Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 6 - Pray for Us

Saturday at the Congress. Breakfast with just Momma and Daddy (since Viv was at work) and off to classes!  The hotel we stayed in this time was much closer than the one I remember from years ago.  And it was a nice walk, too--not too rushed or crowded and only one street to cross.  
Momma's and my first class today was on culture as a window into the mystery of God--given by a teacher from Boston College (to whom Momma insisted I introduce myself).  Since Daddy had his talk (with Fr. Spitzer! Greatest university president EVER!) in the same building, we had lunch outside the meeting rooms there.  And we didn't have to fight for seats, so we were able to finish quickly and then head to the arena *dramatic music* into the den of booths!  At least, that's what one congress speaker christened them years ago.  Seemed to fit :)  While Momma and I were browsing, I snapped this picture of a wall of rosaries.  I think the colors turned out nicely. 
Day 6 - Pray for Us
Second class of the day was on the World of Pope Leo XIII (who wrote Rerum Novarum--the first encyclical on the Church's social teaching).  It is so easy to forget, as the years and centuries pass, what the world was like at the time of such writings.  Even just 100 years ago (not to mention hundreds of years back to the letters of Paul, for instance), the world was quite a different place...
Final class of the day was on the Crucifixion according to John.  Talked about all the seemingly strong figures in the gospel and how they really don't measure up (without the fulfillment of the Cross).  The huge army that Judas brings to take Jesus is floored (literally) when He says His name: I AM.  Peter, even, doesn't understand that Jesus must suffer and die.  The Jewish leaders cannot kill Jesus without Pilate's authority.  Pilate says he wants to release Jesus but cannot seem to be able (actually) to do it.  All things pale and wither and are shown to be imperfect when compared to the power in the radical Love Christ showed us on the cross. We enjoyed it, but we didn't stay for the whole talk because we wanted to get off the 2nd floor before the rush (it's amazing how crowded stairs, escalators, and elevators get when classes are out!).  
Last night, I started reading the Lord of the Rings to Momma and Daddy (though I think Daddy was asleep during most of it).  So after classes today we came back to the hotel and I read a few more chapters.  So far, Momma likes it! She says Tolkien's style is very easy to understand but is still very engaging and the characters are well-developed and interesting.  I know T and I just finished reading the whole story a few weeks ago, but my folks haven't heard it before, and I really wanted to share it with them. I figured reading it aloud was a good (and nice) way to "inflict" it upon them :)  No, I won't finish it this weekend, but T and I are going to record the rest of the book on his voice recorder and email the files so they can finish listening to the story as the Blacks read it.  Should be fun.  Off to dinner then bed! Another busy day tomorrow. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 5 - Sisters

I spent the night at Viv's last night--our folks didn't get in until late in the evening and just wanted to go to bed when they got to the hotel.  This morning V and I headed over that way and went to today's three congress sessions with Momma.  The talks were really nice.  The first one was on St. Paul and his interpretation of the Old Testament, which was fun--I'd never heard any cohesive presentation on Paul's use of the Hebrew Scriptures. 

The second was on The Dark Knight (yes, the batman movie) and St. John of the Cross's dark night of the soul (very interesting--the priest that gave the talk was from Australia and he advocated using the media to teach goodness. I totally agree!).   

The third talk we went to today was on the Gospel of Mark and his Easter message--the best one of the day for us, I think.  For those of you who aren't Scripture geeks like I am, Mark's gospel is the one that (most people think)  ended with at 16:8 - "Then [the women] went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid."  The rest of chapter 16 was probably added later, once the message for Mark's community became more hopeful.  But the speaker said this gospel was all about being "on the way" (can you see why I liked it?).  Over and over again Jesus tells His disciples He must face the cross. And over and over again they don't understand (with the brief exception of Peter's confesion of faith).  We are called, as Christians, to live the questions we have on the way--with the Cross as our interpreter.  Do sit at the empty tomb, with the women who were afraid, and gather strength for the journey, for God is always with us. 


After classes were over we all headed to Red Lobster (or Lobstah as we would say in Boston) for dinner. I snapped a decent picture with Viv while we were waiting for our table. I love my sweet sister. It was good to hang out with her today!  

Day 5 - Sisters
Do you think we look like sisters? 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 4 - Teatime!

I flew into CA today and my sister V met me at the (delightfully small) Long Beach Airport.  Grabbed my bag and came back to her "bachelorette pad" to coordinate lunch with Kenny (the long lost). 
We made ourselves beautiful and got directions and hopped in the car.  Now, being two girly girls who are sisters and who haven't seen each other and had good one-on-one time in quite a while, we chatted the whole way to the restaurant... In fact, we chatted right past the right exit and (15 miles later) called Kenny and asked for, um, alternate directions. But we did make it. It was just a bit more exciting than we had planned (it always is with us)!  
Lunch was simply fabulous at Buca di Beppo (where K works) and we had a nice catch-up time together. After lunch/dinner [does that make it lunner or dinch?] we walked around downtown Pasadena and chatted some more at a nice cafe, where I took this picture of the day
Day 4 - Teatime?
(click the pic for a better view)
After the cafe we went to Kenny's apartmet (to hang out some MORE) but had to head home in time to watch Grey's Anatomy and get some much-needed sleep.  Big day tomorrow--the first day of the Religious Education Congress with my folks! Should be fun :) 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 3 - My Cup Runneth Over

Ash Wednesday. Mass this morning. Work after that. Errands and home for a quick dinner (fish in a bag) before sending T off to his last Kaplan teacher training (yay!).  Laundry and packing tonight. Tidying up the house. Leaving for CA for the weekend tomorrow. Can't wait to see my folks and my sister. 
But for now, just enjoying a nice cafe au lait, made by my sweet husband, in my favorite cup. I loves him! 
Day 3 - My Cup Runneth Over
(click on the picture for a larger view)

"A Thing In A Bag"

For some reason, this recipe called to mind a fabulous Strong Bad short: Lookin' at a Thing in a Bag.  :) It's called: Fish in a Bag (from Saving Dinner--great book!), slightly modified à la Annie.
Serves 2
2 fish fillets (any kind of fish will do)
2 small potatoes, parboiled for 10 minutes (until just fork tender) cut into quarter-inch slices [you can do this ahead of time and keep the taters in the fridge until ready to slice for dinner]
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1 tomato, diced
1/4 c. white wine
1 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
2 tsp dried onion (or a quarter of a fresh onion, chopped finely)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Place each fish fillet on a piece of tin foil (about 12 x 20).  Spread sliced potatoes on top of fish. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and fish. Sprinkle carrot pieces, tomato, thyme, onion, salt, and pepper over potatoes. Pour half of wine over each fish "bag."  Pull oposite corners of foil together and crimp. Crimp and seal all seams of foil and place bags on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until fish flakes.  When ready to serve, carefully remove contents from "bag" and arrange on plates. 
I served this with wilted spinach and sour cream. Turned out really well--and VERY quick, very clean prep work.  Dinner was ready in (literally) 30 or 40 minutes from getting home to sitting down to the table. 
The other neat thing I like about this recipe is that it's so easy to modify.  You can use sweet potatoes instead of golden or yellow. You could even use fingerling potatoes and slice them "hot-dog bun style."  You could use soy sauce and more exotic veggies for an Asian taste (serve with rice and miso soup!).  You could mix and match with any number of vegetables and (as long as you parboil tough veggies or give them time to become tender) it will be really easy and quick.  
If you want to do this for a big dinner, use a big fish fillet and add all the vegetables with the fish and accoutrements in one "bag" (might need multiple pieces of foil, making it very important to firmly seal all seams--especially those on the bottom).  
Happy Ash Wednesday! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 2 - Sunshine

[I had to charge the batterty to my camera today and forgot to put it back in before I left work. So my camera wasn't working when I found the perfect picture opportunity for today's post.  Luckily, I was able to use my phone, but un-luckily, the picture quality isn't that great. Oh well.]
After a hurried lunch of soup in a paper cup with crackers, T picked me up and we headed to the denist office for drilling and fillings--yay! (no, wait...)  
Actually, it was pretty painless, and while I was waiting for sensation to return to my upper jaw, and for T to be finished with his appointment, the sun was streaming through the door of the waiting room right onto my chair.  It was glorious!  I almost wished I were a cat and could lay down on the floor to take a nap in the sunshine.   As it was, I just read my book and soaked all the rays in. 
Day 2 - Sunshine
(click on the picture for a larger view)
We didn't go to pilates this evening (who wants to exercise after the dentist?), so we stayed home and made a nice salad together and T read from the Silmarillion while I started knitting some socks. A lovely day :) Happy Two's day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

40 Days

My friend Paul and I have decided that we want to try the 365 Photo project.  The goal is to take one photo a day and post it online with a brief explanation of the day or what the photo represents.   
However, given our busy lives (and, according to Paul, his perfectionist tendencies and minimal time), we want to "test the waters" first, to see if we have the time/energy/will power/motivation to 1) actually take at least one photo a day and 2) to post it and 3) compose (intelligent) brief notes on it.  So, we've decided to start with a Lenten Photo Project.  I start today and Paul, being Roman Catholic, will start Wednesday (right, Paul? You have to do it now since I've told everyone you will!).  
So, to begin. 
Here is a picture of T from this evening.  On Monday afternoons this semester, T, Paul, and Nick all get together to study for the comprehensive exams this May--the final step in completing their master's degrees.  I made French Lentil Soup tonight (quite tasty and very Lenten! Good thing we have a lot of leftovers) and bread. My bread didn't turn out very well.  It didn't rise enough.  But, I thoroughly enjoyed puttering around the kitchen while strains of exposition on Aquinas drifted in from the living room.   Looks like the boys had fun, too! 
Day 1 - After Dinner
(click on the photo for a larger view)

Friday, February 20, 2009


This is a picture of a section of my iGoogle homepage. 
Do you like the ladybugs? They're lots of fun! They "run" from the mouse cursor and you can click on them to move them, and you can make them dance, too (by moving the mouse around and around them).
That's all. They're making me happy today, so I thought I'd share :D
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Christian Joy

On Sunday, T got an email from the Catholic group on campus that said Sr. Joseph Andrew, OP, was coming to BC to give a talk on Christian Joy and the New Evangelization.  He asked me, 
"Isn't that the vocations director of the order you almost joined?" :)  
"Yes," I said. "We should definitely go to that talk and see her."  [I met Sr. Joseph Andrew at GU my freshman year and went on two retreats at the sisters' convent. After the second retreat, we had "the talk" (that is, the vocation talk) and she said she didn't think I was called to religious life (and also that she thought the guy I was dating at the time probably wasn't supposed to be my husband). I didn't feel bad because I was kinda feeling the same thing, but it was good to have her say it--good confirmation.]
Before the talk started, I said hello to Sister and she said, "Hey!! I know you!"  [Except, you have to imagine it with a beautiful, delicate, Tennessee accent!]  She got to meet Taylor for the first time, too.  Since her order's in Michigan, she wasn't able to come to the wedding, but she and her sisters have been praying for us, I'm sure :)  We got married on the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, and when Sister replied to our wedding invitation she said, "Married on the feast of St. Catherine! You know what that means--we get your daughters!"  
But, I digress... :)
The talk was great, too! She explained to us, regarding Christian Joy, that joy is not necessarily happiness. One can be happy and joyful at the same time, but it isn't necessary to be happy to be joy-full.  Christians are called to "Rejoice Always!" (I Thess 5:16) or, as she put it, in every present moment, be rejoicing.  It's a present active verb--be doing it, right now!  
She told us there's no event in life that can ever take away the joy of a believer.  In fact, suffering is God's compliment to us, that He has confidence in us to bear the suffering with joy.  Jesus, in His discourse with His disciples at the last supper, tells them He will suffer on the cross and be rejected by the world.  He finishes His long discourse by telling them, "I tell you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full."  
And who was the most blessed among women? What did she have to suffer? But--what joy did she also have in life, to be the Mother of God and honored above all the saints? Through Christ's suffering and death, His joy can be in us--really in us--and our joy is full with His.  
Taylor, Sister Joseph Andrew, and me 
(Yes, T and I have matching raincoats) :) 
And so, I say with my Momma: Rejoice, oh Highly Favored Daughter! For you have found favor with God.  It won't be easy, and it definitely won't always be fun, but again, I say: Rejoice!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lovely Day

Having decided to go to Mass in the evening, T and I spent the morning at Athan's--a lovely cafe about a mile from our house.  Despite their dishwasher being broken (resulting in the use of plastic plates and utensils and paper cups (which isn't a bad thing in itself, but it does tend to detract from the 'cafe' experience)), and the coffee being a wee bit too hot, it was a nice productive morning. 
T was studying: 
And I was knitting. 
Thanks to Kelly for this pattern-- it worked up perfectly (and I just LOVE the stem)!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Well, we had a good party! I made St. Patrick Irish Cheddar soup and we put out our Pacific smoked salmon that Momma got us for Christmas (ooh, so good!) with some home made cream cheese (enhanced by capers, thyme, and garlic) and crackers (that was good, too!).  We also had chips and salsa, lots of beer, delicious wine, and ratatouille (courtesy of Nick). For dessert I made pizells and served a basic custard on top of them.  I love parties :) It's so much fun to make food for a lot of people. 
After eating and chatting for a nice long while, we settled down and read some poetry outloud. Does that sound nerdy? Well, even if it does, that's ok with us--reading aloud is a forgotten art and I much prefer it to watching TV or a movie, or even (sometimes) playing a board game (Yes, Paul, even Settlers of Catan!) because there's more interaction between guests and the rising and falling of conversation is very relaxed and natural (and no one gets irritated by not "getting on with the game" because people are chatting).  Fun times. 
Here are a few pics: 
Food :: Alcohol
Full bellies (pregnant?) :: Poetry
Tickling and Poetry  (naturally) :: Farewell :)

Come Saturday Morning

A nice relaxed morning with my sweet love, a walk to the local produce stand, lunch at the Battery (the best fish and chips we've had in Boston!) and a surprise trip to the flower store.  Do you like my Valentine's day orchids?  :) 
Now to get ready for our Valentine's-day-party-that-is-not.  Should be fun! 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy (early) Valentine's Day!

Where I grew up, Valentine's day was never cold. In fact, February was usually a pretty warm month, with day-time temperatures frequently reaching 80 degrees. So the whole "warm and snuggly on V-day" was never an image I conjured up.
Thus, when I realized (years later) that I had likely been conceived in the month of February, I naturally assumed I was a Valentine's day baby (Yes. That was the only reason I could think of for my parents to make a baby). I mentioned that to a friend from Idaho once and he said, "Forget Valentine's day, it's cold in February." "Oh," I said. "Really?" Anyway, here I am in February in Boston and it is cold! So, as a "just because" gift, and because I wanted to try my hand at them, I have knitted a pair of mittens for our friend from Georgia--who is practically a popsicle in this frigid New England weather. Taylor was my model, so I hope they fit our friend's hands.

RIP Teapot

Our teapot broke this morning :( Our beautiful ceramic stove-top tea kettle cracked in two [well, ceramic does tend to do that when one forgets to put water in the pot before turning the burner on :) Oops!]
Oh well.  We can still get them online, so we've ordered a replacement (though I did think to save the old lid and bamboo handle, which were fine, in case either of those break on our new one). 
But this got me thinking and I realized that this is the fifth one of these pots we've bought (haha, don't worry--we haven't broken that many): 
  • one for my roommate at 722 in Spokane
  • one for Taylor's Mum
  • one for Kayleen
  • one for us when we got married (it did last a full three years with no trouble--as long as we had water in it!)
  • (another) one for us now :) 
So... as you can see from our buying history, if you want great water for tea, hot chocolate, or coffee, we highly recommend this teapot  :)  It's safe on all kinds of stovetops (they say you shouldn't use it on flat-top stoves, but Mum's is a flat-top and it seems to work fine) and the ceramic doesn't impart any funny metalic tastes to the water.   
Happy boiling!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


This semester, T and I decided we'd take one night a week just to be together. Sure, we get to spend lots of time at home together, but I was surprised what a difference setting aside one night to spend the time together made for us. Tuesday is our night. 
We go to pilates at 5:30 (we walk if the weather is non-sub-zero and say our rosary) and come home to make dinner together--we try to do new recipes to have a little adventure.  After dinner, we sometimes watch a movie, sometimes read aloud to each other, sometimes go to bed early.  We've really enjoyed our two's-days!
Soon after we were married (or when we were still engaged?), we went to dinner with a priest professor at GU, Fr. Hartin (a delightful man from South Africa! So great.).  We asked him for any advice he had for our marriage and the road ahead and he said, "Don't let yourselves grow apart. It may seem impossible right now, but if you don't make an effort to grow together, life can often take you on your separate ways and, before you know it, you're not close anymore."   And while I don't think our two's-days are an effort to correct any growing-apart-ness, I do think we both saw the possibility increasing steadily.  It's so easy to loose track of each other when we're both so busy with our many and varied activities. It's not that we don't care what the other's doing, it's just a matter of taking the time to check in. 
Today we're going to the KooKoo Cafe before pilates.  Should be a fun time. I'm going to bring my knitting :)  

Monday, February 2, 2009


Who says ice cream can't "make everything better"?  (especially if it's chocolate!) (and especially if it's 45 degrees out and sunny!) (and, of course, if the ice cream is REALLY good.)
I had a "mopey" morning today. Maybe because it was Monday, or maybe because the weekend seemed to have gone by so quickly?  I did get a lot done at work, but I had to mail two packages and the BC post office was hectic.  Then I had to go pick up our grass-fed meat and... decided to stop for ice cream.  The day just got better from there! 
The baked beans I made tonight turned out really well, too (will post recipe if people are interested). I made Pink Lady Apple slaw and we had fresh bread to go along with it. Also, the 5th season of Frasier arrived in the mail and we watched a few episodes of that before going to bed. I know it wasn't just the ice cream that made my day better (thanks to my sweet Taylor!) but it was a nice treat :)  Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jesus Wore Birkenstocks?

Today at Mass, Fr Peter gave a great homily. He started out by saying that satan knows everything--from the precise number of stars in the Universe to the Scriptures to the best way for you to make a billion dollars in today's economy.  But there is one thing satan can never know. 
Jesus Christ. 
Because to know Jesus you have to walk in His shoes. You have to do the things He does and "be about His Father's business."  
Fr Peter said that the single greatest thing he's ever been blessed with on this earth isn't being a priest or teaching or being a rector at St. Clement's.  It's being able to walk in the shoes of Christ--to really get to know Him on the way
I'm reminded of the demon Screwtape who laments to his nephew, Wormwood, that it is a terribly unfair advantage of "the Enemy" that He was actually human--that He knows how "those creatures" think and feel and breathe and live from day to day.   I thought, "How nice of God to become human so that He had feet which needed shoes that we can walk in to get to know Him" :) (Yes, my elemtary thought for the day).  
After Mass T and I went down to the Museum of Fine Arts to check out their photography exhibit and have lunch at the cafe there (we felt très riche dining there in the sight of the other museum goers, I must say).  It was a lovely afternoon on a lovely (but slightly chilly) day.  
And so we continue (in Jesus' shoes (but not Taylor's birkenstocks)) on the Way.