20-11-26 Lemon Band © Molly Lin Dutina Lemon band of sunset Along steel gray sky Rain runs into sewer Sump pumps struggle to get by From Cold November downpour of this morning Vaccines on the horizon Against this awful virus Yet months of infections and deaths Ahead of their arrival Help us keep our wits about us Each struggle in many ways One commented with this pandemic We finally see each other as human again
Our Christmas Day celebration was unusual. Celebrating with family was over and no big dinner plans for just the two of us. For the first time ever I got Bob to watch the humorous movie “The Christmas Story” which has nothing to do with our faith. He has always loved BB guns and had only seen portions of the movie. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” In that movie when the neighbor dogs steal the Christmas dinner, the family goes to a Chinese restaurant. So I suggested we order Chinese for our Christmas dinner, too. We called the restaurant to be certain they would be open. I know the woman who works there is a Christian and we did not want to take any chances.
Sure enough they were going to be open! So here was my Christmas dinner this year!
Cashew Chicken with Vegetable Egg Roll and broccoli from Bob’s Sesame Chicken! YUM. And we always get two meals from Chinese Takeout so that made double yum, but only one egg roll.
Not posting any big end of the year ideas. We have each had a difficult year in our own ways. I think the second verse of 2020 (i.e., 2021) will be much like the first. Glad the vaccines are here. Unlikely the virus will become under control for many more months to come.
Meanwhile, I am downsizing in a major way! Have compacted my sewing room. Will likely only sew a few masks and do mending in the future. I have one more t-shirt quilt in mind, but that too might not happen! Gotten rid of the major portion of crochet patterns collected over the years. As a crochet teacher I had collected many patterns. I got nostalgic when I found patterns I had made for my children and grandchildren. Following the advice of my friend Betty and our former Pastor, Bob Gerhardt, I am trying to embrace growing older gracefully. Letting go of things from the past is one way to do that.
Next we move to the main floor of the house and down size there, too. The builder should break ground on our new house in February. They say it will be ready in May. I’m thinking Bob will be ready to move in April and I won’t be surprised if it takes until June.
So don’t shoot your eye out, wash your hands, wear your mask and social distance for months to come. We each want to live to enjoy thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s 2021.
Our Cincinnati Nature Center offered an event this month for the first time ever. They call it “Light in the Forest.”
People were required to wear a mask at all times. Historic buildings were decorated for the season. There were items for sale in the Rowe Visitor Center. Being extra careful we did not go into the Visitor Center.
There were lights in the the trees. There were moving lights upon the trees. There were luminaries along parts of the path. There were young people directing us which way to go when the trail came to a fork. There were electric icicles in some trees. The Krippendorf Lodge was decorated nicely but it seemed sweltering hot in there after being outside!
There were no refreshments as masks were required at all times.
Here is the closest we got to our daughter and her family! And it was only for moment out of doors!
Ellie, the selfie expert, Lizzie, Dave, Emily, me and Bob. The lights gave me green hair and Dave has green on his face. Is he the Grinch? Naw! but it was fun to text Ellie posing that question. LOL.
Come the 25th we are not likely to even open gifts together unless there is a heat wave and we can do that in an open garage. The virus continues to spread and we are not brave enough to take it on! Or should I write foolish enough to challenge it?
Last year I bought these items and Bob laughed. Since we are having no one visit for Christmas this is the only tree I am putting up! If the infection rate continues to skyrocket we will simply be dropping off gifts at doors!
Do you see Santa there? Kneeling right there at the manger? He knows who is most powerful and sees us at all times.
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV2011) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Luke 2:10-12 (NIV2011) But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
When the teapot whistled and I went to pour the water over the tea I dropped my lap blanket. Lucky decided mine was a really nice blanket.
I brought hers into the office! As I put my blanket back in my chair I was murmuring “Mine! Mine!”
She is content to use hers. Yes, there are times when she seems to fill the role of the Princess.
Recently I placed her pillow against the arm of the sofa instead of horizontally on the sofa.
She tried to make the best of the arrangement. Just could not quite get comfortable. She has yet to figure out how to rearrange pillows!
She looks to me as if she is saying, “Why, oh why did they do this?”
Poor puppy dog! Viagen Pets cites 10 reasons why folks love dogs: loyalty, friendship, therapy, health, unconditional love, protection, selflessness, exercise, forgiveness, and happiness. Bob says all she ever wants is FOOD. I prefer to understand her differently!
I hope there was a beagle at the manger in Bethlehem!
Yes, I know this is a cluttered photo. I snapped it to share with my daughter. This is my “Christmas Cactus” true name Zygocactus. Mine usually blooms sometime during the winter. This being the year of Covid and doom and gloom, death all around, mine decided to bloom on November 13 and bore mostly DOUBLE blossoms and buds! Yes, I was amazed, surprised and thankful. By November 13 most of my garden flowers are long past blooming. I did have an occasional carnation and snapdragon, but no more bouquets like April-September!
That corner of our office is no longer cluttered. We have been going through the house like the Tasmanian devil cartoon character!
Ruthlessly throwing things out like notes from retreats I have taught in the past. The four drawer filing cabinet is down to one. I just need inspiration to finish that one! I looked at one thing in the office and realized I had not even touched it in a year. Away it went.
The basement is unrecognizable. We have pared down, given away and trashed many items. This is one of my husband’s dreams some true. He knows I call him “Mr. Tidy.” I am not nearly as tidy as him. So Mr. Tidy is enjoying this process. Now he is amazed, surprised and thankful. I am getting into it. Covid staying at home has done this weird thing to me!!
Know anyone who wants some vintage crochet patterns? Yikes.
Aren’t you tired of holding your breath? We are a world on edge. Global economy has nothing on global society right now. The Thanksgiving rush is all but over. The crowds have traveled and mingled among family members from far and wide. The sharing went beyond turkey and pies.
Experts are saying we are in for the worst winter in our history. I was appalled when they said 3,000 might die. Now we are counting deaths in the hundred thousands and climbing. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Blanket © Molly Lin Dutina 2020 Magical morning White blanket covers the browns and grays of Autumn Speaks of winter to come Will there be 30 snowfalls since this Occurred on the 30th of November Sloppy wet snow Yet a welcome change During monotony of pandemic Next morning the snow was plastered On every branch and tree trunk Sky the color of snow Wind chills will be coldest We have felt since pandemic began Lord, what about the lonely The homeless and those stricken With the virus Cover them, I pray, with Your Wings of mercy Show me how to help In the midst of the awfulness
We took a couple weeks out of our routine quarantine-Covid-older generation routine and went on a trip. We were lamenting that we could not hold an open house or anniversary party for our 50th celebration. My sister offered us use of her ranch in Colorado in the wilderness on the edge of the San Juan mountains. My doctor said, “GO! Get out of your four walls.” We flew to Atlanta wearing our N-95 masks given to us by a friend who is a nurse. We made our connection to Albuquerque with barely minutes to spare.
The airports were eerie with the lack of people and activity. For the first time in years TSA did not give us Pre-check! Hum. Then the x-ray officer wondered what the folding scissors in my purse were. I usually carry those as I crochet and need to cut yarn or thread when I change colors. After examining my purse contents he let me keep them. First time ever a TSA officer has questioned those!
To give you an example of the airports these days, I made this short video on the way home. We had a several hours layover in Atlanta. I actually found a bench without arms across every seat! After wiping it off carefully, I laid down to try and rest. Once while checking my phone I realized I could show you how weird it was. Very quiet, not too many people, almost every single person wore a mask, seats marked off with huge stickers for where one could and could not sit. Of course, with artistic license (LOL), I filmed it sideways 🙂
So now that we are home and getting more settled in, I hope to write the blog more often with tales of our journey!
Out walking Lucky on August 11, 2020, last week. With the cooler temperatures for a few nights at our house this week, the leaf was a welcome reminder that even summer swelter does not last forever.
During Covid it seems as if the days last forever, and then suddenly we are repeating the task of yesterday. It is all so ‘daily.’ We often ask “How did we get towards mid-August already?” Seems like a time warp that circles and twists in upon itself. How many months have we been doing this?
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.”Daniel 2:20-22 (NIV2011)
“Faced with demoralization, gratitude has the power to energize. Faced with brokenness, gratitude has the power to heal. Faced with despair, gratitude has the power to bring hope.” -ROBERT EMMONS
Demoralization: The pharmacy workers where I get my prescriptions are exasperated by the rudeness of the public. The pharmacist cannot figure out if it is this prolonged pandemic or the way society has given up on being polite? Some of the techs have even quit. Some of the workers that are most experienced have had to leave to provide child care for their children. The new employees are green and new. They need time to find their way through the insurance mazes and medicare technicalities.
So we took them three balloons and a dozen donuts. On the balloon shaped like a gold star I wrote “Be kind.” Really, kindness does not cost us anything. Hopefully our gratitude towards them with energize them in their work.
Brokenness: Well I have a friend whose daughter is terribly ill. For several weeks they did tests and scans and more tests. Finally the surgeon said okay. He is very experienced and did the “Whipple” procedure. She had a tumor wrapped around several organs. The first few hours of the surgery went well and were done robotically. Then he found the tumor had almost completely blocked an artery and some veins around her liver. When they called in the vascular surgeon he had to open her belly. When it was all over, she had endured something like 14 hours of surgery. She remains in ICU. They had to remove part of her stomach, part of her intestines and part of her pancreas. There is great concern over the length of time her organs were exposed. She and her husband always like to watch Monty Python and have memorized many of the lines. When her mother finally got to speak to her on the phone the patient quoted the movie where they were loading bodies during the plague. One man being carried out lifted his head and said, “I’m not dead yet!” Both mother and daughter had a good laugh. This family has been broken and ground into a dust that now completely depends upon the Lord and His servant the surgeon. Surgeon said this was the worst tumor he had ever dealt with. Praise God, there is NO sign of cancer. The two teenage daughters are struggling with not seeing mom at all. Only husband can go in her room due to pandemic. She continues to get units of blood. This photo was taken the first time PT had her stand up. Still struggling with lots of pain. Father, help their gratitude heal their weary hearts, I pray. Heal her and strengthen her I pray.
Despair: In this prolonged isolation and rapidly spreading pandemic we each need more gratitude to help us combat despair. To me, it seems this despair is being poured over the earth like hot tar. Robert Emmons says gratitude has the power to being hope. Are you familiar with the lyrics to “Great is Thy Faithfulness”?
His faithfulness will see us each through this weird year of 2020 and beyond. Gratitude can heal and restore us, energize us and give us hope. Find three things each day to give thanks for. Be kind. Give thanks.