What is the new normal?

Calm. What is it? Pushing and pulling is what I am feeling. Time to think, but my mind seems to wander. So much to comprehend. So much to try to explain to friends.

Issues arise when there is no one at the top delivering reliable information. Truth, whose truth, what numbers do I believe? I understand this is a “novel” virus. Much is being learned as CoVid 19 affects the population. I am listening to the CDC advice (Stay home, Stay masked, Stay 6 feet apart!). I am a face toucher so the mask/bandana reminds me to be careful about what I touch. I am not comfortable around people, and have pretty much stayed in lockdown mode. If I must go out, it is for a short time.

Sacramento/Fair Oaks is currently at Stage 2 reopening rules. Stores have opened up for business as usual. I have been in two stores, but I still feel uncomfortable shopping, and will probably continue to rely on my computer for most orders. Besides, I really don’t miss shopping malls. I have pandemic proof hair and I am not hiding my silver curls. I’m letting my hair grow, for now. One day I will be ready to go to Total Beauty Experience and see Yvonne. Until then, I wait.

Me and my Charlie. Loose curls on both of us. (Photo by my friend)

Since things are relaxing here in California I feel more defensive about my position to remain at home. Or stay masked. Or stay 6 feet from people. The longer this goes on the less sure I am about what is best. Sometimes I feel a bit of pressure to get out, but then I gravitate to stay home, and feel safer. My grandchildren live 5 minutes away. They have, for the most part, been staying away from crowds. Last week we had our first heat wave (100+ degrees) and I visited my grandchildren while they played in their pool. I thought I would give my daughter a break. Being home with 4 kiddos eight and under is not an easy task. At the same time, keeping 6 feet apart, and masked is not really possible either.

Even camera distance apart is hard with a two year old

On my birthday, David, Charlie, and I went over for some delicious birthday cake from Pastry Heaven.

Wouldn’t you like to have a taste of this?

This also was Charlie’s first outing. Not too excited to see Max, my daughter’s older Pomeranian. The two dogs probably will not end up being best buddies. There is a big age difference, and they pretty much ended up ignoring each other. Charlie was delighted to play with the boys and socialization is moving ahead.

CoVid has not been handled efficiently. All the blustery talk did nothing to prevent this country from ranking number 1 in deaths. The pandemic has called into question unfair practices that have existed forever. Health care is not equal, and with growing unemployment, many are losing their health benefits. Poor people with no savings, homelessness, price gouging, everyone staying inside, and loss of family support led to major frustrations. Especially affected were those in nursing homes, veteran homes, and prisons. I can’t tell you how many of the Holocaust survivors have died from CoVid in such a short amount of time. People who didn’t feel the impact of family deaths have begun to protest and push back on the restrictions to their “freedoms”. Being a child of two Holocaust survivors, I can’t help thinking about their lives under the Nazis, and how long they did without. Protesting, disregarding CDC advice, and celebrating Memorial Day with extensive partying, turned this pandemic into a political event. I understand that for some it is important to get back to work, but many people are just over living responsibly. To mask, or not to mask. Rights and freedom to live. This is after all an election year. November 3rd can’t come fast enough.

As I write this entry, my country is protesting the death of George Floyd. A black man who was murdered in daylight, on camera, by 4 police officers. First the pandemic, and now the mistreatment of our black men and women, has finally pushed people to stand up to this and request justice. This country has now seen over 2 weeks of protests. On the positive side, I see a variety of people – black, white, old, and young committed to making a change. So along with the protest, the hard work begins. Many are hopeful that this may be a turning point in race relations. I can only hope. All I can say is be sure to VOTE in November!!!

Another Milestone

Last week my granddaughter Alyssa graduated from Casa Robles High School. As a senior she really looked forward to all the traditions. With the end of the third semester all graduation requirements had been completed, and then all schools in the state of California closed for the rest of the year. CoVid 19 put a halt to all plans. There would be no prom, no parties, no walk across the stage to accept her diploma.

Mother and daughter
Here is Alyssa at six with her mother graduating American River College

Alyssa visited her family in Orangevale. She has been staying in Turlock for the past couple of weeks since this pandemic stay at home orders. After picking up her cap & gown and diploma holder we made arrangements to photograph her at a park. Armed with my Fuji xt2 and 80mm f2.8, and Alyssa’s bright smile the photo shoot went smoothly. Many good images to choose from in the short time we had together. Of course the photographs engendered a typical self-critical reaction from the one being photographed. Lucas came along and found the nature trail full of insects to capture in his insect habitat.

Alyssa walks across the bridge at a park across from Casa Robles High School
Brother Lucas following his sister on the nature trail

The parents of Casa decided that some show of celebration was needed. Graduating seniors woke up to Congratulation signs planted on their front lawns. Then a flyer sent to families told of a parade being organized at the local mall that is now shut. So on Friday night my husband, myself, and Charlie parked in the shade and waited. What followed was a fun celebration for the seniors. Cars decorated by the seniors paraded around the perimeter. A DJ announced each name alphabetically. Online the DJ stopped most cars and asked the senior’s name, favorite teacher, and time to give a shout out. Unfortunately, this was not done for every senior who wanted it. It seemed that a good time was had by all.

While Alyssa was selecting her favorite images I spoke to her about her future plans. After spending many months away from her family I impressed upon her the benefits of accepting her mother’s offer to live home until her plans take shape. I am sad that she does not see this as a positive step for her future. I can only hope that she makes good decisions. As I am writing this post I had a chance to look over all 1400 digital images I have taken of Alyssa over the years. Wow. So much time I spent capturing her growth from baby to high school graduate. She has all the future in front of her! Good Luck!

Class of 2020 attitude!

Quarantine – A Procrastinators Dream!

In California March 20th was the start of statewide lockdown. Self quarantine was advised for those over 65 earlier in the month. Using a calendar it comes to about 8 weeks since I have had any face to face interaction outside of my home.

I think it was March 7th when I last babysat my grandchildren. It was supposed to be the start of my grandsons’ baseball season. Now I don’t remember if it was called off due to rain, or the start of the novel coronavirus restrictions. But it was my son-in-laws birthday and my daughter wanted to celebrate sans kidos. Baby Colton slept through the event at 5 weeks old. The three boys – Eli (8), Lucas (4), and Wyatt (2) all dined in and everyone was entertained. Little did we know the extent that life would change so quickly.

David and I had already determined that we would postpone our 10 trip to NYC. On March 14th we drove to Orland, Ca. to visit Serenity Springs Labradoodles, and without touching and being sure to sanitize were selected our puppy Charlie now 5 weeks old. Powered by Purell Hand Sanitizer and gloves we did make one stop for fast food. We were the only ones eating out.

With a push to ready our house for the puppy, the Internet became our lifeline to online shopping. I made two trips to the stores to shop for groceries. Again, I had gloves and hand sanitizer. Thinking ahead, I looked for items that would help in the long run. This was before the supermarket run on some items. Toilet paper was being limited in Costco to two, Purell was limited to 6, and I bought some extra Bounty (needed for puppy plans). But at least the stores were fully stocked. I also planned to have some items on hand for desserts. I figured, if we were staying home we would need the extra sustenance. And some wine!

Otherwise with no where to go we slept in. Plenty of telephone calls to family and friends. Plenty of time watching television. The calendar and the watch reminded me to time passing. But my plans to organize the garage fell into the procrastinating bin. Maybe tomorrow. There doesn’t seem to be much daily change. Until I look at a calendar.

What time is it? Does it matter when in quarantine?

Thinking about time, and what it means. Pulled out these images I collected over the years.

So for the procrastinator does quarantine life give you permission to take it slow and not be moved by the clock? And after we return to an open for business time will time fly?

So much happening, so many decisions to make

When last I sat down my grandson Baby Colton arrived, and a week later my puppy-to-be made an appearance.

Three weeks later and much has happened. My 22-year-old grandson visited us for one week in February.

Sacramento Metropolitan Airport public sculpture. I see my red Samsonite!

I haven’t seen him in two years, and the visit ended with him saying, “Best vacation ever!” Not that he has taken many vacations in his short working life. It seems like for being on his own he is doing well. But there were a few details that needed to be addressed. Haircut, eyeglasses, cell phone upgrade, and work clothes set the stage for a busy week.

One thing I have to say about this guy is that he is a foodie. Straight away he planned to eat his way through Sacramento. Straight from the airport, we head to his favorite Fish and Chips place. Interestingly enough, the owners remember him. I guess he frequented this establishment when he lived close by. For dessert, I visited Icicles. Curled up icecream created right before your eyes.

Delicious. Never knew this existed. I plan to visit again.

After taking care of all those details, we planned a day out of town. At first we wanted to go to San Francisco to meet up wtih my son and family. With everyone having a different schedule this was difficult to arrange, and so we went with plan B. Headed east with Reno being our destination. This is the first February where we didn’t have a drop of rain. Weather is just lovely, but I am starting to hear talk of drought again.

First stop, Donner Summit. Checked out Donner Lake. I tried to imagine the Donner Party stuck here.

It was the end of February and there was no snow around.

My two guys!
Some fishermen getting ready to cast their lines.
Another tourist from the Sacramento area. Love the colorful sari.

Searched for a open restroom. Didn’t know this was a seasonal condition. LOL!

We visited the Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center with a very nice restroom.

We continue on to Reno and arrived about lunchtime. Headed for miles of food buffet.

Buffet at the El Dorado Casino

My grandson first took a look at the miles of desserts.

Miles of tempting desserts

He then placed his drink order. He has a unique way of ordering his meal items. But he does it with a pleasant demeanor and the servers try to oblige him.

We walked around Circus Circus, but no performances to view. We checked out the arcade. We needed to walk off that meal!

Tried our hand at 25 cent poker machine, and quick when we were ahead. Winner of $0.55. It was nice sitting and talking while we tried to beat the machine.

Argggh!

Thanksgiving in February with all the trimmings, except pumpkin pie. My grandson requested this holiday meal back in November so I kept a turkey in the freezer for this occasion. He remembered that I usually put walnuts in my stuffing. Not this time. Oh well. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to cook for a couple of days afterward.

Been paying close attention to the upcoming presidential race in November. California moved up the primary vote, and Super Tuesday came and went. No further comment here. I just hope, upon hope that our next president will be someone other that our current ____. You fill in the blank. Decisions, decisions, but not the greatest of choices.

My grandson headed back to Knoxville, and we focused on our upcoming trip to New York City. Then the news of coronavirus ramped up. Decisions, pro/con. After much discussion, we decided that New York City will be there, and we would postpone our trip. Booking.com made it easy to cancel the hotel reservation. I had a harder time with AAA air travel. I purchased travel insurance for my Jet Blue tickets. But I would need to file a claim, and there would be a big hassle. I called Jet Blue and they agreed to give me a 1-year credit for the tickets.

So next up, was opening day of baseball. But it was rained out. Luckily, game was called early. Go figure!

Each day from 1 pm until 7 pm I get to watch puppy television, starring Ginger and her litter of 10. And after 4 weeks they are playing and eating gruel. Next weekend the plan is to drive up north and meet the pups in person. Ginger has 10 puppies. Three girls, and seven boys. I am pretty sure that we will be bringing home a little girl pup, but we will see after we meet all of them next week. We wanted a solid colored pup (only a couple of boys fit that description), but all are so cute and personalities are starting to form. That is more important in the decision process. So excited.

So that is it for the moment. Trying to stay healthy. Relaxing and getting ready for my new adventure.