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Goodness, it’s felt like a long week.  Probably because last weekend wasn’t exactly relaxing, but I can’t really complain.  Friday night was the funeral of one of our dear priests, and Saturday morning was the memorial liturgy, followed by the burial and a meal.  All of that gives you plenty of time to grieve and remember and sing – first church music, then the meal and remembrances ended up feeling dominated by music, which is perfectly fine with me.  Apparently, once you’ve been through all those services with a group of people, standing in the church basement in a circle holding hands and singing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Amazing Grace” is no longer a hokey thing to do.  And no matter how solemn and sad the occasion, fourteen or so priests coming out of the altar like out of a clown car will always be funny.  Memory eternal, Fr. David.

And now we must get on with Lent.  I’m trying to go to at least one extra service each week.  We were discussing how to observe Lent during kindergarten Sunday School a few weeks ago (as in, trying to prod the younguns to think about it for five minutes) and talking about things you could do or things your family does.  Answers ranged from “going to church more” to “not eating yogurt” (although one young man was hilariously upset about the lack of cheeseburgers during Lent) to “praying for people.”  I think they got it.  It reminded me, though, that I end to focus on the fasting and let other things slip – I do go to more services, but sometimes it’s just so much easier to come home and relax and eat some rice and beans.

Like the dork that I am, I was poking around in my own archives and found a few things that still rang true about Lent – there’s one about fasting (was that really five years ago?) that I still like, and I think the joy thing comes bit by bit, year by year.  A little more each time.  It’s not easy, but I still want to see it through.

This year I noticed two times that we sing Easter/Paschal music outside of that season – there’s Forgiveness Vespers, which kickstart Lent, where the choir sings some of (I think) the Paschal matins as we all go around begging forgiveness, and some of the same music at the funeral, with a few rounds of “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death” as we finish the funeral procession.  There’s some music that you just associate so much with a certain mood (whatever that music or mood is) and then hearing it in different contexts can put a different spin on it.  I love that.

Back to books & recipes before too long.

(Photos from two previous years – the church after Agape Vespers and the remains of a red egg.)

So, I think I’m done with grad school. I submitted my final assignments, I sent a check for my last fee, my portfolio was approved…wow, that was anticlimactic. But isn’t it always? Even if I go to graduation for all the pomp and ceremony, that’s not until June. And I’m not starting a new, official librarian job yet. I am going to be moving soon, but that’s not quite the same thing.  That part isn’t unexpected, but it feels unexpected – my future roommate’s parents sold their house out from under her, so we’re moving in together sooner than planned.  I always hate moving, even if I’m looking forward to my new situation.  I was thinking that I still had time to get sick of living with my family, but I didn’t quite manage it.  Maybe they’ll be really mean leading up to the move and make the whole thing easier.

I also happen to have this week off of work (one job, at least) and I feel at loose ends.  The weather is dreary and I was too busy with school to make plans – but I feel the need to get out and do something fun.  For now, I’m enjoying eating dinner at dinner time instead of 10:30 pm.  Maybe I’ll finally work my way through my giant stack of library books.  Although I did start reading The Forsyte Saga, for some bizarre reason, so the going might be slow.  Just reading the first two chapters I’m already dying to watch the miniseries again.  I watched the newer version a few years ago, but maybe this time I’ll try the older one.  Or both, back to back.  Because I’m on vacation.

Back to the moving topic – it will be so odd to take all my things out of storage and use them again – but in a good way.  I’m also having to repress all these urges to take a little trip to Ikea.  I don’t even have an apartment yet, and already I want to pick out some curtains, and definitely a new bookshelf is in order, and wouldn’t some new picture frames come in handy?  Housewares: the best reason to have your own place.  Window-shopping will have to do for now.

So I took the (highly scientific) Typealyzer test to find out the personality type of this blog.  I didn’t expect it to actually match my personality type, of course, but I thought it might get a few things right.

Apparently this blog is an ESFP – “the entertaining and friendly type.”  My blog is “always in risk of exhausting” itself.  Uh-huh, sure.  Because I post so much.

The last time I took a Myers-Briggs, I was an INFP, leaning towards J (judging).  I know I’m a J and a T (thinking), but I test P (perceiving) and N (intuition) because they appeal to me more.  But regardless of all that – no one in their right mind will ever call ME an extrovert!

I thought I had to go to work at 11, but then I remembered I don’t have to be there until 12 and thought “yay!  Let’s waste some time on the internet!”  So here I am, drinking coffee and poking around.

Yesterday my good friend Lis was in town, and we borrowed baby Olivia for a while and got caught up and had a really garlicky lunch.  Poor baby O being carried around by a couple of garlic-breath aunties all afternoon!  She’s the most easy going baby – nothing phased her.  Unfortunately I never managed to get out my camera, being too busy talking and consuming garlic and trying to resist eating the baby for dessert.

BabelBabe wrote this post yesterday that had me agreeing all the way through – not only do we share a taste in books, but we have the same inherent laziness.  Sigh.  There are a lot of things I’ve done which might have turned out badly – I never had to work all that hard for the grades I got, I applied to one college and one grad school and got into both.  I tend to rent the first apartment/house I look at.  I’m not ambitious.  Not that I don’t have high standards – but I’ve never been the type to pull an all-nighter, literally or figuratively.  I only stay up past my bedtime to finish a book – or sometimes to bake.  I do have high standards when it comes to baked goods.  You won’t see me showing up at a church potluck with something I picked up at the grocery store.  So I guess I’m not a total sloth.  And I’ve read 13 books in the past 11 days.  So.

Mmm, coffee.  I haven’t had any in days – in fact, I haven’t really had caffeine at all in days – since I’ve been sticking to water, Throat Coat & the like, hot water with lemon slices and honey, and hot toddies.  Despite the stuffy nose, coughing, etc. I’m sleeping soundly through the night – thanks, hot toddy!  But Saturday morning – you’ve got to have a cup or two of coffee.  I can literally feel the caffeine working its way across my brain.

A new diversion – looking up various children’s book authors on the biography database my library subscribes to.  I’m particularly amused by what they name their children.  It’s also interesting to see what else they’ve done besides write.

I did the accidentally-leave-my-book-at-work thing again last night – I listened to Fresh Air podcasts through my break while I ate an orange, so the book never got taken out of the drawer, and then I just left it there.  Oops.  That was Half Life, which I’d had on my shelf for, oh…several months.  Long enough that I don’t think I’ll be allowed to renew it again.  Since June, according to the library.  JUNE.  It was time to finally read it, and it turns out I’m really enjoying it, although sometimes I feel apathetic when I get to one of the little inserts – lists, or articles, or what have you – that interrupt the story.  Otherwise interesting and enjoyable and smart, and wouldn’t I love to read enough books about conjoined twins to give them their own bookshelf on Goodreads?  How many would justify a shelf?  Right now I’m at two – The Girls being the other quite different and highly recommended one.

So, being Half Life-less, and apparently incapable of reading any of the other books I’ve started, I picked up The Red Shoe.  Which is interesting, but it hasn’t quite swept me up yet.

In the car I’m listening to my first Wodehouse – Carry On, Jeeves!  While I’m finding it hilarious, the stories are just a teensy bit repetitive.   I’ll try a novel next, but I’m overwhelmed by how many there are (and with no apparent good order to read them in).

Time to register for winter classes already…what happened to October?

Lazy.  I am so lazy.  I look at my last assignment of the quarter and think, “boring.  I don’t want to do that.”  Because it’s all about proving that you understand, right?  But to prove it you just have to slug through all these things.  You’re not accomplishing anything.  You don’t even have a nicely written essay to show for it, or a diorama (yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever made a diorama), or a book review, or a recorded story…you just have a glorified, graded exercise.  I’d rather go to work and apply the ideas practically (which, it turns out, I kind of get to do.  THAT is fun.)   I’m just not in the right mindset to tackle line by line analysis of a thesaurus.

I keep thinking, maybe after I drink this cup of coffee, or after I eat lunch, or after I pay this bill, or after I go buy a loaf of bread.

No, no, no, still no.

Let’s talk about books instead, okay?

I finished listening to To Love and Be Wise.  Definitely not the best Tey out there.  It pales next to Brat Farrar or Daughter of Time or Miss Pym Disposes.  But hey, I’ll take all the Tey I can get.  I also just had the brain flash to try and order the out of print novels through a lovely little thing called the Orbis Cascade Alliance.  When they just call it “the Alliance” it cracks me up, but it’s fab and I can get books sent from any college in the NW to my doorstep (and by doorstep, I mean my alma mater).  So I’m getting a few new-to-me Teys sent over.

The new audiobook in the car is Bel Canto.  It feels very…carefully constructed.  I’m not very far in.  New on the ipod is Water for Elephants.  Good use of two narrators – one as old Jacob, one as young Jacob.  Old Jacob is so old-sounding he’s almost hard to understand – makes you feel like you’re listening to your cranky grandfather tell stories.

On the nightstand, being read one chapter at a time, is M.F.K. Fisher’s The Art of Eating.  I’d had her in the back of my mind as someone to try, and when I stumbled across a copy at work (badly in need of a new cover) I sent it to be recovered and then checked it out.  She alternately makes me hungry and disgusted (last night’s chapter was on medieval cookery).  And goodness, they don’t bind books like they used to, do they?  That puppy’s been around since before metro-area addresses were standardized – it has the old property stamp – and is in better shape than most 2006 books on the shelves.

My latest rave-while-reading title is The Lightning Thief.  It’s made of awesome.  I could give you so many examples (Zeus in a pin-striped suit?) but I’ll let you see for yourself.  Book Two is on my summer reading list.

While trying to renew a copy of The Golden Compass, I noticed that one of its subject headings is:

  • Missing persons — Experiments — Fiction

    Huh?  You’re telling me that’s the best you could do?  Kidnapping, fantasy, arctic regions-fiction – now those make sense.  But the combination of missing persons and experiments is just…bizarre.  It is, naturally, the only title in the county with that heading.  Where is Library Girl when you need her?

    (April Modern Letter, sent off at the last moment on the 30th)

    Odd how you can go along not really thinking about things, and then someone asks “how have you been?” and all of a sudden you have to stop and consider, how have I been?  The answer isn’t immediately there, ready to be presented.  You’ve just been going along, good and bad.

    Which reminds me of my near-constant efforts to work on being a friendlier person.  As in, not the one that scowls at you.  Not outgoing, mind you, that would be heresy to an introvert.  Not necessarily Friendly.  But…friendlier.   It’s exhausting just thinking about it.

    I’m currently listening to two very different and absorbing audiobooks.  Plus reading an absorbing book.  It wreaks havoc on my brain sometimes, the transition.  I might be at home reading The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf and considering the modest lowering of the gaze as a form of flirting amongst Hoosier Muslims (and how well I would fit into that – I can lower my gaze expertly!) and then I’ll drive to work listening to Fortress of Solitude which washes over me in waves of delicious phrases like “Isabel was a knuckle” (can’t you just picture her?) and finally I’ll be at work with the ipod and listening to the high school-vampireness of Twilight (what’s with vampires these days?  I am so beyond not getting it as a genre, but I enjoy specific titles, like this or The Historian).  It hurts, I tell you.  And now will I crawl into bed and read for a bit or listen for a bit?

    May Day…I ought to scan pictures of the old gang with our flower and leaf wreaths on our heads.  Those were the days, the May Pole and the flowers.  I would gladly go back to grade school for a few days, especially if it consisted mainly, as it does in my memory, watercolors, knitting, freeze tag, French and German lessons, beeswax sculpture, and singing.  Oh, and stories to explain things like division.

    You remember Crazy Neighbor?  Yeah, him.  The one who threatened the old upstairs tenants.  The one whose smoking caused them to leave.  The one who went on numerous 30 second car trips everyday until he totaled his car.  The one who we suspected of blackmailing our landlord, and dealing drugs, and evading court summons.  The one we knew was behind on his rent.  That’s the one.

    He’s gone.

    Yes!

    I suspected something was up yesterday, when a lot of trash appeared on the curb with “free” signs.  And today my dear roommate texted me to say “he’s moving!”  I came home from work to see an empty apartment next door, with our landlord whitewashing the place, along with his extended family – his wife, the grandmother, and their two (!) children.

    When on earth did they have a second child?  Babies seem to be appearing faster than those pesky grain moths we had.  Hmm, that’s not a very pleasant image.  But they’re everywhere.  On the streets.  At church.  I know of at least four babies born in the past month.  I’m probably forgetting another half dozen.  Which is not to say that I’m complaining, especially as I’ve been bestowed an unexpected godson* out of the bunch, it’s just…overwhelming.

    *Godson to be?  Pre-godson?  How does one say?  I’m expecting, as it were.

    Holy Week seems to be a good time to catch up on all those craft projects sitting around.   In previous years I’ve tended towards knitting, but this year I bring you the 2007 Holy Week Handicraft:

    You don’t really want it, do you Di?  Because it sure looks nice on my couch.  And on me.

    In other news, the weather this week is such that if Pascha and the Other Easter weren’t on the same day this year, I would so be judging them for their weather.  Oh ho, sunny on Holy Friday?  That’s because you’re on the wrong calendar, suckers.  Rain predicted for Sunday?  Oh, boo hoo.  And so on.  In my head.

    But, the calendars are the same this year.  And it was indeed glaringly hot on Holy Friday.  And it is indeed dripping right now.  And probably the procession will get rained on.  And our candles will go out.  So I suppose…I can’t really judge.

    Yesterday I did the customary Holy Friday grocery store run.  You know, the one where you stock up on all manner of dairy products.  I bought: fresh mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, sour cream, whipping cream, Greek style yogurt, buttermilk, eggs, and Italian sausage.  And some other boring things like pasta and tomato sauce (most of that cheese is going into a potluck baked ziti).  The sour cream and whipping cream shall be put to use in a chocolate bundt cake.

    I suppose I ought to get up and shower and go see people baptized.  The getting up is the hardest part.

    (I thought of this falling asleep Sunday night, but yesterday I couldn’t remember what I was going to confess.)

    I love making jokes and puns out of bits & pieces of church services and daily readings. Not with any intentional disrespect, but I do tend towards fits of giggling at vespers.

    Some are things that people have misheard (especially as children) and told me about, and now that part of the service can’t go past without me thinking of it.

    “Oh Lord save the pious” so easily becomes “Oh Lord save the papayas.”

    The Feast of the Enunciation.

    I can’t go on. You get the idea.

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