Comforts

That’s the food court at this local mall. There’s free wifi. There’s a McDonald’s but also a Sabadores do Porto. I’m eating Indian because I’ve been craving it since not having it in England. With beer, because it’s a food court that has beer.

I was freezing earlier because it’s raining and cold and the apartment has no heat and my big cardigan got stolen. I was hungry and beyond frustrated over passwords and banking. I was concerned for what’s next. I was grumpy from so many causes that it seemed insurmountable. It was time to seek some comfort.

Walking to the mall while the rain took a break got me some exercise and got me to some heat – both needed comforts. Additionally I saw interesting things, like a Nutella cafe, and engaging curiosity always feels good. Bought a lovely and warm scarf, check, that was on my to do list. Love checking those items off! Next was food which was probably more of a need than a comfort. As a sidenote, I’ve mostly stopped feeling “hungry” anymore. It’s like my body clock has just given up. I discovered today that for some reason my phone didn’t switch over to Portugal time. I was an hour ahead for two days and it didn’t matter at all.

Lists and plans comfort me. I was fine for the last two months of floating around without a plan. It’s exhausting though, and expensive and inefficient. I want to travel for the rest of my life but not aimlessly nor non-stop. And preferably not always alone. The delights in life are heightened by sharing them. I’ll be looking for travel buddies. Don’t worry, I won’t be a stickler for the plan. Changing plans is just as good as having them.

It’s amazing how some warmth and some food can turn everything around. As the Desiderata cautions:

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.”

I’m coughing and sniffling with a cold so I don’t want to go make friends today. I don’t have the energy to dance or make jokes or even ask very interesting questions. I’m grateful every day for social media and for my friends sending me love and encouragement. It helps get me through until my perspective returns.

Soon I need to find a warm hoodie to snuggle into at the apartment, take some cold meds when I get there and if the internet is back, watch some Netflix. Netflix and… warmth.

I’m home for December to have Christmas with my family and friends and to seek comfort during the first Christmas without visiting my mother.

Then I might hop in my car and brave the United States, if it’s still there. If the vote today doesn’t make things worse. That’d be the bravest adventure yet! If my son can do it then so can I! Although, last we heard he was snowed in at a mountain village. But having a great time! Though entirely without a plan. But with his good friend! I wonder maybe instead of trying to decide if a situation is overall good or not, it’s best to just decide it’s good and then strive to make it even better. Yes. That decides it. I’ll look for a hot chocolate place on the walk home.

I’m not actually here for the sightseeing

-seen in Westminster Abbey

My father was 50 when he passed away. His family history, his executive career, his musings to be Mayor of Toronto amounted to nothing; he simply died. I’m turning 50 in just under a year and my slithery lizard brain is whispering “Your time is running out… have you done anything at all?”

When a scene hits a high note, or if a scene isn’t working, those are cues for the actors to “sweep” and end it. The lesson here is that we have control over sticking it out or walking away. Recognizing that we can let something go either because it’s already peaked or because it’s no longer serving us is a revelatory lesson.” Maggie Fazeli Fard. “LIFE, UNEDITED: 10 Things I Learned About Life in Improv” experiencelife.com

My mother loved Mexico. Her retirement plan included winters in Mexico. The tech bubble burst broke the back of this vision, reducing it to several weeks each winter in Mexico. She went once, renting a condo and having a lovely time. The next year her as yet undiagnosed neuropathy prevented her from taking much pleasure in the trip and the year after that she was too ill to travel at all. She never saw Mexico again.

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted -” Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”…

Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies. -Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Jonathan Byrd played a house concert in Midland when Morgan was 14. I had just seen him at Eaglewood Folk Festival and brought his CDs home. The concert turned out to be the same night as Morgan’s Academic Awards night for Grade 9. I absolutely wanted to see Byrd and I knew that in a few years Morgan would choose the concert over attending Awards night. But I couldn’t even propose the choice to Morgan then; it would have given the message that I was not much interested or invested in her academic success. I’ve actually never seen Byrd since.

“While I was on the space station, I used Twitter to ask hundreds of thousands of people what they would like me to take a picture of. Resoundingly, the answer was “home.””  – Chris Hadfield. “We Should Treat Earth As Kindly As We Treat Spacecraft”  Wired.com

“In the view from above can you still see Rome, every mother, every child, every street, every home… every god, every devil, every virtue and sin. Everything we know on the head of a pin.” Danny Michel, “Samantha In The Sky With Diamonds”

When you work for a Bank, you spend a lot of time considering and mitigating risk. My days at the Bank involved making financial plans and handling risk. It would be foolish to do this for clients and not to look at your own plan and how the Bank feeds your need for security. There’s the bi-weekly salary, benefits, stock ownership plans and a pension. There’s an annual bonus. If I hadn’t worked at the Bank, I wouldn’t be in Europe right now. But, maybe if I hadn’t worked for the Bank, I wouldn’t have felt the need to go to Europe?

“In India when they train elephants, they’ll take a baby elephant, tie it to a flimsy rope and tie the rope to a flimsy green twig. They’ll do this for a few weeks. When the elephant grows up, their handler can tie the elephant to a tree sapling or small green twig, with a flimsy rope and the animal will not try to get away. Conversely, if you tie the same elephant with a strong chain to a large tree, the animal will break the chain or uproot the tree.” Deepak Chopra, “The New Physics Of Healing”