Friday, February 26, 2021

Did You See The Moon?

I went to get the mail tonight, just after sunset.  It was still and smelled of spring.  

The rosemary had been filled with little yellow and red and brown things as I went through a Pilates barre routine on the other side of the window; tonight it was quite undisturbed.  

The roses were astonishingly healthy, filled with new leaves and buds ready to burst.  Fertilizing really makes a difference.  Even the yucca which share their garden bed were perkier.  The javelina gnawed them down to nubs last year; I'm hoping that they are mature enough to be unattractive this time around.  

There's a long mound behind my mailbox, right at the edge of the sidewalk.  Ground squirrels or rabbits or snakes or some other burrowing animal is very happily undisturbed out there at the edge of our property.  As long as they stay out of the house and the garage, I don't begrudge them their little slice of heaven.

And heaven it most certainly was today.  Temperatures in the high 60's, not a cloud in the bluest sky, and then, this evening, that just on the edge of full moon lighting my way back to the front door.  

Make sure to look for it tonight, when it's full.  You won't be sorry.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Virtual Garden Club

I admitted it to the teacher in an email yesterday.  I got nuthin'.

I'm never at a loss for things to do when we're in the garden.  Finding interactive projects for virtual garden club is more of a challenge.  We've been meeting since October, once a week for 30 minutes.  After photosynthesis and the parts of a plant and several adventures with seeds in red Solo cups, this week I came up empty.

Searching for online garden activities for kids introduced me to a wide variety of video games and apps to download !!!for free!!!!!  Virtual lesson plans were no more helpful.  I was up at 6:30, the sun hitting unfamiliar angles as I sat at the desk, hoping for an answer.

In the end, I went with my strengths - words.  Favorite Poems Old and New selected for boys and girls by Helen Ferris has been with me since elementary school.  The binding is collapsing, the cover was repaired while I volunteered in the kids' high school library, and that plastic overlay is now adorned by one of my granddaughter's gems.
I found Dandelion by Hilda Conkling.  I found a photo of a single dandelion stalk in a field of grass.  Together with my dramatic reading, the kids were amused.

O little soldier with the golden helmet,
What are you guarding on my lawn?
You with your green gun
And your yellow beard,
Why do you stand so stiff?
There is only the grass to fight!

The one the teacher and I liked the most garnered the most glazed eyeballs.

Lodged (by Robert Frost) 

The rain to the wind said,
"You push and I'll pelt."
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged--though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

Robert Frost should probably be reserved for adults.  But Frost led me to Auden, and this loveliness.  The words in bold needed explication.  

Their Lonely Betters (by W H Auden)

As I listened from a beach-chair in the shade
To all the noises that my garden made,
It seemed to me only proper that words
Should be withheld from vegetables and birds.

A robin with no Christian name ran through
The Robin-Anthem which was all it knew,
And rustling flowers for some third party waited
To say which pairs, if any, should get mated.

Not one of them was capable of lying,
There was not one which knew that it was dying
Or could have with a rhythm or a rhyme
Assumed responsibility for time.

Let them leave language to their lonely betters
Who count some days and long for certain letters;
We, too, make noises when we laugh or weep:
Words are for those with promises to keep.

We had some fun with the Robin-Anthem which was all it knew, and then we were through.  

I'm looking into a guest speaker for next week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Feeling Old

I met my new physician today.  She's lovely.  The office was COVID protected in every way.  I left feeling secure in my future medical care.

I also felt old.

We talked about bone density, and my reluctance to take another medication.

We talked about blood pressure, and my reluctance to take another medication.

We talked about falling and low sodium diets.

We talked about longevity and my end of life planning.

It was a comprehensive review of all the ways my body could fail me.  It was sobering.  I've been coming to terms with the whole more-behind-me-than-in-front-of-me scenario for a while.  This afternoon, it was brought front and center. 

I'm very glad to be here to have the conversation.  I'm not that glad to be thinking about all that has and could go wrong.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Vaccine Saga Continues

Things were changing quickly.  

Notices went up and were replaced by the time Little Cuter clicked over to check them out.  What I read in the newspaper over breakfast had changed by the time washed the dishes and logged on to look for my eBook.  As Allison asked in a comment yesterday, Where did you hear that?

Long after Little Cuter's bedtime, the messages on the provider's website calmed down.  I thought that we were okay, but the wording was somewhat less than reassuring.  I shared the link with her to read when she woke up; and went to (fretful) sleep.  

Her texted reply was waiting for my early morning bleary eyes.  Yes, it seemed like he was okay, but call when they open to be sure.  

And that's when anxiety turned to delight.  I was midway through the comics when terminal hold started speaking to me.  I closed the newspaper and turned up the volume to better pay attention to the friendly young man on the other end.  

He understood my confusion, and repeated the facts, just to be sure.  He checked the calendar and thought we were fine.  He did a deeper dive and decided that only the Monday and Tuesday appointments were changed (to Friday), but that Wednesday and Thursday were fine.

That made sense to all of us; the doses promised were now able to be delivered.  The snow has turned to sleet on its way to rain, and the supply chain is open again.  I thanked him for checking for TBG and he paused.  He'd only run a general search of the issue; he wanted to go further into the data base and give us a more specific answer.  

Hmmmm.... we weren't in his MyChart information, but we were not to worry..... as my heart rate increased he offered mindless reassurances and logged into the POD database..... and was delighted when I told him the lane number under the registration number and there was TBG, at the right time in the right lane at the right site.

We'd been checked and rechecked and confirmed with a supervisor to boot.  As TBG, listening in as he cooked us eggs, said, We love supervisors.  I thanked the young man profusely, and he was gracious and charming and made sure I was completely comfortable before he wished me good health and let me hang up first.  

We smiled.  We texted the kids.  We looked with reverence at the printed appointment information.  We haven't felt this safe in a long, long time.  

Monday, February 22, 2021

Weather, Planning, and Vaccinations

TBG was the first in the family to snag an appointment for the first dose of Moderna.  That was the first deep breath we took since Pandemica arrived; on February 25th at 10:20am he would be on his way to health and safety.

Little Cuter and I manage to schedule two doses for me at Walgreens; TBG turned down my offer to schedule one for him there, too.  He had one appointment.  Why test fate by locking in an insurance bid?

We were all set.  Our two doses would be finished in time for traveling in April.  The transmissibility results were encouraging.  We were gently treading from cautious optimism to actual hope.

Climate change seems to have dashed those hopes.  

Anyone who doesn't think that rashes of fires in the west and snowstorms in the south and floods all over the planet aren't a result of our disrespect for our planet needs to take a basic Earth Science course.  I still remember It's all connected as one of the lessons I learned in 8th grade.  The Bride and her family are enjoying a light dusting and freezing temperatures in Alabama.  FlapJilly and SIR are spending hours taking videos of the slalom course he shoveled in the back yard for her sled-pulled-by-tractor runs.  

Note the home improvised Go-Pro camera on her helmet.  Duct tape, paper towels, and several failed attempts didn't dampen their spirits.  It was so much fun that they woke Giblet from his nap so that he could play, too.

But all that snow created havoc in the supply chain.  And that did not bode well for TBG's upcoming vaccination appointment.  I resisted checking the site.  For two days, I didn't look at all.  Then I read the newspaper.  Not only is Gov. Ducey reserving most of the vaccines on hand for Maricopa County and those Phoenix area Republicans,  he's reducing the number of doses we'll receive here in Pima County in the future.  

With that information percolating in my brain, I opened the MHC website.  The Community Clinic which was to inoculate TBG posted a well written, lengthy, thorough notice atop the usual website home page.  They explained the delays - political and meteorological - and laid the blame squarely at the feet of those responsible.

I can't wait until he tries to run for Governor.

Vaccines scheduled for last week were pushed to this week.  Those scheduled for this week (like TBG) are cancelled indefinitely.  

I took a few deep breaths before I read the rest of the blurb.  MHC promised to get in touch with everyone who was scheduled, both to notify and assist with rescheduling.  As of Sunday at lunchtime, we haven't heard a thing.  I can't blame them for not sending a sorry we can't help you right now email, but it would have been nice.  

Nicer still would have been a 45th President who made a plan while we waited for the supplies.  There is only one company making the basic lipids needed by all the manufacturers.  They are licensing their patent to other companies now, but couldn't that  have been foreseen last Spring? Government doesn't run by itself.  Hollowing out the infrastructure providing the manpower and the brain power only served to exacerbate the problem.

And now, we wait.  Little Cuter and I are on all the websites - Walgreens and Fry's and AZDHS and Pima County Health Department - and so are all my friends.  We have all promised to telephone one another if we spot a break in the dam.  

Unfortunately, the 12,000 people who were cancelled out of their appointments at the fancy schmancy UofA Mall site are also going to be in the hunt.  I predict another round of battling with clunky websites overwhelmed by anxious typists.

There had to be a better way.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Happy Birthday, G'ma

This is how she looked when she met my father.

This is how she looked when she lived in Tucson.

I never knew the first woman.  I enjoyed meeting the second woman, the one whose memory was failing but who always knew that I loved her.  

Some things never changed. There was always a straw in her Diet Sprite.
Her purse was always over her shoulder (see blue strap, above). She was cold, but never wore a hat - "I don't look good in hats!"

There were some things she never forgot. Good grammar was imperative and bad grammar demanded correction. Yellow was her favorite color and chocolate was her favorite food.  Wrinkled shirts and sagging hems were unacceptable; she made her opinions known even when she was no longer in charge of choosing the outfits herself.
Today would have been her 98th birthday.

I'd have brought her a prune danish for breakfast, accompanied by a gardenia corsage on the tray.  I'd have taken her out for a tuna-and-tomato-on-toast for lunch.   We'd have shared shrimp for dinner.

We would certainly have stopped for some chocolate ice cream along the way.

By the end, there were no books to share nor Scrabble to play.  There was her shell and her soul and the connection between the two became more tenuous with every passing day.

But now, on her birthday, I remember the smiles and the advice and the kisses.  Oh, the kisses.  She had the softest skin to receive my love.

I'm kissing the air right now, sending the love out into the ether.   Wherever she is, I know she's feeling it.  She's my mom.  We're attached, forever.

Happy Birthday, Mommy!  I hope that there is chocolate in heaven.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Getting My Shot

We drove to Casa Grande, 57 miles and 58 minutes away from home.  It was an overcast afternoon, with more traffic than we'd expected.  We were anxious, for no reason, but there it was.

It was 50 miles on the highway and 7 miles on two lane roads past trailers and rusted wrecks and flea markets.  The Walgreens was on what we call a Rte 13 - the McDonalds, Denny's, motel, car wash and other traveler's needs road that bordered Ithaca.   

We parked, double masked up, and entered a store together.  It was a moment - we haven't been in a store together since our last grocery outing on March 12th.  There was a short line waiting at the pharmacy; TBG took himself back to the car to stay safe.  I waited as the couple at the window filled out their paperwork (it was possible to do this before you arrived, thus saving everyone time and energy), and then as the lovely pharmacy clerk explained to the next customer, an Hispanic gentleman of indeterminate age who thought that his presence in line was enough to secure a vaccine.  She was patient.  He was sad.

I handed in my papers and got my shot and we drove home and everything was fine.... except my heart.

Everyone in line to be vaccinated was white and well dressed.  We'd overcome the obstacles registering and searching presented, and found ourselves with the golden tickets.  The vaccination sites located in underserved neighborhoods don't seem to be doing much to serve those who live in those neighborhoods.  

Scarlet's friends in Manhattan took two trains and a bus to Bushwick, a less than savory neighborhood in Brooklyn.  There, surrounded by dismal poverty, they and other well dressed white people received their vaccinations, surrounded by those less fortunate residents of the neighborhood.

There's something really wrong with this picture.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Snow Day

Little Cuter and SIR helped FlapJilly enjoy her snow day today.  Their three day weekend was stretched to four, and nobody minded, not one bit. There was 8-10" of fresh powder outside and the sun was shining.  They concentrated really hard on e-learning in the morning so that they could go outside and play all afternoon.  Figure eights on the sled attached to Dad's tractor, following the path he shoveled for them on the big backyard, because the tractor can't go on snow.  He made jumps and bumps and then they built a tunnel with an igloo at the end.  They were very cold; Giblet brought Mama two pairs of socks for his feet. 

We don't get snow days in Arizona.  We get gloomy, overcast mornings until the thick clouds break up a bit and some blue shines through.  The snow on the mountains has melted; there are tiny waterfalls on the lower hiking trails.  The roses are starting to sprout new growth, unbothered by the cooler nighttime temperatures.  The vinca is another story entirely.  It was not happy, and its sad little yellowing leaves reproached me as I tried to help.  

It was 60 degrees and cloudy this morning.  Not-Kathy and I agreed that it was much too ugly to visit  outside, even for a little while.  (Have I mentioned that I hate COVID?)  

I am officially a weather wimp.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Washington, The Senate, This Weekend

History Channel's biography mini-series on the 12th and the 1st presidents kept us marginally interested this afternoon.  We're unable to listen to the political talking heads any longer.  They created Trump and they are still giving him a platform.  There is no reason to debate the calling of witnesses by the House Managers any longer.  Once again, the Democrats are eating their young. 

The acquittal was inevitable.  The facts were obvious to everyone, but that didn't make a difference.  With a few notable exceptions, those who are in love with the former president are still holding a torch.  

They are not alone.  There are members of my orbit who think it's all an antifa plot to besmirch the name of their fearless leader, who are cheering their victory.  They aren't hearing Mitch McConnell's after the fact, hypocritical,  pass the buck condemnation.  They feel like they won.

What they won is debatable.  That they are celebrating a victory is terrifying.  A coup that goes unpunished is a training exercise is making its way around the interwebs.   George Washington understood that, and he didn't let optics influence his response to the Whiskey Rebellion.  He stood up for the union.

He created the institution of the presidency, stayed on to hold the union together, and left us instructions in his Farewell Address.  I read it just now.  It's eerily prescient.  

Here is what I think about what happened this weekend; he says it better than I can.  I put some in bold if you want the gist.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Remember, they think they won.

Arguing over strategy is so beside the point.  We have a broken nation, just the way our foundingest founding father predicted.   Would that he were here now to lead us out of the morass.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Once More, With Feeling

This is the 10th anniversary of this post.

Mary Ball Washington gave birth to a boy child on February 22, 1732. Unlike many of the stories surrounding this man (think cherry trees and coins across the Potomac and standing up in an open boat as it crossed the Delaware) this is an indisputable fact.

Mary was not in labor on the third Monday of February.  She produced her child on a specific day - the 22nd day of February.  His birthday didn't move around with the vagaries of the federal holiday calendar.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln met her second son, Abraham, 217 years and 3 days ago.  Like Mrs. Washington before her, she was not in labor on an indeterminate day sometime in the middle of the month.  It occurred on a certain day, a day formerly commemorated by school children and mail carriers alike.

Alas and alack, these fine gentlemen have been conflated into Presidents and their birthdays combined into a generic celebration designed primarily to afford employees the opportunity for a 3-day weekend in the middle of the winter. 

What was wrong with the old system, I wonder?  As an elementary school kid I looked forward to those random days off in the middle of the month.  One day, breaking up the routine.  One celebration for each president - pennies examined on the 12th, leadership and lying (not) on the 22nd.

There was no time for a weekend away (not that G'ma and Daddooooo could have afforded to take us anyplace anyhow) and there was no competition between students for who went the furthest and had the most fun.  It was an opportunity to go sledding at Bethpage (the Black Course was used for many things in my youth) or to meet friends at the bowling alley and then walk to Smiles (our precursor to a 5-and-dime), where we cruised the aisles until our parents picked us up.

It was grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon on the side, eaten on paper plates and accompanied by the admonition Don't Tell Daddy since the bacon was not exactly kosher and he cared a lot more than did G'ma.  There were snow forts to be built, snowball fights to be fought, snow men to be built. The entire neighborhood roamed from front yard to front yard, creating and tumbling and finding warmth and drinks and the occasional bathroom in whichever house we happened to be in front of when the need arose.

And now?  Now President's Day is always an event.  It's a long weekend for which plans must be made.  It has no intrinsic meaning, no relationship to George or Abe or any of their colleagues.  Their faces are used to advertise white sales and car sales and furniture sales and The History Channel runs back to back episodes of The Presidents but that's about the size of the historical component.  What began as tributes to great men has devolved into spending opportunities for the masses.

Am I bitter?  You bet.  

A day off followed by another one 10 days later.... what better way to combat the winter doldrums than that?  A random day, a day to cuddle under the blankets with your sweetie or to do all that laundry that interfered with your weekend plans and so still sits in the basket, mocking you.  A day to explore the neighborhood and have lunch in that place you've driven by 100 times before..... a day just to be.

Sometimes, when I was a girl really was better.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Annual Meetings

After conniving (with love) to put Fast Eddie in the Presidency of our HOA Board, it felt only right that I agree when he asked if I'd be the Landscape Chair.  Although I vowed that I'd avoid HOA duties at all costs, this has turned out to be much less onerous than I feared.  A conversation with the maintenance crew, an email about a dead tree.... these are not big problems.

Our Annual Meeting is coming up this month, if Zoom is allowable and accessible to all.  Cars parked overnight in driveways is the major hot button issue; much less consequential than Impeachment, but no less fraught with partisan rhetoric.  We will get through it and move on.  It may not be pleasant, but it will get done.

Cornell's annual Leadership Conference is coming up this month, too.  I went last year at this time; Las Vegas was a ghost town as the pandemic ramped up and travel slowed down.  This year's event is, of course, virtual.  Even though the most enjoyable and useful parts of these gatherings happens between the sessions, at meals and in the halls, while getting settled in our chairs and noticing one another's identifying badges, I just signed up for 5 or 6 sessions.  I'm doing my best to stay connected.

And there's one more Annual Meeting to which I've been invited.  It's Beth David Cemetery plot holders annual meeting, to be held the first week of March.

My mom filled the last plot in the family's section.  I suppose I own the turf that contains her and Daddooooo, one over to the right, too.  I signed the proxy and mailed it back, acting on behalf of the current occupants.

I'm just a little creeped out by the whole thing.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Vaccine Weirdness

I got an appointment for both doses of the Moderna vaccine; the first one is this Saturday.  We'll be driving  about 45 minutes to Casa Grande, to a random Walgreens just off the highway.  

Little Cuter was on it from the early morning, and recruited me to the search via text. The site was clunky and kept crashing and sending error messages and showing three blue dots bouncing at the top of the screen as the site stopped to think. But I managed to get through and answered a few questions and found that there were 9 appointments and 27 appointments and 24 appointments remaining on the first few days that popped up on the screen.  

I might have squealed.

I figured in the drive time and chose one date and then another, one month later.  I printed out my confirmation code and appointment details on two bright white sheets of paper.  I've been carrying them around all day.

There is an end in sight for my total isolation from the world. You'd think I'd feel the weight of the world lifting off my shoulders.  You'd be wrong.  

I spent the entire day full of anxiety.  I kept looking at my papers, checking the dates and the times and looking up the address on Google Maps.  I called the pharmacy to ask which vaccine I'd be getting.  I shared my angst with Little Cuter, who totally understood.

I've been so accustomed to worrying about this virus, for such a long time, that I'm having a hard time letting go.  It makes no sense to my rational self, which self has been gradually asserting itself as the day's gone by.  But the morning and afternoon were filled with worry and concern and trembling hands and free floating anxiety.

The papers are still nearby, but glancing their way is enough to calm me.  The weirdness is passing, slowly but surely.  Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to be really happy.  For now, the fact that my kids are thrilled is enough.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

I Know Why He Did It

The Twitterverse kept me up to date on the world's reaction to the charming boring moron and the angry boring moron representing the former social media personality who lives in Florida in front of what the boring one called a diverse group of Senators.

Castor, the charming one, supposedly changed his presentation on the fly because the prosecution's opening was so powerful.  What did they think was coming their way?  

Schoen, the angry one, is a religious Jew.  He observes the Sabbath.  

This is only important because, while standing at the podium in the well of the Senate, he seemed to be holding his comb-over in place with one hand as he tipped his head waaaay back to drink from his water bottle with the other.

It was an odd moment.  The guy barely stops to breathe.  He's hard to follow.  Everything is said in the same harsh tone.  And then he's hanging onto his brains as he exposes his neck and, silently, sips.

And then it dawned on me that he was grabbing his yarmulke.... except he wasn't wearing one.  Did he decide not to wear one today?  That seemed odd, too.  A quick Google search reveals that it is possible to use your hand to cover your head when eating or drinking with a proper head covering, according to modern Rabbinic teachings.  

The more I watched, the thirstier he became, the more often that hand came up.  His head stopped tipping all the way back, but the hand kept rising and covering his head. 

This is the answer to the only outstanding question of the day.

You are welcome.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Gardening Outdoors in February

Little Cuter's weather has been Midwestern winter - sunny when it's not snowing, temperatures hovering just above zero,  the wind blowing ice crystals sharply into her face, slushy roads causing accidents all over the place.

Here in Tucson it's a different story entirely.  This is what I saw from my desk this weekend.  
Wishing I had a true telephoto lens, I watched the tiny yellow and black finches and the red breasted little brown things devouring the rosemary hedge. The dried crepe myrtle buds were another stop on their buffet.  It takes a lot of energy to migrate, and the bees from the saguaro seemed willing to share the bounty.  

The cardinals perching on top of the saguaro surveyed the scene, swooping down to scare off the tinier birds every once in a while, just to remind everybody who was in charge.  It was a science filmstrip from 3rd grade come alive.  I was mesmerized as I followed all 46 minutes of a Pilates on Vimeo barre class, using the desk as the barre and the saguaro as a focal point.  

I do not miss long snowy winters at all.  And to remind myself of the wonderfulness of gardening outside in the middle of winter, I put on my new Xmas gloves, grabbed my giant IKEA blue bag and a pair of Felco clippers, tucked my kneeling pad under my arm and headed out to prune the rock roses in front.  

Cutting back roses is hard for me.  The older stalks without much new growth are easy enough.  Removing seemingly healthy branches gives me pause.  I start tentatively, but then the fever strikes and I move around the plant, looking for sprouts to snip.  It becomes immensely satisfying.

It's also extremely painful.

My roses are in the ground, and pruning means kneeling.  My ability to scootch over easily vanished with my perforations; moving around the plant means I have to unbend and bend again while repositioning the kneeler and my tools.  

Being upright and grabbing my little rake without bending my knees isn't an issue, it's moving my hip that does me in.  

Bound and determined to finish the entire bed along the front walkway, I enjoyed the work in the sunshine and the cutting and the ever growing pile of detritus in the big blue bag.  Deb the MailLady called out from her little mail wagon and we chatted across the front yard before I moved on to the rest of the roses.

And then I stood up. 

There was still work to be done, and my heart wanted to do it.  My body had other ideas.  I assessed the situation, and asked the hard questions : Will it be fun?  Will the hurt get in the way?  

And I put the tools in the potting shed and went inside to brag about making a smart decision when I looked at my arm.  It's hard to feel good about taking care of myself when my arm is bleeding through my shirt.
Roses have thorns.  I felt them as they were going in, but didn't pay much attention (cf the fever, above).  Apparently, the thorns were trying to fulfill their mission in life.  Apparently, I was not deterred. I probably should have been.

The shirt and I will survive, and so will my hip.  I'm never going to complain about anything that happens to me outside, in the garden, in February.  It just would not be right.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Super Bowl - Random Thoughts

I used to refer to it as the Stupid Bowl, but FlapJilly told me that word is unacceptable, so I stopped.
I don't have anything invested in the NFL in general or these two teams in particular.  I know about  Brady (has a gazillion Super Bowl appearances) and Mahomes (youngest quarterback ever in the Super Bowl) and Gronkowski's emergence from retirement to play on a new team with his pal, Tom.  Beyond that, the only other player I know is Kelce, only because he's from Cleveland Heights, just like TBG.

I'm here for the commercials.
Local commercials before half time included a farting dog.  .

The CBS Sports Half Time Report introduced itself with cartoon lightning bolts and neon overlays.

We agreed, after some discussion, that we are obviously not the target audience.
Thinking abut the actual Half Time Report itself, after watching SNL last night, I can't stop laughing at James Brown.  

He's only doing his job, and I'm giggling.
The Weeknd performed from the stands at half time, in front of an ever changing, migraine inducing, neon lighted maze, filled with red coated dancers wearing white jock straps on their heads, masklike, revealing only their eyes. 

At this point, TBG suggested that the NFL should have hired the people who put on the DNC Convention and the Biden Inaugural.  

He hit mute, but turned it on again when the jock strap people started doing a robot dance on the field.  It was visually pleasing at times, and the song was okay, but mostly it was creepy.  
Did I mention that The Weeknd is the name of one young man?  Not his group.  He, himself.  

Apparently we are also the only people on the planet who did not know that H.E.R. is one young, guitar playing singer. 

Without tweens and teens in my car, I am woefully out of touch with today's music.  After what I've heard tonight, I'm not sure that's something to mourn.
I laughed at the Flat Matthew commercial and the Rocket Mortgage examples of how pretty sure could be a troublesome assurance.  I enjoyed all the shop local spots, from Uber Eats to Sesame Street.  The QT employees smiling as they worked were charming.

The anthropomorphized M&M's have always bemused me, but they did make me laugh tonight, as did Stephen Colbert eating wings without speaking.

I found the NFL's self promotional reincarnations of Vince Lombardi almost as creepy as the jock strap dancers.

I winced at the Jimmy John's depiction of their competitor as a mob boss.  Perchance they are feeling threatened by Jersey Mikes, and are trying to make a not too subtle Tony Soprano connection.  Is it cancel culture to be offended on behalf of  those of Italian descent?  

Or, perchance, I'm overthinking it since the game is turning into a blow out.
And that's it.  Basically boring.  We're going to the Puppy Bowl now - it's billed as Intentional Cuteness and that's what I feel like watching right now.  

Friday, February 5, 2021

There Really Was No Plan

At the risk of sounding whiny, aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

I slept well and exercised and made hot cereal for breakfast and opened the paper to find that, separate and apart from the Arizona Department of Health Services' and the Pima County Health Department's vaccine registration/invitation sites, pharmacies at Fry's and Safeway were getting and injecting vaccine into the arms of people who were reading the Arizona Star.

I left the oatmeal cooling in the bowl.  I opened the websites and registered myself and cursed at having to do this all over again for TBG as I clicked through the speedy and easy to follow pages to find that, of course, there were no available dates.

I registered TBG before I went to the Safeway site and had the same experience.  

I spent the rest of today in a funk.  I logged on randomly during the day, but nothing changed,.  Before I made dinner, I called the local Fry's pharmacy and asked the lovely lady (who answered after only two rings) if she had any Covid vaccines.  She sighed, said they had been available last week, that no Fry's in town had any nor knew when more would come, although she was sure that more was on the way.

I keep thinking about the 5,000 person per day sites that are up and ready to run, 24/7.  

I can't look at Facebook and see my friends in California and New York and Chicago and Indiana showing off their vaccination cards and maintain my equanimity.  I'm jealous where I should be grateful that someone I love is one step closer to being safe. 

But I'm so through with handling Trump's incompetence while maintaining my equanimity, and this lack of supply cannot be laid at President Biden's feet.  We did everything we were supposed to do.  I am furious that my government did not do the same.

Fortunately, President Biden does have a plan, and you can read the Fact Sheet here.  It's not very long and it is very clear.  Reading it helped me breathe again.  

I've decided to take a deep breath and continue my delivery/curbside, sequestered with my sweetie, life. I'm sure we will receive our vaccines eventually.  I have to embrace the uncertainty and move on.  

Little Cuter says anxiety is wishing that was is, isn't.  

I should remember that.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Getting Nothing Done

I accomplished nothing today.

I had a list half a mile long, but none of it happened.

The kitchen and the floors and the bathrooms are in a sorry state.  No progress was made on cleaning closets or the pantry or pruning the roses.  I wrote no letters nor created the birthday video I owe.  I did manage to bring in the mail; opening it never happened.

TBG and I spent a few hours on the phone with our kids, though, and that fills my soul.

I did 30 minutes of Virtual Garden Club with the 5th grade this morning, and that garners me some Accomplishment Points, I suppose, but after that I parked myself in a chair and I read.  I finished book one in the Morgan Dane series by Melinda Leigh on the computer, since Kindle Unlimited was free for 2 months and that particular volume was not available in my local library.  But volumes 2 through the end of the series were waiting for me on the counter, and I've taken a break from the middle of that trade paperback to write to you.

It's not that I have anywhere I need to go, or I can go, or I ought to go.  

I just feel that something ought to look different at the end of the day.

The only difference is in my mind.  It will have to suffice.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Big Kid Room

Giblet got promoted.  

That's what happens when you start being just on the edge of naughty in the Room for Twos.  He'll stand on the tile at the very edge of the rug he's supposed to be occupying, smiling coyly through his eyelashes, knowing he's disobeying and enjoying every minute of it.  

Of course, once the teacher stops hiding her smile (the kid is a charmer) and puts on her serious face, he joins his friends on the rug; he doesn't like it when Miss Paige told me NO.  He's testing, he's two, and he's ready to move on.

So, on Monday, Little Cuter dropped him at the entrance to the big kids' building.  The classroom was different but the teachers were familiar, having rotated through his space since he was a baby.  And, of course, there were his friends who were there already.

The kids at Perfect Day Care are the others who fill his life.  Every day, they play and sing and paint and nap and eat and go outside together.  There have always been other kids in his class, but he and Antigone bonded early and it stuck.  Knowing that she and the other girls he adores were waiting for him eased away concerns he might have had.

He had none.

He was quite happy to share his achievement on the phone that evening. Grampa! I go to big boy room! I did it!  His smile, filled with chicken nuggets, was the definition of pride and joy.

And today, a long day for them, we were going to skip our call and that was fine, but Giblet wanted to say HI to Grampa so here we are was Little Cuter's greeting.  Once we established that Gramma was present and accounted for, the boys made faces and laughed until the kid needed another nugget and - Squirrel! - just like every other 2 year old on the planet his attention was completely diverted .... leaving TBG making faces at himself.

This is the news that keeps me sane.  I'm going to read the House Trial Brief for the Impeachment now and rejoin the world of the politically aware, putting my sanity at risk on the way.  It's what has to be done.  I'm a citizen.  Democracy is hard work.   I just don't relish doing it. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Watching the Sausage Being Made

I've been down in the political weeds since Hilary vs The Donald.   I've spent much too much time considering the minutiae of the judicial system.   I've delved into the differences between rural and urban areas in states I've never visited.  And now I know about Reconciliation and Organizing resolutions.

It's disgusting.  

The back and forth in public.  The space laser.  The Senate Minority Leader commenting on his House counterpart.  The fact that people who were cowering in fear three weeks ago are now denying that anything of consequence really happened.

I was happier when I was ignoring the whole thing over the holidays.  

Little Cuter keeps reminding me that it's been less than 2 weeks and that now there's a plan but I live in a world where I can access any book I want at any time of day, where Amazon brings me vitamins and cleaning supplies tomorrow, and where there is no vaccine available so I am registered but don't have an appointment at any of the ready-to-go PODs which means Point of Distribution, another acronym I've learned since Pandemica fried my brain......

Little Cuter refers to this feeling as my brain pouring out of my ears.

All I know is that, at least for right now, it is making it impossible for me to think.

Monday, February 1, 2021

A Virtual Conference

They tried.  I have to give them credit for that.  

The production values were excellent.  For the most part, the transitions were seamless, with hardly anyone forgetting that they were still muted.  Cornelliana festooned the backdrops and other surroundings of those who trying their best to make us feel as if we were there.

Where?  Anywhere.  Last year we were in Las Vegas, just as the reality of Pandemica was beginning to creep in.  Most of us stayed within the confines of the ballrooms of the hotel; hardly anyone ventured out to the art at the Bellagio or to a show anywhere else.  The airport was deserted when the cab dropped me off; there were no fares waiting for him.  

Inside the conference there was laughter and conversation.  Ideas were exchanged.  New people spoke to me, and I spoke to them.  There was none of that in the virtual experience.

We were lectured to by speakers who could not gauge their audience's involvement, or lack thereof.  No one told a joke.  Some were uncomfortable with the medium, and it showed.  Others loved it, talking over one another so that nothing was heard.  

Have I mentioned that I really don't like COVID?

The best part of this alumni leadership conference has always been the snark behind the propaganda.  Difficult issues are talked about in an academic code that is often missed by those of us living in the real world.  But sitting next to those who are conversant is an enlightening experience.  And for those issues we understand but can't believe we're still talking about this, there is always someone else who's rolling her eyes.

Online, Crowdcast has a robust chat feature but Hi, from Long Island was about as deep as it got.  As always, the students were the most fun, the most interesting, the ones with the freshest takes on whatever topic was in play.  Young people today are dealing with a world so different from the one that TBG and I experienced; it's hard to keep up.  In the past, I've hung around the fringes of the conversations the panelists had after the session ended.  That opportunity cannot be replicated virtually.

Plus, there was no swag.

I appreciate the efforts made by the University to have this event at all.  I'm not complaining.  I'm describing.  It's a good thing the sessions are archived; it was too much screen time all at once for me.

A 6 Year Old's Magic

Let's focus, Gramma.

She's serious; we haven't placed a piece in our jigsaw puzzle in an alarming number of seconds.   She takes her finger and thumb into a prayerful circle beside her closed eyes, breathes deeply as she 
lifts her eyebrows to the sky, and allows just the touch of a smile to reach the edges of her perfect little mouth.

If those eyes open and I'm not assuming the same position she will wonder why, so I follow her lead and find that I'm centered, and smiling, and so is she.

We didn't improve our piece/time ratio, but it did wonders for our attitude.

Good job, Grams!  That was a hard one!  Way to go!!!

The kid's life is filled with affirmations, coming in and going out.  She's the embodiment of one of Deepak Chopra's meditation mantras: Today, and every day, I give that which I want to receive.  

She's delighted that I am delighted to be complimented.  She shares my joy, which compounds as I look at her face on the screen, beaming love back and forth, across the ether, our hands doing sharks in the air as the next puzzle zooms my way.

It's a special kind of magic that 6 year olds possess.  I'm lucky to have my very own purveyor, just a few taps away.