Joy’s Joys

Back on Dorothy’s birthday, I spent the day sharing quotations of hers on Facebook. They came from her fiction, her non-fiction, and, in at least one instance, from her letters. Among these choice bits was the beginning of “The Abominable History of the Man with Copper Fingers” – better known here as her description of the Egotists’ Club:

The Egotists’ Club is one of the most genial places in London. It is a place to which you may go when you want to tell that odd dream you had last night, or to announce what a good dentist you have discovered. You can write letters there if you like, and have the temperament of a Jane Austen, for there is no silence room, and it would be a breach of club manners to appear busy or absorbed when another member addresses you.

Somehow, the idea of announcing one’s dentist, of all things, captured my imagination the most.

In the spirit of sharing one’s humblest joys, one’s most quotidian triumphs, one’s practical delights…here are my joys of late:

– Yesterday I bought a MacBook Pro. Not without trepidation, mind, as I have always been a PC user. But after my beloved Samsung fried, and my far-less-beloved Asus came to have an inoperable wireless card and tracked poorly…well, I basically went without a home computer for a year, using my smartphone instead, and growing steadily more frustrated by my lack of keyboard.  The new model glows with promise: the promise that updates will not overwhelm me, that I need not pay a subscription to store my own documents, that I might go forth to join others in sub-creation.

– Not unrelatedly, having obtained the equipment to do it, I have started learning about the nuts and bolts of coding in HTML.  My programming brother recommended this course of action to me, and it is perhaps the closest a Muggle gets to reading a book of spells: when you assemble the necessary elements (be they ever so boilerplate) and press “Run,” behold!  These curious ciphers and characters LIVE!  If you did it properly, anyway.

– I have been getting so much delight from the Ann Arbor District Library Summer Game.  But that’s a whole other blog post, it turns out!
AADL summer game top graphic

– The people around me have reminded me of delightful things.  My flatmate reminded me of how delightful Brideshead Revisited is, by preparing a picnic for us to eat on the solstice while reading excerpts of “Et in Arcadia Ego.”  Emily reminded me about that most adorable composition tool, Written? Kitten!   Katherine and Ike, friends from Hillsdale that I hadn’t seen since 2012, drove through the UP before meeting me in Lansing for lunch and a good few hours of catching-up.

There have been other delights this summer – volunteer dill, stars-and-stripes pie for Independence Day, reading Gaudy Night aloud, brunch at Aventura, the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter coming out, revisiting The Great British Bakeoff, and watching The Tempest in the Arboretum.

Truly, these be joyful days!


Summer Wonderment

I welcome Mel’s call to return a bit from wandering. Especially since, of late, I have been absorbed in various and sundry vexations which have tended to rob me (yes, even me) of my precious second sight. Not the witchy Macbeth style second sight. The double vision of a woman who sees the world through a prism, and doesn’t bother with a boring, flat mirror.

So, I will hold up my jeweler’s eyepiece and gaze again at the summer world.

  • Garden Weeds
    My brother the Dusty Thane used to do yard work for a lady who would mutter “Damn Creeping Charlie” under her breath as she pointed out the days weeding. What I never understood until this week is that weeding is a beautiful thing. I mean, wear gloves and all, since the grubs are still nasty, but weeding is lovely. Quiet, peaceful. The sun and the wind at your back. Slowly, all manner of troubles fall away, and in about 20 minutes, you’re humming.
  • Rainbows.
    N.B. Do not reveal that the earth is round. Just that raindrops are. *Wince* But even that is a marvelous thing. A tiny little raindrop (or two, or a million) can fill the entire sky with divided, layered, light.
  • People smile at people who are smiling at people who smile.
    It is contagious. Especially if you and 6 friends are riding a circular bicycle while singing The Piano Man as you careen through a hoity toity sort of city. Everyone wants to wave and take pictures. Happy people make people happy.
  • Live Fire
    Do you know what live fire is? It is army artillerists practicing with real ballistics. It is the sound of freedom, and, for me, of home. Late at night in the summer, the threefold shocks roll on.
  • Train Whistles
    The other sound of home. Lonely, through the winter nights. Lonely in the summer afternoons.
  • F-16s
    The other sound of freedom. They blaze through they sky and are gone before you hear them.
  • Concerts in the Park
    It’s not summer unless the city band has a concert on mosquito evening. It’s not the city band if the piccolo player isn’t unexpectedly capable, and the tuba player isn’t slightly overweight. The world is right, that night. The whole town turns out for a buggy rendition of popular favorites. Keep your eyes peeled. Comic things occur at outdoor concerts.
  • Roadside Flowers
    Specifically, the ones in your home state. The ones you know so well, you know what month it is by what is blooming, sometimes what week of the month. It’s mid-July in mid-Wisconsin. Time for those happy, orange roadside lilies and Queen Anne’s Lace. It’s a dusty riot here. Brilliant colors are gone, but the sun hasn’t bleached everything to August whites and yellows just yet.
  • Joss Whedon
    The last two summers, it has been Joss Whedon who made me love my life. Last year, I watched “Avengers” about ….7 times…. in the theater (it’s air conditioned…). This year, Much Ado About Nothing captured my heart. How could it do otherwise? My favorite actors, my favorite play to laugh about. Treated tenderly, treated humanly, treated beautifully. Oh, Mr. Whedon. You’ve done it again.
  • Nathan Fillion
    Secret’s out. Nah, it was never a secret. You=my hero. (not Hero…hero….)

Nerd Alert

In the egotistical pride of my heart, I assume you are all as interested as I am in this. In fact, you may just say “huh” and chomp on your bagel and lox (do you eat lox? anyway) and move on with your day. But I still think this is waaaaay cool, and worth letting all ya’ll know about.

This is certainly and age of digital archiving. We have Project Guttenberg and imslp. Wait, do you know what imslp is? It is your best friend, if you are in music. Nearly everything public domain that your little heart may desire (as long as it’s not from France or Russia) is scanned in to imslp, for free download/printing/learning/performing. I got all the parts for Beethoven’s Romance in G op. 40 for my impromptu orchestra off there. No outlay of cost except printing fees…

So yes. Here’s another nerdy musical archive update. Because I simply collapsed with reverence and delight when I opened the files.

The New York Philharmonic is uploading parts. Parts that are marked and loved by New York Philharmonic musicians, with the wisdom and expertise that goes along with that.

(if you care enough to check it out yourself…. she said in a quick, guilty rush of self-deprecation, quickly abondoned in favor of a more realistic attitude)

Hurray, the interwebs! You are making yourself useful. Get yourself a cookie, interwebs. I love you today.