Plays of passion

Have I said recently how utterly freeing it is to not constantly feel like a fraud?

To feel as though I was doing something valuable?

To use my brain, to learn new things, and to come up with creative solutions?

To work with a team towards common goals?

I’m sure I have. But I’m going to say it again.

In related news, the new things in my life are almost making me forget that this time last year, while some things were amazing, other things simply were not.

Here’s one of the new additions: Meet Zoya.

For the last six weeks or so, we’ve been volunteering with a local cat rescue. While we can’t foster (our elderly Victoria cat is a concern), we’ve been helping get one of their fosterers plus foster cat Ricky to the vet (Ricky has an ear abscess). When we first started working with the rescue, there was a calico by the name of Esme on their available on their adoption page. “Let’s keep an eye on that one,” said my husband. Six weeks later, she’s still there, and he said he “wouldn’t be opposed” to finding out more. So last weekend, I met Esme (my husband was unable to come because of a cold) and the next day we brought her home. I had intended to give our next cat the name of a woman in Shostakovich’s life–one of his family or either of the two wives he was with long-term. Zoya was his sister. She was quirky and independent and eventually became a veterinarian. It seemed to fit.

Zoya is a small, floofy cat (we’ve never had a true floof before) who loves to climb, comes running any time there might be any hint of food, and likes to stake out spots at about waist level to hang out in rooms with people. She’s probably about a year and a half old, so I’ve arbitrarily awarded her a birthday shared with Shostakovich. The first couple of nights here, I was sleeping on the office couch since Dave had a cold, and she perched herself on the backrest. The third night she actually curled up on my left shoulder. Last night I was back in our regular bed and she seems to have spent at least part of the night there as well. The other cats have had mixed reactions. Victoria is completely indifferent. Spitfire is wary, keeping her distance and chirping at her, with the occasional hiss. Furiosa has been (not unexpectedly, given her reaction to neighbourhood cats seen through the window) the most extreme, conjuring up some frightening yowls. In all cases, Zoya has been curious, with a few hisses, and in the case of Furiosa, mutual chasing (but mostly Zoya chasing Furiosa). So far, mostly just loud. Zoya definitely acts like she owns the place. She doesn’t mind being picked up, and has a loud purr. Right now, she’s in the office with me. I expect that once Dave gets up and cracks out the gushy food, she’ll be off upstairs like a shot. She’s also chasing Furiosa (who did the same to Spitfire when she first arrived) so we may be adopting some timeouts and other techniques for making sure she chills.

I also got the SCA’s April 1 Letter of MisIntent completed and released on schedule. More than any other year, this year’s letter owed its core to the work of my fellow Ealdormerian heraldic artist complementing the names I documented. Sadly, other than the anti-LoMI that some other Imaginary heralds put together, and a single (but absolutely brilliant) letter by the Kingdom of Lochac, there was otherwise a sad lack of April 1 letters this year. (Ours is here. ) I really didn’t get fully into it until the last two weeks of March, either, although once I did, I had a ton of fun with it. I expect one more year, perhaps, doing these at a Society level, although by next year, my Trillium Herald term will be over and I may not have any significant SCA offices to suck my time.

I also received word today that my latest badge passed.

Work continues to be something I look forward to and pour myself into wholeheartedly. I get to do things like read articles, come up with new slides for our presentations, and work with some really fun people. In fact, I ran into my coworker (who’s been my mentor so far and was just promoted to team lead) at the Vintage Clothing sale on Saturday.

Speaking of which, the sale this time was back to its pre-pandemic glory. I ended up spending almost all my money on a single item, a German-made cat nightlight which is also a perfume diffuser, probably from the 50s. I’ve never seen anything like it, and it’s a herissony cat, so I couldn’t not…

The stampede of April concerts is starting. Tonight is Mahler 5, one of a couple of works I originally planned to hear the TSO play in 2020-2021. Next Wednesday the Shostakovich quartet cycle commences. There is also a game convention the weekend after next, and Easter dinner with friends on Saturday. We’ve also finally started initial work on wills and POAs and the like. That’s been on the to-do list for over a decade.

I also am working on my yelling snail marginalia embroidery. Tomorrow I’m planning to stitch together the preliminary version of my Vintage Vogue 1935 jacket pattern. The goal on this one is to have a wearable garment, but to avoid cutting into my lovely perfect red silk until I’ve made up the pattern at least once. The fabric for the trial run is a coppery synthetic dupioni. It should be amazing in its own right, but if I don’t get it exactly perfect it’s not the $25 USD fabric. I’ve stitched together the muslin and made adjustments to the pattern (it’s close to my size, but slightly on the small side) so I have an idea how it goes together. There’s only four pieces to it, but it has a very funky sleeve (very typical of the mid-1930s) so the muslin process has been helpful.

Meanwhile, the news of the week is the charging of the Mango Mussolini with 34 felony counts on Tuesday. What worries me now more about the US, however, are the actions in states like Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Idaho, and Kansas–states that are now proudly authoritarian and no longer content to simply be bigots–they’ve moved into active state-sponsored persecution. On the other hand, Wisconsin just elected a judge that will put a wrench into a few authoritarian plans, so it’s not all doom.

And finally, just a memory: Today is Maundy Thursday, which was always my favourite church service growing up. It was a Tenebrae service, which meant as the story of the Last Supper, the betrayal of Christ, and his crucifixion was read and interpreted in music, the lights were dimmed in the sanctuary until, at the end, the congregation sat in darkness. It still remains, to me, a reminder of the power of symbolism and ceremony, and although I do not consider myself one of the faithful anymore, I suspect I would still find it moving.