El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Sheila Buska

George Orwell’s Big Brother has nothing on my Buick. In his novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, citizens were constantly told, “Big Brother is watching you,” Today we have the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA, to worry about, but my Buick with its “MyBuick” feature, in collusion with its OnStar feature, is way ahead of them.

The first day of the New Year poked me with a shocking idea. Unfortunately for me, I accepted the challenge: to start my taxes. Well, why not? I’ve always loved TurboTax—well, as much as anyone could love tax software. It would only take a TurboTax minute to download the new 2018 tax files. I’d leave the rest for later, but this would be a good start.

The New Year is here. Wait! I’m not done with the old year! Are you? I need a few more months to finish everything I started this year, plus there are tons of things that need to be done that I never even lifted a finger to start.

The little red reindeer stood proudly on the coffee table, its head held high, hoofs ready to prance at the press of a button. I was visiting my niece Kathy, a real Christmas buff. If it walks, talks, sings or dances—or does all four at once—you’ll find it under her gaily decorated Christmas tree or waiting on the carpet for small nieces, nephews or children of friends to arrive.

Thwud! I was watching the morning news when something hit the outside wall of the house, a few feet away from where I was sitting inside. What was that??? I jumped up to see. As I reached for the patio door handle, I saw my answer, lying flat on its back, just beyond the outside doormat. So small; so helpless. It was barely moving.

Twas a month before Christmas as I lay in my bed, pulling my knee up toward my head—flex exercises, you know—when suddenly in my head there arose such a clatter I suddenly knew what was the matter!

The water! I dropped my knee, leapt from the bed, dashed down the hall and out the front door. The golden crescent moon shone lightly over the desert museum tree as I scurried to the outdoor faucet and gave it a solid turn to the left. Whew!

It’s the first week of November. The elf with the red pointy cap behind the counter at Starbucks smiles and asks his customer, “Can I help you?”

“Christmas already?” the customer asks as a short reindeer-capped employee hustles behind the pointy-capped elf. All the employees are in merry red Christmas T-shirts.

I’m pulling things out of my grocery cart fast as I can, swiping them across the glass check-out panel and tossing them in my self-brought bags quick! before that machine says another word. We’re in a race, she ’n me.

I ordered a Margarita flatbread—gluten-free. With no idea of what it was. The description said something about mozzarella, tomato and something else on flatbread. I think maybe the something else was basil. So many new foods, new names. And not only new foods but new non-ingredients, like gluten-free. At least I knew what mozzarella and tomatoes are.

It happens every day—usually more than once. Someone asks, “How are you?” You have two choices: one, you can say “fine,” or—you can tell the truth. Unless of course, you really do feel fine, in which case you get a two-fer. But if “fine” is stretching the truth a bit, do you really want to get into it?