Apologies to all for my “hiatus.” I have not been sick all this time (thankfully). Have however been rather busy at work, and felt very much a dry spell in terms of writing this. I didn’t have any good excluse like Jen F. who runs these who actually never missed one even though between two of them she had a baby (congratulations, Jen!). I do want this blog to work, so I hope to emulate her in the breadth of content and actually posting regularly. Cheers, Jen.
1. This Lent hasn’t “felt like” Lent for me, which is part of this whole non-posting-thing. Lent has always been my favorite liturgical season, and Good Friday my favorite holy day, etc., but this Lent has seemed all wrong. I have tried to give up meat and swearing, and been wilding more successful on the former than the latter. I swore Ash Wednesday morning, and it’s felt downhill since then. There was a work schedule snafu and I ended up ten minutes late for the 3.30 service at Church, and it was catered to kids (I love kids, but I don’t like when a service becomes a social event). There was nothing solemn about it and it’s been driving me nuts. I feel robbed of the beautiful darkness I’ve managed to experience in the last ten years, the solemnity, etc., and that’s a good part of why I think I haven’t been able to get out the first part of the Quixotic Catechesis, which I planned to be about the dark pit that drives Quijana to create Quixote.
2. But you know what I’ve figured out? Sometime in the last hour, when I firmly decided to post this, it struck me that this is my Lenten deprivation this year. I have quietly read the beautiful reflections Eva’s written at Theology of Desire (which I encourage anyone to read, because they are lovely, Eva!) and felt like I was missing something. I “used to have Lents” like that (where I’d realise how great a sinner I was, or how loved I was, or feel again how wonderful Christ’s sacrifice is and how little I deserve it). And this year I’m coasting along like nothing’s different or special about this time of year. Perhaps I will expand on this in a post, but briefly put, I think perhaps this is God’s clue to me to recenter on him, a reminder that I don’t have to “feel it” but to trust Him. I’m a lousy pray-er and I think he’s finally getting on my tail about it. So I guess it’s not such a “bad” Lent after all – what a gift.
3. On a funny note, we have a small menagerie here and this week our oldest pet, a slender black cat named Giselle, did something pretty funny. My youngest sister left her mug on the table after dinner (why she used a giant mug for ice water can be categorised into the realm of “It’s my favorite” mysteries), and our dog drinks cat water all the time (I wonder if it tastes better?), so Giselle, who’s getting up there at 14 I think hopped up onto the dining room table and buried her head in M’s mug and only stopped to come up for air until there were a few ice chips in the bottom. Luckily I little sister delivery services got my camera to me in time:
4. The other part of working more is that I’m actually getting promoted! This means a raise and also more hours (but flexible – less time running shifts but more checking in, inventory, standardising practices, etc.). I’ll be a “senior” worker, so I’ll still be buying and get commission, but I’ll also have some managerial responsibilities. I’ve only worked there since the end of January, so I’m proud of that. I’m also glad to be helping two stores run smoothly, because I think my poor boss is totally overworked (she does well, but it can’t be good for her health).
5. The ‘biggest’ near catastrophe during my hiatus has been that I almost bought a car. Now, when I finally came to my senses (and asked for my money and title back- eek!), the dealership offered a great deal, but I was so unnerved I turned it down (which, since I wanted a Toyota, Ford, or Nissan and somehow ended up test driving a PT Cruiser, I think was still a good decision). Now I’m trying to decide what to do about my car – it’s 11 years old, but it only has 62300K on it and gets good mileage… but deals like now aren’t going to be around when I get back from Russia… back and forth, back and forth….
6. It deserves more than a quicktake, but having been a bum about posting, I might as well stick it in. This week’s news has had some unfortunate announcements, like the funding of embryonic stem cell research. Briefly, I believe it’s wrong to create life (and yes, Bill Clinton, embryos are fertilised and, therefore, life) and then manipulate and destroy it for any ends, even noble ones like curing disease; the ends don’t justify any means. But rather than go off on it, I’m liking to a well-written WSJ op-ed on why funding ESCR isn’t depoliticising the issue.
7. And finally, something Easter-oriented. I don’t know who among you is familiar with the Ukrainian (and really pan-Slav, but begun in the Ukraine at the time of the pharoahs) dyed eggs, but I have finally gotten a clue about how to do them! Every now and then, we go to the Ukrainian Catholic church in my old town and the parish is wonderful, and they always invite us to things like their picnic and also egg-dyeing. Well, we went once in high school (and I think my family may have gone another time while I was in college) and basically, we were terrible at them! It’s basically a batik process, where you use wax to preserve whatever you want to keep the color, and then dye from light to dark. I think also having learned Photoshop helped, because you have to think in layers for that, too. So, my first good egg:
And then I scoured the internet for more patterns and info, and I found a great site by another Ukrainian Luba who’s been making these eggs (called pysanky (singular: pysanka)) for what must be her whole life. She has patterns and advice up and lots of it. I used one of her patterns (and her advice on revitalising dyes) to make this one:
Not perfect, but I’m good with this sort of thing in general (once I get the hang of it) and I’ve also learned that artwork and crafts, atleast, don’t have to be perfect, so I’m happy with them (esp. the latest, which I made yesterday).
So that is what I’ve been doing in my spare time this week… I think now that I have ‘figured out’ what’s up with Lent this year, I’ll be able to discipline myself more and get at Quixotic Catechesis. Thanks so much for your patience with me.
-the Rosy Gardener