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Comstock Chronicles: How Things Have Changed

I have marked the passing of time through weekly grocery trips to my hispanic market, Vallarta.

I've found the evolution of security and cleanliness there quite interesting. In the first few weeks, there were limits on toilet paper, meat, pasta, beans, rice, flour, tortillas, dairy & bread products. One week I was fascinated to discover a one-bag-restriction on Maseca, a corn flour used to make tortillas and tamales. These days there is only a 20 pound limit on beef, and I look at the signs and wonder who wants to buy more than 20 pounds of beef at a time.

Vallarta used to have an elderly security guard. Next came a hun. Now there are two security guards: one outside and one inside. At the start of this, only one exit was open. Now traffic is regulated in and out of that exit and the other exit is boarded-up with plywood and blocked by pallets of water bottles. Plywood covers the exterior windows now as well.

Uptown Whittier boarded up for the protests
I've seen the signs requiring masks and 6-feet-distancing go up. For several weeks the loud speakers asked the cashiers to wipe down their stations every few minutes. That's since stopped. The beer and tequila corner now has a security camera and monitor station. The self-serve food islands have been stuffed with sugary drinks and chicken bullion. Baggers no longer help me pack up my groceries if I bring my own bags. However, through all of this, the checkers and shelf-stockers have remained friendly and conversational.

What other changes have I seen?

For the first few weeks in March people stayed inside, and I felt a strange tension in the air when I went for my morning walks with the kids. That tension is now gone. People in cars wave at me as I walk by as if they knew me. Neighbors strike up conversations in their front yards.

On Mothers' day, my family and I ran into a crowd of people who'd gathered on their sidewalk to watch a large cypress branch breaking off a huge tree in their front yard. They replayed the video to my children and we all chatted for a bit.

I've seen tables and chairs set up in yards and people out enjoying a meal together. Children biking up the sidewalks, parents pushing strollers. Phil and Simeon do their morning pushups and planks in our front yard, and tonight I spotted two men with kettlebells on their sidewalk. Houses look lived in and well . . . happier.

It seems several things were providential prior to this quarantine beginning: my library book loans being permanently extended due to the library shutting downs. A neighbor built a little library in their front yard back in January. We waited to renew our Huntington Library passes that we were gifted back in December. Earlier in the year, our pastor, Mike Sanborn, as well as a guest speaker at Granada both mentioned Dallas Willard's "Ruthlessly eliminate hurry" quote. And Eric and Grace Nimmo moved into our back house. We had no idea that we'd be blessed with game nights, church, and dinners with them for several months or that we'd get some kid-free date nights too.

Here's a list of some other highlights these past several months:

1) Celebrated Lee's 8th birthday
2) Celebrated Easter
3) I was baptized
4) Attended the best Mother's Day celebration ever thanks to Phil and his man-friends
5) Celebrated Memorial Day with a cake that I'm rather proud of
6) Rose graduated from kindergarten
7) Lee painted his poster to display on one of Whittier's light posts
8) I finally figured out how to home school the Abby way
9) Took quite a number of beach and wilderness park trips
10) Picnicked in Joanne Clark's front yard
11) Said goodbye to Ez and Cynthia, our renters for 8 years
12) Rented out the apartment and the studio in the same month
13) Had front yard chats with the Morseys and Coxes
14) Made Phil an "office" with some curtains and a duvet
15) Kids learned to skate
16) Lee lost a tooth
17) Received numerous hand-me-down toys from various Granada families including the Francis', Ways and Garsides.
Lee's birthday
Rose writing down words she sees on our morning walk
My beautiful Memorial Day cake
Mother's Day in the Stevens' Backyard
Benny and some flowers on our morning walk

Watching Easter Service
Easter Baskets from Grandma Stevens
Schabarum Regional Park
Date night in the front yard
Home schooling: the focused one
Lee's banner he designed to hang in Whittier
Home Schooling: The other one
Mother's Day at the pool
Hiking at Schabarum Regional Park
Evenly spaced children at the park
Just the beauties of our daily walk
Miss Joanne's front yard

Our weekly Sunday group, which I will greatly miss


I love this journal of your Spring this year!

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