Monday, April 28, 2008

Christos Anesti

EDIT: I said I would add another post, but I will just put it here.

We went to church Saturday night. We got there early enough to get a seat, but not in the church proper. Our church is a bit small (we know this, but it is really an interim church building) so they set up chairs in the narthex and they extend all the way back to the Sunday school classrooms. We were in the narthex.

We all got candles and as the service progressed and people left we moved further and further ahead in our seating. Eventually we actually got into a pew in the church itself.

All the flowers were old enough this time for us to stay almost all the way to the end, and we all stayed awake this time! The younger two were drooping a lot by the time we got to communion so Gardenia decided that it would be best for us to leave directly after Communion.

While I was going down the street to the local school (where overflow traffic parks) they waited, back in the narthex. Well, that's where they usually set out the snacks for the after-service fellowship. On Easter they set out lamb and soup (I'll have to ask Gardenia the exact names for them because they are special dishes just for the middle of the night, after Easter feast). Remember that Holy Saturday is a strict fast day. When I picked them up with the van they were all drooling.

We managed to get home with a lit candle. That's supposed to mean blessing and good luck on your house.

A few years ago we went to Opa! in Vernon Hills right after church. That was really cool going into a Greek restaurant right after Greek Easter at about two in the morning. The only people in there were Greek so we were greeted with Christos Anesti (Christ has Risen) and answered Alethos Anesti (Truly He is Risen). Star ate so much, so fast that night that she got sick.

Unfortunately Opa! doesn't do that anymore so we stopped by a Dunkin' Donuts / 31 Flavors that is open all night and all got ice cream. That's a lot different from Easter soup, dolmades, calamari and octipodi, but we enjoyed it.

Sunday afternoon we went to Oak Lawn to see Yarrow and Peony. They were very happy to see us. We had lamb and beef. We also took home a pile of cookies which have already disappeared.

Kalo Pascha (Happy Easter)!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Good Friday (the Orthodox Way)

Today is Good Friday for the Orthodox flowers in my family. Usually the two Easters are about a week apart, sometimes they are on the same day, but I've never seen them a month apart. It has been very confusing.

My new poll is about what you do for Easter. I'll post after Sunday what we do, but I wonder what special things everyone else does.

I've always felt that Easter should be the most important holiday of the year and I've been confused that it is second banana to Christmas. Christmas would be meaningless without Easter.

Here's a crazy idea (it's not Orthodox or orthodox, just my crazy thinking) what if we had kept Christ's birthday celebration on his actual birthday (presumably in spring because of the shepherds watching over their sheep) then we could have had one big celebration with Christmas and Easter together. Now that would have been something.

Anyway, no meat today (that is the Orthodox way). In fact, no meat, dairy, fish or oil this whole week (only shellfish). Also tomorrow we are not supposed to eat anything until we go to church at about 11:00PM until after midnight.

As the little flowers grow old enough to observe the ritual fasting I find new and more extreme rules that I didn't know about before. I didn't know that we weren't supposed to use oil.

Today is also Star's Ribbon Ceremony Day. She's in 8th grade and she gets presented with her hat tassel thing for her graduation cap. Gardenia and I are going to try to attend.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Closing March, Opening April

What have we been doing lately? I see that I have been terrible at keeping up here and haven't posted since late March.

Out like a lion? Spring Break was the last week of March. Star went to Pansy and Begonia's house for the first half of the week. I have reports that she and Rose worked hard with the barn and the horses.

The ending weekend of March saw me at a Friday / Saturday conference to learn more about the FRG. It was a very useful conference. On Sunday, I once again doffed my Army duds and went trolling for volunteers. An outreach group from a Church in Oak Park has volunteered to help out with home repairs for our group and I went to the services to drum up support. I go a standing ovation at the 11:15 service. That was really nice.

We just lived our lives as usual in the first week of April.

Last weekend we were supposed to go with our FRG to Springfield to help support he family members of our soldiers who live outside the Chicago area. Unfortunately, only one family said they wanted to come, so we didn't go to Springfield.

Fortunately, a new water park / resort opened in Gurnee (about 25 minutes away) so we signed up for Friday night. We went Friday and swam for over two hours and then we swam again for almost 11 hours (!) on Saturday. Holy Cow! Finally, I told Gardenia, "I'm done." I had been trying to keep up with three girls all day and I was sore and exhausted. We had a good time though.

Monday morning dawned and little Tulip was sick, really sick. She was burning up with fever. This is when our scheduling comes in really handy. I didn't get much sleep, and neither did Gardenia, but we took care of her. Tuesday morning she wasn’t yet better and Orchid went down too.

Orchid is doing much better, but we are still waiting to see if Tulip can make a full recovery. She was doing much better after her bath Tuesday evening, but then heated up again.