Glorious Mornings – and Those Less So


Morning GloryBy glorious morning, I don’t mean waking up and rising to a heavenly chorus. Oh, some mornings I do hear a chorus of cat cacophony, depending on how my cats feel. They can be moody and unpredictable, like human teenagers, sometimes wailing at 3 a.m. and other times sleeping all day.

No, I mean opening my eyes feeling reasonably good and well-rested, enjoying coffee and waking up slowly by writing in my journal, getting dressed, walking to yoga, smelling the fresh air. A comfortable routine, hovering between dallying and hurrying. A pleasant pace.

I don’t like to hurry, but I especially don’t like to hurry in the mornings. There were too many harried mornings I had to endure as a single mother, working full-time, getting my sons ready, hoping there would be no last-minute disaster, such as the fish aquarium knocked over or Charlie the hamster expiring (he was old, we didn’t knock over his cage).

We would head out the door, climb in the car (before the days of strapping them into car seats or I never would have made it!) and head up the hill to my sister-in-law’s house. She watched them before and after school. Then I would swing back around to the freeway and go to work near downtown San Diego.

One morning, feeling very satisfied, I arrived early at work. As I drove up, I heard voices from the back seat: “Where are we, mommy?” Their little blond heads appeared in my rear view mirror. I had forgotten to drop them off! Fortunately, my boss was understanding. She had two young sons of her own.

Then there was the boyfriend who had a habit of going outside on a leisurely Saturday or Sunday morning, even if we were on vacation, then rushing back in saying we were late – we had FIVE minutes to make this or that, the breakfast buffet, the taxi, etc. For the record, it does not take me long to get dressed or put on makeup. But to grab clothes and stuff before I can put in my contact lenses and to be barked out the door is not my idea of fun. The boyfriend didn’t last long.

My worst nightmares have always been the kind where I’m trying to do something in a hurry or I’ll be left behind. I still vividly remember one I had as a kid. My mom, dad, sister and I were going on vacation. My job was to open piles of cat food cans while my family waited in the car. I was told I had just a few minutes and if I didn’t finish in time, they were going to leave without me. I can still feel the panic and fear in my gut and throat as I moved my little hands as fast as I could around the clumsy can opener.

At some point during my full-time working years, I realized that if I got up an hour earlier, I could do all I wanted to do – eat, walk, write and still get to work early. My jobs in the hi-tech industry were often hectic, so this gave me a head start to calmer days. I could think, plan, get a few projects underway before distractions rushed in.

Morning Glory2Now, working at home, I still get up early. I love the dark quiet and then the sounds creeping in, a bird, a whoosh of a car, branches scratching against the window, sprinkler squeaking and spraying across the lawn. Then there is light around the edges of the curtains. A fed cat at my feet. Hot, rich coffee, the mug warm in my hands. My pen on the coffee table. Fresh blank pages waiting for first thoughts on a new day.

A glorious morning.





Looking for the Perfect Pad

Someone said to me recently that I was “the Queen of apartment hunting.” He knew I usually have good luck finding a decent landing pad when I’m forced to take flight. He told someone else she should ask me for advice.

Tree House for Rent Actually, I am more like the Joker, staying a dance or two ahead of the royalty. But here are my tips for finding the perfect pad. In addition to talking to everyone and walking around neighborhoods, I search online once or twice a day. I can tell now just by looking at ads what they really mean and what the pads will look like.

cozy – claustrophobic.  So small you can spit or throw spitballs at any wall from anywhere. And soon you will want to.

charming – dilapidated. So outdated even the era has been forgotten but the termites are having a good time.

near beach – closer than Yuma, Arizona.

minutes from beach – if you get in your car west of Yuma and drive fast.

ocean view – often means peek view, a tiny sliver you can see from your shower window or up on the roof.

near night life – party town. Forget sleeping.

friendly community – common patio or courtyard. The party has come home. Forget quiet evenings and weekends, privacy and sleeping.

off-street parking – can be anything from carport to shared driveway. First come, first parked. Not good if friendly community.

street parking – good luck.

new floors and carpeting – how new? Got rid of ’70s shag in 1997? Fake wood with a decade of scuff marks? Linoleum with an impressionistic pattern of heel and peel marks?

recently remodeled – how recently? Veneer and stainless steel do not a new kitchen make especially if the oven is not self-cleaning and the refrigerator is not self-defrosting.

laundry room – see my blogs, The Laundry Room, Part 1 and Part 2. Start stashing your quarters.

laundromat nearby – good luck.

There are words in ads that have no meaning whatsoever, such as:

  • amazing
  • awesome
  • miraculous
  • spectacular
  • one of a kind

Apt. for Rent If an ad sounds too good to be true and the rent is low, then it probably is too good to be true. It’s one room in a house, or a vacation rental and not available year-round, or it’s being sold, or the creepy manager wants to sleep with you.

Good luck.