Monday, November 20, 2017

Reinventing routines and relationships

"And the clock on the wall's moving slower
Oh, my heart it sinks to the ground
And the storm that I thought would blow over
Clouds the light of the love that I found."

I've been corresponding with a couple of my oldest friends, the last of a larger group dating back to my college days, who still live in Texas.

One friend recently persuaded the man she's dated for the past few years to give up his condo and move in with her. Together they renovated her garage into a living area so he'd have his own space to work and smoke cigars. She put it this way.
It has been a huge change, but I think it will all work out. B and I have had our disagreements, of course; we are both so used to living alone, but I think we can work things out.
This prompted me to share this.
Moving is one of the hardest things to do, especially at our age with all our baggage, physical and emotional. It's also stressful for relationships. Neil has been cross with me more often than he ever was before, but I admit I haven't exactly been easy to be with. I'm struggling to adjust, whereas he loves everything about life here - except maybe me and my moods.
My other friend jumped in.
Liz, I’m sure moving to a new city is overwhelming, especially if you don’t already know people. But if it makes you feel any better, D has been very short with me lately and we didn’t even move. He has gotten very crotchety in his old age, and he keeps blaming me for his temper, that I’m driving him crazy. I know I’ve gotten a bit absent-minded recently, but I also have a ton of things on my mind. I’ve always been like that, and he just figured it came with the territory. I try to keep both of us busy so that we don’t have to spend too much time alone with just each other. Isn’t that awful to say?
This surprised me a little, as her husband has always seemed easy going and good natured, and I know he loves her very much.

It did crystallize something in my mind. Since we moved here, Neil has been as dependent on me as I am on him, maybe even more so. He'd characterize himself as an introvert, but he has a greater social need than I do. To wit, although neither of us ever really wants to go to parties, we do go because it's good for us and we generally have a good time. But once there, Neil doesn't want to leave. I'm usually ready to go long before he is, and not infrequently, we're one of the last to leave.

At times I've had to be quite assertive when it's time to go. This includes putting my coat on and waiting outside while he drags out the goodbyes.

Since I left the corporate life in mid-2011, my time has been my own. I've taken classes, done volunteer work, participated in local bead society meetings and events, had the odd lunch with friends. But there are weeks when, except for trips to the post office, I've been happily busy with my routines at home, running my bead business, walking on the treadmill, binge watching serial dramas, reading and writing. I've been accountable to no one but myself for how I spent my time.

At the end of this month it will be a year since Neil retired. But the year has been an anomaly. For one thing, I'd say that Neil had lunch plans with his former work team and other friends approximately three times a week. Much of the rest of the time was spent planning the move, packing and getting the house in shape to sell it. He also played a lot of softball, we saw a fair amount of his kids and mine, we made several trips related to the progress on this house, and we often had social plans with friends on weekends.

During most of that time, my life went on as before, until a couple of months before the move when I started the process of cleaning my glass, selling some, packing the rest, packing my bead collection and finally the rest of my things, or at least the ones Neil hadn't already packed. He packed all of our joint things, such as kitchen ware, all my books and DVDs and CDs and who knows what else. I'm still waiting for certain things to resurface.

Now we are here. Neil has joined a softball team, but they play only one game a week, with one optional practice. He has spent time unpacking. rebuilding storage shelves, shopping for furniture when I can coax him into it, but relative to the past year he has a lot more time to fill. Not that there isn't plenty to do, we've had a continual flow of trades in to fix typical new house glitches, and on a daily basis he bemoans how far behind he's gotten with email and tasks like reading the directions and warranty information on all the new house bells and whistles.

He has good intentions but runs out of steam and winds up falling asleep in front of the TV, coming to bed late and never being fully rested.

I've not gotten into a real routine here yet. My torch isn't quite ready to light up, although it's getting closer and I've actually begun unwrapping and sorting glass. I do try to walk on the treadmill four times a week. I do spend time writing and I have unboxed most of my boxes and spend time organizing and planning where things will ultimately go. With colder weather, my afternoons of sitting on the screened patio soaking up Vitamin D and taking catnaps have ended and I keep busy most of the daylight hours.

And therein lies the rub.

Neil constantly asks me to do things with him, go for walks, go to the grocery store, go out to lunch, go to the movies, go get ice cream. By habit I resist, I protect my routines such as they are, I protect my time.

I have to step back, I have to re-evaluate. I need to find a happy medium. I need to make Neil and my relationship a priority, at least a fair amount of the time.

My treadmill workouts are mostly for me, to stay fit and healthy, but aren't they also partly to stay trim and attractive to Neil? Isn't it contradictory to turn down a walk with him on a nice day so I can walk my three miles on the treadmill? I don't get the same aerobic benefit when I walk with Neil, but is that the whole point?

I'm such a creature of habit. But this move is an opportunity to reinvent my habits.

I'm still pondering what direction to go with my bead making, once my torch is set up. Do I want to sell online again, do I want to start doing shows again? I'm pretty resolved to let this year run out before I sell again, if I do. I plan to close my Texas business at the end of the year, and file a final state sales tax return. But do I want to get a North Carolina tax number? After this year, do I want to continue operating as a business and filing Schedule C returns?

Next year, I've opted to begin collecting Social Security benefits, before my full retirement age. In 2018 I can earn up to $17,040 before my benefits are reduced.

I have a little time to decide. Let me get my torch running and make a few beads and see how I feel about selling. Maybe in the New Year I will test the market and see how it goes. Lampworkers still talk about slow sales, prices continue to seem deflated online, but things might change and it might be worthwhile to stick my toe in the water and go from there.

At the rate time passes, it will be the New Year before I know what hit me. We've been here two months already, Thanksgiving is this week, our trip to Houston is less than two weeks away and after we get back it will be a mere three weeks until 2018. We'll have company for the first week of the year, a houseful, Neil's dad, Chris, Laurie, Luke and the baby.

After that, well, I'll work about this bead and business thing after that.

Probably right after I sort out my relationship priorities and reinvent my routines and habits.

Oh, baby
Well there's a light in your eye that keeps shining
Like a star that can't wait for night
I hate to think I been blinded baby
Why can't I see you tonight?

And the warmth of your smile starts a burning
And the thrill of your touch give me fright
And I'm shaking so much, really yearning
Why don't you show up and make it alright, yeah?
It's alright right

And if you promised you'd love so completely
And you said you would always be true
You swore that you never would leave me baby
Whatever happened to you?

And you thought it was only in movies
As you wish all your dreams would come true, hey
It ain't the first time believe me baby
I'm standing here feeling blue, blue, hah
Yes I'm blue

Oh, babe
Now I will stand in the rain on the corner
I watch the people go shuffling downtown
Another ten minutes no longer
And then I'm turning around, round

And the clock on the wall's moving slower
Oh, my heart it sinks to the ground
And the storm that I thought would blow over
Clouds the light of the love that I found, found
Light of the love that I found
Light of the love that I found
Oh, that I found

Hey, babe, ooh
Hand that ticks on the clock
Just don't seem to stop
When I'm thinking it over
Oh, tired of the light
I just don't seem to find
Have you wait, yeah played
Whoa, I see it in my dreams
But I just don't seem to be with you, you
I gotta get it all, gotta get it all, gotta get it all
I've got to get all

Ooh now my body is starting to quiver
And the palms of my hands getting wet, oh
I got no reason to doubt you baby
It's all a terrible mess

And I'll run in the rain till I'm breathless
When I'm breathless I'll run till I drop, hey
And the thoughts of a fool's gotta count
I'm just a fool waiting on the wrong block, oh, yeah
Hey, now, oh, oh, oh
Light of the love that I found
Light of the love that I found
Light of the love that I
Light of the love that I found."


(John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The language of loneliness

"He says: what do words ever reveal
He says: in speaking one can be so false
We're so close we have a silent language
We don't need words at all."

Grief, melancholy, sadness, dejection, mourning, bereavement, loss, loneliness dispossession, angst - these are words I've allowed myself to use to describe my feelings of late, some of the time, at their worst.

Misery, sorrow, anguish, pain, heartache, heartbreak, torment, affliction, suffering, woe, desolation, despair - these words are over the top for both how I feel and for that which I grieve, and I'd feel shame and guilt to use them.

Shame and guilt are words that describe how I feel anyway. That and narcissistic. Because right or wrong, reasonable or irrational, my feelings are my feelings and the sadness is real. Psychic pain goes hand-in-hand with self-absorption. When I hurt it's hard to feel sustained concern about anything or anyone else. It takes so much energy to simply weather each bout.

This past week we had day after day of gray, gloomy weather. The sun finally came out and I finally tapped some energy to tackle more boxes. I've got most of my boxes empty, even though that just means I have things stacked and staged on bedroom and closet floors, waiting for furniture to be ready for delivery, waiting to buy more furniture.

Getting the boxes mostly emptied finally motivated me to call the contact I had for house cleaning and pet sitting. She is coming to meet us and give us a price next week. That gives us a couple more days to clean and tidy. I don't want to discourage her. I think having some help with the house will pay generous dividends in lifting my spirits.

Telling our housekeeper of many years that we were moving was one of the only times I broke down in tears, of the times I told people. Most of the time when talking about the move I felt oddly dispassionate, matter-of-fact, reluctant but resigned, distant.

A trusted housekeeper is different somehow. She works in your home, she handles your personal belongings, she has a house key and the alarm code. She is a little like a mother, even if she is years younger than you. She makes things clean, she takes care of you.

My studio is closer to being set up. I ordered the hoses I needed and connected the oxygen to the torch. I called the HVAC company to schedule someone to hook up the gas. They have to call me back next week to let me know if they can do it.

Neil put together another shelving unit for my glass. The massive overwhelming task of un-bubble-wrapping and organizing my glass looms large. I wrapped it with great care but packed it unsystematically, so I suspect I'll moving it around a lot and it will be a long time until I am as intimately familiar with what I have and where to find it as I was before the move.

I don't have to have it all unwrapped before I can start making again, and I doubt I will. But at some point I hope it will be done.

I feel the same, to a lesser degree, about the beads I have collected. I know I run the risk of what happened the last time I moved, in 2007. I'm reminded regularly, because I am handling all the bins and tubs full of the tissue-wrapped collectibles that I never unwrapped in Sugar Land.

I feel ambivalent about them still. I always thought I'd unwrap them one day, that maybe I'd have a grandchild who they'd delight and amuse. I know as a child I'd have been enchanted by the hordes of miniature animals, the frog and cat collections, the little fine china dishes, the Halcyon days boxes.

If I had to bet money right now, I would take long odds that I'll never have a flesh-and-blood granddaughter. In the bigger picture I'm OK with that now. The world is a rough place. Life remains easier for males, I think. And we're not doing our planet many favors, we're playing a reckless endgame, and I fear humankind may be due for a comeuppance sooner than later. I sincerely hope it's not in my lifetime, or my kids' or my grandkids'. After that, well at least I won't be around to witness.

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking recently warned that the Earth may go up in flames as soon as the year 2600, thanks to population overgrowth and diminishing energy resources. I tend to think he's right, if polar ice cap melt, or a giant caldera eruption, or a massive meteor hit doesn't expedite a crisis sooner.

Hawking's proposed solution is to use laser-propelled nanocraft technology to explore habitable planets in nearby solar systems. Nearby in the sense of four light years away.

Pie in the celestial sky, say I. I'd rather see financial resources directed away from space travel and toward more practical ways to preserve our species, such as developing technology to slow down or reverse the effects of greenhouse gasses on the temperature of this planet. That doesn't mean another big one won't get us first, but if we can't keep living here on this planet that is so perfectly suited to us homo sapiens, why do we think we'd do any better anywhere else?

What gives anyone the chutzpah to believe that we should get a second chance to screw up a perfectly good planet?

But what do I know? I was an English major. I like reading fantasy, I just don't believe in it.

Neil says my pessimism about the future depresses him, but I don't see it as pessimism, I see it as realism. I don't think I can influence change - any more than I can influence gun control - so I accept it. If anything, it reminds me to carpe diem, to hug my loved ones more tightly, and to celebrate Thanksgiving every day.

All right, so I suck at that. But I do try. Even at times when I am consumed by what I don't have, I am ruefully conscious of all that I do have and I am damned grateful.

Or am I just hedging my bets? Am I practising gratitude because I am well aware that happiness is fragile at best and that I am amazingly lucky with the things that most matter in life?

I know that in my struggles with depression and anxiety in 2001 and 2002, I was desperately afraid that if I didn't get over it soon, God or the universe or some higher power would punish me by giving me something to really be sorry about. As if there was cause and effect at work, as if my selfish sorrow would somehow engender more egregious consequences.

I don't like to think that my gratitude is some sort of effort to bargain with fate. I'd much rather be stoic and stable and constant, feel nothing but praise and joy, experience nothing but beatitude and grace.

I'd rather not ricochet between tears and guilt, sadness and shame, grief and gratitude.

But enough about me. Or at least enough of the maudlin me.

I'm adjusting to my extra firm mattress. We put an even fluffier comforter under the fitted sheet, so crawling into bed is something not to fear.

We bought a folding camping chair so I have one more seating option when the asshole sofa and the hardass kitchen chairs wear out my derriere.

I found my purple hoodie, and my other missing hoodies and bathrobes, hiding in a forgotten box in the garage.

We started watching the series Prime Suspect on DVD, the second time for me, but I've been wanting to re-watch it and share it with Neil.

We're going to see Murder on the Orient Express, despite mixed reviews, because Kenneth Branagh. And Johnny Depp. And Judi Dench. And Derek Jacobi. Coincidentally, Neil and I recently watched the 2010 version with David Suchet as Poirot, the second to last episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot Season 12, which also is the second to last season of the series.

We're walking to the theater and, after the movie, we're trying the Kung Fu Noodle House. With a long season of cold-weather comfort food ahead, the more options the better.

I'm ordering a down jacket from Land's End because the warmer I dress, the happier I will be going out, and the more I get out, the happier I feel.

And Neil made a reservation at the North Harbor Club on Lake Norman for their Thanksgiving Day buffet.

So now when people ask, do you have plans for Thanksgiving, we don't have to stare blankly and say, not really.

Neil for the win-win.


I've lived in all of the houses he's built
The one in the air
The one underground
The one on the water
The one in the sand
He says: It doesn't matter how we live
He says: It doesn't matter where we live
We're so close we can dispense with houses
We don't need a home at all

It's come to be
A habit with me
To dine alone
You're never home
And the evenings end so early
He says: we can be close from afar
He says: the closest people always are
We're so close that in our separation,
There's no distance at all.

Sometimes I go out to the car
Turn on the headlights
Intending to leave
Sometimes I need to hear the words
My imagination's not as strong as you'd believe

Oh, but I've talked to you
You haven't listened at all
I've said I'm numb
I can't even cry
I'm stuck with acting out a part
He says: what do words ever reveal
He says: in speaking one can be so false
We're so close we have a silent language
We don't need words at all

There's a husky voice
That speaks to me in the dark
And on the phone from studios
And west side bars
Through tunnels of long distance
He says: we're beyond flowers
He says: We're beyond compliments
We're so close we can dispense with love
We don't need love at all.


(Carly Simon)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

On the firing line

"O beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They're beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king."


Time for a break from whinging and angst and first world problems.

On November 5, 26 people died in the worst mass shooting in Texas history, the fifth worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Of the 33 deadliest mass shootings (eight or more people) in the U.S. since 1949, four took place in Texas.

In fact, those four shootings ranked among the 16 most lethal U.S. shootings (13 or more people).

  • In 1966, in Austin, Charles Joseph Whitman killed 16 and wounded at least 30 people, shooting from the tower at the University of Texas.
  • In 1991, in Killeen, George Hennard crashed his pickup truck through the wall of a Luby's Cafeteria, exited the truck, and killed 23 people.
  • In 2009, at Fort Hood, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and injured 32 people.
  • In 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Devin Patrick Kelley killed 26 people and wounded 20 others in a small church.

Now, tell me how assault weapons in the hands of private citizens helped prevent or ameliorate these senseless, despicable massacres by the "bad guys."

Tell me how any second amendment protections safeguarded the eight members of the Holcombe family who died in the Sutherland Springs bloodbath.

Whitman was killed by police officers. Hasan, a United States Army Medical Corps psychiatrist, was convicted a United States Army Medical Corps psychiatrist, was convicted, sentenced to death and is awaiting execution. Hennard shot himself after a brief police shootout.

It appears that Kelley also committed suicide after a civilian confronted him with a rifle, although the facts are still being investigated

In 2012, Kelley was court-martialed, convicted of domestic violence, and sentenced to 12 months in the brig. In 2014 he was discharged from the military for bad-conduct. Later in 2014 Kelley was charged with animal cruelty.

Kelley also had been denied a license to carry a gun in Texas.

Yet in April 2016,he was able to walk into an Academy Sports and Outdoors store in San Antonio and purchase the Ruger AR-556 rifle used in the Sutherland Springs bombardment.

Tell me why Kelley deserved second amendment protection. Tell me how causal access to semi-automatic firearms played no part in Kelley's heinous actions at First Baptist Church on Sunday.

Oh wait, the president of the U.S. just did.
This isn't a guns situation. This is a mental health problem at the highest level.
That's what Trump had to say.

I'm speechless. Well, almost. I can still type.

I would say I have a history of public neutrality. I avoid outwardly taking sides. I walk or straddle battle lines. I shy away from controversy.

Guns are my hot button. Assault weapons are my trigger. Reasonless mass murders fire me up to break my silence.

Words are just words though. The topic of handguns is too incendiary for rational dialogue. Interpretations of second amendment rights are too irreconcilable, positions about gun ownership are too polarized to make conversation fruitful.

So I am either preaching to the choir or barking up a stone wall while exposing myself to a barrage of vitriolic contradiction.

Luckily for me, my readership is small. And mostly sympathetic.

I have to speak my piece anyway. I must refuse to hold my peace. Even at the cost of my peace.

Undeniably the gunmen responsible for mass shootings have mental health problems. At the highest level. I don't disagree with that.

I acknowledge that it takes both a deranged shooter and a weapon to perpetrate a massacre. I grant you that the weapon may not be a firearm. It might be explosives. It might be a motor vehicle. Hell, we can't rule out chemical warfare.

But unfortunately we aren't all that close to regulating sanity. We don't have good objective protocols to diagnose mental illness. I'm not sure we even have the empirical criteria to fully define it.

Over the 19 years that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System has been available, barely 1 percent of gun purchase applicants have been rejected based on psychiatric grounds. A judge must first declare the applicant mentally unfit.

If we can't screen for mental wellness satisfactorily enough to establish conditions - or prohibitions - for gun ownership, we should go with the benchmarks we do have.

Benchmarks like previous crime convictions, histories of domestic violence, military discharges that are anything other than honorable. Animal abuse charges for Christ’s sake. Don’t let those people own guns.

Oh yeah, right. Devin Kelley wasn’t legally allowed to own a gun. He got one anyway. He was one of the bad guys that the good guys need guns to defend against.

No doubt the NRA will make hay of the fact that a citizen with a rifle was pivotal in putting a stop to Kelley’s rampage.

Cold comfort for the 26 decesased at the Bexar County Medical Examiner's office and their bereft families.

Better to keep the guns out of the madman’s hand to start.

Is there a perfect answer? No. Guys like Kelley will always find a way to get a gun.

But why make it easy? Crack down on legal gun sales, with severe penalties for those companies who fail to adhere to stringent background checks. Close the gun show loophole, the one that exempts sales of guns by private sellers, i.e., on the secondary market.

And seriously, no civilian needs to own a semiautomatic weapon that can fire individual bullets as fast as the trigger can be squeezed.

Is there a point to these words? Will I convince anyone to change their position on the “guns situation”?

We know the answer is a robust no.

I’m going to keep speaking out anyway.

Because next time it might be you in the crosshairs.

It might be your child.

With whatever respect is due to responsible gun owners, the public right to safe passage overrides virtually unconstrained access to semi-automatic firearms.

That can’t be overstated. It can’t be said too many times.

Even if no one is listening.


Tell it. Think it. Speak it. Breathe it.

And if not now, when?

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn't have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by
When "happily ever after" fails
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly

But I know a place where we can go
That's still untouched by man
We'll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass waves in the wind

You can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

O beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They're beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king
Armchair warriors often fail
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie

But I know a place where we can go
And wash away this sin
We'll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass waves in the wind

Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair spill all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

Who knows how long this will last
Now we've come so far, so fast
But, somewhere back there in the dust
That same small town in each of us
I need to remember this
So baby give me just one kiss
And let me take a long last look
Before we say good bye

Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence.


(Bruce Hornsby/Don Henley)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Toting the feels

"I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations
And in the middle of the celebrations
I break down."

"Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried." Megan Devine of Refuge in Grief.

Let me get right down to brass tacks. Life remains an emotional roller coaster for me.

I won't lie. I've been feeling pretty fucked up.

Staying busy helps to a degree. In fact, as long as I keep moving, I feel better.

That's been one of the most confounding things about this whole experience. The experience being my reaction to being here as opposed to the move itself.

Sometimes I feel almost fine. And I can almost always go through the motions. I can convince everyone I'm doing just fine, including myself.

And then the cloud descends and I feel just despondent. Homesick is the best way I can explain it.

Neil is exasperated. This is your home, he says, and I cry harder. I can tell he is losing patience with me. I don't blame him.

Unfortunately, I can't keep moving all the time.

This week I've spent time unboxing. Even though a lot of what I'm doing is taking things out of boxes and stacking them on the closet floor or the bedroom floor, it's a start.

I'm also struggling with my attachment to things. Part of the whole clusterfuck is just having too much stuff. Letting go of almost anything stymies me.

This morning I put three milk glass vases in the box designated giveaways. So far, since we've been here, I've yet to fill that one box.

The milk glass vases were an impulse buy a couple of years ago. I bought six or seven pieces for roughly one dollar each. They sat harmlessly on my kitchen soffit since.

Our kitchen here does not have a soffit. So the milk glass vases really need to go. I have nicer things to display in the limited amount of display space here.

Yet it was a struggle to wrap them in tissue paper and put them in the box. Even though every time I do put something in the box, I feel a hair lighter, it hasn't become a no-brainer.

I'll continue to whittle away at it. Or I won't, and we can just hire someone and have a giant estate sale in five or ten or twenty years, whenever we move again.

Or Neil and my kids can do it after I die.

I don't want to die. I'm nowhere near feeling that bad, and if I was, I'd remember that it would pass in time.

Time I think is the one and only thing that can really help me heal.

Neil asks me, what can I do to make you feel better, how can I fix this. I tell him, nothing. I tell him, I don't know. I tell him, if I knew what would make me feel better, don't you think I'd be doing it?

I tell him some things can not be fixed.

That's not to say they won't mend in their own time. And if they don't mend, in time we may find better ways to live with them, to carry them.

There are no short cuts though. You can't sidestep pain, you can only sit with it and wait it out. Even if that takes a long time.

Oh, people try. And believe me, I've considered it. From alcohol to opioids, from cannabis to cutting to counseling, I've pondered ways that I might accelerate revival, dull the melancholy feelings.

And I think I'd rather just feel them. Maybe some part of me is wise. Maybe some part of me just enjoys being sad.

I've wondered about that before. What is the payoff for feeling despondent? Is it because its a familiar space, one I've visited before, a comfort zone in some bizarre counterintuitive way? Do I go there because I know how much better it will feel when I finally stop hitting my figurative head on that metaphorical wall?

I don't know. I've never known.

One of the things I find myself procrastinating on is my studio. Getting back to melting glass would be getting back into my routine. Structure has always been a saving grace for me.

More than that, making beads was that rare thing, a true passion for me. In lampwork I'd found my calling, my niche.

It's true that we've made progress on setting up my studio. I bought two three-drawer cabinets from Ikea and Neil built them. We came up with the solution of using a laminate countertop for my work surface, we found one at Lowes, I bought it and we wrestled it into the car and got it home and put it in place.

Now I have to procure the right hoses with the right fittings and then schedule a mechanical plumber to hook up the gas line.

Day by day I've put off making those calls.

I've put off un-bubble-wrapping and organizing my glass.

I've postponed reopening my Etsy shop or listing anything on Facebook, even though I've unpacked my personal bead inventory.

I've dragged my feet about ordering shipping supplies, since I'd pretty much used up them all up before the move.

I've even broken it down into smaller steps. So, maybe I don't start selling again. Maybe I focus on one thing, the most important, most gratifying thing, being able to light my torch and dip a mandrel and wind on some glass.

If I analyze my motive, or more precisely, my dearth of motivation, it occurs to me that I'm unsure that making beads will captivate my heart and mind in the way it once did.

Neil spent some money having my studio space set up. We put in a tile floor and a gas line and ventilation. A few days ago I told him, I will finish getting my torch set up, I will make beads again, but I can't promise that I will embrace as unequivocally as I did before. I might, I hope I will, but I just can't predict how I'll feel.

Only time will tell that.

Once nothing could dampen my enthusiasm to master my craft.

Now I wish I could wave a wand and have everything be magically in place but when it comes to doing the work, I waver, I wobble.

But I'll do it. I'll do it because it's what I do, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, the next right thing, the baby steps that still mean progress.

You might be surprised to hear it, but it's one of my hidden talents. I carry.

And I damned sure don't mean heat.


Once, there was a way to get back homeward
Once, there was a way to get back home
Sleep, pretty darling, do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep, pretty darling, do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Once, there was a way to get back homeward
Once, there was a way to get back home
Sleep, pretty darling, do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Boy, you're going to carry that weight,
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you're going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time

I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations
And in the middle of the celebrations
I break down

Boy, you're going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you're going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time

Oh yeah, all right
Are you going to be in my dreams
Tonight?

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love
You make.

(Lennon–McCartney)