August 18, 2009


We live our lives, day by day doing the same things. We have our routines, getting up at a certain time each day, driving to the same office, shopping at the same stores, even ordering the same food at our usual restaurants. We live in a chaotic world, and we appreciate the order and comfort of life's daily routines. It's been said that change is the thing that our subconscious fights the most. Our routines protect us against the discomfort that change can bring.

So we follow our routines. We might miss out on a delicious meal at a restaurant because we're fearful to try it. We keep the same job, even when it's awful, because it's familiar and we like that. We stay in relationships that cause us grief for fear of the unknown. Change is scary.

What brings this up for me? Two things. One, I'm going away for two weeks, the longest vacation I have taken in decades and to places I've never been. It's a long time to be away from family and work and friends, so I admit I've been a bit nervous off and on, thinking about it. Of course I'll have fun and enjoy myself and the new people, but we often fear the unknown and that's what it probably is for me.

The second thing is something I noticed growing over the fence in my yard. It's that vegetable in the picture above, a pumpkin or a watermelon or what, I don't know. I would not have even noticed it if I had not looked at a portion of the fence I rarely see, this lovely surprise of new life. I watch it grow every day, still not knowing what it will become. I didn't plant it, it just grew over the fence, sending its tendrils outward to seek places to attach, providing a secure place for its fruit to grow.

This gift of surprising new life is like a nudge to me to remember to enjoy whatever surprises my trip will bring. To think of this as a great adventure, taking me to sights I've never seen, historical sites that have existed for hundreds and thousands of years, just sitting there waiting for me to enjoy. And that beauty and wonder are there for me to experience, both near and far, if I'll allow myself to see it.

August 13, 2009

I'm going to Greece.

To those whose emails I haven't answered and phone calls I haven't returned, I am sorry. It's not a good excuse, but I'm kinda busy lately. I'm getting ready to take a two week vacation (I know that's unheard of for me) and my best and longest friend is sick and visiting, getting ready for a serious surgery. So that's my excuse. I'm distracted but I still love you.

I was invited to take what I call A Trip of a Lifetime, a 12-night Greece and Eastern Mediterranean Cruise. I'm going to visit places with names I've never heard. Corfu? Lindos? And apparently I will stand before the Sphinx. To say I'm thrilled is quite an understatement. Except for one trip to Paris and Venice with a boyfriend traveling on business, I've really never had any grand trips. Just not on my budget. Oh, there was that wonderful trip to Hawaii planned by my daughter, twenty-two years after I lived there before she was born. And I've enjoyed the trips to Laughlin and Cottonwood Cove when I was married and had a motorhome and a boat. And the road trips with girlfriends, all of us laughing in the car and getting lost, were lots of fun. But Greece and Eqypt and Corfu? Just amazing.

And my best friend, Auntie Sharon, is visiting from Georgia, where she fled years ago to start a new life. We have been friends and actually sister-in-laws for forty years, having married brothers the same year, having baby girls the same year, getting divorced the same year, and then living together for a few years. She's family and like a sister to me and sometimes I feel motherly to her and sometimes she likes to boss me around, but I have deep feelings that are hard to describe for this woman who is so part of my heart. She's here for surgery, which I hope goes well and she recovers quickly, but I worry. So, I'm taking her on a road trip this weekend, just up to Solvang and the Chumash Casino above Santa Barbara, so we can laugh and catch up and just have some time to breathe and relax and hopefully take our minds off what is to come.

And, of course, I'm trying at work to get all my September work done ahead of time, like taxes and payroll and billing and booking surgeries and collections keeping the staff and docs happy and on and on. I know it's silly to push so hard and I catch myself feeling like I'm running on a treadmill and then I just take a deep breath and calm down and feel better. Until I get panicky again. And there's shopping for the cruise and packing, getting my house ready for the housesitter, seeing my daughter and grandchildren and getting enough sleep. And where the heck is my passport?!?

So the point here? Thanks for being patient with me when I don't write or answer emails and phone calls. I promise to make time for you when I get back. Not just to be polite, but I miss you and your company. See you soon, I promise!