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As† I start my first full week, I can almost begin to see significant potential.† Iíve learned much more about what they, and how they do it, and with whom they do itÖand how they get paid for it.† I can see with much more clarity how I can contribute to the division now and in the future, as long as I donít get in my own way, which I have a habit of doing.† I need to balance on the high wire: stay free and open and yet focus intensely on those specific things that are assigned to me.†
I am trying not to be too terribly excited about all of this, which is actually easier than it sounds simply because thereís so much to be done I donít have time to think.† In my first week of full time work, Iím assisting in preparations for the boss ladyís testimony before Congress.† Beyond the general program management stuff, Iím going through the research I did late last week and drafting the text Ė yippee! The day goes by fairly quickly, and Iím treated to an absolutely wonderful meal of pulled pork ragu over polenta, with baba au limoncello for dessert.†
Today was my first Wednesday at work in six months. I'm too busy to notice much beyond that. To think that a few weeks ago I was wondering if they'd have enough to keep me busy; now I don't know if I can get it all done. I hope the workload doesn't run hot and cold Ė I need a steady stream of work so that I can can work on alternate projects, depending on my mood and focus. The work projects over the last two months have been rather singular, I've worked rather monogamously. Perhaps that will change now.
Today my favorite yarn store is going to close, although for positive reasons, not because of the recession. I wish I could be there on the last day, but it just isn't feasible. I've already said my goodbyes and now wait to hear if the group of knitters will successfully reform and meet elsewhere. I have enjoyed the last two years of being with the group, and Diana herself. I don't know where to go now, the most local yarn stores are not to my taste, either in yarn, staff or ambiance, but I don't want to travel far afield.
I'm written out. I have no more words left in me. It feels like that, anyway, clearly that isn't the case. I have never written like this before in my life. Even in college, when I wrote a lot, regularly on deadline, there was at least several weeks of mulling the options, coming up with the outline, the quotes, the specific knowledge. I am also not used to doing continuous rewrites, even with the laptop in grad school. I know that my words were only the foundation, that the other two will add their own layers on top of it.
I'm absolutely flabbergasted by the sheer volume of what she doesn't know. Was she completely oblivious to everything that happened in last year's meetings? Or does she have no memory? Or is it both, heaven forbid? And she bounces back and forth between a somewhat false modesty with innocent ignorance, and rigid intolerance. I can't keep up with her vagaries. I have no idea how I'll cope with this over the next year, but I've committed to trying to make it work somehow. As long as there are no more confidences about her own personal sacrifices, I might make it.
Today was a much-needed day of rest.† A day to just relax, doing only the most minimal of chores, no real cooking and having the time to focus on a knitting project that has been languishing. The weather mostly cooperated with my plans to enjoy the day, being of that blissfully summery variety (sunny, bright, a few clouds, not too hot or humid) that is especially appreciated after the damp, cold spring.† Next weekend, Iíll be productive again and go back to yanking weeds and such. For today, Iím just going to drift and see where the day takes me.
I feel like I'm turning into mold. It is so damp and cool. My peonies are finally blooming, but they are bowed over from the weight of all the water. I'm afraid the roses will mildew in the damp. On the plus side, however, this weather should allow my newly planted fleurs to really take root and settle in without being stressed. It is a little disappointing that 'although I've done so much work on clearing out the garden, the weather has not allowed me to really enjoy it so far. Perhaps summer will arrive next week, with the solstice.
The street in front of the office was a river this morning. The intersection of both streets is at the bottom of two hills, where the shoreline suddenly rises to become The Island. I stood there under my umbrella as the rain pounded down, watching in dismay as the torrents swirled, swelled, and gave no indication of letting up any time soon. The alternative was to plunge forward and certainly get my feet wet, or to stand there and certainly get myself and my feet wet. I need to get galoshes to keep in my car for similar future eventualities.
The day of reckoning Ė the testimony delivered. I watched the live webcast and was astonished at how they have improved in the last few years. I have never before listened to a congressional hearing, and was slightly impressed that these Representatives were so (relatively speaking) up on what the issues are. Most of the questions (when they were actually questions, not self-serving blather) were reasonably on-target, even if they served to advance the pet cause of the rep. I hope that this interest in the topic means that there will be more work in the near and extended future.
I have to get a better system going. I jot notes here and there, try to bring them together at work, at home, when I have a few minutes here and there. My little black notebooks don't seem to be doing the job either, I have a tendency to use them for notes in meetings rather than notes for words. And since I've now mentioned to yet another person my commitment to writing 100 words a day, precisely, I really need to do that Ė not just write the number, but put them into a coherent passage of some sort.
Deanne Adams. Why did that name occur to me while listening to a podcast in which David Sedaris says that all pet stories involving monkeys are tragedies? She popped into my life twice, briefly, but the thing I remember most was being allowed to walk with her from school to the little luncheonette across Riverview Avenue. I think that was fifth grade. We wanted to be friends, both only children in girl scouts but we just didn't get along very well, or perhaps it was really our mothers who didn't get along very well. I wonder whatever became of her
I finally managed to do a few things that have been on the list for a while. Such as go to the pool again Ė I think it's been a month since I've managed to get there; they're closed on Sundays for the summer. I finally put in the solar lights that sat in a box on the front porch for the last year Ė they glowed softly along the back of the house tonight. I sprayed insecticide along the outside of the house, trying to get the local ant population under control. I did not, however, do any knitting.
I was stunned to discover that the little bookstore in the neighboring town is closed.† Gone for a few months by the look of it, a new store settled in.† Yet Iíve just admitted that I havenít been there in a few months, and bookstores were having a rough time of it before the economy tanked, so I shouldnít be surprised.† But to think of no more dropping in as part of an afternoon on Main Street, sitting in the wicker chair as I browsed a cookbook, with Harry the cat coming to visit, insisting on his tithe of attention.
I finally heard back from Elizabeth. †I need to write her, but I want to really say something, so I should to set aside some time.† Ah, yes, now we have the issue: †time. Iím supposed to write the Iowa Chocolate Cake story which Iíve promised (along with the recipe) to a couple from the old Knit In.†† I need to call Cousin Chris.† And Dr. Bob wants me to call him, but I couldnít reach him at the number he gave.†† How did I used to handle all this in the past?† And keep up with the daily words?
I was finally able to tackle an outstanding item on my extensive To Do list today† - all it took was a simple phone call during business hours.† Yet between sharing an office and only having half an hour for lunch, I find it difficult to make personal calls when Iím at the office.† Iím acutely aware of every conversation my office mate has, so I canít help but feel terribly on display whenever Iím on the phone.† Even though I talk much quieter than she does.† †Thereís no doubt about it, I really do miss having my own office.†
Europeans work to live and Americans live to work.† I heard that repeated today in a podcast about the history of Americans and vacations.† I do think it is by and large true although the reasons for still confusing me somewhat.††I know that the saying doesnít apply to me. I donít think it is right to blame the Puritans for it Ė the corporate world of America was created in a time when the population was much more diverse. †People in both Europe and America had to work hard to survive for decades; vacations are a more recent development.
Generous commitment, enthusiastic persistence, high-spirited devotion. Seemingly contradictory ideas, but I get them, I can groove on them. Especially the enthusiastic persistence bit; when I heard that one, it seemed like it was the way to describe so many parts of my life. High-spirited devotion is a bit harder to reconcile, but if I shift devotion into the profane realm, it suddenly seems to describe how I've pursued my dreams. And that leaves generous commitment Ė to whom, to what? I think that is the one I need to be working on, trying to integrate that attitude into my life.
The universe threw another shift in the plans, but in for a penny, in for a pound. I could have said no, but what was the point, really? It would have been just petty. I couldn't quite manage the generous commitment bit, however, as I said that someday I'd ask for a favor in return. I am trying to go with the flow here, for as long as possible, because I really do believe that everything I do now will set the stage for more rapid advancement. I can't pass up the opportunity to meet more of Boss Lady's family.
Compared to many of my past events, this was a very quiet celebration of the summer solstice and yet it was still very enjoyable, surprisingly so. The weather didn't exactly cooperate, but by clearing out the porch we had a comfortable space to sit and talk, to hang out before and after dinner, just the four of us. Geoffrey's pernil roast pork was fabulous, and with so much advance prep it was an easy dinner, allowing me to relax and enjoy the company with no worries about the food or timing, something that has always dogged the more informal celebrations.
I spent the longest day of the year driving south and west, following the sun on its transit as it closed in on its goal. And then, over dinner, a brief Q&A discussing what my personal view of the celtic druid flavor of paganism means to me. I don't call it a religion, and belief system also misses the mark; Weltanschaung is better. It guides my quest for spirituality and helps me feel connected to the earth and the cosmos Ė and it provides me with a way to view the world, to ask questions about the mysteries of life.
Business travel generally means long days, but travel to military functions means an extra early start to the day. I wouldn't mind it all so much if there was a chance to truly unwind in the evening, but traveling with others means that you don't get to do that until after dinner - if then. And you have to make dinner conversation Ė not something I'm especially good at. After a 12 hour day, I really do want to be alone in the evening just to clear my own head, but when traveling that takes me a couple of hours.
We were chasing rainbows.† Plural.† For about twenty minutes, there was a beautiful, intensely vibrant rainbow, arching from ground to sky and all the way back down to ground, something out of a fairy tale or childrenís book; I donít think Iíve ever seen such a rainbow before in my life, and everyone exclaimed over it.† To the north of the north end, there was another rainbow, only an echo of the primary rainbow but what you normally expect to see in its color intensity, and only a half arc from ground to cloud.† †Ephemeral or not, they were astonishing.
I feel old today; Iím definitely tired and creaky from not enough sleep over the last several days and so much sitting and driving.† Sleeping like the dead last night was clearly not enough for me.† And itís an indication how out of shape I have become, being a lump for six months.† The rain is really not helping me get active, but I must find another way of getting around the issue, be it the pool, pilates or something else.† And I must try going to sleep at a reasonable time, not stay up reading ďjust one more page.Ē
Goal or pleasure? Future or now? Big picture, or daily struggle? Am I balanced between these polarities? No, I'm not. While I want the future, I am purely focused on now, today, small picture and the goal. But the need for an interesting social life versus the need to express myself creatively - ah, yes, they are a bit in opposition. Expressing myself creatively, through baking, knitting, gardening, really does take a lot of time. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to have dinner with some friends. It is a balancing act, and it will take some thought.
The sun came out today, just long enough to dry off the lawn. The sky was going to grey and cloudy when I got home, but I pulled out the lawnmower and headed to the front yard. In the increasing darkness I went back and forth across the lawn, a race against time. With so much rain this year, the grass is growing at a rapid pace but there's never a chance to mow it. As I made the last pass then race to put away the lawnmower and plants before the thunder and lightening rolled in, the rain started.
Remembrance of things past Ė that was today. I used to spend my weekends in this odd balance of relaxation and chores, often managing to keep plates spinning in each area simultaneously. I kept alternating my focus between something fun and something that had to be done, and would keep doing all day. I don't quite understand why I don't do it more often now, but these days I don't manage a lot of things very well at all. I've lost the focus and discipline needed. I don't really understand the reason why, so fixing it is proving very difficult.
I've been mulling over something I wrote yesterday, suggesting that my lack of focus and discipline needs fixing. And wondering why that is, exactly. Yes, I'm generally an overachiever with a long list of things I feel need to be done: in the house and in the garden, for the professional association, for personal pleasure, just because. There's never enough time to do it all, and yet, for several years, I got a lot of it done. But I had no personal life. I need to balance my ďbeing productiveĒ desires with my need for social and creative outlets.
ďWe believe that the universe itself is conscious, in a way we can never truly understand. It is engaged in the search for meaning. So it....breaks itself apart, investing its own consciousness in every form of life. We are the universe trying to understand itself.Ē I have no idea how, when or from where JMS got that concept, but it really does describe my spiritual point of view. Overlay it with the pagan flavor of being close to nature, the cyclical seasons, and deities in the sky, earth, and animals that demand respect and it all comes together. Grok?
Iíve spent the last decade trying to figure out my motivations for doing things Ė is it because I really want it, or because I believe it is somehow expected of me? Everyone has things they believe are expected of them, real or not. For example, I feel somewhat compelled to have a career (not job!) that uses my brainpower. Why? Perhaps because Iíve been told Iím so smart and I believe it would somehow be a waste if I didnít use that brainpower? Yet Iíve not succeeded in the corporate world with this approach Ė it doesnít agree with my personality.
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