Friday, December 31, 2010


I just bought these amaryllis bulb kits (WITH beautiful red pots!) at Target in the 75% off aisle. That's right--I saved $180 and only spent $2.50 per centerpiece. Does that mean I can turn around and use that money to buy those $200 shoes I'm still lusting after? In my eyes, they're only $20 now--the price of their Payless counterparts!

Want to know where I get my flawless logic? Life with Father, of course!


Last night, I boasted that I could write Pete a poem any time I wanted to. He demanded one instantaneously, and "not a limerick or haiku either. A real poem, like a sonnet." So I obliged. I stole from Shakespeare a lot, but who doesn't? He's pretty much fair game at this point. William, think of it as a remix, okay?

Oh dear. I've just remembered what Elizabeth Bennet says about sonnets in Pride and Prejudice:

"I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!"

"I have been used to consider poetry as the FOOD of love," said Darcy.

"Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away."

Oh, what have I done????

PS Yep, I've been rewatching it. You should too!

Monday, December 20, 2010


I think it's time to reread some Austen. Part of the reason I survived last week was the new Emma miniseries, which I watched whenever I had a spare moment. As soon as I finished it, I had the urge to begin it all over again. (That happened with North and South as well.) Instead I grabbed the book to see if Frank Churchill was really as big an idiot in the original text and to remind myself if Jane was as (deservedly) impertinent to Mrs. Elton as they made her out to be.
But when Pete visited this weekend, he suggested (I KNOW! I can't believe my incredible good luck either...) we watch it, as we started it months ago and never got far. So we did, and it was lovely.

I never thought I'd like watching my precious miniseries with a guy, because, well, they don't shriek with joy at the gushy bits, but it's actually more fun this way. I still do get a little silly, I must admit. But unlike Frank Churchill, who decrees that, "One cannot love a reserved person," I find I do. And so did he, for that matter, that dirtbag!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

our house!

Not one, but TWO bedrooms!
While Pete was there, the tsar stopped by for a spot of tea with his doppelganger.(Apparently the seminary museum is using our future home as a storage unit. I kind of want to keep them!)

A WASHER AND DRYER! Seriously, I am thrilled about this photo. Who cares if it's bedazzled with duct tape? We won't have to wash our clothes in the lake and dry them in a tree! I can't wait to see it all in person.

Just in case you wondered...

I found this photo in a slideshow of a real wedding on Martha Stewart's wedding site. In the caption, the designer is listed as Stuart Weitzman.I searched through the whole website and couldn't find them. Zappos has a listing for him, but the elusive shoe was not among them.

He makes them in white (~$200-250). The bride in question must have dyed hers.
But if it's red you're after,

Kate Spade makes a similar red pair for (sit down, quick!) $325.

...or you can just buy the Payless version for $19.99!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

As it turns out...

We were wrong about the little green hovel. Our future home is right next door. Pete's checking it out tomorrow and has promised me better pictures than Google maps has provided.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New project

I bought some tulle and feathers on etsy and with the help of this amazing tutorial, I've begun experimenting with birdcage veils.I'm a little afraid of how easy it is to make these things look silly. At one point I looked decidedly like a beekeeper, at another, a fencer. File it under "maybe..."

In other news, MY DRESS ARRIVED.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Juliana Bibas over at the A Stamp a Day blog , who goes to my church, offered to make our wedding invitations BY HAND. Of course I said yes. They are far more gorgeous than I have seen in any of the chain stores.
The blue matches my aquamarine engagement ring exactly, and the red pops just like my "Saint Petersburgundy" nail polish. (I know--best. name. ever.)

Juliana has an etsy shop with more samples of her work--everything from wedding invitations to birth announcements to cute hand-stamped onesies! My invitations are the Jacqui Envelope Style, which is ideal for bilingual invitations like the ones we ordered. Though everyone we invited does speak English, we thought including Russian was a nice nod to our (very subtle) theme: our respective cultures.

We're getting married on Presidents Day weekend in a Russian Orthodox church, so I embraced a red, white, and blue color palette, which the American and the Russian flags have in common. Of course I was careful to steer clear of too-obvious patriotic symbols, but I wanted to make our wedding a celebration of our two cultures uniting by focusing on what we have in common. The service itself will be bilingual, so I'm excited that the invitations could reflect that.

wedding shoes!

My parents gave me my wedding shoes for my Nameday! I'm lucky I have a mother who has no problem with the idea of me wearing red shoes on my wedding day. I've owned various pairs of red flats and always pictured adding a pop of color to my otherwise all-white ensemble. At first I was considering fabulous shoes like these:

but the ones I chose are just more practical.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Great Martyr Katharine

Katharine was the daughter of King Constus. After the death of her father, she lived with her mother in Alexandria. Her mother was secretly a Christian who, through her spiritual father, brought Katharine to the Christian Faith. In a vision, St. Katharine received a ring from the Lord Jesus Himself as a sign of her betrothal to Him. This ring remains on her finger even today.

Katharine was greatly gifted by God and was well educated in Greek philosophy, medicine, rhetoric and logic. In addition to that, she was of unusual physical beauty. When the iniquitous Emperor Maxentius offered sacrifices to the idols and ordered others to do the same, Katharine boldly confronted the emperor and denounced his idolatrous errors. The emperor, seeing that she was greater than he in wisdom and knowledge, summoned fifty of his wisest men to debate with her on matters of faith and to put her to shame. Katharine outwitted and shamed them. In a rage, the emperor ordered all fifty of those men burned. By St. Katharine's prayers, all fifty confessed the name of Christ and declared themselves Christians before their execution.

After Katharine had been put in prison, she converted the emperor's commander, Porphyrius, and two hundred soldiers to the true Faith, as well as Empress Augusta-Vasilissa herself. They all suffered for Christ. During the torture of St. Katharine, an angel of God came to her and destroyed the wheel on which the holy virgin was being tortured. Afterward, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to her and comforted her. After many tortures, Katharine was beheaded at the age of eighteen, on November 24, 310 (December 7 new style). Milk, instead of blood, flowed from her body. Her miracle-working relics repose on Mount Sinai.

From the Prologue of Ochrid

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

nearly there...

"To Those who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine."

Rent a castle in Italy with three strangers for the month of April.

Or just read about it in The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim.
Or listen to the audio book for free on

Or watch the film which is available to watch instantly on netflix.
Or knit Wisteria, by Kate Gilbert, from twist collective Patons classic wool in the colorway wisteria, no less.

Or seek help for your unhealthy obsession with wisteria and sunshine, as I obviously must do.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Ah, the anguish of finishing the final book in a long series! I've just been aimlessly wandering through the first few pages of a couple of different books, but nothing seems to be calling out to be read.

Oh, bother!

The ultimate WIP

Though up until now, this blog has mainly functioned as a way for me to keep track of which books I read when, I've decided to branch out a bit. I plan to gush about knitting considerably more, deposit my students' witticisms for all to see, and, perhaps most importantly, keep track of progress on our new abode.

We'll be renting this little hovel for a song. It's just down the road from the monastery, where Pete works and studies. We haven't seen the inside yet, but I'll be there in a couple of weeks to case the joint. After that, the work begins. I'll spend my Christmas break there, cleaning, painting, and generally making it inhabitable. Stay tuned!

happy birthday!

My darling Muiche has just had her baby! I'm taking a break from my shrug to whip up some slightly wonky striped socks for him.
The little one is destined for literary greatness, as he shares his birthday with both L.M. Montgomery and Mark Twain.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Mark Twain absolutely detested Jane Austen's work!


Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.

Oh, Mark Twain...I only wonder why you keep rereading it then!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


My wedding shrug is finally taking shape! I love the above emoticon--can you tell that it's supposed to be someone shrugging?
Pattern: Two-Toned Ribbed Shrug by Stefanie Japel from the book Fitted Knits

Yarn: 4 skeins of an aran weight pure white angora/wool blend (Lush by Classic Elite Yarns)
1 skein of white lace-weight mohair-sparkly nonsense (Gossamer by Karabella)

Inspiration: My wedding dress is strapless and thus utterly scandalous by Orthodox standards. Something had to be done.
I chose a simple shrug pattern and luxurious yarn with a subtle halo to soften the look a bit, but knew from the beginning that the ribbing was too casual for my dress. Lace wouldn't stand up on its own to provide the dramatic high neck I was after, so I began looking everywhere for ideas. The vertical ruffles on the skirt of my dress seemed a great place to start. The pattern for this ruffly knitty scarf, Latifa, by Jillian Moreno, taught me how to make ruffles. This shrug by reflectionsbyds on etsy has the perfect neckline, which I'll try to recreate on my own.
Now to finish the other sleeve and start experimenting!

Monday, November 22, 2010

For grown-ups only

I got Pete a volume of Roald Dahl's short stories after I saw that a whole shelf in his childhood bedroom was filled with tattered copies of Dahl's children's books. These have a similar flavor, and are thoroughly creepy and have plenty of twists. As we drove to and from the city yesterday, I read a few to him. I have a feeling we've started a tradition.

Catching up

It's impossible to remember all the books I've read in the near year between posting, but here are a few notable ones:

My school's little dusty library, which has been shut up for a few years now, supplied most of my choices. One day at summer camp, during the little ones' nap, I had this irresistible urge to devour a book, so I grabbed Little House in the Big Woods, swallowed it whole and proceeded to gallop through the rest of Little House series. I spent the fall with Anne & co. As always, I began by idolizing her, found myself beginning to get annoyed with her, and just in time, one of her Jonah days would sweep her back into my affections.

I just finished Rilla of Ingleside on Friday and immediately began The Blue Castle at Suzie's insistence. So far, Valancy is much more interesting than her ridiculous name implies!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Last week I cracked open The Witches, by Roald Dahl and read a little aloud to my class. He begins by explaining that witches are nearly indistinguishable from the general population. My class got a particular thrill out of the line, "She might even--and this will make you jump--she might even be your lovely school-teacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment." The book goes on to innumerate the differences between ordinary women and witches, so I decided to have a little fun with them. Observe:

"Chapter 2: How to Recognize a Witch"
  1. A REAL WITCH always wears gloves to hide the curvy catlike claws she possesses instead of fingernails. (At this, I held up my ordinary, albeit bright red, fingernails for inspection.)
  2. A REAL WITCH is "bald as a boiled egg," so she must wear wigs that make her scalp itch dreadfully. (I yanked on my own hair to prove it was not a wig.)
  3. A REAL WITCH has large nostrils that are able to smell out children. (I displayed my average ones.)
  4. A REAL WITCH has colorful pupils. (I allowed my students to examine my boring black ones.)
  5. A REAL WITCH never has toes, only square feet that she squeezes into tiny shoes to avoid detection. (At this, I showed off my pointy little high heels, which were killing me, then popped them off to display my toes, much to my students' disgust and relief.)
  6. A REAL WITCH has blue spit. (I snatched a tissue from the box, turned around, slid a blue marker from my sleeve and scribbled on the tissue. Then I spat a bit on it, and, with a flourish, presented the tissue to the nearest student, who said, in a quaky voice, "It's BLUE!" All hell broke loose, but eventually I showed them how I had done it and we all had a good laugh.)