Here’s To New Beginnings


Two major religions — at least — are celebrating the raison d’etre of their existence and one of the branches of one of those will celebrate it next weekend.

I know that Easter/Passover doesn’t align with the equinox, but all the same, it is part of a very old tradition of celebrating a new beginning around this time of year.  (In fact new year used to be in Spring.)

Things are growing, my lawn shows signs of green, and we too want to be renewed and have a second start.  Unlike the “resolutions” of the New Year, which no one over 10 believes anymore, this one hitches our wagon to the power of new life in the world (or at least in the northern hemisphere, cradle of our culture) to wipe the slate clean and help us, magically, mystically renew and grow.

I suspect it’s a very, very old feeling, an ancient tradition, this time of year to bet on renewal and hope.

We’re about a month off my favorite time of year, when the air is mild, there is a song of cuckoo’s somewhere from the woodland.

Some years ago I promised myself I’d take a week off in June.  Probably not this June, since well… since I have two conferences second half of June.  But come July maybe I can sit back and enjoy a long weekend off with my sweetie.  And if we can’t spring for a hotel, maybe just a weekend of parks and museums will do.

In fitting with new beginnings: with the drug interaction eliminated, I can now think and write once more.  Which is what I’m doing today, while the family talks downstairs.

I’ll join them once I nail this plot point.

You guys go. Go home to your cats. Happy Easter, a joyous Passover, and may the year turn to warmth and delight and glorious, unrestrained life-force for all of us.




111 thoughts on “Here’s To New Beginnings

        1. That always leaving me awkwardly feeling like I’m amidst Pillsbury Doughboy cultists.

  1. Only two religions? What about the pagan Irish — pre-Christian and pre-Druidic — who would be celebrating Beltane on or about now? (:-) And let’s not forget the Picts…as easy as that would be.

    1. Stoners and other neo-Nazis celebrated Hitler’s birthday yesterday.


  2. Right now I’ll probably settle for shower. Just managed to unplug the shower drain. Probably cat hair combined with some litter down there, I had a shower the day before last and it started to flood, so no shower yesterday because I didn’t have time to do it.

    Showers. One of those things you really remember to appreciate only when you lose access to it. 🙂

      1. “Sing hey! for the bath at close of day
        That washes the weary mud away
        A loon is he that will not sing:
        O! Water Hot is a noble thing!”

    1. Reminds me of a house I bought in ’80. Took a shower, drained sloooooooooooooooooooooooooowly. Opened up the drain and removed a lot of long dark hair.

    2. Though April showers
      May come your way,
      They bring the flowers
      That bloom in May;
      And if it’s raining,
      Have no regrets;
      Because, it isn’t raining rain, you know,
      It’s raining violets.
      And when you see clouds
      Upon the hill,
      You soon will see crowds
      Of daffodils;
      So keep on looking for the bluebird,
      And listening for his song,
      Whenever April showers come along

          1. Often enough here too, at least in the beginning of the month. But right now it looks like we will get four to five days of near summer warmth, or considering what Finnish summers are often enough like, just summer warmth (+ 20 C or so).

            1. Last year a blizzard for April Fools (work closed for the first time in a long time), this year it waited until the 11th, but by the weekend, closer to normal temps and it melted rather fast.
              When I moved back up here in May 14th of 2016 it snowed on me when I got to town.
              Welcome Home to the U.P.!

  3. Heard some cuckoos on our hike up the mountains yesterday. Definitely a sound of spring.

    The most amazing Easter I experienced was the one in 1988 when I went to Russia and Gorbachev’s Glasnost meant that the Orthodox church believers could be rather more open about being Christian than hitherto. They even televised the Easter Mass (live IIRC) from one of the major Moscow churches (but I forget which one)

    Hearing random people on the streets of Moscow say
    “Christos Vospesi”
    “Voyistinu Vospeso”
    was truly mind boggling because you could see them say it and then look around to see if it was going to get them in trouble and smile in relief when it clearly wasn’t

    1. Weirdly my most memorable Easter was while an exchange student when my Russian Orthodox (BRITISH!) best friend didn’t want to go alone to her service, so I went with her.
      We were made very welcome indeed in a church in Akron, and invited to breakfast with the priest and his family afterwards.
      It was a joyous and beautiful service.

    2. Mom and Dad Red celebrated Easter in Greece one year. The people launching firecrackers at the priest at midnight was a little… disconcerting. MomRed did like the egg fights, though. (People tap their eggs against each other. The first egg to crack loses, and the owner has to pay a little treat to the winner.)

      1. Yesterday (Easter Sunday), my daughter (28) told me to be careful if I was going out because she and her fiancé had heard some gunfire. I told her that in our crummy neighborhood, it’s usually a toss-up. I COULD be gunfire, OR (more likely) someone celebrating Easter… with some good ol’ fireworks. No really, don’t drop a hat in my neighborhood, because you might instigate an improvised bout of fireworks. You should have seen the Christmas show.

    3. And now sadly expressing the equivalent here can get one tagged by the thought police as being a bigoted white nationalist who hates “diversity” and is a historical oppressor. Because the left can’t give it a rest even on Easter or Passover.

    4. Actually, we say “Christos Voskrese! Voistinnu Voskrese!” Along with “Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!” and “¡Cristo resucitó! ¡En verdad resucitó!” and “al-Masīḥ qām! Ḥaqqan qām!” and as many other languages as the priests and parishioners know. I’ve been in churches where it’s heard in Japanese, Syriac, Yupik, German, and others I just can’t remember. I’m not much of a fan of Wikipedia, but their page for this is pretty comprehensive:

    5. In case anyone else is interested (I certainly am!), here’s a video of the entire Orthodox Paschal liturgy, from St. Anne Orthodox church in Corvallis, Oregon, last year. Warning: it’s about 3 and a half hours long. Yes, that’s what we do…

      1. We had cottonwood “flurries” today, so yes, it is spring. And whoever planted a regular cottonwood inside city limits is going to be in hot water if the tree is less than 10 years old. There’s an ordinance against them.

        1. Cottonwood up this way was the only thing I got a reaction out of before moving. Louisiana I had mild spring hay fever but when I moved to Texas, misery. Fall as well.
          Though Cotton woods were no longer a problem for me.

      2. We were getting bug splats earlier in the week, in a warm spell. We had enough rain and snow to take us out of drought, and beyond “abnormally dry”, so people are thrilled to have warm, dry weather.

          1. Back in the 80’s i worked with a guy who knew Stephen King. He thought he was so weird and such an ass because his brain twisted everything into a story plot of some sort, scaring him constantly.

    1. The ham was sugared up. The kids were in the oven. And Baba Yaga headed out to the garden on the balcony for some potatoes to go with them.

  4. I hope you all have a good Easter or Passover. Keep the people of Sri Lanka in your prayers.

  5. Christ is Risen!

    We’re trying something new this year, and doing the Cracker Barrel pre-packaged dinner with friends. So it’s no prep, minimal cleanup, and hopefully plenty of time to enjoy the company instead. It feels like cheating… but with the number of us down with crud, on road trips and just barely getting back in time, or (in my case), working until an hour before dinner, it means the burden of preparation doesn’t fall on the ill or the exhausted. (Still cheating, says the backbrain. I’ll make some devilled eggs later.)

    Here’s to a new year, a new cycle of seasons, to growth and beginnings and fertile harvests to come from the effort we put in now!

    1. Devilled eggs for Easter? Holy cognitive dissonance, Batman!

      Oh yeah,


      Happy Easter!

      1. What, you don’t have some matzo crackers, devilled eggs, celery sticks and parsley sprinkled with salt water, a leg of lamb, and wine as part of your Easter meal?

        Huh, I guess it’s not tradition everywhere…

        1. My only seder was almost 50 years ago. I don’t recall if it was devilled or hard-boiled egg; Bro’s MIL was pretty traditional. (Brother converted Judiasm to marry; thus seriously delaying avoiding a huge family fight.–hypergolic reaction between SIL and others around her, alas. I get along by keeping interaction infrequent. Remote manipulators and hot cell equipment advisable.)

  6. Happy Easter everyone. We did ham last night. Let it bake, in honey, most the day. It was good. Something simpler tonight. Just the 3 of us. Getting to the point where all the nieces are married and having to do the *alternative family routines, with grandma alternating to which of us kids to show up at.

    * Given our kid is an only, figure he just needs to make clear to his potential partner, that holidays include his parents; usually. We did the alternate holidays for 10 years, before kid was born. Would have continued after kid was born, but in-laws passed away, so … For the last 30 years holidays have rotated, between one sister and I, on whom hosts; occasionally we all head north to the other sister.

    1. Ham this evening. I had double church this AM, and chorus rehearsal tonight. I’m thinking a simmer and glaze based on mango chutney, since the ham is a bit tart (new cure. I don’t think the butcher will repeat the experiment.)

    2. Mom, her middle sister, and Grandma alternated holiday hosting. My youngest aunt lived too far away for all but Christmas, but we’d go over to visit occasionally.

      The nearest family is 300+ miles away (2K for my family), so we did extra phone calls this weekend. Mom combined Easter with a delayed birthday celebration (96 years, still going). Her place sounded happy/noisy when I called yesterday.

      1. Yes. We are lucky. Current generation is Eugene or Vancouver. Next generation, for now, is Eugene, Portland, Vancouver. One niece has added in-laws that are north of Vancouver, but south of Seattle (I think). Biggest constraint was working around family members who were in retail …

        Even if I include everyone from the prior generation and all the cousins, we don’t get east Montana/Colorado.

        I thought it was a PIA traveling from Longview to Bend for Thanksgiving/Christmas. But I know that is nothing … FWIW, it was a PIA traveling from Eugene to Bend every darn weekend all summer, with a newborn … but it is what you do for your spouse when he has to be there to help his siblings help his mom with his dad’s estate. Even that compared to what others have to do, it is nothing.

        1. You say Vancouver, and I wonder….WA or Canada? Only the names are the same; the reality is redacted to protect the guilty.

          1. Vancouver, WA … Specifically Hockinson … Furthest anyone has been from Eugene was us in early ’80s … all the way to Longview, WA …

        2. That threw me off until she said N of Vancouver and S of Seattle. $SPOUSE has family in Vancouver, B.C. and points north.

          We were fairly geographically close when I was growing up, though various times there’d be a 300 mile separation. (Plus, Uncle and Mom’s kid sister were at the mercy of the USAF until the early ’60s.) Now, there are a few living around Chicago, but there’s been a lot of dispersion. I think we’re now the furthest from the main cluster.

          I had a few road trips and air flights for various family events. I refuse to fly anymore, and circumstances are such that a road trip is unlikely/unadvisable. Modern telecommunications do well enough, usually.

  7. I celebrated by getting up at the ass-crack of dawn (in fact, an hour and a half before I planned to), having a cup of coffee, and driving to Boston where I spent (relatively) vast sums buying used enterprise computer gear that I have no immediate use for from guys who also buy such things and are trying to dump it all on other folks – and mostly off the books. This is also known as the MIT Flea.

    Our celebration was a month or so ago, but hey, this one feels more like spring. We’ve had nearly a foot of snow in between, and all of it’s gone now.

      1. Electronics flea market, presumably perpetrated on the MIT campus. We had similar ones in Silicon Valley. Somebody got a heck of a good deal on a Heath H8 back in the day.

  8. Four Socks knew he had to get something nice for his humans; his mother told him so before he adopted them and went to live in his new house. He scurried out doors onto the patio. Ah ha! He could pick a pretty flower for his human family to admire!

    50 words. And yeah, I choose the kitty picture for a vignette trigger.
    Happy Easter everyone!

  9. Well, you can sing “Victimae Paschali Laudes” when you are half-hoarse. But I do not recommend it.

    OTOH, use of real unadulterated frankincense and real charcoal in the thurible, and avoidance of using lighter fluid or other evil starter materials, makes your voice actually get less hoarse as Mass goes on.

    1. I wanted to do “Ave Verum Corpus.” Was voted down when half the choir said they’d fall asleep during the sunrise service. Before we got to the second verse.

      We did something loud, fast, and with brass instead.

      1. Hmm loud and fast with Brass to wake folks up… Probably NOT in your repertoire but may I recommend an old Methodist/Baptist hymn, “Low in the Grave He lay” (aka up From the Grave he Arose). The chorus is intensely driving musically with great words
        “Up From the Grave He Arose with a mighty triumph o’er his Foes.
        He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
        And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
        He arose! He arose!
        Hallelujah! Christ arose! ”
        Sadly any recording I find on the intertubes is some quartet or small group singing it with sweetness and gentleness. It’s like having Peter, Paul and Mary sing AC/DC.

        1. Though the wetware is balky this evening, I’ve encountered at least three different groups who performed traditional Jewish music in the style of The Ventures or California beach music.

          As I remember, they were all pretty good…

          1. I hope this isn’t too pedantic, but the California music is “surf”music. “Beach” music was from the NC coast in the 60’s, and is pretty different. Think Norman Johnson and Roy Head…

        2. (Nods)
          One of the crying shames of the Internet is that I can’t find a recording of “King Alfred’s War Song” that isn’t sung like a dirge.
          The tune needs to be belted out like you’re about to go pay the Danegeld in iron and blood instead of gold.

      2. For the Method singers, there’s “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”. It crept into the queue at our old church.

    2. Tried to reach you Friday. Was up there on Sat for an early Easter brunch, and we gamed afterwards from 4:00 to about 9:30. Hoped you’d been able to join us.

  10. I get the feeling there’s not a huge untapped market for Transgender Smut novels, but as I don’t read any LGBTQ (not even the Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump & BBQ variant) Romance … or even White Hetero Cisgender Romance … I’m just saying I’m not really the person to turn to for market insight.

    Another Institution Caves to Woke Bullies
    By Sarah Hoyt
    “I need my soft porn to be more culturally sensitive.” Or perhaps, “She moaned at his touch, but then remembered that she was woke and didn’t need a man.” Said no one ever.

    Do you ever wake up and wonder if the world has lost its mind?

    This is how I felt about this announcement from the Romance Writers of America:

    RWA is in the process of hiring an outside consultant to assist the Board in working through the diversity, equality and inclusion issues in RWA. We are excited for this new step. The consultant will work with the Board on issues, including leadership training and RITA judging. The consultant will also assist the Board in restructuring the Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) to be responsive to member needs and play a more active role in relaying concerns to the Board. We thank the current DAC members for their hard work this year. The committee’s work will be placed on hold during the restructuring, with an expected relaunch after the annual RWA conference in July.

    It goes on to give an address to contact if you have any questions. …


    I suspect they will be shocked to learn that even if LGBTQ Smut is the only kind of Romance available, people are not going to buy it in numbers sufficient to support a genre.

    1. Ms. Hoyt, being Non-White and Non-Male should slap a nom de guerre on a resume and submit it.

    2. “Do you ever wake up and wonder if the world has lost its mind?”

      Only on days of the week.

    3. I’m not so sure about that. I sample the edges of some of the on-line porn offerings (not a lot because most of those sites are so loaded with malware you can fry your computer in about 3 bad clicks) and there seems to be a population that finds what they call she-male action to be extremely arousing. Now whether they only find visual media to do that, or if it translates into print is the first question. The second one being your question of are there enough of them to support the genre?

      1. Javascript turned off.

        The market for that is probably already well supplied.

  11. > Unlike the “resolutions” of the New Year, which no one over 10 believes anymore,

    My Goal for the year (New Years Resolution if you will) is to average 100 pushups a day *every* day of the year.

    As of right now I am at about 101 pushups as an average.

  12. I have to ask: what kind of bird is that in the header photo? I thought I was reasonably familiar with most North American birds, but that one has me baffled.

        1. That’s okay. I suspect you can only find blue Eurasian tits on the eastern side of the northern Ural Mountains in mid-winter. Hardly a large enough population to interest National Geographic, much less enough to be offended by any publicity.

          1. National Geographic these days would probably only be interested if they were transexual blue Eurasian tits.

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