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.
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!
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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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!
It’s probably privileged, but today I’m thankful I have such a variety of meatless foods to enjoy.
I’ve mentioned I suffered an autoimmune issue around Christmas. One of the things I learned as a result is that I’m allergic to some dairy products. I’d happily consumed them to that point without any issues. Now, I break out into hives (urticaria) and my throat swells. I guess that life is always change. I miss cheese very much.
I’ve been meatless for almost a year, for health and ethical reasons. Given the new dairy issue I’m seriously considering veganism. I’m fortunate that it’s simpler than it’s really ever been. I’m not limited to sad “cheese” and wooden biscuits. I’ve had a cheesecake for my birthday since I was five. If I can’t have that anymore I damn well need to find a tasty alternative. The search is on!
Today I’m thankful for my nephews, older and brand new.
My sister had her second son last week. His birth was easy. Her older son turned 3 in October. When he was born it was an emergency caesarean section. He has grown wonderfully. Both boys are healthy and my sister is recovering well.
I neither have nor want children. I adore my older nephew. I haven’t met the baby yet. I’ll visit in about a month. That should give them some breathing space as a family to start learning their new rhythms. The older boy is smart and caring. Since he isn’t mine I can give him back to his parents when we’ve each reached our limit.
I’m almost 6 years older than my sister. We’ve got a good relationship now but it took a long time to build. Growing up I was so far ahead of her that we had very little in common. We weren’t antagonistic; we largely didn’t know each other. She was pregnant a couple of months before this one. It wasn’t viable. I think we both hope that her boys will be closer as children because of the smaller age difference.
Today I’m thankful for Scottish synth-pop.
I am always hunting for new music. My taste is eclectic and I’ll happily listen to most things once. YouTube suggested a Chvrches video based on what I’d previously viewed. I’ve tended to either highly enjoy or immediately need to skip their songs. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.
They have a clean sound. I prefer that to distortion, except in some punk and sludge metal. Their production is crisp and the layering is precise. I appreciate the intricate beats, and the fact that each song is a complete item. They don’t meander to some strange musical future. This particular track has helped get me through a long work week. I was amused by the writer’s description of it as a “middle finger mic-drop.” That probably says more about how I handle stress than I actually care to admit. Listen and enjoy, I hope.
All rights belong to the artists. I do not own this video.
Today I’m thankful for occasional chances to live slowly.
Today is Ash Wednesday. I’m ambivalent toward formal religion and lean agnostic. Even so, I sing in the choir of a local Anglican church. Singing is like breathing to me. I need both to live. I attend most Sundays because we sing at set points through the entire service. I don’t believe in the metaphysical aspects but I still find beauty in the rituals, and consider “seeking justice and loving mercy” a worthy idea.
I honestly love the liturgical calendar. I’m struck by the idea that every day is a feast honoring someone. Every day becomes a celebration. Dividing the year into various “-tides” that reflect the cycle of seasons feels far less artificial to me than worrying about quarterly goals. I don’t suffer from misguided nostalgia in thinking the past was “purer” because survival required so much more effort. I do wonder whether we’ve compartmentalized and subdivided our lives so much as to be pointless.
I don’t sacrifice anything for Lent. That would mean abiding by proscriptions I just don’t believe. I do try to use the season to live an examined life. I don’t have any grand final insights. I write what I see. I probably won’t be an objectively better person by Easter but I will be reminded that what I do has consequences for good or ill. I don’t think knowing that is ever a bad thing.
Today I’m thankful for my ridiculous dog, and that my thumbs still mostly work.
The week of Christmas I suffered a fairly significant autoimmune flare. I was barely mobile for most of the week and I’ve still got some lingering effects. My thumbs don’t fully bend anymore. And fatigue only seems like a sorry excuse to shirk obligations when you haven’t experienced sleeping heavily for 11 hours to wake up feeling like you’ve been on a three day binge. It can continue for weeks. If a person claims fatigue it may be there is an underlying issue they don’t feel like disclosing. Perhaps give them the benefit of the doubt.
On a happier topic, my sister’s former dog is settling into my home beautifully. She’s really starting to feel like my dog. She is the most ridiculous dog but very sweet. She has preferences and isn’t shy about making them known. I purchased her a nice dog bed (most of my floors are tile, and cold) and she has chosen to remain in it, rather than eat very limited human food, several times. For a Corgi mix known for her endless food grubbing it’s an amusing sign. I did something right, and I’m happy she is benefiting.
The beast has arrived. Honestly, we’ll just have to wait and see. She’s a barker and I live in a multi-unit building so this might be tricky.