Sunday, February 21, 2010

Heading South

Well...yes...I am ready. Ready to leave the Northeastern United States for five weeks. Florida is on my mind and thankfully the sunshine state appears to be warming up after an unusually cold winter. On my sidebar I have the current temperature for Ballston Lake and for North Central Florida where we will be staying. Today our high was in the 30's and there it reached the 70's. Here we are about to enter our 5th month of winter but in Florida, spring is just around the corner.
Much to do before departing. You know the list. This and that. I have the route all mapped out. A stay with friends in the Philadelphia area, then on to Florence, SC, and then a couple days with Poker Bluegill and his lovely wife in Homossassa where we will say hello to the manatees and Lu the Hippo. Then, finally, to our rental in Old Town, FL. This will be a new rental and a new area for us after three wonderful winter trips to the Ocala area. We will be out in the country surrounded by many state and county parks. They call the area Old Florida to differentiate from the Disneyfied and Condoized parts of Florida.
High on the priority list of tasks to complete is getting the Nissan ready for the trip. All was well, then Friday I stopped to get gas. As I squeezed the pump handle, gas ran out of the tank and down the side of the car. Nursing the pump, squeezing tentatively, I managed to get 3 gallons into the tank. Saturday I had the same experience. Tommorrow morning when the service department opens at the dealer, I will be there waiting. Hopefully they will be able to fix it quickly so that we can leave on schedule.
Tonight I have begun packing. Folding the warm weather clothes and placing them in the suitcase creates one of the best feelings a resident of the Notheast can have in February. For my few faithful readers, I will be blogging along as we travel. 'till then.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ahhhhh February

"Why, what's the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?"
- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

As I turn my face to February and my back to January, I anticipate March in Florida.

"Late February, and the air's so balmy snowdrops and crocuses might be fooled into early blooming.
Then, the inevitable blizzard will come, blighting our harbingers of spring, and the numbed yards will
go back undercover. In Florida, it's strawberry season— shortcake, waffles, berries and cream will
be penciled on the coffee shop menus."
- Gail Mazur,
The Idea of Florida During a Winter Thaw

Only the shortest month stands between us and strawberries, grapefruit, and oranges. March in Florida is springtime with blossoming flowers and fresh garden vegetables. Often this month my mind will already be on the journey to the sunshine state. February comes with the promise to not be quite as busy and filled with activities as January was.

My last post, written on New Year's Day, described a lazy and relaxing day that would not be repeated. January was busy, challenging, and filled with activity. One such activity involved Potential Unlimited Productions, an organization which offers artistic and musical training for individuals with disabilities. John has been a "cast member" at "Potential" for many years and I serve on their board. In January they moved to a new facility near Woodstock, New York and I traveled there two days to help clean and paint the new space. I also made a trip to the Syracuse area to attend two meetings involving responsibilities I have with the Upper New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I continue to serve on the Mission in Transition Team and this year I am serving on the planning team for the Synod Assembly to be held in June. I am coordinating efforts to plan worship for that event. My main priority in January was to design workshops on "Preaching Hope to an Anxious People" which I presented at the First Call Pastors' Event, January 25-28, in Convent Station, New Jersey. This was my fifth year on staff at that important event which offers continuing education for pastors in their first 3 years in parish ministry.

In between the ministry responsibilities I continued weekly Tai Chi classes and added a two week Qi Gong class. Qi Gong (pronounced chee kung) sometimes spelled Chi Kung, is the ancient art of Chinese energy work. Qi (or chi) means energy or life force - Gong (kung) means work. The set I recently learned is called "The Swimming Dragon" and it involves stretching and twisting the whole body. Special Olympic bowling started up again on 1/14 and I am once again serving as a coach to John's team. Spending time with these courageous folks is the highlight of my week. We have a great time together. January ended with a "bang" as John and I attended the musical "Grease" on Saturday and John performed for the second year at the Center for Disability Telethon on Sunday.

Granddaughter, Kaylyn, and I began a four week Improv class this week. We enjoyed the first session very much and are looking forward to the upcoming sessions. John and I have tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters this Sunday, I am helping lead a council retreat later in the month, we have another meeting in Syracuse this Saturday, and it is time to start planning Senior High Camp. I am thankful for a full and rich life as March and my 65th birthday are on the horizon.