Sunday Report 2/7/2021

We got our #1 covid vax!

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.

Peace

For the Birds

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)

Peace

(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.

Sunday Report 1-31-21

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…

Peace

Four Years Ago

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.”

I did a little marching myself….

Blast from the Past…

Date: January 22, 2017 Author: Jo Mayne Casey

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.

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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…

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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…

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 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…

We are All One…

A Tribute

I was going to post a re-run today, thinking I surely had posted something good about MLK Day in the past, but I was wrong. I had posted something, but it wasn’t what I call “good”, so I went in search of inspiration.

When I watched this, I cried. This is what I mean to say…

Peace

Distraction

The internet isn’t always such a great thing… I’m using my computer ostensibly to write, but instead I found myself constantly distracted by the the latest “breaking news” that is really the same already-broken news, and scrolling scrolling, reading the same stories, different headlines, over and over.

On the edge of Obsession, I took action and retreated.

Grateful that I have a big enough house to get away from myself, I turned off the computer, made myself some hot tea, walked down the hall to a comfy club chair surrounded by books and windows and cozied up near the fire.

We cut the cord on cable a while back and have been just fine with rabbit ear antennas bringing in our local stations. Through Roku we are subscribed to Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, but we usually just watch whatever cowboy show he picks or some home/cooking show I choose. On Monday, though, we subscribed to the new “Discovery+” and I have to say it saved my mind. It has several different channels, including some of our super-favorites from HGTV, Discovery, Cooking Channel, DIY, and more…

It’s like a dang miracle, the fun I’ve had watching decorating shows from the 90s, reuniting with shows like Gardening by the Yard, Decorating Cents, and my current fave – Design on a Dime… In this one, Charles, Summer, and Kevin redecorate a room for under $1000. That same $1000 won’t go as far 25 years later, but really they don’t do much more than paint and re-arrange the furniture. Back then, HGTV had lots of decorating shows that were something you could do at home. While the fixer-upper stuff is fun to watch, knocking down walls is not something you can just randomly do. Even though their stuff is so Dated, I’m motivated to play the game and do some re-decorating…

Oprah’s channel is on there, too, and I eagerly tuned in to watch some SuperSoul Sunday. The episode that I chose was from last March, just before the lockdown. In it, Oprah discusses the book “The Universal Christ” with its author, Fr. Richard Rohr. I had listened to some podcast homilies by him that I enjoyed, but I wasn’t expecting such Inspiration. Soul-Sister Kathy long ago recommended Fr. Rohr to me, especially “Falling Upward”, in which I am now engrossed. I highly recommend both books.

Still and all, I have No Idea where this is Leading,,,

Peace

Sunday Report 1-10-2021

Last week’s Report (1-3-2021) ended with these Words…

“I admit, I’m very concerned about what’s going on in our country right now. I feel that I can’t exhale until Biden is safely inaugurated. Hope is an action word. Stay Strong. “

Then Wednesday, January 6, happened. You don’t have to be psychic to have seen this coming. As I watched the horrifying images of the insurrection in real time, my stomach churned and my heart ached. When we were able to process what and who and why it became clear that this was planned. They had bombs, molotov cocktails for this revolting revolt. The truth probably will not come out until he is Finally out of office, but mark my words.

Not everyone who voted for the loser is backing the idea of a violent overthrow of our government, but it seems that most of them believe that Democrats are evil, Speaker Pelosi is a bitch, and that any state that didn’t have a majority of votes for their tyrant must have cheated. Many have now turned on Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, and any other Republican who acknowledges that Joe Biden won this election fair and square. Their news networks reinforce those lies.

I’m just sick about it. As you saw, there were no counter-protesters at that event; social media warned us that this would be bloody. It was well-planned by some, proven by their merchandise: jackets saying “civil war January 6, 2021”. The flags, the hats, the vile tee shirts; streaming selfies and gloating about their vandalism all show that these people expected no consequences for their actions and were prepared to stop the Electoral Count. Thank God they failed at that, but they sure did succeed in every other way, most of them just walking out after their marauding, told to “go home” “we love you”.

Throughout the last 4 years I have preached about Peace, but today I am furious, enraged, and struggling to find a way through this fear and stay away from hate. It’s difficult.

I’ve been listening to George Harrison. We all need to listen to George Harrison…

Now the darkness only stays at night time.
In the morning it will fade away.
Daylight is good at arriving at the Right Time.
It’s not always going
To be this grey.

All things must pass.

January 20 cannot come soon enough.

Please join me to Pray for Peace within our hearts and for the United States of America.

Lights, Birds, Orchids…

Here we are in the New Year, but it looks a lot like the Old Year…

We’ve taken down the Christmas decorations except for the white icicle Lights hanging along the roof line of the front and side porches. I don’t know what Message leaving up the lights is supposed to send in our hyperactive culture, but for me it’s because I want to light up the night; besides, they look like winter and winter is where we are. Of course, the Peace sign wreath remains as well.

Last year our Bird/Peace Garden was only an embryo in my mind as I watched the birds from our meeting room window. I marvel as I watch the finches, woodpeckers, cardinals, bluebirds, titmice, feed at 3 finch feeders, 2 suet feeders, and 2 sunflower seed feeders. We just added a heater to our birdbath and throughout the day the space is abuzz with activity with the magnolia tree covered with birds perched like leaves waiting to feed or drink. They are not always nice to each other, but the locals are tolerant. The occasional starling or grackles tries to sneak in, but we run them off.

The Clowns of the Bird Garden are the squirrels. I think they must have some sort of bionic eyeball to do the geometry of overcoming our squirrel baffles and they do not give up. Recently we watched while a small gray squirrel worked and worked until he made it up a well-defended pole to the feeder. Once he made it up there, he could always make it up there. Casey did a couple of modifications and thwarted him, but his persistence and determination were admirable.

I’m ready to turn my attention back to my ancestors. I put everything together over on the original All My Ancestors blog for reference. Now that I’ve (nearly) made it down to great-grandparents on all sides, I will soon be ready to bring them all together in 1900.

My orchid re-bloomed! I’ve bought many an orchid in the wintertime, hopeful that they would reward me with annual blooms. Usually I gave up after a couple of years and no sign of life… I didn’t do anything different this year; in fact, another is just sitting there stubbornly not-blooming even as we speak, so I feel quite humble in its presence…

I admit, I’m very concerned about what’s going on in our country right now. I feel that I can’t exhale until Biden is safely inaugurated. Hope is an action word. Stay Strong.

Peace