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May Day. I want it to be a relaxed, lovely day. A day of peace, joy and hope. Even if I can't have a day of celebration. What I get is something a little different: chaos, discord and confusion. The first day of the student sessions is draining, and reveal just how unprepared, unpracticed the instructors are. I am disappointed that my initial estimate was correct. Really wanted to be proven wrong on that. I am so tired I can hardly function by the time I get home - a long day extended by a long drive home in horrible traffic.
We're having an English spring, it seems. Cool. Somewhat damp. After the early warming in April, spring has stalled again. After the amazing start to my seedlings this year, the early progress is being undone by the weather. Tomato seedlings are looking a bit...crushed. Peas and beans are small, no two ways about it. Even the lettuce is looking a bit fragile. We need some warmer weather, but there's none in the forecast that I know of. Even on a sunny day, its never really warm, there's enough breeze to make it chilly. At least the lilacs smell good.
I'm sure there was drama today, but I honestly don't remember much about today. There was definitely a long drive home from this afternoon's activity. I am not sure I can take another two weeks of this kind of evening commute. The days are bleeding together, one rush to the next. Six weeks ago I was ready to storm out the door. I probably should have done it and let the chips fall where they may. The next three months stretch out in front of me, and it looks painful, even at a distance. How to change this river's tide?
The dam finally broke today. Months of stress, if not years of continuous over work, finally was just too much. And once the facade cracked, I couldn't just put it back together. Kind of like Humpty Dumpty. I did have a long conversation with the Big Chief. I think he gets it, he seems to want the same long-term vision and appears willing to get involved in the continuing education of TFNG. I honestly don't know if TFNG is salvageable, and the thought of not have ANY backup terrifies me. But life for me must change quickly and radically.
I am astonished by the potential of the kitchen design. There was more countertop space and drawer storage than I'd ever dreamed possible in this house without adding on to the footprint. When asked about my sink preference, I drew a blank. I've never really thought about the specifics, because the layout was always so problematic. It is time to start thinking about that stuff, because I don't want a white kitchen, which himself apparently does. I won't think about the needed changes to the alarm, air conditioning and hot water baseboards. Next week we get a ballpark price. Pray.
Today started with breakfast at the diner. I enjoyed one of my all-time favorites: a belgian waffle with sausages. There's something wonderful about the slightly sweet, crispy waffle with a bite of breakfast sausage. I think I first got that combination at EJ's one Sunday morning breakfast twenty five years ago. Eating out was a rare treat then, I'd order things I couldn't make myself. I would sit at the counter, so much easier for a single in a world of couples or families. I don't think I ever ate anything else at EJ's once I'd tried that combo.
We need another raised bed in the garden. The Chatsworth strawberries have taken over one completely. Another is filled with cauliflower, romanesco, a few tomatoes and peppers. I will plant some more lettuce around them next week. The third bed has peas, beans, beets, lettuce and some more tomatoes. Geoffrey's bed has corn. But there's eggplant and more tomato seedlings still to plant - where? We have apricot fruits forming on the trees, currents taking shape and tiny, tiny strawberries! If the blossoms on the peach, sour cherry and beach plum trees set fruit, we may drive Wickham's out of business.
Not a diary, not a diary, not a diary. So goes the refrain in my head, but I don't seem to be capable of writing much beyond fairly mundane observations, or complete work rants. I haven't found my center, not this time around. It has been months - six months? - and I still am scrambling to write on a regular basis, never mind anything with real meaning or import. The conundrum is that I can't tell if the work stress is killing my discipline or if my lack of discipline is enabling the work stress to get so out of hand.
It seems as though May will end and I'll have done nothing for work other than the student sessions. Running back and forth across the Island is something I've actively avoided until now. I don't know which makes me unhappier: that my assessment about my presence was necessary was correct, or being stuck in the evening rush. If I'm not doing that, I'm in a meeting. There's no time for my actual work. So pushing everything - I mean everything - off on TFNG seems the only viable option, but I am not at all convinced it is actually going to work.
I feel like I'm drowning in things. I want to get rid of stuff. The pantry of food in the basement doesn't make me feel secure, it makes me feel nauseated. I will be pruning my clothing collection this summer, as well as the books and music. Still, that will barely make a dent in the stuff in this house. I would be happy for a few rainy weekends so that the boxes in the basement can be sorted. If things have been boxed for five years and we've not wanted or needed them, they can find a new home.
How not to spend the day of a migraine: sitting in construction and traffic. This was not a good day by any measure, and both highways were snarled just as rush hour began. Was it the full moon? The construction and repair that is everywhere? Was it because everyone drove rather than take the train after last night's debacle at Penn Station? Who knows. At least I only have one more week of this and I'm done driving across the island every day. I feel bad about the tens of thousands who are stuck with this for the forseeable future.
Is it wrong of me to be so relieved that the decision has been made without us having to take action? That the problem child has -rather graciously, to be quite honest about it- removed herself from the second year of the project. I'm delighted and don't really care if her stated reasons are true. But of course, the fifteen minutes she asked for turned into nearly 45 minutes what with her babbling and inability to make a direct statement. It means more work in preparation for the fall, but perhaps we will have less stress and strain all around.
Today was supposed to be the movie knit day. That was my plan: since it was going to be a rainy afternoon, there's be no gardening. Instead, I would watch my DVDs and knit. Somehow, between lunch at the diner, and baking a cake (I finally made the chai pound cake - yum! - why did I wait so long for this?), there was no movie and almost no knitting. Progress was made on household and other chores, but somehow, my day of quiet fun didn't quite happen. At the end of the evening, I went upstairs to read. Quiet fun, indeed.
Running out the clock on a weekend, trying to fold and put away laundry late on Sunday night. That seems to be the pattern for some time now. I'm trying to be productive on the weekends, get stuff done, making up for lost time (I mean weekends) from prior months. But am I really being productive? The list never ends. Sunday afternoons I am as tired as I am on Friday nights, but it is a different tired, more physical and less mental. But still tired. And stressed. I want to read in bed, listening to NPR Sunday night music.
Happy Birthday everyone! So many people I know are having their birthday today...and so many more in the two days before and two days after. I should be glad that they all now live somewhere else, except I'm not. I miss having a couple of close friends I can see, have dinner with, vent to, speak in our shorthand to reference past history. Most days I accept that I'm not likely to have that again. Some days, I rail against it. But right now, I've not the time or strength to try and change the present or the future.
It's not that I'm tired of doing this, it is just that I don't know what to say anymore. Life's pretty much the same week-in, week-out: go to work, be frustrated, tired, migraine, get home, maybe knit, pull weeds or play with the cats, and on weekends, do more of the same. Work is a rut that has the rest of my life in a rut. I really do think I will have to quit. That's the only real escape. I don't mind leaving them in a lurch, but there are projects I'd like to see to fruition.
Do I rant about people who can't buckle down and get the job done? It is very tempting. What about the ice cream truck that wasn't? That's a good work-gone-wrong story. But maybe I've had enough of those lately. And ranting? It is sometimes nice to vent one's spleen, in many ways, I'm just tired of having so much to rant about. So, what to write about here today? The students and their stories? The drive home and missed dinner? The fact that I now have three weeks before a hellish five weeks of travel? Why borrow trouble. . .
The weather suddenly turned from April to July. Sunday I wanted to turn the heat on, it was cold outside, the house was only at 60F. In a display worthy of The Furnace Wars, himself said it was May, the heat was off and would stay off until November. Today, in the face of nearly 90F outside, and the house above 80F, I used the same logic and said no air conditioning. The heat will be here for two days and then disappear. But what havoc will the sudden and blazing heat wreak on the garden in those two days?
Poor kitty. The young black fluffy one is having a really hard time with this early and extreme heat. He seemed too hot and tired to complain too much today, but spent most of the time down in the basement, more than his usual evening getaways. Last summer he was but a kitten, but I can only imagine the mean streets of Queens would have been quite warm. Perhaps his undercoat only grew in recently? But he is very definitely not a happy camper in the heat. I do hope that the air conditioning will provide him relief this summer.
Driving to and from work this year I've watched many climbing vines blossom weeks ago and the racemes are fading, if not gone. The majestic tree down the street (which this year is incredibly lush, just a mass of purple blossoms) is in full bloom. Both of my wisteria --the tree and the climber-- have a healthy number of fat, pale buds but no blossoms yet. I can't wait for them to pop and see the colors of the racemes trailing down. Even with all the sun, my little corner of the island is still two weeks behind everyone else.
How can an ice cream parlour not have whipped cream on a Sunday afternoon? One of life's mysteries, but it meant I was dreadfully disappointed. Don't mess with my ice cream - but I guess it is unfair to call the place an ice cream parlour. Don't promise me a hot fudge sunday, and then be unable to deliver. I was as disappointed as a three year old, but I didn't throw a temper tantrum in the shop. The plain ice cream scoops were fine, I guess, but they probably could have been sawdust for all I cared at that point.
The tiny, LED fairy light strings arrived today, so I scrounged up a number of tall and slim canning jars with lids and set up our mock candles. These should not melt in the sun, unlike the plastic candles in our front window. And when it was dark out, we magically had lights at the back fence creating a soft glow of illumination and reflecting on the pool. It is kind of magical - to see the back of the property, not lit with garish (i.e., modern) christmas light colors, but with delicate pillars. These lights make me ridiculously happy.
Wall to wall meetings. That's what the calendar says my day was like; I don't remember. Even at the end of the day - I was fried. It was supposed to get easier after February. Then mid-March. Then 28 April was the magic date. Now.... the earliest I think I will be able to breathe again is 15 July. This absolutely sucks. There's no real way out of this mess in the short term. All I can think is to not commit to anything new at the end of the year. I probably won't be able to stick to that.
I am playing catch up. Here, in this space, and in my real life. The list of things I need to get done this weekend is awesomely long. Never mind the "want" list. Or real fun. Two months ago, I was ready to quit my job - just walk away and never look back. Finances would be... not precarious, but not a given, either. So I am still here, still overworked, still not happy in my job. By the time I get back from travel, at the end of July, either TFNG will have succeeded, or everything will be in ruins.
My laptop has inexplicably died. Trying to turn it on this morning was an exercise in futility. Had it run out of battery power? I connected the power cord and went about my day - a migraine day, so I didn't pay any attention to the laptop again until after dinner. And that's when I noticed, with a sense of real horror, that there was no green or orange light on the power cord. A phone call later, Apple Support had scheduled me with the Genius Bar, but I know where this will end up: my laptop is taking a trip.
Ah, the sweet simplicity of a day off. Sleeping in. Breakfast at the diner: belgian waffle and sausage again. Buying more plants - is there such a thing as too many plants (um... maybe? I am testing that concept this weekend). A lightning trip of errands, including getting the car washed (Oh! the luxury of time!) and finding a new hair salon (fingers crossed, appointment scheduled for next week). So the day started well, even if it ended with a trip to the mall GeniusBar at 5 on the Friday of a long, holiday weekend. Because of dead laptop syndrome. Blerg.
Tiny, delicate strawberries are beginning to ripen in my garden. Not the big, massive, watery berries you buy in the store, but fraises des bois strawberries. They embody sweet-tart in a whole new way. I am tickled pink at the sight of them. The raspberry and blackberry canes and other fruits look so very healthy. The garden looks great, we just need some sunshine to warm things up and get growing and ripening cycles to kick on. The English spring is great for the flowers but not so good for the veggies - which would probably prefer an Italian spring.
Day Two: The Planting. That would have to be the movie title for today. Anyone can spend one day throwing plants in the ground like a lunatic, but a second day of digging, with bigger holes? That takes true dedication. Yesterday, I dug holes using a trowel, but today, it was the shovel. I ran out of potting soil for the last herb pot, and I didn't get the candytuft seedlings in the ground, but everything else is in. Next weekend, the flower planting will be done, just in time to start worrying about keeping up with the vegetable beds.
Escape to the Country is a big hit in our household. It is interesting to see house options in England, the different county landscapes and vistas. I have been surprised by how many of the houses have... views. Being able to look out and see the landscape - to the distant horizon. Not just to the house across the street, but across the vale or whatever. I found myself wishing for a house that is situated in such a way as to provide that sense of space, of being connected to, part of the greater landscape. Maybe in my next life.
I think I've reknit ever part of this sweater twice. At least. I can only hope that when I pin it together, it approximately fits. Then I will seam it, wash it, and run it through the dryer. And hope it still fits - actually fits better. Please? I have checked and double-checked measurements, and instructions, ripped back cables, and regenerated the pattern not once, not twice but three times (that's four patterns total!). It was supposed to be done in March. I hope to finish it before I leave for Las Vegas (for work, not fun) in ten days.
Another morning of rain as I leave the house. I am trying hard not to be disappointed by all the rain, but it has been a very cold and wet month, particularly the last week or so. All the blankets that were on the bed in winter are still there. We huddle under blankets on the couch.. ok, maybe that's just me! By noon, walking to the bakery for lunch, the sun was out and things were drying off. Sitting at my desk late afternoon, the sun was blinding me. Perhaps as May ends, so will the cold and rain?
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