17 August 2017

At The Mansion: An Air Conditioner For Peggie, A Sept Celebration

An Air Conditioner For Peggie

I delivered our fourth portable air conditioner to the Mansion today, thanks to Kevin for hauling it in. It is for Peggie, who lives in a first floor room which sometimes gets warm. One more to go this year, that is for Sylvie, who is cold at night but warm in the daytime. We are getting close to September, not too many warm days left, There is plenty of heat in the winter in the beautiful old building, once the home of one of our town's wealthiest families.

The Mansion is generally a comfortable place in the summer, there are lots of fans. Some of the rooms get direct sun all day and those rooms can get pretty warm.

I've given instructions that the air conditioners will belong to the Mansion, not the residents, so they can be used for future residents. When Sylvie's portable air conditioner comes, everyone with an especially warm room at the Mansion and anyone who requested one will have one.

Thanks for your support for this project, it will in all, have cost about $1,500, and it will do an enormous amount of good. We cannot all do great things, but we can give small things with great love.

If you wish to contribute to the Mansion work ongoing by the Army Of Good,  you can send a donation to Jon Katz, The Mansion Fund  P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12818.

September is Assisted Care Week and I have offered to host a pizza party on September 11 at lunch time for the Mansion residents and the staff, that will be Round House pizzas for 45 people. The Army Of Good is also funding a two-hour lunch and boat ride for 12 Mansion residents and staff on September 14 with the Lake George Steamboat Company.

We have ordered 250 copies of "Tales Of The Mansion," a collection of short stories by the Mansion residents. You can pre-order the book through Battenkill Books or call the store at 518 677 2515. It costs $10 plus shipping. The bookstore takes Paypal and major credit cards.

If anyone wishes to donate for these events, you can do so at the above address, and thanks. Here is a list of the Mansion residents who wish to receive letters, photos and messages: Jean, Ellen, Mary, Gerry, Sylvie, Jane, Diane, Alice, Jean, Madeline, Joan, Allan, William, Peter, John K., Helen, Connie, Robert, Shirley, Alanna, Barbara, Peggie, Dorothy, Art, Bruce W. John Z. Winnie. You can write them all care of The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

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Good News Alert: Connie May Be Back At The Mansion Soon. Holy Joy.

Looking For Connie

Every time Red comes into the Mansion, he goes straight to Connie's room. Sometimes the door is closed, usually he can nose it open. Sometimes i open it, to check on Connie's things for her. Today Red went straight to her chair and waited a bit, and then lay down on the floor, as he usually does in her room.

Red is very connected to Connie, he always looks for her.

I spoke with Connie this afternoon, and she misses him too. But she tells me she is walking again, working hard at her physical therapy and trying different foods. She says she feels better every day. "I want to come home," she said.

There is more good news to report about Connie, whose yarn and books (that many of you sent her) sit in baskets and on tables by her reclining chair, waiting for her return. The Mansion staff tells me that if she continues to work as hard as she is, and improve at the steady rate at which she is improving, she could be back in her room in two weeks or less.

I admit it was grim there for a bit, I was not sure Connie would be coming back. But she is tough, strong and determined, and much joyed by the letters of the Army Of Good. It really makes a difference when you know people care.

She is now at the Wesley Health Center in Saratoga Springs,131 Lawrence Street, Room 212, Saratoga Springs, 12866. Wesley officials report to the staff at the Mansion that Connie is walking about 80 feet a day, and she is trying to eat more and move around more. Her back pain is still sometimes severe, but generally much better.

They are optimistic that she can recover further and return to the Mansion.  At the Mansion you have to be able to move about on your own or with the help of a single aide. That looks increasingly possible.

This is great news. If you wish to write to her, you can write c/o the above address as the Wesley Health Center. You can also write to Connie c/o the Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816 and she'll get your letters when she returns. She reads every one. The books she request arrived, and are with her at the Wesley, thanks.

She asked if it might be possible for Red to come and visit here, I said we would do our best. We can't depend on their news to understand our world, we often make our own news. This news is the song of the soul, the song of the nation, the song of humanity, the song of the cosmos- resounding together, blending in harmony, circulating the sap of life, the sound of holy joy.

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The Three Sisters Garden Grows, And Grows

The Bedlam Farm Gardens

We now have seven gardens growing around our farmhouse, porches. The newest is the wildflower garden by the back pasture, this morning Vince Vecchione, a maestro on a tractor, dug out some new space for next year's Three Sisters Garden, it's going to be about three times the size next year, fertilized by the best powdered donkey, sheep and horse manure.

Maria is psyched. Me too.

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Good News Alert: The Little Library Draws Soldiers In The Army Of Good

The Free Little Library

Maria and I and the dogs were out back this morning when we saw a car pull up and two people waved to us from our Little Free Library standing outside of the house (we have had several visitors to our library this week, it is catching on).

We waved them over and were very happy to meet Doris and David Rosenberg from Reston, Virginia, he is a software developer and she is retired from AT&T. She is also a member of the Army of Good and has contributed to the work we are doing with the Mansion Assisted Care Facility.

Both are readers of our blogs and it was like meeting friends and family, they are the nicest and warmest people. We wouldn't have met them if we hadn't happen to have been outside, they didn't want to disturb us, they got a joyous welcome from all three dogs.

They were up here vacationing and hope to come to one of our Open Houses.

Little Free Library is another way we have of connecting with people. Even people we can't meet face to face (we obviously can't meet all of the people who stop to take or return a book) have a way of connecting with us, and the library stocked with good books, they are beginning to go out.

Doris said she dropped off a children's book and  was going to look through and take one she liked,  then return a book on  her next visit. We  hope they do.

We stood out by the fence and talked to the Rosenbergs for ten or 15 minutes. I was sorry to see them go.

People are often concerned that they will be intruding or invasive if they meet us (and some aren't the least bit concerned about that.) We can't visit with all of the people who drive by or vacation up here or arrange private visits, but this one worked out. It was a rich and uplifting experience of us to meet people like David and Doris, so warm and thoughtful.

We were glad they waved.

I don't ever wish to be afraid of the people who read our blogs, enjoy my books and photographs. This visit was very good to us.

Apart from that, our little library is catching  on, people are figuring it out. Thanks Doris and David, for your good hearts and  support of us and our work. We are privileged to have met you, and gratetful for your support. I think we have to figure out how to get the Army Of Good together one day.

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Good News Alert: Mawulidi Is Coming Here Today To Find A Tree To Carve

Mawuilidi Comes To Bedlam Today

Another good news alert: This afternoon, Mawulidi Diodone Majaliwa, a new friend who came to the United States in November after spending 20 years in a refugee camp, is coming to the farm to find a tree to cut down so he can resume his work as a carver, thanks to your help in replacing the carving tools he was not allowed to bring to America.

Brother Francis Sendago, the RISSE (refugee and immigration center in Albany, N.Y.) Operations Director, is driving Mawulidi from Albany to Bedlam Farm, from there, we're going over to Pompanuck Farm, where Scott Carrino has a lot of trees that might fit Mawulidi's needs. He's looking for wood sections that are at least 32 inches in circumference and a meter in length.

His plan is for us to help him cut the small tree down – it can be dead or alive – and let it lie in the sun for a few weeks, and he'll come back to get it and resume his carving. Mawulidi was a carver in the Congo Kinshasa, he fled during the civil war there and has spent half of his 42 years looking for a new country.

He might find his tree here, but Pompanuck Farm's trees are more numerous and might fit his needs. We'll see. Scott Carrino has generously offered one of his trees to us, and he has a power saw  (no one in town will sell me one, they fear Maria will kill them.)

His grandfather taught him carving and left him his precious tools when he died, but Mawulidi had to leave them on the airport tarmac, he has carried photographs of his tools with him since he had to abandon them. Carving was his livelihood in the Congo before he had to flee.

Thanks to your generosity, we have raised enough money for him to replace the tools, he will start carving some of his wildlife figures and sculptures, he is eager to sell them but we have to figure out how to do that.

Mawulidi is working as a baker for an Albany bread company, but he has never give up his dream of returning to carving.

He is very grateful for this help. My idea for Mawulidi is to help him set up a blog or website so he can sell the beautiful carvings he knows how to make. He needs to be able to do business transactions, which makes the blog more expensive. If you wish to contribute to this work, you can do so by sending a donation to me at Jon Katz, P.O Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816. or to Paypal, [email protected]

I would like to continue supporting Maluwidi in the small ways most refugees need help – some tutoring, some basic household needs. I've seen his carvings, they are quite unique and lovely. I'll discuss it with him this afternoon. More later. And thanks for helping to make this dream come true, another successful project from the Army Of Good.

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