BACK.

Mar. 23rd, 2010 08:11 pm
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I am back online at home, and am finding that, as usual, the world has managed to roll along without my spending every spare minute on the internet. It's a relief!

If anything much has happened to you in the past 3 weeks that I need to know about, please post it to comments... or post the link to your LJ.

My grandmother has broken her second hip. (She broke the first one in October.) What a year for the Grandma and Grandpa Snazzy! Grandpa had a birthday this month. It's strange to think of their being in their 80s. I always had the young, vital grandparents - but I guess I'm getting older, myself. When my mother was my age, I was 13 years old.

Otherwise, things are OK. I'm enjoying the prospect of fantasy baseball and really savoring Lent as it winds to its close. I need to look out for some volunteer opportunities and things to do with friends - I need to feel productive and build some self-confidence. Any recommendations of places I could volunteer would be appreciated... especially if I could work Monday afternoons or Saturdays.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Fr. J's reply to my inquiry about the nature of forgiveness and the situation with my parents was, boiled down to basics:

1) Make sure you pray every morning and evening - it doesn't matter which prayer;

2) Reading the psalms can be helpful;

3) We should talk about this face-to-face on Sunday;

4) Your mind is a bad neighborhood which you should stay out of (OK, he actually said not to dwell on this too much and to do relaxing, distracting things - basically [livejournal.com profile] papertigers's advice).

I am confirmed in thinking that, quite apart from having a wife who is very smart and lots of fun, he is probably a very sound priest.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
In the words of today's Epistle reading, "The night is far gone; the day is at hand." Since there are many of you that I don't see regularly in person, I'd like to ask your forgiveness for all the wrongs I have done you and yours, large and small. For those of you who appreciate such things, I also offer you mine. "God forgives, and so do I," as we say at church. May this be a season of growth and renewal for each and every one of you, my friends.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I walked to the grocery store today. While I was there, I was thinking of the reason we buy 1% milk. I like whole milk and [livejournal.com profile] papertigers likes nonfat. Therefore, 1%. The store was a mob scene, and almost impossible to get to even though we only live a block away. Going to, I had to run out into a four-lane street because the sidewalks are piled with 3-7 feet of snow (depending on where). I came back the long way round, via CVS and the Great Slope of Ice. It's amazing to be so near everything, yet so cut off.

When I came back, I spent some more time chipping ice off the sidewalks, with moderate success. I managed to clear the sidewalk from our building basically to the driveway. I got only a few feet chipped off below our building, though. The ice there is two inches thick and constant across the entire area. There is no place where it is melted or broken or a little damaged. It is like very slippery rock. Three feet was an accomplishment, all things considered.

Cheese Fare is coming on Sunday. [livejournal.com profile] papertigers is spoiling me with pizza, macaroni and cheese, Honey Bunches of Oats with pecans, and other delicacies. I am very lucky.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Mr. Miles)
This is really gorgeous weather, from a purely aesthetic perspective. Practically speaking, of course, it's caused a lot of trouble. Many areas of our complex have lost power (entirely coincidentally, I might add - the transformers blew - but rather unfairly, too, it seems). It's very cold outside, and those people have to stay in or risk some very bad roads to keep warm. I am worried about them. I hope the hypothermia van is also doing its job, even though the roads are so treacherous. The homeless suffer so very much in this sort of weather.

We went to CVS at about 11 this morning. The clerk there had been on the job since 11 the night before. He can't get home, and no one can get there to relieve him, and there is no way for him to get any sleep (or hot tea - if we tried to bring him some, it would be freezing by the time it got to him). It's 8 p.m. now. I hope he has taken advantage of the somewhat-plowed condition of the roads. I hope someone has come to take his place at work.

I can't begin to explain how lucky I feel that we have been relatively unharmed. [livejournal.com profile] papertigers is a big advocate of keeping one's monkey butt home, and I guess she's right. It's no time to be out. (That said, I just took a lot of pictures to send to my nine-months'-pregnant sister in CA, who begged for some.)

The trees are laden with snow. The cars that haven't been dug out look like young mountains. Snow has even clung to the upright bars on our balcony and the bricks on the outer walls. Every path feels vaguely tunnel-like. The snow is piled well up to one's knees and (on a short person like me) past them.

I feel the beginnings of a cold coming on, but I am fighting it with tea and medication. Mostly I just feel stuffy-headed, which could just be the dry air.

Meat Fare is coming tomorrow. We had bacon this morning! What a delightful thing for one of my last meat days!
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I have been online only a few minutes today, and am cutting it down to Essentials Only for tomorrow through Sunday. If you do not see me, this will be why. I will "see" most of you after Pascha.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
You have asked for pictures of my pysanki, so here they are.

Lots of pictures under the cut. )
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Two of this year's three pysanky are finished - the second one is far better than the first. I have the third in the black dye now; we'll see how that turns out. With any luck, I'll be able to post some pictures next week. I was very pleased with my "forty triangles" pysanka. Most people make them with 48 triangles; I opted for a less elegant but more precise 40 triangles. It turned out nicely and I am pleased. The one in the dye right now is a "resurrection cross" style. I have found that I'll start an egg with every intention of imitating someone else's design, and then it will naturally redesign itself as I sit there working on it, so that none of my designs is quite like what is in the photos and books. I like that about doing this.

Spring cleaning has started. My dresser is cleared and dusted. I have hung pictures. The counters in the kitchen and the trash bins and plastic stepping stools and dish drying rack have all been bleached. The annual renewal of Roach Prufe on all the possible surfaces in our house has begun (we moved here in late April; DC has crazy numbers of roaches and most people here don't believe me when I tell them how well this stuff works). Luckily, J & J's visit a few weeks ago gave us a very good head start on the spring cleaning; we should be done in time for Pascha with no problem. We have planned our Pascha dinner (which, because we eat at church at 3 a.m. or so, will really be the day's main meal) and I'm looking forward to every bite of it. I love this time of year. It's so exciting.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I'm sitting here in the computer lab at work. My job is to "proctor" an exam, but in the 1:20-2:10 p.m. window, that means sitting in the computer lab alone, since all the students have finished the exam and either went home or are sitting in the student lounge. There is currently one student with me; she came in about 10 minutes ago to use the internet.

It seems to me that the winter flu season didn't happen, and instead we're getting a spring flu season. I've sent students home over the past two days. One of mine was in class today because she's on a visa, but she is fasting for Western Good Friday and she's got a fever. She's already worked on the material, so I let her sleep in class.

It interests me to note how one gets attached to one's students, not as though they were children, but more as though they were family members. Some of them are sweet, some annoying, some wise, but one feels a certain concern for their well-being regardless of their personalities or performance in class. I was surprised to find myself offering one of my feverish ones a cup of tea today.

I have had a bit of a headache today, but compared to most of my students I have it easy! This is going to be a big weekend of cleaning for me, and like most such weekends, I suspect it will pass too quickly. I like to have the house at its cleanest for Pascha; I get some kind of feeling that it's essential, even, to have things as clean as they can possibly be for the feast. I do the same to myself; if I have time, I generally take no fewer than three baths as part of my preparation for Nocturnes. If I have money, I buy new clothes. Naturally, with the annual gathering, much of that gets squandered in cooking for and feeding guests, providing egg hunts and little Easter egg baskets, etc., but it's good to have that clean start to the day.

To those of you celebrating this week, have a blessed Easter, and please pray for those of us who haven't arrived at the big day yet.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
My first pysanka is finished. It's the first I've done in nearly ten years, so it is not up to the standard of my former attempts. However, if I persist in reviving my habit of doing this every year, I will improve.

I love making pysanki. Presumably because it has similarities to icon-writing, it's one of the few pastimes that is openly encouraged during Lent. It's creative and meditative at the same time. They are beautiful additions to one's basket.

They have been selling kits in the Hearthsong catalog for the past couple of years. I adore the Hearthsong catalog, but I do feel ever-so-slightly sulky when it comes to selling pysanki kits without reference to their historical, cultural, and religious meaning. Maybe this is because I learned to make pysanki at church? For us it was infused with religion. It's an awesome thing for kids to learn to do, and fairly easy for them, so I'm probably just being stuffy here.

I am going to try to do a forty-triangles pysanka next. Those are harder, so wish me luck!
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Last week was some kind of week. I always shock myself into Lent because it's much easier to cope if I'm hardest on myself at the beginning. It was a good, strong week, amazing really, but it ended with me being a lot hormonal and a little depressed. This week I'm letting up on myself a little, still following the Lenten discipline but being a little less hard on myself. So far, so good.

What works: Having a to-do list, concentrating on prayer, limiting access to novels to Sundays, cooking rather than buying vegan convenience foods, Presanctified Liturgy.

What isn't working as well: Keeping the cheerfulness I felt during the first week, motivating myself when I am exhausted, limiting sugar intake to dark chocolate only (soy milk really NEEDS to be sweetened), being strict enough on myself to get EVERYTHING done.

To an extent, I think I bit off a little too much at the beginning, but I guess that's what the beginning is for; after that, you know what your limits will be for the season, and know how much leeway to give yourself. [livejournal.com profile] papertigers is, as always, hypersupportive. She made dinner tonight, and even remembered not to use bacon grease. She has been great at not nagging me and letting me have the space for extra added prayer. I hope, in return, she sees some small improvements in the operation of daily life, in the way I treat her and others, and I hope I learn even more to show her the kinds of consideration she needs, rather than just the kinds I'm good at showing.

I went to a networking event tonight. It was highly successful. There may even be jobs as an outcome, if I am good and if I sell myself well. I am not good at selling myself. Still, I definitely need the work. Send me the prayers, good thoughts, etc.

Also, if anyone is local and wants to send used toys, clothes, shoes, or school supplies in good condition (for kids aged 5-17) to orphans and foster children in Belarus, please let me know. I will even come by and collect stuff from you, and maybe we can have a cup of tea and hang out for a bit.

Forgiveness

Mar. 1st, 2009 08:46 pm
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Today is Forgiveness Sunday (also known as Cheesefare Sunday). I had a very, very hard time at church this morning.

You see, there is a lot of resentment I've been clutching. I've been doing a lot of "this hurts so I'm going to hang on to it like anything!" Every year, I start Liturgy on Cheesefare with the same trepidation, the same feeling that I am not ready for Lent. This year was particularly hard. I've had some honest-to-goodness bad stuff happen, and some of it has had to do with the parish. One of the hardest things for me to do is to figure out whether I am being vindictive and judgmental or whether I am being righteous and protective. So much depends not on what you say or do, but how and in what spirit you approach other people. I have a hot temper, but anger is a tool that should be used sparingly and impersonally. These are some of my musings at the beginning of the season of spiritual renewal.

As always, by the end of Vespers, I was in a different place entirely. There truly is something about having your clergy get up in front of you and ask forgiveness, something about praying the Prayer of St. Ephrem for the first time in the season together with your community, more especially something about the ritual of kissing each other and saying, "Forgive me," "God forgives," while the choir above you sings "Christ is risen from the dead!" - there's something about it that prepares you, that enables you to let go of some of your resentment and look at yourself more humbly.

My friends, I ask your forgiveness for all the wrongs I have done to you and yours. May this season be one of growth and renewal in your lives.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Well, it's getting time for Lent again, and I've been working my brain to figure out what I need to do to get maximum spiritual benefit. I'll say this: it will be rewarding, but it won't be easy. The best thing about it is that this year I have my pysanki materials. I love making pysanki during Lent!

I'm hoping to wear my depression and anxiety down through activity, discipline, and caring for myself better than I have been. Wish me luck!
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Thinking about Lent... and about how easily I am embarrassed... and how that embarrassment is really a reflection of my pride and belief in my own self-sufficiency... makes me appreciate more the people who teach me that they are here for me, and that I am only who I am because of the people around me.

So I am thankful. I am thankful for [livejournal.com profile] papertigers, who somehow continues to believe in me. I am thankful for [livejournal.com profile] kartoffel, who reminds me of who I have always essentially been. I am thankful for my godmother, who gives every kind of support so unselfishly. I am thankful for [livejournal.com profile] melebeth for the same. I am thankful for [livejournal.com profile] seraphimsigrist, who doesn't seem to mind advising a perfect stranger. I am thankful for [livejournal.com profile] scooterbird, [livejournal.com profile] efbq, and [livejournal.com profile] silk1 who occasionally clarify the gaps between my emotional state and reality. I am thankful to every person on LJ (I know most of you in real life) who has listened to me kvetch and given me hugs.

I am thankful to every member of my family, because they are all part of who I am, each in his or her own way. I am exceedingly thankful to have been given three adorable godsons, who just get better every day. I am thankful to have so many wonderful children in my life, children who love me not because of what I have accomplished but because of who I am with them.

I am thankful for three gorgeous and loving cats. I am thankful for five fun, respectful, hard-working students. I am thankful for the mild weather this week. It's been such a nice break from the harshness of winter. I am thankful for my garden, my home, and the blessing of cheese. I am thankful for food and the skill to cook it.

I have been given so much, and I didn't do a thing to deserve it except be here. I should think of that the next time I'm feeling anxious and self-conscious.

Bother

Apr. 5th, 2008 02:33 pm
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I'm bothered by people who decide that other people's way of doing things are wrong. And I do it too (hey, I'm doing it right now), but it really bugs me very deeply. It bugs me in myself maybe especially! This is a big struggle I've been going through and especially focusing on during Lent. A lot of people see Christians as this big judgmental thing. A lot of Christians are that kind of judgmental, including myself at times, but that's hardly Jesus's fault. Poor guy, he gets so twisted by the stuff we do. A lot of non-Christians are judgmental like that, too, to be fair, but they're less organized about it at times.

Ultimately, I believe in a loving God. I don't believe that he wants anyone - anyone - to fall through the cracks. I believe that he's big enough to keep everyone in his hand, and he does. So how can I look at other people and try to weigh their souls? Isn't that not my job? Isn't God merciful and loving? So can't I just let it go?

Why can't I sometimes? Why do I really look at others sometimes and think they are not just different, but completely wrong? Why can't I take care of my own actions and leave theirs alone? Sometimes it's very hard to do that. Even with strangers, if they're bugging me. The woman in the pool lane next to mine who splashes me.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I really enjoyed Presanctified Liturgy tonight. Since I'm pretty familiar with the service, I followed along well even though it was in Slavonic. That is, until the sermon. Note to self: you don't know Russian, and trying to listen harder won't make you understand the sermon better.

I did get a few words. "Gospel," "Sunday," "Jesus." But I couldn't put together any kind of coherent message from them, no matter how hard I listened.

Codeine is fun. I'm having all sorts of interesting dreams. There was one about me going to a lot of trouble to get my dad a Spanish delicacy which was a cake with pineapples and some kind of glaze on it, served in a skull, and him being upset because what he really wanted was to go to Bed Bath & Beyond and hold his head over steaming, stewed tomatoes with Barack Obama. That was one of the more normal dreams.

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