We’re all familiar with the common fibs people tell – “It’s in the mail,” “I only had one,” and “No, I haven’t had a facelift, I’m just really relaxed.” But this time of year, the one that really gets me is “I’m not contagious.” The speaker invariably has a hacking cough reminiscent of Greta Garbo dying of consumption in the last scenes of “Camille.”
Dear American and Swedish friends,
It is hard to believe that it is time for our annual holiday letter again. As I sit here at my computer on this chilly night snuggled in my warmest beach hoodie and sipping a hot mulled pina colada, I’d like to assure you that all those rumors about San Diego’s terrific climate are totally unfounded. Indeed, if I had to sum up the year 2011, I would say that it has been one of terrible extremes of weather.
A close friend recently reported that her husband, a 59-year-old senior executive, has concluded that the nearly 10 million miles of business travel he has logged in his career have taken too much of a toll on his health and he is taking early retirement. It could be more of an adjustment than he thinks, she adds. She’s not sure he realizes his only friends are airline personnel.
Sometimes people ask me to help their kids with their college application essays under the assumption that I actually have any expertise. I’m happy to help, but first feel compelled to issue the disclaimer that my sum total writing training has been comprised of wantonly publishing often-ill-considered personal stories in my local paper.
It has not escaped my attention that all of my favorite TV shows are sponsored by antidepressants. Except, of course, for the ones advertising clinical trials for antidepressants. I find this very depressing. You’ll recognize the tag line (or then, maybe you won’t) for the most popular ad: Cymbalta Can Help.
I can say with some authority after 12 years of having been a single mother that there is no lower form of life that ever crawled from the primordial ooze. Well, maybe one: Single Mom’s Seedy Boyfriend. Fungi get better press.
Only in the La Jolla could one get away with a column whining about the help. Earlier this year, our wonderful gardener guy became ill and temporarily (he hoped) bequeathed his customers to a 20-something relative who was perennially undecided about careers and overdue for a job. Raised in La Jolla and a graduate of La Jolla High, “Bentley” mentioned when I first met him, that he’d grown up with affluence and that despite his relative’s hope that he would ultimately take over this successful landscape maintenance business, he planned to do something different.
Jane Smith tells her two closest friends that she and her husband Fred will not be able to attend a group dinner the next night as planned. Pressed for details, she finally confides that the two had a huge fight and have decided to spend the weekend away from each other to cool off. Jane reminds them that this is strictly confidential information. She does not want to start any rumors.
I really never saw myself as the Hannibal Lecter of the pet world. Olof and I love animals and we are besotted with one in particular: our grand dog, Winston, who recently spent four months in our care. But after Winston failed with two treat-oriented trainers to curtail his leash and front gate aggression issues, we were forced to employ Hans Berserker, and his sidekick Ranulf the Lunge Meister (not their real names).
On Mother’s Day, one of my daughters-in-law sent me a box of divinely scented candles and a handmade card reading “Happy Mother’s Day! These are the most luxurious candles, so we hope you’ll indulge and remember what a wonderful mother you are every time you smell them.” I actually cried. Neither of my sons would ever have written a message like that. Which has only confirmed my longterm suspicion that where communication is concerned, daughters are definitely preferable to sons.