Saturday, June 19, 2021

Quarantine Report, Week 66: Damn, This Road Is Long With Many Curves

 Sixty-six weeks of this madness with yet another week of ups and big downs.  Everyone has experienced much loss over the course of the pandemic.  We have been lucky that no immediate family has died unless one counts our cat or a pseudo-uncle.  Bob went to that upstate farm, as he stopped eating and the treatments for his various pains were working for shorter and shorter periods of time.  I have reported here and elsewhere how he changed from being a very feisty cat with sharp claws to being the cuddliest of pandemic pets.  I started taking many pictures of him this winter/spring because I knew time was running out and because he was so damned cute on my lap.  He had never been a lap pet--he would sit next to my wife, but he was not the cuddly cat my daughter demanded way back when.  This year, however, he found solace and he gave solace by insisting a few times each day to be lifted into my lap when I was at my computer and then he would hang out under my desk.  Now we are furless for the first time since 1992.  It will take some getting used to.

Our second major loss was of someone who was not family but was family--Stanley Lavin.  He and my father were best friends, so our families vacationed together until I was old enough to

remember them.  So, all I have are vague memories and mostly memories of people telling me about the stuff that happened.  I do remember some of our last trip--to Mexico--when I was five.  I remember Uncle Stanley making me laugh a lot and him laughing a lot.  I am pretty sure he influenced my sense of humor the most, although his favorite bit, singing Home on the Range at all kinds of events, was far beyond me.  I only saw him at big events since we stopped vacationing with a few exceptions.  I wish I had sought him and his spectacular wife more when traveling through NYC.  Stanley was not a Covid statistic as he had been declining for years.  I did get to see him at my father's funeral a couple of years ago, and I did make him laugh a bit, which I will always treasure, as giving back to one who gave me so much.  I watched his funeral via the internet because that is what we do these days.  His kids told stories about him, and I learned stuff that I didn't know.  I did remember his fondness for gin and tonics so I will be shopping for some tonic this afternoon so I can raise the appropriately filled glass to him.  As I have said before, connect with folks--this pandemic reminds us of that more than ever.

Everything else pales in comparison, but there was some good news this week.  Ontario changed the interval between shots, so all of GenX-AZ in Ontario were on their computers at 8:01am on Monday.  The slots got filled up fast, and then folks on twitter let us know that there were new slots.  So, we first had appointments on the other side of town on Canada Day, but we managed an alternative approach that will get us our shots a week earlier.  Woot!   And, yes, we are going for the cocktail--mixing the first AZ dose with Moderna.  And then a couple of weeks later, we will be able to move about the cabin and beyond.  

Meanwhile, the Canadian defence politics beat got hot this week because the Conservatives pushed through a motion censuring the Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.  I explained how that motion both hit and missed the target here.  I got asked to do an early Saturday morning radio hit to talk about the NATO summit, which, alas, the host of the radio program used to segue to focus on China.  Not my area of expertise, but live radio so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.  I did email the producer to complain, but I expect memories to be short.

More fun was having my name and tweets and those of friends (Steph Carvin, Thomas Juneau) tossed around in the House of Commons during Question Period:

The context was that the Conservatives pulled out of a national security advisory review panel to demonstrate their, um, China-phobic bona fides, I think.  So, the three of us were not pleased and said so on twitter.  I think it might have been the first time my name was bandied about in Question Period.  Funny that my more strident stuff about the Defence Minister didn't come up instead.  Anyhow, the Minister of Health kind of knows whom I am, so there's that.  Canada is such a small pond!

Ontario and other provinces are starting loosen things up with the percentage of semi vaxed (one shot) surpassing 70% of those eligible and fully vaxxed (2 shots plus 2 weeks) approaching 20%.  I am worried as that still means 80% are vulnerable to the Delta variant, and the wastewater trends, a leading indicator, are not good even as the lagging indicators (hospitalization/death) are looking good.  So, we will remain cautious on the indoor stuff until we are 2+2.  On the outdoor stuff, it looks like Ultimate may start in early July, and that would be wonderful.  Thanks to the daily stress-exercise--biking or treadmilling--I am in better shape now than a year ago despite my best stress-baking efforts.  Will that make me speedier on the ultimate field?  Probably not.  

Tomorrow is Father's Day, so I am using that as an excuse to make something truly decadent--Irish pound cake--which involves Baileys.  As always, I tend to focus on the single mothers out there who are both mother and father, including my sister-in-law, Liz, who has raised to amazing young women despite incredibly difficult circumstances.  The best Father's Day present I am getting this year is the knowledge that I will finally be seeing my daughter at the end of July at the Saideman family summer gathering.  It has been too damned long.  I am just so proud of the social justice warrior that she has become.  

Be well! 

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