Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Well here we are, 2022. Wow. I remember seeing 2001 a Space Odyssey back in the day and imagining where we would be when 2001 actually rolled around on the calendar. In our minds back then, we pictured by this time in history, humans would be hovering above ultra modern cities in personal spacecraft. It didn’t seem far fetched to imagine people in 2001 routinely hopping aboard inter galactic transports visiting space stations in far off galaxies or having dinner served by robotic maids in computerized kitchens. Here we are now twenty years and counting past that date, still trying to figure out how to keep our gas powered vehicles on the road. Amazing.

I hope you all had a nice holiday season. It would have been additionally joyous had Covid taken a vacation as well as so many of us apparently did, preferably somewhere like Mars. But, even with the ever present and persistently annoying corona virus circulating in our midst, I managed to pull out some beautiful Christmas memories to press in my memory book.

Christmas was spent at my daughter’s house with her family with my mother. It was two days of tree purging and eating with her lovely family. I next hopped in my car and pointing the nose south drove to the San Jose area to spend New Years with my son and his brood. This was a lovely surprise, not only were all five children present and accounted for, but a magnificent dinner was planned for New Year’s Eve. It seemed my son’s team building business dinner with his employees had to be cancelled due to Covid concerns. Unfortunately, or fortunately for those of us in-house, the caterer had already been paid and the food ordered. Soooooo, we sat down to a lovely, elegant dinner served by masked servers and a bartender was in place behind the bar should anyone need a little liquid comfort. Very nice way to bring in 2022.

I so enjoyed the drive there and back. Lately, my mind seems to require a little private time. I guess after last years demands, I am in need of a little rebuilding both spiritually, as well as physically and emotionally. It was good just to “be”, cruising along the highway with the music playing and nothing much to think about but keeping the car in between two lines and the traffic coming and going around me. Always I have enjoyed being on the road. Perhaps that’s why I continually seemed to pick people to marry who didn’t let grass grow under their feet. Was I to seek out or discover another love down the line, I would definitely need to choose someone who wanted to travel a bit and have an adventure or two. I may have some miles on me, but I’m most definitely not hanging up my shield yet.

With another year splayed out before me, I am pondering what it is I want to accomplish in it. According to my yearly horoscope which I read every January, unlike the several years past, this year promises to bring exciting surprises and happy endings. Sign me up for that.

2021 definitely went out with a bang in our neck of the woods. Woods being the optimum word in that sentence. The day after Christmas, we had record snowstorms in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Even those of us down in the foothills were treated to a couple of inches of snow. My old neighborhood, unfortunately, was devastated by the storm. It is a mountain town surrounded by trees. The onslaught of snow and wind combined for the perfect storm for residents there. I found a picture of my old house on Facebook showing a tree protruding through the living room roof with half the deck railing crushed beneath the trunk. I am so thankful I made the decision to “come down the hill” as the locals put it, after Rick died. As beautiful as the mountains are, a woman up there alone has to be willing to deal with fires, landslides and snow, none of which I want to participate in any more. A dear friend of mine in the same neighborhood lost two vehicles and a boat to tree damage, and came close to losing her husband, who fortunately escaped with fairly minor injuries after a tree fell on him. It seems with the drought situation plaguing California over the past few years, the trees were fragile and unable to withstand the heavy blanket of snow forced upon them. I’ve heard account after account of people living up there saying during the storm they could hear “cracking” all around them as trees came down. Wow. When the trees fell, they took down power lines as well leaving a lot of “live” lines flailing about. Transformers blew and equipment was damaged. When I looked at the incident map, the small green dots indicating each problem area looked like a cake decorated with green sprinkles. Some people, they are saying, will be without power for nearly a month. To add to the mix, stores have been closed as well as restaurants and gas stations. Supplies are dwindling and people are getting cold and frustrated.

Thankfully, after the next much smaller rain event coming through our area tomorrow we are in for some nice weather for a week or two. This will give PG&E a chance to get the repair work done more expediently.

There is always something to be thankful for. Today, in my world, it is that I am warm and safe and have food in the cupboard. I had a friend stay with me from up the hill who just finally got the heads up to go home this morning because her power was back on. The community pulled together beautifully to lend a hand to the person next to them. We hear so much in the news about how miserable people can behave towards one another, it is heartening to know conversely how kind and generous they can be.

Have a great day. Stop to say hello to someone who looks like they could use a smile. Offer a hand when you can see someone who needs it. We are never too busy to take a few moments to help another human being and there is little I have found more rewarding.

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Well here we are on the precipice of New Year’s Day 2022. Another year tied up, almost, and ready to be left to the history books for posterity. On reflection, it wasn’t an easy year by any stretch of the imagination. Going into 2021, my life was definitely headed in a direction that has since dramatically altered its course. This leaves me with a lot of uncertainty as this year turns off its lights, and yes, a great deal of anticipation as I set foot in the new year. This year Dale and I entered January together, hopeful for new adventures and sharing our days together. As I exit on the other end, I have had to let him go on ahead of me and am left to find a new life on my own. Once again, I restart my life. I will begin to rebuild the foundation, and as the days go by add brick by brick to make the structure sound. Makes me wonder what on earth the universe had in store for me when they sent me down the chute. So many times, I get comfortable in a direction I am headed, only to find myself completely redirected into an entirely different life. Always, though, I believe there is a reason. We do not often know what that is, but I believe we are guided to where it is we are to go. I am glad to put this holiday season to bed and pleased I made it through and found much joy with my family and my little house and Miss Boo, the Queen of Cats.

Well, Christmas gifts have been opened, appreciated, and tucked away for another year. The second of January I will dismantle the tree and put it back in its zippered bag. it has done its job for this season, brightening both my home and my spirits. My mother was with us all day on Christmas at my daughter’s for presents and dinner. With the dementia, she often misunderstands what is going on in new surroundings, so she thought we’d made a party in her honor. It was such a lovely misconception, we let her believe it to be true. Really, the day was all about three year old Zeppelin when it came to what was under the tree. So many presents had his name on the tag, and he is old enough now to thoroughly immerse himself in the spirit of the day. My daughter, Heather, has a way of making magic happen around the holidays. While Zeppelin was still happily dreaming about the day to come, Heather was stamping muddy hoof prints stretching from the door to the fireplace on her tile floor. Next, she made a line of snowy boot prints leading from the fireplace to the tree. A pile of half eaten cookies sat in the dish on a mantle near a half filled glass of milk, and filled stockings were then lined up on the hearth. The scene was set, and none of the ambience was wasted on our littlest member. Truly seeing the holidays through children’s eyes can make you young again, even if just for the moment.

My mother definitely had her holiday spirit turned up to full volume as well. Five generations were represented at our table, with the oldest and the youngest member of our small but hearty band seated at opposite ends enjoying their Christmas dinner. Something very special about a moment like that, that really fits nicely in the confines of your heart.

I am driving down to the Bay Area for the New Years holiday. Seem to be getting around quite a bit these days. I love to drive actually. Getting out on the road with the music turned to 70’s classic rock, no time schedule but the one I choose for myself, and my son and his family waiting for me on the other end sounds very inviting. Miss Boo, the Queen of Cats, will have her usual pet sitter to keep an eye on her in my absence so the home front will be covered until I come back.

Though jeans and leggings topped with sweaters will be appropriate attire for most of my stay, my son and his fiance are hosting an engagement/New Year’s Eve party on the thirty first. This, will require a little effort on my part. When Rick and I owned the restaurant half my closet my filled with dresses and skirts. These days, I definitely lean towards more comfortable clothes. It’s not like the Queen is stopping by for tea any time soon. There isn’t a pair of heels visible among my vast assortment of shoes, and I don’t own any dresses at all except some of the casual summer variety. Hmmmm. Well, this is a good week to hit the stores. All the after Christmas sales will be in full bloom. I don’t really like what the designers are pushing our way this year, unfortunately. Most of the dresses look like they could also serve as appropriate shelter from a storm should you get caught in inclement weather while wearing them outside. A few tent poles and a Coleman lantern and you’re good to go. Perhaps this is because a lot of people have added a few pounds during the pandemic, I don’t know, but they surely aren’t very figure flattering. Big, blousey numbers in really busy bold prints. They remind me of the upholstery on the couch in my piano teachers parlor when I was a kid. Ugh.

I used to dress up all the time, but then I was working full time. In the restaurant, part of my job was to look professional and pulled together. Rick and I were there most days, so I needed a wardrobe to support being in the public eye. We chose Italian fine dining, making it relatively upscale as far as decor and menu. As the owners, Rick and I were expected to look the part. Owning a restaurant is not for the feint of heart. To say it’s a lot of work, barely begins to cover the amount of work it actually is. Sunday was the only day Vino Vino was closed, but that did not mean it was necessarily a day of rest. I still went into the restaurant early in the morning to pick up the server’s envelopes from the night before. Their receipts and monies would be in the safe and I would separate their gratuities from the bank deposit which would be made Monday morning, and every morning of the week.

It always was a bit of an eerie experience stepping inside that door when the building was empty. A very old structure, it was originally a saloon in it’s early days, or so the stories go. Built in the late 1800’s I’m sure it held many interesting stories and lurid tales inside it’s walls. The cooks, all men by the way, were not comfortable cooking in the kitchen alone, claiming they never felt they really were, alone, that is. Often, when I came in the front of the building sounds like banging or tapping could be heard in the bar area toward the back of the building. If I went back there by myself, I always left the front door standing ajar in case I needed an easy escape route. At night before we closed up, whether by design or chance, it always seemed we left in twos. One cannot be too cautious when dealing with ethereal things we don’t quite understand.

People ask me often if I would do it again. The answer would be, no. However, I am glad I did it then. It was a fascinating experience and I’m happy I was part of it. Sometimes I toy with the idea of opening a breakfast and lunch place somewhere in a lovely beach community, but really it is like a cat batting around a stuffed mouse. It’s fun to play with but the relationship is not going anywhere beyond that point.

Snow and rain have moved into our area. We sorely need it so I’m glad it’s here but it is making a mess for travelers trying to get home after the holidays. A lot of my friends in the high country are snowed in and without power. Whew, there is a price to pay for everything, I would guess.

Stay safe and snug over the holidays. Remember to count your blessings. You can’t do this too many times to my mind. Happy Monday.

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Over the past few days the night sky has been dominated by a large full moon. In between storms here on the west coast of the United States, this gorgeous orb has been clearly visible as the stars begin to come out and dark overtakes the day. As much as I appreciate the glorious views, a full moon brings with it tidal changes, mood disruptions, and a myriad of other gravitational anomalies that are a bit offputting. People are known to sleep walk more during a full moon, exhibit more aggressive behavior, suffer from depressive episodes, and many other behavior changes. I know I always feel a bit overwhelmed when the moon is in full glory, and this weekend was certainly no exception.

To add to the mix, yesterday was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Often this effects your ability to sleep, and has people contemplating the year behind them and pondering what lies in store for them in the new year. Then, if the stew wasn’t already bubbling over, it is a retrograde. This means the planets are lined up in such a way as to cause you to slow down and reflect on your life. Good grief, Charlie Brown. That’s a lot to chew on for one bite of the apple. I’m just sayin.

With this kind of massive energy directed our way, appliances often stop working, computers or electronic devices get hiccups, things with working parts malfunction, as do people caught in the middle of it all. Basically, it’s a hot mess. My refrigerator went last week, and the new one happily is in and running as we speak. Yesterday, I got up and was reminded by my calendar to get moving in order to make an early hair appointment. This was to be my first time with this hairdresser, and I was hopeful she would turn out to be a successful change from the one I am currently seeing. I like the woman who is doing my hair at the moment, but she is an hours drive from me, in an area where it snows. With gas over $5/gallon, and no four wheel drive anymore, I would much prefer to go closer to home. I don’t know how it is for men, but for ladies, finding a good hairdresser is like discovering an original Monet hidden under your recent garage sale purchase of a framed picture of a bowl of fruit.

It has been really cold (for California) this week, so I bundled up and ran out to get my car warmed up. Inserting the key in the slot, the dashboard lit up like I’d just hit the penny slot machine in Reno. Oh-oh. After considerable coaxing, the engine turned over and started. However, an icon of an engine remained on the display. Drat the luck. At least I was going close to home.

Arriving at the salon, after introducing myself, I explained the situation with my car saying I might have to call a tow truck should I not be able to start it again. She said I could wait in the lobby as long as I needed. Yay. Luck being on my side (not always the case if you’ve read my blogs for any length of time) she did a great job, and…….she was considerably less expensive. Stop it, I know! I approached my car with caution, depressing the open button on my remote. Thankfully, the lights went on indicating there was some juice left. I hopped in and drove quickly back to the house. Going out later to try it again, it wouldn’t start. Everyone I know in the immediate area is out of town for the holiday week. My kids were at work, and the only neighbor I’m familiar enough to ask for a lift was visiting her kids. Ach. These are the times when I realize I am on my own and pretty much responsible for my own behind. My knight in shining armor is no longer here to rescue me from the castle tower, and I’d better figure out what to do about the situation. Had Dale been here, he would have looked under the hood or known who to call. I contacted my son-in-law at work. He said to go to the auto parts store and have them check the battery. Good idea in theory, but if the car won’t start, definitely this plan has some execution issues. Sooooo, I called my insurance company emergency road service and requested a tow. I have only used this feature one other time since having this insurance, but I am paying for it so decided it was the best option. Rocking some girl power at that point, I called the auto repair shop Dale used and told them my car was stopping by for a check up.

The automated system at the ERS began sending a series of texts, the first saying the tow driver would be arriving within the hour. This was followed by repeated texts saying he was on track over the next 60 minutes. After the hour came and went, I called the number provided to contact the tow company directly to ask when someone might arrive. According to the owner, the driver was eating his lunch. Really? Now, I don’t begrudge the poor man his lunch, and I was toasty and warm inside my house, but I guarantee had I been left sitting on a curb in forty degree weather somewhere, I might definitely have been a little out of sorts. Finally, two hours and counting, the massive truck pulled up out front. It looked more like it should be carrying a tank than my little mid size sedan. The man knocking on the door was oversized to match his vehicle. He looked a bit like the Incredible Hulk. Seriously, one of his arms was the size of my torso. Wow. At any rate, he asked for the keys to maneuver the car and get it loaded. Okie. I watched as my car was pulled onto the aircraft carrier sized ramp and secured. My heart felt sad. All my pre-Christmas plans for the day would have to be put on hold. Murphy strikes again. Had to be on a holiday week didn’t it Murphy? Couldn’t wait until the new year? He pulled out onto the street, made a u-turn and left. Hello? I hadn’t given him any form of payment and hoped he knew where the car was to be dropped off. In a bit I called the auto shop and sure enough my car had arrived. A bonus. For all I knew it could have been headed down 101 towards Mexico. I need to get better at this. About twenty minutes later the tow truck driver called. He apologized for just leaving, he thought I’d already paid. A well oiled machine that group. Should have told him I was enjoying a BLT and I’d get back to him. Sigh. After paying out a substantial load for the service, I came in and signed up with Triple A. Been meaning to anyhow, and need to get more efficient at managing myself. Good and good. Next I signed up with Uber so I could pick up the car once it was fixed. Looking sharp over here.

So, hopefully I will be going to my daughter’s on Friday as planned in my own car. I have my fingers and toes crossed and have issued mental orders to keep Murphy off the property should he attempt to come in the front door.

On another subject entirely, night before last I fell in the middle of the night. Embarrassing that. I got up to make my usual nocturnal visit to the loo. Apparently, I wasn’t fully awake yet and lost my balance making the poor choice to grab for the half open closet door for support. The door slid open all the way depositing me on my behind in the back of the closet amongst my collection of winter boots. I managed to escape serious injury, ending up with only a bump on my elbow and a rather colorful bruise. The sad thing about it was before going to bed, I had pulled on a shirt my daughter gave me years ago. It is furry and has what looks like an indomitable snowman on the front, also furry. Seriously a fashion nightmare, but what it lacks in glamour, it makes up for in cuddly warmth. As it is just the cat and I, I really wasn’t concerned about whether I made the best dressed list before retiring. Once I assessed the damage and seemed okay, I found myself thankful for that and I hadn’t suffered something more dire and been found dressed like that. That would have been my legacy. Perhaps I will have to rethink my sleeping attire in the future.

Have a safe and festive Wednesday. Keep your wits about you, there is enough unsettled energy floating around for all of us.

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The flood gates have opened, and rain is pouring down in buckets full outside my window. This is a cold rain, and it’s brought along a playmate, a capricious wind. My yard is strewn with leaves and debris. My snowmen once decorating the patio in the back yard, are now standing on their heads pushed up against the fence. You could leave the wind at home, but I do love the rain. Even though this is quite an intense storm, we surely need it out here on the west coast and I’m glad to see it streaming down the pane.

When Rick was alive, dreary stormy weather such as today severely affected his mood. Speaking for myself, I find rainy days exhilarating. Particularly when I’m tucked inside cozy and warm working on projects such as I am today. Rick viewed overcast skies as dark and foreboding giving him a closed off feeling. Often, he said he felt claustrophobic on stormy days. When it became more than just an annoyance, we consulted his primary care physician who diagnosed Rick with seasonal depression disorder. It was suggested we order a special light to increase Rick’s levels of melatonin. So, on rainy days while I would be dancing and singing in the kitchen, Rick would be sitting in his recliner with a huge bulb focused on his head wishing it would all go away. We are so different and individual we humans. Each of us cut out of the same cloth, but woven with different colored threads making varied patterns and designs. I wonder sometimes we can all be considered brothers and sisters of the same species. Weather of all sorts could have been more tolerable for me coming from Nova Scotia, where inclement weather is not unfamiliar. Rick was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. There weather didn’t vary vastly as I understand it, ranging from hot to somewhat less hot, according to the time of year you were in. Cairo typically measures less than an inch of rain annually, compared to Halifax which comes in at 50 plus inches. A bit of a climatic variance to say the least. I often think could two less like people have possibly have come together? It’s a question that remains unanswered.

I have spoken before about my “wishcraft” as Rick used to call it. Simply put, I imagine something I need or wish would occur, and voila, like magic, it materializes. He was always asking why I couldn’t use what he referred to as my super power to purchase a winning lottery ticket. Last week I was wishing I had a new refrigerator. The one provided by my landlords has a relatively small freezer, of which I use every inch of available space. Also, there is no ice maker so in order to make ice, cumbersome ice trays take up a quarter of the space. I secretly suspect it was probably put here when the house was built in the early 1930’s. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not complaining. Well maybe I am, just a little. At the time I was wishing for a new appliance, I was really only wishing only for enough room for my freezing hands to stuff my Costco order in the existing one. Night before last, I woke up to what sounded like a buzz saw running in the kitchen. “What now” said my tired mind? Rolling slowly out of bed, I moved my shuffling feet in the direction of the annoying sound. Turning on the light, on inspection, it appeared to be coming from the refrigerator. Great. Just bought $200 worth of groceries and it’s a Saturday night. Purrrrrrfect. Once again, Murphy was having his way with me. Sigh. Opening the freezer door, the fan was obviously running on high. Beads of water had begun to hang down from the roof of the compartment. “Oh no! The dreaded unscheduled DEFROST.” Wow. For two hours this went on, and then as quickly as it started, quiet once again returned to the kingdom. The freezer began to hum softly, and nothing appeared to have thawed. Crisis averted. My scallops would live to be baked another day. Thank you Amana gods for your help.

Yesterday, I called my landlord and told him what had happened. After examining the patient, he said though not gone yet, the old girl was definitely on her way out. Later, he called to let me know a replacement had been ordered, but due to supply chain issues it would take a couple of weeks. Yay. After I hung up, I remembered my wishful thinking and thanked the universe for once again coming through.

Again, the witchcraft came into play this morning. Yesterday, I was reviewing the damage I have done to my bank balance this Christmas. I don’t usually spend like this on gifts, but this year it felt so good to me to buy for those I love, I just jumped in with both feet. Damn the torpedoes, and all that rot. I knew it would put a wrinkle in my savings but my “what the heck”, attitude kicked into gear as I pulled my credit card out with joyous abandon and stuck it in the slots around town. So, this morning I noticed my mail was already in the box, which is unusual. Perhaps this was because it is such a blustery day. Maybe the mailman wanted to get it done early so he could go home, put his feet up, and enjoy a hot beverage. He’s going to need one. I saw him walking by a while ago, the strong wind pushing back the flaps of his jacket, and shorts covering only half his legs. People in California would wear shorts in a blizzard, I swear. Especially men, no offense to those of the gruffer set reading. Really? It’s in the mid forties outside. Whew. Where is your mother? At any rate, I gathered my mail and in one envelope I discovered a stimulus check that will take a lot of the wind out of my Christmas debt, while also allowing me to breathe a lovely sigh of relief. All is right with the world this morning. Breathe in, breathe out. Ahhhhhh.

I am sewing a blanket for Zeppelin, the youngest of our clan. I will post a picture of it when I’ done if I think of it. I think it’s pretty special, and I hope he does. I have tried to make blankets for most of my kids over the years but haven’t always made it. Will have to make it up to those I missed when they are old enough to have kids of their own if I’m still planting roses and not serving as their fertilizer by the time this occurs.

There are still two packages that have to be mailed. Not only is everything in the store going up in the price, it now costs nearly as much, sometimes more, to mail the items. I paid $27.00 last week to mail an envelope 2-day delivery to Texas. Would have been cheaper to book a flight and take it there myself, and I could have picked up some great Mexican food in San Antonio while there. Over the weekend, I hit some of the stores at the mall. For the first time, it really resonated how much prices have gone up. Amazing. I’m not employed anymore, at least not full time. Feel sorry for those trying to get by. The minimum wage goes up, and then prices rise and completely nullify the benefits. Makes it hard to get ahead.

On that bit of whine, I’ll sign off for today. Downton Abbey awaits me. I’m still on season one and am binging like a professional. Have a wonderful day and stay dry, safe, and at least socially acceptably sane such as I do. Later.

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Baby it’s cold outside this morning. Brrrrr. I forgot to take the trash to the curb last night, so had to rush out early to get it out there before the truck came by. The gardeners, such as they are, filled the compostable bin to the brim with leaves, then it rained. Sigh. The bin felt like it weighed about two hundred pounds. I’m not a very big being, as I’ve mentioned previously, so it took a serious amount of huffing, puffing, and general physical prowess to wrestle the darn thing down the driveway. Such things you begin to notice, when you lose the man in your life. Some chores you just need a man to help you with. Hard for me to admit here because I like to think I am the mistress of my own domain, but true is true. I do miss my man.

Last week I had to break down boxes, which was a job Dale always took care of for me. He had some sort of handy dandy tool (a box cutter I would suppose), that broke down the cardboard nicely. I had an old steak knife, not nearly as handy dandy. I remember the first time I was single, many moons ago, the only tool I had in my toolbox was a kitchen knife. I swear I could have built a Mars landing craft with that dull old blade. Seriously. That knife was used to take screws off the bottom of the vacuum, assemble furniture, ward off marauders, you name it. I must admit I had to add a Phillips head screwdriver and a hammer to the mix to get the job done effectively after a while, but until I got married again, those three tools served me well.

I took a swing at the gardeners in my first paragraph, because using the term to describe the three men who show up in my yard ever other week really is overreach. They swoop down like buzzards on a fresh carcass, blow the leaves off the yard into a pile by the fence which returns as soon as the wind picks up to form it’s original blanket on my lawn. They cut an uneven swath over the front and back areas of green and are in and out in less than fifteen minutes. Once I asked them to trim the weeds in the front and when I went out to see what they had done there wasn’t a plant standing in my garden. Pitiful. They are my landlords choice. Since I have little control other than constructive input, I deal with them, but never again asked them to trim the weeds.

The yard is a really nice yard, have to say. The back yard is large, with a small cement patio and deck. There are lovely trees placed here and there about the property providing much needed shade during the summer. Unfortunately, the two large shade trees in the back yard were cut down by PG&E because they were interfering with the power lines. I miss the lovely umbrella they provided during the hot summer months, but certainly don’t want anything resembling kindling that close to my little house.

Yesterday I went with a friend to visit a psychic. I see you shaking your head. I went after Rick passed away as well. This lady appears to have an actual gift for seeing beyond our normal borders. I told her nothing and provided no useful information for her to build on. Letting her lean on her own resources, she once again provided a really interesting reading for my yankee dollars. For those of you who view this as total nonsense or a sort of shell game, I say “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”. Not all professing to have such a gift actually do, of course. As with everything, there are those who are just in it to relieve you of your money. This lady always delivers, not only on being spot on on so many things she has to say but on the entertainment value. Both she and the lady who writes a horoscope I read at the beginning of each month are saying the coming year is going to be a stellar one. “Yay”, says I. I am really ready to get in line for something uplifting and soul changing. Sign me up, please and don’t hold the mayo.

I am dragging a bit this morning. Had a restless night. Sometimes my dreams are soooooo real and decidedly unsettling. Perhaps this is the side effect of an overly active mind. Last night I was in a big city. I somehow perceived it as San Francisco, though it looked nothing like my favorite California city. First, I was lost in an office building. I couldn’t seem to get out of the elevator, at one point zooming up to the penthouse where the occupants weren’t particularly pleased to find me there. When I finally did get off in the lobby, I had no idea what street I was on, and couldn’t remember where on earth I’d parked my car. Apparently, I finally located it because next I was speeding down dark and unfamiliar streets with no idea where I was going or how to get home. Next, I was in a massive shopping mall. While struggling to find an exit, I apparently won a new house filled with furniture. I stood in front of a crowd in the center of the mall with a family I did not recognize to receive my bounty. I remember willing myself to wake up. When I did, I was in a bog for an hour before I again felt familiar with my surroundings. What a strange mind I have. Sometimes it worries me. Perhaps someone will take the time to study it when I’m no longer using it and let me know what’s up with that. Was I to analyze it, employing no dream analyzing skills whatsoever, I could see easily I’m feeling a bit lost and not sure where to go from here. Who the strange family was standing in the mall with me, is your best guess.

I am trying to get my outside errands done today, and visit with my mom tomorrow, before we finally are to be entertaining some winter weather here in Northern California. For those of you born with ski poles in your hands this will be welcome news. For me, I will be tucked inside with my tree lights glowing in the background, watching my Christmas movies, downing an eggnog latte and wrapping presents.

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Have spent the last five days visiting a friend in the San Jose area. She has a lovely home perched high on a hilltop overlooking the entire Santa Clara valley. A view that stretches nearly to Santa Cruz on a clear day.

What a good time we’ve had, doing nothing really. One day we spent doing “girl things”. On my first day here we had our nails done, then we went to lunch and did some Christmas shopping. On another we ran errands and she cooked a delicious dinner which we ate like royalty on china atop chargers in her gorgeously appointed dining room. Her taste runs far more formal than mine. I guess you might say she’s a city mouse, and I lean towards being a country mouse.

Though I love living in a less populated area, it is nice to feel the hustle and bustle of the city for a few days. Having lived in this area off and on over the years I can still find my way around without a problem, and know where to go to scare up a good meal or enjoy a day in the stores. Yesterday we went to Santana Row. Santana Row is a very upscale shopping area in West San Jose catering to people with large bank accounts and expensive tastes. I have the latter. Whether you can afford to buy the luxury items for sale in their lovely shops or not, it is a glorious place to go and browse and enjoy Sunday brunch. The streets are lined with eateries and most have set up outdoor dining areas for customers to eat el fresco. As opposed to where I live where they’ve gotten very unmasked, everyone is wearing a mask here. All stores or restaurants have posted mask mandates on their entrance doors. I guess this varies according to county. Sometimes I wish lawmakers would get on the same page and make a decision which applies to everyone. I don’t know about you but I would like to see news about this virus disappearing in my rear view mirror.

I think I’m still suffering from “grief brain”. It is a real thing. I went through it after Rick passed away as well. People talk to you, and though you process the information, most likely it will be gone like it was written in disappearing ink in the blink of an eye. Also, doing stupid things becomes more the norm then the exception. Yesterday I looked at my calendar for this week. Three appointments were noted on tomorrow’s date, all around the same time. Hmmmmmm. I hope my cloning appointment is first in line. One of them is an hour and a half massage my son and his girlfriend gave me for my birthday. No, they didn’t actually give me a massage, they gave me a gift certificate to get one a a local spa. Remembering they had an on-line appointment function on their website, I went on and moved the appointment up a week to a more convenient day. This is the second time I’ve changed this appointment. I believe I am avoiding it subliminally, or maybe just blatantly. I have never had a professional massage. Makes me a bit squirrely at the thought of it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, people do all the time, but there’s something about it that makes me pause. Perhaps it’s the idea of a stranger touching my unadorned self. Could be that.

Content that I had my week back in line, I went back in the kitchen to pour a second cup of coffee. Taking a sip, my mind suddenly clicked into gear. I believe I actually heard it engage. Perhaps it was the caffeine finally hitting my bloodstream. In that moment of clarity, I realized I had changed my appointment to that morning two hours forward rather than next week. Man. Sooooo, when they opened I had to get them on the line and explain I was apparently having a mental breakdown. Thankfully, they were good about it and rearranged the appointment to the time I had meant to change it to. Whew. Seriously, I need a keeper these days.

Tomorrow I turn my car towards home again. Boo has had a house sitter for company, so will be glad to see me I’m sure but not totally unsettled as she would be if left to her own devices. Well, in truth I can’t speak for the cat, for all I know she hasn’t even noticed I was gone. I still have to finish my Christmas shopping this week and wrap what I’ve bought. Next year I’m going to look at this program. My extended family has grown with the addition of Dale’s lovely family so I have to curtail the gift giving and look at another way of sending my love. Either that or marry well before next December shows up on the calendar.

Happy hump day. Cya when I get home.

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We are coming to the end of another odd year. I thought last year with all the COVID concerns was to be the odd one, but have to admit this year went ahead and really outdid itself. As I’ve said, I had COVID, and obviously survived. As of last month, I can also say I have had both vaccinations plus the indicated additional booster. Now, they are saying there’s a new variant more resistant then it’s predecessors. Whew. It’s like climbing the side of a steep precipice. You can see the top of the mountain from your vantage point, but no matter how high you climb, getting there always seems just out of reach. At some point, you have to say to yourself, “I have done what I can to keep myself and those around me safe. Now I have to let go, and let God (or whoever you believe is in charge).” At times it feels like no one is in charge, though I don’t really believe that. However, lately some days it does seem as if the ship is sailing through rough waters with nobody manning the oars.

The holidays were looming in front of me ominously after Dale passed away October 22nd. It’s odd, though it’s been only a little over a month, it feels like a lifetime has gone by since he last sat in my living room. I’m managing to get through each holiday as it shows up on the calendar, and find myself enjoying my time with friends and family. Perhaps because this is my second immersion in the grief process in three years, I have learned to traverse the minefield without leaving any limbs in my wake. Sometimes the pendulum reflecting my mood leans far to the right. During those darker periods, lifting my heavy feet to walk seems an impossible task. Then, as quickly as it leaned right, it will move dramatically to the left side. When resting there, my toes are happily tap, tap, tapping to a song I’m listening to, or I find myself humming contentedly while fixing vegetables in my sunny kitchen. Grief is such an individual undertaking (sorry that pun was unintended), and each person must in the end make their own way through it however works best for them.

I have begun my shopping for this holiday season. Once I have watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Santa and Mrs. Claus have driven their sleigh down 34th Street and flown home to help the elves prepare for the big day, I generally get into the swing of things as far as gifts are concerned. I am nothing, if not a creature of habit.

Now that we’re all emptying our bank accounts for the sake of maintaining Santa’s reputation, I’d like to offer a piece of sage advice. Be careful when you order anything off the ads that pop up on social media, particularly when you have never heard of the company. At the very least, check them out on some of the verifier sites before ordering anything. Twice now I’ve been suckered in by a really cute picture only to end up with something not resembling that item in the least. This time I ordered two. Please, I know. Don’t judge me. I’ve always been a sucker for a pretty face. “Let the buyer beware” is really a mantra I should have been saying, quite possibly out loud. If it was physically possible, and believe me it is not any more, I would be kicking my own behind. Duh.

When I contacted the seller he responded, or she, I needed to peel the protective plastic sheet off the item to improve the look. Hmmmmm. It would take more than that I’m afraid. Number one, the original item looked to have dimension and the one I got look like a photograph of that item glued on to a plastic backing. It looks like that because I’m quite sure that’s exactly what it is. They made one, took a picture, threw out the fishing line and waited to sink the hook in some suckers lower lip. I was kind enough to stop by and offer them mine. Number two, the plastic protective sheet was glued or stuck on the plastic and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I reported them on a site I go to report such things. Should have read some of the comments about this company I found there before ordering anything myself. Each comment echoed how I felt. Cheap, poorly made, not representative of the item they had shown a picture of. Check, check, and check. Ah well, another lesson written on the board. I wonder if I’ll graduate one of these days, or if I’m just one of those students who is perpetually sitting outside of the principal’s office?

Thanksgiving turned out to be a lovely celebration at my daughter’s house with her family and a few of her husband’s relatives. My mother joined us, and after a bit of a health scare earlier in the week, we were feeling especially thankful to see her face a the table. Dinner was a fusion of vegan and carnivore, and delicious on all counts. Not being a sweet eater usually, I really enjoyed the pumpkin cheesecake which was totally a vegan recipe. Yummer. I was spending the night, so I thought to pack a pair of “after dinner pants” with a flexible waist. I highly recommend this. Hah. Gave all that dinner a little room to settle into the loose spots. When staying over night at my daughters, I sleep on the couch. Quite often I have one or the other of the two cats in residence join me during the night. Heather, my daughter, is a very creative being. Like her mother, she loves the holidays and her well decorated house reflects her passion. All across her ceiling in the family and living rooms she hangs snowflakes from fishing line. Each snowflake is strategically placed and hangs at a different length on it’s invisible tether than the one hanging next to it. Lying there in the dark before closing my eyes, I watched as the air currents moved the snowflakes in circles like a lovely choreographed winter ballet. Life really is magical, whatever age you are.

Yesterday, my son and his girlfriend drove up from the Bay Area for a quick lunch with my daughter and myself. It was so nice to have both my chicks together. We ate a local restaurant and again I was faced with dishes full of amazing calorie laden food. OMG. Where were my “after dinner pants” when I needed them? For an appetizer (I KNOW, WHAT?) we had baked brie. After tasting it spread on the garlic toast points they provided on the side, I considered for a moment face planting in the center of the serving dish. Soooooo good. It was bubbly brie, topped with caramelized onions, and then finished off with a perfectly cooked fried egg on top. When the yolk was broken, it oozed over the whole caramelly oooey gooey cheesy deliciousness. “Stop”, my stomach cried out to deaf ears. “You’re killing me.” Did I listen? Nooooooooo. I forged on, following up the amazing brie with a plate of eggs Benedict served on crab cakes next to a mountain of home fries. I can feel the acid building in my nether regions as I’m writing this. To begin with, years ago I lost my gall bladder. I didn’t misplace it, though lately that wouldn’t surprise me, but I had it surgically removed. I lost an organ with each marriage, a testimony to the sacrament, and this one was sacrificed during my third. I barely show up on an x-ray any more. Seriously, I can’t afford another marriage with any hopes of remaining erect. I had no after affects worth mentioning after my gall bladder was gone, except for a high sensitivity to garlic. The pungent little bugger will repeat on me for hours once I’ve consumed it. Not a pretty thought I know.

So, today I am taking a cleanse of sorts to right my ship again. When I get off course, I try to correct it and get back in the shipping lane again as soon as possible. The only exception would be spending a week on a cruise ship There is no way to get away from the incessant parade of delicious food there unless you actually jump ship or stay behind in one of the scheduled ports, but I digress. How on earth I got on cruise ships I have no idea. Anyhow, this morning it was oatmeal and fresh fruit followed by a brisk walk, and a salad with micro greens for lunch. No matter how I write that it will never sound anywhere near as enticing as my description of that baked brie. I’m just sayin.

I would guess a lot of you were out and about over the weekend shopping or picking up a tree to bring home and decorate. Have a lovely Monday. Talk soon.

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