Too many books, not enough time

The second Sunday of Advent. Our church looks so lovely in its holiday attire.

We had Christmas lunch after church–tri tip barbecue because this is California. The men of the church barbecued and it was very delicious. Even better, I didn’t have to come home and fix lunch. Instead, I came home to read all afternoon. I’ve plenty of books and could use a whole week of afternoons, but for now, I’ll be happy with a long Sunday one.

Going slow

It’s been a busy week here. Then Terry got sick and that added another layer. Terrible cough and chest congestion, mainly. The doctor gave him a Z-pak and it seems to be helping. He still has the cough, though. My throat got tickley one night and the next morning my head hurt so badly I couldn’t think. I never get a plain headache like that so knew I was not doing well.

I decided I better cut back on some of the plans I had made and slow down. As much as I hated to, I cancelled Ladies Who Lunch plans and stayed home to rest. Bless their hearts, the ladies got me a bierock at the lunch place and dropped it off at my house. Terry and I took time out to share it. This was made by a high school culinary class that runs a cafe on their school grounds. Wonderful place for lunch which made me sad to miss the fun, but also knew there would be another time.

It’s Saturday, mid-morning and the only real work I have done is dusting and addressing Christmas cards. Terry feels well enough to take a drive up into the hills to the goat farm where we buy our soap. Today is their big Christmas open house and a good time to stock up on a variety of soaps, many of which are only available at this time.

We both must be well for Sunday as Terry is singing in the choir, and I am prepping communion supplies as well as doing clean-up afterwards. One of the heads of state of the Presbyterian denomination will be bringing the sermon and I really want to hear her. Yes, her! Then there is the church’s Christmas luncheon afterwards. We had plans to attend another event, later in the afternoon, but since we are going slow this weekend, we may forego that. This is really not the season to slow down, though.

Holiday shopping

I sorta did holiday shopping yesterday, starting at Target before 9 a.m. and ending at the grocery store just before noon. A long morning for me, but I had let a lot of this pile up and Monday was the day to get it done. It’s the only day, until next Monday, that does not have an event scheduled on the calendar.

A long-ago friend left a message, inviting us to join her and her husband for a holiday concert at a local church. It’s on the same weekend as our granddaughter’s dance recital. It would have been nice to see and catch up with this couple who we’ve not seen in over five years. They too are retired but live in a mountain community, off the beaten path. Not someone we run into too often. I thought I might see them at a recent funeral I attended of a mutual friend, but they were not in attendance. Funerals and weddings seem to be the places where I see long-ago friends.

One of my purchases on Monday was Christmas cards. Over the years I had accumulated cards left over from each holiday season. I finally sent the last of those last Christmas and put the thought in my head, “buy cards next year.” I was fortunate to be in a shop that had a buy one, get one free sale, so I have two boxes of cards that should get me through this season with a couple left over for next year. I’ll have to see, though, just how many cards I will need. I don’t have one of those Christmas card lists that many keep over the years. I sit down with a couple of directories and my address book and see who I fancy sending a card to this year. So many people no longer send Christmas cards but rather make a greeting on Facebook and call it a day. I am so opposed to that. I like cards, sent in the mail. Something to open. Something to look at, to display, and then look at again, later.

As you may know, today is Giving Tuesday. I have a box of books in my car, along with art supplies, clothing, and teacher treats, to deliver to Columbia later this morning. I will visit with staff and mingle with the older kids during their lunch break. This will be my last available Tuesday until we return from Christmas break in mid January. My calendar is packed with activities right up to December 20.


Not so proper Thanksgiving photos

Social media is rife with those glorious family photos right now, just after Thanksgiving, when everyone gathers for the big feast and the obligatory photo of such happiness (?) is taken.

This year, our son-in-law’s mother hosted our family’s vegan Thanksgiving feast at her new residence. She lives in a senior complex in the foothills north of Fresno. It’s called Grandmother’s Village and one must be a grandmother to live there. You also have to join the Grandmother’s Club and abide by the rules. Although her apartment is too small to accommodate the group, there is a clubhouse that she rented for us to use. It has a well-equipped kitchen as well as a large room with tables for eating. There are bathrooms for each gender. There is plenty of room outdoors for small children to run around and play.

The clubhouse is also the meeting place for the Grandmother’s Club and there are various bulletin boards with news and pictures of the club and its members over the decades. The club is actually a state-wide organization but only two of the clubs offer housing. The amazing thing about the one where we went is that the property has no mortgage. The grandmothers tirelessly worked to pay off the multi-million dollar mortgage so as to keep rents low. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $500 a month. They were able to do this by holding fund-raisers, and from what I could tell, their most profitable fund-raiser is a biscuit and gravy event for which they are famous. They even have the recipe for the biscuits posted on the bulletin board in the kitchen so it’s done right each time.

There is a photo in the clubhouse of an earlier set of members, gathered down the road at their sign for the property. About 15 ladies are in the photo, and only two or so are actually looking at the camera. The others are talking to one another, looking off in another direction, or even turned around, looking at something else entirely. It made me laugh because you know this was the best picture of the bunch that were taken. Some ladies are laughing, some are frowning. Some are moving their hands, some are fussing with their hair.

I pointed the picture out to our group and suggested we do a similar photo. Just go down to the sign, line up, use the timer on the camera and let it click. Everyone seemed game to try it. Here is the picture we took, and it is NOT your typical holiday family picture where everyone looks good:


Bader/Plantenberg/Zody Family at Thanksgiving

Leeya is behind me and only her shoes are visible, as she wanted.

A blessed Black Friday

Those of you who are Facebook friends have already read this as I first posted the story there. It fits, though, with my blogging scheme of things so here it is, in paragraph form: 

My terrific granddaughter wanted to go shoe shopping on Black Friday. Those who know me well know that I don’t shop much but especially not on this particular day. But for Leeya, anything.

We set out around 11 o’clock, stopping for gas before heading to Fashion Fair Mall. No waiting at the gas station.

Pulled into Fashion Fair from Fresno Street and easily parked at the far west end. Made our way through the lot, into Macy’s and on to Stride Rite Shoe Store where everything was 40% off.

Leeya found just the right pair of shoes and we headed out of the mall, dropping money into Salvation Army kettle. The parking lot was full when we pulled out and gave our spot to a lady who followed us through the lanes. We swung by SaveMart to pick up lunch supplies and was home shortly after 12 noon.

The shoes 

Happy Thanksgiving from California

Thank you all, dear Readers, for the kind thoughts concerning my sciatica pain. I did my exercises on Wednesday, and will continue to do so even though it’s Thanksgiving. No holiday for those exercises. The pain has subsided and I’m moving smoothly in the direction of Thanksgiving dinner. My son-in-law’s mother is hosting the holiday at the club house at her new apartment. Many of you will love the name of where she lives–The Grandmother’s Village. You must be a grandmother to live there!

I awoke during the night, a bit uncomfortable and needing to move, and thought of all the amazing blessings for which I am thankful. Except for the twinge of sciatica, I have good health. I have a good home, a good husband, good friends, lots of good food to eat, and more than enough good work to do. My kids are doing well (except Leeya has a chest cold right now and is coughing as I type this). They are happy, and that’s what matters.

I met our new neighbors yesterday and they appear to be a delightful young couple who just bought their first home. I hope they spend many years in the neighborhood. The neighbors on the other side of us, the sisters as I call them because they are sisters, have been there for 16 years and are very good neighbors. They now care for our cats when we travel. We have one house on the street that has its issues, but for the most part, this is a lovely neighborhood with good people, for which I am thankful.

Speaking of neighborhoods, this one is convenient to many stores and services. Although I would prefer to walk, I have to drive to them, but they are all close by. There are areas in this city that do not have grocery stores or drug stores, or any store except a liquor store, nearby. Without adequate transportation (another blessing here at the Zody’s) people have to travel by bus to buy their groceries or haul them long distances, on foot. Life becomes even harder for the elderly in those neighborhoods.

With a grateful heart, I say thanks on this day set aside for just such feelings of gratitude. Life is good here in California, at the Zody’s house. Wishing all of my dear Readers a blessed Thanksgiving. May life be good for you, too.

Riding in cars

Riding in cars, especially for four hours, is not good for one’s sciatica. Nor is being squished in the backseat, between two car seats with small children. I’ve done both in the last two days.

We had an uneventful trip on Sunday to the bay area. Even though we left late in the day (late for us, anyway), we still made good time and with no stops. Terry drove the entire trip as we took his car this time. Usually we take the Subaru and I drive part of the way.

On Monday, instead of going into San Francisco to the auto show, we changed plans and stayed in San Mateo as Jen’s car was not functioning properly. She has a Scion that requires a fob to work correctly to start the car. It refused to do so. Our son-in-law had a meeting in San Francisco with water engineers. The timing of his meeting and the car situation did not make for good timing for the auto show. Jen needed our car to ferry our grandchildren to school and after-school activities. In the afternoon, we all piled into Terry’s car to do this, meaning I sat in the back, squished between the car seats. Oy vey.

At the parks and recreation center, where Leeya goes for dance class, I sat on a couch that had a deep hole. Again, probably not best for my sciatica. Afterwards, I climbed into the backseat and off we went to dinner. By now it was getting cold and even the restaurant was chilly. I could feel my body tensing.

On Tuesday we got an early start and should have been home by 1 p.m. However, only 20 miles or so from Fresno we came to a complete stop on the freeway. There had been an accident a couple of miles ahead and both lanes were blocked. We had to wait while the road was cleared, the truck moved to the side, and one lane of traffic was allowed through at a time. That added another hour to the trip. So, four hours of sitting in the car. Terry had been smart and stopped at a halfway point, at Starbucks, and gotten out to stand and walk, but I just stayed put.

Today my sciatica is screaming. I’ve done my exercises, which has helped. I’m standing and walking and doing as little sitting as I can. I have apple dumplings baking in the oven as I type this. I also made bruschetta earlier and grocery shopped. Our kids texted that they got an early start and will be here soon.

Tomorrow we are all going up the hill to our son-in-law’s mother’s place for Thanksgiving lunch. More riding in cars.