Wednesday, October 17, 2018

a red letter day {Diaconate Ordination - September 27, 2018}

Thursday, September 27, dawned clear and cloudless. this was the day on which forty of our Fourth Year men were ordained as deacons - typically the penultimate step before ordination as a priest. as deacons, they are now permitted to perform baptisms, marriage ceremonies, and assist at Mass (although they cannot celebrate Mass on their own). if you're interested, more details can be found here.

Nick had been rehearsing with the choir for weeks for this event, and along with the other choir members and seminarians, he had special access tickets to get into St. Peter's Basilica, where the Ordination would take place. he had warned me that the service would likely take at least two hours, and even though i knew the girls wouldn't last through the whole service, of course i still wanted to be there for as much of it as they would tolerate.

the service began at 9:30 AM and i planned to arrive at the basilica around 10. as fate would have it, the line to get through security was the longest i have seen it before or since -- it wrapped all the way around the square, past the post office. i didn't have any sort of special access pass, so we were stuck. thankfully, we struck up a conversation with a lovely Polish woman who was visiting St. Peter's for the first time. we overheard someone else mention that the Vatican Museums were free that day (a complete surprise to me -- they're free on the last Sunday of every month, but on a random Thursday? turns out they are free every September 27 for World Tourism Day. even though the entrance to the museums is a fifteen-minute walk from the entrance to the basilica, unsuspecting tourists get confused all the time, so i figured the line was probably gargantuan because people were mistaking it for the museum line).

we had been waiting in line for about 30 minutes by the time i took this picture

anyway, by the time we made it through security and dropped the stroller off, it was almost 11! thankfully i had brought snacks and small toys to entertain the girls. we entered the basilica and all i could hear was the murmuring of tourists -- no music, no prayers or any sound at all coming from the apse. with a sinking feeling i wondered if we'd missed the entire thing. we walked towards the front of the church, and there, way up at the Altar of the Chair, were over two thousand people participating in the Mass. and my fears were completely unfounded -- they were only halfway through the service. but as we were arriving so late, the Vatican staff had blocked off that entire section of the basilica, so we couldn't get any closer than the old bronze statue of St. Peter. thus we could barely see the altar, couldn't see the men being ordained, couldn't see Nick and his choir ... but we could hear them, and that was enough!

you, dear reader, however, have the advantage of seeing these beautiful pictures of what was actually going on up there, a football field away. many thanks to the PNAC Facebook page for filling in the gaps.

Nick conducting the choir

the Prostration -- a posture of obedience and humility, assumed while the presiding Bishop, priests, and congregation recite the Litany of the Saints and pray for the newly ordained clerics

now, you'll get some sense of the vast scale of the basilica when you see what our view looked like. the best i could do was to tuck the girls into this little alcove between a massive pillar and the wooden barricade, so they could peek around the corner and try to comprehend what was going on. 

if we were in a stadium, this would be considered the nosebleed section

nevertheless, it was wonderful. the choir sounded heavenly, although we were so far back that the sound from the speakers was sometimes drowned out by the umpteen tour groups traipsing along behind us. when the men sang Ave Maria, tears sprang to my eyes. there is something so holy, innocent, and steadfast about a man's love for his Mother. 

the sound quality is so poor, it doesn't do them justice, but i had to try! 

the girls squabbled occasionally, but each time i reminded them that "Daddy's up there! that's Daddy's choir singing! he worked so hard practicing for today!", they quieted down and listened with fresh ears. then Greta began protesting that she wanted to leave, so i gave her my phone to take pictures, and while she snapped away, i let myself soak up every bit of this gloriousness. one of the many things that attracted me to Nick in the first place is his incredible work ethic, not to mention his musical talent and networking skill. i never doubted that he would go far. but i also never imagined that one day i would stand in St. Peter's Basilica, watching my husband conduct the choir, listening to the clear voices of the men with whom he'd been working so diligently, bursting with gratitude and pride and amazement. i will treasure this memory as long as i live. and Greta, bless her, took a picture!

finally, almost three hours after it began, the ordination was over. the new deacons, garbed in gold, processed out, and i blinked back tears once again. i can only imagine the pride and emotion their parents must have been feeling.

quite the celebration! (this and the above photo are from the PNAC Facebook page)
the choir, the organist from St. Peter's Basilica (in suit and tie), and Nick (far right)
we walked up the hill to the college in a jubilant procession and streamed through the open gates to avail ourselves of the reception in the cortile (courtyard). the girls were a little suspicious of the sandwiches (some of which were studded with olives) but devoured the little pizza rosettes (imagine what Totino's pizza rolls would look like if they were actually real food, and you'll be close). and then, wonder of wonders, they found several kids to play with! a few of the families in attendance live in Naples, and we look forward to seeing them again at other major NAC events!

we also had the pleasure of chatting with John and Susan again. so many people traveled so far to attend the events surrounding the ordination -- it was quite moving to realize that the NAC community extends, literally, around the world.

the new Deacon Gregory graciously invited us to his dinner reception that evening, at a classic Italian restaurant on the Appian Way. he had recommended taking a taxi, but i couldn't decide which would be worse -- lugging the girls' carseats around and having to stow them at the restaurant somewhere, or NOT putting them in carseats for a thirty-minute drive in Roman rush hour traffic. well, i think not putting them in carseats would be worse, but it just seemed like in our particular situation it would be more hassle than not. so we took the bus, and it was mostly fine (!). we arrived late since our connecting bus only departed every 20 minutes, but thankfully it was a huge group, the service was family-style, and they had only just finished the appetizers.

bruschetta, bufala mozzarella, prosciutto

this restaurant, the Cecilia Metella, is built near the tomb of Cecilia Metella, the daughter of a Roman consul. but there was nothing morbid about the place on this particular night! several of the other new deacons were also hosting their dinner receptions here, so the whole restaurant was full of jubilant tables, lots of toasting and applause. the restaurant is known for its scrigno alla Cecilia, baked green pasta bubbling in cheese, and it remains one of the best things i've eaten here so far.

Cecilia was definitely living her best life

Deacon Gregory gave a thoughtful and poignant speech, thanking his parents and his brother (who is also a priest!) and sister. at the same time that he began his remarks, an Italian singer on the other side of the restaurant began an exuberant aria, which lightened the mood a little, but i did feel bad for him as she just kept going higher and louder and hiiiiigher and loooooouder. we all toasted him and the other new deacons and then enjoyed delicious dessert!

the waitstaff was great and made sure everyone had plenty of food and wine!

Cecilia's face when she saw the cake ... you can practically see her mouth watering

yum yum!
after thanking Deacon Gregory again, we walked out into the cool, starry night to catch our bus back into the city. as is becoming typical, we waited for about half an hour before one showed up, but Nick kept Greta occupied playing shadow puppets on the wall, and there were several other Italians waiting too which made me feel like at least a bus was coming.

 home to bed, and then an early wake-up in the morning for Deacon Gregory's first Mass! all of the new deacons had their first Masses around the city -- again, they cannot celebrate Mass on their own, but they can now assist in numerous ways (including giving the homily). Nick played the organ for his mass, and the girls and i walked over separately. i only have a few blurry photos from the mass, but it was so special to be there and we're so grateful that Deacon Gregory thought to include us.

Deacon Gregory and his brother, the priest, who celebrated Mass

Chapel of St. Thomas of Villanova

i also had the pleasure of meeting Sister Cecelia Clare, whom Nick knew through Franciscan University, and two of her sisters who were in Rome for an unrelated visit. they also attended Mass, and then joined us for caffe near the Piazza Navona. the girls were enamored with them, and Greta persuaded one of them to walk right up to a street performer holding a "statue" pose. this picture sums up everything that is Rome:

wildly overpriced cappuccino, but it came with this little cookie and the location couldn't be beat!
 and there you have it -- the biggest day(s) of the year so far. we are privileged to get to know these men, and we continue to pray for them!

Monday, October 15, 2018

monday musings {Villa Pamphili Park, Church of the Gesu}

the day after our misadventures in public transportation trying to get to the Baths of Caracalla, Sabrina and Rebecca bid Rome arrivederci and fled north to Florence and the beatific Tuscan countryside for a few days. if i was keeping strict chronological order, i'd tell you only about the things that we did here at home on those few days, but i'm not and you can't make me. (besides, some of these things happened before they even arrived in Rome, so the chicken has already flown the coop on that front.) thus, in no particular order:

one fabulously sunny morning we set out for Villa Pamphili Park, which is a huge park a few miles from our house. my plan was to meet up with an expat group of moms and kids for nursery rhymes, but i clearly misinterpreted where we were supposed to meet and couldn't find them. we still had a lovely time meandering around the park. Greta is getting more confident on her scooter and Cecilia shrieked with glee as she galloped along the road. 

a real, live aqueduct borders the north edge of the park

Greta wanted me to have my picture taken with the aqueduct, too

after exploring the park a little, i realized that we were still ridiculously far away from the playground area, and lunchtime was approaching. so we headed back the way we'd come, at a more leisurely pace. by this point, Greta was wailing that she was too tired to walk and we struck a deal that she could sit down and rest on every fourth bench that we saw. eventually she found a large stick to use as a staff and led us in a slightly grumpy parade. Cecilia then climbed up on a bench which was already occupied by a middle-aged man reading a small, fat book. before i could apologize, he beamed at her, held out his hand in greeting, and she immediately gave him the tall frond of grass she'd been carrying. then they sat together on the bench for a minute or so, looking out over the verdant valley, having a conversation consisting entirely of the word "ciao!".

the chapel

these umbrella pines have my heart.

later that afternoon, we had the serendipitous joy of meeting up with our friend Mr. Land, who will always be "Mr. Land" in my head despite his numerous requests to call him Scot. he was here in Rome on business and invited us to the rooftop cafe at his hotel for a lovely afternoon visit. 

Cecilia immediately started looking for cats and airplanes from this rooftop perch

the weather was perfect, warm with a slight breeze. i ordered a draft beer, and when the waitress brought it over, she also brought two short glasses of Coke with straws for the girls! they were completely delighted. i thought about asking the waitress to take them away, but she was equally delighted by the girls' reactions and i figured, what the heck, one glass won't kill them. as it turned out, they each drank maybe only a few sips, but Greta in particular felt very sophisticated because she knows that "only grownups and big kids" are allowed to have soda.

playing the "hand slap" game

we had a wonderful time catching up, discussing everything from travel around Italy to Catholicism to news of our respective families. the girls and i stayed for a few hours, but Nick had to leave early in order to make it to the Sistine Chapel on time for a small choir he was conducting there. 

i just have to say that again. he had to say goodbye, walk across the river, and meet up with a group of seminarians who were singing a short concert in the Sistine Chapel as part of a private tour for a group visiting from the University of Mary in North Dakota. 

needless to say, we didn't begrudge him his early departure. i just wish i could have been there, or even that they would have allowed a recording. it's moments like this that make it all worth it. 

the following day, Wednesday, September 26, preparations for the Diaconate Ordination were underway. forty of our men, the Class of 2018, were ordained as deacons on Thursday, September 27 (which merits its own post!). but the evening before, the entire seminary community along with family and friends met for a prayer service at the Church of the Gesu in Rome. Nick played the organ for the service, so he had left early. i somehow got confused about where the service was being held, and thought it was at a church that's only a fifteen-minute walk from our house ... but no, it was a thirty-minute walk across town. by the time i realized this, the girls and i were already running late, and i contemplated skipping it. but i really had nothing else to do, and thought that the walk would do us good, even if we ended up missing the service entirely. also, one of our fellow parishioners from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton at home had put us in contact with his son John and daughter-in-law Susan, who were traveling to Rome for the ordinations, and i knew they'd be at the service so hoped we'd be able to meet them. 

the main altar of the Church of the Gesu

anyway, as soon as we finally arrived at the church (half an hour late), i was so glad we'd come. the church was packed full, and Nick's beautiful music mingled in the air with the incense. i didn't realize that it was actually a holy hour, so there was still plenty of time to join in praying for the men who would become deacons the following morning, and several confessionals were also open. in the preceding week, i had been feeling that little nudge to go to confession. i hadn't gone since we moved here, which is kind of ridiculous because i live at a seminary. but i also hadn't taken that nudging seriously enough to investigate where and when i could actually go to confession, so literally walking right into a penance service (without realizing it ahead of time!) was such an unexpected grace. i confessed face-to-face with a kindly Eastern European priest, whose words gave me such comfort (and even if they hadn't, it's confession. it's such a gift!) 

the girls and i joined the crowds kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament. i prayed while the girls rummaged through the backpack for snacks and Cecilia began calling loudly, "Daddy! Dadddddeeeee! Daddy pay OHHHHH-GANNNNN!!!" despite the interruptions, i couldn't help but blink back tears as we sang the familiar words of Tantum ergo Sacramentum during the Benediction of the Sacrament. being far from home in one sense has made me cherish how much the universal Church is truly home. 

the ceiling frescoes are done in the trompe l'oeil fashion, an optical effect that creates the illusion of 3D realism

after the conclusion of the service, we walked around a bit and marveled at the beautiful interior. we also met up with John and Susan, and it was wonderful to feel that small-world connection. we miss our church family at home so much! several parents of seminarians also came over to Nick to tell him how much their sons already appreciate his musical direction and talent, which was so sweet and encouraging. this is the closest thing to a "Parents' Weekend" that the seminary has had so far, and it reminded me of when you meet your college friends' parents for the first time ... suddenly you completely understand why they are the way they are! 

the gold oval frame contains the preserved right arm of St. Francis Xavier, who baptized 300,000 people

next up, the Diaconate Ordination at the Basilica of St. Peter. and then we'll pick back up with the travel adventures of the extended Will clan!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

in which buses are nearly the end of us!! {more Wills in Rome vol. 3 - Fosse Ardeatine, Baths of Caracalla, and Uber Black}

the thing about Rome is that you can't go in blind. many sites close on Mondays and also in the mid-afternoon the remainder of the week. if you're hoofing it on foot or relying on public transportation, you have to have a basic understanding of the geography of the city (and the traffic flow!) to make the most of your visit. lucky for me, Rebecca had put in hours of research and brainstorming to come up with an airtight itinerary for their visit (complete with gelateria stops). after some slight adjustments to the schedule to account for weather, we were ready to tackle the day. our first stop was the Fosse Ardeatine memorial several miles outside the city, near the Appian Way.

except that the other thing about Rome is that she doesn't like the presumption of airtight itineraries, especially when public transportation is concerned. buses get re-routed, or don't show up. or the metro is shut down because of strikes. or you're stuck in a taxi in a snarl of traffic, helplessly watching motorinos slip through physically impossible spaces between vehicles to make it to their destination. at best,  this means you're forced to get creative. at worst, it means you miss seeing things you had planned. but now i'm getting ahead of myself, because our day started off quite swimmingly. we hopped on our old nemesis, the 64, and arrived at the Ara Coeli stop. we had to cross the street to catch our next bus, and spent some time admiring the Insula Romana, the 2nd century A.D. building complex that sits nestled between the Vittorio Emanuele Monument and Michelangelo's steps to the Piazza Campidoglio. the five-story building has been used for various purposes over the centuries, including the medieval church of San Biago del Mercato, and you can still see a fresco from this church preserved in one of the lunettes.

the fresco depicts Mary and St. John at Jesus' burial

layers of history

Vittorio Emanuele monument and the Insula Romana

there are two things i already love about Rome as fiercely as if i'd grown up here: first, the umbrella pines, and second, the amalgamation of ancient and medieval and modern buildings, both in the predictable geological layers beneath the current level of our streets, and in the entirely unpredictable hodgepodge of architecture that lines any given block. here we have the Vittorio Emanuele monument towering above the ancient Insula Romana, while to the right stands the Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, and just beyond that, Michelangelo's steps, studded with sculptures and fountains. i can't get enough of it.

we finally tore ourselves away and found our bus stop. and waited ... and waited ... and waited. when the bus finally showed up, the marquee above the driver's head that should list the next stop was broken. this isn't a problem when we're traveling a familiar route, but it gets trickier when you're trying to navigate somewhere for the first time. yes, they list all the stops on the sign at the bus stop, but the buses will go right past a stop if no one requests it and no one is waiting there, so you have to stay on your toes. it was easy as pie until we actually started down the Appian Way. in my mind, the Appian Way is an idyllic country lane that one could wander down while daydreaming about life in ancient Rome. in actuality, the Appian Way is like a cobblestoned Autobahn hemmed in by two walls, with tour buses and city buses hurtling past each other like overgrown chariots. in other words, good luck reading the name of the bus stop as it streaks past your window.

the Appian Way at night - more about that adventure in an upcoming post -
 just imagine it during the day with two-way traffic 

by some stroke of luck, we did manage to get off at the right stop, and by "stop" i mean the six-inch border of the road separated from the road proper by a little white line. we pretty much had to turn sideways and crab-walk with our noses to the wall and our backs to the bus to get out of the way before the bus shot off again. but we had made it! the next step in our journey was a lovely little walk through the gardens of the Catacombs of San Callisto.

i was very impressed by the well-marked, free, and clean bathrooms
with adequate toilet paper (we don't take any of those attributes for granted here!)

ah.... this is more like it

finally, we arrived at the Fosse Ardeatine memorial. this commemorates the massacre of 335 Italian citizens, political prisoners, and Jews by German occupation forces on March 24, 1944. the Italian resistance fighters had killed 33 Nazi soldiers the night before in a surprise attack, and in retribution the commander ordered that for every 1 soldier killed, ten Italians should be murdered. the victims were rounded up and brought to the Ardeatine caves here, where they were each killed by a gunshot to the back of the neck and their bodies left in the caves. in the course of the killings, the Germans discovered that they actually had five extra prisoners beyond what was ordered in the 10:1 ratio, but murdered them regardless as they did not want them to escape and reveal what had happened to the others. the Germans then set off explosives in the cliffs to collapse the caves and conceal what they had done. four months later, the atrocity was discovered and the bodies were exhumed.

the entrance to the memorial

the artist created the entrance gate to echo both the gates of the concentration camps
 as well as the tangled limbs of the victims when they were found here in the caves

first, we entered the tunnels of caves. the prisoners were brought into these caves in groups of five, shot and killed. following the massacre, the Germans used explosives to collapse the roofs of the tunnels, but during excavations the tunnels were opened up and the roofs fortified.

the text is translated: "HERE WE WERE SLAUGHTERED – VICTIMS OF A HORRENDOUS SACRIFICE – MAY OUR SACRIFICE GIVE RISE TO A BETTER HOMELAND – AND TO LASTING PEACE AMONG THE PEOPLES. FROM THE DEPTHS, I HAVE CRIED OUT TO YOU, O LORD." the last phrase, from Psalm 130, written in Latin and Hebrew, as 260 Christians and 75 Jews were killed in the massacre. 

tribute to the victims whose bodies could not be identified -- although all of the victims' names are known (* photo credit Rebecca)
after being exhumed, all but nine of the bodies have been definitively identified. they are buried in individual tombs in a massive mausoleum and their names are inscribed on a register. it was touching to see fresh flowers at many of the tombs.



this sculpture is called the Three Ages of Man, representing the age range of the victims of the massacre (from fifteen to seventy years old), and the different emotions they likely felt. 

sobered, we headed out of the memorial just as it was swarmed by a busload of retirees. we had to laugh as Rebecca pointed out that we probably just lowered the average age of visitors significantly.
our next move proved to be fateful, but it seemed harmless enough at the time. we were both hungry, and Rebecca had researched a pizza place that was "just a few minutes' walk away from the tourist traps". well, it was a solid ten-minute walk further away from the main road, but it was definitely not touristy and the pizza was delicious. the proprietor spoke virtually no English, but between my limited Italian, hand gestures, and just pointing to what we wanted, we had a tasty little lunch. and it was budget-friendly, too, at €10 total for both of us!

the beer cost the same as the bottled water, so...

here's where things got dicey. we knew we'd have to walk back out to the main road to catch a bus heading back towards the beginning of the Appian Way to see the Museum of the Wall, where you can actually walk out on a portion of the wall, and the famous San Sebastian gate. so we started our walk, and found the bus stop without much trouble. yet again, we waited ... and waited ... and waited. slowly, a few other Italians came to the bus stop as well, so we figured that the bus service hadn't been completely canceled. unfortunately, there were no other buses traveling this route, and we didn't see any available taxis either. the museum closed at 2 pm, and we had left the pizza shop at 12:15 pm, thinking we had plenty of time. while the minutes ticked by and the sun beat down on us, we were at the mercy of ATAC (Rome's transit system). finally, at about 1:15, the bus appeared, stuffed to the gills with disgruntled passengers. we squeezed ourselves on with the rest of them, but as we careened up the road, i realized that i couldn't see any of the little red buttons you have to push to request a stop. this bus, thankfully, did have a working monitor to display the approaching stops, but that wouldn't do me any good if i couldn't request the stop we needed.

at each stop, somehow, more and more people squished onto the bus, until we were standing nose-to-armpit with our fellow travelers (to borrow an expression from Rick Steves), and after our hour of standing in the sun, we probably weren't smelling the freshest either. finally, we got to the stop just before ours. i still couldn't see (much less reach) any of the buttons to request a stop, but i held out hope that people would be waiting to board the bus at our stop, since it's the first major stop on the Appian Way. i was wrong. the bus shot past our stop at breakneck speed, and as Rebecca and i looked at each other in helpless outrage, i said, "i guess we just get off at the next stop and then we can walk back." and then the bus drove right past the next stop too!  when it finally braked for the next stop, we disembarked with all the grace of stampeding buffalo and practically threw ourselves onto the sidewalk. in all my bus-riding before and since, i have never seen a bus set up that way. i did ride on one that only had a button on the pole just next to the door, and i suppose there could have been one on that godforsaken bus too, but you could never have seen it or reached it with the bus stuffed to full capacity.

Image result for overstuffed bus
i guess it actually could have been worse (although at least those guys are catching a breeze)

so we sat on a stoop for a few minutes, still in disbelief over what had just happened. we just spent nearly an hour waiting for a bus, only to ride it for seven minutes and go right past our stop. at this point, we wouldn't make it to the Museum of the Wall before it closed. the next thing on the itinerary was the Baths of Caracalla, which would have been just under a mile's walk, or another bus ride (and we'd have to walk back along the route we'd just come to find a different bus going in the right direction). as we contemplated our options, Rebecca mourned the fact that they don't have Uber or Lyft in Rome. but then she noticed a little black Uber icon on the bottom of her maps app on her phone ... and, sure enough, Uber Black is indeed alive and well in Rome. and so she pulled the trigger. there was a bit of a hiccup in that the first car she ordered didn't show up, but a few minutes after ordering the second car, we found ourselves being escorted into the back of a gleaming black Mercedes SUV and relaxing into the leather seats while the driver closed the door for us.

yes, it was a little ridiculous to order an Uber Black to drive us one mile. but i have to say, that's one of the most enjoyable miles i've ever spent in a car. we glided past the plebeians in their smartcars and the cyclists and the BUSES, and yes, of course we took a selfie.

what would have been actually perfect is if the driver dropped us off at the entrance to the Baths of Caracalla. instead, he dropped us off at the GPS point Rebecca had indicated, which happened to be at the top of the hill above the Baths. not wanting to pay another $20 to have him drive us down the other side of the hill, we just thanked him and walked down.

the Baths are incredible. if you have more than a few days to spend in Rome, i would definitely recommend them. they give you a unique sense of the grandeur of ancient Rome, especially if you spring for the virtual reality goggles that use GPS tracking to bring the ruins to life in real time.

i'm bringing sexy back

the Baths were built between 212-216 A.D. under Emperor Caracalla (also known as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus). they remained in use until the year 537 A.D.,  when the aqueducts that supplied their water were destroyed.

some of these mosaic floors are now in the Vatican Museums

the virtual reality goggles, in addition to being stunningly sexy, transform these massive brick walls into gleaming rooms with multicolored marble columns and gilded statues. several of the sculptures we saw in the Naples Archaeological Museum, including the Farnese Bull, were originally part of the Baths' decor.

this marble slab was an ancient board game

standing inside the Natatio, which originally housed a huge swimming pool

imagine these walls covered with pristine marble and decorated with similar friezes

the Farnese Bull stood right in this corner

finally, we made our way to the last bus stop of the day. here again, we saw just about every bus except ours come past twice, but at long last we caught the right one. Rebecca headed to the hotel, while i headed home to relieve Sabrina who had spent the day with the girls (bless her!).

after a few hours to recover, we met up again for dinner al fresco. we ended up at a little restaurant close to their hotel, with mediocre food, but at least we were all together.

Nana of the year!

Cece was thrilled with her ice cream sandwich

so, the moral of the story is: when a bus shows up on time, has a few empty seats, and the monitor is working, we feel as if we're living in the lap of luxury. the real luxury, though, is living here -- knowing that we have a second (and a third!) chance to see something if our plan falls through. and when that invariably happens, there is always wine.