Monthly Archives: January 2008

She’s a Magnet; I’m a Refrigerator

So, we take this online personality quiz thingy, taken by and blogged about by Red7Eric over at Secrets of the Red Seven. He turns out to be a benevolent creator, which sounds like it’s probably not so bad for a playwright. Myself, I’m a benevolent realist, whereas Dawn is a respectful architect. I’m not really sure what those are.

Mostly, Dawn and I are about opposite in everything. She’s marginally more masculine than I am, and I’m way more feminine than she is. I really am a pretty girl after all.

Attribute –Edward– –Dawn–
Confidence 6 94
Openness 24 2
Extroversion 88 10
Empathy 74 20
Trust in others 96 82
Agency 8 78
Masculinity 36 56
Femininity 74 2
Spontaneity 62 4
Attention to style 34 64
Authoritarianism 26 58
Imaginative <---> Earthy 48 92
Functional <---> Aesthetic 16 76

The first eleven are your basic zero to one-hundred percent type deals. The last two are scales from one to the other. As in I’m halfway between imaginative and earthy, while Dawn’s barely imaginative and mostly earthy. I’m apparently very functional. That’d be somewhat funny, given my relative inability to function, but on a scale of functional to aesthetic, I’m more functional than. Again, apparently.

Good fun anyway.

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The entrance hymn today is Christian, Do You Hear the Lord, and the recessional hymn is Christ Is the World’s Light. Both of these seem to be relatively obscure, not found in the usual places on the interwebs. Maybe they’re exclusive to the Worship Hymnal? I keep meaning to actually buy a hard copy, since, although they in fact publish it, Worship is not one of the search-able hymnals on Gia’s online hymnal site

In the first reading, there’s Midian yet again. I’ve wondered before about Midian, so some proper research later will find me, from the Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th edition, from the entry for Gideon:

The Book of Judges relates that Gideon was a strong opponent of the Baal cult. He defeated the Midianite oppressors and appeased the rival Ephraimites, thus securing a generation of peace for Israel. His decisive action gave rise to the phrase “Day of Midian,” which came to denote Israelite victory over her enemies.

So now we know.

It’s interesting to contrast the first reading from Isaiah:

First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.

With the quoting thereof from today’s gospel:

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

It’s always so interesting when the New Testament so specifically refers to the old, when the authors of the Gospels are really trying so hard to prove that this is the real thing, everything that’s been promised. And then when the quoting, in our translation anyway, is not quite exact. They could cheat, you know, the translators and publishers nowadays. Make it exact, make the way to the sea into the seaward road. Make it land of gloom instead of land overshadowed by death. But they don’t. I’m glad they don’t.

Father Caulfield is presiding over the mass today, per usual for the Latin, but Monsignor Jameson is with us as well. He’s sitting over with the lectors, so he’s not concelebrating or anything. So I expect he’ll give the homily. But then Father Caulfield heads over to give the homily. But then he doesn’t give a homily really, rather he just introduces a recorded message from the Archbishop, appealing to us to give. To the Archbishop’s Appeal, of course. Then Monsignor takes over at the ambo/lectern/pulpit/whatever and walks us through filling out the appeal form, line by line.

Leaving after mass we see Andy with Emily, who’s getting so big. In the fourth grade this year. Her little sister Clara is four now. Her mom Kate is still teaching at American.

Then Dr. Rousseau walks by and grabs my arm, asking my name once again. She’s giving the lecture on the art in the cathedral next week. Not in the cathedral this time, though, but up at Montgomery College. When she gave it in the cathedral years ago when the restoration was finally finished, the screen for the slide show wouldn’t stay up. So Chris McCullough and I had to stand on either side and hold it up. Was of course physically tiring after a while, but worst thing was that we couldn’t see the slides. We were there but we kinda missed the whole thing.

La Bayadére

Dinner at Luigi’s before the show. I go with the taglierini con porcini and Dawn with the rigatoni all’arabbiata. We get a very decent carafe of pinot grigio, although I worry that only a 1/2 liter of wine isn’t going to be enough if we’re used to having a regular 750 ml bottle with dinner when we go out. But it does just fine. I pace myself for once.

The Kirov coming to the Kennedy Center and doing La Bayadére is a much bigger deal than I had realized. This is the first time they’re doing the full version in Washington. When we got the tickets I was simply pleased that we were seeing La Bayadére again, having seen ABT’s version a couple of years ago. But this is the real deal, the real thing, with ABT’s being merely some sort of bastard cousin. I’m generally hopeless at remembering what we’re seeing or what we’ve seen, and I’ve often gotten La Bayadére confused with Le Corsaire. I know we’ve seen Le Corsaire as well, although I don’t remember if we saw the Kirov do it or ABT. One of them had boats, I remember. I keep picturing Luis Torres as Conrad, but that can’t be right. Maybe it was Marcelo Gomes.

I will now, though, always always remember the Kirov’s La Bayadére.

It’s funny what a mess it all is, for the most part. Starts out with Solor and Nikiya already in love. Then the Rajah goes and betroths Solor to Gamzatti. Solor just kind of goes with the flow on this as well, even though he’s sworn his fidelity to Nikiya over the sacred fire. Bastard. Then there’s drama. It’s the third act when all the business is all over where the dancing for no reason other than dancing really gets going.

Viktoria Tereshkina dances Nikiya. She’s got kinda big floppy feet and hyper-extended knees for my tastes. The treat for me is Irina Golub as Gamzatti. (That’s her picture there in the dictionary under cup-cake.) She spends the first two acts just acting, in heels, not donning her pointe shoes until the third act. Being a cupcake, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. And it’s possibly the cupcake factor which makes me more sympathetic to Gamzatti than maybe I’m supposed to be, although in her defense I will point out that she offers fabulous jewels to Nikiya, quite pleadingly, not just once but twice. And Nikiya does try to stab her. And I like to think that Gamzatti doesn’t know anything about the poisonous snake hidden in the flowers.

Is the opening of the third act which is the real star of the show, of course. The Kingdom of the Shades. Hypnotizing, mesmerizing, utterly dazzling, life-changing unforgettable. I’m like a caveman with words here, unable to express how transcendent it is.


Pretty typical for a Saturday morning, we’re up early to go work out. We’re up a little earlier even, a little before 7:30 a.m. Usually we get up closer to eight.

We’re getting ready to leave the house around 9:30, but I notice that the front tire on my bike is flat. I made it home just fine Thursday night; not sure why it’s flat now. So I try pumping it back up before I think about putting in a new tube. It pumps up to 80 psi, but I watch as the pressure gauge slowly sinks. This baby ain’t holding air. I’m gonna have to change it.

As I’m standing there contemplating all this, the tire blows out. I shut my eyes at the huge bang, as I’m quite naturally startled and not sure for the first few milliseconds just what has happened. I figure it out pretty quickly though. Dawn is waiting outside for me. She’s heard it too, but figures it’s just a random gunshot or something from the neighborhood. She doesn’t know it’s come from inside the house. Our cat Evie has been sitting by me, by the bike, this whole time. She seems completely unconcerned. Our other cat Gwen would’ve jumped about three feet in the air and dashed upstairs. Evie is either braver or dumber. Maybe both.

Other thing is, is that this was a puncture resistant tube. Apparently that means it’s filled with goo. And said goo has been flung all over the living room. I notice it on the couch first. It’s a new couch, so I run to get some paper towels to clean up quickly. There’s some sort of stain resistant coating or something on the couch, though. Cleans up easily. Next I notice the TV screen is coated. I clean that off too.

For the next couple of days I’ll keep discovering new areas of goo coatings. Other areas of my bike. The right shoulder of my barn coat. The ooze cleans up a lot easier right away. A day or two later and it’s not so easy to remove.

Lunch at Levante’s

Since 5starjoe bails at the last minute, I get 3pennyjane all to myself yet again. But I do have the added pressure of picking a place. There’s apparently this new scheme where we don’t all sort of decide where we’re going, but more that someone has to nominate a place. And this week it’s my turn to nominate. So I go tooling through Yahoo yellow pages, looking at restaurants in an ever widening circle from the office. And I see Levante’s and immediately know it’s the place.

Although I check their website and discover that it’s a chain. I mean, I knew there was one in Bethesda and this one up the street just below Dupont Circle. But apparently it’s bigger than that. Says that it’s a successful chain in Europe. These locations evidently represent the vanguard of the assault on the Americas. It kinda makes me want to eat there less, but then I decide that that’s snobbery. So I still support the choice.

It’s nicer inside than I remember the Bethesda location being, when I went there with Erin Sellman and her sister Andrea, lo these 8 or 9 years ago now. I’m in jeans, since it’s Friday, even though we’re not supposed to be wearing jeans today since there’s committee meetings all this week. I’m one of two in the office who seemed to have fucked up this way. Although in his defense, the other guy is wearing a tie. But it’s with jeans, which I think calls attention to his jeans more than not wearing a tie would. Plus, his jeans are stone-washed, whereas mine are comfortably dark, much less notice-able. And he’s on the second floor, right in line with the large conference room, and I’m hidden up here on the seventh floor.

The point is that I’m in jeans and I feel a little under-dressed in here, while 3pj is lovely and appropriately dressed. But it’s lunch time, and I’m evidently wearing nice enough jeans, since they seat us.

We’re talking about the Colbert portrait currently hanging in the National Portrait Gallery. I’m such a yob; I’ve never ever been to the National Portrait Gallery. And I think it would be, I don’t know, the height of hypocrisy to go just for the Colbert portrait, although 3pj disagrees. She also notes that there are long lines, people waiting to have their picture taken with the portrait.

And also to my credit here I would like to point out that I’ve been planning on going to this museum. It was closed for a couple of years and has only recently reopened. I was on their website just yesterday, looking to see if they had anything by Chuck Close, even, and planning on a visit.

3PJ mentions that she went to a Joseph Cornell exhibit there last year. Man, that woulda been way cool to see. I mostly know his work from reading the standard popular biography, Deborah Solomon’s Utopia Parkway.

3PJ has the lentil soup and the kaser pide. Neither of us is sure how to pronounce the latter. I guess pide is enough like pita that maybe one couldn’t go too far wrong just saying that. And as for kaser, I think of it like kaiser. Maybe it’s like Turkish for emperor or something. (A little later research tells me it’s like the Greek kaseri cheese, if that’s any help.) I’m a little overwhelmed by the menu, so I go with the day’s special, a seafood stew and an entree of rockfish, which entree comes with small potatoes and giant asparagus.

O Bello! My Bello!

I get the yearly email from Ringling, announcing the circus coming to town. And this year we get Bello! Hooray!

Wait. Wait a minute. Okay, says here they’re in Baltimore, then to DC to the Verizon Center, then out to Fairfax to the Patriot Center. Then up to NYC Madison Square Garden? Where’s the DC Armory? Two blocks from my house. When are they coming there? When is Bello coming to my neighborhood?

Answer: he isn’t. No Armory shows this year. And I actually get upset. Almost physically ill. A real sinking feeling in the pit of my gut.

And I don’t want to go the Verizon Center or any big hockey arena to see the circus. I love the circus at the Armory. It’s big enough for the high wire act, but small enough to actually see, you know?

Alas, no Bello for me this year.

Restorante i Ricchi

So, apparently i Ricchi moved, some years ago. I remember going there when it was on I Street. Or maybe I just remember making reservations for Larry Garrett there, when I was his secretary. But I seem to remember we, the OFTS admin staff, went there for some function once. Ah, well. Doesn’t really matter.

When we get here today I do specifically remember having come with the ASH senior staff for some function, maybe Marty’s birthday. We sat in a private room way back somewhere, having to go past the kitchen and kitchen staff like gangsters or something. Today we’re in the little dining room across from the kitchen.

Our waiter is Carlos, and as soon as I’m friendly with him 5starjoe & 3pennyjane start to laugh and tell me to back off. Funny guys. And here I’d been planning on getting a glass of the Sant’ Elena pinot grigio in 3PJ’s honor. But they only have it by the bottle anyway. We’re not getting a bottle of wine for lunch. They get ice water and I go with the sparkling.

They don’t have like a special restaurant week menu; rather, it just contains certain items from the regular menu. I go with the pappa al pomodoro, Florentine tomato soup, as does 3pj. 5*J opts for the risotto, since he’s wearing a white shirt and doesn’t want to also be wearing tomato soup. So I tell a version of the famous joke:

Navy guy and a Marine are in the mens room. The Marine finishes, zips up, and goes to walk out the door. “Hey,” the Navy guy says. “In the Navy they teach us to wash our hands after we go to the bathroom.” The Marine replies, “Yeah, well, in the Marines they teach us not to piss on our hands.”

This leads to 5*j mentioning this movie with Jane Fonda that he rented or saw on cable or something where Jane Fonda’s character complains that all of the men lately that she’s met have for some weird reason decided to tell a dirty joke on the first date. I think he mentions that her next date, with Rod Taylor, goes the same way, so she walks out. So 3pj counters with a story of a man she knows who had a woman, on a date, tell him that he had perfect abs off of which to snort coke, in reply to which he threw the woman out of his apartment. So this leads me to mention that somewhere in life or literature along the way I picked up the understanding that the height of decadence would be snorting heroin off of little boys’ bare asses in Bangkok, and that I did in fact mention this once on a first date.

(Later I discuss with 3pj the absolute horrors of human trafficking and sexual tourism, especially in Bangkok. And I feel bad about joking about it.)

5*J mentions a disastrous first (and only) date, where he knew that she was going to say that she liked going to Club Five. That’s right next door to 18th Street Lounge, site of that first date with mention of snorting heroin off of little boys. (Although in fact mention of said depravity was later, back at her place, on the front steps of her apartment building.)

As for entrees, they both get the pork loin, whereas I go with the salmon. We all get the tart for dessert. I try to get a copy of the menu from the manager as we’re leaving, but he seems to lack any interest whatsoever in helping me. So I leave without.

Lunch with [3pennyjane] at Vidalia

It’s restaurant week.

We’ve kinda had this regular Friday thing going, 3pennyjane and 5starjoe and me. Started as a small holiday lunch, Friday before Christmas, but 5*j was out so it was just 3pj and me at Luigi’s. Then the next week we went with 5*j to Mackey’s. So then it became this regular thing. Last week it was Penang.

But, like I said, it’s restaurant week in DC this week, so 3pj researches and comes up with two options, in lieu of Vidalia on Friday, which has no tables, no room at the inn. One is Vidalia on Tuesday; other is i Ricchi on Friday. I immediately declare, in the spirit of Solomon, that it should be both.

3PJ agrees, but 5*j has like some work or something to do. So I get 3pj all to myself today. This more than makes up for the fact that we can’t get a table until two o’clock. I’m like Jack dining with the gunroom, grumbly with hunger by the time we sit down.

3PJ starts off with the wild mushroom soup0, which is a “creamy purée with red wine-truffle emulsion1 and house cured shoat2 pancetta3.” I go for the seasonal lettuce blend, which I generally just call the salad, that’s apparently a “roulade4 of hazelnuts, brad’s goat cheese, dried apricots, fines herbes and champagne vinaigrette.” 3PJ then has the roasted briar hollow farm rabbit leg, “with ginger-carrot purée, heirloom onions, herbed spaetzle5 and amish mustard-rabbit emulsion6.” I go with the cape hatteras stew, which has “octopus, mussels, shrimp and oysters with heirloom beans, preserved tomatoes7, croutons and saffron-mussel broth.” For dessert we both have the vanilla bean cake, layered with strawberry-champagne jam, valhrona8 white chocolate mousse and poppy seed crème anglaise9.

I mean to get wine, but I chicken out. 3PJ gets the ginger cola. Possibly Blenheim’s, but I don’t remember now. I get the Cricket Cola, even though the waiter warns me away from it. Tastes awful, he says.

I have been to Vidalia once before, years ago, with Erin Sellman and Don & Gloria, I believe. Looks nothing like I remember it. I seem to remember it as one big room, whereas now it’s broken up into different sections. I like it, mind. It’s very nice. Nicer than I remember actually. Still way out of my price range, my league, my class, usually. So it’s nice to come, to splurge, blow some Christmas money.

0 All of the descriptions reflect that the entire menu is in lower case, so certain things that I would assume to be proper nouns are not capitalized. But I imagine that it’d have been Brad’s goat cheese, Amish mustard-rabbit emulsions, Cape Hatteras stew, and Valrhona white chocolate mousse.

1 An emulsion in general is a mixture of two things which can’t be mixed. In food terms, let’s say like with oil and water. Oil and water famously don’t mix, of course, but shake them together and they seem sort of mixed-ish, for a while anyway. So to emulsify something is to disperse the one substance within the other. They’re technically not really mixed, even though for our purposes here, say eating them, they’re mixed. Here, specifically, they’re serving a red wine-truffle emulsion. One imagines the truffles dispersed throughout the red wine. What else would you call it?

2 A shoat is a young, weaned pig. They claim that it’s house cured, although I’d go with the hyphen, house-cured, here. Either way, they’re somehow doing it on the premises. Is what they’re saying, anyway. We won’t go so far as to assume that they’re also, say, slaughtering the little fellows here.

3 Pancetta is cured belly of pork. An Italian thing. And not just any belly in this case, but of the aforementioned young, weaned pig, remember. But the -etta seems to denote that as well, the diminutive, the little one. And think of the panc- part as like paunch. Paunch like belly. So, little paunchy. Or, better yet, lil’ paunchy, how about?

4 In music, a roulade is a quick succession of notes sung as one syllable. In cooking, it’s some sort of filling rolled up in something else. Either way, the name’s from the French rouler, to roll. I guess the musical use suggests rolling off the tongue or something. On my plate today it’s like a daub of cheese, evidently from a goat, and possibly made by somebody named Brad. Unless they mean that the whole thing is a roulade in the sense that it’s tossed. Could go either way here.

5 Spaetzle (or spatzles) are German noodles or dumplings, in this case dumplings. The name comes from the German for little sparrows. They look like tiny gnocchi, which name comes from the Italian for knots, as in knots in wood.

6 See 1. Not sure if the mustard or the rabbit or the emulsion itself is Amish. Or I suppose you can imagine some Amish dude suspended in mustard, if that’s your thing.

7 Preserved tomatoes sounds so much ritzier than canned, don’t you think? I like it also since it’s Killick’s first name. Honest to God.

8 I believe they mean Valrhona here, transposing the r and the h. It’s a French brand of chocolate.

9 Literally English cream, although it’s in fact a light custard. A custard has cream, of course, as a basic ingredient, but it necessarily involves mixing with eggs as well. The word custard seems to come from some sort of bastardization of crustade. (The OED in fact calls it a perverted form of crustade. Kinky, yeah?) And that comes originally from the French for crust, of course. It was originally a sort of pie, with the c/r/ust/ard on top.

(And all of the preceding smart tidbits are courtesy of research in the OED. I didn’t know any of this stuff.)

The Baptism of the Lord

The entrance hymn is When John Baptized by Jordan’s River, which is strangely hard to sing, but I’m not sure why. I keep wanting to hold the half-notes at all the wrong places. Maybe the rhythm of the lines confuses me because they’re longer than I’m used to, some nine syllables? Either that or it’s the mixture of words written by an apparently still living author (at least when this edition of the Worship hymnal was published), and the semi-ancient tune, one Rendez à Dieu, from the sixteenth century. And the language change as well? It’s twentieth century English words to a sixteenth century French tune. Whatever, I’m a bit flummoxed by it.

A few minutes later, instead of the Confiteor, we get the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water. The choir sings Asperges Me, which is the Latin for sprinkle me. Don’t it sound so much nicer in Latin? Just the word sprinkle to me is somewhat unseemly. Don’t like it. But I suppose the Latin Asperges reminds me of Asperger syndrome, which isn’t especially good either. Although the syndrome doesn’t have anything to do with water or anything, it being named for the doctor who described it and all. Anyway.

The second reading has St. Peter, from Acts, saying, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” I always love references to these sorts of things beyond our own little selves. Beyond thinking that I know what to do or how to act or how to tell anyone else how to act. I always feel like I’m probably going to step into grand heresy when I think these things, but let’s call it a sort of sola gratia thing. Except of course Peter explicitly backs up the sola gratia with a slice of sola fide and a dash of meritum as well. So what do I know?

The first reading and the Gospel reading both include references to God being pleased. First, from good old Isaiah:

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased

And then, for this day of course, the Lord’s baptism, from St. Matthew:

After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

There’s later stuff from the Isaiah reading that makes me wonder, though. Makes me wonder about the parallel between this passage and with Christ.

[H]e shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.

Not that they have to exactly correspond, really, the chosen one from Isaiah and the annointed one from the New Testament. I guess the not making his voice heard in the street made me think of, and contrast to, the Palm Sunday scene, where Jesus goes very deliberately and provocatively riding into Jerusalem. Either way, though, what could be lovelier than:

[A] bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;

And the recessional hymn works a whole lot better for me. Songs of Thankfulness and Praise, with nineteenth century words and seventeenth century tune, with harmony by J.S. Bach no less.

Telescope from Coke

We drink a lot of diet soda at home. Pretty much the various iterations of Diet Coke. There’s the regular Diet Coke for Dawn on weekend mornings. For me it’s the Lime Diet Coke. And then there’s the caffeine-free for evenings. It’s kinda like the lazy man’s coffee, something a little bitter and sweet in the mornings or after dinner.

So anyway, Coke has this promotion called My Coke Rewards, where products have this code that you type into their website. It’s like totally tracking everything you drink. Creepy and Orwellian, no doubt. But hey, they’ve got swag in return. Each twelve pack of sodas has a code for ten points, and now after twelve-hundred-some points, I cash in for my prize.

It’s your basic 50mm refractor. You could buy it for like $44 or so. But, hey, in my book, it’s free. Cause I drink Coke, man.


I totally have to set it up on the back porch as soon as I get home. It’s pretty cloudy, though. I can only find like three stars out total, I have no idea which though, without other stars for context. I know Mars is out pretty bright these days, so maybe one of them’s that. I haven’t even calibrated the spotter scope with the main objective lens yet, so I can’t even find them anyway. But still, it’s great fun to have a telescope.

Someday maybe when I’m old and retired and we’re living someplace farther away from bright city lights, it’ll be more useful. Or anyway, I’ll take it down to Newnan GA when we go for Thanksgiving this year. Out on the farm in the middle of nowhere, it ought to be of some more use. And when I’m old and retired I’ll probably invest in like a six-inch reflector with an equatorial mount. But, again, for now, this little baby’s fine. And free, remember?

Christmas at Rob’s

Semi low key day at Rob’s. I meet Goombah for the first time, and we really hit it off. He parks himself on my lap for quite a while, getting prodigious amounts of dog hair all over my sweater.

Mom totally rocks, straying off the reservation that is the Amazon wish list, somehow being completely inspired and getting me a digital protractor.


Later we go to our usual Mexican restaurant near Rob & Carol’s, Los Toltecos.

The Epiphany of the Lord

One thing I notice this year, throughout Advent and Christmas, is how different folks receive divine revelation. Specifically how sometimes it’s the angel of the Lord directly and sometimes it’s in dreams. Could be that I think of this because this year is year A, year o’ St. Matthew, whereas last year was year C, of St. Luke. St. Luke’s Gospel begins with the angel of the Lord appearing to Zechariah and then the angel Gabriel appears to Mary.

But the infancy narrative in St. Matthew sorta switches perspective, in that the angel appears to Joseph instead of Mary, and not directly but in a dream. And last year in St. Luke, the angel appeared to the shepherds and told them the good news. But now in St. Matthew, as we see in today’s Gospel reading, it’s magi seeing a star and then being sent by King Herod. But they’re warned in a dream not to return to Herod.

Then Joseph is warned, yet again in a dream, by the angel of the Lord, to take the family to Egypt. The angel appears again to him in a dream when Herod dies. And then again in a dream he is warned to avoid Herod’s son Archelaus and go to Nazareth.

Maybe this is just a Luke vs. Matthew thing, angels appearing directly versus in dreams. I imagine that it goes to the different audiences to whom the authors of the Gospels were addressing. Maybe one had an angel tradition where the other just dreams. Interesting.

Christmas at Dad’s

Very enjoyable, low key day at Dad’s.

Presents are generally kept to a minimum, as we have worked out beforehand with Main that we’ll just exchange donations to favorite charities. She gives to typhoon victims in Bangladesh and we give to help restore Ellis Island. Dad gives us checks, which is good in the sense that shopping is easier on all involved. But it’s bad because it kinda gets deposited into the bank as general revenue rather than as specifically marked as for goodies and toys.

There’s some distraction as we have on the football game for a while. Dad has a big HDTV, but we can’t find the game in actual HD. We view in regular D. Washington seems to have spent all their energy beating Dallas the previous week. When we leave the score is 14-13, Washington winning by one. I ask Dad if he thinks they can hold on. He says he’s pessimistic. When we get home they’ve lost like 14-35 or something ridiculous.

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

We stick around closer to home this morning, going to St. Joseph’s rather than the Cathedral. We ride our bikes. There’s no choir here, but we do get an organist and a cantor. But they seem have some sort of issue(s) between them. The organist dives right in and starts playing when the cantor is trying to tell us which hymn and hymn number it is. Happens pretty much every song. It’s funny and frustrating all at the same time.

Afterwards we ride over to Renee’s, only like five blocks away. She’s having a New Year’s Open House, one of two that we’ll be attending today. We end up having a funny conversation with her husband Jim. Renee wants Jim to take ballet, to be able to dance together as a married couple, a la Dawn and Edward. Jim’s having no part of it, although there does seem to be some deal on the table where if Renee will go golfing with him then he’ll take ballet with her. Sounds like a good deal to me, but Renee won’t do it. Guess she hates golf that much. This reminds me that I had a similar deal with Dawn, that I’d take ballet if she would … do … oh, I don’t remember what.

I discuss this with Dawn later. She remembers no such deal, although she does remember that it would have been that she’d go camping with me. If there was such a deal. Which there wasn’t.

In the afternoon we drive out to Silver Spring to Barbara Eames’s house for an afternoon open house. I like that for open houses you don’t have to knock. You just walk in. At least we do anyway. We take open house pretty literally. Just generally chatting I come to find out that Barbara’s husband Charlie is a high school teacher. At first I assume he teaches at Montgomery Blair just up the street, but, no, he teaches theology at a Catholic school.

So then I’ve got some questions for him. First is the Emmanuel/Jesus naming thing. He confirms for me that they’re the same thing. Then I try to get the scoop on the schism in 1052 [actually 1054. I was close though.] over the filioque. He loves this one. He gives me good stuff on proceeding with versus proceeding through. Oh yeah, he’s a big fan of filioque.

Later Charlie tells great stories about working at a fish market in NYC, whence come he and Barbara both. And another story about when he was first a teacher, but the union wouldn’t accept Catholics, but the Teamsters would, so they joined the Teamsters.