>Life is Good

>Life is Good here at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta (in Buckhead) where my husband and I are spending a few days while he participates in a medical meeting. We’re on the 23rd floor with an incredible view… and a nice cozy office for me by the window.

When we arrived I set up my laptop and portable printer. And even though I can’t get my wireless mouse to scroll, and I can’t figure out how to turn off the touchpad on the laptop, those are minor inconveniences compared to how good the setup is here.

The next morning I ordered a pot of French press coffee to room and settled in for a rainy day of working on my book proposal and revising the recent chapters that had been critiqued by my writing buddies. I got an email from an agent I queried about two months ago, and she requested the full proposal and 60 pages of book chapters, so I spent about 7 hours in my “penthouse” office. Even ordered lunch in. Then about 4 I went down to the fitness center and worked out for 25 minutes on one of their elliptical machines.. which have their own television monitors, so I watched part of a Australian Open tennis match while exercising. After my workout, I stopped by the bar to pick up a drink to take to our room to enjoy while showering and dressing for the evening, Yeah, I could live at the Hyatt. Life up here is Good.

And Tuesday night life was good when my husband’s brother, Tod, who lives in nearby Marrietta, picked us up for supper at ESPN Zone… a crazy bar/restaurant for sports fans. It has a huge screen covering most of a wall, with 12 smaller screens, 6 on each side. At the individual tables and booths there are sound controls for whichever event you want to listen to. There are even tv screen in the bathrooms!

And down in front of the big screen there’s a row of lazy-boy type recliners with individual food trays and sound controls attached. Yeah, Life is Good at the ESPN Zone.

And Life was Good when I got an email from Nikki Hardin at skirt! Magazine saying she wants to publish another of my essays in the March issue. She requested a couple of edits, so I worked on them in my “office” and sent them off to her yesterday as well. I’ll post a reminder with links to the magazine when the March issue comes out in a few weeks.

Life was Good last night when my husband and I enjoyed a relaxing time with some of his friends who have been working together on a big clinical trial for the last ten years. After a nice reception at the Hyatt, a few of us went out for a few drinks and laughs at a nearby microbrewery.

(The pictures aren’t great ’cause they were taken with my cell phone. )

This group includes folks from New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Mississippi. As the work they’ve been doing together for almost a decade draws to a close, the buzz is all about “the next big thing” (the next big clinical trial) but also the fun they’ve had working together all these years.

I won’t name names, to protect the innocent, but the laughter was plentiful and the friendships were encouraging to me, the “outsider” in the group. (Not many spouses came to this meeting.) We’re looking forward to dinner at Houston’s tonight… my favorite Memphis restaurant, so we’ll see how the Buckhead Houston’s measures up.

But life isn’t always laughter and successes. This morning I woke early with a sore throat and throbbing sinuses. The sun is shining and I was looking forward to getting out and doing some shopping and site seeing, but it’s almost noon and I’m still not feeling up to it. I hate to “waste” a sunny day and the opportunity to get out and around in Buckhead. I keep hoping I’ll feel better as the day goes on, but room service and a movie are sounding more appealing by the minute. So even if I have to be sick, this is a good place to be!

A friend just called to let me know that a mutual friend in Memphis is near death… with Hospice care, she probably has 24-48 hours left. Her sweet granddaughter is in town helping with this dear woman’s care. I’ve been there with several family members over the years, and I know it is both the most difficult and most wonderful experience. This wonderful lady has lost her husband and has suffered much in her life, but has never complained. She’s always positive, always hopeful. Yes, if she could speak today, I’m sure that she would say that Life is Good.

The friend who called was on her way to a training seminar for writing resumes and doing job interviews. The seminar is part of her severance pay—she and quite a few others at her company were recently laid off. But like our friend who is dying, this friend just doesn’t complain She’s amazingly resilient and thankful for whatever comes her way. Her phone call reminded me to look beyond the comfort of a luxury hotel and even beyond the camaraderie of friends and coworkers. It’s easy for me to say, up here on the 23rd floor… but life is more than book deals and published essays and successful clinical trials.

One of the women we went out with last night lost her husband a couple of years ago, but enjoys the blessing of living near her grandchildren. The youngest member of our group recently married his college sweetheart. Throughout the evening we each shared stories of our lives beyond the work world, and it was there—in that circle of humanity—that I realized it even more strongly: Life is Good.