Another Year Done

I’m eating leftover deviled eggs and freezing. There’s a cold wind whipping the dead leaves into swirls today. The kind of weather that belongs on the east coast, not here. What’s happening to this side of the country? This is California, not Connecticut.

The deviled eggs, well I made too many this week and my guests didn’t eat them all. They left them for me to do that. Calvin, of course, is too eager to oblige, but I know better. He’ll rip one or two or three throughout the day that make me want to fumigate the house. He gets a bone instead. IMG_8942

Alf is buried in blankets, Calvin is under the bed comforter with only his tail showing, and I’m at the computer dashing this off. A rather inauspicious end of the year, I admit, but I’ve never been one for noisy cocktail parties with fireworks in the background. That’s better left for Hollywood, or New York City, or maybe Paris. And since I’m not there, I’m happy to huddle by the fire, even if it’s a spare-the-day day, reading my book, and saying cheers to all of you. Thank you for visiting my blog this year and being a gracious readership. Happy New Year to you!

Calvin says, “I read your blog, too. It’s time to give me a starring role. I want more lines. I need a make-up artist. My own chair with my name on it. And I certainly need better food. Including eggs.”  beagle

 

 

More Than a Metaphor

Alf and I had two major leaks today. One from a toilet, the other from the washer in the garage. I’m grateful they didn’t happen on Christmas day. It would have meant our guests using our neighbor’s bathroom. And they weren’t home.

It could be an omen for 2019.

Leaks. What do they represent? Not being in control, for one thing. All you can do is scream, grab towels and mop-up.

Then go to the store and buy a new toilet. cows

Another, the mechanism in the tank needs replacing. Could that mean we’ll need colonoscopies to check our plumbing?

A diversionary tactic is to buy a new toilet.

A third possibility, someone is leaking secret information about me and Calvin on our walks. Who would do such a thing? Those times are sacred.

Definitely buy a new toilet, preferably the kind that flushes itself.

So we went to the store. Who knew there were so many toilets to choose from? The selection was tush-numbing. We had to think about height, bowl shape, color, style, and flushing and water-saving technology. Really?

I have only one specification. I need a comfort-high toilet. I’m tired of sitting cross-legged at floor level.

Calvin says, “You need to practice using bushes outside the house. They like the extra watering, they don’t leak, and the leaves tickle your tush.”  beagle

 

 

 

 

Coming Up Spring

Alf surprised me with daffodils and purple flowers that are popping up this spring. My azalea is bursting red so the garden is draped in the primary colors these days. My garden has never looked so colorful. It makes me smile.
We have the worst soil on the planet. The Mojave has more chances of sprouting flowers than my front and backyards. It’s hard clay, and when broken up with toil and sweat, it winks at you for a moment, and then scampers back to form its impenetrable layer of steel. No matter how much rich soil and delicious nutrients you pour down its black hole of a gullet, it regurgitates the clay. I’m convinced the clay runs deep to the core of the planet.
It’s a wonder Alf is succeeding where I haven’t. IMG_0173 (1)
“What’s your secret?” I asked.
“Patience,” he said.
“That’s never worked for me,” I said.
“Maybe it’s the rain. That helps.”
We used to have a rainy season, but that was so long ago. I had given up on it.
“It must be the rain,” I said.
“And not my green thumb?”
“You don’t have one. You’re from New York,” I said.
“How do you think Central Park came into being then?”
I checked Wikipedia.
“Not by New Yorkers. The two landscape architects were from England and Connecticut respectively. It proves my point. Brits know a thing or two about gardens.”
“Then we should import one and really go mad,” Alf said.
Calvin says, “I love our clay soil. I like hearing the splashing sound my pee makes on it. Kills all things green. Adds character to the command, ‘Go potty!'”   beagle

Spice It Up

I’m writing this on the subway on my way home. Two women, about the same age, complete strangers, sit in front with their backs to me. I notice both have the same shade of blonde on their heads, out of the same tube, probably the same store and shelf where all the other hair dyes live, where a spectrum from black to almost silver beckon to female customers. Boxes and boxes with faces of models half their age. I wonder what shade they picked. Bubbly Blonde or Gold Nugget. One is trying to camouflage the Earl(y) grey. The other had highlighted the mouse(y) in her head. At any rate, it doesn’t work. I would have chosen a warm brown with flecks of red cardinal to make their complexions come alive.  unnamed (2)

I say if you’re going to change your color, go for broke. You can always paint over it if you hate it. Or live like another woman for a while. It’s your opportunity to go Bohemian, paint a canvas, go belly dancing or hug a stranger, your husband. He’d think he walked into the wrong house. You might come home looking ten years younger and then the adventure begins.

Calvin says, “So when’s your next appointment at the hair dresser’s? I could use a little excitement around here.” beagle

Wow

September 21 was World Gratitude Day. I completely missed it. Probably because I was grumbling. It’s my default mode.

Alf and I were on vacation in Ashland, Oregon at the Shakespeare Festival that week. One night we saw Sully, the Clint Eastwood movie. I can say I was grateful I wasn’t on that heart-stopping flight. You forgot it was Tom Hanks. He was Captain Chesley Sullenberger making life decisions in that pilot’s seat and you were right there next to him.

I was grateful to have seen the best Hamlet and Richard II ever. They rivaled anything you’d see on Broadway. fullsizerender-28

On the drive home we came to a snarl of traffic on the highway. “Now what?” Alf said. “Probably an accident,” the know-it-all in me said.  As we inched closer we noticed a full grown deer splayed dead blocking the four lanes. The lines of cars sat there with engines idling. “Now what?” Alf said again. This time I didn’t have a response.

Suddenly a car closest to the dead animal veered off to the right. The driver, a tall, strong muscled man, got out, his wife too, and he ran across the highway and grabbed the 120 pound animal by the front legs and dragged it to the left side of the road and left it there in a heap. Then he ran back to his car and got in. Nobody honked thank you. Nobody waved. Nothing. In a flash the traffic started up again and began rushing past the deer without any thought to what just happened. Stunning.

I was thankful for that man who took the initiative in front of oncoming traffic. Fortunately the drivers in the front lines acted as a blockade otherwise who knows what carnage could have transpired with man and beast.

Calvin says, “How gutless of the driver that killed him to drive off like that leaving others to pick up the mess. If this had happened in the woods, my tribe of beagles would have surrounded the beast and howled for help.”  beagle

Tea for Two

The kitchen is complete. It’s so different Alf and I feel we’re in an alternative universe. We’re having to get used to it like a new house.

Unlike us, it’s bright, open and sleek.  What was once a traditional kitchen of the 60’s is now a bold space with stainless steel, grey cabinets, black and white granite counters, and a brown hardwood floor. teapot

Our son, the artist, immediately spotted all the flaws. “I would have laid the hardwood floor in the opposite direction,” he said.  A floor is a floor. Vertical or horizontal, once you throw rugs over it, who’s to notice? He did.

Our daughter was thrilled with the upgrade. “Wow. Makes the house look glamorous. I’ll be coming over more often.” Who knew modernizing the house is the secret to bringing the family together.

Right now I’m purging food items, pots and pans, and small appliances before we fill up cabinet space. I discovered I’ve been hording bags of spices, too many spatulas, dish towels and oven mittens, and an extra set of dishes meant for a banquet of 24. Time to toss.

Calvin says, “I have to establish new scent trails to my food dish.” beagle

 

 

It’s Not All Bad

After 30 years in the same house, Alf and I finally decided to take the plunge.

We’re remodeling our kitchen.

We’ve heard horror stories from many people, but what are you going to do? Believe everything you hear?

We began by asking several friends who they recommended and we called them. One was too busy. Another didn’t want the job because we were too far away. A third came by, looked at the kitchen, grunted and left.

Alf and I wondered if it was us. cows

Were we wearing a sign that said, “Perfectionists” across our chests?

Not really. There’s a remodeling boom going on in our neighborhood and all the good contractors are tied up.

So we asked our real estate agent, the one we would use if we were to sell, who she liked and she immediately came back with a name.

We called him and John came over.

“Piece of cake, I can have this done in a week,” he said.

Oh wow, how wonderful. Alf and I sighed with relief.

John gave us a contract and we noticed it said two months from start to completion.

We asked him why. “Oh that’s just a standard contract. In your case, a week,” he repeated.

Relieved we signed the paper.

A day later John showed up in his truck, a trailer and two workers, Fernando and Gustavo. By the end of the morning, Fernando and Gustavo had demolished the kitchen, thrown the debris in the trailer, and were dispatched to the dump.

Alf and I now stood looking at each other in a large, empty, dusty room. The only thing still alive was the refrigerator.

The next day John went to the cabinet maker to order the cabinets. Since they were pre-fab and in stock, he expected to come back to our house with them.

Nope.

There was a three week wait list for assembly.

Three weeks?

“Everybody’s updating their kitchens,” was the cabinet maker’s response.

So now Alf and I have three weeks of waiting with a ticking refrigerator in a gutted kitchen. And that’s just week #1.

Calvin says, “It’s not all bad, at least you can eat ice cream.” beagle