Will You Guess the Punch Line Before Me?

The gentleman turns around and he gives me a slight nod.  I give him a brief smile behind my mask.  I then take my turn.

Later on, I describe him to my husband.

“He was quite tall.  Wearing a mask.  He looked about 50 years old, give or take a couple of years.  He did not appear flustered or in a hurry.”

Butchart Gardens
A magical evening at Butchart Gardens (2019)

One Ordinary Morning in December, 2020

Our Home

The Provincial Health Order:  We are to socialize only with the people in our immediate household.  

My husband and I are the only ones living in our home. 

I head out the door to complete a few last minute errands before Christmas. 

I leave behind my husband and two strange men wearing masks.

One year ago, two strange men wearing masks in our house would have been a significant cause for concern.

Not this morning.

I am thankful they have arrived to deal with the consequences of an unexpected flood in our family room.

We have had strange, masked men in our home almost every day for the past three weeks.

An ordinary morning for us this December, 2020.

First Stop – Walmart 

My first errand is to purchase Walmart gift cards.

I try to shop locally, yet I know young families buy supplies at Walmart.

They appreciate receiving gift cards throughout the year.  Especially this year.

2020 has been a challenging and unpredictable year for everyone. 

The Walmart Checkout

All of the tills are now self checkout.

I want to place a specific dollar amount on a gift card.  Not a straightforward task.

With trial and error and some help, I realize the sensor will only “ping” if the barcode is placed upside down.

One very out of breath, Walmart team member is trying to be in twenty places all at the same time.  It appears every customer requires help registering their purchases.

Likely an ordinary morning for this Walmart employee.

Next Stop – The Bank 

I am pleased to see a short lineup for the ATM bank machines.

The ATM machine asks me what I would like to do.

Me:  Deposit a cheque

ATM:  ‘Where?’

Me:  Into my chequing  account

ATM:  ‘Insert cheque’

Me:  I try to insert my debit card first

ATM:  Does not accept my debit card  

Me:  I insert my cheque. The request sequence must be new.  

ATM:  ‘Would you like to do another transaction?’

Me:  Would the ATM machine actually give me money now before inserting my debit card?

I test it and request $20.00  

ATM:  Spits out $20.00

ATM:  ‘Would you like a receipt?’

Me:  Yes

ATM:  Spits out a receipt and spits out a debit card

 Not my debit card, of course.

Butchart Gardens
Butchart Gardens (2019)

You Have Likely Guessed the Punch Line Long Before Me

I should have clued in right away!

Yet, everything has changed this year.

  • Everywhere I go, I have to watch the arrows.
  • Which plexiglass do I stand behind?
  • Do I pass the item to the employee to be scanned?  Do I scan the item?
  • Can I tap or do I need to insert my card?
  • I am expecting change from the moment I wake up.
  • I expect the unexpected. 

This is just another Ordinary Morning in December, 2020

Epilogue

Sharing this story with my husband

Me:  I could have been $111,095. dollars richer this morning.  The receipt shows the balance in his account.

His debit card even had white tape with four numbers written on it.  Easy, peasy.

My husbandYou would make a terrible crook.

Depositing a $142.00 cheque into a stranger’s account.  Then only taking out $20.00.  You are not at all richer.

Besides, the security cameras have seen your face.

What changes have you experienced this December, 2020?

Have you had any unexpected challenges this Christmas?

Behind the Scenery

Our Christmas will be different in 2020.

We want to make sure our children have good, happy memories of a unique year.

We are very fortunate and have many blessings.

On Christmas day, we will be listening to 35-year-old scratchy vinyl records while we open our gifts.  A tradition in our family.

This year all Christmas carols and laughter via Zoom.

              The gift of presence is still always the best present.

As my daughter, Alisha, tells us, “how we spend Christmas this year will allow us all to spend Christmas together next year.”

Have a safe, healthy Holiday Season.

I look forward to seeing everyone in 2021. ❤️

Baking cookies – a Christmas Tradition in Past Years

161 thoughts on “Will You Guess the Punch Line Before Me?

  1. Oh, Erica . . . you weren’t kidding about the stress of this month. Living room floods. ATM mix-ups. Self checkout snafus.

    You need to destress with some Frosty . . . and a Frosty beverage!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The stress is more of a nuisance, Nancy. The flood thing could have been worse. It is amazing how water gets everywhere and what needs drying out and replacing. I still count my blessings. A Frosty beverage will definitely help🤣❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Of all people to claim a free-for-all debit card left behind in an ATM, the lucky owner couldn’t have picked someone more perfect. Yes, you would make a terrible crook … and that’s why we love you 🙂

    This will be a strange Christmas. We’ve been in lockdown for 4 weeks, with at least 2 more weeks ahead of us. With all non-essential stores closed, and lineups in the cold at the few that are open, we agreed as a family that there would be no gifts this year … much easier to do when there aren’t any small children involved. I think it’s time to encourage new traditions.

    Merry Christmas, Erica, to you and all of yours 🎄🎅🏼

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My inside voice tells me I could have planned this out better. I could have gone to another part of town, ATM, worn a disguise. No one is the wiser at least for a period of time. Not like I have given this any thought, Joanne.😉

      I send you virtual hugs every day, when I read the news across Canada. Scary and we talked about how it is creeping closer and closer. Even on our Island. We are at the “acceptance” stage, playing by the rules with the goal to keep as many people healthy as possible. Yet, fun for the children, and ultimately we are all children. 🎄Yes, new traditions. 🎄 Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It was fun running errands with you, Erica. I felt the disorientation, the sense of hanging on by your fingernails while going with the flow. Up, down, spin around. Nothing is normal, and yet somehow we’re managing, because that’s what we do. And you are a terrible crook, but you’re also the kind of person that gives us hope for the human race! I love the quote from your daughter, “how we spend Christmas this year will allow us all to spend Christmas together next year.” Yes! Merry Christmas. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Diana. Until you mentioned “hanging on by your fingernails while going with the flow” I had not thought about it this way. You are right. 🙂 I got home, told my husband to sit down and how he would not believe my morning. Of course, he made me laugh out loud with his security camera comment. For a brief second we considered the option and whether I would get away with it. I do not have a criminal mind, especially when this comment is public in cyberspace now. Alisha’s quote really sat with me and I use it every day. Take care and Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones, Diana ❤️

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          1. Your kindness leaps from the page and creates a ripple effect in more ways than you may realize, Liz. ❤️ A quiet moment in the house before my husband wakes up and I am catching up on a bit of reading. I know you and your husband will be having a quiet day today, too. Later on some Zoom with family for us, too. Merry Christmas! ❤️

            Liked by 1 person

  4. After a day like that I think I would rather have stayed home with the masked men. Soon the masked men will be gone and you and Chuck can enjoy some fine wine in your lovely new family room. Sending lots of hugs!
    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eduarda. It has been a little unusual around here. Actually everywhere. A lot of talk about the solstice having an effect on the energy on our planet. Our family room is making progress, although, many more steps before completion. We are meeting wonderful masked tradesmen and tradeswomen and appreciate their effort and expertise. The wine drinking will be taking place sooner than later. I hope all is well with you and your loved ones. We will connect in some way over the next few months. Likely Zoom and Video chat for now.🎄❤️

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    1. Kate, He was unaware how he had left his bank card in the ATM. He just sauntered off, likely to his next morning errand. He may not have been aware he was missing it for some time. The bank contacted him to return his card. Hopefully, they advised him to not leave his PIN number on the card. Yes, accepting the not normal.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Erica/ Erika, That man was lucky to have you at the ATM behind him. You’re right about expecting the unexpected everywhere we turn this year and the gift of presence is still always the best present. Wishing you and your family a healthy holiday season and a happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Natalie. This year it is trying to be present in new ways. We are fortunate to have young children in our lives. They had their picture taken with a cardboard Santa. Lots of giggles on that one. They still look forward to having Santa visit their home. Making new memories. We have been told in B.C how Santa is first in line for getting the vaccine. 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I look forward to connecting and our visits in 2021, Natalie.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We are learning to live in a new normal as well. My local bank branch has closed because every one banks online. However I received quite a large cheque for an under repayment on an insurance policy. (I should explain no one uses cheques any more.)My nearest alternative branch is in tier 3 lockdown and we are not supposed to travel there from tier 2. A bit of Googling and I found I could deposit a cheque at a post office. Fine except London is now tier 4 . Boris only announced it yesterday so any one who was planning to visit London relatives for Christmas has to post their presents and hope they arrive eventually. I could not face the queue. Wishing you and yours a happy Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anne, It was a Coop cheque. You are right, rare to deal with cheques and it is possible to deposit by phone. I was at a mail box with a bank nearby, trying to be efficient. How complicated and stressful for you with the different location and tier numbers. I read the recent news from Boris. It is going to be a unique Christmas. Hugs to you and yours.💕

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    1. Brad, Your beautiful blog site is a good reminder of the bigger perspective. I plan to catch up, savour and visit this week. In retrospect it was an unusual morning, likely for everyone. There is no such thing as an ordinary morning. Likely never was. I definitely count my blessings and a loving family is part of this. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.🎄

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I laughed at the mention of masked strangers in the living room being a cause for concern a year ago, but today, it’s just business as usual. If that doesn’t sum up 2020, nothing can! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Masked strangers in our family room has become the norm for us every morning, and likely for the month of January. I have been trying to go with the flow this year, yet things are obviously different for everyone. I am catching up reading blogs and I look forward to catching up with you and your life, Mark. The Christmas photo you shared on Instagram made me smile. 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

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  8. Oh no! What a mess at the bank!!! This is why there are daily limits for withdrawal at these machines, thankfully. I’ll try and remember that the next time I am annoyed that I actually have to go into the bank and see a human in order to withdraw more money than my limit.
    I hope the person knows how lucky they are that it was you, next in line for the ATM and now in possession of their debit card! Good people still exist in the world but also some with little or no conscience to speak of. You are one of the good ‘uns – there was never any doubt in my mind.

    Merry Christmas, Erica.

    Deb

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You hit the nail on the head, Deb. This gentleman likely had a daily limit, so I would not have got away with too much (not that I considered it 😉). It was a bizarre morning in many ways with unusual energy. The strange masked men in our house will continue through January. Our new norm. Merry Christmas to you, Deb. I love when you share your beautiful and interesting photos. I just picked up something for Chuck thanks to you and your recommendation. I don’t want to mention it here in case he happens to read it. 🎄❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful post, Erica. At times, I felt as though I was watching an episode of I Love Lucy! 🙂 I so enjoyed all of your lovely photos. Wishing you and your beautiful family peace and joy in the new year. Merry Christmas! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful, kind comment, Jill. ❤️ It is interesting to read the feedback and the I Love Lucy made me smile. Yet, I thought she was a little wacky with good intentions…….oh, I see. 😉 Wishing you and your loved ones a peaceful and joyful Christmas. I look forward to “seeing” you in 2021.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This whole year has been awful. Sounds like you were doing self checkout. I will never do that. First of all, stores do not pay me to checkout myself. Second, if more people use self checkout then they will eliminate the jobs of those who check us out. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and may we all have a much better new year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has definitely been an unusual, challenging year, Dee. Only self checkout was available the morning I was at Walmart. Possibly due to staffing? Not my first choice at all. I agree with you about jobs. Take care over the Winter season. I am hopeful 2021 will be better.💕

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Even if you had worn a mask and couldn’t be identified by the security camera you still wouldn’t have been a ‘crook’ Erica because you are a beautiful soul who I am so lucky to have as a friend. I was reading through your post and nodding,especially about trying to figure out how to buy gift cards and pay at the self-service checkouts. Hats off to all the retail assistants! Your photos are beautiful and the love that you share with your family will overcome not being able to be physically present with them on Christmas Day. Wishing you, Chuck and your family the very best for 2021, I think we’ve all deserved it! Take care and sending hugs. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue, your kind, generous comment says a great deal about you. I appreciate you. You always make a beautiful difference and this world a better place.❤️

      In retrospect, last Monday morning was bizarre in many ways. It is almost good to chronicle what an Ordinary December, 2020 morning looks like for future generations. We are lucky in many ways. I always count my blessings and you are part of this. I realize many areas in Australia are rapidly changing with restrictions. Hugs to everyone. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, Sue. I LOVE when you share the photos of your life and your experiences. I look forward to “seeing” you soon.❤️

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  12. I have never really trusted ATMs or using debit cards and now I have even more reason. What a day! Hope the rest of your holidays go smoothly. 2020 can’t leave soon enough for us – it is definitely the year that won’t stop giving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a very bizarre morning, Lynda, and unusual energy everywhere. I think withdrawal limits are imposed on debit cards for a reason. I did not even consider finding out in this case. 😉 You are both in our thoughts this Winter. It has been an extra challenging year. I am hopeful 2021 will be better. I look forward to “seeing” you in the near future. Hugs and take care.💕

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      1. Marty, I left a longer reply with more details under Donna’s comment. Another part of this bizarre morning is how the poor bank person had to hear my lengthy Walmart story. A mini perfect storm. I was a little embarrassed and flustered. Then, my husband cracked me up with the ‘security camera’ comment. 🤣

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    1. I still shake my head about all that transpired Monday morning. Unusual energy and events. Immediately after the ATM spit out the $20 and the other debit card, I walked to a bank person (bypassing a longer line-up). I handed her the gentleman’s debit card with the $20 bill. She put the $20 back in his account. The plan was then to transfer my cheque amount back into my account. This happened 2 days later. I kept the receipts to keep track of transactions. Donna, did you think I kept the $20.00 as a tip for my effort and hassle?🤣❤️

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I kept the paper trail, Donna, and it took a couple of days. December 2020 is unusual for all of us. As for appreciating the moments…..I am doing fun research for this week’s chat 😉💕

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  13. Ah, you’ve just made clear the real issue why it’s so much nicer to receive gift cards rather than to give: they make it so complicated to purchase them! I had a similar challenge last year, but not during a pandemic nor in a self-service checkout. You are a hearty one, Erica. And an honest one to boot. Lovely photos of your family. Have a merry Christmas! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an unusual morning, Marty. Only self checkouts were available at the Walmart on this morning. It may have been a staffing issue. Thank you for the kind comment about the family photos. I hope you and Gorgeous have a peaceful and joyful season. ❤️ I look forward to “seeing” you in 2021.

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  14. I love how you recount the errands and made every experience counts, Erica. I remember back in February when we first heard of the virus without knowing the extent of it, we went out to have dinner with two couples. My husband jokingly gave the guys an elbow touch greeting instead of hugs, I felt embarrassed. The next thing I saw on the news in Italy was that all the tourist area was empty and people started keeping the “6 feet” social distancing. And now in California, the governor announced the stay-at-home order and curfew. This year will make history as nothing like this before and after its time.

    Our ICU beds have zero availability. The news said if someone had a car accident or heart attack, there won’t be room for them in the ER. My husband just told me I should stay home, not going anywhere for a while and he’ll go shopping only for groceries. I agree with him.

    Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Goosebumps, Miriam, about the guys and the elbow touch greeting. A possible premonition. I am very sorry about the scary scenario in California and many places on our planet. Like you say, we are making history. This is partially the reason I wanted to chronicle “an ordinary morning in December, 2020” for future generations. Also very scary about the ICU beds. I wish I could do more than just give you virtual hugs. I also agree with you and husband to lay low for awhile. Try to find joy where you can. Take care.❤️

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    1. It was an unusual morning, Jo, although not normal is typical right now. I will be catching up with reading favourite blogs over the next while and I look forward to catching up with your life. Take care and I look forward to “seeing” you in 2021.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I truly think that there are more good, honest people in the world than bad, but despite that, that guy was lucky you are you. What an odd thing to happen, but a good reminder to A) be mindful as we go about our day-to-day business, and B) Never, ever, put pin numbers or passwords where someone else can find them! Hopefully that tall, masked, 50-year-old gentleman learned something.

    Have a wonderful… if a little weird… Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, When Chuck and I talked about it afterwards, we could see how people get away with not good things possibly for awhile. Not that I considered it even for a second. 😉 I was a little embarrassed how I did not clue in sooner. Partially why I chronicled my morning events and a few hours in my shoes. I also wonder what sort of a morning “the gentleman” had to just leave without his debit card. You are right, it blew me away how the PIN number was taped onto the card (I am assuming the 4 digits, and I did bring it to the bank’s attention a few times). They also assured me they would talk to this gentleman. You made me laugh out loud, “wonderful…if a little weird…Christmas”. You and Paul take care over the holiday season. I look forward to “seeing you” in 2021.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a bizarre morning, Betsy and a debacle (a great word!). The strange men in masks is continuing through January and maybe longer. All of this is becoming “ordinary” for us. I immediately brought the stranger’s debit card to the attention of the bank (bypassing another long line up). I handed a bank employee the gentleman’s debit card along with the $20 bill. She put the $20 back in his account. Two days later, I had my $142.00 cheque deposited to our account. I wasn’t worried about this since I kept the initial receipts. I felt it was worth chronicling this story as to what an “ordinary December 2020” morning can look like. I hope you and family are managing during this Season. I look forward to catching up reading my favourite blogs and reading your updates. Take care and stay well.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I just read the debit card story to Ross and we laughed – that could only happen to you! A crook who gives money instead of taking it! So glad your Christmas will still include a few traditions – and that your cookie making will spread far and wide if I end up having a go at it with the grandgirls – if not this year, definitely next year. Loved the photos of yours holding their tray of creations xx Merry Christmas and looking forward to our Wedneday chat xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leanne, In retrospect it is quite funny. Last Monday was an unusual morning and this has all become “ordinary” for us. The baking photos are from 2018 and 2019. It is nice to have these memories. I especially loved when you shared your retro photos. Everything has been changing again on our planet the last few days. I am reading how Australia is adding new restrictions. I wish I could send more than hugs to everyone. In the meantime I count my blessings around here.

      I wonder how much research I should be doing for this week’s chat? 🤣 I look forward to seeing you!xx

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love the pictures with your grandchildren, making memories. The thing that shocked me is that your WalMart stores are all self checkouts. I hope that doesn’t happen here. They are certainly moving in that direction and Sam’s as well has a large number of self checkouts. I appreciate your daughter’s sense of things, celebrating the way you are this year means being able to celebrate together in years to come. I saw a sign on the way to church this morning that boggled my mind. It was a club of sorts, probably a fire station and the sign said “Closed by Force, not by Fear” there is a lot of that attitude here in rural Pennsylvania. But I don’t think it is wrong to fear a virus that spreads so easily and can do so much damage. It is caution, not fear. But it says a lot about people’s atitudes and the state of things. Christmas blessings friend, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Michele, The photos are from past Christmas. They may have been short staffed at Walmart when I was there. There are usually checkout options. It was somewhat of a Perfect Storm.

      Thank you for your kind comment about my daughter’s words. They sit with me every day. Oh my goodness on the sign, Michele. Difficult to keep spirits up when you are dealing with such diverse attitudes. I greatly appreciate your thoughtful energy shared here. ❤️ I look forward to catching up reading my favourite blogs this week.❤️ Christmas blessings to you, Michele and your loved ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I enjoyed hearing about the craziness of your day, Erica. Not that I want to be the one living it. 😎 There are a lot of stressed-out salespeople and customers these days. I prefer to avoid the crowds if at all possible.

    One of the best things about the holidays is the traditions. On the other hand, an optimistic person might think that perhaps this Christmas will start some new ones.

    Your daughter’s line about how you spend Christmas this year is spot on. Happy holidays to you and your family, whatever form it takes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In retrospect it was a crazy day, Pete. Yet, it also felt like an “ordinary” day this month. A good point on making new traditions. Thank you for your kind comment about my daughter’s words. I am holding them close to me every day. 💕 Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones and like you say, whatever form it takes.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Sorry to read about the flood, Erica! I guess that’s what has been going on this month. Yikes. And, other nuisances.

    Quite the ATM story, but I totally understand. Everything feels different right now and – like you – I don’t know/remember what’s normal and what’s not and I constantly feel like I need to ask questions to a “higher power” about what I’m doing or suppose to do? Is this right or wrong? Did I sanitize my hands? Am I allowed to touch anything? How does this credit card thingy work?

    There have been many frustrations running errands for us, even today (everything takes longer, lots of people out and about, many snafus) and madness about the lack of mask wearing in certain stores. Crazy!

    I hope you somehow get the money from your check back! And, I wish you a pleasant holiday season. I love all the happy – and cute – photos of previous Christmases. Savor the memories and the Zoom calls. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Liesbet, you totally get it!! What’s right and what’s wrong…….what’s normal and what’s not…..My morning begins with strange men wearing masks at my door……slightly discombobulated …..

      Most people are wearing masks around here and the isolated person without the mask makes the news. I am sorry you are dealing with more of this craziness. Thank you for your kind note about the photos. We will be making new traditions this year. One highlight will be savouring “Plunge” as reward reading.❤️

      Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. Stay safe and I look forward to “seeing” you in 2021.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh Erica you always make me laugh with your exploits! Masked men in the house – now an everyday occurrence, depositing money into a stranger’s account, telling us all about it :). Your photos peppered throughout are a delight!
    I wish you and your family a fun time regardless of the circumstances. Your daughter is very wise and her words perfect for the situation at the moment. Take care xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a bizarre morning, Deb, yet in many ways an “ordinary” December, 2020, morning. Beginning with strange, masked men at my door.🙄 I just followed the ATM requests, figuring everything is different and new. It all turned out okay and funny in retrospect.

      I am reading about all the restriction changes in Australia and I wish I could send more than hugs. Like you say we will have family fun regardless of the circumstances. I have been doing serious, intense research preparing for our chat this week. I look forward to “seeing” you, Deb. ❤️xx

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  21. I’m glad I’m coming by your post today Erica, the 21st December, longest night for you, shortest day and then the wheel turns. (Obviously the other way around here in the southern hemisphere). Am relieved that the bank drama was sorted and the bank person re-deposited your cheque and the $20 to the rightful owners. Having a limit for withdrawing cash at an ATM is good.

    Well, things happen in three’s … and now they’re done. From now on all will run smoothly. And, given Jupiter & Saturn’s alignment tonight where they’ll shine like the Star of Bethlehem gives me a good feeling. It’s been cool and misty all morning and it doesn’t look like it’s going to clear for the sighting, but we’re making plans anyway to go somewhere at 7.30 pm (sunset) and look westwards for the Star from the east. It’ll be visible for an hour I’m told. Even if not visible, does not mean it’s not there, like so much in life. What is visible is you, your beautiful family and your heart warming photographs.

    A blessed Christmas to you all. Take care and be safe. Alisha’s words are wise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Susan, I listened to your gift of a song a couple of times. I loved it!

      It was an unusual morning for me, although in many ways an “ordinary” morning for this December. I hope the aligning of the stars makes a difference. It is pouring rain right now and I don’t know whether it will clear up by evening. I actually love the rain, the sound, the coziness of cocooning. Also walking in the rain. Especially when I do not have to put a tent up and down in it. (It happens when we are camping)

      A great point “even if not visible, does not mean it’s not there….” Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words and wishes. A Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, Susan. (Heart emoji…..I don’t know whether you will see it, yet it is here)❤️

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  22. We were just about to continue our road trip here in the Yucatán and got up early packed the car and basically it was clear after two minutes in the car that we weren’t going anywhere fast! The car that just got fixed had broken down completely . Dead. For this reason when I read your post right after said incidence it made me sigh chuckle laugh out loud and nod my head in agreement and understanding! 2020 orbit shit definitely happens and yes it’s how we deal with it that makes the difference! Timely post and happy holidays to you ~ your daughter is very wise….

    Peta

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    1. Oh, darn about the car, Peta. Especially when you had it fixed and you were all packed up to go. I was initially in denial, yet there has been a weird energy around 2020. I look forward to catching up and reading my favourite blogs over the next while. I look forward to reading about the always interesting and entertaining adventures of Ben and Peta. Thank you for visiting here and I look forward to connecting in 2021. I wish you and Ben a safe, peaceful and joyful holiday season.

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  23. I don’t understand how masks are safe, but pressing buttons that everyone has pressed at the self-checkout and the ATM is safe. 🤷‍♀️

    Anyway, I wish you and your family a Merry Zoom Christmas and only abundant blessings in the New Year. 💗🎄

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    1. You are right, Lori, I did get a little weirded out about touching the wand thing at Walmart and then the buttons at the ATM. I try to follow the rules, and I get a little frazzled. Also, many grey areas. Take care, and I wish you and your loved ones all the best over the holiday season and in the New Year.💕🎄

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  24. What a day Erica! In hindsight, it sounds laughable but must be irksome when you were dealing with such situations, especially the ATM… so scary!
    Lovely family pictures… such sweet smiles! Wishing you and yours Merry Christmas and a lovely holiday season. Looking forward to a better 2021. Love and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right, Balroop, In hindsight it does make me laugh. It was an unusual morning right from the beginning. I also realized this has become my “ordinary” morning. I was a little embarrassed about the ATM since I should have clued in. Yet every step along the way was different. I expected the ATM to also be different. Thank you for the kind words about the pictures. Great family memories and we plan to make new ones this year. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I look forward to continue reading your beautiful words in 2021❤️

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  25. You describe this surreal year perfectly! I HATE (and refuse to do) self-check in anything – the airport, the grocery store, any store in general. Waaaay too confusing, leads to waiting for help (along with 20 other people needing help) and added stress. CUSTOMER SERVICE is not allowed to go out the door like hugging and shaking hands. Nope. (Not that I feel strongly about it) Your ATM story is A-mazing – hopefully only happens once in a 10,000 ATM withdrawals. I do wonder how often that happens. Did you get a $100 reward for being honest? :–) Glad the flood wasn’t too bad in your home. Dry out and but don’t be dry this Christmas (oops, couldn’t help that pun). Like you, we will be Zooming with family on Christmas and be thankful for all that we have, and for 2021 and a vaccine in the new year. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an unusual morning, Pam, yet in retrospect, it is also an “ordinary” morning in December 2020. I am against self checkout for many reasons although I did not have a choice. They may have been short staffed. You are right how people appreciate dealing with REAL people. Ha, ha, don’t be dry, definitely stocked up a little for hunkering down. We have had quite the family discussions on the logistics of Zooming with everyone. Blended families and many cousins. We will figure it out. I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and joyful season, Pam. I look forward to sharing and connecting 2021 in various ink colours.xo🎄❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh my goodness to the ATM. They were so lucky that it was you! It sure is surreal and everything that last year would have been weird is now perfectly normal – which is weird in itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. That holiday card is the best – with the cookie making
    And so much fun in this post and it reminds me of my husband’s comments a lot this year – like coming home after getting sprayed on at Trader Joe’s or having he plexiglass rules – the arrows and the changing protocols -!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes, Yvette, I (almost) forgot about getting sprayed on. It is weird how everything weird is now normal. I am paraphrasing a friend’s comment. I am going down memory lane with past Christmas photos. Zoom pictures do not quite do it for me. I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and joyful holiday season. I look forward to sharing and connecting in 2021.💕

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Omg Erica, who could guess? Sounds like you had your share of Santa’s coal, as so many of us have in so many other ways. I’m sorry about your flood, because things aren’t stressful enough? And omg, was that guy lucky that you were next at that bank machine!
    I hope your holidays lose drama and become a bit more boring for you, lol. Wishing you peace and a safe and quaint holiday season. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debbie, Initially I did not think about the morning as unusual with drama. It has become “ordinary” for us. I think I was a little in shock about the ATM escapade, especially when I did not clue in on something that should have been obvious. This morning, I read your beautiful, feel good, Christmas story from a past Christmas year. Thank you. I wish you and your loved ones a joyful, peaceful holiday season.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  29. That was quite a morning you had! I think I would have been so discombobulated over the bank card mixup, I would have just sat there not knowing what to do. But you took it all in stride (lucky for the poor unfortunate who sauntered off without his bank card).

    I loved your family photos. Those little ones are getting some grammy love for sure!

    It will just be my husband and I this year for Christmas, but he’s been doing his best to make it festive. The latest arrangement was to set a time with The West Coast (our daughter and son-in-law) to FaceTime the opening of the gifts, so we can all do it together.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Erica–and here’s to a much better new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your word, discombobulated, Liz. I was a little embarrassed how I did not clue in sooner. I felt compelled to give the bank my Walmart story and how many things have changed. The bank was great and smoothed things over. Within a couple of days the money part was straightened out.

      It warms my heart to read how your husband is still making Christmas festive. The opening of the gifts also takes some coordinating, especially with time changes. I count my blessings always, even though I am concerned about many people throughout our planet.

      Warm wishes to you and your loved ones this holiday season. I look forward to sharing and connecting in 2021, Liz.💕

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Erica, so sorry to hear about your floods in the house and it is so stressful to have people in the house at the moment. We had to have a new shower put in and I super cleaned the bathroom before and after the plumber’s visit! I hope it’s all fixed. You paint a perfect picture of later in the new world of today, plexiglass galore, shouting to talk to people through masks from 2 m away … not quite sure I”m happy that everyone knows my private medicines etc but needs must! I love the photos of the family and the girls’ beautiful smile even with a cardboard cutout Santa!

    Your daughter is so right, the time to be extra careful is now so we are all safe for next Christmas. I haven’t seen my brother and family in nearly a year and can’t wait for a Summer party for us instead of Christmas Eve together. Instead, I’m planning my first one here with just the four of us.

    Wishing you and your husband a peaceful and joyful Christmas and warmest wishes for 2021 to be a year of togetherness again!

    love & hugs xx ❤️ Annika

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Annika, I read your thoughtful comment a few days ago when I was away from my house. I don’t type out responses on my phone. I know some people do their entire writing on their phones.

      By today, I hope you and your family have had a peaceful and joyful Christmas Day. You mentioned “four of us” so I suspect your Mother joined you? We did have a Zoom (Video Chat) Christmas (yesterday afternoon). Quite a bit of mayhem for almost three hours over the computer……I am glad we had this option. Around here, and most importantly, all of us are still healthy. I may Zoom my brother and his family today. They live about forty kilometres away on the mainland and we also have not physically seen them for a year.

      I have learned a great deal this year, and meeting people like you, Annika, has been one of the blessings. Warm wishes for 2021. See you there.❤️🙏🌈

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Erice, I hope you’ve had a lovely and relaxing Boxing Day! We have just finished three days of celebrations and had a special time in spite of missing the extended family. Yes, the fourth, is my mother and thankfully she is allowed into our bubble. That is one thing the UK has got right, people on their own, whatever their age, can be part of another family in a bubble (since July) and this has made all the difference this year.

        I’m so happy you could have a Zoomtime with your family and I bet there was much laughter (and tears) in the midst of the mayhem. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to catch up with your brother and family today.

        Erica, your warmth, kindness and understanding has been a real light to me this year … likewise such a blessing. Wishing you a peaceful remaining days of 2020, may the new year bring us all some semblance of our former lives. hugs xx ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Girl, just look at the number of comments, the number of people represented by those comments, with whom this post resonated. You are the real deal! And we love you for that!

    First of all, can I just say your daughter Alisha is as wise as her mum. Thinking of this holiday season of sacrifices as ensuring that we can spend the holidays together next year is a wonderful outlook. We will be alone, PC and I. Oh, and the kitties. My daughter, her husband and grandbabies will be across town. So close and yet so far. But 2021 has to be better.

    El Paso is behind the rest of the world. I think we are just plateauing after our first wave of Covid. Things are opening up for the first time since May. We are all celebrating a little bit because we behaved over Thanksgiving and our numbers of cases have continued to decline in the month since. Just praying we don’t go hog wild and mess it all up over Christmas.

    The arrows on the floors, the plexiglass with the little cutouts, the new etiquette about avoiding aisles in stores where others are congregating…it makes this socially awkward gal more so. I have struggled with the new norm. Today on a walk, I (unmasked) went up to a little (unmasked) girl holding a puppy hoping to pet her dog. She began backing away from me and her father intervened. I had no idea what I had done wrong until PC reminded me…Covid…I wasn’t wearing my mask, and I was in that little girl’s space. Made me feel so bad!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leslie, Thank you for visiting here and sharing your thoughts and your kind, supportive comment. It is interesting how our children can live relatively close, yet we will visit from afar via Zoom and Video Chat. I feel fortunate to have these options.

      I just looked up the location of El Paso. I am happy to hear the numbers are continuing to decline. British Columbia had quite the uptick in cases the past few months. This month, with new restrictions again, our numbers are also declining. So far, these restrictions are are in place until January 8th. Oh, darn, on the situation with the little girl. The effect all of this is having on children makes me sad. Yet, we know how resilient children are.

      I really enjoy see your Instagram photos, Leslie! I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and joyful holiday season.❤️

      Like

    1. It was an unusual morning, Deborah. Yet, in retrospect, also an “ordinary” morning for the present times. Thank you for your kind comment about the family. Merry Christmas to you and yours and I look forward to sharing and connecting in 2021. ❤️🎄

      Like

  32. Hi Erica – life can really stretch us at times … I’ve had experiences with ATM machines – my mistake … but fortunately it was only swallowed to the back of the machine – as I managed to sort it out very quickly … still took the day to completely clear up. I won’t stress myself writing about floods … bullies are around then … but … it is now the end of 2020 and I really look forward to an easier 2021 once we start coming out of this nightmare.

    Take care and all the very best for you and the family … big hugs – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was a little blown away about the ATM incident, although it was an unusual morning in general. I guess I just walked into an open dialogue at the ATM, although with someone else’s card. It make me think how this gentleman may also have had an unusual morning. I agree how most of us are ready to embrace 2021. All the best to you Hilary and I look forward to ‘seeing’ you in 2021.

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  33. Oh my gosh!! Did you find the owner of the card? And no, I did NOT guess the punchline lol Great photos, haven’t seen them before. Yes, Christmas will be different this year, but still special and one we will talk about for years to come. Excited for our family Zoom on Christmas day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was hoping you would read this, Sara. A bizarre morning, yet I realized this is an ordinary day for me, lately. Also, I threw in a photo of the scratchy record and record player ….. our good memories. I may need to remember to play some of this scratchy vinyl for our Zoom Christmas sharing.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You totally ‘get it’ Mark. Like you say the abnormal becomes normal. One of the comments mentioned feeling discombobulated. I wish you and your family a peaceful, joyful holiday season. I look forward to sharing and connecting in 2021!

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Oh my! Sorry to hear that you had to deal with flooding and banking issues. That man is lucky that you are not a good crook! lol. Everything truly has changed this year. Expect the unexpected seems to be the norm. Since my children are all still at home, we were able to spend it together. The only snafu was one package still sitting a state away. Hopefully, it makes it here at some point. 🙂 I hope that you and your family had a lovely Christmas. Wishing you all a healthy and peaceful New Year, Erica. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amy, This flooding situation will be worked on throughout Jan. 2021. I still feel lucky since things could have been worse. Masked, strange men in our home has become the norm. I am glad they are making progress. I am sure it has likely been interesting around your place with the children home. Possibly a mixed blessing. I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful, happy New Year. I look forward to sharing and connecting in 2021. ❤️

      Like

  35. You really do write fun posts, Erika. I hope you had a lovely Christmas despite all the restrictions. We were lucky and my family were able to gather safely. Restrictions for New Year have been introduced but I am not into late nights anyway. Happy New Year.

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  36. So sorry about your flooding issue, Erica. I love your line, “One year ago, two strange men wearing masks in our house would have been a significant cause for concern.” Oh how times have changed. But what a great banking story!

    As you said, everything can be so confusing these days. I lost most of my hearing to a virus many years ago, so trying to read peoples’ lips with masks on becomes both comical and frustrating. I’m getting good at reading peoples’ eyebrows! 🙂 Thanks for making 2020 so much more bearable. Wishing you a fabulous 2021. 🙂 Terri

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an unusual morning, Terri. I suspect the gentleman who sauntered away from the ATM may also have had an unusual morning. Yet, still ordinary for this past year. I cannot imagine how challenging it is to lose your hearing and then communicate with people wearing masks. I try to smile with my eyes. Very funny about the eyebrows. Happy New Year and I look forward to sharing and connecting in 2021! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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