|gleaned sweet peas in a thrifted vase|
To confess, I haven't felt much like blogging of late because right now there are too many unknowns contingent on other unknowns for comfort. Evenings, I've retreated to books and film, knitting a cabled wool cardigan in pieces with the French doors thrown open and a candle flickering, while watching Burn Notice and the last few seasons of Weeds on Netflix, soothed by the repetition of stitches. Plus, I've committed myself to taking the camera off auto mode and into manual. As evident from the underexposed photo above, I don't know what I'm doing yet with exposure and believe post-production to be cheating. But I have a library book for this, and if I could teach myself to knit from a book, I can learn the relation between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, though both photography and knitting contain an awful lot of numbers.
I'm also bored of food. Instead of eating for pleasure, I'm now eating mainly to keep from passing out in public. And though the vegan converts in Forks Over Knives claim they feel more energized, I just want to sleep in every morning. But maybe that's the depression talking.
In other news, it's now sweet pea season, and despite the efforts of city maintenance workers, who mowed down the weed field at the bottom of the SE 9th Avenue overpass last year, the hot-pink sweet peas have crept back, pulled up by their tendrils above the evergreen shrubs. I pick a fresh bunch every few days on my way home from errands. They're sitting on my coffee table, nibbled on regularly by my cat, who likes to chomp on flowers. Neither roses nor sweet peas are safe from her pearly fangs, though she left the wild daisies alone, maybe because they smell like dog poop.
And though I returned to Goodwill last week for the first time in months, I bought nothing and instead have been culling again. When life feels chaotic, remove clutter. Return to essentials. While searching for an old sales receipt for a furniture piece I'm selling on Craigslist, I felt shame for how frivolously the ex and I were spending ten years ago. He was buying video games and café meals multiple times a week. I was buying expensive groceries and retail-priced clothes. For dates, we ate regularly in restaurants, went out to movies with popcorn and soft drinks, and bought sex toys from a sly, women-owned shop, all a lifestyle I no longer have or want. Thanks, but I'll take my gleaned, free sweet peas in a 75-cent thrifted West Elm vase and my media from the library and an eight-dollar-a-month Netflix subscription. And whatever's wrong with a cucumber?
In class last night, we covered the chapter on stress management, and one young man joked only half seriously that every class he's had in his business program has discussed stress reduction, even in Microsoft Excel, saying the school must be worried the students would crack. I laughed and said, no, that life's just stressful, work impinging on the personal and vice versa. I asked them to list 10 things they enjoy doing, that make them feel good or happy, and then to write down why they're not doing them more often. We all had sex on the list. Some of our pleasures required other people's participation, like back rubs. Others required more money than we now have, like snowboarding and traveling. But some were so simple, like climbing into clean sheets after a shower. I should stop scolding my sweet house cat for eating flowers because, really, if I had to eat brown turkey-and-fish kibbles every day, I'd be biting on silky pink petals, too.