Thursday, February 21, 2013

I got little

Not quite the same as having nothing, but close.

I wound up dealing with a couple of people who sort of went "off" on different things (things I interpreted as minor) yesterday afternoon. I don't like that. People are so unpredictable and I find that hard to deal with. Having someone go from zero to EXTREMELY ANGRY in a few minutes frightens me - it takes me a long time to build up a real head of anger. I may have annoyance that flares periodically (like, if someone cuts me off on the road), but it's brief and is more related to the "That *scared* me" response than really being angry.

I have a hard time with strong emotions, both other people's and my own. (Perhaps I am more like Sheldon Cooper than I care to admit).

So I was kind of wiped out when I got home. I knit for a while on the Palomino socks, and then just shifted over and read (again) from Jane Brocket's "The Gentle Art of Domesticity." While I totally understand that this is not a book for everybody, that some people would find it twee/boring/smacking of privilege, I love it. It is one of my comfort-reading books because in many ways, her philosophy of domesticity fits with mine - the idea that a lot of these things we do (knitting, quilting, baking, stitching), we do for the joy and creative aspect, and because we now live in a culture where we don't HAVE to produce practical items at home (I would resent it, I am sure, if I were some kind of maiden aunt living with a sibling's large family, and the expectation was that I would churn out socks for everyone on a regular basis). But because I don't have to do it, I can enjoy doing it as a hobby. ("Work is what a body is obliged to do and play is what a body is not obliged to do")

All issues of feminism and anti-feminism aside (I know some attacked Brocket's book when it came out, apparently they thought it was a call for women to take off their shoes, get pregnant, and return to the kitchen), it's a restful book for me.

Working on a college campus, there's a lot of pressure to Solve The Big Problems. Whatever those are. But the thing is: a lot of the Big Problems we face right now, aren't exactly solvable. Or the solution will take more time, or effort, or smarts than a small group of people can give. (I openly admit that smart as I may be about some things, I really am not smart enough to solve the Big Problems.) And you do what you can in a given day - but so often things are against you, or, as I said, the problems really aren't solvable. And so it's a relief to come home and have the "little" things to do - what stitch pattern to use with this sock yarn? Do I feel like baking something? Work on a quilt or on embroidery? It's nice to have something that is totally under my control.

I think that's really what it is: so much of what I do at work, I am being evaluated on by others, and in some cases, if the evaluator is having a bad day/has some beef with me/doesn't like my topic for some reason, I get marked down for it. With the stuff I do at home, I am the only one (usually) who judges it. Actually, Brocket has a quotation along those lines - about how in our culture, we are constantly pushed to be better parents, or be thinner, or have cleaner houses, and the standards are so impossibly high that no one can ever meet them. But - it IS possible to knit a hat that keeps your head warm, it IS possible to make "rock buns" (something like a scone) that taste good. And I think we need those kinds of accomplishments, or at least I do - to be able to feel like there's at least one "good enough" thing per day. (I really wonder how people with NO hobbies - and I know a few people like that - manage; some of them seem to have nothing that is under their total control. That would drive me bonkers.)


I've decided that this weekend is going to be My Birthday (Observed). My birthday is actually this coming Wednesday, but I have to teach all day that day (I wonder if, along with the petitions promoting the day after Super Bowl as a federal holiday, and Election Day as a federal holiday (both of which I think are bad ideas for different reasons), if anyone has proposed a You Should Not Have To Work On Your Birthday petition...) So I'm going to do what I want on Saturday, which means I'm going to stay home and finish piecing the quilt top I'm working on, and maybe start another one. And I'm going to cook up some of the frozen "wild caught" Gulf shrimp I managed to find at the Krogers the last time I was there. And I think Friday night I might bake a small cake, or perhaps make a batch of something like rock buns, so I have something a little more special. And I'm not going to worry about work stuff this weekend.

I've ordered a few things I have been wanting (a Jelly Roll of the newest Aneela Hoey fabric line....I held off for a while but decided I really wanted it; it's a different color palette than what she had been using). I might think if there's something else I want and order that as well - rather than going OUT shopping, I will have the shopping come to me.


L.L. said...

A case for Myers-Briggs! Personality types at work.

As an extroverted feeler myself, I can be forthcoming with my emotions, but I've also learned to tamper them with rational thinking and of course, manners. Maturity, I guess.

In your case though, you're working with younger people who are still learning how to do that. What may seem minor to you may seem major to them.

Charlotte said...

I also have Jane's book and enjoy it -- and her blog -- a lot.

I like the idea of having your birthday as a holiday. Since you can't do that, enjoy your birthday observed this weekend.

In my family, we've gone to observing birthdays on Sundays because it's the only day everyone is off work. Because the next three birthdays all fall in the same week, we're combining them into one celebration. It almost feels like a mini-Christmas with the opening of birthday gifts.