‘Tis the Season

Grades are in and I am safely come to Dundee. There were happy family greetings, gifts, and packages waiting — and even a bit of sun. And much silliness, of course. Now #tea and the opportunity to idle and write. There’s time to let much of the madness of a harsh year slip away, if only to return to the resistance later strengthened.

At passport control, the fellow asked ‘Purpose of your visit?’

‘To avoid having to hear about that orange idiot twenty-four hours a day.’

‘Fair enough.’

Under My Skin

A week ago — a momentous time for so many reasons — I whacked my knuckles on the book case in the conference room outside my office at the end of a day meeting students for advisement. I’ve done it before: those of you who know me well will not be surprised. Head in the clouds, absent-minded professor — whatever you want to call it, I end up with odd bruises all the time. And then in a minute or two, it became this lump.

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I did what any normal person does: I sent the picture out on social media asking people if I should be worried. Some alarmed people said YES especially when I posted a video so you could see it in 3D, but most people said just ice it and elevate. I chipped some ice off the frozen-over freezer of our office because you have to improvise at times like this. Later at my friend Angela’s house, she gave me some frozen green beans that worked much better.

Robert got Lagavulin which worked even better with real ice.

The lump went down over the next few days and the bruises took off, lending a bit of colour. It was sore but not awfully so. There were far more painful things happening in the world, so on the whole I figured it could have been worse. See, much better!

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You don’t always know how an injury will affect you: something that didn’t seem all that big a deal might end up being surprisingly painful. Some things you know are going to be bad. Bracing yourself is the only option and it’s not enough because it’s coming at your from every direction. At least with big things you’re not alone: we’re all in that sinking boat and some of us are bailing it out (some are just bailing). There’s some attempts to patch the gaping holes, but there seem to be an inordinate number of folks rushing to the apocalypse.

In the words of Saint Kurt the Vonnegut, so it goes.

They get under our skin. That’s what they want. We inherit different thicknesses; we cultivate other characteristics. I recently did one of those ancestral DNA kits. I had hoped my ancestors would be a little more curious about the world, but they end up being 100% European:

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The Finnish is no surprise; I never thought I had any British/Irish blood so I’m going to claim it’s all Scottish, of course. Balkan and Southern? I’m going to go with Slovenia! But mostly Northern, which surprises no one. I also have 293 Neanderthal variants which is fairly high (higher than 74% of those they tested). What does it mean? Well, among other things:

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So there’s that.

To sum up: it’s a really lousy year for so many reasons for so many of us and things look likely to get worse. Your community will be more important than ever. Be part of them, look out for others, let yourself be looked after especially if you’re not one inclined to do that. Be grateful for every bit of joy that comes your way and if you have it, the reduced tendency to sneeze after eating dark  chocolate.

‘One of the ways to avoid being beaten by the system is to laugh at it.’

Peter Cook

Summer Snapshots

Dundee Spring

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Indulge me: here are some lovely things of spring.

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This girl: ‘Let me be in the picture!’

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I did manage to turn Elsa into a rock chick briefly…

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…which did not go over well.

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So I had to be a princess, too.

Doll Parts

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Sunday Services

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Run

Scottish Solstice

By circuitous means I finally reached Dundee yesterday — by way of La Guardia, Charlotte, London, Glasgow and points in between. Miss Charlotte was delighted to know there is an entire city named after her. Grades all done but the shouting, so I am ready to enjoy the break with reading, writing, The Bridge, Luther, Grimm and of course, playing dolls. Starting tomorrow, a little more daylight each day. A thought to cheer.

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Swanky Wine Bar with Tablet Service

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Charlotte

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Glasgow wins Panto

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That Girl