A good day must begin with a good morning. I tend to awaken well before I need to be somewhere because I like to have time to gather myself. This morning, I rose a little earlier than usual. That small amount of time allowed me to be slightly productive before cajoling Handsome out of his slumber. As we finished breakfast, distant thunder grumbled. I could feel myself wilt slightly because I don’t like thunderstorms. Rumbles and groans are fine, but the sudden sharp cracks that make the world feel like it’s splitting are not my favorite. As I looked at the sky dubiously, Handsome grabbed a blanket and we wrapped ourselves together. Cuddling me tight, he also distracted me by talking about distant dreams. Whispering of travel and things that we are hoping to do in the near future. The window was open, the air crisp for summer, only inviting me to burrow closer to my mate. Even when the storm tapered off, he nuzzled deeper into the snuggle as I turned on a podcast. I spent the rest of the my time before work intermittently knitting and scratching his head. Such simplicity, but tastes of honey and joy fill my mouth just thinking on it. A lovely morning, and I am blessed.
I ached for home so badly I could practically taste it in the back of my throat. My summer at the Festival was not good. There were some beautiful people and some incredible work, but ultimately I was not sorry to put my back to the place. One of the things that made it difficult was the knowledge of what was existing here, in Syracuse, while I was away. My man, my cat, a landscape that was alive and drenched in summer after a winter that sliced it to the bones. Now I am here, in that landscape, with my man (and my cat) and I could not be more grateful. There is so much here to fill my days. True I have gone back to working at the Stage, but in comparison to the hell storm that my life was the last few weeks, the hours I keep at the Stage seem almost lazy. Handsome and I have been going on adventures every weekend since my return and my mind and behavior have been equalizing slowly. This past weekend we went driving through Madison County for Open Farm Day. Myself, Handsome, and another couple who were kind enough to join us spent the day driving through gorgeous countryside full of lush hills, patchwork grasses, and many a family-owned farm with every kind of animal and farm-raised food imaginable. What a luxury to be able to drive anywhere we desire and to have that desire fulfilled with home places so lovely that they encompass one with music and other delicious sensations. I am so viciously glad to be home.
It’s been a long time (as usual). This time I was caught up in a whirlwind of schedule things that made it difficult to keep enough brain cells to write a coherent post. Now that I have scraped enough together, I want to talk about the nature of precious things. Having spent the last few weeks in a chaos of ever-fluctuating hours, long work days (11-16 hours depending), and some emotional turmoil…I have come to cling hard to the gems within the mine. First of all, an excellent partner. I know I talk about Handsome a lot, but I don’t know if I can quite express the lengths he goes to in order to secure the warmth and light he brings to my life. He traveled all the way here to visit, knowing that I would only have one day off and that the days I worked would see me stumbling home exhausted at later hours. He still made the trip and his company punctuated my time here beautifully. I mean, don’t misunderstand me, I do not totally hate the work I am doing right now. It’s just that the hours are not exactly what I was lead to believe they would be and my work is physically demanding (on feet all day, lifting buckets of paint, moving scenery etc.) so you could imagine I am feeling a little taxed. Handsome swept in with a gentle and loving heart as well as fresh energy that invigorated my spirit. Such a partner is precious.
Let me tell you about another precious thing. Except for the two full days I have had off, the evenings have been spent in a blur of work. In this town, everything closes at 9pm, which is the earliest I usually leave my job. Yesterday, however, a rare thing happened. Our work load was light enough that our manager let us off around 7. Upon our release, I begged my co-worker (and fast friend) Atlanta to go out to dinner. She agreed and we found ourselves at a most magical place. Twas a small restaurant where we were seated outside in a stone courtyard enclosed in a cavern of trees. The sounds of others were drowned out by the rushing water flowing near us and for all the world the night was perfect. The food was unbearably good and the waiter kind enough to pick up the tab for one of my drinks (no I did not encourage that and he did NOT try to give me his number so it was extra sweet). What made the evening truly wondrous was that we could enjoy it. Atlanta and I could sit down for a few hours in the evening and just rest. That may sound trivial, but imagine with me. Days of not always exactly knowing when they will finish. Remaining flexible, but betting on the notion that you will be out late and arrive home exhausted. Now, imagine that same inconsistency working in your favor, allowing you a surprise amount of time where you can actually do something special. That is a gift and we took full advantage. The minor hardship made the restful evening practically shine as golden sunlight on a beach. Treasure your precious time in the midst of hard things. Tis when they shine most brightly.
This is the view from the back porch of the house where I am currently staying. Tis a most lovely place, peaceful thoughts untying all the anxiety that I carry around in my body. The Raven and his wife The Maker have made Handsome and myself feel incredibly welcome. Food has been almost too good to remember and the words flowing between and among have settled my heart in a calm that I have not fully claimed all year. I am so well right now and I feel like enough.
It’s been too long. Things shuddered to an oozing slow and then rubberbanded back into warp before I even thought about it. I have officially finished my first season at the Stage. My contract will renew in a couple months, but life did not proceed as I thought it would. I was supposed to have May to myself to travel and then I would toddle off to my summer job content with my adventures. Well, I am looking at some very different adventures.
First, my initial trip to see some fair faces in Maryland was kyboshed by incredible car trouble. Thankfully, the trouble happened before I started my journey, but by the time the issue was fixed, by time to go to MD was nixed. Needless to say I was pretty bummed. However, that time was not idly spent. A fine friend of mine turned me on to a climbing gym in the area. I used to climb all the time in my senior year of college and I have sorely missed the exercise. I nudged Handsome to go and (as I suspected he would) he fell in love with the activity. So, since I had some extra days on my hands we went climbing together. If you would allow some gushing then I simply I must do so about rock climbing. It is an activity that challenges every physical and mental capacity one can think to challenge. Tis a playful puzzle that demands you grit your teeth and fight for its solution. The fact that Handsome enjoys it as much as I do makes the climbing all the sweeter.
After the car got fixed, I was planning on continuing my travel plans and in a sense I have. I am writing from the fair Cape May, where my father and I have opened up the mobile home for the season. Even though I am going to be in Jersey for a few days, I am not heading onward but rather back to Syracuse. I managed to get some overhire work that I am genuinely excited to start. The gig is only for a couple of weeks, but I get to help paint big pretty backdrops! Drop painting is a skill that I have wanted to build up and this theatre has a reputation for quality work. I get to help them meet their deadline and I get an excellent work experience from them. Plus, can’t hurt to make some income in the only month where I didn’t have a job lined up. Although I am giving up a portion of my travel, I can still go see the Raven and hopefully the Sexy Librarian before I toddle off to West VA for my original summer job. Here”s to the usual (and mostly futile) hope that I can post soon…before I have another forever post like this one at least 😉
Sometimes you get to do cool things. Much of my work has been a slew of realistic gray things that look right for the show, but they aren’t necessarily fun to paint. However, sometimes you get a dragon and you like it so much you decide to do a slightly smaller one for yourself as well. Not all shows can be superawesomefabulous, but it’s the few challenges that keep me around.
So here’s to the dragons in the midst of the gray. Find them and accomplish them with abandon.
I am looking forward to the summer. Why? I am looking forward to the summer because I have a way to occupy it that is within my field and financially responsible. Indeed, dear reader, I got a job as a scenic artist at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Ultimately, the job description is very similar to the one that I do the rest of the year, but summer stock has a way of amping up the intensity on even the most mundane of tasks. Usually, one is building and painting full scale productions in a very short time period (a week is a luxury) and those shows are put into rotation (usually called Rep) over the course of a few weeks. Imagine doing what you normally do over a single week and then take that and accomplish the same amount in less than half the time. Yeah, the hours can get pretty wild. Luckily, this place sounds like they actually care about a person’s time and health. So, while I fully expect plenty of long days (and nights) filled with intensely creative cyclones, I also anticipate having a massive amount of fun being in a new environment. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I seriously love my job, but I am almost glad that I have three months away. Sure, it would be nice to not have to go on the hunt for a job in the summer. However, that means that I have to keep my portfolio up to date, I get to work in different places as well as with different people, and I don’t get bored during my hiatus from the Stage. Plus, I get a sweet little cushion between my summer job starting and Stage season ending so I get an actual break before all the madness. I have many a scheme for that month that make me rather giddy indeed.
Also, on a totally unrelated note, I have discovered a new craft. Well, craft brewing to be exact. Ladies and Gentlemen, this blogger has officially brewed her first batch of beer! Handsome got into brewing last year and when we moved here I made it clear that I would love to learn. Thus, a few months back, we got our kit and equipment and we now have our first beer fully carbonated and delicious while our second has just been bottled. First beer is an Irish Stout that came out rather fantastic. I know to some it probably tastes something like petroleum, but as someone who loves a good stout, I am deeply in love with ours. I practically glow with pleasure when I taste the thing that I and my gorgeous partner put together…and it doesn’t scream “DISGUSTING” or “AMATEUR”! I won’t go into too much detail because I realize brewing is one of those things that is far more rewarding to drink than to wax poetic about, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoy the process. Even if it means we now have way more beer than we ever thought of drinking comfortably.
Life continues simply. I mean, I think of a thousand things that I can write, then I read some YA fiction and realize that half of what I would write would sound like some of the more abysmal work in that genre. So, I have thus decided to post a random set of confessions:
– #1: I do really love Young Adult Fiction.
Yes, my dear readers it is true. I actively read such work even though I am probably well past the age where it should appeal to me. For many people, this is not really an earth shattering confession. After all, lots of people read these books who are not of the target audience. However, I contend that while many will take in a YA novel once its been popularized in film, or because they want to pre read for the sake of offspring/students, the bunch that I fly with actively seek out such books purely because they enjoy the genre. I grew up devouring all sorts of books, but that secretly immediate world of the YA novel (mainly fantasy based) was my most favored of the tomes. I confess, they are still among my top choices when searching for things to read.
– #2: I am extremely judgmental.
Again, not much of a confession right? Well…it’s really pointed judgement. Like, unchecked, unrestrained, and utterly without mercy judgement. Try balancing that with an overabundance of empathy and you have an arrogance that practically makes me gag at myself. I meet a person and within thirty seconds I have already decided whether they deserve to be alive or not and how I will maintain a deeper understanding of their flaws as a whole human being because I am so abundantly blessed with insight and discernment. Yeah…the double use of ellipses in this paragraph should clue you into how much I find this aspect about myself utterly ridiculous (and gag-worthy, the judgement, not the empathy). Being a hypocrite also comes with this trait. I happily judge others, but I freak out and cry when it’s returned on me. Again, Ridiculous, thy name is (author of this blog).
-#3: I have an almost obsessive need for routine.
This coming from the girl who moved three times within the last three years? It’s true. There are certain routines that I crave and will protect with a vengeance. The most consistent? My morning routine. I develop a variation of morning rituals everywhere I go, but they become a mediation that soothes me almost as much as a hug. When I have a morning appointment, the anxiety of my interrupted morning will screw with my sleep the night before. I’ve managed to not allow a screwy morning to make me a grump all day, but I have explicitly disobeyed rules and regulations for the sake of keeping my tea and yoga intact in the morning. It’s a control thing and I am fully aware of that fact.
My final confession is that I just felt a desire to share some random things tonight. I’ve grown to really enjoy the small, but lovely audience that gives this blog a look-through on occasion. I wanted to share with you and so I did. I hope you found this post to be something other than repulsive and I give you a big thank you for keeping up with these words for this long.
I am a very thankful person. I feel the healthiest that I have felt..well…really….ever. I have never been in truly bad health (save a random crazy virus when I was in 2nd grade, but I am still here and not blind thus the worst did not happen), but I guess I never realized the potential for truly excellent well-being. You always hear “eat right, exercise” blah blah blah, yeah okay, thank you propaganda of the moment. However, I am blessed that my health is holistically really great right now and only improving. Let me break it down for you (if you would permit me)
-Physically I am feeling like my body is just now showing me its vast potential. I found the exercise that keeps me feeling challenged and fully engaged. I mean, I guess I “found” yoga a while ago, but lately I have been consistently engaging as never before. You ever find that place where your body just seems to flow into something? As if you could hear every muscle and joint singing to you the notes of what needs to be plucked next? If you haven’t, tis a rather glorious song. There are four things that make me feel like that: ballroom/swing dancing, swimming, rock climbing, and yoga. In yoga, I can hear hums, whistles, clicks and the deep thrums of what my body desires. Add to that something that is going to make some people cringe; the addition of smoothies. Yup, it’s happened people. Handsome and I acquired a NutriBullet and I could not be more excited. This gizmo is super low maintenance and the mixtures are an excellent way to increase my spinach intake without choking down another salad every day. The smoothies often look a lot like raw sewage, but they taste like ice cream on a crispy autumn evening. Without going into too much detail, these smoothies have played a huge role in helping me wean off a medication that I’ve taken for the last ten years. The med was meant to help me maintain some painful symptoms of a common female condition (cough cough), but that drug was starting to screw around with my hormones. Now, I can control the symptoms by adjusting things in my diet and I could not be more thrilled. I am grateful to the medication for the help it gave me, but I am so glad to find a way to relieve pain without upsetting the balance of my body’s chemicals.
-Emotionally and Spiritually I feel like I am flying in a peaceful current of a roiling ocean. Life is never free of things that wish to cause me anxiety. However, I am finding myself in an emotionally secure place that is allowing me to respond to situations much more calmly than I would have a year ago. Obviously the better diet is huge contributing factor, but I am also participating in things and surrounding myself with people that bolster this excellent state. First, I have a partner who is a rich well-spring of support. He has been encouraging me in every venue from the food to the search for a summer job and he gives me reason to laugh and smile every day. Secondly, I have a spiritual community that has been absent since I left college. I had a good interim community in my dad’s wonderful congregation in Jersey, but here has the taste of a more permanent structure. There are courageous and beautiful women in the Bible study I attend and then there is the church Handsome and I have finally found. Indeed, ladies and gentle-figs, rejoice with me. The church hunt is over! We have found a place of simplicity and grace that I hope and pray continues to be a place of refuge and growth for us. I can tell my spirit is well because I am inspired to pursue Truth, Love, and Life as I have not felt inspired to since…perhaps I will tell that story some time. Suffice it to say there was an event in my experience with the church that has made it difficult for me to trust in community, but I am learning to forgive. And I am daring to trust. I am not good at it, but may haps He can teach me yet.
I am healthy and alive. I will take full advantage of that state of being.
Is anyone else tired of hearing about the weather? Seems like every time I look at social media, there is another status about the cold, or the snow, or the wind chill….
That complaining done, I too am going to talk about the weather. My not-so-secret secret is that I actually enjoy the cold. I understand that part of my enjoyment comes from the fact that I have a warm home to retreat to in times of bitter weather, but I recognize that and count it as a blessing. That understanding aside, I love walking out bundled in all my knits. The moment I open the outer door I feel an instant and overwhelming urgency to live. Cold infuses a deep passion in me to walk further, open my eyes wider, and breathe more deeply. Extreme cold shocks my nerves into remembrance that I am made of fire, light, and bright things. In comparison, extreme heat just makes me feel like a gelatinous blob of water that should probably just stay still and continue to melt (and be horrendously miserable).
Winter is a time of precision. The branches of the trees tracing ink lines in the sky drawing the eye upward to the crisp motion of birds and, when the sky is not a sheet of slate gray dullness, the early moonrise. Snow falling is the most holy of silences, with flakes falling in delicate spirals of delicious force. The world feels so vulnerable and the bitterness biting my face sings of my own vulnerability. Nature can still level and stun me. I am barely capable of surviving it outside of the comfort of my own home, but this does not cause me fear. This knowledge causes me to grit my teeth and remember my brightness. For stars still gleam on frozen nights and the tiny sparks of Spring are just waiting for the moment when they can come forth and dance. Winter is for patience and dancing in one’s vulnerability in the midst of the vast forces of this beautiful place.