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.
Today I’m thankful for Edith Stein.
I’ve mentioned that I’m not religious. I am culturally Anglican (the musical church, bar none) but that’s really all. Why then, did I choose a saint for this day? I could make a long list of reasons but I’ll stick with the two that speak to me. First, Edith Stein was a bad ass. Second, her writings make me examine my own life and try to make it a better one.
The short version is that Edith was born into a Polish Jewish family. She studied philosophy, became an atheist, converted to Roman Catholicism, was denied an academic job because of her Jewish heritage under Nazi laws, and finally became a cloistered Carmelite nun. She and her sister died at Auschwitz in 1942. She was only 50 when she was murdered but did more with her time than some people do with 80 years. I’m aware that the conversion narrative can be problematic – I’m more interested in her as a person. I am not making any religious statements.
She was a bad ass on a couple of levels. She studied, and was successful in, philosophy at a time when women were still fighting simply to be admitted as full university students. She specialized in phenomenology. She butted heads with Martin Heidegger, who later joined the Nazi party. She wasn’t a feminist, being more of a complementarian in the Catholic tradition, but she wrote extensively about the need of women for equality in education.
Her major works deal with human empathy. I don’t think anyone can deny that we could all be more empathetic. Her writing gives practical advice about being more patient and understanding in one’s own life. I have a short temper on the best of days. Remembering that everyone has a story, and trying to get outside of my head, help me rein it in. I have Edith Stein to thank for that perspective.
Here’s another source with some more information. I once got her confused with Gertrude Stein. That hasn’t happened again.
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Today I’m thankful for this picture.
There is no deeper meaning here. It’s a picture of pure dog joy and it makes me happy. I couldn’t stop laughing the first time I saw it. The one on the right looks a bit like my sister after trying an avocado. The dog on the left is more like me in the morning. Dogs are about the best damn thing that have happened to humans.
Today I’m thankful for Iron Maiden.
I appreciate bands that have fun, not taking themselves too seriously and making music for the joy of it. It’s a bonus if they also happen to be good. There are three specific things I most like about Iron Maiden:
Chances are if I’m in a Maiden mood I prefer the music to be aggressive. Their guitar/drum combo never stops moving forward.
Bruce is an old school shouter. I’d rank him with any of the original generation wailers.
Eddie is the perfect mix of macabre and humor. He’s instantly recognisable, endlessly modifiable and bloody good fun.
Neither the song nor the video are mine.
Today I’m thankful that I can sometimes (rarely!) get gooey over things.
Small Human turned three last week. Thing Two will come along around February. Both belong to my sister. I don’t have children. I have no parental instincts whatsoever. And yet, I love Small Human more than I ever thought I’d love anything. I’m actually excited for Thing Two’s arrival. I’m a cynic, but damned if I don’t get sentimental around them. It’ll probably ruin my reputation as a grump.
Today I’m thankful for the singular woman who was Margery Kempe.
Margery Kempe is known for producing the first autobiography in the English language. She was also a fearless woman who birthed many kids, went on pilgrimages alone (in the 14th century no less), claimed to be a mystic AND was accused of heresy. Accounts say she had the questionable gift of endless tears. For someone who was basically a medieval housewife Meg got shit done. I’m still trying to figure out my taxes.
Almighty Wikipedia is a good place to start. I’m a fan of the summary by the ladies at Frock Flicks (all of their material is protected by copyright-I’m linking for informational purposes only).
Today I’m thankful for dogs.
This is our family dog. I couldn’t find any better pictures. I really have no words other than “here she is.” Imagine the unlikeliest combination of breeds possible. Take the scraggly bits of those breeds, mix them together and shorten the legs. Then, shorten the legs again and you may have an idea of what she looks like in the flesh. She has the IQ of soup. She is also one of the sweetest creatures I’ve ever encountered. Sometimes you just need something warm to hug and she serves that need pretty damn well.
Today I’m thankful for bad art.
I’ve covered most of my walls in art that is meaningful to me. I’ve got prints, photos, a couple of paintings, even some sculptural ceramic pieces. I keep the stuff that just doesn’t “fit” in a spare closet. Once something is mine I don’t get rid of it but I don’t always want to hang everything.
One particular piece was residing in the closet. It was a gift from the artist, who is also a very close relative. It isn’t like anything else I have and it was unexpected. The relative visited and happened to look in the closet, seeing the gift. They didn’t say anything but I could tell they were disappointed.
I felt terrible so I hung the damn thing in a fairly prominent place. It still didn’t match any of the things I’d bought but it was now displayed. The relative visited a few months later, saw the piece in its new place of honour and said “Wow, that is bad. I’ve done much better.” My jaw dropped. It’s still hanging because I don’t even know what to do with it now. I can’t make this stuff up.
The Museum of Bad Art is a wonderful idea. It is truly hilarious. I’ve considered sharing my unique piece with them. All rights to their material are theirs.