There Is No Try (Not!)

Today I’m thankful that I can take as many random academic courses as I wish.

I’ve been reading a book with what is probably one of my favorite titles (be warned, it is slightly rude).  The basic premise is that you won’t be good, or even mediocre, at everything you try, and that’s all right.  The point is to discover what you care enough about to become responsible for.  Each person has a limited amount of energy (or time, or concern, or anything) to give (referencing the book’s title) and sharing that resource according to your virtues is the way to live an examined life.  The short version is you need to pick your battles.  I admit that the concept is facile, but I appreciate that it’s grounded in practice rather than theory.  I will always prefer spending a day with an engineer to an artist.

In my life there are number of things I say I care about, but I’m not experienced enough at most of them to gauge the accuracy of my claims.  It’s more that I feel I should care about them, regardless of whether I actually do.  I’ve decided to put the book’s thesis into practice, because I only have so many fracks to give.  One of the perquisites of my work is reduced tuition and fees at a local university.  I’ve enquired about taking courses in several subjects.  The worst case is that I don’t enjoy the topic while still gaining knowledge.  I realise I should have figured out these issues long ago, but I’m thankful to have even a delayed opportunity.

Unrelated, but I sing and Aretha Franklin was the singer, and I’m very sad that she is gone.

This video is not mine.  I claim no rights.  All rights belong to the copyright holders.

No Room Here

This post will be unabashedly maudlin.  I apologise in advance.

The situation at work is challenging.  I love what I do, and I’ve genuinely enjoyed where I work.  Now I feel as if I’m on tenterhooks, wondering whether my boss’s boss’s boss really won’t meet my eye or if it’s simple paranoia.  Not everything is negative.  I’m pursuing several leads in the same city where my family is and I’m hopeful.  I’m looking at the situation as a chance to be proactive, and “git gone” before they have the chance to do it for me.  As an individual I’ve never dealt well with change.  Adaptability to change is the root of survival so I guess it’s forcing me to evolve, even if reluctantly so.

Here’s the maudlin.  I’ve taken my working motto from the chorus of this song as it’s succinct and unmistakable:  Fear, you will never be welcome here.

I do not own this song or video.  All rights to the copyright holders.

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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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.

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

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.

A Farewell To Cheese

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!

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Beautiful & Slow

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.

 

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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Groovin’

Today I’m thankful for dancing.

Growing up I was fortunate to be able to try many different sports.  I was bad at most of them.  My parents encouraged to find one I enjoyed.  They hoped skill might follow with enthusiasm.  It didn’t.

I am very reserved in public situations.  I’ve gotten quieter with age.  With that reserve came a reluctance to do any sort of “dancing” where others could see, as I was likely to not be very good at it, and I would feel self conscious.  It wasn’t until I was cast in a musical several years ago, in a part that required a great deal of dancing, that I finally stopping giving heed to what others thought.  I learned the routines and performed for the sheer joy of the movement.  I will never be a born dancer, but I didn’t stand out as incompetent.  I was satisfied.