Sunday, March 31, 2013

Today at the supermarket the cashier pleasantly chirped "Happy Easter!" to me as I gathered my things, to which I so politely responded: 

before realizing it is EASTER SUNDAY for all you non-Orthodox people out there (read: pretty much everyone.) Happy Easter guys!!

Alas, I did not go to church today, 
as I desperately need every hour of my life to memorize the various types of leukemias 
(there are lots of them.
chronic and acute,
myelogenous and lymphoblastic,
preceded by dysplasia or not preceded by dysplasia.
Basically leukemias suck in more ways than one.) 

But Peter did! 
What a lovely lad, no? 
I mean, this guy's got the whole kit and caboodle:
big blue eyes
heaps of energy 
(seriously, I think there's hyper-yellow-lab somewhere in his lineage)
British accent 
AND churchgoer. 
I'm a lucky lady. 

Peter didn't go to just any church, either-
he went to this beautiful place-
Holy Cross Monastery in East Setauket, New York
This monastery was badly affected by Sandy last fall
and in need of donations in order to continue with ongoing repairs 
{Please consider making a donation to them via check or paypal
by clicking through to the website.}
Also, I will give a dollar to anyone who can pronounce the word 'setauket' correctly. 
yep, that's a lot of snow.

Since there are many Sundays in which I must miss church for studying purposes,
I did a little googling and found this gem.
It's a goarch.org webpage with a list of parishes that livestream their liturgies
{and selected other services, too!}
on their websites, free of charge with no new files or installments necessary 
{I have tried watching my home parish of St. Mark's this way,
but their website requires a special download. 
and sometimes doesn't work. boo} 

It was great! 
I got to see my old priest's new church 
{Father Paul Pappas- what a nice guy} 
and also hear the priest repeatedly tell little kids to open wider
so as not to spill communion
or stand a little taller 
so he could reach them more easily
which was quite entertaining. 

Happy Easter to all non-Orthodox Christians out there; 
and a blessed Sunday to everyone else. 

Χαίρε, αχτίς νοητου Ηλίου; Χαίρε, βολίς του αδύτου φέγγους

Friday, March 29, 2013


All you born on earth
With festival lamps in hand, in spirit leap for joy
Heavenly intelligences
Of incorporeal angels, celebrate
And honor thus the sacred feast of the Mother of God
Crying loudly: 

O rejoice all-blessed one, ever-virgin and pure, who gave birth to God

Peter is going to this beautiful monastery in New York this weekend
and I will be studying my procrastinating little bum off for the next week or so. 
I wish I could tag along
it looks so beautiful and peaceful there, 
and I am definitely in need of a spiritual escape,
a chance to clear my mind
put aside my anxiety and stress for a day or two
and just reflect on the Greatness of God's mercy and the sacrifices made for me.

Unfortunately, an exam looms close.
Also, I am nowhere near Delaware
and if I was,
I am pretty sure I would go into hiding until temperatures hit at least the mid-70s.
Yea, South Floridian wimp over here.

In the mean time, here are a few links from mystagogy and other Orthodox blogs that I found to be noteworthy and enlightening:

A letter from Hillary Clinton to Patriarch Bartholomew

Article on the importance St Menas of Crete during WWII- and a shout-out to my very own Papou :)

Some sweet photos of Metropolitan Paul and a boy in a wheelchair celebrating vespers together in Glyfada
Till next Friday, αντίο

When the pharm lecture has 75 slides...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

and even the professor says "this subject is really boring"

my face goes all:

A few underrated Tolkien Quotes

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

So technically the title of this blog is Lord of the Rings (and other such things.) and if anyone out there in cyberspace has bothered reading any of my posts, you are probably none-too-pleased when you come a cross all of these lovely blog posts and not-a-one of them remotely related to Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, or anything of the sort. Deceitful, I know. But I am pretty sure that only Peter reads this block, so to be honest, I don't feel that bad.

Recently, however, I came across a couple Tolkien quotes that are solid gold, and I just couldn't not put them up here. And no, the only awesome line from Tolkien's work is not "not all those who wander are lost." (Though I must say that is a pretty great one. tried to use it as our roadtrip blog URL and pretty much every variation we attempted was taken. boo.) Ληπόν, here you go friends Peter!

"War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend." 
Yea. He wins over Boromir any day.

 This is essentially everything Tolkien believed about war and pacifism wrapped into one beautifully simple line. It also makes me love Faramir's character that much more in the books. It really shaped my beliefs growing up as well.

"Never laugh at live dragons."
Tolkien's Illustration of the Conversation with Smaug

I bet you all know where this is from. I don't know why this quote isn't more well-known. I mean, that's a classic adventurer life lesson, you know. It really ought to be rule numero UNO in all books on How to Be an Adventurer. But I don't suppose people who go on adventures read books about how to do so. That would take all the fun out of it. Silly me and my practicality. Sometimes I think I act more English than Greek.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."
This is a lovely quote. Jackson and his writers moved it from it's original place in the books, when Frodo is first discussing the ring with Gandalf in The Shire, and it still fits perfectly into the scene, movement and flow of the moment. As a Christian it brings home the importance of free will- God has given us the freedom to do what we live with our lives; it is up to us to decide how we choose to lead them. This is the incomprehensible beauty of the lives we have been given: they are ours, to do with as we will, free of any yolk of compulsion. What we do in this life is completely in our own hands.

"The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world."

I first heard this in my Harry Potter and Fantasy Literature class, the best course I ever took at FSU, and though it may seem strange at first, this fundamental lack of religion in a purportedly religious text makes sense when we take a closer look. Tolkien wanted to take Christian themes out of our daily life and hide deep within his texts- within the phial of Galadriel which protects Frodo and Sam from the evil spider spawn, within the fleeting glimpses of Christ we see in fragments of various characters (although it should be made clear that there is no Christ figure in Lord of the Rings! more on that later), even within Tom Bombadil, a man whose disinterest in earthly treasures allows him to be impervious to the temptation of the one ring- to allow us to see with fresh eyes these elements of Christianity that we often lose sight of, or forget in the material world. There is so much more to say here, but perhaps I will leave the rest of these thoughts for later.

"Many that live deserve death. and some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be so quick to deal out death and judgement. Fore even the very wise cannot see all ends."

Another excerpt from the conversation between Gandalf and Frodo in Bag-End. "It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand," says Gandalf; and I think they did a beautiful job of illustrating this subtle point in the first film installment of The Hobbit. Both Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman were at their absolute best in this tiny moment- go re-watch it, you'll see what I mean ;-)
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

Thorin Oakenshield says this, I believe on his deathbed (it would be out of character for a Dwarf to say such a thing otherwise!) But one of the central and binding themes throughout Tolkien's fictional works.
AHEM. If only we were all like Tom. Source
“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” 
 "I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn"
Two of the few times we see what seems to be some clear reference to a Holy Spirit of any sort is when Sam uses the Phial of Galadriel to chase off the evil spider Shelob (the light in dark places, first quote) and when Gandalf uses the Secret Fire to battle the Balrog in Moria. Apart from these moments there are few times (possibly none) when the Holy Trinity is not carefully veiled and deeply embedded in Tolkien's text. One must go digging to find them :) 

That's all for tonight. This and also this article are two short pieces on Tolkien's work that I hope to get to soon. If you beat me to it please let me know what you think.

Music Monday

Monday, March 25, 2013

Good Morning! 
Completely forgot until just now that it is GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY
The day all Greeks around the world celebrate their liberation from the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. 
To celebrate, here is a super dramatic and cheesy version of the Greek National Anthem, which considering the number of times I was forced to sing it in primary school, I really should have memorized by now. Alas, I do not. Sorry, Kyrie  Eirini. Don't hate.

ζήτο ζήτο η Ελλάδα!!!!!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

that all Englishmen are beautiful, all the time. 

Peter just asked me what a dime is...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I love him.

Lenten Meals

Friday, March 22, 2013

Alright Peter, I've got the recipe for you. Sorry if my raving has started to get on your nerves, but seriously- this meal was delicious. Creamy beans + delicious shrimp + DILL AND LEMON. Did I mention this meal was delicious?

 I feel kind of funny posting this, because even though this recipe is technically lenten, it's certainly not a bland food- fasting is about not only abstaining from animal products olive oil and wine, but also about reviving our hunger for Christ. We achieve this by attempting to adhere to a fairly strict fast- simple foods, simply prepared, in smaller portions. This recipe is certainly none of those things (well, it is pretty easy to make- so there's one!) but it does not contain any meat or dairy products and I thought it was worth a share.

This is the original recipe. I don't like scallions and if you've hung out with me in the kitchen at all you know I LOVE dill (some would call it an addiction...they would be what I like to call 'haters' in American English. dill rocks.) So the recipe I am writing down here is a tad bit different from the one on the web site. But here's the gist of it:

  • 1  10-ounce  box couscous (1 1/2 cups)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3  tablespoons  unsalted butter So, here I used olive oil. Ok, technically it's not lenten, but you can hardly consider the super-market stuff they sell at Publix to be the same as the fragrant green gold they used in the ancient church. (p.s. can you tell I'm Greek?)
  • cloves garlic, chopped
  • scallions, chopped I used 1 large white onion, as scallions suck 
  • 1  pound  medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1  15.5-ounce  can cannellini beans, rinsed --> in the running for new favorite bean. sorry chickpeas (and my entire yoga class.) 
  • 1/2  cup  fresh flat-leaf parsley ALL THE DILL. 
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice (or as much as humanly possible


  1. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil.
  2. Stir in the couscous and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cover and let sit off heat for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork before serving.

I crossed out the above directions because there's directions on the box. just follow those. 

  1. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter  olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and scallions  onion and cook for 30 seconds until the onion begins to clear. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until they begin to turn pink, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the beans, parsley ALL THE DILL, lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons butter olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with the couscous.

I would add toasted pine nuts too. Because they are awesome. And since I don't have any fancy pictures of my beautiful kitchen masterpiece, here is the Real Simple version, (which is also obviously much prettier than mine:)

καλή πέπση! 

Bitten by the Travel Bug

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To any medical professional readers, if any: no, this post is not about leishmaniasis. Whenever I get stuck in one place for too long, I get the itch to move around. It can be put off temporarily by a day trip to a nearby town or exploring a new trailhead, but short excursions don't keep me satisfied for long. Lately I've been on the hunt for something new to do or someplace new to explore. A few adventures that have come to mind recently have been the Three Peaks Challenge, e.g. ascending the U.K.'s three tallest peaks in 24 hours:

climbing mountains in the dark- bring it on!
This short but challenging hike along the coast in the Olympic National Park:
The author of the above post did this hike with two young kids.  TWO KIDDOS.
and this crazy hard/beautiful marathon in Big Sur (or this one in the Red Wood Forests): 
Needless to say, I am crazy.
Also needless to say, one needs pretty good gear to go backpacking in such wet conditions or ascend 3 peaks in a day. So I thought I'd assemble a collection of a few necessary supplies for Peter and I to collect before I drag him along on another crazy and somewhat ill-founded adventure we attempt these "expeditions" (ok, they're not expeditions but definitely outside of my personal experiences/skill set/comfort zone.) In compiling this list I found this website page particularly helpful since I am a beginner to back country camping (and climbing mountains in 24 hours. Really, what crazy Mountaineering Englander woke up one morning and said " hey, you know what would be fun? climbing 3 mountains. consecutively. in the dark. yeaaaaa.")

1. A bad-ass backpack (duh,) and although I haven't done enough research to find a model that really works well, I'm on the case searching between Amazon and the R.E.I. website.
2. Hiking boots (also duh.) I may not be a Boca girl but I was raised there, so I need to have something aesthetically pleasing on my feet at all times, otherwise I won't wear it. When it comes to appearances I quite like these ones from Danner

or, if your pocketbook is not bottomless, these Bean Boots look good and are highly functional too (F.Y.I. gortex= dry feet. That's all you need to know.) To be honest if the most money I spent on shoes EVER was on these hiking boots, I might actually be proud of that fact ;)

3. A solid tent. This one I found on R.EI. has great reviews, fits two people and is a reasonable price for poor overprivileged med students people who, like me, are on a fairly tight budget. Plus, only 3 complaints about leakiness, which, if you have ever camped in a rain forest, you know is a big deal (Olympic Park Watergate 2012...we barely made it out alive.)

4. A comfy down sleeping bag that can keep you warm at temperatures as low as 0 degrees F, an essential for someone like me who finds the frigid winters of even subtropical Florida unbearable (Really, why do I even want to go outside? Oh forget it, I'll just watch Bear Ghrylls eat bugs and drink his own urine on Discovery Channel and call it a day.) Again, I know nothing about sleeping bags, but if I find a good one I'll post it at a future date/time. 

5. Random Gear: Peter got me an awesome GPS watch for Christmas last year that I really ought to use more. It would come in handy in any of the above mentioned outdoor endeavors, and I highly recommend getting one if you are into that kind of stuff. Not a necessity, but certainly a fun gadget. Here's the model I have: 

as well as Peter's more nerdy more manly version (yes, we both have GPS watches. Yes, we are both white and nerdy.): 
if you really can't resist the urge to let your inner freak flag fly, both of these watches can be found on Amazon. Also, they are awesome. Just, you know, for the record.

I also think headlamps would be an excellent investment because (a) how else does one ascend a mountain in pitch darkness without plummeting to their death and (b) I want Peter to be this guy when we have kids. Here is a super-fancy model from R.E.I. that I cannot afford.

So...that was a long post. And I imagine most of you (aka Peter) stopped reading about 1/4 of the way through (seriously T.V. has killed the national attention span) so I'm going to stop writing now and do some real work (I am after all, supposed to save human beings one day. I'd better go study and learn my stuff if I don't want to harm any patients at some point.) If I find any more awesome supplies for future endeavors I will be sure to post them; in the mean time this guy has more good reviews on outdoor equipment and gadgets than you can pitch a tent on, so enjoy. :) 


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Judging by this track, it is going to be awesome. 

καλή Σαρακοστή

καθαρά Δευτέρα

Monday, March 18, 2013

Morning Peter!

Since it is clean Monday I didn't think any post except a spiritual one would be appropriate. Today is the first day of lent. Concretely, we eat simple foods; no meat, dairy, oil or wine may be consumed today. Spiritually, we reflect on the somberness of the time we are about to enter- Great Lent. We reflect on Christ's unlimited mercy and The Lord's ultimate sacrifice. We reflect on our body's need for God; without God, without His food and water to nurture us, we waste away, not only physically but spiritually as well.

I would have liked to post  a hymn sung by my mother and a friend of hers, but I am not so tech-savvy that I can get it from my personal iTunes into a file on the internet. Suffice it to say it is beautiful, and I wish I could share it today. Maybe another time. In the meantime, here is an equally beautiful chant done in the Byzantine style but in English for my non-Greek or Orthodox readers (looking at you, Peter) , O Virgin Pure. It seems appropriate as Friday is the first Akathist Hymn, a service solely in praise of the Virgin Mary. Be sure to attend if you are near an Orthodox Church somewhere, it's a beautiful service and well-worth it. There's also a pre-sanctified liturgy every Wednesday in lent which is also worth attending if you have the time. Have a blessed lent everyone.

50 ways to say goodbye

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Well hello there internet friends who follow my blog (aka no one).  My bad for dipping out on you like that. Peter's been in town, you see, and seeing as he is 99.9% of my readership (the .01% is for people who stumble on this blog, see an awkward photo of a goat, and leave) I figured I wouldn't be greatly missed.

Peter and I had a blast these past 2 weeks. Among the shenanigans we got ourselves into, a few stand out:

1. Sheet fort building
2. home-made pizza making (twice because we are fat kids)
3. Long hikes with the neighbor's dog
4. mechanical bull-riding (and a feeble attempt at line-dancing)

5. fancy ball-gala-thingy attendance

6. breakfast and dancing with the-greatest-Papou-in-the-world
7. deep bonfire philosophical conversations with a deacon, a writer, a physicist (aka Peter, duh) and a supermomma
My father and I discussing the finer things in life.
You can tell from the picture that he is hanging on to every word I say

8. vintage camera repairing and photo-shooting
9. One tragically unfruitful pancake adventure
10. one successful trip to Thomasville, GA

And of course lots of thanking God that Peter is finally here (same time zone! woo!)

I was having so much fun that up until nearabouts the last minute I didn't even notice that Peter was going to have to leave soon and remained stupidly cheerful up until probably last night. Even now that he's gone, it is hard for me to be too sad and mopey because leaving for Delaware is quite different from leaving for Greece (same time zone! woohoo!) <-- has this gotten old yet? tough, I'ma keep saying it!

Regardless, Peter was sad to be going, and who can blame him, as he's heading to a completely new place with no friends or any idea what it will be like, a new job in a new field and some pretty lousy weather (cold + rainy = the worst!) Although normally I am the obnoxious/clingy one who tends to be a little emotionally needy, I managed to rise to the occasion on this one. 

As Peter walks away through security, normally we throw each other totally sappy forlorn glances and more than enough sad waves and blown kisses to make even Nicholas Sparks want to hurl. So this time I decided to lighten the mood. Every time Peter's eyes met mine across the crowded security line, I made a totally weird and/or embarrassing motion. I started off with a few over the top hand gestures: 

done out of love, people!

90s child, born and raised

I then proceeded to move into some fairly embarrassing dance moves. 

(why yes, I AM the worst girlfriend ever.) 

Laugh all you want, dear readers. (a) that's kind of the point, and (b) neither of us could keep the foolish grins off of our faces. I think this may have to become a parting-at-the-airport tradition!

καλή δύναμη in Delaware, Peter. I know you will be great.



Music Monday (On Wednesday)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Good Morning Peter! (and random strangers who have somehow found themselves in my little corner of the blogosphere. No idea how that happened, but you are welcome here.) 

sorry to the two viewers reading this blog for posting music monday so late. Peter has been here and we've been distracted by far more important things (read: med school prom/sleeping in late/building a sheet fort...yea, really important things.) 

This is the latest music video (I think) from Bon Iver's latest album (I think.) It's kind of a weird neon technicolor 80s lullaby meets Avatar. I recommend not watching until you are ready to go to bed or you'll end up looking like this guy: 

image found here

But I digress

Enjoy the song !