Siege Diaries 3/10/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt:  Does my social circle make me better or worse?

This is actually the prompt from yesterday; I got the two days mixed up.  (Welcome to 2021, when all the days are more of the same…)

This one doesn’t require any thought at all.  My social circle makes me better.  I have friends who have, over the years, constantly pushed me to challenge long-held assumptions about everything–race, age, ability, gender identity, mental illness, level of education, religion.  They have pushed me to make ideals about justice or the virtues more than ideals.  They have helped me learn to be the kind of leader–and follower–I want to be.  They help me get out of the hermitage of my own brain and to try to see the world through different eyes.  They’re not perfect, but neither am I, and they’re mostly pretty honest about when they mess up, and that’s helped me to learn the power of the genuine apology and how to move forward so that next time, there will be nothing to apologize for.

Started writing my article.  Will put it aside for tonight, though and continue over the next couple of days.  Right now I’m working on my little cross stitch project.  I’ve had to pick out stitching a couple of times, but I’m hoping I’ve gotten it now to the point where I shouldn’t have to do that any more.

The mail brought–finally!–what I’d been referring to as “the cursed book.”  The original went missing after arriving in Canada in early January.  This was the replacement copy, ordered in late January.  And I found it came from a place I’ve never received something from before:

Jersey is, of course, one of the Channel Islands, officially known as the Balliwick of Jersey and a Crown Protectorate.  Cool.   My mini score of the Shostakovich 4th Symphony also arrived, way ahead of schedule.

The big accomplishment today was getting the tax documents that have arrived scanned and uploaded to my accountant’s portal.  I also filled out the basic checklist that included items like medical expenses and property tax.  They also asked up front about the working from home tax credit.  I already completed the FBAR several weeks ago, so the hardest task was already done.  Now I just wait for the rest of the documents.

There was also a lunchtime Zoom call with the Sunday tour guide crew from CWH.  I’m one of the youngest volunteers, so it was nice to see everyone in good health and trading snark.  The oldest of the group, who’s in his 80s, is due to get his vaccine in the next few days.  Apparently lots of good prep for the upcoming flying season happening, and the museum is doing really well with virtual education programs, which is great to hear.  The one thing they are definitely missing is the income from trade shows they usually get during the off season.

I got a good start last night on Stalin’s Music Prize.  The chapter regarding the decisions for the first time the prizes were awarded, in 1940, was absolutely fascinating.  It’s all based around extant documentation of the deliberation process, including documents from the final stages with annotation from Stalin himself.  Frolova-Walker pretty convincingly demolishes the idea that awarding one of the prizes to Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet was not due to intervention from Stalin himself;  in fact, the work appears as recommended on all three ballots from the nominating group, the first of four or five steps to approval, and despite at least one letter recommending that it not receive the prize because of its neoclassicism, it seems to have never been seriously considered for being dropped.  I’ll read another couple of chapters tonight after finishing up on this update.

And finally:  With the double-digit temperatures today, I caught my first glimpse of daffodil shoots.