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I reviewed the budget today, looking at what might be possible if things should work out for a full time job at Visionary Inc. G and I both agree that if they do offer me a job, I canít really say no, although there are some definite potential downsides, like travel and long hours. Unless they can pay more than previously discussed, the budget wonít stretch to cover the housecleaning service. I was flabbergasted when G expressed disappointment about that, given that he appears not to notice the encroaching debris, or have any inclination to do anything about it himself.
I am seriously re-evaluating my participation in this writing project. Thereís been no word from the site managers about the change in rules that has apparently happened sometime in the last few months which prevents me from entering my February words. Why do I write, and does it matter if theyíre published here? Madeline LíEngle wrote a diary and re-assembled those diaries later in her Crosswicks Journals, but that was not her intention when she wrote. She wrote because she had to write, as a writer must write, part of the daily discipline of keeping the writerís instrument in shape.
So why do I write in this forum, participate in this project? In part, it is because I do write, I have written in some format or another all my life, even if I am not a writer by profession. In addition to my academic writing and intensely personal poetry, I have scribbled my thoughts and questions in journals and diaries most of my life, trying to explore my inner life, not just recording the daily goings on, although it does often degenerate into just that, especially when Iím tired, cranky or otherwise distracted, which my regular readers already recognize.
I started writing here in 2001, after hearing about it from my friend Helene. At that time, I thought it would be a focused forum for my writing and also a way to keep in touch with my rather far-flung tribe in the internet age. The project pre-dates Facebook, LiveJournal and all those social spaces that were designed with the purpose of keeping in touch or blogging ad nauseum about whatever sets you off. The unique format of just one hundred words was fascinating to me. It was a challenge that forced me to focus on the most essential concepts.
I have often struggled with the daily writing, and the requirements to post all the words in a timely manner. Sometimes I have written regularly but missed a day or two, so no batch appears. I have deliberately gone on hiatus from the project at times, although I wrote sporadically even then. And it has not served well as a communication tool, I donít think my tribe actually regularly does read these words, except for Helene. I know that sometimes Iíve been writing for her, trying to bridge the gap when weíve been physically separated or otherwise at a distance.
I have made a concerted effort to keep writing daily, knowing that sometimes it helped keep me from going over the edge. I really have been writing for myself, especially when Iíve ranted about work and whined about life issues. I prefer to write in the early morning, reflecting on the previous day. I generally need to be alone to write these words, not literally alone, but in my own mental space, focused and yet free to drift where my thoughts take me Ė it is my own personal zen meditation. That is why I will try to maintain the project.
Iíve often wondered why I started writing in the first place, particularly since I donít seem to have any great creativity for storytelling. I received a diary with a lock when I was a girl, and filled the pages of several volumes while in school, generally writing in bed late at night. It was part chronology, part confessional, I guess because there wasnít anyone to talk to - telling my thoughts to the diary was the only option I had available, and then it became part of my habit, to stop and think, reason it out, or vent, by writing.
I would have thought I would be done with this particular topic by now, but apparently not. In terms of written creative output, I have written a lot of poetry but not many (if any?) actual stories over the years. No interesting stories occur to me, except when Iím dreaming. There is a story Iíd like to someday tell: great-aunt was a missionary in Egypt during the 1920ís; she subsequently traveled around the world, but never married. I have her journals. Iíd like to think thereís an interesting story or biography there, if I had the time to write it.
So what do I get out of writing? These days, it is not about creative expression; I canít tell you the last time I wrote any poetry. It is a place for me to clear my head, to stop and think about what is going on of any true significance or meaning. It is my own personal therapy session, where I can vent or work on an issue, try to understand what is going on, the whys and wherefores of a situation or my reaction. I often write more than 100 words, then edit it down to the core essentials.
Somehow, in the midst of all this uncertainty, there are moments of hope, when the human spirit shows just how irrepressible it is. A discussion today with Geoffrey showed he is still positive that somehow the housing situation will work out, that weíll manage something. I want to believe that, I really do, but right now it is hard to see how. Never mind the job situation, it is the properties themselves that is the issue. The only houses weíve seen that we both want are beyond our budget, especially now. And in this economy, that budget must be respected.
I had a non-interview today that was really an interview at the Software Shoppe, they evidently were pleased with my work for them last month. I am perfectly capable of doing the work that was laid out, and there would be some actual security thought process going on, and future projects could get more interesting. I have a hard time getting too excited about this potential opportunity because the drive there would be at least as bad my last driving commute, if not worse, and even as a consultant, theyíd want me onsite. And vacation time is just as minimal.
Iím trying to understand why Iím not ecstatic at this opportunity. The more I roll it around in my head, I think the logistics are what really bother me: I dread the idea of driving rush-hour on the Island again and as an employee, vacation benefits are not great. This exactly matches two of my three problems with the last job on the Island, although they were definitely subordinate to the third problem. If it werenít for the economy, Iím not sure Iíd pursue the job. I didnít want it eighteen months ago at the first round with this company.
It is Friday the thirteenth, for the second time in two months, but so what? I donít remember anything bad happening last month, and I doubt anything bad will happen today. I have never understood all the bad and evil associations with the number 13, just as Iíve never understood the bad associations with Halloween, but to each his own. Next week is the vernal equinox, weíll be balanced between night and day, although with the switch to Daylight Savings time, it seems like the day is longer since it doesnít get dark until well past seven in the evening.
Sometimes, I get on a roll when cleaning the house, slipping into a zen-like state of just being and doing, and it is about getting everything as clean as possible, not about finishing in a certain amount of time. Most of the time, I have a limited amount of cleaning time so I power through, mentally using some variation of the 80/20 rule. I like knowing that things are really, truly clean, however, and seem to have a lower tolerance for clutter and dust bunnies than most people I know. I become unhappy and uncomfortable in dirty or messy surroundings.
It is almost the perfect house. Built almost 100 years ago, it is roomy, without being oversized with too many bedrooms and bathrooms. Set back from the road, it has a huge backyard, nearly an acre of property. The original woodwork and decorative glass remain and are pristine. The kitchen is a little small, with red tile countertop and thereís no porch area for kitties to pretend theyíre creatures in the wild. And if the Gatehouse would just sell, we could easily buy it.
Iíve never been good at handling conflict in my personal life. Growing up, I never saw my parents argue or have a fight: disagreements were stated out loud but then left hanging in the air, unresolved, a toxic cloud that lingered. I wasnít surprised when my parents separated and divorced. I havenít had many fights with friends over the years; those few fights generally resulted in them choosing for us to no longer be friends. Yet I believe there must be a way to survive moments of anger and disagreement with loved ones, I just donít know what it is.
It is St. Patrickís Day and it is finally starting to feel like spring. Although spring is a good thing every year, this year it is particularly welcome after what was in many ways a very long, cold and bleak winter. The crocuses are showing in my yard, bits of yellow and purple peeking through the overgrown grass and leaves left from last fall, cheerful bits of optimism in nature Ė we could still get snow, yet they are blooming. I am trying to take a cue from that optimism and believe that an offer letter is on its way.
As I dodge the masses at lunch on a sunny, almost-spring day in mid-town, I reflect on my month of working in Greenwich Village. I really did like the feel of working in that neighborhood, it was so much more relaxed, the streets were not filled with lemmings rushing to and fro. I would love to find a job in the neighborhood again, but I do not believe that will happen, definitely not in this economy. And being currently unemployed, I need to grasp any job that pays a living wage and hang on tight for the next few years.
I feel very organized today. I've got a list, I'm working through it, I'm getting a number of emails out to a wide group of people. Why? I feel like the clock is running out on my underemployment and I didn't get half of the stuff done I said I would do. I didn't put in three hours a day of knitting (as I would have with the train commute), I didn't bake as much as I thought I would, and I think I only finished two house projects. So what exactly did I do over the last twelve weeks?
Today's the vernal equinox and the official shift into spring, a new season. I don't manage to do any of the traditional rituals or observations, but I take particular pleasure in the small things today that contribute to a new hope or make me feel good. The offer letter finally came through late today, it isn't brilliant but it's a job, salary and benefits. Today was also Knit Nite, a small gathering at the shop but a very comfortable evening. And I stayed up late, so very late, to watch the finale of Battlestar, complete with the Last Frakkin' Special.
I should be dead on my feet after getting to bed at 3:30 last night. Instead, I am awake at my usual hour after less than five hours of sleep. I am a bit tired but nowhere near as groggy as I should be after such an abbreviated night. I think I've surprised Geoffrey, staying up that late when I generally go to bed t at midnight, even on weekends. With the proper motivation and planning, I can be a late owl, but not without a reason for staying up. ďJust because I canĒ isn't a reason for me.
Living out of the freezer can be quite rewarding. We pulled out a large roast beastie a few days ago and let it thaw, and tonight we reaped the reward of our previous bounty. Or something like that. It was full-on prime rib with baked potato, yorkshire pudding and swiss chard sauteed in smoked duck fat. Of course, we'll be living on this meal for the next several days (with additional veggies, the chard is gone) and I may be sick of it by then, but tonight it was really just the ticket with which to say goodbye to winter.
I'm spending a bit of time each day working in the garden, clearing out debris from last fall, trying to get the garden into some kind of shape while I have the time to do so, before weeds start to take over. Due to concerns about my back, I'm only spending 90 minutes maximum in the garden, and shifting positions (bending, sitting, crouching standing, whatever) every ten minutes, which is somewhat disruptive to any Zen state I might approach. But I am doing what I can do, and hopefully I'll be able to do more in a week or two.
When it rains, it pours. After signing back the offer letter yesterday and working out the details of my start date next Monday, I get a call out of the blue from a friend in the industry: an opportunity that started to materialize last summer has actually finally come about. It would be a substantial job, one that would use all of my talents and skills, and pay a healthy salary. Probably would entail healthy headaches again, but never mind: as the job I've agreed to does not guarantee work after six months, I've got to pursue this new opportunity.
Ah, more cryptic words from the guru that encourage me to look inward, to rediscover who I am so that the inner core can again become part of my daily personality, echoing the feeling that I have somehow drifted away from myself. I don't know when or where or how this occurred; perhaps its the result of acting grown up and ďbusiness likeĒ when I was running the Ops department, or maybe realizing my own physical mortality from my unhappy leg and subsequent back surgery. Perhaps this is my own midlife crisis, wanting to return to music and art
I keep thinking about a made-for-TV movie or miniseries from the late 70's or early 80's. Maybe it was two different specials and I'm mixing up the stories. It aired more than once, in the fall, perhaps for Thanksgiving, probably ABC or CBS. It was about a girl trying to come to grips with changes in her life after some major upheaval, her parents died, or the family moved, something like that, and a shift from country to more suburban, or perhaps the reverse. All my online searches have been unsuccessful; I'm not even sure why I'm looking for it.
A beautiful spring day, warm, balmy, breezy. I am working hard to reclaim my garden this year. I am making mad progress this week, the recent light rain making it very easy to pull out the miles of underground runners that the mugwort which has invaded my garden uses to extend its dominion. Between two years of abuse by ignorant landscape mowers, weed invasion and this last very cold winter, many of my original garden flowering plants seem to have not survived, there's no trace of them yet. I'll give them another week, then I will choose what to replant.
I took a day off from working in the yard today. I'm a little sore all over, nothing major, but yesterday was both the pool and two hours work in the yard, so I've decided to give myself a break. But I didn't altogether ignore the greening of spring as we took the lawnmower in for a complete overhaul. After sitting unused for the last two years, I'm sure it needs more than just a new spark plug and air filter. The garden space is almost cleared (if not completely weeded) and it should be done sometime during next weekend.
My sweater in progress is giving me absolute fits. I've essentially knit it twice, having redone the entire bodice once, and from the waist down three times. It is beautiful yarn, it feels wonderful, but the drape is deceptive. Or perhaps it is my attempt at waist shaping that is wrong. Last night I ripped out the tunic length and am now finishing it at low-hip length. I'll get it off the needles today and see what happens. I really do need to get a dress form or at least mock one up with a t shirt and duck tape.
On my first day at the new job, they threw me into the deep end. It isn't that surprising, considering they're a small business, and it is clearly an ďall hands on deckĒ kind of enterprise. I was thrown when my boss mentioned that I'd attend the professional association meetings on what would be my ďdays off.Ē Great, another organization that doesn't value the association or my credentials, although as my boss is a member, I find this very surprising and disturbing. Perhaps it is just because I'm a part-timer, four days a week, but I don't know.
When I lived in Germany, you went to different stores for different things, the butcher, the baker, the vegetable market, the flower market; the specialty stores survive in Europe. It did not require driving all over the countryside to get really good foodstuffs. We aren't able to do this here; we drove for almost an hour today to get to a store that has terrific beef; the closest acceptable bakery is 15 minutes away and the really good one is twice that. We're still looking for some place that has consistently good produce other than the farmer's markets in summer.
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