Monday, Monday

“Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day,” sang the Mamas and the Papas. Today I’m feeling really good about Monday because I decided to take the day off after our trip to southwest Virginia over the weekend to celebrate my uncle’s 95th birthday.

Facebook just reminded me that just 5 years ago we traveled 1,800 miles in a few days. First we headed to Jackson, MS for our daughter’s junior recital (that’s a 7-hour drive from Nashville, in the opposite direction of our ultimate destination, my uncle Paul’s 90th birthday celebration in Weber City, VA). I believe we left Nashville on Thursday,  but that was 5 years ago, so I can’t trust my memory. The FB post also said that my dad made it to my uncle’s birthday celebration. I got kind of a lump in my throat as I recalled that my cousins Joe and Catherine drove to Canton, NC to pick up Daddy and drive him here for Uncle Paul’s celebration.

Daddy didn’t make it until his 94th birthday; he died one month and one day before, on October 28, 2016. I’m sure he would have enjoyed Uncle Paul’s 95th birthday celebration had he been able to attend.

Anyway, today I am glad that I decided to take off work. I am getting much more aware of the need to take a break from work every now and then. Last year most of the days I took off were to care for John (when he had back surgery in May) or for my dad when he was in the hospital for 5 days in August. John and I didn’t go anywhere all year except for one weekend trip to Beersheba Springs, the site of our annual all-church retreat, about 2 hours east of Nashville. I remember being worried about traveling then; it was at the end of September, and I was afraid my dad would die while we were gone.

When we drove out of town December 26 for a couple of days, I felt like a bird freed from its cage. I don’t like staying in town all year. Every now and then I feel the need to fly the coop and hit the road. It’s just good to get away from the humdrum dailiness of life, relax a little, enjoy the sights of nature somewhere else, and forget about normal life for a while.

Last year was a stark contrast to 2015, when we traveled to Spain to see Julie (and had a lovely two weeks traveling around the country…this only served to whet my appetite for further trips to Spain and other places abroad). We went in March, which turned out to be a pretty chilly time to visit Spain. The weather was cold and damp for most of the time we were there (in the 50s and rainy several days). The last few days, when we were in Madrid, the temps got up into the 70s, and we finally felt like spring had arrived.

In June 2016 we traveled to Williamsburg, VA to visit my cousin Joe (and Catherine) and celebrate his birthday. We turned that trip into a minivacation, did some sightseeing around Jamestown and Williamsburg, and met a college friend and her husband for dinner.

Now, after our latest trip to see family, I am beginning to get the travel itch. Julie has spring break coming up in March, and we had talked about heading to North Carolina to visit family there, but alas, they are all busy. So Julie and I may go canoeing or do something at least one day of her spring break. She’s thinking about driving to Mississippi to see some college friends, so I may take a day off and kidnap John from his work and go somewhere.

John is recovering from neck surgery in January. He said to me sadly over the weekend, “I guess I can’t canoe anymore.” We haven’t canoed in several years, since our kids were teenagers. I’d like to get back to canoeing occasionally and horseback riding (which I’ve done only occasionally). I may have to find some friends to do that with and find tamer fare for me and John. I do have a Bucket List of places I’d like for us to visit. The trick will be lassoing him long enough to go somewhere. After all, he owns a pool and spa maintenance business, and he stays pretty busy most of the year. This may be the year I talk him into semiretirement. He turns 70 this September. Time’s a-wasting…we have miles to go and promises to keep (and lots of road trips or at least plane/rental car trips) to go on.

So this Monday is a super fine day to be off work. The temperature is supposed to get into the 70s. I have laundry to do, housework to catch up on (ah, who am I kidding? I will probably spend an hour at the most doing housework), junk to sort through and take to Goodwill, and a friend to meet for happy hour. I am glad I didn’t have to go to the office. I got up at 5:30, drank my first cup of coffee and had my morning devotion, then I felt sleepiness overtake me, and I wound up on the couch with the kitteh for about 30 minutes. Soon I headed downstairs and went to bed. I awoke at 9:30. Now, in my opinion, that’s a great way to start a Monday!

So today’s theme (in case you wondered after all my rambling) is RECHARGING. That’s what I’m doing. I think I’ll be a nicer person to be around after this lovely day off.

 

P.S. Stay tuned. One of these days I will learn how to send photos from my phone to my blog. I get impatient about wanting to post pictures immediately, and heck, who has time to try to figure out new technological things on a precious day off?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Bucket List

I heard Bob Cowsill being interviewed on Hippie 94.5 (my favorite radio station) on the way to work today, and he said that a bus tour (his last with the Cowsills was 43 years ago) is the last item on his Bucket List.

Hmmm, I wondered. Is it good when you’ve crossed off all the items on your Bucket List? I don’t think I’ve ever made a Bucket List, though I have certainly mulled about it. I would bet that my Bucket List has changed over time.

Right now, here are some things I want to do before I die. And when I cross off the last item, well, I think I’ll be adding to the list. Don’t want to tempt fate or whatever!

1. Go on a mission trip to Mexico. My church, Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, takes an annual trip to Puebla, Mexico. This is the one I want to participate in. One of its focuses is educating women. I believe the primary focus is “Give Ye Them to Eat” or something like that.

2. Travel to New England and do a historical tour with John.

3. Go to the Grand Canyon with John. I’ve seen it before but he hasn’t. I am ashamed to admit that we didn’t take our children to the Grand Canyon. Oh well. Life got busy. We did take other great and not-so-great trips.

4. Go on a hot-air balloon ride. Yes, this will challenge my fear of heights, but it just looks like so much fun.

5. Learn to paddle board.

6. Write a collection of stories, poems, or perhaps a book. Whether it gets published or not, well, we’ll see.

7. Continue practicing yoga and do as much exercise as I can to keep my body healthy. I believe in the power of exercise to relieve stress, and I’m hoping it will also ward off dementia, which runs in my family. I am planning to take a tai chi class at some point.

8. Walk outside in nature and appreciate the beauty every single day that I can.

9. Learn more about botany. I am already obsessed with identifying trees. Not so much their scientific names as their ordinary names and maybe a little about them.

10. Continue to read all kinds of books. Well, maybe not so many trashy novels, but balance is a good thing. 😀

11. Practice conversational Spanish and brush up on tenses besides present tense. Learn at least one new Spanish word each week.

12. Work toward more balance in life...have more fun, don’t continually work more hours than I have to (this has become a habit), bite my tongue when I need to but also speak up when I need to.

13. Find some joy in every day. And learn not to work so hard at my spiritual life. God loves me the way I am. Of course I can always do better, but I just need to chill and accept that there are seasons in the spiritual life, just as there are seasons in nature.

14. Do at least one random act of kindness a week.

Okay, these are enough items to keep me busy for the rest of my life, I think. I have some other ideas, but for now this is enough.