Random bits of this and that, and a free song

As I write this, it’s well after midnight and I’m more awake now than I’ve felt all day.  I have always been a night owl by nature but the past couple of years the shift off of day light savings time change, has left me worse than usual.  I find myself wanting to be completely opposite (asleep during the day, up all night).  Which obviously isn’t a workable solution, for a wide variety of reasons.  I don’t mind being a night owl, but I can’t go completely opposite of “normal”.  I find myself needing sunshine this time of year badly anyway, and it doesn’t help if you sleep through what little of it there is. But with my health issues missing out on too much sleep is very bad also.  So I try to strike some sort of balance.

Today has been a bit of a bust.  Nothing horrible.  Just a general blah, non-productive sort of day for me.  I hate those. I just haven’t had the energy or stamina to get much of anything accomplished today.  That’s the sort of day that I find extremely frustrating.

I thought I would share, if you are looking for Christmas songs, Amazon has lots of free mp3’s posted this time of year.   If you just look around.  This is not a sponsored post, nor is this any sort of affiliate link.  I just thought I’d share this with you.  I got quite a few neat little Christmas mp3s for free last year from Amazon.  And while you do have to sort through some crap to find good freebies, there are good ones on there.

I liked this version of Silent Night, by SixPence None the Richer.  That one song I linked directly to, off that album, is free right now.  I’m not sure how long that will last, but it is free at the moment.  And free is good right?  😉

Right now it’s 19 degrees outside, snowy and windy.  I can’t help but think about the two veterans I spoke of in my earlier post.  My husband went out to check on them again today.  He said the road to where they are camping out is rough and it didn’t look like anyone had been up it today.  But someone had brought them a load of firewood since he was last there.  And they weren’t out of the bottled water or canned food yet.  My husband took them some more meat for their fire today.

We wanted to make sure they weren’t out of propane yet, since those little canisters they are using to heat their tent don’t last long.  But they were doing ok.  Their spirits seem good, in spite of their circumstances.  I’m not going to share too many of their personal details here, because I haven’t asked permission to do so and it just wouldn’t feel right.  But they talked about how much they appreciate the people in this area and how much the local community has done to help them.  They are on a list for housing, but the waiting list is long.  They said some members of a local church chipped in and got them a cell phone with a few pre-paid minutes, that way they could call out if they have an emergency, and keep in contact with the VA.  My husband talked to them for a little while, but he didn’t want to keep them out of the tent for long since it is so cold out.

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There Just Aren’t Words

How do you write about something when you just can’t find the words?  That is what I am struggling with at this moment.  I want to write about this, but I don’t know how.  So pardon me as I stumble along to even attempt to say what I feel right now.

See this camp:

We recently found out about this camp.  Two men who risked their lives and served our country are living in this camp. One is an Air Force veteran, the other a Navy veteran.  One is on crutches.  As I write these words in my warm home, it is 30 degrees outside.  I don’t know what the wind chill is.  And it’s going to get a lot colder before winter is over.

I realize that there are a lot of different reasons that people end up this way.  Some choose it.  Some can’t live by society’s rules.  Some have made big mistakes.  Some have addictions, mental illness, etc.  And some are just honest, good, hard-working people who end up with no where to go.  In our current economy the homeless that fit into that last category are growing.  And I choose to give people the benefit of the doubt, unless I see reason to do otherwise. I am disabled.  I once worked 65 hours a week or more and I am now no longer able to provide for myself.  I live by the grace of others in my life.  It is an issue that frustrates me to no end.  I don’t like it when people judge me incorrectly, so I won’t judge others.

These two men are purposely trying to avoid town and the crime-ridden shelter areas.  I discussed this issue amongst some friends and some of them couldn’t understand this mentality.  Personally I can.  I know if I were able, I’d much rather rough it in a tent than be around some of the things that go on in the worst parts of town.

We don’t want to pry or step on any toes.  So we haven’t prodded them for much information.  They seem to be handling their camp very well.  It is clean, well kept.  And what appears in the photo above to look like “stuff” piled on the sides of their tent, is actually what they are using to hold down the tarps that make their tent.  We have had some very severe wind recently, so this is a crucial part of there set up and smart.  They have a floor of wood pilots. Someone gave them two cots and some blankets, so they are off the ground.  They are using propane for heat. Kerosene for the little lanterns they have.  A wood campfire to cook on.

We don’t have much in the way of money these days, but we are going to help however we can.  We put together some things for them.  Baby wipes, canned food, paper towels, toilet paper, some empty unused Kroger bags so they’d have something to haul their nonburnable trash out in, some candy, and a big case of bottled water.  We weren’t really sure exactly what they needed most.

My husband took it to them and they were kind and very appreciative.  They seemed particularly grateful for the toilet paper.  Sometimes the smallest things, can mean so much.

I know there are a lot of homeless people in the world, and we can’t help everyone.  But we can do something.

When my husband asked them today what they needed and what else he could bring them, they didn’t ask for money, they asked for some meat for their fire.

The whole thing has really brought some things into clear perspective for me.  Recently I’ve been kind of bummed about how much smaller the pile of gifts under our tree was going to be this year.  We have never been the type to spoil our kids with tons of stuff.  But I do like for them to have a big Christmas and birthdays.  Even though (judging by what I’ve seen) I don’t think my definition of “big” is anywhere near a lot of people’s definition of big.  Still, things are leaner this year for sure.  But now all of that just seems so silly.

My kids are warm.

There is food in their bellies.

We are blessed.

Christmas Acorns?

I was growing a little tired of the two sidebar photos I had up of the fall leaves.
So I decided to switch it to a mini version of this:

I took this picture in mid-November for my Nature Blog.  Last year we had hardly any mast, and the squirrels and other animals that depend on things like acorns had a rough winter. But this year we had a very abundant mast. And there have been more acorns than the squirrels, chipmunks, deer, etc. can handle.  Acorns of all types are everywhere! It’s nice to see.

I think the ones with the metallic silver sheen are the prettiest of all.  I photographed these 3 because they remind me of Christmas bulbs, and leave me with the feeling of a happy and festive mood.

The Beechnut

According to the Department of Natural Resources:
As the beechnut or American beech tree gets ready for winter, its leaves turn a brownish russet color and the three-sided nuts it produces are borne in prickly burs.
Because the nut is small and covered with a thin, leathery shell, sometimes people don’t take the effort to harvest it. However, they do have a delicate, rich flavor.

Most days I handle being disabled pretty well.  I am good at keeping a positive outlook and realizing just how blessed I am to be alive.  I have the ability to see the blessings in my life and not simply the struggles.

My faith gives me strength.

But there are some days, when it is harder to be the optimist.  Some days I feel like this beechnut I photographed.

Full of potential,
yet held back so much by the prickly confines of my disability.

I watch the world go by,
just like the water whirling past this beechnut.

I see all of the things I want to be doing,
and I watch them float by.

It brings a moment of sadness,
then guilt for the sadness.
I have much to be thankful for.

Perhaps someday I will be released,
and be able to meld my life experiences in a way where I can enjoy the things of my past – yet hold on to the appreciation that I have for those things now.

The beechnut either rots in its prickly shell,
or it makes it out and can go on to live so much more.
Some even become a tree.
Some grow tall and strong.
Some make more beechnuts.

Then it hit me,
perhaps I’m already a tree and I just don’t realize it.

~ ~ ~

Look out world!

There is now a fiery red-headed version of me.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

😉

He was not amused

Clapton had to take a rather undignified short trip to the vet for his vaccination.

He was not amused.

There’s a skink in the living room

My morning started off with, “Um Deb, you might want to come down here.”

Sleepy me:  “Do I have to?”

Hubby:  “Yep.”

I walk downstairs to find a five-lined skink in the middle of our living room carpet.

I’m not sure how it got into the house.  They like to sun themselves out back and they startle when you go out the door. And on very rare occasions, they run inside accidentally.  So I’m guessing that probably happened sometime yesterday and we didn’t realize it.

I tried putting an old big plastic bowl over it and then sliding a magazine under it.  But that didn’t work, it escaped a few times trying that method.  I hated to use my hands because typically if they are startled that much, they will pop their tails off.  It’s their way of escaping predators, etc.  And I was really hoping it wouldn’t do that.

Finally after it escaped the bowl trick for the third time, it was highly motivated to find a place to hide.  So I had to scoop it up with my hands and hope that it wouldn’t decide to leave it’s tail with me.  (It didn’t, so I was happy about that.)

After I took it outside and tried to place it in the grass, it acted like, “Wow your hand isn’t too bad.”  And just hung out there for a bit.  Long enough that my husband went and got the camera and snapped a photo. Unfortunately my husband is not used to my camera and had it on the wrong setting, so the photo is blurry.

Then it scurried away.  Here’s one afterwards.

And a happy ending for all.

🙂