Thursday Thoughts

Yesterday following Bill’s boxing class, we went to Ash Wednesday Mass, where we listened to one of my favorite gospels — St. Mark’s gospel about Jesus asking us to not be like the hypocrites who brag about their prayer and fasting. Every year, as I leave the church with the big ash cross on my forehead, I wonder if I should leave it on like the nuns instructed me to do as a child, thereby declaring my Christian faith, or wash it off so as not to be like the hypocrites. This year the answer was simple, as it was gone by time we made it to Los Favoritas for their delicious fish tacos.

This year, my Lenten penance is to refrain from eating between meals, saying a daily rosary, and leaving the table before I’m full. Bill suggested he might give up Diet Coke, but then backpedaled, probably thinking that having Parkinson’s is sacrifice enough.

Fat Tuesday
You might recall that we had our Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) celebration a week or so ago, but we couldn’t let the real Fat Tuesday pass without some sort of celebration. We shared our Fat Tuesday with Jen and her granddaughter Lilly at Andy’s Frozen Custard, where we all enjoyed ice cream treats…..

Stop Smoking Now 
This photo came across my Facebook feed this past week, and I found it to be quite astounding. Apparently Rolling Stones singer Keith Richards has quit smoking, and the change in his health and appearance is astounding…..

He really might live longer than Betty White. Kids, stop smoking NOW.


Thursday Thoughts

Where’s the Beef?
Yesterday Bill and I celebrated Valentine’s Day by going to morning Ash Wednesday Mass which included receiving ashes on our foreheads, and then eating a decidedly un-Valentiney lunch (at least for Bill) of fish tacos. Not eating meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent is absolutely no sacrifice for me. However, Bill struggles a bit more with the no-meat thing. He did seem, however, to enjoy his fish tacos. He announced Tuesday night that he was giving up sweets for Lent. Now THAT, my friends, is big for him. His enormous sweet tooth will make that a sacrifice, indeed.

Wash Your Face
Every year after Bill and I receive our ashes, we disagree on how long to wait before we wash our face. In elementary school, I was instructed that I should proudly wear the ashes all day long, thereby proclaiming my love of God and willingness to sacrifice. Bill always removes his ashes immediately, citing the gospel in which Jesus tells us not to be like the hypocrites who act like they’re holy but aren’t. Yesterday I found myself agreeing with Bill. In the Gospel from Matthew, Jesus said, “But when you fast, anoint your head and WASH YOUR FACE, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden.” Boom. I promptly washed my face when I got home.

Eating Sausage
After eating dinner last week at the German restaurant, I have been craving sausage. I ordered (and ate) the knackwurst and it was delicious. But my favorite sausage (well, next to bratwursts, which will always be my MOST favorite) is landjaeger, a sausage with the texture of a hard salami. I began thinking about where I could find landjaeger. Suddenly it occurred to me that you can get anything from Amazon. Sure enough, they had landjaeger. I ordered it, and thanks to my Amazon Prime membership, received the sausages yesterday. I wanted to tear them open immediately, but see above. Ash Wednesday. I will indulge later today, with my Dad watching me from heaven…..

Laser Hot
The other thing that I ordered was one of those cool laser thermometers. Usually Bill is the one who orders cool high-tech things, but I take full credit for this particular item. My oven at our AZ house is highly unreliable, and I read on the internet (so you KNOW it’s true) that those laser thermometers are the most accurate way to know how hot your oven is. We’ll see.

Black and White
I just finished a very good book entitled The Woman in the Window, which I will review soon. As part of the plot, the main character watches old movies, and they are described in great detail. In particular, the author talked about a movie entitled Laura, starring Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Dana Andrews, and Vincent Price. I had never heard of it, and learned from Wikipedia that it had been named as one of the top 10 mystery movies by American Film Institute. I checked the public library, and sure enough, they had a copy available. I watched it on Tuesday. I really enjoyed it, mostly because I really love old movies. But Gene Tierney, an actress with whom I was unfamiliar, was exceptionally beautiful and reminded me of my mother…..

Something about the eyes (though admittedly, I never saw my mother wearing false eyelashes). The music, particularly the title song, was amazing……

Vincent Price, however, has the worst southern accent I have ever heard.


Thursday Thoughts

Early Birds
Our gang visiting from Denver left early yesterday morning, and when I say early, I mean EARLY. Their flight took off at 5:30 a.m. They spent the night before in a hotel near the airport, and had the alarm set early enough to catch a 4 o’clock shuttle. They landed safely. The plan, then, was that Dave would catch a different plane to take him to Las Vegas for a (cough) work meeting. The four kids would run home and change clothes and grab lunches and backpacks and go to school. What’s more, Addie has one of the leading roles in her school musical playing last night. I wasn’t a bit concerned that she would be too tired to remember her lines, because I’m confident she will not only remember HER lines, but will also remember EVERYONE ELSE’S lines. I was mostly concerned that her singing voice would be croaky from exhaustion. As of the time I wrote this post, I haven’t heard how she did.

I Can’t Make Up My Mind
One of the places we took our family to eat is Oregano’s, because it’s one of our favorite restaurants.  We had a wonderful time and enjoyed the pizza and other Italian goodies very much. The food server did her duty, and told us about the dessert offerings, which are a variety of what they used to call pazookies, but for some sort of trademark reason, had to change the name to pizza cookies. These are partially unbaked cookies, served warm with ice cream. I began playing a game with Addie, and wasn’t paying attention, and when I looked up, this happened……


Dagny loves all animals, but especially is intrigued and drawn to insects. From the time she was a little girl, she has said she wanted to be an entymologist. She will literally pick up an insect that’s made its way into the house and carry it carefully in her cupped hand to the outdoors and to safety. She was horrified last summer to see me step forcefully on a wasp that had landed on our patio. A wasp. But apparently no one told the bee about Dagny’s love of insects, because at the baseball game on Tuesday, Dagny went to pull her hair back from her face and got in the way of a bee that was flying near her face. The bee stung her, and Dagny’s heart was broken. It hurt, darn it. The nerve……


Bill and I started out our Ash Wednesday (and the entire season of Lent) by attending Mass, which included the distribution of ashes. Catholics love Ash Wednesday. Oh, I don’t know if they particularly like the part about not eating meat and fasting, but they love getting those ashes. So the church was crowded. Afterwards, Bill and I were heading straight to Chandler to visit my sister-in-law who is in the hospital following an accident at work, and had the whole should-we-leave-them-on-or-take-them-off discussion regarding the ashes. Bill is in the remove-the-ashes camp, as the Ash Wednesday gospel clearly tells us not to be like the hypocrites and to pray and fast and do penance quietly. I, on the other hand, always keep my ashes on because, well, the nuns told us to. We landed on the remove-the-ashes side, however, as we didn’t think everyone in the hospital needed to be staring at us. After our visit, we went for lunch where I forgot it was a day of fasting from meat and ordered a meat-laden salad. My penance for yesterday was picking meat out of an antipasto salad.


40 Days

I have barely put away the Christmas wrapping paper. I mean that. Just the other day I put the last roll of wrapping paper bearing the images of reindeer and Santa into my bedroom closet (which is the Place Where Everything That Doesn’t Belong in the Garage Goes to Live).

And here it is – Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. The first of 40 days and 40 nights (or so) of sacrifice and prayer in preparation for Christ’s death and resurrection. Put away my Christmas stuff, give a brief shout-out to Valentine’s Day, and start crocheting bunnies, all within about a two week period.

Every year (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning) I give great thought to how I’m going to live my Lent. From the time I was a little girl of 7 (the so-called Age of Reason in the Catholic Church), I have “given up” something to show God how deeply appreciative I am of Christ’s sacrifice. Because not eating chocolate and dying a painful death on the cross are so much alike.

As a little girl, I always gave up desserts. That actually wasn’t that much of a sacrifice since Mom rarely made us dessert and we always gave ourselves Sundays off. As Charlie Sheen would say, “Wow. Winning.” But that wasn’t as bad as the year that Court, probably about 10 at the time, announced he was giving up chicken for Lent. He didn’t like chicken then and isn’t a big fan now. I put the nix on that idea very quickly. That was probably the beginning of Court’s spiritual plunge.

I love the gospel of St. Matthew read at Ash Wednesday Mass.

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door. And pray to your Father in secret. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance so that they may appear to others to be fasting. When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you may not appear to be fasting.

imagesIt gives me pause, and the reason is that I always wonder if I’m being a hypocrite when I start talking about what Big Thing I’m going to do for Lent. Perhaps I should just keep it to myself.

But I write a blog, and I’m certain you are all interested.

I recently read something on Facebook which said something like could you live in a cabin in the woods for 30 days with no access to your phone, your computer, your television, your iPad, or any other type of technology.

Pfff, I thought. Of course I could. As long as I can read a book, er, on my iPad. And as long as I can check Facebook every day (well, a few times a day). And as long as I don’t have to miss Downton Abbey or American Idol.

Ok, so maybe I couldn’t do it for 30 days, but maybe I could do it for one day. One day a week. One day a week for five weeks.

So, that’s my challenge. I am giving up all technology one day a week for Lent. I will post my blog on the Day of No Technology, but will then shut off my computer until the next morning. And my phone. And my iPad (except to read since all my books are ebooks).

And no sweets, every day, even on Sundays. For old times’ sake.