Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lucky Me

Last week, I took a really good day off. I was pretty worn out from a hectic weekend, which included the first Family Day I ever had to facilitate without Olivia. Everything went great, actually, except somehow we finished an hour early. How did I lose an hour? What did I leave out? What would Olivia do? (WWOD.)

So last Monday, I slept late, and slouched around in sweats for quite awhile. Then I decided to go for a walk. We had had another snow, but it was starting to melt in some intermittent rain. I went tromping around in the woods and had a great time. At one point, strolling across the failing sheet of ice by the volleyball net I noticed something. A five dollar bill frozen in the ice! Cold cash! I smacked the ice with my heel and fished it out. I tucked it in the chest pocket of my denim coat and continued my journey. Lucky me!

I encountered several brooks sluicing loudly through the woods as all the snow up Town Hill melted and made its way through our property down to the creek at the bottom of the hill. In the midst of this idyllic scene, it began to rain. But I mean really rain. Oh well. I was quite soaked by the time I made it out of the woods and back into the main house. But hey, I was five bucks richer!

This weekend I went to our Motherhouse for a pre-chapter meeting. I wore my pink sweater, and many were the compliments I received. Mostly with a tone of surprise. "Wow, I've never seen you in pink before!" Who notices these things? I sure don't. I could not tell you what colors my friends wear or don't wear if my life depended on it. Well. Sarah likes black. Barb likes purple. Maybe I notice a little bit. But it's just as well my life in fact does not depend on it.

Last night was my last night in Philly before returning to Trinita today. First, Christine took me out for pizza at Joseph's, a traditional MSBT haunt with many happy memories. It was so very good to see her in person after two years of webcam contact. She is at our mission in Jamaica. Then, Olivia needed some fresh air so we went to a remote Baskin Robbins for ice cream.

She had a sundae. I had a nice big scoop of Jamoca Almond Fudge. My favorite. I paid for it with the five dollar bill I fished out of the ice last week. It was still in my coat pocket! We sat and talked in the Baskin Robbins for two hours, until the manager apologetically threw us out so he could lock up. It does not get any better than this. That is the best five bucks I ever spent.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Clothes Karma

When I was a young summer volunteer here in the dim mists of antiquity, we used to talk about clothes karma. Attire here in the summer is necessarily casual given both the summer weather and the kinds of chores that must be done. We wear things during the summer program we might never wear in public ordinarily. Running shoes with the soles coming off, t-shirts from 5K's run ten years ago, jeans with a mere suggestion of fabric over the knees, and of course whatever you wore when you painted the porch three summers ago.

We judged that an item of clothing that told a story of what it had done in the past had karma--e.g. paint or stains. Clothing that was visibly frayed and faded yet retained some kind of dignity had more karma. The highest marks for karma were given for clothes that had a history, signs of wear, plus has once belonged to someone else. This became a running joke all summer, as volunteers began trading clothes in order to increase their karma. I had the most wonderful red cotton shirt. It had belonged to my sister's ex-boyfriend. I wore that thing until the karmic value became so intense that the very fabric disintegrated under the strain of trying to contain it. That is why clothes start to wear out--too much karma.

I find these kinds of games amusing, but what interests me is that underneath the humor is some kind of truth trying to come out. A lot of life has been lived here at Trinita. So many memories for so many people for so many years. We had a meeting of Moms tonight as we continue to plan for the summer program. Little memories of previous summers popped out throughout the brainstorming session. All of the past seems to be a little bit still in the present at times like this. All one big Now. We may be getting older and grayer, but it is only because we are carrying so much life in us, all these memories that are still somehow a little bit in the Now. So much life, we really can't hold it all. It spills out of our hands. It overflows the cup. I think this is what Psalm 23 might be getting at. Goodness and mercy pursue us all our days.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bad Pie

I am working very hard these past few weeks to handle several new developments which are challenging my ability to maintain a good attitude. You know, the Happy Me vs. Sad Me volleyball match is still in progress. I have had good role models about how to maintain balance and enjoy life, and so I have been practiced certain disciplines more attentively than usual. I am praying regularly, getting exercise, taking a break during the day instead of staying rooted at my desk, and I am trying to get to bed a little earlier than usual. This only takes me so far, however. So I been listening to more music, writing letters, wearing pink, and cooking for fun.

I wanted to make some special pies. I did everything right I knew to do. I got up at 6:00 AM (and I a night person!) instead of making them the night before, which would have rendered them day-old before they could be delivered. I followed cookbook advice and used three varieties of apples instead of one. I used a storebought crust. I used an oven thermometer. I rotated the pies in the oven half-way through the baking process. They came out looking a nice golden brown color. I was relieved and sent 2 of them on to our Motherhouse in Philadelphia. Then I tried the third one.

Horror. I made bad pie! And they were already halfway to Philly, no calling them back! They were runny, the crust was soggy underneath that deceiving golden brown, and the apples were still a little crunchy! I was sorely distressed. My friends are so polite, they ate some and told me "yes, a little runny but tastes fine!" Uh-huh. So I have been reflecting on bad pie.
Those fine fresh apples wasted. Were all those good intentions wasted? All that love? No I guess not. At a minimum, I am determined to try again. Baking keeps me out of trouble. And Happy Me is winning while I am cooking for fun, even if what I am baking turns out to be Bad Pie. It's just pie, after all. I think my mistake with that last batch of pies was that I was trying way too hard.