Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 4, 2014

Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Today I broke with long-held tradition and opted to forgo my weekly visit to Stevens Pass.

Mostly because the forecast called for rain, rain and more rain. Skiing in a downpour is a soggy affair, and I was not necessarily up for getting soaked.

Also, I was just in a mood to be busy and productive around the house. I'm not exactly sure why.

Maybe because the turn of the seasons is finally upon us, with warm sunshine and balmy breezes that energize me.

Or perhaps I'm giddy with anticipation for this upcoming week of school holidays which will give me tons of uninterrupted project time around the house.

But maybe, most of all, I simply needed a stretch of time to do whatever I felt like doing. I didn't have any glamorous plans or indulgent cravings. This was just a day for me to follow my instincts and do what felt right.

^ I started off by sleeping to my natural wake-up time. During the school week, my teaching schedule requires me to get up long before my biological clock feels ready, and by Friday, my sleep reserves are worn thin. When I allow myself to snooze until my brain is properly rested, I start the day feeling like an actual human, which is kinda nice.

^ While I was getting ready for the day, my second-born slipped into my bathroom and handed me this bowl full of breakfast. She's been experimenting in the kitchen lately, and this was her first go at chia seed pudding. Topped with honey, bananas and a sprinkle of granola, it was heaven.

^ I decided to take advantage of my flexible agenda by firing up a few loads of laundry. I know. Not the most exciting project. But when I focus my time and mental energy to actually complete the task from beginning to end, with clean clothes hanging neatly in my closet by the end of the day rather than lying in the dryer for most of the next week, I feel entirely victorious.

^ Next up: shopping. Rather than schlepping through the store at the end of my school day when my brain is half dead and I just want to eat everything in sight, I made my grocery run feeling rested, organized and full of nutritional discipline. My daughters and I have a weird thing about bananas - we like 'em when they are nice and green. These babies look about perfect. 

^ Back home, I puttered in the kitchen as I put away the groceries. Wiping out the fridge, rearranging a shelf of the pantry, and restocking snacks for fast access. While I still indulge my family with plenty of chips and candy, I've been experimenting with putting a few healthy snacks out in plain sight and easy reach. Funny how much our eyes influence our appetites.

^ A few days ago, I ran an errand at Walgreens and unexpectedly bumped into this ridiculously adorable ceramic bird house. I died. Rather than scoop it up in the heat of the moment, I used my tried-and-true impulse shopping strategy. I went home empty-handed and waited till the next morning to see if I was still obsessed. Mmhmm. 

So today, I definitely went back and plunked down my $7, which I considered a fair price indeed. And in between grocery-putting-away and laundry-moving-along, I hung this sassy beauty from a tree branch in the backyard. I'm in love.

^ I also took some time to work on an art project that I've had in mind for a few days now. To tell the truth, usually when I'm working on this sort of thing, I don't even take the time to sit down. I just stand at the kitchen counter where I can multitask more effectively. But today brought one of those luxurious moments when I actually parked myself at the table and relaxed into my creative mode. And not only does that feel strange to me, but it totally weirds Ranger out. He laid on the nearby couch and stared at me. 

^ And speaking of Ranger, he waited patiently through several late afternoon phone calls for our daily stroll. As I often do, I talked to my mother on the phone as my faithful dog and I cruised along, and today's conversation was a tough one. This journey through dementia is a tricky thing - most days, our conversations flow along in a predictable way. But every now and then, I see a sudden if subtle shift in her mental powers. Nothing to freak out about, not a cause for immediate concern, but a clear mile-marker that reminds me we are traveling further away from the comfortable past, and making progress toward a future that none of us can clearly see.

As I walked along the edge of the woods, listening to my mother talk on and wishing that I could find hope in this situation, my eyes began to land on bright patches of color among the drab landscape of browns and washed-out greens. Spring is happening, and brings to me a tiny burst of optimism. And for today, that is enough.

* * * * *

This was not a ground-breaking, earth-shattering, newsworthy kind of day. April 4, 2014 was a simple day, a kind day, the sort that feeds my soul. And my wish is that today will be such a day for you. 


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