[Editor’s Note: Still couldn’t do it. My experiment in purge writing, stream of consciousness writing was intended to be unvarnished, uncensored, just write what bubbles up as a means to try and capture where 2020 left me. We were all left somewhere with our thoughts and mine were crazy. I might guess everyone’s 2020 thoughts were a mix of despair, frustration, anger, confusion, fear, bravery. Thing is, while I spewed forth with whatever came to my head, and left those comments unread and unedited (until I thought better of it), they aren’t a fair picture of how I have reacted to 2020. Not in full. In legitimate ways those are truly ideas and judgments that pass through my head, but I–we all–work hard to edit before going public with innermost thoughts for good reason. They can be hurtful. They can be a young, untempered reaction to life, but not our wiser, learned reaction to life. We all have judgments, but we know enough to keep them to ourselves and allow the people around us, many of whom we love, the space to be who they are. We don’t tell people what to think. We don’t, even on our worst days, expect people to fall in line with our own ideas. I am so pained by so much of what I wrote last night. Been a rough day. So, I’m editing again. The first time was just to remove the f-words. This time through, editing out the judgmental. I’ll speak my own truth but keep my nose out of others’. Except elected officials, who I’ll always call out.]


About seven hours until 2020 is a wrap. Not that we’ll wake up tomorrow in a new and better world, but we are surely off to a promising start. But, man, what a messed up year, and what a messed up country we are living in.

And… of course… so much to be grateful for. We didn’t die of Covid. We (Jim and I) actually don’t have anyone close to us who did. We didn’t suffer financially, we didn’t lose a business. We won a presidential election (resoundingly, I might add). And, best of all, Peter is in a good place — thriving, happy, challenged, fulfilled…not to mention deeply loved.

For all the downtime we’ve had this year, time to think (worry, stress, bonk our collective heads)… I am at a loss to try and tie a neat bow around 2020, let alone even begin to get my hands around this tragic year.. this horrible, shocking, heartbreakingly tragic year.

I’ll leave it to historians to write thoughtfully and coherently about 2020. I’m just gonna plop down by the fire (I’m already here), with a hot mug of glogg (head’s already spinning) and do a little stream of consciousness writing because I feel like I want to note some of what’s impressed and impacted me (y mi familia) but I’ll never write about the end of 2020 if I have to be succinct and articulate. So… just thoughts… disjointed, random… a slightly inebriated data dump.

Here goes.

I shudder for 2020. I shudder for us. The reign of Donald Trump is almost over. Feel sorry for him? I’ve gone there. There’s plenty to feel sorry for, his life is a tragedy. But anyone whose vile, evil behavior affects this many people, who behaves without any regard for anyone but himself, who behaves without morals, whose instincts and decisions hurt as many people as his do.. sorry. He has hurt too many, the planet, has risked the future of our children, the entire world. It’s unfathomable how much power he’s had, how irresponsibly he’s wielded it, and again, how much very real damage he has caused in service to himself, alone.

And will continue to cause. And I continue to be shocked by how people — 72 million — continue to support him after all we’ve seen in the last five years. And because they do, their elected representatives have followed. With few exceptions, and motivated by their desire to hang on to power, way too many congress people have climbed aboard his crazy train. They can’t buck him, because: Twitter. Because: their reelection. They are beholden. Can’t shake him now. Didn’t stand up five years ago, didn’t stand up at any point along the way. Can’t stand up now. They belong to him and he is theirs forever.

It’s a fascinating dynamic. Except that it’s dangerous and runs counter to everything we ever thought our country stood for. It’d be fascinating except that it’s leading to deeper chasms between us — a country cleanly and maybe irrevocably divided. He can only thrive in a divided world where enemy lines are clearly drawn, so divide us he will. He did. The damage is deep. And congress has been all too willing to go along. Trapped in the grips of a sociopath of their own encouraging.

I don’t feel like writing more about that. I just resent it. I resent that he claimed the flag, claimed patriotism and all the while burned our country down. And on his way out, he has no problem continuing the destruction. Because it was never about the United States. It was never about us, the people (democrats, certainly). It was only about having the power, occupying the most powerful office in the world. He never cared about the job, only about attaining the highest most powerful position on the planet.

And how did we allow that to happen? (Not we.) Given the obvious damage he’s caused, how does congress continue to go along? I will NEVER, EVER understand how this fealty continued, especially once it became clear to even the republicans, how unfathomably unfit he is and how dangerous he is to our collective well-being, to our democracy, to all of civilization. No exaggeration.

Again. I just can’t comprehend. I try to write about it. I can’t.. I continue to be gobsmacked by the cynicism, by their fear of losing power. All I have been able to do is be anxious and stunned and scared. All that comes out is blog post after blog post is this. I’m aware… I search for words; I don’t have them. I can’t muster anything on the page as horrific as he is, so my posts are redundant, circular and increasingly panicked. I give myself nightmares.

So that’s been one of the major stories of 2020, and of course all four years of this indecent, immoral presidency. I am so relieved that he lost. And while I know he’s not going away — will continue to hold a weak congress hostage to his madness — at least he’s not president. At least he’s not president. At least he’s not president.

I don’t know what fresh hell will greet us in 2021. Whatever sources from Trump’s Twitter account will be awful is all I’m sure of. I do know he’ll cling desperately to the spotlight — because he’s a madman and lost at sea without the attention — and continue to make our lives hell. But at least he’s not president.

We worked hard for this. As did tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of people across the country. I haven’t totaled it up officially (it’s on my list) but let’s just say the presidential election inspired a world record of activism in me. A good thing, I suppose. And a convenient focus in a year when we couldn’t go out, couldn’t travel, couldn’t partake of normal recreation and activities… so might as well have upped the activism level to a 10. Though, pandemic or not, I/we were already there. Our group had already been meeting, marching, writing, calling and registering voters like crazy, well before the pandemic. But wow, what a great focus during a locked-down, reduced-activity year.

So when I finally go through my tallies of calls, post cards, money donated, etc, it will be amazing.

Fires. Our planet’s dying. Irresponsible people are killing us, our trees, our oceans, our animals and fishes. It is painful. We have lost so much ground under Trump. What is wrong with people? How can we even begin to address the magnitude of the challenge without leadership in the US? Much has been lost, the fires are epic and not letting up. Fire storms are a fact of California life. The fear, N-95s, stench and ash-covered cars is now a months-long experience. Every year.

Uprisings around racial injustice were the most hopeful and inspiring thing that happened in our country this year. The pain is deep. The injustices, inequities profound. No human can forgive our history or abide its impacts. It’s way past time. I have been so moved and so encouraged by our multi-racial, fierce, compassionate youth. Their time in the saddle cannot come soon enough.

The year was more than anger. I recognize I’m way over the top angry. Angry at our leaders for their lack of principles, for their weakness; angry at injustices; angry at the devastation. It’s all a gut punch. Wrenching, frustrating, despairing.

I’m embarrassed by my anger, chagrined that I haven’t found a way to moderate it, or put it in a constructive box. Embarrassed that I haven’t learned how to keep political drama, for example, from entering my bloodstream and taking over my life. Yes… I admit — and hope to learn how to deal better with it — that I’ve allowed myself to become obsessed. I realize it’s tiring at best, bad for my health at worst, and somewhere in between puts my relationships with family (including Jim!) and friends at risk. The politics of the last four years have been toxic. I totally realize. I’ve allowed my reaction to all of this to affect my day to day life. Bad me. A smarter me would have perspective and a more reasoned, temperate reaction to the relentless torrent of crazy. For one thing, it’s out of my control.

Must stop swearing. Hey, maybe that will be a new year’s resolution! It would be such a good one, even an easy one, and such a symbolic move from anger and toxicity –> peace and sanguinity. This idea is growing on me by the second.

Desperate to be beyond this style of “leadership.” Eager to be bored by politics. Liberated by normalcy. Confident in our leaders’ competency. Free of swearing.

In other news.

2020 infused me with love and admiration for Peter. Not to overstate this. I mean, he’s only 22 with a whole life of judgment errors and bad decisions ahead of him. But 2020 saw him graduate from UCSD, having had, as far as we observed, a productive, fun time during his four years at college. He’s started a whole new life at University of Michigan. During a pandemic. He figured out the whole move, got himself there, had fun along the way, got himself a place, met people, began a good working relationship with his major professor whom he already respects, dove into challenging research that inspires him, spends his time delving deep into related subjects just for fun, registered and voted in a new state (!), did some political action of his own, wardrobed himself with winter gear, and, lately, has Zoomed with us nearly every day (well, only since the semester ended and many in his cohort left town). The Michigan part’s been an impressive exactly-five months.

The point? The world can just go to hell in a hand basket, but the kiddo at the center of my life, the biggest hunk of my heart, right up there with Jimzerolly, is happy. Full stop.

Hell, Jim is happy too. Mr. Grasshopper is just happily fiddling along, even as his Mr. Ant self works smart and brings home the bacon. Is that too much fable-izing and metaphor mixing? His balance, steady-as-she-goes, even-keeled, engaged-but-unfazed-by-political-madness self, is an anchor in my life. He just works in his garage, builds things, takes naps, eats well, stairmasters happily along. All is well.

Yet another positive in an otherwise negative 2020.

Twenty-twenty was other stuff, not all bad. Just a few months into our remodeled space, we started dealing with the landscaping. I’ve written about that plenty, so will just summarize by saying it’s a relief to see that underway with easily countable remaining tasks. I’m shocked we (I) entered into the project with no real sense of its expense (not shocked, actually). But the relief of being able to see the end of the entire 2-3 years of remodeling projects is significant. (And it’s worth noting that this all began with the simple idea of enclosing our back porch in order to provide a sunny and light place to sit–a place to read and write and gaze out to the garden (which was nice enough as it was). Then we thought, well, if the space was conditioned, we could move the piano into it, freeing some space in the living room. Then, as long as we were adding 12′ of space onto the living room, we may as well extend the entire west side of the house and garage by 12’… that would give us a laundry room/pantry/project room AND a huge garage annex for storage. And as long as we were going to be suffering remodel chaos, this would make it a good time to do that bathroom remodel, which we decided to get out of the way first. And, ultimately all that west wall expansion necessitated some backyard changes, which turned into an entire backyard landscaping plan, so why not the front yard? And did I mention that as long as we were adding a new roof over the additional space we may as well re-roof the entire house, and it was surely time to replace the solar panels. And re-side the entire house. And, of course, re-paint it. Oh and add two new fences in the backyard, and a new custom wood garage door to boot. Holy hell, is that all?)

Easy to see why it’s a relief to see the end of this project. And that happened in 2020…. though will trail a wee into 2021 before all is said and done.

I’m freaking out about covid. I’ve been respectful of it from the get go. Followed guidelines from the moment issued. I was, however, a bit cavalier about the prospect of getting it. I’ve been certain that, if I were to contract the virus, I’d be in the vast majority of people who get through it, either with manageable symptoms or even none at all. That’d be in keeping with my history of not ever getting stuff. Now, as thousands and thousands across the country are dying per day and California is in a state of emergency with zero percent hospital vacancy and infection rates off the charts, I’m terrified. I feel like staying put, not going out at all–or just barely–and totally 100% safely, until I get my second vaccine shot. Which, who knows when that will be? The first probably won’t happen for months, yet.

Inside time’s been a little bit good for inside pastimes. I’m on only my second jigsaw puzzle, haven’t completed even a single book (though made progress on a few). I started my blog up again, though that happened just prior to the pandemic, and it’s been a great platform (says me) for ranting and panicking.. both in great supply these past 9 months. And I did bake two loaves of bread!

My time, as I said earlier, has been largely spent on political activism… a by-the-numbers summary of which I’ve yet to pull together. Since March, the SisterDistrict/IndivisibleYolo Zoom meetings alone added up to at least a solid part time job. The SD/IY communication team tasks and special event organizing was substantial. The time spent on Kelly’s campaign–even after I stepped down as that communications team’s lead–was also substantial. And that’s before we get to the time writing postcards, making calls, sending texts, delivering lawn signs, doing lit drops. Doesn’t count the rallies, vigils, protests, marches and even an election victory dance celebration in Central Park (at distance).

Outside of political work, Zoom events included Peter’s graduation from UCSD, his graduation family party, two dance parties, too-many-to-count concerts, several lectures, two conferences, one pub quiz, a poetry reading, two family Thanksgiving gatherings, three family Christmas gatherings, Jim’s appearance as an expert witness in Yolo County Superior Court, several phonebank trainings (oops, that’s political), two book club events, several candidate fundraisers (also political), and just countless long, leisurely Zoom hangouts with Peter. What.Would.We.Do.Without.Zoom??!!

Maybe my other standout activity during this pandemic would be my cooking revival. That, too, I’ll eventually quantify, but based on the last time I counted, and the cooking that’s transpired since, I’d say I tried close to, if not exceeding, 100 new recipes. Jim and I definitely got into a rhythm with my meal planning, his shopping, my cooking, his cleaning, our evaluation of dishes … it’s been a fantastic run. I’ve enjoyed each and every minute of cooking, refamiliarizing myself with the kitchen, eating ….. and gained, funnily enough, just about 19 pounds. The Covid-19 they call it. Well, maybe 20.

If one were to put the best possible spin on a horrible year, I’d focus on the creative Zooming, the cooking, the home projects, the endless walks. But overriding all of this is the reality of death. Unnecessary death and suffering. I place, as I’ve written numerous times, all the blame on Trump. All of it. He alone botched it up. Leaders gotta lead and he did not. People would have died from the virus, no question. But he failed to lead, failed to rally the country, confused the messaging, failed to organize a concerted, thoughtful, effective response. Led sheeps to slaughter. It is unconscionable, like all of his cowardly, self-serving, intentionally divisive acts. He is either shockingly ignorant and over his head, or unfathomably immoral. Or both. It was breathtaking to follow the news each day.

His unequivocal loss in the election is a reassuring development. It gives me great hope. The fact we still have posturing congress members playing games with Biden’s victory gives me an ulcer. That we will still have to deal with this monster and all that he has created makes me sick. The election was not stolen from him; he has stolen from our country more than we will ever recover. He has damaged us.

He is 2020. But he is going to be gone from the WH. We are almost done with his foul, tragic presidency. And with him gone, with multiple vaccines in circulation, with new leadership, with a renewed and humane set of values in our incoming, diverse, smart leadership, we may regain something after all of this. There is so much to rebuild and then build upon. We will be much better off going forward than we are now. There is that…. even as it’s just so stunningly overwhelming. But I’m grateful we are starting this next year in this much better place, rather than the alternative.

And look at that, I’m longer-winded than even Heather Cox Richardson. At least she’s interesting!


I only took a few pics down by the creek today, and one downtown, so slim pickins, but I gotta end with at least one photo, so how’s this for things looking up?

Happy New Year, beloveds.

Solving Problems

December 30, 2020

Peter’s had a lot of time on his hands.. classes ended a couple weeks ago and the semester break continues for another 3-4 weeks or so. Ordinarily, a nice vacation. But no vacation this time around because no travel, no entertainment, no socializing.

Poor guy. But safe guy.. that makes me happy.

His boredom means more Zoom calls for us. That also makes me happy.

This is a cute shot.

I can say with some confidence, we are talking about math problems. Because we usually are. Such the education Jim and I are getting. 🙂

Next Step: Patio

December 29, 2020

Not a lot goes on these days. So when something happens, anything really, it seems kinda big. To wit, this happened:

I’ll try not to let the excitement of a patio take the place of my fascinating commentary on politics, pandemics, justice, and the mentally ill (the US president). But: a patio!

After this photo was taken, we got some kind of gravel layer and a grid of rebar. And now, because of upcoming weather, it will remain in this state for a couple weeks.

‘Tis fun to break ground on this, though.

Doom and Zoom

December 28, 2020

Our hiking group had its annual gathering today. Via Zoom. We don’t hike anymore… which is a true bummer, and we haven’t had our annual full-moonrise snowshoe for years now. We have sorta traded out rigorous hiking for travel — Yosemite (Ahwahnee-style), Italy, Barcelona. Until this weirdo year, we usually manage some lunches, some special events, maybe a mellow walk somewhere…. and our annual holiday gathering, which has for many years been a long lunch and gift exchange, at one of our houses or, in recent years, at a restaurant.

But of course none of that works at present. So this year, it was a Zoom call.

This is a deeply well-read, politically savvy group. Back in the olden days, when political discussions were just about routine politics, they were just garden variety lively conversations. Now political discussions are about setting our hair on fire. And it’s still the focal point of our conversations. At least we’re all on the same page. (And frankly, were we not, we wouldn’t be friends. In the current era, there are not two legitimate sides to the debate.. but that’s another blog post.) So we had a lot to talk about, what with the final days of Trump’s chaotic reign, his predictable antics, continued unraveling, blah blah blah. Much doom he has wreaked.

But also.

Two weeks ago, Rick died. Not surprising, but still shocking to hear the words. The good judge had been going downhill for years, due to runaway bad side effects from an otherwise successful treatment of melanoma. He already gathered a hundred of his closest friends several years ago on the Fourth of July at his foothill property to say goodbye. Things should not have gone so awry, but they did, and should not have gone on as long as they did, but that’s the way it happened, and it was horrible. It was a tragically sad thing to observe. Rick was a powerhouse in every way: intellectually, professionally, socially. Commanded any/every room. He was at the center of so many people’s lives. Could write a book about him (certainly a longer blog post). Fascinating man, an amazing life.

And in the end, we learned today, he died by choking on a hotdog at Costco. I can’t even.

Life can be so cruel.

Linda was going to join us from their home in Hawaii, but the day got away from her. We’ll stay in touch and include her at the next thing.

So our Zoom today.. was a mix of shocking Rick revelations, some sweet reminiscing, a satisfying measure of disdain for Trump, and a boatload of laughs and silliness.

Feel like Rick left us years ago, even as his huge body was still lumbering along. Will surely miss him; we will carry on.

Then and Now

December 27, 2020

Was in the ditch yesterday with Janet.. a nice post-Christmas day walk on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Thought I’d post a couple of compare and contrast pics:

On the edge of town… November 22 and yesterday:

That crazy Chinese Pistache, November 22 and yesterday:

Who says we don’t have seasons in California?

(Sung to the tune of, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year..” can’t ya just hear Andy Williams voice ringing out?)

I changed it to day and refer of the day after Christmas. Is that cynical? I have to check my cynicism about this time every year. I’m usually a leeeetle bit too happy to see Christmas come to an end. I might guess it has to do with the amount of work it takes to pull Christmas off every year (which is a problem of my own making… I mean… it doesn’t have to be this much work).

The absolute truth is, I like a whole bunch about Christmas, more than I resent, a lot more…. but, it’s still more project management than a joyful season of light and good spirits. It just is. And Mr. Pandemic year, while I thought it might be scaled way back, was pretty much the same amount of effort. Same basics — tree, lights, decorations, gift buying, wrapping, shipping (far more than usual since we didn’t see anyone in person), cards, family calendars (still yet to do), meal planning/cooking, baking, delivering. This year most events were online, and there were no gatherings whatsoever, so we netted time in the travel department… but, see? Still a bunch to do.

Okay… no grousing. Sorry.

I posted a couple of pics in last night’s blog, and here are a few more, with descriptions.

Started day with Peter via Zoom. We shipped 6-7 boxes his way.. there is still one that hasn’t arrived (the first one we shipped, interestingly). We ordered a babka from the local bakery — Zingerman’s — so he could have coffee and baked goods with us as we ate ours (from Upper Crust). Fun eh? Here he is getting ready to open his stocking:

My god, that hair.

This is the view out his window at Escher coop:

THAT is a white Christmas! I was glad for that. And he got to get out in it, too, a snowy walk with Claire and Lisa, in his new winter coat.. so yay.

Then we spent another couple hours or so opening presents and generally hanging out before he had to take off. Later in the day, Claire and Lisa sent this picture: they’d put Peter to work in the kitchen cutting veggies… another first for the Christmas annals.

Funny to see our dryer marks are still on his pile pullover.

Mid-afternoon, we had a Frame Family Zoom gathering:

That was about an hour and a half. Good times… these Zoom gatherings are pretty focused and easily allow good attendance! As usual, good Frame conversations.

We had another Zoom call later in the evening with the Peterson family which was a smaller group, especially as the Thailand contingent was unable to get its Zoom audio to work.. so lots of hand gestures from Jay and Saythong before they gave up. Matt kept it short for Michael reasons, John and clan had a conflict.. so mostly it was Chris, Peter, Jim and me, which was mellow and sweet (and I wonder if I’ll always remember the edibles conversation..).

So, in sum: Christmas 2020 was not horrible. How ’bout that. Lots of family and friend connections–online and over the phone.. but still lots of great conversation. It was memorable for its unconvention (it’s okay, spellcheck, this is my blog and I get to make up words) and our adherence to covid protocol earns us a whopper of a celebration next year. At least huggy, with a lot people.

Here are a couple shots from the end of Christmas Day.. Christmas wind down:

For Christmas dinner, Jim took Christmas Eve’s turkey (with its crispy bacon wrap) and turned it into amazingly flavorful turkey soup.. which he served with his homemade corn muffins. Off the charts comfort food.

And if ever there were a defining Christmas-is-over statement, it’s the nubbins of Christmas candles flaming out..

Only five more days ’til the end of this ridiculous and tragic year.

To All a Goodnight

December 25, 2020

So much to love about this unconventional day. I’m too sleepy to report out… but will write this weekend a bit and post some pics.

In the meantime, I leave you with two highlights.

This is a perfect Jim gift.. it’s some kind of monument or lid or something old that he found when he was out in the sticks somewhere doing a survey (aren’t I terrible.. I really should know what this is and where/when/how he found it… I promise to articulate this better tomorrow). It’s heavy. He cleaned it up, cut it from its base, powder-coated it, gave it some tiny legs, and now it’s a trivet for the kitchen. I love him for this gift. And it will make me smile every time I see it on the butcher block island. Forever.

It’s about 9″ in diameter:

The other thing that made my day.. this picture sent by Claire from Ann Arbor this afternoon. It’s Lisa and Peter (and Claire and the dog…. Scout, I think) out for a walk on a snowy Christmas day. Yep.. a white Christmas. How enchanting is that? This is Peter’s new winter coat, purchased from Bivouac a couple days ago, the locally owned outdoor store in A2. We gave him a gift certificate to spend on a coat and some boots. So far, so good!

Doesn’t he look like he’s been living in the snow his whole life?

I was so happy to know he had people, dear friends, to be with today.

My heart is full.

More later.

My friend and neighbor Desmond said it well on his holiday card, “I felt more than a slight pang of ambivalence when Julia asked me to help get down the two Christmas boxes that hold our Christmas lights and decorations. Should we be celebrating Christmas or mourning? Mourning the unnecessary losses of thousands of our fellow Americans. Mourning the state of our nation, at war with itself, tearing itself apart. I said to Julia, ‘I have mixed feelings about Christmas this year. After some thought, I decided that our Christmas lights might after all be justified. We could see them as a sign of hope — hope that the vaccines will work, that our country can get itself out of this manic phase, that our family and friends survive to see the light at the end of the Covid tunnel.”

Agree with that.

Most everyone I know is doing fine. Disappointed, bored, depressed, sad, frustrated, angry at pandemic-deniers… but fine. Most of us have the luxury to find fun diversions and keep ourselves busy in novel ways to fend off boredom and anxiety. A lot of us won’t be with family. I think that’s a small price to pay to keep ourselves and our communities safe. This is what makes 2020 one for the history books. We will surely all remember what we did this year, especially these holiday seasons, to find some normalcy and joy. But it won’t stand out as unique if we just pretend it’s a year like any other. It’s shocking to me how many people are ignoring the non-essential travel ban. I mean, we could have done it safely, too, but didn’t. Wouldn’t. If everybody decides they’re exempt for whatever justifiable reasons they come up with (and we were tempted), there are bajillions of people in the airports.. then it’s not safe. Travel this year is not safe. Period. Watch the charts in about two weeks.

I go between angry, aggrieved, feeling like a chump, feeling righteous, judgy, chill. We just do what we have to do. For reasons that make sense to us. Zipping my lips, keeping my head down.

But man.. it’s a weird year to pretend all is well when it isn’t. It certainly isn’t for the 328,000 people who have died or the countless families who are barely holding it together. All is mostly well here. We miss Peter, we miss seeing our family and friends. Otherwise, we’re well. It just makes it hard to celebrate.

Yet. Jim and I have done most of what we usually do, just with less octane. Little tree, fewer decorations, quieter season. Nobody but us. We’re phoning it in with Peter and our extended families. That’s all tomorrow.. sure I’ll write about it.

We had Christmas Eve dinner tonight. Made a little event out of it.. I made myself some glögg, we had our Swedish angel merry-go-round candles, we made another version of turkey breast with bacon (this time bone-in). We took a walk tonight to see some neighborhood lights. We secretly stuffed each others’ stocking for the morning.

Small nods toward the familiar, slightly melancholy, as something’s missing.

Some pics:

The turkey… it’s almost disgusting, isn’t it? The bacon’s just for flavor, (though ever-edible as bacon is)..

Jim carving it…

He’s going to hate that shot.

We had butternut squash and au gratin potatoes.. gilding the lily, I must say.. and the cranberry sauce I made a couple of days ago…

Got a pie from Upper Crust… it was really good (Jim made whipped cream, which… why not? Lily’s now totally gilded itself into heavenly oblivion)..

Beth’s yard, at the A-Street-bend…

And across the street at the Bridges, the luminaria…

I tried several times to get Peter to join us for a while online… but he didn’t answer. On the third or fourth try I texted, “Should I worry or be happy you’re busy?” to which he responded, “the latter.” Friends and Christmas movies, as it turned out. I was glad to hear that!

The Day Before the Day Before

December 23, 2020


The holidays.. so extraordinary. A time like no other. We shouldn’t gather: it’s too risky. Help’s on the way (vaccination’s already in over a million arms), but we won’t see this thing turn around for months, and in the meantime, an unfathomable number of people will die. A huge number of people are broke. A huge number of people are without food and basic services. It’s just all so very hard to grasp.

And the guy who lost the election is unraveling. Vetoing defense bills, threatening to veto the relief bill that took months to negotiate, a bill that is disgustingly late and inadequate, but both sides agreed finally. Yet… he’s decided, at this late moment, it’s not to his liking (which is bs).

Not going to write about this. Just saying: holy god, what the hell is wrong with this animal and what more will he do?

He’s also on an egregious pardon spree (all ugly.. read about it). He’s lashing out at former defenders (Barr, McConnell, anyone who’s not supporting reversing of the election).

And, not that it’s at all surprising, instead of sticking around to resolve now stalled legislation that would have helped folks, he took off for Florida to play golf. I don’t really know what that means for any of this.


As that roils, the rest of us try to find our way through the holidays, without our kiddos and families. (Speaking for ourselves here on A Streeet.)

To that end, a few shots on the day…

A call with Peter.. a lifeline to love, connection, and all that’s good, in this time of so much non-good.

As he was explaining a math/logic problem, I had time to run to Upper Crust to fetch Christmas morning baked goods. LOL!

After the call, I resumed some baking of my own…. these chocolate cookies I’ve made before but whose recipe I modified this time.. I think to great effect!

(Used milk chocolate instead of bittersweet.)

I also made a dozen of my favorite gingerbread muffs…. and had enough batter to make a few minis, too!

Have already given some butterballs to friends and family, and will give a few more batches of these to friends and neighbors (and Ruben/crew). Not the usual roll out! But okay for a weird year. I enjoyed baking this past week.

Did a quick batch of cranberry sauce — this with rosemary and orange zest…so, so, so good. I just love having a jar of it in the refrigerator for whenever I want some!

Will do a limited amount of cooking tomorrow (Christmas Eve day for dinner tomorrow night) and then we’ll just eat stuff, talk to Peter and do our own quiet little Christmas .. just us two.

Secrets of Christmases Past

December 22, 2020

I have not a thing to write about, nor any remarkable photo to upload on the day. Even though it was a moody, foggy morning around the creek, and even though we had some substantial work done in our front yard, and even though I cooked and baked for a couple hours this afternoon, and even though I took a lovely walk through the Old North neighborhood on my way to Upper Crust Bakery to pick up monkey bread that wasn’t ready for pick up. See? All kinda things that might have produced a good blog post (well… ) — I have pictures of all of the above (a daily blogger’s job is to take pictures of every damn thing that happens in a day, you know) — but nothing that inspires me to write.

So.. reaching back into the Christmas archives, I found this gem.. one of my favorites. I know it’s Christmas because it’s the only day of the year I pull out that Christmas light necklace (I still have, and love, that sweater). I love this picture for the obvious moment Peter and I are having — whatever the story he is telling, it looks like it could be a secret. It’s sure cracking him up.

I also love that we’re sitting on the hearth at mom’s house. How I miss that house.. that room.. that fireplace. If I were there right now, I’d be lying on my back on the floor, with my legs up on the hearth, burning the bottom of my feet on the heat from the fire. Heaven.