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It used to be that three day weekends were a wonder. There was enough time to do everything. I still try to do everything on a three day weekend: chores, gardening, have some fun, have some rest. It doesn’t quite seem to work out. I had a list for today – long, but reasonable, a good mix. But I didn’t accomplish half of it. I needed an afternoon to just sit. I seem to be needing that a lot more these days, I don’t know if it is the march of time, or still recovering from this spring?
We are not very good at going visiting – though we really don’t have many friends locally, so there’s not much opportunity. And we much prefer to host, in any case – food is always better. But sometimes, the favor must be returned – particularly when you bear at least partial responsibility for finding the apartment in question. Rooms are relatively large, with a newer kitchen and a designated parking spot for her and plenty for guests. The visit occupies most of the afternoon, more than we originally planned, and so there’s another day gone in the three day weekend.
I am absolutely effing tired, sitting with coffee in the early morning quiet of the house as I contemplate the list of leftovers from the weekend and that which was originally given to today. There’s very little chance it will all get done. But it is good to have goals, right? It is very nice to cross things off the list when they are done, and when multiple lines are drawn it is a feeling of real accomplishment. I don’t think that reward is really what motivates one to write to-do lists. Especially when individual items malinger.
The schools don’t have a full first day of class today, thankfully. So the commute is a bit more crowded, but not yet cars stacked like lemmings at the lights. I am hoping with only two days of driving commute this week, and a partial work week next week (here I come, Maine!) I will be able to ease my way into the post-summer, September driving reality. When I get back from Maine the Jewish holidays will provide some days off school, so perhaps I won’t reach full reality until October? A girl can hope, can't she?
Some people are able to balance being able to get done that which needs to be done without stressing about cutting corners and (or, or?) without significant cost to their personal life. I want that kind of a job. Seriously. I want to be able to have a list of things that need to get done and look at it and feel “I can get this done.” I want to be able to give someone assignments it didn't get done correctly and on time. I don't really think that is asking for that much but apparently this afternoon it is.
At night, driving in my car with all the windows closed and the air conditioner running, I can still hear the crickets outside. This is how you know it's late summer, when you cannot escape the crickets. Not the cicadas, just regular crickets doing their regular, non-stop chirping. I think I may be hearing an echo of them in my ears even when they have stopped. I am ready for the humidity of this summer to end. It seems like the air conditioner has been going non-stop forever, though I know it is just a matter of weeks.
I really miss our Friday night knit nights. At least three out of four weeks we now gather on Thursdays, because that is better for some. Never mind that it is worse for others. Even on that first Friday night we're now closing up shop and going home at 8 PM. I really miss the nights that we would sit and next and talk until 9:30 or 9:45, literally until the place was closing up around us. I also dislike the chairs, but there’s not much choice about that. Maybe I’ll start bringing my own pillow.
I awoke today to post nasal drip – ugh! I’ve dosed myself with everything I can think of hoping I won’t actually get sick this time around, but this is how it starts. Tomorrow is somebody’s birthday and I need to find all the bits and bobs I’ve hidden away for the last few months. I also will be headed out in a few days to a knitting retreat in Maine, my vacation for the year. Sitting for an hour or two waiting for the shop to finish work on my car is just the ticket today.
My first attempt at a Victoria Sponge turned out acceptable but was not a roaring success. The cakes didn’t rise much, so they’re a bit dense. The buttercream icing is rather a bit too sweet for our taste, but the whipped cream wouldn’t last as long as we’ll have that cake. But it all came together in the end – and in time -- and I got to use my new cake stand, hurrah, and it made a very pretty birthday presentation today. It was a quiet celebration, but at least there was some celebration: Happy Birthday, Sweetie!
The picture of Lake Superior and a few, brief video clips are all wonderful reminders of our annual family vacations from my childhood. On the first day's drive, getting up to the Mackinac bridge I would read in the backseat, but once we were near the bridge I had my nose glued to the window, looking for blue water. I would wait through the morning of the second day of the trip, hoping for that first glimpse of Superior as we were crossing the upper Peninsula. That was the best car game of all time from my point of view.
Every year I try to avoid this date. The memorials of September 11 are still overwhelming to me. I realize I was very, very fortunate in so many ways. Every year I read Miss H’s essay its more than enough for me. Sometime during the day I am screaming back through years, to the absolute uncertainty, sitting in my bathtub, on the phone with Ron, just trying to get through the rest of today, tonight, the first week, the first month. Sometime in the future maybe I’ll get through the day without breaking down but not this year.
School just started last week and already the students already have a day off! Love those holidays in NY – no wonder school continues until the end of June! I didn't really know they had a day off until I realized the traffic was manageable. It’s a very cloudy, rainy morning and I have a peaceful drive into the office, that is remarkably quick. I know it is probably my last easy drive for many months to come, but such an easy commute to work is always appreciated. No commute would be better – and no work would be the best.
After days of grey at home, I am gobsmacked by blue skies and brilliant sun on the water here at Sebasco. I stare out the window at the water for an hour. Later, leaving the opening reception, the crescent moon is hanging low in the western sky, a harvest crescent moon, very large and orange. I can’t remember seeing such a moon anywhere before and I am transfixed. From my room, I watch it slowly sink below the horizon into the glow of Portland. Overhead, amazingly bright stars come into view - and is that the Milky Way I see?
The fog is everywhere today. The sun tried to break through this morning, after breakfast, but was ultimately unsuccessful. Standing on the dock I did see an odd phenomenon, what I later learned was called a fog bow: an arch of fog, like a rainbow, but white, no color. I tried to get a photo, but was too close to capture it on my iPad’s camera. In many ways, the fog is like a cocoon, protecting us from the big, wide world - it really does seem like the resort is the only thing that exists, which is rather perfect.
I immediately applied a technique I learned about in this morning’s class to help me to pick up the correct / equal number of stitches for the cardigan I want to completely finish at the retreat. Please understand: finish means without the buttons sewn in and not all the yarn ends woven in. I have another sweater I hoped to troubleshoot and come to resolution this weekend, but that doesn’t seem like it will happen. But I have learned a number of things, which was the point of taking classes again. I may have bought more yarn, how shocking!
Once again, the morning is grey, soft with fog and mist down at the water’s edge. I don’t mind – I’m here for the water, in all its forms. I do miss the sound of the buoy, or whatever metal it was that would softly clank with the tide – clearly something was replaced or improved this year. The last dinner was a disappointment, but the sweater is done, proving the measurements and approach. I’ve managed to learn, knit, and recover in these last three days. Is it enough recovery to hold for another year? Time will tell.
I may have bought too many donuts. I stopped at both Frosty’s locations, at Bath and Brunswick. No dawdling in Bath this time, it is too much temptation. And even though I ate...three? (I think?) donuts before hitting Portland, there are still….well, more than half a dozen left. The drive is long but easy as Maine slips gently away from me, fading into the background. It is a little like leaving Oz, the rest of the land looks just a little more bland and boring. The donuts are my talismans to transition back into the real world.
The response was not surprising but somewhat disappointing nevertheless. Himself and I had discussed the likely outcomes in advance, and in the end no other options were offered to us. It was at the same time heartening and discouraging that the immediate reaction to certain defects in the cabinets echoed our responses and requests to the designer – which were simply and repeatedly ignored. We don’t want the kitchen torn apart but that’s the only way to fix the core issues – a no-go. Time to begin sharpening my pen for the comments on social media and BBB website.
I am appalled at the state of things in the office today. Part of me really wonders if anyone did anything, but then there are the things that were done wrong, or shouldn’t have been done. So, um, yeah, there are a lot of questions in my head and a lot of work to be done. And I wasn’t even gone a week. I guess this could be seen as job security, but really, I don’t see it that way. I see it as the stupidity of others preventing me from doing what I should be doing.
I want to run away from the office today. I feel like I just can’t get anything done. There’s too much in flight and more incoming every time I look up. I am trying to bribe myself with the thought of Knit night, but it is a losing battle. And yes, here I am, two days in a row, blathering about work. Just a few days after a lovely, mini-vacation in Maine. I really want out – not just of this job, but the whole working scene. It is time to figure out how to do just that.
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” – Rumi. How have I not heard that quote before? It was mentioned in a podcast I listened to on the drive up to Maine and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I’m not exactly how to interpret it or apply it to my life at this point – am I acting small? Am I not giving full expression to myself? However, I do love the idea of being the universe in ecstatic motion… that is how I feel when I dance. So maybe I should dance more?
Part of how I celebrate the equinox is by doing something with the garden, often related to cleanup. I may bake something. This year, it is the massive porch clean up. We never got to it this spring before the renovation, and then it became the dumping ground for the renovation. Then it was summer, and too warm and humid to spend the day cleaning outside. The goal was to make the space comfortable before my parents’ visit. I didn’t wash the floor, and the table is still a mess, but it is now an acceptable space to sit.
It is the first morning of fall, so what’s for breakfast? steel-cut oatmeal! Fall means pumpkins, cinnamon, apples. I love to bake in the fall. I’ve resolved to bake more in the aftermath of the kitchen renovation, and particularly to bake more bread after finally getting a proofing box. I hope to test it out this coming weekend, when I’ll have a day to myself. I would like to bake a loaf a week. That sounds like a reasonable goal, doesn’t it? Brioche, oatmeal, English muffin bread, not to mention crisp, chewy whole grain bread.
The kids are more than a handful if you ask me. Punching, kicking each other, almost a shouting match over stuff. I guess this is what happens when they know each other? Or maybe hungry? Clearly these kids need to eat something before doing something that requires some thinking. The sessions are way too long: an hour and a half probably is double what kids at that age can actually handle after a full day of school. Summer session from the same area had it easier: it was summer and the morning. Last year’s spring session were star kids.
Looks like we’ve already lost one of the brightest kids, one who wasn't recruited through the center, but from the library or school. Recruiting was problem number one, but retention has always been problem number two. I'm not sure it makes sense to try this again with another group of students. We know what the problems are and we’ve fixed what we can, but we just can't do anything about time commitment problem given the structure of what we're trying to do. I will say it here: I was right to start – it is too much for kids.
On a rainy, gray September morning what do you listen to in the car for 40 minutes driving into work? Particularly when you’ve no new downloaded podcasts? A quick scroll through the album list and there it is: Bookends by Simon & Garfunkel. I don’t know why I associate this album is so firmly with rainy, gray mornings. I have a clear memory listening to this, and the other S&G albums at the House on the Hill as a child. Over and over and over, particularly during one Christmas break, so think Christmas or rain, take your pick.
My fingers are itching to knit. I don’t have enough Terra for the retreat pattern that calls for that yarn – noooooooooo!!! I am making progress on the black vest, designed to use up some "leftover" yarn. I have another relatively quick sweater planned, but I have to find the rest of the yarn, which is a task for this weekend. I’ve been staring at shawl patterns, trying to find the right one for my Harlan skein, and the peacock colored skein Joan gave me last year. But for the Carbeth Swan Dance I'm stumped: what yarn to use?
Everything fell apart this month. The only days I actually wrote serious posts were when I was in Maine. The other days… I don’t know what happened. I did the voice memos during the morning commute for some days, but not most days. And so I played catch-up in the worst way. I know I wrote some really boring entries, not very thoughtful or considered. I ranted about work. Again. I am realizing that will never change but I am still not prepared to accept writing daily rants about work about it here. Must find the introspective bits.
It was nice outside, but this wasn't a day for gardening: the Bridgeport clan is gathering in Connecticut; I have the house all to myself. I get one, maybe two of these days a year and I have to make the most of it. I made a batch of jam bars. I ate chips and guacamole. I got dough for a half-batch of brioche going – I prefer to bake when no one is around. I made grandpa’s goulash and watched The Little Foxes before going to bed a little early, to truly enjoy having the bed to myself.
Most of the time, you watch the TV cooking host make something that looks and sounds great, but when you make it using their instructions, it is horrible. Today, that was thankfully not the case: Nigella’s sheet pan chicken and pea supper turned out very well indeed. I do think it will go into regular rotation for weekend cooking. I am trying to do more of the weekend cooking, and making something that has leftovers for during the week. But of course, my weekend to do lists are already rather sizeable, so I want to make something very easy.
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