I reached my 2 weeks post-Pfizer 2nd vaccination day on May 7th. So how has being vaccinated changed my habits? QUITE a bit actually. I celebrated by going INSIDE a Trader Joe’s. Yes, I have been one of those who has shied away from going into stores for the past year. I was fortunate to have other options like curbside pickup which I used exclusively.
But since May 7th, I have felt liberated. I never thought that roaming the aisles of a grocery store would feel like a trip to Disney World. A trip to Target is like going to Paris. And a trip to Walmart is like…. well, being at a Walmart.
Besides my retail adventures, I’ve dined outdoors at a restaurant. It’s quite a feeling to have food prepared by people who know what they are doing. One thing I have learned about my cooking for the past 14 months is it’s difficult to think up new things to eat, especially when you’re just getting food from one curbside grocery store without having the chance to browse an aisle for inspiration.
I’ve started going into the office a few days a week. How do I feel about that? Well, working from home has advantages. Mainly the commute. But there are also a lot of distractions at home. I’ve missed being in the middle of the city. I’ll probably be complaining about going in within the next month. But at the moment it just feels like a return to normalcy.
Things I’m still not ready to do? Indoor restaurants. I mean, we’re in summer at the moment anyway. (Hush you summersplainers about to type in the comments that it starts on June 20th. We’re close enough.) I’m still not really ready to travel yet. Waiting for more people to get vaccinated and see where the infection rates stand. Especially given the CDC’s terrible mixed messaging about masks.
But as of now, I’m just happy to slowly emerge from my covid cocoon.
On Friday I took a short ride to a Walgreens and got my 2nd covid-19 vaccination. (Team Pfizzle!) I didn’t have too many side effects after the first dose. Just a sore arm and a slight fatigue two days later. The sore arm lasted a few days. The second dose wasn’t as gentle. About 12 hours after being jabbed, my arm got very sore and the rest of my body started feeling those aches that I get before a bad cold. The entire Saturday I was pretty much useless. Just incredibly fatigued and sore. Saturday night, I woke up with a bit of a fever. I don’t know how high my temperature was because I was too tired to get out of bed and wrapped in my blankets like a cocoon. But I woke up this morning feeling back to normal. And with a pretty good resistance to Covid-19 for my loss of a Saturday.
I’ve been fairly fortunate over the past year. I’ve been able to work from home. Mrs. C. could take a leave of absence with unemployment insurance including the federal unemployment relief which meant that financially we were fairly unscathed. Especially since our spending on travel, restaurants, and other activities was pretty much nonexistent. We adhered to pretty much every social distance guideline possible. So what happens now that we have both been vaccinated?
Well, I have another 2 weeks before I reach maximum protection. But once I have reached it, I don’t intend to just start licking doorknobs quite yet. I’ll start returning to my office once or twice a week (I take mass transit so I will probably travel outside of rush hour). I still won’t eat inside restaurants but since we’re heading into fair weather territory, I’ll be fine with outdoor dining. I think it will be a summer of a lot of outdoor activities. I’m not quite ready for movie theaters, museums, or traveling yet. The infection rates are still too high and the variants are still too new for my taste. Your risk assessment may vary. But stories like this aren’t making me feel very well:
As a side note, thanks to everyone who has emailed me asking how I’ve been doing. Apologies for not updating the blog lately. I just haven’t had it in me the past few weeks. Maybe it’s pandemic fatigue tacked on to usual seasonal affective disorder. I’ll probably be posting more since I’m hoping that as my antibodies increase, so does my feeling of some sort of glimmer of hope.
This is the Guardian’s map which I believe uses the AP’s results (which is why Arizona is called in it. Although it was called prematurely, Trump is unlikely to flip it back to red.) Nothing has been called since Wednesday (or was it Thursday) when WI and MI were called for Biden. Most media outlets give Biden 253 EV with the AP/Fox map giving Biden 264 because of their AZ call.
How do I feel today? Pretty damn good. The media hasn’t called it yet but at this point, given the amount of votes that remain to be counted in Pennsylvania, virtually all are coming back heavily democratic, this race is done. Even if a recount flips Georgia back to Trump (which I don’t think it will), Biden will certainly keep PA, AZ and NV. And he already has over 4 million more popular votes than Trump if you want to start discussing mandates. And that number is certain to increase. So what happens next after the media calls it? How will the toddler in chief react to being a lame duck?
Why, not well. Not well at all. My guess is we won’t get a concession speech. He’ll peddle his conspiracy theories, declare all votes fraudulent that didn’t break his way, and expect the Supreme Court to back him up. Trump’s mind is purely transactional. He’ll think that the Justices he put on the court owe him and this is their time to back him up. And I don’t see it happening. If the race had been closer, if it had come down to one state, his wild accusations would have been easier for the GOP to get behind. But this isn’t a Florida 2000 situation. From all the reporting being done, all of these counting stations are being extremely careful with the counts. Quite a few of them even have livestreams on YouTube of them doing the actual counting. Only his most fanatical of supporters in congress are halfheartedly backing him up at the moment, but the writing is on the wall and I expect them to start peeling off as they realize Trump’s time in power is all but over.
Trump will not take this loss well, and he will start striking out at the allies who have abandoned him. I expect him to use his pardon power as a weapon to anger his enemies. He may even try to pardon himself. I don’t buy that he’ll quit so that Pence can pardon him. He’ll hang onto that office as long as possible. He won’t go to Biden’s inauguration or any events where past Presidents all gather. I also don’t buy that he will have to be dragged out. He’ll leave the White House willingly but not quietly. He’ll partner with OAN or some other media company so that he can shriek at his followers for the rest of his days. He’ll claim that he’s going to run again in 2024, and may even attempt it, but most of his followers will lose interest in him. Only his most devoted cult members will remain. A Trump without the presidential seal will not be as interesting to them. He will go to his grave gnashing his teeth about the stolen election. He’s a sad little man who will not be remembered fondly.
Meanwhile, Biden gave a speech last night. I listened to it and it was amazing for the simple reason that I had missed what a real president sounds like. He framed what he would begin doing. It wasn’t a victory lap that we have gotten so conditioned to hearing whenever Trump takes a microphone. Biden realizes the scope of the situation with covid-19 now giving the US record daily numbers of infections. The speech gave me hope that we will have an actual adult in charge very soon.
10:01PM: Gonna end this thread. I need a break! This is stressful. Follow me on twitter for more updates if I’m up to it.
10:00PM: Well, this sucks:
9:35PM: More good news:
9:29PM: The first real good news of the night:
9:09PM: More states have been called (Guardian has Biden up 119 – 92) but still no surprises. Still waiting to hear about the battleground states. And everything still seems terrible.
8:36PM: We have our first QAnon member of Congress:
8:10PM: So a little past an hour in and so far there aren’t any surprises. Florida is a tossup still at the moment but that isn’t a surprise.
8:06PM: Switched to Irish coffee so I could be alert but numb. The results are all over the place depending on what news you’re watching. The Guardian currently has Biden up 85 electoral votes to 55.
7:50PM Not surprising but still disappointing:
7:42PM: NY Times calls Virginia for Biden.
7:08PM: NY Times has Kentucky for Trump and Vermont for Biden.
7PM: CNN calls Indiana for Trump. Not very surprising.
6:17PM: Marco Rubio predicts…. a blue wave?
6:04PM: I’ll be updating this thread throughout the night. I have stayed away from the news for most of the day since there’s really not much to digest until the polls start closing. But here we go. Sober at the moment. Not in the mood to drink….yet.
Another slow month of reading. Only three finished books. But I’m also reading a few other volumes that are a thousand or so pages each so my reading has increased from the past few months. But my GoodReads challenge is going to be dismal this year. Welp, 2020. Ok here we go for the short list. And as always, please use the comments to let everybody know what you’re reading. I get so many good recommendations from everybody.
Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, by Mary Trump. I haven’t read a Trump book since…. Oh I can’t remember now. I just need a break from thinking about him and I hate him infringing upon my reading time which is sacrosanct. But somebody got me into this book so I put in for it at the library and managed to snag an e-copy. It’s actually surprisingly quite well written. It goes on more about the family than I had known about which was probably the most interesting part since we have heard everything else about him post-presidency. And now I hope never to read another book about him that isn’t titled “Downfall: the Jailing of an American President.”
Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon. This is a murder mystery set in Venice. Leon has a series of these with the same detective. It’s a good beach read and it’s set in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. What’s not to like? I’ll give another one a try at some point.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart Young Adult fiction gets saddled with the worst genre name. It’s almost designed to keep adults far, far away. This is a shame because YA actually has some amazing writing and compelling stories. This one goes immediately to the top of my list of favorite YA novels. (I always get jumbled what’s in the genre so if you are asking me to choose my favorite of all time, I’ll blurt out Code Name Verity and later think of a dozen or so more)
(Links for book titles use Amazon affiliated links which may earn me a commission)
I’ve been playing around on substack and decided to try doing a newsletter for the blog consisting of a dailyish digest called ‘Otherwise’. Subscribing to it will be free of charge and will consist of the “What I Learned” section that I have been doing lately along with some other odds and ends that I happen about during the day. Maybe recipes, maybe cat pics. It’s a mystery. (Don’t worry, I won’t send more than one thing a day. I’m many things, but not a spammer.)
I’ve updated the sidebar to subscribe as quick as possible or you could use this little form right below.
(Note: Any emails entered will not be sold or shared by me)
The amount of books that I have read this year is really down. I just realized it’s probably because I’m working from home and that a lot of my reading happened while I was commuting on the train into Boston. So only two this month.
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah I think I discovered this one googling about books about traveling. British author Tahir Shah buys a mansion in Morocco which belonged to a caliph and needs renovating. Actually, now that I think about it, this is similar to Under the Tuscan Sun that I read last month except there are caretakers who believe that djinn inhabit this house and get angry about everything. Quite a culture shock on how to navigate through the red tape, slums, and gangsters of Casablanca. Shah is an immersive writer who brings you right into his world.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Whoa. I went into this book blind. It somehow made its way onto my library queue and it was the only book available when I finished The Caliph’s House so I figured I would read a few pages before returning it to the library. Instead, I was transported into Miller’s retelling of The Iliad. This is easily one of the best books I have read this year and may be one of my all time favorites at this point. Not even going to say more. Just download a sample from Amazon, if you like the first chapter you’ll love the rest.
What did you read last month?