Year: 2020

Pandemic Prose

Counting the Days and My Blessings

Lady and the Tramp
1,000 Pieces…and lots of fun!

Dear Reader:

We spend our lives counting the days. Last year there was a “going to Maui” countdown and a “days until my daughter graduated from college” countdown. I have been blessed to lead a very good life, so most of the time I’m counting, I’m looking forward to a big event, an exciting vacation or simply a glass of wine or cup of coffee with a friend.

Today I’m aware of the calendar. It’s September 1st and that has no particular significance other than the fact that it’s a marker of time. I turn the page and count the days since the pandemic began to exert control over our lives: 166. It’s been nearly one hundred days since George Floyd’s brutal death at the hands of the police sent masses of people into the streets. And only 15 days since the lightning strikes ignited hundreds of fires across the state and forced us indoors, further constricting our lives.

This month, there are no planned events. But, it is historically a very happy month for me because I love fall. It’s natural and healthy to mourn what I miss most now: my dog, my pool, my backyard, my hair and nail salon, my visits to the gym, my leisurely strolls through the mall, my cocktail parties and my friends’ hugs.

But, it is equally natural and healthy to count my blessings as I count the days. I have my health, my family, my home and neighborhood. My bookcases and my pantry are full. My walls are covered with art and my dining table has come alive in a new way.

I am struck by all that has been lost this year, but hopeful that the experience will leave me a better person: more grateful and more present than ever before.

Michele

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pandemic Prose

Hope is the Thing with Flowers

Back in the swim

Dear Reader:

In these trying times, it is a very bad idea to say things such as, “My garden and pool are keeping me sane.” I found myself making that statement for the last few months…until I no longer could.

You’d think that swimming and sunbathing in California during the summer would be a given. But, not this year. 2020 has delivered another challenge. My beloved state is in flames. Hundreds of wildfires are burning, mostly in the north half of the state, but the entire state has been impacted. My home is not in any danger; the closest fire is about 50 miles away. Yet, last week I sat by the window and watched the ash fall from the sky. It resembled snowfall, but without the joy.

By the end of the day, my backyard had become one big ashtray. Evidence of the destruction coated walkways, furniture and plants. The sky turned grey and then yellow. The air was unhealthy to breathe.

As our Governor, Gavin Newsom, said while speaking remotely at the Democratic National Convention: “If you’re in denial about climate change, come to California.” I believe Mother Nature is really pissed off and I understand. She has not been treated with the care she deserves.

After a week inside with air purifiers humming in every room, we had a respite. For the past three days, the Delta Breeze, has cleared the air enough for me to spend time in my yard and pool.

Swimming is good for me both physically and emotionally. I’d missed it greatly. It’s magical to feel the water lift my body (extra covid weight and all). Floating without a care in the world is very addictive… better than a vodka cocktail or even a good book.

And then, there’s the repetition of swimming laps, racing from one end of the pool to the other. Over and over again. No time for thoughts. Until, I look up and notice the flowers that bloomed while the smoke and ash swirled in the sky and I sat inside. There’s a bouquet at the far end of the pool waiting for me.

A pink surprise

Hope is the thing in pink. Wishing you both “hope” and “pink.” I think we need a little of both right now.

Hugs,

Michele

Dogs, Grief and Loss

Goodbye Max; Thanks for the Memories

 

Max
Max still looking good at 14!

Dear Reader:

Fourteen years ago, we fell in love with a dog. Not just any dog. A perfectly proportioned, perfectly marked, black and tan long-haired miniature dachshund. He wasn’t meant to be ours, but HE picked us!

Here’s the story. Our good friends and award winning breeders, Karyn and Jeff of Wagsmore Dachshunds, invited us to their home to meet their new litter of pups. They  breed to show and any dog that does not have the potential to be a champion, for one reason or another, is placed in a loving home to live out their life outside of the ring.

At the time, we had another Wagsmore dachshund at home. Bill was born with a slightly twisted tail that needed a snip at the end. But, that wasn’t Bill’s story really. He was a perfect dog. If he’d been a person, he’d have been a perfect person. He was growing older and we wanted to give him some company. (And, frankly, one dachshund is never enough!)

We sat on the floor of our friends living room delighted to be surrounded by five darling puppies. But, only one puppy sat down in Natalie’s lap and fell asleep. It was a short nap followed by more puppy play. And, then that same puppy snuggled up to my husband and climbed into his lap. I turned to my friend Jeff who whispered, “He’s a show dog.” I understood that this dog was meant to remain with Karyn and Jeff and win awards just as his father, Tommy, had. There was another dog that was available, but he hadn’t been friendly and his demeanor did not appeal to us. So, we told our friends we’d wait for another litter to arrive. I still don’t understand why they decided to let us take Max home, but they did. And the chant in our house for more than a decade was: “He coulda been somebody; he coulda been a contender.”

Max
Max and me at the beginning of lockdown in March.

For those who haven’t ever loved a dog…well, first, I’m sorry, but I must simply say that just as people are unique, dogs are unique. They have personalities. It became clear very early on that Max was not only a thing of beauty with a perfect show-dog trot, he was also a bit of a devil. He was in sharp contrast to the elder statesman, Bill, who only caused trouble when the UPS man came.

Here are my Top 5 Max Moments to illustrate my point.

It was the night of my daughter’s third grade play; she was playing Little Red Riding Hood. Her grandparents had made the trip to see her performance and to meet our new puppy. At that time in our lives, my daughter and I were passionate about crocheting. We kept a basket of unfinished projects and skeins of yarn in the corner of our family room. We never thought to move it. We laid out puppy pads and gated off the room and arrived back home three hours later to find that Max had been busy. It seemed he’d re-created this memorable scene in the classic movie The Ugly Dachshund. Natalie burst into tears, thinking we’d surely return the puppy, but our surprise turned to laughter and an appreciation for the creativity of our new pet.

Max was no longer a puppy the day he sent me into the streets screaming and yelling and flagging down drivers on a very busy road. We were visiting Natalie’s grandparents and suddenly we looked up to realize, with alarm, that there was only one dog following us around the house. The home was large and sprawling, with many rooms to search. And, search we did, in vain. We decided he must have escaped from the yard and onto the dangerous roadway outside. I can’t remember how long we looked for him, but, ultimately, we returned in tears to find him in the pantry adjacent to the kitchen. He entered and someone closed the door and he did not make a sound as we called for him. Why would he?

Max liked to eat. You may have guessed that based upon his preference for the pantry in my in-laws home. He would ultimately become a connoisseur enjoying chicken, beef and cottage cheese. But, in his early years, he was like a toddler who puts anything in his mouth. Max went through a short-lived stage of rock eating. Usually, the rocks would come and go, so to speak, without much trouble. But, one night we found ourselves racing him to the emergency room. We were instructed to leave him there by a seemingly competent vet who felt sure that surgery would not be needed. We waited by the phone and at 2:30 a.m. learned that there had been a shift change at the hospital and the new attending vet thought that we should begin surgery at once. I didn’t like the way this new vet spoke to us. I trust my instincts. So, I hit the road to see my dog and have a face-to-face with Dr. Arrogant. Well, I’m not the greatest driver. It was late. Well, early. I started to exit the freeway, but then had a second thought about whether or not I was on the correct exit. Evidently, I slowed down to a crawl. I was glad I had taken the time to put on a bra and fluff my hair before I got in the car. I felt I looked somewhat respectable as the two highway patrolmen questioned me and ultimately decided to let me go with a terse verbal warning, but no ticket. My appearance startled the doctor almost as much as the fact that within a few minutes of my arrival Max safely passed the rocks on his own.

Certainly one of the greatest fears of any dog owner is the possibility that their dog could be run over. Thankfully, we’ve never had a dog that was hit by a car. But, one day, Max hit a car. I was standing in the front yard talking to neighbors when a car sped down our cul-de-sac at an unsafe speed. Max came running from the back yard barking loudly. He quite literally attacked the car, running into the side of it. As Dr. M put it:  “Good thing he ran into the car and not the other way around!” He spent about a week sleeping the incident off in his crate.

Max
Dr. M performed routine healthcare on Max while we vacationed. I always miss the dogs when I’m away!

And, then there was the day, I heard myself saying this: “Dr. M, Max ate my Prozac!” Apparently this isn’t a rare occurrence. She calmly asked, “How many milligrams?” He was only a ten pound dog, but thankfully I was trying to taper of my 20 milligram meds and so he only got 10 milligrams that morning. It wasn’t a problem.

As I share these stories with you, it crosses my mind that you may think me an unfit dog mommy. But, I can assure you that I am not. I will add a word of caution here: There are dogs…and then there are dachshunds! The breed I love so dearly has a talent for seeking out and finding trouble. I might also bring you back to the beginning of my tale; Max was fourteen years old when we said good-bye to him.

Max did have an immediate effect on his brother Bill. Our friends all commented that Bill seemed younger and more energetic as a result of his brother’s arrival. It would be four years before we lost Bill and by then we’d added Bart and Bella, two more Wagsmore hounds, to the pack. Max mellowed a bit as he assumed the role of top dog, a role he performed for 10 years. He’ll always be remembered as the #1, a trouble-maker, a beauty, a trotter and a sweet companion and lap warmer.

Max, Bella and Bart
Max, Bella and Bart circa 2014

As a family we’ve been mourning our loss for two weeks now. It would have been impossible for me to write this post any sooner. I’ve lost my brother, my grandmother and my parents. Our doxies Bill and Bart have passed. You might think that this loss, amid a world-wide pandemic, would be less impactful. You’d be wrong. A piece of me died with Max, part of my history framed by the presence of my furry companion.

Max and Winnie
Winnie, our baby, snuggling Max just last month.

Thank you Dr. M at VCA, Almaden Valley, for taking care of my boy for most of his years. Thank you to the best neighbors anyone could have, Hector and Ralph, for the flowers and sympathy card. Thank you Karyn and Jeff for inexplicably letting us take home Max.

Many talented writers have taken to the page to share their love of dogs. The joy and sorrow that come from sharing your life with a dog is immense and I like best the way  Will Rogers summed it up:

“If there are no dogs in heaven, when I die I want to go where they went.”

Michele

P.S. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve just read the longest post I’ve ever written. Thanks.

P.P.S. You get extra credit if you’ve been able to keep all the doxies straight. We now have two, Bella and Winnie. My husband is outnumbered…4 ladies to keep him company during lockdown.

 

 

 

 

Pandemic Prose

I Can’t Forget I’m Living In a Pandemic

 

pandemic

Dear Reader:

My husband and I have been married for 36 years. We quietly celebrated our anniversary on June 2nd, Blackout Tuesday. Long-term marriage is not without its challenges and through the years we’ve had a couple of good counselors guide us through difficult times.

The best marriage counselors, like the best fitness trainers, impart wisdom that we can turn to when we need it. Twenty full years later, I find myself reflecting on these words: “There’s Tom’s world and there’s Michele’s world and those are different places.”

I’m not searching for guidance on getting along with husband this time, though. I’m looking for a way to explain and accept peoples’ differing responses to living in a pandemic. I repeated the mantra in my head this morning while I enjoyed coffee on the front porch with my husband.

From our elevated perch, we watched one of my favorite neighbors visiting with a friend. Neither was wearing a face covering. They came walking down the street, side by side, enthusiastically conversing until they stopped directly across the street from us. They continued talking, face to face, without observing any social distancing recommendations.

My friend and her husband are fifteen years older than us, but we have a lot in common with them and greatly enjoy their company.  They were often guests in our home before the pandemic. In May and June, my friend and I began a two-person book club and met in each others yards to talk from a distance of six feet.

We did speak of the pandemic and it was clear that our family was taking greater precautions than she and her husband, but initially they did seem concerned about the danger. Over time it’s become clear, from both conversation and observation, that they are returning to pre-covid life just as the cases and hospitalizations in my state and county are rising at an alarming, record-setting rate.

When she called last week to ask if I’d like to join her for coffee in her yard, I declined telling her that, with cases going up, I’d rather schedule a Zoom call. She was game and we had a lovely chat, as we always do.

My husband and I watched her friendly visit in near disbelief.

“I don’t know,” I offered with deep insight. Even more insightful: “It seems we are not just living on opposite sides of the street; we are living in completely different worlds.”

“Yes,” my husband agreed…because that’s what husbands do.

I felt a bit lonely sitting with that thought. My good friend and I living so near and yet we’re so far apart.

Five minutes later, I caught sight of another friend walking with her daughter and her dog, two of them wearing masks. I quickly put on my pretty pink mask and approached them…stopping at the appropriate distance.

She’d had a scare; one of her co-workers was diagnosed with Covid-19. She’s an essential worker at a local utility company. The office is managed to exacting standards. The virus had been picked up from the day care center that the employee’s children attend. My friend has been so careful. Thankfully, her test was negative, but it was a shock.

We’d discussed getting together for sangria in my yard on our last call just after the state had begun to re-open and our county’s numbers were very small. We agreed we’d visit from six feet apart, but forego the masks to enjoy the beverage we both so love.

I was looking forward to it, until I wasn’t. She pre-empted me: “We’ll need to do sangria over ZOOM,” she said.

I wanted to hug her. Suddenly I didn’t feel alone. I felt understood and that was such a comfort. Two friends…I need them both. Someday, I’ll be happy to welcome all my friends back into my home and my life, but for now I’ll love them all from afar…the ones who live in the same world as I do and the ones who live in another world.

I wish you, dear readers, good health and peace of mind.

Michele

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pandemic Prose

How Are You…Really?

 

Dear Reader:

How are you? Somewhere along the way, we all learned the appropriate response to that question: fine. It’s the quick, polite, automatic, go-to answer that we use in day-to-day conversation.

I use it myself, with one variation. When I raise my eyebrows, let out a quiet sigh and say
“fine, fine,” its a big clue that I’m not fine. The “double fine” is shorthand for “I’ve been better, but let’s not dwell upon it.”

My favorite people in the world are the people who ask me how I am and wait for the answer. These people really want the truth. I can dish out the good, the bad and the ugly and they’ll stick around and listen!

The thing is, most of the time, I am fine. I have my ups and downs just like anybody, but I’m living a very good life. “Fine” was a perfectly fine answer until it wasn’t.

In March, I felt determined to meet the challenges of life in a pandemic. I was busy stocking my pantry, happy to eat bowls of pasta and cereal and riveted to the news.

By April, I’d gained three pounds, stopped sleeping through the night and learned how to set up a Zoom call. I was tired, anxious and depressed.

May brought with it the realization that I wasn’t going to be going back to the gym anytime soon. We turned the garage into a gym and I started virtual training sessions. I was sore and tired and still consuming large quantities of carbs and news.

June was hot and so is July. My backyard is my oasis. When I recline on the lounge chairs or float in the pool, I forget who the president is or how many people have died from Covid 19. I am eating more green food and watching less news, but I am tired all the time.

How are you? I really want to know.

If there is something good to have come from the pandemic, I feel this may be it: people are reaching out to each other to tell them exactly how they feel. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t receive a communication from a friend. Usually, I talk to multiple friends in one day. There are cards in the mail, notes on the porch, messages on Instagram, emails, phone calls and texts.

Seems we’re really not fine and, for now, we want to talk about it. I’m here to listen.

Michele

 

Family, Friends and Neighbors, Politics

Memories and a Recipe for the Fourth of July

Fourth of July, Me and Hector
Me and my neighbor, Hector

Dear Reader:

On this morning last year, I was sipping mimosas, eating “breakfast crack” and mingling with friends in my neighbor Cathy‘s backyard. I hadn’t really felt good about America since the 2016 election, but I love brunch and I was wearing my protest t-shirt, so I felt okay about celebrating.

I live in a home that’s almost one hundred years old in a well-established neighborhood in East Sacramento. It’s a holiday-loving neighborhood. Real estate documents disclose this fact to anyone looking to buy a home here. Large crowds gather for Halloween, Christmas and the Fourth. Last year’s parade was the 89th annual event and it brought residents out into their yards and visitors from all over the city into the streets.

Our beloved Governor Gavin Newsom made an appearance! I was absolutely devastated that I missed him. I’d wandered off with a group of ladies to meet the former newswoman and acclaimed author who lives right around the corner from me when  my husband spotted him walking down the middle of the street.

“There must have been security,” he reported to me, “but it wasn’t obvious. And, yes, he’s just as good looking in person.”

Well, that was 2019. Today, I’m wearing my navy joggers from Target, but I’ve got a new t-shirt: Biden for President it reads. The outfit amuses my daughter, because “You don’t even like him, Mother!” Let’s just say, he’s growing on me.

I wish there was a parade this year; I’d like to visit with Gavin.  I hope that next year’s parade is just as grand as last’s years and that I’m feeling proud of my country again.

Michele

“Breakfast Crack” is slang for Creme Brûlée French Toast…you’re going to love it!

Creme Brûlée French Toast

 

Ingredients:    

                                            

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup

1 (8 to 9) inch round loaf Challah bread

5 large eggs

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon Grand Marnier

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

  1. In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Cut 6 (1-inch) thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. In a bowl whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, Grand Marnier and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bring bread mixture to room temperature. Bake uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

 

Pandemic Prose

3 Things I’m Giving Myself a Pass On

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Dear Reader:

Grilled cheese. Yes, please! I’ve always been highly susceptible to visual temptations of food. My husband is kinda used to it. Goes something like this: I decide what I’m going to eat before we get to the restaurant. I tell him all about it. We follow the hostess to our table and on the way I peek at the plates of other diners. This precipitates a quick conversation with our server immediately after she’s introduced herself.

“What’s that lady over there eating?!”

I see it. I want it.

Alas dinner out seems a distant dream for us. But, we’ve still got a t.v. and I just watched a commercial for Kraft American cheese. You could almost smell the melting butter and hear the crackle of a grilled cheese sandwich browning in the fry pan. I haven’t had a grilled cheese sandwich in a very long time, so why not? This brings me to my first bullet point.

* My weight. I’ve gained about ten pounds since the shutdown began. Seems I’m not alone. I spoke with two friends this week who both said they’d gained “7” pounds. Seven? I didn’t say it, but I suspect they really meant “10,” but just weren’t ready to go public yet. Another friend described herself as “fluffy,” adding that it was “okay.” I agree. I’ll watch that I don’t get tooooooo fluffy, but I bought some really cute elastic waist, navy silk-like joggers from Target and they look pretty good!

*My productivity. Some days I’ve got it and some days I don’t. Every drawer and cupboard in my kitchen has been emptied and cleaned and re-filled with only the things I need. I just love looking at my clean kitchen. But, my linen closet is overflowing and my basement would terrify you. If I’d really put my mind to it, my entire home would be pristine by now. I’ve had exactly 101 days to conquer my clutter…but it’s just clutter, after all. Nothing urgent.

*My judgements. Yep, I’m judging people…everyday. My husband and I were having our evening cocktail on the porch last night when a neighbor walked by aided by a cane on both sides. Her name is Lorraine and she’s 90 years old. She lives in the mother-in-law suite of her son and daughter in law’s home around the corner from us. She had to stop cold in her tracks as a group of people, without masks, surrounded her, walking around her and allowing not more than a few inches of space. I nearly jumped four feet down from our porch and onto our lawn to intervene. I would have. I could have. I didn’t, but I made a judgment about that group of people. And I’m not ashamed.

So, that sums it up. I’m fluffy, unproductive and judgmental. I’m okay with that.

Michele

Family, Friends and Neighbors

Wonderful Dads Make For Wonderful Daughters

 

Dad and daughter on the beach

Dear Reader:

Twenty fours years ago I called my husband to ask him to pick up ice-cream on his way home from work. It wasn’t something I’d done before, but still he didn’t have a clue that I had a bigger treat for him when he arrived home. That’s the night he got the news:

You’re going to be a dad!

Our daughter is a wonder and that is mostly a tribute to her own hard work and good heart. But, she’s a lot like her Dad. He’s an intellectually curious person with varied interests and those traits became evident in Natalie very early in her life.

I need only to tell you about my daughter’s favorite outfit at the age of four. She wore, nearly everyday, a green t-shirt with a picture of her favorite dinosaur, the Brachiosaurus, purchased by her Dad at the Field Museum gift store on a business trip to Chicago. She paired it with a pale pink (from the pink shed pink) sparkling tutu and tennis shoes that lit up when she jumped.

My husband used to say: “I want her to be well-rounded.” And, he made sure that she was. He read to her often…books about nature, space, travel, heroines and adventures.

It would be years later that the two of them took a National Geographic sponsored trip together to dig for dinosaur bones in the mountains of Colorado. Natalie returned having decided that perhaps paleontology was not the best career choice for her. They came home with sunburns, but also found treasures and vivid stories of the desolate terrain,  intense heat and thick chocolate milkshakes in the hotel room at the end of each day.

During the school years, my husband provided well so that I could choose to become a stay-at-home mom. Work was hectic but family was unquestionably his priority. We especially treasured time spent on the beach in California or Maui. He and Natalie were expert sand castle builders.

One of my favorite family stories took place on Natalie’s first trip to Hawaii. She and her Dad were completing a fabulous sand structure, when suddenly Natalie jumped up screaming. I could see her from the water running along the beach with a crab dangling from her finger. She had evidently upset one of the beach residents with her digging and he’d bit her in protest. My husband came to her rescue as I made my way to the shore. The next day he encouraged her to return to her work on the beach…with her finger properly bandaged.

He also nurtured an appreciation for art in our daughter. Although, she hated it at the time, her father commissioned a portrait artist and she had to sit for him for several hours so that he could capture her image on a huge canvas that hangs in our living room. She enjoyed much more the many trips to the theater in San Francisco and the museums in London.

When it came time for Natalie to pick a college, it was her Dad who accompanied her on the tours. It seemed only fitting to give him that pleasure as I had been the one to shuttle Natalie between home and school and the dentist and volleyball practice in the early years. Their father/daughter road trips to universities were a final bonding experience before Natalie became a self-sufficient adult.

Now that self-sufficient adult is riding out the pandemic at home with Mom and Dad. I feel so blessed to be able to skip the news articles about troublesome family dynamics in pandemic times. Natalie and her Dad are happy together watching a nature documentary or driving in the convertible or just shooting the breeze on a hot lazy day.

I am so grateful to the man at the center of my happy little family. He’s a remarkable husband and father.

Michele

Politics

Dear Governor Newsom …

California Governor Gavin Newsom
California Governor Gavin Newsom

Dear Reader:

My dear friend, Laurie Seidler, asked me to proofread her letter to a man we both passionately admire, because it’s not everyday that you write to the governor.


 

The Honorable Gavin Newsom Governor of California
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173 Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom,

Are you getting enough sleep? You look drawn.

That is not a criticism, Governor. Far from it. I’m a fan. I think you’re doing a wonderful job ceaselessly working to protect the 39 million Californians in your care. You have my utmost respect and admiration. I worry about you because I care. It’s as simple as that. I love you, Gavin Newsom.

To clarify, when I say that ‘I love you’ I mean it in a purely platonic/maternal way. Although, let’s face it, you are the whole package: kind, caring, easy on the eyes, and soothingly science-y. If I’m honest—and I want to be honest with you, Gavin—put me in a room with you, Justin Trudeau and Anthony Fauci and I would spin in a circle like a short-circuited Roomba. (If you could keep that last bit to yourself I’d appreciate it. The Fauci posters already have my husband a little on edge.)

Seriously though, Gavin, I worry about you. You’re greying. (It suits you, but still.) You’re pale (like a sexy vampire.) And your voice is so… so husky. Are you gargling with salt water? Have you tried Throat Coat tea? Tell me if you need some honey because I will leap into my minivan and drive straight to Sacramento. I will. I have honey, and it’s all for you.

Say the word and, according to Google, I’ll be there in one hour and fifty minutes—half of what it would have taken pre-Covid-19!—plus two to five days for the test results to come in, because I want us to be able to merge our bubbles without shame, or guilt, or 14 days of isolation. Not that I’m likely to have even a cold because I’ve been sheltering in place like it’s an Olympic event. I’ve been very, very good, Gavin. I always wear a mask in public because, to quote you: “Together we can slow the spread.”

Once our bubbles have merged we won’t have to wear masks or keep six- to ten-feet apart. We’ll be free to be ourselves. But we can take any precautions you like because I want you to feel safe, Gav. I want you to be safe. I want you to guide us through this inferno and emerge Phoenix-like to mesmerize us with your informative and factually correct press conferences for years to come.

So, drink some tea, my Governor, and get some sleep. Sweet dreams, my prince.
Respectfully yours,

Laurie


 

I think my friend speaks for so many Californians… including me!

Michele

P.S. Can you spell S-A-T-I-R-E?!

Pandemic Prose

I’m Just Not Sorted…Are You?

This is how I feel. How about you?

Dear Reader:

I’m an unapologetic Anglophile. Love all things English, especially the cream in all its many forms. In America, we have cream, whipped cream and half and half. In jolly old England, the options include all of the above as well as single cream, double cream, clotted cream and extra thick double cream.

I have had the distinct pleasure of traveling across the pond several times. I’m very grateful for that now as I shelter at home and ponder how long it may be before I travel again. London, I believe, is always a good idea. Not so much, Paris, but that’s another post.

Second only to my passion for the creams of the UK is my amusement and pleasure at the native language. English, you say?! Well, yes…kind of.

In the U.S. we don’t “pop” over to friend’s homes. We don’t “potter about.” We hardly ever  use the words “lovely, proper and brilliant.” Nor do we “sort” in the same way as they do in the U.K.

Sort- British informal. organized, arranged, or dealt with satisfactorily. Sorted can also be said of a person.

Americans sort closets, drawers, papers and mail. But, we don’t talk about sorting ourselves. We might say: I’m thinking or contemplating or meditating. But, we don’t refer to a state of peace or contentment as being “sorted.”

But, that seems the perfect word for what I’m trying to do lately. My mind is in a jumble and I’m trying to sort it all out. It’s just a mess. I wake up thinking how many more days until the election? Is the covid 19 trend line going up or down in my county? Will we finally address systematic racism in this country? When will the people I care about who’ve lost jobs, find employment? Will the small businesses I love so much survive? When will I be able to pop the corks and throw a big party? 

My mind continues to wander aimlessly. I’m eating a piece of  Victoria Sponge at the Fortnum and Mason Tea Salon in London. I’m walking barefoot on the beach in Maui feeling my muscles work against the moving grains of sand. I’m ducking, out of the fog, into a coffee shop in Carmel to visit with a friend. I’m on my favorite ride in Disneyland, singing…”it’s a small world after all.” I’m feeling like a giddy teenager having my picture taken with Chris Isaak before his concert in Reno.

Then I remember the Instacart shopper forgot to deliver the milk from my last order. Must buy milk. 

It’s been five days since I’ve posted anything despite the fact that I’ve got ten drafts in progress. I’ve asked my daughter to read for me. I know something’s wrong but I’m not sure what.

“This is two or three separate posts, Mom!”

She’s told me this three times, and each time, I start another draft. Finishing things is so hard right now. It requires concentration and focus. That’s not easy. 

I will endeavor to persevere* to achieve a sorted state! We must try to try…in these unprecedented times.

Michele

P.S. Ali, The Mindful Gardener, are you listening? Have I got the Queen’s English correct?!

* As a reader and writer, I’ve always appreciated Chief Dan George’s words from the classic movie The Outlaw Josey Wales!