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Study Breaks Stereotypes of Orthodox Christians

Interesting story. Something for all of us to read and think about. I question a couple of the results, and wonder about their statistical techniques – like their sampling methodology, and how they analyzed the data. Is this a reliable and valid study? I don’t know. But it puts the Orthodox Church and Orthodox Converts “on the map” as it were.

If some of the bigger news wires pick up this story, there is no telling how many new visitors to our parishes we will see in the next few weeks.

Check out the story – it is short, and I found it both interesting and thought provoking.

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You know, sometimes … sometimes … FoxNews has some really good stuff on!! Today was an example. There is a NJ stay-at-home Mom who blogs and has become a target for Yemen! The country over in the MidEast. They really want to kill her. Because she is consistently blogging about Yemen’s mistreatment of journalsts,

She has been selected by Blog of the Day for attention. And was featured in the NY Times and other newspapers across the world.

This is just cool! I wish I were more focused and could make a difference like that, but I’m not. At any rate, I read several entries of her blog. Whoa! Cool – no – HOT! She knows how to use the language, and she knows what she’s talking about. She has done her homework.

I’ll be reading more of her blog, and I’ll also be checking out some of her sources. They look really good.

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Magnus the Magnifi-cat is very interesting. He silently pads around the house – except when I haven’t clipped his pack toenails and he “clicks” on the wood floors – rather amusing, actually. He thinks he is invisible – as most cats do – and to all intents and purposes he is in the dark of night. But not when he is lying in the middle of the beige rug at noon with the sunlight shining on his fur! Yet, he is so surprised when I “ask” him to move out of my way – as if I shouldn’t even exist, much less need to walk over him.

Well, this 18 pound, 13 year old black cat likes to get up in my Laz-E-Boy with me. He drapes himself across the top of the chair, then gradually “oozes” his way down onto the left arm. Then he “leans” his way into the gap between me and the arm. If I don’t want him there, and try to push im away with my arm, he suddenly becomes a “40 pound giant!” Just becomes a “rock” that is immovable!

I was having my nightly high-protein snack the other night, in this case, cheese and crackers. Magnus LOVES cheddar cheese. He is NOT allowed to have any, however, because he is on a very strict diet – he has FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease) – and a very few bites of the wrong foods can change the pH (acidity level) of his urine and lead to an infection, stones or kidney blockage and death! I’ve seen what happens when he blocks, and it ISN”T pretty, so I watch him almost as much like a hawk as I watch the Ool’ Curmudgeon. “No cheese for the Magnatronic! The Magnatronic shall have no cheese!”

He knows he isn’t to have any – not a crumb. So as I was eating my cheese and crackers, and Magnus oozed his way down onto the arm of the chair and began his oozing into the crack of the chair routine – all the time with his eyes focused on my cheese. Each time I lifted a bit of cheese into my my mouth he leaned forward just a little a opened his mouth just a little. Then he would look at me as if to say, “I can’t believe you didn’t give juusst a little bitty bit to meeee!” We would repeat the whole cycle, with him leaning more heavily against me each time until I felt like I had the weight of the world on my arm!

I tried to shrug him off, and he didn’t move – like a rock – no, like a boulder! I’m not proud – I absolutely gobbled – no I BOGGLED my cheese and crackers at that point instead of savoring them, enjoying them. And carefully cleaned up every – single – little – microscopic – crumb – of cheese. Or of the crackers – but I wasn’t quite as careful because Magnus isn’t as interested in crackers. But he’ll lick my skin raw if cheese has been on it!

Then I tried to get him to get up so I could get up. Nope. He was solidly cemented into place. I had to get the Ol’ Curmudgeon to get up, come over to the chair, and lift him up and out of the chair. Magnus was NOT happy about it. He ignored me for about 1/2 hour – his way of punishing me. I don’t know how he does that “heaver than the Rock of Gibralter” routine, but he has it down pat! Now how can he weigh that much and
walk so softly?

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It was Monday. We used to refer to Mondays as “Blue Monday” when I worked for the State of GA – the day we had to drag ourselves back to work after the weekend.

I was feeling better after a weekend spent mostly in my Laz-E-Boy taking Tylenol and whimpering when the Ol’ Curmudgeon was not around. I don’t like to whimper when he’s in ear-shot – there’s nothing he can do, anyway, no sense in bothering him.

I was actually sitting at the desk in the family room, doing some scanning of materials for a case I was working on. I had put some laundry on – actually working on the 3rd load of the day – when I heard a strange buzzer.

I went into the laundry nook and smelled a strange, hot electrical odor and the buzzer was certainly urgent! I turned off the washing machine and unplugged it. The washer had threatened to catch on fire (I caught it in time – cord was very hot, and the machine was stinking). It wasn’t the electrical system. I was using the high setting on the water level and the heavy setting on the wash cycle – neither of which I use very often – and I think the bearings overheated. Whatever it was, had I not been there, the machine could have caught on fire!! I called the Ol’ Curmudgeon and he said the fire department was not necessary – just keep my eye on it. OK I can do this.

So – – – I was making lunch, keeping an eye on the washer at the same time. I made the mistake of turning my back and heard a thump!! It was Magnus – my Magnifi-cat. He had stolen a piece of pastrami off the counter not 3 feet away from me!! I chased that black furry hairball from hell all over the house until I caught him – hiding in his little box. He managed to eat 1/2 of the pastrami before I caught him. (Why is it important to not let him eat the pastrami? because he has FLUTD – Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, and he is on a special diet. If he eats other stuff he can get really sick and possibly die OR he will upchuck it all over the rug. At the moment, I don’t know which option I was actually more worried about!) I locked him in the bathroom – until he either digested the 1/2 slice of pastrami or upchucked it. I was NOT going to have nasty surprises on the rug. The day had been too nasty already as it was.

I finished making lunch (new piece of pastrami, double-checked the washer – it was cool and didn’t stink anymore) and went into the living room to sit comfortably in my Laz-E-Boy to eat and discovered dear Magnus, in his desperate attempts to escape and gulp down that slice of pastrami, had turned over my travelmug of coffee (on the endtable that the Ol’ Curmudgeon and I use for a miscellaneous table between our chairs) as he leapt from place to place and chair to chair as I attempted to catch him – the coffee got all under the glass top of the table, so I had to stop, take everything off the top, remove the glass, etc. and my back, hips, knees and hands already hurt from chasing Magnus and dealing with the washer – which was still full of water and clothes.

Magnus was yowling, I was in “10-out-of-10” pain and in tears, not only from pain but from stress, and I just knew the Ol Curmudgeon was going to be upset when he got home and I – just – didn’t – need – that at that point!!

So what actually happened?

The Ol’ Curmudgeon came home, took one look at me and just put his arms around me me and said, “Oh, Baby,” and held me. The sweet ol’ thang!

Then he fixed a nice supper, after which he plugged the washer in again long enough to run the spin cycle to get rid of the water. Daugher-in-law from next door took charge of the dog-bone pillows I was trying to wash in that load and put them through her machine next door. Meanwhile, the Ol’ Curmudgeon and I talked about what we wanted / needed in terms of a new washer. Then we researched what was available in our area via the internet. We “looked” at Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, and a couple other local places. We researched the reviews of various brands and models. Finally, we had a list of 3 or 4 that were in our price range (cheaper range), and had adequate reviews.

The next day we went to Sears “scratch and dent” retail warehouse (there are some wonderful advantages to living in a large metro area), but were disappointed at their inventory. The retail warehouse is kind of like Marshall’s – you have to visit frequently in order to get a real bargain. But we didn’t have the luxury of visiting there every other day for a couple of weeks. We needed a washer NOW!

Next stop, Lowe’s. We looked, we found. I drooled over the cute little “munchkin” washer and it’s matching dryer (that we would not be getting, since our dryer was working just fine). The Ol’ Curmudgeon sent me off to investigate the soaps needed (which I already knew about, but I humored him because he was in a “pet” and hates shopping of ANY kind for ANY reason. Next thing I know, he called me over and informed me that we were getting the dryer too, and “Merry Douche-bag and Happy Humschnitchel, Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Birthday, and Merry Christmas for the next 2 years!” His reasoning? The washer and dryer were the same age and had the same usage. So the dryer was just as likely to “go” now and we might as well replace it now anyway.

We came home, the Ol’ Curmudgeon over-worked his back moving out the old washer and dryer. He even swept and mopped the area under where the old machines had been. “It was nasty,” he said. Bless his heart. I’ve never been a very good housekeeper – when I housekept at all, but I used to be able to clean and mop under pressure!! I really feel sooooo useless, sometimes – most of the time!!

Yesterday Lowe’s delivered and installed our little munchkin, high efficiency front-loading washer and dryer!! They are sooo cute and they work sooo well!!

Frigidaire Washer-LTF2140FS1

Our little washer! Frigidaire Washer-LTF2140FS1. I took the picture with my cellphone. Isn’t it darling!?

Frigidaire Dryer-LEQ1442ES1

Our little dryer! Frigidaire Dryer-LEQ1442ES1. I took the picture with my cellphone. Isn’t it darling!?

The Quinn House will be picking up the old washer and dryer tomorrow.

And today? Today is Thursday. The 5th and 6th loads have run. I’m happy. Just have to decide what height pedestal(s) I want. I’ve about decided on a full-width-of-the-nook, no drawer, 19-inch high pedestal. I figure no drawer because it will be easier to clean under it, and I could never bend over enough to make the drawer useful. So unless the Ol’ Curmudgeon has a use for the drawer(s), it will be an open, table-like pedestal. I have debated the possibility of the Woof helping me with unloading the dryer in the future. If I become too crippled to empty the dryer if it’s elevated to my waist level, then I’m going to be in too-bad shape to do my own laundry to begin with. I’ll be able to pull items out of the washer and put them into the dryer, then pull them out of the dryer and drop them into the basket with the washer and dryer that high. Putting clothes in the washer may require some assistance, but shouldn’t be much more difficult than now. I can put the basket or bag of clothes on a chair or stool to avoid all the repetitive bending, reaching and stretching.

So I’m a happy camper. If I’m a happy camper, the Ol’ Curmudgeon is happy. So life is good once again at The Pond!

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This was a reflection posted on an e-list over a year ago by a very dear friend. I think it is “old” enough from an electronic point of view to publish here. Besides, she gave permission for it to be posted on various lists and other places.

This morning as I was up on the hill behind the house investigating why my chickens were making such a racket (a squirrel had gotten into their feeding station); when I was aware of a brief, warm, whif of privet blossoms and honeysuckle–the first of this year. Immediately I was awash with relief and a sudden relaxation. After the turmoils of the past year and half, after the hard winter and the late freeze that killed back many plants and this year’s crops, I felt the promise of Spring. I thought to myself that finally, Spring really is here–the new growth and promise of the future. After the late freeze kill-off, I had reconciled myself to a barren Summer and harvest this year, and I had slipped into a brownness of mind that I didn’t know was there; but this brief whif of sweetness told me that the promise is still there. It’s in the wild plum tree laden with unexpected fruit that we found that we didn’t know was there. It’s in the summer flowers still to bloom. It’s in the Japanese Persimmons that will fruit later this Summer. It’s in the killed-back fig tree that is never the less struggling to put out new growth, hoping for fruit maybe in a couple more years. It’s in the lone surviving calomondin fruit left on the tree, and the tiny new blossoms on the trifoliate orange trees. It’s in the tiny, green buds that may become strawberries if they weren’t blighted to much from the frost. It’s in the new coming fruit of the wild blackberries, some still blooming even as late as it is.

I remembered my mother always saying, “We can’t have flowers without rain,” and my grandmother saying, “After the winter, Spring comes.” I think I know more of what they were trying to say to me now. I’ve lived in large cities most of my life, so I have a “big city” mentality, even though I’ve lived here in the woods for the past ten years. In the big city, we know hurry, and deadlines, and cement, and air pollution. We seldom, if ever, notice the change of seasons, except to know when to get out our coats and sweaters and when to put them away. That’s all the seasonal change meant to me as a city dweller. Here, I am given the gift of a quiet, sweet, constant reminder that God is in charge; and He will take care of everything.

All I can say is, “Many Thanks to you, SB!!”

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The last e-mail I opened last night before toddling off to bed was from our Church – and my heart just sang! Archbishop Hilarion has been elected the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

Vladyko Hilarion

If you check back a few (well, more than a few) posts, you will find the one about our prior First Hierarch, Metropolitan Laurus, dying. Now, after weeks of mourning, and the brightness of Pascha, we have a new First Hierarch. And it is someone the Ol Curmudgeon and I have met and not only feel that we know but whom we love. I will NEVER forget when we made the decision to move into the ROCOR, and then-Bishop Hilarion came to Atlanta to receive our parish. He sat in the living room of our then-priest and stated, “You must not fear. You are now in the bosom of the Church Abroad, and you will be cared for as a child of God must be.” I burst into tears, for after months of strife and dissension, and after several years of feeling that things were “not right” and praying about it over and over, we felt we were at home. Bishop Hilarion was shortly elevated to Archbishop and was transferred to the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand. We have missed him terribly, although Bishop Gabriel has been wonderful to us – as a diocese and as a parish, and as individuals. But we have missed Archbishop Hilarion.

We still feel at home. And we feel even more at home, if that is possible, with now-Archbishop Hilarion to be our First Hierarch. So after next Sunday he will be Metropolitan Hilarion.

Vladyko Hilarion

Axios! Axios! Axios!

He is worthy! He is worthy! He is worthy!

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I’m always sad on Mother’s Day – because I miss my Mother. I remember on one of the Feasts of the Theotokos, I believe it was the Annunciation, Fr. John was giving his Homily and was talking about how the Theotokos, as the Mother of Christ, was the epitome of Mothers. It was about 3 or 4 years ager my mother died, but all of a sudden my heart broke and I began to weep uncontrollably in the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s arms.

After the service, Fr. John was nearly distraught over my reaction, but I explained that it was just a delayed reaction to my mother’s death.

And every year on Mother’s Day, I find myself feeling deeply sad as I think about my Momma. I miss her. And I miss my little Gam, too. My Momma’s Momma. I don’t think that I want to creep back to being a child and being taken care of by them once more. I just miss them. I used to talk to them about things. Just things. Nothing earth-shattering. But I miss those talks.

I miss my mothers-in-law, too. My first husband’s mother was an imposing-looking woman who was one of the most loving people in the world. She was brusque and unable to accept physical affection. But she was extremely intelligent, she cared about those around her, and even after her son and I divorced, she remained a good friend. She kept track of the children and me – not just because of the children, but because she cared about me, too. When her son remarried, she came to Atlanta for the weekend for his wedding. And she stayed with me! The children were staying with their father – but certainly room could have been developed for her. Yet, she stayed with her EX-daughter-in-law. She went out with me. the Ol’ Curmudgeon and the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s mother for drinks and dinner a couple of times. We sat up late each night and talked about all kinds of things – and really enjoyed the conversations. Politics, educational philosophy, library methodology and philosophical pinnings, the meanings of upcoming computerization – all that and more. Since the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s mother was an academic, our evenings with her were riotous with academic in-jokes. All of us were splitting our sides laughing. And I miss that – laughing across the generations over academic in-jokes.

The Ol’ Curmudgeon’s mother – Ah, how she substituted for Momma after she died! MIL held my hand and made Bloody Marys as necessary while we talked about Momma. I was teaching at Clemson when my MIL died. That’s a story for another day, but it was equally unexpected and heartbreaking. After 22 years, the Ol’ Curmudgeon seems to be becoming able to talk about it and her. He didn’t speak for a full year afterward except to say things like, “pass the salt.” Just buried himself in books – reading 40 – 50 a week (yes, I wrote that right and you read it right). I’m afraid I wasn’t in much better emotional shape. Two of the children had left home right after that (finished HS and went into the Army) and only the younger one was living at home that year. So I did a lot of reading and research – quietly. The younger son and I spent quiet evenings with each other in Clemson during the week, and the Ol’ Curmudgeon worked in Atlanta. We were together on the weekends – quietly. We each deal with the acute throes of grief in our own way. And they last differing lengths of time.

It was about 10 years later when my Ex-MIL died. Gradually the ties with the older generation were being cut. But still, 20 years later, I missed my little Momma and Gam. And each death, each loss, left me with a deeper wound in my heart. Oh, it would heal over, sort of, as all wounds do, but I would be left with a larger scar. And so would the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s heart as his losses piled up.

Now, 35 years after my little Gam’s death, 30 years after my Momma’s death, 20 years after The Ol’ Curmudgeon’s mother died, and 9 years after my Ex-Mother-in-Law’s death, Mother’s Day makes me a bit sad. Now I’m the “Matriarch” of the family. And I’m the one with all the memories of the family. That is a vast responsibility. And I miss all the “Matriarchs” who went before me – those I knew and loved, and those I only heard about, and those I never knew.

Happy Mother’s Day – to all the other Matriarch’s out there!

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