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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Kamchatka volcanoes send Christmas snow to Bloomington, Illinois, USA.

Last night I played the Sims FreePlay mobile game on my Kindle, until four-thirty this morning. I was down to the wire on time, trying to get a snow chalet for my SimsTown. I had played for several days trying to accomplish it, with multiple timers going so that I could move the multiple Sims characters’ activities forward, while I actually lived my own life. But, nooo, Electronic Arts (now Fire Monkeys) timed me out just before I completed the last task. In compensation, the game gave me ten sparkly gold Life Style Diamonds (a lot) "For Your Troubles", like I was serving staff to the gods. Ugh, that is all part of the game addiction process, they know what they are doing. However, I am playing Sims FreePlay as a "free" game. At any time I could have spent real money and bought the snow chalet, but there is no chance that I would use real money to buy a cartoon building, no matter how prettily it is drawn, or how cleverly it is furnished.

My senior life is often fun, but it is certainly not the retirement for which I prepared. Throughout my adult life I exercised and played sports, for health, for fun, and because it felt good to exert myself, and to see what I could do. So I expected to be a healthy old woman when I got to this point in life. And, for several years I was a American Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer, also taking all the classes and workshops so that when I retired I would be prepared to volunteer to help wherever the American Red Cross might have need of me. Now I have trouble breathing to walk across the room; and lifting the old cat up wherever she wants to go hurts my back. No, playing cute mobile games and maximizing my quasi-house-bound life-style is not what I envisioned for my senior years.

American Red Cross

(classes & workshops that I took in preparation for being of assistance where needed)

ERV Workshop & Driving Test

ERV Operations Workshop

ERV Orientation (refresher)

Introduction to Disaster Services ARC 3066

DAT/MC Orientation

Shelter Operations Workshop

Local Disaster Volunteers

Mass Care: An Overview

Logistics: An Overview

Logistics Simulation

Damage Assessment I

Standard First Aid

Adult CPR/ AED Training

Records & Reports

Family Services

There was a circle of bird tracks in the snow on my patio, so I shoveled and tossed out scoops of the cheap bird seed that I buy on my old lady budget. I have been feeling sorry that the seed mix that I put out is mostly white millet and red milo (sorghum). Millet is a tiny bitter little seed with a thick hull (taste it, I did) that no birds prefer but which gives them some oil for winter energy, as does the milo. The scant helping of tasty sunflower seeds in the seed mix always goes first, a squirrel can scoop all of them up into its pouchy cheeks at one go. From the looks of the tracks on my patio my visitor bird was fairly large, and tidy in its movements, not flamboyant like a crow. Margaret Cat is staying inside curled up on a warm rug, positioned where she can watch any goings on outside in the chill. But no other bird visited my patio today.

New Year’s Resolution 2017 #1

Put Out Suet Cakes For My Wild Wrens

(Postnote: Nope, no suet cakes. Some larger, nocturnal mammal(s) patrol my patio

and tear down the suet cake from its hanger, and eat it at one greedy go.

So my sweet little brown birds get none. Sad.)

I was happily anticipating either rain or snow for Christmas this year, as a week ago Dutchsinse’s Earthquake 3D Live Seismic Stream reported two huge renewed volcanic eruptions on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia/Japan. Those volcanic emissions, fine particulates and not so fine, ride the prevailing winds westward across the continental United States, precipitating rain or snow as they go. I wondered which we would get. And it is SNOW!

Today Dutchsinse on at is playing continuous 1940’s—1960’s holiday music (the sounds of my childhood), big band holiday waltzes, and the like. Thank you. It puts a twinkle in my tear. This is my first Christmas without either of my parents, I am an orphan at almost age seventy. And, my physical pain exacerbates my bereavement.

Fortunately, I am able to have fun regardless of physical ailments. This morning I limped around my snowy yard and I took these photographs, enjoy!

Caption: Spruce Boughs On A Grand Old Tree Laden With Snow.

—photograph by Annmarie Throckmorton, 2017.

Caption: Four years ago when I moved mother into my home,

I brought her bench, birdfeeder, and birdbath here for her.

She has passed from this life and they are still here.

—photograph by Annmarie Throckmorton, 2017.

Caption: A fairly large bird reconnoitered my patio and left prints.

—photograph by Annmarie Throckmorton, 2017.

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