Paraklesis

On Wednesdays, I try to attend the Paraklesis service held at the Metropolis Center by the Cathedral. It is at 5PM and is usually attended by between 20 – 30 people. They are mainly ancient and mostly women. This past Wednesday the storm clouds had rolled in and when I arrived there were only four women there. As soon as I got in the door the storm broke loose. Rain and hail came down nonstop.

One of the women threw up her arms and started to scream ” This is the end. God is angry. We are doomed”. I wanted to tell her that it must be just her he was mad at because God and I are getting along just fine. Then a second woman started to scream ” My new car will be ruined by the hail. Why would God destroy my car?” . I noticed her car was a Toyota. Perhaps God is more of a Ford type guy. A third woman started to scream ” I just planted my garden. My tomatoes will be destroyed. What will I do?”. ( Buy more tomatoes and plant them?). The fourth woman remained surprisingly  quiet.

The Bishop arrived and had us enter the Chapel to begin the service. He started out by saying ” Let us say a special prayer for those of us who may have family and friends driving in this storm. Let us pray that they arrive home safely”. That’s all it took for the fourth woman to stand up and shout ” My Children are driving in this storm. I will never see them again. May God protect them”. I bet the Bishop never starts another service using those words. While all this was going on all I could think of was ” Oh great , my last day on Earth and I get to spend it with these four hysterical, ancient Greek women”. Don’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Rocky Mountain High

I wonder if John Denver ever dreamed that Colorado would legalize Marijuana when he wrote that song back in the 70’s? One thing is for sure pot was a lot cheaper back in the day. When I was a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, all you had to do was attend a party anywhere on campus and someone would be passing around a joint for you to toke on ( no charge ).  During football games there was a low hanging cloud over the student section in the football stadium. Win or lose the students always left the games happy. And the joints were passed around – no charge.

When I graduated from CU and got a job working for the state government in downtown Denver, it was just accepted that at the monthly pot luck someone would bring “special” brownies ( and they were free ).

Today things have changed. Medical and recreational pot shops are opening up at the speed of light. You can literally get high just driving down Colfax. The buildings are painted green so you know what they are and they have very creative names: “Friends of Mary Jane” “A Mile High” or “Altitude” are a few of the names.

During one of our Greek Festival meetings someone suggested that the Cathedral could grow pot on the vacant land next to it since it is now legal. Then we could package it in a wrapper with a Greek flag on it a a quote saying ” Get high on God”. For some reason the Priest was not amused.

Festival

This year was the 50th anniversary of the Denver Assumption Cathedral Greek festival. For years my dad ran the kitchen at the festival and the family “volunteered” to help him out. Last year Katie decided to become chairperson for the main entrance gate and of course the family once again “volunteered” to help her out. The west gate entrance had problems last year and Katie agreed to be the chairperson for that gate as well, along with her “volunteers”. The festival runs from Friday to Sunday.

Friday morning I arrived to set up the west gate booth. The booth is a metal trailer that coke uses to sell drinks at events. Coke donates this trailer for the Church to use every year. Next year I think I will request something a little smaller and less heat resistant. While I was organizing the trailer , I felt drops of water on me. I looked up and said ” What the **** is going on ?” . Turns out it was the Priest blessing the booths before the festival started. He smiled at me and continued on.

At about 3PM Friday afternoon an ancient Greek man jumped into the booth with me and said ” You need help”. I replied ” No I don’t , thank you”. To which he replied ” Oh yes you do”. And he immediately began to rearrange everything at our booth and tell me what I had done wrong to organize the west gate. Then he found that the beverage bin in the trailer was still full of water. He decided that it needed to be drained. Unfortunately he drained it onto the trailer floor. As we stood there knee deep in water he smiled and said ” Don’t worry. In this heat it will evaporate soon”.

May his memory be eternal. My friends have asked me if it was worth it (YES!!). Besides it was self defense and I only got 3-5 with time off for good behavior. My biggest concern now is that they will place me in a cell with another Greek.

You’ve Been Banned

Apparently the Church board at Assumption Cathedral is on the verge of banning the Ethiopian community from the use of the ballroom for wedding receptions. This is not racially motivated but merely destruction of property motivated. And remember the Greeks are not shy about partying to the max.

It seems that there have been several incidents that have led the board to this decision. Starting with the wine incident, it seems that there was a certain wine that was very popular and heavily consumed. The janitor is still scrubbing the stains out of the walls and carpet several months later. Then there were the gun incidents. Apparently shooting guns at the wedding reception is a tradition. Unfortunately, the first time, the bullets left holes in the windows, walls and ceiling. They were told that guns could not be fired inside the premises. The second time they did heed that warning and decided to fire from the balcony outside the ballroom. The police were not amused.

Then there was the garbage disposal incident. Half a dozen spoons were found as the cause of a broken garbage disposal. ( Was this mistaken for the dishwasher? ). Replacing the garbage disposal was not cheap. What my have been the final straw that broke the camel’s back though was the fire. It seems that there is some sort of tradition that consists of burning a bonfire during the wedding reception. After the fire was extinguished , it was explained to the celebrants that the middle of the ballroom floor was not the best place to have the fire located. I have never been to one of these events, which is probably why I am alive and able to write about them.

Three Piece Suit

So, last Thursday I went to my follow up prostate biopsy. And yes it was even more fun than the first one. The Dr. arrived in a three piece suit. I felt extremely under dressed for the occasion, especially during the procedure. He is one of the top urologists in the country , so he is always giving lectures, meeting and greeting people, along with the several classes that he teaches at the University. During the procedure he kept asking me how I was doing. I wasn’t sure how to answer that question, especially under the circumstances ( ” I feel like I have bottomed out” ? ).

Then you have the hospital “gowns”. The hospital states that the purpose of these garments is to allow the doctor to examine you while providing the patient with the ability to maintain their dignity. Apparently the hospital and I have very different definitions of the word dignity. No matter how you tie those little straps in the back, the minute you get up to walk around, you have everything flapping in the wind.

Now I have to confess that this last time I didn’t mind that much because I have a dynamite tan line that I enjoy showing. I was a little disappointed that the doctor didn’t mention this. How many people can say that they have had a prostate biopsy performed by someone in a three piece suit? Did that make it a formal affair? As the saying goes ” bottoms up”.

Moving

When I bought my dad’s house and moved in to take care of him, I vowed to never move again ( never say never – right? ). My niece Katie has said that she would like to buy the house, so I will be moving sometime in the future. The thought of packing everything up and then moving to a new place is not pleasant at all. I was thinking of burning down the house and then claiming the insurance. Whenever I suggest this to my friends they get all hysterical and mention things like fraud and arson. Of course these same friends all have “excuses” for why they can’t help me move. The way I look at it , it is their fault if I turn to a life of crime.

When I was younger, it was very easy to find a friend who owned a truck and I had plenty of healthy, muscular male friends ( and some women – never, ever argue with them ). We would all get together and have someone moved within hours and then party afterwards. Now, nobody that I know owns a truck. And the guys are no longer young and muscular. They now have silly complaints like a heart condition, or bad back, knees or hips or many, many other body parts now causing them problems. What lengths some people won’t go to trying to avoid a little bit of work. I suppose that it is a bit much asking a person with a walker to help you carry boxes. Of course there is always Craig’s list – what could possibly go wrong with that?

Rain, Rain Go Away

The past few weeks we have been getting soaked with continuous rain in the greater Denver metro area. However, I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until last night when I saw our dog Darcy put on floaties and a snorkel to go outside to pee. He came back in drenched, poor guy. Needless to say he now holds it in until absolutely necessary.

My dog Apollo hated the rain. He would poke his butt out of the dog door only as much as necessary and when done he would jump back into the house. If he happened to get a drop of water on him in the process, he would run around the house until he was dry. Then he would crawl under the nearest, thickest blanket and shiver until he got the expected amount of sympathy from me. ( Of course a nice peanut butter cookie also helped him recover from  his awful ordeal ).

It’s interesting that we have the state of California under drought conditions and water restrictions. Contrast that to Colorado where folks are now swimming or going by boat to work. We would gladly give California all of our new ” liquid gold”. Denver was originally a plains, semi arid desert region. ( I am so glad we aren’t experiencing climate change ).

I had always heard that it was good to teach children to swim at a young age. Parents in the Denver area are getting a chance to test that theory. They put a pair of floaties on their kids, shove them out the door and let them swim to school. I just hope the rain has stopped by June 19th ( The beginning date of the Greek Festival ). Can you imaging wet Greeks being even more pleasant than they usually are welcoming people and telling them to enjoy and have a good time? OPA!!

Do I Put This On My Resume?

So, I started a part time job last week. It ended in a week. Originally it was supposed to last from one to six months and then the agency would have something else lined up for me. The woman at the agency was furious ” This is the third time they have done this to us.We are dropping them as a client”. ( It’s a shame they didn’t drop them after the second time). I am a bit of a job jinx , so I may still get my revenge.

It started when I went to work as office manager for a box manufacturing company. The headquarters was in New Orleans and a branch office in Denver. After 6 years they went bankrupt. ( The awful part – besides losing my job – was the company policy of getting a free weeks paid vacation in New Orleans after 6 years. Guess who didn’t get his vacation?). Next came working for the State of Colorado at the Student Loan Program.

Sure enough after 6 years, the state legislature decided that Colorado should no longer be in the student loan business. They closed the division, along with my job. I took a year off and got a Medical Coding certificate. I went to work for a company that did medical coding for many of the ER’S in the greater Denver metro area. The jinx was finally broken. They didn’t outsource the coding jobs until after my 7th year there. I was told at this last week long job that the company had been around for 41 years. ( That’s about to change ).  I am betting that my being there a week will be good enough for the job jinx to kick in. Besides they’ve had a good run.

Aunt Connie

Aunt Connie passed away this last Thursday. She was the last living sibling of Yiayia and Papou Georgelas. For me growing up , they were all larger than life – they were super heroes. I was incredibly fortunate to have them all as a part of my life. Aunt Connie always reminded me of a Hollywood movie star with looks, glamour and grace. She could light up a room with her smile and her love for her family was boundless. She never knew a stranger and everyone was always welcome in her home.

I am very grateful that her family and friends were able to celebrate her 90th birthday with her. I wasn’t able to attend, but from the pictures that I have seen on face book and from my cousins that I have talked with, she had a great time being surrounded by her family and friends. Plus, for the people that did attend , they will have memories that will last a life time. While there is a great sadness in her passing, I feel so blessed to have known this beautiful ( inside and out ) woman. May her memory be eternal. I know for me it will. Love You Aunt Connie!!

Colonoscopy

Doesn’t it sound intelligent when you can use medical words? Of course , you sound even more intelligent if you actually know what those words mean. Last Friday I had my second colonoscopy. ( One of the many privileges of getting older ). The procedure itself takes only about 10 minutes, yet you may spend between 3 and 4 hours in the hospital. They also request that you have a responsible adult drive you home ( this of course excluded any Greek people that I knew, so a non-Greek friend drove me home).

I was thrilled this time because they didn’t knock me out ( I was able to hear everything – pretty cool ). Of course I didn’t understand half of what was being said. I attribute this to the drugs and not my lack of knowledge. In the recovery room, the doctor came in to tell me about the number of polyps removed and where they were located. He also proceeded to give me advice on my eating habits. I was a bit reluctant to take nutritional advice from someone who makes a living probing people’s butts. Apparently I am to reduce the number of cokes that I drink ( at least he was smart enough not to use the word eliminate ).

Not only did the doctor tell me what had been done, he gave me colored pictures to take home. Most people have pictures of their children and pets to show, I have pictures of the insides of my colon and intestine. I was hungry the day of my procedure since they only allow a liquid diet the day before. Seeing those pictures seemed to cure my hunger.

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