I am exhausted after yesterday. This is nothing new, I usually am post Christmas, but I give myself permission to acknowledge it this year. I am so glad I do not have to do chemo today. I putter around all morning, cleaning up the Christmas aftermath, moving slow and resting often.
Kaileigh and Josh stop by before they leave for Boston. They have spent the night at a friends house. It is nice to hear about Josh's Christmas, since he was pretty tired when he came back from the Cape last night. He was there for Christmas Eve, came back to be here for Christmas breakfast and went back to the Cape for the day.
Shortly after Josh and Kaileigh leave, Julie, David and his brother Peter stop by to say hello. They have come east for the holiday, and have managed to squeeze in a visit. Soon they will leave to meet up with David's other brother and his family along with Kaileigh, Josh, Ben and Helen to celebrate Christmas in Concord. From there the party will move on to the Christmas Revels in Cambridge. They have an extra ticket, and have invited me to go. I am thrilled at the invitation, but I think it best to rest rather than do too much. We have a short, sweet visit, catching up on as much as we can. Time passes too quickly before they have to leave. I am not sure when they will be back this way again.
Steve does laundry, I get my haircut. This seems to be our routine every six weeks or so. After the haircut I have time to run to the mall to exchange a gift I bought that was too small. I park in front of the Statehouse, in the spot closest to the mall. I intend to run in quickly, but as I start walking, I realize my feet are feeling weird. They have seemed odd going short distances lately, but now I find that they feel really strange in a hurried, longer stride. It is as if my feet are padded with fluid. They don't look swollen, and my shoes still fit, but they definitely are not normal. I know this is a side effect of the chemo, but it surprises me. Why all of a sudden now, I wonder. I do the best I can to hurry, since I didn't add any time to the fifteen minutes that was already on the parking meter. It seems that rushing is currently not an option.
There is a birthday celebration for the little boy who lives next door to me. It is his first birthday, and there are going to be crepes. This sounds very interesting and I am excited when I see the crepe truck in the driveway! I go, but I don't end up eating, I am not hungry. I enjoy meeting family and friends of my neighbors and watching how they interact with one another. They have such loving family and friends. It is a joyful celebration to be a part of.
I make mitten and glove cookies this evening for the opening of the mitten tree at church tomorrow. By the time I finish baking, it is late. I will get up and decorate them in the morning.
Sunday Ayla's Birthday!
I do get up early to frost the mitten cookies. Usually Kaileigh is here on school break to help me with this task, so this is the first year I am doing it on my own. It is not a difficult thing to do, it is just more fun to do it with Kaileigh.
I am the announcer at church this morning. I think that I am going to be fine, as I have done this a few times in the past months, but I experience a momentary panic as I stand behind the lectern at the front of the church. I recover, but realize that somehow being on chemo really did make me less nervous. This side effect is not one that is taking long to fade.
Shortly after the service is the opening of the mitten tree. This is a tree that is in the front corner of the church near the street, that we hang hat. mittens, gloves, scarves and socks on. Occasionally we will hang other warm items on the tree as well.
This idea for this tree was inspired by a children's book I had read several years ago. It is a story of an woman who knits mittens for neighborhood children who don't have any. There was a challenge by a former interim minister to sew seeds of goodness throughout our community. If you had an idea, you simply raised your hand and were given an envelope. There was either a note in the envelope wishing you luck in your endeavor, or a note and a check for one hundred dollars. I had told Ayla about my idea for the mitten tree, and she thought it was a good one. She raised her hand and received an envelope with a check in it. With that I purchased yarn and knitting needles to start our mitten tree, and enlisted the help of our knitting group and anyone else willing to help. Over the years, hundreds of warmings have hung on our tree, either knit by members of our congregation or friends, purchased new or gently used items no longer needed. We have helped members of our community food share food pantry to keep warm, recent immigrants, homeless, nearby college students, and others we will never hear about.
In the beginning years of the mitten tree I had visions of trees throughout the city. I inquired at other churches and libraries if people would be interested in creating more. I was never able to create any interest other than for our own UU tree. This is okay though, it is enough for me. And just as the seed of an idea grew to be a reality here, someone may be inspired somewhere else as well.