Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Where Are They Now?”

A Moment in My Life – Monday, May 16, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

I’ve been nostalgic after my marathon phone chat with my BFF, who moved away from the bay area over twenty years ago. We talked and talked and talked as if there were no years between us, but we were catching up on our hectic week. That’s what close girlfriends do. The long chat made me miss her more. If we lived closer, we would most likely be popping into each other’s homes. Or we’d probably have each other’s key. Twenty years is a long time. The beauty of these years is when a friendship can survive the test of time. In this case, we survived the years, scheduling future marathon calls on our calendars. We also began planning a trip together. Oh, such exciting times ahead!

Thanks to Facebook, I reunited with my best friend from elementary school, and we are FB friends today. She is as beautiful a person as she was sweet when we were kids, and she has an equally lovely family—just having her in my life again overfilled my heart with joy.

Not all relationships resulted in happy endings, which got me thinking about some of the people from my past who made an impression on me, but we never saw each other again once we parted. Occasionally, they pop into my mind, leaving me wondering about them. 

In second grade, a little Italian boy named Luciano was not only oh so handsome, but he was extremely mature, intelligent, very well-behaved, and super polite and friendly. One day, Miss Roberts announced his extended absence due to a tumor growing in his brain. Tumor? What’s a tumor? I imagined a little tree growing out of his head. I never saw the tree or anything for that matter. Luciano never came back to school. A week later, he passed away. I never forgot him. I wonder what he would’ve been like today. I imagine he would’ve had more FB friends than anybody I know. I still miss him.

Suzie, the rebel in my fourth-grade class, scared me straight of any future wrongdoings I might have considered. Thanks to her constant backtalking that ended up with a leather strap across her bottom and tears streaming from her eyes, I never got into trouble. I wonder what became of her. I hope she used her rebellion for good and not for harm.

Remember when two team leaders chose players for their softball teams? I sucked at sports regardless and was always one of the last kids chosen when there was no other choice. Boys took their sport seriously, and some of them threatened to beat me up because I missed the ball. Out of nowhere, my hero, Donald, the tough guy with a soft heart in sixth grade, blocked the mean boys and talked them down, saving this damsel in fearful distress. As a kid, I didn’t know to thank him properly, but I never forgot him. I often wonder where he landed. I hope he is doing well. Maybe one day I’ll get to thank him.

Do you ever wonder about people from your past? I do. I get nostalgic and often think about them. I moved around growing up, which made it harder to stay connected, but I hold people close to my heart. Wouldn’t it be nice to reconnect with people from your past? I would love it, but I haven’t been fortunate in finding them, so all I have are memories and my curiosity that leaves me wondering, where are they now?

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Would You Want to Know?”

A Moment in My Life – Friday, May 13, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

You may have heard of the old proverb, “Curiosity once killed a cat,” which was intended as a warning to avert unnecessary curiosity. A quote from the movie Finding Forrester always pops into my mind. “It’s not a soup question,” which means you don’t need to know since it’s not personal to you (my paraphrase). I tend to be over-curious, but not enough to get myself into trouble, which leaves me hanging and wondering because it’s not a soup question.

The other day in my morning devotional reading, the subject of how much time we have left in our life surfaced. One thing led to another, and the next thing I read made the hairs on my skin shoot straight for the moon—a suggestion to check out deathclock.com, which is supposed to tell you your exact expiration date. Whoa! Like Gallagher would say, “Totally new concept!” How is it possible for anybody or any device to determine our D-date? Is it real? 

I wasn’t sure what to think or what to do at that moment. A part of me wanted to run as far away from my screen as possible, while the other part took it as an adult and did not let on that it made an impression on me one way or the other. Sure, I’ve been curious often, but that was as far as my curiosity goes. I did absolutely nothing about it, just like now.

It’s such a bizarre concept that I’m even nervous going near the link, fearing touching it and accidentally spinning the cycles toward the end of my lifespan. Honestly, for a 16th of a second, I considered the idea of maybe wanting to know. It wasn’t even wanting to know but the possibility of wanting to know. Then, the practical me woke up. 

What purpose does it serve to know? I could see learning the gender of an unborn child, which makes preparing for their arrival that much smoother. That’s logical and practical, saving on returns and exchanges and having neutral themes and color schemes and two lists of names. But what good would come from knowing the number of days we have left? 

If knowing my expiration date would spur me to achieve my life goals by D-date, that might be worth knowing. What if, however, I learn that I have very little time left, and there was no way I could accomplish everything or even anything? That would be depressing and a killjoy. But, the long and short of it, knowing me, the answer would not serve me well. Regardless of the amount of time on my dance card, I would internalize it and spend way too much of my precious time pondering the results instead of living my life fully and joyfully.

There was a time when I thought I would want to know. Contemplating the opportunity in my face, I realized I’d be better off not knowing and just living my life day-by-day, thankful to wake up to see another sunrise. It’s more meaningful to have the peace of living today as if there is no tomorrow while dreaming and trusting tomorrow will never end. In other words, enjoy life’s journey one day at a time with a heart filled with hope that anything is possible. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter the end date because some things are better left undisclosed. What about you? Would you want to know?  

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“A Scary Thing Happened to Me”

A Moment in My Life – Thursday, May 12, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

Wise people toss advice at us left and right, going in one ear and out the other. Particles of their words fell behind like stardust sprinkles affixed to our minds and revived when we least expect it. Like the other night, after posting my column, I turned on the TV. The Dubs and Grizzlies were warming up for NBA game 5. I scrambled to heat my breakfast for dinner and pitter-pattered to my makeshift dinner table, or if you prefer, the coffee table in front of the TV. With eyes trained on the screen, not missing a move, I plopped onto the toss pillows on the floor, picked up my fork, and began woofing down my food. 

I hungrily bit into the Beyond breakfast sausage, alternating between kale and cremini scramble bites and the whole-wheat English muffin. Remember the advice not to watch TV while eating your meal, or the part about not rushing, eating slowly, and paying attention to what you’re eating? That was good advice had I heeded the warning.

I’m not sure what happened, when, or how, but something went down the wrong pipe. Like it or not, my body threw itself into a coughing fit—its survival mechanism to dislodge the alien, foreign object. At first, I was not alarmed, I’ve done this before, but since my status quo changed, I attentively made a point NOT to let myself be in this predicament again. Even the best-made plans go haywire if you’re not paying attention. I’ve luckily always been able to remedy this kind of situation. This time, however, for a scare, I wasn’t so sure.

Momentarily, I wasn’t even sure where the obstruction was since I was coughing so violently. I panicked. I sprung upright and began pacing, hoping for relief with every cough. It wasn’t happening. More water did not improve my situation. I still could not feel where the debris was. Now, I was alarmed. I’ve never had it this bad. I always knew where the culprit was, giving me an idea of how to dislodge it. A thousand thoughts rippled through my mind, including how they would find me. You know how people say, “my life flashed before me”? I went down that path for a smidgen of a flash. 

I replaced those melodramatic, unhelpful thoughts with what I recalled from choking scenes. Initially, it felt hopeless without another person. It’s so dreadfully scary being alone when you’re choking. I can entertain the idea of having an iRobot standing in the corner, waiting for activation at a time like this. Sans that option, I quickly had to think before becoming a statistic. I reached back as far as I could and slapped myself on the back. Oops, not a good move! Now I know where the object was—right smack at the center stage of my windpipe.  “Houston, we have a problem!” I just blocked my windpipe!

I can still breathe but cannot squeak a sound! Slapping again made it worst. It was freaking me out! I banged on my chest—no go. I tried to make a sound—nothing. I was still breathing—a good sign. I gently tapped on my chest. Kept breathing. I kept testing for sound. Gentle tappy-wappy on the chest helped, giving me the idea of vibration. So, I kept tapping and included vocal warmups in various ranges, which shifted the object. Little by little, my voice strengthened. The audio vibration moved the object along, and I live to sing another day and tell you about the scary thing that happened to me.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Moments in Time”

A Moment in My Life – Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

The U-Haul truck slowed to a stop across the street. I lifted myself taller, peering out the window, inquisitively surveying the possible destination of the U-Box. I confirmed my suspicion that my neighbor was going through with his plan a moment later. Two years ago, he mentioned they were thinking about downsizing, and now it appears that it was time to act upon it. This realization tugged at my emotions. I’m not a fan of change, even if it’s not personal. The funny thing is that I am changing every day, in small, subtle ways, which I can handle. The big changes? Not so much. However, God has already given me many significant challenges, and I survived them. Maybe I need to rethink that.

Anyhoo, I like this neighbor. Over the years, we’ve become friendly, which is unusual for this neighborhood where everybody comes and goes behind their steering wheels. At most, we offer each other a wave of the hand and a warm smile as we pass by. Life has a way of keeping us distant from one another where we could go years without interaction. Still, the thought of them moving away chokes me up. They have been here for over a decade and a half. We had many moments of sharing and getting to know one another, but only when our paths crossed. We have each other’s contact information, but I seriously doubt we’ll stay in touch.

There is a time for everything. People come, and people go. That’s the unofficial rule. Contrary to my desire, we can’t expect anything to stay the same. The only takeaway from life is moments. Everything we do is a moment in time. Nothing lasts for long. People toss the word, forever, around like a ball. I am guilty as charged. Nothing is forever in this universe when you get down to the nitty-gritty. There is an eternity, but not until we reach heaven. Until then, all we have are moments in time.

I took my wedding  vows seriously. Forever meant until our ticket to heaven. Alas, a marriage is only forever as long as both shall live. Meaning we should cherish every moment we have together for what it is worth—no more, no less. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. 

The same goes for all relationships. We have no control over what the future holds. Plans change. People go their separate ways, willingly or not. This uncertainty has taught me to make the most of every opportunity to live well and spend as much time with the people I love. I’ve had people laugh at my 3.5-hour lunch or phone call. But why is that funny? I love being with my peeps. 

There is never enough time to be with everybody, but I will make the most of it. With the pandemic looming over us, safety is imperative but social media and the good old phone have allowed me to stay in touch with most people. If I can connect with my peeps, that’s all that matters. My peeps float my world. As long as we continue to create moments in time that will last for eternity, as we know it, I’m a happy camper until we can meet in person and share grub and a hug and converse face-to-face. Time and space may separate us, but we will always have moments spent together wherever we go. I don’t take that for granted because moments are a gift from above. In the end, all we have are moments in time.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Be Real”

A Moment in My Life – Monday, May 9, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

“Nobody is themselves at the beginning of a relationship,” she said to her friend. 

Her friend responded, “Do you really believe that?” So goes the dialogue in the Hallmark movie, Right in Front of You. This conversation fueled the topic of first impressions that have been playing in the forefront of my mind lately. This scene was the marshmallow on my S’more.

Is it true that nobody is themselves at the beginning of a new relationship? Scary. It borders on the online relationships with sight unseen. People could make up who they are or who they want to be, or simply who they wish the recipient to believe they are. In other words, fake, phony, liar, or what have you, comes to mind. 

This topic kept popping up recently, giving me a reason for pause. In one conversation with a friend, he said his first impressions of people were always wrong. And now I see why. A few days later, I was on the phone with a friend who didn’t sound like her usual self. I was curious but let it go. Eventually, I got my answer. She was at her new boyfriend’s apartment. Ah, got it. The tone of her voice was soft and Vermont maple syrup, not that her familiar voice wasn’t lovely, and that’s my point. She always sounded fine to me, sweet and pleasant, but she upped it a notch in the presence of her new beau. She also dolled up her word choices. Again, she was fine without the upgrade. She is one of the most confident, independent women I know who doesn’t need or want a man to complete her. Yet, here she was assuming a persona, not hers. I remember applying the same upgrade myself, but that was to impress a guy back in my school days. We all did that, didn’t we? The question is, why? Why did we do that? 

There are too many reasons why. It’s individual. It’s subjective. The universal answer is that we don’t think people would like us for who we are. I’ve been guilty of that thought even as we speak. Some bad habits are, plain and simple, hard to break. Most people aren’t aware that they do this, to begin with. We picked up from observing the people around us doing it. It’s just a way of life. Time has taught me there is truth in the adage about kids saying and doing the same things they observed their parents saying or doing.

I’m no different. Bad habits riddled me that I assumed from growing up years and life. I did many things I’ve seen people around me say and do. Each time I did it, I kicked myself. I got angry at myself a lot—every time. I did not want to be like them. It scarred me and became ingrained a part of who I was. I did not like the person I became, so why would anybody else like me? At the time, I didn’t know better. So, like everyone else, I projected a persona around other people.

I’ve spent my whole life not liking the person I was. One day I decided enough was enough. I didn’t know then what I know now, but I didn’t want to keep playing the games that people play, so I began redefining myself and ditching those bad habits. It isn’t easy to do, but doable. It took me an extremely long time to figure out who I am, who I was meant to be, and who I would like to be. The important thing—I can become the person I dream of becoming.

Here’s the thing that I’ve learned. Most of us learned to believe that we can’t change our stars and must remain who we are. Even today, I’ve had people tell me that they don’t like who they are or like their lifestyles, but they aren’t going to do anything about it because it’s too late to change, or worst yet, they believe they were born to be as they are and can’t change. After attempting to encourage them to try, I leave them alone. I can’t change anybody but myself. 

I believe that if I am not happy under my skin, then I need to do something about that. I refuse to believe that we are stuck with the person we are. It’s like being with someone you can’t stand. You better believe that I’d be distancing myself from that person. Why subject me to unhappy surroundings? As the old saying goes, You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you. That includes me, myself, and I. Life is too short not to be happy in all circumstances. In my case, there was only one option: to redefine myself into the person I could like. Here’s what I believe. Instead of projecting the persona I want others to see, why not become that person now that I know who I am meant to be?

I’ve long believed in finding good out of a bad situation. Covid has isolated us from the world, but some takeaways will always have my gratitude. One area was getting to know me better. Once I did some spring cleaning and removed as many twigs, weeds, and dark matter, i.e., bad habits, that bogged me down, I discovered the real me. From experience, I can tell you that it is never too late or impossible to change who you are or your life. After all, people change careers often, many times in their lives. So, if you could do that, why can’t you redefine yourself?  

Let’s make one thing clear. Redefining yourself means changing who you are. It does not mean pretending to be someone you’re not. I’m learning something new about myself every day and adding my discovery to my makeup, and I like the person I am becoming. The takeaway from the new me is that I am content and happy more often than kicking myself and scolding myself for backsliding into old ways that didn’t work for me. 

I am determined to put the real me out there at all times and feel comfortable with the person I am sharing with the world. And that person is a person I would not be embarrassed to introduce to someone. The bottom line is to be the best person I can be and to be the real me at all times around everybody, not just a cute guy I’m trying to impress. We should always be true to ourselves and be real with everybody. It sure makes life easier. Many people have said, “what you see is what you get,” but was that true? Perhaps to some, they believe it was. Most people want that, but I doubt they were speaking honestly. My point here is that if you’re not completely happy with yourself, feel free to make some changes. Life is short. Don’t be stuck in a rut. Get to know yourself. Learn what works and doesn’t work for you. What made you happy as a kid may not do it for you now. We are constantly changing, so we need to keep redefining ourselves to stay true to ourselves and our paths. The first impression we make should be lasting—not just a show but to be real.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Feeling That Loneliness”

A Moment in My Life – Friday, April 22, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

You never expect it, but even the perkiest person alive has triggers that entrap them into the deep dark dungeon called loneliness. I’m speaking from first-hand experience where I could remain alone for long periods without feeling lonely—the pandemic is my evidence. The truth be told, I rarely feel lonely. I don’t allow it. I keep a rigid schedule with no opportunity to go down that rabbit hole. IT COMES FROM NOWHERE when I feel lonely—unexpected, unwanted, unannounced, uninvited, unwelcome, and un-whatever else you can think of to add to my list.

Everything in life is a choice. There is an array of reasons, or excuses if you rather, that could justify my lying on the couch and crying my eyes out all day long. Someone told me that she didn’t call the first couple of weeks after Mark’s passing because she knew I was busy lying on the couch, crying my eyes out all day. Whoa! Totally new concept! Where did she get that? Does that sound like me? Plausible as this may be, those who know me cannot imagine this scene, but I didn’t make it up.

If I didn’t have social media where I entertain myself with many friends every day, I believe I would feel the isolation of loneliness. I would’ve gone nutty all alone day in and day out with nobody to interact with except me, myself, and I. After a while, I’d run out of things to tell myself. I’d get tired of hearing the same old stories. I could see myself getting cranky with yours truly, and the daily dialogue would sound like this, “You told me that already,” or “How many times are you going to tell me that?” It is such a blessing that I have a few friends who talk with me regularly. We developed this friendship pre-Covid, and it continued through the pandemic, and those relationships, along with a few new ones, are the ones that keep me balanced, even if only cyberly. It’s priceless having people in my life physically. Still, I don’t believe I need the physical presence as much as I need some social human stimulation, which means electronic communication works just fine—the important thing is having someone other than myself to communicate with.

I have no clue how people without a cyberspace presence who live alone, especially during the pandemic, do it. People are the key to keeping the world bobbing along on our journey for survival. I value my alone time but treasure my people time. Thank God I don’t have to choose one over the other.

Loneliness is entirely subjective. No two experiences or triggers are the same. As I said earlier, I need some form of communication contact with humans, whereas a friend of mine must have physical people contact. She lavishes real hugs, which are neither right nor wrong, just preference. She becomes Spiderwoman, scaling the walls if she goes too long without her hugs. 

I wasn’t kidding when I said no two experiences or triggers are the same—not even with yourself. Again, I am speaking from first-hand experience. Once your status quo changes, it is safe to say that anything goes. Save yourself the headache of expecting “the familiar.” There is no longer “the familiar.” A better plan is to expect to have a good time but be open to whatever that resembles. You may go through a bit of culture shock as I did at the first wedding I attended as a single. I sat at a table with friends I’ve known for over two decades. Friends who we double-dated often. As wedding receptions go, a lot was happening in this ballroom. High energy and excitement filled the atmosphere, with people mingling everywhere. I was laughing and having a good old time with everyone around me when I glanced at the couples at my table doing what couples do—reminiscing the playful advances that Mark and I shared, and sudden loneliness paralyzed me. My heart raced as if I needed to escape, sending a winter chill to my limbs and summer heat to my head. The words, “I shouldn’t be here,” reverberated between my ears, misting my eyes. It was such an unsettling sensation that swept through me. A friend asked me to snap some photos of her and her kids, shaking me out of my self-pity mode. The lesson I learned that day was not to internalize what I see, and keeping busy, is the answer to preventing loneliness from creeping in. Enjoy being with the people around you, and making the best of the situation is the better plan.

The other night, I had a phone call with a girlfriend, and it was delightful as always. We did our usual thing by starting one topic, segueing into another, until she needed to hang up an hour and a half later. As soon as we said our goodbyes, loneliness sank into me like a granite block. From where did that come? I just got off a long and enjoyable call. How is that logical that I felt so devastatingly lonely suddenly?

This loneliness reminded me of the day three years earlier when Cousin Karen and I took a three-and-a-half-hour lunch break at Jack’s, where we leisurely talked and ate and talked and ate. The only reason we left when we did was not to keep the servers waiting. I couldn’t have asked for a better time. I felt joy from head to toe after she dropped me off at home. As soon as I walked inside, and secured my front door, the pleasure I felt a second ago was thrust out of me by the forceful loneliness that replaced it, leaving me standing at the entranceway feeling as if I had stepped into a dark, dank dungeon. There was no yesterday, no today, and no tomorrow in view, just a dark, hollow void. Again, this was illogical. Where did this loneliness come from when just a moment ago, I was having the time of my life with a beautiful person who I love dearly? 

That day with Cousin Karen was the first time I experienced deep loneliness after a good time. Months earlier, I suffered from PTSD, which meant feeling any negative emotions was expected and logical. When it’s unexpected, like after a joyous event, then it makes no sense. 

I don’t have all the answers, and every case will be different. Yet, I wanted to understand why this happens when it does, and then it hit me. The commonality between these two episodes was that I was exhausted from a lack of sleep. Forever, getting enough sleep was the least of my worries, but as I get older and go through more trauma drama, I appreciate the importance of maintaining a good night’s sleep. Everything is so much better after a good night’s rest. When unrested, my body is cranky, regardless if I am aware of it. I have trouble remembering things, such as the right words, which is death for a writer. I tend towards oversensitivity and so on. I’m glad I don’t get these episodes often despite the fact I struggle with sleep. I’m thankful I know that lacking sleep could trigger loneliness. Hopefully, maintaining good sleep habits will prevent me from feeling that loneliness.

Posted in Reflections

Globfly’s 40th-Month Angelversary

Today marks Globfly’s 40th-Month Angelversary—three years and four months since he relocated to heaven on 12/17/18.  

Since this Angelversary shares Easter Sunday, it was a no-brainer to honor Globfly’s memory with a sweet treat that we enjoyed every Easter—Peeps, and it’s a bonus when I locate purple Peeps. It took quite a few stores before I found them today, but here they are. For you, Globfly, I go the distance. Just like old times, sweetheart. Maybe, not exactly like old times, but you know what I mean. “You and I, we were meant to be,” as the song goes. Thank you for always being!  

“So, Globfly, enjoy all you want. I’ll eat what you don’t eat. Deal? 

I never left home without my camera or my MacBook when we traveled. Globfly, on the other hand, never set out without his signature “Cat in the Hat” hat. There was this one trip where we were on tour in Rome. Our tour guide, fatigued from holding up his distinctive flag, told the group to follow the man in the “Cat and the Hat” hat. So, without further ado, here’s to you, the man in the “Cat in the Hat” hat. I miss you more than words can say, still!  ILYVVVVM.”  💜🖖👊

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“When, If Not Now?”

A Moment in My Life – Friday, April 8, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

Sometimes I wonder if, in my efforts to stay out of trouble, I’ve teleported myself into a repressed fantasy world like Pleasantville, the 1998 fantasy-comedy-drama movie. The characters were enthused and happy, just like me in my happy place, but what will happen when I return to living in the real world with real people? Today, I got a glimpse of that reality, just like reality eventually seeped into the scenes in the movie.

I followed behind and admired the shiny wine-colored 4×4 Jeep on Westborough on my way to the Safeway on Gellert in South San Francisco. A story idea for a romance starring someone driving this neat-looking vehicle played in my mind while I stared at the Jeep’s rear at a stoplight. Wouldn’t it be cool if a character in a romance drove this car? That was it. My muse began forming the story. I kept driving up the street, and just as he started his right turn onto Gellert, Mr. Jeep stopped, stuck behind a truck making a right turn at the gas station. I had plenty of room to see ahead of him, and he wasn’t going anywhere soon. So, I swung around Mr. Jeep’s left side and attempted to go around him and get back into our lane ahead of him.

At my snap decision, I was confident I could make this maneuver before he could hit the gas pedal. It was a short block to the next red light, but I could undertake him had he not gunned it and raced me to the spot we apparently both coveted. I was right. Okay, I’m not showing off here but simply proving that my judgment wasn’t flawed. I made it back into our lane behind the car sitting at the red light, but not without Mr. Jeep racing along my right side and serenading me with his steady horn that resonated between my ears, crossing my eyeballs, all the way to my spot. 

He finally traded places with his horn by rolling down his window and yelling explicit language at me that I would not repeat. His Jeep was slightly behind my Veloster in his lane, so I moved my body to look out my passenger side window and stared into Mr. Jeep’s bespectacled blue eyes. His salt n pepper crew cut accentuated his crimson face down his pink neck, and I waved apologetically at him. He then moved up alongside me, still exercising his powerful lungs. I rolled down my window, looked him in the eyes, and hollered over his voice, “I’m sorry!” He kept yelling fun words at me, and I kept yelling back, “I’m sorry!” He eventually ran out of things to yell at me. He finally told me to slow down and not drive so fast. It was tempting to say that none of this would’ve happened had he not chosen to race me, but I decided to keep on apologizing and not add more fuel to his fire. It was more beneficial to defuse his anger.

Once he calmed down, we concluded with me saying, “Have a nice day!”

And he surprised me by responding, “Have a great day!” 

We rolled up our windows just as the light turned green. That was a very long red light if you asked me. Guess where Mr. Jeep was going? You guessed it. He turned into the Safeway parking lot right behind me. Okay, no problem. We can coexist at the supermarket. He chose to park on the far end of the parking lot away from me. Good choice. 

Did I say I plan to write a romance starring his Jeep? I did, didn’t I? Well, it was the man’s transgressions and not the car. I won’t punish the Jeep for Mr. Jeep’s colorful behavior. However, I was surprised that he was as contentious as he was. I don’t think he had a good look at me before lashing out. It felt like it didn’t matter who I was. He was going to give me a piece of his mind, regardless. 

Would you like to know what I think about that? I think he’s nuts. I sure hope I won’t see him on the evening news one night. With all the crazies in the world right now, you don’t know who might pull a gun on you. Why would you lash out at someone, especially over something so trivial? 

Then, I wonder, with all the depression in the world today. With Covid, war, crime sprees, racial hatred, and all the loss, wouldn’t you think people would be kinder to one another? If nothing else, we’re living in a time of war, which I honestly never thought I’d see in my lifetime, but we’re witnessing a real-time war, not a movie or a documentary. We observe the devastation caused by war and many people’s lives destroyed. Isn’t that alone enough to make you appreciate what you have and that you’re still here to enjoy each day relatively normally?

Granted, I don’t know Mr. Jeep’s story. He might have gone through hell and back; thus, his short fuse. I’m just glad that our altercation ended amicably. We’ve experienced some scary episodes in just two short years that I’m sure none of us ever dreamed we would have experienced. 

So many people have taken the road to do good for others. What about the rest of the world? I’m not talking about a grand gesture, but little things like small acts of kindness that tell people you are thankful to be alive and well, and you are grateful to have people in the world with you—or being a little more. A little more patient. A little more understanding. A little more forgiving. A little more helpful. A little more loving. Just a little more of oneself.

Maybe living in Pleasantville warped my view, but I can’t help but wonder when people will be kind to one another and love one another as themselves. With all we’ve gone through, isn’t now a good time? When, if not now?

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Mo Pow’r to Me”

A Moment in My Life – Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

Yesterday I shared my power junkie/outage story with you, but there’s more. I wasn’t done talking. I know you’re not surprised. If it’s any consolation, I saved the best for today. Since Sunday’s blackout was the longest one I’ve experienced, it gave me a lot of ideas on surviving my next power outage. I admit it was not a good feeling to be in the dark for eleven hours. I felt vulnerable and a little panicky when the power wasn’t restored within a few hours like it always did. 

This experience helped me realize how ill-prepared I was for a prolonged outage. Still, it was a fantastic opportunity to learn what I could do better to equip myself for a future power outage. If you feel ill-prepared like me, I want to share some ideas that I learned during this ordeal. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s a good starting point to reduce stress and panic and help you make the best of an uncomfortable situation.

Signing up for PG&E text alerts was a huge stress reliever, which I would suggest everyone do the same. Without power means no Wi-Fi, making it inconvenient to google the problem. PG&E’s alerts provide the cause of the problem, what they’re doing about it, the restoration ETA, and any available updates. A must-have if you asked me.

During the grass-fire months last year, we endured a slew of rolling brownouts, which prompted me to charge all my devices before going to bed just in case the power went out overnight. I also kept my backup chargers for my devices charged, but I found one of my two power packs deader than dead this Sunday. Luckily, the smaller power pack was half-charged, enough to charge my iPhone fully. I got sloppy and forgot to check my power packs periodically. When I needed them was not the time to discover that lapse. Routinely checking the power packs needs to be a high priority. 

My backup lighting source was an assortment of candles, primarily gifts from yesteryear, to show how antiquated I am and how infrequent I needed to execute my backup plan. They worked. They provided ambiance, which was great if you don’t need much lighting. And also, it was essential to have some form of firestarter method. If you’re relying on a firestarter stick, I recommend routinely checking them to ensure it sparks. It’s not a bad idea to keep matches on hand.

However, after my ordeal, I learned about lanterns—a totally new concept, which I’m heading to the store and adding a few to my emergency collection. Lanterns sound like the perfect lighting solution as they run on batteries, give out bright light, are a non-fire hazard, and are portable. I highly recommend this option and some long-lasting, powerful flashlights to keep on hand. Stick-on the wall, battery-powered remote-controlled lights are an option for the bathroom or something like that if you’re interested. 

Next up, let’s talk food. My first panic was, “what am I going to have for dinner?” I honestly had no idea. I had a meal planned for the night’s dinner, but it required cooking, which was not an option. Luckily, I am a survivor, and my brain kicked into survivor mode. I went with canned salmon and what I had on hand and turned it into a salmon salad sandwich. I had a satisfying dinner adding low sodium potato chips, an Envy apple, and Soda Stream Cola to complete the meal. I figured I could have a PB&J sandwich later if I got hungry, which I didn’t. Knowing that was an option relieved my panic. These food items kickstarted my brain to mentally scan my shelves and fridge for other food ideas that I could put into a meal if needed. Including if I had to, I could walk out to Round Table and buy a small pizza, which I could eat cold. 

I’ve learned that we could eat many canned goods right out of the can without heating—they’re cooked and edible. This idea was another totally new concept because I’m a creature of habit who follows instructions and rules. The can says, “heat whatever way,” I heat whatever way. So, eating right out of the can is crazy, but it’s real. My older sister introduced me to Spaghetti O and Chef Boyardee ravioli as two items that I could eat without reheating. She spiraled me down this new path, and I discovered the same is true with a can of baked beans. It’s pretty delicious. She said that if I have a bag of ramen noodles, which I always do, I could eat it with my fingers for a quick meal. Really? Another totally new concept! Who woulda thunk dat? 

I prepared a list at the end of this column with many suggestions, which I’m not discussing here. Still, all the food items I listed could be interchanged and customized, so let your imagination and creativity roam free. If you have ideas and suggestions, please feel free to share them with me, as I always love learning new things.

The last thing on my list is what you can do to pass the time. Once we take care of the backup lighting source, we should be able to do quite a few things. With our fully charged phones, we could watch a movie or do whatever we do on our phones. We could call someone and catch up. Or, play a game and have everybody come up with meal suggestions that y’all could make together, and then make those dishes. Afterward, you’ve got a small feast for a candlelit party. Does anybody play an instrument? Now sounds like a good time to show us what you got for Christmas. Learn dancing like line dancing, perhaps? Or, how about playing a get-to-know-who-you-are-now game? We’re all changing and growing, and we’re busy, so here’s an opportunity to catch up with each other. If you’re feeling anti-social, you have no excuse but to catch up on those projects that you never had time to do. If all else fails, take a nap.

Anyhoo, I always try to turn a situation around and make it the best that I can, and today I shared what transpired from my recent power outage ordeal. It made me stronger, more confident, and now with all these fun and yummy ideas, I no longer fear or dread a power outage because I will be prepared for next time. With everything I’ve learned, “mo pow’r to me.”

  • Ways to Prepare for a Power Outage
    • PG&E Alerts
      • Sign up
      • Jot down PG&E’s phone # in case they don’t update you
    • Back up chargers
      • Keep them charged and ready to perform
    • Lights
      • Candles – long-lasting in secured glass holders
        • Firestarter sticks – check sparks periodically 
        • Matches – keep them on hand
      • Lanterns – available at Costco, Amazon, Target, etc.
      • High-power long-range flashlights
      • Battery-powered stick-on lights – available at Costco, Amazon, Target, etc.
    • Foods
      • Can goodies that don’t require heating
        • Tuna
        • Salmon
        • Baked beans
        • Chef Boyardee raviolis
        • Spaghetti O
        • Assorted beans: black beans, pinto, garbanzo
        • Fruit cocktail
        • Peaches
        • Tangerines
      • Meals:
        • Tuna or Salmon salad sandwich
        • Pizza can be eaten cold
        • Ramen eaten like chips
        • Tacos 
        • Tortilla wraps
        • Cereal
        • Tofu 
        • Precooked ground protein
        • Leftover rice
        • Cold cuts
      • Salads
        • Throw together whatever you have except the kitchen sink
        • Tuna salad 
        • Salmon salad
        • Mixed bean Salad
        • Spinach and can tangerine salad
        • Waldorf salad with rotisserie chicken if you have the ingredients or make it up as you go
      • Beverages
        • Tea steeped in room temperature water
        • Chocolate powder in milk instead of hot cocoa
      • Sweets
        • Pudding cups
        • Fruit cups like cocktails or peaches
        • Fresh fruits
        • Yogurt parfaits 
      • Snacks
        • PB&J sandwiches
        • Trail mix
        • Raw nuts 
        • Dried fruits
        • Chex mix 
        • Cereal with milk or eaten like trail mix
        • Crackers with cheese and apple
        • Celery and carrot tray dipped in ranch dressing or hummus
        • Potato chips dipped in ranch dressing
        • Raw veggie and cold cuts Kababs
    • Things to do
      • Call someone to catch up
      • Read on iPad, if you can
      • Watch a movie online, if you can
      • Play a game to see how many creative meals y’all can make together
      • Make the meals together and have a mini-party in candlelight
      • Play an instrument? Now’s a good time. 
      • Learn to line dance
      • Talk – catch up 
      • Play a discover-who-you-are-now game 
      • Other projects you didn’t have time to work on but have no excuse to now
Posted in A Moment in My Life

“I’m a Power Junkie”

A Moment in My Life – Monday, March 28, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

Let’s see some hands here. How many of you caught the Oscars last night? If you missed it, don’t feel bad. You weren’t alone. A funny thing happened to me on my way to the Oscars last evening. I don’t think it was in my cards to be there in any form or fashion. Granted, my ticket to the big event was via my Dish DVR, but even so, I wasn’t supposed to participate. It would’ve been my first. I’ve never been interested in award shows, but I was intrigued and excited this time and couldn’t wait for the day to come. I even set the timer to record the pre-show and the post-show, not just the award ceremony itself. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. I went a little overboard, but that’s kind of my personality—all or none. This time, I was all in. I wanted to be there to observe the cast and crew of CODA accept their numerous winnings. They got nominated in 23 categories. They’re the first primarily hearing-impaired cast, and that’s impressive. With so many people coming out, why not the hearing challenged? It’s about time. You go, people!

I wanted to earn my long TV viewing hours yesterday, so I busied myself after church with tasks that needed my attention, like laundry, watering the plants, doing the credit card recon, etc. I turned on the DVR half an hour after the recording started, just in time to catch a bubbly commercial. I ran off to take care of one more thing, but I stopped in my tracks to the deafening silence in the room that made me glance at the TV screen to see what was playing—nothing, just a big, black screen to match the silence. What? What’s going on? Instinctively, I glanced at the microwave where I expected to see the lit clock display, which was also black—power outage! Ugh! Seriously? On Oscars night? Man, this was not cool. I can see a slew of complaints heading PG&E’s way.

I texted my BFF, Lena, who lives nearby. Her neighborhood is a regular with power outages. Since a fire station is half a mile away from me, my community rarely gets an outage. If and when we do, it typically doesn’t last long. Surprisingly, the outage spared Lena’s area this time, but not mine. As we chatted, PG&E dropped me a text update. They have a power outage impacting 3,615 homes and may affect my home. No kidding. They expected restoration by 6 pm. At 6:03, PG&E updated me that an equipment problem caused the outage. They were working to restore power with an ETA of 1:00 am. Monday. Great! That’s it for me—no Oscars tonight or ever. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but can you blame me?

It’s such a blessing to have loving people in your life. The sweetheart that she is, Lena, offered to pick up food for me. I declined. Then she invited me to hang out at her house until power returned. I declined. I didn’t want to bother with the garage door, so she offered to pick me up! What a sweetheart! I refused again because I didn’t know the outage impacted areas besides my community. I didn’t want us roaming the blackened streets, especially after she dropped me off. I sure didn’t want her driving home in the dark.

It had to be a brumous day for the power outage, and at 6:00, it was a bit too dark in my kitchen. I set up all the emergency candles from storage and decided to make dinner while I could still see. I am so blind in the dark. I could find a speck for you in the light, but I can’t see a large object in the night. Twilight is the worse. One October evening, my niece and I went out for our daily walk in San Diego, she pointed at a rabbit in the grass, but I couldn’t see a rabbit if my life depended on it. One early November evening at the tail end of twilight, I went to Iggy and Kevin’s. Kevin and Irwin greeted me from yards away in the parking lot. It amazed me they could see me. I couldn’t see their faces. So, as you can see, I needed to hustle and take care of dinner while there was some light from outside. For the fun part, what to do about dinner that didn’t require heat or cooking based upon what I had on hand?

I started with a salmon salad sandwich when I remembered a pot of black fungus tea simmered on my gas stove during the power outage, giving me false hope. I got all excited. I could have a shrimp ramen soup for dinner. Wrong! Once the gas burner was off, it wouldn’t ignite without power. So much for that idea. Back to plan A. Thank God for plan A.

This outage was the most prolonged power outage I remember experiencing, and it was a good idea to stay home and go with it, which gave me a first-hand experience of life without power. I empathized with those affected by the loss of power and water in Ukraine, but now I could sympathize with them better. I can’t imagine not having water, too. It was challenging enough without power for eleven hours. I am so incredibly spoiled by my freedom to have access to power whenever I want it. I pride myself not taking anything for granted, but yesterday, I realized I took power for granted every day. Each time I turn around to do something, it requires power, the internet, my Mac, iPad, phone, the microwave, the hot water dispenser, the fridge, the toaster, TV, garage door, stovetop, oven, and the dishwasher, and the garbage disposal, etc. I knew I couldn’t run the dishwasher, but I could prep it to run when the power came back. But I laugh at myself. I attempted to run the garbage disposal in my prep and had a rude awakening that the disposal also doesn’t perform without power. I knew that, but I momentarily forgot. The little things we overlook. Then, the most important thing of all—lights, without which we are in the dark, unable to do even the minor tasks.

Nothing like losing something you can’t live without to appreciate it more. I knew I couldn’t live without my Wi-Fi and my cyber world, but I took for granted my survival world until last night. That’s fine if I had to sacrifice the Oscars. I’ll catch the highlights that they’ll be talking about for weeks. Having lived through the outage, I am wiser today, which is more important. I know how to equip myself for future outages better. It was an eye-opening experience for anybody, particularly me, since I’m a power junkie.