Three months have passed since I started splitting my time between two jobs. In theory this looked like a really good idea, a win/win. I would get to stay and help my present employer during a time of transition while the new Executive Director got his bearings. I could simultaneously go in a new direction and work for the farm pursuing something that interests me greatly. Putting a plan into action does not always work out the way that we think it is going to…in fact, it never turns out exactly as planned.
A month or so into this dual employment scenario, I started to feel stressed..really stressed. Feeling pulled in two directions and rarely having a full day off from either job, I began to feel anxious and irritable. Not good. This is not how I saw the summer unfolding. This is a time of year when we pack up and vacate our house. I was looking forward to slowing down, not functioning in high gear. Getting ready to move out of our house to welcome our summer renters and working two jobs turns out to be a really bad idea. This new reality took me straight back to the drawing board with an important decision to be made. I knew that I had to choose one job over the other.
I am sure that you, my reader, are riveted and on the edge of your seat so I won’t keep you in suspense. After weighing all of the pros and cons, I went with the farm job, my heart job.
I am a thistle killer. Believe it or not this is one of my favorite activities at 9 Miles East Farm. Pulling these bad, bad plants is not easy. It is thorny business. However, the internal rewards are great, and I experience a feeling of supreme satisfaction with this task. At first I thought it appealed to the drop of OCD within. (I sure like neatness.) But upon further consideration, I realized that the task of weeding out thistles has something that a lot of other jobs in my life have lacked–purposefulness.
The simple act of ridding the soil of a harsh and invasive grower-of-thorns is an investment in the future. When extricating the weed from the soil, it is impossible to get the entire root. However, we weaken the structure and the next time he pops his stubborn head through the ground it is with less vigor. The farm-owner assures us that eventually, “we win.” The soil is better. The foot print of the gardens can expand, and we will grow more food.
The idea of purposefulness ties nicely into an other idea to which I have been exploring. Purposefulness in the consumption of alcohol, specifically wine. A wonderful co-worker, Jillian, and I share a passion for food, farms and service. We often converse about Thomas Keller and different recipes that we have tried from his cookbooks or something we would like to attempt. Last week, Jillian brought me Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch. This book explores the world of Per Se and the author’s relationship with Head Sommelier, André Mack. As warned by my co-worker, I became very anti-social for a few days, staying up late and devouring the book.
Memories and imagination
Are powerful enemies
Todays and tomorrows
I run to you
July 2, 2013
I first put up this post as a nod to my sister. We used to spend hours in the car with my son, Sam traveling to Portland, Maine to see our brother, Richie. As a way to pass the time, the three of us would write these little poems which we called the “name game.” Using the letters of a family member’s name, we would compose a single-stanza verse about that person. It was a lot of fun and helped to pass the time with a young person in the car.
Recently, I used this exercise as a way to express something difficult churning within me. As I read this entry over and over and let it live on the blog, I decided that I was brave enough to explain the reason for writing it.
It is often difficult for me when my husband travels. Spending years as a single parent (well over a decade), I am often surprised at the feelings of insecurity and lack of sturdiness that arise when Philip is away. Keeping myself busy during the day and having a cocktail or two at night help to calm the turbulence of the internal dialogue. Libations in the evening also help settle me at bedtime. Being alone in our house feels a bit scary to me at night.
During this particular period of solitude (Philip was in California for work), I became completely steeped in feelings that I have not experienced in a long time; fear of abandonment, distrust, anger and suspicion. This is dark and dirty stuff. So false, yet when engaged with these emotions, it is impossible to clear the mind. Recognizing that these are feelings based on past experiences, I tried logically to reconcile what is real and what is imagined.
This entry was my attempt to get the voice out of my head and on to paper–to make sense of what was happening inside. Once Philip arrive home, the feelings became more intermittent and eventually a state of balance returned.