Sunday, 17 February 2013

Adventures of a Recuperating Winter-bug Woman

Far too many days have passed since I last stepped into this space, and I'm sorry for my absence!
These past few weeks I was first terribly busy for a few days, and then horribly and utterly miserably sick for a solid two weeks. I'm practically all better now, just more tired than usual. So, apologies--but know I'd much rather have been on here than be stuck sick in bed!

Being sick was a good reminder that my feisty independent self still can appreciate the care of friends, and I was touched by friends who came to watch movies with me so I wasn't alone the whole time (or skyped me so I could have a "change of scene" and actually croak to someone), or to bring me soup, a thermometer, medicines, juices, things I could actually eat now and then, and take me to the doctor. It also reminded me how much I hate not having words, because I was so sick I couldn't even think straight or get a string of words to work together. That was even worse than not having people around, I think--not being able to use words. 

I remember so many different times in my life when I've not had words, too; when it has been not sickness, but language that has kept me from being able to speak, to say, to express. Sometimes it's just complete muteness. You have no words yet in that language, you cannot speak if you wanted to, your body does not know how to shape itself around that sound--it can barely recognise it as sound at all! And other times, it has felt like choking--when I've had the words in my head, when my tongue feels them in my mouth, but the edge of them gets caught at the back of my throat and garble comes out instead, choking noises none of us can comprehend. But when you cannot even think words, not in any language, not even with the mind in your fingertips? I am so thankful for the ability of my mind. 

This last month, when I wasn't sick, and I wasn't going home early because of still being absurdly tired from having been sick, I was probably busy enough to make up for the sick time.

A group of seven members of a county leadership program (myself included) organized and hosted a silent auction, dinner, and mock trial to benefit the county youth court program. That was a really neat moment (a moment that topped like a cherry hours and hours of preparation and planning!). We had an overwhelming amount of items that we auctioned off throughout the day of the event, and then over 80 people who attended our dinner--raising about $3000. I go back and forth with this amount--is it a lot, or not that much, as a number by itself? But when I think of the significance of that number, when I think of the difference it will make to this program (ensuring the continuation another year of an amazing program of restorative justice for young people needing a second chance), then I think, wow, that really is an incredible success, and I am honoured to have been able to be a part of making that difference.

Our leadership class actually just came to completion this week: we had our graduation celebration Friday night, and the 14 of us got our certificates of completion for the program as well as a beautiful plaque to display and certificates of merit from our local state senator and of congressional recognition from our local congressman. I like baubles like that, I admit it. It's one of those "oooh, that's really neat" kind of things. But I want it to be more than just neat, and more than just a bauble or accolade to dangle like an earring or other accessory. I'm excited to be a graduate of this program now, and to go out and continue to see for the rest of forever all the ways I'm going to intentionally and unintentionally let this program affect my life. I love already being so much more connected to the greater community that I live in, and I'm so excited to go do something purposeful with that connection.

And finally (though not all-inclusively)...
Late yesterday afternoon, after hours of trying to write in the afternoon, I enjoyed taking a break to go "teach a cooking class." I'm not sure how much teaching really happened, but I did succeed in leading a group of about 15 college students to prepare a very yummy dinner of one of my favourite foods from the Caribbean--pastechis. These are delectable half-circles of fried dough containing some wonderful filling. Last night we made some with cheese and then some with a spicy beef. We topped that off with a very USA chocolate chip pie. It was fun. Fun to share this taste of home, fun to hop around a huge kitchen, and mostly just fun watching all of them chop, roll, saute, fry, mix, knead and interact with each other. I did go straight home and sleep after that, though! (energy is just not up to par yet...)
But then today, I went skiing again! Because yes, I really did love that first go. So I picked up a friend and off we went--her first time since a nasty accident 4 years ago that had her in a cast for about 5 months, and my second time ever. She took to the slopes like a fish to water, and I, well... I had a few intimate bonding experiences with the ground this time around. BUT, I had a wonderful time, and I made it up a whole new and super high ski lift (a feat because of my fear of heights) and down a big new swooshing slope--the hardest of the beginner levels. I'll definitely have a lot more rounds on the beginning slopes before I even consider going on the other ones, but it was nice to walk away with that accomplishment. And now, I am considerably exhausted and ready to sleep, dream, and anticipate all the wonderful things waiting in this new week.