Category Archives: coronavirus

A trip to Saratoga Springs, long delayed

When I updated WP last week, I lost the ability to opt out of the clunky block editor, which is why yesterday, when alternating between composing on laptop and phone, eight blocks became irretrievable. Ugh! Sometimes I take such glitches as signs to reconsider publication. That difficult line between personal and public.

The post was about a recent trip to the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery where K’s father’s ashes are interred. How pretty a day it was (if overly hot) and maybe, how unceremonious our visit was. No prayers or poems, no stones to lay above his epitaph. For days I felt as though we’d let him down (or let ourselves down — is that the same?)

I like to think, though, that he would have appreciated the casual knot of family, even if empty-handed, bound as we were by love. A call to the West Coast to complete the circle. The sky so blue and clouds stacked like stairs.

It both helps and hurts to know that though Covid didn’t cause K’s father’s death, it prevented a timely memorial service and in this, we are like a multitude of others. So, so many others. Delayed ritual. Loss added to loss. A year and a month later.

Here are some pictures of other epitaphs, many unusual, colorful, or downright hilarious.

As I lamented the lack of Kaddish or wine to a Jewish friend, she reminded me of a much simpler Judaic custom. “May his memory be a blessing,” she said. Yes. Yes. May his memory be a blessing.

His memory is a blessing.

Remember shopping?

Last weekend when Sunday evening arrived, I couldn’t figure out where the time had gone.

Oh yeah. I went shopping. Shopping for cotton t-shirts to replace the food stained collection currently in my drawers (I didn’t gain weight during the pandemic, but I did ruin a lot of shirts by eating dinner on the couch) and for shorts and pants. Went to the PO for passport photos.

K and I went to THREE places in search of a new side chair for the living room. Look at us, I might’ve said. Shopping for new furniture like adults! It’s not something we’ve done much.

Then I returned one of the shirts from Uni-Qlo because it was too tight. Got the large instead. I might have dropped what for me was a small fortune at JJill.

How much time we used to routinely spend in pursuit of food and other goods! Errands, errands! Decisions, decisions! Driving, parking, waiting in lines! Finding the bathroom, because…

Today, I was at it again. I returned the shirt I bought to replace the too-tight one because it still bound at the neck (I have a thing about that). Returned the swanky JJill outfit. I loved it but it was too drapey and long for a short woman with curves. This is when I wondered if maybe I enter a fugue state when clothes shopping, one in which I’m a slender woman standing five-seven.

I also returned the olive shorts bought last weekend because when I went to put them on this morning, I grabbed another pair of olive shorts. You know, the ones I forgot about.

I believe this fugue state might have a clinical name, but never mind that.

This morning I headed to the mall at 10, forgetting that nothing opens until 11, even though I was just confronted with that fact last week. Made a quick right into the Wegman’s complex and good thing, because we have two social gatherings coming up. I will bring bruschetta and artichoke dip to one, seared, honeyed shishito peppers and a plate of tomatoes with homegrown basil to the other.

Back home now and I’m breathing a sigh of relief.

In other news: I hit the “below obese designation” on the scale this morning. Talk about relief! This, merely by employing the trendy but sensible process of intermittent fasting. I didn’t give anything up. I didn’t start using my exercycle. I just stopped eating at 7 pm and held off eating again til 1 pm. It works!

The catalpa blossoms litter the yard. The white scatter offers unusual floral beauty, but also precipitates a little dread since we will need to pick up rotting piles of them in a couple of days. Our back catalpa — we have two — didn’t used to flower but now does. Who knew trees changed gender? Probably all of you…

With mild temps and sun, I’m able to edit on the deck under the umbrella. It makes for pleasant typing, even as I am reaching a point of deep reluctance. I hope it’s a temporary resistance, for I have a ways to go. Line by line editing is pure pleasure for me. I could do it all day, every day. But this business of moving big chunks around and deleting or drastically shrinking entire chapters requires a different kind of focus. Ugh. Maybe this new mood signals that I am nearing the end. I hope so.

Gather up

After writing alone and with others for a while, you have to gather up what you’ve been putting down on the page. Review. This morning I find some scrawls that are an Epilogue to current novel and some other meanderings that may or may not be a second novel.

But it was too cold to sit outside. Even with fleece, blanket, and Oliver Twist-style gloves with the fingertips cut off.

I am officially fully vaccinated now. Wahoo!

Yesterday was a big deal: Shot two DONE and edit three DONE.

Maybe all that happy chatter I’m hearing about Aquarius has something to it.

No Yoyo Ma, but all good

These days most zoom calls I’m in on or overhear begin and end with discussions about vaccination. How did you get your slot? Which shot did you get? Any side effects? Have you had the second? Where did you end up going? If you’ve heard enough, scroll on because I got my first vaccine today and I’m gonna write about it!

It was at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston and what a well-run operation it was. The navy was there! There was NO waiting. Given how badly our (Republican) governor rolled out the vaccines during Phase I and II, I wasn’t sure how it’d go.

I registered for an appointment through the state’s mega-vaccine-site-site (think Fenway Park) and didn’t expect to hear back, honestly. So when my primary care doctor offered me a slot, I took it even though it was a month off.

Then the state-run operation came through with a slot two full weeks earlier. I grabbed it. Amazing how long two weeks feels in the new terrain of waiting for immunity.

Getting there: my map app arbitrarily goes mute when I can least afford it, so I wrote the three critical turns on a slip of paper. Super old-school, I know. Finding the parking garage entrance was the only part I was worried about. And maybe the path on foot through the guts of the Prudential Center. I get turned around even in malls that have linear east/west layouts, so… (it’s intentional on the part of the designers, I’ve read, but who am I kidding?)

A trip somewhat familiar, and yet? It’s been a long time since I jumped in the car and routinely went places. Even a run to Staples in the next town over gave me pause recently. But since this errand fell in the realm of reclaiming my life, it felt important to go alone.

I calculated that I needed to leave forty-five minutes early in order to arrive at a reasonable time. They wanted you there fifteen minutes early.

I got the very first spot in the garage. I mean — steps away from the gate. If I’d retraced the car’s route to street level, I’d have reached the auditorium in minutes, without a second of disorientation. Sky, buildings, curbs. Alas, I had to use the elevator and make my way through the Pru’s “lobby.”

When I hear “lobby,” I think of a large shiny entry way with a chandelier. Maybe a few clusters of tasteful plants and seating. This was not that. It was a labyrinthine path through corridor after corridor with left turns, right turns, and not much signage.

I landmarked along the way, already worried about finding my way back. Was surprised to pass my old law firm, Ropes & Gray. I’d forgotten they switched towers once upon a time. Walked under a hideous art installation of crumpled netting and crystals, but was grateful for it because well-designed or not, it was memorable. Eataly (cute!) offering Mediterranean fare. Coffee shops (with lines!). Most establishments were closed. Lots of signs telling you to “look up” which I found weird.

It took a long time, all this walking. Did I mention they wanted you there fifteen minutes early? More turns. And a few more, and at last — there was the line into the auditorium.

I am routinely punctual, but today I impressed even myself. When I queued up to the entrance (the first and only wait of the process, by the way), I checked the time. Sixteen minutes. I was sixteen minutes early. Or, to put it another way: I was almost exactly on time.

Navy troops ushered us along. “Get your ID out.” My registration form flapping. The vaccination space was gigantic and I mean gigantic.

Again, zero wait. “Go to B5.” There a young navy guy administered my shot. He told me he’s here for eight weeks, from Minnesota by way of Virginia. The magnolia are blooming in Virginia, I know, so I felt a little bad for him. “MAYBE you’ll get some nice weather while you’re here,” I joked. It was 29 degrees when I left the house.

During the mandatory post-shot wait period (another vast space), I almost immediately got a text to schedule shot number two. At the exit, I was handed a parking voucher. Did I mention what a well-run operation this was?

But then, the trek back. Going to protests in Boston, I’d learned to photograph my parking level, so I knew I was looking for the North Garage, Level 5. But I had to get there first.

Oh, look! There’s Eataly! Oh look! Here I am walking under the clumps of netting and they’re still hideous!

There was only one point in the long, non-linear route back to the car when I wasn’t sure if I’d made the correct turn, but low and behold, there on the marble wall: Ropes & Gray. Well, then.

Once back on the turnpike, I felt such relief. Thought, “I’m going home.” Home and all that might mean. I felt lighter. I tried to imagine how the same route’s gonna feel in three weeks, and couldn’t quite.

When I walked in the door, husband joked, “Did Yoyo Ma serenade you?”

Alas, no. But it didn’t matter.



Grey Sunday, random notes

Wind and rain are supposed to begin at kick-off of the Patriots’ game and let up around the game’s ending. Ha! Maybe speaking to the end of a dynasty?

This chyron perhaps speaks to the imminent collapse of our hospital systems. Less people might be dying of Covid, but here are two critical problems: health care workers are already burned out and help cannot be secured from other states because the entire country is awash with the disease.

This Atlantic article speaks to all of that.

We walked in the woods this morning. It’s not raining yet. It seemed that some sort of geocaching was afoot because the paths were littered with people staring down at pieces of paper.

One wonders how anything will stay in business. Not that I give a shit about Bloomingdales, but it is a case in point.

I like sheer fabric as much as the next fiber enthusiast but I don’t particularly go for murder as a fashion theme. WTF Style section of the NYTimes?

I didn’t know fat freezing was a thing.

Today I will stitch and watch Love Actually. K commented from the other room yesterday as I actually managed to watch a Hallmark movie in its entirety (I don’t usually). He said, “It sounds like you’re being force fed dead raccoon.”

Don’t ask me where THAT analogy came from!

This time next week, my brother will be at home and it will be his birthday.