In France, one has the entire month of January to send out New Year’s greetings. Sending cards for the new year is popular, sending Christmas cards is not.
So I’m wishing every one of you a wonderful 2017. What I wish for us all is an ability to navigate our world, our politics (or their politics as the case may be) and to be the best citizen of this world that we can possibly muster without bringing in more anger, more hatred and bitterness than already exists. It’s not a new concept but imagine if we did one good, kind deed a day and it spread like “The hundredth Monkey Phenomenon”. Well, I’d like to imagine it!!!
Yesterday, I got on a United flight to San Francisco to return to my California home for 4 months. I was taken by surprise in mid-December when I was told that I needed hip replacement surgery. Actually, I was given a choice. It seems that doctors today cannot actually say “you must have…..” without fear of litigation. One of my choices was surgery. I went to all my friends who have had hip or knee replacement surgery and asked them one question: “In retrospect, if you had had the surgery done when you were first told that you might need it, would you have done it?” Without exception, they all said yes. When I was talking to the orthopedist and he was telling me the pros and cons of cortisone shots, I asked him straight out “is there any reason to delay it?”
The answer, not so surprisingly, was “No”
So I’m scheduled for surgery in mid-February. The curious fact about me is that I have never been in a hospital since I was born. My father used to joke “Sara, you were born in Garfield Hospital in Washington, D.C and they immediately tore it down”. Yes, of course, I’ve been in many doctor’s offices and had two one-hour procedures (that I can remember) but to have a serious surgery and spend the night, that has been my sister’s realm. And to say I’m a bit anxious would be an understatement.
Now, the window I get to look out of is my westward-looking windows here in Oakland. I can see the San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge that spans from Oakland to downtown San Francisco (4 miles) and the Golden Gate bridge. Many evenings, there is a sunset that cannot be rivaled.
California has been suffering a terrible drought for going on six years. There has been rain, quite a bit of rain, in the last couple of weeks. As my Uber drove me up my street from the San Francisco airport, the landscape looked strange. It hit me that everything was Green. Really Green! And because it rained on and off yesterday evening, the green was sparkling like itty bitty diamonds jumping around on leaves, on new grass. Now sixteen hours later, it is pouring cats and dogs, as we like to say in English, or I’d go outside and inspect the gardens and see all the changes.
My cat, Bijou, stayed in Paris. She is living with a friend who has a larger apartment than I did and also has children who love cats. When I said good bye to her on Thursday evening, everyone had a bit of a hesitant smile. Bijou was moving around carefully, looking around each corner before she let herself into a room. W and E looked excited but not sure how to react to her. I taught them to clap their hands very loudly when Bijou jumps up on a counter or somewhere she shouldn’t be. As if by direction, she immediately jumped up on a kitchen counter. I clapped very loudly, she jumped down and scampered back to the laundry room which is her temporary quarters. Then I left and felt my heart thudding with sadness. It didn’t seem right to make her fly two long plane flights just because I have to have surgery.
Banya, on the other hand, who grew up in Oakland and moved to Paris with me is in kitty heaven. She was an indoor/outdoor cat, became an indoor cat in Paris and never seemed to adjust. Now she is home after a long plane ride. She must have known she was coming home because she stayed calm and hasn’t stopped purring.
I wish I had a smart closing line like Garrison Keeler and could say “and that’s the news from Oakland where all …..” If anyone can dream up a really punchy line for me to close with, there is a small Thank You coming your way. Until then,