Anxious to End 2020!
Everyone has been eager to be done with 2020! It would actually be fun to celebrate with others, this year. It's a big one. Kind of like the countdown to 2000!
But this is the year of all year's to stay put. We celebrated at home, like most people. Later in the evening we watched the "surreal" New Year's Eve celebration on TV. There were no crowds.
Starting the Day
We woke to a dark morning with gushing rain. My cell phone alerted me to a tornado watch until 3 pm.
Later I got a text and then a voicemail, alerting me that our county was in the RED level, for Covid risk. It seemed like a fitting New Year's Eve, for this unsettling year.
Instead of Resolutions
I could have taken the rainy day and reflected on our year. But it's depressing thinking of all the sad and the bad of 2020.
I could have thought about the things I've accomplished, but that would have led me to thinking about all the things that I did not achieve in 2020. So... I allowed myself to think for a moment and then I dragged out the dusty sewing machine. (I had to use the guide book, because it's been so long!) Then, I started the bib project I meant to start 5 months ago.
Champagne and Dancing
At 6 pm the evening began. Don shot the cork across the yard and we used my new tripod to capture our toast. We didn't actually get off the couch to dance.
Instead, we let Fred and Ginger do the dancing on TV. We turned off the TV sound and and cranked up some New Orleans jazz. That's the kind of entertainment we've grown to love during these isolated months.
Reverse Seared Filets
After some texting and phone chats with our kids, Don got to work with his cooking skills. Don has definitely become a better cook in 2020!
He did an amazing job. I love living with a chef!
At dinner, we toasted to the end of 2020.
We talked only a little bit, about our plans for 2021. The world is still uncertain and it's hard to plan. Suddenly we know more people who have recently had Covid. The distribution of vaccines is pretty messed up. Who knows about 2021?
We do know that we'll be welcoming our first grand baby in February! And we know that with careful planning, we'll be with our kids before too long.
A year ago, we dressed up and rang in the New Year at a party. But most of our New Year's are spent at home watching the crowds in Times Square.
We did the same old thing this year, but it felt a little odd. The public was obviously not allowed to gather.
Only invited guests were allowed to be present for the ball drop. I'm not sure how these frontline workers were chosen, but it was a nice reward for some.
There were so few people in the streets, that the cameras kept showing the same people. I started to feel like I knew some of these guests. Even with masks, I thought some of the faces revealed thoughtful expressions. What were these people thinking?
It was awkward and sort of funny, at midnight. A few couples attempted a "kiss" with masks. It looked like they forgot they were wearing masks. There was probably a lot more eye contact at midnight than most years!
We made it! I'm glad Don and I (along with our family) made it to 2021, in good health.
Don and I also made it (awake) to midnight! The anticipation wasn't the same as greeting 2000, 20 years ago. But it felt good to be awake to say hello to a new year!
I just wish the year could be a blank slate and we could start fresh, with no pandemic or political worries. But it will be better year! We'll step into 2021 with caution and lots of hope!
This is the news from yesterday. I heard the death count was actually much higher. Hurry up vaccines!
We're doing about 1 million vaccines a week. This could take 6 years at this rate!
This post is from early December. It's scary that yesterday, we lost more people than we lost on 9/11.
But what's really scary is that there are so many of these record breaking days!
There's little I can do about those numbers today. I will turn on music and start putting away Christmas.
A good distraction. I smile each time I pick up one of my favorites.
And I mope when I put them away in boxes. I've never put Christmas away, before New Year's
But we will be on our way soon. Heading off to help our daughter prepare for their new baby. Leaving our quarantine home and heading off to quarantine again.
Good things ahead... if we can stay safe.
2 Weeks and 2 Million
It's been 2 weeks since the first (non trial) American was vaccinated. We've only vaccinated 2+million.
We all wish this could go faster. The number of Covid patients across the US is the highest it's ever been. Things are expected to get much worse in January.
I was pretty jealous of Don's email this morning. It's starting to look like things are really going to change!
Don's eager to get his, but it's not really clear when. Distribution has become really complicated. I just hope my 92 year old dad can get one soon.
So Trump says it's up to the states to administer the vaccine. "Get Moving!" he says. I guess that's all the encouragement he has to offer. He's been in Florida, playing golf every day.
It's confusing as we talk to our family and friends all over the country. We're hearing different stories about who gets vaccines first. Luckily everyone in our family is eager to take the vaccine. It's mind boggling that many out there say they will refuse.
Or will they, when a vaccine is offered?
I'll stop with the sarcasm in 2021. I think.
Escaping the Burbs
In recent pandemic months, many people have been fleeing crowded city housing and moving to the suburbs.
Today, I was itching to leave my Sugar Land suburb and drive into Houston. I've been reading about the pandemic inspired artwork, that can be found around the city.
As I headed downtown I felt excited to get out of my safe little bubble-burbs and see some city color. "This is a safe adventure." I reminded myself. "I'm putting no one at risk.
Once in the city, I took a few pics from my car window. Then, I scolded myself. "Great. You'll get in an accident and go to the hospital and be part of the problem." Every safe outing is questionable these days.
Even before I reached my destination, I spotted lots of curious scenes out my window.
I had plugged "Graffiti Park" into Google Maps. I've never been to this large lot, in Houston's East End.
So many colorful walls and so much paint! I parked and felt comfortable getting out of my car, when I spotted a couple families taking photos.
Some of the murals were dated, but they hardly needed dates. It was clear that these images were inspired by the happenings of 2020.
This little star was way above my head. "Give me 50 feet." Hmmm?
I hate selfies, but I had to do at least one snap, with my mask and this wonder painting by Blanco.
I took the silly selfie, then walked over to the wall, with blue sky and wings.
A workman in an orange vest saw me attempting another awkward selfie. He laughed and offered to take my picture.
Oh dear. This is why I stay in my bubble. I didn't want to be a snob and say "No thanks." I didn't want to be unsafe and hand my phone to a stranger.
But I answered "Sure." and I stretched my arm out to hand over my phone.
Stupid? Maybe. He took some photos and handed my cell back. I thanked him and grinned big behind my mask. I went straight to the car and out came the hand sanitizer and wipes. My phone and hands have never been cleaner.
I can't wait for the day when I no longer cringe, over a friendly encounter with a stranger!
The Best Gifts
This is what I should have been sending this Christmas.
This is where my energy should have gone. But I made things complicated.
Post Christmas Mailing
Christmas is over, but today I headed back to the post office. It was quiet on Sunday and I used the self-serve machine. I paid $9.98 to mail a package to my dad. The gift to Dad was nicely wrapped and shipped by Amazon. But in my rush to order, I sent it to my house by accident. Oops.
This photo is from my first of 5 post office trips, this season. I hope in my rush, I addressed all those Christmas cards correctly.
"Slow down, Beth." (I can hear my mom)
I'm not the cause of all mail mistakes.
But, I'm trying to be patient. 6,000 postal workers were infected last week and online shopping is up about 40 percent. There have been weather delays. I'm so frustrated, though.
All my shopping has been online. I tried to shop early so I could receive purchases, inspect and wrap before mailing. Nice idea, but I made some bad shopping choices.
I didn't know these cute little lamps were coming all the way from China. 2 battered boxes in an envelope. Instructions in Chinese. I gave up fighting this one and sent the lamps as bonus gifts to the kids.
I sent boxes of wrapped gifts to everyone this year. I also ordered some gifts straight from Amazon. I've totally boggled my mind, trying to follow tracking! Way too complicated.
It wasn't until I mentioned something about the crazy Chinese lamp to my daughter, that I realized she and her husband never received our box of wrapped gifts. Waaa! I want my kids to have their goodies!
On December 6, I told my dad to keep an eye on his mail. I was sending him an early gift. Something to read during the holidays, while on quarantine lockdown. It never arrived.
On Christmas Eve I sent a whining email to the online book business. I thought I'd been burned once again.
The business owner wrote back a long note that made me stop and think.
Well, I felt a little guilty and wrote back.
"...I do apologize for not taking the time to think about what your world is like. I have been burned by a number of online businesses, since before covid, So I was a little afraid... After I sent my reply to you, I looked on your ratings and I saw right away that you have baby pleased customers. I should have done that earlier, then I would have just relaxed and known it was slow mail... can only imagine how busy... dealing with stressed and impatient customers... hope things change in our world soon... I hope you can finally rest! Stay well!"
Quick Reply on Christmas
So enough of all this. Done shopping. Done complaining. Done worrying...even over the packages still floating around!
We've had more Zooms than usual, with the holidays. Even after months of Zooms, I still fumble a bit over the technology. Then I have to find the right spot and light... and I have to think about what I'm wearing and if I have make up on. Even my ears have gotten lazy. They don't like it if I attempt to put on some earrings for a Zoom.
On the 23rd we Zoomed with good friends. I raced home from a doctor's appointment and struggled to start up the Zoom that I'd set up. Why do I make this so hard? But in one minute, we were sipping our drinks and enjoying our old neighbors, like old times. It was so worth it! It's amazing how lifted we feel after a good Zoom visit.
Sibs on Kwanzaa
The day after Christmas we Zoomed with my 3 sibs and spouses. It's never easy finding the best time, since we're in 4 different time zones.
My younger brother got on for a while, but the reception was poor and the delay made things comical! But oh how wonderful to see family and feel a little bit together!
All my memories of adult holidays, include phone calls coming and going. Wonderful, but complicated interruptions... lots of passing the phone around. So instead of lots of holiday calls, we had a few organized Zooms, this year. So much more relaxing when it's planned. What a treat!
It's been an odd year of feeling isolated and yet more together. For those of us who live far away from family, it's been a year of connecting.
I gripe sometimes, but I hope Zooms don't disappear, when Covid disappears.
Christmas for Two
It's really not that big of a deal. Don and I know how to do Christmas for two. It's just knowing that we were supposed to have the 4 "kids" in Texas this year.
Our tiny Norfolk pine looked kind of pitiful this year. But at least we went ahead and put up stockings. They look a lot plumper when the kids are all here, helping us play Santa.
I must admit, it felt pretty relaxing to just lounge around and open gifts slowly.
We had lots to open, thanks to online ordering. Besides an item or two from CVS or the grocery store, every gift was ordered online this year. It was a treat having an excuse to not join the shopping crowds. It was also a complicated mess of delayed and wrong orders.
We kept it simple I made a breakfast sweet from scratch. It wasn't great.
Omelets in the morning and ham in the evening and a delivery of cheese cake from Cheesecake Factory. That was some covid silliness. That dessert cost more than our other meals combined.
Christmas Covid Jig
We had "Alexa" playing Christmas music all day. Some Smoky Mountain Christmas music, inspired a bit of a jig.
I also needed to show off my new boots.
Cozy Zoom Time!
We had a nice gathering with the kids mid-day. We girls wore our polar pants, that Chali got us 2 years ago.
What a sweet time, remembering our last Christmas together in 2018!
By the time the sun went down, Don made us cosmopolitans and the house started smelling extra good.
Don made a special ham glaze and I made the sides. Dinner in the dining room at the big table.
We checked the mail later and discovered a small package we'd missed yesterday. Scott and Chali had sent bonus gifts for all. Masks and Christmas crowns!
We missed a fun Zoom photo with the 6 of us in our Covid Christmas attire, but we texted our toast later!
Christmas Eve in the Past
I love a lively Christmas Eve with "the kids", but that's not always possible. We are in Texas and they are on the west coast. Don and I still enjoy celebrating together, but it helps to get away from the quiet house.
We've avoided a couple lonely Christmas Eves, by traveling for a night or two. New Orleans last year and Galveston 5 years ago.
Three Years Ago
The kids were supposed to travel to Texas this year for Christmas. But we're all staying safe in our homes. Three years ago we were all together on Christmas Eve in Thailand.
Chali and Scott had their Thai Wedding ceremony on Christmas Eve. That will go down as the most memorable Christmas ever.
Christmas Eve Reunion
We know many people are traveling and gathering, this year. Some are being selfish and stupid about it. Others are taking lots of precautions with testing and travel safety. But it's easy for us to just stay put... and Zoom Away!
In the early evening we Zoomed with the kids in California and Oregon, as well as Chali's family in D.C. Some of us wore some Thai clothing. I drank from my Thai tea cup.
We reminisced about the wonderful time we spent all together. And we cheered about the future with vaccines and new president... and a new baby coming into the family in February!
A Christmas Reading
We had a special treat before we got off the Zoom.
Scott read us the Texas Night Before Christmas, with the appropriate twang. Only 2 of us were really in Texas this year, but it still felt like we were all together.
No Masks Needed
Don and I hardly needed masks, being tucked away in our own home.
But we had some festive ones, so we took a selfie while we made a toast.
"A Merry Covid Christmas Eve to All!"
Christmas Eve Eve
Today is the day before Christmas Eve. I only had the TV on for 5 minutes, this morning. I refuse to be reminded all day of Covid and politics.
In 5 minutes I learned that nearly 85 million are traveling over the holidays! I saw that Dr. Fauci got his vaccine and that covid death rates are soaring. And what's with about anti mask protests?
I also learned that Trump slammed the stimulus bill and granted clemency to 20 more people. Besides the turkey in November, I believe all these people pardoned, have some personal connection to Trump.
No TV News
So the packages and cards are mailed. Cookies baked. Time to enjoy books, music and movies.
There's more time this year. I finally get to read some old favorites, before Christmas.
We've been watching classic Christmas movies every night. This one has been my favorite for 30+ years. It's long, but I'm delighted and moved by this movie, every year. I know what's coming, but the emotions always surprise me. And I always see things I've never noticed before.
Each year I hold my breath during the scene when young George Bailey confronts his distraught boss, who has just received news of his son's death. I'm always glued to the intense emotions of these characters, but this year I absorbed something that I missed in the past. Mr. Gower's son died of Spanish influenza. New meaning, this year.
Jimmy Stewart's performance is alway powerful, but this year it seemed even more wrenching. Seeing his character suffer and rage and cry, seemed fitting for this stressful year and season. Seeing the joy at the end, offered a welcome lift. Hearing the voices singing Auld Lang Syne was a nice reminder that we're moving closer to the end of 2020!
Mostly it felt wonderful to see the Bailey's home, filled with warmth and smiles. Generous friends pitching in, offering support. Caring people, hugging and crowding close together. Lots of hope in the end of the movie and lots of hope at the end of this year! Light is at the end of the tunnel! A new year and vaccines coming!
Homesick at Home
Don and I are at home, but I feel homesick for the kids, when I play the piano.
When I play "Douglas Mountain" I think of the kids when they were small. Heidi started singing along when she was very young. After Scott was born, we had more voices! Lots of loud jingle bell times around the piano in December! The kids got wound up with Christmas music, but this song always calmed them.
Last night, Don and I watched Meet Me in St. Louis. It's our favorite. We met and married in St. Louis. The kids were born there. I love being transported back to 1904 and imagining how St. Louis looked, when my own grandmother visited the World's Fair.
The scene where Judy Garland sings Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, always puts a lump in my throat. Garland's character sings to her little sister on Christmas Eve, days before their family plans to move away from the city they love. The song's title doesn't suggest the melancholy feeling of this song.
I remember watching this same scene, the Christmas after we moved away from St. Louis... moving our kids away from grandparents. Even sadder that year.
The Song Today
But this year, the lyrics have even more meaning to more people. Having a merry little Christmas... sounds like the simple, low key approach that most of us are aiming for.
"Next year all our troubles will be miles away..."
I hope so! We've all been saying Next Year, an awful lot lately.
"Faithful friends who were near to us, will be dear to us once more... Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow."
Oh my. Next year...
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast CANCER and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. This time it was the invasion of COVID and it affected every person. I ranted for a year, until I got my COVID vaccine in March 2021.
CORONARY Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was my hubby Don, who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!
Navigating This Mess!
The most recent post is at the top, from coronary posts in 2022, back to cancer posts in 2016.
To find past posts, look below the "Archives" section, to find "Categories".