Red Apple Day Gifts

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What a day.

It began at 6:30 AM with an early Christmas gift from my charming spouse, James. The eggs were almost in the pan. He held out two boxes and asked me to pick one. I chose the smaller of the two. He opened his first. It held a shiny red apple.

Him: “Do you know what day this is?”

Me: “Uhhh, Friday? November 30th?”

Turns out the correct answer is that today is Red Apple Day and in celebration he bought me a shiny, new white iPad. And a red apple. What a fabulous way to start this tumultuous day.

About eighteen months ago Jim’s employer did a major re-org and he was one of only a handful of people who survived the carnage. We called that day Black Friday. Colleagues who he’d worked with, some for as long as thirty years, were tossed on the scrap heap. For those who left and for those who were left behind, it has been very difficult.

Today, Jim went through another Black Friday re-org. From a sales staff of seventy-five people less than two years ago, only two remain. Jim is one of them.

In the whirlwind that has been the last eighteen months, today has been yet another bittersweet, brain on overload, don’t know whether to laugh or cry, batshit crazy kind of day. What I do know is that Jim Asbell is without any doubt, the best thing that has ever or will ever happen to me. And the iPad is pretty slick too!

Critters, Wine and Strange Ramblings.

Yesterday our old cat got a new diagnosis: feline hypertension. Count Catula, AKA The Old Man Howler Monkey Cat has been driving us nuts crying at night, barfing, and generally looking like a scrawny, weak geezer. It took me all week to decide he needed a vet visit, afraid it might be time to say goodbye and not really wanting to spend my Thanksgiving holiday weekend that way. But, turns out his blood pressure is through the roof and a little BP medication plus some Pepcid AC for the puking might turn things around. Today, Catula’s former owner would have celebrated his 90th birthday. He’d be very glad his beloved kitty has dodged the bullet again, at least for a while.

Catula and Chuck in better days.

As for other stuff going on in the wet, grey Pacific Northwest world where I live, it’s just the usual hodge-podge. Last weekend we spent wine tasting in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with old friends. We sipped and noshed at old stalwarts like Ken Wright Cellars and Beaux Freres, inspected new digs at ROCO and made a new find: Big Table Farm. In a dilapidated farm house on a gravel road near the tiny burg of Gaston, Oregon, two passionate young people are making delightful wine and wicked good pork belly. I enjoyed tasting world-class vino in their kitchen, hound dogs milling about, chickens scratching in the dirt and buckets of rain pouring from the sky.

On the health front, my sister is recovering very well from her DIEP flap surgery on November 9th and for that I am truly grateful. We agreed we both had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. As this hellatious year draws to a close, all that remains for me is removal of a few remaining stitches on Tuesday, then a few months for things to settle before the newly reconstructed nipples will get tattooed.

As the holiday frenzy moves into high gear I’m feeling a bit lost. My new novel is in stuck mode. I have no freelance work. I need something new to tackle and can’t decide what that should be. Recently, Jim told me one of his friends who is nearing retirement told him that he can’t wait to retire so he can learn how to play…THE ACCORDION. I laughed at the thought of him cranking out some tinny polka music, but then I heard a brilliant jazz musician interpreting Edith Piaf tunes on the accordion. It was terrific. Maybe it is not too late for me to take up classical guitar. Better yet, classical ukulele. A nice dose of aloha with a twist.