Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Of Moods and Mood-Mods and Travel. . .

I had a wonderful time with a visiting friend on the weekend, managing to ignore the symptoms through our dinner Saturday night and lovely long chat that evening and the next morning. Another out-of-town friend arrives Friday with tickets for an afternoon event I'll accompany her to and then we'll continue our visit through the evening as Paul whips up dinner for the three of us. . . The next day, she and I are off to a lunchtime celebration, and Saturday night Paul and I have tix to Turandot -- ah, Nessun Dorma. . . 

Despite all that good stuff going on, I've been at rather a low ebb (nope, the UTI didn't help, and grateful as I am for the antibiotics, they're wreaking their own havoc).  There has been some inertia, I will admit, some cocooning, even an instance or two of going near-fetal under blankets, clutching pillows, not sleeping but no motion other than blinking the tears away. . . . And in a gruesome offering of pathetic fallacy, the skies have been manifesting their own leaden emotions, their tears soaking everything below . . . oh, it's gloomy, folks. . . .

Movement usually helps, in these cases, to shift mood, and sometimes if I can tuck into a row or two of knitting, get some momentum going however mechanically, I feel myself grudgingly becoming invested in the world again. Those stitches were beyond me today, but I knew I needed something to coax me to a happier place, and luckily, I'd recently set out my Travel Journals, ready to start recording flight, rail, and lodging information.

Half an hour later, I was feeling much better, thanks to some planning and daydreaming about December in Italy (our housekeeping and childcare services have been requested, and we're very happy to oblige -- although it's going to be a bit odd being away from home at Christmas for the first time in over 43 years).  Besides the imaginary jump forward into an Italian winter, my cheer was also lured out of hiding by the kinaesthetic and sensory charms of writing with a variety of nibs and ink colours. I'm trying not to jump too far down the fountain pen rabbit hole (four pens there -- and two are just dip pens -- and only four colours), but I will admit that some minutes of our few hours in Zurich may be earmarked for pen-and-ink shopping. . . . If you have a favourite pen shop or Papeterie to recommend, I'm listening. . . .  (In Paris, of course, there is the splendid Mélodies Graphiques, which I will also be sure to visit.)

More details will emerge here over the next few weeks, but so far, on either side of a four-week baby-sitting gig, I've sorted a few days in Paris -- Christmas windows! again! -- and some wonderful train journeys. Have any of you ever ridden the Bernina Express? I've also assigned myself some solo travel, just to keep those muscles exercised. . . . 

29 comments:

  1. Your brave sincerity is always appreciated by me, because you often echo my inner self. It sounds as if you are doing all the good things to help reset yourself. I can also feel your pain faulty concentration, I often lose patience with myself over this, because of a health condition. It just sounds like a lot of refiguring is going on.
    The pens look lovely! I used to love them.

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    1. Blogger’s being iffy- I’m trying to edit, but can’t. The sentence above should read- I also feel your pain and frustration with lack of concentration...

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    2. Thanks for saying this, Megs. And yes, lots of refiguring. . . .
      For me, it's not so much lack of concentration as lack of any will to do anything. Once I can force that move to an action that normally engages me, I know from experience I'll get pulled back to the "better and better" path. . .

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  2. Hi Frances, I'm glad you have a wonderful trip to Italy to look forward to as you get over this pesky infection. I also feel your uncertainty about Christmas, albeit in another way - this will be the first time that one of our sons won't be with us; he's going to his girlfriend's family.

    And we'll be in Rome for a few days next September! We have booked a cruise and will start and end in Civitavecchia. I'll be checking through your archives for your Rome posts! Hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Oh Patricia, that's tough, the first year without a full complement at the table or tree. I imagine you'll come up with a new tradition-in-the-making to compensate, and you'll also be laying down a pattern of generous acceptance of accommodating their shifting lifestyles -- I like to think this does get appreciated.
      Those are exciting plans for your 2018 travel!

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  3. You have some wonderful trips to plan and imagine-it helps!
    Christmas in Rome must be magnificent,not only shopping (like in most other western cities) ,but with a lot of perfect things to visit,try,smell and hear-and all this with your little italian gem,because children are always welcome there,as you know
    Days like yours come from time to time-it is good to have a duvet day,to let your feelings out,to let some rest for the soul as well-but,you are a very brave and wise one to know how to fight it-because it is not good to let it overwhelm one,because it is not a good direction to go
    I need some good crying and rest,from time to time,too :-)
    Dottoressa

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    1. You're so wise -- yes, sometimes the tears have to come, but then some brisk, positive action, if possible. If not possible, then let's hope for help. . .
      I'm really looking forward to experiencing (and making!) an Italian Christmas with our son-in-law and g'daughter. . .

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  4. Glad you are back in the ' land of the living ' & planning exciting holiday itineraries . I look forward to hearing all about your Italian Christmas . I wonder if you ears were burning yesterday when Sue & I met & you came up in our conversation - all good though :) I envy you Turandot , we've seen most of the Puccinis but not Turandot . Such a big expensive production that it is rarely staged around here . Who is it in the lead role ?
    Wendy in York

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    1. I saw that photo of Sue and you and would have loved to be at that table! The lead role will be played by Amber Wagner, a role debut by a soprano poised to break out, apparently, expected to become a force. We've not seen Turandot either -- it was last staged by VOA a couple of years before we started getting season's tickets. I'm excited (a GF went on the weekend -- wrote me that she cried three times!)

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  5. I’m feeling for you, the worst sort of infection. Glad you have the distraction of holiday planning. Oh the delights of Rome at Christmas. All that panettone and wonderful window displays I’m sure. Enjoy your pens. B x

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    1. It was not pleasant! And yes, I'm pretty excited about spending days in Rome admiring the windows, evenings checking out the lights. . . .

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  6. Christmas in Rome. The splendour. Wandering around, nicely togged up and taking the chill off with delicious hot coffee, admiring the lights and the churches. For the first time, our daughter won't be with us as she is in Poland and will be having Christmas in Warsaw, thereby fulfilling all her cold festive yearnings. Our son is in London and so it will be the first Christmas without either of our children since 1990. At first it felt peculiar to contemplate but now I feel rather cheered by this. A whole new way to spend the time! Part of me wanted to send them their stockings but then I thought: no. They can do it their way. I think this winter break will be just the ticket, Mater. Glorious decorations, panettone, crisp wines, delicious food. Perhaps the Forum under twinkly, frosty skies...forza!

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    1. Ah, that will be quite a different Christmas for you. We've talked about spending one entirely on our own, just to let go of some of the "shoulds" around the holiday, but so far haven't. We will actually be without any of our children this year (daughter will be away, that's why we're helping out), but we will not be on our own, and I may want to try that yet. . . .You go first;-)
      I think you're entirely right not to send stockings -- I realized a few years back that some of what I kept feeling I needed to do around Christmas and gifts and stockings, etc. (particularly the latter) was actually infantilizing. After all, mine -- perhaps a decade and some older than yours -- have their own kiddies now to fill stockings for.

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  7. I echo the comments made by Megs and Dottoressa. I really appreciate your honestly and ability to describe your feelings with such clarity. Such a help to those of us to have similar days especially when outwardly life seems so good. At times I feel guilty for having these feelings.
    When I saw Sue earlier in the week, I said how valuable I thought it was when bloggers such as yourselves write so honestly as it enables your readers to talk honestly in reply. Something we may not do when meeting friends for coffee etc! So a big "thank you"
    I also understand your feelings about not being home for Christmas that's something I struggle with too ...but I imagine Christmas in Rome will be a very special experience especially seen through the eyes of your grandaughter.
    Times to be treasured!
    Take care and as always be as kind to yourself as you are to others ...
    Rosie

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    1. Aw, thanks Rosie. Wouldn't it be great to sit and have a good natter as you were able to with Sue?!
      And I agree, seeing Rome through my g'daughter's eyes will make Christmas for me!

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    2. It would be ... maybe one day.
      Have a good weekend.

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  8. Should have proof read :)
    *honesty not honestly.
    *who have similar days
    Imagine you'd have guessed anyway!

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  9. Same here sometimes and I also feel guilty for feeling the blues when I have so much I should feel gratitude for. Best to observe without judging. Having something to look forward to always helps. Your trip sounds amazing and Christmas in a different place can be so much fun, especially with those you love. Take care.

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    1. Isn't it funny how kind we'd be to someone else experiencing this and how hard on ourselves? Yes, observing without judging is the more useful approach. Thank you.

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  10. I am glad things are somewhat better. It's tricky, isn't it, you know what you should do and should feel but the whole point is...you can't, just now. You have identified some good coping strategies.

    Are you going to be in Rome? (I think while babysitting you will be based outside the city.) If so, and you are in Piazza Navona (site of the Christmas Market) please don't forget to check the windows at Al Sogno. Even if you don't go in...even if no small people are with you...

    Have never taken the Bernina Express but it looks wonderful. Will hope for photos and stories, if/when you are willing and able to provide. :)

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    1. That's it. If you could, there wouldn't be a problem. . .
      Yes, yes, yes, this time I won't miss the opportunity -- you're right that we're actually going to be staying outside the city, about an hour to get in, I think, after we've dropped her at daycare. . . .I'm not going to miss this shop this time.
      I discovered the Bernina Express through The Man in Seat 61, and we're excited to ride through this part of the Alps this way. Hoping it all works out...

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  11. Like other readers, I appreciate your honesty. There are those days when tears leak for no reason and inertia of mind and body seems to spiral one downwards. As you've written, even a small effort can seem herculean, yet it reaps great benefit.
    Christmas changes over the years. We have this great holdout for tradition and for doing the same things year after year, but in reality, each year is unique. Faces around the table are added or subtracted. The joys and griefs of the previous year colour conversations, and grief, particularly, lingers in the corners of the room. Traditions remain, and are good to observe, but I realized long ago that I was never the same, and that when new opportunities arose, I would try to embrace them, as you are doing with this trip to Rome. It will be different; it may be difficult at times, but also full of magic and loveliness.

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    1. So true, Lorrie. Even if we can keep all the externals the same for favourite traditions, we change so much ourselves. . .

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  12. Such a wise comment - thank you for this.

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  13. I add my voice to all of those who appreciate your honesty in this post. It always helps to hear someone else's thoughts and realize you're not the only one who feels this way.

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    1. Thanks for taking time to say this, Jeannine. Makes it worthwhile to share...

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  14. I'm also applauding your honesty. I think if one of the points of blogging is to benefit others, we do so best by sharing as full a picture we can of all sides of what life involves. I don't mean we have to bare all, but to somehow add the shade and shadow so people take away a true enough picture to be valuable. Or course, we can blog simply for entertainment or edification, but life usefulness, and some kind of thoughtful truth, that you are doing so well. Thank you. And as always I'm glad to hear the sunny side returns.

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    1. It's tough, sometimes, isn't it, blogging our vulnerability, and I don't "bare all," but I do feel some responsibility to represent my life in its various colours. Thank you for saying I'm doing it well, and you're very welcome!

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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