Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Inchoate longing

G'day all!

It's been an odd time recently.

Last week, a man died.  It isn't unusual for someone to die - people do it all the time.

This guy was someone with whom I went to high school (note how ugly that sentence is even though it's perfectly grammatically correct?).

(Very few people will know what I'm
referencing but that is ok :-)

It's really sent me into a tizz.  He was one of the only two guys I would've even considered at school, possibly because he was so focussed on football that girls were not on his radar and just like a cat, I only "liked" the ones who ignored me.  (That changed in second year at uni, lol.)  The stupid part is it's pretty much 30 years since I last even saw him apart from in the media (he had a fairly high profile job for a while).  Why has it knocked me around so much?  Is it that he died of cancer?  Is it just that he died?  If he had died in a car accident, it would be different I feel, so maybe it is partly the cancer thing.  I'm a bit (lot) tender about that.  Plus another family member had a health crisis so maybe mortality is looming large.  And then there's the situation in Crimea and the mystery of the missing plane....

Very early, very pretty tulips
(Yes, I took a pic of them last year too)

Ever since then I've been thinking about old times, wondering what happened to people that I went to school with (I've found half a dozen on LinkedIn - one is a professor (no surprise there), a few are managers (one is pretty high up in the corporate world too!)) and then people I went to uni with that I'm no longer in touch with.  Back then we didn't have email and keeping in touch was a lot harder.  Most of us students didn't even have computers to do our essays and assignments on.  The geeks did, and I used their computers to do my essays on.  I got my first email address in 91 or so.  I got my first computer in about 95 or 96 - a laptop that ran windows 3.11 I think, if I have that right - I didn't care about the OS really, I just wanted it to work.

Anemones at the nursery

It's just odd, delving back into the past like this.  Are there things I would do differently?  Of course there are.  Knowing what I now know, I would definitely do two things differently.  Maybe three when I think about it.  I would've made a different decision at a critical point, I would've made Mum go and get more scans done, her pride be danged, and I would've gotten me mammogrammed earlier.  I would also have pushed harder to find out more things about family and what was going on rather than letting Mum (and other family members) protect me so much.

Cherry plum

I've also got cabin fever.  I've not been further than Vashon Island and one quick trip to Puyallup for ages - last time I went somewhere out of Seattle area was October.  Buying a house, painting, moving and then crappy weather has really stopped me going anywhere, and the good weather is always during the week when I should be working.

Forced tulips in the kitchen.

I want something but I have no real idea of what it is.  Is it just that I'm a long way from home and am having another bout of homesickness?  Is it just cabin fever?  Is it the idea that I've not really done much with my life?  I have (had?) a marvellous brain but I've not really used it.  Do I want to volunteer with a group?  What group?  Environmental?  Social?  What role?  Is it disappointment with the path my country seems to be choosing?  What can I do about that?  (I'm already getting emails from GetUp!, the Greens, avaaz and change.org, the latter having seemingly spread beyond the US., and sign petitions and write letters and things but I'm too far away to participate in rallies, etc).   A lot of people get more complacent and conservative as they get older but I'm getting more and more pinko leftie liberal (little l, not the big L Australian Liberal) as I learn more and more about people and politics.  I'm developing a stronger drive to make a difference, I just don't know what that difference could be.  I fear for the future - I think I expected it to be some sort of golden age but I think my parents had the better part of that.  We often talk about moving to New Zealand - they seem to be a bit more sane there. 

The local beach with Olympics in the distance

The things I usually do to calm me down aren't working as well as they could either.  I've turned into a crazy woman on the roads - hooning around corners, trying desperately to do 60 (mph) on I5 when half the cars seem to want to do 50...  I've tried writing things out - I've learned that my crappy stories help work some of this stuff out but this time around I'm just working myself more into a tizz and I think in part it's because some of it is wish fulfilment and I know that is not going to happen!  I don't have the power or the ability to make it happen and I'm not even sure that I want it to happen anyway.  I've tried digging in the yard but I'm still getting winded much too easily.  I did a pulmonary function test last week and am yet to get the results - guess I should make an appointment...

Crazy people playing beach volleyball
Two guys are shirtless!

All in all, I'm just in a bit of a flap.  It will settle down again.  I've got plenty of work to do, lots of knitting and quilting and gardening, and early next month I'll spend most of a week on island (San Juan Island, to be precise).  I'm really looking forward to that.  It will give me a nice little break away from here.  Some pics from last year.

A sun pillar over the Olympics :-)

I think the main thing is I have to start looking forward again, not looking back.  Looking back often ends up meaning I just bash myself over the head with all the mistakes I've made along the way.  I've forgotten a lot (the brain deliberately forgets things to protect itself, y'know) of things but I still remember plenty of things that make me react with anything from a shake of the head and a wry smile to an omg, I can't believe I did that to oh gods, why did I do that?  There's things that I'm still mortified by ten, twenty, even thirty years on.  I have to ignore them otherwise I'd be crippled.  I often wonder what my life would be like if I had chosen differently at various stages, if I'd worked harder at school or uni rather than cruising.  What if I had ambition?  I rather missed out on that characteristic but got embarrassment and mortification in spades.

Crocuses in the front yard.
I had to buy them and plant them....

Anyway, things will settle down again.  The days are getting longer - yesterday was equinox even though it technically isn't until Thursday.  The sun rose at 7:18am yesterday and set at 7:18pm and I am really looking forward to looooong days, though the 5:15 sunrise of midsummer is a bit early.  Spring is most certainly here - the daffodils and cherry plums are in full bloom and now the magnolias have just started around the place (though the local ones haven't yet done more than shed some fuzzy sepals).  The weather is throwing out the odd very pleasant day - we even got above 15C a couple of times - but then we get another inch or so of rain.  Blah.

Sunset from home. 
I love being able to see the sky.
Next time I will have an FO to show off!  Yay, I finished something!


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Spring forward

G'day all!

Move ahead!  It's not too late!  To whip it, whip it good...  Sorry, just a little diversion there, an indication of how my mind works. 

The US goes onto daylight savings tonight I believe.  Oddly enough, my favourite corner of Ravelry has not erupted in a screaming hissy fit yet.

Meteorological Spring has sprung here, though the US does seasons by the equinoxes and solstices.  I always think this is odd because winter certainly doesn't start on the 21st of December - around here it starts in November with the first of the winter storms (nb what this part of the world calls storms, my part calls cold fronts and intense low pressure systems).  Spring is already getting underway - the cherry plums are blooming, the daffodils are flowering, the crocuses are nearly done, the forsythias are in full flourish and some of the local deciduous street trees are starting to leaf out (between Wednesday and Thursday, to be precise) - though in the US Spring starts on the 21st of March.

I like crocuses

I really like crocuses

I do indeed like crocuses

Normally I find this time of year intensely exciting - the sap starts running in my veins - but this year I'm a bit sad.  There's crap going on in the world again, my country is being a complete dick and it blasted keeps raining on the weekend, which is really holding up progress on the garage cos we can't take the temporary roof off when we are getting an inch of rain each day on the weekends...

Bad shot of cherry plums

Honestly, in the last week, we've had over four inches of rain, a good three of which have fallen on the weekend.  The place is soaked from stem to stern.  Just when it starts to dry up and gives us a couple of lovely days, the rain clouds roll back in with another Pineapple Express straight from Hawai'i and bang, another inch or two of rain!  I'd like to get out into the garden and dig another garden bed but it will just be mud, mud (glorious) mud and I am not a hippopotamus (though some people might think otherwise...).  I want the blasted garage done (as does DH!)so we can get stuff out of the house and the lousy weather will not cooperate!

Cute bubby daffies, lousy weather...

Anyway, umm, what has been happening?

Quite frankly not much, well not much that is my news and I don't report other peoples' news here because it isn't my news, if that makes sense.  I've been knitting.  I made the world's ugliest (well second ugliest) quilt top with some 30s fabric and then ripped it in two (cos either end of it looks fine, just not together).  The quilt top is in time out.

I managed to finish a summertime top that had been in time out cos well it's been winter and who wants to wear short sleeves when it is 5-10C outside?  (Well apart from crazy people on the east side of the Rockies who have been dreaming of above freezing temperatures.)

Please accept this lousy selfie
as proof of completion of top
I've just gotten to the top of the sleeves of my 3-in-1

I love knitting the separate parts
of my 3-in-1 together

Old pic - no my arms are not that short...
the sleeves are much longer now

I got to sit in the sun on the deck on not just one but TWO days!  Thursday was glorious, Friday wasn't too bad either and then Saturday (today)?  It started raining at 10am and now, as I write, less than ten hours later, another inch of rain has fallen.

Oops!  Enough about the weather.

No, not enough about the weather.  What about the time when I walked to the supermarket (same day as I took the daffodil shot on the wet day) where the radar said it would only drizzle lightly, and halfway to the supermarket the heavens opened and stayed opened until I was most of the way back home after dashing around the supermarket.  Silly me had worn my mesh runners.  At least I had worn my raincoat...

Another crane in Ballard. 
Plus a sea plane I think.

Oh, here's some of my news.

I have been medically assessed and yes indeed I do have a tremor.  Gosh almighty tell me something I don't know.  (It is hard to not know when a) I can tell and b) even though I can tell, people point it out to me which just makes things so much better because then I get anxious about it.  Guess what happens when I get stressed about it?)  And oh, thanks, Mum for these rubbish genes too!)  OK, the neurologist tells me it is an essential tremor.  I'm still waiting to hear something I don't know - I had already diagnosed myself quite a number of years ago.  It is good to have the medical profession confirm it though.  Repercussions?  Well given I've had this tremor for as long as I can remember and it doesn't seem to have gotten worse (though it gets worse when I am fatigued or ill or stressed = quite normal) then it probably won't get bad enough to need treatment for the next twenty years or more.  Given I'll be blasted pleased to be alive in 20 years time (after all the cancer crap) I figure I will cope.  By then we might have a better treatment or the world will have ended so I won't care anyway!

Am I not a little ray of sunshine tonight?

Queasy making gap.

After I saw the neurologist, I went for a wander to Pike Place.  Along the way I stopped to snap this shot of the ferris wheel (which appeared rather quickly after we arrived here - does every city have a ferris wheel on their waterfront now?).  I am not very keen on the railing at the edge of the viewing platform - the drop is about five or six storeys and those gaps were making me feel queasy (hence the funny angle!).  No I or anyone else can't fit through the gap but it still is off-putting and if you leant on the railing that isn't there, you would get quite a surprise!

I shelled some peas - more than that many

One of my aunts used to come and stay with us way back when, before we had colour tvs (mid-70s in Oz).  She seemed to like to shell peas and would shell a massive pile of them for us - when she was visiting I guess there were seven people to feed so we certainly needed lots of peas (except for me - I used to take the skins off the individual peas before eating them.  I can remember sitting at the table half an hour after everyone else had left and I was still skinning my peas and eating them one by one.  Now I just eat them like everyone else does).  Sometimes me and my sister would help shell some peas.

It's a long time since that aunt died, and I hadn't shelled peas in years.  Mum always said why bother, too much work, buy them frozen from the supermarket (with mint flavour on them - why?  To hide their blandness is all I can think of).

Well, I bought some peas in the pod and shelled them a day or two later and my oh my!  What a revelation!  (Cooked) fresh peas are yummy!  They taste like peas!  They don't taste mealy or funny or bland, they taste like peas!  Now I want to dig up some grass in the back yard (or the front yard) and plant rows and rows of peas!  Some for pea vines (so yummy!) and some to grow pea pods on.  Nom nom nom!  (see rant about weather above)

I think the pea revelation deserves a
bit of Tubaluba - these guys were
playing outside our fave texmex place.

Last weekend I had a lovely time wandering around Sew Expo with one of my roomies from the quilting retreat.  I got to meet Tula Pink, who was very nice as anyone who works with their mum and brother probably would have to be.  I was extra good and managed to only spend the contents of my wallet - about $60-70.  I could've spent a LOT more!

Tula Pink is a rock star fabric designer.
I'm just a fan boy.  Girl.  Whatever.

By the time I left, my car was the only one left in his part of the car park... LOL  The security guys had made me do a bit lap around the road in front of the car then along the one behind him, and my goodness there were some VERY big potholes on those roads.  I was not impressed given I drove straight past where I ended up parking and didn't need to go around/through the potholes at all!

Small car, big car park

Hmm, any other news?  No?  Have I anything else to ramble about?  No...  I am sure to think of something as soon as I sign off though.

Have a good week, or two!