Tag Archives: coffee

Offbeat

Typically I hit the floor running, thanking God for my life. Today, however I couldn’t form a thought, moreover a word. It was the first sign of a bad day.

Every little task was defiantly complicated:

  • Rising; I was tangled in my bedding.
  • Standing; way more effort than usual.
  • Walking; um, staggering.

It got worse:

  • No espresso grind.
  • No evaporated cane juice.
  • Brown sugar was a hard lump.
  • No paper towels to softening the sugar.

Without another thought or the slightest resistance I returned to bed.

red restart-256Restart.

 

 

 

 

The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” Psalm 103: 13, 14 (NLT)

 

Image Courtesy Iconsplace.com

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Walk

Today again I appreciate more and more how we are fearfully and wonderfully made. First, who knew how changing my post days to Monday and Thursday would go like this?

Today’s revelation began two nights ago – I was actually cold beneath my wool blanket and goose down throw. In case I haven’t mentioned it before I never feel cold, so in the gorgeous spring weather of the Western Slope, that was the first clue that I have been running overloaded for too long. I just checked: The temps were 46 degrees to 78 degrees here that day – around 70 degrees when I retired.

This morning confirmed my suspicion when I awoke with what I generally call hamburger throat, imagining what my insides might look like with that sore, raspy feeling.

Josey tea Carli JeanWith no fever it’s all good. I arose only slightly slower than usual and was sipping my Black Silk amaretto latte by the time Erin arose. I marvel at how, in only four weeks we’ve achieved very close to perfect sync with each other. It’s almost as though the past thirty-five years had been mere weeks.

thumb driveRight on course, by then I’d already checked my drafts for today’s post and had dismissed all of the ideas I found there. By Erin’s second cup of Black Silk Vanilla ambition, she suggested I consider her idea from a few days before, the things we miss while driving.

Before I prepared my second latte Erin invited me to walk downtown with her to City Hall to pay a bill and get some fresh air. Because my second latte was super low fat, low caffeine with evaporated cane juice, (and my body’s fighting off an infection 😉 ) I considered her suggestion longer than I usually would.

Despite having volumes of words and photos to consider, I immediately prepared to walk anyway. Walking simply seemed right.

Though I felt tired before we wrapped up the 1.6 miles, I’m glad I went. Walking alone and had I not been feeling slightly puny, I would have logged in 3 miles in that time. However I would not have met the neighbors.

Two blocks from home a Mini-Schnauzer, a Shih Tzu, and a Great Pyrenees/German shepherd pup rushed into the road, barking happily to greet us. The pup, already bigger than her mature dog companions, but clearly a baby, loped along. Their people, Guy and Barbie were right on their heels.

Without Erin I wouldn’t have stopped to chat. We wouldn’t have learned Guy and Barbie also have property just a stretch of the legs from Keira and Newlyn’s property (Erin’s mom and her late father) where we go for Sunday dinner every week. And yet, we paused a good ten minutes, met our neighbors briefly and their fur kids – well enough that 3-month-old Big Baby began walking with us as we departed. We’ll consider doing that another day.

pit bull leashHow delightful that Guy knows Keira and Newlyn’s place by the spayed Amstaf terrier that lives in the next lot on the road just before Keira’s. Though Guy doesn’t recall knowing Erin’s two brothers, everyone in town knows Nancy the pit bull, who initially seems ferocious, but locals all stop to greet her – usually with a treat. I adore the friendly, small-town atmosphere despite the wide geographical span.
coeds

Ordinarily under other circumstances I wouldn’t have stopped to chat up our two young, co-ed neighbors taking a break from their studies either. I wouldn’t have told them they remind me of mornings on our porch back home where Roan, Opal and I would sit, wrapped in our blankets, mugs of coffee in hand to see the day in.

What’s more, the girls wouldn’t otherwise have extended an invitation to join their occasional parties any time, and they wouldn’t have welcomed us to visit them for food and grog where they both work at the local chain establishment. We wouldn’t have chatted about the advantages of the new Fitbits and the knock-offs that are out there.

GJ Law ofcI also noticed the amazing array of flora, from blooming cactus to peonies, vivid iris and the many varieties of columbine, and how they differ in full sun and from beneath the immense shade trees. Nor seemingly everywhere the vintage, refashioned architecture styles and landscaping seen on the Western Slope.

 

 

cactus flower1 flora fence Iris GJ iris maybe yellow cactus flower

 

I noticed how the many other pedestrians nodded, saying, “hi” and how one in particular paused to ask us about the shell casing we’d found in the grass a few feet in front of him. “Weird,” he said. We agreed. I wouldn’t have noticed the bird calls, especially the dove that called to us, seeming to follow us from tree top to tree top going from our block and then welcoming us back to it.

What I didn’t notice is vehicle traffic. Aside from a rare, occasional car passing (below the speed limit), the driver waving or nodding politely as they passed, there are very few cars moving through the neighborhood mid-to-late weekday mornings. The breeze and bird calls aren’t drowned out by more obnoxious sounds. Don’t tell anyone I said this, but I might have heard some dandelions groaning as they struggled for root room in the thick grass of one sunny lawn.

Then there’s the view of the Book Cliffs, Sleeping Ute, Mount Garfield, The Mesa and the National Monument towering around us. If they don’t take your breath away you need new glasses – or perhaps a check up from the neck up.

Sleep Butte  Mt Garfield

Whether I’m actually sick or simply run-hard-and-put-away-wet, I’m delighted to have experienced some of the beauty we miss when we drive ourselves to our various errands. Clearly it’s good therapy. I feel extravagantly blessed that whatever we need in our household is walking distance from our front door, even when we need a break more than anything else. The reorganization project will be waiting for us whenever we return.

God knows this deep sense of belonging to family and community is exactly what I’d hoped and prayed for. Clearly He held it all together here just for me :D.

Thanks God!

 

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

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Filed under A Door Ajar, Longreads, Notes from the Apex

From One Latte

Today’s encouraging Meme from a friend read:

“Sometimes I just want someone to hug me and say, I know it’s hard. You’re going to be okay. Here’s a latte. And 5 million dollars.”*

Gazing at the meme, what my generation used to call a poster, got me seriously thinking today – I know, scary, right? Five. Million. Dollars.

I’m not bemoaning my life in the least, but for the past two years my accountant gave me his fee rather than charging me to do my taxes. He mumbled something about needing another charitable contribution.

I have wondered how so many people can’t imagine my lifestyle. True, some would consider me impoverished. I don’t, but I certainly toe the line.

I’ve made some extreme adjustments to keep hope alive for that 38 foot Catalina with a center cockpit and aft cabin.

When I started out on my own I planned to be financially independent with solid trust funds established for my sons before I turned 40.

Decades after my target goal, with much living and some published work in between, my sons have been on their own for longer than I want to say and I’m sharing a rental with Erin and two cats. I’m a cliche!

Honestly, I’m absolutely serious, with the newscasts constantly reminding me how harsh and unpredictable the world is I won’t complain.

Still, I’m pondering what I would do with that latte and 5 million dollars. Okay, no question about the latte, but I started a new list:

– I’d be entirely debt-free, pay off the credit accounts and Health Care bills. But that would likely ding my credit score that already looks like hammered pewter. I’ll think about that tomorrow…

– I’d buy real estate, a home for myself with cottages for family stays and for guests. No more moving around. I’d need a large parcel to raise my own food and livestock. Then I’d recruit forces to lobby against the likes of Monsanto, and begin reversing the damage they began on the environment. But then Bigg Business would lobby to stop me and my family (they always go after your loved ones, right?) They’d waste more tax dollars trying to stop my league. Or I’d have some unexplainable, deadly accident and my guys would be devastated… (Just kidding, Monsanto). (Sort of). Maybe I should rethink this…

– I’d invest half and stash the other half for the time being. I’ll start a list of American organizations I can support with good conscience, ones that don’t violate my personal values. This is profoundly complicated! I’ll come back to that.

– Oh, I can finish my degree, it’s only been 20+ years since I last enrolled in college. I’d start with finding my transcripts… Annnd on with the list…

– I would pay off the kids’ mortgages, freeing them to pump up the grandkids’ college funds. On second thought, my heart would break if one of my Grands adopted the attitude of the  Entitled Generation. I’d actually be contributing to their hardships by depriving them the joy of working their way through college… I’ll come back to that too.

– I’d have my teeth whitened. Maybe get a nip or tuck here or there. Looking younger than ever, I’d attract all kinds of attention. But then I’d have money and would impose rejection upon prospective Beaus. I’d be stalked! Or my grandkids would feel neglected when a social life cuts into their time with me. They’d start seeing psychologists, taking antidepressants, write bad poetry… who needs that when I look fine now?

– I have it! I’d toss the dozen or so pairs of readers from all over the house and vehicles and have my eyes lasered. Hmm… Then nobody would recognize me without at least one pair of glasses holding my hair back on top of my head. I’d be forgotten, passed over for committees and outings. I’d be devastated and withdraw to the woods, never to be seen by mankind again. {Scene fades to black as Sasquatch drags me away without a fight}…

– Or… I could take Erin, my offspring and all my siblings on a luxurious vacation. Who couldn’t use a break today? But then, somebody would disagree with somebody else about something, it would start a row. And it would be all my fault. I would probably have forgotten to invite somebody else just as dear and deserving along, so that when I return I would be alienated from family and all polite society as well. That would certainly end me. I would stop writing… Forget that idea!

I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. Who knew money could so easily ruin a wonderful life?

“For the Love of Money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Tim 6:14 (NLT )

* Meme/poster reference sweatpantsandcoffee.com

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The Road Again; Still

My life long friends, Erin and her baby sister Ellie and I hadn’t seen or spent actual live, local face time in about 15 years. With technology one can keep in touch on the phone and internet, etc. But it’s not the same as getting together in the same place, at the same time.

vega rig

My thirty-something-eth relocation brought about our reunion. These heroines drove a trailer south and east, through wind and amazing hail to collect my belongings and me, and then we three set out on our first road trip in decades. Crossing Texas and New Mexico en route to western Colorado I particularly noticed :

first Rockies

  • Hugs. Especially random hugs for no apparent reason. When they’re few and far between one really misses them. I’m glad to report they’re very easy to get used to again.
  • Body language and reading faces is kind of a big deal.
  • Coffee. I’m jealous of my girls who can drink coffee late in the day and still sleep like a baby. It’s so not fair while I must cut off all forms of caffeine before noon!
  • Aches and Pains. I’m astounded at how our bodies have aged over the years. The packing, lugging and loading took its toll on our bodies – before we hit the road on the 4 day journey. After the first 8 hours in the car, I re-discovered places that can ache from sitting.
  • Dings in our armor – we’ve discovered torn cuticles, broken fingernails and colorful shin bones. No bloodshed, no harm, no foul.
  • Junk food rules. Our healthy diets went out the window.
  • Exercise/physical therapy regime; in such tight quarters as a car, it’s hard to do the stuff we do to keep bodies moving freely
  • Older bodies adjusting to altitude changes can be entertaining.

With all of the above challenges, reconnecting with old, family roots makes the entire trip worth any stress leading up to the drive. What feels like home to me:

  • Remembering we were “green,” conserving resources and doing our parts to preserve the earth long before there was a Greenpeace.
  • We know every line and lyric to most of the classic rock hits, as well as the renown parodies and personalities of our generation (we all fondly remember Doctor Demento, Wolfman Jack and Wierd Al Yankovich).
  • We can drop a quote from a classic movie without explaining what it means.
  • We totally get each others’ fashion genre. Not too old to appreciate well fitted mid-rise jeans, we vowed to just shoot each other the day we eye stretch denim or elastic waistbands. This does not include jeggings. 😀
  • None of us minded coasting through Vega on HWY 385 (Route 66, people) to fill a stick of photos – without stopping the engine.
  • We like nice hotels. We agree we need a housekeeper and a spa at home.

Entertainment: Road Trip Games:

  • License Plate Bingo (no one keeps score)
  • Truth or dare is still a classic.

truck gamestruckingPlaying road tag with truckers (waving, coaxing them to blow the horn). Bonus points for getting one to use a Jake break 😉

 

 

  • Naming our favorite concerts ever and confessing our most embarrassing (or happiest) memories there.
    • Note: arriving at The Dead Show without tickets won, hands down.

At the end of day two on the road I look forward to more adventure and settling in – soon.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

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Back Home Again

Two particular things stand out from my recent trip for a family funeral.

dawn val of sun 28jan2016

Stormy Daybreak, Valley of the Sun

 

First is the astounding amount of time I need to resettle after such a trip.

 

CA-AZ 1981 001CA-AZ 1981 001Not long ago we’d take up any opportunity to hit the road. Regardless of my boys’ ages we thought little of grabbing our packs on the way out the door, not knowing when exactly we’d actually walk back in. We’d cross a state line or two for a weekend adventure if for no other reason than because we could. What’s more, I recall only one instance where an eight hour drive through the night rendered me incapable of working my first shift. In all fairness that was the day after my niece took her sweet time being born – 355.7 miles from home at the time. Maybe that was long ago. That niece is in her thirties married over a decade ago.

Greens 001

Now, days after returning from the last trip I am amazed at how much time has actually passed.

This morning, thinking I had a pretty good handle on things, latte in hand, I sprang to work and immediately felt blindsided by the bulk of email awaiting me, some now six days old. I slouched leaned back in my chair, sipping my steamy, comforting mug contents, listening to the uproar in my head:

  • The Nano-Organized Micro-Manager Voice screamed End-of-the-world-NOW prophesies,
  • The Artist Voice called for blues, greens and reds all to be mixed with black,
  • The Comptroller Voice demanded we audit all accounts immediately,
  • The Editor-in-Chief voice demanded I post something, anything, NOW
  • Suzy Sunshine’s Voice feebly interjected about how popular we’ve become…

This took place mere nano-seconds before I noticed the figure “3” next to the Gmail Drafts folder (meaning something most likely did not go out as I thought before I left for the airport).  A loud scream, initially remote, rapidly pierced its way to my frontal lobe, nearly breaching Central Dispatch before I arrested it, saying instead, “Voithos, where are you?”

Though I actually had internet access the entire time I was away – time away with family being the operative term. Such occasions happen rarely in our circles, so they’ve moved up the priority scale dramatically. This morning I sipped, calculated and reminisced events of the past two weeks. I determined to break tradition, and not stay at the laptop until all two-hundred and some-odd items were opened and sorted, and then take time to catch my breath. That memory alone made my neck and shoulders stiffen.

Instead. I. thought.

I decided upon the well-considered, conscious choice to sort all email into three categories (four including the Drafts folder) to address after I returned from a walk and shower with  a fresh pot of tea:

Absolutely First: Check Draft folder,

Folder 1: Stuff to open first to avoid apocalyptic catastrophe (stuff that could cost me money),

Folder 2: Stuff to deliberate over after sorting through Drafts and Folder 1,

Folder 3: Put other stuff here only if doing so won’t cost me money,

Folder 4: WordPress notifications. Get strong coffee, and then proceed.

Greens Dec 1960 Sdale 001The second thing that stands out is the very many gatherings with my siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews where we all emphatically agreed we must get together before another funeral summons us. At our advanced age, as approximated by no sign of our elders (until passing a mirror) and the horde of young people that look only vaguely familiar now, we should not press our luck as to when that gathering will happen.

So, dear readers, this post is not only me checking back in, but is also my figurative gauntlet landing solidly in the dust, a cloud billowing gently on the grass before my dearest relations. I shall again attach a link to this post in another round of family emails reminding us all that tomorrow is not promised. We must set a date.

I’ll get back to you on that.

 

“You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times.” Matthew 16:2,3 (NLT)

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Catch Up Over Coffee

While I adore the idea of meeting up with you all, I’m too much of a realist. We’d have to meet somewhere public and I don’t know my new area well enough to know some wonderful, quirky place with superior food and drink to meet yet. I will have to arrange to have one of the cars, which doesn’t always happen on anyone else’s schedule easily. Face it, we’d settle on texting photos, on our coffee breaks. Still, anyone in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is welcome to come by. Call first, of course!

So, since we’re planning this date to share coffee together in the not-too-distant future, I can get to the local Starbuck’s which is now also Teavana – yeay! You are most likely aware I cut myself off of any form of caffeine and processed sugar after ten-ish. So tea, especially herbal blends are kind of a big deal in my world. That way you don’t wonder if I’m not a gremlin after midnight, manning the captain’s chair inside the head of a robotic costume.

I don’t give a care about what cups they’re serving around their beverages, I don’t frequent non-fair trade coffee shops enough that I feel any guilt or remorse (again, walking distance), and the atmosphere is almost always pleasant. Not only that, if we embarrass or offend anyone there, no one there will ever recognize us again. Besides, being new in the community and far from other friends and family, my speaking skills need remarkable warming up before conversing. You get to start!

Josey tea Carli Jean

While we share tea together I’ll be delighted to hear what’s new since the last time we talked (Skyped, whatever). I’ve learned (finally) that listening is actually more important than talking, or entertaining as I tend to do. While I have become adept at systematically changing names to protect the innocent in my stories, many of my dialogues and short stories come from simply listening to the people around me – with a little splash of creative drama now and then, just to make it interesting. Besides, I am literally so weary of my story where it is right now, I’ve been writing it in the first person the way I thought it would go starting two years back. It still sucks at times, but I feel better a lot more often in my fiction.

While we share tea together we’ll go over the last week’s global events and the news from each other’s localities. Getting trapped behind my side of my nose makes me forget the many different perspectives on the other side – your side of my nose. What’s more, the world isn’t quite as frightening on your side of my nose as it is in here! Over drinks together we get a better grasp of reality, examine truth for what it is and find better balance in the world today. As Ellen (you remember meeting her) used to say, “we must get together and talk through the world’s problems, fixing it all over a pot of tea (or a bottle of wine) soon. Balance. It’s all about balance in all things and one simply can’t do it alone.

While we share tea together I’ll torture you with the details of building my blog, the amazing things I’m learning about the mechanics of WordPress, the people I meet and the fun I’m having taking the Blogging U. classes. I’ll pester you for ideas to write about and how to promote myself where I haven’t already. We won’t talk about that episode last spring when I put into action a clever promotional idea, but the officer thought I was soliciting. I played the Grandmother card and he let me go. Whatever…

While we share tea together we’ll discuss the latest fitness challenges I’ve tried out and diet discoveries have come to light since our last visit. Surely something there will help me shed another five pounds so I’ll be back to normal body weight six months after I start lifting and boxing again. If I’m still breathing, of course.

While we share tea together I’ll tell you the actual discoveries I tried and work well for me in my overall health care (like coconut oil), especially during the last bout with cancer – ugh. It’s all gone and all good now, “… I said, knowing I gained five pounds the last six weeks. (The physical therapist ordered me to not walk every day). I couldn’t believe she was serious about that until I popped one of the sutures in my calf going down the stair too fast. Note, it was only one stitch.”

While we share tea together I can tell you the secrets to spotting poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. I never heard of the latter either until I Googled homeopathic treatments, not wanting steroids. I can also advise you (after my second contact – they actually are bigger in Texas) how to treat the rash before it spreads – take the steroids. The End.

While we share tea together I’ll only be dull a few minutes boasting about my thirteen adorable, amazing grand kids, my marvelous sons and my heroic daughters-in-love. I promise only to show photos from my phone if you ask. And you know better than to ask just to be polite.

While we share tea together I’ll tell you the wonderful, interesting new ways I’ve learned to meet new people in Texas (not counting that soliciting thing). We’ll probably even touch on how I found the best church home (third time was the charm). You will be amazed that I’m not on the Worship Team and remember that’s where I served primarily for the last thirty years. We’ll talk about the good old days and we’ll look forward to what’s coming up ahead.

I’ll bet you can hardly wait. Hey! Where are you running so fast?

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Chatting Over Tea

So far, most of my readers are my good friends from all over the country. As most of my new friends/readers have gathered, my life took me all over the continental U.S. over the past thirty years. Although I manage to circle around, the past eight years my circles have been loops.

I’m especially blessed to count seven close, dear “best” friends; people with common values I can say anything with and never fear being judged or offending with a misstated word. While we keep in touch pretty well by phone, Skype, social media, email, texts and even old-school, greeting cards, handwritten (or printed) letters and printed photos, we haven’t been able to get together, not even for the kids’ weddings.

For a year I’ve poured myself into my blog. It’s working better for me than losing hours on Facebook and its many entertaining diversions. Still, my last long trip was two years ago for one Spice Girlfriend’s wedding.

I often imagine the surge of information we’d exchange over a steamy cup of something lovely. I’d finally be able to tell them about my latest roller coaster ride; the things one simply doesn’t say over the phone.

Take for instance one friend in particular that I’ve known since she was home schooling her children at elementary level, and some were in High School. She would be my first subject, only because I actually saw her last.

I can imagine her flying into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, exhausted, pouring her into our guest room bed, resting a few hours and then sharing coffee or tea on my balcony…

Josey coffee Annie Spratt

Me: Good morning! You look wonderful.

Josey (dressed and refreshed, steps through the french doors onto the balcony to find me just sitting down with a tray of tea and scones): “Thank you. I have a little jet lag. I’m wide awake but I think my brain is still in Washington. (Josey sits and reaches for a scone as I pour tea,) You start bringing me up to date and I’ll jump in with questions when I need to. These are such good scones, I don’t even feel bad for sleeping in and not helping you. You can send me the recipe. Go ahead while I munch.”

Me: “I know what you mean. Trying to sleep last night I thought about how we used to compare our lives to a long, cross country tour of famous roller coasters.”
“This stop’s been very different from all rest. Living with this part of my core family, far from my kids, no one would have imagined how hard it would be for all three of us, pulling our lives together – together.”
“You probably remember Roan from before her divorce, when we were so close. She’s so different now, you’ll hardly recognize her – I rarely recognize her. We’re three entirely different people compared to who we were ten years ago – the last time we all lived together in Finley. That year before I moved back from Illinois, we planned the next few years down to every minute detail we could imagine. We tried including any unexpected twists and turns. But this train seemed to have derailed last March.”

Josey: “I know what you mean. Sometimes I wonder how my life became so different from what I ever thought it would be.”

Me: “Does it ever blow you away how all three of us, you, Roan and I all separated from our husbands within the same 4 months? Even when I don’t text you, you know that you and the kids are all in my prayers – mostly daily. But how’re they adjusting to all the changes since the last move to Finley?”

Josey: “Oh they’re fine as far as I can see – now that they’re all grown and on their own…”

Me: “That’s as good as we can expect, I imagine.

Josey: “I know what you mean about building a new nest while living with siblings. And you, my friend already experienced losing a sibling to death, the first to leave this world. I can only imagine.”

Me: “And yet, we depended on Seagh in ways none of us realized till he was gone. His passing while he was so young actually was unimaginable. Although he was my kid brother – he was the wisest of us all. He earned all of our trust – said nobody else in our family, ever. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember you never met him.”

Josey: “True. And yet as close as you and I are, you’ve still never met my mom or my sister.”

Me: “Right.”
“Seagh wasn’t often gentle, like your mom, but he had a knack for knowing when the fur flies in our home to either leave the building, whistle loudly, or stand tall, staring blankly into the midst of the fray. He’d do that until we each noticed what he was doing and stopped – whatever. Then he’s say something remarkable, like, “So, where will you bury the body?”

We both laugh at the scene.

Me: “Lord, how I miss laughing at ourselves when he did that.”

Josey: “I can well imagine.”

Me: “The blog and my two manuscripts have helped me through the past year. So now, we’ve about hammered most of our kinks out. Opal living with her mother and me again now adds just the right amount of salt to the mix. We hated the apartment, so we bit the bullet and moved into this townhouse mostly because of this balcony. You remember when I’ve seen worse.”

Josey nods, saying only, “St. John Street,” Referring to the house she helped me renovate and move into years ago.

We both laugh again at the thought of the ramshackle house when my husband and I first bought it.

Me: “Thank you so much for reminding me! That is a great post for The Apex. Don’t you think?”

Josey nods in agreement as she sips thoughtfully.

Me: “I’d slant it toward the healing journey in general, both the house and me.”

We sit quietly for a comfortable pause as I pencil into my ever ready wire-bound tablet to remind me of the idea.

Josey: “Coming in I noticed how we’re walking distance from almost everything you need.”

Me: “It’s certainly a perk since I gave away my Chevy and salvaged my mini van just before I left Illinois. Oh, but running the girls around the Lakes in that van was fun. And to think, I bought it thinking mainly about the grand kids.”

Josey: “Yes. The notes you posted to Facebook about the retreats and road trips were very good. I enjoyed them as though I’d been along for the rides. I also noticed you publish a lot more since you linked your blog to your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.” She smiled sincerely.

Me: “With everything so close, we manage to get by, the three of us sharing the two, well one and a quarter cars (ha ha ha). With her new job, Opal will replace her car soon. In the worst case scenario I go to church on line in my room. I trust I’ll pick up some more copywriting assignments soon and tuck that money away for another, more reliable, economical car. Now that I’m cancer free I’ll have the doctors paid off by the end of next year.” I sigh and smile feebly.

Josey: Raises both arms, palms up, saying: “Thank You, God.” I join her in the praise.

Me: “Sure, sometimes I get bogged down beneath all the trials, expenses and so little money coming in. Mostly over the grieving process – times three.
“Seriously, I think the hardest part of starting all over again is the finances; not being able to travel – yet – to see the grandkids. You well know, they don’t stay little for long and they forget so soon.”

Josey: “That’s why I’m glad you took Gilley’s advice and started your blog. Next thing we know you’ll submit one of your manuscripts. Who knows, maybe we’ll create an app to put our stories out there. I read that’s the up-and-coming-medium. It would be today’s spin of her Gilley’s first book.”

Me: “Sure. Maybe you’ll let me use some of your prose or poems. I think you might be just a little afraid you’d get caught up in blogging too.”

Josey: “I seriously don’t know when I’d find the time.”

Me: “No worries. Blogging U courses are so good, especially for connecting with other writers, artists, photographers, journalists bloggers – and even if only a small percent of your class offers to help you through a problem, that’s still a lot of help at your beck and call. You’d be schooling me at it in a few weeks. What’s more, the courses are free.”

Josey: “Go over your Categories for me again.”

Me: “Fine:

A Door Ajar: My stories illustrating some techniques I learned about relationships while I was pursuing my CPC; Boundaries, Anger Management and so on. The header: “Relationships are like doorways to our lives. When we close our doors fresh air, light and fresh perspectives don’t get in. Sometimes it’s best to leave the door ajar.”
Kitchen Sync: Foodies creating a better world from meager means. It all begins at home.
From the Apex: Enjoying the aging process from all perspectives.
The World According to Roo: Where I post my long reads
Blogging U: Where I compile my class assignments as I complete them. Maybe I’ll relocate some later on.

Josey: “I spend at least an hour catching up with you every other week.”

Me: “Feel free to comment any time. No, really. I approve or delete them all so you can’t embarrass me publicly – Hee Hee Hee!”

Josey: “I know. I didn’t realize I said that aloud.”

We laugh together and slip into comfortable quiet listening to the birds.

Feeling fatigue start to set in I suggest, “What do you think about taking a walk before these clouds get serious and rain?”

Josey: “Done.”

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Stepping Away

Writing and Not Writing

coffee Seemi Peltoniemi

I read today’s assignment immediately upon release and then slept on it. In the morning I wanted to mill the idea around before sitting down to work and put it off.

Rather than risk forgetting what is predominantly important to me now, I write every day. While my values haven’t changed much, my perspectives have definitely broadened over the years.

Within the first minutes of writing in my journal, I realized the text was stale and comparatively lifeless. Even my thoughts seemed to need a break.

I closed the book, called a friend, and left the house to run some errands. We met for coffee and scones and then shopped a little. Perhaps because it was spontaneous (for me anyway), I returned amazingly refreshed!

Once settled back home I checked in on classmates, what they are doing and then wound up critiquing my blog.

Basically ennui over my theme, I also realized my About page was wrong. Fortunately, my friend quickly texted me some valuable insight, and nailed exactly what I disliked.

An hour later I cut and pasted new text, making the message say what readers want to know about my blog – and less about silly, old me.

Resigned to keep my theme until my next Blogging U course, I’m now onto soliciting other bloggers and journalist friends for today’s secondary assignment.

Whether or not anyone reads the new About edition, it’s more direct, so I feel more distinctive, and more accomplished.

We’ll see how long the feeling lasts. Never mind that; it’s not about my feelings (okay, not primarily); I’ll leave it on faith* and the comfort of knowing it’s better now.

 

 

*The Voice, 2 Corinthians 5:7, “The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.”
The Voice Bible Copyright (c) 2012 THomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice tm translation (c) 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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Ready to Dash: Fast Forward a Decade

walk

Despite my rebellious nature, I’ve become a slave to routine. Where my young, healthy body once took life as it happened, I now must deliberately prepare myself for whatever a day may bring. This takes me considerably longer now than ever before, even longer than when I had my four young boys in tow.

But these days, with the aging process grinding away on my physical self, that routine somehow became unforgiving and unappreciative of my mental self. One skip results in an almost immediate stumble, frustration and sometimes bruises mysteriously appear.

The new routine is actually predictable:

1. Wake up – This could take some time.
1.1. Take a thorough inventory of every vertebra, gently wake them and the numb arms.
1.2. Be sure my brain is also awake enough to rise without injuring myself or others while getting to the bathroom and then the kitchen. Prayer typically comes into play here.

Note: The waking experience can be intimidating (embarrassing when involving witnesses), frightening and occasionally surprising enough to make me occasionally wonder if I slept through the Rapture. Am I actually in heaven. Prayer while in bathroom usually works well for me. Dispel shame and guilt: Omniscient. Omnipresent.

2. Remove any carcasses from kitchen counter.
2.1. Wash and sanitize kitchen counter.

Note: We live in an older rental that is astoundingly void of a sill wall that would entirely enclose the kitchen from the outdoors. During the hot summer months, creepy crawlers trafficked in, up the wall behind the cabinets, through the gap from the missing section of back splash tiles (refer to the 2015 New Year, New Life story), and across the counters. Sometimes bugs (and even slugs – yeah, eewe) survive the insecticide for moments. Often they die on the counters. It’s all good: we’re now aware of their existence whether we see them or not – and sanitize.

3. Water and coffee
3.1. Slamming eight ounces of water before coffee seems cruel, but empirically it’s a good practice.
3.2. Immediate availability of fresh, hot coffee is largely contingent upon who in the household has already been in the kitchen, and if that someone was coming or going. This can be complicated.
3.3. We like Krups when we can afford K cups.
3.3.1. Refillable K cups require forethought and many more motions. Just saying.

4. Bathroom time. Grooming can go on for a couple of hours.
4.1. Again, prayer time and perhaps some reading.

5. Fuel – The most forgiving point, interchangeable with items 4 – 4.1. Rather than burn muscle on my power walk, I must force down food and supplements (one won’t stay down without the other).
5.1. Disregard that thought about forgiving. Do not forget fuel. (refer to Um, I’m Out of Gas – Again story (c) 1995).

6. Stretching – Pulling a hamstring, bursitis, tendinitis and joint pain taught me not to minimize the importance of stretching or give into temptations to “stretch as I go”.
6.1. There may be better ways to meet the neighbors than hollering, “Call 9-1-1!” from the ground.

7. Sun block – Something I didn’t take seriously as a youth. Melanoma will change that.
7.1. This is Texas and by now the searing sun will be up over the trees.

8. Lace up, walk toward door.
8.1. Walk through the door.
8.2. You turned off the lights. If you left the coffee pot, you need another one anyway.
8.3. Just walk away.

9. This just in. Incorporate reminding Roan to walk also.
9.1. Remind or otherwise check Roan each step of the way.
9.1.1. Roan continues to resist all elder sibling influences as well as she always has.
9.1.2. Now that Roan is also experiencing the same gift from the gene pool and the accompanying pain and physical therapy, gilt will get the best of me if I don’t push or pull at her on my way out the door – a good two hours later.

10. Shower, deodorant, lotion and then get to work.
10.1. Since I work at home, clothes are optional.

All of this reaffirms my philosophy: Relax and enjoy the ride, no one gets out alive.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV)

Go Readers. Redefine life along the way.

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