Monday, October 31, 2011

Wanted: Neat Freak Psycho-bait

Yesterday was my first real day off since the end of August.  I was not scheduled to work either of my two jobs, I didn’t have a class and I was not working on an upcoming show.  I had no appointments I had to keep and so the day was my own to do with as I wished. 

I spent the majority of it restoring some sense of order to the Spinster Nest.  It had fallen into quite the state over the past couple of weeks while I prepared for exams and last week’s run of shows.  The Nest is not a large space.  In fact it is so small that one dirty plate left out and a tissue on the floor is enough to make me start using words like untidy and cluttered. 

When my life becomes as busy as it has been over the past few months, my home can cease to be the haven away from the chaos that it should be and instead becomes little more than a hotel room for my transient self to rest her head for a few hours before dashing off to the next appointment.  Of course, it does not have the one big advantage that a hotel has, maid service, and so as of Saturday night messy would have been the kindest adjective one could use to describe the condition of my home.

There were piles of costuming and props to be put away, stacks of mail to be sorted, two week’s worth of laundry to be done and dishes in need of washing.  The bathroom desperately needed a good cleaning and the litter box was a day past due changing.  While I didn’t expect I could possibly get all of this done in one day, I knew I could at least take care of most of the clutter and give the place a livable feel again.  I did manage to accomplish that at least. 

While bemoaning the state of my apartment one afternoon last week a friend asked me if times like this ever made me wish for someone to share a space with; someone who could pick up the slack when I was too busy with the assumption that I would do the same for them should they find themselves in a similar place.  I very quickly replied that no, I am still quite content to live on my own even if it is in the midst of temporary extreme untidiness.  Whatever state my apartment is in, the mess is my own and while there might be a bit of a delay at times, it does eventually get cleaned up and home becomes home again.   

Truthfully the only times I ever wish that I lived with another person is when I find myself rising from my bed in the middle of the night to investigate some creepy sound and I think that it would be awfully nice to have another body to shove in front of me to distract the serial killer who is likely hiding behind the shower curtain so that I can have a few moments to make my getaway out the back door while keeping my fingers crossed that the killer doesn’t leave behind too much of a mess.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Year of Susan

When I was in junior high there was this girl, I’m going to call her Susan.  She had perfect hair that never seemed out of place.  Her clothes looked as though she went shopping with a list from Seventeen magazine in hand and a magic fairy with a magic wallet big enough to buy whatever she wanted.  She had a seemingly unending supply of friends who followed her down the hall chatting and giggling about what happened over the weekend.   She was on nearly every sports team at school, basket ball, field hockey, track…and she was, of course, great at all of them.

The teachers loved Susan too since she was also smart and always had the right answer.  When we had a class that required an oral report she would stand before us full of confidence.  She came equipped with just the right props for her subject and people always clapped after she was done.  When asked to do a report on someone she admired she chose Madonna and on the day the report was given she came to class dressed as the pop singer.  She stood before us, a perfect head to toe, twelve year old replica of the material girl. 

I on the other hand, was the shy, quiet, broody girl who had moved to town in the middle of seventh grade.  An extrovert who carried the curse of shyness, I sat in the back of the class scribbling down poems and story ideas in a notebook.  I didn’t giggle with friends about my weekend.  Though I had a few somewhat-more-than-acquaintances I spent time with, my weekends were mostly spent alone in libraries browsing among the stacks, or in the woods with a bagged lunch and my sketch book.  The only sport I took part in was cross country running because I didn’t actually have to interact with the other team members.   I did well in school, but any sort of presentation that I did was pretty much directed at the floor instead of my fellow students. 

In short, we couldn’t have been more opposite.  If Susan was a bonfire, I was just a spark that fell onto the pavement, igniting nothing.   She moved through the halls of our junior high with a natural ease that I was not even close to possessing.  In looking back I know that my twelve year insecure self was putting Susan up on an unreachable pedestal, but at that time I was simply in awe of her.  

To try to become her friend never crossed my mind.  Aside from the fact that it was quite likely she was unaware of my existence, it really it wasn’t her friendship I wanted.  No, what I wanted was to be like her.  Not a replica of her, but instead to find out what it was that made her seem so alive.  I thought if I could figure that out, then maybe I could do it too.  Then perhaps I’d be a little less shy; a little more brave. 

Through all of eighth grade I watched her.   It was not a difficult thing to do.  Our school was small and the entire eighth grade class was only about 60 students.  I tried reading the books and magazines I saw her carrying in her bag thinking maybe they held the secret.   I remember that after saving a bit of allowance money I bought a baggy, pale yellow, v-neck sweater that was similar to one she wore and for a brief moment after putting it on I did indeed feel more confident, at least until on the way to school a young man said hello to me in passing and I quickly realized that it would take more than a sweater to conquer my shyness.  So I kept watching and hoping, convinced that my powers of observation would help me to discover the secret of Susan.

I wish I could say that at some point during that year I learned her secret and that I breezed through high school and the rest of my adult life with a confidence that sprouted from the seed of Susan’s secret, but that didn’t happen.  Instead eighth grade came and went, and I was not any closer to making my discovery.  When my freshman year began she was not there and I heard she’d been enrolled in some elite boarding school for the smart and wealthy.  I stumbled through another move, the rest of high school and into adulthood as full of insecurity as I ever was.   I managed to overcome my shyness in my early twenties, but it would be several years before I learned that seemingly obvious lesson that my inner fire had to be self ignited.   

Susan was just one of many people I met in life who I thought carried some secret to happiness.  It is in our nature to want easy answers to such things and there is indeed wisdom to be gained from those who shine so brightly.  Yet, however we might admire them and whatever lessons we may learn from them, we should not become so blinded by their lights that we lose sight of the flame that burns inside of ourselves.   This is a light that can burn as bright as any other, but it is up to each of us kindle it and to seek out the fuel that will keep its glow steady and strong.   

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Tiny Quit

I’m beginning to think that giving myself the challenge of blogging everyday for thirty days during the month of October might have been a bad a bad idea or at the least it was a poorly thought out decision.   I am going through what is perhaps the busiest time in my adult life and I’m finding that I simply do not have enough hours in the day to complete every task that needs doing.   

Flash back to a time about 7 years ago.  I was a full time student attending school at night to obtain my associates degree.  I worked a full time job.  I’d just made a return to dance after a 15 year absence.  I served on the board of a very active local non-profit and was due to take on the role of board president.    I was a community organizer, feeding volunteer for a feral cat rescue organization, and also volunteered several times a month at a local soup kitchen.  I tutored ESL students in research and writing at the college I was attending.  I was writing a regular column and blog on the subject of urban wildlife and had a fairly decent following.   Oh…and I was in a relationship and somehow managed to keep up some semblance of a social life.

I kept up this pace for nearly two years and then one day, after I returned from a trip to visit my brother on the west coast, I crashed.  Perhaps a more accurate word would be that I deflated.  I remember looking at the ‘things to do after vacation’ list that I’d written out before I left and I realizing that in my absence it had grown.   My world hadn’t stopped while I was gone.  I had a voicemail box of messages and couple hundred emails, all of which required some sort of action on my part.   I could say that I felt overwhelmed but it was more that I was on the edge of panic.  For a moment I couldn’t even breathe. It was as though the weight of all that I had to do was piled upon my chest pressing upon me.

At that time I did what I now refer to as The Big Quit.  I stayed in school and stayed working of course, but I quit nearly everything else.  I resigned from the board, passed my organizing duties on to others, became a back up volunteer feeder and left the soup kitchen.  I cancelled nearly every social engagement I had in the coming month and took the summer off from dance classes.  I put my writing on hold.   I found a therapist and swore I’d never do this to myself again.

Now here I am.  I’ve returned to full-time school.  I work two part-time jobs.  I am performing on a regular basis, nearly once a week (really…a third part-time job).   I am producing a show that will run for three nights at a local theater in less than two weeks.   I am working to make a success of the variety show troupe that I manage (one could call this part-time job number four).  I’m writing nearly daily to keep up this blog and to just keep my skills fresh.  My days are filled with rehearsals, homework, classes, work, promoting and sometimes I even sleep.  I’ve had two unexpected cat emergencies in the past three weeks.  My social life is basically nonexistent.  I am behind on EVERYTHING.

I don’t want another Big Quit in my life.  I know that in doing what I had to do to take care of myself then left a lot of other folks holding the bag of my undone tasks.  This time I don’t really have someone to pass my tasks on to and to just let them slide would have an impact on other people.  There is another big difference between then and now and that is that much of what is on my plate right now has an end time.  In two weeks the show will be done and I’m scaling back my performing over the winter.  In December the semester will end and I will have better planned my schedule for the spring.   In many ways it is just a matter of managing well until I get through these times.  However, right now I do need to let something go and it is going to be this month’s NaBloPoMo.   It might seem a small thing to an outside observer but I began writing this post at about 10:15 and the time is now 11:30. 

I will make an attempt at NaBloPoMo again, likely sooner than later.  I will still post regularly to the blog but on my own schedule.   Now I have three hours to shower, eat lunch, prep costuming for a show tonight and maybe do a bit of math homework. 

On with the day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An Unusual Interaction

I work part time in a local retail establishment.  As far as retail work goes, it is not a bad gig.  Most of the folks who visit the store are pleasant people.  They are there to browse, or to buy gift for a loved one, or something special for themselves and I am there to assist them with their purchase in whatever way I can.  My interactions are generally enjoyable ones and more often than not the customers leave happy, and I’m feeling pretty good about helping someone.  Every once in a while something comes along that is just plain, well, strange.

This evening I was alone in the store and a man came in.   If I had to place his age I would put him in his late 40s or early 50s.  He wandered about the displays in a way that seemed both hurried and unfocused.  I approached him and asked if he needed any help with finding something.  His reply was that he was looking for a gift for his wife for their anniversary.

I asked him if there was anything in particular she liked for jewelry or maybe he knew her favorite color.  His reply was:

“Well, it really doesn’t matter what I give her.  She won’t like it and that’s okay because I don’t particularly like her anyway.”

I was more than a bit taken aback by his response.  I understand that sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger about certain things, but this man did not seem like he was wanting to talk about his feelings.  He was very matter of fact about what he said.  It wasn’t angry or flippant.  He really seemed to be oddly okay with whatever his situation was.   He seemed so sure of it I couldn’t help but wonder why he was even bothering to go through the motions of buying a gift.

“It’s okay, “ he added, “She doesn’t like me very much either.”

As I stood there thinking that maybe the best gift they could give each other was divorce papers, he decided on a very bland, generic gift.  The kind of thing you would buy for your distant cousin who you don’t know all that well, but who you wanted to thank for house sitting for you while you were on vacation.   

I rang up his purchase and wrapped it up in a box for him, nestling it in a bed of tissue paper to prevent it from being damaged.   I wanted to ask him why they were still together if they really didn’t like each other.   I suppose the reason could be anything:  too financially intertwined, ‘for the kids’, or maybe they felt they’d been together too long and they were too comfortable with discomfort to change.   Of course I didn’t ask.  I simply put his purchase in a bag and wished him a good night. 

Hours later I am unable get this interaction out of my mind. I think perhaps what I can’t seem to understand is how resigned to his situation he seemed, as though next year at this time next year he will likely be walking into another store, in some other town, looking for some other equally nondescript and uninteresting gift.   Going through the motions for yet another year for reasons I or you are never likely to know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sad news...

Spinsters and cats.  A cliche to be sure, but it is one that fits this self proclaimed spinster.  I have three felines that I share my life with.  Two are 15 years old and the other is a rambunctious 2 year old.  I do call them my fur babies and they are indeed spoiled.

We all know that when an animal becomes a part of your life it will mean that one day you will have to say good bye.  When you share your life with older cats you come to a point where you know that one of these times a visit to the vet for your cat being out of sorts isn't going to result in being sent home with some sort of pill and an "oh don't worry, in a few days he'll be back to his old self."

Today I had the visit I've been expecting one day but hoping wouldn't happen anytime soon.  One of my kitties, the male 15 year old who I've had since he was a kitten, has a tumor.  It is one that can't be removed.  Though there is treatment to make him more comfortable and maybe even extend his time here with me, it is expected that I will still only have his company for another two to four months.

In fitting with the theme of this months NaBloPoMo, the next few months will be a between time.  A time when I'll be hoping for the best, working to make sure he is happy and comfortable, and watching for those signs that will mean that final trip to the veterinarians office.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Single and NOT hating it...

"Perverted misanthropes, crazy cat ladies, dating-obsessed shoe shoppers, etc.—all of them some form of terribly lonely." - Kate Bolick

The above quote is from  All the Single Ladies, an article by Kate Bolick published in this months issue of the Atlantic.   It is getting enough attention that this morning she was a guest on the Today show in the above feature about the rise of the single woman.  She was joined by Dr. Janet Taylor, a psychologist. 

The quote above is referring to how, for most of recent history, single women have been seen in our culture.  I have not yet read the entire article, but I have watched the video on the MSNBC website.   For the most part the piece is a positive one.  Though at first MSNBC seems to be pushing the idea that the reason so many women are single is because the men that are are available are just simply not good enough and thus we are all settling for being alone.  Thankfully both Ms. Bolick and Dr. Taylor correct this assumption. 

Ms. Bolick mentions being able to "provide my own security, " and that marriage is no longer something that is required for financial stability.  In addition, Dr. Taylor adds that women are choosing being single "with emotional contentment" and not because they are simply being forced to get comfortable with being alone.    Both stress that being single can be as valid a choice as marriage, and one that is made not because they can't find a mate, but because they like their lives the way they are. 

It is nice to see single women being talked about in a positive light.  After all, those of us on the edge of becoming crazy cat ladies (as long as I don't go over three, I'm okay right?) are not lonely in the least...we are simply crazy about cats. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Process

This image has been making its way around Facebook lately.  Most of my creative type friends have shared it; I’ve passed it along as well.   Nearly each person has added their own personal comment when passing it along adding things like:  frustrated screaming, dates with Jack Daniels, breaking things and spontaneous house cleaning.   The reason we find it amusing is because each of us has had direct experience with how much of a struggle the creative process can be.  

I think of the times I’ve spent staring at a blank page waiting for the words to tell the story that is in my mind and they simply won’t come or the frustration of listening to the same section of music over and over again hoping that this time the choreography that conveys the emotion I hear in the music will make itself known to me.  And once the words are written or the choreography is laid out there are still hours of editing or rehearsals to come before the piece is presented to its intended audience.  Behind all of this the possibility that the story or dance piece might not ever be seen by eyes other than those of its creator.

The creative process is work.  It is at times frustrating work and I can’t think of anyone who has not had the best and worst of themselves brought out by it.   We are uplifted and laid low, but thankfully somewhere along the way we’ve learned to laugh at ourselves.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Last night I had a dream that I packed up myself and the kitties and ran off to a silent retreat in the middle of some distant mountains.  I told no one where I was going.   It was a very peaceful dream, but it did end with someone who was worried seeking me out and finally finding me in my mountain hide away.  I actually tried to hide behind a tree when they showed up, but they found me anyway. 

The most appealing thing about the dream was not being alone, and actually I wasn’t really alone anyway as the retreat had several other guests as well as the people who ran the place, and it wasn’t the break from having to do anything, besides all guests had to help out with preparing meals and keeping things clean.  The most appealing part of the dream was the silence.   It was the not speaking that I enjoyed.

The silence in the dream could have been a literal wish to not speak, but I think it went beyond not having verbal interaction.  Most everything I do whether it’s work, school or art, involves communicating in some way.  Many are verbal, like phone calls and direct conversation, but there is also this blog, emails, text messages and online social media.  I also communicate through my performances, with music and dance.   It is constant and aside from sleeping I can’t think of the last time even an hour passed in my day without some kind of exchange taking place.  

All of which is my own doing of course and I’ve no doubt my subconscious is telling me I need to take some sort of time off.  Right now, as appealing as the idea is, I couldn’t pack up my life and head for the mountains (and I promise, I would tell someone where I was going) and in looking at my calendar I’m not sure I could even find a whole day I could set aside to unplug from the world.   

So I’m going to make an effort to introduce a little bit of silence into my life every day.  Turning off the phone and computer for a set period of time.  A half hour?  An hour?   Much more than that and I’d likely begin to suffer withdrawal;  I’d be found in a dark corner of my apartment clutching my laptop and iPhone to my chest, muttering that I won’t let anyone take a ways my preciouses ever again.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Two for one...

I missed posting yesterday.  I don’t have an excuse, I just forgot until suddenly it was 11:30 PM.  I was out at a club at the time and there just was not any way I was going to make it back to my apartment, write a blog and post it before midnight.  So, today I’m writing two posts to make up for it.  The Great Hairball Incident was post number one and now, guess what?  It’s 11:30 PM and I’ve not written my second post.  This time I am at home, watching Hulu and working on a costume for a show I’m in next weekend.  The only problem is that I’m totally drawing a blank on what to write about.

But do not fear dear readers for the folks at NaBloPoMo are prepared for such things.  Since they assume we may one day during our 30 days of writing suffer from a case of blogger’s block they are kind enough to provide some prompts during the week.  I’m making use of this handy feature…

Friday’s blog prompt (apparently they assume that blogger’s block takes the weekend off so they only provide prompts on weekdays):

“Talk about one important thing that happened between last Friday and today.”

It is difficult to choose one important thing because a lot of important stuff happened this week. Not only that but I’m down to 21 minutes to get this written and posted before it becomes Sunday and then I will still technically be a day behind in my blogging.  And besides, how to decide what important thing to write about?  I mean, I woke up every morning and I still existed.  THAT’s pretty darn important right?

Today the alarm clock went off promptly at 6:30, it only took me a moment to realize I wasn’t dead.

Of course I am being a little self centered about this.   It doesn’t say talk about something important that happened in your life between last Friday and today.  No.  It says just something important.  Which of course blows my options WIDE open.

Today the alarm clock went off promptly at 6:30, it only took me a moment to realize that I wasn’t dead and that the world still existed.

I suppose this is a pretty important thing too. Knowing that the sun will rise and set each day is rather reassuring when it comes to thinking about life, goals and lunch plans for the next week.   Waking up and realizing that you are still breathing means that you just might be around for the next time the sun comes up. 

So that is it then.  The important thing that happened this past week is that I’m alive and well. Hopefully, the same goes for all of you too. 

Sometimes you can only laugh...really

I was just writing a blog post about how a sequence of minor disappointing events led up to my weeping next to the sweater rack in the middle of a second hand store.  I had a few paragraphs down about how my day was going really well until about an hour ago.  I wrote about lunch and a crochet lesson with my mother, and the flock of starlings I had the chance to observe while on my walk home from the train station.

I’d also written about a receiving a phone call that has put a bit of a glitch into my rehearsal plans for an upcoming show.  I mentioned that it was an inconvenient but manageable change of events and the reasons for it occurring were reasonable.     I shared how at the hardware store I discovered that they were sold out of the vacuum cleaner belt I needed and that they no longer carried the brand of filter I needed for my air purifier.   I talked about being frustrated as my rug is on the edge of disgusting and my allergies are going a bit nuts lately but again, these are small things.  I can get the belt and filter elsewhere at a later time.

I wrote that to cheer myself a bit I ventured into the second hand shop to seek out some items for a costume for another show only to find that they had none of the items I needed.  And then I wrote about the moment The Song came on.  A song I’d heard 100 times before without ill effect but when added the combination of the string of minor frustrations and my feeling a bit over tired and (zoom!) I went from annoyed to feeling sorry for myself.  Cue the tears…

I added in how foolish I felt about this.  That I left the store as soon as possible telling myself I was being totally stupid and that what I really needed was a cup of tea and nap.  On arriving home I decided that the situation would make an amusing anecdote for this blog, and that sharing how silly and foolish I felt would likely make me laugh at the situation. 

I wrote all about the events leading up to it and how I must have looked like a crazy person by appearing in the store heading over to the clothing section, bursting into tears and leaving as quickly as I’d arrived.  I was just finishing a line about how in the grand scheme of things, none of this really mattered…

…and then…

… one of my cats decided to move the story from amusing to hilarious by vomiting a hairball into the middle of my lap. 

The End

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spinster in the Kitchen: Scones and sweet, sweet butter

I’ve been promising another Spinster in the Kitchen post for months now.   Well, hoot, holler and hurrah I’m finally getting around to actually posting it.

Anyone who has been reading my blog of late knows that right now I am in the midst of an extremely busy time.  My evenings have been particularly busy with school, work and rehearsals and so my social life has been nearly nonexistent.  What does this have to do with food?  Well the only time I seem to have free at all is in the early mornings and so I’ve been having friends over for breakfast with some amount of regularity. 

I love my friends dearly but one of the problems has been finding foods to cook that, if any is leftover, will not only keep but I’ll actually want to eat it.  This recipe proved a great solution for the problem.  Not only is this is just about the easiest scone recipe you will ever make, any leftovers will keep very well.  I put a couple in the freezer and ate the rest over the next few days.  I also made a very simple honey and herb butter to go with them.

Unlike a lot of scone recipes this one uses melted instead of chilled butter so one doesn’t need a pastry cutter (though being the prepared spinster that I am I have one) and it can be easily modified by changing out the raisins for other dried fruit and you could also use nuts or other seeds in place of the flax seed. 

Spinster Jane’s Golden Raisin Oatmeal Scones

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and have ready a large ungreased cookie sheet.

Wisk together:

1 ½ cups all purpose unbleached white flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt

Stir in:

1 ¼ rolled oats
¾ cup golden raisins
½ cup flax seed

 In a separate bowl whisk together:

1 egg
10 (yup TEN) warm melted butter
1/3 cup milk (I used low fat to make me feel better about the butter)

Finally, add this to the dry ingredients and mix only until everything is just blended.   It should stick together quite well. 

Next flour your hands and form the dough into a large ball.  Set it on a floured surface and using your hands (no rolling pins allowed and you shouldn’t need it anyway) flatten the dough into in an 8 inch round.  It should be about ¾ of an inch thick.  With a sharp knife cut the dough into 8 wedges. 

Transfer to the cookie sheet (if they stick use a spatula) and bake until just turning golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Allow to cool on a rack or serve warm.  

Honey Thyme Butter

This should be done the night before to give the flavor of the herb time (oh ha ha) to blend with the honey and butter. 

Blend until smooth:

1 stick of butter at room temperature
3 table spoons of honey


One tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or herb of choice (if using dried use about ¾ of a tablespoon)

Mix until well blended that put into a butter mold or small dish and chill in the fridge over night.  Allow about 15 minutes for it to sit out to soften before serving.  This will keep for a long time in the fridge so if you have some left over, you can eat on toast, or English muffins or well, on just about anything. 

And that is it.  The scones could be made fresh or, as I did, the night before.  I warmed them for about five minutes in the preheated oven at 350 degrees before serving.   They were a hit with my friends and with me over the next few days.  I’m planning to make them again this weekend!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Between: Taking time...

The theme for this month’s NaBloPoMo is “Between.”  Tonight I’m writing my first post of the month on this topic. 

“I’m not okay today.  I’m hurting, I’m tired and right now I don’t want to be strong…”

These were the words a friend said to me earlier today during a discussion we were having about a personal struggle.   I am surrounded by people who I would call strong, and I include this person among them.  People who can push through nearly any pain or hardship in order to do what needs to be done, but sometimes that strength that can be so precious when needed  to accomplish something important, can be one’s worst enemy.  

It is an easy thing in the midst of struggle to fall into the trap of perpetual doing, of putting on the brave face and trying to make the world, or ourselves, think we are 100% okay all the time. To be able to stop and say that we are struggling, need a break or might need help is a brave thing.  In fact I think my friend’s words were indicative of just how strong a person he is, and not an admission of weakness.

It is okay to take five minutes to stop and breathe and find your center again.  It is okay to spend an afternoon making music to remind yourself in the midst of loss you can create beautiful things.  It is okay to dance for hours because you are angry or frustrated and words are not enough to express what you are carrying on the inside.   It is okay to make that call to a friend and talk their ear off about your daddy issues, or the baby crying too much, or your money problems.   It is okay to enjoy that eight hour marathon episode of Desperate Housewives because you need some time to not think about how you are going to get all 213 things on your to do list done by Friday. 

These between times when we stop the doing to deal with whatever it is we have going on, however it is we deal with it, are important and necessary.  And all the other stuff that we tell ourselves needs to accomplished, will still be there in five minutes, or an hour or tomorrow.  And in five minutes, or an hour or tomorrow we will be still be strong enough to do them. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The 9 Minute Blog Post


Today is the first day of the October NaBloPoMo commitment in which I’m going to run into a shortage of time and I’m wondering how I will squeeze in the time to write a decent blog post.  As I write this I’m only about 50 minutes out of bed,  15 minutes have passed since my first cup of coffee and I’m 10 minutes from beginning my work day.

My work day is only four hours long and I’m working from home, which makes life easier.  I’ve a lunch engagement after I’m done, then a cat related errand to run, before returning home to squeeze in an hour of study for an exam before heading off to the first of two classes I have today.  I’ll arrive home sometime around 10:00 pm tonight. 

After arriving home,  I’ll spend an hour on math homework while trying not to dwell on how I might have done on the exam.   I’ll make a cup of some sort of herbal tea, which I’ll plan to drink while reading in bed, but I’ll likely forget it’s there.   I’ll be too sleepy to continue after half a chapter and my day will come to a close.

So I guess the only time I have to squeeze in said blog post is now.  Have a nice day!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why I'm having fish sticks for breakfast...

I don’t usually buy into the Monday blues.  Since I stopped working the 9-5 corporate job I don’t really have Mondays anymore; at least not as far as there being an end to my weekend and the beginning of my work week.  One of the jobs I work is retail and so having a full weekend off is a rarity, and lately it seems even my days off from work are filled with appointments and catching up.  However today is a Monday, not only in the literal sense, but in that…ugh, has this much gone wrong already and it’s only 10:00?

The day began with a stress dream at about 5:00AM in which I was running to some destination with an arm load of paper work that had to be delivered on behalf of a sick friend and every sort of possible delay was occurring.  I dropped it in a puddle, I got lost, there was a train blocking my path, and on and on.  I awoke from the dream with a feeling of panic that I couldn’t quite shake so I lay in bed playing Bejeweled on my phone for a half hour or so and then fell back to sleep.

Three hours later I was awake a full half hour before I’d set my alarm.  I felt achy and sniffly.  This could be fall allergies or the beginnings of the plague that everyone else in my life has been unfortunate enough to have to suffer through.    Sleeping in is likely what I need, but I’ve things to do, like a math homework assignment and sending out a round of press releases for a show at the end of the month.  So I did my best to rise and at least dimly glow.

I fed the cats and started coffee.  While it was brewing I sat at my computer to log into the system for doing my math homework online.  It only took a minute for me to realize I could not access it since I misunderstood the due date (yesterday).   As the coffee pot continued its gurgle and brew and since my math plans were thwarted, I decided to do a few edits to the press release and discovered that through some technological hiccup it has been translated into the language of gobbledygook.  Unfortunately, the land of Gobbledy is too far away for any of its citizens to attend the show and from what I understand they are not big theater fans anyway, so I’ll be rewriting it in English.

Now here I am, with my cup of coffee at hand and a pile of ibuprofen, allergy meds, vitamin c and my other pills of various size ready to be downed as a defense against whatever form of sniffles seems to be coming my way.   My next step is to make breakfast but since all of my other scheduled plans have gone awry this morning, in an attempt the throw off whatever Monday gremlin is messing with my day, I’m ditching my planned waffles in favor of fish sticks. 

Happy Monday to all.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good sleeping weather

Last night I’d spent my evening attending a going away event for a friend moving across country, followed by treating myself to some hot wings and a pint while watching the UFC fights at a local sports bar (I’m a spinster of eclectic tastes.  I’ve been known to bring my crochet bag to a boxing match).  The walk home around midnight was through misty wet streets and while it wasn’t a soaking rain, I was quite damp by the time I arrived at my front door. 

You might think I’d crank the heat and put on my wooly socks but instead, after changing out of my wet clothes, I piled on some extra blankets and snuggled down into bed with the windows open.  I fell asleep with the cool air and sounds of the rain coming in through the window.  Shortly before drifting off I was aware that all three of my cats had made their way onto the bed and curled up next to me.   

There is something wonderfully cozy about being cocooned under layers of blankets with the cool air kissing my nose.  This morning I wanted nothing more than the stay curled up in the warmth of my bed, listening to the rain and the wind outside, but I had three cat faces purring at me to get up and feed them, and I do have to be at work early for a meeting this morning. 

So my cozy lay in was not meant to be, but I very much enjoyed the bit that I had.   There will hopefully be many other rainy Sundays in my future, but I’d happily settle for a rainy Saturday too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I've broken up with summer

Jeans, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, mittens, hats, scarves, boots and fleece vests.  I love all of the accessories that go along with the weather becoming cooler in the fall.   I love all of the foods that go along with cold weather too.   Soups, stews, roasted chickens, apple pies, mulled cider and fresh baked bread.   I’m not a big fan of summer or heat and yet many of the things I love about autumn are associated with creating warmth.  I think that is the difference right there; as the weather cools we create our warmth from the inside whereas the heat of summer is pushed upon us.

Summer reminds me of an over anxious and easily offended lover who is unable to get the message that you need time to yourself, that though you might care for them deeply there really can at times be too much of a ‘good thing’.   Sometimes I want to take summer by the shoulders, look it in the eye and say, “Summer honey, I love lounging about all day at the beach with you as much as the next girl, but I can’t go to the beach every day of the week.  I have a life to live and obligations to meet.  I have other people I want to share my time with.  It would be very nice to not have sweat trickling down my back when I’m making the bed, enjoying a novel in the park or chatting over beer with a friend.  Please, can’t we just take a break?  I’ll go to the beach with you next week, I promise.” 

Instead of responding with understanding and patience, summer just gets all uneasy, possessive and afraid you’ll forget who it is, so it sends ten 90 degree days with 94% humidity your way.    Summer wants to make sure you don’t forget it exists.  As you lay there, unable to sleep and barely able to breathe in the heavy air of a summer night, you realize you just have to end this dysfunctional relationship and you go out and buy an air conditioner. 

Autumn on the other hand is a season that is comfortable with itself and thus autumn is able to love you for who you are.  Autumn is willing to give you the space to determine just what it is you need to be comfortable.   My relationship with autumn is more like those good friendships where each person is perfectly capable of generating their own inner warmth and so the love between you is something given and accepted freely, without expectation or possessiveness.   Autumn isn’t offended by your hats and scarves, it is glad that you are able to take responsibility for your own comfort and your ability to do so is what enables you to enjoy the season.

I could write similar types of comparisons for winter and spring as well, but today it is autumn that is on my mind.  It is by far my favorite time of year and just like those old friends whose company we enjoy no matter how long it has been since we saw them last, I welcome the season with open arms each time it comes around.