on vinegar and Lent

Here we are, four days into baby step 2, and I have yet to utilize this baby’s step only ingredient: vinegar.  Here is the next baby step:

Baby Step 2: The Wonders of Vinegar
Discover a multitude of household uses for vinegar, puzzle over why you haven’t used this incredible, frugal and even nutritious substance before, and add a few uses to your repertoire. 

I learned some interesting things about apple cider vinegar from these websites:
http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/apple-cider-vinegar.shtml http://www.angelfire.com/cantina/homemaking/vinegar.html

I have decided to try out 5 uses for vinegar by February 28th (which is my birthday, btw, in case anyone is interested).  🙂

* I want to buy some raw apple cider vinegar. I didn’t realize the difference between raw and conventional apple cider vinegar until reading the first online article.  Actually, as an aside, from some other books I have been reading (Eat Fat, Lose Fat and Nourishing Traditions) I am realizing more and more how all of the processing of our foods is such a horrible thing.  I am trying to integrate more “real food” into our diet, and I suppose raw apple cider vinegar is another real food to add to my growing pantry and fridge (although for cleaning, I will certainly use just regular vinegar).  I can’t say in all honesty, though, that I actually picture myself swallowing a tablespoon or more of vinegar before my meals, even though doing so might very well save me from various maladies.

* Add 2 Tbsp of vinegar to water before boiling eggs to keep them from cracking.  We eat a lot of boiled eggs in our household.

* Use vinegar as a window cleaner.  Has everyone else had a problem using vinegar as a cleaner?  Every time I use vinegar it streaks.  I’ll try it again, though.  Maybe if I use newspaper instead of paper towels it will work better.

* Add vinegar to warm water to rinse hair after shampooing.  According to the second website, vinegar “adds highlights to brunette hair, restores the acid mantel, and removes soap film and sebum oil.”  I don’t understand half of that (acid mantel?  Sebum oil?) but I like the highlight part at least. 

* Soak wilted vegetables in 2 cups of water and a Tbsp of vinegar to un-wilt. 

 Stay tuned to see how I perfect myself in yet another path to becoming the perfectly healthy—and perfect—homemaker.  🙂

 (No one needs to know that as I write this I am drinking a Diet Pepsi, that I just sneaked a piece of chocolate that I wasn’t even hungry for, and that I am pointedly ignoring the mess Jack just made when he dumped out my purse.)

 And now for Lent.

Let me say, first, that I am incredibly disappointed in how my Lent began.  Last night I had to miss the Ash Wednesday service at Revolution because I had been at a birth since 1:30 in the morning and I was driving back home from the hospital during the service. 

I had this idea in my head that Lent was going to be different this year because I was going to start it with the sacredness, the ritual, and the solemnity of an Ash Wednesday service.  As I walked out of the service with the ashen cross swathed upon my forehead, I was going to walk through the portals of the sad beauty of Lent and into 40 days of quiet reflection and simplicity, and, perhaps, a bit of poetic melancholy.  (Um, anybody remember this?) 

Instead, at 7:00 last night, I was driving home, and I was exhausted, I was disheveled, I was hungry.  I had witnessed a miracle that evening, for sure, and I don’t want to trivialize that.  I had seen the wonder and beauty and sacredness of birth somehow unfolding under the artificial glare of a birth room spotlight.  My experience at that birth was valuable and useful and beautiful and sacred, and if I had actually had the choice of attending the birth or attending the Ash Wednesday service I would have chosen the birth. 

But I think that I had hoped for Ash Wednesday to be a magic pill that I would have had brushed across my forehead rather than swallowed.

But the thing is…while I wish I could have attended the service, it would not have been a magic pill.  Perhaps I would have walked out of the service last night feeling peaceful and solemn, but this morning I would have woken up to my real life–the noisy, disorganized, crazy one.  And then I would have felt disappointed that the magic feeling had faded away.  And then I could have felt disillusioned.  And then I might have given up.

Instead, my Lent beginning has been more fitting: it has begun in chaos rather than quietness.  The quietness and the sacredness and the reflection of Lent are going to have to come with work.  I have to carve it out of my day and into my heart.  There is no Ash Thursday service to escape to tonight.  It’s just my life, and the beautiful mess of it. 

And so today, my Lenten season roots itself in a life that is blown about in the winds of chaos and battered by some uncertain storms.  My hope and my prayer is that the holiness of this Lenten season plants itself in my heart and that it grows, and that I grow, and that, perhaps by Easter, something sacred within me will have bloomed. 

 Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
                     ~Leonard Cohen


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