Had an amazing weekend – I pretty much loved every minute of it.

Friday ended up being an extremely slow day at work, so I mostly sat around trying to practice portrait-drawing.  If you’re unfamiliar with this type of drawing, let me just tell you that it is entirely dependent on getting shapes and proportions correct, and if you make a nose even a tad too big, the face will look like a distant cousin of the person you’re trying to draw.  It’s not easy to get those proportions correct, so practicing (with an eraser…) can be beneficial and gratifying.  Was fairly happy with the way these turned out (except I realize that the one on the left is kinda cross-eyed)….

pictures

Anyway, it was fun.  After work I went to hang out with Mar, whom I see infrequently these days.  We drank wine and ate cheese and talked about life — it was a lot of fun.

On Saturday, Katie came into Nashville and we went to get lunch and coffee at Cafe Coco, then walked over to Centennial Park for TACA (which is now called Tennessee Craft…..whatever).  I got these gorgeous earrings and ran into a couple of friends.  It was warm outside but pleasant enough in the shade.  Had a good time.  Then we made a pit stop at my house and went on to Percy Warner where we mainly drove around looking for that one field near Old Hickory, and once we found it we spread out a quilt and sat, or lied down, or read, or talked, or whatever.  I brought my quilt to sew, but didn’t end up getting much work done.  Which was perfectly fine with me.

Katie went home after, and I cleaned the house a little, took a shower, etc.  Stephen got home that evening so I went over to see him, which was also great.  We ended up going to Fido on Sunday morning, which he does every Sunday if he can — he takes a book of poetry and braves the line which usually doubles back around the front counter… and apparently if you’re lucky, some days it goes out the front door.  Nearly as bad as Pancake Pantry!  But anyway – the company was good and we had books so I didn’t mind.  After, went back to TACA again, because I would go all three days if it was feasible and I could control my spending compulsions.  I bought a pie dish that I’d picked up and loved on Saturday but didn’t feel good buying as I’d already spent money on the earrings.  (Sunday was a new day though….)  After TACA, went to the Brewhouse for a couple of beers and then back to his house where he made pork chops and artichokes, with a dipping sauce consisting of mayonnaise, butter, herbs, lime juice, hot sauce, etc etc etc — basically it was amazing.  And went perfectly with the pork and the artichokes, and the cheese.  And wine.  Watched the Simpsons season premiere with dinner, which was probably pretty funny but honestly I think I was mostly focused on food at that point…….

Anyway, it was an absolutely lovely weekend.  I am SO glad that it’s fall now, and so excited about seeing more and more colors in the trees.  Oh Fall, how I love you.

Today has been a very average Monday.  I was pretty groggy this morning and am still yawning, actually, but I’m awake.  Also – am excited about tomorrow; we have tickets to see Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer play at …I think the Blair school of music or something.  I’ve been listening to their new CD, Bass and Mandolin, and I think it’s just fantastic.

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ballet shoes and a broken pencil

Sorry guys, boring day.  Had decided to start discretely sketching instead of wasting time on reddit or Pinterest, but then my mechanical pencil broke.  I was actually enjoying my afternoon, until now.  Must remember to bring more pencils to work.  I’m disappointed because not only am I going to have to spend the rest of the afternoon staring at a screen, but also because I actually was liking the way this sketch was turning out.  Bah.

sketch

anxious!

Naw, not actually anxious.  Just wishing to be home, rather than at work – although, come to think of it, if I didn’t feel that way it would likely be cause for some alarm.

Feeling quite significantly better than I was this time yesterday; I won’t go into details except to say that I don’t know how people don’t write.  If I didn’t write, my brain would be a huge jumbled mess that I would never want to tackle because of the backlog of unresolved, unanalyzed, and ignored problems.  Writing is the thing I do to understand myself; how do people who don’t write understand their motives and impulses and feelings?  Oh well – at any rate, wrote a bunch yesterday and feel better today.  Also got some work done on my quilt yesterday, after cleaning the kitchen and making homemade pizza, so it was a good evening.

I’ve been thinking about delving into oil pastels or watercolors again.  Or both?  I haven’t really mixed mediums before (except for watercolors and acrylics and I was never any good at that at all).  Didn’t last night because the quilt was just right there, asking for me to work on it (plus I put on How I Met Your Mother and that show isn’t particularly conducive to artistic creativity).  But anyway.  I may go home today and watch Babette’s Feast or a Wes Anderson movie, and do some oil pastel-ing.  Wonder if I have any blank canvases.  Hm.

excerpts

these passages are bringing me peace this morning.

Stephen is en route to LA and will be gone until the weekend.  I’m reading Hannah Coulter which made me cry last night – it describes love and grief with such raw beauty.  what would be my 4th anniversary is a week from tomorrow.  I feel discouraged and hopeful at the same time, which is a confusing mixture of emotions.  so …… I just thought I’d type up a few of these excerpts which I’m reading this morning, and which I should read every morning.

If you close your mind in judgments

and traffic with desires,

your heart will be troubled.

If you keep your mind from judging

and aren’t led by the senses,

your heart will find peace.

Seeing into darkness is clarity.

Knowing how to yield is strength.

Use your own light

and return to the source of light.

This is called practicing eternity.

(52)

Fill your bowl to the brim

and it will spill.

Keep sharpening your knife

and it will blunt.

Chase after money and security

and your heart will never unclench.

Care about people’s approval

and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.

The only path to serenity.

(9)

Colors blind the eye.

Sounds deafen the eart.

Flavors numb the taste.

Thoughts weaken the mind.

Desires wither the heart.

The Master observes the world

but trusts his inner vision.

He allows things to come and go.

His heart is open as the sky.

(12)

Knowing others is intelligence;

knowing yourself is true wisdom.

Mastering others is strength;

mastering yourself is true power.

If you realize that you have enough,

you are truly rich.

If you stay in the center

and embrace death with your whole heart,

you will endure forever.

(33)

The Tao is always at ease.

It overcomes without competing,

answers without speaking a word,

arrives without being summoned,

accomplishes without a plan.

(73)

If you realize that all things change,

there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

(74)

That last one is going to probably take my whole life to master, and I doubt that will even be enough time.  However – I feel so much more peaceful right now than I did when I started this entry, so the words are doing me good.

So the equinox seems to be today at 9:30pm (CDT)

I know, I’m terrible at titles.  The equinox is on my mind though, because I just got back from my lunch break and am saddened that I can’t spend the rest of the day outside.  That said, the mere fact that it’s beautiful outside and that fall is coming improves my mood (which is stupid as it has no actual affect on my afternoon whatsoever – I can’t even see out a window without standing up).  That one tree on Bagleyshop which always turns yellow while the rest of the trees are still dark green has started shedding leaves, which makes me happy.  So, so beautiful.  I love fall so much.

My lunch break was productive, though I again neglected to get any actual lunch (good thing I have an apple left from Friday…).  I went to Costco to pick up a couple of prescriptions, and then went to Old Navy where I got some pants (um, I don’t know why I’m hesitant to admit this, but they’re skinny pants) and was pleased to be able to fit into a size smaller than I typically get.  Which is especially odd, given the fact that they’re the skinny cut.  But whatever, not complaining, just thinking that I should lose some more weight.  I don’t actually feel like I’m losing weight at all though, so I’m really assuming this is a fluke – or the brand.  (Although, most of my jeans are this brand, so I don’t know what’s up.)

But yeah anyway, I wanted to get some – even though my calves are about as big around as, um, my head – so that I could use them as a template to alter some of my work pants.  All of which are baggy and make me feel like a slob; a few are baggy everywhere, and a few are just baggy in the waist area.  Instead of buying new clothes for work (blah), going to see if I can adjust these myself.  Good thing I know how to sew!!  (Ha!  That’s a joke you won’t get unless you know how complicated it is to sew clothing — it’s so much more involved than sewing quilts.  Even when you applique and then hand-quilt them.)

Had a good weekend.  Went to a free Over the Rhine show on Saturday with Stephen, a couple of his friends, and his sister/brother-in-law.  Had Prince’s hot chicken for the first time, and it was really really good – the seasoning on the mild was delicious, and the really hot stuff was a bit hot for my taste but I’d be interested in trying something in-between.  Fortunately/unfortunately, Hattie B’s is literally 10 minutes from my house so doubt that I’ll be trying more Prince’s any time soon.  But, ya know.  Funny – was listening to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me yesterday, and they took a call from someone in Nashville.  The first thing the host said was something about hot chicken, to which the caller replied that she was a lifelong vegetarian.  It’s nice when you hear about non-embarrassing Tennesseans on NPR.

So anyway, in addition to having Prince’s for the first time on Saturday, I also went to the Pharmacy for the first time.  I really liked the place overall, and if/when I got back I want to try their burger that comes with mushroom stroganoff bechamel, but to be honest I thought Fat Mo’s regular burger was better than the regular Pharmacy Burger that I ordered.  (Bun quality was better at the Pharmacy, though.)  I will say that they had some amazing-looking sauces, and the curry ketchup I got on the side was amazing.

Sunday was a pretty typical Sunday – which basically means that I spent most of the day trying not to feel bad about how lazy I was!  Ha.  I got up and took a walk around the neighborhood (in lieu of hiking, as I slept a little later than I’d meant to), then did some laundry and washed some dishes and cleaned the living room.  Oh, also hung some pictures on the wall in my bedroom but I can’t decide whether I like them or not.  That wall has been difficult to find appropriately-sized pictures for.  Most of the rest of the day was spent watching TV/reading entire issue of the Sun that came in the mail on Saturday/playing Skyrim…….until I met Ryan at the Brewhouse for a couple of Blue Moons, and then went to Stephen’s later.  You know, when I write it all down like that, it was actually a pretty fantastic Sunday.

Speaking of Skyrim, I ordered this shirt which came a couple of days ago.  (Oh yeah, no way I’m losing weight as this shirt is a XXL — which I assumed would look like a dress on me, but I guess not.)

highhrothgar

I guess you probably can’t read it – but it’s basically a tourist ad for High Hrothgar and the Seven Thousand Steps.  Which…. would not be my #1 destination for a vacation in Skyrim, but can you imagine standing at the Throat of the World — what an amazing view!!!

Well anyway, I think that’s all I have to say, I guess.  What a feeble ending.  Need to work on titles and conclusions.

What day is it?

Thursday right?  Yes, yesterday was Wednesday.  (Arithmetic, you see, is very useful; without it I should hardly have been able to …guess the day….ok ok that’s not even applicable, but I just felt like throwing that line in.)

Stopped off at Pilot this morning for coffee and a breakfast-y thing, and the coffee is probably 3/5 Columbian, 2/5 hazelnut.  I meant to make it 50/50.  Oh well, no big deal.  Noticed that they have Pumpkin Spice coffee now, but did not get any.  Not the biggest pumpkin fan, unless we’re talking about muffins.  Mm, now I want to make pumpkin muffins.

So I decided I was in a tomato-soup-and-grilled-cheese mood yesterday, and had just recently been given a bunch of cherry tomatoes, so I made a creamy tomato basil soup with fresh mozzarella (and more tomato and basil on the sandwich) grilled cheeses.  I was pretty happy with the way they both turned out!  I did not seed the tomatoes but they just added an extra crunch to the soup.  I think that one of my biggest hang-ups with regards to making soup is that so many of them have a puree-ing step, and since I keep my blender and food processor in the garage, it’s….a deterrent.  Stephen keeps his blender out on the counter though, which is much more easily-accessible than mine.  Sometimes I think I should re-arrange my kitchen so that my appliances are all easier to reach.  Then I start mentally complaining about how small my kitchen is, and THEN I remember that my kitchen is actually a decent size and that i should shut up.

Eh, anyway.

So I got a gift card that I can use for ProFlowers, and I also get a discount with them through Lipscomb, so I’m thinking about sending myself flowers on October 1st (anniversary flowers, if you can call them that).  That’s a good idea right?  I mean it’s unlikely that I’ll wake up that morning and not think about the fact that I got married that day 4 years ago, although I’m not sure how to expect myself to feel about that.  Hmm.  Conversely, I could just go to Costco for flowers and save $50, but then I wouldn’t get them delivered.  Hmmmmm.

Oh yeah, I renewed (questionable word choice) my Costco membership which had lapsed several months ago for basically $35, which is a great deal especially since the whole package comes with stuff like a free rotisserie chicken, and other coupons which I’m unable to list as they have not come in the mail yet.  Mostly I’m excited about being able to buy flowers and books and movies that I don’t need.  Woot!  Oh and I should for sure start getting gas there again, too…..

Tonight, I’m going with Stephen to see Victor Wooten play with the NSO.  They’ll be doing some other pieces too, but I’m excited about seeing VW.  Stephen said he’s probably wearing a suit though, so that means I should try to look presentable.  I’m going home on my lunch break to figure out what the hell I should wear.  I’m tempted to just wear a black dress because, why not, but we’ll see.

Finally  made myself a “classical music” playlist since I can’t shuffle by genre on my phone (grumble).  So far have listened to  Chris Thile playing Bach, les Demoiselles, and now Arvo Part.  Would really like to be cranking this shit, but alas, I bet someone would complain.  Since these folks like to listen to country music around here.

Have I complained here about my Asian neighbors yet?  No, don’t think so.  Long story short – I seem to have inadvertently volunteered to try to help this lady get a job.  That’s not really quite right — what I did was try to help her one day, but she keeps coming back like a stray cat looking for food that I don’t have.  It’s getting pretty damned annoying, honestly, because she seems to think that I can somehow get her a job, even though the thing that’s holding her back is 1) language skills (she doesn’t speak English very well AT ALL) and 2) no car.  Neither of which am i prepared to help her with.

I felt that was appropriate.  Anyway, she really wants me to call the GM at O’Charley’s where they are apparently now hiring, because she thinks that even if she can’t call him and be legible over the phone, somehow it’ll be fine for no one to be able to understand her if she’s working there.

Anyway, I tried to help and I really don’t think I can do anything else.  She needs to start looking for a job within her circles, instead of asking random neighbors for help.  When she first approached me, for all I knew she was practically living on the streets or prostituting herself and really needed help getting back on her feet.  Since then, i have discovered that this is not really the case, so I don’t feel that much obligation.  That said, going to ignore her from now on.  If she can’t take a hint, that’s her problem.

Man I love It’s Always Sunny.  That line about jobs growing on jobbies makes me laugh every time!!

Well anyway, I’m out of even mildly interesting topics, it would seem.  Oh well.

WSPD

Apparently today is World Suicide Prevention Day.  This is bringing up emotions not because of the suggested candle-lighting tonight around 8pm, but more because of an email I got this morning from the survivors of suicide forum which I joined last year.  The email was asking for volunteers to spend an hour on the forum, responding to more recent survivors and trying to give them what we needed while we were at that point in our grieving – which distills down to understanding and hope. 

So, I went to the website to sign up, since this seemed like something I could definitely do.  When I got there and started reading through some of the recent entries though, I was struck with the image of reading them as if I was on the shore watching the writer flailing in the choppy waters, trying to pull themselves toward the shore but not getting anywhere.  

Side-note: vacationing in Ocracoke several years ago, my family was swimming in the ocean (or in the sound?) and accidentally discovered what a “rip tide” is.  Siblings and cousins were all in the water playing, with several parents/aunts/uncles looking on from the shore.  At some point one of the younger kids figured out that, try as they might, they could not swim back to the shore – and once the adults realized this, chaos ensued.  I do not remember being scared until Joel, who was nearby, latched onto me — all the while kicking and thrashing and freaking out and doing everything he knew, as a small child, to do to keep his head above water.  As the oldest kid there, I hadn’t needed help getting back to the shore, but once I was working to keep both myself AND Joel afloat, I started to get scared.  He kept pulling me under, and I didn’t think that I could carry both of us back.  I remember feeling very much out of control and frightened – especially since he was feeling about a million times more out of control and frightened than I was.  Thankfully, an uncle came and took Joel so that I was able to focus on getting myself back to shore – no biggie once Joel was gone.

I mention that experience to say that looking at those entries this morning reminded me of how I felt in the water at Ocracoke.  These people who are just now writing about how they’ve recently lost a loved one to suicide are kicking and screaming and thrashing and freaking out just like Joel did, and for the same basic reasons – they feel out of control (because the illusion that you have any control over another person’s body and mind is hard to shake) and frightened, and they don’t know how/if/when they’ll be getting back to solid ground.

Not only do they remind me of Joel on that day, but feelings that I have about being on the forum are reminding me of myself that day too; the thought of getting “back in the water” to try to help them out is a little bit scary for me.  I’m not afraid of floundering, and maybe “afraid” is not even the right word for me to be using.  I’m hesitant though.  I’m nervous about the emotions and memories that will inevitably come up again if I really engage with someone in the forum.  Even if I can throw someone a life jacket, I can’t pull them to the shore.  I can help them to stay afloat, but that’s all, and it takes so much more energy to stay afloat than it does to drown.  

I think I’m still going to volunteer to go over to the forum for an hour, but it’s going to have to be an hour after work, when I don’t have to worry about my calm, professional front.  I don’t want to avoid doing things – especially potentially helpful things – because I am scared or nervous.  That’s not a good way to go through life at all. 

Anyway, wanted to write about it instead of just ignoring my initial thoughts and feelings.  I’m trying to address my life head-on.