March is here! It's been almost exactly a year since I began ranting about Covid in this blog. I swore I would stop this documenting nonsense when I got vaccinated...or at least in a year.
I haven't gotten the vaccine. It seems like everyone I know is getting vaccinated. People are celebrating all over Facebook, but Don and I haven't joined the club. We've been away from home for nearly 2 months and I'm not 65 yet. I'm frustrated, so I will keep ranting and documenting.
I've always been obsessed with recording. I got my first diary at age 10 and I've been keeping track of memories ever since.
When Heidi was born 34.5 years ago, I documented everything she did. Now her own baby is 2 weeks old and she's starting a "Baby Book" for Charlotte. It's time to pass over her old baby book.
Fixing the book
The old book is sort of a mess. Photos have come unglued and pages are wrinkled and damaged. I repaired a bit. And I read a bit. Oh, what fun to remember the day, when Heidi came into the world.
I found one page that needed more than repairing. The blank page has been neglected all these years. I could never find the perfect words to write my message, to the perfect baby.
It only took 34.5 years. I wrote a message and now I'm handing the book over to Heidi. Whew! I feel much better now.
We've been in Oregon for 7 weeks. It's been cold and icy and rainy and snowy, much of the time.
I haven't spent much time worrying over the fact that the picnic shelters and playgrounds are still closed due to Covid.
Closed Since the Ice Storm
This park is in walking distance of our Airbnb. The picnic shelter has been closed, but the hiking trails have been fun.
But 2 weeks ago, the park closed down after a huge ice storm. I need this park! It's been great for hikes, but I also like to walk here and chat with my dad on the phone and tell him about all the things I see and hear. Trails are closed.
Happy Valley Park
But today, the sun came out and the temps rose to 54 degrees!
Happy Valley Park was open and it was swarming with families!
The fencing (for Covid closure) that surrounded the playground was in the process of being removed. I've never seen so may happy kids, swinging and climbing and seesawing! About a quarter of the young kids were wearing masks. I'm glad my parenting days, never included mask enforcement.
These parents were wearing masks. Hopefully Heidi and Jamie will never need to worry about masks with their kids in the future. Charlotte is 2 weeks old today and this was her first outing.
What a perfect day to get out! But, after so much cautious isolation, it was sort of odd to be out in a busy park, sharing the path with bikes and scooters and other strollers.
This was Charlotte's first picnic also. Although she didn't eat any of our smoked salmon or cheese.
Charlotte slept through our picnic.
She slept through photo-time!
I think she liked the sunshine, though.
Then it was time for Grammaloon to get in the photo. 3-generations!
Missing Moo and Daw!
Oh how I wish my mom (Moo) and grandmother (Daw) were still here.
My mother inspired my love of picnics! Our little 4-generation group went on many picnics, back in St. Louis. How I wish Daw were here to grin and sigh the way she did when Heidi was a baby. She could also tell us a story or 2, about her own pandemic memories. She had the Spanish flu.
Cheers to the 5 generations. Cheers to picnics and babies. Cheers to sunny weather and things feeling more normal!
Don and I are keeping ourselves healthy... for this little girl and her parents.
We haven't been able to be vaccinated, so we have stayed safely in our "Baby Bubble" of 5. It's not hard. But curbside shopping and cooking in the Airbnb is getting old.
It's hard to eat healthy stuff when all you have is a crockpot and microwave. We ordered a toaster and we use it in the bathroom so we don't set off the smoke alarm.
Clean up is not easy. That's a tiny crockpot actually. It fills the sink.
We would be cautious and careful even if there wasn't a pandemic in our world. This sweet Veggie Baby is worth a little inconvenience.
Restaurants are beginning to open for inside dining in Portland. But we wouldn't be going anyway. Charlotte doesn't really care about sushi and tacos anyway. She also doesn't care about vegetables right now.
Charlie's parents don't eat meat, so we have an extra challenge helping out with meals. I'm not the most creative cook in the world, even when we have a nice kitchen.
The other night we brought the groceries over to Heidi and Jamie's and Don made crab cakes on that beautiful new stove top. I used the oven for cheddar biscuits. And Charlie slept! How could I ever think of complaining about anything!
It's not that long ago that we saw the first American getting vaccinated. It was on the news and I was giddy watching.
Today we reached 50 million vaccinations. I'm not totally sure what that means. 50 million since Biden became president? Who knows, but I'm glad to see these numbers go up.
I'm glad that about 50 people I know have been vaccinated. Hmm? Maybe 100. Just a few family members. I can't wait until we all are and we can plan reunions and gatherings!
Johnson & Johnson!
Yesterday, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was approved.
It's only one dose, but slightly less protective. That's okay. I'll take it. I'll take Moderna or Pfizer or J & J. I don't care if I'm sick a day or 2 after. I'm ready!
Don and I have been in Oregon for over 6 weeks. Baby Charlotte has been here for less than 2. We rented an Airbnb so we wouldn't have to be helicopter grandparents, hovering constantly. We're giving the new parents space.
But it's hard staying away.
Today we gave the parents their own space. I washed some baby clothes in the Airbnb washing machine, which is better than mine at home. But, I needed to hand wash a few. Our sink is tiny and Oregon is moist! Air-drying takes forever! Man. These really are cute, though!
The cold and drizzle has kept us inside much of the time. I'm trying not to complain because many people like my dad, have been pretty much isolated in a room or two, for a year.
But yesterday evening the sun broke through and I spotted a double rainbow!
Sunshine at Cathedral Park
With no baby plans today, Don and I took advantage of the sun and headed into Portland to see the bridges. St. John's Bridge is my favorite.
The high was 45, but it felt heavenly! It just felt good to stroll and see other people.
There were a few dog walkers and I spotted a couple picnics. Some very young kids were playing ball.
We were outside and distanced, but every single person, (including the kids) was wearing a mask.
Man and Birds
This man in the park was the most entertaining of all.
He lugged this big container from his truck and walked down to the water. The seagulls and ducks acted like they knew him. He scattered some kind of seed or feed, over the river bank and the birds flocked!
We walked down to a dock where we spotted a few fishermen. Then I noticed this sign.
What a happy little surprise! The plywood L was about 20 feet high. Simple white letters with a happy message.
Looks like a sweet cause, to make this sign permanent.
Yay for sun and bridges and LOVE signs! Yay for the baby that we'll see tomorrow!
I can't stand hearing the news all the time... so it was on mute today.
We passed the half-million number, in U.S. deaths. It's frustrating watching the Covid updates. Obviously when we get the vaccine, we can't just jump for joy and go back to normal. But I can't wait to get mine.
Masked Visit with Jennifer & Kate
On Saturday Jennifer and Kate were coming through the Portland area with their new trailer. Don and I met them and we visited in the parking lot, for a while.
It was fun to tour the "Scout" and get excited about someday meeting up with our trailers. They've both been vaccinated. If Don and I were vaccinated, we 4 wouldn't have to wear masks.
It was extra frustrating knowing that Aunt Jennifer and Aunt Kate, couldn't just drive a few extra miles and go meet our new grand-baby. I hate this tedious, endless pandemic! They are probably okay. Most likely they are not carrying the virus! But there's much we don't know about those who are vaccinated. They can't meet Baby Charlie right now and that makes me sad.
It was even sadder today, when we saw the White House candlelight ceremony, honoring those lost to Covid, in the U.S. Now over 500,000 have died.
It was very sobering to see the Bidens, standing silently, along with VP Harris and her husband. The door behind them was draped with black cloth.
President Biden's Memorial Speech was moving. He drew on his own experiences of loss, to offer support. This was a sad milestone today. But it also felt good, to have a president acknowledge what our country has dealt with for about a year. What a change.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
When I was a brand new mother, my mom cooked casseroles and baked pies for Don and me. I'm no longer amused by our Airbnb limitations. I want to cook!
This morning, I tried. I cooked fresh broccoli in the microwave. Then I made the cheese soup in a crockpot. The crockpot has to be in the bathroom, because we have smoke alarm and fuse issues, elsewhere. We also have a teeniest sink and no counter space. It took me all morning to make this soup!
Ticket for Baby Time!
Don and I don't really have to buy our way to spending time with our grandbaby. But it felt so right to arrive with soup, bread and salad today!
We brought soup and I held Charlie! I am so happy!
Baths and Bouncy Seat
Then I chatted while Heidi gave Charlotte a sponge bath. Oh what good memories I have of doing that with my mom.
Don and Jamie went upstairs and worked on some window shades and put the bouncy seat together. It feels good to help.
And this little cutie turned 1 week, today! Heidi spread out the little blanket with numbers. We never had these things when Heidi was a baby.
Should we iron this thing? Nah. Charlie didn't want to lie on her back and pose, either. We took a few snaps then moved on.
It's sad to think that in one year, this little blanket will need to retire. Charlie will be 12 months... no more numbers to circle. But what fun to think of Charlie at 1 year taking on the world... a safer world with unmasked faces! Now that will be fun!
Today I had an obstacle course for my morning run.
It's been a week since the ice storm in Portland, but there's still a lot of clean up needed.
In the afternoon Don and I ran an errand for the new parents. Our drive that should have been 30 minutes, took an hour and a half.
This was the scene everywhere. So many people in Portland are without power after a week. Trees and power lines! It's a mess.
But Texas is much worse. We've been communicating with friends back home, where hundreds of thousands have been without power. It's odd to be in Oregon, watching our home area on National News.
It was also odd to see Ted Cruz, all over the news. Yesterday, he decided to escape the crisis and flew his family from Houston to Cancun. This didn't go over to well.
Escaping the Airbnb
Luckily Don and I dealt with less than 24 hours without power last week. Our Airbnb is warm and cozy now, but we were happy to escape our little rental, to visit our new granddaughter!
There's nothing more rewarding than watching your own daughter, holding her own daughter. And there's nothing sweeter than watching her dad, feed his first grandbaby.
And then there was sleep. Charlotte slept.
And Josie slept above.
Champagne and Sushi
Then the adults had a little treat. After 9 months, Heidi is finally able to indulge in a couple things that she has avoided during pregnancy.
Nigiri Sushi and champagne... PINK of course!
Cheers to the new little family. Cheers to cozy homes with power and water!
It's been almost a year since Don and I ate in a restaurant. We've only eaten on a patio once, last August.
This image on the cover of The New Yorker, doesn't make me crave patio dining.
Portland Patio Dining
I'm not even sure what the rules are in Portland now. I don't think they have inside dining anywhere.
I saw these outdoor dining areas on a drive the other day. The gray skies and bare trees make me shiver. I'm a wimp. I'll wait for vaccines and warm weather.
Lunar New Year
A year ago, I remember ordering carryouts for Lunar New Year. The pandemic was just beginning to swirl in the news. I remember worrying about the people who owned the Chinese restaurant. I knew that Asian businesses were hurting, because people were listening to Trump talk up the China Virus! Has it really been about a year!
Don and I missed Lunar New Year 2021. It was last Friday and there was an ice storm in Portland. Our daughter was being induced in the hospital and we wondered if our granddaughter might be born on the first day of the Year of the Ox! She was born 3 days later on Valentine's Day. Don and I waited a week to celebrate with a New Year feast.
We are living temporarily in the Portland area, far from our favorite places. We ended up with Chinese Fast Food carryouts.. Panda Express was a pretty lame way to celebrate!
But I liked my curious cookie fortune. What kind of leader? I just became a grandma... during the Pandemic Winter, of 2021. How should I take charge? I'm feeling like a protective Grandma Bear, so maybe I'll just whip up a few billion vaccines in my Airbnb kitchen and start vaccinating all the people who are patiently waiting!
Happy New Year!
This past Saturday, we endured an ice storm and power outage in Portland, while our daughter was being induced in the hospital. It wasn't a relaxing day in Portland.
Today it's Wednesday and the ice has thawed. Our granddaughter is coming home with her parents, this afternoon. There's lots to be excited about, except for the news in Texas.
Don and I woke excited about our day. The streets in our part of Portland were finally clear. We allowed ourselves a double-masked-dash into the grocery store, for celebratory flowers and a balloon. (We've been extra safe with curbside only, until now)
But the news of Texas was on my mind. It's unreal what we're missing back home. Many of our TX neighbors have been without power. Some who have power, have no water. Many have dealt with frozen pipes and then flooded homes. My phone has been beeping with group texts, comparing worries and problems. I'm suddenly extra glad we are in Oregon!
Welcome Home Charlie
Don and I decided to focus on OR instead of TX. We headed over to Heidi and Jamie's new home in Happy Valley. Love that name. For the first time I felt very glad that they moved from Austin to Portland! We heard some scary stories about power outages in a maternity ward in Austin! So glad Baby Charlie missed that!
We got to the house and tied a pink (footie) balloon and some letters, to the railing.
Josie greeted us with more enthusiasm than usual. We put the tulips in a vase and left a little string of letters dangling from the counter.
We waited all day, hoping the new family would be released before dark. Fingers crossed that Heidi and Jamie wouldn't be too tired to welcome some grandparents for a bit!
Charlotte is Home!
Luckily the parents were giddy to show off this sweet little girl. We headed over in the late afternoon.
Charlie looked pretty spiffy in her lamb outfit, in her little box. (Which is more than a box! There's a mattress in there!)
Jamie couldn't have looked more proud. Since Heidi was busy healing in the hospital, he's had lots of diaper practice. Josie kept a close eye!
Connecting with Others
We FaceTimed with Aunt Chali and Uncle Scott. So happy to be able to connect with phones, when we're all so far apart.
Jamie showed Charlie to his dad on FaceTime. Thank goodness for technology. While they chatted, I watched Josie... who was watching Charlie. And I watched Heidi and Jamie's faces. So fun to see how delighted they are, sharing this little baby.
Sharing With Grammaloon?
Before long it was Grammaloon's turn to hold Baby Charlotte. It felt wonderful to hold my perfect little grand baby... but she's not really mine. It's so different than being a mother. This time I didn't do the work, but she is still a part of me. This is serious stuff to wrap my head around. I'm so proud of my daughter and so honored to hold this little baby. Why did I pick such a silly grandma name?
Everyone has asked for months, "What's your grandma name?" I'm supposed to pick? I kind of hate that. So, I just took Loon, which is the nickname my sibs have called me for years. I added the Gramma and we'll just see. Luckily Charlie just gurgled and didn't judge me.
Don got into the action soon enough. I actually had a hard time handing Charlie over.
I wasn't very good at sharing. I couldn't let go. I'll try to be better in the future... especially since I know there are other grandparents in Charlie's life. This job is all about sharing.
Laughing or Crying?
Don cropped this photo down. He seems to like this ridiculous face of mine. I look like I'm scaring my poor grand-baby.
I promise I was not making a sound. This isn't a photo of me, introducing Charlotte to the Cry of the Loon! I was just feeling delighted, with Charlie's little squeal and her strong little baby muscles! I can tell she is headed for big things!
Thank you Heidi and Jamie for sharing. We love you and we love your sweet new baby!
A Year Ago
It's so odd to remember a year ago! We had heard about Covid. But it was still something that was happening far away.
When we returned home from New Orleans, we began to hear the worrisome news that Covid actually played a part in the Mardi Gras festivities.
Today the weather is in the 40's in Nola. Mardi Gras has been cancelled due to pandemic.
But houses have decorated themselves like floats. I love the spirit of New Orleans!
Mardi Gras Thaw!
Today in Portland we are enjoying a thaw after days of ice.
I spotted a rainbow! That reminded me that St. Pat's is coming up soon. That will pretty much mark a year, for this complaining blog! I will stop this blog when I get vaccinated! I think...
It thawed enough that I could finally get out and walk! I saw a cat that almost jumped on me from the fence.
I also saw this mess, left over from the ice storm. I'm so glad that we are past the worst. I'm glad our grandbaby will come home from the hospital tomorrow, with no weather worries.
When I spoke with Heidi today, I was surprised to learn how much the storms did affect their hospital experience. In their 5 days at the hospital Heidi hasn't once seen her real doctor. They've been low staffed, which has messed up everything from food to linen service. The lactation nurse couldn't make it in. I did have to smile when I learned that Heidi had a great team of 7 women, helping to deliver her sweet baby.
3 Days & 3 Holidays!
So our little baby is enjoying her 3rd day of life and her third holiday! Valentine's Day, President's Day and today Mardi Gras!
Don and I celebrated as best we could, with drinks and Preservation Hall Jazz playing... softly. I hate having to be quiet, below the owners!
We ate our King Cake a week ago. Today, we made shrimp jambalaya sort of... in a crock pot in the bathroom. Oh my.
And we toasted to that little baby! We will meet her tomorrow!
Our Home in Texas
My neighbor sent this photo of our house in Sugar Land. Everyone I know in Texas, is in a panic over the expected freeze warnings.
The snow is fun, but everyone is worried about the possibility of frozen pipes and power outages.
Our Ice in Portland
I look at the dusting of snow in Texas and think, "We've been there and done that! Try being without power, with an inch or 2 of ice, while waiting on news about your grand baby's birth."
Luckily I didn't say that. Because my neighbors are amazing. Many have reached out to see if they can help prep our TX house while we're gone. My neighbor Linda, shut off our water. I love good neighbors.
Pandemic March to President's Day
We are close to reaching a year of Pandemic Life. It was March 13 that I started this blog! Today is President' Day, so we're close to enjoying every single holiday Pandemic Style.
But the focus today is on our new baby, still in the hospital. There's hardly time to think about the pandemic... and we don't usually celebrate Presidents Day anyway.
The weather news around the country is keeping my cell phone lit with texts. Not just Texan friends. My Dad in MO has zero degrees. Our friends in Tulsa are gearing up for the worst. No one is going anywhere. Everyone is swapping stories...
Why does this seem familiar? It reminds me of when the whole country was locking down for Covid last March. Everyone huddled around their phones and worried together... sharing what they know. It's odd.
Our Sweet Little Secret
It's kind of nice that we are keeping things pretty quiet about this new little one. It would be hard to be so excited to share news and then have everyone preoccupied with winter storm worries.
This sweet little pandemic baby is just one of a many many millions that have been born during Covid 19. I'm just so grateful that she's healthy and that she was born now and not early on. These winter weather storms are not the same as a pandemic, but they remind me that babies are born during all sorts of hard times. How sad for the parents who bring their newborns home in the midst of crisis or tragedy. This little one is a lucky girl. She knows nothing about weather or Covid and her parents are only focused on her right now. I can't wait until she comes home so we can meet her.
Heidi has been in the hospital since Thursday. We thought the baby might be born on Friday, Lunar New Year! No baby Friday or Saturday. Maybe a Valentine's Day Baby?
I actually ordered Valentine photo cards, a while ago. But, nobody is thinking about Valentines' Day today. We're waiting on baby.
Today the ice is worse than ever. It's the kind of ice that inspires very cartoonish walking styles. I almost did the slow-motion splits!
There's no way Don and I could get to the hospital, even if Covid restrictions were lifted and visitors were welcome.
Before 8 am, Heidi was texting. "...beyond frustrated!" Finally we talked on the phone and it was a relief to hear her voice. We shared about pros and cons of C-sections. After 9 months of feeling unhelpful with guidance about labor, I was suddenly able to share what I knew about c-section surgery & recovery.
Heidi, Jamie, Don and I all talked on speaker phone. For a brief while, it almost felt like we were in the hospital with them. I could hear how their voices relaxed, as they came closer to making a decision. They said they'd let us know...
Sit and Wait
We have learned to be patient during this pandemic year. We know how to sit and wait! But not in these chairs!
We got off the phone and I took my giddy energy outside to make one more sign in the snow.
I couldn't scrape a design into the ice, so I grabbed some branches and candy kisses. I hoped that today would actually be the day. A Valentine's Day Baby!
A short while later I was talking to my dad on the phone, when Heidi texted that she was heading in for surgery in 5 minutes! I got off quickly and texted family!
Don and I were giddy as we sat together, trying to recall all we could of Heidi's arrival 34 years ago. "So fast!" We both remembered.
And before long we had a photo and good news. I cried when I saw these three.
I haven't shared baby news on social media and I've only shared with close family and friends through texts. It's so hard not being the one who makes the decision about when to announce news! I hate keeping good secrets. This stupid ranting blog is really just for me, so I'll assume no one will see this. I guess I'm safe sharing this pic. That's what diaries are for, sharing the things that you can't shout out with the world. Here is the photo!
So Valentine's Day will never be the same. Don and I became grandparents on Valentine's Day... during a pandemic... in the midst of an ice storm. After talking with the new Mom and Dad and talking an hour with "Uncle Scott" and "Aunt Chali", we sort of celebrated.
Don came up with some very fine Valentine's Day "cards", that he shared on his phone! Because he thought way ahead, before we left TX, 40+ days ago, I got a gift. Grateful for a lot today.
Knowing that Heidi, Jamie and Baby were safe in the hospital, we hunkered down ourselves.
The ice, (and closed restaurants) means no pandemic dine-out temptations. The ice has also prevented us from picking up curbside groceries. What to eat?
Happy Valentine's Day
So here is our meal tonight! This is laughable and pitiful... and embarrassing. Why did we ever purchase these micowave-ables in the first place. Mmmm.. They were awful!
But the wine was great and our toast was the best.
"Cheers to our baby granddaughter and her parents!"
Last night we crawled in bed, wondering if we'd hear news of a new baby in the night, But before turning off the lights, they went off on their own. No power.
By morning, much of Portland had no power.
We were iced in. We couldn't see out the windows or door. I felt like I was in a big bathroom, surrounded by frosted shower doors. I felt extra claustrophobic, when we realized the door was frozen shut. I had to climb out a skinny window and chisel away at an inch of ice, that cemented the door closed.
So Many Layers
Once again, we were glad Heidi and Jamie were safe at the hospital, with power. We bundled up and dreamed of being able to make coffee and wait on baby news.
Don tried to light the grill to heat water for coffee, but we got distracted by the smoke alarm going off in our unit. By the time we messed with the confused alarm, we realized both our phones were low on power! How can we get hospital updates?
Hike to Car
I grabbed a pointy umbrella and used it like an ice pick, to climb the icy stairs.
I only fell once and banged my elbow good. I also dropped my cell phone, which then shot down the ice-hill like a bobsled.
The car looked like a blue candied apple, covered with a thick, slick 1-inch shell of ice. I headed back down and Don and I began making trips with thermal mugs of hot water. We got Don's door open and spent 30 minutes thawing ourselves and charging our phones.
No progress with baby, so I carefully ventured a bit on foot to see the beautiful neighborhood. So quiet and serene... except for crashing sounds now and then, coming from the the woods. Ice covered limbs, cracked and snapped and thundered, out of sight. A bull, loose in the woods?
So beautiful and eerie. The outdoor entertainment was a fun distraction from the nervous waiting... for this baby who does not want to come into the world. It was nice to be outside and see the world, even if my body was numb. It was only down to 53 inside, but it felt creepy, cold and dark. In our own home we have "stuff" to deal with outages. Not at an Airbnb.
Feb. 13, 2021?
By early evening, Heidi and Jamie were giving us weary updates from the hospital. I looked out at the message I had scratched earlier, into the thick ice.
So it looks like Baby Hurst will not be arriving on February 13. My little sign looks a bit sad and sloppy. I guess it's just as well, she is not coming on ice storm day on the 13th of February!
But at least our power came back on by 6! No internet or TV, but we are warm, while we wait!
I don't like the idea of inducing. I've heard scary stories. But I was actually pretty thrilled yesterday, when the doctor decided Heidi should come in and get things started. Heidi decided Don and I should stop over and have a quick carryout bite, before they departed for the hospital. It was sleeting, and our Airbnb is on a steep hill. But, I didn't want to miss this opportunity! We drove over at 5.
Because of Covid restrictions, Don and I can't be in the hospital waiting room. It's frustrating to know we'll have to rely on cell phones for news, as if we were still in Texas. But it was wonderful sitting together and sharing our little feast... with all the anticipation and excitement!
Both were excited but nervous. The ice piling up on our cars didn't help.
We said good-bye, knowing it was the last time we'd see these two as a couple. We passed the snow covered Kia, with carseat in the back. So fun to now the next time we see them, they'll be a family.
Last night, I slept with my phone volume turned up. "Call, no matter what time!" I begged, last night. I woke a few times in the night and checked messages. There were none.
I woke to see a white view, out the door. I kept a close eye on my weather app. So glad to have Heidi and Jamie safely in the hospital. Even if nothing happens with inducing!
I've never been induced. In fact I know nothing about labor. (2 planned c-sections) It was hard to know what my daughter was feeling. It was impossible to feel helpful. Should I constantly text, "How's it going?" Probably not.
Don and I started a puzzle. I stared at the puzzle pieces and reminded myself that it's been a year since Don and I traveled for fun. We are close to a year of dealing with this pandemic. I miss staying in vintage motels with neon signs!
Snow and Ice
I checked on my phone constantly. Heidi and Jamie didn't have much to report.
I took a hike up the many snowy stairs to check on the car and the road.
A Heart for the Baby
Then I scratched out a message in the icy snow... in case Baby Hurst arrives today,
But it's late now and it doesn't look like this little message brought about a baby! We'll see about tomorrow!
Original Due Date
February 11, was original due date for baby. It was changed to the 6th, but the baby is still not here. Heidi will see her doctor today, but there's a winter storm warning!
Winter babies are extra worrisome. I wish the hospital wasn't a 30 minute drive away. But Heidi says she feels fine this morning. And the 100% chance of snow expected at 7 am, turned out to be rain.
Yesterday, Heidi's brother heard our weather prediction and hoped all would go well with "Blizzard Baby". This morning he sent a text with a photo of his baby themed breakfast.
On Tuesday night, we had an early Mardi Gras, with Heidi and Jamie. We nibbled our (rather dry) King Cake and hoped that Baby Hurst would look nothing like the alien-looking, plastic baby! We also hoped that Baby Girl doesn't wait until Mardi Gras (Feb 16) to arrive! Waiting is hard!
Day 3 of 2nd Impeachment Trial
So today is Thursday. Don and I will hang out at the Airbnb and wait for news. It's a cozy day for a movie or books, but right now the TV is on the news.
Today is the final day of arguments for House Managers. Yesterday there were nearly 6 hours of grueling images and reminders of Jan, 6. I watched some, because this is important stuff. But I need to keep myself positive and excited, about the good news that will come soon.
Well, I did allow myself a peek at some silly news.
This crazy video has been floating around social media, for a few days. We all have needed to chuckle, at this goofy focus on the "Cat Lawyer"!
It was Don's good eye, that spotted the name on the Cat Lawyer's Zoom image. Rod Ponton "Wasn't he that guy we met in Marfa?"
Sure enough, I found this photo in my blog from 2012. You have to love these quarantine and baby waiting days. We have lots of time to investigate curious stories like this. So funny!
Impeachment Trial Begins
Don and I have a lot of time on our hands, waiting for the arrival of Grandbaby Hurst. She was due on Saturday. Today is Tuesday.
We could sit in our Airbnb and brew endless cups of coffee and watch Trump's lawyers argue, that the former president did not incite the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. (Actually Trump will not allow anyone to call him "Former President") But I just can't watch.
How to Be a Grandma
Instead, I decided to focus on my upcoming role of Grandma. I spotted two books on Amazon. I like the sound of "Adventures in Grandparenting" and I'm curious about the "Science of Grandparenting". So I bought both.
Do I really need help knowing how to be a grandma? It's a different role than mom, but I've been prepping for this job, forever. As a young child, I didn't dream of being a bride like most girls in the 1960's. I dreamed of being a Grandma. Honestly. I imagined myself on a porch swing having lemonade with my grandkids. But Baby Hurst is not going to come into this world as a child. Will I remember how to diaper and burp a baby? Do I need to act like I know what I'm doing, to give my daughter confidence in me?
Help From Anna and Lesley
I snapped up these books, because they were about 2 bucks each, on Kindle. I didn't really expect much, but both are interesting. I haven't gotten far in Quindlen's book, but I like the way she speaks of trust. I don't plan on being a grandma who spoils the kiddos and sneaks sweets & treats, then chuckles "Don't tell!" If I spoil, I'll at least do it openly.
I like Stahl's reminder about the complicated position of sharing grandkids. I love how she explores the evolution of grandmothers... how their purpose has changed through time. I'm intrigued to learn about famous grandparents, from Whoopi Goldberg to Eleanor Roosevelt. Who shined and who didn't?
What Am I Learning?
Well, I can't say I'm learning tons from the books. But they are fun distractions while I wait. Mostly, I think I'll just trust my instincts.
And now I'm going to finish quilting this little bib. I'm as sloppy as I was, when I took up quilting during my first pregnancy, 35 years ago. But at least I know now, just how much food and spit-up, will cover that not-so-perfect-bib!
Raymond James Stadium
Today is the 55th Super Bowl Sunday. I wasn't really stressed. There were 30,000 cutout fans using up most of the available seats.
Only 25,000 fans attended. Masks were required. That included 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who had been invited. This was the smallest attendance, in Super Bowl history.
I actually know of one person who paid $100. to be on a cutout. I know my cousin and her family attended. (no idea how they arranged tickets!) But I was quite content to be at our Airbnb today, far away from any gatherings or in-person excitement.
I would have been game to have paid a visit to one of these stadiums, however.
Interesting that stadiums around the country have been using their space to help handle vaccinations. I'm so ready for a vaccine!
Tiny Super Bowl Party
But, I was content to enjoy our simple celebration this year. We had actually hoped to celebrate a new baby, but we'll be patient.
Our grandbaby was due yesterday, but nothing yet. So, Heidi and Jamie came over at 3, just before the anthem. We put out some food and watched the kick off.
Then Heidi and I stepped outside and took some photos. The weather has been glum for 10 days, but the sun peeked out for a moment.
I got some photos of Heidi and her sweet tummy. Looks like we won't have a Super Bowl Baby. Valentine Baby? Mardi Gras Baby? Chinese New Year Baby?
After some photos, we stepped back inside and headed for the Theatre Room. (gotta love an Airbnb with a media room!)
We watched some fun commercials and saw a surprise streaker. We analyzed the "canned" crowd cheers and we watched the game. It wasn't exciting enough to prompt any baby action. The Chiefs lost and Tom Brady celebrated with the Buccaneers. His his 7th Super Bowl win.
It would have been a much more exciting Super Bowl, if it had been interrupted with a trip to the hospital!
34+ Years Apart
Today is Heidi's due date. I'm reading my old journal entries to remember what it was like for me, the day Heidi was born. Maybe I can give her some insight.
It's not very helpful, because my birth was a planned C-section. I never felt one labor pain. I can't give Heidi advice about what to expect.
Masks During Delivery
I can't give advice about labor and I can't give advice about what deliveries are like these days. It's been over 34 years. I also have no clue what deliveries are like during a pandemic, except for what Heidi already knows. She and Jamie will be expected to wear masks during labor. No visitors allowed at the hospital.
Don wore a mask, when he held Heidi for the first time. That was because we were in an operating room. I do remember looking at all the masked faces that were involved with my delivery. Suddenly Don carried Heidi to me. I didn't have to wear a mask and I was allowed to kiss that sweet little girl's face. I felt like Royalty, surrounded by servants!
My Thoughts in 1986
My journal makes it pretty clear that my hormones were at work. Happy tears hit before I laid eyes on my new baby. The epidural made my teeth chatter (I thought it was nerves) and my giddy-swirling head made me confused when Dr. Rick announced, "It's a beautiful little lady!" I needed someone to clarify. "What does that mean?" "It's a little Heidi." Don explained.
Every birth and every mom is different. All I can share is what I experienced.
Heidi, if you're like me...
You will be overwhelmed with good emotions... happy tears maybe.
You'll see your daughter and remind yourself over and over, "She's ours!" You'll see Jamie with new eyes and realize you are now on a team and you share something wonderful! Your lives will never be the same.
You'll see a deflated stomach and think, "How is it possible that you were there and now you're in my arms?"
You'll be frustrated with breastfeeding and wonder why everyone told you it was so great.
You'll feel incredibly protective and maybe have a hard time sharing.
You'll wonder how it's possible that so many billions of women could have possibly done the special thing that you just did. Give birth!
1986 and 1957
It's been decades since I gave birth, so how can I give advice? Things have changed so much in 34 years. No bumper pads in cribs now, No putting babies to sleep on their tummies. How different was it for my mom, nearly 64 years ago?
But I look at these photos of Heidi and me and I think "babies are babies" and that never changes. I hope Baby Girl Hurst has fewer chins than me. I hope she has Heidi's and Jamie's blond hair!
Most of all, I hope Heidi and Jamie enjoy every moment and every stage that's ahead. They've made it through a pandemic pregnancy and there should be bonus rewards for that! A good sleeper would be nice, but a healthy baby is really enough for right now. I can't wait!
I can't believe it's a new month! It's a cold, drizzly day in Portland, but there's a lot of good ahead, this month.
Things like, new grandbaby arrival and Mardi Gras! I'm glad I packed jewelry that works for both!
I glanced at the news this morning and this chart was dismal, like the weather.
All the focus has been about vaccines, but today I was reminded that people are still dying. This chart is an alarming reminder.
The vaccine roll-out is still a mess. As expected, many who need it most aren't able to get the vaccine.
It's frustrating to know that some people (with money or connections) are able to beat the system to get vaccines. I'm sure plenty of deniers are getting the vaccine also.
I'm glad for anyone to get the vaccine actually. But, I'm sort of worried about navigating this half vaccinated world. We're told to still mask up after vaccines, but I sense that people are in a rush to ease up. My dad's assisted living center has had the first vaccine. They're opening up to visitors. Why not just be safe a little longer! My 92 year old dad has made it this far!
I saw the governor of W. Virginia, on the news. He has the same southern twang as the guy who cleans our pool. He doesn't look or sound smart, but his state has had the most success of all states, in getting folks vaccinated.
It will be a long time before Don and I have access to vaccines. We're a long way from our home in Texas. We're in Oregon, where things are lagging behind. But, I'm glad to see that 25 million have received the first dose. Maybe by the time Don and I can get vaccinated, we'll be able to get the Johnson & Johnson. Only one shot. Hmm?
By the end of February, who knows where we'll be with all this. It's a short month, but a lot can happen.
We don't know where we'll be at the end of this month with Covid, but we do know, there will be a new baby in this world! She's due in a week, so she'll be our February focus... and March and April and May... and forever!
Dining in Oregon
It's been nearly a year of pandemic dining. We've cooked at home and done carryouts and enjoyed some DoorDash! We've only had one patio dining adventure, back in August. It hasn't been hard.
But it's suddenly more complicated. We've been in our Oregon Airbnb for over 2 weeks now. No restaurant temptations, since inside dining isn't allowed. Our riskiest food adventure was picking up food at the Happy Valley Station Food Carts. Masks were required. No excuses, since there was a vending machine for masks!
Eating "At Home"
Don and I have been ordering curbside groceries. We're being extra safe as we wait the arrival of our grand baby. But it's not easy cooking those groceries.
This is getting old. We have a tiny fridge and a microwave. We brought a crockpot and are becoming experts.
Heidi and Jamie have a new house and a new kitchen. We'll be able to cook for them at their house, soon. But I don't want to be the first to splatter their new cooktop.
Last night, we asked the BnB owners if we could use the outdoor kitchen, right outside our door. They live upstairs so we could have invited them... if we weren't in the midst of a pandemic.
Wow. The salmon was tasty and the twinkling lights were fun. The cold drizzle didn't even bother us!
Don't Miss Shopping
I haven't missed malls and shopping in the past year. I'm not a big shopper. But we've been in Portland for nearly 3 weeks. We're in an ill equipped Airbnb and we are helping with Heidi & Jamie, with new house & new baby prep. It's hard not running in stores. But today, we went "shopping".
Don decided we should give the parents-to-be our old car. That meant we needed to shop for a new car. We wore masks and so did this nice guy. But we're not used to being around anyone! It felt odd. What about that 6-foot rule?
We asked to test drive this Subaru, by ourselves. "Our daughter is having a baby in a week." I added, as if I needed an excuse.
We opened the windows and turned on the seat warmers. We ended up buying. It was odd not to shake hands. The last time Don and I shook hands was when we bought a couch, just before quarantine, in March 2020. I remember cringing and saying "Oops! We're not supposed to be shaking hands are we?"
Some people have purchased cars online, during Covid and had them delivered. We weren't as cautious as that. But, never have we bought a car so quickly and efficiently.
I don't love shopping, but I actually do love this car!
All pregnancies come with challenges. Heidi's has been extra tricky.
There's the pandemic thing. There's the fact that Heidi and Jamie moved from TX to OR, far away from family and friends. And there's the local move, (5 days ago) from temp housing to new house. Baby comes in a couple weeks!
It Takes a Village... or a Few Villages
Even though Heidi said a baby shower was impossible, family and friends pitched in. We can't do a Zoom Shower. We're not in a home. There's nowhere to mail gifts.
But Sis-in-law-Chali, organized. She sent invites and coordinated with others. Aunt Jane mailed decorations and gift wrap, from NY. Aunt Kate and Aunt Jenni offered their address in OR, for mailed packages... and then wrapped as gifts arrived! Don and I made pandemic-safe stops, on our way from TX to OR, to collect. Confusing, but fun!
Yesterday, was the shower. Heidi and I took this photo with the camera timer, about 30 minutes before the Zoom gathering.
Don and Jamie were off on a secret errand and I had a little alone time with Heidi. It was a nice moment, after days of scrambling to help them move in.
Jamie and Don completed their curbside pickup! They arrived with a sweet cake, that Chali pre-ordered from a Portland bakery. So many helpers!
The house was still full of boxes and Heidi's swollen feet were in slippers, but no worries. We were ready for the virtual party, with its limited visuals!
Let the Zoom Begin
With a laptop resting on a wrapped box, the Family Zoom began. What a treat to have a party, without cleaning a whole house or preparing food.
It was fun to see the faces of Heidi's family on the computer screen. Close family and dear family friends, in NY, LA, ID, TX, IL, OK and CA, smiled from their couches... except for one, who chose to Zoom from her peaceful car. (tip for future mother)
For a moment I thanked this ugly pandemic for allowing us to all be together. I'm not sure if there was such a thing as a Zoom Shower, before 2020. Without technology, there is no way all these people could have been together to support Heidi.
I felt lucky to be there in person, as I handed gifts and listened to the sweet voices. I jumped next to Heidi at the end, when we all shared a few words of wisdom... "Accept help... Keep your humor... Sing to the baby..."
Gifts & Support
What a treat to suddenly see clothes and essential for this little baby. Heidi and Jamie have purchased little, while anticipating their move. They've been in limbo with housing, since this pregnancy began.
The gifts were wonderful, but the support was also needed. I can't imagine 9 months of isolated pregnancy. I remember the fun I had when I was pregnant with Heidi. Lunch and advice with friends. Shopping with my mom and even grandmother. So simple and old fashioned, in 1986.
Following the Family Zoom, Heidi had a second hour, Zooming with old friends.
As I handed packages to Heidi, I listened to enthused friends, offering their own advice. I loved seeing the gifts that young friends and mothers had to offer. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls! I love it! I think all babies born during a pandemic will be born with a little extra spunk and resiliance!
Practical and Fun
As I dashed back and forth with gifts, I snapped a few pics and I listened.
I heard oo-ing and awwing, over the cute stuff. I heard helpful tips, for using the important stuff. Then, everyone wanted to see the tummy.
Heidi showed her tummy. Jamie showed off the cake... which sadly couldn't be shared virtually. (It was yummy later)
There were also requests to see Josie, the furry character who has been the baby since long before these two were married. One friend suggested using Josie to practice "swaddling".
I wouldn't wish a pandemic on anyone's pregnancy. It's been extra stressful. Jamie won't meet the doctor until the birth. Heidi will have to wear a mask throughout her labor. I can't imagine.
But, after nearly a year of dealing with a pandemic, we have all learned to adapt. Covid-19 has taught people to find creative ways to be together. This sweet shower was one example. Thanks so much to Chali and Jane, Jennifer and Kate... and all those sweet Zoom Faces! XOXO
No Vaccines for Us
We're watching less news. Yay. But we're trying to peek at vaccine updates.
No telling when Don and I will get ours. We're far from our home where many of our friends are beginning to get theirs. Less chance of us getting vaccinated in Oregon..
On Facebook I see many, posting photos of getting vaccines. It's good to see. But I'm also seeing disturbing announcements. "We lost my brother to Covid last night." And there's a lot that's not being posted, about whole families that have suffered Covid, after holiday gatherings. These aren't friends of friends anymore. These are people I know now. We have to just keep on staying safe.
Our BnB in Clackamas, is near many parks. We need to make better use of our off time and explore.
It's been cold, but we've seen more sun than expected.
It's nice to be in the fresh air, away from people. Although we have seen a few others on these trails. Luckily, the hikers we've seen, have all worn masks. I guess people who get out and enjoy nature, are the kinds of people who want to keep the world and its people, around a little longer.
Cheers for scenes like this! Mount Hood, viewed from Scouters Nature Park!
We're in this Airbnb for 6 weeks, to help Heidi & Jamie move and prep for baby. They're working and they don't need us 24/7. We have a lot of time on our own and that's okay. But, I feel guilty not helping more.
Luckily we packed books and games and puzzles and snacks for our stay. And when the weather is sunny, I can read outside. And, there's nearby hiking. No complaints.
Helping These 2
I wish we could be of more help to Heidi and Jamie. This is them on Friday. Now this wonderful space, has furniture and lots of boxes.
Heidi's feet are swollen from enthused unpacking. Don and I have helped, with carrying and moving things, but we can't make their decisions. It's been 23 years since I moved. I forget how many tiny and huge decisions there are.
Cook for the Kids
A good mother would cook meals and fill their fridge. But our Airbnb has only a microwave and a blender. We brought the crockpot from TX. I cooked cauliflower and broth for 8 hours. Then I needed to blend it, before adding broccoli. The bathroom was the only place to plug in the blender. My blasts probably perplexed the owners, above. Complicated soup!
If these weren't pandemic times, we'd meet them at a nice restaurant or casually pick up a meals. All this safe quarantining was easier, when there was less going on.
Today, Don and I offered to chauffeur Heidi to her ob/gyn appointment in Portland. I remember my mom going with me to one of my appointments. But Mom didn't have to sit in the car. And I didn't have to put on 2 masks before going into the building. These are odd times.
I was glad Heidi took us up on the offer. Don and I relaxed in the car and watched the sidewalk traffic. We're not used to observing pandemic city life. The world is just carrying on... in masks. Good. We sat and wondered if the baby will come early. Will Jamie be able to be with Heidi the whole time? Covid restrictions change constantly.
It was nice to have the 30 minute drive, after Heidi was done. (In the past we've only gotten quick text updates.) Today we learned the baby might be closer to 2 weeks than 3. And Heidi needs to rest those swollen feet... There's nowhere in the new house to raise her feet!
We drove Heidi back to the new house. She had a work call at 1:30. We told her we'd drop her off and take care of the ottoman emergency. We attempted a curbside pick up at Target, but no luck. We went in!
After months of avoiding inside visits to anything, Don and I walked into Target and grabbed an ottoman. It seemed so sinful, so daring, so exciting! I wanted to grab a million other things. (We need so much at our temp Airbnb!) But we just grabbed the furniture and some Benadryl, that Heidi's doc recommended for sleep.
All this "helping" would be a lot easier if we'd been in our own house with all our stuff. Our Helping Adventures are so minimal, but still satisfying!
Cancer - Covid
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.
Coronavirus and Cancer! Both are evil, but neither can totally get me down... if I vent! I hope with Covid, I run out of complaints before 200!