Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A good thing

Poor Chiy.  And poor Lin too.  The roads are so icy, and Chiy and Lin didn't get home last night until midnight (they live in The Colony) and had to get up at 4:00 am to be at the 7-Eleven by 6:00 am.  He was dog tired today, and I was dog tired today.  He asked me to work late last night because Saqib called off, but I had an 8:00 am liturgy this morning (I didn't know it was cancelled until I got there and the church doors were locked), and he felt so bad about asking me to work that he bought me a pack of cigarettes and gave me a warm hat to wear when I walk to and from work.

Today it wasn't nearly as busy, but Brittney called off and Chiy and Lin (Lin is Chiy's wife) had to work a double shift because Chiy just absolutely will not leave anyone at the store alone (unlike Terry, who just didn't give a flip, even if a woman was working alone in the middle of the night).  So both of those guys worked with me today, a 16 hour shift.  Every now and then Chiy would smile real big at me and open his eyes wide, pointing to the bags and the red, and say "16 hour!  I work 16 hour today!  You see how tired I am?"

So tonight we all got to leave at about 10:00, and Chiy and Lin had that drive to The Colony to look forward to, and another 6:00 am morning at 7-Eleven.  Those guys just work their asses off, and they're always smiling too.  I'm fortunate that I'm working there now, because I would never have benefited from knowing Chiy.  He's a good person.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Weather Man to the rescue

I've been doing the beer ordering at work, and now we're almost out of all of the popular beer.  I figure that we'll just barely have enough to last until the beer delivery tomorrow.  I was relating this to Brittney and she commented on how Chiy will probably freak out and have a major anxiety attack.  I thought  about this and realized that as opposed to having an anxiety attack, Chiy should be jumping up and down for joy, because what this means is that I nailed the forecast!  I actually saved Chiy money!  So Brittney said, "If he starts to give you a hard time, just say to him, 'Chill, Chiy, I'm the weatherman!' "  This is just beyond awesome.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This is way hard

Today at church Chris was there to help me sing tenor, and that made a world of difference.  I really don't like being the only one singing tenor during the Sunday morning Liturgy, as I'm not very good at it.  It's mostly just middle C for the first 30 minutes, and that really wears out my voice.  Middle C, for me, sits right there where my voice breaks, and I'm constantly having to 'split' my voice back and forth between the lower and upper registers.  The problem really isn't my range, because I'm just fine with hitting those high notes for the first minute or two.  After that however, it gets really tiring and I have to take a break for a couple of measures or my voice will just flat out quit.  I wonder if there's an exercise I can do to give myself more endurance?  I think there might be more to it than that however, because I don't really remember having this hard of a time with range and endurance about a year ago, around last Pascha, and before.

It might have to do with the fact that I haven't exactly been my happy self for the past 10 or so months, and I don't think it's just affected my voice.  My change in behavior is probably apparent to people who had gotten to know me when they (and I) thought I was happy.  I know that I'm not as confident and reliable and optimistic as I used to be.  Take Dax, for instance.  All before and leading up to around my last birthday, I felt like he and I were actually getting to know each other and were on our way to becoming friends.  I had achieved a rudimentary comfort zone with him, and he even talked about making me the choir director some day.  I even asked him to be my Godfather based on this blossoming friendship between us that I perceived.   Dax used to seem as though he actually liked me, and maybe even respected me a little.

Now things are different.  I've had the feeling for a while now that Dax doesn't really like me anymore.  He doesn't feel like the potential friend that he used to; more like someone who is just irritated with me as a general rule.  I think I've let Dax down because I've turned out not to be the person he thought I was a year ago; someone who was more confident, more outgoing, and more of a positive social creature.  Someone who would eventually take over the job of choir director so that he could assume the duties of sub-deacon.  Now I feel like he sees me as this big let down; an irresponsible 'dud' with no backbone who collapses under pressure when the going gets rough - someone he thought he could rely on but, as it turns out, he can't.

After coffee hour today we had a choir meeting and Dax got onto all of us for skipping rehearsals and services, and he made it clear to us that being in the choir was a privilege.  I got the feeling that he was using this time to talk openly to us so that he could communicate all of this to me, personally.  Maybe that's kind of far fetched, but I haven't been to a lot of services lately, and Dax has been particularly blunt to me the last few times I've asked him questions or interacted with him.  I get the impression from Dax that everything that is wrong with the choir is my fault - that I'm the only one who ever messes up, and that everything will just go to hell in a hand basket if I'm not there.  I'm probably imagining most of that, but it seems as if he is disappointed in me, not only for missing services that I could have attended, but also for the ones that I just can't attend because of work.  When I told him that I couldn't find anyone to work for me on one of those nights during the Nativity fast when the male choir was performing, he said that if I couldn't make it then we'd just have to cancel the whole thing, because nobody else could sing alto or read treble clef.  Was that really the case?  Was there no way around the situation at all?  Does it all really hinge on me, or is this his way of expressing his disappointment in me because I didn't live up to his expectations?  Probably not, but it feels that way sometimes.

Anywho, after Dax had finished chastising all of us, Fr. Justin told us that he appreciated the sacrifice that we were all making by actually being in the choir.  I felt like he was recognizing the fact that being in the choir isn't just a walk in the park, and that it's hard trying to hold up your own soul while feeling responsible for holding up the souls of others too.  At least, that's what I got out of it, and his saying so made me feel a lot better - so much so that after the meeting I somehow wound up as one of the new readers.  Am I merely befuddled, or overtly bamboozled?

Wow... sometimes I marvel at my level of involvement with the church; what with my being a member of two separate choirs, and now a reader, too.  Why am I putting myself through all of this, when it would be so much easier to just show up to services, stand anonymously and safely with the congregation, take communion, make sure my own soul is ok, and then just go home?  Why am I putting myself through all of this worry and responsibility for the well being of others?  How did I wind up here, this deeply entrenched in the inner workings?  This level of social involvement goes against every facet of my personality... I never would have imagined this for myself.  But then again, a little over two years ago I never would have imagined that I would be baptized right now and even going to church to begin with.  I guess God has a plan for me, and I should be thankful.  And I am thankful... it's just that this is way hard to do and sometimes it, like, hurts and stuff.

But then again, I'm probably just being a whining, bitchy little titty baby.

My Name Day

Tomorrow is my name day, also known as a feast day.  It is the specific day of the year associated with my Orthodox Christian namesake, Holy New Martyr Elias Ardounis, also known as St. Elias Ardounis the Neomartyr.  I refer to him as St. Elias the New.

Monday, January 31, 2011 (Feast Day)
Holy New Martyr Elias Ardounis
St. Elias Ardounis the Neomartyr

Saint Elias the New was a barber in the town of Kalamata in the Peloponnesos region of Greece and was much respected for his shrewd good sense by the Turkish officials of the place. One day, when the latter had come to see him, Elias urged them to do all they could to reduce the burden of tax on Christians, or many would be lead to deny their Christian faith and become Muslim merely so that they would be relieved financially. The discussion grew heated and Elias was carried away to the extent of declaring, almost jokingly, that he himself was inclined to deny his faith in return for a fez. One of the Turks took him at his word and handed him the headgear, whereupon poor, benighted Elias adhered to Islam in the presence of the judge and to the sorrow of the local Christians.

Not long after, he was moved to repentance and traveled to Mount Athos. There he found a spiritual father and confessed with many tears his apostasy and once again acknowledged Orthodoxy; he was also chrismated and received the Body and Blood of Christ. Elias eventually became a monk on Mount Athos, where he lead a virtuous life for eight years. However, as he could not attain peace of conscience, he received the blessing of his spiritual father to return to Kalamata to confess his Christianity, which he knew would almost certainly lead to his martyrdom.

Elias returned to Kalamata and made his presence known by walking around the bazaars of the Turks. When he was called Moustafa and questioned about why he was gone for so long, he responded he was no longer Moustafa (the Muslim name given to him at the time of his unwilling conversion) but an Orthodox Christian. He was then presented before the judge and confessed Christ in like manner. After two sessions of questioning, he was condemned to be burned to death in a slow fire.  When he was thrown into flames, he was spared a burning death and suffocated almost immediately, leaving his hair, beard and monastic robes miraculously untouched by the flames. This occurred on January 31, 1686. That night a heavenly light appeared over his body, and for which it was said by the Christians that since the earthly fire could not burn him that God sent his heavenly light to do the job.

The local Christians buried his body with great devotion, and a church was later built over his tomb. His skull is in the Holy Monastery of Voulkanou in Messinia.

Sundries. No, not Sun Dries. Sundries, plural for sundry. Argh.


–plural noun
sundry things or items, esp. small, miscellaneous items of little value. Compare notion ( def. 6 ) .

1805–15;  n. pl. use of sundry