Hot Cocoa

Today’s assignment – hot cocoa – is something I almost never have, although the Black Friday rugby that I blogged about did feature hot cocoa at the half to fortify us (and yes, it does taste even better with rum, as we discovered). ¬†Fr. Peck does say that hot drinks like cocoa help get us psyched up for Christmas, and he is right – I just prefer tea ūüôā

Christmas in New England – you never know what the weather will be like. ¬†This year it is looking like it will be “warm” – 50 degrees – with lots of rain. ¬†This should be interesting, but at least it won’t keep people away from church. ¬†And I will still drink my usual cold weather drink – a mix of green tea and nettle tea (organic, of course), steeped for exactly three minutes. ¬†Try it – you will not regret it.

 Go to post page

December 22nd, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Day 37: Vegetables

One of my favorite topics!  As you can see from the subject, this is day 37 of the exercise, so we have three more days until Christmas.  And as I write this Рlate December in Massachusetts РI have three crops still growing to yield in our garden Рswiss chard, lettuce, and, especially, kale.  Truthfully, the first two have been pretty played out at this point, but the kale is still growing and every week or so at this point I harvest enough leaves to make a nice dish of sauteed kale greens.  Kale and chard continue to grow as you harvest the bigger leaves even into cold weather Рkale actually does better in cooler weather.  Lettuce has the advantage of growing quickly Рyou can easily get three harvests from spring to fall or just keep planting seeds and letting things come as they may.  Once Christmas is past, though, the sad season, as I call it, sets in.  We just had the solstice, so the days are starting to get longer, but we have a long way to go until planting season.

 Go to post page

December 22nd, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Day 35: Handmade Gift

Today’s charge in the 40 Days of Blogging exercise is to write about what kind of handmade gift we would like, since originally Christmas gifts were homemade. ¬†My whole take on Christmas is to get away from the gift-giving, since this is one of the main reasons it has lost its religious meaning. ¬†I do encourage giving cards, though, and I suggest you either make your own or, if you buy them, buy ones with nothing written inside. ¬†Don’t go for canned sentiment – make it real! ¬†And avoid Happy Holidays, Joyous Season, whatever – don’t take the soul out of Christmas! ¬†Wish all your friends merry Christmas regardless of their background. ¬†If they are well-adjusted human beings they will enjoy it; if they get offended, well, too bad – do we really need such friends? ¬†My non-Christian friends always wish me well on their holidays and mine, and I the same. ¬†We include each other and it is wonderful. ¬†Isn’t this better than being namby-pamby and/or being perpetually offended?

 Go to post page

December 20th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Chocolate

Today we are charged in the blogging exercise with talking about chocolate – the idea is that we are close to Christmas and soon will be breaking the fast and indulging (moderately of course). ¬†I am going to shift to candy canes, if I may. ¬†They are ubiquitous this time of year – often attached to gifts, put in stockings, available in jars at the front desk, etc. ¬†Well, guess what? ¬†Most all have artificial color, which is not just something we shouldn’t be ingesting but also is like a jumpstart to little children.

So many well-meaning people give our children candy and treats. ¬†When the kids eat them they go berserk and it affects sleep (and home school) for several days. ¬†Please be conscientious about what you give other people’s children. ¬†Please don’t dismiss dietary concerns of parents as “whatever”. ¬†And seek out real candy canes – they do exist.

 Go to post page

December 20th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

I Am Providence

One of my first internet adventures (probably around 1993) was to find and print out a picture of H. P. Lovecraft’s grave in Providence. ¬†The printout is long gone, but I can still picture the graininess and remember how long it took to print. ¬†Now I live 45 minutes away from his burial spot and am long overdue for a visit (and really a pilgrimage to various HPL sites).

H.P._Lovecraft's_grave

 Go to post page

December 20th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Day 32: Safety

Our next assignment is safety. ¬†Fr. Peck puts it nicely – it is good but can be overdone. ¬†Safety is important but, to quote John G. Shedd, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Fair enough. ¬†Some thoughts on safety:

-My work background is in law so my default is always liability, liability, liability.  That being said, I never thought about safety much until we had children Рthen it becomes an obsession.

-My own childhood – very enjoyable it was – included countless hours playing in the woods, often by myself. ¬†Partly this was because I grew up in a very quiet area. ¬†These days sending children to play in the woods is unthinkable due to crime and many other things. ¬†However, many children are also so involved in activities that they don’t get the chance to just be children – this too is a problem.

-This seems off-topic but…get a receipt when you buy gas for the car.

-Looking for a cool party theme?  Make it a safety theme.  People can wear safety vests, goggles, helmets, and so forth.  Been there, done that Рit is good fun.

 Go to post page

December 20th, 2014 by Fr. Greg

Day 31: Glog, Grog or Wassail

Today Fr. Peck has us blogging about holiday drinks. ¬†I am going to freelance a little because I think for Christmas this year I will debut our new homemade wine. ¬†Our grapevine this year – its second full year – produced grapes. ¬†As we did last year, my good friend Al and I foraged for wild grapes (this being New England they were concord grapes) throughout the area, and we took in a pretty decent haul which we combined with the several bunches I harvested from the house grapevine. ¬†Al took some to make jam, and I used the rest to make wine (Prez being the chemist in the family did most of the work). ¬†We ended up with about several gallongs worth, total, of sweet wine. ¬†Besides the Christmas supply, the rest will be used for communion wine since it is sweet red wine. ¬†My challenge to Orthodox readers: go beyond making prosphoro. ¬†Make wine! ūüôā

 Go to post page

December 20th, 2014 by Fr. Greg