The last post from 2020, from outside my house on Christmas Eve. Wow, the tree lights fill the house. I hadn’t noticed it before!
There is a world out there beyond my door and with the exception of the drive to the desert, and a couple of walks to the store, and a trip to the Garden Center, and the valley deliveries, I haven’t been out of the house for so long I don’t even know how long. It feels safe and comfy here inside my little house.
My next-door neighbor to the north, her garden facing the street. Her front windows are safe from the view of the cars, but also shaded from the light.
I was and remain a little uncertain about this bush (so much dead-heading required, so much dead-heading not done) but awww so sweet.
I got this delivery a week+ ago and now there are no delivery slots available. That’s a lot of groceries, and yet now I need more.
Windy and I drove out to Yucca Valley to deliver gifts and pick up gifts and have a very distant visit with Liz, Gary, and Dev. That’s the yucca tree in front of their house. Wow, right?!
We saw the mammoth sculpture from the highway and tried to stop for a nice roadside attraction. But no, closed for the covid. We’ll check back another time. We did spend 10 minutes just watching the little yellow bird (full-on telephoto in the camera And in the computer..”there it is, oh wait no, there it is…). It was a delight!
Every December we Monday Nighters have our favorite event of the year. Alicia hosts and makes a perfect turkey, dressing, and gravy, we all bring our assigned contribution for a perfect Thanksgiving meal. We dress up, we exchange a mountain of gifts, and it is So Much Fun not the least because it’s a night that is always the same and has been since the beginning of time.
Except now, in the time of covid. We did our best and everyone had FUN.
Marsha, me, Ann, Alicia, Marija with Ljubica on the phone, Lourdes, Becky (due to technology constraints Ljubica and Maxine couldn’t make it)
Every year I keep adding a few birds and pretty soon I’m going to have a Bird Tree. If I was a better person I’d stage these pictures more carefully and figure out the lighting. Apparently I’m ok with the way it is…
Here are some Holiday funnies.
My holiday angels are protected by a face guard…and this is how I look these days. Lordy.
The dog is four years old but new to Muriel, and a delight. They come here so Maggie can have some time off-leash to RUN. You can tell she’s been playing in the grass.
The pictures were a last minute thought, Maggie is leashed-up and ready to go, and please don’t worry, these are telephoto grab shots, we stayed apart and totally wore masks except for two minutes to snap the pictures.
Recently Steve and Celina moved up to Ventura from the San Fernando Valley and are doing a massive remodel of their new downsized home. They took me on a zoom-tour of the project and it was so much fun! The outside is finished including adding a new room and spiffing up the patio. January 3rd they are moving into a nearby Residence Inn to get the work on the inside done. It’s so exciting (and stressful for them..) and in four months it’ll all be over, and it’s going to be great!
Aren’t we all watching SO Much Television?!
The above picture is from a wonderful program. The first 3 seasons are called Midnight Diner and the next 2 seasons are called Midnight Diner – Tokyo Stories. The Tokyo Stories I think are the best maybe because they got into the swing of the format. You meet all the characters in the first set though. However you see them, each episode is a jewel you rotate in your hand, admiring every facet.
Here are some more shows I’ve enjoyed in the time of Covid. Of course I’ve seen many many more, and there are more that I would note but just can’t remember.
Rake; The Crown; Father Brown; Death in Paradise; High Fidelity (tv series); Perry Mason (the new one); Tin Star; Catastrophe; Mystery Road; Sanditon; Better Things; Barry; Pen15; Insecure; Chernobyl; Schitts Creek; Travels with My Father; Hap and Leonard; Russian Doll; The Good Place; Good Omens; Delhi Crime; Prime Suspect (w/Helen Mirren); I May Destroy You; Midnight Diner and Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories; Endeavour; Bosch; New Tricks; Boston Legal (I watched it for the third time); The Closer; Red Oaks; Fleabag; Wolf Hall; Justified; Rizzoli and Isles; Episodes; Jeopardy (reruns); The Mentalist; River; and So many more.
Now I’m watching another Japanese subtitled show called Giri/Haji that’s pretty good too.
Looking at this list I know I’ve seen a number of recommendable documentaries that are missing .. I’ll add them when they come to mind.
This happens SO often. I’ve contacted the city asking for red paint on the curb of my driveway to highlight when someone is illegally parked. Would I be fussing over this in busier more normal times? Yes. I think yes. Who wants to drive over a curb to get in or out of the driveway? No one! I also think there have been more problems because the hospital is busier, and since the day care school opened on the corner.
Parking enforcement came by, wrote a ticket and called the owner, and then the owner moved the car. No big deal to that guy. “You can’t park here.” “Sure I can, it just costs $75.” An example of why fixed fines (and cash bail) are an unfair form of justice.
Arrow through three pictures below (the arrow isn’t so obvious):
It’s the persimmon tree that’s making the color. The wisteria drop their leaves too but they just turn brown and fall off. Everything is going to go dormant soon so I’m extra-appreciating all the colors and blooms now before they’re gone.
Also as an aside here are Olivia’s plantings in the back from the first week in December:
Pot – cilantro, chives, collard greens
Kitchen plot – purple needlegrass; sedum (in shallow pot); yarrow, rue, lavender
Plot by B – Cedros Island verbena; calendula (flowers)
The grocery stores are open and the shelves are full, so far. To keep the distancing Whole Foods is opening very few cashiers, one per aisle instead of two, and one on the express lane instead of up to four. There are lineups inside and outside too. I didn’t see anyone buying ten of anything so that’s good, no panic shopping, so far. I surely hope it stays that way.
That’s the driveway and you’ll notice the car is gone. Why? Because I Drove The Car to the repair shop for service and a new battery. I drove the car for the first time in more than four months. WOW, I know! I could sit for the five minutes it took to drive there and later the five minutes it took to drive it back. The repair shop is five blocks away so no problem walking home to wait.
I’m so excited. I’m going to drive to the car wash tomorrow.
Now it’s tomorrow and I DID drive to the car wash. I feel so much safer having a car that will start, full of gas, and me being able to drive it. I’ve still got many weeks of wound care but what an improvement.
For when people ask me about this soaking tub, here’s my really small 6×8 foot bathroom that has some side-storage on the porch, and there are no doors to save floor space. The above picture is mighty distort-o to get it all in.
When I sit in that bathtub gorgeous rich steamy-hot water comes up to my chin. Another month maybe and I can have my first bath in months, since The Incident. I’ve been so looking forward to that day.
I did this remodel in 1998 back when I bought the property. The tub is installed below floor level and I can still get in by swinging my legs around but in another few years I’ll have to get a footstool to make it out safely. The skylight was also part of the remodel and it still doesn’t leak (crossing my fingers and knocking on wood).
Curtains for guests and a place to comb my ever decreasing number of hairs.
..in the time of Covid. We exchanged dishes, the couple I made and the many they made, and then enjoyed a zoom-giving with thanks that such a thing could even happen.
DAR&L are watching Oliver’s half-brother Dude for the holiday weekend. They are SO cute together. That’s my gum tree bag of delights. The bag and containers are included! The bag says “gum tree peace out 2020!”.
Snagged from Darryl’s instagram.
“”Yes Dad, I do need all three devices.” Device 1: For watching the movie. Device 2: For chatting with a friend while watching the movie. Device 3: For making the Thanksgiving card while chatting with a friend while watching the movie.”
Lilly left this card on the path for me to pick up. SO adorable, she made the Happy Turkey Day look like a penny.
You might think so because we are here celebrating Jo Ann’s 80th birthday. I should spell that, Eightieth birthday. She’s constantly out-and-about, tutors at Cal Arts, creates works of art, and is a blessing to her family and friends. She’s an inspiration to us all. Here is the gorgeous gingerbread cake that Muriel made. I forgot to take a picture of the bucatini and tomato sauce that she also made. We ate like Queens!
Can you see Candle Man at the left in the picture. He holds the birthday candle so you can still make a wish when you blow out the candle but also not blow on the cake. Happy Birthday Jo Ann.
Ben and Bonnie picked me up, I leaned on their big console in the front seat…and we’re off!
We had a deeelish brunch in the sand at the restaurant at the Annenberg Beach House called, not surprisingly, Back on the Beach. You can see it there in the distance with the salmon umbrellas, matching my salmon shirt. Thanks Bonnie for taking my picture.
We didn’t walk far – there’s the pier in the near-distance. It was a Stupendous day, and SO few people, it was wonderful, warm and breezy in the winter sun, thanks for taking me out!
That’s me on my cushy guest chair >this< close to Sitting Down! Thanks Marsha! AND my shoulder is free of dressings – two down and one to go, one week shy of four months. I’m still glad I didn’t get the skin graft. The wound care has been peaceful and what else was I going to be doing anyway?! (If you don’t know, the story starts back on August1.)
My $3 flowers from TJs; a cat peering into my kitchen from on top of the car; a Very nice restaurant two blocks down the road (thanks Sharon!); sadly I know way too much about all those bandages.
I ate the last persimmon yesterday, a few kumquats are showing themselves but I’m stressing a little over that tree, the Meyer lemon has one fruit and I don’t know if there will be any more this season, the grapefruit is its same ancient weary self, but the orange tree is again making farmers market quantity fruit.
But nearly. Rienato will have been here four days, Alex has come three days and has to return to clean up the cracks in the patch. And I myself, by myself (what?! YES!!) primed and painted before the new sink could go in. Wow, right? You can imagine all that has gone wrong to make so many visit necessary.
Click here for the first part of the story!
And below is a bit of work-in-progress.
Nine days from the last one I posted (and have since deleted..I had tooo many of them)…one week and two days, more than 1,000,000 new cases, more than 10,000 more deaths. Last time I showed this chart they didn’t include the hospitalization number. That’s how many covid patients are in the hospital right now.
Here’s a bright light, Lilly fooling around with zoom backgrounds. It’s a dove, the Bird of Peace!
Burt and Charlene were over and they wanted to get me something for my garden. Charlene is another one of those garden mavens and I have appreciated her input. I have an ancient geranium patch around the back porch with some bare spots just waiting for this guy!
Burt and Charlene. Masks removed for the photo. Thanks guys, for a ride to the Garden Center!
Susie sent me an article from the New Yorker about the controversial project, bringing the story up-to-date I think. The article is long and full of nuance (you can click on the link) as New Yorker articles are.
The architect for the LACMA project, Peter Zumthor, created and built a spa in Switzerland. From the New Yorker:
“The project that announced Zumthor to the world is Therme Vals, the spa, which was completed in 1996. A Tetris-like assortment of plunge pools half submerged in a bucolic hillside, the baths have a seductive power. “It’s the Xanadu effect, the beauty of the remote,” one architecture critic told me. “It’s so sensual, it’s so delicious in so many ways, and it photographs so beautifully.” Zumthor’s spa is regarded as an exalted expression of regional modernism: site-specific, culturally grounded, made from local materials using traditional techniques.”
I should go here!
My tenant had a leak in her bathroom sink. The plumber’s attempt to fix the leak completed the break in the sink. Removing the sink revealed the ancient plumbing behind the wall that itself was broken and ready to go. So now a faucet drip has turned into a fu$$-on repair job including the plumbing, dry wall, mud, a sanding mess everywhere, and then paint. And THEN we can put up the new sink.
..zero minutes to vote! I took my mail-in ballot to drop off in case there was a line, but my preference was to vote in person and it went so smoothly. It was a beautiful thing including a new high-tech system that was super easy to use and appeared frightfully delicate. There was an abundance of lovely young people manning the polls and a person dedicated to wiping down every surface after every touch. I wonder if all the polling locations in Santa Monica were this lovely?
I snapped a few pics on the way – bougainvillea alley, and some twisty pokey things. I had a few choices of polling places and chose the closest – it was a nice walk up to 24th and Montana.
That’s Tony’s picture of Lill in her own garden. She fixes my succulents when they are feeling sad. ‘Blue House Gardening Service’ on call!
Below, the stroll along Palisades Park with Sharon. I got as far as the Rose Garden. Next time I feel confident I’ll make it to our regular turn-around point.
Beverages with Marsha in reverse order, first coffee and then Black and Tan. Both Yum YUM.
Ben and Bonnie took down the threatening tree and in exchange got more light for their garden.
Copied from the Santa Monica City website: “Soltero’s iconic sculptures of La Catrina range up to 14 feet in height and welcome guests to the Promenade and Pier in brightly colored traditional Mexican attire inspired by Day of the Dead traditions and Mexican icons and embroidery. La Catrina was first born out of Mexican social satire and has become a well-known figure in celebration of the holiday.”
Marsha drove me down to see the exhibit. If it was crowded we were committed to leaving but happily it wasn’t crowded at all even considering it was Farmers Market day, and mask compliance was 100%. Still, the pandemic news is so terrible I worry for a few days after, every time I step out my door. I must think it’s worth it.
Because I STILL can’t sit down!
It was THREE months ago, July 28th, that ‘The Incident’ occurred. The Incident didn’t just ‘occur’ of course, I did it to myself, and there we are. If this is new to you, click on over to August 1 where the story begins.
I am feeling better every day. The wound on my calf no longer needs treating and my shoulder is coming along. Even the wound on my butt is getting smaller. Justin, my wound care nurse, thinks he’ll be done with me in six weeks. The Light!
My home care nurse, that’s him in the hoodie, comes to treat my wounds every day. Every Day. When he’s not nursing, or hanging with the wife and two kids, or making improvements on his recently acquired home, he’s participating in endurance sports. He and his wife have each run 50+ marathons for example (or is it they’ve each run 25+? I forget. They are so young!). They are both in many running clubs, but, drum roll please, above is the group with whom Justin completed his first triathlon.
I think six of those above did the triathlon, three women and three men – swim! bike! run! The rest did bike or run or maybe both. A triathlon requires a fairly long-distance swim in the ocean, in open water. You’ve got to train especially for that!
Now Justin says he just wants to do more Triathlons, nothing but Triathlons (his wife is learning to swim and should be in the game very soon). I don’t know who took these pictures – Justin gave them too me and how cute is this I ask you?!
Swim! Bike! Run!
Oh YES, an outdoor massage right around the corner from Ye Olde Kings Head. Windy and I delighted in both. It felt safe enough and I had to stay on my stomach but OMG did I need a massage. I could have another one too. Just the thought makes me sigh.
Muriel brought me almonds from the farmer’s market, organic, raw, unpasteurized, which I toasted to her exact specifications. YUM indeed. Nancy and I did take-out for a tasty lunch from Veggie Grill and a good visit in my covid corner. Sharon and I walked to that Halloween yard and ate in the big patio at El Cholo. Alex and Carol were here to ‘help me’ build the ikea cabinet.
And I ate three persimmons already. Ann says that persimmon trees fruit every other year so I’m going to carefully savor each bite of these. If you click on the pictures they’ll get bigger.
The service porch pantry. The two missing pulls are on the way. They are the same as I have in the kitchen.
I’ve had a ‘temporary’ solution in here for years. And I have looked every few months for an alternative. Google google google, pleeese give me an alternative, but she says ‘NO’. Fine. I’ve had this Ikea solution in mind from the beginning, all those years ago, and I decided I’d had enough looking. So here it is!
It works easily with enough space because I’m keeping one of the shelves and the boxes that ‘go’. Alex and Carol came over so that Alex could put it together thank you very much. I’m sure you didn’t think I put it together. Activities I can’t/don’t want to do: 1) get out the ladder and 2) build Ikea furniture.
The Before. Oh how tired I was of looking at this mess.
Here’s how Knut and Brigitte do Happy Hour with their neighbors in Antwerp. The across-the-hall couple open their door and the down-the-hall neighbors bring their food and set-up between the two front doors.
Things were quieting down in Belgium covid-wise but now they are facing a renewed wave and are back to tight restrictions in a effort to avoid another total lockdown. And Winter Is Coming,
Oh I do enjoy me some lunch with my bubble-friends.
That’s Ann who has a big persimmon tree and is checking out the readiness of my small crop.
Beth had some free time to swing around and then the family went to Vasquez Rocks, and that’s Beth’s picture. Marsha picked me up for the 5 minute ride down to the beach where I did a Spectrum chore, a Story In Itself, and then we ate on the patio at Ye Olde Kings Head. Marsha sent me a picture of her cat in the first of its eight weeks in a cast for somehow breaking its leg.
Merlyn came and we gorged on pizza, I had dinner here with Jo Ann and she brought some of her latest work which was fab, and Windy saved my battered skin from the further abuse of my wound care.
Lill gives me plants and then she comes periodically to fix them up so they don’t die. Thank you Ingalill! She cleaned up the three sisters (sorry about the photo) and gave them some background, and cleaned up all the pots. Now I have a consolidated Succulent Garden. Maybe there will be more…I should take a picture every month or so to see how the big flowered pot fills in. It should be grand!
Merlyn and I had a lavish lunch from Pitfire Pizza – and there were two piece left! Plus a nice salad. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the driver forgot the cookies but I got a refund for the cookies and we didn’t eat any cookies so I guess that falls into the fortunately column. Except I can’t stop writing cookies.
And below is me. My hair looks cute so I must have a picture. Here, let me stand in front of the distorting convex mirror.
You can click here for the Current Tier Assignments. You can click around and find the details of what each tier represents and how the criteria are measured.
I was happy when the California governor issued rules about what and how businesses could open based on knowable criteria. Sure there will be some sense of unfairness especially on the county lines – why should the store down the road be open and I have to be closed. But I think we’re better off making a plan, testing for that plan, and moving forward.
Please don’t say oh only 215,000 have died and so many more have died in car crashes and we don’t outlaw cars. Please. Are car crashes contagious? And don’t get me started on seasonal flu. Why do you think there have been ‘only’ 215,000 dead and not millions more? Please. You can google “how many would have died of covid without lockdown” and choose the source you find believable.
From my front porch.
I’m going to the store tomorrow. Wahoooo. Ann’s coming for lunch and we’ll walk to the park and then my Persian poetry class has changed from Sunday to Monday. And my wound care nurse will be here followed by a zoom with the Valley gang. So a little bit of busy within three blocks of my house.
From the sidewalk.
Here’s Christa one of my Hawaii great-nieces who is living in Sacramento now doing a three year internship in Family Medicine. That’s right, my Christa, Dr. Brown!
My other lunch companions for the week included Nancy, Windy, and Sharon. I feel so fortunate to have my back yard and my Covid Corner, and friends who will go for a little walk.
And I can’t resist because I’m just here, more garden pictures.
I look at amazon reviews about every day and it crosses my mind often that if I had the time I’d go through my orders and post some reviews. If I had the time, that’s funny. I definitely have the time, and I’m strong enough now to stand at the kitchen counter, like a nice stand-up desk, and write reviews.
The fun part is I’m only doing reviews if I can make a picture to attach, so I haven’t reviewed gifts or consumables. Let’s see if I get bored of it before I’m done.
Will I get lost in all the fake reviews? Does it matter? I’ve decided not.
And Thursday nights too, we visit for an hour. I did one of these screen shots on April 7, July 2, and now again on October 6. How long..how long.. So many birthdays missed. So many fine meals not enjoyed. But we get to see each other online so YAY for that!
Lourdes is moving to Arizona to be near her family. We’ll miss you!
Marsha, me, Becky, Ann, Marija, Lourdes
Alicia checked in too but by then I was already camera-off resting on my good side. Maxine and Ljubica don’t zoom but they do chat on the phone.
A delightful visit with Lilly and an e-snuggle with Oliver. That’s FUN for sure! I did a screenshot on my computer through her phone, fuzzy but Who Cares that’s just how cute it is.
I do SO appreciate all these ways we can e-visit, see and feel each other’s expressions, and share time. It’s a blessing not to be forgotten or taken lightly…even when I’m SIGHING for this to be over so I can have a REAL snuggle, and Go Somewhere. I can go somewhere and still visit with Lilly and e-snuggle with Oliver, from anywhere in this compelling world.
Here’s a potential trip-plan for about a month and a half, places I’ve been and places I haven’t. Anyone want to hop on for a week or two?
CAUTION! If you know Trevor Noah you know what you’re getting into and you can watch the video if you want, and if you haven’t already. If you don’t know Trevor Noah this is a rant that I appreciate…so CAUTION, don’t be offended, just roll on by!
(I can’t figure out how to make this video smaller..it comes up in full screen. Maybe Darryl knows how to do it. I’ll ask!)
I wasn’t expecting these guys to peek into the front windows. It’s very sweet. They are called Rose Mutabilis or the Butterfly Rose. The flowers last for about a day but there are a lot of them, the result of which is a nice bloom and a ton of deadheads. It’s ok, deadheads are on my list for today. The gardener is working out so well I don’t mind doing a little too.
Remember Michi’s garden? She kept this amazing book where she wrote every time she removed a plant and every plant she put in. It was a long and historic document, and beautifully hand written. I’m trying to make a book too. Being me I’m getting all the info from the internet and including pictures in my book. Also being me of course now I’m thinking of redoing it because I’d like the new things to be ‘on top’. No! It’s fine! Stop!
Michi is full-time in Mexico now so she dismantled her Santa Barbara garden, passing along most of the plants and decor items. Here’s what I got from her garden. It’s on the other side of the front door from the picture above. When I get a better image I’ll replace this one!
You might think that all the commotion that poured out of O’Brien’s Irish Pub every night would make its way to my house, but I never noticed anything, no music, crowd noise, traffic, nothing.
I was walking past their parking lot last night to discover the scene below. The area in the parking lot was full with tables not very spread out and all the tables full of people, but the old patio area surrounded by the fence and covered by the low-hanging canopy was worse. It was basically a room and the patrons there were shoulder to shoulder talking loudly because it was so noisy in there and roundly cheering the game on tv. I wonder when I’ll feel safe enough to enjoy such an environment? Did I ever enjoy such an environment?
On the 23rd Street wall of O’Brien’s Irish Pub facing the Trader Joe’s.
Here we have a yellow tomato (although it looks orange here) grown in the back yard by my tenant Olivia and in front is the first persimmon(!) from the new tree. The tomato was vine-warm and perfect. The persimmon was SO sweet, the birds thought so too. I should have picked it a few days earlier.
I feel like it’s time to stop doing nothing. I like to take a picture and write a little, it’s my diary, and without a picture and a few words, well, you know. Didn’t happen. Which hasn’t been much of a problem lately since I go nowhere and do nothing. I wonder if a few mouse clicks and then picking up an amazon box from off the porch counts as doing something?
This week was different, and Good. I ate lunch with someone every day and it was wonderfully refreshing. I am faithfully maintaining covid contact tracing guidelines. We might be closer than 6′ when walking to the store but that takes far less than 15 minutes. Oh man-oh-man do I hope they don’t change those guidelines.
A stroll on the Promenade. I was prepared to be a little bummed, but no! Many buildings were vacant, it’s going to be bad for a long time, but it was clean and tidy, and many places were trying to accommodate themselves to this reality.
Fall flowers from my neighbor and green from the park.
Nancy, Marsha, Jo Ann, Bonnie, Sharon – what a happy week!
Lilly and Rome are four years less one week apart and now it’s Rome’s turn. FIFTEEN. What?! y.e.s.
Me: Rome, what might you enjoy for your birthday, clothes, games, money? Rome: nothing, really, I don't want a single thing. Me: would you like me to make a donation in your name. Rome: oh yes, that sounds great!
And this is Rome’s chosen charity – Color of Change. I made the poster from their website pictures and Angela sent the photo.
Friends and family e-gathered to share stories in honor of the passing of Jo Ann’s David. What a remarkable man, beloved by all who knew him. I don’t know if I got everyone, and some people are duplicated, I guess that’s a zoom thing. Despite the awful loss, I enjoyed the event. The stories were so dear and the format brought the speaker right up close. It felt intimate and genuine.
Twice this week I’ve walked to the Rite Aid thinking I’d then continue on to the bank. But no. I was ‘concerned’ that I wouldn’t make it back easily enough. It’s eight blocks. I was perfectly capable of walking to the bank but I was ‘concerned’. I think since ‘The Incident’ I’ve been overly anxious about turning around in time. Not a bad idea, to be careful, but really, eight blocks there and eight blocks back. I can…and I DID. That’s me in the little ATM mirror/camera.
And while I was there at the bank I figured I might as well cross the street to the Tehran Market and bring back some of my favorite things.
I might need to get me some of those red geraniums for my geranium pot. I was so tempted to dead-head this baby but fortunately there was a fence to keep me back.
The signs say ‘Honk, Wave and Cheer, It’s My BIRTHDAY’. Happy Birthday LILLY! The honks punctuated her Happy Birthday all day long, big eleven years old.
Isn’t this precious. Remember when Angela and Lilly were doing rooms…and now they’ve got a whole house going. Look at those hats, and Rome made the banner. So fun!
Photos: top from Darryl, bottom from Angela
Thank you dear ones for making your way out here. What a special treat to see you!
And I’m glad the new Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree was already planted, in the spot where two of the four unsuccessful lavender used to live. It was my new and good(!) gardener’s idea and I love it! I can keep it below the height of the window and still get plenty of lemons. I’m excited!
The new kumquat tree has buds, the new persimmon tree has fruit, and the very old trees in back, the orange and grapefruit are going nuts again this year. oh HAPPY me!
Darryl, Angela, Rome, Lilly, Phillip
My ‘Littlest’ sister is Seventy Years Old. WOW. Look at what Seventy looks like these days! She was supposed to be in England for her birthday but she got Covid Canceled, so Lona and I decided to pretend. From 10 in the morning until 6 at night we watched episodes of The Crown between our four courses of tasty English Delights.
What a good time we all had!
Happy Happy Windy, she got to zoom with all her kids! Happy Happy US we got to be there too!
Betsy, Anya, Xander, Lucas, Lona, Windy, me, Jack, Travis, Lainee, Cali
I’m stuck here, not entirely though. I can ride for 10-15 minutes, perched on my good side, in someone else’s car. Windy took me to the Garden Center to get the Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree that is going in one of the spots where two of the dead lavender used to live and Lona picked me up for us to do some shopping for Windy’s birthday party (no guests, just us) on Thursday.
I’m starting to feel a little guilty about everyone going out of their way for me. As of a couple of days ago I really am well enough to walk to the store. Still, it’s so nice when people bring me things! When Marsha was working we used to have Dim Sum downtown so she brought us a fine Dim Sum lunch. That was nice. In the last few days I’ve had salads from Jo Ann, farmer’s market treats from Muriel. It’s so nice.
These sweet birds are happy there in my window for me to enjoy all day every day. They’re not going anywhere. Ahhh…but a trip…it’s in my very distant future.
Here’s a poem from the poem-a-day email. It’s not so much for me since I’m RETIRED but I remember!
“Vacation End” by Leslie Pinckney Hill (1880-1960)
From the charm of radiant faces,
From the days we took to dream,
From the joy of open spaces,
From the mountain and the stream,
Bronzed of sunlight, nerves a-tingle,
Keen of limb and clear of head,
Speed we back again to mingle
In the battle for our bread.
Now again the stern commanding
Of the chosen task is heard,
And the tyrant, care, is standing
Arbiter of deed and word.
But the radiance is not ended,
And the joy, whate’er the cost,
Which those fleeting days attended
Never can be wholly lost.
For we bring to waiting duty,
To the labor and the strife,
Something of the sense of beauty,
And a fairer view of life.
I’ve measured, I on the couch (lying on my good side), another person on the chair, our faces are 7′ apart. We wear masks, we open the front door so it’s (almost…) like being outside. And I am so so glad that friends and family are ok with stopping by.
That’s the kitty who lives under my coffee table and that’s Jo Ann who wanted to see what it would be like to pet the kitty. It’s adorable, that’s how it is!
In a selfie everyone knows where to look except me. It seems I need to look at myself more than I need to do it right? I need to practice!
Trevor called this picture The Three Aunts and Trevor even though one of the Aunts is his mother… but The Three Aunts and Trevor is a better title. We love it. Lona and Trevor brought us a feast including PIZZA from Pit Fire. It was deeelightful!
I wonder if I’ve just experienced a joyous near-total turn-around? The second opinion guy (Dr Ralph Massey recommended by Brigitte and Knut) had a different wound care routine entirely involving a different method to remove the old dressings, a different way to clean the wounds, and a different medication.
Windy was over, the home care nurse was here, and the three of us meticulously followed the new routine. Oh my GOODNESS the treatment Didn’t Sting! How can it be?! Last night I still hurt but not like before when every night I considered checking myself into the hospital, and this morning, same thing, it hurts but So Much Better I can NOT complain. It seems the hornets and the scorpions that have been plaguing me for weeks have Moved On!
On top of which the second opinion guy said ‘skin graft? No, you don’t need a skin graft. You’re not going to be a butt model, right, so why have a surgery you don’t need.’ Don’t we love it when doctors tell us what we want to hear!
I went back to the first guy yesterday too, who did the debridement, and he said ‘you have two choices, do another debridement and then do a skin graft or do a skin graft now and it probably won’t all take so you’ll need another one’. I say No Thank You to Both your stinking choices.
Another reason for thumbs down on the first guy, I’ve had two home care nurses since this started and it turns out both of them asked this first doctor, through their agency, if they could change the treatment plan and both times the doctor replied NO, just NO.
I’ve still got 2-3 months of this new treatment plan in my future. If all goes well I’ll be steadily day by day feeling less pain as the wounds grow skin. I don’t know when I’ll be able to sit down. To my little sister Windy The Nurse goes grateful PRAISE for all she has done to get me through this, through the hornets and the scorpions, through my moans and groans and tears. I’m better now!
I don’t know how to thank everyone who has helped me, I’m mute with gratitude. I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to extend to others all the help and love and companionship that has been extended to me.
Marsha made Melon Ball Sangria and left me with a whole pitcher as well as a three-pack of those fabulous strawberries from the strawberry patch up in Sylmar. For two days I’ve been eating bowls and bowls of buzz-me fruit salad.
From Ann’s fig tree Marija made fig jam and Ann brought fresh and dried figs. I love figs!
Ann made chocolate-oatmeal cookie bars (all the Monday Ladies have been DYING for Ann’s desserts, and it’s been Months since we’ve been together) and Marija sent crispy and delightful Napolitanke from back home.
I also got some of Brian’s tomatoes, Slivovica (Marija had to write ‘from the store’ because when the family sends Marija home made Slivovica from Croatia (the BEST) I always get a share in one of those 7 Up bottles), and a cool puzzle from Ann that I will instantly begin the first second I can sit down.
It’s like CHRISTMAS up in here!
When I open the front door early in the morning and the sweet air of a fresh garden wafts through the house, it is a beautiful thing and I can smile and look forward to the day. Today. Today will be better.
We can see some of the empty spaces for the plants that didn’t make it. Two of the four lavender had to come out and the two that are left won’t last through the winter. One of the three white roses, dead. Three of the four lantana, gone. The ground cover on the parkway is half dirt. That doesn’t seem Too bad, actually, all things considered. I have to rethink what to put in the beds and what to do about the parkway.
Family Unicorn Tattoos. Why? Because Lilly wanted to go shopping. Darryl took this picture.
Darryl, Rome, Angela, Lilly, and Oliver the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We visited like this, I on my porch and they on the sidewalk. My first live view of their sweet faces since MARCH. Fortunately video calls are available, and a blessing.
I wasn’t wearing glasses so I couldn’t see how these pictures were coming out. Lilly is always such a lively participator, but she wanted to make sure Oliver looked good!
Since the debridement on Tuesday I’ve had the dressings changed four times, Wed-Thur-Fri-Sat, and each time no matter how I’ve mixed and matched the pain meds, for Four Hours I can hardly breathe. Huhhh So Bad. Wow, I can Not Wait for this to be over! I ask the nurse every day, will it be better tomorrow? And he replies, soon, I promise it will be better soon. Soon? When is SOON?! I’ll be clapping my hands and dancing a jig when I’m ok in two hours. I can hold my breath for two hours.
Still! These flowers are still dressing up my entry way from May 10. I know the plant is real because it arrived for Mother’s Day from Cynthia with many fewer blooms. Maybe someone sneaks into my house and changes it out?
And I might get a persimmon or two, it could happen!
Right this second at 9am on Thursday I’m standing at the kitchen counter writing this in relative comfort. Still, I can’t sit down.
The surgeon and the anesthetist said everything went great on Tuesday although both of them made me feel they were talking about themselves, you know the type. Not a whiff of warm and fuzzy between them. I slept well Tuesday night but I think the anesthesia was still in force.
Yesterday was on and off up and down on the comfort scale and getting the wounds redressed for the first time was a real Sting Fest that didn’t subside for many hours. But then I did mostly sleep at night so ok, I wonder what today will bring!
I spent several days Minsk in August 2019.
You can click the link below if you want to just have a scroll through my time there. I’ve been thinking about it every day recently.
Angela and Lilly, with some help from the rest of the family, have been creating delightful rooms, one after the other, so much adorable. You have to check out the smallest detail. I mean Cutting Boards! What an excellent accomplishment for these trying times!
Some of the pictures are of rooms still in progress.
Yesterday I walked the few blocks back and forth to various medical appointments in preparation for the debridement (de-BREEd-ment), a same-day surgery under general anesthesia to remove the dead skin around the worst of the burns that I’ll be having on Tuesday. I needed all those pre-op tests and Another covid. All good, thumbs up, ready to roll.
It’s only Friday though, the surgery is on Tuesday, so I’m living in hope that I’ll feel better every day, a hope that has yet to be achieved. Don’t burn your butt…if you do you can’t sit down!
I had my first appointment with the skin care specialist (a plastic surgeon recommended by my GP).
He says I have to have a debridement (removal of dead skin), the sooner the better, so I’m doing a pre-op tomorrow, Wednesday, including another covid test. The surgery will be on the 18th at the Saint John’s Surgery Center and takes one hour, four hours total at the Surgery Center with early arrival and post-general-anesthesia wait time.
Then 3-4 weeks later he wants to do skin grafts which is especially painful and takes especially long to heal. He was really selling it(?) but his particular expertise is in plastic surgery.
I’ll go ahead and get the debridement done because the wound care nurse says it has to happen as does Windy and even the internet agrees, and then I’ll get a second opinion on the skin grafts just in case there are alternatives.
So I’ll probably keep getting a very little better until Tuesday the 18th when I’ll get worse again for a week, then some better for 3-4 weeks and then Really worse for a couple months after the skin graft. It’s OK though, I’m resigned, one day at a time and eventually it will all be over!
From Cynthia, Kai was three years old on the 6th and is as wonderful a dog as ever there was. They are doing Agility now and Kai is a total natural. He can jump through hoops, over hurdles, through weaving poles, and more. What fun!
I sent him those chewy toys. If you get Mr Bill just right he’ll say ‘OH NOOOO’ which is pretty darn funny.
All day and all night long I’m just trying to get comfortable. Turning, twisting, building little barriers wedges and whatnot. There must be a better way and I’m going to have to learn about it! Drugs are nice but it’s not general anesthesia.
So so SO much thanks to everyone who has helped me. What a blessing. And then there’s this.
It was Kieran’s 17th birthday in July, and Cynthia sent me a few pictures because she knew it would make me happy. I of course checked with him to make sure it was ok to use them here. Above is Kieran changing the brakes on His car, which doesn’t run yet but will soon!
Here’s summer fun at the lake with his girlfriend of 19 months.
And below Is Kieran with his dog Bodhi, a Mini Australian Shepard, and the jacket that he took from just plain to faaabulous By Himself!
What in the world happened to me? Wellll. On Tuesday July 28, 2020 Windy, Cali, and I went out for ‘a three hour tour’. But no!
Our destination was a challenging hike to Sandstone Peak in the Santa Monica mountains above Malibu. It was obvious within the first 15 minutes ‘we’ (meaning I) weren’t going to make it to the top so we decided to divert to a picnic area 2+ miles away. What was I thinking? That’s 5 miles round trip in the crippling heat on a rocky and only lightly groomed trail without even a stick of shade. I said to myself, it’s ok, I’ll just turn around when I want. But I got too far and couldn’t get back.
What comes next I have zero memory of happening and am using Windy’s and Cali’s recounting. We had turned back but it was too late. I went down, dead weight, unconscious. I landed on scorching rocks and was there long enough to generate second and third degree burns covering my back and butt and some of my leg and arm. While this was happening Windy had made it to the trailhead, fallen on some rocks and broken her hand. So there was Cali with two broken-down old ladies. She Picked Me Up. Picked Me Up. WHAT? She picked me up and carried me, to stick my head under a bit of shade and left me on the ground to go for help.
At the trailhead the other hikers jumped in to assist, they revived Windy although I was still unconscious. Someone supplied a shade cover and someone called 911. A chopper team did an aerial rescue taking me, still unconscious, wrapped in ice blankets and ice packs, to Los Robles, the nearest hospital, with a triage diagnosis of Exertional Heat Stroke. (“Exertional Heat Stroke is a medical emergency defined as life-threatening hyperthermia (core body temperature ≥ 105°F]) and central nervous system dysfunction. Exertional Heat Stroke is one of the top three causes of sudden death in athletes.”)
I have survived thanks to Cali, kind strangers, the 911 helicopter team, and the ER at Los Robles. I woke up in the ER still wrapped in ice blankets and groin and armpit ice packs and I could tell the gang there was both surprised and relieved and also maybe amused and pleased when I started complaining. My first conscious words…I’m SO Cold…Why is it so wet in here…My back hurts. Hey everybody, she’s not dead!
Now that the life-and-death crisis had passed, the question was what damage did all that time being unconscious and the Exertional Heat Stroke do to my vital organs.
They were especially concerned about my heart and scheduled a Coronary Angiography (another paper says Cardiac Catheterization) for Wednesday. The procedure is meant to discover narrowed or blocked blood vessels. When it was over the Cardiologist come out and announced “You have a beautiful heart”. I loved that expression so much I’ve said it 100 times already. I have beautiful heart! So that means I’m going home, right? Wrong.
Another one of the battery of labs they do in the hospital revealed an elevation in creatine kinase, an indication of a possible Rhabdomyolysis condition. (“Rhabdomyolysis may be caused by injury or any other condition that damages skeletal muscle. This muscle tissue breakdown results in the release of a protein (myoglobin) into the blood. Myoglobin can damage the kidneys.”) So sorry, they said, you’ll have to stay Thursday night and see if this elevation goes down with another day on IV fluids.
The next day, now it’s Friday, tick tick, all is well, time to go home. Yes, Thank You! Lona, Trevor, and Beth picked me up and Trevor drove my car home. They left me with food and good will and soon it will all be just a story.
It seemed a good idea at the time!
What’s left for me to do: exhaustive and exhausting wound care. Those burns I got from the hot rocks are very large patches of 2nd degree and some bits of 3rd degree burns. I’ve been getting wound care treatments twice a day at the hospital and now I have a home health care nurse who will come once a day to clean the wounds and change the dressings. How civilized! What’s not left for me, for a while anyway, is a covid test because they did one in the hospital: Negative!
What happened to Windy: she and Cali drove my car from the trail head to the hospital and then Windy checked in to the hospital too! She was in another wing but everyone around seemed to know they had the two sisters from the trail. Her injury was not too severe and she went home Wednesday. She’s bruised and battered from the fall and will see her own doctor for a referral for her hand.
What happened to Cali: she’s fine although still a little sore from hauling that huge dead weight (that being me!) and what an incredible adrenaline rush to put on a 17 year old. It’s her Hero Story for sure.
What happened to my stuff: when I first became aware, I had no clothes. The Chopper team had cut them all from my body! My favorite pants! My favorite shirt! Oh well, when Jeff came to pick up Windy on Wednesday he brought me one of her outfits. I had been having a few hours of massive stress about my bag – my phone, insurance, credit cards, driver’s license, SO much hassle. But sweet Cali had gathered up everything and brought it to me on Wednesday along with the clothes. Still missing, my glasses. On Thursday afternoon a lovely woman was standing in my hospital room door with my glasses! She was on the helicopter rescue team and had put them in her pocket and just forgot. She went far out of her way to find me, glad I wasn’t dead, and glad for the amazing save she had made.
So that’s it for now. I am not going to challenge the sun again. You win sun. I surrender!
Jo Ann’s photo (I goofed with it, sorry Jo Ann) is called ‘Old Fashioned’ and is in the photography collection of the Getty Museum.
She had her studio refurbished taking everything out and now it’s time to put it all back. Oh my goodness, so many things! We worked for a few hours on her collection of fabrics. So beautiful as evidenced by the photo above. We started with 7 huge bags and armloads of rolls. We Marie Kondo-ed those bags and got down to the amount that made Jo Ann happy. You can’t see it all in this picture because of the boxes on the floor…I’m happy too!
Windy, Cali, and I went for a lunch-time outing at Malibu Creek State Park. We had a wonderful time starting with a yummy picnic under that awesome tree.
They were holding rock climbing classes. Cali climbed up too!
And a couple more views from the trail. I think these grand trees are California/Coast Live Oak. There were plenty of people there. It felt safe enough for us because we never stood next to anyone else but there were groups of young folk, 6-8-10 people together not wearing masks, whooping it up, which made me think, every time, “You are going to make your grandma sick!”.
5 seconds to snap this shot of me and Lynn out for a stroll along the Venice Boardwalk and right back to 6 feet apart.
I hadn’t been in the area for months(!) although I used to walk down here all the time. There’s a homeless encampment now that lines the Venice boardwalk from the Venice pier to Ocean Park Ave., half a mile maybe, tent after tent, cardboard structures and tarps, whole living rooms set up. I didn’t take any pictures, you can google it if you want. What will happen next? At the moment I am suffering from a lack of imagination.
Another place I haven’t seen for so long, Santa Monica’s Main Street. The Main Street of my very small town and I haven’t been around for months. The city is letting the restaurants take over a lane of traffic to distance the tables in a hope to keep some of these places in business.
I am superstitious of using a handicapped placard when no one in the car needs it because I think that’s just asking for trouble, not because it’s illegal, not that kind of trouble, but because it’s bad karma. The universe says “So, you want to use a handicapped placard do you?!”.
I find myself feeling similarly about the current situation with covid tests. From what I understand now, from my doctor, and from the clinic that gives the tests, I’d have to lie (since I have no symptoms, I’ve not hung out with anyone who has tested positive, and my work does not put me in danger) not that I don’t lie, but I like to save my lies, and not tempt fate.
So no covid test for me yet. But if this keeps up I’m thinking that at some point I’m going to decide this might be one of those times that’s going to warrant a lie.
I was doing this exact thing today!
Ben and Bonnie came around, we’re here not exactly 6′ but then we spent far less then 15 minutes inside, just to use the restroom. We walked to the park for a picnic lunch and then went shopping at Tehran Market.
Seven different herbs here for that SO delicious Persian dish with feta and flat bread. I should ask Hilda to name them.
Nancy in Santa Barbara made these and they remind me so much of Celina’s. I make them too from Celina’s recipe. Pickled onions. Everything tastes delicious with pickled onions!
Celina's Recipe: Shallots or white, yellow, or red onions Apple cider vinegar Sugar Salt And last but very important the Black pepper corns Place them in cheese cloth so it's easy to remove them Let sit overnight and it's ready the next day
Three blocks from my house, a fine, friendly, family park with a few tennis courts and a very fun children’s playground.
And ducks. Sometimes more and sometimes less, they’re always generating a big mess. The kids get a kick out of feeding, and chasing, the ducks but I personally could do without them.
Douglas Park is a whole city block. I don’t have a picture of the meeting rooms or the large and beautifully maintained Lawn Bowling court, always a very popular activity with the Senior Set, which would be me these days, although I haven’t yet taken up Lawn Bowling. I haven’t seen anyone out there since the lock-down which, like so very many things, is too bad.
I have a neighbor who walks around the block every day with a 3-ish year old kid who Loves to hang out in front of my house. They can be there 5-10 minutes straight with the kid pointing at my wind chimes and swaying side to side to the sounds. They walk back and forth admiring the flowers.
I asked the kid one time if he wanted to jump on my paving stones and now that’s his favorite thing to do. Today I knew they were out there but the front door was closed so I let it go. A few minutes later the dad was showing the kid how to ring my bell and they put this adorable card on the mat.
You can see, as the dad told me when I pointed it out, they on the sidewalk me at the doorway, all the story elements are present in the drawing.
Because we REALLY need it!
I walked with Sharon in the morning and with Marsha in the evening, eating delicious and classic July 4th food All Day Long. YUM!
And I got to see Hamilton at Marsha and Tom’s! What a perfect entertainment for this most disrupted July 4th.
Two walks, food, 3 hours of good tv, what a luxury .. so what about The Corona?!
I’ve been thinking about Contract Tracing, what kind of contact is risky, and if I had an onset of symptoms tomorrow how many people would I have to contact? I thought being outside, everyone wearing masks, staying apart, would count for something, which it does of course, in ones likelihood to convey or contract the virus, yet current Contact Tracing protocols says you have to list everyone with whom you’ve been within 6′ for 15 minutes, from two days before the onset of symptoms. (I don’t know if you’re asymptomatic.) I feel a little calmer having counted the exact number – 0 or 1, maybe 2, 3 max depending on the day, and I’m going to be more attentive to the 6′ when walking if at all possible to keep that number at 0.