#49: Holidays & Candlenights

love romantic bath candlelight

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

My favorite fictional holiday of the year, the season of Candlenights, cherishes ambiguous worship and joy and cheer for everyone. It really is the most wonderful time of the year, as there’s nothing like giving and receiving gifts, watching people’s facial expressions and body language as they open your presents for them, and reveling in the holiday tunes. I enjoyed spending some time off from writing on this blog, while enjoying Michigan, Jimmy, and Christmas Eve and day festivities. So much went on this week, I even considered writing in my old, leather-bound journal. I was also given two journals: one from my older sister Madison, which was a nice tied leather journal, and another from my youngest sister, which was a Pokemon card-flanked journal featuring Charmeleon and Fioone. Both brought me great joy to see.

Similarly, on the topic of Candlenights, Alex and I listened to the TAZ Candlenights spectacular live show episode on the way home from Bradley airport on Sunday. It lived up to the quality imbued by its name, and it made us laugh all the way home. Nothing wrong with a little late night cheer to lighten the mood on an exhausting day full of travel and waiting and sitting around. (I have nothing against traveling, in fact I quite like it when I have something I can do while on the plane or train or whatever, but in this case, it was a long, long day and I really just wanted to go home.) It featured a parody of John Cena (Jeff Angel) and a bunch of Christmas movie remakes, like a small rendition of Home Alone, and it was entirely perfect. So much laughter and good cheer from this episode, it made the car ride home feel significantly shorter.

But most of all, it feels good to be back. I’m happy at home, resting for a few days between the holidays and playing with friends when I can. Opportunities abound in both categories.

Advertisements

#27: Gratitude & Sweaters

green and orange squash

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

I’m thankful for friends, family, and food. I’m thankful for Alex, my incredible, impeccable, and always intellectual girlfriend. I’m thankful for my few but strong close friendships, the ones that have helped pull me out of the depths of anxiety and depression and onto my feet. I’m thankful for this blog and the platform it’s given me; albeit small, it is just personal-sized, which is all the attention I think this endeavor deserves. Nothing more. I’m thankful for creative writing, fulfilled through Dungeons & Dragons role-playing and world-building and through this blog’s daily writing goals; I have the opportunity to pour my creative juices into something productive and fun, even after leaving my job. I manage to make it work every other day or so, although the blog posts have been coming a bit out of order recently (trying to work on that, but the numbering is done beforehand and WordPress occasionally screws that up). I’m thankful for video games, the escapist fantasy brought through total envelopment in another world, because the current world is too anxiety-inducing to think much about. I’m thankful for game nights with my friends, a perfect constant after all these years of separation, distance, and amnesia. I’m thankful for late-night board games, early morning people-watching from the apartment balcony, and afternoon coffee. Nothing like a warm cup of joe when my energy isn’t at its best.

I’m thankful for cold weather, sweater and snuggle weather. I’m thankful for clothing options that better suit my personal style. I’ll wear a sweater any day of the year, rain or shine, warm or chilly, day or night, just because it feels good. No constriction, only pure comfort. But being a regular sweater-wearer means relishing in the days when choosing a sweater is just the right option. When a flannel is too thin and rugged and a jacket is too much, a sweater can seal the deal and make you feel better. The close, personal warmth it brings can recharge your spirit, granted you’re not outside. Whether it’s the blue sweater made of lamb wool, the green cardigan, or the classic grey look, I always have a sweater on me. I’m thankful for being able to survive these frigid nights writing on WordPress, with a sweater around my chest, rather than suffering outside without a roof over my head. I went into New York last weekend, and I can never look at a homeless person without feeling complete and total pity about the state of the world. Being privileged in life makes a major difference in the ways in which you are treated by others. Give and you will receive, in one way or another. I’m thankful for Alex in more ways than I can count right now.

I’m thankful for the Internet, for the communities I can join in and out of in an instant on websites anonymously. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve met over the Internet, the ones I talk to every once in awhile and the ones I am lucky to speak with every day. I’m thankful for friends I met in person but whose friendships blossomed thanks to instant messaging and emailing. I’m thankful for their advice, suggestions, and constant presence in my life, even when I feel needlessly frustrated. I’m thankful for their random messages of encouragement and enlightenment, always when I need them most; let no one tell you the world is getting “too soft,” when a little bit of softness is sometimes all we need to get by. I’m thankful for those who feel comfortable exposing their vulnerabilities without feeling threatened by the mere presence of emotions. I’m thankful for people who both seek and provide comfort.

I’m grateful and thankful for so many things, and this is hardly a complete list, just the stream of consciousness that came to my head as I wrote. Hopefully it suffices for now.

Who woke up the neighborhood

Oh, flashing street lights, breakfast alarms

Sidewalks, streams, and dirty ponds,

Parked cars, wrecked mailboxes, and rain;

What nostalgic paradise have you all escaped to?

The neighborhood remembers these things, the

Jogging neighbors and babies crying, the

Driveway basketball games, and yoga, the

Yard work, clean grass

Days before the neighborhood

Forgot itself.

Three generations of families past over

The train tracks, to somewhere else.

The yellow school-buses no longer turn

Into our little community

They’ve forgotten us, or

We’ve all grown up,

But someone woke up the neighborhood,

All the Halloween decorations have disappeared,

Into the basement.

The house lights are shut through day and night

The trick-or-treaters from other neighborhoods

Have forgotten our humble street.

The cars that travel through us

Are always wandering, lost, but never

Ask for directions,

And we never see them leave.

The homes lining the road are trapped in that

Twilight zone between

Hopeless irrelevancy and haunted-house status.

The streams have run dry,

The rain fills them not when it

Drizzles or storms,

I like to think all the neighbors whisked away

One night, to another distant pastoral,

Leaving us behind without a word,

But I know they’ve all just woken up,

And moved on.

Lessons From Our Independence Day

300px-Writing_the_Declaration_of_Independence_1776_cph.3g099041

While we’re busy celebrating the Fourth of July, I’d like to take this moment to remind everyone that this 237th anniversary of our great United States’ creation wouldn’t be possible without the brave and daring efforts of our Founding Fathers. They stood up, they demanded change, and they got it.

If you care about the direction that this country is headed in, you too should make yourself heard: if you have a voice, speak it; if you have a desire, reach for it; if you have an idea, spread it; if you have a dream, make it happen. This country was built on the backs of dreamers. Only with courage and strength equal to that of our Fathers can we achieve everything we set out to achieve. That’s the real lesson from our Independence Day.

Anyone from any nationality or background can put their stake in that.

Happy Easter!

Hello everyone,

I won’t be posting anything significant today, I think. I just wanted to wish my nice followers and friends a very happy Easter, if they celebrate it. I hope you all have a great holiday, and enjoy the festivities! I know I will be.

Enjoy the day!

St. Patrick’s Day Truth

Saint_Patrick_expels_snakes

I wanted to write a post dedicated to one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, before it became irrelevant and out of place for me to talk about it.

What does St. Patrick’s Day mean to you? To the majority of people celebrating the holiday, it means searching through your wardrobe for green clothing and donning all of the crazy shades of green you could find while getting terribly drunk. I’m sure some people have a more personal attachment to the holiday than drinking heavily, but it seems that the modern interpretation of the holiday involves that perspective. In reality, though, little about the holiday revolves around imbibing alcohol.

But that’s probably not a surprise to the intelligent folks here at WordPress, I assume.

Nevertheless, what does St. Patrick’s Day mean to you? How does it affect you? How should you celebrate it, actually? Is it worth changing anything? To the majority of news channels, the “history” behind the holiday involves an ancient saint named Patrick who expelled a lot of snakes out of Ireland. The snakes caused such a predicament for the Irish that Patrick was revered by the Catholic Irishmen for his great deed. They loved and praised him for helping them out of a tough predicament, and thus a holiday was made in his honor.

False.

How many people actually buy into the theory that snakes were such an issue in Ireland? There were no actual snakes in Ireland, and not because St. Patrick shooed them around first.

In fact, it’s surprising how many news channels still buy into the conception that the “real meaning” of St. Patrick’s Day is about snakes. In fact, I was watching CBS News on Sunday morning and they messed it up too. A professional news organization not fact-checking their myths and legends! It’s absurd, honestly.

St. Patrick was a slave brought to Ireland when he was 16 and managed to escape and return home; however, he felt an obligation to return to the island later in his life. He returned and expelled the “snakes” from the grounds. As a missionary of Christianity before it was split into the Roman and Orthodox churches, he expelled paganism from Ireland and supplemented it with an appreciation for Christianity instead. The snakes, obviously, being symbolic for pagans. Of course, though, not everyone understands the symbolic nature of this legend.

Regardless, the holiday is worthy of your celebration and good tidings. How did you celebrate St. Patty’s Day this year? Did you know the real meaning of the holiday?

Thanks for reading.

The Great Christmas Tree

Image

I had searched for years for the great Christmas tree,

Something that would represent our family;

A tree that would shine through the dusky night,

With its branches exuding the brightest light,

And the afternoon sun, jealous of the tree’s lustre,

Would seem to writhe in envy and go astir;

We would need a tree taller than the tallest giant,

It would stand in our home in brave defiance,

While staring off at the other houses nearby,

For it would be tall enough to touch the sky.

And the tree must also be greener than the forest,

So all the other trees would complain in a chorus

And shout insults as we pulled the tree away,

For we would need to ready it for Christmas day.

We would plant it on the ground at home,

And nestle it right near the Christmas gnome.

We would swathe it in colored lights galore,

Like nothing you would have ever seen before.

We would climb stairs and steps to reach the top,

As it appeared that the ascent would never stop,

But when we would see the tip of the green,

It would be the most fantastic thing you’d ever seen,

A beautiful spiral of reds and yellows and blues,

With variations and colors of different hues,

The tree was magnificent, but lacked one part;

It was the bright star that would be its heart.

Greed, lust, and jealousy were no longer there

As the forest from before had happiness in the air,

And the sun warmed itself to the great Christmas tree,

The one that would represent our family.

 

*Although its significance is outdated right now, I wrote this poem around the holiday season and I imagine it may bring a sort of nostalgic feeling to those who long for December again.