Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Tidings

I called Matty yesterday to see if he wanted to attend an Easter mass with me today. Every year I say I'm going to go to experience what it's like but I never do. Matt is not religious at all but I thought he might be up for it. He was so we went.

He found an early morning service at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in down town Salt Lake we could attend. Thinking it might be crowded, we got there early and were surprised to get good parking and seating. I warned him on the way there that I woke up with a sticky eye and so not to be surprised if I kept my distance.

A woman on the way in offered to take our picture. "I'm doing the rounds of Easter worship this morning," she said frankly. "I'm Unitarian by faith but I know Deacon Dodge here very well. I think you will enjoy the service."

Regarding the building itself, I learned that the exterior has a Roman style but is Gothic on the inside. Construction began in 1900, was completed nine years later and cost around $344,000 to build. The frescoes, windows, statues, font - everything - was absolutely stunning. This wasn't he first time I had ever been inside but it was the first time I had sat through a service. When I was a child, we lived within walking distance from the Mission San Jose de Guadalupe. I was raised a Mormon but, even so, there was so much Catholic influence in the history and culture of where I grew up that going into a Catholic church stirs up some nostalgia. Today was no exception.

I don't resonate with the vibe of the Catholic faith but I have to say that they observe some of the most beautiful traditions. I love the way the priest swings the censer that diffuses smoke into the air (the smell is incense-like and somewhat comforting), the sung portions of mass are haunting - especially the way the sound echoes up to the high ceilings, I like how the stained-glass windows tell stories from the Bible, and the organ accompaniment is concert-hall-worthy. I observed the devotion and conviction in members of the congregation. Most of all I liked being able to absorb new things about Easter simply by hearing it in someone else's language.

On our way out, I asked Matt what he thought of the service. Referring to the part where you turn to your neighbor, shake hands and wish them peace, he said, "My favorite part was when you gave pink eye to everyone around us."

Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Playing with Food

Brahm experiments with the culinary arts.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Boy is Ten

Wow. Ten years ago this past Wednesday, Brahm Briggs made his foray into my life. I grabbed some photos from the first few years and posted them here - there's no way to do a compilation of the last decade. There's also probably no way to sum up the ways in which this little human has changed my life.

Does anyone even remember our kitchen looking like that?

An early sign of his persistent interest in space

Loading snowballs into his beloved dump truck Brooks found at DI

Fall leaves at the park across the street

Few people are prepared for parenthood. I thought I was - I mean my pregnancy with Brahm was a decision (yeah, even though by the time I decided we should start "trying" I was already pregnant and didn't even know it!). The first year was hard - I'm not going to lie. Making the transition from a self-centered life doing things I was good at to a life revolving around a creature that challenged every insecurity was tough. People told me not to blink or I would miss his childhood. My waking hours were much longer now - how could that be true? Well, I won't say it all happened in the blink of an eye - I have so many memories of first steps, first day of school, transition from trike to bike, first loose tooth to now braces - and yet here we are at the end of his fourth grade year. It strikes me that he is more than halfway to graduation from Brinkel University.

Like most parents, I sometimes I go into his room at night and watch him sleep. It's funny how his face has changed so much since he was a child and yet when he is asleep he has the same aspect of the nine-month-old I used to lay down for a nap: his cheeks go rosy, his eyelids have a pale lavender cast and his lips are full and smooth. Even his face is the round shape it used to be. When I look at him I marvel at the patience in his growing body, at the supply of second-chances for a woman who could use them. I see how he has opened me up to the wisdom of yin, to remembering what a less linear view of the universe is like. I get chances to admit that I don't know the answers but that I am willing to help him find them. Knowing him is learning and respecting the power of sovereignty, it's enjoying the journey more and worrying about the destination less.

I thank God for the classroom that being Brahm's mom has been.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In No Particular Order

Thumbs Up

1. Survivorman: Les Stroud reality series on Netflix. Man survives in remote areas on the planet with harmonica, multitool and crushed corn chips in pocket.

2. Lunch with gay boyfriend Matty at new pho restaurant in town. (Double-thumbs up: Dad spots me a twenty - lunch is on him).

3. Settlers of Catan. Jenny finally concedes to play and likes it!

4. Monster Truck Rally with Aunt Vicki, Uncle Mark and Cousin Emmett.

5. Babysitting Nonah and Zuggie.

6. Oliver: "What I need is a little more Monchichi in my life."

7. Sister Mindy's new music video:

8. Spring Equinox Party with Elisa, Janelle, Chris, Amy and Peter. Rolling egg fortune game a pagan plus.

9. Buy Limited Edition Outback from in-laws. Fabu price and (heated) leather seats.

10. Kung Fu Panda 2, in theaters May 26.

Thumbs Down

1. Pet chicken Ozzie dies. $50 vet bill, prognosis: not good.

2. Whiplash, boys and I. (Prescribed massage therapy double-thumbs up. Tension headaches, double-thumbs down).

3. Cabbage farts. Not sayin' who.

4. Federal Taxes.

5. Brooks' lost wallet, April Trax pass included. (FYI: $5 reward).

6. Rough-housing on school bus = three staples in Oliver's melon. (Double-thumbs down: fifty-cent usage fee for photo.)

7. Jenny's ambulance trip to hospital ten days after auto accident. More expensive than vet bill but better prognosis.

8. Home domination of pesky houseplant gnats. They're everywhere.

9. Spotted: budding moustache hairs on Oliver's lip, not of peach-fuzz variety. Parents definitely not ready.

10. Snow storm today, at least four inches (more downed branches in back yard). Spring will just have to wait.