HAVING PROBLEMS


It seems that my computer won’t cooperate. I will see you when the Apple Geniuses get me fixed! Stay tuned!

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HIATUS

The world is too much for me right now. I have no words.

I will be back. Stay safe. Contribute to charities helping Ukraine; give as much as you can.

There are many people helping refugees.

I have given to Jose Andres World Central Kitchen https://wck.org

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HOW DO YOU FEEL?

Just when the pandemic seems over, there is another frightening thing.

You who read this may look to it for diversion, but there are some days when I just can’t come up with anything that might do the trick.

Everyone on our side of the globe feels helpless, and we drag ourselves to watch the news with a new sense of foreboding. The danger can’t be averted by a vaccine or a mask, if only it were that simple.

The pandemic–was it practice for this, now? Did it get us in the right frame of mind for war and the sort of deaths that war brings? I don’t know. I, like you, am overwhelmed by a sense of loss and worry.

Hope. I am looking all over for it.

 

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SALT AND PEPPER

I don’t want to be one of those old old ladies with black hair. But I also don’t want to have snow white hair. The time came to face the truth, and so my hairdresser said that “salt and pepper” is the answer.

I am not sure about this, as you can tell from the photo.

 

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WINGS

I cannot believe that they are out of chicken wings at the grocery. WHO DEY?

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DUMB AND DUMBER

I am the one who does the stupid things. All our marriage has consisted of me

  • Locking myself out of places
  • Getting speeding tickets in school zones
  • Washing red socks in with a load of whites
  • Thinking I am ordering a box of tea but instead discovering I have ordered a case of it
  • Calling people by the wrong names

You get the idea. By contrast, my husband has never made mistakes. He doesn’t turn onto one way streets. He never forgets promises. He has not one time gone out in the rain without an umbrella. If he baked cakes, he would never use salt instead of sugar. You get my drift.

Thus, he has every right to be holier than thou, and he is, a lot of the time. He rolls his eyes at me on more occasions than I would like to count. But what can I do but weakly utilize the “I’m only human” defense, which never really holds up, because so is he?

The week started badly. I came home from the store via a different route, thus approaching our parking lot from the left instead of the right.  Things in the lot looked a little different from that angle, and so when I pulled into my parking space, it wasn’t the way I usually approach it. As a result, I actually parked in the space next to mine.

Cut to that evening, when I was home all alone at 9:30, watching the 20/20 about the woman who was lured out of her apartment into her parking lot, where she was abducted, never to be seen again. There was a knock on my door. I froze. Another knock, this time louder. I crept to the peephole and looked out. A man I had never seen was standing there. He was young, tall, wearing his hat on backwards, and his blue eyes were flat and dead.

I did not answer, naturally. Nor did I call out “What do you want?” Because it was obviously what he wanted: To lure me out of my apartment and kill me.

That night, when my husband returned from the rousing production of Hamilton to which he had taken our daughter as her Christmas present, he noticed that my car was not there. He assumed (why he would assume this is questionable) that I was out with friends. I have never in our entire lives together gone out with friends.

When he discovered that I was in bed asleep, he knew that either my car had been stolen, or that for some reason it had been towed. When we got up the next day and called the landlord, the latter was the case: I had been towed; and the man at my door was not a murderer, he was the “concierge” of our building (I didn’t know we had a concierge; and in my defense, concierges don’t usually wear their hats on backwards) coming to tell me that if I didn’t move my car, he would have to call the towing company.

My husband took the whole thing so diplomatically I couldn’t believe it. He didn’t reprove me, tease me, or roll his eyes. Perhaps he knew that if he did that, there would be unsavory repercussions. I paid to get my car out of impound, and beat myself up about watching that 20/20 episode, committing yet another dumb thing, and wishing I had more common sense.

But. But. We had a big huge snowstorm. The day after, while we were still under a level two snow advisory, my husband offered to take me for a ride to see the snow in the suburbs and watch the sledders at the golf course hill. “Ok,” I said, “But you need to be careful, because they say the secondary roads haven’t been plowed.”

He scoffed. As men do at their cautionary wives. The ones who nag them about wearing masks at the store, taking their vitamins, and those secondary roads.

We started out. The streets were fine. Dayton’s road crews had been hard at work. As we passed clear street after clear street, he pointed to each, saying “Wait–is that a secondary road?’ chuckling condescendingly under his breath. We passed one street that had not been plowed. He looked over at me. “Wait. That must be a tertiary road. Maybe those haven’t been plowed.” Chuckle chuckle.

We reached the sledding hill, and it was indeed full of kids and sleds. “Let’s go see the other sledding hill.” Sidebar: I have no clue why my husband has such an interest in sledders, all of a sudden. But here is the thing: he turned the car to the right and started up what was clearly an unplowed tertiary road. We made it almost to the top, where the car wheels began to spin. Our car did not move. “No problem,” he said confidently. “I just need to get a running start.” He backed down the hill a ways, gunned it, and charged forward, only to spin the wheels in the exact same spot. So what did he do? He backed down again, only this time, directly into a deep ditch on the right side of the road. Not defeated, he decided to rock the car back and forth to get out of the ditch.

This motion dug our car in further. We were marooned, and the trees that now were inches  from the passenger door prevented me from exiting the vehicle. My husband appealed for help to push us out. From three eighth grade sledders who probably weighed 80 lbs. each. Those were the biggest sledders he could find. Needless to say, the boys couldn’t budge the car.

AAA was called. They said that there was a level two snow emergency and there were at least 75 calls ahead of ours, clearly implying that any fool taking a drive during a snow emergency to look at sledders was low on the priority list. We called a neighbor to take us home. It took me three tries to get out of my side of the car. It was 24 hours before AAA had the free time to come to get our car out.

The towing man had to call for backup. It took two tow trucks and multiple cables to get our car out of the ditch. Ryan, one of the tow truck guys, actually asked my husband why he attempted to drive up that particular road.

It was a tertiary road, Ryan noted. It hadn’t been plowed yet…

The stupid scorecard is now EVEN.

 

 

 

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WHO DEY?

These are my daughters. At this very moment, they are tailgating in Kansas City at whatever the name of the stadium is where the Bengals are playing the Chiefs.

They are having a “sisters weekend,” with no spouses; and in the case of the daughter on the left–Marion, no children. They are having a blast.

Annie, the one on the right, drove from Dayton. Marion flew from Los Angeles. They are drinking wine and beer, eating barbecue, and soon will be screaming their lungs out for the Bengals. They probably talked and laughed all last night and slept in this morning.

This is a weekend they will never forget.

Those Bengals better win.

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APARTMENTS IN SIBERIA

Every night when I go to bed, I spend about an hour on YouTube, just aimlessly scrolling around. Like any other social media site, YouTube’s algorithm learns what things you like to watch, and then provides more of them. So nice of YouTube.

I love New York, and there is a young realtor named Cash Jordan who posts regular tours of Manhattan apartments, along with droll commentary. I enjoy his almost daily tours, and so I subscribed to his channel.

Suddenly, I began to get apartment tour videos from all over. Paris, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, Prague. These are fascinating and informative about what living in the real world is like. For instance, if you want to live in Paris, you need to be young or rich. The young career vloggers posting tours of their apartments show off how they store blankets and towels in their ovens, glory in the one window that they have in their 200 square foot studios, and apparently spend a lot of time in bed, because there is no room in these studios for a chair.

New Yorkers do the same, and they are also ingenious in the way they manage to carve out a “bedroom” and a “living room” out of teensy spaces. I have to admit that so many of these studios are adorable, but one tour guide was in his 60’s and had lived in his same one room for 35 years. I was flabbergasted to think that a person with a spouse could do this and not go insane. Before any global pandemics.

The most sobering tours, however, are the ones from Russia and especially the one tour posted by a young woman who lives in Siberia with her toddler and husband. They live in what she describes as a “typical post war” nine story apartment building, of which there are thousands all over what was formerly the USSR.

Her apartment tour starts outside her cement block building, which resembles a prison. The entrance and inner hallways bring to mind a horror movie. She trudges up six flights of dark and grimy stairs, lit by a single hanging bulb on each landing. This, according to her, is “typical of the residential rentals here in Siberia, but in most of them, the elevator does work. Not in my building, though.” She is smiling as she says this, as if the gloom and broken elevator are nothing of concern.

Her apartment, in contrast to the exterior halls, is an improvement, but that is comparatively speaking. It looks clean, with linoleum floors–dark brown flecked with gray. She gestures to the wallpaper, which looks at least forty years old. It, too, is brown, but more the color of weak tea, The pattern is sort of flowery, but that is hard to tell, because it is mostly faded and stained. She points to a tear in the corner and says that soon she hopes to “tape that back up.”

The furniture in her apartment looks to be vintage 1950s, the sort of dark mahogany bookcases and armoires that my grandmother might have favored. Some have mirrors, which the young woman likes, because “mirrors make our apartment look a bit bigger.” She calls this a three bedroom apartment, but what she means is that the apartment has a total of three rooms. One is used as a bedroom for her family. The other is a “living room,” and the third is a kitchen. There is a bathroom, which doesn’t count in with the three room total.

She points out the electric meter smack in the center of the living room. They don’t have hot water, but more lukewarm. They save that for bathing, and wash their clothes and dishes in cold. They have a “balcony,” which is enclosed with frosted windows, and which they use to store all the furniture that the apartment came with that they don’t like: a broken chair, a rug stained with ungodly whorls of mold, buckets, and what looks like piles of old lumber.

She gives us a tour of her kitchen, opening cupboard after cupboard that are empty, “because we don’t really have anything to put in them.” The stove has three out of four working burners, and the whole room is lit with a hanging ceiling light that casts a watery beam over the small table that they use “for family meals.” The sink is dented stainless steel with a dripping faucet. She is so proud that they have one electric outlet on the small counter, so she has “a new toaster!”

The whole thing is so heartbreaking. This young family feels fortunate to have found an apartment they can rent, since most apartments have owners, and not many owners are wealthy enough to have a spare apartment they can rent out while living in another one. And landlords like this are apparently wealthy. Yet they spend no money making repairs or modernizing their rentals, because they don’t have to–there are waiting lists of families who desperately want these “three bedroom” apartments.

Hoping that Siberia was just well, you know, Siberia, I clicked in my search bar for apartments in Moscow. More of the same. I shifted continents and tried Hong Kong. There was a tour there of one giant apartment building that held, this is not a typo, 2,243 apartments. Ten thousand people live in this building. You can Google it.

The majority of people on this planet live in what you and I could consider substandard. Squalor, stress, crowds, and lack of “amenities.” After watching these tours, I felt lucky that during this pandemic I had to stay here. Here, with running water both hot and cold. A washer and a dryer. Enough belongings to fill my cupboards.

If you feel a bit depressed about life here, with all of the political gamesmanship, the vaxxers and the anti vaxxers, the threat of global warming and the spectre of maybe another variant, take a tour of some apartments in Siberia. You will feel both better about your own home and your life, but you will also

Feel much worse.

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THE PERSON I’M NOT

I am not this person. It is the icon that I created that is supposed to represent me. Ha.

I am not sure who I am exactly, but I know the person I am not.

I am not the person who loves hiking. Hiking involves the outdoors, coats on cold days, strong calf muscles,  and a complete obliviousness to insects, snakes, and other vermin created by Mother Nature. Hiking trails have roots and holes. They contain hills and gullies. I am not a gully fan. There is a lot of dirt outside. It can turn into mud at a moment’s notice. I am not a mud lover. I wish I loved hiking; it seems as if it makes the pandemic fun for millions of people.

I am not the person who greets life challenges like the pandemic with a sudden desire for sourdough starters, knitting patterns, and jigsaw puzzles. First off, sourdough bread tastes sour. Sour is not a flavor I embrace. Knitting anything other than a scarf is very intricate. You have to pay attention, so all those people who can knit while watching tv are way above my pay grade. I don’t have a pay grade, but the expression fits, ok? As far as jigsaw puzzles go, they are fine, but I have a cat. Having a cat precludes puzzles, as all cat owners know.

I am not a person who can get up off the floor without using my hands. I may have discussed this in previous blog posts. Fitness pundits (if they are on the internet, they must be experts, right?) say that if you can’t do this, you will die in five years. My prognosis isn’t good. I did manage to get up one time without using my hands, but in doing so, I threw my back out, and it took three visits to the chiropractor to set it right. He was shocked that he, too, had only five years to live.

I am certainly not the person who has suffered mental challenges and deep frustration due to pandemic isolation. My daily life is the same today as it was five years ago. Or ten years ago. Name some years ago; it is the same. My life hasn’t changed, because I am not an extrovert. I am what they call an “extroverted introvert,” This means that I like a good cocktail party as much as the next extroverted introvert: one party every ten years or so, with people I already know, and with one good anecdote under my belt. Thus, the pandemic, as long as it draws to a close by 2030, is no big hardship for me.

I am certainly not the person who spends a lot of time arranging the accessories on my bathroom counter,  putting on makeup and flattering tops, then standing in the bathroom taking selfies to post on Instagram to illustrate: how young I look, how fashionable I am, how slim Photoshop can make me seem, and how fun my life is (in the bathroom??). I see so many Instagram accounts filled with daily bathroom mirror selfies, and I am astounded that the people posting them think that the rest of us want to look at them every day. The people who do this–do they feel good because they look good in these pictures from their bathroom? This isn’t totally fair, because these folks (ok, women) also post shots at restaurants, on hikes (see above), with a group of friends who also look fantastic, and even lying in bed with their dog/cat/parrot. I might consider doing this if I had better makeup, fewer wrinkles, and more than fifteen thousand Instagram followers, because maybe having a few thousand Instagram “likes” would fulfill me. I am about fourteen thousand followers shy.

Oh, and I am not the person who can revel in the fact that I am getting old. Betty White I am not. This morning I looked at my hands and realized that I now have “old people skin.” How did my taut and smooth skin turn so suddenly into crepey and wrinkled? I swear my body looked normal about a week ago. But overnight it turned on me, and I look like my skin is shriveling. I hate this. No amount of collagen, hyaluronic acid, or Lubriderm will change this. I am, however, tempted to order some of those micro-needling under eye patches, because they seem to really work in the Instagram ads. But when I showed an ad for them to my husband, he noted that the models in the ads were probably in their late thirties, without actual under eye bags in the first place, because the ads only show those models peeling the patches off, for God’s sake.

I am going to miss Betty White.

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