Saturday, April 28, 2012


I've been diagnosed with depression.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I won't list all my symptoms, but they are the typical collection of indicators. My wife has been trying to get me to see a psychatrist for over a year.  It is strange to think of the way I feel as a disease.  To me, it really seems more like sin.  Sin of ingrattitude.  Sin of selfishness.  Sin of faithlessness.  But, I suppose, it might be a disease.  After all, the Church teaches that sin is a disease more than it is an infraction of the law.  I think, if I could just see Jesus I might be alright.  Since his resurrection he is always telling people to be at peace to be not afraid.  He even offered his wounds to Thomas to get him to calm down.  He ate some fish with some of his disciples to help them see who he is.  Probably, his mother was the only one he didn't need to re-assure, as she was already full of grace.  I need to be full of grace.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Anywhere But California Dreamin'

I was wondering how is it that my wife and I make so much money (way over the national average) but barely skimp by.  Then I heard a story on the news talking about the extremes of the American economy.  At one end is Detroit where $400,000 gets you a 4 story, twelve thousand sq ft house on 2 acres.  And on the other side is where I live, Silicon Valley.  In my "middle class" neighborhood of Willow Glen $400,000 doesn't buy anything.  In fact, if you want a twelve hunded square foot "starter-house" on a 1/8 acre lot you are going to pay $600,000 to $800,000 for it.

My current situation remeinds me of a movie I saw about 12 years ago.  It was called "The Slums of Beverley Hills"  I won't go into the whole movie, but the important part, as far as I am concerened was that the main character of the movie was so concerend about projecting an image of proserity that he refused to live anywhere but in Beverly Hills.  So, he lived in one ding bat apartment after another, all just barely within the city limits of Beverly Hills, and all just barely out of his budget.  I do not want to be that man.

I love California.  I really do.  From the deserts to the beaches (where I was yesterday), to the fog shrouded redwood forsests, to the high Sierras.  I love it all.  But the prices are killing me.  And taxes.  I had to cash in my life insurace to pay my taxes.   I see no future for my children here.  I think pretty soon, if I can find a job somewhere else, I might be one of the people who leave California.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mary at Pascha

One of the things I have learned about Mary is that she is the Church, and the Church is her, and Israel is the Church and we all love God, and Mary is the remnant of Israel, and God shelters her, and she is Creation's offering to God, which means we are Creation's offering to God and we offer God to God, And she is the God-bearer and we are God-bearers, too,  and Mary rejoices in being God's servant and not putting herself forward  (unlike certain of the 12 disciples I could mention) and she is the offering of adoration to God by Creation, and she loves God, and He loves  Mary  and He loves the Church and it's all tied up together when Jesus is raised from the dead. Zion rejoices. Mary Rejoices. The Church rejoices. All people on earth Rejoice.  All angels in heaven rejoice.  Creation rejoices. And the Orthodox sing this song at Pascha.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Conversation with Physician

Physician: You have Y and Z.
Me: Okay, what's the cure?
Physician: There really isn't a cure for these things, maybe surgery for Z, but even then it might not work. I'll give you a referral to a specialist.

Maybe it's faulty memory, but I remember that when I was a kid doctors cured things.  I'd get sick, go to the doctor, get a bottle of something and a couple of days later I'd be out playing with my friends again. So, I want to know, when did doctors stop curing things?  Gosh, where are doctors like Edward Jenner, Jonas Salk, and Louis Pastuer.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Paschal Hours

In the Orthodox Church this week is called Bright Week.  We eat anything we want.  We drink anything we want.  We have as much sex as we want, or can, if that is the case.  But we also change some of our liturgical practices.  For example, we do not read the Psalms or pray O Heavenly King.  And there are liturgical changes at home, too.  Morning and Evening Prayers, as found in the prayer books, are pretty long but during Bright Week we pray different prayers (click the links to hear the music):

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Holy Unction

Anselm and I, the sick ones, went to Holy Unction tonight.  We thought we'd be at St. Nicholas' but when we got there we saw so many cars in the parking lot and all up and down the street that we knew it would be packed like a sardine can in that little building.  So, we went to St. Stephen's instead.   And, I am so glad we did go there.  A friend from San Francisco, who I haven't seen in several years was visiting St. Stephen's tonight. It was good to see her again after so many years.

 Ah, was there a miracle tonight?  Yes.  Anselm was the first to notice it.  But I won't say anymore about it but that it was beautiful and unexpected.


Anselm Samuel is sick so I am home with him.  Taking advantage of the time to get ready for Pascha: Boiling eggs, cleaning house, making sure we have have all the ingredients for paska and kulich.  Anselm and I will go to Holy Unction tonight.  But I am so tired.  That's one of the things I saw the doctor about yesterday.  All I want to do is sleeep.  TO much to do, though.  Looking forward to Pascha.  My wife is the parish warden so that means I'll be pretty busy helping her do crowd control and other stuff the warden has to do.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lazarus Saturday to Tuesday of Holy Week

Saturday:  I was able to attend  the Festal Vigil for The Feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem (AKA Palm Sunday).  I am so glad I did.  Last week I heard a certain priest (his books I tend to like) say the account of the disciples getting the ass and her foal in the Gospel of Matthew was semi-mythical.  I do not understand how Orthodox priests get away with such faith destroying things like that, but this one is famous, so I guess he gets away with it.  But, at the Vigil on Saturday night the Gospel reading was the same passage from Matthew.  And Father Basil gave a little talk.  And what do you think he talked about?  That's right he talked about that passage, and I don't know if it was intentional or not, but he answered that famous priests' argument and in 5 minutes my damaged faith was rebuilt.  I think I am going to avoid listening to the famous priest's recordings. I also was able to go to confession.  That was good.

Sunday:  We went to San Francisco where I became god father to a little boy.  It scared his mother when I did the prostration with the boy in my arms, but he didn't touch the ground and didn't fuss at all until he went into the water.  I gave him my cross to wear.  It was good.  And it was good to be in Holy Trinity Cathedral again but Father John's sermons are way over my head.  I only understand about 1/4 of what he is takling about.  He is a very deep and intellectual man.  But not like a ful-of-himself intellectual like Marx or Sartre.  He doesn't show off. He is one of the most loving men I have ever met.  Everytime he talks to me it is like my presence is the most important thing in the world to him.  He's like that with everyone.

Monday: We met with a lawyer.  Went hoping for good news.  Got ambiguous to bad news instead. Once this issue is completed and is behind us, I hope I never have need of a lawyer ever again.  Saw my doctor, who gave me more bad news.  It is piling up.

Today: Was up at 5:30, at work at 7.  Had to drive to Monterey to install a lift in a garage.  This one was made by Challenger.  Much heavier than the Rotary lifts I usually install.  The work wasn't too bad.  Thankfully they had a fork lift, and that made it much quicker than I was expecting. The rain was cold.  I saw lightning over the ocean.  Rain is expected all week.  Got back to San Jose at 5:30.  Anselm Samuel has a fever.  It looks I'm staying home with him tomorrow.  Looking forward to Holy Unction tomorrow.  Hoping for a healing or three or four.

Right now:  Basil is teling me about minataurs while spinning around in circles making himself dizzy.  Being his Dad is much fun.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Turabian Cheat Sheet By Professor John Kreiss of APUS

Turabian Cheat Sheet 2.0

There is certainly a great deal of confusion regarding the appropriate formatting of footnotes and bibliographies. Chicago, Turabian, APA, MLA - which style guide ought you to use? APUS requires what they call Chicago/Turabian style guides. The two style guides are similar but not the same. I have opted to use the Turabian style guide in all my classes at APUS and to assist you with this, I have created what I call the Turabian Cheat Sheet 2.0 - it is called 2.0 since it is actually my second attempt at such an undertaking!

The information provided here is taken from the 7th Edition of Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), and while I make no claim to being comprehensive (you can buy Turabian at any bookstore), what I have included here seem to me to be the most common sort of formatting issues you will encounter in your writing.

One of the few things I learned in my Historical Methods class in graduate school (I say "few" because that course actually taught me very little) is that when it comes to footnotes and bibliographies - be consistent.

Friday, April 06, 2012

An Interview with the Only Orthodox Priest in Pakistan

Fewer Hours, Confict on the SSC, This and That

This week I've only worked about half the hours as I normally would.  Why?  No work.  Today, everyone but the salesmen stayed home.  It doesn't bode well.  

What does bode well?  On Tuesday a customer I was doing a job for asked me for a price on a thing.  I looked at it and figured out that it was a custom built piece of equipment and that it would take some work building a duplicate.  So, I took measurements, took pictures, drew a diagram and gave it to my boss.  Yesterday, Thusday I asked him if he had a price so I could get back to the customer.  My boss was less than enthused and wanted nothing to do with the project.  I don't fault him.  He has been blamed, latley, for things going wrong that, I think, went wrong in the sales process long before they landed on his desk.  He only wants to do what he knows how to do and doesn't want to do anything unless he knows he can do it quickly and make a lot of money.  He said to me "We don't do that kind of work.  We don't sell stuff like that".  But, unknown to me, the owner of the company was standing behindme and said, "We are in the business of selling anything anyone wants to pay us for."  So, the project was put into my hands.  I've been getting prices for supplies together, thinking about the manufacture process, and talking to the one man in our comapny who I think can do the job.  I think the company will make about 70% gross profiton this job. It fun to work with a spread sheet again after several months of not using one.

The principle of the school my boys go to is an ex officio member of the School Site Council, which decideds how to spend certain moneys.  He and I are at loggerheads over whether or not he has the right to change meeting dates and times.  One of the teacher members of the Council totally does whatever the principle wants to do (he is her boss so it makes sense), the Chairman of the Council (a parent member) is good but seems more interested in what the Council spends money on than in how the Council operates.  The other, members of the Council are, I think, more like the Chairman, and don't think constitutional questions are very important.   I on the other hand, think questions of procedure and powers are paramount, for they decide everything else.   Oh, how I love a good parliamentary battle!

I am still working on that M.A. degree.  And  I am looking for other work.  Something that pays more money and is less dangerous. (I won't even tell you about the crazy dangerous stuff I did Wednesday.)

More and more I am wondering about the rest of my life.  It is clear to me that I am never going to do anything great.  I'm not going to be a farmer.  I'm not going to have any of the careers I had once hoped to have. Not in advertising, not in city planning, not in farming, not in law, and not in the priesthood (canonical barriers to that last one).  And, everthing that is within my realm of possibilities I have already done.  It is likely that I will live into my seventies.  That's thirty years of... what?  I am remided of that song by John Cougar Mellancamp.  The one with the line "... Oh, yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone."  I didn't understand that song when I was 15.  I understand it now.  I don't think I am having a midlife crisis.  I'm not even sure what that is.  I just can't figure out what else I am supposed to do.  I mean, other than stick around 12 more years for my kids.  But after that, what?  Maybe, if I had been able to go to any of the Lenten services this year I would be feeling differently.  Maybe, I'll feel differently when the boys are grown and gone.  I'll be free-ish, but will I be to old to do anything?  Even if I have the money to buy a farm my body tells me I am too old for that.  Does my Church have anything for old laymen to do?  Do we have lay missionaries?

I think I'll do some more homework now.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Relics Comming to Saratoga

Dear Friends,
Christ is in our midst!

The following relics will be visiting our St. Nicholas Church in Saratoga, THIS Thursday evening at 7 PM. After a brief Prayer Service, and veneration of the relics, we will have a presentation on the New Martyrs of Aiud (Romania) in the Parish Hall. Please, come and tell your family and friends.

Coming are the relics of :

Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Saint Nectarios of Aegina

Saint Luca of Crimea

Holy Apostle Acquilla

Saint Maximus the Greek

Saints from Sinai and Raithu

Monday, April 02, 2012

No confusion here.

Real Madrid removes Cross from atop the crown in their logo “to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation”.  Really.