Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Hello 2020!

I'm probably the last blogger on the planet to write their first post of the new year, but I was away from home for over two weeks, I was busy, and blogging on an iPad makes me want to throw things, so that's why you haven't heard from me until now.

I spent last week in California, visiting my BFF Barbara.  Her husband had suffered a massive stroke in September so it was quite the different visit; he has been home from the hospital/acute rehab for a couple of months now but life has changed drastically for all while they negotiate Dave's recovery.  He's made a lot of improvements but is still dealing with right-side paralysis and as a result, he's in a wheelchair most of the time.  Physical and occupational therapy have helped with getting his movement to return, but it's a slow process.  Still, it's progress, and that's a very good thing.

He's having to relearn how to speak; he understands what we are saying for the most part although I sometimes wondered if my usual Shelley-chatter, switching subjects randomly and talking quickly, might have been a little overwhelming for him - but then he'd laugh at the appropriate places, so I don't know.  I'm definitely more sensitive/empathetic to being overwhelmed after having my recent seizure and concussion, so the last thing I wanted to do was make it harder for him.  On previous visits we'd have morning chats across the kitchen counter while he made me cup after cup of espresso, and I missed that connection, but we managed to connect over See's Candies after dinner...hey, brain-injured people need chocolate to heal.  Still, I miss - as does everyone in his life - the old Dave, and I look forward to seeing him get better and better.

In my last post I mentioned wanting to burn the memory of 2019 to the ground, and we did just that.  On New Year's Eve Barbara and I went for a 2 mile walk along the seawall.  It was a beautiful day, you could smell the ocean, and as she said, it was our version of doing a sage smudge ceremony.
Dang Santa Cruz, you were GORGEOUS on the last day of 2019!
We had a lovely spread of hors d'oeuvres along with some sparkling water with fancy ice cubes, followed by some amazing homemade French dip sandwiches.

Then Barbara brought out some cedar shingles and markers, where she and I went to town writing our grievances on the shingles.  Dave participated as well, writing the year and one very poignant word on his.  Tears ensued.  What a shitty, shitty year.
Afterward, with the help of some lighter fluid, we burned the shingles and that motherfucker of a year to the ground...er, the bottom of the little Weber grill.  Any case, we reduced those shingles to ash, and it felt really good.

The next day we welcomed the new year with a drive to Monterey, where we did a little shopping and had a late lunch.  Drove home along the coast, and even though it was cold, dark, and getting late, Barbara and I went for a walk in her neighborhood - if you close out the year with a walk, you need to open the new year with one, right?  We walked up a hill that was so steep I had to take several breaks along the way.  I would say I'm out of shape - and I am, don't get me wrong - but holy hell, that hill was a BEAST.  After walking on some (thankfully) flat streets, we descended a different but equally steep hill:
Heck of a view - and yes, that's the Pacific ocean out there.  

To walk down this we literally had to lean backwards like the old Keep on Trucking cartoon dude, I kid you not:
Imagine this was us, except our shoes were smaller, LOL.

I have two pictures to represent the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, and somehow it feels appropriate that they are both slightly fuzzy.  My goal for the next set of 2020/2021 pictures is for both of them to be clearer, like our lives will be:
Fuck off and goodbye, 2019.
Welcoming 2020 with the Shaka sign - hang loose, take it easy, things are great.  We were channeling the good vibes.

20 comments:

  1. Happy Belated New Year to you Shelley! It is good to see a post from you again. I'm glad you have been traveling and visiting your BFF Barbara. Love the pics of the coast of CA so pretty.

    I've never been to CA and it is on my bucket list especially since, I found out that I have a brother Chris, who lives in San Diego. I was adopted, and recently through the magic of DNA testing I was able to find my birth family, and I am in the early phase of reunion with my brothers. I have two, one on each side. My brother Chris is just 4 years younger than me, at 51, but my brother Charlie is 30 which, is 1 year younger than my son Chris. So that is my little update of how 2019 ended for me.

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  2. Happy New Year to you! It sounds like the start of 2020 was good; I hope that trend continues!

    I'm so sorry to hear about what Barbara and Dave are going through. Strokes can be so devastating, both to the person affected by it and everyone around them. I'm glad you were able to visit, I'm sure they both loved having you there for a change of pace. And when you're having a shitty year, it can be so good to just commiserate with people you love. I hope things get better for all of you this year.

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    1. Exactly - I knew strokes were bad but seeing it affect someone you know so well is really rough.

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  3. It sounds like it was a lovely trip, as hard as it was to see Dave in his post-stroke state. I surely hope he gets better and better. Strokes are such bastards! Here's to allllll the good things for you and Barbara et al in 2020!

    P.S. You've made me so excited for my Napa trip this year - when we drive the PCH we are staying in Monterey!

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    1. Thanks, and you are going to love PCH - that's pretty much were we drove every day.

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  4. I'm so glad you got a good visit with Barbara. And Dave. What a busy trip that was for you. I hope you are resting up and ringing in the Texas New Year!! I bet Paco was so excited to see you!!!

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    1. Thanks, and I hope to catch up with you next time I'm in California - it'll be a longer trip which will make that more feasible.

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  5. Wishing you only good things for 2020!

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  6. What a wonderful visit...even though Dave was not the same. I love the burning of 2019! How awesome!!!! What a great ending and a fabulous positive beginning!

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  7. Aww man, I feel so bad for Dave. I hope he continues to make big progress! That's great he was laughing and following along. How is Barbara handling the change? It's gotta be so hard for everyone. I bet she was really looking forward to seeing you and having some fun times and burning 2019 in to the ground :)

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    1. It's really challenging for her but she is the strongest person I know and is doing remarkably well with helping Dave and holding everything on her shoulders. Still, I wish it wasn't so hard for any of them.

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  8. Wow, so many people had a less than stellar 2019 ( me included). Do you think your friend Dave's condition will improve or will this be his long term state? What a way to get use to a different way of life. I hope he adjusts.

    So nice that you got to ring in the new year with one of your best buddies! I hope 2020 is a fabulous year for you Shelley -M

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    1. It's hard to predict with a brain injury but he's made big improvements already so of course we are hoping for many more.

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  9. I love how, despite all you went through, you still get up, put on your shoes and a smile, and see what and who you want to see. I get a hangnail and stay in bed. Wishing you all the best in 2020, friend :)

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  10. Maybe time to start your own annual version of Zozobra! https://burnzozobra.com/all-about-zozobra/history/

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    1. No kidding. Although I may need to do this on a monthly basis based on this week, ugh.

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