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Salvation! The paper submission deadline has been extended one week. How I will get it done in the week ahead is something of a mystery -- there are several other things that are due, and which I've been ignoring for the last week while I tried to work on the paper. But that's the way things go here, moving from crisis to crisis, doing what is necessary for the thing that is due NOW. I am hoping that we are able to hire competent staff soon, so that we can ramp up before the workload just explodes in the next month.
Could it be? Someone actually truly qualified for the job is interested in it? Someone I know I would be able to work with, and not micromanage? Someone adult enough to be able to have a candid conversation without crumpling. It was a delightful talk. I suspect it will come down to compensation. I know our common previous employer, being a much larger company, paid comparatively better, and he understands his value enough to not want to settle. I think benefits may be enticing, but will they be sufficient? I am so excited by the possibility I can't see straight.
Life choices. Sometimes you make them, sometime they make you. Or unmake you. And even if you don't have regrets about where or what you are now, there are life choices that you always think about. Replay. Reconsider. At least, I do. Not to say that I would actually do anything differently, but I do sometimes wonder, what if? What if an opportunity had actually come to pass - a certain job or degree? What if I'd stayed in Germany? What if Helene hadn't moved to New York when she did, or left when she did? Would anything really be different?
What a difference a year makes. A year ago, it was a day of chaos and destruction in the aftermath of a freak storm that brought down almost every tree on our property, smashed fences and nearly killed the pool. Today, the backyard is bright and green, what Terry declared as "bucolic". With the green leaves filling and softening the edges of the property --and the view to our neighbors-- and a blue pool sparkling in the middle of it all, it looks nothing like last year. It is beginning to look like the private oasis we have been wanting.
The start of a 24 hour cycle - alone in the house and binge watching Babylon 5. In watching the remaining cast reunion videos I was struck again by Jerry Doyle's personality, which came through in his character, Mr. Garabaldi. I began watching the first season, which I have seen a number of times in failed attempts to rewatch the series, after a 10 year absence. I am determined to succeed this time, by watching an episode or two here and there, and doing another binge round over Labor Day weekend, as kind of my own personal DragonCon replacement / tribute / experience.
The problem with knitting a pattern that is more of a formula than a detailed instruction set is that you must knit through the questionable parts in order to understand what results from that formula. And so, I knit on. For hours. And then, when I could see the result of my interpretation of that "formula" I could see that my questions had been justified. The shape was all wrong, beyond any correction other than to frog it back to the point where the wrongness started. And rethink before trying once more to create a yoke by the general formula.
The tomato harvest is becoming impressive. The white, japanese eggplants are coming on. Lima beans may yet succeed, and the corn silk is turning brown. But the shining star of this year's garden / orchard story is the figs. We have grown figs in our backyard garden. In the first year. They're small and not particularly luscious, but we. grew. figs. I'm astonished and quite delighted, particularly for Geoffrey, who has so wanted to grow figs as long as I've known him. Figuring out the permanent location for the fig, and how to ensure it overwinters will be a small challenge.
Deadlines as such do not bother me. I don't understand why I have such a glut of them at work - specifically, at this job. Every August for the last four years has been a calendar filled with red every single day. The parade of due dates has generally continued without interruption for about three months, before taking a small break and then starting again in January. If I am the only one who can do all this work -- which is why these deadlines fall to me -- then I should be very valued by the company. But clearly I am not.
I shouldn't be surprised. Someone with an actual, technical background and experience at a defense contractor may want to slow down and do something that seems a little less stressful, but that skill set is in demand. Why the company consistently takes the attitude of "wait and see what happens with our favorite candidate of the moment" I will never know, but there's another PM candidate gone from consideration. Now we have none. Which means there will be no time to train a new hire before the proverbial sh*t hits the fan with multiple new contracts with tight deadlines.
Another social event at the office, which I know I must attend because it is during business hours. I would be much happier if there were no such social events. I realize how this sounds, but honestly, I have no interest in my co-workers. Other than working here, I have nothing in common with them. Not books, music, art, philosophy... and I've no conversation about sports or babies. What is left to talk about other than work? I'm not going to the happy hour after work - what's the point when you have to drive an hour to get home?
Our summer viewing habits have become... unsteady. In part because there's a lot of volatility in the networks: I may want to watch Castle every Wednesday night, but sometimes TNT is running something else. Tuesdays we may re-watch Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. But looking for something completely new, we've been watching a lot of Smithsonian, NatGeo and DiscoveryScience. We eally like the Aerial America series, although I disagree mightily with the Michigan show. And we've become fans of BattleBots. It isn't the same as other reality / competition shows. It isn't exactly a guilty pleasure. It is pure summer fun.
Backfilling. Yes, here I am, doing it again. Long summer days, and constant deliverables mean I hardly breathe all day in the office. If I manage to get in the pool at night, then there's even less time to deal with life stuff. I need a voice-to-text option, where I can simply narrate my entry. You hear that, Jeff? Roy? I want to be able to dictate my entry for the day so I can do it on the drive in to work. That's when I mediate anyway, when I think most clearly without ranting about small stuff.
Michael Phelps, an amazing swimmer: 28 olympic medals, 23 of them gold - including his final event. I was stunned four years ago in London; I think we all were. No matter what you think of him, this is a massive accomplishment. Given the scrutiny on doping this year, I have to think it was done cleanly. All of that, however, was still not enough to draw me in to this Olympics to any extent: the NBC coverage and commentary was, from what I saw, horrible. And such incredibly sexist comments from all media made left and right, it was breathtaking.
So close. So very close to being done with the green yoke sweater I am so ready to be done with, after starting in a blaze a month ago. The one I declared was a process knit, not a product knit. But of course, after getting it off the needles, it fit perfectly - except the yoke was 3 cm too short. So I frogged it, and reknit, only to have the neck opening too small to get over my head. I think this last version is pretty damn close, but there's not enough time today to complete the finishing details.
I should have known the heat and humidity here in DC would beat me down, best me. Despite my attempt to travel light today, the first metro car without air conditioning, followed by a long slow ride due to emergency track work necessitated by the heat did me in. I walked five blocks from the metro station to the hotel, slowly, and in the shade as much as possible. The sweat was pouring off me by the time I got to the hotel, my bottle of water warm beyond drinking. A long, cool shower was not enough to restore me.
The wheel turns, and they call it progress. In DC, the new and shiny high-rise or office building grows from the ashes of the lovely red brick townhouse. Right next to the tiny park where the homeless live. I am still astonished by the number of homeless here in DC, our nation's capital. And at the continuing consumption of old buildings with charming, individual exteriors by the new glass and steel monoliths that are nearly indistinguishable from one another. In any other city, there would be more effort at preservation, but not in DC. We are losing our history.
Nothing stays the same. Especially your favorite restaurant. No matter how much you want it to stay exactly as it is, as it was....the inevitable happens. Maybe it happens suddenly, such as when a plumbing problem erupts and no one's willing to pay for the repairs, and the restaurant literally closes overnight. Or maybe... the chef decides to open another restaurant, and dumbs down the menu because he's going to be at the new restaurant all the time. So I'm a victim of his success -so this was probably my last meal at what was my favorite DC restaurant.
Flying back to New York tonight,the plane was coming down over Long Island for landing as the full moon was rising in the east. Not quite a harvest moon, but it was a big, fat amber disk nonetheless. I stared out the window at La Bella Luna, setting aside my knitting and the last few minutes of final episode of the last season of Upstairs, Downstairs on my ipad. The show outside my window was better, not just because of how ephemeral it was. I briefly chased the moon on the drive home before I had to turn north.
I've begun to measure the passage of time by my knitting projects: What was I knitting then? Or what have I completed since I set aside that naughty WIP that was causing me trouble? Either way, it is an interesting shift in perspective. Previously, the measuring stick in my memory was where I lived, or what music I was listening to when the event in question happened. But now there is enough history and variety to mark the knitting epochs, correlated by fiber, by style, before or after Ravelry, by knitting needle material, KnitNite, pre-CustomFit.. you get the idea.
After so many bad versions, you forget how good something can be when it is done right. OK, I didn't make the bread myself, but the BLT sandwiches that were tonight's dinner were the real thing. Bacon from Amana, rich, luscious, smokey but not so salty. Sourdough bread, toasted. Crisp romaine lettuce. Ripe, organic heirloom tomatoes fresh from our back yarn. We've been amazed at the low acidity of our heirloom tomato varieties, so unlike what you get at the store. Tomato and corn salad on the side, and a Klondike dark chocolate bar for dessert - a perfect summer dinner.
Uncertain weather continued today. Warm and humid, with alternating sunshine and grey clouds threatening rain. Rain which I do not begrudge on the weekend, since we so badly need the rain. In past years, this would have been a very uncomfortable time, with rain ensuring no escape from the humidity; with central air, we hardly notice it. We watch TV, compute or read. I cook and bake inside - in the afternoon, something that for years I strictly avoided in summer. I no longer soak in a cool bath in the evenings, or wake up exhausted from a hot August night.
The heat and humidity that has persisted for weeks finally began leaving us today. The house was opened and allowed to breathe in the morning. The cat, which had been complaining bitterly for days that there was simply no entertainment to be had with the house closed, was finally able to sit at the front door and keep an eye (and nose!) on the neighborhood comings and goings. By evening, it was cool and crisp, without quite being anticipation of fall. I am looking forward to a few days of lovely sleeping weather, with no air conditioning or fans blowing.
Contracts that we've been waiting on for months have finally started to arrive at work. I learned a while ago that being selected for award is fine and dandy, but doesn't count for much. Proposals I wrote, for my projects, by myself, have now turned into nearly $2 million in contracts this year, more than half of it to be billed in the next 12 months. In past years, that would be about 25% of company billables. No better time to ask for a raise, so I did. At home we celebrated with a bottle of prosecco and a swim.
I could make myself quite at home in the incubator space we've taken at the local university. Not in the least because it is less than ten minutes from home. I like the isolation, the quiet, the lack of distractions. I could be very productive in this space - if I don't have to share it too much, or too often. I'm not sure how that will work out. Or if the TPTB will really be ok with that. But now is definitely the time to be making the ask - with so much goodwill from the arrival of my recent contracts.
I will admit I was rather surprised when I saw the new number she started with. I was pretty convinced TPTB wouldn't go that high, especially not right off the bat. But I think I managed to not let it show. I casually set the document aside and turned the conversation to the other things I wanted. I think I really caught Boss Lady off guard by that, and one of those items in particular, but she recovered quickly and agreed. The last item was less successful: we had a good discussion although no resolution. But I'm satisfied. For now.
I told myself to celebrate the victories of this week that I would buy myself a pretty, some lovely piece of jewelry to wear, maybe with an amethyst, moonstone, or opal. Antique, probably from Etsy. But after a few days of searching, I still haven't found anything that makes my heart leap - at least not in the price range I was hoping to stick to. And then I got the email from Colourmart.... my favorite cashmere yarn, in sets, on sale. I broke. I bought. Literally pounds of gorgeous cashmere are coming my way. I see colorwork in my future.
The Babylon 5 rewatch continues. I am interested to see --to recognize-- those little bits of the 1990s creeping into the dress, hair and makeup. There are episodes that are more formulaic than others and which on re-watch I sort of wonder how, or if, they advance the story arc. They are episodes that are a period of rest in the main action, where maybe we see a bit more about the players in the story. Then are the episodes I barely remember, which seems rather surprising, given I must have seen the series several times in re-runs.
I am suddenly and harshly reminded that retrograde is fast approaching. That we will spend both our birthdays enmeshed in retrograde. And that I'm taking time off to be together. That I will once again have to deal with the client in Dayton that seems predisposed to misunderstandings and obstreperousness. It all makes my head spin. I try to tell myself that forewarned is forearmed, but I am not sure I really believe that. I almost never remember that it is retrograde at the onset of a blow-up, only once things have gone awry. I need a retrograde mantra.
Seeing all the chatter about DragonCon in my Twitter feed, I feel a viscseral pull to go, be there, to partake in the joyous madness that is a long holiday weekend with tens of thousands of other people who are deeply interested in many of the same books, films and TV shows. People who are not afraid to let their freak flag show. People who are rabidly passionate about both the canon of what was, and the possibility of what yet may be. Yet I know a return experience after a decade's absence may not live up to my memory.
I can't believe the summer is nearly gone. It just started, didn't it? I mean, where were the fried clams at the waterfront? Margaritas by the pool? Sweet, sweet corn that melts on your mouth? A picnic with fried chicken? Eat lobster? What about walking on the beach or building a sandcastle? Lay in the hammock? Watching fireworks, or star gazing? A road trip to somewhere fun? We did see a blockbuster summer action movie (Star Trek), go out for ice cream, and eat amazing fresh tomatoes. I think we have a lot to do next week on our staycation.
My meditation today was on yokes. Not the egg kind... although tonight's dinner was egg toast, luscious with runny yokes and buttered multigrain toast... the sweater kind. I started reading Kate Davies' Yokes book. I admit I mostly skipped the historical intro, I was interested in the individual patterns, trying to "read" the photos, schematics and instructions to pick which one might improve my art of knitting. I admit a certain disappointment that none are knit top-down. It seems my attempt to impose raglan shaping on the EPS sweater was in the right direction, just not taken far enough.
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