I know that talking things through with someone helps to diminish the hold that anything that is frustrating me or causing me anger or resentment has on me. Writing also helps in the same way. So here goes. Whether I’ll be able to post is another matter, and that’s where my present frustration is coming from.
I haven’t written in a while. I’ve given up trying to understand why this happens. It’s not that I have nothing to write about. I have been keeping, and adding to, a small list of topics that I want to express my feelings about. But something is getting in the way. The weather has been gorgeous lately. We have been enjoying the best Florida spring weather – no grey, no de-pressing stuff going on outside, so that’s not the issue.
Now that I think about it, maybe there is still an issue connected to the weather that’s been keeping me from writing, but it’s the reverse of dealing with the de-pressing grey. It’s been so perfectly beautiful outside of late that I have been called into the garden and have struggled to balance my time outside with all the other things that I want/am committed to do.
It has been really amazing to watch the garden come to life after the long cold winter. It seems as though with each passing year I become more aware of the transformation that takes place as plants come back to life, buds appear, then full foliage and flowers blossom out. The Confederate Jasmine, that I planted as two very small 20-inch tall plants at the base of the front supporting columns of my old gazebo two years ago, has now grown into thick, lush greenery that covers both 8-foot tall columns and trails upwards onto two of the roof supports and is also quite thick as it meets across the front horizontal bar. It is also full of flowers which I hope will last so that I can see them and enjoy them when I return from this trip.
And therein lies another source of frustration. I have been travelling on and off since 28 March. Being out of my normal habitat and routine is always somewhat disconcerting and disruptive, and I haven’t yet learned to handle that with total grace and acceptance. I drove up to Newport News, VA back then to spend a few days with my son who was there from Italy to attend a work related conference. It was a gift that I had no intention of passing up. We had a great three days hanging out together. On the way home from there, I was then able to stop in Fayetteville, NC to spend an afternoon and night-over with my dear sister-friend LeeAnn. She and I never waste time on pleasantries, diving deep into our sharing from the heart and soul which allows us to broaden, deepen, and strengthen our relationship on all levels, especially the spiritual level. Another enormous gift for which I am truly grateful.
Arriving back in Florida after that trip, I had three days to catch-up (I always say that with tongue in cheek because, how on earth do you catch up with time that has already passed??). So it was a flurry of unpacking and keeping up with some commitments that were on my calendar, before I then had to pack for the trip that I am presently “enjoying” ( barring bad internet connections – grrrrrr!) with my husband.
And therein lies the ultimate frustration. Yesterday evening I had the first real longing, desire, to do some creative writing. I sat down eagerly in front of my computer and – nothing. I don’t mean nothing would come out on the page. I mean nothing would come up on the computer. No worries, I have my resident computer technician travelling with me, no? But after checking things out he told me that there was nothing he could do. There simply was no internet connection and he had no control over that. Talk abut frustration!!!
As well as the creative writing I felt called to do, I also had a bunch of emails I wanted to send out, and there were several things that I wanted to check out on Google. I was stuck. Couldn’t do a thing. So I called it a day and picked up a book and decided to read. But the frustration was there, bubbling under the surface and even though I checked in with God and asked for inner peace, I guess I was wanting to hang onto the frustration and wallow in it for a bit because it was still there this morning, and so was the lack of connectivity!!!!!!!.
Rich has struggled all morning to give me some connection, but it has been been frustrating for him too. Right now I have no idea if I have connection or not, but I did learn (thank God I can always learn something), that I can at least access my Live Writer programme and get the words out and down, and in doing so I have released some of the frustration. Whether I will be able to post my writing is another matter, but at least it’s ready to go if and when we get a connection.
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.
Last weekend Richard and I travelled south to Melbourne, Florida. We had been invited to help celebrate the wedding of an old friend and colleague who we got to know during our time in Naples, Italy. Bob is also a Harley guy. In fact he infused Richard with the desire to get his first Harley, and he also made a three day motorcycle trip with Richard from Naples, across Italy to Bari, then on down to the “boot” of Italy and back up to Naples.
Since we have been here in Jacksonville, we have hooked up with Bob to go watch a shuttle launch from Space View Park in Titusville a couple of years ago. Rich also hooked up with him back in February of this year and they braved the bitter cold of an un-Florida like night to see a night launch actually on the NASA site down at Cape Canaveral. Unfortunately that launch was postponed and neither of them could make it back for the following night when the launch finally took place.
So it was with great pleasure that we accepted the invitation, along with about forty other people, to join Bob and Angelica in the celebration of their union. We drove down from Jacksonville on the Friday afternoon. It was a gorgeous day and I think we said “it would have been a perfect day for a ride on Harley” only about a dozen times! When we got there we quickly discovered that many of the guests were retired navy and/or Harley folks!
The wedding ceremony, which was held at 6.30pm in the lovely open courtyard of the wedding venue, was short and sweet. Angelica looked as beautiful as any bride should and our dear friend Bob was obviously very happy and, even though he said he wasn’t, he seemed quite nervous. Friends were asked to give them advice or share special thoughts with them before the minister, another friend, declared them man and wife. I told them, “don’t stop dating”.
The rest of the evening was spent socializing and enjoying a lovely dinner. The DJ was great and spun some good “old music” as well as playing guitar and singing himself. Some of us even managed to get up and boogie a little. The cake was duly cut and eaten and,shortly afterwards, we headed back to our hotel for the night.
On Saturday morning we got up slow and easy. After breakfast we packed our bags and headed out to go visit Bob and Angelica in their home. As we turned onto A1A heading south to Grant, we noticed a Bonsai nursery to one side of the road and made a decision to stop there on the way back. And so, a couple of hours later we found ourselves in the company of Mr. Feng Gu who proudly showed us his trees and explained the art of Bonsai. It was absolutely fascinating.
Well after looking at all the different types of trees, Richard said, “so pick one Babe”. Oh sweet music to my ears. I have so wanted a Bonsai tree for many years. But it wasn’t one of those desires that I had ever spoken out loud. In the bigger scheme of things owning a Bonsai was not a pressing need. It was simply a secret desire. Yet here I was, just a choice away.
Some of the trees were quite expensive but Mr. Gu was very patient and kind and showed me a small tree in a beautiful cobalt blue dish. My soul leapt but I was a little hesitant because it was bare; exquisite trunk, branch, and root growth but no leaves. Mr. Gu explained that he had just recently pinched all the leaves off, which needed to be done twice a year to encourage the tree to produce smaller leaves than normal but in proportion to the size of the tree itself.
My heart was captured and the deal was done. I had my tree, and while I was waiting for Mr. Gu to run my credit card, I noticed he had two baskets on his desk with miniature clay Japanese figurines. So I picked out a little wise man reading from an ancient scroll. He had a long blue robe of cobalt blue which perfectly matched the dish of my newly acquired Bonsai. So there he stands, among the roots of my tree which, by the way, is already full of minute new green shoots .