Monday, May 31, 2021

I'm still standing

Oh my!  Time goes by (as it does) and it’s all I can do to find time to participate in my own life.  University #1 has wrapped up for the spring term and I’m now on vacation until the summer break ends.  With two full months (plus a few extra days off) from University #1, it should feel like Endless Summer, but it will be nothing like Endless Summer.  I have to migrate five courses to a new platform over the summer.  My estimate??  I’m thinking 40 – 60 hours per course.  You’re welcome, University #1 (it’s time and labor gifted – I don’t “work” or get paid during summer months).  

COVID seems to be winding down in our area.  Thank you, Jesus. I’m grateful for the vaccine because I’m tired of wearing masks and worrying about germs. I have LOVED working from home all semester – that part of the pandemic has been most agreeable. It was always my dream job to work full time from home and I got to experience it for six months. It was completely marvelous!  Come August, it’s going to be very difficult to leave Gracie and Molly and go back to campus.  Even more than that, I’ll miss watching my birds and squirrels at the bird feeders.  Having fed the birds every morning, you can’t even imagine the increased diversity of birds in our yard.  I’ve been working to identify and learn about them: the ones I did know (cardinal, blue jay, gold finch, dove, sparrow, wren, bluebird, chickadee, titmouse) and many new ones: Northern flicker, towhee, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, rose-breasted grosbeak, purple finch, and others I can’t think of right now. I love watching birds.

Northern Flicker - one of my favorite visitors

One of the most delightful outcomes of feeding the birds regularly is that we now have doves living near our house. They coo in the early morning and late evening hours. Hearing them triggers memories of my tiny, upstairs bedroom on 20th street – the last house I lived in before leaving home to embrace the world on my own. My bedroom was on the corner of the house with two windows (one on the south side and one on the east side. We had no air conditioning in the house so I slept with both windows open in the summers. My bed was in the corner between the windows where there was the most breeze. Just outside my front window was a huge maple tree. Doves nested in the tree. Their mournful coos serenaded me in the early morning hours, and it was a lovely to listen to.     

In February 2021, we had a horrific ice storm. Thousands of people in our area were without utilities, and it took nearly six weeks to restore services. The ice bought down trees which blocked and damaged roads. Trees fell on houses and garages.  It was devastation for many people.  We were so fortunate that we were not affected directly. The National Guard was called in to help with repairs. Every morning for weeks, a fleet of military helicopters flew over top our house around 7:30 AM. They were used to drop supplies and people to work areas and to identify places where roads and bridges were impassible, and utility poles were broken.  Having not been inconvenienced, we were able to get out for Gracie’s walks and appreciate the magic of ice on trees and plants.  When the sun shined on the ice, the beauty was beyond breathtaking. Pictures can’t do it justice.

Erin made a snow cat

Ice on the trees

Fast forward to spring. The KYLady garden is well underway.  We are feasting on lettuce now – it is tender and delightful!  Soon, broccoli will be ready to cut. We also have tomatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, cucumbers, beans, and corn underway.  

My irises are amazing this year, though now after a lot of rain these past few days, they are mostly gone.  The deer ate all of them last year, so this year I began spraying them with repellent starting early spring before buds even formed.  The deer will eat almost anything, so spraying Deer Fence (the kind I use) is a frequent task.  I have to spray almost all my flowers and almost every bush. They don’t seem to eat rhododendrons which is good because ours are big and would need a lot of spraying. Deer Fence isn’t cheap and it’s a miserable product to use – it stinks SO BAD!! 

These irises smell like licorice.

Beautiful irises

Someone broke a bone in his foot about two months ago. He’s had to give up everything he enjoys – karate, tennis, running, and even golf.  He is now much better (praise God, because I am a lousy and impatient nursemaid) and it’s a good thing because we are leaving on vacation next week - we are going to see Lake Tahoe and some of the places near there (Reno, Carson City, and maybe Yosemite). Mainly, we plan to hike, but we are there for six days, so I’m not sure if he can hike for six days.  Someone likes to gamble so no doubt he will spend time in casinos. I have a relative (my great-aunt’s granddaughter) who lives in Reno that we will meet somewhere for lunch or dinner.  It will be nice to see her and her husband. I hope Lake Tahoe is as beautiful as the pictures I’ve seen.  

And now for the BIGGEST news of all...imagine drumroll...Sarah is pregnant with my grandbaby!!  She and Desmond are preparing themselves for all that is to come, as if that is really possible.  I think childbirth and living with a newborn are things that are impossible to really understand until it’s experienced. It’s kind of like trying to describe what honeysuckle smells like.  I could describe it for an hour, but you wouldn’t truly know what it smells like until you actually smelled it.  

My grandbaby is due in early October. Sarah and Desmond do not want to know the baby’s gender before the big day, but I do.  It’s not that it really matters because I have no preference, but it’s hard to imagine this baby in clear detail without knowing gender. The baby is “it” rather than “him” or “her” at this point.  Whatever it is, this baby, I can’t wait to meet him or her, hold him or her, play with his or her tiny feet and hands, and kiss his or her soft skin.  He or she will be beautiful regardless of gender and a blessing to our family.

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