The last couple years, I’ve wanted nothing to do with 9/11 remembrances. Just don’t want to relive it. Can’t handle it. This year, ten years out, was ten times worse. The media started hyping it two weeks in advance, and I was sick of it at least a week ago. Nevertheless, here I am, writing a blog about my day.
And it’s simple, in summary. I spent the day being as American as I know how to be.
I woke up to the radio playing God Bless America. Showered, put on a nice dress and my great-great-grandmother’s diamond ring, handed down to me this past summer, got into my new car and drove to Starbucks. From there to the local Farmer’s Market, where a bluegrass band full of kids no older than 20 were singing “Wagon Wheel,” and where I bought 4 perfect plum tomatoes and a handful of Honey Crisp apples, and made a mental note to set aside $35 or so for six 8-inch mums and some pansies next week for my fall gardening.
Headed off to church with my school-snack donation for the local food bank, and took my place in the pew to listen to the service, which featured candles, beautiful choir music, and our once-in-a-while anointing practice I love so much. I don’t touch my forehead the rest of the day in order to preserve the oil cross Pastor Jeff Carter marks there, and every now and then I can smell the soothing scent of the oil’s incense. Listened to Jeff’s 9/11 memoriam and his sermon, right on the mark as always and not at all heavy-handed, just perfect, as I worked quietly on baby blankets for my friend George’s soon-to-arrive twin girls. Chatted there with my girlfriends, a mother of twins and a local lady-cop, as well as my “surrogate family” and the old man who tearfully gave me his recently deceased wife’s yarn stash a year ago and who makes me feel like my hugs make his day.
Hit WeightWatchers, where I disregarded the scale’s indictment (which was a shockingly far cry from the blessing I received yesterday by my own), secure in the knowledge that my Sunday Starbucks guy declared me “beautiful” (he makes a fuss every single time he sees me dressed for church, claiming I’m not being fair to the preacher, who is, in his opinion, likely struggling mightily to concentrate on the sermon). Got a beautiful little red-white-and-blue ribbon pin, which I wore the rest of the day.
Came home, put on last night’s NASCAR race while I took care of some much-needed housecleaning. Sorted old papers, threw out a ton of crap, dusted, vacuumed, took out the trash and the recycling, brushed and medicated the cat, and updated my finances while the boys on the screen battled Richmond’s .75-mile track and launched themselves into the Chase.
Cooked chicken breasts and chopped bell peppers bought at the local Global Food among other customers from Lord-knows-how-many other cultures (many clustered around those strange, bumpy, rubbery, green cucumber-looking things I can’t identify, which made me very curious). Made my spinach salad with diced grilled chicken and Craisins and hard-boiled eggs and my own homemade balsamic vinaigrette that reminds me of Italy and my mom, and put away the makings for at least three more this week.
Took the laundry in off the line, hung it and put it away.
Poured a glass of Pinot Noir and got things in order for tomorrow’s classes, hoping to engage my students in the beginnings of our English studies for the year.
Even painted my nails for probably the first time since high school, and am pleased to report that my 33-year-old self is no better and no worse at it than my 17-year-old self was. I never do it because, frankly, I can’t stand to sit with idle hands that long, and even typing this blog is likely compromising a few nails. At least my own efforts are free, unlike the beautiful French I got last Monday that barely lasted four days and cost me $20.
Tonight I’ll try to go to bed early (and probably fail), after writing something in my Gratitude Journal that I’m grateful for, turn on my 10-minute meditation music my phone plays for me, set three different alarms for 5am, and try to fall asleep to good dreams that have nothing to do with planes and Pentagons and how hard I cried that night on the corner of my parents’ street, while my neighbors gathered with candles and a boom box played “Proud To Be an American,” and my mother gripped her arm around my shaking shoulders. I’ll hope to dream, like last night, about a great 10K run that I inexplicably ran from finish to start, reaching a new PR and experiencing no hip or knee pain whatsoever.
And that’s my day.
That’s about as American as I know how to be. It’s one of those days in which I know I was my best possible self, all day long.
That’s enough for my observance of 9/11, I suppose.