Friends & Face Book

As I sat on my balcony a little while ago, watching the newness of the day start, and enjoying the cool breeze of a nice spring morning, my thoughts turned to my friends - mainly the ones I've left behind in Louisiana.  I miss them dearly some days more so than others.

  Something about this morning reminded me of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Briana.  She and I have known each other since 6th grade. I transferred from the Magnet school to a regular school, she was in the office waiting for her mom to pick her up because she was sick, I was sitting in the office while my grandmother got my transfer sorted.  I was embarrassed to be there.  I didn't do bad on tests or anything at the Magnet school - I couldn't get to the first half of my classes on time because the campus was so big and I had 1/4 of my books with me for these classes.  Book sack and arms full, I would run across campus - but could never get in my seat before the bell rang.  So I lost points in each class.  Hence my academic probation, resulting in my transfer to a school full of kids I went to elementary school with that I didn't like, and they didn't like me. 

  Anyway, Briana and I have been through everything together.  In 8th grade we got into a fight, over God knows what, and we didn't talk for nearly the whole year.  I fell in with a bad crows after that, and things happened to me that should never happen to a person, especially a girl.....

......but we made up and everything was fine.  We had a few little spats in high school but nothing major - we were in different circles in high school.  All the popular girls loved her, but they couldn't stand me for some reason.  Whatever - if I coulda, I woulda made Voodoo dolls of them all...*sigh*

  After High School we were still friends.  I was always at her house - we were inseparable, did everything together.  One night, instead of staying at her house, we went to visit some friends, who were guys.  We wound up staying the night there.  Completely innocent I assure you.  The guys didn't like me in that way, and the feeling was mutual.  And Briana was as pure as the driven snow.  She was a tiny thing - but don't cross her, or try to force her to do something she didn't want to do.  Strongest person I know.

  Anyway, so we get up the next morning and drive to her house (a trailer).  When we pulled onto her street - a lot of people were standing in front of her trailer.  We were like 'what's going on?'  We thought maybe her mom was doing something crazy - Gerri tended to do that.....she liked to PARTY.  But it wasn't Gerri.  It was the trailer. It was all black and charred and puffs of smoke rising from it in scattered places.  The fire department had come and gone.  I had a part in my car that I was scheduled to have replaced that morning.  Being half awake, and half in shock, I did the STUPIDEST thing. I left Briana there with the on-lookers to go get my part, I think a headlight replaced.  I was an idiot.  I apologized later when I realized how what I had done was so awful.  She of course forgave me, but she never forgot.

  We both kept thinking what a good thing it was that we fell asleep at our friends house.  When I stayed with Briana I would always sleep on their couch.  The weird thing - the fire on the end of the couch where I would lay my head.  *shudder*

  But let me move on to Face Book - such a wonderful invention - mainly for the art of Time Suckage, but too, it has allowed me to re-connect with lost friends.  For instance my friend Damaris.  Her parents were missionaries in Mexico.  Her father was killed in Mexico when she was young, and her mom brought her home to Louisiana, and put  her in our school - which was part of the church.  We were instant friends, joined at the hip.  She spoke Spanish - stupid me didn't try to learn.

 Facebook has let me find one of the COOLEST chicks I ever met, or ever will meet, Damie.  I met Damie in High School.  We were part of a small quirky little circle.  We were what was considered the freaks.   99.9% of the kids at our school were always in Girbaud jeans, Polo shirts, Bows in their hair.  Every hair in place - perfection.  Us.  Think Nirvana, Janis Joplin, etc.  We like music all kinds.  We dressed how we felt, if that meant gypsy skirts with combat boots - well....  Anyway, Damie was always super cool.  Kind of had this quiet wisdom.  So glad I found her again on FB - she hasn't changed a bit!

Then there's Mark. My sophomore year of H.S. brought my mom back into my life - that a story for another time.  SO I decided to give the whole "mom" thing a go.  I moved in with her down in Buras, LA.  which is in the Delta of the Mississippi River - the end of the world.  When I got to the school the first day - it was like the school I just came from, only - the kids weren't looking at me with disdain - it was with a sort of awe, like "she looks so cool" - one person told me I looked like I just stepped out of a magazine - I was wearing black jeans and old faded black Banana Republic t-shirt and a flannel shirt over it.  Chokers around my neck 3 earings in each ear, and dark lipstick.  I looked at her like she was the one who was smokin something - not me!

  So I was the latest curiosity - but I found the others just like me, who were all guys.  I was the only girl evidentaly that listened to their kind of music.  In this group was my friend Mark - I talk thin guy, with somewhat long hair, who never said much to anyone.  Very quiet and introverted.  But we talked, he was cool, I liked Mark. We would write each other notes in class and pass them to each other in the hallway in between classes.  Mark was 1 year ahead of me, or maybe 2.  I made friends with other kids to, girls who dressed more "normal".  They would freak when they would see me talking to Mark.  They thought he was strange, and weird.  I tried to explain to them, but they didn't want to get it, so I didn't bother trying.  I lost touch with Mark after he graduated.  But you know, I kept EVERY note he ever wrote me.  I think they are in storage at my dad's, unless they all got tossed when my brother and his wife moved into the house after us, and did a clean-through.

 So I found Mark on FB, and now, after much pleading and encouraging from me and a few others, he finally started his own blog.  He's very sharp, witty and interesting, and if you get a chance go here and read his blog!


The Pot Calling the Kettle Black.....

  Okay, so evidently one of the non Orthadox churches here in Romania has some sort of scandal - it's just 1, ONE individual church.  Something about taking money from the people in the church - for all I know it could be about tithing.  I don't know all the particular's - but it has give the Orthadox church here a HUGE stone to throw.  They are trying to convince the RO government to make all other religious sects illegal or something to that effect.

Well here's my issue with the Orthadox church here in Romania.  Drive through the country - go through any small, run-down, and I do mean RUN DOWN village, and what do you see, the Orthadox church spending hundreds of thousands of Euro to build a HUGE, NEW church building in a place where the people have no money.  These people have to decide what they are going to do with their money when they do get some; do they buy food so they can eat, or pay their water or electric bill?  You think I'm joking, no, I'm dead serious.  And here's the kicker:

  Someone in their family dies, they have to PAY the priest to perform the ceremony, even though that person when to mass every Sunday!!!  The dead person's family has to buy and give away food to all the people at the grave site!  Okay, that is a tradition here, I don't know if that has anything to do with the church or the culture.  But you get my point.

  The orthodox church receives money from the RO government.  The priests pay no taxes - have a nice home to live in (monastery) with indoor plumbing (some not all), electricity, clothes, plenty of food, and NEW vehicles to conduct their "business" in.  Not to mention they all have cell phones too!  When you visit the monastery you can purchase things that are made there on the premises.  One convent just outside of Tulcea produces honey and wine - both of which are really good.  So they are always making money some kind of way, but I never see them HELPING those that they expect to attend church every week.

  Want to get married in the church - you have to fork over money for that too, regardless if you attend regularly.  That's not for the use of the church space - that's for the priest, personally!

  During the Christmas and New Year season, the priests go around from house to house, apartment to apartment and "Bless" the homes - guess what, if you allow the priest to perform this rite - you better fork over some money. 

  One priest came to my door twice this past holiday season.  I explained I wasn't Romanian, nor was I Orthodox.  He proceeded to perform his rite anyway, and then I was pressured into kissing a picture of Christ, on BOTH his visits.  Everything in me was SCREAMING, but I was polite, and respectful, and kissed the friggin' icon anyway.  I felt like I'd just committed idolatry, even though I believe in Christ Jesus, and it was an icon of Christ! 

  So why did I do that?  Well because my kids were standing right there, and I didn't want to make a scene and confuse and embarrass them - not yet anyway, I'll wait till they're a bit older...... 

.....plus, for all I know that same priest could be teaching their religion class one day, and I don't want them to have a hard time. 

  As far as I know none of the other denominations charge for any of that.  The church that my sister in law attends is "pentecostal", but not what we think of as pentecostal in the U.S., technically they are somewhat charismatic.  But not like Benny Hinn, et. all.  She has never mentioned them asking the members of the church for money for funerals or weddings, etc.  Basically her church is a lot like the church in Acts Ch.2 - the members meet the needs of the other members.

  The Communist regime was atheistic, but allowed the Orthodox church to remain, out of tradition they said - but really the church operated as tattle-tale agency for the government.  When a person went to confession, or attended mass too often - the priests turned that parishioner into the Securitate; this was one bad a** agency you did NOT want to get tangled up with. 

  Even now, in some of the smaller towns and villages in Romania and Moldova, when a non Orthodox church "opens", more like people meeting in their homes - the Orthodox priests have been known to disrupt the services by throwing rocks through windows, etc. 

  So I guess my statement to the Romanian Orthodox Church is "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".



  So the moon is supposedly bigger tonight (3/19/11) - however, I can't detect any difference, not really, not like what I saw back in October of '98 or '99 - OMGosh - the moon was ENORMOUS then.  I was driving from Houston to Baton Rouge - and it was just mesmerizing, it was all I could do to keep my little Mazda B2300 on the road...cause my eyes kept staring at this incredibly LARGE moon!

  Even though the moon doesn't look much closer to our little planet than it normally does, I did however manage to snap a few cool shots from my balcony window.  I wish my 70mm-300mm lens had stability control in it, but it doesn't, and unfortunately I didn't feel like dragging out my tri-pod so some of the closer-ups of the "up close" moon, are a bit wobbly - to be more precise, you feel like you have double vision - Schnapps, anyone????

  Anyway, here are a few of the better shots:

Zoomed out - with corner of balcony from the bldg. next to me.

 I Really like this one (above)
Double Vision

Clouds started converging  -  if only I wouldn't have gotten the bldg. in the shot - it would've been perfect.

So there they are a few of my Moon shots.  Sorry for the wobbly hands!