I hate it when a warehouse store moves its shelves around and I can’t find the items I typically buy. It’s torture. It adds extra minutes to my shopping. I walk my 10,000 steps just trying to find the peanut butter. They should pay me for confusing me and making me go around in circles.
Being the day before Valentine’s Day, vendors were parked at every aisle handing out chocolates, cheese, and ravioli bites. Perfect ingredients for your loved one. How come there’s never any samples of bagels, lox and cream cheese? Or champagne and lobster tails for that special someone? But there’s always the man with the high-powered blender ready to make you a green smoothie.
I’ve noticed the book aisle is now shoved by the back wall where you can’t find it. I guess books are not money makers even if you are James Patterson and Clive Custler.
The clerk at the check-out told me a story of a family with a six-year old daughter. It was the child’s birthday and nobody showed up to celebrate it. So the family scooped her up and brought her to the store for pizza and cake. I wondered how many miles they had to walk to find those items. They were moved to make way for buckets of roses and heart-shaped cookies.
Calvin says, “The stuff you fret over. What’s wrong with a bone and a snuggle?”
The hoopla is over. The 49ers lost. Kansas City Chiefs won. Let’s move on.
The Iowa caucus is in chaos and nobody emerged as a winner. Yet. They’ll figure it out.
Today is the State of the Union address. Tomorrow is the end of the impeachment proceedings. Let’s move on.
I wonder what the media will do now that all the drama is gone. They live and breathe crises and fear and a heightened anxiety. They’re the reason people are on drugs for depression and high blood pressure. Big pharma is thrilled.
I say we unplug our electronic devises, the television, and anything else that has us tethered to the media. We aren’t getting the news anyway. It’s all entertainment.
Instead, let’s read a book for pleasure. Do we remember how?
Let’s learn how to make chocolate filled croissants.
How about a hike in the woods? Do we even remember what a tree looks like?
It’s time to return to the simple, sane things that give us peace. Now there’s a word that’s out of tune with today.
Calvin says, “When do we go on this hike of yours? My nose is ready. Also for the croissant.”
The chaos of the Trump impeachment trial, the threat of the corona virus, and the frenzy of the upcoming Super Bowl, all conspire to keep our nation popping anti-anxiety pills. This must be a boon for big pharma.
Me? I just want to take a long walk in the woods, look up at a canopy of trees, breathe in the fresh air, and forget I’m on this planet.
The hysteria of the media is at an all-time high. Every headline screams at you. The more the hype the less details emerge from the articles. My questions never seem to be asked. Background research doesn’t get done. There is no serious journalism. Nothing that educates or motivates. Just noise.
One way to handle this is to turn off the television, the online news, the sound-byte texts, and take a hot bath. Turn the lights down low. Light scented candles. Listen to uplifting music. Relax.
Whatever you do, don’t let the dog in. He’ll distract you. He’ll whine. He’ll look at you with those misty, droopy eyes. He’ll try to hoist himself into the bath with you. Don’t do it. Leave him outside the closed door. He’ll get the message. Maybe even go to sleep.
Calvin says, “How rude. What about all the hoo-hah you dish out every day? Do you think it’s easy living with you? Don’t I deserve a time-out too with a massage and a tummy rub?”
I did it. I crossed the boundary from modern to ancient. I went to an acupuncturist. I never thought I’d do it. Western medicine is losing its hold on me. It’s becoming more about scare tactics and meds than medical practitioners that can think outside the box. My arthritic toes needed help and my choices were orthopedic shoes that looked like army tanks or surgery. So I opted for the Chinese way.
On the recommendation of a friend, I went to see Dr. Chen. He’s a mild-mannered man with an accent. He showed me the needles he was planning to use and how he was going to treat my feet. I swallowed hard. He stuck the needles in every toe. It didn’t hurt. My feet looked like pin cushions. He left me lying on the table with my feet under heat lamps while he checked on other patients.
On subsequent visits the sticking of needles routine hurt. “That’s because circulation is returning,” Dr. Chen said with a smile. I didn’t know my circulation had departed. Now that it’s back, I’m wondering if it’s going to stay. Alf calls this foot therapy. That I’m working through my regret at not having pursued a dance career.
I need another three sessions according to Dr. Chen. Then I can retrieve my ballet shoes from the closet and soar.
Calvin says, “What happened to soaking your feet in warm sudsy water in front of a crackling fire? That’s what the ancients used to do.”
Have you noticed the crazy stuff that happens to people around the holidays? Why don’t these things happen other times of the year?
A friend called to tell me she ended up in the ER on Thanksgiving day, doubled over in pain and unable to breathe from an allergic reaction to eating a nut. She knew she was allergic, but she ate it anyway. Does insanity come over us this time of year?
A gregarious, fun-loving, life-of-the-party friend spent Thanksgiving alone. “That’s okay, I’ve had millions of Thanksgivings,” she said non-nonchalantly.
My neighbor’s youngest daughter chose to stay away from the family so she could finish her research paper for school. My neighbor was hurt and lamented the fact her entire family was not present around the table. These are adult children, with lives of their own.
The people I know with kids demand that their children show up for the holidays, no matter how old they are. I find that strange. They say they want their children to grow up, make a life for themselves and build careers, have children of their own, live happy lives. But then holiday time rolls around and the demand to appear over turkey or Christmas caroling becomes law. And the drama that ensues if the law isn’t obeyed is brutal. It takes a year to recover from it.
I think we make holiday time into more than what it should be – a reason to be with friends and family and be cozy with one another. It doesn’t have to be with every relative you have, or every one of your friends since kindergarten. Sometimes it’s with a friend who knows and understands you better than your sister or brother, or your distant relative thirteen times removed who is grateful you remembered her and she brings that joy to the party.
Calvin says, “Do what I do. Everyday is a holiday, a reason to suck on a bone, get your tummy rubbed, and snore under a fleece blanket.”
I stood on the platform before the sun came up, waiting for the train. I looked up and saw a V formation of six pelicans. They were way off course. They belonged near the ocean, not this far inland. I concluded their GPS got muddled and they ended up at the subway station instead. Maybe they were going to go home that way. Once in San Francisco the way to the ocean was much closer. They could hop on the cable car and be at the wharf in minutes to the delight of all the tourists.
They continued to make several loops around the station in silence. Pelicans don’t honk like geese. They’re the introverts of the sky.
I kept following them with my eyes, wondering where they would touch down. All the station had to offer was a large cement parking lot, and miles of train tracks with a dangerous third rail that could kill you. I had visions of charred pelican and burned feathers. Not a pretty sight. Landing on cement wouldn’t be much prettier either. That would be a rough landing with scraped feet.
I thought of calling the firefighters to come rescue them. To pull their ladders into the sky and bring each one down to safety. But that wouldn’t work. They’d think me a crazy woman. I don’t know why. They’ve rescued a few of my cats up a tree.
Then just before the train arrived I saw them change course, come in lower and disappear behind a line of trees to the quacking of ducks at a nearby pond. Those ducks gave them their landing coordinates and saved me from a morning of drama.
Calvin says, “You should have called. I would have positioned myself in the middle of the parking lot and howled them down.”
There are three Indian families that live across the street from us. They have elementary school age children. At night they come out of their houses and talk with loud voices. It sounds like a party with everyone speaking at once. A friend of mine who visited India for the first time said, “It’s so noisy here, day and night, I can’t think.” The funny thing is they don’t talk to each other. It’s as if invisible walls were wrapped around each house with a no trespass sign. I don’t know why because they don’t talk to me either. It’s a shame because one of them has a prolific tangerine tree in their backyard and I’d like some.
On the other hand, my neighbors to the right have been friends for years. They have fig trees. Anybody with a fig tree is my best friend for life. As a child, my grandparent’s fig trees were my daily treat. At nap time, I’d climb out the bedroom window with a chair and gobble figs until I couldn’t breathe. My neighbors give me their crop in exchange for my lemons and oranges. To the left of me, there’s not even a hello from the front door. It’s just as well. She has no fruit trees. Two doors down a Portuguese family lives with Sunshine, the American short-hair cat, Nigel, the chihuahua, nameless chickens, and a persimmon tree that is so beautiful it takes my breath away. Every year we receive a box full of those beauties at our doorstep. Across the street from them is a family with teenagers and their revved-up cars that go zoom at midnight, sending me to the ceiling and back. In the front of their house they have an avocado tree. I’ve been tempted to snag a few as a consolation prize for putting up with their noise.
Calvin says, “Lucky you. Sunshine and Nigel bring me nothing but turds.”