Everyone is on edge, even those of us who aren't leaving the house. I understand that tempers are flaring, but this kind of behavior is outrageous.
I'm seeing way too much of this horrible behavior in the news. I'm seeing videos of people screaming at people... telling them to go home to China. It horrifies me. Many of the people targeted, are Asian Americans, just like my daughter-in-law. Many of these victims have never been to Asia. But even if they had just arrived from China, they should never be treated this way!
Lunar New Year
I'm constantly looking at the calendar, trying to wrap my head around the beginning of 2020. I remember on January 25, Don and I picked up carryouts to celebrate the Lunar New Year. That was before people were doing carryouts to be cautious.
I remember feeling a little guilty, that I even thought briefly, about Coronavirus worries, before picking up our food. That's ridiculous... then again, there's so much travel between Houston and China... That thought only lasted a second. The food was wonderful.
A month later in February, I picked up carryouts at our favorite Thai restaurant. I was shocked to find empty tables at the popular place. Where is everyone? Are people really afraid of dining in Asian restaurants? Just a couple weeks later, restaurant closures began.
Making Things Worse
I understand that people are scared and uncertain. It's okay for worried people to stay away from restaurants. But I don't understand the scared, ignorant and angry fools, who lash out at anyone who looks Asian.
Or maybe I do. Our president has been calling this virus, the China Virus. It's stigmatizing, but he says it's not racist at all. "The virus comes from China."
Trump also said, "It will go away, just stay calm." But it hasn't.
Once again, I turn off the TV and remind myself that this virus does not discriminate against people... but people do. Sadly there are a lot of people out there, who seem to be more evil than this virus!
This was not what I wanted to see on the news this morning.
Five weeks ago, Don and I spent a few days in Louisiana. Enough time has passed, so I'm not scared for ourselves. But, I'm feeling sad and scared for every single person we saw on our trip.
We were there on the weekend before Fat Tuesday. Coronavirus was in the news, but it was all distant. Italy had just halted Carnival in Venice, but we were in New Orleans. There was no U.S. social distancing happening on February 22.
The news is now telling us that Mardi Gras played a huge part in spreading the virus. That's scary. But we had no clue at the time.
Don and I had a wonderful few days, staying with my brother and his wife. We walked to numerous parades from their home. This photo shows a fraction of the loot we caught from passing floats.
We had such fun, in the family-friendly Garden District area, cheering and reaching, catching and chatting with others around us. Now I look at this photo and cringe.
Today we're told, that there was more flying from those festive floats than colorful beads. Ugh. We're home and safe, but I worry for my brother and his wife, who live there. At least they're able to work from home. They're cautious and have the means to get help if needed. I worry for them, but also for all the people in Nola. The musicians, the artists, the restaurant workers and hotel employees. Such a special place, with history like no other U.S. city. This makes me so sad.
The neighborhood has been so still. Families are staying inside, adjusting to work at home and online schooling. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be for families, figuring this out.
Even on weekends I see so few kids or adults out in yards. It's as if everyone is pacing inside, trying to figure out what the rules are.
So today, when I thought heard the sound of an ice cream truck, I thought maybe my ears were ringing from worry. First I heard the dreamlike music of Greensleeves, far in the distance. Christmas music in March?
I hollered to Don to ask if he heard the music. He said no, so I figured I was going nuts. Then I spotted the truck from an upstairs window. It moved slowly, like a scene from a Twilight Zone episode. Last vehicle on earth?
I have nothing better to do than watch the ice cream truck and wonder.
Is this a test? Is someone checking to make sure we are following the "Self Quarantine" suggestions? Restaurants are required to stay closed, except for take out... but now we let the kids run outside and gather around the ice cream truck?
The death toll doubled in 2 days. 2,391 deaths in the US. I think I can wait a little longer for my ice cream fix.
Dreaded Calls in 2016
Even when I was a teenager, I didn't like spending time on the phone. Four years ago, (when I started this Not Happy List) I really started hating the phone.
There was that dreaded phone call 3 years ago, that brought bad news of biopsy results. I spent the next 7 days on the phone. I was constantly on-hold, with medical and insurance offices. I waited for return calls and jumped when the phone rang. I eventually had to get rid of the ringtone that reminded me of that time.
Now I Love the Phone
Lately, I've been feeling so grateful for my phone. Especially since my son-in-law (who happens to work for Apple) was able to help me shop for a good one. Just as my old cell was dying, my new one arrived. It came just in time, as the news was making me feel more edgy and uncertain.
Now the phone is making me feel safe and connected with family and friends. The battery no longer dies every 5 minutes. I can read important articles or escape with funny videos.
I can even entertain myself, learning how to use the fancy camera... even though there's not much going on to photograph.
Lately my phone has been buzzing with texts. There are amusing group texts, with my siblings and with our kids... and friends. Humorous links keep us laughing and the serious updates keep us informed. Don and I even text each other from different rooms. Crazy. I have to watch myself, or an hour can slip by. Everyone is communicating these days.
The Best Use
But, with all of our daily schedules changing, new habits and routines are emerging. Lately, I've been trying to step out of my comfort zone (which is texts and email) and I've phoned a few of the elderly friends that I've grown to love, through my volunteering. What a comfort, to hear their voices and to know they're okay. I call my dad daily and feel relief when his voice sounds strong. A 4th died today at his assisted living center.
And today, I spoke with my old high school buddy in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Lorie and I saw each other last summer for the first time in many years. For over 40 years, we've tried to keep in touch with letters, then emails, then texts. But today, we talked on the phone! Because, why not?
It felt great to hear her Lorie's voice. She still laughs like she did, when we were 17. Now, we are in that "over 60 vulnerable group" that everyone is worried about. Yikes, how is that possible?
So thanks to Covid, some of us are getting a much needed push to connect with others. This ugly disease may be forcing people to keep their distance, but it's also inspiring some of us to talk and share more!
I love my fancy iPhone with all it's abilities, but it's the old fashioned "talking part" of the phone, that I really appreciate!
Every morning, I'm drawn to the TV. I want to check the news, because so much is changing, so quickly. Maybe there will be good news?
Honestly, I never expect to hear good news. Each day seems worse than the last.
So today, I turned off the TV and let myself enjoy coffee with a magazine. But the cover of The New Yorker, was gloomy. An image of a public place, without people. I reached for the stack of older unread magazines. Ahhh, pre-Covid magazines. But, they have ads for dining and travel.
Away From People and News
The best way to get away from news, is to get outside.
Usually I run early in the morning, but last week I went later and saw all that I'd been missing in the pre-dawn light.
Today, I told Don we needed to walk! He hasn't been able to swim since the gym closed. So we got out and enjoyed some green scenery.
We saw a few other walkers, who also seemed to be escaping their homes. Everyone was courteous.
We also saw ducks and turtles and birds. I wonder if they sense any change in their world? Doubt it, but I'm sure pets do.
We passed the old prison building, which is now a museum... which has closed for an undetermined amount of time. That made me pause to think about all the prisons I've heard about in the news. Prisons and Coronavirus! That is not a good thought.
I wasn't able to totally escape the thoughts, that pop into my head all day long. But, we did escape the house and the fresh air felt mighty good!
Don and I have it easy at home, in the suburbs, south of Houston. But we worry for our kids and spouses, our siblings and their families. We worry about my dad, quarantined in assisted living. We're spread out across the country, but we're all staying connected.
Two years ago, our families were all together, celebrating in Austin. Yesterday, Heidi and Jamie celebrated their anniversary at home and didn't complain. They have friends who are postponing weddings right now. I have a friend who had to postpone her mother's funeral.
We've been staying connected with family, through phone calls, Skype, texts and emails. We're spread out in 7 states, but that doesn't even matter anymore.
In recent chats and text threads, we've been reminded of past gatherings. 2.5 years ago, Scott and Chali's wedding began a streak of celebrations. In less than a year, we celebrated 4 weddings and my dad's 90th birthday. It seemed like every couple months we were traveling and uniting with family. It was wonderful to have these festive occasions, that pulled cousins and siblings together... over and over. I'm so grateful for that year of bonding. I'm grateful for technology that has helped to keep us connected.
Our First Zoom Happy Hour!
I had never heard of Zoom, until recently. Our kids have been working from home now, so I've begun to hear more about Zoom meetings. The kids suggested Zoom Happy Hour!
So we got to have time with our kids last night! We did one of our favorite things... Tiki Time!
Every household did their best with a tropical drink creation. Then, we had a virtual toast! With the help of 3 computers, we brought our 3 worlds together. We shared and compared the serious changes in our cities, in Texas, Oregon and California. Then we relaxed and laughed and enjoyed!
Love these guys!
I've never blocked or unfriended anyone on Facebook. I've rolled my eyes and ignored, but I just don't have the time of day to engage in discussions with "friends" who really aren't.
But today, I responded to an ugly post.
I am "friends" with S. because we each had a parent with Alzheimer's. That's what we have in common. When I saw her angry post railing against Dr. Fauci, I fumed.
"We have become like cattle being led to the slaughter.. I am fed up with posts about the evil media, pushing Corona Fear. We need to be working together!"
She added one more thing:
S. replied with a message that went on for days. I only shared the last paragraph. I'm done. No need to waste my energy communicating here.
Thankfully I have many friends posting things on Facebook that bring me a little joy, a little good humor and some helpful information, as well. I know how to keep myself well, during these shaky times. I know who lifts me up and who drags me down.
I'm so glad I don't have to shelter in place with someone who isn't taking this seriously.
I've been running early in the morning, to avoid others. Actually I always have. I prefer seeing no one when I run.
Today I took my phone and took a photo of the middle school, where my son Scott went 15 years ago. I saw the marquee and it was a little sad. No one knows if the schools will start up again.
I saw the sign for lunches. I could see cars pulled up before 7.
Grab & Go Meals. The sign looked so cheery, but it was a sad reminder that kids are missing lots of other things. Public schools offer meals, counseling, refuge...
I ran by Kids R Kids Daycare. The lights were on, as they always are at 7. I could see staff wearing masks.
I wondered what jobs these parents have. Are parents scared to leave their kids? Are the kids scared to go in, seeing teachers and staff in masks? The parents who drop off their children, must be under so much stress.
Then I crossed the street and realized how quiet the road was. Usually I would have to wait a moment to cross. It's sad and peaceful.
How long will this go on?
Changing So Fast
Two months ago we watched world news and worried for China.
On January 21, Coronavirus was suddenly in our country... in Washington State.
By March 4th, Fort Bend county reported the first case in Texas. That's our home. Today, my father's dear friend from his assisted living facility, died of Covid 19.
This is so scary.
Getting it All Straight
The news is confusing. Who do we listen to... or NOT listen to?
It's scary, but it's also mind-boggling. I can't keep track with all these daily changes in the news. I'm forever questioning. So when did we hear this? When did that happen? "Was it really less than 2 weeks ago, that our president urged us to stay calm because this will go away soon." ??? I can't even go there.
So Much to Process
I don't think I'm the only one who feels confused and bombarded by the ever changing news. The disease spread changes, the recommendations change, our instructions change. I keep scribbling notes.
When I was 10, I started keeping diaries. My first diary was filled with boring tidbits about what we ate for dinner and who I played with after school.
My second diary mentions Dr. King's funeral on my birthday and maybe a mention or two of the Vietnam War.
As I got older, the diaries helped me vent about my parents' divorce and worries about college...
I don't keep daily journals now, but my blogging helps me feel a bit of control. I sort out thoughts and I document, here and there.
100+ Years Ago
My grandmother's "A Line A Day" journal, gives me an odd bit of comfort. In October 1918, my grandmother was volunteering during WWI, in Washington D.C.
On October 10, she was told by the Army Doctor that she had Spanish Influenza. She was "scared to death". For the next few days, she wrote about her sore throat and a telegram to her Momma and the "Real Doctor" telling her the worst was over. She was one of the lucky ones, during those stressful days of war and flu!
I like to think "Daw" passed down those strong genes! That's a comforting thought right now.
Dad in Springfield, MO
It's been almost 2 years since Dad moved into assisted living. It was a struggle at first, but he adjusted. On the phone this morning he said he was so glad to be living in a safe place, where he doesn't have to go out and shop.
For about a week, his facility has kept residents confined to rooms. Dad was happy with that. He told me his friend Corrine had been in the hospital for a week. They share a subscription of the New York times. He heard she wasn't doing well.
In the evening, I got scary news from my sister. She had gotten word that Corrine had tested positive with Covid 19. I pictured dad's dear friend at his 91st birthday. She is about 5 years older than Dad, but has the spunk of a 50 year old.
Then Jennifer shared that 3 other residents from the facility have also been hospitalized.
Coronavirus suddenly seems real, now. I've been watching the news and cringing for weeks. But this news took my breath away. I usually end my posts on a positive note, but this is hard.
I'm glad Dad has been isolated for over a week. But there are so many things we don't know about this horrible disease. I have no idea how safe any of us are.
When Hurricane Harvey hit a couple years ago, people got out and helped each other. How do you help your neighbors, when we are avoiding contamination?
There are no "Shelter in Place" rules yet, but most are staying home and playing it safe.
So today, I washed down the old canoe. I told my neighbor with a young son, that I was leaving it out by the lake. I thought they might like a break from being cooped up.
I felt stupid after I offered. Who wants to mess with a possibly germ-y canoe?
Plus, canoes can cause more stress than relief, if you don't know what you're doing.
So I made casseroles. Don't we share food at times of crisis? I offered food to a friend who had a fall over the weekend. I contacted another neighbor about dropping off a casserole. She's been dealing with intense work stress, due to the virus.
Both said they were fine and had enough food. I felt silly. Why am I offering food, when we're all worried about spreading the virus? The casseroles looked a little scary, anyway.
I asked Don if he wanted to get out in the canoe. It was a wedding gift from my siblings 40 years ago. Good memories.
Don wasn't up for it, so I got out myself. It felt so peaceful and lovely, as I paddled around. I spotted baby ducks and that made me smile.
I didn't get a chance to help anyone else today. But, I helped me!
Hair salons are still open in the Houston area. But, things could be changing soon. My son and wife are now under shelter in place restrictions in Sacramento.
My hair already looks like I've been sheltering at home for months. My long overdue appointment is next week, but I guess I should just go ahead and cancel.
Luckily I have this nice little box in my bathroom cabinet. It doesn't work that well, but it's something. My hair is getting long and straggly. Ugh.
But who cares about my hair? No one sees me, except Don. I'm not going anywhere, since Don is the one who cautiously does our grocery shopping.
Luckily, Don is pretty tolerant of my hair issues... like when I had none.
In fact, if things get really ugly I could call upon Don, like I did over 3 years ago.
We actually had fun, with what should have been the terrifying task. I had reached a point with chemo, when hair was falling out. It was time to take control. Don experimented with some scissors and created numerous sweet hairdos. Then he got out the razor.
I'm so grateful to be well. My heart goes out to those who are dealing with chemo treatments, while they worry about Conronavirus. But I have been missing my bald days, just a bit.
This picture is from when I had my head shaved after my last treatment... I wanted a blank slate and no straggly chemo hair.
Hmm? Now that's a thought. I can't go visit my barber A.D., but I could get Barber Don on the job again!
It's tempting! I remember those glorious showers that involved no shampoo. No brushes, no hairdryers! I remember the fun of hair growing back in.
If only I really knew how long we would be hunkering down at home. ????
Retreat to the Piano
Actually, Don and I have had a few years to practice togetherness. Retirement.
Even with my lack of skills, it feels wonderful to play the neglected instrument. It sure needs tuning, though.
Togetherness with Ukes
So 2020, is the year I started playing piano again. It's also the year that the ukuleles came out of hiding.
In 2016, Don and I played our ukuleles the day I got home from lumpectomy surgery. We played those crazy things together, over my months of treatment and recovery. Then they got dusty and they were forgotten.
I'm so glad that we have some instruments to help out, during these home days. The piano lets me escape by myself. (Don kindly puts up with the noise) And the ukuleles bring us back together.
Gotta find a balance!
Where is Everyone?
This photo from yesterday, is from a walk in an adjoining neighborhood. But, my own street seems just as quiet, today.
The schools have closed down and many are working from home now. Everyone is home, but no one seems to step outside.
It's oddly quiet inside the house too... when we turn off the news. Don and I are used to being alone in this house, so it's not that different. But when we started a new puzzle, I started thinking about the people who are actually quarantined alone, in their homes.
That was pretty sad to think about.
Even the puzzle was oddly quiet and lonely, with its Solar System image.
We decided to cut the silence with some podcasts. That was a nice change, except all the podcasts were about Coronavirus. No escape.
Hard to Distract
It's March 17th and I put on green to lift the gloomy feeling. I tried to let the silly holiday distract me, but the Covid news was always lurking, whether I was reading, playing piano, cleaning or sorting.
I put coffee in my Irish cup this morning.
After lunch, I went on a walk and enjoyed the bluebonnets.
But seeing a few others out walking, I sensed that we all felt uncertain. No one knows what the rules are yet.
Later, I talked to my friend in Chicago. She talked about walking 2 miles to vote, to avoid public transportation. She talked about her city, with no St. Pat's parade and no green river. I told her that a week ago, our Houston Rodeo had been shut down 11 days early.
Embracing our Irish
But by evening, I let go of the worry for a while.
Don and I celebrated with green beverages and corned beef and cabbage. We blasted some Irish jig music and I got out my goofy dancing friend.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We were supposed to go on a road trip with friends tomorrow. But the schools have decided to close and our friends will need to babysit their grandkids. This is getting serious. Families are really struggling to figure things out. Don and I are lucky that we are retired and don't have kids at home.
I'm selfishly feeling sad that it's looking less likely that we'll be traveling soon. Our kids and spouses live far away and we had plans to see them in March and May. We had a big trip planned for Italy in October. That's a long way off... but a scary thought at the moment.
So instead of travel planning, I started painting Scott's old bedroom. It will look much nicer when the kids come home for Christmas. Fingers crossed.
I listened to Italian tapes while I worked. If our October trip is postponed, I'll just have more time to work on the language!
I'm worried about senior folks, in the centers where I volunteer. I last met with my groups on March 3, when I was told to be sure I was well and to make sure I washed my hands.
I miss them and I worry about them. When will I get to volunteer again?
I'm worried about my dad. He's 91, living in an assisted living facility in Missouri.
I can't visit him, even if it were easy to get there. His center is on lockdown. No visitors allowed.
I'm glad for phones and postal service.
What I really don't like is when the news reminds me about those vulnerable people over the age of 60! Man, I hate that. I'm 62! I am part of that group of people everyone is worried about!
But I feel better and stronger than I did when I was 59 and going through chemo. I can get up and run in the morning and tackle long put off house chores! I'm so very glad that I am not going through these Covid times, along with cancer.
All of a Sudden
We've been hearing about Coronavirus since January. But early on, the worries were far away in China, then Italy...
It seems like things shifted overnight. On February 29, the first death occurred in Washington. Now, two weeks later, the grocery stores are full of panicked customers, buying up milk, bread and hand sanitizer.
Don and I watch the news and try to figure out how much to worry. We communicate with our kids and all our siblings, in 7 different states. None of us know where this is going, so we just keep in touch.
Our family text threads share concern and humor, too. Pet photos make us laugh. Even grocery store pics, like my brother's from Idaho, lead to jokes. We laugh about the hoarding insanity. Why is everyone so worried about toilet paper?
We've seen this kind of shopping madness, before hurricanes. But this is different. Are we worried about being sick or not being able to get food? Are we worried that we'll be told to isolate at home, like in Italy?
Mostly I think we're worried about having so little control over this unknown future.
At least I kind of know how to do the hunkering down thing. I did a fair amount of that, when, I started this blog for cancer. But, what else do I need besides Don and food, if we're stuck at home?
Flowers! Don and I made a trip to the hardware store. Now if we choose to weather out this storm at home, my pots won't be full of dead plants!
Ahhh! Much better.
From Cancer to Coronavirus!
I said good-bye to the Not So Happy blog, at the end of 2018. After 200 posts, griping about Cancer, I was ready to move on.
Now, it's March 2020... Friday the 13th in fact. It's time to complain, again.
This time I'm not stressed about breast cancer, or treatments.
I need to vent about another ugly illness, that I don't even have.
Today, Coronavirus was declared a National Emergency.
Why Does This Feel Familiar?
This feels similar, to how I felt in May of 2016, when my world turned upside down. This time, it's not just My upside down world. We're all sharing this together.
Many of the feelings then and now are the same. So many unknowns. Lack of control. Isolation. Routines and plans altered...
Spring in Texas
So I'll start venting about this new thing, that starts with the letter C. I'll start the numbers over.
Complaint #1 - I don't much care for that letter C anymore.
As I did in the past, I'll attempt to end each post with a positive.
Thank goodness it's spring. March in Texas is beautiful. Don and I may be hunkering down at home, but we can leave the TV and news and step outside. So grateful that we are able to do that.
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me. I ranted for a year, until I got my vaccine in March 2021.
Coronary Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was Don who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!