Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Lent Is Capitalized

Hey, Lent starts today. Remember how agonizing Lent was to your Catholic friends when you were little? Lent is like High Stakes Second New Year's Resolution Day. (Can one go to hell for saying that?) If you observe Lent, what are you giving up? Don't say candy or video games again.

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Soda and wine.


puts a smile on my face :-)@j


haters and losers


@Summer that's awesome because I'm going to try giving up being a hater! This is actually my New Year's resolution though, but it still holds.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Summer I sorta gave up being a hater last year for Lent. It did me so much good.

Spinach Party

Meat and alcohol and processed food and...... not ALL cheese, but I'm going to start viewing cheese as an accessory, rather than the main course. Basically I'm challenging myself to cook like an adult. Also, I'll be cheating a lot. I'm OK with the cheating because I'm a former Catholic, not a current one.


my brother said he's giving up video games. i think he's going to go into withdrawal soon.


@cliuless while i have not yet decided, though i think i may do this again. with plentiful cheating because i already have a ton of juice in my house and thus am not actually spending money on it.


@cliuless I really like this idea. Thank you!


@cliuless Love that! Also, for anyone who wants to support the cause without giving up their wine/beer/coffee/soda habit, water.org is a great organization. And supported by the ever-more-awesome Matt Damon!


Meat. But just meat meat, not fish or anything.

I haven't actually practiced Catholicism in about a decade but I wanted to see if I could do it and figured it would keep me accountable for 40 days and earn me some good will from my mother.

Claire Zulkey

@hellonheels this, same with me. I don't get ashes, I don't go to church, I don't give up meat on Fridays but I still feel compelled to give something up.


@hellonheels I went for ashes today, though I wasn't going to. As a leftie with a respect for all people being who they are (like, you know, as is normal) I have such a hard time with the policies of the church. I love the rituals and the peace it gives me, but man. Homophobia, sex-negativity, problems with women, and all the abuse and and and... at least in my country the church isn't really as vocal politically (thank God). I still can't go, except at Christmas and Easter, to make my mum happy (atheist never-catholic dad, atheist brother so she needs some company).

Still I went for ashes. And felt kind of happier. More centred - the idea of reassessing what obsessions I have cluttering up my brain/soul.

The vague hope I have is that organisations like Catholics for Choice and Voice of the People will eventually have some effect on things. I should add - I'm not in America. American Catholic churches are what really did me in. Way way more political than I was used to.

Oh, and I'm giving up chocolate, same as ever.


@feartie Agreed on all counts (except the giving up of chocolate - never!). I was hoping to go get ashes today, especially considering I have a colposcopy tomorrow and am freaking the F out, but I have barely been able to get away from my desk to pee and have to go straight to a business dinner after. So no church for me.


@hellonheels I hope your colposcopy goes as smoothly as it can. I have a breast biopsy coming up the week after next so you have my sympathy.

You should probably eat my share of chocolate.


@feartie And you have mine. I don't really know if comfort-eating meat is a thing, but if so, you are welcome to my share.


@feartie @hellonheels Thinking of you both! I'm not a giver-upper of anything for Lent, but basically treat yourselves and go ahead and outsource the guilt my way.

Claire Zulkey

I have a friend who drives me nuts, even though I love her. I am giving up bitching about her.


@Claire Zulkey Something I should definitely do.

Does your friend know about your Lenten vows?


@Claire Zulkey I have that friend!! And I feel terrible every single time i bitch, but I don't know how to stop. Do you have like, a game plan?

sarah girl

@Claire Zulkey Oh damn, I just got a huge pang of guilt reading this. I have that same friend... I think that might be my 40-days resolution, too.

Claire Zulkey

@Claire Zulkey I hope not, although part of it I think involves a bit of distance so I don't get more engaged in the stuff that drives me bonkers.

Claire Zulkey

@Mariajoseh There is one person who whom I typically bitch about her and we agreed that it doesn't make us feel great so I proposed it, so knowing that I have someone who will call me out on it helps.

Also, I just feel sort of shitty in general that I even had to propose this as a Lenten thing, so I hope that my own sense of shame will keep me in check.


I am giving up the elevator in my building. Mostly because it is broken.


@wilarseny I DID THAT! I frequently had classes on the sixth floor at college and it was so hard, but I did it! I believe in you.


@wilarseny I am giving up my elevator, too. Calves of steel, baby. I teach on the 4th floor...


@PistolPackinMama I keep thinking about doing this, but my cartel is on the 5th floor and the books for my field are on the 13th! Maybe I should anyway ...


@wilarseny I gave up elevators for Lent every year in college. One year I lived on the 21st floor, I was in such good shape! But always out of breath :(


@wilarseny I thought about you this morning on my way to class and took the stairs instead of the elevator. I guess I'm giving up the elevator too. I'm not Catholic, though I was raised to be, but I really like the idea of having a time each year dedicated to a personal challenge. I could, of course, do it any time of year just for myself, but having an externally determined amount of time helps me actually stick to it. And this icky wet winter time before spring is the perfect season for it. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration!


Here is some super-helpful advice on this topic with bonus gender-policing! I am thrilled to know I can continue reading my "certain" magazines and cussing up a storm with impunity.

P.S. Please don't hate me

"Reliance on certain beauty products." I'm giving up the blood of virgins this year!

P.S. Please don't hate me

"Things to add during Lent: Sacrificing...your spouse/children" to the Sun God!


@Alixana They sure seem to think everybody is a big liar! Isn't that strange, to give up lying for Lent?? Then, what, go back to making shit up on Easter?


@LaLoba I thought the same thing about the debt. I'd love to give up my debt for Lent, but Sallie Mae would probably have Words for me come April.


@Alixana There is so much I enjoyed about those lists. Particularly how only the things women spend money on are deemed unnecessary, and also how the "eating out" suggestion served as an unintentional reminder of how little maturity I actually possess.




Last year I gave up drinking anything except for water and it was REALLY HARD. I might try that again this year.


@Katy Even coffee?


(I mean, white wine is like, the water of the wine world. They're both clear-ish. So...)


You're obviously my bartender. Good Lord, Katy, again?


@Tulletilsynet Luckily I don't drink coffee, but I do drink black tea every morning. The caffeine withdrawl is the worst part. In the end I usually end up losing about 5 pounds just from not drinking all the crap I usually drink so it all works out. But it's so hard!!


@emilylouise even HOLY WINE?!

Porn Peddler

@Katy uh, if you actually managed a month without caffeine after drinking it every single day, I do not understand how you are human


@Third Wave Housewife Lots of water and excedrin! The part where it doesn't feel like my heart is going to explode by the end of the day is a nice incentive.

Porn Peddler

@Katy Yikes, I never feel that way...were you sweetening your tea with dexedrine powder?

Harriet Kierkegaard@facebook

I used to give up chocolate every year, but every year I just replaced it with carrot cake.

This year I think I'm going to give up timidity.


@Harriet Kierkegaard@facebook Yes, I am attempting to give up being shy. Let's see how it goes.


@spoondisaster I made it an unofficial resolution sometime last year to start looking men on the street in the eye.

Really takes the (perhaps my percieved) piss outta them. Plus it's oddly empowering, since sustained eye contact is sorta confrontational.


@NeverOddOrEven Oh my goodness, this is also something that I struggle with. I am a strong independent etc woman but I'm just so shy with strangers, especially ones I find attractive. How did you do it? Just one day say "I'm gonna look people in the eye and nothing bad will happen!" or what?


@spoondisaster Basically! I just got fed up with myself, also a self-identified strong and independant woman, who kept catching herself doing such a submissive gesture all the time.

So instead of immediately looking away or avoiding eye contact completely I forced myself to start looking at them and holding the gaze a few seconds. Just a non verbal, "Hey, I see you there, giving me the side eye and judging." They look away almost everytime. It seems to catch them off guard, which satisfies me as one little victory against women being percieved as public property.

Also, I spent 2 1/2 years answering 911 calls and am now hyper-aware of how hyper-aware you really should be of your surroundings. Should anything go wrong you definitely want to remember what that person/place/car/landmark looked like.


@NeverOddOrEven This is awesome and very helpful. For me it's not so much staring down guys that are being judgey or side eying, more of a general shyness about looking anyone in the eye. But I'm totally going to do this now, thank you!


@spoondisaster No problem, happy to have inspired you! It really is amazing how much of an impact a tiny gesture like that can have on your mood/self-confidence.
Plus, you're pretty likely to get a smile out of some people which is always a day brightener. Particularly for surly pessimists like me.

Mary McKenna@facebook

This might be too geeky (sorry, I just read the freaksandgeeks post) but as I understand it, the difference between Lent and new year's resolution is that resolutions are about self-improvement, and Lent is about self-denial.
Does anyone else want to weigh in on this? I'd hate to see Jane go to hell.


@Mary McKenna@facebook I read on tumblr today (so clearly my source is super-reliable!) that there's a Catholic/Protestant divide on Lent - Catholics emphasize doing good works (volunteering, etc, which i would count as self-improvement) during Lent as well as giving up something, while Protestants are just giving things up?
But I've spent the past decade working incredibly hard to forget everything I learned at CCD, so someone who knows more about this than I do ought to weigh in.

Quinn A@twitter

@cherrispryte Yeah, I can remember being in elementary school and hearing that as Catholics, we should really focus on doing good rather than on giving something up. I think that might be a fairly recent shift, though? Most of the older Catholics I know just give something up.


@Mary McKenna@facebook I would not say that Lent is about self denial, though I think that's an easy way to sum it up from the outside. I think Lent is more about sacrifice, which I think isn't quite the same. Cherrispryte is right that Catholics definitely emphasize doing good works, but for the almsgiving/charity aspect and the good that it does for others, not yourself. For reference, the gospel reading on Ash Wednesday is (usually, I think?) Matthew 6:1-6 and 16-21, which is all about giving to the poor and fasting but not being all look at me about it (as I'm sure Jesus meant to put it).


@Mary McKenna@facebook Eh. I don't see it that way. I see Lent as an opportunity to exercise special mindfulness and spiritual discipline. And spiritual discipline is a form of self improvement.

Also, the whole "what you only are good/improved/whatever for 40 days, why not be good all year" I don't get either. It's like doing a 30 day shred, or cleaning out the garage. Spending time being focused in a special way isn't making up a deficit or anything. It's more a chance to influence the way I live for the rest of the year by giving myself a tune-up during lent.

Said above, I am giving up the elevator at work. Oof. But sustainability!


@Mary McKenna@facebook I don't know anything about anything in re: religious observance of Lent except for half-remembered things I've read over the years, but it seems to me that the line between self-denial and self-improvement is hard to draw in a culture where moral virtue is still strongly associated with denying yourself pleasure. My understanding of Lent is, historically the denial of pleasure was supposed to make room for concentrating on prayer, repentance, and general attention to one's relationship with God. Having fun and eating tasty food would be distractions.

None of the people I know who observed Lent talk much about the prayer and penitence part, but most of the people I know are not particularly vocal about religious stuff anyway.

Also I just learned now from Wikipedia that Thomas Aquinas supported fasting during Lent because eating rich food "results a greater surplus available for seminal matter, which when abundant becomes a great incentive to lust." Which I kind of love. Starve the semen out of 'em!


@thebestjasmine @everyone I am a very lapsed catholic. In Mexico you just don't eat red meat on fridays and some people spend their spring break teaching the Bible in low-income communities. I don't remember being told to give up something, just kind of living a simpler life (or eating more simply, really). But I was encouraged to do nice things.

Mary McKenna@facebook

I'm glad you pointed out the difference between sacrifice and self-denial (I was swayed by the linguistic symmetry into using the less apt term).


Protestants have Lent? I thought I was Protestant. That's the box I always tick, at least.


@Lorelei@twitter But Thomas Aquinas was very fat, so it makes me wonder how he knew about the connection between rich food and semen ....


@Mary McKenna@facebook - So, I'm not a catholic anymore, but once upon a time LSJ wanted to be a priest - I actually got a degree in philosophy because I wasn't sure if I believed in God or not, and the plan was to figure out how to determine what I felt, and if I came out a believer, go to seminary.

Either way - that's to say my theology is a bit lapsed. But, while I'm an atheist and don't necessary believe this is the case, I think the argument a devout Catholic would make is the "denial of pleasure" or "self denial" are parts of the catholic faith & practice at all.

The actual act is the subjugation of lesser, more immediate pleasures in service of the greater - eternal life at one with the glory of God. I'm an atheist now, but when going to an Easter Vigil Mass last year to support a friend, the "Gloria"...I missed the church.

The fair thing to think of when evaluating people of faith is not "Oh, they deny fun stuff like the occassional one-night stand for an invisible superhero" (which is kind of a straw man on my part, I know you weren't saying anything that extreme) but to think of them like living a super-extended version of every time we skip a treat we want because it's good for our health, or going to work even when we'd rather sleep in because we're going to need to pay rent.


@PistolPackinMama Can I thread-jack to ask about the 30 day shred? I just ordered it and I'm scared....how bad is it, and more importantly, does it work? Because I can deal with the misery if I see some results, but I get discouraged easily....

Mary McKenna@facebook

I didn't mean to come across as though I was evaluating people of faith for being un-fun. I am Anglican and I practice lent.
I see how describing lent as "self-denial" might sound kinda flippant, but I was more interested in trying to articulate what distinguishes Lent from a new year's resolution, than I was interested in giving an account of Lent's full meaning. And I think there is a profound distinction there even though it might not look like it from the outside
Anyway I'm happy others readers made up for what was lacking in my comment.


@Mary McKenna@facebook I hope other people have things to say about shreds, because I haven't done one. I do know the people who have told me about their shred experiences think they saw results within a startlingly short time. But it also was ooowwwwiiieeee.

Don't be discouraged. If Pistol Packin' (but not very athletic) Mama can pick up running and get somewhere with it, you can shred with results. It has to be true, because I am not at all athletic, and I am running.

christina tesoro

I'm giving up sex but as I'm not currently having sex ANYWAY, this is not a problem. (This is not the point of Lent, I know.)

My mom has a policy of not giving up anything, but instead consciously doing something nice for someone each day. I like this policy, so I'm going to do that too.


@She Saved The World, Alot I make an annual new year's resolution to not get pregnant for the same reasons.

Then every end-of-year when I read my resolutions and feel guilty about not keeping them, I think, "at least I'm not pregnant."


@She Saved The World, Alot Hahaha if anyone asks this is what I'll tell them, but not the "I'm not having any anyway" part.


I used to try and give up Twix for Lent when I was a kid. That would last approximately three days, after which I'd tear into the package of bite-size Twix stored in our basement and then hide all the wrappers.
I usually didn't even feel that guilty about it. Jesus wept.


@rucifie You had a package of bite sized Twix stored in the basement? All our basement had was a case of motor oil and some kitty litter.


Growing up Presbyterian, we never gave up ANYTHING. Lent was for other people more dedicated to the whole thing. In college, I lived with three Catholics who forced me to participate, so I gave up smoking & french fries. I also cheated RAMPANTLY. Since then, I've gone back to my frozen-chosen ways.


One of my favorite things about pre-teen KeLynn is that one year I tried to give up Duke Nukem and failed miserably.

Quinn A@twitter

I think this Lent is the one where I finally give up the last vestiges of my Catholicism. I didn't stop going to church regularly until I was 22, didn't stop going to church at all until I was 24, and still fasted last Ash Wednesday and Good Friday(I'm 27 now).

It...kind of hurts, actually. I miss Catholicism, but feminist childfree gay women and Catholicism don't mix very well. I can't belong to a church that hates me, especially if it also covers up abuse and tells people in AIDS-ravaged countries that condoms don't work.


@Quinn A@twitter As a lapsed-ish Catholic for similar reasons, my worry is that everyone liberal leaving leads to an accelerated decline. And yet it's so hard to stay. Is there any chance that there is a more liberal church in your area? It's not always such a monolith, there are pockets of resistance, feminist nuns and priests who marry gay people (together I mean) in secret, risking everything.


@Quinn A@twitter Seconded. The mainstream church (Catholic or otherwise) has done nothing but push people away and shut people out. But if you don't mind my two cents, don't give up on the whole God thing. There are still so many churches out there that would love to have you (the whole you) as a vital member of their community. It sucks having to search so hard, but non-hate-y churches really do exist.

Quinn A@twitter

@Paul_Funyun Yeah, I think there's a United church downtown with two female reverends (reverends? I think that's right) that I could probably go to. It's just that I used to really love Catholicism, and even if I find an individual church with a more liberal priest, I'll still know that the institution as a whole has no respect for me. I think I have to fully let go of Catholicism before I can even consider going anywhere else.

Quinn A@twitter

@feartie I might be able to find a more liberal Catholic church (though I haven't heard that any of the local Catholic churches are unusually liberal), but it wouldn't change the fact that the institution as a whole sucks. I'd still feel like a hypocrite for going; I'd just be a slightly happier hypocrite.


@Quinn A@twitter Praying for a sea-change, then. That's all there is to do.


@Quinn A@twitter I don't support what is going on in the Catholic church these days (no, you can't take away my birth control! God doesn't hate gay people! etc etc) but I still believe in the basic fundamentals (Jesus was accepting of everyone and loved them). I think it sucks that its gotten so far away from what Jesus actually taught and practiced in his life.

sarah girl

@Quinn A@twitter You might take a look at some of the offshoot Catholic religions - basically, they keep the rituals and such and discard the Vatican bullshit. They often call themselves "American Catholic" or something similar; the important part is that the "Roman" is almost always dropped from the name. I have a dear family friend who is a pastor in an American Catholic church in Baltimore; he is openly gay, the most loving and tolerant person I know, but also loves the rituals of the Catholic church.

Quinn A@twitter

@Sarah H. Oh, thanks! I don't know if that exists where I am, but it's definitely good to know.

Jolly Farton

@Quinn A@twitter I attend a Catholic church in Chelsea, NYC that is openly and completely gay-friendly and marches in the pride parade every year. Not at all to take away from the points you've made (which I agree with), or to suggest that the existence of one liberal church diminishes the faults of the institution as a whole, but just throwing it in there.
I don't know. I'm hungry.


@Quinn A@twitter yeah and this was actually a thing when they were picking the current pope-- this thing of are we going to pick someone old skool or neu skool (they picked old).

Seconding @lilly pilgrim though, I was raised in LA going to a liberal catholic church. It was fine. I think Dan Savage once described himself as culturally catholic and a wishy-washy agnostic. That seems pretty real.


@Quinn A@twitter There definitely are some very rebellious Catholic churches, but it probably all depends where you live. In Minneapolis we have one Catholic church that shares its buildings with a social justice charter school. They are openly accepting of gay members (they got in trouble with the diocese for regularly leading gay pride events) and the other week sang "she's got the whole world in her hands" during service.


@Quinn A@twitter It was actually hard for me to leave, too. My Catholic grammar school, and the lovely Irish nuns who ran it, provided much needed structure and serenity in my little life. I threw myself into catholicism as a result, it was such a comfort to me.
I held on about as long as you, even though it was against many of my values. I kept remembering that sense of peace I felt in childhood...and the rituals that calmed the obsessive part of my brain.
It gets easier and you miss it less and you find other avenues to explore spirituality/peace/whatever it was you got from Catholicism....


@Quinn A@twitter Giving up Lent for Lent. I like it.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@Quinn A@twitter This is an interesting thread for me. I've often wondered why despite being raised Catholic the rituals and lifestyle don't seem to have been so difficult for me to give up. I think whatever way it came into my life as a child, it wasn't portrayed as something essential. I feel sad in a way that I never really got that sense of peace and joy that so many here and people I know IRL got from it. I didn't get a hugely negative influence from it either, just a kind of....meh-ness? Maybe meh isn't quite right because it did provide a ritual framework for me and my peers as children, but unlike others I didn't really get a strong spiritual sense from those rituals. Maybe it was just my personality, maybe it's the fact that in my family religion was viewed more as a structural thing rather than a spiritual one, maybe it's the fact that although I did all the sacraments like communion in school none of the teachers were nuns or anything....i dunno. The funny thing is I definitely did and do have a strong sense of the transcendent, but the rituals of Catholicism didn't seem to relate to that feeling to me, and I sort of never really expected them to. I remember feeling as a child that I was somehow 'missing out' on being a 'real' Catholic - I never knew anything about catechism, I didn't realise what Rosary beads were till I was about 12 - but overall it seemed inevitable and logical that I would stop going to Mass from my teens onwards. It wasn't traumatic, I didn't get angry at the Church and reject it (and even in the recent horrific scandals I don't feel that sense of being 'let down' by the Church that others did, rather I felt a general outrage that I would at any institution that behaved like that). I just went from sort-of caring about the church to not really caring all that much. My mother wasn't too thrilled but didn't seem surprised either, and didn't really try and change my or my sisters' minds.

Anyway, sorry for blathering on, I just got to thinking about all this and it struck me as odd that it slipped out of my life so simply and I never felt the loss. For eg, it never even occurred to me to even think about getting ashes on Wednesday. It really is odd because many of my friends had the attachment to the Church that many here describe, and were very sad to let it go, but not me. It's also strange because I'm from Ireland for gawd's sake, which was like the Catholic Mothership back in the day. But still, to paraphrase Graham Greene, it didn't 'take'.

As an aside, I must ask all you lapsed Catholics out there who only go to Mass at funerals or Christmas or whatever - how freaky was it when you realised they'd changed the words? What was up with that??


@Quinn A@twitter Also (to resume this conversation One Million Years Later) may I just take a moment to recommend checking out this lady: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2012/02/my-testimony-at-the-colorado-senate-judiciary-hearing-on-civil-unions/. Not Catholic, but definitely liturgical, and definitely, so awesome.


I'm in a pretty bad place in life, but my Lenten resolution is to deprive myself of stagnation. Every day I'm going to one thing that will improve my life, even if it's just sweeping the floor or taking a walk.

a horde of great crab things

@ilikemints I like the way you have worded this, wholeheartedly identify, and wish you success in your endeavours.

sarah girl

@ilikemints A beautiful goal. Good luck, I hope your 40 days are lovely and productive :)


@ilikemints- I love this plan and may copy it. Good luck to you!

Lady Pennyface

@ilikemints I like this a lot! I was thinking of doing something similar... giving up making excuses. (Oh, I can't sweep the floor because... the broom is in the other room! I can't take that walk because... I need to make dinner!) It sounds kind of similar to giving up procrastinating, but I'm not calling it that because quitting the procrastination never works for me.


@ilikemints Yup, might just have to steal this one as well. Excellent plan!


Since I'm not religious, I was thinking about doing something for Lent in the way of self-improvement (I know that doesn't seem like it makes sense in any way, but it does to me). Then I couldn't think of something to give up - anything I should give up in my life should just be given up forever and not for forty days (see: smoking) - and I just wanted to add something, like exercising. I almost gave up on the idea of doing anything, until a friend introduced the concept of a double negative. I can give up not exercising. (See, I am not religious and yes, treating it as a second New Year's resolution. Mostly because I don't make resolutions, they're silly.)

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@NeenerNeener That works. I won't like spin it into religious terms, but whether you give something up or set a goal, you're taking a few weeks to make yourself better somehow. Good on you!

Old Katrina

@NeenerNeener I'm giving up excuses to not exercise, so pretty much the same thing :)

Laura Witt@facebook

I'm Lutheran (and sitting in a Starbucks killing time between work and church) but we do the Lent thing too. I'm giving up meat, to the consternation of my husband who gets home late and usually eats the leftovers of whatever I made for myself for dinner.


The microwave! Or I'm going to try. As a half-Cath, I am not completely dedicated for the religious aspect, but more because I like to see if I can do something really difficult (Last year was Facebook and the year before texting).


@cmonster I don't have a microwave! You can totally do it, I only miss it when it comes to reheading a hot drink, or melting butter or something when I'm cooking.


@cmonster I don't have a microwave, either. You can do it! The only think I had to get to survive was an air popper for popcorn. Everything else is easy-peasy.


@RosemaryF I pop popcorn on the stovetop! It takes a little trial and error at the beginning, but now I find it easy and so delicious.


@thebestjasmine Stovetop popcorn is the best popcorn!

jamie schuh

@cmonster I don't have a microwave and I reheat basically everything in the rice cooker! I even used to heat up water for tea that way, but my mom thought I was being a heathen and got me an appliance whose sole purpose is to make hot water happen.


@thebestjasmine How do you do this? Is there a special pot?


@tortietabbie Just one of those big tall pots - like one you would make a big batch of soup in. Put in 3 tbsp of oil - I like canola, just don't use olive oil - and three kernels of corn. Put the lid on, turn it to medium heat and wait until at least one of those three pops, then throw in another 1/3 cup of kernels. Then you just shake up the pot every once in a while and tilt the lid open to release steam a few times. It takes maybe 10 minute altogether. And then you can add whatever toppings you want - melted butter, cheese, spices, etc.


@phlox Oh wow. That sounds totally doable!


@tortietabbie It really does taste better than microwave popcorn even before you put anything on it! Plus it is SO much cheaper, you get a bag of kernels and that will last you a long time!


@tortietabbie I actually don't use a big tall pot, I use a pot basically big enough to hold however much popcorn I want to make. Same procedure as above, but I toss in enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pot, more or less. For me it takes way less than 10 minutes, maybe more like 5 from start to finish. And it's also way cheaper, and I get my popcorn in the Whole Foods bins (it's fresher that way and pops better).


I used to give up beating up my little sister every year when I was a kid. She's 23 now and I think I'll still stick with the old resolution.


I'm exercising every day. It's going to be hard, but a good thing.

I'm also thinking about giving up booze (not wine or beer, though). Hmm.


@thebestjasmine I'm going to give up drinking alone at home. Good luck, us!


Washing my hair like a non-hippie, a la Lauren O'Neal.

Barry Grant


Done and done. I wish all religious matters were this straightforward and easy.


@Barry Grant I don't think I'm actually going to be able to stick with it. Clicking those buttons is just too tempting. The Mormon afterlife is going to be fucking fabulous by the time I'm done failing at yet another religion.

Jolly Farton

@wharrgarbl no no, you're not getting it- you're supposed to give up something that's bad


Thank the stars I'm a godless heathen.


@figwiggin Amen.


@figwiggin Thank the stars godless heathens can march into Catholic churches and stuff their faces with fried fish. Nom nom nom.

Two-Headed Girl

In (Catholic) elementary, we all used to give up chocolate. Which...it was a very noble goal, but this was before you could get Mini Eggs all year, so also a stupid one. Only the REALLY religious kids lasted more than three days.


@Two-Headed Girl- If God loves us and wants us to be happy, then I'm sure S/He wants us to have Mini Eggs. Preferably by the pound.


@Two-Headed Girl I tried to give up chocolate one year in college. Then Girl Scout Cookies arrived. One of my friends still uses "because you broke Lent" as her reason when bad things happen to me.


This year, I'm giving up Lent.


I'm not at all religious but I'm giving up sugar for Lent because it is a defined period of time during which people (i.e., my Catholic boss who keeps bringing in baked goods) understand the giving-something-up thing and don't pester you to eat crap. Maybe I should just give my boss up for Lent instead. I would enjoy that more.

Valley Girl

Another lapsed Catholic checking in, which is an identity that feels pretty pertinent lately between the liturgical calendar and the news about the birth control mandate and the emphasis on the stat that like 98% of Catholic women use BC...anyway, I'm giving up meat on Fridays/today (got my mom on board this year, which should help) and I'm trying to get into an exercise routine. To kick it off today I did 20 minutes/2ish miles on the elliptical and then I paddled around in the pool for awhile. I'm aware that really isn't all the much but I'm shooting for sustainable and enjoyable here.


Wow, this is actually the first year I hadn't thought about what I'm giving up for Lent. I guess that means my Catholicism, which started waning when I left home and my parents' super-liberal church, is pretty much fully lapsed now.

I think I'll run a mile every day, because today I did it by accident and why not?

I'm not giving anything up, but making an effort to be productive, proactive, and more mindful every day. I tend to avoid things that cause me anxiety and stress, and that often involves more anxiety and stress. Today I did some chores that I hate but really needed to be done. So I guess part of it is giving up idle sloth and part of it is being more mindful of avoidance and stress so I can get rid of them, even though it's often easier to procrastinate.

So things like checking/sorting/opening/dealing with the mail every day and not letting anything pile up, paying bills the day I get them instead of being all "meh, I'll do it on friday..." and then having it as a nagging thing all week, going to the gym regularly, calling my landlord the DAY the garbage disposal stops working instead of 2 weeks later when I'm getting sick of using the little food catching net thing, doing laundry a few times a week, making my bed every day, packing healthy lunches, etc.


@S. Elizabeth- I like the acronym OHIO: Only Handle It Once. It helps me remember to clean up after myself immediately rather than later, when the mess is grosser. My least favorite state, maybe, but my fave acronym.


I'm giving up online dating! I deleted my account. (I may have done this before I remembered about Lent, but now I'm totally counting it). I am going to love spending time alone and NOT spending it having dinner with awkward unemployed "artists".

I'm also pretty much giving up sleeping, but that's more about work than Lent.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

I'm a religious girl, and I couldn't figure out what to do for Lent because I suck at giving stuff up, although last year I sort of gave up negativity, by praying for people or being patient with them instead of rolling my eyes or hating on them. It was tough, but I did it and it was great.

This year, I'm going to try writing a mission statement. It sounds kind of cheesy, but it something I was supposed to do when I finished this spiritual retreat a few years ago and never did, because it was all about self-identity and goals and stuff, and that just wasn't me. But I'm going to try writing some sort of mission statement type thing and it is going to be ready by Easter.


@Rookie I'm not religious (or even Catholic! So this Jewish girl will be participating in Lent Lite?) but giving up negativity for Lent sounds awesome. I'm going to give it a shot because I can be a serious hater sometimes and I often get tired of hearing myself complain. It's time to be a better person.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@elizabeast That's the attitude you need. Honestly, do it, it's going to be so good for you.


@elizabeast I kind of love Lent because it's a Christian thing lots of lapsed, non-Christian, secular and etc. people get into. I am kind of charmed that the 40 days of "spiritual" discipline is a thing people want to test drive for their own reasons that aren't Christian God Related.

It's interesting to hear how it goes and why people do it.


@Rookie My Mom (who goes to Mass every sunday, but is as liberal a Catholic as you can get) gave up negativity a few years ago, and it was pretty awesome. And I love the mission statement idea.


This is hella crabby of me, but Hairpin, I am SO PROUD OF YOU ALL for not thinking you're original by saying that you're "giving up outmoded religion for Lent." I'm as disenchanted as an ex-Catholic as one can get, but my Facebook feed has been full of people 'inventing' that quip all day. I was sick of that joke by my third grade First Communion class.

Maybe I should give up bitching. Or Facebook. Or bitching about Facebook. Whee!

Porn Peddler

@VolcanoMouse I apologize for being that person, it was like a week ago and it was the first I'd seen of lent.


@VolcanoMouse The first time I heard it was from a commenter above. I was actually touched by, and identified with, her struggle with Catholicism.


@VolcanoMouse GOD yes, thank you. I hate that so so much. I totally get making fun of Catholics, but that's just a dull and stupid joke.

oh, disaster

I can't believe I'm the first one to bring up the best part of Lent: Church basement fish frys! I may no longer be a practicing Catholic, but when my mother asks if I went to church on Ash Wednesday, I can say yes... because I picked up the biggest, most delicious fish sandwich ever just few blocks from my apartment.

And I'm giving up guilt for Lent. Obviously.


@andrea disaster I don't identify as Catholic or even Christian, but fish fry season is MY FAVORITE! I'm giving up not clogging my arteries with fried fish.

oh, disaster

@tortietabbie Immaculate Conception in Bloomfield! Mmmmm...


@andrea disaster Oh yeah... there's an email going around work at the mo of people who will be hitting the local Friday fish frys. Ahhhhhh. Hush puppies, baby!


My 5 year old is giving up watching Tangled for Lent. I am an atheist but she goes to a church school (insert lengthy rant about UK educational system here) so she doesn't know that yet. I nearly had to clue her in yesterday when she came home from school with the ash on her forehead.

Amanda Hodder@facebook

Self control. I'm giving up self control...

Elvis Costello's Spectacles

This year for Lent I've decided to give up being poor. I accept cash, credit cards and Paypal.


@Elvis Costello's Spectacles I am giving up online shopping, so in a way, I am also giving up being poor. Really! I'm not so sure I'll make it. I canceled all my ebay saved search alerts and am going to ignore all the Banana Republic sale emails and not go near Amazon...


Picking my face. My boyfriend's doubt re: my ability to do this only strengthens my resolve.


@julia That was my new years resolution!! It has been hard except I have made so many horrible red marks that aren't healing at the end of last year that I think I might have cured myself of it. I don't want anymore of those.. Do you have any new habits that are going to help you to not pick?

Porn Peddler

This is making me think of when I was in grade school and several catholic girls were way into laughing at me about my lack of knowledge of.....everything remotely christian. I still do not understand how a child can feel so strongly that I'm stupid for not knowing who/what Jesus is. Especially given that I was clearly Jewish (but Jewy would be more accurate, really), given the star necklace around my neck at all times...


@Third Wave Housewife Is Jewey the same as Jew-ish? As opposed to Jewish?

And I am sorry you were made fun of by wretched catholic school girls. If they are the kind of catholics who believe in purgatory, they added decades on to their wait in the Great Celestial Greyhound Station in the Sky for that kind of bad behavior.

If I found out a daughter of mine had done something like that, there would have been a sharp, extended conversation about that.


Porn Peddler

@PistolPackinMama I use Jewy as shorthand for people who aren't actually religious at all and probably weren't raised as such, but did celebrate Jewish holidays, both religious and cultural, and who is otherwise identifiable as Jewish without religious identification. I guess Jew-ish would be accurate as well.

Also, I did not mean this to be a sad recollection of childhood, kids are dicks, and waaaaaay worse shit went down than that-I meant it more as a musing thing. Like seriously girl you are seven or something, how do you get to have such strong opinions about religion when you can't even read big words yet?


I love the tolerance here. Everyone is being open about their religious selves, no one is attacking anyone else for any one stance, and the discussion is reasoned and accepting. I love this, and I am NOT giving up loving the 'pin for Lent.


@CheeseWizard The Hairpin not being a selfish thing but more a big old slumber party (as other sources have noted) then I think it's totally Kosher for Lent.


My great-grandmother was a German Protestant and her husband was a Irish Catholic. When she was mad at him, she would feed my great-grandfather red meat on Fridays. He would close his eyes, wave his hands over it and say, "Now you're fish, now you're fish." So I guess that can work for anyone if they cheat on their Lenten promise, right?


After inhaling two Nutella crepes, I just decided to give up Nutella. As I'm living in France for the moment, this is going to be ambitious.
It's more feasible than baguette though.


@musicello11 Perhaps you can find a generic brand "Cocoa Hazelnut Spread" ala Trader Joes? Or is the French cocoa spread market probably monopolized with Nutella?


@filo It's not, you can definitely get off-brand noisette-chocolat spread so...LOOPHOLE!! :D


I grew up Catholic but went to public school and used to love getting ashes before school so everyone would pay attention to me and I could pretend to be really noble and stuff. Always backfired when people asked me what the ashes were actually for...I was charming.


@LizHo Oh we loved to get them in Catholic school, too. Everyone would walk around pretending they hated the giant smudge on their forehead, but we were all secretly proud of it...I don't know...it made us feel grown up? Kind of like how you want to get braces when you're 10 because you associate them with teenagers?

Miss Maszkerádi

I'm one of those vaguely-defined "spiritual but not religious" types, albeit of Catholic ancestry. I'm fascinated and often moved by religious rituals, liturgy, music etc at the same time as I recognize my own emotional and mental inability to fully subscribe to any organized faith--sometimes I call myself a happily-wandering heretic.

I've never really done Lent--the game of giving up one thing always seemed a bit childish to me, and the one year I tried to do the full Orthodox Lenten fast (you go vegan for 40 days) in solidarity with my Ruthenian relatives, I gave up two weeks in because I get super crabby and tired without meat in my diet.

But this year, Lent kind of means something for me. Two days before Ash Wednesday I managed to get myself out of a relationship that, I had belatedly realized, was an unhappy and unhealthy one. It had to be done but, as it was my first relationship and thus my first breakup, it was also a pretty agonizing experience. This year, for me, Lent is genuinely going to be a period of emotional and spiritual cleansing and putting my life back together. Asceticism at times, meditations, soul-searching, heck, maybe I'll make my Catholic grandmothers proud and go hear the singing of the mass once in a while. Returning to harmony, as it were. And I hope that, by Easter, I can feel somewhat "resurrected" in my own self :-)


I have a friend who works at a Catholic hospital who was recently agonizing about what she should pretend to give up for Lent (no one knows she's Jewish). I suggested soda, which she never drinks anyway, and so wouldn't miss.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@D.@twitter Does she have to hide the fact that she's Jewish, or just she just prefer not to talk about religion in work? Hope it's the latter!


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