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No Mas Masks

May 13, 2021

Huge.

Pretty much 14 months to the day after the mask mandates were issued, we are allowed to wander around without our masks — if we are vaccinated.

I actually cried as I heard the news (driving in my car across the causeway). It’s been a long effing road in a long effing year. Our lives changed. We’ve been living in caves, living narrow lives. We’ve lived with this low grade dread and uncertainty for so, so long. Thankfully, we knew things were moving in the right direction. The vaccine research and development was ahead of expectations. Vaccine roll-outs were quick and relatively effective. I’ve felt at moments a very real and palpable sense that there is, indeed, a light at the end of the tunnel. And, of course, I’ve felt fully liberated for a full two months, with Jim and me having passed the two-week-post-vaccine point in mid March! I underwent a second massive shoulder drop when Peter got his second vaccine and passed his two-weeks-post-vaccine milestone recently. My dearest, deepest loves: all safe.

But this mask news today felt so monumental and so official, and was such the liberating moment we’ve been waiting for. It opens even more doors and brings us closer to community normalcy. Country normalcy.

Not global normalcy, though. It’s devastating what some countries are going through right now. Just yesterday, I sent $400 to two Himalayan guide friends — Homnath and Pradip — because Nepal’s in a very bad way… on its way to India-bad… which is beyond desperate. And here we sit, all rich and privileged, and ripping our masks off so happily. Does not seem just at all.

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In other pretty damn great news: I had six pre-cancers frozen off my face today (thus my trip across the causeway). And she could find no other areas of concern after a full body scan. I just can’t tell ya. Skin cancer is my cross to bear (I expect). That’s the one that makes the most sense, given fair skin and years of intense, unprotected sun exposure, not to mentioned countless burns and peels. I mean… So every time I get the all clear, it feels major.

And, I’m just off the phone with Dr. Bingham, my new dentist, who had just landed on the East Coast, and first message that came in on her phone was a close up of my tongue. Yay me and great timing. I’m relieved to hear it’s not a scary thing… just a crazy canker sore thingie from a new rough edge on a tooth. Swish with warm salt water’s all she’s recommending. I have to say, this was also some great news, as the discomfort over the last 30 hours or so’s been immense (and annoying and scary).

Scratching a lot of body parts and other scary conditions off the concern list in the last few weeks: have passed numerous tests, logged some great numbers (reminded of mom who always said, “my numbers are good,”) and gotten the a-ok on everything (so far) from blood work, to a cardiac workup, to my last-ever PAP, a mammogram, an ultrasound to check out a few new bumps, a dental exam, and flu and pneumonia vaccines on top of the vaccine-of-the-century. After the year-long, pandemic-imposed doctor visit moratorium, it’s nice to check back in and be assured all’s reasonably well.. as one turns the corner on 65! Good lord. Next up: eye exam and my first-ever bone density scan.

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All in all, a good day in the health liberation category.

I don’t have a pic from today, so how about this cute photo of Mags that Alexis just posted on Instagram… it reflects my mood pretty well!!

Your Basic Tour Group

May 12, 2021

Today Liz Cheney was stripped of her leadership position in the House. She’s not toeing the line and her colleagues don’t like that she’s so far off message. She, of course, isn’t buying into their talking points about stolen elections, voter fraud, party of trump, etc., so even though she’s among the most conservative members of the House, there to further a conservative policy agenda, she’s persona non grata and, today, got the boot.

Stay tuned for some great GOP in-fighting.

Good.

But, even though it’s great sport to see them flail and wail, it also reminds me how fragile our two-party system is, especially as we have one party and one whacko band of nutjobs. These guys have just lost their way and it’s not all that comforting. They are not adhering to a common set of rules, and it’s deeply unsettling. They are making it up as they go, led by an unstable, unpredictable leader. So god, crazy town just continues to be the theme of each and every day.

Like… this morning, for example: Speaker-wanna-be McCarthy, following an Oval Office meeting w/ Pres Biden, came out to the mic and said (among other things) that House republicans don’t dispute the legitimacy of the election, and they accept that Joe Biden is the president. Hell, he just met with said president for 90 minutes (so it must be real) to talk about the infrastructure bill.

Come again? Somebody better tell the others… and maybe their leader guy, too.

Simultaneously, there was a House hearing where a committee was grilling a couple of trump administration officials about what went down on January 6. Several republican guys suggested the January 6 crowd was indistinguishable from any group of tourists visiting the Capitol. Another disputed that the “visitors” were identifiable as trump supporters. Another just called them patriots.

I mean, that is just pure crazy town. With straight faces they say this stuff and, you know, attempt to re-write history. Even trump’s lawyers during his second impeachment trial didn’t dispute that it was a violent insurrection. They started from that obvious point, accepted the violence, death and mayhem shown in the videos, and then just went on to say trump had nothing to do with it. And lost their case. Impeachment #2. Boom!

But these GOP guys… complete denial. So what’re ya gonna do with that?

Well.. throw Liz Cheney out of leadership and make sure she and anyone else getting too close to facts is primaried. And change all the voting laws so dems can’t vote and continue to pledge fealty to the fat guy bloviating nonstop down in Palm Beach.

Weird playbook. And anymore? I have no confidence they won’t win with that strategy.

Anyway. Despite all that.. it wasn’t a bad day. GSD, as they say, but nothing bloggable. So here’s a nice picture from yesterday.. and below that some Prisma goofing around.

Greenish!

(Oooh, which reminds me of a favorite children’s book of Peter’s — Calef Brown’s Polkabats and Octopus Slacks –which featured a passage called, Clementown, and describes a whole town that is green! Which.. funnily enough, I blogged about in 2014 here: lifeofwry.com/2014/05/08/greenish/)

This Prisma’d version is not so green:

Okie Dokie Artichokie

May 11, 2021

Okay, you make a batch of linguine, just shy of al dente. Set it aside and save some pasta water. In same pan, crisp up some pancetta in olive oil. Remove it. In the pancetta grease, brown some artichoke hearts. Put half of those in a blender w/ lemon juice, s/p and pasta water, and puree. Then, put another cup of pasta water into that same pan and break up the brown bits, add the puree, lemon juice, the crispy pancetta, parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and the cooked pasta. Mix it all together and serve with the remaining browned artichoke hearts, and sprinkle with parm.

It might have worked better had I had the full cup of parmesan cheese the recipe called for (I had less than half of that) and if I’d left out the lemon. Otherwise: 3 stars (out of 4).

Here ’tis:

Dinner may have been just okay, but this conversation w/ Peter was fantastic. Love him so.

I know. Zoom pictures getting old? Not for me.

Countdown to Chicago

May 10, 2021

It’s a lot of days (like, nine of them) before I fly to Chicago, but man, am I getting excited. This guy’s going to pick me up at the airport and we’re going to spend a few days hanging out, exploring Chicago, and then driving to Ann Arbor for a couple more days. With any luck, Jim can join for all or at least part of the adventure. But adventure or no, we get to see our son in person.. not just on Zoom (which has been a fantastic stroke of technological marvel this past 10 months).

See? A stroke of technological marvel (is that a thing?):

Marm

May 9, 2021

There were a number of years when my nickname for mom was Marm. She loved it and signed her name on cards and notes to me as Marm. So it stuck.

Today’s her birthday; she’d have been 92. And I wish she were here as a more vibrant version of herself (the last couple of years were not so easy for her, physically). Though I’d take the 92-year-old version, especiallly if her mind and humor were as they were at near-88, when she died.

Here are a few slices-of-life of mom and me. Smiling with you, Marm. Miss you madly.

In a fancy stroller, on the boardwalk in Manhattan Beach, with bunny. Why didn’t I get her smile?

I like this one, even though you can’t see much of her (in red dress). She outfitted me, so this is a dress she’d have picked out for a Family Open House event at TRW. I’m probably in junior high, judging by the hair and I’m quite sure I’m messing around with the fixtures on my garter belt. Yes, indeedy. I’m probably wearing white fishnets or maybe nude stockings, but this was a pre-pantyhose era. Can you imagine? Takes some concentration, apparently, to keep those stockings firmly grasped (the horrors if they dropped!).

Always a hoot getting her to smile into a phone for a selfie (getting her to relax into a natural smile for a photo at any time! Which was always hysterical.) This was on the Esplanade, of course.

Got some serious patterns going on here. This was actually a Mother’s Day party at Eric’s and Staci’s. This was right before the moms-swing-at-a-pinata thing. Which was hilarious (and scary to see mom, blindfolded, swinging a bat at a moving target, when she shoulda used a walker to even get around, but wouldn’t).

This photo is everything to me. It’s her dad, whom she adored, who died young (49), in time to meet me, barely. He called her chicky-baby.

A cute one at our house in PV. Peter’s probably about two.

Well, we are all gathering for a group shot: Grandma and Grandpa with their 5 (at the time) grandchildren. Mom’s fixing some problem.. and everyone’s watching, maybe searching for something? Chris is checking his pocket? Jay’s looking at his feet? Matt, in the red Keds, is getting a diaper check? I remember her sandals. I believe Grandma and Grandpa had just returned from Hawaii!

Graduating from UC Davis in 1979. I wish I remembered more about that day, but so glad Grandma was there. Dad and Grandpa must be somewhere. I have no idea who took this picture or what else happened that day, but mom looks fabulous.

And finally (this time around), this photo that I just posted to Facebook, as well. It caught my eye today because, by my calculation, she is as old in it as I am today. This was taken at John’s and my house on Guaymas. A brief window in time, probably not long before we split up. (And now that I do that math again, she’s probably closer to 60-63. When I figured this out earlier today, I was using dad’s date of birth (eye-roll).)

So… yeah, Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day. I love you and think of you all the time. xo

Apropos of Nothing..

May 8, 2021

I’m posting a collection of photos I shall call: Peter reads.

Who can see anything but those feet?

And those feet!

Frame boys with their favorite authors and protagonists.

Magic Tree House got him through Rome..

Couldn’t put it down…

Unless it was to read this…

Didn’t always stay awake…

I love this shot…. trying to order at a restaurant in Brazil… looking for the word milk?

Peter and I read together, too.

Sometimes just by himself…

And that concludes this installment of Peter Reads.

A Little Order

May 7, 2021

Today was a bit bonkers. I’ll reflect on it in a later post, but for now will say: wow.. 65 is not an insignificant milestone.

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I took this the other day while sitting on the bench under the window, which I never do. I looked up and thought, huh, I make a good bed. I missed a calling.. as an army sergeant, maybe.

Anyway.. I’ve always had a penchant for order. It provides a nice, reliable, stable container for the occasional/inevitable wildcards of life.

Homies

May 6, 2021

Four fully vaccinated friends from the olden days.

So there!

These were taken outside of a Sac Mexican food restaurant, Mayahuel. Sally came up from Mountain Ranch to join us for lunch; Nancy, Sarah and I spent a couple of hours before lunch checking out murals in midtown, as well as a special mural that Sarah and Gabe painted outside a newly opened preschool out by Howe and Fair Oaks Blvd.

The preschool is called Acorn to Oak. The mural is a giant oak tree that spans the four seasons, with just tons of seasonal details to find and delight in. Perfect for teaching kids about the rhythms of nature and encouraging them to spend time looking for those signs. So so sweet.

I didn’t do a good job of capturing the whole thing — it’s about 20-25 feet long — but here’s a portion of it

And some of the detail:

Those two… I tell ya.

Good Advice

May 5, 2021

I’m not sure where I land on this picture, but I’m encouraging myself to appreciate it for the decency, dignity and history it represents.

It’s a difficult picture to look at because.. it’s just such a snapshot of life, of time passing, aging, torch passing. I think mostly it’s because Roselyn is so tiny and misshapen and slightly vacant. Aging is a force you’re not going to beat, and the 90s — if you get that far — are not a picnic. And holy cow, before you know it, you’ve shrunk and shriveled down to a fraction of your previous self. Aging’s a gift, too, of course: the chance to live so fully into one’s 90s, as the Carters most certainly have. So.. I can take it. But it was startling.

And that living room..

The oddness of this photo aside, I’m so moved by this picture — the kindness and respect the Bidens showed in visiting the Carters. Jimmy Carter seems not a president many past presidents care that much about, for whatever reasons. I feel good about a president who would go there.

Two very decent men.

Biden’s nearly twenty years younger than Carter, and, by comparison, at 78, looks like he could wrestle an alligator.

[Our 78-year-old neighbor came over this evening.. appeared at the door and announced she may have just had a stroke. I don’t want to change the subject here so I won’t go into what happened next, but will say that she, at 78, is incredibly feeble and slow moving… not nearly as mobile, alert, and engaged as our Joe!]

Here’s a photo from way back in the day, when Joe was a new Senator and Carter was pres. The time span between the two photos and all that’s transpired to bring us to today fascinates me:

Fun fact: Vicki and Leah were there, sitting on a curb along the motorcade’s route in Plains, GA. They didn’t see much (besides dozens of vehicle — two with flags — and tons of secret service), but they, too, showed up to show their respect.. for both the former president, and for the current president’s gesture.