Rites of passage

I’ve already talked about my tendency for doing it kind of big for Christmas/Yule decorating. Part of that embarrassment of riches is not one but two different Advent calendars.

One of these is the traditional “Advent tree,” where you hang a different ornament on days December 1 through 24. You will note that our ornaments do not so much get hung up as they are magnetically affixed to said tree….

Picture of an Advent calendar: a small Christmas tree with 24 ornaments hanging on it.

The other one works more like this perpetual calendars do. You know the ones that have the blocks you rotate around to show the day, date and months? Here’s an example:

A perpetual block calendar, with multicolored blocks showing the date Thursday, September 24. The blocks are photographed at an angle so you can see some of the other months and numbers on the un-used sides of the blocks.
DIY instructions to make your own available here.

Our is simpler: no months or days, just number blocks we can rotate and re-arrange to count down from 24 to 1 as we go through the month of December. It’s also cuter, since the numbered blocks are held by a dapper-looking penguin in a top hat and winter scarf.*

I haven’t touched the Advent tree since I (magnetically) hung its final ornaments December 24th. But once the calendar turned over to 2021, I put the “countdown penguin” back to work.

He’s counting down days till the Presidential Inauguration of Joe Biden.

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White Too Long by Robert P. Jones

With a subtitle like The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, you can safely assume that, yes, this as another one of my socio-cultural analysis reads of 2020. It was a completely random discovery, flashing by in the slideshow of newly acquired titles in my library’s online catalog. But it felt like a timely book about an important topic I could do to learn more about.

So I impulsively clicked the “Place Hold” button and this volume made its way to me from Haverhill.*

In this exceptional work, Jones mixes memoir, history and statistical analysis to build his case that—similar to so many other American institutions—racism and white supremacy are baked into the DNA of American Christianity.

At one level, this did not very much surprise me. After all, as outlined in so many places (The 1619 Project, Between the World and Me, Stamped from the Beginning) by so many people, white supremacy and anti-Blackness are woven into the warp and weft of this country. At another level, this particular lens of analysis was brand new to me, as a non-Christian born and bred in Christocentric USA.

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Piece by piece

I finished my first winter puzzle tonight after work.

A photo of a completed jigsaw puzzle depicting a cozy indoor winter scene.

I can’t pat myself too much on the back for doing this one semi-quickly. I’m sufficiently out of practice that I’m deliberately grading myself on a curve by starting with 500-piece puzzles. Once I’m more in the groove, I’ll drag out the 1,000-piece examples and really dig in.

Still, completing this puzzle—and being reminded of the joy that puzzle-making brings me—has me feeling grateful and a little bit celebratory.

And like it may be worth sharing a bit more about why this activity suits me so well.

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Surge on surge on surge

I was gonna write an entirely different post tonight. I finished another “just for fun” read over the weekend, and was gonna do that one last fluffy book review before coming back to more serious topics.

But then I saw this tweet from NBC news:

So I guess it’s back to seriousness sooner rather than later.

Although, in all honestly, I’m not sure what more I have to say aside from.

What the fuck, America?

A picture of the red Angry Bird wearing a medical mask.
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Bell, book and candle

There’s a meme that’s been going around FB lately:

A toy company makes an action figure of you. What two accessories does it come with?

I haven’t shared it yet on my own feed—I kinda feel as if I should be able to answer this question for myself before asking it of anyone else.* I have, however, been enjoying the threads on different friends’ pages, and even helped do some hypothetical problem-solving for someone who had listed “Bell, book and candle” as their accessories and hit against the arbitrary two items rule:

The bell is suspended from a ribbon of fabric also being used as a bookmark. #ProblemSolved

We pagan types gotta help each other out.

Silhouette of a witch against a multicolored sky with bats and a crescent moon. The image is surrounded by this slogan: "I just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% that witch."
As always: WWLD?
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Sacred Song

On today’s commute, my “Alphabet Stew” playlist served up some Michael Bublé(1), including the It’s Time album, which was what first brought him onto my radar.

As the tracks spooled out, one song played that I had simultaneously completely forgotten about while also having it indelibly etched in my memory.

How are both of those things possible? Come : join me below the jump and let me explain.

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Our Lady in Flames

I did finish my “goddess room project” during today’s day off from work. And I was all stoked to post my before-and-after pics in a celebratory post tonight.

But that celebration will have to wait, because I am one among the throngs of humanity heart-broken over today’s catastrophic fire at Notre Dame de Paris.

I was just finishing up my cleaning when the news alert came through on my phone, and then I spent about 45 minutes glued to the livestream as the spire fell, as the flames continued to build and billow int he wind. Finally, I turned off my video feed, heartsick, and tried to distract myself with other things.

Now that I’m back some hours later, I am relieved to see the news that much of the stonework has survived, including the two emblematic stone towers and the interior vaulting of the cathedral. Still, I’m gutted to think about how much has been destroyed, and how this has occurred at the start of Holy Week for most Catholics and Protestants.

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Packing My Bag

I know I said I was gonna write more about my trip tonight than I did about my suitcase.

But I gotta give the suitcase itself a little bit of love.

fullsizeoutput_1b3e

I mean: how can you not love this suitcase? Look at those polka dots! Very distinctive and easy to find on the baggage carousel, but not so out there in design that I have anxiousness taking it on work trips.

Which is lucky, because this trip is part work and part personal.

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Taming the Paper Dragon: Again

I’ve written before about the challenges of dealing with paper clutter in the house. Well, the last several weeks of gloomy-time meant that I’d been letting all the mail pile up again in a big way — aside from those few essential bills I’d pull out and handle as soon as they arrived. So a big project for me this past weekend and the last couple of evenings has been to once again try to tame the paper dragon.

In addition to handling the most immediate paper accumulation from the last couple months, I also emptied out a couple boxes of longer-term paper accumulation. You know, the kinds of paper piles that built up in other busy times during the last year, but then got shoved into a box in some last-minute cleaning frenzy before an anticipated visitor’s arrival.*

And, after this accomplishment, I am now turning my analytic attention to the other main source of paper influx, aside from catalogs.

My overabundance of magazine subscriptions.

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Dreaming of Readers

Today’s assignment from Blogging 101 is two fold:

publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.

So without further ado, let me get part two of the assignment out of the way post-haste by admitting that, ever since I saw the phrase “Dream Reader,” this has been stuck in my head.

The dreaded earworm strikes again!

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