Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Gave it Up for Lent

"I gave it up for Lent."

I'm sure you've heard that before.  :-)

My family history is rich in tradition.  As I have mentioned before, I am a first-generation American.  My mom was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  My grandfather was Roman Catholic, and my grandmother was Presbyterian . . . they left Ireland not long after my mom was born and came to Chicago - my grandfather coming through Ellis Island.  He wrote back to my grandmother and said, "Don't come this way."  And so, in late 1922 she and her sister and my uncle and my mom, came on a ship that steamed up what is now known as the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes.  Their port of entry was Detroit.

"I gave it up for Lent."

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  Giving something up for Lent is thought of mainly as a Catholic tradition.  I didn't know my grandfather - he died before I was born, and yet, his traditions were mixed with my grandmothers and so I grew up wth the best of both  :-)  I'm Presbyterian - and Presbyterians observe the season of Lent - the 40 or so days before Easter.  It is a time of reflection, moderation, and spiritual discipline.

When I say that I've given something up for Lent, most people ask me if I'm Catholic.  And when I respond that I'm not, they ask why I'm giving something up.  All I can tell you is that I always have.  I grew up with it somehow - and it builds character.  That's how I always think of it.

This year, I'm giving up bread and deep-fried food.  Since I don't eat much deep-fried food to begin with, the second would seem to be rather frivolous.  However,  I was going to give up chips and realized that that would encompass kale chips, which was not part of the plan.  Deep-fried foods for me mean potato chips (I suppose I could eat baked ones, but I don't like them and they have chemicals in them anyway so I see no reason to start eating them now), corn chips, falafel, and fried chicken.  It also means the fish sandwich at McDonald's.  It's a rare occasion when I go to McDonald's (seriously rare), but the occasional fish sandwich is my poison of choice when I do).

Why two things?  Again, tradition.  It seems like I've always chosen two things, and they are most often foods.  Plus, two give me two chances to be successful  :-)

Yesterday was Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday), and I had Eggo waffles (they were easier than pancakes - so shoot me, I'm busy).  And I had two Paczkis.  I have to say that I don't think I ever have to have another Paczki.  I don't really like donuts to begin with, and so it's really no surprise that they were not the treat I was hoping for.  My tastes are so common  :-D  I would have much preferred a cupcake.  Give me a cupcake with frosting from the Jewel any day (but not until after Easter  :-) ).  I did plan for this with my WW points, so I'm hoping for a loss today on the scale - although having all that sugar yesterday could thwart that hope.  We'll see, and I'll let you know  :-)

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