Multiple hazards in effect
I want you to know that I do think of you, all both [sic] of my readers, even when I am not blogging. Here are the facts: my standing desk is not adjustable, and apparently I cannot blog standing. I can write, I can email, I can read the news. I am very good at wandering away and cleaning accidentally - that's my very best standing activity. But apparently I cannot blog. For a month now, I've had five thousand photos of flora and fauna begging to be interspersed with words, but the idea of creating such a thing while standing always gives me a violent urge to clean my bathtub.
It's also been a very difficult year so far. I always feel hopeless and lifeless between mid-February and whenever real springtime arrives, but this year has been especially bad. I keep looking at the forecast and seeing that the next sunny day is a week and a half away. It's always a week and a half away. How can that be possible?
We are currently having an ice storm. It is the fourteenth of April.
I can't control the weather, just like I can't control whether or not I get a mgiraine every day, just like I can't control all the other things in my life that are unfolding in the worst possible ways. They say you can only control yourself and how you react to life events, but in reality, "control" doesn't seem like the right way to think about emotions. Sometimes you just have to feel sad for a while even if you'd rather not. Sometimes sadness is the appropriate reaction.
I have also tried anger. It's not better.
I have also tried cake. Don't go down that road. You'll have to get a standing desk to counteract the results.
Real conversation with my dental hygienist:
Him: Any problems since last time?
Me: My gums hurt.
Him: Hmm. I can't see any reason why.
Me: Could it be because work has been very stressful and I've been clenching my teeth?
Him: Yes. Yes, I would say almost certainly that would explain it.
Me: What should I do?
Him: Well, I'll tell ya. I have a couple of patients who work in toll booths on the thruway. They're very relaxed.
My preferred method of coping with stress is to assemble Playmobil sets. But Playmobil sets are expensive, and once I've assembled them I don't know what to do with them other than put them aside and wait for my friends' children to get older. (You thought I was going to give them away as presents, but NO! What I'm going to do is have the most fun home to visit so they'll love me the best. This is about winning.) So, instead of playing with toys, I've been making weirdly frequent trips to the Lamberton Conservatory.
I earned my membership fee back within a week. They know me by sight now. It's like the bar in Cheers, but with 180% more turtles.
It's the most soothing possible place, especially when you've got weeks and weeks of cold and gray both behind and ahead of you. The warmth, the green scent of living things, the constant growth, the sound of water running, the yawns of turtles, the angry duck, the colors. It never gets old, because it's always changing. And most of the plants are new to me, so whenever they bloom, I'm surprised and delighted. There are so many flowers I've never seen before! One week, all the cactopodes were suddenly blooming. Each of them astonished me.
Lamberton is one of the things that have helped me stop clenching my jaw at night. The other is knowing that regardless of what's going wrong, writing is going right. I'm halfway through a series of major revisions. Yes, I'm currently stuck; yes, my word count has gone up rather than down; and yes, the idea of working at this pace for several more months makes me want to scrub holes my bathtub. But the antidote to grief, gloom, heartbreak, want, ruin, despair, madness, folly, wigs, rags, jargon, and spinach -- sorry, once I start listing depressing words, it's hard not to just recite all the names of Miss Flyte's birds in Bleak House -- is doing good work.
The Picnicker and I have developed a scheme to hold ourselves accountable to each other for reaching our weekly writing goals, and so far the threat of shame, ignominy, and the loss of three dollars has been very motivating. That means chances are good that I'll continue to post erratically for the next few months. Although, once the weather is nice and there are more adventures, and picnics, to be had, I might be willing to sacrifice the occasional three dollars . . .
Good luck, friends. May the flowers in your life prevent you giving yourself TMJ.
I looked up cactopodes to make absolutely sure it was wrong and I found this amazing blog: In Search of the Elusive Cactopodes. I have no idea who made this, but it is wonderful.
Miss Flyte's birds are named: Hope, Joy, Youth, Peace, Rest, Life, Dust, Ashes, Waste, Want, Ruin, Despair, Madness, Death, Cunning, Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags, Sheepskin, Plunder, Precedent, Jargon, Gammon, and Spinach. Plus, of course, the two Wards in Jarndyce.
Photos by me, all from the Lamberton Conservatory. A membership is $10. If you live in Rochester, I don't think you can afford not to be a member.