Acrobat at the Renaissance Festival, 10/7/18

Yes, the world is a flaming dumpster, but forget that for a tenth of a second and enjoy this picture of a talented acrobat performing on silks at a renaissance festival. It’s nice to appreciate someone who is good at their work, and sharing that work with a crowd.

What thing(s) did you take a moment to appreciate in the last week? Tell folks in the comments; I think it would probably be helpful to everyone.

(And if you haven’t taken a moment to appreciate something in the last week — today is a fine day to do so.)

79 thoughts on “Acrobat at the Renaissance Festival, 10/7/18

  1. Please note that I am hoping that in mentioning the thing you took a moment to appreciate, you do not rush over it in a few words to then go on for several sentences or paragraphs to complain about everything that’s in the flaming dumpster. Likewise, if your comment is along the lines of “I can’t appreciate anything we’re all doomed” feel free not to leave it. The point here is to have a moment of positivity. Please get with the program. Thanks.

  2. Over the weekend, we went to a seven-year-old’s birthday and the Seattle Children’s Theater’s production of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
    Today, our daycare provider is taking the holiday off, but the school district isn’t, so I get to take the day off work, drop off our second grader at school, then spend the day with our four-year-old, which I don’t get to do often enough. We’ll probably go to the Seattle Science Center.

  3. Well on the sociopolitical side, I’m glad the verdict on Van Dyke went the way it did. One, justice was finally served and two, no riots.
    Personally, I really appreciate my friends. We had a RPG gaming session Saturday that really fun, low stress, and very, very needed right about now. I have awesome friends.

  4. Last week I appreciated time with my family, particularly my daughter, who is delightfully companionable at five years old. I want to soak up all the good times with her I can– talking with her, walking with her, and laughing with her. We had a thoroughly good time together over the weekend, and it’s giving me the courage to go forth and do good work this Monday!

  5. Went and watched my daughter perform in the Ithaca College Orchestra, which was pretty great, and hiked Buttermilk Falls with her and my wife, which was pretty great in a different way.

  6. A visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum where copies of “The Four Freedoms” inspired by FDR are on display. The originals are traveling and well worth a visit if they come to a city near you.

  7. I took a page out of Adam Koebel’s book and decided to pay more attention to what people do and say in an attempt to catch them at something cool and mentioning it to them that it’s cool. Just in general.

  8. While fall is sputtering along, trying to get started (and after coughing a few times, falling back into August), there are scattered nice days, with cool, misty mornings and a low-grade straggling migration of birds and even a few lingering butterflies and dragonflies. *inhale* It’s a good time to get out and admire the big spiderwebs as the females try to pack on those last few pounds that might make the difference between lots of big, healthy kids and fewer, less successful ones. Some of the orbweavers are almost pretty!

  9. The boundless enthusiasm for life and her surroundings exhibited by my six month-old puppy, Cali. Also…successful housebreaking.

  10. That is a very nice photo. I don’t really go for B&W but it works here. The composition is excellent.

  11. When I went to bed last night, and there was a bunch of stuff I hadn’t gotten done, BUT. I got everything I needed to do done for the work week, and the guinea pigs were cleaned and fed. I was exhausted; in trying to do ALL THE THINGS, I had (as usual) thoroughly pounded myself into the ground.

    BUT: contrary to tradition, instead of laying in bed feeling frustrated because I wasn’t falling asleep, I lay there, just marinating in being tired. And being in bed. And slowly dissolving into a warm cozy ooze of ooziness in the warm cozy comfy bed…. zzzzzzzz….

  12. My ten-year old’s soccer team is undefeated this fall. It is a mellow league, not one of those insane death-before-dishonor leagues, but still, winning is more fun than losing. Sadly, my wife won’t let me shout obscenities at the referee. That was the main reason I wanted to have kids in the first place!

  13. Appropos of which, Mr. Scalzi, you seem to pretty consistently (appropriate snark and outrage aside) center your focus on the good things in your life.

    Is this a natural tendency for you? If so, to what do you credit it? If not, how hard do you have to work to maintain it? And what made you decide to do so? (Aside from the obvious factor of it generally being more pleasant.)

    Asking for a friend….

  14. I’m enjoying the fall change of the leaves, and the crisp air (temperatures finally dropping below 15°C), which finally lets me get out and enjoy the season — hiking, neglected yard work, doing errands on foot rather than by car. (August’s heat and humidity kept me largely indoors.)

    But I also just sold a story to Darrell Schweitzer, who rocks (and rocked) my world. Perhaps ironically, it’s in a Lovecraft-themed anthology.

  15. Diggin’ the b&w photo!

    Last week I did something I’ve wanted to do for years and visited the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. It was amazing – a total color, design, stitching bomb. I’m so glad I went, and highly recommend it to anyone who loves art, and fabric art in particular. Some of the quilts are just *nuts* good. https://www.paducah.travel/quilting/national-quilt-museum/

  16. Spent a great amount of QT with my young son — D&D at our FLGS, board games at home (we learned Kemet, which is excellent, and cracked ourselves up with various variations of Fluxx), watching a film, watching his soccer game (rrhersh, we cannot hurl abuse at our refs either!). I always appreciate the time I spend with him — plus it inspires me to work to ensure the dumpsterfires are put out, or at least dampened down, by the time he is grown. One more thing to appreciate — our annual Balloon Fiesta launched this weekend; it is always wonderful to see scores of hot air balloons floating through the sky every morning.

    And the wonderful photo gracing the top of this Whatever entry has started the week on a high note.

  17. Appreciating the fun and antics in Hank Green’s new book, a very different ‘first contact’ novel, (which BTW our esteemed host blurbed).

  18. Had a Silent Sunday with just my dog and a stack of good books – no internet, no news, no TV, no phone. I am focusing on tactile creativity since my brain can’t focus on writing at the moment, so I’m finishing some very colorful charity quilts today, then will dress my big floor loom for a set of towels.

  19. Last week I met an acquaintance for what ended up being a 2-hour lunch as we got to know each other better. It looks like it could be the beginning of a friendship. And tonight a cousin is in from out of state and it’s time for more catching up over good food. And, always, I am grateful for my cats, who don’t know or care about the world outside their domain.

  20. Because my dog is ‘highly reactive’ to other dogs, I have to get up at 5.30 a.m. and walk him across some abandoned fields and woodland where there are very few other dogs (at that time of day). And because its dark, I wear a headlamp. Which attracts insects. Which attract bats. So today I was walking through the trees as dawn was breaking, with a bat whirling round and about my head. My very own bat-halo! For a minute or so, it felt like magic had slipped into the world …

  21. I got to hang out with Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch at Continuum2018. The panel “Alcohol in Science Fiction and Fantasy” was held in the bar, which was both apropos and fun. It was a pretty small con, so it was easy to just chat about the topic of the panel. (Ha! “Panel” was often just one person, so it was more like conversation.)

  22. I had several things to appreciate last week. The bird show in my front yard after I fill the feeders; the after-work get-together with my adorable millenial friend on Friday; the dance show I went to with DH on Saturday; the dance lesson I had on Sunday; and the dinner with friends Sunday night, just for starters. Also there was a fabulous Maxfield Parrish sunset last night, of the type that I didn’t believe existed in reality until I moved to California.

  23. This weekend I went to a fiber arts festival and appreciated all the beautiful hand-dyed fibers and yarns.

  24. I got to appreciate an old friend I was in a band with back in the late 90s/early 00s. Her band had a gig but their bass player was out of town. She asked me to sit in and we had a great time playing her songs from back in the day. We threw in “For What It’s Worth” at the end because we felt like it was a good time for a great protest song. We played in Davis, CA where our band was originally based (and where my wife and I lived for ten years) so we got to see a bunch of old friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

  25. October is one of those months when everything is changing all the time. That’s been a real challenge for me in the past as it usually predicates my slide into severe brain dysfunction, but this year I’m actually riding the wave. Feels like surfing.

    The indoor plants that were summer vacationing came back in over the weekend. The colors are spectacular this year. Last night we had an amazing night sky, and it was still warm enough to stand out on the upstairs porch in jammies and watch the luminous cloud veils play hide-and seek with the constellations.

    Thank you for starting this thread, John. Reading all of the simple pleasures people are enjoying is like the starlight. I never actually saw stars twinkle until I moved to the desert. Now I can’t get enough of it.

  26. How much better my wife is to me than I probably deserve. Likewise, my grandparents.

    A year of SWMBO having beaten back cancer.

    How fortunate I am to have a job that’s relatively relaxed and free of dumb BS.

  27. This weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada, so last night my girlfriend and I hosted a dinner with a colleague who has become one of my best friends, his wife, a former student of mine from the States, and two of my current grad students from out of province who were not getting home for the holiday. We did the full spread: a huge turkey, stuffing, turnip, mashed potatoes, peas and corn, and bacon-maple brussels sprouts. And pumpkin pie for dessert. And I was thankful for my amazing job, beautiful girlfriend, the awesome people I work with, to say nothing of the fact that, living in Newfoundland as I do, I have not only a border but an actual ocean between me and your current dumpster fire of a nation.

  28. Last week we visited the Elder Daughter, who is working on her PhD (mom brag) at a state university, and got to appreciate how happy she is and what a beautiful place she’s living in.

  29. I went up to NYC to see Bill Irwin’s “On Beckett” at the Irish Rep Theater. Now, to be sure, Beckett’s words are in general a long convoluted reflection on the dumpster fire that is life, but they really do hit me. Especially when presented by a clown. And especially especially when presented by one as talented as Bill Irwin. A little literary analysis, a little performance, a little bit of clowning. Plus the theater is in Chelsea so I got to see lots of superheroes and anime characters walking around the streets on the way there, because Comic Con.

  30. Have gotten to spend good quality time with my grandson. I’m going to an EDM (electronic dance music show) with my daughter this week. And I’ve started planning the Christmas festivities which I love doing.

  31. I spent the day in the woods on Saturday doing volunteer trail work, then went back Sunday to ride my bike, and crashed! I’m a self-immolating dumpster.

  32. Sunday I went with new friends from a knitting group that meets in our public library, “Sticks in the Stacks,” to a fiber festival Dixon, CA. We bought too much yarn, learned about sheep-sheering and border collie-mediated sheep herding from experts who love their work, and we just had a lovely time together.

  33. I have appreciated the fact that my medication is making me feel like I am finally a functioning human being.

  34. Lots of positive this weekend.

    My wife went to visit our oldest who’s in his first year of college and he’s doing great!

    Friday . . . took my other kids, who were out of school for the day, to a board game designers meetup where we played prototype games and gave feedback. That was a blast!

    Saturday, played in a charity poker tournament benefiting Meals on Wheels and made it to the final table!

    Sunday, played a brand new board game (Endeavor: Age of Sail) that we’d backed on Kickstarter several months ago. It arrived Saturday afternoon and we cracked it open Sunday. Loved it!

  35. Yesterday was World Communion Sunday at our church, and as the service’s designated liturgist I took turns reading the scripture in English with others in our congregation who speak other languages (Korean, Spanish, French, Swedish and Latvian at my service alone) and I appreciated the unity of our little congregation that came out of such diversity.

  36. At least once a week I take a minute to appreciate the person who figured out that if you can’t give your cat pills (and it’s not so much that I can’t give her pills: she just refuses delivery), you might be able to put medication in a gel that can be applied to the inside of the cat’s ear. Thanks to that person my cat is surviving thyroid disease, and is thus able to fulfill her essential role as the one being in the household who is blissfully unaware of what’s going on.

  37. My aging cat loves the new food I gave him when we ran out of prescription food. AND when I could get the prescription food, he liked it more than ever!
    He still sniffs it warily… but he eats. And purrs and cuddles.
    It’s the small things.

  38. Something old: got to get right up close to some of Harvard’s oldest and most precious artifacts (e.g. hand sketch of the seal from 1643, holding my phone 2″ from the unprotected page). They come out only when a new President is inaugurated.

    Something new: we welcomed my brother’s and his wife’s first child (an ocean away).

  39. Although the weather in Southern California is generally superior to other places to the point where it just disappears to one’s perceptions, this last week has been absolutely, noticeably magnificent. Low to mid 70s temps, low humidity, clear, flawless blue skies. A mild breeze. Clear air gently wafting in off the ocean. When you open the windows and breathe in, it kind of *infuses* you, if you know what I mean. It’s been a full week of “glad to be alive” weather. In spite of dumpster fires.

  40. I appreciated a good friendship and a trip on a gorgeous October day to the farm where we pick up our CSA shares. I was also excited to make a couple of small but significant breakthroughs in the fiction I’m writing. The past couple of weeks have been rough for trying to get and stay in the creative place, so I was thankful to have a couple of days of good new ideas that made me feel I’m doing it right. And I learned that an in-law is running for office in his county–his first time as a candidate. He’s an energetic, positive guy but not young, so I was heartened that he was willing and able to put himself out there to try to make things better.

  41. This weekend I laughed SO hard with a friend I’ve known from childhood. The laughing was beyond beyond. I appreciate that my friend gets how hilarious I am because not many get that about me. And vice versa, of course.

  42. My aunt and uncle came over for dinner on Saturday and although we are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, we all colluded to avoid politics and had a really lovely visit. Plus, we decided to move inside from the patio literally 2 minutes before the rain that no one had noticed coming came crashing down. So I am grateful for good nature and good timing!

  43. My cats. All the monarch butterflies flying around my yard after 12 years with very few. Began a good book last night.

  44. Have you ever just sat down and really listened to a song? Since it’s been pouring here for four days, I did that with The Beatles’ “Rain” yesterday. Let’s just say that Paul McCartney knows his way around a bass guitar. Glorious.

  45. I volunteer for our local firehouse as an EMT, and our community had its annual street fair yesterday. I loved being in the ambulance and answering kids’ questions about it and the work and general health stuff. And also seeing the tiny kids who wouldn’t visit the ambulance without their parents. And generally encouraging kids to see the ambulance not as a scary thing but as a thing that helps sick and/or injured people. I hope at least a couple of them someday decide to join us.

  46. We visited the Computer History Museum with family on relatively short notice and had a wonderful time. Then we went to my parents for our weekly lunch-and-games visit, which reminded me again about how awesome it is that my son has now seen his grandparents more in a few months than I did mine in my entire life.

  47. A lot of small stuff in the appreciation column for the past week, from great sunrise on the way to work to the kids (all teenagers) being super nice at a family reunion* entirely with uncles and aunts from the generation of their grandparents (so a room full of ppl between 75 to 85 mostly), to the quick message from a friend who had noticed my car had not gone to work one day… to finally figuring out for whom to vote next Sunday.

    But to be honest… what I appreciate or anticipate most right now is a trip to Rome in the upcoming few days. Even if the weather will not be great, even if I had to make cruel choices in what I will visit in too short a stay – that only means I will have to come back again :-)

    * They are always super nice, if a bit inattentive (not the words I look for but google translate is of no help), and I should make sure to tell them more often how I appreciate it.

  48. The local Guides Night Hike with my eldest daughter was a cool way to spend a Saturday evening.

    The new, female Dr Who seems pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to more Dr Who I can actually enjoy.

  49. Most of the “Renaissance” festivals I’ve been to have been more like “Medieval” festivals. I wonder what makes a “renaissance” festival?

  50. Driving home with the kids yesterday into a simply beautiful sunset. Made the last hour of the trip great!

  51. Really appreciating that my efforts to hit a bipolar depressive episode worked out, and also whacked my anxiety on my head, so for the first time in awhile, I actually just felt calm today. That was so blissful.

  52. Had a great time visiting with my in-law family this past weekend. We usually only see them every three months or so, so it was good to get together with them. And because we have radically different views on politics we never talk about them, so it was just a time to enjoy each other’s company.

  53. Spent time at the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Powwow, watching the dancers in their fabulous regalia, came home, checked the news, and finished a bottle of tequila (wasn’t enough, but it took the edge off some).

  54. This morning I spent about ten minutes lying on the ground next to my dog. He reacted happily to my presence and lay on his back asking for a belly rub, which was provided. It was relaxing. The existence of dogs is a gift. I appreciate them.

    Also acrobats are always absurdly impressive. The combination of strength, courage, agility and co-ordination. Its freakishly impressive.

  55. This weekend I was grateful for my girlfriends. I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, but when we do get to see each other it’s as if no time has passed. We laugh and hug and support each other. I used to be one of those women who didn’t like other women. But now I have a large group of them that I love dearly. I’m also grateful for my husband who is always willing to take on both kids so that I can go out and see my girlfriends as often as possible.

  56. Today I’ve been in my new apartment for two months; after a night of no sleep caring for a sick spouse, it’s a good place to sit with a mug of tea and watch the rain move through the trees.

    Also good: being able to go to the walk-in clinic and be seen quickly, even if the diagnosis was “Sorry, it’s viral: fluids and rest, call if the fever climbs or his chest starts to hurt”.

  57. I adopted a sweet standard poodle puppy that was bounced for minor medical reasons from Guide Dog school. He’s a lot of energy and so damn soft.

  58. The kitty that my daughter and I rescued last year is finally getting comfortable and confident enough to sit with me and snuggle while I pet him. This has been a huge reason for gratitude for the past few weeks.

  59. I was in Chicago last week for business, and had time to walk over to Buckingham Fountain (which was full of rainbows), then down Lakeshore looking at the lake (which was a lovely blue), and meandered my way back to my hotel through the cool little pocket gardens that are scattered around between Lakeshore and Michigan (at least that ones that weren’t blocked off for the race). I finished the day by having dinner with old friends and meeting new ones.

    And then I got to come home to my dog, my cats, and my husband. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    And thanks for the prompt to reflect on that.

  60. I got to hear Maria Muldaur live in concert and get autographs. One of the items I got autographed was a cd of The Even Dozen Jug Band. One of my guitar teachers, a guy named Pete, was also in that band. He passed on a few years back. I got to ask her if she remembered Pete. She did. So amazing, and still has a powerful and wonderful voice.

  61. I am grateful for having had an unexpected day at my pottery wheel on Friday, which as always was a meditative experience, and very restorative of my emotional equilibrium. I am likewise grateful that I finally managed to throw a double-walled vessel, a challenge that has eluded me for a while.

    I am grateful that I live relatively near to a superb repertory theatre, and that I earn enough money that I can afford to attend the plays there. I am intensely grateful for the powerful and thought-provoking production of Our Country’s Good that I saw on Saturday.

    I am grateful for some other stuff that I don’t want to describe in a public place, as it involves a family member who deserves privacy. Suffice it to say that I am deeply grateful for that person’s willingness to pick themselves up and keep on going after an event of unimaginable horror.

    I’m also grateful to have a place on the interwebs where I can stop by to find thinky thoughts, humorous essays, and intelligent comments. And cat photos – always grateful for those.

  62. Something I do on a daily basis, but this time with more oomph. I was appreciating my wife. We went to Mendocino to celebrate her birthday. It is an artsy community on the coast of central California. The weather was great and we had a wonderful time. Most of all, she had a chance to relax and be pampered.

  63. On Friday I saw for the first time in my life a beautiful, full grown black bear in the woods. My son and I had just started out for a short hike on a popular trail in the Sandia Mountains. We heard a rustle in the brush, turned to look, and there was the bear, about 50 ft away, just looking at us. It was almost magical. I would love to have taken a selfie but was way too busy slowly backing away down the trail! We decided that was a good day to try a different trail while marveling at what we had seen.

  64. Dear John,

    David and I have been. like, jammin’ on the novel the past week. So much progress!

    And tonight I had a hot date.

    So, plenty to feel appreciative of.

    pax / Ctein

  65. After some reflexion because at its root it comes from a very dark place, I would like to mention the nobel prizes. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad are living testimony that whatever horror humanity can inflict, courage an kindness will endure. Those 2 truly are true rays of hope by their selfless actions.

  66. In the midst of watching The Worst Doctor ever (6th) and The Worst Companion Ever (Peri), we came to ‘The Two Doctors’, with wonderful appearances of Jamie and the second Doctor, and one of the best guest characters ever, Shockeye of the Quancing Grig. This was truly a mood lifter!

  67. We took some friends and their grandchildren to the Ohio renfest. Hard to be terribly depressed about anything with a 3 and 5 year old oohing and aahing about all the people in their “funny clothes”.

    We went on the “fantasy theme” weekend.

  68. Vacation in Kauai, Hawaii; swimming in the ocean, eating delicious food, viewing amazing sunsets, and simply being with my wonderful husband. No work, no stress, greatly appreciated.

  69. @mrtoads

    It’s a good time to get out and admire the big spiderwebs as the females try to pack on those last few pounds that might make the difference between lots of big, healthy kids and fewer, less successful ones.

    Your spiders are packing on pounds? That’s… terrifying

  70. Two bicycle rides – a Saturday group ride on the first true nippy morning of fall, with the visual feast that is New England farmland in the autumn; a Sunday solo ride taking in much of the same route. Mostly, a Monday hike with the boy (recently graduated from college). Up a 4000’er (Mount Hale) in the mist – no views, but no people. Just the two of us having easy conversation, stopping every now and then to catch our breath and admire the burst of maple-red and silver birch-yellow against the gray.

  71. I appreciate the builders and sailors of the Draken Harald Hårfagre, a viking ship, which was amazing to see in person.

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