REPORT A PROBLEM
Day of the Dead. In recent years, I spend a little time on this day remembering loved ones who have died. While the list increased this year, and it sometimes seems long given the small size of my family circle to start with, I know that I am lucky: I still have my parents, and Grandma, and most of the family friends that I grew up with. I really miss my dadís family, they were such a large part of my daily life growing up, and even beyond. Fifteen years now since Rae is gone, it just doesnít seem possible.
I realized tonight that even though I have not knit the sweaters I was dreaming of earlier this year (and, frankly, am still dreaming of) Iím OK with that. I have knit a few lace items and am now much better at it. I have also begun to seriously swatch some yarns, to help me figure out what they want to be, rather than just imposing a pattern on them. That has really helped: I now have large and small projects ready to go when I want or need them. This does help ensure that knitting is a relaxing therapy.
If not for email, I donít know how Iíd keep up with some of my closest friends, even those who are only one time zone away. Like so many other people, this asymmetric form of conversation has replaced regular phone calls as our schedules arenít in synch. I am not sure I like this, and it does seem to be more of a recent development Ė I donít remember this little real conversation even when Helene was in England. And yet, we are keeping up with the big stuff, even if the daily ebb and flow goes unremarked on both sides.
What a mess this election is! Locally, it was a lot like choosing the lesser of two evils in every race and it will be quite a while before a winner is determined in one race. I have never understood why the same two candidates appear in three to five party slots each. I realize its difficult these days to field candidates, but I believe the time has come to put in serious residency requirements for candidates, at least two years before declaring candidacy. Hilary was bad enough as a carpet bagger - and look where that election got us!
Ideas are beginning to percolate. It isnít exactly creative, Iím not really the point of origin of the ideas, but they are rumbling around in my head and connections are being made, finally. I can see certain options in my head and know that they have potential. I have work to do in order to verify my selections, but at least I have an idea of what to do, what to try, what to work towards. I know it will be some time before I have anything substantial to show for it, but Iím excited that something is finally happening.
I wasnít expecting us to really like it, especially with vinyl siding, but the property is really nice, and private. Thereís enough space for everything, once you factor in the cottage. The house is sunny with two fireplaces, but like many old houses, the stairs are less than satisfactory. In fact, these particular stairs, up to the theoretical master bedroom and down to the partially finished basement, are an absolute nightmare. They donít permit carrying laundry up or down. Reconfiguring both stairs is certainly possible, but not exactly what we want to sign up for in buying an 1820ís farmhouse.
I thought that by now I would have managed to reduce more of my debt. There was always something new that ate my savings, or worse, required money I didnít have. If I could go back in time and stop the accrual of debt in grad school, I would. That isnít an option, so once again, Iíve made certain changes with the intent of reducing the overall number by a third in the next 12 months, not including my mortgage or car loan. The plan this time includes starting with some money in the bank, and adding to it slowly.
I think I have finally collected enough personal evidence to say that evening commute on the Monday after the switch from daylight saving time to ďnormalĒ time is going to be horrible, no matter the weather, and potentially dangerous. I guess everyone has forgotten how to drive at night, what with all that summer daylight, because I donít think there was actually more traffic on the road than last week. I didnít see much evidence of actual accidents, but people were driving slowly and badly on every road. Including going the wrong way on a one way stretch of road.
Grandma isnít doing well at all. Her health problems are not under control, and not surprisingly, sheís very unhappy without Grandpa. It is very difficult for everyone involved when she is so far away, but the logistics and financial options to move here do not appear realistic. As much as I wish I could change something for Grandma, I more wish that mom could have an easier time of this somehow. Grandma may not be cognizant of all the details, but mom certainly is and I know the distance factor is definitely amplifying all the negative aspects of the situation.
After five years of coping with the new kind of migrane headaches, I have given in and saw a specialist today. I am fortunate in that I donít experience the headaches on a daily basis (yet), nor are they severe enough that I become completely incapacitated for days (yet), but their increasing regularity and severity in recent months does require that I do something to mitigate their impact. I am not seeking a magical, immediate full cure, but do hope to find some way to lessen their impact when they happen, if I canít prevent them in the first place.
Veteranís Day. The rest of the world, at least the English-speaking world, calls it Remembrance Day. I still havenít knit a poppy. War-mongers still exist, and are thriving in certain quarters. Corporations still cross the boundary between ethical and questionable (if not downright illegal) behaviour for profit while hiding behind claims of defending the homeland. Young men and women are still dying, and surviving trauma that was incomprehensible more than 90 years ago when the day was first marked. After a century, this as progress? Does every generation have to learn the lessons of war itself? Do they even learn?
I realized today that it has been more than a year and a half that the ďsister missing in FloridaĒ thread has been going at Ravelry. I canít imagine what that must be like for the family at this point, with no news for so long. I do know that the group of us who bump the thread to the top of the list in the hopes of generating more visibility and perhaps a happy resolution for Laura has become smaller and smaller. And bumps are less frequent. I am the most regular bumper, sometimes doing back to back bumps.
In real life, the house looks just like it did in the photo, no funny or painful angles required. And now that I really know where it is Ė a block further west than Iíd thought Ė I do like the setting. Mostly. Clearly, the high school will generate some noise, but the deafening roars from the crowd watching the semi-final championship being played at the time we were nosing about was a little concerning. And yetÖthree bedrooms with wood floors everywhere, and a cottage, on nearly three acres? We both agree that we need to see the inside of the house.
So what do we really want? Weíve talked about it for so long, seen so many houses at this point, that this should be easy, right? But it isnít. Because we know weíll never get the whole list, so we naturally start to prioritize, and try to figure out what is required, and what is optional - desired but not mandatory. And the discussion gets framed it in terms of a house we know well. Yes, it may be an ideal of sorts, but it wasnít perfect. Although, to be honest, if we had a chance to make it ours. . . .
It is beginning to really look like late fall, with winter fast approaching. All the trees are beginning to lose their leaves, which means there are golden drifts of them scattered along the road as I head west toward work in the morning; driving home itís now too dark to see. The empty branches look a bit sad, but there is at least some color left, for a few more days. By Turkey Day, almost all the leaves will be gone, and some industrious types will use that holiday to clear the last bits of fall color from their lawns.
I am having a hard time again this month with writing every day. Finding ten minutes to stop and think Ė when Iím awake enough to think Ė has been difficult, but now it is next to impossible. Never mind actually having something to express. Iíve been considering taking ten minutes at the end of the day, but I really lack all inspiration most weekday evenings. I donít even have focus for knitting most weekday evenings, which is why I often swatch or do mindless knitting then. I want to continue with this project for another year Ė ten years of 100 words.
Left with unexpected free time due to a malfunctioning laptop on a business trip, I settle in for a good knit. Not a comfortable one, as my backside (upper and lower) hurts from all the sitting at my desk in the last few days, in really uncomfortable chairs today, and only a bed in the hotel room tonight. I tell myself this is my karmic reward for being up at 3:15 AM today. I probably couldnít write an intelligent sentence at this point anyway, and I definitely canít focus on the small typeface of my reading material. Knitting it is!
Coming back from business travel, I just want to get home as soon as possible. That sometimes means arriving at LaGuardia during rush hour, which then means a long trip on the roads home with thousands of other cars. During summer, I can easily kick back and relax by knitting in the back of the car, ignoring the fact that weíre hardly moving for the first hour. Now that it the evening rush happens after dark, I feel more like a prisoner, trapped in limbo, the purgatory that is rush hour on Long Island, as knitting does require some light.
There are so many other things I should be doing right now. I donít want to be writing now. I donít want to be doing half of the things that are on that list, but Iím aware that they are lurking, getting bigger, growing like dust bunnies. I am back in the groove where all I want to do is read, knit and bake, never mind the list of necessary chores. I almost stayed up to midnight reading last night, although I was so tired I couldnít see straight. And I spent my free time this afternoon swatching new yarn.
The house was not what I was expecting, even after having seen photos. It is an almost perfect lot, at more than 2 acres of flat land situated just outside the Main Street business area of the village. The house itself is set back far from the road and seems to have been a summer house, filled with French door type windows that are almost floor to ceiling. The wood floors are in excellent condition and are quiet. It is somehow smaller on the inside than the outside suggests, too small if not for the Hansel & Gretel type cottage.
I talked to Grandma today, the first time in a couple of weeks. She doesnít sound at all well, or herself. She has lasted more than six months now since Grandpa died which exceeded our worst expectations, but indications suggest that she may not make it another six months. This experience has been education in a way I think everyone would rather avoid, but having been through it, it does raise all kinds of questions about the future. Such as where should my parents relocate to that will be within a dayís drive of where G and I are living.
Funny, I didnít think Excel would be such a large part of my job. Iíve never particularly liked it, for a long time I lived in Access. Right about now, I distinctly hate Excel. Iíve gotten much better at manipulating it in the last couple of weeks, but if I never had to work with another spreadsheet ever again in my life it would be just fine with me. Especially as I donít think it is really the right tool for what weíre doing, it is just the convenient one given the time frame weíre working with on this project.
The truth is inescapable at this point, Iím sick again. It appears to be basically the same thing as last month, oh joy, oh joy! Chances are good that G will also get sick this time around. I am trying very hard to slog through this because of work, with the deadline and travel next week. If I am good, careful and lucky, Iíll be well enough to travel and then I can collapse and fully recover afterwards. If I donít succeed on even just one of those three counts, Iím going to be sick and miserable and staying behind.
Weak. Iím weak, I tell you. Despite my best intentions, I bought more yarn. Yarn in such delightful colors that it literally made me slack-jawed for a few minutes, I was reaching out to touch the computer screen even though the yarn is in Germany at the moment. These women are geniuses. I want them to be successful. But I donít want them to be in such demand that buying their yarn becomes an international competition. Never mind, back to swatching my current yarn stash so that I can set up the next two projects Ė a pullover and a cardigan.
Even though both of us are sick, only able to focus for less ten minutes apiece, we put together a basic Thanksgiving dinner from scratch: a 17 lb turkey, cornbread dressing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry jalapeno chutney and a pumpkin pie. The turkey was done an hour early and we decided not to do the sage stuffing, brussel sprouts and glazed carrots Ė weíd expended all our energy by then. Yet it made me think about all those people who reportedly struggle so much to put together Thanksgiving dinner. It seems rather impossible that anyone could find it so difficult.
I fell into the perfect knitting project to get me through this holiday illness. Yarn I have wanted to use for about three years now, and a pattern that takes full advantage of the yarn characteristics, and the amount I have. As if that werenít enough, it is miles of uninterrupted, unshaped stockinette! Truly mindless knitting!! The idea came to me earlier this week, but it wasnít until I swatched on Wednesday night that I was comfortable casting on for this big, cozy sweater. After a day of being quiet, the back is nearing completion and I am feeling better.
A simple trip to the outside world today, with stops at the grocery store and pharmacy was devastating. I was shaking by the time I got home. I will not be attempting to install the weatherstripping on the door today, or tomorrow, in all reality. Iím afraid that the door frame is so out of whack now that even this weatherstripping wonít seal the door. I donít know what has happened in the last year to affect the door in this odd way, just the lower half bowing out nearly half an inch, but Iím very concerned about the possibilities.
The line dividing my personal life from my professional life is beginning to blur again and Iím starting to get peeved about it. After a period several years ago when I was working 70 hour weeks and nearly ruined my health, I swore I would not allow work to encroach on a regular basis again. I understand that there may be occasional big projects that require extra effort. It is bad enough when business travel eats into the early morning and late evening hours, but I really donít want to be spending non-business hours, especially on holidays doing office work.
I still canít quite believe it: we spent more than 8 hours at the airport today after a mechanical problem - experienced during takeoff, no less! Ė rendered our plane out of commission. Alternate flights between points A and B were fully booked, even the non-direct routes, until early evening. Stuck in an airport all day with the boss! No internet, but trying to look like I was working most of the time. People watching was intense, I think there was still a lot of post-holiday travel going on. It was a long, wasted day in my humble opinion.
Looking back, November seems to have been filled with an unusual number of very long days. Being sick hasnít helped at all, but there were a lot of days when because of travel, bad commutes, extended meetings, or whatever, it was more than the standard 8 hours (+2.5) for work. Iím worn out by it all, I just want this month to be over. Did I say that about October? I must get through this week, figure out how to survive tomorrow morning at the office and get through three more days, and hope Iíll be healthy for the weekend.
The Tip Jar