Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘outdoors’

MOMENT IN TIME

Walking Robin in the early morning in the country, I had a unusual experience. The morning was cool, I needed a jacket. I felt like I had stepped back in time to a morning when our children were small. I was trying to cook breakfast on a two burner propane stove outside of our apache pop up camper in the country. I wasn’t skilled. It took me a long time to make breakfast. Just for a short moment I felt I was there.

Later in the day, I had a similar experience. Years later, I was preparing to can green beans or tomatoes. Standing at the stove, pressure cannier ready, jars ready for filling. Caps and tops in hot water. I still have ALL my equipment — pressure canneries, jars, caps. I’m not quite ready to get rid of them.

I have read of people who have had similar experiences. Normally these are not a part of my life. Remembering, I often think of various experiences but I don’t feel as if I am experiencing them again. One was unusual. Two — I can’t comment. I think I was puzzled but not scared.

I NEVER felt my age, to be honest, I didn’t remember how old I was. Sadly time has changed that. I don’t know if it is because of the trouble I’m having with my joints and other body parts. I don’t if it because of my weight. Many articles are currently appearing on the benefits of a vegetarian diet. I’m happy for those who are able to do that. I like most vegetables and enjoy some vegetarian dishes. I have learned that my body NEEDS MEAT! After my children were born, I requested Italian Beef sandwiches.

I recently fell. Thankfully I didn’t break anything. I might have stressed certain body parts. They are making their presence known. We had a small, personal table on our deck. I was placing a dogs collar on it when it collapsed, putting me off balance. After a few forward steps, I collapsed, face down. I didn’t break anything. THANK YOU, LORD.

Since my fall I’m craving beef. Hamburger, steak — doesn’t matter. Evidently there is something in the beef that my body NEEDS. I have had pork, chicken, cheese and beans. Plenty of protein. Doesn’t matter. I’m reminded of the commercial “Where’s the Beef”.

INGENUITY

RAIN, Rain, rain and more rain. Just watch my garden grow. And IT DID! Because of the rain, we stayed in the city. Our neighbor’s rain gauge measured more than 8 inches in May. It measured more than 1 inch , one week in June. Our garden grew. So did the WEEDS.

Once upon a time I had no problem kneeling to pull weeds. Sadly that is no longer the case. If I get down, I have a hard time getting back up. Not to mention that my knees LOUDLY PROTEST kneeling on them. To make life even more interesting, the weather changed from comfortable temperatures in the 60’s to uncomfortable 90’s. When I was younger, the high temperatures didn’t bother me. Sadly my body isn’t as flexible as it used to be.

PROBLEM — WEEDS, FERNS, ground cover, thistles –EVERYWHERE. Even with the wet ground, they were not easy to pull. I needed equipment. I needed to get down into the ground to get the roots up. I needed to be able to kneel or sit on the ground. NEITHER was an option.

When we lost a huge tree in the tornado, we kept two pieces of the trunk. They stand on either side of the steps going up to the deck. When I stood next to the trunk, I used the tree for support and balance. Moving away from the trunk, my balance was a bit shaky. I decided to bring a cane out to the camper. While I was thinking about the cane, I remembered a walking stick my husband made for me many years ago. I found it standing right next to the microwave, waiting to be used.

The rain brought mosquitoes. I was forewarned about the problem in an e-mail. The person who warned me mentioned she used a hat, covered by netting to protect her face from the bugs when she walked her dog. Still at home, I ordered the netting and found a hat. I was set. Except at our campground they spray for mosquitoes. The second day we were there, I heard a helicopter spraying the lakes.

Mosquitoes might not be as big of as problem, but the flies still were. In fact they LIKED my ears. The hat helped. It protected me from mosquitoes and flies. It provided a little bit of shade for my face. I could easily see through the screening. The netting was long enough that I could tuck it into the front and back of my shirt.

The hat didn’t help with the temperatures. I tried to work in the garden before the temperature climbed. I quickly discovered that wind made a BIG difference. If a breeze blew, it was more comfortable. I got a timer and set it for 10 – 15 minutes. Sometimes I stopped before the timer went off. Sometimes I didn’t hear the timer. Sometimes the roots were too strong for me.

Thankfully my husband took pity on me and HELPED!

HARMONICA

My father loved to play the harmonica. Thinking back, I really can’t remember the songs he played. I’m sure they were old favorites. My grandmother was a very religious woman — Methodist or ?. I’m sure she would NOT have allowed modern music. A music radio station played religious songs all day. Our dogs did NOT like the sound of the harmonica, it hurt their ears. So Dad did not play it often.

Why am I remembering his playing now. That is easy to say this morning. Yesterday I went downtown to the Blues Fest. I did NOT recognize any of the names of the performers. The transit worker at the train station told me that Friday had the best music. I thought I might stay later than planned.

Listening to the weather on TV before I left, I heard that it was 60 by the lake. I dressed for cool — sweat shirt and heavier jacket. I try not to carry a purse so I loaded up the jacket pockets with necessary items. I restricted myself to no credit card and only $10 in cash. My knees were yelling — Motrin and cream were necessary. This was Chicago’s 36 year hosting the Blues Fest. I LOVE MUSIC! I didn’t go for many of the years. Then I realized that the possibility of my husband going with me was slim and if I was going to go — I had to go by myself. My pins date back to 2007.

I ALWAYS have a good time. I knew that if I stayed home, I would be unhappy with myself. Sore knees, cool temperatures, I was going. It was NOT as cold as I heard on the TV. I was ROASTING! I would have bought a tee shirt BUT I didn’t bring enough money, no credit card either.

I found a comfortable place under a tent, with chairs! The sides were pulled back to let in the breeze. I did NOT recognize the performer but I was comfortable. One of my favorite sounds in the blues is the harmonica (harp). Credit goes to my father. The musician Grady Champion was a joy to listen to. As a matter of fact, when his set was over, I was ready to go home.

I decided to refill my water bottle and stop in the bathroom before the trip home. The program at the bandshell started at 5. Since it was after 4, I decided to listen a bit before going home. I had trouble understanding the words in the tent, I was hoping the sound system at the bandshell would be better. IT WAS!

Not only was the sound better, I could understand the words. My sweatshirt and jacket came in handy. I was comfortable. I got a fantastic surprise. The artist: Charlie Musselwhite was a MASTER at his craft. He played the harp EXTREMELY well. I would easily have bought one of his CD’s if I had cash or a credit card. I stayed for the entire set. Before leaving, I bucked the line to tell him how much I enjoyed his playing.

OPPORTUNITY

In September of last year, my husband and I attended Autumn on the Prairie, at Natchusa, a nature preserve. While there, I met a group of painters. I learned that they get together when the weather is agreeable to paint in various areas in the region. I have to admit that I was interested. My family has been prodding me to get back into painting. I have a collapsible easel and a chair. I have many acrylic paints and brushes, not to mention canvases.

I planned to practice painting during the winter. As with many of my plans, it didn’t happen. Since the Fall, I have only finished one painting. I did it for my granddaughter’s birthday. When she was at St. Joseph hospital because of her headaches, I told her I was thinking of an Amazon warrior winning the battle. That image remained in my head and I actually turned it into a painting. Drawing IS NOT my talent. I was amazed when the image I drew on the canvas actually looked like a girl. The drawing of the unicorn DID NOT go as well. The finished painting is something that I’m not ashamed of — strong Amazon, winning the battle. I wouldn’t call it a great work of art, but considering the artist, I don’t think it needs to be hidden. It is hanging in our granddaughter’s bedroom.

I painted in acrylic. I used a glass for a pallet and cleaned it off many times. I also cleaned the brushes many times and renewed the paint many times. I had access to running water in our sink. I thought about the steps I took in the painting as I considered painting on location.

Our granddaughter had a set of Arteza brush pens at the hospital. The colors were vibrant and she shared her talent with many of the other patients. The more I thought about that set, the more I considered getting my own. Taking it with me with a sketch pad to an open air painting session sounded like a plan. At least for the first excursion. I can always take paints later. I can also return to the camper and using my materials convert the sketch to a painting.

My daughter suggested I take the pens and a sketch pad to the Garden and try doing a sketch. I just need good weather!

MEMORY

I worry about me sometimes. I especially worry when I don’t remember where I put something or when I forget when it comes to money — checkbook, paying bills. I don’t get upset when I arrive in the kitchen or the pantry and forget why I felt I needed to get something. Usually if I relax and think for a minute, I’ll remember what I needed.

I’ve told myself that I need to start writing notes. Sometimes I remember and sometimes it works — especially at the camper. When we leave in the Fall and I’ve moved stuff — it is helpful to find a note telling me where the item is.

The forecast for the weather for the week after Thanksgiving was interesting. Two days in the 40’s, then the temperature drops below freezing, with snow. Time to put up the lights outside.

Finding the boxes that hold the decorations was easy. Our son brought them up from the basement for me. Taking off the lid contained the lights and the garlands. EXCEPT — I didn’t recognize the lights. I saw large bulb, multicolored lights — FOUR (4) boxes. QUESTION: Where did they come from? I didn’t remember buying them but I knew neither our son or my husband would have. There they were.

We use tiny cascading lights hanging on the porch. I found three bunches. They also were multicolored. I didn’t remember them either. We usually have either white or blue. I looked for a note reminding me of the lights in the box. I didn’t find one.

I have to admit that my notes to myself are not very complete. Either I forget to write things down or decide it is not important enough to remember. Maybe I thought that I would remember. Sadly, memory is marvelous — it must be full because it is VERY choosy about it keeps.

Recently our local public broadcasting station had a pledge drive to raise money. One of the programs that was included was music of the 60’s. It surprised me that not only did I recognize the name of the singer whose voice I heard, but just hearing the first notes of the song — I knew what the song was. Of course the 60’2 — it was my music and I was YOUNG! My memory bank was full and overflowing.

I LIKE the multicolored lights on the porch. Getting new strands to replace those hanging this year would probably be a good idea. Maybe that’s why we have 4 boxes of multicolored large bulbs that I don’t remember. I wonder what we were going to do with them?

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?”

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!

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