Sunday, February 20, 2022

Idyllic Life

I graduated high school in 1975, in a very liberal town and a loose and free high school.  We had the usual cliques: the athletes, the cheerleaders, and the hippies.  We also had cowboys, who came from the valley near the town and grew up on ranches, riding horses.  We had the uber wealthy who grew up in Pebble Beach and were given Mercedes cars for their 16th birthday.  My first day at this school was my sophomore year and I was hanging out on the stone steps that led to the gym and athletic fields.  A friend whom I had known all my life, scooped me up and ushered me to the main patio, telling me those steps were for "the cowboys."  

I came from Southern California at that point, where the girls dressed like fashion models just to go to school.  It was high stakes.  When we moved to Carmel the summer between my freshman and sophomore year, it was this same friend who looked through my clothes and told me they were completely unsuitable.  She schooled me in hippie chic and got me to trade in my nylon stockings for opaque tights.  Polyester dresses and shirts for cotton, Indian print blouses and skirts.  She pierced my ears (much to my mother's chagrin) and had me wearing hoop earrings.

These fashion choices set the stage for my high school life.  

I hung out with the hippies.  I burned incense in my bedroom.  I did this in order to fit in to my odd little crowd, but I also had friends from athletics, the marching band, the drama folks and the preppies.  In 1974, a group of students and educators approached the school board and asked permission to start an "alternative" high school.  This was the time of the 'back to the land' movement in the U.S. and all things that deviated from the norm.  Amazingly we were granted permission on a trial basis.  We were required to take regular classes in the morning, and the afternoons became an independent study where we could earn equivalent credits for courses in history, biology, etc.  Of course we thought it would be a free for all, which we adored, but it did turn out to be a rigorous course of study that, with our teachers, we designed for ourselves.  In the photos above, I'm there playing my guitar, and the other two images are from our biology class with our teacher Mr. Ralph Kahl walking us through the dissection of a pregnant deer.  Ralph (as we called him) has permission from the park service to retrieve road kill that he found on his way to work. He was quite a character, ala Hunter S. Thompson.  Instead of frogs, we dissected animals he found dead on the road on his drive from Big Sur to Carmel to teach.

There are many good Ralph stories, which I may write about at a later date.  Let's just say, if a teacher today did some of the things he did, they would be fired on the spot.  It was a wild time, and teachers in my high school felt free to be themselves.  They fraternized with students outside of school and they made a point of being our "friend" as well as a teacher.  Many of them helped me immensely when I was depressed and thinking of dropping out.  Carmel had a reputation for celebrating bohemian life and artists, and this continued through my high school days.

I continue to have friends in Carmel and the valley.  It's a unique place that draws many tourists and has become sort of a Disneyland.  I enjoy visiting there very much, but doubt I would ever live there again. But I love to visit, and reminisce, about the very privileged life I led there.


Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Universe is a Dirty Dog

Oh, I had an evening out on Friday, yes I did.  It was my first time out (other than necessary grocery shopping in months.  I went to see the fabulous Wynton Marsalis Jazz Band at our local Licoln Center   It was a Wynton Marsalis Jazz Band performance at our local Lincoln Center, which is a wonderful concert venue.  I went with my friend Lynn and we had great front seats on the mezzanine. There were people, and lots of them.  The venue was very responsible and required vaccine cards and photo IDs, plus mask wearing.  I had my KF94 with great coverage.  I was ready to take the leap.  

Just as the lights were dimming and the stage lights coming up and our host grabbed the microphone to welcome us all, my insulin pump alerted me to a plunging blood glucose level.  Christ on a bike.  I alerted Lynn and then crawled over the 4 people to my left in order to make my way to the bar for some juice.  I purchased two apple juice and made my way back to my seat just as the band was taking their positions on stage.  Climbing back over my row mates I wondered just how annoyed with me they might be.   I downed my juice after I turned off the insulin spigot and began to settle into the music.  Jaysus, of all times.  What are the odds?  I planned my meal and my insulin dose specifically to avoid this situation.  F*ck my life.  Okay, calm down.  Enjoy the music.  Thirty minutes later my lower intensives began to rumble, as they often do after a hypoglycemic incident.  My mind began to worry I was going to have a bathroom emergency now, as I often do have such an incident.  I don't know why, and no doctor has ever explained why this happens.  Fearing the worst, I waited until the song was over and, apologizing sincerely, crawled back over four people and made it to the ladies just in time.  So I took my time.  Let my body settle and work itself out.  Then when the song ended, I crawled back over four people and took my seat for the last song of the set.  I was mortified, but what was I to do? Next time, I'm choosing my seat to be on the isle if at all possible.

I explained to Lynn so she didn't think I was a freak, and she was very sympathetic.  During the intermission I ordered a whiskey and ginger ale and waited for the warmth of the whiskey to calm my nerves.  Worked like a champ.  I made it through the second set like a rock star.  My blood sugars were back up and I could concentrate on the great music.  And it was great.  It's not usually the kind of jazz I listen to at home because it's horn heavy and gets frenetic.  But watching the band playing together, taking their solos, having a great time, just admiring the talent and experience on stage -- wow.  First Class.

A milestone for me, getting to go out and enjoy a public event with a friend.  It was a joyful experience once I fixed the whole diabetic thing.  Coming through my front door, hanging up my coat and emptying my bag, my phone vibrated.  I opened it up to find a text message notifying me I had been exposed to someone who has tested positive for Covid 19.  A lot of 'blah blah blah' about getting tested in five days and if I hadn't been vaccinated to quarantine until a negative test result.  More than a year ago I signed up for a contact tracing program and this was the first notice I got.

What the hell?  Oh-ho, universe, you dirty dog!  I'm vaxed and boosted and I was wearing my mask, so I'm not overly worried, but I will go get a test on Wednesday.  

The evening, on the whole, was a thrill.  And I've learned my lesson, again, to always carry juice or sugar with me wherever I go, whenever I go, even if I think I'll be fine.  I had lost the habit, not being out much in the world for 2 years.  I should always carry insulin kit supplies and a bottle of the stuff just in case there's a malfunction, or one of the tabs come off my skin that is holding the needle in there.  The pump offers a freedom of sorts, and does do some automatic tasks which help maintain a healthy glucose level, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility to how it works and what to do and have it case you run into a problem.

I am going to another performance at the Lincoln. Center on February 26, and this time I will be well prepared.  Got my kit, my juice from home, my Depends, and a good sense of humor.  I mean, we can't remove people with disabilities from the arts, performances, restaurants and the like.  AND I would not want us to.  I am in that number.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Happy Birthday, Pops

Today is my Dad's birthday.  He would have been ninety years old.  Both he and my mom had a dream visit with me last night, and it was nice and normal.  My sisters and I were getting their old San Diego home ready for the move up north.  At some point, I said to my sisters, "They don't know they're dead."  No, they didn't.  They were just sitting around the living room taking it easy.  All seemed well.  It left me feeling peaceful.

There is one thing I'm doing now that brings me joy.  It's the first time I've felt excited in a long while.  I have an old friend I used to play music with, and his partner and he are touring the midwest this summer and fall.  I know they also do house concerts, so I invited them to do a house concert in my condo's clubhouse and they said, "yes!"  It will be the first time in over a decade I've seen him, and I'll get to meet her as well.  I have no doubt I can fill the clubhouse with music lovers, between my neighbors and my church friends group.  I've been feeling so lackluster, so down in the dumps. but when I started the conversation with them, I got so excited.  Oh my, this is how I remember it.  It's such a terrific feeling to have, excitement. I can actually take action and do something that will make people happy.  We absolutely need 'happy' right now.  Yes, please.

We're under another winter warning beginning tomorrow.  Bring it on.  We need the moisture.  I read recently that California is experiencing its worst drought in 1,200 years.  Here in Colorado we've been having a drought for at least a decade and there is no end in sight.  Whatever is going to happen to my beloved California?

My credit card bill came through yesterday, and I've been ordering a lot more Doordash than I thought!!  Ouch!  I'm going to have to cut back on that.  I just have not had the energy or desire to cook for myself.  As a good friend said, "It's good self-care."  That is true, but it's also damned expensive! I'm going to need to snap out of this rut sometime soon.

Snap out of it!

Friday, February 4, 2022

Moving and Moving On

Hi, readers.  Have you avoided snow and ice storms?  How about Tornados?  Northern Colorado has had some pretty hefty snows, but we're prepared.  Unlike Texas.  Seems their overhauled power grid is holding up.  I think our seasons are going to be whacky from here on out, don't you?  When is the populace going to move away from the coastlines?  There's plenty of room in our midsection.  Come one, come all!

My sisters have been moving everything out of my parents apartment at their retirement community.  Having lived there for awhile myself, with my 15 years older husband, I wonder if I'll ever go back there again?  I made a few friends there and still keep in touch.  My sisters said that whenever they were in the public hallways they were besieged with residents who gave their condolences and then wanted the latest report on me.  My mother was practically non-verbal and in a wheelchair when they moved there, so it was difficult to get to know her. But people got to know Dad pretty well and they are shocked he is gone.  BettyLou would see him head out every morning for his walk; people chatted with him in the mail room; he worked with a writing group once a week, and he had prearranged lunches with different groups of friends after Mother died.

I was feeling somewhat guilty and/or helpless because I didn't want to fly to California because of Covid.  In the end, I managed to find things to do from afar to help move things along, such as contact the cemetery and start the process of ordering a headstone for them.  I've also been drafting their obituaries.  Nothing takes it out of me as much as a physical move.  I helped my parents downsize when they moved from San Diego to Sacramento 11 years ago.  40 years of accumulation.  Two freezers packed with food that was all dated, and much of it dated back years.  Spices that were over a decade old.  Supplies of washed ziplock storage bags and glass mason jars.  I didn't even consult.  It all went into the trash.  We were, after all, moving a 4 bedroom home with formal dining room and breakfast room, not to mention a den, into a 2 bedroom townhouse.  

My son in law just asked if I'd be using some of my inheritance to buy a bigger place.  "Nooooo!"  I don't want a bigger place.  I like it small.  I never want to move again.  I've done it too many time.  I've never lived in any house for longer than 5.5 years.  They'll have to carry me out of this one.  I have friends who have been in houses for 30 and 40 years.  That seems remarkable to me.  I have a friend in Boston who has been in the same apartment for 44 years.  And it aint big.  He's happy there, and that's what counts.  And that's why I like my place so much:  I'm happy here.  I have trustworthy and helpful neighbors who will join me for walks, they'll dog sit for me (and I for them).   The traffic noise is falling more into the background, and the BNSF rail line doesn't wake me up at night any more.  And those two conditions are why my house was affordable.

Mom and Dad have moved on, and we will have a graveside service in Monterey California sometime this spring.  Just for the family. Something simple in a beautiful city that we all love.  I'm going to book my room at the hotel where my parents had their honeymoon.  Full circle, baby, full circle.

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of...