Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's a good life

it is saturday evening, and almost the first of June. Things pass so quickly. It has been a short week, and a short spring. We are on the edge of hurricane season here in southwest Florida. That is always a bother. When i worked in the private sector, it was just a matter of amusement. Now as an employee of the local municipality, as the Town's PIO, it's a bother. Let's hope for a very quiet season.

Last night my daughter and her boyfriend joined me for a friday nite supper. Lauren went to the market and bought 1 1/2 lbs. of red grouper. I fired up the grill and made mesquite grilled grouper sandwiches - with all the trimmings - lettuce, tomato, onion, dill pickle wedges - coleslaw and french fries. Yummmmy! It was nice to have dinner company, and it was a casual, pleasant evening. Lauren taught me how to use my new camera!

Here's La and bf Kev - trying out my new camera:

I spent today - Saturday - mindless and mundane. I did manage to whack some weeds that were growing up around my rose bushes, and I did manage to prune and water them. I accomplished this in the late evening, starting around 5:30 pm and finishing in the neighborhood of 7:30. I waited until it wasn't quite so hot and humid out, but didn't figure in the no-seeums. Gosh Darn It...they are the most annoying little insects going! I managed to do what I set out to do, hurrying in the last few minutes as my tolerance for the bugs had long run out.
I near ran inside - sweaty, dirty, itchy. I've been battling what suggests to be a bit of bronchitis - perhaps a carry-over from the flu I experienced last month. Being out doors in the humidity is beneficial to my lungs. I come inside to the A/C, and I cough. A steamy, long, hot shower was just what I craved - to relieve the irritation in my lungs, soothe my bitten, thorn-pricked, dirty irritated skin.
I picked some of the blooms from my frangipani, and placed them in a small container on the coffee table. I remembered some aroma therapy oil I had and pulled that out and swabbed my skin with the scent of bergamot. I read with careful attention, "Birds of Alaska" in preparation for my vacation. I'm 3/4ths through the book, "Two in the Far North". Chopin is on the stereo.
Gracie is on the couch, after several bouts of scratching at the door only to go out with only play in mind.
It's a good life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hush little baby don't say a word

About 3:30 this afternoon I realized I would be working late. Holiday weekends are wonderful, but they tend to shorten the work week, that reeks havoc on deadlines.

I got home shortly after 6:00 PM. The house looked as I had left it; no signs that Lauren had been by. That meant that Gracie was last out when I was last home.

I took Gracie out for business.

I put Gracie on the 20' lead that is now latched to the picnic table, since she tore down her zip line. She does best when I am out with her, even though I remind her that it is not all about - HER.

I spent a few minutes outside while Gracie was on the lead - I refreshed the water in the bird bath, splashed a bit on the bromeliads and orchids, and dumped and refilled Gracie's outside water dish.

Then I went back inside. While inside, I opened the mail, and busied myself with the home stuff after being at work all day. Gracie began to bark. She likes to bark at Phoebe and Dukie, the neighbor's cats. I sat listening to her bark, wondering how parenting could come into play. Finally, I'd had enough and went outside to bring her in.

I strolled outside, already giving Gracie my summation of why she was barking; the neigbor cats had her in a dither.

Then I saw the object of Gracie's attention. A young mockingbird was hobbling across the driveway.
OMG!!! It's a baby bird! I watched as it hobbled and tried its wings. I got Gracie's Tony the
Tiger bowl and filled it with water from the garden hose. I lightly stepped within a few feet of the young bird, and offered the water dish. As I approached, it retreated. I tossed some water in the air, and it opened its beek receptively, still retreating.

I backed off. Then I thought, " How can I help this bird?" Given the number of cats in this neighborhood I decided I should put it somewhere safe.

This baby bird is walking near dead center of the street. It flaps but cannot fly.

I put on my gardein gloves and approached the chick from behind. Each step forward I took, it took - and vice versa. Shortlty I managed to pick upt this youngling and approached the vacant lot.

Immediately, an adult mockingbird was on my back! Seconds later , another mockingbird was at my head. I dropped the chic, and ran. I stopped and looked up: "OK! " I shouted. "I left it alone! CRIMINY!!!

A full hour after this incident, the mockinbirds continued to chatter in the trees. Periodically, Gracie and I would check the garden for any bird action. Well after sundown, the mockingbirds were quiet.

Tonight's incident compels me to revist "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Good Sunday

Today is much prettier than yesterday, as far as the color and clarity of the sky. I slept late and well. Most times, my first thought on waking is to take Gracie out before she does business inside. My second thought today was marveling at how good I felt. Last month I was hit with a flu bug that really kicked me down for sometime. (It was just enough ahead of the swine flu curve that I didn't associate the symptoms with pigs - but the symptoms were the same after the fact). This past Monday I woke with a stuffy head, eyes sore throat and a dry annoying cough. Today I still have the cough, but my head feels much clearer.

I spent an hour or better on the internet viewing various comments and reviews by consumers and consumer reports and tech mags (like PC World) on digital cameras. I'm rather certain what I'll buy, but want to see one other than online and hold it in my hand before I decide. I'll probably go in to Town this afternoon. (Seems a shame on a beautiful beach day like today!..but that's the dilemna I usually find myself in - hard to get anything done when it's always a beautiful beach day!).

After camera review, I took a new book and a glass of lemonade and Gracie and I sat out in the garden. The sun was hot, but it felt good. After a short while, however, the sweat was interfering with my reading so I moved to the shade. Then all the distractions came, chatty neighbors, cats teasing the dog, dog digging the chair leg so I'd calve in, and no see-ums. Ugh. We retreated back indoors.

I am reading "Two in the Far North" by Margaret Murie. The story begins in 1911 in Seattle. The author is nine years old. She and her mother are going by steam ship to join her father in Alaska. Daddy is Assistant US Attorney, and they are making their home in Fairbanks. I' m halfway through the book, and she is now in her early twenties, married to a biologist employed by the US Fish and Wildlife to study caribou in the arctic. Pretty cool stuff.

I've got two months before I leave for Fairbanks, "The High One" - Denali, and the Inside Passage. I'm pretty excited. I hope I don't get myself so worked up that when the adventure arrives it's anti-climatic. Is that possible?!

On with the day!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Saturday Morning Walk

Gracie and I just returned from a nice long Saturday morning walk. Even before noon, it's hot and humid. I'm sitting here with a tall glass of fresh, homemade lemonade - nothing like it for quenching a thirst.

We crossed Estero at the Mango Street access - there's no crosswalk, so it's sort of a no-no, but the closest crosswalk is at the Chapel Street access, and there's a year-long litigation going on between the Town and the adjacent property owner, and I am staying as far away from that area as I can! When Gracie's nostrils fill with the salt air, she lunges and pulls me to the shore. I kick off my flip-flops and tuck them in the back of my shorts. The tide is strong, incoming, and high. The surf is kicked up and the water is turbid. The sky is partly cloudy and the humidity is high. There is a lot of beach activity, with all the parasail, jet-ski and umbrella and lounge chair vendors setting up in anticipation of a busy day.

We've had a lot of rain this past week, and the storms have kicked up the gulf. The shoreline has large deposits of shells turned up from the sea floor, that have not yet been bleached or broken. We pass a group of women in the "sanibel stoop" as it's been known, bent over with a shirt-sack full of sea shells. We strolled past the Lani Kai, a rare glimpse of its bare blue canvas chairs, which will be completely filled with bathing suit bodies before the day is through.

Passing in front of the Beach Pierside Grill, the tide is way up on the seawall, forcing us to walk knee deep to get up to the pier. We walked up to Times Square where merchants served breakfast al fresco and set up their outdoor displays of t-shirts and sand toys. Remembering an ad in the beach paper about a new building about to have a grand opening, I decided to walk down and check it out. The building is in the place of a favorite spot of mine; Dockside. Dockside had the BEST pizza and wings EVER. They have been around forever, and the building was falling down. So the owners tore it down and are replacing it with a type of "shopping village." They promise me they will have their famous pizza and wings. We'll see.

We paused at the fountain and gazebo at the back bay. Two public works guys who work for the Town were doing their rounds, and we chatted briefly. I noticed that the bay was far calmer than the gulf and momentarily thought I could take my kayak out in the bay. We returned home on the sidewalk. As we passed a paid parking lot, the attendant gave Gracie two milkbone cookies. (She would probably have prefered a drink of water!) As we walked in front of the DiamondHead Beach Resort, Gracie just laid down. In the shade, and panted.... and panted. Poor thing - I guess she was tuckered out. (This was a longer walk than we normally take). So I stood along the walk, while she rested.

We couldn't get in the house fast enough. Ahh. Air conditioning! Water! Gracie raced to her water dish and I juiced some lemons. I'd been thinking about a tall glass of fresh lemonade for the past thirty minutes or so!

I have a long list of things that I need to and want to accomplish today and tomorrow. I have the usual laundry, dishes, cleaning stuff, I have several new books (oh! That reminds me to get to the library before 1:00 today!) that I ordered from Amazon that arrived this week. My garden could use some attention (although the lillies are blooming! How delightful!). And somewhere in here and there I need to buy a camera.

Have a wonderful Saturday, and glorious weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

AK: Preliminary Plans

My dear friends who may read this and many subsequent posts will find many entries documenting my upcoming Alaskan vacation. I'll try not to bore you.

You've heard of the bucket list. I have had one, but not in the morbid sense. Ever since I can remember I 've had a few things on my radar that I want to accomplish in this lifetime. Visiting Alaska is one of them.
I am fascinated by the Eskimo, the Inuit, as well as the Russian culture. [ I visited USSR in March 1975]. In the seventies when I was doing everything but reading, I fervently read a book called "Going to Extremes." I watched National Geographic documentaries on Alaska. I loved many of the movies "Call of the Wild" or that great movie with Anthony Hopkins , "The Edge" I love this stuff!

I've booked the flight from Regional Southwest to Fairbanks.... a 13 or 14 hour flight. Next morning, train from Fairbanks to Denali. Normally, the train would take me to the park entrance to get the bus to the backcountry lodge. But because I will have extra luggage (because of a cruise we'll discuss in a bit!) I need to leave the extra luggage at the Denali Cabins, which seem to be 8 miles south from the train station at the park entrance. A sweet speaking young woman named Crystal told me that their courtesy van would take me from the train station to the Denali Cabins to store my extra luggage. A good thing.

Then I'll get on the Denali Backcountry Lodge motorcoach from the park entrance to the backcountry lodge: an estimated 6 hour trip. [ i'm sure that includes potty breaks and photo opps]. We should get to the lodge around 8 PM: there's still 4 more hours of daylight.

I have three nights at this lodge. How stinkin' awesome! Hiking, biking, fishing, sitting, reading...lots of way cool wilderness, no distractions time. Please visit:

Train to Anchorage: I have read that it is a picturesque delight! The Alaskan Railroad is said to be absolutely breathtaking. I'll roll into Achorage sometime Saturday evening, and stay at a comfortable hotel. I have booked a cruise departing the next day out of Seward: here's where there's a bit of a disconnect - at least for the present time.

Tomorrow I'll firm up some of my cruise arrangements -specifically the transfer from Anchorage to Seward.
I do still have to book flight from Vancouver to Fort Myers.
I've put in for the time off and the boss signed off!
I am so having the best summer vacation!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Well, tonight I did it. I really did it. Tonight I booked my alaskan vacation. It's perfect. I fly in to Fairblanks, train to Denali, 3 nites at the Denali backcountry lodge, then train to Anchorage. That's how much I've booked at this point. And that's all good. I can figure out the shore excrusions within the next two months. Denali backcountry lodge is the biggy for me. I"m so very excited about that: so excited, that I booked 3 nights - mucho denaro - , but how great it will be to be deep in the heart of this great wilderness... to be so isolated, so secluded, so in touch with nature!
Still, the trip is in reasonable dollars. My airfare from Regional South West (RSW) to Fairbanks came in at $500. not bad, trip insurance included).
OH. End of July, early August. I'm putting in for 2 weeks. It's going to be so stinkin' awesome!!
Tonight I did it. I really did it!!
[MIchelle is doin' the HAPPY DANCE!!]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Work in Progress

I slipped into bed last night, early for me, with the intention to read. I found myself deep in sleep, when Gracie alerted me to someone at the door. I looked at my cell phone: it was 11:30 pm. Gracie ran to the door and I heard a key in the lock, and knew it was Lauren and bf coming home. I fell out of my room, half in my robe, and asked Lauren to take Gracie out. You come in and stir her up, you need to take her out, I said. I turned off my bed lamps and quickly fell back to sleep.
Somewhere in the middle of the night, Gracie reared up, alerted to some outside noise. I listened and paid attention, but didn't move (movement gives Gracie reason). She ran to the door, as the key was turned again. It was Lauren and Kevin, again, and it was 4:30 AM. I listened as they visited the kitchen and bathroom, and heard one of them take Gracie out. Good. I don't have to get up.
I woke feeling rested, in spite of the nite's disturbances. I made a conscious decision to make a conscious effort to make this a good day. I lay in bed half in and half out of consciousness, hitting the snooze on the alarm. I ran over the duties of the upcoming day. I had a list of "have to's"... and I absentmindedly priortized them as I lay in bed. I got up, showered, dressed and headed out to work.
The morning worked according to plan, systematically accomplishing the "to do's". I had an appointment with the boss right after lunch to go over my 2010 budget. It went WAY better than expected. Of course when we came to the travel and training line item, he said, "Good luck with that" and when I asked to add another position, he said, "how about we try, [this] first."
I was somewhat nervous/stressed about this budget session, but it went well. I had the ear of the boss in a way I'd not had in a year. He was sympathetic to my workload and lack of personnel. All in all, it went good.
I had some fresh strawberries that I cleaned last night, so I added a good shot of tequila with them in the blender, made some shrimp/jambalaya and watched jeopardy.
A good ending to a good day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Day!

On weekends, I feel the need to spend as much time as I can with Gracie, to "make up" for the hours I'm at work. Sometimes I chuckle to myself and say, "She's a DOG!" Today would be different. After a gentle, lazy start to the day, I put on my white capris and azure blue tank top, using the hair clip I bought last july in Butchart Gardens (with blue pressed flowers against a white porcelain clip), and wearing the silver and blue chandelier earrings that Sarah brought back for me from Costa Rica. My feet slipped into white flip flops. I picked up the handmade straw bag I bought at the Shrimp Festival last March. Michelle's going shopping.

My premier destination was Beach Seafood for some large pink Gulf shrimp(yummy!). I put a small cooler in the back of my CR-V (weekends, with high traffic coming to the beach, it's near suicide to try and turn left out of Shrimp Boat Lane - I would buy the shrimp first, then head into Town. Beach Seafood always packs with ice, so the delicious pink shrimp will do well in the cooler). I bought 2 lbs. Will there be anything else? I hesitated, as I nearly drooled over the tuna, mahi, grouper, snow crab, king crab. I LOVE seafood... I was like a kid in a candy store. "NO, That'll do it, thanks."
Next stop was Petco. A few days ago, I met a nice young couple on the beach. They were from St. Louis, MO and were here on vacation. I had Gracie with me that evening, and she was the reason that we met. They have a Weimaraner, and "missed her" as she is kenneled while they vacation. Linda and Jason are their names, and they played with Gracie as we chatted. Their Weim is 6 yrs old, so I had a lot to glean from them. One recommendation was a toy called a "kong." This toy has been recommended to me for Gracie, before, but this time, Jason's recommendation came with the reason that Weim's need "work" - they need to be stimulated, and this toy can do that. So... off to Petco to get Gracie a "Kong". Of course, there's not just "A" KONG... there's small, medium , large, extra large, bone shaped, shoe nauseum. I bought one that a figured appropriate for Gracie, and bought several custom sacks of healthy dog treats. What a lucky dog.
Well! Looky here! Petco "just happens to be" in the same shopping plaza as DSW...the mecca of shoe shopping. Gracie has chewed several pairs of shoes...she loves the leather.... and , well... shoe shopping is medicinal. I bought two great pairs of shoes: one pair, a casual "Merrell" sandal, the other a real smart black wedge by Liz Clairborne. I'm so excited!
On to Total Wine, which "just so happens" to be next door to DSW. I bought 2 bottles of red and 2 bottles of white. It's great fun reading all the descriptions, the "choices" the samplings. Again, somewhat like a kid in a candy store.
I decided to stop at Publix on the way home. "never grocery shop on an empty stomach". I know that very well, yet today I disobeyed. Everything looked really, really good. I bought a car load. The majority of my purchases were fresh produce, so that's a good thing. Let's just hope that all this fresh stuff gets eaten, and not spoiled and tossed.
I pulled in to the driveway a few minutes before 5:00. Lauren's car was home, and her boyfriend's truck was here. La was just about to leave for work. The girls gave me a beautiful card, and a CD of Edith Piaf! Happy Mothers' Day!! to me!!
It's been a great day!

A lemonade day

It is a very quiet morning. Like yesterday, I woke without a plan for the day. Yesterday became cleaning day. Gracie made some real messes so I went to Topps and bought some Resolve. While there, I picked up a huge bag of rice to put out for the postal workers' food drive. I also bought a dozen fresh lemons. I squeezed the lemons and made a gallon of delicious lemonade. I shampooed the carpets, conditioned the leather furniture, washed the kitchen floor, cleaned out the refrigerator, did laundry, pruned my rosebushes and repotted some plants. After a hot shower, I sat down with a crisp glass of white bordeaux and salmon and cream cheese and crackers. I then spent several hours at various cruise websites, looking for my Alaskan cruise.
Today is Mothers Day. This is the first mothers day without my mother. My brother and his wife left yesterday for Ireland for two weeks. My youngest brother will probably go to the cemetery and think that I should be there, too. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to my daughters that I would like to rent a pontoon boat out of Fishtale marina and spend the day on the water with the daughters and dogs. Both daughters work today, however, so I guess that's a plan that won't happen.
It's a beautiful beach day. Perhaps I'll make more lemonade and bask in the warm Florida sun.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Can't get the message

I had some very strong dream images that have lingered with me throughout today. Dream experts recommend keeping a dream diary - I've done it at times, not keeping one for a very long time, and not keeping one at this time. I suppose I should begin - again - with more discipline. I have been dreaming a great deal lately, with a great deal of symbolism. The spirit guides, my subconscious mind, the ethers or the "all" ...are trying to tell me something. I suppose if I were keeping a dream diary, last night's dream images would probably be better retained.
I dreamt I was at school - a college or university, i think. I was studying a manual, or workbook of sorts. I had missed the exam, and was cramming with anxiety, and began searching for the professor to plead my case for a make-up. I walked the crowded halls, found myself outside on the steps. I continued down to the lawn, to see my youngest brother's car parked on the grass. I walked to the car, looked inside to see it was empty, and was puzzled by its presence.
I was handed a newspaper, and was asked to read. I opened the page to a series of advertisements of second hand automobiles for sale. My listening audience consisted of the person (unknown in the waking state) who had given me the newspaper, and my two daughters. I read the headers of the ads, which were in a sort of cryptic code or icons.

That is the extent of what i remember. I puzzled over those images all day, to now, with no real grasp to its meaning. School, tests, teachers, automobiles, newspapers... all powerful dream images.. There's some message I'm suppose to get.....

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Time has Come

I woke at 5:45 this morning, took Gracie out for "bizniss" and crawled back in to bed, awaiting the 7:00 alarm. I lay in bed watching the morning sun slit through the window shears, listening to the cardinals and`mockingbirds chorus. I checked my Blackberry and saw an e-mail from one of my councilmembers, sent at 1:20 AM. It was a heads-up on something that was happening first thing this morning, so it was sort of a mixed blessing: I was wondering why I am 'plugged in' 24/7, but grateful to have the opportunity to get a jump on something. I sent a few e-mails, passing along the 'heads-up' as I lay in bed. I put down the phone. I felt well rested, I had a good weekend, my spring flu had disipated to almost nothing. I felt good. Yet I had this unavoidable feeling of dread. I dreaded going in to work, but for no particular reason. What would I like to do, instead, I asked myself. I thought of a number of things, none of which could provide me with my need for health insurance and a regular, reasonable income. Okay, I responded, what is it about your job that you DO like, or that you could change to make it pleasant? I hit a brick wall, a dead end.

I eased out of bed, into the shower and began my morning routine. I knew I had a council meeting at 9:00 AM sharp, with an added duty (courtesy of the 1 am e-mail) that would begin at 8:15. " It will be what you make it" I told myself, as I tried to map my day as I wished it to be, as I appreciated the goodness in my life. I enjoyed the yogurt and bananas breakfast, the warm, stimulating shower. I dressed in a black pencil skirt with a great lace top and cute black sandals. The weekend at the beach gave my bare legs, arms and face a nice golden glow. I felt good. I felt I looked good.

I pedaled up on my new pink beach cruiser, perfect timing to be greeted by the Principal of the Beach Elementary School and twenty or so fifth-graders. This was the Youth Council, my 'added duty'. My councilmember said, "Well! You all get to meet your first Town Staff member!" So I rallied: "HI! I'm Michelle Mayher, your Town Clerk! I'm SO EXCITED to have you all join us today!" I was taken aback by one young student that actually clapped, jumped and shouted, "yay!!" (she was happy to meet me?!!?)

The meeting, the morning and the balance of my work day went well. I did not work late (rare for me) and was home by 5:15. Feeling full from a late lunch, I decided that Gracie and I both needed a good brisk walk. I changed, gathered my cell phone, a bottle of water and poop bags and leashed Gracie and headed out. She LOVES to go 'walking'. There are some issues going on on this island that make it difficult for me to separate Michelle resident from Michelle clerk. It pisses me off. I have to go out of my way to avoid "the perception" of town staff interference. I'm just out walking my dog, but run in to "issues". Gracie and I take a good 2-3 mile walk, but nearly every step of the way I'm met with "issues"; reasons to make me say to myself, "I've been on this island too long" "I need a change" " need something else."

"The time has come," the Walrus said,"To talk of many things:Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bit of a Ramble

"Life is a Page Turner."
"Nothing is Worth More than this Day."
"Life is a Journey, not a Destination."
These are some of the sayings engraved in plaques and jewelry being sold in some of the catalogues I receive in the mail. This smacks in the face of reality in relation to my previous post. I spent yesterday and today pretty much by myself. My younger daughter is home from college for the summer, and she and her boyfriend have been here - in and out - occasional conversations that consisted mostly of brief answers to my intermittent questions. I spent time on the beach, both Saturday for several hours and today a morning walk and late afternoon walk. As always, these afforded brief conversations with passers-by. Aside from Gracie, I have spent the weekend within myself.

I feel somewhat pressured to 'take a vacation' - to take time for myself. We Sagittarians are the zodiacs' adventurers. The other morning, pedaling to work, I passed a man I'd worked with 12 years ago. At the time he was struggling to keep a job - now, I see him frequently being fed and cared for at "God's Table", the local chapel's program for the underpriveleged. "I've been on this island too long" I said to myself.

As I sat on the beach yesterday, I casually asked myself how I could live anywhere other than the warm beaches of south Florida.

As I sat on the beach, I watched couples. I watched couples of all shapes, sizes and ages. It's been a really long time since I've been part of "a couple." Even when I 'technically' was, I wasn't. For so many years, my husband was living somewhat of a double life: carrying on an affair for nearly three years, while carrying on his role as my spouse. I think I would have to go back to 2000... or before....

I've been divorced three and a half years. I watch couples and I wonder. How do they do it? As I watch couples and wonder how they do it, see them strolling the beach holding hands, I wonder: are they so happy together? are they in a new relationship? ..are they trying to save a failing relationship? I see myself sitting alone on the beach. I am beginning to yearn.

As I type this, I am watching a special on Yellowstone National Park. I happened to catch a piece on the hardships of winter and early spring. Footage shows a thawing, raging river. The narrator says, "For the young bison, it's a daunting task; but for those who survive, there are rewards ahead."

I know this has been a bit of a ramble, but it typifies my state of mind. I woke this morning from a dream of having been in an antique shop. I was looking over the merchandise, I was with loved ones, although I can't say now who they were. Of note, in the shop, I picked up two items that I here, now, have trouble describing. They were swords. One experienced in swords would know what they are called, I do not. The swords had the handles and then a circular 'cuff' that protected the handle and then proceeded to the blade. It was pointed out to me, (in the dream) and I was very aware that these two swords were Sterling Silver, and stamped as such. In my waking state and considering this dream image, it brings me to thinking of the Ace of Swords, in the Tarot deck. This represents the power of a directed mind, indicating an ability to center one's conscious mind.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Life and Time

Yesterday morning I began filling out "requests for leave" slips. I have a few dentist appointments coming up, so I put in for sick leave. I also knew I wanted to attend a Mass for a recently deceased friend that was scheduled for this morning, so I began to submit a request for four hours' personal time. That prompted me to question my personal time: in addition to sick and vacation time, we are given 8 hours' birthday time and 8 hours' personal time. A few years ago, the personnel policy was changed to require personal and b'day time to be taken by the end of the fiscal year (or lose it). My birthday is the end of November, and I usually take my b'day and personal day together, around Thanksgiving. However, when the policy changed, I missed taking my time by the end of the fiscal last November (2008) I don't know whether I took my FY 08 or FY 09 days.... So I checked with our accounting coordinator... she would have to look it up... by the way, I asked, can you please give me a tally of my accrued sick and vacation time....? She was quick to oblige... I had 250 hours of vacation time.... the new policy also says, any time in excess of 240 hours is lost at the end of the fiscal year. What the heck, I said... so I put in for 8 hours' vacation time for today (it seemed silly to return to work on a Friday afternoon, anyway).

I had a nice chat with our finance director (who also handles HR). She's a very smart, very kind woman. She told me my priorties are all wrong. At the end of the day, she said, all of this work will still be here. If you get hit by a bus tomorrow someone else will come in and do your job. You need to put Michelle first. I surprised myself at how her comments brought me close to tears. Was it so obvious?! You only live once, she said. Do you really want to be on your deathbed, saying, 'I should have taken that vacation!' ?

This morning I attended a Mass of Christian burial for a woman who was 38 years old. She was killed in an auto accident. She had no spouse or children, but left a very close-knit family and a large network of friends. So sad. The irony, or incongruity came to light as I sat in the church, listening to the pastor talk about death of the body and birth of the soul. How our faith gives us birth to a new life. I heard the words, "you only live once." I heard the words, "everyone wants to go to Heaven, but noone wants to die." My mind said, "I want to die" before I had a chance to grab that thought and contain it. I am happy in my life, yet I know that there is happiness in the 'after' life. My mind wandered from the pastor's sermon. At 54, how have I lived this life? What lies ahead for me? Am I making the best use of this life I've been given?