Thoughts of Rincón and Puerto Rico

Stewart is not on the landing this morning, but he is curled up near my feet, patiently awaitng my movement…

It is that time of the year.

It is that time of the year when you look outside, you see the blue sky, the sun, and you know it is really cold out there, and you wonder…you wonder when the spring shall come.

You also wonder, if you live in the midwest, whether or not that spring will actually be spring. You wonder if it will be a taunting, seasonal switch whereby the real spring never makes an appearance. A real spring in the midwest, at least to my recollection, is a rare occurrence. Usually, we go straight from the winter right into the summer. The weather doesn’t skip a beat, it just radically changes immediately.

Having a spring as I did, back in college, whereby you have days and days of pleasant weather, so pleasant that I used to plan my spring quarter to be just a bit less rigorous academically, so that I could profit from the good weather. Good weather it really was in the foothills of the Appalachians, with the dogwood and the redbuds blooming on the adjacent hills. The frisbees were flying and everyone was out in t-shirt and shorts to soak up the warmth that was finally upon us.

That does not usually happen in the Chicago area.

Last year, we actually had a long, extended spring which makes me wonder how possible it would really be to have two in a row.

Last spring was beautiful, and good thing for that, because just as we were about to embark upon a long awaited trip to Puerto Rico, our hopes were dashed as we realized that it just was not prudent. So that beach vacation whereby we were spending time in a rental home on the beach in western Puerto Rico in Rincón was nothing more than a thought. We had hoped that, perhaps, that time where we would be staying with our son and daughter-in-law and their family on a beach might come to pass in 2021, but given the way it is, that is not happening. This spring, MK and I are just happy that we have had our first shots of the vaccine and hope that they prove to be as helpful as promised.

It is day 354 and Week 51 of our Confinement. Who would have thought?Okay, time for a dog walk…

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Mustering that energy, a poem

Mustering that energy

Twenty degrees Fahrenheit.
Minus seven degrees Celsius.
But the sun is shining.

Early morning get up.
Cannot stay in bed.
Sleep is in the head no longer.

Morning exercises done.
The dog is fed and staring.
The sun shines brightly through the window.

I still cannot face it.

Can I wait another few minutes?
Can I sip a bit more coffee?
How will it impact my day if I procrastinate?

I usually do two walks.
Yesterday I did two in one.
Instead of one mile each time, I did three.

It was a win and my day went better.

Why do I do it?
Why do I need to feel that accomplishment?
Why can I not be like other people my age?

Seventy or almost seventy is the new fifty.
Or is it?
Is that just a way of fooling myself?

The dog stares.

The Border collie is smart and knows me.
He is strangely patient, something almost unknown to his canine persona.
He lies on the top of the landing and stares.

The Border collie stare is strong and clear.
There is no denying what it tells me.
Get up and move!

I continue to write.
I am doing my blog.
It is part of my daily routine.

Letting the difficulties and accomplishments flow through my fingers.
In this case, from my fingers to my word processing file.
It is cathartic.

One would think that all my ducks would be in a row.
One would think that issues would all be solved.
Life, however, is not like that.

Issues appear out of nowhere
and despite
the age
the experience,

At least there are no easy answers.

So at least
positive thing
harness up that dog
and walk him
and despite the cold
of a stark, blue skied, winter day
I will feel
for having moved
and having started
my day.

One more sip of coffee
and I’ll go,
just one more sip…

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A busy day, even if it were not the Pandemic

I am mustering up the fortitude in order to take a nice, long dog walk with Stewart. It is going to be a busy day, at least busy in the sense of someone in the midst of a Pandemic on this 352nd day of Confinement and in week 51.

I have a Zoom at 10:00 AM, 2:30 PM, 4:00 PM, and 6:00 PM. That is a good amount of Zoom time.

The weather is teasing us. Although it is still below freezing, this morning, it promises to be a warm week, in the 50s at times. The large amount of snow we have endured is slowly melting away. At this time, the roofs are pretty much finally cleared of the heavy snow and this morning, it will be easy to walk in the street and avoid ice. The sidewalks are far from clear, in most cases, and you don’t get enough of them to actually want to stay on them. I think people are thinking that we are done with the big snow. I don’t believe that, I think we are in for more. Nonetheless, walkers were in shorts and people started meeting each other outside on their driveways already.

I am sitting, sipping my coffee by a tropical hibiscus, that if I had been better to it, would probably be blooming. As it happens, though, I air out the house daily and was not as careful as I should have been and it was hit by a blast of icy air that caused it to lose leaves and even a few branches. The birthday orchid that MK received is exquisite with two different sizes of magenta-pink-purple flowers in a beautiful vase setting that makes you think that they are not real.

The house is somewhat cold after airing, I need to make sure it is back to normal. Stewart is calmly snoozing at my feet, not having asked me for food since my son fed him before going to work earlier. He is sleeping, but watching my every move as he knows the usual routine.

A major relief is in my head since I had the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Friday and the only issue I had with it was a sore arm from where the shot went in. MK is thankfully getting her first today in the afternoon.

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Day 351 and week 51 of Confinement

Lego blocks from our three boys. Not just Legos, however, there is one small container of Lincoln Logs and one of an Erector Set.

It is one of those days.

My arm, newly jabbed with Moderna is feeling better. It feels less like a an arm punched than it has since the evening of my first dose of anti-COVID-19.

It is thirty-nine degrees Fahrenheit or about four degrees Celsius. It is slightly foggy out and the snow is continuing to melt.

The ants that have plagued us mainly since the beginning of the Pandemic, no joke, are starting to return in bigger numbers. They are to be found in several different areas of the house. They have been with us all winter, but sluggish and extremely few in numbers. Usually, you would only see one, for example, in the family room on a table. That sighting would be a random one and you would go for days before seeing another one. Or you might see two on the lower level powder room floor. The higher we go in the house, the less likely one is to see them. We are at a point where we may have to have professionals in. Despite our relatively effective ant traps, they continue. Maybe that is the way it is.

I was successful in locating our Lego blocks. It is clear that with the Pandemic, that our grandchildren are spending less time here. Two of them are not visiting at all, we have not seen them since November, and the other two are here on a very limited basis. There is no reason for the Lego blocks to go unused since there is decidedly an interest in them. Our only interest is that they get shared among the grandkids.

It is day 351 of week 51 of our Confinement. It is hard to believe that a confinement that we expected to be less than six weeks has gone on this long and it is equally harsh information to share that due to the negligence of a national government gone haywire, that we have lost more than half a million people thus far in the United States. That number is more than we lost in all major world wars and Viet Nam. That is a sad statement and meanwhile the perpetrator of such crimes, that man who shall not be named with the orange look, seems to have once again escaped relatively unscathed.

Okay, time to get moving. I have a dog to walk, a breakfast to eat, and a day to enjoy as it is a free day sans Zoom!

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Alexa and the COVID-19 vaccine

I know many people are annoyed with things like Alexa and how they encroach into our lives and how we may open ourselves up for issues.

Alexa managed to help me procure my vaccination against COVID-19. Last Thursday, I came downstairs and got a cup of coffee, sat down, and politely asked Alexa to play the News. It started out with NPR and very quickly I heard that there was an app that was being touted as having the ability to help us find that elusive vaccination against the coronavirus. MK and I had stood by while numerous people we know were in our age bracket, one that has allowed our vaccinations in Illinois and procuring them all over the city and state. We were not willing to go half-way across the moon for this, so we waited. Our doctor had recently told us that NorthShoreConnect, the app and organization connected to our Health care, would probably be the one where we got it. She also mentioned tha ALLVAX site for Illinois, but thus far that was not happening.

This is a site that is not new, it was originally put together so that people had a way of finding a place, for example, for their flu shots.

Thursday morning, just after seven, found me with two appointments for February and March 26th at a Walgreen’s in Highwood, IL, just a short distance from here.

MK tried, right away, and the open appointments were done for the day. A day or so later, she went on early and procured hers in Deerfield for March 1st and April 1st.

I went yesterday at the allotted time, armed with my driver’s license, my insurance card, and my filled out paperwork. By 12:20, I had my first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

I feel as if I had won the lottery.

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