Tag Archives: travel

Barcelona and Covid

I borrowed a friend’s super duper HEPA filter. I have three fans in position, ready to circulate the air. My husband’ll take our bedroom and bath and I’ll take one of the boys’ bedrooms and their bath. We’ll wear masks.

Because? You guessed it. He caught COVID. K spent the week in Barcelona duking it out with Tylenol and room service. He didn’t make his presentation. “It’s like a bad cold,” he said, as many do. He stayed longer than his coworkers but is traveling home now after a positive test.

I know. I know.

I stopped to buy ham so I can make one of his favorite meals this weekend: ham, au gratin potatoes, and something green. I also bought a generous pack of chicken wings to add to the chicken carcass that’s in the fridge. This batch of chicken soup has to be good, silky-good. His senses of taste and smell do not seem to have been affected.

Today is cool. A beautiful first day of fall. Finn sniffed things on our walk this morning per usual and tried to roll in some very stinky soil amendment near The Terraces which was not usual.

I listened to This American Life — about a couple that travels to Switzerland for an assisted suicide. The husband had Alzheimer’s.

Did I already post this? (speaking of dementia!)

No one understood why I didn’t want to go to Spain with K. I kept saying, “It’s because I don’t want to get Covid.”

When K gave me the news earlier this week, I laughed and said, “You didn’t have to get sick to prove me right!” (Not immediately, of course. That wasn’t the first thing I said …)

I’ll be back to answer comments from last post. I seem to be missing some of my usual mojo lately.

PCC image this week: B&W photos of men

Indecision about travel

Trying to decide whether to move or cancel a family trip to the Rockies. It’s scheduled for mid- to late-January and is meant to be our Christmas gathering with the boys. The Airbnb has a strict cancellation policy.

I’m having all kinds of feelings about this, mostly aggravated worry sliding into outrage. As my husband likes to point out, I go from zero to ten rather quickly. (At least he pointed out that I laugh easily too).

But here’s the thing: when members of a family have different tolerances for risk, whose gets to govern?

And, if we cancelled because a million cases are predicted for next week and oh, by the way, our airline keeps canceling hundreds of flights due to sick personnel, why should we be penalized? This is Act of God-level interference.

Frankly, if no money was involved, I’d have made a unilateral decision two days ago and cancelled.

Nicolle Wallace on Deadline Whitehouse yesterday: I just assume I’m gonna get it. Everyone I know has it. She doesn’t usually indulge in that level of hyperbole, but there you have it.

As I said to Airbnb hostess, I don’t care about getting a breakthrough case. It’s long Covid I worry about, for all of us. Can you imagine, for instance, living out your days without a sense of taste?

At least I took the ornaments off the tree. It’ll be on the curb by mid afternoon.

I’m off to make mushroom soup for lunch. A friend is coming over and we’re going to watch Being the Ricardos.

Early Christmas gifts

After traveling to Los Angeles to see my brother and returning home yesterday, I have a number of early Christmas gifts to share. In no particular order.

One early gift was a negative Covid test today. I know, I know — perhaps not reliable and maybe I should test again tomorrow, but I’ll take that single pink stripe! Second gift was that our local drug stores’ shelves were well-stocked with the kits.

Another early gift was being bumped up to first class yesterday. Wahoo! A window seat no less. We’re talking Belgian waffles. We’re talking elbow room. I watched a movie and I watched the clouds.

With dismay, we’re watching my husband’s frequent flier miles diminish. For years we floated a balance of about a million miles (I kid you not). But naturally with COVID he hasn’t traveled in roughly two years. It looks like he’ll retire before there’s time to accrue more benefits.

Boo-hoo me, I guess, having to pay for airline tickets like the rest of the world. It’s not just the miles though. As a Global Premium customer you get speedy, white-glove check in (a glass-enclosed cubby at LAX, a dedicated lane at Logan, a private room in Denver). No waiting ever. And then because I don’t have TSA pre-check, one of the clerks walks me over to security and cuts to the top of the line. Again, I kid you not.

After security, one can enjoy the premium lounge which is less crowded than the general areas and also offers free food and coffee. This benefit was especially a gift this week since my brother watches a lot of CNN and all the coverage about omicron induced a mild panic about traveling. JEE-sus!

More early gifts: I got to watch my brother walk! He’s really working hard to become mobile again and it’s within reach. Also, twice he cracked such hilarious jokes I nearly wet myself. No, I will not share.

Got to see my older son and he seems so good. Without prompting, he offered to drive me to the airport at 5:30 in the morning. What a sweetheart!

Coming home is always a gift but yesterday it was amplified and I’m not sure why since the pall cast over Christmas by Covid is worse than last year.

I think I was moved by the comfort of the familiar. I struggled with my brother’s things — the can opener with a weird switch, the non-compliant bathtub drain, overheating hand-beaters, the lack of a secure stool in a tall person’s kitchen, FOUR TV remotes, none of which make sense to me. You get the idea.

K and I snuggled on the couch with Finn, clicked on a fire, ate Indian take out, and watched the finale of Shetland. It doesn’t get much better than that if you ask me.

Assisi flashback

Was the Cathedral of San Rufino haunted? Almost every time I went in there and took pictures, some percentage came out blurred.

And since I only posted a fraction of the wall photos I took, here are a few more.

Just so you know: the first bird (below) was applied by Romans something like 2,000 years ago! It’s under the city on a wall featuring 90+ distinct birds.

Editing cloth and prose

The base. Pieced. Bottom left sea green patch bugs me and presents itself as a problem to be solved.

What if I go back to my hybrid method of quilting? I used to combine piecing and appliqué in a somewhat slapdash way that embarrasses me a little now. It sent me into a purist phase — everything must be pieced! What if I now consider some of those “nice” purely pieced quilts as unfinished — or at least, as potential canvases?

How much fun to defy the lines of the seams and extend patterning in a spirit of play?

And, as always, how about adding more houses? The pinned one on the left, believe it or not, is a “discovered” house, fussy cut from a rayon blouse. The green house to the right was made by simply topping a vertical rectangle with a roof.

There are so many more pictures of Italy to share but they already feel like old news. But I will be sharing more, if you don’t mind… along with a half dozen mini book reviews. They’re piling up! Turning into homework (ugh!)

One Assisi insight (not profound at all but hear me out): when you’re not walking the dog, cleaning the house, watching two MSNBC news programs a day, cooking dinner most nights, and tending a demanding mentally and physically ill sibling, a charge whose hours of attention are preceded by dread and followed by a period of demoralized recovery — there are a lot of hours in the day! In Italy, I had soooo much time! Time to wander the streets. Time to drink Caffè machiatto at the bar with the old men. Time to light candles for my sister all over the city. Time to read and write and quilt.

(My street — San Rufino Ave).

I am watching how I vacuum and scrub and now garden (yes!) to avoid the page.

It’s a process. And I miss my sister more here than I did there, particularly (and ironically because it was a place of ongoing tension), whenever the phone rings. It rings and I think: it will never again be her.

But you’ll be happy to know that of the 200+ chapters in my manuscript (Blood and Indigo), all but a handful have received a hard edit. One of the best things I did in Italy at the advice of fellow-writing-resident– the supremely lovely, warm, insightful and generous Argentinian writer, Elena Bossi — was to chop a lot of dull descriptions of interior crap and replace them with dialogue. What a good piece of advice that was!

Maybe that was one of the reasons I was so taken with the statute of David at the Cathedral of San Rufino — the dynamism of his raised arm, about to strike! I deleted two entire chapters while I was at it. Highlight, click! Highlight, click!

And what a pleasure to come home to a world exploding with the extravagance of spring.