Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This and That

My mom, Helen, was admitted to the hospital monday evening. Congestive heart failure. I took the boys to see her on Tuesday morning and again on Tuesday evening. She has so many friends, children, and grandchildren that someone is always in her room. I wouldn't like that but I thnk she does.

In between visits to my mom I took the boys to the beach. Very strange experience. The sea was black deep green. Every wave seemed to be carrying a mountain of sand. Kelp, jellies, crabs, mussels, rocks, and driftwood were all over the place. Every wave brought more. And very oddly there were no birds other than a few crows nesting on the cliffs. I would have thought that given the vast amounts of living creatures washing up on the sand that there would have been hundreds if not thousands of gulls feasting on Neptunes bounty.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Son and the War

We heard from my oldest son. He is doing well, considering he has been in combat for a few weeks. His unit, the 173rd Airborne Brigade is continuing to live up to its deadly tradition. He said they are moving to [censored] today (He called it "down range". That's cute.) and he doesn't know when we will hear from him again. I am very happy. Surviving on the battlefield is the first requirement of victory and he has shown that he is capable. I am very proud of him.

"Bend your bow, prosper and reign, Son of the Mother of God, subduing the people of Ishmael who war against us, granting to our devout King the Cross as an invincible weapon." - A Theotokion of Sunday Matins

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Handmaiden of God Leah says: "In this post on the History of Serbia it says:When the Serbian people, having perceived a chance for their liberation from Ottoman rule sided with Austria in the Turkish-Austrian wars at the end of the 17th century…One thing it doesn’t mention is that when the Turkish advance into Europe was stopped by the blood of these Christian people, an important aspect to this story should be remembered. As the soldiers lay dying on the battle field, at the end of the day; the Christian women would go out and take water and give comfort to every man on the field, not just their own, but the Muslims too. Because we are taught to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is our history, the teachings that are handed down to us that make us who we are, that create in us the impulse to do what we do." (You can read her whole post here.)

At this moment my oldest son is engaged in killing Muslims in Afghanistan. I have been thinking that the best way to solve the problem of Iraq is for the U.S. to leave and let the suni and shia slaughter each other. I drafted a letter to my congresswoman urging the decapitation of the Persian state before they build nuclear weapons. But then my sister Leah tells me about serbian women giving water to the wounded Muslim soldiers who just a little while earlier were trying to kill their husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers. Sometimes, it seems to me that I know nothing about the kingdom of God.


Did I mention that I've been on a diet? I have been. Lost 18 lbs between the end of Bright Week and the start of my vacation last thursday. Afraid to look at a scale now. Back on the diet now.

The itenerary got messed up the first night. Some stuff we didn'tget to. Added some other stuff at the last minute (such as a trip to Ukiah and a drive down the Russian River Wine Road.

We broke camp about 2 hours late to make it to church on Sunday. I am bumed over that. I was really looking forward to being there and seeing some old friends. Oh, well. Will have to try again.

Mendocino is in pretty bad shape. When I was there 26 years ago it was still a real town. It is all tourism-oriented now. very very sad. Its like a rustic version of Pier 39.

We discovered the Anderson Valley and the Anderson valley Brewry. Much fun.

We are home now. Much recovering to do. (In case you are wondering, the tent worked well.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Serbian New-Martyrs

Commemoration on June 28th for the The Serbian New-martyrsTroparion Tone 8

For your faith in God and His Righteousness, you suffered in the flesh.
The earth sorrows, but you have saved your souls and heaven rejoices!
And your ancestors sang aloud with the heaven greeting you at the gate
Of paradise with this song: Your names are in the Book of Eternity.
Enter into Paradise O children of immortality! We your posterity
On earth, cry out in unison: O New-martyrs, pray for us!

I find my mind has been often returning to the hideous idea that Kosovo is to be severed from Serbia. You can read the stories of some of the Martyrs (the most glorious rank of saints) of Serbia here. You can read about what is going on in Kosovo here. You can pray for Serbia anyhere.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


We bought a tent (Not just any tent, the Trailhead 6) at REI a couple of days ago. We are going to try it out this weekend. We are going north. Thursday evening we are going to leave Menlo Park and drive up the peninsula, through San Francisco, accross the Golden Gate Bridge and into the wine country town of Cloverdale. On Friday we will go to Mendocino and that fabulous beach at the bottom the cliffs (there are stairs made of driftwood, at least there were in 1981 when I was last in Mendocino). We will spend Friday night and Saturday night at Russian Gulch. On Sunday we are going to visit Saint Seraphim Parish. I think it will be a fun trip. It will be the first time either Anslem or Basil has been camping.

Sunnyvale Chrysler Dealer Service

I have had nothing but bad experiences with Chrysler dealers. They have installed wrong parts (to be fair they made it good after I pointed out the problem.) and they are always late. For example, I made an appointment to take my PT Cruiser in for an oil change. I was told it would take 2.5 to 3 hours. That was a little annoying since an oil change should only take 30 minutes. But I was already there and the oil change was already paid for (I bought the pre-paid package when I bought the car) so I left the car there and the boys and I went for a walk up and down El Camino Real in Sunnyvale. (not a walker friendly neighborhood. Totally auto-centric.) When we came back three hours later the car was not in the "We're all done woking on this car" parking area. And my "Service Advisor" was nowhere around. We stood around about 15 minutes when we saw someone drive our car INTO the sevice bay!!! I could not believe it. I just took the car and left without getting the oil changed. I will never go to Sunnyvale Chrysler again. And I must admit losing my temper at the Service Advisor and her boss. I do regret that.

Thursday I am going to go to Boardwalk Chrysler in Redwood City. I've already talked to the Service Manager, and have explained my past experience and what my expectations are. He said their goal for an oil change on a PT Cruiser is 45 minutes and that they are almost always finished within an hour of drop-off. I'll be wearing a watch.

Albanian Muslim Plot Against U.S.A.

I've mentioned on this blog before that the geniuses in the State Department want Kosovo, the spiritual heartland of Orthodox Christianity in Serbia, to be an independent country for Albanian Muslims. This, even though they already have one. Its called Albania. I suppose the fact that it was Albanian Muslims who were plotting an attack on Fort Dix won't change their minds.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Anslem and I go bird watching once in a while. We have a guide book and even though it doesn't show all the seasonal changes in plumage it is serviceable, as long as we keep looking in the same place over the course of a year. For instance, the avocet's black, white, and grey plumage is handsome. But for a short time each year the head is reddish. The guide book only shows the red head. It took a very long time before we found out that we were looking at avocets.

This morning we went to the Palo Alto Baylands , a wet land preserve. At one time all the land between Hwy 101 and the Bay, from San Francisco's Candlestick Point in the north to south of the Guadalupe River wetland. In fact, the wet lands extended far south along the banks of Coyote Creek. And the sky, according to early explorers was black with waterfowl, as the wetlands around San Francisco Bay and in the Santa Clara Valley were a major resting area for the avian set traveling along the Pacific Flyway.

So, back to my story. This morning, after dropping Cyndi (who I sometimes call Athanasia) at school (last day of the semester. She is geting straight A's.) we went to the Palo Alto Baylands. While we were there we saw several score Night Herons. WOW! what intense birds. They are all about finding little fish and frogs and skewering them on the dagger-like beaks. But this is hatching season. We saw dozens of hatchlings and anslem went around picking up egg shells. It was such a pleasant experience. We saw gosslings and ducklings, too. We also saw gulls fighting over a gosling's corpse. (Question: As Orthodox Christians, do we believe that birds are ever anything but a corpse?) Anselm said he no longer likes gulls.

Tonight after dinner we took Cyndi to the Baylands to see the Night Heron chicks. We got there just at sunset and had the pleasure of watching the adults leave their nests and roosts to hunt. We walked a little way beyond the trees where their colony was nesting to a dense stand of palms (They are not trees. They are very large grass.) where we saw Snowy Egret chicks.

We came home and ate watermellon. I read Chapter two of Prince Caspian to the boys while they took a bath and Cyndi cleaned the kitchen floor. They and Cyndi are in bed right now. I'm going to join them. Goodnight.