Pleasures and Ponderings

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Reflecting on my life this month April 2008

What would you like to know about me? Many of you know me only by excerpts from my two books, not by what I think and feel on an ongoing basis. You may realize that I'm 67, and feel like 50, that I'm a mom and grandma, a landlady with 6 roomers in my 1910 home, a Life Coach, a Nonviolent Communication trainer, a lover of pleasure.

I'd love to hear your response to what follows, to connect more with you.
I've been thinking for a few months that I really must get organized. There's a big part of me that doesn't want to miss anything! So I've kept old Sunday papers for months when I didn't read them that day. I've clipped articles from them and from magazines on retirement, real estate, travel, humor, word games, The Stranger's Dan Savage column, events to attend, books to read, singles articles, political opinions, global warming, natural health, humor, personal growth, and whatever else I want to access again.

Today, 4-24-08, I listed 22 categories, from Away--to get or do when I'm not at home--to Coaching, Events, Health, Household, Library, NVC, Real Estate, Singles, Sustainable West Seattle, West Seattle Unitarian Universalists, www (for sites I don't want to miss at some future date) and several others. AND I started a section in my red spiral 70-page notebook to note the progress of different projects. It will be SO helpful when I'm not sure if I sent that fax, made that call, kept my agreement, to look back at the entries to confirm what was completed. And since I took steps on #2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 19, and 22 today, and I can see what each one is associated with, if I forget a week from now on #12, I can look back for all the #12 entries, and not have to hunt for loose papers that note what I completed.

It's midnight now, and though I agreed with my support partner (she coaches me 30 minutes a week, and I coach her) that I'd shut off the computer at least 2 times a week by 7:30 pm, this wasn't one of the nights.
I did keep another agreement I made with her--stopped eating after 8:00 pm, as I had one other night this week.

After attending VegFest, and reading and hearing that meat was hard on the kidneys--I had surgery last November on my right kidney, that had lost 40% of its function--I also agreed to eat no meat 2 or more days a week.

I'm starting a research program sponsored by the National Institute of Health, headquartered at the Veterans Hospital, for the Memory Wellness program. Starting Sat. April 26, all my meals for the next 28 days will be delivered to me, 4 on Fri., 3 on Tues. I'm looking forward to it, not only because I like freebies and I'll enjoy someone else's cooking, but because it feels like a game to eat ONLY the meals and snacks provided, except for one meal a week we can eat what we want. The Fred Hutchinson Center is preparing for each of us based on height, weight, and activity level. If you're over 60 and in the greater Seattle area, and would like to check your memory and maybe be in a research study, email me, and I'll give you Amy's # at the VA to call. I'm getting lots of tests, before and after the 4 weeks, to see what effect a lower vs. higher fat diet has on memory. I had a spinal tap, where the spinal fluid was put in tiny portions into 80 small vials for 80 tests. Fascinating! I had an MRI to test the fat in my liver, blood and urine tests, a CT scan, etc. Kind of fun to be part of an experiment that could make a difference for people as they grow older.

It's bedtime. Look forward to sharing more soon. Love to hear from you!

Poetry from my book, Diving Right In

Friendship’s Arms
I’m here, you’re there, this special day
Oh, how I miss dear Friendship’s arms.
The feelings thought, but not exchanged
Seem excess weight, unwelcome guests.
My censure bids me see all’s well,
But heart’s encased in dark cocoon
Till trust and time and tender touch
Again give welcome to Friendship’s arms.

To my Good Friend
It is you who first told me, “1 want to know.
What are you REALLY thinking?”
I used to dip my words into deep pools
Where propriety dictated
How quickly I dared plunge in.

You see, there are many pools that LOOK inviting,
Where I hear, “The water’s warm!”, and I rush in,
Only to feel chilled throughout.
Once I’m there, I stay and swim, but,
Braced against the assault on my skin,
I never freely splash and shout:
I know it isn’t warm.

With you, Friend, I rarely test the water--
The temperature nearly always welcomes my headfirst dive.
If I shiver, you notice,
And we warm ourselves before swimming further.

I notice we slow down when the water turns color
And the depth and cold intensify.
Dare we trust our bodies in unswum waters?

When one of us feels sure, we urge the other on
And feel triumphant several strokes later.
But, dear friend, dare we gauge each other’s mettle
On our own moment’s strength?
Do you feel weaker if you say,
“Today I only want to swim half way out?”
Am I just as desired a playmate when I only wade,
Or must we always go past the deep mark
Always push, always stretch limits?

I do not need us to swim as far and as fast
As each other every time.
So if I urge, and your body is a wader today,
Please tell me.
Either way, Friend, “The water’s warm!

Home’s Beauty, Inside and Out
She’s lived here four years, longer than the other roomers.
House and yard beauty is her chosen domain.
Blue and green pots, long wood planter boxes,
Bricks or rocks around these strawberries, those irises.
She mothers the plants, moving them from too little or too much sun.
She regularly places buds or flowers or leaved branches
In colored vases, on kitchen ledges, bathroom chests.
We walk up front steps and see cherries, new carrots.
Breakfast and lunch on the deck treat eyes with color,
Ears with bird songs,
Mind with gratitude for raspberries, for beauty, for profusion.
Even MY mind, so often full of plans and projects, emails and calls,
Sinks into sweet solace, swims in it
As I'm teased into the verdant restful space of Here,
The no-mind place of Now.
Breathing in the garden's rose, now on my desk
Offers release and respite.
I smell freedom from duty and stress.
I am content. And so is she.

I weigh both sides-—can’t know for sure
If this or that is better choice.
Remembering then to drop control
I wait till ripeness shares its fruit.

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