athelind: (Default)
The other day, I came home to find a note on the door from the local utility company, warning me that on Thursday, 18 Feb 2010, there would be two scheduled power outages for foir maintenance: one from 9:00-9:30 AM, and another from 2:30-3:00 PM.

On waking up this morning, I started to turn on the computer, and realized that it was 8:30. I decided, instead, to leave it turned off, and just curl up with a book until the first outage had come and gone.

At 2:20, having read the whole day without interruption, I went off to an appointment. When I returned at 4:40, all the clocks were still functioning happily, with nary a blink to be seen.

Neither scheduled outage occured as scheduled.

Needless to say, there was Stuff I Could Have Been Doing Today -- not just on the computer; I needed to get laundry done, as well.

I refuse to acknowledge that this is a subversion of my Lenten refutation of procrastination, however. The book in question is Neal Stephenson's Anathem, a 900-page doorstopper that I've renewed twice, but heretofore had only read about 140 pages. I'm now on p. 422 -- so I did something I've been putting off for more than six weeks, even if it wasn't what I'd planned.


athelind: (Default)
... I'm also going to give up The TV Tropes Wiki for the duration of Lent.

It tends to be my default time sink when I don't feel like doing anything useful.


athelind: (Default)
It's a law of the internet: any mention of a holiday always gets at least one reply asserting that the respondent pays no attention to that holiday, and why.

The response demonstrates that the respondent, in that alleged disregard, pays more attention to the holiday than do those who might observe it casually, and feel no need to comment.

That said, this is the first day of Lent -- a ritual I observe only in the most secular way -- and thus, I bid you all the appropriate tidings for Ash Wednesday.


athelind: (Default)

Gung Hay Fat Tuesday!



… President Valentine … ?

For Lent this year, I think I have to give up procrastinating.

I will, of course, start tomorrow.


athelind: (Default)
Easter is a holiday that almost escapes my notice. I observe the Equinox, of course, and I've been quietly raising a glass to Yuri Gagarin every evening, but when I drifted away from being even nominally Christian (around age 12-13, honestly), Easter was just one of those things that went with it.

Christmas, now... Christmas has been embraced so thoroughly by the secular culture and, more significantly, the consumer culture that it's acknowledged and sometimes observed by people of entirely different religious faiths.

Easter, in contrast, has always seemed thoroughly Christian to me. Not that I think that's a bad thing: unlike many of my peers, I don't have the knee-jerk reaction that Organized Religion Is The Enemy Of All That Is Just And Good. Believe me, if there's one thing about the Christian faith that resonates with me, it's the themes of Sacrifice and Redemption, of Rebirth and Renewal.

I even, these days, practice Lent, in an entirely secular manner: there are things that I want to cut down on, and it's easier to give up something when there's communal/social reinforcement -- even if you aren't in any direct contact with the actively-practicing community.

Easter is such a thing of nails and crosses, though. It's so specifically religious that its secular/commercial aspect of hard-boiled eggs and cheap bunny fursuits never really seemed to have the same cultural import as the Jolly Fat Man and his Bag Full of Presents. It didn't even occur to me that the comic store might not be open on Easter Sunday until my boss asked me, apologetically, if I would mind working on a day that I normally work anyway.

Even my expectations for the day reflect this quandary: The bosses expect it to be slow, since most of the mall will be closed, because it's Easter. I expect it to be swamped, because we're gonna be the only open store in a mall with a major cinema complex on a day when Families Go Do Stuff.

I just don't think of Easter as a "real" holiday anymore -- that is, one celebrated for reasons besides its religious signficance. For the last couple of days, I've been pondering this cultural disconnect -- my complete lack of recognition of Easter's apparent importance as a secular phenomenon -- and I think I've finally hit upon the core of the issue.

Cut for socio-religious metaphysical maundering... )

So, let me ask those of you who aren't practicing Christians -- what does Easter mean to you? What parts of the holiday do you still recognize and acknowledge?

athelind: (Default)
So, here we are on Day 2 of No Beef/No Dairy/No Fried Foods Lent.

Yesterday, I brunched at Jamba Juice, and for dinner, I served up a Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Jalapeno Cheese Bread on the side (that counts as "incidental" cheese).

I started this morning with a few heaping tablespoons of BeneFiber in a 24-oz glass of water, then hit Starbuck's with [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia for a soymilk latte and an apple bran muffin.

Let's just say that my system is now in the process of getting rid of all the rotten stuff I've been overindulging in for the last few weeks. Despite the Sudden Activity, I feel surprisingly good.

I'm also adding "No Soda" to the Lent List.

athelind: (Default)
He was Catholic, she was Protestant, but they were young and in love and it didn't matter.

They planned their wedding around a Mardi Gras honeymoon.

Married on Friday, they spent the weekend in a New Orleans hotel, far too busy with each other to see the sights.

Tuesday night was the Mardi Gras parade, and they had a wonderful time.

Wednesday morning, she pulled him toward her, but he pulled away, and said, "Darling, I'm sorry, but it's Lent."

'LENT?' she cried, 'LENT??' )
athelind: (Default)
It's that time of year again: Fat Tuesday, marking the last big occasion of self-indulgence before the beginning of Lent.

I'm not Catholic, but I've found in the past that Giving Stuff Up For Lent is a good way to push myself into establishing better habits, at least for a while.

I've let my eating habits go to Helena Handbasket over the last year or so, and it's time to get them back on track. The single thing I've found that improves my diet immensely is to Just Say No to Beef and Dairy: that, all by itself, eliminates the worst of the fast food out there.

So, for the next 40 days:
  • No beef. Exception: beef liver, because we have some in the freezer.
  • No dairy products beyond yogurt and "incidental cheese" (a little grated Parmesan on a salad or pasta, for instance).
  • Nothing deep-fried.

Time to crank up the salads, the salmon burgers, the peanut butter sandwiches, and the fruit-and-soy-milk smoothies.

The nice thing is that I like the salads, the salmon burgers, the peanut butter sandwiches, and the fruit-and-soy-milk smoothies; I just need to fall back in the habit of eating them regularly.

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