Another week. Some things delighted me in it. That is all.
This weekend was graduation for the seniors at the university I work at. The is a nice black marble sign on the corner of a busy intersection in the city at the corner where the university sits. Students often go out there in their graduation gowns to take photos next to it. Twice this week when I was driving home from work there were groups of students getting their pictures taking and people in their cars waiting at the light were honking and shouting congratulations out of their car windows. It was all very joyful and it put a big smile on my face.
This one is a little of a you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone delight in retrospect. Since the pandemic my library has been limited to only people associated with the university, so the doors have been locked and people to use their ID to get in. Pretty much since I came back to work in person we’ve had a temp working at our entry desk and she would always see me coming and just buzz me in. With the academic year over we ended her employment, and now I have to dig out my ID to get into the building every morning. So this is a little retrospective delight at that little bit of making my morning easier thanks to this person.
Speaking of people helping me, I usually walk by our local elementary/middle school on my morning walk. When I come home the kids are going to school so there are crossing guards out. They never do anything for me if there aren’t kids trying to cross the street at the same time, but this week I had a walk signal and a whole bunch of cars just kept turning right across the crosswalk so I couldn’t go and the crossing guard jumped out and made them stop for me even though there were no kids around.
Speaking of kids and walks, I was coming home from my walk on Saturday and there was a little girl and her mom walking to her dance class. She had on tights and a little ballet skirt under a rain coat that had little flaps attached under the arms of the coat that turned into sort of rainbow wings when she held her arms out. She was bouncing along with her rainbow wings trying not to step on the cracks in the sidewalk like little kids do. Be that girl.
I am still not an indoor person thanks to being an immunocompromised person during COVID. I rarely do anything inside if I can help it. The weather finally cooperated this week to allow me go back in person to a few things. We got to have book club in person and outside and my church has moved back outside for the season, so I was able to go back to church in person as well. It was nice to be around people in person for a change.
I feel like I am in a perpetual state of losing my faith, but every time I’m ready to walk away I feel God calling me back. My friend suggested that we listen to season 2 of the Evolving Faith podcast and discuss it. In a time that I very much am struggling to see God’s presence the first episode felt like God speaking directly to me. It literally started out “You who doubt, you who struggle, you who feel lost—you are loved. Atheists, agnostics, seekers—you are loved. You who are disabled, you who carry chronic pain, you whose bodies challenge you in ways you are tired of explaining—you are loved. Shy people and introverts–you are especially loved by me. You raging introverts.” Check, check, and check. This episode was about what the speaker called subsistence faith, basically taking the idea of being in the wilderness and just subsisting on what little there is to get by and applying that to faith and how sometimes we only have a small kernel of faith, but maybe that’s enough. And that’s where I feel like I am. This podcast was just a small bread crumb reminding me that God is still there even if I’m having a hard time finding him.
And now for my musical delights. There were several this week.
Friday was Friday the 13. I was out for my morning walk and listening to NPR Music’s New Music Friday podcast. They were playing a selection of John Carpenter’s score from the new Firestarter movie and at the exact same time it started some bird (a raven? a crow? I don’t know birds. Something that makes that horrible caw, caw sound that is the evil bird sound in movies) started cawing, and I was like did I just enter a horror movie somehow?
The tv show Somebody Feed Phil (side delight was finding out it will be back for a new season May 25) has a theme song by the band Lake Street Dive. My husband jokes that next time I make him go see them in concert that they better play it. This week after their show at Red Rocks they posted a photo of him backstage with them, so I told him if there was ever a chance that they probably did play the theme song, it was at that show. Cut to the next morning when they shared videos on their Instagram story of them actually singing the theme song with Phil on stage throwing food into the audience. Though my husband pointed out that’s Phil feeding other people not somebody feeding him.
Back around 2003/2004 when I first discovered WXPN, the NPR music radio station out of University of Pennsylvania, Rachael Yamagata’s song “Worn Me Down” was in heavy rotation. I adored it, and it is always connected in my mind to that time in my life and finding WXPN which I still listen to most days at work. I heard it this week, and I still love it.
I am most excited by the new Florence + the Machine album that comes out today because I love Florence Welch so much. I just wrote about one of the singles off that not too long ago, so I’m not actually going to write about that today. Just know that I am very happy to have new Florence music in the world and think you should go listen to it.
What I am writing about is the song “More” by Rachel Bobbitt. She is a Canadian artist who originally gained some fame as a social media star on the now defunct video site, Vine. She just signed a record deal with Fantasy Records and announced it with the release of this song. It’s a timely song both about women not being taken seriously by the medical system and also being expected to have babies. I adore the guitar work in it. I look forward to hearing whatever comes out of this record deal in the future.
Last week I went to Hilton Head for my annual beach vacation. So this week’s delights are things that brought me joy while I was at the beach.
The weather. It was pleasant, though not perfect beach weather. It was a great temperature, but there was a strong, cold wind happening most of the time we were there that made it feel a bit chilly even though it was in the 80’s. Given the gross weather in Baltimore while I was gone, I will not complain. It didn’t rain and it was nice enough to spend almost the entire week outside doing stuff, so I will take it.
Dogs on the beach. There were lots of people walking with their dogs on the beach. I am not a dog person at all. I like them fine when they are far from me, but I don’t like their barky, jumpy, drooly ways. But I enjoyed watching all the dogs running around on the beach and playing in the water. They all looked like they were living their best lives. It’s the kind of joy I would like to feel.
There is nothing like a nice hot shower after getting all sweaty and covered in sunscreen. It’s so nice to feel clean after the gross greasiness that unfortunately comes with putting on sunscreen.
The perfect amount of cheese. We got groceries for breakfast and lunch. I ordered a 1/4 pound of provolone cheese and it wound up being the exact number of slices of cheese that I needed for the sandwiches I was eating while I was there.
The sound of cicadas. I’m not talking about the crazy 17 year cicadas we experienced last year in Maryland. I’m talking about regular annual cicadas that come out during the summer. In Baltimore they don’t really show up until late summer. In fact, by the time I really hear their humming on a regular basis it means summer is waning. But in South Carolina they are already out. It was lovely to sit out on our balcony in the evening and listen to them.
Beach walks. I love walking on the beach. I do miss being able to walk barefoot in the surf, but I have too many foot issues to walk barefoot for any distance these days. It’s still so lovely to walk on the beach even if it’s just on the sand wearing shoes.
Rainbow. On our final night at the beach we saw a rainbow out over the water.
And now for your moment of musical delight. I have written about the Lucius song, “Dance Around It” before. They were on Late Night with Stephen Colbert last week and sang it. They’ve mostly been doing “Next to Normal” on everything I’ve seen before this. It’s probably my least favorite song off the new album, so I was very happy to see them performing “Dance Around It” instead. Even though the subject of the song is sad, the sound is just so joyful it’s perfect. When Celisse and Sheryl Crow join in with backing vocals I cannot help getting a huge grin on my face. This song makes me so happy. It’s definitely going to be at the top of my list for 2022.
Hello from the beach. I will have actual beach delights for you in next week’s post, but for now let’s look back at what was giving me joy last week.
Amos Lee rescues a bird. Amos Lee is currently on tour (well he just got COVID, so not currently but you know…). I don’t remember what city he was in early last week, but he found an injured bird by the steps of the venue and sought out advice on social media for anyone who could help rescue it. I don’t know if anyone helped him or not with where to take it or they found it on their own, but he shared a video of some people in his crew helping to get it into a box and then they drove it to a wildlife rescue where he dropped it off. Then a few days later he shared the post from the wildlife rescue releasing it back out into the wild all better.
The Great Pottery Throw Down. I’ve written about the Great Pottery Throw Down before, but it’s back for a new season. The normal host, Siobhan McSweeney, broke her leg and wasn’t there for most of the season, but the Ellie Taylor, who you may recognize as Sassy from Ted Lasso stepped in to replace her temporarily. I liked her better and wish she would stick around, but oh well. It’s just such a lovely show. Even more good natured than Great British Bake Off because there is no Paul Hollywood smarm. There was one episode where the person I was rooting for the most just really knocked it out of the park and it was just so delightful to watch. I was so happy for her. I still have one episode left to watch, and I’m kind of saving it for a day when I really need a pick me up.
Uncle Davids. Kimberly Adams who is reporter for Marketplace and now one of the co-hosts of the Make Me Smart podcast shared a couple years ago during the height of the pandemic how her Uncle Davids had gone viral on Instagram with the creation of sculptures in their backyard during the pandemic back when she was guest hosting on the podcast. I’ve been following them since then, but whenever they post it brings me a bit of joy. They are two gay men in their 70s both named David who’ve been together since 1989 and were married in 2015. They are so positive and have so much love to share with the world. They are the kind of people we need more of. They call all their followers niblings and always send their love or wishes to them and say AND THAT EXCLUDES NO ONE. Sometimes they just livestream sitting around their fire pit. It’s all just such a nice cleansing moment from the horribleness of the rest of the internet. @david.k.north on instagram if you want to follow too.
Graduation countdown. I was in an online board meeting for work the other night. Most people were attending the meeting in person, but I still chose to Zoom in as did the student rep on the board because she had COVID. I could see a marker board behind where she was sitting where she was keeping a countdown of days until graduation, and made me really happy for her. What an exciting time for everyone who is getting ready to graduate.
Cheetos and Cap’n Crunch. I love Cheetos and Cap’n Cruch, but I only allow myself to eat them on vacation because they are terrible for you. So my husband ordered me some in our grocery pick up for our vacation this week. Since the Cap’n Crunch was buy 2 get 1 free on the largest size he did that, so I got three huge boxes of Cap’n Crunch. However, he didn’t pay attention to the size on the Cheetos and got a tiny back that only had a couple of servings in it. I was amused by the juxtaposition of how much Cap’n Crunch there was compared to how few Cheetos. But not anymore because then out of nowhere my friend who is cat sitting for me this week texted me on Friday and said you like Cheetos right? I said yes, and when she came to get the lowdown on all the cat’s medications on Friday night she showed up at my house with 4 party sized bags of Cheetos. I’m definitely going to run out Cheetos or Cap’n Crunch any time soon.
Beach vacation. In a dizzying 48 hours we backed out of our beach vacation to stay home with our sick cat, but then after I talked to the vet more we decided it was probably okay to go away for a week. So far, so good. Hopefully that continues to remain true until we get home. I’m still worried, and feel guilty for leaving her. I’m trying to enjoy the vacation as much as possible though, and I know she is in good hands.
And now it’s time for my musical joy. I love the song “Roll with Punches” by Dawes. I heard it on my way to work on Friday morning and it felt very fitting for the last few years when it seems like the punches just keep coming and I keep having to find a way to keep dealing with them. It felt like the perfect song in the moment I heard it.