Siege Diaries 12/25/2020

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt:  Where can I find reinvigoration and balance?

For me, the unequivocal answer is in the arts, particularly when I am able to create.  The embroidery work I did this year, calligraphy and illumination, the written word (creating, editing, reading), sewing, listening to or being part of music–these are what sustain me, inspire me, spur my creativity, and make me look forward to even days where I must stay physically isolated for much of the world–because in these pursuits, the invisible ties are made manifest, my curiosity is stoked, and I know I am part of something much larger.  Perhaps my thread is small in the great tapestry of the universe, but I know it is there.

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Tree of Life: Part II
These are the fruit from my own rooting of the larger Tree–once a branch, now grown to full strength.  It should be mentioned that I have quite a decent-sized collections of ornaments that do not make it onto my tree every year.  There’s not much hockey-themed this year, for instance, mostly because I’m just not feeling the hockey bug at the moment, with play not currently underway due to the pandemic.

So on to the rest of the tour:

The handmade – My own, and from friends.  Of these, I particularly remember the round one with the geometric pattern.  It was part of a rather gorgeous set designed by Teresa Wentzler that I made several of for family and close friends in the early 90s.  I made one for myself in gorgeous red tones–but it has gone missing, and I was left with the one in lavender shades made for my parents. (And I just checked to see if I could find the pattern again–and it’s now out of print and only available as part of a book that costs around $100 at the cheapest).   The Santa in blue was the work of our downstairs neighbour and close friend Shelna from our apartment on Thorncliffe Park Dr. in the mid-late 90s.  The dumpster fire ornament is by Jackie and the cat santa is by Heather.

The geekeries:  Music.   The blue star with Shostakovich’s monogram could have gone in the above section, as I made it myself.

Hallmark Ornaments:  Collections.  I have four currently active complete sets of Hallmark ornaments on the go.  The Father Christmases did not make it onto the tree this year, but Mischievous Kittens (now in its 22nd year),  The Beauty of Birds (16 years), and the 12 days of Christmas (now up to 10) all did. (I found out while checking how many years the bird series had been ongoing that the first two in the series–one of which is the chickadee, which is included in my photos below–are incredibly rare and worth as much as $300 USD in mint condition).  These are a few representative ornaments.

Christmas pop culture:   Here we have ornaments from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story, and the like, along with Krampus.

And here we have pop culture.

Besides the Mischievous Kittens set, here we have cats….

Architecture.  Mostly Frank Lloyd Wright–Fallingwater, the Martin House, and the Park Inn:

Travel and tourism.  Many of the Architecture ornaments could fit in here as well.  The Tudor rose is from our trip to England in 1995.  The Celtic C is from Nova Scotia from a couple of years ago.  The US Capitol is from Washington (and contains marble from some of the original Capitol structures).  There’s a golden four-pointed design from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  My beloved Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (and its Lancaster bomber) is there, along with the aviation museum in Virginia Beach.   The star and Russian doll are both from the Toronto Christmas Market.:

Non-set Hallmark ornaments.  The Three Magi set from the 90s (blown glass ornaments) are among my favourites of all time.

Gifts.   The Nutcracker ornament is from my first manager at Bank One.  The bell was from my in-laws.

And finally, a few cherished Christmas items not on the tree.  The Santa by the window was given to me by my manager my first year in my current job (14 years ago).  The items on the shelf are a painted Christmas village I did in the late 80s.  The tree is similar to one that my aunt made us in the late 70s that I acquired about ten years ago:

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