Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sounding the Shofar

Today the man who is going to sound the shofar at our Yom HaShoah service on April 16 stopped by to try out his shofar in the acoustic. It sounded amazing. His wife was really impressed with the Cathedral, which she remembered from former days. "It was a dump," she declared. "This is gorgeous. I am seldom speechless," she added.

Friday, March 27, 2009

At mom's

Just me and my Pokey at mom's house. Isn't she the cutest little doggy in the world? She was even cuter when she had two eyes and a puppy haircut.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

With apologies

I apologize to my blog-readers, but the web disaster has been a major distraction these past few days. M has been trying to put the website back together. My job has been to go through the albums and note down missing pages and broken links. Once we know what's on there, we'll start rebuilding the features that were totally lost, like the Virtual Tour. Aaargh. Father Hyacinthe is quite the philosophe. "Tout est grace," was all he said. I on the other hand am not very philosophical. "?;("+@?!" was my reaction.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday walk

I'm blogging this as I walk up Spring in the direction of our apartment. I am convinced the block between 9th and Terry is the steepest on all of First Hill.

For our walk today we went to the Waterfront. It was a nice night and there were tons of people out and about. I really think it's a little nicer than Fisherman's Wharf! The walk wasn't that fun, however, because M was worrying about the website. It appears that the server is completely fried and it may or may not have been backed up. I find it hard to believe that such a thing could be in the 21st century. So please pray to St Isidore of Seville or whatever other saint might have an interest in the recovery of digital files. Maybe Bishop O'Dea? Some of the early records of the diocese were lost in a fire in his home....

Our outing for today

We went to Costco, where the smallest container of oil we could find is likely to last us at least a year, maybe more. We also got some delicious crab and corn chowder, and sweet potato fries that were very tasty. Then we came home where I spent hours and hours trying to figure out how to get our modem configured for wireless. I finally managed it (by dint of live chat online and the customer service 800 number) at about 10:30, only to discover that the Cathedral website is down. Aaaaaaargh!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

At the ALC Meeting

Just returned from a meeting of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission. The conference room features a one-of-a-kind bust, the gift of Archbishop's friends in Livonia, Michigan.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Evening walk

Where are they headed this time? Paris? San Francisco? No, just back to work. Somehow we got way behind. A whole week behind. And we were gone for a week. Curious....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The wearin' o' the green

Archbishop wore green from head to toe.

Lent Walk, resumed

This is walk #9? 10? Yes, I confess we fell off the Lenten wagon for a while, but then, it would have been hard to find a moment when it wasn't raining, snowing, hailing, or just too windy to walk, right?

Anyway, we got back on the wagon today and walked down to Bed, Bath, and Beyond on 3rd to get some more runners for the baptisms at the Vigil. On the way we stopped to peek in at Plymouth Congregational, where preparations were underway for the annual St Patrick's Day Mass. They had some neat old stained-glass windows of pilgrims in the entryway.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I won!

I won the In-Flight Trivia Championship! This is the best thing that happened the whole week!!! Just kidding. Thanks for your company, virtual travelers!

Ah, home

Boarding in Atlanta

The new limitations on luggage really add a touch of excitement to the tedium of boarding. Not only does it take twice as long to get on the plane, but you really have no idea if there will be room for your bags. A lady two rows up took up half of the overhead bin with her coat. When another lady asked her to put it under her seat, she said, "I checked MY bags so I'm entitled to that space, thank you." Meanwhile the stewardess keeps announcing over the hubbub, "please step into the aisle as soon as you reach your seat." I suppose they have classes in how to do that in the Delta Sky Academy, but for the ordinary layperson it is quite impossible, especially when you're hunting for overhead bin space at the same time. I predict that the extra charge for luggage won't last long.

On our way home

Greetings from BNA! We just boarded our plane. We are flying to Seattle via Atlanta. Since Atlanta is east of Nashville, this leg of our journey will actually take us farther from home. These airlines have a strange sense of direction.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

High Tea in Springfield

We had a very nice tea with father at this little tea shop in Springfield's historic town center. Tasty Earl Grey tea, and currant scones with whipped cream.

Still in Springfield

Here we are in Springfield. I haven't made much progress on Super Mario Brothers. Last night I finished reading Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith. (I got it for free on my Kindle.) I highly recommend it. George Grossmith, as you may know, was the original patter-song character in the Gilbert and Sullivan musicals. He premiered many of the great roles in the operettas. As it turns out, he was a very clever writer, too.

The "nobody" is a middle-aged clerk in a bank with a suburban villa and his adventures with his wife, his son, and his friends. It was very funny.

In Olde Springfield

Here we are in downtown Springfield, the county seat of Robertson County, Tennessee. The county courthouse has been restored since the last time we were here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Tennessee tradition

It's a Tennessee tradition - every time we come to visit we play Super Mario Brothers. M is doing really well. She made it to "Donut Plains Level 4." Later we are going to Sonic Burger. This is the Central Time Zone so we're not sure whether we're hungry for lunch or dinner. We just know we're hungry. Yes, we have regressed to our childhood, when video games and cheeseburgers were really important. Come to think of it, we haven't changed all that much. For Lent this year we had to give up playing Hot Dog Bush. Don't try it - you'll end up having to give it up, too - if you can.

In Rachel's garden

Andrew Jackson and his beloved Rachel (pronounced RYE-chull) are buried side by side in the corner of the garden. It's quite a pretty spot. To judge by the inscriptions on their tombs, Andrew Jackson was just some general while Rachel was the culmination of all human virtues, with a "pleasing person" and a charming personality to boot.

View of the Hermitage

Here's a view of the Hermitage with a reconstructed slave cabin in the foreground. Andrew Jackson had 140 slaves.

It's almost 80 degrees here today. It's supposed to be in the 40s tomorrow.

More from Springfield

Here's a picture of my dad in his kitchen. We're getting ready for our outing to the Hermitage.

Hot wheels in Springfield

Here is Corinna with our silver blue PT Cruiser in front of a Springfield hotspot - the big 24 hour Walgreens. We slept really late because the Blackberry was still on Seattle time. Later today we are going to the Hermitage.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Greetings from Springfield, Tennessee

We've arrived safely in Springfield, Tennessee, a flourishing hamlet of 15,000 people. Last time we stayed at the Springfield Inn, where you park directly in front of your door. After the first night we had to change rooms because the next room over was occupied by an entire country-and-western band who practiced into the small hours of the morning. When you walked past their window, you could see 12-packs of beer piled up on the floor of the room. The lady at the front desk explained the situation by saying, "They're from Knoxville." This time, we decided to stay at the Hampton Inn. It's about a block further on up the street, but so much nicer. The living spaces are quite separate from the parking lot. There's even a fake orchid on the desk and "art" on the walls. It's very civilized.

Our rental car is a silver PT Cruiser. It's quite luxurious. When we got in, the radio was set to a Christian country-and-western station. We heard "There'll be a hello after the goodbye," "We needed a savior, pure and simple," and several other songs.

Our dad is looking pretty good. After dinner at a Mexican restaurant we went back to their house and watched political commentary shows. Tomorrow, we'll hopefully be able to do our walk at the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's plantation house which is not far from here. See y'all later.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Scenes from a scenic day in San Francisco

Click on the image to enlarge the slideshow

In Chinatown

Getting... tired... but... must... see... everything...

At Ghirardelli Square

We had to stop at Ghirardelli Square. I'm not sure why it's famous, but it is. M is inside the Ghirardelli shop waiting for our iced goodies. I'm not sure what we'll do next. The Museum of the City of San Francisco is closed on Sundays. Guess I'll look at the guide book.

Worthy of a painting

Walk #9 - Golden Gate Bridge

We walked all the way from St Mary's Cathedral to this viewpoint where you can watch the sailboats racing past and get your picture taken with the Bridge. It's ridiculously scenic.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More photos by M

Photos from our ferry ride and another visit to Christ the Light Cathedral. Click on the image for a larger slideshow

At Jack-in-the-Box

M just tried to order a Big 'n Tasty. I think the excessive sun must have addled her brain.

Christ the Light by night

The view from City Lights

At a National Shrine

This is the National Shrine of St Francis of Assisi. All the statues in the upper church are swathed in violet taffeta. This is St. Rita.

SS. Peter and Paul

Walking up Powell Street in the general direction of City Lights Bookshop, we stopped at the Italian parish. It is a strange world crowded with gaudily painted yet eerily realistic statuary. There are many Italian saints here - Don Bosco, Mother Cabrini, Gemma Galgani... E facile comprendere perche gli Italiani della Citta vengono qui per pregare.

Greetings, snow-dwellers

It was so sunny that we bought sunglasses in Sausalito before we got back on the ferry.

In Sausalito

We are waiting for our lunch in a restaurant in the absurdly picturesque town of Sausalito. M ordered huevos rancheros; I ordered the "angus burger." Mmm...

On the ferry

We are taking the ferry to Sausalito. It's a perfect day. There's a wide variety of people around us. On the left, two little girls who are having the time of their lives. On the right, five women who seem to have gone to college together. They keep asking each other questions like, "do you use eye cream?" And "do you play squash?" Now they are talking about how the men in their lives are into rugby.

It's called sunshine

It's warm, the sky is blue, and there are flowers. Strange... I'm not sure what to call it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

St Mary's by moonlight

This is the San Francisco Cathedral by moonlight. Pretty cool, though you might not be able to tell from this photo.

We are waiting for our Edinburgh-style fish and chips to be prepared by the all-Korean staff at a hole-in-the-wall kind of place around the corner from our hotel. We've just come from Mass at the Cathedral. It was a strange Mass, celebrated in the chapel, which is also the sacristy. We noticed a pallium sitting on the vesting table, and sure enough Archbishop Niederauer came in. The arrangement of things made it necessary for him to vest with his back to the exposed sacrament. Very awkward indeed. There was no priest or deacon to assist him, just an utterly hapless elderly acolyte and two ladies. One of them, a great big lady with a grey bun, was like my nightmare version of myself, whispering and frowning and bossing everyone around. M promised to slap me across the face if I ever behaved in such a manner. The special occasion which brought the Archbishop there was the installation of new members of the Eucharistic Adoration group.

Food's ready - bye!

Christ the Light Cathedral - some photos by M

Click on the image to enlarge the slideshow

At Mission Dolores

This is a view of the font in the original church of San Francisco, now known as the Mission Dolores. The little chapel is the oldest building in San Francisco, built in 1776. The larger adjoining church did not survive the 1906 earthquake. It's now an utterly mediocre basilica.

After paying $5, you are funnelled through the chapel to the basilica to the graveyard where a scene from "Vertigo" was filmed, to the gift shop. The bossy lady kept asking us if she could help us until we were ready and standing at the counter. Then she looked at the book about the missions and the magnet in surprise. "You want to buy that?" she asked.

The new cathedral

Father Minnihan gave us the complete tour of the new complex, including his office. Here he is showing M his hard hat, which was signed by the architect, Bishop Vigneron, and others. Father Minnihan is absolutely in LOVE with this cathedral and everything about it. He gives a great tour which, as he said, alternates between the metaphysical and the mundane.

Tomorrow night they are having a special Mass to receive a copy of the St John's Bible. Someone gave them one of the few life-size copies in existence. We are going. Should be very neat!

From the inside

The Cathedral is very impressive. It probably seats about 750 (maybe more). From the inside, you can definitely see the "vesica piscis," fish-shape, but overall you feel more like you're in the ark than in the whale.

It being First Friday, they were having Exposition in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, which is behind the altar. They used a lot of traditional features of cathedral architecture, like screens, side chapels, and the like. Here is the view looking toward the altar.

More Christ the Light

We went arouind to the other side of the lake to view the cathedral from the front. Very impressive, eh?

Walk #8 - Christ the Light

A few wrong turns in scenic Oakland, but we made it! The newest Cathedral in the world - Christ the Light.

In David's diner

We are having breakfast at David's. It's an old-fashioned diner where everyone sits on stools at a circular bar while the waitress walks around the inside to take the orders and serve them. On the wall is the original menu which has clearly been there since 1952, the year the joint was established. It includes "de luxe" sandwiches such as "chopped chicken liver," "pickled tongue," and "caviar american." There is also an assortment of "combination" sandwiches like "corned beef and chicken liver." Thank goodness for the last item on the menu, "half pound old fashioned burger."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wild Parrots

By the way, our hotel room which is costing us a mere $85 a night (for the two of us!) is much nicer than you would expect. There is a mural of wild parrots around the ceiling, our own bathroom, high speed internet, and the location at Geary and Taylor seems really convenient.

Some of M's Photos of the San Francisco Cathedral

Click on the image to enlarge the slideshow

At Fisherman's Wharf

We walked from St Mary's to Grace Cathedral where a funeral was in progress. The eulogist was saying, "as you know, Helen loved the finer things. Once when we were out shopping we passed a dress shop and she saw a dress she liked. 'I know I've seen that dress before. I've got to have that dress.' The next day she called to tell me, 'I thought you'd like to know that I remembered where I'd seen that dress. In my closet.'"

After that we walked down (up and down, that is) to Fisherman's Wharf, where we are now seated in a restaurant with a nautical name, about to be served fish and chips. Mmmm...

St James is everywhere!

Maria is holding the Cathedral bulletin... It has M's own photo of St James on it!

Year of St. Paul

I thought their place of prayer for the Year of St. Paul was just perfect.

Walk #7 - new St Mary's

We made it from the plane to St Mary's Cathedral in just over an hour! The Cathedral is very impressive. It doesn't look very large from the outside, though we noticed that it formed an impressive part of the skyline coming in from the airport. But inside it's vast and grand. There are a number of large bronzes depicting scenes from the life of Mary, with accompanying texts that speak of her as the model of discipleship.


First view of San Francisco from the cab window. (Yes, we decided to take a cab from the airport. We'll take a less expensive mode of transportation back, I'm sure.) It's sunny and nice, right now. Not warm enough to roll down the windows, though.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An interesting show

We recommend the show. It is a very large assortment from the Yale Art Gallery. We started getting tired about 1820, so I can't say we really saw everything. John Trumbull's romantic history paintings were very interesting. Not nearly as romanticized, it turns out, as his self-portrait. They also have a group of portraits of the rebels of the "Amistad," sketched during their trial.

I have never learned to appreciate the artistry of furniture, but for those who do, a huge sideboard, a yellow divan, and a few chairs are offered for your delectation.

And now we begin the long walk back up the hill.

Walk #6 - the SAM

Today we are at the Seattle Art Museum to see the "Pursuit of Happiness" show. The red, white, and blue bunting is an unusual sight to see at the museum.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In Bilbao

Five spoons hover tantalizingly over a Spanish flan, which trembles in anticipation of its imminent destruction. We had a delicious dinner at Bilbao Tapas Bar and Restaurant, right next to the Metro Theater in the University District. (You can make a virtual visit and watch the crayfish fry by clicking here.) We ordered the Plato Combinado. It is a delicious alternative for those who have trouble deciding among Pinchitos Morunos, Sepia a la Parrilla, and Pulpo a la Gallega. It included thin slices of ham, cheese, and some delicious tapas, like stuffed red peppers, pork skewers, and some tasty stuffed fried thingies. It all sounds so much more romantic in Spanish.