I’m up late. I should be fast asleep. I’m quite keyed up.

I walked the dogs this morning; you’d never guess that they’re 10 and 9; they’re so energized by their collars and harnesses and the chance to sniff, pee, walk, and meet dogs along the way. I enjoy that as well. especially meeting new dogs (and re-meeting dogs we’ve met before). There’s something heartwarming about these walks that I can’t quite put my finger on.

After an hour’s + walk, I went for a bike ride. It was glorious! The scent and sight of almond trees in full bloom, the mustard, the oxalis, such a treat for the eyes, the green…this is indeed my favorite NorCal season. The one negative is the Callery Pear trees that are beginning to flower. They’re very pretty but as soon as you smell them you wish you could unsmell them, and you can’t. Ugh.

Otherwise, the very warm and dry February is quite spring-like and lovely. I’m enjoying it. And I hope we get more rain.

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Update

Thanks, 2016, for continuing to take peers, mentors and influencers from my life. I’m feeling those losses acutely, and am also grateful that my family & friends aren’t among them.

You will be shocked to learn that I rode my bike just 3 times in January. It wasn’t just the rain (I can always ride the trainer); it was also that stupid respiratory infection that had me down nearly 2 weeks and still  manifests in uncontrollable coughing with no warning.

Additionally, I’m working on renewing my real estate license, which is 45 hours that I need to do over a period of time. And the coursework is such that I actually have to read it. (If it’s a 3-hr. course credit I need to spend twice that studying before I take the test.)

So we’ve had a few sunny days lately and due to time constraints (buyers are ready to buy) and the license renewal I’ve had precious little time for fun. Walked the dogs because they don’t have a spin bike at the gym option. I miss my bike.

Time to wrap up the day, set up the coffeepot, and rest in anticipation of another busy day.

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016Dial it back, 2016

Because Natalie Cole, Lemmy, David Bowie (the most influential in my teenage years), Glenn Frey, my friend’s horse, my husband’s friend’s wife. It’s only the 21st of January. We need some breathing room. Please stop sucking the oxygen out of the day and dial it back.

Best wishes for less death,

Deborah

Posted in Family, Friends, Holidays, New Year, 2016, death, Eagles, Natalie Cole, Lemmy, Daily Coyote, Friends, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Strava’s Year in Review

I keep track of my bike rides on Strava, and am going on my 3rd year as a Premium member (more perks, stats & numbers, whee!). This is a new feature and kind of fun. It’s short by 40+ miles — my true total for 2015 was 4,803 miles. I love how I kiss my bike at the end.

http://2015.strava.com/video/CMWSXyR

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When Your Soul is Satisfied

When your husband brings you coffee, a double shot of espresso, steamed milk in a tall, insulated mug every morning before he goes to work. And cleans the kitchen after making his lunch.

When your adult child & his/her SO share you traditions, help establish new ones, don’t object to spending time with your friends who have cancer and might not see another Christmas, and enjoy themselves and help create a perfect Christmas Eve for everyone involved.

When everyone loves their gifts, the Irish coffee before 10am, the apple/cranberry crisp made before the “kids” woke up, when you find evidence that they wrapped & stuffed stockings after you went to bed.

When the SO mounts the tandem and experiences fear, joy and elation in 15 miles on lovely country roads, with motorists waving us all (2 “½” bikes and the tandem) through stop signs and many “Merry Christmas!” greetings exchanged on a chilly, sunny afternoon.

When Christmas dinner is framed by the parents, augmented by the “kids” and we’re all delighted in the flavors, textures, nuances and fine wine served with the main meal.

When my pop-music Dr. Demento Christmas leanings are out-voted in favor of the King’s Singers “A Little Christmas Music,” which we’ve played multiple times (like Tchiakovsky’s “Nutcracker”) every season since the late 80’s. We never tire of it. And neither do our daughter & son.

When you see your offspring who are not spending the holiday with you carrying on the traditions their parents brought forward, and adding their own twists and flavors, and how we parents nod our heads in agreement; we’re happy to be a part of something new.

And FaceTiming with those family members who live across the continent and we all yak for nearly an hour, and you start giving them ideas for their jigsaw puzzle.

There are many moments, texts, phone calls, Facestuff pictures & exchanges, meals shared, bike rides, etc., throughout the year. We put no pressure on our daughter and son to spend their holidays with us; when they can, it’s great and fun and we’re grateful. When they can’t (our son hasn’t missed on in 29 yrs.; our daughter has missed 2 in 33 yrs.) we miss them and are thrilled that now we have technology to bring us together virtually.

When the kids were little we delighted in their love of the wonders of Christmas, and how the traditions we carried forward from our own families, as well as those we added, were so embraced and beloved. That they continue to revel in the established and make them their own is very satisfying.

It’s all of that, and loving how close we 4 are, that makes my heart filled with joy that I can hardly breathe, sometimes. I hope everyone gets to feel this kind of satisfaction, fulfillment, happiness, and peace in their lifetime.

Life is good. I’m glad I’m hear to enjoy it.

 

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Christmas Stuff

So we have our Christmas traditions: listening to a recording I made from the radio in 1985 on a cassette, that has since been converted to CD, featuring Celtic and British Isles Christmas/holiday music. You never hear this stuff on mainstream radio, and it’s a shame; there’s some fine music that’s not Mariah Carey or Michael Bublé (no offense to them but they’re mainstream). I challenge you to find a version of “Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake” that beats what we have.

Anyway, that, and the King’s Singers, and the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack from 1965, with some well-placed Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and “The Nutcracker” filling in the gaps is how we do Christmas. The music is our background and inspiration and reminder of our family traditions. The kids (I jest; they’re 33 and 29 and so mature and living amazing lives) pick what they want for the various activities: trimming the tree features the KPFT Celtic music, wrapping gifts = Charlie Brown, opening gifts = The King’s Singers.We have libations that accompany the aforementioned activities, but that’s another post.

Tonight Chris, after working 12 hours (thanks, Mother Oil, for scheduling this turn-around over the holidays. I love you and you suck for this), came home and wrapped gifts. This man could get a job at Nordstrom’s as a professional gift wrapper. He measures, he has an eye for symmetry and detail, and uses a square and a sharp knife with which to cut paper. There’s a huge contrast between his wrapping and mine. That’s why I bag gifts. No precision involved.

So we were away from family for a long time, and we created our own traditions, some of which I’ve already mentioned. Another is opening a gift on Christmas Eve. This came from Chris: you open a non-family gift on Christmas Eve. Then you finish whatever you’re drinking, pretend to go to bed, and then tiptoe around while putting Santa gifts under the tree and in the stockings. To whit: My daughter and I have crossed paths on more than one Christmas Eve, pretending we’re invisible to one another, while stuffing stockings. My family put citrus in our stockings; as we have an orange tree that occasionally yields ripe fruit for the holiday, we load up the stockings with oranges. Or grapefruit and Cuties, if the oranges aren’t ripe.

My family had a fake tree, for many years it was aluminum, with a 4-color wheel that turned to shine red, green, yellow and blue onto the shiny silver faux boughs. I hated that thing. My dad had fire phobia so aluminum was a staple until I was a high school sophomore, when my mom convinced him to use a green fake tree and lights . I hate the fake trees. I’d rather have no tree than a fake.

Growing up, family, neighbors and friends would wander through the house on Christmas Eve, so my mother had a huge pot of Italian sausage that everyone would eat, even if you were the rude neighbor who only liked us when we offered food, and Italian rolls, and damn! It was so good! She’d start it 3 or so days ahead so it could marinate and steep, and it was so rich. That was a tradition I wanted to perpetuate.

When we lived in Lompoc, in the late 80s, I called her to get her recipe. I wrote it down but it’s definitely fluid — nothing is measured — and I’ve added/subtracted/altered the recipe over the years. Like, making the same thing but with vegan sausages for our vegan daughter. Two pots, simmering side-by-side, one vegan and one full of animal products. Hey, we adapt and we grow. And it’s still really good, especially with homemade sourdough rolls (I haven’t made them for years but they’re really good).

Tomorrow I’ll make the sausage dish to be served on Christmas Eve. Our son and his GF will be here and I anticipate fancy cocktails and a new spin on our traditions. I’m open to that and anticipating a fresh perspective on a familiar way — I welcome the new take and savor the old ways as well.

Now I get how stories about great battles and history-making events evolved. Each generation puts a spin on their perspective and we adapt and progress.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and enjoy whatever your traditions endure!

 

 

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ocalBeing Current Has a Price

I like knowing what’s going on in the Bay Area, and mostly that’s a good thing. I can share weather reports, traffic updates, among other things. Sales at the Coach outlet? Done.

Yet when accidents happen, for whatever reasons, I feel bad. I have nothing to do with them yet I’m sad that they happened, and people are affected: the first responders, the victims, those that stop to help prior to the EMTs/police showing up. I’ve been there and it’s hard to stuff down the urge to vomit among some bloody injuries, but that 911 call needs to happen no matter what.

I wish there was a way to follow up with the people I help. I usually stuff a card into a pocket but that’s no guarantee. The newspapers will report the accident but not the follow-up. That’s more important to me, to know how people fared and how they’re moving on.

And if I read nothing more about the incident I’m fine: I have enough in my life that a thing I didn’t schedule that jumped up and I dealt with isn’t a big deal.

Sometimes, I wonder. I’m curious about things, especially if they jump up in my face. Is that a human thing? Another thing I’m curious about.

 

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