The spiral opens

It has been an odd few weeks.

It started with an occasion of great joy for a wonderful friend who had chosen a Byzantine theme for her Pelican elevation. She made most of her clothing, but I contributed the loros, a long ceremonial sash that could be worn by only two women: the Empress, and the Girdled Patrician Woman, or patrikia. There is a ceremony in De ceremoniis describing the elevation of the patrikia, and I used this as the basis for the ceremony for this elevation. This particular part was fraught by conflicting thoughts of wanting to do something special for my friend and wanting to run, run far away from anything ceremonial, upon hearing from multiple sources that my ceremonies had deemed to be boring and taxing for the populace–despite me thinking I had done much better with the ceremony I wrote last fall. But my friend loved what I did for her, and that counts for something, even as, at the same time, I renewed my promise to myself to simply stop putting myself out there unless I am specifically asked when it comes to ceremony. When you’re convulsed with self-doubt about your abilities, it is no longer fun.

In any case, the good so far outweighed the bad in this situation. My friend looked amazing in the Byzantine clothing she made for herself and her husband, and other friends pitched in to provide food and rather amazing vigil tokens. It was a good day.

The following week, I heard the Kindred Spirts Orchestra gamely play Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 4. They did a pretty damned good job for an orchestra with just five violas and (so far as I could tell) a single trombone. It left me wondering why, if this community orchestra can do it, why can’t an orchestra like the TSO? (I just received the brochure for the 2023-2024 season today. And once again, the only Shostakovich is Symphony no. 10–which I will attend, of course.) In any case, it planted a seed in my mind that perhaps it might be a good idea to seize the opportunity to go ahead and go to Chicago to hear the Chicago Symphony play Shostakovich 8 in April, and after we decided we’d opt to go to Quebec City this year instead of going to England, as well as being generally blase about Pennsic, I pulled the trigger. If I’m going to hear the CSO, why not for a symphony that is, while not exactly a unicorn, is certainly a–let’s say it’s a Pallas’ cat/manul. Shy, elusive, but utterly fierce. Even better, I’ll be driving to Illinois the day before and I’ll spend the night in Springfield so I can see one of the few Frank Lloyd Wright houses left on my list I still really want to see, the Susan Dana Thomas house.

We also finally got in an extended long weekend trip to Ottawa. The main reason was for a board game day on the Saturday, but we drove up on Thursday so that we could get to a few of the museums we hadn’t seen on Friday. We discovered too late that touring the Mint requires advance reservations, but the science museum and Bank of Canada museums were a lot of fun and we also visited the aviation museum again. This was despite a healthy dump of snow that descended on Thursday might. The board games were wonderful (I even won a couple of games).

And then, last weekend, my whole mood just plummeted. Maybe it was the time of year. Maybe it was the ongoing funk about feeling valued mostly as a functionary in my favourite hobby. Maybe it was the impending birthday (but not in the way most people would expect–I like birthdays, regardless of the age I’m turning, but I also dream of having one someday where I don’t have to make the plans or buy the presents for myself. Maybe it was the feeling, once again, that while I have lots of friends, for most of them, I’m on the B list–fun to hang out with, but not a priority.

Things have rebounded a bit, however. I had a realization that I was lacking in the desire to really even think about attending Pennsic this year. I no longer have camping equipment, nor do I have a reason to feel useful there. That may change in the future, but it might not. This helped me justify the trip to Chicago I mentioned earlier.

The Sunday before last, we also gave attending a Pathfinder game at a local game store a try. I very much enjoyed it, despite having just come through my funk and not feeling much in a meeting-new-people mood.

Saturday was Winter War. After a huge dump of very damp, wet concrete-like snow on Friday night and some intense shovelling on Saturday morning, the roads were fine and the drive was good. I delivered the two pieces I’d done for court–one just a simple wording in runic script on parchment, but the other an embroidered journal cover with the scroll itself in the book it covered. I sat in the hall with a friend and dispensed rum cake and embroidery wisdom. I had a meeting with the Heirs about heraldic matters. It was lowkey, low expectation, and just nice.

And thus, the Fibonacci year ended. My birthday itself was quiet, with a lovely Keg dinner with friends, two kinds of cake, lots of Shostakovich (including a new CD), what is now officially a tradition of watching Death of Stalin, and setting off into a new year realizing, last night, that I no longer get the Sunday scaries. Quite the contrary–I look forward to my work–there’s always a new client coming on, new things to learn, and things I’ve recently learned to get even better at. I’m steadily moving towards a significant milestone next week of presenting a webinar completely by myself (well, at least for the presentation bit–we always have a moderator to help out)–and I’ll do that twice. I did not expect at all to be where I am one year ago–it’s a complete paradigm shift, embracing what I have always loved doing the most. As the year opened up and expanded, so did I.