Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Blog, same content

I've thought since moving to Portland that duh, I need to change the URL of my blog, since we are no longer a "San Fran Family." So, here it is, finally. Posts from Portland. Just a continuation of this blog. I won't be posting here anymore, but I'll keep this blog up for posterity.

See ya there!

Cindy can't do it alone

I read in this morning's newspaper that Cindy Sheehan is calling it quits. She's not going to protest the war anymore or try to get an audience with President Bush. She's just going to go home and try to live a normal life. She feels betrayed by Congress, who after an amazing show of bravery on the Iraq front, decided to go ahead and give in to what Bush wanted as far as this "surge" goes. Why? I can't figure it out. Can someone explain to me why we elected a Democratic Congress? To act like this? What good did it do?

I really feel for Cindy. Here she's put it all on the line, giving up years of her life to try to get this war turned around, stop the killing of innocents in Iraq and stop the meaningless slaughter of our own soldiers. According to, at least 64,632 Iraqi civilians have been killed by combat since we started this pre-emptive war. 3,465 US soldiers have been killed in that time. Just this month, so far, 113 have been killed.

When will be stop this bloodshed? How will more killing end the killing? Cindy, I'm with you--in feeling that this country is way out of wack with real life. I don't blame you for throwing in the towel. I just hope at some point you'll be swept in another wave of patriotism that proclaims that we will do no more killing in the name of peace, and that you won't be the only voice crying in the wilderness.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Entertaining Angels--the movie

We watched this movie last night, about the life of Dorothy Day, who started up the Catholic Worker movement. We were shown a clip of the movie at the Clergy Couples Retreat at the beginning of May. Oh yeah, I promised to tell you about that and haven't was basically perfect in every way, and I don't know what to really report about it, other than the location was wonderful--Asilomar was the perfect place for such a retreat--and the speaker was great--Dr. Stephen Muse, a psychologist, started with places I knew and was familiar with but then launched into something totally new and wonderful. He's written books--I haven't read any of them yet, but I'd recommend them if they're anything like his presentations. And the rapport between the attendees was wonderful. There have been some shake-ups in this diocese in the last couple of years, and also there is great mistrust of psychology and touchy-feely things from some quarters of our clergy community, but I think just the right mix of people were there to make bonding as couples really a good thing. We've never before had any get-together of clergy *couples*--we usually meet as wives or as priests, but never together. It's been suggested for years but this was the first time we actually did it. And I can guarantee you that all the people present will make sure it isn't the last!

Anyway, back to the movie--it was an interesting glimpse of the life of Dorothy Day and how she got started doing what she did. It made me interested enough to want to pick up a book about Dorothy Day and find out more about her. Paul's been interested in her for years, and our friend Jim Forest wrote a book about her that I know has to be in the house somewhere....unless Paul took it to the church with him. I'll find out...

And Jim Forest is the founder of Orthodox Peace Fellowship, and we had a great conference over the weekend, albeit without Jim. He is in poor health and couldn't make the trip. He lives in Holland, though we found out he was in the states, but visiting family, not coming out here. He worked as the editor for The Catholic Worker newspaper for a time, and knew Dorothy Day personally.

We've been involved with the Catholic Worker house here in Portland for the last 9 months or so, and have immensely enjoyed getting to know the people and the work of this ministry. They have their potlucks on the first Monday of each month, and then discuss what everyone is doing, the work in the house (they provide a place to live for women transitioning from prison or homelessness) and needs of the community. It's about the closest to sharing everything in common that I've personally been involved with.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

OPF Conference

I'm suddenly thinking, of course I should post about the upcoming Orthodox Peace Fellowship conference on my blog, as there are local people (Susan?) who may be interested in coming, and perhaps people from further away (Mimi? Dawn?) who'd like to come. "Upcoming" is an overstatement--it starts tomorrow! Sorry for the late notice.

The Orthodox Peace Fellowship is an organization of Orthodox Christians who are interested in discussing ways of waging peace in our parishes, communities, nations, and the world. This year's conference is themed "Living Peacefully, Locally." Speakers will include: David Holden, psychotherapist, who will speak on Living Simply, Locally, and our Global Impact and Renee Zitzloff, who is the coordinator of the Minnesota OPF chapter, who will speak on Local Chapters and Community Development. And my own dear husband, Fr. Paul Schroeder, will speak on Friday evening on Holy Simplicity: St. Basil the Great and the Ethic of Sustainability.

You can see more info about it on the OPF website:
The conference will be held in Eagle Creek at this retreat center:

And I am the newly appointed regional coorditor for the conference! So you can email me at if you'd like to come and I'll sign you up. :-) The day rate is $50 which includes the Friday evening Vespers and talk, and the Saturday talks and workshops plus lunch. You can also purchase dinner separately on Friday and/or Saturday nights if you wish. The full conference rate, to stay at the retreat center for the weekend including meals, is $250.

I hope to see some of you there!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Kitchen Work

We've gotten lots of outside projects done at our house in these six months we've lived here (yeah, it's been that long!) but not much inside besides just plain old organizing. Today we decided that there were things that *had* to be addressed in the kitchen. We started noticing quite soon after we moved in that there was something not quite right about the cabinets....they are beautiful, but the hinges were coming loose. We've thought that the wrong hinges were used, but it wasn't quite that bad. It's that they used 1/2 inch screws. What were they thinking? That isn't going to hold anything! So, the first project of the day is that Paul replaced every cabinet hinge screw with much longer ones.

This cabinet, I've thought ever since we moved in, need more shelves. It had wood in the back but no tracks to put them up. Paul got them installed today. Now I have much more useable space in there and I don't have stuff all piled up on each other.

And I'd thought as soon as I saw this cabinet that it would be the perfect place to store flat pans upright. Until I opened it and found a shelf in there! So Paul took it out today and now I can line up my cookie sheets and pizza pan and muffin tins and cooling racks.And here there was a disaster! Just too disorganized. There was no shelf in this cabinet either, and all my appliances were in great disarray. Paul installed a half-shelf and now everything just fits in there perfectly!

And, after all that hard work, I decided to make my first ice cream of the season in my Donvier. Easiest ice cream maker ever. Cookies and Cream!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Garden, May 2007

Update of my garden! Actually, this first radish picture is from...maybe three weeks ago? I've been getting radishes for quite some time already. They are very rewarding! Easy to grow and quick, and what beautiful jewel colors!

Here's some of the tomato plants. I had originally thought, "I want 10 tomato plants this year!" (I had three last year.) And I went crazy buying them from the farmer's market, and then I had six. I thought, oh, that's enough. But then a. my neighbor brought me a cherry tomato plant when she went looking for a specific kind she likes--one for her and one for me! Isn't that nice of her? and b. I realized that I didn't have any of the same varieties that I grew last year, and I was so pleased with how they turned out. So, I bought those varieties today and planted them. It was after I planted those that I thought, gee, our garden is looking swell! I should take some pictures. And here they are. CarrotsPeas (the tall ones) and beans (still pretty short); radishes in the fore and tomatoes in the back

The beautiful radishes I picked today. Did you know that in addition to being a tasty snack out of hand, you can cook radishes? I like them in stews and stir-fries. You can also add the greens.
Kale! It's big enough to think about what I'd like to first make with it. Caldo Verde, or something different? I think I might just serve it tomorrow night when we go for house duty at the Dorothy Day house, all by itself, sauteed with garlic, alongside some pita veggie "patty melt" sandwiches that I found the recipe for in the Oregonian yesterday. We bought five blueberry bushes when we first made the garden, and they are doing so well! I think we're going to have a lot of berries, for a first year. There were lots of blossoms.Basil! My very favorite garden plant! It's coming up all over here, but it's been growing so slowly that I got impatient and bought a plant today and plunked it in the middle. We've already been enjoying basil from the farmer's market--we just ate pasta with pesto for dinner tonight.And the whole garden. We've been enjoying it immensely.

Hibee's Blog

Hibi again has a blog! Isn't this, what, your third blog, Hibi? I hope you don't delete this one! Keep on bloggin'.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Yesterday we stopped at New Seasons after our dinner out, to get ice cream to make ice cream sandwiches with the peanut butter cookies I had made (yum) and lo and behold, what did catch my eye in the dairy case but THIS! I first discovered Straus milk when we were living in central California, out in the middle of nowhere. Straus milk, it is not an exaggeration, is one of those little things that made living such an isolated life bearable. It is pasteurized but not homogenized, which means it's not raw milk but the milk and cream have not been bound, and usually when you open a bottle (which is glass and re-usable--take it back to the store to get your deposit back), especially of the whole milk, there is a clot of cream at the top that must be stirred in. (Or skimmed off to be used separately!) This milk has such a wonderful flavor--I thought immediately after the first sip I took of it that *this* is what milk is supposed to taste like.

When we moved to Portland I kind of figured that Straus milk was one of those things we were giving up by moving here, because they're in Marin county (just north of San Francisco) and I'd seen their ice cream here in Portland but not their milk. My "local and sustainable" side is kind of twisting on itself right now, trying to justify drinking this milk.....but it's only from *California*, not Mexico, or Peru...

Okay, so it'll probably only be a once-in-awhile luxury. One I'll look forward to.

"Grab the nearest book" meme

I just saw this on Nissa's blog, and thought I'd just look to see what the nearest book was...

Grab the nearest book.
1. Open it to page 161.
2. Find the fifth full sentence.
3. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
4. Don’t search around looking for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you

So, when I looked to see what the nearest book is, I Bible. Really. I don't even see any other books in the room. Doesn't that make me sound so spiritual! Godly, even. Okay, so let's see what's the fifth sentence on page 161. Uh, so page 161 is still in the Biblical Cyclopedic Index, and there *are no* complete sentences. Thus fails this meme. But the fifth term there is:


Who, as it turns out, was the son of Eli, called "reprobates", guilty of unlawful practices, immoral, Eli's warnings rejected by, cursed by a man of God, warned by Samuel, ark takent to battle by, slain in battle, and news of, causes Eli's death. At least according to my Biblical Cyclopedic Index.

I wonder if this is an omen of some type?

If you'd like to do this meme, let me know in the comments and I'll come check it out!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

I signed up for a daily email from a speaker at the unschooling conference we attended in April, and I really liked his posting for Mother's Day. He says to share what he writes freely, so I will, with attributions.

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle
A Radical "Mother's Day" Message :: Today is Mother's Day in many countries, and
mothers everywhere are being honored and appreciated for the invaluable
contribution of mothering.That's the bright side...For many families there's
also a subtle dark side of Mother's Day: focusing on the *sacrifices* mothers make
for their families. Mothers' self-sacrifice is typically celebrated by reversing
the sacrificial current. For one day, the other family members take over the
mother's "duties"so she can be free (theoretically) to focus entirely on her own
pleasure. Don't get me wrong: I think one of life's simple pleasures is
contributing to the pleasure of others,and that includes the good feeling of
pampering mothers. It's the undercurrent of *guilt* that so often taints the
fun. When the subtext is, "We're doing this stuff for you today because you
*can't* have what you want the other 364 days of the year," it actually
*perpetuates* the cycle of self-sacrifice, resentment, and guilt. So here's a
radical proposition for every mother who has ever bought into the idea of
self-sacrifice as avirtue: Decide that EVERY day is Mother's Day! Don't settle for
anything less than a predominantly pleasureful path of mothering, and remember
that the best way to raise kids who enjoy life is to let them see your commitment
to enjoying life yourself. :-)**(Note to self-sacrifice addicts: If you think
I'm saying you should force yourself to be happy...think again!)** Feel
free to forward this message to your friends! Copyright (c) 2007 by Scott Noelle

I like this because I'm often chagrined to hear that what some moms want most on Mother's Day is to get away from their little brats. I think that's sad. My children are what made me a mother and I celebrate motherhood! When we decided to stop at two children because of realizing that overpopulation was really doing a number on our planet, I thought it was a good and responsible decision. And I applaud people who have taken that principle even further and don't have any children. Yet, when I think about whether I could have done that if I'd had the consciousness before I had kids, I just don't think I could have. Childbirth was such an amazingly empowering moment in my life (times 2), and having the experience of bringing a child out of my body, feeding that child from my body, and nurturing that child (both of them) to maturity (ongoing) is just an incredible experience. I know I wouldn't be the same person without being a mother.

Last night I received an email from a friend who had emailed some mom friends, thanking us for helping her along with her mothering. And I think it's true: we do help each other in parenting, because none of us exist in a vacuum. To all the moms out there, thank you for being good moms and for all the influence you've been in my life and my kids' lives. It's a chain reaction--even if I've never met you, I've surely "met" something that you've influenced.

And finally, on this Mother's Day, let's not forget the original intent of Mother's Day. It was founded as an activist holiday. It was a mothers movement to stop all war. It was a call to teach our sons (and daughters, these days) to be peaceful and to resist the call of the forces that be to go out and kill other mothers' children. Julia Ward Howe is the originator of this movement, and I give honor to that mother today. And I'll end by posting her Mother's Day Proclamation here.

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
whether your baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: "We will not
have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not
come to us reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall
not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy, and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of
those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devasted earth a voice goes up with our own. It says,
Disarm, Disarm!"
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice! Blood
does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have
often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave
all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then
solemnly take counsel with each other as the means whereby the great human
family can live in peace,
And each bearing after her own time the sacred
impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Need a Last Minute Mother's Day Gift?

Here's one that's a little more thoughtful than some hastily bought flowers or chocolates from the corner store. In fact, it could turn a life around.

We first heard of this organization on NPR and we thought it was such a cool idea, and then filed it away in our brains. Then, somehow, Paul thought of it for a Mother's Day gift this year. We both are giving to Kiva in our moms' names.
Here's the concept: there are many people in third world countries who could make a living for themselves, if they only had a way of starting up a business. They just need a little push, a little help. Kiva is a micro-lender, loaning out small amounts of money to people who have a specific idea of how to utilize it to start their businesses. You choose the person you want to loan to, and then give money to Kiva. They loan it to the person of your choice, and then the small-business owner starts a business. As it grows, they pay back the loan on a monthly basis. Then you have that money in your Kiva account to lend out again and you can choose someone else to loan to.

Here's the woman Paul chose for his mom:

And here's the woman that I donated in my mom's name:

A Big Weekend!

Wow! Both of our "big events" went really well! I'll stick with the first for this post, then post again about our Clergy Couples Retreat.

Last weekend was our Centennial Weekend at our church. It was incredibly busy, incredibly fun, and it all went so incredibly smoothly. Thanks to the hard work of many, many people!

We started off the weekend with a Glendi on Friday night, and the halls at church were dressed up like a cafenia (little coffee place/restaurant in Greece). It was a lot of fun, and the food was so good! Archbishop Demetrios did a door-opening for our new Hellenic Cultural Center, which was amazing in itself. If you're in the area and are at all interested in the history of Greeks in Portland, stop by and see it sometime! It's pretty cool. And along those lines, they also put out a beautiful book illustrating the history of our parish and the people who started it way back when, the present and the future.

Next day was an Ecumenical Doxology. The choir sang for this, and we got so many compliments on the doxology we sang, which was a Russian-style arrangement. We all really enjoyed singing it! All kinds of leaders from lots of different churches were there. I wondered if this was the first time that a female priest was within the walls of our church? And was hoping that it won't be the last.

After that was a delicious breakfast for the leaders (which I was priveleged to be invited to) and many of them spoke, including our own Metropolitan Gerasimos and Archbishop Demetrios. I was disappointed, though, that the speeches went on for so long and didn't give time for much dialogue, which had been scheduled. What little there was I had to miss, because I had to get on to the next event!

Which was a youth ralley out at Camp Angelos. It was a nice day, not really sunny, which would have been ideal, but warm and not raining. Both of the bishops came out and answered questions from the kids. One story that the Archbishop told later on was one little boy, about three years old, giving him the card he'd been provided with to write a question on, that simply said "Will." Oh, you want to ask a question about will? Free will? What do you want to know about will? the Archbishop asked. "I am Will!" said the little boy. :-) Both bishops fielded questions ranging from topics like DaVinci Code to what will happen to us when we die. My own little feminist asked about altar girls. The Archbishop told her that perhaps she would be a deacon someday.

That night was the big banquet at the Hilton. It was fun and long. I don't have a lot to report about it, except these: I got to meet Earl Blumenhaur, my hero and US Representative. And the mens' choir from our church that performed that night *rocked!* They were really good. It was about 30 men, and as I was watching them I was counting how many are in our regular choir. Two. Including the director. Hey, guys, we need you on a Sunday-to-Sunday basis!

Then came the big event: Sunday morning. Fantastic! I am a little biased, I know. I am in the adult choir, and I lead the youth choir. And that's about all I could focus on, the singing! But we all did a fantastic job with the service, I thought! Everyone commented on the youth choir--our Metropolitan was beside himself with joy from hearing the angelic voices. He told me that they had better Greek pronunciation than the adult choir! I informed him that I am also in the adult choir, and he said "sorry!" without really being sorry. ;-)

Ah, but we weren't finished yet. The afternoon and evening were packed with: a house blessing for the Huzagh household (Elenie Huzagh is a former president of the National Counsel of Churches) and a farewell dinner for the organizers and the Archbishop. I won't go into all those details. However, the Huzagh home is across the street from Powells. Paul got the bright idea: he asked Archbishop Demetrios if he'd like to go inside. So, Paul, the Archbishop, me, and Archdeacon Nathaniel went into Powells. Now, those of you who have been to Powells, City of Books (one whole city block of bookstore) stop and imagine for a moment Archbishop Demetrios in that context. For those who don't know what he looks like, imagine him in his full regalia like this:

And yes, I enjoyed watching people's reactions! One man just stopped and stared for about three minutes. He then came up to me and said, "Greek Orthodox?" Hey, he's pretty good! The guy was Episcopalian himself. The Archbishop wanted to first look at the religion section, Christianity specifically (surprise) and then he wanted to look at the Atheism section. He stood there and talked with us about people writing all these books dissing the idea of God. I have to say I agree with him--we all have pet peeves, but why does religion get whole books dissing them? If someone doesn't like, say, boy scouts or whatever, they don't write a whole book about it.

Anyway. He bought a book from the atheist section, which I was going to remember the title of just so I could share it with all of you, but I was so tired by that point that my mind did not retain it.

He also bought us the two books I'd picked up to buy myself--a DK Alaska travel book and the new Barbara Kingsolver book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I am highly enjoying both.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Housecleaning and getting ready for a Big Weekend!

This morning at breakfast, I told my kids that I know of a woman who has a big event coming up this weekend, AND she is leaving on a trip on Monday, AND her parents are coming into town on Sunday to watch the kids. She really could use some help getting her house ready for the weekend, and I'd said we'd come over and help out. They would each be paid $10 per hour *if* they did the work without complaining, dawdling, or needing to be nagged.

They, of course were onto me right away--"why don't you just SAY you need help if you need it?" and "gee, that woman sounds a lot like you, Mom." To which Paul said, "that's probably why Mom has such sympathy for her!"

But I'd decided that perhaps for myself it'd help me get over the housecleaning slump if I pretended it was someone else's house, and I'd been asked to help, or hired, or something other than just cleaning up my own mess. I told the kids we'd do this: work from 11 to 12 straight, then stop for lunch, and get back at it from 1 to 2. And you know what? We have a pretty clean house now! It did take some nagging at the beginning as the kids just take a while to get into cleaning. But once we got our groove we all just kept at it until it was pretty clean.

Each kid gets $20 now for helping me out. Thanks, kids!
I am having awful trouble with my computer. I don't know if it's Earthlink's fault....but starting at about 10:30 am yesterday I wasn't able to get my email, and I couldn't access webmail, either. The 'net worked fine.....until I called Earthlink, thinking surely it was going to be a known issue and they were going to tell me it would be back soon. But, they didn't. Rather, a tech guy actually got on my computer remotely, using a network with my computer (not so sure I like the idea of that still) and fiddled a bunch with it. He couldn't figure out what the problem was and handed me on to another tech. This new guy said it was the modem. I don't see how it could be the modem, as the internet was working. This morning it was the same. But, while the first guy was fiddling, the internet stopped working and only started again when Paul did some fiddling.

Right now I'm having trouble accessing some websites, and still can't get my email except through dial-up. And I still can't get on Earthlink's webpage, either.

Anyone know what's going on? Is this a problem specifically with my computer, or with Earthlink, or what? Help?!?