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Scene from a Horror Movie

The scene from a horror movie isn’t anything to do with Covid 19.  No, it’s a description provided by my son Nick when I called him upstairs to show him what the cat had done.  I was in Osoyoos bringing food to mom and cleaning her house, and returned to a note from him saying the cat had crapped on the living room floor.

This in itself was somewhat surprising in that the cats use a cat door to let themselves in and out.  I cleaned that, and went into the hall to enter the bathroom to wash my hands when I encountered a huge pile of feathers that just got larger inside the bathroom.

I followed the trail to the toilet where to my shock and horror I saw a large Stellar’s jay sitting in it, and I couldn’t tell if it was alive or dead.  I called Nick and he came up and looked at it and we both left the bathroom and decided we had to think.  That’s when he said “Wow that’s just like a scene from a horror movie.”

He got his garbage pick-up stick for me, though he was too scared to do anything further, so I prodded the bird, and to my relief, it was dead, so I could lift it out, dripping, and put it into a garbage bag.  I then had to vacuum and clean and vacuum and clean and felt murderous toward the cat.

George came in meowing super loud, as he likes to do, and so I went downstairs and gave him a can of food.  He ate it, came upstairs, jumped on the dining room table and threw up the can of food onto the tablecloth.

But ya know, this is exactly the type of activity one should thank God for as it’s a distraction from all the hysteria around Covid 19.  Though I have to say, as a retired person whose motto is the same as Greta Garbo’s, “I vant to be alone” I haven’t noticed a lot of difference in my life other than the inconvenience.

And as a senior, I can’t even complain much about that as we get to the front of any line at the grocery store if there between 7:00 and 8:00 AM.  As someone who’s routinely awake by 6:00, this is easy to do.

I’m quite pleased at the amount of tequila I managed to stockpile, as even though liquor stores have mercifully been deemed an essential service, the line-ups are annoying and to be avoided.  I wonder if they’d let us old folks in there early too.

Yoga with Adrienne on You Tube’s very good for the mind and body so I do that for half an hour a day, and recently I started to do some gardening.  I got out one of my boxes of dahlia bulbs and put them into pots in the greenhouse as I always like to have blooms by June.

And then I read an article in the Globe about a trashy low-brow embarrassing reality TV show on Netflix called Love is Blind, so immediately tuned in and just loved it.  Now that’s what I call entertainment.  Can you imagine exposing yourself to the entire world like that?  Fun!

And then today when I came home with the groceries I went to the bathroom and came out to find Louie had picked up the carton of eggs and had chewed off the top and was about to bite into his first one when I stopped him.  Another wonderful moment of distraction from Armageddon.

Cooking like a Fiend

Because all the kids can do is take care of their baby, and as they live in my basement, I’ve been providing meals to them.  I was a bit rusty at first, as I’ve become quite used to cooking for one.  However now I’m back in the swing of it, and am knocking out daily dinners.

I’ll give you an example of a common dinner I might make.  Yesterday I made them pork chops which are baked in a combo of onion soup mix and whipping cream.  Today they’re getting spaghetti and meat sauce.  So it’s not a gourmet experience, but they seem to like it as they wolf it all down without a complaint.

Tap dance classes started again, so I’m back at it.  I figure if I take the set of six beginner lessons about 75 times, I should be ready for the intermediate level classes.  Not sure though, as sometimes I’m just making the steps up as I have no idea what my feet are actually supposed to be doing.

Mom came to Kelowna and we celebrated her 95th birthday and she inspected the baby, her fifth great grandchild, and declared him adorable.  She also approved of his name, Justin, because as you know we’re staunch Liberals.  We really take our politics seriously in this family.

Besides cooking for the tenants in the basement I continue to cook for mom.   So as you can probably imagine, a large part of my life is filled with getting groceries, preparing meals, and cleaning the dishes.  And then for fun, I like to bake or try keto recipes so a lot of it is my own fault.

I came home from Mexico at a decent weight, and have gained five pounds from all the social events I’ve attended.  I had lunch out with a couple of people, then dinner at another friend’s, then met a pal for happy hour and on and on with bad food.

As with the kids’ meals, nothing chi chi in my social engagements either.  There are just a lot of fries involved.  When I’m at home, I eschew carbs and try to eat in a healthy manner.  However when I’m out, I go completely berserk and eat all of the bread and other starch on which I can get my chubby mitts.

I hope to spend the next few days on a purely keto diet, then Thursday it’s back to mom’s and of course that means all the mashed potatoes and gravy, followed by a custard pudding that I can hold.

And they say nicotine is the most addictive substance.  I find carbohydrates very difficult to avoid, however I have to try as otherwise one blorps out in old age and it’s not attractive.  Not that anything about aging is, but one tries.

And now spring looms, and along with that all of the winter gardening mess has to be cleaned up.  I had the walnut and apricot trees pruned, and now have to cut down last year’s grasses and other perennials left to go to seed for the birds.

I feed the birds on top of the recycling container, but the cats now take turns jumping up and sitting right on the seed.  They must imagine themselves invisible.

Back from the Yucatan

The trip started in the usual way:  I could neither open my car door nor roll down the window to pay at the toll booth on the highway between Cancun and Valladolid.  How to exit the vehicle wasn’t a question that was top of mind as we hopped into our rental car and sped off.

After discovering how to open the door, I was wedged tightly between the booth and my car as I’d been planning to hand the money out the window.  Somehow I was able to give the laughing man some bills, got change, and scraped my way back into the car and we drove off, shaken.

When we arrived at our little Air BNB house in Valladolid, we inspected the car and were able to locate the buttons that allow one to open and close windows, and exit the vehicle at will.

Margaret and I were in Valladolid for two nights last year, and this year we stayed for six.  We were lost walking every day, and one day lost the car and I was sure we’d never find it again.  Traipsing up and down streets in 30 degree heat and humidity is tiring.

But you know we love the heat and sun, especially in February, and the weather was great every day.  To get out of the heat, we toured a chocolate museum and an ancient convent, ate at nice restaurants, and wandered through a 16,000 square foot private home turned into a museum filled with Mexican folk art.

One day we drove all the way to Rio Lagartos which is on the Gulf of Mexico, thinking we might see flamingos.  Then we learned it’s another three-hour boat trip from there to the lake where one might see them, and due to the cold wind that day, we said no thanks.

By then we were already cornered by one of the tour operators, and so to placate everyone, we ate in their chilly restaurant.  It had a palapa roof, so it was in the shade with a whipping wind, and to make matters even worse, their margaritas stunk.  The final insult was a small white female dog being assaulted right beside us by a large brown male dog.

We took another road trip to the beach at Akumal, and had lunch at the Beached Bikini Bar which we both love so much.  If you like good food and drinks with your feet plunged deeply into white sad, this is the place for you.

On the way home we were hosed at the Pemex in downtown Tulum, then read about it on Trip Advisor, but too late.  If you’re ever in a rental car in Tulum, don’t stop for gas there, as they will cheat you.  That’s the only time in three years of visiting Mexico that we were ever fleeced.

We visited a beautiful cenote just outside Valladolid in the small village of Chichimila and were the only people there at first, then were joined by three young people and a dog, all of whom jumped right in.

After six days in the state of Yucatan, it was time for our next stint in Quintana Roo on the island of Holbox.  The island doesn’t permit vehicles so we drove to the ferry dock and parked in one of the many parking lots there.  This turned out to be very easy to do, the only handicap being the amount of luggage and bags.

Margaret and I enjoy shopping so we usually arrive home with extremely heavy suitcases.  But we’d read there’s not a lot of shopping on Holbox food-wise, so we also had groceries with us from the house in Valladolid.

We took the small ferry which came with live entertainment.  A nice Mexican fellow sang several songs, then came around with his hat.   After twenty minutes we arrived in Holbox, and hopped onto a golf cart taxi which drove us to our first Air BNB, a cute second-floor apartment very close to the little village.

The owner’s dad lives on the ground floor and feeds dry cat food to the raccoons.  We saw a lot of them prowling around the edge of the swimming pool in the evening.   I didn’t mind them as we live with raccoons around this house, but the people from Massachusetts renting a ground-floor suite weren’t all that thrilled with them.

It turns out if you want to cook you must buy most of your ingredients at the equivalent of a 7-11.  This is what led to the tostadas.  We found a package of those, and managed to find lettuce, an onion and some tomatoes, plus a can of refried beans.  I was therefore able to make some type of dinner with that.  Several dinners.

To get fresh fish from the fishermen, one must be at the dock at 8:00 AM, and despite always being awake at that hour, we were never in the mood to be dressed and downtown by then.

The little village is stocked to the brim with cute Mexican stuff, and Margaret finally bought a set of pillow cases after three days of haranguing around with the shop owner.  She’s a fierce tiny woman with a four year old girl and twin boys of about 18 months who she nurses on the couch in her store.

Besides being adorable, the town is filled with nice restaurants so we always had a delicious lunch out, and on our last night we tried the lobster pizza for dinner, and it was good.

We moved to the point called Punta Coca for our last three nights, and stayed in a solar-powdered free-standing little house just a stone’s throw from the white-sand covered beach.  Of course it has a solid, wooden roof, but on top of that they’ve added the cute palapa for appearances.

An iguana family lives up there, and so Margaret couldn’t sleep the first night, I guess imagining them busting through the wooden roof into the loft bedroom and going for the jugular.  We switched rooms and I then slept like a log up there for the last two nights.

The three days on beautiful Punta Coco flew by with days of collecting shells on the beach, swimming, having lunch at Frida’s Restaurant and drinks at the beautiful beach bar.

Then I was home, and surprise! Became a gramma so now have a grandson.

I’m Off to Mexico Tomorrow

I’m all packed, ready to go, with three alarm clocks set for four AM.  I hope knowing that will assist in my ability to sleep for several hours.  Or not, and then I’ll have to try to sleep on the plane, sitting up, missing my bed.

Nick and his partner are in the basement so they’ll babysit the house, dog, cats and birds.  Can you believe those jays now demand peanuts?  I put out bird seed but they now just leave it and call to remind me of the nuts.

Margaret and I’ve been twice before so were not at all confused or upset by the mystical directions sent from the first Air BNB host.  We know with the Mayan spirit infusing all things, we may be within metres of the house, but to actually get to it might take quite a bit of time and effort.

We’ve had things to get through here, such as Margaret’s car needing a new alternator, the basement plumbing was backed up and a plumber had to lift the toilet to snake it out, and my overhead lights in the kitchen died suddenly yesterday.

I now have a standing lamp plugged in, as well as various other small lamps on the counter so will have to deal with that upon our return mid February.  Right now, I could give a rat’s ass about something like that.

I set a goal of writing a story in order to submit it to the Okanagan College Short Story Contest, and I just sent it in along with my $15.00 fee.  Besides daily yoga I now realize I do have time to write.  Retirement messes with your head, though.

You get up and think I have all day to do whatever I want, and by two PM I’m looking at the clock thinking why start something now?  But I’ve found I’m able to fit in yoga by convincing myself it’s good for me, and I bought a package of dog-themed stickers and I get one every day that I write.

It’ll be a nice break to be away from CNN and MSNBC as I have an addictive personality and need to have that spell broken.  I’m amazed it’s okay for the American president to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as they truly believe it’s to the benefit of the American people.

If you’re as old as me you’ll recall the Conservative leader Kim Campbell’s ads about Jean Chretien’s face caused the party to be reduced to two seats.  Now that’s a sensitive populace.

I’ve got five books and two magazines for the trip as I see there could be thunderstorms when we’re on the tiny island of Holbox where there aren’t any paved roads.  We may be stuck inside for a while.

Margaret wants to take a boat trip to a couple of nearby islands, and I said sure, no problem, unless the weather’s bad.  I said I don’t want to be reminiscent of Gilligan’s Island, you know, “the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed, if not for the courage of the fearless crew the Minnow would be lost.  The Minnow would be lost.”

Home Sweet Home

I’ve resumed weekly tap dance classes at a place called Luki Dance Studio, and I just love them.  It’s Saturdays at 9:00 so it gets me out of the house early which is nice, and quite rare these days.

It’s amazing how wonderful and relaxing retirement is.  If I don’t feel like doing something, I don’t do it.  How great is that?  Because as I’m sure I’ve said in the past, I wasn’t one of those people who was crazy with joy to be heading to work every day.

I liked all of my careers, and it was fine as I never had to tar roofs or lay asphalt on a July day, but I still had to get up at a set time and be somewhere for a fixed amount of hours.  I chafed against that.

And so on a daily basis I find myself thanking God with gratitude at being in my own home, dog and cats inches away.  I get the odd sewing project going, and enjoy the company of a You Tube video on UFO’s at the same time.

I while away the time with things like baking, either for the young couple downstairs, or for my mom, and making various food items they like. Then there’s my own keto brownies, fudge and other strange items to make for my low-carb life.

Now that I’ve discovered Yoga With Adrienne on You Tube, I choose one of her videos every single day.  I do it like brushing my teeth.  It took a full month of writing ‘yoga’ on my calendar after doing it until I was able to trust myself without the visual reinforcement.  Now I just do it.

I’m also working on a short story that I want to submit to the Okanagan Short Story Contest which is due January 31st.  I tried to write in the past without an end-goal and found my lazy ass prevented me from completing any to my satisfaction.  With a deadline I’m hoping I’m able to complete it and submit.

As I’m writing this there’s the most wonderful blizzard going on.  Tree branches and roofs are heavy with snow from days ago, and now more is falling so it’ll be hell shoveling our way out of here tomorrow.

We have arctic flow warnings of extreme cold for the next three days as well, so I wonder how my dahlia bulbs and fig trees will survive in my garage.  It’s insulated, but at minus 25 I wonder how cold it’ll get in there.

It’s probably appropriate at this time to make myself a keto cocoa, which is almond milk, cocoa powder and stevia.  It’s really quite good, you should try it.

As extraordinary and beautiful the heavy falling snow is, I have to admit I’m pretty excited about our impending trip back to the wonderful Yucatan.  For the life of us Margaret and I cannot get the Mayan spirit out of our systems.

We leave January 31 and I’m hoping for a heat wave between now and then as our first house comes with a pool, and from past experience, the water in them is mighty cold.  However cold is a relative term as I look out into my wintry world.

Don’t Forget to Look for Miracles

Here it is, the last blog of the year, and I wanted to remind all of you to look for miracles.  Don’t just hope for stuff, but actively look and you’ll be amazed at the miracles around us all of the time.

Here are some recent ones I’ve experienced.  A couple of days after the anniversary of my granny’s death, my pet golden orb spider came out, looked right at me, and disappeared never to be seen again.  It came out to say thanks, pal, we had a great run together.

Then there are the blue jays who recently decided to hang around, and so I buy peanuts in the shell for them.  In the mornings as I’m cleaning the kitchen I hear them call, and I race out and pour peanuts on an inverted bee hive lid.

The bastard cat caught one of the blue jays when I began to feed them, as I was putting the peanuts on top of a round cedar bush.  I had no idea the cat would have the temerity to jump straight up through sharp, dead sticks to grab a bird, but of course. I went out at that very moment, which startled the cat, so the bird flew off.

I then decided feeding birds in order to lure them into the yard for the cats would be bad karma, so now I have the peanuts in the lid on top of a large green recycling bin.  I pushed it into the middle of the yard so the birds can see a predator, AKA a tuxedo cat, approaching.

I saw more miracles in the drama and beauty of the way the clouds billowed upward toward the full moon the other week.  Then one morning while it was still dark I saw the oddest lights around a solitary star and thought wow, aliens!  Or a miracle, take your pick.

I listened to an interesting TED talk about reality, and some of those people can really help you see things in a new light.  Since we manifest so much anyway, and find it normal, I think we may as well go into full-on miracle manifestation.  There’s no reason for them not to be as real as those things we’ve constructed and call reality.

However it has its limits as we all know it’d take the miracle of all miracles to get that conman out of the White House.  Maybe my hero Nancy Pelosi has something up her sleeve, given her strong belief in the power of prayer.  You go girl.

Due to my penchant for thrift store shopping there are about a hundred presents under the tree, so it’ll take a couple of hours to open them all tomorrow evening.  This will be followed by coq au vin for dinner and chocolate mousse for dessert, all thanks to another hero, Julia Child.

I got a gift for the dog as last year Louie was given one and freaked everyone out by picking the right gift to open.  He’s brilliant, let’s face it, so this year we’ll see if he can do that adorable trick again.  If he can, hey! Another miracle.

It sure makes life a lot more fun to witness miracles every which way you look and in everything you do.  May this be the season miracles start occurring for all of you!

Corpse Pose

I’m happy to report I’ve been able to maintain at least thirty minutes a day of yoga practice, and sometimes I do the full hour class.  All this on-line at home, which is so nice because I can do it whenever I feel like it.  I often have at least one cat and the dog within inches of me, observing.

Sometimes I do one of the power yoga classes, wherein we do ghastly things like do a downward dog, then stand on one leg and bring in the other to hover, with the leg tucked in to the knee, holding, then returning out, then back to the knee, holding.  At times like this I visualize how I won’t be decrepit with back problems when old.

We also do painful stretches, and my stiff hips are now complaining at night.  But I think nuh-uh, you are going to be supple into your old age.  Anyway, for a reward, at the very end of these classes, the best part is called the corpse pose.  As it sounds, you lie down on your back, arms comfortably at your sides, palms up, breathing deeply.  Ahhhhh.

And as it’s hatha yoga there’s a lot of meditative thoughts and relaxation to begin and end with, so it’s all to the good.  It’s helped while I watched the highlights of the impeachment hearings on You Tube and wondered why proven facts were being called “fake news”.  I found all of that really stressful as no one likes gaslighting.

I made the first two German Christmas stollen of the season and also homemade marzipan to go into the middle of them and they were absolutely fantastic.  Now watch, I’ll make the recipe again and it’ll stink.  Baking’s funny that way.

I was just in Osoyoos to help mom with her dental appointment.  She was getting two teeth implants, and had a complicated medical regime to follow. So I said I’d come down and figure it all out which I did.  Mom had to take four Amoxicillin, one steroid and two pain killers 90 minutes prior, which she took.

The implants went smoothly and in three months she’ll get a bridge stuck to them, and then have teeth on the upper left side of her mouth again.  Isn’t that great, to be nearly 95 years old, and decide dentures are never going to happen?  Of course it takes tremendous tenacity to go through all of the prep whereby they drill these ghastly looking metal posts into your gums in preparation.

The next day I asked mom how she was feeling, and she said fine.  No effects whatsoever from the meds, or the implant operation itself, so mom’s pretty much a medical miracle.  The night before, after the procedure, I gave her two ounces of brandy in warm water and she happily drank that to help the meds.

I went to Rona and got two rolls of Christmas lights because tomorrow’s December 1st and Denis is due to come over and put them up.  I want to have lots this year, and they’re all LED so hopefully not too crazy with the energy consumption.  I got a red and white set and one all-blue, so that’ll keep him and Nicky busy for a couple of hours.

We’re also going to Grumpy’s Tree Farm here in East Kelowna for my tree, so I’ll get that set up and decorated, and then do the house’s decorations as well.  By late afternoon it’ll be time for everyone’s favourite, the corpse pose.