Monday, August 31, 2015

All is well.

The baby was evaluated today in a high-tech ultrasound and everything looks good. No positive markers for problems and everything growing as it should. (The placenta is behaving itself this time too.) She was curled up on her tummy facing my back, fast asleep with one hand in her mouth. The ultrasound person would try to jiggle her awake periodically to try to get her to turn over (it got tricky trying to get good images of her heart) but she would just stretch once or twice and go back to sleep. Sweet baby. <3

Sweater Set

 This sweet sweater set (hat, booties, cardigan) is hand-knit in pure, washable merino wool (SO soft!) and is a size newborn to 3 months. Available in the shop!

Heading to my high-risk OB appointment in a few minutes where I will have the anatomy scan. I won't be able to bring home any photos, but I hope I'll bring home news that all is well. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

We're having a...


Athena wins the baby hat! She was comment #9. We had 7 people guess girl and 6 people guess boy - pretty even!

Friday, August 28, 2015


Just a reminder: the "guess the sex" contest ends tomorrow morning at 10 AM! Leave a comment HERE (not on this post) to guess either boy or girl. The winner will receive the yellow baby hat. (Details at the link.) Good luck!

Review of "A Gift for Matthew"

  I really enjoyed reading A Gift for Matthew by Nick Muzekari. We join Matthew (age not given, but around 9-11 years would be my guess) for a day at a nearby monastery where he helps Brother Justin in the various steps of writing an icon. I liked the fact that the steps in mixing the paint (ok, I didn't know how egg tempera was made!), transferring the sketch to the board, etc. were not only explained in a just-enough-detailed fashion, but also placed in the context of the Church's Tradition. My 12 year old read it and liked it, although he felt it was a bit young for him. I read it to my 8 year old (explaining some of the words) and he enjoyed it and learned a lot. The not-quite-2 year old enjoyed the pictures of the kitty. :)

  The illustrations by Masha Lobastov are beautiful and really enhance the story. I do like the fact that the monastery could be placed anywhere, not just in one part of the world.

  A Gift for Matthew would make a lovely addition to your child's Orthodox book library, or for reading-aloud to a church school class. I hope it will play a part in encouraging budding iconographers.

Purchase A Gift for Matthew from Ancient Faith Publishing

Facebook page for A Gift for Matthew

[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review, but my review is honest! My thanks to Nick Muzekari for sending it to me!]

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chasing the Star

I found this graphic online yesterday and I noted two things: One, the immediate seductive attraction, the desire to say, "Yes! This is it!", and, two, following right on the heels of the first feeling, the onset of suspicion.

Certainly one can examine this in detail and find nothing inherently 'wrong' with it. It certainly makes logical sense and the definitions seem to match up. It's when we examine the little word, "Purpose", that the structure starts to look shaky.

Sure, wouldn't it be nice to be able to do something we're good at and enjoy doing, something that is helping others, AND that we would be paid for (presumably, more than a pittance)? Well, heck. I don't know anyone who would turn that down.

However, we can examine this in two ways.

The first is to look at it from a rather secular point of view. How many people are living where the little blue star is? Probably one in several million. Somehow I doubt that that's because the rest of the masses somehow are idiots or fools. How many people are chasing that star? I would venture to say a whole lot, not to say nearly everyone. So if nearly everyone wants to be there and yet almost no one is, maybe we should question the destination rather than the abilities of those searching for it.

The second way to look at it is to check how important each of the four categories is. If you are engaged in work that is important, that you have an aptitude for, and that you find pleasure in, but are not paid for it, should you give it up? What about being a stay-at-home parent? Conversely, what about the working parent who has a job that he/she is paid for, and is good at, but perhaps does not exactly love and doesn't fit some vague definition of "important to the world"? In a more immediate sense that job is important for supporting the family and that knowledge should bring some satisfaction.

The real problem comes when one "chases the star" and never arrives. Then the star is a mocking source of dissatisfaction and discontent, a self-imposed reason for despair and restlessness. Always out of reach, the star twinkles away while the person ignores and tramples the world around him, trying, and always failing, to grab it.

Better is to follow old adages such as "bloom where you're planted" and "love the one you're with". Our purpose in life is God-given and should be oriented toward Him, not toward some illusory little blue star. If we are always looking toward God then we will find contentment no matter what our situation in life.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.   [Matt 6:33]

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Yarn Along: Multiple Unfinished Projects and Books

The sweater (just a simple, garter stitch, top-down cardigan) was fine, but the hat (seen in progress, knitted flat) is looking way too big. I'm going to frog it and start over today. That's the way the cookie crumbles. A set of booties will also be included. I'll put this in the shop when it's complete.

This scarf is destined for the shop as well. A fellow parishioner gifted this yarn as well as a lot more (thank you!!) and I saw this colorway and thought FALL. 

This is "join as you go" although I'm still going to have a lot of ends to weave in. Ah well! It's going to be a gift for baby Irene. I hope I'll finish it in time for her baptism in October.

This book, A Gift for Matthew by Nick Muzekari,  just arrived in the mail from Ancient Faith two days ago. I read it immediately and loved it! It's an advance review copy but it's available to purchase now. I'm going to dedicate a post to a thorough review but I want to read it with the kids first (the real experts). Hopefully to be posted later today!

And my most recent bedtime reading: The Proving Ground by G. Bruce Knecht, about the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. They ran into quite the storm in the Bass Strait and six sailors died. Rather reminiscent of the 1979 Fastnet Race. I have another book (Fatal Storm) about this same race and it's interesting to see some slightly different points of view.

What are you reading and creating?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Love-Affair with Wool

 Every time I start knitting with superwash wool (machine-washable), I wonder why I knit with anything else. It's soft, springy, has that indefinable "wool" feel, and comes in a zillion colors.

Last night I started on this baby sweater:

Pictured below: Filatura Lanarota "Washable Merino"* wool in natural, Elegant Yarns "Heavenly" washable merino in Bamboo Green, and Knit Picks "Swish" in Lost Lake Heather. [Swish is my new "go-to" washable wool yarn, available from Knit Picks.]

*Sadly discontinued. You can't even find it on Ebay now. I've jealously guarded my last two skeins!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Guess the sex!

Guess what we're having! We'll find out next Saturday, August the 29th, or if the baby is uncooperative, on Monday, August 31st.

To enter leave a comment on this post with your guess. Only guess once, please! People who guess twice will be disqualified. On the day we find out I'll put all of the correct guesses in a hat and pull one out. That person will win this hand-knit, yellow baby hat.

The contest ends Saturday, August 29th at 10 AM CDT.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Yarn Along: Doll Layette and other things...

I finally finished this doll layette! It's a combination of knit and crochet - pretty much whatever I felt like doing. Everything is from my own pattern so they're all one-of-a-kind. It fits 15 inch dolls (but probably larger ones too). You can find it in my Etsy shop here.

I've been rereading a lot of things. I also just returned some books to the library yesterday and didn't think to take photos for this post. One of them was The Sky is Falling by Arthur Weingarten. It's the story of the 1945 plane crash into the Empire State Building. Some absolutely remarkable tales. I'm currently rereading (for the nth time) C. S. Lewis's "space" trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. If you haven't read them because you don't like science fiction, give them a try anyway. This is not your traditional science fiction at all.

In other news, I am hoping that next week we can take all the children with us to an ultrasound of the baby! In honor of that, and for fun, I'm going to have a "guess the sex" contest (to be posted in the next day or two) and offer a hand-knit baby hat as a prize. Stay tuned!

What are you reading and creating?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Intruder

(Published many years ago, but I suddenly thought about it this evening and couldn't stop laughing. So here it is again!)

This is a story which is destined to be told and retold in our family: 
the story of how my sister Rebecca and I held off an intruder in our house.

One weekday when my sister and I were in high school, we had a day off from school. We attended a private school in the next town over but our siblings still attended the city schools so they were in school that day. I took the rare opportunity to sleep in, undisturbed. Around 9 or so, I awoke to Rebecca frantically shaking me and gasping out something about a burglar. It was a moment before I was fully awake and could grasp what she was saying. I told her to shut up so I could listen. To my surprise and horror, I heard someone large moving around downstairs and whistling.

I jumped up and grabbed Rebecca, dragging her out of my room and into the hall. I intended to dash across the top of the stairs into our parents’ room where there was a phone so we could call 911. Just before we got there, I heard the person coming toward the bottom of the stairs. Had we gone another step he certainly would have seen us. Whirling around, I dragged her into our bathroom at the other end of the hall. Fortunately, the intruder was not making any effort to be quiet so he didn’t hear our scurrying. When we got into the bathroom, I was horrified to find that the door wouldn’t lock. This was not a young house and the doors could be temperamental.

While I was frantically but quietly working on it, I heard the person coming upstairs. I stopped working and held the door shut and listened. The person was clearly a large male and was seemingly wandering systematically from room to room…whistling. The whistling seemed particularly inappropriate under the circumstances. I turned around to see what Rebecca was doing and she had disappeared. Surprised, I realized she was in the tub, holding a washcloth up to the faucet. “What are you doing??” I hissed. “Catching the drip so he doesn’t hear it!” she hissed back. I thought that the drip was the least of our problems but didn’t argue because I heard the intruder head into my room. My fear was replaced momentarily by sheer indignation. This rapidly changed back to fear as the footsteps came right up to the bathroom door. Desperately, I braced against the door and held the knob firmly so it wouldn’t turn. The doorknob strained in my hand and there was a slight push on the door. After a pause, the steps moved on, heading into the boys’ room. I let out a careful sigh of relief and leaned on the door.

I was beginning to wonder what kind of weird intruder this was. With another sick jolt, I realized it could be one of the patients from the state mental hospital 20 miles away. They had been known to escape occasionally. The person went back downstairs and after a few moments the house seemed quieter. Just as I was easing open the door to peer out, I heard an engine start in the driveway. I yelled to Rebecca to look out the window and get an identification on the vehicle while I ran to the phone and called 911. My hand shook on the phone as I described what happened. The person asked if anything had been taken and I realized I hadn’t even looked. They said the police were on their way. I went back downstairs and began to wonder where Rebecca was. Nothing seemed to have been disturbed.

Just before a police car pulled in the driveway, Rebecca burst through the front door. I asked her if she had seen the vehicle and what took so long. She described a white pickup with some writing on the side. Apparently she had run across the street to the neighbors and frantically pounded on the door. Mercifully, as it would turn out, they weren’t home. The police officer started questioning us and another cruiser pulled up in front of the house while two others searched the neighborhood. I was suddenly aware that Rebecca was still in pajamas and I was in a t-shirt, shorts and little else. Neither of us had combed hair.

Rebecca said she had been eating breakfast down in the kitchen and heard someone walk into the garage, singing. She peeped through the curtain on the door and saw a big man coming carrying something. She panicked and ran up to get me.

Rebecca had been crying off and on and when, a few minutes later, Mom pulled up to the house, she let loose completely and ran to Mom sobbing. Mom was quite startled to see all the police and commotion and held tightly onto Rebecca while we told her what happened. The officer got a call on his radio and went over to his car. He came back, carefully keeping his composure and said to Mom: “Ma’am, do you use Hatcher Pest Control?” Her whole expression changed and she said, “Yes!” I said, “What?!” To say I suddenly felt very foolish is putting it mildly. Mom apologized for forgetting to tell us the man was coming this morning. She had been out doing errands.

Things did not improve when a white pickup with “Hatcher Pest Control” stenciled on the side pulled up behind a cruiser in the front of the house and big, jolly Mr. Blackman hopped out grinning from ear to ear. Well, let us draw a curtain on the scene. We knew we were goners because Mr. Blackman’s niece and nephew went to school with us. Sure enough, the next day, that’s all we heard about. I told Rebecca it would be a long time before I let her scare me without checking it out first for myself.

Sunday Morning

 Flowers blessed yesterday for the feast of Dormition:

Cream cheese danish baking for coffee hour:

A little dress ironed and waiting to be put on:

Asking for head-scratches: