About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Monday, October 29, 2007


Zac took pictures at tonight's CUSINA. This is my favorite of the bunch: Jorge. He's such a sweetie. Here he is, showing off his beautiful parfait!

Apple Saturday

Here's what we did on Saturday:

Apple picking in beautiful Hood River!

Hibi was our photodocumentarian. She's becoming quite the photographer, isn't she? That's her shadow, while she was swinging.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another beautiful fall day! So I hopped on my bike and rode away from home.

When I got to the park, I rode around the rose garden three times, just taking in all the beauty.

I'm sure enjoying these beautiful fall days! It's supposed to get down to 36 degrees tonight. I wonder if I should go ahead and bring in all my green tomatoes...

Six Years Ago Today

Paul was ordained to the priesthood! On October 26, 2001 Paul left the ranks of the diaconate, where he'd been for almost three years, and became a priest. We were told just before he was ordained that he would be assigned to be the director of St. Nicholas Ranch, where we would move one month later. And at his ordination, at the lunch afterwards, our bishop, Metropolitan Anthony (of blessed memory) told everyone in attendance that for his gift to Fr. Paul, he would take our whole family to Crete with him. Huh? What did he say? He couldn't possibly have said that....but he did. We moved on December 1, and on December 3 we were in the sky, off to Crete with Metropolitan Anthony and Bishop Anthimos. Quite the beginning of priesthood! We met some wonderful people in Crete. We were just thinking about Papa Giorgio yesterday, what a different kind of ministry he has there in the village oustide of Iraklion. He is the village priest, and he has no office. "Office hours" were a foreign concept to him. Rather, he wanders the village and is visible and available to people who need him. He is paid by the government, and not well enough to live on, so his family grows olives for olive oil as well.

Paul's six years in the priesthood has been a ride! St. Nicholas Ranch, then back to San Francisco in order to help Metropolitan Anthony get ready for retirement. Then seeing him die of cancer instead, very quickly. Receiving our new bishop, Metropolitan Gerasimos, helping him get settled in San Francisco, and then our move here to Portland, Paul's first parish assignment. It's been a wonderful but very different life!

Happy Ordination Anniversary to you, dear Paul!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Beautiful Fall Day

This morning dawned beautiful and sunny, like yesterday. Before yesterday, I'd been just longing for days like today and yesterday. Our rainy season had started (yes, we do have a rainy season here in Portland and it's not 12 months long) and all we were getting were cold rainy fall days. I wanted a nice, crisp sunny day and I was so glad that it looks like that's what we'll be getting a lot of in the next week or so!

I started out the day with going to church. It was an interesting experience, because it was the Feastday of St. James, the brother of Christ. And the interesting part comes because there is a liturgy of St. James, which is quite different than the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which is what we regularly use for most liturgies during the year. It is much more primitive, as Paul says it hasn't been polished by constant use; it is still rough and ancient and reflects the early church to a much greater extent than what we have today.

One thing that marks the liturgy of St. James is that communion is distributed by hand. The current practice in the Orthodox church is to put the body of Christ, which in our church is leavened bread unlike the Catholic church, into the chalice along with the wine. Then a spoon is used to give each communicant a portion of both at the same time. In the liturgy of St. James, each communicant is given in their hand a small cube of the bread, and then the chalice is offered to sip from. I quite liked it. Paul says that he was told by a bishop that you can also celebrate this liturgy on the Sunday after Christmas. It seems a good time to bring it out to the general public; the reason for the spoon was to prevent spillage, and big crowds just invite disaster. But there wouldn't be too many people in church on the Sunday after Christmas.

After I got home, I took a bike ride to Peninsula Park. I haven't noticed this until this time of year--as I'm riding into the entrance at the corner of Rosa Parks Blvd and Albina, there is the most wonderful scent. I'm assuming it's the trees. I don't know trees very well, I think they're some sort of pine? Maybe incense cedar? But they just smell divine. I want to bottle that smell and wear it. Then I rode my bike around the rose garden, finally coming to a rest on a park bench just beside it. There was just the faintest hint of rose smell from where I was sitting, and the color in the garden wasn't as vibrant as it was in the summer. The roses are giving their last show before they go dormant and look quite dead for the winter. The sky was the most wonderful blue and the path was paved in fallen leaves.

I did this same bike ride yesterday. I'm thinking to do it every day while we're having such glorious weather! Tomorrow I hope to remember the camera.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


This afternoon I took an over two-hour nap. Well-deserved, I might add! The kids and I started out the day at 8:30, for choir practice, at the church. (Zac doesn't sing in the choir, but he has to come with Hibi and me when it's time for choir to practice...and it didn't hurt that he was doing his altar-boying early, either.) We crammed, as in the last-minute study for a test that goes on in college, trying to brush up on the music that we didn't have nearly long enough to prepare for. Then, at a few minutes before 10 am, we went outside to await the cathedral-making.

Today our church became a cathedral. What does that mean? Well, traditionally, a cathedral is a parish that is the seat of the local bishop. We have no bishop in Portland, so it's more of an honorary title. And yet, it does denote that Holy Trinity has not only been around for 100 years, and is not only the oldest Greek Orthodox parish in the Pacific Northwest, but it has accomplished much in it's time, enough to be worthy of cathedral status. I think it's also a call to do more that's worthy of cathedral status. Our program that we started up last week, Cusina, is indicative of this.

The Orthros service, the church service before the church service, was conducted outside today, in a covered tent. Then, at the conclusion of Orthros (also called Matins, perhaps a more familiar term to western Christians) a procession was made from the tent to the front doors of the church. We had a traditional "door-opening", usually done at the consecration of a new church building.

We went on to have a beautiful service, complete with all the hierarchical elements. The choir did a bang-up job, even though we had only about two months to prepare for this, whereas when we did the centennial, we started special rehearsals 5 months before.

I had to check what time it was as I walked out of the church and into the hall for brunch, because Magpie Ima contends that she can "show me" long services! Her family is Jewish and also knows long services. But I am well acquainted with long, and we made pretty good time today for all that. It was 1:07 when I checked the time.

We then went on to have a delicious brunch, and then the unveiling of the new but temporary sign, wherein Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church has the "Church" part covered with a "Cathedral" sign. :-)

And then I drove my children home and crawled immediately into bed, at 3 in the afternoon, and after being on my feet from 8:30 to about 1:30. Ah, what a lovely nap!

Monday, October 15, 2007


When we lived at St. Nicholas Ranch, we started up a food distribution program for the poverty-stricken folks who lived out in the rural area where the ranch is. Once a month, we'd bring food from the Fresno Food Bank and wherever else we could get it--I asked for produce from some organic farmers I knew, and Paul would get bread from a baker in the area. We'd package it up and people would come and get it and take it home. For some, it got them through to the end of the month after they'd run out of paycheck. After awhile, though, we felt that just giving them the food and having them just take it and go wasn't quite satisfying, so when Poverello House in Fresno offered to make a dinner for us to serve alongside, we accepted gratefully. That gave us a chance to sit down with these folks and get to know them. We made some lasting and very interesting friendships. Like Tammy, who was the only person from the program to ever come to our church. She came once, and that very week she died. Annaliese, who had four beautiful daughters, and whom I suspected had an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. Shonda had two children who lived with her, and four others who had been taken away by social services, and a boyfriend in jail. I took her into Fresno once so she could see him.

It was an eye-opening experience for us. One we just couldn't have and then turn from. It stayed with us.

One interesting thing, though, was that the school got involved in trying to help with a food drive. They brought cans of food collected by the students. More than a third of the cans of food were marked USDA. They'd come directly from our food distribution!

So, when we got here to Portland, and were talking with Kim, a public health nurse who is a member of our church, and we asked her about the needs of the community at large, she said a cooking class would be a good idea, because people get free food that they don't know how to cook. That rang true for us, and that's how the concept of CUSINA was born.

We have been working with an organization called JOIN for several months now, creating the concept and finding people who were interested in such a class. It turns out there are lots of people who are interested in learning how to cook Greek food! JOIN is a resource center for homeless people and we wanted to work with people who are transitioning from homelessness. JOIN helped us out with that, providing 12 recently-housed people with a desire to cook. We will have 6 classes, every Monday evening for six weeks.

After these months of preparation, CUSINA has come to fruition! Tonight was the first class, and I say it was a raging success! Here's the way it's come together:

The core group for CUSINA created menus that would use foods that would be easily available to people who are in public housing and getting food from food pantries. The recipes were then given to chefs from Greek restaurants, who graciously accepted the task of teaching the classes. They each chose to donate the food items and bring any of the equipment that we needed. The core group volunteers worked together with other volunteers to have "cooking buddies" for each class participant. We have volunteers to set up beforehand, and volunteers to clean up after, and volunteers to provide transportation to each person who would otherwise have a hard time getting to and from the church.

Everything went just as planned tonight! The chef for tonight was from Greek Cusina. (Yes, the one with the octopus on the outside of the building!) Ted, the owner, came with his son Theo and his nephew Billy, who is the head chef there. Billy did the actual teaching, as he was trained in Greece and in the US in culinary schools. And you'd have thought he was trained in teaching, too! He did a fabulous job. Our menu theme tonight was meze (appetizers) and we learned how to make tzatziki, hummus, and gigantes (giant white beans in a tomato sauce). It all tasted so good! I think the participants were amazed at being able to make such tasty food with such simple ingredients.

At the beginning of the class, a few appetizers were put out so everyone had a bit to eat to tide them over, and to provide a welcoming atmosphere. Then, while the gigantes were cooking, we all sat down and ate a dinner together that consisted of pre-made foods that we'd cooked that night. It was delicious and a fun way to end the evening. Everyone got gigantes, tzatziki and hummus to take home.

Greeks are legendary for their hospitality and their food. This program combines both! I'm already looking forward to next Monday evening!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And if you missed it....

like I did....I didn't mention here that I was out of town for festival weekend, did I? A National Presvyteres Retreat (presvyteres are priests' wives) intervened. Next year I'll be there, but until then, I have this video!

Pretty impressive, eh? If certainly decidedly *not* vegetarian! And it was a featured video on the Travelistic site. Cool!

Okay, so I am kind of squeamish about posting this with the front picture of the dead animal on the spit. Eww! I apologize to my fellow vegetarian readers.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Greek Festival!

I would be remiss if I didn't urge all of you in the area, within a 5 hour drive, to come to the Greek festival! It's this weekend. Don't let all this rain currently deter you. Holy Trinity has put in it's order for *nice weather.* :-) And it's looks like perhaps it won't be too bad this weekend!

All the info you need is found right here.

Piece of Pie for Peace!

This post is to announce a musical evening with homemade pie and a silent auction! It will be a fundraiser for the Portland Dorothy Day House. Dorothy Day House is a Catholic Worker house that provides hospitality for women who are in transition from homelessness or prison. The women can stay for a long enough period of time to get a job, treatment if necessary (for drug addictions or other problems), figure out transportation, and find themselves a place to live. It's a safe place to work from, rather than trying to go straight from the streets or prison to being on their own. Our family has greatly enjoyed getting to know this great group of people and we've benefited from being part of the community.

The fundraiser evening will be November 9, from 7 pm to 9:30, at the Peace House at NE 18th and Tillamook in Portland. Tickets are $10 and donations over that price are definitely appreciated, in order to keep this great work going. If you'd like tickets in advance, let me know and I can set you up. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

I'm in charge of making sure we have plenty of homemade pie.....

Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Too Busy to Blog!

Wow, I didn't think we could get busier than we were in the summer. At least we're not traveling as much! Now that church is back in full swing with Sunday School and youth activities and Holy Trinity will be made a cathedral on October 21 and there's choir to prepare for that, and our homeschool co-op is back in session and we've already been to pick apples and see the swifts settling for the night in the Chapman school. But the biggest single thing that's making me much busier than before is this. Yes, remember, faithful readers, when a year and a half ago I came back from an MLK celebration gushing about Aurora Chorus? I got on their waiting list then, but when the invited me to sing with them the following September I declined, because I was having major issues with my singing voice. I went to the doctor and found that it was because of acid reflux. I had to work pretty hard to find a doctor that told me that studies have shown that taking apple cider vinegar every day is just as effective for acid reflux as popping a pill. So, that's what I've done and my acid reflux is under control, when I take the apple cider vinegar every day.

So, I joined Aurora this September! Aurora Chorus is a group of women, 113 of us this term, who sing for peace. It has been more challenging than I'd thought it would be; it's just more difficult music than I'd thought, and more rewarding too. It's a great group of women, a community, really. But there's a lot to do when you're an Aurora member! Music to practice and learn and, eventually, be able to sing from memory, weekly practices, potluck, retreat, sectionals, and extra stuff for the new members like me, to make sure we all know how to read music or at least how to count beats, and to learn diction to make sure people can understand us in concerts. My experience with Aurora so far has been wonderful, rewarding, challenging, hard, life-affirming, overwhelming, and I think that I have a chance to be a part of a close-knit network of women, which is A Good Thing.

So, all this by way of saying: save the date! If you'd like to hear Aurora yourself, come to our concert on December 16! More info to be announced.