I have come upon a key to what motivates me at this stage of my life—retired, going on 77, and not wanting to struggle too hard against whatever resistances remain in my psyche after a lifetime of conscious living. It is that I now direct my limited energy and put my focused effort into things that are some combination of what I love, what I am good at, and what seems important.
Not everything I do ticks all three boxes. Very few things do, In fact. But two of the three can also be good and call forth some effort though I don’t like hard work, which I define as doing things I am not inclined to do. Continue reading
Fellow bookworms, how many unread books are in your bedside stacks or on your devices? I bought or checked out seven books in the last several days and that is enough to make me feel safe and secure. There are probably more on my iPhone Kindle app if I scroll down far enough. I don’t expect all of them to be worth recommending to anyone else. I may not even finish them all.
Why do some of us devour books? I read for entertainment, pure and simple. The only reason I have for not finishing a book is that it does not entertain me. The books I buy these days are usually ebook specials that cost no more than $2-3, so I don’t feel like I have to read them to the end if I don’t enjoy them. Try Bookbub for marked-down ebooks.
Since those last posts I have scratched my soul travel itch in several ways.
My husband and I flew to Phoenix for the wedding of a delightful young Congolese woman who is like a daughter to us—we’ve known Deborah and her family for ten years. This involved a weekend immersion in Congolese culture and being with Congolese friends old and new. It took me back to the color and joy of Congo without the hassle of Kinshasa traffic jams. It was even hot (much hotter than Congo ever was). Deborah married a handsome American, and he and his family were good sports about it all. Good vibes all around.
When I was a child in rural Indiana in the 1950s I wanted to learn foreign languages as soon as I learned that foreign languages existed. The first one I had the opportunity to study, when I enrolled in a newly established parochial high school, was Latin, so I took Latin for two years. And then a German teacher arrived, so I studied German. For some reason I shunned Spanish but the German teacher had a Francophone wife so I took French lessons from her in exchange for babysitting and enrolled in French and German classes at the local college, which I later attended, when I was still in high school. My goal became to spend a year in Europe in a study abroad but that wasn’t part of Goshen College’s program at the time and my parents said they wouldn’t pay for it; that I would have to wait till I was out of college and could go abroad on my own. Continue reading
Two experiences from yesterday: reading Owls of the Eastern Ice, by Jonathan Slaght, and watching a few episodes of “World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals” on Netflix. The former stirred longing in my soul. The latter did not.
First, the latter. The locations three Millennials bop into and out of are exotic (whether in the USA or in any part of the world), unique, offering beauty and unusual experiences. This is travel as entertainment and consumption: eat, sleep, look, devour this place and this experience. This kind of travel asks nothing of you except your money, your sense of adventure, your stamina, and your need for something new. There is much to be said for it.
I know. I have been there, done that. A lot. I have been a tourist all over the world. However, I do not have a great desire to see more of the world in that way, especially as I am getting older and travel of any kind is more taxing. Continue reading
The story of the asylum seekers continues to unfold. After a year of pandemic/bureaucratic stagnation and frustration, things are starting to move on some fronts. Jeb, the youngest got a renewed work permit for two years. Reluctantly he had agreed to get vaccinated and now he learns that his employer will reward him with $100 for that. Work requires a car and he is newly licensed, the only one of the three who has made it to that step. In a rush to get back to work he rushed to find a car for himself on Facebook. That did not go well and he is out quite a bit of money. However, kind souls in the Notre Dame network offered our three a 2003 Corolla in good condition, absolutely free. Jeb is the only one who can drive it so it is his for now until the others can drive. The three of them are going places in it.
Gradually they are preparing to fly the Pink Lady nest. Continue reading
I am having a struggle with vaccine hesitance. Half of Americans have now been vaccinated against Covid 19. Those of us who are in that half are enthusiastic, grateful beyond belief for this gift of science that promises to rescue us from this plague. We are the “low-hanging fruit,” the ones most eager to benefit from this reprieve. Many of us are in the most vulnerable categories—the aged and infirm—for whom the virus is more likely to be a death sentence. Once the scientists affirmed that the vaccine was safe and effective, we pushed to the front of the line, baring our arms.
Suddenly, however, the vaccination rate has slowed and some areas are reporting excess availability of vaccines, while half of the eligible population is still unvaccinated. My struggle, then, is with this phenomenon of vaccine hesitance. I encounter it, internally and externally, almost daily. Continue reading
I haven’t written for two months. I thought it was simply that I had nothing to say, nothing new, nothing that hasn’t already been said by me or others. Now I think it is more that my sense of story is being violated. I like beginning-middle-end. The story of the past 400 days is not that.
I happily wrote many thoughts and observances at the beginning of the pandemic. A new situation! What happens next? Is this a horror story, a tragedy, a heroic adventure or what? Definitely something to observe, mull over, write about. Continue reading
I am in vaccine limbo, halfway between the two shots. I can’t do anything different yet. I can plan for the future, but that isn’t working out too well. It just makes me antsy. The only thing I have managed to schedule is a date with my hairdresser 9 days after the second shot. It will include a pedicure for the first time in over a year. I’ve had two professional haircuts in the last year and three I gave myself, more or less successfully, but I’m really shaggy again, waiting out the last days of hibernation.
We’ve been blessed with very cold weather and lots of snow in this limbo month, additional incentive to stay inside and just wait it out. We even have several resident snow shovelers who are happy to make themselves useful. They are in their own limbos, awaiting renewals of work permits and thus mostly unemployed for now.
According to Facebook our offer on the house where we are living was accepted four years ago today. Within the space of a month we had decided to move, sold our house, and bought another one. While we had been thinking for some time of selling our house in the woods and moving to the city it had been a vague idea. What caused us to explore that idea seriously and then take action was the election of Donald Trump. As I look back on it, the desire was to create, feed into, an alternative story to the story represented by Trump’s election. Continue reading