tiger balm 001I took it easy on Monday. No snow shoveling. Work was mostly satisfying, though because of it I missed both opportunities for water aerobics. No one made me miss the classes. I chose that because I can’t stand to make people wait.

Late afternoon, I took an urban hike in my neighborhood, intentionally including the full length of Noview Avenue trying to understand why the Homer Advisory Planning Commission denied Small Pond Child Care’s petition for an “unconditional use permit.” I don’t get it. I’ve lived nearly next door to the current center the whole time I’ve been in Homer.  Occasionally you see a teacher out with a gaggle of quiet toddllers. They construct imaginative fairy houses from branches and twigs. They make bird feeders out of unusual things.  They do not make noise. The MediVac helicopters do that, but that’s all good too.

Early evening, I chatted with a friend in the Lower 48, Skyped with my sister to discuss the art of ice dancing and catch up on plans for Memorial Day weekend. I watched Downton Abbey, Episode 7, behind a night from everyone who watches it on cable television.  And, because I waited too late to start cooking a hen for chicken soup and more, I treated myself to takeout from the Thai/Pho restaurant down the hill —red curry with chicken. Bliss.

By 9:00, I was in my pajamas and ensconced in bed with my lap top. Leo snuggled close while I read more of the New York Times online. Such an easy, relaxing day, a juicy day, with a good night’s sleep ahead.

Right after I turned out the light, I felt uncomfortable twinges in my left arm. I got out of bed, walked around in the dark, massaged my arm, then lay down. The pain worsened, and I felt uneasy. Dr. Monkey Mind, doing her never-to-be-completed  medical residency inside my head, popped a quick  diagnosis. “Possible heart attack,” she said.

I got out of bed, went into the bathroom, turned on the light, and took one, then another naproxen. Feeling better, but still uncomfortable, I opened my laptop and scanned heart attack symptoms on the Mayo Clinic website. My symptom didn’t match.

I got out of bed again and went upstairs, figuring that if I were having or about to have a heart attack, I should unload the dishwasher before I drove myself around the corner to the hospital. Piece of cake that would be: the driveway was all clear; car too. And my hair looked OK.  I hadn’t worn a cap the entire day (no snow shoveling and not smushed from the pillow).

Employing therapeutic diversion to cope with my unease, I folded a couple of origami cranes, and then it hit me. Snow shoveling. “Girl,” I said to myself (not out loud), “your muscles are edging toward the new 50s.” I thought about how many times I had shoveled out the car and cleared the driveway during the weekend? Five times?

I put away all the dishes, paying close attention to getting them lined up just so, turned out the lights and went back downstairs. I applied a generous amount of Tiger Balm to both of my arms and shoulders and crawled back into bed. All this time, Leo tracked right with me, hopeful that my arising meant what it usually does in the morning—breakfast.

Back in bed, I recommenced breathing “Sat nam,” and groaned when I looked at the clock: 3:45. I told Leo to give up, settle down. “Mercy,” I said out loud, as the Tiger Balm set my upper torso on fire. This must be what Diana Nyad felt when the jelly fish stung her while she was swimming from Cuba to Florida. “Sat nam. Sat nam,” I breathed.

I dozed off, woke again around 6:30, much to Leo’s delight, and fed him. Then I went back to bed and slept until about 9:00, when I thought, “Well, hey. I’m still alive and there’s work to be done.”

I brewed a cup of coffee and toasted an English muffin to top with a dollop of stewed rhubarb harvested last year from my yard. I read Writers Almanac, Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily meditation, as much of the Times that interested me after getting an early start on it last night. I glanced through an e-newsletter from Eileen Fisher (I’ve been a fan of her clothes for years).

Then I cranked up Beau Soleil and dug into projects for three clients. I looked out the window. More snow.

This afternoon, I bundled up, went outside and cleared car, driveway, front porch and steps. Add the deck to that; 43 minutes, start to finish.

I’ve got a good supply of Tiger Blam, and I’ll read the instructions before I use it again. No need to overdo it. I’ve put together an electic chicken soup for dinner, and it’s nearly ready. House of Cards is queued up. I’m easing into a great night. Life is juicy.

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