The holidays are coming up again and I’ll probably handle them better than I did last year. I miss Frank but making a life for myself. My daughter-in-law, Natalie’s family has taken me under their wing, Thanksgiving in Ramona with Natalie’s brother John and his family, also the rest of the family. Natalie’s father and stepmother told me I had a standing invitation to Christmas brunch at their home in Alpine. They are open, loving people and have made me welcome among them. It means a lot. My family is small. Daughter Karen and her family in Florida, oldest son Steve in Simi Valley and involved with his wife Krystn’s large family, my cousin Barbara, her son Robert and her brother Tom in Laguna Beach but Barbara has some serious health issues following two strokes and requires medical care. I’m happy to have a roommate, Valerie, for company. She does things with friends and her daughter Nicki, so we don’t feel we are crowding each other. Sometimes when she is home in the evenings we have a game of Scrabble. It’s not cutthroat, we look up words on our phones before playing, but we have fun. With the high cost of rentals it’s difficult seeking to find a place of her own, but she has some possibilities.

This last Halloween I didn’t stay home. I haven’t been home for Halloween in several years. It is one holiday I don’t care to celebrate. Whitaker House commissioned me to write a book on Halloween, and knowing the origins, it doesn’t appeal to me in the least! I went down to Ocean Beach and walked through the Farmer’s Market and watched the people: lots of crazy costumes and a wide variety of dogs, some also in costume. Two guys were dressed like a washer and dryer. Very clever. They were getting lots of comments. I had dinner with my friend Carol and kept her company in her ice cream store for a while before sneaking home as I was worried about my old doggie. At 15½ she is slowing down a lot. The street was still loaded with kids at 9:00 pm. One year my neighbor went all out with decorations and the kids came in droves, over 250! Now Thanksgiving is coming up again and I find I still have many things to be thankful for. I won’t dread the holidays.