Thursday, April 30, 2020

Appropriate Paranoia

3,287,355 cases worldwide.  232,784 deaths.

Cases in the US passed one million this week. It's currently at 1,085, 079. 63,277 deaths.

In Georgia, 26,173 cases, 1124 deaths.   Based on the graphs on the Georgia Department of Health website, cases were slowing down.  The governor of Georgia let restaurants, hair and nail salons, and bowling alleys re-open last week, and is expected to lift the shelter-in-place order that everyone was ignoring today, so I expect them to spike up again.

My husband is being laid off from his job in two weeks.  I read that unemployment applications are up to 30 million total.  That's starting to approach Great Depression levels of unemployment.

I'm still mostly not leaving my house except to go to my garden or stroll around the lake. Since we don't have a vaccine and I have no idea whether I am genetically resistant (because I have O- blood) or likely to die (because I am diabetic), and neither does anyone else, I am staying home.

Apparently DeKalb County is doing a random survey to see if people have antibodies.  Since apparently some people can have it and not realize it.  I could easily have had it in the week or so after we came back from California...I felt pretty crappy, had weird chest pain and nausea and spent a day or two in bed...but I never ran a fever and never even talked to a doctor.  I couldn't have gotten a test then anyway.  The only way to know for sure would be to get a test for antibodies.

I don't know what I'd do with that information if I had it.  There apparently are cases of people getting re-infected, which might just be testing error, but also means that antibodies aren't an absolute guarantee.  I wasn't planning to go licking the door handles at Kroger or anything, but it would be nice to know what degree of paranoia is appropriate.

I'm baking bread again today. I have a healthy sourdough starter and have got it down to a routine.  I'm also writing more, mostly in my Patreon blog which is focused on spiritual Pagan things.  I planted more seeds for my garden.  I am considering chickens, since the next thing that is likely to fall apart is the food supply chain, apparently.  I kind of wish I'd gotten chickens last year, but I wasn't prepared for them then and I'm not sure I'm prepared for them now.  Sooner or later, though, chickens.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The More Things Change

Photo of happy beagle named Myrtle to lighten the mood
2.4 million cases worldwide, 166, 278 deaths.  767,379 cases in the United States.  40,750 deaths.

Three people in my little town have had COVID-19 or have it currently.  The first one went to the hospital but came home and is recovering.  The other two have it now and hopefully will recover as well.

Small groups of people are protesting to "re-open" the economy. Most people I know personally are saying they'll stay home no matter what until there's clear medical guidance.  The ones who can't stay home because of their jobs are worried.

My son and I have been watching a Great Courses lecture series on the Black Death in Europe.  What I've learned so far is that people believed that it was the wrath of God and went on pilgrimages and crowded into churches in response, some people thought that public self-flagellation would atone for everyone's sins, others thought that you might as well have good time while you could and threw big parties, some blamed foreigners and/or Jews and believed they were conspiring with each other to poison the water in all of the towns where the plague had appeared, and they thought that good smells would drive away the miasma that caused the plague.  Also that governing bodies mostly failed to adapt to the changed circumstances quickly enough, leading to things like families who were already suffering paying a death tax every time the head of their family died, in the form of livestock that quickly became devalued because the lord of the manor had too much livestock and no one to care for it, meanwhile the family starved.

In other words, people really don't change that much.

I've planted some things in my garden and plan to do more.  A neighbor brought by a pork belly she cooked and I made cole slaw to go with it.  We are thinking about having some discreetly distant front yard social time with her and maybe another neighbor.  They both live alone and are suffering from isolation more than we are.  My husband and I are mainly suffering from being in each other's faces a little too much, but we are figuring it out.  Most of the time it's nice having him home all of the time, and our house is cleaner than usual though not perfectly in order.  I guess if enough time passes we really will clean out the basement. 

Neither of us have been anywhere except the grocery store, walks or bicycle rides, and the post office. We wash our hands and wipe everything down, wear masks though not as much as we probably should (we only have two of them).  Given that there's political pressure to lift the stay-home orders, and it won't be safe to actually do that, I guess this is how we live now, indefinitely.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Birdsong and bread making

1.5 million cases worldwide, and over 95,000 deaths.  The US has over 460,000 cases...more than the next three countries combined.

Our president is still mendacious and corrupt, and making it worse at a breathtaking clip.

John Prine died. 

People I know have been sick, and people I know have lost people they know and love.  It hasn't hit me that close yet.  I'm hoping for the best, and staying home.

I woke up at about 4 am.  I eventually went back to bed, but I stepped outside to listen to the dawn chorus of birds.  It was loud, like we live in a rain forest loud.  I read an article that said that birds seem louder because there's less people noise to muffle them.  The article also said that seismographers could measure the difference and detect things they usually couldn't because there's that much less traffic and trains and so on.

It was a beautiful day, windy and warm, the sun sparkling on the lake.  I saw very few people, as I was out at mid-morning.  One of my neighbors was telling everyone who wasn't wearing a mask that we should have one on.  She walked up to me to tell me this.  Not that close, but still.  I'm saying that if a piece of cotton cloth is effective, then staying a good ten or twenty feet back should be even more effective.  Or both, as you wish.  I wear a mask when I have to go somewhere I really can't avoid coming close to people...the post office, restaurants (for take-out, nobody is doing dining-in any more)...but I'd rather get up at 5 am to avoid all humans rather than wear one just to go outside.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I'd just stay home and sit on my back porch, but my dog would not allow it.  I asked my husband if he wanted to go for a walk with me and she started barking at me.  It's like having a furry toddler.  Unless you are prepared to go IMMEDIATELY, do NOT say the "w" word....

I made sourdough starter and gave some out to my neighbors, by way of a folding table in my front yard.  Lots of people have apparently taken up bread baking; it is no longer possible to buy yeast or find plain all-purpose flour.  I got a five pound bag of organic whole wheat bread flour and counted myself fortunate.  I plan to try it all out on some bread tomorrow. 

Life, as they say, goes on.  One way or another. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020


We passed a million cases of COVID-19 worldwide today.  The US has something like 230,000 cases, twice as many as any other country.  Governor Shotgun finally issued a shelter-in-place order for the state of Georgia, which is supposed to take effect tomorrow.

Six million more people filed for unemployment this week, making about ten million in all.  I expect there to be more next week.  My husband said that people weren't able to file because the system is jammed up, so there will certainly be more.  He also said we are currently at about 10% unemployment, when it was 3.6% a month ago. 

During the Great Depression, unemployment was 25%.  We aren't there yet.  I don't know what barriers stand between here and there, though.

I got seeds I ordered in the mail, and my son and I went over to tend our plots in the community garden.  I spoke to a live human being in person who doesn't live in the same house with me, in the form of our neighbor who lives next door to the community garden.  She offered me some of her extra plants after she parcels what she has out to the people who asked for them already....from a polite distance.

I am in a cooking mood.  Chicken and broccoli with cheese in the crock pot, potatoes and turnips roasted in the oven, and low-carb chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.  I have greens in the refrigerator and some I just picked out of the garden (from some I planted too late in the fall, but which have sprung up as the days got warmer).

Everyone seems to be settling in like we are expecting more disruption, not less.  Lots of people are planting gardens in case shipping breaks down.  (I had to wait for my seed order because they were backed up).  People are talking about getting chickens.  (I want chickens...)  People are baking bread...with sourdough starter, because it's hard to find yeast all of a sudden.

There haven't been shortages of produce, but since it's unlikely that migrant workers are going to show up this year unless something changes...that might not continue.  There are a bunch of people suddenly unemployed who might pick the crops...but Americans generally won't put up with the awful working conditions.  Nor should they.  Nor should anyone.  If nothing else good comes out of this situation, maybe some of that will get changed. 

I know the worst hasn't happened yet.  I'm ok for now, but the waiting is strangely and deceptively peaceful.