Sunday, June 1, 2014

Where to Be When Capitalism Collapses (And Other Parts Unknown)

The Southern Ecuadorian highlands. Living with an indigenous family. That's where.

My friends and I had read about and wanted to visit a very small town three hours by bus from Cuenca, in the southern Ecuadorian highlands where the Saraguro live much as they have since they first came to the area.  We had a recommendation for a particular place to stay. After some emailing in Spanish, the little trip was set, but we weren't really sure of the where or what.

When we got out of the bus and into one of the always-waiting taxis, the driver knew exactly where to take us when we said “Doctor José Cartuche’s”. We drove about ten minutes back down the road we had come in on and up a narrow winding road. Out of the cab and standing in front of “Pakari Tampu” (Dawn Home in Quechua) we wondered “Where are we exactly?”

Soon Dr. Catuche, traditional braid, jet black despite his age, long down his back, appeared with a warm greeting and we knew immediately we were in good hands.  José is the local healer and teacher of traditional medicine, hence “Doctor” Jose. He and his wife Juana run this hospedaje.

We ate from their huge garden, had queso fresco made the same day from the neighbor’s cows, fresh eggs, newly-baked bread, fresh squeezed juices and at dinner, one of the chickens. As is usual in Ecuador, breakfast was included with the room. It was $12 a night.

The hills surrounding Saraguro are lush and verdant. People walk into town - even little (literally) (very) old ladies.

It struck me that life at Pakari Tampu is the ultimate “farm to table” that has become so trendy in the U.S. This is what people will pay thousands to have at Canyon Ranch. This old way. The traditional way. Chickens in the back yard by necessity. Food grown in a small farm plot authentically organic as it always has been. Healing with what comes out of your garden.

It also struck me that if capitalism collapsed, these people probably would have what they need. Dr. Cartuche said that prophesies predict a collapse and then chaos. I wanna be at his place when it happens.

Catastrophes aside though, this is not the lifestyle that calls me to return. I have none of the needed knowledge, skills or aptitude. No, what has stuck with me is what I had in Cuenca, an old city with a mix of colonial and modern, traditional and urban, where I lived for two and half weeks. I stayed in the old central city, which is a UNSESCO World Heritage site.
I felt at home fairly quickly. I had been to different parts of Ecuador in 2007, so there was a bit of familiarity. This was the first time I spent over two weeks in the same place, so it was more like just living there. I stayed near my friends who were there for several months and had just the right mix of companionship and independence. I had Spanish school, which gave me a focus.

I walked almost everywhere - to school,  two traditional markets,  restaurants, the panderia that made corn flour cookies in a 400 year old horno oven, shops of all sorts, along the river linear park, to concerts in cathedrals, museums, and pre-Incan ruins. Even to the bus station a bit out of the central city. Took a cab back though. Cabs everywhere and about $2.

Life takes on a different rhythm when living like this. The to-do list is so much more pleasurable. Half a day in school, afternoons to explore, evenings for local events or more wandering, weekends for exploring rural towns. Life is easy and simple. No vehicle to take care of and park, no driving in traffic. The amount of stuff to deal with is contained. Just a limited amount of clothing worn over and over. The apartment I rented for half the time had all the basics. The posada I stayed in the first week had everything I needed considering someone made me breakfast every morning as part of the $16. per night tab. My concept of “expensive” really changed. When I could get a almuerzo de dia (fixed lunch of the day) for $3, including a homemade soup, a main dish of say rice and a piece of broiled chicken, a glass of fresh squeezed juice and a small postre or piece of fruit, spending over $5 on a meal seemed an extravagance.

As I got on the plane for my return flight, I didn't want or need to come home. With no job there was nothing to force me home or to grab me once I got here.

So, I had a hard time re-grounding once I got back. The usual return-from-a-trip existential ennui set in, but this time it had a deeper grip.  For weeks I felt like an expat in my own country. I was in that nether land, that place in-between places – not quite able to let go of the experience of being elsewhere. I was loath to get in my vehicle and out into traffic or force myself into the bustle of a grocery store. And communicating with my friends who were still there probably didn't help – it kept me emotionally connected there. I felt a longing, day-dreaming about whether and how to return for a longer time or where to go next.

Eventually my feet hit the ground and I started to reconnect - with friends, with bill-paying - going  here and there.  Now I’m present again in my life here and the experience of living and being in Ecuador is part of me.

While I don’t fantasize about moving there (I am pretty used to the ease of my American life and I know that places can start to show their rough edges after a while) there are still many places in Ecuador that I want to experience. And the idea of spending a length of time back in Cuenca has an appeal. Now that I’m not working, that is starting to feel possible. I’m not sure how, but I’m  opening up those possibilities, reinventing what my life is and where it is. These are the real “parts unknown”.  And I’m drawing the map myself. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

5 Reasons Why I Was Feeling a Little Lackluster but I'm not Anymore - You Won't Believe How I Rallied

Can you tell I've read some advice relating to titles? Using numbers and lists is the big thing. I saw one that said Gandhi's 10 Rules for Changing the World. I clicked on it of course. Who doesn't want to think s/he could change the world by implementing 10 rules?  I’m still working on number one: Change Yourself.

Vague, teaser titles are also in.  Anyone who follows Upworthy  knows exactly what I’m talking about. I had to stop, annoyed by the teaser lead-ins. However, my post “Falling in Love Again,” admittedly a teaser, is among my most-viewed posts. This was positive reinforcement for leading you on.

Anyway, the 5 reasons I was feeling a little lackluster but am not anymore:

1. Some Realities Must be Challenged. 

Following my Himalayan trek last April, I faced certain truths about my physical limitations. I recommend doing that, so you don't seriously injure yourself. But Diana Nyad blew my “I’m getting older so how fit can I really be?” thinking all to hell. This is the counterpart to accepting some limits. Still gotta push.  Residual knee pain had been keeping me down a bit, literally and emotionally. I don’t like to be told I can’t do something, especially by my own body.  At the annual look-see my doc gave me some simple exercises that are helping. I can feel the weight of the limitation lifting.  I also dropped a few holiday pounds, which really helps with the knees. 

2. Bag Lady Syndrome

Retirement income projections, which define spending limits, are made using an assumed rate of return. I really don’t like wondering how rich or how poor I am, and how much I can spend, given what’s going on with the economy. At my annual review last January I was not a happy camper in that other people’s financial managers seemed to be making them some bucks in the recovering stock market and mine wasn't.  While I understand there is some ebb and flow from year-to-year, mine was way off. I seriously considered leaving an adviser I have trusted for over two decades.

That kind of uncertainty is a stressor and a sub-conscious dampener of energy. It is unsettling.  When I got back from Nepal last spring, I wondered whether I should plan a foreign country trip for this year or not. I felt restricted. That dampening feeling lingered.

However, with some changes in strategy, things have rebounded in the 2013 end-of-year read on things, and I feel freer. I am in awe of people who don’t worry about money – or don’t seem to. People who believe the universe will abide.  And, so it does. I still struggle with that. I may have stared down the financial picture shortly after I retired, but I need to renew and regroup on that so I am not tossed in the sea of financial tides.

3. Match Shtick

Occasionally I get a bit out-of-sorts because there are some things I don’t want to do by myself. So I start to think life would be easier - and better - if I had a significant other. Or more precisely, a playmate who could share a spontaneous walk to the local cafe for a nosh and glass of wine or an outdoor adventure in a foreign country.  But that is hard to come by. 

So I thought I’d give a try. Going online seems like the only pro-active thing a person can do, other than getting out of your living room. I’m already doing that.  

Scanning through the thumbnail photos is a cross between a visit to the pound and looking at pictures on milk cartons. So many faces looking out, looking for someone to take them in. Maybe a little lost. I say this in a compassionate way because I’m sure the experience is similar on the other side. (Update: I looked. No, not the same at all.)

Potential matches are painfully un-clever or sincere. They say things like “cool beans.” And “I’m lonely and nervous.”  Gotta appreciate the honesty in that one.

There’s a whole continuum of “communication”, the significance of which I haven’t figured out: winking, liking, favorite-ing, emailing. I had one in-person meet-up that I was looking forward to. After two hours of fun and interesting conversation at the B-Line:

Him: “I really enjoyed myself”
Me: “Yes, me too. I hope to hear from you”

Then: Nothing. Oh well.  And now that I've made these snarky comments, I've probably reduced my chances of making a connection to less than nil. Indeed, none of the descriptions say they are looking for a woman with an irreverent (okay, sometimes biting) sense of humor. Now I’m just waiting for the subscription to expire. Upside: I have a lot of great friends.

4. Been-There-Done-That Syndrome

I realize this is a privileged person’s dilemma so I hesitate to call it a problem. I have been to so many places and done so many things on my list that there isn't much left. Nothing was grabbing me. One thing I've not done and wanted to do is study Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country for a couple weeks and then travel around for a week or so. I contemplated doing this by myself. I haven’t done more than get myself to and from places and have a couple days on my own and I thought a solo trip might be an interesting adventure. Until I really thought about it.  Truth is I don’t want to do that.  

Just as I was despairing of my adventurous self-image waning, I found out that a couple friends will soon be spending some months in Ecuador and Peru and they asked me if I’d like to join at some point. When I was leaving Ecuador at the end of a trip in 2007, I thought “I could come back here.” So, I started looking into possibilities. With my last remaining frequent flyer miles accumulated when doing all that work-related travel, two weeks in Ecuador going to school and a week of travelling around is really affordable.

We’ll see how it pans out, but I found myself motivated by the thought of a new type of adventure and by the relatively short (for me) timeline to pull it together.  I’m energized to get languishing things done.  Did some deep purging and organizing. Virgos love that.  It’s akin to a shamanic clearing.

5.   Serendipitous Upsides

And there are the small things. After a dozen years driving my vehicle, and a half dozen forgotten and lost gas caps, I discovered that inside the little door there is a bracket that holds the cap while you gas up. I discovered this reading the manual after the check engine light came on – which proved to be transitory. Life is good.  

All this reminded me that life’s rhythms ebb and flow. When its low tide, you've got to look for any gems that may have washed-up. And trust that high tide will return.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Missive from the Void: Part 2

Like an abusive partner who promises to do better but repeats the pattern, here I am over two months since my last post. Rather than give you flowers and make more promises about posting more often, I’m just going to declare how things are. Most of my writing energy is going to 3 Story Magazine and a few other little things.  I might be posting just once a month or so for a bit.

I was starting to feel a tad of the work-like mindsets of “should” and “success” and “making it,” and all that. I was getting caught up in all the rules about having a “successful” blog. Regular and often publication is one of them. I have ignored other rules like monetizing (aka, having ads), making the blog a "platform" for other things and on and on. This is why I have 10s of readers not 10s of thousands.

But I got a grip on myself and decided that I'm going to do what I want to do and take what comes. I'm assuming that you all are into quality not quantity. You’d rather hear from me when I have something to say, right?   And this is what I have to say today.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Missive From The Void

So, is this how it is going to be with us now? Almost six weeks and I don’t call. I don’t write. I can’t go on like this.  Disloyal to my first love. Seduced away by bylines. Driven by deadlines. Distracted - by other writing. I didn’t mean to, really. It just happened.  I promise to do better if you take me back. I’ve missed you.

Revelations 1: Slipping Into Busy
I’ve been writing for 3Story Magazine and I helped an accomplished artist write statements about her work. All this came along when I was starting to feel lazy and it is a gift of learning and fun. It is good. Yet I have been spending more time "out there" with tasks and deadlines, interactions and collaborations – a bit like “work” – a little performance anxiety even. So easy to slip into a kind of busy.  Engage in sort-of-work, day-to-day necessities, social and arty events, a little trip for a family wedding and a writers’ retreat and the result is less time "in" - time just being, which is what generates insights and impetus for writing here.

I’m wanting a way to integrate it all, without a divide like there used to be between work and life. And I want to hold dear that empty space so that what matters can rise up. Which means, oddly enough, I need more structure - setting aside time to just be and to write about what’s going on. It’s working so far. Here I am!

Revelations 2: Born Again
Early on, I was thinking an epiphany might hit, that in due time I would be born again.  Like when one finds Jesus. A moment. Something coming over me. Only not Jesus. Me. Born again as me.  So there would be a before and an after.

But it’s not been like that, although having a regular writing gig is a shift. It’s more gradual. The unfolding takes time and integrating it all into defining a new life takes time.

And the epiphanettes about life after retirement that struck regularly early on don’t keep coming. There is more space between as life takes on a new rhythm.

Revelations 3: Beyond the Frontage Road
I’ve been learning a bit about writing, most recently in a three-day, small-group retreat with some real writers.  My perception of myself and my writing is evolving. I’ve had two encouraging manuscript (meaning, this blog) reviews from actual writers. And kudos for the mag features. Although writing is becoming a bigger part of what comes next for me, writing about writing is not something of general interest – that’s another blog.

So I’m not sure where I am with this other writing or where it fits on the frontage road to zen. I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m following its lead. Who knows. I might arrive somewhere. Born again as me.  


Monday, September 23, 2013

Falling In Love Again

No, I haven’t found a potential significant other. 

Rather, I’ve fallen in love with where I live all over again. This is my first full summer here for many, many years. When I worked, I traveled and was more gone than here. This is what helped me “survive” the summer. But really it deprived me. I don’t care what the weather man says about rainfall this summer. It was, and still is, green everywhere. Flowers abounded in waves as the rain windows opened up. Skies not to be believed. So lush.  So vast. Gorgeous sunsets and moonrises have rekindled my love.

I show you all these pictures, too many, like new parents in love with their baby or the artist in the throes of infatuation with a new lover. We can’t help ourselves. Those of us falling in love again. We think you are just as interested we are. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Something Did Happen

I know you remember, because as I’ve said before, you are hanging on my every word. But in case not … last falI I wrote about getting out there, following my interests until something sticks, going to Tucson Modernism Week, blah, blah, yadda, yadda.  And about my little synchronistic experience that confirmed my belief that Anything Could Happen, and something would happen, eventually.

Well, at TMWeek I met some cool women from my neighborhood, one of which is Gillian Drummond, editor of 3Story Magazine, which was about a month old at the time. I subscribed and started enjoying reading the magazine and following it on Facebook. And kept it up.

As I read each month I felt a little twinge of envyness. “Gee, why can’t I be doing something creative and cool like these people?”  And I was telling myself I’m not a professional like all those other people involved in TMWeek and 3Story. See how that work-world, need-credentials point of view can stick (and undermine)? But, I was in my being, not doing, stage anyway.

Then, eventually, and coinciding with my starting to feel a little lazy and that I wanted to step it up a bit, Gillian posted a solicitation for an intern who could write with “accuracy, flair and enthusiasm” to do one or two pieces a month. I thought “Hmmm, I could do that”. Thinking that Gillian was probably looking for a 20-something journalism student and that it was a long-shot, I wrote her, saying as much, using my blog as a writing sample and hauling out my decades-old Bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and my long-time vintage cred and interest in what goes on in Tucson. It worked. We met, chatted and decided to give it a try. The rest, hopefully, is herstory.

So, I'm possibly the oldest intern ever, but you know how I like being the oldest person in the room. I’ve never worked in a “creative” field before. It’s a new world, although a lot of  my skills transfer. My goal is to learn about this kind of writing and have fun. And be part of something pretty cool.  

When I retired I thought I’d eventually do some sort of volunteer work. Since this is unpaid, for the time being, I guess it counts. I thought it would be more philanthropic, but I rationalize that I’ve done decades of “try to make the world a better place” work and I’m due a little self-indulgence. Besides, 3Story is all about celebrating the creative talent and goings-ons that make Tucson such a great place to live. It’s part of building urban community, so I figure that counts.

I will still be telling my personal story here. And, for now,  I’ll have another life as … girl reporter.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lazy Mary Takes It On

When I was a kid my mom used to sing my sister and me a fun little song when trying to rouse us. It went like this (you’ll have to improvise the tune): “Lazy Mary will you get up, will you get up, will you get up. Lazy Mary will you get up, we need the sheets for the table!” Obviously from the era of my mom’s youth, but it still dances around in my head every now and then. Like now.  While I haven't been bored, I started to feel a little bit lazy.
Last August when I retired,  I gave myself the first year as an experiment, a sort of financial la-la land. I planned to pay attention in a general way to the estimated budget, spending, and  investment performance, which I did. I had a little run-in early on with my attitude about money, but belief in abundance stared down the financial picture and I continued with my year. I hoped all would magically flow to my advantage.

The fact that I even have a budget is a bit annoying. When I was working, I always lived below my means and did my best to save, even in the really lean years. In the last decade of work when I had an actual job, I had discretionary cash. Although there wasn’t a ton of it, there was enough to easily fuel my adventures.  But a budget is a fact of life when income is fixed and a bit uncertain given partial dependency on investments. So, as part of taking stock of my first year of retirement, I recently looked at finances in detail. It was a bit sobering in the budget-versus-actual-sending category. Nothing drastic, but I can see now that I will need a little more money if I want to continue to live in do-whatever-you-want land. Or I’ll need to make some adjustments in that regard.

My first reaction was a bit of a panic. All about scarcity and uncertainty: Uh-oh. Gotta get a job. What if someone reads my blog and sees I'm not ideal employee material. Might have to take down the blog. But I love the blog. Writing is what I enjoy the most.  Oh I wish I had a husband to pick up the slack. I wish I didn’t have to make these kinds of decisions on my own. I’m alone. And on and on. Waa-waa. Boo-hoo. For about a minute. Until...whoooaa. Wait. No I don’t (want a husband).  And no I’m not (alone). And haven't I learned anything from my year of authenticity and pursuit of zen? Some changes will need to be made, sure, but I don't need to grab back to old ways. I'm still gonna eat and have a roof over my head. There's nothing urgent about this. Let’s just turn on the Pandora “calm meditation” mix and get a grip.

I feel an energy coming on, but in a new way.  I've overcome the fear-of-being-a-bag lady syndrome that has kept me from taking some risks in the past, sent me down one road rather than another in the name of security. Which is why I even have the privilege of retiring now, so no regrets there. But that’s not where I want to be now.  I cannot fall back into fear-based thinking. I am believing in myself and the path I am on. This is the real change that I was hoping for once I set out on the frontage road. No turning back now. Instead, I’m going to pick up on the inspiration from the wise words in my last post and dance with these circumstances through to true change. It's time to step it up and learn more than I already know about the financial investment world. Not rely so passively on the experts. And continue to explore what comes next.
I had been thinking that maintaining the abundance attitude and belief in my ability to find my way are easy when circumstances are flowing along easily. I wondered how it would be when challenges arose. Well, now I’m finding out. Lazy Mary is up. And about to take it on.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Back to the Future

Ok, so it's been awhile. I know. I'm back now. I wasn't really gone. Just diverted. Doing hard labor in my front yard, which has been interspersed with random thoughts, just not enough to corral into something. I'm seeing how writing takes presence. Intuitive clarity.  Clear thought field. Instead, I've been working my lists and moving crushed rock around.

I've resurfaced in time to acknowledge that August 1st was one year of retirement. This anniversary feels more meaningful and celebratory than my upcoming birthday cause I've had lots of  those. Good opportunity to take stock.

Early on, right before I actually stopped working, I wondered what the challenges of being able to do whatever I wanted almost every day would be. Wondered if I would finally learn to meditate (no) or drink in the day time (every once in a while. it's 3 p.m. now and I'm drinking a beer. that's what writers do). I suspected I would get bored and be inspired, be lazy and be active, travel far and wide and burrow in, watch a lot more movies and, I  hoped, live my own story. That pretty much sums it up, although I've done a lot more reading than movie-watching. Books come to me. Not sure how interesting or inspired my story has been, but I certainly have been living it.

And I have yet to be bored. Daring that precipice and engaging "not knowing" have been a gift. There has been a lot of good nothing and plenty of somethings. Life is different now. I am different now.

I'm no longer working against type. Or my type has changed. I thought all that paying attention to details and the intensity that propelled my work life might transfer. But now I swim in the ocean of conceptual, big picture, creative possibilities and am no longer driven to push the rope uphill against an avalanche of resistance.

My relationship to time has really changed. Life is much more spontaneous. I get caught up in the day, going from one thing to the next without regard to time. I love looking at the calendar and seeing many days ahead with nothing planned. There is so much going on in my head and out. I hardly have to plan. Things present themselves - invites out, workshops, camp-outs, meet-ups - or they don't, and I read or putter. A big day can be getting some really good berries on sale. On a Friday I'll have a list of a few things to do on Monday. But then they might not get done for a week. So what. Things seem to get done when they really need to. I haven't missed a deadline yet, although I have come close because I'm just not "on time" anymore. I'm off time.

I've become patient with change. I recently came across this bit of inspiration that resonated:

True change isn't a light switch. It's an intention you hold. It's a dance with the circumstances that present themselves.

So I'm no longer looking for the big something that comes next. I'm open to whatever good  is looking for me. And there has been plenty of that. Seems passive, but it's more in tune with how reality actually is, unlike in the workplace where everyone pretends we can control circumstances more than we can. I just keep doing what comes to mind, feels right. While I have some ideas about what might come next, I'm only thinking a few months ahead now (increase my Spanish proficiency) with vague notions about anything after that (travel alone in a foreign country). I might combine the two, although having traveled so much while working, I'm actually paying more attention at home. Traveling is less essential to maintaining a sense of adventure than it once was. Now I have more of that on a day-to-day.

Writing has been grounding. It has created an outlet for my internal dialogue as well as being something in and of itself to learn about and get better at. Admittedly, I veered a bit from chronicling retirement per se because living in retirement is about more than the absence of work. Like getting older and embracing certain realities. I'll probably be doing more of that. Those posts were among the must popular.

I'm still about emergence of authentic self, just no longer necessarily in relation to the past work life. A year away from stopping work, experience is starting to stand on its own. It is less a comparison to what was and more about what is. I'm still on the frontage road to zen. And probably always will be. I can't wait to see what this next year holds. I hope you'll stick with me on this continuing adventure. Thank you all for being there.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Somnambulating Through Sonoran Summer

Anyone who has lived through a desert summer knows the out-of-time nature of it. Intense light. Intense heat. In Tucson where students and winter residents have left, this whole town becomes more like what it used to be decades ago. Smaller, quiet­. And there is a palpable feeling of camaraderie among those of us who stick around.

Then come the summer rains. In good years there are almost daily downpours.  The sky opens up about four-thirty and dumps for about an hour. Then glorious sunsets are reflected on the under surface of thick yet dissipating clouds. Sometimes the pink or golden glow extends all the way over your head to the eastern horizon. Stunning. Reward for staying with the lizards and braving the parched oven-blast air that slaps you as you emerge from an artificially cooled building.

We’re still waiting for those rains. Last weekend we got a little preview. In an effort to get out of the house, a friend and I went downtown and walked a couple blocks to our dinner destination through hot, somewhat heavy air that draped us like a burka. It was overcast so the sun was an eerie glow in the west and the slanted light was greyish gold. As we ate and chatted we noticed a rise in the mood of our fellow diners and looked outside. It was raining. Soon we emerged into the caress of lush air. Puddles created a cooling effect as we made our way to PorchFest, a first-time event in one of Tucson’s historic neighborhoods. We met a couple more friends and wandered from one porch to the next where musicians played mostly acoustic music. The little bit of water awakened desert neighborhood scents – creosote and cleveland sage, pigeon droppings and warm wet concrete. Music wafted in the luscious air along with the scents and the soft receding light. Really lovely.

That was short-lived though. This week we’ve had a little bit of afternoon rain but for the most part it’s been about 106 outside and a little humid as the monsoon season builds. With the creeping humidity, I’m retreating. Shifting to a more internal life inside my house. There is a lot of reading.  Many hours of reading.  I keep the phone next to me on the off chance someone will call. I don’t want to have to get up from my chair.

Yet I have been slowly making progress on my house projects. These are the conditions I’m facing: I went out earlyish in the morning to measure my front square footage in preparation for ordering crushed rock cover, walking round the edges with a tape measure. It’s only about 400 square feet so we’re not talking a lot of time outside. I came back in and was fine for about a minute. And then sweat burst from my entire body. Which just perpetuates the desire to close the blinds, turn the air conditioning down a couple degrees and dive into a pool of words.

I know it is probably a lot more interesting for all of you if I get out and do things and then report back. But for now I’m estivating. I’ll let you know if anything dramatic happens. Like, I went outside. And survived.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Nun with A Ruler

My self-discipline has really been flagging lately. There are several big-ish house projects that have been nagging me and I want to have done, but not actually do. The only way to get these projects done is having nothing else on my plate, so I've created that reality.

Yet I procrastinate on the tedious info gathering and the many decisions that need to be made. I read, I write, do the dishes, water the plants. I plod through my house projects list like a reluctant teenager. Do I haf ta? Also part of this self-imposed lethargic reality -  I can’t seem to plan more than a week in advance or motivate beyond my few weekly commitments to various exercise activities. And I’m not paying attention. In the span of three days, all these things happened to me: 1) I went to a meeting and parked in the downtown library garage underground. Came back at 8:30 and it was gated, locked, inaccessible. I had failed to see the sign that said when it closes. It was daylight when I went in. 2) I had my credit card in my hand in a weird way when putting the movie into the Redbox slot and it got sucked in with the movie. No way to get it back. I checked. 3) I was tired driving back from horseback riding and saw the flash of the remote camera. Looked down - eleven miles over the limit. Looked around - no other cars.  I’m waiting for the envelope in the mail.

I completely re-habbed my little house in 2008 before I moved. I don’t remember it being this tedious. I just added all the rehab tasks into the fast track that is the work world. And work filled in the spaces between the numerous small accomplishments that it takes to get a project completed.  This is not enough to make me miss work however.

Clearly, instead of an inner child, who has pretty much been running the show lately, I need an inner nun with a ruler. A taskmaster who can tell me Pay Attention! And yes, you haf ta. So you can get on with the rest of your life. I’m visualizing: