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May Day. Beltane. My celebration plan was for a quiet day to ourselves, starting with a yummy champagne brunch. As the rain began in the afternoon and I had the afternoon to myself, I suddenly realized circumstances were what I had been asking for and not expecting. It was time to upgrade my laptop OS. What better way to celebrate nature than playing with electronic circuits. And during Mercury retrograde. Talk about non-traditional Beltane. Fortunately, all worked out: I caught up on guilty pleasure television, started knitting a new shawl for me, and the upgrade went without a hitch.
Mike Garson has been releasing videos of various Bowie performances, which I have been slowly consuming. I find it beyond riveting to watch Bowie sing and perform - his background in theater evident every time he got onstage. I had no idea there were so many videos of him over the last 25 years, but I'm glad now. He was a primary part of the soundtrack of my life to date and I saw him perform several times. I am fortunate to have seen concerts of every one of my soundtrack artists at least once: Queen. Bowie. Van Morrison. King Crimson.
It is a million dollar day, three quarters of it from me. Despite being redirected away from what we had proposed, the disagreements with one of the managers at the customer, the long nights, struggles with data and desperation to complete anything (and everything) related to phase one - we have won the next round. Of course, this happened during the most intense phase of Mercury retrograde. The original proposal was written during the same, as was the disastrous January meeting. So I am expecting there to be a fair amount of drama in this next round, but still - we won.
I have acquired some distinctly odd followers since San Antonio. I mean, I can't even begin to figure out how they found me, never mind why they would follow me. Seriously. I realize I have a very utilitarian focus on my social media useage that is not the norm. But there is absolutely no connection between some of these people and me, my posts, my interests, even considering my other alter-egos - other than themselves. Would you really follow someone without reading a few of their recent posts? Are you that bored / boring in real life? Is there no one
Even with the window closed, I can hear the peeping outside as I lay in bed. It isn't a deafening roar, it is a gentle, happy serenade that makes me smile. Himself says it is tree frogs. I really don't remember hearing them before. Is it because of all the rain this year? The loss of trees in the area? I don't know why, or if I could somehow not remember something so happy in the prior spring seasons? It is definitely another harbinger of spring, which delights me all the more because of the persistent grey skies this week.
I want to find a write-in candidate I can support. I cannot stomach either of the current presumptive candidates. It really is the devil and the deep blue sea - certain, horrible death, either way. I have dreams of a John Anderson or Ross Perot independent candidate organizing a blitz on social media. It seems impossible to me that people could actually understand the principles upon which this nation was founded and get behind either a xenophobic, billionaire peddler of word salad or a blindly ambitious, peripatetic politico who refuses responsibility. My heart breaks for the future of my country.
Some days, I've nearly forgotten that Mercury is in retrograde. Other days, the universe won't let me forget it. Electronics fail. Messages of all kinds go astray. Simple expression of opinions becomes tantamount to declarations of war. Since all week I managed to forget that Sunday is mothers day, I didn't actually order flowers until last night. Late. Online. And I didn't really believe they'd get delivered today, even though I used the local florist, not a national chain website. When I got email confirmations on both orders, I was both startled and relieved that this electronic communication / transaction worked.
Rain again this morning did not stop me, the seedlings went in the ground today. Although it was grey and damp when I started transplanting and simultaneously thinning the seedlings, the sun came out suddenly. Ferociously. Watching the poor seedlings that hadn't seen true sunlight in a week begin to wilt, I stopped thinning the seed pods and just set the whole pods in the ground, in the hopes that some of the individual plants will survive. Everything's in the ground now, and the peas I sowed two weeks ago have shoots, but I think the carrots may have drowned.
We are inching closer to something big at work. Or rather, I am. Something I have wanted, not for what it is, but for what it represents, in and of itself. The fact that it also would be my fourth home run in as many turns at the bat, with almost no coaching, may be even more significant. But is this the kind of success I really want? Or might this actually enable me to shift roles yet again and find the proper balance of work that is interesting, but not so much as to drive me crazy with stress?
I've got no real travel knitting. Something for fun, something light and easy. And small! If I'd have had one more yard of yarn, I would have finished the scarf on the flight down, but I ran short on the cast off. I hope that doesn't turn out to be a metaphor for this trip. I did bring the current piece of the sweater for himself - the second sleeve. I knit the first one in a week, now I am marooned on sleeve island. I need to find a good lace project, not too difficult or fiddly, but just right.
I. just. can't. even. This makes no sense at all. Two and a half hours discussing what was wrong with what we proposed. And they are now advocating the point of view we started with back last summer! They seemed to forget that THEY TOLD US TO GO WITH THIS APPROACH. Their ignorance of the domain is beyond breathtaking. Every time we brought them back to general agreement on our proposal, the problem child would break away and return to her position of intractable ignorance. Why did they award us a second phase? The other team must have dropped out.
Five years on, and even further out from the economic crisis of 2008, Norfolk shows signs of a construction boom. The amount of new and not quite finished waterfront (or waterview) housing lining the Chesapeake Bay is startling. Forty years ago it was married soldier housing, according to my companion, no one wanted to live there. But with the current premium for anything waterview -- and looking east over the bay you might see ocean -- developers have taken over. At least Capitan Groovy's is still there, still going strong, still serving some of the best and most interesting seafood I've had.
I fell of the sheep today. Not that I was truly cold sheeping with any real intent, but the news that one of my favorite yarn vendors (uncommon and gorgeous yarns, prompt mail-order shipment, real customer service) is closing sent me into a tailspin. Must.get.the.yarn! Plus, it's Friday the 13th - and I've been a zombie all day after returning so late last night (this morning). And while most of what I would have bought has already sold out in the colors I would choose, there was still enough that I've blown my allowance until Knit Camp.
A day spent digging in the dirt. After much discussion about location, we planted the azaleas himself bought, and removed some of the plants from Bill that I never liked. And which came with their own weed. After my prior experience with invasive, uninvited weeds literally choking my flowers, I'm rather ruthless about removing weeds, so the whole plants were sacrificed. And I tried to keep up with yanking the clumps of grass that keep springing through the mulch, but I'm barely keeping even in this race. I'm not impressed with the (supposed) preventive herbicide that was used this year.
After the bright sunshine of yesterday, today's grey and cold weather is a bit of a disappointment. But I don't think I have any more energy to give to the garden today. Instead, we spent a quiet day inside, doing chores, puttering and reading. I blocked a newly completed scarf and contemplated new patterns, eventually casting on a luxurious yarn in the colors of a peacock for a beautiful scarf with a lot of nearly mindless knitting. This is a project to turn to when I need some comfort, when my hands are tired from gardening, or knitting summer linen.
Today was a fire drill for the children. I have really begun to think of most of them as children who cannot see the world beyond the end of their noses. Who cannot imagine a world after today, let alone tomorrow. It is very disheartening and engenders in me a sense of resentment. I am sure this manifests in various ways at different times. But seriously, can they not think ahead at all? When asked to do something, they ignore it until someone is standing over them, asking for the completed thing. Luckily (?), the customer postponed the meeting on Wednesday.
Wisteria is blossoming around us. Traveling different roads today, we saw clear evidence of its profusion: the walls of purple scaling up the sides of telephone poles, trees, buildings. Although it has been quite cool recently, apparently there has been just enough sun. Lilacs are in bloom everywhere (though not yet the Miss Kims), bearded iris are unfurling. I don't really remember the last east coast El Nino spring, but have hopes that a proper spring will still happen - by that I mean sunshine and balmy temperatures, without the sun beating down on you mercilessly, baking you in an instant.
I am getting behinder and behinder here. This is the perfect time to implement the 5 minute morning habit - the boss lady is out of town for two weeks. But I haven't managed to do that yet this week. As a crutch, I'm going to add it to my calendar, so it is staring me in the face every morning. What I'd really like is to be able to do it during the drive in to work: coffee in hand but not yet entirely awake, while watching the (generally) peaceful surroundings slowly scroll by on the (mostly) two-lane road.
Retrograde is coming to an end soon, just a few more days and then it will be gone. Until the next cycle. The start and end are generally more chaotic with more communication gone more awry than the middle of it: wrong-number calls, missing mail, mislaid web links, confusion, mistaken intent, it is all there in hideous glory. Even knowing about retrograde cannot insulate you from its effects. Tracking the retrograde paths has helped me better deal with it, reminding me to sit back, breathe, double check the important details, and then check again before proceeding with my task.
Sunshine. Meltingly warm sunshine. I'd almost forgotten what it feels like. It was a beautiful, very bright day and I was in the office hiding from the light, a headache dodging me until late afternoon. I pulled the blinds down to screen the bright sunlight bouncing off the harbor. I really wanted ice cream - it is a tradition I have on the first warm, summer-like day to get ice cream at the local parlor on Main street. But I was afraid to go out at lunch, fearing the bright light would trigger the return of a full blown migraine.
It is not that I didn't do anything productive today. But I didn't do much that was productive today. Or this whole week, to be honest. I frittered time away in research when at the office, or on reading novels and knitting when not at work. I am pretty sure I could do with another week of the same - a mental vacation, that is. I may or may not get it, even though Boss Lady will be out of the office next week as well. She has been checking her email and sending missives from Germany, which doesn't bode well.
The smell of lilac coming in the front door from our single Miss Kim is quite heady. Almost overwhelming. It makes me want to run out and buy masses of lilacs and plant them everywhere. Of course, I feel the same way about iris. And peonies. And old roses. After long, cold, and white winters the first colorful flowers of spring are a balm for the eyes. But the scents of spring, lilacs, iris, peonies and roses, and fresh mown grass, make me feel fully alive. Particularly when combined with sunshine, which there was - brief and fleeting, but actual sunshine.
Yes, it is definitely time to be thinking about what I really want to be doing with my life. I don't want to be babysitting others in the office or even mentor anyone. Resources just became even more precious and I'll now be sharing an office with TWO people this summer. If I have to work forty hours a week somewhere, I want to work with really smart people who don't ask simple questions, who already know at least as much me. Who possess the ability to execute on a task, without being monitored, prodded, or bribed in some fashion.
I have been reminded that it is prom season. I was never very interested in prom. In part because I was certain no one would ask me, and that I'd not be allowed to go. Even if those two improbabilities came to pass - what on earth would I wear? Then, my junior year, I was asked by a fellow KJSO member - to his senior prom! I had a crush on Matthias; he was nice, smart, a little quiet, very cute. He'd never asked me out before, but suddenly, there I was, in a Gunnie Sax dress, dancing with a boy.
What exactly is my promised land? The answer to that question has suddenly become much more important, as The Invasion has begun: where there was only one, there are now two, and next week there will be three. I can't reconcile the current -and the new, anticipated future- work situation with something that I find acceptable now, or in five years - never mind something more positive than merely "acceptable". Mentioning I wanted out of this situation within five years did not get a supportive response at home. I need to be able to share the vision of my promised land.
The sun is blazing today, and setting fire to the fragrance engines of the single Miss Kim lilac that resides outside the front door. The output is incredible, with its scent floating up the inside stairwell to the corner the master bedroom off the hallway. The lucious fragrance also drifts across the living room to the TV room, utterly distracting. The strong sunlight has leached the color from the blossoms, which also seem to have become heavy, their weight pulling down the branches. The bush looks like an overexposed photo, and I know it has given its all to us.
Knit night was a full house tonight, with a lot of finishing going on. This gathering has become my only real social interaction with others. I don't socialize at work - there's a lack of personal things in common. I don't count email as social interaction; my very few "real life" friends are scattered across the globe and basically never pick up a phone unless I call them. Which I very deliberately haven't done lately, due primarily to a certain frustration with the situation. I miss going out to dinner and talking about absolutely everything over a few glasses of wine.
Summer is unofficially here. It is as though the switch was flipped and now spring is done, summer is here. In addition to it being Memorial Day weekend, and eighty-odd degrees in the sun, we have fuchsia baskets for the back yard, the pool is glittering in the sunshine. We had a late lunch at JT's; I had a margarita. Followed by ice cream from Maine while looking over the harbor on the sound. As afternoon slid away, there was iced coffee. In a single day, we experienced all of our summer hallmarks. Guess it is time for fall?!
The currants are finally planted. Which is a very good thing, as it appears the weakest plant is nearly dead, and the strongest plant has currant berries starting to form. What a range in the stock, and of its tolerance to the recommended storage method over last few weeks. I put together the additional soaker hose for the driveway woodland garden today before collapsing into a puddle. Significant rainfall from coastal storms is expected tomorrow so the patio containers may linger unfinished, but the end of summer preparations is near. The largest job still remains: cleaning the screened-in porch.
Swatching. For many knitters it is a dirty word. They struggle to match someone else's gauge, the same number of rows and stitches. I view it as a journey of discovery: do I like this yarn, in this stitch pattern? Sometimes it takes a while to find the right combination, sometimes it takes being a bit harder on the swatch to get it to reveal its full potential. Like the lilac linen/silk swatch. It wasn't softening, blooming, filling in. Until himself sent it through the dryer with his laundry - then, it was perfection with a soft drape. Pattern time!
The joys of spring are fleeting indeed. The tree peepers are still serenading me at night, but there seem to be fewer frogs joining in. Lilacs are gone. The large bearded iris took a beating in Sunday's storm; most are now withered brown tufts. The peonies are in bloom, the late-comers arriving in the next day. Driving to work, the mix of flowers now blooming near the road has such a pervasive scent that I can smell it from the car with the sunroof open. This is a truly ephemeral joy of spring, which lasts only a few days.
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