I was reminded again last night that life is unpredictable and that it can be so fragile. Every single day is a gift for us to use.
I received a medical update on a friend who unexpectedly had a heart attack about three weeks ago, but other issues have been uncovered during the course of treatment, and she is not expected to recover. This is a woman who acknowledged to me a few months ago that her life had been all about miracles. I don't know that there is going to be one this time.
I still have a message on my voice mail from her.
We seldom know when something is going to change our lives forever, be it an illness, a death, an event. Oh, yeah, there are predictable things that will change lives, like marriage, divorce, pregnancy, but I'm talking about things largely uncontrollable that happen.
I am so grateful for what I have, for the people in my life who I love and who love me back. Once again I am trying to make the most of every day, to do what I can to move things in a good direction and to expand my horizons, to provide for 'the order' of our household. I try to actively practice gratitude and right living.
That's really all I can do. All anyone can do. Just be aware.
It's just been too hot to even think, much less write. July temps shot up to 116 on our front porch recently, and we had a streak of 100-degree-plus days where I felt like a mole with blinds drawn and the air conditioner running full tilt. Because the humidity was more than 20 percent and the temps were over 105-106, the swamp cooler just wasn't adequate to cool things down in here -- that happens most every July and into August.
But we've got a rare cool snap right now and my windows are open. It's not even supposed to make 80 tomorrow, with a good possibility of storms -- which, of course, bring with them the fear of lightning-started fires.
It is a welcome respite and a reminder that summer is on the way out. It'll be October, likely, before things cool and rain comes back, but come it will, and there are reports of an El Nino year, which would increase the likelihood of adequate rainfall this winter. I don't want floods, but rain would be great.
My poor little garden doesn't much like the heat, and has really struggled between deer-munching, water service employees not turning the water back on, and a broken soaker hose, and also some sort of black bug or disease that leaves a black, sticky residue and kills the plants. My cost per tomato may be pretty high this year! But I'm already planning to cover the garden in manure and newspaper over the winter, which should give the soil a boost for next year. The rhubarb is looking great -- but the rest of it seems stressed.
I've gotten things cleared out inside, mostly, and have been walking at least a mile most days on our new treadmill -- yes, once we realized that 6 a.m. was going to be pretty dark in the winter and during our heat wave was still pretty warm for exercise, we broke down and bought a treadmill. Actually it works well -- Tony gets on it before he goes to work, and I walk sometime during the day. I've watched a dvd and also listened to some podcasts, so it goes quickly. And it's helping. My hips, back and knees don't hurt anymore and I don't feel so creaky. It also is helping my poor balance. (and how I hate to admit that exercise DOES help...)
Now to just keep it up.
I don't feel very profound these days. I'm just focused on each day, doing something for the good of the order, tending the things I need to do, meeting the few deadlines that I still have, cooking good-for-us food, doing something to sort out the clutter most days. The girls still have their individual issues, but largely I'm uninvolved, since I know I can't really do anything to either move them ahead or solve them permanently. I've cut way back on asking questions (pat on my back!), partly because it does me no good to worry about things I can't do anything about. I'm trying to be open to new possibilities, but mostly I'm just taking care of old business. That's okay for now, I think.
I still read every day, but nothing that just grabs me by the throat -- newspapers, magazines mostly. I want a couple of books that capture me with their plots and make me want to read all day long, and I can't even find anything on Amazon that seems to meet that criteria right now.
We're watching movies and tv series most nights -- but the series are on HBO and Showtime, mostly. Mindless stuff, tv, for the most part, especially the stuff we're watching. That too is not necessarily bad.
I don't like summer very much -- never have. It's hot, it's sticky, it's something to get through until the weather turns cool again and we can be outside without feeling so uncomfortable, and the nights call for blankets to snuggle into. No, I don't want snow either....
A year ago this week R and I were driving from Alabama to California. She said yesterday that it didn't seem that long ago, but when I think about this year, it has been a long, hard haul for both of us, and some of the issues are still very present. I hope this second year will be better.