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Another day, another year. We go for a walk every year today, all of us, the whole family that I moved a thousand miles to join, alongside the cold grey ocean that lured me here. Not the life I had imagined as a child but perhaps a better one? Who can tell what the future would have been, it is a futile exercise. Enjoy the day that is and be the best person each moment gives me the potential to be. I don't make promises for the next year - each day starts with them, why burden an entire year?
Long day, the usual insecurities, am I good enough, did I make too many mistakes, did I talk too much, did I talk too little, did I say something offensive, did anyone notice, did anyone notice me, am I invisible, is there someone hiding around the corner. Some of it is normal, I know and some of it is the little old crazy lady crawling around inside my head waiting till I'm old enough that no one will notice when she finally takes over. My kids can't wait till she does and then the real fun with mom can begin.
Thanks for the confidence, the support and understanding. When I can't quite catch what you've mumbled as you turn away, I really appreciate the way you turn back and clearly say, never mind. That means a lot. When I comment on a tv or a movie character there is nothing I like more than the reply, well that's obvious mother. It truly warms the darkest parts of my aging heart knowing my family shows the same consideration towards me that they would a complete stranger - actually, I hope I've raised them better than to treat a stranger that way.
What will the day bring? It starts out with a little sunshine, some good feelings and a bit of warm banter around the table. This is good, this is positive. Then one word, one glance, a joke not seen as a joke and everything goes dark. The cold wind blows in and here I am standing on the wrong side of the door again, gently knocking. I'm supposed to be the moody one but now I believe in male menopause because I'm pretty sure I'm watching it happen and the denial is only making it worse for all of us.
It goes quietly today, a slow, steady stream of people and I'm in control. After six months things are starting to fall into place just in time for a new system and a new computer. The old storage company starts to move into the 21st century. In this one room, starting to transfer the data from the old records, odd shapes, measurements that don't add up from a whole warehouse broken up into little rooms that hold pieces from people's lives. It is a different feeling, walking down the corridor of doors with memories locked away behind each of them.
Christmas again, for those who are holding to the old calendar. We don't care about the slipping of the equinox and it's use in measuring the moveable feasts of the ancient church. The political schism that kept one part of the world faithful to the word of Julius Cesar, suspicious of the motives of a Roman Pope's decree that would cause the world to lose 10 days overnight, to put us back on track with the music of the spheres. We just like the excuse to indulge again, overeating pyrogies and cabbage rolls this time instead of turkey and stuffing.
When I spend several hours getting through a short list of things and feel great satisfaction checking off the real things - not just those extras I put on so I can check them off to feel like I've done more - I expect it will make a difference in attitudes towards my efforts. But when I find out the items I've chosen to focus on today (which did piss you off yesterday) but it's something else, not on my list that gets you pissy today that's frustrating. It's even less fun when the goal posts move around the field.
Been doing this for years without a problem, until today, one of those days when everyone, it seems, is lining up to butt in line ahead of me. I'm the one with the appointment and I'm cooling my heels watching the "I didn't want to wait over at the other place so I thought I'd just drop in here" people take my time. So by the time I manage to get to actually donate the pint of blood it's too long after lunch now so before I can get some juice I'm on the floor wondering where the world went.
Still feeling like things aren't all back in place. A little lightheaded and a little achy but mostly life goes on. This is a pretty stable model, has lots of miles on it and not always given the best of care but it is remarkably dependable. Okay, there's arthritis that started years ago. And asthma but it only bothers me when it's cold or I'm sick or swimming or there's a heavy fog. And now it seems an irregular heartbeat but that's just a matter of getting the timing right - like a carburetor...oh shit, hands up who remembers carburetors?
Big Brother UK - won't be as good as it was the last time, I don't think. All 19-21 year old super over achievers. I guess with the youth vote it makes sense that this will be popular but what made the last series interesting was the age mix, with some of the roommates being actually over 30 which would, of course, mean the viewers have to understand that there is life after 25. This one is filled with the arrogance of youth. Is that any better than the conservatism of age? I don't know, I'm an arrogant old fart.
I support her whole heartedly. She is talented - of course everyone thinks their child is talented but this goes beyond that. I grew up with a critic in the house, every flaw examined and that has made me able to assess those I love separately the emotions. I am almost as critical but see the potential as well. Support. My life is different, I know, that how she was raised meant any hopes a girl had would be put aside for husband and family. That is probably why she discouraged me. That is why I support my daughter completely.
Numbers dance in front of my eyes. I have to stop, take a moment and focus on them with the intent of being serious. They can't entertain me with movements, switching places and disappearing from one place only to double up in another. When there are people standing there, waiting for me to read the numbers, type them in and take money from them in an accurate quantity, the cheeky little critters only act up more, I think they enjoy watching me sweat and get flustered. At least they don't laugh out loud, not until I forget a few medications.
Two steps forward, one step back. All the new things that are supposed to help me with my game seem to only be hampering it. I guess it could be because I've changed a few things at once rather than one thing at a time. The shoes, for instance. They are great shoes but so much heavier and bigger than what I've been using. I feel like I'm curling in lifts - or at least lift as it is only the one shoe, the slider, that's built up to a noticeable degree. They may be the best but I'm not.
My first day off with no one home - well, not until noon when the oldest comes upstairs and asks what there is to eat in the house. So much to do in the next couple of days, I have my list of things to do and get started. Day's end and I'm still treading water, trying to figure out whether I should do ironing, mop the kitchen floor or admit my inability to hold back the tides makes me a complete failure as a wife, mother and woman. Hand me the pearls, dear, I feel a hanging coming on.
Another day to run around. Still haven't caught my breath from yesterday. I'm forgetting something. The day will end with me facing that look, that huff and the big pout because I didn't wash this or clear off that or make the right choice in a pool of possibilities. It's never going to work out unless I can find another set of hands. I know that ship sailed when the last lady I paid to help me clean up adroitly ducked the issue of setting up her next visit. "oh sure, anytime", she said and quickly left the house. Sigh
Seems like there isn't enough time before it's time to go to work. Last week I had an excuse, what with losing consciousness and all the day before but this time, why can't I get a few little chores done before strolling into the office. Of course, it is early and I've been going in early for a couple of weeks now which means the time I'm have to do stuff has accumulated a deficit - like an industrial country, I have more things to do with less time to do it in and the do things column is growing.
If I could go on the computer for a bit, I'd get some stuff done and stay awake longer. But it seems I spend too much time on the computer, even though I've been home and helping make supper and doing dishes and just finished with a bit of time to sit and read my mail but I spend too much time 'putering so the person who spends his whole day sitting at a computer has one hooked up to the tv and the other in his lap. I would have just played anyway, I guess, I'll never know now.
Time to stop whining and dredging up excuses. For years I've blamed everyone around me for keeping me back, not encouraging me, encouraging my sister or anyone other than me when it comes to singing. I have a voice, I've been through this already, I know, but now I've found one coach to go to who specializes in voices that have aged. While not past my prime as far as voices are concerned, I realize mine isn't trained and so there's a lot of work to do just to come up to basics. I'm the only one holding myself back.
Can't get organized. A balloon bobs past my line of sight, life full of things to do that aren't things I need to be doing. This is being paid for time, this is work-is-prayer time and I'm not praying, this isn't looking good if anyone is keeping score. That nagging feeling I'm forgetting something, that dread, the drag on my insides says this isn't what you should be doing but when I stop to look at what should be done nothing jumps up, I nod off even if I've had more than enough sleep. This is what getting old means.
It's a great game, fluid and artistic in the dynamic motion of young athletes. Okay, so they stop to pound on each other now and then. And knock the opponent off his skates. No blood shed, however, or it's ten minutes in the box. The brutal speed means there is no time to breath, to stop. If your mind wanders for a second or you stop to look at something happening anywhere else on the ice you'll miss the goal, or the big hit or the penalty. No matter what problems you have they go somewhere else for 2 hours.
The other great game on ice but not for watching. Curling is only slightly more interesting to watch than shuffleboard or lawn bowling. It is a team game but everyone has their individual moments of acheivment - when the focus is all on the person in the hack. Like baseball, at that moment when the batter and the pitcher stand alone in a field of players and observers, the curler is alone with her thoughts, focused on the skip at the other end of the sheet. Then the two sweepers are in charge. The whole team works on every shot.
What is the outside like? It feels cold through the glass, makes my shoulders hunch up and ache from the strain of resisting it. In between chores, sitting here, plunking on the keyboard. Not always inspired but more words than in the past. It doesn't matter what is done - the living room is tidy but not dusted, the kitchen floor is moped but there is still clutter on the dishwasher, the laundry is three loads down but not put away. A half done day and the not done half is seen most. I wish I'd managed to get out.
Running behind again. Seems like its been weeks now of going in early and I'm always underestimating the number of things I have to do and overestmate the time available to do them in. And there's the new system at work, which is a good thing, the current system is antique. When I first started working on business computer systems this would have been state of the art but now, many years later, it's frustrating beyond belief. It's all the data entry now. Numbers, names, money and it's gotta be right 'cause this is the part that can't be changed.
Mingling with grown-ups. A social situation, wine, cheese, scallops wrapped in bacon - the ultimate kosher delicacy. Trying to be a schmoozer, but it's a skill I've lost over the years. Lots of things to say but words stumble out, aphaxic, struggling, the thoughts being extracted, some breech born, tumbling awkwardly and taking so long the original idea is lost in the convoluted trajectory, rambling. The cause of the evening is diabetes but I come across as an autistic friend being brought along for the ride and free food. I really shouldn't drink, a little wine thickens my tongue remarkably.
It happens today, the magic happens here button gets pushed and we can move forward into the 21st century - we can move on to using the program rather than wondering how something will work. Now we can start the process of forgetting the old way, the clumsy, complicated, counter-intuitive 3 to 4 step program that took 10 minutes to do the simplest function and thinking the way it can be done, easier, look up here, click there and the program actually does everything a computer does best - figuring, multiplying, factoring, pro-rating and making my life so much easier.
At last, a day on my own, puttering at work, at my own pace. The boss is in for awhile to help me work things out and set out procedures. It is interesting, a challenge but still disorienting because I've learned just enough at this job to find the new way like starting out all over again. There are things I expect to see and ways I still process the information when trying to find an answer. Like everywhere else, we assimilate, function according to what we have assimilated and proceed according to our best predictions from the data processed.
A day off but there really isn't any spare time today either. I'm at my other job, where I make coffee, cook breakfast, throw another load in the washer, do some dishes and go get stuff for lunch, don't forget to get the propane for the bbq and then on to a meeting today...so I'm rushing around anyway, and arrive at another meeting 10 minutes late, supposedly to be introduced as the new mentor chair to the people who will be the mentors. These are the ones who are so intimidating, so organized and I'm supposed to be the chair?
It's changed now. An early call and off he goes on the journey. The journey that signals a change in how he'll see the rest of his life, the way he'll react to phone calls in the future, the smell of a hospital room, the knowledge of a parent's frailty. This time it's not a permanent change but another piece has been torn off the mask, the final picture of the future we all face is coming into focus. No, not that final picture but the one where we become members of the widows and orphans league, the front line.
The family has clanned up, surrounding the central pillar of their lives. It's a good moment for them but they don't see that - they are still in shock from the nearness of loss, shaking off the light brush of death's chilled finger across their hearts with laughter, denial. I stand in the second circle, the outer circle, alone with my thoughts, alone in the echoes of my turn in the front row, standing beside the bed, watching the foundation of my memories struggle to breathe: no laughter, our hearts frozen by the tension of waiting for the angel's embrace.
More running around, scheduling little things that take more time than expected. No time to myself, resentment and frustration. Into work and seems to be a time of confusion but with confidence that here it will resolve itself eventually. Technology is easy to understand. A little of it, that is. Maybe not the code and programming but I can use it like a tool, like a car. I don't have to know how to rebuild an engine to drive a car. Just have to stay focused on the on the work at hand. Easy to say but my mind wanders.
Even with an extra day off there isn't enough time. The older I get the faster the pace seems to go. Is it a matter of wanting to do more and more each day or just that time speeds up? I don't know but it isn't fair. Already the first month of the year has flowed by me and I feel as if I barely got a grip on one or two. I have to keep a determined, disciplined approach so that I get more done and less sitting, playing, dreaming and staring: maybe that is where it all goes.
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