Monday, November 30, 2020

Coronavirus Diaries Mid to Late October and All of November

October 13

This morning Leo and I went to Gale Woods Farm. It’s a working farm that is part of the Three Rivers Park System. We went there about a year ago for a toddler activity and picked strawberries and watered plants, but this time we just went on our own, to see animals and hike around in the woods and fields.

I didn’t think there would be many people there but we brought our masks, just in case.

When we got there, however, there were bunches of people and school buses! There was a Cross Country meet going on! At first I though oh we’ll have to leave and go do something else. But Gale Woods is a pretty big place, so we just headed away from the area where the meet was being held and walked over to see the sheep.

There were sheep, goats, and even a llama in a big field. We watched them for awhile, butting heads, eating, pooping. Then we walked over to the barn and saw the chickens. The rooster crowed, cookadoodledoo! That was entertaining. We wandered by a greenhouse and down a road to a cow. One of the workers told us it’s name was Aurora. We talked to Aurora for quite some time but couldn’t convince to come closer so we could pet her.

We saw the racers from afar, but I found that a lot more interesting than Leo did. He did like the race cones, however! Most of the adults watching the meet were wearing masks; very few of the teenagers were. I thought about putting mine on, but I could remain socially distant easily and it was cold and windy I really didn’t think there was much to worry about,

We sat at a picnic table and had a snack, grapes and apple bread. We walked over to see another cow but it wasn’t nearly as friendly as Aurora. Then it was time to walk back to the car and go home for lunch.

We walked about a mile and enjoyed ourselves. Maybe we’ll go back sometime when there isn’t a meet going on and we can explore more of the farm.

October 14 - Crochet and bladder update

So I had my 3 week checkup with the pelvic floor PT person yesterday. She says I’m doing well. I need to do the kegel exercises with more frequency, and I really need to try to drink more water, because believe it or not, diluted urine is less irritating and reduces the urge to go. Other than that just be patient. I’m up to waiting an hour and 50 minutes before I pee. Today is weird. I really haven’t had a big urge to pee today. But some days it seems like I spend most of the day wanting to go to the bathroom. Once I get to say 2.5 hours between pees, I’m going to start not timing myself every single day. 

The crocheting is going well. I need to work on making my stitches a bit tighter so that my squares are closer to the correct size but most of the time I’m not that far off. I’m on block number 4, which is all half double crochet. I decided to make two Afghans at the same time so I’ve bought yarn in blue and gray shades and I’m making 2 blocks at a time. I need the practice, and I’m a little obsessed right now, so it helps fill the time until the next kit arrives. It’s exciting when they come, I can’t wait to see what stitches I'm going to learn next!

It’s going to drop down into the 30’s every night this week and by the weekend we might even see some snow. My dormant bare root plants are supposed to arrive today, which means I’m going to be spending the next few days getting them in the ground. Solomon seal in the back shade garden, columbine in the sunny Buddha garden, Monarda in the wildflower garden and maybe some in the rain garden too. I’ll have to mark them carefully so that I can find them in the spring and make sure they survived. 

I also dug up the rosemary and thyme and potted them. Maybe I can get them to survive the winter indoors. It usually doesn’t work but I’ll give it a shot.

October 17

I’ve been thinking about this for several days now. It’s the way in which Covid has become one more thing I use to make judgements about other people, and about myself. Some people I know are being more careful than we are; some people are being less careful. So when I talk to a friend and she tells me that they quarantine for 14 days after any doctor appointment, I wonder if I should be doing something similar. And when I talk to another friend and she tells me how much they enjoyed having visitors at their lake home this summer I wonder if that’s a safe thing to do?

I make my judgements about what is best for me and for my loved ones on the best information we have right now and how much risk I am comfortable with and also to be frank, just how badly I want to do something. It’s a balancing act for sure. 

So going to a store for a brief amount of time wearing a mask seems relatively low risk. But I have a gift card to Total Wine that can only be used in the store, so I have to figure out a way to reduce the amount of time it usually takes me to pick out wine before I go use it.

I really miss racing, and there are a few small races showing up now locally. But it makes me uneasy because I’m just not 100% sure about maintaining the proper social distance during the race, and whether I can trust all participants to wear masks like they’re supposed to. So I’m sticking to short virtual races for now. I’m supposed to sign up for Grandma’s Marathon now, but I just don’t have any confidence that things will be much better by next June, so I’m waffling. Note: I did sign up. Leap of faith!

Do I think it’s necessary to self quarantine after a doctor’s visit? I don’t think so, not for us, not in Minnesota. Everyone is masked and screened here, and their ventilation systems are good. But the friend that does that lives in a state where there isn’t a mask mandate and people are less careful, so I understand her concern.

As for the friend that had visitors this summer, I really shouldn’t judge. We had visitors, it’s just that I was sure that our visitors were following the same procedures as we were. Maybe her visitors were doing the same. I don’t know, and you know what? It’s none of my business!

But this winter when (if) we take the RV to California there are some things we will do, and some things we won’t. When we are traveling south, through states that are careless, we will keep to ourselves as much as possible. As much as we would love to, we won’t be visiting friends in California, we will just hang out with Daniel and Kelsey at the Airbnb. 

Some day this will all be over, and hopefully the members of our bubble will come through it unscathed. And that’s the biggest thing. Whatever decisions we make about risk don’t just affect ourselves, they affect our entire bubble. So when I think about racing it’s not just that I don’t want to get Covid, it’s that I don’t want to expose anyone else to it either. In some ways this makes it a lot easier to stay safe, cause it’s not just about me.

October 21

Yesterday we had a massive snowstorm. On October 20th. This is not normal, even in Minnesota. It snowed hard all day. We have Leo on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and by mid afternoon on Tuesday it was looking like he might have to spend the night. The roads were terrible, and we didn’t mind, so that’s what we decided to do.

When he woke up from his nap it was still snowing. We decided to go outside and shovel the driveway and the sidewalks. Lee found a small snow shovel that he used to keep in his car for Leo to use. He didn’t have snow pants, and his boots were too small, but he had a warm coat, hat and gloves so he was set.

He had a great time moving snow around and bossing us around too. When it was time to come in he didn’t want to stop and had a fit, but that’s just part of the trials of being almost three. His pants and socks were soaked and his feet were blocks of ice but he didn’t care. It was just so much fun being out in the snow.

He helped Lee make a frittata for dinner, and he ate a lot of it too. After dinner he had a bubble bath and then watched a little TV before it was time for bed.

Like some of the rest of us Leo sometimes has a hard time settling down and going to sleep. At first he was upset because his room was too dark, but we turned on the bathroom light and left his door ajar and then he was ok. But he sang and talked to himself for a long time before he finally drifted off.

In the morning he was raring to go. He loves breakfast and had oatmeal, part of a bagel, half a banana, and orange juice. Then he helped Lee take the dogs for a walk. Since then he’s been playing, sometimes by himself, and sometimes with Lee. He really loves his grampa right now. I don’t think Lee minds it much at all, although I know he would like me to take over sometimes, if Leo would only allow it! I’m not as much of a pushover as grampa, however, at least most of the time.

October 29

Leo and I carved pumpkins today. Since it’s too cold to carve them outside I cleared off the island and put black plastic on the floor. Then I put aprons on both of us and got to work.

First we chose the best side for a face. Leo said to make the first pumpkin a happy one. He helped me draw the eyes, nose and a smiley mouth. Then I welded the knife since it is very sharp.

First I cut the lid. Leo lifted it off. Then we scooped out all the stuff in the middle and put it a bowl so we could roast the pumpkin seeds later. We took turns scooping out the stuff, first with our hands and then with a spoon. Then I cut out the eyes nose and mouth. Leo helped me pop each one out after it was cut.

We did two pumpkins. The second one had a frowny face. 

Then it was time to roast the pumpkin seeds. We separated the seeds from the goop in the middle as best we could, putting the seeds in a colander and the goop in the trash. Well mostly in the trash! Turns out that black plastic was a good idea!

Then we headed to the sink to rinse the rest of the goop off the seeds. Leo loves to play with water so he directed the spigot and I picked the remaining goop out of the seeds. We rolled the seeds up in a dish towel to dry them. Then we put them in a clean bowl.

We preheated the oven to 350. We added olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to the seeds and stirred them. Then we spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. I stirred them every 5 minutes, and let them cook until they were brown and crispy. We sampled them, they we pretty good! They will make a good halloween snack!

Lee has been attending a conference online this week so he hasn’t been able to hang out with Leo as much as he would like, and I’m tired. But the conference is over today so I’m getting a break.

October 31

So Halloween. We were going over to Sarah’s for chili and to see Leo and Kirby in their costumes. Before we left we put a bowl with plastic bags with candy out by the street, with a couple of pumpkins and a sign that said Happy Halloween. Then we were on our way.

Leo was dressed as Fireman Sam, a popular children’s cartoon character. Kirby was Sam’s little dog Radar, dressed in his dalmation costume. Leo’s costume was pretty amazing. Suzanne made him a Fireman Sam’s jacket. Sarah got him a fireman hat, a toy walkie talkie, a plastic axe and a toy hose. Erik  made Fireman Sam logos to stick on Leo’s jacket. He really looked wonderful.

Kirby was adorable in his black and white spotted PJs, with a little white cap that Sarah and sewn floppy ears onto, and cut out felt spots and stuck them on.

Leo was really into his costume.  Various adults would find “fires” and Sam would carefully put on his hat and put them out with the axe and the hose. Then he would take off the hat, and sing the Fireman Sam song, just like it was the end of the show.  Multiple times.

Kirby was tired, and hungry. He is trying to give up his third nap which is a difficult transition. We mixed up a little oatmeal and baby food and stuck him in his high chair. He opens his mouth just like a little baby bird. But he also sticks his thumb in his mouth while he’s eating so things can get a little messy sometimes. And he was so tired! He started yawning and crying as he was still eating. Poor baby! 

As we were getting ready to go outside and get candy from a few of the neighbors the lights flickered, and flickered again, and then went totally out. At first Leo was pretty alarmed. He didn’t seem scared but he was pretty agitated, talking a blue streak about the electricity. He was picking up on what the adults were saying but not really understanding what was going on. We looked at the outage map for Xcel Energy and there were like 300 houses in Plymouth that were affected so hopefully they were on it and it wouldn’t be out for too long.

We went ahead and went outside to get pictures of Fireman Sam and his little dog. While we were outside I told Leo to look up at the electricity lines. I told him that somewhere one of those lines had broken and that the men that fixed that sort of thing had to find the broken line and fix it. Then he had a way to understand what was happening and he stopped fixating on it.

Sarah put poor Kirby to bed and we ate dinner by candlelight. The chili was delicious and so was the cornbread. Before too long Lee and I decided we want to go ahead and get home since it was time to feed the dogs.

Fortunately our neighborhood’s power was on. Unfortunately someone decided to stead all our candy, including the bowl. Just another example of how much 2020 sucks. Note: the next day Lee found the empty bowl down the street. We'll never know if it just blew away after someone took all the candy, or someone tossed the bowl away. 

November 8th

Last night we had a celebration. We had planned this for a couple weeks, not knowing that it would take so long to get the election results, or knowing what the results would be for that matter. We were looking at the weather, which has been uncommonly good for November in Minnesota. Warm temps and sunny skies made us want to do one more picnic outside on on the screened porch, and one more marshmallow roast around the fire pit.

All of our quarantine pod came over except for Kris, who had a previous engagement. Sarah and Erik brought a cake and a bottle of champagne. We had hot dogs and potato salad. Suzanne brought a fruit salad. We were set.

The back door was open, and Lee and Leo went out to start a fire. It was pretty windy so we were careful. Sarah poured us all a glass of champagne and we toasted the new administration and the end of Trump. We sat on the porch and ate our hot dogs and watched Leo’s shenanigans and passed Kirby around until it was his bedtime. He is learning to eat cheerios and its pretty hilarious to watch him seriously gumming them up.

Leo and Erik found a wooly caterpillar trying to make its way into the house. Somehow Erik got the caterpillar to climb onto Leo’s hand and they carefully took it outside. Then Leo spent about 20 minutes climbing in and out of the dog door looking for the caterpillar. We tried to determine if it’s stripes indicated that winter would be a hard or easy one but the results were indeterminate. It will be easier in one respect, however. By January 21st, Trump will no longer be president. Thank God!

November 15

The rise in Covid cases is alarming. Several states are putting shelter in place and/or quarantine orders out. I’m sick at heart thinking that Daniel and Kelsey may not be able to come for Christmas. We won’t do anything unsafe, and we won’t break the rules either. Right now they could come, but they would have to quarantine when they returned to Cally. Note: We made the decision and they aren't coming. They will join us via zoom for Christmas, and I will be sending Daniel some Christmas ornaments.

And as for our trip to California in February/March, we’ll we’ll just have to wait and see. Right now we couldn’t go; we couldn’t even travel through New Mexico, let alone quarantine once we got to CA. But things could change, that’s 3 months off.

It’s cold here, and snowy. I’ve run a couple of virtual 5ks, just to have some goals and something to focus on. They are pretty slow, I’m not sure why. I’ve been slow in general ever since the virtual marathon back in July. Oh well, I’ll just keep plugging away. 

I’m still hunting for a fat bike. No luck so far finding one my size in my price range. But I’d still like one, I just need to keep looking.


The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I made the pies, cherry, pecan and a vegan pumpkin that’s just as good, if not better, than the regular kind. I decided to make vegan sourdough rolls too. I’d been trying to bring my sourdough starter back to life for several days but it was really slow to get going, even with using the proof box Lee made me, so when I mixed up the dough Wednesday afternoon I added a little bit of active dry yeast to it as well as the starter.

Thanksgiving morning I ran a virtual 5k Turkey Trot. It was the 3rd virtual 5k I’ve run this fall, and it went a lot better than the first 2. I’ve really been struggling with running but I had my head on straight for this run, focused, and left pretty good about it.

The dough for the rolls sat in the fridge overnight. After the turkey trot I brought it out and formed the rolls. I put them back in the proof box and let them rise for about 4 hours. The rolls turned out great; the vegan recipe we found is definitely a keeper.

Thanksgiving was quiet, just our bubble. Way too much food, of course. We had Sarah and Erik and the kids come over early so that Leo could take his nap here, and we could eat as soon as he woke up. He knew something was up, but not exactly what. He was mainly confused because BOTH his parents came to peepah’s house! Sarah put him down but at first he was playing and yelling loudly. I went upstairs to tell him to hush. “I want mommy.” “oh, you’re ok,” I said. “Lay down, its time to take a nap.” I shut the door, and he lost it. Sarah had to go upstair and comfort him. He’s very sensitive right now; any little thing can set him off! Its hard being almost 3! Its also hard only having a bunch of old people to play with.

When Leo and Kirby woke up from their naps we sat down to eat. Kirby has 2 little teeth and is VERY interested in any and all food. Anything you put on his tray goes in his mouth. Any baby food you place on a spoon causes his mouth to open like a little bird’s. He’s also taking a bottle without any trouble AND he’s still nursing! He has lots of beautiful chubby folds in his arms and legs, and a continuous happy smile. He is trying to sit up, and he can for a little bit as long as someone is nearby to catch him when he starts to list….

Leo ate the cranberry sorbet, of course, just like last year, then wanted to go straight to the pies. He had 6 grownups urging him to eat, kind of ridiculous. Of course eventually he got some pie and scarfed that right down. He liked them all!

The next day we made lep cookies. We only made a 1/2 batch, so about 350 cookies total. I don’t know if Lee and I have ever made them without Joanne or Cathy there to help, but Suzanne came over and she was a big help. Sarah, Leo and Kirby came over too. Leo “helped”. We got out his little rolling pin and his toddler knife, and he made a spectacular mess of minced lep cookie dough. It was impressive. 

By yesterday afternoon Lee and I were both tired. We both just sat around and didn’t do much of anything. I ran 6 miles this morning and generally have a little more energy.

1 comment:

  1. Love the photo of you and Leo making lep cookies. Congrats on your races.



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