I Get It

Today! Let’s lighten things up and think about things we didn’t like, but came around on. This was a fun conversation I had with Lori last night and I’m sharing my results with you. In no particular order!

1.) Rush

I spent years not being able to stand Geddy Lee’s voice, and since they get a lot of play on Canadian rock radio, I did a lot of cringing / changing the station. Closer to the Heart in particular, a hugely famous song of theirs, would have me diving for the dial. (Or seek button, or whatever. ‘Dial’ suddenly makes me feel old) I also have a specific memory of my friends circling around me while on a camping trip, chanting the “weedoo-deedoo-deedoo” synth riff from Tom Sawyer just to torment me. Good times.

The strange thing is that I can’t pinpoint where or when I came around on them. I think it was mainly time, during which I gained a greater appreciation of their talent and just, geez, the amount of work they continued to put into recording and touring. Probably didn’t hurt that my friends convinced me to get the Moving Pictures song pack for Rock Band, which got me to play through the entire album in one of my favourite games of all time.

I won’t claim I’m a huge fan now, but I definitely appreciate and listen to them, and was at least a little saddened to hear about the recent passing of Neil Peart.

2.)Indian Food

I grew up in a family with little-to-no appreciation for Spicy Things or Challenging Flavours. Also, the community I lived in was pretty homogeneous, and local restaurants mostly didn’t serve anything other than chicken, burgers, and pizza. I didn’t try my first Indian curry dish until I was in my twenties and attending university, on a day that I thought I’d have an adventure. I really didn’t like it, and wrote off the rest of Indian cuisine for quite a while after that!

What brought me back around was the folks that lived next to us when we first moved into our current home, five or six years ago; they’ve since moved, but they were a lovely family originally from Punjab who were celebrating their daughter’s first birthday and invited us to the party. Touched and honoured, we attended, and were treated to a feast of various homemade Indian dishes, including my new favourite, Butter Chicken.

Since then I’ve been growing in my appreciation!

3.)Euro Truck Simulator 2

I got a copy of this game a few years ago through some bundle or another, and initially bounced off of it pretty hard. It seemed extremely boring. Initially you just take jobs as they’re available, and drive, quietly, from city to city. You try not to drive too fast or do anything dangerous, because that will cost you money. I did not get the appeal at all.

And then, last fall and into winter, I went through some pretty difficult and stressful times. Suddenly, a relaxing game with super low stakes, that I can put on some music I like and just zone out to, was perfect. I decide to try it again and it clicked, and while I definitely haven’t put in the hundreds of hours that some have done, I feel like I have a much greater understanding of why things like this are interesting. Also, I’m going to upgrade my garage soon so I can hire another trucker 🙂

Thing I Saw: Our poor lil’ dog is going blind (cataracts), but doesn’t seem to mind terribly. He still wants to play fetch every day, even if he loses track of the ball easily. Then it becomes a game of hide-and-seek, where he can use his nose and hunt around 🙂

Thing I Learned: I always thought Gandhi’s name was Mahatma, but that’s actually a title. His name was Mohandas.

I’m Grateful For: A continued positive reception to my new comics!

Send this to all the Steves in your life

Pausing to Remember

Come, come with me out to the old churchyard,

I so well know those paths ‘neath the soft green sward.

Friends slumber in there that we want to regard;

We will trace out their names in the old churchyard.

Today marks three years, to the day, since my mom passed away. I want to sit down here and say something about it, but off and on today I’ve struggled with what exactly that could be.

That day, a Sunday, I got a text in the morning from my Dad, who had been keeping bedside vigil as Mom’s breathing had slowed considerably in the previous few days. He had wanted to go home and freshen up, but was adamant that Mom shouldn’t be alone; would I mind going over for a short time? I said yes, and brought my ukulele to sing with her awhile. I don’t remember all of the songs I picked, but one was definitely the Israel KamakawiwoĘ»ole version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Since their first visit to Hawaii, Mom had fallen in love with Iz’s music, so it seemed appropriate.

My brief journal entry from those days indicates she wasn’t responsive anymore, but I like to think she heard me.

Dad came back after less than an hour. I ended up going for lunch with my brothers, and as we sat in the restaurant deciding what to do next, we got the message that she was gone.

Mourn not for them, their trials are o’er,

And why weep for those who will weep no more?

For sweet is their sleep, though cold and hard

Their pillows may be in the old churchyard.

Mom had an easy, bright smile and I loved making her laugh. Her cooking and baking were legendary among friends and family. She was patient and kind, though reserved around others for much of her life. She loved coffee with good people, road trips with Dad, hidden-object puzzles on the computer, and those cheesy Christian romance novels about Amish women looking for love. She taught me much about listening to others, about the importance of music, and about never turning your back on the people you love. She used to tell me I was a “genius” when I’d fix stuff on her computer or solve difficult puzzles in her games. My own struggles with self-esteem didn’t often let me believe her — I’d brush it off with attempted humility — but I really think she meant it.

I miss her a lot today.

I rest in the hope that one bright day

Sunshine will burst to these prisons of clay,

And old Gabriel’s trumpet and voice of the Lord

Will wake up the dead in the old churchyard.

Thing I Saw: The rest of my journals from That Time, which I haven’t really looked at in quite a while. One thing I wrote near the end of my Jan.22/17 entry was “[I] Suspect I am nowhere near over this.” No, you weren’t, 2017-Nathan. But you’ll still be ok.

Thing I Learned: There’s a tabletop RPG called Monster of the Week that uses the same basic principles as the Dungeon World game I ran last year with the Whatevertown guys, only it’s based around urban fantasy and a gang of folks investigating/defeating monsters like on Supernatural or The X Files. Our group is set to get back together next week and I’m wondering if I should suggest a subject matter pivot…

I’m Grateful For: Lori, who’s been incredibly gentle and understanding about the significance of today, and who went out of her way to pick up my favourite cinnamon bun for a surprise snack.

The lyrics sprinkled throughout the post are from this song.

In with the New

Welcome to 2020! As always, let’s remember Campsite Rules for the year — try to leave things a little better than you found them. People, situations, places, whatever. Do your best out there!

In the past week, Lori’s been talking about the concept of having a “word” for the year. The idea is, I suppose, to distill your ideas and choices down to a thematic word, and act on that word to see what happens. For instance, if the word “cat” resonated with you as being thematically appropriate for 2020, you would filter your decisions and goals through that word in order to make sure you’re heading in the right direction. Going to lots of parties? Doesn’t seem very catlike. Finding a sunny patch every day and dozing in it? Very on-brand for a cat.

The idea of a single word as a guiding principle seems nice because it’s more open-ended than a standard resolution, AND it’s easier to remember. But: how does one arrive at such a word? I’m not sure. I just did a quiz on a Christian site that suggested my word was “Stand”, which seems as good as any. I’ll shortlist it and see if anything else good presents itself in the next few days. Could be a fun experiment for 2020.

Thing I Saw: The weather is comparatively lovely today, so Cassidy and I toddled around the backyard. As part of our adventure behind the sheds, we discovered the freshly-dug holes that rabbits made to get in and out of the yard. Neat!

Thing I Learned: For certain versions of Rock Band 3 (yes, from 2010) it’s amazingly easy to download and add custom songs that are created by enthusiasts from around the world. Last night, at our extremely low-key NYE party, I got to play some good Sloan songs with friends for the first time — thanks to the efforts of the RB3 fan community!

I’m Grateful For: Days off with my family, and doing small but effective Habitat Improvements.

Before the usual song at the end of the post, some context; it was approaching midnight last night so I quickly found a countdown timer to put onscreen for our “party”. We didn’t have any music playing at that moment, so I quickly opened Spotify and hit shuffle play on my Liked Songs. The song it picked, and that ushered us into the new year, was Lean On Me by Bill Withers. Not sure it means anything, but it seems significant, so here it is for you, too.