Gratitude for shelter and RoW80 check-in

This past Tuesday,  i walked a bit over a mile through midtown Manhattan,  on a very cold day. As is often the case,  I saw several homeless people on the way.  I always thought about the homeless as I passed them,  but I have focused more on them since two months ago,  when I noticed a man stopping to talk with a man seated near the front door of an office building.  I thought he was going to give the homeless man money, but he had a bag from a fast food restaurant that he gave him, telling him to enjoy his lunch.  I think about doing something like that,  but haven’t yet overcome my shyness or some other odd resistance.

I thought about all the homeless people I saw huddled against the buildings last week, and wondered  how they got through the snowstorm this weekend. I feel for all the people in southern states without power from the storm,  but these homeless people are always without power, in so many senses of the word.

In a recent check-in, I complained about the house we are renting, which has many of the problems one would expect in a house built in 1920 that has been a rental for several decades. However, I am grateful for having a house where I can shelter from the cold and wind, store warm clothing to combat the cold when I have to go outdoors, and refrigerate food and cook it.  It is easy to forget that not everyone has that shelter.

ROW80 check-in

Read Story Engineering more carefully, taking notes, for three hours a week. I’m having a real problem with this goal.  I think I’m going to have to schedule it in order to give it some priority. It may be something I can do on breaks at the day job.

I plan to work on a non-fiction project  for a half an hour 6 out of 7 days. I’m still stalled on this goal as well.  Again,  I think I need to schedule time,  with alarm bells and all other accoutrements,  to achieve this goal.

I am going to write a short story for submission to a contest.  I have finished the plot, but not the outline.

I plan to return to blogging, posting every check-in for a start.  I would like to expand my topics, but I need to re-establish the habit first.  I missed Wednesday’s check-in, but did put up a post on my Elizabeth Anne Mitchell blog. It was on the history of profanity, which has been a popular topic on another of my blogs.

Finally, I need to continue to take care of myself. I had my follow-up with my surgeon last Tuesday. Although changing the bandaging was painful,  preliminary tests still indicate the surgery was successful.  I returned  to the day job last Thursday, and managed to take care of myself there.  

Please go visit and encourage the other ROWers, whom you can find here.

smaller EM


Musings, ROW80

Gratitude and RoW80 check-in

If you want to read only my Round of Words check-in, please look below.

The last few days I have been thinking about gratitude. Yesterday I realized that I was grateful for something I take utterly for granted.  Last Tuesday, I came downstairs to water raining in my dining room.  We called the landlord, who said he thought it was the bathtub.  Okay, this is the only shower or bathtub in the house, and I live with three men (that sounds more exciting than the actuality). I live with DH and Number 1 and 2 sons.  

May I share at a respectable distance that sponge bathing does not engender that squeaky-clean, boy, do I feel ready to greet the day, kind of feeling. The bathtub is a wondrous invention, really. May I also share that on this past Monday, we finally found a plumber who had some time to come look at the problem, only to find that it is not the bathtub pipes leaking, but the toilet. He had removed that toilet when he was called away to provide heat for someone–we have lots of hot water heat in the Capital District.

I have no valid right to complain about having no toilet on the second floor, since we do have a half-bath on the main floor. Also, providing heat for some people, when it was 7 degrees Monday morning–please, get right on that.  But . . . that big hole in the ceiling of my dining room was wet with toilet water, and not the perfume kind.  And that stairwell is really, really long at 4am and the half-bath floor downright wintry.

First world problems, to be sure. There are many more worthy things I am grateful for, I promise, but I have to say that I have never quite fully appreciated having a toilet down the hall before.  I blush to admit that I grouse about it being a communal bathroom, and having to throw on slippers and a bathrobe to trundle down the hall in the middle of the night.  I cannot promise that I won’t grouse from time to time, but today, I am so very grateful to have a working toilet, and a patched dining room ceiling.

ROW80 check-in

Read Story Engineering more carefully, taking notes, for three hours a week. Oops, I have not yet started this goal. I have a day job conference starting tomorrow through Monday, but I do have the e-book on my Kindle.  I should be able to eke out three hours before Sunday’s check-in.

I plan to work on a non-fiction project that has been simmering on my back burner for more than a decade. I am so very, very close to finishing, I want to put in a push to get it done.  So, I will write for a half an hour 6 out of 7 days. I did this, yay for me.  I have 3/3 since Monday’s goals post.

I also plan to resurrect a fiction piece that arose from the research for the non-fiction book.  I will write for half an hour 6 out of 7 days. Umm, haven’t gotten to this one yet *blushes*.  I do have plans for the rest of the week to get this done.

I plan to return to blogging, posting every check-in for a start.  I would like to expand my topics, but I need to re-establish the habit first. Here I am, two posts in a row–see how I did that?  So far, so good.  I plan to take the time to check-in on Sunday, but Wednesday (a week from today) I will miss, due to surgery.  I’ll try to check-in before Sunday, though.

Finally, I need to continue to take care of myself. The surgery will be a pain, but should help me to feel better by the end of the month.  My plan is to avoid stress at the day job, which can be quantified by working fewer hours. I refuse to be stressed by the day job, to the intense irritation of some of my colleagues.

Please go visit and encourage the other ROWers, whom you can find here.
smaller EM


RoW80 Check-in Gratitude

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude during this time of Thanksgiving in the U.S. I spent some time talking with my sister about my father, as it was the first Thanksgiving in decades neither one of us could call him, and therefore a very strange day.  I am grateful to my father for always encouraging me to concentrate on what was important in life, not on the petty woes and maelstroms that tried to distract one’s attention.  He was impatient with procrastination, and would be proud to see that I am finally better about just doing what I dread.  He loved to write, and imbued my sister and me with that love of communicating through paper and hand.  We found his journals from several trips to Ireland when we were going through his papers last summer. We had not known that he had written about those trips and treasure those remembrances.  

Unlike the crowd I had over to the house when we lived in Northern Indiana, Thanksgiving was a small gathering, just DH and No. 1 and No. 2 sons.  We talked, we cooked, we ate in company (not the usual thing, with us all on different schedules).  I basked in gratitude for good food and company.  

I am also very grateful for my online friends. I appreciate the support and encouragement so many of you have given me through the years.  I spent a lot of time last week letting go of my anger and injury, and embracing what I want to do in my life. I want to swathe myself in positivity and creativity.

My plans for the rest of the Round are to catch up with some of the online writing classes I have been taking.  I want to go into more depth with some of the exercises, and keep honing my writing.  i have drafted several blog posts on various subjects, but I haven’t been writing any fiction recently.  I don’t feel stuck, but am planning more than writing at the moment. I hope to make the next steps into writing soon.

I hope all the NaNoers among us will finish and meet their goals, and that everyone is finishing up the Round in style. Please go visit all the RoWers, whom you can find here.


smaller EM


Leavetaking and leavekeeping, plus a ROW80 check-in

My older son left for college today, which should not have been odd, but was, despite the fact that he left mid-senior year of high school to go work for a living. After two years of manual labor, being laid off, on the dole (as my Irish relatives used to call it), he asked to come to live with us to go to college.

The local community college didn’t offer what he wanted, what he felt he had missed. As everyone scattered the instant class was over to their respective jobs, families, or life, he felt isolated from the college community that his father and I had told him about, and continued to extol, since we both work at a university.

So he packed the car and headed an hour and a half south on the New York Thruway, barely a skip and a jump from here, but I miss him already.  I know it’s the best thing for him to do, and I know that is the half-full glass, but I’m feeling the half-empty glass at the moment. In part, I recognized the signs of his nervousness, in his reluctance to get going until late in the day.  As my husband pointed out, that is my classic behavior, when I am nervous or anxious. 

I wrote a poem in my twenties which I titled Leavekeeping, to express trying to keep one’s memories with one, instead of taking leave of them. I suppose given my losing my brother in December, I am less willing to say goodbye, even temporarily, to other family members, even when I know it is the right thing, the best thing, the healthy thing, to do.

Do any of you find it hard to say goodbye, even when the person leaving you is going toward the fruition of his/her dreams?  I feel very small and mean right now, although I did hide all of this sentiment behind a brave front.

On another mixed note, my ROW80 progress.  I have been a very bad participant, not checking in for the last several times. I did make some progress, however.

  1. Meditate for no less than ten minutes a day. Attained. It clears the mind, offers peace; why have I not done this before?
  2. Find gratitude for at least one thing every day. Attained. I have been grateful for things, like running water (after thinking of the public fountains in medieval Europe as the most convenient source for water); for people, like my husband, who figured out how to add an email address to my WordPress domain, friends who drag me away from the day job for a brief respite; for actions, being able to console a friend of mine, whose brother is also dying of lung cancer, or for those of my younger son, who counseled his brother about what courses to take at college.
  3. Return to the daily habit of at least 250 words a day. Not attained.  I still have very difficult days, but I have at least managed a few sentences most days, and I did turn in my sponsor post (although a few days late). I have signed up for some workshops at DIYMFA, which will force me to do some writing.  That is a good thing.
  4. Never sit when I can stand, never stand when I can pace.  Stand for at least 5 minutes every hour; pace for at least 5 minutes every hour; walk for 5 minutes every 2 hours. Attained. Last Friday I walked two miles around midtown Manhattan to see my various doctors there. I have lost 10 pounds since the beginning of October–an added benefit.
  5. Contact every extended family member on their birthday. Pending–there have been no birthdays yet.
  6. Reply to comments on blogs within two days. Not attained.  I started catching up with the comments of condolences in mid-December, but despite my sincere, overwhelming gratitude for all of you, I couldn’t go on for a while. I hope to get back on track with comments.

So, while staring at the half-full glass, I am planning to do better.  There is always room for improvement.  Please consider dropping by some of the participants’ blogs to cheer them on; they are all listed here and would love to hear from you.