Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘outdoors’

RANDOM THOUGHTS

DELAYED! Again — by choice or by circumstances. Does it matter? I usually have a rough plan for my day — nothing written, or impressive — just a rough plan. I used to be a night person, getting my energy in the late afternoon, accomplishing something in the evenings. That was long ago. Now I’m a morning person. If I don’t get something done before noon, it is a good bet that nothing of importance will be accomplished that day. If nothing else, I usually have an idea of what I’ll be making for supper.

Today — how can I describe today. GOD LAUGHED! I’m in the city, my husband is in the country. Original plan was that I was driving our granddaughter in to catch a plane to return to Florida. I was staying in the city to attend the Mind Body Spirit Expo over the weekend and return to the camper Monday or Tuesday. I didn’t feel good on Monday, accomplished NOTHING! Usually I have a couple of thought rambles lined up to publish. NOT NOW!

I tried to write yesterday. I had ONE sentence looking back at me from the screen. Mind BLANK. I was not impressed. Earlier in the day, I was reminded that I needed to write. I bumped into one of the pipes in the basement, hitting my head. The day before, I hit my head on the roof of the car. These are usually indications that I’m being reminded to write, share experiences.

Today, I stumbled across a few of the stories I had written for Journey With Me, I was IMPRESSED.

Back to my day. It is cooler, I planned to make cat fish in the oven. I planned to go shopping for food. My husband was going to travel with our middle daughter to our youngest daughter’s house. Our family had gathered at our camper for a weeks vacation and our daughter was taking advantage of time with her father. Since I was staying in the city for a few more days, I needed more food.

My husband phoned. He decided he needed a day to rest. Since Friday, he had been busy, traveling around the area — looking for the Bison in Natchusa, visiting Castle Rock and some of the other parks. Hiking opportunities. Because of my knees, we hadn’t visited them this year. If I was feeling better, he thought I should come out to the camper tomorrow.

Plans changed. No sense to go shopping if I wasn’t staying in town. I had made chicken and dumpling yesterday. There was enough left for today. Sitting at the table, talking to my husband, my watch came off my arm. The band broke! “Is someone trying to tell me something?”

Advertisements

MADE MY DAY

I suppose it is no secret that I LOVE MUSIC . Even though Chicago has hosted the Blues Festival for 35 years — most of the early years was held without me. My husband DOES NOT LIKE CROWDS. He does not LIKE to go downtown so for the many years when we were raising our family, I didn’t go to any of the festivals in Chicago. One year I came to the realization that I could go by MYSELF. And so I did. And I continue to go by myself when we are in town. Sometimes he will go with me but not often.

We were scheduled to be in town for the 35th Blues Fest. Recently it moved from Grant Park to Millenium Park. Exact reasoning is yet to be determined but the city is able to provide more security for the event. In this day and age that is not a bad thing. In town — I planned to go. Rain was predicted for the Festival but I thought that if I wore a raincoat and limited the stuff I was carrying, I would be alright.

I noticed that the Festival was honoring Bob Koester for the 65 years that his record company, Delmark records, played an important part in the blues and jazz of the city. The Koester family lived down the street and around the corner from us. My middle daughter babysat for his children, my youngest daughter was good friends with their daughter. I stopped at the Delmark both to inquire. I learned that the entire family was present. BUT WHERE? Millenium Park was a smaller place, but thousands of people attended the Blues Fest.

I stopped at Southwest airlines to spin the prize wheel and won a canvas tote. I stopped by the stairs to reorganize stuff. The gentleman that I just talked to at Delmark records walked by. He asked if he had just talked to me. When I said he had, he told me where Sue, Katie and children where. I didn’t waste any time — they were sitting by a table at the restaurant. I had no idea who I was looking for so I looked for children. I asked a young mother if she was Katie AND SHE WAS! Happy — understatement! I phoned both of my younger daughters and they ANSWERED their phones. They both got a chance to talk with Katie. Made all of our days!

I enjoyed the music but I was HUNGRY. I hadn’t brought enough stuff to eat. I decided to find McDonald’s since I knew I could control the sodium level. If I turned right after leaving the park, McDonald’s would have been right there. Instead I turned left and walked FOREVER. After getting something to eat, I decided to keep walking over to State street. I knew there was an elevator by the Library stop. An elderly couple looked confused, I asked if I could help. Easy, they wanted the Red Line — subway train that was on the block we were on. At the Library, I made it up to the mezzanine — connecting platform between North bound and Southbound trains when I encountered a man who also needed help. No one there to help him find the Blue Line. Taking a couple of minutes to think, I was able to give him directions.

Frosting on the cake!

INVITATION CRABAPPLES

By know you know that I enjoy Chicago’s Botanic Garden for many reasons. I don’t have the space, time or energy to maintain a lovely garden myself but I LOVE flowers. I totally enjoy walking the paths, listening to the rushing water on the waterfalls or fountains, and watching as the seasons change.

I try to get to the garden in time for the daffodils. This year I didn’t make it. I ALWAYS try to visit when the crabapples are in bloom. My first visit this year, they were trees in waiting. I totally enjoyed a huge magnolia tree. The Japanese cherry trees were in full bloom as well as the rhododendron in the Japanese Garden. I totally enjoyed the day, took many photos and hoped to return when the crabapples were in bloom.

Just ONE week later, I received an invitation, the crabapples were in bloom. I didn’t hesitate. The next day, sunny but cool found me back in the Garden. This time I arrived earlier, before the bells chimed twelve. This time, once again I found a parking spot in the closest parking lot. THANK YOU!

It is my practice to check out the salads and other food on the menu before I wander the paths. I noticed a key lime tart. I knew it wouldn’t be available when I finished my walk. I decided it needed to accompany me. I wasn’t hungry, but I LOVE key lime pie. It became the second photo I took that day. It wandered with me until I reached the waterfalls. Sitting on a bench — in the sunshine — listening to the rushing water, I totally enjoyed the tart.

The magnolia tree had lost its flowers, the Japanese cherry trees were no longer in bloom, I debated walking the Japanese Garden. I was happy that I did — azalea’s were in bloom, the Japanese retreat house was open, as well as quite a few crabapple trees. I didn’t count the number of photos I took at the Garden. I’m sure it was well over 100. Besides the crabapple trees, I have a photo of two turtles sunning on a couple of rocks. (I overheard a father pointing them out to his son.) I also have a photo of a mother robin feeding her chicks in a nest.

This time I wandered to the island, enjoying the crabapples in bloom in the lanes. White and pink trees were laden with blooms. The red blossoms were still waiting. I noticed a white crabapple tree so full of blossoms that the branches were hidden. A tram passed as I admired the tree. The driver told her group it was a weeping white crabapple. Her favorite tree in the Garden.

Stopping for a salad before leaving, it was a perfect day!

IT IS THE ICE

I like snow — I like the frosting on the trees, and the houses. The air seems fresher, maybe because it has been washed by the snow. When I was younger, I enjoyed many activities outside — ice skating, cross country skiing. Even younger it included sledding, making snowman and forts. Snowball fights.

Sadly, now — for the most part, I just enjoy looking at it, staying inside where it is warm or if I’m really adventurous — wandering the neighborhood — camera in hand — taking photos. As I write this I’m thinking of a photo I took of a garage roof, where the snow reminded me of a nun’s veil.

After a day, the snow begins to darken, reflecting the life of the city. As much as I like the snow — I DISLIKE THE ICE. This year, so far, we have had less than an inch of snow on two separate occasions. Both times, the snow had just fallen, when the warmth of the city turned it into ice. I would love to stay inside and wait for the ice to melt. But our dog Robin, DOES NOT agree. It would be lovely if we could open the door to the back yard and leave her out to do her business. She does not think that is what a backyard is for. She has to be out in the neighborhood, looking for squirrels or the treasures they leave behind.

As I have gotten older, I pay more attention to the soles of my shoes and boots. They have to have a good tread that will navigate the snow and ice. I also pay more attention to where I am walking. I’ll chose the north side of a street because it gets more sun. I’ll change where I walk because I know the paths will have been shoveled. I’ll walk in the snow covered grass if it is safer. Or if I don’t have Robin with me, I might walk on the side of the street, close to the cars.

I don’t remember having these concerns when I was younger. Then I just dressed appropriately, kept warm and went out to play in the snow. Last night I stopped in a store and noticed a much younger woman with her hand in bandages. I asked if she tangled with the ice. Sadly she did and broke her wrist. Snow is predicted. This time they are actually talking inches. We have just experienced a very warm week. The ground will be warm. Hopefully I will stay upright, on two feet.

AWAKENED

I had a most interesting week — in a weeks time I have revisited many of the talents and interests I had over the years. Many of them slipped by the wayside without my noticing it. Too busy, too many other things occupying my time. Years ago, I belonged to the Nature Club at our campground. This week, Sunday, I attended a presentation on a wetland area that is only a few miles from our campground. Even though it has been there for quite a few years, I was completely unaware of its existence. The person giving the presentation had interesting slides of the plants, animals and insects that inhabited the area.

Two days later, I saw a member I knew from the Nature Club at a restaurant. The very next day, I ran into another person who had helped me with the float on a parade. The back to back experiences reminded me of not only the fun I used to have, but also how much I have forgotten. Too many years have passed!

That same day, I attended a colored pencil drawing program hosted by the nature club. I haven’t drawn in years — not that I have ever been very skilled. I picked a flower to capture on a wood panel. All the supplies and pencils were provided. The experience reminded me of when I first started painting 30 years ago. It was an invitational program put on by the campground. Bring your body and talent and we will provide the rest. My rendition of that painting opened up a new world for me. I didn’t think I could paint — I was proved wrong. Thankfully the technique I learned this week was easy to adapt and the flower I colored surprised me. Instead of hiding in a drawer, it is occupying a space on our wall. My family thinks I should pick up my paint brushes again. They may be right.

While I was occupied with colored pencils, I learned of nature activities coming up on the weekend. A nature hike and later, a nature presentation of life in early America. Both sounded interesting — I planned to attend. Then I WORRIED. Would I be able to walk on a two mile hike? Would my knees allow me to do it? I decided that I would hike as far as I could then walk back and leave.

I didn’t need to worry. I arrived at the prearranged spot and saw the leader putting down a plastic ground cover. The plan was to DRAW, then hike. I WONDERED HOW not only would I get DOWN on the ground, HOW would I get back UP?

I needn’t have worried. The leader asked me to wait, he had something in the car for me. HE DID! He had his mother’s wooden folding chair. I WAS VERY COMFORTABLE. I still couldn’t draw — a bird, copied out of one of his books. (My grandson could have done better!) A tree — some resemblance but nothing to brag about. I think I will try to pick up his suggestion and DRAW every day.

The presentation — EXCELLENT! I convinced my husband to accompany me. He was glad that I did. Brian “Fox” Ellis became Prince Maximilian in 1832. I was reminded of the many hours I spent in storytelling.

The only thing missing was writing. OH! I GUESS I’M DOING IT NOW!

Years ago we had bird feeders hanging in our yard. A hummingbird visited a few weeks ago — reminding me. This weekend, we hung up hummingbird feeders. We had a visit from either one hummingbird twice or two separate hummingbirds. WELCOME. ( I have plants that are beneficial for hummingbirds in my garden. The feeder is more permanent.)

ENERGIZER BUNNY

I hate to admit it! I really hate to admit it but I’ve gotten OLD. Now I know that we have had an extremely busy couple of months. We were home a total of FOUR DAYS after we closed the camper for the winter. During that time I needed to put away all of the food that we didn’t eat during the summer, catch up on the mail, change summer clothes for winter and prepare for our next trip.

We were back home a total of five days before our grandchildren came for the weekend. The weekend was lovely — we took advantage of the good weather and went to the zoo. Next, after the kids went home –taking advantage of the good weather, I went to the Garden. Then we had a couple of back to back doctor visits. No rest for the weary!

Still switching clothes and getting ready for our granddaughter’s and great grand’s visit for Thanksgiving.
And COOKING in advance for the feast. Taking a break, getting off my feet — I watched a cooking show on Thanksgiving. Now I will admit that I have cooked turkey for many, many, many years. BUT I learned something new. The chef I watched recommended taking out the wishbone for easier cutting and removing the breast from the skeleton. I’ve deboned many chicken breasts so I TRIED IT! I couldn’t get the wishbone out BUT filleting the breast, cutting the meat when it was off the bone was EASY! I didn’t have to wrestle with the whole turkey. Hopefully I will remember this trick.

Granddaughter and great grand (3 years old) arrived. The visit was LOVELY — even Robin liked both of them. More family staying at the house — more out and about. I wanted some of the energy from the children. They DIDN’T SHARE! Our granddaughter had a bucket list of things she wanted to do. During the time span that they were in town I got more than 40,000 steps on my Fitbit. My daughter told me I was the energizer bunny — just keep going and going. She is right! I took more than 500 photos on my camera. Every day I prayed for ENERGY. The day that they were leaving we stopped at the Conservatory before heading for the airport. In the room that had a slide, a four year old girl was with her family. The two girls had a lovely time, the adults were able to enjoy their energy from ground level. I had to say “Thank You”. Now I know that many things just naturally occur in life, but I have had many years of receiving “help” from “my friends” and I DON’T TAKE that “help” for granted.

The “Grand’s are safely home and I’m charging my batteries. Oh, did you just say that Christmas is coming?

PRESSURES OFF

I’ve tried, and I will continue to try. I’m NOT GIVING UP — but there is no way I’m going to lose the weight before we fly. My BODY LOVES ME just the way I am. Pressures off.

I wanted to increase my energy levels — I’m not at the former level yet but then again, I’m not fifty anymore either. My expectations are high, I have something to strive for. But I’m not upset with the reality.

The forecast promised sunny skies, temperatures in the 60’s. Too nice to stay inside. My husband and I wandered to Morton’s Arboretum.  When we entered the gate, I asked if any places were closed because of the recent rains. I learned that the park had been closed for FOUR days, the underpass was under ELEVEN FEET of water. Many places were still boggy, which meant watching your step when walking off path. Like the Botanic Garden, many daffodils were ladies in waiting, but some of their neighbors were excited to show off.  The difference in access to sunshine was noticeable. I found gentle hills and today my thighs aren’t yelling. I don’t think I’m ready for mountains, but I won’t need a nap after walking a mile or being up for two hours. PROGRESS.

Still preparing, I haven’t packed yet. Still adding stuff to the pile when I think of something. I could make a list and I still might. Watching the piles grow, I’ll have to do some serious cutting. Just how many purses do I need to take? How many pairs of shoes?

Shoes — I’m finally able to wear gym shoes again. PROGRESS! When we were at the Wisconsin Dells, I was unable to walk some of the terrain because of my shoes. I found a pair of new gym shoes that I bought before I had issues with my feet. Not only do they fit, but I’ve walked two miles in them just to break them in. They are definitely going.

We are hoping to go to Turtle Bay on the North shore of Oahu. I tried to do some advance planning on the computer which generated challenges of its own. I learned that the park on the North Shore is now run by the Audubon society. I’m expecting the terrain to be anything but flat. My son is thinking about climbing Diamond Head again. I have made some progress but I don’t think I’m up to the climb and I know my knees wouldn’t do the crawl through the tunnel. I’m realistic — some things aren’t going to change.

“My friends in high places” are excited. I KNOW they are going with us, or will drop in when we are there. I won’t need to be locked out on the patio. I’m sure “they” will have other surprises in mind.

Tag Cloud