Tradition!

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A couple days back, I woke up with the sudden and complete conviction that I must make a baby blanket right now.

My good friend K is pregnant; I’m going to be an aunt! I’ve never been a woman with that certain “I must be a mother,” feeling, but dammit I know I’m supposed to be an aunt. Aunt-ing matters to me.

And what do you do, traditionally, when there’s a baby coming to someone close to you? You make a blanket for the baby, that’s what you do. So.

The yarn store was closed.

It was, however, open late on Tuesdays, and last night I stopped by. The store owner showed me which yarns were machine washable, and where I could find a pattern. A dozen or so cheerful-seeming people, mostly but not entirely women, of varying ages, were hanging out at a big table, chatting and working on projects; one of them helped me pick colors. I bought yarn and a hook (I crochet; I don’t love knitting). The pattern is a wavy sort of stripe.

I’m making a baby blanket. I’m aiming to get it done by the time I next see K, a little over a week from now, on the other side of the continent.

Last summer when I had shingles, I drove out to the beach every day. I sat in the sand, I sat in my car, I napped, I read. There’s nothing written in my journal for those days; I accomplished nothing at work, or on the house; I didn’t see friends, or write, or exercise. In some ways it’s as if those days didn’t happen.

And yet there they are in my memory, dreamy, significant. I look back on them fondly and with gratitude.

I think I was a different person, before and since.

This afternoon I drove back out to the beach. I don’t have shingles, but I’m here sitting in the sand. I have a book. I may read it, or I may just be.

Small annoying habits I’d like to change

We all have them, right? The things we do, over and over, that we aren’t proud of or find annoying or which simply make life more difficult than it needs to be. They aren’t big things, so they don’t feel worthy of a big effort to alter – but then again, they Just. Keep. Going – making life a little bit rougher, all along the way.

Here are mine:

Not replying to friends’ messages/emails/invitations if I don’t know what to say – usually if my schedule is too up in the air for me know whether I can do whatever it is they’re suggesting or not. I’m not waiting for a better offer or because I don’t know what I want; I just don’t know how to communicate I’d love to do that if it works, but I don’t know if it works because I might be visiting my parents, but only if the kitchen cabinets aren’t being installed on Saturday, and that depends on some stuff the HVAC guys might or might not finish on Tuesday. Um, can I let you know on Friday? That’s a jackass of a message to send, so I send… nothing. I just go silent. Then, because I haven’t replied, I feel rude, and so I continue to not-reply for even longer. This is not good. I’d like to do this differently.

Trying to fit in something “on the way.” On the way, I’ll stop for a coffee. On the way, I’ll pick up that new lipstick. On the way, I’ll water the lemon tree / fold the laundry / etc. On the way, I’ll meditate / go through these emails / rsvp to those meetings. Whatever it is, it does not take thirty seconds the way I imagine it does. It takes thirty minutes. Then I am late and/or did not actually start doing the thing I wanted to do. Then I feel stressed / rude / annoyed at myself for doing this yet again. Again, not good. I’d like to do this differently too.

Overplanning. Life gets complicated. I tend to deal with it by updating my calendar and to do list. Again. Then again. Then deciding it needs a new format and doing it again. Then I look up some new types of calendar online. This is a complete waste of time. I’m not actually doing anything to improve the situation. I’m just moving words around. I’d be better off taking a big deep breath and reading a trashy novel. Or doing some actual work. Or going to bed. Or figuring out where to put those additional awesome-looking plum trees I recently found out about. Whatever.

Pointless online browsing. For me this does not mean Twitter / Instagram / social media / the news. No, it’s more like blogs I don’t actually care about, or looking up to see whether there’s a new tiny laptop I should consider, or new writing software, or a new multi-pen, or the best possible type of compost bin (though this last one did lead me to find out something useful: I don’t in fact want a compost bin at all! Aha.). Again, I’d be better off reading, or working, or watching TV with my husband, or going to sleep, or again, nearly anything else.

Of all these, the one I’m still doing most often is the not-replying one. But. Today I got an email from a friend.

I’m now going to stop writing this blog post, and reply.

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