‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Monday, November 12, 2012


This is school vacation week and Nastia has just extracted a promise from me to stay off the computer from tonight until the weekend. We've decided to do our best to pretend we're away for vacation -- no computers, ipads, cellphones. Just us taking a few days to rediscover what it is to be happy.

Its been a very stressful few months for both of us, and Nastia mentioned the other day that neither of us had laughed in months. She's right. And so, we're going to try to remember what it's like to be stress-free and carefree for a few days. And we're not going to let lack of money stand in our way.

We started today, by spending a good chunk of the day at the beach. It was that warm -- about 42 degrees! We took the dogs and watched them chase the waves. (Wish I had thought to bring a camera.) We ate a 'picnic' lunch in the car and then played by the water, watching Henry and Matilda make news friends. It was a gorgeous, blue-sky day. Here is what the beach looks like, though its an old photo - not from today:

We came home and made my mom's beef stew in our crockpot. And now we're settling down to watch the Downton Abbey finale together (I've already seen it. Let's see if I cry as hard this time around.) We're going to head to bed early, because..

Tomorrow we head into Boston. We'll take the train in and go to all our favorite places. Our library has free passes to most of them, so we don't have to pay. We're planning on going to the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum -- my favorite spot in all of Boston. Haven't been? If you're close enough to Boston, it is a great place to go in winter to be reminded of warmer days to come:
Not sure what we'll do on Wednesday thru Friday. It is the start of Lent and I won't miss Ash Wednesday at my parish, but on Thursday and Friday we may try to visit my cousins in CT or my longtime best friend who lives in the farthest corner of Northern Maine. (The gas prices alone may move that off the list.) We've got open invitations for three different places...just need to decide where to go.

I'm grateful that Lent starts this week. Next to Christmas, it's my favorite time of the liturgical year. Forty days to reflect, heal, take stock in things and draw closer to God. I try to attend Mass daily during Lent, but work usually gets in the way. Not this time. One of the few blessings of unemployment.

For my fellow Catholics reading this: are you still struggling, like me, to remember the changes in the Mass? I catch myself saying the wrong response every.single.time. And, I'm sorry, but I doubt Ill ever feel comfortable with the changes to the Nicene Creed. I'm going to be meeting with Father Murphy soon to talk about it. I figure if he can explain the 'why' of the changes, I may be more ready to embrace them. It's hard.

Yesterday's blessing: I heard from Anya, albeit briefly, via Russian facebook. I had written her on vkontakte and asked if she had left the hospital yet. She wrote last night that she finally is out, and staying at her 'cousin's' again for a few weeks. I hope she didn't wear out her welcome at Ira's. I'm guessing she decided to stay at Sasha and Oksana's to give Ira's family a break, but I'm hoping she'll be back there soon. Sasha and Oksana's doesn't offer much privacy or mobility. Here's a shot of the kitchen there. You can see why I worry.

It's a coal stove (see the little metal door on the far right, below?) This is the sole source of heating for the entire space, though the whole place is only about 10x 14. Here is another view. See the red boards? That is the cover to a root cellar!

I hope she is back at Ira's soon.

Hope you all have a lovely week, vacation or not!


  1. Anonymous1:52 AM

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  2. I screw up the Mass responses, too. The only thing these changes have wrought for me was the result all my children have longed for for years - I no longer respond loudly!

    I was pacified somewhat to know that these changes were urged by JPII, but I no likee change. Nope.

  3. Great plans for staycation!!! If I ever visit Boston...or better said WHEN I visit Boston, I'm definitely going to visit Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Thanks for the idea! Hope you two have a great time.

  4. I am getting the responses correct, most of the time, but then again I haven't been to Mass much in the last ten years, so I'm not trying to undo 50 years of habit. :) The changes to the wording were made to "better reflect" the original Latin, i.e. to directly and inflexibly translate it literally. ("Consubstantial" and "one in being with the Father" mean exactly the same thing; the only difference is that the former is a nasty mouthful, while the latter flows. That's the change that really gets under my skin most.) This is the reason the Gloria is no longer singable - the literal translation is completely un-poetic and *impossible* to set to metered, Western music.

    The benefit to the changes, however, may be that we get back to the Latin music more; now that everyone knows the English by heart, it would be easier to sell the Latin text, since everyone can translate for themselves as they go along. Frankly, I think that's the only way we'll ever be able to sing the Gloria ever again!

    I'm realizing this sounds bitter. I'm not feeling bitter. Just exasperated. If you get some better answers about the "why" of the new translation, please share. :)

  5. Anonymous1:37 AM

    Praying your staycation is filled with love, joy and peace! Can't wait to hear about it when you are back on line!

  6. Thinking about you, Anya, Nastia and Daniel. How's the Staycation going? I just noticed your profile picture! I thought I was on a different website! New hair and glasses? (or is this not a recent picture?). Looks good ... either way!
    MariaG (Canada)


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