually watched the show. Dallas is a good example. I would watch the opening credits and then turn it off.  Same with Airwolf.  M*A*S*H is another example. I absolutely loved this theme song as a child; in fact, it was the first thing I picked out on the piano. I didn't watch the show until high school at which time I admitted it's pretty good. It must have been amusing to listen to a six-year-old wandering around the house humming "Suicide is Painless".  Not your usual first-grader fare.

There are some examples in which I liked the theme and the show.  Newhart is a great example of that.  I loved watching the Vermont foliage in the opening credits.  And the music was great.  Not that I have this loaded but I Dream of Jeannie is good (and responsible in part for my like of Dallas, courtesy of Larry Hagman). A step down (in the rankings) is Quantum Leap.  Actually, there is a whole genre of sci-fi theme music that is good.  I will be honest and admit that I own a 2-CD set of sci-fi themes...all TV. They include such masterpieces as Fireball XL-5.  Hilarious.  And, of course, Dr. Who.  The more modern arrangement of the theme is excellent.

There is another entire genre of medical show themes.  St. Elsewhere is a big favorite.  I also liked Chicago Hope. Scrubs doesn't have the best theme (sorry, it's too short) but there is a LOT of music on the show itself.  And sometimes, you can borrow other shows' theme songs...  [n.b.#1 I'm the cute nurse at 1:40] [n.b. #2  very end of video not child-friendly]

And if you're in just the right kind of mood (which I am, just having watched countless theme songs..) you might enjoy a little switcheroo:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Knock the stuffing out of your house.

I just wandered over to Nesting Place for a pick-me-up and read something that really struck a chord with me.  She had a post on "stuff", specifically too much of it.  I'm not going to reproduce the entire article but here is the part that really stood out:
One of my biggest issues is that we have moved so often recently, I’m afraid to get rid of something we might need in our next house. I always feel like I can’t be one of those people who says ” we don’t have a place for that” because we don’t even really have a place.
On my journey of thinking about stuff and its impact I have decided to pretend like we are staying at this house for a long time. If we don’t have a place for something now, it’s gone.
I want to be aware that the stuff I am accumulating can easily hinder me and clog up my home, time and being. Because we all know, it can be gone in an instant. So, I’m getting rid of the excess while reminding myself that I love handmade, I love trash to treasure, I love items from nature, I value meaningful beauty. I still love and want and have a decorated house, but I want it to serve me and my family, not the other way around.
Isn't this true? We've moved a lot too (well, ok, five times in 10 years) and sometimes it was into a smaller space, sometimes into a larger. I think we're in our smallest-per-capita house at the moment (possibly tied with the duplex in seminary) and we really don't know how long we'll be here.  I think we'll be here as in locally for quite some time - I mean the dwelling. I keep thinking "I can't get rid of this because we'll certainly need it in the next house and if we keep it we won't have to buy it and..." We won't be able to afford to buy any time soon so we're probably in our only housing option.  While this house is lovely (and it is!) it is small for seven people.

Since we've been in this house I've learned that I don't need as much stuff as I had thought I needed.  Not that this house is furnished sparsely. There is a significant amount of stuff in a storage room here in town. Some of it is true keepsake material or holiday decorations but some is furniture we didn't have room for (e.g.-twin beds - we're in all bunks now).  The stuff I keep thinking about is the stuff: probably three or four boxes of sheets and towels, boxes of kitchen supplies and china, boxes of toys, extra comforters, etc. We only have one bathroom now.  How many towels does one bathroom need? Even for seven people?  We have all we need right now. Something critical I've learned over the last few months is this: things I thought I needed, I only kept because I had room for them.  Now that I don't have room, I realize I don't need them.

We have a church yard sale coming up next month.  I think it's time to make a trip to the storage room.  Not only that: it's time to go carefully around the house asking that critical question, "Do I really NEED this?"

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” - William Morris

Or at the very least, don't let your house get like this:  (Watch. I swear you'll feel better about your house.)

The Great and the Strange

Galaxy group Hickson 44
No man is so utterly dull and obtuse, with head so bent on Earth, as never to lift himself up and rise with all his soul to the contemplation of the starry heavens, especially when some fresh wonder shows a beacon-light in the sky. As long as the ordinary course of heaven runs on, custom robs it of its real size. Such is our constitution that objects of daily occurrence pass us unnoticed even when most worthy of our admiration. On the other hand, the sight even of trifling things is attractive if their appearance is unusual. So this concourse of stars, which paints with beauty the spacious firmament on high, gathers no concourse of the nation. But when there is any change in the wonted order, then all eyes are turned to the sky.... So natural is it to admire what is strange rather than what is great.
         Seneca, (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Joyous Feastday!

This evening at Great Vespers for the Nativity of the Theotokos, Father said "Joyous feastday!" to Pickles as he was anointing him.  Pickles stuttered for a moment and instead of replying "Joyous feastday", he said:

"Happy Birthday!"

Well, Happy Birthday indeed!

Lazy Linking

I focused on homeschool all morning.  This afternoon I need to make Litiya bread for Vespers tonight (I have a really good recipe if anyone wants it.) and I need to work on my crocheting.  I'm doing a new design for a Celtic cross blanket.  It's fun!  Therefore I'm not going to blog all day.

I do have a few links for you that I've enjoyed recently:

1.  Seeking the Kingdom has a short story about "God willing..." that's good for a chuckle and a great post on "Lord have mercy".

2. Matushka Emily had a lovely and useful post on "Femininity through the sense of sight".

3. Shamassy Patty has a short post on "A Place for Prayer" up today that's very thoughtful.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Shop is Updated!

While I'm not done (I'm still working out a supplier for some specialty yarns), I have finally updated the shop information which includes some basic pricing.  I plan to have some more final information posted within the week.  I'll update here when that happens.

Music Monday: Konzertschitcke for two violins mit orchestra

This morning (sorry it's late) I have a unique presentation for you.  I found this obscure performance by Itzhak Perlman.  It's really a gem but unfortunately the quality of the film is a little lacking.  He is joined by a superb performer, Peter Schickele.  Truly, the amount of talent on stage is dazzling. John Williams conducts the Boston Pops Orchestra.