No Reason – 9/11/2019

We live a few miles from Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech, thus home of many home sport events. Each of these events bring large numbers of visitors to the town; alumnae, parents of current students, visitors from the other teams. Being a large university, there are organized social groups, such as fraternities and sororities and some not so organized gatherings, tailgate parties, and both legal and underage drinking.

Blacksburg also has some beautiful and some unique features. Each spring the roadway medians are planted with seasonal flowers. A bit later in the spring, large hanging pots of flowers are hung from the lamp posts. The medians are well cared for with new flowers planted as the seasons change providing blooms of color to enjoy. Also placed around town are “Hokie Birds,” fiberglass statues about 5 feet tall painted by local artists in varied themes and sponsored or owned by businesses and individuals.

I don’t know how many of them there are, but you see them everywhere. Over the years since they were erected, several have been stolen or vandalized, usually around home sporting event days.

The original town of Blacksburg had 16 blocks and those blocks are designated on signage. A couple of years ago, a local artist produced 16 bronze frogs based on the local green frog and they were placed around town on walls, concrete pedestals, and the curb type edge around some of the flower beds.

One of the frogs was stolen from in front of the Lyric, the local historical movie theater in town, right across from campus. Then another disappeared, reducing the number to 14. Last evening as we were taking our daily walk, this time on the Huckleberry Trail, we spotted this:

The little green frog that sat on a substantial concrete pier is gone along with the pier. Taken during or after the home football game. The path is used by many to get from local parking to an access point to the stadium. The football goers have caused enough property damage to private properties abutting the trail, that the town had to erect a 48″ wire fence to prevent shortcuts through peoples yards.

Most of the stolen and vandalized Hokie birds have been recovered and repaired, but the 3 frogs are gone. This is a crime, not a prank. It troubles me that anyone would even consider stealing or vandalizing the art. They certainly can’t display it in their home and they have deprived others of the enjoyment of seeing it in passing.

Though we don’t live within the town, we consider it our town too and such theft and destruction hurts, that people can be so inconsiderate and crass.

Memory – 9/10/2019

The brain is a miraculous organ. It keeps our bodies functioning even when disease robs us of our memories. We use only a portion of this amazing living computer. Sometimes an accident or illness cause it to glitch.

There are many historical events in my life that I remember with clarity, where I was, what I was doing having lived through 7 decades so far. I was sitting in typing class in high school when the P.A. crackled to life to tell us that our President had been shot, it was the day after my 16th birthday and a party had been planned and then cancelled. I was an occupational counselor in a high school when the space shuttle Challenger blew up over our country on re-entry and all activity stopped as we watched on the handful of TVs in the library. The 9/11/2001 terrorists attacks occurred when I was a high school counselor in a brand new High School and Technology Center with a TV in every classroom and public place in the building. In a city that was a major military hub of the east coast of the USA, many of our student’s having parents working in the Pentagon as we watched horrified as the Twin Towers burned and fell and the Pentagon burned from the strike on it. There are dozen of events etched in my mind, Nixon resigning, Saigon evacuation, Reagan shot, Bobby Kennedy assassinated, the Cuba missile crisis, etc.

But a glitch in the form of a ski fall a few years ago resulting in a concussion, followed by an auto accident this past February with another concussion and now I can’t remember a simple 8 line knitting pattern that I have knit 3 prior times. Every line has to be marked as I knit. It is not a complicated lace, simply remembering which end of the row to increase until the 8th row, binding off some stitches and then repeat. It is frustrating, it is making doing more complex lace pattern almost impossible. Most of the symptoms, such as headache and dizziness are rare now, some simple tasks like releasing the parking brake on the car before backing up have resolved, the occular migraines are much less occurrent, but basic math functions require a calculator, and knitting requires a magnetic marker. I don’t know if these functions will ever fully return or if I will have to keep my knitting simpler and keep my smart phone nearby for it’s calculator function (who still has a real calculator except high school and college math students.) I hope it heals, but at least I have tools to help me through.

A Day of Retirement – 9/7/2019

I wonder how I managed when I worked outside of the home. I have been retired for almost a decade now and time to sit and not do anything but rest just doesn’t seem to be in my day. That may be because I generally can’t sit calmly and do nothing, I have to be reading, knitting, spinning, or up gardening, cooking, or cleaning the house or the laundry.

Hubby is a night owl that prefers to sleep later, I live by the sun, ready for bed by 9:30 p.m. and awake with first light. That morning time is used to do animal chores, garden, or sit and spin.

Once we are both about the house, the other household chores are tackled. With two large dogs, there is always vacuuming or mopping to be done. Most of the rugs in the house have been discarded over the years, except for the Oriental in the living room. The wood floors are easier to keep clean than rugs. The living room rug needs professional cleaning, but gets vacuumed several times a week until there are no dogs in the house.

Each day, we try to get in a brisk walk of more than 2 miles. Most of those walks are taken on an old paved rail grade that begins at the Blackburg library and ends in Christiansburg with a side leg that goes off of it at about the 3 mile mark in the opposite direction to an old farm that is now a park. Other days, we go to the local pond that has a graded soil and gravel path around it and is almost a mile, so we do it twice, with the path down to it and back, it gives us our two miles. On these walks, I often take seasonal photos. When I am solo, I wander the hills around our house or if visiting eldest son, try to walk their road or hike with the grandson.

Today the photos were mostly wild flowers, it seems that most of them are shades of purple, though I didn’t take the time to try to identify them.

And a barely flowing creek, another victim of our current drought.

Being retired does provide more freedom to attend events during the week, to grocery shop when needed, not just on weekends, and to help out with grandchildren.