Sunday, April 22, 2007

Grown-up Choices

Last night a dear friend called to tell me that she, husband, and godchild were trying to plan a trip out West to see us. Unfortunately, their visit will only be with me, as The Rev. will be busy becoming an expert in the conjugation of irregular Spanish verbs by the time they arrive. On the upside, we will applaud The Rev.'s fortitude with a margarita salute. I also promised Stephanie that I would not make them work on my house when they were here.

As we said our good-byes I said, "Well, I have to run, I am making popcorn for dinner and washing it down with root beer."

"Sounds good."

"Yeah, my secret is the stick of butter I melt and put on it after it comes out of the kettle."

So, The Rev. and I had popcorn for dinner and I ate a strawberry shortcake today for lunch. Coming from a family that believed in the sanctity of three square meals a day, I chart this one up to a genetic aberration. It was homemade shortcake and I will balance it with a salad for dinner. Maybe.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Champagne Friday

It has been two weeks since Easter, and The Rev. and I actually spent an entire 24 hour period together. Because two sets of hands are better than one, we set about demolishing the other spare bedroom. He scraped the nasty popcorn texture off of the ceiling and replaced it with a flat texture. We painted and hopefully, he can get the trim installed this weekend. I only slopped paint in a few corners of the room, and I consoled my much neater husband with the promise of laminate flooring by the end of the year. Whether we will be able to do so, I don't know, but it kept him from moaning that I stepped in paint and tracked it in concentric circles around the room. The dog only got paint on one ear this time. The computer has been disconnected for a week, and today is the first day I have been able to read my brain candy websites and write.

It has been really busy for us, as the realization that The Rev. will be leaving to spend 3 months in Mexico in less than a month has caused us to kick into a frenzied list making mode. The supply checklist (pack enough undies) and the financial checklist (don't forget to pay the mortgage, don't buy a new car) are but a few of the many that are nagging our attention.

We have managed to keep Friday evenings open, and we began the tradition of drinking champagne on Friday afternoons. It has become the highlight of our week, and every Friday morning I get up and punch The Rev. in the arm and ask, "Do you know what day it is?" and then I don't even let him answer because I start crowing "It's Champagne Friday!" Like "Eureka, I just discovered plutonium!" I will probably suspend such celebration while he is gone, you can call it my champagne Lent, but you can bet I will be popping one open when he returns on August 18th, even though I think that is a Saturday.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

As I sit at my desk, the marine layer is creeping in, uncurling foggy tendrils of gray mist. As the gray blanket settles, my brain begins to switch gears from mentally checking off the items on my to do list to preparing for the service this evening. I will get up from this desk soon, and change out of my blue jeans and put on a dress, a black one, because isn't it proper to wear a black dress to a funeral?

O dearest Jesus, what law hast thou broken,
that such sharp sentence should on thee be spoken?
Of what great crime hast thou to make confession?
What dark transgression?

As I sit at my desk, I think about why Good Friday has always held special meaning for me, and how it has become more dear to me the as the years have passed. Christmas, a birth and a promise of life. Easter, a rebirth and a promise of life everlasting. Good Friday, though, is all about death. The death of Jesus. The death of God. The death of my sins, all taken away by one man's willing sacrifice, a lamb without blemish or defect. God knows the creation in his image are visual learners, and what greater sacrifice can be shown, what more dear object lesson can be summed, than to point to the cross and echo John, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!" But I know that more often than I would care to admit, I am not a believer pointing at the cross, echoing the man who ate locusts and wild honey, I am a Peter; I am a Pilate; I am a Pharisee. My god is no longer a lamb, but a golden calf: worldly posessions, a pet sin, guilt, hatred, anger, discord.

Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish?
It is my sins for which Thou, Lord, must languish;
Yea all the wrath, the woe, Thou dost inherit,
This I do merit.

At this desk I think back to a Good Friday nearly twenty years ago and I remember my father being moved to tears at the evening service. I remember sitting in the backseat of my parent's car, waiting for my father to finish locking up the church and my mom commenting, "Your father really loves his Lord, you know." It was dark and I couldn't see her face, but it was a comment that she just said, and it hung there with some gravity before my father came back and drove us home. I had faith, but I had no appreciation for it. My parents had both been through enough in their lifetimes to have an appreciation for their's.

What punishment so strange is suffered yonder!
The shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander;
The Master pays the debt His servants owe him,
Who would not know him.

At my desk I can look out the window and see a rose bush. It is loaded with yellow flowers, some at full maturity, petals dropping with the onset of early death, but there are hundreds of buds, promising a season of showy glory. The Rev. pruned it to a nub last fall, and I was sure he had killed the plant, but lo and behold, I was wrong. Good Friday is about death, but I am thankful it does not end there. I am thankful for the showy glory of the angel on Easter morning and for the subtle presence of Christ at the tomb, so subtle that even his own followers did not recognize him. I can only imagine the joy leaping from their hearts into their faces as they realize what they are witnessing, and as I drive to church tonight, I will think and ponder about the coming weeks and how I too can show that joy and love and excitement.

Whate'er of earthly good this life may grant me,
I'll risk for thee; no shame, no cross, shall daunt me.
I shall not fear what man can do to harm me
Nor death alarm me.

And when, dear Lord, before Thy throne in heaven
To me the crown of joy at last is given,
Where sweetest hymns Thy saints forever raise Thee,
I, too, shall praise Thee.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Easter Candy

I bought some jelly beans for the niece and nephews arriving this weekend and marvelled at how some things about Easter change and some don't. Toys for baskets are certainly more sophisticated, but Brach's still makes those disgusting soft marshmallowy eggs that taste like chemicals, and PEEPs, well, I am sure they still explode in the microwave. I bought Cadbury eggs in a nod to my father, but I passed on the Reese's peanut butter eggs. After eating organic peanut butter for so long, I don't think the filling of the Reese's egg qualifies as real peanut butter, more like the Velveeta cheese of the peanut butter world--pasteurized processed cheese food. Just look at the label next time. It's right there.

When I got home I realized that The Rev. and I have inadvertently begun marking the passing of time and seasons by the candy that is in our candy dish on our coffee table. He had to pry the Christmas ribbon candy out of it, rinse the sugar residue out with hot, soapy water, and then dry it so the jelly beans wouldn't stick together. I have a feeling that those jelly beans are going to be in there for awhile. As we are about to enter a no man's land for holiday themed candy, I am willing to bet that those jellybeans will by pryed out of there around October, just in time for Halloween.