Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stitching meme

I ended up not going to bed as my friend Daniel signed on. Was worth it, even if it did mean my head hit the pillow at 2am.

Remember I do that stitching thing? Here's a meme:

1.) How do you hold your fabric? My lowery stand, or I lean the hoop or frame on a table if I'm not at home.
2.) Floss licker? Yep. Occasionally floss will taste TERRIBLE but not often.
3.) How do you thread your needle? Lick the end and thread it.
4.) What needle do you like best? Piecemaker 28s
5.) Are you a needle loser? Not if I can help it!
6.) What fabric do you prefer to stitch on? 32ct or 40ct linen, 32ct jobelan, 30ct linen evenweave
7.) Bobbins or floss bags? Floss bags or stitchbows. Definitely stitchbows for HAEDs
8.) Are you a scissors collector? Nope. I have two pairs, total, and one was a gift, and they're boring ordinary ones!
9.) Do you do your own framing, and if so, do you lace or pin? I finish things?
10.) Are you a floss floozy? Not really, I like having it but I don't squee over it except when it comes in the mail for a new project.
11.) Silk? Love it. HDF, waterlilies, NPI (expensiveness though)...
12.) Railroader? Most definitely.
13.) Are you a pattern or designer snob? No, not really. If I like it, I'll stitch it.
14.) Do you get antsy when you give someone a stitched gift? Again, I finish things?
15.) Have you reached S.A.B.L.E.? Oh, no. I'm not that bad yet!
16.) Do you wash your projects? The usual "I finish?" thing. My HAEDs will definitely get washed, non-colourfast things don't get washed. I tried to rinse the silks for one chatelaine and will never do it again, it's just not worth it. Better to just be very careful with how clean my hands are.

So...more random facts about me :)

I have my S.O.S. stuff more or less up to date I think, the last lesson we had last term confused me immensely and I think it might have confused others so we'll see. I need to sit down and work on my history stuff today, and I'm hoping to get my supervised essay done on Friday. Slowly, surely, we'll kill this backlog.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More photos and stuff

When Kyrie gets in a funk and it's too early in the night to go to bed, she goes looking for food. And her Dad just brought back a huge bottle of Baileys that needs drinking (it's been opened). So...combining the two...

I made this:
Baileys sundae

A couple scoops of vanilla icecream, broken oreos in between them, and a bit of Baileys over the top. Yum.

I've been feeling brain-worn-out but not sleepy a lot recently about this time of night. Maybe I should listen to my body and actually sleep when I get like this, I don't know. I'll probably go to bed soon. I mean, normal people go to sleep about 10:30. Staying up until 1 is not normal. I'm just not used to it! I've stayed up late like this for so long I can't remember going to bed at normal hours, except maybe when I was in Tumby and then it was because I had no reason to stay up. Ditto being at Jeremy's - he went to bed, and I simply said my prayers and went to sleep. Maybe there's something in that. Maybe I'm coming back good again? I don't know. I can hope and pray that that is so.

Speaking of prayers, this is what my little bit of sacred space looks like at the moment:
Quiet space

I'm always changing it. The bible that's there is temporary, now that Troy and I have full OSBs he doesn't need his New Testament and Psalms one anymore, and I like having a bible open there and my study bible in a case to with, radical as that may seem. I want to get back into reading it, and journalling my private thoughts again not just what I've been writing here. I got out of the habit of proper journaling because I just never had anything to write, but now I'm starting to get things that I want to write personally again. Again, maybe I'm coming good. The little angel is a baptismal gift from Jo, she said it reminded her of me. And then Fr John said that it looked like me a few weeks ago when I had my hair braided and in a bun, and that I reminded him of his mother when it was like that. So...maybe there's something in that! I happen to like that style, so it was nice that it was remembered. The card says "Bright Star - reflecting the light within" :)

Soon enough I'm going to have to move this though, I want it in my room when we finally reshuffle the furniture and rip out the carpet. I have bigger icons now, but where my little corner is now hasn't got the wall space to hang them, so they're in my bedroom. The really big one of Panayia and Christ is next to my bed, with a candle in front of it that I light when I'm in there, and I got given money to buy more with, so I'll probably do that sometime soon.

As far as stitching - I am so close to finishing this part of JOB I can taste it, and I've made inroads into the next one at the same time. It's so beautiful, and I should get it finished tomorrow all going well. One more colour and the backstitching in the lantern, the inner backstitching for the irises, the last tiny patch of border and one square of colour
are all that's left now. I'm so glad to see this come together so quickly.

But, I'm tired, and in a weird mood. So I think I'll call it a night even though it's very early for me, and do some more stitching tomorrow.

Epitaphion photos and today

I promised photos with the last post but forgot them, so you can have some this time :)

To take a break from the baptism photos, here are the pictures of our epitaphion (which symbolises the tomb of Christ) in progress and finished.

First we put in the Crosses, and the filling around them, and added the borders. Here's one short end, all pink and white roses with a red rose Cross
One short end finished

And here's me to prove that this is ours! All in black for Holy Week - red is a concession to warmth, it's *almost* dark! It's been rather cold, end of April so that's not that surprising
Me (dressed dark!) next to the work in progress

Here's one of the long sides. These were pretty much identical, except the background on this side was yellow carnations and white on the other.
The yellow side

Abouna (Father) and Jeremy saw me with the camera and wanted a photo of them 'always arguing' (as if!!), so we staged one:
Abouna and Jeremy

When the top was done, we added flowers to the posts, and started filling in the edges of the base. The lady in the photo is Khouria - the priest's wife. This is also a good picture of the white side.
Khouria working on the base edges

And here it is in the Church that night, before the service and procession :)
That night


I've had a slow day. I finally decided that freaking out and procrastinating against my backlog of work was not useful, so instead I got up and started work. A few hours later, I was half caught up on my math exercises (three week's worth, so nothing to sneeze at) before my class began, and I've been working on them since, too. I'm planning to get the backlog done and then leave this weeks' work until it has to be done, so I can clear the backlog for my other subjects too. I'm sooo glad I'm not doing five subjects or this would be totally unmanageable!

Tonight is TV night, too. I have to watch neighbours and home and away (seriously!!) for school and take notes, so I'm going to do that, and I'll do it for all saints too which I watch anyway.

It's cold, and slow, but it's progressing. And that's good news.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Being sleepy

I should post something but I'm just worn out. Now that the adrenaline rush I've been living on for the past week has worn off, I'm just tired. Not sleepy, but tired in other ways.

I drove a bit today, picking up some things for Dad and a new phone for me as the network mine was on (CDMA for the aussies who know what that means) closed tonight. It's PINK! Very cute, a flip phone - I know I swore I'd never get one, but this one looks sturdy and hard to break. Unfortunately it doesn't fit on the older nokia chargers even though it's a nokia, so I have chargers I can't use now :(

We went into the city to Uni and Dad worked in his office, while I put the numbers from my old phone over onto my new one, and did a bit of stitching. We had (yet another) 'discussion' on theology/ecclesiology/all those fun things. No yelling this time, thankyou God. That's okay though. Tonight has just been...slow. We watched a Sir David Attenborough doco on lizards which was actually really cool and featured a couple of the lizards we see around here (I forget that other people find sleepy lizards etc exotic), ate good meat pies with sauce, and then watched Good News Week which I'm terribly fond of. I like the current affairs satire shows - GNW, the Chaser, rove (to a degree), they're fun. At the same time (okay, not while eating meat pie, I do have a brain) I worked on Japanese Octagon Box and got a lot done. The mountain is emerging, and the only things left to do in the 'picture' part of this part are filling in the last of the green in the grass and backstitching the irises. The ornament below is half done, and the frame is done except for the last bit that doesn't really fit on the frame and I'll probably do in hand, and a tiny bit of the black border on the ornament. Only a handful of stitches :)

I'm enjoying working on this piece again, and God-willing I'll get this part done (except maybe the frame, we'll see how I end up working that) soon and can take a photo. When I get this one done I'll be 1/4 done with the embroidery for the whole project, woohoo! The whole project just blows me away, the effects created by the different stitches are great. This lantern ornament is turning out much better too so I might frog the first one and fix it - might. Ripping out PTB that I've backstitched over is not my idea of fun. I suppose it all depends on how perfectionist I'll feel like being when this is done. When I do get this section done (the landscape) though, and add the rhodes stitches and beads, I'm going to hang it up somewhere on display 'til I get the other parts done. It's too pretty to leave in a box to wait!

Tomorrow I have a maths class, so I'm going to get up and get some work done to make sure I'm caught up - I haven't touched my homework all holidays, I didn't realise that the week before Holy Week would get eaten too.

It's 11, I should go sleep. I'm feeling out of sorts though which is making me want to stay up. Sooner or later the sensible part of me will win out :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A few photos, among other things

I've still not got dressed today. It just doesn't seem important, and I probably won't.

I really do need to set up a structure though, for my classes. That hit me yesterday. Even if it's just 'for x number of hours, at these times (unless it needs to change), i will work'. I'm sick of falling back into this 'oops, forgot to do it and it's due tomorrow/last week' habit again. Sometime tonight, God-willing. Tonight will be an early night though, I really need it. Sooo tired.

It's been raining today too, very grey, but that's kind of nice. I'm sitting on the couch, the heating's on, and contemplating picking up my stitching (remember I do that??) again. Nuts about autumn is progressing, slowly, but will stay in my bag. I like having the small project easily carry-able in my bag, so I'll keep it there and work on the big ones here at home. Speaking of the big ones (both Peaceful Paradise and JOB are calling so I'm going to use the Random Researcher to decide in a minute), Rebecca has started PP and it's beautiful, go have a look! She seems to be having an easier time of the sky than I did, lucky her :)

It's nice to have downtime for the first time in ages. I'm going to have weeknights again now, weird. I really need to use them to get some homework done!

Okay, I promised photos. Here's a few - I'll post them in small lots so that you dont' get bombarded with them.

Thumbnails, as always click to see the big photo. I figure if I put them in thumbnails it won't kill most people's computers.

Hannah and Kyri
This is a good friend of mine, Hannah, and me. Hannah can't hug me without swinging me up into the air, which is what she'd just done here hence the weird angle my head's at. It's fun.

Isn't this temple lovely? I'm particularly fond of their iconostasis, very pretty carvings. This is everything set up beforehand. The icon in the centre of the royal doors is of Christ as the Great High Priest, which is one of my favourites.

Waiting for the service
Here's some of the people who came, waiting. The girl in pink is my sister, the lady with dark hair in the front is my Mum.

Jeremy (and Andrew)
Jeremy! He's Troy's godfather, all dressed up. Andrew's standing next to him but you can only see half of him. The thing behind is St Nectarios' epitaphion - the tomb of Christ. Theirs is less 'busy', only using a few colours, but very pretty. It's also a lot more traditional!

Andrew and Nikki
Here is a decent photo of Andrew (a jeweler friend who made our crosses and serves in the Altar) and my godmother, Nikki. Behind Nikki is a shrine with the relics of St Nectarios.

Beginning prayers
We started off with a few prayers. The priest with blue on his vestments is Fr John, the one in white and gold is Fr Silouan (the parish priest for this Church), and behind Fr John you can just see Fr Nicholas aka Abouna, the priest at not-greek-church.

Prayers before the Creed
Then we were asked to pledge ourselves to Christ

Do you pledge yourself to Christ?
and knelt before Him before saying the Creed

About then it hit me that we were really doing this, and we walked into the sanctuary.


more next time I post.

Xristos Anesti! (Good Friday, Holy Saturday)

Alithos anesti!

No more days :) I was baptised yesterday, and my name's officially Kyriaki now. I've been trying to decide what to write for ages and so avoiding making this post.

Partly I'm exhausted but I don't feel that much more sick than I would expect after a week of long services and very little sleep.

Okay, recap.

Friday morning we went to Church...haha...oh Friday was a weird day. We got there - half an hour late - and they still hadn't started doing anything. The schedule had said that we were going to do the Hours (a particular service, we only do it for the greatest feasts) in the morning, but we ended up decorating the Epitaphion instead, which is the...well, the best way to describe it is a 4 poster table! it has a roof, and then we cover the whole thing in a carpet of flowers in different designs. I got a thousand photos, when I drag myself up out of bed and find the camera I'll post them. Somewhere between doing that, cleaning like mad (including the concrete of the carpark!), picking up the font from another church and then eating was about 3pm I think when we finally got to church. Jeremy, Father and I read Vespers while everyone else finished up decorating. Basically noone comes to our Good Friday services, unfortunately.
Anyway, after that, Jeremy looked at me and went hmm I think we better go home. So I went back with him to his place and crashed (in my clothes!) in the bed that was still made up on the floor in his living room, until he woke me up about four hours later - he'd done the dishes and had a nap but I was totally unaware of all of that. Sleep was good. I ate a salad sandwich, we picked up Troy, and at 9 we had the Burial Service, matins for Holy Saturday. A long service, with beautiful lamentation hymns, and a procession around the Church a couple times symbolising walking to the tomb. As we left we got flowers, and hung around talking for a while, then went in search of my godmother who was not at other-church so we went to her place and I passed out on the floor.

SATURDAY. Hoo boy. I can try to explain but it's all a bit of a blur so I might wait for a photo recap for most of it.
I got up about 8ish, had a shower and got dressed - bathing suit, baptismal clothes and then a jacket and long black skirt over the top so I didn't look too weird for the hours before the service itself. We got there, early, and I wandered around freaking out. I'd forgotten when we invited the other priests that priests don't *do* just being guests - so we had three priests concelebrate our baptism :) That was wonderful. Father noticed me freaking out though so he said Kyriaki come help me set up. I don't know that I actually did anything, but it kept me sort of busy wandering around and helping people figure out where they were, and finally...we sat down in the front row, Father talked to everyone, and we walked out the back, I shed the top layers, and we started the first part of the service. The Orthodox baptismal service is kind of long, but basically it starts in the foyer, facing away from the altar, renouncing the devil and having prayers read over you. Traditionally you spit on the devil but we just kind of breathed on the ground instead...spitting's messy :P We turned around, pledged ourselves to Christ, knelt, said a few more prayers and got up to say the Creed. That all done, we wandered up to the font at the front of the Church. More prayers were read, and then I sat down because Troy was getting baptised first. When he wandered off dripping to dress again, it was my turn and after a few more prayers I climbed up and down into the tub, and stood there. My godmother rubbed oil on every part of me she could get to, which felt really really weird. Then for each member of the Trinity I knelt down as far as I could without not being able to breathe, and Father threw water and oil over me, then I stood back up again. By the time I got out I may as well have been put fully under, I was that wet! I climbed out into a sheet and towel held by my godmother, and had crosses marked on my face in a cross, my nose, mouth, ears, hands, legs, feet, back...and probably other places that I don't remember! Everything that was done had a prayer that went with it, and everything meant something. The final few things were putting on a new white shirt, and my cross, which is buttery smooth yellow gold and sooo pretty.... anyway, that done, we ran off for me to get dressed, and came back to finish the service. Honestly, after that it's a bit of a blur. I remember the procession around the baptismal font, and standing in front of that altar while the Gospel was read, and Father threatening in a whisper to marry us since we were already there, in white... When I get the photos, my memories will make a bit more sense I think.

Everyone came up to us and wished us kala paradiso (happy paradise, you don't say 'congratulations' because congratulations are only temporary), and kissed both cheeks, and we escaped into the other hall. We just sat around, ate fruit and nuts and nummy pita brought by one of the ladies, drank coffee, and got given presents - we have such generous friends.

After that though, we were exhausted. Everyone went to their respective homes, and we rested for a few hours. I grabbed noodles on the way home and ate them rapidly so I'd get to eat them before I needed to begin the fast for taking communion. Annoyingly, I got really hungry at about 8pm, and couldn't do anything about it! About 9:30 we got a call from Jeremy asking to meet at Troy's place (halfway between) as he was running late. It was bucketing down with rain so Dad and I jumped in the car as fast as we could, and drove through huuuuuge puddles. By the time we got down there it had stopped raining though, so that was good. I went in, grabbed Troy, and then Jeremy got there so we jumped in his car and drove to Church. We were still early - 'arabic time' amuses me. I'd left my candle home (silly kyri) but there was some decorated ones at Church so I picked one up and we started the service, sitting with my godmother and daniel. It was one of those services where not understanding the arabic (and it was mostly in arabic) really didn't matter. Every now and then a hymn or something would be in english (thankyou, Jeremy and Abouna), and I'd catch up to where we were in the service. Wonderfully, it wasn't raining for our procession (though apparently it was for the one at my other church), so we went out to have some more of the service outside...and then back to the Church door, where Abouna took the role of Christ, and banged hard on the doors of the Church telling them to open up. The people inside (the devil and hades, basically) yelled back who is it? "The King of Glory!" "Who is this King of Glory?" "The Lord strong and mighty..." eventually, he 'smashed the doors open' and we all ran in, still chanting, and swung all the chandeliers which was good fun. FUN! The service went from that, and a LOT of chanting of Xristos Anesti/Al'Masih Qam, which is actually a longer hymn:
"Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life", to the DL service (ie Mass), except we kept chanting Xristos Anesti instead of other hymns that we would do normally. A very joyous service, good fun. And we got mentioned in the which point I promptly turned bright red...and I took Communion for the first time. It' To hear 'the handmaid of God, Kyriaki...' is...there are no words to describe :) The peanut gallery in the choir applauded as we took Communion, which was weird but nice. As we walked back to our pew the lady that sits in front of us informed me that I could get my own antidoron (blessed bread, we grab it as we come back from Communion and eat it/give it to those who can't take Communion/both), so she didn't need to do it! We'll get some for our friend who usually sits with us though.

After the service was over we collected eggs, kissed a thousand people saying "Al'Masih qam" "Hakan qam", smashed eggs with one another and ate them (they're boiled), ate baklava, talked, and then escaped over to Greekchurch where we had been promised double fried chicken by our friend Nikos. And it was there...and the bishop was there too, so we kissed his hand...and ate food...and there was sushi...and sashimi, which the bishop was trying to get my friend Andrew to eat...and it was so much fun and we were soooo dead by the time we finally escaped at 4am. I got home about 4:45, and fell into bed.

Today has been peaceful but I feel very dehydrated for some reason, and I'm exhausted for obvious reasons. I'm hoping to get a good night's sleep tonight and then we'll see how the week goes :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

1 day - Holy Wednesday + Holy Thursday

This will be quick. Things have shifted gears to being even more nuts, so I'm grabbing a few minutes to type this at 1:15 in the morning after coming home from Church.

Wednesday. Well... I slept, Wednesday morning rather than going to Progeismena, which I really needed, but I didn't sleep enough. Most of Wednesday I just hung around the house, except for buying a new recipe magazine and making up a bag of dried fruit and nuts to snack on because there's practically nothing else around (that's reasonably healthy) that I can eat. I dozed for an awful lot of it, having lit the candle by my bedside in front of the icons. I've been so tired recently, I could use all the help I can get. That evening I got all dressed up, bought a bottle of olive oil, and caught the train into the city to meet Troy and Jeremy - and went to Church. The service Wednesday night is the sacrament of Holy Unction - healing of both soul and body, and was one of the more beautiful services to just listen to I've been to. Something I've really appreciated during Holy Week is that we have no real need for sermons, there is so much theology in the hymns which elaborate on the Gospel/epistle readings. We sometimes get homilies as well though :) Long story short, it's a very long, beautiful service with several Gospel and epistle readings (after each other), and with each of the sets of readings a new...well, they're like little metal discs with a wick in them that float - a new one got added to the bowl that the priest had poured a little oil from each persons' bottle into. It was a very cool lamp! Eventually there were 7 (I think) and it glowed! At the end, we all lined up, kissed the book of the Gospels and the Cross, and then had a cross marked in oil on our forehead, hands and throat with a blessing from the priest.
We took Troy home, and then I slept at Jeremy's so I could get up in the morning for church, and actually got to sleep quite early.

Church this morning... well, it started at 6. So I got up at 5:30. Ugh. It was worth it though - a weird service, for the Mystical Supper (aka the Lord's/Last Supper), a combination of Vespers (evening service - yes we were doing it in the morning, yes I know that's weird) and the Divine Liturgy (mass). Lots of the once a year people came - just in time for Communion, having stayed home for the rest of the service, and then left as soon as they had taken it. Sigh. If you can't say anything nice.... so I'm not going to say any more about that.
Jeremy had to work, but was working from home, so we went back to his place and he worked while I pulled out my arabic textbook and started trying to learn it a bit. It's not as hard as it looked when I first saw it, but it's not easy either. Writing it is fun! Lots of sweeping curves, like writing cursive. I got a few exercises done - most of the first chapter, and my vocab list now has five words on it. Now to try and LEARN them!
After that experience. Troy met us at the Church and we talked to Father about stuff - mostly, our backgrounds and he asked us a lot of questions to make sure we actually knew stuff before we got baptised. Apparently we answered well enough :) And then... well, it's hard to explain, and I'm not going to go into it because I can't find a way to do it. But we had Confession for the first time (though strictly speaking it's not the sacrament as we're not baptised...complicated) and whatever I thought Confession would be like, it's not. Very hard to explain, but very beautiful, and I felt much lighter. Everyone's told me 'you know, you don't confess to the priest', and I never understood that until now. You don't even look at the priest - you're staring at the carpet or at the icon of Christ that you're kneeling before. He's just a witness. Beyond that, I'll not say more. Some things are just too private to talk about.
We spent the afternoon just being blobs at Troy's house while Jeremy did some more work at his, and we had the usual drama with busses and Troy not having the internet so not being able to check the train timetable and trying to get in contact with his housemate and her not answering her phone and... in the end, we got to Church - we got lost in the process, and we were technically late, but the service started half an hour late anyway so not an issue. Tonight's service was for the Crucifixion and hoo boy. There is no honest way of describing this service.
Twelve Gospel readings, and you stand for all of them - and they're LONG. In between, the hymns explore the themes and events of the Gospel that was just read, and they go from the Mystical Supper all the way to the soldiers guarding the tomb. Very long service, very beautiful one, including a very memorable procession - and an icon...well, it's kind of like a 2D statue. Th Cross is one 'statue', but it's wooden and flat, painted. Hanging on it is a 'statue' of Christ - cut the shape, but flat, and then painted. Hard to explain, but you can't look at it and not be moved. The cross is taller than I am when it's in its stand in the centre of the Church. This was carried out by the priest in procession a couple times, completely in the dark except for candles...haunting.
Again, the 'countdown' - each of the candlestands at the front had the normal candles lit, but around each of them there were 6 tapers, and one was lit after every Gospel until they were all lit. These things are just...wonderful.

Not-Greek-Church ends up finishing early a LOT, so we went from there with Daniel (Jeremy had choir practice) to Greek-Church where it was standing room only so we went into the hall that had a live video screen of inside the Church. We sat with Jo, and stood for the Gospels and anything we understood - and I must confess, we talked a bit during the long hymns and readings that we couldn't understand. Usually on spiritual things...but we were talking. So was everyone else in the hall though, so...

We hung around, talked, laughed, ate bread and oreos (totally vegan and oil free, woohoo) and watched the first part of the Passion of the Christ, which none of us liked. So we turned it off, and came home!

I'm going to go pass out now. I don't think I'll have a chance to write before Sunday - so I'll see you then, if not before.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Holy Tuesday pt 2

Apparently I'm not the only getting totally confused by what day it is - Jeremy can't remember what day it is either, and we ended up using the tv programs that were on tonight at his house while we were eating dinner to figure it out. You know it's holy week when...

actually, that's a decent idea for a list. Here a few of the things that I've been discovering -

You know it's Holy Week when:
  • vegetable soup is so totally a food group. ditto rice
  • pasta tastes perfectly good on its own, thanks
  • your sister points out that you were reciting the Trisagion prayers and Psalm 50 (51) while you were chopping up vegies for soup
  • you can't remember what day it is, but you know what time all the services were today and exactly how much sleep you *should* get tonight
  • you can tell everyone exactly what happened on every day of Holy Week in the Gospels
  • reading prayer books by candlelight is perfectly normal
  • you realise you haven't checked your email all day at midnight
  • you pack clothes for an overnight stay where you're going to be going to Church in the morning, and automatically pack black/navy everything
  • you've figured out how to do the small prostration (bow from the waist to touch the floor then cross yourself) holding a chunky lighted candle
  • you've figured out how to do full prostrations with a lighted candle
  • you've decided that you don't care how silly it looks, scarves tied babushki style (under the chin) don't fall off the way they do practically every other way
  • there are palm crosses in every room of your house
  • someone says 'glory...' and you automatically finish it with 'to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and to the ages of ages amen'. bonus points for doing it in a foreign language
  • you feel out of place when everyone's speaking english
  • you have hymns stuck in your head and weird people out as you chant 'Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, doxa si O Theos' in the shower
  • your eyes hurt in bright light at coffee hour
  • you finish 'forever and ever' with 'and to the ages of ages amen' (though this one's more a 'you know you're Orthodox when' thing)
  • you are scouring recipe books for Pascha recipes, while observing the strictest form of the fast
  • nestissmo is an english word, right?
  • you mark off tomorrow's date by accident on your calendar when you get home
  • you've discovered the best ways to lean on pews during reeaaaalllyyyy long Gospel readings
  • you have almost set someone's hair on fire with your candle. Multiple times.
  • you and your friend try to juggle a heavy prayer book, a fan and a massive lit candle between the two of you and manage to cross yourself multiple times at the same time
  • four hours sleep is a good night's sleep
  • you go to a service that begins at 7:30, and get there at 7:20, when you usually don't get up before 10
  • you start to forget that there is a normal world
  • your family start wondering if your crazy is contagious
  • your family start asking when you're going to become a nun
  • your sister announces that she's sick of vegetable soup, and you say oh good more for me
  • loukoumia is the best snack ever
  • you can understand half the gospel when it's read in Greek/Slavonic/Arabic, even though you don't speak much of the language
  • you can chant hymns you don't chant any other time of the year in several languages
  • you realise that you've only been home for six hours total today, and you're about to go out again...and not get home until midnight
  • bus drivers ask why you're so dressed up to go into the city on a Tuesday night, and then you end up telling them a paraphrased version of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins
  • bread is more of a staple food than ever before
  • you can't eat eggs, but you handle a zillion of them while dying them red
  • you wonder where you can find a wooden egg, or egg shaped rock, to paint red and beat everyone in the egg cracking
  • you plan dishes of sausage with cheese, and LOTS of chocolate, for Pascha
  • you don't expect to sleep before dawn on Easter Sunday
  • you've figured out how to do prostrations even when your skirt is long and narrow and you step on the hem
  • prostrations don't bother you in the slightest anymore, hard work? what do you mean?
  • you do, however, envy your priests ability to bounce from prostration to standing up again without moving his feet
  • you find yourself muttering litanies and psalms in foreign languages absent mindedly
  • you haven't read anything or watched anything fictional in days
  • you answer every invitation by non-Orthodox friends with 'sorry, it's easter' 'what, all week!?!?!?!' 'yup.'
  • you never realised how many black skirts and blouses you owned
that's addictive. I better stop and go to bed, I need to survive tomorrow night.

Tonight was beautiful. A lot of the things on that list happened today, including me making 'prayer soup' which is kind of like a minestrone. I call it prayer soup because a) I eat it during fasts (more like, live on it) and b) I basically throw a bunch of vegies, beans, pasta and tomatoes in a pot and pray that it works!

Now I am going to go pass out, and refuse to get up in the morning. Sounds wonderful.

4 days - Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday pt 1

I was told that Holy Week is nuts. Now I understand!

I had a non-Church day yesterday until the evening, but I was shopping with my mum for the last few things I needed clothes-wise for Saturday. You need sunglasses to look at me all dressed up in bright white! It's good fun. Now that's organised, and I'm a bit more relaxed on that side of things. I got very tired though, and ended up resting lots. I got some other clothes, too - mostly things that I needed, but also a top that I didn't need but is beautiful and we got on sale. Black and white, kimono style, very comfy.

I came home and rested, and then went out again to koorong (protestant bookstore chain here) to get Jeremy's name day present - the new OSB (a version of the Bible mostly based on the NKJV but the Old Testament is translated from older manuscripts in our bibles) has just come out, and he needs a case for it, right? *smile* They have really good ones with plenty of pockets, and hardwearing...and best of all, they're canvas on the, what's a needlewoman to do with all that blank canvas? I've got a lot of spare moments, just not at home, so I'm going to take my tailor's chalk, needles, and deep reds, greens, blues, golds, whites, purples.... the case is black, so I'll use the liturgical colours. I'm putting his name on it, and a Cross, we'll see what else beyond that. Mine's going to have a peacock, an ancient Christian symbol of eternal life. Troy assumed I was going to x-stitch it, but I don't think so. It doesn't need it, and decorative stitches will work just as well.

After that I met Jeremy in the city at his work, then we went to pick up Troy and get to the bridegroom service, this time in Greek. They messed a few things up, much to our amusement, but most people wouldn't have noticed. Beautiful, beautiful. All the lights were down very low there too, which just added to it... and I get to go again tonight! Everyone is 'dressing dark', in purples, blacks, navy. Technically red isn't a 'dark' colour but it's not mandated that we dress dark, and it's better than wearing my white jacket! The colours match the mood of the services, and the week in general. I've never experienced a religion that acts out the intellectual side of things practically like this before - even the anglicans and catholics always seemed somewhat like they were playing a role. This is just honest - we don't dress dark because we 'should', we do because it's how we feel. How could you not feel sober, dressed like this, holding candles, while the choir chants solemnly:
Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching; and again unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest thou be overcome with sleep, lest thou be given up to death, and be shut out from the Kingdom. But rouse thyself and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God, through the Mother of God, have mercy on us.

Best of all is that when we sorrow, we sorrow...and when we rejoice, we REALLY rejoice! Pascha is going to be wonderful.

I am getting my days thrown out of whack though - because our liturgical day starts at sundown, and we have been having the services for monday on sunday night, tuesday on monday night, etc, I keep thinking it's wednesday! Not necessarily a bad thing though :)

I slept on Niki's floor last night, on a futon mattress she keeps under the bed. It was just easier than trying to get to a 7:30 service from my house, 45 minutes away. It was hard enough to get up as it was! Service this morning was worth it though - presanctified liturgy, in Greek, and I wasn't chanting! And I got to hold the beautiful Photini after, too - my friend Eleni's little girl who is about 5 months old and very chubby, and adorable.

And now I am home, resting for a while, before I go out again tonight. I really need a nap, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to as it's during the day. Lots of coffee instead maybe :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

5 Days - Palm Sunday

I've had a full day again, and now I'm tired and thinking about going to bed. Fair warning for those who don't want to read it - the next few days are going to be not about stitching, but about life (as usual) and a LOT about religion, specifically praxis (the living out of) during Holy Week. This week is our high holy days for the year, and I'm in that mindframe - and that's pretty much what I'm doing, too, being at Church. Tune in for your regularly scheduled stitchiness next week (I think.) Please do read though, it's actually interesting, and I'm explaining things as it's all new to me too.

I got up earlyish today to get ready for Church - Palm Sunday! This begins Holy Week, for us. Sober, beautiful...

Palm Sunday is a much bigger deal in the Orthodox Church than it ever was in any of my previous churches. Added to this, Troy's friends Daniel and Connor came and they're not used to Orthodox services...hoo boy :)
We did Orthros (Matins) and Divine Liturgy, as usual - except, being a Great Feast, a bunch of the hymns changed slightly, we skipped some things, and we added others. When you rely on the service book because half of it's in Arabic (as Troy's friends) did, that makes life complicated, and when the girl next to you (me) has the changeable parts all typed out. They didn't seem to mind though. The Church was decorated - I posted a photo of what it looks like a few days ago, and the things used in procession were decorated too which I hadn't seen. The lanterns on poles, crosses, etc, all had flowers and palms tied to them. I didn't get a photo, but you can probably imagine. When the service ended (and I've never seen the temple so full!!) we all headed out in procession - the lantern, cross, etc, bearers at the front, followed by the choir, and Abouna (Father), and then the rest of us carrying blessed palms and olive branches and candles. Around the entire block! It would have been interesting to watch for someone who didn't know, I think! Good fun.

After that we wandered over to greekchurch to see our other priest (who is baptising us), and have lunch, which was....interesting. Church politics are complicated. Anyway, that unhappiness aside, I learned how to make greek coffee, got to look through the new OSB (a Bible with the old testament translated from the Septuagint, which is what we use, rather than the later hebrew texts), decided what to make Jeremy for his name day gift and sorted through some of the formalities of our baptisms. Our names are decided once for all now, including their spelling, and now we just need to survive Holy Week and turn up on Saturday!
I hung out with Jo and a bunch of other friends, and got a new komboiskini - a prayer rope, which is used for counting rote prayers - same principle as a rosary, but less structured and we usually only say one prayer on it (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the/a sinner), mine's 33 knots long and the size of a bracelet - which is why it's currently on my wrist, and going to stay there. I had one, and so did Troy, but I have beaded ones so I gave Troy mine when he lost his. Then he went and lost that one too, and I can't sleep with a beaded one wrapped around my wrist and leave it home a lot. So, I've got a new one now. This one's got a gold coloured diamond bead to join the loop, rather pretty. Prayer ropes are generally knotted, and made out of wool - usually black. They can be anything from 33 knot (the smallest I've seen, and the most common) through 50, 100, more.... I've never seen anything bigger than 100 knot one though!

Jo's mum invited us to their place for a while, so a bunch of us went there and she fed us - fish (it's a great feast, so fish is allowed, YAY), dolmades, coleslaw made without mayonnaise, chips and stuff, and best of all - honeycomb to chew on. YUMMMMM. I also got given a bunch of table covers in red gauze with gold embroidery, which were a gift they don't use and I like, and some greek biscuits (cookies) I forget the name of but have had before.

Finally we had the Bridegroom Service tonight - long story, but it's a solemn service that's held Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights of Holy Week - only about an hour long, and remembering the events of the following days (ie we commemorated Monday's tonight) in the Gospel accounts. Weird, but true - our liturgical day is like the Jewish one, we start the day at sundown, so on the Church calendar it's technically Monday. Just...hauntingly beautiful. And we dropped in to see Niki (my godmother) who bought me some shoes (yay! they're gorgeous) for when I dress up after, and other practical things that I need, and wanted to touch base with me. I'm staying at her place tomorrow night after Church, so I can go to Church again in the morning - 7:30am start, I must be nuts. At least she only lives 5 minutes drive from the Church!

And now I'm home. And tired. And going to bed soon. I need to eat something though, preferably something with meat and dairy in it as I begin a proper fast (vegan) this week as it's Holy Week, even if I've been following a modified Rule before due to being sick. I'm sure I'll find something :) Mac'n'cheese with tuna maybe.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

One week

This time next week, I'll be being baptised. That's a wonderful, if somewhat terrifying, thought. I'm not ready, but Jeremy says he's still not and it's been three years since he was baptised, so I suppose I have to accept that I never will be!

Manda (doll) and I went to the city yesterday and took photos for a photostory, and I was supposed to have a meeting but I didn't as it was cancelled. So, instead, I wandered around Rundle Mall some more before meeting Jeremy.
I've been on the hunt for a new, warm, jacket/cardigan/sweater/something! for winter, as I only have one, and it's cream and shows the dirt really easily. The last bit's not an issue as long as I can wash it, but usually I need to wear it! So I got a new one, it's knitted and a rusty, mottled red. And very very warm. I took a photo, see:

My new jacket

I've got makeup on in that photo too as there was a place that sells professional makeup and they'll do you up for free, and give you a list of what they used. I like it, because I look healthy again (I've got really pale since I got sick), but it's a lot of work and my eyes felt sleepy earlier, maybe because they were sensitive? I'm not sure, still trying to work that out. It's kind of expensive too. I'm thinking about it :) It was nice to feel pretty, though.

Then I wandered down to my spot where I'd arranged to meet Jeremy before Church. I snapped a photo of that view, too, it's lovely at night.


After he picked me we went to greek-church to pick up candles because the priest from the other church had asked us to. So I got to see both priests in a night which was lovely, they're both so beautiful. While we were there, I saw my friend Jo as she'd been to the service there which was much earlier. So we grabbed her, too, and told her she had to come to church with us! So, five minutes later, we were all at not-greek-church. Jo's greek, so she's used to understanding the services...and this was all in arabic, with the odd bit of english or greek thrown in...hehehehehehe.... we got out at the end, and we'd been translating the odd bits and pieces for her, but mostly she didn't understand. She told me 'I'm never going to take you coming to church [and not understanding the language] for granted ever again!' I just laughed. We introduced her to the priest there, and then headed out for coffee. Before we left, though, I got photos of the iconostasis (the wall of icons between the altar and the main part of the temple/church) all decorated up for Palm Sunday which is this weekend.

St Elias before Palm Sunday (with Jeremy and Huwaida)

Please click, and even go to the full size, it's worth it. The two people are Jeremy and a lady from church who chants, often. The big icons are (L->R) St Michael the Archangel, St Elias (patron of the Church), the Theotokos and Christ (Mary), Christ (though the glare obscures this icon), St John the Baptist (yes he's an angel in that photo, angelos means messenger too, so it's a pun), and then finally the St Gabriel the Archangel. The top row are mostly the 12 Apostles, and a couple feasts, too. On the side wall is St John the Baptist baptising Christ.

Well, we said coffee. It ended up being pasta for Jeremy and I, and Jo didn't eat anything. But we sat and talked for a couple hours, and it was nice. Lent can be hard, but it can also be beautiful, and this really was. Fellowship is such a wonderful thing, just to talk, to eat, and to laugh. And be teased a lot!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

9 days

Heh...again, I am a fool.

I keep assuming that my illness is logical, that I can go out, have an exhausting weekend, sleep and rest for a few days and be back to normal. Nope. Does not work like that. I barely did anything yesterday, or today, but by the time I was in the car tonight to come home I could barely walk.

It's irritating, but this is my Stavros - my Cross, to bear. And I'll get there. I just need to stop forgetting important details like those.

Kyrie eleison, Ya Rab raham, Lord have mercy. After six weeks (almost) of Lent, I say these phrases almost as easily as breathing (they all mean the same thing). I know Psalm 50 (51) by heart, prostrations have become second nature, and I'm used to eating calimari for every other meal, and asian for that which isn't calimari! I am sick to death of calimari, give me some KFC already :P I'm not sick of asian yet, thankfully, I think because there's more variety. A week and a bit, and it will be Pascha. Next week is a strict fast for everyone else (no oil, either) but for me I just keep the normal fast (which I haven't been, as I'm sick) when I'm on my own or it's me choosing. Mostly I'll be out with Orthodox people as it's Holy Week though, so I doubt I'll be cooking often enough for it to make a difference - I'll just eat what they eat.

On the topic of things that AREN'T religion, though, I got my chart back for Peaceful Paradise but haven't been home to work on it. Instead, it's been JOB, or when I'm not home (most of the time) I finally got the fabric for Nuts About Autumn so I've been carrying that around, much more practical. No big frame (it's in a hoop), not a big piece of fabric, less floss to worry about. It's nice. A smaller chart, too. My squirrel has a belly, arms, and most of his head, though I haven't filled in the pink for his paws or pink and white for his mouth and teeth yet. He's adorable, I love working on this especially as it stitches up so quickly. I'm not usually fond of small designs as they seem expensive for not much gain, but I might get addicted to these ones I think - maybe enough to do the series, one in each season. No photos, yet. When I get a bit more done, I think :) I've got a meeting tomorrow night to get to in the city though, and then Church after, and helping Father with double sided stickytape (long, sad story), and then Saturday we're going to be out too. So I'll have plenty of spare moments where blocks of colour will be a good option. This stitches up so quickly, I think I'll miss it when it's done. Maybe I should reevaluate my thinking on small pieces, just to carry around - goodness knows I spend enough time on busses and things. I'll have a lot of spare time next week too, out for Holy Week, but I don't know how much of that it'll be appropriate to stitch on. DEFINITELY not Good Friday, it's a Greek tradition that you don't use sharp tools because Christ died due to sharp tools. So no stitching. I don't think I'll have time to do it anyway, between Church services!

I've been reading Les Miserables, slowly, too. I'm almost at the end of volume 1 of my set (of 2) but it's got somewhat slow and background-y again. Some classic novels have so much background you'd never have issues to write's just hard going! And I have no desire to write Les Mis fanfic. The book is really good, I like classic lit, it's just hard. There's a production of the musical at the end of May where I live too, by a decent company, so my friend Andrew and I are planning to try and get a group to go, all in red and black. FUN!

Anyway, this is going to get rambly and make no sense, soon. So I'll stop. But I've had a good last few days, I'm just frustrated by being sick.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

At the end of the day

Here's my work on part 3, and you can see part 2 as well. I didn't take it off the frame because I didn't see the point, and it's fiddly to get on and off.

I think I'm about half done with this part. I've been starting the frame for the next part, too, so I can use up any spare floss, and also so I don't have to do a huge amount of boring work when I start the next part, which is always the deterrent to me when I start a new one.

15th April

I love the irises, they're beautiful. The tree is boring, but I know it will look beautiful as I can already see the other half of it in the second part. I stitched the crane, too, but there's no instruction as to what colour floss to stitch the backstitches at the beak, wings and tail with so I left a message for Martina and I'll add them later. I think the irises were my favourite of the work I did today :) Just lovely shades of pink.

11 Days

I'm taking a break from stitching for a little while as there's only so long you can work on over-one cranes before you start to go nuts. It's worth it, it looks beautiful. There's only one crane in this panel, and it involves three colours. I've done the main one, and I'm working on the secondary one at the moment. The third is just for accents.

Today has been incredibly slow. Yesterday I had the day off because I needed it, today I'm just tired but not in a way that enjoys being in bed, so I'm sitting on the couch but kind of bored. It's Tuesday though, tv night in this house. the news, h&a and neighbours because I have to watch them for school (would you believe!!), it takes two/dancing with the stars and all saints. sometimes I tape NCIS, too. Unlike in america, having a recorder built into your tv/cable thingo isn't that common here, so we still use VCRs. Or download it off the internet.

The frame for this panel is just about done now, and I've been using leftover thread on the next panel's frame. Slowly, surely, I'm getting there.

I just wish it wasn't so cold and quiet today.

JOB returns

I was brilliant, and left the pattern for Peaceful Paradise in Father's office at Church the other day.

So, I pulled out JOB instead, which I've been wanting to work on for ages. And got pt 2 finished! The parts on this really aren't very big, so it's fun to work them up nice and quick.

Here you are, have a picture:
Pt 2 finish 14th April 08

This main part (the sides of the box) is now 1/4 done, the whole thing is 1/6 done. I'm leaving the rhodes stitches in the border and the beading until the end, because my q-snaps don't like them. The only annoying thing is that I can't really work on all of the border while I'm working on other things, but have to shift my q-snaps...but I'll cope. I'll get the very top parts of this scene done, so I can shift the q-snaps and work on the bottom part of the border for this and the next part soon enough.

The bonsai tree is my favourite, it's just so...cute! the leaves are tiny diamond eyelets, and they are so soft and pretty in reality, but hte photo doesn't capture them as well, sigh.

It's after midnight now but I'm not that tired. I've had too much of a restful day, apparently! So I might do a bit more border, and start the next scene. There are irises and mountain in this one, along with the rest of the winter tree. I can't wait to start the irises, they're so pretty!

Monday, April 14, 2008


Ah yes, the semi-regular photopost of doom.

Firstly, here's Peaceful Paradise as of today - as always, everything here is a clickable thumbnail:
14th April 08
(sorry about the shadow on the side, and the creases!)

I've reached the bottom of the text box, and started working sideways, and dipping into working on the scene down the bottom occasionally. I'm still having so much fun, but I left my pattern at Church yesterday (go me) so I'm working on JOB until Wednesday.

And here you go, here's what I got for my birthday:

Pater's Cross

Here's the Cross that Pater gave me. It's now hung on the wall in my room, above my bed. Yes, my room is that colour. Yes, it is very pink. I know that :) I've had my room this colour for years and I've yet to go crazy.
Like I said the other day, each of the little 'bubbles' has ground from the Holy Land - rock, chalk, dirt, sand... and yes the sign says INBI not INRI - because is IS the king of the Jews, he didn't just say it! Orthodox crucifixes change that. The budded ends is characteristic of non-Russian Orthodox Crosses, I'm not exactly sure why but I think the three arcs are for the Trinity, which would make sense. Everything is three times for the Trinity with us! The crosses on my Churches all look like this.


These are the cards I've got so far, I always get a few late ones in the post too. From L->R they are from my parents, Troy's parents, my Grandmother and Nona Niki.

Fabric from Peta

My MIL gave me a bunch of fat 1/8th of William Morris fabric. It's lovely stuff, and it's tucked away for something special - and addition to my fabric 'collection' - she says it's a collection, not a stash, stash implies that I have to use it, and I have a lot of fabric that I just like to keep 'cause it's pretty! A lot of it has gold on it too, so nice. And my favourite colours to work with, too - browns and greens!

From Nona

Nona Niki (my godmother) gave me these - the envelope is from the card, that's my name in Greek on it and I love the clouds! And yay for nummy body scrub that I'm not allergic to.


These are what I also got from Pater - practical gift this time around. Guest bathroom towels for when we get married and they're sooo soft. I love the Greek take on birthday gifts - practical things always win once you get to a certain age. I know that it has its downsides (my friend Jo got pillows for her 18th birthday, lol) but it has a lot of upsides too.

Something completely different, too. I made a quilt for my Personal Project - in the Internation Baccalaureate, when you finish middle school you have to do a PP on something or other. It's often a practical thing, but you have to demonstrate learning. I'd never made a quilt, so a lady from church taught me. This is on our spare bed most of the time, and it's very warm (and got put in pride of place in a bunch of school exhibitions, along with an edwardian costume that another girl made, yay!)

Footprints quilt

Here's the whole quilt, on a single bed. All done in cotton, and the seams are machine stitched but everything else (applique and embroidery) was done by hand. Anything that's not applique is stitched in a DMC cotton, three strands if I remember right. The embroidery took FOREVER, but is totally worth it!

Blocks 1+2
The first two blocks - the first lines of the poem, and two people, one big one little, holding hands. We deliberately went with a naive style for this, so it's not just that I can't draw (though that's true too!)

Blocks 7+10
These are the 7th and 10th blocks. The dolphin is my favourite of all the embroidered blocks - we photocopies him from a colouring book, enlarged it, and then transferred it onto the design (repeatedly, as it kept wearing off) with dressmaker's chalk and tracing paper. The feet were traced from the feet of a little boy of someone we knew (and he giggled like mad when we did it!)

Blocks 11+12

Finally, these are the last two blocks. That's more or less what my handwriting looks like, though it's a little neater now than it was five years ago. We don't get taught this cursive here, this is american style cursive that I kept from when we lived there (as Australian 'cursive' is really ugly) and still use a lot.

Thanks for looking :)

12 days

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

No, a different 12 days :P There's 12 days until my baptism. I'm counting down, 'cause I can.

Yesterday was less mental, but I was even more exhausted by last night than I was the night before. I think this is because I had two very full days in a row - not necessarily full for another person, but for me, very.

Yesterday I had DL in the morning, but Jeremy was late so we worried that we'd miss the matins psalms, and so we tried desperately to remember the numbers and I pulled my pocket bible out of my handbag, and read them on the way. Then we got there, and they hadn't even started, despite our being at least 15 minutes
After Church they had a felafel lunch, with crunchy pickles in the wrapped up felafel...oh yum. We sat around and talked, and ate, and then there was someone there who doesn't have a car, recently arrived from Lebanon, and he needed to go to the big shopping centre (mall) that is sort of in the direction of my house, so Jeremy and I drove him there. We had a great conversation about history, Islam, whether religion matters in politics or not, Lebanon in general, and varying other things. On the drive back to Jeremy's place for the afternoon he and I talked about the charismatic christian (ie pentecostal, but not necessarily denomination-wise) world that I grew up in, and rules for things like speaking in tongues in Church etc etc. I grew up charismatic, but no longer agree with most of what I grew up with, but Jeremy was lutheran and thoroughly non-charismatic at that, so it was weird to talk about it all.
Back at Jeremy's he went off to read a book, and his sister had members of her netball team there, and they were going to watch a movie so I asked if I could come watch, and being told yes I plonked myself down on the floor. It was "Stomp the Yard" - totally plot-less, really, but awesome dancing, and that's why we were watching it.

Later in the afternoon Jeremy and I left for church again - Vespers at one of the Greek churches we don't usually go to, but is incredibly beautiful inside...I love fully painted Orthodox Temples (strictly speaking, the building is a 'temple', ναός, not a 'church' (ie the body of people), εκκλησία, though the greeks are slack with calling it a church too) and this one is one of the nicer ones I've seen. It was advertised as being in english, but most of the people there were oldies...and the bishop was greek it was. Oh well. I love vespers, especially the Sunday night one during lent when they turn all the lights off after the sunset hymn, and the priest changes his vestments from light (joyful, for Sunday is a feast of the resurrection) to dark (sorrow, for lent), and the altar cloth gets changed too, behind the shut royal doors. Just...beautiful.
After that, there was going to be a lecture in the hall but it was in greek and my little group of friends Jeremy and I don't speak greek well enough to have understood, and the others expected it to be really academic so Jo, her friend, Illia, Jeremy and I went for coffee nearby, and talked, and ranted, and laughed, and I ate a foccacia with smoked salmon and cream cheese on it because Jeremy told me to, and we left to go get our cars. When we came back, Father was getting in his car - he hadn't been there during the service, presumably because he had Vespers at his own church, and he was about to pull out from the curb when we as a group walked up the the car in his lane. He half pulled out, looked at us...and reversed back in. We all chatted to him through the window, and then he had to go so we got out of the way. We met another priest in the carpark (parking lot) too, but I was totally exhausted and about to fall over so we couldn't stay to talk long...came home...and I crashed.

Today I've basically been sleeping, and lying in bed. I'm trying to rest as much as possible, taking it very easy. I need time to let my body recover. This weekend has been so worth it though, I have the best group of friends, and family, ever.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Happy Day

Oh, if I was more happy I would pop. I have such wonderful friends!

Today started off a little stressful because we realised that the place we were going for lunch was closed on the last, half an hour before we had planned to meet there. ARGH! So...we found somewhere else and rang/messaged everyone to let them know. Father had asked me what I was doing for my birthday on Thursday and so I invited him if he was up this way, and so I messaged him with the updated details just in case. So, Troy, his parents, my parents, my sister, me, sister's boyfriend and Jeremy all went for lunch at another place near there, which was lovely, and it was still good food. And my Mum made Troy (whose birthday it was last weekend) and I a very nummy nestissimo (fast friendly - ie no dairy, no eggs) chocolate cake with sultanas in and chocolate icing/frosting... And Father came!! That was wonderful :) he came, which was wonderful enough, and we probably weirded out Troy's family and everyone else in the restaurant because we got up and kissed his hand to say hello, but we didn't think of that at the time. But he brought me a present - classic Greek gift, something for my 'dowry'. Lovely guest towels with gold edging - and something that wasn't the classic gift, a wooden Orthodox crucifix with the budded ends, and on each arm's end is a little glass 'bubble' with ground from the Holy Land in it - soil, dirt, rock, chalk... it's beautiful, and it's now hung up in the living room in my icon corner until I put a hook above my bed to hang it from. It would be perfectly appropriate in the icon corner, but I want it above my bed. And we lit the candles on the cake and sang happy birthday twice, once for me and once for Troy. And gave Father a piece of cake, and told him he had to eat it, and that he wasn't allowed to give it away to anyone else! We know him too well...he never keeps gifts unless you force him to somehow. He sat down, and talked to us, and met my sister, which was fun as she hadn't met him before. He had to go after a while but it meant so much that he came at all.

A lot of bread, and a plate of prawn pasta later, we found ourselves still drinking Jeremy's bottle of wine and talking. Troy and his family had to go as his Mum had to work, but we stayed, drank coffee, and talked some more. His Mum gave me a present too - a bundle of fat 1/8ths of quilting fabric, all William Morris designs. I like the way she thinks...and buys presents...they're wonderful colours and designs. Lots of gold. Eventually we drove my Dad home, and I reminded Jeremy that he had to teach Saturday School (religious lessons at the Church for the kids) so we drove to the Church...and noone came... but the priest (different one, I have three Churches, for those that don't know) was there and he called me birthday girl a thousand times, and it was nice anyway. Jeremy did some typing so that Daniel and I could follow the service tomorrow, and I did some work on Peaceful Paradise, which Father liked, and he made me tea as I was the birthday girl. Eventually we had to leave for Vespers, at yet another Church, and we got there late but they hadn't started as Jeremy is one of the two chanters and the other one doesn't like chanting without him. And my godmother, and my friend Joanna were there, which was wonderful! I like having company, and Saturday evening services are not popular, for reasons you can probably guess. Daniel was there too, as usual, which was nice. So both godparents were there - Jeremy might not officially be one, but he might as well be. He's Troy's godfather, anyway. So...the service was its usual lovely self, and afterwards we stood around to talk, but the priest had to go see someone in hospital, and it was decided that I should be taken out to they did! There were five of us so we all fit in Jeremy's car and there was no sense taking four, so we all piled in and went to North Adelaide to get dinner - there's a great asian restaurant up the northern end of O'Connell St, and we went there. My goodness...I wasn't that hungry and neither was Nona (godmother), so we ordered soup, and Jo got fried rice. Heh. The soup bowls were massive! Mine was a prawn laksa, and Nona's Tom Yum, and the two guys got black bean squid and a seafood hotpot. This place has so much good nestissimo food... we were totally stuffed after our couple hours of eating and drinking and talking and laughing. Eventually we couldn't move, went to pay the bill and noone would let me pay... and we went back to the car though Jeremy wouldn't let Jo and I (who both have the same things) walk and ran on to get the car, and we went back to the Church, dropped them off and drove home.

And now I'm home, and happy, and floating on air. No pictures, because I left my camera in Jeremy's car (Kyri is smart, she promises...just forgetful...), but I'll try and get some tomorrow after Church. Tomorrow has two services too - in the morning we have Matins and Divine Liturgy, and in the evening one of the Greek churches is doing Vespers all in english, yay! It's a youth-y thing, so I should see a lot of friends there. Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that Nona gave me a lovely card, too, and a tub of yummy bathy stuff that I'm not allergic to (always a bonus).

Now... I think I am going to change into my pyjamas and curl up and sleep. I am so happy I could float away - this has been the best birthday I've had in years. I love my friends, and my family.


As of an hour and a half ago, I am twenty years old. COOL! No longer a teenager, yay.

I am tired, again, but as it's 1:28am that's kind of my fault. Today's been...long. And not. Hard to explain. I've been working on my sister's dress, mostly, which involved a trip to spotlight to pick up cording and a pattern for something I can make to wear for my baptism - I have pants, I need a top. I found a gorgeous tunic type thing, which will look lovely I think.

Tonight was the Akathist - the whole, massively long thing. It was wonderful, hard to explain exactly why, especially as so much was in Arabic! I stood (Akathist literally means 'not sitting down') happily next to the chanter's desk, holding on for parts of the service - it's perfect height for me to do this - with my service book and enjoyed it, especially once I got the hang of the arabic for "Most holy Theotokos, save us" * and could chant with everyone else. After four weeks, on the fifth one we finally got good at it...and now it's over for the year. Oh well.

Father for some reason I don't know/understand didn't have his car, so Jeremy said he'd take him home - he lives another half hour at least beyond where I live from the Church. He had a lot of fruit and vegetables to put in the car so asked Jeremy for the keys...and then didn't give them back :) He drove us to his house, and that was fun. We spent the hour-long (at least) trip chanting, mostly - in arabic, english and greek. Bits and pieces from Vespers, Compline, the Akathist, resurrection troparia, Agni Parthene (which is a (long) hymn, not technically part of any service but it's well loved and I've heard it done in multiple languages)... good fun! He gave us each an apple and a banana (mows in arabic - much to my amusement, I expect it to squeak!) and Jeremy and I chattered our way home. It seemed much later than it was, I sat and stitched (mostly border, and some text), and then after reading a bit more of Les Mis (he's digressed into describing a really interesting but really totally irrelevant history of an convent at the moment) I jumped on here. And after posting this, I'll probably go to sleep.

Sally and Karan, thanks so much for your lovely comments :) I'll try to have a new photo soon - it's grown MORE would you believe!

* this doesn't actually refer to salvation in the classic western (ie protestant) view of things. It's more save/help us, and as we don't believe that she's dead but rather alive in heaven with Christ, as are all the Saints and departed faithful it's perfectly reasonable by that logic to assume that she can pray for us - seeing Christ himself, no less, and maybe even help more :) She is the King's mother... anyway, thought I'd add that as it's a common misunderstanding when people hear about such things in our Liturgy!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Right, it's ALL DONE.

I've got a lot done since I took this photo yesterday, actually, but it'll do - I don't want to take it off the frame until I've got a bit more done.

9th April 08

I debated whether to start the frame below (with the pastoral scene) when I got to the bottom of the text frame and started working the border horizontally. Eventually, curiosity won out! I plan to mostly put in the pale green for the grass though, concentrating on the text, and use up bits and pieces of threads from the text and ornaments. It's cute though - I have the very beginning of the grass' border, and two flower stalks.

The last few days have been a bit odd. Troy's eyes are really playing up, so he's up here and mostly lying down. Poor thing. Presanctified Liturgy was last night, which was beautiful as usual though a little confusing because we did a bunch of it in Arabic too, and the Arabic book is confusing for Arabic speakers! Eventually we sorted it out... Also, the bulletin needed folding and putting in envelopes, so we helped with that, and I've volunteered to help each month - it's not hard, I'm used to the work from when I used to do it for my job, and it's nice to be useful. So we had me, Jeremy, Abouna, Jeremy's godfather and Khouria (the priest's wife) all working away sorting, stapling, folding, putting in envelopes... it was actually a lot of fun. And I learned (a very tiny bit) of arabic, though I get the gist of most of what is said around me - the number 2 is ithnan, though I can't get my tongue around it yet (it's harder than it looks written in text!), and tea is chai, which makes sense to me :) I learned 2 because that's how many spoons of sugar I wanted in my tea! Sweet tea without milk has not tasted that good in ages... Khouria asked if we wanted sugar, or sugar with ants, as there were ants in the sugar bowl...and that led to remembering Jeremy's baptism, when the hose hadn't been used in ages and was full of ants, so they baptised a bunch of ants, too...I can just imagine all the ants with halos turning up to greet Jeremy when he gets to heaven. Shukran is thankyou, too.

Today is a lazy day. My body is in a supremely bad mood, so I'm going to take it easy. Check the mail, maybe make some ANZAC biscuits (not sure, but they're easy and I could probably get Troy to do the stirring), do a lot of stitching, take some more painkillers...*grins*

Oh yes, before I end - I've recently rediscovered this icon-

It's the Theotokos - Mother of God, and this particular icon is called The Joy of all That Sorrow. In San Francisco there's a big Russian cathedral with this name, and I'm rather fond of it. In the icon, she is shown as a flower, and the people around are asking for her intercession, and receiving what it is that they need. I can't find a copy of it as a print though, so I might have to get one written...or ask Pater and see what we can do about a hunt :) It's not a Greek icon though, which makes it harder

Anyway, off to stitch!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Post with no name

The clutter in my house is starting to get to me again, I might have to do a drastic clean again. Or finish my sewing at least so I can put my sewing machine and cabinet away!

I think I wore myself out over the past few days - I did a lot on Sunday, and then again yesterday (which was supposed to be a downtime day) I was out of the house driving my dad and my grandmother places. Today my head is kind of in a fog, and I'm trying to make myself get the motivation to do some cooking so I can eat a meal for the first time in about 24 hours. Food just seems unimportant while I'm like this, and I know that's not a good thing. I've got the mac'n'cheese packed on the cupboard, give it an hour and I'll probably have made and eaten it.

The weather the last few days has been beautiful - 32 yesterday, supposed to be 29 today. It's nice after the bitter cold of last week! Autumn here in South Australia is a very weird season, it jumps from summer to winter and back again at least once a week it seems.

I have sad news - three of my rats have died recently, very close together. None of them were a total surprise, but it's still sad. Champagne was almost 4, which is OLD for a rat, with smallish tumours...Sofia had large tumors and was six months to a year younger, and Sosspiri was my sister's rat and always sickly. I hadn't been up in a couple days to feed them, and went up to find them gone, and the younger two escaped! I know where they are, they're in a junk room, built a nest, and I put out food and water which they ate when I wasn't there. They let me pat and stroke them, but not catch them (I got bit in the middle of the thumb for my troubles, and let me tell you, rat bites HURT), so we're going to try Bindi's boyfriends' possum trap, and put them in the inescapable cage that Soss was in. We thought Soss was the only escape artist, but apparently not...anyway, they're irritating, but I'm glad they're still alive.

Speaking of pets, my Dad's suggested that I get a kitten last night - longer lasting, and I can have it in the house as my doc won't let me have the rats inside the main house anymore because we're not sure what's making me sick. So...fluffball kitten sometime soon YES! Pet deaths choke me up at the time, but I get over them fairly quickly...I'm not sure if that's a bad thing, a learned thing, or what? It's sad, I'll miss them, but it doesn't make me bawl my eyes out. I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to or not. Maybe I'm just being me (ie weird) again.

My arms are killing me, mostly from stitching I think, but I'm stitching because I can't be bothered paying attention to the pain. There's real pain, and there's illness aches. I long ago stopped listening to the latter if I can possibly help it, because they're just a fact of life now. My feet hurt, my neck hurts, my legs ache and so do my hands. And probably other places that I'm ignoring. That's just life now. I'm no less sick than I was a year ago, I just cope with it better now.

Time is a funny thing at the moment. It just...passes. it's like the time of my life and the real world's time are two different things. In my own world, it's like everything lasts forever, and is normal time. But outside, everything moves so quickly! I think it's partly because I spend so much time at home, or at Church, and time doesn't pass that quickly in either place.

I had a math class today, and thankfully I still remember all this work, so this unit should be easy. Oh, and I got my test back for the unit we just finished - 53/60, THANKYOU. I should get the best math grade I've ever had this report card! Now if I can just keep that up...

It's funny how I decide on what I will and won't do now - I sit here on the couch and think hmm, i'd like to sew Bindi's dress, but that means getting on the floor and getting back up again and heavy fabric. I don't think I'm up to that. So I sit and type, or stitch. But other days I'll get it into my head that the house needs cleaning, I want to make muffins, I want to sew, something. And I'll do it. I don't really know what the difference is in the two days, or whether my illness is any different on those days. I just know that mentally I can cope some days, and not others.

So I'll stay here, stitching. I am getting so, so close to finishing the sky - a couple hundred stitches, if that, and only four more rows left of text to start - I am stitching a length of thread into each line at the right side of the piece so that I make sure the border is correct, and also because if I work on this side part of the work, I can shift my q-snaps over the border and get on with everything else once I've made it to the bottom of the piece. Two of those rows aren't actually text, either. One is a strawberry border piece, and one is a rectangular ornament, and then I'm down to the bottom border of the text block, and into the scene at the bottom. I'm hoping to stitch these two rows of pages sort of together, with the different colours in the scene breaking up the monotony of all the black text, and the text breaking up the monotony of the grass which I have a sinking feeling will be like stitching the sky. Long, and boring.

If I finish the sky, I'll take a photo :)

ETA: here's a quote from the shoutbox (like a chatroom) on one of my forum sites:
kyriaki: My family have decided I need a (long lasting) pet that can wander around and keep me company
clementofrome: let's see....."a pet that can wander around and keep me company..." Kyriaki, you already have is called a LAPTOP!


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sleepyness and wordisms

Well, I survived a church service with my family - barely, but I did. And I met a Greek Orthodox girl who is a member of my church, but got scared off by the yiayias. I told her to come and meet Father on Thursday, who is very unscary and awesome to boot, and he'd fend off the yiayias so she could come to Church again. We'll see :) Her name is Christina.

In stitchy news, I took peaceful paradise with me and I have now got all the way along the straight part of the sky, and am into the tapering part now. YES! SO CLOSE!

and here's a meme that's going around - thought I'd add my South Aussie take on it:

A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks
A creek, or a gutter!

The thing you push around the grocery store
Shopping trolley. And they're evil, and never work, but better than trying to carry everything.

A metal container to carry a meal in

The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in
Frying pan.

The piece of furniture that seats three people
Couch. Though, a collection of couches is a lounge suite. Don't ask me why.

The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof

The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening
Verandah .

Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages
Soft drink.

A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup

A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself
A roll? The only place you get them here is subway, they're not really an Australian food entity otherwise except as a roll with salad and meat or whatever, if you order that from a deli.

The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach
Bathers. Whether it's a guy or a girl, we all wear bathers.

Shoes worn for sports
Sandshoes, trackshoes.

A flying insect that glows in the dark
Firefly, I suppose. We don't get them here.

The little insect that curls up into a ball

The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goesup while the other sits on the other side and goes down
Basically illegal now, a seesaw.

How you eat pizza
Tip to crust, and I love crusts.

Where private citizens sell their household goods/stuff in their driveway/front yard
Garage sale, regardless of if it's *in* the garage or not.

The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are
Don't have 'em here. The basement though, when we had one in the States.

The thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places
Drinking fountain, but I wouldn't dare try to drink out of one these days!

For all of us with invisible illnesses

...I came across this phrase ages ago, and it's wonderfully snarky.

So, my sister made me up icon/avatars for it :)



and LJ sized:

Sleep, church, oklahoma, results and a photo!

I'm exhausted, but less than this time last night - I slept until 3pm today! My hands are painful though, so I'll be quick.

Today has seemed short because of that, and I got up, got dressed, and went into the city to meet Jeremy. My train got there early, so I wandered up and got a burrito from the mexican takeaway on Hindley St - they do vegan stuff! YES! I mentioned that, and said something about Lent, and the girl behind the counter asked if I was Orthodox. I said yes, and she told me that she was as well, and proceeded to make me up a burrito with everything on it that we can eat, and charged me the cheapest price. I told her thankyou and that I'd light a candle for her!

Jeremy picked me up along with our priest, who needed to go to a meeting in the city. We were supposed to go, but we couldn't and we'd said about not being able to and been ignored, so we figured we'd make a point and just say NO. So we did, and went to Vespers, which was wonderful, as usual. Then we went on to my sister's school's production of Oklahoma, which was actually really good, and came home.

I got results back too - a history test, and a maths assignment that I spent ages working on last weekend. Here in SA we get marks out of whatever, but they get made out of 20 for comparison purposes, and 20s are the ideal. I got 17 and 19, thankyou very much teachers! I'm out of practice with the history stuff, so I'm pleased with a 17, and with humanities subjects getting 20 is particularly hard. And 19!!!! VERY pleased Kyrie.

Oh yes, and a picture of peaceful paradise:
4th April 08

That was taken before I started work on Friday, so I've got a bit done since then, but not a lot. My hands are hurting too much tonight to do any more work on it, so I'm off to sleep! DST ends in an hour or so, so I get an extra hour's sleep. YES!

Saturday, April 05, 2008


I'm sick, and just about at breaking point healthwise, but I'm not sure what to do about it. So I'll wait it out and God-willing it will all settle down!

SBQ for this week:
What items do you consider essential to your needlework that you keep in your stitching bag?
Hahaha...anyone that knows me knows how ironic this is. I swap 'stitching bags' and tote bags often, so it's really a case of whatever I packed. I have a good stitching bag, but it's a bit big and bulky to take on busses and trains so I usually just tuck everything in a spare tote bag, or in the one I'm taking wherever! Usually though I will pack:
embroidery snips, my fabric (usually, i have been known to leave this behind!!), chart, highlighters, display folder that holds my working copy, floss. That's it. I don't have many fancy gadgets, I just take that. Oh, and a packet of spare needles tucked in the bag with my floss and embroidery snips. People that are really careful about always wrapping up their stitching and keeping it totally separate would have a heart attack looking at my tote bags, but I've yet to have anything damaged.

Also generally in my bag is:
wallet, phone when i remember it, at least one hairbrush often two because i forgot i'd packed on, at least two books (usually one is classic lit/theology and the other something light), a prayer rope (like a rosary, but a little different), random antidoron (blessed bread from Church, NOT communion) that I forgot to take out (please noone hurt me, it's usually still wrapped up), at least one pen, a pencil with an eraser on the end, and a hardcover notebook. I live for notebooks, I always have one around to write things down in!

Today has been reasonably slow. I worked on my Cross and got the kloster blocks and motifs at the ends finished, now just to fill it in and add the lettering. Pretty! I usually don't stitch small designs, so this is fun. We picked up Dad from the airport, got coffee, came home, received sweatshirt-presents (mine is sooo warm, yum - it's blue, with the oxford logo embroidered), and hung around the house. Nana and I attacked my dressmaking WIP pile, and the blouse I started in Nov/Dec somewhere is now starting to take serious shape - I'd messed up the collar, so it was acting weird. In between working on that, I hemmed my green dress, so that's done now, and I got out all the pieces I'd cut for Bindi's medieval-esque dress, and started sewing that together. The ties at the back are sewn now (made out of black satin, very slippery and very fancy), and one side of the back is sewn together. I forgot how quickly this dress came together once everything was cut! Tomorrow I hope to cut and stitch the cord loops for the bodice, and see how much of the rest I can stitch together. Getting this dress out of the WIP pile would be good - sister would be happy, and it wouldn't be a very expensive pile of damask gathering dust in the corner! I have 4.7m of black shiny bias binding to sew on as trim, too. What am I, nuts? I do know that the dress will look good though, this is my godsister wearing an identical one (I borrowed my sister as a dressmaker's dummy for this one, which is why I got conned into making another one!):

Please forgive the hem, we hadn't stitched it yet, her not smiling (she refused to) and the messy house!

So that was work towards decreasing the WIP pile. On the other hand, I also bought two new patterns for dressmaking - but I actually need these. One is for a gored edwardian skirt, which I have gorgeous black wool with autumn toned embroidery for - DON'T ask how much a metre it cost, I got it on sale and it still cost an arm and a leg, and the other is for an edwardian style apron - full in front and back, covering full skirts more or less, which is important for me - I live in full skirts! Often with jeans under, but I wear skirts a lot. But, they're not here yet. So before they get here, I want to try and get these dressmaking WIPs killed. Also languishing in the pile are a polyester version of the purple/green-dress which I don't really like but just need to hem, and a full skirt in the same fabric as bindi/caitlin's dresses.

We had the Akathist, which was beautiful - the chanting WASN'T, but these things happen... I still have one of the refrains from Compline last night stuck in my head though - this is chanted in between verses from Psalm 149 (150):
Oh Lord of Hosts be with us, for we have no other
Help in times of sorrow but You...
Lord God of Hosts have mercy on us.
Chanted arabic style it's very catchy, but the first few notes sound a lot like hava nagila, and my sister sings that every time she catches me humming it!

I've worked on Peaceful Paradise a little too - more sky, and some more lettering. All of the word "with", half of "gates", and a few coloured letters. Fun. I'll try and get some decent work done on it tomorrow in between dressmaking.

Now though I am so tired...I need my sleep. Goodnight.