Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Covid’

This week, Nashville finally succumbed to a real winter snowfall – over SIX inches! That’s like getting two feet of snow in the Berkshires, only there are not as many plows in the South. Also… maybe, there’s not enough salt in the South? So everything shut down for two days. Bob was walking around the house muttering, “I f-ing HATE the winter.” While I busied myself doing the usual – laundry, cooking comfort food, and painting.

I know, I know, I’m not the painter in the family. The Flapper, Aunt Kay and the Bride are the artistic ones. In high school, my daughter’s AP Art class was the highlight of her day. I’d never picked up a paintbrush because, why even try? Besides, I told myself I was painting a picture with words each time I sat down to write. But lately I’ve been feeling creative, and trying something new is good for your brain.

On the second snow day, we brushed the snow off our car, and found the main roads were mostly clear. There was simply NO traffic. According to Gmail, our new/old cottage had received a package, and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t buried in the snow… or abducted by a porch pirate! Luckily our electrician was at the house and had brought the crystal chandelier inside. Tim is a man born and raised here, he loves the snow, and his Jeep. We discussed the placement of new canh lights and then headed straight to the Bride’s house.

The Groom was working from home, and my daughter was practicing yoga and baking bread! Where were the children? The house was eerily quiet. Turns out the Love Bug was sledding with friends, then suddenly the Pumpkin jumped into the room. We sat down for a heart to heart.

Me: Which do you like better, Zoom school or real school?

Pumpkin: Real school, of course.

Me: Is there anything you like about Zoom school?

Pumpkin: I can mute myself!

Ah yes, I bet we would all like to mute ourselves, or someone else from time to time. I’d like to mute my inner critic, the one who wants to know why I think I should be painting when the world is falling apart. The Ukraine is a powder keg, a cliff falls on tourists in boats in Brazil, and the Omicron variant has teamed up with Delta to create the DELTACRON in Cyprus. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/08/cyprus-reportedly-discovers-a-covid-variant-that-combines-omicron-and-delta.html

Today a petulant, unvaccinated tennis star is allowed to enter Australia.

Australia – the land where anyone who comes of age can vote; they don’t even have to register.… and if they choose NOT to vote, they must pay a fine.

But hey, the TN Titans are in the playoffs, and luckily the Grands’ school has resumed indoors for now. We should have sheetrock going up today, and thanks to a rainy weekend, the snow has disappeared. Anyone else counting their blessings today?

The Bride in the Berkshires

Read Full Post »

My Catholic school background leaves me baffled.

Memories come and go, but feelings remain and for me, boredom was predominant. Memorizing prayers and counting bricks in the building across the street filled my days, punctuated by feelings of humiliation. Nuns stood guard over desks with arms folded under their cassocks. They were prepared to smack a ruler behind a girl’s knee for chewing gum, or pull the small hairs at the back of a boy’s head for launching paper airplanes. Once I had to stand in a corner, with my back to the class, for speaking to a boy.

It’s no wonder when the time came to pick out my very own saint’s name for Confirmation, I chose Dolores – Our Lady of Sorrows, patron saint of the suffering.

But this isn’t a story about me… This week Bob, my newly-discovered-retired MD-social butterfly, attended a ceremony outside Germantown’s Catholic Church to dedicate its newly restored steeple. The Assumption Church, built in 1845, was severely damaged during the March 2020 tornado; it lost many stained glass windows and roofs and needed major structural repairs. Since then, every time I drive by the church and the rectory, I’m struck by another glittery new copper gutter or roofline.

Finally the repairs have been completed! Rising many stories above the red brick, Southern Victorian homes of our neighborhood, the steeple was replaced to the sound of cheers and bagpipes. Most surprising to Bob, everybody got down on their knees in the street to pray!

“The steeple exists to point to God to remind us, you know, God is in his heavens. And then really the purpose of a steeple is to support a cross. And the cross now is going back up over Germantown and so that for us is very important.”

https://www.newschannel5.com/news/a-symbol-of-hope-nashville-catholic-church-restores-steeple-after-tornadoes

“Do you know anything about relics?” Bob asked me when he returned.

I tried to look knowledgable. “Sure,” I said. “It’s like a toenail of a saint.” Of course it might be a piece of cloth the saint actually wore too. Then Bob was happy to report that there is a third level of reliquary – something the saint touched!

“Like the bed Washington may have slept in?” I chimed.

It turns out that the cross that was hoisted above the church’s new steeple holds a First Class relic from St Roch! It’s a piece of his bone! Now if that didn’t get my old Catholic juices churning. I’d never heard of this Roch, and so some digging googling was required. Born in Montpelier, France (1348 – 1379), St Roch is the patron Saint of many things, but first and foremost it’s PLAGUES!!!

The story goes that he was born into money, the son of a governor, but set out for Rome as a poor confessor during an epidemic of the Bubonic Plague. Supposedly, he would make the sign of the cross over people suffering and they would miraculously recover. He survived the “Black Death” himself and went into prisons and public hospitals to minister to the sick; Roch was known to casually lift his pants leg up to show his scarred “buboes.” Which is why some of his statues look vaguely naughty…

And even though Roch is also the patron of dogs and Single Men, I refuse to think the worst! Just as we are ready to bid adieu to Covid, Omicron sweeps in during this festive season. Just as our children and Grands are being vaccinated, we are warned of a January surge in cases and deaths. I don’t know about you, but if praying to a piece of bone in a cross up the street might help end this pandemic, I’m all in.

Read Full Post »

The demolition of our kitchen has begun.

We’ve ordered the appliances, and they should be delivered in January sometime. I’ve heard that cabinets are one of those things stuck in a supply chain somewhere, so we have a choice – bespoke (custom build), or DIY in-a-box (Ikea)? Only the nearest Ikea is in Atlanta. And I’ve been playing with Benjamin Moore paint colors on their website, it’s easy and incredibly intuitive! https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/personal-color-viewer/kitchen

My sister Kay told me to try “Kitten Whiskers” on walls because of the way the light reflects back on your room. I may have to paint a sample swath and watch it over time. She said it’s a very pale lavender, yet all I can see is beige. When did cottage kitchen design become my ballyhoo?

Ever since I read that all politics are local, I’ve experienced a sense of dread. GOP legislators have spent the last decade redrawing districts to their advantage, so that they can win more seats. Even if a state is divided equally between the two parties, like say Ohio, out of 99 seats in the House, Republicans hold 64! Ah, the power of gerrymandering.

I first heard about “sunshine laws” when I was elected to a NJ school board.

“Sunshine laws are regulations requiring transparency and disclosure in government or business. Sunshine laws make meetings, records, votes, deliberations, and other official actions available for public observation, participation, and/or inspection.”

There were 48 Million K-12 students in our country and we spent over 752 Billion in 2019. We deserve to know how that money is spent. The journalist in me knew about the Freedom of Information Act passed in the 70s, but I didn’t know how discretely it could shape both small and large institutions.

Unless of course you happen to be the former twice-impeached-president who rarely told the truth and made up his own rules as he went along. Will we ever see his taxes? Sunshine laws are an effort to replace the stereotypical dark-smoky-back room, with a light-infused, open and honest discourse.

We all thought electing Biden would fix everything. I wanted so much to relax, and feel like our government is back on an even keel. We were moving forward with vaccinations and treatments for Covid. The Grands got their second shot. Things were looking up! I am grateful we passed a semi-bi-partisan infrastructure bill, but our democracy could fall apart if we continue to ignore the many voter suppression bills being passed at local levels:

Our democracy works best when all eligible voters can participate and have their voices heard. Suppression efforts range from the seemingly unobstructive, like strict voter ID laws and cuts to early voting, to mass purges of voter rolls and systemic disenfranchisement. These measures disproportionately impact people of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities. And long before election cycles even begin, legislators redraw district lines that determine the weight of your vote.

https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/block-the-vote-voter-suppression-in-2020/

If you do nothing else this week, please call your senators and tell them they must reform the filibuster (which was never in the constitution btw) in order to pass John Lewis’ Voting Rights Advancement Act. The “For the People Act” that passed through the House, must NOW be signed into law.

I know I know. You’re busy planning for Christmas. You’re so over wearing face masks, and want to stop living in fear of a new variant micro organism in the air, something you can’t see. But please, look at the elephant in our collective room. if you are lighting a Hanukkah menorah this week, how hard can it be to make a phone call? If you are buying Christmas presents online today, give our country a gift and write an email to your senators. https://contactsenators.com/senator-phone-numbers

What kind of party wants to make it harder to vote? So much depends on this. We cannot let the minority party pull us back into the dark ages. Shine a light on overt gerrymandering and voter suppression. Start this holiday season off by demanding equal voting rights for all Americans. Choose light, and your children and grandchildren will thank you.

Read Full Post »

There are two beautiful blue jays chowing down at the dove diner outside my window. A cardinal had swooped in earlier for a bite; a brilliant red sign that today would be a good day. And of course there’s always Kevin the squirrel, the ringleader who determines who can stay and who can go. My city garden is teeming with wildlife adventure; with dozens of sparrows, finches and mockingbirds flocking to the feeder that hangs above the tree stump, aka the 24 hour all/you/can/eat dove diner.

I’ve been wondering why pigeons have become pariahs in many cities. A photographer I follow on Instagram (Quarantine in Queens) posted a picture of a stately pigeon sitting on a lion’s head at the NYC Public Library, and he called the pigeon “dirty.” I was offended. Isn’t a pigeon just like a dove, only bigger? Plus one of my favorite children’s books is “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.” I loved reading all about this insistent, toddleresque, willful pigeon to my Grands when they were toddlers.

In fact as it turns out, pigeons and doves are related. They are part of a large family of birds called Columbidae, which consists of more than 300 species!

 Paul Sweet, the collection manager for the department of ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History, says the difference is more linguistic than taxonomic. The word dove is a word that came into English from the more Nordic languages, whereas pigeon came into English from French.”

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/554182/what-is-difference-between-pigeons-and-doves

The word “dove’ developed from our Viking ancestors, and “pigeon” from the Normans. People have trained homing pigeons, and kept dovecotes for centuries – which is just a fancy bird house at the top of a structure for pigeons! Despite my bird-feeding mishap of a few weeks ago, I love to start the day by throwing out seeds and nuts for all the ground feeding birds, too big to perch on the feeder.

Is it ironic that I now have a really BIG bird defrosting in my refrigerator? The President may have pardoned Peanut Butter and Jelly, but our Butterball turkey will still preside at the Bride and Groom’s Thanksgiving table this week. I’ll be making my traditional cornbread stuffing and butternut squash casserole. I’m also game to try something new, like ‘fried sage salsa verde,’ since our sage is still growing abundantly.

The Groom’s parents will be flying in from Virginia with Aunt J, and unlike last year we’ll all gather inside! We are all of us boosted with Covid vaccines, plus flu… and even the Grands have had their first shots. I’m still one of very few people in a store with a mask on, and I’ll continue to be masked until mid-December when our babies are fully immunized – unlike a certain quarterback named Aaron Rodger. To me words matter. The truth matters. The health of my family and friends matter. And yes, even perfect strangers matter.

The Bride saw a very sick patient yesterday with Covid. I asked her if their vaccination status affected her medical care, and she thought for a moment. “No,” she told me. She sometimes forgets to ask because it’s assumed, but now they must ask for the hospital record and the CDC I suppose. I was glad that my daughter’s empathy has withstood these ‘trying times.’ I’m not sure that mine would have.

I have no advice for how to deal with relatives you may see this holiday season. You know, the ones who did their own research, wanted to wait and see, or some such nonsense? Put the children’s table in the garage? Put the unvaccinated in the garage? But if you’re migrating or flying south for turkey day, or feathering your nest and staying put, I wish you a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving. And I have some big news…

WE BOUGHT AN OLD HOUSE.

Standing next to the larder inspecting some new beams

Read Full Post »

My first text of the morning was from the Bride: “Breaking News!”

BREAKING NEWS! These two words flashing across any screen used to get my heart churning, but now I just wonder what else Niki Minaj’s best friend’s cousin is up to… but wait! It’s a New York Times article – our Grands just may be vaccinated by Halloween.

“The need is urgent: Children now account for more than one in five new cases, and the highly contagious Delta variant has sent more children into hospitals and intensive care units in the past few weeks than at any other time in the pandemic. Pfizer and BioNTech plan to apply to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month for authorization to use the vaccine in these children.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/20/health/covid-children-vaccine-pfizer.html

What a joyous, rainy, overcast Monday. You see the Bride inherited her Father’s lungs, and kindly passed a little reactive airway disease down to the Pumpkin, who’s not so little anymore. As a baby, he would get rushed into a shower with croup late at night. It’s almost like having asthma; during allergy season he may need to use an inhaler. With children’s cases of Covid going up 250%, I was particularly worried about this little First Grader.

Bob and I decided to walk in our fancy, indoor mall yesterday after several days of rain. My medical consultant tells me I must keep moving after a fall, so we donned our Happy Masks and set out on an adventure. I’m just guessing, but probably less than 50% of shoppers were wearing masks. And each store had their own policy about masking hanging on their door. This is Nashville yes, but the rest of Tennessee helps keep our Covid numbers up; Tennessee is Number ONE in the nation for new Covid cases!

I keep wearing a mask indoors not because I’m afraid of getting sick. After two jabs of Moderna, I could easily not know I was infected, or be asymptomatic, and unknowingly pass the virus to a friend or loved one. I keep wearing my mask so that I can still hug my Grandchildren.

I keep wearing a mask indoors and don’t understand people walking through a mall with young children all unmasked.

I’ll keep wearing a mask indoors just as long as my daughter tells me to, along with my other medical consultant who will keep reminding me to bring a mask with me wherever we go. Bob has successfully passed his Emergency Medicine Boards this month, HOORAY!!! (docs have to re-certify every so many years). Hope reigns supreme at my city farmhouse. Maybe he’ll start doing remote medicine? Or Urgent Care? Or something medical?

Yesterday as we sat outside a cafe in the mall, Bob told me he’d been doing the math.

One out of every 200 people in this mall has Covid and doesn’t know it.”

It was not at all reassuring, but that’s why I love him. He will always tell me the truth and doesn’t mince words. He knows whether I broke a hip or not. He even does the dishes. He wants us to get booster shots soon, and our flu shots today!

I’m hopeful he’ll keep making sourdough bread and keep me laughing and walking and Covid-free for years to come. And I’m hopeful our Pumpkin and Bug and all the kids in that age range will stay safe for just another month or so.

Read Full Post »

It was a Wednesday like any other. I was having my morning coffee and noticed the mourning dove diner atop the tree stump outside of my window was empty. One lone dove stared out into space, wondering where his breakfast might be… so I threw on a rain jacket because there was a dewy mist to the air, and headed outside with replacement seeds and nuts.

Feeding the birds has become a pleasurable pandemic habit. I love watching them squabble over position and seeing a cardinal can become the highlight of my day. Sometimes I worry that I’m becoming “That Old Lady,” but at least I’m not walking out of the house in my bedroom slippers anymore.

The fancy slip-on UGG shearling slippers contributed to the mishap last Wednesday. I was wearing them as I waltzed out to feed the city’s wildlife, since squirrels take their equal share of the dove diner. On balance, I was in great shape. Thanks to Pilates, my hips didn’t ache and my knees were less crumbly. In short, I didn’t stop before climbing stairs to wonder which foot should go first anymore. A breakthrough in our quest to age gracefully!

To say I lost my balance would be wrong.

I simply turned away from the feeder and put my right foot up on the deck’s rain-slicked step. In less than a second I landed right-side-down on the deck with my right arm extended. BOOM. I wondered if I’d broken my hip. My ankle hurt a little and I yelled for Bob, “BOB!”

Thankfully he came out to examine me and deemed me very lucky indeed. My hip was fine and he put a band-aid on my ankle. I have some road rash on my right elbow – this is how fast it happened, I never put my hand down – and a bruise on the right side of my thigh that’s about to turn all shades of purple. Mercy prevailed, as the Bride was working that Wednesday morning and I really didn’t want to be wheeled into her hospital’s ER.

My pride was hurt. Still no dog walkers saw my slipped n fell routine; even our neighbor didn’t come out of his house. It was just a hump day like every other in a pandemic. We were going to pick up the Frenchie puppy for his Nana and PopBob day camp since both doctors were working.

Would this be a good time to remind you that TN has the distinction of being number ONE in the country for new Covid cases per capita?!

The latest milestone is one of several records the state has reached in the past several weeks, stemming from a spike in cases and hospitalizations among school-aged children.

Hundreds of students throughout Tennessee have been forced to quarantine or isolate due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some schools have closed classrooms due to staffing shortages, while others have temporarily asked the state to switch to virtual learning.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/tennessee/articles/2021-09-14/tennessee-covid-19-cases-climb-to-top-in-the-country

On Yom Kippur we Jews are supposed to do a performance review of the past year. Last night, Bob and I hiked to a flowing creek by a golf course to throw our sins away. He had warned me I may be feeling the after effects of a fall, and I did. Thank you God for not breaking my hip. Despite my sore back, I cooked the last of our garden’s eggplant beforehand and delivered some to the Grands since both doctor-parents were working again.

On Balance, I’d rather not give our un-vaccinated grandchildren a deadly virus. I’d rather not hear what the twice impeached ex-president has to say. And I promise to only wear real shoes while feeding the birds.

Read Full Post »

Hello Fall and candied apples! We celebrated the Bride and Groom’s anniversary yesterday, which was better than last year since we were quarantining. Today a new year begins on the Jewish calendar.

You may think it’s 2021, but for Jews around the world it’s 5782! It’s time to gather and listen to the shofar, to dip apples in honey. But since our Grands are too young to be vaccinated, there will be no religious service to attend, not even outside.

The Delta variant and vaccine deniers, politicians and mask evaders are rejoicing no doubt.

And since Great Grandma Ada left us almost one year ago, the excitement of a new year – one that looks destined to continue a spiritual lockdown – has eluded me. Granted this holiday isn’t the biggest one on the Jewish calendar, but for me it was the easiest to accomplish at home. You could use flour, and nothing had to be fried!

September is not just for holidays, let the month of many birthday parties begin!

The first was Saturday. Bob and I drove the Grands to a first grade friend’s party at an outdoor mini-golf course. I’m constantly amazed at how young parents can deliver a safe birthday celebration for their children during our year and a half of living with Covid.

The L’il Pumpkin said yesterday, “Isn’t Delta an airplane?” And we all joined in with applause because of course it’s an airline and it’s also a kitchen faucet, and a toilet. Now the image of a Delta toilet is stuck in my mind. Being able to laugh, to make Dad Jokes, was helpful as we reminisced with the Bride and Groom about the wedding. Because my daughter and husband were married on a mountain.

They said their vows on a sunlit, crisp day in an apple orchard, under Ada’s handmade Huppah.

And since Rosh Hashanah moves around on a lunar calendar, it wasn’t until today that I made the connection – apples and honey is to the New Year as an apple orchard is to the Wedding!

There is the tiniest of chills in the early morning air here in Nashville. The oppressive 90+ degree heat has left us. As the High Holy Days approach, I’m thinking of renewal. Of strengthening ties that bind and letting go of nonsense. Of living in the present so I can recognize joy when it appears. Of creating healthier habits, of accepting the things I cannot change.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhr

Read Full Post »

It’s been RED hot in Nashville lately!

This past weekend, we hosted our very first “Music City Grand Prix.” Indycars raced through newly barricaded streets downtown and across the Korean Veterans bridge; and since this is Nashvegas, there were plenty of music venues in overflowing Broadway bars to boot! The race became more of a party, so locals pretty much stayed home. Fireworks kept Ms Bean in a constant state of panic.

The Frenchie pup, Watson, missed all the commotion since he was delivered back to his family of origin. I was sorry to see him go – I’d grown accustomed to his funny antics, shmushed face and heavy breathing. And unlike his elder sister Bean, he was excellent at keeping the squirrels away from the bird feeder.

This morning as I sat down at my desk, I watched a squirrel digging seeds out of the fairy tree stump with impunity. Then I read that a UN panel of scientific experts (IPCC) had issued a Code Red for humanity on Climate Change. If we do nothing about our fossil fuel addiction and continuing deforestation, the next decade will see the world becoming too hot, with more than a 3.6 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature – making the Paris Agreement moot. John Kerry said:

“The impacts of the climate crisis, from extreme heat to wildfires to intense rainfall and flooding, will only continue to intensify unless we choose another course for ourselves and generations to come. What the world requires now is real action. All major economies must commit to aggressive climate action during this critical decade.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/leaders-activists-alarmed-not-surprised-by-climate-report/2021/08/09/08f1d632-f8fd-11eb-911c-524bc8b68f17_story.html

I thought about the Grands, coming of age during this critical time. The L’il Pumpkin doesn’t ask what happens when we die, he wants to know if the world will explode. These are the bedtime conversations of a 6 year old today. At least his school is not doing active shooter drills, yet. But wearing masks at school, washing hands, creating pods of safe spaces and people they can hug and hang out with is de rigueur.

Many scientists believe Covid is directly related to climate. As animals lose habitation due to development and deforestation, they come into closer contact with different animals, including people, allowing pathogens to jump the species barrier. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/c-change/subtopics/coronavirus-and-climate-change/

When the Bride was in middle school, our society was being impacted by a different virus – HIV. I was concerned her generation might equate love and sex with death and dying. How does one navigate adolescence during a climate crisis in the Time of Covid? This Delta variant is devious. It’s turning the southeastern part of the US map a deep fire-engine RED; it’s putting more and more young children who are unable to be vaccinated at risk.

“It’s not just the adult hospital hitting some capacity limits. The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is also experiencing “record admissions,” though most of the surge is driven by a rare summer flare up of pediatric viral illnesses like RSV.

COVID cases in the children’s hospital remain in the single digits. But some children’s hospitals in the South have more COVID patients than ever. LouisianaArkansas and Alabama are dealing with more pediatric COVID patients in the hospital than at any point in the pandemic.”

https://wpln.org/post/vanderbilt-limiting-surgeries-again-as-covid-cases-fill-hospitals/

Vandy Children’s ER has had to “board” ventilated patients in the hallways because their PICU beds are full. Children.

Cooler Fall temperatures should be beckoning children back to school. It seems we are at a tipping point. Will we take the lead and care for each other, get vaccinated, mask up and limit our personal carbon imprint? Or will petulant adults and crazy legislators continue to scream about personal liberty? To criticize John Kerry for flying to President Obama’s birthday party on the Vineyard in a small plane? It sure beats driving and waiting for the ferry!

I think I’ll make a cup of tea, and try to stay cool and calm.

Read Full Post »

Do you feel as if your limbic system is on constant high alert?

In a nutshell, the limbic system is a part of the brain that is in charge of the “fight or flight” reflex; run away from the lion or fall in love with the lion tamer. It’s a bunch of cortical cells responsible for our very survival.

“These nuclei serve several functions, however most have to do with control of functions necessary for self preservation and species preservation. They regulate autonomic and endocrine function, particularly in response to emotional stimuli. They set the level of arousal and are involved in motivation and reinforcing behaviors. Additionally, many of these areas are critical to particular types of memory. Some of these regions are closely connected to the olfactory system, since this system is critical to survival of many species.”

https://www.dartmouth.edu/~rswenson/NeuroSci/chapter_9.html

Smelling danger is one thing, but feeling as though a casual walk during this pandemic might endanger your life is another. It’s become almost normal for us to second guess and debate every decision. Should we go to the Walgreens early in the morning, is it safe? Can’t the Bride come inside our house now that she has been vaccinated twice? What about the Grands? I must admit to feeling much better since my daughter and the Groom have received their second Covid vaccines, but according to the CDC the next peak of deaths is expected in mid February. Don’t let your guard down!

After all, you don’t want to be the last person to die of this virus before the vaccines are completely distributed.

And speaking of distribution, state governors are reporting that the promised vaccines kept in reserve by the federal government don’t exist. That along with the BIG LIE about the election, we’ve been served another BIG LIE about vaccine distribution. I didn’t find this surprising, because Mr T has shown his true colors time and time again. Expecting him to be something he is not would drive anybody’s limbic system crazy.

We are a nation on guard. Barricades have gone up around Nashville’s Capitol building. State capitols around the country are on “High Alert” this inaugural week – DC is teeming with our National Guard, looking more like Paris during the Jewish high holidays. I remember when the Paris police almost didn’t allow the Bride to enter a synagogue, because she “didn’t look Jewish.”

The rest of Europe cannot believe America has come to this. Today, Germans wonder if Americans ever heard of the word Volksverhetzung, in English “incitement to hatred.” This is a crime in Germany, as it should be all over the world. Unfortunately, parents continue to teach their children to hate. Racist, anti-semitic tropes were never gone, they have only just been allowed to grow through social media. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would see a confederate flag in the Capitol; Nazi slogans and swastikas flying along with Trump flags last week.

Jewish families know we must never allow silence and indifference to win, we must always be ready to flee a mob of red shirts or red hats. This will be my last post before Joe Biden becomes our 46th president. He has an ambitious agenda ahead of him. First and foremost, attacking this pandemic. After many unanswered phone calls, and rebooting of websites, to try and obtain a Covid vaccine, we got lucky. By the end of this month, Bob and I will be fully vaccinated. It wasn’t easy. Obtaining a vaccine for a population not totally familiar with technology has proven nearly impossible.

“It feels like I’m trying to get a Beyonce ticket!” a daughter said while trying to help her mother navigate vaccine portals.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/01/16/covid-vaccine-hunt/?

Bob heard through the medical grapevine about a public health facility giving drive-thru vaccines. The Bride told us to get in our car and take a chance. And because he is an ER physician, on call for Covid emergencies and willing to put shots in arms should the need arise, and because we showed up at the break of dawn, we’re halfway to Covid immunity.

I could finally breathe. My limbic system however, will take awhile to calm down.

Ada’s favorite quote

Read Full Post »

At daybreak, I hear Ms Bean’s clickety paws on the floor, and the bedroom door closes. If I’m lucky, I might get another sleep cycle. When I wake from my Covid dream, the one about keeping Great Grandma Ada away from the crowded dining hall at Camp St Joseph, I have to change my nightgown. Bob likes our bedroom freezing cold at night, and I’ve been sweating glowing a lot lately.

Breakfast is easy; but first, coffee. I know Bob loves me because he keeps the Keurig carafe filled with water. I need to wake up with a big mug, my only caffeine fix of the day. And I like to watch a few cable news networks in the process – how many more deaths, what state is seeing a spike in virus infections, what does, “Defund the Police” actually mean?

Breakfast is a banana, covered in vanilla yogurt and granola. My favorite Hudson Henry granola from Virginia, the orange bag with pecans and chocolate. We order it in bulk, direct from the company. I pour myself a big glass of green iced tea, and flip open my laptop.

Bob eats Eggo waffles most days and doesn’t like watching the news in the morning. He’d much rather watch Rachel Maddow at night; we are the exact opposite in our daily news consumption. I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I watched Rachel before bed. Or if I did, my Covid nightmares would get worse.

This morning, he’s in the living room with classical music and his iPad. Soon, he’ll be outside watering the garden.

In my office, I check in on Twitter, the BBC, and the New York Times, in that order. Did you know that Winston Churchill was a racist? An idea for an essay is percolating in my mind. I look up and out the window, something has caught my eye. Beyond the parking lot across the back alley, a shirtless man keeps popping up doing jumping jacks. Intrigued, I stand to get the full view – eight push-ups on the ground followed by the jump.

Some people miss the gym more than others.

Around 9am Bob pops in to say he’ll be walking Ms Bean, and I hear her happy joy circle dance by the front door. He yells back, “By the way, I fed the starter.” My cell is off and Bob knows not to disturb me when I’m writing. How do I know? I know this because I overheard him tell a friend that Tuesdays he’s on his own in the morning! Well until 11am anyway.

We used to drive Ms Berdelle to 11am T’ai Chi at the Y on Tuesdays, but now we set up two yoga mats on the floor in the living room. Bob has decided to join my Zoom Beginner Pilates class. He’s read my post and gives me feedback like any good editor while we gather foam rollers, balls and exercise bands, the tools of the senior set.

During Pilates I find out there’s a fire burning in Tucson, where my instructor’s mother lives, and she had to be evacuated last night. I try to concentrate on cracking a walnut between my shoulder blades, sticking my tush out, and what I’m going to make for dinner. I try not to think about climate change.

After Pilates Bob asks, “Do we have any plans for lunch?”

Luckily, I don’t have any plans for lunch, so we decide to walk down to the Vietnamese restaurant and see if there’s a table on the socially distant patio. We haven’t been out to eat in three months. Unluckily, all the tables, which is maybe half of the usual tables, are occupied so we pick up two ready made salads and walk home. I really miss going out for lunch.

Long ago Bob told me I was making him fat because I’m a pretty good cook, a backhanded compliment for sure – ever since that day, whenever I cook something for us to eat, he gets to make his own plate. You see, somewhere along my feminist learning curve I decided that I was supposed to plan and shop and cook a delicious dinner every single night… for 41 years… but not breakfast or lunch.

I never got the memo that I didn’t have to cook dinner. I still look with wonder at younger women who say they never cook. I mean, is that even possible?

After lunch we decide to make a Shipt order on my computer. Bob likes to do this with me, he drags in another chair so we can sit side by side while we discuss the status of milk in the refrigerator. We would rarely go grocery shopping together in the past, but he needs more bread flour. Bob is now on his fifth try at perfecting sourdough bread, in my vintage Dutch oven.

“You should see, my starter is growing!” Bob tells me proudly and we discuss the merits of sourdough baking – damp towels, parchment paper, bubbling.

The afternoon is upon us and it’s time to start our day, so we go back upstairs to shower and I change my yoga pants and floss my teeth. I’m responding to comments on social media about my blog on my phone and doing laundry when I hear a timer go off. It’s time for Bob to “do something” big, there’s lots of noise in the kitchen. I think he’s making the dough, or maybe it’s time to “stretch and fold.”

Then my phone bings and we have to drive-through the pharmacy and get a case of wine curbside delivered.  We suit ourselves up in masks and head for the car. As soon as I start the engine, my cell rings so loudly on blue tooth that we both startle. Four people call us in that 15 minute round-trip ride. A brother has a tax question, a grand daughter has a bee bite, a neighbor has a medical consult, and what color gray should the Bride paint her new bookshelves?

We arrive home and I Google “panzanella” salad. What a great Italian idea for the heel of a sourdough loaf of bread! It’s also close enough to 5 o’clock somewhere to pour a cold, glass of unoaked Chardonnay. But first I must feed Ms Bean.

Then I tell Bob to pick some kale, and I pick some tarragon. Chopped garlic and tarragon, mixed with a little honey mustard and salt and pepper, then add Balsamic vinegar and some good EVOO. I wash and halve some cherry tomatoes, tear up the kale, and Bob’s picked a pepper too. I improvised and threw in some leftover pasta salad and added some cubes of Swiss cheese, but any hard cheese would do. I combine the chunks of bread that I’ve dried a bit in a hot oven with the veggies and pour the vinaigrette over it all.  https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-panzanella-italian-bread-salad-recipe-206824

We had to dance around each other in our galley kitchen since Bob was kneading or rolling dough while I was assembling the salad, but he pronounced it my best summer salad evah!

Time for another stroll with Ms Bean. She’s super excited because I’m joining them. We’ve relaxed our puppy sniffing rules a bit, but we still don’t stop to pet other dogs. Sometimes we talk, but half the young people in our neighborhood are not wearing masks. How can people be so callous? Our Mayor has decided to keep Nashville at Phase 2 of re-opening, but we’re staying home in our own Phase 1 for the most part.

The bread is sitting on the counter rising, and we’re ready to wind down. Tomorrow morning the sourdough bread goes in the oven. We might play Scrabble or watch Netflix tonight. Or talk to the kids on the patio across the way, they are both residents at Vanderbilt. Our kids are driving to the beach for a well deserved vacation from Covid.

We could all use a vacation about now.

D838013D-7484-41C5-B50B-663DCE9115C0

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: