I’ve Got Rhythms

metronomeDo your days have a rhythm? Is there a predictable tempo to your hours? Or are your days spontaneous and varied dances of delight?

At this time of year, my days have an undeniable rhythm, a driving tempo. Much of the day is filled with an insistent, relentless beat, as I work to make the candy I sell.

The winter holidays bring busy times—people are willing to splurge on handmade candies for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for gifts, for parties—so I’m always pretty busy in November.

But this year, I’m also doing two holiday boutiques, two selling shows, where people walk by my table, taste a sample of chocolate, and buy.

Last summer, when I agreed to these shows, on two consecutive days in early December, it seemed like a great idea!

Right now, I can’t help but wonder what I was thinking. I know people will want to buy candy but I can’t predict just exactly which candy they will want or how much to have on hand.

So, I spend my days piling boxes of chocolates up, and working obsessively to make more. The tempos of my life right now are staccato, presto, agitato.

But not first thing in the morning. I am committed to start my day, early, early, at a different pace—this is the calm before the candy.

I am an early riser, usually up by 4:30. I have my ritual to begin my day. It is set to adagio and, certainly, pianissimo.

I feed the cats. I give the diabetic cat an injection. I make a cup of coffee, black. I visit a set list of websites, in a set order—NBC News, the National Weather Service, the local newspaper. I write in my personal journal and have another cup of coffee, black.

I take some time to visit with you, to see what you’re saying and doing. I read your thoughts and respond, as much as possible, before the rhythm changes and the day demands my participation.

I love the calm before the candy. My husband sleeps a few rooms away. The cats go back to bed, too. I am alone with my thoughts.

I plan what needs to be done, and everything seems possible! I know I can get so much accomplished because the day stretches out in front of me, full of open hours and promise.

About 6:00, the rhythm switches to accelerato, allegro, animato. If, by this time, I haven’t taken a shower, written a blog post, finished reading yours, it probably won’t get done today.

The chaos of the candy takes over, the cacophony, the movement toward crescendo.

Happily, for me, this fast-paced rhythm lasts only for a month or two. January will bring a quieter time, slower tempos, with fewer demands for quick-step dancing in the kitchen.

I’ll return to the rocking rhythm of hand quilting, the soothing back and forth of throwing the shuttle, and the warm, comforting slide of the iron over vintage linens. I may even fit in a spontaneous dance of delight or two!

I’ll have more time for me, then, and for you.

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36 thoughts on “I’ve Got Rhythms

  1. Goodness me. It sounds frenetic. I love pre-Christmas bustle, but on my own terms (Christmas baking, decoration-making, etc. etc. NOT shopping). You have taken busyness to a new level. I shall think of you if I’m ever tempted to be stressed by it all. I’ve got it easy.

    • Well, all of my stress is self-inflicted! I do this entirely of my own choosing and I’m truly not complaining. The post was meant more to let people know what was going on in my world and why I’m not hanging around WP as much as usual. Enjoy your rhythms!

  2. My days are more varied than yours, I think. I have few obligations right now, so once I’ve finished my coffee and breakfast, the day stretches before me to fill as I please. Usually I do some quilting/sewing in the morning, break for lunch, nap mid-afternoon… But, not always!

    Jim did make the pecan-rhubarb cake on Saturday and we shared it with friends that evening. mmm! Lovely! Thanks again for the recipe. It’s a keeper.

    • I’m glad the rhubarb came pleased you! My days are usually more varied than they are right now, too, and I look forward to getting that variety back. I had to smile when you mentioned a nap–I love my naps!

  3. Hello, Kerry! Wishing you the best year ever in candy sales and a return to a more normal pace soon. The apple-cider muffins were put on hold as my husband is evidently dying of consumption….or has a cold….depending on who you ask …..and so I’ve been tending to him and various other hiccups in my weekend plans. I adore early, early morning hours before the world wakes up so much more now than when I was younger.

    • The early morning has grown on me, too, as I have gotten older. When I was working, I got up at 5:30 and thought that was pretty early. Little did I guess that retirement would find me up even earlier! It is an amazing time of day for getting things done–no distractions (at least, once the acts have been fed). I hope your husband has recovered from whatever awful affliction he suffered from!

  4. A lovely post! I normally run to a rhythmic tempo, until hubby or son stick a finger in the ” swingy thing” and change the beat. 🙂 hope your hard work pans out from chocolate to green.

    • Thanks, Deb–I like soothing rhythms in my life and right now they’re just a little too raggedy. I’m sure I’ll make lots of $$–but I’m not sure if I’ll think it was worth the stress!

  5. I so enjoyed reading this post. Your photo immediately reminded me of many years sitting at my piano teacher’s… the rhythm being set according to the piece I was playing. You sound like a disciplined woman who gets lots of things done by the time so many are just waking up! Btw, your kitchen must smell wonderful!!

    • My piano teacher despaired of ever teaching me anything–I simply would not practice! My kitchen smells amazing–right now I’m in the process of toasting pecans and, honestly, it is so yummy!

  6. Ha! You just described how my life used to be before I stopped teaching and ran away to be a life guide and painter 🙂 I lived like that for almost 25 years and exhausted every bone in my body. Now, you know since retirement, I have the opposite problem – how to bring a healthy rhythm into each day. I’ve noticed that on those days where things are booked I achieve much more than those days when I have all day to do anything in. Finding balance has always been an issue for me 🙂

    I am glad you have a time limit to this frenetic pace and hope your outings bring you much joy and chocolate moving!

    • My life was crazy, too, when I was working. Then I retired and had a bit of a panic–how was I going to use my time?! First came the selling of the vintage linens and then I decided to try selling candy and I guess I got a little carried away! I think next year, probably, I’ll opt out of these holiday boutiques and sell through Etsy only. Balance–yes, Pauline, that’s it exactly. I need to find balance!

  7. well, you and I pretty much start the day the same way: early riser and gently doing my chores and making Mr. Walker’s lunch and breakfast and seeing him of. But my pace of life is very slow and gentle and I love that. No calm before candy for me…but do not worry, Kerry, I understand you are busy and we will catch up again after Christmas. Take Care and enjoy your good business! Hugs form Ohio, Johanna

    • I seem to need a certain amount of rush and productivity in my life to be happy–but the happy medium is hard to find. Knowing that there’s an end in sight helps a lot–I just need to push through he next 6 weeks or so and then things will even out. I’ll think of you in the early mornings, knowing you’re awake, too!

  8. I admire you for being organized and an early riser. I still work a full time job so my day is pre determined chaos. When the weekend rolls around I let myself go and do as I please.

    I think I would like the call of the candy for a few months, I hope you do and then the calming that comes after the holidays allowing you to get back into all the other activities. Balance, it’s a good thing, isn’t it?!

    • Balance is a great thing–and I feel a little out of balance right now but the end is in sight! When I worked full-time, my weekends were so unstructured and lovely. But, when I retired, I found I couldn’t enjoy a whole life of that lack of structure so I started to add structure–I may have gone a little overboard . . .

  9. Hello, Kerry. Like you, I’m up around 4:30 (I’m still on daylight savings time), feed my Graycie kitty (although this morning she was not interested in breakfast…hope she’s not getting sick). I make the coffee (black) and plop myself down in front of the computer to catch up on things.

    Most of my days are filled searching the history of this or that item which I’m planning to sell on
    Etsy. No frantic pace. And I like it like that.

    Best wishes for successful candy sales. Once they take a bite of your samples, they can’t resist!

    • It’s nice to be here and think of you, there, engaging in similar morning activities! How is Graycie–I hope she’s okay. I think one of the very first posts I ever read on your blog was the one where you had just started feeding her and making her your own!

      • Thanks for asking…Graycie’s fine now. She was kind of lethargic and not eating much for about a day but has bounced back to her old self chowing down and causing trouble!

  10. ok, I’m obviously not paying enough attention. You make candy to sell? What kind of candy? Can I buy some? I love candy and even more like that I love it when folks follow their passions and bring them into their professional life. Am going to poke around here more to see if I can find said Candy 😀

    • I see that you found me on Etsy! I’m very excited to be making yummy things for you–thanks! My professional life was college prof and administrator so this candy-making gig is a retirement project–it’s been fun! SO very different from teaching undergrads how to make speeches . . .

  11. The rhythm of my days this time of year is unpredictable, unyielding and underlined with stress. When you sell meat, November and December are the definition of crazy. Chefs are a high maintenance bunch and even more needy when holiday menus are being planned. So I can totally appreciate only having a few moments to yourself each day! Sounds like you make the most of them though — the calm before the candy, I love that. =) And while I admit I do somewhat enjoy the go, go, go, I am really looking forward to Jan. 1 when my life can slow down too.

  12. Your way of describing an overwhelming time of year is so much better than saying “I’m busy”.
    The pace, the rhythm, the movement … you have such a way with words.
    Sending calming thoughts as you work through these next few weeks.

  13. I always love reading your post, you have such a talent with words. As I get older it gets harder for me to be an early riser, although I love being up before most people do. It feels a bit like the world is all mine. Does that make any sense?

  14. 4:30am is not morning; it’s middle of the night! LOL. I get up an hour later and do the same things in the same order as I’ve been doing for 8 years – Monday to Friday. My weekends are more haphazard but I must admit I do quite like the set routine of my working mornings – so many things done by rote it’s almost calming even though I’m actually rushing about getting ready for, and off, to work.

    • Yes, exactly! I think routines are underrated! Especially when so much of our lives are unpredictable and stressful, having some regular routines seems pretty comforting to me.

  15. What a lot of stress though. In my family, I am known for making edible or drinkable gift, much appreciated by the whole family & with friends, neighbors, etc. 🙂 If you visit my blog, I have a category food gifts in it. I do this on my terms too! x

    • It is somewhat stressful and, yes, my family and friends expect candy gifts on top of what I make to sell. I haven’t really had the time, yet, to explore your blog but I will!

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