Thursday, September 29, 2005


Can't stop with just one.

I don't understand why my husband laughed at me when I said I was worried that I would only be getting the book I had on reserve at the library ... I only had 13 at home!! This is one of the main reasons I don't want to go back to school. In college, I only read a "fun" book about once a month. (Senior year of high school was the first time I preferred people to books. I am a turtle and they are my home.)

I would like to put together some sort of *thing* on books I read. I tried putting up synopses of and reflections on books I had read, but things shorter than three-inches-thick (Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset and The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye) ... well, it would be about a day or two before I would want to go through the laborious process of summarizing the plot and composing an entry with suitable links ... and by that time I would have read about four books, so the task was now four times as daunting, so I'd put it off for another day or two ... So.

I could do a "currently reading," on each blogpost, but what if I read something worthy of note and don't blog that day? Rawrg. It's just that I like to see what other people are reading, because it inspires me to branch out, or makes me think of things I could almost remember. (Nonnanaz helped me find Good Wives, the volume I had been neglecting in my ravenous hunt for Louisa May Alcott.) Any suggestions as to how I could format a "currently reading" list?

No "Ladies' Night Out" this week. Better luck next time.

P.S. I picked up Pepper and Salt because it intrigued me (I didn't realize there was a whole fairy-tale section before, hence all the Andrew Lang), but took it with me for the rest of the title: or Seasoning for Young Folk.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pancakes and Concert Band

Pancakes with chocolate chips. All for me!
(Okay, you can have some if you come over.)

Peterbird, Master of Pancake Ceremonies.

Also, there was concert band practice. Yay, band! Maybe I will bring the camera next week...

P.S. Angelo came this time, and had a valve trombone which everyone agreed was really cool, and it was sad that he didn't play it (15 years of not touching it, bah), so another trombonist did. (Valve trombones are very different from slide trombones, looking like an elongated trumpet, and, obviously, using a valve instead of a slide.)

Current instrumentation:
  • 2 flutes
  • 1 clarinet
  • 2 trumpets
  • 3 trombones
  • 1 percussionist / tuba-sans-instrument (I may be wrong on the brass since they sit behind me, but that's what I remember.) So far we've looked at two Sousa marches; we also looked at doing Holst's Suite in E-flat which I remember being really cool in high school, but evidently has exorbitant counting of measures of rest (3rd movement starts with a 5-beat trill and then 37-29-17 measures of rest or something dumb like that), which, in a small ensemble, is ... icky.
  • Women in the altar area

    [I don't mind other people having long comments, but it bothers me if I do it, and it's my blog, so I'll just add another post.]

    Don't get me wrong: I don't want to go into the altar area. However, in case of emergency, now I don't feel like I will be vaporized* by my unworthiness. (All four attendees [inclusive] at this "tour" were rather aghast at the idea of stepping into the altar area themselves.) I had never come across this idea before which is why I mentioned it as new information, but I have seen a priest take a girl-baby through the altar area for the churching, and now I can understand that that wasn't just the whim of the priest. (People were rather scandalized, as I recall.)

    *Not a technical term.

    In a way, I think it is easier for women to think of the altar as "off-limits" as this is a defense against pride, and an aid to gaining a proper reverence. Those who are allowed into the altar area (I'm thinking of the people who usually serve there) should call to mind its sanctity every time they set foot there. I imagine it must be difficult, or at least challenging, for those men to fight against slipping into the idea that they have a "right" to be there, or against forgetting how precious the altar is through their familiarity and propinquity**. [Or I'm completely wrong and we should all be like Lucas (of a year ago), screaming in frustration if prevented from kissing the icons.]

    **I've been reading Louisa May Alcott quite a bit recently. [p. 221]

    I've been wondering why they don't have to take off their shoes when approaching the altar, like Moses and the Burning Bush. Yes, it might be cold or uncomfortable, but ... it's God. I'm always terrified when I go up to receive the Holy Gifts, taking the "tremble in awe" injunction quite literally: "Let all mortal flesh keep silence and stand with fear and trembling."* [from the Cherubic hymn of Holy Saturday]

    "Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins." — St. Paisius Velichkovsky*

    The phrase "consulate to Heaven" comes to mind for some reason, like stepping out of our earthly "country" into one belonging to a foreign power (where we really belong). Only through God's grace dare we accept the citizenship.

    Nonnanaz, feel free to come visit up here at Holy Cross. We can put you (and your family) up for a weekend (or whenever) with a little advance notice. Our future presvytera meetings Ladies' Nights Out take place on Thursday evenings from 8-9. If we're too far from home for you, tackle a priest and start asking questions. (En masse if necessary.) The HC/HC community is getting better at coping with families because the needs were vocalized. Just this week, we received a memo saying that seminarian spice (okay, "spouses") were invited to attend one class as a free audit. Unfortunately, I'm not terribly interested in the evening courses they are currently offering, but maybe they'll offer something to do with iconography another semester. I'll end this post now and choke off the flow of adjectives and parenthetical comments.

    Related links of unknown canonicity***:
  • Altar Girl discussion from St. Nina's Quarterly
  • Question and Answer on
  • "Prologue: In the Passenger Seat" from Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey Into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy by Frederica Mathewes-Green which touches on one of the reasons for an all-male priesthood.

    ***You should already be suspicious of anything on this imperfect blog. Go talk to your priest or bishop. They pray for you, remember?
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    Presvytera Meetings (1)

    September 22, 2005: At last week's future presvytera meeting (called "Ladies' Night Out," but that sounds silly, too), we went around the church with Fr. E— explaining things. It is difficult to understand him, and the acoustics of the chapel served to reinforce that; I knew some of the things that were discussed, but others were new to me.

    I had thought that women were not allowed in the altar area, period. (Or "full stop" as was said on the television version of "All Creatures Great and Small.") Evidently, they are allowed to clean in the altar area, but not allowed to approach the altar itself. (None of the future presvyteras was terribly comfortable with this idea, but it's nice to know that I can go in and clean if it's necessary; we all stopped at the door and simply peeked through.) The altar area at the Holy Cross chapel is surprisingly bare. From the front of the church, the congregation gets to see the iconostasis, but behind the altar there are bare walls (some icons, yes, but still).

    There are three seats behind the altar, historically used for the bishop (bishop-in-the-middle, bishop-in-the-middle ... sorry. Flashback from the good old days of Latin translating with Miriam and Kelly.), the castellan, and the pastor. The bishop's throne was evidently moved out front because the emperor-types couldn't hear what the bishops were saying back there, and grew suspicious. I like seeing the bishop out front, but it seems like it might be lonely for him, since there are usually about 10 priests (it seems to me) who are all in the altar area.

    Anyhow. In the iconostasis, right next to the royal doors, there are the icons of the Panagia holding the Christ-child and of Christ Himself. In the chapel of the Holy Cross, the icon of Christ holds a closed book. Fr. E— said that these icons represent the first coming (Panagia holding the Christ-child) and second coming (Christ holding the closed book, indicating the end of judgement [yes, the British spelling; it looks happier]), not just the persons depicted in them. At St. Vasilios on Sunday, however, I was looking at the iconostasis: the icon of Christ has Him holding an open book. I'm also not sure why the Theotokos is draped in purple, but there are plenty of things I don't have answers for.

    Also, we talked about vestments. Fr. E— didn't know of any restrictions on who could make vestments, or any particular process that they had to go through. (In iconography, there's a specific process and prayers and fasting and everything.) S— offered to hunt up one of her books for me which describes how to make the vestments. I'm not sure I would want to make any myself, but I would like to know how it is done at least.

    So I don't necessarily like going to the presvytera meetings, but I will try to go because I need to work on my patience and I am learning little bits of interesting things. Also, Vassi was there, and I cannot resist her. (Go see her pretty things for sale.)

    This entry brought to you by Philippa and the letter π.

    Monday, September 26, 2005

    Older, slightly

    I think I'm getting better at being a grown-up. Okay, just very slightly.

    Peterbird and I had a discussion the other day about what to do if we were ever attacked. Orthodox Church; marriage; "my" body is his, so I wanted to ask him. If he kills someone, even by accident, he cannot be a priest. We talked about guns and gun control and safety. Didn't really decide anything, but I haven't had a real "thought-provoking" conversation in a while.

    Cynthia came to visit her sister in Boston, and last night we got to spend some time with her last night. We tried to cover what all the other Daves were up to, which was fun. We discussed, of course, the List and the Wall (the latter is no more, alas). We went out* to Bertucci's and J.P. Licks, having The Ultimate Bertucci (with two slices left over) and a sundae (3 spoons): Cynthia picked cake batter, I picked strawberry cheesecake, and Peterbird picked black raspberry, and we piled on the toppings: pineapple, whipped cream (really!), and caramel.

    *I'm glad we don't eat out much, as this was a definite treat. Usually eating out is Wendy's or Burger King, thanks to television commercials during Lent, when my wish-list is made out. Also, they are cheap. I mean, I love Bertucci's, but $20 a pizza not so much.

    We went back to campus to get the map before driving Cynthia to her sister's apartment. We found an unlocked door (tsk!) and gave Cynthia a little tour and a taste of Αγνη παρθενε before we locked up and went out. I love the chapel at night.

    I don't know of a fitting word to describe what we did to get to Cheryl's, but there were many instances of "turn here—oh, it's one-way, keep going." Once there—no parking without permit except Sundays—we were regaled with well-told tales of her doings. So that makes the third Dave-visit we've had.

    On Saturday, I actually cleaned enough to make me happy. See, we do laundry every other weekend, so I figured I would use the second weekend to clean. I played Altan cds one after another; at every vocal track or at the end of the cd, I would put in some time on the house. Peterbird helped significantly (mirror and shower curtain liner) until I made him relax or do his own work.

    I had more of an entry, but got logged out, and this was all that was recovered. Phooey.

    At the end of the campus swap meet, when we were starting to pack up the unwanted items, I saw a DVD-player/VCR. It had a sign warning that, although the DVD-player worked fine, the VCR tried to eat tapes. I persuaded Peterbird that we could use it to watch DVDs on our television (as opposed to the computer), so it came home with us. The blessed thing gives us even more channels and is operable by remote (our tv is rather gimpy and old, so this is exciting); these channels include reasons to stop worrying about how we will watch the World Cup next year and to stop complaining about how, though we had two PBS stations, we still didn't get Chef! So we watched the last four minutes of Chef! and a full hour of Blackadder [Goes Forth] during which I added Hugh Laurie to my list of "my, isn't he dreamy" (currently featuring Alan Alda, Michael J. Fox, and Paul Gross).

    I asked Peterbird whether he would like me to cook (more / at all), and he said he would, so I am going to pick up ingredients for three selected recipes when I go shopping today: potato quiche, lasagna, and baked potato soup. Peterbird said he would be interested in potato quiche tonight, so we'll see how that goes.

    Monday nights are for shopping and festal choir rehearsal. Tuesday nights are for the library. Wednesday nights are for the brand-new Hellenic College Concert Band (which was off to a good start last week). Thursday nights are for making chocolate treats with Anne and Elisabeth, attending the future presvytera meetings (though they can be rather tiresome), and rehearsing with Peterbird's chant group. Fridays are for relaxing and enjoying my Peterbird. (Not sure whether "relaxing" is transitive there.)

    Sunday, September 25, 2005


    "I am a total mess, but I have two roommates called Mom and Dad who are very clean."


    Thursday, September 22, 2005


    Yesterday morning my mother called, saying they would leave for College Station at 3 p.m. My sister J called their house around 7 p.m., and they were "getting in the car" (still). No word all day today until my sister M left a message on our answering machine: safe and sound in CS. Thank you for your prayers and your kind words.

    It took 12 hours for the trip which usually takes 2.5 at most, arriving at 7 a.m. this morning.

    In other news, my two nephews have birthdays in September. M turned 14 (I'll get up from my faint in a moment...) and had a spherical basketball birthday cake. B will turn 3 and have a Hummer birthday cake.

    I'm going to go watch the movie Miracle and try to get the image out of my head where Rita smashes in the four huge windows in the living room and rips out my beloved piano. She's down to a windspeed of 140 mph. Most-holy Theotokos, save us.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Prayer request

    My mother called to say that she and my father are evacuating from Hurricane Rita. They are hoping to go to College Station to stay with some family friends.

    They have been zip-locking things at my father's office (stamps; my mother said NASA is expected to be underwater), and plan to go to the safe deposit box and zip-lock things there. My father is weak from the on-going chemotherapy and yesterday's blood transfusion; my mother is unable to move any furniture.

    I remember, trying to get to sleep when I was younger, imagining what I would get out of the house first if there were a fire. At the top of the list (after people, the two teddy bears, and family pictures) was the piano. It's in the living room, next to the large plate-glass windows which aren't set right and don't have proper outside drainage so that during the heavy rains it floods at least a little, despite my mother's barrage of workmen over the years to alleviate the problem, replacing the wall material underneath. It was my mother's grandmother's piano, with the ivory and ebony keys which have spoiled me for the plastic ones. There are also the books and the furniture downstairs which my mother told me to be prepared to lose. It is easier to be sad about losing them than to contemplate losing my father.

    There is nothing I can do right now except pray (especially for my parents (Theodore and Catherine) and the parishoners of this little church) and ask that you do the same, trusting that whatever happens, however much it may hurt now, God is taking care of each of us.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    Feast of the Holy Cross, Vespers 2005

    I was very happy to be able to attend Great Vespers for the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church. At the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology with its Holy Cross Chapel, it is the "patronal feast." His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of America, came to bestow exorassa to the seniors, bestow crosses to the second-year students who are gaining official seminarian status *ahem*, and be introduced to the incoming students.

    Seniors receive the exorasson from His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of America.

    David Eynon receives his cross from His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of America.

    The incoming class of 2004, with His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of America, and with Fr. Nick Triantafilou.

    How many Nicks can you get in a random shot? At least three: March, Hadzellis, and Marcus.

    Virgil Petrişor Andronache and David Eynon.

    Niko Bekris and Virgil Petrişor Andronache.

    A beautiful festal night.

    The Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, Tuesday, September 14, 2005.

    Archbishop Demetrios, before he placed the crosses on the necks of the seminarians: "[The cross is ...] an unfailing, unique symbol of God. Please, wear it as a protection, as an inspiration, as a guide, as a life-giving, and as a wonderful salvation item proclaiming: proclaiming your own salvation, and the salvation of the people with whom you will be in touch. May God be with you." [Transcribed from the tiny video I took with the digital camera.]

    "Rejoice, O precious Cross of the Lord.
    Through you mankind has been released from the primal curse;
    the sign indicating true joy,
    O wood respected by all,
    in your exaltation cursing enemies.

    "For us you are help in need, and the strength of the Emperors,
    might of the righteous, and the dignity of the priests,
    for when you are signed you redeem us from miseries.

    "Rod of the power from above, by which we are shepherded;
    the shield of peace that the Angels in fear attend to respectfully;
    divine holy glory of the Master Christ who grants His great mercy to the world."

    Aposticha 2, long version pp. 13-14 (PDF), Fr. Seraphim Dedes' translation.