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I spent a lot of time playing with yarn and patterns today, winding very fine silk into a multi-ply ball, matching patterns to yarn amounts, contemplating the possibilities of my stash. I didnít do much actual knitting, but Iíve made plans: a few quick Christmas gifts, a plan for the cashmere bits (as well as ordering some more!). I swatched a lot of alpaca on Thursday night and Iím full of ideas for that yarn as well. It was time well spent, time that I very much enjoyed what I was doing. I want to feel that way at work.
Shopping for a coffeemaker was much harder than I expected. I would have settled for another Santos electric, but the cleanup is more work than Geoffrey wants. And seeing that even not-so-terrific beans make a fine, rich cup of coffee without bitterness in the vacuum pot, Iíve become a convert to the school of Temperature Matters. After finding out about the Technivorm, hand-crafted in Holland, I wasnít likely to be satisfied by another drip coffeemaker, but I did my best to find a lower cost alternative that makes top notch coffee. And it still cost less than my KitchenAid grinder.
Her unexpected yet happy news is infectious. Even though the snow has gone, it suddenly feels like the holidays. Perhaps this is the year that dreams do come true for both of us. She has certainly worked her mojo and gone through her share of struggles to make it work out. Nothing is definite, but any positive news is met with excitement. Right now, it is just good to hear that something is working out for someone, somewhere, somehow. Even better that I know the who involved. Now, if the universe would just push a little something good my way.
Hope is a fragile thing, insubstantial in this world of physical, concrete things, but it has amazing power. The hope engendered out of a possible new job prospect can give me the strength to get through several weeks of whatever madness is brewing at the current job. Having two possible prospects is positively amazing and gives me enough hope that I am able to distance from the current situations. I need that space, otherwise, I care too much, Iím too involved, and get too frustrated. How do I keep that space, without believing that I will soon leave the job?
An unexpected bit of holiday cheer today: a sales clerk behind the counter of the local B&N was actually smiling and softly singing Christmas carols while efficiently ringing up sale after sale for the lunchtime shoppers. I wondered if she was ďtouched,Ē or insanely fond of Christmas, or if this was her first week working the holiday retail season. It just didnít seem possible that a thirtysomething person would be so happy, dare I say delighted. And then I wondered if she was the sane one and we were all Grinches caught up in holiday nightmares of our own creation.
It was not exactly a successful day in the city, although it was cold enough that it felt like the holidays might be approaching, although there was no snow. Dinner after the board meeting definitely felt like the holidays. It was a small group so we were all at one table and it was quite festive indeed, with good food and wine flowing between the conversation. I want more of that, somehow, to have a social life again. Lunch with Helene was informative, but trying to eat and talk in the crowded and noisy Grand Central sitting area is difficult.
When I saw that the two leading contenders were both gone, no longer on the MLS, I was stunned and deep disappointment quickly followed. I am prepared to actually choose a house but he is not. I understand the logic of waiting for Geoffreyís house to sell, but I donít entirely agree with it, not anymore. The pattern we are now in, barely seeing each other Monday to Thursday and then on Sunday, is rapidly wearing on me. At times it feels to me as if there is no faith, no leaps, that everything must be proven in logical succession.
Iíve got the ďIím living in unorganized chaosĒ blues today. It really does bother me to live among piles of stuff and boxes, I need everything to have a home. I try to organize the library shelves to accommodate his boxed CD sets, then realize I canít make enough room for everything. I move on to the kitchen pantry in the basement and realize thereís not enough shelf space, but more shelves will block out the small amount of light that comes from the other side of the basement. I canít make room for it all, not in this house.
So, thereíll be no going to the open house in Stony Brook today, that much is clear. I tell myself that its too big anyway, it doesnít matter. And probably no open houses for a while, from the sound of it. I donít know if he remembers what it is like when you donít have Fridays off. I have two days in which to do everything that must get done. And recover from the week, rejuvenate, maybe have some fun. If Iím really tired or feeling crappy over the weekend, not as much gets done, thatís the way it works.
Helene has her blog where she records every step of the journey to have a baby. It occurs to me that thereís a real possibility that this could turn into a sell Ė buy - move the house blog. Except thatís not what I want. While I am not ranting as much about work (although it continues to be a major source of aggravation), it appears Iím ranting about the house consolidation process instead. Iíd rather rant about knitting and my works in progress. Newsflash: today I finally finished the Elizabethan lace scarf that I started more than a year ago.
Music. It is pretty much missing from my life these days, I realize during the drive home as I listen to a wonderful string of hits from the British bands of my college days. How is it that I hardly ever listen to music anymore? The television is always on at home these days, Iím not sure how that happened, but Iím going to throttle it back. The commute and workday is more problematic. Perhaps I do need to get one of those car adapters for the iPod to listen to the music of my choice, to suit my mood.
Iíve decided to go see the house in Stony Brook this weekend. Perhaps it will be absolutely terrific, perhaps it will be close, but no cigar, or perhaps it will be like so many movies: the only good parts were in the preview. I want to see it. I believe we need to see as many potential houses as possible. Weíve seen so many, and none have really been right. Or more accurately, been right and in our price range. There were a couple of houses we would have bought, if we had had the asking price and annual taxes.
I am awed by some of the knitting blogs. The photos are amazing (how do they get that light?) and these ladies make significant progress on their WIPs, and actually finish. But then again, they donít all have ďday jobsĒ Ė the knitting or the writing is the job. Todayís blogger updates leave me sincerely wishing I could finish something. The jackets are stalled, the midnight heather stole is my @Work project and languishing, and Iím clearly not going to get the bookmarks done for Christmas gifts, never mind the socks Iíd planned to gift. Perhaps inspiration will strike tomorrow night.
I was looking forward to the knitters bash, even though I wasnít sure what to expect. In the end, it didnít match any of my preconceived notions and was neither good nor bad. I was surprised that there was a lot of ďthis could have been mineĒ running through my head, as Iíd considered buying the shop earlier this year. Will I go to another one of these monthly events? Iím not sure Ė it isnít terribly local and I didnít really get a spark of belonging. It would be close if we moved to the north shore neighborhoods under consideration.
I seriously have to question if weíre looking for something that doesnít exist. The house was beautiful, the downstairs set off a serious case of the ďI want itĒ longings, but the layout was a little off, and it is definitely overpriced. I finally asked myself, if I had the asking price in my wallet, would I buy it? No Ė because it would need renovation. Would I buy any of them? The Hamptons Shingle style, Iíd seriously consider that one. But this is not a decision I will make by myself; I need to get himself to see the houses.
Iím feeling very bah Humbug right now, not at all into the holiday swing, and Iíve not done anything other than the shopping. Thereís no tree up, no baking done, no cards are out yet, and Iím really feeling like thereís no point to bother with any of it. I actually resented the two hours spent at the neighborís holiday brunch today, thinking of all the things I could have done with the time. It is supposed to be Geoffrey who doesnít want to bother with the holidays, not me. Thereís even snow on the ground. Whatís wrong with me?
There and back again on the train. There is a quiet peacefulness about commuting on the train, of being able to knit for an hour and a half, or read, or just rest my eyes. And I can actually listen to the music, close my eyes and really enjoy it. Am I prepared for this on a daily basis, though? It isnít all fun and games on the train, when things go awry, it is very messy indeed. But it would mean the occasional dinner with Helene, easier access to city shops, and a few hours a day for myself.
I realized yesterday on the train that I need to get more King Crimson on the iPod. And a bunch of other stuff needs to be added, too. The whole point of the device is to allow me the music I want, where and when I want it. That includes the office - I spend enough time there, a lot of it doing the kind of work I do best when listening to music. I need to spend more time listening to music, it has always been a basic part of what I need to enjoy life, to have fun.
How do I have fun? The Guru says to meditate on this, now and in the coming year. I nearly snort coffee from my nose, it is so relevant. Itís not about what I just like doing, but what puts a smile on my face and gives me happy feet? How do I release myself from my burdens? What is it that gratifies me most deeply, inspires me more, renders pleasure contagious? Iím stunned when I realize I donít have an answer to these questions. Knitting and baking keep me sane, but thereís something more. How I felt playing music.
I wanted to be anywhere but at work today, especially after learning that the company has once again proved its real ďFamily ValuesĒ by firing someone right before the holidays. I need to get out of here, but none of the irons Iíve got in the fire seem to actually be getting hot. This, like the house search, is something that I canít take into my own hands and resolve entirely by my own action, it is a matter of waiting for the right opportunity, using my network.
As we drove around after our solstice celebration dinner at the charming but very slow French restaurant, looking at the Christmas lights on houses in the small villages but avoiding the locally advertised ďLight Show!Ē, it started to snow Ė small, delicate flakes, the kind that donít accumulate, but typify picaresque winter. It is the kind of snow that lends an immediate holiday feel to the air, even if the holidays are nowhere in sight. Finally decorating the tree was the perfect way to end the evening, since I wonít be staying up all through the shortest night of the year.
I am unexpectedly absolutely devastated by her sad news. It catches me unawares, and as I sit there on the couch I feel the tears start. I quickly retreat to the shower where I am overcome. Why? This has been her quest all along, not mine. Eventually I grasp that I want one of us to be successful in that venture, and although it appeared for a brief time that it might be me, I honestly do believe that the opportunity has passed me by. I still donít really know that I want it for me, but for her, yes.
Baking today brought me a small amount of holiday spirit. No rolled cookies, there is no countertop in my kitchen, quite literally, so I confine myself to quick breads, cakes, muffins, drop cookies, that kind of thing, working with the limitations of my bare bones kitchen. I wonder sometimes what it would be like to work without limits, to create with no constrictions. But then I think of this writing project and how its limits have often sharpened my focus, how it constantly makes me remove the artificial, the excess and superfluous, leaving only the bare essence of my thoughts.
Baking like a loony, Iím enjoying the alchemy of mixing baking powder, eggs and flour, even in my extremely work-unfriendly kitchen, but Iím still not really in the holiday spirit. I donít know why Iím so out of sorts this year, but it appears to be related to my self-imposed exile from the world at large that has been ongoing for months now. Normally, Iím incredibly organized, even down to the baking supplies, but this year it has been absolute chaos. I darenít tell Geoffrey I havenít opened that last dozen eggs I had him run out and get yesterday.
My familyís holiday traditions: Putting the tree up two weeks before Christmas. Lights, Ornaments and Tinsel, in that order. Listening to ďAmerican PieĒ on Christmas Eve. Lasagna, potato-leek soup or smoked fish for Chrismas Eve dinner. Homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast, baked that morning. Emptying the stockings before breakfast, opening wrapped presents after breakfast. An early dinner (2 PM) on all holidays Ė so you can eat leftovers again at 7 PM. Mashed potatoes with that holiday dinner. No television on Christmas until that second dinner of leftovers (perhaps just a product of the time and place of my childhood).
After talking about the ďminimum requirementsĒ vs. ďthe wish listĒ for the house, perhaps I should apply the same sort of reasoning to the job. Minimum: at least as much vacation as current, plus personal days and/or more sick time; at least as much pay; some actual responsibility. Wish list: a senior management position with real responsibility, 4 weeks vacation, 15% raise, working for non-profit, education or some other kind of organization that equally suits my ideals, and yeah, as long as Iím dreaming, either working from home 1-2 days a week, or no more than a 30 minute commute.
No meetings today. Not one. This is highly irregular, thereís always at least one meeting at this place. So with no set schedule, I proceed to drift through the day, doing as little as possible, knowing that on Monday it will be similarly bleak, with little to do and no one around. What is the point of being here, I repeatedly ask myself, and then realize that Iím not just speaking of today, but my whole tenure. What is the point of my being there? Me, specifically. They have not once let me do what I was hired to do.
Driving around Rye at night, I once again feel the pull to this area. Itís on the mainland for one thing, which may be a strange way to look at it but Iíve lived on islands for the last twenty years. The traditional architecture with real attention to detail, the park-like settings, the roads that are anything but straight, it all calls to me. I am acutely aware, however, that had I found a job in the city, the housing prices here are nearly double those of the island, and that a reasonably comfortable home would be beyond our means.
So yes, I watched the historic football game with Geoffrey and watched the Patriots win. Or rather, I sat on the couch next to him, worked on my knitting project and kept an eye on the game. Heís done enough to indulge me, it was only fair to indulge him in this instance. It was a very well-played game, so it wasnít a complete chore Ė with my yarn to play with I was not an unhappy girl, and not quite a football widow this time, but I wonít lose him every Sunday afternoon to football games and his watch shows.
Iím approaching the finish line with the raspberry jacket. Thereís been more than my fair share of frogging on it, which is quite unusual for me, and very difficult with the mohair boucle, but I managed, determined to make it fit correctly, never mind the instructions. Iíve sworn that I will finish it this year, although the blocking may have to wait until New Yearís day. And as soon as Iím done, I will find the time and discipline to finish off the Juno sweater. Because there are projects that have lingered on the needles for a year or more.
ďTo experience Beauty every day,Ē thatís what the unwitting guest said on the radio. That needs to be my goal, aim, ambition, aspiration, design, intent, objective, plan, purpose, target, wish, my quest for 2008. And what I write here should not be to bitch and whine about work, the house, or anything else. I have done much better this month, writing daily, and sometimes even writing about Truth, Beauty and the Universe, but next year I want to do better. This space represents my balance, and if equilibrium cannot be found here, I wonít manage it in the real world.
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