A walk in the woods, a ceremony, and a kitten

Today is day 17 of the great outdoors challenge.  As on day 16, M and I went to a nearby park for exercise and fresh air.  It’s a nice park with a sledding hill (or  a climbing-up-and-down-the-stairs hill if there is no snow and you want to get your heart rate up), a large playground for the kiddies, a small pond with fountains, a paved track going around the park, and a mulched nature trail that goes through the woods.

The weather here in New Jersey has been wonderful.  Sunny, warm, and feeling more like summer than autumn.  I keep forgetting it’s October.

At the park, we walked through the woods:

Met a few big, beautiful trees:

And saw a couple of rainbows on a sunny day:

(Fountain rainbow.)

We also spent some time at the exercise station doing push-ups, sit-ups, and whatever else the signs instructed us to do in order to stretch, strengthen, and increase our heart rates.  It was fun.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of those outdoor exercise stations (the copyright on this one was 1994), much less worked out at one.  I’m trying to talk M into setting one up for us.  He said I’m welcome to build it myself and he’ll be happy to support me with advice.  I may take him up on that.

Being outdoors in this part of New Jersey is a little different from being outdoors in the Bogs.  Traffic noises are always present and it seems like wherever you are is in the flight path of planes large and small as well as helicopters.  Being more densely populated, there are plenty of people everywhere.  It’s also a part of me as this area is where I spent my childhood.  There is more of almost everything now:  more people, more cars, more highways, more shopping centers, more restaurants and bars, more jughandles, more houses.  But there is also less:  Fewer farms, fewer orchards, fewer circles/roundabouts (because they have been replaced with jughandles and intersections with lights and overpasses), fewer quiet places where the traffic of everyday life doesn’t intrude.

The ceremony at hospice yesterday was nicely done and the hospice folks were caring and supportive (as one might expect — or hope to find — at a hospice).  The plaque honoring Mom is lovely.  There were two other families there (as there are three names on a plaque).  The ceremony included a few speeches, a couple of readings, some songs, and a lot of tears.

You’ll have to pardon me for quickly glossing over it.  It was, as expected, a highly emotional affair.  In some ways it brought Mom’s death back to us almost as if it just happened.  If there are other ways about it, I’m not sure what they are yet.  I know one of the ideas behind it is to bring a sense of peace.  Perhaps that will come with time.

I’m not sure what we’ll be doing today.  It depends on what my father is up for.  We’ve talked about going to Philly for the morning, but I don’t think Dad will be able to do that.  We’re leaving in a few minutes to visit Mom’s grave.  The last time I went there was a temporary marker.  The permanent marker has been put in place now.

Football (watching it on TV) is on tap for the afternoon.  I’ll probably end up spending some of that football time playing with Shadow, Dad’s cat and my new friend.

Meet Shadow:

Isn’t he adorable?  If I didn’t already have two cats who would be highly unappreciative of a third, I might kidnap (catnap?) him and take him home with me.