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The days, which are (finally) definitely getting longer in terms of sunlight, are seeming quite short inside at the office. Thereís the last minute scramble of stuff for a week in Nashville, not to mention the regular stuff that has to happen, more proposals to get out the door, papers to write, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff. It never ends. Even though it is something of a career, not just a job, I still find myself questioning the whole thing: I cannot bear to think of the fact that Iím now part of the whole military-industrial complex, but I am.
Sifting. Not quite awake, no longer truly asleep. That was when I did my best writing in this space, when I was sifting through the layers of consciousness, of my life, and of meaning. I want to figure out how to do that again. Early morning on the train used to be the perfect time Ė I wasnít really awake those first twenty minutes most days. Now, I think it would mean either writing late at night, full of impacts from the day, or getting up earlier to write before really starting the dayís process. Neither sounds terribly appealing to me.
Disappointment comes in many flavors. There is the disappointment of not being supported when you need it, even when you say you need support, but you donít show obvious visible strain, and so you are judged not in need. There is the disappointment from having freely granted promises broken. There is the disappointment of being held to past expectations and roles even though circumstances have completely changed. There is the harsh disappointment of not being granted the same consideration that others expect of you in similar circumstances. Finally, there is the disappointment of realizing that you are on your own.
I want to stop feeling like my hair is on fire at work. There is so much going on with external deadlines, that I canít keep up. I thought I had to make it until February 11th and then things were going to ease up? I canít delegate a lot of what is going on, but Boss Lady seems to understand and is cutting me a bit of slack. And some of what I can delegate isnít getting done, which is really burning my toast. Iíll spend a lot of time this weekend trying to rebuild my internal energy reserves.
Fionn did not want to go to the vet today. He put up a massive struggle, turned into wild kitty, with teeth bared and chomping, and deep, throaty, aggressive yowls that would be more expected out on the serengetti than in my living room. He got to sit home while Miss Leo went out and had fun (!) with us, and he was still hiding in the basement when we got home. He spent all day hiding from us and hissing at Miss Leo, who smelled of the vetís office and antiseptic. Ah, life is simple when youíre a cat.
Business travel used to be exotic, interesting, even, dare I say it, fun? But that was before 9/11, the TSA and all their restrictions and the absurd airport security theater, when you were still treated as a human being when you traveled by plane. Now, it is a chore, something to be endured, a necessary evil. Even flights without delays, screaming babies or bumpy landings are difficult because of the hoops you must jump through. I have two more trips this month, and I am really not looking forward to the travel, even if the events themselves are of interest.
I have never been able to make friends easily; Iím naturally a reserved person. This makes it a real challenge, the business schmoozing that is a necessary part of this job. I donít really like all this smiling, nodding and forced pleasantries that go along with business development; being civil isnít enough, especially at a conference. I prefer to just be good, very, very good at what I do, at least the intellectual part of it. I donít mind presenting, answering questions, being active in public discussion, but ďworking the roomĒ is not my really skill set, now or ever.
I know at some point in the distant past, I was not comfortable eating a nice meal in a restaurant by myself, but that is no longer the case. Even in a hotel restaurant, even in the south. I find it particularly easy on days when Iíve been surrounded by people, having to make nice-nice with them. To sit down to a good meal at the end of a difficult day, and be quiet, not talk to anyone except the waiter (who seems to think I need special care, perhaps because Iím alone?) while I eat lovely food is heaven.
I wanted a good dinner tonight. Everyone has different ideas of what makes a good dinner. And individual circumstances can change that perspective. After a long day, I donít want dinner at 9 PM with extensive delays and with a wad of people I donít know. I want a quiet, straight-forward dinner with a glass of wine, dessert and coffee, and then to sit down to the work that awaits me. Instead, dinner was a loud crowd, 2 hours and no wine. I couldnít think by the time I got back to the room and went to bed shortly thereafter.
It is a conundrum: wanting to be home as soon as possible and yet being tired of rushing hither and yon. The trip home is always a bit of a long day, but today, flying to one airport, then taking a car to another airport where all our cars are parked, is a real bummer. As we are delayed by rain (what IS it with rain when I fly?) it is even worse than usual, all that hustle ends up being nothing more than ďhurry up and wait.Ē At least thereís a decent barbecue dinner while waiting in the airport.
What a day of sheer madness at the office Ė too much to do. Iím not going to detail the laundry list of crap, but it is getting to the point where I cannot fathom that this is the new normal, that this is what it is going to be on a daily basis moving forward. I know I said last year that I didnít want to be bored, but neither do I want to be flattened by it. This is a job, not my business. Iím not being paid nearly enough, nor receiving the appropriate benefits, to over extend myself.
Itís spring cleaning in the garden. Or part of the garden. I work in layers Ė both geographic and vertical. It takes a full day to clear the first layer of debris, the very loose leaves, the stems and seed pods which made it through the winter. This generally gets spread out over several days, so that I donít kill my back. Or, it seems these days, my knees. I made it through the whole garden last week on that first pass. The second pass goes a little deeper, trying to reveal those tender green shoots struggling upward, signs of spring.
Nova Scotiaís so desperately looking for workers, theyíre actually running a job fair in Boston this weekend. It seems incredible that theyíre going not just out of province, but out of the country, organizing an event, looking for workers. There are healthcare type of jobs listed on the website, but Iíve no idea if there are social worker positions, Geoffrey need to do that searching. Weíve talked about Nova Scotia in the past, we love it from the pictures, the housing stock has loads of charm but neither of us has ever been there. Wonder if thatís about to change?
Mom sent me the official invite for Grandmaís memorial service today. Alright, so itís not a service, but it will be a memorial Ė intended to keep the memory of Grandma alive, remembering the good times. The extended family will gather for Sunday breakfast at the new incarnation of the restaurant, photos will circulate, stories will be told and retold, passing down the family lore to the next generation. It is heartbreaking to realize that we just did this a little more than six months ago. And yet, I am glad, fiercely glad that Grandma and Grandpa are no longer separated.
The only way I can comprehend this cluster fuck, that hasnít even revealed itself completely to us yet, is to say it is sheer, massive incompetence. This poor sap is in waaaay over his head, has no idea how to just DO the work, or even prioritize the work, let alone assign the work. Iím beyond being nervous about how badly this is going to affect me, I just want it to be game over, as it is pretty clear that is exactly how this is all going to end up. Iíd rather it be concluded sooner rather than later.
Ebbe finally lost his long fight with liver cancer. I really enjoyed working with him over the last two years, and being able to furnish him with some of the taste treats from his youth. Perhaps because of my experience living in Germany and working stateside for a branch of the German government, I really could relate to a lot of his stories and attitudes, and was used to the expectations of doing things the Ďcorrectí way. And there was something in his charming, boyish smile that peeked out that reminded me a lot of Grandpa B. Happy sailing, Ebbe!
It was a little surreal talking about unicorns and rainbows in the midst of a serious business meeting for a very serious contract with a big time customer. It is St. Patrickís day, and for the first time in years, I donít get to eat corned beef and cabbage on the day. Thereís no bagpiper to listen to. There is mention of green beer in the meeting and I guess thatís the sum of it. I didnít even manage to listen to any Pierce Turner today. The only saving grace, is that Iím not Irish, the family comes from Scotland.
Is this easier? Probably, although for the first half of the day, it sure didnít feel like it. I felt like my head was going to explode. But as I slowly teased apart the tangled mess that was left to me, and figured out what needed to be done, I gradually started to breathe again. Which was a good thing, definitely. It is going to be a rough ride, it is absolutely clear now that there will be no break at work, I just have out figure out how to make it all work and how to survive the experience.
We went moon hunting tonight, with mixed results. The much ballyhooed Supermoon didnít actually appear when we had been told it would appear, and we missed the very best viewing, when it was just above the horizon. Photos from other locations showed us what an amazing sight it was that we missed, but hey, it was a Saturday night adventure, unplanned and impromptu. As we drove around the Moriches, peeking at the moon through the trees, Geoffrey got to discover a new part of the Island, albeit in the dark. Dinner afterwards at Pine Grove Inn was an unexpected treat.
Being a bit cash poor at the moment, courtesy of an IRS tax bill for 2010, I have had to think of alternate ways to contribute to the relief efforts in Japan. A silent auction by a Ravelry group provides an opportunity to trim my stash of yarn I wonít use by moving it on to someone who really, really, wants it, and to raise money for charities. I was certain that some of the yarn would be heavily bid on, but not at all certain that other yarns would get any bids, but I put them on the table.
Diana, I wanted to write you today to tell how proud I am of what you have accomplished with your shop. It had become a real community there in St. James, and it is clear through your website and email updates (I remained on the customer list even though Iím not likely to get there anytime soon) that youíve done the same thing in your new location in Tennessee. I was undone by the email stating youíre debuting your own yarn line Ė as I said to you, if I didnít get the yarn shop, Iím glad it went to you.
So the clusterfuck canít get any worse from here, it is over, done with, finis! Of course, more details of just how screwed up things are could be revealed to us in the coming weeks, but the active decline has been stopped. Iím on absolute overload, mentally, with so much travel, one project kicking off, another stalled in freefall that I must restart in the next week, and another project burning money at an astonishing rate. I really, really, want to go away soon and hide for a week, at least, to stop thinking, to relax, and yes, to knit.
Iíve decided Iím going to go cold sheep, as they say. No more yarn. Well, until Rhinebeck. Needles, yes. Patterns, OK. Buttons if necessary, but Iíve got a pile on the way. I need to knit more, buy less. I own the stash, the stash doesnít own me. Iíve got a few skeins going out the door for a silent auction to benefit Japan, but it doesnít begin to make a dent in the quantity that is stored in a closet. Not in a few bags, not under my bed, but a (whole) closet. Iím gonna need Rav for support.
Iíve been laid low by some evil virus, which I am going to blame on this weekís trip to DC. I feel like crap. The bathroom is my best friend right now. I sweated through the sheets last night, I was so hot, hot, hot. And then, of course, chilled in damp sheets. I hope this is over and done with today. I didnít even get a sick day out of this to relax and chill, as I worked from home. More than I intended. The room is spinning, I canít focus on a book, my attention wanders from TV.
The silent auction is a success! Donations to charity! Help Japan! Yarn for a good cause! Cash-poor, I threw some skeins in to the pot on a whim last week, uncertain what would happen, just hoping someone would be interested and put in a decent bid. Now I canít believe how generous this group is, theyíre essentially offering twice the retail value of this yarn. OK, this yarn is not exactly currently available, but still - Money! Charity! Yarn! Itís a good thing the money is going directly to the charity or I might be tempted to turn greedy.
The big white house on the corner. In the neighboring hamlet. Quiet. Near the water, but not waterviews or waterfront. It has been on the market for at least two years now, but the sellers have only lowered the asking price about 15%. It is situated on a nice piece of property, fenced, with a large pool out back. It is stately. Elegant. And almost certainly would never sell for what we can afford to pay. ButÖ.. thereís nothing else on the market to look at, and we are desperate for hope, so Iíll look for an open house there.
I seem to need very, very quiet Sundays in the last few months. I donít want to go anywhere, I donít want to do much of anything. I want to lounge. I do manage to get a few housekeeping chores done, if I do them by noon, and laundry generally happens on Sunday, but beyond that, it is a quiet day with Geoffrey. It is my chance to sit still and have the world whirl by me as I watch, but donít participate. Iíve needed that stillness after being on the road, meeting deadline after deadline and feeling stressed out.
Despite the cold temperatures weíre enduring (we still have flannel sheets on the bed!) spring must be trying to arrive: driving to work today I noticed that the weeping willows have just the slightest trace of green at the edges, a hint, a smudge. It is enough to bring a surge of hope forward, although, frankly, weíre all so desperate for spring that it doesnít take much to feel hopeful at this point. I donít know how much longer that willing hopefulness will last without a few days of honest sunshine, blue skies (not grey!) and upper 40 degree weather.
I am definitely struggling with writing words. There are days when I have the ďwhat to writeĒ epiphany, but am so far away from being able to write, as Iím in the car, at the airport, or going into a meeting. I would have thought that Iíd be able to do a better job with a work laptop that travels with me, and a smart cell phone. That is not the case, however, and Iím still finding myself playing catch-up with notes Iíve written to myself. Iím not adhering to a daily discipline, which is the whole point of this.
I am still having problems with the time change Ė it is too dark in the morning for me to wake up easily. It also hasnít been sunny as of late, just a lot of grey, overcast days. I want spring, I need spring. Green. Signs of life, signs of hope. Bits of pink, yellow, and periwinkle flirting with me from the garden. Hope that this winter, the long winter, the winter of our souls, is nearing an end, that there will be bright, beautiful, glorious colors, warm days, margaritas in the back yard. Even the daffodils are still on hold.
This was already the year of stash down. And now the 2011 WIP down. Iím making lists of projects on the needles that need to be finished. Iím checking them twice. Iím making them public as further encouragement to finish them. I will work through and finish some of these WIPs - some of them are so close to being finished that it is beyond ridiculous that Iíve not sat down and completed them. Even in this month with minimal knitting have managed to finish a silk stole and am almost done with a cashmere vest to keep me warm.
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