The outside room

I found this unusual “room” at a nearby hospital. I’ve gone there for years because I have a doctor who has his office there. Once a year I go in, always in November. I’ve come to look forward to going at that time because of the “ghosts of leaves” that decorate the sidewalks. It is the wonderful and amazing combination of falling leaves and autumn rain that makes this temporary magic.





I usually do very little exploring in that building because I have to get back to work quickly. This time I had quite a bit of time to spare so I went to look around. I’m glad I’ve started asking for more time off when I schedule doctor’s visits so I’m not rushed. That certainly helps my overall health.

I looked down from the window in the hallway on the sixth floor where the office is. I saw trees – and not in a place I would expect. They were surrounded by the rest of the building. It was a tiny enclosed courtyard. I had to go find it.

I went downstairs to the entrance lobby and looked around. The courtyard I was looking for was behind a little café that sold coffee and melted sandwiches. There were plenty of windows around it. It was perfectly visible from the entrance that I’d come in for years. Somehow I’d never set my eyes to look that way, or at that distance. Just goes to show there are plenty of treasures that are around if you have your eyes open. I’d only been looking for one thing (my doctor’s office) and missed this. The café looked interesting too. It might be a nice place to come on a non-doctor’s-visit kind of day and enjoy lunch.

I’ve long thought I should go here on my day off and write, or maybe even sketch the people who are waiting for their lab results in the lobby. There are a lot of padded benches here and a lot of light. I’m not sure why I haven’t done this yet. There is free parking and this isn’t far from my home. Perhaps I’m concerned someone will challenge me because I’m not here for an official reason. They might think it is odd that I’m just hanging out. This is another thing I’m working on – trying to not worry so much about breaking rules that aren’t rules. Sometimes I make more limits than I should.

I went towards the door that let out onto the patio. I pulled on the door – it opened. Good. Then my concern was that the door might not allow re-entry. I checked it and it seemed like it would be fine. I then looked to see how far away the café was – it was close enough I could bang on the windows to get their attention.

And then I went out. And I saw this.


A tiny little park enclosed in a building. With benches.


It is open to the sky.


There are birdhouses and birdfeeders here. I saw two bags of birdfeed against a wall. Someone tends this little place.



Is it outside, or inside, or both? Is it a room?

When I came back out I asked at the café if that door was always open. The lady said she thought it was, and commented that almost nobody went out there. She thought they should put a table out there and I discouraged that idea. More clutter. It would make it more artificial out there. It would upset the balance of man-made and natural. I think it is good the way it is. The little lights are a bit disturbing, but they might be really nice at night.

Then I got their hours and took pictures of the menu, as a further enticement to make a date with myself to go out here.


Here are more “ghosts of leaves” from an earlier visit.



Here are some from Thursday, 10-20-16, in Old Hickory.


“Clean your plate!”

I’m having to retrain myself how to eat. I was taught to “clean my plate” so I often would end up overeating and being miserable. I would also eat fast to make sure I’d eat everything on my lunch break. I’d get the signal that my stomach was full way past the point that I should have stopped.

My trick has been to take whatever it is and cut it in half. I’ll half a frozen dinner after I cooked it and put it in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch. Then I’ll eat slowly, chewing each bite well. I aim for 20 chews for each mouthful. I’ve heard with macrobiotics you should aim for 100, but that seems excessive. 20 chews is still far better than the grab and gulp mentality of the way I and many other people usually eat.

I try to get less at buffets. Just because it is all you can eat doesn’t mean it is all you should eat. Sure, you’ve paid for as much as you can eat. But there is a hidden cost. If you eat 4 plates of food, you are going to gain a lot of weight.

For some people who are trying to be mindful about their weight, buffets are impossible. They are too much temptation. I like going because there is a lot of variety and a lot of vegetables.

I try to eat slowly at buffets, but it is harder because I haven’t halved my food. When I notice that I’m looking at my plate and thinking that there is still a lot of food left that I have to finish, I take note that I’ve gotten too much and try to get less next time. I’ve also noticed that when I push back from my plate, I’m full. I find I do this unconsciously. I’m trying to notice this sign from my body as a clue it is time to quit.

I’ve heard it takes 20 minutes after you are full for your brain to realize that. In twenty minutes you can shovel a lot more in. Then you’ll feel terrible. But by cutting the food in half the and eating slowly you have a good chance of getting the signal in time. Also, it doesn’t matter if you “feel full” yet or not. You know you have just eaten a whole meal, so quit.

This all takes a lot of unlearning to do, because we have been taught badly.