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BROWN PAPER PACKAGES TIED UP WITH STRINGS

9 December 2002

There's no real reason for that title, except that as I sit down to write this, it feels like it's going to be about several uninteresting things--essentially brown paper packages, some of which may be tied up with strings, other of which may be left dangling.

But first things first--here's a personal message: Peggy, if you're reading this, your e-mail has been out since mid-afternoon. (Of course if your e-mail is out, that probably means your server is down and you can't get on the net anyway and aren't reading this until it's fixed--but I just want to cross all my i's and dot all my t's.)

I just came home from the office, where I've been, this autumnal Sunday afternoon. I hadn't ridden my bike in two days, so I took the long way 'round, through the bike path, which takes me over the little hill that I remember struggling over the first time Olivia and I encountered it on my first trip around the greenbelt. I remember the feeling of exhilaration when I reached the top of what now feels like a "driveway"!

The next hill was the overpass formerly known as "dreaded." The first few times I rode the greenbelt area, I avoided the overpass like the plague. I think the first time I went over it was with Haggie. Struggling to just barely make it to the top, panting like a dog on a hot summer day. Again, the feeling of elation--I'd done it. I remember Haggie once telling me that I'd never like hills, but that I'd get better at them. (She's definitely right on that score.) Today I only had to downshift one gear to make it over the top and I was still going at a decent clip when I hit the flat at the top, in contrast to the early months when I'd be just barely moving and struggling to look "cool" to the bikers zooming up the other side.

And then there was the hill formerly known as "horrible." I considered going around, through the underpass and up the baby hill on the other side. There was a guy in front of me approaching the point where I had to decide whether to turn right or left, and I decided I'd go whichever way he didn't go. "Wimp," I scoffed to myself, when he turned right and headed in the direction of the underpass, as I took a deep breath and started up the hill. This "granny gear" thing is really a marvelous discovery. I'm learning when to shift and into what gear--it's now a calculated decision--and I reached the top long before I had reached my lowest gears, or had begun huffing and puffing. Sailing down the other side at 21 mph is always such a terrific perk of climbing the hill.

Next, I spent several hours at the office. Today was the day to do what I've been putting off for so long I'm embarrassed to calculate: balancing the checkbook (remember the checkbook?).  As everyone knows, this has been the raspberry seed in my wisdom tooth ever since I started this job. But somehow I've managed to keep us solvent, if not quite balanced with the bank's figures.

I found all sorts of things to do to put off the inevitable. I washed speculums, sorted mail, straightened up my desk, cleaned out the drug cabinet, returned calls, checked e-mail (there was one from Dr. G, who returns home tomorrow), etc, etc. I stopped short of washing windows, but I knew that I was trying to stall. Finally, I'd done it all and there was nothing left to do but The Checkbook.

There were three statements sitting there that I hadn't gotten to, so I started checking off the checks that had cleared, ran a tape of what the balance was, according to the bank statement. I groaned. I was so far off of where I thought we were (bearing in mind that I hadn't totalled the checkbook in several weeks either). I thought about putting off getting it to actually balance tomorrow--I'd done the first part; surely I could do the rest tomorrow. But then I thought that just out of curiosity, I would actually get the balance in our checkbook before I left, so I would know just how hard I would have to work to find where I'd screwed up ('cause I knew it would have to be me; it wouldn't be a bank error).

When I ran the tapes of all the columns and looked at the total, I couldn't believe it. No, it didn't balance, exactly, but it wasn't all that far off (I figure if I'm within $500 it's close enough! --I can hear accountants cringing all over the Internet). I still have a bit of work tomorrow to get closer (I'm only off by $40...but compared to the discrepancies every other time I've tried to balance the checkbook, this is pretty damn good!)

So feeling pretty proud of myself, I allowed me to leave half an hour early and took off on the bike. Of course I did the "horrible" hill and crested it with many gears and lots of wind to spare, enjoying the speed going down the other side. Going through the park, and up over a little hill that always requires at least one downshift, it was a piece o'cake. No downshifting for this babe.

Now I'm home, the turkey broth that I've been simmering all afternoon is filling the house with lovely smells. I'm about to add a bunch of veggies to it and cook it all for a nice, low-point, healthy dinner.   We have our Christmas tree sitting out in the carport (Walt got it while I was at work) and the days don't even have double digits in them yet.   Not only that, but the living room is clean, so there is no preparation necessary to get the tree into the house.

It's been a good day. It's not an interesting story, it's just what happened. But every day can't be "interesting."


For those who are interested, I have posted my annual Christmas letter here (tho why anybody reading this journal for any length of time needs to read a year-end re-cap, I don't know!)

Quote of the Day

Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing,
Returns to you glad.

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

Photo of the Day

bikepath.JPG (44893 bytes)

This is another part of our morning ride--
we ride for about half a mile toward the
university

 

 

One Year Ago
Pornography and Other Imponderables
Why is it that the thing that seems to elicit the biggest response always has to do with sex? Plain sex. Dirty sex. Pornography. Sex with dogs. Sex with sheep. Masturbation. Sex toys. A journalist's hit counter always goes up when she talks about sex.

Two Years Ago
AIDS Day
I started out by picking up X, one of my favorite clients. She was moving slowly this morning. “I wish I could just cut this butt off,” she laughed, as she struggled to get into the car. This lovely woman has AIDS, colon cancer, and was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. In addition, she has some sort of problem, which may be bone cancer, which causes her legs to burn all the time. She’s a wonder. Her cheerfulness never fails to inspire me.


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Pounds Lost:  80.2
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

On the Odometer

URL 710.4 + 36
Blue Angel 441.7

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Created 12/6/02