Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Week # 7 … my pandemic journey

As I write this I am half way into my seventh week of self induced quarantine. At my age (87) I don't dare take chances and actually it's not so bad and there have even been unexpected benefits. First and foremost is the fact that my little house has never been as clean and organized as it is now!

On day #1 of my stay-home venture I realized that I would now be able to tackle those projects that I never seemed to have time for in the past. I did a thorough walk through and documented everything that needed my attention. It was a long and daunting list but I realized I had plenty of time to accomplish it and I work on it at a slow pace every day.

I'm almost finished with the inside but I still have plenty to do outside and especially on the concrete floor of my front entry that I decorated and painted years ago. It's held up well over that time, but when the pollen takes over its a mess and I have to wait until it's gone before I clean it up.

Now the pollen is gone and I've just started to scrub it clean. I don't want to give you a picture of that but this is what it will look like when I've finished.

So, there you have it. This pandemic has changed the world and I feel so helpless but the one thing I can do is stick to the guidelines … I wish everyone would do the same.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Why I never tire of blogging ...

This morning I received a lovely email from a man who had just read my 2007 entry about the Air Transport Command Restaurant in Delaware. He wrote: “I was captivated by your story. I loved that restaurant as a kid, and would love to find more in the U.S.”

It was strange because ever since being sequestered due to the Covid Pandemic I have spent time reliving special memories and this particular one kept coming back to me. I've thought about re-posting it but it took the interest of a stranger to give me the push I needed. Here it is exactly as it was written 13 years ago.

This is a memory that is almost too poignant for me to share.

It was 1990 and my husband of 32 years and I were on our way home to North Carolina from New York State. We found ourselves in New Castle, Delaware and happened upon this amazing restaurant, situated right across from the County Airport.

Dick wasn’t feeling very well. His diabetes was playing havoc with his body and we realized that he was in need of food so we decided to give this strange looking place a try. The restaurant was huge and situated quite far off the highway. As we drove in we passed a few WW II jeeps, two ambulances and a tank.

Then it hit us as we drew closer. This was a replica of a building on a WW II US Air Force airfield somewhere overseas. There were gaping holes in the side of the restaurant that could have been caused by artillery fire or bombs...and the strains of a Glenn Miller tune from the 1940’s completed the scene.

We couldn’t wait to get inside and, sure enough, it was the “real McKoy” there too…or as close as we imagined those days to be. The flying heroes and heroines of World War II were commemorated with old uniforms, pictures and equipment. There was even an exhibit about the WASPS (Women’s Air Service Pilots).

Even though Dick and I were too young to have served in the 2nd World War we were of the generation that could remember it well. The “Air Transport Command” restaurant took us back to those days. We could both conjure up images from our childhood, of black-outs and simulated air raids and streets filled with young men and women in uniform.

We soaked up every bit of the 1940‘s atmosphere. We ordered Prime Ribs and Yorkshire Pudding and ate slower than usual to make the evening last. Big Band music played continuously and then, just before we finished our coffee, it switched to a very soft version of “White Cliffs of Dover”. The entire room seemed to stop talking and I almost lost it. It was a powerful moment.

And why, you might ask, is this memory almost more than I can bear to re-live? It was to be the last time that Dick and I shared an evening out. I did manage to get him home the next day and he then took a turn for the worse. He died just 6 weeks to the day that we shared this memorable evening. He was 59.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The red bellied bully

About 2 years ago a friend gave me this little window bird feeder.

It's small but it attracts a variety of birds and is fun to watch. The highlight for me was when, one morning, a new visitor arrived. Lo and behold it was the lovely northern cardinal … actually the state bird of North Carolina where I live. You can see how stately and regal he is and I felt so privileged to have his company. Every morning he would fly in and we'd have breakfast together.

He would perch on the feeder and take his time surveying the yard and all the action taking place there. It was clear that he was the “boss”. Only when he was satisfied with what he saw would he eat and he seemed to relish every bite. For the past two years he's been a constant friend. He only came to feed in the mornings and after he left an array of smaller and less dominating birds would feed all day.

2 weeks ago I was thrilled to see a new bird. He seemed huge as he perched on the small feeder and it was easy to identify him. A red bellied woodpecker had arrived..

My joy and fascination soon faded however. I always know when he arrives because he zooms in and actually bumps against the window in his hurry to get to the seeds. Then he sticks his big black beak through the hole of the feeder and greedily starts to eat. With his body twitching in anticipation he, literally, creates a gorging frenzy and for each seed that he swallows he throws out many more. He has no set time that he arrives and it's always the same. He has all the traits of a bully and I wish he'd never found me.

The saddest thing is that he must have scared my beloved cardinal away. I have not seen him once since this obnoxious woodpecker took over.      

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Double rainbow over New York City

Early yesterday morning a destructive and very strong rain storm raged through my home town in North Carolina. It then took off from here and traveled north, finally landing with a vengance on New York City. Luckily it ended around 6:30 and then the most amazing thing happened.

Shortly after 7 pm, just when New Yorkers all over the city were opening their windows to partake in their nightly cheering and applause for the brave medical personnel and essential workers of their city this appeared in all its glory. 

(Note: The heart warming picture that I posted here was blocked.  I may have used a picture that was not approved to be posted.  So sorry because it was amazing and I only meant to show it to give people a lift from the horror we are all going through.)

A double rainbow arched over New York City's skyline bringing an embrace and a brief moment of peace and hope to a city in dire need.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Still Breathing ...

Today I start my 5th week of self isolation. It is not easy, but attacking all those small household projects that I never seemed to have time for prior to the pandemic has helped a lot. I try to do one every day. It keeps me busy and there are other benefits too. I find useful things that have been stored away for years. The item pictured here is a good example:

It is an incentive spirometer and is used to help open the airways. I had completely forgotten I had this and, after I thoroughly cleaned it I decided to test myself. I put my lips around the flexible tube and took a long, slow & deep breath in. As I did so the piston inside the large column moved up registering my lung capacity. I was surprised to see that I could barely get it to the 1000 mark. This really annoyed me but it scared me too. I realized that I did not have the lung capacity that I had just 4 years ago. It was a wake up call for me to take some action.

I decided to put the spirometer in the one place where I couldn’t help but see it …
right here on my desk, next to my computer ! Now I use it as often as I can every day. There is a little arrow attached to the big tube and I can set it to the number that I’ve reached. This is my reminder of how high I have been able to raise the piston with my breaths and I strive each time to get it a little higher.

I’m happy to report that I can see real progress in the t
hree weeks that I’ve been using this and I plan to keep on doing it. (I’m over the 1500 mark and hope to get even higher !)


Monday, April 06, 2020

Musicians find a way

Many thanks to these National Orchestra of France musicians. They are all confined at home but, with the help of modern technology, they join forces. 

Ravel's Bolero has never sounded better.  Grab the Kleenex, sit back and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Governor of NY presents... Our Next Challenge

With a daughter and husband and many friends living in NY State it is no wonder that I listen to their Governor Andrew Cuomo as often as I can. His daily press briefings leave nothing to the imagination. He tells us (in his typical blunt NY accent) exactly what it's like to be our countries hot spot in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Governor gives us statistics and facts that can be verified. He begs for help and is not shy to bring it up time and again when it is not given. He stays away from Politics and doesn't play games … being quick to praise where it is warranted and just as quick to shine the highlight on those actions that are suspect.

In today's briefing he asked that we envision how our county will be after the pandemic has run it's course and then he threw out this challenge ... he asked us to take the time we have now to think about how we will approach this new world? He said that we'll need an organizational transformation and totally different mindset and that it will be up to all of us to do it right. I, for one, will be doing a lot of thinking along these lines and maybe, just maybe, between us all we can make it a change for the better.