Monday, July 26, 2010

Wide open Monday

Today is the first weekday of the fifth week since I stopped working. The first week we travelled to San Antonio. The second we were distracted by a sick, sack-eating cat. The third we travelled to Whistler and California. Last week we had twin granddaughters visiting for a week. This week we're home until Friday, when we leave again for Alaska. I'm glad we've got a slower schedule for most of this week. I need the break!

I'm limited somewhat by a sore back. Last Thursday evening I was gathering cardboard boxes we've been collecting for our neighbors, so they can lay cardboard down in their blackberry-infested area and then cover the cardboard with wood chips, which will kill the weeds and let the area be restored to a more natural habitat. I tossed each box down the bank of our easement. As I was returning from the last load I tripped in a hole in our lawn. As I fell, I tried to favor my left ankle which was badly sprained a year ago last Christmas when I fell off a snow-covered curb. The ankle was fine and, I thought, so was the rest of me. But the next morning I woke up with a painful SI joint - also a weak area for me - and spasms in my piriformis. Two trips to the chiropractor later, I'm feeling some relief. But I'm again reminded that I need to be careful as I move about. The chiro tells me everyone has a part of their body that's the weakest part - an old injury of some kind - that goes out periodically. Oh, well. That would be my left ankle and my SI joint. I'm grateful I'm not sick. Even when I'm icing my back or doing the prescribed exercises, I remember that.

My twin granddaughters' visit, while jolting us out of our day-to-day routine, was sans parents and that is wonderful in spite of the hard work. We've decided to make it a semiannual tradition - three or four days between Christmas and New Years, and a week in the summer. I watch these little girls growing up in the midst of benign chaos and I marvel at the resiliency of children. For the week they're with us, they've got a quiet and relaxing environment, interspersed with walks to the library and the ice cream store, their uncle's softball games, and summer recreation activities (this year, golf and cartooning). They met the neighbor's daughter and, for a couple of afternoons, there was a lot of little girl shrieking going on.

We cook what we know they like - ribs and chicken and hot dogs and, usually, corn on the cob. With that menu, they are not picky eaters! And one night, we had a picnic with the neighbors on the lawn between our houses. The kids had hot dogs and corn on the cob and watermelon; the grownups had T-bone steaks and potato salad. And we had s'mores. It's been years, and those marshmallows are just as messy as I remembered.

This afternoon I harvested the rest of the peas in our little garden. The beans were coming up beneath them and now they'll have the full sun to do their own thing. And I harvested our first celery plant today! Our gardener tells us celery doesn't usually grow well in the Pacific Northwest. I guess our half dozen celeries didn't get the word.

I'm getting over the novelty of not working. I suspect when the first of the month arrives and I don't have a paycheck I'll freak a little, but hopefully not much. We've planned this out. Art has four pensions we'll be living on, mostly. But we're making deposits on travel for later this year and next spring, and it's a little scary to watch those dollars leave the checking account, even if they've been budgeted. I just have to trust the process.

I took time off my ESL class last week because I need blocks of time without distractions to do the assignments. I'd like to get two more modules done this week. It's funny that something so common as teaching is such a new deal for me. When I was a kid it was decided that I would be a teacher when I grew up. Instead, I got married right out of college and my husband became the teacher. I subbed some, but I didn't like it and got into the IT industry instead, which was much more to my liking. Now I've left that behind and am looking at teaching again. Go figure. The difference is, this time it's about being useful rather than about me and making a living. Plus, I'm 40 years older than I was the first time, and I have a lot more patience.

I've had two offers of ways to spend my time. They need volunteers at Friends of the Library and they need volunteers for Patty Murray's senatorial campaign. So far I have kept my mouth shut on both opportunities. I have enough to do right now.


DJan said...

I hear you, Linda, about getting involved in volunteer stuff. It can eat up time so fast! I've been retired now for over two years, and I do some part time volunteering but mostly keep my own schedule. It's not so easy to stay open to whatever comes up...

#1Nana said...

The campaigning sounds like fun. But then we've both been watching the West Wing and it's easy to get caught up in the romantic ideals of creating good government. Now if only Bartlett was running...

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

It sounds like you are really keeping busy, and in good ways! I had a little shock today when I realized I have only 10 more regular days in the office, and after that about 3 months of telecommuting. I'm looking forward to it, and I know exactly how I'll be spending my time (daycare for grandkids) but I'm surprisingly distracted by the fact that it's suddenly upon me.