Friday, October 17, 2014

My grand escape!

After two weeks of increasing  ‘cabin fever’ I have once more taken flight… fluttering a bit rather than swooping and diving… I must travel on my kneeling scooter for another 3 weeks… but at least I have the surgeon’s permission to travel.  I have mastered the simple task of climbing over a curb, climbing a single step (but not a flight of stairs), and the art of putting my scooter in the trunk and hobbling around with a crutch and climbing into the driver’s seat. 
You should see me zip!
Of course I can only use an automatic transmission car – Judy somewhat grudgingly traded cars with me for the duration.  (Bless her!)  Throughout all of this Judy has been incredibly patient and supportive of me – She had to do pretty much everything for me and still keep up with her demanding activities – she is a SuperWoman!
My view from 'here'
I visited my first school on Tuesday this week – and as I approached I saw an intimidating flight of stairs – and no apparent ramp – so I asked the first person I saw to inquire in the office for me – “ How can I get into the school?’  Never before in my life have issues of handicapped access been so real to me.  Even two steps in sequence form a barrier as real as a high brick wall…  In this case a custodian came to use a key to open a ‘hidden’ elevator to take me where I wanted to go – then down a hall to - whoops another flight of stairs down – so back down the hall – a different round-about way to a ramp… Then I was home free…
 I know how he feels
But the time I got to my classroom I was a bit late – and the students were all seated.  The only way for me to get to an empty seat was to parade across the front of the room.   The reaction of the kids (an 8th grade life science class) was – “Wow – that scooter is so cool!”  In the schools I have visited this week I have found friendly helpful people anxious to help me.
My conclusions from lying on the coach every day for 2 weeks: I very quickly (immediately) lost interest in daytime TV – it is a vast wasteland of innocuous drivel as far as I am concerned.  I am not much for TV anyway – but often watch something with Judy in the evening. Sitting up at the computer has been difficult because I was instructed to keep my ankle higher than my heart to assign in draining fluid from the ankle.  Every now and then Rusty the pup would leap onto my mid section to snuggle close and ask for some pets and then start licking my ear … at that I would shoo him away.  
White crowned sparrow
From my perch I could see out the window to the bird feeder which had a steady parade of finches, white crowned sparrows, mourning doves, brown towhees Also a steady steam of combative competitive humming birds coming to their feeder.  Since moving to low water landscaping (rather than a lawn) we have a much richer diversity of birds and lizards in the garden.
A tropical cousin of our humming birds

         Books were my salvation - I am an eclectic reader… First “Peter the Great: His Life and World” Robert Massie – can a book of history read like a novel and keep my interest? Yes!!  

Then I read “Blood on the Water” Anne Perry…One of her delightful ‘mystery’ novels placed in Victorian England – rich with historical detail.  For variety I next  reread “Grapes of Wrath” John Steinbeck.  
Sometime recently I heard on PBS that is now considered to be the “great American novel”.

I had not read it since my early 20’s – and I guess now I can see it from a lot more experience.  It is a remarkable book – sections of it read like poetry – The story is about the “Oakie” migration to California in the dust bowl years – a hard story – but one that raises many current social issues – highly recommended. 

Then the “Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk” – a new translation from the Czech of an old friend! It's a little more graphic than the earlier version I had read. 

Svejk as portrayed by Joseph Lada
Then the “Edge of Eternity:  Book 3 of the Century Trilogy

Ken Follett… Wowie – a historical fiction version of the recent history in the US, Germany, England, and Russia… Absolutely fantastic! And finally “Convictions:  How I Learned What Matters Most” Marcus Borg…This book is a statement by Borg on his life long journal to understanding his understanding of the world of faith.  Regardless of your belief system this book is like a breath of fresh air.

So there you have it.   Have you ever gone into someone home and by glancing at their bookshelf gotten a better profile of who that person is and what they believe… well I have just given you a peek at my most recent bookshelf.

This is just awful! - but I found it and so I'll include it