Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chasing Away the Blues

On Monday I had a delightful treat given by my daughter Amanda.  She knew that I had had a challenging and discouraging week previously, so she planned an outing to cheer me up.  She called and set a mystery date.

On Monday she came by and picked me up with a touch of mischief and secrecy in her eyes.  We drove out the Gorge which is a refreshing experience in any weather as you are caught between the Columbia  River on one side and the cliffs it carved through the years on the other.  With all the rain we've been having and the milder temperatures melting the snow, waterfalls were pouring where we'd never seen them before.  Multnomah Falls was thick and full and spraying white water into the air as it dropped down the cliff face.

At Cascade Locks we crossed into Washington at the Bridge of the Gods (named after an Indian Legend.)  The bridge is silver and high over the river, narrow, and has a toll booth.  It seems hung from the forested hills on either side.

Across the bridge we wound our way through a modest little community to Bonneville Hot Springs Resort and Spa.  The resort was surprisingly modern and beautiful (the hot springs I've been to in the past have been stuff for pioneers in the Old West).  This was decorated with warm woods and river rock, leather and carpets in earth tones.  A fire place in the lounge rose two stories to the open ceiling and comfy chairs faced it on all sides.  Amanda and I agreed we could come some other day just to sit and read in front of the fire.

Down the hall to the spa we went.  Once checked in, we were led to a locker room and given slippers and toweling robes to put on.  Silence was requested.  We were led into a room of four tubs, each surrounded by a room divider.  Steamy mineral water was already pouring from the spouts and candles lit the dim atmosphere.  The attendant hung the robe, brought me lemon water and a bowl of cold grapes and a carafe of mineral water to drink at will.  As I sunk below the water line and nibbled on grapes I wondered if this was what ancient Rome felt like to Caesar.

I sunk low enough so just my eyes, nose and mouth were exposed to air.  With my ears under the water I could hear the ping of individual drops hitting the surface of the water as counterpoint to the deep plucking and thrumming of the faucet pressure.  In the background music played softly but I heard the water music and saw the candler flicker.  I was sequestered in a tile corner with nothing but my immediate senses.

After the grapes and mineral water were consumed, after floating in my thoughts for a while, the attendant came and robed me and led me silently to another darkened, candlelit long room.  I was slightly alarmed to see that it contained many bodies on slabs wrapped like mummies and silent as a tomb.  Where had all these bodies come from?  There'd only been me and Amanda in our tub room.  The attendant whispered that she would tuck me in a wrap so I disrobed again (after whispering to her "Are these all women?" because you never know who might be peeking from under their eye patch. Yes, they were.)

So I lay on the cushions while she bound me --"tucked" me-- on one side and then the other.  She whispered that she used to be a Nanny and this was swaddling.  I believe it: I felt just like a baby.  Then she put an aromatic warm cloth over my eyes--chamomile--and whispered what I thought was "Do you want an egg roll?"  No, I replied, wondering how someone whose arms were tied down could eat an egg roll.  Food seemed to be intrusive on this plane.  Then I realized she was holding a towel and offering it for a pillow.  Oh.  Did I want a neck roll.  Yes, I will have one of those!   Whispered snickers from my right indicated Amanda was nearby.

I lay in this mausoleum-like state for an indeterminate amount of time, just listening to the faint flute and harmonic chords and breathing in the scent of chamomile and candlelight.  Thoughts fluttered but none stayed long enough to demand my attention.  I just floated and breathed.

Later, someone rubbed my legs to bring me to attention.  The warm toweling weight pushing against me felt wonderful.  I didn't want to get up, but as I opened my eyes I was surprised to be the only one in the room.  I had been awake the whole time but hadn't heard anyone leave.  It was as though the Rapture had occurred and left me behind!  The terrycloth bedclothes lay in heaps at the foot of the beds.

The next stop was a lovely warm shower and then we were done.  Amanda's plan included dinner in the resort and we were so relaxed we considered just getting a room and staying the night.  Going home seemed so far away...and leaving the fireplace was hard....But we will go back another day.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy New Year to You

This bouquet is one I loved at the Pike Street Market in Seattle when I visited there with my friend a few months ago.  It has nothing to do with New Year's or anything else on my mind but I wanted to include a  picture in my post, and sending a bouquet to you at the start of our new year seems a good way to greet a friend.  I wish they were a real bouquet on your doorstep!  (Isn't it a great combination?  I love those baby cabbagey-looking things).

 I started blogging one year ago.  My first one was Jan. 3, 2009.  I didn't realize that I had passed my anniversay date until just now.  I have sent 59 blogs; can't believe it.  I started out with nothing in particular to say but wanting to communicate ideas and send pictures to family members and friends far away.  Then one day someone else's blog hopped onto my screen (I realize now I must have hit "Next Blog") and I discovered someone who had spent her weekend the same way I had, only in the Netherlands.  Then I got to meet her friends through her list of favorite blogs, and I found so many kindred spirits all around the world.   Who knew that there were so many of us?  

But I just do bits and pieces of things.  I am not an all-out gardener, though I love those first  buds of springtime, and glory in a successful planting.  I am not a big party-giver, though I do enjoy those blogs with 'tablescapes' and all kinds of ideas for centerpieces.  I am not a frequent antique shopper, but I love to see and hear about finds from the GW and HomeGoods stores, and I especially like to see the transformations of old and used articles to another purpose.  Just this week I saw how a broken glass compote dish was saved by being coupled with an old silver candle-holder and became a lovely vintage something-or-other in a stunning grouping.  But I digress.  I do love the vintage fabrics I see especially in the blogs from my new acquaintances in England.  Their vintage stuff is so much more charming than our vintage stuff.  Why is that?  Sorry, I digress. 

So what I am saying is that while I started out intending to say to myself and the world what I am all about, I have become aware that I am  fascinated with what other people are about--gardens, artists who blog, tablescapes, front porches and food and sharing good times and improving one's home, one's garden, one's decorating--and I may have lost my own voice while being captivated by all these great influences.  I don't really mind; I just said that in case anyone was wondering what my blog is aboutI wish I were more wholeheartedly into participating in these venture, such as GoodWilling, or cooking, or sketching, but not to the exclusion of everything else.  So here I am, just a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I really would like to go more toward the philosophical side of things but it's hard when you're as susceptible to silver compotes as I am.  

On another subject altogether I will say that I felt quite sad on Monday morning this week when I had to go back to work.  My job is fine and satisfying but I just wasn't ready.  I still had vacation goals to meet.  I hadn't cleaned the basement or organized my room or done the writing and reading I planned to do.  When I woke up Monday morning hearing the rain thumping on the roof, it was all I could do not to howl!  I expect I shall go kicking and screaming into Heaven someday because my projects still aren't done.

 The week was Normal with a vegeance.  Back to normal : Elder's meeting, Music Team, my writing group, me speaking to the women's Bible study group today.  And work as usual.  I still need to drive across town tonight to deliver a package to a girl who is flying tomorrow to Tunisia, who will deliver it to my daughter and son-in-law.  So the day is not done yet.  But in a sense it felt marvelously done at 11:30 this morning when the stress of speaking was over and I could breathe deeply again.  It's quite a weight of responsibility talking about the Bible; that's one thing you don't want to mess up!  When God has said it in the first place, there's a high priority on interpreting and explaining it correctly.  So even though I was not thrilled with my delivery I was glad that I had passed the climax of my week.  Now it's just downhill to Saturday, where once again I will attempt to clean the basement and organize my room.  And perhaps spare a few moments for preparing next week's message.