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It may be day of the dead, but there will be no mexican hot chocolate for me today. There will be no pumpkins to smash next week. I'm in Kansas City on business so there's no real choice about dinner: as I may never be back here again, it has to be barbeque. Not only was the place hopping (signs of life!), but they had lamb, LAMB ribs! And they were delicious. If only himself could have been with me. I took a photo of my plate --something I haven't done before-- just so he could see the lovely ribs.
Sharing the van to the airport led to a discussion about New York City -- it always does. Then it turned to the need to educate the next generation and the lack of professionals ready to retire from practice and teach. Made worse by the fact that none of them (us!) have graduate degrees expected of university educators. A frank discussion of online degree options, as well as the challenges of grant writing filled the twenty minute drive through rush hour traffic (such as it is in Kansas City). I didn't realize until we exchanged cards that she was from Purdue.
Photos of orange marmalade kittens at the shelters just tug at me. I am so very tempted by the prospect of another little furball that reminds me so much of Fionn. I can't stop my heart from taking a leap every time I see that combination of orange fur, white bib, pink nose and toebeans. At the same time I know very well that just because a kitten looks like Fionn they won't be Fionn. It is unlikely that any cat will have anything like his personality. I need to find a kitty to love, one that loves me back.
For the first time, I struck out at Knit Nite. I showed up, but no one else did. Of course, I didn't figure out that I was going to be alone until after I'd gotten food. Sometimes there has been a very small, select group (three of us), but this was a first, for the whole group, I believe. Some people have wandered in, and then right back out of the group. A few of the core group have been very absent as of late, but I was a bit shocked that no one else was up for knit nite.
There is something about heading east, going past all the farms and finding organically grown produce and products. We haven't done it in quite a while - did we go at all this summer? With our houseguests, today we visited what has become our favorite farm, with icelandic sheep wool and meat! They have added a new space, specifically for the fresh meat products they now have - can you say green sausages (with swiss chard!), sicilian sausages (orange zest and fennel), lamb breasts, boudin blanc, paupiettes, bluefaced leicester wool - you get the picture. We may have gone just a little nuts.
Sundays start off so well, a day of relaxation. A nice breakfast, a few chores, typically including laundry. And then the day deteriorates. Somewhere around 4 PM, the awful realization sets in. That Monday morning is fast approaching. I generally think of it more as Monday mourning. Before I know it, it is 7 PM and the day is gone and the evening itself is rapidly vanishing. I can feel the tension rising, thoughts of what awaits me in the office. Suddenly, it is 10 PM, time to go to bed and the clean laundry still hasn't been put away.
In the sunshine, against a brilliant blue sky, the fall colors seem to me to be at their peak now. The sunshine seems sharper in the fall than in the spring. A few leaves have come down, but there are swaths of yellow, orange, scarlet to be seen everywhere, with the occasional pop of green. It does seem strange to have leaves on the tree in November, and delphiniums and iris still blooming, but I am happy to see so much color still around me. I will miss seeing these colors on the drive home, now that it is dark.
I went to bed not at all certain who was going to win, or if there would be a tie (is that be even possible with the electoral college?) when all results were in. There was no incentive to stay up late since I despise both major party candidates. It will be interesting to see how the losing party's supporters react, given the vitriol from the media, and individual presumption of righteousness of your party and the evilness of the other party candidate. This campaign cycle has essentially been a caricature of the process, revealing how broken it has become.
I read the email from our CEO with incredulity. The majority of my colleagues were strongly in the Hilary camp, but I had not realized how naive many of them are. That isn't quite the right word, but in the course of the 20th century there were many hard-fought elections, and events that suggested the end of American civilization was nigh - Kent State comes to mind. Many times people were bitterly disappointed by various outcomes. But to think that a presidential election spells the end of a small software development firm, even one with government contracts? I. don't. even.
I have known for months that the day after the election I was going to feel crushed. I don't believe either major candidate is really "qualified" for the job. I have real doubts about the character of both. I voted my conscience in the hopes it would force a change in the 2 party system. I am rather appalled at the whining, crying and protests being reported today, despite recent uncertainty at the election outcome. You don't like or understand the electoral system? Then get organized and change it - our new president elect complained it was unfair in prior elections.
Fueled by gusts of wind, fallen leaves flew across the road like a flock of bizarre birds, swooping and looping around a few feet off the ground. A little further down the road, and the leaves scuttled about, back and forth and back again, like a crazed swarm of insects. Still further down the road, there was a sudden herd of leaves making a mad dash for freedom, which clearly was on the other side of the road; the stragglers trailing behind before making the extra effort to not be left behind. I'm sure there were other unseen migrations tonight.
Just that fast, the mood has shifted. An overnight wind has striped many the leaves from the trees and we've gone from sunny, colorful fall to the deeper fall with leaves on the ground and bare tree limbs showing through everywhere. Particularly when combined with the return of early nightfall, this is when fall becomes a little less friendly, a little more desolate, hinting that winter is on its way. Typically it is this way by Halloween, adding to the spice of that night, but aside from the early cold snap, this year has had a slow onset to fall.
Yesterday I was very, very productive. I got shit done, crossed things off the list. Today, I pushed myself and got some more shit done, but the longer the day went on, the more I slowed down. By early afternoon, all I wanted to do was nap. But I buckled down and kept working and by 7 PM, everything on my list of must do was done - as well a number of other things done. Most happy, however, was the proof that the front and back of the sweater for himself are in fact done and correct: O Happy Day!
Although we've been very slow to adopt it, mom and I have started using "new to us" technology to communicate more spontaneously. Now that she has a more robust communication link, we are messaging each other. Not quite daily, but it is an easier way to have a conversation on a weekday evening. A quieter conversation between the two of us. I hope that with this new communication method we will establish a rhythm and share the "how was your day" snippets, maybe talk about holiday gifting plans in the next month? But there probably won't be any girl talk.
Sunday was when I felt it in my bones, it haunted me through the day, but today is actually the anniversary of Fionn's death. There. I said it. Fionn's death. I hate that. I won't ever be able to explain it to anyone who didn't know him, but he was my cat. And it turns out, I was his. I don't want another cat - I want him. He knew my moods, knew when I needed a kitty snuggling on my legs in order to go to sleep, and to take advantage of those afternoons I sat in my chair, knitting.
Today was one of those days that has me considering just quitting. I made it through, got home, and really want to just knit for a few hours tonight. But knitting on any of my current projects holds no appeal, will do nothing to ease the knot of frustration tying up my soul. I feel guilty that I've not yet started on the collar of the sweater for himself, but I am tired of tan - even if it is actually camel (hair). A bit of digging in the yarn closet yields something soft and colorful. I cast on and knit.
I am loving the knitting with the soft purple alpaca yarn but I am not certain the yarn is suited to the pattern. There are only 300 yards of knitting to be had, so I will keep on, since I am in such need of the pleasure that knitting this yarn and stitch is giving me. And when I am done, if I still feel the same way - that the resulting scarf or shawlette is not large enough, I shall frog it and search for a new pattern. Or I could fashion myself a cowl using the same stitch pattern.
The harvest full moon early this week was a supermoon, the closest we'll be to the moon in a 100 year period. Full moon light was intense, and after I caught the supermoon setting in the early morning hours, I thought it was over. Yet as I walked out of knit nite, there was the waxing moon, low and huge in the early night sky. It looked like something out of a movie: pale yellow with the upper right corner fading into nothingness, hanging just above the buildings across the street, and still so large its features were clearly visible.
An utterly gorgeous day: bright and clear blue skies with sunshine lighting up the fall colors, warm enough that I didn't feel the need for a coat. Or a shawl. Once back outside the mall, mission accomplished for another year, I didn't want to be inside. We went exploring for lunch and drove aimlessly about the neighborhood as we watched the sun set fire to the trees across the bays. Looking down the road, or across a yard, we watched the parade of yellow leaves twirling softly to the ground, a continuous procession of solo artists in their final performance.
We weren't expecting to meet with success. And at first, we didn't: I can't remember the last time a cat truly bit me. So after filling out the accident report and getting cleaned up, we tried again. A new arrival. And there we found a love bug: black, all fur, golden eyes, sweet, loving, curious, trusting. I fell in love. He doesn't have a name - one that we will keep, anyway. The other two are not sure what do think of him but once he decides to move out of the basement, I think we will all be very happy.
For the second day in a row, the wing is howling, quite literally, outside the windows. Before living in this house, I didn't know the wind could actually howl. With all the wind, brown, desiccated leaves are beginning to pile up on the ground. This is deep fall, arriving in time for Thanksgiving. It seems silly to write about the weather, but I've got nothing else. I had a perfectly good topic occur to me today, something rich and meaningful, an insight, and then it disappeared by the time I got home, and got through the early evening processes. Bother.
I forgot to get the pecan pie and sweet potato biscuits at the bakery today - I won't be at work tomorrow. After the fuss on Saturday to get the order in, I forgot to go pick them up after lunch. I never did put a reminder on my calendar - I thought about it but never remembered to actually do it. My mind is mush these days - I'm calling Manxy Merlin all the time, and now it seems I can't even remember to put a reminder on my calendar for something important. I don't understand why my memory is failing me.
It doesn't seem like it can be the day before Thanksgiving. I am lacking in holiday spirit, tired, and a bit cranky. I managed to make the pie crust today, but not the whole pie. I started making my list of things to do over the four day weekend, and to be honest, it was rather long. Quite long. I really feel like I need an afternoon of couch time, nothing to do but knit and watch girly movies. I need to recharge my batteries somehow and playing with yarn is the only thing I can think of right now.
In past years, we've seen bunnies in the front yard, as well as a fox. Raccoons have had fun with the garbage cans and around the pool. Earlier this year, we had a golden eagle that visited the trees around the house, and a few weeks ago I encountered a possum. This morning, we finally saw two young deer visiting the front flower beds, trying to find something of interest. They were a bit disappointed, between the late season and my attempt at deer-resistant plants, so they didn't linger, but strolled across the street and on to the neighbors.
Things are clearly going to work out well with our new feline overlord. Even if we can't decide on a name just yet - but that's another story, not the one I want to tell today. After breakfast, Boo (current term of endearment) made a running pass at Manxy that screamed "come play with me". Manxy did a double take, disbelief clearly on his face. Boo waited, then took another pass, and like that, the boys were playing chase. Later, Boo sat in my lap for the first time, for a delicious snuggle, marking me with his scent. We are home.
We both were considering taking the day off and just being couch potatos today. But the weather was nice and it is much easier to put up the holiday lights in good weather. The process has gotten easier than it was the first year. Which is not to say it is exactly easy, there's a fair amount of stretching and balancing up on tippy toes going on, and stairs. It was only a few hours and yet, at the end of it all, I hurt. And there's more lights to put up, as soon as fall cleanup happens this week.
I have been very productive over the four day holiday weekend. I did every last thing on the ToDo list that I created for myself Wednesday night. Everything except an afternoon of "couch time" - spent knitting and watching girly movies. This is what happens to me on long weekends: I get caught up in the to do list and the evenings are the only down time. When it was just me, that was girly movie time, but not anymore. I finally carved out a few hours this afternoon to watch the Gilmore Girls and knit (but not anything for me).
Little black fluffy cat is friendly, snuggly, but not one to freely seek out his humans. He spent most of the first week in the basement. Now that he's adjusted somewhat to us, he's spending more time... under our bed upstairs. I can hold him and snuggle him longer - I think he's a little scared of G. His little white teeth are still quite sharp and pointy - and quite startling against his black fur. His pink tongue and floofy tufts in his paws just kill. me. dead. He didn't come up to say goodnight to me tonight, a real disappointment.
The Givening. What a great name for the true spirit of the holiday season. I don't have many people to buy gifts for, so I choose to act as an Angel Investor in the scheme: funding others to their small acts of not-so-random kindness to the community. It is not quite the same as having a large, warm family to celebrate the holidays with, but it fosters a feeling of community. This year, what with the Knit Nite crew being so un-community like, it feels especially important. WIsh I knew what to give everyone at Knit Nite.
My colleague's reaction to my story about the behavior of the young thing at the office was comforting. I was concerned that I was perhaps over-reacting to the young thing's snark, being of an older generation, but it was agreed that such a display in a meeting was out of bounds. I admit I am at a loss on how to deal with many of the expectations of millennials in the workplace. Like bringing in your dog every day because it is experiencing separation anxiety. Who does that?! In what world is that OK? Can I bring my cat?!!
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