Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dearest Gentle Readers

I'm missing Forgiveness Sunday Vespers for the second year in a row. I forget why I missed it last year, but this year I appear to have eaten something that disagrees wholeheartedly with me and I'm stuck in bed. Chris has promised to return with two scoops of Frenchy's Orange Sherbet from Beth Marie's Ice Cream Parlor, which has become a popular place for the church to go after the service to get that last bit of deliciousness pre-fast. But I'm sick and stuck at home anyway.

In the tradition of Forgiveness Sunday, I ask your forgiveness for all the things I've done or haven't done to you. Whether I didn't talk to you for a long time when you needed help, or if I  hurt you with my passive-aggressiveness and anger (see my last post), or if I insulted you, or if I was just my usual cruel self to you, please forgive me and give me another chance to be a child of God.

Tomorrow the Lenten Fast begins for Orthodox Christians. From Monday to Friday is what's called "Clean Week," where we take extra steps at being observant--sort of getting us in the mood of the fast. Our priest always advises us to cultivate silence and attend church as much as possible (there will be an abundance of services), so in addition to putting up the Wii (which will be in the closet until Pascha), we'll spend the week with the radio off and the computers off. So I'll return to my usual navel-gazing blogging Saturday.

Until then, farewell, dearest gentle readers! Please forgive me!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Credo Alfredo; or, If You Don't Like It Then Leave

I got in trouble for my last post with someone I fully expected to get in trouble with--just not to the point of being insulted up and down over virtually every aspect of my life. Thanks a billion. Anyway, if anyone else would like to lay into me for any reason, I thought I'd list my beliefs and let you pick and choose from what you hate about me.

I believe in God. I'd rather worship a diety than a political party platform. But that's just me.

I am a Christian. I hear only stupid people are Christian, and who am I to disagree? After all, I only have a bachelors degree.

I'm pro-life. I believe that life begins at conception. I believe that the end of life should come naturally. I hear that such beliefs also make me stupid, but surely we've established by now that your opinions about my intelligence don't have much bearing on what I think.

I am against the death penalty. It's not about whether people can be reformed--it's about mercy to me. Apparently this makes me forward-thinking and progressive, but this isn't a popularity contest.

I am Orthodox. I don't worship Mary or St. Elizabeth (my patron saint) or any of the saints. I honor them. If you can't tell the difference, there's probably an Orthodox priest in your area or online who'd be happy to explain. Orthodox Answers does it all the time on Twitter.

I am Orthodox. I really believe what I say in church. This is not an anthropological adventure for me--this is Truth.

I believe everything I say in the Nicene Creed.

I believe everything I say in the prayer "I believe, O Lord, and I confess."

I'm not the same person I was in junior high, nor am I the same person I was in high school ... thank goodness.

I do not exist for your entertainment.

I know that what I believe is true--otherwise it would just be an opinion.

If you find any of this distasteful, you can either politely agree to disagree or you can slam me however you feel best. Just have some guts and do it to my face.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Being Childless in a Child-Loving Church

The Orthodox Church loves big families, which can definitely make an infertile person like yours truly feel a little left out. It took a long time to get over, but I think I've survived most of the difficult feelings associated with being odd-man-out. Chris and I have been through quite a bit in the past seven years of marriage, from the miscarriage to the failed adoption, and I think we've become comfortable with being the thing infertile couples dread most at the beginning of their journeys: a family of two.

I periodically have to reconsider my stance on my little family when I come across things like the pro-choice button I happened upon the other day:

If You End Abortion
How Many Unwanted Children Will You Adopt?

The classiness never ceases. First off, I hate the notion that any child is unwanted, and I'm sure that telling the child they were unwanted would do tons of good for their psyche. But I digress. I ended up sitting up at night thinking about this stupid button and whether or not we should consider adoption. There are lots of things working against us, however: my mental illness is the biggy. But it's so hard to square feeling like we're not supposed to adopt with the hundreds of thousands of children in foster care who need homes. It reminds me of when we chose to end the adoption we'd been working on for almost a year: There was a terrible feeling like we were the only ones who could save these children, yet we (or should I say I) had to let go and remember that their lives are in God's hands, not mine. That's why we must make sure that our desire to adopt has to be out of a genuine desire to want a family, not the guilt brought on by some dumb button. (How many "unwanted" children have they adopted anyway?)

I was discussing adoption with my friendly neighborhood matushka the next day, and she asked me if we'd changed our minds about it (ie, were thinking about adoption again). I said, and this is true, that we're sort of at the point right now where we feel like we can use our childlessness to our advantage to take care of other people like the elderly. St. Paul said (and I'm paraphrasing because I don't have a Bible by my side, but I think I have it right) that husbands and wives worry about how to please each other, but the single person worries about how to please God, and I feel that it's the same way with the childless couple. Yes, I do concern myself with making my husband happy, but without children we can do work that is laborious and sometimes thankless without worrying, "Are we spending enough time with the children?" That's why I want to be a nurse aide--to help the forgotten elderly. Chris has dropped out of court reporting school to become a nurse himself, although he's aiming for higher levels than I am (I just don't want any administrative work and don't care about the money). Together I hope we can be a wonderful dynamic duo with the Unmercenary Healers as our guides. (As a humorous side note, I periodically call them the Mercenary Unhealers, similar to the priest who was famous for saying that Jesus was "baptized by Jordan in the John".) 

So I believe that there's more than one happy ending. Chris and I daily celebrate what I consider to be an unusually good marriage, and we're living full lives without children. I remember a friend from high school who said that couples who didn't have children were selfish, but I don't think that's always the case. (And it's not like children are a cure-all for self-absorption anyway.) 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Two Days of the Gluten

Woe is me. I'm just now getting over my glutening! Maybe next time Chris makes biscuits I'll remember my two days of complete "ugh."

Chris was kind enough to get me a soy latte this morning and make gluten-free pasta and vegan caesar salad for lunch. Then he set out to do laundry. I'm still recuperating, but believe me when I say that I'm doing much better.

How did I go all these years eating gluten?! 28 years of wheat, and now a biscuit from a tube knocks me flat for days. I had so much trouble after my psychiatrist put me on Trilafon, but there's a long history of insomnia and oversleeping in my past. Yeah, that's a symptom of gluten problems--sleep troubles. But I know I'll be back on the exercise bike soon, gearing up for a little mountain hiking in Arkansas.

I think I sometimes believe that I don't really have a problem with gluten. I guess when you go so long without it, feeling fine, you begin to doubt anything was wrong. Or perhaps that just a little won't hurt. What can one biscuit do? A lot, apparently.

Here's the Mexican Coke I'm enjoying right now. Happy gluten to all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Got Glutened

Chris made biscuits yesterday, and I couldn't resist.

"I'm eating a biscuit," I told him.
"Are you prepared for the fallout from that?" he asked.
"Nope," I replied.

Nope. Sure wasn't prepared for the fallout. Lethargy took over, and I spent most of today asleep. Had to reschedule my psychiatrist appointment.

"Any irony about being too sick to go to the doctor?" Chris asked.
"It's just the psychiatrist!" was my reply.

Anyway, Chris was kind enough to make me some Hoppin' John from a box (thank you, Zatarains--yes, it's vegan), and now I'm curled up with a Mystic Mango kombucha. I think after I'm done at the computer, I'll crawl in bed with a book or two and call it an early night.

So remember, gentle readers, when you're tempted by a food you're allergic to, don't give in!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

I've Made Up My Mind

So it was another morning of me lazily dreaming in bed. Chris and I took our "Across America" journey to the Florida Everglades. We were on a tour. Then our tour guide spotted--gasp!--a manatee! And I used my 70-300mm lens to photograph said manatee.

Do manatees even live in the Everglades?

Anyway, I decided right then that the Pentax would not have cut it in this situation ... and Bishop Nikon will stay in my possession. I will learn to deal with the idiosyncrasies of a dSLR. And I will get it a new camera strap because the dogs threw up on the one that came with it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hey! I Only Shoot Film!

Forgive the naughty language. Guess I still have a little bit of the photographer in me!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Got a New Camera

Just what I need, right? It's a Pentax WG-1--perfect for hiking and other adventures. It's cold-proof to -14 degrees, can handle up to 5' falls, is waterproof up to 33' (wow!), and can handle dust and other particles ... unlike a previous camera that went to Monahans Sandhills State Park out west and was never the same after. It's got macro, it's got a nice purple color, and it weighs substantially less than Bishop Nikon. Like I said, perfect for hiking. It even comes with a little clip so you can attach it to your hiking pants.

It also has fun features that I can't resist using. Wanna see?

Did I mention it has higher megapixels than my Nikon? 14 instead of 10.

Truth be told, it's on a trial run to see if it'll replace the Nikon. The Nikon is too complicated and heavy (and frankly uninspiring) to use anymore. Someone else can make better use of it. That is, if the Pentax can do all it can do at less cost.