Last Blog Post
Today is vaccine day! I said I would stop this blog when I got vaccinated, so this is my last post.
My 344 posts started with complaints about Covid. During this year, I've gone off on tangents related from everything from politics to ice storms. Since we just returned home today, (after months away) to a house full of problems, I'll hardly have time to blog. But today I'll gripe a bit AND cheer about my vaccine!
This morning before getting excited over our 2:00 vaccine appointment, Don and I had to check out of our hotel and meet the plumber at the house. We've been gone 80 days and we have dead trees and busted pipes from the big Texas freeze last February.
We may have leak issues in the house, but it feels great to be back home and to see blooming azaleas! Don put on a mask and greeted our Hero/Plumber. A few neighbors stopped and chatted outside. It's been so long since we've talked comfortably face to face. It was cold and quiet and "pandemic-y" when we left in January. Now it seems like everyone, (including our plumber) has been vaccinated!
Don started right in assisting Kerry, in the search for broken pipes. I moved soggy boxes from the garage to the sunny patio, beside the dead oleanders. Oh why didn't we sort through all those boxes of travel slides and files, during those lockdown days!
It began to look like our problems could take days to fix. We filled buckets of pool water for toilet flushing and we set up a washing station in the sink... kind of like the system that amused us when we stayed in Guatemala, a few years ago. I looked at our unopened suitcases and was glad we couldn't use the washing machine.
Don and Kerry worked together all morning. When Don was up in the attic I hollered reports to Kerry, in the garage.
At one point, Kerry cut a hole in the ceiling and disappeared. He found some treasures.
There were beer bottles, from a happy construction crew 23 years ago.
And there were 6 busted pipes.
But suddenly it was time to rush off for our vaccine appointments. It was almost too easy, walking into our doctor's office and going back into the examining room together. It only hurt for a moment and we rubbed vigorously, like we'd been told.
I can't believe how quick and safe it felt. I sort of regret that we didn't have the big, line up for a vaccine experience. After 12+ months of pandemic, it seemed like we should jump through more hoops for the shot. And we just have one shot with Johnson and Johnson! That seems like cheating. But that's okay! We are done and I can't believe it!
We don't need rewards. Being vaccinated is a gift and I'm grateful for that.
We did however, celebrate our vaccines with carryouts from Freddie's! We brought some back for Kerry, who worked all day... and will be returning tomorrow.
So, this house is a mess of unpacked bags and boxes. We still have no water. But I'm sleeping in my bed tonight and I am vaccinated.
I'm so grateful to be here today. I know my year has been an easy one compared to almost everyone I know. My rants have been silly at times, but they've helped me make it through the year.
I have no idea who has even seen this crazy blog. I do it for me, so it doesn't matter. But for anyone who ever runs across this Not So Happy blog, feel free to make a comment. Share a complaint or two and let me know how you're doing.
Cheers to the light at the end of the tunnel! I'm done!
One More Thing!
Okay, it's been 2 days since I posted and ended this blog. I said I was done, but I really want to end with a different focus.
Tonight, we celebrated on Zoom with "the kids". A year and 2 days ago, we 6 Zoomed for the first time, with a Tiki theme. Today, we Zoomed for the first time as a group of 7. Our theme was "Yay for Vaccines!" As of yesterday, we have all had shots! (except for Baby Charlotte)
I started this blog in 2016, with cancer complaints. I learned that patience and flexibility help a lot! Mostly I learned how to accept support from family and friends.
Just over a year ago, I restarted this blog, with complaints about the covid pandemic. I already knew how to isolate and adjust. I knew to appreciate my health and to work hard again, to stay healthy. But more than anything, the pandemic reminded me that communicating with those we love, is the most important and healing thing we can do.
Tonight, we toasted to vaccines and good health! We cheered for Baby Charlotte's 6-week birthday! I am so at peace knowing our family has become closer this year. I'm so grateful that we all have stayed healthy!
I stepped out of our cozy historic hotel and went on a morning run. I figured I could soak up the blissful scenery, to settle my nerves.
It was fun to see Bluebonnets this morning. I knew I was back in Texas. Sad we couldn't stay in our cabin last night, but we were too tired to deal with broken water pipes.
I trotted down to the lake and all was peaceful.
I bent down to see the dew on the bluebonnets!
I peeked at the hotel's 3 cabooses and remembered when Don and I stayed in one 6 years ago.
I jogged over by the red barn and I didn't get much exercise because I stopped so often. But I felt good. After I showered we checked out and I ignored the unmasked woman working behind the counter. I can't stress over her right now.
On the Road
We headed for Sugar Land and kept fingers crossed that our house would be okay, after the big Texas Freeze of February.
I smiled when we passed Pearl the Squirrel, on TX 71! Pearl is still wearing a mask (and carrying an Easter basket) even though the mask mandate was lifted in Texas.
Johnson and Johnson
Our best news this morning, was getting appointments for the J & J vaccine tomorrow! I called our doctor's office this morning and we will go in tomorrow afternoon! A part of me worries. Is this one-shot vaccine really as good as Modern and Pfizer??
So I used the traveling time to read some more. Some info was far above my head, but bottom line is... take it! It is not a "lesser vaccine". So instead of worrying over storm damage possibilities, I started getting giddy that tomorrow Don and I will be fully vaccinated!
Then we got home to Sugar Land. We had expected to see dead plants, but it was still startling to see brown palms and oleanders.
We headed inside and it felt odd to see the place, after 3 months. It actually looked cleaner than I remembered. It felt good to walk through the house.
I was eager to play the piano. That's one positive thing about the pandemic. I started playing again and I've missed it. But there wasn't time for playing.
So Don had a very calculated plan for turning our water back on. He suggested we not unpack, in case we had to stay in a hotel. That's negative thinking.
We opened up valves and faucets gradually. We shouted to each other from different bathrooms. At one point Don hollered, "Did you turn on the washing machine?" I didn't, but water was spewing in the laundry room! I ran to the garage to get beach towels, where I discovered water spraying down on our embarrassing pile of boxes.
Back to Hotel Living
I swore we were done with pandemic hotel stays, 2 days ago. I'm tired of cookie cutter Marriotts, but this is a new one down the road. We have become robots with our hotel routines.
We could have stayed at the house. We have a pool for toilet flushing water. But a hotel meant we could be showered for our vaccine appointments tomorrow. We need one night to just take a deep breath and plan how we'll do this no water thing. It's looking like we may not be able to get a plumber for a week.
So tonight we are NOT in our home. But we will be tomorrow, water or not. We will get our vaccines and sleep in our bed again and then I'll be done with this blog!
So Many Grandma Friends
Today while traveling, I sat in the passenger seat and selfishly entertained myself on Facebook. Scrolling through posts, I was quickly reminded that I have a lot of friends, who recently became grandmas. I would have preferred becoming a grandparent, without a pandemic. But, this pandemic club does bond us.
Heidi's First Friend
Heidi gave birth to Charlotte, this past Valentine's Day. Days later, my old friend from St. Louis reached out in a text and told me her daughter was also expecting a baby. Here I am with Patti and our little girls... long, long ago.
Today I noticed this bit of news, while peeking at social media.
Patti's daughter made the news! Haley received both doses of Moderna, before her baby was born. Tests show that her baby has high levels of antibodies! Great news!
As we drove along the highway, I had a good time thinking back to when Haley and Heidi were babies. Patti and I were pregnant together and we were so delighted when our little girls became such good buddies.
How curious that our daughters were born in 1986 and then both became mothers in 2021, during the pandemic... 10 days apart! I wish we weren't living in 4 states, or we 6 "girls" could get together!
More Pandemic Babies
We moved from St. Louis to Tulsa when Heidi was 4. We were thrilled when the Hart family moved in across the street. We spent 7 years running back and forth between houses. Heidi and Leigh Anne got in a tiny bit of mothering practice with their American Girl Dolls. Mostly they ran and played and laughed together, from age 4 to 11.
2+ decades later, both girls were married and expecting baby girls, during a pandemic. I'm so glad they've kept in touch. I'm so grateful that Leigh Anne's mom and I have also. It's been fun to cheer each other on from afar, as we've became grandmothers. We used to wonder what it would be like when our girls had babies... we never guessed that we'd not be able to be at the hospital, because of a pandemic! We never guessed our girls would have baby girls, just 3 months apart.
My mind wandered further back in time, today. I thought about the first friend I ever had, that became pregnant. Claire and I were college buddies... very silly college buddies. Her first child was born years before mine. She was a grandparent years before me.
We lost touch for years, but have communicated during the pandemic. Over a month ago, when we were still in Portland, I got a text from Claire. She was in Portland (from Utah) watching her grandchildren for a week. She knew I was in Portland, awaiting the arrival of a grand baby. We talked on the phone, cracking each other up, like the old days. I can't imagine how much fun it would be to see Claire as a grandma... paintbrushes and roller-skates! We were both pretty silly 40+ years ago and we still are. But we take our kids and grandkids seriously. Neither one of us wanted to risk getting together, even though a meet up would have been a very quick drive.
I'm glad that things are changing. Pregnant women are getting vaccines and maybe they won't have to wear masks during childbirth. Grandparents are getting vaccinated and finally seeing their grandkids. It's so nice to realize things will be different by the time I have another grandchild. Chances are good that we won't be in the midst of a pandemic!
From Las Cruces to El Paso
Today I felt like a horse racing home to the barn. We left our hotel in New Mexico. Yay! We would be at our TX cabin tonight and all done with hotels. This last one was being renovated, which added to the stress.
El Paso was glowing this morning. I love getting back to Texas, but I have concerns about how safe I'll feel in casual Texas, with the lifting of mask mandates. Don and I also have worries about our cabin and house. Did the big freeze damage pipes?
As we traveled through El Paso I looked to the right and studied Mexico.
Is today the day President Biden visits the border? Or yesterday? It seems odd to think that those beautiful mountains and all those buildings are in another country. It's incredibly sad that so many communities on both sides of the border, used to work together. Okay, that's another tangent.
Don and I had our last picnic! I'm sick of sandwiches on the road.
I can't wait to get back to our real kitchen. I'm ready for dishwashers and a stove and oven! Yay for home. Almost there!
The Cabin After Feb Freeze
We made it to our cabin before 5. We were greeted with dead palms and dead Rosemary bushes.
We entered with fingers crossed. Before turning on the water, we opened faucets. The water that was left in the pipes, showed us right away that we had a burst pipe upstairs. Just as we feared.
We didn't even question staying at the cabin. We've been in "make-do-camping-mode" for almost 80 days. We just headed for the closest hotel, which happened to be this charming place.
I walked in with my mask and the woman behind the desk looked startled. Are masks so rare here that she thought I was holding her up? She did put on a mask after we spoke for 5 minutes. She was just ready to close up, so we lucked out.
Our room was on the far right, with our own entrance.
No one above or below. No one next door. Yay for isolation!
Porch to Ourselves
It wasn't really pandemic isolation I was needing. I'm just tired of hotels. And tired of tiptoeing in an Airbnb, with very quiet owners living above.
Don and I took drinks to the front porch and watched the parking lot in front of the Grand Central Cafe. So many pick up trucks and happy Texans coming to dine.
We waited until the crowds died down and placed a carryout order. We ate in our hotel and laughed at ourselves. We really thought we were done with hotels for a while.
We'll drive on home to Sugar Land tomorrow. (Leave cabin repairs for later) Fingers crossed that the Texas Freeze of 2021, spared us issues at our house!
Passing Quartzsite, AZ
While driving through Arizona today, we saw the sign for Quartzsite. Last January when we passed this small town, we saw a sea of trailers and RVs. I thought it was temp housing, for families that have lost homes during the pandemic. Don knew better.
Don recognized the town from reading the book, Nomadland and he knew about the annual Rubber Tramp Rendezvous gathering. The giant swap meet (spotlighting gems and minerals) attracts 1.5 million. How curious!
Quartzsite in March
It was quiet in Quartzsite today. We stopped for gas as an excuse to get off the highway and peek around. I threw on my mask and ran into a gem/ souvenir shop. I bought some postcards and the sweet woman gave me the yellow camel pin.
I did a quick Google search and learned that this small desert town was once part of the US Camel Corps, before the Civil War. The Corps fizzled, but camels roamed the area until the 1940's. I love this stuff!
I spotted this green cafe and was giddy. Don and I have many memories of curious folks we've met, at small diners like this! I can only imagine what stories we might learn from some of the locals here.
I'm so tired of this kind of travel, which has nothing to do with the journey. So, I compromised. I masked up and ran inside to order 2 coffees, to go. It was fun to see the retro dining counter and travel trailer knickknacks on the wall. But I'm starting to wonder how my year of pandemic awareness, will change my carefree approach to dining in dives! We'll see.
We drove around a bit more and wondered about the small shops, especially those that were for sale. The pandemic has hurt almost every kind of business, but I wonder if the people in this area are more used to ups and downs and highs and lows. I wish I could chat and learn more.
I did get to see some saguaros. This long drive from OR to TX has been broken up with lots of good things, mostly visits with family. But seeing saguaros in Arizona, is always a treat!
On the Road
Last night, we said good-bye to Scott and Chali and checked into our Sacramento hotel. I glanced at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, right next door and chuckled. A big reminder that we're headed to Texas. I thought to myself.
After just seeing the restaurant, we got to our room and I saw a news clip about the CEO of the TX Roadhouse chain. He had taken his life, due to Covid related symptoms. It was an awful and eerie reminder that the pandemic is still here, even though states are opening up and vaccines are becoming more available. Covid is still taking lives.
Shooter in Boulder
Tonight Don and I are in our hotel in Palm Desert. We're just trying to get back to Texas and be done with this pandemic travel. But right after checking in tonight, I got a text from my brother. "Active Shooter Boulder... Andy and Casey are holed up in their apt..."
For the rest of the evening, Don and I studied the TV in shock. Our nephew and his wife live across the street from the King Sooper's grocery store. Andy had just shopped there, yesterday. The news had few details, but we learned that a policeman was killed. It now looks like, 10 may have been killed. I can't stop thinking about these innocent people, who have lived through a year of pandemic stress, only to be killed by a gunman on a Monday afternoon.
Once again, Don and I sit in a hotel room, glued to our TV. Our trip west in January and our trip home in March, has been plagued with tragic news. On January 6, we began our trip, taking in the horrific happenings at the Capitol, as we drove west. The day we started the trip home, we learned of the mass shooting that included mostly Asian women, in Atlanta.
So today, we watch the news unfold about the the Boulder shooting. I wonder will this ever stop? When we look back on this 12 month pandemic period in the future, what will we remember? It won't just be about Covid-19.
Today, I'm going to think about all the green we saw on our drive today. What a contrast to all the sad news. I think I'll think about these beautiful scenes as I go to sleep.
Safe With Family
A year ago we cringed at the news of Spring Breakers, gathering as Covid numbers spiked. It just happens to be spring break now, as we travel home to TX. I'm so glad we can spend a couple days again, with Scott and Chali. They've been smart and safe during this long year. We feel so comfortable staying in their home.
Yesterday, we actually ventured out and went to an open air winery near Sacramento. While spring break crowds were being arrested in Miami, we ordered wine flights and took off our masks to sip. It felt almost normal.
But besides making the decision about getting out into this "normal world" after months of avoiding people... we had to make make a choice about seeing other family.
Our nephew and family offered to meet up with us. I suddenly realized how much more complicated life is going to be as we navigate this new world, where our cautious friends are becoming more social. So many decisions! Our doctor nephew and his scientist wife can certainly be trusted. It was actually nice to get some questions answered about the J & J vaccine and future air travel.
Plus, we got to see these sweet kiddos. We haven't seen them in 18 months.
Scott and Colden got to compare their Covid hair growth!
Today, we had one more day with Scott and Chali. They took us to the nearby town of Folsom, for an adventure.
It felt wonderful to be out on a beautiful day. The historic downtown area was buzzing with activity. People dined at tables on the sidewalk, while musicians played. It was still too crowded for my comfort.
I looked at this old hotel and the historic Hop Sing Palace Chinese Restaurant. I am craving the day that Don and I can get back to our favorite kind of exploring.
But we're not quite ready for navigating crowds. The 4 of us just wandered instead.
We hiked across the old truss bridge and watched kayaks and paddle boards glide beneath the Rainbow Bridge.
It felt like the good old days, posing like tourists.
Then the youngins did their own posing with these pretty painted wings!
Then it was back to the house to grill outside! I feel so lucky to have this time. Maybe next time we visit, we'll check out the prison where Johnny Cash spent time. There's an adventure.
Taking baby steps right now.
Spring in the Park
Yesterday, Don and I arrived in Sacramento. It was cool and cloudy when we peeked at the city park near Scott and Chali's home. We put on masks because the park was pretty busy,
A year ago, spring arrived and we were just beginning to wrap our heads around the pandemic. Little did we know, we'd be wearing masks in a park, a year later.
First Day of Spring Picnic
I feel so lucky that we were able to add a visit with Scott & Chali on our way home from Oregon. Today was the first day of spring and the sun was shining in William Land Park.
We found an open picnic table by this big tree, but spread out in the sunshine instead.
It felt like heaven after 2 chilly months in Oregon. We had a picnic from a nearby deli and soaked up some sunshine.
What a treat to enjoy the warmth and sun today. But mostly it was good to be with family. We FaceTimed with Heidi and Jamie and Baby Charlie, in Portland.
We cuddled with our grand-dog, Lola!
Tiki and Flowered Shirts!
Then we finished the Springtime celebration, with flowered shirts and tiki drinks! So fun and silly.
I can't thank our kids enough, for staying smart and safe, for this whole year. We've been able to navigate these visits, because we all trust each other.
Slow Getting News
On Wednesday, Don and I were away from news and TV as we packed and got on the road. Yesterday we checked into the Marriott, in Redding, CA. I grabbed this paper.
I am taken back to last year, when my heart ached for my Asian neighbors and the Asian businesses in Houston. Trump's language and behavior was outrageous. He was inviting hate and intolerance. China Virus... Kung Flu. It was ugly, then.
And here we are today! This is frightening to see. I am so angry and yet so grateful that we have a president who is going to Atlanta today, to offer support to the community. I spotted a flag at half mast this morning.
Today Don and I drive to Sacramento to spend 2 nights with Scott and Chali. My daughter-in-law is a strong and smart, Asian American Woman and I will give her the biggest hug ever. l hope Chali can help me understand what this means to her. There is so much I need to learn.
Just as the world was starting to feel safer...
Another Good Bye
Last night we spent the first night of our road trip home, with Jennifer and Kate! Today we had to say good-bye.
Last night, we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with beer (not green) on the deck. Fire and blooming trees and flowers! Wonderful.
We ate the most incredible feast inside. Best of all we dined and talked and carried on without masks!
We've been very very cautious with our recent visits. But J & K are both fully vaccinated now and life is getting better! Inside and no masks, is okay.
Kate made Don's favorite! Corned Beef & Cabbage... Carrots and Potatoes, plus Irish Soda Bread!
In the morning, we chatted more around Mom's old table while we ate Jennifer's corned beef hash and fried eggs! What a treat to have time to talk and laugh and share. We talked a lot about how the world is beginning to feel different, now. So much worry is lifting.
It's fun that the 4 of us are grandparents now. Don and I got a text from Heidi with this photo at one point. We shared with J & K and laughed over that cute bow.
Later, Heidi shared this photo. Melting heart. Now we 4 can share stories and pictures of our grandkids. And share the woes of not living close.
But the good news is... our good bye to Jenni and Kate was easy. We will be in Oregon much more often now!
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".