Random Thoughts: Bread

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​​I’m really not supposed to be eating that much bread, if any at all. But bread is….delicious. In all its forms and varieties. Not croutons. Croutons are delicious, but they are most certainly not bread, a discussion I recently had on Twitter with Alyssa Mastromonaco and also with my therapist. Croutons are croutons. 

I should really be eating oatmeal for breakfast, oatmeal with cranberries, but I’m waiting for a ride, and I didn’t think I had time to make and eat oatmeal and of course, a cup of tea with the oatmeal because what’s the point of boiling the water for oatmeal and not having some for tea, so instead I had some toast. With butter. I usually like cream cheese, but we have Kerrygold Irish butter left from St. Patrick’s Day’s Irish Soda Bread, so I’m using that on my plain old wheat toast.

Sometimes I’ll have another piece of toast, which I shouldn’t have in the first place, because the butter (or whatever’s on it) tastes so good, so I’ll want a little bit extra. Since I’m not supposed to have the bread, I think maybe I should just take a spoon and have a little extra butter with or without jam, and now I’m realizing that I should have put jam on the toast and with the butter, but I didn’t, and I’ve already had too much bread that I can’t go back for more.

Should I just eat the butter then? Would that be better than the extra slice of toast? Or would that be worse than the bread? Worse, I think.

Ah well, breakfast is over, and my ride is on their way.

Sixth Anniversary of Pope Francis

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Click to visit an article on Pope Francis’ coat of arms and motto. He kept both coat of arms and motto from his time as Cardinal with the addition of papal symbols. MISERANDO ATQUE ELIGENDO translates to “he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him” from a writing of St. Bede. All Rights Reserved, Vatican and Pope Francis. (c)2019

Jorge Mario Bergolio was chosen as the 266th Pope after Pope Benedict XVI resigned his position of Pope in 2013. Jorge was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1936 to Mario and Maria Bergolio. He had four siblings: two brothers, and two sisters. 
Cardinal Bergolio chose Francis as his papal name after St. Francis of Assisi, indicating his concern for and his commitment to the poor. His focus is towards the poor, and the church meeting its people where they are as well as encouraging mercy by and for Catholics worldwide.

Pope Francis is also a pope of many firsts: he is the first Pope who is a Jesuit; he is the first from the Americas as well as the first from the Southern Hemisphere. He is also the first pope from outside of Europe since the 8th century.

You can find Pope Francis on Twitter and on the Vatican website, where you can read all of his writings (as well as other Popes) and homilies. I’m currently in the middle of reading Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad; an Apostolic Exhortation on the call to holiness.) The website is a fascinating virtual pilgrimage of its own.

He was inaugurated as Pope in 2013, on March 19. That was nearly exactly one year since I had been visiting and praying at my church.

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Who Run The World?

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​March is Women’s History Month. And today is International Women’s Day. The earliest observance of a Women’s Day was February 28, 1909, and was adopted by the UN in 1975 with its first official International Women’s Day. There are several groups that observe and celebrate women with media, books, and activities. 

It is commemorated throughout the world with a day of protest and/or a day of celebration, depending on where you are and where it got its start. 

The UN declares a theme yearly and the theme for 2019 is Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change

Who are the women who inspire you?

Related Links:

International Women’s Day

UN International Women’s Day

Five Innovations that Have Advanced Women’s Rights

International Women’s Day – About

Here’s to strong women:

May we know them,

May we be them,

May we raise them.

No Car

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​We are on Day 39* without a car. Our car’s engine died the third week of January. Our trusted mechanic told us it wouldn’t be worth putting in a new engine with the body our 2002 minivan had; just too much rust. We knew this day was coming, but it still left us in a numb kind of shock. It’s been our only car for several years now, and we just can’t afford a car payment. There were also some new payroll deductions so for now our salary has been reduced, significantly, and we’re not really sure how we’ll get through that. However, that is one too many problems for this discussion.

Day 39. Continue reading

The Forty Day Journey Begins. Ash Wednesday.

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​Giving up something is hard to choose, and giving up something for Lent can be a daunting task. Sometimes what I choose feels arbitrary and superficial. Some are good ideas, but not meaningful enough. Will giving it up bring me closer to G-d? Or just make me miserable for forty days? My feeling on giving something up is that it should be sacrificial – you should definitely notice that it’s absent. I won’t be giving up brussel sprouts or beets. I don’t eat them anyway. That would lack sincerity and significance. However, it should also not be something that is impossible to give up like driving or any number of things that you find indispensible.

I asked for help from my friends on Facebook, and I received some very good suggestions. In spite of their excellent responses, some of those very valid suggestions don’t (or won’t) work for me:

  • TV? Then I’d miss family time. We watch most things all together and enjoy that time. I’d be abandoning them for forty days.
  • Cable news? I don’t watch it 24/7 anymore, but I do need to keep informed, especially in this era of misinformation.
  • Internet? Besides keeping in touch with my family, it is essentially my livelihood.
  • Chocolate? Soda? Bread? Been there, done that. I’m not sure it holds the same meaning as the first time; at least not yet.
  • Caffeine? And go through withdrawal? Too physically taxing.
  • Ice cream? Maybe. My doctor would certainly like that.
  • Bacon? Hmm. Possible. Very possible.

I do always add a spiritual component to my forty days in the desert:

  • Prayer time.
  • Reflection.
  • Rosary.
  • Reading.

I already read two devotional books throughout the year on a daily basis: Sacred Space: The Prayer Book 2019 by The Irish Jesuits and A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His journals. I’ll be adding two more: My parish gives out a small book, Not by Bread Alone 2019: Daily Reflections for Lent by Mary DeTurris Poust. This takes about five minutes to read each day and provides a reflection and a suggested meditation to reflect on. We’ve used this book for a number of years and it really is a good way to meet G-d everyday. The second book is Lenten Gospel Reflections by Bishop Robert Barron, which was given to my by the person who will be sponsoring me on my Cursillo journey (more on that in a later post). This one looks to be short readings also and it has space for notes or journaling.

Daily Lenten Reading, 2019. (c)2019


i’ve also decided to set aside $1 every time my family eats out or buys a non-grocery food item like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, etc and on Easter money donate all those dollars to my parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society.
I’m currently getting ready to attend Ash Wednesday Mass followed by a parish soup lunch. It is a really lovely way to begin Lent with other like-minded people, all on different paths but the same journey. It reinforces the community of the church.

 In addition to my own commitments during Lent, Lent has three pillars of prayer, fasting (and abstinence), and almsgiving. Fasting and abstinence sound similar, but are very different in practice, and for me, Catholic fasting is much different than my decades of Yom Kippur fasting (which I still observe). Fasting during Lent is only required of those 18 through 59, and may include one regular meal as well as two smaller meals. Fast days in Lent are today, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Additionally, Fridays in Lent require abstinence from meat as well as other enjoyable sources, freeing us to grow closer to G-d.

My church also included a forty day calendar offering suggestions on ways to make Lent moe meaningful. It is provided from Take Five for Faith and I sill share it with you this weekend.

I will keep you updated on my progress and I hope you will comment with your own reflections and suggestions this Lenten season.

Everything is Fodder for Writing

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Including arguing about whether the writiing is relevant to the non-writing and whether the argument about whether the writing is relevant to the non-writing is relevant fodder for a third party’s writing. Or none of those things.. 

This, posted at 6:17pm EST on the 15th of February, 2019 was the tweet heard ’round the world. At least the world of food blogs everywhere. Before historian Kevin M. Kruse tweeted this, innocence had hung over the Twitter world, that global place for the polite exchange of ideas, but after… after, the cacophony that some wanted to laugh at while others were weeping shook even the most innocent of bystanders.

I don’t know who I’m making fun of, although I include myself in that. Never have I felt the both sides of an issue as I did with this tweet and the responses that followed.

Having “enjoyed” Twitter since 2009, I laughed at the original tweet. Not a haha good one laugh, but a what have you done FTLOG laugh. I could see what was next a mile away and it didn’t take long for my foreknowledge to be realized.

I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist of it was mostly how fucking dare you?!?!

I saw this storm form quickly as the clouds darkened and the winds gathered. As I said, I can see both sides because I am both sides.

I’m a writer. I want people to read my writing and with most writing, every word has its place, its function. I want it all read.

I also blog about food, share recipes, and post food pics here and on Instagram. It’s one of my, let’s call it niches. 

I also search for recipes online.

There are days, like last week. In the middle of cooking dinner, our oven broke. I needed to finish baking the cornbread. I searched online and when I found a microwave recipe, I skipped over everything to get to the very end of the directions for how long to microwave it. It took a little longer than stated because our microwave is older and smaller than the average microwave available today.

Other times I read the narrative to get clues as to taste and texture; what needs to be followed perfectly; what can be tweaked.

And there are times when I post a recipe that I post a narrative alongside it. Some kind of how I discovered this or my daughter came up with this or some other family story or anecdote that I find relevant.

For Christmas, in fact, I wrote a ten recipe cookbook for my church’s food pantry/Christmas basket program. One of the most often compliments that I’ve received about the booklets was about the accompanying narrative that I included for some of the recipes. These included origins, where some were adapted from, links. Next time, I’ll add photos, but the narrative was received just as well as the recipe itself. In fact, one of the gentlemen who I’ve always thought of as dour, smiled, thanked me, and informed me that he sent copies to his two daughters. This was high praise indeed.

So while it would have been easy to be pulled into a Twitter fight between (favorite) historian and a band of incensed food bloggers, I stayed far away, but still checking in to see how both sides held up and where the argument would end. I mean, it is Twitter after all. I did leave one tweet, and I’m sure that I didn’t help anyone on either side.

Quick is a Relative Term

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​A very quick note about the next two posts. The timing is a bit off. They were both supposed to post late last week or very early this week. Unfortunately, I had my yearly physical on Monday, and it was deemed that I receive a pneumococcal pneumonia (not sure if that’s redundant) vaccine. Which hurt. A lot. But I was fine. On Tuesday, I was tired, but I went to morning mass and then grocery shopping. By the time I came home from grocery shopping, I couldn’t lift my arm higher than my chest. I started feeling very warm, but then I was cold. By dinnertime, I was definitely ill. Fever, aches, ear ringing. I spent two full days in my pajamas drifting from bed to sofa and back again. I’m still not all the way well, but the fever’s been gone for days, the aches are tolerable and going, my ears are still ringing, but that is somewhat “normal” although not usually quite this loud. I was able to lift my arm higher so I was able to shower and that makes me feel more human, so I did get out of the house and do a couple of errands and made some phone calls that I had put off.

I’ve been told by friends who know (medical people) that this is most likely NOT a vaccine reaction. Live vaccines, like this one and the flu one sometimes make us sick. I’ve come to expect it with the flu vaccine. Good news: if all goes well, I won’t need a booster until I’m 65.

It is also precious little sacrifice for the immunity it will give me and those around me because the last thing I want is for them (and me) to receive life-threatening, yet preventable diseases.

I hope to get back on track this week, slowly, but there’s so much to do – Lent to prepare for, St. Patrick’s Day, retreat, interfaith dinner, Captain Marvel, my daughter’s musical, memoir workshops, and art, so it’s probably time to begin.