Goblin Mode

The holidays are over. The tree is stashed for another year, and the calendar has returned to the mundane, and with it the opportunity to attend festive special events. I find this January, in particular, particularly bereft of social activities. There are no SCA events (although there is the return of SMASH later in the month). There are concerts, but not ones involving seeing new places.

Facebook can be insidious in its mocking, both in memories and the current day. In 2019, on this day, I visited the Meyer May house in Grand Rapids after having heard Shostakovich 11 twice, despite a snowstorm. There are Twelfth Nights past, with silly costumes and friends to laugh with. Today’s feed is full of friends on vacation–a whole lot of them in one place, but others all over the world. It’s not FOMO, it’s SOMO (sadness of missing out), and some of it is caused by my own past adventures.

But yet, it was a good holiday season. There were friends aplenty, way too much food, games, and parties; and while there was no long-distance travel, there were short changes of scenery that were most welcome. And sometimes, the soul needs a little introverting after all of that. Sometimes a cup full of tea and an embroidery project while I watch dead mall videos is a fine way to while away the hours. Goblin mode was one of the words of the year for 2022, and I think it’s apropos here. Bring on the stacks of projects in progress mixed in with scribbles from work and completed crossword puzzles!

And sometimes, you realize how much is unsaid in your memories, and how much things are better now. Today was an in-person day at the office for my entire team. We played a very silly charades/telephone game that had me snorting with laughter, we were fed lunch, there were chocolates, there was some great collaboration with one of my teammates, as well as an assignment to work on that really allows me to do the things I love. I looked forward to going into the office because I feel like these people are not just people I work with, but friends that help each other learn.

I felt for many years that I was a much better project manager on paper than in real life. I don’t feel like that about this new job.

Tiny seeds, planted, sprouting.

It’d been awhile since I embroidered Shostakovich. The last piece was the TIME magazine cover, and that was finished in September. I’ve been plenty busy, with C&I work, the sock cats, and the Igor Levit piece, but over the holidays I picked a 1962 of Shostakovich and his third wife Irina, taken in 1962, the year they married. There was something appealing in her gaze directly into the camera, and something world-weary in her gaze. She was only in her late 20s when they married, but I get the sense she was never a young, flighty thing–she lost her parents at an early age and her family was touched by Stalin’s purges–“a girl with a past,” Shostakovich said of her. I suspect they found common ground in this. In their 13 years of marriage, he would be wracked by a series of health issues, even as the days of outright suppression faded in the rear-view mirror. She was fiercely protective of him–still is; she is still alive.

This time, I took photos of my complete process. The background was painted in acrylics.

This weekend, these is a concert by violinist Maxim Vengerov that will include versions of ten of Shostakovich’s op. 34 preludes. I’m also going to hopefully make significant progress on my other embroidery project–I’d like that one off the table before SMASH begins. Otherwise, as mentioned, it’ll be quiet