Starting last Saturday, this has been a very social, and schedule-disrupting, week. (And now blog-disrupting: for the first time in awhile, Na Ki’o is here to help.)
It does not feel that long ago, and yet somehow a lifetime away, that my life used to operate like this all the time. I had activities or obligations nearly every night of the week. I went to meetings, concerts, lectures, movies, plays, and got together with friends or like-minded people for book group, poetry group, writers’ groups, my activist group, dance classes . . . I’m exhausting myself now just listing them, but that’s how my life worked, and I enjoyed it.
Then a couple of things changed. Many of my groups thinned out, often as people moved away and no one stepped in to replace them. Some of them — every writers’ group and some boards — imploded, sometimes quite messily. Some things just ran their course.
And sleep apnea stepped in to kick my butt. It’s still kicking my butt, many thousands of dollars and failed treatment attempts later. [Some day we could have a discussion of the mechanics of this, but not today, other than to hasten to assure you: this is not insomnia. I generally have no trouble at all falling asleep, often mid-sentence. It means I stop breathing while sleeping — in my case, about 30 times an hour — and my body arouses itself enough for me to start breathing again. I’m never aware of this; I just wake up feeling as tired, or more, than when I went to sleep.]
The best way to describe the effect of this on my life is to hope you’ve seen an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Dr. Crusher, unknown to herself, gets trapped in a warp bubble and finds first people and then parts of the ship disappearing until all that’s left is the bridge of the ship.
There are still plenty of concerts, plays, lectures and presentations around town; they just mostly take place without me. I still go to dance class, but sometimes I really have to talk myself into going, and I’m trying to do better about actually reading the book for history group 2.0. And sometimes there are people to visit with. Like this week.
It’s hard to remember that this sort of pace was “usual,” once upon a time. And while I’ve enjoyed every social piece of the last five days, I’m feeling rather worn out — and there are still social events scheduled for the rest of the week.
On Monday I had book group, followed by tap on Tuesday. (Which went better: we cut way back on the pullback practice that left me so winded I was seeing spots in front of my eyes, and several of my regular peeps showed up: Kim and Julia joined Sam and me, and even Karen came, turning from teacher to class participant. And I managed to make the correct pullback sound several times in a row. This step has bedeviled me for years.)
Yesterday my sister Tia and I went out to inspect the Some Day Ranch midday, and then she, Lynn and I had dinner out last night. Tia did have one very cute story of her first week at her new job that begs sharing:
The school administration building is housed in what used to be my elementary school, and classrooms are still in use, now by the disctrict’s preschoolers and kindergarteners. Tia, who didn’t yet have her district badge, encountered one little girl who informed her, “You look like a mom.” “I am a mom,” Tia replied. “I’m going to be a mom,” the girl said. “And a ninja.” You go, girl!
There have been several meals out this week. There was our usual social Sunday breakfast, of course, but we also fit in Saturday lunch with Kara’s mom. Kara, my business partner, spent last week in England and Scotland, so her mom Trish, who used to live here, came back to house-sit. It was far less about the house than it was Kara’s collection of fowl, her chickens and three breeds of ducks, most of whom don’t play nicely together.
Trish and I used to work together at a bookstore, and she went from that to the Post Office, so she’s always interested to hear how Lynn is doing at work. Several years ago she married a man from Oregon and now she lives there, so it’s always nice to get a chance to catch up.
My other Saturday social activity was unplanned but long overdue: I stopped to see the Barils.
Fifty (!) years ago this May, my family moved from Denver to Gunnison, and we landed next door to the Barils. These are people I have known and interacted with nearly my entire life. Their children, contemporaries of mine, now live in the Seattle and Denver areas, but Mr. and Mrs. Baril are still in the house they’ve been in since the mid-’60s. Only now they have 24-hour home healthcare.
And every Saturday as I drive past their house, I think, I need to go visit, and then I let other things take priority. But last Saturday the weather was nice, and Mrs. Baril was sitting out on the deck, so I decided to stop. I ended up staying an hour, and met Heather, who was extremely nice and appears to be very good at her job: she withdrew when Mr. Baril arrived (there were only three chairs on the deck), but she was right at hand when they decided to show me the amount of snow in the backyard.
We had the same conversation several times, admiring a thin, tall aspen in the front yard of my old house, which they remember as being planted by my mom (they may be right, but all I can remember is a crabapple that’s no longer in that spot).
I need to make that more of a regular part of my schedule, although saying it and meaning it are two different things. Their daughter is supposed to be arriving today, and I’d like to catch up with her, although these days when she and her brother come to town, parental care takes up most of their time. I was hoping perhaps we could all manage dinner or lunch together sometime this weekend.
(And now Marrakesh has arrived to lend a hand with today’s entry. This is definitely a group project this morning.)
This morning was disrupted by the annual health fair pre-draw. Most of us from work go in a group, followed by breakfast out. Tia’s son and husband arrive today: it was just yesterday that Justin was somersaulting rather than chasing soccer balls, and now he’s here to take a look at Western Not State. Lynn and I have been invited to join them at some unspecified public television to watch an Avalanche hockey game tonight — but they don’t think the game starts until 8, which is about when I wind down, even without being out each of the three previous evenings.
And now I am once again very late for work, where they are all waiting for me to show up for the Giving o’ the Gifts. (When you leave the shop on a workday, the rule is that you have to bring gifts for everyone left behind. And Kara was in England — shop gifts!)
So I don’t have any conclusion, other than to reiterate: while this used to be my norm, this week has been a whirlwind of social activity. I’ve enjoyed all of it, but I don’t believe I’ll complain if I’m a little less social next week.