Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Traditions Continue

Probably the most shallow reason I am happy to be an Orthodox Christian is the connection it provides to me with my past. I dig the fact that my grandfather's grandfather and his grandfather could step into my church on any Sunday and recognize exactly what was going on.

Part of the joy of being a father is seeing my kids participate in centuries-old traditions in their Church. It reminds me that they are links in a much longer chain.

A few weeks ago we observed the Sunday of Orthodoxy. It's the day we acknowledge the importance of icons in our Faith, and celebrate their restoration in the 9th Century, after over 100 years of controversy during which zealots opposed to their veneration worked to wipe icons out of the Church.

On that Sunday, children (and adults) walk around the church carrying an icon in celebration. This past Sunday of Orthodoxy also saw Gus on altar boy duty. So there they were, my kids, continuing a 1200-year old tradition...just like their grandfather's grandfather's grandfather.

I apologize for the quality of these photos. Kelly has already chastised me by reminding me that a cell phone is not a camera...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Easter by Niko

From today's Sunday School lesson, Niko explains Easter. Rather accurately, I might add.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Nice Little Mannerism

Once, when I was in high school, one of my friends said, "I know you're going to hate this, but when you just did that gesture you looked exactly like your dad." I remember thinking, "yikes."

The truth of the matter is that often gestures and mannerisms are genetically predetermined. But sometimes they are learned as well. The other day, Niko crawled into my bed and gently rubbed my ear. Now, I know he's picked that up from me, but no one with whom I share DNA ever did that. The only person, who rubbed my ears was my Uncle John - my Theia Amelia's late husband. It was a sign of affection from him.

What a nice little mannerism for the boys to have picked up.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Surviving Survivor

Kelly and I have always watched Survivor. When we lived in L.A. it was our special weekly treat with John and Sabine: dinner, too much wine for John and me, and Survivor.

Somehow, this season we started allowing the boys to watch it with us. Niko doesn't really get it, but Gus is way into it - even if he doesn't yet understand the strategy part of the game he loves the challenges. He also usually provides a running commentary of what this player or that player has done wrong, and how he'd do differently...and successfully.

Well, one of the "villains" this season is a young openly gay man, named Colton.

This young man - or the "character" he's chosen to play on reality TV - is rude, elitist, classist, and slightly racist. And he's extremely feminine. Before they knew his name, the boys called him, "That Guy That Talks Like a Girl."

We've reminded them that people look, talk and act differently, and we never judge someone by any of those attributes. But the boys have made it clear: they don't like Colton. Kelly and I don't either, and we've said it. The guy's an ass.

But that's led me to wonder if the boys think we don't like Colton because he's feminine. We did laugh when during last week's "Immunity Challenge" he shrilled, "Help me!" while being tackled in the water.

Are we unintentionally encouraging homophobia in the boys? Now I don't expect the guys to grow up to be homophobic in the traditional sense. But I do wonder if we're creating a two-tiered level of acceptance: guys like your dads, those whom you usually wouldn't know are gay off the bat, are OK; guys like Coloton, not so much?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On the Ice

What do Chris Chelios,Tom Kostopoulos and Gus Huntington-Katis have in common?

All great Greek hockey players!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Little Chickadee

Sometimes I get excited about something and make rash decisions, or at least decisions that I wish I would have thought about a little longer before pulling the trigger.

This is one of them: Saturday Kelly and I were running errands, and we stopped off at IFA just to look at the new chickens. Yeah, you guessed it, we have three new chicks keeping warm and filling out in the laundry room.

They're a different breed from Eleni, Yiayia Peeps and Mabel 2, however. These girls are Maran chickens, which mean they'll lay a dark burgundy / chocolate brown-colored egg.

But these new birds do share something with their older sisters: the boys choose distinctly un-farm-like names!

From left to right: Aphrodite, Panayia and Stavroula

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To the Lions

I don't remember the first time I observed Lent. Growing up, we weren't very religious. At best, on occasion, we'd give up meat for Holy Week.

But I do know being an Orthodox Christian - even an unobservant one - at the overwhelmingly LDS Midvale Elementary School played to my advantage. See, in an attempt to get me to broaden my horizons, my mom used to make me alternate between buying school lunch one week and bringing a sack lunch the next.

Well, on those "school lunch" weeks, all sorts of unappetizing "dishes" crossed my tray.

If I just couldn't bring myself to choke it down, I'd pull the Lent card - several times throughout the year. There was only one lunch room lady, who was ever wise to me (and she was Roman Catholic, and cut me a lot of slack). To the rest of them I was practically a saint living my faith devoutly. Greek Orthodox? Roman Catholic? Presbyterian? It all sounded vaguely exotic to them.

Well, Gus is observing Lent for the first time this year. Rather than refrain from all meat, dairy and eggs as Orthodox Christians are instructed, to ease him into the idea, he has chosen to abstain from candy. I have to admit, being vegan for 50 days would have been easier. This is a real sacrifice for him.

But the other day the poor kid was really put to the test. With, I'm sure, more than a little brotherly mischief, Niko proceeded to snarf down some Swedish fish in front of a tempted Gus, tormenting his brother. Poor Gus, not even 9-years old yet and he's already learned about martyrdom.