Thursday, November 10, 2011

Head of steam

Many years ago, my then father-in-law wrote our family a letter when we lived several states away. It was a newsy letter, many pages long. He ended by saying, “I better quit while I’ve still got a full head of steam."

I had never heard that expression before, but I now use it myself occasionally.

This morning, I had a head of steam. I breezed through many household chores, got completely caught up with cleaning, laundry, ironing, and baked Woody’s bran muffins besides, bringing some to a winter neighbor who just arrived in Mesa yesterday.

Then I sat down and paid bills, balanced the checkbook, and took care of some cards and correspondence. It is now 1:50 in the afternoon.

That’s what a "head of steam" is, I suppose. Sometimes I wish it would hit more often, but then again, I’d walk around totally exhausted if it were a daily routine.

Since arriving in Mesa, Arizona, where we will spend the next six months, escaping the pain and agony (albeit, the beauty) of a Minnesota winter, I’ve adopted a new routine. I love it.

With my freshly-brewed morning coffee, I sit and sip in a leisurely fashion. Catrina, the cat, stretches in front of me. The television is already on to the morning chat and news program from Phoenix, and I enjoy learning about all the local goings-on.

Maybe a half-hour passes and I might pick up my knitting for a few rows, or my Kindle for a few pages of reading.

Nowhere to go. No place I need to be. No certain time to be anywhere or do anything.

After another fifteen minutes or so, I can feel the caffeine in my bloodstream, like a junkie.

Ahhhh, yes, now I’m awake, ready to greet the day.

An avowed list-maker, my day is already mapped out. But I long ago learned the hard way, after being burned out on my job, to approach my to-do lists a bit differently. Instead of dictating to me what has to be done, I use it as a menu.

Choices. Pick and choose.

Now after the third cup of coffee and an hour of relaxation, still in my pj’s, I am eager to get dressed and dig in.

With a full head of steam.