Day 132: Delightfully 2021

The first day of the year is always full of promise. This year more than ever. Hopefully we’ll be able to travel again (at least domestically) after we receive our covid-19 vaccinations. The US will have sane, if not perfect, leadership that, if we are lucky, will be able to at least begin to fix the many setbacks that happened during the trumpet administration.

On a personal level, I am more than ever determined to get out of my inactive, bordering on suicidal reclusiveness. My kids are worried about me. I guess I should be too.

Other delights of the day were reading blog posts by Lali, Mali and Helen. Talking to Clare for over an hour while we did our own things. Finally seeing the film, Moonlight. Beginning Braiding Sweetgrass. I think I am going to love that book.

Day 44: Call Back Yesterday Podcast

Every morning, while I am waking up I scroll through the recommended links that Google sends me. I ignore most, but this morning I saw a link to an article about the 40th anniversary of one of my favorite films, Somewhere in Time. The article referenced a podcast titled Call Back Yesterday that the creator, John Rabe, is proud to acknowledge is the only podcast about Somewhere in Time.

Rabe also acknowledges that the podcast might some sort of therapy for him, a way of dealing with his parents’ deaths within 9 months of each other when he was in his twenties.

There are a lot of delights in the podcasts, especially if you are as big a fan as I am of the film, but the biggest delight for me had nothing do do with the film, it had to do with Rabe’s vision of heaven, which matches mine. This is from Episode 2: The Critic’s Wife in which he talks to film critic and filmmaker Tim Cogshell about death. Rabe says:

“My parents are gone, they died 25 plus years ago. All their friends are gone almost. And I’m an atheist, Hey brother. But I have reserved … a space in heaven where they’re all together having cocktails. And maybe my dog, Kara is there too. And my dog Connor is there too. And I make that exception in my atheism.”

John Rabe
Call Back Yesterday Podcast, Episode 2

This is a lot like my vision of heaven. I mentioned it at both my parents’ memorial services, but here it is again:

I was 6 when my favorite uncle (Don — I was named after him) died in May of 1963. Several months later when JFK was assassinated I imagined my uncle sitting at a table in a bar with John Kennedy, drinking a beer. As more people in my life died they joined Don and Jack at that ever-growing table in the bar. The table is very, very long now and I’ve added a big-screen TV in the bar for the folks at the table to keep up with those they left behind.

Photo courtesy Universal Pictures.

Day 31: Cinema Art Bethesda

I am on the board of directors for a film club. I don’t really have a title — webmaster, email list coordinator, maybe. Today I spent all day working on the website and drafting an email for our followers.

I heard about the group back in the early 2000s. I’d heard a film critic praise a film called Maryam and hoped to see it. Bethesda has a good film theater and I emailed them to see if they were going to show it. They wrote back and said it was not planned to be shown there. Not long after that I received my usual newsletter from the theater and noticed that Maryam was going to be shown there after all. I emailed them and asked why they told me the film was not going to be shown and they explained that the film was being shown by a group separate from the theater. I looked it up and saw that they had a hideous website, but at least found out more about the group. They met 10 Sundays a year and screened foreign and independent films.

I went to the screening of Maryam, loved it and asked the president of the group if she would like help making her website more usable and attractive (for free). She said yes and also invited me to serve on the board.

The first several years I was on the board were really wonderful. I went to all screenings, helped choose some of the films, helped with the monthly presentations by selling tickets, and even was director of operations for a year and marketing person for a different year (both years I was still the website/email list manager as well). Back then we had a full board, Beverly was the president. We also had a director of operations (that seat turned over often — it was a very demanding position), treasurer, marketing, website/email list manager, and several film discussion leaders.

In the past ten years or so I have cut back my participation due to time constraints, lack of enthusiasm for foreign films, and disagreements with various other board members. The board has dwindled to a few undefined roles.

When Beverly died I actually hoped the film group would die with her, but her family was so grateful that we were continuing it, the rest of the board did not have the heart to give up.

So now I have more time and a renewed interest in the group. We’ve had to go streaming this year, which might be why I like it better — I don’t have to go to the Sunday morning screenings.

I felt delight today, working on the website — something I’d only felt contempt for in recent years.

Day 14: Internet Issues Solved (and a Bonus Film)

What a lazy day I had. I blame it on getting up at 2 am and not getting back to sleep until 6 am. The only remotely productive thing I did today was partially fix my computer WiFi problem.

My company provided my computer and a docking station that I connected to a couple large monitors. When I sent those back I needed something else to connect my laptop to my monitor and found a reasonably priced docking station on Amazon — since Dell also sold it, I figured it would work with my personal laptop. I could have just plugged my monitor cord into my laptop, but then I’d have to disconnect and reconnect it more than I wanted to. I didn’t want the port to wear out.

The docking station was not exactly what I had in mind, but I was able to connect the laptop to the monitor with a USB cable and hide the dock under a monitor stand that matches my desk. I’d hoped it would also charge my computer like the one from work did.

The night of the Zoom meeting on racism I kept being disconnected from Zoom. I ended up having to use my phone for the meeting. Later that night I tried to connect to the Internet on my laptop and was unable. The next day, same thing.

This morning I looked again at the specs of the docking station and realized that by plugging the cable from the dock into my computer, the computer assumed that I’d be using an Ethernet connection — which I do not have in my office. I contacted the company, but, being Saturday, they were not around.

So I asked professor Google whose answers were not exactly clear, but I figured out I needed to disable my Ethernet adapter. It turned out delightfully easy, but I still don’t understand why I am only connected via a 2.4 GHz connection and not the 5.0 that other devices are connected through.

The other memorable delight today was watching Woman at War an Icelandic film about a 50-year-old woman who secretly wages a one-woman-war on the local aluminum industry. We’d hoped to show it to our film group in March, but the pandemic happened. We’re streaming it to our patrons next week, then will have a Zoom discussion next Sunday.

If you get a chance to see it, do.

Day 3: The Last Tuesday

Today was my last Tuesday at ICF. Tuesdays usually are very open, I have no regular meetings. Today, however, I had three meetings. One to record a video about creating accessible PowerPoint templates, one to explain a project to someone taking it over and one to help my direct report with a PDF file. Not too many delights there, except when the video recording session was over, the relief was delightful.

The biggest delight was listening to Ross Gay read his book this blog was influenced by. I have the ebook, hardback and audio book of The Book of Delights. Each has its place, but I think I prefer the audio version since the author reads it himself. When he says “delight” he often says it with a delightful voice.

My new camera (paid for by ICF’s incentive program points) shipped today, according to an email from the incentive program folks. Delight!

Another delight was seeing that Mali commented on my first two posts. Thank you for that Mali.

I made dinner while listening to Ross Gay. Both Dean and I had busy days, the kitchen was a mess, we had no leftovers, neither of us had the foresight to take anything out of the freezer for dinner and Dean had back to back meetings until 7:30, so getting takeout was not a convenient option. So I made packaged mac and cheese* with tuna fish (delight) and a salad.

The final delight of the day was watching a rom-com on my tablet. These are guilty pleasures to me (guilty delights?)

Oh, and that zinnia. Zinnias are easy to grow, constant delights during the summer.

*Most packaged mac and cheese is not a delight, but I discovered Fishski Provisions Hatch Chile Cheddar Mac and Cheese about six months ago and declared it to be the only packaged mac and cheese I would ever buy again. The directions are to only add water, but I add butter and yogurt instead. I also like their grits and I thought I hated grits.