Post 31/2021 Friday 16 July . . . Today I got up early. The clock showed 6:06. Too early for coffee, just right for finishing the blog. Though as one pundit once said, “I do an hour’s work before breakfast, but I like to have something to eat first.” Was that Will Rogers? Will have to check it out later. I’m reminded of a quote from Henry David Thoreau: “There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.” We’ve no cat, but fond memories of the one that had us.
So that’s it for now. Coffee and a breakfast to come later.
My reading this week included the July/August issue of the AARP Bulletin (American Association of Retired Persons). I especially paid attention to two articles, one on the health impact of constant noise, and the cover story, “99 Great Ways to Save.” The cover story offers salient tips, however, the noise article grabs one’s attention with the title, A (NOT VERY) SILENT KILLER.”
Kimberly Rae Miller writes, “Daily noise exposure may figure significantly in your risk of severe stroke, according to a recent study in the journal Environmental Research. Researchers found that living in a noisy area–like a city or next to a highway–increases your risk of severe stroke by 30 percent, while living in a quiet, green area can reduce it by up to 25 percent.” The writer cites other adverse heath impacts from too much noise, including chronic stress and hearing loss.
Among her points on how to control the volume, she advises: shut car windows. get an app for your phone that measures sound levels at indoor settings, wear a noise-cancelling headphone. To which I’d add, spend some time at the library.
A few gleanings from the cover story. Food: “Use bean broth. Boiling dried beans (cheap, flavorful, nutritious!) in salted water makes a cream substitute for chicken broth . . ..”
Travel: “Buy a lifetime park pass. There are 63 official national parks in the U.S. but the National Park Service oversees 423 sites, including many that are far less visited than big-name parks. A lifetime park pass ($80 for those over 62) gets you into all of them.”
Technology: “Use ink-stingy fonts. Your printer cartridge will last up to 30 percent longer if you avoid ink-guzzling Arial and use Calibri, Times New Roman or Century Gothic instead. Use condensed or light versions of fonts.”
Self-care: “Don’t buy eyeglass cleaner. Instead of store products, just rub a drop of dish detergent on each lens, rinse and then dry with an eyeglass cloth.”
Gardening: “Plant flowers that ‘self-sow.’ Let annual flowers like cosmos, nigella or larkspur go to seed in your garden. They’ll drop seed for next year’s flowers. Leave the areas free of mulch in spring until seedlings come up.”
Thanks a million, AARP.
We celebrated a family member’s birthday a week ago at Fisher Lake Inn, on M 60, about three miles east of Three Rivers, Michigan. I hope the day will return when the restaurant/pub again opens for lunch. Good food, delightful setting, friendly service. Only drawback on our evening there was that it was too windy to gather on the deck overlooking Fisher Lake.
Slow going on the Indiana toll road
Breakfast after a visit to the Goshen Farmers’ Market
To the library and back
Back home again at Greencroft
Rah, rah, libraries!
Let’s hear it for libraries! One of our most regular walks takes us to the Goshen Public Library. I’ve quoted this saying before, and it bears saying again, in a library you “lower your voice and raise your mind.”
I’ve finished reading REPUBLIC OF DETOURS: HOW THE NEW DEAL PAID BROKE WRITERS TO REDISCOVER AMERICA (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2021) Scott Borchert does the Federal Writers’ Project and the larger picture proud. Not only did Roosevelt’s New Deal include life-saving employment for writers as part of the Works Progress Administration during the 30s Depression, but the writers’ project gave back to America a clearer sense of it’s identity, culture and future.
The Frontispiece notes, “The FWP took up the lofty goal of rediscovering America in words and soon found itself embroiled in the day’s most heated arguments regarding radical politics, racial inclusion, and the purpose of writing–forcing it to reckon with the promises and failures of both the New Deal and the American experiment itself.”
Here’s a quote concerning the larger picture of the Works Progress Administration: “In November 1938, the WPA reached its peak employment of more than 3.3 million people. It had already reshaped the American landscape by improving 179,000 miles of roads and building 43,000 miles of new ones–plus 10,000 miles of water and sewer lines, 19,000 bridges, 185,000 culverts, 105 airports, 12,000 public buildings, and 15,000 small dams, along with planting 10 million trees. Then there were service projects–sewing operations, disaster relief, healthcare, education, the arts–that were harder to quantify. The work was ongoing. And while the WPA was susceptible to local politicking, outright graft was rare, and the national administrators were untouched by scandal.”
Fast forward to today: Infrastructure Bill pending in the US. Collapsed condo recovery. Devastating and killing floods in Europe. Severe wild fires in western US and Canada, along with .record-breaking high temperatures. Delta variant coronavirus invading homes and communities worldwide, with vaccine-hesitant people putting themselves and others at risk of contagion and even death.
The parallels to the 1930s are striking;. The perils of putting heads in the sand (conspiracy theorists) as opposed to dealing with the real challenges we face makes me think of a comment by my high school biology teacher: “I raise my voice in emphasis, not in anger.” May I have the grace to raise my voice by positive action, such as suggested in this quote from Mark Twain: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
I’ve just started reading How to Raise An Elephant. We heard McCall Smith speak in Truro, Cornwall, England, some 10 years ago. Marty has read more of his works than I have, though I do enjoy them.
Wednesday I picked up a discarded copy of A quiet life, a novel by Kenzaburo Oe, translated by the author and William Wetherall. (Grove Press, New York, 1996). The narrator, Ma-Chan, is a young woman who with her younger brother find themselves emotionally on the outside of their nuclear family. Looks like an engaging novel.
Marty is making coffee. Time to break the fast. Cheerio(s)!