My birthday week was full of gifts - some that make things better and some simple delights.
1. Summer has ended in the Pacific Northwest. I usually have trouble with the transition from summer to fall, as the days get shorter and the clouds begin to gather. My mind anticipates six months of discomfort. I want to eat bread and potatoes and butter. I want to sleep more.
I have a light box and I dug out the instructions. Turns out I've been using it in the wrong position for several years now. I stand at my computer when I'm working, and I had placed the box about nine inches below my eyes, so I wasn't getting all the benefit of the bright light. This week I've lowered the shelf on my computer and I sit down when the light box is on. Much brighter light! When I turn it off after 30 minutes I feel rejuvenated. Then I go for a two-mile walk or to my water aerobics class and I feel like myself again. I'm grateful for light and exercise, for Vitamin D and endorphins.
Tonight there's an autumnal equinox service at my church. I plan to go. I'd like to embrace the shorter days. Of all the things in the world I can't change, the turning of the earth is one of the biggies.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to change my approach to the shorter days.
2. My sister Alyx is a nurse and I tend toward hypochondria, especially when I don't have enough to do. When I think I have an ailment, I call her and she tells me what it is, kindly. I'm grateful for my own Nurse Ratched.
3. After much thought I decided my sight-reading is not strong enough to substitute at the Seattle handbell group. I decided to ask the Tucson director if I can substitute this winter in her "first string" group while I continue to play in her "second string". I'll get practice in moving from one set of bells to another as I am needed. I sent an email to the Seattle director. She was very gracious. I'm grateful for the opportunity to improve and try again.
4. We have been reworking our family trust. Art and I have a blended family of eight children. Last night at dinner he recommended a couple of changes. He has never suggested anything on this topic before. His suggestions were simple and practical and based around fairness and the fact that we probably can't control our grown children beyond the grave. I forget that sometimes. I'm grateful for the suggestions and for the fact that we have a patient lawyer.
5. I met with my niece and friend Colleen for coffee on Thursday. We worked out the next steps for marketing my Viet Nam book as well as an outline for a travel book I've had in my head for years. Both these projects are entirely engaging and will keep me busy during the indoor months. I'm grateful for friends and for my ability to string words together.
6. I got birthday wishes from over 50 online friends via this blog and Facebook. I'm grateful for the online community. Very grateful.
7. I got the perfect birthday card from my husband Art.
Outside of the card is three 70-something women, grinning.
First woman says, "Are you in the mood to Party?"
Second woman says, "Yeah, I need to use the Potty."
Third woman says, "Thanks! I guess I am a Hottie!"
Inside of the card says, "Isn't it nice to know we're always there to listen to each other. Happy birthday."
I laughed out loud. I'm grateful to have a husband who knows me!
8. I love weather - downpours and thunder and lightening and wind and snow. Actually, anything but heat and drizzle are good! It was cool and windy on my walk today. I passed a grafted apple tree just loaded up with two kinds of apples. Some had fallen on the ground. I thought about going to the door and asking if I could bring a bucket over. I decided to keep walking instead. I need to take a bucket into my own yard and pick all the green tomatoes before the rain splits them. They'll ripen up in boxes in the basement.
9. I picked the last four bunches of grapes from our yard. They were wonderful.