Thursday, September 5, 2013


Everyone has their baby stories. Fortunately for me, I lack the good sense to be embarrassed by mine so I'm going to tell you one. I am a LEGEND where I come from because of this.

First I've got to tell you about people and places, since you're not from around here and all that.

The family land is eighty acres divided by a road. My dad's dad got half, and my dad's dad's brother got the other half. My dad's dad gave my dad's dad's brother's son an acre of land on my dad's dad's side facing my dad's dad's brother's house. My dad's dad's brother reciprocated by giving my dad (just my dad this time) an acre of land on my dad's dad's brother's side facing my dad's dad's house. Then, in a time barely remembered by my dad's daughter, my dad's dad's dad (Pa) and his wife (Ma) died. They had lived catty corner to us next to my dad's dad on my dad's dad's land. Since they had a house and my dad's dad had an old trailer parked behind a concrete porch, my dad's dad and his wife (Granny) moved into the house. Since there was now a concrete porch across the road from us, we eventually parked a trailer behind it because we were on our third porch, all of which were made of wood.

So now, tell me, why did the chicken cross the road? Because he was movin' on up; that's why. Concrete porch, baby!

Y'know, if my dad read this, he might think the family revolves around him.

Oh, I forgot to tell you, my dad's dad's brother also reciprocated with my dad's sister-- with the land gifting. My dad's sister married Uncle Mickey, and they had my first cousin. Then Uncle Mickey exited stage left, and I had an Uncle Timmy. Then, Uncle Timmy and my dad's sister and my first cousin got run into by a drunk guy. My dad's sister valiantly threw herself over my first cousin, and he was the only survivor.

So we were going to this church called Faith Chapel which is now located behind a trailer functioning as a karaoke bar. *le gasp!*

Karaoke? --for Baptists??!??

Hold on! It's okay. They only serve tea and cokes.

So guess who Uncle Mickey's dad was?

No, really. Guess.


PLuuuuuurrrreeeeeezzzzz GUUuuuuuueeeeeeesssss.....

Mickey was Faith Chapel's red-faced preacher-man's son. I wasn't too much a fan of men or red-faced preacher-men, but his wife was really nice. Her name was Miss JoAnn.

So my first cousin called Miss JoAnn Mamaw and lived with her and the red-faced preacher-man. Oh, get this: The red-faced preacher-man had really high blood pressure, and years later his doctor prescribed a beer a day for him so he had to take back every thing he ever said about alcohol being sinful.

There. That ties everyone together neatly; I think!

So if I was being good and my first cousin was being good, they'd let us sit together in church because, obviously, we needed an opportunity to stop being good. One time, he was chewing some gum in church (Is that allowed?) and stuffed a handful of my hair in his mouth. Little booger. We were the kind of friends who fought all the time.

*sigh* Now, we need to agree on something: Potty training is HARD, guys. REALLY....




Not only did I go through my potty training, but I went through my brother's potty training. If you were an only child, you missed out on so much good learnin'.

I was at this... transitional we'll call it... stage of potty training. I was going to make this work, though! So I had to go to the bathroom during the sermon. I still needed my mom to walk me to the bathroom, which she did. Then, there was the decision: Do I go in alone or with her? I went in alone. "Are you sure?" she asked. "Yes," and like the willful little brat I was, I shut and locked the door.

Things were going great! Until they weren't. I didn't know I had to poo! Shock! A little warning next time, body?

I quickly got frustrated with the mess. "Momma, come wipe me off!"
"I can't. You locked the door. Unlock the door."
"But I can't! I'm on the potty!"
"Well, you'll just have to wipe yourself off."
I tried, but I was a cranky baby. Finally, I waddled over to the door. "It's unlocked."
"No, it's not."

Now, I was a cranky dirty baby frustrated with a doorknob above my head. I fiddled. She faddled. Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle, but that door wouldn't open. So I started wailing at the top of my longs, "Moooooommmmmaaaaaa! Moooooommmmmaaaa! Dadddddddyyyyyyyy! Come wipe me off!!! Pleeeaaaaaseee.... *sob* *sob*" Gosh, I know I made 'em proud that day!

"Be quiet! I'm gonna go get Daddy. Be quiet! Hush! They're tryin' to have a service."
"Doooon't leeeeaaaaave meeeee!"
"Quiet. I'll be right back. Stop hollering."

"Doooon't leeeeaaaaave meeeee!"
"I have to leave you to get Daddy. I'll just be gone a minute."

After a moment's consideration, "Doooon't leeeeaaaaave meeeee! You can't leeeeaaaaave meeeeeeee! Nooooooooo, Momma! Noooooo! *sob* *sob*" Now I was a dirty cranky baby all alone, locked in a bathroom. I waddled back and hopped up on the toilet to cry some more. After a moment, I knew they'd forgotten me. Everyone would go home, and they wouldn't find me until next week. So, I screamed bloody murder, "I'm IN HERE! Don't GO HOME! Dooooonn't leeeeeeeave meeeeee alooooone!" I promise; it all made perfect sense at the time.

So then the doorknob started rattling, which was really scary. I mean, they were coming to get me! "Who is that?!?" No answer. "Who are you?! Go AWAY! Daaaaadddddyyyyy!!!!" Babies are so rational.
"It's Daddy. Now be quiet!" And like that, the storm passed. No more tears. No more hollering. I had complete confidence that Dad would fix everything. He always had.

So I just listened to the whispering: I can't... it's not... Is the key somewhere? No. I'll go see if someone has a screwdriver in their truck.



"Are you still there, Daddy?"
"No, Daddy went to get a screwdriver."


"Daddy's here now."

You won't believe this, but the only person in the whole church who has a screwdriver is Bro. Red-Faced Preacher-Man (RFPM)... No... I know, just our luck... He stopped the sermon and asked the congregation. It kinda caught me off guard. I didn't expect him to do that. Everyone just looked at me.... He said, Well I do so I'll go take care of it. He's going out to his truck.... It's gonna be okay. This has to happen to other parents, too. All of those people in there have raised kids so they know. Don't cry. Here, don't cry. Here come some folks.

'This has to happen to other parents, too.' LOL Wishful thinking, Dad. Wishful thinking.


"Are you still there, Daddy?"
"No, but I'm here... with a few people."
"Who? Who's there?"
She named a few ladies names... "and some other people." I liked them all so I said, "Hi!" They said, "Hi!" I said, "Thanks for coming. I'm locked in the bathroom, and I need Momma in here to help me. Daddy's gonna get me out."

These ladies reassured Mom and possibly drew the rest of the crowd back there. Dad had gone to RFPM because he was so embarrassed to try to convince him to let him take care of it so RFPM could finish his sermon.

RFPM: So she locked herself in there? She can lock it, but she can't unlock it? Tina, come unlock this door right now.
Tina: I tried. I can't.
RFPM: Well, you locked it; didn't you? Try again.
Tina: I can't!
RFPM: You come unlock this door, or I'm gonna come in there and get you.

That spurred some action but no success.

RFPM: Well, what're we gonna do? Lemme try this.
*fiddle* *fiddle* *fiddle*
Dad: Can I help?
RFPM: This isn't working. I'm trying to see if it's going to be easier to take the doorknob off or the hinges. I guess the doorknob.
*fiddle* *fiddle* *fiddle*

Mom: We're going to take the doorknob off, Tina.
Tina: Don't let the men see me! Mom, when they take the doorknob off, you come in and tell them to look away and close their eyes.
*laughter from outside, laughter by many*
Mom: You better be covered up, because they're coming in, and there's nothin' I can do about it. The whole church is out here, and they're all waiting to see you.

"Ok. Give me a minute! Don't come in yet!" Never has a child completed a potty training transition so quickly. *flush* I even climbed up onto the sink to wash my hands and make sure I looked okay, "I'm ready!"

The doorknob fell on the floor. "Pee-pie! I see you!" said RFPM. "Hey! Can I come out now?!" I clasped my hands in front of my chest, so full of hope. "Jus' a minute. I gotta get one more thing out.... Alright. You can come out!"
They were lining the walls down the hallway to the bathroom. A cheer rose up. I received applause. How about that for some positive reinforcement???

Meanwhile, my parents, especially my mom, were apologizing to RFPM, "I'm so sorry. We didn't expect you to end the service. I'm sorry we had to pull you away in the middle of the sermon. We should have waited until the end. Do you want to restart your sermon?"

RFPM: Nah... We could never get everyone back in there, and it's dinner time. (<--SEE? Food. Nom.)
Mom: I am so sorry. This will never happen again. I'll always stand in the doorway so she can't lock it.
RFPM: Don't you worry about it. It's like scripture says: there was an ox in a ditch. Do you know the story?
Mom shook her head. Dad nodded, "Go on..."
RFPM: There was a sick man that the Pharisees wouldn't heal. Jesus asked them why not. He said even if there was only an ox in a ditch, every one of them would get it out on a Sunday so why not heal this man. A man is worth more than an ox. So when somethin' needs to get done, you do it. God understands where your heart is. Some things are more important than church, or my sermons. Getting a little girl out of a locked bathroom was more important.

At this point, they were kinda relieved, perceiving they might not be social outcasts for the remainder of their lives.

RFPM: Besides, no one could hear my sermon over all her hollering!

Their hearts went *kerplunk*, and they were doomed to exile.

RFPM didn't see any sense in putting the knob back on until I grew up a bit, either. Months or years I don't remember, but I affected every person's bathroom experience in that church. Eventually someone taped some paper over the hole. When he did reinstall the knob, he made me demonstrate locking and unlocking it and promise that I'd never lock myself in the bathroom again.

I only tell you this so that if your kid locks him/herself in the bathroom during church and starts screaming at the whole congregation for someone to come wipe them off, you know they're not the first. They're the second.

May this missive reduce if not eliminate any shame you've ever felt regarding children, bathrooms, and churches,

A Chick Who Not Only is Potty-Trained But Can Work a Doorknob (on a good day at least)

PS: This is one story that I can out-tell Dad on.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

OW Response: Grocery Shopping is HUGE

Like with any post of Alex's that I know anything about-- There's SO MUCH MORE TO IT. So I'll leave him to the "lesson" and bring you into the reality of details!

Our two hours of grocery shopping is generally pretty fun! We may meet a few people Alex knows. I sing songs. (I kid you not.) We joke. We hug and kiss and make faces at babies in line. We talk about the quality of customer service and try to give the cashiers a pick-me-up. (--or sometimes, when it's awful, we identify why it's awful. It is my profession.) I have my favorite Sam's Club samples lady that I always wave at. I am weak, but I try not to sample unless it's vitamin water (calorie free) or fruit-- which is how I found this AMAZING thing called Honey Kissed Cantaloupe!

At Winn-Dixie-Which-Used-to-be-SaveRite I always read the receipt out loud, "Today we spent $13.75. We saved $7.31, and our cashier today was Jasmine. Our savings to date on this card is $434.82." I hope I don't freak the cashiers out. I read it as I'm leaving and just don't look back.

You should always say, "I hope you have a good shift/day/evening," whether or not they say it. I am also kinda taxing on cashiers because I bring my own bags and use cash. Since I'm in customer service, I know it's a time game. If I take more time, the person behind me gets more pissed. Plus, I don't think they train them enough on bagging-- at all, especially with reusable bags-- and experience with cash is limited, just because that's how it is these days. I get that if your drawer is over or under... not good. So rub those bills and let them take their time counting.

Oh, and it was a process, a transition. I've won him over to my method of grocery shopping. He didn't always like how long it took. Used to, two hours was too much. Not anymore. I started out just... in shock at all the stuff available because I had such a minimalist life before marriage. Ain't nothing wrong with that, but marriage changes a lotta things. So I'd agonize over thirteen cents in the beginning. He spent money like it was toilet paper in the beginning. We've come together toward the middle of the road, something sensible. I used to walk into Wal-Mart, and it'd turn... Technicolor. Think of that Wizard of Oz moment. It's worn off a bit, but that's the best way to describe it.

Periodically, we do a lot of browsing in addition, too.

Also, I really like to browse things that I shouldn't (wouldn't for the most part) buy. There's a higher end grocery store called Corner Market that is part of the Roberts' Family company that sells discounted "manager's special" produce... that's right next to The Kitchen Table which is run by a cheerful lady with really bad arthritis in her hands (though she's young) and this tall bald dude who is fortunate enough to be married to this lady... --and who orders bizarre, wonderful stuff. I don't know him, but if what he orders is any indication, we're both nuts.

Well, it's stuff that I couldn't afford, could afford, can't afford again. To let you know how awesome this place is, allow me to mention this-- which needs a bullet:
Some things are just funny. It's like Ripley's Believe It or Not!. There's such crazy stuff in there. Avocado slicer, anyone? A spoon with slots like ;) or a plate modeled on Wooly Willy? I'm not going to spoil it; you have to go.

Anyhoo, I wanted and wanted and wanted... AND WANTED this silicon ice cube tray that made ice that looked like a ship and an iceberg called Gin and Titonic. I don't drink gin more than twice a year, if that, but I'm a sucker for wordplay. So it took like fifty thousand visits, and then I got that and the large block ice mold (mostly Alex wanted that one) and just a regular silicon one (for work, I like ice and straws and water) for my birthday. One time, before we had this kind of money, I really really wanted some cheese knives with rubber grip handles for Easter, and they were on clearance already, but it was like $20 so I just kinda walked around and thought and thought... Then when I went to check out, Dude's wife found out suddenly that it was discounted. I kid you not.

Or I shit you not. I made a decision.

I cuss all the time. No lie. I go cuss-cuss a cuss the cuss cussy cusser cuss! (This entry not sanctioned by my better half.)

"So why am I talking about food on a blog about Orthodoxy?  Why not?"  Um, because you have a cacophony of strange food requirements; that's why. THERE ARE PRACTICAL CONCERNS. WHY NOT, indeed. Someone should start a blog. Any volunteers?

Food is good. God made it a requirement for life. Think on that. Yeah. I totally just dropped a practical rational idea on you. Catch!

Oh, and like Orthos aren't people. *poke* Yes. He's flesh and blood. For any doubting Thomas's, you have my permission to poke him next time you meet. *poke* *poke* *poke* I can also confirm that he eats. He's a people, just like me. Just like you. We're all the peoples. Even the non-Christians. God made non-Christians?!? Whoa! I just dropped another practical rational idea on you. Catch!

Food is also a social part of church. That was a big part of Baptist church, for me. Food is a gateway drug to old ladies. Vegetable soup!!! I will put a link here later to a post about Miss Vera whose favorite hymn was #89 (in Elvis's hymnal) Take My Hand, Precious Lord. I learned to sing it and performed many "specials" for her. It's a Baptist thing.

I send food to Alex's church now, and I taught, hilariously, foot stomping crying coughing funny, a bachelor from his church how to cook some broccoli. He's my big baby, now. --and he's moving within walking distance! I may venture out. Maybe... He wanted to "have dinner," and I was all like, "So I can teach you another hilarious, foot stomping crying coughing funny bachelor dish, right?" Caught like a deer in headlights he is.

Back to grocery shopping-- You didn't know it could be this interesting, right? One of the things I learned from my Mamaw, and to some extent my Mom, and greatly by growing up living thirty minutes from a store is that it saves time, money, and frustration to get what you're running out of, what you need, and what's on sale once a week. If you don't have something you want on Wednesday-- and we live in town, now-- you make do until next weekend. Tomatoes were a thing to start arguments when we began this. My man Alex is attached to tomatoes. I make sure he has them now, but there was a time when, if they weren't 99c/lb, he didn't have tomatoes for the week. He had tomato withdrawals.

I'm a little guilty about the Farmer's Market.... It's good food, but I count the extra money as a hobby expense because I write recipes (and take photos of dishes!) for the Farmer's Market. ...and they publish me... and maybe that's prideful, but I could totally use the pick-me-up. I could call it a mental health expense even. I just don't want to be penny pinching in that particular area. I could never see spending $20 so that's the limit I set to keep me in check. A little bit of your budget should go to happiness!

Some Chick Married to Alex,

A Lady Who is Wishing You Happiness and Success in Matters of Cooking, Raw Ingredients, and Budgets

The beginning of the liturgical year

Today we celebrated Indiction, which is the first day of the Orthodox church's liturgical year. It is also the feast of St. Symeon Stylites, one of the great stylites of the church.  Stylites are anchorites on a pillar, basically.

The designation of the 1st of September is a somewhat arbitrary beginning of the liturgical year, but it fits nicely into the chronological narrative of Christ's life.  The last great feast celebrated was the Dormition of the Theotokos, on August 15, and the next feast is the nativity of the Theotokos, and these feasts bookend the chronological story of Christ's life.  September 1 roughly coordinates also with the lunar calendar of the Judean kingdom, and the Roman calendar of some of the provinces, although in Rome, the new year began on the Kalends of Januarius.

So today we sang many hymns and said many prayers asking God to bless the coming year, and we read from the Gospels when Christ read from the prophecy of Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth.  The prophecy concerned the acceptable year of the Lord being made manifest in Judea; let this year be for each of us the acceptable year of the Lord.