Sunday, April 27, 2014


Alex got home at 5:30A on Easter. I woke up. We had a little hurrah, and he tried to take a nap. I always take the Monday after Easter off to sort of recover.

Of course! Of course! The butter lamb was decapitated en route. *shrugs* Alex roasted a goat hank, which is delicious. I put some goat jerky in the Easter basket in lieu of ham. I like goats. I like to pet goats. I like to eat goats. Goats.

Then, Alex had a work conference right after. Consequently, I walked about ten miles in three days getting to work. I walked a bit before Easter, too. Alex's car has been in the shop since October. While we are looking into replacing or fixing it, even if I had a car, I'm not sure I'd've used it. I'm not big into driving. I only work at places that I can reach by biking or walking. My second job for part of 2007 was a sandwich making gig on the weekends 4.1mi away. It was very good for me physically.

So since HoneyBunches has been gone so much, I vetoed Saturday church and Sunday church.

Yesterday, as we were getting ready to go grocery shopping (First Time in Three Weeks!) Alex was giggling about the way kids hear things in church which reminded me of my similar experience.

When I was at the 5yo-8yo church, we sang (of course!) from Heavenly Highway aka Elvis' hymnal. They also had older green books... I don't remember what those were, but my Mamaw likes Elvis so anything Elvis sticks with me. Like a Bell's Best the items are in no discernible order so you tend to memorize the number of the song (no page numbers).  So Mailman Andy (husband of Ms. Charlotte at the time, he had no other identity until later) called out, "Everyone please turn to No. 199."

This is a breathless fast foot stomper.

So me, as a kid, I'm singing this, and I'm wondering. I had to wonder because I couldn't ask. Alex's church has a ton of kids, and they're rather more casual than when I was a kid in church. My parents enforced an absolutely no talking, and BE STILL, sort of policy. ON PAIN OF DEATH. Don't get me started on the shoes and lacy socks and tights. Don't even.... So I'm wondering. I didn't want to sing something I didn't understand. So I started with the 'roll.' The roll was a scroll, I decided, it was the one where everyone who should go to heaven has their name on it, in fact. I thought of it like a teacher's roll call only rolled up to make it even more a roll. What is a 'pyonder'? This baffled me for a long time. I considered that 'pyonder' sounds like 'piano.' I knew there were different pianos (grand pianos, organs, accordions) so I concluded that 'pyonder' was a special piano.

So in my mind, God would point to the scroll, call it a pyonder, and it'd turn into a pyonder because God called it a pyonder. Then, someone would start playing it, and we'd all file into Heaven. --and I needed to remember to be there! I was promising so I couldn't forget. I had to be there, and it'd be so embarrassing if I forgot to be there. So I asked my dad on the ride home, "How do we know when God will make the pyonder? Because I need to plan on being there." I've always liked being on time.

Oh, and "How do we know." Don't tell me the answer. Tell me why. Why wasn't my first word, but it was on up there.

Chillaxing to the Max,


Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Catechetical Sermon of St. John Chrysostom

This sermon is read in every Eastern Orthodox church on Pascha. It is considered one of the most profound meditations on the Greatest Feast, and the most sublime refutation of pharisaical fasting and self-righteousness, which temptations are great for the faithful during the Great Fast. Traditionally, this sermon comes at the end of the Paschal Matins, and before the Paschal Hours (if served) or the Divine Liturgy:

If any be devout and God-loving, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumph. If any be a good and wise servant, let him enter rejoicing into the joy of his Lord. If any be weary of fasting, let him now receive his reward. If any have labored from the first hour, let him receive today his rightful due. If any have come at the third hour, let him feast with thankfulness. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him in no wise be in doubt, for in no wise shall he suffer loss. If any be delayed even until the ninth hour, let him draw near, doubting nothing, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him not be fearful on account of his lateness; for the Master, Who is jealous of His honor, receiveth the last even as the first. He giveth rest to him that cometh at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that hath labored from the first hour; and to the last He is merciful, and the first He pleaseth; to the one He giveth, and to the other He bestoweth; and He receiveth the works, and welcometh the intention; and the deed He honoureth, and the offering He praiseth. 

Wherefore, then, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord; both the first and the second, receive ye your reward. Ye rich and ye poor, with one another exult. Ye sober and ye slothful, honor the day. Ye that have kept the fast and ye that have not, be glad today. The table is full-laden, delight ye all. The calf is fatted; let none go forth hungry. Let all enjoy the feast of faith, receive all ye the riches of goodness. Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom hath been revealed. Let no one weep for his transgressions, for forgiveness hath dawned from the tomb. Let no one fear death, for the death of the Saviour hath set us free. He hath quenched it, He hath held hades captive, He Who descended into hades. He embittered it, when it tasted of His flesh. And foretelling this, Isaiah cried: "Hades," he saith, "was embittered when it encountered Thee below." It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered. It received a body and encountered God. It received earth, and met heaven. It received that which it saw, and fell to what it did not see. O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art cast down. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life flourisheth. Christ is risen, and there is none dead in the tombs.
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of them that have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Churchies are busy this time of year. There's all sorts of services that seem quite important, and everyone who's anyone wants to be there.

Me, on the other hand...


Here I am.

Prior to the house blessing I take a day off to get my house clean. At Easter my house just ends up clean. If you don't go to an Orthodox church and your husband does, you end up mostly alone right before Easter.... Cleaning's as good as anything to do.

By contrast, Easter is quite a party!!

Love and Pork Dumplin's (next week),

A Lady-in-Waiting (for her husband)

PS: I just got a chocolate bunny from my mother-in-law with the lemony Easter pound cake baked in a coffee can! This has to go in the basket. I can't remember the last time I had a chocolate bunny!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lazarus Saturday

This past Saturday the Orthodox Christians of the world celebrated the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. St. Lazarus was by the time of his resurrection four days dead, and the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church teaches that from the time of his raising until his death thirty years later, he only laughed once, and never smiled again, so terrible was the experience of Hades even for that short time.

I had only heard this story of St. Lazarus's solemnity a few years ago, and it has troubled me ever since. It must have been a very profound weight on him to have to wait thirty more years before he was reunited with Christ in Heaven. I think fearfully about the dreadful calculus; a week more in Hades versus thirty more years on Earth before St. Lazarus could begin his heavenly worship.

And so I spoke to Official Wife Tina, and she said, "How do you know how time passes in Hades? Who can say whether Lazarus experienced those four days as four days? Wouldn't any time in Hades be terrible? What do you mean, Lazarus was in Hades? You mean he was in Hell? I've never been told this before..."

And then we talked for a good long while about what exactly happened to all the dead of the Old Testament, and who, if anyone, among the saints of the Old Testament did not experience Hades (Enoch and Elijah, and that's about it, IIRC).

Even blessed Saint Simeon, who beheld Christ in the flesh as an infant, was condemned to suffer Hades. Even Saints Joachim and Anna, and Saint Joseph, and the Prophet Elisha, and King David the Psalmist, and all of the holy people of God prior to the Crucifixion, the descent and harrowing of Hades, and the Resurrection.

And so, sitting and typing, I tremble to think that God has graced me, who is first in sin, to be free from Hades, when even these great people who suffered so in the flesh had suffered in ways incomprehensible to me, through the sin of Adam and Eve. And I wonder that Christ forbore for four days to raise St. Lazarus from the dead and how it must have pained him so that the people would see and believe. For here was hope made manifest; not the promise of the Resurrection, but the Resurrection in the flesh. And yet the people did not believe.

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

OFFICIAL WIFE: Cheese Pyramid

Every year Alex's mom makes a lemony pound cake in a coffee can that we put in the Easter basket. Every year I make a butter lamb which we put on sliced and toasted slices of said cake and eat for breakfast. Every year Alex makes a cheese pyramid.

So whereas for the house blessing I say things like--
Tell me as soon as you know when the house blessing will be so I can start getting my act together and take the day before off work.
Don't forget your lists! Write your lists! (of living and dead people)
Shouldn't we buy some heavy cream?
Decide what you want me to cook.
 Around Easter I say things like--
What're we putting in the basket? Let's make an Easter budget!

What're we eating for Easter feaster? Let's make a shopping list!

When do you need to start your cheese pyramid? Have you started your cheese pyramid, yet? It's Tuesday-- time to start your cheese pyramid! :)
Behind every nag, nag, nag is a constant lowing ewe... I mean LOVING ewe.
The reason I say things like this is... Well, let's just say we haven't always been on time.

Why is it Pascha and not Pascha Cheese? Is the cheese like, the thang? Is it Thanksgiving:turkey;Easter:cheese?

We interrupt this important blog with a groundbreaking idea: We can put the CHEESE on the TOAST! *mind blown*

Love and onigiri,

A Lady Who Didn't Have to Reschedule the House Blessing This Year!

PS: Because I care: Pascha. If you say pasha people will look at you... and you will melt.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

OFFICIAL WIFE: Projects... so Many Projects

"Man, all of my crafting stuff is all over the table. I should put stuff up."

"No, that's okay. Just leave it there." Ladies, I think we have a keeper!

I found this and this and combined them.
I made the ombre (gradient) one (far left) first. I think blue ombre is really in. I am so up on fashion (not). Then the next one I wanted to re-use the raffia from the packaging the candles came in. It's really too bright for me. I wear four colors: black, white, brown, green. Two years ago, I added a maroon shirt and a pink shirt, but I'm not sure I like this. Then, I was uninspired and just wrapped a solid blue (far right), but I later used some pink embroidery thread to add starbursts securing the end with a border of pink at the top. Then I made the green one. The thing-I-hope-looks-like-a-tree is part of a pair of earrings Alex got me just because he loves me. That day, I lost one earring! No joke. So I kept the one I had. The green one is going onto the Easter basket. We only bought four candles, but Alex, without prompting, ran into another room and pulled out some more. I find this mysterious and questionable.... but I will decorate these old ones, too. It goes so fast. You're just like wrap-a wrap-a wrap-a wrap-a wrap-a and Bam! I spent more time thinking about what to do than doing it.

Or course Kitty bit the tip end of the green one, but we can fix that. Alex can use his warm hands to mush it back, or I'll just burn it down to that point.

Since we're not buying meat and cheese, we have a lot of money left in the grocery budget and got some fingerling potatoes. Some sprouted, and I saved a few of the ones further along to plant next to the lettuce. They will sit here in a jumble until I feel like planting them.

Alex got me a *real* freshwater pearl bracelet because he loves me. I broke it. (Sensing a theme?) I wore it a while first, though. I've tried to buy some elastic to remake it, but I can't find any small enough. I eventually found this. What you see is me trying to do it without glue and eventually buying glue.


Can you have too many?

We now have three bushes-5yr, 2yr, and just now as ordered. They're just $6 each at the farmer's market, a long term investment.

The volunteer lettuce that's icky. Did you know that commercial growers bind romaine lettuce? That's why mine looks different and never seemed to mature. If you pick it as it goes (recommended), the inner stem gets taller and taller. Romaine lettuce as we see it in stores is a Fakey McFakerson.

My dad should have mowed the yard every weekend, in our little world, but everything we owned was secondhand and breaking constantly. Since he was a mechanic, he kept making cars and mowers and air conditioners work, but he didn't always have time to fix them. This meant sometimes the grass got high which, in turn, meant I'd go pick a bunch of these for the table.
I think it's impressive that there are so many petals and so tiny petals.
This is the corner with the dewberries that I asked Alex not to mow. While they're blooming (and once they're red), I'll be on the lookout for dewberry plants. I spotted three more plants along the sidewalk on my way home yesterday.
A dewberry is like a blackberry, but it grows on a ground-level vine instead of on a bush like a blackberry. They are also smaller. The bigger white blooms (below) are what to look for if you're foraging for dewberries. Little red blackberry-lookin' berries are easy to spot as well. Just mark where they are and keep checking back. The smaller white flowers are false garlic because they look a bit like garlic but aren't. They're just grass or weeds to me, but I know one man's weed is a another's plant.

Where I'm from there's a common joke:
What's the difference between a weed and a plant?

You water a plant.

That's folk wisdom for ya.

Somebunny may have been right about the peas not being ready in time. It's tall enough to expect blooms, but I see no blooms. From bloom to fruit takes time so I concede this argument... but only this one! In all other things, I am correct... right? ;-P

Oh, B. Sometimes you just need a stick:

This is what we do with all the time that Alex is away on business, social, and/or church stuffs.

After a while she'll settle down like this and chew.

Although Alex hates azaleas and has killed several of ours, he seems to be admiring these overgrown ones by the door.

We also have a pink variety elsewhere from the Old Lady Before Me. I wonder about my yarrow and my monkey grass borders and the volunteer lettuce and my rosemary and my blueberry bushes. Will the lady after me like them and will she eradicate them in order to impose her own will on the yard?

A Lady Who....

is me

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Author's Note: Drafted on Annunciation day. Annunciation Day? Annunciation? You say Christmas Day but not Easter Day... maybe Easter Day. You can also say Christmas and Easter. The day the Annunciation was celebrated?? The day it was announced? Do they have a calendar which addresses grammar concerns? --Wait. Don't tell me. I don't want to know. ... ...  Well does it come with BOWS???!

So according to the magical mystical calender(aka my nemesis but one you fight with dramatically and always let live), today is one of the days that folks should eat fish. Should eat fish or CAN eat fish? I guess it depends on how much money you had growing up and where you live. Are there one? two days?? in Big Lent for fish?

So this past Saturday we set out to find fish suitable for Alex.

...harder than one might think...

Nothing at Sam's Club was suitable so we set our sights on The Lil' Butcher Shop.

As we went in, an old guy was rockin' on the porch and smiled at me, 'How nice,' I thought. I smiled and cut my eyes. He was a MANS. He was a PEOPLES. I stick to my man-peoples. Call me conservative, and I will offer you a sandwich. I flicked up again and nodded. He nodded.

SUCCESS: The system of non-verbal greetings and small talk was completed.

So when we walked in, Alex went to what was apparently the seafood display before, "Oh, they got rid of the seafood!"

"How do you know?" and he explained the above.

"Well, why don't you ask someone?"

"They got rid of the seafood."

*sigh* So... I wasn't going to ask someone so I just did my quick-pace to take in the vista.... --no tuna in sight.

As we exited Alex looked liked a dejected schoolchild. He sounded like one, too, "Awww... I guess I won't have any tuna." I was already trying to think of what EIGHTH place we might go to in order to locate 'acceptable' fish (and said as much) when...

--the guy in the rocker said, "You didn't find it? What were you lookin' for?"

"We were looking for tuna steaks," I uncharacteristically said after exchanging glances with Alex. (I'd just like to take a moment to pat myself on the back for speaking to someone, indeed someone who was strange and male as well.)

"There aren't any?"

"Well, I didn't see any..." I began to feel guilty. I was on a roll! TEN WORDS.

"Did you ask someone?"

"No...." Oh... super guilty. I felt like I was being got onto. Why do I ever speak?? Flash look of you-are-guilt to Alex.


"Erghhh!" He grunted getting up with great effort and more guilt from taking his break away and being stupid. "We got tuna. It's in the back. Lemme go find it," he said, and there was more and more and more AWKWARDNESS and back and forth, BUT.


I'll have you know.


At the end of all this strange social negotiation, he gave Alex a sweet sweet beggin' talkin' to, "Just ast' me! Just ast' anyone. We will get you what you need. We had a busy day," (Mardi gras? Football game? Something normal people do), "so we's usually restock the freezer, but we hazn't had a chance."

--a moment of silence--  Thank God he didn't look at me. I swear he knew. Alex was the one who needed the talkin' to anyway.

"Jus' ast me!," he said repeatedly to Alex, not me. I might've hidden behind Alex.... mb. This went on with some earnestness for quite a time.... like an eternity of three minutes in time. Subjectivity, man.

I get it. In his shoes, I'd want to take our money. He hit it spot on to increase future revenue.

Somewhere in this mess of an awkwardness, he'd brought out some frozen tuna steaks and restocked the freezer. Alex picked one; "No get another," because I thought there were two tuna days and no way did I want to go through this again. "Maybe I'll want one... or... maybe you'll have a tuna day again." He confirmed. I reiterated: Maybe I would want one, but a can of tuna with something pickled and some mustard and diced apples is actually more appetizing and cheaper.

Whew! *sigh* So jus' AST somebody, Alex! Geez, Louise. ... urmmh GEEZ ALEX. AST somebody before some guy in a rocker's break gets interrupted. Hello. He-llo! Geez.

I think we learned something this afternoon. Ahem? Yes.

I ended up just thawing one of the two very expensive (I-shall-not-mention-numbers!.... but it was like $20 for two cans' worth, if that.) tuna steaks. We thawed the bigger one. It happened to be two steaks. One was like an ounce.

This was then for me with some broccoli and jasmine rice. Oh... buddy. Jasmine rice.

Om. nom.

--and broccoli I've liked from an early age. There's a story there.

It's something to do with air conditioning and an early and high level of independence.

I'll let you imagine what some hot hungry unsupervised kid might do... some kid who likes to eat broccoli. ...I never even got caught. :) Or so I thought. ;)

Forever to be Awkward, It's my thing...


PS: Say whuh?