Friday, September 26, 2008

It's a Blast

While I have been recovering from the burning rash on my legs, I've been staying off my feet. This is really tough.

For one, I love to cook dinner. I'm really good at it. My husband can cook, but honestly, it is way different. I'm also tired of eating out or getting take out. What to do, what to do. He bought salmon and grilled it, but we had more fish than we could eat at once. Leftover nuked fish was not really appetizing the second day, and we still didn't get it all eaten. The third day, I had to do something about this. I sent Hubby to the store and supervised dinner. He made salmon chowder last night. He wasn't sure why we had to go through all these fancy efforts, and was a little frustrated with all the steps involved. But I walked him through the recipe's beginning and he learned a few skills. And then I left the kitchen with dinner half prepared, telling my man that he will have to assemble the rest of the chowder on his own, and that I knew he could do it. And you know, he was really glad he put the effort into it.

It was wonderful. So much better than canned soup. Just as good as if we went out. We finished the rest of it today during lunch.

I'm finding that there are a lot of things I can do sitting down with my feet up. Folding laundry is one. Organizing my office is another--filing and bill paying. I can write real letters. Oh yeah, I used to be a real letter writer. I wrote letters home, to my grandma, my great Aunt Hilda, close friends and Dennis. And I got as many letters as I sent. It was a regular weekend activity--find a cozy place and curl up, turn on music, light a candle, pick some pretty stationary and start writing. It was relaxing and a way to connect with a friend or family member far away. I used to send recipe cards, pictures, bookmarks or drawings (yep, I used to draw a little).

This summer, we turned a spare room into a guest room that functions as my office and prayer place. After all that, I have trouble getting motivated to go in there. It's pretty. There are comfortable places to sit. I have a window seat. Great lighting. But it still isn't the first place I go for reading and writing or praying. I decided that it had a lot to do with the fact I still have everything spread out all over the house. It isn't quite "Althea Central" in the new office, which is the ultimate goal after all. I have a desk in the family room next to the computer and the tv, and it is never used because it isn't a good place for quiet contemplation. But my files and "stuff" are in it. So I've taken all that up to my office. Which means I had purging and re-organizing to do, which I've done all day while sitting on the floor.

And I discovered a few things in the process. I once prided myself on amazing organization skills, but that is no longer true. I also kept in touch with people via letters and cards, and that is no longer true. My letter writing and card sending is an extension of my spiritual gift of encouragement, which I am no longer using as much any more. And I have cut back on Christmas cards. I love Christmas card exchanging, but I start after Thanksgiving which is the wrong time to start for someone like me in the retail/coffee business. The time to start is around Halloween for me. I can get the envelopes addressed and start a newsletter, and then work on the rest before Thanksgiving.

In fact, all of Christmas is a downer for me. It hasn't been the same for about eight or so years. I find it over rated. I often work Christmas Eve, and I never take time off for the holidays or to even travel to be with family. By the time I even think about it, it is over. I need to start thinking about it now, and make small plans about what is most important to me and Dennis.

People complain that Christmas shows up earlier every year. But, for me, it is an opportunity for me to think things over and prepare for the emotional onslaught that the holidays represent to me instead of Christ's incarnation. I'll need the extra time, because if the recent economic developments are any indication, my business will be fighting for every profit we can muster. It was tough last year, it will be even tougher this Christmas. I remember telling my boss post Christmas last year that it seemed like I worked harder than ever but got fewer results than ever. And six months later, three of the six stores that our company had in our county had to close. I am not expecting anything less than difficult and pressure-filled this Christmas. Sad, but true.

So, I will have to make choices to protect my health, physically and spiritually and even emotionally this Christmas. Thinking about it now might be really early for most of you out there, but it beats the heck out of what I've been numbly doing for the last nine years since Mom died December 3, 1999.

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