Model Railroading Beats Covid Stress

Model railroading is a terrific way to lose yourself in details that have absolutely nothing to do with the media, bad news, worse news, health scares, or Covid.

It’s been almost four months since I worked on my model railroading project, The Maple Valley Short Line.

Part of model railroading, at least for me, has been anticipating but not being upset by the feeling of hitting a wall. My motivation to build disappeared. Today I reactivated and found it.

Even as I stood in front of my layout, it wasn’t until I actually started measuring, cutting, and gluing that I began to feel motivated.

I discovered installing scratch-built bridges is difficult. Making sure the bridge deck is the same level as the cork roadbed which means boring holes in plaster and foam takes time. When it’s done, it will be fantastic.

Plaster is a necessity in model railroading if you’re seeking for realism in your scenery. It takes time and is messy, but well worth the effort.

I have been challenged by the need to cover my styrofoam risers and blend them into the scenery in a way that looks realistic. I’ve thought about covering crumpled paper with plaster, but wondered about mold forming on the paper from the moisture.

I thought about using cardboard strips with plaster, but with one to four inches across thirty-two feet of riser, that is a lot of cardboard to cut and cover. I’m still working on it. I think I’ll use a combination of paper towel and pieces of foam dipped in plaster.

Gluing cork roadbed is time consuming but so rewarding! Covid stress floats away like a crumpled leaf in the wind. Cork roadbed is a model railroading task that you start and finish even though the layout still has a very long way to go.

The river I decided to dig across the middle of my layout added a tremendous amount of work, but I’m excited about how it’s going to look. This will be my first time using the epoxy mix that becomes “water”. I’ll paint the plaster first then pour the magic liquid.

Model railroading is a lot of fun. It provides a great opportunity to see what can be done. Everything is changeable, there really is no such thing as a mistake.

I can’t wait to see my steam locomotive rumble across this bridge. The extra work setting and leveling this scratch-built model is more than worth the time.

I can start placing my nickel-silver flex-track any time. That’s when the layout really starts looking like a railroad. I’ve been working on my model railroad for a long time already. Every step has its own rewards.

I’m looking forward to the day when I can start setting all the houses and buildings I spent last winter creating. Trees, grass, weeds, junk, sticks, fences, rocks, stones, lights, signals, backdrops, ballast, and more junk. Love it.

All this makes me want more coffee. Model railroading and coffee. Inseparable partners.

Discover Prompts Day 12: Feeling Light

One of the suggestions for writing about this Discover Prompt is recalling a time of feeling completely carefree and light. I gave that quite a bit of thought and I really can’t remember the last time I felt completely carefree.

We’re talking about a feeling. Feelings come and go. Who knows how many different feelings we have throughout the day? Feelings are affected by all kinds of things like appetite, weather, people, relationships, finances, caffeine, medications, hammers hitting fingers, entertainment, music, movies, conversations, news, social media, clouds, bills, illness, impressions, perspective, thoughts, possessions, lack of possessions, social conditions, religion, non-religion, education, emotions, bad coffee, good coffee, alcohol, smells, traffic, mechanical problems, temperature, rain, no rain, allergies, colds, flu, disappointments, expectations, hopes, dreams, plans, accomplishments, endings, beginnings, new surroundings, old surroundings, new jobs, old jobs, days off, weekends, Monday mornings, Friday nights, alarm clocks, time clocks, chimes, children, no children, parents, missing parents, driving, walking, thinking, purchasing, losing, acquiring, choosing, clean houses, dirty houses, embarrassment, gloating, plants, blossoms, leaves falling, leaves appearing, snowflakes, rain, water, having a boat, not have a boat, snow storms, snow days, lightning, thunder, ice, stubbing toes, getting lost, lights on, lights off, darkness, fire flies, wasps, mosquitoes, fish, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, ants in the house, spiders, centipedes, chocolate, lack of chocolate, politics, oil changes, car washes, flat tires, motor homes, travel trailers, flying, landing, waiting on a tarmac, trips being canceled, getting fired, getting hired, layoffs, hirebacks, recalls, refunds, overcharges, cold food, cold coffee, cold tea, restaurants closed, pizza, bad pizza, Tweets, posts, stats, likes, dislikes, memes, non-memes, misunderstandings, understanding, Instagrams, Snap-Chats, comprehending, confusing, concealing, revealing, knowing, not knowing, finding, dogs barking, dogs licking, cat tongues, cats purring, water boiling, cold water, clean clothes, body odor, dirty fingernails, and living.

To be totally carefree, one would either have to be an infant, which is not really being carefree but to be unaware of cares, or not be living.

Feeling light, whatever that means, evidently is something different. Someone said that seeking happiness as a goal is a mistake. If feeling light is feeling happy, than great. But happiness comes and goes from one moment to the next, depending on what’s happening around you. Being generally satisfied could be equated with happiness, and if it is, you’ll probably say you are mostly happy, if you are satisfied.

If you are consumed with dissatisfaction, can’t get enough, no matter what you have it’s not enough, then you probably feel like happiness is always just beyond your reach. There is nothing wrong with reaching, striving, working, growing, improving, but not with the price of never feeling a sense of accomplishment where you are right now.

What I am striving for right now, is more coffee.

Will Covid-19 Ever End?

I read a book a while ago (I’ve read a ton of books in the last couple of years), and there were several paragraphs that have stayed with me. Especially now.

The story was fiction, but the implications are startling. The section that keeps rolling over in my mind concerned what the author called, “the economics of fear.” He wrote that the media, by the design of some higher and secreted power controls the population, and therefore, the economy, by the words they continually use. The narrative changes as time passes and new descriptors are used because the public grows accustomed to the old ones.

New words selected bring another wave of fear so the public will once again hang on every word the media says, even though they keep saying the same things over, and over, and over again. Network selection doesn’t matter, the words and phrases are interchangeable. The purpose is to corral and herd public feeling and reaction. In this very interesting novel of fiction, it worked.

I haven’t been able to get the author’s words out of my mind. It feels like reality. I don’t want to mention the author or the book title because it’s not my intention to start a discussion about either one. It just struck a chord with me.

I’m sure I am totally wrong. I’m thinking nonsense. Quarantine has left me babbling, unable to make words fit together in any meaningful way. Instead of clouds passing overhead, I’m seeing fluffy forms of catchers squatting behind plates, and outfielders making heroic plays.

It’s fiction we’re being herded. Told what to believe. We’re not really being conditioned and trained. The media hasn’t been informed which words to use. Startling, breaking, unrelenting, endless, broken, terrifying, contagious, rampant, breathless, Covid-19, second wave, third wave, collapse.

Obviously, there is no economy of fear. We know what to believe, we’re not fooled by anything that isn’t true. We don’t react to fear in an unreasonable way.

I really just need to forget about the book I read. It’s fiction. I should spend my time watching news shows so I can stay informed. I’m sure there are enough programs to keep me occupied during all of my waking hours. That would be much more productive than reading. Especially fiction.

I feel better now. Thanks for your help.

Managing Covid Media Mania

It really is everything I can do to not yell at the TV. I really am trying. In fact, I have been making serious effort to cut off my natural inclination to sarcasm and cynicism. The more I refuse to give vent to what is happening in my head by keeping my mouth shut, the easier it becomes. But the news media makes it difficult.

I have to admit the ubiquitous “this is horrible, it’s getting worse, the death toll is expected to rise, we haven’t seen the worst, there’s no end in sight, will we ever recover?” comments have been followed, a few times, with reporting on the numbers of people who have recovered from Covid-19.

Why are the media constantly reporting polls? Really? If the nation’s response to this virus is being run by what random groups of people think about it, we are all in a lot of trouble!

Why do we have to constantly hear about celebrities? This one I cannot stand! In the midst of people dying, thousands of families without enough food to eat, doctors and nurses who have no strength left, first-responders doing everything they can to keep up, we are deluged with “news” about how celebrity so-and-so is coping. Who cares?! What really burned my biscuit was a report, meaning it actually received air time, about what a famous singer wore for a workout!

I do believe in statistics. I believe the threat of Covid-19 is real. I know the numbers are telling a frightening story. But I absolutely hate feeling manipulated.

I wonder what would happen if, instead of twenty-seven minutes of horror and three minutes of some remarkable and uplifting story, the news programs committed to just the opposite.

Thankfully, we are told “we’re going to get through this”, and I believe we will. However, it’s not going to be the major media providing the light at the end of the tunnel. It will be the every-day-people, day after day, doing the right things, helping a neighbor, waving at a stranger, saying “hi” through their mask, all without ever being noticed that will make it happen.