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05/01 Direct Link
100 words. Making time to cull some insights from this daily constant motion. Is there anything in there to say? I am making a space in my house for me. I am starting to squirrel things into this little unfinished room. Old paneling, some with primer because I thought I would paint it but then I didn't want to wait. A room in process. Unread books line a shelf. Pictures to hang. Evening sun bouncing in through this east window. Plotting escape from my job of 10 years, but afraid to go, not sure I want to give it up.
05/02 Direct Link
Just out walking with a friend on a spring-muddy road, with her two dogs. Thinking about how the Midwest has four seasons, but here it's really just two. My friend was saying how she likes fall in the Midwest so much. I was thinking how fall always seemed like a gray, dead time down there. Winter was a nuisance to be dreaded and gotten through. Here, the coming of winter means the return of dark, restful evenings, and the fun of outdoor snow adventures. Renting movies in the evening. Not having to feel guilty for not working on our house.
05/03 Direct Link
Movement toward change. Bit by bit, things shift inside. I still enjoy the present job, the challenges, the creative opportunities. But it is time for a new view. My entire experience here has been the world of my current employer. Almost 10 years. It's a small town, yet there are many little subcultures humming along here, parallel universes. It's time to move into a new one, get a new perspective on this place and beyond. Stretch. Maybe find a new way to contribute. Already trying to learn to teach. Forcing myself into uncomfortable places to see if I can succeed.
05/04 Direct Link
Lots of good things today. The new job seems to be waiting for me; why haven't I applied? Started working on pictures for a brochure, and got lots of compliments for the idea (though we have yet to see how it comes out). Someone offered free lodging for a band coming to town in June, saving our planning group a lot of money. Yes, it's snowing and blowing outside, but ... there's lots of sunshine in our near future. It's like I opened a fortune cookie with a good message inside. I should check my horoscope; it's no doubt favorable.
05/05 Direct Link
It's interesting to have someone else to talk and do things with. We laugh a lot. Tonight we walked her dogs and ended up at the cemetery. Puddles, mud, shrunken snow. Some graves were covered in water. She was amazed at how many names she knows after just seven months. She described her father's ashes, which her mom still keeps on her bedside table. The bag is fairly big (her hands showed a shape almost like a basketball) and there are bone fragments—not just a few handfuls of fine dust, like in the movies. I did not expect that.
05/06 Direct Link
I did it! I did it! I applied for the new job! It was an online process and I had thought it would be complicated. But it was not. Wow, life is going to change! I hope I like it. I hope I don't sit there missing my old coworkers and my old work and my old office and old equipment. After 10 years, the prospect of change is scary! But it's time. Now I need to plan this design class I am supposed to teach. I am daunted by that new prospect, too, but determined—and drawn to it.
05/07 Direct Link
Picking through books and designing a design class. Guess I should have started this a few weeks ago. Whoops. I tried but was not inspired. It's been so long since I was in the college environment; it's all foreign. I cook up no deep reflections for my 100 words. My 31 days will bore readers. But life isn't boring. I am on the move. Today I was in a bike race (a short one) and took a long walk. This after playing music at church. Before I'm through these 31 days, I will try to come up with something creative.
05/08 Direct Link
Truly tired. A mountain of Things To Do. Never a day, lately, when I can snuggle into a corner of the couch with a good book or magazine and just enjoy myself without concern for hovering responsibilities. I do this to myself. I crave the challenges found in the parade of Things To Do. Yet I wish for evenings with nothing that must be done. Evenings I could spend investigating my huge box of old letters, or picking up a likely-looking book and plowing in. If you're bored and have nothing to do—I can give you some of mine.
05/09 Direct Link
She mentioned an Oprah show with brides-to-be and some of their doubts and fears. I recalled the six weeks before my wedding. As we began inviting people, planning ceremony and potluck reception, buying ring and dress and shoes, I became aware of a giant, invisible, omnipotent, commercial wedding machine that sweeps up and mechanically processes fiancÃÆ'©s, stamping out shiny, new married couples. Ring shop, dress shop, friends baffled that I would not throw my bouquet or wear makeup or "cut the cake-—were unknowingly in league with it. When it was over, I felt relieved I had narrowly managed escape.
05/10 Direct Link
Almost 9 p.m. and the sun is high in the sky. Today finally hinted of summer. I'm sitting upstairs with a list of stuff to do, not doing it. My bike seems interesting. Yet there is a pile of dirty dishes waiting. We'll see a lot of the sun in the coming months so I'm playing it cool; I don't HAVE to run outdoors. Tonight attended a piano and guitar recital by young kids who've put in lots of time learning to play music. Very cool. I think I am being too rigid at work. Why am I like that?
05/11 Direct Link
Is it common for us to be second-guessing ourselves all the time? It seems like I am constantly regretting things I said, or wondering if I put something the wrong way, or certain I made someone feel bad. I have real reservations about being a teacher. I fear I will be too blunt—not positive enough. I have never been one to gush compliments. It's like I expect a basic level of performance from people and don't give a positive word unless something is exceptional. That would make me a poor parent. I know believing in people helps them succeed.
05/12 Direct Link
He can't tell me he loves me, but tells an acquaintance (granted, she was just diagnosed with cancer) that we send our love. We barely know her. Odd to be married to someone who can't say he loves you. His mom's advice on our wedding day: say "I love you"every day and you will get through anything. We never say it. Is it important? I didn't grow up with that. You know the other person knows. But when petty fights pop up, you think, maybe if we were saying those words to each other, this would seem less bad.
05/13 Direct Link
Not feeling right about things with him today, and of course we did not talk about it. At a party last night, a woman who is certain her boyfriend is finally buying her a ring this weekend was quizzing us about being married. I wanted to escape. Today I focused on preparing for the class I'll teach. It is absorbing. So hard to know how quickly people will be able to learn all this—how much I can cram into each session. Today was just wet snow and wind and cold all day. A good day to be inside moping.
05/14 Direct Link
I did it—sort of! I have submitted the syllabus for my class. It took me a couple days of concentration, and there is still lots more to figure out before the class starts. But at least steps of getting the course approved can begin. It is still wet, cold and dreary. Things with him are strained though a little better. No talking about anything. That's not healthy. Will have to do something about it soon. It's hard to talk about petty things like those that have made me get quiet this time. Is this how it is for everyone?
05/15 Direct Link
Silence. A giant blue-gray screen hangs as a backdrop for a white, mute, immobile sea. Chunks of shrinking ice stand and lounge and lean in a long jumble, at crazy angles—waiting. Waiting. Waiting for enough sun warmth and wind to push them out, break them up, melt them down, return them to their fluid, traveling, all-are-one life. No rowdy neighbor kids racing up and down on rumbling four-wheelers or screaming motorbikes tonight. Gulls fly by, crying to each other, reclaiming lands occupied for the past six months by Raven. They are a little early. Now they wait. All wait.
05/16 Direct Link
Didn't imagine I'd ever write my 100 words at the office. Tried to catch up on some projects tonight. It's late, but tomorrow looks more promising now. We talked tonight. He started. It was not the best, but better than nothing. I am weary, wary, skeptical. I will probably just come out of it; I always do. I wish I didn't have to go through these phases. Is it just me? I really long for someone I could talk to easily, without having to weigh how words will be received. This is my life. I guess I must accept it.
05/17 Direct Link
Things are a little better. Normalizing. Will there be change over the long run? I do not know. I am skeptical. But things will be better for a while—they usually are. I am overwhelmed with disorganization and too many things to do. At work and at home, stuff is piled everywhere. Some items need a lot of attention, some need a little. Meanwhile, they bring clutter, distraction and a sense of helplessness. After a long day at work I feel like doing nothing tonight. I was settling in to read and aim for bed when I remembered this task.
05/18 Direct Link
Three of us on re-covered, colorful folding chairs. Relaxed catching up about this and that. Pleasant. Then a suggestion. Now a few strums on the mandolin and soon we are all clicking along, building a square tune, moving in time, making something. Going somewhere. Doing it over and over again. Moving closer and closer. Sometimes—but not all the time (we aren't that good)—it's just one sound made up of many. Heads and feet move a little but fingers do the real work. We make sure it's good a few times. A few more times. Then it's last time.
05/19 Direct Link
Still no spring. Still 30s. Still snow. Still gray. Is that typical for May? I can never remember. This morning I tried to swim as slowly as I could for the 32 laps. Stroked little, glided a lot. And still was wiped out when it was over. Seems like all I was doing was stretching my hands forward one at a time, and at the same time giving a little kick. Reach, stretch, turn, glide. Doesn't seem like it should have been exhausting. I doubt I can be that deliberate in the race Sunday. There will be too much adrenaline.
05/20 Direct Link
The wind is back. If it's like this tomorrow, the biking leg will be very painful. We did the carbo load dinner thing tonight—mostly for the heck of it. I don't know if such strategies work. It's fun to pretend we have a strategy. I keep wondering if I will have to share a lane in the pool. With the turn I am doing, there could be collisions. I kind of don't care how it goes—I am willing to be surprised. I just want to do better than last year, and beat someone I didn't expect to beat.
05/21 Direct Link
Well ... my time was two minutes slower than last year, and I didn't really beat anyone I didn't expect to beat. I'm a little disappointed. My swimming was pretty clumsy and panicky yet about as fast as when I try to go slow. The running seemed to go well and the biking seemed about as fast as it could be. I thought my time would improve by five or 10 minutes. Ha. I need to accept that while it's great I can do this whole triathlon, I am not cut out to place well. Just doing it must suffice.
05/22 Direct Link
100 words a day is not much. But I feel I'm about out. Coming up with something creative is a challenge. I mainly use the space to vent. I guess that is what I need. I don't know if I need other people to read what is vented, though. Tomorrow is the job interview. I don't know how to prepare or what to expect. I imagine I will know all on the interview panel. Small town. A thick fog hangs over the sea, but I know it's still ice. Even big winds over the weekend didn't break it. Slow spring.
05/23 Direct Link
I feel lucky again today. Things are coming to me. The job interview was easy. Two people, very laid back. I should hear something by end of this week or early next week. Only one other applicant. Movement is on the horizon. As for the festival I allegedly organize, so many other people are getting excited about it and taking on responsibility that my role is shrinking. What a huge relief. One by one, items on the huge stack of things to do are dissolving. When I get a chance to travel in July, I will feel true liberation. Hallelujah!
05/24 Direct Link
Now I feel a countdown beginning. Every day is a day closer to the last day. Every day I can tidy up some things, throw some things away, take a few things home. I am already feeling some relief. Wow—the finish line is in sight! Once you see it, that's it. The stress starts to wane. But the ice is still here. The birds maybe feel a little foolish for being so early. The sun is shining more and more—it doesn't really get dark now. But the ice stays. Tonight three people walked way out there. I wouldn't.
05/25 Direct Link
Just back from high school graduation. Felt like an outsider. I knew a lot of people, yet I felt I wasn't part of the scene. Maybe I need to try to become part of it. Parents wondered what the grads would do for the night. One mentioned an all-night party at someone's camp back when he graduated. It made me wonder—had I gone to a smaller school, would I have felt pressured to be part of that? I was not "cool,"never at the parties. And that was OK, to be me. Now maybe it's not? Adult becomes adolescent?
05/26 Direct Link
Anticipation stretching out too long. No word yet on the job. I get excited about things, then there is no resolution. I hope that ends soon. Long holiday weekend but no plans yet. An offer to float the river Sunday ... that would be fun and something I have not done in years. Sea ice is still in place but rivers are moving. I have to clean up around here. Get my hair cut. Renew. Music tonight, another house. Lots of strumming. Not clicking along like when we are in our groove here. Aimless. Stuff I'd listen to, not play.
05/27 Direct Link
Wow. The best birthday ever? Started out simple with two books and a CD. Excellent choices that I really liked. Then ... a new iMac! Moving on from Windows 98 in a big way. A great choice on his part. Something I never would have imagined or dreamed of. Portable with a huge screen. At this point it seems more like an entertainment center than a design tool. I look forward to putting it to work. I need software. I'll take more pictures now. Did an 8-mile walk. We will do our own marathon: 26 miles one day next weekend.
05/28 Direct Link
Tired. We kayaked down the river but I don't know how far it was. The whole outing took about 5 hours; probably 3+ on the river. Strong head wind and decent waves for the final section, so it was a pull on the arms. Feeling pretty useless now. We'll probably go to the movies tonight. Saw lots of birds—floating on the river, flapping away from us or over us, hovering overhead and scolding us. Ducks, gulls, sandpipers. A beaver, too. I didn't have binoculars but that's OK; controlling the kayak in the wind and current was enough for me.
05/29 Direct Link
Banjo has many voices. Peaceful. Haunting. Dancing. Popping. Sad. Happy. Lacey rhythm. I am very lucky to live with one and its player. Got some chores done today. Cleaning, dishes, laundry, an ad I had to design. Started to read one of my new books. What pleasure to just sit and read, go somewhere else, think of something completely different. I did not have any outdoor adventures, did not go out and see surprising birds or touch bristly tundra or punch through soft snow-cone snow or feel warm breezes. Saw a tiny spider. The ice is still holding on. Evening.
05/30 Direct Link
I wasn't supposed to read through past entries, but I just did. I had this idea: don't write for the next two days, and my stuff won't be posted. I didn't want it posted. But now I got my courage back. I'm going ahead. Some exciting news ... the job is mine! I only found out at the end of the day. I need to go there tomorrow to finalize things like a start date. I am ready to move on! I have already started to gently tug up roots, bringing stuff home, trying to clean the office a little.
05/31 Direct Link
Weird. My laptop is apparently dying. I write day 31 on my excellent new computer. It is slow because I cannot figure out all the keyboard shortcuts to get me around in Word on this Mac. May has been a month of change. I have this new computer. I am setting out to take on a new job and some teaching ventures. I think it was time. The next two months are going to be stacked with things to do—that has not changed and perhaps only intensifies. Not so good. Hey, in writing this I figured out some keyboard shortcuts!