Posts Tagged ‘2020’

Saturday I went to visit my mom as usual. Due to the continuing Covid concerns, we (my daughter and I) are not allowed in the facility, so we sit in the garden beyond her window and visit her through the screen. It’s not optimum, but it’s better than not seeing her, and FaceTime is largely unsuccessful when dealing with someone who has dementia issues. Sooooo, the garden it shall be. When getting in my car to leave, I felt a sharp pain just above the bend in my knee at the back of my leg. Looking down a wasp had deposited it’s stinger in my skin and was preparing to go in for a second attempt. Not so fast. Why do they love me? Was I a large honey stealing bear in a former life? There could be twenty people standing in the garden and the little buggers would find my exposed skin the most irresistible. Once we realized what had happened everyone stood staring at me. What? It seemed they were waiting to see if I was going to drop to the ground and begin writhing or start foaming at the mouth. Ahhhhh. Truth be known, I haven’t been stung for about twenty-five years so either reaction could have been forthcoming. Thankfully, all that resulted was a big bump and oooooooh, such itching. Sigh.

The last time I was stung was in West Virginia. Our dryer had gone south (not on a bus tour, but actually to the dump). While waiting for my new one to arrive, and out of underwear, I was forced to visit the laundromat down the block. Let me preface by saying, I don’t like laundromats. Sitting and watching the clothes circulate in the dryer affords me no kind of pleasure whatsoever and the combined aromas of sweat, bleach, and laundry detergent never does my sinuses any favors. At any rate, desperate times call for desperate measures, so I deposited my money in the slots, added my detergent, and sat down in a chair by the window to read my book until the cycles were completed. I never leave unattended clothes in the washer or the dryer because I have not had good luck with that practice.

When I married my first husband I was eighteen. Aside from brushing my own teeth and dressing myself, I had little life experience about what it takes to run a household. My thinking never got beyond the wedding ceremony, so when it came to actually living together I hadn’t a clue. My cooking skills were limited to putting butter on toast and pouring cereal in a bowl and I had never been involved with laundry beyond folding a pile placed in front of me by mother to fold. Note here, when I had children of my own I taught them early on how to fend for themselves so this pattern would not be repeated by the next generation. The first time I had to do laundry was in the laundry room at the apartment house we lived in. Having no incite as to the fine points of washing clothes, I loaded the washing machine to the brim including a red bedspread and all my husband’s white tee shirts and underwear. Adding a liberal amount of Tide, I pushed hot wash and we were off to the races. No one could have been more surprised then me to find when I went to put the massive load in the dryer the underwear now matched the bedspread except for in a lighter shade of pink. Whoops.

Next, I had decided to go to the laundromat down the street. They had more machines so it was easier to do multiple loads. I put all my husband’s clothes in the washers, and when washed, I transferred them to a bank of large dryers. Knowing I had at least a half an hour before I could retrieve them, I decided to run a couple of errands. When I returned, all four dryers were completely empty and one had a note stuck to it with a piece of chewing gum that read “thanks”. You’re welcome. Ach. Every one of my husband’s dress shirts for work but the one he was wearing had been taken. He asked me when I told him if I had some sort of personal vendetta against his wardrobe. Sorry.

So, by the time I found myself in the laundromat in West Virginia I had raised two children and grown up a piece myself. I knew to wait for your clothes to get done before leaving or you were liable to see your favorite shirt on someone in the check out line at the local Piggly Wiggly. That day as I said, I was sitting by the window. There was one other person in the entire laundromat, a man reading a newspaper. He looked to be about forty something, with glasses, and was studying the page in front of him intently when a bee dropped down the back of my shirt. Now, I have said repeatedly I don’t like bees. Let me repeat, I really don’t like them. Please don’t tell me if I stand still they won’t sting me because it doesn’t matter what posture I adopt if one gets around me he’s going to at least take a shot. This one dropped down the back of my shirt, took aim, and stung me right in the shoulder blade. Well, my body immediately sprang into protective mode. I began to dance around the area I was sitting like I was auditioning for “So You Think You Can Dance”. Aside from the fancy footwork, my hands were swatting about my back, and my neck was craned in a unnatural position trying to see behind me. This guy lowered his chin and looked up over the page of his newspaper but never flinched. I nearly stripped the shirt off my body before the offending insect finally fell out on the floor where I jumped up and down and stomped on it repeatedly with my foot. The man neatly folded his paper, stood up, and walked out of the door and never looked back. I’m sure he went home and told his wife, “and so there was this crazy woman in the laundromat who did some sort of strip tease in the corner”. My shoulder swelled up alarmingly. I could have gone for a second audition for the lead in the Hunchback of Notre Dame and would have been a shoe in for the role of Quasimodo.

So today is laundry day once again. It also marks two years since Rick passed away. Where did 730 days disappear to? Time seems to be roaring past my eyes these days. How much life has changed during that time. Looking at it I can see glimpses of the old in my surroundings and in myself, but certainly it looks and feels different then it did two years ago. In the beginning I didn’t think I could manage another day and yet here I am 729 days later and still my feet are moving forward. I shall think of him today. The tears have dried up for the most part but the days of melancholy still show up from time to time. Always he will be a part of me but I have been left behind so must build a life for myself as best I can and find my way.

Tonight is the first Presidential debate. Such a divided country as we tune in to root for our side. Strange times these. Sometimes I watch from the sidelines and wonder what an earth we are doing. Faith keeps me believing we will find the light to guide us in the right direction but right now I can’t see the end of the tunnel. This most probably will be one of the most important elections in our history. It feels to me like our country is on the line. Let’s hope we choose wisely.

Have a productive and well used day. They do go by quickly. Laundry day for me and I’m armed and dangerous (detergent and dryer sheets only).

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Since 2020 is turning out to be such a, shall we say, interesting year, I got to wondering what Nostradamus had to say about it. Apparently he was in the universe’s ear long before events began to unfold noting 2020 as the end the beginning of a lot of major happenings in the world. According to those who have interpreted his writings, a third world war is a possibility during this 365 days. Whew. Really? That’s about the only thing we’ve left out. Climate change was mentioned, including the oceans rising. Some will say climate change falls under the same category as Big Foot, but the truth is the ice caps are in fact melting and we here in California are now enjoying twice as many fire danger days as we have in previous years. The surface temperature of the ocean continues to rise, tropical storms are on the march, snow cover is reduced, and snow is melting earlier than before. Glacier Park has only 25 glaciers remaining from what was originally 150. One can only stick one’s head in the ground for so long without coming up for air, and with the rate we humans are shrinking the rain forests air may not be an option by the time we decide to pull our heads out and take a look around.

My oldest granddaughter, Breanna, is a vegan. Bre eats nothing, as she puts it, “that has parents”. Though I am a meat eater of long standing I highly respect her decision to leave as light a footprint on our world as possible. Unfortunately, her grandmother’s closet addiction to cheeseburgers keeps me from standing shoulder to shoulder with her in this cause.

With the sky outside tinged an unsettling shade of pink it is difficult to find normal ground. This is not my first pink summer here in sunny California. When I lived in Oroville some years back we endured months of smoky skies and pink tinged sunsets.

This morning the weather anchor announced there were two hurricanes moving into the Gulf Coast. This, so she said, was a phenomena she had never experienced in her career before. Wish some of that rain would move to the west and douse our burning behinds, but guess Mother Nature has her own agenda.

Makes me yearn for a road trip. In my early twenties my first husband and I took a trip across the U.S. and Canada lasting just under a year. My two children were two and three at the time, and though unaware of the adventure they were having, they loved being along for the ride. The trip began in Sunnyvale, California and culminated in Lynn, Massachusetts. During that trip we visited a good portion of the states sandwiched in between the west and east coast as well as detouring up through several of the Canadian provinces when the opportunity to do so arose. Our goal? I don’t think we had a goal. Most probably we would have kept on going when we arrived in Lynn but for the fact we had depleted our funds to a rather alarming point, and the weather was beginning to lean towards fall and it was time to come in from the cold and lay down some deeper roots for our children.

Our first home, if you will, in Massachusetts was a walk-up apartment on the third floor of an old and someone dilapidated apartment building known simply by locals as The Yale. Before we has set out we sold or gave away our household goods and belongings. Anything extra went into a small storage unit which we never returned to. We had brought no furniture to speak of other than a card table and a couple of folding chairs. To say we were traveling light would have been an understatement. Four sleeping bags provided us with some cushion from the linoleum floor in the apartment, but not much. Even as young as we were, stiff bones were often the status quo each morning when first we opened our eyes.

There was a second hand store down the block where we decided to do our first shopping. Faded jeans, shorts and tennies were our choice of dress on the road but the prospect of getting jobs loomed on the horizon and we had to move up a couple of notches from there the style book in order to begin interviewing. Back then women were expected to wear dresses, hose and heels to work. Casual Friday hadn’t been implemented in businesses as yet, and “pants suits” were just beginning to show up on design books for the upcoming season. Hated pantsuits. Polyester nightmares. A blazer with matching pants that once worn for more than fifteen minutes sagged in the rear and at the knees, and generally were geared to be as unflattering to your figure as possible. Men actually wore them too. I remember my mother bringing home a “salmon” colored pantsuit for my step-father. This was paired with a pair of white patent leather shoes and matching belt topped by a multi-colored silk shirt with three buttons flared open to reveal chest hair and a medallion. The man was a middle school principal but this outfit virtually screamed “pimp”.


At any rate we carefully chose some “work clothes” from the gently used section to wear as we began our job search. There wasn’t much money to carry us until one or the other brought home a paycheck, so we lived quite frugally that month. As the days passed, the floor seemed to be actually getting harder as we lay down to sleep each night. One weekend after my husband had gotten an invitation to begin work for a firm in Boston in a week, we decided to take a day trip to New Hampshire and take in some of the glorious fall scenery only New England has to offer. Our car was an old yellow Ford station wagon. Younger readers are shaking their heads, “station wagon”, Que es? The back seat flattened out (much like an SUV) so there was room to store something large or simply stretch out. Driving along rural highways the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. Never have I seen such vibrant colors in the leaves. Feeling a slight crick in my lower back I commented to my husband I surely wish we could afford a mattress. He promised once we got settled somewhere, new beds for all would be at the top of our list. Not ten minutes later, a large flat bed truck pulled onto the highway in front of us. The bed of the truck was stacked high with mattresses each covered with heavy plastic. The top layer wobbled precariously just above the last slat of wood holding them in place. Noting what a funny coincidence it was to have a mattress truck in front of us when I’d just wished for one, the very top mattress got a good gust of wind under it and lifted up and over the top slat landing in the ditch at the side of the road. Hello? We honked the horn but the driver kept on driving down the road and off into the distance. I suggested perhaps we could catch up to them but instead we pulled over to the side and sat quietly. Now I knew what the thought process was going on under that gorgeous head of curly hair my husband had been gifted with. Had I not after all wished for this mattress? Was it right to turn down such a gift? HOLD ON. This was not a gift it was a mattress that belonged to someone else sitting in a ditch at the side of the road. Hmmmm. Moral dilemma. So, we decided to go have lunch on down the road and if on the way back should the mattress still lay in the ditch abandoned we would offer it a home. It would be more like a rescue mission. Done and done. Three hours later and much moral argument come and gone, we once again pulled over to the side of the road. The mattress, little the worse for wear, still lay in the spot it had landed with one tear in the side and a flapping piece of plastic to mark the spot. Convinced this was a godsend (by ourselves naturally) we hopped out of the car and began to load the ill gotten gains in through the tailgate. Out of nowhere another car rose up over the hill and pulled up directly behind us. Ach. My mind is yelling, “I told you. The jig is up. You’re going to the big house.” A man stepped out of the drivers side and walked up to where we are standing. I am literally doing everything but giving myself up for the gum I stole in third grade from the corner store. The man introduced himself and offered to help my husband with the mattress. Appeared he too was from California and had noticed our plates. My bladder was willing itself to hold on. I knew on that day I would never be Bonnie to anyone’s Clyde. The mattress, however, did turn out to be a blessing. My little ones were up off the floor and in the next few months we moved into a house on the lake and new beds were bought for all. We kept that mattress for years after that. It was sort of our good luck charm.

Life often steps up to the plate when you’ve just delivered strike two. I always liked that story even if it did involve a little light fingered larceny.

With everything going on outside it made me smile to remember that crisp fall day and the mattress from the gods. My husband used to call this talent for thinking about something and having it materialize “wishcraft”. That being said, I am wishing for clear blue skies and fresh air. Sending it out.

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This has been a busy week. My asthma had me visiting the ER the beginning of the week. They put me in the COVID section as my symptoms were shortness of breath and lung irritation which would mirror symptoms virus sufferers might present. That made me considered suspect. Wouldn’t be the first time. I wasn’t allowed to keep the door open to the room and personnel entering were fully gowned. All a bit unnerving when I already didn’t feel like myself. Thankfully after a healthy dose of steroids and several breathing treatments air found my tired lungs again. Thank God for these front line workers who keep us going. I would have been in serious trouble without them. While waiting for the meds to take effect, I got to wondering what people did back before all this modern medicine was available when faced with such a situation. My guess is that they died young, which is evidenced by medical records from back in the day, grave stones and history books.

Trying to move forward with conviction, the weather people were predicting a record heat event here in California. Those of us hailing from Nova Scotia are not bred for heat. This always brings to mind Harper Lee’s beautiful lines from “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

“Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.”

I suffer when the temps start moving up over 100 degrees. Definitely a soft tea cake by evening. This week, lucky us, it will hold there and quite a bit above for the whole week. Yesterday I spent most of the day cleaning and trying to keep my mind off the fact I was stuck inside and couldn’t even enjoy sitting in my garden as there was no breeze and no shade and it was beyond HOT. Even Boo, the Queen of Cats, was sprawled out on the kitchen floor looking for some relief. When I moved in here I looked forward to sitting in the back yard on summer afternoons. The beginning of spring PG&E came to the door and announced they were cutting down the two massive shade trees by my fence as they were interfering with the power lines. Had to be done, but the lone tree surviving towards the back fence line doesn’t provide much cooling when the heat moves in. Soooo, I cleaned. I can say with some surety most of friends also have the cleanest houses they’ve ever had, and I know I certainly I do. With all this time inside you have to keep moving or you might begin to scream and simply never stop. Oh, sorry, lost my mind for a moment. Back again.

My new dining room table arrived several weeks ago and as yet I haven’t served a meal on it. Yesterday I decided to have a friend over who I knew had safety isolated. Both of us had COVID tests this week with negative results so we thought sitting far enough apart we could enjoy a social evening together and each provide the other with a little conversation and companionship. All good. I decided to break out the pretty dishes, pick some flowers from the garden, set the table beautifully and create a dining experience rather than just serving a meal. Yay.

Knowing it was going to be cranking up outside, I did the bulk of the cooking early in the day. Everything but the blackened tilapia which would be my main attraction, would only need to be reheated in the microwave. About an hour before my guest was to arrive I began to notice I was perspiring. I’m not a sweater by nature, but I do know the steroids can cause flushing and sweating. Okay. Pretty soon the cat was actually panting and I realized the temperature seemed warm. Checking the thermostat the gauge read 83. Oh-oh. As it began to move up with no response when I tried to adjust it, I texted my landlady who lives directly across the street. I like my landlady well enough, don’t misunderstand me, but whenever I mention anything is out of line with the house she says, “funny no one else ever complained about that”. Then when her husband comes over (he’s the handyman for their rentals) he always tells me about other tenants with either the same problem or other problems with the house. I just shake it off but I could live without this response from her. When it began to encroach on 90 in here I send up a white flag. Help. Hot. The walls were closing in. The butter had melted on the counter in the kitchen and I had begun looking up pet friendly hotels in the area with vacancies. Personally I didn’t want to to argue the point no one had ever complained about this before, I was complaining about it right at that very moment, and loudly. Her husband arrived at the door in short order and looked at the thermostat. He said he needed a part which had been replaced before and couldn’t get it until Monday. Always, in my life at least, when something like this is going to happen it seems to pick the absolute worst time to reveal itself. When I first moved in here a tree pierced the sewer line and I was awash with backed up sewage in the toilets and the bathtubs. This resulted in two months without the master bedroom bathroom and half the carpet torn up in there as well as the walls. That also happened on a Saturday and one when I had my mom with dementia sleeping in the spare room. I ended up taking the poor woman to CVS at 7:30 in the morning to use the public restroom. This time it was not only a Saturday, I was having company, AND it was the hottest day so far this year with excessive heat warnings in effect. Halelujah. Sooooo, we got it running somewhat so it will hopefully limp along until the cavalry arrives. We ate dinner with ice packs on our necks and drank enough water to keep an armada afloat but managed to pull the evening out of the bog. This morning is a bit better cool wise in the house but today is going to be hotter so I’m crossing my fingers it holds and keeping the list of pet-friendly hotels at my fingertips.

To add to the mix I woke up this morning and my laptop wouldn’t start. I stood at the window in my bedroom and asked if someone up there was generally pissed off at me or the world had suddenly gotten tipped on it’s axis. The response was shortly the laptop fired back to life and I relaxed a bit. Thank you.

2020 sucks. There, I said it and I’m not sorry. Hope your day is going better. Stay cool and hydrated.

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Well now we’ve stepped in it, 2020 I mean. Here we are in a brand spanking new decade with the days laid out in front of us pristine and untouched. Such a heady feeling. Can’t hide my curiosity about what 2020 will bring. Diligently I try to keep my thoughts focused on the journey rather than concentrating on the outcome. Sometimes I have to admit I fight an overwhelming urge to skim to the back of the book and see how the story has unfolded. This is not for us to know, of course, only to speculate. Would I open an envelope if I knew the outcome was concealed inside? Probably not, but I can’t help but wonder how the heroine makes out towards the end of the story.

A new year with new discoveries. What new technological breakthroughs will we enjoy this decade? Someone with a bright and curious mind is sitting somewhere as I write this hatching an idea destined to change the way we do things in the future. There will always be that group of forward thinkers able to conceptualize what isn’t and bring it into what is. Thank God for these creative motivated people or we’d all still be sitting in the dark whacking each other over the head with wooden clubs or, God forbid, be functioning in our offices without Post-it Notes.

Interesting to imagine further down the road what our world will look like at the end of this decade. 2030. Seems inconceivable. Will hovercrafts be floating around overhead, perhaps a manned mars expedition, an alien sighting, androids in the workplace or at home, or phones implanted in our ears at birth? The latter is almost here I feel, as most people I know maintain a deeper and more meaningful relationship with their phones then they share with their spouses or life partners. I have a friend who misplaced his IPhone the other day and nearly broke down in tears when he finally located behind the tissue box in the bathroom. You’d have thought his child had gone missing. This attachment I have to say baffles me, but I am also working on not judging this year so I will table that conversation for another day. It is so much easier to see other people’s flaws I find then to identify my own.

I plan to stray off the path a little this year. Life is too short to maintain the same course for the entire trip. Definitely I have a list of places I want to see. I do wish the powers that be would move my travel paperwork along but they seem to be following that government snail path that any form they issue has to adhere to so I may have to be carried by litter by the time my replacement card arrives.

Our littlest member, Zeppelin, now a year and three months, has discovered that his legs as well as bending in the middle will also support him when erect. This has led to much exploration on his part and added a new wrinkle to his parents and grandparents life. Up until the time they walk little ones are limited by the space they occupy unless transported by another human being. Once they figure out how to make this happen for themselves their world expands to everything they can reach, throw, insert in their mouths, or disassemble. Constantly I am amazed, however, at his sweet disposition and endless curiosity about the world around him. Each day is full of new information for him to process and new things to see. Childhood truly is, or can be, a wondrous experience which little beings are kind enough to share with the adults in their arena so we can revisit it once again ourselves. I shall find it fascinating to watch his progression as the decade moves forward.

Seems hard to believe a year and a half has gone by since Rick passed. Funny how slowly the time seems to move when you are young and yet as you age it seems to disappear in an instant. My mind is still going through the grief brain period when it gets muddled at times and a bit overwhelmed. Add this to the sheer fact that this brain has been processing information for some years now, and I find myself doing some really dumb things of late. Day before yesterday I had to take Miss Boo, the Queen of Cats, to the vet. For several days she had been sneezing, a behavior I had never seen from her before.  A vet visit requires precision planning as if the cat sees the carrier before I get her in it she will find a spot under the bed to plant herself and I will spend the next hour or two on my knees trying to coax her out of there.  That morning I retrieved the carrier and left it on the top step outside the back door. I checked to see where the cat was and found her in her usual napping spot on the pillow at the end of the bed. Stealthily I picked up the carrier and entered the door quietly. The only flaw in this plan was that I’d forgotten I’d left a brand new bag of cat litter on the floor by the cat box. Whoops. Tripping over the bag and unable to get my footing I face planted in the middle of the kitchen floor throwing the carrier into the bedroom with a huge crash where Boo made her exit stage right. Game over. Thankfully as God takes care of drunks and fools (I rarely drink but considered it at that moment), I was uninjured.

That same day I was making a meatloaf for guests coming over for dinner. It was one of those days where the clock got away from me and I found myself throwing ingredients in a bowl at the last minute. Naturally, I was short a half a pound of meat so I washed my hands and left the bowl with the dry ingredients on the counter and headed for the store. While at the check out counter I noticed my bracelet with “Fearless” printed across the band was not on my wrist. Not an expensive piece of jewelry certainly but I wear it every day. For me it is significant in my healing process by way of an affirmation reminding me I can handle whatever comes along. I retraced my steps in the store to no avail so stopped to ask the customer service clerk if she could contact me if she found it on my way out. Feeling sad I came home and tossed the remaining meat on top of the other ingredients. Moving my sleeves up my arm I began to knead and squeeze to get everything well blended. Placing the loaf in my loaf pan I noticed something protruding from the top. On closer inspection I saw a silver object with the letters “arle” visible on it. Mystery solved. Could have been worse I could have served the bracelet to my guests cooked in the meatloaf. That would have been a conversation starter. Maybe I could have passed it off like the baby in the cake in New Orleans. How I do these things I have no explanation. If Rick was here he would say, “you need to sloooooooow down”. Probably had a point.

So as we begin this new year my plan is to sloooooooow down, stop and smell the roses, look before I leap, and generally take some long deep breaths and enjoy the moment I am in. Happy New Year to all.

funny planking

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