I woke up late again this morning. This has been the long weekend of the long sleep. It was around 10:30am, and the sun was shining through the windows. A cool breeze blew in, moving the curtains around. I stretched, rolled over to the side of the bed and decided to take a run.
I found my running gear (it's different than my gym gear in that I don't think that the Consulting Company is yet ready to see my pale, hairy legs), stretched, put Evanescence into my CD player (yes, I'm a loser with an unfilled iPod), and started out.
I crossed the Winn St. Bridge, looked both ways like one is taught, and then started running. As usual, my pace was a little faster than I should have started out; it's much easier to pace myself when the treadmill is set to a specific speed.
I soon got into a pace, with the wind and sun on my face and seemingly the whole town out walking or running or rollerblading around the lake with me. Most of them stuck to the sidewalks, so I ran on the side of the road, where there's a little bit of a shoulder.
I was passed by Mr. Perfect...gazelle-like in his stride, broad shoulders and an iPod strapped to his hand. He looked like he was going to finish his run, change into tights and a cape, and go save the world. Before, when I ran the lake, I'd get competitive with the Mr. Perfects on my path, but I liked the pace I was keeping. As my sister-in-law (Susan, the personal trainer) calls it, I was "comfortably uncomfortable," meaning that I could talk to someone if need be, but I still had to breathe hard and was sweating.
As I passed the first mile or so, I realized that I was feeling really good. Generally, running on the treadmill is easy but boring, and running on pavement is interesting but more difficult. Today, it was interesting (lots of people to watch and dogs to smile at) and I didn't feel one bit taxed by the run. My legs were loose, my stride comfortable, the music at a pace that I wasn't concentrating on much else.
Sooner than I expected, I was back at Winn St. (3.3 miles from where I began), and I decided that I felt too good to stop. I decided that I'd just keep going and walk off the rest. Since I regularly do 5 miles on the treadmill, I thought I'd be able to do more than just lap the lake, but the recent weight gain has me convinced that I'm an out-of-shape slob who has no right to be tying sneakers, never mind having the audacity to try running.
The second lap was a little slower-paced, but still at a good clip. Ms. Perfect tried to pass me, but by that time, I was having none of that. She was in fantastic shape, but I have longer legs, so I got past her and though I was a little more winded, I still felt terrific.
At about 6.2 (of 6.6) miles, my body started saying, "Let's stop now, Patrick." "No really, stop." "STOP!" So I obeyed. I could have pushed myself the extra few tenths of a mile, but there was a water fountain right there, and it felt good to guzzle down about a gallon of water and walk the rest of the way home.
I got home, stretched like mad (pavement running takes it out of my muscles more than treadmill running), and wondered what I'd do with the rest of my day.
Laurie and I had tentative plans to go out with our friend Jenn from New Hampshire, but Laurie had a lot of stuff to get done at home, so that was scrapped. I knew that I didn't want to hang around the house, so I called Laurie back and asked for Suzanne's numbers. Her birthday fell during last week, and I had suggested that she, Laurie and I go to a craft show in Northampton (near where she lives) and grab some dinner or something.
Since Laurie wasn't in the mood to go out, I figured I'd go alone. This is a real oddity for me, because whenever I see Suzanne, it's always with Laurie. She's considered "Laurie's friend" more than mine, though I'm still not sure how or when that dynamic got worked out. All I know is that whenever plans involve Suzanne, they inevitably involve Laurie, as well.
However, Suzanne and I both share a common interest in contemporary crafts, like to walk around crafty places, and both had people we wanted to see at this fair (she wanted to see her friend Margaret, who does absolutely beautiful enamel work. Margaret and I hung out together once in awhile back in college, and she took me to see a concert where she thought I might like a guy she knew (but didn't know was seeing some other guy...story of my romantic life).
Margaret's work was terrific. I have no real need for enamel jewelry (which is what she was displaying), but if you're looking for something unique and well-crafted, she's more than willing to do custom jobs. I hope to comission her at some point, because I love supporting artists I know.
Next up was a stop at the Josh Simpson booth. I love his work. I own way too many of his "planets" as it is, but he's not selling them at galleries as much as he used to, so I wanted to see if I could find a new one for my collection.
What I really wanted was a New Mexico planet, which is red (as opposed to the blue planets he usually does), but they were all sold out by the time I got there. Instead, I bought a mostly-black paperweight-sized inhabited planet and a piece that's not exactly a planet, more like a nautilus trapped in a sphere. It's a departure for me, but I loved it.
I spent way too much money, but if I'm going to be a collector of anything, this is worth it, I think. He had a new series of metallic planets (with gold or silver embedded in the glass), and I almost bought one of those as well, but spending another $100 on something so small was over-the-top, even for a fan like me.
He did have a plate with a metallic planet embedded in it that I would have shelled out the $6,800 for, if I had spent another ten minutes looking at it. It's truly beautiful, but Suzanne and her daughter wanted to see the rest of the fair, so I followed along.
My newest large planet
The unique "nautilus planet"
We wandered around for awhile, taking in the metalcraft, the woodworking (Chris should make 10 or 12 custom pieces and have me bring them around to shows, because the stuff I saw at this fair, while beautiful, is nothing compared with what my brother can make), the fabric crafts and paintings. We turned a corner and I found another glass artist (whose card I lost, so I can't remember his name or link to him) who had what looked like Josh Simpson planets...on acid. The colors were brighter, the layout crazy. They were fantastic. His whole booth was awash in color, as opposed to the more sedate, contemplative nature of Simpson's booth. While I will always be a Josh Simpson fan, this guy captured my fun side, and I shelled out some more hard-earned money for what I call the "fun planet."
Fun! This is where space travelers go to have a good time.
Suzanne and I wandered around, telling Tarian that it would not be a good investment to buy a $250 ceramic fish. We found a booth in another building that was nothing but tiny orchids made out of air-dried polymer clay. Suzanne was enraptured by them, and they weren't expensive at all, so I decided to buy one for her for her birthday. We never do birthday presents for one another, but it seemed like a special day (having the day alone together and all), and it was something she probably wouldn't have bought for herself.
We got to the end of that building, where Suzanne found the coolest peppermill ever created. It's shaped like a spaceship, in midnight blue with a red top, all carved out of wood. She debated, then decided that her credit card needed a bit of use as well, so she bought that.
We stopped by the main booth and said good-bye to Margaret, then headed to China Dynasty for their dinner buffet.
A dieting man and a buffet never mix well. That's all I'm saying about that.
After dinner, we headed back to Suzanne's place where it was time to take Azuki and Maisie Roo (the dogs) out for a walk. Maisie is full of energy and doesn't take to the leash all that well, but Azuki (about eleven times the size of a regular dog) walks along like a royal princess. She prances along the middle of the street like she owns it.
We crossed the street into a field that had been recently plowed (for corn, I would imagine), and trooped across that to a fallen-in bridge over a tiny stream. The dogs splashed around in the stream for a bit, and then we went back.
Suzanne gave me a huge piece of cake to take back for myself and Laurie to share (it looked really good...I've been good and abstained until now, but I may give in and have a little tonight before bed), and then it was time to take off.
Before I did so, I asked Suzanne if I could commission her to paint me a work of a dragonfly or one that incorporated dragonflies. Right now, she's in full-blown writing mode, but she said that this summer may begin a new painting period for her, and I've desperately wanted one of her original paintings for a long time. She said that she has decided that art is something she likes to do for herself, and she'd be more than happy to paint a dragonfly-themed painting for me, but won't take my money for it.
I can't wait. I know it'll be awhile before I see it (she has three novels to write, after all), but one of the first things I want to hang on my wall is an original Suzanne work.
I took my leave, driving like a maniac to get home, though why I was so anxious to get back to the comfy chair after such a great day is beyond me.
With such a good day behind me, you'd think the existential crisis of "what am I going to do with my life" would have subsided a bit, but it's just gotten stronger.
I signed up to be an official volunteer with a theater group for whom I've participated in reading scripts. I'm sure what they're looking for is ushers, letter-sealers, photocopiers, and the like, and I'm more than happy to participate on that level. Hopefully, it will work itself out to be more than that, but you never know. I have to get in somewhere, and one of the pieces of advice that I've read time and again is if you want to get into a new industry, offer to intern or volunteer there and get as much exposure (and as many contacts) as you can.
How much time will that take out of my schedule? I think that's up to me. This group is very focused, but they seem to treat their volunteers well. Just for reading for their festivals, I've been invited to shows for free and to particpate in other events. I want to get involved, see how I can work this into a way of living, not just a hobby on the side.
Does that mean I'm not going to pack my bags and move to Louisville, Austin, or Portland Oregon sometime to pursue something in a theater there? I have no earthly idea. Now is not the time for rash decisions. Now is the time to take stock, decide what's best for me (financially, emotionally, and artistically) and find the balance that will allow me to live my life the way I always wanted to, and yet still keep some level of comfort.
Even if that level of comfort is "comfortably uncomfortable" for awhile.