The mask protects the vulnerable and in settings where one can’t social distance, masks should be mandatory. They are a little uncomfortable. For me, it was a bit like hiding under the covers in bed and breathing in your own moist exhalations and sweat.
The advantages? Take a look at the picture. The mask hides so many ‘imperfections.’ Wrinkles?? A few by the eyes and on the forehead but hey, I could just be serious. Jowls? Surely you jest, none in sight. Don’t look at the neck. The glasses help disguise laugh lines (so much gentler than calling them crow’s feet.)
The masks don’t have to be plain, disposable surgical masks like the one I’m sporting. For the fashion maven, they are the new accessory. Companies and individuals have leapt into the void and you can order cloth masks in any colour and with a variety of prints, pictures, or personal cartoons. I believe some clothing companies have matching masks for popular outfits.
I haven’t been much of a clothes horse for quite a number of years. Too many structures, ‘go south.’ You have to pair age of face with outfits that aren’t too avant garde and comfort is more important than it once was. But if wearing a mask protects others and makes me look good, win-win. Stay safe, stay home, but if you’re out and about, wear a mask.
The last thing I wanted to do in this blog was complain and whine. This isn’t that. I am worried because of my age….and because I know immunosuppressed people and people with co-morbidities. I am incensed that a lot of people have been designated as more or less expendable by the premier.
Kenney said: “We cannot continue indefinitely to impair the social and economic as well as the mental health and physiological health of the broader population for potentially a year for an influenza that does not generally threaten life apart from the most elderly, the immunocompromised and those with co-morbidities.” This is a quote and there was more. I understand the need to get the economy back into some kind of balance but only when it’s safe.
This is callous and the diseases is not an influenza, COVID-19 is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is a novel virus meaning this is its first time in humans. We don’t know about its effects (if any, in survivors), how it affects children with MIS-C, multi-system inflammatory syndrome. (There have been 3 deaths in the US and it is linked to corona virus.) We do know that young people can die from COVID-19. This is a partial list to be aware of when we think of who is at risk of severe outcomes from the virus- about 1 in 20 diabetic Albertans, about 12% of Albertans are asthmatic, about 20,000 new cases of cancer may be diagnosed this year, anyone receiving chemotherapy, anyone with a transplanted organ, arthritics who have to take drugs which are immunosupressants, kids who get MIS-C.
I will not rant on. My point it that corona virus infections are not just dangerous to the elderly. Alberta has been cautious and there hasn’t been a lot of community spread. A great deal has been in the meat packing plants and in seniors’ care homes. The virus is still here, though, and if there is increased community spread, we will see people of all ages with severe outcomes. Sorry to be Debbie Downer on such a beautiful day. Stay home, stay safe, and keep others safe, just a little longer.
“I don’t even normally go out much. But now that I can’t, I really want to.”
That’s a quote from a phone conversation I had with a former colleague a couple of days ago. We had settled the reason for the call and carried on into a general catching up. A lot of the conversation centred on the pandemic and that’s natural.
Her comment got me thinking about what things I would like to do but shouldn’t right now. I’m not talking about family and friends. Missing them goes without saying. Lately I have caught myself in nostalgic reminisces of shopping for groceries at the local Coop.
What!!?? Who am I kidding? I never enjoyed getting the supplies for the next week. It’s a chore and one that Gary had taken over, shopping as I’ve mentioned in the European manner, a little every day. That doesn’t work in these COVID-19 days and so we order once a week and if we don’t have something, we go without. There is no explanation for the pleasure at unpacking the delivery when it arrives.
In my ahem, later years, shopping has lost most of its charm. Wandering around and examining merchandise I don’t need had become far less attractive but suddenly, I would like to “look around.” A definite no-no. Even with the lockdown lifting somewhat, browsing isn’t the way to go.
Some of it is the human contact. Whenever I was “downtown” on some errand, I’d run into a neighbour, friend, acquaintance. Now if I see someone when I”m walking the dogs, even someone I’d avoid in normal times, I’m waving and calling hello.
Times are not normal and I’ll have to adjust. It’s not bad for me. I’m not sick and none of my family or friends is. I’m not working on frontlines and neither are they. I’m inconvenienced and tempted to ‘bend the rules.’ I’m resisting and recognizing that some of my longing is related to being told I “can’t.” So resist, stay home and stay safe.
COVID-19? Notice how your entertainment options have been narrowed? We are trying to stay home and shelter in place. You can go for a drive and enjoy a park or campground.
Today we were at Capt. Ayre Lake again. It’s so small that it’s not even on Google Earth but with 20 degree plus weather after the nasty couple of days we’ve had, it approached Eden. The dogs ran and the humans strolled. There was a pleasant breeze.
Camping isn’t allowed at this small county-run site until June 15th. The park is closed but we could drive in and go for a walk. Or sit among the trees at a picnic table. The blackbirds called from the tops of the trees, there was a lone loon on the lake, and across the field people let their two large dogs frolic at the boat launch. Behind us we could hear the muted music and sounds of someone working at their cabin.
Our Jack Russell is pretty good for such a high energy breed but I thought I’d provide some added fun. All it takes is a stick. Taz was delighted to chase the make-shift toy and it provided me with an opportunity to practise my video-ing skills. The only way is up, and for this one, I couldn’t see the screen on my phone because it was so bright out. In all honesty, I think it turned out as well.
So once again, a bit of an isolated outing turned out to be just fine. The dogs are actually enjoying COVID-19; they get a lot of attention but never as much as right now. It’s not the same, but it’s okay.
By now most readers know I walk my dogs every day. There are asphalt walking paths that are very well maintained. One natural area features trees and grass in a more or less natural state. There is a maze of footpaths through the trees and even though it is mowed regularly, there are areas of long grass in a number of areas. In short, it’s a lovely way to get out of the house during this COVID 19 pandemic but yesterday, I found this guy in my bathroom.
We thought it must have come in on one of our dogs but confirmed it just a few minutes ago when Gary found one on our Jack Russell. If we are correct in our identification, these ticks are just normally disgusting and doesn’t carry lime disease. Nevertheless, both of them are now confined to a sealed baggie and will be making their way to the veterinary clinic to be tested. This isn’t the first time we’ve found ticks on the dogs but it’s the first time we know they are local.
From Facebook and other social media posts, it appears that this is a good year for ticks. I know I will check the dogs very diligently. We do treat them with a repellent for ticks and fleas we get at our local veterinary clinic. That is likely why we found one crawling in the bathroom and the other on the dog but not really latched.
I will still take the dogs for their walks. I think it’s a heads up for anyone in the outdoors. The trails I take the dog walks on are basically in town. Ticks don’t care. With the pandemic, we do need to get outdoors, get exercise, and fresh air. We don’t need a additional health concern so stay safe, stay home, and watch out for ticks.
The dogs are used to a walk, every day. No walk? Canine despair. In this time of “stay home,” I admit to looking forward to going despite the fact the route doesn’t vary a lot. Since I maintain a blog, you know I like to write. Some of my good ideas (or maybe not so good) are ironed out on the walks.
Yesterday weather dictated no walk. Cold, rain, and wind were the triumvirate that kept us in. The dogs stared at me when “walk time” came and charged after me even into the bathroom. At last they gave up, resigned to really ‘staying home.’
This morning didn’t look much more inviting, but there is no rain. Were my canines angry because I didn’t walk them yesterday? No! They were delighted to get harnesses and leashes on. And it turns out the wind was cold and it’s dull out but the air? Fresh. The smell of rain and spicy aspen in the trees made it worth it. The dogs ran with joy and the bonus was the rain had washed away the gross things they had loved rolling in.
You can see the path through the trees. No rabbits today but there was lots to sniff. I love the tamarack. In fall when their needles turn, they are golden; then in winter, they look dead. Every spring fresh new needles dress them in spring finery. And the blossoms are just a precursor to the wild roses I anticipate each year.
So, a quote from my grandson, “Your blog is surprisingly therapeutic. There is something soothing about the mundane.” He was twelve when he made these observation. And yes, staying home can drive one to near despair. I like to try and find something positive- so here it is. Stay home, stay safe, and treasure the therapy of the mundane.
“Come out for coffee and cinnamon buns.”
Who can resist an invitation like that? It’s been a couple of months of sheltering in and staying home. I admit it seems longer. We are social animals and miss the face-to-face visits.
The “Stay Home Nazi,” me, was consulted and I helped make the rules. Visits are permitted but you have to be careful. In this instance, we agree to take our own lawn chairs and coffee.
“But what if they’re insulted?” Gary is a worry-wart.
“They won’t be. We’re all old, and there is an immuno-compromised person. We’ll just be safe and six feet apart with our own thermoses.”
The weather was warm and overcast with a pleasant breeze. Even if we weren’t social distancing and avoiding going into the house, we would have chosen the outdoors. The same old coffee from home tasted better and we opted not to have cinnamon buns.
Of course, we didn’t “visit” our host’s bathroom. That would entail disinfecting for the next person, The simple solution was to ‘hold it’ until we got home.
Sounds like a big fuss? Our hosts had sanitizer and disposable plates and forks, even though we decided against using them. It was a surfeit of safety for our first visit. They didn’t seem to mind and after listing all theses “rules”, guess what we took away from our face-to-face?
We laughed a lot. We commiserated about inconveniences of shopping and getting necessary business done. There was reminiscing, and catching up on the news of our grown children. Time passed and we hardly noticed. It wasn’t about coffee or cinnamon buns (even though we didn’t have any). It wasn’t about taking our own chairs and sitting outside six feet apart.
It was the real voices, real faces, and real visit. Old friends. Even with the rules, it was a very bright spot in a different and stressful time.
Tradition? May Long Weekend (aka Victoria Day long weekend) was always our first camping trip of the season. In the day, we spent some miserable days in cold, wind, and even rain. But it was, in the new vernacular, May Long. Once we retired, we could choose our time and the first camping could occur sooner or later than Victoria Day.
This year tradition is out the window but a Sunday drive and a walk are something we can do. Our health experts advocate fresh air, exercise, and getting out of the house, if you can safely do it. So where did we go? Out to Dunn Lake. It’s Gary’s heart strings this rough, rugged, and out-of-the way destination tug at. Just about every hill, is one where he sighted a deer, shot one, or missed the big one.
It’s 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) and the sun is out. Of course the dogs are with us and they are beyond themselves with excitement. It’s actually hot walking through the arid hills where the aspens have leafed out. The crocuses are done, there are buffalo beans dotting the hills yellow, and small purple flowers like violets hide in the dry grass.
The “lake” is across the trail from our first walk and before we get there four dirt bikes whiz past. Some young people enjoying the outdoors, too. Taz, our Jack Russell, runs to the water and wades in. Scruff is not a water dog so he stays on the bank. Then the Jack goes for a swim. She’s going to be three years old in September and this is her first voluntary swim. She’s now too tired beg at supper.
On the main road home, Gary spies two yearling moose. He thinks they are cows; no nubs of antlers were visible to him. He “screeches” to a stop and backs up so I can get pictures. ‘Shooting’ from a moving truck results in poor quality photos and I actually cut the head from one. With cropping, one shot isn’t bad. The clearest lacks, unfortunately, the moose’s head. Sigh. One more thing to cross off the second career list- wildlife photographer.
So May Long this year is different. No camping. No visiting with friends next door at the lake, no fishing, no campfires. However, it is beautiful weather, my garden is planted and soon the bedding plants will be in. I am pleasantly tired from the fresh air and the dogs are both sound asleep. Not so awful, just different.
The Stand- by Stephen King is not on the list. I am, for the most part, a King fan, and enjoy his writing. Like a well-done horror or suspense movie should, he safely scares you. But The Stand is a dystopian landscape after Captain Trip (a deadly flu) decimates the population. King throws in a little Good vs. Evil with Randall Flagg. He reminds readers that the book is not about covid 19, but it is about a pandemic. I am not going to recommend any dystopia right now.
I have read The Dutch House by Ann Prachett and Greg Iles’ Mississippi Blood, the last in his Natchez Burning trilogy. Now for the confession. There have been a number of mysteries in my list but they were an easy read and kept my mind off more serious things. There was non-fiction, too, but some of it depressing and that’s not what is needed right now. I have almost finished The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas which it very much a book I’d likely set aside, even though it won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2009. I will admit to starting some books and not finishing…I think it’s my state of mind.
Since covid, I have read a variety of books that I might have read but might not have if I’d had better access to titles I’d reserved at my public library. I finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and am now reading HP and the Deathly Hallows. My grandson read the series a year ago and I thought I should see why he so enjoyed them. Well, Harry leads an exciting life and the plot moves right along. Glad I decided to follow my grandson’s lead.
I caved and bought The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. It’s the last of her Tudor trilogy and takes concentration to read. There are so many characters, so many intrigues, and they deal with plague all the time. It’s not a major theme of the book, though, history and the character of Thomas Cromwell is. It’s fascinating how he, as a commoner, became one of the most powerful men in England and a trusted advisor to Henry V111. It’s also a total diversion from what is going on right now (at least for me). So even though in Alberta, we’re in phase one of opening up, reading is a way to keep safe and stay home.