Winter Solstice, Modern Yule, and Good Ol' Saint Nick
Everyone has their own winter rituals. Either you make them or you follow what has come before, or you choose to ignore them all together, we're all acutely aware that it's something that a lot of us do every year. Figuratively, symbolically, or astrologically, everything in the human condition is a cycle of some sort, like a series of a million different Venn diagrams creating infinite combinations of various overlapping factors, perpetually in motion like celestial gears; these cycles dictate a number of things related to our lives. Or, the cycles at least preside an influence over our perceptions, emotions, and actions during certain times of the year, or periods in our lives over the course of several years.
Today we simply use dates to covey that information, but the vestiges of our ancestors' attempts to delineate time in relation to the sky (or celestial overlay) for personal, cultural, and societal events are still with us. Whether or not you believe there is some sort of ancient purity to the older traditions or whether current traditions have been tarnished by commercialism and capitalism... that isn't really relevant for the point that I'm trying to make. Arguably, the fact that commerce and capitalism—as extensions and systems of civilization—follow the ebb and flow of celestial patterns is probably more telling than most would agree to admit.
I find the annual cycles are pretty benign—until the end of a larger cycle slaps me in the face.
From what I understand, it was Rudolf Steinerwho popularized the idea of cycles of seven years as delineations for major life events. Seven year cycles have definitely been true for me over the past 21-28 years. Major life events don't always fall exactly every seven years apart, but generally every seven years or so there is a definite paradigm shift for me. This time around, I'm rediscovering some of the things I used to like about myself, but either buried or forgot about. That isn't to say that it's entirely a peaceful growth.
Today was the first time since quitting my job that I feel like “ah shit, I fucked up.” I wasn't expecting to feel that way. But those feelings are part of the greater cycle, I need a little bit of that foreboding fire because I've been numb for so long just going through the motions. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I confirm to myself that I couldn't have stayed at my job... And my wife agrees. A wave of anxiety washes over me just thinking about the place. I'm reluctant to use the term “mental health” because I don't care for how I see that term being defined by the people who commonly use it. “Emotional health” might be a more adequate term, but even then I wouldn't really classify my disposition or attitude on life with a label like that. Realistically, it has just been really gloomy outside this week, and that has been negatively affecting my attitude. Vegas is so sunny most of the time, when there is cloud cover I retreat into my cancerian shell. I often joke with my wife that I wouldn't be able to live in the pacific northwest.
With some of this new-found free time that I have, I wanted to work on building an online storefront, and I was going to use my own personal comic collection to do that. Actually go through the process of setting up a functional online store... I might still complete that project just to prove to myself that I can do it (Square has already sent me a debit card and they are eagerly awaiting me to publish my inventory). But my engagement with that project is weighted by the fact that I only have approximately $5,000 worth of single issues and trades that I could sell as inventory.
Certainly more than if I were to take my collection to a shop and try to dump it for some cash... There I'd only make maybe $500 bucks—provided the shop owner thought they could at least break even on the purchase in a month or two. The real problem with a comic store/shop is not acquiring inventory, it's moving it. I don't really have any super rare books in my collection, even though I have books that mean something to me (e.g. pictured above, X-Men Vol. 1 (1990), Issue #1 signed by Jim Lee. When I initially thought of the idea, I didn't stop to inventory everything or think about how much I could realistically could get out of my collection if I were to sell it issue by issue. Five thousand is assuming that I could sell every single book, and I know that I wouldn't. If anything it would be a good functional portfolio piece for getting a web development job, but there are other code projects I'd like to work on that won't take up that time.
Earlier in the year I set the goal for myself to finish my Tarot application and write its companion book. That's a project with far more income and growth potential than selling my comic collection and trying to parlay it into a full mercantile. I'll have more about the Tarot application in the near future.
It's probably been at least 4 or 5 year since my father-in-law has made his world famous eggnog. It only takes one glass. But it's absolutely worth it ever year. But because he hasn't done it in quite a few years past, this year was kind of special. It was nice that some new people got a chance to try it as well.
My wife has never liked it 🤣... I can remember trying to get the recipe from my father-in-law, and him refusing to give it to me. So I asked him again.
“This is Thelonious Monk's recipe, right?”
*chuckles* “Charles Minugs, actually, a bass player.”
So now that I look it up online, and see Mingus' actual recipe, I have a vague memory of him telling me. Obviously though, I was too fucked up to remember it. In the spirit of those evenings as well as an honest effort to preserve the recipe so that it doesn't die in the ether, here it is, Charles Mingus' Eggnog:
* Separate one egg for one person. Each person gets an egg.
* Two sugars for each egg, each person.
* One shot of rum, one shot of brandy per person.
* Put all the yolks into one big pan, with some milk.
* That’s where the 151 proof rum goes. Put it in gradually or it’ll burn the eggs,
* OK. The whites are separate and the cream is separate.
* In another pot– depending on how many people– put in one shot of each, rum and brandy. (This is after you whip your whites and your cream.)
* Pour it over the top of the milk and yolks.
* One teaspoon of sugar. Brandy and rum.
* Actually you mix it all together.
* Yes, a lot of nutmeg. Fresh nutmeg. And stir it up.
* You don’t need ice cream unless you’ve got people coming and you need to keep it cold. Vanilla ice cream. You can use eggnog. I use vanilla ice cream.
* Right, taste for flavor. Bourbon? I use Jamaica Rum in there. Jamaican Rums. Or I’ll put rye in it. Scotch. It depends.
See, it depends on how drunk I get while I’m tasting it.
I definitely want to to try to make my own variation of it in the near future, maybe next year? I think I'll probably do some substitutions though... The beauty is the fact that he says it all depends on how drunk he's getting while tasting it. So it could be a concoction of a bunch of different alcohols, and I think that was also part of the idea of the recipe, it's never quite the same each time because you're tasting it as you go, so you're getting drunk while making it.
In any case I'm extremely lucky and grateful for the opportunity in this life to have a good family. That isn't something that is guaranteed. And while some of us make our families, there is always an inherent default to the people who are always around you by virtue of blood or circumstance. When it works, it's a beautiful symbiosis. When it doesn't, it can be quite unpleasant.