Here we are, another week of stay-at-home orders, the next-to-last Saturday in May. This is Memorial Day weekend in the U.S.; the holiday is observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. It usually marks the official beginning of the summer holidays, with picnics, outdoor activities, and pools opening. This particular Memorial Day will herald in summer without the usual fanfare, at least in Northern Virginia, where we are still in lockdown.
Welcome to my eighth cocktail hour, a virtual world where we STAY HOME and enjoy a beverage. I offer you Cheers! À votre santé! 乾杯/ Kanpai! Saúde! Salud! May we all remain healthy, safe, financially afloat, and hopeful, especially as countries around the world and some U.S. states begin to open back up.
Here’s my Covid-19 diary for the last week and a half. I’m still doing my project for May, which is to take a different walk every day, draw a map and write my thoughts for the day. I am so ready for this project to end, as it’s way too time-consuming to do these journals every day. However, I am determined to see it through to the end.
Wednesday, May 13: I’m still doing my Spanish classes on Zoom. I was feeling very depressed today, wondering when this will ever end. We were supposed to leave for Chicago this evening.
Thursday, May 14: We should be in Chicago today. Illinois, and especially Chicago, remain one of the hot spots for COVID-19, and the state is still locked down, so it is good we cancelled our plans. Another 3 million people have filed for unemployment bringing the total to 36.5 million in 8 weeks.
I started a second round of antibiotics today; this time I’m taking Doxycycline Hyclate. It feels like poison.
Friday, May 15: Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia announced that Virginia would enter Phase 1 of reopening, but not Northern Virginia, which has more coronavirus cases than the rest of the state. He will reevaluate Northern Virginia on May 29.
Today, I finally walked the labyrinth at Church of the Holy Comforter. I love labyrinths and have been wanting to walk it ever since I found out they’d built it. It might have been peaceful and contemplative if not for the landscapers with their loud lawnmowers and weed whackers. I then walked over 3 miles in Vienna, past the first house Mike and I bought after we got married. The house has really gone downhill, as the yard is a shambles and looks like a jungle. I walked past my old friend Julie’s house. When my two boys and her two girls were little, they were all best of friends. I also walked by Nancy McBrien’s old house. She was killed at age 41 in a horrific car accident on the George Washington Parkway in 1996 when two dueling drivers went out of control. My walk was like taking a walk down memory lane.
This should have been our second full day in Chicago. 😦
Saturday, May 16: I’m so depressed about not being able to travel anywhere for who knows how long. I’m getting older and I don’t like having a year or more taken out of my life. I hope by the time I finish this May project of mine, where I walk a different path every day and do a journal page, that northern Virginia will start opening. The first places I’ll go when the time comes: hair salon for haircut and hair straightening, and a spa for a massage. Massages always help me feel better, and as I’ve been sick for so long, I look forward to therapeutic healing. I also look forward to getting back to Pilates. I doubt restaurants will open, but if they do, I’ll go and observe social distancing rules.
I’m on the third day of this antibiotic and it feels like poison. I have headaches, nerve pain in my face and mouth, and nausea and ear pain. Plus, I seriously doubt this round of antibiotics will help my problem any more than the first round I took.
I finished reading The Looming Tower today. I’ve been reading it for a long time, and though it’s not exactly current, it was interesting to read about the the long years of anti-American sentiment harbored by Osama bin Laden and others who brought about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It also showed the bungling by the CIA and FBI and how the two ego-driven organizations could have stopped the attacks had they cooperated. It was an excellent book.
This would have been our third full day in Chicago. 😦
Sunday, May 17: Our church decided to do a Zoom meeting for the service today, but it failed because Zoom was overloaded with graduation ceremonies. I liked the services best when they were prerecorded on YouTube and we could watch them at our leisure (and in our pajamas).
Today, I finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. What a charming book to have read during the pandemic to take my mind off of the events of the world.
Today was another gloomy day and the temps were forecast to be in the 60s for the next week. I’m ready for sunshine and warmth! This has so far been the coldest May we can remember.
This would have been our last full day in Chicago.
Monday, May 18: The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up over 900 points today based on speculation about a possible vaccine showing promise in early stages, created by Moderna. However, the trial was based on only eight participants and no supporting data or studies have been released.
Today was my oldest son’s last day at the butcher shop in Denver where he’s been working for two years. He quit, so he can’t collect unemployment. He wants to start his own personal training business, online or in person, a dream he’s always had. He wants to spend time developing that, while working gig jobs to support himself and taking online classes. He was miserable in his job, and the timing of the pandemic was making him feel utterly trapped. I guess there is never a good time to make a big change like this, but sometimes, changes simply need to be made. I hope he has success, though I imagine it will be challenging.
We would have flown home from Chicago today.
Tuesday, May 19: The Fairfax County Park Authority will beginning reopening parking lots and all 427 parks in the park system for the Memorial Day weekend. The parks will be for limited use in accordance with safety guidelines from the governor’s office and the CDC. Sadly, all facilities and restrooms will remain closed.
As of today, we have 1,508,957 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. This is less than 0.5% of our population. We have 90,295 deaths which is 0.02% of the U.S. population. Apparently 647,000 people die in the U.S. of heart disease annually, or 0.2% of the population. Of course all lives are important, but I wonder, is it worth it to keep the economy closed indefinitely, putting many at risk of losing livelihoods, not being able to eat or keep a roof over their heads? Not to mention mental anguish, domestic violence, alcoholism and drug addiction, and other fallout effects of the pandemic. I am in a real dilemma about this.
On one hand, the measure of a great society, I’ve read, is how well it treats its oldest citizens. So we should do the right thing and stay at home. Right? But. I am one of the elderly, so I think I have the right to say that this isn’t the way I want to live my life.
Under the dire economic situation, people can’t feed or support themselves and their families. People may die of hunger and be turned out onto the streets. Also, systemic racism and poverty make the poorest people most vulnerable to both the disease and to the economic downfall. It is all a real dilemma and I don’t envy lawmakers and governors having to make these decisions.
Wednesday, May 20: I had another Spanish class by Zoom. In the evening, Mike and I got take-out from our favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Enatye. I am so ready to be set free, although I would proceed cautiously in all interactions.
While I’ve been doing my walking project, I drive 10-15 minutes from my house to take my different walks. I’m always surprised by how many people are out and about. I wonder, where are they all going? Few businesses are open, parks are closed, so what is happening? When we drove out tonight, I insisted we drive through Reston Town Center. It feels like people are flower buds all closed up and ready to open, to unfurl, at any moment. There is more of a bustle in the air, a pulsing energy just under the surface, like everyone is preparing to burst out into our alternate reality. I wonder what it will look like.
Thursday, May 21: It looks like people are getting our local pool ready for a Memorial Day opening. Northern Virginia is still in Phase 0 (lockdown except essential businesses), and the governor will re-evaluate next Friday (the 29th). Maybe people are assuming the best. I can’t imagine pools opening, but who knows?
We are watching the Masterpiece Theater series, World on Fire. Every time I watch it, I feel grateful that we didn’t have to live through World War II. What a horrible time that was for our world. The pandemic is a relatively mild catastrophe, although it is still a dire time.
Friday, May 22: Trump called on governors to open places of worship this weekend and he will “override” them if they don’t. It is questionable whether he has authority to do this, and even if he does, individual churches can decide to remain closed, and people can also decide not to attend. Our criminal president doesn’t care a bit about prayer (he said we need people to pray, but people can easily pray at home), but is trying to kowtow to his biggest supporters, Evangelical Christians. He never fails to disgust me every time he opens his mouth.
I got drenched on my walk today. As I got to the furthest point from my car, the skies opened, and I was wet through and through. When will the gloom and rain end? It seems determined to hang on through this entire pandemic.
As of today, the U.S. has 1,601,434 COVID-19 cases and 95,971 deaths. Worldwide, the pandemic has infected 5,235,452 people (0.067% of the world population) and killed 338,612 (0.004%). What a strange, surreal and unsettling time.
I’ve always loved this video by the Turkish Platonik, the song “Yakup.” I will never stop dreaming of travel…
In the midst of all this, what can we do to make the most of our stay-at-home orders? I’ve created a page where I’ll share different ideas I’ve come across of ways to cope during the coronavirus. It is here: how to make the most of a staycation... or how to cope during the coronavirus #Stayathome orders. If you have any positive ways to get through this, I invite you to share: bits of humor, projects, what we can do to help others, how to keep our sanity, TV shows or movies to watch, books to read, exercises to do, etc. Please feel free to express your emotions during this trying time as well. I’m sure we can all relate to any and all emotions you are feeling.
I wish you all the best during this crisis. Stay at home, and stay safe, healthy and always hopeful.
I’m going to write a cocktail hour/diary about this challenging time either weekly or bi-weekly on Saturdays, depending on how much I have to share. I invite you to share your own experiences with what we’re going through right now, either in the comments below, or in your own blog post, which I invite you to link below. I’ll try to keep writing this as long as we are suffering through this together. I hope that we will get through it unscathed, sooner rather than later.
Peace and love be with you all!