Fr. Z’s Day Off

With the exception of a few great days in Boston, the three weeks or so have been less than optimal.

Isn’t it amazing how much smaller your world becomes when you are ill?  And how quickly?

Yesterday, finally feeling better after the breaking of a nasty fever (still don’t know what that was all about), I did some driving in the beautiful spring (finally) day and changed my view.

First, the day started well with the resumption of fountain activity in the southern “cloister”, below the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue.


Yes, it’s sort of modern, but its nice, it’s our Blessed Mother, and the water babbles appropriately.

I then went to a new range – quite a hike but part of the plan – in order to kill some very dangerous paper.  First time in a while.  This was my first time out with my Springfield XD-S .45.


My first five rounds at 15 feet.


I need not hang my head in shame.  The one at 2 o’clock was the first.

This XD-S is on the compact side and is a bit harder to keep under control.   But even at 20”, rapidly firing and with a mag change, I was keeping within the C ring.  I wanted to test myself when I was still physically on the weak side from that mysterious crud I had, even a little shaky.  At first I was fine, but my unsteadiness became more apparent after a few mags in the .45 and then half a dozen with Glock 19, a .9mm.  But γνῶθι σεαυτόν, right?

After all the paper was dead, in hopeless tatters suitable only for recycling, I stopped at a parish in the region of the range and visited a priest friend, who did the civil.  Two things of note: the gigantic willow is in full spring curliness and  – alas I missed the pic – a spiffy male Cardinal landed in a nearby flowering crab apple tree, red against the white.


Click to change your reading habits once and for all.

More driving, while enjoying an audiobook reading of The Surgeon’s Mate, by Patrick O’Brian (read by Simon Vance) and some of the Twins @ Red Sox Game.

I explored a “Rustic Road”.  I don’t know if other states in these USA designate them too, but in Wisconsin, I was delighted to discover these short scenic tracks.  People who think they have something pretty special in their area can submit them to the state for this designation.  A map is HERE.


If only I could get a map to decent Chinese food in this state, I would be a happier man.

That said, having returned from my gasoline peregrination, I laid out appetizer and dessert. You may guess which is which.


Then fresh fettucine and a tomato and basil concoction, brightened up with lemon zest and some juice, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and olive oil.  Yes, pepper.


A fine day, wrapped up by a skype chat with a friend in Rome at the break of his dawn.

Finally, for my friends in Minneapolis SWAT (whom I thought of as I slew one target after another), I can’t resist sharing this which I saw on Facebook. HERE

Ah yes!

Who among us has not been here?

Indeed, sometimes we have a tough day or a string of tough days.

Eventually things will brighten up.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare, O'Brian Tags, What Fr. Z is up to and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Kudos for being such a good shot with your .45. If the concealed carry laws in your state permit, consider a smaller pistol, [smaller than a Springfield XD-S? That would be pretty small!] and then get a Concealed Weapon Permit. But you’ve probably considered this already. [Indeed.] Then there is the AR-15 — which could be useful on the Sabine Farm.

  2. Liz says:

    I’m glad your feeling better, Father. It makes all of the difference in the world.

  3. LarryW2LJ says:

    Fr. Z,

    I have never picked up a gun before; but going to a range seems like a fun thing to do. My fave is getting outdoors with a small battery operated transciver and making some contacts. Nothing like Amateur Radio in the great outdoors! [That does sound fun! What is in your “go bag”?] If you get the chance, may I recommend reading “Three Hundred Zeroes”, by Dennis Blanchard K1YPP? It’s about his account of his hike of the Appalachian Trail. It’s a good read and is available for the kindle.

  4. Frank H says:

    Sid, speaking of the Sabine Farm, it would appear, from the comments at the top of this entry, that Fr. Z has re-located his base of operations from the Sabine Farm. As a pretty close reader of this blog, I don’t recall any explanation or discussion of said re-location. Anyone know the circumstances?

  5. muchtall says:

    Leinie’s in hand, a giant willow near the parish rectory, and a lovely rustic road on the way back to the Cities. Sounds like the features of my hometown, Plum City.

  6. Komo says:

    Is that a Leinenkugel? One of my favorites (along with Schlafley’s in St. Louis).

    Nice group with the .45. I prefer the 9mm for CC, as the lower recoil equals better follow-up shots. [Not to mention 15 in the mag compared to 5.]

  7. Catholic Granny says:

    So glad to hear you are feeling better, Father. Thank you for the portrait of your fabulous day.

  8. wanda says:

    Nice grouping, Fr. Z.! So glad to know you are recouperating from the crud. Cooking, taking pictures and a leisurely drive, Fr. Z. feels better. Thanks be to God.

  9. codefro says:

    Beer, guns, and hummus Father! Best way to enjoy a day. :)

  10. Maltese says:

    The Glock 27 (.40, hollow point) is optimal, for CC, but I like the Ruger LCP, with a Uncle George’s holster–and just slip it into your pocket!

  11. O. Possum says:

    Fr. Z, just curious, do you wear your clericals when you’re out and about on days like this?

    Whenever I’m at the range or a shooting competition, I always think “how cool would it be for a Priest to show up in his Roman collar.” I guess it’s a weird thought, but I’ve always felt that seeing religious in their clericals in public is a good witness.

  12. Maltese says:

    I also have an AR-15 if the zombies come! But, of course, the best home defense weapon is a semi-auto shotgun. I would recommend two buck rounds followed by two slug rounds. For those of you unfamiliar with slug rounds: think of a projectile that can go through two car doors, and then two more car doors, and then two more car doors–they are frigging the chiznit!

  13. StWinefride says:

    Father Z says: Indeed, sometimes we have a tough day or a string of tough days. Eventually things will brighten up.

    Glad you’re feeling better, Father! And I’m glad you mention the above re tough days. One of the most important things in the spiritual life is to “know thyself”. Whenever I am ill or feel isolated and am unable to pray (for whatever reason), I don’t hesitate to use lots of Holy Water (blessed using the Traditional Rite of course) and make frequent signs of the Cross. Spiritual warfare is real and it’s not much spoken about these days. I know that I am more vulnerable at difficult moments i.e. it’s easy to become depressed or lose hope and the Evil one knows this and takes advantage. Making use of the Sacramentals I believe keeps the Evil one at bay – praising God too. A Traditional Priest once told me that chronically sick people should regularly sprinkle their bedrooms with Holy Water. And as Miss Anita Moore, O.P. says on another thread, when you do find a Priest who can bless water and salt using the Traditional Rite don’t hesitate to take many litres/gallons of water and a big box of salt and make frequent use of them!

    Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world”. 1 Peter 5:8-9

  14. Maltese says:


    Don’t forget king crab legs!

  15. Mary Jane says:

    So many cool things here to comment about. First and foremost, I am glad to hear you are finally feeling better, Fr Z!

    That fountain, unfortunately, I found pretty disturbing. Perhaps it is just the angle of the camera though. [Disturbing? Noooo. I’ll get a better shot soon.]

    Great shooting! The target, I took note, had a very non-human-like outline. At least folks won’t be complaining, will they? ;-) [There was a group of guys in security training at the range too. They had sheets with a scruffy looking ne’er-do-well. I took to drawing smiley faces with the sharpie I carry to mark my progress.]

    I just tried those new brown rice triscuits the other week – the tomato basil flavor, if you haven’t tried it yet, is fantastic. They taste like pizza, no kidding. Try topping them with some thinly sliced swiss or – even better – fresh mozzarella.

    Looks like you had a nice day out!

  16. Mike says:

    Fr. Z… what a great day your time off was!
    I like the Rustic Roads in Wisconsin! Although I don’t live there, my family owns a home in Door County on R9 along Lake Michigan and it is a “Rustic Road.” It is very nice in that it parallels the lake and is basically heavily wooded. It is simply beautiful. I used to spend great amounts of time in the summer there but now settle for a week or two there every year, two or three. I see you enjoyed a ‘Leinie’ after taking the dangerous paper to task. Great choice! We finally can have a taste of Wisconsin in the southwestern part of the country now.
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. acardnal says:

    I love these stories – and particularly the photos!

    I just purchased a new Glock 19 Gen 4 and will be taking it to the range next week. (It seems about the only way to acquire ammo these days is to purchase a gun and then ammo magically appears from behind the counter!)

    Do you use grips? I purchased some granulated grips from Talon for my Glock. [Not at this point. The regular grip is good for the size of my hand, which isn’t too huge. My 19 is a Gen 3.]

  18. OrthodoxChick says:

    Out slaying paper again?! Good for you!!! Glad to hear that you’re over the worst of the crud.

    [I have had it in for paper ever since I had to bring to a conclusion a correction with the IRS. They lost some of my paperwork. I, of course, had retained the little postcard they mail back when they receive registered mail. I always register everything I send to them and the practice has served me well. Blech. I hate paper. And its cousin cardboard.]

  19. Lucas Whittaker says:

    “Isn’t it amazing how much smaller your world becomes when you are ill? And how quickly?”

    How true. Indeed! I would like to ask those of you who are relatively healthy to pray in a special way when you are sick–and therefore keenly aware of our human limitations—for those of us who have chronic pain or illnesses. As I reflect on the parable of the Good Samaritan I see no better way to help the sick and suffering to bear their crosses than for those who are blessed with health to offer their smaller crosses for the good of their brothers, for the good of the many people whose world has been constricted by their pain or illness.

    I am in such a situation of chronic pain and I know that people such as myself need the prayers and offerings of others to bear the weight of this cross day in and day out; I would liken the experience to that of a nightmare from which one will never waken. It has been clear to me for years now that this reality of hurting is meant to be mine: that it is my call to love for the sake of others in need of comfort and of grace. But I have also been mightily aware that we never act alone but rather as members of the ecclesia. In my opinion, the call to holiness is one that we should take seriously at every turn of our day because by a mystery and mercy of God our cooperation with his divine Son allows us to act as real heroes each and every day by striving to live a life of authentic charity. Superman and the Marvel comic book heroes have nothing on the noble Christian man or woman who loves.

    The last time that I wanted to visit the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin with my wife we arrived too late to get in the doors of the church building. We checked into a motel room, but my pain forced us to leave for home before 10PM. Even Sunday Mass at our local parish is quite challenging for me. I was forced into retirement at age 32 and even in such a circumstance it is nearly impossible for me to find moderation in my day. And this situation will become progressively difficult as I age (I am barely 40 now). I know that I am not alone in my suffering. Rather, on behalf of others who bear such a cross I ask for prayers from those who might find it difficult even to imagine such a fate as the one that I describe here. Thank you!

    I usually change my view these days through the means of good books, typically on theology. I recently took a break from Balthasar’s trilogy to dive into the metaphysics of theism with St. Thomas, Contra Gentiles, and Norman Kretzmann. Pure joy!

    However, my wife and I used to own a small farm where I eradicated our gopher problem by means of a Ruger Vaquero 44 magnum handgun. I once put 2 of three rounds into one gopher from 50 feet.

    Regarding Wisconsin’s rustic roads: When I was working I spent much of my career as a farrier/blacksmith and a good number of my customers were over in Wisconsin. I think that it has Minnesota beat in terms of beauty and scenic roadways.

    I’m not a fan of beer, but I will take the beautiful sky and the weeping willow tree any day. The world is a marvelous gift!

  20. StJude says:

    Nice shooting, Father! And that pasta.. mmmmm that looks delicious.

    I travel all around Indiana for my job and I take the back roads… rural Indiana is beautiful right now.. flowering trees, green grass and farmers in the fields.

    [And Indiana recognizes the CCW licenses of every other state! Hoosiers are okay in my book.]

  21. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z, Lucas Whittaker mentioned this and I want to encourage you to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI; you must put that on your To-Do List. For nice scenery along the way, take the Wisconsin Great River Road from Prairie du Chien to La Crosse; it travels alongside the Mississippi River. [I’ve been there a couple times. Stunning! It is proof that, when we want to, we can build truly beautiful churches.]

  22. acardnal says:

    Here’s a link to Talon Grips in case you want to check ’em out some time.

    [Great! I’ll have a look. Let me know what you think of it.]

  23. nykash says:

    Nice shooting! I’ve yet to check out the XD-S… I’d really like a .45, but I’m current looking for something easily concealed with manageable recoil. My 9mm M&P is nice, but it’s a bit big.

  24. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Very glad to hear you’re doing better. I too have had a rough spell of it which seems to be coming to its close.

    My home state has a great series of Scenic and Historic Byways. Should you get to Denver any time soon, Fr. Z, I’d be glad to take you for a spin and some tasty brewed goodness.

  25. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z, one more recommendation. If you don’t have one of these get one! Easy loading of rounds into your magazines: LULU Uploader. HERE

    [Looks good. I don’t have any problems loading the little 5 single stack that the XD takes. But I have my eye on a Sig P220.]

  26. acardnal says:

    The LULU makes loading large mags easy, easy, easy. I don’t know of anyone who ever said a negative word. It has 5 Stars rating on Amazon, too. Will work just fine with a Sig P220.

  27. HeatherH. says:

    I must say, I do like the fountain. The statue could be better, but it is not bad, compared to the statue that used to be out front – though that may have been taken down before you came, Father. I do actually like it especially when framed by the fountain. The flowers in the courtyard make a great complement to the statue too, when they are in bloom!=)

  28. acardnal says:

    I just checked your WishList and bought the LULU Uploader for you, Father. You will love it. [Thanks! I’ll have to go get that Sig now! Too bad I can’t put that on the wish list.]

  29. Mike says:

    I forgot to mention in my previous comment, regarding your appetizer and dessert choices…

    QUESTION: Why is it, I ask if perhaps only rhetorically, they ‘they’ call small candy bars, “fun size,” anyway? What, honestly is ‘FUN’ about a little candy bar?

    ANSWERS: I don’t know… and…. NOTHING.

    [A great move by the “mad men”. On a similar note, consider how often we are told to something and that what we are asked to do is for our “convenience”. For example, when flying in economy, there are inadequate restrooms in the back of the plane “for our convenience”. I love that line. A masterpiece of manipulation.]

  30. philothea.distracted says:

    Thank you for sharing your view from the STPDV. From the monicker, I had envisioned something subterranean. I’m glad to see you up so high and getting some southern exposure! Feel better! [The origin of the reference in The West Wing is, in fact, subterranean. It pleaseth me to be facetious. I liken the ringing of the bells on the quarter hours to the steam banging in the pipes.]

  31. The Masked Chicken says:

    This is one post I can’t say much about, seeing as I am a semi-automatic illiterate where guns are concerned. Now, tactical lasers, that’s another story :) Did you know that you can buy a 1 watt laser that will fry a mouse at 30 feet for about 200 dollars? The manual is hilarious.

    [Chinese voice]

    ‘Ah, if accidentally stick arm in laser beam, disconnect laser with remaining arm.”

    {At least, that’s the way I heard about it]

    Did you know that, just like guns, there is a huge community of flashlight collectors? Some poor chap in England was begging the community for a suggestion for a flashlight that could be used as a weapon, since carrying defensive weapons in England is a crime.

    I am waiting for when Fr. Z. gets his ham license. It will add a whole new layer to the blog.

    The Chicken

    [Yes… okay… okay… I’ll get back to it.]

  32. acardnal says:

    (sic above) LULA not LULU is correct brand name

  33. mrsmontoya says:

    Thank you, Father, for the willow: “Nature’s first green is gold,” I haven’t before seen such a complete illustration of Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

    I’m glad you are feeling better also.

  34. philothea.distracted says:

    Ah, now I see. I’ve never watched West Wing. Facetious is good :)

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