Oh the joy of the after Christmas lull! I am having a guilt-free morning in bed, giving my badly in need of a cortisone injection left knee a much needed rest. As long as I don't try to walk or stand up I feel fine, so this is really a treat. I'm not even being sarcastic. I have a pile of books, my laptop, a good cup of coffee delivered by room service (Jim), and a view of the woods out the window. The only thing lacking is an upstairs bathroom- we're a few years away from that kind of luxury. Too bad, because stairs are not my friend right now.
Good knees are under appreciated but bad knees are maybe under
appreciated too- they can buy you time to write and think. It's nice to
be free from my usual responsibilities without actually being sick- a
little like during chemotherapy but without the fatigue, malaise, and
fear that ruined what otherwise might have been a pretty good vacation.
This knee thing started a couple of years ago- a legacy from my grandmother Estelle, I think. For most of her life after middle age she was plagued by arthritis in her knees. She was a good sport about it too- a really good sport I realize now- as she progressed over the years from limping around to trouble getting up from a chair, then trouble going upstairs, then to using a cane, then to a walker, and finally to a wheelchair when she was in her 80s. Her right knee ended up buckled in toward the other leg, like a broken branch.
I've been thinking about her all week as I've found tasks and activities that I would normally not think twice about, to be painful and consequently burdensome. I've also been having "Estelle moments" when I've felt on the brink of wanting to break something out of frustration after realizing, say, that I'd left my glasses upstairs or forgotten to bring something in from the car, and referring to my knee, not fondly, as "you son of a bitch."
I thought of her as I hobbled around the kitchen on Christmas Eve day, making a banana bread for Jim's daughter Colleen. Estelle made a lot of banana breads in that kitchen, many of them for me. There was no martyrdom in it. She wanted to give and she gave- and continued this right up until her body and mind wouldn't cooperate anymore.
It's not the same without her. Our family thrived in warmth of her love and generosity.
Today was my 49th birthday. Despite a some difficult spells here and there, it's been good being alive here on this planet, in this body, for this now nearly half a century. I like it here and I hope to stick around for a while.
This morning we woke up to grey skies. By the time I got out for a run it was sleeting and by the end of the run the sleet had turned mostly to snow. It was lovely. Back at home we had a couple of winter visitors- a Carolina Wren at the feeder and a Pileated Woodpecker in the forest part of the backyard- both birds we've seen here before but not often. The wren came right up close to the window, peering in, and stayed for a long time, eating bits of seed that had fallen from the feeder onto the ledge.
Later we met the rest of the family: mom, Kuni, Jan, Patty, Anna, and Ray, for Japanese food at Osaka in Northampton. After our late lunch we all went to see Anna and Ray's new house- sort of a Victorian cottage- which I am now in love with. I was so taken with it and so happy that they would be living there that it brought tears to my eyes. I am so looking forward to spending time with them there- helping Anna with the gardens, cooking, reading on the deck or in the garden, walking to town...The house reminds both Anna and I of the house on Chestnut Street- our favorite among the many places we lived when she and Jonathan were growing up. Everyone was taken with the house today- so much so that Ray worried that maybe it was "too good for them." It's not.
Jim surprised me with a new digital camera after having already given me new riding pants and half chaps. The camera is fabulous- I just have to learn how to use it to it's full potential.
Here we are on Anna and Ray's porch. Anna is in front of me, Jan
(brother), is to my left and Jim and Ray to the right. Patty is holding
the camera. Next time we'll figure out the self timer feature.
birthday to me, happy new house to Anna and Ray.
Thank you Jim, Mom,
Kuni, Jan, Patty, Anna, and Ray for today and for everything.