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Day 144

Who's Counting?

Here’s a list of what I didn’t accomplish today:

I didn’t go for a walk or do my stretching exercises.
I didn’t learn — or even start to learn — a new language.
And I didn’t sign up for online art classes.
I meant to …

But here’s a list of what I did accomplish today:

I did manage to log in some hours on my big new writing project. Details to be revealed later.
I did manage not to over-eat. Drumroll, but no jelly or belly roll, please!
I did maintain a positive mental attitude through most of the day, staying grateful for the good health of all those I love and care about.
I miraculously did avoid talking politics during three Zoom meetings and two telephone calls.
And I did write this COVID Chronicles journal entry.

So, the day — Day 144 — wasn’t a complete muddle!

See! We will get through this … not always as productively as we’d like, but still, the time will pass. Hang in there. Better days are ahead. Meanwhile, wear your mask, wash your hands, and keep your ever-lovin’ social distance!

Day 127

My Photo Phobia

Thanks to all the promising coronavirus research underway, vaccine trials may soon follow. That, of course, is great news. But with all those tests, will soon come non-stop news photos of vaccinations being administered, you know, yucky close-up shots of needles being plunged into people’s arms.

And those photos are bad news for me.

You see, I’m squeamish, squeamish to the max. More to the point, I’m vaccination-photo phobic.

I cringe when I see photos or watch movies (or simply see) people getting injections or intravenous needles. I don’t just cringe, I get weak at the knees and green in the gut.

Back in the Day

When I was a reporter, I covered Las Vegas’s health district for a time. Walking into the shot clinic, I’d shield my eyes and grab my photographer’s shirt. Eyes averted, I frequently bumped into wailing toddler-patients and busy staff! En route to an interview, I became a walking health hazard!

I did the same at murder scenes, clinging blindly to my cameraman’s shirt with one hand, holding my nose with the other to avoid the smell! Yes, a real blood-and-gore reportorial lightweight!

Anyway, enough about my ancient past.

Back to the Present

Like everybody in the world, I cannot wait for the day we have effective treatments and a vaccine that frees the world from the scourge of COVID-19. So, bring on those clinical trials. We need them ASAP.

And in terms of my needle-photo phobia, I guess I’ll be obliged to ask Handsome Hubby to screen and censor the newspaper each morning, cutting out offending photos before I sit down to my Rice Krispies and New York Times.

📚 📚 📚

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for an entertaining read, I’ve got a completely biased recommendation! My friend Laura Shea’s latest novel is out and it’s a good one! Murder in the Wings is a buzzy mix of theatre, academic sardonic wit, and murder mystery all rolled into one great read. Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it.

And so goes Day 127. Bee good. (And that’s not a typo. Check out Laura’s book. It’s a clue!)

Day 103

Strange Cravings

I’m starting to have visions. Not religious visions. No, more like sugar plums and other sweets plus a few savory treats to round out the picture.

Yes, like someone lost midway through the Sahara Desert or shipwrecked (or pregnant), I’m starting to have intense and highly specific food binge desires.

I close my eyes and see specific dim sum delights — bar-b-que pork buns (don’t tell my rabbi), steamed pork buns (again, please, don’t tell my rabbi) and steamed shrimp shumai (same rabbinical request). Perhaps I could make these delights at home, but a. I don’t have the patience of a Zen master and b. I want to select these treats from steaming dim sum carts racing past me and share them with my nephew Ryan in a jam-pack Chinatown restaurant, either in San Francisco or NYC.

I also yearn for a salty, icy Margarita served with a huge bowl of chips, salsa, and guacamole. These items I can whip up at home, but again it’s about the ambiance, the friends, the crowd, the fun, the background noise.

Ah, well. It’s not like I’m starving. It’s just fun deferred.

But still, these intrusive visions are a bit alarming! I guess as long as the baked buns don’t start talking to me, I’m OK. Right?

And so goes Day 103. Hang in there. May all your cravings be satisfied! Now or not in the not-to-distant future.

Now, fess up! What are you jonesing for?

Day 94

New Friends ... with Masks?

We all long to spend time with loved ones. An inescapable and aching fact. But what about the thrill of making new friends? How do you make friends when you cannot see their faces? Their smiles? Their full expressions? How do you take the measure of a person when they are masked? The Lone Ranger wore a mask so as not to reveal his identity. Ditto Zorro. How do we discern the full and true nature of new friends? And I’m only talking about friendship. Thank goodness, I’m not searching for a date or a new mate!

Yesterday a carpenter came over for some cannot-wait-for-the-pandemic-to-pass repair work needing to be done. Essential, at least in Handsome Hubby’s eyes. The carpenter is a blast. Not only skilled but funny and nice. I think I’d like to become friends with her but how to commit to friendship without knowing what’s behind the mask? It feels weird. Plunging into a new friendship is always an act of optimism and trust. Doing so without a full facial frontal seems astonishingly bold — and I’m not even factoring in the health risks even with social distancing.

I don’t know. I guess I’ll just tap dance into the night to the tune of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” even before the fledgling friendship starts.

But, to paraphrase the oft-quoted line from Casablanca, it could have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Oh, well.

And so goes Day 94. And remember, despite the inconvenience, keep wearing YOUR mask. Also, if you’re having problems breathing while wearing it, the New York Times offers some tips to help.

Day 92

There Ought to be a Law

Workmen on the roof (or Santa Claus is up there clogging). The noise is making it hard to concentrate. So, here’s one quick marital tempest in a sheltered in place teapot!

Using lemons from our massive lemon tree, my next-door neighbor Kimberley regularly makes these “to die” for lemon bars. I don’t really like lemony desserts, but every time she makes them, Handsome Hubby goes into raptures over them. He gets so “swoony” over them, I fear he’s going to file divorce papers, dump me, and propose to the lemon bar lady next door.

So, in an act of wifely devotion, I made a fancy lemon pudding. Now, this may not impress you but the instruction to “fold egg whites gently” is as weighty, frightening, and consequential, as being told to perform brain surgery.

To me, the successful folding of egg whites is a near-impossible feat requiring great skill, good karma, and the perfect alignment of the stars.

Well, to my utter surprise, karma and stars came together. The dessert was a feathery perfection. It was so perfect, I went swoony. It was so perfect, I the non-lemon dessert-eating person inhaled two portions. The only person who didn’t go into raptures? You guessed it. Handsome Hubby. His comments: “Not bad. It’s OK. It wasn’t that hard to make, was it?”

Mock my dessert. Mock me. After 90+ days of sheltering in place, I was the one ready to serve something else, perhaps HH’s head on a platter!

Disheartened, I tossed the recipe into the trash and scrubbed up my sugar-flour-butter strewn kitchen in a major sulk.

The next day I brought the lemony leftovers over to my daughter who also likes tart treats to see what she thought. Even before arriving home, I received the following text message: “The lemon pudding is Life Changing!”

I dashed to the trash can at the curb, but I was too late. The garbage had already been picked up. Now I’ve got to search the Internet to find the damned recipe!

So goes Day 92! There really ought to be a law! Oh, and HH is swoony again. Kimberley just dropped off a fresh batch of lemon bars.

Day 86

Does Not Compute!

Infection Rates are Rising; Cities are Opening Up. These two conflicting pieces of information have got me … well, deeply conflicted.

I know we cannot live our lives hiding behind our doors. Still, as one just now getting over a serious illness, I’m not feeling particularly brave — even masked and gloved — ready to greet our new COVID-19 world of social distancing, manic hand washing, and avoiding touching my own face like I have the plague.

Yes, I want to go out, but the expression “Shop till you drop” now sounds ominous and as does “I thought I would die when …” and if I have to social distance when I’m in a restaurant, where’s the fun in that? Half the fun of eating out is listening in … listening in on the conversations at the tables to your right and left.

Aside from friends and family, the places and people I most want to visit are my hairdresser, manicurist, and masseuse. Yet, in terms of those three ladies, sadly, the expression, “too close for comfort” comes to mind. Of course, in my town, the option of booking those kinds of appointments isn’t available yet. So, that “will I or won’t I” angst is still in the realm of pure speculation.

As for running out for an impromptu treat, say an ice cream cone, again I ask “Where’s the fun in that?” How is something a lark if it requires a four-step safety process?

  1. Getting all suited up in a mask, gloves, and, for safety, a face shield;
  2. Talking to somebody/ordering through plexiglass;
  3. Gingerly sliding the credit card through the payment slot and dreading the placement of that now “contaminated” card back in your wallet; and
  4. Then, making a mad dash to your car to shed your protective gear AND douse your hands in hand sanitizer WHILE somehow balancing your ice cream cone;

All that before you can breathe a sigh of relief and finally, “enjoy” your slightly melty treat.

And for me, the activity I most long to do won’t begin for a long while and that is to go to live theater. So, my incentive for venturing forth faces an extended intermission.

So, from my perspective, I’m going slow in terms of re-entry into the world. I’m not typically a scaredy-cat but COVID-19 continues to spook me — big time.

Meanwhile, on a silly note, I saw an ad today for a “best-selling ‘face lift in a jar’ moisturizer,” currently on sale for only $34. The ad promised the crème would turn back time. My question: how far? I’m only looking to go back to 2019, right before the coronavirus sprang forth, and began its deadly assault on the planet. If that moisturizer turns back time just that far, put me down for a jar. In fact, I’ll take two. As they say, it’s a bargain at twice the price!

And so goes Day 86. Stay safe.

Something to Celebrate

44 Days and in Need of Joy

Something to Celebrate

Searching for something to celebrate after 44 days of sheltering-in-place, I turned to a website that lists “Daily Bizarre and Unique Calendar Holidays.” And with the month of April not quite over, I was in luck. Join me — from a socially safe distance — for an e-journey through the month’s extravaganza of unusual holidays. Read more