Does God care about cake?

Previously published in The Wave.

It’s Lent, the season of fasting, sin-repenting, and worldly-pleasure-abstaining. For forty days beginning on Ash Wednesday, Christians around the globe participate in this abstinence in preparation of Holy Week. The Greek Orthodox call this time  “The Season of Bright Sadness.” Heavy. Our Jewish neighbors call it “March”.

So what type of sacrifices do we engage in? The question came up at a post-parade gathering last week. Turns out there are many different abstaining categories.

The first, and most common, is what I call the “Self-Serve Sacrifice”, also known as the  “Two Birds / One Stone”:

“Hey Jeremy, you want some cake?”

“Ugh, no, I can’t. I gave it up for Lent.”

I’m pretty skeptical of this kind of sacrifice. True, you’re giving up something you enjoy — cookies, bread, cheese, ice cream, meat, etc. — but you’re doing it for the wrong reason!  Does God care about cake? I don’t remember hearing about that in CCD. Either way, Jeremy insisted this was a difficult task for him. “I may not make it through, but I’m giving it a shot.”

My friend Sarah overheard us and said, “I’m not doing the food thing; I’m going to stop talking shit about people.” I call this the “Pretty Legit Sacrifice.” Sarah is a shit-talking aficionado and I applaud her noble undertaking. Cousin Sam, interrupting the flow, announced  “I’m giving up religion!”. I call this the “Comedic Pseudo-Sacrifice”?

Then there is the crown jewel, the “Truly Pious Sacrifice”. Examples: Aunt Joanie is attending mass at St. Camillus daily. Aunt Brenda, is performing a work of charity every day until Easter. I like Aunt B’s idea, and my Lenten commitment aspires to such piety. Every week, I’ve been separating out bottles and cans from my regular recycling. I’m doing this so my can lady doesn’t have to. I’m hoping it will make her day a little easier and her route go faster.

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Matt Gorton is the Republican District Leader in 38 Assembly District, covering Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale. Above – drinking  seltzer on Rockaway St. Patricks Day in place of beer.

I wandered into the other room and saw my friend Matt Gorton,

“Need a beer, Matt?”

I saw the bright sadness in his eye. “I gave up drinking for Lent.”  What?? My mind was and remains blown. “It’s a test of strength, similar to how Jesus was tested by the devil when he fasted for forty days and nights in the Judaean Desert,” he very dramatically explained.  “It’s been  a challenge in every aspect — not just hanging out with friends either.  I was supposed to meet a co-worker for a drink to talk business, I had to explain it was poor planning on my part, I gave up drinking for Lent.”. His co-worker replied “I understand, I gave up Tate’s chocolate chip cookies.”

I call this most difficult of sacrifices the “Judean Desert”, due to it’s Biblical adherence and extreme thirst.

tagged in lent

Grams of the week – March 20

Here’s a recap of the best instagrams of last week. If you want the day to day follow me here!

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Starting to sell a bunch of music related stuff. We’re getting ready to move the music studio from Ridgewood to Rockaway! It’s been a long time comin!

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I spent the weekend on the North Fork. We celebrated Cousin Sarah and Dan’s wedding at The Raphael Winery. The food was delicious and the venue was beautiful. What a fun time!

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The next day there was more celebration – My Nephew and Father’s birthday party at my sisters house which is also out east on the Long Island Sound. I took the long road to her house and checked out other locations on the North Fork. I snapped this photo at Castello di Borghese. It’s so beautiful in this area. I want to spend more time out there this spring visiting the wineries and farm stands.

tagged in instagram

Grams of the Week – March 13

Here’s a recap of the best instagrams of last week. If you want the day to day follow me here!

home

Home is feeling like home these days. I know, I know, I need to post a house update. Forgive me.

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My cat Cookie above investigating a new portable console Matt just got this week. She’s just the cutest furball ever!

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Potatoes in moderation is my motto – especially since summer is around the corner. This week I splurged and made a loaded one because I was craving!

Rockaway St. Paddy’s Day Traditions

Previously published in The Wave

“Everyone’s Irish on Rockaway St. Paddy’s Day,” says everyone, or at least those of us that aren’t actually Irish. But that’s okay — St. Patrick himself wasn’t even Irish. He was born in Scotland and his parents were Roman. So who knows —  maybe St. Patrick’s Day should really be thought of as an Italian holiday (yikes!).  At any rate, I can at least use this as a justification for this Mediterranean girl’s enthusiasm for Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day, which has become a highly-anticipated ritual for me over the past 13 years.

Here’s how it goes: the days’ celebration begin at 11am. Our crew assembles at the Honan’s house, where Fran has a breakfast feast waiting for us. The menu includes green bagels, corn beef, chicken cutlets, Irish soda bread, homemade biscotti, shamrock shakes, green mimosas, Irish coffee and most anticipated… Fran’s famous brownies*. We eat, drink and chat about the parade.

Around 12:45 everyone assembles on the porch for the group photo —  a 19 year Honan Family tradition. Some years, I was asked to hold the “Irish need not apply sign” but of late, Frank, Fran’s son-in-law has taken over the honors.

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After the photo, everyone grabs a roadie (or three) and we head up the block to the parade. I love all the fan fair – the bagpipers, the people selling Irish gewgaw from stolen shopping carts, Mrs. Colombia, the dogs dressed up in green tutu’s, the drunkards, and my favorite, the NYC Sanitation Dept. clean-up brigade.

Besides all the usual hoopla, you never know what will happen on parade day. I remember two years ago when the Mayor showed up 30 minutes late. When he finally appeared, all of Rockaway started heckling him. I almost felt bad for the guy.

After the parade, the next stop is my mother-in-law’s house, conveniently just a few blocks away from the Honan’s house. Family, friends, neighbors and random people we don’t even know trickle in. Within an hour, 50 plus guests fill the house. Maureen always serves the most delectable Irish fare and the eating and drinking continues.

I think it’s fair to say the highlight of the afternoon is when the Manhattan College Pipe Band rolls in. My friend Carmel Geoghegan starts the party with her Irish step dance and everyone begins stomping their feet and passing around the Jameson!

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After the sunsets there’s talk of heading to the bars. From 11am to the earlier morning hours, the peninsula celebrates their Irish heritage proudly. And I’m happy to be a part of it.

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*Fran’s Famous Brownies recipe: http://theglorifiedtomato.com/2013/04/18/brownie-recipes-baking/

tagged in holiday, rockaway