Do you need anything? I don’t, but the there’s plenty to be had for a bargain at the antique malls in Lancaster. I was overwhelmed today during our visit, but then I’m into simplicity and don’t want ONE THING. I understand the desire and even the addiction to collect. I recall the days when we would return home with additions to our collections of old typewriters, scales, cash registers, kitchen utensils and all kinds of shelves with little drawers and cubbies. Now, on my birthday, as I step into the age of wisdom (really?), I am hoping to say something wise about all the stuff that is polluting our world. And we didn’t even go to the mall to peruse the new treasures being manufactured around the globe.
It seems that I’ve been sitting in the moment for the past four months, which means I’ve had no travel plans. But that is changing. E-tickets for Tim, Jill, Jemma, Clement and I are hanging out in the Aiitalia cloud, waiting for us to hop on the plane. The five us will be in Rome and Florence for the April school vacation; I will head over a week earlier to wander around Florence and perhaps spend a couple of nights in Assisi.
I’m still not certain about my cottage-by-the-sea plans for January through March, but whether I am by the sea or in my home, I will be writing. It is time to finish “Very Grateful”. I’m ready, willing and motivated to deliver the manuscript back to my editor’s electronic hands before I go to Italy.
Part Two of my Jane Austen project has begun. I am reading an annotated edition of Pride and Prejudice. Eventually I’ll get a CD of the book but for now, as I drive around, I’m listening to Longbourn, by Jo Baker, a novel about the life of the servants at the Bennet household. Someone had to wash all those dresses and polish all that silver!
I just talked with the owner of the cottage I rent. He’s feeling better and hopes to head south the first week of January. I’m fine however the winter works out for me; home or at the cottage-by-the-sea.
As we were talking he described the 4 o’clock sky and sea that he was gazing at. As I took a deep breath, I could picture it, but truth be told, it wasn’t the same as being there.
I wear a Fitbit to measure how many stairs I’ve climbed, steps I’ve taken, and miles I’ve walked. I think in terms of miles, trying to walk four a day. When I take a real walk, I make my goal. On other days I fall way short.
From time to time Fitbit awards me ‘internet badges’. Here’s my favorite. It can’t get better than this.
Beneath an icon of the Coliseum:
You've earned the Italy badge
By walking 736 miles--
the entire length of Italy--
you've stepped your way to another lifetime badge.
That's a colossal achievement!
My sisters and I visited the Kreeger Museum in DC. The Kreegers’ home/museum was designed by Phillip Johnson in the 1960s. Built in modules of twenty-two feet, I have to presume that Johnson studied Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel in Florence. For now this has to be my favorite museum in the U.S., but of course second to those in Florence.
I visited the National Gallery today with my sisters and snapped away. So many favorites, but clearly I love anything from fifteenth century Florence. Enjoy
“At heart, hospitality is a helping across a threshold.”
Offering hospitality doesn’t just happen when someone comes to my house, although that is how I typically think of it. Today I saw it a different way when I visited my 96 year old friend Jo who is just settling into her new home, a nursing home. She cannot cross the threshold to my home, but I can make the step over to hers. She can offer me hospitality, and as she does so, I can reciprocate.
This morning my hospitality was to check out her new surroundings and to rejoice in them: a bed by the window, cheerful helpers, new activities. It wasn’t much, because let’s face it, Jo would rather be in her own home, making her own decisions, surrounded by her own things. The good news is that her dog Daisy can come to call, which she did on Sunday, jumping onto Jo’s lap and staying there the entire visit. Reciprocal hospitality at its best.
Well, I took the week off from posting anything on my blog, and until this morning I pretty much took time off from even thinking about it. Occasionally I would come across a quote worth posting, but I let go of the need to write it down for future use. I took fewer pictures on my iPhone. Instead of writing a post, or even thinking about it, I opened the “Very Grateful” file and got to work.
The book is coming along slowly, but I’m making progress, or at least I’m adding to the word count. I’ve finished another introduction, but am now a little stuck on how to proceed. The challenge is to move chunks of what I’ve already written to create a more inviting format, a format that invites the reader to become intimately acquainted with my mom and her life of gratitude.
Today, as I posted a quote, and now, as I write, I am glad to be back on the blog. I missed something important during my mini hiatus. What, I ask myself? I missed the sharing. That’s it. Sharing ideas with whomever you are out there, the readers I know and that mystery group in the clouds around the world.
My plan, as of this moment, is to keep blogging. Thankfully I’ve let go of the need daily to post a daily quote, or to blog every other day. My goal is to keep the momentum of writing “Very Grateful” going. Um, if this blog is about silence, solitude and simplicity, I’d better do my best to keep it that way.
P.S. No word on when or if I'll be returning to the cottage this season.
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