Wednesday, February 17, 2010

First and Finally The Raison d'etre of Washington, DC

Whew! At long last - the final post on Washington, D.C.
This whole thing started when I stumbled across an online advertisement for C.S. Lewis'
The Screwtape Letters put on by FPA
aka Fellowship of the Performing Arts starring Max McLean.
The closest live theatre show was in Washington DC and its year long run happened to be finishing right around my birthday. Too easy. Barry and I were going to hop in a car and drive into the sunset for this date night (or two or three).
The kids got wind of it and faster than you can say, "you like Lewis too?" we were scheming ways to get down there all together. Hence, my grandiose birthday celebration.
Low-key intention and budget blown to smithereens in one fell swoop.
I am eternally grateful for this 'forger of family ties' type of experience.
... and Barry?
You're the best.
Focus on the Family Radio Theatre, which received a Peabody Award and multiple Audie awards for excellence in broadcasting and production, was granted the rights to dramatize "The Screwtape Letters" as a feature length audio drama. Production began in 2008 and a fall 2009 release was announced. Andy Serkis, known for playing Gollum in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, provided the voice for Screwtape.

The Plot Overview (as found on Wikipedia)
The Screwtape Letters comprises thirty-one letters written by a senior demon named Screwtape to his nephew, a young demon named Wormwood. Screwtape's letters contain advice for how to turn Wormwood's "Patient", an ordinary man living in war-time England, toward "Our Father Below" (Devil / Satan) and away from "the Enemy" (God).

After the first letter, the Patient converts to Christianity, and Wormwood is given a severe rebuking and threatened with the "usual penalties" at the House of Correction for Incompetent Tempters. A striking contrast is formed between Wormwood and Screwtape during the rest of the book. Wormwood is depicted through Screwtape's letters as much closer to what conventional wisdom has said about demons, i.e., wanting to tempt his patient into extravagantly wicked and deplorable sins and constantly writing about the war that is going on for the latter half of the book. Screwtape, on the other hand, is not interested in getting the patient to commit anything spectacularly evil, saying that "the safest path to hell is the gradual one." He sees a demon's primary goal to befuddle and confuse, rather than tempt.

Lewis's use of this "correspondence" is both varied and hard-hitting. With his own views on theology, Lewis covers areas as diverse as sex, love, pride, gluttony, and war. Lewis, an Oxford scholar himself, suggests in his work that even intellectuals are not impervious to the influence of such demons, especially in regards to being led towards placated acceptance of the "Historical Point of View."

In the last letter, it emerges that the Patient has been killed during an air raid (World War II having broken out between the fourth and fifth letters), and has gone to Heaven. Wormwood is punished for letting a soul 'slip through his fingers' by being handed over to the fate that would have awaited his patient had he been successful: the consumption of his spiritual essence by the other demons. Screwtape responds to his nephew's desperate final letter by assuring him that he may expect just as much assistance from his "increasingly and ravenously affectionate" uncle as Screwtape would expect from Wormwood were their situations reversed, paralleling a situation where Wormwood himself turned his uncle over to Satan for making a religiously positive remark that would offend him.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

A sunny balcony away from the routines of regular life.
A birthday book begging to be read.
Boasting that the deed is done and telling how,
I'm blessed for it.
A gritty, gut-wrenching true life story that you can't put down.
Read it if you dare.

Favourite line: (maybe a spoiler)
...I found out everybody's different -- the same kind of different as me. We're all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us. Truth is, whether we is rich or poor or somethin in between, this earth ain't no final restin place.
So in a way, we is all homeless -- just workin our way toward home.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dawn to Dusk Part Two

It was a full day starting with a respectful stop at the Lincoln Memorial - a slow saunter through the Museum of Natural History with Darwin's much touted spin on ancestry (Pfft!) and finishing with a stroll by glittering nightlight to Chef Geoff's --- Aaron and Catherine's winning recommendation for a final family feastage (word newly coined :)
I have a thing for old vintage movie theatres. Great classic films MUST be seen in great classic venues. It harks back a fond memory of watching Becoming Jane in Hamilton's Westdale theatre with a bunch of girlfriends....a mix that simply 'goes' together ... like popcorn and butter. Y'know what I mean??
I also have a thing for coachlights (especially gas lights) and lamp-posts. I think it has something to do with an image I have of Lucy meeting Mr.Tumnus the faun on her first magical trip thru the Wardrobe into the land of Narnia. Long before the movie ever came out - C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia were part of my highly revered collection of books. The hardcover book I own has a number of crude but obviously memorable ink sketches - the lamp-post figures large in that mental image of mine!
Lewis said that the first Narnia story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, all came to him from a single picture he had in his head of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels through a snowy wood. In that way, Tumnus was the initial inspiration for all of the Narnia stories.
(fun facts from a die-hard Lewis fan)

Here's my beautiful kids --- as I've recorded more than once, the very best part of this birthday celebration was the fellowship I could enjoy with my beloved and our children, together in one place. I am reminded of so much undeserved goodness.
Oh yeah - we sent the riffraff to the far end of the table.
I think this was some kind of a protest pose. I dunno. Maybe he was just hungry.
Our resident family counsellor, letting his hair (??) down.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pfft! and Pshaw!

Remember this picture?
It was part and parcel to my confessional blog entry about having to eat crow on the knitting thing.
WELL! I'm about to write my own I CAN'T BELIEVE version of a knitting experience....
I returned to Mary Maxim in Paris, Ontario this past Tuesday once again in the company of my sister Pauline. We went in for a few more supplies and some help about the provisional cast-on my sis did for me in the current project, which is a funky hat with pleats in the back.
It was Senior's Special Day.
We ambled through that store having to dodge slow moving walkers and their owners with various shades of gray - by the multitude! and that is not an exaggeration.
I was bored after a half hour and went to sit in my car and take messages on my cell phone.
My sister emerged with a triumphant smile and approached me at a somewhat urgent pace.
Before I could ask her about her obvious 'bag-less' state, she foisted her debit card on me and asked if I would go to the till and take advantage of the senior's discount on her behalf.
I stared in disbelief.
This was a joke right? Insensitive and ill-timed none-the-less.
....from my very beloved sister no-less.
But no.
Apparently, signing up for the 'Club 50' card could earn her a 20% savings.
I squelched down a rising disturbance.

Now I want you to understand that I really love my sister.
I would not have numbly followed her back into that store if that were not the case.
But you can sure bet that when the sudden attack of fuzziness to the brain cleared, I went full bore on a rant all the way home demanding to understand HOW a meager, insignificant, altogether inappropriate 20% savings could possibly make up for a 100% loss to my sense of worth and self-respect.

Oblivious to my wounded-ness, the cashier blithered on mindlessly about the new Club 50 being a big hit for drawing crowds.

My sister had the audacity to giggle.

I don't know, words like violation, devastation and despair come to mind.
Knitting suddenly brings GNARLY KNOTS to mind once again.
I pledge to never return to Mary Maxim without the company of my mother - or grandmother for that matter.
And never on a Tuesday.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Julia Childs at the Museum of American History

Yeah. Well, you didn't really think I wasn't going to see the exhibit on Julia Childs did you??
The woman who single handedly changed the way America would look at food and how to truly enjoy it in the fellowship of family and friends?? Seriously. I went nuts.
And now, whether I have your permission or not -
you are going to see the full pictorial glut of my nutiness.
(Don't breath a word of this, but my ever indulgent hubby browsed leisurely
right by my side the whole time! :)
It's like the last line of the testimony below
(on Paul assisting his wife in her new found cooking obsession) ---
"I don't care what it is, I will do it."
*sigh* a supportive husband who can find? He is a rare jewel among the stones.
...uhm....that's a loosely translated bit of scripture. ROTFL!!
I'm a knife freak too and I have sufficient scars and dents (missing flesh long ago healed) in my fingers to prove it. Barry has always feared coming home one day to find me passed out near the kitchen sink - in the midst of a large meal making adventure - pots boiling over on the stove and me - unconcious with a frozen smile still on her face! LOL.
I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the recipe.
Might even have a bearing on my collection of knife accidents.