New Etsy Shop

collage for blog

I have opened a small Etsy shop.  So far,  it’s just winter hats but I plan to add dog sweaters and other small hand-knitted goods,  in keeping with my modest abilities.

Mumblings for the Next Year


This is the time of year (it’s New Year’s Eve,  2019)  when we think about the events of the past year and look ahead to the next,  usually with hopes of making some improvements.


  • The birthday of Jack,  our newest grandson,  who is over the top adorable. 🙂
  • I got more or less halfway through my masters program.
  • I went to the Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo all by myself without mishap.
  • I more or or less figured out what I should and should not eat to help my chronic ailments.
  • I quit driving almost entirely and I’ve been riding the bus,  which I enjoy.
  • We are mourning the loss of an old friend who died heroically recently.  Memory eternal,  friend Paul.

Ideas for 2020:

  • Some spiritual goals I won’t mention here…
  • Keep in better touch with the fam.
  • Visit at least *one* monastery.  (St. Herman’s of Alaska is my top choice).
  • Finish Wheelock’s Latin,  in all its parts and appendages.
  • Get into good enough shape to go on hikes again,  like I used to.
  • Make some serious progress on the Arthuriana spreadsheet.
  • Read the Spanish New Testament.
  • Get the yards in better shape.
  • Finish my two half-completed novels.
  • Keep up w/ all my blogs.
  •  Get out of the house more?  Leave my study?  Naw,  forget that one.

So,  I’m not calling them resolutions,  just goals.

Some baking…



I baked some little gluten free breads today,  and I also made a jar of lemon curd to go along with it.  For years I resisted admitting I had a sensitivity to gluten because it was so darn trendy and annoying.  But giving up the stuff has really helped.  I’ve been experimenting with baking with gluten free flour, with some pretty good results, or at least, results good enough that I don’t feel like I’m missing out.  Sliced bread for sandwiches isn’t very successful, even store-bought is only good as toast or maybe grilled cheese.  Most gluten free flours taste a little gritty, probably because they are made with rice which doesn’t entirely dissolve in batter.  The big exception were these terrific bagels I bought at Whole Foods.  Why were they so scrumptious?  Turned out they were made out of CHEESE! But it’s all good and I am happy to be feeling better,  along with the other food modifications I’ve made.

Testing out some software

A little movie about Proto-Indo-European, practice for a larger project.

Some Personal News

I haven’t written on any of my four blogs very much lately,  mostly out of sloth.  I’ve been reading through some old blog posts here on Xenia’s Garden and I figure I should give some updates for the sake of continuity. For example,  I wrote a lot about veganism,   a path I no longer follow except for Orthodox fasting periods.  I have a chronic illness that makes following a vegan diet very difficult.

I began this blog when I was an undergrad at the University of California,  Santa Cruz.  I remember tapping away on the campus computers in the early morning hours,  waiting for class to begin.  I did manage to graduate with a BA in European history and looked into their combo MA/PhD program but felt it wasn’t practical, as UCSC involved a lot of freeway driving and I do not like to drive,  more on this later.


But I found the perfect grad school and I am half-way through an MA in Language and Literature.  I’ll devote a separate blog post on why I love Signum University so much but it is the perfect school for me.  I am focusing on medieval literature,  especially Arthurian tales,  and am trying to learn Latin.

About driving.  I have never been a good driver,  and quit driving altogether for a few years.  Then my husband got me a little car and I began driving around town but I had a near catastrophe last year (turned out ok) and that was that.  I now take the bus.

I think we were still attending the Orthodox parish up in the Santa Cruz Mountains the last time I talked about church.  That is a wonderful parish,  but too far away and as we don’t drive at night (I don’t drive at all) we missed out on so much.  With the blessings of Fr. T.,  we now attend the Russian parish here in town and we could not be happier.  They have made us feel so welcome!  We’ve been members for about seven years now.

We still have chickens,  down to three.  I’m going to wait till next spring to raise some chicks.

I intend to keep up with my other abandoned blogs.  Here they are,  in their desolation:


Beautiful Seaside

For the Love of Old Books.   <—  I was told by a prof I should have an academic blog so here it is.  I just post essays I’ve written for class.   Nothing too exciting.  However, if you are wondering if Orcs could go to heaven,  you might be interested…


“Ortholandia” is for stories about the Saints.   “Beautiful Seaside” was started when I used to go on long walks in our humble little part of the Monterey Peninsula and took photos of adorable stuff.   I quit because I felt like taking pictures of private homes was intrusive.  I’m not sure about resuming “Beautiful Seaside;”  we’ll see how it goes.

All the best to everyone!


Just added a fifth,  where I can be less formal than the Old Books blog which is spozed to be serious:

Medieval Meanderings

End of summer garden clean-up & a confession

We got a lot of cherry tomatoes this year.  They are sweet but they always split when picked so they have to be eaten ASAP.  I am going to make soup out of these last ones.  We got a lot of cute mini pumpkins,  useless except for decorative purposes,  and two Cinderella-type pumpkins,  quite adorable.  The eggplant is still alive, but non-productive.  It’s the longest I’ve ever kept one alive though,  so a minor victory.  We got the usual crop of zucchini.  The newly planted herb garden is doing great!  Sunflower seeds from the bird feeder fell to the ground and sprouted, and we got over a dozen really healthy sunflower plants,  best ever,  with no effort on my part at all,  thank you scrub jays and doves!


We got a zillion blackberries and a modest number of apricots.  Lots of small apples,  two varieties on one tree.  The grapevine is always the same:  a huge vine, as big as a Volkswagen,  lots of green grapelings that are never practical to harvest because none of the grapes in a bunch ripen at the same time.  I’ll whack it down to the ground today and next year it will grow bigger than ever.  We planted a lemon tree which still looks healthy but I have never had good luck with citrus trees.

Now that I am (ahem!) in graduate school I don’t spend as much time gardening as in the past.  When I’m out in the garden I feel guilty for not being inside memorizing Latin paradigms and when I am at my desk I feel guilty for not being in the garden pulling weeds.  So I compromise and play Minecraft….


Actually,  feeling contrite, I uninstalled and deleted Minecraft.   I am repentant.



I’ve been trying to use up all my stuff.  I have a lot of yarn and fabric that needs to be made into something and maybe a thousand books I need to read.  I always say I am not going to buy any more yarn,  material or books until I finish what I have.  This might work for the yarn and fabric but has probably zero chance of happening with books.   (I am not a hoarder;  I am a librarian!)  Here’s two afghans I finally completed.  You can tell they are made from random yarn but they are pretty cheerful and I like ’em.  I have one more afghan to complete and a box of very cute knitted woodland creatures that are going to be Christmas tree ornaments.

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