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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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.

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!

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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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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It’s Just Scrummy

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Today I’m thankful for rugby.

I played rugby union at university.  I can be described as “stubby” so the pack was really the only place for me.  I can take a hit but I will never be a sprinter.  Previously I’d swum for a number of years.  Looking at the bottom of a pool grew tedious.  I try to stay active and rugby sounded like fun.  It was very different than any other sport I’d tried.  I had a ball (pun intended) and met many lovely people.  I have great stories and learned a few very, very rude songs.  My dodgy shoulder is dodgy because of an actual old rugby injury.