Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Lettuce/Cabbage Incident

Last night, I was at a birthday party at the Bouchon in Yountville, and I told me table companions I would blog about it, so here I am.

First off--the food is excellent. Given there are so many men in my family, I have ended up at quite a few steakhouses in my time, but this steak was excellent--the perfect crunchy crust and tender meat. The default was medium-rare, and lately I have been favoring medium, but I went with the waiter's suggestion, and he was correct. There was a Bearnaise and a garlicky ailoi on the side, and maybe you are supposed to eat those with the steaks, but I enjoyed using those sauces for the chips (fries, for you Americans). Oddly, they too the horseradish off the table, but that might have worked nicely as well.

But what struck me was, behind our table, there was a painting of various objects, with the French terms for the object. Some of them had to do with food, like an egg or a whisk. But not all of them did--there was a boxing glove. And in the bottom left corner, a mysterious green vegetable.

It looked a little bit like a cabbage--in fact, my first thought was that it was a cabbage. But it was also blooming, the leaves unfurling, in the way a lettuce would. Cabbages don't really bloom, after all. So I took a poll of the table, and the reviews were mixed. Some people thought cabbage. Some thought lettuce. So I googled the term le Ribou, as it said under the mysterious vegetable, only the word didn't exist.

And while I don't know much about the French language, I did know that the word for egg was ouef. But the word under the egg was something else. So I called the waiter over to ask about the painting. It turns out, it was surrealism (because of course it is surreal), and the painter wanted to send a message about life. Life sometimes makes sense until you really look at it, much like the painting. It made sense until you started questioning why a boxing glove is on a painting about food, or your realized that the words matched up. You have to look and then you will find the absurd.

To be honest, though, mostly I thought about how if the painter was making their point in a language spoken by a minority--like Spanish or Mandarin--wouldn't that be seen as racist? But you can make the point in French. Hmm.

Anyway, the waiter decided the vegetable was a cabbage, but that is still open for debate if you ever go to the Bouchon. Also, the restaurant had these cute little one ounce bottles of Tabasco sauce, and they gave me a few when I asked if I could keep one that was already opened because it was so tiny and adorable.

Fin.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - A Retrospective

And I'm done.

47 entries in 47 days. 47 times with God. I don't know if I did the best job with all of my posts; some were better than others, more introspective than others. But I did it, at least.

I think I may have been expecting more? I had hoped, I suppose, that this would signal a massive (good) change in my relationship with God, something new. I had hoped for my faith to be hugely strengthened. I had hoped for a positive change, somehow, and while I got a small change, I don't think it is a major change. Maybe a relationship isn't full of exciting times. But I wanted something exciting! I wanted to make a huge stride with God!

Well, I know it doesn't matter what I want. And Lent, if nothing else, proved that my desires don't matter in the plan of God. But I had hoped....

Things might mostly be the same now. But there might be a small change. I just hope, for now, that it starts something better. Something new. I so desperately want something new.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - Mark 16:1-20

Passage

I woke up today, and my soul was all a flutter. Maybe it was just me looking forward to a nice meal and family time, maybe it was the thought of protein the rest of the week, and maybe it was Easter. I'd like to think it was Easter. The song Happy Day was in my head, which indicates some sort of excited spiritual happiness.

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! He is alive!

Mark gives a fairly short account, but I like that it is fairly quick to the point. The Marys and Salome search for him, but He is awake! But He appears to Mary Magdalene, and then others, and after a while goes into Heaven to leave us humans to do the rest. We have inherited what was Jesus': we have inherited that closeness with God and God's parenthood, and we have inherited His job.

It's a big job.

But I don't want to focus on that today. I'm just boggled by the idea of defeating death. He is alive. He is ALIVE. That's incredible, and amazing, and...He died for me, but He rose for me too. The story wasn't over. It was finished, but not the end.

Hallelujah!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - Mark 15:42-47

Passage

My brain is all mushy. I'm going to blame lack of meat, because tomorrow...yaaay!

I'm so ready for lent to be over. But that's another blog post.

Joseph takes the body and buries it. On one hand, I feel it proves that Jesus had to be dead. You have centurions proving it, and then Joseph himself. So to people who doubt the Jesus-actually-being dead part of the story, meh. If you're going to trust the story so far, then you have to trust this part too. It's believable.

Mark oesn't go much into the despair at this point, but good grief, the despair--for Mary, for the disciples. And now you're about to sit around for the Sabbath and just think about it for the next twenty four hours. It's going to be a long day.

It is finished, but there's nothing to celebrate yet. Just the finality.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - Mark 15:16-41

Passage

Thus it goes.

He didn't accept any shortcuts. He didn't take the vinegar. He didn't die easy. He didn't do it in private, where He could scream and cry and be less embarassed. He didn't shy away. He did it. He accepted death.

He thought there was good reason to. And if Jesus thinks it is worth dying for people, then I have to help and love people too. He thought I was worth dying for.

He gave his old family a new family. I got a new family too. He went to God, and I get to go to God too. He did everything.

I could spend pages rhapsodizing about this but honestly, what could I say that hasn't been said? It is finished. The price was paid. I am welcomed back to God because of this. Nothing else really matters.

It is finished, perhaps, but the story isn't. But soon.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - Mark 15:1-15

Passage

And we go to Pilate.

You can't fight fate, I suppose. That's my one thought from this reading. Jesus doesn't defend himself, even in terms of explaining things. I mean, he's not fighting fate by letting everything happen, but you would think a person could at least verbally defend themself. But Jesus won't even do that. He just accepts what is happening.

It confuses me why Pilate bows to public pressure, though, even from the Jews. He's part of the conquering party, but I guess it must be a much rockier relationship if He isn't willing to go against them regarding this. That, or people are unusually riled up (by the priests--they're the ones who suggest Barabbas, not Jesus). But Pilate still goes along with everything. He even agrees to the crucifixion.

At least our justice system is a little bit better in that regard.

And so we reach the crucifixion. I timed that for Good Friday, but it's always a tough day. Always lots to think about.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - Mark 14:66-73

Passage

Oh, Peter.

On one hand, the compassionate side of me feels for him. It's a scary situation. Everything is going down the toilet. But on the other hand...you do not deny your friends. You definitely do not deny your God. You never, ever, ever deny your friend who you KNOW is God, and Peter knew. Maybe he was doubting, but still. He knew. More than any of the other disciples, he knew.

Silly Peter.

Also, part of me is annoyed at the servant girl for being so inquisitive, but I am also the sort of person to shake someone down. So I shouldn't really judge her for that either.