Sunday, August 31, 2008

Little Loves

More babies means more gifts and more craftiness...
Luckily, to keep things interesting for me, Momma bought me some decorative stitch cams for my sewing machine (since my machine is a "good ol' fashioned" one, everything's manual and you have to insert cams in the top of the head to guide the needle for the fancy stitches). I've really enjoyed playing around with them and look forward to trying them all on different projects.
Also, I went to the art store today (oh my goodness--so many fun things in there!!) and bought some more Sculpey clay because I've decided I need a few more animals for my Noah's ark. Because the clay comes in a relatively large box, it will be fun to see what other creative projects I can contrive to make use of my new-found clay-wealth :) Any suggestions?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Kimono Update

So far the kimono has been going well, except for one small mistake in the pattern instructions I used (lucky I had extra material!). I've finished the outer shell as far as I can go before starting on the lining (though I won't be able to do that this weekend because we are doing so many things, including going to movies, parties, lunches, dinners, catching up with friends. It's a busy life out here!).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dumplings, Miso Soup, and a Kimono

All things Asian today! A couple months ago, T and I "inherited" some miso paste from a wonderful Chinese sister who was studying at BC (and returned to Taiwan), so I made miso soup earlier this week. We also got all her leftover dumplings (that is, the still-frozen ones she didn't make before she left), and I made some of those to go with the soup. Today we had the leftover soup with hot tea and dumplings and rice. It was a very nice dinner :) It was also nice because we got to use our Chinese soup spoons, and the hashioki that Momma gave me to go with the china.
Also, I've decided I want to make a kimono for a bathrobe. I found some easy-looking instructions online, that I intend to follow. The pink material below will be the outter layer, and I will line it with the sheer green material. Yeah, these are kinda fancy materials for my "practice" kimono (if it turns out well, I'll get some nicer, heavier weight material and make a winter kimono, too), but actually it was all free! When T and I went to CA this summer Momma donated much of her unused material to my sewing efforts. Should be fun :)
Posted by Picasa Sayonara!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summer's Over?

On Monday this week, the city of Boston unanimously decided that summer is *over* Sunday, the public pool in Cleveland Circle was a rollicking flesh pot and the nearby field was full of twenty-somethings playing sports. The sun was out, the air was warm... a perfect vision of summer. But there were signs. Moving trucks of all sizes were inching their way through narrow one-way streets, bearing college students and their muchness. Piles of no-longer-wanted items discarded by busy moving-inners littered the sidewalks, free for the taking. BC itself was freshening up before the "impress the parents" events happen: painting crosswalks throughout campus, cutting the grass, trimming the bushes, adding "Welcome to BC" signs all over. And the shuttle started running its regular school year schedule last Friday. Then Monday we went to work and the pool was completely empty! Students with stuff were everywhere! BC looked immaculate and the shuttles were buzzing and humming all over campus. And, as if all that wasn't enough, it's been delightfully cool these past few evenings. It was a bit warm yesterday, but with the over-use of a/c in office buildings, it always feels nice to walk into the welcoming warmth of the sun. Fall is coming :) And it will be beautiful! We'll try to go out of the city this year to be "leaf peepers." We'll take Dave and Mandy if they're available. Anyone else wanna come? (This is my 100th post) :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Friday Off

Because I only work part time, and because it's summer (and therefore my boss frequently takes Fridays off), I took yesterday off and stayed at home all day. It was a very relaxing day, and I was able to paint some more of Noah's ark. Here's a link to the latest pictures. You'll also notice our pretty new tea pot :D

Noah's Ark

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tea Pot!

So, I realize now that one should be careful what one asks for (not because we got something we didn't really want, but because we got something we really DID want but totally weren't expecting)! :) A dear friend of ours was wonderful and sweet enough to get us the teapot I mentioned in an earlier post. We've been enjoying it very much! It goes so well with all our miscellaneous china and I have been so happy with it.

What a wonderful surprise it was to receive the package today when I came home from work. Thank you, dear friends! How thoughtful you are :)

Posted by Picasa


Here is a poem by George MacDonald. Hopefully you parents out there will particularly enjoy this! :) --Baby-- Where did you come from, baby dear? Out of the everywhere into here. Where did you get those eyes so blue? Out of the sky as I came through. What makes the light in them sparkle and spin? Some of the starry twinkles left in. Where did you get that little tear? I found it waiting when I got here. What makes your forehead so smooth and high? A soft hand stroked it as I went by. What makes your cheek like a warm white rose? I saw something better than anyone knows. Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss? Three angels gave me at once a kiss. Where did you get this pearly ear? God spoke, and it came out to hear. Where did you get those arms and hands? Love made itself into bonds and bands. Feet, whence did you come, you darling things? From the same box as the cherubs' wings. How did they all just come to be you? God thought about me, and so I grew. But how did you come to us, my dear? God thought about you, and so I am here.
Some of the babies in my life :)

Fr. Spitzer--We love you

Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., the man, the myth, the legend, is resigning from his presidency at Gonzaga University, after a wonderful term of leadership. This is a bit of a tribute to his genius :) If you have any other memorable quotations, please (PLEASE!) add them! "Not only am I getting myself, but I'm getting myself getting myself." "...ultimate Truth, Love, Goodness, Beauty, and Being..." "I have three points." ------ In an essay Spitzer wrote, he quotes Paul Davies' book, God and the New Physics (found here):
If the initial state were chosen at random, it seems exceedingly probable that the big bang would have coughed out black holes rather than dispersed gases. The present arrangement of matter and energy, with matter spread thinly at relatively low density, in the form of stars and gas clouds would, apparently, only result from a very special choice of initial conditions. Roger Penrose has computed the odds against the observed universe appearing by accident, given that a black-hole cosmos is so much more likely on a priori grounds. He estimates a figure of 10^10^30 to one.
To which Spitzer candidly responds:
"I've always admired atheists, they have great faith! Because, the probability of our universe existing by chance is 10^10^30:1. That's a REALLY big number. If you were to write out all the zeros in that number, and all the zeros were the size of a hydrogen atom, our universe would not be BIG enough for that number!"
------ Father Spitzer, we love you!

Pea and Carrot Minted Soup

We made this soup the other night and it turned out rather well! I have an abundance of mint (we just don't do mojitos as often as this little plant would like), so I thought I'd try to use it in other ways :) Also, this gives me a chance to tell you about my favorite kitchen toy, my stick blender. This little gadget makes blended soups a breeze! I think, because we make soups so often, and for the time and energy and clean up it saves, it's an amazing buy! Before T got this for me, I had to scoop all the veggies out of the pot, plop them in an upright blender, blend, poor back in the pot, scoop more, blend more, etc., etc., etc. It's so much nicer now (and the stick blender's attachment is dishwasher safe!).
Bring to a boil:  5 c peas, fresh or frozen 2 carrots, peeled and sliced 2 leeks or 1 onion, chopped
5 c chicken stock (best if homemade)
Then add: 
1 T sugar
8 fresh mint leaves
1 tsp salt
Let simmer for 30 minutes, until all veggies are tender. Turn off heat. Blend until smooth.
Melt in small sauce pan:  3 T butter mix in: 2 T flour (or cornstarch, or arrowroot powder) 1 tsp salt 1 tsp pepper add: 1 c milk with wisk (or fork) and heat until thickened.
Combine roux with soup and stir well. Can be served hot or chilled.
Garnish with mint leaves

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I promised pictures. (The funny thing with pictures these days is that I'm usually pretty good at taking them. The problem is putting them on my computer and uploading them to blogger!)
Here is a picture of the Noah's ark we made. Obviously none of the pieces are painted yet, but I will take more pictures as I go along. I've painted the ark already (nails in the boards and everything!), but I'll wait until I have a few more pieces to take another picture.
Here are pictures of some of the baby gifts I've made--a couple burp rags (one is a two-fer: one side for mommy, the other for daddy) and some baby booties.
(click on the pictures to enlarge them)
I mentioned I've never made a sling, but that was only partially true. I have made a sling, but it's not for a baby--it's for a baby doll :) My two older sisters (who sling their babies) are expecting and they both have little girls already. So I've made a couple baby-doll slings for the little girls so they can "match mommy." Baby-doll slings are easy because they don't have to bear any real weight, so I just used some scrap material from my Momma's vast store and some old belt rings.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rainy Morning (Afternoon)

I say morning because my work schedule this week shifted to the afternoons (just for a few days), and so T and I slept in this morning (how beautiful!) and biked into campus around 11:30 (new experience biking in the rain--not sure how I feel about it quite yet). We had planned on going to the 12:15 mass at St. Ignatius' church, but those masses have been canceled until Labor Day :( But, as often happens, small disappointments are met by happy surprises! As we headed up to our offices, earlier than we had planned since mass was canceled, we ran in to Fr. DePaulo, the married Byzantine priest we helped move in. It was so good to see him! He and his family are settling in well, and they are hoping to have us (and Paul and Erik) over for dinner sometime soon. AND he's really excited about starting a Byzantine group on campus and having Divine Liturgies regularly! T and I are totally on board with that effort. Now, don't get me wrong--it's not that there aren't an abundance of eastern rite Catholic churches in New England. But all last year, mostly because of T's work schedule, we weren't able to commit to a Sunday mass/Liturgy (he worked at a parish all day Sundays and Mondays). Since he quit working there we've been going to St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine in Back Bay, which is fabulous... but it will be nice to attend Liturgy again. Fr. DePaulo is currently helping with the Melkite cathedral in the area, and has encouraged us to go to Liturgy there. It's a very beautiful church and, since it's a cathedral, the Metropolitan (= bishop) says Liturgy. Maybe we'll go there this Sunday :) Oh, and I did start painting the Noah's ark last night. I'll post pics soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Craftiness

Due to the large number of babies arriving in the next several months, I've got my work cut out for me in baby gifts. Luckily, I've branched out a bit and now have some variety (since many of the mothers are quite crafty themselves--wouldn't want it to get boring!).
One thing I make is burp rags. I got this idea from my mother, who usually gives a gift of several to expectant mothers. She buys nice, printed flannel material and cuts out a very simple pattern. I usually only make one as a gift, but I embroider something on part of the cloth. It varies from person to person. Usually, I try to make whatever-it-is "pass-on-able" from generation to generation. I suppose that may seem a little presumptuous, that people will consider my gifts heirloom quality, but I also like to think I've made them sturdy enough that they will last through more than one child. But my burp rags haven't been around long enough to test this theory yet. We'll see :)
Another gift I make, that I've recently picked up, is knitted baby paraphernalia. I can make hats, booties, and mittens fairly easily. I'm very interested in trying to make baby sweaters, but I might not be that adventurous any time soon. I found a very good way to secure the booties and mittens, too (I've never liked tying bows), with a cinch-string type thing. This has not been tested, either, except on T's two fingers (which, try as he might, aren't really as squirmy as baby hands and tootsies).
Taking a page from my friend Eleri, I'd really like to try to sew a sling for some of my pregnant friends, but, since E and I have so many friends in common, she's beaten me to in in many cases :) (That, and my sisters, who are both pregnant, already have slings.) BUT! I do have one friend who is willing to be my guinea pig in this endeavor. One of these days, probably when she stops working before Baby comes, she and I will go pick out some fabric together.
I'll post pictures of some of these (hopefully) lovely items soon. For now, since so many of our friends are having girls, it should be hard to guess who's getting what :)
And more loving out to Maja and Adam, who got married today (yes, we have many, MANY friends who are getting married (and having babies)). Mno-hijalita!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Who Built the Ark?

Noah, Noah built the ark!
Hanging in the room I shared with my younger sister, growing up, was a Noah's ark montage that Momma made. I'm pretty sure she made it for my brother and oldest sister when they were younger, but it hung in the room of the kid who was youngest, which was my sister's and my room last :)
One year, for the parish holiday bazaar, Momma decided to make a few to sell. So, we got out the sculpey clay and started making animals! This is always the best part of making these Noah's arks, because, in addition to Noah (and his list!) and the ark, you can make any animal you want! We've made polar bears, dragon flies, zebras, inch worms, fish, crocodiles, peacocks, ants (actually, we painted those into the background), birds of all kids, snakes, monkeys, rabbits, camels, lady bugs, mice. (And we're always looking for more ideas, so if you have a favorite animal, let me know!) While we were working on the animals, Momma would paint the background (she's a fabulous painter, no matter what she says!). After baking the clay pieces to harden them, we'd paint them (which was also lots of fun) and glue them to the background board, which we attached to a frame.
This bazaar endeavor went so well Momma decided to make some Noah's arks as gifts for friends, so we made another batch of animals and backgrounds, painted them all, and glued it all together.
Then one day, Momma decided she wanted to make one 'specially for her other children (since Ray already had one--which she's repaired numerous times (kids can't seem to keep their hands off those yummy looking little animal pieces)). So, once again, we began.
And I still have the background Momma painted, and all the pieces we sisters made with her to glue on. I haven't painted any of them yet. For a while, my excuse was that I didn't have any paints, so Momma (my dear Momma) bought me 30 or 40 different colors and mailed them to me--along with my favorite brushes of hers. Then my excuse was that we were moving to Boston. When we got here, I said "we don't have the space for me to spread out that sort of project." But really, if I don't do it now, I'll never find the space, no matter where we move. So, at last I've made up my mind: I will begin (and finish). I'll let y'all know how it goes.
Also, lots of love out to Lizzy and Brendan, who got married today! May God grant you many happy years in peace, health, and happiness!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Domrition of the Theotokos

Blessed Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos! This is one of the Twelve Great Feasts in the Byzantine tradition, and the last feast for Our Lady before the start of the new liturgical year. In fact, I think the Byzantine litrugical year follows Mary on her journey with Christ. The first feast of the year commemorates her birth, on September 8, and the year continues through all her life in relation to Christ. If we can follow Mary on our own journey, we will be close to the Lord, as she was. As far as the "historical" account of Our Lady's dormition (or "falling asleep"), here is an excerpt from regarding such things:
We have no reliable historical documents about how Mary's life came to end. Some say she died in Ephesus where she lived with St. John the Apostle. Our Liturgical texts say she died in Jerusalem. But that is not proven anywhere - it is only popular belief. It is our 'Tradition' and not an article of faith that is equal to the Incarnation or Resurrection of Christ. It just exists in the living memory of the Church, a memory which is especially strong in the Eastern Church. Our emphasis on the 'Dormition' of the Virgin, that is, her passing from life to death to eternal life in Christ parallels our approach to the Resurrection of Christ. Mary is Christ's first and greatest disciple, and as any good disciple, she imitates the Lord and teacher. She knew her own passion ("a sword shall pierce your heart") and, now, death and resurrection. God could not allow the body of the Mother of God, the flesh which had given Christ flesh, to know corruption, so the angels came to bring Mary to heaven with her body. There were witnesses to Christ's Ascension, and it is told in Scripture. There is no proof of Mary's ascent, which we call her Assumption. However, the Church Fathers have always held that this honor was given to Mary, and that now, she is glorified in heaven, in the body.
I guess the important thing is that she was the first and best of Christ's disciples, and that she has been honored in a special way in heaven because of her faithful life. Tradition holds that St. Thomas, characteristically absent at Mary's death, wanted to see her body. When they went to her tomb, only flowers filled the place where she was laid. For this reason, Byzantines bring flowers to church on this feast to have them blessed. The Byzantine gospel for the day is from Luke, the story of Lazarus' sisters, Matha and Mary, when Jesus comes to their house. I'm sure you're familiar with it, Martha is hosting--as a good Palestinian woman ought--and Mary is sitting at the feet of the Lord, listening. Jesus tells Martha: "You are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her" (cf Lk 10:32-48). (However, in the gospel of John, Martha's faith in the Lord shines through as she goes to greet the Lord after her brother has died.) It may seem strange to have a gospel about a different Mary on the Feast of the Dormition, but these two sisters clearly demonstrate faithful discipleship, listening to and serving the Lord. Mary, the Theotokos, was the first and best disciple of Christ.
More honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim who, a virgin, gave birth to God the Word you truly the Theotokos, we magnify!
(click on the pictures for a larger view)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Believe in Faeries

I recently finished the book Phantastes by George MacDonald. Amazing book. Amazing man. Amazing story. I've read it once before, but, as with many stories, the more often you read it, the more there is to find. It also seems to happen, in God's divine providence, that I read a book and find exactly what I have been needing to understand. Whether I read the particular book by chance I can't really say. It just seems to work out :) This particular book left me with several feelings. The main character, at the end of his journey, says, " Thus I, who set out to find my Ideal, came back rejoicing that I had lost my Shadow." He rejoiced that he has been humbled and rescued. The entire story, in the whimsical, winding, round-about way of faerie land, is about selfless love, humility, acceptance of truth, and true courage. I know I can't do justice to the insights I came to without an elaborate exposition of the plot and many details, but I hope to give a small idea of the wonder of MacDonald's "phantasy" and the beauty and richness of the details. He leaves his readers with a sense of expectancy and hope. His are happy books with happy endings, but never are all the issues fully resolved--the story is never fully explained. It goes on still. Always there is a waiting and a hoping that you, as the reader, will find faerie land yourself. I find myself keeping a watchful eye out for the "mystic mark of red" of the Wise Old Woman and hoping (always hoping). In MacDonald's phantastic worlds, great things are possible. And he calls us, though his characters, to do those things with a great love and a humble heart. Stirrings, deep within us, rise and surge upwards to be fulfilled in loving others. We must be confident in God's for us--that goodness is coming to those who trust Him. "As I lay, with my eyes closed, I began to listen to the sound of the leaves overhead. At first, they made sweet inarticulate music alone; but, by-and-by, the sound seemed to begin to take shape, and to be gradually moulding itself into words; till, at last, I seemed able to distinguish these, half-dissolved in a little ocean of circumfluent tones: 'A great good is coming -- is coming -- is coming to thee.'" "...I know that good is coming to me -- that good is always coming; though few have at all times the simplicity and the courage to believe it. What we call evil, is the only and best shape, which, for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good. And so, Farewell." MacDonald's Works on the Web

Philosophers' Wives Support Group (Boston Chapter)

Well, yesterday evening, we had a small dinner party (yes, I know--it's really just an excuse to use my china!) :) Dave and Mandy came over early and hung out a bit before Prof. Byrne and his wife, Joan, came. It was a delightful little gathering, but T, Dave, and their professor are three peas in a pod, as far as philosophy goes. Luckily, though, Mandy and Joan and I were all able to... commiserate? sympathize? roll our eyes together? chuckle knowingly? at how similar our husbands were. It was grand fun. As a philosopher's wife, one never knows when the conversation will suddenly turn from discussions of normal, every-day pleasantries to a metaphysical exposition on the latest lecture her philosopher-husband attended. Now, when you get three of these (Lonerganian) philosophers together, it's an exciting adventure down the "further pertinent questions" lane regarding the "already-out there-now-real" and the "unity-identity-whole" (and don't forget to mention your intentionality and emergent probability!). My favorite part, though, was when Joan, Mandy, and I were all able to share what we say when people ask us, "So, what does your husband do?" Joan: "Oh, he's a teacher." Interlocutor: "High school?" "No." "College?" "Yes." "Well, what does he teach?" *under her breath* "philosophy" "Oh.. interesting." Mandy: "He's getting his master's degree." "Oh, in what?" "Philosophy." "What does he want to do with that?!" "Law School." *relieved* "Oh! Good for him." Me: "He's a philosopher." "Oh." *awkward silence* "But he does lots of other things, too! He wants to get a JD and a PhD and teach somewhere and he has lots of business experience." "Uh huh..." The dinner itself went well, too. We made a yummy beef roast (which, I think, was a tad too rare for most people, but I didn't hear any complaints, so it must have been tolerable) and mashed potatoes, and Dave and Mandy brought salad fixings which were very delicious (field greens with candied walnuts, craisins, goat cheese, and pear vinegarette dressing). Fresh peach crisp and ice cream for dessert with tea and coffee. A fun evening with good friends (and lots of leftovers! yay!).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tea Pot

I want this tea pot.
It's a very nice cast iron pot that will keep the tea hot (not just warm) for at least an hour. On Saturday mornings, T and I like to have a nice breakfast together. We sit at our table, watching the birds rapidly emptying our bird-feeder, and sip tea over our meal.
So, that's my wish for the day. We will get it eventually, I think. We both really like it and it goes with all the miscellaneous pieces of china we use for breakfasts and entertaining and such. But we can't justify getting another teapot just yet :) Someday soon, I hope to serve you hot tea at our table!

Lazy Sunday

Yesterday, T and I went out to Worcester to visit some friends (actually, the woman who helped us find our house in Boston and her husband) who were hosting some mutual friends of ours from Seattle. It was a grand afternoon and evening. We went to Mass early today so that we could head out by 10:30 (though I was finishing up the laundry and we didn't get out the door until 11:15. Oops!). The drive out was simply beautiful :) We really enjoyed the fresh air and all the pretty green of the fields we passed! Upon arriving at the Laracy's house, we piled into the cars and headed for Tantiusques Mines--an old graphite mine from before the pilgrims were even here. Before our adventure began, we had a delicious sandwich lunch from the bagel shop the Laracy's own (oh my gosh! so yummy!! We need to go back there!). It was definitely neat to see the mine, and it would have been an ideal hike in the forest if it weren't for the blasted mosquitoes (at least for me--T enjoyed himself 100% even though he got 12 bites)! But we did see a lot of interesting mushrooms and bugs :) After the foray into the forest around the mines (we didn't actually go into the mine because we forgot flashlights, and it was sort of boggy inside and we didn't have good shoes for that sort of thing), we drove to a park near the Laracy's house, which was beautiful. There was a big pond/lake there that fed into a series of waterfalls that went through an old mill. And there weren't any mosquitoes there :) Very quiet, very peaceful, very nice to walk around with our friends and talk and tell jokes!
Goin' to the Country
After the mill pond, we went back to the Laracy's gorgeous house and spent time chatting while everyone helped with dinner. Some people watched the olympics, some of us chatted on the front porch, some in the kitchen. When the yummy food was ready, the grownups ate in the dining rooms and the kids in the kitchen (for those of you who were wondering, T and I now count as grownups) :) Home-grown, home-picked, home-made blueberry tart for dessert (YUM!) and more chatting and laughing. We left around 9:30, exhausted, but very relaxed and happy. It's always such a blessing to spend time with good friends--those kinds of friends that you may not talk to everyday, or even every month (or every six months, or.. well, you get the idea), but that love you anyway. The kind of friends with whom it's always good to catch up and visit. The kind who are always happy to see you :) We are very blessed, here in the far reaches of the cozy east coast.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Surprises!

Our friend Paul asked T and me to help a friend move in yesterday. Paul only told us it was a priest that would be teaching at BC. T and I, of course, were glad to help and yesterday evning Paul, Erik, T, and I piled into our car and headed over to the move-in site. When we got to the house, we waved to the priest as we drove by the driveway, which was blocked by a huge moving truck (really, it wasn't that huge, but T and I had thought: "Oh, a priest--vow of poverty--this move won't take long." So we were surprised by the amount of stuff he had). When we commented on it, Paul (who likes to joke around) said, "Oh, all that stuff's for his wife and kid." Naturally, T and I figured Paul was joking, but he said, "No, seriously. He used to be Anglican or something like that and converted to Catholicism." We all got out and introduced ourselves to each other and to the mosquitoes (they weren't too bad, I only got three bites--from the mosquitoes) and set up a box-passing line (so that we didn't all have to climb up the 2 flights of stairs to their apartment). It was a great evening! His wife is very nice. She's applying for teaching positions in the area (good area for teaching, since there are 88 colleges and universities in greater Boston) and they have a 7 (ish?) year old son. They seem like a very happy, peaceful family and we are looking forward to getting to know them better. And, over the course of moving in (which included lots of book boxes, big furniture, and a piano (at least it was an upright) which the boys wrestled up the winding stairs--I'm amazed that they succeeded!), we found out that this priest is a Byzantine priest--Italo-Byzantine, to be precise (T and I are Ruthenian). We were so excited to find out that there is another eastern Catholic priest in town that we (I) may have come off a little... overly enthused. I asked him if he would come bless our house after Theophany in January, and he said he would :) I hope he wasn't taken aback or anything. I guess I can't really explain how cool it felt to find kindred spirits in these other eastern Catholics we met. It's hard to put into words because I'm afraid of coming off sounding pretentious or like I'm somehow snubbing the Roman rite. It's not that at all--I was raised Roman and have a deep and abiding love for my family's tradition and all it entails. And yet... I've fallen in love with the Byzantines (through a Byzantine!) and the eastern Church. It's like meeting someone who's read your favorite book--that rare book that so few people have read, or even heard of. That one book that changed your life and shaped who you are today. It's finding out that book shaped this new friend exactly as it shaped you and so you are linked somehow. You can laugh and cry at the same things because of your common experience. Anyway, it was great. We were glad to help (and we actually got the whole truck unloaded into the house (except for a gigantic mirror they donated to T and me) in just 4 or so hours), and it was beautiful to meet such a great family! Praise God!

Friday, August 8, 2008

More Prehistoric Fun

This article about a 110 year old dinosaur descendant was pretty cool :) It's always fascinated me that animals can live for hundreds of years. Sea turtles are pretty nifty too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sweet Tomatoes

For those of you in the Boston area who read this, I hope (for your sake) that the words "Sweet Tomatoes" conjure mouth-watering memories of delicious pizza! If you've not visited Sweet Tomatoes Pizza, you should! It is, in my opinion, the best pizza in the world (except for Momma's)! (And I've even been to Italy a couple times--it's good there, but it's cheaper here and there's more pizza to it and it's tastier.) This restaurant is so good that they don't even need to offer delivery. You have to go pick it up or eat in the store. But it's still good.. oh so good. We've taken several of our friends who have visited us (actually, I think we've taken anyone who's ever stayed with us in Boston) to savor the Sweet Tomatoes experience (you fortunate few!). From all accounts, they feel the same way we do. (It's also kinda fun to be able to take people "off the beaten track" when visiting a big city and show them the true gems in the area--this pizza place is certainly one of those gems!) Anyway, the real reason for this post is that I'm so incredibly excited that T is taking me to get Sweet Tomatoes Pizza tonight. It might seem silly to most people that I'm blogging about eating pizza, but those people probably haven't had Sweet Tomatoes :) So if you want to come try this pizza, come visit us! We'll take you there!


Today is the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. In the Byzantine rite, this feast is very important--the revelation of Jesus as fully human and fully divine. It is the last feast of Christ celebrated in the liturgical year. It is also celebrated precisely 40 days before the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The gospel account tells us how Jesus conversed with Moses and Elijah (Mt 17:3). Here is a brief meditation from that struck me on this topic:
"What were they discussing, what were they speaking about? Scripture is silent, but we may wonder. Perhaps were they speaking about the coming passion of Christ, the suffering, the trial, the cross, and the tomb? The Church celebrates the transfiguration 40 days before the feast of the Cross, as if to show the inherent link between the feasts of the glory and the cross. If Jesus, Moses, and Elias were speaking about the coming passion, perhaps Christ is also showing something of his human nature, even as he reveals his divine nature? For a man lives in relation with others, and he has a need to put into words the events and mysteries of the past, the present, and the future. Before any important moment, do not we turn to our spouse, our family, and our friends and together seek to understand the presence of God and his will? In this way, perhaps Moses and Elias ministered unto Christ? Each had spoken to God intimately and with boldness before. Is it surprising that Christ would call upon them now as 'friends of God', friends of His, to speak of the coming Passover? The Lord acts naturally as a man, and humbly converses with his friends about the coming trial, even as his divinity is wondrously revealed to the disciples."
Christ revealed Himself, in His transfiguration on Mt. Tabor, as truly God and truly Man. Until then, His disciples had seen mostly the Man, but here they see both natures, fully present and fully Christ. In a way (to me), following the narrative of the (synoptic) gospels (in John, there seems to be no question of Jesus' divinity), the transfiguration marks a turning point in the mission of Christ. Or, rather, it is the peak of the journey to the cross. If Tabor is the peak, climbing up the mountain was most of Jesus' public ministry, healings, teachings, and miracles. After the transfiguration--the most clear sign to His three closest friends that He is truly God--Jesus' journey toward the cross quickens, as one descending a steep hill. In this sense, too, it makes sense that Jesus may have been discussing His passion with Moses and Elijah--the rest of His journey to the cross.
Three of His disciples did see Jesus "ascending to where He was before." And they were in awe. One of my favorite bible verses is from Matthew's story of the transfiguration. Peter (good old Peter) says to Jesus: "Lord, it is good that we should be here." And really, it is.
Troparion for the Feast You were transfigured on the mount
O Christ God,
revealing your glory to your disciples
as far as they could bear it.
Let your everlasting light
shine upon us sinners!
Through the prayers of the Theotokos
O Giver of Life,
glory to you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

God's Will in My Life...

Frequently, when frustrations or suffering arise, I find I often ask a very angry "Why?!" of God. But before I ask "why?" I need to try very hard to remember to say first: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Uber Jaws!

Ok, so I've always been a bit of a dinosaur geek. When I was in first grade, I was telling people I wanted to be a paleontologist :) While I've never actualized that goal, I still find prehistoric creatures fascinating. Here is an article on the megalodon, an ancient shark that, from its jaw size, dwarfs even the largest great whites. Click on the pictures for a larger view.
Artist's rendering of megalodon and modern-day ship
A megalodon tooth

'Tis the Season

Not the Christmas Season, but the wedding season! This is not a complaint at all--I'm just astounded at how many of our friends have been (or are, or will soon be) getting married! It may have been "just because" we got married that I started noticing, but the number of weddings we were invited to really seemed to increase once T and I "took the plunge." Actually, I really love it. So many good, holy, faithful couples getting married and devoting their lives to God's will and His gift of life (that's another side of the coin--SO MANY BABIES are coming (and have come) from these couples! I think openness to life is one of the most important aspects of getting married. If you're not ready to accept children, don't get married. (Sorry if that sounds harsh, it's just the way I feel)). The door of our fridge has had at least one wedding invitation on it for the past two years--this summer we've received well over 10! (For those who don't know, we always put any wedding invitations we receive on our fridge door to remind us to pray for the couples.) Anyway, the real reason for this post is because yesterday, T and I attended the absolutely beautiful wedding of Bridget and Yuri! T's family grew up with Yuri's family in the Seattle area and Yuri since moved to Boston for an MBA from Harvard. He met Bridget here (Bridget, a true Bostonian in the best (Irish) sense of the word!) :) and the wedding was held at Bridget's home parish. It was simply lovely. The readings were particularly beautiful. The first reading was Tobias' prayer with his new wife, Sarah on their wedding day (Tobit 8:4b-8). "Grant that she and I may find mercy, and that we may grow old together." The second reading from Ephesians 5 exhorted wives to submit to their husbands, and husbands to love their wives "as Christ loves the Church, giving Himself up for her " (Eph 5:25). But the gospel was the most intriguing. Bridget and Yuri chose the passage about the miraculous catch of fish from Luke (chapter 5). Jesus asks Peter to cast his nets again (after toiling fruitlessly all day), which Peter does. The result is a great abundance of fish! Bridget and Yuri chose this passage, the priest told us, because they realize their marriage will not be all sunshine and roses after the wedding day. There will be difficult times when their efforts seem fruitless, but if they truly trust in God, He will reward their labors. This couple knows that their wedding isn't all about them, it's about God--and God's love for them. And the reception was so much fun--yummy food, great conversations, old and new friends, dancing, and hugs all around! It was wonderful to catch up with so many friends (some of whom T hadn't seen in 10 years!) and spend time with a quality group of happy people. My feet hurt today from dancing, as well as my legs and my arms. But it was fun :) And Bridget and Yuri look so happy together. Praise God for such good couples, who are so focused on Him!

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Page From a Friend

Check out my friend's most recent blog post: Byzantine Catholic Evangelism. Her post and her comments express everything I feel about that church's Website. So beautiful. Psalm 26 Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you.

I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites; I hate the company of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.

I wash my hands in innocence, and go around your altar, O Lord, singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all your wondrous deeds.

O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides. Do not sweep me away with sinners, nor my life with the bloodthirsty, those in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes.

But as for me, I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.