Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Quick Brown Fox

 My avoiding screen time is not going well. Ugh. I may be addicted to the internet. It's just too easy to cozy up to a screen. I have been diligent about wearing my blue light blocking glasses the whole time though, so that's something.

We've been getting some rain these days, but not nearly enough. I really want a few really good storms that flood the streets the way they used to. This too dry weather makes me nervous. I've been up most of the night and there was lots of loud thunder throughout the very early morning, but Dave's new rain gauge says we only got 1/100" of rain last night. Sigh.

I'm tired this morning (see also being up throughout the night).  

I watched a few clips from the Olympics online, mostly women's gymnastics and synchronized diving. I'm fascinated by synchronized sports. I don't know how that became a thing, but of course you know that the Chinese are always going to win those gold medals, right? I think they should make synchronized pole dancing an Olympic sport. That I might actually watch, along with the rest of the world.

I'm also fascinated by how the Japanese just appeared to say "fuck it" and left everything labeled "Tokyo 2020." I wonder if the marathon that's being run in Hokkaido (because summer in Tokyo is ichiban brutal) will still be labeled "Tokyo 2020."

I'm tired. Obviously.

What else has been going on? Not much, really. A coupld of nights ago, Dave and I had Zoom dinner with a couple of friends, Glen and Kathleen.  Both are in very high risk categories and limit their outings to grocery stores and a bit of hiking in the mountains around their house.  They have worked the Balloon Fiesta every year (but last year when it was cancelled due to Covid) for the last 20 years and this year because of their concerns about Covid, they have decided that they can't do it. I am siding with them. Have you seen the numbers for the Delta variant infections in the US? It's insane. There are five states in the south that have no ICU beds available. (It's so beyond medically unethical to even suggest not treating people who refused the vaccine but are now needing ventilators, so I will just say that I have very little sympathy for people who refuse the vaccine and then get sick. So very little sympathy. Like republican "thoughts and prayers" level of don't give a fuck.)

There's new evidence that vaccinated people who are infected with Delta produce the same amount of virus as unvaccinated, infected people. So yes, if you are vaccinated and get Covid, you may avoid hospitalization and death, but you are still passing it on to others, including children who cannot yet be vaccinated.

So that's my rant. Get vaccinated, wear your masks if you have to go out, and DON'T GO OUT.

I'm over it.

I just want to sleep through the rest of the day. Is that so much to ask? (I have therapy this afternoon.)


Sunday, July 25, 2021

That's It

 A quick update as I'm still trying (and even sometimes succeeding) at limiting my screen time.

We went by the studio yesterday and I worked on a single plate. I really should bring my plates and paints home and work on them here. The trek to the studio can be a pain sometimes, especially when it is just to paint one plate. (It's also to check up on Judi as she is alone since Paul died and the dog can only provide so much companionship.)

We wear our masks the entire time we're there, which is uncomfortable. Judi does not wear a mask. It's her place, so I don't insist or even suggest. But we also leave the door open and the fan on the entire time. Everyone is so invested in pretending the pandemic is over, but the newest statistics from Israel are concerning. The Pfizer vaccine is only 39% effective at preventing infection (which I presume also means re-infection), though still 88% at preventing hospitalization and 91% effective at preventing death. I assume some things from this information: One is that the Moderna stats are similar. The other is that, just like with all other statistical information presented, this does not reflect the incidents of long covid, where people are marked as "recovered" without taking into account that they are still without a sense of taste or smell, are dealing with blood clotting issues, are still having pulmonary problems, and so on. I also read today that re-infections are *not* being counted in the infection rate, which is alarming. And the CDC is not tracking breakthrough infections (that is, infections that occur in vaccinated people). 

The pandemic is not over, folks. Stop acting like it is.

Gray Kitty has also had a tough week. Last Thursday (or was it Wednesday?) he had to go the vet with a ruptured anal gland. Now he's in a cone collar so it can heal and he can't lick the area. He should have the cone off soon though, as things are going well. Thankfully. He hates being in the collar. It makes him very needy and frustrated. 

Okay, that's it. That's the update. Time to get away from the screen again.

Take care, everyone.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

That's All

 I'm restricting my screen time these days to protect my eyes, but I am still alive and kicking. Recent happenings:

I "finished" physical therapy for my neck and it feels a lot better so long as I keep up on my exercises, which I have been doing.

Paul's memorial service was this past Friday and we went. Only a handful of people (out of about 80) were masked up, which freaks me out, but we were two of the handful. Everyone around us was eating and drinking and kissing and so on, but we just kept our masks on. There was no attempt at social distancing and I know that people are sick of Covid, but there is still a pandemic going on.

I had an eye exam and am now wearing sunglasses whenever I'm outside, using blue-light blocking glasses whenever I'm on the computer, and taking special eye protecting supplements to see if they will work to help protect my eyes. I go back in six months for a check up. 

l have been sleeping relatively well at night, a first for me. (I probably just jinxed it.) 

Anyway, that's all for now.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Sunflowers

I've interspersed some pictures of our sunflower garden throughout this blog entry. All of them are volunteers from the seeds that the birds dropped as they ransacked the seedheads last year. Amazing flowers, aren't they? I love sunflowers.

Yesterday was David's birthday, his second pandemic birthday. We had a quiet day--he had to work--but we had lots of good food including cake and ice cream and lots of presents, among them a mandolin and strings and a new synthesizer-ish instrument called an Artiphon Orba.

In the evening it rained and that was a good sign, hopefully, to start off a good year.

The rest of the day was also quiet for me. I did a little journaling and painting and watched a few episodes of Monk. I haven't been sleeping well, so I napped in the afternoon for awhile before making dinner (homemade mac'n'cheese and steamed broccoli, Dave's favored birthday dinner). 

 Over the weekend, I did a bit of sewing, making my brother a set of new masks to replace the old sewn ones that he's been wearing since last year. We're still in a pandemic, turns out, and still wearing masks despite the lifting of the (poorly enforced) mask mandates in the city. I'm wary of what the delta variant is doing as I've heard of many, many breakthrough covid infections among vaccinated people. Most of those who are dying from covid are unvaccinated, but most does not equal all. And there is some evidence that the vaccine's protections may last as little as six months. (I'm coming up on my six month anniversary of having been fully vaccinated.)

 Like everyone, I'm tired of Covid and I want everything to go back to whatever passed for normal before, but I'm not ready to sacrifice others to do so. So I still wear my mask whenever I'm around others and I still practice social distancing and I still do everything that I was doing before I was vaccinated pretty much. 

 Today I have to make a few phone calls. I have therapy in the afternoon. I need to do some exercise, mostly related to physical therapy (I cancelled last week because I had a sore throat--my Covid test was negative--so this week I'll return). I did not sleep well last night, of course, so I'll try to catch some zzz's this morning before all of that gets going. 

Friday, July 2, 2021

Handsome Boy


 That's our handsome boy, Gray Kitty, sitting up on the fence to survey his territory. He's getting to be an old boy, so he doesn't wander as much and he's fairly cautious anymore (but that's good, because he doesn't get into fights and come home scarred up and needing to go to the vet). Since he's come to live with us--he was a neighborhood stray that we took in--he's liked to sit up in that spot and watch the sunset.  When he's sitting there, he pretends not to know us and refuses to look at us (like he's doing in this picture) or respond to his name. If we try to touch or pet him, he kind of arches away from it. It cracks me up.

This week I've been feeling kind of...off. The bulk of my sinus stuff has cleared up, but I'm still getting that bad smell. And my throat has been vaguely sore all week. Of course I'm paranoid enough to think that it might be a breakthrough Covid infection (there's more of those with the Delta variant ascending), so I took a Covid test on Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?) and am waiting to hear the results. In the meantime, I've been staying home as much as possible, including cancelling my physical therapy appointment yesterday. 

While I wait, I've been embroidering, watching Netflix, the usual pandemic activities. While looking on Amazon for a Japanese style grater, Amazon recommended this new thing that they're offering: personalized virtual tours. Of course they suggested Japan to me and I looked up the specifics. You can book a 40 to 60 minute tour that range in cost from $10 to $70 or so. In that time, a tour guide carries a camera that allows you to see where they're going (popular areas like Gion in Kyoto or Asakusa in Tokyo) and they can give you the history of the place or convey other information. You can direct them to enter various shops and so on if you like. They will also purchase items (which of course you pay for through Amazon) and ship them to you. I looked at what they are offering and thought: I would like a shopping trip to Itoya (my favorite stationary store in Ginza, where I used to spend hours browsing) and perhaps another tour of resale kimono shops in Kyoto. (One of my regrets is not bringing home more souvenirs from Kyoto. In fact, I didn't bring home a single thing for myself from there as I'm not much of a souvenir shopper. But now I think, wouldn't it be great to have some old kimono to repurpose for sewing projects?)

My birthday is coming up soon and since I'm not really prepared to travel what with Covid, maybe I'll arrange for a couple of these tours as a present to myself.

What else has been going on? 

Not much, really. We've been having dinner outside on the patio recently. We had a big Indian takeout feast--dal, tandoori chicken, dosa, samosas, aloo gobi, rice--night before last (from a restaurant called Naan + Dosa) and last night I made Japanese-ish food (hence the online search for a Japanese style grater as our cheese grater did not really know what to do with daikon). The patio has been pleasant at dinnertime because we've been having unseasonably cool and rainy weather. It was hotter and sunnier yesterday, so we had dinner--pizza margherita and braised cauliflower with calabrian chile--inside.

Tonight I think I'll try using up the last of our veggies before our weekend grocery order, so we'll probably have nachos and calabacitas. If we don't order takeout dim sum, that is. Cooking can be such a drag sometimes!