💖Joe Biden💋Kamala Harris💕

News of the world:

  • On our walks this week, we’ve seen snowdrop and witch-hazel blossoms. Uncertain as to whether those were late fall witch-hazel blossoms or early spring, but with the snowdrops already punching through from beneath the fallen leaves, I expect that they were of the early spring variety.
  • Dan started working again. He has been unemployed since March. The union called him back again and this time he said yes. First though he needed a Covid test. He reported at six, but the nurse wasn’t expected until seven. So, he had to wait in his car. She never did show up. They eventually sent him out to a lab to get tested, but after that was done his shift was already over. At least he got paid to wait around all day. He told us that all those long distance, early childhood trips to the grandparents’ houses trained him well to be able to sit in a car all day. He reports for work again tomorrow. This time with a negative Covid test in hand.
  • I spoke with my dad, who told me that the Lizzie Borden house is for sale in Fall River. They want a cool million for the place. I believe that as of late it has been operating as a bed and breakfast. “I’ll take the murder suite.” “Which one, father’s or mother’s?” I told him that I had met some of those Bordens at Peter and Evelyn’s wedding and that they had not been at all pleased with me when I told them that my last name was Axe. My dad said, that when he and mom got married, her friend at the local paper announced their pending nuptials by saying, like Lizzie Borden, Jackie U. took an Axe.
  • The Orange Elvis has left the building (Ba-bye!) and the counting of the silverware has begun. A half-million dollars will be spent today for deep cleaning the Whitehouse, to try to remove some of the the stench of the past four years and all of the Covid from the last. 
  • For all of you fashionistas out there, I am pleased to report that Anne wore pearls to the inauguration. The same necklace that was once my mother’s.
  • At noon Eastern, as Biden and Harris were being sworn in, I swapped out the Dan created header that I have adopted as a symbol of the resistance. Tonight, fireworks and then tomorrow, back to the regular sunset header.
  • We now have a new president, #46. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris—I’m letting those words flow over me and sink in. A cloud has been lifted. It is a new day, a good day, a day full of hope and promise. Let the celebration begin! I look forward to four years of radical normalcy. 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas – PhotoFunia

Anne has been slaving over a hot stove and I am up to my elbows in hot water, doing dishes. Your Mark I dishwasher is here. These two alternative forms of heat are both welcome, because it is freaking cold outside. It is probably even too cold to refrigerate food on the back porch. We didn’t walk yesterday or today, partly because of cooking, but partly because of the cold weather. I really love Christmas, but I think that by tomorrow, I’ll be about done with winter. 😉

We made quite the X-mas haul of booty. This year has a game theme. I must have heard the Little Drummer Boy three times already today, to which Anne has a joke to add: Mary, exhausted, having just gotten Jesus to sleep, is approached by a young man who thinks to himself; what this girl needs is a drum solo. Ahead of schedule, we’ve already had breakfast and opened presents. Now it is time for the next course, cooking. We unwrapped the turkey and discovered to our surprise that it was a Republican—it had its head stuck up its ass. We have to get this bird into the oven ASAP, because an afternoon of long-distance calling to family awaits us later today, followed by dinner and more dishes still. 

We got a call from two longtime friends, I won’t say old friends, even though they are both starting to show a little wear around the edges. Their big news is that they both have already gotten the vaccine. She is a physician who sees patients in at least two hospitals. I’ve long since given up trying to keep up with her work, because she has had upwards of six jobs simultaneously. So, she’s a doctor and as such is naturally at the head of the vaccination line. Interestingly, she said that those little vials that the vaccine comes in are supposed to hold only five doses each, but actually have six. That means that those 100 million doses that I have been hearing about on the news are really 120 million. Now her husband is not a doctor, so how did he get vaccinated? Turns out he participated in a trial. In this trial 60% of the participants got the vaccine and 40% got a placebo. Now it could be that he got the placebo, but after his injections, he had the hoped for side effects. Won’t know for certain, but things look promising.

Making Christmas

Making Christmas

This is a backstage photo from a Macy’s Christmas windows that Dan once shared. A little humor, from a hectic time past. 2021 has some big shoes to fill. But with it, here’s hoping you all…

Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Let your heart be light, next year all our troubles will be out of sight. Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow. So hang a shining star upon the highest bough and have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

The preceding lyrics were first sung in 1944 by Judy Garland in the hit movie, Meet Me in StLouis. It was also the words on our Christmas cards this year. Released at the height of the American involvement in the war, this melancholy tune tells a story of both loss and hope. It seemed especially fitting for this year’s holiday season and that it was set in St. Louis didn’t hurt either. 

Today, Anne and I worked the day away, cooking and cleaning. Even though there will only be three of us this year, it still seems to involve the same amount of work. I guess this means more leftovers for us, but our huge turkey would have seen to that all by itself. Anyway, have yourself a merry little Christmas.

In order to make the making of Christmas a little bit more enjoyable, I turned on Christmas carols. This is something that I have avoided until now, because of the Little Drummer Boy Challenge. This is a hipster game that I learned of years ago and once learned cannot be unlearned. Basically, the object is quite simple, if you hear the song between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you lose. If you don’t hear it, then you win. Living like a hermit, I can generally win.

The last time I lost was one year that Anne was listening to a Christmas special on TV. The song came on, I heard it and when I went to confront her, she was fast asleep on the couch, so she won. Anyway, I thought that the radio station I had selected was sufficiently highbrow that that song would not be played. I was wrong. I was lying on the couch when it came on. Somehow, Anne had conveniently stepped out to deliver some cookies to the neighbors and had not heard it. A careful reading of the rules indicates that I had not lost after all, because the challenge had ended as of last midnight. So, there! 

Hurkle-Durkling

Tugs Bellow Bellerive Park

Another boat pic from the day before. Today, we did our neighborhood walk and while in Clayton, two Bald eagles overflew us. We’ve seen the occasional eagle in neighboring Forest Park, but this was a first. Maybe they were lost, maybe growing population pressures have caused them to hunt for new nesting habitat? Who knows? Flying the drone while eagles are about could be a problem. It is small and not particularly fast. Making it easy eagle bait. I’m not too worried in the urban areas, but out in the wild, I am aware of the danger and try to be cautious. Of all the ways that the drone could be lost, by eagle attack at least offers the opportunity of a good story to tell. A fitting epitaph for a drone.

The big news yesterday was that niece Ashlan became engaged to Allen. This is great news and possibly, a sign of a trend. Within our family, her older brother Rey with Becca, started the ball rolling. Dave and Maren followed suit and now we are looking at a hat trick. That’s enough sports analogies for one post. Back in our day there was a similar pairing rush. Once it gets started, It is almost like musical chairs, no one wants to be left standing alone. I expect that after a year of quarantining together, people worldwide will be looking at tying the knot.

Last week’s warm and sunny weather finally got blown east and after a inch of rain has tuned cold and dank. Brisk is the new byword for our daily strolls. It is either keep moving or freeze, not that it is actually below freezing much. The bugs are still out and when we were out at Don Robinson’s Anne cautioned me to be careful about ticks. I thought that was being overly cautious, but I did stay out of the tall grass. Real cold is coming, even if it is a little late this year. The word for the day is hurkle-durkling (from the 18th-century Scottish dialect). It means staying in bed long after it’s time to get up. Now, it is time to step away from the computer and get out and do something.

Meet Puck

Puck

This is Puck. Dave and Maren’s new dog. Yep, she’s another Covid canine. They’ve only had her for a few weeks, but they all seem to be adjusting well. Dave, Maren and Puck have just spent the holiday at Maren’s folks house, in upstate Geneva, New York. There were eight people (Dave, Maren, parents, two brothers and their significant others) there, along with four dogs. Puck must of thought that she had died and gone to dog heaven.

Maren’s family took precautions. Maren works at MIT and when she is working on campus gets tested several times a week. Dave works from home and gets tested by proxy, through Maren. The rest of her family were also tested. One can never be sure about such things, but by two-weeks, we’ll know for sure. We look forward to meeting everyone in real life, next year.

Here west of the Mississippi, we are emptying Tupperware of their leftovers faster than a theater empties after someone yells fire. Thanksgiving is now firmly in the rearview mirror and receding fast. Decemberists onward! Yep, Christmas is fast approaching. Followed quickly by New Year and then goodbye 2020. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out of town and don’t come back.

We’ve started decorating for the holidays. Needing some more ambiance, we put up our interior lights before Thanksgiving. Yesterday’s weather was unusually balmy and unlike more guys than I care to count, I didn’t take advantage of the fine weather to lounge around on the front porch in shorts, but instead put up our exterior lights. I wasn’t alone in this activity. The tell-tale metallic creaking of aluminum ladders could be heard until after dusk. My display is more down to earth though. No climbing of ladders for me, thank you very much.

I also put out the bird feeders. We have two shepherd’s crooks to hang them on and to mix things up a bit this year, we are placing one in the front yard. This way we can see birds in the morning from our bedroom window and birds in the afternoon while dining. The backyard feeder was immediately open for business, but the new front yard placement has yet to attract any action. I’m not worried though. They’ll come. If pigs had wings, we would also have to call them birds.

We will not be going anywhere for the holidays this year. This is a first in I don’t know how many years. So, we are going to get a tree, for the first time in about the same number of uncounted years, probably tomorrow. In preparation for its arrival, I will first descend, down, down into the dungeon looking for a certain trio that inhabits those dank depths. Lurking are three huge hulking tubs of purple. Laid end-to-end they appear as segments in the shadows. Segments of that dreaded D&D monster, the purple worm. Roll to save!

Actually, this gargantuan monstrosity is much sought after by adventurers. With its high experience point value and excellent treasure class it is met with joy by most party members, some even vie to be the first one swallowed whole (think Men-in-Black), and soon becomes the bane of any self-respecting Dungeon Master. I, in my dual roles as DM and a party-of-one, will make quick work of mine. Disjointing its segments into manageable bite sized bits. Then one-by-one, hauling its carcass to the surface, popping open its tubs and disgorging the magic that is Christmas… Sorry about going down this wormhole. This is not exactly a Hallmark ending, but then it is still 2020, don’t-ya-know. 

Hope, Happiness, Thanks

Japanese Garden – Looking in from the outside,

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
whispering, “It will be happier.” —Alfred Lord Tennyson

As newspaper headlines go, the above quote is an unusually poetic outlier, but it’s what first greets you on the front page of today’s paper. Holidays are typically slow news days. Most of the engines of news have closed shop for the day. Today being an exclusively American holiday tends to temper this tendency, what with the rest of the world carrying on without us, but this holiday being a particularly introspective one will mute whatever news has occurred overseas. We have ourselves and whoever we’ve managed to gather to us and to hell with the rest of the world, but that kind of attitude, while it may seem appropriate for this particular year, is not in keeping with the spirit of the day.

File this paragraph under do as I say and not as I do. An informal survey—me looking out my front window—has deduced that most of our neighbors across the street have chosen not to heed the advice of health officials. None of their cars are around this weekend, indicating that they have gone to see grandma or some such. They have new babies to share. I wish them well and hope that their Zoom-less Thanksgiving does not result in an ICU-mas for any of them. I feel that by outing them like this that I should have really done it on Next-Door. Isn’t that where nosey neighbors go to tattle on one another?

Anne and I will be playing it safe this year. Enjoying our own little holiday home alone together. We’ll be burning up the long distance wires as we reach out to touch all of our certain some ones. As bad as this year has been, we still have plenty to be thankful for. All of our family members, save one, are hale and hearty. That is the most important thing. And all of the rosy vaccine news of late, lends credence to Tennyson’s whispered promise. There may be dark days yet to come, but we’ll muddle through and look for more happiness in the new year.