What an odd day. No emotional swings (unless you count the unwarranted crabbiness in the early afternoon -- OK, some mood swings), but the day had swaths of ease punctuated with pangs of anxiety.
Let me say first, though, that it's very odd to see the accoutrements of my cube around the house. In the kitchen is my oversize soup mug. On my "new" home desk is the picture of Joe and me that had been on my newspaper desk for two years or so. They are both familiar and unfamiliar -- not quite out of place, but still standing out.
I started my day with a ride around the 'hood on my new Trikke. This warrants a blog of its own -- so later.

Then we headed out to a six-hour bike race that Joe signed up for. Crazy, I know, but he loves it. It began at 3 and ended around 9 -- yes, that means they ride in the dark.
We thought we might hang out for a little while, then leave for a while. As it turns out, we stayed for the whole six hours, with a quick drive out to fetch dinner.
What did we do? Not much.
I knitted (a chemo turban). I took pictures of the kids. I sat. I watched. We talked. We walked.
Every now and then, I'd think, I have to go do ... then I'd remember, no, I don't have to do anything but be here. I don't have reviews waiting to be edited. I don't have to hurryupandgetsomethingdonesoIcangettowork. I'd get a pang of remembering being at work at 2 a.m. on a Sunday night. And I don't have to do that again. I don't even have my passcard anymore. I don't even have access to reviews anymore. I don't have a title anymore. I don't have responsibilties to anyone but myself and my family.
This is both painful and liberating.
I checked into my various online connections and found notes from readers and friends. One note asked for some advice -- this one was most encouraging, as it indicates that I can continues to serve that purpose. One was very humbling. Here, I'll share it:

I just read in the [crafts] column that you will be signing off the newspaper now, and I wanted to let you know what your columns have meant to me. I was a passionate quilter for 20 years until 9/11, and then suddenly felt the need to knit. I was knitting along in my little world until I saw the Hallowig pattern in the [newspaper]. I actually made one for a college professor friend! But through this I discovered knitting on the Web, and oh, what a world opened then– Knitty and the Yarn Harlot and eventually Ravelry. And through that, knitting podcasts (of which I now subscribe to 8), travel (Stitches East), and learning (after 2 years of work I received the Master Knitter designation from the TKGA.) The column also connected me with local meetups.

So many, many thanks for taking crafts seriously and opening up a vein of happy enrichment for my life.

Now, how cool is that? That helped a lot -- made up for the whole recipe-editing thing.
One of my colleagues said a few words and said one of the things she really liked about me was that I have a life outside the newspaper. That is a very good thing. I can now let that whole life bloom.
And I'm pretty sure those pangs will ease off soon. The benefit of them is to remind me that this is a good thing, that the work was squishing me.

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