I, as many people worldwide, had great hopes that 2021 would see us on an upward trajectory of calm, reason, hope, and restored health. So far that has not been the case. In the past few days, before January 6, 2021, I was inspired by development of an effective vaccine for Covid19 that was being mass produced, distributed, and administered in a loosely organized fashion. I experienced a slight increase in energy level. Had said energy level been any lower I would have been without a pulse. A sorry state of affairs, indeed.
So. As those external factors have not happened to date, time for me to pull myself up by the bootstraps (however that is done) and assume personal responsibility for my own mental status. There were many projects that I could work on, and mindlessly clicking on one episode after another of Criminal Minds on Netflix was not one of them. I eyed a half-finished painting in my studio, previously Sam’s woodworking shop, with interest. Not enough interest to do anything to it yet, but I gave some thought to what needed to be done if I should pick up a brush in this decade. I pawed through old tubes of paint that were partially squeezed, distorted, and considered getting some new ones.
In an earlier, unsuccessful, attempt to paint a still life, I realized that one can get out of practice of painting, similar to what can occur in many physical activities; golf, ballroom dancing, shuffleboard, on and on. All painting lessons had ground to a Covid-induced halt. Who knew the gentle guidance of a competent instructor was so important to keep me from going way off track. Yet there is hope. I’ve vowed to make a trip to the art supply store TODAY and GET BUSY.
Next on my list of activities is watching some of my Great Courses DVDs. I do have a new set: “How to Paint.” That relates to the above two paragraphs. Plus, I am submitting a couple of my older paintings to a local art show (one seen at the beginning of this text; Chinon, France), and have volunteered to help with the organization of the exhibition. I will be checking in artwork, completing required paper work, etc. Things to put on my previously blank calendar. A triumph!
I abhorred history/social studies in high school, and apparently missed a lot. My college pre-med curriculum was taken over by sciences, and the gap of my knowledge of things historic widened. But a fair number of my colleagues from medical school (one, actually), and current doctor friends (more than one) display a great deal of knowledge of things historic and geographic. If I admitted to just one example of my ignorance, you would weep with embarrassment for me. Enough said.
Back to Great Courses. A favorite set of DVDs is a two-box series of WWI and WWII lectures with appropriate photographs, maps, and drawings. Love these! The lecturer is Dr. Childers of University of Pennsylvania. It would seem that I learn more effectively from listening to an interesting speech than from reading the same material. I’ve completed both sets (finished both wars) and would like to begin on my art DVDs. But I can’t figure out how to get the WWII DVD out of the player. I’ve done that before, so I have every confidence that I can do it again.
Other projects; organizing my computer files into a logical order so I can retrieve data, documents when asked. Boring. I believe I alluded to this in an earlier blog—fear of accountants, if memory serves. This project has several sub projects. Daughter Samantha came to stay with me for a couple days after her father’s death to get me started. I got a phone app that scanned documents and fed them through the cloud into my computer. Amazing. Color-coded file folders were purchased and labeled with a new label maker. Samantha departed for Brooklyn, happy with a job well done, and I broke the label maker within hours of her leaving.
It is obvious that I am struggling for inspiration for new blogs. Déjà vu of my previous blog experience, 2014-2015, devoted to post-retirement activities. Our current state of sheltering at home doesn’t provide much new material. My son calls frequently to check to make sure I’ve not toppled into a ravine, but beyond that, neither of us has anything new to report. Actually, I did experience an episode of food poisoning, entirely of my own doing. I knew cooking was a bad idea. Describing the experience took less than 45 seconds of phone time, and that was that.
Future blogs might require reaching back in time for entertaining anecdotes from days of yore. We shall see. In the meantime, there is lots we can all pray for.