Monday, January 31, 2011

7 Random Things

1. Wow. Tomorrow the forecasted high is 72 and low is 25. Oh, and severe weather too. (Duh!) This reminds me of a time about 12 years ago when a cold front was coming through. The meteorologist was saying "you have got to go outside and feel this thing come in." Oddly, there was no rain to speak of associated with the front. We stood outside in the front yard and waited for it. The wind started galing and we felt the temperature drop approximately 35 degrees in five minutes. When we started getting pelted with sleet we headed in.

2. Wheat Thins and cream cheese don't make the most nutritious lunch. But it's good.

3. Ever notice how worry makes you cold? I think grief does this too. I wonder why...

4. Speaking of cold, it was cloudy and cool all day today. All I wanted to do was curl up, reread That Hideous Strength (or the Hobbit) and go to sleep. Sadly, the house can't run by itself.

5. Turning aside from cold for a moment, Liberty Biberty (in Australia) had a delicious post (literally) about her daughter's tea party. The pictures were precious. Just looking at little girls in sundresses makes me long for warmer weather (and I know I really can't complain when the high Saturday was 70 - thbthbth!).

6. Ginger looked at a miniature Eiffel Tower our friends brought back from France for us and said, "Look. It's a statue of Paris." (He got it right a minute later.)

7. I am in a total creative rut. Absolutely. Anyone got any inspiration?

Something I really needed today:

"The Lord has taken all of our sufferings and cares upon Himself, and He has said that He will provide for all our needs; yet we hold on to our cares so tightly that we create unrest in our hearts and our minds --- in our families and all around us."


-Elder Thaddeus
(h/t Fr. Alexander)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

C. S. Lewis and George Orwell

One of my favorite books is That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis. If you've read it, then it is probably one of your favorites too. If you haven't, then that's your next assignment. (Take notes; there will be a quiz later.) The same goes with 1984 by George Orwell. The books are at once strikingly similar and worlds apart. If you take That Hideous Strength, remove God, and advance 40 years, you have 1984. Interestingly, THS was written in 1945. Both of them might be called dystopias, literarily speaking. I've always been attracted to them myself. It's the worst kind of horror to imagine a world without God. In THS, you have a group of people who would like to create just such a world. In 1984, it's an accomplished fact. (Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) follows those lines too, but that's another post.)

What is really fascinating is a review I found this evening by George Orwell. It's very revealing, but more about Orwell than Lewis:

George Orwell’s review of C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength (1945)

On the whole, novels are better when there are no miracles in them. Still, it is possible to think of a fairly large number of worth-while books in which ghosts, magic, second-sight, angels, mermaids, and what-not play a part.
Mr. C. S. Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength” can be included in their number – though, curiously enough, it would probably have been a better book if the magical element had been left out. For in essence it is a crime story, and the miraculous happenings, though they grow more frequent towards the end, are not integral to it.

In general outline, and to some extent in atmosphere, it rather resembles G. K. Chesterton’s “The Man Who Was Thursday.”

Mr. Lewis probably owes something to Chesterton as a writer, and certainly shares his horror of modern machine civilisation (the title of the book, by the way, is taken from a poem about the Tower of Babel) and his reliance on the “eternal verities” of the Christian Church, as against scientific materialism or nihilism.

His book describes the struggle of a little group of sane people against a nightmare that nearly conquers the world. A company of mad scientists – or, perhaps, they are not mad, but have merely destroyed in themselves all human feeling, all notion of good and evil – are plotting to conquer Britain, then the whole planet, and then other planets, until they have brought the universe under their control.

All superfluous life is to be wiped out, all natural forces tamed, the common people are to be used as slaves and vivisection subjects by the ruling caste of scientists, who even see their way to conferring immortal life upon themselves. Man, in short, is to storm the heavens and overthrow the gods, or even to become a god himself.

There is nothing outrageously improbable in such a conspiracy. Indeed, at a moment when a single atomic bomb – of a type already pronounced “obsolete” – has just blown probably three hundred thousand people to fragments, it sounds all too topical. Plenty of people in our age do entertain the monstrous dreams of power that Mr. Lewis attributes to his characters, and we are within sight of the time when such dreams will be realisable.

His description of the N.I.C.E. (National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments), with its world-wide ramifications, its private army, its secret torture chambers, and its inner ring of adepts ruled over by a mysterious personage known as The Head, is as exciting as any detective story.

It would be a very hardened reader who would not experience a thrill on learning that The Head is actually – however, that would be giving the game away.

One could recommend this book unreservedly if Mr. Lewis had succeeded in keeping it all on a single level. Unfortunately, the supernatural keeps breaking in, and it does so in rather confusing, undisciplined ways. The scientists are endeavouring, among other things, to get hold of the body of the ancient Celtic magician Merlin, who has been buried – not dead, but in a trance – for the last 1,500 years, in hopes of learning from him the secrets of pre-Christian magic.

They are frustrated by a character who is only doubtfully a human being, having spent part of his time on another planet where he has been gifted with eternal youth. Then there is a woman with second sight, one or two ghosts [these are more like angels in the story, certainly not "ghosts" -ed.], and various superhuman visitors from outer space, some of them with rather tiresome names which derive from earlier books of Mr. Lewis’s. The book ends in a way that is so preposterous that it does not even succeed in being horrible in spite of much bloodshed.

Much is made of the fact that the scientists are actually in touch with evil spirits, although this fact is known only to the inmost circle. Mr. Lewis appears to believe in the existence of such spirits, and of benevolent ones as well. He is entitled to his beliefs, but they weaken his story, not only because they offend the average reader’s sense of probability but because in effect they decide the issue in advance. When one is told that God and the Devil are in conflict one always knows which side is going to win. The whole drama of the struggle against evil lies in the fact that one does not have supernatural aid. However, by the standard of the novels appearing nowadays this is a book worth reading.
Wow, what a backhanded compliment that last sentence is! Clearly, he didn't think much of the novels of his day. These two sentences are quite interesting: "When one is told that God and the Devil are in conflict one always knows which side is going to win. The whole drama of the struggle against evil lies in the fact that one does not have supernatural aid." It is made quite clear in the novel that there is no certainty of a good outcome for the group battling the evil scientists:
"You must risk that," said Dimble. "I can offer you no security. Don't you understand? There is no security for anyone now. The battle has started. I'm offering you a place on the right side. I don't know which will win." -That Hideous Strength, chapter 10
True, we know that "the gates of Hell will not prevail against [the church]" (Mt. 16:18), but that doesn't mean that individuals will not die along the way. And the statement about the "whole drama" of good vs. evil and supernatural aid is difficult to understand. What is evil? If there is nothing beyond ourselves, nothing beyond humans, then what is good and what is evil? I think there's quite enough "drama" as there is. And if there is to be no "supernatural aid" for those fighting evil, then evil will triumph every time.

Thank goodness that's not the case.

If I were going to be stuck on a desert island with either Lewis or Orwell...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Jesus Piece"


Istok,  4.7 inches high

Father pulled into a local drive-through today. He was wearing a cassock and pectoral cross. When he pulled up to the first window to pay, the woman leaned out and said, "That'a be...Oh, Ah loves yo' neck-less!" While he was floundering about, trying to think of something nice to say in return, she said, "I go' get me uh Jesus-piece too!"

Wow. It's Orthodox "bling".

Friday, January 28, 2011

25 years ago...

The tears still come easily, even today.


Twenty-five years ago, I sat in a classroom, like millions of other children, eyes glued to a television screen at the front of the room. The principal and other front office staff were in our room too since we were closest to their offices.

Ignition... Liftoff!

I was biting my fingernails. The teacher selected first to be in space, along with six other crew members, was lifted into the heavens, riding on seven million pounds of thrust. The calm voice of the announcer, already lulled into complacency by the incident-free minute after launch: "So the twenty-fifth shuttle launch is on the way, after more delays than NASA cares to count. This morning it looked like they were not going to be able to get off..."

Then the fireball erupted. I heard, "Is that the next stage?" from an adult behind me. I knew they were gone. I had watched every launch since I could remember - some replayed later on the news if they happened while I was in school. I had all of the stages memorized. I had a miniature shuttle. I was planning to be a mission specialist. I sat rigid in shock, willing that my eyes had deceived me, but I knew they hadn't. Children chattered unconcernedly around me.

"Obviously a major malfunction."
...
"We have no down link."
...
then finally:

"We have a report from the flight dynamics director that the vehicle has exploded."



They opened the classrooms after lunch so those who wished could watch the rapidly-organized memorial service on television.

I was the only student sitting in my classroom. The principal sat next to me.


That evening, President Ronald Reagan gave a speech in place of his planned State of the Union Address. I've decided to reproduce it in its entirety.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But, we've never lost an astronaut in flight; we've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.


For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, 'Give me a challenge and I'll meet it with joy.' They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.
 We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.


And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.


I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."


There's a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, 'He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.' Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.


The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'


Thank you.


President Ronald Reagan - January 28, 1986

Michael Smith
Dick Scobee
Judith Resnik
Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka
Gregory Jarvis
Christa McAuliffe

Memory Eternal!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wonder

I love learning. I want to go back to school like I want a hole in my head, but that has nothing do do with learning on my own.

Learning something new, unexpectedly, is such a delight. It's like walking down a hall full of doors, some open and explored, some hidden, some locked, and stumbling upon a door I've never seen. Opening the door and looking in I see something completely unexpected, something new and interesting. It's pure delight. Once I've gone through that door and fallen in love I have to find everything I can on the subject, exhausting it. I do have specific interests, but my "unexpected" finds have been as varied as the science of diving, autism, shipwrecks, string theory, forensic science (the yucky kind), thirteenth century British history, rare neurological disorders, the history of weather forecasting, etc. I haven't worried about how any of this will assist me in daily life, and we don't have cable so I can't watch "Jeopardy". My bookshelves would make some people blanch. I've long since ceased to care.

Loving learning is something you see in children, the ones that haven't had it squashed out of them. A child can lie on his stomach for an hour, watching ants march back and forth across a sidewalk. When you show them how baking soda and vinegar react they react likewise. They pick up books at the library on anything.

A sense of wonder goes right along with it. How can a scientist be a good one if he has no sense of wonder? Can an astronomer stare into the heavens thinking "ho hum"? Supernovae are wonder and joy-inspiring, but so are airplanes (I love watching planes - will never ever tire of it.), trains, rainbows, thunderstorms, newborn babies, sunsets, waves at the beach, and Christmas lights. Grown-ups, of course, are not supposed to say, "Look! A train!" when alone in the car. I can explain the exclamation away as habit, but not the excitement.

I guess I don't ever want to grow up. I'll be that grey-haired woman, stooped and wrinkled, standing outside the airport garage, staring up into the heavens as a thousand tons of steel glide past, the sound more palpable than audible, exclaiming,

"Look at the airplane!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The importance of eating...

I'm praying for two children right now.

Mariana, who survived a liver transplant as an infant, is doing so well now except that she won't eat. Won't even allow food to be put in her mouth. She has a severe oral aversion from the months and months of naso-gastric tube feeding. As her mother noted in her last post, Mariana hasn't eaten since last August. We pray that she will overcome this aversion and start eating. Her mother did joke that her daughter probably won't go to high school with an NG tube in, but it is painful all the same.

Noah's mitochondrial disease has progressed and his intestines have basically shut down. His feeding tube (the abdominal kind) has to be connected to a drainage back all the time now and all of his nutrition comes from TPN via his central line. The only things he is allowed to have are liquids. He can enjoy the taste but they drain out immediately so they don't cause him pain and leak from around his tube. This situation seems to be permanent and he and his family are trying to learn to live with this new normal. Obviously, this disease is ultimately fatal and it is painful for his family to watch him deteriorate and to have to deny him solid food (it can't immediately drain out so it causes problems).

Please continue to pray for these two children and their brave families. As always, their links are in the sidebar under "Prayer List".

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Dollhouse

Flopsy got a dollhouse for Christmas. The girls already had a dollhouse, a four-story, stacked level dollhouse that they received for Christmas before Flopsy was born. It was made by Plan Toys and is wooden and sturdy. Flopsy was ready for something a little more "grown up". She has taken a huge interest in miniatures (she gets it from me) and likes to look at miniature sites on-line. For her birthday next month she has asked for furniture. She wants some things that are a little more suitable for this dollhouse. Her favorite site is Liberty Biberty and I can tell the style she's going for is "country-shabby-chic".

We've been working on the dollhouse since Christmas, off and on. We put it off for a little while because it was so intimidating. Neither one of us has ever put together anything of this complexity. We were also afraid to make a mistake because she was so set on it. When we actually started I forgot to take pictures. I was too nervous. You have to imagine a zillion pieces, none of them painted. The only things that were pre-constructed were the railings for the porch (thank goodness!). Father reminded me a few days ago that we needed to be taking pictures. We've done a huge amount of work since Friday so these pictures only really cover from that point on.

The frame is constructed, the foundation is constructed, the frame is connected to the house, the roof is on (all four parts) and taped. The only nails used were to anchor the porch floor to the foundation. The rest was Elmer's Glue and blue tape.


An inside view of the same thing as above.


There was a huge amount of painting to be done. Everything needed at least two coats, most of the time three (or four in a few cases). They were sanded between coats.


The window frames had to be constructed. The four parts were glued together and then a rubber band was stretched around the frame (carefully - some flew apart) and left there overnight. There were two frames for each window - six windows. (You can see the rubber bands still on below.)


I had put off shingling for a long time because I couldn't figure out how to do it. The instructions were not terribly clear. Fortunately, there is a site online that gives some tutorials. It's a good thing I looked for help there because I would have been in major trouble if I had relied solely on the included instructions. The fun part was using scissors to split individual shingles into pairs for use in the valleys of the roof. By the way, the shingles had to be dyed by hand. This was not fun.



See the shutters? Those had to be constructed too. At least they were easier to paint that way.


A later view of the inside. The partitions are not fixed in place. Flopsy is still deciding on her room arrangements. We used a lot of blue tape.


The roof is done! The gingerbread for the eves had to be trimmed (with a saw) because they didn't fit. It was obvious that this was not a mistake on my part. Irritating. Incidentally, several of the pieces had to be cut to fit.


The back roof had to be shingled too. The inside of the house looks like major renovations are going on. I remember this look from our actual houses.


This is the box the sucker came in. It weighed a ton, which is not encouraging when you think that tomorrow I've got to pick this thing up and move it to the girls' room. I think we're going to look for a lazy susan for it to rest on. Note the picture on the box...


And here is ours! It's always nice when it looks like the picture. The exterior is completely finished. That porch was a killer, let me tell you. It had (let me count...) 21 pieces not counting the floor.


Here it is from the side...


...and the back... (See that little room on the upper left? A closet. Per Flopsy's wishes.)


A view of the front porch. I painted the roof underside blue. It looks nice with the white architectural details. Plus, it's traditional. Like the doorbell? (c;


The doorbell was my own construction. I took a bit of wire, a button in the shape of a bell and a piece of scrap wood and glued it all together. The bell really rings. (The table below was a find at the thrift store a couple months ago - there is a matching rocking chair.)


The closet. I didn't have anything to bore holes with so I made some wooden "sockets" to hold the pole (a piece of dowel.)


Here's a close-up. I made the hangers out of floral wire after Flopsy lamented that she had no hangers. Three was my limit for tonight. Now I think she wants me to make clothes to hang on them. What have I started??


The staircase is going to have to wait until tomorrow. The glue needs that long to dry or it will fall apart when I try to install it. Other than that, it's all done! I'm SO relieved (and tired). Decorating it will be a lot more fun than constructing it. I'll post pictures as we get it decorated.

Yay!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Keep off the grass...or something like that...






And, ok, this has nothing to do with grass, but it's still funny:


All can be found on Engrish.com.

Sanctity of Life Sunday: statement and resources

I am unable to travel to Washington D.C. to march with the other Orthodox Christians and scores of other pro-life demonstrators. It is too far away for someone who has (1) five little children and (2) a duty to have them in Vespers on Saturday and Liturgy on Sunday. I do what I can from my little house in South MS.

What I can do and have done is post on the evils of abortion and the disdain for life from whence it came. I'm sure not everyone who comes by this blog is thrilled to see "yet another abortion post" but I will not just post on the pretty things in life. One day with God's mercy I hope to hear "well done my good and faithful servant." Sins I have aplenty, but however sinful we are, we are all called to protect the vulnerable, the sick, the hopeless, the abandoned, the orphan, the widow. I feel that I have done precious little on this score. God forgive me.

Here is some suggested reading (and an excerpt of one article may be found below):

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bravo Congressman James Lankford!

From: Father Demetrios Carellas

Subject: A VIDEO THAT NEEDS TO BE SEEN BY EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN!

Date: Saturday, January 22, 2011, 10:42 AM

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ on my General list,

Exactly 38 years ago today, by a vote of 6-3, the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the murder of the most innocent of all human life: the child in the womb. Since that Satanic decision was made, over 51 MILLION babies have been sacrificed on the altar of the 3-headed, secular- humanistic false god of privacy, convenience and profit! Our Nation has lost its soul, and few in positions of governmental power seem to care.

Thanks be to God, however, there are some in national positions that see the tragedy of legalized abortion, and one such person is Congressman James Lankford of Oklahoma. Thanks to one of my spiritual daughters, I saw the video of Mr. Lankford's brief statement made in defense of the pre-born child a few days ago.

My Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus, I beg you to watch this video and send it to everyone on your list! There is no doubt - by both the content of his words and his delivery of them - that God was with Mr. Lankford during this presentation!

And I must also add, forgive me: if anyone feels this is political act on my part, then please send me your first name; so that I can pray to God to heal you of your spiritual blindness.

In the Name of Jesus, and for all His "little ones",

+Papa Demetrios

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fire and Light!

Finally, a YouTube clip with sample music! I got my copy of this CD perhaps two weeks ago and I've just about worn it out. This choir is the most beautiful I've ever heard, anywhere, and ranks on up there with any other Orthodox CD I've heard as well. This would be a marvelous addition to your Orthodox music collection. The two copies we put in our bookstore lasted approximately 1 hour.



Thanks to Susanna at Singing Needles for creating the video and posting it!

Go here to order directly from the church. (You actually e-mail the webmaster. Here is his e-mail.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bath-e-cue

You know, I like repurposing things, making something out of nothing, thrifting, etc. But I can't hold a candle to Red Green. You gotta love this guy.


We used to be able to pick this show up from Canada when we lived in PA and WA but not since then. Someday I'll break down and buy it on DVD.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Mantle

Previously I mentioned I was trying to decorate the house (i.e. - mantle) in a wintry way now that the Christmas decorations were all down. I worked on the mantle itself but was confounded once again by the sheer expanse of mirror. At least 16 square feet of it. The largish painting I had leaning against it earlier last year is manifestly summery and would not do. Then, I had some inspiration. I thought about how the Christmas garland broke up the expanse, softened the lines and lowered the ceiling. Well...


I crocheted a garland. The leaves are wool.




Hm. I'm still not sure what to think about it.

Here's the rest of the mantle.


I used a scarf for a runner. It looked cozy.




The flowers were kind of on their way out due to a recent hard freeze.


Any thoughts?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Building a Traditional Wooden Church

Thanks to Byzantine Texas for pointing out this article and photo essay on the building of a wooden church in Murmansk, Russia using traditional methods (i.e. - no fasteners). I love wooden churches of this style but you never get to see them in the process of being built! Here are a few of the photos, but I encourage you to visit the original article to see them all.






St. Nina, Equal-to-the-Apostles

St. Nina, Equal-to-the-Apostles, the Enlightener of Georgia
 
St. Nina was a relative of St. George the Great Martyr and St. Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Her parents belonged to the nobility in Cappadocia and since they both were tonsured in the monastic state, Nina was educated under the tutelage of Patriarch Juvenal. Hearing about the people of Georgia, the maiden Nina, from an early age, desired to go to Georgia and to baptize the Georgians. The All-Holy Mother of God appeared to Nina and promised to take her to this land.
 
When our Lord opened the way, the young Nina, indeed, traveled to Georgia where, in a short period of time, she gained the love of the Georgian people. Nina succeeded in baptizing the Georgian Emperor Mirian, his wife Nana and their son Bakar, who, later on, zealously assisted in Nina's missionary work. During her lifetime, Nina traveled throughout Georgia, mainly to convert the entire nation to the Faith of Christ, exactly at the time of the terrible persecution of the Christians at the hands of Emperor Diocletian. Having rested from her many labors, Nina died in the Lord in the year 335 A.D. Her body is entombed in the Cathedral Church in Mtzkheta (“Mishketa”).  She worked many miracles during her life and after her death. (Her stone chapel still stands from the 4th century.)

h/t Fr. Alexander Fecanin

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Clean Palette

I took all of the Christmas stuff down yesterday. We hadn't managed to get it done before the trip and I was a little overwhelmed when we got back (especially with laundry). Yesterday I decided I was tired of bringing down a shower of needles every time I walked between the table and the tree.

I managed to do a little cleaning out and organizing as I worked. I went through the tablecloths and other linens and put all of the summery/springy ones on the shelf in the hall and all of the current ones in the drawers of the buffet. I also put the place mats together in groups. I admit I'm a little anal because I like either to have things match or to mismatch, but in a very deliberate way. Having five of one color mat and two of another sets my teeth on edge. I also separated all of the Christmas linens and packed them into one of the Christmas boxes I brought down from the attic. (Hello, it was COLD outside yesterday. While I was outside getting boxes I also took down all of the outside decorations and couldn't feel my hands when I was done.)

Dragging the tree out was one of the last things. I think it has a couple hundred needles left on it. The other one million were all over my floor, furniture... I'm still picking them out of things. They don't call them "needles" for nothing. We'll set the carcass out tonight. I hope they pick it up tomorrow.

That brings me up to today. I will say that one cure for thinking that you're cramped is to bring a seven to eight foot tree into the house and leave it there for a few weeks. The great room seems unusually spacious now. The mantle is bare except for two candlesticks and the anniversary clock. Instead of automatically putting everything back I decided to leave it bare for a day and see what occurred to me. It's kind of nice to have a clean palette.

The trick is to get the house fixed in such a way that it doesn't seem bare and forlorn without Christmas. You can't automatically bring in spring things to fill the gaps but I don't know that I've ever thought too much about winter (always winter but never Christmas) decorations. Hmm. I am in the mood for clean and non-cluttered but not cold and bare. Any of you who have this thing down pat are free to leave suggestions. If I get this figured out I'll let you know and possibly snap a picture or two.

Time out for humor

These are some of the things (not including links to videos, references to other people's funny writing, etc.) that I still laugh at when I read. It's rather pathetic that I can crack myself up. Oh well. (c; Just in case someone needs a laugh...

I missed all the excitement.
The Intruder
Multiple Choice
Clean or Messy?
Recipe for a Great Weekend
Do not leave children unattended in the tub.
The Big Three-Eight or How to Age Rapidly
Always look at your feet before you leave the house.
There's a hole in this cake!
Illegal Cat-Fighting Ring Discovered
Funny Christmas Story #1
Funny Christmas Story #2
Schrodinger's Coffee

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Success!

For 48 hours I left the lately-lamented load of laundry languishing on the line. (How's that for alliteration?) It's been cold, windy, and today rather sunny. I just checked and they are gasoline-free!!! All a little stiff and cold (like my hands) but clean and smelling fresh. Lesson learned: never, ever put a gasoline soaked item of clothing in the washer with or without any other articles. Ever.

The Shameful Truth

I like 80's music. You know, "Oldies".

I found a series of "best of" compilations of 80's songs on Y*uTube. It was really fun. Some of these songs I haven't heard in years and years (since I'm not a big radio listener). These were all in the pop/rock/jazz line. [I love 80's alternative bands like R.E.M. and They Might Be Giants but I didn't include these here. I also LOVE movie themes (i.e.- the love theme from St. Elmo's Fire and Axel F, etc.) but I didn't include those here either.] Below the video I list some of my favorites.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

War Eagle!!!

Congratulations Auburn Fans!

BCS Champions!

Watch this spectacular play by Michael Dyer. Notice his knee never touches the ground (i.e. - he wasn't tackled and down). He gets up and goes a few feet, pauses (thinking he's been tackled), and then when there's no whistle and his coaches are yelling "RUN!" he takes off, gaining 37 yards for Auburn.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Weird Repurposing

As some of you may remember (if you've been with me that long), I was a gyn nurse for the last several years of my "career". The last year I worked in the gyn residency clinic in which the 2nd through 4th year gyn residents have their "clinic days" in rotation all week. When we moved to new quarters a lot of new instruments were ordered. Some of these were cervical dilators. They came in a nice canvas case, kind of like this:


Well, we of course couldn't leave them in that nice case because they had to be individually packaged and autoclaved. You don't autoclave things as a set unless you want to consider the whole package unsterile as soon as you use one instrument. Wasteful.

Anyway.

So here we had a nice canvas case that was ready for the garbage. I couldn't stand it. It looked so useful. Useful for what I didn't know, but useful for something. I took it home.

One day I was hunting for yet another crochet hook, rattling through a drawer of various small items. I was getting irritated because I hadn't yet found a good way to keep them all together. Then I had this fantastic idea. Yep, you guessed it.

Use the canvas case.

Ok, it's rather crammed right now...

It worked beautifully. Because the little spaces were different sizes to hold the different diameter dilators (say that three times fast), they easily held crochet hooks and knitting needles of all sizes. The knitting needles stick out a bit, but hey, nothing's perfect.



And, it's portable! Heading to Dallas with me tomorrow. (c;



I don't know if you can call this "thrifting" exactly, but I did reuse and recycle!