Was It in the Stars?

Written by Aggie Jordan

If you can answer this question, if you are a follower or simply a fan of astrology, I would really like your input. Normally I consider myself to be fairly lucky. Our daughter, Michelle, claims, “You are the luckiest person I know. You lose your phone and it’s returned to you. You lose good jewelry, often, and someone returns it to you. You lose a wallet and the money is still in it when you find it.” So I am grateful and believe that someone or some spirit is taking care of me, until recently.

June started as another month where we would all just continue our routine of being sheltered in place but with the hope that  our restaurants, our bars, and our non-essential shops would soon be opened and that opportunities to visit with family and friends could be initiated. Alas, it was not to be. I could bear  the news that it might be September before the virus would be  under control, or even perhaps January. So I know we will all cope.

Then the stars crossed, or the heavens opened up, and, not the rains, but bad luck just poured down. Was it karma? What had I done?

It began with the first week in June when I was attacked by a dog. What was it about me that the dog didn’t like? That was followed shortly  with a knee refusing to straighten which was followed by an orthopedic diagnosis that I needed a knee replacement. When could that be? Well, there was a back-up of surgeries from March, April, and May. I had a chipped femur and the bone was floating in the cavity of a recently repaired meniscus. The physician assistant asked, “Did you recently experience any trauma?” I explained the dog-attack. “That could be it. We have to watch that the bone chip doesn’t go back into that joint.” There appears to be a Bad Karma Spirit (BKS) here in the Coachella Valley.

During the toilet paper crisis in early April, I had ordered toilet paper on-line and, after eight weeks, it hadn't arrived. The vendor was in Hong Kong. I purchased through PayPal, the company that guarantees product delivery, and my inquiry to them got a response that they would investigate. Ten days later, they closed the case because the vendor said they delivered. Yes, they delivered but not my order of 18 mega rolls for $64.95. No, one three-inch roll with ¼ inch of paper arrived in a 5x7 envelope. When PayPal closes a case, they tell you it is final, there is no appeal. Will a letter to the CEO produce results? So far, not so much. So now, the BKS targeted me from Hong Kong!

Shortly after, water flooded our laundry room. Our clothes washer wasn’t draining. Well, it was draining but not where it should. We waited three weeks for the Samsung repairman to arrive from 100 miles away. There’s no Samsung or LG repair service within 100 miles of the Coachella Valley. The verdict when they arrived was, “We can fix it—but it won’t last. You need a new washer.” Is it possible that the BKS moved on to Samsung in South Korea?

Off we went to a number of the appliance sales stores looking for a reliable washer that had local service. We found at Lowe’s the best price for the Maytag recommended by Consumer Report—and they promised immediate delivery on Sunday, the following day. True to the promise, the delivery truck arrived. Truck doors opened but the delivery men looked confused. Our washer was not in that truck. Yes, it was on the manifest. No apologies were issued from the driver, just, “It’s not our fault. We only deliver. You’ll have to call the store delivery manager to see what happened”. And call I did. Finally after 45 minutes of waiting, a clerk tells me that she is not the delivery manager, but she knows what happened. The washer we purchased was damaged. “We have another one”, she claimed, “but it will have to be tomorrow before it can be delivered.” No persuasion would change that dictum. How did the delivery men get the manifest with our delivery on it—yet the washer was never put on their truck? I know BKS had to be messing with me.

Today is the end of June. If anyone can explain this BKS by explaining the stars, or any other explanation, I would be happy. And, if you can, please give me hope that my good karma will soon return.

Brighten Someone’s Day – Write a Letter

When was the last time you wrote a postcard or letter to a friend? Sending a letter is a simple way to brighten someone’s day. Surprise someone and remind them you are still thinking of them, even though we are unable to visit each other during the pandemic.

Relaxing Music with Beautiful Nature

Thank You Flowers

Here are some thank you flowers courtesy of my backyard cactus.

Thanks to all the employees & board of SCSH for serving our community during these difficult times. Thanks to all residents who are volunteering to shop, sew masks, post entertaining videos, or just stay home to keep us all safe. ❤❤

Shelley Birenbaum

Poem: “SCSH Masks of Honor”

By Gina Star Pollack

Throughout the Coachella Valley, the pandemic was raging,
Our community was silent, all residents self-isolating.
Then an edict came down from our leaders, statewide,
That all should wear masks, so the spread will decline.

Our clubs heard the call for volunteers to help out,
To make masks to keep germs from spreading throughout.
The members of Needles and Pins quickly jumped in,
Then rose to the challenge gathering supplies to begin.

They eagerly teamed up and divided the mission,
Cutting cotton squares and sewing masks for our protection.
Bright colors and fun designs with easy to use ties,
We lined up to get one with smiles and relieved sighs.

I grinned as I donned my new virus protective gear,
Proud of our community for proactively easing our fears.
I can’t wait to wear my mask at the market next week,
I’ll send photos to my family who’ll be envious I look chic.

Three cheers for the members of Needles and Pins,
Like Betsy Ross, they’ve aided the Shadow Hills citizens.
They’ve protected our health and curtailed the spread of the coronavirus,
We thank them profusely; their creativity has inspired us.

Contact the author at g-star15@sbcglobal.net.

Poem: “Dadisi”

I am writing poems from the viewpoint of the animals at our local zoo; The Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens. I was laid off due to the situation and so miss the animals I've come to know personally. To Dadisi.

Matriarch Giraffe at The Living Desert Zoo

In my barn, cool this morning
On the edge of Savanna gone is the night
Dawn's sun peeks above the mountain, now warming
But the hushed stillness makes me yearn
Lonely, lonely is the not knowing
When and if they will return

Poem by Lin Conrad

The Mystery of Resilience

By Gina Star Pollack

The author at a Halloween party last year.

Sometimes I’m afraid of the dark. I wake at 2:15 am and hear creaks in the floorboards and whispers in the air, and I see looming shadows on the wall. But, when I turn on the bedside lamp and rub my eyes, everything looks fine. There is no scary monster in the room nor masked intruder trying to climb through the window.

Now, everything is upside down. It’s the bright light of day that frightens me. Being close to people is scary, even my beloved family and friends. Those who used to comfort me in times of stress could infect me with a deadly virus, sending me to the hospital. I shrink from their once-soothing embrace, frightened that germs could crawl up my nose or get sucked into my throat, infecting me with the coronavirus; and I might die.

Our new reality is covered in gloves and masks, measured by distance and tiny droplets. At times I try to deny the severity of the constant warnings by physicians and politicians who claim that self-isolation is the key to safety. But I cannot deny the fact that I’m 65 years old and part of the group at the highest risk for infection. So I obey the shelter-in-place edict and suffer alone.

"Path to the Lake," photo by David Blumenthal

After the first week, I ventured outside to go to the market. I cautiously opened the garage door, breathed in the fresh air, and drove through our community gate into a changing world. When I waved to a neighbor jogging, I finally allowed myself to cry. Hot, wet, messy tears. I cried for myself, for those who are ill and for those who have died from the virus. I mourned for humanity. This deadly infection has stripped more from us than our friends, family, jobs, and entertainment. It has robbed us of our false sense of superiority, thinking that we have control over our lives. Sadly we’re learning that no one is immune.

Most of us here are baby boomers who have led the country through brilliant decades. We’ve forged careers advancing science, technology, entertainment, fashion, music, and space exploration. From Woodstock and bell bottoms to smartphones and hi-def, we’re the generation who championed education and the physical and emotional freedoms to inspire the generations that will follow.

We proudly pursued jobs as teachers, lawyers, physicians, politicians, and entertainers, putting off retirement. We championed rights for the oppressed, held concerts to raise funds after world-wide disasters, broke the glass ceiling, and passed legislation to improve our government. And we saved money in our 401ks and IRAs for our retirement years. We moved to SCSH in hopes of spending our golden years pursuing the sports and hobbies we put on the back burner while raising families and climbing the corporate ladder.

Ironically, we are the age group most at risk during this pandemic. COVID-19 is a swirling black cloud raining down on our retirement dreams. It is a biological volcano that forces distance between neighbors, rather than the usual camaraderie.

"North Golf Course Fountain," photo by Glenn Jones

I’m saddened when I pass the vacant emerald golf courses and the fountains spraying tears instead of liquid diamonds. I’m forlorn when I see the empty tennis and pickleball courts where boisterous players competed. The Montecito and Santa Rosa Clubhouses have empty tables and hollow hallways, no longer filled with laughter and the click of Mah Jong tiles or canasta cards. And no one is complaining about the TVs not working in the gyms, or the broken machines. There are only silence and dust bunnies.

But I’m an optimist and seek the silver lining, which will undoubtedly emerge when this pandemic is under control. We will learn to respect each other’s choices. Be more compassionate and philanthropic, and remember the lessons of practicing good hygiene. Yet we are only human and have selective memory. History has shown that, when we feel safe again, most people will resume their former habits and joke about the terrible days of forced isolation during the siege.

But I will keep these horrific memories close in my consciousness to remind me to live joyfully, to hug and kiss my loved ones every chance I get, and to laugh at silly jokes, savor every bite of food, and stroke my cat whenever she curls around my legs. I will never forget this pandemic. I vow to make it the beginning of a better me.

"Montecito Clubhouse at Night," photo by Anna Kelly

Please don’t lose faith, my friends, for we are resilient. The doctors and scientists will work tirelessly to find a cure. Sometime in the next few months, we will be able to join hands with family and friends and move to a new period of hope and caring. Then I will cry tears of joy as I stroll through our community. I’ll wave to the golfers, and I’ll smile and cheer the pickleballers racing around the court. I’ll greet sweaty neighbors exercising in the gym and never complain about the TVs. I’ll attend my cherished book and writers clubs, eager to share views and experiences. And I’ll sit in my backyard soaking up the bright sunlight while watching the rabbits and roadrunners cavort with abandon.

Throughout this ordeal, I remain grateful for my blessings of family, friends, pets, and our scenic desert oasis. Stay safe and hopeful because this tribulation shall end and make us more resilient for the next challenge.

Sending you all a virtual hug and wishes for a delightful future filled with health, joy, and toilet tissue.

Contact the author at g-star15@sbcglobal.net.


Poem by Stacy Boeskin

Sitting alone
Feeling so blue
Oh Tutta Bella
How we miss you

Out the window are walkers
And golf carts galore
It’s too bad
There is golf no more

They are so fun
Driveway parties are In
Keep it under 10
Or it will be a sin

No pickle ball noise
No tennis out there
We need our bingo
It doesn’t seem fair

Our hair is so long
It’s crazy and gray
No salons for us
Cuz it’s home we must stay

Shadows stepped up
Our food shows up here
Mario delivers
He was on a John Deere

Our drawers are all clean
Our laundry is done
We can’t go out
What will we do for fun

The golf course is closed
We can’t walk the course
Don’t even try it
There will be recourse

The dog park is closed
The dogs are quite sad
Watch out for the pit bull
He looks kind of mad

We are lucky enough
To have so much sun
We can lay out
Or go for a run

So keep your distance
Follow the rules
If you don’t do it
You’re just a fool

Laugh often!!!

Poem by Stacy Boeskin