Sunday, September 19, 2010

Preparing to Party

Ditch day was packed with indulgences and definitely a success. But it was over. So the next morning I caught myself drifting into reliving the details. But, let’s face it, life doesn’t always allow us to remain at the pinnacle of our highs. My retirement potluck would begin at 5:00 p.m. which in translation meant I better get my **** together. I had to get moving. Preparing for a house filled with family and friends, ultimately would reap pleasure, but required WORK. Oy vay!

I fired up my cappuccino machine and decided to skip breakfast. The evening would be a caloric packed excursion through trays of appetizers. No need to start eating early. Then in my pre party manner, I began to spin while a litany of chores nagged me. I couldn’t decide if I should polish my nails or cut up the ingredients to my shrimp and mango appetizer. Should I rake the leaves in the backyard or iron my wrinkle free blouse? Maybe it would be better to trim the flower beds and sweep the leaves. Then clear out the refrigerator. YIKES! I needed to put an end to this. In order to avoid slipping into a walking comma and skipping the essentials or engaging in repeating the same tasks over and over again, I better get organized. So I sat down mid morning and forced myself to make a list.

Like the neurotic Toad in the children’s book, “Frog and Toad Forever”, I focused, gathered pencil and paper in hand and created a list including the following:

• Rake yard, sweep leaves, trim flower beds

• Iron 4 huge table cloths

• Clear out refrigerator debris

• Place Prosecco bottles in refrigerator

• Set out serving platters, napkins, plates, and eating utensils

• Make appetizers

• Iron outfit

• Put CD’s in player

• Relax

Yes, relax was my last item. There isn’t anything worse than a wound up hostess who is a buzz kill. If I didn’t include it, I might get confused like Toad and think I would have to skip it if it wasn’t on the list. Then, after getting dressed, I applied my face “I keep in the jar by the door”. (love those Beatles lyrics) Then I assumed a yoga posture and practiced some Asana breaths.

A shuffle of footsteps on the porch could be heard above my breathing. Then my sister, Carolyn, Judy and Robert entered, it warmed my heart to be greeted by those so dear to my heart. Offering to help, I directed them to the backyard and asked them to set up the tables. Did I mention I have tendonitis of the elbow? Not a convenient ailment to have when you have chores ahead of you. Dutifully they hauled the tables to opposite sides of the yard and under the tree. Snapping them in place, they spread the table cloths and placed a bouquet of spring flowers in the center of each.

I stopped and scanned the garden. Years of labor greeted me which now appeared whimsical and peacefully inviting. The arbors were laden with a peach blossom variety of bougainvillea. Sprinkles of yellow calliopsis surrounded the Saint Francis of Assisi statue, a commemorative to my mother. Wild irises guarded the herb garden while begonias stood at the base of the peach tree. The bathtub, a relic of the original bathroom, sat overflowing with a vine of tiny white and pink flowers. All were interlaced with an assortment of filler ferns, day lilies, and ground covers. Collectively they represented years of trial and error plantings generated by what caught my eye while on a walk or touring a garden. Some survived while others did not.
I entered teaching around the same time as I began tinkering in my garden. Both required long laborious hours. I spent much of my time cultivating lessons that could meet student needs. At the same time, I began to lay brick pathways in the garden to support comfortable walks from the house to the garden and out to the garage. I felt invigorated when planting, weeding, watering, and trimming each plant yet exhausted. I felt similarly when assessing student need and preparing lessons. I grew in my knowledge of how to maintain and care for my garden as well as my students. Sometimes my efforts were thoughtful and well planned. Other times I simply got the job done. I didn’t realize how the garden paralleled my own journey toward retirement. I gradually developed skills to nuture both This garden that looked back at me was now at a maintenance level and so was I.

Satisfied I went back in the house, slipped in a few nostalgic 50”s and 60’s CD’s and prepared to party on with the wonderful family and friends I collected over the years.

1 comment:

  1. WOW Carol this is the perfect beginning to a book. Great read filled with humor and description not to mention real life emotions.
    Love it my dear.


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