Thumbs Are Important

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.

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Two Expanding Households

I’m rehoming my sister’s dumbass dog.  That’s right, this beauty.

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She’s getting aggressive with my sister’s kid, and that can’t continue with a second one arriving in February.  My place is much quieter and calmer, and I could use the companionship.  We all, hopefully, come out better than we went in.  All the training in the world won’t make the beastie any brighter, and she’s been known to make boulders seem like engaging company.  We’ll see.  She is sweet.

On Good Friends, Long Unseen

Today I’m thankful for friends.

My best friend is here!  They used to live in the same town but moved across the country for work.  They have flown back to visit people they miss and they are staying with me!  This is this person I can discuss labor history with, especially as it relates to contemporary theater, and just about every other random shit we feel like.  It is my turn to visit them next, probably next year.  I miss this!

What Are You Baking?

This is a short one.  Today I’m thankful for choices in food.

Today was another visit to the older gal I help with housekeeping.  She is endlessly entertaining.  As I left she asked if I needed to do anything else.  I replied that I still had to bake.  She is a marvelous baker and so inquired if it was anything special for Christmas.  I told her that I need to bake my tofu.  Her expression was immediate, and very funny.  She looked like she’d swallowed a lemon slice.  She loves stir fried vegetables, and acknowledges the convenience of tofu as a food, but she would rather eat almost anything else.  I feel similarly about mushrooms.  I truly enjoy spending time with her.

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Namárië

This is a little more personal than I’ve gone thus far and a great deal nerdier.  Don’t judge me.  Today I’m thankful for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth legendarium.

I’m a bigger Tolkien nerd than I generally care to admit in person.  I don’t speak Elvish or wear costumes (some lines will never be crossed) but I did attend midnight openings with university friends, and I know why Fëanor’s sons are important.  I think I was ten the first time I read The Hobbit.  Gollum frightened me so thoroughly that I couldn’t reread those parts of the book for several years.  I finished Lord of the Rings (the first time) somewhere around thirteen.  I don’t know why specifically, but his works struck a chord and have been important to me for a long time.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa and fought in WWI, surviving the Battle of the Somme.  He became a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University.  He was great friends with a number of famous contemporary writers, including C.S. Lewis.  He produced several well-regarded translations of Old English epics.  The man was an enormous lover of languages, which is one of my favorite things about him.

Fangorn Forest is my favorite section of LOTR.  I’ve also read many of the extended works.  The Silmarillion is breathtaking.  Tolkien’s concept of creation as a divine piece of music was deeply appealing to me.  I think I’ve made my love of music transparent.  As a student of geography I find the depth of fantastic history and culture he created awe-inspiring.  He knew where his peoples originated, and how they developed.  This is the story that stuck most with me from the Silmarillion.

Night Lights

Today I’m thankful for twinkle lights.

I don’t decorate for Christmas.  I never have.  I don’t have anywhere to store decorations and everything I put up, I have to take back down.

I changed my mind this year.  I’m honestly not sure why.  Whether because it’s been a shitty year for the world, or I’m done being contrary about this particular thing, or something else entirely I really don’t know.  What I’ve done is minimal and very much in keeping with the rest of my fairly spartan home but it looks nice.  I even bought a timer for the lights so they’ll turn off if I forget to unplug them in the morning.

When I was growing up we’d drive around to see how different neighborhoods decorated.  There was generally an even split between white and multicolor lights.  I’ve always preferred the colourful version, so that’s what I bought for myself.  I hope you enjoy them even if you don’t decorate.

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The Love Of A Good Tofu

This is another one about my grandmother.  Today I’m thankful for tofurkey.

We had a family do recently.  I asked my grandmother if she’d be willing to make a few vegetarian things.  I offered to bring a couple if was easier for her.  (I have to eat carefully because of an autoimmune issue.  I don’t do it to be difficult, and I really try to be flexible-eggs, dairy and honey.)  My people are “meat and taters” folks from way back so I stand out a bit.  She said she’d do just fine.

Wouldn’t you know it, but everything (except the giant ham) was vegan.  My grandmother outdid herself and I was gobsmacked.  There were six of us, including me, and she’d bought a ham that weighed about 5 kilos (roughly 11 pounds).  It was bigger than my head.  She kept teasing my grandfather that it wasn’t properly carved but he pointed out that he was satisfied getting it to the table in one piece.  They found a tofu loaf for me.  It was pretty tasty.  I felt very loved.

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Playing For The B Team

Today I’m thankful for silly cinema.

I’m a fan of “B” movies.  I like goofy 1950s sci fi films, interminable 1980s schlock, and most things in between.  Robot Monster is one of my favorites – the “monster” is a man in a gorilla costume with a diving helmet.  I was only able to get through Manos: Hands Of Fate by watching the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) version.  I’ve seen a good number of them by watching the MST3K episode, and then seeking out the movie in its own right.

I do have favorites, but I most enjoy the unintentional silliness of the films, usually because the crew involved weren’t entirely sure how to make a movie.  Sometimes it seems they were so excited about being given a budget that they didn’t think anything else through.  I’ve got a good sense of the absurd.  Living in this crazy world makes me appreciate it more by the day.  Videos are property of the respective creators.

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Salty Goodness

Today I’m thankful for olives.

I don’t remember seeing this happen but my sister swears it’s true and I have no reason to doubt her.  Neither of us is fond of olives.  Our mother almost inhales them, she enjoys so much.  While the two of us were growing up she’d always have a jar of them in the refrigerator.  I always gave them a wide berth.  My sister would lick the salt from them and replace the olives in the jar.  She says she thought the salt was the only reason a well-balanced person would purchase olives.  She told this to our mother about a year ago.  Our mother responded that she’d always wondered why her olives were so bland.

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