Sunday, August 03, 2008

A meme because I haven't done one in a few months

Random Questions. (:

What time do you go to bed?: very, very late
Do you drink coffee?: if it's good. ie espresso, or lebanese/greek
What was the last song you listened to?: Grace Kelly - Mika
How old were you when you got/gave your first kiss?: 15
What kind of ice cream is your favorite?: homemade macadamia
Have you ever met an internet friend in real life?: yeah, ages ago
Are you/have you ever been anorexic?: nope
Do you know which US states don't use Daylight Saving Time?: no! why would i care?
What size shoe do you wear?: 5.5 ish (australian)
Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?: My mum
Which is more important in your life, TV or Internet?: INTERNET
Do you have an iPod?: yes, a silver nano, my birthday present to myself
Have you ever been fired from a job?: nope
Have you ever taken something you knew belonged to someone else?: not that i can remember. probably when i was three or something.
Do you overuse smileys?: oh, probably
Who is better; Madonna or Blondie?: UNGH gnawing my fingers off
Who is better; Elton John or Billy Joel?: Elton John has a better voice
Do you know the song Total Eclipse Of The Heart?: I've heard it, couldn't sing it
When was the last time you ate something?: dinner - tomato soup
Name three website you visit every day:: desert calling, theologyweb, the ancient way
Have you seen all of the Jaws movies?: no, none!
Do you have Entomophobia?: what is that?
Do you know what Entomophobia is?: no.
Have you ever worn black eyeliner?: yeah, a few times. goth makeup ftw
Have you ever worn blue mascara?: NO.
Ever spiked your hair?: haha, yes. when i could still sit on it!
How long have you had a computer?: since I was 11
Have you ever written something, and published it on the internet?: does a blog count?
Do you have a crush on anyone at the moment?: no
Do you like Starbucks?: no! there are much better aussie coffee chains
Have you ever owned a kitten?: i own one now
Is it raining where you are?: not that i know, but it's supposed to tomorrow
When was the last time you played cards? (not on the computer): probably last summer
Can you play chess?: yes, but I haven't in ages
Ever owned a pair of the original Nikes? (white, with only a single swoosh): I think so? Don't remember.
Ever worn leg warmers?: no
When was the last time you read a book over 700 pages long?: Les Miserables...a few months ago
How many people are on your IM friends list?: hahahaha a few hundred probably. Im an internet tragic
How many hours of sleep do you usually get?: 9 or so, often more
Have you ever drank cherry coke?: yeah, i liked it
Do you prefer using pens or pencils?: pens unless i'm doing shorthand
Have you ever skipped for a long distance?: a lot, i used to skip everywhere just for fun
Have you ever had a black eye?: not that I remember
The torture is over, you may now leave. (:

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

A bit o'this'n'that

I've always struggled with depression, when I care to admit it. I spent half my childhood in a fantasy world talking to the invisible people who weren't there, telling stories, dressing myself in words to make myself someone who I'm not. I never fit in, really, and I still find it hard to believe that I've found somewhere where I'm accepted, for better or worse.

And, especially when I'm home alone, I end up in this weird funk again. I've been feeling out of sorts all day, possibly because I haven't done anything. I know it's not good for me to stay in bed all day but I do it, and then I end up feeling out of it and moping. It's too easy to be lonely, especially when my sister is out working or with her boyfriend or something. My parents are away for the weekend, and I'm trying to be positive but not always successful at that. Add to that that someone had left a door open and the room was cold, making me more achy and miserable than usual...yeah.

If it wasn't a fast I'd be curled up eating cookies or chocolate, but I've eaten the last of my dark chocolate and don't have a car to get more! Oh well, it's not good for me anyway.

I can write stuff like I did the other night, but when it comes down to it I'm just me and I don't write stuff like that often. That post came from about a month or so of trying to wrestle out some stuff I still haven't got a handle on. And I still struggle with stuff even though cognitively I know what the truth it. Writing something and believing it all the time are two different things.

But that's ok.

Before I started work tonight I took photos of Mystery X, which I've put a few stitches in recently. Here you go:

The East house:
East pt 6 1st August 08

The South house:
South pt 6 1st August 08

The east house now has the pink chimneys done, and just needs the central chimney and the backstitching done :)

It's coming together quicker than before this time, or at least that's how it seems.

Would you think I was nuts

If I bought one of these?

It's an abaya, the outer dress/coat/mixture of both worn by Islamic women - but this one has a hood. I reckon they're awesome, especially in a dark chocolate brown or something. I'd wear that all the time - better than a hoodie anyday, much more elegant! I love abayas, but I don't have the guts to buy one - yet. They're not beyond my means price-wise either, most places sell them for quite reasonable prices especially with the current exchange rate.

Here is the link to that one, anyway.

Friday, August 01, 2008

It's interesting

I spent so long trying to figure out how to 'do this Orthodox thing' properly, and it's just starting to sink in that maybe I'm not doing as badly as I thought I was. Oh, I've got a loooong way to go - who doesn't? But most of the stuff you associate with Orthodoxy isn't really that big a deal, and it's taken me three and a bit months baptised plus nine months as a catechumen to start to realise that I was being an idiot. Joy. I have been assured that I will do this for the rest of my life, which is such a hopeful prospect, right? The funny thing is that I say that sarcastically but I know people who would seriously agree with it. I want to be them when I grow up! Unfortunately I know that they got to where they are through some pretty hard stuff, and hard work. That bit I don't like, but I'll keep walking, because there's nothing else I can do :)

You see people who can quote the Fathers on any subject, cook brilliant food for the fasts, have glorious icon corners, you get women for whom wearing scarves and long skirts is what they do evvery day, you get monks and nuns (though even I am not so much an idiot to expect myself to measure up to THEM in daily life), you get people that know how all this stuff works while I'm still learning on my feet. And what's got to me recently is that that's ok. In the meantime I am me. I light a fistful of candles every time I go to Church, for other people, because that's just what I do. I talk to people, and I pray that I help them not hinder them. These things are all good, but partly some of them take time, and partly they're different walks. I have my own strengths, and my weaknesses which I am all too aware of. As with my approach to daily life with my illnesses, all I can do is take things day by day and not expect too much of myself. I have my own joys, and I must not be totally useless or people wouldn't want to hang around with me, much less go out of their way to pick me up for something, or take me home, or go for coffee, or ring me up for my name day and have their family yell Χρονια πολλά to me over the phone. Nothing is overnight, just like my stitching. I pick big projects for my stitching, and work a little at a time. This is no different.

Figuring that out, and figuring out that the best way to fix my flaws is to simply live the Orthodox life - to say my prayers, even if all I can manage is the morning and evening keep the fasts (or NOT, depending on the guidance of my priest - my friend pointed out, laughing, that when I was eating normally during Lent on the orders of my priest, in that way I kept the fast), to go to Church when I can, to sit with my prayer rope in my hands and pray for myself or others, to give as I can, to help as I can, to offer what kindness I am able and bring what beauty I can to the world - that is all that is asked of me, and that is acheiveable. As a convert in a country where Orthodoxy is still largely within certain ethnic groups - people who have grown up with the customs and beliefs of the Church as daily life, I've always felt somewhat behind the 8-ball, trying to catch up. And that's stupid, and I don't know why it's taken me so long to figure it out. I am not Greek. I am not Russian. I am not Lebanese. I am Australian, the descendent of German peasants and Cornish miners, among others. I am small and slight with recessive gene brown eyes, and golden toned skin, a throwback to my great-grandparents from the mining country of Cornwall, who would be horrified at my being Orthodox but I can't help that :) So I'm learning to cook to fit the fasts with Greek and Lebanese food, yes, but also Australian - the mixture of world cuisines that we steal and adapt. Authentic Indian curries, not so authentic British style curries, ANZAC biscuits. Hippie healthy lentil and pumpkin soup, Italian pasta sauces, tomato or vegemite sandwiches. I say my prayers in English, not Greek or Arabic - most of the time! I celebrate my own culture while happily joining the cultures of my parishes. I danced for years in a classical style, and now I am learning on my feet (literally) how to dance a completely different way. And this is all okay. This is just me.

So I'll stay me, wearing old fashioned clothes one day and dresses and skirts over jeans the next. I'll wear a mixture of beautiful, fashionable, or just fun hats everywhere I go, and sometimes to Church. I'll wear my scarves in Church even if I get funny looks from some people - this is me, and its something I was convicted over long before I ever 'turned Orthodox'. I'll have mad fits of baking and make food for everyone at my fellowship group and anyone else that will eat them. I'll talk to strangers on trains, and listen to their life stories and their problems and whatever else they tell me. I'll stay Kyri, having to pronounce Kyriaki sloooowly whenever I encounter non-Greeks (including one ROCOR priest, much to my amusement). I'll listen to a mixture of ABBA, Jars of Clay, Orthodox Chant done by monks and the radio. I'll be satisfied with the icons I have, and lighting candles before them as I say my prayers, because I'm blessed to have what I have, each one a gift. And when I do get more, I'll love them too, because I choose them for reasons, not just because I long to have the beautiful walls of icons that some of my friends have. I'll read recipe magazines for fun and attempt to feed myself and my family with the concoctions found therein. I'll happily stitch on whatever's 'calling' and know that I will finish something, one day.

I'll be myself. I'll just live life as I am now, and know that it is by prayer and the life of the Church that God changes us, not our trying to change ourselves. At least, that is my prayer.

I didn't start out trying to write this. I meant to write a short paragraph then write about all sorts of other things...but I am glad I did. I don't usually write long pieces about my faith, but try as I might it will escape into my blog like this, and I'm glad it does. It's as much my life as anything else - more than most things, really. So there you go - that's me.

The end of the month, and new month goals

Ages ago I used to set goals every month. I don't tend to stick with a piece for too long, but they're not bad for guidance to keep me sorta on track. So I'll post them in a minute...but first - haikus!

Ok, what do haikus have to do with anything? Well, not much. But a bunch of us on one of my Orthodox forums started writing haiku (is that the plural?) about the forum named Desert Calling, or about anything really.

Here are a few of mine:

a home for oddballs
who live, love, laugh, sharing life
the aim: theosis

this is addictive
writing these important things
in a few short lines

trying to do math
to make silliness seem like
most profound wisdom

my priest says desert
is where a monk is praying
so in my church then?

monks are nice people
but they challenge us young ones
to do harder things

desert on the net
a place to come relax and
to find my soul food

my kitten Koukla
is an Orthodox kitten
she likes lentil soup

the aim - theosis
but the journey is harder
than i ever thought.

dormition fast now
eat a lot of chilli beans
and ignore the steak

(for us, the fast for the Dormition of the Theotokos begins today, August 1, and goes until the 15th, the feast of the Dormition)

One poster, Reader John, made me laugh:

I thought to myself
I forgot my umbrella
I'm Friedrich Nietzsche

God is dead, said I
Then, Nietzsche is dead, said God
I guess I was wrong

The desert is a
Really, really big sandbox
With cacti and snakes

The days are quite hot
The nights are so cold and dark
At least it's quiet


That was wonderfully off topic. Tonight's study was beautiful - on Mark 9, how good is that for Father matching the text with the feasts (next Wednesday is the feast of the Transfiguration, and that's the topic of the first section of Mark 9) without meaning to - he comments that we are probably doing the slowest study of a Gospel ever since we started it in February, though we've had a few weeks off for other topics (Lent will do that, as will the Great Feasts). We did Compline after and I was felt...peaceful. Light. Joyful, I suppose. As I joined the line to kiss Father's hand and say goodnight Dmitri said to me that he always wanted to see the smile on my face that I had then. And then we went home...and Troy and I really shouldn't be put in the same car without Jeremy to keep an eye on us. Even then I hate it, but without Jeremy we end up like cat and dog and it's not good. I didn't kill him, or tip something over him. I am somewhat proud of this. *sighs* I'm feeling...uncomfortable because of that I suppose. Life is still good and without struggle we wouldn't grow but some things are avoidable. This is. It won't happen again soon if I can help it.

I'm home now, with a bright candle lit in front of the icons and I'm going to take some solace in the Psalms, God-willing. They help, a lot - the prayers are universal, yet they fit my life. Doxa to Theo.

So, goals?

Apparently I totally forgot to make them last month. So, as usual, I'll start the month with the new ones, under headings.

  • finish row 15 of A Restful Night
  • reach 7.5% on St Nicholas
  • enjoy stitching
  • work on something else at least once
Other craft
  • get the dress that's half-made finished
  • do a row on Moonshadow quilt
Religious stuff
  • get my icons in the mail and set them up by my bed
  • fix my memorisation of Psalm 50/51 (is memorising it in OSB text too much to ask of myself? hmm)
  • memorise at least one other Psalm
  • get to the Paraklesis service at least twice during the Dormition fast
  • learn to cook something new during the fast
  • try to remember to thank God for good and bad alike
School stuff
  • finish and send in assignment 3 for S.o.s. by the end of week 4 (15th)
  • get something done on assignment 2 or figure out a way to make it not have to be done
  • at least one open book one closed book summative for History
  • get my history notes up to date and keep them up to date for Comparative Study
  • try and do some noting for Depth Study (good revision for ^)
  • maths DI by the end of week 3 (8th)
  • maths test sometime soon after
Hoo boy. To meet these, I think these are this week's goals (week end 8th August):
  • Maths DI
  • KAI 2 notes
  • closed book essay on KAI 2
  • write the survey for S3 and send it out
  • write history notes for week 1, and this week
  • work on Psalm 50/51
  • attend the Paraklesis on Thursday and maybe Wednesday if I'm hanging around after the DL long enough (and I go)
  • finish row 14 of ARN during the the UFO SAL and Wednesday
  • stitch on St Nicholas on other days
  • attempt some work on the dress

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trying to take my own advice

I stitched this afternoon but two of the family are coming down with something like the flu that comes with aches - and I think I might have it too. It's always hard to tell since I feel like I have the flu permanently but my hands don't usually ache this much for no reason. I finally took a couple painkillers tonight with dinner but I think they're wearing off.

When in frustration with the universe (and my brain not working - my eyes aren't focussing properly and I'm finding it hard to think) I gave up working on froggy today here is where I got to:
30th July 08

Two complete eyes now, roughly 20150 stitches. Not a bad stint, not as good as last week but then my eyes were focussing and my hands weren't killing me last week! I was sick, just differently. I watched tv without anything in my hands except Koukla for a couple hours (a few of you will probably die of shock at hearing that), enjoying a This is Your Life about Shannon Noll, Spics&Specs (a sort of musical game show half comedy show that is really hard to explain), bits and pieces of US So You Think You Can Dance and the Gruen Transfer, which I love. Finally, I settled down on the couch again, picking up Mystery X. I've got a length and a half of thread in but I'm just struggling with my hands not wanting to work so I've given up for the night.

I cooked dinner tonight - I often do on Wednesday or Friday since I'm the weirdo that eats vegan twice a week (and for an entire fortnight, come this Friday, hooray for the Dormition Fast!) but I was not in the mood for anything fancy. Instead of buying normal magazines I buy recipe magazines, and not the fancy ones - the excellent budget yummy ones. I get sooo many recipes from there, and it saves me from meat&three veg every night (which, incidentally, I hate if it's done the traditional way, bland and boring. My parents disagree) because Mum likes them too. So, with 'not fancy' in mind, I pulled this chilli recipe out of July's Recipes+ magazine.

Chilli Beans with Wedges
Serves 4, prep 10minutes cook20minutes
900g frozen potato wedges (we did not eat anywhere near the whole packet and we used 750g! Also, we did tater-tots or their equivalent for my coeliac sister who can't eat wedges, and I prefer them)
1tbs olive oil (Don't bother measuring. Just plonk a bunch in, enough to fry an onion)
1 brown onion, chopped
400g can red kidney beans, rinsed
400g can borlotti beans, rinsed
425g can sweet corn kernels, drained
375g jar enchilada sauce (or chunky salsa if you are like me and can't find enchilada sauce!)
1 avocado, diced (in season here at the moment, YUM)
1/2 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
light sour cream, to serve (or use hummous if you are being vegan)

1. Put the wedges/tater tots in to cook. The magazines had instructions but they're on the packet anyway.
2. While that's cooking, heat oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Cook and stir onion for five minutes or until soft. Add beans (BOTH CANS, I forgot one and had to add it and reheat), corn and sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.
3. Spoon chilli into serving bowls. Top with avocado, coriander and a dollop of sour cream/hummous. Serve with whatever potato you cooked.

This is incrediby easy, quick, and really really yummy. My sister likes it, and she hates basically anything vegan I cook, though it doesn't help that I like spicy curries and she is of the view that food should not make you cry. It's also good cold as leftovers, if you have any left! I am so going to make this again, possibly in the next week or so given I'll be cooking up all my easy vegan recipes again - for 1, generally, since my family is not Orthodox and they cope with being vegan twice a week but more than that is kinda pushing it. This is quicker than almost anything else I have cooked that fits the rules for nestia, the fasts. It does have oil in it, which breaks the rules for people who keep the fasts strictly but my priest would have my head if I tried to do that...

As to the post title? I kinda...decided that I'd do something about the well known fact that everyone comes to me for advice but I can't take it myself. So I dug out the box of index cards that I use for everything from memorising Greek or Arabic vocab to test preparation to writing out prayers and Bible verses to read or memorise or both. And blu-tak (stuff you stick posters up with ) And coloured markers. And attacked the wall next to my bed :)

Next to my bed

The top three cards are a summary of Orthodoxy quoted by Fr Thomas Hopko, I can't remember who he was quoting though. "Go to Church. Say your prayers. Remember God." I have yet to find better *grins* The others are all common sense stuff:

"Do an hour's schoolwork every day as well as lessons. Saves stress later!"

"Say morning and evening prayers regardless of the time of day" - I have a tendency to wake up at 3 and feel ridiculous saying morning prayers, especially the ones that say that say greeting the dawn etc

"Go to bed before midnight. The internet will not explode without you!"

"Get up in the morning. The sooner you're up, the better you'll feel

"Take your meds. Forgetting just makes you feel worse" (marginally, my meds make me feel sick too!)

"If you feel tired at night, sleep. Don't you think your body knows what you need?"

The final few cards are one with my schedule of medications, and two that have the prayer for an ill person (or one of them) on them. It's readable from my bed, but not really in the photo unless you go to the full size view.

I have a confession to make though - my bed doesn't usually get made (getting out of it is usually effort enough) but I wasn't going to take a photo without it made, so it got made....and i'll be in bed sleeping soon enough!

Anyway, enough. I'll ramble if I'm not careful!

You know it's time to put the stitching down

when as you sign into blogger and click on your blog name you notice that you have 336 posts...and automatically think of the DMC thread with that number. Incidentally, there's a lot of 336 in A Restful Night, so I have been around it a lot recently, if that's any defence!

It really hit me the other day that it is week 2 of term 3. I only have this 10 week term and 3 weeks of next term to get all my work done, and some of it the deadlines really can't be extended. Course-work wise I am up to date, for which I am thankful. But I have a math test and an assignment overdue, and at least two more tests by the end of the year as well as a trial exam - they don't stress me too much. I have a history essay I should really get around to doing, since it was due in March (!!!) if I can find the assignment sheet for it, or else email the teacher, and I need to catch up some of the timed essays now that I know I can do them at home. I have a major essay to research and write by the end of the year too, but I know my topic (roughly) so if I narrow it down really soon I should be able to get it done provided I'm reasonably disciplined. I have a trial exam for that too.

But oh goodness. Studies of much as I like the course, I have a mostly AWOL class that I have to try and do group work with, and the assignments make me groan and not want to work on them. The latest one isn't too bad and I just need to grit my teeth and do it, but I'm not feeling inspired. The class drives me nuts, which is a shame - I like the teacher, and the course itself is good.

But I am one and a half assignments behind, and am about to start my major research essay (and don't have any inspiration for a topic) and a major group task...sigh. And there are 8 and a half weeks left of this term. It will happen. That is time enough. But time seems to stand still for me until I have none left.

I need to find a way of motivating myself, especially when I'm feeling this miserable.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A wordle

Here's a wordle of my blog:

Just thought id post it 'cause it made me smile. It looks cool, doesn't it?

A grey day

I've been tempted to write something as an entry for ages, but not sure what.

I'm very tired, my everything aches and my brain feels foggy, which makes things hard. Its UFO night, so froggy is out to play - I've got about 60 stitches done so far but it's all confetti and I'm finding it hard to concentrate.

As far as math is concerned I am up to date, thankfully. So now I need to get this assignment done, mailed, and do the test. Then all will be well. S.o.s. is...*sigh*. I don't even know where to begin.

I'm weak, and sick, and my sleep cycle is out of whack. I had a lot of fun on the weekend, but now I'm paying for it. So, I stay here at home. I got asked to show and tell my work last when company came calling so I had froggy, St Nicholas, Mystery X and Peaceful Paradise out. That was nice, except it's making me have itchy feet again. I'm going to be good and keep working here on froggy, or go back to St Nicholas of I get sick of frog. To do something else is tempting, but not going to happen, if I can help it!

Kitty has discovered the wonders of 'outside' and has been pouncing on bugs, sticks and whatever moves, and playing with our oldest cat. I approve of this, especially since it means she isn't destroying floss this way (her other favourite pastime).

Its Tuesday night, tv night. Its windy, and my family are coming home later. It's been very cold and overcast all day, and I have the heating on but I'm still cold. But this too will pass. For now, I'll go back to my embroidery. At least it's raining, and when I'm home indoors I am thankful for that - we need rain desperately.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

So close...

Just before I go to bed, I thought I'd post this. This is where froggy is at after a night on the couch watching movies on tv:

26th July

About 150 stitches shy of the end of the row. So close... And look at that EYE! It's all done now, and the detail around You don't see these things when you're stitching them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Up again, sort of

Thankyou Gayle and Rosko/Harry, very much. By the prayers of the Saints...

Today is a little easier, mostly because someone who probably doesn't want me to name him here smacked some sense into me. Thankyou, S. Again I'm listening to Jars of Clay, and listening to this bit in "Oh My God" made me laugh, its me.

Sometimes I can not forgive, and these days mercy cuts so deep,
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep.
While I lay, I'd dream we're better, scales were gone and faces lighter,
When we wake we hate our brother, we still move to hurt each other,
Sometimes I can close my eyes and all the fear that keeps me silent,
Falls below my heavy breathing, what makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder, we all have the need for wonder.
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the plunder.
Amen. I finally got to sleep around 4am last night, after chatting to the aforementioned friend and realising a few home truths, none of which were nice but all were true. And we fall down, and we get back up again. I have that quote by St John Climacus on the whiteboard that our former tenants put on the pantry/larder (you can walk in, it's awesome!) door -
"Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience."
I was driving with my dad in the country today, we have a place we like to go and eat at when he's home during the day, and we tend to chat along the way. I mentioned that last night's study had been on the Sermon on the Mount, holiness, fools for Christ and relics. Dad asked me if the Orthodox take was that the SotM was hyperbole, or what? I said it's a beautiful thing to strive to attain to. Just most of us fail. But that doesn't make it hyperbole, because there are people who live it. He commented that it sounded like an 'impossible possibility' (which is a good thing in my dad's language) and asked if it was connected with the above quote. Which totally made my day, because it's been there for months and noone's commented on it except my sister to say that I wrote weird things everywhere. I love that quote, its actually part of a longer section but there's only so much you can fit on a whiteboard! It's also my signature on one of my internet forums. I was told a while ago that I wasn't allowed to argue theology with my dad, so I keep things general. To not talk about what we studied in some way would be totally unnatural, so I just say things and avoid arguments, biting my tongue which is harder than words can say sometimes. And do stuff like writing quotes on the whiteboard, and showing the icons I plan to buy, and stuff.

Last night was fun, even though I ended up in a black mood when I got home. We had a bit of a chatter through it all, and when talking about fools for Christ (Saints who did crazy seeming things to cover their holiness, or to make a point, or both - its a calling, and RARE) Father informed us that we weren't allowed to go home and decide to be fools for Christ in the morning and throw rocks at the bishop. Someone was heard to murmer 'but that would be fun!' which produced giggles from the surrounding people at that section of the table. I love the stories of fools for Christ, and my sister's favourite Saint was/is one, St Maximos the Hut Burner. You can always tell when I've been sick for days, I make an effort when I get dressed to go somewhere. See?

home from church

You can't see in the photo, but I had my wonderful black beat up doc martens on, which I discovered are wonderful Church shoes because they support my ankles which makes it easier to stand. Who knew? I got home, took my coat off, and my sister (who despairs of my lack of fashion sense) squealed 'you are so CUTE! I want to keep you!' hence the photos got taken. Church clothes - please note I am wearing a *skirt* over my jeans (ok a dress) - my friend did the same last night as it was cold and we couldn't be bothered wearing a normal skirt and freezing our legs. I'm wearing a hat too - for one thing I need it in this weather for two it works instead of a scarf and is less dorky. Much as I like scarves...

I woke up a bit after 10 today after dozing for a couple hours - someone fed kitten red bull again or something and she decided to come bouncing in, bounce-thud on my legs, back and head then run away again, before repeating the process a few times. I think this is Koukla-speak for WAKE UP SILLY! I duly ignored her. I had to get up though, because my lesson yesterday had to be rescheduled. I got a 1:1 lesson with my teacher which was good - apparently I am more caught up than most of my class with the course work (YES!!) and my Mum is now allowed to supervise my timed essays and tests which she wasn't before (no immediate family) which makes life a lot easier since whenever I had to sit a test before I had to go to school with her which really knocked me around. And I might get to drop one or two of the outstanding timed essays and maybe one of the untimed, which would make life a LOT easier...we'll see. Now to get caught up with my studies of societies and all will be well :)

Lesson over, Dad and I drove out to get lunch, and sat in a park nearby to eat it, which was lovely, and then drove back to go down and pick up my sister to take her to the airport. Got there, all well...and she realised that her luggage was in the car my mum had taken to work. 40 minutes from where we were. ACK! Dad took the wheel then, and a few frantic phone calls later we got to where she works, grabbed the luggage, and drove as fast as legally possible to the airport. We made it in time, thankfully, saw her off (she's visiting a friend in Melbourne for the friend's 18th birthday and coming home Sunday), and drove home. The vigil is on tonight, but logistically it was just going to be bad, and I'm tired, and sick. Eventually I told Jeremy I'd stay home tonight and rest since we have the dance tomorrow night! So I get a quiet night in, which is fine.

I forgot to post this the other day - on the Stitch&Stash forum they run a 'UFO night' where you designate a piece fitting that description and work on it every Tuesday night (or whenever). Mine ended up being Wednesday, because I was a zombie Tuesday, and I got a lot done - here is QS A Restful Night after my work that day:
23rd July 08 2

Froggy is appearing! I'd put this down in disgust in about April, because I'd gone cross country and my tension was a little off. I wasn't sure if I'd have to frog, so I figured better to put it down before I threatened to cut it up! So I picked it up, ironed it (it needed it) and put it on my tightest q-snaps, and it's being quite happy now. I'm working roughly the way I used to (before I deviated into cross country) but much faster - apparently I've got quicker, which is nice! 600+ stitches the other day, woohoo! She's still on the frame, I'd like to finish off this row before I put her down and go back to St Nicholas. Or else I'll just work on her until I get sick of her, which is what often happens with me and projects - I can't rotate on a system to save my life. If I pick up a project, it gets worked on for the forseeable future.

So now I am tired, and thinking of throwing some pasta in a pot and heating up a jar of mushroom and tomato pasta sauce for dinner. Mushroom+tomato pasta sauce is yummmy, one of my favourite Friday foods.

Glory to God for all things!


You have led me to the sadness
I have carried this pain
On a back bruised, nearly broken
I'm crying out to you

I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy

When death like a gypsy
Comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens
I will still seek your face

But I fear you aren't listening
Because there are no words
Just the stillness and the hunger
For a faith that assures

Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia

While we wait for rescue
With our eyes tightly shut
Face to the ground using our hands
To cover the fatal cut

And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down

Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia

Oh, Lord sing of Your mercy,
Your mercy
- "The Valley Song", Jars of Clay

JoC write a lot of bittersweet stuff that is actually theologically pretty good. I've been listening to a lot recently, needing something new to listen to. Insomnia when you're not allowed on the internet (which I define as anything unnecessary - forums, surfing etc fall under this category - priests homily type blogs are grey area, blogs of my own don't count as I could do that on my computer, responding to comments DO...) is hard. Stupid Friday.

I have a vigil tomorrow night. I am looking forward to it...and yet not. Which is a weird feeling. And I'm sick, and its cold, and life is not fun...but God is good.

Have mercy Lord and heal your suffering servants.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I love...

my priest, email, and the internet.

Just thought I'd tell you all.

Photos again

I have a bit of everything photowise today.

First, I made the pastitsio last night. It turned out that sister-creature WAS home for dinner, so I did end up making it gluten free. Thankfully it turned out alright. Gluten free pasta is a bit more 'squishy' than normal pasta, but it worked well enough. I burnt the bechamel sauce once because I got distracted making the mince...d'oh! Thankfully it wasn't too badly burned so I quickly scrubbed the pot and started again. It worked the second time. I got a photo of it on the table with the salad - we forgot to buy lettuce, but noone minded. The salad had olives, cucumber, onion, tomato and fetta - yum.

Pastitsio again!

Second, Saturday night was Great Vespers for the feast of St Elias and the Greek Archbishop was in town for it and the Divine Liturgy the next day. So there wasn't Vespers at any of the normal parish churches...there was just one incredible one at St Elias, with about ten priests, the bishop, the archbishop....a bunch of altar boys too, and at least one deacon but I don't remember exactly. Beautiful, and nuts! I *didnt'* get photos of that though I probably should have, but I dressed up a bit more than usual to go and decided to put my hair up properly. I didn't think to get photos before I left, but I decided that given my good skirt is an edwardian design, and the blouse I was wearing was too...I'd do my hair edwardian style. It's long enough, so why not? Mum gave me a hand though, I'm not well enough to have my hands above my head much. It was really windy so its seriously flyaway by the time I got photos but you can sorta see:

edwardian twist 1edwardian twist 2

The second one is probably clearer. The front parts are parted on the side, then twisted and pinned back, and then the rest is twisted up into a bun and pinned above where the twists meet. It's a lot of fun (once you get the hang of it) and it looks really nice when it's not had a windy night attack it. You can sorta see the embroidery on the collar of my blouse in the first photo - I should get a picture of this blouse, I found it in a store I'd never have expected to sell such things, it's fitted with a high neck, "mother of pearl" buttons all down the front, a tiny waist and pintucks, cutwork and white on white embroidery everywhere. It's my best blouse and I love it to pieces.

And...'cause she likes to be in these things, here is Koukla being...herself.

Ready to pounce

I think she was eyeing off my shoelaces at the time :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

With aching hands

I have spent all of today, except about two hours, in bed. Those two hours were sitting on the couch because my laptop battery had died...and then deciding it was a smarter idea to bring the cable up here. Thankyou so much to those who commented with well wishes - Gayle, Cathy and Karan, and any of you who just thought it or said a prayer for me. Doxa to Theo, all will be well.

My hands ache, especially the joints, and I am weak as a kitten. Best of all, I got dobbed in to cook dinner tomorrow night...and then my Mum invited company...and I'm sick! I'm going to make Pastitio anyway, since I've found a not-authentic-but-still-yummy-looking recipe, and hopefully it will work out. I'll start cooking soon after I get up and God willing that will mean it will all happen. I'm making lemon butter&cream croissants for dessert - heh, buy it all, spread stuff on cut croissants, dust with icing sugar, serve. My idea of a company dessert when I'm sick! I forgot about salad when I gave mum a list tonight but I'll just call her and ask her to get stuff on her way home. I'd intended to make it gluten free but I dont actually need to since sister-creature will not be home for dinner, which will make life easier for me since bechamel sauce is interesting with gluten free flour - meaning it doesn't always want to work. This is pastitsio:


I am frustrated by being sick, but resigned to it. I started my medication Friday night, it is now Monday night (or Tuesday morning). I feel sicker...but I don't know if that's the weather or the meds. And I'm not even taking them right, I don't tend to get up early enough in the morning to take them...bad Kyri. I need to fix that.

I have a class tomorrow. Oh joy. That is not going to be fun. I don't want to face my teachers having done none of the catchup over the holidays that I'd planned - I've just been too sick.


Doxa to Theo, all will be well...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

And as we pray...

It's times like these that I try not to be bitter, and try to wait on God. Much easier said than done, but I find comfort in the prayers of the Church...

O Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Physician of souls and bodies, who didst become man and suffer death on the Cross for our salvation, and through thy tender love and compassion didst heal all manner of sickness and affliction; do thou O Lord, visit me in my suffering, and grant me grace and strength to bear this sickness with which I am afflicted, with Christian patience and submission to thy will, trusting in thy loving kindness and tender mercy. Bless, I pray thee, the means used for my recovery, and those who administer them. I know O Lord, that I justly deserve any punishment inflicted upon me for I have so often offended thee and sinned against thee, in thought, word, and deed. Therefore, I humbly pray thee, look upon my weakness, and deal not with me after my sins, but according to the multitude of thy mercies. Have compassion on me, and let mercy and justice meet; and deliver me from this sickness and suffering I am undergoing. Grant that my sickness may be the means of my true repentance and amendment of my life according to thy will, that I may spend the rest of my days in thy love and fear: that my soul, being helped by thy grace and sanctified by thy Holy Mysteries, may be prepared for its passage to the Eternal Life, and there, in the company of thy blessed Saints, may praise and glorify thee with thy Eternal Father and Life-giving Spirit. Amen.

O lord Jesus, Physician of souls and bodies, may Thy presence ever be with me to hallow and bless this my sickness to Thy praise and glory, and to the salvation of my soul. Forgive me all my many sins and want of love for Thee. May I ever fix my thoughts upon Thy great sufferings upon the Cross, that I may learn from Thee courage and patience, humility and love; and above all, true submission to the Father's will, that, being restored to health in Thine own good time I may show forth Thy praise by giving up myself to Thy service. And grant that when this life is ended, I may be found worthy through my merits to inherit eternal life. Amen.

Lord God of Hosts be with us, for we have no other hope in times of sorrow but Thee...Lord God of Hosts have mercy on us.

Almighty God, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, come to my help and deliver me from this difficulty that besets me. I believe Lord, that all trials of life are under Your care and that all things work for the good of those who love You. Take away from me fear, anxiety and distress. Help me to face and endure my difficulty with faith, courage and wisdom. Grant that this trial may bring me closer to You for You are my rock and refuge, my comfort and hope, my delight and joy. I trust in Your love and compassion. Blessed is Your name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

O God, our help in time of need, Who are just and merciful, and Who inclines to the supplications of His people. Look down upon me and have mercy on me and deliver me from the trouble that now besets me. Deal with us not according to our iniquities, but according to Your manifold mercies, for we are the works of Your hands, and You know our weaknesses. I pray to you to grant me Your divine helping grace, and endow me with patience and strength to endure my hardships with complete submission to Your Will. Only You know our misery and sufferings, and to You, our only hope and refuge, I flee for relief and comfort, trusting in Your infinite love and compassion, that in due time, when You know best, You will deliver me from this trouble, and turn my distress into comfort. We then shall rejoice in Your mercy, and exalt and praise Your Holy Name, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen


As well as these, the wonderful prayers of the Church for illnesses and times of trouble, I also ask the prayers of others...and of my patron Saint, St Kyriaki, my guardian angel, and St Nektarios who is especially loved by those suffering from chronic illnesses.

Saint Kyriaki, Holy Mother of God and all the saints, who have pleased God in Your lives; pray to Christ my Lord that I might live this day in peace love and humility.
Pray unto God for me, O Holy Saint Kyriaki, well-pleasing to God: for I turn to you, who are a speedy helper and intercessor for my soul.

O angel of God, my holy guardian, given to me from heaven, enlighten me this day, and save me from all evil. Instruct me in doing good deeds, and set me on the path of salvation. Amen.

O angel of Christ, holy guardian and protector of my soul and body, forgive me everything wherein I have offended you every day of my life, and protect me from all influence and temptation of the Evil One. May I never again anger God by my sins. Pray for me to the Lord, that He may make me worthy of the grace of the All-Holy Trinity, and of the blessed Mother of God, and of all the saints. Amen.

You lived your life in a holy way, O St. Nectarios; being a Bishop rich in wisdom, you have glorified the Lord with your life of virtue; being strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit, you drive out evil spirits and heal the sick. Intercede for those who come to you in faith.

O faithful, let us honor Nectarios, divine servant of Christ, offspring of Silivria and guardian of Aegina, who in these latter years was manifested as the true friend of virtue. All manner of healing wells forth for those who in piety cry out, "Glory to Christ who glorified you; glory to Him who, through you, wrought wonders; glory to Him who, through you, works healing for all."

Lord, have mercy.

Friday, July 18, 2008

So now again we begin to pray

I saw my doctor yesterday and he has a new idea for treatment. So now I have a list of medications to take twice a day...and another to take three times a day, at least an hour apart from the others...and we pray that this helps. The theory is that there is too much copper in my body and that's killing things and not allowing me to access nutrients. Who knows? At this point, I'm willing to try just about anything ethical.

The winter cold saps my strength. I am living day to day on painkillers at the moment, just biding my time until winter passes. I hate that I say that - but I know it's true. In the meantime I do what I can - I'm stitching a lot, I drove a little bit tonight (another 50 minutes logged), and reading books. I received the sparkly threads in the mail today for the icon, so it's beginning to glitter which is a lot of fun even though they are a nightmare to stitch with! Two shades of gold, one bright and one antique. Koukla does an admirable job of keeping me company, but you know I'm sick when I don't take my hats off - my arms ache so much that the thought of washing my hair makes me wince. I haven't washed my hair since...I know it's been about two weeks. I've had a bath since then, just not washed my hair. Tomorrow maybe I will bite the bullet and ask my Mum to do it for me...I haven't had to do that in ages though and I hate that I'm that sick again.

I talked to Father last night and sorted a few things through which was wonderful...even just to talk about these things lightens the load and clears my mind a little. It doesn't matter if he has answers to my problems - heh, I have a couple chronic illnesses, and unless he can work miracles there's not a lot he can do about those. But there are a lot of other things which there are solutions to, and I can seek guidance for. And I do. It's funny, I often resist it not knowing what he will say...and afterwards kick myself, HARD, for not going earlier. Confession is the same way. In the usual Orthodox way I'm not going to say what we talked about or his advice, except a few things which aren't personal, or at least aren't without a long explanation - the thing that made me laugh the most was his telling me I had to get my drivers license. I'm happily working towards it (almost there...please God soon!) but the fact that my priest was telling me I had to get it seemed so...practical, which amuses me. Jeremy would look at me strangely for saying that I know, and it's probably a sign I've yet a while to go in acquiring an Orthodox mind that I see things like that as funny (and notice them as out of the ordinary at all), but hey. This is my blog, and I'll say what I want to (and am allowed to) and will probably laugh at myself in time to come.

It's not yet 11 and I'm already contemplating putting my stitching down for the night, which is out of character for this girl who usually stays up past midnight working, though I think I'll finish the thread I'm using first - when I do I will have the red section of Christ's robe finished which is a happy dance of a small kind :) Getting this mini-icon done will be a happy dance all its own, it's about 40x600. There's still quite a bit of blue to do yet, and two more colours left in the cloud, but it will all happen. Adding the gold to the halo was so much fun because it completed the top section of the mini icon. The border is coming together reasonably now that I've finally figured out how to 'attack' it, and that's nice. It was a shock to look at the pattern and realise that this page (the chart only has four A3 pages) only has one and a half more repeats of the design once I finish the one I'm currently working on, which is nice! I'll finish any leftover threads into the next page down, but when I get the border done down the side I think I'll go sideways borderwise, and finish it across the top and start down the other side. I'd like to get the top of the icon done before I start going into the bottom pages too much.

Last night we had a visiting heiromonk (priest-monk) from Greece come to visit our study group too which was wonderful, and he stayed with us as we said Compline in the Church before we went home for the night. With him he brought a treasure - a relic of St Pachomios, and it would be interesting for skeptics to have observed us last night. We were our usual chatty, silly selves before walking into the Church... and Compline usually makes us calmer but not like that! It was wonderful.

And now this baby-Orthodox girl has sore...well, just about everything. So I'm going to finish up what I'm working on and take a photo before putting it all down for the night.

--- x ----

I finished that section, and quickly filled in a small space in the side of the background which had been annoying me. It looks much smoother now which pleases me greatly. So, wanna see?

18th July 08
The photo doesn't show the sparkly properly - they never do, but it does show it sorta and give an idea of where I've got to :)

Tally of finished 10x10 squares - 42/768. That's 5.4% - I have enough for a progress marker!

On top of that I have a *lot* which only need a few stitches to be finished, too, so expect to see that number grow sharply soon! It's fun to see my pattern shrink - when I finish a 10x10 square I cut it from the pattern, if I can reach it directly from the sides, otherwise I X it out until I fill in the squares around it. Cutting out and throwing away squares is so satisfying!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And now my eyes won't focus it's midnight so I better knock off for the night. I wondered about taking a photo since I hadn't done as much as I had hoped but my friend who I am stitching it for asked for one, so...

I took two. One's with my stitching lamp on and the colours aren't true, but it glows more - the colours in this really do glow and the stark photos don't capture that, and we're not going to have decent sunlight for a daylight picture for AGES. So...
15th July 08 (normal)

15th July 08 (lamp)

I got seriously stuck into the cloud tonight, adding the second dominant colour to the top section of it. Two shades of white on white! UGH. But the effect is fantastic. I've only got a few more stitches left to do of the bright white now, which is nice, though the other white is used in the lower section of the icon too mixed with a grey. It actually looks fluffy which is really cool! The book Christ is holding is finished now except one confetti stitch of gold and the 'jewel' which is green, and I hope to get stuck into His robes next time I work on this because I want to get this section done, a mini-finish. There's a bunch of thread in three colours put into the border but it's hard to notice as any work in the border blends seamlessly in. As wonderful as that is, its' aggravating! If I didn't mark my work I'd feel like I was never getting anywhere on it. I used up some leftover thread in the places it's called for in the background, and added a second colour to St Nicholas' halo (the arc in the centre) and otherwise did a bit of this and that. I hadn't been able to find the metallics when I've gone looking for them (theres a border of gold around Christ's halo, and two golds mixed braid together in St Nicholas' halo) but upon googling them I found the designer had a conversion page since they are the old DMC metallics colours and there is a conversion to light effects - thankfully, because light effects can be *washed*. I was thinking I'd have to stitch the whole thing, and then wash it if needed, and then add all the metallic at once. Ugh. I couldn't think of better penance, better not suggest it to Father! So I duly ordered them (I'm not going to be near spotlight anytime soon) and I should get them in the mail soon and be able to start adding them :) I don't like working with sparklies much, but they do look good and it's annoying me not to be able to use them especially since the outer part of the Saint's halo is practically all sparkly. Which will look fantastic, I keep telling myself!

Best of all - look at this!

5th June 15th July 08 (normal)

The first picture is from only five weeks ago. I am *very* pleased with how much has happened in the last month!

Doxa to is coming together well.

Now I am seriously going to go SLEEP.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A little better

Evening always makes things easy, I'm not really sure why.

So I'm now sitting up watching tv and stitching a bit. I've got a few photos for you too :)

Here is what St Nicholas looks like as of the 12th - I took the photos but didn't get around to posting them up!

11th July 08
The icon of Christ is almost done, except the cloud. The cloud is kind of scaring me because there are so many shades of white and grey! I did enough of the background to get across, and now I've started the halo. I need to get some DMC 5284 though, which I haven't been able to find in a store yet and I think I need to buy some online - as far as I can tell its a metallic. There's a gold metallic, too, and Christ's halo gets a border of it as well but I'm not sure whether to add it yet just in case I want to wash the piece when it's done. I'm going to wait until all of the stitches in an area where the metallic is are done first so that the metallic doesn't warp things, I'm somewhat wary of metallics!

And here is the cafe where I had dinner with Troy last night:
The cafe

That's Troy at the counter, ordering :)

And here's the poster for the deal we got last night:

I had the orientale which was absolutely delicious.

Anyway, back to my stitching now. I'll hopefully get enough for a new photo soon :)

I am...

flat, exhausted, weak, tired.

I'm misspelling a lot. I'm sick, and I really need to just admit that. I walked home last night in the drizzle and the cold, for 40 minutes, up a steep hill. With fibromyalgia. Yes, I deserve to be beaten over the head with something, but I'd missed my bus and didn't have a choice really.

The curtains are open and I can see outside even though it is a grey day and that's nice. My dresser is basically clean and I like that, too. It's nice not to have clutter right next to my bed.

But my brain feels like I am thinking through fog and as long as I don't move, nothing hurts. I struggle in this weather because the cold and damp makes me ill. I am tired but not sleepy, and to lie down makes me bored but I am lying propped up on pillows so that I can type this and use the internet.

I need to go talk to my priest about a number of things again it's just a case of managing to do that. It will happen. Perhaps I should call him tonight?

I saw Prince Caspian last night again and enjoyed it the second time, even if every bus that I tried to catch to get there went weird...and I left my umbrella on one of them... c'est la vie. Not having a car or parents to come rescue me kinda sucks. I bought the tickets, Troy bought dinner. Not a bad deal. I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that we broke up about two months ago... long story but it wasnt working and probably never will. We went to the movies so we could catch us since we hadnt really seen each other in a month. It left me kind of confused though.

The holidays (winter break) coincided with a bunch of very wintery weather, much to my delight (not). I was going to get a lot of schoolwork caught up but mostly I've been sick instead! I plan to do something about it all soon, I'm just giving it time.

My hands ache now too and I'm hungry but everythin in the house would involve me making something, and I can't. So I'll probably grab a handful of something and curl up in bed listening to my new audiobook.

Usually I'm reasonably upbeat in my blog but today I am just too tired.

Edited to add: Totally off topic, but this is hilarious. It's a summary commentary version of Prince Caspian (the movie) and sooo so funny. Quick to read (in script form) and funfun.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The great room makeover

Or cleanup, anyway. My room has a tendency to be somewhat of a mess, always has been. Having very little energy or motivation to spend on it thanks to my illnesses has led to it being worse than usual, especially since my family (who share my system of organisation) decided to clear the piles out of a few room of the house. Which meant all my stuff got dumped in my room. And it this.

behind the door
- Just behind my door (at the foot of my bed)

straight from the door
- straight across from the door

my bed!
- my bed

diagonally across from the door
- diagonally across the room

the window wall
- the window wall

Ugh. So... I decided, after taking all those photos, to work on it in 1/2 hour stints with breaks in between (or my body would mutiny more than usual) and take progress photos. Hey, it works for stitching!

So after the first half hour:

window wall 2
- the window wall, straight from the door

diagonally across 2
- diagonally across (look, some of the drawers actually close now!)

my bed 2
My bed - this is more of a mess than when I started, but that's because I use it to organise things before they get put away. The doritos were from lunch, leftover from my sister making nachos last night. My laptop has my timer on it, and music :)

the middle of the room 2
Here's the middle of the room, too, which I didn't get a photo of before.

I won't post this 'til I'm done, I'll just add updates to it until either I stop for the day or I finish up. Fingers crossed for the second one. *clicks save now*

Update #1 (1hr total)
It's starting to look reasonably livable now. Partly that's because there's a lot that's been sorted into piles of 'this does not belong in my room' in the hall outside (neatly!) but there's a lot been put away too. I'm attempting to be ruthless - I am a notorious packrat, and I want to change that because having 'stuff' tends to make me feel like I'm choking.

Koukla wanted to 'help', but ended up being more underfoot than anything. She kept attacking the clothes I put her in it. She didn't like that much, but at least it stopped her...
imprisoned koukla!

after I let her out she helped me clean out and organise the big drawers in my dresser...
I am a clothes. I am!

and then ran away when I started the vacuum cleaner :)

So, wanna see progress?
From the door 3
- across from the door. You can actually see my desk now (at least the front of it) and those horrible drawers...they're a stopgap, currently holding my patterns and charts that I'm not using. They're ugly, big, and falling apart. I don't want to keep them, and if I can find something else to take their place (maybe the brightly coloured ones that are currently holding 10yr old junk?) they will be out on the curb with the next rubbish collection. For now they're under my desk.

Diagonally across 3
- diagonally across. You can see the middle of the room is basically clear now, yay, and vacuumed - I managed to vacuum a boot lace and the charger for my phone in the process (doh!) but I rescued both and all's good now. The bookshelves don't have my normal books on them (I've been boxing them up over the last few months - there is a plan to move the furniture out of my room at some point soon when it's clean so we can tear up the carpet and replace it with floorboards. They're in another room) but they have a few books I have been using, books that haven't been boxed yet (mostly the bottom two shelves) and my school things (all those folders) Oh, and my arabic stuff.

My bed! 3
- my bed. This only seems to get worse! There's a lot there in terms of clothes that need sorting, or to be hung up/put away when I can get to my closet again. There's too much stuff in the way at the moment!

As I end and go in search of food before starting work again, it's 4pm :) *clicks save*

Update #2 (1.5hrs total)
This will be the last one, I think. I happily pretended there was nothing wrong with me for a few hours while I worked, but my body is now laughing at that, so enough's enough. I have a few last photos for you though before I end and go see if my hands can cope with stitching in front of the tv for a few hours.

I took the first photo not long after I started work again because I wanted a picture while it was still reasonably light outside.
Curtains tied back
It's winter here, and at half past four it was already starting to dim. We got the curtain tiebacks when we bought my bedspread and curtains ten years ago (I had good taste, if I say so myself - I was ten when I picked out the colours and things for my room, and I still love them!) but have never put up the hooks to use them. I got sick of them hanging around and finally decided to do something about them. So I just knotted them around the curtains, and it made a difference :) So nice to have all the light in my room, and besides me liking the look of them like this it's also easier on my arms to tie them back than to pull the cords.

Window wall 4
- the window wall. I cleared the desk, but it's got stuff on it again that was on the floor in the corner and needs sorting. The fabric-y thing is actually my oldest likely-to-be-finished UFO - it's on 14 or 16 ct Aida (I forget which!) and it's a band sampler, sorta, all with Australian birds and flowers etc. Really quite pretty, and it only needs the backstitched border finished and the beak and legs given to the birds. If I can dig up the chart sometime soon and find the DMC it calls for in my stash I might finish it up soon, I wouldn't even need a frame to do what's left, especially given it's Aida. It really needs a wash though! This is the project that actually got me back into stitching after getting incredibly sick of kits and not being able to find charts I liked. I started the mate to it, but it's less interesting and I don't think I'll ever finish it. It looks fine on its own :) It would/will be nice to get it finished and framed.

Diagonally across 4
- diagonally across. You can basically see the floor in that corner now. The baskets are full of fabric scraps, a UFO quilt that I've been hunting for a while (and really needs finishing up already - the blocks are all pieced it just needs sewing, it's been in that state for two years...) and a doll whose dress I've never made (again, just get some fabric and do it already Kyri!) The cords etc are a mess but I'm not really sure what to do with them, I can't really hide them easily.

My bed 4
- my bed. Which is still a mess, and I'm sitting on it at the moment. None of the stuff on it is heavy though so it will probably just be shoved to the end for the night and I'll deal with it tomorrow. Too tired to do much more than that.

-- so that's the end for today. It's still a lot better than it started off being, even if I haven't got finished yet. I wish my body hadn't conked out on me, I'd still be working if I wasn't sick. Oh well. TV it is now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Because I haven't done a meme in ages...

I got this from Emma.

Here are the rules :
- Link to the person who tagged you.
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Write six random things about yourself.
- Tag six people at the end of your post.
- Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
- Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I really really hate the cold. It makes me feel down, and makes me lethargic and achy. So much hate for winter, seriously.

2. I adore rich, deep hues. Deep reds, blues, greens, purples, pinks...

3. I have handwritten lists of vocabulary and alphabets for Greek and Arabic stuck to my wall by my bed, desperately trying to memorise stuff!

4. I love vigils - the long service after service nights at Church which start around 7 and finish after midnight with the Divine Liturgy...and then we all go eat a few bowls of soup and talk for hours.

5. I can't draw to save my life but have a love of all things to do with fabric or thread. If I don't know how to do it, I want to learn.

6. My clothes tend to have very simple lines, deep colours, and be quite plain. They can stand out, but I'm not fond of large prints most of the time, preferring simple things. And long skirts. And scarves. And get compared to nuns. Sigh. *giggle*

Tag, You're it!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

My name day and other things

I've been somewhat caught up with other things recently and haven't done much in the way of blogging, so I figured it was about time I wrote again.

Sunday was Liturgy in the morning, of course, but this time it had been promised in english - or more than usual, so I brought my family including my grandmother who has been staying with us. My parents have been before so knew the drill, though they'd never been since I was baptised (ie when I could receive Communion) which I thought might be a problem given the debates I have with my Dad about closed Communion but it wasn't, doxa to Theo. My grandmother is anglican/church of england/episcopalian (we say anglican in Australia) so it wasn't all that foreign to her, all she commented was that it was a very high service but she quite enjoyed it. I was glad, I wanted her to see what it was that I'm always talking about and that it's not totally nuts or weird. My sister didn't come. She doesn't really like Orthodox churches/services for varying reasons, plus she ate a bunch of stuff she was allergic to the day before, so I wasn't surprised by that.

Father made me laugh because just about every time he had a chance to on Sunday he said 'tomorrow, the feast day of St Kyriaki! Your name day!' and I just laughed and said yes. I learned how to write Kyriaki in Arabic too while we introduced my grandmother to lebanese coffee (which she liked, though I made hers up as sweet as I drink mine - which is very!) and my family chatted to people after the service. We have a lot of new icons in frames along the walls of the Church too so we went to have a look and I explained who everyone was in the icons to my Mum (who knew the ones on the iconostasis but not the new ones) and my grandmother. Who was supremely unpeturbed by all this, much to my delight - she's actually quite happy I've gone back to the liturgical churches, it was my Mum who moved away from anglicanism.

We went home to roast lamb for dinner and cheesecake for my nameday - I like chocolate mud cake but noone else does so I compromised with a half caramel half lemon cheesecake which everyone liked :) Nona (my godmother) came as well, and after a long meal and chat I quickly packed a few things and I went with her to stay at her house, since she lives within walking distance of the Church and I like 40min by car...2 hours (ish) by public transport... I did NOT feel like getting up at 5am on a Monday to get to Church for my name day. No thankyou. So she had things to do that night and I curled up on the couch in front of the tv and was a vegetable, and about 9:30ish she made up my bed on a futon on the floor and I fell asleep watching tv. I woke up in the morning not feeling at all cooperative towards getting up (having set my alarm so I could get to the service before the Liturgy itself, which you don't have to go to but I like to) but after resetting my alarm to get me up for Liturgy I was awake enough and finally dragged myself out of bed - to discover that the forecasters were right, and it was about 3*C! I grabbed my clothes and dressed as much as I could under the blankets, but thankfully I had enough layers to stay reasonably warm once I was dressed. Nona lent me a shawl which I could use as a scarf because in a fit of being brain-dead I'd forgotten one for Church, and she dropped me at the Church on the way to work.

The service was as beautiful as ever, all in Greek as is normal for this particular parish. The Gospel was read twice though, once in Greek once in English, because the priest usually does and I was thankful for that. I know the service, more or less, so language barriers don't really bother me these days - I went to the Russian Church sorta near me after Vespers on Saturday night for Vespers again (theirs goes much longer) and it was all in Russian - and it didn't matter :) As I went up to get Father's blessing and some bread at the end (antidoron - blessed bread, not Communion...hard to explain) he commented that he'd never seen so many Κυριακήs on a Monday before. Heh, heh. For those who don't get it, Kyriaki is also the Greek name for Sunday. (So Nicole Kidman's baby and I share a name, cool! Even better, she was born on her feast day...)

I was wished happy name day a thousand times in varying languages, and stayed for coffee and food after, chatting to Nikos and Daniel and then to other friends who were around helping with things or just wanting to chat. After a bit of that it was decided that we needed to have coffee so Eleni and I were sent (with her baby girl who is adorable) to the nearby mall with a list of coffee requests, and picked up donuts and some cake, too. Carrying seven full coffees, in the rain, trying not to get your touch-the-floor-when-not-wearing-heels skirts wet, is not easy. We spilled some, yup. But the important thing was that we got there (and got rescued because trying to get out of the car with those coffees was going to be even harder than getting IN) and had a lovely time talking and eating.

Daniel gave me a lift to the city and my Mum and grandmother picked me up, and we had a reasonably quiet afternoon, and the last two days have been equally quiet. I sewed for a lot of yesterday and got a good amount of my new dress done (and woke up with my arms reminding me that I have fibromyalgia, sigh) which was fun, and went out to a lecture at the Russian Church on science/evolution and the Church, which I enjoyed - especially since we did the Akathist first which I happen to love, in both the byzantine and the russian styles - the music is very different.

My parents have gone to take my grandmother home and stay with her for a while, so my sister and I are housesitting. We haven't killed each other yet. We have almost completely different tastes in food though (not to mention dietary requirements for both of us) so we're cooking seperate meals, which is interesting! We don't have a car, which means I'll have to grab some groceries tomorrow night when I'm out with people who do, but other than that things are pretty good. Koukla and I watched about 10 episodes of "Last Exile" which is an anime from a few years ago that Daniel lent me the box set of, and I watched a stupid amount of tv tonight while stitching on St Nicholas. Speaking of which...

9th July 08

Here we are after tonight's work. The mini-icon of Christ is starting to take shape, though it will always be a little blurry since there's only so much detail you can put into the smaller parts of the icon. His plaque is done, there's a lot more progress in the border and the background is starting to get filled in too...and some of the cloud, which is done in about fiftyzillion (ok, i exaggerate) shades of white and grey. Oh joy. White on white! I'm doing small bits on that at a time.

...and I showed this on Monday too, and now another Nikos wants to pay me to do one. I told him to get in line ;) I'll probably do it though if I get this done soon enough. We'll see.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Saint Κυριακή (Kyriaki)

It's my Name Day today - we who name children and newly baptised converts after Saints all have the feast day of the Saint whose name we bear to celebrate. My patron Saint/namesake Saint (both are true) is St Kyriaki, which means 'belongs to the Lord'. It's also the Greek word for Sunday - the Lord's day - and my priest calls me Sunday a lot. He's the one person in the world who gets away with it. In Latin it's Dominica (where the name Dominique comes from) and in slavic languages it's Nedelja.

I'll post what I did for it later - but here's my post honouring her, anyway, which is what the focus of today should be.

First, here's her story:
During the reign of the adversaries of Christ, Emperor Diocletian and his son-in-law Maximian, there lived in Anatolia two pious and elderly souls, Dorotheus and Eusebia. They were devout Christians, wealthy but childless. Unceasing in prayer they obtained a child from God, this holy Kyriaki. From her childhood, Kyriaki consecrated herself to God restraining from everything that unruly children do. When she matured, beautiful in body and soul, many suitors came to ask for her hand in marriage but she refused them all saying that she betrothed herself to Christ the Lord and that she desires nothing more than to die as a virgin. One of the rejected suitors denounced Kyriaki and her parents to Emperor Diocletian as being Christians. The emperor ordered that Kyriaki's parents be tortured and after torturing them banished them to the town of Melitene where they died enduring much suffering for Christ. Diocletian, however, sent Kyriaki to Maximian to stand trial. As Kyriaki confirmed her faith in Christ before Maximian, he ordered that she be placed on the ground and flogged with oxen whips. After that, the emperor handed her over to the commanders, at first Hilarion and then, after his death, to Apollonius. Both of them tortured Kyriaki in a beastly manner in all possible ways but all was in vain. When St. Kyriaki lay in the prison cell, completely covered with wounds, Christ the Lord appeared to her, healed her and said: "Kyriaki, do not be afraid of torture, My grace is with you." And truly, the Grace of Christ saved this martyr both from fire and from wild beasts from which the godless judges thought that she would certainly meet death. Seeing the miraculous salvation of Kyriaki from so many deaths, many pagans believed in Christ. However, they were all beheaded. Kyriaki said to Apollonius: "In no manner can you turn me away from my Faith. If you throw me into the fire, I have an example in the Three Youths [Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego]; if you throw me before wild beasts, I have an example in Daniel the Prophet; if you toss me into the sea, I have an example in Jonah the Prophet; if you give me over to the sword, I will remember the honorable Forerunner [John the Baptist]; life for me is to die for Christ." Then Apollonius ordered that Kyriaki be beheaded. Kyriaki knelt on her knees, raised her hands to heaven and prayed to God that He would have mercy and save all those who would celebrate her memory and to give rest to her soul together with the souls of her parents. Upon completing her prayer, she rendered her soul to God before the sword was lowered on her head. Kyriaki suffered honorably and was received into eternal joy in the year 289 A.D. in Nicomedia.

The only child, Saint Kyriaki,
Her parents, for the Faith died
Parents; God's saints.
The orphan, Saint Kyriaki,
What she possessed, to the poor she gave,
Only body and garment remained
And that, she sacrificed for Christ,
Kyriaki, as the dew, pure,
To be bribed by anything, did not allow,
To be lured by anyone, did not allow
Neither to be frightened by anything did allow.
But to suffering as to a wedding goes
Severe sufferings and deep wounds,
But sweet is the Name of Jesus!
Bitter pains, harsh humiliations,
But sweet is eternal reigning!
Her entire body, with red blood,
But the joy of Paradise is sweet!
O Kyriaki, God's chosen one,
And for Christ, wonderful martyr,
With a sword from the earth you were driven,
Wedded in glory, in heaven you were
Teach us the Faith to honor,
Encourage us, our life to give for her [the Faith],
By your prayers, help us
Wonderful candle, amidst the candles of Paradise.

(both from the Prologue From Ohrid by St Nikolai Velimirovic - the poem seems a little odd because it was originally written in Serbian. The icon is by the nuns of the convent of St Elizabeth in California)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I have more WIPs than is healthy

On The Wagon BB there's a 'post your current WIPs and photos' thread.

So I duly posted. And it looks like this. That's...not a good thing.
For those not a member there (I forgot you have to log in):
This thread is awesome, it's great to see all the pictures - there's a bit of everything here. Now to see if I can scrounge up photos of all my WIPs...

First, here's my current WIP:
St Nicholas by Solaria Gallery. A commission for a friend named Nikos (Nikolaos - Nicholas) in Greece, fun!

I have a few HAEDs - this is SK Iris Keeper:
Which I began but haven't got more than about 700 stitches done on. I should fix that, it's a gorgeous chart, but I'm...well I work OAAT until I get sick of a project (usually a few months) then pick up whatever WIP is screaming loudest!

QS A Restful Night:
Which needs a serious press because my tension was funky last time I worked on it and it's...lumpy, and I want to see if I can rescue it without frogging (heh) it.

QS Periwinkle Fae:
Which hasn't been worked on since last May which is a total crime because isn't she sweet? I should work on her again too.

Mystery X (Secret Victorian Garden)
This is about half done. And seriously calling, but I'm enjoying my current project too much at the moment. Pity, I miss it!

Japanese Octagon Box which you get two pictures of because I didn't take a picture of the whole thing when I worked on it most recently:
I love this piece and I work madly on it for a while and then stop because it's fiddly to get tension on. Another one that's currently screaming.

Not Chatelaines or HAEDs:
This is Tranquility Mystery Sampler (Von Wiehenburg)
It hasn't been worked on since last July. Feel free to slap me. I miss it, too.

Noon Basking by Dracolair:
This is a restart and I worked madly on it for a month or so but havent picked it up much since. Which is sad, I love this dragon.

Peaceful Paradise by Midsummer Night:
This has been my focus for most of the year so far. It's HUGE. On 40ct linen. And fun!

From The Gift of Stitching:
White Musings by Follow the Leader. Two photos again.
Beautiful but I get really sick of the bands by the time they're done. I might get this out again while watching tv sometime, it's the kind of thing that goes quicker then!

The Historic Countries Mystery Sampler
Thats half of pt 1. I know I've done more than this (on pt 1) but I haven't got a photo. Another one I really miss working on.

...oh goodness. I have issues.


*goes back to working on St Nicholas*

One stitch at a time, one WIP at a time. I really need to stop starting things. Even though I've only started three things this year...