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Posts Tagged ‘Covid’

Just when we thought it was safe to appear mask-less at certain public venues, like the Nashville Ballet this past weekend, Covid numbers are starting to rise. In TN, the average daily number of new cases last week rose by 58%!

“Health officials believe the virus has killed more people than state totals indicate, especially early in the pandemic before testing and effective treatments were widely available. A rise in deaths usually follows a rise in new cases by about a month. For example, after the delta variant caused a surge of new cases beginning in July 2021, the death toll began to climb in August.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/national/coronavirus-us-cases-deaths/?itid=hp_habit-bar-morning&state=US

The Bride is seeing more cases of the virus, and one by one each Grand reports another student absent from class. Of course this is the last week of school. But I was just beginning to feel like the worst was behind us; like this summer might be especially sweet in our new/old Crystal Cottage. Bob has been replacing ceiling fans and adjusting doors – yesterday he and the Groom switched out a dead foundation shrub for a gorgeous flowering, snowball Viburnum.

Then I noticed a Tweet last week by Bill Hanage, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. It seems there are clusters of “monkeypox” in the UK, Portugal, Spain and Canada!

It is v plausible that transmission has been happening for some time unnoticed because folks don’t expect to see monkeypox and so don’t diagnose it. You hear hoofbeats you expect horses, not unicorns. You see lesions, you don’t expect monkeypox and assume it is something else.”

The good news here is that if you happen to be of a certain age, your smallpox vaccine should protect you; the bad news is the same cannot be said for young people. Smallpox was a dangerous, contagious disease for over 3,000 years and was considered eradicated in 1980. Our children and grandchildren were never vaccinated.

Bob and I did our own Covid/monkeypox research at the ballet. He wore a mask and I didn’t. We’d received a text saying the symphony would not be playing live because of an outbreak of Covid among the musicians. But the ballet would be accompanied by the taped rehearsal music, complete with directions at times. I dream about this very thing! The last time I saw a ballet recital was in Saratoga with Balanchine. We could have exchanged our tickets, but I was there to see the dancers after all.

Some people must have opted out because the theatre was only a third full.

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center is like a beautiful cathedral to the arts, its ceiling rising over 40 ft. I figured I’d be safe without a mask, Bob wasn’t taking any chances. On Wednesday, we figured we’d do an at-home Covid test.

But this morning I awoke to two jars of Jiffy peanut butter on the kitchen island. My dear husband, who’d been feeling queasy last night, informed me that PB jars with our lot numbers were being recalled because of salmonella! So in the end, it may be a rotten jar of bacteria that you can’t see, taste or smell that finally brings us down, or I should say ‘him.’ He ate a PB&J sandwich, not me. I’m more of a lox and cream cheese type for lunch.

I made him take his mask off for this ballet selfie

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You remember the Christopher Nolan film Dunkirk. Most Americans had never heard about the WWII evacuation of British, French and Belgian troops off the coast of northern France in 1940, on the heels of German advancement. Technically a military defeat, the Brits have enshrined this event as a testament to courage and perseverance through dangerous waters. Fishermen and yacht men alike sailed to the rescue.

“…the tugs, drifters, trawlers, barges and motor launches, and rowing boats. Yes, and there was even a canoe.
This strange assortment was got together in record time by the Small Vessel Pool, an organisation which scoured the seaside places and rivers of Britain for every conceivable type of craft.
The response of owners of vessels everywhere was magnificent. There was no grousing at having to give up boats, indeed their only desire was to give their boats and a little more. In effect it represented the spirit of Dunkirk.

https://wordhistories.net/2019/04/16/dunkirk-spirit-origin/

Her Majesty the Queen of England just referenced the Dunkirk Spirit on a Zoom call with the builders and hospital staff of the new 155 bed Covid unit at the Royal London Hospital. The construction should have taken five months but was completed in five weeks. She recalled how Covid left her exhausted and then said:

“It is very interesting, isn’t it, when there is some very vital thing, how everybody works together and pulls together – marvelous isn’t it? …the “Dunkirk spirit. “Thank goodness it still exists.”

But does it exist here? Our response to 9/11 may be as close as we’ve come – people gave blood, knit booties for cadaver dogs, pulled together. Congress – Republicans and Democrats – sang the national anthem on the steps of the Capitol. The high school Rocker’s band played a concert in support of the rescue effort in Red Bank, NJ, not knowing that later he’d be scoring the Dunkirk trailer in Hollywood.

Maybe at the start of this pandemic, when people were singing on balconies and banging pots and pans, we approximated the Dunkirk Spirit. We were making masks for strangers, delivering pizzas to ERs, and felt compelled to care for our elderly and the immunocompromised. But how long can such altruism sustain itself?

Covid hasn’t gone away. We haven’t really defeated the microbe, in fact Nancy Pelosi just tested positive for the bug. You can be immunized and boosted as much as you like, but if you happen to be of a certain age, or have a chronic condition, it would be best to keep masking and avoiding indoor crowds whenever possible. It’s just that now, people would rather forget the pandemic. They are ready to get on with their lives.

Bob and I had a taste of the Dunkirk Spirit this past weekend. Our new Nashville neighborhood has a well established “Buy Nothing” Facebook group. The Bride has lured me back to Facebook because she noticed an elliptical machine that was up for grabs, and she knew we were in the market for one. I wrote to the owner that we’d stopped going to the gym in 2020, and that our “bodies and souls” could use her Nordic Track. Then the Bride wrote that we need to keep in shape for the wee grandchildren.

And Voila! Bob, the Groom and a friend hopped into a pick-up and delivered the elliptical to our family room. It appeared like magic, no shopping, no buying. Bob and I had posted the original kitchen appliances from our new/old house to Buy Nothing if you recall. We helped neighbors hoist and haul a perfectly good oven and a washer/dryer. I love this circle of giving. I just hope it’s not too late for my knees.

Ms Bean is delighted

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We all know that person. The one who thinks the rules don’t apply to him; the unvaccinated star tennis player who was finally evicted from Australia ; the NFL player who brazenly lied about his vaccination status.

“How is lying – let’s call what Rodgers did for what it is – about being vaccinated against a disease that has killed more than 5 million people worldwide, almost 750,000 in the United States alone, representing the team the right way? How is exposing friends and teammates to COVID, as he might have done over the weekend, showing care for the well-being of those around him?”

https://sports.yahoo.com/opinion-aaron-rodgers-covid-lied-210942065.html

They must believe their wealth and fame would shield them from any major catastrophe. They pay the thousands of dollars in fines, sit one or two games out, and then get right back into the game clutching their multiple million dollar contracts.

But here’s the thing – in the stratosphere of elite sports, it’s still a man’s world. Take tennis for instance. After nearly dying while giving birth, Serena Williams chose to wear a black catsuit at the French Open in 2018. With her history of blood clots, she was not making a fashion statement. Still, her outfit caused quite a stir among the older, whiter French Tennis Federation rule-makers. They chose to BAN Le Catsuit!

To be fair, making a choice not to wear a frilly, white tennis skirt cannot be compared to risking the lives of your teammates and their families by lying about your vaccination status.

Which is why the sheer patriarchal audacity of the SCOTUS last week is so infuriating. Did you know why Justice Sotomayor has had to WFH (work from home) lately? Well, it turns out she has diabetes, a known risk factor for Covid, and Justice Gorsuch has chosen NOT to wear a mask during arguments. He is the only unmasked judge on the Supreme Court. It seems that Sotomayor had told Justice Roberts, the big kahuna, that since the Omicron variant hit, she was “… not comfortable sitting next to members who are not masked.”

My immediate reaction was why isn’t Gursuch working remotely?

Bob said, they should all be working remotely! Strangely enough, the highest court does not currently have any Covid rules in place, which may explain their latest ruling about workplace hazards and vaccination requirements. Still, I wonder, if Justice Sotomayor had been a man, let’s say a conservative man, would Roberts ask HIM to work remotely?

This singular display, of male over female, of a conservative leaning court over the liberal, is a metaphor for our time. The Right wants the freedom to do as they please – to buy as many guns as they want and strap them on without a permit, without a thought of the young lives lost to suicide and accidents partially because an unlocked gun was within reach at a vulnerable time. They would like to tell women what to do with our bodies. They’ve been passing laws at state levels for years making it harder and harder for a woman to access an abortion provider. Even though Roe is established law.

Their latest attack on voting rights is the last straw. I get that we have two recalcitrant Democratic senators. But we couldn’t find two Republicans?

Like privileged, petulant teenagers, the GOP only follows the rules if they made them. Here are some countries we are trying to emulate, places in the world where it is also difficult to vote: Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uganda, Kenya, Oman, Qatar, Egypt, Nigeria, Papa New Guinea, and Zanzibar. Our country still operates a piecemeal, state by state approach to this fundamental right.

“In the United States, voting laws vary drastically from state to state. While Minnesota, for example, has same-day voter registration and no picture ID laws, other states, like Tennessee, require voters to register a month ahead of time and present a picture ID when they get to the polls.”

https://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/countries-easier-vote-united-states/story?id=17625616

Would you believe Estonia has instituted Online Voting, and absolutely every citizen in this Baltic country has the right to vote remotely! Since we also rank 138 out of 172 countries in voter turnout, one would think we’d try to make the right to vote easier. What does it say about a party that subverts and bends the rules to strip us of of our basic human rights? What does it say about an athlete, or a Supreme Court Justice?

Can 2022 have a do over?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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