Today is Thursday, November 25, 2021.
It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America.
This picture is from a team-building scavenger hunt I did with my co-workers in August, 2021. We work in a combination Middle School & High School in Windsor, Connecticut. Our students come from 22 towns, mostly in Hartford County. Many of our students are from Hartford. Our school is a highly diverse group of people.
This simple cardboard sign, cigarette butt and face mask remind me of the difficult times many people have experienced during this pandemic. There is also a small plant growing in the crack between the curb and the sidewalk, which reminds me of my favorite season, Spring, because many plants (and animals) begin to grow and the Earth seems to come alive after the dormancy of Winter.
Being Thanksgiving, I am also reminded of the people, places and things in my life to be thankful for. I have much to be thankful for. I have my family, although we are smaller due to the pandemic, and we miss our loved ones dearly. This holiday season will be painful.
I also have a work family, actually several work families from different chapters in my life. I have a church family, hobby families, volunteer families and sports teams families. My newest school family is extraordinary, and I am blessed to be a part of it.
My grandmother tested positive for COVID two weeks ago when she got a test in order to travel. She was asymptomatic, but she was obviously unable to make her trip. This trip was supposed to be with 4 of her siblings who live across the country and in Canada, and they hadn't seen each other since the beginning of 2020. Although she is healthy due to the vaccination, her brother-in-law unfortunately passed away earlier this week. She is unable to be with her sister and the rest of her family as they grieve the loss of an important member of their family. This takes a toll mentally and physically on someone her age because there is nothing she can do about the situation. She is not entirely comfortable using technology, so she cannot communicate with her family as people my age would. This is a really sad situation for everyone, but especially the elderly in our family and community.
Mi familia está reunida. Estamos juntos y eso me hace sentir feliz y a la vez me hace sentir normal, como si nada hubiera pasado.
I enjoyed taking naps after teaching this week. Something about being a teacher and educator is exhausting from the behavior disruptions, to the opinionated articles that only 75% understand what is really going on in education. I finally got to rest my head and sleep a bit without anyone screaming my name, without my own voices mocking myself, just wholesome SLEEP.
In hindsight, I should have made more of an effort to broaden my social circle and stay in touch with more people more often. During the pandemic, I lost my best friend. I was not expecting that. I thought we'd get through it together. The loss of that support hit me extra hard. It really emphasized to me how very alone I am. That's something I need to work on now.
Happy “Thanksgiving” Holiday!
Poet Haley rearranged the day:
Happy “Givingthanks” Holiday!
I am grateful for my life:
Wonderful caring husband (40 years together)
Seven beautiful, healthy grandchildren
Three super stepchildren & their spouses
Parents & in-laws who cared in their lifetimes
Our family home, safe, warm, happy
Friends who always were present
A cool local orchard - known to me
For over sixty years from childhood
My first newspaper coverage?
My five year old self photographed
Pinning the “apple on the tree”
A bag removed from my head
For the photographer to request
“SMILE” !! I was famous !!
My long braids tightly wooven
Long ago, 1955 in this orchard.
Now a new memory?
My foot or more talker self
Hit her head squarely into
“Blue Jay Orchards” thick wood
Celebrating this week
With color coordinated
Thanksgiving Holiday ICE PACK !!
The pandemic has not really affected me in the past week. Everything has been the same but, I am happy because my son came home from college. He is back for Thanksgiving break and I am really happy to see him!
Por un momento me pregunté si el ponerme el booster shot implicaba quitarle a otra persona la oportunidad de poderse vacunare por primera vez. Después pensé que yo tengo que hacer lo que está en mis manos para acabar con la pandemia. Desafortunadamente yo no puedo enviar vacunas a lugares remotos, pero sí puedo evitar que otros se contagien poniéndome el booster shot. El privilegio conlleva responsabilidades en si mismo.
One aspect of the pandemic that future observers may not appreciate is that it’s BORING. In the initial stages of the pandemic, when there wasn’t any vaccine and almost no treatment, it was a daring adventure just to go to the grocery store. All your senses were sharper; you noticed everything around you—the bright primary yellow of a dandelion, the liquid warbling song of a robin, the chill of the brisk March wind—because you knew that next week you could be on a ventilator. Or maybe dead.
Now, we’re close to the two-year anniversary of the discovery of Covid-19. The virus is old news. If you’ve been fully vaccinated and you live in an area where the vaccination rate is high, you no longer have that immediate fear of death. Instead, you probably have a constant low-grade anxiety that never completely goes away. No U.S. states or counties are on lockdown any more, but we still can’t do all the things we used to do; lots of places are closed or operating under reduced capacity, and some places (like my favorite toy store) just aren’t there any more, victims of the pandemic. And when you do go out, you still have to wear a mask and maintain social distancing, because you never know if the guy standing next to you in the checkout line is one of those idiots who refuses to get vaccinated. That’s getting kind of old. It’s as though our old life was in color, and now we’re living in black and white.
After I posted my fears last week about our trip to the Grand Canyon, it hit me that I never mentioned all of the good things that happened there. In this age of pandemic, it's easy to travel down a negative spiral. I'm learning that I have to work more at finding gratitude for the things I do have. It's not quite so automatic anymore.
I'm determined to do better. On this trip to the Grand Canyon, I had my first experience watching the sunrise over the canyon. We stayed the night in the park, and the sunrise was beautiful, with no crowds.
How could I have so quickly overlooked this private moment of beauty and calm? Somehow, I believe our Earth will find a way to survive and right itself. With our without us.
Today, I'm grateful for my time at this majestic and timeless place.
The one thing I would do differently would be try to remain calm and trust that I was doing all I could to keep me and my husband safe.
My husband got Covid in September. He's fully vaccinated and recovered fairly quickly. But recently he seems to have had a relapse. About a month after he was sick with Covid, he started getting feverish and very nauseous. He's still not entirely recovered now. I think it's mostly stress from his work, but I don't know whether it could be some kind of long Covid as well.
I'm trying not to worry too much about the people in my country who do not want to be vaccinated. It seems unlikely that we can get back to something like a normal life while so many people are not vaccinated. There is nothing I can do about this. So I try not to think about it too much.
My kiddo got the first vaccination. Both of us were relieved and happy to have it done - kiddo because they are one step closer to playing indoor sport. Me because the fighting over masks and rights and all encompassing garbage makes me fear for his safety once the masks mandates are lifted state-wide in the schools.
My booster is also scheduled, so I’m feeling pretty good about that too. I never though I would be live in a time when I would look forward to having a periodic shot with unpleasant side effects, but here I am. And I get allergy injections every month.
While I’ve not been infected with COVID-19, I’ve known a couple of people that have gotten it. One was my boss at work. She tested positive about four months after the lock-down in our state started. It didn’t have much of an impact on me, though. It was during the time period when our offices were closed down and everyone was working remotely all the time. I didn’t even find out about her getting infected months later, when we returned to a limited in office work schedule. That’s when she told me about getting sick. It was surprising. Like having a news story come to life. The symptoms for her were bad, but not severe. She didn’t need to be hospitalized, though she felt pretty bad, she told me, during that time.
The other was my uncle, my Dad’s brother. He was already in palliative care at the time, for a neurological condition he had contracted. I had visited him a couple of times before COVID closed everything down in the state where he lived. After that, my aunt and my cousins were not allowed to visit him. It was during that time that he got the disease and passed away.
As with finding out about my boss having the disease, it made the news stories I had heard about people dying from the disease in isolation more real for me than it had been.
¿Cuándo va a terminar esto? ¿Cuándo podremos sentir que la vida deja de complicarse tanto para tantas personas? ¿Qué más nos hace falta aprender?
I did it. I ate inside a restaurant. I haven’t eaten inside a restaurant since early 2020. It was the middle of the day and I was with 2 friends who are vaxxed and there was plenty of space - the whole thing. I had a hard time taking off my mask at first. I may need a little time to do these kinds of things without worry. It’s been a long 2 years and I can’t just jump back in. Also cases are rising again so it’s not for nothing. It was really nice though. Food tastes better there then with take out. It really does. My daughter gets her 2nd shot in 2 weeks:) That might help me. But I was on public transit today and there was a guy coughing. He goes and sits like two seats from me. I moved to another train car. No way and no thanks! I noticed that people are starting to shake hands again. I kind of hoped that would just end. Never liked it and now it’s even more annoying to me.
In the last few months, our household shrunk back down to its pre-pandemic size. During much of 2020 and the first half of 2021, my 95 year old mother in law and 25 year old son lived with us. They had both been living in NYC when Covid struck, and we all felt that they were safer living with us in the suburbs than in crowded NY. This past spring, my mother in law, then recently fully vaccinated moved back to her own home, and then this fall, my son started a graduate program. So, now they are both back in the city.
It has taken a while to get reacquainted with the quiet and just buying groceries and cooking for two! It is nice to only be responsible for ourselves again. But I do miss my son and the easy access we had to talking with him. He is super busy with school, and our conversations only give us glimpses of his life. But he is happy and busy, and once again, socializing with other young adults (as it should be).
I've very much looking forward to having both of them with us for Thanksgiving next week. I'm glad that it is safe to travel and gather again together in our homes.
Something that has changed in my life in the last few months?
Not a lot, actually. I have a new favorite song that I hum at work: "I've No More F***s To Give," by Thomas Benjamin Wild. It makes me smile behind my quadruple-filtered mask. I just wish I could hit the high notes like I used to. My coworkers are probably wondering why I'm squeaking to myself.
Nothing much has changed, except now worrying about the increasing problems in Germany and eastern Europe and how friends and family there will be affected.
It's fall in New England and it's my favorite time of year. My child (daughter--pronouns are they, their, them) received their first vaccine shot this past week and the sense of relief I feel is enormous. These beautiful leaves makes me think of them: a vibrant person inside and out. Since they received the vaccine, I have really been thinking about them, how fast it all goes and they are only 11 1/2. They were so excited to receive the shot and there was no fear in their eyes , as there usually is with the flu shot, for example. The smile afterward was so contagious. That night when we lit the Sabbath candles and said the blessings to welcome in the Sabbath, we added another prayer called the Shehechiyanu. It means, "Blessed are you, God, who has given us life, sustained us and allowed us to arrive in this moment." The blessing is usually said when we do something for the first time that year and this seemed a completely appropriate moment to recite it. My husband, myself and our child recited it together and one could feel the meaning for us and our relief.
But, I still have my 11 1/2 year old child who repeatedly says, "My friends and I are one step closer to having a sleepover!" Now there is my 11 1/2 year old child. Don't grow up too fast.