Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday

I'd love to be in New Orleans today. At least in theory. Isn't this picture great? I love the image of arms outstretched and the word Desire in the background. When the kiddos came around, I became more interested in celebrating obscure holidays of every sort. You need a reason to celebrate as often as possible when you're knee deep in diapers, laundry and Polly Pocket dolls. We're doing our part today to celebrate Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday (another cool thing about kids - you start reading up on a bunch of stuff you never knew existed like Shrove Tuesday...for instance, today I was conscripted by two 5-year-olds to read a book entitled "History of the Solar System." My brain hurts.) We fattened up with free short stacks at IHOP this morning, in honor of Pancake Day. Apparently, the custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the abstinence of Lent begins. We couldn't let all the fat, eggs and milk go to waste, now could we? ( Ironical twist: IHOP ran out of milk this morning! ) Later today, I'll whip up some Cajun shrimp and red beans and rice as a show of solidarity with those beleagured folks in New Orleans. Yes, the red beans and rice are out of the box, but what the heck. And speaking of Lent, did you know Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning "farewell to the flesh." What a fantastic phrase. And you know how I love words! "Farewell to the flesh" is perfect. It's rather like a second chance at New Year's resolutions. When my friends and I get together during this season, invariably someone will ask "What are you giving up for Lent?" I'm mostly around Protestant-types these days, and I was unaware that they also "give up for Lent" the way the Catholics do. It's not as stressed in the Protestant churches, but it seems that many people around here do it out of family tradition. One woman I know strictly gives up chocolate for Lent because that's what her mom always did. Even as a child, she noted the sacrifice her mother made as she avoided all the leftover Valentine's candy and pre-Easter goodies.

Below is a suggested list of things to fast from during Lent.

Things to Fast From:
watching television (that's right: No LOST, people)
cussing or using foul language ( not even when the 2-year-old steps on your bare foot with her Cinderella high heels? )
buying new things: clothes, music, magazines, jewelry ( what about anti-depressants? )
snack or junk foods ( Does Starbucks count? )
spending money on entertainment ( Does Starbucks count? )
being angry at other people ( Even people who are eating chocolate right in front of you -- the nerve! )
holding resentments ( who, me? )
gossiping ( even about Anna Nicole Smith? )
being dishonest ( especially about what you're giving up for Lent )

Sure, yeah, I could benefit from abstaining from every one of these items. Tell me again, how long until Easter?!

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