2018 Life Logs, Day 340: Potpourri of Activities

2018 Life Logs, Day 340: Potpourri of Activities
Date: Thursday, December 6, 2018
Weather: Mostly Sunny; High 42, Low 32 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Usually my Thursday mornings begin with a class at the gym, but today I avoided exercise to give my knee a rest. I’m still not sure what I did to cause the relapse, but it is truly like going all the way back to the injury on Halloween night. I put the knee brace on today and that helped. With it on, I can walk, even up and down stairs, just slowly. So I will follow the PT exercises I was given when I first fell and work up from there. But at least I am walking!

My day was filled with a potpourri of activities. The high temp today got into the 40’s so it seemed the perfect day to do a little garden clean-up. This should have been done weeks ago, but somehow there was never time. I worked on the deep beds in front of the cottage and then went to Heather’s to do some garden clean-up there. I had to go there anyway as I needed to wash my pajamas to get ready for tonight’s Pajama Storytime at Highfield Hall. Yes, you really do wear your pajamas! Heather had a meeting and could not go, so I volunteered to take Ollie and Jonah. Jonah didn’t want to go without a Heather or Jed and Jed was planning to stay home with Sam. But at the last minute, we worked out a way for Jed and Jonah to go. It was a fun evening and we came home inspired to read more holiday stories and to practice singing all of the verses of Mr. Grinch—very cute. The boys are planning to sing this as part of a Christmas Eve concert for family.

2018 Life Logs, Day 339: Craft Fair and Falmouth Forum

2018 Life Logs, Day 339: Craft Fair and Falmouth Forum
Date: Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 35, Low 26 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I bragged about my knee in last night’s log as I truly thought it was completely recovered from my fall. But not so. I woke up this morning barely able to walk. I guess I pushed it too hard on the stationary bike yesterday. I was just doing what the PT recommended, but obviously my knee wasn’t ready for it. So back to the drawing board on that issue. I hobble along just fine, just very slowly.

I spent the morning and early afternoon at home and then mid-afternoon left to do a series of chores. I delivered more bags of leaves to West Falmouth to be composted. I drove into town to go to the grocery store, return a book, and pick up pizza for dinner for the Goldstones. Then I headed to Heather and Jed’s. Heather was on 4-7 pm fund raising duty, so Jed and I were going to take the boys to the East Falmouth Craft Fair. Jonah had to be there at 5:45 pm, so we ate salad and pizza and headed to the school. Jonah had sold 14 candles during the day when students and teachers visited the fair, so he was excited about that. He and his buddy Kayden had adjoining booths for the second year and it was fun to watch them hawk their wares. Jed and I took turns hanging out with Ollie and then I left a few minutes before the fair ended to drive to Woods Hole to attend the Falmouth Forum. Parking was a bear as tonight’s presentation was obviously of interest to way more people than me! Nantucket author, Nathanial Philbrick, was speaking about his new book, In the Hurricane’s Eye. I am an avid Philbrick fan and have been reading this book for weeks. It is Philbrick’s account of the genius of George Washington in his role as commanding general in the last phase of the American Revolution that was basically fought between England and France. It was a delight to hear Philbrick tell the story tonight.

2018 Life Logs, Day 338: It Takes a Village

2018 Life Logs, Day 338: It Takes a Village
Date: Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Weather: Sunny; High 45, Low 23 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today’s high temperature was the same as last night’s low, and the nighttime temps over the next week are not going to get above freezing. A definite sign that winter is near. And today was the first of a string of crazy days happening over the next week. My morning was nice and calm and I went to the gym to use a stationary bike to exercise my knee. Today is the first day that my knee has really felt improved since my Halloween night fall, so that is good news. It was Early Release Day for Falmouth schools, so I picked Jonah up at 12:40. Sam rides the bus home from his school and Ollie was spending the afternoon with a friend whose mother is a teacher at the school. When I picked Jonah up, I asked him if Ollie just went with Raylan to his mother’s classroom and he said no. Jonah explained that Mrs. Carl had to stay at school for teacher in-service and that Ollie and Raylan were taking the bus home and would probably be with Raylan’s dad. Actually, it was Raylan’s grandmother who was babysitting. So one grandmother one this end and another on the other end. It takes a village.

When Jonah and I got home, we worked on finalizing his craft projects for the school Arts & Crafts Fair tomorrow night. The third and fourth grade students participate in this as an economics lesson and each child donates half their profits to a charity. Last year they chose to give the profits to Jonah’s cousins in Puerto Rico to help rebuild their farm, Finca Maravilla, after Hurricane Maria. This year the profits will be going to California for wild fire relief. Participating in the Art & Craft Fair is a great learning experience for the kids, but getting those crafts done at this busy time of year is always a push. Jonah finished his last few colorful votive candles and then made glitter pine cone decorations. We only had an hour to work on this as he had a 2 pm walk in the woods with the Cub Scouts. Jed came home to do the walk with him and then Heather came home for a couple of hours before she had to leave to go to New Bedford (across the bridge) for the evening. Well, actually she had to leave early to pick up farm-fresh milk for the small group of friends in Falmouth who share this pick-up duty. It is at least a 45-minute drive to the farm to get the milk once a week which is quite a commitment. But since the farm was on Heather’s way to New Bedford this evening, she was the pick-up person this week. Another instance of ‘it takes a village’. When Heather got home, I was going to slip out and take more bags of leaves to be recycled. But Heather and I got into a conversation about Christmas and before I knew it, it was time for me to take Sam to Woods Hole for drum lessons and time for Heather to head to New Bedford. I really enjoyed sitting in an outer room and listening to Sam’s drum lesson and meeting his instructor. And Sam and I had a great conversation on the way home where he announced to me that when he grows up he plans to live in a converted school bus or some other type of travel home. He finds that ironic since he wants to be an architect and design homes. It was dark when we got home and Jed and Jonah were in the front yard playing soccer. When Sam and I got out of the car, Jed said, “You don’t have Ollie?” No. Jed forgot that he and Jonah were supposed to pick Ollie up on their way home from the hike. So I high-tailed it to Raylan’s house. It was 5 o’clock by this time, but Ollie and Raylan were still having a great time and no one minded that we hadn’t picked Ollie up earlier. We thanked Raylan’s grandmother and then went home to help Jonah finish up the last glitter pine cones while Jed got dinner ready. Since we were doing the glitter craft on the dining room table, what is usually Taco Tuesday turned into ‘glittery’ Taco Tuesday. It was glitter off the table, tacos on. We had to rush as Tuesday night is Scout night for Sam and he was being picked up 6:30 pm. Whew! Even with our electronically synched calendars, keeping up with myself and the Goldstones is quite a feat!

2018 Life Logs, Day 337: Calm Before the Storm

2018 Life Logs, Day 337: Calm Before the Storm
Date: Monday, December 3, 2018
Weather: Partly Cloudy and Windy; High 55, Low 32 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I feel like today was the calm before the storm. Starting tomorrow, there are days on end of crazy activity, so I just spent today at home preparing for that. I did go to the gym, drove to Woods Hole to do a little Christmas shopping, and came home to get a Christmas package ready to send to Puerto Rico. But that was it for me. I do believe I am fighting off a cold, so it was a good day to just take it easy.

I do have one thing to report, however. I mentioned a few weeks ago that Windbird was having engine problems. While sitting on land in Puerto Rico, water from the rainy, rainy season got into the bilge, ‘drowning’ the engine. Sam and Dawn decided to put in a new engine, but in order to do this, they needed to sail Windbird from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas in the US Virgins. They made it there in a three-day, three cylinder sail from Fajardo, PR to Culebra, PR to Red Hook, St. Thomas USVI. Sam called yesterday to discuss engine removal. Mark and I went through this in 2005 when we lost our transmission on the third day of our circumnavigation. Not a great start! I documented our engine removal and replacement process with many photos and Sam and Dawn had studied those in preparation for their engine removal today. Thankfully, it went smoothly. Brings back many memories. Sam wrote this on Facebook: “St. Thomas Engine Swap Part 1 COMPLETE! Removal of old engine went way smoother than expected, took less than two hours thanks to our prep work and Kevin from Mi’kmaq Marine’s slick hoist trolley system. Tight fit out our cabin door and through the companionway, new engine better not be any bigger!!! This 2005 Yanmar 4JH4E served faithfully for 8912.0 hours before being killed by drowning. It took Mark & Judy Handley around the world and us on two Bahamas tours & down to the Caribbean. Here’s hoping the next engine is as reliable. I’ll certainly be taking more precautions against flooding next hurricane season…”

2018 Life Logs, Day 336: A Wonderful Meshing of Traditions

2018 Life Logs, Day 336: A Wonderful Meshing of Traditions
Date: Sunday, December 2, 2018
Weather: Overcast with Rain; High 56, Low 49 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Some people spell it Chanukkah and others Hanukkah. However you spell it, it is a minor holiday in the Jewish faith. But because it falls close to the Christian celebration of Christmas, it has become a popular holiday. Heather’s husband Jed is Jewish, but as a family they have combined Jewish, Christian, and even Pagan traditions into their lives. They celebrate Hanukkah and Passover each year, but they also celebrate Christmas and Easter. A a favorite celebration for all of us is the Pagan Yule or observance of Solstice. Hanukkah, Christmas, and Winter Solstice all fall in December, so this is a month of celebration. Lighting the candles each of the eight nights of Hanukkah is a favorite of the boys, so on this first night, the candles were lit and we had a festive dinner. Latkes are a favorite of all the Goldstones, so Heather fried latkes for more than hour to make enough to fill everyone. I had Hanukkah presents for the boys which were Christmas pajamas. It is such a wonderful meshing of traditions. The boys love Hannah Anderson organic cotton pj’s, so I bought holiday pajamas for each. Ollie got green pajamas decorated with holiday doggies, Jonah got blue pj’s with a Santa Claus theme, and Sam got red and white striped pj’s with green trim. Sam put his on first and Heather started laughing uncontrollably because he looked like Waldo from Where’s Waldo. Waldo always wears a red and white striped shirt with a matching hat. And he also wears glasses. So Sam borrowed Jed’s glasses and found a hat left today by neighbor Molly and played the role to the hilt. Everyone played Dreidel. What a fun evening!

Earlier in the day, we visited Highfield Hall to meet Santa and to listen to a cappella holiday singing. Neighbors Molly and Joey went with us and we all had a nice time. Sam was mostly interested in the model trains, not Santa, but all enjoyed the singing. Jonah’s ENT was one of the singers and he was quite entertaining. He did a great job impersonating Elvis when they sang Blue Christmas. Joey, Jonah, and Molly talked to Santa. But Ollie decided to be Santa, rather than to talk to him, by wearing his Santa hat and beard. Joey actually started telling jokes to Santa which got great big belly laughs from the jolly old man. There were lovely holiday decorations. Some of our favorites were a Christmas tree decorated with drums, a Christmas tree decorated with marine signal flags spelling out a holiday message of peace, and a huge hanging decoration in the stairwell with large rings that looked like metal wagon wheels. It was all lovely. Again, what fun.

We have a very busy week coming up, actually two very busy weeks, and next weekend is Falmouth’s Holidays by the Seas celebration featuring the Elf Run, the Jingle Jog, the arrival of Santa in the Harbor, the downtown stroll, the lighting of the Falmouth Green, and the largest Christmas parade in southeast Massachusetts. Lots of holiday cheer coming our way.

2018 Life Logs, Day 335: Christmas Countdown

2018 Life Logs, Day 335: Christmas Countdown
Date: Saturday, December 1, 2018
Weather: Mostly Cloudy; High 42, Low 36 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Tonight my grandson Sam is at a sleepover with friends and Ollie and Jonah are here with me for an overnight. Jed is going to be out of town for his birthday next weekend, so I offered to kidsit so that he and Heather could go out on a birthday ‘date’. It was the perfect night to spend with grandkids as they were both very well aware that this is first day of December. And that means we are counting down to Christmas Day. We had a wonderful evening together watching the short, but favorite Charlie Brown Christmas and followed that up with a 1979 movie called Jack Frost. I had never heard of this movie, but it looked interesting to the boys, so we watched it. It has nothing to do with Christmas, but it did help prepare us for the coming winter weather. It was originally a stop motion animated television program where the Groundhog tells the story. The Groundhog’s voice is that of Buddy Hackett. It is a love story as well as the story of the Groundhog who lets us know on February 2 whether or not we will have six more weeks of winter weather. And I was amazed that Jonah knew it was stop motion animation. He evidently learned this at a workshop he took at Falmouth Community Television a couple of years ago. He had to explain to me what it was!

I was a bad Oma tonight as I let the boys stay up later than usual. But after the movies, we sang Christmas carols from the Curious George Christmas Carols book. Last year we watched The Grinch together in my apartment on the harbor, and we had stored copies of the words to The Grinch in this book. So, of course, tonight we had to sing every verse of The Grinch at least four times. Then Jonah had to read to us from a book of nonsensical, but very funny poems. Ollie and I read a couple of stories from Stories from Around the World while Jonah went in another room and continued singing. And we read about the December moon in Thirteen Moons on a Turtle’s Back, a book of Native American lore. That created questions about whether artists know that turtles have 13 plates on their shells, so we had to gather stone and wooden turtles from around the Cottage to check it out. Indeed, they do know. But did you know that every year has 13 moons? The Moon revolves around Earth 13 times during the time the Earth revolves around the Sun once. If we had a lunar~solar calendar we would have 13 months of 28 days each or four 7-day weeks. Numerically, that is the same as having 52 weeks of seven days. I loved teaching first grade because I loved learning new things each day through the bright, untainted eyes of six year-olds. And now I continue to learn about the world through the eyes of my grandchildren. It is a wonderful way to view the world.

And speaking of the way we view the world, I want to share some things I am learning by watching yet another internet docu-series called Interconnected. It is about the power to heal from within and I am finding it to be very powerful information. In today’s episode, Alessio Fasano, Chief of Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Mass General Hospital, stated that the health community has been working with the premise that two things impact our health—our genetics and our environment. At one time, it was believed that genetics played the major role. But that is no longer the belief. Some health experts now think that our health is determined only 10 percent by genetics and 90 percent by environment and the life choices we each made within that environment. And as Fasano pointed out, the epidemic of disease we are currently experiencing in this country points to the fact that we are definitely doing something wrong. This epidemic of disease has happened in the last 50 years and that is too short a time to blame genetics for the rise. And to quote Fasano, “So that leaves the environment as the culprit.” We have changed the environment way too fast for our genetics to keep up. What I love about this series is that each episode leaves you with a sense of hope and roadmap for making changes in your lifestyle to stay healthy within the given environment. I can see that I am going to have a very long list of New Year’s Resolutions as a result of watching Pedram Shojai’s (The Urban Monk) Interconnected series.