Showing posts with label Pandemic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pandemic. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 263

The Old Jail in Fincastle, Circa 1896. Ready for a new prisoner?

The coronavirus rages on, and the federal government is at a virtual standstill while the loser-in-chief pouts and other Republicans do things that, frankly, I consider treasonous, to try to keep his status as president. 

Many of these people belong in jail.

Locally, today we have 41 active cases. We are averaging about 16 cases a day. The state is at 10% positive testing, so it is safe to assume that for every 10 people you meet, one probably has or has had Covid.

Overall, this county of about 32,000 people has seen 895 cases. That's 2.797% of the population. Fourteen people have died locally. I knew three of them. Two other people I know who did not live locally have also perished from this virus.

I know these figures don't seem like much, but this isn't the flu, I don't care what "others" want to say about it. They aren't medical experts, they're just mouths with loud opinions, and frankly I am so sick of their mouths and their opinions, I don't care if I ever see or hear or talk to another one of them again.

I am especially sick of the one who is supposed to be the leader of this nation, who only plays a golf game that he cheats at, while people drop dead around him. I have spent four years trying to refrain from calling him names, but he is a fucking moron.

This morning I watched a feature on CBS about a man who had coronavirus. He lost his leg, his other foot, and both hands. Still think it's the flu? Ever hear about the flu doing that to somebody?

One of the most troubling things about the virus and the election, in tandem, is that it has reminded of me of something that I have always known: a whole lot of people in this nation are the most selfish people on the planet and totally incapable of thinking beyond the itch on their ass.

I'm not talking about "take my ball and go home selfish." I'm talking about, "Fuck you, I don't give a crap if you die, but die so I don't have to step over you or be bothered about it in any manner whatsoever" selfish. I have known this all my life, mostly because of smokers. Smokers didn't give a crap if they were causing me asthma or if I had to alter my entire life around their bad habit. Not a single one cared that I couldn't eat in restaurants, couldn't go dancing with my husband, couldn't even walk into a place of business for a long time without becoming ill. They needed their smoke, and to hell with me.

That's the way the anti-maskers/anti-virus hoaxers are. I am going to do whatever the fuck I want and to hell with you. Selfish. Mean. Vindictive. Evil, noxious people.

I rejoiced with the laws finally stopped smoking in various places, one by one here in Virginia, or when the corporations did it themselves. I could finally go out and do things. (Apparently I've been in training for a lockdown most of my life.)

But you know what? I won't rejoice when all of these dumbasses who aren't wearing masks become ill or drop dead. I will be sad, and I will feel sorry for them and their families. I will be angry at the federal government for its terrible messaging and its total mishandling of this pandemic, and I will be angry at the virus for killing them, and I will pity the person who caught the virus because of ignorance, stubbornness, and willful stupidity. I already cringe every day when I see the death toll. Sometimes, I even cry over it.

As far as thinking ahead - the vaccine will be months - literally months if not a year - in reaching everyone it needs to reach. This is like when my husband repairs a septic tank, hauling in a big backhoe and other equipment, and then the person goes, "Oh, I never realized it was going to tear up all of my grass." What the hell did you think was going to happen? 

No, they don't think further than tomorrow. If it isn't going to happen tomorrow, they can't grasp it. They expect instant gratification, a vaccine yesterday, a new president immediately, election results on the night of the election, can't figure out how anything works, reject science all the while typing angrily on their cell phone that SCIENCE created.

Covidiots, someone called them. 

I'm just tired of it all. Tired of all of these mouths, tired of stupid, tired of caring, even though I know I'll never stop caring, even if none of them deserve a second of my brain space.

Because I have always tried to be a nice person, and nice people care.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 255

Thanksgiving passed quietly here. We had no company and I sent my mother-in-law a plate. She did not complain about eating alone after having had to quarantine because she'd been to church with someone who a day later tested positive for Covid.

Also, a cousin close by has Covid, so we are all being careful and trying not to fall over one another. Not that we would, but now it seems even more incumbent upon us all to be careful.

I know people are being careful. I also know people are not being careful. Those are the ones I worry about. Then there is the decision about what "careful" entails. I am not going into the stores - but I will have to go into the pharmacy late next week to pick up my medications. The store I use doesn't have a drive-thru. While we are mostly doing food pick ups now - I call it adventure shopping - sometimes one of us has to go into a store.

My chiropractor is not seeing me now except in emergencies, at my request. I do better when I see her regularly, but I will have to get by as best I can. I am still having back issues and trouble playing the guitar, which is frustrating. I pulled out my little guitelele (which is like a six-string ukulele) and have been playing that. However, I put new strings on it and the thing simply will not stay in tune long.

Then there's the question of haircuts. I haven't had one in six weeks. I am contemplating one final trip to the hairdresser for this year and asking for a short cut. The woman I have decided to use assured me she could make me her first customer of the day and get me in and out in 20 minutes. We'd both be masked. No one else would be in her shop.

I do not speak often of how I feel about the pandemic and the things going on me. Not on a deep level, anyway. I am most fretted by my inability to simply pick up and go - make a stop at Walmart, for example. I haven't been in a Walmart since this started. Or go to the bookstore. I did not, as a rule, regularly visit people, but I did stop in and check on my mother-in-law and now I don't do that. My husband checks on her. This concerns me because he is a guy and they don't always get the hint that something needs to be fixed or changed. 

People who do not take this seriously frustrate me. Yes, I know the survival rate is 98%. That means that two people out of every 100 people you know will die. Which two are you willing to sacrifice? Go to your Facebook page and look at all of those people who are Facebook friends with you. Which two do you want to see dead simply because you won't wear a mask or wash your hands, or stay home for the holidays? Odds are good that two of them will die. Will it be your fault?

Obviously, people don't think like that. I think like that, but it's an established fact that I'm not the normal sort of person and never have been. This is not a bad thing - it would be a boring world if we were all alike.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 249

The death toll now for Covid-19 is nearing 1,000 people a day nationwide, according to the media. We've had 261,000+ die from this virus. That's a lot of folks missing from tables when the holiday rolls around on Thursday.

Still, people think this is a hoax, and that wearing a mask is infringement upon liberties. I don't think it says anywhere in the U.S. Constitution (or anyplace else) that wearing a mask during a public health crisis is an infringement upon anything.

It might be the thing that saves your life. Goodness knows, you can't bitch if you're dead. Since bitching and not minding your own business is the national past-time, I'd hate for all of these people to miss out on that because they up and died.


We are planning a small Thanksgiving, with just my husband and me. We will talk to family members, I'm sure, but we are not having a big meal. I have hurt my back and am not up to cooking a big dinner, and while leftovers are nice, turkey is not really something I care to eat day in and day out. We will have a turkey breast, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and apple pie. I may throw in some green beans if I decide we need something green on the table.

I had planned to decorate for Christmas on Sunday but that will now depend upon how my back is doing by then. I saw the chiropractor this morning and she said I had inflammation and muscle spasms in my left trapezius. It started after I had a rather long guitar session one night while my husband was out hunting with his buddies and I needed to entertain myself. 

Apparently, I overdid it, or maybe I lifted something that I don't remember and the guitar jam was a final straw.  It hadn't been bothering me to play the electric guitar, so this was a surprise.

It's too bad I can't find a decent small electric guitar that weighs about a pound. 

In order to keep my fingers calloused, I've pulled my guitelele out of the closet. It is small and light and hopefully will suffice for a week or so while my back heals. The chiropractor told me to leave the guitar alone until my back was all better, but she doesn't understand that the callouses and practice are necessary to my sanity.


I simply don't know what to do with people in general anymore. I've had folks say some nasty things to me over the past six month that I've overlooked. But I don't really want to be around them or continue to have much to do with them. I think they know they said things that hurt me, but they do not apologize.

"I'm sorry" would go a long way. I try to accept the subsequent actions as the apology I suspect it is, but I am tired. When I think I've hurt someone, I say, "I'm sorry," along with making amends if I feel it's required. I don't just carry on and hope they didn't notice I just told them I thought they were stupid. (I'm stupid because I want people to have health care. Gosh. How ignorant of me.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 235

I woke this morning with a sore throat. It has grown worse as the day has progressed. Lots of salt water being gargled here.

My little county of 33,000 people has over 550 cases of Covid-19. That doesn't sound like much, but people are not following good protocol in wearing masks and social distancing here. 

I do follow protocol and have mostly been in. I went out yesterday, though. I had a chiropractor appointment - ironically my last one unless my back goes out and I simply can't stand the pain, we decided, due to the coronavirus -  and I stopped at CVS. That may have been my mistake. I was masked up and social distanced and I used hand sanitizer, but who knows.

But, maybe my sore throat is a food allergy, because I ate pizza from Bellacino's on Sunday, and for some reason the last couple of times I've had pizza there, I've developed a sore throat. I thought it was the pizza topping so I tried a different topping (I'd been eating the alfredo pizza, so I went with the tomato-based this time), but now I think it might be something in the pizza dough/crust. I know I have a mild yeast allergy - maybe they use a lot of yeast in the pizza dough? I am grasping at straws here because of course I'd rather it be my normal illness, whatever that is.

My father talked to me briefly earlier today and he knew as soon as I answered the phone that I was not well. He told me to get to the doctor if I started running a fever. I don't want to worry anyone by being sick. It is not something I can hide when it affects my larynx and throat, though.

Maybe it is Covid-19, and I will die, and those who don't like my blog can have a good laugh and be glad the world has one less Democrat. I'm sure it will make some people happy.

Good thing I have my Will and other documents in order.

In Other News

I've been a bit depressed. I did not join the other folks who danced in the street Saturday when the vote tallies came in and Joe Biden became the president-elect, because I knew the current occupant of the people's house would not concede and would continue his claims of voter fraud.

And that's exactly what he has done. While he has every right to do this, he does not have the right to undermine the integrity of our election process, and demolish our democracy. This is what he is doing.

He is adding more chaos to the chaos he's already created.

Can you imagine being an elected Republican now and being told that you've been elected by fraud? Because that's what he's saying. Or being the Republican in charge of votes in whatever state, and being told you didn't do your job properly? Because that is what is being said. That's what voter fraud means.

There has never been much voter fraud in this country. It's very difficult to do. The checks and balances, at least in Virginia, are well-established. That's not to say there's not a slip up here and there, because the system is human-based and humans make mistakes. But voter fraud to this degree? There is no way in hell that happened.

I do not believe there was 5 million fraudulent votes. And to be honest, if the Democrats were going to cheat to win the election, they'd have also tossed in enough votes to throw Mitch McConnel and Lindsay Graham out of their respective seats, and they'd not lost a few seats in the House. I mean, if you're going to cheat to win, then damn, go for everything.

Which is what the current occupant of the people's house is doing.

Trump is attempting a government coup.

Trump has yet to concede the election, and his campaign has filed lawsuits in multiple states. Trump also said he'd go to the Supreme Court, though it's not clear why or what legal basis there is for the move.

"This is a major fraud on our nation," the president added, with no evidence to support his assertion.

Trump suggested several times in the weeks leading up to the election that he would not accept the outcome, that the process was "rigged" against him, and that the increase in mail-in voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic would result in widespread voter fraud.

But nonpartisan experts and multiple studies have uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and millions of Americans vote by mail every year. Trump and many of his top staff and family members have voted by mail or tried to in recent years. 

Trump also refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, saying in September, "Well, we'll have to see what happens. Get rid of the ballots and we'll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer, frankly, there'll be a continuation." - Business Insider

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 228

Today is election day in the United States.

It's not a boxing match. It's a vote.

So go vote, if you haven't already done it early in person or by mail.



Sunday, I went to CVS to get a sling for my husband's arm. He has re-injured the hand he caught in the hay baler in 2014. He had an x-ray but it is swollen and I fear ligament damage. He can't get in to the see the hand specialist until November 23.

With luck, it will be all better by then and he won't need the appointment. But we don't generally have that kind of luck.

Anyway, I hadn't realize the store did not open until 10 a.m. on Sundays. I arrived just a few moments before 10. Several people meandered around the door. None had on masks. None attempted to keep their distance from one another, at least, certainly not by six feet. They were far apart that I could see they weren't The Brady Bunch and didn't know one another, though.

I watched them all go inside. I waited in the car until they all came out again, and then I went inside. It cost me 10 minutes of time and gave me a great deal more confidence in my entry in the store.

This would be why as of today, Botetourt County has 487 cases of Covid. I don't know how many of those are active cases. We've had a rise of 186 cases in 14 days. So we're averaging about 13 new cases a day.

The courthouse is currently closed for "deep cleaning" because someone had the virus. 

I suppose some people will wake up in the morning thinking, "Oh, the Democrat hoax is over, we can all get back to our lives," but the joke will be on them. I am sure the five people I know who have died from this virus won't be returning to their lives, nor with their family's lives ever be the same.

But I get it. This is 'MeriKa, and nobody tells us what to do . . . except wear shirt and shoes in restaurants, wear seat belts, don't drink and drive, don't run red lights or stop signs, you must use turn signals and have your car inspected, carry insurance or pay a fee on your vehicle if you don't, you have to have a driver's license to drive on the roads, you pay your taxes, you don't steal, don't kill, don't rape, burn, pillage and plunder. 

Wear a mask? No way!

So the case numbers rise. It's in the schools. People go the stores with no regard for anyone else. I won't say we're the most selfish bunch of people ever to walk the planet - not sure who would be first, actually, if not us - but we're a mighty close second.

This has hit home as people close to me have had Covid. But their story is not mine to tell, except to say I am glad they have recovered, and I am sorry that one person I know passed away. I hope there is no future damage to the ones who survived, no return of the virus in some bizarre fashion, like the chickenpox turns into shingles years from the time of the initial infection. Or the way cold sores come back when a body is stressed. I hope for no ongoing issues.

Nowadays, we don't know what is appropriate action. Everything has to be thought out. Is going to the chiropractor safe? Can I have the furnace checked? Is it safe to go to the grocery store? Do I have my mask, my Covid shoes, my hand sanitizer?

Living through a pandemic was not on my checklist of things I wanted to do. It had never occurred to me, actually, that we would have one. 

There was a time, about 25 years ago, when I felt secure in this country. I felt like the FDA was on top of bad medications, that the federal government would stop the sell of toys that injured children, enforce recalls of vehicles that exploded without warning, the U.S. Postal Service would always bring me my mail, and that my Social Security would be there to supplement what I saved when I retired.

I don't think that way anymore. Perhaps I lived in a fantasy world, but up until the last four years, I really did think the government, en masse, was on my side. Even when George W. Bush was president, I never thought the government - or my neighbors - would actually wish me ill. 

I thought the people who ran the EPA really cared about the environment and water and air quality. I thought the people who did the day-to-day things, the little government workers, were doing the things necessary to ensure quality of life for most people. Ok, so some of that was naïve - obviously people of color, immigrants, and others (including women, of which I am one), were not being cared for as much as some. And of course there were outliers who seemed to want us all to die at a certain age because they didn't want to pay Medicare or Social Security. But they were not the norm.

Or so I thought.

And now we basically have no government, and have had a mostly non-functioning fascist oligarchical banana republic for four years. We can't trust that our generic drugs hold up to standards, can't be sure that the car batteries won't explode, can't count on Social Security being there when I do reach the age when I can draw it, and can't count on my bills coming in the mail on time.

We also have people who are calling for a Civil War. Over what? Because I want the military to buy fewer F-57s or whatever they are and spend more to ensure that you are taken care of if a drunk driver smashes into you and leaves you brain damaged? That's worth shooting me over? Really?

Or maybe it's because I want women to have control over their own bodies. You're going to kill me because you want to save a life? You do see there is no logic in that, right? You're not exchanging a dead person for a live one. It doesn't work that way.

You're going to kill me simply because I want more for you? Better services, better healthcare, better roads, better schools, better job security?

Because basically that's what I want. I think the government is the best way to deliver it - when the government is functioning properly and run by adults who have the best interest of others on their mind, and aren't trying merely to line their own pockets, or those of their friends.

I remember when the government used to be functional. When we actually had one. Sometime before Moscow Mitch took over the Senate.

Never mind, though. Regardless of who wins the election, this country is done. The great experiment in democracy is over. Who knew that the way to eliminate the U.S. Constitution was take the office of president and then totally ignore the document?

But here we are.

In a few years I predict we will not be 50 states. We will be clusters of Commonwealths or Republics or whatever they want to call themselves.

And the losers, as we always are, will be we the people, while the corporations and those who lust for power will laugh all the way to their islands in the Mediterranean, glorying in the wealth that should have been yours and mine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 215

Two of my relatives have Covid. I love them both in my own way and I'm quite concerned for them, especially the older one. I won't name them out of respect for their privacy, but they are what I consider "immediate family."

Everyday I watch the numbers in my county climb. We're up to 357 cases here, with 12 confirmed deaths. That means 1.1 percent of the population has have Covid, which is a very long way from any sort of herd immunity.

We only had 43 cases in June.

Still people do not wear masks. My brother said, "You can't force people to do things." Well, we "force" them to wear a shirt and shoes. No shirt, no shoes, no service, the signs used to say. We force them to get a new plate when they eat at the buffet line. The signs say that: New Plate for Each Visit, or something similar. We force people to use seatbelts, stop at stoplights and stop signs, follow a speed limit, not drink and drive. We keep them from using marijuana for medicinal purposes.

They're called laws. Sometimes they're rules. Sometimes they're social norms. We don't run around naked in parking lots and if we do, someone hauls us away in a paddy wagon. Sometimes things have to be done for the public good. To promote the general welfare, to quote a revered document called the U.S. Constitution.

I am all for a mask mandate until we have a vaccine in order to promote the public health and general welfare. Note I am not in favor of one forever, just until we get a handle on this thing. If people hadn't been such jerks about it to begin with, we wouldn't be where we are now (and this is worldwide - apparently 50% of the population of the entire world are selfish, except in New Zealand). 

Even my father, an ardent Republican, believes in mask wearing. He told me yesterday when we were talking about my staying out of the stores because so many people go unmasked that those people are being disrespectful to me and everyone else (his words). We both turn and go the other way if we start down an aisle and see an unmasked person.

"Stay home if you're scared," they (mostly conservatives) say on Facebook and elsewhere. That works both ways. If you won't wear a mask, then you stay home.

Why can't we create a new set of Mask Marshalls - we have loads of unemployed people now - and let them stand in front of each necessary business (grocery stores in particular) and hand out a ticket if people do not have on a mask? If people want to ball the ticket up and throw it at somebody, let them. That's why we have duplicates. Eventually it will catch up to them.

In other news, I am sick of politics but I am going to talk politics here. I will be glad when the election is over, however it unfolds, and if people begin shooting each other, well, then I guess that is the way it has to be now. We have devolved into a third-world shithole nation, so we may as well act like one. Although frankly, some of the third-world nations have done a better job with their coronavirus efforts than we have. So maybe we're like a fifth-world shithole nation now.

Someone (I think it was my brother, but I'm not positive) posted a meme on Facebook that said something like "voting is not a Valentine to the candidate, it's a move on the chessboard in the direction you want to go."

That's a great analogy, except for the fact that nobody is playing on the same chess board. We aren't playing conventional chess. We're playing something made up, like Star Trek chess or Dragons and Dungeons chess. Maybe it's a combination of Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star WarsDungeons and Dragons, and Harry Potter chess. Something with no stable rules, anyway.

So my "chess move" is a desire to bring about certain things. What do I want to bring about?

  • Accessible, affordable health care (I don't care if it's public or private, just there and available)
  • Equality for all (don't care what sex, gender, color, etc., you are, everyone should have equal rights, no one is "less than" anybody else. I don't care who marries whom or what happens in anybody's house, so long as they aren't harming one another.)
  • People working 40 hours a week should not have to live in poverty.
  • CEOs shouldn't receive 3,000 times the wages of their workers
  • Children shouldn't have to worry about being shot at school.
  • No corporate welfare (subsidies)
  • No government interference in healthcare decisions for anybody, especially women.
  • Everyone should have access to higher education if they want it.
  • Clean air, clean water, clean world.
  • Equal pay.
  • No lobbyists.
  • Term limits for all politicians and the Supreme Court.
  • Homes and jobs for veterans. (Nobody should be homeless unless it is by choice.)
  • Better funding for child welfare services, national parks, the space program, etc., and less funding for military.
  • Regulations on television and radio, similar to what it was in the 1970s, for example.

That's where my chess move would take me.

As best I can tell, a Republican's chess move is: no regulations, no taxes, and control over women. I'm sure that's not correct, but that is what it looks like from my side of the very confused chess board.

Why anyone thinks they should get a free pass and not pay taxes to live in this country, or anywhere there is a government, is beyond me. We all use the roads, we all use the public schools, the police forces, fire departments, ambulances, public parks, water and sewer, etc., paid for by united funds from all who pay taxes. We wouldn't have this stuff if we didn't pay taxes. Corporations couldn't move their goods without public infrastructure. Barrack Obama was right when he said, "No one does it alone," because despite the hardest working efforts of every self-made business person, there was somebody, somewhere, helping him along, either because of his or her education in the public school system, the use of public roads and other infrastructure, or the fact that a fire department is available to keep the building from burning down and that lowers the cost of the company's insurance.

The lowering of taxes is why much of our infrastructure is collapsing and needing repair. The money is being diverted inappropriately to corporations that don't do anything, not to needed infrastructure spending.

I wonder how many people know that the top federal income tax rate was 91 percent in 1950 and 1951, and between 1954 and 1959. In 1952 and 1953, the top federal income tax rate was 92 percent. This applied to income over $200,000 (or about $2 million in today's dollars).The tax rates of the top 0.1 and 0.01 percent of taxpayers have dropped substantially since the 1950s. The average tax rate on the 0.1 percent highest-income Americans was 50.6 percent in the 1950s, compared to 39.8 percent today. The average tax rate on the top 0.01 percent was 55.3 percent in the 1950s, compared to 40.8 percent today.

But enough about that. As things stand today, the current unemployment rate is officially 7.9%, although I think it is higher because people who became unemployed in March and have stopped looking for work aren't on the rolls anymore. I'm unemployed and not on the rolls, for example. I wouldn't mind a part-time job, but I'm not looking for one during a pandemic.

Personally, I do not think the economy ever fully recovered from the recession in 2007. I know it didn't here. New housing construction, for instance, has not returned to anywhere near the highs of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The county's efforts to court new corporations usually turn into corporate welfare schemes where the public loses in the end. Not always, but frequently enough to make anyone who thinks about it consider the notion that luring corporations in with financial incentives may not a good idea in the long run.

The federal government's response to the pandemic has been anemic, at best, and continues to be among the worst in the world. Apparently listening to the scientists is now a bad thing. I listen to my doctor and she reads the journals. She tells me that if I get Covid, I will likely die. I believe her.

So, I am staying home, mostly. We've taken a few drives, but not gone where there are people. I am doing grocery store pickups, with infrequent masked run-ins to pick up medicines and things the grocery pickup people can't locate (the items are in the store, the people apparently don't know where to look for them). I talk on the phone with friends. My husband and I have started walking in the evenings when he comes home from whatever he has been doing, and we both enjoy that even though all we are doing is walking in a circle around the house.

I've weeded the flowerbed and readied it for winter, for the most part. My roses are over 30 years old and I think they need to be dug up and replaced with something else. I just don't know what. Bushes of some kind, maybe. I am looking into that.

My birdfeeder is attracting loads of birds - some not so welcome. Yesterday I watched a big black bird land on the feeder and proceed to throw the food all over the ground. Then his friends swooped in and ate the seed off the ground. It was actually quite clever, but after I felt like they'd had enough to eat, I went outside and shooed the birds away. The starlings also have found the feeder and I shoo them off after a while, as well. I don't mind them eating the birdseed, just not all of it at once.

Yesterday, as I headed to pick up my groceries, a cardinal flew into the car. I felt very bad about killing a bird as I hate to kill anything. It couldn't be helped, as the bird hit the car and not the other way around, but I still felt badly about it. Here I am feeding hundreds of birds only to have Virginia's state bird fly into the side of the car and commit suicide.

One thing I have noticed about this strange year is that my focus is unclear. This post, for example, seems to me to be all over the place, because my thoughts are all over the place. Many of my friends are noticing the same problem. Inability to concentrate, sadness, feeling overwhelmed. 

When utter chaos surrounds you, I suspect that's a normal response.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Pandemic Journal Day - Day 199

Nearly 200 days into the economic shut-down created by the global pandemic that is known as Covid-19, the President of the United States has come down with the virus.

He was diagnosed on Thursday after a positive test and on Friday he was flown by helicopter to Walter Reed Hospital. As far as I know, he remains there, although I haven't checked the news in a few hours.

As my president - yes, he is my president - I am concerned and I hope that he recovers. I do not wish illness on anyone, regardless of my personal animosity towards him or her. I have asthma and trouble breathing sometimes. I know how awful it can feel to have oxygen levels drop. Mine have at times tumbled into the high 70s during an asthma attack, and it is scary and fatiguing.

It's not something I wish upon anybody.

This event has made me sad and confused. I am sad because I don't want to see anyone sick, and I am sorry that President Trump is now one of the more than 4,296,000 active Covid-19 cases in the United States. I do not wish him to have an early death because of this virus. 

I did not wish it upon the 209,721 people who have died from it, either.

I am confused because I have a Facebook news feed full of really strange conspiracy theories, from all quarters. People I know on either side of the political aisle do not believe he is ill. They think it is some kind of election hoax. If the people who support him do not believe him, how can they continue to support him? 

Some think he's put out coded messages in his videos and (very minimal) tweets. Apparently this is some kind of election ploy, they say. If they don't believe him, how do they expect those who oppose him to believe him? I find it bewildering.

If people (especially those who are Republicans) think the White House puts out fake news, whoever do these people trust with any news at all? No one?

So I am sad that we have apparently reached such a state of mistrust that even supporters mistrust their own candidate. Obviously, this kind of thing means the office of the president, which should be the most honored, trusted, and classiest office in existence, has reached a new low, one that even I did not predict. I thought surely his supporters would rally around him, and some have, of course. But so many are sure he isn't sick - it's a bit maddening.

Additionally, those who support the president are upset because many who do not are not openly praying for his recovery. I don't believe in the thoughts and prayers thing, so I won't be doing that, but I wish him well. However, it is hypocritical to expect the people who oppose the president to be woeful about his illness, especially since he has dismissed science and created much chaos by lack of leadership during this pandemic.

One only had to watch his actions to know that eventually he would become ill. Flouting the known science and advice from the people who have studied viruses all their lives did no one any good, especially not himself.

Personally, I think he is sick. I am concerned because I've not heard a single mention of how his wife is doing, as she also has the virus. She is 50 years old and as far as I know is being treated at the White House, so perhaps she is ok. But I would like an update on her condition, too.

I have not forgotten that Mr. Trump didn't hesitate to make fun of Hillary Clinton when she was campaigning with pneumonia. I suspect many people have not forgotten that.

I want this man out of office because he has corrupted it and he has demolished the role of the federal government to the point where it cannot respond as it needs to (see pandemic response, hurricane response, wildfire response, etc.). 

But that doesn't mean I want him to die.

In other news -

We continue to practice physical distancing. I saw my dentist and my doctor last week, and both were nerve-wracking but I managed and so far (knock wood), I am fine. My doctor is not seeing sick people, only people who are asymptomatic. If I get sick I will get a teledoc visit - or she said if she thought she had to see me, she would come out to my car! I thought that was amazing.

The dental visit was a bit frustrating because the hygienist needs a few days off. She complained about not being able to use certain tools to clean teeth the entire time she was working on me, and that grew wearisome after about the eighth time of hearing it. I couldn't do a thing about it.

I am going adventure shopping in a bit - a Kroger pickup. The cases locally keep slipping up. We now have 315 cases in my county. We have nearly 1% of the population now the virus. Twenty-four residents are in the hospital right now and 10 have died.

These are strange and scary times. 


Monday, September 21, 2020

Pandemic Journal Day 185

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Supreme Court Justice, died on Friday, September 18, 2020.

Within two hours of the official notification of her death, the leader of the Senate (I refuse to name him but I will call him turtle head), was proclaiming that he would bring up nominations to replace her. She wasn't even cold yet and this turtle head was being a turtle butthole. He could have at least waited a day.

But no.

Of course, when Justice Scalia passed away in February 2016, turtle head refused to bring Merrick Garland up for nomination. Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican.

Turtle head will be remembered as one of the many reasons the United States is now a failed authoritarian third-world nation. I wonder if in 2000 years the United States' 250 years of existence will just be a footnote in the history annals. I strongly suspect that will be the case. So much for ever lasting democracy.

What a joke we are.

Our military might is the only reason the United Nations isn't intervening and trying to set our boat back aright. Instead we're all listing horribly and many of us are being flung into the deep seas, left to drown.

As far as the pandemic, I continue to physical distance. Kroger is a horrifying place to go into, and I do that infrequently. Their pickup is awful, and many times I do not receive the items I need. So I masked up and went in last week. It was panic-attack inducing. They are understaffed, and I could have died in Aisle 5 and no one would have noticed.

They have no one ensuring people follow protocol. They have no arrows on the floors for physical distancing. Just little happy reminders to "Stay six feet" from fellow shoppers. Like people can still read. Obviously they cannot, do not, or will not.

I have friends who believe that come November things will be better. I have news for them, bless their hopeful little hearts. The white supremist genie is out of the bottle and it's not going back in without a majorly bigly bottle and a very strong cork. We do not have either one. We are going to continue to decline. Things will only get worse, regardless of who wins the election. The only thing the election may do is postpone the ultimate inevitable. Or it may bring it on that much faster. I just know it's not going to help.

We are not the same country we were when the U.S. Constitution was written. Not that it matters - the current administration has simply dismissed it as the ancient piece of paper it is and gone about its merry way, wrecking havoc and sowing chaos and discord at every turn. But it's time for a new one, I'm afraid.

One that recognizes everyone who looks human IS human. One that is genderless. One that is secular and free of demons and gods. One that understands that the needs of a human being include not only "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," but also health care and a basic bottom line that is reasonable and just. And that justice as a concept applies to all, not only the monied.

I will be long dead before any of that comes to pass, though. Maybe my great-niece's children will step up, I don't know. I know the baby boomers are capable of nothing but destruction and selfishness. The Millennials are thoughtful and may come through as they age, but first the baby boomers have to step aside, and those in power will be a long time releasing it.

As a people and a society, we need to recognize that the good of the many outweigh the needs of the few. We need to understand that in order to function, we need one another. We are not little islands, set apart. Look at how much we miss one another during the lockdowns with the pandemic. We need other people, and not just those who operate within our bubbles.

We need everybody. Good, bad, ugly, conservative, liberal, screwy and straight. It takes all kinds to move a society forward.

When you become divided, so "us versus them" as we have now, then society stalls and stagnates. It takes artists and dreamers to create visions; it takes engineers sometimes to make those visions reality. We need all kinds of people to function, not only the ones a person wants to deal with, but everyone.

Every. Single. One.

To disregard lives for any reason, to throw them away simply because of stupidity - it's the biggest sin ever. And here we are, reaching 200,000 people dead from coronavirus just here in the USA. And there was no need for most of them to die.

We had no leadership when this began, no leadership now as we muddle through it, and I see no leadership in the future.

If we'd had leadership, we'd never have run out of toilet paper.

Public health should not be political. But everything now is political, and when politics enters any realm, it immediately, simply by definition, taints it. That's because the political is about power, and power lacks empathy, understanding, and compassion.

It always has.

I really hope reincarnation is a thing, because I want to come back in 2000 years and see that the USA is simply an asterisk in the annals of history. We may not even be that. We may as forgotten as Atlantis, a silly fable people tell and talk about as if it were real.

Because after all, we're not real now, are we? When reality fails and becomes what TV and talking heads make it, in spite of what your eyes see, then it is all imaginary anyway, isn't it?

In spite of the dead. In spite of the pain.

In spite of the lack of humanity.

Or maybe the world is upside down because we lack humanity.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 164

Last week, I had my second haircut since the pandemic started. I had the hair stylist cut it short because who knows when things may shut down again.

Schools have opened, and there is already a reported case in one of the county elementary schools. It did not take long and I don't expect it to be the last one.

The upcoming elections have knocked the Covid virus out of the news cycle somewhat, although the daily newspaper and the local TV stations are still running reports on it constantly, updating numbers and pointing out hotspots. They are reporting too on how the local colleges and school systems are handling the pandemic.

We continue to "mask up" and mostly stay home. We are homebodies anyway so this is not a real trial for us. My husband can go out and do his farm chores without worry, and I am ordering groceries online and having things shipped to us instead of going out. I ventured inside Kroger on Thursday because they kept leaving things out of my orders and I finally went in after them, but I tried to be quick about it. The store has been changed around since I was last in it so it took a little longer than I'd expected.

I know other people are eager to be out and about. Not everyone likes to stay home. Some folks like to travel and others just need to be around people more than I. I feel bad for them because they can't do what they want. I have a blogging friend who is in a hotel right now and she said they aren't coming in and cleaning every day and they have to change their own sheets and things. If I have to do all that, I may as well stay home.

The most recent book I read is Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers, by Carolyn See. It was written in 2002 and it was startling to see how much the publishing landscape has changed in the last 18 years. Some of the advice no longer holds true, but every story still needs characters, plot, location, and a time frame, so that was a good short refresher course.

Other things to note: protests continue, along with damage that I think is not done by the peaceful rioters but instead by people looking to make trouble. Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, and we were supposed to have a great deal of rain from it but we had very little. California has had multiple fires again. The candidates are set for the November election.

Today, we have rain.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 145

Last night we watched the final episode of season one of Stargirl, a DC comics character. The show is on the CW channel.

It is basically Buffy the Vampire Slayer in hero costumes and not with vampires. Which is to say, it isn't like that show, which was much darker, but in many ways it is.

Stargirl starts out as Courtney, becoming the "chosen one" when the staff of the long-dead Starman, in the possession of her new stepfather, picks her to be the new superhero. Formerly there was a Justice League in this comic world that consisted of Starman, the Flash, and a bunch of other superheroes, but the Injustice Society killed them all about a decade ago.

Courtney is moved to a new school, so she has no friends, and she sits at the table with the other no-friend kids. (Yes, this is very much like Buffy's beginning.) Eventually, her mentor (aka her stepfather) shows her where the Justice Society used to meet, and she takes items belonging to certain former members and hands them out to her new friends, who then become superheroes, too.

The villains, the Injustice Society, all seem to have settled in this peaceful little mid-west Nebraska town where Courtney and her family have moved. The Injustice Society's evil plot is a massive mind control over most of middle America. The goal is to get them to "think properly." They must acquire a huge satellite to make this work, but before that happens, Stargirl and Brainwave (bad guy) have a meeting and Stargirl puts him in a coma for a lot of episodes. In the end, Stargirl and her super friends defeat the bad guys.

I will be watching season two, and my husband I both agreed that Stargirl has much more promise that last fall's Batwoman, which began well but was so poorly written that in the end it was a relief when the season ended. The lead has been recast and a second season slated for that show as well, so we'll see how it goes.

As the pandemic rolls on, the viral numbers locally have climbed. 0.65 percent of the county's population now has the virus. That doesn't seem like a lot, but I know of at least three people who have died and I suspect the number is higher. In the nearby city, they've reached more than one percent of the city's population. I don't know how many people have died. The numbers are strange, and I blame a lot of that on the federal government and its mismanagement and manipulation of facts. The CDC and public health officials should be in control of this, not politicians.

Schools are starting in varying ways. Some are solely online, some are going a few days a week. Some in other states have started and already had to shut down because of coronavirus exposure. Many teachers don't want to go back to the classroom out of fear of getting the virus, and I can't blame them. Who knows who will have an asymptomatic case, and who will catch it and die a horrible, lonely death? What a roll of dice. How much more must we ask of these professionals, who now must not only try to keep children from getting sick, but decide if they should close the door to let in fresh air or shut it to keep out gunmen? It seems a bit too much.

Speaking of school, my niece went off last week for her freshman year at college. Fingers crossed it goes well for her and that the virus doesn't interfere too much with her studies.

Some civil rights protests continue but none locally that I am aware of. The local government in July created a committee to study the Civil War monument at the courthouse. This has upset many people. My great-great-grandfather was a Dixie soldier, and my opinion is the monument should be moved. The public square should be equal to all. Moving it would also keep it safe. It has already been vandalized once, in June, when someone threw paint all over it. If it were moved out of the public square, perhaps in front of the history museum or in a cemetery, it would be less likely to be destroyed. A similar monument in the city was knocked over and broken. While I understand that this obelisk is not history, it is, at over 100 years old, historic in its own right (especially if put in the appropriate context). So my vote would be to move it to achieve equality in the public square while protecting the monument. Not that I have been asked, but I am allowed an opinion on things.

At home, my husband is enjoying his retirement. He sleeps later (fewer 5 a.m. mornings, anyway), and he seems much less stressed. He's always been kind of happy-go-lucky in his attitude, and now he's happy-go-luckier, I suppose.

I've had my usual sore throat/laryngitis/earache issues since August 3. It has eased somewhat, although my brother informed me on the phone this morning that I sounded awful. I am staying in because I don't want to scare anyone who might hear me speak if I were in public. Somebody might throw garlic or holy water on me or try to put a stake in my heart, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, thinking I have coronavirus.

Being home suits me. As long as I don't stress about "doing" and focus more on "being," I find I am calmer. While I would like to find a project of some kind, I am not ready to commit to anything long term. For the moment, I am happy to play catch-up on paperwork, clear out some old papers, play my guitar, and listen to lots of Melissa Etheridge concerts and other music online.

I finished a book called The Tethered Mage, which I recommend if you like fantasy combined with political intrigue. It is the first part of a trilogy, but stands alone okay as a first book. I just started an audiobook by Debbie Macomber. It's a Christmas romance set in Alaska. My reading habits vary greatly depending on my mood, although to be honest I chose this one simply because it was only seven hours long and I didn't want to listen to anything longer right now.

The Democratic ticket has been set as of yesterday, with Joe Biden choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate. I have thought all along that she would be his choice.

Let the games begin.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Pandemic Journal Day 136

I can't let a tornado in Botetourt County go by unremarked.

We did not see the tornado, though apparently it was just over the ridge. We went riding around immediately after hearing about it, though. We think it formed near the intersection of Haymakertown Road and Lee Lane and ten followed the Catawba Creek, mostly as a funnel cloud, but perhaps touching down.

The National Weather Service is supposed to be investigating today to confirm touchdown.

The alert went off on my phone while I was in the middle of watching a Melissa Etheridge concert online that I'd paid $10 to see. About the time the alert went off, my PC screen froze, but I was able to refresh it and continue watching. I wasn't getting up from that unless I absolutely had to and we don't, as a rule, have tornadoes here. 

My husband left my side and went prowling around the house to see if he could see anything. He reported rotation in the clouds towards my father's house, which is about where we think the tornado began. Photos began pouring in on social media and my friends Cathy and Teresa both say they felt the tornado and/or heard it.

The tornado apparently came through around 6:40 or so, and we hopped in the car at 7 p.m. and drove around to see if we could find its path. Nothing was visible from the road aside from the one spot at the aforementioned location, whether there were some downed tree limbs. That's why we think it formed around there.

As for the pandemic, we continue to have zero leadership at the federal level. Governor Northam has done a good job trying to keep things in hand in Virginia, but I'm not sure how you deal with so many stupid people and manage a pandemic all at the same time. Everyday there are utterly appalling videos of people who should know better having temper tantrums over wearing masks. You'd think they were all two years old and have never heard the concept of community and protecting others, the way they act. I would be embarrassed. The sad thing is, they think they are in the right and this is all some kind of hoax. A big world-wide hoax, I guess. Must be the best damn hoax ever, is all I can say.

More than 153,000 US citizens have died from this virus. I'm pretty sure a lot of them did not have to die and would not have died if we'd had appropriate leadership to begin with. But we did not.

Last night I started getting a sore throat and that continues into today. My neck glands are a little swollen. I also have a bit of a headache. The headache could be weather-related since we have a tropical depression/hurricane coming up the coast.

I was out a lot last week - I drove my mother-in-law to get her car, I picked up groceries Monday and last night (I do the online thing, I don't go in the store), I had to see the orthopedic doctor, I went to the chiropractor. I probably picked up something somewhere down the line even though I use a lot of Purell and wash my hands at every sink I see. I am not concerned it is Covid-45. I suppose it could be, but most likely it is either an allergy (my husband kept rolling down the car windows because they kept fogging up Saturday night when we were looking for the tornado's path and everyone had mowed their yard), or I picked up one of the many other little viruses that I frequently get.

In other words, it doesn't feel like an out-of-the-ordinary illness for me, although I am quite tired and more than a little depressed.  Time will tell.

The children are supposed to start back to school this month, some homeschooling completely, some going back two days a week, some doing a mix of both online and in-class learning. My niece is headed off to Radford University.  Hopefully she will be safe there and wear her mask and do the things she needs to do take care of herself.

My husband came in this morning fussing because yesterday he'd seen a woman and a child in a silver vehicle stopped a long the side of the road at the pasture field. He did not say anything to them - he should have - and for some strange reason he assumed they were picking up trash (nobody picks up trash, why would he assume that?). At any rate, he came back up ranting and raving because apparently the woman and child had decided to fly a kite and the string was wrapped around the power line and power pole and the kite is in the pasture field. Because of the way the string is wrapped around the power line, he is afraid to touch it. The kite is a hazard to the cows.

What a stupid thing to do.

Then he went to Walmart. Apparently the stores are still having trouble keeping stock; we can't find Clean Shower anywhere, not even online. I like using that to help keep the shower clean. I've considered a mix of water and vinegar but I'm afraid the vinegar will eat the finish off the shower head and the grab bars, all of which are covered with some kind of dark bronze. The Lime-Away has already eaten the color out of the water drain cover and I'd just as soon not mess up the other items.

He stopped by a body repair shop to let them look at a dent in the car. The car has several dents, including one acquired last night on the way home from a grocery store pickup. He slowed but the deer hit into the side of the car. The repair estimate for all the dents is a lot. I think I'll just drive a dented car.

The political divisions in this country are strong, deep, and sick. I read a post on the "Local Conservatives" Facebook group page that was sickening. (They have it open to the public, it is very full of hate. I'd be ashamed to belong to that group.) This one guy advocated separating the country into two nations, and anyone who wasn't a Conservative who wanted to stay in the real America (i.e., the Conservative one), "socalists will loose the right to vote here and be disarmed." [sic] So, in other words, fascism.

I think I need to stay off that page but it is aggravating because I see people I thought otherwise knew better on it and not a single one pointed out to this nut case that he was advocating the same thing Germany did prior to World War II. Their silence implies compliance and agreement.

That's not to say I don't see stupidity on "the left" because I do. I do, however, point out when they overreach. I also am not active in any groups and especially not in any local groups. My father thinks I'm a flaming liberal just because I believe in a social safety net and equal rights for women. But that just makes me a moderate. We have no real left in this country. What used to be center is now considered left, that's how fascist we've become.

Maybe they'll wake up one day, when one of #45's paramilitary stomps on their mommas' faces or something, I don't know.

I'm getting off topic, I was talking about the pandemic, although the pandemic has been made political so it's hard to separate the two. A public health issue shouldn't be political. We should be gracious enough to take care of one another.

I guess that is too much to ask.

For those who need to know (and someone must because I felt very led to do this):

Fascism: a totalitarian governmental system led by a dictator and emphasizing aggressive nationalism, militarism, and often racism.

Socialism: a theory or system of social organization in which the means of production and distribution of goods are owned and controlled collectively or by the government

Democracy: government in which supreme power is exercised directly by the people or by their elected agents.

Democrat: an advocate of democracy

Capitalism: an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately owned.

Just for fun: if the governments/states owns the roads, and you transport your privately made goods over those roads (distribution), is it capitalism or socialism?

Think about it.

Take your time.

*Webster's Dictionary. Everybody ought to own a hard copy.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 119

Things will never be normal again. If people can't see that, they aren't paying attention. Even if #45's miracle happened, and the virus magically vanished overnight, things cannot go back to the way they were.

For me, I have found that being reclusive is better for my overall health. Maybe not so much for my mental health, but I haven't had a cold for months and my allergies have been much better because I'm staying inside or wearing a mask when I am out. I believe I will be wearing a mask when I am out now for the rest of my life (however long or short that may be). It's obvious that I was correct in my notion that I picked up everything that came around when I was in contact with other people. By limiting my exposure to humanity, I am staying healthier, at least as far as my respiratory system goes. I wish a doctor had told me to wear a mask years ago. Think of all of the snot, sneezes, fevers, and bedrest I might have avoided. It's a simple solution. I suppose I should have thought of it myself, but it is outside of societal norms here.

Some things we did before the coronavirus aren't going to make it. Movie theaters, maybe, will be one of the casualties, although perhaps drive-in theaters will make a come-back. Movie theaters were struggling even before the coronavirus. I always thought maybe if they actually made the tickets affordable, more people might go see a flick on the big screen. We only went to matinees because $25 for a ticket was outrageous.

Retail stores, which were already struggling, likely will not make it either. Brooks Brothers and JC Penney's both have filed bankruptcy. Retail therapy is going to be taking place on line, and frankly it is not as satisfying to surf the 'net hunting for something as it to feel the texture of a piece of cloth.

There is something to be said for an appeal to multiple senses when making a shopping purchase. Perhaps we will see a rise in small boutique shops as opposed to larger department stores. I don't know. I'm not an economic prophet.

Print newspapers will continue their decline, probably moving most things online if they survive at all. I like to read a real newspaper, just as I prefer a real book, but I have adjusted to doing both in various settings as warranted. I read The New York Times and The Guardian online, along with whatever free readings I'm allowed from various other news sources. I can only pay for so many.

Civility, I fear, is gone completely, along with any instinct to protect society or the mores and morals of communities. I don't look for manners, politeness, or common sense to make a comeback any time soon. 

Maybe the next generation can do better.

On the farm, we've been late with hay, although we're on a second cutting now. It rained most of June and now we're burning up and having a near-drought in July. When you run a farm, you just have to deal with it.

I haven't had my hair cut since June 8. At that time, I had anticipated a return of some routines, like an every-four-week haircut, but the virus numbers locally have been climbing. Botetourt is at 161 cases, which means about 0.4879% of the county's population has been infected. That doesn't sound like a lot out of 33,000 people, but nationwide, 138,290 people have died. That's equivalent to everyone in Botetourt County dying about four times over. Or all of Botetourt and all of Roanoke City, to look at it another way. 

So no haircuts for me again. Fortunately it doesn't seem to be growing quickly so I can live with it a while longer. Maybe now that businesses are finally stepping up and doing what the government apparently can't - that is, enforce mask-wearing and physical distancing measurers - perhaps the numbers will decline. I'm not sure I like rule by corporation, but I believe that is what we have in place, anyway. The big companies are that "shadow government" some like to talk about in their conspiracy theories. They simply don't identify them that way.

My husband is happy that he retired from the fire department. He is much less stressed. Since he is only eating at home, where I have a little more control over what is here, he has lost about 15 pounds. At the firehouse they had huge meals and they gobbled their food. We have little meals. I'm the one with the emotional eating issue because I'm still home alone throughout the day and when I grow tired, bored, angry, or otherwise unhappy, I reach for chocolate. I'm trying to do better but failing miserably.

I am also struggling with what I think is a bad heel spur in my left foot. It's been there for months. It was a full-blown case of plantar fasciitis, and I did stretches and icing and the pain in the arch is gone, but there is one spot in my heel that feels like I am stepping on a nail every time I put my foot down. Yesterday I started taping it and changed heel cups again to try to ease it. It makes it difficult to keep up with my exercise.

Going to the doctor is my last option, but if this is not better by August, I guess I will have to go, as taping every day is the only thing left I've not tried.

I am quite disillusioned today. I have been for several days, actually, but I guess mood swings in strange times should be considered normal.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 108

The July 4 holiday passed by uneventfully here at the ol' farmstead. We went up on top of one of the hills on the farm and watched the fireworks all around us.

The moon was full and a beautiful orange, highlighting the revelry of exploding colors. We turned our heads constantly, watching the fireworks explode first to our right, then to our left, then directly in front of us.  It was just my husband and me, and we held hands while we sat in the car. In the moments when the fireworks were silent, the fireflies paved the way as they danced through the hayfield. Each firework boomed or sizzled, sometimes sounding like cannons volleying, and other times sounding like bacon frying. The air soon smelled of sulfur even though we were, in some cases, miles away from the exploding celebrations. I could see the haze of gunpowder across the valleys, the smoke swirling in the moonlight.

Sunday, we spent the day inside for the most part. July has come in hot and humid, with temperatures hovering around 95 degrees. Last week, my husband worked on a septic installation job, and he came in with his hair and shirt both soaking wet every day. Not from rain, but from the humidity.

Tomorrow I go for a mammogram, a follow-up to a visit in November. Allegedly I have cysts, but they wanted me back in six months. That should have been May but they weren't doing things like that then.

When I made the appointment for this, we had few cases. Now we are climbing in numbers and frankly it is scarier going out now than it was back in April, when the cases were in the cities. While other parts of Virginia are decreasing in cases, southwest Virginia's numbers are climbing. We now have 134 cases in Botetourt alone. I remember when I thought 33 was a lot.

My husband is going with me tomorrow even though he can't go in and will have to wait in the car. The appointment should go quickly - I have to call and tell them when I'm in the parking lot before they will let me in the building. I doubt they will tarry. I have to wear a mask, which I would do anyway. I expect they will take my temperature and all of that. I appreciate the precautions. I still find it scary, though.

The temperature of the nation seems like the entire place has Covid-45. People are protesting, still. I think that's been going on for a month. They are still removing statues, and I say good riddance to most of those, although I would have preferred a more orderly removal and placement in a museum or something. It is time those reminders of a lost and loathsome cause are put out of the public sphere. They certainly don't belong in front of the capital building in Richmond.

Our fearless leader, #45, over the July 4 weekend gave doomsday speeches and called everyone who opposed him evil and someone who should be dealt with firmly. It was so Hitler-esque that I personally don't see how others can't see that, but people only hear what they want to hear, I suppose. I'm sure that includes me. I hear evil and others hear greatness. Sometimes I feel totally out of step with my neighbors and my family. But my morality insists I remain true to my heart.

I have been reading a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson. It has interesting ideas in it, some of which I am trying to implement. I need to stop giving a fuck about a lot of things, but most especially things I have no control over. I wish it came with a workbook.

These remain strange times. At least the aliens didn't land on July 4, although frankly I think that would have been a cool thing to see.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Pandemic Journal - Day 101

Wow, I can't believe it's been over 100 days since this Covid virus moved in and kicked the USA's ass. And it's still kicking ass. The numbers locally have increased and continue to increase. We now have 21 active cases. Last week we had 16 active cases.

Nationwide, the cases are climbing to rather scary numbers. We opened up too soon. Even Republicans are saying to wear a mask now. Well, Pence is, anyway. I wonder if he'll get kicked off the election ticket for going against the supreme one?

I have decided to remain solitary and defend my home and person from any and all infections as much as I possibly can.

That sounds better than, "I'm a wimp and afraid of a virus." Maybe.

All in all, things are going ok. I know of some folks with the virus right now. They are not seriously ill. I know a few people who have been asymptomatic but tested positive. (I don't know why they were tested in the first place.)

I had a long, thoughtful chat with a friend on Friday. She gave me lots to think about. So I have been busy thinking.

Today I have my house cleaner here. She is wearing a mask. Unless I am in my office, I too wear a mask. Yes, in my own home. I wear a mask to protect her in case I'm a carrier, and she to protect me in case she is. It's just how we do things now.

I think the last week of June is not a good week for me, all in all. My mother's birthday is June 20 and my grandmother died on June 28. It is hard not to think of them on those anniversary dates. They're almost on top of each other but there's time in there for the angst to settle down deep if you're not paying attention.

And let's face it, with everything that is going on, it is hard to keep on top of little things, much less the big important ones.

This is a picture of my grandmother holding my mother. I'm going to guess this was taken September 1944, since my mother was born in June 1944. There are still leaves on the trees in the photo, so it couldn't have been beyond that.

My grandmother was born June 11, 1923 (June really is a hard month, isn't it?), so she was 21 years old when my mother was born. I don't know much about my grandmother's early life. She worked at the Valley Dale plant in Salem until she had my mother. My great aunt also worked there. Grandma then became a mom to six kids, and she kept almost all of her grandchildren at some time or the other.

My mother was 18 when I was born, and I was the oldest grandchild. When I was sick, I went to stay with Grandma if I had to stay home from school. My mother worked only a block away from my grandmother's house. I was sick a lot, so I spent a good deal of time on Grandma's lap. 

During the summers we stayed with her, too. I remember those best. She's walk us up to downtown Salem occasionally. We'd go to Brooks Byrd for a snow cone and to the Newberry's to buy a little toy. We usually purchased balsa wood airplanes, those paddles with balls on them, or jacks or something. The walk did not seem that long but it was about 1.5 miles one way. My grandmother would have been in her late 40s and early 50s then, I suppose. She had her last child in 1964, on my birthday. Yes, I have an uncle who is a year younger than I.

Grandma was always kind to me, but she and my mother did not get along well. My mother and I also had our problems, and in hindsight I suspect my relationship with her mirrors to some degree her relationship with her mother. I mean, that's what she knew, right? So of course it would. But by the time Grandma became a grandmother, she knew more and maybe was a different person. People change, after all.

I hope I have, and for the better.

Anyway, those are memories and not anything about the pandemic, but I wanted to remember my grandmother. 

We have lovely blue sky at the moment, and it appears the Sahara Dust Storm of 2020 has blown on out of here. The air was very hazy and brown over the weekend but it seems much clearer today. 

What a strange year we are having.