Sunday, May 3, 2020

May Day


What has happened in a month? We remain apart. There are more masks in use, in fact, the Governor of Massachusetts has required them in public places. School will not come back in session this spring. The deaths continue at an alarming pace, though slower in some of the cities like New York than they were a month ago. Deaths in nursing homes and Veterans' homes are shocking, and nearly 50% of the total locally. The Governors continue to show leadership that isn't coming from DC. The practice of the Feds. stealing (appropriating?) protective equipment from the states isn't making it easy for them.

I know of people who have recovered. I know of people who have died, primarily the elderly. There are protesters, even here in Northampton, who use their rage to put their own needs above others'. It is so wrong. We have to look out for each other.

Carolyn is able to sit on her beach in NC, as long as people do not crowd together. She continues to work from home and do virtual therapy. Brian converses with his students online as well. Jamie is at the end of his 2 week quarantine in a motel in Juneau, and will rotate to the island to the mine for the next two weeks. Alaska has fared pretty well so far, as have many less-populated areas.

The Senate is going back to DC, but the House, with four times the population, is not. It looks like the unemployment program for self-employed individuals applies to me. I have several projects on hold in Whately, Northampton, Greenfield, and Amherst.

This weekend the sun came back and the windows were open for 2 days. Cooler temps are predicted next week. Some days are more productive than others. I miss company, but we video conference, telephone, sit in our cars to eat together apart. I can't fathom what it is like for extroverts.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Another Week Gone


How is that "writing every day" thing working out?

The COVID 19 virus is looming on the horizon. We have gone from people in nursing homes getting sick, to deaths of musical figures (also elderly), to one degree of separation with people posting about their relatives of any age in hospitals. It is going to get worse.

I accomplished quite a bit in the past few days. I reorganized the yarn stash and got it out of my room. I made moves toward organizing the spare room and Carolyn's room by getting a few unnecessary things into the trash. I went through a very old pile of fabric and sewing history, and spent Wednesday making fabric masks for the family. I still have scraps from the balloons I made for Jamie's infant room, his Halloween costumes, two skirts that were cut out and never sewn. I was happy to find some non-woven interfacing to line the masks and bias tape for straps. It was a whole day coaxing the old black singer to do more or less what I wanted it to do, but it is done. Two went to Alaska and two to NC. Brian says he won't wear it, but he got one too.



I video-conferenced with friends, family, and a committee in Sunderland. Looks like I will be doing more sidewalk design. I also recorded my Historic Maps talk for the MGC conference this weekend, and presented the same talk live via Zoom for WMGS. Last weekend I had planned on presenting at the Eastham Library (cancelled) and meeting with PGSMA Tuesday (also cancelled). The grand opening of our library was cancelled.

Except for a short trip to the grocery store, I didn't go out for food. There are still lots of options for take-out. I spent one entire day in a book. That hasn't happened in a while.

FEMA put out a call for workers via Dewberry. I did not check the box for working anywhere in a suit and mask. We will see if they have any at-home work to offer.

I feel very blessed to have three kids still on the payroll. None of them have to go out to work. I don't have to go out either. The cats are good company. I'm eating my own cooking. Except for milk, I could go a long time without needing more food, if I had to. On we go.

Friday, March 27, 2020

TGIF


Sunny days make all the difference. It would feel much different if we were going into winter in isolation. I can only pray that in six months we won't be having a resurgence.

I had an actual business meeting yesterday with the South Deerfield Fire Dept. to plan for repaving their parking lot. No hand-shaking. I went out today to get a burrito at Mesa Verde. Supporting local restaurants is something I can do. Hand sanitizer is prominent on the counter

My contract with the City of Northampton for doing their paving inspection this summer has no start date yet, but I got a message today just to say that everything is uncertain.

Another small job in Whately is pending "when the Town can conduct business again."

I recorded a webinar this morning about historic maps for the Mass. Gen. Council, whose April conference will now be virtual. Paid work!

So many people don't have savings. It feels strange to draw on my retirement account (how did we become "the elderly?"), but good to have savings. Not to panic. My kids are secure for now. All are still on the payroll. The funding bill passed the Congress.

Every day we hear about the heroic actions of hospital workers who don't have the equipment they need to help the suffering and to protect themselves. Being at home, making my own schedule most of the time is my usual state of being. My life hasn't changed so much, but I am thankful for my choices to life a rural life. The space between me and crowds of people. We start to know that every morning we wake up and face the fear. It is a lot like the feeling of unease that started in November of 2016 when knew it would be a long time until things were put right.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


A little writing, a little knitting, too much TV. I was going to wait out the warmer temperatures expected and not deal with the snow, but I decided to go out and get a sandwich so I had to push it off the windshield. Supporting local business - the Black Cow Burger joint. I pulled a few articles about the 1918 flu pandemic from old newspapers. So many obituaries. I think that's where I'm at, less fear for now than dread about what's to come. Greenfield Savings bank announced an interest holiday for mortgages. I will have to follow that up.

Carolyn started conducting speech therapy by video screen. I'm glad that keeps her employed. She says her father took a warehouse job. He's not in the best shape for that.

I had one video chat with genealogy friends. I'm not sure how positive that is. They're more worried than I am.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Just Another Manic Monday


Not really manic. It is going to be as hard to title these posts as it is to write them.

Today was the first time I washed off the groceries I brought home before I put them away. Just a soapy sponge on the plastic containers: a gallon of milk, orange juice, and onion dip. Oh, and grape soda. It tastes like my fourth grade picnic. The empty paper aisle at Food City is striking, and there are signs posted to limit all purchases to two of any item. There's plenty of meat, but I don't feel that I need any beyond a few portions I have frozen.

And snow! This is not what I wanted at this point of the month. I was hoping to take a walk in the Federal Street cemetery in Greenfield. I guess I'll go back to researching, but I like to visit these people when I get to "know" them better. When I start writing when I wake up, I don't break for breakfast until later. I made it until noon before I turned on the TV today.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Zoom Time


I'm thankful for new technologies that let me video chat with my family. We had a Zoom meeting last night. I could see their faces in Alaska and North Carolina yesterday (and, Brian, local.) My nephew Brendan also chimed in. I hope they are willing to do this weekly. We got to see the baby wiggling in real time for 40 minutes. Brian put the dogs on screen for Linda to see. There's nothing better for a mother than witnessing the natural interactions between her children.

Although I'm not good with too much structure, I'm going to make a point of getting my body moving. I took a walk across the river this afternoon. It's not enough, but I want to be conscious of it. It has felt like a weekend after all.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday


As I said, I mostly work from home, but I really feel like I have to remind myself it is Saturday today. Or, as I was reminded of what the Dowager Countess said in Downton Abbey, "What is a weekend?" My schedule is flexible. Some people I know who have brought their work home have a better sense of time off today. 

The sun is shining, and that makes all the difference to me. The Income Tax filing deadline has been extended to July, but that's still on my To Do list. 

The medical profession is feeling the stress in the more populated areas. The shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a crisis that the federal government isn't prepared to solve. That is a crime. Articles are circulating with instructions on how to sew face masks, but I don't understand how that will help. Old T shirts don't stop germs. Calling retired doctors and nurses out of retirement will only put them at extreme risk. They can't say no. 

Cases of COVID 19 are confirmed at the Buckley Nursing home in Greenfield. I am relieved that I don't have to worry about elderly family members. I am it. Cousin Val just returned from a Panama Canal cruise. I hope she and her family are safe. It has been a rough month for death even before the pandemic kicked in. There will be too many obituaries to be written in the next months. This week Julie Burns Mangione was taken by pancreatic cancer. It was a couple of years ago we got together in EMass. but I'm glad I had that contact. Last week it was Ed Jeronczy, 94, prostate cancer. I will see if I can finish writing his war stories for him. I was asked to be a pall bearer for Denise Lundgren's husband, Nate (blood infection). It was an honor. Funerals are no longer being held.

That's today's update. Let's see if I can do this daily.