My Birthday on Tuesday was the Quietest I’ve experienced in a while. The solitude gave me time for contemplation of the Lessons I’ve Learned, leading to the Path I’m Walking. All that Deep Spiritual God stuff leads me to a fountain of Awe and Joy where I rest gratefully.
I spent a lot of my birthday working on a little video of my NewYorkers dancing on the back porch last summer. They were practicing to a reel or a jig or something, but I hooked it up with Led Zeppelin’s “Trampled Under Foot”. I’ve had to watch it over and over to get it right and every time it makes me SmileSmileSmile…
We got our #2 vaccination on Wednesday and I had no side effect, not even a swollen arm. Casey had a bit of a headache and swelling at the injection site, but otherwise okay. Again with that gratitude…
I get together with the Jr. girls every Saturday, bringing them over here to play, and a couple of months ago we started watching “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” while we ate lunch. It has really grown on me and the last few weeks, as we headed into the final season, we’ve been watching 2-3 each week. Yesterday we watched 4 and we’ve got 6 more to go and it’s very intense, so they’re coming over today to binge-watch the final episodes. Like everything I love, I don’t want to see it end, but its plot has kept me on the edge of my seat.
In my humble opinion we’ve had a perfect kind of snow, deep enough to cover the earth with a blanket of iridescent white. A good snowstorm feels like the sky is tucking me into my cocoon. The temperatures outside were arctic, but inside the radiators were cooking and the fire was glowing, a perfect excuse to curl up and read…or binge-watch some shows…and cook…and watch the birds.
There were dozens of birds that needed feeders, including some bully birds that we don’t want to encourage (starlings and some cowbirds-ugh), but you can’t be picky when there’s no place else for them to go. The squirrels stayed in their nests for the first couple of days, then returned and took advantage of the extra elevation to make the feeders into their personal buffets; they have their own food in another spot, but would rather own the birds’. The birdbath heater has worked well, always keeping enough melted for drinking.
Now the temperatures have risen to 40s with predictions of rain. All the beautiful snow will melt and leave a mess of mud…and it will start to feel like Spring. Just a Tease, but I’ll take it…
February 19, 1968 – Everyone’s favorite adult, Fred Rogers began telling everyone that It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood when the national broadcast of his program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood premiered on this date.
While this was Not a significant event in my life, ten years later my daughter and I were regular visitors to his neighborhood. Those years of Sesame Street/Jim Henson and Mr. Fred Rogers were Growing years for Melissa and me; we’re Both eternally grateful for their Wisdom, Guidance, and Inspiration in our lives.
After hearing all the stories of horrendous waits and desperate travel to other counties for the shots, I’m here to tell you it was easy. I had signed up for notifications from the Indiana Department of Health through Deaconess Hospital. On Monday, I got a text from the IDOH saying the vaccines were now open to those 65+ (down from 70+). I jumped right up, went to my computer where I had bookmarked the Deaconess appointment site and literally, honestly, within 3 minutes I had Casey and me signed up for 6:10pm just two days later.
The clinic area that we chose (the old Welborn Clinic) is not currently being used, so it was a great idea to open it up for these purposes. We were quickly signed in, waited less than 5 minutes in a large waiting area, escorted back to an exam room where a pharmacist explained the process and administered the Pfizer vaccination in our left arms. We returned to the waiting room and sat for 15 minutes before exiting. Voila!
The Health Department checks on us via text every day, asking if we’ve had any side effects, which is kinda cool. We return on the 24th for our #2, which is supposed to be the one where you feel like crap. #1 caused no problems for either of us.
Of course, we’ll still be wearing the masks for a While, but this is a nice feeling of protection. I expect these will become like flu shots and have to change up for variants in the future. In my younger years, I would Laugh in the Face of Flu! Every year when the season surrounded me with complaining patients, I would Scoff derisively at their puny immune systems, arrogant about my own, and sure as hell didn’t wear a Mask. I was SuperNurse and in all those years I never caught the flu virus.
It was After I retired, when all exposure to germy humanity was minimal, that Influenza got me. I discounted the symptoms, calling it a ‘bad cold’ for a while, until I coughed so hard I couldn’t breathe, ran a fever to 103, sweated it off, and finally showed up at the doctor with pneumonia…good nurse… I was sick for over a month and my lungs have never been the same… This old lady gets a flu shot now…
What I saw of Covid looked like pneumonia on steroids…or should I say off steroids…and I’m not sure I would survive it.
Anyway, that’s the big excitement this week, other than last night’s snow. It’s a pretty snow, about two inches of it outlining the tree branches and just covering the ground. The bird feeders are busier than ever as the temperatures go arctic, so we’re making sure there’s plenty for everyone.
I’m going to make some potato soup and get back to my new project: I’ve torn down the upstairs in order to clean and it looks like there’s plenty of filth to keep me busy for a couple of weeks as we make our way through Winter.
We spend a great deal of time taking care of our bird buddies. While we haven’t had much snow, the temperatures are frigid, so we keep the feeders full and the water warm.
There’s a new bird in town: a mockingbird. There may be two of them, but so far we’ve only see one at a time. He/she has a different way of eating the suet, standing on the squirrel baffle and pecking away.
Saint Francis of Assisi had a special relationship with birds, who often followed him around and rested on his shoulders, arms, or hands as he prayed or walked around outside.
The story is told that Francis and some others were traveling through the Spoleto Valley in Italy when the Saint saw a flock of birds that had gathered in some trees beside a field. As he watched them, they watched him and Francis felt that the birds were expecting something, not the food offerings that I give, but rather a sermon just for them. The monks who were with him wrote down what he said and published it in the book, The Little Flowers of St. Francis.
“My sweet little sisters, birds of the sky,” Francis said, “you are bound to heaven, to God, your Creator. In every beat of your wings and every note of your songs, praise him. He has given you the greatest of gifts, the freedom of the air. You neither sow, nor reap, yet God provides for you the most delicious food, rivers, and lakes to quench your thirst, mountains, and valleys for your home, tall trees to build your nests, and the most beautiful clothing: a change of feathers with every season. You and your kind were preserved in Noah’s Ark. Clearly, our Creator loves you dearly, since he gives you gifts so abundantly. So please beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and always sing praise to God.”
The monks who recorded Francis’ sermon to the birds wrote that the birds listened intently to everything Francis had to say:
“While Francis said these words, all those birds began to open their beaks, and stretch out their necks, and spread their wings, and bend their heads reverently toward the earth, and with acts and songs, they showed that the holy father [Francis] gave them great pleasure.”
Francis “rejoiced” at the birds’ response, the monks wrote, and
“wondered much at such a multitude of birds and at their beauty and at their attention and tameness, and he devoutly thanked God for them.”
The birds remained attentively gathered around Francis, the story goes, until he blessed them and they flew away—some heading north, some south, some east, and some west—going out in all directions as if on their way to pass along the good news of God’s love that they had just heard to other creatures. (1)
(1) Hopler, Whitney. “Saint Francis of Assisi and His Sermon to Birds.” Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020, learnreligions.com/saint-francis-assisi-sermon-to-birds-124321.
When we bought our travel trailer back in 2016 we had a vision of freedom to explore the United States, staying under trees, in open spaces, feeling the Earth as we went. We were going to stay put in some places long enough to get a glimpse of what it would be like to live there. We’d avoid the dull Eville winters, roaming from sea to shining sea.
The reality was much different. Winter is winter everywhere in the contiguous 48, and where it’s the least bit tropical or desert-ish there is a serious shortage of places to park a 30-ft. travel trailer. Those state parks in warmer climes are cheap, but generally unavailable during the winter months, as are the nice RV/campgrounds that cost more than a hotel room. It’s almost like a whole lot of people had the same idea and got there first. The weather between here and there is often prohibitive of travel in winter, too. The trailer had to be loaded up in freezing weather and de-winterized after arrival in warmer temperatures. For two years we spent March in Florida; though it was warmer, it wasn’t necessarily “nice” weather and we weren’t real happy with our campsites, either. By the time we returned from New Mexico in September 2019, we had decided that we wanted something smaller for our Adventures.
As You know we sold the travel trailer quickly and started exploring our options. Particularly we considered just How we wanted to use a camper. We didn’t like the snow-bird camps in Florida — too clique-ish, felt like it was a secret society. KOA was helpful for overnights when there’s a lot of driving involved and affordable, too. We wanted the capability to drive up into the higher elevations and/or to boondock. We ended up buying Goldie, a 20-ft high-top conversion van, and started making changes to meet our needs. Casey reworked the electricity so that we can plug into shore power; we removed the passenger seats and put in two 3-drawer plastic bins. The bed folds down and we figured we’d be able to sleep sideways, curled up, without difficulty…but maybe not…
Starting a couple of weeks ago, I checked forecasts daily in our closest “warm” spots, generally along the panhandle of Florida (about 10 hours driving), and prepared to make a test run for an overnight stay in the Goldster. Just after the inauguration, the prediction was four days of warm temperatures, January 24-28, so off we went…to Disney World, of course…with a stop at Casey Jones Campground in Lake City, FL.
It was an easy drive, no major slow-downs, no stops in Atlanta, and partly cloudy skies to shield us from glaring sunshine as we traveled south, arriving just before dark. We hooked up to cable, watched some shows we hadn’t seen in a long time, and ate sandwiches. So far, so good. The low temps were predicted 60degrees and we didn’t need a heater, just our cozy blankets. Tired, we fell out early. I woke up several hours later trying to get comfortable and repeated the process several times during the night, to no avail. By the next morning, I had brainstormed a way to improve the sleeping facilities, but my back hurt, my legs were stiff, and my arms felt like they were still asleep.
Good thing we were going to do a lot of walking in WDW, where we stayed at Pop Century Resort…
At first I was planning on camping one night down and one night back up, but when the temps dropped, they dropped into the 30s, so we drove straight back, leaving early in the morning of the 28th.
We learned a lot on this short trip! I’m real excited about adding a foot of length to our bed, and a new storage box to replace the chest of drawers behind the driver’s seat. Casey went right to work on it and it’s looking Great so far.
This is much more like we had envisioned our travel, giving us freedom to Go Now when the conditions are right. Since WDW is currently the Only Place I know of where a mask policy is strictly enforced, and it’s usually warm there, I’m grateful to have an annual pass so I can visit often. However… I’m seriously looking forward to the time when we can Go Someplace Else. Hopefully, that will be in the Fall, after we’ve brought in the crops.
In the meantime, we’ll be visiting our Disney Pals with the Jr. family for Spring Break this year. We hope the Jose’ fam can join us there, too.
… And we may just run down there when the weather’s just right, and our modifications are complete, just because we can…
The High of Inauguration Day has worn off and the Work has begun. We knew it would be a monumental task to undo all that was done, but the strength and resolve we learned throughout the last four years have readied us.
It started with the Million Woman March on January 21, 2017. Some of my friends went to DC wearing pink pussyhats…what? no body armor? No one was arrested in DC and there were very few in other places. The momentum from that march led to the Democrats regaining the House in 2018 and in 2020 winning the presidency and tying the Senate.
It’s a sharp contrast between the angry, violent mob of rioters of January 6 and the massive congregation of diverse women who came together on 1/21/2017—though I did see a woman carrying a sign reading: “I am very upset.”
The Women’s Marches around the world yesterday were absolutely exhilarating to those of us who have felt despondent since November 9. It was a fabulous showing of solidarity, one that sprang up spontaneously on facebook. Even Eville sent out 2 buses! The local marches were just as inspiring—throughout the red states there were strong women emerging from their post-election funk to join together, rise up, and use their Voices against policies and politicians who would limit our liberties.
Our Eville March was a small affair, its theme was “With Liberty and Justice For All”, presenting 4 wonderful speakers who shared their hope for a world where All can feel safe and free. A poem written for the occasion called it “the inauguration day of a new movement”. Then the crowd moved down the riverfront to Main and up to the Library…
At the library, there were over 20 groups represented with volunteer sign-up sheets and lots of info about their causes and missions. By the time I left, the place was packed…
I hope that in your world you are looking out for groups that promote social justice and peace.
We can’t stop now…Keep on working for Peace, in your heart and in the world…