Monday, December 21, 2020

What else can possibly go wrong? Don't ask...

HALLIE EPHRON: As 2020 winds down, I find myself asking: “What else can possibly go wrong?” And almost immediately getting an answer in the form of: 

  • A micro-burst (mini-tornado) uproots massive trees planted when our local cemetery was built in 1672. Branches in our 30-foot tall pine are dangling. The tree guy has to climb the tree and tie the branches to the trunk before it's safe to cut them down, just in time for... 
  • A windstorm two weeks later that blows shingles off our roof, requiring a repair on the back and a whole new roof on the front… which fortunately they are able to do before… 
  • A heavy rain (plus more wind) floods our basement and a few days later... 
  • A snowstorm dumps more than a foot of snow and...
  • A sink in our laundry room is backing up and an upstairs toilet flushes itself every few hours so note to self: Call plumber.
Santa 2020 - Jerry Touger

Meanwhile...we’re in lockdown with Covid-19 cases spiking in Massachusett. In the spirit of “misery love company,” how are things in your neck of the woods?

Are the nights before 2020 Christmas sparking joy or just more pains in the ass?


RHYS BOWEN: Hallie, we are also in lockdown. But John had oral surgery today with anesthesia and he is not the best patient!

Christmas will be quiet as we are not allowed to socialize with son or daughter. Heavy sigh!

The USPS seems to have lost the big package I sent with presents for my Arizona family

And now a new senator says he will contest the election. I need peace and lack of anxiety!

JENN McKINLAY: My fear is that the toxic stew that has been 2020 didn’t really start for me until the pandemic hit in March and it’s been one horror after another - I won’t list them all as it’s too painful and, frankly, long - but I am bracing for the bad to carry on into the new year for at least a few months.

*sigh*

I say this with authority as my bathrooms, which suffered a massive flood, leaving us without walls or sinks, aren’t slated to be repaired until the new year, you know, when I have a book due.

*double sigh*

LUCY BURDETTE: I don’t want to jinx myself by listing things and have the Universe say “that’s not enough!” The only thing I will complain about is that my plantar fasciitis has flared up big time, so I can’t even take a decent walk.

I will be so glad to see this year in the rearview mirror. I insist on believing it will be better for all of us!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Lucy, I so get it. My bad knee has flared up and I can't walk the dogs. Not only am I missing it, but the dogs are so stir crazy that they are driving ME crazy. But I just got a gel injection so fingers crossed in a few weeks we'll be running marathons (not.)

Otherwise, finishing up 2020, we have had a sick dog, a sick cat, another sick dog, and our poor washing machine finally gave up the ghost and we had to replace it. I'm so ready to say bye-bye to 2020.

Break out the champagne!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: My Friday by Hank P Ryan.

Our dryer broke! That’s okay, it’s old, not a problem. Ordered a new dryer. Dryer can be delivered! Yay!
It’s poured down snow. Feet of snow. Oh no!
The heat goes off. Oh no! Call heating guy.
Heating guy can come at 12.
Dryer guy can come at 12. Possible mask situation develops. We’ll face that when the come comes.
Oh no! Heating guy and dryer guy cannot get up the driveway because it is covered with snow! Call snow plow guy.
Snow plow guy comes. Great! Oh, wait. The heater guy and the dryer guy have to get in through the bulkhead door to the basement, and the snowplow people have plowed all the snow onto the top of the bulkhead door.
Call snowplow people. Snowplow people come and open the bulkhead. Yay!
Heater guy comes. Oh no, he cannot be in the basement when the dryer guy comes! Crossing fingers.
Heater guy leaves. Yay.
Dryer guy comes to deliver the dryer. Yay. Hooks it up. It works. Yay. Oh no! Snow plow guys have moved the snow over the dryer vent, so the dryer cannot vent to outside.
Dryer guys move the snow.


Jonathan has no idea of any of this, because he is using my computer to depose a person in one of his cases, and the doors to the study are closed.

So he’ll come out, and say: how did it go? and I’ll reply: all good!

Which is completely true.

Okay, 2021 (a date I cannot type.) Okay, 2021. BRING IT ON.

 
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Hank, your challenge to 2021 makes me think of this:

I hesitate to even whisper it, but 2020… hasn’t been that bad for me, personally. I mean, the old house is falling apart, but it’s always doing that. And not being able to visit friends and family has been - well, we all know how that’s been! But after the trifecta of ‘16, ‘17, and ‘18, which included everything that’s gone wrong for the rest of you this year (plus sudden car death and massive vet bills) 2020 has not done me, individually, wrong.

It’s even given me some new crushes, in the form of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the head of Maine’s CDC. Dr. Nirav Shah. Who would have thought highly-competent infectious disease experts could be so darn appealing?

HALLIE: So let's end this epic whinge on a high note: What are your new crushes courtesy of 2020? Mine are the roofer. The plumber. And the guy who delivers my Stop 'n' Shop order who is forever upbeat. He's working two jobs and is buying a truck and getting a license to run a junk removal business. I plan to hire him, assuming the junk in my basement eventually dries out.

83 comments:

  1. Oh, goodness . . . . we UPSed boxes down to Virginia [cue the whining because I wanted to deliver them in person] . . . now I’m crushing on the UPS guy who made certain they were delivered the very next day. And we had not one snowflake fall here in the latest storm, so I’m crushing on the weather guy . . . .
    Virus aside, all seems to be well here . . . so now I’m going to worry that the universe has stored up something really evil for the end of the year; I can’t wait for 2020 to be over . . . .

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    1. Love the UPS guys, too - and the newspaper delivery person who leaves a paper on our front walk every morning before 6 AM.

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  2. Whoa, Reds, you have all gone through a lot of woes in 2020!

    ROBERTA: I had plantar fasciitis in summer 2018 after recovering from my broken ankle that spring so I know what the pain is like and that it is a bummer to not be able to take long walks.
    HANK: You made me choke on my lemon water as I read what you have gone through at home.
    HALLIE AND JENN: Yes, it's best not to ask what else can go wrong in 2020.

    Canada is well into the second wave of COVID19 cases but Ottawa is a weird safe outlier with declining or stable cases. That being said, it looks like our Premier is going to announce a FULL PROVINCE LOCKDOWN for Ontario starting on Christmas Eve (sigh).

    I'm still waiting for my 5 more Cyber Monday deliveries from the US since I was doing all my holiday shopping online. I got a USPS EXPRESS POST delivery yesterday that was sent on Dec 10?! And my 2021 seed order from Michigan has not even left the postal facility in 2 weeks?

    On a more positive note, I love the Icelandic tradition of hunkering down with books, chocolate and ale on Christmas Eve (Christmas book flood) and I will do a version of that this year. I did buy and receive my 3 book orders (over 60 new books) so with those and dozens of ARCs on my Kindle app, I have plenty of good reads to choose from.

    Since I am solo at home for X'mas, I am giving myself a break and ordering in some yummy holiday goodies to enjoy this week. The groceries and restaurants are offering some nice dinners for 2 (or 1) since they realize many households are having to celebrate on a much smaller scale.

    And I love how my indoor edible garden continues to thrive. I am experimenting with growing new veggies from seed and I bought a living pink oyster mushroom kit at the FM as my new experiment to watch and grow over the next month.



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    1. Indoor edible mushroom kit! Brilliant. My daughter is growing herbs on her window sill. Mine are... under a foot of snow.

      USPS delivery has been so pokey. I sent a condolence card to someone and it took 2 weeks to get from Boston to Connecticut. But hey, it got there.

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    2. Lesa Holstine sent me an article about the USPS logjams in several cities that is holding up delivery. I just to make sure my 2021 veggie seeds don't freeze somewhere en route, the rest I can wait for.

      And yes, the exotic mushroom guy is selling these kits. And I have over a dozen herbs, and mesculun and other leafy greens growing inside under grow lights for the first time. It is nice to see them grow and use them in cooking until spring comes around,

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    3. Grace, I'm glad you reminded me of Jólabókaflóð! We did a post on that a couple of years ago. At my house, we'll skip the ale, but the books and chocolate sound perfect!

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    4. Julia, I'm glad that I reminded you about the Christmas Book Flood (Jólabókaflóð). Since Ontario will be in a new lockdown for 28 days starting on Christmas Eve, I plan to hunker down and embrace this great tradition.

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  3. Oh my goodness, dear Reds! Eleven days to go. Hang on tight.

    Our house and property has been solid, and I have a huge crush on my postal carrier who takes away any prepaid packages I leave on the front stoop for him. Sometimes daily. And frankly, despite the times when I want to tell him he's breathing too loudly, I'm crushingly grateful to my tall, strong Hugh who just drove off in the dark and snow (which he's cleared a couple of times already) to do the senior-hour grocery shopping as he's done since October when I had hand surgery.

    But 2020! Two good friends died (not of COVID). I'm missing SO many hugs. And having something disastrous/troubling/infuriating dropped into my life two weeks ago was totally the last straw. I'm all done with this year.

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    1. Edith, I am glad you have a good postal carrier. We got a new carrier on our route this year and he does the bare minimum. He has not delivered a single parcel to my apartment all year so he is on my naughty guy list. He leaves a pickup card in my mailbox and I have to go to the post office to pick them up. By comparison, a got a rare Sunday delivery from Canada post yesterday. It was another postal carrier and he brought 2 parcels right to my apartment door (as the other guy should).

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    2. And I so sorry about your latest woes, Edith. Virtual hugs.

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    3. I do have a spot of good news - I've joined murderer Edith Maxwell on wikipedia! I tell the strange tale on the Wicked Authors blog today.

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    4. Thank you, Grace. Too bad about your regular mailman!

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    5. He's a real pain. Some of these parcels are big and I don't drive. And winter is coming so trudging through snow/ice for 30 minutes (round trip) carrying a bulky parcel is no fun.
      (SORRY, I'M GONNA STOP WHINING NOW!)

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    6. Congrats, Edith, on the Wiki page! Glad they cleared it up right away that you were not to be confused with the murderer with the same name!

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    7. Edith, I've had a huge crush on our mail carrier for years! He is just the best ever. And these days he's coming at 8:30 in the morning--I wonder if he's working extra hours.

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    8. Edith, so sorry to hear about the disastrous something... seriously. xxx

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  4. This year has been like the plots from several novels all mashed together. The Andromeda Strain, Seven Days of Condor and Reds, you get to name the others. When word leaks out that a loser President has just had a meeting to consider a military option for overturning the election, well 2021 is looking like it will have its own challenges.
    Hallie, there is a book in that post, Hank, a sitcom episode! Authors always feel as though these random events don't belong in their stories, but life is like that and stuff does happen.
    You and your stories, this blog and its contributors have lifted me up day after day.
    Blessings to all of you in the new year.

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    1. That's exactly the problem with what really happens - it's so random... And the most painful stuff fades in memory. Which is precisely why so many writers take notes. I wish I had that habit, though I suppose with the help of this blog, I do!

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  5. The tree crew who took down all the dead pine and spruce trees and later, ground out the stumps (booked in May, turned up at the end of October. Apparently, every spruce and pine in Cincinnati is on death watch). The deck guy who is booked through next April who agreed to stop by, wrote up an estimate, and asked for a handshake to secure a place on his waiting list for the end of April 2021. Oh, and by the way, did you know your deck wasn't built to code and needs $$$ in remedial work as well as new flooring and railings?

    My d/w started making odd noises on Saturday. I freaked, pulled out the instruction manual, cleaned the filter and added rinse aid. Fingers crossed it stays happy.

    And no matter how much adjusting we did with shims, our Christmas tree remains at a rakish tilt.

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    1. Praying for your dishwasher's speedy recovery...

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  6. It sounds like the Reds and friends are having an appliance apocalypse! Are the stars misaligning or what?!

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  7. Just quickly, The Santa sketch by Jerry reminds me of illustrations of Santa (“Bloomin’ fog”) in Raymond Briggs’ book Father Christmas. Gotta run, but will read closely later. Thanks, Hallie.

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    1. He's got a wonderful macabre sense of humor.

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    2. Hallie, that's why I think you should write a romantic comedy. The material is right in front of you, plus...Beverly Hills upbringing. You must!

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  8. Poor Santa! Hallie, love Jerry's cartoons!

    Wow, just wow! We've had two huge trees topped by wind a few weeks apart. The first blew AWAY from the house or would've taken out youngest nephew's room and youngest nephew, the second came down in side yard and took out the electric line and left very interesting burn pattern in yard. But, heat on, lights (and toilets) working, Christmas tree withstanding 4 cats and an elderly mini-dach (not to mention the 4-yeat-old kiddo!), cookies baked, fridge full, and I've only had to haul out the ladder once to sweep snow from the satellite dish to keep the internet working, so, fingers crossed for the slide down to the new year!

    I'm crushing on the volunteer firefighters and my neighbor and the electric guy who showed up and cleaned up and saved the day!

    And Judy, I'm having nightmares about the orange mess with the deteriorating mental condition in the White House.

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    1. OMG. Reading all kinds of Facebook entries about how to remove a stubborn stain!!

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  9. After reading all of these I now know how extremely fortunate I have been! So far the worst thing has been the almost 30 inches of snow, with even more piled in front of the door. Because of the steep roof! Nothing like a bit of shoveling in my bathrobe just so the dog can get out.

    But I am aware that anything at all can happen in the next minute. Rather than worry I'll take a deep breath and enjoy reading with my Reds!

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  10. (whispering along with Julia)Aside from missing all the fun things, 2020 hasn't done me personally too bad. Except for a minor family...irritation (fortunately, everybody whose opinion is important is on my side) and a son who, shall we say, had a less-than-stellar first semester at college, things have been okay.

    Still, I'll be very glad to see the backside of this year.

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    1. We all will, Liz. Even for those of us who haven't faced disasters, it's still been stressful as hell. I'm just looking forward to the day when I can pull up the NY Times on my laptop without bracing myself for the latest horror.

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    2. Liz, just want to say, older nephew had horrible first semester--didn't even finish. Took a break and went back when he wanted it--straight A's now and aiming for a Master's degree in the near future. They figure it out!

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    3. I had been on a total news blackout, because even if you don't look, it still creeps in around the edges. But the other day I decided it might actually be safe to turn on the radio again. Thanks, Electoral College!

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    4. Flora, that's encouraging. Right now it's really bad. I hear this from so many people - all kids seem to have that one, horrible semester. Hopefully this means he's gotten his out of the way early!

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    5. It has been a challenging semester for first semester students. They are away from home, but do not have the regular friendship building and study buddies due to COVID. Hopefully, next semester will be better for him.

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  11. I have great empathy for you all. It's been a very weird year. Thank God for family (even at distance) and friends ( including Reds community).
    I've discovered and appreciated our national health director Dr Horacio Aruda.. Our Quebec Premier has been a rock. I didn't know him very well and hadn't voted for him but I'm impressed by his leadership, his good sense, his openness . He is not perfect but day after day, he's doing his best and invite everyone to do so.

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    1. Danielle, good to hear that Quebec's health director and premier are getting positive support.

      By comparison, Ontario's chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams and our premier Doug Ford have both been widely criticized for not responding quickly enough to handle this second wave. And now we are suddenly rushing into a 28-day lockdown from Christmas Eve.

      On a positive, our Ottawa (city) chief health officer Dr. Vera Etches has been a star. That is why Ottawa has been the outlier with rapidly declining and now stable cases since the peak in October.

      It is amazing how much difference one leader can make (or not) in handling this COVID crisis.

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  12. Oh my goodness, what a lot so many of you have been through. Not unlike political leaders, appliances are ignored until they become problematic. Then we suddenly realize how we should have paid attention much sooner...

    We've had only one appliance disaster. The fridge had been making a clunking noise for weeks but we had grown accustomed to it and just ignored it, as the appliance to work. Then, one morning, silence -- and the discovery that it was no longer working. But thanks to a tip from a colleague, I was able to connect with a terrific salesperson and the new fridge was delivered the next day. Phew!

    Grace: We grow grass indoors for our cat; the grow light is a cheery reminder of living things and the cat is thrilled with each new pot put before her. So fun to watch.

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    1. Amanda, I have managed to keep my perennial herbs (bay leaf tree, rosemary, oregano, chives) alive without grow lights in the winter. But since my 2020 balcony garden started late (closed FM and garden centers), I wanted to experiment with grow lights this year and it is fun. I am giddy with seeing pak choy, Swiss chard and radishes growing inside from seed. And my two huge basil plants and lemon verbena (annuals) are thriving and ready to use over the winter.

      The pink oyster mushroom kit will also be fascinating to watch over the next month as Ontario enters a new lockdown too.

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    2. Amanda what does the cat do with the grass?? Regular garden grass??

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    3. Holly, the cat, eats it: chomps away on the stalks and licks her chops. Just regular grass seed. She eats the neighbour's grass in situ in the summer. I think she likes the crunch and the freshness.

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    4. Cats like to eat grass as a way to introduce greens to their diet. Mine will eat any plant I bring into the house, so I have to check to see if it's poisonous before I even attempt an African violet. The African violet wasn't poisonous, but it was, apparently, delicious.

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    5. Long ago when we had cats we had to deep-six the philodendren. Very poisonous. African violets surprise me -- they're so hairy.

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    6. Me, too. I thought they'd be safe but even after I hit them with some lemon juice spray (cats hate citrus) Ella thought they were wonderful.

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    7. They especially like to eat the blooms.

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  13. Whoa, Hallie! That is too many no-good things happening at one time. And Hank, taking care of business with one hand tied behind your back. Well done, you.

    This year feels to us as if it's been full of dodged bullets, dare I say this out loud? In the spring the house we had just sold was smashed by three enormous trees that blew down in a small tornado, also flooding the basement I'd been so careful to keep dry, and the attic, too. While our new house stood firm and dry.

    My oldest daughter's hospital job was getting scary, as that particular Detroit hospital had nine floors of Covid patients at one point. She was offered, and accepted a much better paying job with mostly phone contact with patients.

    Daughter #2 bought a new house in Portland OR and found out that the basement was full of mold. That has been cleared up, and her AirBnB is almost 100% occupied. And the guy she met a few months before she bought the house turned out to be her new love.

    Daughter #3 finally moved to Kenya, but not before her mother-in-law broke a hip, delaying my son-in-law's travel. They are there now, and making new friends in a beautiful new home and surroundings. MIL is recovering nicely.

    Ten family members had Covid, but the only seriously ill person was my 90-year old mother, who after a month in the Covid ICU and then a Covid wing of a nursing facility, went home last night to my brother's, where she lives in her own apartment. I saw her yesterday through the window of her room at the nursing facility, and she looked and sounded great. Her 91st birthday is January 13th, something none of us dared hope she would see a mere three weeks ago.

    So I am fine with hunkering down at home, reading, cooking, and sitting in front of a cozy fireplace with my best pal, Steve. And not tempting fate any more than I have to!

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    1. Karen you may take the prize... whoa that’s a lot of silver linings

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    2. Karen, so very happy for you and particularly for your mother recovering from COVID at 91. My husband is 94 and I have him pretty much wrapped in cotton due to lung issues. Stay healthy.

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    3. Thank you both. Celia, keeping my fingers crossed for you and your dear husband's good health.

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    4. So glad you mom is doing so well, Karen!

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  14. It has been a year, and I will be glad to see the back of it. I don't want to dwell on all the baddies - instead, I'm following the advice of my childhood bookmark - when life hands you lemons, make lemonade! So, hoping for sweet lemonade for all Reds and friends, good health, and wonderful events in 2021! Let's rock it.

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  15. No major problems. Just minor gripes. I’m rooting for vaccinations to happen by spring.

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  16. Well lessee, beginning with the Tampa Alert warnings; in the last 90 days. 1. Sorry there will be a delay in garbage pick up. 2. Sorry there was a water main break please boil all your water until further notice 3. HEADS UP THERE IS A TORNADO and we can't find OZ.


    Closer to home, in fact at the house. The sadistic plumbing fighting back. I washed a bathmat. The rubber fell apart and plugged the washing machine hose, that then plugged the sink pipes, that then started leaking and now the toilet is backing up. So we are hand washing undies, using paper plates and relearning the joys of plunging. Moving on our lawn person has disappeared and now the yard looks like an untamed meadow. The butterflies are happy, our neighbors not so much.

    I finally gave up on my beloved Saturn and got a new to me car. No more sporty coupe, now I have a no nonsense Hyundai. In my heart I am still a 'sporty coupe person. In reality a little old lady driver.

    I reserve my crushes for the surgeon who drilled a hole in my head, leaving the brain intact. My audiologist and her student who trained me so well that I can understand speech behind masks. My stalwart folks who deliver our groceries with a smile. Last but not least, all of you who endure my scattered thoughts and run on sentences. I so appreciate your thoughts, and humor. Thank you. I raise a cup of cocoa on Winter Solstice to you all. ps. Starting today it will get brighter. I promise.

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    1. Hugs to you on the loss of your sporty coupe, Coralee. I just paid off my Mustang, but I am contemplating (with some dread) an eventual return to a sensible, practical car. I'll keep Rosie until I can no longer lever my sagging old butt out of the driver's seat, but the day will come.

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    2. Backed up plumbing is a nightmare, I say from vast experience. We finally (a year ago) had to have the main sewer pipe from the house dug up and replaced, a length from the house to the middle of the street. The original was clay and over the years, what with tree roots and 100 years of use, it had pretty much fallen apart. Very expensive. Disruptive. But had to be done. Can't blame covid.

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  17. My year has been filled with the usual stuff -- I could cut and paste from everyone's post I think. But there are three things that outshine all others. And all of you know about them because -- well, it's all I talk about these days.

    Thing 1. After the loss of Toby in April, Julie and I found a little black dog shaped hole in our lives. Then, bazinga! Sergeant Pepper was born, and two months later he moved in. He's an adorable black miniature poodle with a white beard and an exceptional brain. Pure happy with four legs.
    Thing 2. I celebrated my 80th birthday, something I'd dreaded, but, well, it beats the alternative. Julie organized a wonderful card shower -- thank you my darling Jungle Reds -- and then she wrote a note to Louise Penny, not really expecting a reply. Louise wrote back the next day, asking for our address, and I got a lovely card, snail mail from London, saying I would be F.I.N.E. And Kudos to Catriona McP, who helped Julie with contacts.

    Thing 3: This is the BIG THING. I am now a great grandmother! Griffin Alexander Allaun, bowing in at 6# 13oz, was born to Alexandra Allaun and her husband, my first grandson, Zachary Alaun. The happy day was Dec 12, 2020, and what a way to end this year on a high note. The new family are doing great, and they are all over my Facebook page if you're interested.

    My grandchildren all call me Grandmommie, but I'm thinking that Hallie's suggestion, Duchess, might catch on.

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    1. One of us needs to send you some elbow-length gloves, Ann, so you can more perfectly act the Duchess part!

      That tiny baby is so precious. Mazel tov.

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    2. Perhaps you could combine the two and become a Grand Duchess?

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    3. I much prefer Grandmommie. My grands call me Grommo. My kids call me Mommo. I have no idea why.

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  18. Happy Winter Solstice, everybody. It gets lighter from here.

    2020 has actually been kind of good for me. I was just about exhausted from the work schedule I'd kept these past ten years, but then the lockdown came, and now I get to work from home.

    I probably had covid back before we were quite sure it was a real thing--picked up from a co-worker who picked it up at a massive, international convention in LA in late January. Whatever I had ticked off all the covid-19 symptoms, but it was mild. I recovered at home, and don't seem to have any lingering problems. When we tested before our Christmas concert last Friday everybody was negative.

    I was cut to half pay, but that put me below the income line, so now my health insurance costs about $750 less per month than it did last year.

    A major storm blew the top out of one of my trees, but none of the branches hit the house, and now I'm crushing on the tree guy.

    Something is wrong with the freezer in my six-year-old fridge, but I think its just too full of stuff. Some defrosting may be in order, but I'm not going to worry too much yet.

    And, I am on track to finish the final draft of a new novel by the end of the year! Hooray! I love this book, but I'm just about over it, and ready to kiss it goodbye and wish it well on its life in the world.

    I've discovered several new authors I really love, and I'm prepared to snuggle down for the holidays and enjoy the solitude. Life has its ups and downs, but it's largely okay for me.

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    1. Hank, your trials cracked me up. Just remember that "adventure" = "adversity survived." You survived, so now you have a great adventure tale to tell!

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    2. Hank is the heroine of her own story!

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    3. I'll bet she didn't have a hair out of place.

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    4. Gigi, YAY YAY YAY on the new novel!!

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  19. Goodness, I am at a loss for words, so many disasters Reds, 2021, so I will look for our silver linings and my heros. All my heros are women. Toni our next door neighbor who shops locally for me each week, delivers then comes in to chat with Victor. Sarah, my Trader Joe and WholeF shopper ditto, but not the chatting. We chat briefly in the garage as she is an essential medical worker, but she is healthy and so are we. Val, my teen hero who gardens, clears up, snow digs, delivers our eggs etc. She is a diamond through and through. Then my plow guy, yes, a guy. Can't gauge his age anything from 70 on, but when he heard I have hurt my shoulder, he hand cleared the snow in the door yard that his plow wouldn't reach. Our mail is a bit of a disaster with our super mail carrier retiring at the end of last year, but everything does show up. The big snow is cleared ready for the next one! While I worry about some of Amazons HR practices, Im not sure how. would live without them and stay safe. So here's a cheer to the Amazon employees you guys are doing a great job along with UPS and other delivery services. So our blessings have been many; we are healthy, our daughter is out of a very difficult work situation, the g'sons are fine, my family in England is fine though stressed with the mess up of COVID. And, 2021 will be a better, different year.

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    1. Celia, you're reminding me how much I appreciate our neighbors. On all sides and once removed. Especially Jane and Eddie who are just THERE and omg is it a lovely feeling.

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  20. Like a few others before me, I feel mostly very fortunate. I have missed PEOPLE a lot, and travel. But our house has been largely crisis free. We replaced our dishwasher a few weeks ago, but got it done before it completely failed. It was showing clear signs that failure was imminent. No one in the family has has COVID. My husband's 92-year-old mother still lives independently and has kept her health.

    This isn't exactly a "crush," but I have learned to appreciate my neighbors so much! At the very beginning of the lockdown, a neighbor suggested a bunch of us meet at the park on Sunday afternoon for a non-denominational prayer service. We did -- we now joke about how we all stood not six feet, but about 12 feet from each other. We were so spaced out it was difficult to hear what other people were sharing. But we kept coming back to the park, week after week, and we closed the circle size down to just a safe six-foot distance between families. We just celebrated our 40th consecutive prayer in the park. And beyond that, everyone in the neighborhood has been out walking, and striking the perfect balance of being friendly while also respectful of social distancing. People have helped each other out with everything from borrowed cups of sugar to helping find each other's runaway dogs to recommending quality service people. And we re-deliver our mail to each other when our truly abysmal letter carrier delivers them to the wrong house.

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  21. The latter part of 2019 was difficult for me, health wise. When I was finally back on my feet, I decided to give myself a little more rest, and planned to begin to resume my normal activities in February.

    And then the world shut down.

    I’m not the sort of person who is comfortable with being at home. Being confined during my illness had been aggravating, even though I knew I needed to regain my strength. In 2020, I wanted to start “playing” with my friends again, but everyone had to stay inside! For the longest time (as in many months) I was restless with the confinement, but I also did not want to get sick, and I also didn’t want to take any chances on getting other people sick. I eventually began to enjoy being home! I have not gotten a single thing done, but I enjoy not feeling pressured to run from A to B to C, etc. In the beginning I was completely unable to concentrate on reading, but I’m reading again. I plan to reread some books I read at the beginning of the year, because I think I missed a lot when I was having trouble concentrating. I find I really like wearing masks, and I think of them as accessories, like scarves. I have them in various colors and color combinations. In the summer, they kept insects from flying into my mouth as I walked outside; in the colder months, they keep my face warm! And best of all, I’m helping to protect others when I wear one!

    While 2020 has not been bad for me, personally, many family members, including a forty year old nephew, had Covid. A cousin lost her husband to it, a distant relative lost her mother-in-law. There were no funerals. Also, a close friend lost her sister. Again, a funeral was not permitted.

    I’m looking forward to 2021 as a year of new beginnings. I hope to get the vaccine as soon as senior citizens are allowed to get it. I plan to have my bad knee replaced in May, as injections barely help at all now. I look forward to being able to go up and down stairs again without excruciating pain.

    I wish everyone a happy end to 2020 and a rewarding and fulfilling 2021! Let’s think about hugging our loved ones again!

    DebRo

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    1. DebRo, I'm sending you special health vibes for the upcoming year. You deserve a break!

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    2. Thanks, Karen. I really appreciate that.
      It’s so good to hear that your mom is out of rehab! What a great Christmas gift for all of you!

      DebRo

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  22. Same! Plumber, dry wall guy, and the many many people who've reached out and lifted me up this year. I am ever grateful and adore you all!

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  23. I feel your pain, Hank and Jenn! I refer you to the pinned post at the top of this page, because the story's just too long to tell here: https://www.facebook.com/jeff.cohen.927758

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  24. Hallie and Hank, you two have been through it for sure. A couple of my appliances are living on borrowed time. Husband has put a new heating element in the stove, but we still need a new stove. However, I'm planning on having some major kitchen work done next year when it's safer to have someone in our home (I'm optimistic that will be next year), and I'm trying to hold off replacing the stove until then. We need a new dryer, but this one is still working, and there's just been too much else to think about to replace it. Now, the TV I watch has done a few weird things lately. So, I'm basically holding my breath right now.

    But, the above problems aren't bad. I can afford to do the replacing, the repairing, and that's the silver cloud here. I'm not wondering where the next meal will come from or how I can afford health care for my children or how to get to a job on public transportation. I am fortunate and I know it. So many people desperately need the money that has been held up in Congress, money that will not give them extra in case they need it, but money which will make the difference between keeping their family together. I saw where Jeff Bezos' ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, has given 4 billion to charity to help people during COVID, while her ex-husband and Mark Zuckerberg and others getting rich off of this pandemic are silent.

    Sorry, my comments have rather turned into a rant, but it's what's on my mind this morning.

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    1. Kathy: I join you in your rant about those who have a lot not giving to those in need... it's a worthy rant.

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    2. Kathy, I saw that news as well--and she said she wasn't done giving yet. With a team of advisors to help identify and vet the places she gives to--a generous spirit for sure!

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  25. Oh! Did I miss all this? Reading it now… I thought it was still Sunday…

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  26. Not trying to be pollyannish BUT I am taking these as SIGNS of on-coming good days: the longest, broadest rainbows repeatedly showing up in the valley next to me; new volcanic eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii. But, I sympathize with all of you, of course.

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