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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

My Life in the Time of COVID-19: March 2020

Attack of the Furies
March 2020 is the month of before and after. "Before" when grocery stores were fully stocked except for hand sanitizers. And "after" when grocery store paper aisles were empty, when on my first "after" grocery store visit, there was no chicken, no ground meats of any kind, most breads were gone and the flour/grain aisles were decimated. "Before" when I was a healthy, active 65-year old woman and 60 was jokingly called the "new 40." "Before" when I was hiking 8.5 miles with the El Dorado Senior Hikers, and "after" when my gym is closed and I'm limited to neighborhood walks.

At the beginning of March I finished renovating the condo I owned when Dan and I met. It has been a rental now for almost 30 years. It took 10 weeks of extensive repairs and replacements, but on March 1 I had an open condo day and found renters. They signed a lease and moved in on March 8. Because of that distraction, I was a little behind the curve on getting ready for what was ahead. By the time I thought about it all antiviral wipes were gone as were most hand sanitizers. I did manage to snag one purse-sized bottle of hand sanitizer.

Also, Dan went to Moldova in February for a two-week gig that brought him back home on March 7. He returned home just days before Trump said he was going to stop all incoming flights and goods from Europe which caused Americans traveling abroad to panic and pay big bucks to get home before the blockade was to take effect but then didn't because he "mis-spoke."

In the week before we became shut ins, we had a series of plumbing issues at home. First there was a leak behind the dishwasher that put it out of commission for several days. Then, after the leak was identified and repaired but while we had fans running to dry out the floor/wall area, our water heater decided to die. There were no hot showers and I had to boil water to wash dishes because I couldn't use the germ fighting power of the dishwasher.

On March 15, California Governor Gavin Newsom advised those of us 65 and over to stay home except for essential trips for groceries, pharmacies, banks, etc.

We've been walking 3-4 miles several times a week both in our neighborhood and in our yard. If our cats want to leave the fenced part of the yard, then we walk them on a leash. No free-ranging cats here. We live in a semi-rural area where it is easy to social distance while walking.

Dan and Syd
We travel a lot and have no pattern to our destinations. Last year we signed up for a Rick Steves Tour of Portugal that several friends would be going on. We were to depart on April 18. This month, the tour company canceled the trip, and United Airlines dropped the international segments from our itinerary. The two hotels in Portugal that we were to stay at before and after the tour have credited us the cost of the room to be used at a later time. For our airfare, we have a credit that has to be used within one year of booking the original trip--Nov 1, 2020. So, trying to look on the bright side, Dan and I began looking at self-guided walking tours for Portugal. Briefly, I felt hopeful. September would be a great time to go (if we can).

Our county of El Dorado as of March 31 has 18 reported cases of Covid-19. The first two cases were people who acquired and recovered from the virus in other states/counties. So far one person of the 18 has been hospitalized. At this point, the county is waiting for results of 100 tests recently administered.

Because I thought I would have time on my hands, I decided to make a sourdough starter and then bread. It was a slow process that began on March 22. So far, my bread hasn't lived up to my expectations. My product of my first attempt was rather dense, but slather butter on it and it was pretty good. I have also been making sourdough pancakes from the starter discard. They have been amazingly light and tasty. I'll continue working to perfect my bread making process, but now I don't feel like I have that extra time.

After making this bread I put aside the plastic wrap that had covered the dough while it was rising. I figured that I should conserve resources and reuse it. I left it on a clean pan on the kitchen counter. The next day, I found what was left of it. There was a big hole in the middle. One of our cats had decided to eat it.

On the last day of the March, our little Pandora cat just didn't seem her normal self. With the plastic wrap culprit still unknown, I now assumed that Pandora was ill because she was the perpetrator. Normally, after she eats, she runs through the house, up and down the stairs. She always has so much joie de vivre, but today, nothing. After calling the vet office and finding out the "new normal" procedure, we took her. The procedure is to park, call the vet's office, and wait for a vet tech to come out. The office entrance has a big sign telling clients to wait in their cars and call. There were several of us in our vehicles with our sick pets. When it was our turn, the vet tech (wearing mask/gloves) took Pandora inside for an examination. We waited outside in our car. Eventually, the vet (wearing mask/gloves came out and standing at least 6 feet from our car, discussed her findings. She found that Pandora had no obvious issues and we should just watch her for a couple of days. The vet tech returned with the bill and left with our credit card. Once the payment transaction was complete, she returned Pandora cat to us.

Back at home, Pandora seemed perfectly normal again: running around, bothering everything.

My escape is editing photographs and creating art. It allows me to focus and forget. I've been working on a series of images I took at a January Photographic Society of America workshop on still-life photography. My favorite was the smoke table. Because the smoke table was outside and not completely protected, the smoke from an incense cone in the ashtray did not rise cleanly. The smoke was so light, so ephemeral, so hard to see. After reviewing my many images I found that, like clouds, there were interesting shapes. I repeatedly incorporated and composited some shapes for my Smoke Signals series.

Mandala of Smoke
So far, we are quite fine and will eventually settle into a workable schedule maybe even adding new things into our lives. Truly, we have nothing to complain about. We are managing. When I do go to the grocery store, I take a list. No more grocery shopping three times a week.

Between NY Times, Washington Post, NPR, and FB, I'm keeping up with both social and virus news. I no longer listen to the presidential press conferences, because I can't stand hearing our clueless cheerleader-in-chief blame everyone else for the appearance of the virus in the US. I am thankful for Dr. Fauci and for living in California.