Unimaginable Cosmic Violence

If you have not heard of the Christmas Cat of Icelandic lore, please familiarize yourself urgently here. Because what’s not to love, it’s cats and Iceland and Christmas.

What an amazing kitty, am I right? Eating children, advocating for the poorest among us, inspiring charity and social unity. Everything about it honestly just sounds so amazing. I’d love a scary story that not only says ‘be good’ like the whole coal thing, but that tells you to actively look out for others. Give them coats or you’re basically murdering them. Which, you know, doesn’t have any bearing on the state of things these days, since all children are safe and warm and fed…

Anyway, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas. I really enjoyed seeing and spending time with my family. Baking. Watching movies (would recommend Klaus on Netflix). Finding some peace, love, and joy. Thinking about the wonder and magic of the incarnation of the God of the universe.

So I don’t really want to do a year in review, or even a decade in review, but I’m going to have a little moment if that’s alright.

Sometimes, especially in the midst of a job search (all too frequent in my adult life thus far), I just feel like a nobody. I have to remind myself that I have Accomplishments and Deeds that I have Done and Experiences that I have Had. Pardon me for a sec while I have some self-affirmation.

In this past decade, I have: graduated high school, gotten a BA, and gotten an MPhil. I have lived in three countries and visited many others. I have reached over 900 days on Duolingo (and counting). I have come out as gay (which I will never tire of saying, probs). I’ve become a brother-in-law and an uncle. I worked jobs and learned things and was successful in many different ways.

But the other side of this coin is that, no matter my accomplishments and deeds and experiences, I am worth the same. I feel better when I remember that I have Done Things that hold meaning in society but it’s also good to remember that none of those things give me any additional value. I have value because I am.

You have value because you are, too. Watching It’s a Wonderful Life yesterday reminded me, it’s good to have dreams–even wild dreams–but you are not your dreams and achieving them or not achieving them or changing them doesn’t make you any less. Dream dreams and live life and when things aren’t going your way at all, just remember that you are loved.

I don’t know if you’re aware, but NASA recently made their entire image and video archive publicly available and internet-searchable, which is a strong yes from me. You can find it here, and search for fun things like “comet” or “Triton” or “Ursa Major.” Personally, the first thing I wanted to look at was nebulae.

I cannot science much at all, to say nothing of astronomy in particular, but I know pictures of nebulae are about the most intriguing, beautiful things out there. Very mysterious, in no small part because astronomical photography involves colors and things that represent things other than visible light so it’s wild. Anyway. I browsed pictures of nebulae for a while and read some of the little descriptions that NASA has kindly appended to each entry to try and make sense of what you’re looking at.

Of course, it’s all unintelligible to me regardless but I was arrested by a phrase they used when talking about the heart of the Crab Nebula. There, in a swirl of color and light indicating, apparently, electrons moving at nearly the speed of light spinning out of the magnetic field of a crushed star. Or something like that. In their words, this image of a neutron star bears silent witness to “extreme physical processes and unimaginable cosmic violence.”

I don’t know what the Crab Nebula was going through but let’s take it as an invitation to start the new year off right. If stars can explode and be that beautiful, then we can live our lives beautifully in any circumstance. Besides, unimaginable cosmic violence is how you get new stars.

Such Sunrises as Have Not Yet Been Seen

Happy New Year! It’s 2019, for good or ill. I had a pretty low-key celebration but I’m all about that so it worked. I hope the year is off to a good start for you but even if you’re in a tough place, it’s only January– plenty of time for things to turn around. See what I did there? Best of both perspectives.

The past year, as I said a bit last week, has been a bit of a whirlwind. It didn’t usually feel like that–the pace often seeming to be more like molasses–but I was on three continents! Two of them for quite extended periods. Five countries. Two jobs. There was a lot going on. I don’t really feel the need to reflect on it all that much again but I couldn’t avoid having a bit of a new year look back.

And once again, not a particularly clear idea of where I’ll be this time next year but whatever. It’ll be fine.

Before I go any further, it is of course important to start this twelvemonth with some very cute cats. Taking advantage of their uncle and aunt cats’ tree gifted to them.

Now that you’ve gotten a bit of a kitty fix, I will also share my baking adventure. Didn’t do a whole lot this Christmas but I did, just on Monday, make my first Yule log. Simple conception, kinda tricky execution, wonderful finished product, if I may say so. The recipe told us not to worry about the cracks, they add character, and I concur. A definite snow-dusted log of happiness. Such a lovely, airy, seasonal kind of dessert. I’d strongly recommend giving it a try. So long as you’re game to get stiff peaks in your egg whites.

Yes, it was very delicious.

I’m flying back to Michigan tonight, ensuring an adequate buffer between my return and the return of students on Monday. Plenty of time to readjust to Eastern Time, reacclimatize to the cold, and mentally prepare for the next six months. Yech, let’s not think that far ahead yet. June, what’s that.

Anyway. I’ve said before that I’m not really into resolutions and, surprise, I remain uninterested. All I’ll say, I guess, is that I hope each day to love more people more.

And this title, what’s with that. I don’t know, it sounded kind of poetic at the time and you know I’m a sucker for the poetic. But it’s true: each day is a day that has never happened before. Every moment of a moment of fresh opportunities.

Even when life is pretty mundane and pretty monotonous–that precise moment has never happened before, if only by reason of the date of its occurrence. And shouldn’t that be something to savor? I’m no advocate for change in life because change is hard but newness, that’s something I can get behind. Not necessarily to do new things or go new places, though those are good as well. But to do the same things in the same places and still feel that they can be new.

It is good to cherish the new, I think, and good to recognize the new in the familiar. Value time itself; it will not come again.

The sunrise can be beautiful for its color and majesty, of course. And there’s something incredible unique about each one, from each place you may stand to view it, for each second it lasts. Not something that can truly be shared, even with the most talented photographer.

Time is a weirdo so we should probably live and love in the moment. Each one is precious and can take you anywhere. I’ve no idea what adventures may await me but I’m confident that they are indeed awaiting. I’ll keep an eye out and let them take me by surprise all the same.

Fast Away

I hope you all have enjoyed your Christmases, if that’s your thing. I certainly did. Plenty of running around and about but also plenty of time together and hope and joy and love. Obviously, lots of singing of Good King Wenceslas, especially yesterday. It is just the end all, be all of awesomeness that God is with us. How neat is that? Yay Christmas.

Important gifts received include several books that I’m very excited for, you know how I do. One of them is the final installation of a trilogy, so I obviously have to reread the previous books and so it’s really like a gift of three books in one. Yay books. But also, of course, the love language I like to receive is quality time so that was the most precious gift to have.


The Princess on the Feast of Stephen

Being home has been really nice. First, just to get away from Michigan and work for a sec. Green. My home is green. Second, to relax in a place that I just know. There’s a certain level of know that comes from just being in a place for years and years and, for right now, Gig Harbor is the only place I have that with. I can remember the turns to a house I haven’t visited in ages with a spare moment’s thought–even with my disastrous memory. I can sit on the couch and exist in a place that I’ve existed in for a long time before.

It hasn’t even been that long since I was pining for a way–any way–to get out of here. And Michigan is not that far away. Even so. There’s a special joy in leaving but there’s also a special joy in coming back. Even back to places you don’t want to stay.

But New Year’s, wow, 2018, am I right. This year has dragged on for ages, let me tell you, but the end of it has snuck up on me rather abruptly. A lot going on in the world but let me have a sec to make it all about me. It is hard to recall that I was in Korea, went to the Olympics, went to Australia and New Zealand, spent a long time living at home, then moved to Michigan all in the first eight months. That’s wild. My year-in-review thoughts are honestly all over the place. But I guess I don’t really need a year in review at this juncture. This time is ending.

The old year passes. Greet the new.


And Bubba all curled up

I’m not sure what to expect for the coming year. I’ll be in Michigan to June, at the very least. So that’s about six months settled. But after that, it’s all fairly uncertain. Again. It’s a state that I’m kind of uncomfortable with–generalized uncertainty–but also at home with.

I’ve done a lot of relatively short stints in fairly diverse places since high school. And I just don’t really mind it, as much as I’d like to find a place I love and put down roots. It’s mostly been routes thus far. I may be staying in Michigan for another year. I may be elsewhere in the US. The dream, of course, would be another intercontinental move. Europe, maybe Oceania. Hard to say.

In the midst of uncertainty, the few things that are sure increase in value. And those things, for me, are the things I’ve been celebrating all week. Friends and family who love me and whom I love. The comfort and position that I have been blessed with. The consequential, profoundly true knowledge of an unconditional, boundless love from a perfect, omnipotent deity.

Some people live lives that are more predictable than mine but, in the end, precious little is truly certain. So I’m greeting the new year in a spirit of adventure, as every day should be met, because possibilities are endless when every moment is a moment that has never come before.

Anyway. Happy New Year. Fa la la la la la la la la.