Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Band, Gym, Leftover Library

The particularly astute among my readers may have thought to check my Book Journal for yesterday's entry. Then again, even I had other things to do. But I think other people might like reading these: A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott (if you're either in the mood for a melodramatic-gothic novel, or to be amused by quantities of melodrama written really well), and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Let me just take a little while and drool all over Neil Gaiman. Figuratively.

I was first* introduced to the works of Neil Gaiman at George's aunt's house. His uncle is a rabid collecter of lots of cool things, such as comic books, DVDs, manga, etc. So a lot of Daves** came over for Easter, and Tim asked George's uncle whether or not he had any of Neil Gaiman's graphic novels. Of course he did. And Tim and I basically locked ourselves in a room and read and looked and drank in all weekend long. I never did finish the Sandman series, and I think I would like to buy them all, selfishly, and lock myself in a room until I could finish the entire thing.

*It took a while to register that he was co-author of Good Omens with Terry Pratchett.
**It's a long story. Will "college friends" do?

You see, he didn't just write the story and have somebody else illustrate it: he gave directions as to what the illustrations should be, and had input into the style. So you have the visual equivalent of a flashback in terms of composition at the same time you have a repeated phrase ... it's just beautiful. The characters were eerily real and vibrant, and the humor... He's British. If you know what I'm talking about, further explanation would be unnecessary; if you don't, I really can't explain any better.

So then I found that he'd written other things: The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, The Wolves in the Walls, Stardust, and Neverwhere. Then came Coraline and American Gods. And now was Anansi Boys. It was everything I hoped it would be, and then some. If I should happen to be given that book, it would be a good thing. (If you're not my husband, assume I'm not hinting at you; I'm not quite that mercenary, unless you have an extra copy you're dying to give me, in which case I'll graciously and gratefully accept.)

My advice to you is to at least read one of his books. The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and The Wolves in the Walls are short "children's books." Coraline is short-ish. Stardust, Neverwhere, American Gods, and Anansi Boys are good-length novels. Good Omens is hard to describe, and after several valiant attempts (you'll have to take my word for them), I'll simply suggest that you get at least one copy.
So I went to the library yesterday, and tonight I had band after which I went to the gym. (I know! Four days in a row! I'm surprised, too, except that I can read while doing the elliptical-thing.)

At band, we decided on our motto: "Don't be sorry, just be better." This was shortly followed by the quip: "Let us play to the Lord." Someone commented, "We're an official group now; we have an inside joke." To explain: Dn. Tom said to start at measure 68 (70 is marked), and the trumpets didn't start at the right place, so he 'explained,' "two before 70," to which they replied, "OHHH." So then he started us again, "measure 68, or two-before-70 for the trumpets."

An exchange:
Dn. Tom: "It's a ton better than last week."
Vinny: "That's because we practiced so much."
Vinny's section-mate*: "Good one, Vinny."
Dn. Tom: "If you weren't a trombone player**, Vinny, I'd believe you."

*They all sit behind me. I'm in front of Dn. Tom, a flute to my left and a clarinet to my right, and a wall of brass behind me. Most of them I haven't met before, but I'm trying to learn names.
**Dn. Tom has at least one degree in music. He plays trombone.

In more official news, the HCCB is now an official student group of the SGA, and we get a non-voting speaking role on the SGA board which meets every other Tuesday. Not that anyone reading here particularly wants to know that, but I wrote it down on the same piece of paper as the others, and as Jim is finding out, I am particularly garrulous tonight.
In other other news, I'm taking Peterbird and running south for the weekend to the long-awaited Grandma's 90th Birthday Party. Maya and her brothers will be there, and my fun cousins, so we got a larger flash card for the camera. There is also a Half-Price Books near-ish the hotel.

Please pray for Peterbird as he sprints through his papers (three to do: two-and-a-half done this week, just one to finish and he's hoping to do that before we leave town on Friday morning).

I meant to work on the computer instead of blog, but I think I'll go stew myself in the cauldron until I'm all squishy and prune-fingered, then stretch out on the crisp-sheeted bed and refuse to exist until the early early morning. Gack.

Monday, October 24, 2005

In which Magda does something fun, because she wanted to

I think one of the reasons I like to have things scheduled to do is to have something to look forward to. I don't have to think, "Hmm, what shall I do this evening? Nothing? Okay, well, I could play on orthodoxwiki or read library books or watch tv or play on the computer..." I'm left somewhat bored. I know, prayer ought to be on the list, but right now prayer (longer than my silent "instant messages" to God) is more of a duty than a free-time activity.

But, you say, there are all those free-time activities that are bogging you down. Well, yes, I'm a contradictory sort of person.

I like doing things for points. The points don't necessarily have to mean anything, but at the end of the activity I can see a number that's higher than when I started. When I bake, I have a baked good for a point; when I type, I have a number of pages; when I clean, I have parts of the bathroom which are Officially Clean for the next five minutes (good enough for me!); when I read, I have a growing stack of books in the "to be returned to the library" pile (currently four, and about four in progress ... elsewhere); when I work out, I go to the machine that tells me I have lost 50 calories (forget the one-hour idea, though, mr. elliptical) at the end of the workout.

Prayer doesn't have points. There are no levels to complete. No little taskbar gets filled up, like it does in the Sims when you work at something like 'creative' or 'mechanical.' Sure, there are the knots in my kombouskini which I wear more as a homing device for my guardian angel than a tool for prayer.

At some point Lou gave some talks and recorded them onto cds; I am typing them out (minute by minute), and he has some excellent insights which seem new and fresh to me. Also, by typing them (and having to go back and listen to make sure I'm getting the right words and punctuation, etc.), I get to basically read slowly. I get to spend time with the one verse or passage he is exploring with his class. I get to see the Scripture blossom through the Liturgy. For instance, he mentions Origen's discussion of the difference between 'as we ought to pray' and 'what we ought to pray,' or, in other words, the manner in which we come to prayer, and the words we actually bring to God. The 'as we ought' comes before the 'what we ought' chronologically as well as in importance: the priest entreats us: "In peace, let us pray to the Lord." In peace is how we ought to pray. This is followed by the petitions, which themselves are what we ought to pray. It seems very beautiful and simple, but how many times have I heard that simple entreaty and never thought about it?


Tonight I went to the women's choir rehearsal. I think I love chanting. Mary Beth was in the chair, and Mary seemed to be the bouncer, glowering (as much as she could between cracking up herself and the rest of us) as she reminded us we should listen to hear Mary Beth. We made plenty of mistakes, but Mary Beth's finger patiently pushed us back to the beginning of the phrase or waved us to be quiet so she could go over the tricky parts (there were lots) over and over. Sometimes I think I talk too much.

There was a little doll someone had left in the narthex; Nectarios had come by, and he gave the doll to us for a mascot. After he left, we decided it should be Nectaria. She would come to the November 20 service, but she had to be dressed all in black. It was very entertaining until Mary smelled the doll and decided it smelled like puke, and everyone moved away. Suddenly not so endearing. ... Maybe you had to be there.

There was one especially tricky part, and Mary suggested that you could do it staccato. Everyone tried it and it sounded like it would go well with a bad '80s video, like "Crimson and Clover," and like I was in the Twilight Zone, especially when they all did it together.

It's already easier to read the basic notes, and I'm identifying some of the larger interval jumps (not how big, but that they are more than just the next highest), and I can mostly recognize tempo markings. AND THEN THERE'S JUST A LOT OF WEIRD STUFF. *sigh* But I will get it.

I came out feeling like a penny dipped in vinegar: clear and happy. The best part about chanting, for me, is that I don't exist any more. There's just the music. When I'm in a group, even when I'm listening to myself, I can usually only hear the others, and it feels like I'm singing with their voices. It reminds me of Pascha: everyone being all together, and having less self and more God.

Then I went to the gym and did the elliptical machine with a book, which was so much more wonderfuller and lifted the tiniest weights in another three repetitions. There was a basketball game going on, and Peterbird was done with his stuff, so we came home.

Ooooh! When I came home this evening and was carrying grocery-things up to the apartment, on my last trip down I opened the door and saw two huge deer moving somewhat majestically across the "road" to the east of Dendrinos. Of course, when I came back with my camera, they were gone, but, wow. They were huge, taller than I, as far as I could tell, and very round about the middle. I didn't see any antlers, and there may have been more deer.

Going back to Lou's talks: he says that through the Liturgy, there is a change. First we ask God to give us what we need, then we thank Him for helping us. Today I realized that we're saying "Please" and "Thank You."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

In which Peterbird gives a sermon and plays basketball, and Magda talks a lot

Also, there are random pictures, because I have a digital camera and things to subject you to visually.

Virgil was invited to give a sermon for Fr. Costin's Liturgy on October 16, 2005.

And he talked about the Gospel.

If he hadn't put me into his sermon, I think it would have been better, but he did a good job anyway.

After his sermon, he played basketball with some friends. Hee. I love taking pictures of him playing basketball in his anderi.

The start of a garden: plants I have failed to kill. (Very exciting.)

The left is, I think, azaleas (three plants' worth) which my mother gave me for my birthday (March) this year. The middle is the teapot she used to have to play with as a little girl. The right is the basil I recently picked up at Stop 'N' Shop, and have tied up to a pen* and pencil; it shows evidence of overwatering, and I don't expect it to live, but I didn't expect the other to live, let alone bloom again. I would like to point out that it began to bloom when my mother, the green thumb, came to visit.

* Yes, the end is shaped like Texas.

"Attic Treasures" from the Greek Festival. Ow. And ooh!

And that thing in the bag looks like this. I got it for TeaLizzy, since she's collecting wooden toys for future children. She's nicer than I am; I don't think I'd share.

The other items: three plastic-lined baskets (perhaps for the plants, which have yet to be repotted; perhaps for wastebaskets); two tennis rackets and three tennis balls because I remember Peterbird saying he wanted to play tennis although now he denies saying anything of the kind; a colorful tin that reminds me of being small; Balderdash, a version of which we enjoyed playing at the Stegs' house; a cd case for a small part of the growing collection of cds my husband keeps accumulating; Ever After on VHS because I like it and will watch it over and over; and six audio tapes: (1) The Capitol Regiment Band: Greatest Hits Of John Philip Sousa; (2) The Music Man (Soundtrack) - these two to be given to Dn. Tom, conductor of the band, and the second one more particularly for little Harry because Tom says that Harry loves this movie and walks around singing the Minuet in G and conducting; (3) Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel - because I thought Peterbird had been involved in it (and was wrong, it was only one of my voice teachers at ND, but oh well); (4) Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Overture - because it's Russian and it's the Boston Pops conducted by Fiedler; (5) Palestrina and Marenzio - because I hoped it was polyphony (ooh! and I'm right!); and (6) The Moody Blues (best of) - because it's the Moody Blues, of course.

Why get audiotapes? Well, aside from the part where they were free (It's good to be king the wife of an especially beloved seminarian.), it's like food: yeah, they'll be used up, but you may as well get what you can out of them until then.

And we got a nice icon of the Panagia (based on the Theotokos of Vladimir, but cleaner/clearer) for Grandma's birthday party this weekend.

Thank you all and each for the overwhelmingly supportive comments to the non-post.

* Mimi, yes, and I'm willing to discuss my bad experiences with it (two parents, four psychology degrees is just the start) more privately. It's weird: does anyone know of a presbytera who has a blog? I don't want to lead people in the wrong direction (hey, I don't especially want to lead them, but it would take more time to explain to each of them that they shouldn't, so I may as well just be good. Yeah, that'll be easy.) There's also SAD, which I had thought my mother had made up, but it was just that I didn't have to deal with it since I grew up in Houston which doesn't have a February of Doom (tm). Since converting to Orthodoxy, it's been easier, but still no bed of roses. (Wouldn't that hurt? Couldn't they say bed of rose-leaves? Anyhow.)

* Elizabeth, you have wonderful advice, but with this kind of oppressive sadness, the idea of "not bothering someone with me, since I'm not worth their time" is rather strong. Do you have any advice on taking advice? Sort of a meta-advice? (Brain is slushy ...)

* Laura, you're just wonderful. Please keep those prayers coming!

* TeaLizzy, oh, but of course I do! ;) I keep wanting to be like Virgil and forget that he doesn't take enough breaks. I find that it's easier to seem happier when I'm doing something so I can get out of the house, and then find that I'm stressed out ... but would feel guilty about "quitting" because that is bad, period. My brain does funny things that don't explain well outside my head.

* Mary Beth, I almost don't believe you, but I must, because you're Mary Beth. (Nota bene: there's a fencing-band-ND-Mary Beth who commented on the gym post, and a Mary Beth who chants at HC; this is the latter.) I confess that I'm rather in awe of you, and very much enjoy hearing you chant. Okay, bye.

* Lissa, thank you for the understanding and prayers.

How could I ever have thought that I liked being friends with guys better? They don't understand any of this stuff the same way, and you are all just so wonderful. I just need some way of allowing myself to get away with not having to be perfect and at the same time not allowing myself to be too lazy.

Speaking of which, there's a Peterbird to snuggle as he's already gone to bed. See the example I have to live up to! He goes to bed at bedtime and doesn't spend all his time on the computer. Also, he finished his paper which is due on Tuesday and has already started the one due Thursday. The idea of starting before the night before ... meep. No fear of me ever going to grad school this decade!

Even though Peterbird hasn't said anything specifically, I know he thinks (and I think, too) that all this feeling bad is because I haven't been to confession in so long. I dread going, even though I know the medicine works. I can never think of what to say when I'm there, though the second I step away I can think of a million more things I need help on. Can't I just set good = 1 and just be good already? So please help by praying me into confession, and I'll slink right on over. Ulp.

Friday, October 21, 2005


I was thinking about posting, but the screaming in my head won't stop.

In the meantime, let's go back to an earlier version of my brain.

On Wednesday night I went to band practice. (2 flutes, clarinet, 2 trombones, 2 trumpets - one of them new!) We have three pieces for our December concert, and one of them is not a Sousa march. (We likes us our Sousa.)

I like learning a new piece with Dn. Tom. When we're not getting the "musicality," he acts it out for us: "No, no, this first part is the march"—eyebrows down, glowering importantly—"and then comes this little dancey bit: la, di-da-da, di-da-da, di-da-da, di-da-daaa" as he skips stage right, swinging his hands like a very large, bearded schoolgirl in a cassock. No wonder I have problems getting my embouchure back.

I have written on my music "smooth as pie" to remember to play a few bars legato. It helps, but not as much as the tempestuous waggling eyebrows which control the dynamics even more than his arms and shoulders.

After rehearsal, I went to the last part of the basketball game. V's team was playing badly (first game and first time playing together this year at all) and lost. There are too many politic-y things going on with basketball on campus this year, and everyone seemed in a bad mood.

Virgil and I had a fight last night about going to things. I don't really like going to the "Ladies' Nights Out," but I feel I ought to, especially when the blog community likes the after-posts. Last night I was ready to go and realized I was 10 minutes late, and just gave up. I didn't go to Virgil's chant group rehearsal, either. Virgil pointed out that I don't go, and then I complain about being lonely. How come he always has good points, and everything I complain about is in my head anyway? He said he was tired of telling people that I didn't feel well, and that they always asked after me, that they missed me. I said that being unwanted is different from feeling unwanted. I just feel in the way. I'm not a student, I don't know anything, and I'm tired of pushing my way into other peoples' lives.

Everything about my life seems new and strange except the books...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In which the Magda and Peterbird go to the gym

I owe you a post on the reliquary from two weeks ago. I did not go to the presvytera meeting or Peterbird's chant group this past Thursday. I did not go to the festal choir rehearsal or the women's choir rehearsal this past Monday (for which I am much sorrier).

BUT. Tonight we stuck to our plan, despite crankiness, and made it to the library (remembered to pay the 35-cent fine, even) AND THE GYM.

Heretofore I had avoided the gym, not having seen it in its newly outfitted glory of cleanliness and tv screens. Also, there was potential exercise, and I didn't want any of that. Vanity and, I guess, love for the Peterbird led me into the gym tonight. (I'll be going to Grandma's 90th birthday party two weekends from now, seeing many cousins for the first time in years, and my pants are too tight and even though I only have one pair which is starting to unravel at the cuffs I really really really please don't make me go shopping. Ahem.)

So I did the elliptical machine on A and E's advice, which made me feel queasy until I was clever enough to make it go forward (push your feet in the direction you want it to go: oh, the cleverness of me!). Then I lifted the onerous weight of five pounds in three sets of fifteen each. Then Peterbird checked out a basketball and we went downstairs to the court. There we found another basketball, so he said I could shoot some baskets, too.

Yech. I remember playing basketball, chipping my tooth on Mikey's head when I was guarding him, which collision knocked me to the ground. I vowed I wouldn't play any more. I remember shooting baskets for an entire P.E. period to myself in middle school, resulting in 2 successful baskets, and maybe 10 close (inclusive).


And then I sat on a table and directed Peterbird's "defense drill" something or other, the idea for which he got from my stories about being on the ND fencing team (yeah, nobody cares that they're one of the top schools; it's fencing) and how hard the exercises usually are. Then I showed him how to get into the fencing stance, and advance and retire. Wow, I'm really bad now. (Almost fell over while evidently-not-recovering from a lunge.)

But I made baskets. All by myself. I guess a year of watching Peterbird coach and play basketball has had some impact. That, and about 10 years of working on eye-hand coordination.

Moral: even though I am a rotten stinker for having missed the first women's choir rehearsal, and even though I am the worst wife ever (tm), OM* I made a basket!!1!!one!!

*Not cursing, even in abbreviations. That's for my Peterbird. Aw.

The end.

Meme-tag from Elizabeth

With a tag from the lovely Elizabeth-over-the-sea:

Five things I plan to do before I die:
1. Have grandchildren.
2. Be a good presvytera for my husband.
3. Maintain a prayer rule.
4. Complete (or at least attempt) NaNoWriMo at least once.
5. Send my niece and nephews presents on time.

Five things I can do:
1. Smash the nasty little bugs who have invaded our bathroom.
2. Brush my hair once and be ready to go.
3. Play lots of instruments (not at once), but mostly the flute.
4. Make tasty lasagna, brownies, and banana bread.
5. Read and type quickly.

Five things I cannot do:
1. Keep patience with my mother.
2. Keep up a correspondence.
3. Organize my house.
4. Breathe near cigarette smoke.
5. Resist straightening the shelves at a movie rental store (and sometimes at the library).

Five things that attract me to the opposite sex (or, why I like geeks):
1. Good grammar.
2. Proficiency in some area.
3. Desire to be good and to help me to be good.
4. Engineering interest.
5. Snuggle-ability.

Five things I say* most often:
1. "Good morning/afternoon; [name of the place I work]; how may I help you?"
2. "[So-and-so] isn't in / is unavailable; would you like his voice mail?"
3. "Is it five o'clock yet?"
4. "Oh, help!" (I'm working to change this into the Jesus prayer, but for now I just sound like Pooh.)
5. La-la-LAH-la-la. (Don't ask.)

*If you include typing, it would be "Te iubesc." and "Te vreau." *

Five Celebrity Crushes:
1. Alan Alda
2. Hugh Laurie
3. John Cusack
4. Pierce Brosnan
5. Charlie Weis

My nominations, should they choose to accept them:-
my hubzand
Baby Gabi (who may waive inapplicable sections)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Well, that explains ... wait.

Having heard "God Save the Queen" last year, and "House of the Rising Sun" recently coming from the organ at church, I approached the organist to ask him whether he knew he was playing "House of the Rising Sun"—perhaps there was a hymn that was just markedly similar.

"Oh, that's for the victims of the Hurricane Katrina. I know it's not terribly appropriate for church, but I don't think anyone besides you and Gregory notices. I like the chord progression."

I gaped and gawked, but managed not to laugh in his face.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


I only meant to get six.

I went to the library, returning some books and checking out the ones you see above. I returned all the movies except The Music Man (finally finished Mary Tyler Moore's second season) and picked up a couple for Peterbird (yeah, like he'll choose watching anything besides his new Red Greens.

Made it back to campus in time to be only slightly late to Great Vespers. (Have I mentioned that I'm a chant group groupie and now whenever I don't go to the festal choir meetings, Peter says they ask where I am? Sometimes I believe him, and sometimes I just want to.) I am learning to like Byzantine chant. It's getting easier to find an ison (even if I find a lot of wrong ones first), and the notes make sense ... especially when there's something slow. Fr. Seraphim had a couple of "ladies only" hymns tonight, and since there are only three of us, it's much harder to hide my mistakes. I might have to steal Peterbird's book and figure out what's going on some more. There's also going to be a women's choir rehearsal right after the festal choir rehearsal: "estrogen-filled" is a word which is rather frightening, but, as Mary put it: "It made you laugh, didn't it?" I think I am more comforted by Mary Beth's: "It was a last-minute thing."

I want more books. Movies. Babies. Someone to clean my home. To be six years old and irresponsible.

I want to stop yelling at my husband. To overcome my hormones / crankiness. To clean my own home and keep it that way. To spend my time doing things for others. To want to be good.

This entry is going nowhere. I am filled with self-doubt and boredom. I will go cheer on my team, eat dinner, and read some. And maybe put aside some time just to be nice to Peterbird, who never seems to fail in doing that for me. Isn't that annoying? Feels like I'm determined to be cross. Mraow!*

*of vexation.


"Aren't sheeps those things that sail on the sea and get smaller and smaller?"

"Get smaller? Why would they get smaller?"

"Because wool shrinks in water."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Library-less Tuesday

Tuesday was ... interesting.

Gertrude wouldn't start. Z— came by and went out of her way to drive me to work. (I have started a baking list, there are so many people who are kind, and I want to do as well as say.) Peterbird, after one of the Nicks had diagnosed wet things and a need for a coil replacement, fixed everything. He came to pick me up after chapel. (This week is his chant group's turn, so he can't very well skip. And I had internet access and a book.)

He had gotten the mail, but forgotten it in the chapel. His birthday present (October 24, but once I know what I want to get him, I simply cannot wait) came in the mail: the 6-DVD set of Red Green, Stuffed and Mounted. (He loves this show, and with all the classes, etc., and the new library policy of non-renewable* movies, he needs to laugh as much as I can help with.) I may still get him his usual, because he likes it. (Ouch. They've gone up again.)

*I renewed them, though. I printed out the confirmation of it, just in case there's a problem. I feel so sneaky, but I haven't finished watching the Mary Tyler Moore! I'll need to go by the end of the week to pick up the books I have on reserve.

He went to the library** to study some of the books on reserve, and I (eventually) worked on putting together the PDFs of the ecumenical councils. He's putting them on CDs for his class, starting with a book and a scanner. We were trying to figure these horrid things out for the longest time. He scanned them as TIFs, then tried to rotate them so they would be right-side up. But the default viewer [M$: boo!] which let him rotate them somehow jinxed the files so that now they were no longer recognizable to any other program. So we somehow figured out that we could rotate them in the explorer-folders by viewing them as "filmstrip," so that worked. Now he just had to make several pages' worth of images into one PDF. So he was mumbling away in a corner, cross with all the difficulties (he'd been working on this almost an entire two days, I think, at this point), and I opened OpenOffice and inserted the files as images. Then I clicked the "make into PDF" button, and had a test file which wasn't too big. So then I was drafted / volunteered. Then he wanted the pages landscape and only one picture per page, so I redid the first two and did the other five, re-scanning about 30 pages due to a sesame seed, and another 8 due to a hair. I'd rather only have the text of the councils in Greek, Latin, and English preserved for posterity, not a symbol of our messy-ness. This morning he put the seven councils on cds for his class. Cue Shake 'n Bake girl: "An' I hayulped!"

**And I found the list of the bishops (318?) for the first ecumenical council in volume 2 of the Mansi, starting on p.692. Talk about margin notes!

And another thing (I would attach this somewhere, but I'm tired of asterisks)—Fr. C up in Peabody let us have a neat Greek font, on which I'm slowly training my fingers. I like it because the characters are separate from the diacritics and breathing marks.

Monday, October 10, 2005


I'm still in the single-digits of haircuts, so this is an Event. For me, anyhow. Peterbird had the camera, so he was having fun, too. (And he did get all his Bible readings done.)

I had been keeping my hair long for my father's visit* over the summer. I had heard that there was a student in the dorm who gives really great haircuts, and the wives of many of the married students had had a sort of hair party last fall, and they all had cute haircuts. Then Vassi got a cute haircut, so, with a little help, I managed to set up an appointment. Today was the second-biggest haircut I've had—not such a big deal when I think I've only had about six, but there was a foot of it. Going to Locks of Love where people less squeamish than I will put it to use.

*When I was younger, he wanted me to keep my hair long. At 14, I rebelled (enough to get a haircut, anyway) and got my hair cut the summer before high school. It was an inch past my knees. My dad still has the two-feet-long braids. *shudder* For some reason, hair which is still attached to me is okay, but large portions of it which are no longer attached to me are somehow disgusting.


After (and during).

Costa stopped by to make trouble.

Photi stopped by to try to find Costa...

I think I like it.

Andonios is just super-cool.

These pictures are of me, so they may come down when I have better sense, but currently I am euphoric in the first step of my diet. (My diet consists in maintaining my eating habits, but actually exercising occasionally, when I feel like it. This was only supposed to be a joke about how I lost weight by getting a haircut, but has turned into a public, self-critical critique of my physical self. I'll stop now.)

Mother Boggler

In yet another mind-vaporizing email, my mother has managed to cause me another bout of hair loss at her failure to understand what I was saying.

After* Hurricane Katrina, I asked her whether she had heard how our cousins in Mobile, Alabama, were doing. You know, after the big fat scary hurricane that was demolishing bits of the South that are next to the Gulf.

*For the record, I sent the email on August 29, a month and a half ago.

Today she writes back and says that yes, they're coming to Grandma's birthday party in Dallas at the end of the month.

Do you find it as difficult to talk to your mother?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Presvytera Meetings (2)

Tonight we talked about the reliquary.

This is the kouvouklion (tomb) which during the year holds the relics.

To venerate relics, you do the same that you would do when greeting a priest: make a small prostration (bend to touch the ground, or towards it), come forward to kiss (the priest's hand, or the relic box) and ask a blessing. We talked about the different ways priests bless. In Russia, you stand and they bless you with the sign of the Cross in front of your face. In Greece, you hold out your hands and they trace the sign of the Cross into your palms. Some priests will not let you kiss their hands unless you make it clear that you want a blessing, not just to kiss their hands. Fr. E— talked about how some women wear lipstick, and after kissing his hand it gets on there, and from there to the inside of his vestment when he pulls his hand out of the sleeve.

We touched on what it means to be called "Presbytera" as your name, and how that is your identity in the community. Fr. E— said that the people who want to call you only by your first name are often those who will not kiss your husband's hand. We talked about having a life outside the parish community where people will not call you "Presbytera."

Then we talked about the Liturgy and the Bible, and how the latter is present in the former. Spiral-bound books had been produced from somewhere, and they had about six or eight verses from the Bible (Old and New Testaments) for each little thing in the Liturgy. We went through the priest's initial "Blessed be God ..." and two petitions. The first petition talked about "peace from above" and the second about "peace to the whole world." Fr. E— said, "Without peace in our hearts, there is no Liturgy—it's just a beautiful opera." For next week, we are to bring the name(s) of those for whom we would especially like to have commemorated. I already know mine are my niece and nephew M and B, and my father Theodore.

After the presvytera meeting, there was chant practice for Peterbird's chant group.

Chant Group IB.

Chant Group IB from the back.

Next week we're up. After the chant practice, I stole Peterbird to practice Fr. Seraphim's setting of Psalm 102, as I can't find that online. (There is a version (PDF) by the monks of St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona.) We had a copy on Sunday, but gave it to the brother of a visiting deacon.

Three hours at chapel tonight. I'll try to post more (with pictures) about the reliquary tomorrow later.

Concert Band (3)

The first picture of the Hellenic College Concert Band (third rehearsal).

The brass section. We have lots of brass, and it is good.

Two trumpets, a clarinet, two trombones (of four?), two flutes (including me, not pictured, muahaha), and our deacon-conductor. Our percussionist ran away to Byzantine chant.

I tried to post last night, but blogger decided it was having none of it, so I gave up and read more Karen Cushman and watched Song of the Thin Man (Myrna Loy!) with Peterbird.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Liberry with the Guggs

Borrowed books and movies; bought books and movies.
More love for the library.

I was very good and limited myself to borrowing only five library books this time, and they're from the children's section, so I should be able to finish and return them relatively quickly. (Total of 30 library books at home now.)

Picked up five hopefully-funny DVDs this time, too. They have increased the limit of DVDs one is allowed to check out (from 2 to 7), but have decreased the amount of times one may recheck them (2 to 0). However, this rechecking crisis seems to be avertable by going to the library and having one of the librarians recheck them. I just don't like that the library didn't let anyone know about the no-more-rechecking-movies thing, whereas they publicized the new limit quite a bit. (I would rather go back, so I could keep my television series long enough to watch them, and only have one out at a time, and now the DVD section is quite bare, so the selection isn't as good.) I am glad that our library night is on Tuesdays, because most of the time people want a movie for the weekend, but will have returned them at the beginning of the week. Ah, that year at Blockbuster counted for something.

Since we were with the Guggs, we went to the book sale area where Mrs. Gugg and I made quite a few finds. I'm especially happy with the Red Skelton DVD for Peterbird. He had mentioned wanting to see some Red Skelton earlier, and here was 90 minutes for a dollar, to keep! I got for myself The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman. It's a fun little book which I think I've read before; I also got Bruce Brooks' Midnight Hour Encores (not pictured) as a second copy to loan out. Mrs. Gugg has borrowed it, and I couldn't find my first copy to put in the picture, but I really like that book and now I want to reread it (again). Since I have no other books to read. I found one of the American Girls books, and hope to send it out within the week, but I'm a horrible correspondent, so it may hang around the house for a while along with my good intentions.

I don't know why I blog about going to the library, but I love going to the library and coming back with all this loot, so I guess it's just like running down the flight of stairs and telling your neighbor that you just made lasagna and it's very exciting and she humors you and says how wonderful we'll have to try some and you go away and are happy that someone knows that you're happy. Or I could just be talking too much again.

P.S. I think I'll try the Book Journal at lj again (link to the right, under "Good Intentions"), but just briefly give an impression of each book which is going back to the library.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Adventures in Cooking: Lasagna

I had mentioned earlier that I was attempting to practice cooking, and tonight I we made lasagna (I had lots of help, as usual), following this recipe.

  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup (10-3/4 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3/4 lbs. ground beef (bought at BJ's; man, did we have lots left over)
  • 1-1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce
  • 4 lasagna noodles (I cooked 8, and have 2 extra)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (courtesy Peterbird)


In small bowl combine soup and milk; set aside.

Lasagna noodles need to be cooked and drained. Cook, lasagna noodles, cook!

In 3-quart saucepan [whatever] over medium-high heat cook beef until browned, stirring to separate.

Spoon off fat. Now what happens to it?

Stir in spaghetti sauce. Heat through, stirring occasionally.

In 8" square baking dish (you have an imagination for a reason), spoon half the meat mixture ...

... and arrange half the noodles over mixture; trim to fit.

Spoon half the soup mixture over the noodles.

Yar. Pre-lasagna fixin's ahoy.

Repeat layers. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees F or until hot and bubbling.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Feed to husband. (Optional.)

Successful recipe. I don't know how people do this with children and without help, though.

P.S. Delightfully toothsome when reheated.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Our outgoing message: "Hi, you have reached [our number]. Say a prayer, leave a message ..."

An incoming message received this evening:
"... Hi. I just said a prayer—for you. I'll call later, thanks."

No idea who this person is. Sounded like an older lady to me, but that might be our wonky answering machine. Peterbird said it didn't sound like an older lady to him.

Next on Unsolved Mysteries...

Norton Juster and back

On Thursday, Peterbird and I went to the library. He noticed the white board saying that Norton Juster would be talking and signing books on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Naturally, we looked for THE BOOK, the one I make everyone read who comes over to our apartment. The one I grew up with, whose humor is still not old. [Hee. "... didn't know what to do with her hands ..."] Evidently, it's also been made into an animated movie. I urge you: go buy The Dot and the Line, A Romance in Lower Mathematics. Everyone should at least read it. The republished version is definitely different, though. I purloined my mother's copy (no, I'm not giving it back!) from 30 years ago.

So anyway, we looked and looked for this book. It is blue, so I looked for blue. Only after Peterbird had gone (to a nursing home Liturgy and his soccer game) with the car did I find the book. It was in with the other children's books, spine-out. The spine is white. Augh. So I raced through a shower and into clothes and dashed out with the camera, money, extra batteries, two pens, The Dot and the Line, and keys—at 10:20. I remembered it taking me about an hour to walk from the T-stop, and the library is a bit farther than that. I knocked on the Guggs' door, hoping that they might be interested and want to come, too, but they had stayed up late, and seemed to be just getting up. I apologized for disturbing and whisked out the door. I jogged and walked as quickly as I could, and was about halfway to the library (lots of uphill), up comes Mr. Gugg to save me. He drove me the rest of the way to the library, for which my tired little legs and back were (and are) sorely grateful. I wasn't even terribly late.

Norton Juster reads his new book The Hello, Goodbye Window.

Mr. Juster reads the words while Chris Raschka, the book's illustrator, draws the pictures.

Mr. Juster is very good at reading books; he remembers to show the pictures.

Mr. Raschka keeps drawing.

Mr. Juster answers questions.

"For our friends at the Brookline Library."

Mr. Juster signs the purloined copy of The Dot and the Line.

Mr. Juster signs The Phantom Tollbooth.

Both Mr. Juster and Mr. Raschka were kind, humorous, and personable. I bought three copies of The Dot and the Line, and my first of The Phantom Tollbooth. (We may have had a copy, but that probably went with sister J, in much the same way that The Dot and the Line came with me; my first time to read The Phantom Tollbooth was in college at Reve's house. We do have the movie version on VHS, though.)

So, with uplifted heart (and significantly lightened pocketbook), I walked home, enjoying the walk.

Dear readers: Should I, or shouldn't I? it has the movie I want on it, and Doris Day isn't bad ... I know I shouldn't, but ... EEEEP!!!

I love my library.