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Tonight was probably the highlight of the entire trip: going to BB King's and listening to some great blues and eating a really good pulled pork sandwich. The band was really, really good: tight, in tune, and with both a wind section (trumpet and sax) and a Hammond B3 with Leslie speaker. Sitting there, happily bouncing in my chair, I realized how much I miss easily accessible live music. I think the only music I've heard live in the last five years has been Pierce Turner and King Crimson, and Yes. They're all great, but I need to diversify somehow.
Being away from home on a business trip, I have done nothing appropriate to mark Imbolc today. I did manage dinner with Helene, the only apparent option for seeing her on this trip to her home turf, and I did have pork, which might be considered an appropriate feast meal. It didn't feel quite the same as having dinner when we both lived in the area, because then we were talking and seeing each other often enough we felt as though we were part of each others lives. Now, we struggle to stay in touch, barely tracking the major events.
Whitfield! Whitfield Diffie! Live and in person, strolling past our exhibition hall booth! Yeeha! This is definitely the highlight of the actual Symposium for me, and it came during an absolute wasteland of the afternoon when I was deadly bored. I am such an absolute geek, no one else in the booth recognized him, most didn't even know who he is. I may not be able to do the math for cryptography, but I really respect those who can, and those who can create good ciphers are like rock stars.
I've thought a lot about Grandpa lately. It doesn't seem possible that six years ago he passed on, but that was 2004 and it is now 2010. He was honestly interested in people and as a customer, always managed a smile for staff and salespeople. He was a favorite with waitresses everywhere we went, and was one of the lynchpins of the crew that gathered for coffee and donuts each morning in the local bakery; everyone knew him even if not each other. He generally asked questions of others, but was transformed into The Mogul whenever he told a story.
I'm so tired today, and I'm glad to be home. Well, not exactly. Somehow, it is no longer home. It is where we live, together, with a lot of our stuff, but neither one of us is comfortable here, neither one at home. Working from home is filled with distractions for me now, and clearly, I'm also disrupting his daily routine. We have both lived alone for so long, we really do need more room Ė and more separated rooms. When I'm in the library, I can hear him in the living room and I'm sure the reverse is true.
I stared at the big blob of pink fuzz for a long time, but it didnít change the fact that the sweater is too small for me to wear. †I donít quite understand how it happened, yet the fact is indisputable.† I donít know if it can be salvaged somehow.† I will not be ripping out this amount of mohair as the fibers bond to each other and it is like ripping out your hair.† I want to start something new and pretty for me now, but tomorrow the plan is for me to cast on for Gís Christmas socks.
Iíve never really designed anything from scratch before, Iíve just cobbled together from multiple existing patterns, but it is time to start focusing on this project, my first design attempt.† I know the general shape and feel I want, I have both yarn and stitch pattern, and the anticipated dimensions for my size collected from other projects Iíve worked on. I will not attempt to write other sizes at this time, I will focus on getting this one variation down on paper and knitted.† I now need to swatch, using the alternate colorway of the yarn I intend to use.
Back to the daily grind of getting out of bed and on the road before Iím truly awake.† I guess Iím lucky that Iíve not had any problems in the morning commute, other than getting stuck in heavy traffic (knock on wood) but I would still trade it for a train commute in a heartbeat, if it was possible.† Ongoing discussions elsewhere have refocused me on the question of how to become my own boss and what it is I want out of such a situation, as I intellectually understand that it is going to mean more work, not less.
I'm behind, behind, behind in writing. I knew that the trip at the beginning of the month was going to be disruptive but it seems that trying to catch up from the trip has kept me behind. It is always this way, from the moment I get off track, it is a desperate struggle to keep up. I have to correct the error of my ways immediately, however, or I will never survive Ravelympics. I've already given up on posting to my actual blog this month; if I manage that it will be due to several moments of extreme grace.
Blizzard! Really, no faking, it's a blizzard out there! Working from home is much harder with G around the house, lounging about on the couch. Not to mention the perfect quiet of the storm, with no cars anywhere, a blanket of heavy white everywhere. I really am struggling to focus on work today. I would much prefer to cuddle up with a cup of cocoa and read a book or watch a movie; I'm stocked with both books and movies. I manage to resist the impulse during work hours, but the winter wonderland fantasy fades in the dark of night.
Waking up this morning to even more snow was rather impressive. It isn't quite as much as the overnight dump we had in December but still it is a winter wonderland. Working from home is the easy choice, but it is even more difficult to concentrate on work today when the whole world is digging out and taking their chances with the roads. Going to work tomorrow, for a single day going in to a three day weekend seems like a waste, I want to go directly into the holiday from here. I am so ready for a day off.
Olympics. Ravelympics. Knitting Olympics. There merging in my head into a single, monolithic event. During opening ceremonies, I frogged a sweater that I knit last February. It was too small, and the pattern not written correctly, but I doggedly continued, seamed it up, washed and blocked it before admitting defeat last year. I dreaded the idea of taking the sweater apart and so set it aside in my yarn closet. For a year. After mental preparations over the last week, I took apart a month's worth of work in about three hours last night. Confront your demons and move on.
If I could figure out a way to make these biscotti in even larger volume, I'd probably make a fortune. At least I've finally figured out how to make a double batch without totally trashing the kitchen and myself Ė this is seriously sticky dough that has to be formed into logs by hand. But it does make seriously good biscotti, and although it seemed as though I was overrun by biscotti during the process, by the time I had them packaged up, it looked like a lot less. Especially since most of them are destined to be given away.
On a lark, we decide to go see open houses that are well outside our target budget, just to see what things are like in that market. We're talking houses that are listed at 1.5 Ė 3 Million dollars. The most expensive house was large, nice finishes (but not spectacular), great water with and reasonable privacy. Another house had the charm of old post-and-beam construction in parts, but most of it was badly and cheaply finished. The third house had spectacular waterviews, but was on a difficult lot and oddly laid out. None worth their asking price, in our opinion.
I have been surprised by the number of snowmen that appeared on front lawns after last week's snowfall, many more than with the massive snow dump that happened before Christmas. As we have driven through the neighborhood the last few days, we've pointed them out, impressed by the size and detail of many of them. Today, however, they began to look a little...deformed. Two days of sunshine and freezing cold at night have left most of them not just shrunken, but with jagged edges and holes, and often sightly bent, leaning south, giving the the appearance of being zombie snowmen!
It isnít that I donít mind the commute to work Ė I do. †On a morning like this, however, a holiday week with lighter traffic, and a fresh dusting of snow making the landscape seem serene and quiet, I donít mind this particular commute as much as I did the commute to Melville. And on days like this, where it almost appears that Iím the only car on the road, I donít want to stop driving at a particular destination.† If I canít sit at home and enjoy the beauty of the world around me, Iíll enjoy it from my car.
The inside of the building really surprised me.† I knew, of course, that the building dated from the early 20th century, but Iíd never really paid attention to it, never been in it before.† The ground level was a large, spacious lobby with a two story corridor than ran straight through from one Avenue to another, and the marble and frosted glass lent it an air of restrained elegance.† It was a reminder of another time.† Large paintings of agrarian scenes hung on the walls, and downstairs a display of handmade quilts hung under glass along with other textile-related displays.†
At least once a year, I go through a fit about my office workspace and I have to move things around, change it up.† For many years, this also meant moving furniture, back in the day when such things existed. Most of the last ten years, my office has been a cubicle, so it has mostly been about rearranging the desktop space.†† My current workspace is the worst Iíve ever had, small and with a closet backing up to my chair, but today I felt the spirit descend again and I started pulling wires and moving files, papers and books.†
Driving home tonight was a breeze, the last night in the holiday week, so I was home a little early and himself was in a good mood as well, and it felt like we were starting a vacation. I had a momentary jolt of recognition that this is what we used to be like: happy and excited at the end of the week, looking forward to a weekend of fun, or quiet relaxation. The fact that it is winter Ė and a real one at that Ė adds a ďcabin feverĒ flavor to the general feeling in the house.
Seeing the Gatehouse nearly empty (there were more things still in it than I was expecting) was a little sad today. Seeing the newly painted floors up close, it is clearly only subflooring that remains, not the original plank floor Ė so my disappointment at the choice to paint the floors is very moderated by that fact. We had just gotten out of the car when a local couple stopped by Ė they were interested in the house! After a brief tour, they didn't seem put off by the age and condition of the house, but we'll see what develops.
I am always baffled by the behavior.† What on earth gives you the right to believe that you know me better than I know myself, or what Iím thinking at a specific moment? Are you deliberately trying to provoke a fight?† Or better yet, why canít you just honor my repeated request to just drop the subject for the moment? Iím clearly upset and have several times articulated a desire to not talk about it right now Ė and since this really is my business, not yours Ė what the hell is the problem with just letting the subject drop for now?
As frustrated and pissed off as I felt sitting while in traffic and being late for work, as I drove past the third and largest (but not the last) obstacle on the commute this morning it was clear that someone had had a much worse Monday: the upside down SUV crashed into the pillars of the overpass between the roadways and a hundred fee later, the burned out chassis of a coupe. I discovered later it was five hours after the accident and the highway was still closed Ė in both directions, even though east and west are separate roads.
Do I really care that much about winning? About being right? That I can't admit it when someone else is right? Or is that I see some things as not important or not possible to determine who's right because it is all a matter of opinion anyway, so I just quietly give up the conversation? It is clear that there are two very different perspectives here, and I've never thought it possible to change someone's perspective through logical, rational discussion so I leave it alone, probably furthering the incorrect impression that I believe I'm right and the other is wrong.
It is very difficult to just sit back and contemplate what it is I want, my deepest longings.† About ten seconds after I think about it, I cannot help but start planning and plotting how to make it happen.† Or that it is impossible, thereís nothing I can specifically do to make it happen Ė in which case, what started off as a pleasant exercise in visualization becomes a session of frustration.† †But the fleeting moment of peace that comes in the first ten seconds is amazing, so Iíll try this again, just long enough to summon that moment of peace.†
I was delighted and amazed with the ladies skating program along with the rest of the world. Courage, strength and beauty Ė bronze, silver and gold. It almost made up for the disappointment I felt with the rest of the skating program. I don't care about any of the current men, I don't even remember the pairs programs and the ice dancing was terrible to me Ė no innovation, no dancing and no theater either. Give me Torville & Dean, or Klimova & Ponomarenko Ė opposite extremes, perhaps, but both much more entertaining than the current state of the art.
So what are my deepest longings? I'm not sure that I can identify them let alone summon them at this point, although I need them more today than ever. Are longings the same as the things that are most important to me but that I don't have? I don't know. I can list a number of thing that I want, that we probably all want, or believe we want Ė who wouldn't want to be happy and creatively fulfilled? I'm afraid that if I get more specific, these will become goals and don't think that's the point of the exercise.
I don't know why I sometimes set aside a knitting project when it is all but done. Not true, sometimes the season changes and it no longer makes sense to work on something like a heavy cashmere stole in June. Although I do need to eventually understand the reasons for this so that I don't perpetuate the situation, right now, I'm rejoicing in having finally finished a few projects that have been (mal)lingering for, um, years. Literally. I love the cashmere stole, and hope this success will drive me to finish some of the other ďall but doneĒ WIPs.
I was disappointed yet relieved at the end of the day. We liked both the houses but neither of them are actual candidates, which means we do not have the agony of finally having found a house we really want but cannot buy. I wanted to love both houses, but one had fatal flaws and neither of us fell hard for the other house, despite it having almost everything that has ever been on our list. Perhaps the price skewed our perspective. Perhaps it was just a near miss in execution. I'm afraid that maybe we just want an impossibility.
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