Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vito's Ordination Song

This is for my dear friend Mike who will be running off to Portland in less than two weeks to officially join the Franciscans:

I always knew you
In your mothers arms
I have called your name
I have an idea
Placed in your mind
To be a better man
I've made a crown for you
Put it in your room
And when the bridegroom comes
There will be noise
There will be glad
And a perfect bed
And when you write a poem
I know the words
I know the sounds
Before you write it down
When you wear your clothes
I wear them too
I wear your shoes
And your jacket too
I always knew you
In your mothers arms
I have called you son
I've made amends
Between father and son
Or, if you haven't one
Rest in my arms
Sleep in my bed
There is a design
To what I did and said

- Sufjan Stevens

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chess and Jobs

I had an interview for a job yesterday that was an excellent fit for my skills. The 3 hour (!) interview went well until the last person who was really technical and immediately underestimated and dismissed me. Anyway, I have to recover from that blow.

On a lovely note, my August goal is to improve my chess skills. I called up my friend Kevin who I had not seen in some time and asked him to help me achieve my goal. Interestingly enough, he has a regular date with a friend to play chess every Wednesday so I am joining them. I also am playing him and other people online through, (see link at the bottom of my blog). So, if there are any chess fans out there, join and we can play together online!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Vegan Eggplant Polenta Lasagna

Last night I made Eggplant Polenta Lasagne - I revised a recipe I have made before and basically made it up as I went along and it was DELICIOUS!

My recipe can be changed a bit to make it more healthy, (I fried the eggplant and polenta. The eggplant can be baked and the polenta can be made from scratch which would be boiled). But even with the frying, this recipe is much lower in fat and cholesterol (there is 0 cholesterol) than other lasagna recipes because it is cheeseless. And it is just as delicious in my humble opinion!

Here is the recipe:

Eggplant Polenta Lasagne

Half box of lasagne noodles
Prepared tube of polenta or 2 cups of polenta from a box
1 large eggplant
Jar of tomato sauce (or homemade)
5 slices of wheat bread
Olive Oil
Italian Spices
Sun dried tomatoes (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring salted water to a boil and place the lasagne noodles in the water. Boil the noodles for about 10 minutes. After they are cooked, place the noodles in a strainer and pour cold water over them.

Cut the eggplant into lengthwise pieces, (peel if you prefer). Salt the eggplant and let stand for 10 minutes to remove the bitterness. Dip the eggplant in flour and fry the pieces. Lightly dust with oregano and salt to taste as you are frying. Place the fried pieces on a plate.

For the polenta, I had a tube of already prepared polenta so I just fried them in lengthwise pieces as well and put them on a plate. However, I think the polenta from a box that is more soupy would be just as good.

Tear the bread into bite size pieces and pour enough olive oil on the bread to moisten the pieces. Spice the bread generously with Italian spices. (I also added sun dried tomatoes from Trader Joes but this is optional).

After everything in prepared, place a layer of lasagne noodles in the bottom of a pan (I used a 9 X 9 pan), then place a layer of eggplant and tomato sauce. Then layer in noodles, then polenta and sauce and so on. After you are finished, be sure to put sauce over the last layer of noodles. Put aluminum foil over the pan and place in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes is up, remove the foil and place the bread crumbs on top and bake for 5 more minutes.

Here is a recipe that can also help those who are confused in regards to using polenta in the recipe: Polenta Lasagna

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Today as I was driving home, I thought, "I am in a mid-20s crisis!" It never occurred to me that the frustration that I am feeling with my directionless life is something that peoples in their 20s commonly feel. My crisis is Catholic in nature, i.e. I am searching for what God wants for my life rather than what I want. But nevertheless, it was nice to suddenly feel that my inner turmoil is pretty much normal.

A woman at my Bible study passed this poem out recently.

Here is part of it:


If a tree were capable of reflection
would it have doubts about its growth?
Would it worry endlessly
about the direction it should take,
or when it should produce new leaves?
Would it sometimes imagine
that its life was without design?
Would it think that its height and shape
had been self-determined
through random acts of will
amounting more to good luck
than good management?

The poem goes on from here, but this was the part that interested me most.

I do believe that people can make bad choices. We can choose to be with people who do not treat us right, we can choose to hurt ourselves and others in our search for happiness. We can avoid committing to anything or anyone because we are afraid of being hurt. We can choose to do whatever we want in life and, as long as it is not a sin, expect God to bless it.

There are many ways that we can live our lives outside of God's will for us. Sometimes it is sinful, sometimes it is just foolish because we are avoiding the very choices that will make us more happy, closer to God's love and ready for heaven.

I am reading the book The Christian State of Life by Adrienne von Speyr, a female theologian who was good friends with one of the greatest Catholic theologians of our time, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the book, Adrienne speaks of the choice that every Catholic is called to make, a choice between religious life and married life, (and I would add celibate single life). Reading her has led me to believe that many of us can very easily miss God's call for what He wants in our lives:

One who gives serious consideration to the choice he must make and spares no effort to make the right one will be shocked at the number of people who fail to choose. He will discover that many people around him lead a life of chance, taking life as it comes and accepting what it brings them with no reflection, no genuine attempt to come to terms with the life they live and in consequence, no conscious and free acceptance of it.