A Goofball and a Magical Princess

Dear Erin,

I enjoyed your post, especially the mental picture of Mom and Dad doing Just Dance. It’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking anything when I read it. Congratulations on getting a sewing project done, and especially on Little Man finally starting to get some regular napping in. Hopefully the snow will abate before you all go certifiably crazy.

Today has been pretty much this:

whut

It’s hard to take him seriously with that hair, but he doesn’t seem to be too bothered about being serious himself.

want my shoe?

He really likes his shoes.

Last night, Charles and I watched The Tale of the Princess Kaguyaa Studio Ghibli production that was nominated for an Oscar. Charles keeps up on these things for me, and he had made sure we got ahold of it. It’s a lovely bit of animation and a sweet story about an old Japanese couple who find a magical princess in a bamboo grove and raise her as their own child. Eventually they take her to the capital where she is courted by the most powerful men in the land, but where she is also miserable as she pines for her rural home. In the end, people from the moon come to take her away.

I was totally with this movie for the first 9/10 of it, because it was just an expanded fairy tale with a feminist streak. But at the end, when she is taken away inexorably from everything she loves, it just gets depressing – partly because the movie is allegorizing the princess’s death and partly because it moves from folklore into the realm of an actual religion. I’m hesitant about interpreting a story so deeply based in a culture and a faith I have very little familiarity with; there are some Buddhist themes that I recognize (a song about rebirth and everlasting cycles, the appearance of the Buddha, attachment to people and the world as a bad thing), but I don’t know enough about them to say more than they are very alien and somewhat off-putting to my perspective. It is hard for me to see hope or joy in the final scene where Kaguya, once she is with the Buddha, almost completely forgets the people who have meant so much to her. What good is that? Is forgetting the pain worth forgetting the joy, worth forgetting the people you’ve loved? Culturally and spiritually, I’m entirely on the side of “no” to that question. I think even the movie’s makers are ambivalent about it, to be honest.

It just makes me ambivalent toward their movie, I’m afraid.

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Oops. Its Thursday.

Dear Kristen,

Your weekend sounded delightful!  Your yarn choices are beautiful – as always – and I am NOT surprised that Little Mister is trying to run. Not. At. All.  Christmas proved he was all boy – and a rambunctious one at that – so I expect that by his second birthday he will have climbed a mountain, run a marathon, and learned to tackle like a pro! (Hey Little Man, feel free to take it a little slower than your cousin…)

If we could, we’d come to the birthday party, instead we’ll send his gift in the snail mail (a gift that might be more for his Mom than for him…)  And we’ll anticipate with great hope the spring that his birthday helps to mark.

In response to your post, I thought I’d send some of my own impressions from this weekend.

1. Cabin Fever –

“irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.”

Its a real thing.  We didn’t leave the house for almost a whole week.  And we started going crazy – not quite The Shining kind of crazy, but certainly a little restless. There is only so much Just Dance you can play.  I am mindful, though, of the fact that we don’t live in or near Boston.  Over 100 inches of snow?  That’s a nightmare complete with howling music/wind, frigid temperatures, and no way out of the snow that makes you think you are auditioning for Frozen (which isn’t a nightmare, just cold.)

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This is last Wednesday…

2. Time is relative – a project that, if uninterrupted, only takes 30 minutes takes 12 hours in a house with a 6 month old and a 3.5 year old.  But a sewing project was completed, so that makes me smile!

A burp cloth - this was the practice.  I made a set with a bib, too, for a friend.

A burp cloth – this was the practice. I made a set with a bib, too, for a friend.

3. I’ve started exercising again.  Its fun.  Its hard. Both of which are good.  Munchkin thinks exercising is playing Just Dance (see #1).  This is my fault as that’s the way I introduced it.  We’ll work on correcting that impression when it warms up.  When either her dad or I say that we are going to exercise, she breaks out the Wii remote and tells me I need to turn it on.  Do I feel a little uncomfortable that our 3.5 year old daughter is excited to dance to Rihanna?  Yup.  But when Mom and Dad came to visit the other week, she got them to do some dancing, too, and it was worth every penny to see Dad attempt to dance to Blues Brothers and Mom dance to Katy Perry.  The best!

4. Little Man is learning to nap, and it is life changing.  Life changing in a different way from Little Mister’s running, but life changing none-the-less.  I feel less anxious, though still very tired.  But he is happier overall, which means the rest of us are, too.

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5. Working as a weather man must be awful.  They predicted about 5 inches in the Shenandoah Valley last weekend.  They got over a foot.  They predicted about 3 inches here last night.  This is what happened.

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It looks like a beautiful down blanket, laying on the ground and covering the cars, trees, bushes, etc. About a month ago we complained that we hadn’t gotten the “BIG SNOW” the almanac said we were in for.  Well…we aren’t saying that anymore.

And PS – So sorry this is a day late…

5 Impressions

Dear Erin,

I won’t tell you our weather, as I suspect it wouldn’t help. But just remember – you are welcome any time you can come visit.

Hmm, maybe that doesn’t help either.

I had a busy weekend – a little of this, a little of that, nothing terribly exciting for you, I’m afraid. But here are some impressions I can pass along.

1. Friday, the Little Mister and I joined a friend at a huge traveling yarn store (Stitches West). Well, technically I think it’s a convention, but we only go for the shopping. What’s kind of sad is that I had a budget, I spent my budget (plus $3.50), and I felt like I hardly got anything because there was so much there. I’ve realized there’s a serious danger in going to this, which is that I want to buy All The Yarn. And knit All The Things.
sw2015 goodies butterfly stitch markers

2. Except that when I was adding the new yarn to my Ravelry database last night, I realized that I already have All The Yarn. Or, at least, I’ve got way more than I thought. Don’t tell Charles, though. He’ll never let me hear the end of it.

3. Speaking of yarn, I finally finished the knitting on a little gift I’ve been working on for awhile. No pictures yet because it still needs a bath and some buttons. But here’s how much yarn I had left when I was done.

tiny ball o yarn
It was a close thing.

4. Little Mister has a new obsession: walking. In fact, would it surprise you to hear that he’s already working on running? He loves to play chase, so he holds the hands of one parent and squeals and tries to run away from the other parent who is supposed to chase him. It’s hilarious.

5. We’re now a month away from his first birthday, and I need to put together a party. No problem, except that I have never done a kid’s birthday party before. I have the Strawberry Shortcake cake pan that Mom used to make several of my birthday cakes, but I suspect that’s not going to fly with my kid’s father. So I looked on Pinterest for some ideas.

Yeah, that was a mistake. Some people are just plain crazy. Who does a designer birthday for a one-year-old?

LM’s getting a party hat he won’t want to wear, a cupcake he’ll find confusing (having never had cake before), and probably some balloons and streamers. Everything else I consider a bonus, something to entertain the guests.

Have a cup of coffee, think about the fact that your nephew is going to be a year old in a month, and when that happens, it will officially be spring! And warmer weather will be here.

Brrrrr……

Dear Kristen,

Thank you for your reminder on Wednesday.  Lent is an awesome, quiet time to reflect and prepare.  Over the past few years, our church has prepared readings for the congregation to help us in preparation, which has been filled with the reminder of Christ’s love.

Which is good on a day like today:

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Cuddling, fires, coffee, and laughter are needed on a day like today – and a reminder that just as Christ rose from the dead, the winter will end, too, and spring will come back.

Ash Wednesday

Dear Erin,

I’m so sorry you’re having such a rough time. I hope everything has already picked back up, and everyone got lots of sleep yesterday, and the allergy monsters have gone away. I wish I could come help. But regardless, I’m always praying for you, and even more now than usual.

Today is Ash Wednesday and, although I am not a part of a high church tradition, I’ve always had an affection for the seasons of Lent and Advent. Both are a time of reflection leading up to glorious days, and it feels good to discipline my mind and my attention a little, to refocus on just what my Savior has done for me and for the world, to remember that I am a part of the long story of the Church. I especially feel that way with Lent, as Advent has all the noise and distraction of Christmas added on. But Lent is a quieter time and easier to be reflective in.

LM b&w

I thought today about posting a certain poem by George Herbert (“Ash Wednesday“), but after the week you wrote about on Monday, I thought it might be better to look ahead to the end of Lent and the amazing, mind-blowing joy of knowing just how much Jesus loves us – Easter! So instead, I’m posting for you one of my favorite poems to teach – Herbert’s “Easter Wings.” I won’t actually teach it, but let me just point out a couple of thing that will help you see the joy I see in it.

1. Turn your head sideways and look at the poem. Hey! It looks like wings! Like the title! Isn’t that cool?

2. Look at what is happening in the first and then the second part of each stanza: as the poem’s lines get shorter (“Decaying more and more”), Herbert is talking about sin and death, the things that bring our lives to a close. We become “Most poore” and “Most thinne.” But with the shortest lines of each, he suddenly changes to showing how Christ has redeemed us from all of that: “With thee” and “With thee.”

In other words, it’s like watching our life coming to a close because of our sin, and then we die, but miraculously, we can be resurrected with Jesus and the lines get longer and the words are joyful, and death is not the end.

3. Finally, the last stanza uses this word, “imp,” which here means to latch on to or attach to. So he’s saying, “Let me attach my wing (my spirit) to yours (Jesus).” Which makes two wings. Which is what the two stanzas look like. Which is what the turning point of each stanza is about – “with thee.”

We are redeemed, we live, we can be eternally joyful because we are with Christ. His conquest of death becomes our conquest of death. And that is definitely worth reflecting on in joyful anticipation of 40 days from now!

(PS. Don’t let the weird spellings or punctuation, or the words used a little strangely throw you off. Almost everything means exactly what you think it does.)

Easter Wings

George Herbert

——————-

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,

Though foolishly he lost the same,

Decaying more and more,

Till he became

Most poore:

With thee

O let me rise

As larks, harmoniously,

And sing this day thy victories:

Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

————————

My tender age in sorrow did beginne:

And still with sicknesses and shame

Thou didst so punish sinne,

That I became

Most thinne.

With thee

Let me combine,

And feel this day thy victorie:

For, if I imp my wing on thine,

Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

Amen.

Take care of yourself. I love you.