I have pneumonia. The physician assistant who diagnosed my returning cough told me I needed to slow down. I told her I don't think I overdo. When I asked her if I could work today, she smiled knowingly before she advised no. Okay, so far slowing down is not hard because I'm tired and dragging on the couch and happy to be here and not somewhere else. No work until next Tuesday, no traveling, and (maybe) no gardening.
So I started thinking of some things I've learned, some that will serve me well to remember.
1. Cherish small spaces. I've known this since I was a little kid. If I can create a sanctuary for myself by hanging a poem or painting in a corner of a room, I know I can go there for contemplation and comfort. In the same way, I have a tree. A park bench. A bay. A new round rug in the den where I read the morning paper.
2. And who else might I be, anyway? I am no saint and my ego rules sometimes. But I try to be kind, I am honest, I'm fun on vacation, and I know to pay my way. I had a conflict with a coworker last week because I asked her for an update on a matter of mutual concern, one that affected my clients, and she told me to talk to her boss if I didn't like the way she did her job. Whoa. I tried to tell her why I wanted the update and that I meant no offense and she told me I was 'frankly demeaning.' Whoa. I left a phone message apologizing if I came across that way and no response. Okay. I tried times three. I can blame myself and feel awkward but I'm not inclined to. In the past I probably would have. But don't even know what bothered her and she's not talking, so I'm okay with that.
3. Making bread is curative. Not just the kneading and the shaping and the rising and the buttering, but the baking and the sniffing. When I take the time to make bread, every part of me slows down. Often while the loaves are cooling, I make a fist and knock on them. Why such a ritual would soothe me, I don't know, but I've found the whole process calms me down.
4. There is no need to apologize for liking glitz. This shot is from Las Vegas. I have been there three times and I am obsessed playing those quarter slot machines. Someday I expect to win
$ 1600. I just expect that. :^) It would play better for me to say I spent this time hiking in the Smoky Mountains or doing volunteer work in South America, but I'm past the point of diminishing my enjoyment of a fancy hotel or a smoky casino. Another thing: I love nature and oceans and open skies. No doubt. But isn't there something beautiful about this huge glitz building too?
5. I believe in miracles. I say this without doubt. My father died fifteen years ago but he still brings me flowers in unexpected places and JB and I still stumble into the best roadside restaurants in the middle of nowhere and I have dreams that tell me what I have to know. It's only been in recent years that I can say life is hard, too often too hard: maybe I've come to recognize that because of the state of an unstately world--but I know too that the universe provides. I'm better off having faith in myself and being willing to believe what cannot be understood.
6. Some people are precious. One time a long time ago my friend and business partner Nancy called to say she was reclassifying me. She told me I wasn't putting enough time or attention into our friendship and if I didn't want to be reclassified, I'd better change that. She was so direct that even now I think back on that and laugh. But I got the message and I straightened up. Some people you just gotta hold on to. Some people take residence in your heart and that's that.
7. Many objects are happy to do double duty. I'm no longer rigid about protocol or following the obvious.
8. There are people who truly lack a conscience. It is not possible for them to ascribe fault to themselves and often (for a time) they come across as so charming and strident in their positions that even when they are clearly offensive, they fool people into apologizing to them instead of the other way around. These folks are often sociopaths. I saw this play out on the blogs this week. These folks don't charm indefinitely, however. True colors emerge sooner or later because without a conscience they usually go too far in their mean spiritedness. I've learned the hard way that the best thing to do with a person like this is to run fast.
9. And finally, many of those greeting cards and posters featuring cats and dogs, often in weird positions or dressed up in silly costumes, involve animals who are mistreated or used only for commercial purposes. I suggest taking a moment to look into the animal's eyes and to picture what was required to take that photo of a dancing dog or a dangling cat. This is an industry that should not be supported.
10. Oh one more thing: an update on my Mother. There are encouraging signs. But until yesterday she had been in bed for more than two weeks and she had not eaten. I have been prepared that she may be too tired to continue. Nurse Debbi told me, "Sometimes when it's time they just stop eating. There is no pain in that. We can keep her comfortable." My Mom has looked like a sleeping angel. But today, she is dressed and eager to play cards. My final lesson today: you never know. What may seem like a final chapter may not be.....
happy weekend, my friends. Thanks always for coming by.