Thursday, April 16, 2009


Finally a sunny day and evidence of spring! What a difference it makes to wake up to a blue sky and green grass and flowers. We have been deluged for days! Of course it has cleaned everything up and the world looks crisper. The last few days have reminded me of how much I liked southern California. I moved to Newport Beach from Edmonton, Canada ( eight months of dark winter and eighteen hour days in the summertime!) and believed I had found paradise. So much sunshine and warmth! I loved being outdoors every day. When Tara was a baby I would walk with her around Balboa Island daily, and climb over the seawall near my house to sit on the sand and read a book while Tara played with her toys. There was often fog blanketing the shore in the mornings, but it would lift by noon and the sun would shine through for the afternoon and warm us up. I liked the cool winter sun, the perfect time to go to Disneyland and try all the rides. My friend Susan loved to go with us and never tired of the same rides over and over. I feel lucky to have lived in such a beautiful place.

Baltimore has more gray days than any place I have lived. Even in Edmonton, the sun shines brightly most winter days. Since in Baltimore, have suggested to many patients that they buy lights to use in the wintertime to increase their exposure to the UV rays that help their moods. The incessant grayness gets tiresome very quickly.

The prospect of permanent springtime in Quito is inviting. My experience in January has more often been rain and cold so my plan to take the funicular up the mountain each year is thwarted by clouds and weather! But with all the packing and storing I am doing lately, I am choosing spring/fall clothes with the expectation that I will never need long underwear or a parka or woolens...except of course if I climb to the top of a volcano. The jungle will be hot of course, and I left my jungle clothes in Quito so I will not have to pack them in the lone suitcase I plan to bring for the year. It seems unimaginable to manage with the contents of only one suitcase for one whole year, but I am trying to stick to the plan. I keep a pile of clothes on a chair in my bedroom and try not to let it get bigger than a suitcase. The other challenge is simply wearing the same clothing day after day. I have been working on that these past few weeks. I have chosen three pairs of pants and several tops and a couple sweaters and I have alternated the eight or so pieces of clothing in various combinations. I am amazed that no one has commented on the repetitive outfits. Perhaps friends, family and patients are to polite. I much prefer variety and colour and adventure in clothing, but I am tolerating the dullness of my attire.

Wading through the piles and piles of clothes and papers and stuff and more stuff has been embarrassing. How in the world did I accumulate so much? Most of it is entirely unnecessary. Why did I have such need, or was it compulsion to shop and consume and acquire and collect? I am feeling guilty and ashamed for spending so much money on so many things I did not need and am throwing or giving away now. Perhaps that is why I have this determination to pack everything I will use next year in one small suitcase and force myself to accept what I have and not acquire more. On the other hand, this fantasy of 'the simple life' is so foreign and unfamiliar to me that I find myself laughing at the thought. It does not seem possible.

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