A Sore Butt Equals a Happy Heart

My Oh my what a month March was!

Made it to 8,100 ft. elevation without walking. Full disclosure: The bike guide had to help me hoist the bike up for the photo as I was toast!

So, we’re just back from our second—yes, second— get-outta-Dodge excursion. Like animals escaping from a zoo, we bolted outside of the perimeter of our county when Covid vaccinations —including ours—were becoming more widespread. We braved flights in air not once, but twice; first to “Land of the Free” Florida and then to the Saguaro-dotted hills of Tuscon, Arizona. Masks were plentiful, some social distancing too, but for the most part it was business as usual for both states. Everything was open and common-sense practices in effect. It made me think once again how grateful I was NOT to be living under the draconian rules of places like California or New York.

How lovely it was to walk on the beach for a few days with freshly painted Pompeii Purple toe nails happy to splash in still chilly seawater. A drive up the coast to check out the quaint historic town of St. Augustine was also on our weekend agenda. Though it was windy and cold (I had not dressed appropriately for chilly weather) we managed to enjoy a leisurely lunch there and a tour of the Lightner museum as well as a quick stop at the historic St. Augustine lighthouse. Honestly, I could kick myself for dressing in shorts and not bringing a jacket; if I’d prepared properly we would have spent much more time strolling around and learning more about the oldest continuously-inhabited European-established settlement in the contiguous United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish admiral, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés–who would also become Florida’s first governor, this charming city was a mention by my daughter to consider for the next phase of our lives. At first blush upon arrival, we thought indeed it could be! However, after talking with an overly chatty local over a lunch of delicious fish sandwiches and a crisp Chardonnay, we thought better of it as 81 hurricanes have been recorded in St. Augustine since 1930!

A few weeks after our long weekend get-away to Florida we traveled to Arizona. March 2020 was supposed to be our fifth excellent bicycle vacation with Bicycle Adventures but of course that got summarily squashed due to a global pandemic. Hubby pushed the trip to October 2020 and that too was ceremoniously squashed because of issues with my son. Hubby insisted a third time would be the charm even as I kicked and “screamed” NO! to keeping the booking for March 2021. He needed the mental break in the worst way not to mention being loathe to losing the cycling deposit. As for moi? I had not trained for six continuous days of cycling (truth be told, I had not trained at all!) nor was my mildly depressed mindset interested in…well…frankly anything following all the drama of the past year. I was resigned to my pity-party state, which was, of course, exactly why Hubby, with a stern final voice, insisted “WE ARE GOING!”

So, here I am…just returned from six days in the bike saddle, touring miles upon many miles around the uniquely harsh but magnificent landscape of the Sonoran desert. My butt is mighty sore but my heart is happy and my spirits hopeful in spite of the many unknowns that lie ahead for us. Hours of bright, warm sunshine plus long challenging rides —to include a continual 4.25 hours of an uphill climb to 8,100 ft., up Tuscon’s beautiful Mt. Lemmon in the Coronado National Forest, will do that to body and soul.

This was, one of the rare times, that I said to Hubby: “Yes…you were right.”

There is (particularly for him) bliss in that.

p.s. I’ll share more photos of the week once I figure out why, all of the sudden, my iPhone images with HEIC extension are not allowed on WordPress. Harrumph.

Bicycle Adventures 2021

Soup Soothes…

Between rain, freezing rain and then snow it’s been a gloomy couple of weeks. Today though, the sun seems happy to make a glorious comeback, shining through leafless tress and onto lawns, sidewalks and streets covered with snow and sheets of ice. The wind is howling though, which made for a very short morning walk with The Poodle. He tried my patience mightily as he was in absolutely no hurry to get his business done despite the frigid temperature and roaring wind. I yanked and yanked on The Poodle’s lead as I navigated cautiously around patches of ice and piles of snow turned to impressively large blocks of ice thanks to the recent activity of snow plows.

“The next house, if that ever happens, is going to include a fenced-in yard,” I say to my boy through chattering teeth.

The route that usually takes barely twenty minutes with The Poodle takes more than forty, not just because of his lollygagging of course, but because of all the ice. I, for one, was terrified of falling and breaking something, but even The Poodle was slipping at times which had to have been uncomfortable for him due to his arthritis. By the time we returned to the house I was convinced that I was in stage one hypothermia. Even through my favorite impossible-to-do-anything thick mittens my fingers were so numb I could not get The Poodle’s lead off, nor his handsome winter jacket. I left both on for a good ten minutes while I made myself another cup of coffee to warm up. Naturally he was a tad confused, standing in the foyer waiting patiently for his human to act appropriately.

A steaming hot shower and another cup of coffee still did not warm me up sufficiently. Hubby would advise that I turn up the thermostat. Admittedly, I am stubborn on a few things (stress on few). The thermostat setting is one of them. While I like to be warm, I can’t stand feeling smothered in heat when indoors, not to mention the added expense on the heating bill. A setting of 67℉, max is perfectly fine with me plus I get a smiley face report (literally) from the utilities company stating that my winter energy consumption is far better than my neighbors. There is bliss in that!

As the day progresses I know that some sort comfort food will be necessary for dinner. I’m still recovering, as it were, from the heartache and stress from a few days before of getting my son out of my house, again. There is absolutely no joy in this…no cause to celebrate this third (final) ousting. All the reasons literally make my heart, soul, and every bone in my body ache. I still feel as if I am pulling myself up through quicksand.

Thankfully, our “Dry January” is well over and wine is on the menu again. And no…I did not give up a thing for Lent as I have done for some forty or so years. This year it is what it is. I’m giving instead, more smiles and compliments to whomever crosses my path. Even one to the lady in our neighborhood who walks her German Shepherd (she’s a thoroughly odd individual and I often almost run in the opposite direction when I see her coming). I know. Perhaps it’s too small of a “give” but after so many months of constant stress, it’s what I can muster. And, although the lazy bug has got me good lately, I still managed to pull off a spur-of-the-moment delicious bowl of cabbage and potato soup. Oh my, I’m feeling rather tickled with myself! How lovely it was to end the day with a healthy and hearty soup, drizzled with olive oil, topped with cracked pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, good crusty bread and a fine wine. I’m sufficiently warm now, blissfully enveloped in a post-dinner satiety with The Poodle in my lap and a happy husband at my side. Honestly, I want for nothing (well…almost nothing). So yes dear reader, though it wasn’t chicken soup, I’d certify that indeed, soup soothes the soul.

There is bliss in that.

A Maple Glaze Saves the Day

Photo by Amelia Hallsworth on Pexels.com

The other day I was sitting in the car outside of a medical facility waiting for my rocket-man.

Oh, wait a minute: Can I even call him that anymore now that he is out of work?

The air was crisp at 32 degrees but the sun was finally shining after a week of winter gray…and forty-eight hours of intermittent snow showers. I’d brought my Kindle to read as I waited in the car. I’m still working on Sharyl Atkisson’s book, Slanted and Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winning, All The Light We Cannot See. Hubby’s procedure from start to finish was expected to take a little more than an hour but due to the ongoing pandemic (read, Chinese/Wuhan/Corona Virus), I was relegated to wait outside of the facility. I’m barely peeved about it, really. It’s a tad inconvenient but honestly I would rather wait in the quiet of my car, in the cold, without a mask, than the alternative. I’m reminded too of my dear friend who’s husband was not allowed in the hospital during her thirteen hour-long surgery and six days in the ICU; now that had to have been agonizingly difficult for the entire family! Thankfully, she is on the mend and forging ahead with unwavering positivity because that is always how she rolls.

Snow blankets the large grassy area in front of me and it sparkles in the morning sun as if dusted with a thin layer of diamonds. I have yet to touch my Kindle as my mind is cluttered with worry. Worry that my husband doesn’t get a clean-as-a-whistle report from the doctor; worry about what lies ahead…and, perhaps too, what doesn’t. And what’s with my own head? I’ve lost track of space and time. For starters, I am still making referencing mistakes on the new year. I seem to be stuck in a 2020 worm hole, still referring to 2021 as 2020. Wrote February 2020 on a check yesterday and even entered a calendar appointment for eight weeks from now in the wrong year…2020.

Why on earth is my headspace stuck in such a catastrophic year as 2020? Surely I am not sliding into early mental decline. I can only chalk it up to the fact that the year 2020 with all of it’s ugliness, strife and insanity…not to mention a million 2020 themed memes, is so seared into my psyche that I can’t seem to shake it, even well into the new year. And why not? After all, has there been some magical turn of events now that 2020 is behind us? Is the world happier, healthier and saner since you know who left office and you know who took office?

From my perspective at least that would be a resounding “no.” So now we’re supposed to wear not one but TWO masks? It’s hard enough to breathe with one! And how about our nation’s capitol? Truly, for me, the daily Trump drama of four years had well passed it’s saturation point; the fatigue so overwhelming that I forsook all mainstream media and fell deep into a Netflix addiction. Trying to clean myself of that habit should be easy now, right? Trump is out so I should be relieved. Ah, but it’s been replaced by even greater division, even more insane political theater, and the rapidly accelerating avalanche of a pernicious brain virus of woke culture, not to mention a sock-puppet for president. There you have it. Just my humble opinion mind you. Cancel me if you will.

A large black crow swooped down onto the snow. It breaks my train of thoughts which obviously were going nowhere positive fast. I watch as he pecks at the ground, his beak piercing the snow, as he looks for food. I look at my watch and note that only five minutes have passed since my husband entered the building. As I reach around behind my seat for my bag to retrieve my Kindle my eyes spy a place of pure delight. Why did I not notice that upon entering the parking area? Lord have mercy this day has taken a deliciously lovely turn for the better.

All is well and right with the world!!

Instead of the Kindle I reach for my wallet, exit the car and of course, don the damn mask. Less than five minutes later I have happiness in my hands.

A cup of hot coffee and a Texas Doughnut. Caffeine and maple-glaze sweetness has saved me from falling into a dark hole of sad thoughts. I care not, in this deliciously sweet moment, about what’s happening a stone’s throw from where I live. Hubby will be just fine. The vaccine is here and mask burning is on the horizon.

There is bliss in that.

Less than Twelve Hours Left…

As the “worst” year draws to a close I struggle to find something profound or remotely poetic to say in this here space. Alas kind four readers, I’ve got nothing. I am weary to the bone from the events of the last ten months. And, as if Covid, insanity politics, riots destroying cities, cancel culture, friends who have unexpectedly passed and loved ones who have lost so much, the life-quake still residing in the basement, and a host of other little p.i.t.a. issues…as if those weren’t enough...

….my “rock” gets pink-slipped. How on earth does that happen with years of rave performance reviews?

Indeed, this year has been one Stink, Stank, Stunk after another.

Full disclosure; it’s not as if my husband didn’t see this coming months ago when a reorganization literally dumped him into the wrong division. He’s been clamoring to get out of said division and back into his areas of expertise since, even as desks and business units played musical chairs with people’s livelihoods. But now, at the wise young age of sixty-three he’s considered a “pale stale male.” I probably need not elaborate. Still, he never envisioned getting a pink slip. And, although inching ever closer towards contemplating the next chapter, we weren’t quite ready to make big changes.

Now, along with trying to navigate the life-quake and other family issues, we are trying to figure out what IS next. We’ll sail through it and land on the other side says my rock. He is ever the optimist and I am thankful for those reassuring words even If I struggle to believe. Covid of course continues to make it quite difficult to investigate options. Plans to travel this year and check out potential places to hang ones’ hat for a spell have been dashed of course.

Last year this time we were spending the day with sis and family. In her cozy basement family room we ate ourselves silly and raised bottles of champagne to the new year as we danced jigs and blew on our party horns like little kids. This year we’re laying low in our own abodes. I tell sis I’m probably not going to watch the ball drop with Ryan Seacrest. I get that he aims to bring “fun” into our homes but honestly, I’m not up to listening to President-Elect Biden incoherently blather on about healing and unity.

So, today as I scrolled through Facebook over early morning coffee I see this meme by self-help guru and blogger Mark Manson. I’ve not read his books but occasionally I stop and read his insights on FB in an effort to find something (anything) useful to impart on the man-child residing–OH SO TEMPORARILY– in the basement. Like I don’t know this already…but yes, It speaks to me in my present state and of course, gives me pause.

So here we come 2021. I’ve got a few more hours to wallow in my little pity party and then, as the ball drops– as God is my witness– I endeavor, with every fiber of my being, to move the F**K on, even if I have to fake it.

Seriously folks, I am praying for an infinitely better year ahead. From my heart to yours, may 2021 bring you peace, love and joy and keep you in the best health possible.

It’s Gonna Be a Martini Night

It’s a sunny day in my neck of the woods. The winter sky is a stunning blue with wisps of white clouds here and there. I’m thinking of a multitude of things as I walk at a fast clip in a effort to stay warm. Still, the cold penetrates my mittens and I find myself constantly trying to stave off numbness and tingling in my fingers. Oh how I dislike the cold but honestly, with Raynauds, I could be living in 105-degree desert heat and walk into an air-conditioned building and the cold effects on fingers and toes would feel just like a walk in the woods on a crisp-cold winters’ day.

Principally, more than usual, thoughts turn to my mother on this day which would have been her 84th birthday. She left us four years ago and yes, though ours was a messy complicated relationship, I miss her. She was an unusual flower–belonging really, in a totally different universe…on a different planet perhaps. She added distinct bursts of color to a somewhat drab world. She certainly did not fit into the world she found herself in when she married my father. I’d venture to say my mamma (nor my father, for that matter) should never have had children…or, at the very least, she should have waited until her thirties. I’ve definitely got some baggage from both parents. But as God is my witness, though it took over forty years, I’m ever so grateful for my scars. It’s made me who I am and given me a resilience to which the snowflakes of this generation (and those past) could not even begin to hold a candle.

Mamma was a force of nature and mighty opinionated. I’ve lost count of how many times she’d say something inappropriate or cringe-worthy, and often in public, and yet sometimes I secretly admired her unabashed directness. She didn’t care a wit about political correctness or what the “Jones’s” might think. I’ve thought a great deal about my mamma during this past year, one that has been fraught with violence, cancel culture, pernicious woke-ness, deep political divide and all topped by a global pandemic. I’ve held many conversations in my mind with mamma as to what she’d have to say about Trump or his often ridiculous tweets or all the destruction and mayhem in cities across the U.S. I think we’d surely disagree with each other on some topics as she would be all-in for Trump, as opposed to my more measured (dare I say, balanced) opinion. I imagine too that some conversations would surely get a little heated and would end, as often would, with a dismissive wave of the hand, an eye roll, and a “whatever.” And, oh boy….I just cannot envision mamma wearing a mask even if her life depended upon it. She’d likely would have spit bullets and forgo doctor appointments and the like rather than don a mask to go out. I almost feel it’s a Godsend that she left us well before the world turned upside down with such venomous discord and tribalism, as well as the devastating effects of a pandemic. She would have listened to the news non-stop and it would have only served to heighten her agitation, and those around her. I could be wrong in all of this; she could be looking down on us from above in horror as to how the world seems to be teetering on its axis or she could be blissfully unaware sipping a martini on the rocks before playing something lovely on her white baby grand piano.

I struggle to erase the last vision I have of mamma. Unfortunately it was in a hospital and she was on a ventilator. Her face was terribly bruised from the fall she had suffered the day before in her apartment. She never regained consciousness from that fall. I often refer to one of my favorite recent photos of her but still…the image of her connected to tubes in a hospital bed superimposes on anything that I look at. I keep hoping that this will pass as the years go on.

Mamma gave me a love of classical music so on my walk this morning I listened to a few of her favorites–Chopin, Albinoni and Beethoven, just to name a few, as I walked down the path leading to the small neighborhood lake. I looked for beavers and was disappointed again. The family seems to have found new digs this year; we haven’t seen them in ages. But a heron has come back to grace the banks of the lake and it is there that I paused this morning, with eyes teary and a body weary from all that has happened this year. I love you mamma I say aloud as I looked out over the water and took in the quiet majesty of the heron.

I think of words by a young poet:

“Some broken vases can still hold beautiful flowers”.

Munia Khan

Even with a relationship marked by voids, I hold that unique flower that was my mother in my heart and soul and yes, I miss her dearly. So I say: Happy Birthday Mamma. Tonight we’ll raise a glass to you.

Martinis, with three olives, were her favorite. I’d like to think she is enjoying endless martinis in heaven as well as colorful conversations with her favorite personalities.

Break, Bend, Accept…kind of

Lord have mercy! More draconian shutdowns just in time for the holiday season. Whilst those governing from their power towers order us to stay home, they are dining out at $750-a-plate dinners or hopping on private jets to vacay in Cabo or some such place. Personally, I absolutely do not begrudge fun times for anyone, the well-heeled included, but imposing what is not okay for me but fine for thee…well, it’s such hypocrisy. Hey, that kinda rhymed!

Still, could 2020 get any worse? Ah yes it can!

I say this as not one but both cars are in the shop today, one needing major repairs.

2020 keeps on giving.

So yes, I’ll admit that these days I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find five degrees of bliss, let alone ten. I know I am not alone in this. All over the world, no one has made it through 2020 unscathed, unless of course they were living in an ice-cave, in say the Antarctic. Many folks have experienced profound loss in one form or another this year. One friend, for example, will spend her first holiday without her husband by her side. Another friend of some thirty five years is undergoing, literally as I write, an extremely complicated thirteen-hour surgery (yes, mind-boggling, you read that correctly) for a rare form of cancer.

I am waiting to exhale on good news.

Yes, I should feel a bit peppier, after all, as I have said a hundred times, I’ve a nice roof over my head and plenty of food in the pantry. But, I am—as I have also said a hundred times—only human. I acknowledge it’s all through a lens of perspective (others have suffered, sadly, far more than I) but while I am trying not to view 2020 as the worst year ever, it certainly has been the most challenging in a while. The past eight or so months have been, and continue to be, a roller-coaster ride and not the thrilling kind. From shingles to an unplanned dental implant to the stress of not being able to visit a loved one languishing in a memory care facility. Add to that a multitude of unplanned expenses that certainly didn’t produce one iota of bliss as well as an angry flare-up in both knees.

Ah yes…I’m back to scouring the internet for total knee replacement details (as if I didn’t know enough already) in the form of blogs and YouTube videos, which only (shockingly) serves to depress me further. I had managed to sail through spring, all of summer and even some of autumn with barely a twinge in these deteriorating joints. In fact, a bicycle vacation was on the books for early autumn though of course we know COVID squashed that. Fortunately, walking outdoors in the fresh air everyday between five and seven miles through these COVID months has been my salvation from all the madness going on in the world, and at home. Rain or shine, I’ve so enjoyed time on the trails with my “old man” Poodle-love (who turned twelve last month) and then, once leading him back to the comforts of his bed, continuing on, back down into the woods around the lake or around other trails that wind through peaceful, lovely neighborhoods.

Since we were in an election year I made use of time spent walking trying to make sense of political events and the insanity going on in various parts of the country, though I’m not certain I’m any smarter–or healthier–for it! Nearly every day I took to listening to various political podcasts, eschewing main stream media (I’m sure I need not explain). I venture to say this constant streaming of politics and attempting to digest alternative facts and viewpoints–sifting fact from fiction– daily for months on end hasn’t been altogether healthy for my headspace, nor has the stress of an ongoing family crisis–our 2020 life-quake– (which I acerbically refer to as our 2020 shit-storm). And, the plot just thickened with potential life changes in the year ahead. Holy-Molly! Suffice it to say, I’m been mighty upside-down these past few months.

Fear not. In time, I’ll bounce back…to a new normal. We all will…right? Tree decorating helps…along with wine, chocolate and Hallmark Christmas movies. Just saying.

I think of a passage I read recently from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo:

We are all made delicate. The hard things break. The soft things bend. The stubborn ones batter themselves against all that is immovable. The flexible adapt to what is before them. Of course, we are all hard and soft, stubborn and flexible…and so we all break until we learn to bend and are battered until we accept what is before us.

Mark Nepo

So, I am back to listening to music now and thankfully lots of Christmas tunes are keeping my spirit light and hopeful. I danced jigs around the Christmas tree while decorating, managing to send The Poodle nearly running in the opposite direction. I still muster up enough energy to sit on my meditation pillow for about fifteen minutes a day although it must not be nearly enough as I can turn into a head-exploding purple minion on a dime when trying to get my adult son to wake up from his twenty-year stupor and face the music. And trust me kind readers…I’m pleading inside, like you must be too, for a far better year ahead (dare I dream, a mask-less and COVID-free one) and I’m praying for the peace, happiness and health of friends and loved ones, near and far.

God does not give us more than we can handle….so the saying goes. Break, bend, accept what is before us… (to which I add kind-of because I’m stubborn that way.)

It is my hope that my own spirits continue to lift despite our continuing life-quake and even as I believe our country is headed in the wrong direction. The fact that some 75 million folks feel somewhat like-minded is oddly reassuring, although frankly, I’m not sure there is much bliss in all of that either. But more than anything, it is my sincere hope that spirits lift for all who are experiencing a certain bending and breaking; may we all make it through to the other–brighter–side of things with grace, humility and hearts full of kindness, love and hope.

And yes, Virginia… there is heart-warming bliss in those bear hugs I still receive from my nephew (even though he’s shy of being a teenager), in the pretty pink poinsettias adorning my hearth, in the warmth of rocket-man’s embrace, from my poodle-love curled up by my side, and yes… in the glow of tree lights on a cold December evening.

As Leaves Pile Up….

Photo by Devin Lyster on Unsplash

Autumn typically is…almost…one of my favorite times of the year.

Typically? You ask. Well, it is 2020 after all.

Almost? you ask.

My kind “four” readers know the answer to that. What follows autumn is winter and this ole’ gal is not a fan of being chilled to the bone. It’s not that I’ve always felt this way. I truly loved my seventeen-plus years in Colorado and obviously there is, most winters anyway, a lot of snow on those majestic Rocky Mountains and certainly enough in the mile-high city of Denver to make one who is averse to winter to permanently seek Caribbean climes. For me though, the difference between winter in Colorado and winter in northern Virginia is humidity. Colorado winters are, in my humble opinion, infinitely more tolerable due to its arid climate. Simply put, the lack of humidity makes cold temperatures feel less so.

I suppose I should simply live in this moment which is a beautiful autumn day full of sunshine and swirling colorful leaves just beginning to pile up in yards and on street corners. I should enjoy the chrysanthemums blooming, their rich bursts of color competing with pumpkins and Halloween decorations in lawns all around the neighborhood. I should be thinking about pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce…cozy nights on the sofa wrapped in my favorite Pendleton blanket…and new Hallmark Christmas movies sure to come despite Covid up-ending the world.

I should. But I don’t have the energy today….

Alas, the life-quake that has shaken our neck of the woods continues to keep me in both a state of perpetual sadness and unbelievable stress. As I try to remain positive during this new crisis, involving…you guessed it…my son, it’s all I can do to “just be” one moment at a time. It seems impossible to think of the upcoming holidays and the joys that they are supposed to bring while dealing with yet another crisis. We’re navigating through this new storm–which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy–as best we can; whacking my Dammit Doll repeatedly against my desk helps but man would I give anything to have an MMA heavyweight punching bag hanging in the garage right about now.

So yes…I am decidedly not in a positive headspace at the moment and regrettably I cannot pretend, as I often do, to be otherwise. I struggle to find an ounce of fun and frivolity…anything to snap myself out of this shit-storm (no better word at the moment!). As I watch the leaves fall and pile at my feet I feel the weight of our up-ended world heavy on my shoulders. Though I know it is not a panacea, even my simple meditation practice has not eased the pressure as much as I had hoped. I know this too shall pass…I know that change is the only constant…but still…

Uncharacteristically, I have a list a mile long of what I dread as winter approaches (and don’t get me started on politics!). I dread, already, the teeth-chattering cold and fierce winds that will make it impossible to walk around the block without getting frostbite. I dread less sunlight, shorter days, and ice-storms. I dread, silly as it seems, the probability of not being able to spend long lazy weekend mornings over coffee and a good book at the local Starbucks due to ongoing Covid restrictions. But most of all, I dread that this madness will never end.

Argh! I know…aren’t I just a ray of sunshine?!

But hey, tomorrow is another day kind reader and with it promises of less bleakness from me. So….there is bliss in that!

(see, I came around….sort-of.)

Four More To Go….

Alas, my kind “four” readers…there is not much to get excited about in this here neck-of-the-woods. It’s hot and humid in Northern Virginia and stormy weather is headed our way once again. The Poodle will be a mess when the thundering begins and my hair will frizz into another zip code (at least those strands are “going” somewhere I whisper to myself.)

Yes, I’ll admit it…. this present funk is lasting longer than I care to admit. It doesn’t help my psyche one bit either to see neighbors packing their vans and heading to beach vacations and other adventures. Yes…the green monster of envy has taken hold of me but just for a moment. I am only human. Still, abysmal is the only word that springs to mind in my present moment though thank goodness there is– always– this that follows….

And this too shall pass.

Ruined vacations and social isolation aside, we’ve also missed out on pool fun. Though our neighborhood pool opened late in the season this is the first year we have not visited our swimming pool. It’s not that I am worried about catching the Corona virus (really, I am not). It is just that there’s no fun in having to schlep your own lawn chair because the pool deck has been cleared of all furniture and swim-related accessories for safety (after all, pool employees should not be required to spray down pool equipment every hour. Note: not without a bit of sarcasm). Nor is it thrilling, in an effort to minimize pool patron numbers, to have to sign up for a 45-minute slot at the pool (we’ve tried three times and have yet to get a two slots, so effectively, we have given up). Additionally, If we managed to snag a spot we’d be required to wear a mask to enter the pool deck (and, when not in the water), maintain six to ten feet distance in and out of the water from our neighbors and…oh, yes, “it would be great if you could refrain from using the facilities as much as possible.” I suppose I should be happy that masks are not required while in the water! Sigh. Even pool fun has been sucked out of this summer.

So, in an effort to control the degree of doldrums in my little world I walk like a mad woman, arms pumping vigorously, everyday between five to seven miles. It fills, of course, time in the day but it gets me some much needed vitamin D, not to mention a sanity break from all the stress of Covid madness and more. While I power walk I listen to politically themed podcasts or a wide variety of music. Listening to the former this morning made me shake my head in agreement but also filled me with despair and a degree of hopelessness that I have never felt before.

No dear reader, I shall not share what I was listening to. I’d be an idiot to do so in the age of cancel culture and hate-filled vitriol. Just saying.

It did occur to me however, some time later in the morning whilst enjoying coffee on my back deck amidst the calming sounds of my tiny water fountain and the serene pose of my sweet Buddha, that in light of my recent cholesterol and blood lipid panels that perhaps I need to scale back –or perhaps discontinue altogether–listening to anything about politics. For some four decades–through thick and thin and loads of stress here and there–I’ve had optimal cholesterol and blood glucose numbers.

…until now.

Sorry China, I blame it on you. You’ve ruined 2020!

Come on old gal….you must not throw in the towel just yet. Eight months down and just four to go. 2020 WILL END!

There is bliss in that. Right?

Life is Sweet, For Some

Photo by: Cristina Crawford

On this morning, life is deliciously sweet (for some) and oh so symbiotic.

Take this bee. For a moment I marvel at it and, due to my current state of affairs, even wonder how lovely it must be to not have a care in the world on this hot and humid summer morning. Yes, I know. It’s quite absurd to think a bee hasn’t a care in the world. And, obviously, this bee does have a pressing issue: It is laser focused on food. But it doesn’t stop there. The bee “knows” that flowers are its life-source, in the form of the flowers’ sweet nectar and pollen. These are carried back to feed the family, or to be more specific, the entire colony of bees.

But what of flowers? What’s in it for them? Ah…yes of course! Bees are their life-source too. Without them, flowers and many plant or vegetable species wouldn’t be able to propagate.

I continue to admire the work of the bee as I snap a few photos of it with my iPhone. Sweat drips from my brow, stinging my eyes as I continue walking. I stop to wipe my eyes and catch sight of more bees. Perhaps it’s the heat taking affect but I start to wonder: Hmm… what if the bee and the flower were to have a conversation what would it be like?

“Well….hello beautiful,” the bee says buzzing with a dizzying delight. “And how are you on this fine morning? As you can see, I am dragging a bit and therefore am in need of a pick-me-up via your sweet elixir.”

“I am only too happy to oblige you my friend,” says the flower as the bee’s long proboscis sinks into it’s glorious color.

“Yippee! All is right with the world,” hums the bee. In fact, it practically does somersaults of joy as it happily flits from tree to tree before returning to the garden of flowers.

One more go of it before I leave your sweet embrace,” says the bee landing back on his chosen beauty. ‘I’ll just be topping off the tank, as it were. I hope you’ll oblige me just a wee bit more. And, you know it is not just for me. I’ve got a colony to feed after all.”

The flower is grateful beyond measure. “Thank you for spreading my pollen around Mister Bee. My numbers were starting to dwindle and I needed some help. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Perhaps life would be sweeter if more people would understand that we are all in this crazy life together. We need to work together because we need each other. Beyond that, a heavy sprinkling of gratitude would be most appreciated as the cherry on top.

Okay. So, The Poodle is over-the-moon grateful on this particular day. And why wouldn’t he be? He’s just been given his favorite treat of all time by the neighbor who loves him so. Bacon.

There is bliss in that.

The Chaos of 2020 Continues…

As I approached the front door from my long morning walk I spot, once again, a fox scurrying down into the creek bed behind our house. I stopped for a moment, hoping that the scrawny fellow would come back out again if I stood still, long enough.

Hmm. Not today. So…Let’s admire my geraniums instead.

Opening the door I was met with wild fervor from The Poodle. Almost immediately his snout got tangled in my ear buds. What a pair we were as I bent down, attempting to pet him, untangle, and take my shoes off all at the same time.

“Yes, yes….I’m back….I see you old boy.” I say as I finally manage to get my ear buds off. “and thank you for this exuberant display of poodle love!” Since he’s getting to be quite the slow poke in his advanced years I had opted for a solo morning walk. In fact, I needed to pound (and I mean pound!) the pavement…alone…in search of a modicum of escape–relief really– even while sifting through a storm of thoughts and tumultuous emotions.

Hubby was already at “the office” (in his study) preparing for a conference call. “How was your walk,” he asked.

“I’ve decided to pull the plug on Twitter,” I replied. Given the state of our current situation, I am sure he did not expect this reply.

“Really? Why?” he asked looking up at me from behind his computer monitor.

“You have to ask me that?”

Ah, I get it.” he said. “Well, you can elect to simply not read it.

The past couple of months have just about done me in with all social media. I’m ready to throw in the towel because, in my humble opinion, the world has gone completely bonkers. The vitriol, shaming, finger-pointing, labeling, virtue-signaling, distortion of facts, division, destruction…etc. etc. has left me feeling profoundly discombobulated…and, more than any time in my life, hopeless. Every media platform seems to be aimed at the most egregious group-think. If one dares to think or question differently the knives come out; you risk being cut to ribbons publicly. We cannot seem to have reasoned, calm, discourse on any topic anymore. Even my meditation practice has done little to ease the pain and heaviness in my heart.

But, for the record dear readers the insanity of the world isn’t what has upended me in this given moment. Simply put, it helps not one iota that once again my world has been thrown into complete chaos due to my adult son. There I was happily enjoying a cycle ride with my husband on a sun-filled beautiful Saturday morning four and a half weeks ago…and then we get THE call.

Here we go again. How bad can it be? Say what?!

So now, we find ourselves in a nightmarish shit-storm. I cannot go into details in this here space…not at the moment anyhow. Honestly, I would take flying snakes right now over what life has thrown us. But dare I ask; is it possible that 2020 gets any worse?

Wait…forget it! Talk to the hand….I do not want to know!

Suffice it to say….there is no bliss in any of this.