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…
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…
After a week of carefully arranging our Christmas decorations on mantels and hutch cupboards, covering nearly every flat surface with Mr&Mrs, nutcrackers, snow globes, and other accoutrements of the Jolly Holiday, we were ready for the grandies to hang the ornaments on the Tree.
The Jr girls are our usual tree-decorating Elves, but since I don’t get to see (in person) the New Yorkers this year, I’m trying to pull us all together via instagram. I didn’t do so well at getting the screenshot of the New Tradition, but I’ll get better. I had bought four new Mickey ornaments from WDW and Emma and Eliza directed Olivia and Samantha as to placement of the ones they chose. Eliza also entertained us, playing Christmas music on her keyboard while the Jrs. finished.
The icicle lights Outside are dazzling the passersby and our Peace Wreath has been updated with new red and white lights. The neighbors are struggling with light-outages, but so far ours have performed with distinction. As soon as I can I’ll attempt to catch the night pictures.
It’s Goldie’s maiden voyage and we’ve had a smooth trip down, though Atlanta Always insists we move verrry sloowly through their town. The only time we didn’t get stopped/slowed there was the year we drove down on Christmas Day, many moons ago.
Truly, this is a drive we have taken dozens of times in our years together, whether it’s just Us, or with our kids, or with our kids and their kids. We often take the Alabama route, adding about 60 miles to the trip, not just to avoid Atlanta, but also Chattanooga where there are too many Runaway Truck Lanes to suit me, especially when we were pulling a trailer.
Today is the last Pretty-Weather day of this outing — first is the last. Per the weatherman, rain will be “steady” all day tomorrow, ushering in a cold front that brings lows in the 30s on Tuesday… I keep looking to see if it’s changed, but it’s pretty much a sure thing.
Not to be daunted, we have jackets of all sorts, as well as Boots — something I’ve never worn in Florida. We are accustomed to the cool, though, and looking forward to the Extra Warmth from our Masks.
I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving week-end. No rest! It’s time to swing right into the Advent/Christmas Season! Disney is decorated for the Holidays, so we hope to return to Eville with lots of Spirit and most of our shopping done — I’ve arranged for a video shopping trip with each of the grandkids at the parks.
We were headed down here for our Anniversary back in August, but opted out for various reasons, deciding we’d celebrate 40 years of wedded-bliss at the same time as Casey’s Birthday (tomorrow). That’s a lot of Celebrating, so I’d better get started…
Before the race starts, the horses parade around the saddling paddock, led closely by a horseman. Crowds line the perimeter, folks watching closely for signs of their readiness to run: do they look energetic, ears alert? are they feisty or placid? When the bugler plays the Call to Post, the jockeys swing up to their backs and together take to the track.
Here at the beginning of Thanksgiving Week in the year of our Lord 2020, today is the day I jump up on the horse and head out to the starting gate. Even though our holiday will only include people in our Pod, that’s nothing new for us.
The New Yorkers (sadly, Not in our Pod and We not in Theirs) have had a serious tradition pulled from them: Oireachtas, the annual Irish Dance Gathering in Philadelphia, has been cancelled. They have attended the competition for the last many years, preparing for it Non-Stop in the lead-up. They’re bummed, but stoic.
Here at Sonnystone, the Jrs usually arrive early for the Macy’s Parade and we have our Dinner around noon–turkey, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, and pumpkin pie, along with assorted side dishes. That will remain unchanged, since NYC is offering up a fake Macy’s Parade that we Truly Appreciate. After sleeping off the feast, they have always celebrated at Jessica’s grandma’s house; not this year.
Traditionally we have put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving Weekend, but why should we be Traditional when so many people can’t be? Instead, This year, I’ll send as much food back home with the Jrs and start packing. We’ll leave early Saturday morning and drive to WDW, our Home Away from Home.
As usual, we are bringing cooler weather with us as we head to Florida; high temps in the 80s are now predicted to be barely 70 during our stay. I actually like that, and don’t mind a little rain, either. The masks will feel more comfortable, the crowds will be thinner, and I’ll wear a jacket with pockets so I don’t have to carry a purse.
Ha! you say…she’s preaching about pods and restrictions, but takes the risk of traveling herself! Well, I will Not use truck-stop bathrooms and I will not have contact with the Unmasked…Even my doctor agreed that Disney World is Safe. If only there had been a mask mandate right out of quarantine, the whole world would look like Disney.
So I’m picking up my pace as I near the starting gate, looking alert, feeling a little skittish, not sure if I’m the jockey or the horse…
Samantha’s visiting again today to help me with decorations.
The sound of the wind,, like a distant train, woke me this morning. It didn’t wake me Up, but rather woke me Down, with the plaintive refrain of the Son Volt song, “Windfall” stuck in my brain:
“Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel, May the wind take your troubles away…”
It’s still stuck there, though I’ve been piddling around here for hours trying to cheer myself up.
Went for a physical exam this week and was thrilled to find that I’m in excellent shape for an old broad. Had the grandkids over on Wednesday, took them to Barnes & Noble on Saturday and that’s always Fun. So what’s my problem? Could it be that Mars is in retrograde right now? Or is it the shift in barometric pressures with all this Weather?
The relief that I experienced just after the election dissipated as my focus went back to the pandemic. The compassion I feel for nurses and healthcare workers is overwhelming me. The Indiana Department of Health has kept me on their list for call-outs, and I got a notice the other day that many of our hospitals are in dire need and requesting volunteers. I’m way too far from my hospital days and would be more of a hindrance than a help, but I feel guilty. My heart is heavy with the suffering.
But then, we all know people now who have had Covid and have not gotten sick. Their message is, hey it’s not that bad. The fact that we’re able to treat the infection better now, especially if you have access to $100,000 therapies, seems to embolden some, as well. It looks rather hopeless — not for me, because I wear a mask; not for the folks refusing to wear a mask, because they don’t care; but for the hospitals and nursing homes and the people who need care and the folks who provide it. I am fervently praying for them.
My son-in-law, Eric, buried his beloved mother on Saturday up in Indy, that swamp of corona. Sonya Torres Jose’ was a Wonderful Woman and I was proud to be her friend. She had been ill for a while, finally passed on November 2. She was a widow for nearly 20 years, and I know her boys are comforted to think of her and their Dad together again, dancing in heaven.
While I worried about Eric traveling, there’s the cognitive dissonance from planning a trip during this time… We’re going to Disney World to celebrate Casey’s birthday, leaving the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Disney is doing a great job of enforcing their mask and social distancing guidelines and it’s seriously the Only Place I feel safe to visit…
The Wind is still huffing puffing like the Big Bad Wolf, sending the dried leaves swirling like cyclones across the garden, as the sun peeps in and out from behind the scurrying clouds. There’s a cozy book-chair waiting for me to curl up and work my way through my “To Read” list.
Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer, and I promise I’ll snap out of it soon, but that’s the way I’m feeling this second Sunday in November…
Now and then it keeps you running It never seems to die The trail’s spent with fear Not enough living on the outside Never seem to get far enough Staying in between the lines Hold on to what you can Waiting for the end Not knowing when
May the wind take your troubles away May the wind take your troubles away Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel, May the wind take your troubles away Trying to make it far enough, to the next time zone Few and far between past the midnight hour Never feel alone, you’re really not alone
I will never forget how I felt four years ago: a sense of doom permeated my perspective. My post-election blog post attempted to put a good light on the situation, urging us all to come together. I had to take it down, as within 24 hours, the tweets that were to dominate our news for the next four years were proof to me that we truly were doomed. By the time of his inauguration, it was clear to me that he is mentally ill. I joined groups, held signs, got blocked by family and friends, made new friends. It didn’t stop his erratic, self-serving, lying behavior; in fact, it only triggered him to more retribution on anyone who wanted him out of office…(now we know it was about 76million of us).
A friend posted something on FB just after the 2016 election that stuck with me. He said, if you’re waking up every morning feeling sick, now you know how the rest of us felt every morning for eight years of Obama.
That friend is now taking his turn waking up every morning feeling sick and I feel for him, sending Love. However, Joe Biden is not going to launch retaliatory, vengeful, or hostile acts or pursue a personal vendetta against those who are feeling doomed right now. I promise.
“To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies.
We are not enemies. “
President-Elect Joe Biden
I have tried my best to avoid politics on this blog, partly because I don’t write that kind of report well, and partly because I know my readers don’t all share my political persuasions. But in every one of these moments when you have to Stand for Something, I have Stood for Peace. I pray for Peace in the World, across the planet, throughout the Universe; peace for every human being. I work prayerfully for Peace in my heart and soul, hoping that it may be contagious.
My sincere hope is that Americans can reconcile, find some common ground. Maybe that ground is closer than we thought…Check out this article…
While we stood still, the breezes through the trees sent the leaves rustling to the ground in heaps of colour. The sun has been brilliant, the skies blue, and the temperatures warm, so I’ve been outside enjoying. Stay Strong, dear friends.
Breaking News! We have bought a van, a 2012 Ford E150 conversion van. She’s beautiful and I’ve named her Goldie…guess what color she is? She was previously owned by a Farmer out on the Westside who kept careful maintenance and only drove it 39,180 miles!!! We had her here yesterday while the Jr. girls were visiting and Casey did a complete inspection, finding Nothing wrong.
The girls enjoyed a ride in it when we drove them home, then Casey and I proceeded to haggle with the owner’s surrogate, a super guy who wore a mask. We met halfway between his price and our offer, so we are very satisfied. Since banks had closed, we agreed to meet up Monday to exchange the cash for the check we gave him.
I didn’t take any pictures, dang it! I was going to use the ones that were on the FB Marketplace listing, but it’s already been taken down and I could only download this one…
After the experience with the Old Vans in Paducah, I changed my whole perspective and started thinking Newer, less miles; I also got my heart set on a high top. We did an inventory of our needs – comfortable, good stereo, a lay-down bed for overnight stays on longer trips, storage, room for personalization.
I kept looking at craigslist, FB marketplace, and various other online spots, checking about once a week. Looking within a radius of 150 miles of Eville (Indy, Louisville, St. Louise, and Nashville) there were ludicrous listings to make us laugh… Goldie was only on the market for a day when I saw her and the opportunity was a no-brainer…I’m so grateful when I’m able to manifest… We will Definitely do some day-trippin’ this week.
In the meantime, I’m trying to stay calm: deep breaths, mellow music, cooking a nice meal, and writing. Goldie is a nice distraction from the election noise. I’m weary of being told to Vote. We have always voted day-of, though I love the early voting option.
I expect that the Election Drama will be going on for a spell. Is Anybody enjoying this? Good on you, then, but it’s making me bilious. I’ll bravely be soldiering on, though, with some Extra Editions of The News to cover Election Week… Thanks for Reading!
Just got off the phone with my daughter. They’re doing fine, thanks. I told her I was struggling to write a blog post and that it feels like a deadline, which it is. She commented that she can tell when I’m writing against the deadline; it’s a few words and a picture. Being my daughter, she also let me know that my writing is always good, but sometimes great; not every column can be Pulitzer Prize material.
I’m a little disappointed that I’m so transparent, but she’s right. I try to plan out each week’s report in my head by Saturday night. On Sunday morning I sit down and write it up in a couple of hours. Yeah, if there’s not a topic or idea in my head to start with, as frequently happens, it takes three or four hours of staring and writing and deleting and finally putting up a few words and some pictures.
So here it is…
The Daytrip got rained out, but we spent some time walking in our own woods, the one we call Solla Sollew…on the banks of the River Wahoo…
The Jrs. were here Saturday… I love this picture of Samantha laughing…
It’s been a quiet week here at Sonnystone Acres. The Autumn weather is invigorating and I’m still cleaning up in the gardens, so I’ve soaked it up. I’m just a smidge away from saying we’re done with the Home winterizing, and glad of it.
Early voting starts at our libraries this week, so we’ll be there having our say, earning the right to complain later. Hope you’ll be planning to find a spot in line, too.
Since there’s not much to report, it seems like a good day to share a re-run of the video I made of Camp Sonnystone 2020. Put on your dancing shoes and take the Theme to Heart: We’re All in This Together!