Down Time

I like to be busy.  Between seeing clients and attending meetings, I have a very full week.  I do manage to fit a breakfast or lunch with a friend into my schedule about once a week.

On the weekend, I like having a day to myself.  I watch movies on my t.v.   I will sit for 45 minutes, pause the film and take a break.  I am accountable to no one.  My break may last one minute. It may last ten.  I may decide the film is not worth continuing.

I eat when I feel like it.  I call friends or family.  I play games on the computer.

Free time.  Nice.


My grandson’s Bar Mitzvah was this weekend.  Lots of family came to town.  Many I have not seen in years.  We spent a lot of time together.  It was delightful sharing memories and updates in our lives.  There was no awkwardness or stress.  Some of the pairings could have been so.

When there is a celebration and everyone chooses to be involved and interact in a positive way, it is a treat.

I must admit that I would not have wanted to do this for another day.

The timing, four days, sufficed.

Rituals with Friends

I go to the gym three times a week.  I am there at 5:50 am.  Every two weeks, two friends meet me for breakfast at 7 am on Monday.  We go to the same restaurant, with the same waiter, and I always order the same thing.  They diversify a bit.

We catch up on events and experiences.  I discovered last week that one of them had the same surgery I will be having which is an unusual one.  Who knew?

I love these two women.  It is of such value for all of us to be together, that they, in particular, make the sacrifice to meet so early to accommodate my work schedule.

Similar values mean a lot.

Dear Sandy

Sandy is a dear friend of mine.  She has had two knees and a hip replaced.  She walks with a cane mostly.  Yesterday we went to a street fair and she used her walker.  The fact that she agrees to participate in events like this says much about her; she avoids nothing.

As we walked, I was so appreciative of the space people gave her.  The fair was very crowded, and people stepped aside to accommodate her.  She had no expectations and is very patient.  We walked, we explored vendors, we bought a couple of things.  And then we decided it was time to go.  She was in pain and I was ready to leave.  We typically have similar timing.

Aging with a friend.

I did it

Since I moved to California, I have had my car washed in one of two ways: my ex took it to a car wash, or my grandsons did it when they were staying over.  My ex is gone and my grandsons are coming over for dinner tonight with their parents, which did not feel like good timing to request help,

So, I did it myself.  I dragged the hose, filled the bucket, got the clothes.  I began the spray to wet the car all over and discovered the wind was not blowing in my favor.  I ended up misted, head to toe.  Not to be deterred, I changed direction and proceeded.

Guess what, Isaac and Ari?  It was fun!

A Learning Event

My 13-year-old grandson Isaac left for three weeks of camp. He will return just before his Bar Mitzvah. He was gone two days and broke his arm. He tripped and put his arm out to break the fall. He came home (a four-hour drive) to see his doctor. It was determined he needed his arm reset. At this appointment, he was given a choice of having a local or a full anaesthetic. He chose the former and told me it was very painful. He got a hard cast which goes above the elbow.

He went back to camp but must return to be x-rayed next week. His cabin in going backpacking, which he was really looking forward to, and he cannot go.

This has meant a few four-hour trips and disappointment about limiting activities at camp.
There is value in learning that we are able to get through very painful and unexpected events in our lives. And for Isaac to learn he was able to handle it so well is very meaningful.
He is so resourceful.


Last Friday, I went to exercise, a business group meeting, saw one client, had lunch, and saw six clients back to back until 7 pm. I grabbed something to eat. I then went to the Temple in order to welcome the new rabbi who was conducting her first service. The service was from 7:30 to 9 pm.

After the service, there was an Oneg Shabbat, a traditional offering of food to celebrate the evening. I interacted with a few good friends for about 10 minutes and decided to leave because I could not stay awake.

My thought was that I was not handling activity as easily as I had when I was younger. Disappointing.

The next morning I told my daughter-in-law about it. She said, “Age? That was an exhausting day. I would have gone to bed too.”


Time With My Daughter

I moved to California to be near my children and grandchildren.  The right choice.

Carrie and I decided to spend July 4th together.  She came to Alameda.  We passed on the parade.  We passed on going out to eat.  We stayed home.

We prepared lunch together and watched a video on UTube made years ago by a woman I knew In Michigan. We were active in NARAL and MARAL for years together.  It was informative and touching to recall our involvement.  Carrie participated in most of my feminist activities and moved on to do so herself in a multitude of ways.

We talked… about things that are important to each of us.  Intimacy has always come easily for us.  We cry, we laugh, we nod.  We understand.  We empathize.


Activity for Depression

I tell clients with depression to make a list of activities they can do to distract themselves.  One of my clients likes to go to the supermarket and walk the aisles.  She does not shop, she just walks the aisles.  Sometimes she looks at products and sometimes she focuses on colors.  She does this a couple of times a week.

She said that she had a thought one day.  She imagined walking around the supermarket and seeing someone else doing so without a cart who was going up and down aisles.  She decided she would go up to the person and say, “Are you seeing Natalie in therapy?’

We laughed.

Pay It Forward

I wrote before about needing to change planes to get to LA.  I was put on standby on one plane and has a reservation on a second one.

I went to the gate for the standby and told the agent I was aware there were people ahead of me, but I was needing to get to LA to accompany my daughter for outpatient surgery that day.  He indicated his obligation to take people in order.

I walked away to charge my phone.  A woman came up to me and told me she overheard my story to the agent.  She said she told him to give me her ticket if her name was called.  “Your need is much greater than mine,” she said.  I got teary and thanked her.

Just then, she told me her name had been called.  As I approached the counter, the agent said, “Natalie?”  He knew about the change.  I got the ticket.

As I was getting on the plane, the woman again came up to me and said her name had been called to.  I was relieved.

In light of the political nature of this country right now, having genuinely caring people is a timely balance to many attitudes.