Tuesday, February 21, 2012

for me, it’s jeudi gras and mardi blanc

Let me explain.

Just before sunrise, Isis decides he wants to stretch noisily and go forth to experience the great outdoors. Ed sleeps through it all, but I have that wakefulness that comes with raising babies and so I nudge him to let Isis out. Dutifully, like the good cat parent that he is, he rumbles downstairs to open the door.

It’s white out there, he tells me when he returns. Mardi blanc.

Darn. Not only do I wake for Isis, but not I cannot not go outside.


Here, let me give you a view of the farmhouse from an angle I rarely take. Today, for me, all views from all sides are winners.


The plants seem suspended in midsentence. Last year’s hydrangea looks like it's hiding under clumps of cauliflower.


So still! Nothing moves. Nothing at all.

I know it will be gone by evening (And it is).

At work, a student comes by with a small treat. His wife is Polish and he’d asked earlier on her behalf where you can get paczki (Polish doughnuts) in Madison. I was stumped. Today, for Mardi Gras, he brings this famous Polish doughnut. She'd found a place...


He assures me that she does not believe it to be completely authentic. Something about the absence of vodka in the batter. Still, a paczek in Madison! Not something to treat lightly (so to speak).

...even as, any Pole will tell you, the American celebration of Mardi Gras is so tame! Start partying the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday? How benign! Poles begin their celebration the Thursday before Ash Wednesday – (Tlusty Czwartek, which means Fat Thursday) giving themselves a whole week to indulge before the rigors of lent!

Still, on this white Tuesday (mardi blanc), holding on to a Fat Thursday (jeudi gras) doughnut leads me to think -- it’s time to give a nod to my Polishness.

I come home, appreciating how at 5, the sun hasn’t quite set yet....


...and I cook a huge pot of cabbage potato soup for supper.