As much as I loved teaching, it’s wonderful not having to deal with all the stress. Since my brain injury, working full-time was an ongoing struggle. Retirement is very freeing.
Having the time to write, write, write is invaluable.
- Spring Weather:
Of the four season, the Spring has always been my favorite. Not only is the weather beautiful, but I also love celebrating birthdays—I was born in May. The day after I was born, Dad came to visit Mum and me in hospital and presented her with a sprig of apple blossoms from the garden. Apple blossoms have a special place in my heart. To me, they represent my parents love, as well as celebration of my birth, rebirth, and life.
Though shoveling snow isn’t a favorite pastime, I love watching snowflakes float down to the ground. I love stepping outside to breathe in the crisp air and admire virgin snow blanketing the ground, clinging to tree branches. And I love wading through untouched fluffy snowdrifts.
I also enjoy the sight of ice coating bare branches in the aftermath of an ice-storm,. And on rainy days, I revel in the feeling of raindrops on my head, my soaked hair dribbling water onto my cheeks down to my lips and chin. i relish running in the rain wearing my wellington boots, stomping and splashing my way through puddles. I delight in sitting on my front porch during a thunderstorm, marveling at the sight of lightning in the distance.
- Ice Cream:
Ice cream is one of my biggest dietary weaknesses. I tried cutting out sugar from my diet, but I was physically incapable of letting go of ice cream: dulce de leche, salty caramel, sweet cream, lavender, black cherry… I love it in any form—sundaes, milk shakes, soft-serve, in a cup, in a cone. I love the creaminess, how it sits in my mouth as it melts, how it feels in the back of my mouth and my throat as I swallow. Mmmmm…
I love the quiet of the morning before I start my day, lounging in bed, thinking my thoughts. I also love the quiet of the evening as I unwind before I go to sleep. I love sitting on the porch watching the world go by, listening to the birds. I also enjoy sitting on the grass in the yard, reading, feeling the wind on my bare skin, breathing in the scent of the flowers, following squirrels and rabbits with my eyes as they frolic.
I am too self-conscious to dance in public. But I do enjoy dancing in my own home, in my back yard, and on my porch. It’s especially satisfying when I can sing along to the music, sometimes at the top of my voice.
More than four years ago, my daughter left her dog, Gus, with me. Gus’s a funny little thing, a mutt, smarter that I could have imagined. He teases me, changing the rules of games as we play, laughing at me from the top of the steep hill in my back yard, squeaking his toy as he tries to tempt me to clamber up the slippery slope to wrestle the toy away from him.
I love sitting with him outside on the grass on a warm day, idly petting him, watching the continual motion of his radar-like ears, occasionally asking him for his opinions on the sights we see and sounds we hear.
My favorite meal growing up was (al dente) spaghetti with meat sauce. It is still a favorite, especially when topped with Parmesan cheese. I love twirling the noodles around my fork, not too many, nor too few—just enough to pop into my mouth and chew on, relishing the sensation of my teeth sinking into it.
I discovered writing in the wake of my brain surgeries, when I wrote to help me grasp the enormity of the bloody brain and its impact on my life, to understand the process of recovery, and to raise awareness of issues associated with brain injury.
The more I wrote, the more passionate I became about it. A day without writing felt wrong. I see writing as one of the gains from the bloody brain—an unimaginable and invaluable bonus.
- The Bloody Brain:
The bloody brain has caused a number of losses, but also a number of gains, including writing, a better appreciation of the world around me, people and nature, and my transformation from a shy introvert to an eager extrovert. As far s I’m concerned, the gains far outweigh the losses.