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Monday, January 31, 2005


What are you watching? 

Who of you out there uses Netflix? I think their new "Friends" section is pretty cool, where you can see what movies your friends are watching, which ones they loved, thought were ok, or just plain hated. Let me know if you use Netflix and we'll get added to each others' friends lists.

-R

(1) comments

Sunday, January 30, 2005


Formation 

The remainder of the weekend with Mom was a lot of fun. We had silly adventures in the city and ate like royalty. Now, she is on her way back to Florida where she will likely complain about how hot it is. I don't know why some people like to be so cold?

I was noticing the other day as I was exploring around with my Breviary something very interesting to me. When I first came to seminary, I developed, over time, a prayer that I now always say before any worship service. As the weeks and months went on, I tweaked it and played with it until it finally got to a form with which I was happy. Now, like I said, I pray it before each worship service I attend. It goes like this:

"Prepare my heart for worship, O Lord, and cleanse me of my sin, that I might be made clean and whole, ready to stand humbly before you through the saving power of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen."

When I opened my Breviary, I discovered a prayer in there that is for the same purpose, before worship services. I was amazed at how similar the two were to one another, across the gulf of time. What that tells me is that I am being formed very well in this worshipping and intentionally prayerful community. Now, they're not exactly the same, but the constituent parts are similar in function if not form. Formation is very important, and little clues like this along the way to let you know you're on the right track are comforting. The Breviary prayer is:

"Open thou, O Lord, my mouth to bless thy holy name; cleanse also my heart from all vain, evil, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding; enkindle my affections; that I may say this Office worthily, and with attention and devotion, and so be meet to be heard in the presence of thy divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

-R

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Saturday, January 29, 2005


Weekend Adventures with Mom 

On Thursday night my Mother came into town, and we've been having a great time so far. The Community Eucharist on Thursday night at Seabury was interesting, being celebrated in Korean and English, with three brief homilies in Korean, English, and Spanish. (Someone insisted the congregation clap after the sermons were completed - a practice I abhor.) On Friday, after I returned from Hebrew class, we went out to the Old Orchard Mall to look around and have dinner before returning to Evanston to see "Finding Neverland", which wasn't playing at Old Orchard. It was a decent enough movie and Johnny Depp never fails to impress me, but it wasn't so good that you'd need to drop everything right now and go see it. Today we are headed downtown so she can get her fill of the big city (as she loves both big cities and winter) where we'll have a respite at the Drake for Afternoon Tea. Later on tonight we're meeting Sam for dinner at the Grand Lux, a favorite restaurant of ours before retiring so that we can get up early tomorrow to head the the Church of the Ascension. Yes, I'm taking her there, but I'll give her a primer first. Should be a good time. Ok, we're off now.

-R

(2) comments

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Signatures of a Good Day 

My Hebrew quiz was cancelled due to lack of photocopies.
I met a cute girl at the gym.
Duke lost.
I finally had time to begin exploring my Breviary.
It's the day before my Mother comes for a visit.

-R



(5) comments

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Child Abuse or Discipline? 

We were talking in Ethics class today, in part, about child abuse. One of the questions that I had, which I did not get to ask, was where is the line drawn between disciplining your child and abusing your child. Our guest lecturer suggested a "spectrum of abuse" which he said ranged from the most severe form, murder, to the least sever form, spanking your child. I don't know that I can get on board with the idea that spanking a child to discipline them is abuse. What is your opinion?

-R

(17) comments

Monday, January 24, 2005


Out of the Recesses of Time... 

...it came. Now, I've just gotta figure out how to use it. That, of course comes after reading my Ethics homework on domestic abuse and economic vulnerability, reading the rest of the Letter of Paul to the Romans, reading what Michael Gorman has to say about Romans, working on my Research Probe on Philemon for New Testament, writing an introduction to my Ethics paper on Persistent Vegetative State and allowing death, and studying Hebrew.

Damn, I'm procrastinating. To work! To work!

-R

(4) comments

Friday, January 21, 2005


What Really Goes On In that Pineapple Under the Sea? 

The good preacher highlighted this ludicrous accusation in his sermon at Seabury today; apparently, SpongeBob Squarepants is gay. At least, that's what James Dobson of Focus on the Family seems to think. Focus' own answer to what is being reported that Dobson said can be found here.

Now, come on. The character in question IS A SPONGE! (Though, to be perfectly fair and honest porifera are bi-gendered and can play either the male or the female role in reproduction.) That aside, he's still a cartoon sponge! This isn't the first time extremely conservative religious personalities have gone after cartoon characters. Years ago Bert and Ernie were accused of being gay and not too far in the past Jerry Falwell outed the purple Teletubbie. Now seriously guys, don't you have something better to do that complain about kids' cartoon shows? So, the SpongeBob Squarepants movie gets laughs out of kids by making butt jokes. Kids love jokes that feature "potty-talk"; it's just how they are. In fact, kids of all ages can get a chuckle out of a bathroom joke every once in a while. (Q. Why did Tigger look in the toilet? A. To find Pooh. Don't tell me you weren't even tempted to smile.) So, in the new music video for kids, it shows SpongeBob and various other kids characters singing along to the remixed version of the 1979 Sister Sledge hit "We Are Family". The company producing the video (We Are Family Foundation) was founded after 9/11 to promote understanding and multi-culturalism! But, that isn't what's got Dobson's panties in a twist. He read their website's toleration pledge, which asks people to have respect for people who's sexual identity is different from their own. Dobson claims that the reference to sexual identity is not only unnecessary, but that it crossed a moral line. Oh for crying out loud! Jesus loves everybody brother! He ate dinner with the people you would probably have abhorred had you been around in first century Palestine! I don't care if you don't like what gay people do in their private time, but as I read the Gospel, it calls you to love them anyway. That goes a step beyond the toleration pledge which asks you to merely tolerate and respect them. So, by your reasoning, if the toleration pledge crossed a moral line, then the Gospel must have just taking a running leap!

(I am of a moderate persuasion and you'll have heard me argue on here before for a more conservative position on the issue of ordination of homosexual persons, but never have I said that we should not love them or respect them! I will never say such a thing! God's church is a place for everyone! Period.)

So, James Dobson and friends, get a life.

-R

(7) comments

Thursday, January 20, 2005


It's a Girl! 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Debra's Turtle Musings, my second-born blogeny.

-R

(0) comments

Neat Trick 

I learned a neat trick yesterday, which I'm sure many of you know already. You go to Google and instead of running a normal search, you type in:

link: [your website URL here]

The results that will come up are all the websites out there on Google that link to your web page. Kinda cool! So, in flipping through some of the ones that linked to my page with which I was unfamilar, I came across a pretty neat site for all you book-lovers. It's called All Consuming and is a compiler site that checks recently updated weblogs for links to books. So, for example, when I write about a book I just read, as I'm wont to do, this site picks up on that and publishes my comments about the book on their page. That makes it a good site to check out if you're wondering what some other readers out there are thinking about a particular book. Kinda dorky, I know, but oh well, I am writing about it on a blog after all and that sort of already answers that question.

-R

(1) comments

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


About to Be Irritated 

No, not about WFU’s shameful loss at Florida State tonight, though I am upset about that. I’m more upset though by the filibustering coming out of Condy Rice’s office, Ariel Sharon’s office, and Mahmoud Abbas’ office about this supposed “moment of opportunity” for peace now that Yasser Arafat is dead and gone. He so obviously was the only real problem and stumbling block to peace that everything should just fall into place now and all would be happy. Ehhh! Wrong! The past few days’ events have shown us that truth, as if anyone with half a mind wouldn’t be able to tell anyway. Arafat couldn’t control Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al’Aqsa, or any of the other radical factions/terrorist groups any more than Abbas or Sharon can now. Despite our overwhelming human need for a single scapegoat (and I mean no disrespect to my Jewish brothers and sisters for the use of that term), one man was not, could not be the whole of the problem. To borrow from my New Testament professor, it’s more complicated than that! How many more innocent people have to die before you can learn that?

Abbas – You know exactly who and what you can and cannot control. Be honest about it and don’t give in to the illusion that you as one man can solve this conflict anymore than you should give in to the illusion that your predecessor as one man was its source and fuel. Only through truth telling can we advance the cause of peace. And stop blaming the victims.

Sharon – Stop blaming the victims too, both Israelis and Palestinians. Quit bullshitting about this non-existent, oversimplified idea of a “moment of opportunity”. For goodness sake, get over yourself and work genuinely together with your neighbors for once in your life. Stop pointing fingers (and guns) and get down to the roots of the problems; consequently, one of them isn't that "they" are on "your" land, but rather that you both are occupying the same parcel of God's land and neither of you quite know how to negotiate that. For crying out loud, read Ezekiel 47!!

Rice – shutup. You lied to the nation tonight on public radio about WMD in Iraq and what you did or did not supposedly know before committing to a war that would claim, at last count, 1,364 American lives and thousands of Iraqi lives. I am usually very careful about claiming to know more about a given international situation than our elected officials, but in this case I’m close to making an exception. You need to go home and study hard, accept good advice, and learn all you can about Israel/Palestine before you go popping off at the mouth about a “moment of opportunity”. There are layers of meaning, history, hatred, and religion involved in this whole mess that no one, not even an American politician, can know in full. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong or when you don’t know something; contrary to popular opinion, doing so actually makes you the stronger person.

To my sisters and brothers who are enduring this on both sides of the Green Line – my prayers are with you. Have faith in the one God, not in politicians, not in guns or rockets, not in fences or checkpoints. And pray for peace.

-R

(3) comments

Monday, January 17, 2005


Ethics, Virtues, and One Man in the Name of Love 

I was doing some reading for my Ethics class today when I came across St. Augustine writing on the four cardinal virtues: temperence, fortitude, justice, and prudence. St. Augustine writes that "temperence is love keeping itself entire and incorrupt for God; fortitude is love bearing everything readily for the sake of God; justice is love serving God only, and therefore ruling well all else, as subject to man; prudence is love making a right distinction between what helps it towards God and what might hinder it." Another author, Karen Lebacqz posits that all of these, but especially justice, have to do with right relationship with and to God, self, and others. I really liked these ideas, but all the while reading them, I could not help but think how my younger brother Brennan would disagree with regard to the virtue of fortitude.

The scene is many years ago; Brennan is something like ten or eleven years old. Our family, minus Brennan, is sitting around in the living room watching TV or a movie or something when Brennan comes bounding out of his room. He posts in front of the TV and announces, hands righteously on his hips, "I have testicular fortitude!" I said, "Brennan, do you even know what fortitude means?" He replied indignantly, "Having to do with the balls." My favorite part of that was how he phrased it in the way a definition would actually be phrased. We all got a good laugh out of it and I chuckled as I remembered it this afternoon, which utterly distracted me from my studies.

Then, in the final reading for Ethics tomorrow, Sidney Cornelia Callahan holds forth on the ideal of patience and its use in bearing wrongs done to you. In principle, I agree with Callahan, but I think there are times when action is required, and not just the kind of action which flows from inaction. As I was reading her paper, I had just returned from the celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Seabury. Now, if he had borne with patience the wrongs done to him and his fellow Americans, we might be looking at a very different America right now. (I agree with out preacher tonight - Rev. Hickman Alexandre - that although we have a ways to go to fulfill Dr. King's dream, we are some significant steps closer than we were.) Had Rosa Parks borne with patience the injustice done to her, a movement may not have gotten started that rocked America right where she needed to be struck. Had Dr. King not been so convicted about the cause of justice in America, self-reported land of the free, then millions might not have been inspired by his passionate addresses to seek justice in their own towns in their own ways. But then again, he might not have gotten shot either. If he had borne with patience all the wrongs done him Dr. King might be alive today, but we wouldn't even know his name.

U2 says it well: "Early morning, April 4, shot rings out in the Memphis sky; free at last, they took your life, they could not take your pride."

May we be so convicted by a pride for life, for truth, for justice, for love that we may boldly answer the question, what more in the name of love, by calling out 'whatever is required', as scary as that is.

Thank you for your example Dr. King; thank you for showing us what the four cardinal virtues looked like and how they pointed to Christ. May you and all the faithful departed rest this day in peace and rise in glory at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

-R

(1) comments

Ah, the Idyllic Sound... 

The day was almost done and I am enjoying my 24-21 OT victory over the 'Huskers for the National Championship (in playstation college football, that is), getting ready to go to the preseason, Frank's favorite part. Then, above the cheering fans and incessant band I hear a loud crack. Then three more. Damn near my apartment. I've spent enough time on a gun range to know what they were. And they were too close for comfort. I crawl to my bedroom where my phone is, quickly call the police and report the 4 gunshots. The dispatcher said they already had that call and that officers were en route. Good to know they get on that sort of thing post haste! I'm gonna go to bed now and try to sleep through the night without being interrupted again by the idyllic sound of gunfire.

-R

(2) comments

Sunday, January 16, 2005


Great Game, Mediocre Book 

The Wake/UNC game this afternoon was awesome, finishing up with a final score of 95-82! Wake started off with low energy, but quickly picked up speed, gaining the lead, which we then never lost. More impressively, we shot 100% from the line today; that's 32 for 32. Given that Rick Majerus and Dick Vitale, in their infinite wisdom, announced that free throws were our weakness (only shooting 65% before today) it became obvious that Skip had the boys working on that in practice this week. Speaking of Skip, I want to say a word about what an awesome guy he is. Late last night, as students were huddled outside in the cold, camping out for tickets, he and the team show up with pizza for everyone! He then pumped up the crowd with a great speech, promising a victory over UNC for them, the reason they play ball - for the student fans. Now, that's probably not the whole truth, but I'm willing to accept it because this entire gesture really speaks to the man's character as a college BB coach. Tuesday we head to Tallahassee to play the 'Noles and then we'll have another tough game after that, versus Cincinnati. We're looking good as the season is shaping up...

Before the game, and before everyone showed up to cheer with me, I finally finished my book, Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. The story line was pretty good, but the writing was mediocre at best. I think I particularly enjoyed the story as it was about the medieval English church (12th century) and featured a lot of historical characters of both the state and church - King Henry II and St. Thomas Becket, to name two. Primarily about the construction of a cathedral, the action revolves around the characters whose lives and livelihoods are affected by the building project. With the exception of one character (Jack Jackson), I thought the characters were too plainly drawn; they were mostly two-dimensional, black or white type characters and that always makes for a disappointing and predictable read. Follett doesn't seem to understand interior monologues very well either. His sub-plots were much like the characters. One problem would arise and it would be resolved. Then another would come up and they would work their way through it, but never did things actually seem to happen at once, as if life simply waits until you've dealt with your current problem before handing you a new one. Then, towards the end, he manufactures new sub-plots for no other apparent reason that to keep the book going a few hundred pages, so that he can end it in the decade he wants. Now, as he is the author, you could say the whole thing is manufactured, but in novels, characters take on a life of their own. After that happens, they'll still go where you write them, but it will be as if they're directed their against both their will and better judgment. This happend a lot towards the end of the book. Hopefully, my next book will be a little better. The characters in it are not contrived; they were real people in real places at a real time who come to life in Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, a non-fiction about a series of murders in Chicago ar the 1893 World's Fair. I had trouble deciding which book to read next before I finally settled on this one, so maybe after I finish it, I'll let you decide which I should tackle next.

Now, I'm to bed as I'm excited about returning to the Church of the Ascension tomorrow morning for worship.

-R

(3) comments

Friday, January 14, 2005


#3 vs. #4 

Tomorrow afternoon, Wake Forest will take on rivals UNC, in what promises to be a heartstopping game! Last year, we all held our breath as the game extended into Triple Overtime before Wake finally pulled it out. Those Tar Heels will have their hands full, but both teams are playing top notch games right now. Wake's #3 Chris Paul didn't have his best game earlier this week against Maryland, but he was still playing a great game. The team was lead by Justin Gray and Eric Williams, both sufficient enough to shut down the Terps. But now, as for tomorrow, who knows - I, of course, will be in my black and gold. I'm hosting the game tomorrow too, so everyone should be arriving at my place around 12:15 for the 12:30 tip off (except for Kate and Julia that is - the former will be having oral surgery to remove her wisdom teeth and the latter will be cheering on her native Steelers). After the UNC game, Wake has four games to go before facing their bitter rival, the Duke Blue Devils. Unfortunately, my New Testament II grade may be riding on that game...but either way, I'm psyched for some great basketball coming up!

-R

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Some Promotion 

In that he needs a little help with advertising, I am sending you to see Kurt's All Things Not Considered. Go there, tonight. Comment. It's pretty rich stuff.

-R

(2) comments

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Interfaith Dating 

A friend of mine and I got into a very interesting discussion over the weekend about interfaith dating and I've found myself thinking about it some more. For the faithful, the very idea seems fraught with missteps, pitfalls, challenges, and generally far more work than would normally be worth it. But, based on the discussion I had, I want to unpack some of that and see what you have to think. I'll begin with personal anecdote. (Oh boy, I can sense a long posting coming on...) When I was in high school there was a young lady with whom I was friends that I, at one point, really wanted to date. However, because she came from a different faith than me (Judaism) I could not bring myself to ask her out. Let me assure you, this was no trivial decision; I remember many nights when I lay awake fretting over what I should do. My line of thinking at that time went something like this. I did not see the point in dating someone (and to this day really still don't) if I could not at least in my wildest dreams envisage my marriage to them one day. Now this led me to think about what it would be like to be in a serious relationship with someone who not only did not share my faith, but professed a different one altogether. I thought about how I would be very concerned about this person's ultimate salvation, because, at that time, I did not have a theology that would allow me to believe salvation was a possibility for those who did not confess the name of Christ. I knew that it was a generally bad idea to enter a relationship under the premise, somewhat deceitfully I might add, that you would change them, could change them, and/or should change them. So, for me at that time, the buck stopped there. I would not be able to bring myself to enter a relationship where I could not see the possibility of that person's ultimate salvation at least somewhere on the horizon.

My friend inquired how I felt about the issue now. My feelings have changed somewhat, primarily due to an evolving theology of religions. Because I have an understanding of how it would be possible for someone professing another faith (at least as far as the Abrahamic faiths are concerned) to be saved, the issue of their ultimate salvation would not be a primary stumbling block to me. (I realize there is a lot in that statement alone that could be dealt with, but I ask that you resist temptation and stick with me on the main subject here.) This does not settle the matter however. Just as my theology of religions has evolved and continues to do so, so too does my understanding of human relationship. If I were to date someone who professed another faith, I would not be able to fully worship with them, nor they with me and that is a big deal for me. This is not to mention that I am not just a pew sitter, but one who is training to become a priest in the Christian religion. To a certain extent, that raises the bar. Carrying the idea a bit further, were I to marry a person who professed another faith, and were we to have children, this begs the question of how to raise them. It would not be easy for me to not raise my children to have an understanding of faith at the least, and a deep appreciation for Anglican/Episcopal liturgy at the most. However, all that aside, I now know that not all dating relationships result in marriage (whoa - big shocker there) and to a certain extent some bridges are better crossed when you arrive at them. Therefore, I think that it would be theoretically possible for me to date someone who professed another faith (easier if they were Jewish or Muslim than other faiths).

My friend found this interesting and I asked them to share how she felt. At first, she laughed about my personal anecdote. She thought it was funny that I was so concerned over this young Jewish girl's salvation, because, as she put it, Jews aren't interested in salvation. She then went on to explain what she thought about the issue. She shared in my belief that you should not enter a serious dating relationship with someone whom you cannot see yourself one day marrying. To that end, she said that when you marry someone, you are marrying more than one person; you are marrying their whole family and extended family, their traditions, their customs, their culture. That is a lot to handle. She said that even if you don't confess your faith loudly, that someone somewhere down the line does and that will make family gatherings awkward because "Grandma's gonna want the holidays to be like it was in the old country and how can that be if this Gentile is sitting here at the table with us?" So, for her, it seemed there were broader implications than just the one interpersonal relationship. She concluded that she did not think it was a good idea at all.

This discussion left me with much mental fodder. I was somewhat surprised by how I discovered I felt about the issue given the mental trials I put myself through over the girl from high school. Funny how people change and in what ways. What do you think? Anyone out there ever have or are currently in an interfaith relationship? Or know someone who is? How's that going? What are their challenges and their joys pertinent to this topic?

-R

(10) comments

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Peaceful Voting 

As you worship today, my brothers and sisters, remember in your prayers those voting in Palestine and Israel for a new Palestinian Chairman. Pray for peace at the polls and pray for peace hereafter.

-R

(0) comments

Couple of Movies 

I'd like to draw your attention to a couple of films I've recently seen that are worth a look. Sam and I went the other night and saw Sideways - a film about two men rapidly approaching mid-life crises. (Neither she nor I were fond of our front row seats, but that's the price you pay for tardiness.) One fancies himself to be a wine connoisseur, but really, he's just an alcoholic. This becomes evident early on when, at a wine tasting, he delivers the memorable line, "Hmm...very nice...yes...it's got a lot of citrus...mmm...strawberries...yes...and just the faintest touch of asparagus. Oh, wait, there it is...it's sort of like a nutty cheese." The two men, Jack and Miles, are going for a week of bonding time and golf in the wine country of California before Jack gets married the following Saturday. They have many (mis)adventures, get very little actual golf in, and drink a lot of wine. Hilarity ensues as well as one of the single most unpleasantly memorable scenes in movie history. I suggest you check it out - it was a really good movie.

Then, I also recently watched on DVD the film Dummy, starring Adrian Brody and Milla Jovovich. Brody plays a 20-something unemployed social, well, for lack of a better word, loser, who lives at home with his crackpot parents, high-strung sister, and mentally deteriorating grandmother. Jovovich is his high school friend who has devoted her life to the pursuit of becoming a hard-core punk rocker. Meaning is found is meaninglessness, friendship is discovered in awkward places, and ventriloquism wins the day in this warming movie that delivers hope in the midst of dysfunction with a rare, subtle humor.

-R

(1) comments

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Hebrew 

Wow. (Which is different from waw.) This is going to be a tough class, but the reward for hard work is exciting. On Wednesday we went over the aleph-bet (alphabet), transliteration, how each character sounds, and which characters have final forms and/or the dagesh. We will be quizzed on all of that tomorrow, so I am busy studying away. Ideally, I should study Hebrew each day for about an hour to an hour and a half, which means I will really have to manage my time well if I am to get in all my other studying plus maintain my attendance at the gym. I am excited about the class though and excited about learning this biblical language. To all those who have gone before and done it, props to you!

I woke up this morning to see my car buried in snow. 20 minutes of shoveling and scraping got it drivable and then, sending up a quick prayer, I backed out into the alley hoping not to get stuck or spin out, and was on my way carefully, carefully to school. Saints preserve us, let's talk about how much snow 13 inches in one night actually is!

-R

(6) comments

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Sermon Audio 

The sermon I preached at St. Hilary's is available for you to listen to on their website.

Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page for mine.

I'd be interested to know what you think. To me it sounds a little strained and halting, but the reason for that is obvious to me because I was struggling not to lose my voice that day. I think it was still clear enough, but my voice quality was down.

-R

(1) comments

Monday, January 03, 2005


A New Year, A New Quarter 

I am back, after a delayed flight return yesterday, in Chicago and it is chilly but not as bitterly cold as it can get here. It was a good, if busy, visit home with lots of fun times spent with family and friends. Arriving at my apartment at 1am, I decided I'd let myself rest (as I've got a touch of a cold courtesy of my father) and go in to buy my books at 10am. Academically, I think this will be a challenging term. New Testament II, History of Christian Life & Thought III, Christian Ethics II, and Hebrew I loom large on the horizon. My Hebrew textbooks, lexicon, and Tanakh all seem just a wee bit scary at this point. Tonight, I finished unpacking, read my brief assignment for my first class, and enjoyed a heck of a game - the Sugar Bowl. Tomorrow night the National Championship is on and I'm not real sure who I'm rooting for, so I guess I hope it just a good game.

-R

(1) comments

Saturday, January 01, 2005


Heck of a Meal 

Normally, my New Year's Eve celebration consists of a huge party at my friend Lauren's house. It's the one time all the old gang gets together again, reliving old memories and making a few new ones. This year, as we somewhat sadly discovered, not only was the traditional host of the party not going to be here for New Year's, but the majority of us were not going to be around. Time presses ever onward it seems and those who were once thick as thieves are growing apart. Only four of the old gang were in town this year for the celebration and so we had to come up with something else to do. After many rounds of discussion and brainstorming we finally settled on one idea: we'd have a fancy dinner party, which we would cook ourselves, and then get dressed up to dine. Two days ago three of the four of us gathered to plan the menu and it was ambitious! The appetizer course was to be an antipasto salad of marianted olives, roasted red peppers, and a smoked cheese. This would be followed by a curried butternut squash and chicken soup and then we'd cleanse our palette on a carambola (that's starfruit to the laymen) sorbet. The main course would be asparagus parmasean, candied sweet potatoes, hot Italian bread, and Beef Wellington. Dessert would consist of different flavored chocolate truffles (hazelnut, mint, clove, and cherry) and a porto (a 10 year old Scotch for me). And all of it, homemade. Like I said, it was ambitious. We gathered yesterday at 2pm to go shopping and began cooking at 5pm with a goal of eating between 8pm and 9pm. The kitchen hummed and buzzed as we all went about our assigned tasks, consulting recipes and tossing down a beer. As dinner time drew nigh, we did as much clean-up work as we could, then took turns retiring to the changing room where we dressed for the meal. At twenty minutes past 9pm we gathered around the table, I returned thanks, and we sat down to one of the most delicious meals I've ever laid eyes or taste buds on. We pulled it off swimmingly. It was savory, delectable, aromatic, and colorful. By midnight we were all cleaned up and ready for the ball to drop. Tay, Kate, Sarah and I toasted each other with champagne, hugged and kissed to welcome in the new year and congratulated ourselves on a job damn well done. Here's to ya, 2005!

-R

(1) comments

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