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I worked again at our new office in the university incubator space today and actually had time to do things when I got home. My mind boggled since I worked an extra chunk of time, but it was less then ten minute to get home. Summer evenings are generally nothing because of the extra hours Monday through Thursday to have the half day on Friday. I can get a lot done in 30 extra minutes; if I choose to be productive that can help with chores, errands, or making dinner. Or have fun swimming, knitting, or just hanging with himself.
Five years later, it is the same thing all over again. The last summer early-close Friday and the holiday weekend. And I'm left waiting on someone else. This time it is specifically because they did not do what was needed by the given deadline. This is the thing I grapple with most: supposed adults who cannot manage their own time and priorities, or seek assistance to clarify priorities. I'm sorry, but the word professionals really does not apply to them, and maybe that's the roof of my problem. I am a professional and they're... what exactly? amatuers? drones? children?
Problem solving skills are a fine art. For years I have tried to distinguish both the symptom and its cause, the underlying, actual problem. It seems to me that most of the people I work with are oblivious to the distinction between a symptom and the problem. Maybe they should check out Rocky Horror?! Sometimes I can address the symptom immediately but need to work for weeks (or longer!) to get remediation of the actual problem. Rarely is the actual problem easily fixed - assuming it even needs to be fixed. Or that the someone wants the problem to be fixed.
Once again, the weather and media folks hyped a storm that never materialized. Hermine was delayed, then stalled, now diminished. We watched an emergency alert scroll across the television screen on all channels, indicating the entire county was under mandatory evacuation. There was no such notice for Irene, an actual hurricane, so clearly a mistake: how do you get 1.5 million people off this island. On a holiday weekend, the population is likely higher. An evacuation off the island would be a nightmare, but we do now have a vehicle that can hold us, the cats and the essentials.
It took years of baking biscotti before I realized the trick: parchment paper. Not for lining the baking sheet, but handling the wet, sticky dough. I would make double batches of the chocolate hazelnut biscotti because forming the logs was a nightmare. Dark chocolate dough would end up everywhere on me, and every surface of the kitchen. Until I started confining dough in parchment paper while portioning and forming the logs. Today's butterscotch biscotti, part of the BirthdayFest 2016 for himself, were very easy with minimal cleanup. I'd forgotten how good they can be. I should make biscotti more often.
I finished the shawl two years ago, and let it sit in a corner because I was afraid of weaving in the ends. The yarn had knots it it, badly done, and as I came across the knots, I cut them out, and just picked up the new end and kept knitting. [Don't judge me, I was in one of those periods where it was about the knitting process, not the product.] But a few hours of careful weaving, a long soak and pinning it out with my flexible lace wires (blocking pins, where did you go?!) - it is beautiful!
At lunch today I finally had a real conversation with my husband's sister, whom I haven't seen since our wedding. In the nearly decade of family Thanksgivings and Christmases before our wedding, I don't remember a single serious conversation with her. The family dynamic inhibited me for several years, everyone talking on top of each other. I had a long conversation one Thanksgiving with her husband, probably because I sat right next to him that year. But I finally met the real person, and with no other distractions around, our conversation flowed quite easily as my husband watched in delight.
The tropical storm finally cleared out enough to lower the temperatures and humidity. Pulling weeds is not my favorite activity (especially on vacation!), but it allows me to find a certain zen center when it is just me, the weeds, and the bucket. Pull, pull, pull, dump. Shuffle to the side. Pull, pull, pull; dump. Stand up. Stretch. Look around for suspiciously tall, thin streaks of green. Pull, pull, pull; dump. So the morning went, a productive meditative activity as I removed the offending grass and weeds from across the front yard. Seeing the flowers without weeds makes me happy.
After a long hiatus, I baked bread. Or actually, slightly crusty rolls filled with soft, lofty pillows. They were a little large, but the instructions were to make six, so I did. Next time, I'll divide the wet, sticky dough into 8 rounds. They'll be rather like the brotchen of memory, I think. There is something very rewarding about making your own bread. Even - or is it especially? - when it is a simple, no-knead dough that has a quick rise and short bake period. Reward that goes beyond eating such fresh bread. I will be making these again soon.
I'm officially sick and coughing up stuff. I've been trying to fight it off since Tuesday, but apparently I've lost. I got sick last year at this same time. I hate being sick on vacation. We had plans for this week and between the tropical storm that was delayed, delayed and then a no-show with no rain, a dead computer (his) and now my being sick, we've done almost none of it. I would say it was a disappointing vacation, but I did catch up on sleep. And I blocked a shawl that had been done for two years.
In the two days since the ice cream machine with a compressor came to live with us, I've been treated to home-made ginger ice cream with spiced apricot swirl and a raspyberry frozen yogurt. No pussy-footing around with vanilla, or other pedestrian flavors here. Next up may well be a honeydew melon sorbet - we have an incredibly sweet melon I am dreaming of a coffee gelato, buttermilk ice cream with roasted strawberry. Elderflower sorbet. Honey lemon. There's going to have to be a lot of the sorbet variety or I will end up the size of the house.
This is just becoming cruel. It is not enough that I'm sick. Overnight, a string of hot, red bumps appeared on the inside of my right arm. Kind of like poison ivy, but not quite: they're not as pus-filled and oozy (filoozy?!) From just under my armpit down past my elbow. And some spots on the other wrist. And near my ankle. The spots in the rash don't hurt - so that rules out shingles, right? I am just a hot mess right now. With my arm so painful, I am not even able to knit. What a complete waste.
How is it that I can like the doctor but don't really feel confident in her ability to heal me? A single visit. There was very little scrutiny of the various rash sites - which all seem to be a little different. Contact dermatitis, for sure she said, certain it was poison ivy. Just because there were a few blisters. Completely disregarding my past history of immediately being aflame after contact with Poison Ivy, but this would have been from Thursday to Monday. Not. Poison. Ivy. But if the meds will make me feel better, maybe the right name doesn't matter.
Tee-pees and wigwams. And officers tents. He's pre-occupied with the idea of a structure in the back yard. One that isn't permanent, so no issues with the town. One that will be a summer man cave, with breeze, shade and privacy. I can see the positive potential, but I'm not sure how big a tent we really need. But if we have a tent... well, I can't help but think of the blue camping tent that Rae had when I was young, the one she decorated using permanent pens. I remember the dragon, and a butterfly. Functional art.
Italian coffee sorbet. Coffee, espresso, and a hint (or hit?) of lemon. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, when he agreed to make coffee sorbet. The lemon caught me by surprise, there was a moment of distracted confusion, then - happiness. A very fine, soft, almost sandy texture, it melted the moment it hit your tongue. It may not have been the classic, glossy, wet texture, but it was so, sooo good. I began imagining a coffee float. Later, I figured out that it packed a serious caffeine hit as well. That float needs to be an early afternoon treat
Take two. The system is eating my posts tonight. I decided on the drive away from the office, up, out of the harbor, that I was too tired and in too much pain to go to KnitNite. I can't knit and to sit and watch others knit would be torture. But it is my one social outlet. Even if all I do is sit and listen, not saying much. I like these women, some more then others, sure, but I feel really comfortable with the core group. This will be the second week running I miss, but I just can't.
Remembering the spicy tuna pasta from the Morrocan students in the Strasbourg dorm, I begin to play with the basics of chili, onions and olives. We've got fresh tomatoes by the bucket, so those go in. And the lovely jarred tuna. Pasta water. No cheese, not with tuna. Simple, but lovely. And quick! Today, that is probably the key. I've been working all day - for work. And trying to fit in the crap of life that needs to be done on a regular basis. Plus, I made brotchen! I want to bake something ever week the rest of the year.
A day of powering through. Just do it. Be productive. Breathe. Never mind having been / being sick. Do laundry. Change litterboxes. Finish the slide decks. Packing in advance of the 5:30 AM pickup tomorrow. Wait, what the frack do I wear for two days of customer facing meetings with a rash down the length of my arm? It was feeling better for a day, but I'm pretty sure it has started going in the wrong direction. I am starting to freak out over the idea of this trip - we are so far from being ready for the meeting. Breathe.
Another long day of business travel. Up at oh-dark-thirty for the ride into the airport, trying to stay ahead of the Monday morning rush. Trying to find a decent cup of coffee in an airport is still a challenge. Landing at the destination airport, discovering the rental car has less than half a tank of gas. Driving an hour to our meeting, with a conference call going on in the back seat. Three and a half hours with the customer, followed by a disappointing dinner, and a meeting to prepare for tomorrow's meeting with the customer. Drop Mic.
It is done and the client is happy - for the moment anyway. I don't expect this good fortune to last very long. Considering all the things that could have gone wrong on this trip, I should be very happy with the outcome. Instead, all I can see are the problems still looming. I'm exhausted, in pain, and both over-burdened and stressed out from the amount of work and there's no relief in sight for any of that. Yet Boss Lady wonders why I'm not happy and all smiles as I drive us back to Columbus? Really? Are you kidding?
Thirty years ago, in a little restaurant in Chicago (was it the creperie? or the cheesecake place? I can't remember - but either way, I'm sure it was on N. Clark street), mom bought me my first legal drink as we had Sunday brunch. The waiter also carded her as well, which delighted her to no end. This year was very low key, due to a combination of ill health, crushing workload and general malaise; I did not begin the year as I mean to go on. But hey, I made it in to the pool, that's gotta count for something.
Fall is here by calendar and weather. With cooler temperatures hard on the heels of a long, dry, hot and humid summer, some leaves are already beginning to turn autumn colors of red and gold, not just the brown of drought. It still isn't sweater weather here yet, but I welcome the change, as it is so much easier to sleep in the cool breeze, particularly with this rash on my arm. This may turn out to be my last time in the pool for the year - it was a cool 72 today - unless the weather warms up very soon.
I was able to knit a few rows today for the first time in nearly two weeks. I didn't want to stop, but my arm made me. It was good to be at KnitNite again, though pretending the mound of office work isn't lurking in wait for me. I was shocked that two of them gave me birthday presents! I did unload a bit of venting about work with Bev before others arrived. It was a craptastic day at work topping off a tough week, but knit night, vanilla ice cream and Sisters of Mercy videos were a good ending.
There is so much I would rather be doing today. Heading out east to 8 Hands Farm for sausages and Pojarskis and who knows what else, maybe getting cider at Woodside, and cheese from Catapanos would be great. I was surprised to learn that the NYC Yarn Crawl is this weekend - it would have been fun to go with the KnitNite crew. But instead, I spent most of the day working my day job, trying to dig out from underneath the mound of deadlines and deliverables. For the second weekend in a row. Something has to give, and give soon.
I'm not sure I'm ready yet, but I've started looking for another cat - one to keep Manxy occupied and sane. Hopefully happy. He misses having someone to roughhouse with. He's harassing Miss Leo, who is making her unhappiness over this boyish behaviour quite known. We both agree that I need to bond strongly with a new kitty, since these two are more strongly bonded to himself. I will need to fall in love with him or her, which may be harder with a young adult kitty - neither of us is up for kitten antics. A friendly, kitty with no siblings.
I want what I want, exactly as I want it. Not the same concept, but in a different pattern. And different color. Exactly what I want, or there's no point. I've always been this way. I would specify exactly which dress I wanted. One grandmother would buy the one I wanted; the other would buy the one she thought was more suitable (which I hated!) and never understood why I wasn't happy with the gift. So as much as it seems ridiculous and wasteful to turn down the offer of perfectly functional bowls... they're not the pink gooseberry pyrex set.
I want to knit. I am capable of it once again, after two weeks of not knitting. But I have no time to knit. I have no time to cruise Ravelry. I think about knitting when I go to bed. I contemplate patterns I've favorited. I mentally review my stash. I remember what it feels like to have cashmere running through my fingers. I relive the feeling of satisfaction when the knitting comes off the needles for the last time, and the pop of pleasure when the finish object is blocked or comes out of the dryer, ready to wear.
I was ready to cry when I came home tonight. I am so tired and burnt and frustrated by work. The lack of competent help. The never-ending tide of due dates that roll up to my desk. I am sure my perspective is a bit skewed because I am so tired and frustrated -- but this has been a recurring theme at this job. For a while. I shouldn't have to micromanage people to get things done. And call me optimistic, but I do think average people can learn when provided examples of "before and after" - if they want to.
A week at work stretches into two weeks straight, encompassing nights and weekends, no break to speak of.... and as it now becomea seventeen days without break... I break. Maybe it was the cold that pushed me over the edge? No, wait, it was the rash and steroids! No, no, it was the blitz trip with the rash! No, its the insominia from the steroids! I am only human. I have limits. I'm tired. I've been sick. I'm not sleeping well. I'm stressed and overworked. Soup and a grilled cheese sandwich is restorative but not sufficient. Where's my blanket fort?
After decades of dealing with migraines, their frequency has finally begun to slow. There was never any defined food or weather trigger for me, but stress was always a contributor. In the past, I've often had months with a least headache a week. Less common were months with no headaches. In recent years, I've had headaches in clusters - or they would last for days that wouldn't go away. Over the last year, the period in between headaches has grown longer, which is a welcome change. I hope someday go six months without a migraine, although its hard to imagine that.
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