bye 2020. next!

hello. i have two blog entries to share with you (not including this one). 
  • one of them is written by a guest blogger: samson. 
  • the other is one i started awhile back right after zum left. yes, he left. it was very sad. it’s still sad but we’re coping. we’re better than coping. we’re doing okay. yep, okay. that’s all you’ll get out of me (for now). 
so, instead of waiting to locate a fully functioning time machine and go back and finish that blog piece and then submit it just after zum left (which was in october), i think i’ll write a new, updated blog entry now. (this one.) then, at some point—soon i hope—i’ll go back and finish that one “games people play” and submit it then. meantime, after i finish writing this one i’ll then post samson’s blog entry. it’s a piece he wrote for school that i have his permission to share with y’all. i hope you’ll enjoy it. 

meantime, here are some brief updates from yours truly in skypalace.


zum left. tears. fears. adjusting. (more on that in “games people play”—still to come.)

halloween in quarantine.

night sky from skypalace on all hallows eve

to make the holiday something special in lieu of trick-or-treating, we created a treasure/candy hunt for samson and it was fun. phil and i provided clues to find other clues and then all the clues put together formed a map of where the treasure was—which i guess you could call one big clue. 

samson created a costume. he worked on imagining it for a month ahead of time but then it only lasted on his body about 10 minutes before it came off to find and seek his goodies.

ninja gunner

quick question: where’s the strangest place you’ve ever found a nerf bullet in your house? (my answer: garbage disposal. your turn.)

putting the clues together (after finding them)

looking for the final treasure based on the map constructed of clues…
it’s somewhere near his hamster cage. that much he knows. 
spoiler alert: he finds it!

samson with his treasure hunt prize: a tank poster 
(the candy is on the floor, of course)

trick-or-treat, smell my feet!
treasure hunts are fun. happy halloween!


fires. fires bad. high winds. power outages. scary. especially with one of us needing supplemental oxygen. i won’t say which one. doesn’t matter. one of us. that’s all. anyway… we survived one major power outage and figured out the hard way that you need to test your equipment BEFORE your power goes out. don’t just assume you know how to hook up oxygen tanks and gas generators on the fly—in the dark. it’s not a good idea. and it was truly our bad. but (to paraphrase hamilton) if we didn’t know—now we know. 

sorry, no photos of the power outage. it was dark. you picture it. 

also right around november we became obsessed with hamilton. saw it. listened to it. saw it and listened to it again. and then listened on a loop. maybe we’re the last ones to the hamilton party but we went around quoting it most of november. we still do but we’re not AS obsessed as we were (especially me, mea culpa). 
* * * * *

samson is getting bigger. he’s doing that growing-up thing. consequently, some changes. for one, he got a new desk. 

papa & samson putting new desk together

and he got a new double bed.

taking the old bed apart

new desk, new bed—bigger boy

* * * * *

and we had thanksgiving. made a fabulous feast—with lots of help from the boys.

samson went for mama’s homemade garlic mashed potatoes 
and her mushroom gravy first. well, who wouldn’t?

completing the meal: homemade green bean casserole, homemade 
cranberry sauce, veggie nuggets, some real turkey & rolls—dig in!

* * * * *

after thanksgiving rolled into our tummies, we made time for our annual holiday photo shoot for the cards. 

the boys let me direct the french-themed silly-fest of wine and mustaches and berets. we had fun doing it and i’ve created an album with most of the (best) photos/outtakes for your perusal if you care. check them out here


prepping for holidays. busy. busy. cold seeping in. time to light the fire. 

actual fire

now for a quick wellness update: about this time i started feeling a bit worse. it seems like it’s my heart, with pangs, pain, and tightening. doesn’t happen always, but more than before. need to monitor it to decide if that’s the new normal or if it’s something else. consequently, i have a heart monitor on now (24/7 except for showers) that will be with me for 30 days. they receive real-time data and we decide if there’s a problem or not. the apple watch i was given for my birthday also helps me log data. it can take ECG and O2 readings. truthfully, as long as i go slow, i am doing fine. i increased my prednisone a little and it has helped. right now, i’m all about collecting input. i’ve turned into a hunter-gatherer… of data.

early in the month phil went out and got us a tree. what used to be a family affair is now a solo endeavor, sadly. but, he did a great job. she’s pretty naked. but, she’s a tree. 

she looks good in her fancy dress, too.

next to her, i am the fashion icon of skypalace, let there be no mistake about that. here are a couple of my recent ensembles. eat your heart out, POSE !

i was going for the christmas cactus look. 
i’m pretty sure i pulled it off. what do you think?

and 🎵 she’s a mean one, mizzus grinch… 🎶

truthfully, i’m amazed at how much enjoyment 
this grinch sweater brings me.

ugly sweaters? yeah, they’re okay. but just the tip of the fashion-felony iceberg. check this out.

tigger the holiday cat. meow!

i challenge you to a holiday-outfit-off. send me your best holiday vogues and it will be ON.

* * * * *

during the holidays, we like to spoil ourselves at breakfast time. for example, we made homemade latkes for hannukah.

a plate of fresh latkes made by tigger no less

another random holiday brekkie:

dutch baby, a.k.a. german pancake

these are delicious! and SO easy to make. let me know if you want the recipe. 

samson’s job is to set the table. in the morning he puts out our drinks but has decided that my morning brew of beet juice smells and/or is toxic and he comically will not just pour it without some dramatic flair. 

pouring mama’s morning beet juice—but only with protective gear. 
and you thought i was the comedian in the family!

my well-fed, happy, beauteous boys

it’s beginning to look a lot like, well, this time of year:

the hall tree—under the watchful eyes of 
random lego warriors—all hatted-up

entryway gnome greetings

chrissy, mama’s christmas cactus 
(surprisingly, one of the few plants i can grow)

when samson’s not playing video games, he’s developing more creative diversions. such as taping random items to papa. fun fact: samson changes the moniker for his parents from time to time. more frequently renamed is the male parental figure. currently he is known as: dadpole. kinda cute. we like it.

just a few items that dadpole is sporting here: sponge, banana, talking pen, 
clementine, hand sanitizer, chip clips, post-it notes. oh yes, and a target!

my son loves tape. i’m sure he got that from me. i used to tape my older brother’s puzzles down so the pieces wouldn’t come out. i thought i was helping. i’m not sure he agreed. who knew it would lead to a lifelong obsession for fixing things that aren’t actually broken. 

* * * * *

on christmas eve we opened one gift. it was a family gift. and then we played it:

it was hard to believe that samson had never played phil’s favorite childhood game: monopoly. we had a great time. samson got boardwalk AND park place. mama landed in jail, tried to roll doubles to break out but failed in three tries and had to fork over $50 to get out, then rolled a nine followed by an eleven and landed right back in jail, all the while NOT passing go and NOT collecting $200. it was hilarious. and a bit sad. but mostly hilarious.

christmas morning brought light and cheer and a slow, relaxed, enjoyable day.

later in the morning we had a sweet surprise from some socially distanced elves…

shendl & grant were gracious enough to bring over phil’s gift…

…a disc golf practice basket! rattle them chains!

* * * * * 
in the afternoon hours we did a family zoom call and samson performed three christmas carols on the piano. i posted videos here for you to see.

samson started putting together his lego set. and a few hours later…

…that 1,023-piece set was complete. 
i present to you: the razor crest (from the mandalorian).

* * * * *

the days after christmas are always some of my favorites. phil’s home and off work, samson’s home and off school. we have leftovers in the fridge. we are in hang mode and each can focus on their own projects or their to-do or to-chill lists. we do things as a family and we each find time to do our own thing. the weather is not too hot, not too cold. it’s lovely. i personally can’t complain. we are a lucky family.

of course, we are also surrounded by the dregs of the bones of 2020. it left so much misery in its wake. it felt like its own entity, something to be feared. another quote from hamilton comes to mind:

i will send a fully-armed battalion to remind you of my love…
—king george 

i hope fervently that 2021 doesn’t capitulate to 2020 and actually send that fully-armed battalion. here’s hoping we dig out of this together. here’s hoping that the returning of the light brings even more clarity—and even more good news. i wanna be in the year where it happens. the year where it happens… ♬ 🎶


  1. Loved Hamilton! Right there with you, Beth, on the references and perspectives. Nowadays, the meme is "Not gonna waste my shot". So let's have 2021 be that shot for all of us (looking forward to the vaxxies.) Enjoyed the 3 month catch up. Looking forward to the next installment. XO to you all!

    1. thanks lynne! there are so many great quotes from "hamilton" it's hard to pick just a few. thanks for dropping by! stay warm and safe!

  2. Very enjoyable entry. I especially got a laugh out of Samson's new hobby of taping stuff to "Dadpole's" back!

    1. thanks for stopping by ali! yeah, that's a practice that will be around a while i'm guessing. we go through so much tape. it's amazing the weapons you can fashion with one good roll of duct tape.


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