Wednesday, Valentines Day, my mother called to remind me that she'd ordered us bagels from the bagel shop down the street. These, in lieu of the traditional box of sugar cookies that usually comes a day or two before minor holidays. We're not complaining. The bagel shop makes great bagels, and they came with two different flavors of cream cheese spread. In all, we made out like bandits. Of course, we've been eating them every morning since, and they're gone. So it was glorious, but short lived. Thanks, mom!

Wednesday was also Ash Wednesday. It's the first time I remember the two coinciding. For some pastors nearby, the coincidence prompted requests for the ashes to be imposed in the shape of a heart instead of a cross.

I've never liked Lent. It's always been a depressing time of year for me. In my rational moments, I surmise that it's nothing to do with liturgy or theology. It's February and March, operating on a deficit of sunlight, getting tired of the alternating bouts of snow and mud, and the toxic build-up of dust and pet hair in the house after 5 and 6 months of not being able to open the windows. Maybe if I lived somewhere other than the northeast US Lent would be better.

Next week will be Winter break week at school. The lenten grind (extra services mid-week) will prevent us from taking any extended time away, but we're thinking of how we might squeeze in a day trip, maybe on Monday, to get a change of venue. The Dinosaur Barbecue in Syracuse is a likely candidate.