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After a very quiet Beltane even, we are blessed with a May Day that is bordering on good weather, never mind what the forecasters thought. And the blessings of the day continue with minimal traffic on the roads down to Philadelphia, we were at the hotel just after noon. It may only be two days vacation, but after the past six months of doing what has to be done, we both feel the release of our regular routines and responsibilities, and in a city with so much history, culture and good food, weíre certainly going to have a good time.
Philly is really a very green and manageable city, especially when compared to New York. Iím sure there are outlying areas that are less green and less appealing, but for now all I can think is ďwhy arenít we living here?Ē Iíve no idea if there are any job prospects for either of us, let alone both of us, but the history, architecture and much more relaxed attitude are more in tune with what we want. And housing? Iím not sure Iím prepared to live in an apartment or other shared-wall situation again, even in the city of Brotherly Love.
Before leaving Philly, we do some research from the car: driving around the city a bit more, nothing truly significant as we have ice cream in the trunk, but enough to see that there are different flavors in city center and to see the park area along the Schuylkill river. Later, online research shows that there are some terrific houses very near where we had driven Ė at about half of their cost on Long Island. We donít know anything about the neighborhoods, but train rides into downtown are only 30 minutes, and we both start thinking more seriously about relocating.
My imagination has been fired by the Philadelphia area houses Iíve found online. Part of me wonders, is this really how people live outside NYMetro and Long Island Ė comfortable houses and reasonable commutes? There seem to be so many real possibilities (unlike the houses we find here) that Iíve started looking at the areaís job postings. I try not to think of the year we lost, when the Gatehouse could have been on the market in better times, because it makes no difference now. This sluggish, downward market is our reality and weíre anchored on LI until the house sells.
Bizarre dreams again: working on the 116th floor of the city skyscraper that has appeared in dreams before, with express elevators that appear more like trains, and being in the building during a massive thunderstorm, while watching a police cruiser Zeppelin buffeted by the storm, heading for the building. In another dream, Iím working somewhere outside the US (Japan?) and being outside when a dogfight breaks out among planes overhead, then bombs start dropping, as I realize it is some kind of international attack, and that getting back to the US could take some real time and effort.
Hope dawns in the form of a recommendation from a colleague about a potential job opportunity. The idea of working for someone who ďgetsĒ it is tempting, even to the point of considering a financial services firm. Staring at my annual review I realized Iíve had the same goals for the past three years, and have been blocked from making any progress on the same items. I need to move on, and I donít see how thatís possible in an organization where thereís a fundamental lack of understanding of what I should be doing, and lack of desire to understand.
It was one of those days, blue skies and sun, but not too warm, that had me remembering the year I took a week off and just toured the city before summer touristas arrived. It was a week of relaxation, adventure and the arts. It has only been a few days back in the office but I already feel as run down as I was before our trip. Getting out at lunch, going away for an hour seems the only way I can survive the day anymore, knitting in my car in some remote parking lot while sipping a latte.
I sit and look at the goals and objectives for the past year. Anything that required actual assistance from anyone else didnít happen. Iíve got to come up with a new set of goals for next year, I canít stomach another year of the same thing, but since no one really knows what they want me to do, it is difficult to imagine something that might actually get done. Iíve never felt less productive at a job in my life and in some ways it is killing me, killing my spirit and my interest in the profession as a whole.
I try not to be jealous of his Fridays off, but sometimes, its impossible not to. Like today: a cool, grey, variably rainy day, perfect for lounging and amusing oneís self inside. It was very difficult to get out of bed and head off to the office, leaving him behind. It was certainly easier when I knew of his Fridays off, but wasnít presented with the reality of that in the morning. It would be easier to live with if I had a job where I could take an occasional Friday off to be with him without causing great comment.
The new photos of the Gatehouse are terrific and give us both hope that the house will now attract much more attention and foot traffic and sell soon so that we can get on with our lives. Of course, soon is relative, as it has been six months already without a serious offer, but this team has sold houses in this downward market. Thereís more that I would do to show off the potential of the house, but it isnít mine and as I have offered up my thoughts many times already and consistently been turned down, so be it.
Foiled again by this Berocco yarn. This is the second time Iíve cast on with this yarn for a project and it appears that Iíll be completely frogging this nearly completed project as well. It is too big, knitting in the round has changed my gauge. Also, I donít really like the way the yarn looks in this stitch over a larger area Ė Geoffrey was right. Perhaps a simpler stitch in a simple tee shirt would be a better choice. Then again, maybe Iíll just give up on this yarn again and set it aside for another year or two.
Am I traditional, conservative? Have I become traditional? No, I donít think Iím traditional, even now. I still tend to buck ďtraditionĒ or do things that havenít been done before, or do something simply to prove a point or because I can. Thereís less of a desire to shock than twenty years ago. And I can be a stick in the mud these days because Iím so tired or have ďchoresĒ Ė a variety of things I feel need to be done. But does that equate to being traditional or conservative? Perhaps I reject the premise that those are valid labels.
I am slightly appalled by the feeling of an industrial trade show, with pumping music and flashing lights at eight oíclock in the morning, and the obvious marketing and PR throughout the day, but I can also tell Iím in a distinct minority. Everyone else is swayed by the pomp and circumstance, and is really believing the message that is being delivered. Are they such lemmings to be led in whatever direction management points? Do they not think for themselves, realize that they are being spoon-fed a story? Or do they simply not care, because it is easier that way?
I am in agony. The Medium is the Message crap all day would be enough to set me on edge, but the extremely uncomfortable hotel chairs, completely unergonomic and offering no support, and no room to move, combined with the schedule that has us sitting for 2 hours at a crack, has pushed me over the edge. My back and left leg are on fire, the sciatica flaring wildly out of control. I am trying to stand as much as possible, rather than sitting, but I worry about getting through another day of this with the damage its creating.
Amidst all the hype and hyperbole, is a real person speaking. I donít know him, he had essentially exited by the time I came on board, but the diversity of his quotes from music to philosophy is intriguing enough that I find myself wishing I had the opportunity to know him, to have worked with him. He speaks of risk in a way that is unusual to my perspective, which is all about limiting risk. If I could see his attitude still present in the organization structure I deal with on a daily basis, it might be enough to stay.
Opening a bake shop next to a knitting shop, with a pass-through or open doorway between the shops? There would be easy parking yes, but it is a bit off the main drag. The idea came up at the Stitch N Bitch tonight at the north shore knit shop. While I love the idea (cake! cake! cake! was the refrain heard round the table as we discussed the idea) there is already a bakery in town. But as I watched the three women who have clearly formed a strong bond, I found myself wishing for that in my own life.
Dreams of a different life continue to percolate. A bakery? A yarn shop? Or just doing something an awful lot less stressful than to work for a company I donít like, trying to do a job they donít really want me to do? Iíve considered a return to the academic life but that is probably more unlikely than opening a bakery, unless I can find a place to be a research type. What could I do from a home office? Would I be willing to travel a week a month? What do I want to be when I grow up?!
Although the mugwort has almost completely overrun my garden, I continue to try to fight it Ė manually, it appears thereís no over the counter herbicide that works on it. The manual approach isnít terribly effective either, unless you turn up the earth completely and pull out every single root, which becomes difficult with a larger garden area. It may be a magical, pagan herb but I want it gone before it chokes the flowers. Yet I have to wonder about my sanity Ė this is the fourth year Iíve been fighting it with the same methods yet I expect different results.
Iím certain Helene will be going to Nashville this summer. That would cut my last tie with the metro area and I find I am increasingly interested in going elsewhere. The outer areas around Philadelphia appear to offer more property, peace and quiet at significantly less cost than the Island, although some houses still seem impossibly large, especially if it is just the two of us and visiting family and friends, rather than our own family. I know that moving represents an opportunity to change careers without worrying so much about monetary aspects, but that requires selling our houses first.
Iíve got startitis. Iíve cast on for the blue cotton minimalist cardigan, and taken apart the green cotton cardigan I knit two years ago, rewound the yarn, and cast on much smaller needles for the same cardigan Ė but down at least one size. My fingers are itching to start on some of the lace scarfs, even though I still have the last quarter of the black cashmere stole to finish, and the green mohair bedroom shrug. Iíve got ideas, and I want to start knitting except I donít have enough needles in the right sizes to cast it all on.
Iím off track again. Iím not writing consistently. The mornings are consumed with knitting, an active therapy, rather than with writing and trying to clear my head, form complete and useful thoughts, and I canít figure out why. No, not thatís not true Ė the thoughts are there, but circumstances prevent taking any real action, moving forward, or even shifting. Iím tired of trying to figure out a way around any of this, either my perspective is completely stuck, or there really nothing to do but wait it out. Writing and thinking about it further isnít helping, only making it worse.
I find myself wanting to get on with life, with our life together. Iím tired of waiting for ďtomorrowĒ especially as that is an ill-defined concept, pending the sale of the Gatehouse. I want to start living now, at least find ways to be more comfortable where we are, as we could be here for another year. I cringe, literally, to write that, but it is a fact I must face. And the only way I can face that prospect is for us to be more comfortable in my house, to not repeatedly hear how much Geoffrey hates my house.
Suddenly, the summer has started, but I donít remember having a spring. It was a cool, rainy season, flowers are now behind their blooming schedule. Today is bright and beautiful, the leading edge of a holiday weekend, it should be happy, happy, joy, joy. Instead, Iím down in the dumps, physically and emotionally. We have no real plans for the weekend, or the summer Ė no entertainments, trips, or Things To Do. And when this happens, we both end up feeling vaguely dissatisfied on Sunday afternoon, as though weíve lost an opportunity, wasted time (and perhaps even the weekend) doing nothing.
A beautiful start to the day and the long weekend opens up before us, a long weekend with Geoffrey. It may not be a vacation away together somewhere, but it will give us time to just be together and be awake when weíre together, rather than half-awake or half-asleep (which are in fact two very different states of being) and actually interact with each other. Ending the day with dinner at JTís on the Bay was terrific, never mind the cool weather - the food has matured since last season and the music was much improved even if still present.
This is what summer is about: beautiful weather, sitting in the back yard with Geoffrey sipping blackberry/elderflower margaritas while I knit and he reads. After waging war with the mugwort and some assorted other gardening tasks, we while a way a couple of hours just being, enjoying the beautiful day and the lack of regular Sunday chores, while a boneless leg of lamb smokes in the big grill. And yet, as wonderful as today has been, I find myself unable to imagine doing this on a regular basis, which is a rather sad indictment of my current state of mind.
Iíve done something bad to my back, clearly, but Iím not sure what. I hope it is muscular but the immediacy of the pain has me concerned. I am moving slowly, when I can move. I have tried to take it easy today, but it is the last day of the long weekend, I donít want to be an absolute stick in the mud. Today, we enjoyed adult lemonade out in the loungers instead of margaritas. I canít decide which I prefer, so I guess weíll need to do more research this summer Ė a plan for the summer solstice party.
Damn! Double Damn! The general doctor thinks my back pain may be due to disc issues, not muscular in nature. Heís put me on steroids (thankfully, given my reactions to steroids it is a lower dosage short course) and bedrest for the rest of the week. This is not exactly the time off Iíd envisioned while considering when to take some vacation in the last couple of days. Iíd like to be able to do something, rather than do nothing but at the same time I know I have to take it easy. Attitude adjustment: I can read and knit.
What am I supposed to do with the garden now? Just let the mugwort take over and win? Put down weed mats over the area that is now clear and hope for the best? Turn it over to Geoffrey to let him do with it as he wishes? It pisses me off that Iím looking at yet another summer of not being able to manage the garden, either due to back pain issues or not being home. This was supposed to be the summer of being home, of being able to start getting the garden back into shape.
There is a delicious scent wafting through the air as I try to rest on the couch in my living room. The iris from the front and back gardens, the dwarf lilacs, the lupines, clematis and lilies of the valley, theyíre all in bloom and sending me their well wishes in this marvelous perfume. I donít remember experiencing this before, but then again, when was I ever home in the late morning this time of year when the sun hits the blooms and opens them up? With the front door and windows open, it is delightful and lifts my spirits.
What is the plan moving forward, I ask myself? Clearly, pool and pilates will figure prominently in the future, and more weight loss. I must seriously question working in the city, yet Iím not sure thatís really worse than driving an hour in the car, as I can take meds and still manage the train, if not the car. I know it will take weeks to get back to ďnormalĒ. And that means my post-op damaged normal, not anyoneís real idea of normal. I havenít quite accepted that all this probably means Iíll never be truly well again, Iím broken.
I awoke early this morning, feeling fabulous (which means I could roll myself out of bed without a struggle or pain), with the sun shining quietly though the windows, never mind the forecasted rain. There was a feeling of familiarity and impermanence in that sunshine, reminding me of those summer mornings waking up in Raeís room at Grandmotherís, a strongly reoccurring memory from childhood. Certainly the sunshine was fleeting, as by the time I was downstairs, the grey had overtaken it. I will have to fight temptation to do things, and see how long I can still feel fabulous today.
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