Sunday Report 4/18/2020

If you’re a regular reader of my stories and reports, you may remember how last year I got kicked out of my Favorite plant place because I told the owner, who I considered a friend, that she should be wearing a mask. Here’s what I wrote last year…

Wow, that was awkward… April 19, 2020

I’ve been soo looking forward to getting down to my local plant place this morning.  I had read an FB post that said she’d require masks and gloves, limit the amount of people inside (it is very small and crowded with plants), and so I felt she was doing her best to keep us all safe.  I was very disappointed when I saw that she was Not wearing a mask and I said so as I walked in.

She went off on me.  I mean, she was hollering at me, shaking, tears…Told me that the Dept. of Health said she and her employees cannot wear masks and that the problem was with the shoes…that I would need to go home and bleach my shoes after I shopped… My jaw dropped, under my mask, and I said, I’m sorry.  I was thinking about You; I’m wearing a mask.  She yelled that my mask wasn’t doing me any good (per the Health Dept.) I was wearing gloves and she shouted that I couldn’t wear those gloves in and they had an employee standing there (no mask) handing out gloves (no social distancing). She howled that she and her employees are not sick…(you could still be a carrier) I tried to calm her down, but she kept on wailing that I just don’t know how scared she is and how hard she’s working.  (good thing she’s not a nurse) She was screaming all this standing about a foot away from me and realized how close she was, so she stepped back a couple of feet and kept yelling,  Inside people stopped and stared, many of them not wearing masks, many of them crowded together.  During the rant she said the Health Dept. told her she is not allowed to Make people wear masks. This went on a little longer until I said, If you’re going to keep yelling at me I guess I’ll just leave.  She said Go.  I was shaking by that time, so that was that.

That place has been a part of my life since I started gardening 20+ years ago and I’m already grieving it. I love those people and support them even in the winter time when they’re just a convenience store.  The yelling lady is a kind person and I forgive her for her tirade, but there was no social distancing going on by her or her employees and they were Not Wearing Masks to protect themselves.  I hope they’re all okay and remain healthy.

…………………………………………………………………….

Fast forward through a year that went rather slow-motion through rising numbers of Covid cases and deaths. I have already been up to Hillside Nursery for my veggies and bought some herbs, as well, but I miss the variety of perennials and herbs that I could Always find at Ronnie’s Fruit Stand, the business that had thrown me out. I checked out her FB page and Lo! and Behold!, she was taking appointments, limiting people to 20-25 at a time, emphasizing that All should wear masks as she feels our statewide mandate was rescinded too soon. I wondered, but I was ready to shop and Opening Day was the next morning. I signed up for a 9am appointment.

When I got there, I saw that the Owner was busy helping people, wearing a mask. I slinked around and back to the Herb Section and it was like heaven to see full racks of hard-to-find favorites of mine like lemon verbena and pineapple sage, and there was plenty of basil. In the perennial section I picked up some liatris and coreopsis, chatting away with other shoppers, just so glad to be back. As I stood in line to check out, the owner came up to speak to me…

“I’m really sorry about what happened last year. I’m so glad you are here and I was so wrong to act the way I did. ”

I answered, “It’s okay, I know you were really stressed.” and we shared a big masked, vaccinated, almost post-Covid hug. “Have you stayed well?”

Tears came to her eyes as she replied, “No. On May 1 I got sick. I almost died. I thought I was going to die.” We shared another hug. Note that May first was less than two weeks after our encounter.

So I’m glad to be able to run back and forth for plants at my old stomping ground, but saddened that the messages about how to avoid being infected were so mixed. I’m sure glad my friend recovered.

We’re supposed to have frosts and snow flurries this coming week, so my plant-babies will be taken in and out of the shed for a while longer. Spring takes its time, but I’m hoping that will be our last frost.

Peace

Sunday Report 4-11-2021

After three weeks of gallavanting, it’s nice to be back home. Tuesday was my first full day and it was a doozy: spring blooms waving in a soft wind, woodlands greening, cotton-candy clouds played hide and seek with the sun in the — yeah, I’m going to say it –azure sky.

The gardens drew me in and I spent a good part of the day outside cleaning the porches and shuffling around some plants. We moved the bird feeders from the Peace Garden and raked up the sunflower husks as best we could. The coneflower and rudbeckia are coming up nicely.

I must admit, however, that I have been tired. Wednesday Jessica, Olivia, and Samantha spent the day with me while a new furnace was installed at their house. They do school all day, so I learned a few things, but I needed a nap…

On Thursday I started a Photo Project, pulling out all the photos (again). There are so many, and some I’d forgotten. After studying up on the ancestors, I’ve come to know them better; their faces seem familiar. The not-so-familiar face is Me, but I have another project for those…a little later. The Current Project is to frame up a dozen or so and listen to them. We all know Every Picture Tells A Story…

It’s a slow process, as you can imagine. Since it’s also time to start seeds, I’m pretty sure my table will be covered over for a while. Be on the Look-Out for the Garden Blog…

Peace

Sunday Report 3/7/2021

Don’t be fooled by the beautiful weather, don’t be taken in by the abundant sunshine, bluest of skies, or the buds on the forsythia–it’s Not Spring…yet. It’s time for the crocus and the snowdrops to pop up, and the buds are in sync with the season. It’s time to plant peas and potatoes and any other cool weather crops, but don’t get too carried away, and be prepared with covers for the crops when winter returns for its final frost, as it inevitably will.

Inside the house, we’re finishing up some painting in our upstairs bedroom where Casey put up new beadboard. We’ve moved a lot of the furniture to the attic, shuffled the rest around, and cleaned the filth that has accumulated.

We found a couple of twin-size headboards on the fb marketplace for $15 each; our mattresses are scheduled to arrive today, just in time for us to put it all back together and move on to outside work.

The Best News from the last week has been the announcement that I can travel to New York without covid testing or quarantining! I am going to see the New Yorkers! The last time I was with Emma and Eliza was last July when they visited for two weeks. I have gone this long without seeing them before, but the last time I saw them in their natural habitat was Christmas 2019, 15 months ago!

I am so excited to return to NYC and visit Emma’s new school, their new Irish Dance School, and Hug them until they squirm out of my clutches.

First, though, we’ll be setting out with the Jrs. for Disney World on the 20th. After a week there, we’ll head over to Sebastian Inlet State Park to do a wee bit of camping and a certain birthday celebration in Melbourne. Returning home on the 29th, that will give me enough time to do the laundry and fly off to New York on the 31st to spend the last days of the New York Spring Break with the EEs.

Back in September, I merged my garden and ancestry blogs with my primary blog Sonnystone, thinking, correctly, that more people would read them. Last week I changed my mind. I can’t explain why, exactly, because it’s a lot of work to move 45 posts and re-publish them, but I like working on each topic individually. I also un-earthed my old travel blog, down for a couple of years, and started moving any trip posts; that will take longer and since it’s called “Trailer Trippin”, it will have to be re-branded, probably as Adventures with Goldie or some-such.

So, I’m Busy again. I love it. The Jrs. are coming over for a Disney Movie this afternoon. The week looks Sunny. Hope yours does, too.

Peace

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

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

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

Sunday Report 12-27-2020

I was going to write something wonderfully pithy, probably touching your heart, possibly changing your whole outlook on life, but Melissa called and we chatted for a good little bit about The Beatles…

(By a “good little bit” I mean an hour or so… Okay, it wasn’t All about the Beatles, but it was about the Music she grew up with which is the Albums that I played over and over again on the stereo with the speakers hanging in macrame hangers…)

Now whatever it was I was going to write about seems melodramatic and overwrought, so Thank the Beatles for sparing you…

Anyway, the spark of the conversation is a movie trailer that Emma shared with me yesterday. I am so excited about this! Something to look forward to…

That’s all I got on this Last Sunday Report of 2020…

Peace

Sunday Report: 11-22-2020

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.

When the gate opens, I’ll be ready to run…

Peace

Sunday Report 11/15/2020

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

from “Windfall” by Son Volt…

Peace