23 February, 2015  |   Comment

Lent update. Day five.

Tween grapes.

This weekend, I volunteered in Nora Lea’s Sunday school. This to me is sacrifice. I’ve been parenting a heck of a lot more than usual. That hour of peace is golden. But, uh, tis the season of sacrifice. Ha.

The Sunday School at the church we currently attend is in the Montessori tradition — the “Atrium” or Catechesis of the Good Shepard. This is new to me. I’m from the popsicle stick Sunday school tradition of crafts and sour smelling coffee breath.

In this version of class, the kids have beautiful “materials” and do “work” and they’re silent and contemplative and I’ve never seen anything like it.

This week’s lesson was about the Maxims. And, well, it was exactly at my level. The teacher pulled out some tablets from a wooden case. Each tablet had a maxim on it and the kids talked about what each phrase meant to them.

My internal thoughts mirrored most of the kids’ reactions. She started with a doozy.

“Love your enemies.”

One little boy said, “I hate robbers – there is NO WAY I could love robbers.” My daughter named a boy on the playground who kicks her a lot and another girl joined in that he was her enemy too. I am embarassed to admit I thought about an evil old boss that is having a hard time finding a job. I thought about the secret glee I’ve taken in his struggle.

The teacher talked about ways to love our enemies – pray for them. Since I’m not quite at praying yet, I had to change it to words I could understand. To me that meant, “think good thoughts for them,” or “care about them as if they were your friend or family.”

Some more maxims from the day follow. I’m not going to give the bible quotation because seeing bible citations somehow makes my brain turn off. But as for citations, these all came from the bible and are all pretty good advice.

“Give when you are asked to give and do not turn your back on someone who wants to borrow.”
(It’s time to give. Somewhere.)

“Do good to those who hate you.”
(Hello Men’s Right’s Activists.)

“Always treat others the way you would have them treat you.”
(One of the ways I do this is when I don’t turn in my best work.)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust consume.”
(Clinging to a garagefull.)

“Say ‘yes’ when you mean yes and ‘no’ when you mean no.”
(This was the royal ouch! My flaking is seriously problematic, and if I took this one to heart, I’d have much stronger relationships.)

After Sunday School, we attended a fancy Academy Awards party at a swanky cigar shop and men’s club in Napa — my first real sober event where everyone was drinking. It was absolutely, no big deal. Three cheers for luxury! Three cheers for selfies!


22 February, 2015  |   Comment

Meal Plan, this week

Since I’m not posting on Instagram until Sunday, April 5, please enjoy my meal plan!
Meal plan, February 22

This week we have a fancy Oscar party, lots of meetings, Lego club, Lego class and Lego Lego. Lego, Lego, Lego.

20 February, 2015  |   Comment

Poetry Friday: A Late Aubade

A ruddy pear

You could be sitting now in a carrel
Turning some liver-spotted page,
Or rising in an elevator-cage
Toward Ladies’ Apparel.

You could be planting a raucous bed
Of salvia, in rubber gloves,
Or lunching through a screed of someone’s loves
With pitying head,

Or making some unhappy setter
Heel, or listening to a bleak
Lecture on Schoenberg’s serial technique.
Isn’t this better?

Think of all the time you are not
Wasting, and would not care to waste,
Such things, thank God not being to your taste.
Think what a lot

Of time, by woman’s reckoning,
You’ve saved, and so may spend on this
You who had rather lie in bed and kiss
Than anything

It’s almost noon, you say? If so,
Time flies, and I need not rehearse
The rosebuds-theme of centuries of verse,
If you must go,

Wait for a while, then slip downstairs
And bring us up some chilled white wine,
And some blue cheese, and crackers, and some fine
Ruddy-skinned pears.

Richard Wilbur (b. 1921)

Aubade: a poem or piece of music appropriate to the dawn or early morning.

19 February, 2015  |   8 Comments

This year, it’s 40 days of Oprahlent


Lately, I’m looking closer at religion. Ready to take control of my spirituality, not ignore it, I’m deciding for myself. My history with the stuff is complicated — whose isn’t? — and that resulted in me avoiding capital R Religion for most of my adult life.

But on the cusp of middle age, I’m ready. I look straight at Religion and decide where it squares with me. Starting with Lent.

I’m sure you know all about those studies where the act of smiling makes you happier. For me, it works. When I find myself getting in a grump, pasting the fakest smile on my face works wonders. Since I’ve had such success with the smiling method, I’m applying this logic to Lent. Much like smiling can put me in a better mood, I’m “doing” Lent, church and the whole suffering shebang to see if the spirituality will follow.

Mustard flower, yo.Yesterday I got ashes on my head and acknowledged I came from and will return to dust.

Church told me Lent is about sacrifice, reflection, forgiveness. I can get on board with all those things.

More specifically, church told me that these forty days are the time to sacrifice that which comes between God and me.

Since I’m not sure what God even is yet — much less what’s standing between us — I’m going to use the pop-culture, spiritual, self-help language I’m comfortable with instead of the religious, patriarchical language I’m not yet comfortable with.

Lent is when I sacrifice what comes between me and my best self.

Like a water stream... wait, I can't write this wayThe best self. It’s an Oprah word, but it applies here. It’s the me I was created to be. The me inside of me. The me that’s using all my gifts and talents for my specific place in the world. The best self is the me I want to be.

For Lent, I’m sacrificing three things for forty days. These things are coming between the best me and the me I am right now.

Two of the sacrifices I’m ready to share are giving up drinking alcohol and giving up Instagram.

My relationship to the both has become… just this side of problematic. It’s not a bad problem yet, it’s more like a habit that’s on the cusp of taking over.

How did I know? When asking myself what I should take a break from, both came up as the things I could never possibly give up. It made the decision easy. Since neither booze nor Instagram contributes to my best self, I’m giving them both up for forty days.

I love the notion of seasonality. I love that there are seasons for work (harvest), gratitude (November), celebration (Christmas), play (summer) and sacrifice (Lent) — not to mention atonement. So I’m trying it out. Seeing where it goes.

I’ll be checking in here periodically, with updates on both the “trying on” religion until it fits and Lenten sacrifice.

Are you giving up anything for Lent?

17 February, 2015  |   Comment

Linking Log

Happy Tuesday!
Links for your log!
Sausage links!
Happy Fat Tuesday!

This is the first year I’m trying on the more spiritual parts of Lent. So that means celebrating tonight with some tasty slow cooker BBQ for dinner. That link to that recipe is from 2007. Oy. That was eight years ago. That must mean it’s good.

Dorothy Jane in a bear mask

Last week, I wrote about some basics for food and wine pairing for a site called High 50 and although I know that it’s not an internet website for stoned fiftysomethings, I may have written the piece as if it were: http://www.high50.com/us/food/wine-pairings

Nora Lea in a bear mask

Speaking of wine you’ll also find weekly wedding, wine and wine country wisdom from me on the Monogamy Wines blog. My last two posts are about how I screwed up our wedding by being thoughtless and how to take the perfect Napa anniversary trip.

Meal plan close up

I rolled my ankle pretty bad. We’re 90% sure it’s not broken but I’ve been on a pretty aggressive “sit my ass down” program. This doesn’t bode well for meal planning, or the kind of busymaking that I fancy.

Outside of my own sweet-smelling toots of writing, I’m reading the following:
Mater Mea 
It’s a blog about mothers of color, and I learn something important every day. The editors, writers and subjects are doing a beautiful job of the storytelling this internet offers.

The Jungalow
I took a Skillshare class from Justina Blakeney a few years ago and the impact it had on our living space was gorgeous. Her blog always surprises me — in the best possible way.

6 Reasons to Observe Lent (even when you’re not religious)
I’m trying to get more in touch with the big out there (even if that big out there is made of nothing but bits of electricity). Tomorrow starts 40 days of some sacrifice and reflection. I’m eager to see what happens.

I feel like a baby when all I can do is sit

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