I recently read that practicing gratitude can actually, physically, change your brain for the better (go here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/having-gratitude-_b_1073105.html ). So, because I’m interested in anything that helps my brain, here’s a smattering of the bajillion people/things for which I’m grateful…
|The treat: Snickers. The trick: the "sass face."|
1. I’m alive!
2. Ray patiently outlasted my recent downward spiral into the grading abyss, with the usual shrieking threat to quit my job and go work as a checker at Hy-Vee (a job I think I’d like, BTW).
3. The pod is gone from our driveway! This means we have finally completed Phase (something-in-the-late-teens-early-twenties) of our EPIC MOVE. On to Phase…what, like 27? 28? And that, of course, would be clearing out enough of the garage before Jack Blizzard’s first tantrum to park at least one car in there (it’s a 2.5-stall). The house is still very much like a lab rat maze, without the food rewards. Space is so tight, I threw a doily over an inverted plant stand. I was tired of finding places for things. For now, I call the monstrosity “telephone table,” even though we no longer have a landline.
4. Mom is a fun, thoughtful roommate. She’s a wicked Bridge player with a biting sense of humor. She’s relatively healthy, even though she has two kinds of cancers, CLL and lymphoma, which she completely ignores.
5. I can see the Vermillion River out my home office window.
6. We had a successful birthday dinner for our friend, which also turned into a housewarming, which was also Halloween (we never had trick-or-treaters at the farm…good lord, those little kids are freaking adorable), which was also a delightful hootenanny with guitars, a fiddle, and two, yes TWO, accordians, which also turned into a family reunion for 3 of us whose children dropped by with their children. I have the best family & friends.
7. Because I live in town now, I can stop grading, go to meditation class, and go back to grading. Just. Like. That.
8. Bambi is doe-eyed and precious, but not when he jumps in front of a VW Bug doing 65. That’s what Ray found out this week. Bambi flew into and over the Bug, caving in the driver’s door and front quarter panel, and shattering the windshield and driver’s door window. Ray was shaken but miraculously unhurt.
|Bug - 0; Bambi - 0|
9. I discovered Gudrun Sjödén (see http://www.gudrunsjoden.com/us), which is both a blessing and a horrible curse.
10. It’s been a week of poetic inspiration. Fall semester hasn’t just been crushing me into the dirt; it’s been grinding me into pulverized dust. This past week, though, I pulled myself together enough to help host a poetry slam at one of our Little Town pubs, and I was invited to read poems at our Little Town library. These events have inspired me to get off my poetry arse, don my beret, spin some fusion jazz, warm up the lava light, and get down to it again. More. Writing.
11. Because the peacocks back on the farm imprinted on me and I on them, I guess, I still hear them at night. (Peacocks have many calls. They have one call they use to locate each other at night, just after they all fly up in their roosting trees. This is the call that’s stuck in my sweetly-addled brain.)
12. I have 3 kids, a stepkid, and 5 grandkids, and they’re all really smart and classy humans. And healthy (which is what we’re SUPPOSED to say).
|Our new digs, dressed for Halloween|
13. I just passed my 3rd strokeiversary. I’m grateful (and weirdly fascinated) to look back and remember that three years ago at this time, I couldn’t button my own shirt, put my hair in a ponytail, make the fingers on my left hand meet my left thumb, or walk without a cane. I’m much less impressed now with cool gadgets, no matter how sophisticated, after witnessing first-hand the design genius of the human self-repairing SmartBody. I still have glitches, but even these are fascinating: My new neural pathways are bumpy, clumsy “footpaths” compared to the old “super highways” of muscle and memory I’d smoothed and resurfaced through 50-odd years of repetition. So I sometimes stutter for a second or two while my brain tries to locate a word, or I flip a kitchen rug because my left foot only thinks it has lifted off the floor, or I fall into a near-narcoleptic stupor around 3 p.m. because my brain is literally, physically, TIRED, or my iffy balance makes me weave like a bad drunk. Still, I just helped move two complete households, started a new semester teaching full-time, lost 20+ lbs. without chewing off anyone’s arm, AND…
14. I’m alive!