REPORT A PROBLEM
Another December arrives. I understand, intellectually, that time is indeed relative. Experiencing first-hand the increasing rush of time as it passes, each year moving by faster than the last, is a bit disconcerting. No, I don't want time to crawl, as it did before I got my first driver's licence, but it doesn't seem that there's enough time to enjoy. Maybe part of the reason time seems to pass as you get older is because of the time you spend tied to the workweek, which is much longer than the schoolweek. Life doesn't come with a summer vacation every year.
Beyond the occasional short burst of cursing, there were rarely ever any direct expressions of anger by adults or between adults when I was growing up. I can't remember ever seeing my parents argue, but they must have. I am sure Grandmother would have felt that disagreeing in front of other was the height of bad manners. I am not entirely sure why I am so afraid of anger in others, but even when I know that the real source of the anger is something else, I find it very difficult to deal with when it is directed at me.
Trying to find the holiday spirit this year is proving tough. Or maybe it just is waiting, lurking in the corners until after we're done packing the Gatehouse. Yes, it is still early in the season, but I have absolutely no ideas for gifts for anyone this year, it is something that I haven't spent any time considering and now I have two weeks to figure it out. Did I get some trinkets or gifts earlier this year? I don't remember, that is how disorganized I am right now.
I am rather enjoying having the office all to myself this week. It is a guilty pleasure, as it is due to the misfortune of another, but whatever bits of guilt I have felt hasn't really tarnished the pleasure. It has allowed me to have certain phone calls and other conversations in relative private without having to dash off to my car. It really brings home to me how much I miss having my own office. I find it easier to focus on my work, to think when I have my own space, be it at home and at work.
Do I want it? Do I really want it?† The only way I can see of doing it is to quit everything else and devote myself to it and designing.† It would mean giving up the security of low-cost health insurance, among other things. Unfortunately, I donít see how weíd cover the costs on the house, which means I donít really see a way to do it at this time.† Her time frame is so short, by yearís end; everything is so up in the air with the prospective buyers for the Gatehouse, †I donít see how to do it.
I used to spend my weekends being very productive one day on house projects during daylight hours, and the other day doing chores, cooking or something fun. And while Sunday nights were a bit melancholy, going back to work on Monday wasn't that difficult. This last month of going non-stop certainly seems more difficult than I remember it being in the past. Perhaps because the return on the investment in time is so uncertain Ė even after we empty the house and sell it, then what? Stay? Go? Renovate? We can't even consider options yet, we're so mired in details.
I'm finally getting started on holiday shopping and preparation. I'm looking at the calendar, the lack of weekends between now and Christmas, and I turn to the internet. It is not how I want to shop, I prefer to touch, feel, smell, to see what I'm buying, but right now it is the most convenient option, and I'm all about convenience at this point. My list is very small, but it causes me fits every year. I have two difficult-to-gift men in my life. I had planned to knit socks this year, but that isn't looking very likely right now.
Most days I just donít remember my dreams, or only can recall tiny snippets.† Sometimes I wake up with the full storyline, details crisp and precise in my head.† Sometimes they are fantasies, sometimes theyíre just random bits strung together, and occasionally, they make perfect sense, in an M.C. Escher kind of way, or like Life of Brian, depending on your frame of reference, even though they have no discernable relation to my current life.†††I had one of those dreams last night, and it was a bit discombobulating, but now by mid-morning it is already beginning to fade.
My grandmother instilled in me the knowledge of the socially correct behavior from the early twentieth century, of how to be above reproach.† I spent a lot of my college years trying to disregard that knowledge; it was out of step with the times and place.† There have been a few times in my life when that knowledge was useful, but most other times it is nothing more than a guilt trip. †Social mores have changed (for good or bad, I donít know), and I am struggling again with what I want versus what I believe are the highest expectations.
The inner discussion continues about what it is that I want.† I want a comfortable house for G & myself.† I want a creative job or business that provides some reasonable income, or has the honest prospect of reasonable income.† I am reasonably certain that the comfortable house has priority as Iím not unhappy with my current job, even if Iím not always actively happy Ė it doesnít make me miserable like the last job.† The housing situation, however, makes me miserable.† The next round of decisions is the geography question: to stay in this village or move elsewhere on LI?
I know the requirements, the criteria we've discussed at length and developed over the past three years. Finding something that meets those requirements within our budget has always been a challenge, but now it seems even more difficult. The market has changed, but not evenly: some properties seemingly cannot be given away, some are still very over-priced, and some properties are not even coming on to the market, but are being held, waiting for the eventual, hoped for, highly anticipated upturn. I sometimes wonder if we'll ever find a house that fits our requirements and is within our price point.
A change of plans allows me to visit the shop, although the owner is not there. I try to imagine myself in this space, and the first thing I see in my mind's eye is a new color of paint on the wall. There's not really room to gather a group, it is smaller than Diana's shop was. There is no back room, no storeroom, no possible private space. I hung out for ten minutes or so, but quickly realize I am not captured by this place. The first visit was not a fluke, there's no warm, homey vibe here.
I went crazy ordering sock yarn today.† No, Iím not really a convert to knitting socks, especially when I have to use size 000 needles that are so thin Iím afraid Iím going to break them even though theyíre made out of metal, not wood.† But the idea of knitting something so practical in such a short period of time is quite tempting.† †A scarf is also a pretty quick project, but how many scarves does a person need?† No one I know needs a cozy for their iPod or cell, or coffee cup sleeves, but socks?† Everyone uses socks.
It doesnít seem to matter how well or poorly I sleep at night right now, mornings are so dark it is difficult for me to wake up, sometimes even after Iím out of bed. I donít want to go to work, and once Iím there, most of the work doesnít appeal to me.† I donít seem to be able to muster the discipline and focus I need to get through what is my real life. †Am I depressed Ėstill, or again?† Nah, this is probably just the winter greys (not blues), when everything just seems wrong, hopeless and depressing.
Probably the thing I like best about my current job are these odd research projects that come my way. It doesn't matter if it is to write congressional testimony, or just to give Boss Lady a few talking points, or do a competitive analysis, I like diving into new territory. This last one has been very interesting, learning about cutting-edge software and what other companies are doing with some of the same technologies we are using. I'd like to do more of this, and writing, but not on the difficult deadlines that everyone here seems to get caught up on.
I've realized that I am writing at some very odd times of day this month. A lot of it seems to be in the evening, at the end of the day, when my thoughts are particularly chaotic, perhaps because of the holiday rush layered on top of everything else. I have always found it difficult to be more reflective at the end of the day, unless there's been at least one glass of wine. Likewise, thoughts dashed off during lunch are often more of the daily journal type, unless I remember that singular thought that occurred earlier in the morning.
I love gingerbread, and Iím having fun playing around with the recipe.† I think the basic structure is good, but I want to vary the flavor Ė keep a strong ginger element but make it darker, spicer, richer.† This time, Iíll be adding the traditional clove and, black pepper (which seems missing from far too many recipes), and adding some coffee into the mix.† Iím tempted to add more ginger, grate some fresh stuff, but I donít want to change too much at once.† I do plan on making more this season, just for us, and Iíll build from this version.
I'm behind. Behind in the holidays, behind in writing on a daily basis, behind in knitting, behind, behind, behind. I hate feeling behind schedule, being off plan. I'm a get there five minutes early, plan in advance, make to-do lists kind of person. I never had a problem getting to orchestra rehearsal early to warm up. Most of my life has been spent being ahead of schedule. This past year, however, I seem to be eternally later than planned, at least personally, if not professionally. I don't know if I'm over-estimating capacity, terribly undermotivated, or what, but something is amiss.
Waiting for the storm materialize, it didn't seem possible that the forecast could come true, that there could be two feet of snow coming. We walked down to the local church to get a tree, joking and having fun with the guys. We walked back, carrying the tree between us, and the few cars that passed us honked and shouted Merry Christmas or somesuch. I don't know if it was the unusual sight of people walking with the tree, or if the impending storm affected their judgement, or if they were overcome with holiday spirit, but it was oddly touching.
There were just a few flakes coming down for hours on end yesterday, but apparently in the dark of night, the storm finally got its act together. This morning it was quiet, the entire world blanketed in white, the dead stillness quiet of the morning after a storm. No cars moving. No people, no dogs, no sounds at all, not even the wind. I love that quiet isolation, particularly when it occurs during daytime hours. By the time we'd had a first cup of coffee, the world had woken up and was trying to dig out from under the drifts.
Tonight is the longest night of the year. I had originally hoped to take time off and really celebrate Solstice, but that was not to be, for many different reasons. Instead, a very nice dinner out at a new place is the celebration, but as nice as it was, I still haven't found the holiday spirit. The tree still is undecorated. There's no word on the deal to sell G's house. Everything is on hold, in transition, incomplete. True to solstice, we have to survive this long, cold, dark night in order to bask in the warm sunshine of happiness.
I'm having no end of problems trying to finish this pair of socks for Geoffrey. First and foremost is the fact that an entire skein of the yarn, required to knit the second sock, has gone missing, AWOL. I suspect that Yarn Hunter Kitty has made off with it. I searched my own piles of yarn with no success, so then I searched under the bed, dressers, in corners, and everywhere else I've seen YHK stash things. I found one of my socks, but no yarn. The particular color of the missing skein was discontinued, so I cannot order more.
I was honest about what I now do and for whom when renewing my free subscriptions to the one of the professional trade magazines, one Iíve had for nearly ten years, and was told I no longer qualify.†† Yeah.† I love hearing that Iím no longer part of the desired demographic in my own profession, that Iím merely on the sidelines of the profession.† Not that this was one of my favorite magazines, mind you, but it occasionally had good information. It just adds to my feeling that my hard-earned experience and knowledge is going to waste in this job.
In nothing short of a Christmas miracle, I found the missing skein of yarn, and must apologize to my Yarn Hunter Kitty. He did not steal it. It required full daylight and a flashlight, but I went through my storage closet and looked in all the nooks and crannies. Then looked in all the project bags Ė and found it, quite tightly sealed away for its own protection in a heavy, zippered plastic bag. I packaged up the Bespoke Socks samples in a box and wrapped it, then powered through the rest of the sample sock before Christmas eve began.
Several times today, G expressed the wish that there was someone, or several someones here to celebrate the holiday and share the feast. Discovering last night that Brian was so near but traveling home, and the news that there may not be any get-together with the Henkens on this trip (again) are certainly contributing factors. Neither of us have close friends left within an hour's drive. His family can't be induced to come out for a holiday meal Ė maybe if we had an inn like in ďWhite ChristmasĒ (which we saw last night!), so they could camp out overnight.
I did quite a bit of belated holiday baking today. I definitely got in the zone, moving from one project to the next, cleaning in between and managing to rotate things through the very small space of my kitchen. If I'd had hazelnuts, I might have attempted biscotti and then had a complete meltdown when there was no room left in the kitchen or on the dining room table. As it was, the process lasted ten hours (OK, so there was dinner out and viewing of holiday lights in there somewhere) until I turned the oven off for the day.
I am happiest when the environment I live in is tidy.† I prefer a clean desk and I like to come home to a living room that is fairly clean.† Iím prepared to do some ongoing work to keep things looking that way, but cleanup is a real bitch when things stack up over time, and I resent being the only one to do more than wash dishes and take out the trash.† Iím trying to not cause a scene but is it really so difficult or onerous to run the vacuum or clean the bathroom on a periodic basis?
In the midst of a post-holiday quiet evening, the idea of taking the train across country this spring as part of Gís buddy road trip from California suddenly catches on with both of us.† Who wants to fly across country with these new restrictions?† I donít anticipate having enough vacation time to actually drive across the country anytime soon, but watching the country glide by in early spring from the window of a Superliner sounds fun.† It would take 4 or 5 days depending on the route and for a weekís vacation, the ticket is actually not a bad price.†
I know Iím a safety girl, always considering what dangers lurk and what might go wrong Ėsome call this pessimistic, others call it paranoid, I call it SAFETY FIRST- and Iím amazed when others blithely trip through life, never considering possible adverse effects or negative impacts. But today I was honestly shocked and appalled when no one thought that paint that comes in two cans and requires mixing to activate(!) and turns your wall into a big dry-erase whiteboard might possibly have extreme respiratory warnings, and that it was OK to paint during the business day in a closed environment.
Down to the wire on my 12 sweaters in 12 months program and I realize that due to ripping and reknitting, I have definitely knit more than 12 sweaters.† The actual goal of the project is to FINISH 12 sweaters, and I am so very close, but Iíll finish the last bits on New Yearís Day.† I am quite happy with the results of the project, even though I have three sweaters that will be frogged and reknit to make them wearable, because of what I have learned about knitting sweaters that fit me and that I want to wear.
Today was truly a winter wonderland. The snow started very quietly as I drove north to work. By the time I was driving west, the flakes were pooling on the pavement, and swirling, dancing like dervishes. When I got to the office, enough snow was stuck to the ground that I left the first footprints in the walkway to the door. All morning the snow continued, slow but steady, so that when I drove home, the sides of the road were white and there was a layer of snow delicately balanced on all the tree branches, creating a lace effect.
The Tip Jar