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Iíve decided to make lemons into lemonade: rather than just get by on a weekend on my own, I need to find a way to, well, enjoy Geoffreyís absence. Which I shall start by returning to one of my old rituals: treating myself after a long, hard week at work to a nice Friday night dinner out, with reading material from the library. And I shall continue this festival tomorrow night by making a pasta dinner that he doesnít like. And there will be lots of chick flick TV and knitting amid the chores and other necessities of the weekend.
I decided to go for a non-traditional celebration of Imbolc on this beautiful, sunny mid-winter day since Iím balancing several different things this weekend, but there was cooking, reflecting on my goals, a good deal of cleaning, and my own personal way to meditate, knitting. I had a hard time remembering it was a holiday, rather than just a day to myself. I dreamt about the Shingle Style house again, probably because it has been under discussion so much this last past week, so I donít know if that is significant, not like dreaming about it on New Yearís Eve.
Another sunny day that almost makes you forget it is winter, I wanted to be out driving much more than we did, but not just aimless driving, being out with a purpose. It was a day that hinted at spring, although the real winter has yet to hit us this year. On a day like this, I donít feel nearly so depressed about everything Ė it is amazing what a little sunshine and blue sky can do for your mood. One thing has changed Ė himself stated heís also tired of the limbo. That probably helped my outlook more than the sunshine.
This would be Grandpaís Bís birthday. I always remember his birthday, and Raeís even as I struggle to remember other family birthdays. I drifted off a lot today, still contemplating things from Imbolc, trying to make sense of it all, find a path forward (find new job, find house, figure out financing) when what I really want to do is just ignore the world for about a month and sleep, bake, knit and read. With Geoffrey. We really do need a vacation, a week away from routines and schedules, time to just relax. Especially after being sick for a week.
The shingle style house that I dreamed about on New Yearís Eve is in contract. So now that weíve finally arrived at agreement on needing to move forward, we not only find that despite the recent lowering of interest rates, financing options are extremely limited, but that there is no longer any suitable inventory that interests us that is in our stated price range. Ah, the universe is cruel indeed. Perhaps we will now focus on Geoffreyís house in order to get it to sell. Two work weekends would make a huge difference, Iím sure Ė even if he is not.
Is my inner critic on overdrive? I canít tell right now. I donít believe Iím being so hard on myself, although Iím trying to work constructively through that which is destroying the peace in my life. Some of my ďspareĒ time is occupied by that task, which is not motivated by pleasure, but the need to create my life in peace. As for three activities to do this weekend just because theyíre fun, thatís easy: knitting, reading and baking top the list, and I really donít have to worry about my motivation being an obligation or becoming a better person.
So many thoughts, but all the good ones are gone. Iím being pulled in multiple directions by the resolution to get a new job. The process really is a full time job in and of itself. Unfortunately, having had a successful phone interview for one position, with an in-person interview scheduled for next week, Iím now pretty sure I donít want this job at all. Others jobs interest me more, without the very definite drawbacks of this one. As much as I want to bring one of the searches to and end, there is no point in pursuing this job.
A quote from Rod Steiger: ďSuccess means controlling your own time. If you gain control over 60% of the time in your life, you are really successful." Does that 60% include sleeping? Sleep is 33%, a constant that I donít view that as under my control. The numbers speak for themselves: currently, work and the unusable commute alone constitute nearly 30% of my time. For my last job in the city, however, work and the unusable commute was only 22% of my time. And when I worked from home 2 days a week, it was only 17%. Food for thought.
I seem to have given up on getting out of bed early on Saturdays to go to the pool. Another lost discipline. I really do crave the time in the morning to wake up slowly and not early, not to an alarm of any kind. This is probably the most significant indicator of my real state of mind, that after four decades, Iíve stopped adhering to any form of discipline on Saturday mornings. Even in college, I was out of bed early on Saturdays Ė late mornings were reserved for Sundays. But now I need both days to recharge and restore.
The sun played a game of hide and seek early in the day, tempting us to go out and look at houses. The north shore was definitely cloudier, some of the neighborhoods we drove through typified winter gloom. As we drove home, sorely unsatisfied by what we had seen, Geoffrey got a hankering for ice cream, so as the afternoon settled into cold, grey bluster, we stopped at Carvel, pretending it was a hot summer day. Yet sitting in a cold house, eating colder ice cream, it seemed we were frozen, waiting for the sun to shine on our househunt.
Iím astonished when I see her post dealing with the uncertainty of the infertility process. Having read her recent entries, I had wondered if she would be swept into the mainstream current, where so many women seem to be balanced on the knife edge of obsession with the process, the uncertainty, the interminable waiting that is punctuated by having to go to the doctorís office for test after procedure after follow-up. Although I am not pregnant, donít have any plans in that direction, I earnestly hope I never become her ďMary PerfectĒ although I donít know how to prevent it.
I watched the snow fall through the window, beautiful, big flakes. I tried not to count the minutes of the commute, although it would have been easier to count the hours. It was not a particularly strong snowfall, nor unexpected, so I cannot understand why it caused the chaos that it did. I was saved by the podcasts which provided something of interest to listen to as traffic inched along and allowing me to posit the argument with myself that it wasnít a complete waste of time going nowhere while listening to the same news stories loop on the radio.
I pay attention today to the facts and realities of the commute today in anticipation of a possible (probable?) return to a daily rail journey. The ride in and out of the city today doesnít seem as long as I know it is. Is it because Iím listening to the iPod and knitting, so Iím distracted? Because it is a welcome change from my daily routine? Or, as I rather glumly suspect, because it wasnít a full working day, I only came in at noon. The thing is, I donít remember it seeming so long, except when I was sick.
Snapdragons. Stargazer lilies. Larkspur. Stock. Roses, oh, the roses. Yes, everyone was staring, immediately and all day, even some of the men. The extravagance of the gesture, even on this holiday, is somewhat overwhelming, thereís no doubt of the intention. But from the first, he has done well with flowers, sometimes surprising me for no reason whatsoever with a colorful bunch. I want this warm, massive display, to last and last. I know it wonít be the last, but right now, these have extra meaning and help anchor me as I ride the tide toward the future we both want.
I spent the day looking forward to the Stitch and Bitch session. Iím beginning to get to know some of the women there, it is by and large an established community already but they seem open to newcomers. It is about the only way Iíve figured out to meet anyone new on the Island in the last five years, and if we do move to the area it would be good to have some local connections of any kind. And after a good evening out, I came back home to discover Geoffrey is still here, with meatloaf and mashed potatoes!
A dayís vacation Ė a trip to the North Fork, with high tea in Greenport. It is great, but like so many things, one is too many, and a million not enough. Driving past some of the Victorian homes, it sets off dreams of running a B&B, or at least a small bakery-cafť type place. I tell myself that it would be a lot of hard work, constant work, no time off, but I donít think Iím actually listening, as I search the listings of B&Bs for sale and research the Shady Lady.
Walking through the toy store yesterday got me thinking about my childhood toys. I still have my Pooh Bear, and I had a few other stuffed animals, mostly rounding out characters from The 100 Acre Wood. A doll of my choosing each year, a never-ending supply of crayons, paper and eventually artistsí pencils and paints. Not a lot of plastic toys that I remember beyond an Easy Bake Oven and a few plastic toy horses with no moving parts. The embroidery basket! I had a few board games, but rarely anyone to play with me. And books, lots of books.
Monday mornings at the office are my quietest time of the week Ė thereís no change control or other meetings scheduled, and everyone else is stunned that it is Monday again, so Iím almost always left alone. Yet I find them the most difficult morning of the week in terms of getting up and out of bed. Yes, research indicates Mondays and heart attacks go hand in hand, the stress of the coming week, and all of that. Have we become a nation of people as desperately unhappy in their jobs as I am? Am I the norm in this regard?
This past week Iíve fallen off the bandwagon, all discipline pretty much forgotten Ė for work, home, staying on program. Iím struggling through everything and I know I need to make changes in order to recover but Iím not entirely sure how to go about them, in what order. I need to stop working and start planning the recovery. And one of the best ways I know to do that is to sort, to clean: it brings a different focus to my mind, strips away the distractions. It is one way guaranteed to bring me into a zen state of mind.
Full moon. Eclipse. Blood red moon. Knitting patterns. Yeah, I know, most people wonít get the connection, but for me it is all tied together in the list of exciting things that happen today. I accept that I donít have so much time to knit anymore, but I am trying to figure out how to work with this funky schedule and having time in the morning: sewing up sweater seams now that all pieces are knitted, running the dishwasher and roomba, cooking. Reading is too dangerous, I wonít realize the passing time and Iím NOT going to set an alarm!
Some days, I struggle through work and when I arrive home, I am a little re-energized, as though Iíd had coffee, a small nap, or a fresh pair of batteries. Other days, I donít think I struggle any harder, but by the time I arrive home, Iím worn completely through and can barely eat dinner. Is this the result of depression? Today was one of the worn out days, I was pretty useless in the evening and went to bed and slept for nearly ten hours. I am assuming this will change when I get a new job. If not...
Driving in to work on treacherous roads that had not been plowed in the direction of heaviest traffic for the morning rush, I was able to really look at the snow dipped landscape for a few minutes as we came to yet another inexplicable halt. The accumulation was enough to articulate the pine branches without weighing them down, so you could see the true form of the tree. It was a very quiet landscape that begged for contemplation and meditation but the world around me would allow neither at that time.
Stash inspiration. I know generally what is in my stash, but the specifics sometimes elude me when Iím seeking inspiration. Yes, the yarn is accessible, it is tidy and protected, but it is a little difficult to draw inspiration from it, hidden behind plastic walls that arenít quite clear. The color and textures are masked by the opaque protection. There is no light in the closet and the stick-on lights Iíve put up are nearly useless. I dream of having a wide closet with folding doors and a well-lit interior, with open shelving, allowing the yarn to be on display.
A day with nothing to do, nowhere to go, no open houses, no specific errands, a day to just sit. How odd. So we putter Ė him on the computer, me at knitting or reading in between laundry and such. I got three projects off the needles this weekend, all washed and blocked this weekend, but the damn Juno project will take days to dry. What if after all this work it doesnít fit? Finishing this stuff feels so good, perhaps Iíll wait to start the next new thing and try to get a few other malingering works in progress done.
Iím falling behind again. In so many ways, its not just the writing, itís the weight management and exercise, all manners of discipline that seems to be escaping me. I realize it has been years Ė quite literally Ė since I had a weekís vacation. Summer 2004 I took time off for my parentís visit, but it wasnít a whole week. In 2004 I spent a week working and attending a security conference, not exactly a vacation. A weekís vacation must be back in 2003. Can it really be the last time I took a five consecutive days of vacation was 2003?
The museum dangles its opportunity in front of me, a big, beautiful carrot that I really want. Not just because it represents a way out of the current situation that I find so hateful, so depressing and frustrating, but because it is a museum, and a big one. And it is a return to non-profit, academia, art, all of that that I miss so much. Iíve wondered sometimes recently if I made a mistake in giving up on the graduate degree and that world. But that would mean no G, so my mission is to find a new way forward.
Behinder and behinder I become, Iíve not done anything the last few mornings, as I barely wake before G leaves. But the seasons are changing, it is still light when I leave the office, not sort of light, actually light and thereís that slight warmth in the damp air that says spring is around the corner. The light makes the work day seem shorter, even though it hasnít changed at all, and on days like today when I donít get lunch, when the day is definitely longer. Would returning to 12 hour days with commuting by train really be easier?
Iím sick again. Iím sure it is a sign and result of my overall stress level, needing time off, but not getting it, and being literally afraid to take sick time in the current situation. Iíve resolved that when Ė not if, when Ė I land the new job (whatever it turns out to be) that I will take at least one week off in between jobs, and I wonít be working a security conference, thatís for sure. I want to go to the pool daily, knit, bake, read, play in the city, whatever unstructured fun I can cram into a week.
Geoffrey again refers to the Tavern as the house for us. Maybe it is. We seem unable to truly appreciate any other house since then, although most times it seems improbable that weíll actually get it. Sometimes it seems improbable that weíll ever move, although at dinner tonight, conversation was very much about the future. Perhaps it was the food, atmosphere, whatever, but we were very relaxed. We may have found our local restaurant, somewhere like Trio, which was my home away from home. If we do buy on the north shore, weíll have to find a new local everything.
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