Tag Archives: atheist with a lenten promise

Photo (Good) Friday: Jellybeans, Chicken Hoo-Has, and the Resurrection

Last year, there was some crazy talk about a “War on Easter.”

As an atheist agnostic apathetic agnostic in need of a couple of Easter cards, I can’t say I would have minded a skirmish as I scanned the selection of cards at the grocery store.

I just wanted something cute and upbeat and not too “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” to include with the Easter candy I planned to send to my nephew studying abroad this semester. But the Catholic school girl inside me was actually a little shocked to find this:

Jellybean day? Seriously?

The term “Easter” doesn’t have anything to do with the resurrection, why should I have to give up saying Happy Easter? Christians should have to come up with another name for their celebration of the resurrection. But this card was just childish and ridiculous enough to make the care package cut.

This year I also needed a card for my Mom. I’m bummed she isn’t visiting for Easter this year per our usual tradition. Don’t worry, she mailed my Romolo’s chocolate to me…

“Jellybean Day?” No.  “Romolo’s Day?” Perhaps…

Anyway, since I won’t get to spend the holiday with Mom, I needed to find a card that conveyed just the right sentiment for Easter. Oh yeah, here it is.

As someone who’s had something (two things in fact) come out of her hoo-ha, I thought my Mom would appreciate the reminder on this most holy of occasions. Quite frankly, I just enjoy the hell out of the word “hoo-ha.” I was a fully formed adult before ever hearing this term (ironically, in reference to my Mom’s hoo-ha) and after I fell out of my chair laughing, I tried making up for lost time. I must have said “hoo-ha” 900 times that day. Here are a few more for you: hoo-ha, hoo-ha, hoo-ha.

At least this card says “Easter” and not “Jellybean Day.”

With my card selections complete, I started to wonder if American Greetings actually was engaging in a War on Easter. But fear not, only two slots away from the chicken hoo-ha card was this:

When I showed Dave the inside of this card, he said “and how much happiness is that?” Hmm, good question. Wishing you all the happiness of an unjust death sentence, followed by kinda, sorta, not really coming back to life. 

We’ll try to carry on as best we can without Mom. We’re headed for Willow’s Fish Fry tonight, then we’ll trek out to Wegmans to stock up for our Easter feast (ooh, date night at Wegmans. And I’m not kidding). I also plan on making Peeps ice cream (favorite Peeps Diorama contest entry below!). Is it wrong that I’m looking forward to chopping up Peep bunnies? What are your Easter Jellybean Day Decorated Chicken Hoo-Ha Expulsions Day plans?

Rebirth And Chocolate

I have a bit of a nostalgia problem. Also, once I experience something a certain way and like it, it’s “tradition.”

Growing up Catholic, Easter was, to use religious parlance, “a big fucking deal.” I still celebrate Easter with an enthusiasm completely out of proportion with my belief in its purpose…well, I celebrate the parts that are pagan in origin anyway.

Winters in Erie always kicked my ass. Skies were grey, air was frigid, days were short, snow was deep. Through the winter holidays, this weather could be charming. Like the time more than 20 years ago when my Mom and I drove home after seeing a play during the first snow of the season. The way the snow glittered in the lights as it fell took my breath away. Dreaming of a white Christmas and all that. Unfortunately, while I had no further need for winter after Christmas, it would hang around for several more months each year.

Living in this barren winter landscape, the other rebirth, Spring, was the most attractive part of Easter. Well, rebirth and chocolate I suppose.

In recent years, I have actually looked forward to Easter more than Christmas. And that’s saying something.

Why do I love Easter?

*Spring where I now live is lovely unlike the cold, yet snowless Christmases we get here (rebirth, blah, blah, blah).

*It’s an excuse to eat chocolate.

*I get to take vacation time without the hassle of going somewhere. At Christmas, we lose two days to travelling and have to pack the car with us, gifts, our crap, and a dog as if we were playing Tetris. At Easter, my Mom comes to us.

*Instead of making a bunch of different kinds of cookies and the dreaded buckeyes, all I make for Easter is this white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.

This is one of the few things that tastes mindblowingly good to me even though I had to make it. There is only one piece left right now and Dave’s entitled to it, and I’m near tears.

*Decorating for Easter takes about 5 minutes and involves this fabulous fiber optic light up Easter bunny. I don’t know about you, but this screams “Christ is risen” to me.

*None of that annoying gift giving crap. The only thing I have to shop for is chocolate. Here is a picture of this year’s Neuhaus Easter eggs.

*Easter is one of our Wegmans occasions and I love going there.

Thoughts on Easter 2011

The Peeps diorama contest (for some reason I feel the need to point out this is brought to you by the newspaper that broke Watergate) always helps me get into the holiday mood, and this year was no exception. My favorites never make the finals, I guess I’m not a good judge of art. My favorite is this take on Magritte.

Of course, how could I resist this Moses-themed diorama?

Mom came down on Wednesday and her job is to supply us with Romolo’s chocolate. Here’s what she brought this year. As you can see, we had to make due.

I have to give a shout out to the only grocery store Easter candy in our repertoire, Cadbury mini eggs. Maintaining my weight during Lent and Easter would be a lot easier if I didn’t know these things existed. I never knew about these until Dave’s Mom included a bag in an Easter care package she sent him the first year we were dating. We sat in the common room in my dorm and ate the whole bag in one sitting. I smell a tradition!

Seriously, about the smell? Ever notice how overpoweringly good the unopened bags smell? It’s intoxicating. I cannot buy these or open a bag without taking a deep breath and moaning with pleasure first.

In other chocolate news, I was super excited about this Easter bark from Romolo’s, milk chocolate studded with colored mini marshmallows and malted eggs, but the reality didn’t live up to my expectation. The marshmallows got stale.

I broke down and bought The Ten Commandments on Blu-ray. The gift set is awesome. The box splits open in the middle, parting like the Red Sea to reveal the discs stored in a replica of the Ten Commandment tablets and several extras.

Unfortunately, we only made it to intermission. We got a late start watching the movie, and it was almost midnight by the time we finished the first disc. We gave up, so the slaves didn’t get freed this year. Oops. I blame Lifetime. We simply were unable to turn away from the horror of the movie about Prince William and Kate Middleton.

I had to work on Easter Monday, which is NOT tradition. I like to have all of the named days off (OK, I don’t usually take off Maundy Thursday, even though I love saying Maundy). So we decided to have Easter dinner on Saturday and then go out to a fancy brunch on Easter. There was a buffet of appetizers and dessert, plus a choice of entree and side. The food was fabulous. That plus the ridiculous cost of the brunch encouraged me to eat myself sick (unfortunately, literally).

The weather was nice enough over the weekend to sit on the front porch, which I hardly ever have time to do even though it is one of my favorite things. I sat in my rocking chair, ate chocolate, sometimes read my mindless book, other times just watched over my neighborhood like the old lady I am while listening to Dave play the bean song on his guitar (it’s a real song that he plays over and over. Since I’m not familiar with it, I made up my own lyrics about beans).

Mom and I went shopping on Thursday (Maundy!) and I was pleased to find that I’ve gone down a size. This is almost certainly due to the discipline I had over Lent in reducing grains and sugar. We have a ton of chocolate left. I’m going to eat it. Uh-oh.

What are your Easter traditions? Do you have any chocolate left?

You Shall See Hail Fall From A Clear Sky

Watching the epic movie The Ten Commandments is one of my favorite parts of celebrating Easter. And though I have it on DVD, I have to suffer along with the Hebrew slaves by sitting through all 284 minutes of the ABC telecast each year. It’s tradition.

Yes, I know the movie is actually about Passover, but I associate it with Easter. ABC started airing it every year on Easter the year I was born. So I literally grew up with it as an Easter tradition.

Cecil B. DeMille knew how to make a biblical movie entertaining. Well, at least the first part. Before everyone finds out Moses is a Hebrew, it is like a rollicking family sitcom. Let’s play Hounds and Jackals and tease Rameses about who is going to be the next Pharaoh!

And the actors aren’t kidding around either–they are acting. Even the stoicism is over the top. And I love how campy Anne Baxter as Nefretiri is (“oh, Moses, Moses, Moses!”).

This is not a bad representation of how I think of this movie:

The movie’s many great lines became part of my family’s lexicon. When you exasperated someone in my family, they were likely to respond with a tired “Moses, Moses…” a la Yul Brynner’s Rameses at the 25 second mark.

Then there’s the excessive use of the word bondage. One year I counted, and surprisingly only got a total of 18. If you want to get really good and blitzed, you’ll need another drinking game, because bondage isn’t going to get it done alone. May I suggest drinking whenever someone says “Moses?”

As I got older, I started to get more frustrated with the inefficiency of the Moses plan for freeing the Hebrew slaves. Dude, Sethi’s about to name you as his successor and your hot girlfriend killed the only other person who would dare tell that you are a Hebrew. You got this!

But nooooo….

Moses gotta do it the hard way…after what might be film’s most ill-conceived revelation scene. What a waste of a perfectly good cover-up murder. I’m really supposed to believe that Nefretiri would crumble so easily?

Moses says, “Gee, I wonder what happened to old Memnet.”

And Nefretiri is all, “OK, I give up, I killed her!”…“Oh yeah, and you’re a Hebrew.”

My alternative plan? Moses keeps his mouth shut, succeeds Sethi as Pharaoh, gets it on with the throne princess, and frees his people. Or maybe institutes a system of paid employment, because someone needs to build cities in Pharaoh’s honor. The best part of my plan is it would yield a movie whose length won’t make your ass fall asleep.

I also need to make a confession. Each year, I root for Rameses more and more. Look, I get it. Rameses-bad, Moses & I Am That I Am-good.

But Yul Brynner kicks ass! He keeps the movie entertaining after Moses finds God and, let’s face it, becomes a humorless, sanctimonious ass. Even his wife can’t stand him anymore. When Nefretiri comes to save Moses’ first born, she meets his wife Sephora, and is clearly jealous of her. And Sephora basically says, “bitch please, you ain’t missing anything.”

Rameses says cool stuff like “so let it be written, so let it be done.” He has rational explanations for the plagues (at least until the last one anyway). And he amuses me when he finally gives in and frees the Hebrew slaves. He just wants Moses out of his face. And by this point who wouldn’t? Moses never shuts up. So Rameses says, “You’re free, go away.” But Moses proceeds to make the s-l-o-w-e-s-t exit ever, with more of his infernal talking. And Rameses’ look is saying, “Oh My God(s), did I not just tell you to leave?”

It’s also tradition to talk to the TV when the freed slaves throw a kegger for the golden calf. I always warn them–just wait until Moses comes back with God’s law and sees what you’re doing. He’s going to be so pissed! But they never listen.

Oh well, they always reach the promised land in the end. (Spoiler!)

Will you watch The Ten Commandments this year? Do you have a favorite movie that you watch over and over again?

Playlist Week 10: Never Let Me Slip, Cause If I Slip, Then I’m Slippin

I’m challenging myself to get through a whole shuffle of my music collection on my iPod without skipping. Then I write about what I heard each week.

I didn’t get through many songs this past week since I only worked three days. I took some vacation time for a visit with my Mom and to go to the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament (CBS and the NCAA want me to call these the “second and third” rounds now that there are more play-in games, but I hate change) at the Verizon Center. The two Butler games that we saw were very exciting. And I’m not going to mention how adorable Brad Stevens is because that gets on Dave’s nerves.

The title of the post this week comes from “Nuthin But A G Thang” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. As a metro commuter, I don’t get a chance to drive much. But recently I had to drive to a friend’s house and got to rock out with Sirius on the way. I heard several great songs during that drive including “Nuthin’ But A G Thang.” I also heard Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” from the very beginning and was overly excited about it. That song came out during my sophomore year of high school and over 20 years later I still remembered most of the words, right down to “Yo Teddy, kick it like this.” Maybe I’ll download that song after the shuffle is over, you know, if I feel like it (I mean, I made this money, you didn’t, right Ted?). Hopefully I sounded a little better than this guy singing…

One of my favorite lines in “Nuthin But A G Thang” is the one from the post title, you know, about the slipping. When I googled the lyrics to make sure I had the line right, I found someone who called this line one of the worst in rap. I disagree, I think Dre has deeply and profoundly captured what happens to me when I allow myself to slip on something difficult. One slip, then I’m slipping, so I can’t let myself slip. This is deep, know what I’m saying? OK, I’m just very amused by this line.

So how is my sleep challenge to be in bed by 11pm going? It’s a good thing I don’t believe that doing this as a Lenten promise will get me closer to God because I’m failing (I guess I should say slippin). Almost two weeks in and I haven’t been in bed by 11 once. The first two nights I was in bed before midnight, which is a vast improvement over my usual bedtime, but lights out was basically my usual time because I messed around on my iPad for awhile. I had hoped that physically being in the bed would make it easier for me to give in to the exhaustion and go to sleep, but apparently not. The siren call of the brightly screened electronics is very seductive. Then I had to work late a lot to prepare for the vacation time and reverted right back to carving an evening for myself out of my sleep time, so I’m back to 1am again.

I hoped to get back on track during my vacation time, but with Mom visiting and late nights watching basketball, and the ability to sleep in since I didn’t have to work, I’ve been staying up just as late as before vacation and I’ve been getting out of bed later. I go back to work tomorrow and I’m going to try moving my alarm clock so that I can’t turn it off without getting out of bed.

Here is the weekly playlist summary:

* Songs listened to this week: 71

* Completed: 47%

* Number of double or triple shots: zippo

* Percentage of songs that came up during running that were so totally not helpful in motivating my running: 14%

The song “Starship Edelweiss” was very motivating to my running, except for when it made me start laughing.

Speaking of laughing while running, there was also Ween’s “Fat Lenny.” I almost used the line “Fat Lenny knows what it is to be Fat Lenny,? ’cause he’s Fat Lenny” as the post title this week.

* Song that disproves my assertion that I don’t like Peter Gabriel-era Genesis songs that I haven’t heard Phil Collins sing: “Dancing With the Moonlit Knight” At least I don’t have any memory of ever hearing Phil sing this.

* Number of songs that I’m so totally deleting:  at least 1 (LL Cool J “Cheesy Rat Blues,” I did NOT have to rip all of Mama Said Knock You Out)

* Random memory:  The Judybats “All Day Afternoon”

I don’t exactly remember when I first tried running, but I know I ran off and on in college. The Judybats’ Pain Makes You Beautiful CD fueled many a happy run and walk along the river from campus to Genesee Valley Park.  Occasionally there would be a sunny pleasant day and listening to this while being outside would make me happy. The weather on Friday this week was so lovely and running that morning reminded me of those sunny days in fall and spring during college.

I Gets No Sleep*

Getting more sleep was my key goal for 2011. Here’s an update…not so much.

If anything, my sleep deprivation might be worse so far in 2011 because there’s just so much that I want to do. Like I said in my year-end post, I resent the small amount of free time I have so I just steal hours from my sleep. Recently, what’s been worse than the stubborn drive of mine to stay up is the sheer inertia of my exhaustion. I’m not even actively choosing to still be awake anymore, I am just too tired to move from the couch downstairs to the bed upstairs. Listen to how messed up that is–too tired to go to bed.

Part of the problem is the winter running group I joined to help keep me motivated to train for a 10 mile race in April. I did this last year too and I forgot about how much it messed with my sleep schedule. Every Saturday since mid-January, I’ve had to get up earlier than I want to–about as early as I get up for work. Getting up early six days in a row means that I sleep like the dead on Saturday night. Like snooze 4 or 5 times without being aware of it deep.  I get up really late on Sundays and then have trouble getting to sleep on Sunday night and thus start off each week already sleep deprived. You would think after 9 weeks of this (and 16 weeks last year) I would have figured out a way to get a handle on this, but apparently not.

I’m pulling out the big guns on this sleep issue…LENT. While I’m sure the Pope would excommunicate me if he was even aware I existed (I am Satan, you know!), there are certain things that stay with a person after 14 years of Catholic school. One of those things for me is the Lenten promise. I’ve long since passed the time that the fear of God made me do this, but for some reason I have better willpower to do difficult things during Lent.

So a few years ago I decided to take advantage of this situational willpower of mine. Since then I have given up fried foods, TV (!), and dessert (twice!) for Lent, all successfully. Two years ago, I tried sleep for my Lenten promise and not once did I go to bed by the appointed hour of 11pm (or even by midnight). My sleep problem is a pesky little bitch.

But I’ve had enough. I’m so tired lately that my executive functioning is noticeably off. I’m exhausted yet wired all at the same time. I give my best hours to work, so that means it’s really my personal life that is suffering the most and that’s not acceptable.

Given the recent difficulty I have had physically getting myself to the bed from the couch where I’m entrenched with my entertainment, my Lenten plan this year is simple. Each day during Lent my goal is to be in bed at 11pm. I’m not saying lights out, I’m saying physically in the bed. So as long as I am in bed, I can read, screw around on the iPad, or do anything else that can be done in bed (!) after 11pm. If I start getting groggy like I have been, rather than having to forklift my ass off of the couch and go all the way upstairs, I can just close my eyes and drift off to dreamland.

NOTE: I’m finishing this post around 11:10pm, so already you can see how fantastically this is going. Love the irony of breaking my Lenten promise on day one because I was writing a blog post about my Lenten promise. Oy vey!

*title comes from ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless, which ironically came up on my iPod shuffle last night during my run