Saturday, March 6, 2021

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

 What a day!  Quite nervously, I  had driven  to Woodburn for my first dose of  the  Covid 19  vaccine courtesy of Moderna.  It was not the vaccine that made me jumpy but driving on the freeway. I hardly drive at all these days and  am always fearful of freeway driving.  The French system of autoroutes with  roundabouts  feels more comfortable to me especially after driving extensively around Monflanquin during my last two visits. But, I needed to get that vaccine, was fortunate to get the vaccine appointment, so off I went to Woodburn.

Later that day, I was happy to be home and snacking on apple and cheese in the kitchen when suddenly I became aware of a  persistent  and foreign rapping sound.  I got up and walked toward the direction of the sound. Much to my horror, I spotted Maggy behind the tall window adjacent to the front door. But she was outside instead of inside.  Maggy can go out to the back yard as she wishes through her dog door. The back yard is thoroughly enclosed. How the heck had she managed to get outside to the front door? As I let her back into the house, I stared at her with astonishment and bewilderment. Was this dog really Maggy? I checked her markings.  Yes, those markings were indeed Maggy, and that dog was not a  double but indeed Maggy herself.

I flew to the backyard. It took only minutes before I spotted the problem. Several boards  of the fence had rotted along  the side where Bill keeps his canoe which blocks the view of this part of the fence. A big gap stood open providing the explanation for Maggy's escape into the neighbors yard with access to the street.  My mind went immediately into creative problem solving  mode. Bill was in New York so the logical solution of fence repair would have to wait.  I remembered the baby gates which we keep who knows why. One of the gates provided perfect blocking of the rotted fence board gap. For good measure, I added two lounge chairs, against the baby gate, a wheel barrow on its side further down to discourage exploring. Against the wheel barrow went two spiky dog  furniture deterrents. Way down on the opposite side, I placed another baby gate and a broom for good measure. Yes, I love this dog with all my heart and all my soul. Just the idea that she had escaped horrified me.  But then the fact that Maggy  politely and persistently rapped on the front door to be let in made me laugh. She could have gone off anywhere, but chose to come home to her two square meals, doggy treats, warm bed, and family.  My opinion of Maggy's intelligence increased dramatically after this incident. She can find her way home and know to knock on the door to be let in. What next? Maybe I could teach her to ring the front door bell.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Drink Up!

After being told by health care providers  for the upteenth time that I need to drink more water,  I decided to purchase this 64 oz motivational water bottle.  With it's cheery water level marks, the bottle gives me undivided attention throughout the day. My favorite is "Do it for yourself" at 9 A.M. Of course, why would I think to drink 64 oz of water for anyone else? The 7 A.M. GOOD MORNING in caps strikes me as endearing especially during a pandemic. Clearly, this water bottle is my new best friend.
64 oz motivational water bottle

 As drinking water bores me unless the temperature reaches 80 degrees,   I find it helps to add fruit to the bottle. Not only does the fruit provide flavor, color, and verve, but  I can munch on the edibles at the end of the day.  Frozen raspberries turn the water into a beautiful still life and and  add a nice zing.  Frozen blueberries give it the blues which unfortunately feels like too much.  Oranges and tangerines  reliably  transform the water into a supplemental source of vitamin C.

Best of all, I am happy to report this water bottle works. I never imagined ever being able to consume 64 oz of water daily, but now I do. Bill claims the water bottle must be designed for giants. Yes, it can be awkward to shlep around, but it's cap handle  design allows amazingly sturdy and trustworthy portability.  Why does this water bottle work for me? it makes me feel accountable. I don't want to disappoint its encouraging messages.  One thing I know about myself is that if you tell me something is homework, I do it. It must be the teacher in me.
So drink up, folks.  L'chaim!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

"Maggy, carrot"

Being Jewish, I usually find the last two weeks of the year difficult.  I feel disconnected from almost everyone and everything. Christmas music while beautiful gets on my nerves. Most decorations do nothing for me. In short, I become a veritable scrooge. I remind myself that the holiday is cherished world wide and brings happiness and good cheer.. This year in particular, who doesn't need that? As I look back over the week, an unexpected gift did succeed in filling  me with joy. A  little stuffed dog toy in the form of a carrot.  
Bill walks Maggy to Starbucks every day then sits in the park with his coffee. Two sweet little girls Corin, age 3 and Emily age 1 often show up with their nanny/friend Lizzy.  Bill started to carry little baby carrot treats that the kids at the bus stop could give Maggy (pre-Covid) after she shook  paws. The little girls love this trick. They even get to "walk" Maggy  a bit., which makes them feel  grown up .  Corin says "Maggy, carrot" when she sees them. Emily whose mission is to pop carrot after carrot into Maggy's mouth says simply "more." We think this is Emily's only word.  Bill adores these little ones and  has adopted them as"grandchildren". 

Maggy loves her carrot so much that she hid it somewhere in the backyard along with her summer birthday present. Will we ever see it again???  It does not matter I suppose. This precious thoughtful gift symbolizes a special connection that Bill made this year.  And that means everything.



Monday, December 21, 2020

Fresh Pear Bread

Fresh Pear Bread
Every December, we receive a Harry & David  gift box of pears, cheese, and nuts from a thoughtful family member. This year I felt inspired to bake fresh pear quick bread.  I froze both loaves and plan to share them with friends and family. It does seem like this year our  kitchen counter lacks the usual abundance of holiday sweets and treats, which is a good thing as my rounder Covid body does not need more rounding.  

The holiday cards  continue to arrive with various seasonal greetings but my favorite one so far is Good Riddance 2020.  Now what to do with the nuts and cheese?

Friday, December 18, 2020


As all holidays this year, Hanukkah felt  very different. Luckily as compensation, my latkes turned out unusually tasty for our crowd of two.  I offered three latkes with a side of apple sauce and sour cream to my neighbor. She offered me gingerbread.  Several people asked about the secret to well made latkes:  After grating the onion and potato, drain the mixture in a covered colander for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and fry.  I prefer the classic version of latkes and make them the same way every year.  They can be perceived as a lot of work. Some people don't enjoy the pervasive smell of latkes in the home for  days after. I find the smell comforting. When a rabbi I follow told us she prefers tater tots, I just  laughed. How many tater tots would equal a latke anyway?  Trader Joe's sells frozen latkes which are not bad.  But I will stick to my traditional home made latkes and hope that next year I can feed a crowd.

Thursday, December 17, 2020


 Behold my new red leather recliner! Isn't it beautiful?  It serves as world headquarters for Say It In French Language School and is super comfy.  I ordered it back in July, and it finally arrived a few weeks ago.  I never envisioned buying a recliner for myself but with the ongoing pandemic keeping me at home,  my envy of Bill's  old faithful recliner grew. Unwilling to share, Bill would give me the stink eye if he ever found me in his special chair. Time to  get my own recliner!  As a bonus, my recliner faces  the window and with enough imagination, one could imagine oneself on vacation as the sun sets among the trees.  What have you done to make yourself more comfortable at home this year?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

To Go or Not to Go? That is the Question.


Above, Daniel Zawacki, a volunteer for the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Center, congratulates Eva Schloss, the step sister of Anne Frank, after her  January 2020 talk about surviving  Auschwitz.

Our younger son Daniel still living and working in Hong Kong spent the last couple of months trying to decide if he should come home for the holidays. Things heated up this week as the deadline for deciding approached.  One can leave Hong Kong and one can return, but the return looks like fourteen days of surveyed quarantining in an approved hotel. No options.

Daniel and I went back and forth as we do. The pros, the cons. The risks, the fears. We analyzed the situation from every angle.  We shed a few tears.  Finally, it was the Quarantining that put the nail in the coffin.  Too brutal!

Daniel apologized to me. Regretfully, he would not be coming home this year. I understood completely. To go or not to go is the painful question for all travelers in 2020, and especially painful between mother and son. Hopefully, next year at some point the answer will be a joyful affirmative so that  mother and son will be reunited. Fingers crossed.