Monday, January 31, 2022

A Flowers Post

FAMBB texts about baking brownies as a balm against the 20-some inches of snow outside her window.  I apologize to her, and to everyone else who is housebound and frozen.  But with temperatures here in the high 60's to low 70's, and sunshine every day, all day, my garden is blooming and I just have to share.  

This is the only winter bloom on the roses on the south end of the yard.  It's taken its own sweet time opening up, but it was worth the wait

The nandina (Heavenly Bamboo) puts out tiny little berries.  These are the few which the migrating birds haven't eaten.  
I planted seeds in the fall.  Apparently, alstromeria (African daisies) were in the mix in this pot with the peace rose.  They are neon bright in the afternoon sun,
and closed up tight once that sun sets.
Come and visit.  It's really lovely out there.

Friday, January 28, 2022

I'm Rejuvenated

I can't have you go into the weekend thinking that I am feeling low.  I'm really not as sad or upset as yesterday's post might lead you to believe.  Talking to you through my fingers helps me work through most of the angst that comes my way these days.  Boring does have its upside; there's not that much to kvetch about when you don't do hardly anything at all.

I had lunch with Amster today.  We kvelled about our kids, her newly paved driveway,  her travel plans.  And then she, the least dramatic human I've ever met, shared an ongoing saga amongst the girls.  She has somehow managed to get herself entwined in something that is reminiscent of middle school, when no one had anything more important to do than quibble about nonsense and then squawk about the quibbling and then involve others in the kerfuffle.  These, though, are middle aged women arguing over birthday parties - it's not fair is a common refrain.

They all work and earn good money and have the usual raft of family and individual quirks and foibles and traumas.  Where they find the time to obsess and then text their obsessions and then obsess about the responses - or, even worse, the lack of responses - is a mystery to Amster and to me.  Why they would choose to spend time in a bitchy mental space is another mystery.  

Neither of us has ever had the energy to invest in those who would drag us down.  We are kind and we are helpful and we are cheerful caregivers, but we choose not to dwell on the problems that are created by..... by what? we wondered as we ate our usual lunch at our usual restaurant.  What would make someone worry about that which is a gift from others?  Why would anyone, let alone more than one, complain that sharing a party just isn't fair?

We didn't try to solve the problem.  We ate and shook our heads and agreed that we were far superior beings who would never trifle with such nonsense.  Such a statement would be braggadocious, we agreed, if it were not so very true.   

Sitting with someone you (1) admire, (2) respect, (3) agree with on just about everything, (4) don't devalue because of the things you disagree about, and (5) who buys you lunch because of some imagined debt that can never be repaid (loving her sons and being there when they needed me) - that's rejuvenating.

I've been smiling all afternoon.  

Thursday, January 27, 2022

I Don't Feel Any Safer

They - whoever they were - told me that two weeks would be enough.  The two weeks are up tomorrow.

The Omicron variant was to have bulled its way through the population by now.  The vulnerable are supposed to have been infected and gotten sick and suffered the consequences by now.  There are medicines to treat the disease, and the triple vaxxed don't seem to be dying or overburdening the hospitals.

Life was supposed to be back to normal tomorrow.

I don't know what I was expecting - a flurry of confetti from the sky, a brass band marching down America's Main Street, millions of people streaming into the streets hugging and laughing and already beginning to forget the past two years.

What I've got is nothing.

I don't know where to go for answers.  The CDC is once more under attack, this time from the left - what used to be the dispositive choice is now just another bunch of hacks, or so they say.  Big Pharma is making vaccines for Omicron, even as it fades away - piggybacking on the government's need to be seen to do something.  N95 masks are the gold standard for protection - I was the only one wearing one in the grocery store this afternoon.

I'd really like to celebrate my 70th birthday with friends.  For some reason, I latched onto this 2 week notice like a terrier with a chew toy.  I'm as disappointed as ever.  My plans were never made, and I suppose that's a good thing.  This milestone is just another thing that has been taken away, and its loss is far smaller than the months in which I've been away from my daughter's hugs, FlapJilly's Uno prowess, Giblet's giggles and buffoonery.

I just really thought things would be different.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Last Look

A mutual friend sent me a lovely picture of Lady Jane, taken a few months before she died.  I come across it as I scroll through the gallery on my phone.  She's vibrant and well coifed and her eyes are sparkling.  I can feel her aching to get the picture taking finished so that she can get on to the next adventure.

I'm taken aback by how healthy she looks.  She was remarkably healthy for 87.  No hearing aids.  No eye glasses.  A cane and a pacemaker kept her mobile.  Although she spent the past few years divesting, sending her personal property to museums and family members and worthy organizations,  I never thought of her as being close to death.  She had every cardiologist in the Western Hemisphere consulting on her heart; we were totally confident that they would keep it ticking forever.

Then she was sick.  Then she was home.

I don't remember G'ma looking as gaunt, as empty, as Lady Jane appeared over the last weeks of her life.  I was honored to be among the very few who were allowed beyond the front door; it's something I valued then and will hold close to my heart forever.  

But my visual recall goes to the flaccid figure on the hospital bed, an image that is unsettling and sad and not at all how I want to remember her.  It's why I never took a last look at my dead relatives in their caskets - the visuals are hard to erase.

So, I'm very grateful to my friend for sending this all the way from Germany, because she knew that it would make me smile.
That's much better.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Matzoh Ball Soup

This is a dish that is equal parts taste and memory.  

I was certain that I broke all kinds of ancient family traditions when I poured the Swanson's Low Sodium Chicken broth into a Revere Ware pot, the same kind of pot G'ma used.  I laughed as I thought of my paternal grandmother tsk-tsk-ing while G'ma and her mom were being totally jealous that the whole process took about 11 seconds instead of all day.  

It seemed thin, until I added the matzoh balls.  Suddenly, it became the perfect background, helping the main attraction slide right down.

The matzoh balls from the Manischewitz package lived up to the rave reviews from Big Cuter - They're as good as the ones from Max's High praise, indeed, likening them to comfort food and growing boy food and really the very best matzoh balls we've ever eaten.

Mine were not as big as I remember the ones from his youth, but they were every bit as tasty as those we can imagine, if we close our eyes and take a moment.

Along the way - while things were chilling then simmering -  I thought of reaching out to family and friends for suggestions.  I thought about it, but trusted the process (can you tell that TBG is watching The Bachelor again?) and I was rewarded.  

This meal took about 3 minutes to prepare. We both enjoyed every slurp spoonful. That's a win in my book.

It also left me longing for matzoh with butter and salt... and the kitchens I grew up in, underfoot but adored, sneaking just a taste, tateleh, my grandmothers enjoying my presence, expecting nothing and sharing grown up conversations that I didn't understand.  Everything smelled so good.  My heart was happy then and it is happy now.  These memories have been with me for a long time.

And so will these matzoh balls.

I forgot about the after effects of over indulgence, about the fact that the damn things keep expanding - from the 1" diameter balls I put into the boiling water, to the 3" beauties I took out and put into the soup, all 10 of which grew a bit more ..... until we just had to start eating them..... and which are continuing to expand..... exponentially, it feels seems, somewhere along my digestive tract.

Perhaps I shouldn't have dismissed crossing Tradition so lightly.

Monday, January 24, 2022

A Loving Wife

TBG misses his son every day.  TBG especially misses his son when there are playoff games - in just about any sport - on television..  They are enthusiastic fans.

I am usually unenthusiastic when it cones to football, America's blood sport.  

I am, however a big fan of my husband, who got used to having a compatriot sharing the couch as he gave instructions to the players who, when they listened and did what he told them to do, invariably met with success.   It's much more fun when somebody's watching the same game and can appreciate the brilliance of his remarks.

So, denizens, I have nothing to report outside the realm of the NFL playoffs.  I'm not sure anyone wants to listen to me indulge in the schadenfreude we felt when Aaron Rogers took his lying, unvaccinated ass home.  I cheered against Tom Brady and was rewarded.  I watched team after team try desperately not to win - and often those teams were playing one another.

I paid attention without playing Candy Crush Soda Saga or reading a book.  Crossword puzzles became the perfect go-to during commercials; I've made serious dents in the ones I was gifted in December.   All my teams have won - some in spite of themselves... I'm lookin' at you, Jimmy G - and the fact that I had my teams in an event that would otherwise would have been paid only passing attention speaks to the lengths to which I will go to see a smile on my husband's face.  

There are only three more games in the post-season.  I can hardly wait.

Friday, January 21, 2022

A Momentary Scare

TBG and I are supposed to be enjoying our first day home after visiting the grandkids and their parents.  Instead, we cancelled that trip when the COVID surge made travelling through crowded airports and changing planes more challenging.

Today, American Airlines sent me a text message announcing that it was time for me to check in for my flight, and for TBG to do the same.

So much for calm.  I clicked through the link but needed a flight number or a credit card number and I had neither at hand.  I moved to Lenore the Laptop and searched my email and there it was - the reservation, the confirmation once they had the money,  the cancellation request confirmation, and the cancellation confirmation, replete with instructions on how to use it.

Clearly, American Airlines thought we were in a good place on this issue.  I agreed.... until that pesky text.

I have gotten over my initial fear of mental decline; I forgot neither to cancel the trip nor the fact that I had done so.  That is reassuring.  

I checked my American Airlines wallet (who knew I had such a thing?) and found the correct amount of money I can use when it's safe to reschedule.  

I was enjoying a quiet moment beside TBG, doing a crossword puzzle, when American Airlines decided that I was in South Bend, and needed to let them know that I was planning to fly home with them.... tomorrow.... on a trip of which I have no record.  I suppose I could contact the airline and see what's what, but that would include referencing a text message that no longer exists..... and how did that happen, I wonder..... with a flight number or confirmation number which I also don't have...... and I really don't care that much at all.

That's the big excitement in these parts.  With nothing on my calendar - better COVID safe than sorry - this is what counts as news.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

A Tale of Two Senators

Emily's List is dropping Senator Sinema.  Voting rights lead to civil rights which are women's rights and her recalcitrance regarding a filibuster carve out pushed them over the edge.

I guess I wasn't the only one who was slightly pissed off.

Did you know that a filibuster can be invoked just by sending an email of intention?  Not only has the requirement for standing and talking non-stop been eliminated, now you don't even have to be in the room.

Senator Kelly spoke out today, saying just what I wanted to hear.  It shouldn't take more than half the Senate to move things forward.  He's not for making radical changes - that's not who he is - but for voting rights, he's up for dong what it takes to get things done.

We have two Democratic Senators in Arizona.  Given the state of American politics, I suppose it's unusual to have even one of whom I can be proud.  But Arizona has been embarrassing me lately, and Senator Sinema is fitting nicely into that pattern.

Bernie Sanders says he'll support primary challengers to Sinema and Manchin. The next few years should be very interesting. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


Sometimes you just need your mom to listen.

TBG hung up early in the conversation, having gleaned the facts and tasted the emotion.  Little Cuter and I, though, were on a roll.

Life was throwing curve balls and that's part of adulthood and is to be expected but seriously, something every day since Thanksgiving seems like a lot.  

And it is.  And I told her so.  Social Psychology teaches us that misery loves miserable company.  TBG refers to it as wallowing.  I prefer to think of it as a cathartic release of emotion in a pure and id fueled way.  The super ego will take over eventually, but, in the moment, it sucks.

No one is in imminent danger.  There is a solution at hand.  None of that mattered.  She was overwhelmed and had no where to go for definitive answers and since facts would calm her their absence just added to it all and she needed someone to listen.

I agreed with everything (she was right) and commiserated with her plight and refused to accept apologies for burdening me (my kid called for help - she still needs me!!!) or thanks for hearing her out (can I say it's my pleasure when she was clearly upset?).  

She was done.  We hung up.  

I wish I could help.  I'm too far to do more than I did.

Life goes on.  It's a the end of a new day, and she's smiling and happy.  

What help I could offer, I did.  I'm pretty happy, too.

Back In The Shadows - Or Are We?

TBG's doctor shook his hand  - Come on, we're both vaccinated  - at his routine visit today.

I cancelled my private Pilates sessions for the next two weeks.

Finding trustworthy information regarding exposure and isolation - especially at school or day care - is nigh on impossible.

This does not make it easier to sleep at night.  

I'm back to thanking delivery people and having groceries chosen by strangers and placed in my trunk by masked teenagers.  

Two friends want to meet - that's not happening for a while.

I have 9 library books on my counter.  A week ago I thought that was too many.  Now, with so many fewer options enticing me to leave my cocoon, I wonder if that is enough.

Outdoor yoga tomorrow is a problem - how much space is enough space between mats?  

How much risk am I willing to take?  

Who can I turn to when assessing that risk?

Are we back in the shadows again?  Who knows?

Monday, January 17, 2022

A Day of Service

Were it not for COVID,  I had many ideas for today.  Some were indoor, some were outdoor, all involved close contact with other humans.  The Omicron Surge is just being felt here in Southern Arizona; our hospitals' pain made the front page of the Sunday paper.  It seems foolish to go anywhere unless I really have to.

I'm choosing to believe that this will pass and that I'll be able to use the tickets I cancelled for this weekend and finally be able to hug my grandkids... and the big kids who are raising them.  Sons and daughters, all - we need hugs, and we need them as soon as possible.

Thus, my acts of service must be less intimate.  I'm not up to doing an outdoor clean up project, but I can walk on Christina-Taylor's path and leave kind thoughts, in chalk, on the pavement as I go.  Maybe it will brighten someone's day.

I can drop off the Cuters' baby clothes at the Diaper Bank, and the why did I buy this foodstuffs at the Food Bank around the corner.  My cast offs can be someone else's treasure.  

I'll finish the shredding and recycling and donating that Queen T and I created during the Great Garage Clean Up.  She said she did it as an act of service to me - so that I wouldn't trip over the obstacle course I had created over the years.  I owe it to her to complete the remaining tasks.

I'll write an email and make a phone call to Senator Sinema, wondering why she won't support voting rights.  I'll send a check to Giffords.  I'll call Gov. Ducey and tell him just how wrong he is on oh, so many things.  I'll send Mark Kelly a note, telling him all the ways he makes us proud to call him ours.

I'll celebrate Little Cuter's night-before-her-new-job, and I'll read some more of The 1619 Project,  because there's always more to learn.  I'll think about the promise of  America and how it seems to be slipping through our fingertips.  Nikole Hannah-Jones and her collaborators provide a new touchstone from which to survey the scene.  

Finding out that my history lessons from the 1960's are flawed is not a surprise.  The gaps in my supposedly excellent suburban education are far greater than I knew.  I'm looking at the world through an altered lens.  Today seems a good day to reflect on that.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Totally Out Of Sync

It's 4 o'clock in the afternoon and I still haven't written the post that was to go live at midnight..... the midnight that is now 16 hours behind me.  I should be thinking about tomorrow's post.  Instead, I'm out of sync.

Linda and Carol and Olga commented on yesterday's bout of emotional disequilibrium, all of agreeing that something is just not right.... though it is what it is and we'll get through it.  It's not life threatening; it's just weird.

I went outside to take a picture of LiLou sleeping in the sun, but she'd already been called inside.  Instead of showing you a pig in heaven, a being totally at one with the earth and the sky,  I'll revel in the fact that it's 73 and sunny outside right now, and these are growing in my garden:

There is a little bit of red on the bottom-most petal, right there by the red dot.

That's it for the week, denizens.  I'm off-kilter and need to reset myself.  I'll be back on Monday, with myself in better condition.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Out of Sync

The whole world seems out of sync to me.

I'm writing blog posts in the morning instead of in the evening, and people who love me are worrying that I've forgotten them.

I went to the Transfer Station to recycle my garage detritus and only saw the clearly marked (if somewhat off the beaten path) containers for each type of stuff after I'd dumped everything into an empty bin on the other side of the lot.

I turned off the irrigation when we had three days of rain last week.  I never turned it on again and now my huge vinca in the pot by the front door is drooping.  It's a matter of walking around to the side of the house and pressing a button.  I am out of sync - I just haven't done it, despite thinking about it every day.

Penzey's is only accepting call ahead/curbside orders of $10 or more. I picked up my $15 order in the afternoon, only to come home and search high and low for oregano.  It was fruitless - Big Cuter used all but a smidge to create fabulous meals - and forgotten to tell me to buy more.  I really don't need $10 more from Penzey right now; we'll be eating less oregano in the near future, I seems

I'm part of a brain training research project from the Alzheimers Center at Banner Health Care here in Tucson.  It requires 3, 1 hour sessions, at home, on the computer, each week.  The system went down before the holidays and my carefully curated calendar manipulation went out the window.  It's back up and running now, but carving out an hour of quiet time is something I'm resisting.  

I'll get back into it. I'm just feeling out of sync. I'll try to get more organized as the week goes on.  I'm trying to quell the notion in my brain that this is just how 2022 is going to be.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022


I'm bad about protecting my identity.  I admit it.  I throw out my bills without a second thought.  While I do cut up my credit cards, slicing through the numbers, I put them in the same trash bag.  TBG said, long ago (very long ago), that we should save our bills.  Why, I do not know, but, obedient child that I am, when a grown up has an idea that something is necessary, I obey.  Therefore, we have many boxes of bills, stretching back to another century.

I also saved every single letter I received since I went to Europe the summer after I graduated from high school.  My 50th HS reunion is a distant memory now - that adds up to a lot of years and a lot of letters.  I do know why I saved them: what if someone I knew became famous and I'd thrown out a missive? 

As Queen T pointed out, pointedly and with oomph, if they aren't famous already there doesn't seem to be much hope left..... we are old.  My electric bill from a house we sold in 1997 is also irrelevant, as are its neighbors in the box.

Disposal is needed.  Tossing all that information into the recycling seemed foolish, even to me.  

I need a shredding event.  There was one in a neighboring town on December 26th; we were not ready for it.  Now, with my garage neat and tidy, there is a line of boxes down the middle, waiting to be destroyed.  I could buy a shredder and do it myself, but even in the 12 page machines it would take hours days weeks more time than I feel like spending over whirring blades.  

Big Cuter is on the hunt.  He knows I don't want to pay $200 for a mobile shredding unit to come to my house so I can watch them do the deed.  Living in unincorporated Pima County makes finding a site that will let me through the gate a bit more challenging.  City run sites require an id to prove that you are paying taxes for the service. There's a  county Transfer Station nearby; he'll call and see what the rules are.

Meanwhile, I'm examining home shredders so that I don't get into this situation again.  It would be pretty hostile to have my heirs deal with this once more.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Last Saturday

There was a memorial at the Memorial in downtown Tucson.  The media were invited to cover the event and speak with survivors.  TBG and I chose not to attend.  We went over to the Safeway and spent a few minutes reflecting, and that, it seemed, was enough this year.

As Little Cuter said, it's A Day but it's also a day which helped put it into perspective this year.  I spent all day with Christina-Taylor on my shoulder, over my head, in my heart and soul.  The injustice of it all, the mangled lives and devastating losses wrap themselves into my thoughts of her.  Eleven years ago I wondered if it was possible to live with that weight;  it seem I've learned to do just that.

It may be that I was able to soldier on through on Saturday because I've been dealing with death for a while.  Lady Jane was fine then she was sick then she came home and now she's dead.  I spent time at her bedside as she slipped from planning to work at her computer to being unable (unwilling?) to open her eyes.  

Over the course of these last few weeks we laughed at the absurdity of it all, and then told snarky stories about our friends and family, just as we always did.  She was her usual acerbic self, correcting me when I was wrong - by her lights, and those were the only ones which mattered - and complimenting me on most everything else.  

I was there Saturday morning when morphine and lorazepam had dulled her and lulled her.  I held myself together as I told her to look for Christina-Taylor when she got to the other side, and to give her a hug from me.  I kissed her forehead and told her I loved her.  

Twelve hours later she was gone.

There's another hole in my world today.  

January 8th is turning out to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad date.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Adventures in Subtitles - A Snippet

Big Cuter encouraged us to watch The Mandalorian on his Disney+ account.  It's a western set in a Star Wars environment, with weird weaponry and modes of transportation not found in our galaxy.  There are languages of all sorts, and speech in English that is barely intelligible.

As always, we watched with subtitles, which described the sounds as well as displaying the words.  Door crashes.... beeping.... loud explosion..... and, our favorite of the evening - flesh squelching.

Have a wonderful weekend, denizens.  Try the show if you haven't already - it's adorable and full of homage to every oater you've ever seen.... and that's in the first 3 episodes we watched tonight.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

She Really Likes It

We have a grand-pig, a sweet Juliana (not a Pot Bellied or Chester White or Spotted), 135 pounds of hypoallergenic intelligence and obstinance - just like your basic three year old human.  Her name is LiLou, and she's a certified therapy pig, who can dunk a mini-nerf basketball and play a toy piano.  She has 25,500+ followers on Instagram.  

This morning, I made banana bread.  I took it out of the oven and turned around to find Lilou in the kitchen, trying to get underfoot.  She really likes your banana bread, Mom came from my son on the couch.  

I cut myself a slice and turned around to find my grand-pig sitting on the floor, looking plaintively at my breakfast.  Sitting is not easy for her little legs and big belly; I'd never seen her do it without being commanded - until this morning.  I told you, Mom.  She REALLY likes your banana bread.

I asked her to shake and received her hoof with all the deference it deserved, and gave her a small piece.

I put a cloth over the warm pan and saw my companion doing circles in the kitchen .  Turn around is one of the commands she must follow before she is allowed to eat her meals.  Through giggles - a pig was talking to me, asking me for my home made baked goods and that is not a sentence I ever thought that I would type - I asked her to go the other way, to sit, and to be gentle when she took her treat.

It was a very unusual morning, denizens.  Very unusual indeed.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Guilty Pleasures - A Snippet

TBG is a big fan of The Bachelor series.  It started from the beginning, when he and Little Cuter would watch together, sharing notions of what makes a good mate.  It was an excellent way to broach an otherwise, perhaps, uncomfortable topic.

That excuse reason disappeared when she went off to college.  His obsession has continued through Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, and shows no signs of abating.  He often asks us to keep his little secret, but, as the kids remind him, that ship has already sailed.

Big Cuter follows the show on his phone through some app or other that gives him the highlights.  He says he does it so that he can talk to his father and tease him.  

But, as my husband pointed out after his son gave him the full rundown on the show TBD had time shifted and was just about to watch, his 'watching from afar' is getter closer every week.

Perhaps it's a genetic flaw?

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

G'ma's Jewelry

One consequence of Queen T's Great Garage Clean Out was the discovery of my mother's jewelry.  Don't get too excited about that - the real stuff is subject to another post (one which will probably never be written) - this is sentimental, bought on a vacation, given on a certain day jewelry.

It was really fun to look at it through my daughter-in-law's eyes.  She's a classy, sassy, girly-girl, who likes her sparkles as much as anyone I know (except, perhaps, FlapJilly).  My mom was the exact opposite.  She was functional rather than glitzy, reserved rather than explosive.  I learned early on that she was an unreliable source for fashion advice.  She thought I was beautiful no matter what I wore.  That felt good, but wasn't very helpful.  

The pieces were attached by staples-on-steroids-with-long long long-legs to styrofoam hexagons, backed with black velvet.  This was my mother's idea of the easiest way to move and examine her treasures.  The jewelry she wore more regularly lived in a small chest atop her dresser.  What we uncovered were memories.

A Mexican beaded necklace.  Israeli street pieces, $1 a piece American.  Necklace after necklace bought at Macy's or Fortunoff's on a Saturday afternoon when it was raining outside and shopping seemed the best way to get out of the house.  Many of these necklaces resemble teeth - black ones and coral ones and lots of off white and blue ones - which led to some interesting conjecturing as we put them into the Clothing Bank pile.

Daddooooo was friends with a silversmith in Greenwich Village.  He made several pins for G'ma, and some of them appeared that afternoon on my kitchen table.  After some polish, one was so pretty that I wore it on my sweater today.

I took pictures of the things I didn't want to keep for myself or FlapJilly and sent them to the family.  Choices were made and packages were prepared and mailed.  

Little bits of my parents are traveling around the country right now.  I hope they are having a good time.  

Monday, January 3, 2022

Happy New Year?

Did you have a Happy New Year?  

The ball dropped in Times Square, replayed for those of us in different time zones.  In a narrow shot, the tv showed a crowd of people.  Once the camera panned out, though, it was easy to see that people were three deep, not 300 deep, and that they were surrounding the sound stage..... not reaching the stores on the sidewalk.

It made me melancholy, mourning what COVID has taken from us.  

I saw that Licorice Pizza is playing at The Loft, the only theatre I felt safe attending after I was shot.  They require proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks except when eating/drinking.  The audience skews older and well educated; it's probably the safest indoor venue I could find here in Tucson.  

But the local paper warned of an incoming Omicron surge; apparently it has not yet shown its full colors here in Arizona.  Big Cuter insists on going to the grocery store for us because you two are old and I'm not.  Coming from San Francisco, where everyone masks and maintains appropriate distancing, he and Queen T are appalled at the lack of respect shown by Tucsonans when faced with common sense responses to COVID.  

So, I won't be going to the movies any time soon.

But otherwise, things are looking much better than they did last year, when a vaccine was imminent but not readily available, when tests were non-existent, when isolation seemed like it would never end.  We had a six week window of freedom which allowed TBG and me to travel to the grandkids - twice!  I remember entering stores, unmasked and carefree.  It lasted a little while, but I am certain that it will return.  

It's been difficult to muster my usual optimism for a new year, but there's been a lot to encourage smiles.  

Dr K and Not-Kathy are back in town.  

Big Cuter cooks dinner every night and Queen T cleans my cooktop til it shines. 

I wore a tank top and sat outside this afternoon in the sunshine.  

TBG enjoyed his birthday celebration, even if we didn't get to the ice cream before bedtime.  

I have helpers to clean up the decorations and carry and lift the heavy stuff.  

The grandkids spent the last day of Winter Vacation playing in snow.  

Everyone I love is relatively happy and healthy and satisfied - that's the best indicator of a good year to come that I can think of.  I hope yours is wonderful, too.