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It would be nice to think that with the start of a new year, everything will eventually be better. What kind of magical thinking is that? Let's take the Tournament of Roses Parade: the floats are pretty amazing, mechanical wonders covered in plant materials assembled by hand. (Never mind that the televised coverage of the marching bands is terrible). But all that volunteer time spent on something soÖ frivolous. What if those 40,000 hours for a single float were redirected into real community service? If all the fruit, dried beans and other edible plant materials were donated to food banks?
Years ago, I watched Howards End. I don't know if it was a badly edited for TV version or perhaps I didnít pay enough attention, but the story disappointed me for some reason, even the movie was gorgeous. Watching it again, it was much more to my liking, although some of the significant details are merely implied. The society that existed a little over a hundred years ago is in so many ways so foreign to todayís norms. Yet in the last year, the seemingly widening gap between the Haves and Have Nots is an eerie echo of that world.
Buried in the mists of time. My calendar tells me about the wall to wall meetings, the PT, the time I thought I blocked out to get shit done. But what happened on this day? I honestly have no idea. Thereís a blur of activity and I seem to be running from one thing to the next. Day in, day out. I am trying to not feel overwhelmed on any given day. I am trying to find the small pauses. Dinner. Knitting. The cats. While laying on the PT table with heated pads. Pedaling on the bike at PT. Wherever.
The word counter is broken. It took me a few minutes to realize that the I was adding words, but the word count was not going up. Switching gears and writing outside of the site, I have the perfect opportunity to create a backup Ėinsurance against lost entries Ė but I donít want to do that. I donít want to be able to easily refer back to the other entries of the current month. If I am writing daily Ėand Iím not, just yet, damn it! Ė then I donít need to know if Iíve already written or ranted on a topic.
It would be nice to feel like I could actually take a snow day. To sit with a cup of hot cocoa or tea and watch the snow fall. And then ignore the snow Ėand the windy, bitter cold-- for the rest of the day, or two, with things bubbling on the stove or in the oven. A real, old-fashioned snow day. No work. No teleconferences. But a day to just watch the winter from inside, or go out to make snow angels. Today, himself went out with the snowblower and cleared the driveway, amazingly the cars were all clean.
Just a day or so ago I was complaining about the lack of a lap cat. And this morning, Boo decided it was time for another snuggle fest. I sat on the couch for nearly two hours with him on my legs -- he even returned when we both scrambled off the couch to identify a sudden, unexplained noise (oil delivery). When this cat takes a nap, he sleeps like the dead and goes completely limp. He also indelicately sprawls the entire length of my legs (yes, heís that large) but makes the most charming little purr noise when sleeping.
Some year, I donít know when, Iíd like to take two weeks off at the end of the year. To have the time to truly enjoy the holiday cycle Ė drinking hot chocolate and watching holiday movies while the snow falls. I donít want to feel Iíve missed it as Iím taking down the tree. And why is it that it takes so much less time to take all the decorations down? Iíve also noticed that every year the ornaments pack up into smaller and smaller spaces. That is not due to breakage, although this year Boo did break one ornament
Five years out and the bloodwork is still good. I am optimistic that I am out of the woods and we're going to start playing around with the meds. My weight has stayed stuck for five years. I've had no energy after 5 PM for five years. There has to be change in the next year. Iíll start with the simple stuff Ė changing the ratio of T3 and T4. If that doesnít work, Iíll get the formulations changed. There has to be some way to get back closer to the pre-surgery state. Right? This is America and it is 2018.
I am doing a lousy job of writing every day. I am doing a great job of thinking about writing every day. Evening reflection Ėjust before bed- has never worked for me, because I get wound up thinking about the day that was. And then I have problems getting to sleep. Morning reflection while having coffee is the goal, but since at least three days a week I am driving while having coffee. . . Ok, time out: I need to get the remaining apps installed on the new phone. Then I can record my morning blatherings for later transcription.
My calendar for the next week is a train wreck. By Tuesday of next week, my calendar for the following week will also be a train wreck. Iím in every meeting. Having to review every document. This canít continue like this, week after week. I donít really have any way to change it, other than to go back to management and ask again, what is their plan. But I wonít ask them, Iíll ask our talent manager, who at least really gets the problem. And understands, probably better than anyone, just how close I am to walking out the door.
For years, I've wanted to escape being trapped in the office for eight hours every day. Working at the incubator two days a week for a year now has helped with that feeling of being trapped. And then there are days like today, where I've got a lunch meeting, and afternoon appointment. I wonít say it doesnít feel like work. But it does feel a lot freer than sitting behind a desk all day. Now, if I could just decorate the incubator office Ė paint it the same color as my space in the main office, put things on the wall.
The drizzle yesterday merely dented the snow piles. Today, with the air temperature hovering near 60, the snow piles are disintegrating at a rapid rate. Theyíre also giving off steam at a steady rate, like millions of little volcanoes. Backed by a grey sky, the landscape is very atmospheric, with low lying fog in places that usually never have fog. The many holiday outdoor decorations that are still up twinkle more softly in the fog. By the time I get home there is very little snow left so all our holiday lights are again visible Ė if they still have power.
Without any encumbrances today, I blazed through a lot of chores. Even after sleeping until 9:30 this morning (I can't believe the cats let me sleep that long!). I know why I am not likewise so productive on most weekends: we sit on the couch until 11 AM. I am gone so much during the week, I try to make up for it on the weekends. Not that hanging out on the couch really makes up for being gone on travel, or being a useless pile on weeknights. Particularly when Iím on the computer trying to get personal stuff done.
I have music to listen to! Books to read! But I currently canít find them anywhere. Iíve crammed my life into the knitty room Ėhalf the size of the library in Patchogue-- and it is bursting. My lovely ďnewĒ table is buried in stuff. I want to find the books, even if I donít know when Iím going to read them Ė the Bowie museum catalogue, another artisanal bread cookbook, some good science fiction. And the music Ė Eno! Jarre! More! I need to get it on to the iPod so I can listen to it in the car, or at work.
I found a picture of the perfect kitchen Ė perfect in the way that it feels, its visual aesthetic. It is warm, glowing and bright. Definitely not sterile. It has wood countertops and white, yes, WHITE cabinets. I am shocked that I love this white kitchen. The cabinets are shaker style, the hardware is simple but solid and slightly stylized. And I know, without a doubt, that himself will love it as well. I want this kitchen. But I really donít think it will go with the living room, which is open to the kitchen. Do I show him the picture?
Has anything actually changed yet, or am I just imagining it? Do I actually have more energy during the day? Or is it just that the sun still hasn't completely set when I get out of work now? There is no doubt I am still very tired at the end of the day - at 9 PM. But that actually is a couple of hours later than my previous ďcollapse into a heapĒ time for the last few years. Iím still sleeping relatively well Ė I do sometimes wake up at 3 AM, but isnít an everyday occurrence. Time will tell.
Three weeks ago, I walked out feeling no pain. Two hours later, I was crushed, my back screaming. The time between has been spent slowly improving, then getting worse, then improving a bit, then faltering again. Another 90 minute session today and I walk out feeling no pain, again. You can become so accustomed to pain that you hardly notice it Ė until it is suddenly absent. I am determined to not lose this feeling of freedom for several days. To be able to stand and walk freely: this therapy is not indulgence, this is concentrated rehabilitation to enable real life.
Craptastic day due to another headache. It was feeling like a sinus headache, but when my stomach headed sideways and nausea set in, I knew it was a migraine. Damn. But there isn't really any way to work through it, the only way out is to stop looking at the computer, take the meds and close my eyes. So more PTO hours slipped through my fingers. I am trying so damn hard to get two weeks banked in the hopes we can actually take a vacation together this year. I donít care if all we do is stay at home.
There are pictures of my dad that I've never seen. In one, he's a young boy playing with something with intense concentration, almost a scowl. I have a picture of a fairly young me with the same face. Mom says it comes from Grandpa, not Grandma. Pictures of Rae, with her typical head tilt. A picture of grandpa at the sewing machine, working on upholstry. Christmas of 1979, with both sets of grandparents and Muriel for Christmas breakfast. Smokey Mountains circa 1976? And Thanksgiving or Christmas 1970ish, with dadís family all present, Rae absolutely glowing with Christopher on her lap.
It seems we are both on board with the kitchen renovation. To think it could be done by the end of April... It seems implausible that we could have such a functional kitchen. We used the photos I took of the drawings to start planning what would go where, in which cabinet, leading to questions about just what was behind some of those cabinet doors. There will be so much more storage and counter space. We brought home samples so we can see how things look next to what is already in the living room, which wonít really be changing.
I readily admit Iím a selfish knitter. And Iíve dragged my heels on starting the otter. But I found the yarn and the needles have arrived. So Iíve cast on, trying to take inspiration from the many, many knitters who have recently conquered the pattern. I canít believe Iím doing this Ė the pattern is 15 pages! Although it is small, I am not so naÔve to think that Iíll have this done in a week. I donít knit as well with double pointed needles, and all the little parts seem quite fiddly to me. But keep calm and knit on.
I do take the physical therapy session seriously. And they have absolutely helped, even if I donít do all the exercises at home, every day. Which I donít. I donít floss every day either (donít tell my dentist). I donít seem to do anything every. single. day. But after three months, of PT, Iím ready to move on. Iíve stopped going twice a week, slowing to just once a week. And I havenít noticed any decline. In fact, theyíve had to give me more difficult routines, even while Iíve started to back off the anti-inflammatories. One more month, no more.
I am out of time. And out of ideas. This is another week that went by, with me scribbling notes and misplacing them. I really canít write at night on most days. Thereís too much anger, tiredness, angst, frustrationÖ. Unless I had one of those great days, where something remarkable happened. But they are few and far between. If I can write in the morning Ė about my dreams (both the sleeping kind and the desired future kind) it is a more optimistic pile of words. With a broader range of topics Ė I retreat to the same old topics when Iím tired.
Down to the wire. Every day. It is that way at work. And here, in the space of my words. All my gimmicky ideas to record my thoughts in the morning are not working out. I do alright on the weekends, but weekdays Ė not so much. I donít even pause at lunch so that time is gone. The drive home is spent either trying to decompress with the iPod or calling my parents. I want to be able to breath during the day. If I donít breathe, I donít have time to notice anything thatís going on. Iím not present.
Going through the comic stories scene by scene, we notice the details. One of the students understood visual storytelling and so the comic reads like a comic, rather than stilted conversation. One team understood -or at least remembered- how to link a person to an IP address. We had thought that this group was essentially a loss: they hadnít signed up for the workshop and most clearly didnít want to be there; and they didnít know anything about the topic at the start. But the comics show us that there was more connection with the content than we had thought.
My experience today at a Madison Avenue medical practice, with highly trained staff was quite enlightening. When I think back to several local experiences with the same diagnostic procedure Ė today is what I expect of modern medicine. Those barely trained, fumbling technicians I saw in the past were just primitive by comparison. There is a reason so people seek out doctors in NYC. I should have made a play date out of it Ė gone to a museum or a yarn store, something! But if the news the doctor delivered had been different, I wouldnít have been able to enjoy anything.
River otters are adorable, clever creatures. I know exactly why himself adores them. What I donít know is why I ever agreed to knit him one. The idea was simple: spend two weekends knitting to bang it out for this yearís Valentineís day present. Reality, however, is not quite as I imagined. Fifteen pages of a row by row pattern, it is not always one row per line. I am trying to be patient, and remember it is a gift for someone I loveÖ but mostly, I want to hurl the thing across the room and set it on fire.
After months of planning, discussions, looking at drawings, photos, materials, we have a plan. Today is the day of do or die, put up or shut up: write the check and sign the contract so we can start in time to be finished in May, or letís abandon the concept altogether. No one wants to live through the process, but the finished product - Iím very much looking forward to a greatly improved kitchen. It will cost a boatload of money, but itís about what I figured the project would cost. Cold feet meant we almost did abandon the project
Eating dinner outside in January. Alyssum and snapdragons in bloom. I just canít quite wrap my head around the reality of it. All in all, it was a very good day, between easy travel, interesting conversation, a good movie and dinner with Elizabeth Ė It doesnít seem possible that we met 25 years ago, but the numbers donít lie. The icing on the cake was the full moon, tracking it from the airport to hotel, and then while walking to Acenar. I would really like a couple more days like this every month Ė time to enjoy life and those around me.
After so many good conferences, filled with people who want to talk to me, and whom I want to talk with, I suppose it was time for a dud. Logistics were off. The sessions were off. Attendance was very low. Lunch was pretty bad. Exhibitors were minimal. I know it is hard to run a conference, but they had professional help. It wasnít a day wasted Ė I got some information, but I donít think there will be any redeeming upside (e.g., useful business leads) to this conference, but at least I didnít have to stress myself with brutal travel arrangements.
Traveling home today was almost a luxury. But I was in the cab at 6:30 AM, so not really. From there on, however, the day was relatively easy. The rain in a San Antonio morning was soft. Boarding was easy, and coffee during takeoff was lovely. Getting just above the clouds, there was a break in the clouds just around downtown, it looked like a fairy tale city. I watched The Crown and knit while I thought about everything on this trip. The conference. Seeing Elizabeth. The unusual conversation on the flight from Atlanta with Jim. The Emily Dickinson movie.
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