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Sunday. Beltane. Celebration of life and fertility and the promise of spring. After trying to get our fill of everything Boston for the last few days, we decide on a slow day. Lounging. Indulgence. Watching the activity on the harbor, and taking a harbor cruise. Enjoying the ďbeingĒ in Boston, not worrying about playing tourist today Ė you can only take in so much culture before it begins to feel like you could be anywhere. Finding an unexpected dinner location again, and having one of the most memorable dining experiences of my life. This is one of the better Beltane celebrations.
It appears that neither one of us is really ready to leave Boston yet, although we must. We havenít really understood the city yet, there are large sections that we didnít get to, but...the scale of the city, of the green spaces, of the waterways, it is all so much more agreeable than New York. We could potentially handle living closer to Boston than we now live to NYC, which would be enjoyable in so many ways. There is still a lot of research and investigation thatís needed, but I would jump ship and move to Boston in a heartbeat.
Iím having a hard time believing this is the effect of seasonal allergies. Especially since I donít typically experience seasonal allergies. But thereís always a first, and I donít have a sore throat, which is kind of amazing considering how stuffed up Iíve been for several days now. My ears are most uncomfortable, under pressure like when youíre in a plane, descending for the landing. I donít quite hear normally as a result and it is very off-putting. Iím not sure that Iím getting any better, but Iím definitely not getting worse so I just need to ride it out.
I saw the redbud on the drive today. The thin stalks of shocking pink, the buds so close to the branches that the branches themselves are outlined. It is the real sign of spring. Well, that and my lilac out back that is in bud. I havenít looked at my garden in the last few days, it does appear that despite the late start and continued cool weather that the lilacs will be blooming for Motherís day, mid-May. The plants should go out on the porch this weekend, spend a week or so acclimating before finding their summer homes outdoors.
This was a long day, one of those days where you look up at the end of the day, tired, limp and sore, and ask, ďWhere the hell did the day go?Ē There is never a good answer to that question, sometimes you donít have any answer at all. Iíd rather be asking, ďIs it time to leave already?Ē - which implies a very different state of mind, although a very similar question, ďIsnít it time to go?Ē is not a good sign. All three questions arise in some weeks yet sometimes one of those questions is the singular focus.
I do like the feeling of having accomplished something during the course of the day. So many days it is just going to work, nothing actually done there, just more ďwork in progressĒ stuff. Doing chores on weekends doesnít really make me feel like Iíve accomplished anything, itís the weekend version of work, but if I can get any chores done during the week, well, that is definitely work DONE. Today was a banner day Ė not only a bunch of chores done (never fear, thereís more to do this weekend!) but tonight significant progress was made on my knitting vest.
One of the things I like best about knitting is that you can see your progress. Even when it is a large project with hundreds of stitches per row, while it is sometimes hard to see the knitted inches grow, you can still see the yarn disappear from the ball or cone. As stitch patterns reveal themselves, as they grow, it is a thing of beauty. Even the discovery of what results from the cryptic pattern instructions is progress. And to get to the end of something, even if it only one front side, is a feeling of real achievement.
For years, I lived with a very strict budget, accounting for nearly every penny I spent. Iím not quite sure when that habit was lost, but for some years now, I have adopted a more relaxed approach. I maintain a general monthly budget that keeps track of the big items, and allows me to figure out how much potential disposable income I have after for accounting for things such as medical, clothing, books & music, and some miscellaneous funds. Looking at it today, I was really shocked at how much certain basic items have increased. No wonder I feel poor.
I hate driving in heavy traffic. I resent it on so many levels. I donít do well waiting, unless I have a distraction, and driving in heavy traffic is really an exercise in waiting. The distractions that get me through other periods of waiting (doctorís office, airports, car wash, etc.) are primarily knitting and reading. Neither of which is viable for waiting in heavy traffic if you are the driver. It just isnít. So Iím stuck with trying to entertain myself through the satellite radio or podcast selections available at that moment. Letís repeat: I hate driving in heavy traffic.
With all the flowering trees in bloom, the roads are filled with little pools of colorful petals. I love watching them rise into a whirlwind of delicate, colorful specks as cars go over them. It is a beautiful display, color, movement, ephemeral in nature, all the things that are most precious about beauty. I am knitting as fast as I can on my Spring Fling vest, because it is a beautiful display of color in the yarn, movement in the stitch pattern, and representing the ephemeral nature of Spring. I want to wear it this spring, before itís too warm.
Iím having one of those days where I just donít want to do anything that is at the top of my To Do list. There are several things that need to be taken care of in the office Ė that I have, ready to do, could just knock them off the list Ė and I donít want to do them. Iím procrastinating. Doing other things. Doing anything but that which really needs to be done. This is why I need a boatload of things on my list Ė so that I can alternate and do that which suits my mood, concentration level, etc.
I dreamed of Egypt last night, a very vivid dream, and I still remember it in detail, it hasnít faded into the mists of Orpheus. It wasnít a realistic presentation of Egypt, yet, in the way of dreams, I knew it was Egypt even though it didnít incorporate any of my memories of the actual Egypt. Geoffrey suggests perhaps it means I want to travel again, go back to Boston. Which I take to mean that he wants to travel and go back to Boston. I think this was just the result of eating a truffle too close to bedtime.
The lilacs are in full bloom. Sitting out back, there is no escaping that incredible scent. It is one of my favorites, but the scent doesnít last if you cut the branches. Iíve learned that lesson, I just let the blossoms go on the tree. It is wonderful to have the perfume waft over you when a breeze kicks up. The weather this spring has not been conducive to sitting outside for long periods, but thereís warm sunshine in this late afternoon, and I cannot resist resting for a few minutes here in this little bubble of actual spring beauty.
I didnít think weíd love the house. I figured weíd like bits of it, but not that weíd fall in love with it, warts and all. It has a number of warts, from the state of the walls and floors upstairs, to the basement. The property has very little grass, which is a good thing and bad thing, but is surprisingly private and the house is quiet. It is one of those houses that neither of us has any doubts about being happy in Ė once the work was done. That amount of work and the price make it not practical.
It is a quiet day. Neither of us seems inclined to do much of anything. I think weíre both still a bit stunned about the house yesterday, quietly gnawing on the problem of how to make it affordable. Even with the work. Or maybe heís thinking about the work to be done. I didnít see the basement, so I donít really know how large a problem that is. The rest of it, aside from the electrical question, is without a doubt, a lot of work, but given that the house is livable, could be handled one room at a time.
Iíve known about The Knitting Guild for several years. Iíve been thinking about joining, casually, one of the many things to contemplate. I was shocked when G said he thought I should go for it, that it sounded like a good idea. Of course, now that Iíve started looking at it, there are multiple levels and other things beyond just knitting some samples and swatches. It sounds interesting, a terrific way to improve my knitting. It also sounds like a lot of work, and do I really need another set of obligations impinging on my time for the foreseeable future?
Thereís another yarn store for sale in the area. It is small. Iíve never been in it. It has funky hours and it is all but hidden in its current location. Iím not going to contact the owner. But Iíve been thinking about what it would be like to own a yarn store. To give up the daily grind of working for someone else, of seeing the business problems and knowing that I canít do anything about them. To escape the trap of thinking that Iím doing anything meaningful beyond the boundaries of my own life. Iím thinking about it.
I have been trying to understand what I want to do in the next year, preparing for the annual conversation. I donít have a clue, frankly. The general direction that seems to appeal to me more is likely at odds with my desire to not travel so much and keep to a limited work week (40 hours, not 60). The fact that I donít really want to be doing this at all is probably at the heart of my apathy. The paycheck and health insurance keep me here while I pay off debt so I can do what I want.
Iím really beginning to feel like I havenít seen the sun in months. It has been grey and damp for a week now with rain or mist several times a day, or so it seems. I wonder if this is what is meant by an English spring? Everything is very lush and green, and the flowers are blooming, and it reminds me of Heleneís wedding in the Cotswolds. Still, it doesnít feel like spring, like May. It still feels like the end of winter, that late March transition period. I wonder, will this be a cool, damp summer as well?
Everything seems to smell funky, indoors and out, at home and at work. I think it is just too green, can that be? That some of green isnít perhaps fresh new growth green but moldering, rotting green which is why the smell seems to permeate everything? There was a break in the grey sky today and the sun appeared, but by the time I got outside, it had already disappeared again. I want to go to dinner at JTís on the Bay but thereís just no point if thereís no sunshine and it is too cool to be happy outside.
For a little while today, there was sunshine and it was warm. People were out and about in shorts, and my long-sleeved shirt seemed much too warm. By the time we had completed our errands and were talking about a late lunch at JTs, literally as we were talking about it, the sky clouded over and the temperature dropped fifteen degrees. With weather this fickle, I donít know whether I should try to wash and air-dry my winter hand-knits tomorrow. If it isnít warm enough to dry them in a day or two, theyíll acquire a different kind of funk.
Going to open houses used to be fun: it was cheap entertainment, and there was always the possibility of finding something wonderful. After three years, however, going to open houses is a necessity, but one that is not so much fun anymore. Iím more than a bit jaded at this point and there are other ways Iíd rather spend three hours on a Sunday afternoon. I donít really expect to like any given house anymore. And if the house doesnít delight us both at the moment of entry, why on earth do we spend another 20 minutes going through it?
I keep thinking about the first house we saw last weekend. The main floor was wonderful, I loved the layout with the kitchen opening up to the family room. That seems to really suit our lifestyle and is something weíve seen in other houses we liked. The formal living room, with beams and fireplace, and the sun room that is a converted porch are wonderful. The master bedroom is fine, but the other two bedrooms are small and the bathrooms need some work. An acre of land. The price is right. If the upstairs wasnít small it might be possible.
I saw a wild turkey today by the side of the road. At first I thought it was a person, then, maybe a pony, but whatever it was, it was freakiní huge. I was navigating a sharp curve at the entrance to the Sagtikos, so I couldnít really look around to see if there were other turkeys lurking in the shade at the edge of the woods. Iíve seen a group (stand? flock?) of turkeys before, they looked like really big chickens. Not this guy, he was bigger than most dogs. Even if he was mostly feathers, he was stunning.
I take the time during actual travel periods to knit. It isnít what I want to be knitting, I am trying to finish a sweater by the end of the month, a WIP that was started last fall and left to linger through the winter. With the cool spring weíve had, it would be the perfect work jacket/cardi, but Iíve been moving rather slowly on the sleeves. But the bulk and weight of the DK cashsilk yarn is too much, so Iíve got with me the very light and small scarf that I cast on right before the Boston trip.
The day passes in a blur with a new deadline, shorter than any other deadline, pushes aside everything Iíd planned to do. I donít mind the occasional day like this, or even a week of them, but I seem to have been living like this since last August. I donít particularly care for it. When I was at HFA, there was a whole team I could coordinate to address the emergency deadlines. Now, thereís no one - particularly no one that I can rely on, just hand something to and know that it will be done in an acceptable manner.
The heavenly scents of spring lilacs are invading the living room. The two small Korean lilac plants we bought two years ago have grown spectacularly, and they are profuse bloomers. The flowers are rather pale lilac in color, but the scent is very strong. With the porch and living room windows finally open, just sitting on the couch you cannot help but be overwhelmed by that delicate, haunting scent. Especially when combined with the sugared lemon perfume of the iris salvaged from the back Ė at least one stalk of the yellow breaks every year from the weight of the blossoms.
I havenít made any progress in being more responsive when something really hurts me emotionally. I long ago learned that bursting into tears isnít acceptable to anyone, so I just shut down, frozen; itís all I can do to just keep breathing. Not that Iím ever very good at direct conflict when it is based in emotions rather than logic, but I thought Iíd made some improvements over the last decade and was able to indicate in some way that I was very, very hurt, but apparently not. Most times the only external reaction is that Iím very, very quiet.
After a slow start, the day turned into a gorgeous summer holiday. Having done the serious chores yesterday with some help from Geoffrey, I felt perfectly happy to do as little as possible today. We set up camp in the back yard around 3 PM, there was enough shade by then that I could sit outside, and enjoyed margaritas while knitting or reading. We watched a white balloon take flight from the party two houses down, and it shot upwards with tremendous speed. Maybe it had also gotten tired of the tejano and banda music blaring from the backyard party.
I have learned a lot about knitting in the last year, and Iíve understood even more about what Iíve learned. I have finished a sweater that will probably fit me fairly well, is a beautiful color and pattern, but isnít knitted as well as Iíd like it to be. Iím not going to frog it. Iím going to keep it as a reminder to make sure the needles are suited to the yarn (less of a problem once I convert to bamboo needles), to be certain about the swatch gauge and the importance of tension, particularly lace combined with stockinette.
Talking about vacation options yesterday has me completely unmotivated to go to work today. I drive slowly through the non-expressway roads, and realize that the smell of morning spring blossoms even permeates this area, with no flowering trees or plants visible. It makes me remember that childhood morning, waking up what had been my aunt Susanís childhood room in my grandparentís house, and smelling the flowers everywhere. If I must keep working, I want to be able to take a full week off several times a year, to just enjoy life. A long weekend here and there just doesnít suffice.
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