Autumn transitions, breakdowns, and breakthroughs. I needed a reminder today of some things I really love.
1. Pluots. I'm not a fan of apricots or plums, but a pluot with cashew butter on a warm fall afternoon is juicy delight.
2. Index cards. Blog post ideas, grocery lists, dialog, scenes, To do's. The versatile note card is my new found love. Now if I could just love a way to organize them.
3. My three kids. This probably goes without saying, but we've been through our rough patches as a family and I'm always grateful that my children find it in their hearts to love through it all.
4. The wooded stretch of path from Pamplona to Puente la Reina, my favorite day's walk and a mere 17 kilometers of the 700-kilometer Camino de Santiago.
5. Reading mysteries in Spanish. Two years in Spain did not make me fluent in Spanish, but a mystery is usually the right level to work on my vocabulary and grammar. My most recent read was <<El asesino de la Via Lactea>>. Leave a comment if you have a suggestion for a good Spanish read.
6. Cordoba, Spain. Moroccan tea houses, Roman bath, the Mesquite with its odd mix of Muslim and Catholic influences, the House of the Seven Heads, and the only Plaza Mayor in Southern Spain. Of course, I could do a whole Top 10 list of things I love about Spain.
7. House/pet sitting. Everything I own fits in a 5 x 5 storage unit. Now, I get to experience the beauty and responsibility of caring for someone else's home. Not to mention trips to the dog park with my charge.
8. Binge watching Stranger Things. My blood pressure drops a few points with this horror series set in the early eighties, probably because there are no cell phones and there is comfort knowing the Pinto really was an ugly car.
9. The color orange. Bright, hot, Sevillan orange, whether it's the color of marigolds, or a flamenco dress, or the plastic case on my MacBook Pro.
10. Online classes, especially Brave Blogging or any other by my mentor, Andrea Scher of Superhero Life. Why Andrea's? It's down and dirty and I can get ... it ... done.
On a rare recent trip to the zoo, I paused to view the hippos whose backs and heads rose like still smooth stones above the surface of their pond, not looking at all like the most dangerous animal on the planet.
I looked across their resting forms to the fence railing where I'd sat my one-year-old daughter nearly 21 years ago. A zoo keeper had tapped me urgently on the shoulder and asked me to take my child off the rail. He glared at me, and I glanced around to see if anyone had witnessed my shame, only to revisit that parenting mistake in my head every time I made another.
This day, I walked purposefully to the opposite railing and I saw that in the unlikely event I'd dropped my child, she would have landed in a soft patch of grass and not, as I'd always imagined, directly in the open mouth of the hippo below. No guarantee of safety, of course. She's always been quick.
Parents make mistakes, and we joke it is a miracle our children survive.
Sometimes, we're looking into the mouth of the hippo, but we're not nearly as close as we think we are.