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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What I did on My Summer Vacation

I know that my local friends are DYING to know what happened on my recent trip to Cleveland (very little of which actually took place in Cleveland!), so maybe it's time to finally get started. The photos are (mostly) uploaded on my end, emails have gone back and forth, and I already miss my friends. But life must go on...which is good, otherwise I'd never have time to write about it! And I have to say that if it were not for Fr. V., I would not have been there; he's the one who invited me, connected me with CK (my hostess and now great friend) he's the one who set it all up for all of us. You should all know that he really sacrificed to make this weekend happen and I can speak for ALL of us when I say we are all grateful and appreciate the work he has done in spite of everything else going on in his life. And because of him, I have a whole bunch of new friendships (all of whom I hope to see again, in Minnesota or elsewhere!). So...thanks, Fr. V.! And also special thanks to my other dear friend and hostess, CK!

DISCLAIMER/ PSA: I do NOT advocate flying across the country to meet people you have never met! Although that's what I did, there was email and blog contact with these people before I met them, I know they were who they claimed to be (no doubt at all - verifiable info), and truly, it was more like attending a Catholic conference than some random connection. There was discernment involved in this trip so that when I left, I was not worried about my safety. Other than a potential plane crash. The plane(s) didn't crash. All was well.


I was nervous. I have written that I was a VERY shy child, and somewhere over Michigan's Lower Peninsula, I realized that although I FELT like I knew these people, I'd not met a single one. Although we'd spoken on the phone...they're not real friends until we meet! I realized I am insane (as though THAT were any epiphany), and that I was going, and that the person meeting me at the airport was likely nervous, too. After all...CK was not only meeting me at the airport, she was to be my hostess! What if we didn't get along? (Yes, unimagineable, but still possible!)

I got my baggage and didn't see anyone apparently looking for someone, so I opened one of the pockets of my luggage, beginning to organize a couple things. And that's when it nail caught...and snapped - right across the center of my right index finger. And it was bleeding. Painfully. Great. It figures. I realized immediately what that meant...I'd be using my hostesse's bandaids. * sigh*

CK (a guest blogger on Adam's Ale) arrived shortly after the traumatic encounter with my luggage pocket and we headed off to the Akron mean...St. Sebastian's. Father Schnippel was arriving that afternoon, too, and called me en-route. Being that I wasn't local and wanted to give him some kind of ETA, I looked around for a sign of our location.

"We just passed a sign that says '55 MPH' Does that help?"

It didn't. I confess I was very nervous. Although I've long overcome my shyness, I think there's still a shadow of it that plagues me, and in reality, who WOULDN'T be nervous at meeting a lot of people for the first time in person?

But the good Fathers were gracious and did not make us walk to the entrance to the zoo...uh...I mean, the door to the rectory, but rather, came out to greet us out front before welcoming us in. And then we got the GRANDE TOUR of St. Sebastian's, to include the rectory, church, school, old convent, and grounds. It was BEAUTIFUL, and as CK had told me, "Oooh La LA!" And, to be sure, Father V. looked very proud of his new home and I can tell you already that he's a wonderful pastor to his new flock.

Unfortunately that evening he had duties pertaining to his state, and so Fr. Schnippel, CK, and I headed out to Luigi's for dinner, and then back to the rectory for a screening of "Bella", which, amazingly, did not make me cry. I think my only excuse was that there was so much coming at me this weekend that I maybe wasn't yet "myself." (It was an AWESOME movie, and actually, I got teary-eyed a couple times...ESPECIALLY in the abortion-clinic scene. And I think had I started, I might have kept going...)


A cool thing, though, that I HAVE to mention; before we headed out to dinner, Fr. V., Fr. S., CK, and I prayed evening prayer in the beautiful Church, and it was only the second time I've prayed Liturgy of the Hours with others (the first was with the Sisters last spring).

Well, CK and I drove back to Cleveland area to sleep, with the plans to meet the Fathers and LM at the Lourdes Shrine in Euclid the next day. For those who aren't aware, the shrine is especially dear to LM's heart for she will be joining the Sisters there next May. It was a blessed tour around the shrine, and ended in the chapel where Fr. V., Fr. S., LM, CK and I prayed Daytime prayer and a rosary in the chapel. We sang my favorite hymn (badly... * sigh * ) as we left. I send my apologies to Jesus and St. Thomas Aquinas. (Fathers..I TOLD you I can't sing anymore...good thing I'm not a cantor.)

That evening, we went to LM's house where we met her parents, Fr. Schnippel blessed the beer, as promised, in Latin no less! As we all stood around chatting and joking and drinking blessed beer, Uncle Jim and Aunt Roz arrived from Indiana, and I have to say...I felt like I was at a family reunion! After all we had Father(s), a Sister (to be), an Aunt, and Uncle and other people who FELT like long-lost relatives! We closed the evening with a special screening of "The Princess Bride" which was nearly quoted line-by-line by your favorte nerds: me, LM, Fr. V., and Fr. S. Uncle Jim was grinning ear-to-ear, not at the movie, but at OUR antics! And even though I've seen the movie many times, I'll still never watch it the same way again!

Saturday was another busy day; we met up at the Vatican Splendors exhibit, the main premise for my trip (even though it's coming to St. Paul), where I FINALLY got to meet commenter MJ, her son and his friend, and another commenter, Sylvana, from Fr. V.'s blog. The exhibit was WONDERFUL and there were a few moments where I was stopped in my tracks, the most prominent of which took place at a splendid ciborium and chalice. I stared at them, enclosed in a plexiglass case, realizing what they have contained, and in that moment thought, "Oh, Lord, I BELIEVE!" And there was no doubt in my mind. None.

Although there was an audio tour, for the most part I turned it off in favor of listening to Fr. S. as he provided many details about the various items in the exhibit. So, for those of you here in the Twin Cities...when it comes to St. Paul....GO! Who knows? I may go again! (Fr. V., Fr. S., LM, CK, MJ, Uncle Jim, Aunt Roz....wanna come to MN?)

After the museum, we headed to Little Italy for lunch, and then down to St. Sebastian's for Mass with Fr. V. CK and I stopped at her house quickly to grab a salad she'd made for that evening's dinner at the rectory, and then drove the 45 minutes to Akron, where we arrived just in time for Mass! And it was beautiful, and it was amazing to be present there at St. Sebastian's with the famous Fr. V. presiding.

For those of you who haven't seen the church...the photos can't do it justice. Fr. V. is an artist and so has an amazing eye for beautiful images, but there is no technology on earth that can truly engage in participation with divine designs created by human hands. The mosaic in the front is can't IMAGINE the scale and truly, I couldn't keep my eyes off of it! I was constantly seeing something new! Same for the stained glass windows and the various things, such as the altars and statues in the church. I truly wish I could have spent an hour by myself alone in the church, just wandering around, praying, and soaking in the beauty.

And holiness...I need a HUGE dose of holiness....

Oh, sorry, did I get off track?

After Mass, CK, LM, LM's parents, Uncle Jim, Aunt Roz, MJ and I went with the Fathers to the rectory to socialize and have dinner. And a special treat; Fr. V's sister Mikki (who is just a DOLL) and a friend of his and her family joined us. It was yet another evening of much laughter, good food, good wine, and amazing friendship. Maybe I can't speak for everyone, but it was as if we'd all been good friends for YEARS! And again, it felt more like family. (Or maybe I just need to attend one of my own family reunions for once? Hmmmmm....)

Sunday most of us traipsed down to Akron again for Mass with Father Schnippel, which, again, was just incredible, and left a certain hilarity. Father, always the Vocations Director, worked to recruit the altar servers. One of them gave the ENTIRE CHURCH the "deer-in-the-headlights" look and sat perfectly straight, apparently convinced that Father was going to immediately drag him off to the seminary to the great amusement of us all. (Seriously...poor kid! But his expression was CLASSIC!)

Fr. S., LM, Uncle Jim, Aunt Roz, CK and I all went out to eat after Mass, and then saw our dear Aunt and Uncle off as they headed back to Indiana. The rest of us returned to Akron and St. Sebastian's. Fr. V. was not available that day, so we headed to an art show, where we worked up such a thirst in the summer afternoon sun that it was necessary to hydrate at Beer O'Clock! (That wasn't the was the time...)

We returned to the Akron and went downstairs to hang out in the cool undergroundness that is specific to finished basements especially those with furniture ripe to make a FORTUNE on Ebay. Fr. V. returned from his life, as exhausted as the rest of us (and probably even more so). We weren't ready for dinner, all of us agreed "hanging out" was just fine, so after some languid afternoon conversation, we headed up to play a game of Bocci (what is that in Slavic?) behind the church.

Father Schnippel...did you and I win? I think we scored the winning points with our joint effort didn't we?

Then Fr. V. got the bright idea that we should explore St Sebastian's bell tower which, we were to learn, meant we had to pass through a hobbit door and then climb 6 rusty ladders from hell bolted to the walls. And don't even TALK to me about the spiders I KNOW were there! As Fr. V. noted, it took me awhile to battle my own stupid anxiety before I finally just DECIDED to climb. One thing Fr. V. didn't know, of the reasons coming back down is so hard is, well, climbing down is always the most difficult, but I once fell through a hole just like those that were in the tower. It was NOT a pleasant experience. I gotta say, though, had I not climbed the tower to join the good Fathers at the top, I would have regretted it. And the view WAS as beautiful as Fr. V. says it is!

After the tour of the bell tower, after which we STILL forgot to ask to see Fr. V's supremely cool chalice, we returned to the basement for a lively game of trivia, thanks to my gracious hostess, CK. (What was the actual name of that game?) It was electronic and we played by a couple different rules. I'm ashamed to say that a couple times I got carried away and helped the other team (how embarassing!) and once realized the obvious answer when the time was done, and a couple times had "blonde" moments...but so did EVERYONE ELSE!

I'm going to spare everyone the embarassment of their own moments, especially considering that those of us who were there are the only ones who will think it funny.

Although, I have to say this: while I waited at the gate in Cleveland yesterday afternoon, on the loudspeaker they paged some guy named "Jeremiah". And in my head began the tune, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog..." yet my ADD brain substituted simultaneously, "PROPHET!"

And I'm STILL trying to find the similarities between Cashmere and Leather.

And for the life of me, I can't figure out how someone has never heard of "Fraggle Rock". Or the "No Spin Zone".

All in all, it was an incredible weekend with incredible friends, ones I hope to see again, and I'm still concocting plans to get back to Ohio...and Indiana. And come to think of it, I have a cousin in Lexington...maybe I can get there by way of Cincinnati....


You can read more about our weekend from the perspectives of Uncle Jim, Fr. V, Lillian Marie, and Fr. S. here and part 2, here.

Personally, I'm only disappointed in one thing. I figured, flying into Cleveland, that I'd be met at the gate by Drew Carey and his tribe, handed a couple of microbrews, and heckled all the way to the baggage claim.

But, that failure of Ohio etiquette notwithstanding, Cleveland DOES rock!

What do you think...will Ohio have me back?


uncle jim said...

were we at the same event?

i really had a GREAT time and so did Aunt Rozann ... sorry yours wasn't all you hope for.

and now you're wondering "what in the heck is he saying? i had a GREAT time, too!"

i'm just trying to keep you off-balance a little ... we agree - it was like a family reunion ... the kind that happens with family members who really like each other [which is not always the case].

LM and her parents were our hosts and they were wonderfully kind and hospitable. and, if you ever get the chance [before she enters the convent next may, ask LM to make you some of her light and fluffy 3 inch thick pancakes ... to die for...

next time, bring all your locals with you.

and have them ready for our invasion [yet to be scheduled].

Anonymous said...

Uncle Jim ~ LOL...yeah, we were at the same event, and yeah, I had a GREAT time!

I'd LOVE to have you all in MN. I have limited space, but what I have is yours...and Ihope you like

My Shepherd was confused when I got home last night. :-)

Lillian Marie said...

Next time, I'll make the pancakes for's that. (my nephew loves the way I make pancakes, and yes, they are thick!) Adoro, you can bring the syrup. *grin*

It was a great time...almost like a mini-retreat. When you HAVE to go back home it seems like a let-down because it was SO MUCH FUN with everyone.

Our Word said...

Ah, what a great trip it must have been! But it's nice to have you back where you belong!


Lillian Marie said...

I STILL can't get that song out of my mind....

'me me me me, me me me me...' And then Fr. S. had to FIND it and put it up on his blog! That's just wrong!

(and I had Faith of our Fathers in my mind in the morning....until the blog!)

Anonymous said...

ROFL! LM, remember at the art fair when I sang the parody for "Gather us in" (we are the young, our morals a mystery, we are the old, who couldn't care less....) and got COMPLIMENTED by the woman at the next table!? ROFL!

Even THAT horrid tune didn't knock the "mee me me me meeee me me me meee memememe me...." out of Fr. S's awful is THAT!?

Our Word ~ don't want me to move to Ohio????

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you recapped all the fun. I can't believe I forgot about the beer blessing!

The game is called Catch Phrase. Isn't it hilarious! The last time we played it, the phrase was "Kelsey Grammar" and my niece shouts out that he's on that show "Everyone Knows Frasier"

By the way, playing with a drink in your hand is what makes Bocci Slavic. :-)


Anonymous said...

What a let down Mon was! I was so exhausted but it just made me think about the weekend. I want to get "Princess Bride" and see it again. It was hilarious, especially with the added commentary. Would love to play Catch Phrase again too but somehow it just wouldn't be the same!! It was such a fantastic weekend. Like you said just like a family reunion. I miss everyone so much!!


Anonymous said...

Oh, my goodness, Ck, you're commenting! I know Fr. V. had a Slavic name for Bocci and I remember repeating it in my head...I think the Syrah I was drinking erased the memory....

I have been told by many friends, here and there, that the Only way to play Bocci, in any language, is with a drink in your hand....guess I learned correctly...

MJ, you're welcome to watch Princess Bride at my house any time..I promise to do all I can to teach you the script...which is online, actually....

Anonymous said...

CK, forgot to say that I wrote this post with you in said you wanted a recap, so I figured this would be better than email....

Anonymous said...

Balinca(sp?) ball is the other name for bocci.


Fr. V said...

Yes CK

Wow - We did all that? How much of it I'd almost forgotten!

Thanks for coming up and visiting! I'm starting to lose my accent = it is sounding more and more Irish - need to come to MN to regain it.

Father Schnippel said...

Me: "Jeremiah was a ________"

Adoro: "Prophet?"

Too much Catholic School for you, get back in touch with reality!

Great times!

My review will be posted this evening.

Adoro said...

Fr. V ~ Yes, you DO need to come to MN to fix your accent! I can call you and give you lessons, but 'twould be better if you were here and immersed in the culture...

Fr. S. ~ Welll...Jeremiah IS a prophet...really! Apparently he's ALSO a bullfrog. Who knew?

Unknown said...

Jeepers, sounds like you had a wonderful time.

Had you lot your pals know, we could have chartered a bus or a Winnebago and taken a whole crew of Gophers to Cleveland.

Maybe to coincide with a Twins game, too.

But glad you're back, safe and sound, and familiar with how to say the breviary. I have one, with the ribbons, but don't know how. Teach me.

Anonymous said...

Ray - wasn't exactly a secret that I was going to Cleveland!

Here's a tip for the LOH...go get a directory that gives the readings for the day. That helps!

uncle jim said...

The Twins WERE THERE the whole weekend ... and she didn't want to take the time from all the other activities. i doubt she's really a 'gopher' either.

Unknown said...

No, Jim, I think she's an Iowegian, thus making a lot of her loyalties (except the Church, of course) suspect.

Of course most of us native-born Minnesotans have lost so many times (don't ask me about the Vikes, I haven't watched a game since the fourth Super Bowl loss) that we have a well deserved reputation as fair weather fans.

But the Twins came through twice for us, so they do hold a special place in our hearts. There's always hope, even with a small budget and a cheapskate owner who's 92 and whose Mom died at 105 or so maybe ten years ago.

Anonymous said...

Now, Uncle Jim, why would I go to Ohio to do something I COULD do here, but don't?

And Ray, I'm NOT from Iowa...I was born in Illinois. Which is just as flat but maybe a little less boring. They at least have the Cubs.