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It has been two years since I started my current job, and while some of it has been quite enjoyable, several other bits have been a bit wearing. Especially when I was paid comparatively less than before. I was pleased last year when I got a significant raise and a bump in my personal time. Today, I was quite surprised to learn that I had been given another raise, the same dollar increment as last year. Of course, recent org changes means thereís money available for some higher salaries. April Fools day! But all of the above is till true.
Iím itching to cast on, but Iím not sure what. I think I know which yarn Ė the one that all but shouts SPRING at me Ė but I need a vest type thing, I only bought a limited quantity. Speaking of limited quantityÖ Iíve been thinking about what I write here and what I want to be writing. And the blog than languishes. Iím considering changing the content here, and writing my constant stream of creative- related thoughts. Which means this would become, most days, 100 words about knitting, yarn, patterns, needles and assorted other bits. Are you up for it?
The house is bigger than it looks. It may be too big for the two of us. It ticks off almost every checkbox we have: 4 bedrooms (5 actually), garage, pool, dry basement, level property, I could go on. And yet, somehow, it didnít welcome me the way I was hoping for, almost expecting. Not like the place further down the same road did over a year ago, or the Tavern or even the new construction we saw last summer, or the Dragonfly house. I wanted this to be the one that we both agreed on and that said HOME.
The drive in to work this morning was the usual, dull, grey, no signs of life. It was not a particularly warm day, but it wasnít particularly cold either. Combined with the fact that yesterday was a bit warm and sunny, todayís weather must have been just nice enough along the southern part of the island to cause the forsythia to begin blooming along some stretches of the parkway. Not quite in full show yet, the yellow splashes were nevertheless quite eye catching and a very welcome sight after such a long wait for such an indisputable sign of spring.
I have to figure out something. Soon. I canít keep getting, and staying behind. It is driving me crazy that Iím filling in blank spots, trying to remember the bits and pieces. Iíve got no idea how to do it but the idea of finally calling quits and doing something else is gaining appeal, daily. As much as I like this idea, as much as it provides perspective, as much as I want to do ten years, the reality of trying to maintain it is causing me agita. Which I really donít need. The idea was to help not hinder.
A vacation in Boston at the end of the month is definitely happening now, after weeks of dithering. After heated discussion, and two phone calls to the hotel, weíve finally booked the hotel. This is going to be a definite treat, a vacation to enjoy: running around, playing tourist, but with a very comfortable place to retreat to at the end of the day or if it starts to bluster and storm. I wish it were this weekend, rather than having to wait another three weeks, but this will be the first real vacation weíve had in a long time.
I seem to be making real progress so far this month on knitting projects. One stole done, knitting work on a vest done, although not insubstantial seaming and edging still remain. And with the upcoming trip, I hope to finish the Burgundy Bees stole soon. If I donít get distracted by the new project I just had to cast on. Iím going to take both projects so that if the stole really does get finished, I have something to knit on the trip home. Especially if I get stuck somewhere, which is the typical story when I travel these days.
It is an early morning of travel to Michigan so thereís plenty of opportunity for knitting. Knitting has replaced reading as my entertainment of choice, and what I can use to keep myself occupied when I have to wait, or in times of crises. I donít always have a book in progress, and a book next in line anymore, but I always have the knitting. Iíve got two projects with me on this trip although one is really just insurance. Iíve recently acquired the habit of making sure to take along a small project everywhere I go, just in case.
Itís momís birthday. I donít remember the last time I saw her on her birthday - but my guess is that it was 1987. Nearly twenty-five years ago. So whatever she wants to do today, Iím up for it. As it turns out, the plan is to visit South Haven; I think I was last there in 1993 or 1995. The drive out was unfamiliar territory, that is for certain. And the waterfront Ė well, if I had a hat, sunglasses and sandals, Iíd have loved to get to the beach and play around a bit, but dinner was the expectation.
Sharing family stories is the best part of the weekend Ė hearing about the way things were in a large family where everyone knew each other, the family parties and gatherings, secrets and horror stories, different perspectives from people who grew up on the other side of the family. Talking with family members that I recognize but do not know. . . it does tug at my heart a bit. Would I have known them if Iíd stayed here, rather than coming to New York? Would I have more of a tribe now? Or would I still be essentially a stranger?
Today I survived one of my worst nightmares Ė air travel with a migraine. I wanted to just crawl away and die, but of course, you donít really die from migraines. You just wish that you would. Meds got it under control, if not gone, in time to board the plane. Add in bright lights, overhead announcements, well, it was just a lovely day Ė not! Thankfully, the new Detroit Metro airport is exceptionally well designed, with modern conveniences and retro touches everywhere (the clocks!), and the people movers and trams do get you where you need to go, quickly and efficiently.
Today was a hard re-entry into the real world of my normal life. But there was a bit of a reward, hope to get me through the week: Matthias is coming to New York, for a visit. This week. I havenít seen him in years, quite literally, more than a handful of years. The news inevitably triggers a cascade of memories, of living in Bonn, of a return visit just a few years later, of Matthias being stateside and working in the Clinton White house. Of searching New York for green golf pants, African tribal patterned fabric, of Matisyahu CDs. . .
I had a perfect entry for today. I thought of it this morning in the car, riffing on a topic that seemed perfect for this time of year and my frame of mind, but there was no time to write it this morning at the office, and by the time I got home, everything had vanished except this one word: fleeting. But now I wonder if that one word wasnít fragile? There was an F in it, I know. Beyond that, I have no idea what the concept was, but I do remember that I was so happy about it.
I canít ignore the signals from my back any longer. Iíve had shooting pains while standing upright and my foot was just throbbing when I got up this morning. Something is not right and I need to give it some time to heal, so I worked from home today, sitting in my chair when I had to in order to work, but otherwise trying to stand or lie down. At some point late in the afternoon my back cracked and it was as if everything gave a sigh of relief. Another crack just before going to bed was another improvement.
There are bad things I could choose to focus on when writing here today. But I donít want to do that anymore, I donít want to rant or complain. There are days when I canít avoid it, when I just canít see past the bad things, but that is not the case today. I finished a cashmere scarf today. My back was much better. We had yummy salad and pasta, with a glass of wine, for dinner. And, most importantly, it is Friday, which means I have two days off to actually live and enjoy myself, not just get by.
The bookstore was an accidental find Ė we were there to check out the bakery. On a grey, depressing, windy day, we were trolling the eastern fields for a bakery. We donít quite remember when we heard about it, or how (although we both suspect a show on TV), but there was a bakery in this town, supposedly a good one. The bakery ended up a disappointment, but the independent bookstore a few doors down more than made up for it. Friendly staff, a good selection, spiffy space and Gregorian Chants on a Saturday morning Ė I happily spent my allowance there.
A rich and fulfilling day, with a very successful, and low-stress commute into the city to see Matthias. We spent the afternoon cruising the West Village and Soho, window shopping and poking fun at all the bad art the lines the weekend streets in Soho. It was warm(ish), sunny and bright, the perfect spring day for playing tourist in the city, I walked so much my hips began to ache. This was a good warm-up for Boston. Best of all, I got to talk to Matthias and catch up on what heís doing, what his hopes are for the future.
What a difference between coming to the office and going home: the tree leaves have started to take shape. This morning, which seemed particularly grey after a beautiful spring day yesterday, everything was still holding on to winter, not yet spring. Tonight, on the way home, I could see all sorts of pale green and red along the treeline, unmistakable evidence that spring is actually in progress, despite our wonderings to the contrary. I am hopeful that our trip to Boston next week will truly be enjoyable and not too cold, that spring color will be all around by then.
I did a double-take in my rear view mirror this morning. Yes, the small, silver car behind me had something flapping from the front windows Ė long, grey, furry . . . ears? Well, yes, I guess that only make sense after I noticed the pink furry ďnoseĒ that was stuck to the hood. Someone is far too fond of Easter if theyíve made up their car to be a bunny. Although, in the foggy morning and hills of Northport, with all the green, red, yellow and other spring colors that have finally shown themselves, the car did make me smile.
Why do we all want more out of life? Why am I not just content with my life? I have a job that pays me a living wage, with some benefits; I have a house over my head; I have found my Geoffrey. You canít see all the qualifications I didnít put into that sentence as I wrote it, but there are significant sources of discontent with all of it (except the last). Have I been incontrovertibly corrupted by the perfectly polished view of what Modern American Life is supposed to be, as portrayed on countless television shows and movies?
Even before the opportunity has really materialized, the flow of possible solutions to the truly nasty commute potential are being analyzed. Driving to the Bronx more than a few times a week is not an acceptable reality, even if the job pays enough to cover all the gas and tolls and includes health insurance. I realize how serious he is about this when he starts talking about buying a car with an automatic transmission. The other real alternative, if this really all comes to pass, which Iíve already started to explore, is to move to Nassau, someplace like Sea Cliff.
I have the office to myself this afternoon Ė not just the office but essentially the whole upstairs floor, it being a holiday of sorts. Since I need to write, and writing that isnít just flowing, I turn to that which truly helps me write: music. Even though I hardly listen to music during my daily life (which is truly shocking, given my past history), when I need to write, music helps me think. And to achieve a zen like state of calm focus, there is little better than a Hearts of Space programs. I want to do this every day.
Iím not quite sure how or when I developed the idea that it wasnít a good restaurant. Needing a diversion, a real dinner, and with neither of us prepared to cook, we decided to give it a try. We arrived with limited expectations, but were seated immediately, and bread Ė real bread, a crusty, tasty, chewy assortment, arrived promptly. The food (cold octopus salad, veal saltimbocca, eggplant parmesan with red sauce, chocolate mousse) was pretty damn good, some approaching the best example weíve eaten. Clearly, the restaurant is very well run, even if service from the kitchen is at a European pace.
This was a pretty spectacular Easter. I received an Easter basket for the first time in what, thirty years? The sun was shining all morning, so I worked in the garden, trying to reveal all the green. I did my inside chores, I even knit Ė casting on for a new lace travel project, because I donít know when I will next travel, but it is certain to happen Geoffrey made a lovely grilled lamb, I made a honey cake that holds great promise (but needs some experimentation and the right size pan) and we enjoyed a lovely bottle of prosecco.
It could have been worse. I could enumerate several ways in which it could have been worse. Honestly. I should be happy, delighted, that we made the delivery only two hours later than my original, stated goal, and still several hours before the absolute latest possible delivery time. I donít think any other major delivery has been made in such a prompt manner. And I will take the long view: if all the deliveries for this project have as relatively little last minute rush, and are sent in at 7 PM, that will be quite an acceptable project performance record.
I am supposed to be cold sheeping: no more yarn until Rhinebeck. It isnít just about the money, it is about the size of my stash. Yet Iím trolling through pattern indexes, trying to find the perfect pattern for a certain yarn from an indie dyer. Sheís running a contest, giving away yarn for the pattern/yarn combo voted the winner. I love one of the contest colorways and immediately am fantasizing about a sweater Ė or a vest Ė in that yarn. It takes a few minutes, and several stern reminders to myself, but I finally move on without submitting an entry.
Yes, clearly, Mercury is still in retrograde, and is trying every trick in the book to confuse communication. The plan changed hourly at the office today, as much as I had tried to get it agreed to yesterday. In the end, however, the latest and final plan is an all around improvement for everyone, so I canít complain too much about the retrograde confusion. I wonít think about the potential issues with Mondayís delivery. I also wonít think of all the new requests that came in to me in the last day, they must waitĖ Iím going on vacation tomorrow!
What an introduction to Boston traffic: evening rush hour in the rain. There appear to be many intersections at difficult angles, something almost unknown in New York, and which have stop signs or oddly timed lights. It seemed to take a long time to go just a few miles, but there are no direct routes: crossing the downtown area with its crooked and curved streets is not a simple thing above ground. Thankfully, we were in a cab and could just gawk at everything around us. Iím astonished at how many cars there were, why drive with reliable public transit?
After a day of touring the city in bright sunshine (and yes, I got a sunburn), we stumbled across The Daily Catch in the North End, having foolishly left our Boston tour book at home. With only twenty seats, and an open kitchen just an armís length away from most tables, it truly is a restaurant dinner as theater. A single cookís station, two dishwashers and the host Ė that is the staff. The focus is Sicilian seafood, with a limited menu showing a lot of calamari prepared in novel ways (such as meatballs!) and we both had a great dinner.
Venturing out on the T, we visited the Isabella Stewart Gardiner museum today. The only thing I like about the place is the courtyard, and weíre not even allowed inside it. This is really everything I spent my years as a student of Art History avoiding. I found everything about the place heavy and oppressive, from the building to the collection. By the time we left the museum, it was grey and bit chilly outside and my nose was twitchy and sneezy, probably from all the dust inside. Now itís time to find some brightness and light for Beltane tonight.
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