When The Moon Hits Your Eye Like A Great Pizza Pie, That’s Amore

Today I’m thankful for vegan pizza.

Before thinking this sounds silly, imagine that you can’t ever again eat your favorite food.  Whatever the reason is, you can’t have any.  Ever.  I can’t eat any form of dairy.  I get very ill.  I miss pizza.  Pizza, being covered in cheese, dwells in the forbidden zone.  I sometimes imagine the savory, salty taste of dough covered in tomato sauce and cheese, and grumble, just a little.  Any toppings, except fish or mushrooms.  Even the heartburn after, knowing I’d thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I tried a few versions of making one myself, but I have no love for cooking and the result was consistently disappointing.  Consider then the actual joy I felt upon discovering my market carries multiple brands of vegan pizza.  I had choices!  Once every few weeks I’ll buy one, bring it home and bake it.  I’ll eat the whole damn thing.  They aren’t particularly large, and I’m very careful not to do so often.  The rest of my diet is disgustingly healthy.  It isn’t exactly the same as I remember, but my memory is probably idealized anyway.  It is similar enough, and tastes quite good in its own right.  I don’t have to live a pizza-free life anymore.

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My Other Self

Today I’m thankful that I’m spending a week surrounded by thousands of people who love the same things I do.

I’ve been stressed since half my colleagues were made redundant. I think it’s understandable. The notice came about a week before I let for a vacation/conference. I’m at the conference now. I hadn’t noticed how much I missed being around “my people”, silly as we are. The sessions are highly informative, and the location is idyllic. I’ve split my time between the conference and wandering the city. I’d forgotten how truly goofy I am when unstressed. I’m still not certain what my next move will be, but this respite is proving absolutely necessary.

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A Kick In The Rear

Half of my work unit were made redundant last week. They were offered equivalent contracts with the company taking over those operations, so it could’ve been far worse, but the rest of us are on edge. None of our immediate supervisors had any forewarning so it is difficult to take their reassurances without question. I’ve worked there for almost three years. In truth I knew it was probably time to start looking again, but now it seems like I’m running against a fluid deadline that no one really acknowledges. I’d like to move closer to my family so that’s the way I’m leaning. I’m wary.

Raising My Voice Anew

Today I’m grateful for voice/singing lessons.

I had a voice teacher for several months about five years ago.  The lessons ended because she moved about 10 hours away.  I’m a singer.  I always have been.  I’m not a great technical musician – my sight reading skills are negligible and I know very little theory.  I’m a tolerable instinctual musician, if such a thing exists.  I’ve developed an excellent ear out of necessity so that I don’t fall behind, and I can harmonize almost instantly.  I’ve been a harmony part since my voice changed and I have more fun moving around the melody than I ever did singing a piece straight.

I restarted voice lessons two months ago.  It took a couple of sessions to get our footing.  I wasn’t sure specifically what I wanted and the teacher needed to suss out my abilities.  Parts of my range are rusty.  That’s slightly frustrating, but I’m elated to be learning something again.  I truly enjoy singing in the church choir, but I needed to sing for myself as well.  Now I am.

An IPad At Westminster Abbey

Today I’m thankful for Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

In the small chance you’d missed the news, there was a royal wedding on Saturday.  A lot of positive press is being given to Bishop Michael Curry.  He is the primate of the Episcopal Church of the United States, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion.

I’ve mentioned before that my relationship with religion is complex and I lean agnostic.  I sing in the choir of a local Anglican church because 1) they have the best music in town, and 2) I need to sing like I need to breathe.  Both are necessary.  I’m also attached to the Anglican forms even if I doubt the substance.

I truly respect, and honestly like, Bishop Curry.  His ecclesial history is a little like my own.  We both come from rather rambunctious evangelical traditions and have adopted the (in my HUMBLE opinion, blatant sarcasm) more graceful forms of Anglicanism.  He is learned, and gentle, and one hell of a preacher.  I’m not nostalgic for the tradition I was formed in, but every now and then you just need a tent revival.  He knows that, and brought it all the way to Westminster Abbey.  That is worth celebrating.

This video does not belong to me.  All rights belong to the rights holder(s).

Source:  BBC News

Molehills Into Mountains, And Then Back Again

Today I’m grateful for minor gripes.

I’m not generally confessional but for once this seems the best forum.  I’ve been dealing with a lot of resentment of late.  I’m a serious person by nature and lean cynical.  This really isn’t helping.  The source is a very minor part of my life and I’ve let it grow disproportionately.  The fact that I know I’m being an ungrateful turd doesn’t help me reach any resolution because I then feel guilty about having the thoughts in the first place.

I’ve got an engineer’s mind, so I’m trying to break it down and troubleshoot the issue.  I don’t know if that’s appropriate terminology for emotions but it is accurate.  It’s a tiny thing and will recess soon so I don’t even have time to gripe about it.  I’m grateful that I recognize when I’m being silly and can do something about it.

Needs Must, And So On

Today I’m thankful for small periods of perfection.

I was having a particularly trying day at work last week.  I left at midday to get food.  I mostly needed to get out of the building.  It was utterly perfect, for me, as soon as I stepped through the door.  A light rain had just started and the smell was intoxicating, especially mixed with the greenery around.  There’s a church on the other side of the road and their bell started ringing.  It was still and exquisite.  For about five seconds.  As I rounded the building I heard a hard-of-hearing colleague on a call.  They are lovely, but notably loud.  They’d agree with the sentiment.  I laughed harder than I’ve laughed in a while at the sheer absurdity of it.  It was I needed, when I needed it.

So…

I’m allergic to dairy.  What happened at Christmas happened again about two weeks ago, and it was worse.  I haven’t been that sick in a very long time, even at Christmas.  I’ve been adjusting what I eat.  I haven’t even mourned the change.  I guess one way to make a large life change is to have a fever and not be able to swallow solid food for a week.  Works every time!

One Thing Leads To Another

Today I’m thankful for slight dissatisfaction.

I visited the older lady I help last week.  I think I’m going to call her “Julia” to avoid some of the usual linguistic wrangling I force on myself.  She didn’t need my help with any cleaning so we sat and talked for almost two hours.  She was fairly upbeat.  One of her sons is visiting this week and she is looking forward to seeing him.  She’s lived a full life, has an intriguing perspective, and is happy to help if she can.  I always learn something from her.

My experience is that every so often life can feel stale, and you evolve or flounder.  I’m generally satisfied with my life.  I enjoy my colleagues, my family is healthy and my ridiculous dog makes me laugh – especially when she snores.  My plants are still mostly alive.  All together, it’s a stable place to determine what might come next.  I asked “Julia” her thoughts.  The woman never says the expected.  As a result, I’m going to try completing some courses for a doctorate in forestry.

I say “try” because it depends on flexible I can be at work.  My employer offers very generous tuition reimbursement.  I don’t know that I want to pursue the actual doctoral degree (earning the post-grad degree I do have was a comically horrible experience that may one day earn its own post), but I’ve always been fascinated by the subject, I’m trying to live more consciously, and I’ve got the one life so I might as well try to pursue what I love.  Excelsior.

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A Lot Can Happen In A Month

It’s been an uneventful week and I wasn’t entirely sure what topic would make for a good post.  Maybe this time I should celebrate the mundane.

The church I where I sing is undergoing extensive renovations.  The building will be magnificent when complete, but for the moment we’re celebrating the services in the parish hall.  The parish is known for its excellent music.  Singing there is the only real reason I’ve got for attending.  The sanctuary has pristine acoustics.  The parish hall can be euphemistically described as “comfy.”  There are no hard surfaces and any sound is swallowed.  Construction is delayed a bit and now we’re not likely to be back in the sanctuary until after Easter.

Our director has used this as an opportunity to be creative, selecting anthems that sound lovely sung with a piano or a cappella.  The organ isn’t an option so he doesn’t lament.  I admit that I’d be prone to griping in similar circumstances.  I’m not the director, I don’t have to worry about the music, and I’m fine with both things.  Credit it to my Lenten maturity.  Ha!