Things I’ve appreciated today: cough drops, tissues, my thrift store rain jacket.

Level of happiness about my appreciations: pretty low, actually.

I bought tissues at Costco a couple of months ago and joked about how nice it was going to be to have a lifetime supply of tissues stashed in the storage shed. Today I took my 5th box out of the shed. Yeah, maybe not a lifetime’s worth after all. It feels a little like the universe is laughing at me for my over-confidence. Not that I believe in a malicious universe, but if I did, it would be laughing.

On the plane to SFO, I chatted with the woman sitting next to me. She’d just lost her live-in job (and therefore her housing) and was feeling a little shell-shocked, I think. She needed to talk. She was on her way to visit a son in Florida, to babysit for the grandkids while he and his wife vacationed, and was debating whether she should tell him what had happened. Along the way, she asked me if I had kids. I was so tempted to lie. I didn’t, because it felt like that malicious universe — the one I don’t believe in — would jump on any such statement and make it come true in some awful way. Like denying R’s existence would make him stop existing. That’s obviously ridiculous, and I know it’s ridiculous: even if he’s dead (no reason to believe he is, no reason to believe he’s not), his existence shaped my life. I am who I am because I chose to become his mother. No casual words to a stranger will change that. Fortunately, I no longer cry every time I mention him. I simply answered the question and immediately turned it back to her and we spent the rest of the flight talking about her five kids, fifteen grandkids, and first great-grand.

Random thing I want to remember: I had a little time to kill in Florida, between lunch with my friend Lynda and my stepmom’s birthday party, so I did a Japanese lesson in the car before starting to drive. While I was driving I was thinking about how little Japanese I know, even after 200+ days of tiny lessons. Then I thought, well, I do know the word for beach. Umi, that’s how you say beach in Japanese. And also, I know how to say that I’m going somewhere — ni iki masu. So I can say that I’m going to the beach — umi ni iki masu. And I know how to say tomorrow, too. Ashita umi ni iki masu — tomorrow, I’m going to the beach. So I guess maybe I’m learning more than I think I am. Tiny lessons leading to tiny triumphs. The next day I really did go to the beach, so it was even useful. Well, or it would have been if anyone I knew spoke or cared about speaking Japanese, ha.

Hey, good news: tomorrow is my last day of antibiotics and I am not going to be so afraid of them in the future. My stomach has had moments of uncertainty but I’ve been drinking my probiotic beverages every day and so far that’s worked to prevent too much misery. Less good news: as far as I can tell the antibiotics haven’t done a thing. One can’t have everything, I suppose.

Meanwhile, the prescription cough drops were/are completely useless as far as I can tell. In my not-entirely-scientific but extremely extensive experimentation, Ricola really are the best cough drops. Turns out, though, only the Honey Herb Ricola are guaranteed to be gluten-free, so it’s entirely possible that my cough drops were causing my cough. I honestly don’t believe in a malicious universe, though. Really. It’s just ironic. Or it would be if it were funny.

Time to go write a book! I’ve gotten a little stuck on Ceres, so yesterday I pulled out Cici. Beginnings are so easy; middles are so hard. I wonder if that’s a life truth, not just a writing truth?