Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Special Time

(For the 10 people who read this yesterday before I pulled it at 10am Arizona time, I apologize!  This was supposed to be Tuesday's post, but it got ahead of itself and appeared, briefly on Monday.  I'm not having enough adventures to fill The Burrow with pictures, and I cannot watch the talking heads for inspiration, and I'm running out of thoughts.  So, here it is, where it's supposed to be.)

Special time with FlapJilly was supposed to have taken place in person in her home last week.  We had plans for crafts and baking and picking up Mama in her office at Notre Dame.  This flu that's going around put the kibosh on that plan, so we've had to improvise.

After a particularly tough afternoon, wherein the absence of a television in her bedroom and the unlikelihood of that situation being remedied in the near future was more than she could bear, FlapJilly retreated to her bedroom with a smoothie, her markers, and her mother.  

Having had a similar conversation with her mother several decades ago, I smiled at history repeating herself and settled myself in for some instruction.
We used any marker you want to draw a diamond and then another diamond inside that diamond but it has to be smaller because it has to fit.  From there it was a frenzy of shapes and colors because you have to color them in and then we were coloring and counting and laughing when we both colored the heart at the same time with the same color.

We're only as far apart as we let ourselves be.

Monday, March 30, 2020


We all know them - the people who don't have seasonal allergies, the people who smile smugly at those of us whose bodies are rejecting that which we are inhaling, wondering what all the fuss is about.

TBG was one of them.  Food sensitivities are his specialty, and he has his favorites.  Little Cuter poisoned him with milk seasoned with Omega-3's, brain food for her lactating self but a gut churning disaster for her father's allergy to iodine.  We figured it out, but only after we'd checked into a hotel to spare her newborn from what we thought was a stomach bug.

But breathing the air?  It never bothered him.  I'd be a sneezy and teary and scratchy throated mess while he handed me tissues and sympathized.  It went on like this in Ithaca, and Washington, D.C, and Chicago, and San Francisco and Marin.

Then, we moved to Tucson.

Our first spring did nothing to me.  The dust blown summer and my contacts had had an interesting introduction, but the different plants didn't seem to bother me as they began to blossom.  For TBG, though, it was another story.

"I can't shake this cold," became his mantra.

"You have allergies," I chanted in return.

"I DON'T have allergies," came his response.

Over and over and over again.  He was functional, but his head felt awful.  (Yup, allergies) He wanted to scratch the skin off his face.  (Yup, allergies)  He wasn't sick-sick, but...... (Yup, allergies)  We were caught in an ever repeating cycle until the Arizona Daily Star came to my rescue.

One morning, in a bold font that covered the entire paper above the fold, was one word: POLLEN.
Below that, in a font only marginally smaller, was a box containing a list of symptoms which fully, completely, totally, without exception, explained my husband's dilemma.

Now, if you ask him, he'll say I never had allergies 'til I moved to the place that used to be the place you moved to avoid allergies.

Friday, March 27, 2020

And So It Goes

I read book 5 of 23 in the series.

I did one and a half Pilates classes via Zoom from my usual studio.

I spent an hour or so Facetiming with FlapJilly, who was quite surprised that this flu that's going around is all the way where you live, too.   

It was a gloomy day inside and outside the house .... and inside myself, too.  And then the sun came out and I was smiling and the grilled cheese on multigrain was mmm mmmm good and I rolled double sixes and double fours in our Quarantine Backgammon Marathon and trounced TBG so thoroughly that he refused to play a final game.

It's the little things that take on importance during lock down.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Drawing with FlapJilly

FlapJilly and I spent a lovely hour or so on Facetime.  It was dinner time and relaxing time and everybody wanted a piece of Little Cuter and Mama only has two eyes and one brain.  Gramma, however, had all the time in the world to listen to the stories of the day, and admire dance moves, and sing Itsy Bitsy Spider when Giblet needed some screen time.

When FlapJilly suggested we draw hearts together, I gathered the supplies (paper, black marker, red marker) and moved them and the iPad mini to the coffee table.  I propped the screen against a couple of pillows, plopped myself on the floor, and took instruction.

Take the black marker and at the bottom, but in the middle, draw a heart.
Put the cover on and take the red one and fill it in.  
Then at the top, write I Love You.
Who should I write it for?
Well, you only have Grampa... so Grampa.  

She wrote For Giblet, needing help only with encouragement to sound out that pesky last letter in for.

And then my granddaughter wondered if I wanted her to show me how to draw a broken heart. 

On the back, with the black marker, draw a heart in the middle, then turn the paper over and trace it on the front.
(I am not entirely certain why this was necessary.) 
Now color it in, all the way red.
Now draw a squiggly line from the top to the bottom, in the middle, with the black.
On the left of the heart write I.
Leave a space then write You.
You don't write Love.
It's a broken heart.
There is no love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Weirdness is Everywhere

We're watching Perry Mason, circa 1960, when TBG and I look at each other in horror.

The jurors - they're sitting so close to one another!
My niece did a 45 minute Instagram Live tutorial on making face masks at home.  She showed me how to put a pattern piece on fabric, how to pin it in place, and how to cut it.  She told me that sewing machines really don't like to go over pins.  I learned more about sewing from her this afternoon than I have learned in the past 68 years.
Did you know how to determine if a piece of fabric is cotton or polyester?

Crumple a corner up into a torch and light the very end.  If it burns orange, it's cotton. (You don't have to set fire to the entire piece of fabric; a small whoosh is enough.)

Yes.  I did watch all 45 minutes of her video.  It was a novel activity, and those have been in short supply recently.
I'm beating TBG in our Quarantine Backgammon Game.  I never beat him in on-going games.  One day, maybe.  Two in a row, rarely.  But to be ahead after all this time?  Unheard of.  In 50 years of game playing, this is an extreme outlier.
I'm tellin' ya, weirdness is everywhere.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How Times Have Changed

Last Monday, March 16th, I managed to place an on-line grocery order.  Our cupboards were bare; I was paring down in preparation for our trip to the grandkids, planning to replenish the pantry upon our return.  But seclusion was called for and I wasn't sharing my San Francisco cooties with any more Tucsonans than those I passed in the airport.  I wasn't going to the store.  The store was coming to me.

I failed at several sites before finding success at Safeway.  I sat back and clapped my hands in joy when I received the confirmation email. 

We waited all night for the food to be delivered; after all, the email promised it on Monday between 7 and 8 pm. It never arrived.

Over the past eight days, we've been referring to it as the Phantom Grocery Order, with TBG requiring daily reassurance that the charge had not been posted. 

And then, today, at 3 o'clock, we received an email.  Our groceries would be delivered today, Monday, March 23, between 7 and 8 pm. 

We laughed.  The groceries were arriving. We were relieved that I didn't have to get up early to shop during Old People's Hours tomorrow.  The further down I scrolled, the more the email delighted me.  There was a list of substitutions/out of stock/undelivered items first, but then there was a long list, a glorious list, filled with milk and chicken and oranges and potatoes and ketchup and lots more, all of which would be dropped at my front door that very evening. 

We haven't had many good surprises lately. We shared some really big smiles for a really long time.

And then, for some reason,  I checked the original email.  It confirmed the delivery on Monday... March 23.... not that same day but a whole week later.... but still between 7 and 8 o'clock tonight.

I placed the order around lunchtime; of course I assumed I'd have it that evening.

How naive I was to assume that things were still the same, that same day was the normal, that 2-hours was expected....back then on Monday, March 16th.

And the weird is just getting started. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Washing My Hands

I'm taking these virus protection precautions seriously.  I travel with sanitizing wipes when I have to interact with the outside world (my Ativan prescription was not something I wanted to be without) and I'm wiping down pens and credit cards and door handles and garage door remote control devices.  

Some of the wipes are lemon scented, some are lavender (these have creepy purple blotches), all of them leave a lingering, antiseptic odor.  I tell myself the smell is strong because the wipes are powerful. It had better be true.

At home, we are washing our hands as frequently as we pass a sink, or pick up a book, or open a newspaper (the procedure for reading the daily paper - the physical, hard copy, Arizona Daily Star - is worthy of its own post)

It's a good thing that I've always liked pretty soaps, like this box of 4.
The sushi plate Little Cuter made serves as the soap dish at my vanity sink.  The two rocks are treasures from hikes, the soap is supposed to make my skin cleaner than clean.  I bought it because I liked the color. 
 A guest brought these which sit happily in our powder room.  The soap was being used more rapidly until my cuticles began to protest the constant onslaught of water.  The white lotion smells great, and my cuticles have stopped complaining.
 And then there are the soaps I put in their bathrooms when the kids were visiting in December.
This one is in the kitchen, slowly and blissfully bubbly in my hands.

If I have to wash my hands all the time, I'm going to enjoy every part of it.

Friday, March 20, 2020

A Walk To Save My Sanity

I'm surprised at how difficult I'm finding it to shelter in place.  

Getting out of my pajamas was a good first step.  Having our young friend in to help us clean brought some socially distant cheer.  I was dressed, the clouds weren't too threatening, and the street was empty.  I needed to exercise, it was too cold to swim, and so I ventured out into the world for the first time in days.
 I found this
 outside my front door to my left, 
and this
to my right.
It was nice to be reminded that Spring is really on its way.

After a lovely conversation with The Neighbor on the Other Side, who told me to stay home and let her go to the store if we needed anything, who sat in her car as I stood a socially distant distance away, who wishes she could take her kids to museums to culture them up but without that option and with no sports to play or watch, she would, indeed be happy to go out to the store for us.

And then it began to rain.
We love rain in the desert. 
Everything wakes up. 
This field of bluebells has never appeared before, but there it was, on the side of my house, as I looked toward JannyLou and Fast Eddie's house, hoping for a sighting and a shouted conversation. 
And then I went into the backyard, where the snapdragons and the violas I planted last year, the ones that did absolutely nothing before withering to nothingness and leaving a gaping hole where color should have been, somehow those disappointing days have been replaced by this explosion of volunteer blossoms.  
I came back into the house with a smile on my face, a lilt in my step, and joy in my heart.
I'm so glad that gardening is not cancelled.

Thursday, March 19, 2020


Working from home has a whole new meaning.
The kids were using the space between his legs as a tunnel through which to race from one end of the hall to the other. There were protective measures taken, until the work phone rang and he needed his hands. He tried to move, but she was having none of it.

She was happy and amused. 
He's a good dad;  he stood there for quite a while.
Giblet's vocabulary is expanding, and everyone is delighted. It's much easier to parent a person who can tell you what he wants.  Often, what he wants is to move.  Thus, their home has become an indoor gymnasium, replete with slide and obstacle course.  Created by a kindergarten kid who finished her e-learning for the day, it was age and canine appropriate for the whole family.

And then there was this, which proves once and for all that SIR is an outstanding father.  
He held them and she held him and he squealed as they rolled down and up and down and up, their heads alternating sides so no one gets hurt.  That cracking we heard?  Free, in-quarantine chiropractic for his spine, courtesy of the two cutest practitioners in the room.

We watched them for a long, long time.
If we can't be there, Facetime is the next best thing. And now that I have figured out how to take photos of the exceptional adorableness, I can share them with you.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

When Voting Became An Act of Bravery

I took the trouble to register as a Democrat so that I could help Mayor Pete on his road to the White House.  Our trip to Indiana would not interfere with going to the polls, so we didn't need absentee ballots.  It would be a giant loop - to the post office, to the church to vote, to the library - before we left to see the grandkids in person.

Then we opted to shelter in place.  I wore my pajamas.  I made comfort food for breakfasts.  I ventured out to the pool in the back and opened the door for the mail carrier in the front, but that was it. I found myself without motivation; I think it's the edge of depression trying to creep out from behind the Sertraline wall.

The medication can do only so much.  The rest is on me.  So, I've been swimming until my heart is racing and I can't do another lap.  I start my day with Pilates mat exercises (10 pieces for 20 minutes total and in 30 days I'll have a new body!) and today I'm adding a brisk walk in the neighborhood (the Pilates Diva tells me that the parks and the paths are crowded with like minded movers).

Getting my blood going is the best non-chemical antidote to malaise I've found.  Drop and give me 20 is TBG's go-to answer when the kids or I were moping.  It's a cheap, easy, internal locus of control way to reset my brain.  So, when I started to panic about going out to vote, I should have done some push ups.

Instead, I took a box of sanitizer wipes and left the gas pump a much cleaner place than it was when we arrived.  At the polling place, we parked in a socially distant spot and refused to sign the petition gatherer's form.  Trading my license with the first poll worker was only slightly more awkward than receiving my ballot from the second. There were no wipes in the booth but not to worry -  mine were still wet enough to wipe down the pen and the part of the paper I'd be touching. 

I debated taking my I Voted sticker from the final poll worker.  I love those stickers.  I received mine with a wet wipe, debated putting it on my shirt or my purse, then tossed it in a trash can on the way to the car.

This is really impacting every little corner of my world.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


I spent Monday on hold.

Not being held.  On Hold.

For the 6th day in a row, I tried to get through to Allegiant Airlines since I booked my ticket to Indiana using vouchers and for that I need to speak to a customer service representative.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

I tried to order groceries on line.  Walmart Grocery couldn't process the order; the swirling circle just kept going round and round and round, but it never connected to Your Order is Completed.

I managed to get the Safeway website to work.  I scheduled delivery for between 7-8pm last night.  At 9:30 I called the emergency number (they closed at 9; who knew?).  At 10:30, we put a note on the front door with a tip for the driver and a plea that she ring the bell to alert us to the arrival of our groceries (TBG is going through serious vanilla ice cream withdrawal) and went to sleep.  There are no groceries in front of my door this morning, and the phone call I made went from Muzak to we cannot accommodate your call right now; please call later.

With all that going on, with nothing requiring the setting of an alarm (I miss the Pilates Diva's private sessions, but......), with endless unscheduled hours punctuated by Facetime with grandkids and phone calls with grown kids, I somehow forgot to write a post.

I better get a handle on all this open-ended-ness, eh?

I promise to be back tomorrow with an update.  There will be more - we have to vote today.

Monday, March 16, 2020

I Understand It, Now

The plague was raging.

Seven young men and three young women, along with their entourages (entourages were big in the 14th century), retreated to a villa outside Florence to wait it out.  Over the course of 100 days, they told 100 stories, one by one, every afternoon, as a way to pass the time.

When I read it several years ago (part of a class of books I really should read), Boccacio's Decameron seemed like a lovely fantasy, albeit perhaps not the most sanitary.  What if one of them brought the disease along to the villa?  They brought their belongings, covered with plague. There was no testing.  What were they thinking?

But the notion of whiling away the afternoon with friends, telling tales, forgetting, for a while, the reason they were there in the first place now holds new relevance.  I get it.

After all, there are all these unknowns.  How long am I going to keep smiling when I can't play with my friends?  We can use video on our devices, but the long pause, the sharing of physical space, smelling and seeing and hearing the same things at the same time, all of that is lost on the screen.

We went to Not-Kathy and Dr. K for dinner last night. Her preparations came straight from her first class in nursing school - cleaning and disinfecting.  We maintained a respectful distance (she leaned back when I got too close with my phone).  There was a plan for filling our glasses and clearing our plates.  We didn't share serving utensils; there was no butter knife.  Our chicken pot pies came in (gigantic) individual ramekins brought to the table by pot-holdered-hands.  If we wanted another biscuit (and we did) we touched the one we wanted while avoiding the plate on which they rested.

I was exhausted just thinking about what she went through to make it possible for us to share some wine, and a meal, and the easy conversation between life-long friends.

If only we had an entourage .....

Friday, March 13, 2020

Not The Post I Planned to Post

I had a happy in life post all set for today.  I was supposed to be in San Francisco all week; I was so proud that I had written a week ahead.

But I flew home two days early, foregoing a trip to Marin to hike and hear some music with dear friends, leaving my boy a day sooner than I planned, refusing to be a vector any more than necessary. 

The airport was empty at both ends. 

The grocery store had all the foods we needed.  The 20-something cashier was surprised that we thought it would get worse.

And now we're home, hunkered down for the duration.  We've heard from every family member on both sides, nice long phone conversations filled with love and stories and reassurances.  There will be a lot of FaceTime and letter writing and closet cleaning going on. 

All in all, we shouldn't be any more worried than any other American who doesn't live paycheck to paycheck or depend on the gig economy to pay the rent.  I can't imagine adding that anxiety to the agita that's stirring my soul right now. 

I have all that I need and the ones I love are safe. I hope that you denizens can say the same.

Stay safe. 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Water in Grandma's Garden

It was warm enough to turn on the hose last week.  If (okay, when) the gardeners got wet, they could take themselves out into the sun to dry off.  At least, that was the plan.  While the new hose works well for the trees at the garden's far end, the watering cans are always in high demand.

 Filling them is a sloppy, complicated affair.
Using the wheelbarrow to catch the water which overflowed was a creative way to fill the watering cans while staying (relatively) dry.
And then, there was The Hole.
Dug by the littlest gardeners for no reason other than they could, 
and filled with water for the same reason
 it softened the surrounding soil enough so that a moat could be created with our rakes.
Of course, the shovel was a big help, too.
Now we have an experiment to watch:
One tree has drip irrigation.
One tree has a moat.
Which will do better?
They aren't the same kind of trees (an apple and an orange).
They didn't come from the same grower.
They weren't planted at the same time.
Still, for our purposes, it's a perfect science experience.
It's pretty 
and the results can be eaten.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Traveling Through a Pandemic

I figure that if I survived Las Vegas, I can survive anything.

That's the attitude I'm taking along as I travel to San Francisco and Indiana over the next few weeks.  My kids are there.  I miss them.  That's enough for me.

Taos Rainbow and I lived together when we were sophomores in a sorority at Cornell.  When she wondered if I might be interested in joining her on the west coast, I said yes in a hurry.  She's traveling with some family; I'm visiting mine.  There has been nothing but joy and wonder as we planned our week - Sting's The Last Ship, Terrapin Station in San Rafael, Frida Khalo at the deYoung - and friends and meals fit into empty spaces.

Giblet has more words every day, and FlapJilly has so much that she wants to show me, and my daughter needs someone to cook and do light housekeeping, and SIR has a new car and TBG and I can't stand being away from them any longer.  We've been dreaming about Iggy's Pizza and story time at the library and picking Mommy up from Notre Dame.  I'm smiling just typing the words.

Then people started walking around with sanitizing wipes in their hands.  Allegiant Airlines offered to let me change my reservations without charge, even though I made the plans a month ago.  (United is only offering help to those who made plans after March 3rd.) There is no 99% rubbing alcohol on the shelves, and Purell is a fantasy.

I've decided to travel with my own small container of sanitizing wipes, which I'll use to fumigate seat and armrests, offering supplies to those around me because germs don't understand boundaries.  I'm getting better and better at not touching my face.  I know I'm washing my hands enough because my cuticles have peeled away from my nails in protest. And I'm bringing enough of my medicine so that if they close the airports and I have to drive home, I'll be covered.

I'm so glad that President Trump and Vice President Pence have this virus thing under control so that I don't have to worry at all.

Monday, March 9, 2020

One Pill Makes You Happy.....

I'm traveling tomorrow  The whole world is moving toward homebound self sufficiency for a week or two and I'm getting on a plane to go to museums and shows and restaurants land music in venues filled with other human beings.

Some of those humans are sure to be vectors for Covid19. I'll bring my sanitizing wipes and wash my hands and try as hard as I can to keep my hands away from my face, because that's what the experts tell me to do. 

As George Stephanopoulos asked Ben Carson today, where is the plan? 

I don't think my son plans on my being quarantined in his apartment; giving it up for a few days vacation is quite enough for him to offer and for me to accept. Are there plans to cancel air travel?  Being sequestered with the world's best grandchildren and their parents is our idea of heaven; being stuck, alone, in Big Cuter's studio, is somewhat less attractive.  

Of course,  he does have an exceptionally well curated library, double stacked on floor to ceiling bookcases. History, philosophy, fantasy and scifi, from Herodotus through Scalzi, with a detour through Calvin and Hobbes, he's read them all and I've read many. But sitting alone has never been my forte.  Even all those words wouldn't be enough company, unless I got sick. I want to be alone when I don't feel well. I dont like muss or fuss.  Just let me moan and groan at the unfairness of it all and don't try to help. 

So that was my wild tangent this evening. I went round and round, my guts tightening,  spinning scenarios designed to terrify.  There is nothing terrifying to what I'm doing. There's just a little bit of agita going around right now and I'm susceptible to that when it's floating in the air.

Travel makes me anxious in a good way , too. The excitement,  the physical racing of blood in my veins, the wonder of the unknown all compete with terror. Where it comes from is a mystery,  but it's there and it's not doing anything useful. 

There is a solution which allows me to be polite and loving and free of worry. It does not impair my functioning,  it removes obstacles to my success.

So,  when I've packed 3 different bags 3 times each trying  to meet United's size restrictions and come out of the closet with a disheartened look, my sweetie knows just what I need.

The rest of the evening was lovely. I got everything done, and I was pleasant the whole time. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

She's Gone

Elizabeth Warren wasn't my first choice.  She was shaping up to be my second choice after Pete left me high and dry.  Not that I thought she had the delegates to get to the end.  I was resigned to Joe Biden sweeping the field and offering a placid, safe, calm alternative to Bernie and Trump's hectoring.

But I thought that watching a woman ride a wave of pinkie swears and selfies and unbuttoned cardigans would assuage my soul.  I thought that having a woman in the mix might influence the debate.  I had hopes that our nation was capable of moving past old white men telling them what's best.

Apparently, I was wrong.

I heard the news on the radio.  On television, it was somehow less sad.  When all I had was her voice, the sorrow was palpable.

She's right.  The hardest part is the message it sends to little girls, who now have to wait 4 more years before they might see a woman in the White House.  That's a long time when you are 8 or 9 and your grandpa tells you that you'll grow up to be President of the United States of America.  Because when that happens you in 1960 you turn to him and say: That's impossible.  I'm poor, I'm Jewish, and I'm a woman.  

Pete was poor.  Bernie and Mike are Jewish. All the women are gone.

I'm not sure what the point is here.  I've been mulling it over all afternoon and I come up empty.  The facts are before me.  I don't know what to make of them.

And the more I think about it, I realize that I've been mulling over this issue for 60 years and I still don't have an answer.  There were so many good choices out there and yet here we are, back where we were.  I don't want to think that we're stuck there forever, but I don't know why I might imagine that things will change.

I think I'm a lot sadder about Senator Warren suspending her campaign than I realized I was.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Look At What We Grew

We have Sweet Peas ready to pop.
That was the only plant I recognized.
These pretty pink ones 
and this daisy-like white one 
were more useful as ornaments than as a botany lesson.
The big green borage leaves are spiky and thick. and grow blue flowers, both of which overshadow the orange something-or-other hiding in their shadow.
The alyssum grows low and white and seems unperturbed by the overgrowth.
Unperturbed is exactly the way to describe this young gardener's reaction to the scratchy bark in the nook of our mesquite tree, a space normally occupied by Tom-or-Jerry.
Delighted to be here, though,
is my favorite feeling.   
I love that the garden is a quiet place to re-string a broken bracelet
or to think deep thoughts.
or to carry all the colors of watering cans in the land.
I'm exhausted and exhilarated every week.
And my heart is full.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Can I Fall In Love Again?

I cried.  I listened and I cried.  Mayor Pete was going home to South Bend and I was bereft.

I wondered about the two separate donations I'd made to his campaign in the last week, until I heard that he was paying his staff a month's severance and continuing their health care while they looked for other work.  That's a good use of my money. 

Vote with my heart in the primary, they tell me.  My heart is empty.

My second and third choices (Harris and Booker, in no particular order) are gone.  It took 24 hours for me to lose Amy Klobuchar, who's supported by some people I admire, and who might have grabbed me.

Mike Bloomberg is looking like a spoiler right now, though I still think he'd be a fine POTUS.  Bernie's hectoring hasn't gotten any less annoying, and I can't see much of Arizona putting up with him. 

I wish, I really, really, wish, that I could fall in love with Elizabeth Warren.  I think she'd be a fine POTUS.  I admire her story and her passion and her smarts and her plans.  I'd be thrilled to have a First Gentleman and a grandmother in the White House.  Many people I respect are in her corner.  I just can't get excited.

Joe Biden is a safe, easy, traditional, comfortable, reliable choice.  In 2017, Little Cuter and I saw him at the commissioning of the USS Gabrielle Giffords.  He was lively and engaging and absolutely refused to leave the orderly group of would-be hand shakers until Jill laughed from the golf cart that she was leaving and if he wanted to join her he needed to be there now.  It was a very human moment.  Joe was having a great time.  It was fun to watch, and I liked him.

But love?  Risking my heart?  I'm just not sure.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

I Took a Hike Today

Friends since our oldests were still in utero,  Mary Catherine and I pick up right where we left off,  no matter how many years have passed.  She said that out loud on Saturday night, and we hugged as our yes-we're-still-married-to-the-same-husbands nodded and smiled. 

Our babies were babies who lived down the street from one another, and their mothers were, for the first time in their lives, neither working nor going to school.  We tried to figure out this new role while pushing our strollers, while marveling that our husbands seemed to enjoy one another, while being surprised at how unusual that was, then, in the early 1980's. 

I like to think that she needed me as much as I needed her.  I do know that she's as happy for me about this as I am for her about that.  We revel in the successes of the kids we've watched grow up, albeit from afar.  We suffer when they suffer, and offer advice, solicited or not, which is accepted in the spirit in which it is given....we've known each other forever,; I know that whatever is happening is not your fault. 

As a couple, they are smart and accomplished and true social justice warriors, giving new meaning to failing at retirement.  The world is a better place with them in it.

Plus, they have great taste in repeat vacation destination decisions. This is the third year in a row that the weather and the cycling and the food and their snow bird friends have brought them to us.  We opt into as many open slots as they have on their calendar. 

And so twice this week we sat outside in our backyard, drinking prosecco, watching the beautiful and absolutely-provided-by-us-especially-for-them sky as it changed colors, geeking out over Steve Kornacki's khaki pants.  When Mary Catherine suggested a slow and pleasant walk for Monday, it felt natural to say yes.

She was overly familiar with the first path I suggested, so I drove us to the Sweetwater Trailhead. Little Cuter and SIR and FlapJjilly hiked there in December.
I thought if a 5 year old could do it then I could, too.

And I was right.

We followed the excellent signage for a little more than two miles, up and down gentle grades, with just enough uncertainty beneath our feet to remind us that we were out in the desert.  We kept the same pace, slow and pleasant, stopping to admire the mountains (she took pictures) and the cacti (she took pictures) and to examine the maps.

It may have been a long time since I took someone on a slow and pleasant hike, but it came back in a flash -  share the trail, uphill trumps downhill, and check your map time the trail branches.  I recognized the jojoba and the creosote; the mallow and the LYT's and the LWT's (Little Yellow Things/Little White Things) and the fairy dusters' red feathers gave us plenty of reason to oooh and ahhhhh (and for her to take pictures).

The stones she kicked out of the way reminded her of her brother, the rock hound.  I was thankful that someone else was also looking down, checking the terrain for obstacles as well as treasures.  But that was as far as my worries went.  Nothing hurt until we were going downhill at the end, and downhill never felt great, even before I was perforated.  This wasn't any worse.

Without poles, without pavement, without a lot but still with some elevation, I took a real hike today. I'm so glad she came to visit.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Undertaking Preparations

In California, we were issued a notebook filled with What To Do If We're Stranded information.  Our town was on a peninsula which might have been cut off from the mainland in an earthquake; we had to be prepared to shelter in place. 

Some had generators.  I had candles, flashlights and batteries, and a bag of charcoal for the hibachi if we really needed to heat something up.  Blankets a plenty, bathtubs always ready to be filled with water for all sorts of necessities, radios powered by a variety of sources (solar, battery, a wind up crank), medications and safety supplies ..... we were always prepared.

Then, we moved to Arizona.  No one worries about earthquakes in Arizona.  I stopped thinking about emergency preparedness.

Then, my go-to-friend-for-science referred me to this Scientific American article which reminded me that it is my civic duty to be prepared in case there is community disruption.  

I went right to the grocery store for shelf stable supplies.  I drove to Costco on Saturday afternoon to get two flats of water, braving the crowded parking lot, receiving a cart swiped with an antiseptic cloth, preparing my household for the day the government asks me to avoid public places.

I have trips to San Francisco and Indiana planned in the next few weeks, with the Festival of Books squeezed in between.  I really hope there is no community disruption planned.