Monday, January 31, 2011

Follow the breadcrumbs to my new blog, The Unwedded Widow.

This blog is ended, go in peace...and follow me to my new blog, The Unwedded Widow. It's just too much work to maintain two blogs at the same time right now. And the person who started alpha beta parking lot...well, she's me as I was, but not me as I am now. I kind of miss her. She was so full of hope and optimism and other things I can't find nouns for.

We had a good run, this blog...2006-2011. I miss the life I used to have, before the love of my life died. That will never make sense to me.

Fare thee well, my only love, and fare thee well a while
And I will come again, my love, though it were ten thousand mile

I hope that you will follow me to my new blog, where the story continues...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo is apparently a complete sentence in English.

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo." is a grammatically valid sentence in the English language, used as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constructs."..."
"The sentence can be clarified by substituting the synonym "bison" for the animal "buffalo" and "bully" for the verb "buffalo", leaving "Buffalo" to refer to the city:'Buffalo bison Buffalo bison bully bully Buffalo bison', or:'Buffalo bison whom other Buffalo bison bully, themselves bully Buffalo bison'." (Source: Wikipedia article linked to above).

But actually, I digress...I'm trying to figure out how to maintain two blogs at once. And I'm working on a very complicated application with future career ramifications. Thus, blogging has been slight. Much has moved to my slightly more anony-blog that I pointed out in my last post (ahem). (

Actually I just posted a poem there.
My slightly more experienced blogging friends, if you have any advice regarding copywright whatsits, I would appreciate the advice...There seem to be apps for it now. How convenient. What do I do?

I forgot that this blog was supposed to be poetry and the other prose. Oh darnit. Well I will figure it out eventually....


Friday, June 4, 2010

The Unwedded Widow

So...I've just started a new blog, called The Unwedded Widow. I want to be slightly more anonymous than I am now, so I can write a bit more, and promote it a bit more. I'm planning to keep this blog going too...The other blog is going to be more exclusively focused on The Whole Grief Thing. The Whole Widow Thing. The Whole Miserable Ball of Wax.

So these are my bread crumbs to the new blog...the new blog won't have bread crumbs back to this one.

It will have more poetry, and a lot more prose. Although it seems that when I'm in the thick of some deep emotion, it only comes out as poetry. Maybe that's why, at 7 months (as of today), I've gotten more prosy. Who knows? Grief is even harder and more confusing than I expected it to be, and I was expecting a doozy.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Punchy Tips for Great Unsolicited Advice

Hey kids! My tens of readers know by now that I'm going through what I'm starting to call The Whole Grief Thing. I may just start abbreviating it as TWGT just like the kids in Prince Caspian started calling their dwarf companion our Dear Little Friend, whic became DLF, and then they forgot what it had stood for...But I digress. But I digress because this whole post is a digression, sorta...The wonderful and inimitible Supa Freshwidow posed this question on Facebook:

NEWS FLASH: Some widowed people are "difficult!" -- Is it hard to deal with a grieving person? Do we have ridiculous standards, are we needy friends, and subject to mood swings? Are you more or less of a pain in the @$$ since your loss? Is that going to change, d'you think?

One of the responses to the question dealt with the issue of how annoying it is as a widowed person to get unsolicited advice. It being the wee hours of the morning (hello insomnia, my old friend), and I being a bit punchy, started coming up with ridiculous pieces of advice that could be offered. Because in some ways, a lot of the advice that one gets in this situation (no matter how sensible it may seem) often comes across just as ridiculous as some of the silliness I'm about to share. 

On a more serious note, before I launch into The Silly, I think people are driven to offer advice because they are discomfited by their friend's sorrow/pain, and want to Fix It. Sometimes this is driven by concern for their friend, sometimes this is driven by the desire to make the friend's pain go away so they can stop worrying about their grievng friend...They're ok? Ok, I can stop worrying now and all's right with the world...To have someone suffering on and on and on can feel something like a bystander watching the horrible BP Gulf of Mexico oil want to make it stop, but you don't know how, and you don't have any power over what gets done. And that can be enormously frustrating. 

I think people genuinely do want to help (for the most part), and whatever bits of advice they can think of, they throw your way, just in case it will help. Often, unfortunately, it has the opposite effect of what is intended (Cf: Law of Unintended Consequences). For the most part, people genuinely mean well, but hit a wrong note hard enough, and oh it is ouchy...Of course the whole "I'm going to avoid you because I'm at a total loss as to what to say" approach doesn't help so much either... 

Therefore, in the full spirit of Punchy Tongue-in-Cheek silliness, let me present (*drum roll please*):

Unsolicited Advice Gone Wild!

Cause if it's gonna be useless, it might as well be funny!

1. Paint your house. Every week! Start with fuschia. You can accessorize with turquoise trim! Your homeowner's association will thank you!

2. Join the French Foreign Legion. Because, well, why not?

3. Go on a round the world trip, visiting only cities and countries starting with the letter 'E.' Ekaterinburg, Estonia, and Ecuador, anyone?

4. Show your love for your dearly departed by cutting your hair very short and then shaving all your hair except that which spells out his or her name. Then dye it blue, because you are blue. You can declare your grief to the world and be hipster and avant garde too!

5. Tattoo his or her name on your forehead.

6. Start wearing your dearly departed's clothes, become a street person, and build a church brick by brick every night. Oh wait, that's already been done. (Cf: St Ksenia of St Petersburg)

7. Take up llama farming. Or alpacas. Lovely wool! Plus, they spit. What more could you want?

8. Make sure that you live in a yurt while doing your llama farming. 

9. Move to the northernmost part of Alaska and live out of an igloo in the winter and a sod house in summer. Insist on being called "Bubba." Even if you are female. 

10. Play the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach with a kazoo. 

11. Found a kazoo symphony in order to pull off item 10.

12. Eat only your loved one's favorite foods. Especially if they were, say, friend liver and lima beans. The nastier the better, in fact. As a bonus, you get to guilt trip over it if you don't!

That's all I can think of at the moment...Please help me out and suggest more! Thank you, my tens of readers! :)


Rejoice? O Unwedded Widow...

I've done a lot of connecting with widows online lately, and I'm feeling more and more comfortable self-identifying as such. It's liberating. There's a word for me! I'll just add a modifier. "Unmarried widow." It reminds me of the classic Orthodox hymn, "Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride" (otherwise known as "Agni Parthene" in the Greek). If the Holy Theotokos (God-bearer) and Ever-virgin Mary can be called Unwedded Bride, why can't I be an Unwedded Widow? Not so sure about the "Rejoice" part...But if somebody can write a hymn called "Glory to God in all things" (which is beautiful, by the way) in the Gulag, starving to death in a concentration camp in Siberia, maybe at some point I'll be able to actually rejoice. (How on earth did he DO that? Well, I also wonder how St Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia managed to survive over a decade in a black basalt pit underground without losing his mind...I visited it once...Darkness, dampness, and silence...)

But one thing I can rejoice at: there is a word for me! Widow! Unmarried widow, unwedded widow...Add a modifier, I have a phrase. Xera Animfefte (Greek), Vdova Nenevestnyaya (Russian/Slavonic)*, Unwedded Widow. :)

*If these are totally off, could somebody let me know? Thanks.

Friday, May 21, 2010

coal and diamonds...written today

I hope that
all this pressure
has a purpose.
If that ream of coal
were sentient
would it cry out
as it's made into diamond?
Let this be for something.
Oh, let this be for something.
If I'm to be crushed--
and I am crushed--
I am utterly crushed,
I am brought very low--
Let it turn me into diamond.
But oh, how it hurts.
Let it turn me into diamond.

Friday, May 14, 2010

written today, May 14, 2010

Where the meteor fell
In Montana
There is now
A beautiful lake.
May my crater of loss
Someday also be
Something beautiful.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My life closed twice before its close--a poem by Emily Dickinson

My life closed twice before its close--
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

~Emily Dickinson

Lamentations of the Theotokos

This page contains the hymnography for the Matins of Holy Saturday, celebrated on Good Friday evening. The service contains the hauntingly beautiful Lamentations of the Theotokos, the Mother of God's lament for her Son in the tomb.

This year, fittingly, Nelson's birthday falls on Good Friday. I am sure I will get choked up singing the Lamentations. As the Theotokos wept for her Son, so I weep for my Nelson. I have more than three days to wait til I can see him again--but in Christ's resurrection is Nelson's resurrection. Unlike the Theotokos, I have more than three days to wait, but she didn't know she only had three days...

Grief is grief. Thank God our Church's hymnography recognizes that, and gives words to human suffering--words shot through with both pain and hope.

Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us.

grief poem. written Monday, January 25, 2010. 2 months, 3 weeks, 3 days.

You metaphor for my soul
Not one stone
Laid upon another whole
Earthquake, turmoil, wreckage
Despair, disaster—so!
Everything’s flattened,
Nothing is left.
No one cares for my soul.

Monday, December 21, 2009

grief poem. written Monday, December 7, 2009, 12:52am. 1 Month, 2 Days. posted on FB Monday, December 7, 2009 at 9:28pm

How can you be dead, my love?
You crackled with life
It sparked off your fingertips
Your gaze was like a thousand suns
How did you not set trees alight
With just a glance?
How did you not start forest fires?
You were like a living flame
Vibrant, like lightning--
But why just as brief?
How could you die?
You artist of subtle instruments,
You made them dance.
You played me like an instrument,
You set the universe ablaze.
How can you, with so much life, be dead?
How can my tower of strength be broken?
You rescued me in times of trouble
But I was not there to rescue you.
It was on you that I would lean,
Now I stagger on empty air.
You kept me sane. You held me up.
How can you be no longer there?
Every 'not yet' became 'never'--
Nearly, almost, wait, and soon--
Everything that we had hoped for
Is gone now, and gone forever.

grief poem. written Sunday, December 6, 2009. 1 Month, 1 Day. 10:30pm. After driving past the cemetery. Originally posted on Facebook Monday, December 7, 2009 at 9:19pm

Trampled, crumpled, storm-tossed, torn
Wrenched and wrecked beyond repairing
Burnt and broken, pocked and pitted,
Shattered, crushed, beyond all caring
Ripped to shreds, gone rotten, rancid, ruined
Pincered, mutilated, splintered
Drowning, flailing, weeping, wailing
Smashed and scattered, smeared and smattered
Bruised, bewildered, battered, broken
Shrunken, shaken, overtaken
Avalanched and buried under,
Ambushed, waylaid, beaten down,
Shivering, shaking, broken and still breaking,
Waves and billows have surrounded
Me, and trapped me under, drowning
Weary, past caring, dried out, spent
Rent into pieces past all mending
Mortally wounded, yet not dying
Lost in the bleakest arctic winter
Lost in darkness neverending
The rack, the wheel, the bed of nails
Torturing, tearing, racking, rending
What's already rent--How can
My shattered bits still cling to life?
I cannot follow where he went
Feel widowed, who was never wife
Feel dead, yet still remain in life
I wander, wounded and bewildered
Like a homeless refugee
All is foreign yet familiar
And every light is dark to me
I walk unseeing, seeking succor
I cry out, but I cannot hear
Am I struck dumb? Blind, deaf, and numb--
Let every mirror now be shattered
The end, the end's already come
My life's been stopped, that was beginning
The battle's lost, that I was winning--
I cry for help, but cannot tell
If I've been heard or not; my ears
Can't hear, my eyes can't see;
Familiar paths are alien
And every road is dark to me.

reflection poem. written Friday, Dec 4th, 2009. 4:24pm. 1 Day Short of 1 Month. posted on Facebook Monday, December 7, 2009 at 9:00pm

No man chooses the hour of his going hence.
Only to a few saints is it given to know it
If we knew it, could we bear it?
We could not.
Many would choose the hour of their going hence,
To quit rather than be fired--
To retain their illusion of agency,
In charge of your little world.
But know--
What more than death serves to remind us
Who wish to control our little worlds,
That the world is out of our control?
Our vaunted technologies are all towers of Babel,
Vanities of vanities,
Futilities of futilities,
Chasing after the wind.
Have you caught it yet?
Sometimes, we can slow death, but not stop it;
And sometimes it cannot even be slowed.
There is more on heaven and on earth, Horatio,
Than you know, or are even able to know--
We can split the atom,
We cannot create life.
We cannot prevent the hurricane
From making its landfall,
And we often misguess where it will land.
We cannot still the earthquake,
For all our Richter scales.
Reinforce your architecture,
And your buildings still fall down.
We can hem in the forest fire,
But it will still eat its trees.
Man cannot prevent his going hence.
All his strength and all his science
Are ultimately laid low by it;
Try to defeat it all you want,
But you will overreach.
Lay siege to it all you desire,
It will force you to retreat.
Tell me, with your fishhooks, O man,
Have you yet caught Leviathan?

When the elderly die, it's a pity;
And sometimes it is a mercy,
If their dying is slow and painful;
A mercy, if you love and must watch it.
When the young die, it is tragedy,
Something past understanding.
Why would they die in their youth,
In their prime? When they have not yet
Had full measure of time?
When their life should still lie before them?

This we know: that you, man, are mortal,
And the hour will come for your going hence.
When the Bridegroom comes at midnight,
Will your lamp be found alight?
When the Son of Man comes like a thief in the night,
Will your soul be found watching?
Let us look to the parable
Of the rich man with all his storehouses.
He was not called a fool for his storehouses,
He was not called a fool in that he was rich.
For what then was he called a fool?
For assuming that all he had came from himself,
Assuming that forever he'd live with his wealth.
But the Lord said, You fool,
On this very night
Your life will be required of you.
God lays claim on you,
Whether you claim him or no.

And then James says, If you say
That today or tomorrow, we will go
To such-and-such a city, spend a year there,
Buy and sell, and make a profit--
This is foolish arrogance,
For you do not know
What will befall you tomorrow.
For what is your life? It's a vapor
That appears for a time
And then fades away.
So instead, say,
If the Lord wills, we shall live
and do this or that. Do not boast
Of tomorrow, for you do not know
What even today will bring forth.
Why is such boasting called evil?
We cannot claim tomorrow.
Yesterday, we cannot change.
We have only Today.
This is why Hebrews says,
While it is still called Today,
Do not harden your hearts
In the deceitfulness of sins.
We are become partakers of God
If we hold steadfast
Until the end.
And the day that God lays claim on us,
Will be called Today.
After that there will be no more tomorrows,
And all times will be now.
For with God, all times are Now.

Friday, December 11, 2009

grief poem. written Friday, December 4, 2009, in the afternoon. 1 Day Short of 1 Month.


He's gone-- he's gone!
Come back--come back--!
He's gone beyond all coming back
Those suicides of Shakespeare plays
And operas are fools
To see him again-- some day-- some day!
I must bend with the wind and endure;
To do myself in is to shut myself out.
But I wish I could die of grief,
So easy to do before penicillin,
When knocked out immunity
Quickly'd do you in...
But there is no easy relief
I must bend with the wind
And lean into the grief
I would weep--I would wail--
I would swoon and shout--
I would storm heaven's gates--
Let me in! Let him out!
But this is all vanity, all futility,
This is all chasing after the wind.
I need to learn how to live
Without my heart--it was buried with him.
He'll surely live again--resurrection
Will come. There's no power on earth
That can break our connection.
But who'll resurrect me?
I am blind, deaf, and dumb;
Sore weary, and numb.


While he is in heaven, this earth is my hell.
He's wearing his crown; I carry his cross.
We should have been crowned together
Ere he was crowned thus; but now, never.
Woe is me! Woe is me! Who'll burst my bonds?
Who'll loose me from Hades?
Ezekiel, tell me, shall these bones of mine live?
His bones shall rise, but mine are dried up;
He lives in Christ, while I wander half dead.
I moan like a zombie, while I seek my heart;
Like a ghost, like a shadow,
Crying, Where is my love?
Like a ghost who is doomed to wander the earth,
I lie down in my sleepless and empty bed;
All thy waves and billows are gone over my head.
My ship has no harbor, my soul has no berth.
Where is my love? Where have you taken him?
Tell me, that I may go to him,
And anoint him with myrrh.


Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs, bestowing life--
But I, though alive, am dead in this world;
While he, although dead, is alive in Christ;
Without harbor, without rest,
The whole earth's become my tomb,
I, the widow who never was a wife.

Have you no blessing for me, Father?
Or have you love for Jacob only?
I mourn like Jacob did for Rachel--
Three other wives, but he was lonely.


Better our parting'd been a breakup
And he'd lived 60 more years
Happy, surrounded by his children,
And me, barren with bitter tears--
I wanted him alive and happy
I wanted him, at least, alive--
I wanted him, altogether
As a woman wants a man
I loved him, with everything in me
More than I could understand
I hoped we'd always be together
Sharing a home as man and wife
Now he is gone, and I am left
With pictures, memories, lovely gifts,
A diamond necklace, a promise of more,
Before he from my side was reft--
I'd rather have him than all his stuff
Though I had all, it were not enough--
I want him only, and never can,
The world's most unattainable man...


His viola's silent now. His violin
Now sits forlorn. I cannot bring them
Back to life. I cannot play a single note.
I cannot make them sing
As he could. He could play;
Instead, I write, and wrote--
Though all my words stick in my throat.

Play, play, lovely violin! Play, viola, play!
Like me, they sit alone, untouched;
They are waiting still for him
To work his magic with his touch.
Come back, my love! Play me again!
I sit as silent as your violin.

All music sings to me of you,
Especially the lovely strings,
But none will ever ring as true
As when your bow danced upon the strings--
Come back to me! Play me again;
I'd gladly be your violin.

Reflection. written December 3, 2009, 4:30pm. Two weeks, 5 days. Share

I am reminded of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which CS Lewis was unashamed to call allegory...well if it was good enough for St Gregory of Nyssa, why not CS Lewis? It is clear who Aslan represents...he is the Christ figure in the story.

What was never clear to me until recently--but let me backtrack.

What struck me, when saying goodbye to Nelson in the flesh, was how like a statue he looked and felt. It was still my Nelson, only turned to stne. I'd never had such a reaction to a dead person before. They had always looked different to me from their live selves, sometimes enough as to seem like another person...or like a wax figure. Not so with my Nelson. Maybe because I'd memorized every line and pore of his face and his hands. I'd caressed that same face a thousand times. For the first time it did not relax at my touch, nor did he get that little smile that he would get...turned to stone. He was familiar to me, so even dead, he still looked like himself. And the makeup was an obscenity. (I could just picture him sputtering, "I'm a man! I don't wear makeup!")

It was still my Nelson, only turned to stone. His face still looked like his face, still felt like his face. The shape of it, all the pores, all its character, they were all the same...Still my Nelson, only turned to stone.

Back to CS Lewis. Lewis fought in the First World War, and grew up in an age without penicillin. He must have seen a lot of people he loved die. I'm sure they didn't use makeup on the dead then they would have looked like white marble-like statues.

So back to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. What is the first thing Aslan does after he rises from the dead, breaking the stone table? With "Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time"--I always loved that wording--which overruled the "Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time" that he had submitted to voluntarily, that had put him there.) What is the first thing Aslan (Christ) does after rising from the dead? He storms the White Witch's castle. What has the White Witch been doing throughout the book? She's been zapping people with her wand, turning people into stone, and using them to decorate her castle. Into statues. Statues, made of stone, cold, unfeeling, unmoving, resembling who they had been but unresponsive...stone statues.

Again, the first thing Aslan does after rising from the dead is storm the White Witch's castle, which he does effortlessly. Immediately, once inside, he goes from statue to statue, breathing on them and bringing them back to life.

The White Witch's castle, clearly, is Hades (Hell/Death). The statues are the dead, whom Aslan (Christ)breathes on and brings back to life. It is Christ storming Hades, destroying death by his death...Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life...

Funny how I never caught that metaphor before...I must have read that book a thousand times as a child and never picked up on it.

grief poem. written Wed, Dec 2, 2009. Two weeks, 3 days.

Crushed, spindled, broken, shattered,
Trampled, splintered, shredded, splattered,
Like roadkill in some unrecognizable mat--
My heart feels--about like that.

poem written Wed., November 25, 2009. 3:44pm. 2 weeks, 4 days.


I will pour out my grief
Let no one restrain me
I will not be held back from mourning
Til it be spent.

My sorrows cannot be numbered
My mourning is measureless
It goes deeper than the deepest ocean
Deeper than its deepest trough

I seek out any words of comfort
Yes, and any listening ear
Like bread crumbs to a starving man
Like water in the desert

Two years ago, I was alone;
Nelson-less, yet not desolate.
But he filled up every crevice of my heart
My love for him to the marrow of my bones

All food tastes like salt to me
And sugar is cloyingly sweet.
I eat that I too do not perish,
For my love would not have it thus for me.

He was my strong support
He held me up with his strength
How could his strength fail him?
I fell like a puppet without strings

He was my strong support
And I hoped to bear his children
Lovely curly-haired children
With the stamp of his features

His features were lovely to me
I cold gaze on them all day long
I was happy watching him sleep
With his hands in violin pose

We hoped we would grow old together
And would see our children's children
But now you have gone before me
Into bliss, but leaving me desolate


You now stand before God with the saints,
And your lovely voice joins their chorus
Teach us to number our days
We do not know the road before us

Stop all your idiot laughter
Let all foolish babbling cease
I would rather talk to my Nelson
He's at peace now, while I'm in pieces

No noisy neighbor will trouble you now
No wretched traffic, or cellist, or anything more
As you wished, all things of God are clear now
As you worship God in his glory


We had both hoped to wear wedding crowns
And they buried my heart
Putting you in the ground
You are now past all care;
As for me, I would wear
Widow's weeds. I have none.
My clothes all have colors
And I have no funds
To clothe myself all in funereal black.
My heart wears them, however,
The whole world screams your lack.
You are with God forever
I'm without you for now--
But how long? How long?
I don't know how--
There's a future without you
That I cannot see
All my tomorrows
Are darkness to me
And today--it's all grey--
Stupid coworkers laughing
Must you laugh? Go away!
Unless you'd be with me
In my darkest hour--
Small bits of empathy
Seeing me through
And whenever that darkness
Threatens to devour,
I hear you say, "Stop. Don't do this.
Don't torture yourself.
I know that you love me
And you will get through this."


My whole road's dim before me,
My eyes do not see
My world is in darkness
I don't know what's in store for me.
The future I'd hoped for, the love of my life
Is buried, gone from me; I am never his wife.

I complain of injustice; I'd tear out my hair,
Wear sackcloth and ashes, give the neighbors a scare;
I would wail out my sorrows in loud ululations
Cut my skin, rend my garments and weep, loudly vent my frustration
Scrape myself with a potsherd; he would still not be there--
I'd give him to another, if that kept him alive--

Come back to me, love! Let's argue! Let's fight!
Your presence is near, close and comforting--yet silent
Your silence is deafening; you were never so quiet--
I want you in the flesh! Why are you not here?
I am writhing, while writing; my desire goes nowhere--
By your grave, it's despised. How am I still breathing
While you're not alive?


Why were there not more hours?
Why our measure of days
Was cut short so early
Leaves me lost and amazed.
I am tired and surly
I'm in pain, and confused
So much of my soul
Was buried with you
And what's left of me here
Is bruised, torn, and abused.

Will there be an end to my sorrow?
I will see this thing through to the end
Let no one try to stop me from mourning
You, love of my life, my best friend.

Poem written in 1910 by the Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Henry Scott-Holland

[This was shared with me by my friend David Page, who was comforted by it when a dear friend of his passed away.]

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room.
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

I wrote this on a scrap of paper last Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009, at 4:42pm...

First posted on Facebook on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 10:36pm:

I dozed off at work this morning.
Probably because I'd gotten about 2 hours of sleep.
I'd had a particularly wretched morning.
I was missing Nelson acutely.
I dozed off, but my eyes were still half-open--it was that weird state between asleep and awake.
As I dozed off, I could hear Nelson whispering in my ear,
"Shh, baby. I love you, baby.
It'll be alright, baby. You'll be alright."
Just like he used to soothe me when he was holding me, in life.
I think he knew I was missing him.
Sometimes I feel like he's very near...

grief poem. written Nov 29, 2009, 11:31 pm. 3 weeks, 1 day.

Stupid birds.
Why sing?
Stupid phone.
Why ring?
Stupid sun.
Why shine?
Of all men everywhere,
Why mine?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Helpful Suggestions: Things Not To Say

1) Don't tell me we might have/would have broken up. Our mutual love is one of the things I've still got.
2) Don't tell me I'll find someone new. It's not a breakup. We loved each other deeply. When he passed, we were planning on soon being engaged. See above. Our mutual love--and the memory of that-- is one of the few things I've still got.
3) Don't tell me I'll eventually be ready to find someone new, find new love, etc. I really don't care. I found the real thing, I found the man I wanted to get married to, and he died. Whether I get married now, ever, or not, I don't care--indefinitely.
4) Don't tell me I need to move on. It hasn't even been a month yet since his death. From all accounts, the first year is very hard, especially for widows, which I might as well be (albeit not legally).
5) Don't be afraid of mentioning him. I want you to mention him and tell me your memories. They are all precious to me.
6) Don't tell me I need to take, or increase, my psychopharmaceuticals. I can manage that myself.
7) I am coping as best as I can. Please spare me your advice on how I need to cope better. I can walk, I can drive, I can see without double vision. I'm doing much better. Right now I am focusing on getting through one day at a time.
8) Don't tell me it was God's will as if that will make me feel better. I wrote my thesis on the subject. I've probably pondered the issue more deeply than you have. God's will governs all things. Telling me so isn't really going to be helpful.
9) Don't tell me you understand because you lost your mother/father/sister/brother/friend/etc. It's not the same. Or at least, if you do, don't use that as your excuse to give me advice about it. If you use your experience to empathetically listen, though--that's good.
10) The Biblical saying that we are not to grieve as those without hope (1 Thess 4:13) does NOT mean that we are not supposed to grieve. Got that? If you want to get into an exegetical argument with me on that passage, bring it.
11) I believe he is in heaven. I believe he is praying for me. I pray for him. I talk to him. That mitigates the agony. But telling me, "At least he's in heaven now" is not going to make it go away. It's grief. It hurts.
12) Don't tell me I need to a) move on, b) move on faster, c) get over it, c) get over it faster, or ask me, at any point in the indefinite future, if I'm still grieving. I'm on grief's timetable, not yours--not even on mine. “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18) I am being brought where I did not wish to go. Any assertions as to the slowness of grief's timetable, or questions thereunto, are manifestly unhelpful.
13) Don't assume that because I laugh, or smile at something, that it means I'm not grieving. It just relieves the pressure for a second. It's always there.
14) Don't tell me that, because I'm suffering, I need to see a doctor, or a psychiatrist, or a psychologist, or any other such professional, or ask me when I'm going to do so. Please assume I've got that covered.
15) Don't extrapolate your experience with grief, or your friend's, or your family's, onto my own. You may have handled your grief by a) throwing yourself into work, b) retreating into a little cave and shutting yourself off from everyone, c) needing antidepressants or sedatives, or needing the doses raised, d) or buying a farm and raising llamas. Everybody grieves differently. Don't assume that because I'm not grieving your way, I'm not grieving right.
16) Don't assume that because I'm grieving, I want to be left alone. Apparently that's not how I roll. Please call me. Please come over. It's hard to make calls, and it's hard to reach out to people, but when people reach out to me, I really appreciate it. The love and support of my friends and family is helping me get through/survive this.

grief poem. Tuesday Nov 24, 2009, 10:34am. 2 weeks 3 days.

Every morning I go about mourning
And my tears begin afresh
My wound opens as I remember
And I groan in my deep sorrow
Break all your weights and measures
Break all your instruments
For you cannot measure my grief.
My sorrow cannot be measured,
It would break all your paltry instruments.
My tears could fill up the sea,
And they would not be finished.
The light of my eyes and the joy of my heart,
He was taken from me
I shall not see him again while I live
My love does not mourn now; he is happy
In a place where no mourning is
In the light of eternal morning
Of the Orient from on high
But for me there is only great sorrow
That will bleed yet afresh come the morrow

Had I known! Had I known this could happen
I would never have left your side
I would have been like a mother hen
Would have hemmed you in from every side--
I would never have ceased looking after you
But I thought you were strong, I was weak--
But now you are gone, I remain.
No one on earth can tell me why;
No one on earth can explain.

grief poem. written Mon. Nov. 23rd, 2009, at 3:17 pm. 2 weeks, 2 days.

I was already a student of sorrow
I thought I needed no more education
I thought I knew all its ins and outs
And its every permutation

But the love of my life has now left me
For that most ruthless mistress, Death
She has kidnapped my love, he is stolen
And she mocks me as I stand bereft

Oh, how could you doubt I'd be faithful?
I was faithful to you to the end
And now that you're gone, I've put a ring on
Where a wedding ring should have been

My true love and heart's one desire
Is hidden now out of my reach
In no time for him, we'll meet again
But a lifetime ahead is the breach.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

grief poem 2. Mon Nov 23, 2009, 5:02pm. 2 weeks, 2 days.

Careful of thought; polite; refined
An aesthete with an earthy mind
And no effete; Impossible to find
Someone with whom I'd better sync--
Charming, attractive, and could think!
With electric touch and penetrating mind--
Why could I not have written this
When it was still possible to kiss
And to your face tell you all this?
All, all of you's what I shall miss--
Hated pop music--but could quote KISS--
Sang along with the music at the CVS
And won my heart; loved me in heels,
But still found me hot in flats;
It was surreal, you'd have thought me
Cute in a potato sack. Of us two, you
Were better dressed; but you
Loved me fine the way I am;
I loved you deeply, madly, truly
Like water bursting from a dam
And I was lucky that you loved me
Never again your like I'll see--

And at your death, the earth went still
And all around me turned to ash
How are you gone, and I'm still breathing?
I loved you. And I love you still.

Grief Manifesto (posted as "Reflections" on Facebook)

I did my thesis on the value of suffering--actually the paper in the library is one I consider unfinished--and in my research I concluded these things:
1.) These things happen for a reason. A Reason Exists.
2.) Even death can be the provision of God. Yes, that sounds crazy. It also feels crazy. It's one of those God paradoxes, like the incarnation, the crucifixion, the resurrection--which, of course, are all tied in with this.
3.) Basil the Great's homily goes down such a long laundry list of possible reasons for why the bad things in this world could be, my conclusion was that it could be caused by any number of those things, so why speculate? Only God knows; I won't understand it til the hereafter.
4.) Even if I knew what the reason were, I wouldn't like it. Especially now. If you try to guess it, you'll probably guess wrong anyway. Even if you're right in your speculation, it would probably only make things worse. Perhaps that is why we are bewildered and confused by it, and why the future is hidden from us. If we knew it, could we bear it?
4) The only evil that is evil in and of itself is sin, which originates from man, not God; other things we perceive as evil (like physical suffering) might actually have some purpose for good. And that evil itself is a parasite, a corruption of that which was good from the beginning. Only that which is good truly exists, and that not in and of itself, but because God sustains it. All that is created depends on the provision of the Creator to exist; only God exists in and of himself, and He is the ultimate Good.
5) It's enough for me to know that A Reason Exists. I actually don't want to know it.
6) If suffering is good for anything, it's to train you in virtue. Of course, that's what the fathers say everything is for.

But nevertheless. I am reminded of Joseph's words to his brothers, "You meant it for evil, but the Lord meant it for good." Also of Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

It is no accident that those words come right after the passage that begins, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." (Romans 8:18-25)

The whole creation--and, Paul goes on to say, we ourselves--groan like a woman in labor. I have never been in labor, but I have it on good authority that it is a painful experience. But Paul is analogizing this to all the sufferings of this life. And all the ills of the world are likewise like labor pains. As the pregnant woman endures the pain of labor in the hope of holding a newborn babe, so we endure the pains that come with living in hope of the resurrection, of being delivered from corruption. We are like women in labor, but it is we who are being born. Which is, of course, a paradox; but so it most of the really true stuff in theology. That's why we call it a mystery. And of course, Paul speaks of perseverance--perseverance through the agony of this world, which longs to be delivered from corruption.

Only after speaking of suffering, labor pains, and perseverance does he say, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." All things. Not just the good things, not just the happy things, not just the things that our senses would call good, or our human understanding, which is finite, but ALL things. We hope for what we do not see--and one of those things which we hope for, which is given us in the life of the age to come, is the understanding of the why of all this.

We were not created for a world stained by sin and suffering and death; therefore our human understanding rebels at this. Death in particular. But the hope of us Christians is that death has already been defeated and made finite, by the paradox of the cross: that God took on himself all that goes with being human, even suffering, torture, and death--and by doing so broke their power forever. Death is horrible--death is beyond all human understanding--but death is not permanent! This is the hope of us Christians. This was Nelson's hope. The suffering of separation that I endure by his death is the suffering of labor pains, but it is I who am being born. He, however, is already there.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Your Linguistic Interlude for Today...

Encyclopedia Iranica, a fascinating website, has several long articles on the relationship between Armenia and Persia. This one in particular treats on ancient history and linguistics. The history section is as good a summary of Armenian history as anything I've ever read. It makes a bit more sense now...

Armenia was originally a Persian province. Old Persia, the Persia that the Greeks fought against, the empire that went from Asia Minor to Afghanistan--world-bestriding Persia. And something like 40% of Armenian vocabulary straight-up comes from Persian (fascinating!). Not modern Persian, though--we're talking Old and Middle Persian. Apparently linguists can look at Armenian for clues to what Persian used to look like. It's the common phenomenon of a colony being more linguistically conservative than the linguistic country of American vs. British English. (I'm not talking about spelling.)

It bears some similarities with English's relationship with French. A great deal of English vocabulary comes from French, but not the modern kind--it comes from medieval Norman French. I'm sure it was pronounced differently from the modern Parisian variety too.

This has been your Linguistic Interlude for Today. Stay tuned, another installment is sure to follow. :)

Here's some news to depress you...

Delinquencies Continue to Climb, Foreclosures Flat in Latest MBA National Delinquency Survey

Foreclosures on prime loans are up. It's not just subprime loans now. People are losing their jobs due to the economy (or if they find new ones, they are finding jobs that pay less) and are losing their homes as a result. Vicious circle.

Cui bene? Who benefits? Follow the money...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Really cool Armenian calligraphy!

Cool Armenian calligraphy

Check out this guy's Flickr site--amazing calligraphy, if you like that sort of thing (I do). It includes a mini-history of Armenian script. Way cool. It's art! It's Armenian heritage! It's awesome graphic design!

Plus, it looks pretty. What's not to like? :)

BTW, this guy is hoping to get his work published as a book...I wish him all the luck. I'd buy it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm back! I guess...

Hello blog visitors...this is my first new blog post in a very, very long time. That's because I've been in a place where I did not really feel free to speak my mind...and well, actually, still don't, since I need recommendations for the next phase of my life....And that's enough of that, for now. I will be returning to it later, I am sure.

But I will begin posting things from time to time. I'm tired of new Facebook, and this is a good place to post links and so on. And it's kind of silly to have a blog and not use it at all...So, I'm back.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Musical note sends gator into bellowing ecstasy

Features: Musical note sends gator into bellowing ecstasy

Two tuba players play the B-flat below middle C to see if it really makes alligators bellow. Guess what? It does. They get turned on.

Interesting story.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Scientists have found a way to make skin cells act like stem cells...

...thereby enabling people to use stem cells without the ethical issues of using discarded embryos. Yay! It's a win-win.

Another fingers-crossed permalink...

News on ovarian cancer...

...Scientists have found that ovarian cancer *does* have symptoms, after all. Check out what to look for.

Allegedly I have the 'permalink' so let's see if it doesn't go away once it gets archived. Fingers crossed.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New research on sunscreen and sun exposure

Sunscreens - and ratings - may improve - Yahoo News

Key quote:
Shade your kids. Strong new evidence suggests overall sun exposure in childhood, not just burns, is a big key to who later develops deadly skin cancer.

Who knew? When I was a kid sunblock was just for burn prevention. And I didn't burn. I was slathered with it at the beach, but nowhere else. Nobody knew this stuff in the 70s and 80s, though.

The government has decided to step in and change its rules on sunscreens, considering that the old rules only test UVB blockers, not UVA blockers (which are newer, if I'm not mistaken--I know I never used to see them on sunscreen bottles):

The news comes as the government is finishing long-awaited rules to improve sunscreens.

The Food and Drug Administration wants sunscreens to be rated not just for how well they block the ultraviolet-B rays that cause sunburn — today's SPF rankings — but for how well they protect against deeper-penetrating ultraviolet-A rays that are linked to cancer and wrinkles.

Good for the FDA! I for one am not a fan of cancer or wrinkles. Although I more actively fear wrinkles at this point, being olive-skinned....rightly or wrongly.

The proposed rules are undergoing a final review and should be issued in weeks, FDA policy director Jeff Shuren told The Associated Press. Still, sunscreen bottles won't look different any time soon: The proposal will be followed by a public comment period before going into effect.

I don't really have any comment to submit to the FDA besides "Get on with it and put it on the bottles!" but I'm sure other people have more insightful comments to make.

Another reason to start doing yoga...

Yoga May Help Treat Depression, Anxiety Disorders - Yahoo! News

Key quote:
"I am quite sure that this is the first study that's shown that there's a real, measurable change in a major neurotransmitter with a behavioral intervention such as yoga," said lead researcher Dr. Chris Streeter, assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

The neurotransmitter to which she refers is GABA, which zaps anxiety and depression.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

shout-outs to folks

Congrats to my classmate Aleksa Pavichevich on his upcoming ordination to the diaconate on July 1st! Way to go, Alex! :) He is also soon to be a father, around the same time if I'm not mistaken. Talk about your multiple life changes. Congrats to Alex and Emily!

And a big thank you to Matthew Davidson for linking to my blog--I've reciprocated. Your blog Traveling East is now in the Orthodox links section.

Likewise, a big thank you to WriterDude for linking to my blog! :) I know you must have the right url, or else you wouldn't have been able to post a comment here. Look for WriterDude's blog under Bloglit Links.

Nothing much here going on that bears public to see my nephew this weekend, who is SO CUTE!!! and wants to do whatever his Daddy does. So Daddy (ie, my brother) got him to eat a piece of corn on the cob by eating one side and having my nephew take bites from the other. The nephew saw his daddy take huge bites so he took the biggest bites he could. It was simultaneously cute and hilarious.

Friday, June 8, 2007

the blogspot to wordpress switch...

So Kafaleni is saying--Everything from blogspot goes to wordpress?---All your archives and everything?

hmmm. So I should delete the old blogspot blogs for people then?


Now, why is everyone switching? If you switched from blogspot to wordpress, give me a shoutout here and tell me why. I'm curious.

My mouse has decided to quit working.

I am annoyed.

That is all.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

That kind of day

Do you ever have a day where it seems you are running around all day busily, but then, at the end of the day, it feels like you haven't done anything?

It's been that kind of a day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The bloglit blog links are up!

That is all. You may go about your regular business now, my 3 readers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Links, links, links

Hello, 3 people who read my blog!

Today, I tried to get all my funny go-to sites and bloglit sites down on this here blog. For the bloglit blogs, the most obvious source was, well, other bloglit blogs. Mad props to Kaf for having both the longest and the most current list! [cheers, applause]

The only reason I quit when I did--when I only had a few more to go, really--was that Blogger had decided not to open the window any more. The internet is running slow right now. I have a theory about that. Theory being someone might be poaching our wireless broadband that my mom just set up the other day but neglected to get the information needed to get to the setup page so I can make sure the security configurations are in place. So I'm planning to be on the phone with our phone company that rhymes with horizon for a couple hours tomorrow morning. Yay.

I don't feel so bad now about having started, then abandoned The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and then Seminary Chick before getting here, since there does seem to be a stop-then-abandon-blog trend--although admittedly, usually people are going from one blogging medium to another (like xanga to blogspot, blogspot to xanga, or blogspot to wordpress--which seems to be a current trend). I may eventually do that myself, but I like what they've done with blogspot during my months of ignorage. Like labels. We never had labels before. They also made it a lot easier to set up links in categories without knowing much HTML (that would be moi).

I still haven't figured out how to post a picture here, but that's not the highest thing on my priority list.

Actually right now the highest thing on my priority list needs to be this paper that I have due in two weeks. It was actually due a while ago but I got a major extension due to, well, pity. I have a largish pile o'books to skim my way through. Wish me luck, O Readers Three. :)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Bismuth posted these questions, so here are my answers!

1. Can you cook?

Yes, arguably. Not that I've had much opportunity. I've got a handful of good recipes. I'm looking forward for a chance to try out my cooking skills on a regular basis in RL.

2. What was your dream growing up?

To be a medical missionary-- a world-traveling doctor. Also, and I'm not sure how I would have managed this at the same time, I wanted a stable of horses. I read a lot of horse books as a child. Blame Misty of Chincoteague. :)

3. What talent do you wish you had?

Mathematical ability. Spatial relations (puzzle-working, etc.) Am lamentably bad at both, wish I were good at either.

4. Favorite place?

Yerevan, Armenia. I spent a week there in June of '05 and it was fantastic. Everything's cheap and the people are friendly--and nobody locks their doors! Doesn't hurt that I'm also half-Armenian (not that I can speak more than a tiny bit of the language).

In the States? Seattle, Washington. I just loved the atmosphere there. So unlike the uptight East Coast I'm used to.

5. Favorite vegetable?


6. What was the last book you read?

On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius by St Gregory of Nazianzus (among many like it). The last fiction book I read was Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich.

7. What zodiac sign are you?

That would be Gemini.

8. Any Tattoos and/or Piercings?

Both ears. There are 2 piercings per ear, but that's just because the first piercing closed and I had them repierced. I only wear earrings about once a year on special occasions, since every time I wear them my ears swell up and ooze. I try to avoid swelling up and oozing of any body part, generally.

My cousin, who is a tattoo artist, promised me a free tattoo a couple years ago. I finally gave him a tattoo design to work with (resize, play around with, whatever it is that they do), so it looks like this summer I'll get it tattooed to my ankle. I'm looking forward to it! I know it's going to hurt like he\\ though.

9. Worst Habit?

I bite my nails.

10. Do we know each other outside of Livejournal?

Yes--from the MOAT. :)

11. What is your favorite sport?

Martial arts, especially kung fu/wushu.

12. Do you have a Negative or Optimistic attitude?

I sort of oscillate between those two poles. I am, however, reliably cynical, especially about politics. :)

13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?

Trade jokes and funny stories, and then, when we run out of those, talk about our life stories, since what else is there to do. Play hangman, I guess, if there are scraps of paper in my purse. :)

14. Worst thing to ever happen to you?

I'm not putting it here.

15. Tell me one weird fact about you.

I have Morton's toe, where the 'big toe' is actually shorter than the toe next to it. It's why I can't wear Birkinstocks.

16. Do you have any pets?

My parents have a dog, whom I love dearly. :)

17. Do you know how to do the Macarena?

No idea.

18. What time is it where you are now?

1:22 am.

19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary?

Depends on the clown.

20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?

Nicer chin. Bigger ramparts (cough).

21. Would you be my partner in crime or my conscience?

Depends. Are we TP-ing a house or robbing a bank? partner for the first, conscience for the second.

22. What color eyes do you have?

I'm too paranoid to answer that here.

23. Ever been arrested?

No. I have gotten speeding tickets and parking tickets.

24. Bottle or Draft?

Bottle. Unless it's Guinness.

25. If you won $10,000 dollars today, what would you do with it?

Pay off my student loan debt.

26. What kind of bubble gum do you prefer to chew?

A whole pile o' Chiclets in different colors. :)

27. What's your favorite bar to hang at?

Tryst, in DC.

28. Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes. Don't think they're actually dead people, though.

29. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Read books or read things online.

30. Do you swear a lot?

I am currently coming out of my cussing novitiate and am becoming seasoned; but my powers of cussing do not reach the level of Samuel L. Jackson's.

31. Biggest pet peeve?

Probably a tie between people leaving the TV on when they leave the room (and/or go outside, leaving it on), and people misspelling things on the internet they REALLY should know how to spell by now.

32. In one word, how would you describe yourself?


33. In one word, how would you describe me?


34. Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?

There ya go, Bis!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Pascha is almost here!

I only have a couple more exhausting days to go. This is how it goes here. Starting at 9:30 am, there's 3rd hour, 6th hour, and 9th hour. Around 11 am, presanctified liturgy starts. That goes til around 12:30. It only seems to last longer since you've already been in church all morning. Then there is brunch. Which would be fine if I could handle vegetarian food without going hypoglycemic. So I'll eat what I can eat, and then, whatever. The next service (bridegroom matins) starts at 8 pm, with choir practice at 7 pm. I missed choir practice today since my back was killing me all day. Dinner is at 5 pm, which is ridiculous when you last ate at 12:30. But whatever.

There are a variety of things I can do with that time between services.
I can:
-get hospital hours done
-actually get some homework done
-read Dionysius the Areopagite
-go to the gym
-do yoga in my room
-take a post-liturgical nap (PLN).

The one thing I absolutely have to do tomorrow, though, is get the mail sorted. If I don't go to the hospital I'll probably take a PLN.

The hymnography tonight was beautiful. And of course the music was also stunning. Gorgeous voices. I meant to post a snippet of one but I can only recall the beginnings to them. I didn't sing tonight since I missed choir practice and my back was killing me.

I wish every one who celebrates it a great Holy Week and a glorious Pascha/Easter.

Friday, March 2, 2007

FAFSA update

I think the FAFSA deadline is actually APRIL 1st, not MARCH 1st. Either way, I couldn't finish it, since my taxes aren't done yet. My taxes aren't done yet since they're sent to a tax dude, who crunches the numbers in his magic number-crunching way. Honestly? I have enough to worry about without doing my taxes too. Wish the tax dude could do my FAFSA too. But anyhow, long story short, I can't finish the FAFSA without the numbers from my tax forms, which aren't done yet. Ergo.

In other news, I have a paper for Matthew class due Monday, several overdue patristics reflections, a paper for my liturgical theology class that was due Tuesday and didn't happen due to a personal crisis I cannot relate here--and I'm behind on my hospital (visitation) hours. Sigh. And then next Friday I have a patristics paper due.

Yes, it's paper season once again. Is it a coincidence it coincides with tax time? I think not.

Patristics: We've just been learning about the conflict between Nestorius and St Cyril of Alexandria, 'our gangster among the saints'. Unfortunately for Nestorius, Cyril was both a better church politician and a better theologian--but notice the politician part. He didn't play fair. He stacked the deck against Nestorius and THEN called the council of Ephesus. Started our earliest schism with a church that's still in existence (The Assyrian Orthodox Church, also called The Orthodox Church of the East). When Cyril died Nestorius wrote a letter to his friend saying 'the villain is dead' and that they should stick a big rock on his grave in case hell doesn't want him and sends him back.

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

Anyway, theologically speaking, we have sort of shifted gears. We've been dealing with Alexandrian theology (Origen, the Cappadocians, St Athanasius) and now we've switched to Antiochene theology (St John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Diodore of Tarsus), which is quite different. Alexandrian (or Alexandrine, as my veddy British teacher puts it) theology emphasizes that Christ is God BECOME man. Antiochian theology places more emphasis on the humanity of Christ, but can certainly make it sound like there are two of him--the human Christ and the divine Christ. But really, you're speaking of the one subject (Christ) in two ways.

Anyhow, I'm about to nod off, so I'm calling it a night. Hugs to my peeps.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

FAFSA, flan, and White Castle

The FAFSA deadline is in...oh, about 2 hours. So I'd better get cracking.

Unfortunately, when stuff goes down around here, I can't really post about it. This is why my blog has kind of been limping along.

I suppose one thing I can tell you guys about is a hilarious (ok, hilarious for around here!) conversation comparing the flan we'd just had (made by a fellow student) to the Trinity. The flan is eggs and custard and caramel and yet is one flan. The flan has one source (the student who made it, A.), and is known through the dinner crew.

OK, I guess you just had to be there.

Today we did our annual White Castle run. It's organized by fellow student R., a third-year. They've been collecting money for it from fellow students all week. There were 2 vanloads of us. We got Pathmark brand sodas, chips, Twinkies, and Hostess cupcakes, and then went to White Castle and got 400(!) burgers, and then en route to the homeless shelter we put all those in brown bags. Then we got to the homeless shelter and gave them away. They were all gone less than 10 minutes, and they were really grateful. It was AWESOME! Talk about the true spirit of Lent.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

Exams done.

Brain is fried.

Will post more later when my neurons are capable of firing again.

history of Protestantism -

history of Protestantism -

I liked this article...

It's as much a 'categorization of Protestantism' as it is a history of it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot � Blog Archive � The Da Vinci Dud?

Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot � Blog Archive � The Da Vinci Dud?

Check out this interesting webpage! OK, I found it since I was hunting down something for my Greek class. Something to do with a critical apparatus. But check out the 'ancient potty' section!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

questioning my bona fides...

As you might tell from the links I just added, I spent a bit of time (when I should have been studying, of course) looking around Armenian-related websites. I do this from time to time. Some of them had minor flamewars going on. There was one in particular- this one- that really bothered me. This guy Rupen is trashing the site's author Raffi, who is about to marry a non-Armenian woman. This is what he says:

I mean, I’m here trying to convince a guy who has already taken the first step in losing his Armenian heritage by marrying a non-Armenian…Think of it this way…Your children will only be “half-Armenian”…right?!? And if they end up marrying a “non-Armenian” like their father did, their kids will only be considered “quarter-Armenians”, and so on…Wow, I really love your approach in preserving the Armenian culture…Quite interesting!

People who say this kind of things also bandy the word "odar" (non-Armenian, foreigner) about like an insult. OK, I take that stuff personally, because I *am* half-Armenian.

And then I start questioning my bona fides. Am I a real Armenian? I mean, I went to Armenia last year and I felt I was with my relatives. It felt familiar.

But at the same time I feel like I'm always playing catch-up with my Armenianness. I hardly speak any Armenian. OK, if I'm at the dinner table playing host I know how to ask if you want bread or wine or tea, I can say hello, how are you, I'm fine, good morning, good night, Christ is risen, and thank you. And probably something else too if I really wrack my brains. But let's be honest, that's not much. And I only know a fraction of the alphabet- of course I know a lot more now that I spent a whole week in Yerevan, but I still don't know the whole alphabet.

Next year I'm going to study Armenian, but let's be honest, I'll never be a native speaker. I feel like I'll always be a wanna-be. But these are MY people! This is my heritage! I kind of feel half-in, half-out. I don't know what I'd have to do to feel totally "in." I don't know if whatever that would entail would even be worth it.

So it's not easy listening to yahoos like this Rupen guy question my bona fides when I'm questioning them my own self.

And let's not even get INTO the whole "Why aren't you Armenian Apostolic Orthodox, but the other kind?" question. Let's just not.

I barely speak any Armenian because my dad, an Armenian from Iran (a "Parska-hye", they call it) chose not to teach me or my brother. He thought (erroneously) that it would hamstring us, would impair our assimiliation into American culture. Well, baby, are we ever assimilated.

Speaking of questioning my bona fides, I had a while there questioning my Orthodox bona fides cause this guy I knew, who converted about the same time as I did, got rebaptized after he was chrismated, and had me wondering whether MY chrismation was really valid or not, and was I *really* as bona fide Orthodox as all those cradle Orthodox who were baptized as babies?

I got over it.

Maybe I'll get over this "am I really Armenian?" thing too. In the meanwhile I'd like to tell Rupen he can kiss my half-odar posterior. I'm interested in Armenian culture. I *want* to learn Armenian- it's not my fault I didn't grow up knowing it. If you're really interested in preserving your Armenian heritage you should be more concerned with passing on culture than bloodline, IMHO. Hybrid vigor!

Clean Humor and Humorous Stories by Robert Byron

Clean Humor and Humorous Stories by Robert Byron

Funny anecdotes of life in Borlan, really! it's funny!

Take home final done!

It's crap, but it's done.
Thank God.
With an hour to spare.
Now I have to turn it in, and then vacuum.

good article here...

This is an article related to what I have to write about for my Liturgical Theology paper, which gets more onerous by the hour...I should just write it already...

This is the article I'm tallking about: Words of Life

bumper stickers

from O Taste and See, who got it from The Onion Dome.

Um, some of these are kind of inside jokes.
Well, they amuse me:

-My Church wrote your Bible.
-Horn Broken, Listen for Anathema
-Orthodoxy — Ancestors you can’t remember are part of our Church
-Wisdom! Let us attend… to the road!*
-Have you kissed your Mother’s Icon today?**
-Your Mother Church — keeping the “Ma” in “dogma.”
-Orthodoxy: If It Aint’ Broke.…
-Honk if you know what this means: IC XC NIKA***
-Being Saved
-Universality, Antiquity, Consent
-51% Atkins-Friendly****
-Not so Close! I may need to do prostrations.*****
-The Orthodox Church: Not Only Standing for the Truth, But Never Sitting Down Either******
-I (heart) Theotokos
-Fish Sticks have NO BACKBONE!*******
-Orthodoxy: Kickin’ it old school since 33 A.D.
-I’d rather be censing.********
-Eat my antidoron.*********

*right before the Epistle or Gospel is read, the deacon (or priest, if there's no deacon) intones, "Wisdom! Let us attend!"
**referring to the Mother of God. We kiss icons to show respect/affection/love to the person(s) represented, not too unlike kissing a photograph of a loved one.
***IC= Jesus XC=Christ NIKA=Victor
****because we're fasting from meat the other 48% of the time!
*****a full bow with your head to the floor. Muslims got this from us.
******we really don't sit down much in church. Cause we're tough that way. ;)
*******referring to the rule that you can eat fish with no backbone during Lent. like shellfish.
********what swinging incense is called. we do this too. (For one thing, think about it...back in the bathing all winter do the math!)
*********blessed bread given out at the end of the service. Not the same as the Eucharist. Anyone can receive this. It means "instead of the gift."

Procrastinating as usual...

I have a takehome final, due tomorrow at 5 pm. Of course, we have church tomorrow morning at 9*, and I'd really rather not miss it. So it behooves me to finish it tonight. Yay! Another game of chicken with myself. Who will win the staredown?

*because it's Mid-Pentecost. even though it's finals week**

**also somebody important died, so there will be a funeral bit added to it (we had the funeral service this evening). I'm told this is not uncommon.***

***the funeral was nice. We've been practicing the music for it in music class anyway, so it was also like a class review. Also, I killed my voice again (I killed it at Pascha (Easter), but now it's really gone.)

Tonight I think I dug myself into a hole with my New Testament teacher. I was yapping about this morning's test. At some point I thought to myself, "Wait! This is going to bias his opinion!" and made myself shut up. It's not getting an A, but nobody gets an A unless their test or paper is PERFECT. My test is not perfect. It is, however, better than the midterm, which got a B-. So I'm guessing it's getting better than a B-. Thank God I don't have to worry about that class anymore.

Just the class whose exam is coming right up. It's one of those self-evident questions, so self-evident in fact that I can think of nothing so say. At least, being takehome, it's also open book.
This morning's test was also open book, and I swear that's what salvaged my grade. If it's salvaged. Whatever. It's done! Don't think about it!

Last semester's exam week was MUCH worse. But then I had two papers hanging over my head as well as all these exams. That changes the tenor of things...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Resurrection Song

We sing this after every meal in the refrectory (dining hall):

Shine, shine
O new Jerusalem
The glory of the Lord
has shone on you
Exalt now, exalt
and be glad O Zion
Be radiant
O pure Theotokos*
in the resurrection,
the resurrection of your Son.

*what we call the Mother of God. It's Greek- it literally means "God-bearer."

This song is so pretty. If I can figure out how to post an mp3 I'll try and get it posted.

Life with Blogchik

I've been wracking my brains for days to think of a good blog name. Literary and Biblical allusions were just not cutting it. I toyed with the notion of calling it "Witty Fool" (with a Shakespearean quote to go with it), but I don't want to be saddled with "fool" in the title. I toyed with the idea of calling it "The Fifth Plagal Tone" but that would only attract fellow Orthodox people and I'm playing for all audiences.

So then in a moment of inspiration I thought of a brilliant song title by the band Cake. Of course! Alpha Beta Parking Lot! It's perfect! This blog could be anything.