Santa Baby, please end 2020*!

I had my last tennis match of the Fall season Monday morning.

It was hard to focus, because all I could think about was Courtney and my son Chris and the impending birth of their son Liam. He came that night, rosy and pink, but there were problems with his blood sugar, so they had to poke and prod his little foot all night. The next night, Chris told me his little foot was covered in bandaids. “Why didn’t anyone tell me about this no- sleep thing?” my son Christopher asked. I laughed, thinking I didn’t know the fact that new parents got very little sleep was a big secret. But, on a more serious note, he asked:

Is this the way it’s going to be from now on? That I’ll be worried all the time?


Yes, I told him, this is exactly how it’s going to be. Once you have a child, a living extension of you and your partner, you will never stop worrying, no matter how old they are. The next night little Liam had to go into the NICU and was put on antibiotics to fight an unidentified infection. Christopher and Courtney didn’t expect to get this crash course in parental worrying to come so quickly; they thought they’d be taking him home with them by Wednesday, instead of making constant visits to the NICU. Hopefully, if everything goes well, they can take him home by the end of the week.

So all week, I was worried (grandparents are not exempt) and praying for little Liam. I got other people on my text groups to pray for him as well, which I appreciate. Since the weather was nice, I took some walks around the neighborhood to relieve my stress at being so far away from Tallahassee and not being able to do anything to help. The feeling of being helpless, in regards to your children, has to be the worst feeling in the world.

In my garden, my butterfly pea plant flowered, so that was exciting. The purple flower can be used to turn drinks blue and if you add acid (like lemon juice), it turns purple. It’s used by trendy mixologists in places like South Beach and I can’t wait to experiment with it. I can’t go hang out at South Beach (not that I ever went much) but I can mix up some exotic drink in my own kitchen and listen to some dope tunes. LOL.

Butterfly Pea flowered!

Picking Wyatt up from school on Wednesday was a welcome relief. I had some errands to do, so I put on Holiday music and Santa Baby came on. “Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me, Been an awfully good girl Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.”

Is this Mrs. Claus singing?

Wyatt asked.

This cracked me up, but I didn’t know what to say. No- it’s Madonna, Ertha Kitt or Santa’s Mistress? So I just said “No, it’s not Mrs. Claus.” Not unless Mrs. Claus is a gold digger.

I’ve been doing most of my Christmas shopping online and for some reason, I’ve been buying a lot for myself. I usually do buy a couple things for myself while shopping here and there, but this year, it’s been one gift for them, two gifts for me. I need to knock it off! If this year’s taught me anything, it’s that more stuff doesn’t make you happy.

We were discussing UM’s football game while down at the Sanctuary dock Saturday night and the fact that the team UM was originally playing came down with COVID, so they were playing another team. And Zeke mentioned that while UM is ranked #9, they really aren’t a #9 team and, we all agreed, that this crazy year of 2020 is going to need need a big ole Asterix by it. Like, a lot of it just shouldn’t count the same because of the insanity and circumstances of the year.

I didn’t do much cooking this week- I was too stressed out. Turkey soup with Beer bread Monday. Beer bread is an easy, fast bread to make if you’re short on time and have no yeast, as the beer fills in for the yeast. Tuesday we ate out, Wednesday I had Wyatt who just ate his favorite Spaghettios. Thursday I actually did cook- Bratwurst Sausage, cooked in the cast iron skillet, but ironically no one was hungry but me. I served it with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and a three bean salad. It was a very beige meal, looking as depressed as I felt.

Thursday morning, Kelley and I headed to the Pinecrest Community Center to deliver meals to the elderly in Pinecrest. They got a hot meal of Shredded Beef, mashed potatoes and carrots, with a cookie, poinsettia and a goody bag put together by members of our Pinecrest Garden Club. We had done this earlier in the year and it was a rewarding experience to do something to build community and feed our Pinecrest Pioneers, who can feel especially isolated at this time. There’s nothing that helps getting your mind off your own troubles, then helping other people who are less fortunate.

Despite Zeke’s pronunciation we were NOT leaving for the Keys until he got all the Christmas tree lights up, we did leave Friday after I finished my Pioneer Luncheon duties. Zeke asked me what I wanted for dinner and I said “reservations.” I had a free meal coming from Cafe di Largo for my birthday, so that’s where we went. It’s an Italian restaurant in a strip mall near our condo that was featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. They have yummy garlic rolls that we ate along with an appetizer of spicy grilled calamari and a bottle of chilled white wine. I got the “Taste of Italy” plate with Chicken Marsala, Lasagna and Manicotti and Zeke got Linguini with Clam Sauce. We had plenty left over to take home.

Saturday morning, we went out on the boat. It was such a beautiful, sunny, breezy day on the water! We made our way to Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill for lunch and had Tuna Nachos and split a Meatball and Ricotta Pizza. It was a perfect place to eat lunch, outside by the water with a view of ‘Bout Time. Saturday night we made Grilled Shrimp, jerk style and served it with mango salsa, couscous, avocado salad. Sunset was crazy early, at 5:30! It’s getting earlier and earlier until December 21st, the winter solstice, where it starts going the other way.

I can’t wait for that, and also can’t wait for this year to end. One of my favorite things to do in the Keys is to read my Oprah, while sitting by the pool. As I trudged down to our pool, Christmas edition of Oprah in my beach bag and sat down to read, I saw an article inside saying it would be their last Oprah magazine in print. WHAAAAT? Et tu, Oprah? Hasn’t 2020 sucked enough that you didn’t need to throw another monkey wrench into my simple, little pleasures? Oh well…

While the vaccines are of course, good news, when we’ll be able to get them’s another story. And experts are predicting our lives will never go back completely to normal. Oh joy! Another gift we’ve gotten this year. Remember when we thought people who wore masks in places like airports and airplanes were odd? I’m wondering if my spending spree is correlated with this lost year, trying to fill a void of events and trips I will never get back? People and places missed, filled now with things. Not helping.

Since the boat was already in the water, we went out on it again Sunday morning. It was kind of a grey day- grey sky, grey sea and chillier than I expected. Of course, Zeke had decided we’d try to find a new restaurant (we haven’t gone to the same one twice!), so we have the Garmin line trail to lead us back, like bread crumbs for Hansel and Gretel. As I watched some pelicans flying in front of us on the way to Whale Harbor and the Tiki Bar at Postcard Inn, I noticed that they flap, flap, flap their wings and then glide. Like work, work, work, relax. Could a lesson be learned from these pelicans?

In every issue, Oprah asks staff and readers a question. This month’s it was “How are you going to celebrate the end of 2020?” I don’t know what we’re doing, but chances are, it will be a very small celebration. And everyone’s talking about having a big blowout party when “this all is over with”. But, there won’t be an official end date to the Pandemic; it’s not like the end of World War II, where people rushed into the streets, celebrating and kissing random strangers. Perhaps, instead of VE or VJ Day, it will be just V day, V standing for Vaccine.

The day I get the vaccine (or the second dose) will be my own personal end to the Pandemic, experienced alone and probably without much fan fare. Maybe I’ll make myself a blue drink with my butterfly pea flower, put on “Celebrate good times, come on!” by Kool & The Gang and toast to my future health and happiness. Because that’s just the way it’s been going lately. Flap, flap, flap, glide. As the pelican’s showed me, I’ve been working, working, working (on staying healthy) this past year and when I get the vaccine, I can finally relax and exhale. Or inhale freely, as the case may be.

Up Next: Holiday Table Decorating Contest or My Favorite Mac ‘n Cheese or Hot Toddy’s for cold nights.

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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