Tea Joy!

With all the problems going on in the world, I feel like adding some joy to it. Recently, I put in an order to resupply and add to my tea stock.

In there are two types of tea cookies, Irish Breakfast tea, a free filter for my water pitcher, a free sample pouch of Earl Grey Lavender – which I try to gather to delay needing to actually buy more, more Amber Sugar Crystals, and new tins!

I love Adagio’s storage tins. I love the colors. I love how they function. Until the shipment arrived, the blues – Earl Greys – were a tin higher than the others. When I decided to get the Irish Breakfast tea, I realized I needed another red tin – my Breakfast teas – but you can’t buy just one. You have to order a 3-pack. So I ordered my third set of the variety pack – red for the Irish Breakfast, green got my all-green Far Out blend, and yellow is empty because I don’t have a straight black that needs a tin. There really is a method to my madness. 😀

Then there is the wonderful Amber Sugar Crystals. I was down to this:

Now I have this, again:

There really is a simple joy in having so many delicious teas to choose from. Sometimes I just sit there and look at my teas. Also, by using my former desk/coffee table as my tea table, I have to sit calmly on the floor. It turns making tea into a conscious pause in my day. A wonderful, sometimes zen-like pause in my day. It’s been meditative at times. The other day I sat and watched tea and pieces rise and fall in the water as it brewed. I reached a meditative state for a few seconds. It was really cool.

I guess the point of this whole thing was to share some joy in these times of stress. We need to remember to take joy in the small things and take care of yourself. Between hurricanes, earthquakes, politics, and whatever is going on in your life, it’s easy to get burned out. Take time to watch a show or movie, read a book or magazine or comic or blog, listen to music, make some tea or coffee. Do something to take a break from everything. Self care is important! Do it!

Advertisements

In case you hadn’t noticed…

There has been an increase in peaceful protests before sporting events at all levels. It is all over the Internet. I had someone on my Facebook feed honesty asking “Why are they protesting the anthem?” After sharing a picture that I have just shared on Facebook, I tagged the person and eventually posted the following:

We as a country are still treating people who are not white – and many other things – as The Other, less than, not the same, not equals. The song is the Anthem of the Nation. It is the same as the gentlemen raising their fists on the Olympic Medal stand when The Star Spangled Banner was played. We are still living in a country where we are not all equal. They feel that taking a knee is a peaceful way to bring attention to this continuing problem. Some wear t-shirts. Others give a statement to the Vice President when he attends their show. It is a peaceful way to continue the discussion about equality that we forgot has not ended. A massive shift in our culture – our ideology – has to happen before we no longer need to kneel during the National Anthem or wear pink kitty ear hats and march in Washington or the many other ways in which people are protesting inequality.

I have ❤’d many posts on Twitter and retweeted others, including some of the following:

I found an article that discusses the spread, especially to the younger generations: Do kids really understand meaning of taking a knee for national anthem?

If you’re not sure why they’re doing this, go, do research. You don’t have to agree with them, but understanding where they’re coming from is good for everyone.

 

This semester…

If I can get through this semester, I can get through my Ph.D. I knew that living 2 hours away from campus and going up for class would be hard, but I didn’t think it would be this hard.

Honestly the thing that is the hardest is having to leave immediately after class on Thursdays and drive straight to work. That is really starting to take a toll on me. Drive 2 hours, be in class for 3 hours, drive 2.5 hours, work 2.5 hours. Unfortunately there is no one who can work on Thursdays. I would be tempted to try and get them to find someone if this was going to be a thing past this semester. I have no plans to still be working there next semester. I am going to be taking 3 classes in the Spring, which is not going to allow for working 4 evenings a week and Saturdays 2.5 hours away from campus.

Work is keeping me not only from seeing my cohort outside of class and socializing and getting to know them better. It’s keeping me from all sorts of things on campus that would probably be useful and informative. There are talks about what you can do with your Ph. D. outside of academia. There are colloquium series. There is the easy access to the library, instead of having to wait and pick up 10 books at once and remembering to bring them back before they’re due when I’m on campus.

Thankfully, right now I’m listening to The West Wing Weekly while also doing another rewatch of the series. I’m watching season 3, but listening to season 1. Probably when I get to the end of season 4, I’ll go back and watch the episodes I’ve recently listened to. It’s helping me stay sane. Well, that and Hamilton.

But first, I have to graduate with my M.A. at the end of this semester. Thankfully, I am confident that I can pass the comprehensive exam this time and get it done so I can continue to move forward in my Ph. D.

DragonCon Day 1

Things definitely got better. I think that’s the longest I have spent away from the room in years. Usually I come back at some point in the day to either watch a panel on DCTV because I couldn’t get in or just to take a break.

Not today.

Once Nathan Fillion’s amazing panel was over, I started my loop of the hotels. First, it was over to the Hilton for “Brit TV Classics You Should Be Watching”. It kind of evolved into “Brit TV You Should Be Watching”, but I’m not complaining. I have a new list of shows to find! Then I had a gap between panels, but the next one was still in the Hilton, so I found a great place to hang out near the front doors. They’ve added a bunch of benches with outlets for people to relax in near the front doors. It was so comfy. I even made a friend!

After that, it was panel to panel to panel. First, “Doctor Who Series 10: In Focus”. So much fun spending an hour talking about this past season. It was a little funny. Everyone said that this was Peter’s best season and it felt like they finally figured out how to write Twelve, but they weren’t beyond critiquing the episodes overall. They’re right, Twelve and Bill and Nardole were awesome, but the episodes could have been better.

I left and pretty much immediately got in line for the “Star Trek: The Next Generation Guests”. Despite the long line, I got a fairly decent seat. I also got to ask the second question of the panel! I asked what it was like working with Howie Seago in the amazing episode “Louder Than a Whisper”. Brent said he was amazing to work with. He talked about how he had to learn to sign and got a little goofy about it, but I could tell there was truth in there and told him he did do really well with his signs. It was awesome to ask them that question!!!!

Then, another long line for “Wig Out: Synthetic Wig Styling”. Dax Exclamationpoint, who competed on season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, was one of the panelists!!! They simply fielded questions for an hour instead of possibly telling us what we already know. I don’t know if I picked up anything new, but it was a great panel to be in. If anything, it reinforced much of what I’ve looked up online.

Finally, I went to my first panel of the Comics and Popular Arts Conference, CPAC, “Racial Representation in Marvel”. A friend of mine from grad school was on the panel, so I had to be there. It was awesome. He presented on the differences between the comic and portrayal on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. of Robbie Reyes. It really has me wanting to do two things. First, read that run of Ghost Rider. Second, start working on a paper about the differences in portrayal from the comic to the series of Daredevil and The Defenders. That may be what I’ll present at PCA in the spring!

Now, I’m in the room, enjoying the Friday Night Costuming Contest on DCTV. I want to say one of these days I’ll actually go to it. But it’s kind of become tradition to watch it in the room, same with the masquerade. Yeah, the costumes typically look better in person. But the video gets closer than I could. And we will sit and comment as it goes. Granted, hubby’s not here…yet. When I mentioned that Gigi Edgley was hosting – in basically a bikini top – I got a text that might indicate he’s coming back soon.

There is another CPAC panel I wanted to go to. But it starts in 15 minutes and 1) the costuming contest is still going, and 2) the day is catching up and I’m getting tired. Since I have to get up early to do my make-up and get into costume, I should probably stay here so I can crash easily.

Tomorrow is going to be so much fun!

Hello from DragonCon!

This has been a rocky start to the con. We got here with no problems yesterday, but it took around 3 hours for me to be able to give blood. They were working so hard, there were just soooooo many people there to donate! But last night was kind of quiet since, sadly, our usual roommates couldn’t make it this year. We did get some awesome food from one of the food trucks at the Sheraton. I’ll make note of which one to make sure they get the credit they so wonderfully deserve.

This morning has not gone to plan at all. I put on the skirt of my Star Trek Fangirl and it doesn’t fit the way I needed it to fit. I’m trying to make it work and it just won’t. This is what happens when you put off working on your costumes and you just want to get them done so you don’t take the time to wear the whole thing to make sure it works. Now I have to figure out how to bring the skirt in without ruining it. This is going to be a pain.

But, after pulling out jeans and my Darkwing Duck t-shirt, hubby and I headed out to, hopefully, get in to the Nathan Fillion panel. 40 minutes before the panel and it was already full. Grrrr. So I come back to the room to watch the live feed on DCTV. After 15 minutes, the feed dies. It turns out that DCTV lost main power (thank goodness for Facebook or else I would have just been pissed). Thankfully, it came back for the last 20 minutes. An hour of Nathan Fillion just asking questions from fans. Today’s the only day he’s here, and that makes me love him even more.

I hope the rest of the con goes better than this. Something else major goes wrong – especially with a costume – and I’m going to be very upset.

Who is Jesus?

This week’s Gospel reading was the one where Jesus asks “Who do people say I am?” and then “Who do you say I am?” and gives Peter his name. Much of Fr. Joe’s homily centered on those questions. Who do we say Jesus is?

It made me remember one class this past spring. When teaching about heroes and celebrities, we teach the 20-point mythical journey of a hero. I usually end up talking about the story of Jesus that we have in the Bible because it’s the one I’m most familiar with. This year, as I kept referring back to him, I had one student say she was uncomfortable with it since she is Christian. I tried to explain that I am Catholic and I am looking simply at the story that has been told, I’m not trying to disrespect anyone. She didn’t look like she believed me.

But that’s something that we, as Christians, tend to forget. Yes, the Bible is important and has much wisdom contained, it is a collection of stories. When we call something myth or mythology, it doesn’t change people’s beliefs or spirituality or religion surrounding it. We think of myth as fictional, but it’s not. Hercules was viewed as a demi-god in Ancient Greece. Myth does not equal fiction. Myth is another way of talking about a story, which is often rooted in reality. When you tell someone about your day or something that happened to you, you are telling a story. It’s not fiction, it’s what happened to you. The same thing goes for the story of Jesus. He was a man who lived 2000 years ago who did wondrous things. The things he did are a part of not only Christian mythology, but Jewish and Muslim as well. But calling this mythology doesn’t change how each religion views him – son of God/Messiah/Christ, prophet, prophet respectively.

If I were teaching this semester, I’d be explaining all of this in class. Hopefully I’ll get to teach it again and add this. But for now, I’m sharing it with all of you. Look around, there’s mythology everywhere!

Solar Eclipse of 2017

I have now witnessed my second solar eclipse, and I’m really looking forward to my third in 7 years’ time.

I did not travel to be in the path of totality, but I’m not sad. I still got to witness the eclipse and I got to do it in a quiet, personal way. There weren’t a lot of people outside, which was nice. But there were some kids in the neighborhood who were so extremely excited about seeing it as the glasses got passed among it. It was so awesome!

I did not have glasses. I put on my sunglasses and stood beneath a tree, using the leaves as a bit of a filter. It was also cloudy, which I was first troubled by, but was grateful for in the end. Just as we were getting as close to totality as we could, just the right amount of clouds passed in front and I got to see a sliver of the sun! It was amazing.

Not having the glasses gave me the focus to look around at other things. A friend posted on Facebook, who is down in Tennessee in the path, said that things looked like someone had desaturated them rather than things being dark leading up to totality. The same is here. It looks like someone turned down the saturation before. After, the light was still strange, but it was like there was a little sunrise in with the desaturation. It was a really cool mix of lighting.

Now I need to look at getting some glasses and be prepared for the next one. I know people living in the line of complete totality. I may be living in the swath of totality. And where I am now is really close to that edge of totality. I’m going to watch a full eclipse next time. At least I have 7 years to prepare. And that should be enough time to get my Ph.D. finished so I don’t have to worry about that! 😀

The Defenders

On Friday, the culmination of DaredevilJessica JonesLuke Cage, and Iron Fist – so far – came out: The Defenders. I have been looking forward to this since they announced it. But even more so since Iron Fist. I felt like IF wasn’t bad, but he would be better in this group setting, especially with Luke. If they did it right. But I’ll go into that later.

I’ll keep the spoilers for later and clearly marked. I know not everyone has had the chance to sit down and watch it yet. But between my love of these shows and friends who were planning to marathon it on Friday, I’ve watched it all and I love it! There are so many things to love and some of them aren’t going to spoil anything about the show.

First is the opening credits. Thanks to being a Cultural Studies scholar – specifically Popular Culture – I have many friends who look at the shows differently. One friend wrote and presented a paper on how the city of New York is a character in all of the shows. He explains it much better than I ever could, so I won’t even try. But because of him, I almost squealed with joy over the opening credits. The use of the maps and overhead views of the city in the characters’ silhouettes, which are in the color scheme of the character are brilliant.

Also, when we see each hero on their own, the scene maintains their color scheme. Matt/DD’s scenes are more reds. Luke’s are warm and yellow. Jessica’s are cool and purple. Danny/IF’s are greens; a color scheme I wasn’t quite able to identify in the series, but is clear to me now. They also maintain their own feel, including music. Granted, that’s the most obvious with Luke, but it’s there with all of them. It’s great that they let each character maintain their individuality when they’re not involved with the others. It makes it feel like we’re jumping between shows, instead of just between characters in a show.

Which leads me to the last non-spoilery well-done thing. It’s the combination of the two. When they do the transition scenes between characters, they keep the color scheme. It definitely tones down when it’s more than one character. But if you pay attention, you’ll know who they’re going to next. It’s so well done!

After this point, there are spoilers for throughout the series. Keep reading at your own discretion.

Continue reading “The Defenders”

Walking on Water

Today at Mass, Father’s homily struck a chord with me. The Gospel reading was Jesus walking on water and Peter doubting and starting to sink. He talked about how we have all walked on water at some time in our lives. A time when we feel called to do something but we have a sinking feeling, we aren’t sure if we can do it.

Tomorrow I start Graduate Student Orientation, again. But this time it’s for me starting my Ph. D. Starting my Ph. D. while I study up so I can complete my Master’s and graduate in December so I can continue with my Ph. D. This is one of my walking on water times. I know that this is the right thing for me. But I’m worried that I’ll get in my own way and won’t pass the comprehensive exams so I can graduate with my Master’s degree. I’ve passed two of the three parts before, I know I can do it again.

But a little part of me keeps popping up and messing with that faith. Thankfully, it’s getting less frequent. I’m still worried that it will pop up at the worst time – during the exam – and I will start to sink. I know that if I put the work in, study, and have faith in myself, I will walk through those exams and finally be able to move forward with my studies.

At least this week is simply about getting to know my cohort, the faculty I don’t already know, and get a good solid start to the semester and my Ph. D. And I am really looking forward to it!