Beginning with Gratitude

Back in Florida after two weeks in the Pacific North West. This morning it was 71 degrees. Tonight the low is 38 degrees F. For this, I could have stayed in Seattle.

I have decided that I want to remember each visit, each trip for the good things that happen. For this recent visit to Esther in Seattle I am grateful for:

an evening of music, where Esther played flute and I played piano, like we used to in times past. This hasn’t happened for a long time.

a visit to the compline service at St. Marks. I had heard about that kind of music and seen it in movies but the experience far surpassed it all. A first for high church liturgy.

a chance to step inside Esther’s dream Airstream and add the smallest amount of emotional weight to her future plans.

the near miraculous sequence of events the last two days in town that made it possible to get Esther’s car serviced and cracked windshield replaced.

the fun of meeting John at True View who was a delightful person as well as a careful, skilled windowglass technician.

the new information about eating and how much fun I had trying out the AIP (and how much fun it was when we cheated on cupcakes)

the crazy, different electric jacket, and Esther’s “passed down” sweaters.

sweet potato fries at Blue Moon with Esther and Ryan.

I have read recently of research showing that being grateful trains the brain, making it easier to be grateful in the future. It is a mental health practice that extends to the physical body as well. Keeping a gratitude journal, and having daily time to reflect and write in it is one of my goals for this new year. I hope to share some of it here, which leads me to expressing thankfulness for this writing outlet, and for those who read and contribute on WordPress. I am truly encouraged by each and every one of  you. Thank you.

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The Way Things Are

I have no control, not really.  I may make appointments and think I know where I’m going to be, but it’s never really the case.  It’s such a true saying “wherever I go, there I am” and that’s about all I can count on.  It’s okay.  It relieves me of a lot of responsibility. I didn’t even get upset last night when the post I’d spent a couple hours thinking through and writing down disappeared when I inadvertently moved my hand in front of the touch screen.  I guess WordPress doesn’t have automatic update/save.  That’s the way things are.

Today I am put in charge of a situation to solve for someone else, if I can.  I have total compassion for people who by some strength of body and mind have managed to live to be old, like over 90, and still are taking care of themselves.  But things get difficult and maybe it’s hard to remember how you used to take care of difficulties with contracts and bills and harassing phone calls.  So you are happy to let someone help you.  I was volunteered for this job.

My friend C. who is younger, only a year or so past 80, has taken to looking after a neighbor, the above mentioned person.  A while back she fell in the driveway on her way to the mailbox and couldn’t get up. Someone noticed and came to her aid.  Later when C. was with her he suggested she get some kind of device she could use to summon help.  She had one – it was in the house, when she was in the driveway.  He found out she was a bit disturbed with a bill she had gotten from the security company.  She had an experience with a rather sharp tongued customer service rep when she called to ask about it.  She didn’t understand and C. couldn’t explain it to her but he told her Shirley would take care of it, not to worry.  Right.

After half a dozen calls I finally get to someone who might have info on this account and, as usual, I have to have a password or they won’t address the issue with me.  That’s the way things are.  What are the chances our 90 year old friend will remember a password she chose three months ago?  I don’t remember passwords I chose last week.

It’s a strange day outside.  It is bright and sunny except for the three or four times (about every hour) when a cloud has coasted overhead and dumped torrential rain for 10 minutes or so.  We are in Florida and that also is just the way things are.

Oh WordPress…

by going outside, I mean working outside...
by going outside, I mean working outside…

Today, having survived the  A to Z Challenge, I decided to ignore all my tech gadgets and go outside – for the whole day.  There was no checking the email every 10 minutes on the phone, no looking for likes and follows, no reading and commenting. It was a nice break.  Until a few minutes ago at the dinner table when the husband said “what happened to your Z post?” Blank look from me.  “It wasn’t on your site so I went to facebook and saw it, clicked, it came up for a moment and then disappeared, so what happened to it?” More blank look from me.  

I know I published the post yesterday, but sure enough, there it was back in draft form on WordPress. Now how did that happen?  I’m not going to cry much but when I decide I’m going to do something on time, it had better happen on time.  After making myself crazy getting 25 posts done and up on the exact day they are due, the last one comes in a day late? Nooooooo……. 

I’m ok, really. I had a great day. I got to play with fire. In fact I’m still burning brush at 7:30 pm and I started at 3. Living in an oak grove produces LOTS of downed branches which I have to clear off the lawn every week before I mow.  The pile was getting a little out of hand so I’m writing while keeping an eye on the blaze (we don’t want to burn down the neighborhood tonight…).

I am really good at starting fires, probably a little prideful about it even.  If I were on the reality show “Naked and Afraid” I would be the one to start the fire and keep it burning. Of course I would never be on the show because it’s a bit freaky and a really bad idea to be naked in places like the Amazon jungle.  What people will do to be on TV… 

I started this fire with papers that I got tired of trying to put through the shredder yesterday. I was cleaning old files and it was taking forever to shred things that I randomly decided should be shredded. I knew it would be quicker to burn them and it was.  However it was odd to look at the papers as I lit them up and see “keep for your records” in big type across the top.  My paranoid self said “wait, don’t do it!” and my other real self said “calm down, they’re from 1999, nobody has needed them yet – pretend they’re still back in the file.”  Paranoid self “but it says KEEP, it doesn’t say how long.”  Real self “shut up”. 

I used to be diligent about throwing away old records and keeping only ones 7 years back but lately I’ve just forgotten to do it.  No, actually I avoid doing it because I am paranoid that the husband someone is going to ask for something the day after I throw it away.  And the other reason I keep stuff is for necessary balance in the world. I’m balancing out my friend Karyn who throws it all out. She’s a financial adviser, for pete’s sake, and she says it’s all online when you need it. Well, I know what happens when I try to find something online at the last minute – forget that. Karyn also has a garage with nothing in it except her car and a row of steel shelves with labeled, see-through plastic bins. That’s just not right. My garage also balances out Karyn’s garage.

As I said, with all this great burning going on I’ve had a really good day and the brush pile is nearly gone. Hmmm… I think I need to go turn on the hose, ‘scuse me.    

 

now don't you go getting out of hand...
now don’t you go getting out of hand…