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Lead up to 50 days of Easter

Joyeux Paques!

Happy Easter (for the next 48 days)

I had an amazing holy week/weekend. Palm Sunday was relaxing and I got a bunch done around the house. Then Monday was St. Patrick's Day (I know, it was really the 15th, but whatever) and I fixed corned beef and cabbage for Dana, Bill and I. Then Tuesday we had four of our annual events at work.

If I ever complain about my job, please just remind me that I got to spend five minutes talking to Andrew Von Eschenbach, director of the FDA at work on Tuesday. Not to mention all the other cool people who served as panelists on the forum (heads of CDC, NIH, AHRQ, AARP; a corporate VP of Johnson&Johnson; and the director of research for Veteran's Affairs), Susan Dentzer as moderator, and then the sundry other notables (former members of Congress, major non-profit heads, director of PARADE magazine, etc.). It was an amazing (and very long) day.

In true Heather-sense, I managed to have an adventure even under the most structured of circumstances. I decided to drive up to the Press Club, since it would mean I wouldn't have to haul my clothes and supplies for the day with me everywhere. I parked in the Reagan building. (It may be wise to skip the next paragraph if you have never been to the Reagan building as it will not be half as funny to you.)

Now, after the awards luncheon there earlier this year, I knew it was a confusing place, so I was thrilled that I didn't get lost as I left the parking garage at 7:40 a.m. (though I did get lost in the parking garage and had to get special permission to park in monthly parking since I couldn't find my way back to daily without leaving the garage). I went back around 3:30 p.m. to change clothes and put on make-up (my version of dressing up) and got horribly lost trying to leave the building. Then when I went back for my car (around 9:30 p.m.) it took 30 minutes to find an elevator that went to the level my car was parked on that actually accessed the side of the garage where my car was (yes, they split everything up into little sections - hence the confusion). Things that could only happen to me: getting lost in the same building three times in one day.

Back to Holy Week ....
Wednesday was a recovery day at work, which meant that I had five meetings back to back starting at 9:30 a.m. It wasn't actually that bad, because I love when work is fun and exciting. We actually won our volleyball game at night, so that rounded off a nice day.

Thursday was a pretty normal day. The service was amazing at St. Mary's. The priest went into exactly how our Holy Week services replace the Passover services that Jesus would have celebrated - it was basically the historical breakdown of Passover versus the traditions of the church. Then he took a big sip of water, apologized for being "long-winded" and went on for another 20 minutes about the washing of the feet, beginning of communion, and the formation of the priesthood. It was probably a 40 minute sermon. No matter how hard I try, my mind tends to wander a bit during homilies - but I was riveted during this one. If I didn't love my church in Bethesda, I would definitely start going to St. Mary's instead. But even that wasn't what made the service so great.

During the washing of the feet, a small army of altar boys spread out across the front of the church. I thought they were there to help, as they usually do, with the ceremony. Then the priest invited them to sit and he washed their feet (with the help of two older altar servers). After all of the explanation of the power of the priesthood beginning on Holy Thursday, and what it truly meant to wash the feet of others, it was so beautiful to see the leader of a parish encouraging vocations like that. I can't even explain it. It was as powerful as having my own feet washed.

Good Friday, thank goodness, our CEO gave us off of work. I started the day at the doctor (more tests necessary - boo) ran home to get changed, and drove up to my church. I sang at three services: a seven last words of Christ lecture, an ecumenical walk, and then a veneration service (at Blessed Sacrament). All three were as fun as they can be for serious services. There is just something so uplifting about church, even if the celebration is about death.

[Photo: GW Parkway]

After all that church, I went to a friend's and watched my newest Easter present, Enchanted (the Bunny came early by US Postal Service with handwriting amazingly like Mom's). It wasn't quite as good as I had hoped it would be, but cute. We had pizza (that was extra crispy because she put it in a panini maker) and then sat and talked with her husband while we listened to interesting music (he was playing DJ).

Here I would like to go off on two tangents.
Tangent 1: When you are hanging out at someone else's place and everyone appears to be having a good time, how do you gauge the appropriate time to leave? I know that as a hostess, unless I am really tired, I won't encourage my guests to leave - even if I might be hoping for a little alone time. Maybe this is why I am always so paranoid. Or, it could be that my parents were always reminding me to not overstay my welcome and annoy people. So, while I was there I asked three times if she wanted me to head out and she always said no - but was she just being nice or did she really want me there? Why, if this is my friend, can I be open with her about a million other things, but feel odd about potentially over-staying my welcome? Is this an individual phenomena, or do other people feel this way too?

Tangent 2:
I love watching other people's marriages (obviously others', I'm not married). I was incredibly lucky to grow up in a two-parent, loving household that exposed me to morals, religion, education, and values (and other craziness that doesn't relate to this tangent). But, I also believe that there are a number of different models on how to raise a family and live with someone else. So, while at my friend's house, I felt really at home watching the interactions between her and her husband. They are a model so different (and yet so similar) to my own family: affection sharing, communication, structure. Anyway, I love looking at these things and contrasting them to what I'm already familiar with. Some girls dream about their weddings, I dream about my life with someone else; so similar, and yet so different.

I finally left my friend's place around 9:30 and came home to get a few things done around the house and relax. Saturday morning I got up and spent time with one of my roommates (I really need to ask them about using something to identify them). We chatted as I cut coupons and pulled together a shopping list. I ran out for supplies in the early afternoon and spent most of Holy Saturday cooking, doing laundry, and watching My So-Called Life on DVD.

I made Easter Bread (two wreaths!) from G's recipe (and an emergency lat-night call to Grandma for advice on making bread). I had no idea you had to let yeast bread rise before you baked it and I started rather late in the evening with my prep. One rose and one didn't (I may have killed the yeast with too hot of water). I think I liked the one that didn't rise even better. The wreaths (as you can see) include dyed hard-boiled eggs which were fun to make. I also used another of G's recipes to marinate the Easter lamb. I finally crashed about 12:45 am - even though I needed to be at church by 8 am.

And that is the story of my lead up to the 50 days of Easter. I have rambled on and on for ages and will get to the other exciting things (post-resurrection) in a later post. For now, have a fabulous night (or day). I look forward to reading about all of your weekends soon!

Always, ~Heather


Dana said…
Dude--we're so hot. :D

Thank you for amazing St. Patty's Day/Easter Sunday dinners!! As soon as I get my life in order you are welcome over for dinners. And I promise this will happen BEFORE July.