Sunday, January 31, 2010


We went to the Rainier Tower to meet with Celeste about Great Music. It all seems so do-able from up here. We calculated that the servers are changing their vesture about 8 times.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Across a crowded room

We are at South Pacific at the 5th avenue. There is nothing like a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical... Nothing... in the world....

A Cathedral love story

For the next issue of In Your Midst we are doing a feature on "Cathedral love stories," featuring some of the couples who not only got married at the Cathedral, but also met at the Cathedral.  Yesterday, I interviewed Rachael and Tyrone.  It happened to be their sixteenth wedding anniversary.  Here is a picture of them on their wedding day....

They first caught a glimpse of one another across a crowded room (Coffee Hour).  A year or so later, they were almost the last couple to be married in the pre-renovated Cathedral.  Even though the Cathedral didn't close until after Easter, some of the work was already underway, and every week it seemed that something else was missing - first the carpet, then the stained glass windows.  Rachael says she wondered what would be left on the day of the wedding - a stepladder and a few pews?  As we finished our interview, Father Ryan came in, so we seized the opportunity to recreate the photo.  Ah, sixteen years...

The old-fashioned way

We couldn't find our new Starbucks mugs, so M had to carry her tea to work the old-fashioned way. Almost like a scene out of Cranford.

Friday, January 29, 2010

At U Village

We came to the University Village for dinner and Barnes and Noble. We went to a bunch of restaurants where the wait was 10 or even 15 minutes, so we walked all the way across the mall, I mean village, to Ram Brewery. We figured it was so far away that there wouldn't be a wait. On the contrary. The wait there was 40 minutes. So we went to the Apple store to kill time. Now M is talking about getting one of the many sleek white Apple computers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union

We may have a lot of serious problems in this country, but at least we have an awesome President.

A trip to Costco

Today we went on a field trip to Costco to pick up supplies for tomorrow evening's Newcomers' Reception. Costco is always interesting. This time we ran into three people we know: an usher buying a polish dog, an MC buying some microwavable breakfast sandwiches, and a rather small staff person buying a very large box of crackers. Big Costco, small world.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


We are on a field trip to IKEA with Brenda, who is moving into a new apartment (same building, different unit). She is getting a loft bed because she has wanted one since she was a kid. M is looking for a shelf for her office but even IKEA doesn't have anything to fit her precise specifications. Well, at least we got a delicious meatball dinner for just $2.95. Fifteen meatballs!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Deja vu

Here we are again waiting for our butter chicken and garlic naan at Kabab House. I don't know why all the tables are empty. The food is just delicious.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dinner in the burbs

We're at one of the many mini-malls adjacent to the Southcenter mega-mall. This restaurant sign caught my eye for some reason...

We're at a brand-new IHOP. I didn't know they were making them anymore. The servers are remarkable friendly. The greeter bowed when we came in, and again after presenting us with our diet cokes.


Floral crowns and china silk veils in the Chapel? It must be time for Great Music.

My own personal favorite among GMGC acronyms is EBMAL, which stands for "Everything But Music and Lights." It is a meeting which takes place on the Friday before Great Music. It usually lasts a long, long time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another b-day

Beeky turned 24 yesterday. We are proud of her. We are having gluten free cake and soy ice cream.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

At mom's

Mom is making us delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Pokey is watching. She is wearing her snuggie tonight.

Plumbing on a grand scale

The short version of the story is... the toilets aren't working.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

At San Marco

I mean, St Mark's. Tonight is the citywide prayer for Christian Unity. We are taking part in the annual server exchange program.

The review

I hope there aren't any Avatar fanatics reading this.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ah, the movies

As you know, we haven't been to the movies since Thanksgiving (Fantastic Mr Fox, two thumbs up). Tonight, it's Avatar in 3D. I thought we were the last people in the world who still hadn't seen it, but the theater is pretty full. Review to follow in 160 minutes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sixteen Candles

It's Haley's 16th birthday - or at least it was on Thursday. This is her third party.

At the end of the fiesta

We took a group picture after the fiesta... This is the team that coordinated the whole event. It gives new meaning to the phrase, "it takes a village"...

At Santo Nino

After Mass there is an enormous fiesta in the Hall. It gets bigger every year. Desiree and James did a traditional courtship dance. Here's the part where the girl plays hard to get, followed in short order by the part where the boy pretends not to care. Very cute.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A dinner engagement

We had a lovely dinner with these folks... do you know them?

Another wedding day

Today we had the wedding of two parishioners. They are just perfect; so nice, so sweet, so talented, and so good (they actually met doing a house call for the St. Vincent de Paul Society). I hope they will always be as happy as they look in this photo!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A family scene

Hugo just loves Father Ryan. We played a game of "Cariboo" and Hugo and Father Ryan won. "We won, we won!" he cried, jumping up and throwing his arms around Father Ryan's neck. Now Father Ryan is playing Woody to Hugo's Buzz Lightyear.

At the Vosmaers

You can tell a little boy lives here...

At Marquette

Kristin took us on a tour of Marquette. Right in the middle of campus they have a medieval French chapel where St Joan of Arc once prayed. It was taken apart brick by brick and moved to New York then to Milwaukee. The windows are by Charles Connick.

Talking to the art

I keep telling him the sink is clogged but he never does anything about it. It's SO frustrating.

Haitian crucifixion

The museum had a large collection of paintings by Haitian artists. This crucifixion is called "The Adoration of Love."

The interior

The interior is even more amazing - the grand entrance juts out almost into Lake Michigan. There were many groups of schoolkids taking tours of the museum. They seemed quite enthralled. The tour guide was showing some 10 year olds the 18th century silver. I hardly ever look at the silver myself - soooo boring. But when the tour guide pointed out the fine work on a silver basket, and said, "just imagine making something as fine as lace out of metal!" one of the little girls breathed, "wow," in total unfeigned amazement.

Milwaukee Art Museum

We had time for a field trip to the Milwaukee Art Museum. The new wing (no pun intended) is the work of a Spanish architect, Calatrava. It is called a "brise soleil" and opens and closes several times a day.

Last keynote

Sister Helen Prejean gave the last keynote. She is just electrifying. On our way back to the hotel we passed in front of this sign in a bar window. Ironic.

Farewell to St John's

We had our last morning prayer in the Cathedral this morning. Sister Helen Prejean was the presider. She sang the invitatory so low that the priests sounded like a choir of Russian men in the response. On the way back we stopped for a latte and took one more look at Cathedral Square.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beer from the inside

There are lots of jokes on the beer tour, and the more beer you drink the funnier the jokes get. The first joke: "ladies and gentlemen, the used beer receptacles are located in the hallway behind me." As Marilyn would say, Lord have mercy.

At the Lakeside Brewery

That's root beer she's drinking.

On to the microbrewery

You are not allowed to take pictures inside the Pabst Mansion, or I would show you the Delft china in the servants' dining room, the German quotations inscribed here and there, the secret panels in the Captain's study, and the beer pavilion which the Bishops of Milwaukee turned into a Chapel.

Now we're taking a scenic lakefront drive across town to a microbrewery. It's a lovely day.

Palace of the Pabsts

...Where the Archbishops of Milwaukee lived for many years.

And we're off

Our presentation this morning went fine, and now we're off on the "Beer Barons" tour of Milwaukee. Next stop, Pabst Mansion!

Stop the presses!

This was the first year, I believe, when the Cathedral Ministry Conference made the local news owing to the presence of protesters yesterday. But the real news was made this morning: sunshine! Sunshine in Milwaukee! Look, everybody!

The corona

I realized I hadn't given you a good photo of the corona I mentioned. Here it is. It's actually the work of two sculptors, both Italian. The "wishbone" on Jesus' right hand is actuallt a dove, representing Jesus handing over his spirit. During his presentation, Archbishop Weakland told Father Carl Last, the Cathedral pastor, that he should really get the artist back in to make the dove look less like a wishbone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


We had a lovely dinner: barbecued chicken on a bed of mashed sweet potatoes. It definitely compared favorably with the last conference dinner, in St. Augustine, when the dinner was quite cold and served at the bottom of a swimming pool. (That event was described in detail in one of my first posts on this blog.  Click here to read more.)  I got to sit next to Lawrence Cunningham, who is a noted theologian and historian who teaches at Notre Dame. He is full of anecdotes about noted people from Sts Augustine and Ambrose to Fr Theodore Hesburgh. None of this has anything to do with the photo - this is Archbishop Listecki, who has been the Archbishop of Milwaukee for just one week, saying grace before dinner.

Before leaving the hotel for Mass I ran into an elderly gentleman on the stairs whom I recognized as Archbishop Pilarczyk. "Are you part of the cathedrals conference?" he asked. "Can you tell me how to get to the cathedral?" I pointed him in the right direction. "Oh, you're not coming to the Mass?" he said. "I am," I replied, "but I have to stop by my room and get my coat, scarf, mittens, and hat first." "If you don't see me at Mass, send out a search party," he said.


Archbishop Weakland spoke to us about the renovation of St John's. There was such vociferous and hostile opposition to the renovation that he included the phrase "non sine difficultate," "not without difficulty," in the Latin inscription commemorating the event. It sounded to me like his favorite thing in the Cathedral is the "corona radiante," the stylized crown of thorns over the altar. It is very beautiful.

Morning Prayer at St John's

Father Ryan was the presider at morning prayer. Looks rather regal, don't you think? At least, that's what the person next to me whispered.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dinner in Wisconsin

We're having dinner at the Mason Street Grill adjacent to the Pfister. They are serious about steak here. All the steaks are dry aged for 28 days, except a certain kind of steak which, she said, was wet aged for 28 days.

Widescreen TV

The beds in the Pfister are about 3.5 feet off the ground. It's lovely to lie here and watch cable TV. Right now we're watching Rachel Maddow. We haven't watched any political commentary shows since the election. To listen to the antics of the minority opposition, you'd think the election was still going on.

Thank goodness for those mittens!

The exterior

As you can see, it is a gloomy day in Milwaukee, what with lowering grey clouds and heaps of trodden snow on the street corners. It's supposed to be sunny later on in the week, so I'll post another pic later. The Cathedral is smaller than ours - about the same length but quite narrow, with not much in the way of transepts. Lovely, though. The present building dates from the 1930s - the original building having been destroyed in a fire. As the story goes, Mrs O'Leary had had a little too much Pabst beer and didn't notice when her cow kicked over the lamp. Oh, wait, I'm getting my midwestern cities mixed up.

At St John's Cathedral

It looks a little familiar, doesn't it?

At the Pfister

We made it to the Pfister, our conference hotel. It is not an understated example of gilded age elegance.

First view of Milwaukee

It's really warmed up. It was only 10 degrees last week, but now it's more than 20. Balmy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More film noir

Tonight we're watching "The Big Sleep." We really should be packing but this seemed more important. So far, four women have thrown themselves at Humphrey Bogart.