It seems very fitting to be coming back/starting back into my writing on the first day of the first month of the New Year. Yes, it really has been since 1 December 2010 that I last wrote. I really wanted to write yesterday. It was warm enough in the lanai, after a bit of a lie-in, to do my quiet time outside for the first time in a month. Florida, the “Sunshine State”, has been rather stubborn in following last winter’s cold trend. Actually the whole country has been ridiculously frigid for the month of December, with crazy storms and blizzards throwing themselves all over the States.
But, joy of joy, when I came outside at about 9am yesterday the temperature was already at almost 60F degrees. So I put on my new purple, fleecy house- jacket that “Santa Richard” brought me and enjoyed my first quiet time in the lanai for a month. The air was tepid, but warmed up by the minute and I was pulled in so many different directions all at once.
I wanted to just sit and savor the glory of the Lord, breathe in His precious air and all the various perfumes of the outside. I wanted to do my meditational readings and engage in my intimate time with God. I also wanted to write and get out the words that had been hiding in my heart and mind over the past few weeks. And I also wanted to let the world know why I had not written during this period – or at least give them my version, which may or may not be the “reason” but perhaps an “excuse”. Who knows what goes on at subliminal levels in my brain!
I did do my readings and spent some quiet time with God. I did enjoy just sitting there and breathing and watching the myriad tiny birds fluttering round the feeders and hopping through the grass below. I even saw a couple of butterflies and I surely heard at least two, although I think there were more, hawks screeching loudly as they swooped back and forth through the pine wood out back. A blue jay was also jump-dropping from branch to branch in one of the pine trees (I’m not sure how else to describe the strange way Blue Jays have of starting on an upper branch and then dropping-jumping-flying-flopping down from one level to another until they drop out of sight behind the fence line).
I did not get my lap-top out to the lanai however, because Richard and I had a planned date/appointment to go and have brunch together and then do some post-Christmas bargain shopping. Part of me was a little irritated because this was the first time I had felt driven to write in so long. But I enjoy my dates with Richard when we can manage them so the irritation was minimal and quickly disappeared as we enjoyed some time together, and we did find some good bargains. What was even better was that it wasn’t just “acquiring more stuff”. We found some things that we needed or had been looking for and we saved some big bucks.
So, why haven’t I been writing? It’s rather a mish-mash of things, so here goes. The day after Thanksgiving, while we were still enjoying our week in Orlando, Rich and I went bowling at the Boardwalk near Sanford. At some point I was getting ready to unleash a strike (I like to think it would have been a strike!!). I made my run up to the line, planted my left foot to bowl and as I did that something just “torqued” in my upper outer left thigh. I dropped the ball as I gasped in pain then, in a moment, it suddenly didn’t seem so bad. However, it was. A few steps later a flash pain ran up my thigh. And so it went on and off over the next day as we prepared to return home. Thank God for Tylenol Extra Strength!!
When we got home I was able to treat it with different things that I had on hand. I also had a massage booked with Michael and he worked his usual skillful magic and, fortunately, within eight to ten days it was healed. Unfortunately, about 6 days later I noticed my right knee was sore and within 24 hours I was limping quite badly. I did all the things I had done with my thigh two weeks earlier hoping for the same results. Alas, a week later the situation had not improved so I went to the doctor. Happily, after testing it in every direction, he informed me that “the knee was not compromised” and sprained right tendons were diagnosed and I was sent home to “rice” (rest, ice, compress, and elevate) and given an anti-inflammatory to take for 3 weeks.
Now we’re talking about the two weeks leading up to Christmas here. With all there was to prepare for (I had seven people coming on Christmas Day) I was supposed to “rest and elevate”? Well, the anti-inflammatory partly took care of that because it rendered me pretty useless within half an hour of taking the dose (thank God I was taking it in the evening), and although I was not left with “hangover” symptoms the following morning, after a few days I noticed that the overall effect was one of “sludge-in-my-veins”. Add to this the fact that our normally mild Florida temperatures were dipping dangerously close to freezing several nights in a row and not getting much higher in the day time, and I was ready for total hibernation!!
The whole pace of my life slowed to a snail’s pace. What does this have to do with not writing, you may ask? Well, what little useful time I had available (read – time that I was really awake and one hundred percent brain alive!) needed to be dedicated to the things that were necessary to be done to get through each day and handle the plans that were in place. The freezing cold saps me of all energy and desire to do just about anything other than curl up on the couch and stay warm, plus it tends to numb any inspiration and seems to send the Muse running to warmer climates. Every once in a while a small creative idea would do its utmost to bubble to the surface and I would even find myself thinking that my lap-top must be feeling totally abandoned. But the anti-inflammatory and the couch won that battle every time
My knee is still bothering me. In fact I went back to the doctor last Monday and I have an order to get a CAT scan this coming week and I’m also waiting for a call from the physiotherapist. Because I have a little arthritis in some of my fingers and the physical feeling in my knee joint is similar to that in my finger joints, I personally think arthritis is the culprit and not sprained tendons. But we’ll see.
In the meantime, Mother Nature has decided to be kind to me and has served up some warmer temperatures. Today is as warm as yesterday. It is 3pm and I’m sitting in my lanai dressed in jeans and a tank top and I’m aware that my whole inside – heart, body, soul, and mind – is revved up on a different level. I feel lighter and happier than I have in the last month. Muse has been tapping on my door since yesterday and today my schedule is such that I can let her out to play.
Back in the day when I used to watch American Idol, I saw this little country girl come out of nowhere and dominate the show from start to finish. No matter how many people cannot stand Simon Cowell, many of his predictions about talented people in show business are uncannily right on target. From the very start he said she would be one of the favorites to win, and after her performance during the top eleven finalist’s show he predicted that she would not only win but that she would go on to outsell all previous Idol winners.
I think one of the things that impressed me most about Carrie Underwood as I watched her rise to fame during and after Idol is her “sweetness”. To me she came across as this sweet girl with no false pretenses or airs. And then there was that voice! An amazing voice that allows her to cover a range of styles with no apparent effort.
Well, last week I was given the opportunity to see Carrie live in concert here in Jacksonville (Jax), Florida. What an unexpected treat that was. My friend Carol had secured two tickets way back in the spring of this year so that she and her daughter could go and see the show together. At the last minute Carol’s daughter could not attend and so she offered me the ticket – as long as I did the night driving in downtown Jax. Now that’s what I call a bargain!
So off we headed to grab a bite to eat and then on to the Jacksonville Memorial Arena. I have seen a couple of shows at this venue in the past few years and they were good but nothing spectacular. Little did I know that was about to change. There were two opening acts before Carrie: Sons of Sylvia (watch out for them in the future, they are three extremely talented young brothers who I believe will go BIG on the country scene), and Billy Currington (already well known in country circles). The stage setting for both was pretty simple and pretty standard for a basic opening act.
That all changed when Carrie took the stage. I was expecting a good show from her because I know she is talented and has made a real name for herself since winning Idol. However, I was totally unprepared for the next two hours. The stage settings were fabulous to say the least. Carrie literally exploded onto the stage with both her voice and her presence. She is such a class act. I was completely amazed by the show that she put on. The word “professional” just does not cover it. “Consummate professional” comes a little closer.
Her warmth and genuineness as she interacted with the audience was tangible. She puts her whole heart and soul into her singing and it’s obvious she is also having a lot of fun. Her style in both the clothes she wore and her comportment and attitudes was just top notch. It was very obvious that her band adores her and loves working with her. She is still the sweet country girl she always was but now she has a lot of polish with it. She carries no fancy airs and even openly yet appropriately talked about her faith and God. I came away from the evening somehow feeling a little better about myself.
If you ever get the opportunity to go see her live, please do so. I do not think you will be disappointed. I am not exactly a big fan of country music but my experience with Carrie last week may just have changed that.