It seems that as we travel through almost a year of COVID-19 life, I am lucky to get in one blog post a month. It isn’t as if I don’t have time. It has to do with inspiration. Every day runs into the next, bleeds over from the previous day, moves slowly through time only to completely disappear into one long running sentence.
I realized a few days ago that I hadn’t even processed the photos that I took throughout the month to mark the changing of the seasons. The leaves remained on our huge old oaks long into November, and now in early December there are still some clinging to the branches. Sitting in the hot tub in the dark, we see one or two flutter down, illuminated by the nearby Christmas lights. They look ever so much like lighted butterflies. The next morning there are more on the ground, slowly littering the work that Mo completed the previous day.
Mo seems to be the one doing almost all the raking this year. I have managed a bit here and there, and we travel together to the compost facility to empty the trailer, but raking times for me have been rare. I try to make up for her extra effort with house chores but it isn’t much of a trade in my opinion. Leaf raking really needs to be a two person operation.
Early in the month we needed to make a quick trip to Portland to meet with the new neuromuscular specialist at Oregon Health Sciences University who will be taking over my case. We are lucky that Mo’s brother Dan and his wife Chere live in the Portland area and are kind enough to let us stay at their home. We arrived in time for dinner, which I provided as a way of saying thank you and spent a great evening visiting and laughing together. My visit at 8am the next morning went smoothly and the drive through morning traffic in downtown Portland wasn’t difficult.
In mid November, restaurants in Oregon were still open for inside dining with social distancing. We decided to take a chance and made our annual trek to Applebee’s to enjoy Mo’s free dinner for veterans. We wore masks, as did everyone else entering the restaurant, and the servers were all masked as well. There were plexiglass barriers between booths and every other table was unoccupied. I was a bit nervous at first, but it seemed safe enough. We had a simple meal and enjoyed it thoroughly. We don’t eat out all that often, but when we can’t, I notice how much I miss that small bit of entertainment. It was a good day.
The weather was till nice enough mid month that we were able to plant the tree that the girls and I bought to mark my son’s passing last year. We chose a beautiful sweet gum tree will honor his life. Deborah and Matthew were here to help Mo and I dig the hole and set the tree, but with COVID rampant in Oregon and Washington Deanna and Melody decided that they would stay home and stay safe.
(The funny part about this part of the story is that we actually planted the tree in late October and I somehow lost track of the day and the photos until now)
We originally planned a small Thanksgiving dinner celebration at daughter Melody and Robert’s new home, looking forward to her turn to host the big family dinner. Then COVID reared it’s ugly head in a more personal way, with Robert required to travel by plane to Texas for his work two weeks prior to the holiday. All plans were put on hold. There wasn’t time for Robert and Melody to quarantine before Thanksgiving Day.
Mattie LOVES Robert and Melody and LOVES being at their home
Mattie has learned to be calm around the cats and they do great together
Instead, we made hasty plans for an early celebration on a Saturday before Robert left. Mo and I drove the MoHo to Brownsville, where the city administrator was kind enough to let us park overnight in the city recreation parking lot, right in front of the “no overnight parking” sign. Deborah came, but her son Matthew couldn’t make it at the last minute, so we had a lovely turkey dinner with just the five of us. Melody, Robert, Deborah, Mo and me. We enjoyed all the yummy traditional foods with an extra dose of sweetness because we knew we were lucky to have even this small celebration.
Melody and Deborah enjoying the front porch on Sunday morning
Deb stayed in Melody’s guest room, and Mo and I returned to the MoHo where a sheriff was waiting for us in the pouring rain. Somehow he hadn’t received the message that we were approved to stay there. It was a little bit of a touchy moment, but he smiled and said all was good and we could stay. The pouring rain kept us company throughout the night. The next morning Mo and I joined everyone for a wonderful breakfast and some more visiting time before we returned home to Grants Pass.
Once home again, we returned to our daily schedule of raking and hauling leaves, and Matthew and I started the annual Christmas lighting project. This year we opted for replacing our white icicle incandescent lights with old fashioned looking lights, modernized with LEDs. We replaced 13 strings of hundreds of lights with 8 strings of LED’s and according to the packaging, our power output was about 10 percent of what it had been in previous years. It is a good investment and will help considerably on the power bill.
I also decided to put up the Christmas Village even before Thanksgiving Day. Usually it doesn’t go up until early December. Deborah stopped by for one of her Sunday visits at just the right moment, and was a great help with unpackaging and placing all the little “stuff” that makes the village so charming.
It started with just the village, but within a few days the house was filled with all our Christmas decor and the outside was sparkling with lights on all sides of the house. It makes for a bit of cheeriness during the darkest time of year, both literally and figuratively. I love Christmas lights and decorations, and it matters not that there will be no visitors this year, once again, COVID is keeping our family celebrations to a minimum.
Mo and I decided that rather than sit home for Thanksgiving, we would pack up ourselves, the dog, and our Thanksgiving dinner and head for the Coast. We made reservations at Bandon, where the choices were slim. There are three loops at Bullard’s Beach State Park, and 2 are closed for the season. We were lucky to get a spot on the inside of the loop, something we usually avoid.
It was a great way to spend a few the holiday isolated in our MoHo Next post will tell the story.