Friday, May 30, 2008

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

I will admit - the one thing I really really loved whilst in Hawaii that I could eat and never tire of is the macaroni salad that goes along with the plate lunches found in the restaurants over there. Thanks to Google, I found a recipe for it. When I ate it, I thought it was very simple, but very good. I was able to discern that the primary ingredients were macaroni, shredded carrots, and mayonnaise. I see I wasn't too far off the mark.

Here is the recipe (and yes, I will definitely be making this):

3 c macaroni
1/4 c grated carrots
1 c mayonnaise
1/4 c milk
salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni until tender.
Add carrots, mayonnaise, and milk until well-coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Naturally, the plate lunches in Hawaii usually involve two scoops of rice, a scoop of this wonderful macaroni salad, and a meat of choice. I tried the meat jun, chicken katsu, kalbi, and loco moco plate lunches. I enjoyed them all. But it's the macaroni salad I particularly loved, and so I definitely will be making this one.

I'm sure things like boiled chopped eggs, petite peas, finely chopped onions, etc. can be added to this basic recipe. But for now, I'll have it, plain, with rice.

Moki's Pickled Mangoes

This is the recipe for pickled mangoes that I had whilst at Leilani's house in Mililani, HI. It was the nicest thing I'd tasted. Both sweet and sour at the same time, and quite good.

16 c sliced, young green Chinese or common mangoes
6 c water
4 c raw brown sugar
2 c white vinegar
3/4 c Hawaiian sea salt
2 tbsp red food colouring

Peel mangoes and cut in half through seed. Discard kernel, but leave outer shell attached to fruit. (This gives a crunchy texture to the pickled mangoes that's wonderful, according to Kawaha.)

Cut fruit into bite-size pieces, leaving a little shell on each piece, if possible.

Bring water, sugar, vinegar, salt, and food colouring to a boil. Cook until sugar has dissolved completely. Cool.

Pack fruit firmly into sterilised jars. Pour cooled syrup over, covering fruit completely. Seal jars well and refrigerate upside down. Turn jars over daily for 3 days. Keep refrigerated.

Approximate nutritional analysis per 2-tablespoon serving: 35 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, 650 mg sodium.

... and in the end ...

H/T to JunoMagic.

As she posted notice of her most recent update to her wonderful story, The Apprentice and the Necromancer, Juno also states that "all good things must come to an END."

Check out the Ending Link. I'll have to admit to ROTFL when I saw this page.

Naturally, the title of this entry is taken from the Beatles' penultimate song on their Abbey Road album:

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make.

The Top Ten Things That Clergy Do That Drive Musicians Crazy

This comes courtesy of Douglas Cowling from the Anglican-Music listserv.

"The Top Ten Things That Clergy Do That Drive Musicians Crazy"

  1. alter the order of service midway with no warning
  2. parachute extras into the service with no warning
  3. announce a hymn just when the choir's about to sing their Anthem because "they forgot".
  4. don't arrive in time to organise themselves before worship so they have to keep asking what's happening next
  5. insist on omitting verses from every hymn in the interests of brevity (usually because the sermon's overrun)
  6. announce to the choir before the service that there won't be space for the Anthem today because of one reason or another (unannounced visitor needs to speak / need to shorten the service / the Notices will be longer than usual etc etc)
  7. announce the hymn number, stop, and then read the first line(s) of the hymn just as the organist begins play-over
  8. shout announcements over the top of organist's playing
  9. change the practised hymns at the last minute because "the Baptism family want these as they're their favourites"
  10. won't communicate and take musicians into their confidences at the planning stage

Centennial Celebration Weekend - St. Joseph's Episcopal Church

Yesterday, Thursday 29th, marked the beginning of a weekend of celebration for St. Joseph's Episcopal Church. This weekend was designated the Centennial Celebration Weekend, concluding with a visit from Bishop William Gregg on Sunday.

The celebration began with a service, which used essentially the same line-up of music that was used for the 8 May service. Here is the service music; the numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

Prelude: Sinfonia (from Cantata 156; J. S. Bach)
Pro: 289, Our Father, by whose servants our house was built of old (WOLVERCOTE)
Trisagion: S-100, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Psalm: Ps 84 (recited)
Seq: 522, Glorious things of thee are spoken (AUSTRIA)
Off: 260, Come now, and praise the humble saint (TALLIS' ORDINAL)
Sanctus: S-130, Deutsche Messe (Schubert)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-169 (Urwin)
Simple Gifts (A. Copland): Lisa Miller, mezzo-soprano; Dolores Brine, soprano
Gather Comprehensive 749, In Christ there is a table set for all (CENEDIUS)
Re: 525, The Church's one foundation (AURELIA)
Postlude: Air from the Water Music (G. F. Handel)

Silly me managed to misplace my organ shoes, so I ended up playing barefooted. Never again. That was way uncomfortable.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yay, Denver International Airport!

My trip home included a stopover at the Denver International Airport. I will admit to being very tired. The hike I took Monday morning, combined with the travel made me very tired. It was essentially an overnight flight I took from Honolulu to Denver, so when we landed at some early hour in the morning (it wasn't 7.00 am local time yet when we landed), my connecting flight to Raleigh wasn't even posted yet. Not wanting to walk around the airport lugging my backpack (including the haupia mix and Hawaiian salt because including those in my suitcase would have put me 8 lbs over the 50 lb limit for checked luggage) and Chemistry books, I decided to find a quiet place to take a nap.

Two hours later, my connecting flight was listed, so I took the moving sidewalks to my connecting gate.

Now here is why I'm blogging on my (relatively boring) travel back to the Mainland. DIA provides free wireless access! I thought that was really really nice, and wondered why doesn't other airports offer something similar. Of course, you'd have to live with their advertisers, but AFAIC, it's a small irritation, and would much rather have to deal with that in order to have free wireless access. It enabled me to reschedule a meeting with a prospective bride, once I realised my one-day delay in returning to the Mainland would impact my church job.

So kudos to DIA for providing the wireless access! I sincerely hope other airports may consider following suit.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Hawaiian Vacation, Continued

Once the wedding was over, I felt like I was able to enjoy myself. The reception took place at the Nehelani Banquet Centre at the Schofield Barracks. That was a nice reception. The food was great. Let's see ... salads, the wonderful Hawaiian-style macaroni salad (I can eat that all day), a really nice spicy and sweet calamari salad, and a wonderful seaweed and tuna sashimi. There was also fresh pineapple slices (and considering we were in Wahiawa, near the Dole plantation, you have to know that the pineapple was amazingly good, the best I've ever had) and poi. At first I thought it was some sort of blueberry yoghurt, but upon tasting it, I realised it had to be poi. There was also Okinawan Sweet Potato (purple fleshed sweet potatoes. I know it as ube), Jasmine rice, Hawaiian-style pulled pork, lemon fish, and a couple of other things I don't remember any more. Dessert consisted of haupia, which I initially mistook for almond jelly, and a lovely coconut cake. The wedding cake tasted like it had elements of Kona coffee in it. That was nice also.

It was a short reception because the Nehelani Banquet Centre had other parties to prepare for. Initially, another party was supposed to have started at 9.00 pm, but they cancelled, giving the staff ample time to prepare for a midnight party for a group of high school graduates (they'll start off with a night of bowling, followed by their midnight breakfast). That got Iris and me reminiscing about our own high school celebrations - mine took place at Disneyland, where we went for the traditional "Grad Night," and were joined by high school graduates from all over the state of California for an all-night party there.

Sunday morning saw us having a brunch at the lovely Wai'oli Tea Room. We had atrium seating and were treated to wonderful food (Guava French Toast, amazing stuff), exquisite views of the lovely gardens (mango and macademia nut trees, amongst others), and wonderful company.

Once we finished brunch, a group of us went on to the Obispo's old house in Mililani. They sold it to a friend once Iris' father received his transfer orders to an air force base in Virginia. It ended up being a reunion of sorts for the Girl Scout mothers. Quite a few of them apparently stayed in Mililani, and so this was the first time Lori had seen them for at least 15 years. We had wonderful views of the mountains and the ocean. We were able to see the mango trees that Rudy had planted when they lived there, and appreciate how much fruit it bore today. The next door neighbour brought over these wonderful pickled green mangoes and even provided the recipe for it. I'll provide that recipe in another post.

Once we bade good bye to Leilani (the current owner of the house), we headed off to Costco to look for flowers to place on Rudy's father's grave (we were going to pay a visit as we found out the area cemetaries will be choc-a-bloc full of people for Memorial Day). Amazingly enough, Costco was sold out of their flowers, but it was really neat to find some Hawaiian-specific items there. I came away with a 3-lb bag of haupia mix and a 5-lb bag of Hawaiian salt. Why the salt? Why not? I wanted to try to make that wonderful pickled green mango.

We then visited the gravesite of Rudy's father, Severo, who died February 1983. I noted that next year will be the 100th anniversary of his birth. We arranged the flowers and greeneries from Iris' and Jared’s wedding around the graves of Severo and his friend, Charles Sims, who is buried next to him. They both served in the Air Force during WWII together. We then said a prayer over the gravesite, then left in search of dinner.

Before that, we went to a shopping outlet - the girls (Elena and Lourdes) wanted to find some Coach bags, so we dropped them off at the Coach outlet, and then Lori and I sat and cooled our heels (and our parched throats) at McDonald's. After being rejoined by Rudy, who dropped off his mum and his uncle and aunt back at his mum's house in Wahiawa after our Mililani trip, we then collected the girls from the outlet shops, and then went to a Malasadamobile. Rudy and Lori wanted us to sample some Malasadas, which is a Hawaiian fried dough. My impression: it's better than Krispy Kreme! We then finally found dinner at Zippy's, which is another Hawaiian fast-food joint. I had an abfab plate lunch with chili and chicken. Their chili apparently is quite famous, and I can understand why. It was excellent. Their fried chicken, apparently done Korean style, was quite good also.

After returning to the hotel, I spent the time packing as I would be leaving Monday evening back to the Mainland.

Monday morning, we had an early start - 8.00 am, we were to hike at Diamond Head. It was a bit challenging for me, I will admit that - winding, uneven paths, lots of stairs (271 I'm told) ... but the breathtaking views at the top made it all worthwhile.After we finished our hike, our sweet reward was a visit to Leonard's Bakery for more malasadas. I had two: one filled with mango custard, and the other filled with haupia. The stuff is amazing, and it only confirmed in my mind that it was far far superior to anything Krispy Kreme could ever hope to put out.

We then visited the Pali Highway, to Pali Lookout, in the Nu'uanu Valley. It was quite windy, but picturesque. I'll have to admit to being quite winded still from the Diamond Head hike, but still appreciative of the wonderful view.

Our last stop was the Valley of the Temples on the Windward side of Oahu. It includes the Byodo-In Temple, which is a replica of one that is in Japan. It was built in the 1960s in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to settle in the Hawaiian Islands.

On the way back to Waikiki, we travelled along the Likelike Highway. At the top of a hill was located the Kamehameha Schools, which includes a Hawaiian curriculum to ensure perpetuation of the Hawaiian language and culture.

After that, it was back to the hotel to clean myself up in preparation for my return to the Mainland.

In closing, I'd like to thank Rudy and Lori Obispo, Iris' parents, for their wonderful hospitality and their care of me during my stay in Waikiki. Thanks also go to Iris and Jared Peak for their warm welcome, and also for their friendship. I also enjoyed spending time with Elena and Lourdes, sisters from Vancouver, B.C. It all made for a wonderful and unforgettable time in Oahu.

A Hawaiian Wedding

I'm blogging on this rather late, but as they say, better late than never, no?

My friends, Iris Obispo and Jared Peak celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary. They were married in front of a Justice of the Peace, and decided for their 5th anniversary to have their marriage performed in the Catholic Church. The one they decided on: Iris' childhood parish, and her paternal grandmother's current parish, Our Lady of Sorrows in Wahiawa, HI.

Naturally, this made her grandmother quite happy, and Iris' parents very appreciative that Iris and Jared chose to have their church wedding take place at that particular parish. They asked me some time back to play the piano at their wedding. I accepted, on the condition that, like a good AGO member, I would not be depriving the incumbent musician his/her income. I later found out that this particular parish's music program is completely volunteer-run.

With that, here is the Order of Worship. The numbers come out of OCP's Breaking Bread 2008:

Prelude pieces:
Holsworthy Church Bells (S. S. Wesley)
Sheep may safely graze (J. S. Bach)
Fantasia (J. Pachelbel)
Sinfonia (from Cantata 156; J. S. Bach)
Entr'acte from "Rosamunde" (F. Schubert)
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (J. S. Bach)

Entourage Processional:
Air from the Water Music (G. F. Handel)

Bridal Processional:
The Prince of Denmark's March (J. Clarke)

Opening Prayer
Old Testament Reading:
Tobit 7:6-14

Responsorial Psalm:
Ps 148:1-4; 9-14 (Guimont's Easter Alleluia; verses adapted to the associated Psalm tone)

New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a
Gospel Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia
Gospel: John 17:20-26
Statement of Intentions and Consent
Blessing and Exchange of Rings
Prayer of the Faithful
Presentation and Preparation of the Gifts
Offertory Hymn:
483, Prayer of St. Francis

Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: 882 - 885, Mass of Creation

Nuptial Blessing
The Rite of Peace
Communion Hymns:
Sa 'Yo Lamang (S. Borres, P. Gan, M.V. Francisco, no relation to me though)
617, Blest Are They

Prayer After Communion
Final Blessing
Closing Hymn:
556, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Postlude: The Heavens Declare the Glory of God (Psalm XIX; B. Marcello)

Much to my chagrin, my voice was not quite well enough, but there was no choice - I was the cantor. I chose not to sing any of the hymns, hoping that my playing of them would be leadership enough, despite the piano. (I feel more comfortable leading a congregation from the organ.) I had to "cantor" the Psalm (in which I got lost, but managed to right myself at the end) and the Gospel Acclamation. In addition, I ended up having to sing the Tagalog piece despite my raspy voice.

I did receive a nice compliment from Fr. Edgar after the Mass however; he told me he was very impressed by my Tagalog pronunciation. I told him I sang with the Filipino Choir back in North Carolina. He said it was good that a "local born" such as myself was getting myself involved in such an organisation in order to remain in contact with my cultural roots, and expressed the hope that other local borns would desire to follow suit. (Yes, I've heard this time and time again from the other Filipinos in the Triangle. My usual answer: it's the way for me to keep in touch with my "Inner Filipino.")

It ended up being a lovely Mass, and both Iris and Jared were very appreciative of the job I had done. I received many compliments from others after the Mass, and throughout the Reception, which took place at Schofield Barracks, people approached me and lauded me on a job well done. So that made me feel great ... plus, from that point forward, I knew that, despite not having much time left in my Hawaiian adventure, I would be able to enjoy and appreciate more the wonders that Oahu had to offer.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Friday Fireworks!

I was sitting at a table in my hotel room on the 21st floor, looking over a Powerpoint presentation I'm going to present to my Chemistry 111 students next Wednesday when I hear something that sounds like fireworks. So I went out to the balcony, and noticed that yes, indeed, there were fireworks. Apparently, the Hilton Hawaiian Village has the fireworks every Friday evening. So it was just my wonderful luck that I got a chance to catch some of that from where I'm at.

Here's a YouTube video of one such fireworks display, filmed sometime last year (but not by me ...)

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Alphabet Meme

H/T to Nick B., which I "borrowed" from a bulletin he posted on MySpace.

A is for age:

B is for burger of choice:
Erm ... it depends on my mood, really.

C is for what kind of car you drive:
2000 Honda Civic

D is for your dog's name:
I haven't any dog.

E is for essential item you use everyday:
glasses (same as Nick)

F is for favorite TV show at the moment:
I don't really watch much TV, but if I happen to (like here in Waikiki, for example), I'll happily watch Ace of Cakes.

G is for favorite game:
I don't really have one.

H is for Hometown:
San Diego, CA

I is for instruments you play:
organ, piano, voice (again, same as Nick, although I tried, but failed, with the guitar)

J is for favorite juice:

K is for whose butt you'd like to kick:
no one in particular

L is for last restaurant you ate at?
Jameson's By The Sea, Hale'iwa, HI

M is for your favorite Muppet:
I don't really have one.

N is for Number of Piercing:
four (two in each ear)

O is for overnight hospital stays:
I don't recall the number ... but the last one may have been when I was my ex-roommate's lab rat back when I was an undergrad at UCSD.

P is for people you were with today:
Rudy, Lori, Lourdes, and Elena

Q is for what you do with your quiet time:

R is for biggest regret:
Sometimes, I think I should not have gone for a Ph.D. in Chemistry, and that I should have been a Music Major and went to San Diego State instead.

S is for status:
hungry ... almost time to wander the streets of Waikiki for food again ...

T is for time you woke up today:

U is for what you consider unique:
Poi English Muffins. :-)

V is for vegetable you love:
There are three: gai lan, kangkong, and sitaw. I'm also known for a weakness for baby carrots as well, to which my choristers can attest.

W is for worst habit:
procrastination, procrastination, and procrastination. Oh, did I say procrastination?

X is for x-rays you've had:
The last was on my right foot, when I broke a bone there. You can imagine what it was like trying to play the organ with a cast on the foot ...

Y is for yummy food you ate today:
I took another trip to Yummy Korean Barbeque and had their wonderful meat jun, served with a scoop of rice, seaweed salad, and gai lan.

Z is for zodiac sign:

TAG, YOU'RE IT!!! Well ... anyone who reads this who cares to respond is It. Enjoy!

Sa 'yo Lamang

Whilst searching for an English translation of this song, I stumbled upon this YouTube video. It will be the first Communion song for Iris and Jared's wedding. I'm a little worried that my voice is still not yet recovered sufficiently to give this piece any justice.

For those who might be worried that Lyn the Liturgical Snob is giving in to ... something possibly liturgically inappropriate, this lovely piece was written by a group of Filipino Jesuits and is quite appropriate for Ordinations and Weddings. Basically, it's saying that my heart is yours forever, my life is yours forever, and this can apply to a married couple, or a priest, saying that his heart and life belongs to the Church forever ...

With that, the video. Enjoy!

Boys will be boys

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That's what little boys are made of!

I quote this Mother Goose nursery rhyme because of a really cute thing that happened at the rehearsal dinner last night. We were at Jameson's By The Sea in Haleiwa. One of Iris' cousins, a five-year old boy (forgot his name), was looking at some of the things Iris' daughter Maile and her friend Madelyn were playing with - a plastic sword, those paper umbrellas that go with the tropical alcoholic drinks ... and the boy happened to notice the Chapstick that Maile likes to carry around. So the boy picked up the Chapstick, and asked us what it was. Iris' mum's friend, Elena replied, "It's like a lipstick." The boy, quite horrified, dropped the Chapstick as if it were something that would give him a bad disease, and ran off to find his father (Iris' mum's brother).

Once Elena realised what she said, she (as well as the rest of us) were ROTFL.

I guess you just had to be there to see the expression on the poor boy's face. It was, indeed, hilarious.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another day, More observations

A six-hour time difference seems like such a huge thing.

Whenever I can, I've been making some time to prepare for the General Chemistry class I'll be teaching next week. I think I have enough to be getting on with on Blackboard, and I emailed the syllabus to my students. Waking up at 5.00 am to ensure I can contact people before lunch Eastern Daylight Time wreaks a little havoc on my sleep schedule as well. But then again, that's what glorious afternoon naps are for ...

So I decided to take a long walk today. I had hoped to walk all the way out to the Ala Moana Mall. I know, I could take the bus, and it looks like the #8 bus would have taken me there, but I felt like I needed the walk. Breakfast was a mini Loco Moco. That's definitely one thing I'll have to try to make for myself once I get back to the Mainland. The macaroni salad seems simple enough, but I'm sure there must be something about the dressing they use that makes the very simple macaroni salad uniquely their own. (I'm speaking of the way L&L Barbeque does theirs.)

So I walked, made a few stops at the various ABC Stores to check out what Hawaiiana they might have ... imagine this, Poi English Muffins ... and decided that perhaps it was a bit of an ambitious undertaking, turned around and started back. At least I found that the Wailana Coffee House isn't that bad of a walk. It's a 24-hour eatery on Ala Moana Blvd. I'm sure they get heaps of business, given that they are located within walking distance of some pretty big hotels, the Hilton Hawaiian Village amongst them. The evening I wanted to have supper there with the Obispos, they actually closed for "maintenance." Lori said that was the first time she ever heard that the Wailana was closed for any reason. Hmmmm.

Interestingly enough, as I was walking back to my hotel, a couple stopped me and asked me if they were any closer to some egg place along Ala Moana. I said, sorry, I'm not sure. I suppose I should be flattered. That's how well I blend in here - people think I'm native.

And as I was thinking about it, I realised that I do feel entirely in my element here. I think I could be happy living in Hawaii, just as long as I have a job that would keep me interested. It would be a half-way point between relatives in the Philippines and relatives on the Mainland.

But it's just a thought. I do know that Jared is seriously considering moving to Hawaii (Wahiawa, perhaps? Or perhaps the North Shore ...) once he finishes his Pharm.D. programme at UNC Chapel Hill.

Well, I'll be biding my time until a 4.00 pm wedding rehearsal in Wahiawa. In the meantime, I'll be enjoying my Poi English Muffins, and having a bite or two of Collon's Kona Coffee Biscuits.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Random Observation

Here's my random observation of the day. I was walking down Kuhio Ave. earlier this afternoon, and couldn't help but notice that a lot of the signs about were bilingual English/Japanese. Admittedly, I've gotten so used to seeing bilingual English/Spanish signs and such that I stopped paying attention to the fact that the signs were bilingual. It was a bit of a surprise to see the Japanese. Well, not really a surprise - Hawaii attracts a lot of tourism from Southeast Asia, and I gather a lot of the tourists come in from Japan. They even accept yen in some of the shops. (Near where my parents live in San Diego, they're so close to the U.S./Mexican border that the shops there accept Mexican pesos ...)

My Hawaiian Adventure

... I was about to title this My Big Fat Hawaiian Wedding, but it's not really my wedding. That distinction would belong to my friends Iris Obispo and Jared Peak. In actuality, they've been married for what will be five years this coming weekend. They wanted a church wedding, so that they will have this Saturday in Wahiawa, in the church near where Iris' grandmother lives. I suppose you can call this Iris' childhood parish; she started her schooling there before a move away from Wahiawa caused her to transfer away from the school.

My adventure started with a pair of aeroplane rides, which took me from the Raleigh/Durham airport to Chicago's O'Hare to Honolulu International Airport. As my RDU flight left at 6.52 am Monday morning, I ended up not sleeping at all the night before, getting some packing done, and doing some last-minute searches for music that I thought would be appropriate prelude music. (What was that my organ teacher told me: ah yes, appropriate wedding prelude music: anything Baroque in a Major Key.) The church doesn't have an organ, but they do have a piano, so I decided to search through my piano literature, as well as my manuals-only literature for ideas. Perhaps it's just as well I didn't sleep at all the night before. I generally have no problems sleeping on aeroplanes, which I very happily did on both legs of my trip.

By the time I landed in Honolulu, I felt very well-rested. I ended up waiting approximately 40 minutes for Jared, Iris, and Maile to come though - the plane landed a good 40 minutes early, so I sat in baggage claim, waiting. I wasn't concerned ... I ended up looking over a syllabus while waiting.

Jared greeted me with a hug, and Iris slipped a beautiful fresh lei over my head, and after meeting Iris' parents, we went off to drop my stuff off at my hotel (Aqua Island Colony in Waikiki - with a breathtaking view of a canal, Waikiki, and the mountains in the distance). Iris and Jared then took me to Wahiawa, where we drove along a street that apparently is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being a street densely populated with churches. Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church was one of those churches on this street. We continued onto the North Shores, specifically Hale'iwa. Iris was craving Matsumoto's shaved ice, which is the most awesome concoction. Iris and I had one in a paper cone, consisting of adzuki beans, vanilla ice cream, and topped with "rainbow" shaved ice infused with lemon, strawberry, and pineapple syrup. Jared had his minus the beans, and Maile had one with the shaved ice and rainbow flavours only. It reminded me of a Filipino dessert called halo-halo. It was great. Huge sugar rush though, since that was the first thing I had since a large breakfast in Chicago. (As I slept through most of the ride from Chicago to Honolulu, I didn't eat anything during that 9+-hour plane ride.) We then went off to L&L Hawaiian Barbecue for their famous plate lunches. I noticed the Hawaiian plate lunches were featured on the Food Network relatively recently, and decided I wanted to try the loco moco. A typical Hawaiian plate lunch consists of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and a meat of choice. The loco moco had two hamburger patties, topped with two eggs, over easy, and a generous amount of brown gravy ladled over the entire lot. My taste buds were in love. I hope to enjoy more plate lunches whilst here. For that matter, I'd love more of the Matsumoto shaved ice whilst here! I'm salivating just thinking of it.

We took our plate lunches to one of the beaches and saw a wonderful sunset over the Pacific. (IMHO, it's just as God intended. I'm still not used to the idea of the sun rising over the ocean. I guess that's what happens when you're raised in San Diego and are spoilt with the constant opportunities to enjoy beautiful sunsets at the beach.)

Day Two saw Iris' mum Lori and I heading off to the Hard Rock Cafe in Honolulu for a Welcome Orientation, thanks to It included a free continental-style breakfast, a useful guidebook to Maui, Oahu, the Big Island, and Kauai, and an equally useful coupon book for some really nice discounts off some of the larger dining establishments all over the Hawaiian Islands. We also had a nice little tour of Maui Divers Jewellry. Lori was very much taken with the Tahitian chocolate pearls. I agree, they're striking, but I will admit that jewellry does nothing to excite me.

We then collected Iris' father's uncle and aunt from Hickam AFB, where they landed after a flight from Coronado, CA (North Island NAS), and after lunch at the very nice Navy Exchange/Commissary complex at Pearl Harbour (Yummy Korean B-B-Q, specifically. They're not kidding - the place is aptly named), we drove up to Wahiawa and spent the rest of the afternoon there. After an exercise in cracking freshly roasted macadamia nuts (that is hard work!) Iris' parents and I then went on our tour of the Navy, Army, and Air Force exchanges in search of the elusive muumuu for Iris' mum. Dinner was at the Hard Rock Cafe, and thanks to a coupon from Expedia, I received a Hard Rock Cafe collectible pin.

So now this is Day Three in Waikiki. The Obispos are going to be engaged with collecting people from the airport all day, and I'll be at OLS, practising. I'm hoping to have a chance to nap; insomnia is catching up with me here as I can't seem to sleep very well at night, plus I have to continue preparations for the General Chemistry class I'm going to be teaching starting next week.

More later ...

Pondering Catholic Carnival 173

Catholic Carnival 173 is up and running at just another day of Catholic pondering. This Carnival has a Marian/Rosary theme. How very appropriate for the month of May. (By the way, Filipinos generally spend the month of May spending time gathered at others' houses as a Marian statue of choice, generally that of Our Lady of Fatima, goes from house to house. I'll blog on this on another post by reproducing an article I wrote several years ago for Immaculate Conception's now defunct newsletter.)

Somehow appropriate to the theme, my entry was my response to a bit of good-natured ribbing from a few members of the blogosphere over my placement of a rosary on my rear-view mirror. Interestingly enough ... I'm currently in Waikiki, Hawaii, and yesterday, the Obispos and I were gallivanting about from military base to military base (really, going from Navy Exchange to Post Exchange to Base Exchange ... you military brats should get the idea) in an elusive search for the perfect muumuu. I couldn't help but notice the interesting things hanging off of peoples' rear-view mirrors. Tons of rosaries. Pictures of Jesus and His Sacred Heart. Lots of leis. Beaded necklaces. Graduation tassels. Fuzzy dice. Flags of Puerto Rico, Philippines, Mexico, etc., proudly displaying the origins of the owners of the cars. It was almost dizzying.

I've discerned that these Carnivals can only be as good as the entries you bring to the party. Please feel free to submit your thoughts to future Carnivals. A handy-dandy form may be found by clicking here. In addition, a list of past and future Carnivals may be obtained by clicking here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Now this is being Pastoral.

I meant to blog on this yesterday, but never got around to it. The Presider at the Saturday Vigil Mass at Immaculate Conception was Fr. Dan. We chatted briefly after the Mass. He was on sabbatical for 6 months last year. He returned to IC last February. I'll admit that since I started my joint position at St. Joseph's and the Duke Episcopal Centre, I've made myself rather scarce at IC, most of the time appearing only when I had a Mass to cantor or to play the organ/piano.

Anyway, Fr. Dan enquired about my job situation. Frankly speaking, I was very surprised he remembered that at the time he left for his sabbatical, I was searching for a job because my fellowship from the National Institute on Drug Abuse had ended, and at the time, I had just landed the Adjunct Professor position at Campbell University.

I admitted that I'm still discerning what it is I wanted to do with my career, but in the meantime, I'm teaching and making music. Fr. Dan seemed satisfied with my answer, stating that it's nice that I'm doing something that makes me feel happy.

And in the meantime, I'm marvelling at how he remembered a quick conversation held almost 10 months ago. I recall that this is Fr. Dan's first parish as he was an academic for many years at the Washington Theological Union. I was impressed by him when he first landed at IC, and my interaction with him yesterday reminded me why. He's also a great homilist, and he certainly keeps your attention.

18 May - Trinity Sunday

I must like pain.

I'm going to step on a plane to Hawaii early Monday morning, and how do I spend my weekend? One Saturday Vigil Mass ... and two services on Sunday, one in the morning, one late afternoon.

Oh, and I'm still in the process of finding the music I'm going to take with me for Iris' and Jared's wedding on Saturday. Not to mention finishing up the packing.

Enough of my whinging. Here are my music lists for Saturday/Sunday services.

Immaculate Conception (RC) Church
Saturday Vigil Mass, 5.30 p.m. As usual, the numbers come out of GIA's Gather Comprehensive 1994 (green cover):

Gloria: 176 (Andrews)
Gospel Acclamation: Festival Alleluia (Chepponis)
Sanctus, Mem. Accl., Amen, Agnus Dei: Mass of Creation (Haugen)

Prelude: Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (Zachau and Walther)
Pro: 499, Sing Out, Earth and Skies (SING OUT, Haugen)
Psalm: 152, Song of the Three Children/Daniel 3:57-88 (Murray)
Off: 850, We Come to Your Feast (Joncas)
Comm: 831, Take and Eat (Joncas)
Re: 524, Holy God, We Praise Thy Name (GROSSER GOTT)
Postlude: Menuet from Suite Gothique (Boëllmann)

I was supposed to have cantored the 7.45 am Mass at Immaculate Conception Church; however, my singing voice is still not back yet, so needless to say, I didn't cantor. I spent the time preparing for my next two services instead.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church
Numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982. I used the same prelude and postlude that I played at Immaculate Conception.

Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Pro: 370, I bind unto myself today, vs. 1, 2, 6, 7 (ST. PATRICK'S BREASTPLATE)
Trisagion: S-100
Psalm: Ps 8, recited
Seq: 367, Round the Lord in glory seated (RUSTINGTON)
Off: 324, Let all mortal flesh keep silence (PICARDY)
Sanctus: S-130, Deutsche Messe (Schubert/Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-169, My flesh is food indeed (Urwin)
Comm: Holy, Holy (ADORATION)*
Re: 362, Holy, Holy, Holy (NICAEA)

*shrug* I have a small, but merry band of volunteers which includes a bass guitarist, a guitarist, and a flautist. They have this "St. Joseph's Hymnbook," which includes some of the schlockiest things I've ever seen (and most of which I have no clue how they go as I've never seen nor heard of them before). However, considering this group does that type of music best, I might as well take advantage of that.

Chapel of the Cross, 5.15 pm service. I used the same prelude and postlude that I played at Immaculate Conception. I also had to provide a Communion piece as well.

Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Pro: 370, I bind unto myself today, vs. 1, 2, 6, 7 (ST. PATRICK'S BREASTPLATE)
Psalm: Ps 8, recited
Seq: 371, Thou, whose almighty word (MOSCOW)
Off: 368, Holy Father, great Creator (REGENT SQUARE)
Sanctus: S-125 Community Mass (R. Proulx)
Communion Voluntary: Voluntary VII in e minor, Op. 7 (J. Stanley)
Re: 362, Holy, Holy, Holy (NICAEA)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I am the Organ-ic Chemist, and ...

... and I hang a rosary on my rear-view mirror.

It's true. I do. I realise some may find it irritating, and I do recall having been criticised for it by one of my atheist friends a long time ago. Mine is rather unobtrusive - it's one of those small bracelet-type rosaries with green beads to match my forest green car. The result - an unobstructed rear-view mirror. In fact, just below the mirror, you can clearly see the crucifix, but still, it's small enough that if you're not looking for it, you will miss it. I, however, can see it every time I look at the mirror.

A friend of mine gave me a Guardian Angel clip that currently lives on the driver side visor. I have a copy of the Driver's Prayer underneath that. A dried palm ... well, I guess it's a leaf? It's the ones you typically receive on Palm Sunday ... it lays on the dashboard, quite out of the way.

Why do I have these things in my car? Why not? My brother and parents have done the same thing. So too do their siblings. One of my uncles was a jeepney driver, and he had all sorts of religious items hanging off his rear-view mirror.

I recall that my father had something attached to a suction cup that was positioned right behind the rear-view mirror, and hung down below it, joining the swinging rosary. This something was a depiction of Jesus and His Sacred Heart, and had the Traveller's Prayer written below the picture. It may have even had a bright yellow fringe, but don't quote me on that one. It was something he bought in the Philippines ... I want to say Divisoria? Or was it near Quiapo? I don't remember. There is a place in Metro Manila which is a shopper's paradise if you're after sacred icons and other religious items. Filipinos are very well known for such items, and I recall it is not uncommon to see people travelling with statues and the like, most notably the Black Nazarene, the Sto. Nino (Infant of Prague I think is how it's more typically known outside of the Philippines), and various Marian statues.

But I digress. So. Is hanging a rosary or other religious items off of the rear-view mirror disrespectful? I don't believe so. I know there are some who don't like them hanging (Sister Spitfire was one of those who expressed dislike of this practice, and I've heard the same from others over the years), however, the only objection I've received personally was from my atheist friend back when I was a third-year college student at UCSD. I've heard of people who, when stuck in traffic, will spend their time praying the rosary, as opposed to stewing in the virtual carpark ... luckily, that stifling type of gridlock-style traffic is quite rare in these parts, and is one of the things I frankly do not miss about San Diego ...

So, dear reader, if you've an opinion one way or the other about rosaries or anything else hanging off the rear-view mirror, feel free to leave a comment.

(N.B.: The image of the rosary bracelet above comes from

Frustrated growl ...

I'm to play the 5.30 pm Saturday Vigil Mass at Immaculate Conception this afternoon. The Gloria I was asked to play was Haas' setting (Mass of Light). I will admit - I have never been a huge fan of this setting, and I only heard it executed well once. This was at St. Charles parish in San Diego (yes, my home parish) when Peter Luciano was the Director of Music. At the time, he was pursuing a Master's degree in Music at San Diego State. He's a brilliant pianist and conductor, and his organ playing was pretty good as well. He's got a decidedly jazzy style, and he was the only one I know of who can pull off that Gloria and make it sound like music.

In my hands, it sounds horrific, and nothing like the Hymn of Praise it was meant to be. Luckily, I was given an option, and I will just have to tell the choristers I encounter this afternoon that the Gloria of the Day will be the Andrews setting. It's much more manageable with its ... I believe 3 pages, as opposed to the ridiculous Mass of Light setting, that amounts to 12 pages!!!!! (At least, that's how it's laid out in Gather Comprehensive (1994).)

While we're at it - what is with this fascination with the refrain-type Glorias? I will admit - I am so not a fan of those things. I find it more disrupting than anything else. Give me a good, solid Gloria any time. There are several wonderful settings of it in the Hymnal 1982 ... Willan's Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena and Mathias' (S-202 and S-278, respectively) are two that come to mind immediately.

The one setting that I found I was able to pick up readily as a person in the pew (PIP) was the Somerville setting (New Good Shepherd Mass). It's funny - my Filipino friends in Toronto refer to the Somerville setting of the Mass as "The Toronto Mass," whilst Haugen's Mass of Creation is "The American Mass."

Sigh. I'm babbling on. I really should get to practising. This will be a busy weekend, and I still have to get packing for my trip ... plus get my wedding folder organised. It will be an adventurous week coming up.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

An Interview Meme

It took me long enough to get ‘round to answering this meme. First of all, the rules.

1. Leave me a comment saying anything random, like your favorite lyric to your current favorite song. Or your favorite kind of sandwich. Something random. Whatever you like.
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be asked, you will ask them five questions.

So here are the questions that JunoMagic asked me:
1. What is your happiest childhood memory?
2. What is the worst?
3. What’s your favourite food?
4. If you have unlimited time and money for cooking for me, what are you going to put on the table?
5. If tomorrow were your perfect day and no matter what you did, it would turn out perfect, what would you do?
Hmmmm. Answers, anyone?

1. What is your happiest childhood memory?

I had to think about this one. There may be a few ... but the best comes from when I was 7 years old, visiting relatives in the Philippines. My grandfather didn’t speak much English, and at the time, I was losing my Tagalog, but was still able to understand it. He spent time with me, teaching me a few card tricks. He noticed how quickly I was catching on. He turned to my mum (his eldest daughter) and remarked how smart I was. I had this huge smile on my face – I learnt that even though we were separated by language, an ocean, and a continent, I was still a beloved granddaughter.

2. What is the worst?
My father was in the Navy, and we moved around a lot when I was really young. When I was 7 years old, I was on the verge of joining the school orchestra – I wanted to learn how to play the violin – but alas, on the day I was supposed to have gone for the initial meeting, I turned up to tell everyone I was moving away, and so would not be able to join them. There may have been worst memories (I was a favourite of the schoolyard bullies unfortunately), but sometimes I wonder – if I had the chance to learn how to play the violin, would I still be playing now? Plus – that was the last time we moved, so my brother had the happy chance to make strong friends, and he can honestly say he’s known his circle of friends since they were 5 years old. I cannot say the same, and now, my closest friends are those I’ve met within the last 5-7 years.

3. What’s your favourite food?
I love fruit, especially peaches and watermelons. But there is one thing I would eat no matter what: lumpiang shanghai. It’s not the healthiest thing, but it is so so good. Think of it as spring rolls, with a savoury minced pork filling. But any lumpia, whether it be fried (with meat/vegetable filling) or fresh (sariwang lumpia; the Malaysians have something similar they call poh pia) it’s something I can never tire of, and would eat any time of any day.

4. If you have unlimited time and money for cooking for me, what are you going to put on the table?

Considering how much I love Filipino food, I’d love to share the best of my cuisine with you. We’d start with a small cup of arroz caldong manok. The Cantonese know this as congee, and most of Southeast Asian cuisines have something similar. Think of it as a savoury rice porridge with chicken. Ginger and lemon are the most prevalent flavours, with saltiness adjusted with fish sauce. A couple of fried lumpia (spring rolls) would also be served at that time. The next course would consist of a plate of pancit palabok. Pancit is a general name for stir-fried noodles with meat and vegetables, and palabok implies there is a savoury sauce that goes along with it. It is garnished with egg slices, fried garlic, and fresh chopped scallions. I still remember when I was 7 years old, visiting relatives in the Philippines – my uncles noticed how much I loved pancit palabok, and they ensured I had the chance to eat it as much as possible. The main course: a beautifully cooked stuffed bangus (Philippine milkfish). It would be fancily cooked: the fish would be cleaned, halved, as much of the bones removed as possible, as well as the flesh removed. The resulting cavity would be stuffed with a sautéed mixture of the reserved fish flesh, tomatoes, garlic, and onion, flavoured with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste ... and then the whole would be baked slowly in an oven. It would be finished with a quick frying in hot oil on each side, and then arranged on a plate. Usually, it would be served just like this, but a really nice savoury sauce can also be poured over the whole fish. This would be served with rice.

Dessert would be either leche flan (we got this from the Spainards, and my Spanish friend made it exactly as I would have done, minus the lemon essence that I like to add from time to time) or cake sans rival. Erm ... something sort of similar, sort of ... the idea is similar anyway ... is Schaum torte. Except that cake sans rival is a multi-layered cake, but is very delicate.

Sweetened kalamansi juice (native Philippine citrus fruit) would be served with dinner. The main course ... well, I suppose we could pair the fish with a white wine, but I’ve not recalled meals served with wines, so I’d have to think about this. Dessert would be served with coffee.

I hope this made your mouth water with anticipation. :-)

5. If tomorrow were your perfect day and no matter what you did, it would turn out perfect, what would you do?

I suppose here is where I would be quite predictable. I’d be sitting at the console of a magnificent tracker pipe organ. If I can get my hands on the Duke Chapel Flentrop organ ... TPTB would have to peel me off that organ. I can dream, can’t I? Alternatively, I’d be in the kitchen, cooking, baking, and experimenting with various recipes. At this point, my lab is my kitchen, and I love cooking for others.

My, I have been rather verbose, haven’t I?

Anyone who reads this, feel free to ask me a random question in the combox. I would be particularly keen to hear from Brian, Jason, Charles, Ebeth, amongst others. Everyone else: please feel free to play along.

Catholic Carnival 172: Pentecost and Mother's Day Reflections, Amongst Others ...

Well. At least in some parts of the U.S., it's still Tuesday, 13 May. (It's just a little past midnight EDT as I finally write this blog entry.) You are all so wonderful: I've received 26 (!) entries for this edition of the Catholic Carnival! Unlike the first time I hosted this, I'm just going to present this one in more or less the reverse order in which I received your submissions.

Naturally, there was a wide variety of different topics, but there were some definite themes: Pentecost, Mother's Day, First Communion, Confirmation, book and movie reviews ... you name it, it's in there.

If I've forgotten anyone - I offer my sincere apologies. Please chastise me properly in the combox, and I shall do my level best to rectify any mistakes.

Without further ado: the Carnival of Posts.

In part one of her “Becoming More Like Mary” series, Jean over at Catholic Fire focuses on the virtue of humility. After a brief discussions on the definitions of humility, she lists the ways one can grow in humility.

Teresa over at Teresa’s Two Cents relives the Confirmation of a family that took place at Pentecost.

Christine at A Catholic View notes Planned Parenthood’s tribute to Mother’s Day involves promoting abortion. She refutes this view here.

Jane at Building the Ark gives a beautiful reflection on the roles of mothers, adoptive or otherwise, on Mother’s Day.

Marcel at Aggie Catholics (aka Mary's Aggies) discusses an issue near and dear to my heart - applause during Mass - is it or is it not appropriate. It always irritated me to hear applause during Mass. They do it all the time at my home parish in San Diego – even if it’s a Mass where there’s just a cantor and a pianist/organist. The people will clap after the music is done. My take – if you do that, do you also clap after the priest finishes his homily? Do you clap after the lector finishes the readings? Do you clap if you’ve noticed the altar servers have done their jobs particularly efficiently during the Mass?

You can see I have lots of thoughts on this issue.

Sister Spitfire at Postscripts from the Catholic Spitfire Grill wonders why people like to put rosaries on their rear-view mirrors. Read her rants here. I will admit – I have a rosary hanging off my rear-view mirror. My non-Catholic friends who notice it tease me over it. My non-Filipino Catholic friends roll their eyes at it. My Filipino friends coo over how cute and small mine is. Actually, some of my other Filipino friends have chastised me over not having one on my rear-view mirror … until they notice, yes, there is one hanging there, it’s just small enough that if you’re not looking for it, you will miss it.

As to why we do it? I’m not really sure. But there have been other more ... interesting religious items that hang off the rear-view mirrors of the Jeepneys that I’ve seen ... do an image Google search if you care to have a look.

Steven at Book Reviews and More reviews the book The Shadow of the Bear: A fairy tale retold by Regina Doman. Think of it as the Brothers Grimm meet Snow White and Rose Red. This great read is full of Catholic themes and adventure, and would be great for the whole family. I may have to add this to my “to be read” list myself. Thanks, Steven, for that great recommendation.

Kevin at HMS Blog writes a reflection on the readings for Pentecost. The reflections include reference to two other works of the Holy Spirit: faith and forgiveness of sins.

It’s that time of the year again: First Communion Season. Well, I call it that, because most of the First Communions that I know of occur during the month of May. My parish had their main First Communion celebration happen the first weekend in May. Of course, even now, there are still a few of the kids who will be celebrating their First Communions at the subsequent Masses. As I left Mass last Sunday, I noticed some of the kids coming in for the next Mass: several boys dressed in suits ... and the girls dressed in the most ridiculous hoop skirt dresses, reminiscent of the type of dresses you’d see Cinderella wear. I felt sorry for the girls – it reminded me of my own First Communion, where I sat next to a girl who had to sit in a chair at the end of the pew because her ridiculous hoop skirt dress would not fit in the pew! And we were just a group of 7- and 8-year old kids! Sigh ...

Enough blather from me on this topic. How about we take a gander at Kate’s reflections on this topic? Instead of obsessing over the clothes our little dears should be wearing, why not, as Kate suggests, find inspiration in watching children join in their inaugural breaking of the bread. If only we approached the Eucharist at every Mass like it was our first ... or our last. My response: Indeed. Thanks, Kate.

Another First Communion reflection comes courtesy of Leticia at cause of our joy. She is a bilingual (English/Spanish) catechist who has been teaching First Communion classes for the last 10 years or so. In preparation for their First Communion, Leticia had her students write letters to Jesus, which she bound in a booklet and had brought up during the Offertory procession. She provides some excerpts from these letters. Truly an “out of the mouth of babes” moment. And these letters contained some absolutely beautiful sentiments.

Ebeth over at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars blogs on what Mother’s Day means to her. It includes memories of events connected with her career as a mother. Money quote:
Motherhood is splendid, worthwhile and sublime
With every morning dawning the greetings and grumps,
It's ok, I wouldn't trade them in
Thank you dear Father, for giving me this job!

Laura at Children & Chocolate and Other Paths to God discusses the phrase “Bumping into Jesus,” and how this phrase has rung true for her over the years. She states, “God is with all of us, all the time, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.” Click here for what is truly an inspirational read.

Sarah at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering provides her contribution to the Mother’s Day reflections by reviewing the book Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert by Heidi Hess Saxton. She states it is one of those page-turners which she highly recommends.

Speaking of Heidi – over at Silent Canticle (Heidi’s Hotline), she discusses the virtue of prudence, and the vice of greed. She goes into vignettes on the fine line between greed and fiscal responsibility.

Allen at The Whited Sepulchre blogged on the Rev’d. John Hagee’s assertion that “the anti-christ (in the form of his spiritual ancestors in Rome) is the Catholic Church.” Before you decide to hex me six ways into next Tuesday, click on the embedded YouTube video and listen to this person speak. I won’t tell you exactly how he explained this, but to get an idea how Allen reacted to this: he spewed his Gatorade all over the table. Enough said? :-)

Heidi again at Behold Your Mother: A Bouquet of Love to Mary from Her Children provides a Mother’s Day and Pentecost reflection on the Holy Spirit.

At Mommy Monsters Inc., Heidi shares photos of her daughter, Sarah, as well as stories of her children with regards to how to decide standards of personal conduct. What brought this on? Sarah’s admonishment of her mother: "Don't be weird, Mom! People will think you're weird!" Money quote:
It's OK to be weird when God takes you along a different path. Trust Him to give you the wisdom you need, exactly when you need it.

Brian at Christus Vincit blogs on an interesting discussion that took place on the RPInet forum concerning the musical and compositional evolution of composer Fr. Michael Joncas. Yes, he is the composer of the (in)famous On Eagle’s Wings. Several years ago, Fr. Joncas gave a talk at the Newman Centre at UNC Chapel Hill, and told us the story of how that piece came to be (Reader’s Digest version: he wrote it for a fellow seminarian who just lost his father, and the two of them were going to the funeral, where OEW was debuted). Brian provides a link where you may follow the slings and arrows of the discussion. What started it all? Joe Sco’s post on Fr. Joncas’ latest OCP publication: a beautifully crafted Salve Regina for double choir (SSAATTBB), a cappella.

In the meantime, Jason, the other half of the dynamic Christus Vincit duo, blogged on what the Rev’d. Dr. Peter Gomes of Harvard University recently termed "the forgotten Feast" between Easter and Pentecost: Ascension Day. (I kid you not – I heard those words come out of Rev’d. Gomes’ mouth myself.) Anyway, Jason started off by reminiscing about a book titled Great People of the Bible and How They Lived. He then goes on discussing the text of the hymn Beautiful Saviour, paired with the hymntune SCHÖNSTER HERR JESU. Along with the lyrics to this hymn is a reflection of Ascension Day and a description (and photo) of a lovely stained glass window depicting it.

Michelle at Philly Catholic Spirituality reflects on why Catholics turn to prayer of the Litanies in times of trouble. Whilst reflecting on the passing of Rufus, her family’s beloved hamster, the prayer is a reminder that God is with us.

At The English Teacher, Scott reviews the movie The Mission, starring Jeremy Irons as a missionary entering the Amazon to spread the gospel and civilise the “savages.” He provides a thorough discussion on the plot, as well as his impressions of this film.

The other day, my next door neighbour and her four-year-old daughter Hannah were downstairs, planting seedlings into a variety of different containers. Hannah has shown a very keen interest in gardening and plants since she could walk. It was a reminder that spring has sprung in these parts, and Mary’s post at Not Strictly Spiritual is a good reminder of that. Her post centres on planting with Mary in mind (i.e., a “Mary Garden”). She provides pretty pictures, excellent suggestions on which flowering plants to get for such a garden ... and decides that she will try more formally to incorporate Mary into her garden.

As part of a team of bloggers associated with the Brain Blogger, J. R. White provided her thoughts on the article “Radical Muslim doctors and what they mean for the NHS (National Health Service),” found in the British Medical Journal (Al-Alawi, I.; Schwartz, S. Brit. Med. J., 2008, 336, 7648). What she sees is a “historical connection between the political clout the Catholic Church once had and the religious influence many Muslim doctors now have.” It’s a very interesting article. I suggest reading this with an open mind. If you want the original article, the link is above, but may not be readily accessible without a subscription (your best bet is to head off to a library affiliated with a Medical School (e.g., UNC, Duke, ECU, Wake Forest, etc.) and read it there).

Literacy-chic at Words, words ponders how it is that mothers can love each of their children equally as well. She then goes into a discussion on the different ways to love children. It’s a good reflection for all mothers to ponder.

Over at The Christian Dating Chronicles, Trevor compares and contrasts the concepts of Dating and Courtship. Is there an actual difference, or is it just semantics? Have a read and then decide.

And last, but not least, Danny at Samson Blinded gives us a good reminder of The Golden Rule: “You shall love your fellow just as yourself.” It’s an interesting discussion about the difference between “those who must be displaced and those who must not be oppressed.” There are multiple references to the Old Testament during the course of this interesting exposition.

I sincerely hope you enjoy these entries as much as I've enjoyed reading them. Thanks again to all who submitted their blog posts! Until next time ...


I've discerned that these Carnivals can only be as good as the entries you bring to the party. Please feel free to submit your thoughts to future Carnivals. A handy-dandy form may be found by clicking here. In addition, a list of past and future Carnivals may be obtained by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, David Arcus!!!

I wanted to wish a very Happy Birthday to the abfab David Arcus. Here, he is pictured, second from the right, along with members of the Compline Choir/Duke Chapel Choir. David, may you have many happy returns!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

11 May - Feast of Pentecost

Well. I'm not sure what to do with myself. I only have the one service today as Duke University held their Commencement this morning, so there are no more services at the Duke Episcopal Centre until school starts up again in August. Also, UNC Chapel Hill held their Commencement this morning as well, so there will be no more Compline services until after Labour Day. What a concept - I have a free Sunday afternoon and evening ... to prepare two syllabi for the two summer classes I'm teaching ...

Enough blather. As usual ... my music list for Sunday services.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church - numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Feast of Pentecost: Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Prelude: Komm, Heiliger Geist (BuxWV 199, Dietrich Buxtehude)
Pro: 225, Hail thee, festival day! (SALVE FESTE DIES)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 104 (recited)
Seq: 228, Holy Spirit, font of light (WEBBE)*
Off: 504, Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire (VENI CREATOR SPIRITUS, Mode 8)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-154, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Comm: Gather Comprehensive 463, Veni Sancte Spiritus (Taizé)
Re: 516, Come down, O Love divine (DOWN AMPNEY)
Postlude: Fugue in C Major (BuxWV 174, "Gigue," Buxtehude)

* The text is an English translation of Veni Sancte Spiritus, the Sequence for Pentecost.

Next week will be my busy week, service-wise. I'll be playing the Saturday 5.30 pm Vigil Mass at Immaculate Conception Church, hopefully cantoring the Sunday 7.45 am Mass, also at Immaculate Conception (I hope I hope I hope I hope my singing voice comes back by then!!!), and then playing the 10.30 am service at St. Joseph's. It'll be a Trinity Sunday day. Hmmm.

Maybe I can find some organ voluntaries that will have some mathematical relation to the number 3. One of my organist friends was a Maths. professor at Duke University for many many years, and his postlude was a Bach piece ... I can't remember which any more, something in E-flat major, but he had chosen the piece because it was in 3/4 time, had three flats, and had other motifs sprinkled throughout the piece related to the number three. It was fascinating to hear him go on. When he finished, I almost expected him to declare, "Q.E.D."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Centennial of the Dedication of St. Joseph's

On May 8, 1908, St. Joseph's Episcopal Church was dedicated, and 100 years later, a group of dedicated parishioners celebrated the 100th anniversary of this event.

Here is the service music for this special service; the numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

Prelude: Prelude in B-flat Major (attributed to J. S. Bach, from Eight Little Preludes and Fugues)
Pro: 289, Our Father, by whose servants our house was built of old (WOLVERCOTE)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 84 (recited)
Seq: 522, Glorious things of thee are spoken (AUSTRIA)
Off: 260, Come now, and praise the humble saint (TALLIS' ORDINAL)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-154, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Comm: Gather Comprehensive 749, In Christ there is a table set for all (CENEDIUS)
Re: 525, The Church's one foundation (AURELIA)
Postlude: Fugue in B-flat Major (attr. Bach)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Catholic Carnival 171 at Building the Ark

Catholic Carnival 171 is up and running at Building the Ark. I didn't provide a post to this edition of the Catholic Carnival; however, I am posting this link to let everyone know I will be the host for the next Catholic Carnival. I am already receiving submissions, and I'll start putting it together Monday evening/Tuesday morning. I hope to have it posted after I teach my class next Tuesday evening. At this point, I don't really have a theme in mind, so I will figure out a theme based on the entries I receive.

I've discerned that these Carnivals can only be as good as the entries you bring to the party. Please feel free to submit your thoughts to future Carnivals. A handy-dandy form may be found by clicking here. In addition, a list of past and future Carnivals may be obtained by clicking here.

4 May - Seventh Sunday of Easter

As usual ... my music lists for Sunday services.

St. Joseph's Episcopal Church - numbers are out of The Hymnal 1982.

The Seventh Sunday of Easter: Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Prelude: Prelude on Coronation (Heinrich Fleischer)
Pro: 450, All hail the power of Jesus' Name! (CORONATION)
Gloria: S-280 (Powell)
Psalm: Ps 68 (recited because I have no psalmist, and my singing voice was quite absent)
Seq: 315, Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray (SONG 1)
Off: 460, Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (HYFRYDOL)
Sanctus: S-125, Community Mass (Proulx)
Lord's Prayer: chanted (S-119 in Hymnal 1982)
Fraction Anthem: S-154, New Plainsong (Hurd)
Comm: Alleluia! Alleluia! Opening our hearts (POST GREEN)
Re: 563, Go forward, Christian soldier, beneath his banner true (LANCASHIRE)
Postlude: Lo! He comes, with clouds descending (John Francis Wade)

No more services at Episcopal Centre at Duke University until at least late August, early September. The students have completed their academic year, and graduation is this Sunday, May 11.

Compline at Chapel of the Cross.

We've been using the Order for Compline, as set by David Hurd. This is our last Compline of the academic year, and won't be starting up until at least after Labour Day.

Our little additions:

Let my prayer come up into Thy presence (Henry Purcell; sung as introit)
Hymn: To you before the close of day (TE LUCIS ANTE TERMINUM, Mode 8)
In manus tuas (Sheppard; sung in addition to "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit ...)
S-32, Concluding Versicle and Response in Easter Season ("Let us bless the Lord, alleluia, alleluia ...")
Regina Coeli (Marian antiphon right after the Dismissal)
Ave Maria (Robert Parsons)
Organ Voluntary on INNISFREE FARM by the abfab David Arcus.

I still couldn't join the choir as I had the vocal range of a teaspoon. But I was invited to the after-party, where we celebrated another successful year, and bade farewell to Amanda, who hopes to land a post-doctoral position by September, as well as to Roy and Jimmy, who graduated from UNC and NCCU Law School, respectively. It's been a wonderful year, musically speaking.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Saturday Evening Thoughts

It's been an interesting couple of days.

Yesterday, I went on a field trip with my Forensic Science students to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI) in Raleigh. That was a really neat trip. They do tours once a month, and we were one of 5 groups of people their staff took on tours. Our tour guide was a firearms and ballistics expert named Beth. We went to her office, and she told us a little of what she does, and showed us some of her work. One of the students is planning on doing her final project on bullets and ballistics and such, which was really good for her; she was able to make a good contact, and I hope she takes advantage of that. We also saw an amazing collection of guns, and the fellow in charge of that collection claimed that all of them worked, even the handmade ones (including a potato gun made from PVC pipe), and that 99% of those guns were used in homicides. There were a few rare ones in the collection, including some that dated back to World War I. Fascinating. Not something I'd want to be near, but fascinating nontheless. We got the chance to go to the firing range as well, quite a smelly place actually, very chemical smell to it, and were shown a couple of boxes which were useful for analyzing the bullets - both a wet box and a cotton box. Pretty neat. Still not something I'd want to be near, however.

We also visited the Documents and Digital Evidence section, which included tours of the Questioned Documents, Digital Evidence, Computer Analysis, and Videotape Analysis Units. We also visited the Latent Evidence section as well, and saw the areas where fingerprints were analyzed, as well as footwear and tire tread designs were examined.

I would have wanted to see the Drug Chemistry and Toxicology section, but time ran short - the tour took 2.5 hours, and there was still more we could have seen. Beth was a gracious and informative hostess, and we were glad she took her entire morning to spend time with us. I certainly hope the students found the tour as interesting and fascinating as I did.

As for today - I got in touch with my Inner Filipino. It is so incredibly nice to hear Tagalog being spoken in my presence once again. I'm glad those around me didn't feel obligated to speak English around me - I think they figured out that I understood what they were saying when I responded, appropriately, to conversation around me. I'm just sorry I still don't have my singing voice back - I've been telling people I currently have the vocal range of a teaspoon. I don't think it even spans a full octave, but I honestly should not even be trying it. The voice is still rather fragile.

So we had a bit of a choir practice. The Filipino Choir has plans to sing at the annual Fil-Am Gala that occurs in December. In addition, I believe they always sing at a Misa de Gallo Mass. Yes, I know, tradition dictates it's a Novena and nine of them should be celebrated before Christmas, but it takes time for such a tradition to take root, and we've been doing the one Mass, generally the Saturday of the 3rd or 4th week of Advent, depending on where Christmas falls.

After the choir practice was done, we went off to the home of ... well, I don't really know them, but I've seen them around other Filipino gatherings. Their son, Gabriel, just celebrated his First Communion, and the party was your typical Filipino gathering ... well, instead of the mah-jongg and tong-its tables, you had the wide-screen TV in the living room, tuned to The Filipino Channel, which is ABS-CBN's media outlet to the worldwide Filipino Diaspora. Funny - when I went to a similar type of gathering in Toronto (not for a First Communion, but for a Baptism), I found a similar scenario: food, lots of it, kids running around every which way but loose, and The Filipino Channel blaring in the living room. I guess TFC has replaced the alcohol- and smoke-laden gambling tables. Suits me just fine, IMHO.

Naturally, the hostess gave everyone a souvenir keepsake: a votive candle, packaged in a clear plastic box, tied with a blue ribbon with a little tag: Gabriel, First Communion, May 3, 2008. I smiled - at least, some things never change amongst Filipinos. I felt like I was at home.

I love Filipinos. :-)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Muses are driving me mad ...

Believe it or not, I think my Muses are a little over-active. Either that, or perhaps I've been listening to them more carefully than I have before. I haven't had such active Muses since I was in junior-high school!

Anyway, my Muses are whispering two different stories in my ear. One is (yes, you guessed it), Harry Potter Fan Fiction. This would take place ca. 22 years after The Battle for Hogwarts (in other words, 3 years after JKR's Epilogue from Deathly Hallows). Main characters would be Rose Weasley, Albus Severus Potter, and Hermione Granger-Weasley. The kids meet what is described as a rather sad, despairing, regretful, remorseful Presence in the Shrieking Shack, and eventually become friends with who they call "Mr. Ghost." They bring Hermione into the mix, and she realises Mr. Ghost is none other than Professor Severus Snape. This eventually becomes HG/SS, sort of - Hermione falls in love with the ghost of Severus Snape, and he eventually acknowledges that he, too, returns her feelings. In the meantime, the kids' relationship with the ghost grows (Snape becomes a mentor of sorts for the kids). Things are touch and go between the ghost and Hermione (thanks, rather indirectly, to Ron, Hermione's husband), but eventually, their relationship develops and strengthens ...

I just sat down and started typing ideas ... and before I knew it, I had 7 typed, single-spaced pages. I think this one will be a novel-length fic once I sit down and get to writing.

The second story: it would be something original, with characters who have been with me since I was in junior high school. I would have to do a lot of research in order to pull this one off, however. The main character is Jim McIllenhy, who just celebrated his first year anniversary of his Ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood. He is the Associate Pastor at a medium-sized parish in San Diego. He is supremely happy as he is doing what he dreamt of doing since he was 9 years old. He would have wanted to start his studies toward the priesthood earlier in his life, but different voices kept on urging him to live his life before finally committing to the seminary and his path toward the Priesthood. He didn't wait too long - he majored in Psychology in college and just in case he changed his mind about being a priest, he would have been able to have a career as a clinical psychologist. Shortly after he graduated from UCSD, he entered the seminary, and 8 years later, was ordained. The story starts 9 years after his college graduation, and he is celebrating with his closest college friends, who he considers family.

Later that evening, after everyone's gone home, he answers a knock at the Rectory door, to find his estranged sister at the door with a small boy. He hadn't seen his sister for at least 10 years, when they were at the funeral of their parents (who tragically died in a car crash). His sister, 6 years older than him, had run away from home as a young teen-ager, and his family hadn't heard much of her throughout the years. They just know that she drifted around, acquired a drug and alcohol habit. Maureen, his sister, says tersely that she is dropping off the boy and doesn't know when she will return. She then disappears. The boy is no more than 8 or 9 years old, and Jim, examining the boy carefully, realises he is Maureen's child. He had no idea she had any children. His eyes were very much like his mother's. Otherwise, the child's features were probably his father's, very much African-American, but the colouring is a tanned version of his mother's - dark blondish hair, tightly curly but long and unruly, and lightly tanned skin. He had a general air of neglect about him. He had three items in his pocket: birth certificate, social security card, and a baseball card of his favourite player. Who happens to be one of Jim's best friends (college roommate).

The story would cover one year, focusing on the developing relationship between Jim and his nephew, Scott. You can see why I have to do research in order to pull this one off. In my story, Jim is definitely a priest, and I don't want to change that at all, so I would have to do research to see if it would be possible for him to continue his work and ministry whilst dealing with his troubled nephew. There would also have to be issues pertaining to Child Protective Services and how children who would probably be passed from one foster family to another would be handled. The relationship would develop slowly, and Scott would have some issues that Jim and Scott would have to work through together. Of course, it helps that amongst Jim's closest friends, two are early childhood educators, with one of them specializing in special education for special-needs children, and that one of Jim's college classmates also worked with CPS, and would therefore be able to give him advice as to how to deal with his sometimes difficult nephew.

Well. I really should have been working on my next lecture for the Forensics Class, as well as get started planning lectures and labs for my summer courses, but my Muses just won't leave me alone, so I figured I'd better sit down and write down all these ideas, feed the Muses a bit, and hope they'll be sated enough to leave me alone for the moment ...

The Feast of the Ascension - Solemn Evensong

I went to The Chapel of the Cross for their Solemn Evensong for the Feast of the Ascension. The main draw: The Revd. Professor Peter Gomes made a return visit to preach. He is an amazing preacher, and he preached on Ascension, being that "forgotten" feast between Easter and Pentecost. I was sitting way in the back, and it was difficult to hear him, so unfortunately, I was only able to catch every other word. But he certainly knows how to keep your attention, and he injected his sermon with a touch of humour.
The Senior Choir, as usual, did a wonderful job. (And for me, there was a strong nostalgic feeling. I'm sure if I had a voice, Van would have been happy to have me join in with the choir for this occasion. My voice is still quite raspy, and I haven't my singing voice back yet.)

With that, the Order of Worship, including all the Liturgical Parts. The Officiant was the newly-returned-from-sabbatical, the Revd. Stephen Elkins-Williams; the Preacher was the Revd. Dr. Peter Gomes. The organist was Dr. Van Quinn, with the organist for the choir being Dr. Susan Moeser.

Two movements from L'Ascension (Olivier Messiaen)
  • Majesté du Christ demandant sa gloire à son Père
  • Prière du Christ montant vers son Père
Ascendit Deus (Peter Philips)

Opening Sentences

The Invitatory and Psalter

Preces and Responses (setting by William Smith (1603-1645))
Hymn 34, Christ mighty Savior (INNISFREE FARM)
Psalm 47: Omnes gentes, plaudite (Anglican Chant setting: Robert Cooke)

The First Lesson: Acts 1:1-11

Magnificat in d minor
(Thomas Attwood Walmisley)

The Second Lesson: Ephesians 1:15-23

Nunc dimittis in d minor

The Apostles' Creed (sung on a monotone)

The Prayers (setting by Smith)
Kyrie eleison
The Lord's Prayer (sung on a monotone)
The Collect of the Day
Prayers (ending with a luscious Amen)

The General Thanksgiving
The Prayer of St. Chrysostom
The Grace

Sermon (The Revd. Dr. Peter Gomes)

God is gone up with a triumphant shout (Gerald Finzi)

The Collect for Church Musicians and Artists


Hymn 214
: Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia! (LLANFAIR)

Hymne d'Action de grâces: "Te Deum" (Jean Langlais)