Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Planning ~ all the things

{Pictures and writing below are from this past Friday:}
I am thinking very much of the summer that is nearly upon us.
So brief but so needed before the Autumn days that everyone on FB praises.
I am in the process of trying to figure out what my big things are this summer,
the 'stones' that the jar of everything that I hope to do, will be.
I am aware, at least dimly, that I am feeling better these days.
Still coughing a bit, but not often.
I am trying to take times to rest between things.
I am relishing the year 1916 in CS Lewis's letters to Arthur Greeves.
I just love reading his letters.  
Very restful, at least this part of his life, young, studying,
reading and thinking about books and music.
Cleo gets her blood checked tomorrow.
And I have a grocery delivery coming.
Today I have, it's almost 3 pm EST as I write this, done more 
in terms of keeping house.
2 Loads of laundry, changing to summer bed sheets,
I fried up onions with mushrooms and onions with potatoes.
Mr. Husband loves this meal and finds it a real treat.
I do too, but I love it esp. with a fried egg with a runny yoke, 
which Mr. Husband does not care for.
I have a lot of summer goals:
~possible family visits
~quilts (when will I get to sew again?!)
~Christmas baking (I have wanted to do it in the summer a bit at a time and
carefully freeze it - I know it can work!)
~monastery trip
~Sunday School planning for year 2016-2017
~house projects
~summer baking (tortes, pies!)
~dinner parties
~writing project 
~NYC trips 
~swimming and taking more walks, gaining strength
~farmers market 
Well, today's last big goal is to bake for the Munchkin's birthday party,
which will be this Sunday after church, DV.
I am thinking a layered cake and cupcakes at the moment. 
I am hoping to make the first strawberry cream pie next week...
I am thinking also of the times that are most stressful in our year and trying to figure out
how to make them better.  
Joy had a great post on how to sustain oneself in life that gave me a lot to think about. 
Well, back to the things that need doing today!...will finish this post later! 
Oh, you need to read this poem by +Fr. Matthew Baker, 
it's one of the best things you could read all week!
I managed to make the vanilla cake + cupcakes.
Had quite the time, as I accidentally put water in my cake flour!
It all worked out in the end.
I hope the cake tastes good, I am not an expert on vanilla cakes!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday, Memorial Day

We got an unexpected 'bonus' in our grocery delivery of this past Saturday.
Some Applegate natural hotdogs were included.
So I fried up three of them with slices of onion and minced fresh garlic,
starting with the onions, then the sliced meat and then the garlic, as I 
have learned that garlic can burn quickly!
I tend to fry things in coconut oil.
It made for a good meal!
We are having a nice and quiet day today.
I slept in - needed it as I did not sleep as well on Saturday night.
Mr. Husband is working on our taxes,
as they did not get done yet because of getting the flu.
This morning was spent cleaning and then making our lunch,
with enough for dinner tonight.
This afternoon I cleaned up again, read a page of CS Lewis' letters to A.G.
and have been doing some needed online research.
I am hoping to make the Munchkin a little travel bag,
as he will be traveling this summer.
I already have a few things to put inside
and am hoping that some needed pictures show up soon,
so I can make another part of this gift.
So I hope to do this later this week,
as well as tackle the newly accrued laundry, paperwork 
and such.  
I am also hosting a lunch party/tea welcome-to-a-new-Small-Lady-Munchkin
who dear friends of ours are adopting.
I am pretty much thinking about this daily and what I will make,
when I will make it, etc. 
I love planning meals for special events!
Our local pool is open and I am hoping they will have adult swim in 
the morning soon.
Somehow I need to combine a schedule that includes rest with exercise,
finish my godson's quilt, do Sunday School planning for next year,
and work on house-projects.
It suddenly is summer weather and I am so glad.
There is something about summer that invites new activities and 
dreaming of bring some projects to fruition and completion....

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday, quiet and busy

I lit lampadas for my friend P. who was scheduled for heart surgery today in Ottawa.
He gave me the icon of St. George in poster form (later matted) years ago.

I received this book yesterday, in the midst of the phone saga.
I began it last night and finished it before I went to bed, around 11 PM.
It is a small and very readable book, one that is beautiful and speaks
of a Saintly man who touched so many lives.  
I find myself thinking many times how to rebuild my life also in terms of 
having a consistent spiritual life. 
I admit to struggling with this.  I have felt like my sense of rhythm and routine in this
regard was so shattered by moving and marrying, that to remake it takes a lot of 
time, patience and trying again and again.
We do prayers together in the evening; one of our family mottoes that we don't even 
think about but try to live instead is 
a family that prayers together stays together.
I am managing some spiritual reading before bed, since I am a night person.
When I have breakfast alone, I try to read some more.
I have candles lit and try to do lampadas.
But I still don't feel anywhere near what I know that I want to be, but struggle to do. 
I am inspired to try to pray the Psalms more consistently after reading

 I read most of Lynnette's Hope over Holy Week,
when I was sick. 
It's wonderful. Much better than I had hoped or guessed it would be.
I hope to finish reading it soon, I am nearly done reading it. 

I finally got things clean again, laundry and kitchen.
And I wrote the lesson for Sunday School. 
I am so thankful that I have a great book to help guide me in this!
Today was a good and full day!  

I had tea today, a chai tea from Trader Joe's in powder form.
It's such a treat to have! And two chocolate treats.
I was very grateful. 

I found two recipes for cake to make for the Munchkin's birthday.
Layer cakes, lots of kids coming, DV. 

My Grandma got this cookbook from her Aunt Nell, who was her father's sister, 2 years older. 
She lived with Grandma's family for some years. 
They would have popcorn every Saturday night and Aunt Nell made treats for the kids,
 my Grandma being one of them. :) 
Well, that's a little bit about today!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Feast Day with unexpected temptation

I went to liturgy today for the 
Feast of Mid-Pentecost.
It was so beautiful. 
I had lovely pictures of it, so nice.
Then I went out for lunch with everyone from church 
and I went to call Mr. Husband and all went down, 
fast, with my phone... 
I was super distracted while I was trying to 
do the 'swipe unlock' for my phone, a pattern 
that only I (ok and Mr Husband) know to unlock my phone.
So I accidentally locked myself out, trying too many times
and getting it wrong..... 
And I had forgotten my backup pin, no idea what is or where it is written.
I have 2 factor ID on my google account, which includes the
Android Device Manager, which texts a code to my phone.
Yeah, the phone that is locked and I can't open it to get the code from 
the text... So I could not use the device manager to unlock it.
A security black hole.
Samsung could not help as I had never set up an account with them,
not realizing that they could of unlocked my phone if I had.
Verizon could not help and the cloud storage would not work
as it was set to wifi only and my wifi was turned OFF
on my locked phone, no way to fix it.
And cloud storage was full for months and months so no new backups...
So I lost everything, guessed the PIN # wrong 10 times and 
it factory reset. 
I lost pretty much all afternoon and early evening.
Thank God, at least, that I only lost 1 week of pictures,
as I had downloaded them all last week from my phone to my 
external hard drive.
Now I just have to download them somewhere else, so they are 
saved in two places.
And that was today....
with a good dinner and lunch thrown in
and a beautiful liturgy this morning...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Monday, Tuesday equals blessing days

A very needed quiet day.
I realized at lunch that I have a reoccurring dream,
that I always believe is true when I am dreaming it...
that I am flying or hovering somehow above the streets and able
to go quickly to another place.  And others are not
and I hide that I can fly by skimming just above the ground,
quickly and quietly.... 
I find that a happy dream, even though when I awake,
I realize it was only a dream.
I rested and rested on Monday, which is now yesterday.
Had one of my first caffeinated teas at home in a long time.
I still cough at odd times, but it is less than before.

Today, is Tuesday.
I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
I ended up being unsure of where to go, as I think after I got off the
PATH train I did not know where I was when I got on the street.
I understand now how to use the maps better,
but was confused and it was lunchtime,
I could tell I was near crashing ... so I took a cab to the Gardens
and a subway back home after.

I met up with a friend who I had not seen since before Lent,
and before Mr Husband and I got sick.
It was really nice to talk and catch up.

I made lemongrass tea from my time in Ottawa.
When I drink it, I am brought back to those early days in Ottawa,
when I had a great first contract, felt on top of things, though I was exhausted
by the amount of work I was exerting for the work project,
and I felt that everything was working out so well,
all was beautiful, I felt spunky and loved my new work clothes.
I had no idea that later, things would get a lot harder,
but it was a gift, those months, those early days.
I have realized or seen that that sense of 'verve', of being on top of things,
are parts of beginnings, of seasons in life that I am excited about and
plunging into... I felt it when I was new to my first job in Ottawa,
I felt it again as I was leaving Ottawa, planning my wedding and in love
with the man that I now gladly call Mr. Husband.
I was telling my newer friend how it was hard,
coming to NJ and that on my flight into NJ, after our honeymoon,
as a brand new Bride, brand new everything, church, home, city, state, country,
newly married, that I was in the back of the plane,
and I ended up feeling so sick that I threw up,
for the first and only time so far in my life on a plane.
It felt like such a weak beginning of my new life,
I felt, at that time, ashamed of it.
Mr. Husband used the word 'solicitous' for how he felt towards me,
went out to our local grocery store and bought groceries,
and came back with the most darling little potted rose plant.
I loved that plant.
Now I realize that me and the back of planes do not get along,
I fly fine and I feel that I am, I hope, just getting back into things in a deeper way.
But it is different.
My life, everything. My first boss was right about bodies changing about age 40,
which I will be, I hope with a flourish, come this December.
My weight is more, I used to be too thin really, now is better...
but, I can't just eat whatever I want, things change.
I am overall happy with myself, and more free.
It helps that I have a loving husband...

I am finding that it is good to rebuild a life,
but it takes time and one must also be aware of one's limits,
as Gretchen Joanna kindly wrote on my blog recently...
and also rest.
That was something I learned in my first year of marriage,
I think one of the reasons I got mono was that I did not have enough
rest in my daily rhythm of life.
I still don't have a full rhythm or routine to my days, but I am hoping
to slowly gain more of one.
It's hard, as I have felt I had to rebuild so many times.
Today was very good as I found another piece of what
could be come what my life looks like.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A small bit about today

Half of a steak and ale pie,
fruit salad, green salad.
Today was a good, full day.
We went to a local friends place for a BBQ,
made a big fruit salad for it, with sour cream dressing.
(Recipe here).
After vespers, we had the meal you see above.
I have had a busy week and I just felt a deep joy
at being home.  
I need to find the poem that Jane Kenyon wrote
about how in the end, home is where one wants to be.
Yet we wander from it, and I vacillate between wanting and needing
to be out and engaging with people and places and 
again just wanting to be home, within these four walls,
with beauty, icons, books, blue and white pottery, 
and the couch here, that I am sitting on right now.
I was reading this morning and sitting in our white chair,
and looked up at our orchids that are not in flower.
And I realized again that they often do not flower at all or
once a year for a month, or maybe more if we are fortunate.
And I realized that perhaps some of my discontent,
other than merely being a temptation, was not correct because
we too can not be in flower all the time.
it is a constant effort to know how best to use my time.
I am working on so many projects and want to do even more.
It's hard to prioritize and triage them.
But at least right now, 
the quiet I needed is back, the home, the sense of peace.
Monday, I get to be home all day.
Tomorrow, DV, I get to teach my beloved Sunday School kids.
And it is good.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A quiet but busy Friday

I made a strawberry rhubarb pie.
I wrote our Sunday School lesson.
We got a box of books we had ordered, the four in the picture above
are the ones I chose, to go with the research I am thinking of doing
(the books were 3.00 each, plus shipping!).
I sewed on buttons for Mr Husband's white cassock that I got him
for our first Pascha, which we had together in Ottawa.
I made lunch, dinner.  Enjoyed both.
I had a good long talk with my sister, after a long while of not being able to 
coordinate schedules to talk.
We talked to our vet about Cleo, he was happy to hear of her weight gain
and we will DV have Cleo checked out via more blood work in a week's time.
And I am dealing with some sadness, not too bad, but there, 
in the background, nothing I can blog about, nothing that is going to 
change my life as it is now, but still, it's there. I can sense it, it's a familiar thing, 
as it is for all of us in our own way.
I am also feeling, and I think Mr Husband too, the wish to get so many
more things done.
As if this lovely day, 
having meals with my best friend, 
enjoying some of the best strawberries I have had in years, 
was not enough, all by itself.
As well as the icons with lampadas lit, and candles, and God's mercy in this day.
It's constant work, isn't it?
The work of thankfulness, contentment. 
I feel like I want to do so much more, get long term quilt and knitting blanket projects 
done, do more research, actually write that essay I have dreamed of writing
for so long. and more... 
But I also want to bake, I think teaching Sunday School is super important,
it's just the constant having to triage, make decisions... 
what to do for Sunday School next year, how to balance everything....
Lord have mercy on us, we desire so many things,
yet can forget the one thing we need, the one thing needful....

Lord have mercy on us and help us....

Thursday, May 19, 2016

About today, a sunny Thursday

I am missing the daily writing I did here during Lent.
Just a few notes about today.
It was really busy.
I drove to a nearby town to get a car wash and grocery run.
It's the first time I have driven in NJ in, well, other than going to the mechanic yesterday,
a 2 mile away drive (all's well, just checking up on things), in months...
It went well.  I only did two small 'OOPs' in driving that involved accidentally 
cutting people off, twice.  I'll get better. I hope. :) 
So that was a big deal....
....later I realized I left my brown-organic-cage-free eggs in the hot car for 5 hours.
Sigh. Was bummed about that one. They don't smell, are in the fridge, I am meaning to 
look into that more tomorrow.  I am hoping they are still OK...funny, there is a lot of 
google searches of people doing the same mistake! 
I am seeing that for various reasons, I am just, I hope, 
recovering from things that had me rebuilding life again and again,
trying to get a new life, including friends and getting out, many times over.
First the move from Ottawa to get married (that's actually 2 changes),
then I got mono and had to rebuild after that.
Then a year later we moved to our own home (condo that is) 2 years ago last May,
and last year Mr Husband's adult godson died and we all had to start from 
a new and unexpected place, 
and there were other things, smaller, but cumulative in building 
and I realized that I was dealing with burnout on various levels.
The flu + Strep Throat within 40 days not that long ago also set me back.
It's funny. While I don't have a professional job that I need to 
go 'out there' for, and I don't have kids, I often have thought that
this would mean I would not be super-busy or have burnout.
Actually, it's our wonderful over-80-years-old Candle Desk Man at our 
near-to-us church that keeps me seeing things right,
he's always saying how busy I am.
Anyway, later in the day I have a phone meeting and then later than that,
cabbed to farmers market (I don't really know how to parellel park in tight city places
and there is no parking really there to speak of), had an ice cream cone (!! first of season!),
had fun at the farmer's market and met Mr. Husband there.
Tomorrow is going to be the first day that I either did not have someone over
to my house this week or went out to see someone or do something.
And I am still coughing when I talk a lot.
Believe it or not, I am trying to rest in all this.
I know that I need more rest, but I also feel a great need
to continue to try to build a life here.
To build friendships.  
Anyway, thankful for my online community here!
Blessed night to you all. 

Purl SoHo and going back home

My visit with Heather to Purl Soho was nice!
I have been there I think 3 or 4 times now.
I feel like it is a lovely store I visit, no longer a novelty.
I bought some red duck fabric while I was there,
my quilting friend, who also sews - and has an etsy store!- is
making me a messenger bag! More on that later...
Purl SoHo packs a lot in what is really small space.
They begin with yarn, midway is notions and thread and in the back are
many lovely fabrics, fat quarters and the like.  The middle space has lots of 
examples of things made, in both yarn and fabric. 
The tend towards the simple, light, airy, with few colours in one made object,
very much the current styles, from what I gather.
I don't really go by what is current in what I make...
They had redone their front window... to be honest my pictures of it above 
disappoint me - I feel like there is not enough colour or contrast, esp.
with the wall that has towels and bags.... but I am not into what is 
new, hip or 'cool' so I am a bit biased.  :)  Just too much white on white for me.
Anyway, things change.  It's a fun place.
They have fun books and such things - a place you would find
magazines like Kinfolk.
I have gotten fabric from there for quilting and now for a fun bag.
Here's other times I have gone, here, here (the first 2 are from the same trip) and here.
You see more fun (I think she got better pictures than myself, partly because
I was not taking tons of pictures, having been before) on Heather's blog of 
I think the thing I love the most about it is the cutting counter,
where I can get just the amount of fabric I want,
makes me feel like I am connected to the days past, when a more
General Store would get you just the amount you wanted.
I like that.
I find that there seem to be two types of yarn people:
those who go for the more expensive yarns and those who, well, do not!
I am in the latter category. I just don't see anything I make, esp. since I am more
into simple creative blankets for kids, do tons of wash cloth knitting, 
and am not into patterns much, needing expensive yarn.
Add that to the fact, that I discovered after I began to knit, that a lot of
the yarns that are animal fiber make my hands itch on contact.  Once I bought
an on-sale brown wool that is tweedy like but really rough, and I could not even
knit it when wearing cloth gloves.
Anyway, all that to say, I don't go to Purl SoHo for their yarn. 
It's really nice if you make garments or fancy things.
They have a wonderful amount of yarn colours, very pretty.
But it's just not me and not what I want to spend money on.
Besides that, I have a yarn stash that is enough for the little 
I am doing with it right now.... 
I am having a hard time finding time to do a lot of crafting,
and I just have to be patient.
I miss it, but life just has a lot of other things I must do right now...
But I will go again, to Purl Soho, hopefully soon, with another friend who 
wants to go.... I will be happy to visit!
One the way home from Purl Soho and Heather and I's wonderful tea,
I got a nice dinner and iced mint tea at a local restaurant near
to Trader Joe's... an organic chicken with vegetables.

Then I went to do a small Trader Joe's run,
got another pineapple!
And met up with Mr. Husband and we went home...

We took a train the neighbouring town
as it was a much better commute on the PATH train,
with places to sit.
A lovely sunny day, I was so happy from having such a great day!
I am glad for NYC, for beautiful old buildings in SoHo and for
Purl SoHo, even though they don't open till noon and one has to remember that
when planning a trip in!