And a week went by. I am not sure how it happened, but it did. This week will be better.
It was not that last week was a bad week necessarily. Last Sunday, I had contemplated writing a post about how this is my favourite time of year. The overflow parking lot for a local hotel faces the train tracks. The space between the parking lot and the rail fence is filled with blackberry bushes. I discovered that blackberries growing on bushes in soil that is covered with dead pine needles tend to have a piney flavor. Very complex, very sweet, but not my favourite. We found another bush, just a few yards away with intense tart berries. I have no idea to what soil characteristic I owe the delight of eating those berries. A couple gallons of berries, a dozen jars of jam, and two arms full of thorns and splinters I am still picking out a week later, and one interesting (and fortunately short lived) rash later, I am finally, temporarily, sated on blackberries. We will probably go back next month.
We are finally going to be home for the holidays. It has been three years since I have actually managed to be with friends and family during the holidays that matter. This year, tickets are bought, jars of jam have been made, presents are still being purchased, Epsilon is primed, things are looking good.
I think I have been invited for an interview for a job I applied for. After some confusion about whether or not I was still eligible for the post given travel schedules, and other aggravating factors, it turns out that, no, I just need to wait for the secretaries to officially give me dates and times for the interview. It is at moments like these that I long for the stronger religious protections of the US, where an employer would have to think twice before saying that I am ineligible for a position because I am traveling for religious holidays. The US does not guarantee protection, but the law provides enough support for minority religions that the school would think twice. It was not a problem in my case, everything has worked out as well as can be expected. I am not complaining. But this brings to mind a conversation I had with a playground acquaintance a few years ago who grew up near His Town. My partner had just accepted his current job, and I stood in the playground with our acquaintance discussing the move. I expressed my disquiet regarding moving to a country without an equivalent of a first amendment. He claimed that the government in this country was reasonable, and that law abiding citizens would not have anything to fear. So many historical counter-examples sprang to mind, along with aphorisms about benevolent dictatorships. I decided to be polite, and not being able to come up with a concrete, real, "this effects normal every-day people today" example, I held my tongue. I wonder if I have just found my counter-example.