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Lent Out of Shape

Today is Ash Wednesday.  I did not make it to a church to get ashes, because, well, I am not really all that good of a Catholic.  But Lent has always appealed to me.  For one reason, it is winter when it begins and spring when it ends.  What a symbol of rebirth and renewal!  I also like the idea of giving something up, although I have always been less successful in that area.

When I was a kid, I would give up something like gum or candy.  The somebody would offer me some and I would remember about Lent maybe a half hour later.  Damn! In those days, I considered myself a very bad person for using a word like “damn.”  When I got older, I found out you could do something extra instead, like read the Bible every day or pray a rosary.  Some years my Mom, sisters and I would go to church every day.  I love daily mass.  It is shorter and much quieter than the Sunday version.

I usually try to do something extra these years, usually reading the Bible every night.  I know, that is something good Catholics do every day of the year.  Did you miss the part in the first paragraph about my not being all that good of a Catholic?  One year recently I tried to give up coffee.  That did not work out at all, and I felt pretty bad about it.  I thought of trying again last year but was hesitant.

“For Lent, should I give up coffee or read my Bible every day?”  I asked my sister, Cheryl, when we were in church the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.  She  told me in her best stern older sister voice that I could and should do both.  I got a second opinion after mass from Father Abe, the pastor of the church.

“If it was me,” he said, “I would drink coffee while reading the Bible.”  What a brilliant man of God.

This year I wondered if I should do something different.  Then I saw this meme on Facebook:


I love that Pope Francis.

I said, “That’s it!  That’s what I’m doing!”

And now that I have been at it for a day, I’m wondering if I should not have just given up coffee.  Going down the list from top to bottom:

I don’t think I said any hurtful words, although I’m not sure so many kind words passed my lips as could have.

Whenever I started feeling sad, I tried to think of something to be grateful for.  Sometimes it worked, and sometimes I just thought of those unpleasant people who are always dictating to you to “Just be happy that…”  as if they never voice a complaint.

I don’t usually have an anger problem, but today something just kind of pissed me off.  And I thought about a few anger-inducing things that happened yesterday, too.

Pessimism and worries (I’ll put two at once, to try to save a little time)?  I direct your attention to the state of the world, although there are also myriad problems in my little part of it as well.

Complaints is one thing I really have tried to give up and let me tell you, no smoker or junky ever had a stronger addiction than mine to complaining.  I just can’t help myself!

Pressures?  Well, that’s hardly up to me;  pressure is exerted from outside!  OK, I guess not always, and I did feel a bit of pressure today, and increasing bitterness as I go down the list and see how poorly I’m doing at this (got another two-for-one there, didn’t I?).

Selfishness is something I didn’t think I indulged in a lot, but I guess it is selfish to complain all the time, isn’t it?

Oh, and regarding grudges, can you believe earlier today I remembered some so-called friend that did me wrong back in high school and realized that I am still mad about it.  What the hell, me?  How ridiculous can I be?

And finally, fast from words.  Well, this blog is now over 600 words, which is long-winded for me, so I guess I have not done too well in that category either.

On the brighter side, I didn’t have a Wuss-out Wednesday, did I?  Happy Ash Wednesday, all you Catholics out there, and Happy Wednesday to the rest of you.



Mid-Winter Wrist

Is it the Mid-Winter Blahs, the Mid-Winter Blues, or just a common or garden Wrist to Forehead Sunday? I’m hoping it’s the third one, because tomorrow it will not be Sunday any more, but winter will last at least a couple of months more.

In other words, anybody who was hoping for a post of any substance from me today is doomed to disappointment.

I was ambitious enough earlier to drive to Chadwicks for church with some members of my family, notably my most adorable year-old great nephew.  He was quite interested in pulling my necklace.  I had taken the precaution of putting on a long strand of fairly tough beads in case of just such an emergency.

It was a fine drive over Higby Road to Graffenburg (oh dear, I’m not sure if it’s Graffenburg or Graffenberg; another reason to make the wrist-to-forehead pose).  Bare roads, not too windy.  We went to Salvatore’s in Washington Mills for breakfast after church, so my drive home was all Higby.  Nice views.  One day perhaps I’ll have a camera and can share some of the sights I see.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that before church I did the dishes, often the extent of my Sunday ambition (if in fact my Sunday ambition extends that far; it doesn’t always).  I did not dry and put them away, of course.  Waste energy drying dishes?  That’s crazy talk!  Anyways, by that time I had to get ready for church.

And now I’m over 200 words.  Hmmm…. This seems to me more like a Scattered Sunday than Wrist to Forehead. No matter, in the blogiverse (you know, like universe.  I think I’ve gotten too big for the blogosphere), 200 words is 200 words.  Happy Sunday, everyone.


On Second Thought, It Was a Delightful Sunday

Sunday I woke up feeling down.  Regular readers may recall that I partied rather heartily (for my age) with friends on Saturday and may infer that I was hungover.  Since I did not spend Sunday in acute physical misery (or even moderate misery), I feel that I was merely tired and a little let down that I was no longer hanging out on my deck amidst laughter and love.

Fortunately for me, relieve was close at hand with members of my wonderful family, most particularly our newest member.  Steven and I drove into Chadwicks for church with my sister, Cheryl, her daughter Dana, Dana’s husband, Dan; and Dana and Dan’s delightful eight-month-old son, Shepherd.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, perfect for a drive through the country.  We set out up Higby Road, admiring the scenery.  I could not help contrasting the drive with another time I went out Higby Road, and the weather was against me (I believe I wrote a blog post about it).  We found the church with no problem.  Being my usual dithery self, I first pulled into the parking lot then decided to park in the street (point and laugh if you must; it made sense at the time).  As I was walking back up the church’s driveway, a car almost ran me down.

“Get out of the way, old lady!” my sister yelled.

“Oh just run me over,” I said.  “Then you can go in there and pray for forgiveness.”

Dana and Dan were surprised to see Steven and me, because Cheryl had not told them we were coming.  As for Shepherd, he is almost always smiling.

Not surprisingly, Shepherd is a pretty popular guy.  The pastor came over to say hello before mass, confiding that he loves Shepherd to pieces.  I saw two young boys a few rows ahead of us turn around and smile at him, pointing him out to their mother.  As for Shepherd, he smiled at everyone, making unintelligible but friendly remarks.

Church almost always gives me a good feeling, especially when we sing one of my favorite hymns, which we did.  I didn’t know any of the other hymns, but since I vaguely remember how to read music, I managed to sing along.

After church we went to Salvatore’s Italian Bakery and Bagel Shoppe in New Hartford for breakfast.  They offer a wonderful pizza fritta (fried dough, if you are sadly unfamiliar with the delicious Mohawk Valley treat) on Sundays, but I opted for an everything bagel with cream cheese, which turned out to be just what my stomach needed.  Steven got egg, cheese and bacon on a French toast bagel.  I was impressed by the amount of bacon on the sandwich and fascinated by the idea of a French toast bagel, which I had never heard of before. Dana had a bagel with cream cheese while Dan and Cheryl enjoyed sandwiches with ham, egg and cheese.  Shepherd shared a little of the egg from Cheryl’s sandwich, although he did not seem particularly interested (I think he was still hoping to munch down on the beads I was wearing around my neck).

After breakfast (and an unsuccessful attempt to sneak Shepherd into our vehicle), Steven and I headed back over Higby Road.  The views are even better going back towards Frankfort.  When you are at the top of the hill coming down, you can see for miles: farmland, trees, mountains.  Steven was happy I was driving, so he could look his fill.  I managed to enjoy the scenery while still keeping us safe.

I arrived home in very good spirits, although as the day progressed I felt tired, hot and unable to write (see yesterday’s post).  However, it had been a wonderful morning, and I hope to have another one like it soon.

Salvatore’s Italian Bakery and Bagel Shoppe is located at 9270 Kellogg Road, New Hartford, NY, phone number 315-737-5757.  They are open Tuesday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.


I Rummage in Middleville

My original plan for Saturday had been to get some work done around the house and just not worry about doing anything blogworthy. Then I saw that a rummage sale was going on at the Methodist Church in Middleville, NY. I’ve been to that rummage sale before. I love rummage sales.

Of course, after the flooded basement incident, I had vowed to purchase no more junk and get rid of most of the junk I still have. I don’t suppose anybody thought I was really going to stick with that. It might have been nice to fool them and do it, but so far, not so good. So I went to the rummage sale.

If nothing else, I like the drive out to Middleville. It is out Route 28, a road I don’t drive very often. A country road with lots of scenery. I like better for Steven to drive so I can spend more time looking at the scenery, but one can’t have everything. Steven had to work.

I found the church with no problem this time. Last time I had to ask directions at a convenience store. It’s not that it’s the least bit difficult a place to find, but I’m talented at getting lost. Before I went in, I saw a man walking a beagle and asked if I could pet it. He said sure, so I got to pet a nice dog, one of my favorite things to do.

It was the last day of the sale, but lots of stuff remained. I looked over the books but found nothing to tempt me. Likewise the clothes. I studiously walked by a stack of videos. Last year I brought a bunch of videos home from that sale, and we have yet to watch any of them.

Then on another table, I saw a stack of gardening books. Some were more interesting than others, but I couldn’t quite make up my mind. Then I thought, last day of the sale, really I’m doing them a favor by taking away the whole stack. So I did.

I also saw a pretty oil painting of a winter scene. We love art. I got it for Steven. A lady working the sale suggested I put my choices at the cash table while I finished my browsing. I also found a small zipper bag (useful in any number of situations) and a metal bell in the shape of a pumpkin. Can’t have too many Halloween decorations.

I got all that stuff for $2. What a bargain! I hope I haven’t added too much to the junk problem in my house. Perhaps I can work on the Get Rid of Stuff subsequently. I could even write a blog post about it.