Random Acts of "Kindness"

Archive for March, 2014

DRIP

DRIP

When I wrote To Pap with Love I had trouble printing Chapter Four. I didn’t like to rely on the copy on my computer or on the external disk. Every time I made a change, which was often, I printed out a new copy and the printer stopped. I tried to change the words, we were celebrating my granddaughter’s first communion — it didn’t matter. Every change I made, trying to solve the problem, didn’t help. The printer still stopped at the party. After many months the printer finally printed ALL of Chapter Four without stopping when I realized that it wasn’t the words, it was the gift of a beautiful day.

Last weekend would have been my father’s one hundred and fourth birthday. Our youngest daughter planned to drive to Chicago with her children to celebrate her daughter’s fifth birthday while her husband was out of town. We have not had a snow free Saturday in six weeks. I was concerned — they live one hundred and fifty miles south of Chicago. The main road for traveling is often snow covered and icy. The wind whips across the farmland and the road. To say I watched the weather reports with a microscope would not be exaggerating. Thankfully the forecasted snow was light. They were able to come into the city safely and return home safely.

While they were in town we visited the Swedish museum. My daughter is writing a book in which one of the characters is Swedish. She wanted to get a bit of background. My father was a full blooded Swede. I’m a mongrel — a bit of this, a bit of that. I didn’t know that the third floor held a children’s museum which has won an award. Sadly my camera stayed on a shelf at home. I will have to trust my memory and the snippet that I’m writing in this ramble. I wished I had known about the museum when we were watching our grandson when his mother taught at a school. The kids had a marvelous time catching fish off of a bridge, rowing a boat, planting in the garden and investigating a log cabin. They tried to carry milk containers on the shoulder carrier, fed the wood burning stove and in general experienced a little bit of life in Sweden which gave their mother time to do research.

This winter is breaking all records for cold and snow. We have already had 68 inches of snow. Normal is less than 30. Another polar vortex has descended. Zero temperature has returned. More snow is forecast for this weekend 4 – 8 inches as a matter of fact. I was just outside cleaning up our yard. I had watched Robin, all 25 pounds, climb to the top of our four foot snow mountain and stand looking around. I was amazed when the frozen mountain supported my weight, which is a lot more than 25 pounds.

Down in the basement washing clothes, a bit upset about the frigid week — I remarked to the dust and cob webs, “You’d better snap out of this!” At the bottom of the wash tub, a dime waited for me. This morning, the sink in the kitchen WOULD NOT stop dripping. It didn’t matter what I did. I finally remembered to look at the pan in the basement catching the overflow for the furnace. It was more than half full. The sink in the kitchen is still dripping, but only one or two drops — not the flow of the morning.

Robin, while not depressed, is missing the kids. A car like my daughter’s was in front of the house and Robin was whimpering. So she found a few children’s toys to chew on.

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OUCH

A whisper …. a pebble …. A knock on the head …. When God wants your attention!

I’ll admit that I try to pay attention. I’ll admit that I don’t always succeed. I DON’T LIKE BEING HIT ON THE HEAD! It hurts!

Recently I have collided with the top of the kitchen counter, almost knocking myself out. I’ll admit that I saw stars. Thankfully I remained conscious but I had a wound on my head that lasted for a few weeks. Just the other day, I collided with an open cabinet door when I stooped to pick up stuff from the floor. Not as much damage to my body part but the area is sore to the touch. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M MISSING!

I’ll admit that the floor opened up and I fell down into a deep, dark hole that I can’t get out of. Other than the cold and the snow and the gray skies, there is no reason for this depression. Thankfully we aren’t dealing with a crisis — health or money. And I’m grateful — but I’m also stuck. My intention to stick to my food plan, lose weight and exercise has fallen by the wayside. I haven’t exactly given up, but my weight gain is telling a different story.

I could blame the weather, cold, snow. I could blame the realization that I have to give up some of my dreams. We don’t have the money to travel that I hoped we would have. I wasn’t expecting to travel the world, or stay in expensive places, but even our travels in the motor home seems to be above our budget. Age, health and the economic downturn hasn’t helped. Neither is the rise in expenses and our limited income.

If I sit down and count our blessings — they are many. We are much better off than many senior citizens — we have our health, food on the table, a house to live in and a country place to run away to if the weather ever allows.

Sadly that isn’t helping to get me out of this deep, black hole. My “friends in high places” are doing their best to help. Especially if I’m out and about by myself — sadly my husband seems to be an anchor that restricts “help”. Sometimes there is too much togetherness.

Today, I was counseled to look to ancient wisdom. Robin has a stomach upset — I remembered a brew I made for Mabel, our chocolate Lab that solved the problem. While at the store, a new issue of Woman’s World caught my interest. “Calm in 20 seconds — Amazing Hawaiian stress-relief secret” promised. I’ll try!

I have ENJOYED my trips to the islands. The magazine came home with me. I wish I could imagine a lovely spot on the beach and escape — but sadly that image is blocked. I haven’t been able to use guided meditation with good results. But I’m working on it. I’m going through my library of books — realizing that there isn’t enough hours in my day to reread all of them and I found a workbook on intuition. That stayed in the keep stack and I’m planning on working through it. When I was young, my intuition might have spoke to me. I think I was embarrassed and decided not to listen. I think it is time now to reconnect to the source.

WELCOME TO HEAVEN

I need to emphasis that I don’t have first hand experience on this subject. If I visited heaven after the fire when I was four years old, I DON’T REMEMBER. So this ramble is an assumption on my part. Partially from books I have read, speakers I have listened to, and unexplained things that have happened to me.

I have read that when we arrive in heaven, we are met by our loved ones that have crossed over before us. They may be human or pets. And after the person has a chance to adjust to the new space, they begin reacquainting themselves with their home. If it was an unexpected death, I’m sure more time is needed to adjust. If the person who crossed over is elderly, has been ill for a long time, the adjustment might be quicker.

My father sent me a sign within three days of his passing. He might have tried before then but I didn’t receive it. The day of his wake, his education had already begin. The computers at the company my son worked at had so many problems he thought a band of gremlins was loose. Our daughter’s boyfriend had an important class paper to write. He was using our computers which froze, making it impossible to do any work. My father didn’t know how to work a computer when he was alive. Typewriters were all that were in use, type and printing presses did much of the work. His working memory had diminished by the time a computer arrived at our house. My father always LOVED to learn new stuff, I’m sure he was an apt pupil. Since his passing “my friends in high places” often “help” me with my writing.

I was reminded of these instances on Monday night after my neighbor passed over. My computer had issues. Many of the things I tried to do became impossible. I finally gave up. Bright and early Tuesday morning I turned on the computer to see what issues I was facing. No surprise, it worked perfectly. I had writing to do — BURIED TREASURE.

Yesterday was my husband’s 75th birthday. We went to the auto show but didn’t buy a new car. A cable car gave us a ride from the parking lot to the show and I learned that the first auto show in the United States was held in Chicago in 1901 at the Coliseum.

Even when I’m with flesh and blood family or friends, my “spiritual friends” are often along too. I noticed a messenger bag that was given away by State Farm, it had a strap that hung from your shoulder allowing the hands to be free. Our son told me I would have to take a survey. We stopped for a sandwich at the Cafe where I noticed the person in front of me had a State Farm bag. I asked if I could look at it with the intention of getting my own. His wife had a bag too, and I was the happy recipient of their extra bag. Then I spun a chance wheel and won 20 cents off of gasoline.

As I was leaving, the attendant at the woman’s bathroom asked if I enjoyed the show. I shared a few stories and mentioned that we weren’t in the position to buy a new car. She told me that I would win the Lotto, and be able to buy a new car. I would have laughed except I remembered how a friend many years ago told me my words would go around the world.

I love to cook, and enjoy a few cooking shows. At home, exhausted I turned on the television and was most pleased to join a young Emeril Lagasse with Julia Child cooking in New Orleans.

BURIED TREASURE

I have a hard time thinking of a title for my thought rambles. Robin, our dog, gave me this title when she was digging in the snow for buried stuff. With her ability to smell under the snow, she was able to unbury many things, toss them in the air and play with them. Sometimes eat them which I found disgusting. Needless to say, I’m trying to be more careful to clean up the yard after she does her business.

If I had written about buried treasure when I first thought of the idea, I would have written about the many times we excavate our memories, sometimes finding pleasant happenings but most often the remembrance unearths pain. I will delay that thought for another time.

Yesterday I was reminded of other buried treasure when my neighbor of more than 40 years passed over. She was 91 years young and her death was not unexpected. She had been in good health until the Fall of 2013 when her independence was taken away from her and her health began to decline. Death is always hard even when it is expected. I was grateful that they phoned and I was able to stop by before the funeral parlor removed her for cremation.

What to say to the family? Other than I’m so sorry for your loss. Thanks to my father, I have a different perspective on passing over. He died in 1995, 4 days before his 85th birthday. When he passed over, within three days he let me know he was fine. Maybe it was his birthday present to me. Since that time I have become gradually aware of the “help” I receive from the other side. When the son of a friend asked me to teach him how to become “aware” I knew I couldn’t. But I could tell my stories, and I did in “Journey With Me”. Yesterday I took two copies over to my neighbors family — one for her daughter, the other for her grandson. Will it help? Will they read it? Will my neighbor help them with their life? Will they recognize her? Those questions are not for me to answer.

The interesting part of my day didn’t end there. I needed to walk to the Post Office and took Robin with me. The sidewalks, still snow covered, were safe for me to travel. The sun was out but the temperature was still in the single digits. I walked further than I planned. Returning home, I spotted a green coat in a snow bank. From the distance I thought it was a child playing. A man got out of his car and helped the figure up, then watched as the person slowly walked down the street. A woman across the street was watching. As I approached the corner, I saw the person had fallen again. Luckily the woman crossed the street and helped the man up. He said he didn’t know what was wrong. I recognized him as a person who lived across the street from our house. My children had attended school with the family. The other woman assisted him to walk home. Because of Robin, I was handicapped. We tried to get help from his family. No one answered the door. The other woman didn’t have a cell phone – mine was at home. The man said he knew his phone number. When I crossed the street with Robin, my husband met me at the front door. I got my cell phone and returned. No one answered the phone when we called. We were uncomfortable leaving him alone. I walked to the rear of the house and when no one answered the pounding on the door, I called for an ambulance and stayed with them until help arrived.

When I thanked the woman for her assistance, I mentioned that she was younger than I. She didn’t think so. I had to laugh when she told me her age. She was younger than I by 10 years. I said, “I don’t know your religious belief but we had just been used by God to help another.”

I wanted to leave a message for the family, when I remembered that one of our neighbors was good friends with the family. Luckily they answered the door when I rang the bell.

Evidently my work is not done, and neither have all my stories been written.

GROUNDHOG WINTER

The theme of Groundhog Day, the movie, was that the events of the day kept repeating itself. This winter is doing the same thing. First snow comes into the area — a few flakes or a couple of inches. Sometimes a broom is all that is needed, sometimes you need more muscle — a snow blower. For an added bonus, the lake provides a few more inches. Then the temperature drops — zero or below. Then the cycle repeats itself — day after day, week after week. We haven’t had many days above freezing. We haven’t had many days without snow. The snow hills are growing. No end in site. We are trying to break the record — third coldest winter in years.

My health seems to be doing the same thing — Groundhog Day congestion. First the flu — then the congestion, it finally gets better, the cough eases, — the temperature drops. It snows — I sweep off the stairs, the temperature drops; I start sneezing and make chicken noodle soup. The cough worsens.

I finally drove the car by myself — first time in four weeks. My husband has been doing the driving, heats up the car, and drops me off in front of the store. Then if the wind is really blowing, picks me up in front again. I don’t mind being spoiled. BUT I WANT TO BE HEALTHY! Which is why every once in a while I push my limits. Go shopping before the next snow storm.

Since the first of the year I have been tracking the food I eat in the hope of losing a pound or two. I track my exercise too.. I should have tracked the days it snowed and the temperatures but I didn’t. I’m hoping that this WINTER WILL SOON END — THAT I WILL BE HEALTHY.

I took advantage of a day that promised the high twenties and went downtown via the train. It was still very windy. I really didn’t have a choice. I needed to drop off a paper at City Hall in order to get the senior tax freeze. One year I mailed it and they never received it.

I walked right in, didn’t need to wait and walked out just as quickly. I decided to take a bus to the new Italian Eatily — a two story, 15 restaurant and bars that specialized in Italian food and cookware which opened in our city in late December. This was the first chance I had to investigate. An elderly woman was leaving when I did. She had the same mission — to drop off rather than mail the important paper. She knew the buses and offered suggestions — where to catch the bus and which one to take.

Downtown was really windy. I wondered if I shouldn’t just go home but with our weather, I didn’t know when I would be able to return. I was lucky — a bus was at the corner when I reached it. I asked if it was the one I needed and learned it was. The bus didn’t stop at Ohio but the driver alerted me so I wouldn’t have a long walk. I found Eatily right away, only a two block walk.

I wandered both floors, had some soup and bread at a restaurant, treated myself to two chocolate covered oranges for desert and headed for home. I was between two train stops. I knew exactly where one was, the other, although closer might have been harder to find. Luckily the wind had diminished and it was a pleasant walk as long as I didn’t dally. I stopped for coffee, caught the train and just made it home before the snow started.

The next day, our newspaper had an article on Eatily — it covered most of the restaurants and the options available. That night, the evening news featured a gentleman who was celebrating his 111 birthday. He still drives his own car.

AMAZED

I’M READY TO BE WELL! I’m tired of this cough, being sick! I’m tired of this cold weather and snow and Ice! I’m ready to be out and about if only this cough would go away.

I read that people who were active — outside, exposed to the elements would be healthier. Until I came down with the flu, I walked Robin, our dog, a couple of times a day. I was outside shoveling snow or sweeping the snow off of the stairs. Taking precautions, I got a flu shot in October. I GOT SICK ANYWAY! I was told that the flu would have been worse without the shot.

Okay so I’m grousing and grumbling. I’m still coughing like a fool. The weather forecast is more of the same — snow then falling temperatures, another cold snap, well below zero. The cold is descending to the warmer areas of the United States — 33 degrees in Miami. Their houses are not equipped for this type of cold — neither are their bodies.

So why am I amazed? Stuck in the house, staying on the second floor because it is warmer and I need for this cough to leave — I’ve been going through stuff. Revisiting some of my past life — raising children, working, square dancing, writing, storytelling. SO MUCH STUFF and so much that I’m not ready to part with. OKAY, SO I’M A PACK RAT.

So why am I amazed? Last night I found an old e-mail — sent to one of my daughters more than ten years ago. In it, I wrote that a friend told me my words would be going around the world. Of course, I didn’t necessarily believe her but then I received an e-mail from a distant cousin in Sweden, wanting to read To Pap, with Love. My words going around the world.

Now I’m sharing thought rambles with you. And I have learned that through the internet they reach to Canada, London and points beyond. My friend 10 years ago was right — my words are reaching around the world. AND I’M AMAZED!

Look at all the fun I’m having stuck inside — I can’t wait till I’m free to wander again!

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