25 March 2014

Annunciation Day

This morning as I wrote out the check for the internet bill, the date jumped out at me. 

"It's the 25th! Why does that sound important? Christmas is the 25th of December... I guess every "25th" makes us think of that..."

Can I blame baby brain? Of course March 25th reminds me of December 25th: today is the feast of the Annunciation, celebrating the archangel Gabriel appearing to Mary, exactly nine months before Christmas!

I had a nice blank calendar for today, so Little Bear and I ran to the store for a little bunch of tulips. In a mason jar of water, they made a nice centerpiece with the Annunciation icon! Simple and pretty and still fairly Lenten, although if I'd thought of it I'd've gotten the all-purple bunch.

It being a feast day and all, I wanted to do something nice for supper. I'd just finished putting a Mexican pork something-or-other in the slow cooker and was starting to pull out ingredients for shortcake when I got a call from the manager of the local Catholic radio station. Cardinal Dolan, who is speaking at the retreat for all of the priests in Alaska this week down in Anchorage, was willing to do an interview for the radio station today and how quickly could I prepare questions?

The Cardinal Dolan.

Of New York.

Former president of the USCCB.

Teething toddler on one hip, sack of flour on the other, phone perched on my shoulder, this was not a phone call I was prepared for.

I am so, so grateful for my time in PR, and the people I learned from there, and all of my classes with my journalism professor, because somehow my brain was able to snap into gear and start asking all of the right questions, about the subject of Cardinal Dolan's talk last night, the theme the station manager would like to center the interview around, any points he wanted me to be sure to hit, etc.

And that was my next couple of hours! Researching Cardinal Dolan and the Archdiocese of New York, talking with a few solid Catholic friends familiar with current topics in New York and the Church, and crafting interview questions that could tie his experience and expertise into the lives and concerns of Catholics in a largely rural Alaskan mission diocese. I don't think I've had a project that was so fun and yet so intimidating since writing questions for Franiscan University Presents' interview with Fr Raniero Cantallamesa.

Technology in Alaska being what it is, I couldn't actually do an interview long distance and have it turn out suitable quality for broadcasting; one of the priests at the convocation will be using the questions to record an in-person conversation with Cardinal Dolan, and then the recording will be aired. I'm a little disappointed, but at the same time relieved--writing the questions, trying to find just the right wording, was intimidating enough!

After a surprise like that, it would have been difficult for my day to get any more exciting. Fortunately, we didn't have to find out what it would have taken to top that! The only other unexpected/exciting moment came in the form of gender-stereotype-reinforcement:

My little brother, not the one in college (although he probably would have joined in had he been home), was using scraps of my dad's ultra-low-friction plastic to "snowboard" down their icy/slushy driveway when my mom, my youngest sister, Little Bear, and I got back from a walk. My sister wanted to try, but cautiously sat down on her piece of plastic instead of standing on it. Little Bear had no such concerns... he ran right over to my brother's piece and tried to stand on it. To let him have fun safely with the kids, I plunked him in the wood-hauling sled (made of the same plastic) and was pulling him up and down the driveway when my brother started laughing. I looked behind me, and there was Little Bear, standing up in the moving sled with a huge grin on his face. Boys!

Our Annunciation Day supper was okay... In the future, I would definitely use a pork roast like the recipe called for instead of two pork shoulder steaks that I bought just because they were marked down... The recipe was worth trying again, though. They looked good, anyway:

And our Lenten feast day strawberry shortcake:

Whole-wheat shortcake, strawberries, and unsweetened whipped cream. Next time, Matt says, whole wheat shortcake is fine, but can I please add at least a little bit of sugar when I whip the cream? Yes, yes I will. Although it was still pretty good without it! And the main reason I left it out today honestly had less to do with it being Lent, and more to do with me being in a hurry and not being able to remember how much sugar one would add if one were to add sugar...

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