Sunday, December 20, 2020

Our 2020 Christmas Letter


Merry Christmas!

Alice and I celebrated our 31st Anniversary on August 5 at St. Orres Restaurant, as we've done for most of the years since we moved to Gualala in 1998. However, we dined outside on the deck and my mask strings are dangling from my vest pocket. Not quite Anniversary As Usual. 

Two months later (October 20) we were walking on flat, sandy Cook's Beach with Radar and Alice fell. She said she was sore but OK, so we continued our walk, then Alice drove home, went up the steps to our second floor, sat down, and commenced screaming. She couldn't stand up so I called 911 and the paramedics and firemen came quickly, packed her up in a "burrito wrap", and took her to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital by ambulance. The next day Alice's left hip was replaced.

Seven weeks later, for the first time since her fall, Alice made the complete one-mile circuit nightly peepee-poopoo walk for Radar. Now we walk it every night.

Above and beyond that, it's been an exciting year. Did I just hear a "Duh"? Some good, some otherwise. Life.

We'll start by counting our blessings.

  • Friends and family either are virus-free or have recovered with no problems. 
  • We live in an almost virus-free area.
  • Our firemen and paramedics are great.
  • Radar plays ball with us on Cook's Beach daily and makes us take long walks.
  • Alice's memoir "The Lady With Balls" keeps her busy with new and interesting activities.
  • Alice held her book club meetings on our deck. 
  • And a whole lot more.
I understand the temptation to try to forget 2020 but we're still enjoying life every day. Alice and I do everything together but this past year we have been in each other's company more than ever, and we love it. We don't watch TV; it's too passive and we nicknamed TV watching "brain poison" many years ago. We both read a lot, exercise, and talk about the many things that interest us, especially in our two daily and one weekly newspapers. 

It's wonderful when your spouse is also your best friend.

The latest Time Magazine had a cover "2020 The Worst Year Ever" that I found appalling. In the  story itself, written by a film critic, she casually acknowledged that there have been many worse things such as World Wars and the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic - which killed 50 million when the World population was only 1.5 billion - but that now we are suffering the most terrible thing, a feeling of helplessness. 

In some way the author is a fit analyst of our times. She trivializes past tragedies, and exalts the damage that helplessness plays upon our tender psyches. Easily overlooked are the facts that the World has never been a better place for its masses than it is right now. All the needs of humanity are being better satisfied than ever before. Prosperity, health, longevity, creature comforts, democracy, peace - certainly there is ample room for improvement in lives everywhere you look, but now has  to be compared to the past, not to a sought-after but not achievable standard of perfection. 

"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good!"

As I step down from my soap box in this best of all possible worlds...

We've also used the telephone more. What about Zoom? We're glad you asked. Alice hates Zoom because she is a perfectionist and feels that she has to achieve the perfect appearance - clothes, makeup, background features, lighting, noise. I think she does, but she's never satisfied and prefers the more casual communication possible over a telephone. Then she is totally relaxed and considers it a short call if she only chats for an hour. My calls now usually last half an hour, which is triple my former average time per call. 

Our travels since March have been twice to Fort Bragg for photos and videos for Alice's website and book promotions, and thrice to Santa Rosa for her hip replacement and follow up medical exams. Over a year ago we had decided to cut back on traveling while Alice concentrated on promoting her memoir. However, we did think that we would travel to interesting places for book presentations, but that couldn't happen. 

Here is Alice's "hero" shot (The shot featured on a website).

However, our time is still very busy and well spent. Alice is always researching and posting to her website, The Lady With Balls

And of course, I keep adding our annual Christmas Letters to my blog.

(please click the full screen icon at the lower right and turn up your volume) 

One of our favorite daily activities is playing ball with Radar on nearby Cook's Beach. Besides beach time, we also take Radar on other daily walks, including a night-time mile walk through our neighborhood. He's a great excuse for staying active. When our beloved dog Buddy died in 2013 we continued the same walks every day and then added Radar to our walks half a year later when we picked him from the Fort Bragg animal shelter.  

Radar discovers Cheetos!
Photo by Cheryl Sidrian-Waters

Lately there always seems to be a lot of people at Cook's Beach at sunset. I've nicknamed them "Sundowners" and this photo helps to explain why they are there.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!