Friday, July 29, 2005

Looks like the OCA is staying in the NCC

From the OCA website comes this news...

  • "In the area of ecumenical relations, concerns over the Church’s participation in agencies such as the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches were expressed. It was noted that such matters remain within the competency of the Holy Synod of Bishops. In his presentation, the Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, assistant to the chancellor for external affairs and inter-Church relations, echoed the sentiment expressed in Metropolitan Herman’s opening address, in which he recognized the tensions that exist as a result of the Church’s participation in ecumenical organizations while sharing even greater concern for the Church’s responsibility to proclaim the fullness of the Gospel. He also described the connections between the ecumenical participation of most of the Orthodox Churches, both in North America and globally, and the Orthodox Churches’ common witness and common theological voice in ecumenical organizations and events. He noted that ecumenical participation certainly requires careful consideration and discernment. As further proof of our historic commitment to this task, it was reported that the Holy Synod of Bishops had blessed the OCA’s participation as a founding member of Christian Churches Together, thereby providing yet another opportunity to proclaim the Gospel on this continent. It was noted that in the Tomos of Autocephaly, the OCA is charged to “maintain direct relations with all other churches and confessions, Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike.”
  • Read the whole thing here.

    Thursday, July 28, 2005

    Antiochians to NCC: "See ya. Wouldn't want to be ya."

    I just read at Mere Comments that the Antiochian Archdiocese has decided to leave the National Council of Churches. I wish I could hear some news about the OCA now. Has anyone heard what the OCA decided?

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005


    I heard from the University of Joensuu in Finland. They have received my application and the course materials will be here shortly. I'm very excited.

    In other news....

    Athanasia is borderline/at risk for gestational diabetes. She is going to counseling and adjusting her diet. They are thinking about giving her pills. No decisions yet.

    No change in my neck. Unless God heals me or I submit to the surgeon's knife it will not get better.

    Our bird feeder has become very active. Finches and chickadees mainly. There are at least 1/2 a dozen, usually more in the camphor at all times between dawn and dusk. I love the little sounds they make. I put up some suet hoping to attract some other types of birds but it has been there for several weeks and hasn't been touched. We had some blue jays earlier in the summer but they are gone now. They ate the food I set out for the squirrel.

    Athanasia finally saw a hummingbird at the hummingbird feeder. Last summer there were dozens of hummingbirds. This year only two. It is strange.

    Alcohol units: 0
    Tobacco units: 0
    Caffine units: 1/2 (I'm out of coffee. Had to have tea instead.)
    Itallian sodas: 1
    Pills for neck:16
    Tenant Issues: 1 very serious, and 5 minor (but expensive) plumbing related issues.

    Father of the First Columbine Victim

    The Father of Rachel Scott, the first girl killed in the Columbine school shooting testified before Congress..

    "I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy - it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies. Much of that blame lies here in this room. Much of that blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves."

    You can read his whole speech here.

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    I made dinner for my wife

    I don't know what it is. Maybe the drugs. Maybe the pain. Maybe the drugs and the pain together are making me seem "off" to people who come to rent from me. But I have been having a bear of a time leasing my 3 vacant units. It is killing me. the budget is for 5% vacancy per month. right now I am at 10%. My wife noticed. She asked me yesterday if she could help. She did. One down, two to go.

    So I made dinner for her tonight. It took a really long time, both because of what I made and because my right arm is too weak even chop a cucumber. Anyway, tonight I made the following (in order served).

    Course 1. A wedge of Maytag cheese on a plate with grapes, pineaple chunks (I tried to slice this with my chefs knife but gave up. My arm is too weak from my neck problem. Instead, I let the weight and velocity of a meatcleaver do the job.), pluot cubes, bosc pear slices, and ripe strawberries. (All organic) and little cruncy toasts. Salty and sweet, creamy and cruncy, hard and soft. It was good.

    Course 2. A garden salad consisting of green leaf lettuce, cucumber, jicama, carrots, red cabbage, heirloom tomato. Blue cheese dresing.

    Course 3. Egg Tagliatelle covered in hearty red wine and lamb sauce. This takes about 5 hours to cook.
    - in a medium size pan (barely big enough for all four shanks to squeese in while touching the bottom of the pan) put a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, slice and add one yellow onion to the oil and saute until the onion is transparent and just starting to caramelize.
    - Next you add the lamb shanks to the pan. Some people like to trim the excess fat of the lamb shanks. I don't. I just salt and pepper them, toss them in the pan (over a medium flame), and brown them.
    - Once the lamb shanks are browned and, perhaps, even have some good crunchies on them, you add 1/2 bottle of HEARTY red wine. Like a big red Bordeaux. You do not want a skinny waif of a wine for this. You do not want a wine that is thin and unidimensional, like Celine Dion - it is not up to the task. A one emotion player. It is too light, too simple. You want the Valkyrie of wines. You want the Caroline Wisnant, or if you can find it, the Deborah Voight of red wines. No! Even better. The wine you want has the power and dark passion of Janis Eckhart's Carmen. There can be no other choice. The wine must have body, character, presence, gravitas. Why? Because the wine is what makes or breaks this dish. If your wine is to wimpy (and here I am thinking something like Riunite Lambrusco, which is fine over ice on a hot day, but not in this dish.) the dish will barely be fit to serve at the Olive Garden.

    Oh, do I have a story about the Olive Garden. First of all, it was a mistake to eat at a restaurant that is owned by the Darden company, or any "casual dining" restaurant, but the people I was with wanted to go there because their kids would eat it. The willingness of a child to eat food is no excuse to suffer bad food. If it was up to children Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and root beer is all they would ever eat. It is up to adults to teach, educate, and develop the the tastes of children. They will not eat pan-fired squid in plum sauce if their parents do not serve it to them. And you have to start early. I think 5 might be too late. You have to give them kiwi and avacodo and smoked salmon at 6 months. (What? you use baby food in a jar?) Hummus, pita and citrus fruit and sharp chedar cheese at at 1 year. Brie and adriatic fig spread, sushi, caviar, fried pork rinds with hot sauce, dates, all the stinky colorful cheeses, carnitas tacos from road-side stands where no one speaks English, crab, Chinese, authentic Italian, Thai food, mussels and clams at 2 years. And you have to cook with them. You have to let them risk burning their little fingers so they can stir the curry. I'm telling you, start them off young or else they will only want McDonalds when they are eight years old. And no Television. None! I used to be an ad-man. I know the power of advertising. It will twist their minds into thinking they need Cap'n Crunch for breakfast instead of French toast made from challa and covered with real maple syrup.

    Anyway, 5 years ago, the third and last time I ate at the Olive Garden, I ordered shrimp in a white wine sauce. Ordinarily, this is very delicate fare - the wine cooked with a handfull of chopped scallions just to the point where all the alcohol is burned off, the shimp thrown in at the last possible moment so they do not over cook, a tiny bit of butter to hold the wine and the shrimp together. When it is done right it is almost heavenly. But that is not what I experienced at the Olive Garden. (And what is up with that name? Are they trying to say Jesus would feel comfortable praying there? Let me tell you, the Olive Garden is no Gethsemane.) No. What they brought to the table is almost too horrible to describe. It was a sea of rubbery shrimp-like things wallowing in melted butter. I ate it because I was hungry. When the waitress came back at the end of the meal and asked "is everything okay?" I tried to explain what was wrong, and that I would like to show the chef how to make this dish. She thought I was asking for my money back and said I could not have a refund. I wasn't even asking for a refund. I merely wanted to help them do better. What blindness. They serve what they call "food" and think only of money. There is no love in that kitchen. I have not been to Olive Garden since then. Oh, but let's get back to talking about the wine to go in the lamb sauce.

    Now I am not talking port wine. A Graham's Six Grape Porto, as wonderful as it is, is just wrong for this dish. Port wine is too sweet and has too much alcohol. No, what you want to use is something like BV Napa Valley Merlot or a Parducci Petite Sirah. (Notice: These are two very different wines. But they both work becuse they are each full of flavor and complexity.) Once you have poured 1/2 the bottle into the pan bring it to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the meat has fallen off the bones and the wine is almost completely reduced.
    -remove the bones, what is left in the pan is your sauce.
    - cook the tagliatelle according to the directions on the box.
    - put the tagliatelle in individual bowls, ladle on some of the sauce.

    We drank San Pellegrino on ice. The little boy said he wanted still water instead.

    So, that was dinner. My wife was happy, so I was happy. And there are leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

    Caffine Units: 6
    Tobacco Units: 0
    Alcohol units: 1
    Pills for neck 12
    Tenant issues: 1 and it is serious. Probably going to evict someone for threatening another tenant. The problem is that he is a member of a legally protected class. My crazy 'Nam veteran in apartment #3 is easier to deal with than this guy. All he says is "You'll hear from my attorney" and then closes his door. He barely has the money to pay rent. I feel sorry for his family. Talking to the lawyer tomorrow.

    Pictures of the First Haircut

    The pictures are here.

    His mother says that now when he is naughty he doesn't look like a sweet mischiveous angel, rather he looks like a naught little boy. I thought that was hillarious. But now I understand why she had difficulty being stern with him. I have never thought he looked like a sweet mischieveous angel when he was being disobedient. So, even though I didn't want to get his haircut, if the end result is that he is treated with more gravity, I am happy.

    Oh, in case you are wondering he says that when he grows up he wants to be a daddy, a welder, a priest, and a back-hoe operator. Given the meager salaries we pay our priests, it is probably a good thing he wants to be a welder and a back-hoe operator.

    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    Pain Through Funerary Plans - A Difficult Day

    Last night was full of pain. I took some pills a few minutes before 6 and went back to bed. That might not have been a good idea because my wife could not wake me for church. She said we had a conversation but I do not remember it. Anyway, when I woke up it was ten o'clock and I was the only person home. I jumped into the shower, threw on some clothes and sped down the street to St. Stephen's in Campbell. I got there just in time to for the preist to come out and say "In the fear of God and in love draw nigh". But, having missed the Gospel reading I did not "draw nigh". But at least I got to see the Holy Mystery, and I heard the choir singing as people went to the chalice, and lots of people brought me blessed bread. I got to see my friends Doug and Anna. The chanter who read the Prayers of Thanksgiving at the end of the liturgy had very good diction. I appreciate that.

    After church I went to Barnes and Noble. I saw a book that was very wonderful. It was a timeline of world history - a folio, really, not a book. It can be separated from its cover, unfolded, and mounted to a wall. It was originally produced sometime in the 1850's but had been updated to 2005. It began in Eden. It was illustrated with all kinds of neat things: On the bottom edge of the folio one can trace the geneology of Jesus for 4,000 years. (A couple of days ago I think I said something about Shem and Abraham being alive at the same time. According to the timeline, their lives overlapped quite a bit.) In the area around 1,000 - 500 BC were illustrations and ancient commentary on the 7 wonders of the world.

    A fascinating thing was the line for the British nation. Its line becomes wider and wider, but it shows the USA breaking off and starting a new line, the same for Cananda, New Zeland, Australia, South Africa, and many other countries in Africa and the Carribean Sea. It again becomes a very narrow line. But there is something else, too. It shows the relative strength of the King vs. the Prime Minister. Beginning with George III the Prime Minister seems to be growing and the King deminishing. And then, after Victoria, the decline of the Monarchy is dramatic. It is an amazing chart.

    A sad thing - at one point, the line for Zimbabwe, one of the nations that split off from Britain has this note. "Here begins the rule of Robert Mugabe. He took one of the richest nations in Africa and by misrule has turned it into one of the poorest."

    I love my country, but I do feel sorry for the world - Britain no longer has her Empire, her Britanic Majesty is so weak that a bunch of politicians boss her around (perhaps she will rouse herself and give justice to her people), the House of Lords really is not that anymore. As Britain is the mother of my country (Isn't it interesting that almost as soon as we won the war for ndependence we created an office called the President of the United States and gave it all the powers we thought George III had abused?) , I mourn her enfeeblement. The world is a better place for her having been so strong.

    After that I went home and there was my wife and the little boy. She had met her sister 1/2 way between San Jose and San Francisco to pass off HP6.

    We went and got the little boy's hair cut. It was his first haircut. We was okay until he sat in the chair and the cape was snapped around his neck. His visage grew afraid and he said with a quivering voice: "It's okay for us to just go home now." But once the clippers were turned on he had a good time. He does not look at all like a little baby any more. I'll post pictures as soon as my wife uploads them.

    After that we went to my parents house. All of my siblings were there. We had to talk about things like "Do Not Resuscitate Orders", coffins, burial sites, life insurance, wills, and who gets invited to memorial services. (In case any of my mother's sisters are reading this, ALL of my mothers sisters will be invited to be there. We love ALL of you. My mother loves ALL of you.) The law requires three designees for making medical decisions in case the patient can't. Since I am the 4th child I figured I was home free. Then my Dad said, "Well, I have 4 kids. I don't think I can choose which three should be on the form."

    I said, "Oh, that's okay. I'm the youngest. I figured it would be Ken, Rebecca, and Mark."

    Then Ken said, "No. This is not an age thing. It's whoever they decide."

    Shoot! I thought I was home free.

    Then we went out for Mexican food. (The Immigration Reform Act of 1965 is the best thing that ever happened for eating in america. In one week I have had champagne risotto, tempura, curried cabbage and dal, crazy-good Chinese, y un chimichanga fantastico.)

    Alcohol units: 1 (sangria with my chimichanga)
    Tobacco units: 0
    Caffine units: 1
    Itallian sodas: 2 (See below)
    Pills for the neck: 16
    Tenant issues: 1

    How to make an itallian soda:

    4 tbsp. Torani syrup
    3/4 c. milk
    Carbonated water
    Crushed ice

    Mix the syrup and milk in a tall glass. Add carbonated water and ice until the glass is full. (Don't try mixing the ingredients in any other order or the milk will curdle.)

    Saturday, July 23, 2005

    Story telling and the ecclesiology of a three year old.

    I've mentioned here that I am telling my little boy THE STORY. So far we have covered from Creation through the call of Abram. (FYI: I might be off in left field here but does it looks to me that Shem didn't die until after Abram was born. I might be wrong on the math, but check it out.) The little boy doesn't call this the "sad story" any more. Now he calls it "the long story." And it does take a long time to tell it with any detail.

    So, in order to speed up the bedtime routine I've been telling little stories from the life of Jesus. The first was the man lowered through the hole in the ceiling. But he has also heard about Jesus telling his disciples to "lower the net on the other side", feeding the 5,000, healing the centurian's servant, turing water into wine, healing the 10 leapers and only 5 saying "thanks", the Annuncation and Nativity. I think that is all. Like the "Long Story" I don't give all the details at first. But by the third or fourth time I tell the story I'm including most or all of the details.

    Yesterday, after telling him the story about the man with palsy who was saved by his friends when they lowered him through the roof to be healed by Jesus. (Luke 5:17-28), the little boy said "Tell me about Jesus nailed on the cross." (Most nights he kisses the Icons in his Icon Corner. One of them is Jesus nailed to the cross.) So I told him.

    I started on Friday, just after the betrayal. We went through the beatings, the beard pulling, the trials(I kind of merged the trials all together into one event and didn't say anything about priests. I didn't want him to get confused and think that the priests he sees at Holy Trinity are teh people who tried Jesus.), the crown of thorns, the carrying of the cross...

    "What is golgatha?"

    "It means the place of the skull. It is where Jesus was killed."...

    I told him about the crucifixion...

    "Real nails? In his hands?"


    About the darkness and the earthquake...


    "the sun was so sad it did not make light. The earth was crying so hard that the ground shook under peoples' feet."


    I told him about the thieves. He got very excited when I told him that Paradise where the thief went with Jesus is like the Garden in the 'Long Story'. I told him about the presence of the Theotokos, and St. John, and the other women at the foot of the Cross. I told him about the angels standing by to rescue him at his command but how he stayed on the cross for us.

    I told him about Saints Joseph and Nicodemas asking for Jesus' body, about breaking the legs of the theives, about stabbing Jesus with a spear ("What's a spear?" "Its a long stick with a knife on one end" "oh.") to see if he was really dead. I told him about the blood and water coming out of his side. (He was fascinated by this and wanted to know more. I told him that it is like at church when wine and water are both put in the chalice. He accepted that answer and I was able to finish the story.) I told him about putting Jesus in a new tomb.

    By this time I was nearly sobbing, and his eyes were as wide as saucers as he said, in a voice of utter amazement, the most beatiful thing, "Jesus trampled death by death".

    And I went on to tell about the myrrh-bearing women, and the angel at the tomb, and St. Peter running to the to see if it was really true, and about the empty tomb. And then I said, "And that is the end. Jesus has come back to life."

    And then the little boy said. "Tell me the rest, Daddy."

    And I thought for a second. And said, "you're right. There is more. A few days after he came back to life Jesus breathed on his disciples, St. Peter, and St. John, and gave them power to make more bishops by laying hands on people, and the power to forgive sins, and the power to tell others about Jesus. He created the Church."

    "Our Church?"

    "Yes, our Church."

    "Our Church by putting hands on people?"

    "Yes, St. Peter, and St. John, and the others went all over the world making people part of the Church."

    "Our Church?"

    "Yes, our Church. It's the same Church that Jesus made. It is really his church."

    "By hands?"

    "Yes. Bishops make new bishops by putting their hands on them. They make priests and deacons, too. "

    "Did Jesus made Bishop Tikhon?"

    "Bishop Tikhon wsa made by another bishop."

    "But its our church?"


    "Is it Jesus Church?"

    "Yes, and you andI are part of it. We are part of Jesus' Church."

    "The church with the hands?"

    "Yep, all the way from Jesus to Ss. John, Thaddeus, Matthew, Peter, and the others, all the way to Bishop Tikhon, father Victor, and you.

    "That's good."

    Alcohol units: 0
    Tobacco units: 0 (I think there is a trend here)
    Caffine units: 1
    Pills for the neck: 12
    Tenant issues: 4
    Contractor issues: 1

    Friday, July 22, 2005

    Finished the book

    We finished the book tonight. Except for 4 chapters I read aloud, my wife read the whole thing to me. Because of the collar I am forced to wear reading comfortably is difficult for me. She is an amazing woman.

    I have some comments.............
    1) Gee, do you think there could there have been a stronger indication that there will be a resurrection of in the next book?
    2) WOW! What an amazing act of mercy on the part of the killer and the killed.
    3) I'm glad Fleur is finally accepted by her future mother-in-law. I was as moved by that scene as any thing else.
    4) Lavender brown was a much under-developed character, unless we were supposed to see as much of her as Ron saw.

    Pictures from the Yosemite trip

    As promised, here are the pictures from the Yosemte trip. I view this trip as a scouting expedition. We are going to have to go back for a much longer stay and do lots of hikes, some river rafting, and horse riding.

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Of medical tests and Harry Potter

    My tests went okay. They had to shave the hair off my chest and stomach to attach the electrodes. It tickled. The cardiologist said there is nothing wrong with my heart that losing 100 pounds and getting regular exercise won't cure.

    The MRI was a easy. I dozed off wile it was going on. I won't get the results on that until I hear from my regular doctor.

    Athanasia will here about the diabetes test tommorrow. It is suspected that it is just gestational diabetes.

    With about 200 pages to go in HP6 I have 2 guesses about who dies:
    1) Snape. Because the defense against the dark arts teacher goes at the end of every year, and because he will die instead of keeping his unbreakable oath.
    2) Dumbledore. Because in the alchemical tradition this is the white phase and there will be no ned for his character after this book.
    If you know who dies, please, do not tell me.

    Tobacco units: 0
    Caffine units: 0
    Alcohol units:1 (1 oz. creme de cacao, neat)
    Pills for my neck: 12
    Tenant issues: 1
    Plumbing issues: 1
    Painter issues: 2

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Catching up

    We have arrived home after our journey across the Central Valley and into the Sierra Nevada, indeed into the beautiful valley of Yosemite.

    We left Sunday after Church, and drove to the little valley town of Madera where my wife's grandfather's widow lives. (She is not my wife's grandmother but they are very close.) We went by way of the Bay Bridge and out by the tract house development of Tracy but took the turn toward the place of my birth, Modesto. In Modesto we turned south and traveled along the amazingly dangerous Route 99. (If you are an American, probably 1/3 of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables you eat has been transported along this road for at least a little while as it traveled from farm to market.) Route 99 is four lanes wide, sometmes six, and is loaded with speeding trucks hauling food to markets and fertilizer to farms. No one drives slower than 70 mph on this road. Eventually, we came to Madera. We spent the night there. The heat was amazing. It was 103 degrees (F). The little boy enjoyed playing with the dog.

    On Monday morning we left Madera and drove up into the mountains. It was a beautiful drive and I kept expecting the air to grow cooler as we attained higher elevations. But even at 6,000 feet above sea level the temperature was in the 90's.

    The drive down into the Yosemite Valley was amazing. I can not even begin to describe it. Waterfalls, soaring cliffs (I had trouble looking up at these because of my neck.), a flat wooded valley floor through which passed a swiftly running Merced River. We stayed in a cabin at Curry Village. We went swimming soon after we unloaded the car. After swimming we tried to take a nap but it was too hot. Then in the late afternoon or early evening we went for a little hike to see Yosemite Falls. (If you are wondering what Yosemite means, I think I heard a ranger say it is a Modoc word that translates into English as "some of them are killers". It was a reference to some Paiutes who were living among the Ahwahneeches people in the Yosemite valley.)

    We got back from the falls after the main dining room was closed, and we didn't feel like pizza. So, we went to the general store and bought cheese, salami, and crackers. We ate them as we sat in the amphitheater and listened to a lecture about bears. We saw many bats. The little boy grew afraid of the dark and we went back to the cabin to read HP6, which we had been reading aloud in the car all the way to Yosemite.

    The next morning we packed up, mailed off some postcards, and left, but by a different route. We traveled for miles along the Merced River. On the way home we stopped at a starbucks in the the cute little town of Chowchilla and tasted samples of their new green tea frappuccino. I thought it was hideous but the little boy liked it. But he likes anything with whipped cream. I stuck with the iced mocha with no whipped cream.

    In Chowchilla we got onto Route 152 and headed out of the San Juaquin Valley and into the Diablo Range. The San Luis Reservoir seemed a little low. I was a little surprized since we had such huge rains late in the spring. Of course, it wasn't as low as it was during the drought of the early 1990's. But I guess you if the canals in the Valley are full (and they are) we can't expect the San Luis Reservoir to be totally full.

    Of course, it would be sacreligious to drive over the Pacheco Pass without stopping at Casa de Fruta and loading up on fruit. So we bought lunch at the Casa de Coffee, my wife bought some chocolates at Casa de Sweets, and we even took the little boy on a ride aboard the Casa de Choo Choo.

    One not very good thing happened on the way home. My wife checked messages at home and there was one from her doctor asking her to call him. She did. It seems that she might have diabetes. She spent five hours today in a lab getting tested. We do not know the results yet.

    When we got home we unpacked and got right back into reading HP6. We only have about 200 more pages to go and still have not figured out who dies. I understand that the last page had the NY Times book reviewer in tears, and she had never even read books 1 through 5.

    Today I have been dealing with bad plumbing and bounced checks from tenants. One bright spot was when my friend Don Vladimir called on the phone. The little boy answererd the phone and announced that it was St. Vladimir on the phone for me.

    Tomorrow I have cardiac stress test at 9:30 a.m. and an MRI at 1 p.m.

    I'll post photos from the trip as soon as my wife uploads them.

    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    I just had to blog this

    Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to blog for a while because it hurts. (and it does) But two really neat things happened.

    1) I called my doctor this morning and begged for narcotics. He said "Sorry, I can't do that. I need you to feel the pain because it keeps you from grinding on the nerve. That's all that is going to keep you from permanantly losing the use of your arm." But he did recommend that I buy a cervical collar. (I'm wearing it now.) and it works pretty well. Now, I can sleep on my back without freaking out from pain. I love my cervical collar! I get a traction machine on Wednesday!

    2) The other neat thing is that we stopped by Barnes and Noble and got HP6. It came with a poster, a green HP6 rubber bracelet stamped with today's date and an owl, and plastic glasses (no lenses) just like Harry Potter's. How is that for cool!!!

    Caffine units: 6
    Tobacco units:0
    Alcohol units:1 (1 oz creme de cacao mixed with 8 oz. San Pellagrino, over ice. Ahhhh.)
    Pills for the neck problem:16

    Oh, Father Victor said because my wife is great with child and I'm kinda gimpy right now we are not allowed to cook the after liturgy meal tomorrow. So, it is bagles and coffee.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    The talley

    A few years ago I read a book called Bridget Jones' Diary. It was very funny, and I think there was a movie made out of it. At the end of every diary entry was a tally for the day. I think I am going to start the same thing (Even though it is not even noon.) I'll even start with the three things Bridget always listed: Tobacco, alcohol, and caffine.

    Well, now I have an announcement. It is painful for me to type. So, I am going to take a few days off from keeping this journal. I am also going to Yosimite (In its own way that is verry funny. I don't own any clothes that are appropriate for going to a place like that. I'm such a cap-toed oxford and silver cuff links kind of man.) on Sunday afternoon and won't be back until Wednesday. I don't know how I will do riding in the car that long. But it is a trip we have had planned a long time and I don't want to ruin it for my wife and son.

    I'll probably make another entry next Thusday or Friday.

    Cafine units: 4
    Tobacco units: 0
    Alcohol units:0
    Pills for the neck problem: 8
    Tenant issues: 3
    Apartments shown: 0
    Apartments rented:0
    Contractors dealt with: 2

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Spiritual Growth

    Back when my friend Jeff brought that group of men to my church, one of the question asked was "with the same service being done every week, week after week, how do you grow?"

    My answer was that I'm still working on the first Beattitude, that once I get that one down I'll move on to the next. And I said something about being transformed by the Holy Mystery. But I wish I had said something about the Orthodox not having to rely so much on Sunday because of the life-style we live.

    I should have said that every day we read the prescibed passages from the Bible, and that we say the Morning Prayers and the Evening Prayers. And if we grow beyond that, we can add the daily readings from Prologue, and pray the 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 9th Hours. And if that isn't enough we can pray Vespers, Compline, Matins and the other services at home. And if we have grown beyond that we can add reading the lives of the saints to our daily practices. And if we have gained everything possible from the Wednesday and Friday fasts we can fast on Monday, too. And if that isn't enough, we can forswear meat completely. And if we think we've grown to that place where we can breathe prayer, we can become hesychasts and pray without ceasing.

    But me? I have not progressed to the place where I can benefit from more. At least I don't think I have. I am confident that if I started praying the Hours every day I would very quickly become bloated with ugly pride and tell everyone I know that I am praying the Hours. I'm still struggling with the basics, such as loving my neighbors and forgiving my enemies. Shoot! I'd be happy if I could just remember to check what day it is before I put cream in my coffee. That's hard enough for me.

    As for my health issues, I just talked to my doctor. He says I am suffering from severe degenerative disc disease. It is painful but not life threatening. No course of treatment has been decided. Need more tests. Oh, regarding my heart: They don't know yet. I have tests comming up. I've always been good at tests, so I'm sure everything will be okay.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Report from the doctors

    They are still doing tests, but it looks like I have 2 things:
    1) a damaged C-6 vertabrae
    2) a case of cervical arthritis which

    both of those are causing cervical neuritis.

    All of a sudden I feel old.

    In happy news, my wife and I just decided on the menu for the after liturgy meal on sunday

    Texas caviar
    bbq ribs
    corn bread
    peach cobbler

    pain cont.

    i "slept" on ice last night. still in much pain. lots of ibuprofin, acetamenifen, and aspirin consumed. arm is numb and weak. see doctor in 45 mins.

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    amazing pain

    i am typing this with my left hand only. for the last 2 hrs my neck and right shoulder have been packed in ice. nothing i do gives relief.

    Friday, July 08, 2005


    All week I have been stuck here at the complex. I can't leave if contractors are in my tenants' apartments. So, from 7:30 am to 5:30 or even 6 pm I have been stuck here. And at night I had family stuff to tend to. But tonight I just had to get out. So when my wife got home I went to the local Barnes and Noble. I read a book about the art of American arms from the French and Indian War through the modern period (Note: Knowing that a slightly overwheight man wearing knee-britches and a powdered wig is the same man who killed 11 of his country's enemies with a steel-edged brass tomahawk in-laid with gold causes one to re-evaluate the the entire symbology of 18th century European fashion.), several very good essays in the leftist Foreign Policy magazine (one doesn't have to agree with an argument to appreciate it), and every page of a book called "Esquire's Rules". This last item was hillarious. It made me wonder what rules I would include in my own rule book for men...

    #1 Always open doors for women.
    #2 Saying "tall", "grande", or "vente" when ordering coffee makes you 1/16 less of a man
    #3 Don't date women who wear clothing with the Playboy logo on it. You don't need the trouble.
    #4 Own a gun and know how to use it.
    #5 Make sure it is clean, and put it away until needed. (It is rarely needed.)
    #7 When someone begins a story with "It was like this..." they are lying.
    #8 Wearing capri pants in any situation that does not involve riding a Vespa scooter along the mediteranean coast with a woman you just met riding behind you makes you 1/3 less of a man.
    #9 Wearing capri pants in the above described situation makes you 1/8 less of a man.
    #10 If the tailor asks "above or below?" the correct answer is "above"
    #11 If the drink is a martini and the bartender asks "up or over?" walk out.
    #12 There is no shame in drinking sparkling water at a cocktail party.
    #13 Read Lamentations at least once a year.
    #14 At least 3 times in your life you will need to know how to tie a bowline, or a sheepshank.
    #15 When dealing with angry people stay calm and do not show fear.
    #17 A dull knife is an accident waiting to happen.
    #18 You should not own a dog that needs to wear a sweater.
    #19 "You da man" went out when the dot-com bubble burst.
    #20 Pie is okay for breakfast.
    #21 Do not complain about the food at Denny's. You should have known better.
    #22 Neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln went to college. Unless you've done greater things than they, don't tell people what degrees you have.
    #23 When deciding whom to hire, remember that it is more difficult to graduate from Fresno State in 5 years than from Stanford in 4.
    #24 The lottery is the only voluntary tax in California.
    #25 Don't carry deadly weapons or you might use them.
    #26 Do not befriend men in suits who wear pinkie rings.
    #27 When you are in a meeting in Vegas with clients of your firm and an old Italian man wearing a pinkie ring refers to your boss as "Little Joey" it is time to consider looking for a new job.
    #28 When police say "anything you say can be used against you in a court of law" they are telling the truth.
    #29 When ever you are in court, for any reason whatsoever, the only person you should trust is your own lawyer.
    #30 Do not wear wingtips with chinos, jeans, or cords.
    #31 In a decent cocktail at least 1/2 of the mass must be a liquor of higher than 80 proof.
    #32 Nobody is impressed when your coffee order requires more than 5 words.
    #33 Ordering a caramel machiato deminishes your manhood by no less than 10%
    #34 Tuck in your shirt and buton your cuffs.
    #35 Do not ridicule anyone's religion unless it happens to be Scientology or Astrology.
    #36 Be helpful to foreigners.
    #37 If you are a Christian you must turn the other cheek when someone strikes you, but it is wrong to invoke the cheek-turning rule when you see the innocent (other than yourself) being attacked.
    #38 In the United States the law requires that all Vodka is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Do not waste money on "premium" Vodka.
    #39 Only windsor knots.
    #40 Keep jumper cables, flares, and oil in the trunk of your car.
    #41 You do not need tires that are rated for over 120 MPH.
    #42 Do not have things for the sake of having them, because then they have you.
    #43 Call police officers "sir" even if they are only 1/2 your age.
    #44 Do not say "scrumptious"
    #45 Know when and where to apply a tourniquet. And, equally importantly, where not and when not.
    #46 It is not girly to send thank you cards.
    #47 It is girly to send thank you cards with butterflies or flowers printed on them.
    #48 Riding a motorcycle makes you 15% more interesting.
    #49 Do not inflate adjectives. If someting is merely pleasant, do not say it is amazingly fabulous.
    #50 Going to see a movie is the worst possible first date.


    I heard it again. A man from Scotland Yard was answering reporters questions about the bombings in London yesterday. He went out of his way not to besmirch the fine reputation of Islam as a peace-loving religion. Imbecile.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    This is interesting

    I came across this. It is about charismatic protestants trying to blend ancient liturgical practices into their services. I wonder if they will end up Orthodox.

    Glory to God

    Joanna came through surgery. The cancer was isolated! The surgeons think they got it all. No chemo or radiation will be required.


    On May 22 "monica davies" sent me an email message:

    Hello There,
    My name is Monica and I've been looking for an
    apartment to rent when I will come to the states
    by June, I was your Ad on craigslist and I am highly
    interested as the location of your apartment suits
    will suit my stay in he staes, I am professional
    in the programming field, I work with Oracle
    cooperation in Nigeria here and I will be coming ionto the
    states to do some things with Oracle US for some months
    because it is a database project and might even
    last for up to a year so I am looking up to a long term
    rent say 6 months - 12 months. I will like response as
    soon as you get this mail because I need to give my
    clients a feedback of the progress of securing an
    apartmernt with you, so please make it fast.
    About payment, I will like to pay with Money Orders
    which is very secure for my sake but I will
    require a little help from you as for the secutiry fee
    and other amount to show my capability to pay the rent all
    theough, you may receive an overpayment which you
    may have to put my balance in an account for me till i
    come or you send it here if I require. I will be
    very glad if this apartment is still availabe for rent
    because apart from some business location, I like
    it personally.
    So I will need your fulllname and address to mail
    the money orders I will be paying with to you if you
    wantto lease this apt. out to me.
    Hoping to hear from you soon.
    Hope to hear from you soon.

    On May 22 I wrote...
    Hi, Monica.
    I need to know a few things:
    1. The names and ages of the propsective tenants.
    2. The date they will want to move in.
    Also, in order for me to hold the apartment for you I need you to send me exactly $1,500 in U.S. currency.
    The instrument should be made payable to Prodesse Property and should be delivered to Matt Karnes, 515 Boyton St, San Jose, CA 95117, U.S.A.
    As soon as we receive your money we will hold an apartment open for you.
    Later that same day "monica" wrote to me again:

    Hello Karnes,
    Thanks for your mail, I will be sending mail tomorrow
    I am the only person and i am 35 year old I will be
    arriving by the middle of next month.
    I will be sending the money orders with more than the
    required amount toprove my credit rating for the
    renatl and would like you to keep my money for me til
    im back or you send it to me here.

    On May 26 "Monica" wrote to me again:
    Hello Matt,
    I ve been waiting for your mail , did you get the payment yet?

    and I replied:
    No. I have not received your payment.
    And then "Monica" wrote:
    Hello Matt,
    Im sorry you will receive the payment before the end
    of this week or early next week, its a check of $3500
    you may deposit it in the bank then when you get the
    funds out you notify me so I may know how to contact
    my furniture company to get me some furniture for the

    June 17
    Monica wrote:
    Hello Matt,
    You are yet to notify me if touve gotten the payment or not.

    I responded: I have not received payment.

    Today: The UPS man came by the office and gave me a letter
    containing 5 counterfet U.S. postal money orders from Miami Florida.
    They were signed by "John Seco" The return address has the name
    of one "williams troy"
    . The value of the money orders if they
    were real would be four thousand dollars.
    The "money orders" were made
    payable to me personally. (Oh! How they try to suck you in.)

    I checked my email and there was this message from Monica:

    Hello Matt,
    I am so happy to tell you that you shall receive the
    payment this morning and please dont delay me any
    longer as soon as you get the payment send the western
    union of my balance to this information:
    Name : Daniel Dopsy
    Address: 12 Osho street Opebi,
    Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria 23401
    Thanks a lot for your sincere patience and hoping to
    meet you soon.

    I have printed out copies of the above emails
    and am mailing them along with the counterfeit
    money orders to the United States Postal Inspector.


    The results of my mother's eye surgery are amazing. Every day since the surgery her vision has been improving. She can see colors again. She can read again. We are all so happy for her.

    Joanna's war against cancer is being waged. She will have surgery two hours from now. Lord, have mercy.

    Monday, July 04, 2005


    We went to a park, sat on the grass, and watched fireworks. The little boy got so excited that he clapped his hands and said "Oh! Thank you! Thank you fireworks for booming!"

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    The Man Chosen by God

    When my family came to Holy Trinity Cathedral it was just a few weeks after Rob's wife Claudia had died from cancer. We went to the blessing of her tombstone on 1 year anniversary of her burial and prayed for her. The little boy and I visted her grave a few months ago and prayed for her again. We never knew her but we knew Rob and had been in the house where they lived - we knew that Claudia must have been an excellent wife. We hope to see her in heaven or the resurection. (I'm not clear on my eschatology.) But life goes on and just about 3 or 4 weeks ago Rob married a beautiful woman named Joanna.

    Well, as any reader of this blog knows, Fr. Victor has been healed of lung cancer. But I still worry. Every time he coughs my heart skips a beat, and I look at him closely to see if he is steady on his feet. (He always is.) But today he coughed a couple of times while serving the liturgy. And then at the end of the liturgy he started talking about what it was like to have cancer and how he loves all of us, and how he relied on us. I was so afraid that he was going to say the cancer was back. Then he said something just as horrible. Joanna has cancer. The prognosis is grim.

    After telling us and giving words of encouragement to Rob and Joanna he turned and faced the altar saying, "Again and again on bended knees let us pray to the Lord...." and we all knelt and with tears implored the Lord of Life to heal her.

    All I can think is that Rob must be an amazing man to be twice chosen to carry this cross.

    Saturday, July 02, 2005

    One Day, Two Fun Events!

    Wow! What a day! This moring and after noon we had a pool party. The little boys godmother, my brother, his wife, their daughter, her husband, their son, my wife, our son, my friend Jeff, his wife, their son, and my wife's friend. I know you are all wondering, What did we eat? Sushi, spring rolls, roasted shallot dip with chips, spicy chicken kabobs, fruit kabobs, iced tea, lemonade, raspberry Italian sodas, crudite with dill dip and ranch dressing, fresh cherries and pineapple, and for dessert my wife made "oysters" out of madelines and ice cream. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I have a bad ear from the flu I had a few weeks ago so I wasn't able to get in the water.

    Tonight, my friend Jeff brought a group of men from his church to visit my church. It was really neat. After the Vigil they got a tour of the church from one of the readers and then we walked about two blocks up the hill to a sushi place where I answered their questions for about an hour. I think they enjoyed it. There was one question that was so neat. It was neat because of the sencerity and guilessness of it. One man asked, "What about the 10 Commandments? What does your church think of them?" I loved it! He was starting at the basics and going from there. Later on there were questions about spiritual growth, about the the change in the bread and wine, about Mary, and about relics. But the Ten Commandment question was excellent.

    Well, it is late and I am tired. Can't wait for church tomorrow!

    Friday, July 01, 2005


    I've been offered a partnership in the company I work for. It is nice to know I'm well thought of, and I'd love to be one of the owners, but because of the nature of the business (real estate in silicon Valley) buying into the company is very expensive. Much more money than I have.