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I'm reading Blue Highways for the first time, not purposefully coinciding with my parents' road trip out west. By remembering the Easter trips to Gatlinburg in the '70s, the pages of William Least Heat Moon's book come alive. The dream of driving across America, off the highways, seeing the landscape transform from one region to another, to visit the National Parks, is one that I'd like to actually realize. I want to pick a direction and GO! And cruel world, HGTV ran a special tonight on Rvs, showing all the exciting options for living a comfortable life on the road.
As much as I enjoy seeing by daylight in the morning as I'm getting ready, I really don't like driving home at night in the dark. I don't mind driving at night in and around home, or on highways elsewhere, but I am really not keen on the rush hour commute at night. I can't see as well, and I know all the idiots on the road also can't see as well. But for four months a year, there's no alternative to driving home in the dark. Catching the moonrise over Northport as I left the office was fabulous, though.
Driving home tonight, I saw the Harvest Moon, just rising above the treeline of the horizon: big, fat, and orange. Hiding behind a veil of clouds, and looked appropriately spooky. Great Pumpkin calling Linus! The changing appearance of the moon is hard to comprehend in the modern age, it is no wonder it was believed a god or goddess in older times. It is a quite magical thing on nights like this when I track the moonrise on my drive home which is mostly eastwards. It almost compensates for the other nights when I must drive home in the dark.
I miss Anything can happen Wednesdays. When I worked in the city, I would take the train up to the Gatehouse on Wednesdays after work, and weíd have a date night. Even though we had to go to work the next day, it was a very welcome break in the middle of the week. Thursday mornings, Iíd rocket back to the city on an early train, and survive two more days of work until the weekend. I need to find a new version of that mid-week boost, something to look forward to and make the seemingly long weeks more tolerable.
Iím not exactly sure how to help him. More importantly, Iím not sure why I feel so obligated to a cousin I donít really know well at all. Is it because weíre the last of the line? Or is it because he is Raeís son? Why exactly did he ask for my advice? He didnít seem clued into my own history of changing careers and building my own opportunities, which wasnít really surprising. Iím more than a little appalled at the outlandishness of his goals, yet they are perfectly in keeping with the rash, know-it-all young man that he was.
I got out of the house early thanks to a surly kitty. As I drove on the Parkway, I really noticed that the sky was clear and blue, lit up by those first strong rays of morning sunshine Ė it is amazing what a difference that can make on your attitude toward the day. Perhaps because it is a Friday, perhaps because I was early, there was comparatively little traffic and the drive had lovely echoes of the run from Saugerties to Rhinebeck. Is that a premonition of another good day? I hope so, I could use an honestly good day.
There seems to be general agreement that we will probably leave the Island once the transaction is concluded. We donít know where weíll go, or what weíll do for a living, but there is a distinct lack of opportunity for the both of us, perhaps more for G than for me, as Iím willing to commute into the city, and he is not. Trying to figure out the what and where may take some time, particularly as we donít have any well-formed ideas at this time, even after two years of occasional discussion. No ideas that we agree on, anyway.
Once I started reading, I found it hard to stop. Not because it was such a fascinating read, but because I was reading. I havenít really read like that Ė a book in a day Ė in a very long time. And with the impending avalanche of packing on weekends, I donít know when Iíll do it again. I used to do this on a regular basis: get a book, read on the train home, all evening and stay up late to finish it. A paperback in a day is nothing, the pinnacle was reading Shogun in 24 hours in high school.
It was too much to hope for a straightforward process. To just move through the steps, no fuss or muss, but to proceed directly toward the goal. A bump has appeared in the road, a big one at first glance, and the requisite drama has thereby ensued. I hope that things will calm down, it is not the end of the road, merely a bump in the road, there is definitely a way around it. The nature of this bump is one that requires we address it, it cannot just be ignored. Once it is dealt with, thereís no problem.
Looking out the window at work, I stopped abruptly. The sky was that dead grey of mid-winter, the trees were nothing but branches and it looked like there was a blanket of snow on everything. I blinked and looked again, and had to really look at the cars in the parking lot to see that there was no snow on them, therefore, there was no snow. A trick of the light, or lack thereof, but I wasnít the only one who was momentarily fooled. The village is already putting up holiday decorations, wreaths on the streetlights and lights on trees.
Discipline and dedication will get you far. Overcoming inertia to start applying discipline is really hard, and that seems to be my stumbling block. If it is for something that I love (knitting) then the dedication provides the oomph to topple inertia and get started. If it is for something that I feel I should do, and kind of want to do (lose weight), well, there just isnít any real dedication there, and I just donít get properly started. I donít want to map out my days and weeks again with planning in great detail, but I think I must.
After several months of living very, very quietly, I began to live a little bit more. I bought a few books, a pair of pants, went out to lunchÖnothing earth shattering, just a few things beyond basic necessities. A month later, I realize that those simple purchases, combined with the Rhinebeck trip, broke the budget, I had to dip in emergency savings. So Iím back to austerity measures and trying to figure out what expenses can possibly be trimmed. Or do I wait a month and see if the Gatehouse actually sells which could give some ease in my budget?
I was surprised by how strong the impulse to go inside was Ė but I did not yield to it. I did not tap on the glass to catch Hector's attention, knowing that it would lead to further hellos and awkward explanations. Instead, I lurked in the darkness and rain, the perfect image of Friday the 13th, avoiding the light when someone exited the door. When all was said and done and I was driving away, I saw my former boss, his head a gleaming beacon in the darkness and was very glad indeed that I had not gone inside.
Its easy to get out of bed when you have something to look forward to, when you know that something definitely good awaits you, rather than it just being another day in the salt mines. The drive to meet himself at the Gatehouse is easy. Weíre both filled with energy at the prospect of getting the house sold, being able to move on with life. At the end of the day, weíre not tired wrecks, but in the hot tub at the hotel, we soak away some of the accumulated stress and worry from the past few months.
The basement was a modern version of grandmotherís ďHoover room,Ē boxes piled to the ceiling, broken bits of things here and there, the feeling of being pressed in on all sides from stuff. It was as bad as I feared, mountains of things needing to be sorted and much of it disposed of somehow. I've already made several passes through my old college books, cassettes, family hand-me-downs (heirlooms I donít particularly want) but the collection in his basement has motivated me to take another look at my baggage as soon as weíre done with his.
What a bizarre dream: there were bands of orc-like creatures coming up from the back of the property on the House on the Hill, clearly on the warpath. I began quietly but rapidly moving down the street, pulling mom along, then weíre running for our lives, encountering foolish male leaders who believed all would be well, and finally encountering a semi-safe haven in some new area filled with trees, and watching the battles and skirmishes taking place all around us. It is amazing what detailed scenarios our subconscious can create in order to play out the stresses of real life.
My office has a window that looks west, out upon the harbor strewn with sail and power boats. As the year comes to a close, night now falls while I am still in the office and the peculiar golden glow of the gloaming lights up the room. I want to sit and enjoy this light, not struggle with descriptions of workshops and network defense scenario descriptions. Sometimes I feel absolutely caged sitting here at this desk and I struggle to understand the reasons for all of it Ė the job, the lack of discipline, the steady pulse of boredom and apathy.
I renewed my commitment to creativity today. I decided that if it took a public commitment to make me take the commitment seriously, fine, Iíll link the blog and Rav and put a knitmeter widget on both. I donít want to measure my work by quantity, by how many yards Iíve knit in a given month, but as the Artist Way says, ďGreat Creator, I will take care of the quantity. You take care of the quality.Ē I have to just start doing, doing, doing, then trust that the creativity and beauty (quality) will start to flow.
Sitting in my car at noon today, taking a brief knitting break, I cannot believe it is almost Thanksgiving. It is warm, sunshine blazing down on me, with blue skies and the birds twittering away madly in the trees that line the parking lot. Its an Indian summer day, except I donít believe weíve had any frost yet, but never mind, it is too beautiful a day to go unremarked - everything seems possible on days like this, especially when they're so unexpected. Winter seems miles away although grey dismal days have already arrived, even if the snow has not.
It seems every night since we came off daylight saving time on the drive home I pass at least one accident with cop car present (or just arriving). Statistically, thatís rather frightening. I am really hoping that I can avoid being in any accidents on the way home (or otherwise!). I know from personal experience that people get annoyed with the slowdown after the first accident and then drive fast to make up for ďlostĒ time and then sometimes cause another accident. We havenít even hit the holiday shopping season yet, I wonder what will happen after Thanksgiving?
Just because youíre family doesnít mean you get along with each other. Most of the time you love them, but sometimes they get under your skin. They say things that make you question if you ever actually knew them. Or that clearly indicate they donít know you at all. Anyone who says, ďOh, that would never happen in my family!Ē is clearly prejudiced, in denial and any further commentary from that source should be taken with ten grains of salt. Family that you choose, the Orphans and Oddballs, generally doesnít engender the same kind of tension.
Iím appalled at his actions, dumping gasoline in a storm drain off the cellar door. I want to boot him back to his native country. The utter disregard for someone elseís property and the environment is astonishing, especially for someone who purportedly raised organic produce (this makes me skeptical it was actually organic). Then again, the general attitude he puts forward, still not speaking any English after living here for nearly a year, is appallingly arrogant. Heís a perfect example of why and how intolerance for Latin American immigrants develops among the population that was born here.
After seeing the notice that a local yarn store was for sale, I thought about it for several hours and slept on it. Iíve been in the store exactly once, and wasnít overly impressed with it, but... it is local, it is established, and it is for sale. So I sent off an email requesting more information. For all of my talk of owning a yarn store, Iím still not sure I want to be a retail owner, yet the idea of being my own boss, of having an actual stake in things just gets more attractive.
Thereís been no response to my inquiry about the yarn shop and Iím a little perplexed. Has she decided that Iím not serious? Without knowing anything about me, or knowing who I am? Is there another offer on the table already? This rather echoes the feel of the place on my singular visit. It could be a sign from the universe not to pursue this particular opportunity. Iím itchy and antsy about finding out the specifics, figuring out if thereís any way possible, but I know I need to wait through the holiday weekend. But the attitude is seriously off-putting.
Pumpkin pie is always the start of holiday baking for me. Some years I have used pre-made crusts, but not this year. Iím going all the way with KAF, using their guaranteed recipe. This pie may be the extent of my baking until the solstice, so I want it to be really homemade. Iím also planning on making their breakfast scones tomorrow, a way to get us through the day until the turkeyís ready. There are so many things Iíd like to bake, I want a kitchen that would allow me to do more than one recipe at a time.
Last year, things seemed a bit bleak at Thanksgiving, and I didn't know it, but things were about to get even worse. As of this Thanksgiving, not everything that went wrong in late 2008 has been resolved, but things are much better than at the worst of times last winter and prospects are improving. My friends and loved ones are managing in this economy, and himself and I are still laughing and smiling at each other, so there is much to be thankful for indeed. Not every dream will come to pass, but life does continue and it is good.
So yeah, what would it take for me to quit everything and really make knitting a profession? G asked about that today. Beyond the idea of a yarn store, which is the obvious option. Knitting, designing knits, blogging, writing, teaching (me? I dunno about that!), doing the general hustle required of the individual entrepreneur Ė still, I'm not sure it would really provide a viable income stream. G could travel with me on the trips, he'd enjoy that, but he's not allowed to roll his eyes at the knitters or the yarn! It would require minimizing the rest of expenses.
After a rough day, we repair some of the wear and tear with a soak and swim, then a nice dinner at our favorite local place in Port Chester. It is as wonderful as we remember, which is a blessed relief. It is going on six years in business now, but still is as good as the first time we walked in. They were busy on the Saturday after Turkey day and it was a full house at one point. I'm delighted for them, but sad that we haven't found anything nearly so good local to where we now live.
A very full day: packing, driving, trying to catch up on phone calls, cleaning up, laundry, winterizing, unpacking, sorting. A very productive day, without a doubt. And yes, a little bit of knitting at the end, just for me. I am pleased by the progress made this last week on the Gatehouse, G has been working hard, but its taking a toll on him. He's on a rollercoaster and there's little I can do to change that, other than to help him ride it out. We're halfway through the packup process, hopefully the most painful part is already behind us.
I am trying to imagine not being able to wear any animal fiber, and being a knitter. I can't imagine it. I find it almost impossible to knit with a fiber if I can't wear it Ė my hands are slower to react to itchy wool than my neck, but eventually they do. For a long time, I thought mohair was the only animal fiber I could wear, and that was restrictive enough, but it gave me an option that was warm. Perhaps if I lived in a warmer climate, I'd be happy with cotton, linen, silk, and the like.
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