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April 6, 2014

for this life.

I am so thankful for this woman, every day I am thankful for her. I'm thankful for the friend who sends me links to anything my favorite writer is doing, this friend I can text back and forth with on a Sunday night to discuss birthday cakes for our kiddos and wedding shoes and everything in between, this friend who's pulled me back from the ledge of craziness more times than I remember. I'm thankful for the man who put ear drops in my left ear just now as I squirmed around the bed like a caught fish. I'm thankful for the girl who touched my cheek while reading the Bear story for the fourth time today; it gets read before her nap and before bed. I'm thankful that when it was her turn to read it she said, "Once upon a time there was my daddy and my Rhi and my Eva. And my pink skirt." I stare at her a lot, just smiling. Or crying because it's all too much, in the most wonderful way. And I stare at Ben and I spend a lot of time saying thank you for this life.

I'm thankful I went to the gym six days in a row this week and that both days this weekend involved long walks. And sun. And "I Spy/Hear/Smell." And Sloth stopping to inspect many things which is a gentle reminder for us humans.

I'm thankful that I've stayed true to my "30 day and then some plan" to write every day (even if I don't post on my blog every day.) I'm writing; I'm flexing the muscle I too often allow to get dusty.

Because once a week, usually, hopefully, this woman posts a mini essay on her FB page I read in the middle of the produce section at the market or on the train and everything gets quiet and I remember the point of this life, my life. We are here to tell the truth about our stories; we own everything that happens to us. And nothing gets done without self-care.

Since I'm now watching "Contagion" for the second time in a row it's so painfully, clearly time for bed. Good nights, good weeks, all of us, deal?

(The following was from Anne Lamott's FB page this morning. She's the queen.)

This is the last Saturday of my fifties. The needle isn't moving to the left or to the right. I don't feel or look 60. I don't feel any age. I have a near-perfect life. However, I grew up on tennis courts and beaches in California during the sixties, where we put baby oil on our skin to deepen the tan, and we got hundreds of sunburns. So maybe that was not ideal. I drank a lot and took a lot of drugs and smoked two packs of Camels (unfiltered) a day until I was 32. I had a baby and then forgot to work out, so things did not get firmer, and higher. So again, not ideal.
My heart is not any age. It is a baby, an elder, a dog, a cat, divine.
My feet, however, frequently hurt.
My skin broke out last week. I filed a new brief with the Fairness Commission, and am waiting to hear back.
My great blessing is the capacity for radical silliness, and self-care.
I'm pretty spaced out. I don't love how often I bend in to pull out clean wet clothes from the washer, and stand up, having forgotten that I opened the dryer that's above, and smash my head on the door once again. I don't know what the solution to this is, as I refuse to start wearing a helmet indoors. I don't love that I left my engine running for an hour last week, because I came inside to get something, and then got distracted by the dogs, and didn't remember I'd left the engine on. It was a tiny bit scary when a neighbor came to the front door to mention this, and I had to feign nonchalance, and act like it was exactly what I had meant to do all along.
I backed into an expensive truck in the parking lot of Whole Foods last month. Boy, what an asshat THAT guy was. My bumper had fallen off in the mishap, and I had to tie it back on with the shoelaces from my spare running shoes. Sigh.
Wednesday, the day before I turn 60, I am having a periodontal procedure that Stalin might have devised. How festive is that? But that night, my grandson and niece will pelt me with balloons, and we will all overeat together, the most spiritual thing we can do.
Mentally, the same old character defects resurface again and again. I thought I'd be all well by now. Maybe I'm 40% better, calmer, less reactive than I used to be, but the victimized self-righteousness remains strong, and my default response to most problems is still to try and figure out who to blame; whose fault it is, and how to correct his or her behavior, so I can be more comfortable.
My friend Jim says, "I don't judge. I diagnose." That's me.
Spiritually, I have the sophistication of a bright ten year old. My motley crew and my pets are my life. They are why I believe so ferociously in God.
Politically, I am still a little tense. I love that Obama is president. I love Obamacare. My great heroes at sixty are Gloria Steinem and Molly Ivins.
Forgiveness remains a challenge, as does letting go. When people say cheerfully, "Just let go and let God," I still want to stab them in the head with a fork, like a baked potato.
This business of being a human being is infinitely more fraught than I was led to believe. When my son Sam figured out at 7 years old that he and I were not going to die at the exact same moment, he said, "If I had known that, I wouldn't have agreed to be born." That says it for me. It's hard here, and weird. The greatness of love and laughter, the pain of loss, the bearing of one another's burdens, are all mixed up, like the crazy catch-all drawer in the kitchen.
This doesn't really work for me.
If I was God's West Coast rep, I would have a more organized and predictable system.
So we do what we can. Today, I will visit a cherished friend post surgery, and goof around with her kids. I will try to help one person stay clean and sober, just for today. I will loudly celebrate my own sobriety, and also the fact that my writing has not been a total nightmare lately. I am going to go for a hike on these sore feet, and remember Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The world is charged with the grandeur of God." Charged, electrical with life's beauty and light! Wow. Then I will probably buy the new issue of People magazine to read on the couch before my nap, and a sack of the black plums at the market that seemed overpriced yesterday, but not today.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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