Thursday, August 09, 2007

out of whack

I haven't written much lately, have I? I was home for three weeks after Jenna's birth, and although I only worked a few hours each day, I was busy with family stuff most of the time. I also came up with some projects to putter at, while I had the extra time at home. I re-arranged my library and weeded out some more books. I'm finally down to the stuff that I really can't bear just to give away. I'm not reading it, so I don't mind getting rid of it, but I know these books are worth something, and it would be nice to get something back on them. Selling used books isn't as easy as I would have thought, though. Even when you're not trying to make a lot of money off of them, just the work of listing them and shipping them out is something of a deterrent. And who knows how long something has to sit out there before someone comes along with enough interest to spend money on it? I'm too impatient just to get them out of the house. I got a thing from eBay that let me put up three items for bid without paying the usual charge to list them. Tried that--nothing came of it. Now I've got the whole collection on Craig's List, to see if anyone bites. I'm hoping that someone will come by and pick up a big chunk of them, so I don't have to mess with doing this piece-meal. But so far, no response whatsoever.

I'd been wanting to re-arrange my library for a while. I didn't really know what I wanted to do with it, but I knew something had to change. The system I'd been using pre-dated my interest in Orthodoxy, and I wasn't happy with the way most of my more recent acquisitions were arranged. Not only did I come up with a more satisfying categorization, but it worked out better than before in terms of where books fell on the shelves.

Since coming back to work, I've spent some time catching up on podcasts, and now I'm trying to whittle away at the reading pile. It's really not too bad right now, but it seems like every time I get a little bit ahead, something else fills in behind. I'm reading Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Everyone learns about it in school as an example of muckraking; I guess a lot of people had to read it, but I didn't. I'm a bit surprised, actually, that it was assigned so much. It's pretty blatantly socialist, especially in the last few chapters. Anyway, I kept seeing references to it in other stuff--particularly, when reading Fast Food Nation and Voices of a People's History. I figured I ought to see what the fuss was about. It's pretty interesting, but terribly depressing. I'm also reading John Cassian's Institutes and Conferences from the NPNF volume. It's too bulky to carry back and forth to work, so I only read that when I get some spare time at home.

Not much newsworthy in my life. I've made it to some services here and there--taken Ian to a couple of Parakleses and plan to catch some Great Vespers later this month. I was hoping to make some DLs, with the Transfiguration and Dormition during the week, but Fr. Gregory is on vacation for both. They had a morning DL for the Transfiguration, which was the day I went back to work, so I didn't feel right about taking off any more time. No DL for the Dormition, and the alternatives are too far away or in the morning. One thing I've discovered recently--if Ian is getting too distracted during the service, I can bring him back a bit by kneeling beside him with the service book and showing him where we are with my finger. Now, if I could just get him to pay attention when we do evening prayers. He's been pretty unruly lately, in general and especially getting ready for bed. I hate to associate punishment with prayer time, but I'm not sure there's much else to be done.

My parents came up for a short visit two weekends ago--no conversations about Orthodoxy. Julie's parents are coming this weekend--I would expect more of the same. As for Julie and me, we haven't done a whole lot lately. With Jenna's arrival, it's hard to find much spare time. We're still doing devotions together, but she's usually pretty wiped out in the evening. Right now, getting to church at all is enough of a burden, without worrying about visiting any more churches for right now.

I have in mind to work on something about comparisons between Orthodox Christian and Jewish prayer. I can't remember now where the idea came from, but I'd be interested to go back and look through the Jewish prayerbook again, now that I have a few years of Orthodoxy under my belt. We'll see if I ever get to it . . .

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