REPORT A PROBLEM
I'm still amazed that we can write a lengthy proposal for a project, jump through the (un)necessary hoops to win it, and still not everyone is crystal clear on the what and why of what we've proposed. This will be my first time seeing a project from start to end (although not including the proposal process), and while I do expect it will be educational about the project, this is a project where I can already see I will learn about a lot of interesting stuff unrelated to my subject matter expertise that may nevertheless expand my perspective on it.
Finishing something I've knitted is always a happy event. I often am infected with Finish-itis late in the day, something rarely discussed among knitters; Startitis is much more common. When I realized I was nearing the end of the shawl, I really wanted to finish it tonight, including washing and blocking so that in the morning it would be ready to wear. Not that I imagined wanting or needing to wear it. Blocking lace at 10:00 PM may not be advisable, but it was very satisfying to see the shawl open up, revealing its secrets of convex and concave curves.
How often do you get one of those nearly perfect days? A blue sky, no clouds with your morning coffee straight through to watching the radiant colors of a summer sunset on the water. Meeting his family was a trip and I think he survived it fairly easily; I hope it isn't another five years between visits, but that is his choice. Heading over to Bridgeport for pizza and the ferry back was absolutely the right idea, the ferry ride was uncrowded and delightful. You wouldn't want every day to be this great, but one a month would be nice.
Fourth of July. High summer. Corn is supposed to be knee-high by the Fourth of July. Raspberry pies. Turning the crank for homemade ice cream. Family gatherings. Backyard barbeques with hot dogs and hamburgers. A midnight walking tour of downtown, historic NYC. Pool parties on the North Fork. Fireworks by the water Ė Gull Lake, the Great South Bay or the East River. Lazy afternoon in the shade, sipping margaritas or beer, reading and listening to music. These are a few of my favorite memories of this holiday. By comparison, this particular Fourth of July was a very quiet day.
I have the day off, an official holiday. I don't quite know what to do with it, other than to enjoy the fact that I don't have to race out of bed and off to work; I know there are others that have to work today. It is one of those small things to be thankful for Ė something I've taken for granted for many years. It is rather too warm to really enjoy sitting outside, but it is a holiday weekend, a cause for celebration. I am not at work and yet I'm still getting paid for the day.
I hate waking up to the sound of phones ringing at 4 AM. It is never good news. And yet, you cannot ignore the phone at that hour. Especially when cell phones start ringing next. When they want to get ahold of you that badly, it is definitely bad news. The usual time for bad news in business is generally accepted as Friday afternoon, the Friday of a holiday weekend if at all possible. The real world and personal life generally requires more immediate delivery: this is not a good way to start the week, not even a short one.
While slightly disappointed I didn't make it to the second round, I am not at all put out by the news that the law firm made an offer to another candidate. The opportunity was a nice distraction, but I don't really need a distraction at this point. There's quite enough going on at the moment and I suspect I'll have ample opportunity to learn a whole lot about completely new things, while still managing several projects and contributing to the overall company management: Boss Lady's listening to my ideas and comments about hiring, so perhaps there's even more opportunity here.
I am beginning to feel as though the circus is coming to town Ė but I'm the circus. Any thoughts of a quiet retreat with my parents have been vanquished by the realization of just how many people there are to see in a short period. Dad joked (at least, I think he was joking) about charging admission. In any case, I am tired and cranky headed into this production, and I anticipate being much the same on the other side of it. This is the downside to living a thousand miles away from family and where you grew up.
The first glance is a bit of a shock Ė seeing the changes mounted all at once on the latest memory you have, rather than gradually accumulating day in and day out. Even knowing about this phenomenon, it still comes as a jolt to the system. Be it new houses on what was farmland, additional grey hair or a few more wrinkles, they are what you notice first, a rude greeting. It takes a while to get past these new distractions, to see just the familiar and beloved. And when that happens, you wonder why you thought things had changed.
I am slightly jealous of the farmer's market here. There are easily 75 vendors set up in the covered stalls, with everything from the typical fruits and veggies, free range eggs, artisanal breads and jams, to the more exotic offerings of handmade tortilla chips and guacamole, a tamale stand, grassfed meat including lamb and goat...and it is still early in the local season! The place was rocking at 10 AM. Never mind the bacon and noodles and other Amish goodies from Shipshewana. There are a river of possibilities here in in the town where I grew up Ė quite literally.
After keeping mom supplied with Kleenex until she settled down, I would have liked to have spent some time remembering Pickerel Lake, Schnabel Lake, Martin, Van Bochove Court, and hearing some of the stories. Instead, I spent most of the time counting to ten, then counting to ten again, trying to ignore the bad behaviour of others. And being civil to a young girl who was clearly bored out of her head and didn't understand why she was at this particular breakfast. There wasn't much time for Grandpa today, but I did meet more of that side of the family.
The heat in New York greets me like a long-awaited friend upon my arrival at LaGuardia. Standing outside while trying to find my ride, I begin to drip uncomfortably again, and question my sanity for getting a hot Chai at the Starbucks right at the baggage claim. The ride home is air-conditioned, and a chatty driver manages to pass the time as we edge out ahead of rush hour traffic. It makes me realize that I'm still surprised at the things New Yorkers will ask you about, even if you're strangers. Maybe it is because you're strangers, I don't know.
Nothing really prepares you for the fact that work can become something you just have to do. Work is either the absolute focus, the only thing that matters on Life According to TV, or it is something that you can easily get away from when you have to deal with the personal life. There are days when work is boring, frustrating, when you go only for the paycheck. I never thought I'd get to this point, even just a few years ago. While there have been improvements in my overall situation recently, I am showing up just for the paycheck.
This ongoing heat is absolutely melting me and what's left of my brain. I have no motivation to do anything, to clean, to walk, to write, to do anything. The farmer's almanac has proved to be absolutely dead-wrong about this summer and I can only hope that this heat streak ends soon. The office is comfortable only in the morning, nothing seems to be keeping pace. The car is cool. It isn't even cool outside in the evenings any more, there's just no relief. We have had to water the garden and the lawn because there's been no noticeable rain.
I have to figure out a way to do something regularly: pilates or swimming. I have to find a way to fit it into my schedule, regardless of work travel and such. My left leg is going bad, the tingling has crept past the ankle, up my calf and to my knee whenever I sit for more than a few minutes. This is how it started eight years ago, without the intense sciatic pain that I had then. I need to just get up early on Saturdays and go to the pool. If this leg doesnít motivate me, nothing will.
We walked into the village for the Friday night summer festival (which is really too generous a description for the actual event) and were a bit surprised at how large it was this year. It still has a poor mix of absolute crap vendors with a high ratio of organizational booths, but there were more vendors, with several actual food vendors this time. And people, lots of people. After ten years, one would hope they would get it right. We had dinner at a relatively new spot on main street that serves Peruvian food, the highlight of the entire adventure.
Pool, the pool, I made it to the pool this morning. For the first time in... well, I can't say in how long, at least six months. Maybe more like eight months. I know that it will take several weeks to reach maximum and lasting benefit with my leg, but there are some immediate rewards, although they will only last about a day. I made the right choice today, I have to make the choice every Saturday to go, if not at 7:30 AM, then at noon. This must become non-negotiable, even though I hate having my schedule further constrained.
Walking west through Chinatown on East Broadway today, I was brutally reminded of just how foul the city can smell, particularly in summer. The stench of dead and rotting fish and vegetables, urine, and who knows what else mingled in the hot air and the effect was nearly overpowering. It has been years since I wandered these streets during my ďsummer staycationsĒ in the early years when I had lots of vacation and little money. The exotic fruits and vegetables were not enough to entice me to return to the neighborhood back then, and it appears very little has changed.
I really have had enough of this heat. I canít quite bring myself to spend my last dollar to upgrade the electrical feed to the house so I can run an air conditioner, but if it doesnít cool down a bit soon I donít know that there will be much of a choice. Iím tired, Iím cranky, and my body is clearly stressing in all sorts of ways with the continued high heat. The long summer hours days at the office provide me with some hours of relative air conditioned comfort, but also leave me with less time and energy.
For someone who has essentially retreated from social activity, this month is certainly a change of pace, with something going on every weekend. I understand my reasons for the retreat and would like to change so that there is a group of people we enjoy hanging out with locally, but we haven't quite found those people locally. Yet. Except the Webers. At this rate, we never will find such a group within an easy distance and I shouldn't really expect it; other than the Knit Nite, in more than a decade here I never found a social group for myself.
There's nothing to write about today. I'm hot. Tired (from not sleeping well for two weeks, and also intermittent GI issues for a similar period). My brain has melted. I do nothing of interest these days. I don't do much at all other than go to work, then come home and try to stay cool. I don't even remember thinking about anything of interest lately. Any spare mental cycles I can come up with have been spent running calculations to figure out if I can afford to upgrade the electrical just enough to get an air conditioner in the bedroom.
I have given in, signed the paperwork to upgrade the electrical service in the house. It doesn't include the complete rewire, but it will mean that several of the newer circuits should be fully supplied and with a new circuit run to the master bedroom, we can get an air conditioner in that room, and should be able to sleep in peace. It will allow us to do anything we want if we stay and renovate, and it should be a plus if we decide to sell. Im not keen on spending so much money, but sleep is not optional.
Waiting in doctors offices has to be some kind of major metaphor for life in general these days. While I don't get too bent out of shape with a brief wait when I have my knitting, the idea of waiting for an hour when I have an appointment just makes me want to strangle someone. And then for the receptionist to say that she has no idea what is going on in the back... I'm done with the whole teaching hospital thing. I want to see a real doctor, the same doctor, who already knows something of me and my history.
It is brutal today - extremely high heat and humidity. I don't want to get dressed to get out of the house, but I know that when we arrive at the restaurant for our lunch appointment, it will be cool and air conditioned. What we will do Ė both of us, G has agreed to come along Ė for a few hour of comfort in the heat of the day. I don't know if I'm truly extra sensitive this year because I'm not entirely healthy, or because it is truly that much warmer although it may be a record-setting month.
I wonder if others are having problems maintaining discipline in such a month. Summer is supposed to be a lazy time normally, but I feel as though the month has been sapped away from me. This summer isn't one to be enjoyed, it is one to be endured, survived. The storm that came through this afternoon brought coolness that is like a balm to me, but I wonder if it will hold even for a day. The house is finally below 85 degrees, and I have hopes it will get below 80 overnight, if the coolness just stays that long.
I canít hold my breath on this, not really, but I donít want to say a word to anyone, as I donít want to jinx this in any way. Never mind how superstitious that may sound, Iím past worrying about minor details like that. We have been waiting for this for so long, and if it finally does come to pass, it releases the logjam that has been keeping us stuck in one place for two years. And if it doesnít come to pass, I canít really contemplate the alternatives, even though they were reiterated again just the other day.
The Roadfood newsletter is a double-edged sword. It does provide some information about local places, but every week it opens up the rest of the country: savory cheesecakes, chili harvests, the first fried clam. I want to go on a serious roadtrip. I'm still enamored of the idea of traveling across country in the train that we discussed this spring, a quick blitz to see more of the country, but a real road trip by car, traveling to smaller places a la Feasting on Asphalt really sounds good, although the realities of life make it all but impossible this year.
I don't think I'm made for such long days sandwiched between an hour's driving commute. I'm totally on autopilot when I leave the house in the morning, I don't wake up until I'm nearly at the office. Driving home, I find myself drifting upwards of the normal speed of the parkway, already above the speed limit. I am just collapsing on the couch by the time I get home more than 12 hours after I left in the morning. And this is after a only few days, there is no way I can do this for the next three months.
We're flying into the high cloud wall just as described by Mark Helprin. Banking at odd angles to clouds, it doesn't even seem like earth any more. Breaking clear, the eastern sun lights up Maxfield Parrish clouds and I'm reminded of Lando Calrissian's Cloud City. There are vertical stacks of fluffy, dumpling-like clouds, you wonder why the bottom clouds aren't squashed. At the top of the stack, the soft edges are cut off sharply by a flat curtain of dull grey. As we rise above all of that, we are suddenly heading into the clear blue yonder. I love flying.
For the first time this month, it was just nice to be outside. The brilliant sunshine was a little blinding, but it wasn't scorching on the skin, driving me indoors. I was comfortable wearing actual clothes in the house. A late lunch outside at our favorite waterside place and driving around the area was a mini vacation after the incredible heat and humidity of this past month. I know that the next few months at work are are going to be very intense, so I need to take a few minute of downtime for myself whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I don't have a good answer as to why I haven't managed to complete the first step of my career-transitioning plan. Except that it does require a goodly amount of time and I'm not quite clear on what part of my current life I'm supposed to give up to find that time. The knitting time is all part of that plan, so it stays. The house isn't going to clean itself and I've hardly spent any time on the garden this year. I could give up what remains of my pathetic social life: I can stop spending time with Geoffrey.
The Tip Jar