Monday, February 22, 2010


This year I am giving up facebook for Lent, and I pretty much announced it on facebook. Judging from the people who think that's a good idea, I gather that I am not the only person who finds it a timesucker, a mild addiction that does not give you the buzz it once did (or maybe never did). And it turns out it's pretty easy, so not much of a discipline. But it will save me some time--for something better, I hope. And it is a reasonable jumping-off point to ponder why we do this Lenten thing.

We watched an old episode of "The Vicar of Dibley" about Lent last week, and each of the characters was suggesting annoying habits that the others should give up. That concept was what I guess you could call Temporary Character Correction--doing something you should do all the time, but only for Lent. The irony of that approach is that on Easter, arguably the holiest day of the Christian year, you get to resume your evil or annoying ways.

I've tended to give up something that is harmless but has me a bit in its jaws, such as salty snacks, or shopping, or, well, facebook.

There is also the option of adding a positive discipline that you think would do you good, but which you can't commit to for the long haul. Last year I tried going to bed before 1130 p.m., something a lot of my friends would have to try very hard not to do. I simply never made it. It was the biggest failure I've ever had at Lenten disciplines. Second only to the other positive action I tried a few years ago, keeping a journal (12 out of 40 days). These may actually be better for the soul, but harder to do than a "fast". Who would have guessed?

My daughter is much more heroic than I; she has actually given up fiction, and chocolate. I have never even fasted from coffee.

It all comes down, I suppose, to, what is the point, and that is something I am still trying to figure out. I think Lent is a time to get a little more interior and God-ward, and anything that helps you do that, or reminds you how enslaved you are to everything that makes that hard (the truth is supposed to set you free) is at least potentially helpful. If anyone actually reads this and has any thoughts on the value of Lenten disciplines, or avoids them entirely for good or bad reasons, let me know. Just don't post it as a facebook status update, or it'll never do me any good.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No idea I'd been away so long

Seems like about two weeks, but I just noticed it's been four. Well, you can count on me to say nothing when there's nothing to say, as I said once before.

Or maybe you can't. Random thoughts about my most recent week or so:

1. Today Merlin and I went to see, in one sitting, all the Oscar-nominated short animated films. (Being the first-degree relatives of an animator, we go to collections of short animated films when they pop up within a 60-mile radius.) That means this will be the first year in my admittedly so-so memory that there will be a category in the Oscars in which I have seen every bloomin' film.

2. Some movies are better when you see them completely alone in a theater. Especially those you have heard are bad but you really want to see them. I did this with "Leap Year" two weeks back. A sappy chick flick in which Amy Adams goes to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend (whom NOBODY will want her to marry) and has to hire a cranky, hunky, down-on-his-luck, hunky (I know) Irish innkeeper to get her from Dingle to Dublin. Lame zaniness ensues. Dumb, but I loved looking at Ireland and singing along with the soundtrack and lurching along toward the inevitable s/happy ending, not wondering if anyone I was with was enjoying it. Yes, singing along. When I said "alone", I meant ALONE. No one else in the theater. Nothing like it. I commend to you Monday mid-afternoon matinees.

3. I met the first patient I have ever wanted to steal from another provider on Friday. To protect her privacy I will refer to her as Susana instead of by her real Biblical name. She's 9 months old. I have a lot of cute tiny patients, but this kid was so intensely charming and entertaining that I couldn't look at her and keep my mind on what I was doing. She had a mild eye infection and it made her want to squint a little, and when she realized that it was kind of funny she kept coming up with new variations on it that kept her mom and her aunt and I in stitches. I was trying to explain something to her mother and I looked at her and she did it again and I just lost my concentration entirely; she had me at [crinkle]. I'll do the right thing and not steal her. But if her own NP ever quits, that kid is mine.

4. I have really been enjoying the jokes about the iPad's absurd name. The best so far is Andy Borowitz's at I assume only women read this (my) blog, so I figure it shouldn't cause much offense to direct you there. I mean, these guys had to expect....Hmm, they are boys. Maybe this is what they wanted?