Posts tagged ‘life’

Dearest Diary

In 1991, my Mom, Dad, Aunt Mitzie, and Uncle Bill retired, and they decided to celebrate with a road trip across the country. They left Pennsylvania in a van, headed West. For 40 days, they drove across the United States and back again, seeing sights, visiting old friends, and proving that life after retirement is still an adventure. From August 1 to September 9, my Mom and my Aunt took turns writing in a blank book, keeping a daily diary of their trip.

I recently came across that book. (Wow.) And noted that it was written 29 years ago. (Whoa.) I am now one year younger than my Aunt and one year older than my Mom while they were on that trip.

{Please type your own cliché about how time flies because I need both hands to stop my head from spinning.}

It’s 2020. Just a little over a year since we lost Mom to dementia. Just a little over a year since my Aunt moved into a care facility for the same heinous disease. To open a book and hear their voices again, clear and strong, sweet and smart, cracking jokes and spying rainbows. Well. It’s wonderful. Or, it’s what wonderful would be if you could drink a glass of it and feel it tingle your belly, lift the hair on your arms, and blur your vision a bit.

This massive dose of joy impels me to suggest, to nudge, to encourage, to shout from a rooftop to anyone who might listen: You should keep a diary. And perhaps this year of odd lulls and extra space is the perfect time to start.

Buy a fancy journal or get a notebook from the dollar store. Make your own rules, but give it a try. Create a paper time capsule in which to stash silly, boring, beautiful moments. The moments that don’t make it into frame or album. The moments that go by in a blink. The bazillion little bits of life that make up the everyday: What you had for breakfast, an inside joke, the price of gas, your favorite snacks, songs to sing, places you’ve been, the way a day can go from rain to sun.

Whether you decide to write a diary or not, take a moment today to notice that life is extraordinary. And so are you. Cheers.

September 6, 2020 at 11:10 am Leave a comment

Work. Not Work.

Spring was late this year; the garden’s not going to have time to fill in properly, I told myself. The instructions to plant things 10 inches apart can’t possibly take into consideration this heavy, clay soil, I told myself.

She really just wanted to play in the dirt, you’re saying to yourself.

Yep.

Last Sunday, I decided my place needed a few more flowers. And so, like an indulgent granny, I slipped myself a 20 and drove back to the local nursery for the third (maybe fourth?) time this year. Returned home and spent the entire day outside. Planting, weeding, fertilizing, moving this plant here and that plant there, wheeling around the wheel barrow, and generally just futzing around in a state of dippy bliss.

Smiles relax every worry line. I hum involuntarily. I stop and smell roses, literally. When I’m out there in the garden, it’s like someone turns on the auto focus. Or turns down the gravity. Or gives me a peek behind stage. And in that little glimpse of Real, I am as certain as Mary Poppins, as graceful as Ginger Rogers, as wise as Obi-Wan, as content as Baloo.

All is well.

I was finishing up with the watering as one of my neighbors was bringing his garbage to the opposite curb. “You’re working too hard,” he called out.

What went through my mind was, Work?! This isn’t work! Sitting at a desk is work. Editing a novel is work. An old dog learning the tricks of publishing is work. Drying dishes is work. Folding laundry is work. Raising cage-free dust bunnies is work. Grocery shopping is work. Driving in the South Hills of Pittsburgh is work. Scooping the litter box is work. But this? This is lovely. This is playtime.

This is filthy, sweaty, smelly, sunburnt, life-preserving awesome!

Ginger Rogers wanted to do a rousing number with lots of brass and some Busby Berkeley chorus girl flower arrangements. But I just smile-chuckle-nod-waved because that’s how you communicate in a brief, holler-across-the-street sort of way. And he was already heading back inside anyway.

And now, I’m back in the midst of the work week. As I look over my to-do list here at my desk, which faces the window, which overlooks the front garden, I . . . uh . . . you know? I think I see some weeds. Maybe I should get out there and check on that.

June 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm 2 comments


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