Thoughts on a Sunday in this Christmas Season

It’s Christmas time in SoCal. The temperature is in the low 70s; the sun is shining and the Santa Anas are blowing (Di, with English sinuses, has the humidifier on). And, quite unfortunately, the Thomas Fire (260,000+ acres) is still burning.

In little over a month we have two birthdays, Christmas and our anniversary (30th) to celebrate. This year the gifts are practical, well, with one exception and already purchased.

We spend most of our time at home. Di’s peripheral neuropathy and Parkinson’s negate a great deal of what we wanted to do when we retired. Golf and walks along the beach are out of the question; even going to the bathroom is difficult (and impossible without her walker/rollator).

Sunroom Interior South and West
South and West

She spends 90%+ of her time in the sunroom we had built on our old patio foundation. She smokes and refuses to do so in the rest of the house.


I upgraded our WiFi so there are no longer any reception problems in the sunroom. There are fans, a heater and a humidifier as well as a TV, BD/DVD, cable box, Apple TV and an Amazon Firestick.

Christmas, Birthday and Anniversary for Di

So, gift number one: a universal remote (that is not too complicated). And, she likes it. Four remotes replaced by one.

Gift number two: she likes music and I have all of our music stored on the computer: some 19,000+ songs and tunes. All of these are playable through the Apple TV but the TV’s built-in sound ain’t great and there isn’t enough room to put in a sound system like we (I) have in the main house. So, I looked around and went listening and finally settled on a soundbar and sub-woofer. It arrives this week — update after I’ve got it up and working.

Gift number three: surgery. Di, courtesy of her father’s DNA, has some extra skin around her eyes and eyelids. She is having surgery this week to get rid of the extra skin which will allow her to both look and see better.

Christmas, Birthday and Anniversary for Joe

My Gifts? Well, I’ve re-done the sound system in the living room. Two new floor speakers with built-in sub-woofers and a new amp/receiver. And, to say it sounds great, is an understatement.

Next month I’m going to have a dental implant installed in the lower left of my jaw to replace a cracked tooth removed three or four years ago. In four-to-six months, after the area has healed, I’ll have a new tooth placed thereon and again be able to chew on my left side. (I was going to do this way back when but Di’s forced retirement and time needed to care for her got in the way.)

And, sometime in the next couple of weeks while we’re out, we’ll stop by Total Wine and I’ll get to choose some whisky/whiskey. Di says price doesn’t matter, but I’m too practical to have her purchase something “too” expensive. As usual, I’ll look for a couple of somethings I’ve never before had to drink and have her get those for me — and, maybe, a bottle of good and dependable Old No. 7.

No, we may not have many gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning and what we have may not seem romantic, but . . .

Aren’t gifts supposed to make both the giver and the receiver happy?

I’ve seen too many gifts given that reflect the wishes, needs and wants of the giver rather than those of the receiver. This year all of our gifts will be “things” we want.

And, in this turbulent and uncertain world, we still have each other — which may be the best gift of all.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. May you have a joyous holiday season — whichever holiday you celebrate.

Come Saturday Morning and It Still Hurts

Sunday morning and it’s cloudy and cool here in the OC — and, had to cancel taking The Wife out for breakfast with friends.


Last Monday I had some chili and cornbread for supper at Mike’s while watching MNF (Monday Night Football — a ritual we’ve enjoyed for thirty-plus years). Spicy, gringo chili but hot out of the pot.

I thought that I had burned the back of my mouth as it felt sore that evening when I went to bed.

Over the next couple of days it hurt to open my mouth wide enough to eat a decent fork-full of anything — even went to a smaller spoon for soup.

Couldn’t twist my tongue far enough to feel the sore but with a small flashlight and dental mirror I got a look-see — great, an indecently-sized canker sore. Time for regular use of Gly-Oxide.

Thanksgiving dinner was good but I had to cut everything into small pieces before eating. Friday, still sore.

Saturday? Bit the bullet and went to Hoag Urgent Care in HB, the one on Beach Blvd. Almost deserted. Took just a few minutes to be seen by the young doctor and he confirmed what I thought — dirty word, dirty word, dirty word.

The receptionist had already gotten the address of the pharmacy we use (Sav-on) so the doctor said they’d contact the pharmacy with the prescription — all right. Up and back in less than an hour.

Canker Sore Meds

Figured I give the pharmacy time to get the order together and with one thing and another I didn’t get there until after the end of the Alabama-Auburn game. (You know where this story is going, right?)

Yeah. Both the pharmacy and HUC close at 5 pm on Saturday and I made sure I got to the pharmacy before 4:30 pm. Gee, it turns out they know nothing about any prescription for me. Carol re-checks the day’s messages and transmissions — nothing. So, she calls the urgent care clinic.

Yes, I have a prescription. Yes, they sent it to the pharmacy (the correct one) that morning. Oh, of course, they’d be happy to give the prescription to Carol over the phone so she could fill it.

And, Yes — that is exactly why I wanted to get to the pharmacy while both businesses were still open.

Triamcinolone Acetonide USP, 0.1% — Dental Paste — basically medicine in petroleum jelly applied to the sore with a Q-Tip.

Put it on after brushing my teeth last night and it immediately felt better. Woke about 4 am and put some more on and was able to go back to sleep.

It is, however, still there and Di canceled our breakfast with friends.

Know what’s weird? The other thing that stops the sore from hurting — coffee. Ah, time for another cup and, maybe, some soup.

Mist, dozing in Joe's lap.
Mist, dozing in Joe’s lap.

Power Outage

It was a cold and blustery here in the OC of SoCal. The rain started about 4:30 am; I know because it woke the cats and they woke me — demanding an early breakfast. So, I fed them and realized that the rain canceled today’s golf game — grumble, grumble, grumble.

Went back to bed for a couple of hours more sleep.

The wife woke about 7:00 am and as we got out of bed I heard a crackling — like very loud static on the TV — and then: BANG!

Looked out the window and saw that the transformer on the power pole across the street had exploded. And, then I realized that our lights had gone out.

The power was out and my desktop Mac, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad & my new surround sound music system were all shut down.

Then I discovered that my mobile phone battery was dead.

I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that this also needs power, so I sat and talked with my wife for a couple of hours.

She seems like a nice person.

Joe and Di at Yorba
Joe and Di, Mid-1980s


Perhaps this should come under the heading of: This tells me more about you than you probably want me to know.

I’ve written previously about people leaving flyers and attachments on doorknobs and handles, sticking them in the door frame or behind the screen door, placing them in the mailbox and simply leaving them in the driveway or on the porch.

I consciously avoid using any of the businesses which do any of the above because I believe that this form of advertising is messy and simply alerts thieves that no one is at home and the crook has time to break and enter and rob.

Well, today I found sheet of printed cardstock that was headed “TIDY” — SIMPLE PRICING. NO NEED TO TIP.


You throw a piece of cardboard on my front porch and because your name is TIDY you expect me to hire you to “clean” my house?

No, I don’t think so. You mess up the outside — there is no way on God’s green Earth that I let you inside to “clean” my house.

Oh, and here’s a gratuitous cat picture featuring Mist, Smoke and an Amazon box.

Mist and Smoke Boxed
Mist and Smoke Boxed