Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Behind the Apron

I've enjoyed reading other food bloggers "Behind the Apron" posts, so I thought I'd do one myself. Here is a photo of dear daughter and me from a year ago. We had the wonderful experience of going on a cruise together with some church friends, and despite dear daughter's protestations, we dressed up one night and had this photo taken. Isn't it nice? I have it framed on top of my piano in my living room.
I live Georgia's lowcountry and I currently work for Georgia Department of Labor as a Services Specialist. There's really nothing special about the title - everyone has that title. My responsibilities are in the Re-employment Unit and Georgia Works on-the-job training program. I really love what I'm doing now, but I don't love the paycheck. Yikes! This is probably my fifth career: medical secretary/transcriptionist, human resources professional, self-employed transcriber, paralegal, and for the last six or seven years, workforce development professional. I think I have another career or two in me, if I play my cards right!
I was one of those annoying kids in school - the one who always asked the unanswerable questions. But that constant questioning lead me to the Boston Public Library (yes, I'm from Boston originally - Everett, MA to be exact) and the religion section. It was there, at 16, that I read a book by Fr. Serge Bulgakov about the Orthodox Church, and I clearly remembering thinking to myself, "Yes, Yes!" as I read. I thought to myself that if what he wrote did not describe the True Faith, then nothing did, and we are all doomed. Fast forward to Palm Sunday, 1977: I attended my first Orthodox service at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Boston which was meeting at that time at Holy Cross Seminary's gymnasium. I was transported. I understood the words that St. Prince Vladimir of Russia's emissaries spoke to him in 987 about their visit to the Great Church in Constantinople (the Orthodox Church), "We no longer knew whether we were in heaven or on earth, " they reported, "nor such beauty, and we know not how to tell of it." I didn't either. I fell in love that day and have never fallen out of it.
My Christian faith, and the Orthodox practice of it, is a large part of my life. I direct the choir at my church. (see photos of my church here) Orthodox services are almost completely sung, and about half of each service changes every day. We sing in four part harmony without accompaniment, and I give pitches using a tuning fork. This is traditional for our church. Its a big job - there is a lot of behind the scenes work - but I love it very much. The normal posture for praying is standing for us, and the normal prayer is sung. So, what sing are the prayers of the church, and the choir leads the people in this sung prayer - its not entertainment, or a musical interlude, or background music for personal contemplation - it is the common work of the people.
In fact, it was my faith that gave birth to this blog last year. On one of the several Orthodox women's yahoo groups that I belong to, a young woman experiencing her first lenten period was perplexed about what she could eat, and a number of us older women gave her some recipes. Because I love to read a couple of food blogs, I decided that start a food blog for last Great Lent (the 7 weeks prior to Pascha, or Easter) to help her out. Once Pascha was over, by popular acclaim, I continued posting, though not as frequently. Lent is about to begin again on Monday, February 19th, so you can expect to see more posts.
I also have other blogs that detail my life as a choir director and an iconographer, as well as the wanderings of my feeble mind. (iconography: musings: choir: )
I was born in Everett, MA, spent my summers in Lake Sunapee, NH, my winters in Mexico (until I went to school). My parents owned a small country inn in Lake Sunapee, one of the most beautiful alpine lakes I've ever seen, although Lake Tahoe comes a close second. Very close. Boston State College, my alma mater, got eaten up by University of Massachusetts at Boston years ago. After one year of marriage, the ex and I moved to California's South Bay Area. After 11 years of marriage and one little lhasa apso named Charalambos (Harry for short), dear daughter was born, the light of our lives. She is a cancer survivor and is a smart, kind, thoughtful and mature young lady. She also eats like a horse but never gains any weight. How ANNOYING! I lived in California for 18 years, and almost 10 years ago, moved with my daughter and my elderly parents to the Lowcountry where I am today. Mama died two years ago on February 11th, and Dad is in a nursing home because of advanced Alzheimers. At almost 91, he's healthy as can be physically, and still, in a strange way, very much himself. He is everything that a man should be, and few are, even though he cannot remember his own name now. Character and a kind, loving spirit, do not desert, even when everything else does.
For fun, I blog. To let off steam, I blog. To try to understand my life, I blog. Surprise!
I read a lot, a LOT, and I always have half a dozen books going at once. For the last eight years or so, I've been a member of a local professional chamber choir called I Cantori which I adore because I get to sing a repertoire that I would never get to sing otherwise. I love to spend time with my close friends, who love and accept me no matter how annoying I am, and I do so regularly. I don't watch much TV - who has time? - but when I do, I tend to watch HGTV or Food Channel (no surprise there), or figure skating. I'm an expert needleworker and have taught it professionally in the past - I particularly enjoy needlepoint, but I can do pretty much everything, from crochet to knitting to sewing to embroidery to crewel. Can't tat, though. Never learned and now that Auntie Emily is gone, I don't know anyone to teach it to me.
Last year I bought a new house in an excellent school district, and dear daughter, who had always been homeschooled, entered school for the first time this fall in the 11th grade. We happily live together in our cheerful little house with our spoiled little shih tzu, Puccini and our spoiled kitten, Magdalena (Poochie and Maggie).
My life is full of my daughter, my family, my church and church family, music, art and writing. And food. For an Italian, food is love, food is sensual, food is life.
Life is good. There is always, always something wonderful happening in my life. My life is very, very full. I hope yours is as well.


Mimi said...

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful picture! It is so great to "see" you!

And, wonderful to get to know you better! That's how I felt about the church too, every difference between it and the RCC my professor (and later my Godmother) stated, I thought, "yes, I agree with the Orthodox"

bazu said...

I participated in "behind the apron" too, but hadn't read your post until now. It is so nice to get to know more about fellow food bloggers- nice to "meet" you!