Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Resolution

I've actually kept a few of my resolutions.  Consider the concept of patience comes up every time I'm standing in line; just remembering it forces me to stop fidgeting and start smiling.  I may not have achieved patience (that would be a stretch) but I'm certainly considering it.

Compliment that which pleases you - and do it often is also a smile maker. Particularly conscientious workers deserve to be noticed and thanked and made to feel special.  I'm the one who fills out the How Was Your Experience surveys on the back of the grocery receipts.... but only when something goes well.  

That one also helps me focus on the positive.  It's been very useful over the last two years. (TWO YEARS?!?!?! Have I mentioned that I am so over COVID???).

In 2010 my yogi wished us all Radiant Health.  I decided to take it to heart; I did not get sick the entire year.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  I prefer to think of it as being perfectly aligned with what I needed.  And that's how I came to frame my 2022 Resolution:

From ease and grace, find strength.

I need to relax and stop beating myself up over what I cannot do.  I need to move through the world with greater fluidity - physically and emotionally - and that can only happen if I am stronger.  I cannot get stronger until I let go of the I can't's.  I need to stop trying so hard and, instead, lean into the process without worrying about the results.   There have always been plateaus and regressions in my rehab journey; I need to find the grace to let myself off the hook.  

I've been toying with the phrase for a week or so.  It's come in handy when a yoga pose or a pilates piece moves from challenging to oh, dear God.  I have high hopes for this one.  Yes, I do.

Thursday, December 30, 2021


I know.  I know.  The plan was to open an account at a credit union (or, to be more precise, to become a member of a credit union).  But life got in the way - the holidays, visitors, Omicron - and here I sit, with bills to pay and still tied to PNC.

So I opened Bill Pay and used CTR+F to find the payees and I filled in the amounts and the dates and clicked on SUBMIT.

We're sorry.  We are unable to process your payment at this time.  If this problem persists, please call us at.......

That message appeared in red, italicized, bold face, in teeny tiny type, over and over again.  Silly me, thinking I could actually use this account to pay my bills.  But, ever hopeful, and with holiday spirit in my heart, I dialed the phone.

They were grateful for my call, and for my business, and there were lots of options all of which boiled down to a waiting time of approximately 20 minutes.  I hung up.

I moved on to the next item on the To Do List - calling Barclays to be sure that balance on the lost American Airlines credit card had been folded into the bill for the new card.  That entire process took less than 2 minutes.

If I needed reminding that PNC is just not the place for me,  I found it just now.  If TBG weren't taking a nap we'd go over to Vantage West and sign up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021


It's been a while since I wrote about sports.  I promise that I won't be insulted if you stop reading now.  But this a post about ridiculous college football bowl games; stick around and you might find it amusing.

There are many man hours spent watching sports in my home right now.  For the most part, Queen T and I amuse ourselves otherwise.  But father and son share both the couch and the passion - it's our bonding time - and I am free to consider things other than grown men running into one another for fun and profit.

But the kids are playing in Bowl Games - like The Orange Bowl and The Rose Bowl - right now, and I mean a lot of kids.  Winning six games put you into a Bowl Game, a sponsored, nationally televised event.  There are 41 Bowl Games this season.

The sponsors are mentioned every time there's a commercial break (at both ends) and during station identification, and on the chyrons.  There's the Frisco Bowl and the Florida Bowl and the Arizona, Myrtle Beach and a dozen other places Bowl. That makes sense - the games are played there and the area gets to advertise its wonderfulness.  

But there are commercial sponsors, and that's where the fun is.   Just imagine telling your friends that your kid is playing in  The Guaranteed Rate Bowl.... or The Cheez-It Bowl..... The LendingTree Bowl.... Duke's Mayo Bowl.... The LendingTree Bowl....The Quick Lane Bowl..... or, my personal favorite:  The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

That's enough sports for one year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

A Great Gift

Queen T offered to help with the garage.
Obviously, there was a need.  
The holidays exploded out of the closet and never returned.  
It was a sad, sorry state of affairs, one that I would gladly have tackled alone if my body had allowed me to bend and lift and hoist.  My un-perforated self would have enjoyed the challenge.  Today's achy tendons and ligaments and joints and muscles were extremely glad to have someone else do the heavy lifting.... actually, all the lifting.  
I pulled out a sitting-on-the-sidelines folding chair, from which I wrapped and boxed Fall and Halloween and Thanksgiving and Hanukkah and some Christmas stuff.  We weren't ready to take down the nutcrackers and the soft toys and pillows, but we emptied the boxes which will take them.  

We gave away winter clothes and baby clothes and threw out everything with a stain or a tear.  She was ruthless.  I was aghast but glad...... once I got over the initial OH NO NOT THAT!!

In mid-stream, it looked like this.   
When we quit, I was able to pull The UV into its usual space. It's surrounded by empty boxes and boxes to be shredded/donated/recycled - inside and out.  I have to find a recycling drop off center; our weekly pickup was this morning and the bin is already full.  There's a trip to Bookmans in my immediate future, to see how many of the books I used in graduate school might have value.  I'm also bringing my sewing machine (which I can, but have not, use(d) in over a decade) and all the vinyl records which have been in boxes for even longer than that.   I have space on the shelves and I know where everything she agreed I could keep can be found.  That is wonderful.

But the best part is this:
TBG found his old (very old) baseball card collection.
There are family stories and there are valuations but mostly, there is love on my couch and I can't stop smiling.

Monday, December 27, 2021

To Sum Up

There was a new bike and horseback riding lessons and a hoverboard.

There were matching polo shirts.... more than once.

There were crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles and math games via a shared screen (thanks, Mom).

All COVID tests came back negative; medicine was prescribed as needed.

There were appropriate t-shirts in all sizes and colors.  Most of them fit perfectly.  

There were socks.  Many, many, many socks.

The weather enticed everyone outdoors, once it stopped raining.

There were some disagreements and some fussing but mostly there was fun and food and smiling.

I hope your weekend was as nice as the one I shared, in person and over the internet, with the ones I love the most.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas

 Here, once again, is my all-time favorite Xmas carol, courtesy of Walt Kelly and Pogo. Sing loudly and lustily to the tune of Deck the Halls.....

Deck us all with Boston Charlie, Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo! Nora's freezin' on the trolley, Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou? Trolley Molly don't love Harold, Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly, Polly wolly cracker 'n' too-da-loo! Donkey Bonny brays a carol, Antelope Cantaloupe, 'lope with you!

Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon, Willy, folly go through! Chollie's collie barks at Barrow, Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!

Dunk us all in bowls of barley, Hinky dinky dink an' polly voo! Chilly Filly's name is Chollie, Chollie Filly's jolly chilly view halloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly, Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof! Tizzy seas on melon collie! Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof, goof

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Taking A Vacation

Bill Penzey sends wonderful emails.  Today, he encouraged me to take a break.  He said I'd done enough, I had what I needed at hand, and he recommended that I sit back and enjoy it.  

That's just what I'm going to do.  

Christmas Cheer, in the form of Pogo's Christmas Carol, will, of course, reappear in this space tomorrow.  

If anyone wants to join me in taking a break, I'll be reading the new Jack Reacher story in the backyard.  I've got lots of chairs.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

She Was Sleeping

She was healthy then she was sick and now she's dying.  She's peeved - there's more living to be done - but she's neither surprised nor angry.  She just wants Christmas to come, and then she'll be done.

She's doing this on her own terms, in her own way, just as she's lived the nearly 9 decades of her life.  It aggravates some of those she loves, but that's not enough to get her to change her style.  Now, when there are options to prolong an already long life, she wondered Why bother?

She's not hungry and she's not looking for supplements.  Her body is shutting down and she's just along for the ride.  Her mind, sharp and caustic as always, notices only that she's tired.  So very, very tired that sleep is what she does.... all day..... every day.

I was lucky the first few times I stopped by - she was awake and ready for stories and snark.  Today, once again in the morning, before any therapists or hospice workers or caregivers had tired her out, I tried and failed.  She didn't stir when I entered the room.  She lay there, breathing softly, paler and more sunken than before.

I'm lucky to be able to take my time and say goodbye... over and over and over again.  It was hard to walk quietly away, without awakening her, wondering if  I'll get a chance to hug her tomorrow.  But this is what she wants, and I'm honored to be a small part of it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

December in the Desert

I wore a sweatshirt this morning while I fussed outside.  My hands were delightfully cold when I finished my chores.  My legs, in shorts, were fine.

I miss the snow, but not the shoveling.  I miss the crisp cold air, but not the breathing.  

And now, for the next few weeks, I'll get to wear all my sweaters and sweatpants and wrap myself in the cozy blankets strewn around the house.  

We can sleep with the windows open, listening to the trains, miles away but clear in the cooler air. 

And the little birdies are back, on their way hither and yon, topping for a snack in the crepe myrtle.  If I open the door to take their picture, they'll fly away.  So, look at them as I do, from my desk chair, through the screen.

Or, through the curved window up above.
They remind me to stop and smell the flowers.


Monday, December 20, 2021


This was Elf Central 5 days ago.
Auntie M and I shared similar photos, along with similar musings about the impossibility of scaling back.
Her mother set a dangerous trend - there was always more than enough, decorations on top of decorations next to the largest array of gifts I'd ever seen in my life.  It was she who taught me to wrap each pair of socks separately; it's been a tradition for 40 some years.

But today, I am finished.  As in finished wrapping, finished mailing, finished shopping.  I'm sure I'll remember something (in fact, of course, I just did) but it's only the finishing touches that are missing.  

I cleaned up and organized and half-heartedly decorated, and this is what it looks like for the rest of the wrapping people over the coming week.  My heart is full, even if my dining room is a wreck.


Friday, December 17, 2021

Texting With Someone New

I communicate with some people by phone - very few, but some.

I communicate with lots of people via email - great for long, catching up conversations, not so good for making plans.

I communicate using my phone to text for most things - wanna have lunch?  where is that store you told me about? thanks for a lovely (insert event here)!

The messages are short and to the point.  There is no extra verbiage.  There are emojis to carry bigger feelings in a smaller number of pixels.  I love it.

And then, this afternoon, texting with Formerly Fast Eddie for the first time in real time (vs finding a message asking me to call him) I hit a snag. 

(My words and thoughts are in italics)

When will you arrive?

JannyLou is driving.  

OK.  When will you arrive?

She's pulling into the fast lane now.  Zooming up to 73.

More relevant data would be where you are right now!  Though the timely updates are fascinating. 

Frisky (the dog) is riveted on the road, protecting us  

Hint.... Just passed a Big Green (emoji for what I think is a sign... I begin to grin and grimace at the same time, and wait a while.  There are lots of big green signs on the highway.)

Traffic at a crawl going noth.

But you are going south!

OMG (blue faced weird emoji.... I panic)

Are you okay??????????

We are fine, right near some Indian ruins.


At which point I stopped typing and began laughing out loud.   

They'll get here when they get here.  TBG and I are both awake after our naps.  The house is ready for them..... whenever they arrive.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

They're Gone - But Coming Back

The house next door is empty - well, empty of inhabitants, at least.  There's no feeling coming from that direction, no noticing that one of the best neighbors ever is driving out or coming back.  we might have gone a week at a time without talking, but we saw a lot of each other anyway.

There's a curious imbalance on the street.  

There will be no garbage cans outside their driveway tomorrow morning.  No newspaper will be delivered; the free paper dropped off every Thursday will si there until I stroll over to retrieve it.  No sense advertising an empty building, after all.

There was a beautiful sunset accompanying them to their new home in Tempe, on the corner of Arizona State University.  It rained last night to accompany my occasional tears.

But the good news is that there is still stuff in the house that has to be gone by closing on Monday so they are coming back to be our house guests.  It will be good to get a big dose of them before they move further out of our daily lives.  

I often imagine prior visitors standing in the kitchen, or staring out in to the wash behind the pony wall out back, or sitting in a cozy chair watching tv with TBG.  The memories make me smile.  I'm glad that I get to add a few new ones to the mix .... if only it weren't so hard to say goodbye..... this makes it easier, and for that, I am glad that they chose us over a hotel.

Plus, the doggies are coming, too.  TBG is thrilled.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Day That Got Away

This is posting late because I forgot to write it last night.

I also forgot to do several other things that usually come up on a Tuesday.

I don't know why.  

Formerly Fast Eddie (his new preferred moniker) and JannyLou had the movers all day, and we had their two little terriers.  The rascals escaped as I opened the door to get a package.  We must have been a sight galumphing down the street, calling Bella! Frisky! and trying not to collapse.  They are feisty little beasts, staring at you until you get just close enough to grab the collar and they're off!

Stopping to pee was Frisky's mistake; picking him up was simple.  Then, carrying him under one arm, looking for TBG in his car, I followed Bella's tracks, softly cooing and silently cursing.

It's amazing how fast I can move when I have to.  This is reassuring - in case of fire I know my adrenaline will kick in and I will be able to move fast enough to avoid the flames.

TBG found us behind the other neighbor's house, Frisky held tight to my side, my fingers twisted in Bella's collar as she squirmed and complained and tried to continue her adventures.  Too bad, my little furry friend - we got ya!

Everyone returned home to take a good long nap.... during which I was supposed to be blogging.  

Then there was dinner and returning the pets and Steph Curry setting a record and laundry and sleep and I woke up to find no blog post resting at this site.  

Sorry, denizens who missed me with coffee this morning.  I'll try to do better in the future.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Aftermath of Pilates With The Master Disseminator

I can feel the blood flowing, strong, warm, and with alacrity.  Sometimes it gets stuck around a joint that's been bent too long which requires scratching and pressing and helping to get the circulation get going again.  It feels so good, once it's moving properly.

Apparently, it wasn't my right hip so much as my left hip and the concomitant pelvic realignment that was to blame for my increasing inability to walk.  This evening, I'm gliding around the house, volunteering to get things from the garage, taking no more than a second or two to get organized before I start walking.  

That's fine, slowing down is fine, not hurting is much more than fine.  As my gait worsened and those who love me worried aloud to me, the more despondent I became.... and the stiffer and more painful my gait became.  I started talking about seeing the orthopedic surgeon who reconstructed my hip.  

I'm so much more than fine now that I remember that supervised therapeutic movement in a space occupied by others engaged in the same energetic pursuit, is what I've been missing.  

Alone, I go through the motions, doing it but not fully engaged, looking for a reason to stop.  In the Pilates Diva's studio, I'm focused and pressed to do my best, which I do.  Surrounded by others, I feel the need to show off.  That infuses every movement with an extra zing.  I'm not judging.  I'm noticing.

After all, I've been living a controlled experiment for nearly two years.  I'm the entire subject pool.  I went from exercising with others at least 5 times a week to a schedule of gradually waning attempts to keep fit at home, via live Zoom then videotaped Zoom then not even feeling guilty about not working out anyplace but with the Pilates Diva.  And now I'm upping my game, venturing into the public arena, thus bringing out the best in myself, working with the woman to whom the legacy was bequeathed  

She has total faith in my ability to restore myself.

I didn't believe in that capability this morning.  I do now.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Communing With Grandma

While I wait for the brisket to become fork tender,  I remember my mother.

I remember her blue kosher cookbook, with the stained pages and the random index cards, and her printed in pencil notes.  I'm sure there's a brisket recipe in there.  I just don't know where the cookbook lives these days.  

My recipe called for dry red wine, some of which is now fueling this post.  I don't remember G'ma cooking with wine, and I certainly don't remember her having a casual glass of wine - while she cooked or any other time.  Vermouth before dinner, wine with dinner, a champagne toast - those made her smile.  I know she's not judging me as I tipple; it just wasn't her thing.  

She didn't like to cook, and she made no bones about it.  It wasn't until I came home from college that her food went from bland to interesting and tasty.  She said then, as I said to my kids later, that it was no fun to cook for people who wouldn't even try something new.  

I credit any cooking prowess I have to a summer week at Cornell's Adult University in the 1990's and a newly discovered source of deliciousness - Penzey's Spices.  G'ma had the advantage of  kosher butchers and fresh fish stores from which to choose.  Good quality resists all but the most determined cooks, it seems.

G'ma's brisket was for Hanukkah and cold winter Friday nights.  It's balmy, but it's December, even if Hanukkah is a memory now.  I'm going to see if it's fork tender yet.  We're hungry.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Another Kind of Eden

James Lee Burke is deep.  You may think you're about to read about another Jack Reacher  - a wanderer who saves lost souls, some of whom don't even know that they are lost - but then you find yourself musing along with the main character about the nature of death.

Another Kind of Eden is a tricky read.  Is the author hiding behind multiple personalities and blackouts as an explanation for the inexplicable.  I'm usually put off by that.  Somehow, in this book, it just adds to the mystery.

There are inexplicable appearances.  There are unexplained flying things.  There is heroism and bullying and the strangest assortment of characters ever brought together in 241 pages.  And there is love - for a lost grandchild, for a lost friend, and between two lost souls thrown together in a southern border ranching town.

There are unsolved mysteries, leaving the reader to speculate - were we introduced to the killer or are the crimes just that : unrelated, unsolved homicides?  There are relationships only revealed in the penultimate scene, relationships that make you smile and others that make you frown and some that are just plain weird.

It's a great read.  It will leave you thinking.  It's accessible and odd and worth putting off doing the laundry so that you can finish it up in one afternoon.

I think you'll thank me.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

And Then There Was Rolfing

Not the strict rolfing that true practitioners practice, but a combination of body work techniques designed to lengthen and realign and thereby strengthen all the pieces that work together to hold me upright.

It's not for the faint of heart, either physically or emotionally.  

She reset the ball in the socket of my hip joint; the residue is unpleasant though necessary.  After all, stuff moved in when the ball moved over.  That stuff is now making its way out of the hip area  - and it's not leaving quietly.  It doesn't feel like inflammation.  It feels like sludge.

Several people asked if I needed help at Costco.  TBG carried the meat out to the bbq. I want more decorations inside and out, but the thought of moving off this couch and carrying them back leaves me cold.

I'll feel better tomorrow.  Tonight, I'm going to indulge in some serious self care.  My hip is kind of insisting on it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Learning the Lesson?

You'd think I'd have learned the lesson by now. 

I've spent the past 6 weeks preparing for and celebrating and preparing for and celebrating family and friends and arrivals and departures and holidays out the wazooo.  What I haven't been doing is exercising.

An occasional Pilates video, mostly to break up the monotony, when I didn't have a package to wrap or a book to read.  There haven't been that many monotonous moments recently.

I rode TBG's spin bike exactly once, due to the arrival of the cute bike shorts I'd ordered when I momentarily agreed with TBG that regular cycling would strengthen all that needed to be strengthened.  He was right then and he is right now.

Like I said, you'd think I'd have learned the lesson by now.

Big Cuter's face was horrified as he watched me lurch around the kitchen.  MOM! Do something about your leg!  He's a grown man, who's guarded with his emotions.  This was my little boy worrying about me.  It got me to thinking.

So, when My Yogi announced her outdoor class I signed up and have attended religiously, every week, working as hard as I can, which often does not result in anything more than a vague impression of the pose she's suggesting but which, by the time the effects have settle in, allows me to walk out, slowly but less wobbly,  than when I struggled in.

It works.  And it's yoga, just one piece of the program I was on before I was perforated, and then after rehab part of what I missed the most.  I allowed myself to believe that because it wouldn't be like before it wouldn't have any benefits.  I was wrong.  

It's a wake up call for my entire body.  I'm sitting up straight with my hips aligned and my spine lifted off the seat.  My neck is long and my shoulders are down.  I didn't notice it until I starting typing it.  Now that I'm aware of it, I'm recognizing that slouching is quite uncomfortable.  I can breathe better now.  My neck isn't stiff and my blood is flowing evenly through my body.  

Are you walking every day?  Each of G'ma's doctors asked that question at every visit - thus, her apartment at Independent Living was furthest from the dining hall.  I knew she wouldn't move unless she had to.  You'd think that would have taught me something.

I've been achy and breaky lately. The Oriental Rug tripped me up this morning - gently, nothing terrible, just a little scary - because it hurt to lift my thigh into anything resembling an angle.  I yelled at myself - out loud, with vigor and attitude.  I spent weeks in physical therapy trying to get my foot over a disc 1"  high.  Had I really reverted to that?  

I am going back to my pilates studio, starting private lessons with The GrandMaster once again.  She says that all her staff is triple vaccinated and so are all of the clients, to the best of her knowledge.  She is one of the smartest women I know, one who has great judgment (except, perhaps, in men),  a mama bear who comforts through strength and an abiding belief in the work and its transformative powers.

It's hard to disagree when you  hobble in and stroll out.

If, as she described it, I feel like it's the safest place I go in Tucson then I'll sign up for Coretets, and maybe try a class or two.  Turns out, a friend has been going for months; she's another whose judgment I trust. 

I know myself - without a commitment, I'm worthless.  It's not the money, prepaid, because free classes at the gym hold the same sway.  

Maybe this time I'll learn the lesson. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

He's Happier. Am I?

TBG had an epiphany last night.  He was happy.

The reason for his happiness is my annoyance disturbance boring displeasure quite different from that which would put a smile on my face.  He's finding joy in football.

He explained that he spent 4+ years listening to, hearing about, anguishing over The Former Disgraced President.  He was obsessed, not missing a talking head or a breaking announcement of whatever new nonsense was spewing forth from the White House.  It was in his head, filling his head, rattling his brains, and making him miserable.  

He spent hours fulminating.  He wondered how to fix things.  He wondered how things got this bad.  His mind was stuck in the muck, no matter how much he tried to rise above it.  To be honest, that wasn't very hard.  He felt that he needed to have his entire self ready to react to the latest outrage.  He was focused, which was a good thing.  The object of his focus was noxious scum, which was a bad thing.

Now that the Presidency is no longer dominating the headlines, no longer drawing him down into the depths, he said last night that he's replaced one obsession with another - football.

He analyzes the plays.  He does a deep dive into the players and the teams and the strategies and the management and the talking heads' takes on everything from sartorial splendor
to why did they do that right then.

His brain is taken up with reimagining scenarios, with memories of games gone by, with thoughts and opinions he expresses out loud, to the ether, because his devoted wife sat beside him through Trump but will not invest the same amount of psychic energy in America's Blood Sport.

He recognizes the problems - Aaron Rodgers and the vaccination hocus pocus, spousal abuse, murder, drunken driving to name the first few that come to mind.  He doesn't discount them.  But thinking about football makes him smile.  He's happy in his head.

If we can't spend time making new memories with our grandkids, I suppose this is an adequate substitution.

Monday, December 6, 2021

There May Be Hope

My alumni club, of which I am the reluctant President, held our annual Holiday Luncheon outside, under the trees, with the sun shining and not too many bees buzzing on a secluded patio at Tohono Chul's Bistro.  It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

I had not one conversation about football.  Beyond that, everything else was gravy.

There were old friends, and people who are old friends and friends of our other far distant old friends.  There was an old friend who flew back for a short visit from Colorado on this weekend just so that she could attend this event.  There was much hugging involved in her return appearance.

There was a poet, an old friend whose latest book took 2nd place in a prestigious poetry competition.  First place went to the winner of the Pulitzer Prize.  The pilot wasn't flying and was able to attend - finally.  The organizers did a great job, which meant that I had to do nothing at all except agree with their plans.  There was a raffle and a distribution of swag accumulated over the years, most of which did not come home with me.

There were people who moved back because, well, Tucson is just better.  There were new members who just came to town and were looking for a Cornell connection.  Lots of these people are much younger than I - a good sign for an otherwise aging membership.

And there were strangers who approached us because we were wearing red and there was a CORNELL banner hanging from a nearby Baja Fairy Duster.  One was a vet school grad who lives in Texas but the others live in town and were very interested in the Club.  They looked young enough to be using their parents' address as their University contact site; they wouldn't show up as living in our zip codes and so couldn't be contacted by our Club.  

Yes, there needs to be a way to fix that.  I'm just not the person to do so.  Neither was my predecessor, nor anyone at the University, it seems.  Oh, well.  We'll just have to continue to show ourselves in public, loudly and proudly displaying our colors, banners suspended from the available foliage.  

There may be hope for our Club's survival yet.

Friday, December 3, 2021

My Daughter, The Guru

She was peeved that I thought I had COVID and didn't call her.  I love that she cares.  She's kept her young family safe throughout Pandemica.  Her workplace is vaccinated and offers free, walk-in testing in addition to the required random testing.  She's on top of the reading and the research - she's my Guru.

Following up on our conversation this morning - the one where I tried to reassure her that I wanted to know something before I worried her and that I was not keeping information from her but was taking action instead of fretting (which, for me, is Progress with a capital P) - I tried to order rapid tests.  

It was over-whelming.

So I sent her a text.  She sent me a link.  I placed an order; 10 tests will be delivered on Tuesday.  I can't pick them up at the CVS down by the University; they can only be shipped.  I am now prepared,  and my daughter's anxiety is somewhat slaked.  I think we're all doomed to be a little more anxious than we used to be; I was glad to help.

Mostly though, I was happy.  I made my daughter smile...... almost as wide a smile as she gave me.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

I Don't Have COVID

Neither does Giblet, but that's another story... or maybe the end of this one.  In any event, I digress.... if one can digress before one begins.  

I've had a hard time sleeping these last few nights, which is unusual for me.  I've been over-heated, twisted in the covers, and kept awake once my eyes opened by the annoying dry cough caused by my blood pressure medicine.  I attributed my weariness to that.  

But this morning, on my way to take JannyLou to a doctor's appointment (can you call it a doctor's appointment when you see a PA?), my head hurt.  I took some Advil and a Bayer, and nothing got worse... for a while.  By the time I got home, though, my throat was scratchy and my body felt crappy and I needed to lie down..... immediately.

I was very glad that I was wearing a mask while we were in the office; I just knew I had COVID.  After all, I hosted a party for 35 strangers on Sunday night - who knows what viruses were floating around?  I began to feel awful about hugging My Yogi goodbye after lunch yesterday;  she wondered if we should get that close while I was blissfully moving in for her touch.  At least we didn't kiss, we agreed, and smiled.  

Would she be smiling when I called and told her that I had COVID?  JannyLou is in the midst of moving; being exposed is the last thing she needs on her plate.  Did all the party participants require notification?  As I began to spiral further and further down that rabbit hole, my attempts to nap were thwarted.  

Should I take a COVID test?  Of course I should take one of the two home tests I have in the cabinet.  But I was scared.  I didn't want to know.  But I had to know, because treatment must be started early.  But I didn't want to isolate myself, not with most of The Brownie List undone.  

But I wasn't getting anywhere in the sleep department, so I took the test in its cardboard box to the vanity table in my bathroom, and began to read.  This is not a test for home use introduced the instructions.  There was verbiage referring to Pictures 3-6, which corresponded to Pictures 1-4 when I put the words and the line drawings together, and the directions required a few readings before I had the full picture of what went where and how it got there and for how long it stayed there and what the result would look like.

I swabbed and inserted and squeezed and dripped and within seconds the red line went to the C - I don't have COVID.

I immediately began to feel better.

I still have symptoms, but they are unlikely to become life threatening.  What remains from this morning is a vague sense of unease.  It's true that every headache I have is a brain tumor unless diagnosed otherwise - my family has laughed at me about that for years.  But now my paranoia is more focused. It  feels less like psychosis and more like appropriate concern.

Remember Giblet?  He came home from day care with a fever, and went straight to the doctor to check for COVID.  He got the paperwork that will allow him to return to school - a much more official note from the doctor than G'ma ever provided for me when I ran a temperature.

I don't have COVID.  Neither does my grandson.  I can't believe I wrote an entire post about having a cold.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

What's My Obligation?

We watched Ginger Rogers struggle with that question last night as Edward G. Robinson and Brian Keith tried to convince her to put her life in jeopardy for the common good.  Tight Spot, TCM's Noir Alley offering this week, asked us to consider how far you'd go to do the right thing.

Ginger had to testify against a mob boss who'd killed everyone else trying to do the same thing.  

Fast Eddie wants me to take over as President of the HOA.

Neither of us have very good options.  My life is not at risk if I say yes to a temporary appointment to the worst job anyone ever held. I can't say the same for my psyche.  There's a certain amount of angst I'm willing to accept in service to the greater good.  I'm just not sure that HOA Presidency rises to that level.

Prior Board Members with fancy - and fanciful - ideas, who've spent lots of money without asking for authorization, who've antagonized residents, who resigned en masse when they didn't get their way, want back in.  It is in my interest to keep control away from them and their ilk. 

However, the HOA Presidency requires a level of diplomacy which I lack.  

There are rules.  Follow them.  That's as far as I'm willing to go to be flexible.  

Obviously, this attitude is designed to cause problems, because I know I am right and they are wrong.  We voted on the damn rules during Pandemica - not that long ago, and not much has changed since then - and in approving them we all agreed to abide by what they say.  To me, that's the end of the discussion.

However, Fast Eddie has shown me that a softer touch has better results than My Way or The Highway.  He's resolved countless issues by listening and considering and discussing...... ad nauseum, to my mind.  It's obvious to me that his way is superior.  I just don't work that way.  

I suppose I could make a stab at being congenial to those who transgress, especially since they are my neighbors, but that brings me right back to where I started:  What's my obligation?  

This is not a job I wanted.  It's not a job for which I am well suited.  It is a job that needs to be filled and there really isn't anyone else currently serving who can step up in my place.  

This is at the top of my worry list, so I'm basically a happy camper right now.  I'd like to stay that way.  I will accept the title until the next Annual Meeting in February, at which time the Board roster will increase and change and some other worthy soul can accept the challenge.

I guess I've decided - my obligation to my small community lasts about 3 months.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Happy Hanukkah

Amster and I hosted the Recurring Hanukkah Party last night.  We can't remember when we did the first one.  We know we skipped last year (COVID) and one other year (didn't feel like it), so calling it Annual is unseemly.  Still, it seems to happen (almost) every year, and people seem to like to attend, and we really enjoy the prep and the party (the cleaning up, not so much), and we are still doing it now that the oldest kids are in college - it deserves a special title.

The program is always the same.  My stash of dreidels and pennies are displayed in every Hanukkah dish and plate I owned..... owned because one of the perks of the party is that Amster stores all the stuff I've accumulated over the years.  All I have to do is show up with latkes and jelly doughnuts (thank you Dunkin' for 75 donut holes on 2 hours notice) and the story - she and her boys have done all the set up by the time I arrive.
After a brief explanation, the youngest guests gambled with pennies and fancy dreidels.  (Note the mask on the only unvaccinated attendee.)  Mr. 16 made yet another menorah at the Hanukkah Party, this time with his girlfriend by his side.  
Time passes and they all grow up, but some things never change..... like good food and good friends.

Wishing you love and light and laughter.
Happy Hanukkah!


Monday, November 29, 2021


The scotch broom is shedding its white fluff, covering the pool and the patio and ourselves with allergens.  The yellow season detritus is prettier and less sneeze-inducing.  Both turn the pool to bracken.

The weather is cooling down to the 70's from the 90's, although the 80's still make an appearance, for old times sake, I guess.  The roses are blooming, the bougainvillea refuse to wilt, and the ants are deflowering the nandina (Heavenly Bamboo) with industry and dedication.

Fall and Thanksgiving decor is now back in boxes.  Chanukah is on display.  Two menorahs, a few pretty dreidels, a pot holder and a towel is all the effort I can make this year.  My tiny pillows annoy TBG, so the sparkly menorah and Happy Hanukkah pillows are resting comfortably in their storage container.  

If we had company, I'd do more.  But this holiday is fast on the heels of Thanksgiving, with hardly any breathing space between them.  I haven't mustered my holiday spirit to encompass massive decorating.

Amster and I are hosting our (Just About) Annual Hanukkah Party this afternoon at her house.  She's doing the dinner stuff, I'm bringing the holiday.  Potato latkes, jelly donuts, apple sauce .... it will smell delicious and taste even better.  There will be modeling clay for creating home made menorahs, and dreidels to spin for pennies.  

It's a school night so the festivities will end early.  The memories, I hope, will last a bit longer.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Little Cuter made too many rolls.  I made none.  

Both JannyLou and Little Cuter had too many pies.  I had none.

My lemon tart had a strange deep yellow pool of color.  I know not why.

Queen T made a heart outlined in diced celery out of the mashed potatoes.  This was artistry, not Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters.

FlapJilly ate for 40 minutes, thus justifying the hours her mother spent in the kitchen preparing the meal.  Her brother ate nothing, preferring to do repairs on his plastic scooter with the plastic tools in his plastic tool belt.  Apparently, there were a lot of gears that needed work.

Our after dinner walk took us next door for a visit with our soon to be moving favorite neighbors and the Phoenix branch of their extended family.  Kids have a way of growing up while their parents don't change at all.

Now TBG is emptying the first load through the dishwasher while Big Cuter sets up the television so we can watch Hamilton.  

My heart and my belly are full.

Thursday, November 25, 2021


 Of all the many wonders in my life, perhaps the ones most full of wonder are you, denizens, people who take time out of their days to peek into mine.

Some of you are here every day at breakfast.  Some of you come by in the later afternoon.  

Many of you binge, a week or two at a time, and some of you read only when I'm out of town.

It doesn't matter if you are here every day or once in a while.  I am so grateful that there are those who think my thoughts are worth sharing, who laugh and cry and holler along with me.

Thank you, each and every one of you, for being here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Small Bugs and Big Thoughts

There are fewer little black bugs when the sun isn't shining.  I have proven this, empirically, by placing my yoga mat in the same general area for three consecutive weeks.  I was enjoying the overcast sky, noticing the paucity of crawling creatures, when our Yogi called us to attention.

Welcome!  A cloudy day in Tucson..... (cue snowbirds grumbling)... and don't we love it (cue Tucsonans nodding).

Yes, we do love a change from the sunshine, but just a change.  If this goes on for another day or two we'll all begin to grumble.  But every once in a while, it's nice to be able to look up without squinting into the sun.

It wasn't cold, but it looked like sweater weather and everyone in the class had more than one layer covering their torso.  

I stood next to a pole for the balance poses, and spent some time investigating my inner self.... the one that knows I can't stand on one leg anymore.  That's not true - I've done it quite often, for minutes at a time. But since I've been perforated my mental image has shifted.  Unsure whether I can count on my body to hold me up, I default to staying safe and keep both feet planted.

I'm not thrilled with that mind set.  It gets in the way.  Yet there it is, firmly implanted, my go-to response.  I certainly don't want to fall down; the fear is valid.  But a positive attitude will bring positive results - at least in yoga - and my negativity was tilting me over on my side.

I started tree pose with my palm planted firmly on my post.  I ended with my arms above my head.  My left leg is fully capable of holding me up, of letting me bend forward - a bit - into dancer pose, and it's about time my psyche remembered that.

I give my right leg a pass on tasks like this.  It has a mind of its own, and when it's ready to hold me up it will let me know.  Today, I concentrated on all three foot centers pressing evenly into the ground as my left toes rested on the earth, my heel touching the standing ankle.

I was lost in the moment.

That's what I loved about yoga - being lost in the movement and the mental space.  For the first time in a long time I had it back.

There weren't even any little black bugs to disturb me.  It was blissful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

It's Love

I sat on the bed, next to TBG, watching our son.  He was talking to his sister.  She was sad and angry and irritated and frustrated and mostly just not wanting things to be the way they are.

He, as usual, had his opinions - the right opinions.  He was, as always, certain of that.  He portrays himself as more black and white than his parents see, but today, clarity was exactly what his sister needed.  He was certainly there to give it.

He heard her.  He affirmed the correctness of her opinions; after all, they were his, too.  It was obviously to any sentient being that they were right and those on the other side were wrong.  Anyone who didn't see that was obviously too stupid to live.

The more he talked, the more animated he became.  He took the phone while standing and ended up on the little couch, bent over the phone as if he could pour his body through the ether and end up right next to her, looking deep into her eyes, maybe holding her hand, but showing her with every fiber of his being that he would go to the mat for her.  

He'd defend her heart and her actions and do everything possible to reassure her that she was right and they were wrong and that we were all quite proud of her for sticking to her guns.  It's one thing when your parents compliment you.  It's another thing entirely when it comes from your sibling, the one you admire for his inability to tell anything but the unvarnished truth.

She hung up feeling better, I think.  

Strong children and strong feelings and strong ties of love - I'm warm in the cockles of my heart.

Monday, November 22, 2021

It's Cold

Not snow cold or mid-February cold, but it's cold.

Not frozen feet and fingers cold.  Not runny nose cold.  Just cold.

I'm wearing a long sleeved sweater, the first time since the last time I felt cold - months ago.

I started the day in shorts.  Now, at dinner time, my knees are trying to creep up my legs so they can be warmed by the fabric resting tantalizingly just above them.  They are cold too.

My ankles are peeved as well.  I have lots of socks which could be cosseting them.  Unfortunately, none of them are on my body at the moment.

I'm cold.

It's sixty-nine degrees and I am cold.

Just put my picture on Wikipedia under Weather Wimp.

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Up-Side of The Brownie List

There are times when the 70+ names on The Brownie List seem overwhelming.  I was impressed with myself for mailing fifteen packages at once on Monday.  By Thursday, that feeling has been replaced by one of ennui.

I have three pans of brownies already baked.  I haven't had the energy to pack them and label them and mail them.  It's not that I haven't the time.  I just don't have the required smiling oomph to get it done.

And then I get a text from Sister, announcing that the brownies were gone in minutes.  I got a picture and verbiage from Brother, thanking me for providing his dinner.  The Seamstress and her fiance called for a lengthy video chat. 

I have tracking notifications set up and my phone is filled with texts from USPS.  I'm having fun thinking of the envelopes sitting on the front porch/mailbox/desk of those I love.  

This really is the gift that keeps on giving.  It reconnects me with my past and maintains friendships over decades.  After all, if I send you brownies, you have to say thank you.

I've got 55+ cards/texts/emails/calls to go.

That's a pretty good way to go into the weekend.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

I'm rushing the season, and I apologize.  After all, I'm the one who rants on a yearly basis about stores putting up their Christmas decorations before Halloween, who avoided Macy's and patronized Nordstroms for that very reason.  

Yet, here I am, mailing some of  my Hanukkah brownies two weeks before the first day dawns.  I was worried about the post office as the holiday approaches - I took DeJoy's warnings about delays to heart.  So I baked on Sunday and mailed on Monday, sparing the fresh food from sitting in the bowels of the post office all weekend long.  I used Priority Mail, expecting a 3 day delivery time, well before the next weekend begins.

Imagine my surprise (I've always wanted to type that) when USPS texted me -15 times for each of 15 mailing envelopes - announcing that many of the packages would be delivered early, on Tuesday.  That's really early for the holiday - I hope no one feels pressured to match my promptness (is there a word for extreme promptness?).

It's not only my Hanukkah treats that are speeding through the mails.  Mail orders are arriving early, too.  Amazon and Fabletics have been speedy, with items delivered almost before the pixels are dry on the screen announcing their departure from the warehouse. 

I'm not complaining, merely describing an unusual fact pattern.  

It's creepy when something you expect to be terrible turns out to be better than ever..... what do I do with my Rage Against the USPS vibe when they are doing a good job?

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Working in the 21st Century

These are my son's fancy work pants.

His wife amends that to fancy work from home pants, but still.....

Queen T's team building exercise was a Zoom taught class that created this masterpiece

from supplies mailed all over North America.

And TBG and I just smiled - Work sure looks different these days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Back In The Garden

Masked and distanced - no hugs except the virtual kind - I took myself back to Grandma's Garden at Prince Elementary School.

My heart was warmed before I got there - the Principal told me that one of the after school groups had taken care of the space while I was gone.  They didn't want you to come back to a disaster.  
I love them.  It's nice to know that they love me back.

Opening the garden without having seen what awaited me led to the collection of foam brushes and sidewalk chalk before I showed up.  One of the scholars who'd worked on the garden showed me where the lettuce and the beans and the other seeds were planted in that bed; we don't know what's in the other one.  Since the situation requires careful consideration, we weren't digging in the dirt.

Instead, the artists got to work.
Under the watchful eye of the school's social worker (a human for whom there are no adequate words of praise), they colored the bricks and grinned at the photographer.
For some reason, the foam brushes and water delight the bigger kids.
The rough bricks destroy the brushes, no matter how careful a stroke you use.  
Water, foam brush, smooth metal -- it's very Zen,
and strangely satisfying.
As always, there were kibbitzers.

Monday, November 15, 2021

It's Starting

I have plans for real posts this week, honest, I do.  But I've spent today cleaning house for Big Cuter and Queen T's arrival tonight - dusting and sweeping and linens changed, bathrooms spruced up and groceries purchased. 

Mostly, though, I've been organizing for the first shipment of The Brownie List.

I know where the list is located on the computer (in Google Docs.... it only took me an hour of screaming last year to remember that).  I have ink for the printer so that labels can be created.  Amazon delivered lovely Hanukkah cellophane bags.

The pots and bowls and spatulas from the first three pans are in the dishwasher.  This is what the wrapping station will look like this year:

This is what gets wrapped:

Time to get back to work!

Friday, November 12, 2021


Will we ever go back to in-person meetings?  

I have a Zoom call scheduled for 12:30-1pm today.  The attendees, Board members of the Cornell Club of Southern Arizona, have committed to 30 minutes of planning.  That's all the time I'm taking out of their day.  No one has to drive (add minutes to the meeting), no one has to clean her house (making space for the meeting), and showering and dressing up is limited to that which can be seen on a screen.

Gathering all of us in person would enable us to elbow bump, wear masks, and wonder what else we could be doing with the time we've spent traveling and sitting and waiting until the meeting starts.  This is a planning session.  It's not a social event.  We can get the work done, assign duties, and then go on with our lives.  

It's hard to give everyone a chance to speak on Zoom, but we've done it before and it worked well.  Service on this Board is not the primary task for any of us; we do it for love of our alma mater.  Planning has been difficult during Pandemica, with a membership that skews older and sicker, but our Sabino Canyon trip was a successful adventure and we are hoping to plan more outdoor excuses to get together.

The weather is more cooperative now than it was all summer long.  There are gardens and outdoor movies and historical sites which don't require driving long distances.  We usually plan an afternoon of lunch and a show - no doubt we'll discuss how comfortable attendees will be eating together, or sitting close to one another in an auditorium.  

All this can be discussed efficiently.  Assignments can be given.  No one has to leave home or the office.  We can get the work done and move on to other priorities.

Mostly, I don't have to change out of my pajama bottoms.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Thank You To Those Who Serve(d)

On 11/11/1911 at 11am, the shooting stopped forever.

That's what they hoped, anyway.  60,000 died at the Battle of the Somme.  Britain lost a generation of men.  Shell shock and mustard gas poisoning and the terror of barbed wire and trenches and No Man's Land between opposing armies - in 1911 they thought they'd put it away for good.

I've been thinking about the 100 Years War, which it seems we are fighting all over again.  Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan.... my children's adulthood has been filled with war.  None of us served.

Amster used the Army to get out of town. She traveled, she learned, and because her boots were too small and gave her bunions, she had a disability that added to the educational benefits she'd receive.  College and Law School, paid for with her blood, sweat, and tears. She got married so they could be transferred together - an unintended consequence of falling in love while the government owned your body.

G'ma's brother served with Patton.  He never spoke of it.  Auntie M and Uncle T got married just before he left for Viet Nam.  He never speaks of it, either.  Our college friends, Moose and Stroker, were in Viet Nam, too - they never said a word.

But everyone was changed by the experience.  Some for the good (cf Amster) and some altered in ways that haunted them for all their lives.  Dr. Don never wore a necktie after coming home from Viet Nam; black tie events had him in an elegant sweater.  He never explained it beyond saying THIS is what I wear.

Necessity or patriotism, the draft or the potential benefits down the road - whatever their reasons men and women have put themselves in harms way so that I can sit here and type to you.

Remember to say Thank You today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Ease and Grace and Strength

It was another morning of outdoor yoga.  The same little black bugs were annoying, but Tiger Balm kept most of them away from my exposed flesh.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and as our Yogi noted, the trees had magnificent shapes.

Taos Bubbe joined me; I haven't exercised next to a friend in 20 months.  It made my heart sing.

We started standing, which led to balancing, which led to a lot of quivering.  Rooting down and reaching up, floating my arms..... mostly trying not to fall down.

Through my efforts came the Yogi's words - from grace and ease comes strength.

Strength is what I miss the most.  I carried my own heavy grocery bags.  I did the heavy lifting in the garden.  I liked surprising people.   

Now, I usually accept help with a grateful nod.  If I can, I should is my new mantra.  But not many everyday activities remind me of what I am missing.  I ambulate well and sometimes it even looks like walking.  

But all the standing yoga poses were challenging.  Every single one of them - even mountain pose which I held for longer than was comfortable.... doable....possible... and then I had to move.  In that moment, I remembered why I hadn't gone back to yoga, even in the Before Times.  I could no longer lose myself in the movements. The ease was gone, and ease was the gift that yoga gave me.  

And then I looked around me, standing outside in November, surrounded by a host of grey haired humans, each of us locked in our own personal struggle with something or other, but each of us standing on our mats, trying.  

The grace to accept what is.  Letting go of the struggle and easing into what is.  

I took a deep breath and found my strength as we moved into tree pose.  Balance, I thought, is as much mental as physical.  

And, for a moment, my right leg held me up, all on its own.

It wasn't the same as before, but different isn't always bad. This is gift, too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021


I had apples and pie crusts and time.
This is what the pie looked like before I went to sleep.
I was responsible for every missing morsel.
I was also responsible for the ice cream scoop, because what's apple pie without vanilla ice cream?
(And I'm responsible for the navy blue towel;  a lighter one would have been more photogenic.)

I had pie for breakfast in the morning.
We had quiche (egg pie) with friends for lunch.

I had pie when we got home, pie for dessert after dinner, and pie for snack while TBG overdosed on football. This is what the pie looked like when I was finished.
I have never eaten an entire pie before.

It's nice to have a novel experience.

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Supply Chain Hits Home

I went Holiday Shopping.  I left early, wore a mask, and avoided shoppers as much as possible.  

It was very possible.  There was barely anyone in the stores - not The Dollar Store or The 99cents Store or Kohl's.  The Container Store was eerily quiet; 3 saleswomen approached me before I was half way down the first aisle.  

In Michaels, I saw no other customers.  Hallmark was crowded, but they were having a Pandora Event so there were lots of salespeople and Pandora people and marketing people filling the entry.  One other masked patron and I were the only ones buying anything, and we were in the card aisles.

There was no merchandise, either.  

Just like at IKEA  last month, there was nothing new.  The shelves which are usually filled with tins and boxes and bags of all sizes and descriptions were empty.  Had I realized when I started out that this would be the case everywhere I went, I would have taken pictures.  

The Container Store had no pretty little containers in which brownies could be mailed.  We're downsizing.  All our items like that are on-line now.  I don't want to buy them on-line.  I want to spend my dollars locally.  I want to touch them before I buy them.  I need 70 of them; this is not a small decision.  

And it wasn't only supplies for The Brownie List.  H&M had nothing pink.  Nor were there ruffles or sparkles or unicorns.  I found basic sweats and leggings for the grandkids, but that visit, next door to the Container Store, put me in a mood.

I was resigned to paying full price and enjoying it.  If only there had been something to buy.  I found a perfect firefighter nutcracker for Giblet at Michael's - one of a dozen obviously left over from last year, with nicks and scratches and I swear they were grimacing right back at me, as if sharing my pain.  

And then I listened to the story going on in my head and I laughed.  I was having a regular person's bad day, not a perforated person's bad day - and it was all because of shopping.

I decided that there's a good lesson to be learned from this. Not finding made me question the act of searching.   I'm going to get creative with tissue paper and some weird clear cellophane bags I found along the way.  The brownies will be tasty no matter how they are wrapped.  

If this is at the top of my worry list, I'm a pretty lucky human.

Friday, November 5, 2021

The Holidaze Begin

They are calling it a Pre-Holiday Parking Lot Party; both the description and the location are accurate.  There will be a food truck and some music in the parking lot outside the law offices where Amster houses her practice.  I'll see people I run into whenever I'm in Amster's orbit (and no where else) and we'll catch up on meaningless nothings while chowing down on fabulous food stuffs.  A small amount of alcohol (I'm driving) will, no doubt, be involved.

It's 84 and sunny outside.  It's still November.  I'm having a hard time getting my holiday spirit on.

I lost then found my gift tags and stationary.  Apparently, I used every bit of Brownie List packing material last year.  I've always replenished my stash on December 26th; last year we were still in lock down on December 26th - I went no place.  

For the first time in memory, I will be buying supplies before the holidays, when they are not on sale.  Do I get to count this as part of Pandemica's legacy?  I think it deserves a place on the That Which I Lost List.

I ordered boxes and mailing envelopes from USPS and they arrived on my doorstep in the arms of our smiling mail carrier.  She can hardly wait until I start to bake.  I leave individually wrapped brownies in a basket near the doorbell, with a sign offering the homemade treats to anyone leaving a package.  She gets hungry around 1pm, just as she's arriving at our mailbox.  

I'll update the addresses for those who've relocated.  I'll continue my on-line quest for appropriate socks-underwear-hang out clothes for those I'll be gifting.  Toys have been sent to the grandchildren (I was taking no chances with the supply chain) and books are being considered.

Hanukkah is on the heels of Thanksgiving.  I'd better not procrastinate for long.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Going Back Out Into The World

TBG misses his spin class friends.  Some of them have joined the Zoom classes which began early in Pandemica, when it became clear that no one was going back into the gym any time soon.  We bought a good spin bike, and he's been doing it three days a week, virtually listening to the teacher and the music and feeling as motivated as you can be when you're really all alone.

He misses the competition.  Keeping up with the instructor is one piece of it, but beating whoever is cycling near him has its place, too.  

Periodically, we've toyed with the idea of returning to the gym.  He went once or twice before the Delta variant emerged as a killer; he knew the people in the room and it felt safe.  But there hasn't felt like a good time to start up again.... until now.

We're boosted and flu shot.  We're not living with immune compromised or unable-to-be-vaccinated humans.  One of our favorite people teaches spin early on Monday morning.  He decided to give it a try.

Everyone was delighted to see him.  Everyone was well known to him.  They are all older, intelligent, vaccinated athletes of various stripes.  Everyone agreed - no one wanted to get sick.

He came home with a giant smile on his face.  The music was great, the presence of classmates even better.  He's not ready to move on to classes with strangers, but this Monday morning group feel okay, for now.

That same favorite person is also a talented yogi.  She invited me to join her outdoor class at Tohono Chul, the small botanical garden down the road.  She promised lots of space and no mask requirement.
Given TBG's successful foray into exercising with others, I decided to give it a chance.

There was lots of space.  There were lots of people.  Everyone was fully focused and involved in the practice.  I don't know if anyone was vaccinated, so I gave myself plenty of space.  

I walked around taller and breathing more deeply all day long.  I put the class on my calendar for the next 10 weeks.  

I should believe the science and feel comfortable outdoors and socially distanced.  Having read Michael Lewis's The Premonition - A Pandemic Story, I'm reluctant to rely on anything coming out of the CDC that requires a quick response to an ever changing situation.  Even after all these months, we're still doing our own research.

I'm relying on my good sense.  I'm not ready to go back into the gym, but outdoor yoga feels like a safe toe to put in the sweating-with-others waters.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Flu Shot Snippets

FlapJilly:  Mom, I think this flu shot will be good practice for my Covid vaccine.
Walgreens suggested that TBG make an appointment for his flu shot when the walk-in line as he was shopping was 10 people long.  He brought the information slip home and placed it on my keyboard.  I made the appointments, 20 minutes apart because somebody snuck in to the 3:20 slot between us.  

The store is a mile down the road.  We left 5 minutes before my appointment time - I'd be late and he'd be early.
I can't decide whether it was less troublesome for me to fill out my paperwork online or for me to print it out and have TBG fill it in for himself.  I tried both methods.

They lost mine in the system and the pharmacy assistant had to input most of the numbers again.  She then typed in all of TBG's information with her incredibly long fingernails making every click a near disaster.  

Neither path was without problems.  They both took too much time.
The Pilates Diva was the one who stole the 3:20 appointment - she was there for her Covid booster.  She teaches at the Community College and so is considered high risk, even though she's more than a decade younger than we are.

It's a measure of our times that I run into my friends at the drug store now.
The shot hurt more than the vaccination.  

TBG saw my pouting face and put his warm, lovingly cupped palm over my bandaid.  

It felt better at once.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

How Driving Fixed My Leg

Fixed may be overstating the case, but improved is certainly true.  

I drove Scarlet and her pooch up to Scottsdale three times in the last week.  It's about 120 miles and takes about an hour and a half.  We drive there, she drops off the dog, and we turn around and come home.  I take the time she's in the office to stretch.  I do all the driving.

Normally, I'd be bent and broken by the time I returned home.  But her surprisingly wonderful Camry left me feeling strong and straight.  Why?  Perhaps because her seat has many more adjustment options than my Honda HRV.  Her seat can dip down at my knee.  I sat further back than I usually do.  Her steering wheel adjusts up and down and forward and back; I put it lower than the Honda's and further away.

With my leg stretched out instead of bent at the knee, I could sit with both butt cheeks firmly planted on the seat.  I found my posture was improved.  At the end of the last leg home, my foot began to fall asleep, but aside from that it was an uneventful experience.

I worried that I'd be crippled all night, but it was just the opposite.  I wasn't stumbling until my hip decided to engage.  I wasn't complaining when I stood up or sat down.  There were no clicking noises. Best of all, there was no pain.

Was I exercising, passively, as I drove?  Is it simply the positioning?  Was it the karma from doing a good deed?  

I adjusted the Uv to approximate as best I could the delightful experience I had in the Camry.  I slid in and out of the car at The Pilates Diva and at Costco.  I walked smoothly, more smoothly than usual.

Who knew that driving for 12 hours on the same roads would have such a salutary effect?  Not I.