Thursday, August 30, 2012

Storm Update

Because I hate repeating myself, head over to The Siren's Call to read about our local aftermath and see pictures. We're doing fine! Thanks for all the prayers.

Percy Quin Dam [with updates]

[Saturday Update: The dam level has been lowered 2 1/2 feet, and there are other operations taking place. It is beginning to look like disaster may have been averted but we're not in the clear yet. Thank you for your prayers.]

[UPDATE: It appears that they are doing a controlled release. I had not previously realized that this dam was an earthen one. You definitely don't want water to overtop an earthen dam because the erosion is swift and terrible. As far as I am aware there have been no incidents with the release. They're planning to let about 8 feet out.]

Well, my little town is suddenly achieving national importance. I'm going to be posting more on the storm here and on my other blog but I just wanted to ask everyone to say a prayer that the dam at Percy Quin State Park doesn't go. They are evacuating about 50,000 people south of the dam (mostly Tangipahoa Parish in LA) because they thing it is about to fail. Officials downstream think it would flood them out and Officials in MS say they don't think it will. It sounds very much like a replay of the Johnstown Flood to me. I hope the dam holds. A helicopter is monitoring it. As of this posting it is damaged, but still intact.


h/t to my sister who sent me this from Twitter

Update: Father just shared this video with me. The funny thing is, when they pull up a map and zoom in, they zoom in on New Orleans which is nowhere near the dam and can't possibly be affected by it. Then, while the reporter is talking, they flash shots of devastation from the coast during the storm. I guess they needed something dramatic to show while talking about a possible dam failure. The last I've heard is that they're going to try to do some controlled release of the water. (video not visible on reader)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today's goings on

Today has been a strange day. Mostly waiting because most things have been done. I'm working on finishing the laundry so we'll have clean clothes to last us for a while if need be. Everyone is getting in the tub this afternoon too. I've made sure the children have played outside as much as possible because they're going to have cabin fever soon enough (it only takes a few hours). I ran out to the store to get more milk (it is astonishing how fast we go through milk) and see if there was any bread left. Thank goodness, there was, and I got both. In addition I was surprised to see that they had jug water! I got four gallons. I felt silly getting that much but the truth is hurricane season is not anywhere near done and we may have more storms.

An overgrown kitten seems to have adopted us. Certainly, the children have adopted him. I think we already have enough cats and can't see having another, especially since this one has a flea collar and is obviously domesticated and therefore someone's cat. I've told the children to leave him alone so he'll go home before the storm (he's not coming in here) but it's like telling Niagara Falls to ease up a bit so someone can walk underneath. He has been petted, played with, picked up and carried around, given string to chase, had a bed made out of the cushions on the porch, etc. He's a very nice, healthy looking cat so I wish his owner would find him. There are quite a few cats in the neighborhood so I don't know where to carry him and drop him off. I forbade the children to name him so they have taken to calling him "Kitty-Kitty".

The weather is moderately hot, breezy and there are a number of cumulus clouds out there. I can see the first rain band heading for us on the radar and it should be here in a little over an hour. 

Yesterday I staked and tied the zinnias so I'd still have some flowers left for the Elevation of the Cross. They look silly, but better silly than uprooted and drowned. (Genevieve in her typical spot.)

A nice day right now, but it should start deteriorating soon. I'm so happy it's windy. (:

[P.S. Don't forget to enter the double giveaway if you haven't done it!]

Memory Eternal!

Today is the first anniversary of the repose of our beloved Archbishop Dmitri. May his memory be eternal!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Not all activities are equally appropriate

"A brother asked Abba Nisthero the Great: 'What good work should I do, that I may attain thereby to eternal life?' The Elder answered: 'Not all activities are equally appropriate for everyone.  For Scripture tells us that Abraham was hospitable, and God was with him; that Elias loved stillness, and God was with him; and that David was humble, and God was with him.  Therefore, whatever you see that your soul prefers - provided it is consonant with God's will, and you are capable of fulfilling it - choose this and practice it, guarding your heart, and you will be saved.'"

h/t Fr. Demetrios Carellas email

Sunday, August 26, 2012

TS Isaac

True to my word I won't be posting here about weather-related items. I am following closely the progress of TS Isaac on The Siren's Call and anyone who is either a weather-nut or who is interested in my well-being can feel free to keep up with events there. I have a post going right now that I'm just updating here and there as events change. Current predictions are suggesting Isaac will be moving WNW and possibly making landfall between LA and AL around Tuesday evening. That means we may or may not be having Vespers that evening for the feast of the beheading of St. John the Forerunner. (For parishioners: Father will be sending out an email to cancel if need be.)

(I always wanted to be the person sent out to interview the storm.)

(I do not share the person-on-the-couch's opinion of meteorologists, by the way. Obviously.)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Questions Answered

This is where I'm going to answer questions about the giveaway items so I don't mess up the comment numbering by commenting myself.

1. (From Monica) "I do like those kitchen items, especially the oven mitt - I've been looking at patterns to make them but wasn't sure they'd really work to protect. Is it 3 strands crocheted at a time?"

Well, first I should emphasize that this is a hot pad and not an oven mitt. Because it's crocheted it would be veeerrryy easy to poke a finger through just a smidgen when pulling a hot pan out of the oven and get very burned and probably drop your delicious cheesecake all over the floor. People have probably crocheted oven mitts successfully, but for myself I plan to stick to the padded fabric ones, having some affection for the intact skin on my hands.

Second, it's crocheted with super-chunky yarn. You see cute blankets, scarves and hats made out of this. It's REALLY chunky. I also crocheted it using single crochet throughout to make it reasonably tight. I made one for myself some time ago and have used it without any problems with hot dishes/pots.

2. There have been a few questions about "following". I think there are a few ways to follow.  

First (and easiest for most) is to look on the sidebar...yes, scroll down a bit...until you see "Brave Souls". (c; That's where followers are listed and if you were really trying to procrastinate doing your job you could actually click on the little "More" in orange and see a whole list of those brave souls. You could click "Join this Site" and it will open a window that lets you sign in in a variety of ways [Google (i.e. Blogger), Twitter, Yahoo, AIM, Netlog and OpenID]. You can even create a sign-on if you want. Once you're signed in (or if you're already signed in) a window will open that says something like "Follow this site." It gives you the option of doing it publicly (people can see that you follow it and the owner of the blog sees that you follow it) or anonymously (no one knows you follow but you and it doesn't show up as a follower on that blog.) I follow several WordPress blogs but I had to create a sign on in WordPress to do it. I think it took all of about 20 seconds.

Second you can follow on Google Reader (or whatever your reader service is). I think you just copy the address and paste it into the appropriate place on your reader and go from there. It shows up on Google Reader as a follower but there are no names listed (like I checked and I have 182 followers on Google Reader but I have no idea who they are). If you follow the blog directly as in the option above, then you are automatically following it in Reader. I think.

Third, if you are on blogger and have a blog you see all of the blogs you are following on your dashboard under "Reading List". There is an "Add" button below the heading "Reading List" and you can paste in the address of the blog you wish to follow. Since Blogger seems to have done away with the "Follow this blog" button at the top every Blogger blog (Grr...) I find this the easiest way to follow. The result is the same as the first option. I think.

Fourth, near the "Brave Souls" list there is also an option for following by RSS feed. This is the one I really don't know much about. Anyone wishing to comment on that is welcome to do so.

So, follow however you like, but I can only "see" you if you follow the blog directly. (:

Double Giveaway!

First I thought I'd giveaway a set of my dishcloths/cleaning cloths/hot pads. Then I thought, why not offer a choice between two sets? THEN Father said, "why not give a first and second prize, the first prize gets to choose which one he/she wants?"

What a great idea.

SO, we are doing a DOUBLE GIVEAWAY. I'll be using a random number generator to pick winners. The winner from the first "draw" will get the first choice of sets, the second winner will take the remaining one. (Don't worry, they're both nice.)

I guess I ought to actually show you what I'm giving away first!

Set #1 (Orange/White/Yellow)

Two cotton crocheted dishcloths

One chunky crocheted hot pad

Two knit/woven cleaning cloths

And all topped off with three button magnets.

Set #2 (Blue/Green)

This set includes exactly the same items as the set above.

Two knit/woven cleaning cloths

Three button magnets (they're half-dollar size)

(The dishcloths can be seen better here.)

And now for the rules:

I'm making it very simple. All you have to do is leave one comment. Say how much you like the prizes. Say hello. Say anything.

For one additional entry leave another comment saying that you are a follower (or, alternately, become a follower and leave a comment saying that.

Each comment counts as one entry so be sure to put everything in separate comments!

The winner will be chosen by random number selection at noon, CST on September 1st, 2012. In the event that the first winner does not respond by September 8th, 2012, then the second winner will get first pick of the prizes and another random number drawing will be held and an alternate second winner selected.

Note: I will ship free of charge anywhere in the continental US or Canada unless you are willing to pay for shipping somewhere else.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Free Pattern for Ribbed, Crocheted Dishcloth

This pattern makes a wonderfully cushy, ribbed dishcloth. It would also make a nice washcloth, in my opinion. I recommend using 100% cotton yarn because it actually gets wet and is very washable. It will stretch out a bit when it's wet but once it's washed and dried it goes right back to the original size. In the example shown I used Peaches & Cream cotton yarn and a size H hook.

The wonderful thing about this pattern is you can make it whatever size you want without any real alterations in the pattern. It's not one of those "six plus one" patterns. To make it especially easy I've written the patterns for both an even number of stitches and an odd number of stitches. Once you get going on this, it's pretty obvious what you're doing and there will be NO COUNTING involved once you determine whether you have an even or odd number of stitches! For the sake of example I'm going to insert numbers into the pattern but like I said, you do not have to use these numbers.

~~Ribbed Dishcloth~~

[Throughout the pattern you should crochet through both loops rather than just the front or back loop. Unless I specify something else, assume that is the technique. You also will be making stitches around the front and back posts. As a BONUS I've included pictorial explanations of loops and posts below the pattern.]

(odd number of stitches)

ch 28

row 1:   sc in 2nd ch from hook, continue to sc in each ch for a total of 27 sc, turn

row 2:   ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in each sc for total of 27 dc, ch 2, turn

row 3:   (the ch 2 counts as first hdc) hdc in next dc. *dc front post (fp) then dc around next back post (bp)* repeat from * 10 more times, then dc fp once more. hdc in two remaining stitches, ch 2, turn

row 4:   hdc in next stitch (hdc), *dc bp then dc fp* repeat from * 10 more times then dc bp once more. hdc in two remaining stitches, ch 2, turn

rows 5+:   repeat rows 3 and 4 until desired length is reached. At end of last row ch 1, turn

next-to-last row:   sc in each hdc and dc (total 27 sc), ch 1 turn

last row:   sl st each sc (total 27 sl st), fasten off.

(even number of stitches)

ch 27

row 1:   sc in 2nd ch from hook, continue to sc in each ch for a total of 26 sc, turn

row 2:   ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in each sc for total of 26 dc, ch 2, turn

row 3:   (the ch 2 counts as first hdc) hdc in next dc. *dc front post (fp) then dc around next back post (bp)* repeat from * 10 more times. hdc in two remaining stitches, ch 2, turn

rows 4+:   repeat row 3 until desired length is reached. At end of last row ch 1, turn

next-to-last row:   sc in each hdc and dc (total 26 sc), ch 1 turn

last row:   sl st each sc (total 26 sl st), fasten off.

    Explanation of back loops, front loops and both loops:

    Hook is inserted in back loop.
    Hook is inserted in front loop.

    Hook is inserted under BOTH loops.

    The hook is pointing to the space where you make the stitch.

     Explanation of crocheting around posts:

    (I used white yarn added to the green to show the stitches better.)

    A post is the vertical column created when making double crochet or triple crochet all in a row. You can insert your hook around the post from the front of the work (front post) or from the back of the work (back post.) When you alternate these, you create a ribbed effect.

    Hook inserted in front post.

    Hook inserted in back post.

    Demonstrating how to make a dc around front post.

    Yarn over, insert hook, yarn over.

    Pull loop through post (rest of dc not shown).

    Front post dc made.

    Demonstration of back post dc: Yarn over, insert hook...

    Yarn over, pull loop through post, then finish dc.

    A series of front post and back post dc.

    p.s. If someone sees a problem in the pattern, please let me know and I'll fix it. Thanks!

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    How I feel about fitted sheets:


    What are everyone's opinions on blog giveaways? Over time I've developed a mild dislike of contest that give you an extra entry for becoming a follower, following on Twitter, posting on your blog, posting on Facebook, etc., etc., etc. It's too much trouble and many people (like me) aren't on all of those things. It just looks like a scheme to drum up business, so to speak. [Let's gently ignore that that's what I've done in the past.] I guess if you have a site on which you're selling something, etc., then it's probably not a bad idea to have some sort of promotion and a chance to spread the word about your site. If you're just blogging for the heck of it, it seems a bit silly to go to so much trouble to increase readership. I kind of like doing giveaways (because I've done all of...let's and want to do another one, but I don't know how people feel about them. I guess it depends on what's being given away too! Plus there's the little matter of not being able to think of a good excuse. The "blogiversary" isn't until November, it's not my birthday, I'm not approaching some nice round number of followers, I haven't just done my 5,000th post... I guess it could be 'just because'. Well, let me know in the comments section what you think about it and I'll do one if there's any interest.

    [ETA: I just realized I left the 6,000th comment when I responded to the comments here! Ok, that's reason enough. But does that mean that I win something...? lol]

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Tying up Loose Ends

    I have been thinking of starting a new quilt *gasp* but when I started going through the scrap basket to put the scraps in order of color (this really is helpful, btw) I found the pinned-together pieces of a doll quilt I had cut out last fall and never pieced. Oops. I pieced it together this afternoon, added a border, cut out some backing and batting and pinned it together. Now I can sit anywhere and hand-quilt it.

    17" x 20" Backed with dimity cut from an old curtain, border from scraps of old cotton sheet.

    I will probably never in my life manage to piece a quilt top such that the corners all line up. Oh well.

     I also found five blocks leftover from a blue/yellow/green scrap quilt I made in May a year ago (and STILL haven't quilted!). I had evidently miscalculated and wound up with extra blocks. I decided to sew four together in a square and turn the fifth into a pillow. All doll-sized, of course. It too is just pieced, layered and pinned, but I can hand-quilt it when I get tired of doing the first one. The pillow just needs to be stuffed.

    19" x 19" Backing pieced together from three pieces of scrap muslin.

    pillow backed with scrap of old cotton sheet.

    Slowly I am finishing up leftover projects! A few years ago a friend and I thought up a store we could do called "The Best of Intentions" in which we would finish other people's projects that they had gotten thoroughly sick of. I still think that's a good idea. Yesterday I finished ripping seams and turning a dress into a skirt for the taller girls and hemmed a skirt I made for myself a year ago. It's good to be clearing it all out.


    Finished in time for Christmas

    The Beauty of Creation

     Take delight in all things that surround us.

    All things teach us and lead us to God.

    All things around us are droplets of the love of God -

     Both things animate and inanimate,

    the plants

    and the animals,

    the birds

    and the mountains,

    the sea

    and the sunset

    and the starry sky.

    They are little loves through which we attain to the great Love 
    that is Christ.

    Flowers, for example, have their own grace: they teach us with their fragrance and with their magnificence. They speak to us of the love of God. 

    They scatter their fragrance and their beauty on sinners and on the righteous.

    -Wounded by Love, p. 218, Elder Porphyrios

    *all photos taken by me and copyrighted