Wednesday, November 25, 2009

details details details

I've been keeping a grateful tally this past month:
  1. a computer that works.
  2. mental engagement - this incredible excitement to get up in the morning!
  3. how snugly ordered it feels to alphabetize papers and file them away.
  4. the textured histories of people's names - some of what their namers hoped for the babies each of these people once were, where they've come from, familiar family groups, nationalities - and the open pleasure when you guess right: "Portugese?"  "Why yes!" and the stories of immigration and opportunity that follow.
  5. sharing cooking tips for kale or squash over a box of donated produce, trading favorite recipes - dried cherries in cinnamon rolls? this I am going to have to try!
  6. singing "We Gather Together" or "For the Beauty of the Earth" in the morning, before we all gallop off in various directions.
  7. the surprise of a cup of hot licorice tea carried down to me on a saucer.
  8. a long back rub while I'm hammering away at the keyboard.
  9. walking in the dark, early in the morning, when no one is out but me and my friend.
  10. THEN! walking by daylight on Saturday and seeing color everywhere!
  11. the smell of the poplars as their leaves die.
  12. Sunday afternoons (after a week of writing I bask in the peace of a day that I don't write - a day of rest indeed - Whoever thought up this idea must be Genius!)
  13. the (resultant?) energy and eagerness of Monday mornings.
  14. finding a good clean rental (triplex) for my in-laws so quickly and easily in a near neighborhood, for a reasonable price.
  15. the fun of planning the daffodil bulbs to cheer my mother-in-law this coming spring - oh, and also tulips!! because their place is down out of deer range (okay, also to cheer me!)
  16. re-connecting with a favorite neighbor who had moved (and who I'll see now regularly when I stop at my in-laws').
  17. just in general, though also in delightful particular, friends who stay friendly despite vicissitudes.
  18. a bad day writing that doesn't mean I stop writing.
  19. a good day writing that follows after!
  20. my feisty 90 year-old neighbor down at the end of the road who says things like: "Anyways, that doctor still kept asking me if I was sure I had  eye surgery.  Like I told him, it's not my brain I'm having trouble with - it's my patience!"  (and the crinkly chuckle she gives, quirking her eyebrows when I burst out laughing).   "Like I say, last time I was at the doctor's office he had retired.  Apparently he made his wad.  Like I say he was young yet.  Not like these politicians who don't know when they're through and have to die in their offices and be dragged out feet first."  I simply love her.
  21. kisses goodbye from my 9yo son.
  22. daughters who make meals occasionally.
  23. daughters who are clever and "brave" - and also actually brave.
  24. good news! (and one step closer to a tuition scholarship - fingers and toes all duly crossed!!)
  25. sunshine suddenly very brilliant.
  26. also rain - the sound of it on the roof and now all the saturated greenness and luscious plummy greys.
  27. prayer, the openness that comes after.
  28. watching YoungSon play basketball with such vehement pleasure.
  29. (and my dear Fritz who is such a great coach with those 4th graders - our daughters and I, watching him at the games, agree he has in part missed his calling, working away every day in his lab - he would have been a great teacher - patient, clear, engaged).
  30. though I am grateful too for the working away in the lab - that he has it to do, that he does it, that he enjoys it as much as he does - all of which allows me to take this year to make one of my dreams reality.
  31. going into the city all together as a family - for once!
  32. listening to the radio together (even if it is Owl City over and over and over).
  33. trying out mattresses (ah!) (though it made it harder than ever to go back to our lumpy old pallet - oops! I mean - of course that I'm grateful I even have a mattress and the thought that someday I'll have a better one is just added cush).
  34. the talk-therapy at the morning pool.
  35. pomegranates.
  36. individual seeds of pomegranate like jewels sprinkled over a bowl of vanilla yogurt.
  37. the kitchen entirely cleaned by other hands than mine.
  38. all the laundry folded ditto.  (Is this a once in a lifetime experience?)
  39. my daughters' blatant enjoyment at the strengthening of their bodies, showing off new muscles since joining swim team.
  40. YoungSon's explosion of bakeryism: shortbread, cranberry shortbread, pumpkin cookies with brown butter icing, cocoa crackles, pumpkin pie bars - though his setting these confections day after day on a plate at my elbow while I sat at my desk has rendered a favorite pair of jeans - well, let's admit it - unwearable.
  41. walking in the rain.
  42. a husband who can and will maintain tidiness and order in the house.
  43. encouragement in all its forms.
  44. the webby world where words matter.
  45. Emma Thompson in Wit - Take that MORTALITY!
  46. watching Ushpizin as a family - a funny-sad Israeli comedy - the title means "guests" and centers on the week-long Succoth holiday tradition of welcoming all comers - no matter who, nor how difficult.
  47. the internet going down (? - yes, because I got so much more writing done that week).
  48. also the friend who let me check in on the webby world from her house when I couldn't stand the electronic isolation any longer.
  49. woolen hooded cape that keeps me warm on morning walks even in pouring rain without steaming me in my own juices.
  50. my Mom writing out her memories of kayaking among the wild geese, a drake with a curly feather on his back, a heron taking flight.
  51. talking to my sisters, to my mother, to my daughters.
  52. a training meeting for youth leaders that for once does not waste my time but fills me and feeds me with ideas and enthusiasm, makes me feel part of something bigger and better - rather than making me more weary and weighed down (as may sometimes, sadly, and too frequently, occur).
  53. a son who greets me with, "Mommee!" and when he leaves, "Good luck today!  Write lots of words!"
  54. people who are able to appreciate my children.
  55. my friend who comes to YoungSon's ball game even in the midst of her own crazy-happening life.
  56. fluffy soft woolen gloves - and mending them so they are wearable again - nothing keeps my hands so warm as this long-(and well-)loved pair.
  57. black tights.
  58. also black boots.
  59. daughter who brings down a big pitcher of water and a white china cup when I ask, does she knows where my water bottle is?
  60. the goodness of water.
  61. hazlenut and shrimp cream sauce over penne.
  62. Barbara Pym and all her works, but especially this month, Civil to Strangers ( . . . and how great would it be to be managed and pampered like the famous male author of that book? . . . this must have been an exercise in total wish fulfillment for darling Barbara, the "most underrated writer of the century").
  63. a loaf of fresh bread from a friend.
  64. the sweetness of sleep.
  65. seeing a falling star one morning while walking alone.
  66. bitter greens with sweet D'Anjou pears and blue cheese.
  67. a husband who lets me put my cold feet on him.
  68. {anything else I've left unmentioned}
  69. geese flying over and their calls.
  70. dry socks.
  71. a furnace that works.
  72. the rock ballads of the 80's - and the way the music of one's younger years - even stuff you never really cared for at the time - sweeps you back to a not-after-all-so-unpleasant a past - though it was one which you could not wait to grow out of and away from .
  73. lunch with friends - chopsticks, tempura and miso soup - and talk and talk and talk . . .
  74. lunch with my daughters - good bread! hot mint tea!  lemon curd cake!!
  75. (obviously, I am also grateful for exclamation points!!)
  76. hearing out of the blue from a young woman I worked with in the church youth program to get her enrolled at the community college - "Hey, I haven't talked to you in a long time.  I miss you." - in college now (thinking criminal law) and doing well.
  77. how clean a rag and a bucket of warm water-and-ammonia, finished up with a squeegee, can get a window - i.e. how much more light the window now lets in  - which begins to be important in this corner of the world this time of the year.
  78. that I could pay my son to do it (#77)
  79. the always reliable quick meal fall-back - deeply nutritious and greeted with cries of "Oh, yum!"  - we miscall it "Orechetti" (rhyming inaccurately with "spaghetti")
  80. the indescribable goodness of baked pears.
  81. seeing other people's gratitude lists - the small delights especially.
  82. watching Middlest and Eldest plot out the Cooking of the Feast - the menu, the recipes, the order of the attack.
  83. watching them make rolls - and their prospective grief at all these cute little crescents being gobbled by the heedless hordes.
  84. Fritz who takes Middlest shopping for supplies and only sighs a little bit to find me sitting at the computer  - writing here - and not adding to my wordcount.

  85. walking in and getting my hair cut without having to wait.
  86. Even an encounter with someone who thinks this novel-writing is rather silly and is a little put out when I say, "No, sorry.  I told you before, not until after Thanksgiving," even that makes me grateful - that all month long I've been surrounded by people (like you) who  either understand why this crazy endeavor is so important or love me enough that even if you don't understand you know that it does matter immensely to me -  thank you

. . . and about that wordcount?  40,285. Not bad.

But I'd like to see something much more fantastic tomorrow.

Yes? Can we schedule that in?)

9715 words left to go.

(And an ending of some kind would be nice . . . )


Mrs. Organic said...

Over 40K - WOW! And I'm glad you wrote out the details because they've got me thinking about the important stuff again.

And sometime I'd love that roll recipe with a tutorial.

Lisa B. said...

thank you for this bounteous list. I love this journey you're on.

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