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I've been a swimmer my whole life. In HS I was a racer and a synchronize swimmer. Well, today at the community center, I was asked to leave the fast lane and join the slow lane. It was an assault to my self image. I confess, I was mad. I got into the slow lane and swam as fast as I could...I'll show them! Then, I notice that Mr. fast guy and Ms. moderate speed were standing, chatting in their lanes. I couldn't help myself...Hey Lifeguard, so it's ok to stand and chat, but not swim slow, right?
I know I'm feeling a financial pinch when I stop using tall kitchen garbage bags and start stretching Kroger plastic bags over my kitchen refuse container. It doesn't seem so bad. Now, I'm hand washing my dishes, because I don't want to spring for a new dishwasher. I tell myself this can be a spiritual practice, cleaning up my messes. I'll focus on in breath and exhale and try to stay present during the chore. I'm pretty sure, I'll save water. And I've noted that my evenings are tediously long. So it all works. Is this the start of eccentricity?
I've spent countless hours, days really on revising my new website. I think it looks fabulous. I was even able to insert a blog page so that I can keep it totally updated with new classes and events. Now that I'm finished I'm going through withdrawal. It's so engaging and satisfying and so flashy. I keep thinking of other ways to change it, though I think I've thoroughly exhausted improvements. More would detract. Yikes...knitting just doesn't seem to fill the gap. I need something more. Shopping online for imaginary needs is dangerous. Oh, I know, I 'll shop for...
Stayed inside today; ah, the great privilege of having a day to myself, free from work and obligation. I took a nap, a bath, knitted. I piled all the articles and books I've been meaning to dig into on top of the coffee table and stayed on the couch as if munching on thought morsels. It's cold and snowy outside. These are the type of days I remember in the midst of beautiful--have to be outside--days of summer, when you can't stop the activity for fear the weather will be wasted. I love the diversity of Michigan seasons.
Kudos to me. It was obvious that P. accepted money from student S. instead of paying the store directly. P. said she didn't remember. ANYWAY, I chose to accept that all are doing the best they can, and that more dollars are not going to make me happier tomorrow. I chose to think positively and collaboratively for ways to improve the process of collecting for services, up front. Maybe in the past, I might have defined this indiscretion as unacceptable and raised a stink about it, created drama. Today, I maintained a good working relationship and made a boundary clear.
It feels like we haven't started winter yet; I guess because I haven't had to shovel snow. The cold temperatures have arrived, but I'm buoyed by the fact that the darkest days are behind us. I like to watch how the timed light settings need readjustment toward later in the evening. By March, it will be comfortably light at 7:00pm. Small events that happen every year, still bring joy. Shall I walk to work today in temperatures below 20 degrees? I have a treasured snow / ski suit, jacket and pants. I've never been cold in it. It's survival gear.
This morning I reminisced about the past. I pictured our little family in the home on Ridge View. I remembered how we often vacationed with our neighbors. I remembered walking in the hills behind the house. Why is it that it seems so bittersweet? There's a sad pale that hangs over those memories. Now, all three of us live alone. The dogs are gone. The camaraderie that was shared, looking backwards, seems like a pretty melody to me now. Is "now" so bleak? This is the danger of nostalgia; the creation of a rosy past makes the present seem grey.
Figuring out what to do with extra money. Really, what a privilege. I'm in the middle of the wealth spectrum, worldwide I think. Or maybe a bit on the low side compared to United States population. I learned this with the onset of Obamacare. I knew there wasn't much in my budget to pay for insurance, but I didn't know the extent to which taxes would supplement my premium costs. Halleluiah! But if most people don't receive supplements and can pay those high amounts by themselves, then they are certainly in another financial league. I remember when my money was superfluous.
Got my hair cut today. I'm looking like June Underwood, except not at pretty or as young, lol. But, styled feels good. Not scraggly anymore. I unscaled my apparel and donned some makeup to emphasize the improvement. I even played new upbeat music at the store tonight. Appearances. My upbringing emphasized the importance. It was as if Mom believed our shallowness needed a boost. As if she believed there was nothing inside us worthwhile. Of course she never spent any time to challenge her assumption. Ahh, narcissistic parents. I have to fight the impulse to have fun with old habits.
I've been remembering how special winter skies, or shimmering snow seemed to me while I was living in California. There was a heightened imagining of the entire winter atmosphere, the soft gray, the cold, the squeaking snow. Total sensory imagining. Now that I'm living it for the seventh year, I can't get there. I can't appreciate the real like I did the memory. But I keep trying. I notice everything. I take it in and elevating the specialness. Can that be done? It's the equivalent of trying to hold on the magic of Santa Claus. Does specialness deplete with age?
I have a new friend. One would think of the song, "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the others gold." But, it's a little too quick, a little too tight, somewhat awkwardly close. I'm hearing intimate stories. She's shared her big super secret business plan. She thinks her meeting me is a divine intervention. Eek. Too fast. Wall. Distance. Space. She could become a great friend. Or not. Just not ready to jump into assumptions. That's all. Oh, and she's gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just, can straight and gay be friends?
I'm the master of my world. I can change my work hours as quick as I can edit my FB, blog and website. (experts are laughing that I don't have them linked for one step alterations.) But, I've digressed. Was is Dylan that came up with the gloriously real phrase, "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."? Indeed! So what does it matter if I skip morning hours at the store? I used to envision that people (read potential customers) saw me set out my sign at 10am each morning and know I'm disciplined and reliable. Who cares?
There is something about a store that makes people dream big. They come up with great ideas..."why don't you try abc?" This is a very common occurrence. They are like me...sure that everyone would jump on THAT idea. The space invites imagination to march into extreme optimism. I, having been down this path so many times before, just nod. "good idea!" I say and pretend to write it down. Or, they're sure that their having reported a good time at Store is going to make everything turn around, as if they are omnipotent. Is this narcissism? Back away.
Reading Power up you Brain. This book is out there. I'm not sure I can digest the recommended alphabet soup of ingredients the author things we need to get our brains functioning. But, he studied with shamans and has some powerful exercises to practice. One is fasting once a month on the 11th day after a full moon (don't ask) so that you can be in commune with other souls doing the same. Also he recommends this for eliminating rancor toward perceived enemies: picture the enemy, feel the hate, then superimpose a photo of someone you love. Feel the love.
The newly solo life felt like a glow all over my body. It enveloped me with a new shine. Control, contentment, time, choices, it all polished my skin. Lately, the solo life is seeping into my pores and is penetrating my soul. It is a source of discomfort to be this bereft of company. Will I be one of those that will speak at nausea to anyone who will show attention? Will lack of interaction cause me to become idiocentric? I'm no longer calm about my loneliness. I understand now, how it effects one's health and well being. Spiritual deprivation.
Today, I attended a conference on Art and Anxiety. It was so worthwhile. It gave many exercises that I can use as interesting tools and hint to customers that art is so much more that decoration. Also, I makes me play with the idea of taking one class per semester in working toward some certification. Once my office is completely functioning, I could advertise "counseling with creativity." That door could be reopend at anytime, at my convenience. Then it would take time to develop a clientele, slowly, comfortably with no extra expense to me. This could be my future.
Last night, around 8pm, my furnace went out. Fortunately, we were having a relatively mild winter night. I had to curl up under several covers early. I felt so alone. When Dad was still alive, if he didn't have power, or I didn't, we'd share space. I couldn't think of anyone to call, anyone I could invite myself to visit. I suppose that in the case of 10 degrees or below, I'd have to pack up my cat and go to a hotel. Maybe I should check out pet policies before it's necessary. Ahh, the joys of a solo life.
Oh holy shit. The competition has made a big darn break through and it's moved closer to my store than is comfortable. A nearby store has LIKED them on facebook. The competition is ramming into my door. What did I do wrong? Let me count the ways! I was a snob and didn't want to join the local artist association. (I thought their members' art looked like crap.) I thought I could ignore them in their little tiny tucked in a corner space. How can I make this OK? I really have to develop my classes. I must compete MIGHTILY.
Be aware, beware. I want to believe she has goodness in her intentions. But I'm not washing the slate clean. I'm writing these infraction on my mental white board in big black letters. I told her she couldn't sell her stuff in my retail store, yet she put it on display. I told her that there were too many weeks that we haven't received payment and a client confess she paid her directly. She went to teach there today after I had phoned her and told her not to. She is not trying to hear you! She might betray you.
I wasn't expecting him to come to the meeting this month. He tore our existence to shreds last month. I told my friend his behavior was appalling. I wrote more than a 100 words on his negativity. He hadn't RSVP'd. But there he was, early. I tried to read his face. (mine said, "Surprised.") His was a cross between a twinkle and sheepishness. A silent, "I know I'm not your favorite person." I didn't say any of things I thought I might, like "I think you might be happier in a different group. But it all turned out rather well!
We spoke for an hour and a half about what makes an event successful as a means of making the store successful. Main point was youth. An old face like mine can't pull off anything that 30 somethings might be interested in. We thought that an intern was the answer. Give intern the assignment to make something happen by spring. Put her/him in charge social media, finding a musician, marketing, etc. Intern would work for the grade and the experience. I would contribute an incentive payment. The intern would shoulder the responsibility of the event's success. I love that.
I feel like a teacher today. I had three students for whom to teach an art lesson. We did their favorite drawing with their chosen medium. Then we did a 2D drawing of a 3D object using pastels. We focused on shadows and shading. Next we their favorite shape in oil pastels and I chose where to light was shining, so what does the shadow look like? Then, they wanted to work in 3D, so they each got some clay and made figures. Of course, then they had to draw them. 3D to 2D and 2d to 3D. Twas good.
I've begun cherishing pajama time. Really!? What's happening? Is it age? Or just that I don't have to answer to anyone, and I'm not expecting anyone? Or maybe it's snuggling into winter and appreciating my "housecoat." If, I wanted to change this development and be more productive, I would get dressed upon rising and have my essentials packed up by the door the evening prior to the day. Then, I could relax with morning coffee and reading and the hurtle of gathering, deciding, watch watching would be a mute occurrence. Resolved: utilize long evening hours with preparation for better mornings.
The seeds that were planted by buying this store and furnishing it with interesting projects blossomed today! I was surrounded by artists intent on their creativity. Good music playing, the sharing of fruit and tea, the mutual support of each others works. It was so fun. Give me one day a week like that and I would be in heavenly contentment with this occupation of mine. How to make more of that happen? Maybe one can't organize it. Maybe I just have to expect it will happen again and appreciate it when it does. Holding out for more lovely blossoms!
I have a party to go to today. Banish the day that this makes me happy. I wonder if the other attendees have the same outlook? Are we gathering just to support our mutual sweet friend? Perhaps best to think it's an ode to gatherings in general. Relaxed time with living, breathing people. If I had a friend going, I'd play a game to make it interesting. We'd compete for mastery of interjecting unusual adjectives, from a given list, into the conversation. That would boost the involvement, engagement and attentiveness. Maybe I'll settle for noticing which attendee speaks unusual words.
My friend, adventurous friend, Tania is dying. Eight years ago, she beat stage 4 cancer. That was way before I knew her. I surmised that her gusto for life was in relation to that victory. She travels, she never says no to an invitation, or a possibility, or hooking up with a stranger for a mutual concert or conference. A month ago there was a tumor. A random, well contained, unusual tumor on an adrenal gland. Fast forward...it's a metastatic tumor. No surgery, no radiation, only chemo. She's 56. I'm sure she is struggling to maintain hope. Or cope.
New friends come and go. Two of my new friends here in the state of Me. have cancer. Another is suffering from depression and insomnia. I haven't seen her since she stood up the painting class in September. My neighbor and young friend hinted that she and her husband might be moving. Pooh! I thought their aim for pregnancy would result in me being foster grandma. My work friend, now that I left a year ago, is becoming a bit remote. She doesn't call me. So here I am, really alone, here in Me. Will I go back to CA?
I am making a bit on money this month at the store. Then, ex-husband pointed out that I'll have to make about $4K a month in order for the store to pay me. What? Yes, he said, you are in essence working for free. You don't pay yourself. Crap. I can't make this work. I just can't pull it off. I'm having a fine time spending my days at my, essentially, private studio. But if I continue like this, my industriousness at saving money will become, not a goal, but a harsh reality. No vacations or travel or choices.
Article in Time magazine. The perfect storm of financial reshuffling, internet, etc and now we're into the sharing era. I love it. Why do we have to own everything? The era of accumulation, the era of ego padding with endless shopping and showing is over. Maybe I love it because it fits so well with my extremely modest existence. I'm in the IN crowd without even trying. I've been entertaining the idea of new opportunities to make money. I don't want to go backwards, repeat jobs. Maybe I'll be a Bnbair host, or a driver for Uber. Rent a bedroom?
I wonder if there will ever be an era when people do not pray to a god. Like after the gnome is conquered and health becomes less mysterious. And maybe we have stopped pretending that we have to own everything, to be self sufficient and start relying on neighbors, friends, strangers for sharing. And people tire of war and deem it to be irrelevant as a historical marker. So then the dramas don't escalate into wars and people negotiate. Then we put more faith in our ability to work together for the common good. Then do we need a god?
Big snow tomorrow. We'll all be stuck. Most people will be watching the superbowl. I'd like to know the percentage. I'm all caught up on projects, knitting, books, even cooking. My freezer is stuffed with homemade food. Maybe I'll write crap. I have so many random pages of notes. In my heyday of dreaming I was a writer, I used to write outlines of plots, as if I could then string together the chapters and compile a book. I've read or listened to so many bad books lately. Maybe the good publishers are gone and no one's minding the literature.
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