Monday, March 07, 2005

Happy Mothering Sunday

Here in England, we celebrated Mother's Day, or "Mothering Sunday" as it is officially known. British websites (including the BBC) say that Mothering Sunday has absolutely nothing to do with, nor does it closely resemble the U.S.' Mother's Day, but I disagree.

In the U.K., though, the date is different every year because it falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. The tradition evolved from giving workers-- usually women domestic servants-- the day off in Lent so they could go back to visit their mothers and families. They would return to their "Mother Church" and a family reunion would follow. These days, it's a very good reason for hard-working mothers to get to sleep late and eat chocolate cake, which is exactly what I did.
(see picture)

As an American living in Britain, though, it creates the annual question of when to send our own mothers a card. Do we send it now, and seem hopelessly early and out of date? Or do we send it in May, for American Mother's Day, when chances are good that we will forget completely, since there are no Mother's Day signs to remind us. This year we are taking our chances and sending our warm greetings in May. Hopefully, we'll remember.

I am suffering a serious case of Training Fatigue (i.e. sick of running, have various ailments that make any run unpleasant, can't face another day of lacing up my running shoes). I took the morning off to see the Caravaggio exhibit at the National Gallery. The pictures were amazing, and I'm not really one to fall for the seriously religious stuff.

Caravaggio lived the life of a rock star. Seriously! (Who knew, right?) This exhibit looks at his final years, when he was banished from Rome after killing a man in a duel. He went on the run-- painting beautiful pictures along the way-- and was made a knight in Malta. Just as things started to look up for him, he was involved in bar fight in Naples, and got slashed and stabbed beyond recognition in the face. He survived the stabbing, and then learned that he might be pardoned by the pope, so he headed back north via ship. However, he disembarked, got thrown in jail, and the boat-- with all his belongings and pictures on board-- left without him. ("Wait! Wait! My pictures!!") He then tried to chase after it, only to suffer heat exhaustion and die. You can't make this stuff up, can you?

It was a wonderful way to spend a morning, especially because I went with my friend Kirstin, who, like me, Loves All Things Italian.

If you'd like to read more about the exhibit, go to

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