2020 Life Logs, Day 300: Day of Reflection

2020 Life Logs, Day 300: Day of Reflection
Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Weather: Overcast, Clearing in the Afternoon; High 58, Low 44 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Forty-six years ago today Mark and I were married on Lovers Key at the southern end of Fort Myers Beach just across Big Carlos Pass. So for me, today began as a day of reflection. Then this evening I got a text from Jo telling me that they had to have their dog, Alfie, put down. We all knew that time was coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Justin and Jo were married in April of 2007. In December of that year, Mark and I flew home from Australia for my sister’s 50th wedding anniversary and for the birth of our first grandchild, Sam. In late April we went to visit Justin and Jo in New Mexico before flying back to Australia to continue our trek around the world. Justin and Jo had just celebrated their first year of marriage.

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They lived in the dusty little New Mexico town called Cerrillos and they had two dogs, Alfie and Lulu. They had only had Alfie a few months, but by the time we met him, he was already very big. He was a big puppy with abundant energy and a very loving personality. While we were visiting, Justin showed off his training techniques. Sure wish I was as successful as he was at dog training! To this day, when I think of Alfie, I always start singing the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song from the 1966 movie by the same name. I’m copying the words here as food for thought in honor of Alfie.

What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie
Then I guess it is wise to be cruel
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie
What will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie
I know there’s something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in
I believe in love, Alfie
Without true love we just exist, Alfie
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie
When you walk let your heart lead the way
And you’ll find love any day, Alfie . . .
Alfie.

2020 Life Logs, Day 299: Covid Confusion

2020 Life Logs, Day 299: Covid Confusion
Date: Monday, October 26, 2020
Weather: Overcast with Misty Rain; High 57, Low 54 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

When I picked Ollie up from school to take him home today, he told me Jonah didn’t go to school today. If you read last night’s log, you know Jonah had what is classified as a minor Covid exposure last Wednesday. No matter what kind of exposure you have, the recommendation is to wait five days to be tested. Otherwise, you will probably get a negative result, but you could still get the virus. The Vice-President had a major exposure on Saturday, but he was tested immediately and deemed negative. And until there was tremendous pressure, he was planning to go to the Senate tonight. How come the same rules don’t apply to all? It is so confusing. But Heather and Jed decided to keep Jonah home today to err on the safe side for other kids. They called the pediatrician to set up a Covid test since this was day five, but they were told “scheduling”, whoever that is, would call them to make an appointment. When I got home with Ollie they still had not been contacted. This is just not acceptable. If we are going to have children in school, we need to have a routine testing protocol set up for them if they are exposed. Even if Jonah gets tested tomorrow, he won’t get the results until at least Thursday. So he is going to miss an entire week of school. And when you only have school in person every other week, that is a big deal for an 11-year-old who desperately wants to be with his friends. It would be acceptable if we were all following the same guidelines, but we are not. Ugh.

I am not sure what the neighborhood in which Heather and Jed now live is planning to do for Halloween, but the Goldpebbles are planning their costumes whether or not they are going to go Trick or Treating. From a distance yesterday afternoon, Jonah showed me that he is going to be a deep sea diver. Heather has an old dive vest that Jonah will wear over his wet suit. Sam is too old to Trick or Treat, but he and his friend Robert are planning some scary surprises.
By the time Ollie declared he wanted to be a gorilla, it was too late to order a costume. But last night I found one at a Target off-Cape and Shadow and I went to pick it up today. I thought it was going to be too big, but it actually worked. Jonah and Ollie carved pumpkins this weekend and they are sitting on the front steps. So, some Halloween fun is happening at the Goldstones despite the Covid scare.

2020 Life Logs, Day 298: I Will Vote

2020 Life Logs, Day 298: I Will Vote
Date: Sunday, October 25, 2020
Weather: Mostly Cloudy and Cool; High 54, Low 45 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

This morning I got a text from Cher inviting me to tune into a two-hour music program tonight to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I deleted the text thinking I was not going to spend two hours watching a music program. Then I talked to Justin this afternoon and he asked me if I was going to watch that program tonight, I WILL VOTE. That gave me second thoughts, so I did sign up to watch. And I am very glad that I did. As my niece Lynn always said about me, “Judy, you have less pop culture knowledge than anyone I know.” And she was right. I had never heard of most the music artists featured in tonight’s program, but it was a feel good two hours supporting the Biden campaign and I really enjoyed being introduced to so many young artists. There were also a few oldies that I recognized, but all were trying to get the point across that every single eligible American needs to vote in this election. George Lopez and Ana Navarro hosted the event, and I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of either of them. I did recognize John Legend and loved his rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” There were young artists like Ciarro and P!nk that I had never heard of but I enjoyed being introduced to them. There was a young singer songwriter from Texas who now lives in Nashville, Maren Morris, who gave a very persuasive talk about the importance of voting for Biden in this election. There were young artists like Darren Criss singing oldies like the Beetles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” And then there were oldies like Cher singing a new song written just for this campaign . . . “Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe.” There was a song called “Where is the Love?” that used the words and video from a Joe Biden speech which was quite effective. This was all done in a Zoom-type format with appearances by Joe and Jill Biden, Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff. I think a young artist who quoted Cornell West summed it up best when he said to never forget that . . . “Justice is what love looks like in public.” I think it is obvious which candidate he was referencing.

Last night my sister was finally reconnected to her life-long friend Helen. A number of us have been working to make this happen, but a Facebook message that I sent to the church that we knew Helen was a member of resulted in an instant connection. One of Helen’s granddaughters saw my message and got back to me via Facebook. We aarranged for the phone call to get the two reunited. They talked on the phone last night and that was a happy event. On the other side of the coin, we learned a not so happy bit of news late yesterday. Actually, I didn’t hear this news until early this afternoon. Heather got an email late yesterday saying that the assistant coach of Jonah’s soccer team has Covid. Jonah was last exposed to him last Wednesday evening at a practice. Everyone wears masks at practice and they use the six-foot social distancing rule, so this is technically classified as a minimal exposure. Still it brings up all kinds of questions. This is a week that Jonah goes to school. Should he go knowing he has been exposed? Heather contacted the school system and their only reply was this was a minimal exposure and would not keep him from coming to school. You need to wait at least five days after an exposure to be tested, so Jonah will get tested tomorrow evening. But he won’t get the results until at least Wednesday. It would be so helpful if there was a test with immediate results available. In the meantime, I am keeping a distance. I will still pick up Ollie after school, but we will keep our masks on in the car and keep the windows open. Hopefully by mid-week we will have negative test results for Jonah, but we will still need to take extra precautions for another week . . . life in the days in Covid.

2020 Life Logs, Day 297: Making the Most of Warm Days

2020 Life Logs, Day 297: Making the Most of Warm Days
Date: Saturday, October 24, 2020
Weather: Temperature Dropping; High 63, Low 44 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

When I checked the weather forecast this morning, I saw that today is likely to be the last of our warm days, at least for the ‘forecastable’ future. Starting tomorrow the high temps will be in the 50’s—not cold, but not warm enough to do some of the outside paint jobs that have been waiting for me to get around to them.
So, I had to scurry today. Before I could get to work, however, I had to go buy the paint. That required a trip to a hardware store. I also wanted to buy a leaf blower and that required a trip to a specific hardware store, Home Depot in Hyannis. The trip took much longer than expected because traffic and the VERY long check-out line in Home Depot. By the time I got back, I barely had time to apply one coat of the redwood sealant to the sandbox and outside table before heading to the Baranowski’s Taj Garage for an early dinner. They were having friends over that I haven’t seen since the Covid lockdown began in March, so they invited me to join them. It was warm enough to sit comfortably in the garage with the doors open, so we had a Covid-safe gathering. Christina and Warren Brodie were the other friends and Christina suggested that the Baranowski’s might want to rent out their space. Peter bought a propane heater that he turned on once the sun went down, but it was more to show it off as we would have been fine without it for this event. But as the temps dip lower, that heater will be most welcomed. It was great to get together and the food was delicious. Christina brought shrimp for an appetizer and Karen made a butternut squash soup, followed by fresh ahi tuna, with grilled portobello mushrooms and peaches, plus a salad. Karen’s salads are always a favorite as she puts in so many extras. Tonight’s salad had crumbled goat cheese, edamame beans, and pomegranate seeds. Yum. But the ahi tuna was the hit of the evening. It was caught by a neighbor of Peter’s who fishes in the ocean waters south of Martha’s Vineyard. This week he caught a large yellow fin and shared the bounty. I brought the dessert which was a new recipe that sounded great, but ended up to be a challenge. I thought I had ruined it as the cottage filled with smoke while it was baking. I made a cranberry pumpkin upside down cake using some of the cranberries I picked on Monday. My problem was my choice of the pan I used. My thinking was that using a springform pan would make it easier to get the cake out of the pan successfully. That part worked, but while baking, all of the butter, brown sugar, and cranberry juices flowed out of the spring-form pan and into the bottom of my oven. I should have known better. I’m sure the cranberry topping did not end up being what was intended, but it was edible, just not spectacular.

For the next seven days, the high daytime temperatures are forecast to be in the 50’s with nighttime temps dipping into the 40’s and even the 30’s on a couple of nights. The redwood sealant only needs 24 hours above 35 degrees F, so I can apply another coat tomorrow. But I think the paint for the shutters requires a temp of 55 degrees F, so that I’ll have to take them down and set up a painting area in the basement. I should have made better use of the warm days this past week, but I didn’t. Some things will just have to wait until spring.

2020 Life Logs, Day 296: Here and There

2020 Life Logs, Day 296: Here and There
Date: Friday, October 23, 2020
Weather: Warm and Sunny; High 67, Low 52 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Today was a day of running here and there. And I was able to do this thanks to friends, Peter and Karen Baranowski. When my car broke down on Tuesday evening, I rented a car for two days. I was supposed to return it this morning by 9 am, but my car was not going to be ready until late today or tomorrow. Karen called me yesterday and offered the use of one of their vehicles, so I took advantage of their kindness. I took Shadow to the groomer’s early this morning and then met Karen at the car rental place at 9 am to return the rental. Karen then drove us back to her house and turned her car over to me. I stopped at CVS on the way home to see if they had the double-strength flu vaccine for seniors. I have been checking for three weeks now, and finally today they had it. Check. Flu vaccine done. Then I went home and just before noon I got a call from Falmouth Motorcar saying that the cost of the repair to my Fit was going to be considerably more than anticipated, but that if I approved the work, the car would be ready in the early afternoon—much sooner than anticipated. I approved the work and waited for the call to let me know I could come get the car. I tried to call Karen to arrange a trade-off of cars, but I couldn’t get through to her. In the meantime, the groomer called and said Shadow was ready for pick-up. So off I went to get Shadow, then off to pick Ollie up after school. By this time, I had gotten the call to let me know the car was ready, but still I had not heard from Karen. Ollie came home with me for another work afternoon and just as I was getting ready to take him home, Karen called. We picked her up and then went to get my car. Ollie has been well trained. When I said we were picking Karen up, he reminded me that we would all need to wear masks if we were going to be in the car together. Sure wish our President was as Covid-safe as my eight year-old grandson! So, I did spend a day traveling here and there, but now I have my car back and am so grateful to the Baranowski’s for saving me the cost of another day of car rental. Thank you, Karen and Peter.

Tonight I finally made a contact that a number of us in my family have been working on since October 10th. It all started when my sister-in-law asked me if my sister Patsy was still in contact with her good friend from high school in Nitro, West Virginia, named Helen Stricklen. I assumed so, but when I asked my sister, she explained that the phone number she had used to reach Helen for years no longer worked. She hadn’t talked to her lifelong friend Helen for over five years. When Patsy and Helen were sophomores in high school, at age sixteen, Helen Landers decided to marry Bob Stricken. Because Helen was so young, they had to go to Kentucky to get married and my sister Patsy went with them to serve as their witness. That was in 1950. Tonight I found out that Helen and Bob are still alive, still married, and still living in Nitro,West Virginia. A nephew of mine had suggested trying to make contact through Helen and Bob’s church, the First Baptist Church in Nitro, so tonight I got on the church Facebook page and sent a message. Evidently the message went to all members of the church, and one of Helen and Bob’s granddaughters saw the message and got back to me. We will talk tomorrow afternoon and find a way to get Patsy and Helen once again in touch with one another. So again Facebook came to the rescue for me. It was invaluable during the weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and was once again invaluable in getting Patsy and Helen reconnected.