Mid-Winter Musings

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Hello all. Hope this finds you well. It's been quite a while between posts, so please follow along below the fold for what I've been up to the past month-plus.

My apologies for the extended absence. I've been fighting a particularly stubborn flu bug more or less continuously since mid-November, with only a week or two of relief in mid-December. My stomach has also been uncooperative, to the extent that I had to miss several days of work. It's been quite frustrating.

Work has been frantic, for a number of reasons. I've worked every weekend since the beginning of the year. I don't usually mind working the occasional weekend as deadlines approach, but this go-round has been particularly stressful, as the photo above indicates. 

I worked both days this past weekend and managed to meet my deadline, which is a large weight off of my shoulders. Hopefully this is the last one I have to work in the foreseeable future. Work will still be very busy the next few months, but hopefully I can get my weekends back to myself. 

Between moving over Thanksgiving weekend, this stubborn flu bug, and work deadlines, I feel as if I haven't had a weekend off in forever. I actually booked a few days away this weekend (a long weekend here in the States) in Newport RI, one of my favorite places, and am looking forward to it a great deal. 

Hopefully I can see friends while I'm down there, and catch up on sleep. I've been battling insomnia on top of everything else; my brain simply won't turn off when things get intense at the office the way they have the past few months. While dreaming about Help topics is not my favorite type of dream, on several occasions I actually have come up with a way to describe something that had eluded me during my waking hours. All in all, though, I would prefer the muse make herself known to me at 2:00 PM, rather than 2:00 AM.

It had been a quiet winter weather-wise here until the past few days, when Mother Nature decided to even things up as quickly as possible. It's snow every day since last Wednesday, with the exception of Saturday. Snow amounts have varied wildly from town to town (such is life when you live a few miles inland from the Atlantic), but in my hometown we've received 25 inches of snow (63.5 cm) in barely four days. 

We're coping with gale force winds for the rest of today as the back edge of the storm passes off the coast. (I was pelted with snow from the heavily-laden trees as I sprinted to my doctor's office earlier this afternoon. Nothing like a basketball-sized slush ball dropping onto your head, then slowly sliding down your bare neck and back as you frantically try to reach it to put a spring in your step, that's for certain.) Fortunately, it's supposed to calm down considerably after today, with temperatures well above freezing for the rest of week, which will help melt some of the not-inconsiderable snow banks along the roadside.

On a related note, one consequence of feeling poorly and coping with typical New England winter weather is that I've barely been able to exercise the past three months. As my fellow runner Stace knows, the frustration in not being able to run and exercise precisely when you most need to do so to relieve stress is enormously frustrating. I've been able to run once - yes, once - in the past three-plus months. I'm hoping that the upcoming stretch of (relatively) warmer weather will let me start running and walking again shortly. Please cross your fingers for me.

There has been one other source of frustration - the major one, to be honest - to which I've been alluding obliquely for what seems like an eternity. I'm still not prepared to discuss it here, but suffice it to say it's making things unnecessarily challenging in all areas of my life. 

I've been diligently working toward several major life goals for several years, goals that, once achieved, will enable me to embark on the next phase of my life - to truly begin my life, really. I've completed all of the necessary tasks to accomplish them that are under my control. 

In one case, circumstances conspired to make it difficult for the other person to work on her piece of this particular puzzle, much to her dismay. Fortunately, she's passed those hurdles at long last, to her great relief, and we are at long last on the path to making this goal a reality. Details most definitely to follow, I promise. :c) 

Unfortunately, for my other major goal I've been stuck in limbo for some time now - months - waiting for the final piece, which, again, is not under my control, to fall into place. It has been enormously frustrating, for reasons I've been exploring with M, my therapist, in our recent sessions. 

This situation clearly pushes buttons in me that have been there for most of my life. The difference that therapy makes is that, when you really work at it (and I have, I'm proud to say), you can both recognize that this is not the first time this situation as prevented itself frustration and then work out on your own what is behind it. 

I'm a grinder. Things don't come easily to me (just track my ongoing efforts to master makeup in the past few years of blog posts for proof!). It's been that way my entire life. Fortunately, I'm not afraid of hard work; nonetheless, there are times I wish that everything needn't be a war of attrition, and one or two things that I've worked for happen as they should, with minimal fuss. For whatever reason, that seems to be one of the traits from "him" that, unfortunately, seem to be lingering in my life.

At any rate, the frustration, as you've likely guessed, comes from seeing other people who, in my not-so-humble opinion, have not worked remotely as hard as I have seem to effortlessly achieve what I have to scratch and claw for. Then, even more infuriatingly, they fail to appreciate just how fortunate they are (again, in my more-than-a-little biased opinion).

I'm not proud to admit I feel this way; jealousy and pettiness are not attractive traits. (And of course it goes without saying that there are many, many people who are far less fortunate than I am.) But I've worked hard enough on myself to also realize that there is some justification for feeling this way, and for being dismayed at the lack of gratitude amongst these people to whom so much has been given, seemingly without doing much of anything to have earned it.

I'm still working on this; anything this deeply felt does not yield to easy solutions. But the thing I've learned by having to grind out anything I truly want is that I will work on that goal until I achieve it. And when I do, I will be appreciative, and proud of what I accomplished. And I'll be able to build on it when I face my next challenge. 

From what I've seen, that is not something those whom I resent will likely be able to do. I've worked long and hard to learn who I am, and what I truly want. When you haven't ever had to do that, and wouldn't know how to figure it out even if you did, I suppose nothing will ever be enough. For that reason alone, I would not trade places with them, ever. 

Well, I suppose that's enough pontificating for one day, so I'll step down off my high horse now. lol I'n hoping it won't be a month until my next post, and that soon I'll be able to write posts about these long-awaited goals. 


On a lighter note, Major League Baseball teams open spring training this week, which is a sure sign that warmer days are to come. And spring training games start at the end of next week, which, for a baseball junkie such as myself, is manna from heaven after four-plus months of withdrawal.  Better yet, all three of my teams - Boston (the Red Sox), Toronto (the Blue Jays), and Seattle (the Mariners) - are slated to be contenders this year, so it should be an exciting season. Play ball!!! :c)


I think that does it for this post. Until next time, have a great week, everyone, and stay warm (or cool, for those of you Down Under) wherever you are. Ciao...


To wrap things up, I was originally going to share several songs from two bands - one a longtime favorite and the other a new discovery. However, I stumbled across something that I decided I had to share.

I typically avoid watching videos that aren't live clips; I prefer to make up my own mini-movie as I listen to a song. I can count on one hand the "concept" videos I can watch over and over.  But every once in a great while I come across a video that proves to be the exception to the rule. And in this case it's a stunning clip for one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands. This is "I Need My Girl," by The National:

Seriously beautiful video for a seriously beautiful song. Here's another terrific song from the same album, 2013's Trouble Will Find Me  - a live performance of "Pink Rabbits" for National Public Radio:

The entire Tiny Desk performance (of which this is a part) is well worth your time. Here it is, subtitle-free:

So, so good. Until next time...


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