Enjoyment

Enjoyment is not a goal, it is a feeling that accompanies important ongoing activity.

Paul Goodman

A couple years ago, I copied that quote from somewhere. It just rang a bell inside me for some reason. At the time, there was not much enjoyment in my life; I had lost my job due to an illness that isolated me from a real life. Enjoyment was a spattering of this or that here or there, it was certainly not ongoing.

These last few months, living in the woods, though I believe I understand better what the author meant by those words. And it has affected my desire to communicate in this forum.

It is not that there is nothing to write about; this is a new community with many lovely and interesting places and activities for sure. The sheer beauty of my surroundings is fodder for contemplation and expression.

Somehow though, the activity of communicating via the written word via computer has become less important as I simply enjoy the everyday miracles of my natural surroundings. Getting the computer out and sitting inside to work on it, just does not compare to walking in the sunshine and listening to birdsong.

Electronic communication is cumbersome, awkward and time consuming. You have to be “plugged in” if not literally, at least figuratively. Connecting to the outside world requires time and effort, and the reward is a connection that is often slow and sometimes non-existent.

Forgive me, if I prefer the immediate gratification of the sun in the trees, the wind in the leaves, the babble of the stream, and bird song punctuated by the occasional “gronk” of a bull frog echoing over the pond.

I tell myself I will save computer time for later when it is dark and I cannot do anything else, but then there is the moon glowing white or crimson, bright or hazy, and the stars, and perhaps a campfire flickering and glowing. By the time I come inside I am satiated with all the sights and sounds, and enjoyments of a full day.

I am tired, not the tired of hard work or a stressful day but that feeling of fulfillment of having spent a day well. Outdoors tired from fresh air and exercise which leads to a good night’s sleep. I have no patience for firing up the computer, connecting it to the phone, and adding an artificial glow to the end of my day.

Tomorrow, I say. And then tomorrow comes and I wake up to the sun shining through the trees, the birds singing, and the babble of the stream and rustle of the wind in the trees, and, well you know — enjoyment.Blue Bear paddling at Mirror LakeI have important ongoing activity to partake of here.

Maybe I will tell you about it one day — when it rains.

 

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Blind Sided

Living in a 20-foot travel trailer, 24/7 is more like living in a small house than camping. Much more spacious and complicated than living in my mini-van, which I did one winter as a park volunteer. It has a plumbing system, heating system, sewer system, an awning, and window coverings, however, the plumbing system is a hose hooked up to an outdoor faucet, the heater is a small propane powered unit that roasts the room then freezes it, and the sewer requires frequent emptying into a portable tank that you haul to the dump station. The awning is susceptible to damage in high winds, but though technically retractable (if I were two people with 6 hands) it is so cantankerous that once up, since it offers the only protection from the elements over the door and one window, it stays that way, (though I do lower it in bad storms.)

The window over my bed has no awning, so to keep the blazing sun out in the late afternoon, I like to close the blind, yet since my view seldom includes another soul, I like to leave it open when I go to bed so I can open my eyes to a view of the sun shining through the trees. Great way to start the day!

Blue Bear looking out trailer windowI have only been in residence a short while, however, the daily up and down of the blind frazzled an already frayed cord completely. Suddenly there was no way to raise or lower the blind without hand folding it and attaching it to the valance with a clamp. Workable but most inconvenient on my most used window.

I visited a nearby RV dealer and checked on the possibility of restringing the current blind. I was told that there should be some clamps at the top that would release the blind from the window/valance, however, since it was extremely difficult and time consuming to restring the blinds, they recommended removing it and getting a replacement. What a waste but what is a bear to do???

I went back to the trailer and while laying on my back trying to see the attachments through bifocals not meant for that distance, discovered that not only were there no clamps for easy release of the blind, but the screws holding the blind in place had a square head and I did not have a square headed screw driver.

I visited my trusty RV dealer back home in Madison, and they patiently explained my options and answered a few other questions too. Once the new blind came, which amazingly matches the originals, I used my new square headed screwdriver to remove the valance, narrowly missing my face when it dropped, and then removed the blind itself.

Thinking this will be an easy fix, I removed the old blind but when I went to install the new one, I discovered that the pre-drilled holes did not match up. ARRRRGGGHHHH! I need to go get an electric drill.

Thankfully for my pocket book, the next morning my neighbor was taking apart a deck and was using just the tool I needed. He kindly took a few moments to drill the holes and I was ready to install right?

Not quite. In order to install the valance again, apparently you need two hands to hold it in place and another two to manage the screw and screwdriver. Last I looked, I only had two hands! Do they have 6-handed people at the manufacturing plant?

Though I tried a head, an elbow, and even a foot or two, there was no way for one person to reinstall that valance, not even standing on my head! Thankfully a friend came to visit and with her help holding the valance in place I was able to reinstall it. Ah, soooo much nicer than the towel that was serving as my privacy curtain.Thank you friend.

After all this, I took things one step further and purchased some extenders for the bottom cord anchors. That way there will be less friction on the cords as I raise and lower the blind and less likelihood of having to do this again anytime soon. I thought ahead and bought enough extenders to add to all the blinds however, the cords have been trimmed and are too short. I will just have to wait until they break and repeat this process all over again. At least I now know what to expect and will make sure I have at least two extra hands, one in possession of an electric drill, BEFORE I remove the old blind.

Now if only solving the mystery of the non-working radio (which works just fine in the trailer at the dealer) was so “easy.” But that is another story.

Gotta love ’em

It’s 9:30 am. My hair is standing on end, yesterday’s mascara rings my eyes like a raccoon, my shirt is covered with pear mango smoothie, scrambled egg mash, and snot.

After finally putting the usually happy but teething, and thus cranky and snotty nosed, toddler down for a nap, I just want to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and go back to sleep myself. But wait, I can’t — my bedding is rolled up in a wad at the end of the couch protecting it as best I can from the cat hair and dog slobber.

Such is life in the house of my one and five year-old grandchildren. Will I survive the rest of this visit? Does it get easier with time?

My daughter seems to breeze through early mornings with a crying toddler and a preschooler, long days at work, supper time, bath time, story time, and a little late night time with her hubbie, all with apparent ease. She amazes me.

I know I did that once — two under the age of two and then another 5 years later. I remember the non-stop schedule, the constant making meals or snacks and cleaning up. I remember the bundling and unbundling, and strapping everyone into their car seats, the chasing after a toddler when the older ones were doing more grown up things. But it has been a loooooooong time since my life was so multi-multi-tasking.

Living alone, I have been in the” slow lane”, navigating life’s meandering road for so long, it is hard to adjust to being in the middle of rush hour traffic — ALL DAY LONG!

Yet I love the time spent here — chaotic as it is. Drooling hugs, simple stories, playing games, singing songs, going to the playground, the children’s museum, the park, beach, farm, or library. It is all a part of life’s adventure. And truthfully, despite the non-stop run, run, run, a lovely part.

Children grow so fast. They are only little once. You have to take the time to enjoy every moment. Each is a gift.

Ezrah and ZayLove y’all!

Shocking

Returning to the US after 5 months in Mexico, means adjusting to some significant changes.

First, the weather. It is c-c-c-c-cold – going from 85 degrees to a high in the 40s or 50s is a shock to the system. As my grandmother used to say, “You’ll get used to it.” That is true, but “hurry spring!!!!”

Second, though it is only temporary, the pitter patter of tiny feet and all that goes with them — the tumbles, the tears, the tantrums, the snotty noses, the sweet smiles, the sticky hugs, and, of course, the constant clatter. Shocking and sometimes a test of endurance. Being with my grandchildren (and their parents) however, is something I would not miss for the world.

Most of all though, I have to get used to the sticker shock. Twice now I have gone out to buy ingredients to make a single meal for four, only to reach the check out and be flabberghasted at the cost. In Mexico, I could buy a whole week’s worth of groceries for what doesn’t even fill a single bag here!!! I don’t think I will ever get used to that.

Blue Bear and tomatoes