Tuesday Reflections

Suffice it to say that I was worried about Annie’s reaction to the fireworks yesterday. Who could blame me? My poor dog reacts so scared and frightened, I am afraid she is headed for a heart attack. I had my stash of everything related to making her day easier on my kitchen counter.

I gave her the first CBD treat at 6:30 when the fireworks started. I also provided regular treats while I put on her Thunder Shirt. I started by adjusting the collar. She just gazed into my eyes and waited for another treat. I repeatedly called her by name and told her what a good girl she was.

After the first CBD treat, she was very calm. As the explosions came more frequently, I half expected her to request some munchies to deal with the noise. It seemed like smooth sailing, until they started going off much closer to my house. I reached for the prescription medication from the vet. If only I was ambidextrous, I might have been able to get her med in the place it was supposed to go. The applicator said to apply the medicine between the lip and the gums. Yeah, sure. The vet tech had told me that if Annie swallowed the medication, it would do no good. I think she swallowed most of it.

Back to the drawing board for me. I gave Annie the 2 mgs of Melatonin that was safe for her. I wanted to suppress her anxiety, so she didn’t freak out as the explosions came closer together. She did great. She wasn’t panting, searching for a hiding place, or running around. She’d look around as the noise increased but did not panic.

At midnight, it was quiet. I took off her Thunder Shirt. Ten minutes later the fireworks stated up again. Poor Annie was frightened, and her heart was racing. I quickly put back on her shirt and gave her treats. She calmed down to a degree. She became a Velcro dog. I had to pet her nonstop. She had to be laying on me as much as she could. It was after 1 am before the house was quiet again.

I learned a lot from this 4th of July. Annie was in much better shape this year than any previous years. I will do even better for Annie next year.

FOWC ambidextrous  blame

Daily Word Prompt suffice

The Daily Spur suppress  draft related

Rag Tag  eyes   sail


Honoring My Past While Living In My Present

In an attempt to get a grip on my feelings of the anniversary of my aunt’s passing, I knew I would need to move out of my comfort zone. I’ve been reticent  to leave my house for fear of risking my health. I’ve worked hard to protect my fragile immune system.  I’m still wary of the uneducated opinions  of the unmasked masses. I realized I had no choice but to mitigate my fears and allow  myself to honor my aunt.

Despite my concerns, I needed to respect the integrity  of my beliefs. My aunt deserved to have me follow our tradition.  The task  was to travel to the gravesite of my grandparents before visiting my aunt and uncle’s grave.

Before leaving my house, I voiced my affirmations  of love for my departed aunt. I stood staring at her picture sitting beside the flickering  flame of the Yahrzeit candle. I long to be a maven  of our family traditions. I feel that I will be the last one to honor our customs. While they are a visceral  part of who I am, my daughters don’t feel the same way.

As we entered the gates, we noticed two hearses parked on the left.  I was feeling deep grief for those people just beginning the difficult process of saying goodbye to their loved ones. In the year since my aunt left this realm, I have had to accept that the entire generation before me is no longer here. It is a difficult reality with an abundance of sadness.

We visited my grandparent’s grave first. Even with my forgetful  brain, I somehow remembered to bring the rocks to put on the headstones. There were masked workers  nearby attending to some gravestones. They gave us a nod of acknowledgement as we paid our respects. I felt grateful that they were masked, even though they were not close to us. (In the grand scheme of things, I know it wasn’t a top priority, but it crossed my mind.) I thanked my grandparents for all they gave me that contributed to who I am. The one thing I can thank bio-dad for is having incredible parents.

We then went to the northern  part of the cemetery where my aunt and uncle are buried. I was distraught at the appearance of their headstone. The space directly beside  them had obviously just been filled in. Someone else was experiencing a new grief of losing a beloved family member. A paper marker was placed where the headstone will be in the future.

I could not leave my family’s gravestone in such a state. I used my hands to work on clearing away the dirt and debris. My spouse went to the nearby sinks and brought over water and a paper towel. That made my task easier. It took three more water containers and many more paper towels to make the gravestone presentable. It felt I was completing an act of reverence by caring for their headstone.

After leaving the cemetery, we traveled to the beach. We had to go to two beaches in order to find a parking spot. The sunny day was perfect without too much wind. Despite the parking shortages, the beach was not too crowded. People were socially distanced which made me very comfortable. We watched as a couple of brave souls went far out into the water. One young dad kept running after his toddler son as he attempted to run into the ocean.  It was a heartwarming scene. We walked along the beach where the cold waves were breaking. We did get caught by a few unexpected swells. My spouse is not a fan of getting his shorts wet when he doesn’t have a change of clothes. It was joyful to be at the beach remembering to enjoy the life we have while we can.

After leaving the beach I insisted on going for BR ice cream. My aunt had a very strong metabolism. She could eat anyone under the table and never gain a pound. My spouse and I laughed at the fact that every time we would take my aunt and uncle to dinner, no matter how full everyone was, my aunt wanted ice cream before going home.  I know that my being a chocoholic is another thing that was a binding family tie.

The trip home was very difficult for me. Even with my medical seat cushion and back cushion, I was in the car for far too long. My body was in a great deal of pain, but it was well worth it. I was happy that I paid my respects, enjoyed being in nature, and felt safe. As I move past the first year without any members of my prior generation, I reflect on being the eldest generation now. I wonder what my children and grandchildren will cherish about me.

Your life gave me joy
Your traditions I shall borrow
Your memories give me strength
Your death brought me sorrow
I hold your spirit in my heart
For a more joyful tomorrow

Written for these daily prompts:
Ragtag Daily Prompt (fear, fragile. flickering, abundance, watched)
The Daily Spur (grip, workers, north, appearance, cold wave)
E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (wary)
Your Daily Word Prompt (mitigate, allow, integrity, beside)
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (reticent, opinion, maven, visceral)
(Eugis Weekly Prompt (affirmations)
Word of the Day Challenge (task, forgetful)
Tuesday Writing Prompt


Thanksgiving 2021 – My Non-Fiction Thanksgiving Holiday

I had a small Thanksgiving dinner this year. No guys were included. I planned for just my cousin and I this year.  I purchased a small turkey  for dinner for the two of us, with just enough leftovers. There is no way on G-d’s green earth that I will ever serve tofurkey. It is an abomination to my entire digestive system. From my taste buds to my intestines, it is a no go.

My goal this year was to celebrate  all the things I am thankful  for, without  making myself a wreck beforehand. It is customary, in my household, for some major or minor glitch to impact my Thanksgiving. I was strongly hoping that everything would be OK this Thanksgiving and that no mayhem would ensue. 

I was seriously tempted to just serve desserts. I bought a small pumpkin pie, not knowing if my cousin ate pumpkin or not. I had dark chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe’s. I made tons of oatmeal cookies. I even found a gluten free brownie mix for my dear cousin. OMG, I tasted one last night and it was to die for. 

My meal was almost finished. The oven, toaster oven, and three crockpots were cooking away. I took some time to peruse  my menu plans before going outside to enjoy the beautiful skyline  the strong Santa Ana winds had cleared for me. I sat on my swing with Annie pondering all the things that had been successful today. I was almost afraid to think of what might still go wrong before my cousin arrived.

I should never have been so lost in my thoughts. It seems I left the back patio slider open when I went out to swing with Annie. I reentered the dining room and saw something out of my peripheral vision. A sparrow had entered my house and was sitting on top of my living room lamp. I was grateful that everything was covered in my kitchen and that I had not set my table yet.

The poor bird was frightened and unsure of Annie. Luckily, Annie could care less about birds. (Now squirrels are another matter altogether.) I took pity on the frightened bird. I had to figure how to remove it without harming it.  I had just cleaned my windows and sliding doors making it difficult for the bird to find an escape. It flew into the front picture window a few times. I opened the front door and the sliding patio door. Then Annie and I went out back in the hope that the creature would find its way out. After a few minutes it came flying out back whizzing past my head. It was a joyful moment. 

Minor crisis averted. I gratefully set the table and began plating my cold side dishes. When my cousin came, we laughed about the unwelcome bird guest. I mentioned that perhaps the small bird was protesting the turkey cooking in my oven.

My cousin made a tasty vegetable dish she brought and I served up the mashed potatoes, rice stuffing, matzo ball soup, biscuits, gravy, and of course, turkey. Between the cold and hot dishes the table was full. I didn’t get a picture of the table with all the food because we were both starving by then.  

We had a lovely meal together followed by outside time swinging with Annie and playing Mad Libs. It was a joyful time, and I am thankful we were together. We talked about family no longer with us and the memories we share. I am grateful this Thanksgiving for old memories, newly made memories, and the opportunities for future memories.


The Dining Room Table

The prompt words I saw today moved me to write about wonderful memories around the dinner  table  at my grandparent’s house. The emotions well up in my heart and mind when I think about all the contributions they made to who I am today.  I am so grateful for their not abandoning us when their son, my bio-dad, wanted nothing to do with us. My grandmother was known to have said to my mom, “Just because you divorced my schmuck of a son, it doesn’t mean you divorced us.” I thank G-d for my grandparents influence on my life.

I would spend the long drive to their house thinking about how wonderful, yet different their life was from mine. They were a traditional Orthodox Jewish family who lived their beliefs. I never knew exactly what we were at my house. After my parents divorced, we no longer went to synagogue. When stepdad number one came along we celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas. Somewhere between stepdad number three and four, we ceased celebrating Hanukkah any longer. I was too young to understand the why and how come things changed. There really wasn’t any religion in our house. At twelve, I asked my mom if I could go to some Jewish youth group meetings. She obliged, but it was too late to be one of the group.

I always had a terrific time being with my grandparents. I knew I was loved and I knew they wouldn’t allow my cruel older brother to harass me while I was there. I preferred spending time with my grandparents on regular days more than holidays because there was less stress and less formality. I remember once when my grandmother had made borscht which was supposed to be served hot. Everyone was not at the table on time, and she made a joke about it turning into a cold vichyssoise. The adults at the table cracked up. We kids had no idea if they were laughing about the soup being cold  or the fact that my grandmother who never cracked jokes had said something very funny.

I was able to respectfully ask my grandma questions about how her house ran. We had many conversations about Judaism. Grandma was always understanding  and never made me feel like I was asking a stupid question. I was curious about how everything matching had a specific time to be used. I was in awe of their having two sets of everyday dishes, two sets of formal dishes, and two sets of Passover dishes. We did not keep Kosher at home. The milchig and fleishig dishes, pots, pans, utensils, and silverware sets were different to make sure of maintaining a Kosher kitchen. You can read more here  if you’d like to.

At my grandparent’s house, we would sit around the beautifully set table in the formal dining for dinners. Breakfast and lunch were eaten in the informal dining room. At dinner always had flowers on the table. I actually thought that was a Jewish thing, because I had never seen anyone put fresh flowers on the table for dinner. Imagine my surprise when in home economics we learned all about table setting and flower arrangements. I remember being surprised that people other than my grandparents put flowers on their table regularly and not just for birthdays.

When my grandkids came here (pre Covid) we always ate at the dining room table. I didn’t and won’t allow them to eat in front of the TV. The dining room table is a symbol of family time to me. I have wonderful memories of sharing meals with my grandparents and then my aunt, uncle, and cousin. Of course, we never took pictures of eating at the table. I am grateful for having pictures of amazing Passover meals as an adult. I am grateful for sharing everyday meals and holiday meals at my table with family and friends.

The Laundry Monster

I am not sure how many others have to deal with a laundry monster, but I sure do. I am astonished by how much laundry accumulates in my house. I haven’t decided if we are the dirtiest people around or the cleanest. The deluge of laundry in my garage is overwhelming. The monster takes glee in multiplying my pile.

Dirty laundry is my nemesis . I try and try to stay on top of the pile in the laundry bucket. I don’t like to delay doing laundry because I am convinced that it grows in my absence. There must be short rotund tomte sneaking around my house dirtying linens and clothes.  I fold one load, while I wait for the end cycle signal to tell me the next load is dry. Then, I repeat the process again and again. When will it end?

It makes me feel inadequate when the laundry basket is never empty. I see it as a sign that the laundry monster is winning the battle. Perhaps I can figure out why I am being targeted by the silvery haired trickster.

If I am fortunate, the Medium I contacted will come to my house and slyly convince the tomte to vacate my premises. I hope to exclaim to the world that I am all caught up (at least for two days.)

Written for:
Daily Word Prompt- astonish
Ragtag Daily Prompt- deluge – nemesis –
Three Things Challenge – try – dry – why – sly
The Daily Spur – delay – signal – medium
Your Daily Word Prompt – rotund – while
FOWC – repeat – inadequate
Weekly Prompt – sign
Word of the Day Challenge – silvery
MMA Word of the Day – fortunate – exclaim