by Barbara Rady Kazdan
Another day, she thought, with underwhelming enthusiasm stretching in the bed she shares with her 55-pound sheepdog, remembering how during last night’s storm he’d walked back and forth over her, then brought her to full attention by sitting on her head. Now she indulges his need to snuggle–wondering for the umpteenth time, “What canine companion cuddles first, then goes out?” And grateful to have a snuggling partner, since everyone she loves is impossibly beyond arm’s reach.
His furry tummy rubbed, her pillow-creased face licked, she commands the TV to wake up, checking the weather before switching to Charlie Rose and crew, hitting pause, then over to Morning Joe, pause. All set. Time to pee–she lets the dog out and heads for the bathroom. Lets the dog in on her way to the kitchen, pushes the Keurig button on, inserts the single-serve cup du jour, and decides which mug to use: the one her husband, gone these six years, favored; one from her daughters – a “Mom” mug with college logo or the brightly colored ceramic memento from Israel; or her sister’s 10th anniversary party favor, celebrating a late-in-life love match. Decision made, mug filled, she heads back to her bedroom–her lair. She starts her day there, checking email, listening with one ear to the political pontificating of Mika, Joe and whoever happens by, or the slightly more wide-ranging CBS chitchat. A glance at the calendar reveals when she absolutely must show up sans nightie, appropriately attired, at appointed times and places.
Since she’s had the house to herself–3 bedrooms up, master down, open plan picture-windowed living, dining, kitchen and breakfast room, and an inviting nook her son fashioned overlooking the patio with a comfy chair and ottoman, she has lots of choices when she sits down to write, to read, to (ugh) make calls. Plenty of places to plant her “This Is My Workspace” flag. That used be her office, where the PC, printer and paper files–yesteryear’s paraphernalia–sit abandoned along with the framed print her daughter bought to enhance her first downtown office after a 17-year timeout; the framed letter from Barbara Bush commending the literacy initiative she’d created; the primitive, exuberantly-painted plaque from InFOCUS Tanzania, the eye care program she’d co-founded; the thank you notes from social innovators she’d mentored; the bulletin board with “I love you grandma” printed painstakingly in raggedy letters, and her son’s wry birthday card, announcing: “In Dog Years You’d Be Dead;” all duking it out for prime real estate with ticket stubs and snapshots. That office, those memories: nice to visit from time to time.
Liberated by a laptop, documents dumped on Dropbox, she can work anywhere. Like Goldilocks, she’s tried the living room sofa, the comfy chair, the breakfast table. Unlike Goldilocks, none of these would do. Her choice? Where she spends most of her time writing? On her bed.
Tapping 30 years of non-profit leadership, Barbara founded Achieving Change Together to advance social justice. In her “encore career,” this Silver Spring, Maryland grandmother writes personal essays and memoir. A contributing author to Contagious Optimism, 10 Habits of Truly Optimistic People, BetterAfter50.com, NextAvenue.org, and LivingBetter50.com, her work appears in Forbes.com, ChangesInLife.com and Airplane Reading. Find her online at http://www.achievingchangetogether.com/.