The flu, mardi gras pancakes, lower back pain

It was a hellish week. Finally caught the flu last weekend as my DH Shane was getting over it, but I don’t have a demanding full-time job and long commute, so I didn’t come down with complications (like Shane’s sinus infection). Being feverish sucks, though. Couldn’t do one of my stories because of that second bout of aches and soreness.

Shane recovering from the flu with Tigger

Shane recovering from the flu with Tigger

As I recovered, I had two nights of insomnia, and I have no idea why. One night I was up till 2 or 3 a.m., reading about Joan of Arc and Arminianism vs. Calvinism on Wikipedia before finally falling asleep on the futon. And then two nights later I was up all night, feeling  nervous, fluttery in my chest, for no apparent reason. I hadn’t even had any caffeine, but I was jittery like I had had a few cups of coffee before bed.

Partly it was because I had to write two articles before noon the next day. I stayed up late, till about midnight, writing one of them, and by the time I finished I felt shaky and tired. I had that feeling like an overtired child who gets all cranky and throws tantrums and can’t sleep. For a couple hours, I tried to sleep, but I figured I’d better do something constructive, so I got up and wrote the other article, which I had been planning to write in the morning. I finished at about 4 or 5 a.m. but still I couldn’t sleep. I got out of bed with Shane when he had to get up, and I thought, well, finally I’ll be able to sleep, but I didn’t. I watched episodes of Stargate Universe, instead. Then I worked the rest of the day copy editing on the paper (as it was going to press that evening) and didn’t sleep till that night.

stargate (Source:

While I was lying in bed trying to sleep, the only thing I could guess was making me anxious was that stupid pancake supper I was helping to organize for church. I was having all kinds of anxieties about it flopping in a huge way, with nobody coming, or me losing it and yelling at people from my church who were trying to help but being bossy. I ended up writing a long email to my friend Ruth about my worries and how I wouldn’t be able to stand working for the church much longer, and she wrote me the sweetest reply, right away, and she said she loved me and not to fret, which made me cry.

Lucky me, the pancake supper turned out wonderfully, and it was the help of all those people who were also anxious about pulling it off who made it happen, who came early and set up and cooked bacon and sausages and pancakes on griddles and made fun conversation for those few hours beforehand.

Ruth at the mardi gras pancake dinner

Ruth at the mardi gras pancake dinner

One of the strange things I did that made me nervous was I mixed two traditions together, Shrove Tuesday pancake supper plus a mardi gras theme, with feather masks and beads and New Orleans jazz music and king cake. I wasn’t sure it would work, and I have the feeling others weren’t sure about it, either. The king cake turned out very well, though — it was tasty as well as fun to have everyone look for the baby Jesus (a whole almond) inside their slices, and the winner got to wear the crown I bought. As Shane said, always good to have activities. (Though probably a good idea not to make people run with pancakes and frying pans; I was concerned the floor would be slippery from people tracking in snow.)Mardi gras Mary Ann

In the end, it was probably the mimosas that made the dinner fun. We had a pretty good turnout, even though the previous night’s snowstorm kept many of the regular supper guests indoors, and we made almost twice as much in donations as we had at the last fellowship dinner. Success!

Father Shane serving mimosas

Father Shane serving mimosas

Mardi gras beadsI think the busy day of baking (king cake and Valentine’s Day Bake Sale cookies) and setting up tables and cooking and cleaning up tired me out completely. As I was getting into bed, a sharp pain shot through my lower back. It messed up my plans to go cross-country skiing the next day, after all that glorious snow. So instead of playing in the sun and snow, I stayed home this afternoon trying (unsuccessfully) to find a comfortable position in which to sit or lie down and watching a documentary about Tribe Called Quest. But then Ruth had us over for a delicious Sunday dinner, and we had a wonderful time with her and her husband and their beautiful rescue dog, Charlie. What a blessing it is to have good friends!


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