Sunday, September 22, 2013

Gifts from my birthday week

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.


Olga said...

Quite the celebration of your birthday. I understand the blip that fall can bring. I do not like the shortening of the days. I will be going to Florida for the winter even though I will have to go by myself. I like that the days remain fairly stable there. Once fall is actually here, though, I find it to be a very agreeable season. Warm days and cool nights, apple pie, pumpkins, school day memories...

The Odd Essay said...

Happy Birthday... a few days late. I love the card your husband gave to you... made me check to see if my hearing aids have fresh batteries ;-)

Linda Reeder said...

Now that fall is officially here, I've accepted it. I like to hang on to summer as long as i can and it was great to have some warm sunny days this week. Now I can move on.
I always enjoy reading your lists. I appreciate your observations about life, and your wisdom.

Out on the prairie said...

I wondered what kind of grape you grow. My favorite eating are still Concord, I have tried numerous seedless.

I think you have my E, if not send me a separate comment .I live south of Omaha most of the time and have a small farm on the other side of the state.

DJan said...

We do sound like we are on the same wavelength, Linda. I am so glad you have decided to embrace the change of seasons, since every one of them has its own little treasures for us. The wind is finally beginning to die down here, after blowing all morning and afternoon. The sun even came out for awhile! :-)

Out on the prairie said... is out on the prairie

Meryl Baer said...

Happy belated birthday and lots more!
I love the card - unfortunately it is so true to real life.
I love all four seasons, although I definitely prefer mild winters.

Tom said...

LOL ... Like you, "I tend toward hypochondria, especially when I don't have enough to do." It's great to have a sister as a nurse; maybe even better to have a spouse with a sense of humor!

Arkansas Patti said...

How nice that you are adjusting to the seasons. Having lived in Florida most of my life, I got use to very little change. Here in Ar the definite changes excite me. By the time the next one gets here, I am ready. I even love winter.
So glad you have found such a simple adjustment to your light is making such a difference.
Love the card your hubby got you.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Happy belated birthday, Linda! It sounds like you're very content and busy! Good luck with the books!!

Voices of NLD said...

Happy belated Birthday! I'm a lurker who enjoys your blog. As a woman who was left some money in a trust (to do what I wanted with) and inherited more I actually felt immense guilt for losing more than I should have in 2008--your wise thoughts made me remember that my parents thought the same. I've also made my own but when people give you money it feels like such a wonderful gift and such a burden!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I really enjoyed this post, Linda. I love that you are deciding to embrace the shorter days. I know it's a choice, and I know it can work, so here I am following your lead. And Happy Birthday! (I'm behind on blogs; I think I missed it.)

Bob Lowry said...

This is an excellent "recap" list, Linda. Maybe Betty and I will have the chance to hear you play in your bell choir this winter when you and Art are in Tucson.

As you hunker down for the worsening weather in the Pacific Northwest, we are getting exciting in Arizona because the temperature is actually going to dip into the low 80's this Friday! It won't stay there yet, but the beast of heat is on the run!

Grandmother Mary said...

Your line about not being able to change the earth turnings made me laugh out loud- thanks! You sound very wise here.

Friko said...

Happy Belated birthday wishes.

Your gifts were numerous and worthwhile. Keep them safe and you will be able to be nourished by them until the next one comes around.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, isn't it wonderful that as we age we truly begin to live in gratitude for the joy of our days--for friends and health and contentment. I'm happy for you.
And I wish you a belated happy birthday. Peace.

Sally Wessely said...

"I'm grateful for light and exercise, for Vitamin D and endorphins." I love that line. I also love that you pointed out that of all the things you can't change, the turning of the earth is one of the biggies. That is a great line! It is also a great reminder to us all.

You always make me laugh. I love your down to earth approach to life. I also love the inspiration you give with your take on life.

I hope this coming year is a great one for you. Blessings, dear friend. I'm glad you are in my life. I mean that sincerely.

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