Laissez les bons temps rouler

It’s Mardi Gras. Or Fat Tuesday. Also, Shrove Tuesday.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Christian season of lent.

I’m probably goobering up the history, but I think the Mardi Gras tradition came from having to cook up and eat all the “good” stuff in the house for the fasting associated with Lent.

That’s your condensed version.

I didn’t grow up celebrating Mardi Gras. In fact, my home church tradition didn’t really recognize Ash Wednesday or Lent. Let’s just say we were neither traditional, nor mainstream.

As an adult, while I’ve been to a few Mardi Gras parties, I don’t always celebrate.

I do, as I’ll talk about tomorrow, try to make the season of Lent something significant.

Of course, Mardi Gras is big in the south, particularly in places like New Orleans and Mobile.

Facebook has been reminding me that, nine years ago this week, I was with a small missions team doing post-Katrina reconstruction in New Orleans. It was my second trip there, and one of several that my church family took after the storm. As trips go, we had it pretty easy. We were building a fence for a daycare center at a church that was being restored.

Because it was post Mardi Gras, and because the church was on a main thoroughfare, we found several strands of beads. I collected a few of them, brought them home, cleaned them up, and incorporated them into a shadow box to commemorate the trip.

The memories make me think that I need to do something like that again.

I have no idea what that might be. I’m just putting it out there so that I don’t lose the thought.

You know, it fits in with the whole theme of not having much to do.

You also know that it’s really about making the time to do the things that are important.

If you’re still looking for things to give up for lent, here’s a pretty good list.

100 Edifying Lenten Penances

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Recaffeinated Mondays: After the Weekend

Rainy Days and Mondays and all that, but Karen, honey, we need a different song.

Truth is, while I’m writing this, the weather report for the week says that it’s supposed to be sunny Monday through Thursday. You know, when I have all of that free time to catch up on yard work that I didn’t get done in the fall. Because, as you recall, I was either working or it was…. wait for it…raining.

A friend on Facebook posted the other day that we’ll all be missing the rain when we have a drought this summer. In the first place, I don’t recall a drought last summer. In the second place, I’m pretty sure that the

Mug Shots
(click the pic)

water table is high enough that we’re not going to be experiencing drought conditions anytime soon.

On Saturday morning as I write this, I have surrendered. I’m just going to claim that my yard is now a water feature.

I was trying to look at my March and April calendar to see if there’s a week I could take off to get caught up in the yard.

It’s more likely that I’ll win Publishers’ Clearinghouse (and they didn’t show up at my house last Thursday) than it is that I’ll accurately predict a week when it’s going to be dry enough.

I refuse to worry about it anymore.

Sure, I want my yard to look better, but I can’t fight the elements.

If that bothers you, you’re welcome to come fight them for me.

Here’s the thing. Or one of the things, maybe two.

I’m still sorting out how to make this writing thing work. I’ve been distracted with theater stuff and other stuff and haven’t been doing the writing I know I should have been. So, I’ve gone back to my thousand words a day project. Each day, I’m writing at least a thousand words. They may be crap, they may just be bitching about the day, or the weather, but they’re there. As I have seen in the past, this effort primes the writing pump, so to speak. Simply meaning that, the more I write, the more I want to write.

That’s my plan. And to work that plan, the iPad goes back into the messenger bag for those “down times” when I’m on my way to a meeting or rehearsal. Truth is, if I had a laptop, I could also use those times for graphic work. Feel free to hit the tip jar on your way out.

Adding to all of that, while I can currently only tell you about one of them, counting the project I’m currently working on*, I have my next seven theatre/performance/directing gigs lined up. No, seriously.

Up until last week, most of those were possibilities. Now they’re definite. On top of that, within the last few weeks I was also contacted about three other shows that I had to turn down.

Long term readers will recall that, in times past, I’ve worried that I wouldn’t have any new opportunities.

All this to say that, I think this is confirmation that I’m now on the right track. The retirement date is selected, when you (and my employer) need to know, you will. I’m building the writing work, and the theater work.

And last week, I even had someone ask if I was selling a painting. I didn’t know how to respond because I didn’t think I was there yet. We’ve worked out a barter. She gets the painting. I get some of my canvas supply restocked.

I was fifty when I finally decided to stop saying “I want to be a writer” and instead said “I am a writer.” Maybe it took me another ten years to sort all of that out within the context of theater and art.

It doesn’t matter that I’m sixty. I read an article this week about a woman who picked up a paint brush at age 65 and started painting. She just turned 100 and her work is on display/for sale on the Outer Banks.

I figure I’m five years ahead of her.

I may not make it to a hundred. But, as long as I can, I’ll be creating the things, making the art, doing the work.

Y’all excuse me. I have to go take my Geritol.

* My current project is A Red Plaid Shirt, playing with River City Community Players at CAT Theatre, March 15-23.

And now for that different song from Karen.

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