Monday, April 28, 2008

Christ is Risen!

So it’s Bright Monday, and that means I get to make a pious post about how wonderful Pascha was. It really was wonderful, but I was more tired than I have ever been at the services. Unfortunately my weariness was also visible on my face—as I was told by two or more concerned parishioners. But, in my defense, only 50% of it was my fault as I had used some of Rose’s cheap makeup. So after four hours of church and one hour of socializing I looked like a cross between a 1980s punk and Bette Davis on three hours sleep.

Yesterday it rained on our Pascha picnic, but it wasn’t bad at all. Before the rain fell we were able to grill the weenies and burgers and have an egg hunt for the children.

There’s something exciting about being outside when the air becomes still, the sky grows ominously dark, and the temperature drops ten or more degrees in a matter of minutes.

Rose begged to be allowed to go back to the car to get a sweater because she was “freezing” (a complete lack of body fat can do that to a person—so I hear). Within seconds of her leaving the shelter, the bottom dropped out and she returned with a fleece baby blanket, and not a dry stitch of clothing. I didn’t have to tell her so, but if she had only listened to me she wouldn’t have had to spend the rest of the day in wet clothes with only a damp, itchy baby blanket to warm her.

But I told her anyway--just for fun.

There was a convenient flood which made some nice, one or two-inch puddles under the picnic shelter. All the children needed was their parents to resign themselves to wet, sandy, chocolaty, sticky, and undeniably stinky children. The chocolate and jellybeans mingled with a good stomp in a puddle: it can be argued this is a foretaste of heaven! What a Pascha!

One of our Serbians brought a boomerang which one of our Americans accidentally threw onto the roof of the picnic shelter. This provided an amusing, 45-minute diversion for the men who conversed, climbed, and made geometric and physical calculations about what they needed to do to get it down. They decided to bang a soccer ball on the underside of the metal roof.

It worked.

So there is my not-so-pious summary of Pascha. It was beautiful, flowery, glorious, and all of the things superlative and yet not-so-superlative. The not-so-superlative doesn't matter simply because it's Pascha and everything tiresome or mediocre is made better because it's Pascha. All of the weariness ends in lamb, bratwurst, bacon and lots of cheesy, meaty, and chocolaty dishes. I have a sandy, sticky house full of dirty clothes and dishes. I’m sleepy and kind of cranky. But my children and I talk as if we have been through a battle and returned home alive. The children t
alk of Pascha as if it as good as or better than Christmas--even though it’s all church and no presents...or so they think.

Christ is Risen!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

No More Scooby Doo During Lent

I feel like I’m committing blasphemy making this conversation public—especially during Holy Week. I’m ashamed this was ever an issue for my child, albeit a hopefully fleeting and harmless one.

Margaret: “Mama, when Jesus rises from the dead, is He a zombie?”

Me: “A---A zombie??!! ---No! ---NO!!”

Margaret: “Does He stink?”

Ella: “No, Margaret, He would have to be dead for four days to stink like Lazarus.”

I am posting this for two reasons 1) lest I forget it and 2) lest any of my other children encounter these questions with me being as unprepared as I was today.

Lord have mercy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It is said about Pericles that he was a man of almost perfect human beauty except that his head was oblong and resembled a gourd, so that he was subject to ridicule when he appeared bareheaded in public. In order to conceal the defect of this great man of his people, Greek sculptors always portrayed him with a helmet on his head. When some of the pagans knew how to conceal the defects of their friends, how much more, therefore, are we Christians obliged to do the same? Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another (Romans 12:10), commands the Apostle to those who cling to Christ. How can we say that we adhere to the meek and All-pure Christ, if we daily poison the air with tales about the sins and short-comings of others? To conceal your own virtue and the shortcomings of others--in this is preeminent spiritual wisdom.

This is from the Reflection in the Prologue today (April 9 O.C.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

All Creatures Great and Small

We just returned from Nell & Josh’s house where the church held the Palm Sunday Fish Bake. We had a very nice time. The children played in the creek and threw bread at the ducks. They found a duck’s nest and decided it was their duty to pull the eggs from the nest to “help keep them warm” (much to the apparent shock and alarm of the mama duck who quacked and flapped nearby).

Little Mark “fell” into the one-foot-deep-creek up to his neck. He said he fell, but I imagine he sat, lay down, and rolled around till he felt cold.

Bridget and Little Mark found a dead snake which she brought up to the house and proudly displayed for all the grownups present. Stephanie cried because she said the decapitated snake was “broken.”

Today I came to the sad realization that I am not the tomboy I used to be.

I used to be able to keep up with the worst of boys, with their slimy, grimy, wormy, and beetle-y approach to the world. Now I start shaking and squealing if, perchance, I find a bagworm on my pajamas sleeve (this morning’s adventure)—or when a little girl presents the dead snake she found in the creek.

It still makes my skin crawl to think of it.

I’m such a baby.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Little Mark Learns to Drive

No little boys were injured in the making of this film.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Last week, from Sunday to Saturday, Little Mark was in Augusta with his grandparents—Mark’s mom & step-dad. They both adore LMark, and he returns the sentiment. They have four dogs which add to his enjoyment. Several times he has voiced a preference to stay with the dogs than to return home to his four siblings.

Every time I get a break from my 24-hour, 34-pound mischief-maker I try to get something done around the house. In his absence I have
cleaned a houseful of carpets and have painted a few bedrooms, a kitchen, a foyer and a den.

This time, our biggest project was mopping the kitchen floor. This might not seem like a lot, but when you have white linoleum—and a weird cleanliness compulsion like I do—a discovery as momentous as
Mr Clean’s Magic Erasers (or, rather, the cheaper Wal Mart copy) can rock your world. I discovered these sponges can almost return my 7 year-old white linoleum to its former glory—minus a few nicks here and there from tap shoes, and large knives dropped once a week by Margaret.

All of us, except for the two Marks (we actually get more done with
neither of them around) were on our hands and knees scrubbing the dull-grey floor to a brilliant, not-so-dull grey. Oddly, we had fun.

My only problem is the stress associated with the newly mopped floor. For days I feel like I can’t cook anything. If I do I am more interested in what goes on the floor than what goes in the pan. I also cringe every time the kids eat, drink or play in the kitchen, which, of course, is also the
only place they want to be when the floor is so clean.

Necessity is the mother of invention, so I have made up several new and exciting games like: shop-vac monster; wash-cloth feet; and mean step-mother and Cinderella. I have also come up with other, less imaginative games like “stop throwing noodles,” and “clean up the brown spots.”

These aren’t as popular with the target audience.

When LMark returns,
attitude detox begins. Fr Mark & I so termed it many years ago when Rose visited her grandparents for a few days and returned a monster.

Certainly when any child breaks from routine for a period of time, he sometimes has to go through attitude readjustment to get him back to normal. My difficulty is dealing with the
nightmare that is Little Mark from the time he gets back to the moment he realizes he is not the only child in the house, and his Mama doesn’t abide scowls, snotty attitudes, whining, tantrums, and horrific scenes of two year-old fury.

The nightmare almost makes his vacation not worth it.


Then I look at my painted rooms, clean rugs, and the morning sun (kind of) sparkling off the kitchen floor...

so he gets to spend quality time with his grandparents and the dogs.