Paschal Feats of the Horizontal Woman


Christos Anesti! This past weekend we celebrated Pascha along with our dear visitors, John and Lila, the soon-to-be Stiffs. The two of them arrived on Wednesday evening from DC and the adventures began! On Monday after Eric fed me breakfast and left for work I went back to sleep until 10:30. We did a good amount of staying up late with all sorts of astute conversation and goofy chatter. I think I’ve recovered.

On Thursday morning I shuffled out of the bedroom and into Bed Rest Central where I found Lila already there. It was wonderful to see Eric off to work and not be left alone. Eventually John arrived, as well, and the visitors were off to church. I pulled over the laptop and edited until they arrived again.

They brought Anthony (the Saathoff blog’s newest reader) with them and Claire arrived a bit after that. There was food:


And then there were eggs! Ukrainian Easter Eggs (aka Pysanky). Lila’s coworkers taught her the ways of dying fancy Ukrainian Easter eggs with beeswax and multiple layers of dye.

First we had to remove the egg yolks and whites. There were two methods, the “old school” blowing method, and the new fangled “Blas-Fix”. Claire impressed all with her powerful lungs and had those eggs cleaned out in no time.

Reclining combined with a baby growing up into my diaphragm did make things a little more difficult, but my egg was empty eventually. Being the reclining centerpiece of the room does give one a nice perspective for taking photos of egg evacuation procedures:





(In the Blas-Fix close up, please note Lila’s ring that speaks of a celebration to come!)

Next came the first application of wax. Pysanky creation takes a good amount of thought to figure out the process. Beeswax that has been died black is inserted in the “kistka” (a stick with metal applicator that holds and releases the wax) and then held over a flame, which warms the wax it so it will melt out of the stick (like ink coming out of a pen, except less exact and reliable) and onto the eggs. Whatever color is underneath the wax will remain that color. So, our first application of wax left areas of the egg white.



Then came the dye. Unfortunately, the dye was mixed a bit on the dilute side. But even so, this was no
Paas. It’s powerful stuff.

This is my egg after the first dose of wax and dye:


And then after the second:


Rounds of wax and dye continued.




(No, we weren’t eating tubs full of cottage cheese, yogurt and sour cream. Those are just the egg dying containers. The spooning action was only to keep the hollow eggs submerged.)

Once we were satisfied with our wax and dye covered eggs we held them next to the flame to melt the wax. Once the wax got melty we wiped it off and revealed the colors beneath. It took a long time to get the big gobs of wax off.


I’m eager to try this again next year. (Although it may need to be a late night event since Little Cap at 9 or 10 months will probably be a little young for open flames and non-food grade dyes.) Below are photos of our finished products. I think they’re pretty cool. But if you’d like to see the real thing, check this out.

Anthony’s egg.

John’s egg.

Lila’s egg.

img_0905 img_0906
Eric’s egg.

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Lizzy’s egg.

Apparently if you write the blog your egg gets extra photos. Claire had to leave before fully revealing her egg and thus we have no photo.

The weather on Saturday was gorgeous. So, while the visitors were off to church Eric took me out in the lawn chair. Reclining in a bulky fleece on the side of the road does emphasize the “beached whale” effect of pregnancy.


But looking silly was totally worth it. The sun was shining, birds were singing, small children waved to me, and my husband kept me grinning with witty conversation. My vitamin D stores were restocked and all was well. Until a neighbor came by and asked, “Don’t you have somewhere else to lay down besides the front lawn? Can’t you go in your apartment?” (Truthfully, I’m pretty sure our building doesn’t have a “front lawn”, and that we were on property of the next building over.) We explained the bed rest situation and she warned us a bit sternly not to step on the garden. Now, I would have preferred a different response, but she does have a point because she plants the garden. And it’s awesome. Out building definitely has the best flowers on the block and I’ve day dreamed about teaching Little Cap his colors by pointing to her flowers. Still, I was upset. We went inside and resumed lying down, this time in a puddle of pregnancy hormone induced tears.

Eric, being a genius and knowing all too well how I miss the kitchen brought me all the ingredients and paraphernalia to make banana bread. I reclined on my side smooshing bananas and thinking instead about the little boy who waved to me from the side walk. Then Eric chopped up some semi-sweet chocolate squares to add into the banana bread. He REALLY knows how to cheer me up. (If you look closely in the picture below you can also see that I was listening to a podcast of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, which has become my special Saturday treat.)


Then I lost by a smidgen in cribbage. But a close loss is a huge improvement for me so it did nothing to deter my mood.

Eric also began boiling some eggs to be deviled in preparation for Sunday’s Paschal Feast. Lila and John returned and we all peeled eggs together. At one point John leaned forward from the futon (those who know our futon will understand that getting up from it is no easy task) to grab another egg and said “Uff.” Which resulted in many giggles since it sounded just like “Oeuf.”

Claire also joined in helping to cook for Sunday and packing the Pascha basket. Eventually all the non-bedresters were on the way to the vigil and I curled up in bed. Now, I don’t at all like sleeping without Eric. It was really hard to fall asleep. But this pregnant back and belly didn’t seem to have a problem taking advantage of ALL the pillows.

In the morning I awoke earlier than the rest (who returned at 5am), but they were up eventually and I enjoyed their sleepy-head delirium. At some point Eric and John broke out in a jig, it was pretty cool. Skills with the camera timer appear to be improving:


In the afternoon Bed Rest Central turned into Buffet Central. There was Polish Easter soup (Zurek) made from fermented rye with hard boiled eggs, onions and kielbasa. A frittata with leeks, smoked salmon and dill, rye bread with festive butter, banana bread, a variety of sausages and cheeses, deviled eggs, and general merriment. I hadn’t been fasting and still I felt a little out of it and totally stuffed by the end of our feasting.





In the late afternoon, Lila and John headed back towards O’Hare and things returned to normal here at Bed Rest Central. The only thing that could have made the weekend better would have been permission to stand up without worrying. There was very very little standing (as always), and it was still awesome. Many thanks to Lila, Claire, Anthony, John, and, of course, Eric who all modified their Pascha for the horizontal woman and made me feel quite upright!



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8 Responses to “Paschal Feats of the Horizontal Woman”

  1. Claire Says:

    What a nice post. Only I resent that Anthony and I don’t get a tag :)

  2. precisewoman Says:

    It’s fixed. You’re it Claire!

  3. YA YA Brooke Says:

    WHats with you and John looking like old jewish men?

  4. vagueperson Says:

    I’ve been mistaken for Jewish more than once before, and John’s been mistaken for me more than once… but we both love beards

  5. YA YA Brooke Says:

    anonymity….huh ?

  6. vagueperson Says:

    Thankfully, Elizabeth has never mistaken me for John (or Jewish), only young children who saw both John and I infrequently.
    The first time I was mistaken as Jewish was by a Rabbi. Another time was a non practicing Jew at work, and a third time by the front desk clerk at UIC hospital.
    I have no qualms with being likened to an Orthodox Jew; I think John said once he was seen as a monk by regular folk because of his beard when he traveled somewhere in Eastern Europe.
    I don’t, however, wear a beard as a mask but rather a natural partial covering, just as the hair atop my head.

  7. ya ya brooke Says:

    Freud, a jew, would not agree.

  8. vagueperson Says:

    He had a nice beard, too

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