Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Meantime

One year ago today, I talked Grey into coming to Norman to meet me.  It didn't take much, just a photograph of some blueberry pancakes up on Facebook. 

The rest is history. Happy history. And so happy anniversary, Grey.  It's been the best year of my life.

In the meantime, people struggle.  I have several friends and family members who are just having a hard time right now.  My mom is recovering after some surgery.  She is doing much better but this wans't a simple procedure.  My dandilion is having a rough time of it financially as it is impossible to pay the bills with only one full time job.  In Norman, it's also just about impossible to find a job that is full time anyway, so he is just doing the best he can.  His church and friends help, but he is also recovering from a bike/car collision a couple of months ago. Others are fighting the regular fight- not enough day at the end of the day and too many things to do just to stay afloat or get a bit ahead of the curve.  Some are in school, or home schooling or figuring out how long-term medical care for dependents.  One friend just had a hysterectomy.  Another is still undergoing a long recovery from a surgery this summer to allow him to walk much farther without his wheelchair.  Charlotte's asthma is more or less under control but she has some mysterious blood iron deficiency.  Cathy's mother-in-law is in the hospital.  Wildfires have been burning, even within 5 miles of town, for the last month outside of Ellensburg. Things are falling apart. I struggle too. It is terrifying to think that since we moved, neither of us will have significant paycheck for another 2 weeks. We planned well but we are being conservative until things even out. 

I am reminded of something I learned in Al-Anon.  I was totally broke, living alone in a small prison town.  No friends around and without any real support except for the huge amounts of phone calls and online chatting.  And I was lonely.  I went to the grocery store every day just to be around free people. I had Eleanor, who despite being a cat, helped me keep it together.  My Uncle Vernon died.  I went to work every day in a place that was designed to punish people.  I called a friend, neck-deep in pain, but I also regularly indulged in self-pity.

"I am sorry you have to go through this." she said. "Things will get better.  But in the meantime, you'll do mean time."

She advised me to go do something nice for someone else and to quit feeling so sorry for myself.  I also made a list of things for which I am grateful. I did do something nice for someone else and I felt a little better.

I am doing that today.  Because you know what? I could use a little gratitude. Here are five things I am grateful for.

1. Cool weather. I sleep so well in cold weather and am loving the slow ascent to autumn.  I'm sure that should be "descent", but I like to think we are ramping up for winter, not sliding into it.  I love to walk to work in the brisk morning air and walk home smelling the warm breeze.
2. Grey. I don't know what I would do without him catching my back, cheering me on and just being there the talk to.  What a great friend; what a wonderfu partner.
3. Friends.  I talk to my friends every other day and usually much more often through text message. 
4. Health. It's been very smokey here since there are wildfires almost completely out of control.  Yesterday, they were about 10% contained.  There are many days when people are advised to stay inside and not breathe the air.  Others walk around wtih face masks.  Desipte this, there are clear days when the wind blows and I can even go jogging.  Most days, Grey and I go for a walk.  It feels wonderful to have my health and to take deep breaths of air. We still haven't even used half a tank of gas in three weeks.
5. Water.  The water quality here is excellent.  I am willing to drink tap water, as it beats even the filtered water in Oklahoma.  On top of that, my office has a community drinking fountain with filtered water and a special part for water bottles.  I will never have to buy water as long as we live here. 

We all do mean time, I think.  It is a part of the human condition.  I have been leaning lately on others, and in some measure have been there for support. 

Once upon a time, my friend Charlotte was in the hospital pretty frequently.  Youself Kazemi, one of my beloved former employees, gently took her hand in his, encompassing all of her small hand in warmth.  He said "When you need me, just close your eyes and imagine I am holding your hand, and I will be."  It is one of her favorite gifts, and one we have shared many more times that I can even remember. So if you are having a hard time right now, know that I am thinking of you and holding your hand too. 


  1. Oh that we could wave a magic wand to fix all the wrongs of the world. I didn't know your Mom had surgery. Hope she has a very good, full recovery.

  2. well, I am in tears. Such a beautiful post and such a beautiful gift that your friend gave to Charlotte. Both my daughters are struggling like crazy and I have to take deep breaths to not let it all overwhelm me. We do do mean time. I love that story also. Great post. So happy that you have Grey and that you are in Washington where perhaps life is easier. hugs hugs hugs

  3. Dear Mindie,

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I am happy to come across your blog, and will make a note to check it from time-to-time as I adore your writing and the adventures that are posted therein.

    I hope that you are doing well! I feel awful that I didn't get a chance to connect with you before you left. Can I come visit? I have a goal to visit all 50 states within the next 5-6 years. Would love to stop by and say hey!

    I greatly miss our days in the Communications Lab. It's funny what people remember, and how the "little things" often have the most impact. I remember the day that Charlotte and I shared that experience, and I meant every word. I remember she was quite sick at the time, and that I likely wasn't going to see her at work anymore. I love(d) Charlotte because in the short time we had known each other my world had already become a better place by being in the presence of her company and that infectious laughter. I didn't know the gravity of my words at the time because for me that reaction is automatic, it's natural. Of course, I would be there for Charlotte in whatever way I could. I feel blessed, humbled that Charlotte remembers that, that you remember that, and that you have shared it with others. It's a lesson to me. A reminder of you never know when you can make a difference, when you can make an impact - it happens every day.

    The same would be true of you Mindie. You made an impact in my life. You are an inspiration, and you make a difference. I learned so much about myself during my time at the Communications Lab. I was blessed with people who both respected and appreciated me.

    I could go on forever, but sadly, I 'd better get back to work. Thank you for this post, for sharing again. It's a gift that keeps on giving. Love you!