Thankful Like a Fairy

It’s that time of year here in the United States when little construction paper turkeys appear on fridges and people suddenly remember that pumpkin is edible. Thanksgiving often feels more like a breather in between the heavier loads of presentations and finals, usually with a side of grading. It’s the end of the term, and everyone is feeling a crunch that has little to do with frosty grass or fallen leaves underfoot. Periodically I see little flyers scattered around, all variations on themes about thankfulness, gratitude, and the like. I usually read them with some trepidation, my mind clouded by rubrics and inner debates about the ontology of musical meaning. Most often I feel that I don’t measure up on the thankfulness scale at the moment, and then all I’ll be is annoyed and guilty before my mind scutters back to the meta-musical-microcosm.

That’s because, I’ve concluded, I’m thankful like a fairy.

“Tink was not all bad: or, rather, she was all bad just now, but, on the other hand, sometimes she was all good. Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time. They are, however, allowed to change, only it must be a complete change.”
 ~ J. M. Barrie

When I’m thankful, it is an overwhelming flood of gratitude. One the flip side, when I am not thankful, I’m sometimes every dark emotion there is. It isn’t simply sniveling ingratitude, it can be an epic funk and a devaluation of my very existence. That is ungratefulness of the highest order.

However, fairies are allowed to change… and the musician in me insists that practice makes perfect. So here are some of the random wonky things a fairy brain is thankful for on a Monday:

  • Lyft! I’m running late, and for less than a day’s worth of university garage parking a wonderful clean car pulls up to my apartment door and then drops me off at the door to my building.
  • The fish faces my students, locked out of their classroom on the top floor, are making against the glass at me as I walk into the atrium 3 stories below.
  • The fact that the sound equipment and TV in my classroom worked … on the first try!
  • My butt. Sorry folks! Chronic illness can take unexpected tolls on weight, and in my case I lost a lot over the past couple years. If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting then you can imagine that not having much of one can be a little painful. Thanks to the discovery of King Size Fritos, bean dip, and allergen-free chocolate cookies, I’m working my way back to normal weight. It is great.
  • Trader Joe’s fish sticks and Simple Truth potato puffs (aka tater tots). Yes. It’s more borderline junk food, and I can eat it without having a reaction. I love being able to eat without an allergic reaction.
  • My advisor. We’ve had a bit of a chat about my medical conditions, finishing in a brief “how to administer epi” course. When I told him this morning that I was still struggling with the aftereffects of a recent ER-level bad reaction, I was let out of a weekly meeting and got to go home early and rest. I don’t know how this will play out, but today I am very grateful for that understanding.
  • The lighted brick path that sweeps past the hotel, lined with lights and ending in an impressive skyline backlit by a sunset that looks good enough to eat. OK. Maybe I was hungry today…?
  • The long conversation my busy exhausted mom gave to me so I could walk around this evening, enjoying the sunset, feeling safe and not so alone. Truly a marvelous gift. 🙂



Confessions of a (chronically ill) graduate student

Just when I think I’ve got medication schedules down and have a handle on things, I forget that Med 1 has to be an hour before eating, Med 2 a half an hour before, and Meds 3-infinity have to be taken with food.

Ramifications: I can’t just grab a quick bit on my way out the door to a concert. Missed concert so I could eat, take meds, and function another day. Simple, necessary, and devastating self-care.

#besidesmydiagnosis #2

DSC_0034.JPG#besidesmydiagnosis …the things I have read most are?

Oh my gosh. Books about music. It’s my degree, after all, but I do enjoy it. For other “free reading” – loads of stuff! Books about photography, Cornelius Funke’s Reckless series, A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch, the Magisterium kids series, Jeeves and Wooster stories by P. G. Wodehouse, fantasy by Patricia McKillip, the Penderwicks series…  I did just get back from vacation, after all. 🙂  I love reading well-written children’s/tweens/early teens books.

Cordiforme Butterflies

These butterflies are from the margins of the Cordiforme Chansonnier, a book of vocal music from the late 1400s. Its red velvet covers form the shape of a single heart when closed, a double joined heart when opened. This lovely book, when opened, is barely wider than the span of my two hands.

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And yes, these are cell phone grabs without a flash, from a morning in an archive with a facsimile. Bad photographer… distracted but enchanted researcher. 😀