Monday, November 30, 2020

Garage Santa

We made it thru the holiday and I am doing OK.

As difficult as this year has been, March did bring us a little miracle when we welcomed a new granddaughter into our lives.  We have not been able to see her as often as we wanted, not hold her and spoil her like we did with our others, or be the grandparents we were when we were younger.  We did do one thing, though, we grew old and our ages have made us fit perfectly into the role Mr and Mrs. Santa Claus. 

When my youngest daughter was four and a student in the nursery school where I taught,  she sat on Santa’s lap, not having any idea that it was her dad.  This year she asked us to recreate the scene with her eight month old daughter, Scarlet.  With the help of the Amazon elves and two day shipping, we transformed ourselves into the jolly old fella and his no name wife.  Because of the times, people can not come into our house, so the garage would have to do. I spent hours trying to convert walls covered in cords, shovels, and garden tools into a Christmas scene.  I was able to hide some debris with lighted trees, wrapping paper and decorations.  It turned out OK if you don’t look too closely. I greeted them in my lovely red dress adorned with white faux fur that shed everywhere I went and got a big smile from the baby and her mom and dad.  Then the moment came and Santa appeared with a big Ho Ho Ho. Her smile got even bigger.  Life sure can be sweet sometimes.

                             Santa and my daughter at 4 

Some years later, no longer needing a white wig or beard.  

I am reminded:

There are so many reasons to be grateful

There is still joy

Sometimes precious memories can have an encore 

Garages should be cleaned out annually

Monday, November 2, 2020

 Oy Vey

I am OK, I am OK, I am OK etc.

I wrote a nice, positive post last week with pretty pictures and all, or maybe it was the week before or the week before that.  I had almost completed it but I was looking for that perfect ending.  It didn't get done and now we are in November.  Yep, it is here.  Down to the wire. All hell breaks loose tomorrow and probably for the next week, if not months.   The only parts of my body that I can really feel are my stomach and my head. They are screaming, but my legs and arms are doing OK.  I am still upright.

I voted and turned in my ballot a few weeks ago, but now, because of all the attempts at voter suppression and lawsuits filed, I am not really sure if my vote, along with millions of others, will be counted.  I live in Pennsylvania, and it it a pivotal state to both parties.  We, along with Florida, feel the weight of the nation on us.  In this dark year of 2020, I fear that this too will have no perfect ending either. What has happened to our country; I could have never imagined this four years ago.

Hoping for the best though, because that is all I can do.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Ferals

Getting used to this lonely life and I am doing OK.

We are not allowed to have dinner parties anymore so, for company, I invited the Feral family. No fancy dinnerware needed and no fine glasses; melamine will do fine.  MissTea is waiting on the grill and she brought her grumpy face with her.  She doesn’t like to wait. The lovely Marilyn has chosen her seat and their patient Ma Bucks, will eat their scraps when they are done.

Yes, quarantine is playing with my mind. 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Wouldn’t You Love to Fly.

Hot as Hades here, but I am doing OK.

We had a lovely surprise last evening.  Three colorful hot air balloons went over our house.  I could hear the whoosh and looked up and there in the clearing of my woods (which was made so by the wind storm that broke and brought down many trees a month or so ago), I saw this beautiful sight,

I wouldn’t have seen it through the 60’ to 100’ trees before and so as sad as I was to see and pay for all that destruction,  the thrill of  having a view of  the balloons made up for it.  Well somewhat.  Two more came and I thought there was a chance that one would land on the fields across from me.  It wasn’t to be and off they went to possibly the golf course about three or four miles away.

Many years ago, My Pre-Retired Man and I took a sunset balloon ride.  We hopped into the basket and up, up, up we went and then stopped still. We waited and looked out at our friends and family directly below who kept waving and cheering us on for 25 minutes. There wasn’t a breeze in the air.  Our ride was scheduled for half an hour and we were running out of time and hope.  The pilot, or Aeronaut, as they are called, started the descent to the ground to the exact spot we had taken off and we thought all hope was lost for having our adventure.  Half way down, a whiff of air came and we moved a few hundred yards.  Then a larger one came and off we went for about a mile or two.   We glided thru the air and it was glorious for a few minutes.  Our allotted time was up and a landing was spotted at a school playground. Unfortunately, the driver miscalculated a little and we tore thru some tall trees before making a landing.  No harm done, we just ducked. Getting out of the basket was not as graceful as getting in and I am glad those photos can no longer be found.  Our entourage had followed us in their cars and after I got up off the grass, we all celebrated with some cheap Champagne in paper cups.  I often use this story as a metaphor for my life.   I have been given some nice opportunities, but I have never really gotten far, and that’s OK.  The ride has been bumpy at times and will never be long enough. The highs have taken me to wonderful places and given me precious memories.  Ducking has saved me numerous times. When the landing comes, though, I hope for some better Champagne, served in a lovely crystal flute. I am not going out without a party.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

A Breather

The sun is out, the birds are chirping and I am OK.

I am not going to listen to any news today or even read any on the Internet. I have designated this day as an Arleen’s Escape From All the Crap Day.

It is summer and some might say it is hot (88 F) but it is not too humid. I am more than blessed to have a small screen room that keeps the sun off me and a lovely fan three feet away (socially distanced) from my face. On a day like this last year, I might have been visiting a local winery with family and/or friends to enjoy the ambience, the music and a lovely glass of Sangria.  Since I am too damn old and vulnerable  to be out and about during Covid time,  I made my own little retreat and followed the winery’s recipe using their peach wine,  a splash of Chardonnay, ice tea ( yes, ice tea) and then added some strawberries I found in the freezer.  I used a pretty stemless glass as they do.  I asked Alexa to play me some sweet music and she has picked out just the right songs for me to enjoy.  She knows me too well, but that is another story.  I can’t have what was, I have to deal with what is, but gees, I need a break and I am grateful for today. Maybe I should extend  it to Arleen’s Escape All The Crap Week.

Monday, June 15, 2020

I Don’t Know What To do Next

Confusing times, confusing minds, but I am OK- maybe

All great changes are preceded by chaos.”  Deepak Chapra

Blogger is going to change. Oh Lord, on top of all we have been dealing with, do I really need this? How much of a change will it be?  Should I check it out now and face the inevitable?  Will it be so different that it will bring more anxiety into my life? Am I so old that I am no longer open to change?  (I know that answer).  Will my whole post be in question marks?

Captivity In Covid times with My Retired Man and two indoor and three outdoor cats was difficult at first, but is now doable. We venture out to drive around and silently judge those sitting at outdoor restaurants who don’t seem to have a care in the world. We hate them. Our state is in the process of opening up, but the virus is still here and we are at risk people.  Everything is delivered to our house or we order and have a no-contact pickup.  Wiping packages with disinfectant wipes gives us something to do.  My wardrobe is very casual and doesn’t vary  between day and night. Long showers and baths are some of the best moments of the day. Social distancing occasions with family in my yard is more than a joy, they are everything.  I have adapted to this change, sort of.

My outside environment is different now also and I have learned new words, Derecho, Mesoscale Convective, and graupel. (Actually, graupel was from a storm of a few weeks ago).  Some of you might know what they are, but I didn’t until the weather people told us what caused the destruction in my neighborhood last week.  We will be paying people a lot of money to cut up the large parts of trees that fell on our property.  It is hard to look out and see all the broken trees,  but we are very fortunate that the 60+ foot trees didn’t fall on our house.  We will handle this  Many others weren’t so lucky.

We are all dealing with so many changes and these are such difficult times.  Some should have come long, long ago and others, well, no one could ever have been ready for what this virus has done to us all.  I live in a bleeding nation and it’s wounds are deep. On June 1st, a very dark day for democracy in the US, my heart was broken by what I heard and saw in my beloved country.   I went to bed thinking how could this be happening here. The next day I woke up and saw that the world was with us in support of what is just.  Bless you all. Our eyes all need to be opened and change MUST come.

I leave you hoping that I will have the whereabouts to figure out Blogger next month.  If I was only able to see my grandchildren, I know they could help me.  I am on my own but I will carry on, hoping more brain cells don’t pop.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Conversations During Lockdown

Time is not flying by, but I am doing OK.

He (being kind and thoughtful),“You should drink one of those protein drinks that I got for you.”

She (not being in the mood for a protein drink), “hmmm.”

He (being kind and thoughtful), “ What flavor would you like.”

She (not really wanting one now), “ I don’t know.”

He (being kind and thoughtful), “There are two flavors, chocolate and peach.”

She (looking for an out), “I hate peach”.

He (being kind and thoughtful), “ I thought you liked peach.  That is why I bought it for you.”

She (feeing a twinge of guilt), “No, it is not my favorite.”

He (feeling hurt), “Why don’t you just try it.”

She (feeling pressured), “I DON’T like it.”

He (feeling attacked),” I am just trying to help you.”

She (not wanting to be helped, but wanting the conversation to stop), “I’ll drink the chocolate.”

He (being kind and thoughtful), “OK, I’ll get that for you now.”

She (not wanting it now), “hmmm.”

He (an hour later), “You never finished your protein drink that I thought you wanted.”

To be repeated the next day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


I am doing a lot of meditation (not medication -yet) and I am doing reasonably OK.

“Stay in place, isolate, and  quarantine” are the words we are hearing a lot today.  I am a social person; I love and need people to talk to and visit and loneliness hits me hard.  I have been doing a lot of walking on our empty roads with My Retired Man in order to escape the walls of my house. With spring almost here, that has  been very pleasant, however, I am missing my family very much.

So, what can be done to lift my spirits.  My son came up with a perfect solution.  He set up a Face Time conference call/party for all of the family.  I dressed up in my best Lily Tomlin flowing outfit, fixed my hair, and added some color to my pale face. I set a party scene, added Lysol and  sanitizer and waited for the call.

My iPad rang at 8:30 pm, and there we all were.  My new granddaughter had grown in the week since I last saw her, and she was able to open up her eyes for a few moments and that made me smile broadly.  My other five granddaughters, my children and their spouses and partner were all there and we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company for an hour and a half.  It was a great time and we plan on doing it weekly. 

The next few months will be very hard and I have a lot of fear.  Communication is so important. Staying in touch, whether just by phone or an app, is necessary during this time.  This virus knows no boarders, doesn’t care what God you worship, will infect the good and the bad, the rich and the poor and will leave us all changed forever.  It is time to forgive those who hurt us, and to speak of love with those we treasure.  We don’t want to let things unsaid. 

I leave you with a picture of my new granddaughter.  She has the right message.

Take good care of yourself.  I care about you all. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Fat Lady Has Not Sung

There are always surprises to be had, and that is OK.

Our lives are divided into sections: childhood, adulthood, career, possibly parenthood, maybe grandparent, and then, old as dirt. I have gone through them all and as I like to say, I am still standing. Each phase has brought its blessings, and what was difficult is often muffled with time.  Old brains tend to do that. There is nothing sweeter, though, that when you think something is over, and it isn’t.  I am going to have a new grandbaby tomorrow, a little girl named Scarlett Mara Rose. It is a wonderful surprise and my heart is so full. I have six terrific grandchildren, some of whom are in college and the others are not far behind.  I have tried to give them my presence, my time, my wisdom and all my love.  Now there will be a new life in mine, a new child to hold, a new love to have. She will not get all the years that I was able to give to the others so I will have to pack a lot of kisses into the time that I have with her.  

I have been doing a lot of crying lately over things that I cannot control, but now there is joy again, precious, wonderful joy!

Monday, January 20, 2020

For Cro

Music fills my soul and I am doing OK.
My blogging friend for many years, Cro Magnon, lives in a lovely area in Southern France.  He is a sustainable farmer, a talented artist, and a lover of good food.  He writes about grandchildren, recipes, dogs, his beautiful home and sometimes politics (the last of which I ignore). People can be friends even if we don’t agree on everything. I appreciate all types of music, but I am especially fond of folk and country songs.  This is one of my favorites and I think Cro would like and relate to it also (with a different color wine).
Old dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine.
How old do you think I am?" he said.
I said, well, I didn't know.
He said, "I turned 65 about 11 months ago."
I was sittin' in miami pourin' blended whiskey down
When this old gray black gentleman was cleanin' up the lounge
There wasn't anyone around 'cept this old man and me
The guy who ran the bar was watchin' "ironsides" on tv
Uninvited, he sat down and opened up his mind
On old dogs and children and watermelon wine
"Ever had a drink of watermelon wine?" he asked
He told me all about it, though I didn't answer back
"Ain't but three things in this world that's worth a solitary dime,
But old dogs and children and watermelon wine."
He said, "women think about they-selves, when menfolk ain't around.
And friends are hard to find when they discover that you're down."
He said, "I tried it all when I was young and in my natural prime;
Now it's old dogs and children and watermelon wine."
"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes;
God bless little children while they're still too young to hate."
When he moved away I found my pen and copied down that line
'Bout old dogs and children and watermelon wine.
I had to catch a plane up to atlanta that next day
As I left for my room I saw him pickin' up my change
That night I dreamed in peaceful sleep of shady summertime
Of old dogs and children and watermelon wine.
Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Tom T. Hall