Category Archives: Books

Trying to Teach

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Shortly after I started working at the Community Center, it was suggested that I’d be a good one, because of my art background, to spearhead some art offerings there. It’s true, I have a Master of Fine Arts degree, and have been working as an artist for most of my life. This is something I should have no trouble with. I agreed, and accepted the challenge.

I plotted out a few classes, and dove in. Some have been very successful. We had a good group for “Simple Prints and Card-Making.” Many enthusiastic participants of all ages showed up for “Rock Painting.” “Paper-Making” went over very well. The guest artists that I brought in were always welcome, and a breath of fresh air. It didn’t take long, however, for me to feel that I was in over my head. There is something about the teaching of art that stymies me.

I’ve always loved the idea of being an instructor. Good teachers have been wonderful life-changing influences in my life, all through my life. Sister Marietta was my fourth grade teacher at Bishop Kelley School; she influenced my whole life with her kindness and enthusiasm. I gave my oldest daughter the name Jennifer Marietta, in honor of this dear Sister. Miss Timponi taught 12th grade English; she encouraged my love of reading, and opened my eyes to a world of good books. I had several marvelous and memorable college professors, and I was fortunate enough, as an adult, to observe both Mr. and Mrs. Stambaugh excelling at their jobs in their respective classrooms here on Beaver Island. These are the types of inspiring teachers I aspire to be like.

I like to think I could become good at teaching. I did, after all, become an outstanding waitress, though everyone familiar with my clumsiness and timidity (including me!) would have never believed it was possible. I became an excellent and knowledgeable hardware store employee, though I knew little about tools and fasteners until I started working there. And, in both of these occupations, I’ve been in the position of training others various aspects of the job, so I know I’m capable of teaching. I know that I can eventually excel at anything I devote myself to.

There’s something different about the teaching of art, though, from giving lessons in how to take an order, or cut a piece of glass. I suppose the same issues come up when instructing in any creative pursuit. Each person has their own style. I don’t want to get in the way of individuality, while teaching skills. I struggle with breaking down the elements and conveying the means, without eliminating the fun. In fact, the joy of art-making is the most difficult thing to convey. My “teaching style” is a jumbled list of directions: do this…but don’t try to do it just like me; work at it…but don’t forget to enjoy yourself; try hard…but be spontaneous. I have never felt completely comfortable with this style of instruction, and don’t feel that I’m terribly successful at it…but it’s all I’ve got. Surprisingly, folks continue coming. So, I soldier on.

First of February, Fox Lake Road

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Here it is, February.

Winter on Beaver Island.

I’ve seen several memes that report we are now half-way through the darkest days of the season, and are working our way toward the light. It’s true! I notice already that I’m no longer getting out of bed in total darkness. There’s a glow in the window, that lets me know the sun is out there somewhere, even if it happens to be hidden today, behind clouds. I can find my way to the coffee pot without flipping on lights as I move through the house. This is hopeful!

It is cold! Sixteen degrees (that’s -8.8 Celsius!) at ten o’clock this morning. This is the third day in a row with this kind of cold. And, according to this morning’s news, we have even more extreme frigid weather on the way.

As I walk down the Fox Lake Road, I can see tracks where snowmobiles have been. My neighbor has been cross-country skiing, and others have gotten their snowshoes out. If you have the time and the endurance, this is a wonderful time to explore Beaver Island. Biting insects, which can be torturous in the woods and trails in warm weather, are absent. My tracks through the snow show where I’ve been, and can lead me back to where I started, if I happen to get turned around. Which I often do!

The Beaver Island community has enough offerings to keep everyone as busy, and as social, as they would like to be. The bars and restaurants do a reasonable business all winter long. For balance, so do the churches. And the library. The Commission on Aging has many programs for seniors each week, from Tai Chi to Yoga, to Bingo. The sewing group gathers two mornings a week. The Brewery hosts Euchre every Thursday evening.

At the Community Center, art classes are held on Wednesday evenings. Trivia (“Let’s Get Quizzical”) happens every other Tuesday. “Open Mic Night,” sponsored by the Harbour Bodega, happens on the opposite Tuesdays. Movies are shown every Saturday. Holidays offer more excuses to plan themed events.

All around town, folks are planning special offerings and entertainment for Valentine’s Day. Then, we’ll be getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day, which is a big event here on this Irish island. By that time, we’ll be halfway through March, and looking forward to spring…once again certain to have made it through another northern Michigan winter.

But, today it’s the first of February, and it feels like there’s still quite a bit of winter ahead. At my house, I ward off seasonal despondency with brisk walks, hot soups, fresh breads, and a good supply of books!

How to Make a “Feel Better” Soup

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[Looking for fresh ideas for things to write about, I came across a suggestion to “write a how-to about something you do well.” I found that idea kind of inspiring, and immediately wrote out a list of topics. I don’t profess to be an expert, but there are a few areas where I am quite competent. Not wanting to look like a know-it-all, I’ll spread these “How-To” blogs out over several months, to fill in when I don’t have any other topic. Happy learning!]

I was home sick today. My symptoms were kind of vague: a sore throat; a slight cough; a general all-over crummy feeling. And a fever. That was the clincher. I can be a bit of a hypochondriac, so I don’t always trust the signs of illness. With a fever, I know I’m not just exaggerating, or inventing the clues. When the thermometer gave me a reading of 101, I knew there was a real reason for the aches and chills I was experiencing. I called in to work, and spent the day at home.

I have fond memories of “sick days.” The ones that I remember with such good feelings, though, are days when I was not really sick. Then, it’s a bonus day. When I was a child, those days were filled with reading, and the unusual undivided attention of my busy mother.

As teen-agers, Brenda and I could sometimes bring Mom in on the conspiracy. With promises to help her with deep cleaning or other projects, she could sometimes be convinced to give us an excused absence. We’d keep still until Dad left for work, then rush around to get everything done before the afternoon soap operas came on. Mom would join us to watch General Hospital and Dark Shadows before our younger brothers and sisters started arriving home on the bus.

Even as an adult, I could sometimes, though rarely, manage a day away from work. It seemed like I could accomplish more in those “cheat days” than on any regular day off!

But a sick day, when I’m really sick, is no fun at all. Today I felt like I should be able to do something productive…or even just some lazy, fun, wastrel activities…but no. There were several projects that I didn’t get to on my regular days off…but I felt too lousy to tackle any of them. I have a stack of seed catalogues, two new magazines, and three in-progress books. I didn’t feel well enough to give attention to any of them. I didn’t feel up to exercise, or even taking the dogs for a walk. I slept a little, but mostly just laid around…doing nothing. The only thing I accomplished of any value was to make a pot of soup.

I put a variety of dried beans in pan, covered them with water, and brought the water to a boil. I simmered them for about ten minutes, then took the pan off the heat. This method eliminates the need for soaking the beans overnight. After they sat in the water until it cooled, I drained them, put in fresh water, two pints of soup stock, and any vegetables I had laying around. That amounted to one large onion, two carrots, four wimpy stalks of celery, a part of a tomato, a few green beans from the freezer, and about a quarter head of cabbage.

I let it simmer through the day. About an hour before I was going to eat, I added a handful each of quinoa and brown rice. Soup is always comforting, and that’s especially true when I don’t feel good. On a day that was otherwise wasted, it was one small thing to do for myself.

When I Can’t Sleep

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I have struggled with insomnia for most of my life. I didn’t always see it as a problem.

As a child, I didn’t worry about the consequences of not getting enough sleep. I would beg to be allowed to stay up later; I’d concoct all kinds of reasons for needing to get out of bed. My sister Brenda and I would secretly stay awake, playing games and whispering for hours past our bedtime. Whenever friends stayed overnight, our goal would always be to stay awake all night.

As an adult, some of my most productive times were the hours when everyone else in the household was asleep. Before we had children, my husband would often wake up in the morning to find that I hadn’t been to bed yet. I sometimes worked on a craft project; sometimes I cleaned house. After he left for work, I’d lay down on the couch for a long sleep.

Having small children gave me a good reason to attempt more regular hours, but I still struggled with being able to fall asleep. Back when television went off the air at around 2AM, I was almost always awake for it. Of course, my days no longer allowed time to make up for the sleep I’d missed. No matter how much discomfort it caused me, though, I was still wide awake through the night more often than not.

I’ve always been kind of a loner, and I used to think that was why I liked to be awake at night. When everyone else was asleep, I had time for just myself. But, through the years, I got divorced, and my daughters grew up and moved away. That theory doesn’t make sense anymore. And, with age, I’ve found that a good night’s sleep is much more necessary. I can’t function the way I used to, on little or no sleep.

I’ve worked hard to maintain a routine that makes it more likely that I’ll be able to sleep. I exercise and meditate. I limit caffeine and computer use. I stay away from scary movies, or news that will keep me awake. No matter. There are still a few nights each month when I just can’t fall asleep.

Last night was one of them. I’d had a quiet day and a relaxing evening. I felt tired when I climbed into bed at 10PM. I read for a few minutes; when I turned off the lamp I could barely keep my eyes open. But then, sleep didn’t come.

I changed position. I tried, variously, to quiet my mind, then to just run through thoughts and worries to get them out of my system. I reviewed ideas for art classes. I went over the news of the day. Was I too warm? Too cold? Hungry? Nothing seemed urgent enough to force me out of bed. I continued to toss and turn. Until I had to make a run to the bathroom. That was four o’clock in the morning. Enough! I put on the coffee. There’s no sense in fighting it any longer!

One Lazy Day

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I enjoyed a totally lazy day yesterday.

I started it off by sleeping in. The dogs went out at six-thirty. When they came back in, I went back to bed. They went out again at eight o’clock. At that time, I started the coffee pot. When the dogs were both back in the house, and with the coffee brewing, I thought I’d just close my eyes for a few minutes more. Well, that “few minutes” went long. I woke up with my big dog, Darla, standing beside the bed, looking into my face. “Raaooow,” she said. I think it was shorthand for “Rouse yourself!” And she was right…it was ten AM!

I moved from the bed to the dining room table, where I spent several hours writing, reading and drawing. Exercise was limited to getting up to let the dogs out and in, frequent walks to the kitchen to refill my coffee cup, and an occasional trip to the bathroom. I fried an egg and made toast about 1PM. After that, I turned on the computer. I checked my mail, looked at social media updates, and played a few games of online Scrabble.

At three in the afternoon, I showered and dressed, dried my hair, and took the dogs out for a walk. Home again, I picked up another book and, for a change of scene, sat down in the comfortable armchair to read some more. I fed the dogs around six, then made myself a grilled cheese sandwich, and warmed up the last of the vegetable soup. A good “lazy day” supper. For dessert, a bowl of yogurt with fruit and granola.

Back on the computer, I went through my news feed, then listened to a couple podcasts. My daughter Kate sent me an article that made me giggle. I watched a sitcom, using the commercial breaks to do up the dishes and tidy the kitchen. My friend Linda and I messaged back and forth, comparing notes on diet and fasting. I went to bed at a reasonable time.

After a day of little activity, it didn’t surprise me when I had trouble falling asleep! I finally cried “uncle” and gave up on trying to sleep. I got out of bed at two-thirty in the morning. I found a movie on Netflix. “Leap Year” is a cute romantic comedy with a backdrop of the Irish countryside, that didn’t require a bit of thought or concentration on my part. I made popcorn, with no regard to my renewed commitment to intermittent fasting. Finally, I went back to bed at four AM.

Today, I’m waking up slowly. I am determined, though, to get moving soon. There is plenty to do, to make up for my indulgent, lazy Sunday!

Good in Winter

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There are, of course, negative aspects of this cold season. For starters, it’s cold! Weather can be problematic. It’s harder to get around. Boredom can be an issue. We’re barely into winter, and already I’ve been dealing with some of these things.

Last week, my art class had to be cancelled because the weather took an ugly turn. Sleet, high winds, and freezing rain make travel dangerous. No matter how anxious we all are for diversion during this slow time, it’s just not worth it. Even getting out for my daily walk with the dogs can be a challenge. I picked up a pair of – almost new – boots at the resale shop. They were a little too big for me, even with heavy socks, so I sent them out to one of my daughters. Then, I noticed that my trusty, old walking boots had a wide tear in one heel. I ordered a new pair and, until they arrived, went back to that tried-and-true trick of slipping my foot into a plastic bag before putting the boot on.

The planes didn’t fly for two – or maybe three – days this week. That means no mail. Which, on some winter days on Beaver Island, is the only thing to look forward to! And, needless to say, no new boots were delivered. Some folks came in for pizza this week, after having waited all day at the airport, hoping to get across. With no luck. I’ve done that before. I have to go to the mainland for a couple routine medical exams this month. Every year, I think, “why don’t I plan these things for summer?” But summer is busy with other things. So, I worry about cancelled flights, road conditions, and getting stuck on the mainland…but winter it is.

Last weekend, our phones were out, I think all over the island. I’m not sure what caused it. It may not have been weather-related at all. Even so, winter is an especially poor time of year to be without telephone service!

But, whether I love it or not, winter is here. And, in fact, there are many things I enjoy about this season. I don’t think I’d like the crazy, frenetic, busy summer season, without the winter, for balance. As it is, I enjoy both. It’s nice to have the crowds of people come when the weather is warm. In winter, it’s a relief to have a break from all that chaos.

Now, when the ground is covered in snow, I’m not bothered by thoughts of what I should be doing outside. I don’t have to think about mowing the lawn, or weeding and watering the garden, or any number of other activities that nag at my consciousness in other seasons. I lazily page through the seed catalogues, imagining the coming year’s perfect garden.

When I take a break from the garden plans, I have a small stack of new books that I’m looking forward to. I have others on the shelves that I haven’t gotten to yet. There are at least four magazines and a couple interesting catalogues on the side table waiting for me to go through. And, if it comes down to it, Beaver Island has a wonderful library, with even more choices.

This time of year, there’s more time for meal planning and preparation. Food seems to taste better, too, when it’s cold outside. In the last few weeks, I’ve enjoyed a couple pots of soup, a nice stew, and a surprisingly wonderful noodle dish made with bits and scraps of leftovers. I only wish I could duplicate the recipe! Having the oven going, whether for breads, cookies, or just a tray of granola, warms the house in more ways than one.

Finally, here in the north woods, wintertime is often stunning. Even on the most miserably cold days, I love the view!

What Next?

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I spent four decadent, lazy days at home, getting used to winter, and adjusting to the holidays being over. Now that the new year has established itself in my mind, what’s next?

I’ve been working on setting up my bullet journal, and have made good progress. After several years of doing this, I’ve finally figured out what works for me. I ignore the elaborate examples that crowd the pages of Pinterest, and simply repeat my same old basic format. It’s a calendar, mostly, where I can keep track of birthdays and appointments, but also just my day-to-day stuff. I rarely write “to-do” lists on my daily pages, but I do find it very gratifying to write down tasks after they are completed. Last year, I wrote a short list of goals at the beginning of each month. Almost none of them were completed; they just followed me from one month to the next, like a nagging pest. I eliminated that feature this year.

Rather than start with a list of New Year’s resolutions – which are, I think, a set-up for disappointment – I devoted one page to “Aspirations and Goals.” It includes a few items like “set up the grape arbor” and “organize the studio,” and some habits I want to continue (though I’m trying to remember to avoid caveats like “every day”). It also contains reminders to “laugh,” “don’t gossip” and “be kind.”

I allowed several pages to record the books I read this year. My friend Candy loaned me The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I enjoy that author, and it came with a good recommendation from Candy, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m still working my way through The Joy Diet by Martha Beck, in my morning study time. And I’m continuing to listen to the Marcus Didius Falco series on Audible. It’s been going on so long, the dogs are beginning to think “walk” and “Falco” mean the same thing!

I have a nice little stack of new books from Christmas, that I’m excited about. My daughter Kate sent me Naked by David Sedaris. I love his comedic point of view! My daughters and I went to hear him speak in Lansing several years ago, so this book also brings back memories of that good time. She also gave me Four Girls from Berlin by Marianne Meyerhoff. It is described as “a true story of a friendship that defied the Holocaust.” I don’t like war stories per se, but ever since reading The Diary of Anne Frank, I’ve always been fascinated by the back stories of the second World War. From friends Kevin and Lois, I received The Night Portrait by Laura Morelli, a novel that uses art history to link the 15th century art world with the Resistance during World War II. I started it last night, and it grabbed my attention right away. My grandson Michael sent me a book, too. I haven’t actually seen it yet, as I haven’t been to town to get the mail, but he and I share many interests, and he chooses reading material well, so I know I’ll enjoy it.

I’ll continue to walk regularly, and keep track of my miles. With my fitbit, I’m noting my daily steps, too. I’ve been slacking off on other exercise over the holidays; it’s time to get back on track with that. After a short break, I’m also getting back to Intermittent Fasting. Along with limiting when I eat, I plan to give a little more consideration to what and how much I eat, to see if that makes a difference! That’s about all the future holds in the health category.

After my long weekend, today I’m going back to work. That means I’ve got to get my walk in early today; it will be dark by the time I get home. I have a few letters and one small package to send out. I should read my gas meter. I have to go over my notes for the drawing class I lead. So, I’d better get on with it!

On to the New Year

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Here we are, at the beginning of a new year. And, even though the calendar is a human-made devise that holds only the value that we give it, the first day of a new year always seems important. It feels like a new beginning…and I love a fresh start!

Determined to make the best of it, I got up early and started my day with meditation, gratitude journaling, drawing, and study time. Then, feeling a little under the weather, and having not slept well last night, I crawled back into bed for a long morning nap. No sense in being too “gung-ho” about the new year!

When I woke up, I worked for a while on setting up my new 2023 bullet journal. Before retiring last year’s book, I like to remind myself of my accomplishments and the memorable events of the last year. As I flip through the pages where I recorded the large and small happenings of 2022, reminders of precious visits with family and friends make me smile. There are poignant memories of my sweet little dog, who died last spring. There are flowers pressed between pages, and a small gallery of colorful drawings done by my little niece, Ellie. There are records of events large and small: some important; most quite trivial.

At seventy years old and in what I like to think of as “semi-retirement,” I worked for pay 167 days last year. I volunteered my time at the resale shop thirty-four days. I wrote this blog regularly, though not as regularly as in other years, and read and recorded it for the Beaver Island radio station.

I walked almost every day last year, and totaled 375 miles for the year, surpassing my goal by ten miles. I kept track of the days that I did other exercise, and whether it was yoga, Pilates, strength training or rebounding. My sister Cheryl got me a “fitbit” for my seventieth birthday, so I’ve been keeping track of my daily “steps” since then, too. I write down my weight each day.

I read seventy-four books last year. Nine of those were books I studied. Though not exactly textbooks, I took notes as I went along, and read with the intent of improving my knowledge in one area or another.

Twenty-five were audio books, keeping me company on my walks. Of these, I’ve really enjoyed the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis. Set in Rome, in the first century AD, they are well researched and historically accurate (at least as far as my own knowledge of ancient Rome goes), with a good storyline that includes both romance and mystery. The series is read by Simon Prebble, and he does an outstanding job, so important to my enjoyment of an audiobook.

The other books were simply pleasure reading, some much better than others. I read at least ten adventure stories by Zoe’ Sharp before deciding they were a little too violent for my taste. The “Irish Cottage” series by Juliet Gauvin was too simplistic. And, after reading three of Michael Robotham’s psychological thrillers, I decided I’d better stop before I scared myself to death!

I re-read, in order, all four books in the Jackson Brody series by Kate Atkinson. I then read her earlier novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, before reading her newest book, Shrines of Gaeity. I read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr before allowing myself to start his newer book, Cloud Cuckoo Land. Though wildly different from each other, both were wonderful. The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn, Light Perpetual, by Francis Spufford, and The Sentence by Louise Erdrich were other treasures.

Visits to the island by my sisters, my daughter Kate, several cousins, and a couple nephews gave me a good dose of family togetherness, just when I needed it. I made three day trips to the mainland in 2022, two for medical appointments, and one, completely unnecessary and totally frivolous, to meet my dear friend Linda for lunch.

After reminiscing about the past year, it was time to get busy with the present year. Rosa Parks opted to stay home today. but the big dog, Darla, and I went for a nice two-mile walk. After that, I made a bean, ham and barley soup, featuring black-eyed peas for good fortune in the new year. I’m not really suspicious about it, but it’s a good soup, and it can’t hurt. If it ensures good fortune, wonderful! If it doesn’t, well, it’s a nice ritual to mark the beginning of a new year! Happy New Year!

Another Day with Nothing to Say

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In previous years, I’ve participated in “last ninety days” challenges, in an effort to maintain my good habits through the difficult end-of-year trappings. Shorter days, blustery weather, holiday gatherings, and seasonal comfort foods all work to foil the best intentions. This year, I didn’t fight it.

Last week, when the temperatures dropped, and the winds were blowing, I took no walks with the dogs. For three days, I didn’t even leave the house. I swept the snow away from the sliding door whenever the dogs went in or out, but otherwise did no snow removal. Inside, I could could have kept up with my exercise with any number of books, charts and videos, but I didn’t. The trampoline leans, unused for days, against the wall. The hand weights are gathering dust.

I have a long list of things that need my attention, “when I have time.” I found myself with time, but no energy…and no incentive. Without a bit of guilt or shame, I eschewed all major projects in favor of good books and old Christmas movies. When I felt up to it, I channeled my enthusiasm toward setting up my bullet journal for 2023. Funny how plotting out my objectives for the next year can make me feel better about abandoning this year’s goals!

My diet plan seems to have gone by the wayside, too. In my defense, it let me down first. I’ve been intermittent fasting for almost two years now. In the first ten months, it was working like a charm. I lost about twenty pounds, and felt terrific. Then, with little to account for it, the weight came back. Right now, I’m almost exactly where I was – weight-wise – when I started. So, these last few weeks, I’ve paid little attention to the plan. Raisin toast with my morning coffee. A shot of Irish Cream in my coffee on Christmas. Popcorn and cocoa at midnight.

I’ve been pretty lax about blogging, too, in these last several weeks. This is one of the habits I feel good about; I don’t want to abandon it. I’ve been keeping up with it for more than ten years, now; that’s an impressive record, for me! Yet, lately I’ve been struggling to find something to write about. I feel like I’ve run out of amusing stories and interesting observations. I’ve been thinking about ways to get around that problem: other approaches, fresh perspectives, and new inspiration.

As to all of my neglected good intentions, I’m sure the new calendar will help me find my focus again. Happy New Year!

Without Power

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Today is election day, and there are plenty of important issues on the ballot. If I were a better person, perhaps my title, “Without Power,” would be in reference to our privilege, in this country, of having a voice about the people and ideas that hold sway. This essay would be about the importance of each of us asserting our own values and priorities, with the power of our vote.

Alas, I am not that good. Instead, my sole purpose of writing today is to grumble and moan about a power outage that was a big inconvenience to me. I wasn’t the only one affected. All of Beaver Island was without power for a while, and even that was a part of a larger outage caused by storms that swept through Michigan on Saturday. But, true to form, I am talking mostly about myself. Saturday evening was when it began,

I spoke on the phone to a friend on the other side of the state. “The sky looks really weird,” she told me, and asked if we were expecting bad weather. It had started raining here on Friday, and continued off and on, but I didn’t anticipate any major storms. The forecasts that I’d heard talked mostly about marine conditions. Since I had no plans to be out on the water, I paid little attention. I was not concerned.

I’d had dinner: baked chicken with cauliflower, and my dishes were stacked in the sink. I warmed fresh apple cider, added a cinnamon stick, and sat down to read. The wind was picking up, but I was cozy indoors. The lights flickered, then went out, then came back on again. I lit a few candles, and went back to my book.

Shortly after eight PM, the power went out again. This time, it didn’t come back on. This isn’t unusual. We have lots of trees in close proximity to electrical lines. Our beech trees are dying, and come down easily in any wind. Great Lakes Energy, the cooperative that provides the electrical service here on Beaver Island, has a full time employee here, and he works hard to keep us all going. Outages are usually a few hours at most. Inconvenient, but not impossible. A few things happened to complicate the issue this time.

First, our full-time electrical service guy was not on the island; he was with family on the mainland, due to the death of his grandmother. Two other employees were sent over to replace him. However, as I understand it, the corporation decided to pull them off the island on Saturday. Maybe because they didn’t think the storm would be so bad; maybe they thought their presence elsewhere was more crucial; maybe they didn’t want to spring for hotel rooms for them here. I don’t know.

Second, the island was assailed with strong winds (50mph) for many hours. The main pole that brings electricity to the island was knocked out. Several other lines were down, around the island. There were difficulties with our back-up generators. And, we had to wait for the sun to come up on Sunday before it would be possible to get a crew back here to work on it! So, for many reasons, this was an unusual and extreme outage.

photo by Jon Bonadeo, posted with a warning to stay away!

Without electricity, I have no internet service. I never have cell phone service at my house. When the lights go out, I unplug my cordless phone (which depends on electricity), and plug in an ancient, large, ugly beige, corded telephone. On Sunday morning, that worked. I called the toll-free number to report the outage. I listened to the recorded message telling me that over 17,000 customers were without power, and that they were working on it, and that if it wasn’t resolved by 10PM, I should seek shelter elsewhere. By Sunday evening, even my corded phone had gone dead. Evidently, when the power is out, even corded phones depend on batteries, and our island telephone company doesn’t have enough battery back-up to keep all of us going.

With consideration to my two dogs, and the knowledge that likely everyone on the island was in the same predicament, I did not seek shelter elsewhere. Still, by Monday morning, I was anxious to find out what was going on! So, I drove to town. I enjoyed the first cup of coffee I’d had in over 24 hours, got the rundown on what had happened, and received the good news that those of us who still were without power could expect relief by that night. Which it was!

I was one of the twenty-five households here that were without power the longest, about 53 hours. As I was able to get back on-line, I saw many offers of help from those islanders whose power was restored earlier. “If you need water, or a meal, or a warm place to sleep…” was a common refrain. One friend sent me a message, telling me she wasn’t at home, but the generator was working, and I was welcome to go there. A volunteer at the Community Center made big batches of soup and chili, and put the word out that anyone could come there for a hot meal.

Now that it’s over, I guess it wasn’t so bad. It could have been better, though. I could have had kettles and buckets filled with water, for when the faucets ran dry. I should have made sure my tablet was fully charged, and that extra books were downloaded, so that when, in my boredom, I blasted through the last pages of three titles, I’d have another to turn to. I should have checked that batteries were handy for flashlights and lanterns. The next time I hear mention of a “weird sky” or a storm coming through. I’ll pay attention!

Now, though, I’m off to vote!