My Life in the “New Normal”

My idea of living with the pandemic evolves. When I made the decision to cancel my trip to New York in March I was thinking about a couple of months and then a return to the way I usual do life. As many hunkered down, I prepared for lockdown mode. My pantry had enough provisions, and I bonded with my puppy.

Things opened up, but my husband and I kept to ourselves mostly. Went out only when the risk warranted. Learned how to Zoom, and kept in touch by telephone and FaceTime. I enrolled Charlie in classes online Zoom style. Risk lowered, and the nice weather called me to explore the world. But still I hesitated.

After I took Charlie to the groomer I was tempted to lower my guard and take myself for a haircut. The last time I had my haircut was in early February. It seems like a lifetime ago. For the first time in many, many decades I can pull my hair back into a ponytail. Not exactly the look I was going for in my seventies. So I masked up, called up my stylist, and trimmed up my hair. My hair is now one length, I can still pull it back if I need to, and I feel so much better.

Selfies are not my thing!

So here come the holidays. Halloween just passed, and I decided that I would avoid the “Trick or Treat” scene. My grandsons stopped by in their costumes and looked like they had a fun day.

Actually the only character I recognized was “The Hulk”, but they all looked Super!

As it happens, our block was especially quiet. Not one visitor rang our doorbell. I hope that by next year Charlie will be able to calmly greet costumed kids.

Charlie calmly sharing time with us while we play Zoom BINGO with Ed and Leti!

This year would have been a challenge. Maybe next year I will find a Halloween collar that I know I still have somewhere in the house. I have a full year to decide what if any humiliating costume I will put on Charlie.

For now, I can look over my photos of Halloween over the years. Staring Alyssa, Isaac, Eli, Lucas and Wyatt. Rachel and Sean are along for the ride!

Next year we have another Pumpkin to treat!

Our election is over in everyone’s mind except for you know who. I worry about the next couple of weeks until January 20th. What’s life without something to worry about?

Sanity restoration needed for 2021!

My grandson’s 5th and 3rd birthday sandwich Thanksgiving Day. The country is not moving in a good direction with the pandemic. Numbers are rising, and I hope to ride out CoVid 19 and really have something to celebrate in 2021! So I guess, as all the special occasions that have been delayed these celebrations will need to wait.

For now, I will shop online, be thankful for all that surrounds me, and enjoy the little things that make my life special.

The Psychology of Selecting Toys

Puppies have a lot of energy. Well, much more than I have. They play hard and then fall asleep. My foot serves as Charlie’s pillow. This way I am required to stay in place while he naps. Did I say he is so smart?

Charlie is 6 months old. Sometimes I feel like I am getting better at being able to read his mind. Other times, I know that he knows how to manipulate me to his whims. So how do I keep my Charlie amused, tired, and out of trouble? A game of Fetch is a good start. We look for a ball, I throw, he retrieves, and gives it back. Repeat. This works for both the outside and inside. Food is a good motivator and a frozen Kong in his “room” can occupy about 15 minutes, tops. Then … off to look for something to chew.

He just loves to chew, and chew, and chew. Given Charlie’s determination to chew I have to watch him with his toys. He sleeps with his Snuggle Puppy, but the other day he proudly took his puppy out of his room (crate). Then proceeded to shake it wildly. Ok, not a problem. Then he settled down, and quickly eliminated the tail. In short order, I looked and his puppy was tailless and missing an ear. I felt bad taking the toy away, but now I worried if this toy would create a health issue. Carefully watching his behavior, and reading his poop. Yup, my new pup has put me in charge of poop patrol. Given a stuffed toy he picks an appendage and works at it until it just disappears. Swallowed up. I am so nervous that he will hurt himself with his compulsive eviscerating of stuffed toys. Even called my vet, and asked if I should be worried. The advice given was if he eats, plays, and poops without a problem then he is probably ok. The fibers are probably concealed.

So now I am searching for that toy that will satisfy the urge to chew that lasts more than 10 minutes. I look online, read reviews from other pet owners, and visit my local Petco.

I skip past all the cute stuffed chew toys. Even the ones that say “Tuff”. I brought home a toy made from the same material as a fire hose. No problem for Charlie. Then I enter the aisle with hard stuff for chewing. I have one blue dog bone that I had for Libby. She never cared for it. I liked the fact that it was actually made here in the USA. Well, Charlie is not a fan either. I guess that is why it looks perfectly new. No teeth marks. I look at some softer rubber toys in a variety of shapes.

What appeals to a puppy? Does your puppy have a favorite toy?

This looks like a long stick, and the material has some give to it.

As you can see, not destroyed, but not a winner either.

Again, Charlie pretty much ignores it. I looked in the bargain bin. Figuring if it gets destroyed my pocket won’t feel too bad. Here is a squeaky bright green figure of a character doing a yoga pose. I start up a conversation with another pet owner. I tell her that there is another larger “Yoga Hero” in the bin for $4.00, but she says her retriever would attack the foot in a matter of minutes. I can’t tell if it will be too big for Charlie’s mouth but I decide to take a chance. It is a hit with Charlie. He likes to make it squeak. When thrown Yoga bounces randomly. It took a while but the yoga foot has been crippled.

Charlie will search for his Yoga toy on command

Luckily, I found the missing piece, so there will be no ongoing poop search.

Charlie loves food. He perks up when he hears the word Kong. I freeze his kibble and top it off with peanut butter.

Charlie is about to consume his frozen Kong

But the search to find the best chew toy continues. I just have to learn to think like a puppy!

Summer, Charlie and CoVid

When I think of summer, July 4th seemed to be a dividing point. Early summer, mid-summer, and late summer. Before July 4th the days were warming up. The country’s government was bowing to the idea that the economy needed to get back to a more normal status. This put some additional pressure on me to move away from self-quarantine and slowly, carefully join others outside.

July 4th came and went. Many firework displays were canceled. I was not too disappointed. The local groups sold “safe n sane” fireworks on every corner. Pride was taken in opening up more windows so fewer people would be waiting next to one another. I am not a fan of these pop-up fireworks stores or the fireworks they sell. Growing up in New York, all fireworks are prohibited. Large firework displays are planned, and I can still remember watching fireworks in the skies on Long Island. Salisbury Park (the name was changed), and over the Sears parking lot from the Gertz-side in Hicksville. One year we were in Boston and watched the display along the river with Tschaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Cannons included. One of the first fireworks display I saw in California was at the Hollywood Bowl. Unbelievable! Picnics with candelabras and more. Here in Sacramento, we took the kids to Cal Expo, and in Carmichael at the closed La Sierra High School campus. Once we went down to Old Sac to watch the display. Unfortunately, the crowds made me feel uncomfortable and unsafe. A lot of alcohol.

Since CoVid 19 got in the way of large gatherings the following images are from a past Fourth of Julys

Folsom parade with costumes, a cattle drive down main street.

Carmichael parade with old cars decked out.

Photographically, I like parades.

For the past 9 years, I have had more concern for my dog. Libby, a calm black lab felt better at home in her crate. So fireworks were watched on tv along with the movie 1776. This year, with my new pup Charlie I was warned by my neighbors that it would be noisy in front of my house. They were right. There was noise also coming from the street behind us. And the smell of gunpowder hung in the air. But Charlie remained calm, and even went outside to do his business! Good boy!

The hot temperatures here in Fair Oaks does not disappoint. I went looking for a small wading pool for Charlie. Scored one on sale at Emigh’s. I just love this store. Service is top-notch. All of the employees know their products. In summer or winter time my photo friends and I have permission to photograph at the store. No money was exchanged for this endorsement. The parking lot is always full of satisfied customers.

The first time I filled up the 45″ pool Charlie thought it was a BIG water dish. I got in and pulled my puppy in. The next time he ignored the pool altogether. The third time, he got into it. Started digging, splashing, and jumping in and out.

Charlie’s first time in his pool!
Enjoying splashing around!

Getting out and socializing in the time of CoVid 19 is not easy. In July the Sactown Doodles Meetup Group planned an event in Rocklin. No need to RSVP, and I decided that Charlie could use the experience. It was outdoors and the description of the dog park made it very tempting. I messaged Gidget’s owner and arranged a reunion. We also saw Kona, Charlie’s great Aunt. An unexpected surprise. I met Jennifer and Kona last summer when I was looking for a breeder. Many people, not quite so many masks, and many doodles participated. At five months Charlie was one of the younger members there, but he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Visited with many dogs and dog owners. Glad I went. Charlie kept an eye on my whereabouts. I only brought my iPhone, and I didn’t even video this one-hour event. Just enjoying the moment with doodles and their owners.

Glad to have this photo of the two of us. Thanks Beth!

Unfortunately, CoVid 19 is not going away, and numbers are way up here in California. Just heard, a teacher I worked with is getting over this virus. He said it was “no flu”. Glad to hear he is on the mend. But with all the new cases, and no testing or contact tracing being done the scary factor is growing.

Just got three masks I ordered from Etsy. I wanted to support small businesses here in the U.S. A. This new accessory will be around for a while, and I wanted to be protected, comfortable, and stylish! This is the first time ordering on Etsy, and it was a positive experience. Orders went in easily, and arrived quickly. I will test drive these three styles, and then order a few more. So when I am out, I will be wearing a mask to help stop the spread of the Corona Virus. And you should too!!!

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!!!