Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Spokompton & Generations

Welcome back to the conscious streams of thought that I have time now to codify and put down on this continuing experience of my life. I recently had the pleasure of traveling over to Spokane on the weekend of the 15th through the 17th to visit family and friends and check out the school (especially the law school). On previous drives over I have often seen the Wild Horses Monument (just on the east side of the Columbia River) and wanted to get a closer look but never had the time or missed the exit, not so this time! I finally hiked up there and had a little fun too as you can see.

It was great to see my cousins Dave and Chris, they are so awesome and the shenanigans that we had were true to form. The first night I was just chilling with them, we got a bite to eat and went back to his place and enjoyed some 3 buck chuck (a very distinctly flavored wine that has high remarks from thrifty wine connoisseurs).

My law school crony Kate stopped by for some of the evening to enjoy a few sips of the fruit of the vine and it was like good ole’ b-ham times.

Saturday was a very early day which started with a quick rush to the REI scratch n’ dent sale in which I procured some Keen water sandals at an amazing price (YES!!). They also had a Kauffers bookstore close to the REI, which is good to note if I end up over there. A quick jaunt over to the COG (commons of Gonzaga?) for some breakfast and a fabulous omelet just the way I like it, rich in bacon, ham, cheese, onions and olives. Whilst enjoying our delicious food, Dave and I discussed theological questions and the great need for ecumenism and unity within Christendom (I am glad other people care about this stuff too!). Upon returning to his pad I realized I needed to catch up with the Mallahans so I opened my flip phone (like Captain Kirk calling to the Enterprise) and gave them a jingle. I jammed over to their house and got to see the whole family.

The amazing thing about this whole experience for me is that Zack and I never really had a close connection. It isn’t because of something bad (except for timing) but just that he was only around a year and I never really got the opportunity to know him that well (except for the time he had me join him to go see Troy with him on the day of his wedding so he could relax a little bit before he took the plunge). We talked beer (I tried some of his homebrew, it was really good), history, life and most amazingly about married life and fatherhood. Later that evening we (my cousins & I) went out to a local watering hole called Jack and Dan’s to quench our thirst. Tyler (Smeddles as I affectionately call him) and Kate also came to join us.
Kate brought a friend (Micah) who I freaked out with some of my idiosyncrasies and mannerism but he was a good sport. Even after all of that he still wanted to talk to Kate (which of coarse caught both Tyler and my eyes) and speaking of eyes, his googly eyes towards Kate (sorry Kate, but if a seminarian [Tyler] can see it, if is pretty obvious) made for some fun later. As we are enjoying the many awkward moments Fr. Gary walks in, just for the record this priest is almost exactly what I would be like if I became a priest, and we have some great conversation and close the place down. Sunday we slept in because as the word says, it is a day of rest. We watched “Lucky # Sleven” (has some good twists, but is kind of lude) and just relaxed. I started on my last blog at that time as you can see and finally got it done.
Calling up Tyler, I went to check out the seminary, which was really cool, and Kate decided to come over so we all chatted for a time until I had to go with the cousins and Fr. Gary to all you can eat shrimp fest at Red Lobster (too much food, but soooo good!). I capped the whole trip off with evening Mass at St. Al’s and started the return home Monday morning.

This last weekend was a little less jam-packed but was still really great. I went down to a Bavarian pub in Fremont with generations of guys. We had Flami (founding member of the house of X), Me (second year), Colin (short Navy stint stay third order), Phil & Luke (fourth year), Colin’s buddy, John (Gonzaga alumnus), & Tim from Steubenville. A great bunch of guys with a refreshing mix of life experience under their respective belts. On Sunday, I was able to serve coffee and donuts after the Spanish Mass at my home parish, which totally opened my eyes to a different cultural experience of community and Catholicism. Afterwards I rolled up to Stanwood to meet up with Colin and ran into Val, it was good to see her and her youth group. Colin and I drove up to Bellingham and I got to stop at my Grandparents house (they live on Lake Samish) and caught up with them. Then up to the Xavier house and off to the first Mass on campus. It was cool to see everyone again, but I never felt so out of place and old. It wasn’t anybody’s fault or lack of attention, but rather the concrete realization that I don’t really belong there anymore. It was a real surreal feeling, but one that is nonetheless accurate of my state in life now as a graduate and a person in “the real world”. I hope and pray that their year of ministry is fruitful and offer the prayers I say tonight for all of the PM’s and the community of faithful up there.

Until next time, may God Bless all of you!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Close To The End

Well it has been a crazy couple of weeks, and I have not had a lot of time to write in this blog. First let me say that the Lord is awesome and I thank him for all the good people and things that are in my life! So, where to start…I guess at the end of my last blog I was in L.A. so I think the outdoor Mass at the Ice Caves is next. I planned an outdoor Mass at the Ice Caves up in the Mt. Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest just a few miles outside of Granite Falls. It was an amazing backdrop for Holy Mass and 30 people showed up to explore the area and celebrate the Mass. My good friend Colin was able to make it and he and I made an ambo for the readings out of rocks that were lying around. There was a huge rock that we used for an altar too. We also drove up the road a little way and I showed him where Monte Cristo (an old mining town that was run by Rockefeller) was.

The next weekend Colin and I went down to Fremont and got a little grub and hung out with Lenin for a little bit. We then bounced down to Vancouver and went to a huge Sausage Festival at St. Joe’s parish. It was so much fun with young people (not that I am old or anything) all around, good food (I had a sausage and some really spicy mustard, the kind in Chinese restaurants that come with the pork and the sesame seeds and ketchup-I don’t like spicy mustard it hurt the nose really bad like a million needles comeing out of it!) and the best part, Fr. Stan Fortuna was rappin’. So Colin knows the priest at St. Joe’s and so we stayed at the rectory and guess who stayed there with us (that last statement makes me sound like a high school girl :(, Fr. Stan! So we had a beer with him and talked about NY and the Bronx, his faith journey and life, his perspective and experience were amazing. That next morning we went to Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Stan and afterward he taught a workshop on prayer, terrorism and hope, blew me away!

So after we went down to Mt. Angel Abbey/Seminary in Oregon and hung out with the Benedictines (they are freakin’ hilarious!) and prayed Vespers with them and toured the area. They invited us to stay for dinner and of coarse you can’t say no to dinner with the Benedictines.

Flying back up to Portland we went to this mountain fortress overlooking the city and did something really stupid. I was joking at first as I climbed this 30 foot rock wall until I got ¾’s of the way up and then was looking down like, oh crap this was a bad idea. I made it up and so did Colin, after he fell down about 10 feet.

At the top is a huge light that would strobe around and it had the Batman symbol painted on it, very impressive since it was surrounded by a fence and barbed wire. Now onto the Rouge Brewery and a little adult beverage, mmm chocolaty.

The city is gorgeous and so we walked around it in the evening time to really get the vibes of the city. I then got the honor of driving up at 12 at night to E-town as Colin got the sleep (I stopped at the Capitol in Olympia and walked around the huge buildings in the dark with the lights illuminating the huge pillars and dome. I also got to sit down and reflect at the mini Vietnam veteran wall they have there, read some names, touch the smooth, cold black marble and run my fingers over the names to really feel who they might have been and their story (I am listening to Coldplay right now and the song is “Fix You”, an eerily perfect song for this time). 4:30 am I finally got what I had longed for, my head on my pillow.

That Sunday I had the honor of taking my mom and uncle out for dinner for Grandparents day, my mom’s first grandparent’s day. Life just seems to be flying away and has a sense of the great surreal. Thanks mom for everything, I love you very much and don’t worry about a thing, God is in control. I also was able to go over to my Dad’s house and catch up with him. We exchanged stories, and went for a walk around his orchard trying different fruit (grapes need a little more time) and sharing life, it was perfect. We had dinner and looked at each other’s pictures and it was one of the best times I have had with him in a while. We both have had been through a tough year and so it was good to have some reprieve in each other’s company. I love you a lot Dad and thank you for all that you have done for me and the strength you give me, even though you may not know you do (Coldplay again, very surreal that these songs are coming up at the perfect time, “Don’t Panic”).

There are many other events that were great, like SAYM meetings, lunch with Val, Michael G’s mothers birthday (my prayers are with you and your family), Sherms, Mike and Kristine, Matt Maher concert, solitude and prayer, Dick’s Drive In and chasing bunnies with Colin (all my fun is sober) OYYAM meeting and hangin’ over at Mike G’s with Val, Ian and others, seeing Jonny, John Dobson and Karaoke singing of YMCA at a seedy local establishment, Cool Coffee Cream’s, deep talks and catching up, Youth For Life and the Gunn invasion, talking with Mike Gunn after a month or more of no talky (he is such an awesome dude and I love him like a brother!)… and now I am in the midst of another adventure as I write this super huge entry which I will share in a little while. Thanks for sticking with me to the end and I pray that this all finds you well and full of grace, peace, joy and love which I send to all of you as well as my prayers.
God’s Love,
Song: Coldplay’s “Fix You”, & “Don’t Panic”

Friday, September 01, 2006

Great Trip to L.A.

So I just got back from L.A. on the evening of the 29th and it was a great week to hang out with my sister and everyone. I finally got to see my little niece Kaiya for the first time. She is 4 months old and is so cute; I just can’t get over how beautiful she is! She is such a blessing in my life; I can’t even describe how amazing a little baby is. I got to carry her around most of the time, she likes to be held otherwise she becomes a little crabby pants. I totally didn’t mind holding her and carrying her everywhere, it was awesome; it was like an apprenticeship in fatherhood. My sister’s boyfriend is Taiwanese and so she has some of his amazing ethnicity in her. I was also able to check out a Marionite Catholic Mass at a local parish, which was awesome. A lot of it was in Lebanese but they had a book that had the different parts in English. It was a totally different experience for me and I was very awe inspired at their liturgy and reverence for the Lord. We did so much fun stuff like: watched “The Italian Job” (the original 1960’s one) at an outdoor viewing, got a bunch of slurpee’s (forever since I have had one of those), hiked to the Hollywood sign, met a member of Guns N’ Roses, went to the beach and surfed, walked along the boardwalk at Venice Beach and cruised the Pacific Coast Highway! I also got the chance to know my sister’s boyfriend, Jeff and his mother. My sister and I had some really amazing talks and got to know each other a lot better. We have not been able to really talk a lot over the years. Also, I was able to sit next to some amazing people on both the flight down and the flight up and talk about the Faith for 2.5 hours, it was crazy, people are so hungry for Jesus! Anyways, it was a great trip and I love all of you down in L.A. and am praying for you always!
God Bless,