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Saturday Morning Musings

Well how frustrating!  I had planned on spending my Saturday morning catching up on email and other internet-related things (such as writing in my blog!), and my internet is not working.  For some reason it will let me upload the Globe and Mail, but not any of my email programs or WordPress.  I guess my friends and students will have to wait, and I will just write this morning’s entry off-line and post it when things are working properly again.  Few things can frustrate me like problems with internet access, which I find rather amusing when I’m not fuming and cursing.  Why should it matter so much?  I guess it’s because the internet is my main source of communication with the outside world and when it’s down I’m essentially cut off.  It’s also the main conduit for most of my work, and I am really hobbled at times like this.  But I should embrace the forced downtime and do something else.  Like some cooking, or the very last bits of my yard work before snow settles in.  Once I finish here, I’ll likely do just that.

I have opted out of going to market today.  I could really use some fresh greens and a few other things to get me through the week, but I simply have too much work to do today and can’t afford to spend the four hours it would take to go buy salad greens and apples!  I have food enough in the house to keep me going.  Of course I am already dipping into my winter stores, something I don’t usually do until January or later.  I’ll be curious to see what happens this year.  I suspect I’ll run out of food. I simply did not get enough put by this fall, and with this stupid commute to get anything fresh and local, instead of eating what’s still available, I’m devouring what I did put up much earlier than I should.  Well, it can’t be helped!

I went to the Aylmer market on Tuesday and bought about 5lbs of really nice, meaty beef bones from the drug-free butcher.  Today I am going to roast them, add them to several more pounds of beef bones I had already (knuckle bones), and make as much beef stock as this will produce.  I’ll be following the recipe used in Nourishing Traditions.  The author (Sally Fallon) is a very big proponent of eating as much bone stock as possible; apparently it’s full of rich vitamins and minerals and really helps balance out the diet.  Making stock is easy but time consuming.  However it’s something that can be done while I work, checking the pots occasionally as they simmer for hours and hours.  I’m hoping to turn some of this beef stock into a traditional borsht soup, using the beets I started fermenting a few weeks ago.  Should be an interesting experiment!

This week I managed to keep my house and kitchen in much better order.  In part I did so by simply not doing some of the work I should have done.  As a result, I’m now facing a heck of a lot of grading over the last 12 days of term.  But it’s nice to start a Saturday with an already tidy house so that I can do something else with my time.  This morning I did some yoga for the first time in a while, and had hoped to be able to catch up on my backlog of emails!  Looks like I’ll just be getting down to my grading that much sooner.  Probably a good thing.

I’m still struggling with what to do with next year.  It’s really challenging to make such major life decisions so far in advance, but I have to indicate in the next week if I want to continue with my job next September!

I’m considering my options.  I could most definitely continue on with what I am doing.  I have recovered my energy – it seems that a large part of the crash I experienced a few weeks ago was due to the unexpected dissolution of my relationship, which really knocked the wind out of me.  But now that I’ve recovered from the shock and dismay, I find my energy is back and I’m able to keep up with my crazy work pace again.  Indeed, I even had enough energy to be social the last two Friday nights in a row.  So I think I could probably keep up this pace for another year if I needed to (then again I may eat these words next term as my work load increases by 33%).

The problem is that I feel like I’m in a rut.  Things are comfortable – I rent a spacious, if rickety house, have wonderful friends, and a job I enjoy.  But I am not advancing my life goals; I am not making progress toward the things I want to have and do.  I am not making enough money to start saving to buy a little farm, I don’t have enough time to train my dogs or spend quality time with these friends, I struggle to cook one dish per week, and I can’t seem to find time to meet someone for coffee, let alone date regularly enough to develop a relationship.  If I continue on in my comfortable yet stale rut, none of this will change.

I had really hoped to be able to find an alternative before cutting the strings on my parachute.  And perhaps that will still happen.  Indicating interest in staying at this point is not a written contract.  Signing anything will still be several months off, and perhaps I’ll find something by then.  But if I know I have this nice safety net, I may simply not do anything to change.  So… I am seriously considering just saying no thank you.  Just throwing myself to the mercy of the powers that be, taking that leap of faith.  I’m even considering picking up and – at very, very long last – moving to where I would like to live long-term, even if I have nothing in place, and just doing my best to make things work.  Heck, I’ve done it before.  It wasn’t easy, but I can do it again.

It’s really amazing how the universe provides when we really need.  On Thursday, for example, I took my last $15 to my butcher to buy some meat for the dogs.  I wasn’t going to get paid for another six days and was reluctantly thinking that I may have to actually borrow money to feed the dogs (this is the sort of frustration I experience: working 65-70 hours a week yet not earning enough to pay basic bills).  It turns out that my butcher has decided to go out of business – I suspect for political reasons but he said he just decided to retire – and so he was clearing out his stock as fast as possible.  I said I only had $15, which he took.  In exchange he gave me 20lbs of fresh, local chicken.  That is enough to feed the dogs until month end and my next pay cheque!

I know that if I pick up and move somewhere new, as long as I stay centered and confident, everything will work out.  What happened Thursday was a reminder of this – perhaps it was even a sign as I’d been stewing over this very concern that morning.

So if I’m going to do this, the next question is: where?  Where should I pick up and move to?  Kitchener-Waterloo area with all it’s local food and universities?  Kingston, as I have been longing for for so long?  The Eastern Townships of Québec, which I fell in love with last spring?  Wolfville, Nova Scotia – where I have never been but apparently is a mecca of alternative living?  How about Burlington, Vermont, which I’m told is similarly alternative-minded and stunningly beautiful?  It seems the possibilities are endless.

This is both terrifying, and thrilling.

Do I really have the courage to make such drastic change in my life?  Or will I get lulled into staying put by a need for security and comfort?  Perhaps something will happen to make things clear, another sign, some indication of direction, of push or of pull.  I guess only time will tell.  For now, it’s time to make my beef stock.

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