Three weeks into the new year, I can write with some very large boulders of salt that 2012 is shaping up better than last year already. In fact, I’m at the point where I’m letting myself relax and breathe a little bit, because you can only hold your breath for so long before you turn blue and pass out.
* We’re 99.999% sure Dan will be hired on permanently by the company where he’s been working since early September. At this point, we’re pretty sure it’s a matter of “when” rather than “if,” but things seem to be moving steadily if slowly in that direction. When it happens, we can feel OK about signing a lease and finally moving down to the Bay Area, which has been our plan since before we moved to California. Last week, we even thought we might have a lead on a potential place to live, one perfect for our needs in all ways (size, rent, location, etc.) but it turned out to be a miscommunication. But we’ll find something.
* The cats seem to be at a point where they mostly ignore one another, and when they spend time in the same room, for the most part they are not actively trying to antagonize or eat one another with extreme prejudice. There was even a time the other day when they accidentally ended up in the same space, only a foot or so away from one another, and nobody chased and nobody hissed. This is major progress!
* I auditioned for a play last week, for the first time since I was a senior in high school, and I got cast!!!! It’s a community theater production of Twelve Dancing Princesses, done by the same company that did Rapunzel for which I painted sets back in October, and I’m super excited to be a part of the production. I won’t have a script until the first rehearsal, but I’m one of the princesses, and more than anything I’m proud of myself for auditioning. I decided that this year I’d do things because I wanted to do them, because I can’t waiting on life to be what I want it to be. I’ll write a longer post once rehearsals begin and I know a little bit more about what I’ll be doing.
* I’m doing flowers for a wedding in February. I’ve also met with two potential clients for weddings later in 2012, people I didn’t already know, people who found my work through my listing on APW.
* I had a cold earlier in the month (it took about a week to finally become full-blown, but once it was there, I was better in 3 days) but I still managed to get out and walk every day I didn’t feel well. I’ve already walked 100 miles this month.
* After two months of dry, cold weather, it finally rained for a few days! The hills are green and the water table is going back up. These are good things.
* My mom gave me these warm cozy slippers for Christmas and I wear them any time I’m home. My feet are finally warm pretty much all the time, which is really helpful.
* Our friends who did IVF late last year were successful in their quest to become pregnant, and are in fact expecting twins!
And now for some not-so-great news: my friend Heather, in whose honor Dan and I did the charity walk last fall, has been in the hospital at UCSF for more than two weeks now (it wasn’t supposed to be nearly that long, but she’s had some complications). Because I was sick early on in her stay, and because she’s taking immunosuppressant drugs for her disease, I didn’t want to give her my cold. But I’d returned to health midweek last week, so on Friday I took the bus down to San Francisco armed with a backpack full of stuff I’d made or bought: nail polish, fuzzy warm socks, her favorite animal crackers, 80s movies, old school newspapers and literary magazines we’d both had a part in writing, and some games, including a deck of playing cards that features ancient Greek people depicted in explicit imagery (to make her laugh). I also made some purple puff ball/flower things out of tissue paper and floral wire to hang around her room, and bought some gerbera daisies to brighten up the place.
Although generally in a fair amount of pain, Heather’s spirits had been brightened during the week by visits from other friends and a care package, and we had a nice afternoon mostly chatting and laughing over some of the stuff I’d brought. She was really excited by the puff balls and had me hang one on her IV pole. At one point I walked to her favorite Mediterranean place and got myself some lunch, and in so doing brought back an extra treat that she probably wasn’t supposed to eat but wanted anyway (and she enjoyed every morsel). While I was there, Heather had a visit from a service dog and several visits from floor nurses to change various dressings and IV bags and such, but for the most part it was just the two of us and the rain and the sirens and car alarms (a drawback to a hospital stay in the middle of a big city). Part of me was happy to see her in relatively high spirits with lower-than-usual stress, but I knew it came at the expense of being nearly 100 miles away from her kids. She’s going through a variety of really stressful life things all at once (her illness just one of several things that would make the average person say “uncle”) and her extended stay physically removed from everything has done as much as the medical care to help with her stress level, I think.
Later, I thought a lot about how much I take for granted as a generally healthy, physically able-bodied person. I may go through extremely stressful life events, and need to reach out to others for assistance. But there are times when the best thing I can do for myself is to do things for other people, and if I could make Heather laugh by reading a passage she’d written about how our town needed more taxis back in 1995, then that $10.50 and 2.5 hours on the bus in the rain was worth every minute of my time, money, and energy. I only wish I could do more.