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Where even to begin? It has been five years since my last confession, I mean meditation. And although it is a small thing, no, a tiny thing, having a daily moment of reflection at least may help me hang on long enough to figure out the next step. For months now, I dream at night that I am being pursued. The stories and circumstances change over time, but I am hunted, trapped, stuck. My overworked brain apparently isn't capable of coming up with a better metaphor for my current reality. So do I run away or will I be rescued?
24, 24, 24 hours to go... And then I'll be sedated. OK, so not really, but in 24 hours I will be getting off this merry-go-round. Even if I have to jump out of a moving vehicle. I don't have any more fucks to give for the office, and this client in particular - the NoFucksGiven brigade has been forming for months, but the last few weeks have solidified my resolve. I will stay up late tonight and get up early tomorrow and then I am done. It is time to take back my life, what's left of it.
Dayton is come and gone - and I am seriously conflicted about whether I want to have reason to go back in a few months. On the long trip back, talked with Boss Lady about the future of the company. Seems clear that TPTB haven't seriously thought about the future of the employees, another mark in the "con" column. I tried to communicate how tired I am, that I'm not having fun, that I'm feeling fairly broken and ready to walk away, as I don't know that it will ever be possible to just take a step back from the edge.
I thought of Rae today and suddenly realized that I am as old now as she was when she died. It was a horrible thought. I remember her 50th birthday celebration out in El Paso - with grandpa and Chris. But nearly six months after the half century mark, here I am. Alive but barely kicking, on most days as of late. Another horrible realization. So it is time to wake up. Carpe Diem. At the very least it is time to put up all those family photos somewhere in this house I've lived in now for more than 3 years.
I made spice cake today, for no special reason other than I wanted to. I had time. I had the ingredients. I'm taking the weekend to do what I want, and nothing else. What I didn't have, apparently, was the right recipe. I have no idea what recipe I used all those years ago, but the flavor wasn't right. I was pretty sure from the directions (beating egg whites until stiff but not dry) that I hadn't made this cake as a 19 year old, but my memory isn't perfect. It's a lovely cake, just not the cake I wanted.
I remember watching the 1988 presidential campaign while in Germany, wondering what the hell had happened to the country, and it feels much the same now. I can't fathom a world in which Donald Trump is elected president of the USA. I realize people are angry with politicians, but I don't see how they can make the leap from Michael Bloomberg running NYC to Trump running the nation. Neither can I fathom either of the Democratic candidates as president: I wouldn't wish Hilary on my worst enemy, and while Bernie seems a decent soul, I think his policies are ruinous.
The weekend was not enough. Even with all the indulgent girly film watching and knitting, I really. did. not. want. to go to work today. And I watched Boss Lady try to spin things up again, extending a 30 minute noon meeting into 90 minutes with no end insight, whereupon I said, "I need to stop for lunch". This startled her, but after last week's discussion of "I need to maintain a regular schedule, including eating and going to bed" for my health, I don't really care if she's startled or upset. The NoFucksGiven brigade is still on the move.
I'm like a wind-up toy that has been allowed to wind-down - I've just stopped. I'm sleeping much longer than my usual 8 hours, and I still hurt everywhere. My skin has become dry and rough. I am hoping with another week of taking deliberate good care of my self that I'll begin to recover. I don't know if this is the result of the very long run of overwork, or the fact that I'm the wrong side of...whatever age. Maybe it's the combination of both factors. I no longer feel like I'm about to shatter - I've shattered.
Today is clearly the day for electronic issues. We're not even in retrograde, but seriously - two days of entries lost? I am beginning to seriously reconsider my plan to just write directly at the website, rather than collecting my own history of daily entries that get uploaded on a weekly basis. I will never know what happened, but I will accept that it was user error somehow on Saturday. At least I resolved the issue of my ipad's wifi dropping on "my" side of the house, so I can again watch videos and movies in the knitting room or bedroom.
I listened to the new album twice, hoping something would really strike me on the second listen. Given the album title, my disappointment seems somehow predestined. This is an artist I've followed for decades; I helped crowdfund the new album. I had been looking forward to the launch gig in the church with the organ where the album was recorded, but now, the gig has no appeal. Should I go anyway, to show my support in this new age of music production? I did that already by generously pledging for the album. I want to enjoy music I hear live.
The power of No is manifesting itself in different ways as I continue to set boundaries on work's incursions into my personal life. Like mentioning that Florida in late July is my personal idea of hell on earth. That I am not available THIS weekend. I don't know if the cumulative effect is registering yet with TPTB or not, but I have no intention of stopping the NoFucksGiven Brigade at this point. We're not yet far enough away from the wasteland that was February and I'm a little interested to see what the NFG Brigade will come up with next.
He finally asked about the sweater. I don't know how many years it has been - well, not that's not true. I bought the yarn in 2012. So today was about new measurements, new swatches and trying to get the project started. I am planning to alternate the pieces with other projects, and finishing some long-languishing WIPs. Maybe I'm just hopped up on the progress I've made on my current sweater (it's amazing how much you get done when you actually knit in the eveining!) but I am hoping to be able to finish his new sweater by his birthday.
How many projects can I fix or finish in the next month? Ribbon is going on one vest, and I've purchased snaps for it as well. My current work in progress come off the needles this week. I found the white cabled eyelet cardi from last summer - I don't know what that one needs. Purple linen/cotton needs one buttonband and neckband, then seaming; 3 days of work? The periwinkle silk/mohair just needs buttons of some sort, I think. The purple Blumchen could needs a looooong buttonband and seaming; a week's worth of work. Six sweaters in a month?
After the shocking news last month that both cats need to have all their teeth out, they've been medicated and fed wet food, so there haven't been any screams of pain. But tonight one of the cats did a number on the guest room comforter, leaving a wet, stained spot even after he removed the bulk. Which means it wasn't a normal movement. It was very stinky - someone either threw up or had an emergency. He's assuming Miss Leo deliberately did it and is now so pissed he's threatened to put her down. I think that would be our end.
Fionnbhear. It was three months ago, and my heart still hurts. He came when called, having been expertly trained with the promise of treats. He didn't just meow, he talked to me - we conversed. He would cuddled with me, on my legs, or along side me. I was his human, clearly, although he had learned to appreciate G. He loved a lot of our food, and had been allowed to become rather obnoxious about it. He had real personality, and I felt he had real affection for me. And this fall I somehow knew my time with him was limited.
Starless --from the box set "Road to Red", not the studio album, "Red") -- still just shatters me, one several KC songs that I adore. Almost any version will do, because they're all flawed, recorded live more than 40 years ago and when the musicians got it right, the mixing board got it wrong. But the composite "recording" that has accumulated in my mind since first listening to the box set, by layering the most perfect segments from the various versions, my mind just reels. Dynamic tension personified in song - it's like the soundtrack of a blockbuster movie in 12 minutes.
The best ever St. Patricks day was probably 1993, the year I had discovered Fitzpatricks. I won tickets to see Hothouse Flowers and Black 47 live in mid-town at a noon concert, with Elizabeth in tow. Having abandoned work, I spent the afternoon watching the crowds at Fitzie's swell; Timmy and Gene stopped obviously worrying about me when they saw how long I nursed my drink. It was a riotous good time, especially in the evening when it was mostly the “regulars” packed in like sardines. When Elizabeth got off work, we each curled up tight to our own Irishman.
Gentrification is ongoing, so Puck Fair is closing. The email from Pierce today, the day after St Paddy's had me tripping down memory lane. Puck wasn’t for me, but Swifts Hibernian has some treasured memories - including Danny, the one-time barman at Fleming's on East 86th, now a hot-shot owner of an NYC entertainment empire. Fitzpatrick’s and The Gaf are both now long gone, but do Gene & Timmy still own Trinity? Which leads directly to the thought of Spil, who is now married with children. And what of handsome Johnny, did he stay with the model? These unfinished stories. . .
We spent some time this afternoon getting the garden beds ready for planting. After pulling out all the grass that took root in the beds, I think himself now gets why grass needs immediate attention. We added peat and planting mix, lime and gypsum, hoping to loosen and lighten the beds. I planted seeds in seed starter, and hope to be able to have seedlings outside in about a month.. . heirloom varieties of eggplant, orange peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower and broccoli. After Easter, I'll sow some of the seeds for carrots, and peas. If the seeds don't take, we'll buy seedlings.
Edinburgh. Yarn. March. 2017. I'm there, I swear. I was jonesing for it badly this year, but there was just no way to make it work. I was tempted, oh, yeah, but nope. Instead I began organizing projects, WIPs to finish, swatches to make. I was inspired on Friday for a new summer cardi, using a lace vest as the blueprint, but I haven't selected the yarn yet. And then today word came of a new virtual gathering spot of some of my favorite global knitters, so I've leaped in. I want more time to knit. MOAR. TIME. WITH. YARN.
Snow. On the first full day of spring. Really? Not just a dusting of flakes falling, but several inches on.the.ground when we got up. To be honest, it was beautiful, although a wee bit of sunshine and a blue sky would have made it breathtaking. Nevermind that it was in the 50's last week - and that it will likely be upper 40's later today. There are daffodils, crocus and hyacinth all in bloom in my yard and I want them all to survive. At least there's no need to shovel, since everything should melt by end of day.
I took time at work today to breathe, literally and figuratively. I had lunch with T, who used to share the office with me. We didn't go far, but since there was no one else around, we could really talk. Vent. Giggle. And when I got back to the office, I didn't plunge immediately into a long list of things that had to be done before I left foe the day. I may have taken some time to read some of my backlog of email, follow some links, catch up on industry news - all work related if not directly billable.
The weekends in April are beginning to fill up fast. There's the orchid show, which we haven't been to in years, and is always worth whatever crap traffic we must endure to get there. I have never been to the Tartan Day parade, despite several years of planning. There's the Pierce Turner gig, and the weekend out in San Antonio. The latter is the only non-negotiable item, being that it is work. And of course, there will be gardening every weekend, as the plants ordered during deepest winter begin arriving. Weekends need to be three days long, not two.
With several seedlings sprouting, I am beginning to dream of more than just the four garden beds. Of black and red currants, and pink gooseberries along the back fence. Raspberries growing tall. A sour cherry tree setting fruit. A pear tree out front. Of course, even if we plant all of this now, we won't see much -- if any -- fruit until next year at the earliest. It seems so long to wait, but I've been waiting for years already. Nevermind the occasional statements about how expensive it is to retire here... and that I am hoping for early retirement myself.
Another day just trying to make it through to the five o'clock whistle. There's not a lot to do and I'm not thrilled to be doing it - what a combination for procrastination. The only thing worse would be to not have any actual work. Which will happen in another two weeks, unless I'm very lucky. A month ago I couldn't keep my head above water at work, and now I've got a single item on my agenda. It is feast or famine, there's very little in-between. I don't know if I'll ever again find it to be rewarding work.
Knit nite was a giftapalooza last night. It was a full house, really everyone was there. I shared the love of mom's jam - spiced plum was the runaway favorite request. Jen brought the sugar scrubs and bath bombs she made at Christmas. Everyone was very festive, although a bit tired, I think. We ended early, everyone off to their holiday weekend preparations. I try to imagine what it would be like to attend several gatherings in a week, as some do. But I've not found another group that I tolerate, let along enjoy. So Fridays are my day to socialize.
The plan was to celebrate the spring holidays by planting things in the earth and sowing seeds today. The weather forecast suggested otherwise, with not just near-freezing temps, but dipping below 30 on multiple nights now being forecast within the week. Argh! After weeks of higher than usual temps, we have to go low now? Since the survival of so many plants already in question (e.g., last summer's storm, the early thaw this spring) I am reluctant to risk the new plants. So no planting today, just chocolate and treats from the bunny. I want my spring now!
I am still trying to find my balance. To not bitch and whine and rant and rave about the stupidity at the office. To not just write about quotidian existence. But instead, to find the moment of beauty, reflection, revelation or significance in any given day. To write something that helps me find my center. I knew I was in a bad mental space but I had hoped to recover my equilibrium in a month. Doesn't look like I will achieve that, I'm still trying to get through each day just to do it all over again the next day
I knew it was going to be a rough night, but apparently I underestimated the situation's potential. Official start time was set for 6:30, but that was the start of the cocktail hour... and a half. By 8 we hadn't even ordered dinner, the stories and gifting of mementos were still in progress. Everyone was wedged in, a large number of people in a series of small, connected spaces. The ambient temperature kept rising. If you didn't bring a drink to the table, waitstaff removed simply your glasses without comment or inquiry. I left without dessert at 10:15.
I'm trying to ignore all the drama and focus on one thing: the upstairs was warm tonight. The temp was several degrees above the thermostat setting, which means... heat actually rose and stayed in the house. Simply by sealing the AC vents, ducting and intakes the cold breeze upstairs is gone. Just like that. I can't believe it, but I was able to read in bed without being cold. It almost beggars belief, but if this is what they can do in a few hours, I cannot wait to see what happens when they finish the entire project next week.
This rant has been building all day. I really want to let it out and not keep anything in, to express my disbelief and frustration. That may feel good, but I don't think there's anything to be gained by it. Instead I think I need to focus on what it is I truly desire, no matter how impractical or impossible it may seem right now. Figure out what it is I truly want. Imagine it. Think about what it feels like to live that reality. But first, I do have to figure out what it is that I truly desire.
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