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Beltane. I will observe it tonight with the full moon in the original celtic tradition. Itís not much of a celebration this year, being home alone on a school night and all. How will I observe this pagan festival of spring and renewal? Primarily by mowing the lawn, which is massively overgrown and an evening spent more in fun than in chores. Iím deferring the more earthy aspects until this weekend in Philadelphia with Geoffrey. I spent the day listening to Rush at the office. Iím connecting with hope and renewal in the ways most open to me right now.
I played with newly arrived silk tonight. The two colors would create a marvelous colourwork piece, but after working my way through most of the patterns I have, there are almost no colourwork patterns. There may be a bit of contrasting yarn used at the edges of a piece, but no summer styles that really uses two colors throughout. My creativity is fired and stymied at the same time. Or, as is often the case with knitting and yarn, I have the original creative impulse but feel I lack the time to devote to it to see it to fruition.
I am getting more from the Dune series this time around, and enjoying it more. More of it makes sense, not just the words that have become more familiar parts of our vocabulary, or my broadened perspective on world cultures, but the philosophy behind it, the personal motivations, the references to global history Ė it is rather like reading Huck Finn and other Twain books as an adult. I donít know how old I was when I read Dune the first time around, college? But clearly, I was too young to understand the deeper meanings, the reason Dune is a classic.
Walking around as the late afternoon slowly drifted toward evening, it was a bit of magic. The blue sky and balmy air was an unexpected gift, but not too warm. Old Town was beautiful, even in its roughness of streets not yet gentrified, and there was a spark of energy in the air due to First Friday gallery openings. An a capella choir serenaded us as we drifted south, amusements of every sort walked the streets, and after the obligatory visit to Genoís, the stalls of the Italian Market impressed us even though empty at the end of the day.
Ice cream is probably my favorite dessert. Iíd rather have ice cream than a cookie, and it definitely beats out almost every cake. Plain, with fruit, with a cookie, a drizzle of hot fudge on classic vanilla, along side warm pie, any which way, ice cream does it for me. There is a lot of mediocre ice cream out there, so I was delighted to discover Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia, which has intense, dense ice cream that doesnít leave a greasy feeling in your mouth (think HaagenDaas). Vanilla bean, ginger, coffee, black raspberry, green tea and peach were all spectacular.
As hotel coffee and breakfast are not worth the price of admission, Iím perfectly willing to venture out of the hotel in search of morning coffee, but himself isnít, so we have an impasse. Do we bring the Bodum and our ground coffee in the future? Order a pot of room-service coffee just to get us started? This seems like such a small thing, but it cropped up this weekend. Iím attuned to the rushed early morning start of business travel, but himself is the opposite. It doesnít help that Iím trying to evaluate the city as a future home.
Iím simply horrified at the loss of flowers. The new lawn guys have simply mowed down my entire flower bed along the south and east side of the house, as well as the wildflower garden at the back. They managed to leave the roses and the hollyhocks in the south garden, but this means no delphinium, phox, cosmos, true geraniums, achillea, lavender, heuchera, echinacea, monarda, and who knows what else. This was the year most of the flowers should have been mature. I donít know how many will even survive at this point, but they wonít be blossoming this year.
Iíve decided it would be good to track my knitting progress on a monthly basis. Donít worry, Iím not turning this into a knitting blog, but I want to do an inventory.
Works in Progress:
-lavender lace mohair summer cardigan
-neptune Louet linen garter-chevron shell
Works on Kneedles:
-cotton garter-chevron striped baby blanket
-Jo Sharp hunter green cotton summer lace pullover
-Debbie Bliss Cathay ribbed tank
-moss green laceweight raw silk arrowhead shell
-laceweight pink alpaca/silk cable cardigan.
Incomplete Works to be Frogged then Reworked:
-Katja ivory-pink ribbon sweater
-Colourmart winter sunshine yellow cashmere sweater
-blue-green silky ribbon tee shirt
Of course, I canít forget all my planned projects, some of which I already have yarn in hand, and other projects which are still in the idea stage: Colourmart navy cashmere shawl, Colourmart black smooth silk v-neck tank, Colourmart cream raw silk tank with round neck, a non-wool tweed version of Rowanís Juno pattern, a scarf and hat for dad (that fits, this time!) another pair of fingerless gloves for Miss H, a summer silk shawl for me, the Elizabeth Lavold Silky Tweed in an autumn sweater coat, my multi-tonal green shawl and a laceweight shrug for reading in bedÖ..
Fog in the morning is not so uncommon, but I love waking up to the soft grey of a foggy morning. It brings a quiet stillness to the area. Quiet. That's what fog brings, a quiet world. There was a blanket of fog this morning when I left and it was here again when I came home. An evening of gentle damp greyness Ė I don't really remember seeing fog in the evening before, but it is quite delightful. The evening seemed to lack the hustle and bustle of a normal weeknight. I should have sat on the porch until dark.
Spring is very late this year, no doubt about it. The first year I was in the house, spring was terribly early, although I didnít know it at the time. During the first week in April, my parents came for their first visit and we dug up everything in sight to regrade the land around the house. As the few tulips I had planted in October had already bloomed, I wasnít too sad to let them go, as I really wanted the overgrown shrub gone. This year, a month later, and I still have tulip blossoms visible in the yard.
Riding the bike, now my bike, my electric orange creamsicle of a bike in the warm afternoon sunshine, a light breeze rippling past my skin, I felt I was 12 again. I felt light, buoyant, carefree. Of course, no 12 year old is really carefree, theyíre in the throes of that adolescent nightmare, but nevertheless, I felt young. I may not be able to ride for hours at this time, but for a few brief minutes, I was stripped of all of the weightiness of adulthood; gone was the feeling of having solidified, of being trapped, I sparkled with life.
Payback is a bitch, a real bitch. For the brief illusion of being young again, today, parts of me feel like a very old woman. Was it worth it? Iím not entirely certain right now. Clearly, riding my bike is something I have to work up to Ė and much the same goes for Geoffrey. It is something of a mystery, how I can swim and do the pool exercises and be fine, but every time I try something new, riding a bike, weeding, wrestling with bags of mulch, I find new muscles that clearly havenít been used in some time.
That's it, that's really it - the job is absolutely sucking my soul. I'm bored, terribly bored, and literally bored: there was nothing to do today once I had reconciled change control - there was no point in doing any of the 'busy work' - no one will have time to look at it for the next two weeks at best so what's the point? The job has brought me down to the nihilistic point of view. I'm trolling listings at idealist.org hoping against hope that there is something for me to do, even if it entails a career change.
I want very much to write about something other than work, but I canít seem to think about anything else. I am consumed with how bored and unhappy I am, how much I want out, the fact that there doesnít even appear to be anything worth applying for, except for the CUNY job and I havenít even applied there. I donít know why, as a decent job in academia sounds good. I guess Iím concerned about the lack of advancement that is more than likely after moving into academia, as it seems I need a new challenge every few years.
I needed a mental health day today. Iíve got a very bleak outlook on the world right now, highly attributable to a job that is boring me to death, killing my career. Iím not happy when Iím bored. All sorts of ills and troubles appear when Iím bored. And unlike at school, when I could choose to read a paperback during class, if I was really bored, I canít read a paperback or knit at the office. Unless I learn to knit with my toes, as dad suggested. I used to play go fish using my feet as a child...
I decided one way to get more knitting time was to knit during the WW meeting, where no one would complain about the knitting. I know Iím using knitting as a therapy, a mind-altering substance (yarn is magical!), but it is about the only non-destructive option available to me now. At least Iím not using food as therapy, which is a constant struggle for me, but it is a signal that some of my attitudes about food are changing. And with knitting, there is something that actually is created out of the therapy, beyond my (hopefully) improved mental state.
For several years, I had a Friday night tradition, dinner out at Trio, alone. It was a treat, a luxury and indulgence at the end of the week, a great dinner without having to cook, a way to slide into the weekend. Tonight, alone on an unseasonably cold and damp Friday, I indulged myself again, in the space that Trio used to occupy. It was a difficult, trying and tiring week, although I wasnít physically exhausted as I used to be on Friday nights. All the same, a decent dinner with a bit of dessert does wonders for the soul.
I want to find a map of old New York, of New Amsterdam. To see where the place names were/are, to overlay the landscapes. I love being able to see back in the past, to be able to imagine yourself in that time and place. It was remarkably easy in most of Philadelphia, but it is hard in New York, which is so much a place of now, in keeping with its founding history of as a center of commerce. The shiny and new is what sells, not the old and timeworn, so the city has plastered over its past.
Sitting in the cool dark of my house, alone this Sunday night, listening to Echoes and Hearts of Space after a weekend spent working in the garden, knitting, and reading. Looking forward to a good soak in the tub to ease the muscles. This is very much how I used to spend my weekends. And somehow, it seems as unfulfilling as it did back then, perhaps more so, as I have become accustomed to having some kind of life on the weekend, a loving contact with someone: doing stuff together, even just sitting on the couch together watching bad TV.
In second grade, I had a terrible teacher, one who couldnít cope with someone like me who had learned to read before kindergarten. Every morning, I would watch for the schoolbus to come over the hill, then leave the house, run down the driveway and make it to the bus stop. Except as the fall wore on, a new pattern developed: as the bus came over the top of the hill, I became very queasy, and sometimes tossed up my breakfast. The same pattern has reappeared recently, as I try to get out of the house and drive to work.
I serve no real purpose. I'm a figurehead at best, a title that can be trotted out in fulfillment of some regulation. When I politely try to get the business to adhere to rules previously agreed to, they get an exemption from the group that set the rules. When we're not doing a great job of managing change and I point out that the established procedures for managing change aren't there to pass an audit checklist, but to ensure we are managing change in the best possible way, I'm told the procedures aren't important now, weíll talk after the implementation.
So I'm supposed to work on three questions that focus on purpose, ideals and desired results but I no sooner start thinking about these when I find myself stopped by the thought - is this for work or for life? And a minute later it again hits me like a brick between the eyes - there shouldn't be a difference. When you integrate the two, you have more potential for success and happiness. When the two are misaligned, you create opportunity for misery and discontent to grow. I know this from first-hand experience, learned from working before I finished college.
First question: What do I love to do? Many things: read, knit, cook, bake, garden, research, learn, figure out better ways of doing things, solving problems (not puzzles, there's a difference), work with people who are interested in and good at what they are doing, or who honestly want to learn. Do I currently ďdo what I loveĒ for a living? Not at this job. Does my current career contain the potential for doing what I love? Yes Ė so Iím not sure about a career change just yet. Does my current position contain that potential? Not that I can see.
Hope flared wildly, acetylene, at the news that Riverhead is finally advertising for staff and that he sent in his resume today. It was a terrific gift that started the weekend on a positive, hopeful current. Yet so much is riding on this possibility Ė if he gets it, everything will start falling into place; weíve discussed the plan so much in the abstract there isnít much left undetermined, except for the question of stay and remodel the Crimson Tower Palace versus buy a bigger house. If Riverhead doesnít come through, for whatever reason, Iím afraid things will start falling apart.
We slowly drove past, eyeing the Federal style house that is now on the market, one that weíve stared with a certain longing at every time weíre on that road. MLS photos indicate it has the land and living space we want, although there is apparently some vinyl siding somewhere on the property as well Ė ugh! Even though weíre both interested, would go to an open house if they had one, I donít think either one of us could take it again: finding a house that we just love but not yet being in a position to sign a contract.
Second Question: How am I comfortable behaving? This is harder to answer. I'm comfortable being honest, being candid, telling the truth. I like to work independently on things but I am also comfortable managing people and processes - perhaps processes more than people, although a success with people is much more rewarding. I'm comfortable making decisions, leading, setting direction. I'm not comfortable taking orders, or having to spin things. I'm comfortable with change, deadlines and a rapid pace. I'm not comfortable with repetition, lack of direction or lack of things to do. I'm more comfortable in chaos than in boredom.
A wild wind swept through the open windows in the wee small hours of the morning, with sparks of lightening and a distant rumble of thunder on the horizon but there was no rain despite the forecast. I love waking up in the night to rain or mild storms, especially if I donít have to go to work in the morning and can stay awake and enjoy it. There is something very peaceful about being tucked away safe and cozy in your bed and watching the show Mother Nature puts on Ė be it snow in winter or thunderstorms in summer.
Third question: What can I achieve? Ah, now thatís the hardest one to quantify. In its simplest essence, I can achieve anything I set my mind to. When speaking or teaching, I can gain the interest of others in a topic they may be resisting. I excel at ďfinding the wayĒ, being the field marshal allocating resources to accomplish the goal on the most impossible timeframe. I have proven that I can find the key that unlocks better performance out of people and processes, even where others, more experienced, have failed. The last, best hope to get the job done.
And how do I integrate the answers to those three questions? Ah, thatís the hardest of all. I do think there is something for me to do out there in my chosen field that will use almost every single bit of all three answers. But it may not be in the local area. And I have no idea how to find it Ė what kind of company combines the academic, security, and the need for a field marshall? What kind of position requires those skills? I have to trust in the universe to answer, now that Iíve articulated all of this.
Riverhead has given Geoffrey the green light, so barring any unforeseen disasters, heíll be joining the household sometime in July or August. He seemed a little bowled over by the potential realities, but, needless to say, Iím excited by the prospect, finally here after so long. Mentally, Iím already rearranging the house, trying to figure out what can be done before he moves in (like the MBR closet) and the patio furniture purchase seems more appropriate now! And the bikes, letís not forget the bikes. This is real motivation to send in photos and story for the kitchen renovation show.
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