I’m at the table in the breakfast room, freshly washed and pyjama-d. It’s Thursday evening as I write this, and I’m calm, which is truly delightful.
This time last trip, I was stuck, panicking, blowing grape-flavored* Hubba-Bubba-Tantrum-Bubbles, wrapped in my kaftan, being talked through the process by my wonderful amazing BlogWife, Beth. “Just do the next thing,” she kept telling me. We made a list. I somehow found the force of will to get up and DO some of the things, and then some more of them, and eventually, with no small amount of encouraging, cajoling, and ootzing, it was done.
We all need our hands held sometimes. I definitely do. I’m so, SO grateful to those who take the time from their days to hold mine.
THIS time, my hand didn’t need holding for packing, because I did that on Wednesday. There’s something about realising the constraints of three days left (which must needs include full-time work) before leaving for a fortnight** for a ‘see what’s possible to get me to Murica for good’ trip, which proved to be galvanising, and I was organised.
I had no list, but remembering how things went last time, and what I used and what I didn’t, and the fact I’m going to all places civillised, where more Things can be purchased if a sudden need is discovered (like toothpaste – I must get toothpaste when I arrive, because last time I forgot and had to borrow everyone else’s, which (it must be admitted) gave me an interesting take on the varied flavours of America). It’s not the end of the world. I’m also MEGAHUGE thankful I found plenty of dollars, so I don’t have to also factor in a trip to the bank and the bureau de change!
Forty years of time have passed for our wonderful co-host Sarah, whose birthday celebration originally sparked the timing for me to visit. I’m looking forward to her party, and I wish more of our TToT gang could join us, but we’ll raise glasses to you all, and have a sup in your honour. And maybe a little stumble and giggle and send tipsy messages to the people who we miss and wish were there too. I’m excited partly because I don’t get invited to birthday parties, and partly because I get to see so many wonderful people, and partly because I get to wear (my version of, so QUIRKY but delightful) a pretty dress and FABULOUS shoes***.
I’m so grateful for my SanFranFriend (who no longer lives in SanFran, but I forget the name of the place he moved to), who is my tech guru and phone-guy, and who chats with me every day, and occasionally does wonderfully useful things like ghost-mode my laptop to make it work, or tell me to restart it (THAT works), and hooks me up with a suitable AT&T connection for my time in Murica.
I’m HUGELY thankful to WonderAunty for project-managing my trip, and making the time to ensure I have All The Things (flight numbers, booking references, insurance cover, correct terminals to go to…that kind of thing), and who organised everything into a set of very VERY useful print-outs for me. She’s so kind and sweet and lovely, and I really do (in these kinds of cases) need to learn from her outstanding organisational methods, how to do this. But she held my hand this time *relief*.
[Sub-WonderAunty thankful, for time we spent plotting and planning and throwing ideas around about my Six Sentence Stories murder mystery, A Whodunnit of Hercule-Poirot-ean Proportions, which is progressing each week with Ivy’s cues, and which now has a BIG, EXCITING PLAN for very soon, so watch my blog’s Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss out!]
I’m also veryveryverythankfulindeed to Mum, who’s made time to take me to the airport and will collect me again when I return. It’s lovely to spend the car journey chatting together and anticipating the fun. Last time, for the return (and this now planned for this time too) she thoughtfully brought a blanket and pillows, so I could zonk out and sleep the way back.
I have to finish off a job application TOMORROW and ensure it’s in before I leave, because FINALLY my chance for promotion (long overdue, really) has been set in motion, and I really REALLY want to get it. I enjoy my job, I make a difference, I’m good at it, and it’s interactive, extroverted, gives me time to write, and lets me write within it too…it’s really rather perfect, and if they had a simple equivalent in the US, I’d be RIGHT IN THERE!
A delay in postage (or an extension in geography, whichever) took the surprise out of the parcel I received this week from Clark, but I’m still very thankful for the Graviteer t-shirt, even though I’m the worst Graviteer of them all, having joined late, been thoroughly and miserably inconsistent, then backed out in a panic because I wasn’t making any headway and it was getting to me. I may try again, because I don’t like being a quitter on this. I liked being part of the group, and need to learn to see the belonging as more important than the outcome.
I’m kind of really excited and super-thankful about all the people who stopped by to read my piece this week about how we all write to be read. I think the only time before that I’ve had such levels of interaction was when I got Freshly Pressed, and a whole bunch of new people came over. So this was delightful and gratifying to see such high and ardent levels of endorsement, and of course, now, my ego’s the size of Texas and I may not fit in the plane after all!
I love that I got to spend gorgeous dollops of time with Niece and Neff this week, and that they’re both excited about my trip, and want to hear about it when I return. We had Niece’s birthday party last weekend, and there were the usual laughs and tears, frustrations and frolics, but it was great to be amidst the extended family, all together in one place.
I’m also thankful for Vince, who invited me over to dinner, cooked a marvellous risotto, (followed by my baked nutmeg pineapple), and for an evening spent laughing, chatting, playing Yahtzee, and hanging out together. After months of turbulence and turmoil due to unexpected circumstances, sudden changes in life-direction, and the runaway rapidity with which so many things have changed, it felt a bit like old times, which was lovely.
While I was back at the flat, I checked (on a hunch) behind a dresser, and YES! There was my glorious THANK YOU card, sent to me at great finagling and HUGE time-investment, by ALL MY CO-HOSTS. Truly, one of the most touching pieces of post I think I’ve ever received, and I loved reading all their words again and again, remembering with a very *happyglowy* heart, that I’ve met most of them In Real now, and know them far more properly than I did back then, but that they’re all utterly, utterly wonderful human beings, and how ENORMOUSLY thankful I am that they rock up here each week and make this hop happen, for you, for me, for all of us.
I’ll end with being thankful in a sort of anticipatory way, for all the time on the plane in a couple of days, to get some important writings done, and for the time I’ve had tonight to get THIS post organised and sorted, so that I can spend my last night playing Scrabble with mum, baking pumpernickelish bread for plane snacks (because I doubt the airlines will offer anything vegan-friendly for less than $1,000,0000), and hopefully stopping in on the Friday Night VidChat awesomeness, which I just LOVE.
And then to the biggest thankful of all – two weeks in Murica, getting to spend time again, with some of the most important people in my world ❤ ❤ ❤ SO HAPPY
So yeah – bloomin FABULOUS week, and TIME very well spent all round, I think. It’s wibbly-wobbly stuff, for sure, and perhaps I can’t count to ten, but I’m happy, looking back and forward, for the times spent, spending, and to spend.
What have YOU been doing with your time this week?
*Because England doesn’t have things flavoured grape. At all. So it has to be in ‘Murican
**What we Englanders call ‘two weeks’, because it’s the correct terminology, but never made it to the New World
***Yes, packed in my case. Flying hand-luggage only again. Because not smart, but also because SHOES!