Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘weather’

CRABAPPLES

The crabapple trees were in bloom in the city. They reminded me of the pathway by the lagoon at Botanic Garden, planted with pink crabapple trees. Absolutely beautiful when in bloom.

Our cool, wet weather had delayed the blooming of flowers and trees. Normally the trees were in bloom by Mother’s Day. Sun was out, temperature hinted at seventy. Visit to the garden planned.

I could NOT find my membership card. Luckily our old car was back in the city. It had a membership sticker that would allow access to the Garden. I called the Garden to request a new sticker for the new car and a replacement for my missing card. I DID NOT ask if the crabapples were in bloom.

Traffic to the garden was light. Since it was one of the first sunny days in weeks, the parking lots were full but I found a place by the walking path. My knee had been acting up in the morning so I planned a shorter walk, maybe sit at more places.

Entering the Garden, I overheard a child pointing at a turtle underwater. The turtle was huge, reminding me of turtles in Hawaii. I tried to capture it with my camera but it was too far away to get a good shot. Stopping to sit at a bench, I noticed a woman using walking sticks and asked a couple of questions. Two years younger than me, she shared my paternal grandmothers name. She uses the sticks for balance, finding them more useful than a cane.

I decided I would confine my picture taking to flowers that I might want to paint. In the next Garden, I noticed a woman taking pictures with an I-Pad. She was having problems. Stopping to talk to her, I learned that the crabapple trees were not in bloom. They would need another week with warm temperatures.

Thankfully the waterfall was running. I stopped to rest on one of the benches and noticed another woman walking with the walking sticks. She shared that hers had a spring on the bottom which made them easier to use. I don’t know if I’m ready for a cane or walking sticks. But gathering information never hurts.

Sadly my knee started acting up again. I decided to cut my walk short, and get something to eat at the cafe. The salad that I had enjoyed was sold out, I would have had to settle with a pasta salad. The lines made me reconsider. Shortening my stay at the Garden I headed back for my car.

15 minutes to the Kennedy the sign announced when I was driving on the expressway. I was glad I left early. I only passed a couple of exits when the traffic slowed to a crawl. I exited at the next exit. Turning on the radio, I heard a truck had smashed into a bridge, taking out two lanes of traffic. I was very glad I had left the Garden early. THANK YOU!

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UNPREPARED

I think I mentioned that our daughter bought a new car for us. I know that I was shown were the lights and windshield wipers were. I know I was shown how to access the automatic pilot. I FORGOT!

My husband and I took both cars to the camper. He drove our old car, trunk loaded, Robin helping with the trip. I drove the new Escape, trunk loaded. It was a cool, cloudy day but DRY. When I first started out, I realized I had forgotten how to access the automatic pilot. Evidently I was too tired when the various parts of the car where shown to me. I have driven the car, but in the city I don’t use the automatic pilot. I finally figured out where it was but every time I turned it on, slower traffic made me hit the brake.

We met at the oasis, half way to the camper. I checked to make sure both cars had a pass to get in the gate. We had removed the pass from the old car. My husband found the missing pass in the Escape. I wasn’t ready when my husband was ready to continue. So he wouldn’t worry, I mentioned that I would stop at the store before going to the camper.

I was only a couple of miles down the road when it started to rain. I didn’t know where the windshield wipers were. I didn’t know where the lights were. The car image on the screen showed green lights at the bottom. Red where the taillights were. I thought I had turned on the emergency flashers by mistake. I managed to turn on the windshield wipers. The windows were fogging, I didn’t know where the defrost was. I was in trouble. Then the sky opened and the rain poured down. I stuck behind a truck whose tail light I could see. Reaching a rest stop, I pulled over and phoned my husband. He explained where the lights were. Not driving, I found the defroster.

As soon as I found the missing items, the rain slowed to a drizzle. I’m still not sure how to work the radio and the rest of the gadgets. I planned to read the manual and acquaint myself with the car. It hasn’t happened yet.

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!

THWARTED

This word WAS NOT part of my vocabulary. It wandered into my mind. After checking to confirm that is was a word, I decided it was an excellent title for a thought ramble. Especially after the happenings in my life in January and February. Thwarted: “Block or Hinder. To keep from doing.”

Perhaps I should explain. In January I received an invitation to join Deepak Chopra for a 4 week meditation. I have tried to do his three week meditations in the past and although I still have trouble meditating, I thought I should keep trying. My schedule was clear — I thought I would be able to do it for four weeks. The first day, I connected to the meditation. That was the end of my success. Communication with the HELP desk didn’t help. From experience I knew I was being BLOCKED. WHY? No answer.

At the end of January the reason became apparent. Our 9 year old granddaughter’s migraines and thunder boomers had increased to such an extent that her mother took her to Diamond Clinic at St. Joseph hospital in Chicago. Her brother and their two dogs, one a black lab 4 month old puppy, stayed with us. When her father and brother returned home, I suggested the dogs stay with us. The puppy was excellent, just a puppy, forever hungry and wanting to play. All of Robin’s toys, in various states of togetherness, occupied the whole house. I quickly decided that exercise was NOT an option.

I was surprised at the number of states that the patients at St. Joseph came from. Diamond clinic must be very well known and we are blessed to have it in Chicago. Patients came from as far away as California and Georgia. Tennessee, Ohio and Missouri were also represented. Sadly the treatment didn’t get rid of my granddaughters headaches, although they might be better. I must admit that the house was quiet when the dogs left.

Our life returned to normal, right? WRONG! I’m still trying to catch up on sleep. Our winter weather mix is still continuing. Last Sunday was the first Sunday I attended Mass since Christmas. I don’t wander out when it is icy, nor do I drive. Watching the weather systems and shopping between them describes both January and February.

Shopping has presented its own challenges. I recently returned from Wal-Mart without half of my groceries. One bag was missing. Checking my receipt to get the phone number, I noticed that the items missing were not charged. ?? If there is an explanation, I don’t know what it is.

Sadly, I don’t keep good notes. I don’t write down the number of frustrations that are in each day. I read recently that I should note the co-incidences that occur in my life. I laughed. Co-incidences — DAILY? I don’t write down the number of times my brain doesn’t remember stuff. In other words, I don’t remember all of the times that thwarted fit the day. I’m sure it was a lot!

CHALLENGES

Often I can tell what kind of day it is going to be when I first get up. Sometimes the events of the day run very smoothly. My fingers don’t drop everything I touch. I don’t burn myself on the stove. My morning readings are encouraging. If I have to drive, the traffic is light. I find parking places and can get out of the car. Sometimes there are even bargains or sales of items I need.

Then there are the other days. I have trouble finding or putting on my clothes. My knees protest more. I drop too many things or my fingers forget how to work.

This morning I woke to challenges. It had snowed yesterday, we weren’t buried but I knew that I didn’t want to drive to church. Walking was out of the question. Ice? Distance? I planned to increase the distance that I walk each day, but it is still in the planning stage. I went back to bed.

Descending the staircase, my knees protested. Opening the back door, snow covered the stairs. Have broom, will sweep. Some of the stairs were very icy. I was very glad I decided NOT to go to church. Success! Stairs swept, salt poured down and I stayed upright.

I planned to make a pork roast in the slow cooker. Luckily my husband brought the cooker up from the basement and I had the pork roast in the refrigerator upstairs. Planning ahead, I made a low sodium soy sauce from a recipe in a cookbook from our first trip to Hawaii. I hadn’t read through the recipe, it required more steps than I planned, the challenges continued. Oops! Brown the roast — it almost fell on the floor.

I turned on my I-pad only to learn the internet was down. I asked my son for “help”. He said he didn’t have any problems. The internet was on. I was just BLOCKED.

I know I’m not the only one who has these kind of days. When they start like this, I pay more attention and SLOW down! I did. After breakfast which my husband cooked. I laid down to watch a couple of favorite cooking shows. I fell asleep.

I knew I had to write a couple of thought rambles. I had just read a story of the importance of telling your family stories. Although many of our stories have already been written and published, life goes on and so do my experiences.

I ordered new snow boots. They arrived yesterday — BEFORE the SNOW! I put on my boots and the rest of cold weather gear. I got Robin’s leash. She NEVER does her business in the backyard unless it is in the middle of night. I planned to take her for a walk. I was surprised when I noticed that she squatted and took care of business. I guess she didn’t want me to go for a walk!

As I searched for a title for this thought ramble, I opened a couple who shared the title I was thinking of. When I read them, I noticed most were written near the anniversary of the fire which sent my mother and brother home. SURPRISE– the anniversary is this week –FRIDAY!

BISON

I have visited the prairie at Natchusa for more years than I care to count. When I first wandered there in the 80’s, the only directions were paper plates with arrows. I think the prairie was huge — 400 acres. Gazing out from the top of the hill, I could see miles of tall grass waving in the wind. The only hint of modern times were the tall electric towers. I was young — able to walk the uneven terrain.

Fast forward 40 years. To say that I’m no longer young is an understatement. Natchusa has increased in size — more than 4000 acres. Three years ago, Bison were reintroduced to the prairie. The herd has grown, more land was set aside for their range. It is no longer possible to walk the acres of prairie.

The third Saturday of September is set aside as Autumn On The Prairie. Knowledgeable people donate their time for tours, demonstrations are scheduled, food is available. I have attended many third Saturdays over the years and I wanted to go. I knew that if my knees prevented my participation, I would be very upset.

Paying attention to my restrictions, I actually took a walking stick to help with the uneven terrain. We arrived early. I was surprised when I learned that a shuttle was available to take us from the parking lot to the entrance. I was impressed — changes had been made. There was a pump for water, a new sturdy bathroom — still chemical but spacious. The entrance now had an open roof with photos of the prairie and a history of its development. The pump, bathroom and entrance were brand new — just finished for the day.

Tickets were being given out for tours of the Bison. My husband got 140 and 141 for us. A shuttle was available to take us down to the Bison fence. Various carts were in service to take us out to the Bison. A person knowledgeable of the herd rode with each cart. The cart we were on had a ramp with a handhold. I COULD DO IT.

I will admit that I didn’t push myself to walk down or back up the hill. It was early in the day, the bison were curious — “Who were we?” — and came close enough to see them easily. We knew the temperature was climbing. The past few days had been in the 90’s with no wind. I was happy that we had not only arrived early but also got an early tour. So many people had arrived, more vehicles were pressed into service.

We stayed for a presentation by the group that saves hawks, falcons and owls. I gathered up my courage and walked up the hill along a path to the top of the hill. Signs were in place naming the various grasses and flowers. I didn’t press my ability and returned down the same path instead of walking through the tall grass.

Seeing the bison was interesting. An area in their habitat was fenced off so that the prairie without the Bison could be compared to their grazing land. Their area had tall flowers and short grass. The fenced in area had VERY TALL grass.

I was grateful that we went, grateful for the shuttles and VERY HAPPY that I was able to walk a tiny bit of the prairie. It was a beautiful day!

FIRE

I have to admit that I was puzzled. It was cool enough outside to make a meatloaf in the oven. After an hour, I didn’t smell meatloaf and opened the cold oven door. The flame had stopped sometime during the cooking process. I estimated about a half hour. My husband was able to light the pilot light, the oven regained 350 degrees and I finished cooking the meatloaf. The stove is old as our trailer, more than thirty years. What bothered me was gas escaping, the pilot light had gone out. My husband tried to figure out the cause — but our stove did not have automatic ignition. Too old. I phoned the person who repairs our trailer. As long as I didn’t use the oven, the pilot light stayed on.

My husband grilled a steak on our outside grill. We joined friends around their campfire. When we returned, I noticed heat coming from the grill. The gas had not been turned off.

Outside the temperature had risen, back into the seventies at night. Our furnace turned on TWICE during the night. Temperature on the thermostat was set at 70. Temperature in the camper was 80. ??
It was the weekend — our repairman was on a well deserved vacation. I vowed to call him on Monday.

Sunday night the light over our kitchen sink burned out. The number of fire — light appliances with problems was climbing. I’ll admit I was concerned. I’ll admit that I thought a message was trying to get through but I had NO IDEA what it was. We hadn’t been home much during the summer. I wondered if I needed to schedule a cleaning for our furnace at home.

After I called our repairman with the latest problem, we packed up to go home. My husband discovered a green frog on our bathroom wall. At first I thought it was one of our granddaughters toys until it moved. I was reminded — FROG — Full rely on God!

We stopped at an ice cream parlor on the way home. Since my husband was driving, I ordered a cherry ice cream soda and an order of French fries. I hadn’t had a cherry soda in years. I also ordered a chili dog and a chocolate shake for my husband. Carrying the tray out to their patio, the tray tilted — chili dog all over patio, ice cream soda all over the tray and me. Ops — WHAT A MESS! We cleaned up as best we could and I asked the people inside to run water on the patio to discourage the bees. Tiny bit of ice cream soda left — too sweet! My tastes have changed.

One of the first things I did when we reached home was call the furnace people and arrange for a cleaning.

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