Category Archives: coronavirus

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 Conventions 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.

Now it’s summer!

I’d made gazpacho. I’d made cold cucumber soup. We’d barbecued here and there and sat on the deck on Sunday mornings with the papers strewn around us. But it didn’t feel like summer.

Until today. We just went swimming over at Crystal Lake. Aaaah! The water is both warmer than usual and shallower, but still utterly refreshing.

It almost seemed normal. Girl says to her brother, “Eric! Let’s play the back float game!” Even more normalizing was the fact that they were being watched by a babysitter (How does that work? Is she a live-in?)

Cases in Massachusetts are rising again. After weeks of toggling between 200 and 300, we are mid-fives.

Last week I heard a statistic that recharged my caution. In Middlesex County (where most of our state’s cases are and where I live), if you have contact with 100 people, there’s a 38% chance that one of them has the virus. Just because we’re not California or Texas, it’s no time to get lax.

Upshot of telemedicine call: cholesterol is okay (wasn’t reading labs correctly it turns out), but I need to lose weight (according to me, not the doctor).

I don’t want to go cold turkey on sugar or join online Weight Watchers or even count calories. But I’m stepping up my exercise (ar ar). This is my third day in a row of exceeding 10,000 steps. Already I feel better.

Look at Saint Finn!

Gutters and lemon squares

It was cooler and then not. One pile of dirt has been dispersed, the other sifted of rocks. More news on patio in another post.

I made lemon squares and cut K’s hair. Worked on a bunch of chapters. Yesterday, met “the guys” over at the lake.

Saturday afforded some beautiful late afternoon light.

K cleaned gutters and I laid additional slates in the landing area. One of the beauties of watching a professional crew is learning how to do something. My rubber mallet, small yellow level, and trowel have been busy!

For instance, I’m interrupting the median plantings so that when the nearby elementary school resumes in-person learning, it’ll be clear where to step. A good use of the multitude of rocks uncovered in our patio project. My mother used to joke that rocks are New England’s best crop.

Recording the above because dinner prep is in the works. I’m roasting tomatoes, soaking beans, chopping olives and cooking rice for a rice, corn, and bean salad. Tons of garlic and shallots will add flavor.

Fortuitously, even before the obscenity that is Ivanka hawking Goya beans on her twitter feed, I ordered heirloom beans from California. Very exciting for this mid-level foodie!

Two friends are coming over to watch Hamilton this evening. I’m excited way out of proportion to the event. I’ve seen both friends recently and have already watched Hamilton once, but it feels special.

For one thing, I haven’t had a reason to tidy the living room in a LONG time. Plus, I love an excuse to rearrange the furniture (we’ll sit six feet apart and wear masks – except when eating).

And when have I cooked for friends last?

Cape Ann and patios

At three I said, “Let’s go to the beach!”

An hour later we joined a few strangers at Cape Hedge Beach in Rockport just as a fine mist rolled in.

I pocketed a few striped rocks for my collection, but heart-shaped rocks are rare around here so I settled on heart-adjacent.

Dinner at the famous Woodman’s in Essex was its usual combination of delicious and mind-numbingly pricey. Do you know what fries clams cost these days? Though tables outside afforded good social distance, I insisted we eat in the car. Too much coming and going. Also — at least three dogs. And anyway, the view from the front seat satisfied!

We had a pounding rain last night. It looks as though my tender basil, amaranth, and sunflower seedlings survived.

After a three day break, the patio crew is back. Movement. Progress. So much waiting and delay lately! Will I / won’t I hear from the editor this week?