The Winter of Our Discontent – The Corona Diaries – Part Four

For this latest quarterly installment of The Corona Diaries, I’ve borrowed the title from a 1961 novel by the American writer John Steinbeck, best known for his masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath.  The Winter of Our Discontent, centers around a protagonist, Ethan Hawley, who labors as a grocery clerk in a store once owned by his rich and illustrious Long Island ancestors.  A man of honesty and integrity he sells his soul in a series of successful but unethical get-rich schemes, hoping to satisfy his restless wife and teen-aged children who want more material goods than he can provide.   He becomes suicidal, but is saved at the end by a talisman his daughter slips into his pocket.

No idea why this was on my basement bookshelf, but Donald Sutherland looked young in 1983.

I read this book in high school, because our strict but otherwise excellent English teacher required a monthly book report on one of the classics.  I’m not sure why I chose this one.  Perhaps the title appealed to me, as Canadian winters tend to be long.   Certainly, as a 15-year-old I found it hard to relate to, as nobody in my world was suicidal, (young people weren’t back in the 70’s), but in truth all I remember about it was there was something about a grocery store and the scene of his despair was near the ocean, which I wanted to view some day. 

Steinbeck in turn borrowed the title from the opening speech of the Shakespearean play, Richard the Third, from which the English teacher thankfully spared us.   

“Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York;  and all the clouds that lour’d upon our house. In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths…..”

A catchy opening phrase, but the subsequent lengthy passage deals with politics, war and who gets to be king, and while I’m sure it was profound, I disliked Shakespeare too.   

None of this has anything to do with COVID, although I suppose you could spin a connection that Ethan Hawley was an essential front-line worker, there’s still a lot of political divisiveness raging, and mental health issues are becoming epidemic the longer the pandemic drags on….but basically I just liked the title.

For many people it has been a winter of discontent, but I’m an introvert so I’m still doing okay…keeping busy….reading lots…..walking every day except for one brutally cold week in February when I could not force myself to leave the warmth and comfort of the house.  (Skin freezes in twenty minutes in sub-zero temperatures.)   Cocooning in the winter is nice, but I’m wondering if I’ll remember how to interact with other people in person.

But I have to admit I’d be a lot happier if I could get a COVID vaccine.  The vaccine roll-out here has been slow, as not having any vaccine manufacturing facilities left in Canada, we are at the mercy of the EU supply chains.   

Turtle by Joni’s mom

It’s a case, of slow and steady does NOT win the race…..against the variants. 

While I’m grateful that my mother, in the over 90 group, was able to get her first shot in early March, with her second booked for five weeks later in April, unless it’s cancelled, I’m not happy that the government recently decided to stretch the dosing interval to FOUR MONTHS, for everyone else in an effort to get more people vaccinated, including for the 80 plus group. While they were able to give the nursing home residents and workers, and health care staff two doses initially as recommended, everyone else has to wait until July for the second dose.  While I understand the rationale behind this, it’s a big gamble, especially with new studies showing that immunity in the older population is substandard to begin with and may not last as long.  Every day now, so much new information is emerging, it’s hard to keep up with it all.

Sea turtle (by Joni’s mom) drowning in a sea of COVID information which changes with the tides…

As for the vaccination clinic itself, well…..that’s a rant best left to Facebook, if I was the kind of person who posted on Facebook.   Where else but in Canada would you have to wait until the ice came out of a hockey rink before you organized a mass immunization clinic.  The general inefficiency of the previous set-up has now been replaced by a new model involving pods of 15 (maximum of 60 in the now ice-free arena) where you register and sit in your pod and the immunizer person comes to you, aiming for a goal of one patient per minute. A great idea, and I’d give the local health unit credit, but they stole the (hockey hub) model from the Gray-Bruce Health Unit.

Unfortunately I was disqualified from getting the vaccine as an essential caregiver, as I do not share the same residence as my mother, even though I am there almost every day as she is 95 now, BUT if she was in a nursing home and I visited her once in awhile, then I would have qualified? (Ministry of Health rules) But at least I will not worry so much now that she will have some level of protection. Otherwise I am waiting patiently for my age group to come up…..they are decreasing by fives.

On to more pleasant things, like food.  There has been entirely too much dessert eating going on here lately…

I had to use up the rest of the spy apples before they spoiled…

So many English trifle parfaits were consumed that we ran out of peach and strawberry preserves.  I felt like the pioneer woman who ran out of provisions before the end of winter.   

Next year make three batches of freezer jam…

I’m still doing the every 2-3 week grocery run, as we have basically been in various stages of lockdown since Christmas.   We had two weeks in the orange zone in late February, so I was able to get a haircut, but locked down into gray again shortly afterwards.  Lots of cases and variants rising – we’re just starting the third wave.

When will the third wave melt?

I fear that by the time I get the vaccine, (and then which one, which is a whole other topic), it won’t work as the strains will have mutated so much we’ll have to start over again.   The Spanish flu took four years to die off, (1918-1922) with the first two being the worst due to WW1 troops spreading it between countries. Sorry to be so depressing….

Where are you my old friend mRNA?

I still have my old biochemistry book in the basement somewhere, but I’m grateful I no longer have to study it. I remember it as a killer course involving stuff like memorizing the Krebs cycle. I’m happy I can now keep my brain active by doing jigsaw puzzles.    

Lots of color and nothing over 500 pieces please….

Someone gave my mother one of her paintings as a puzzle (a great gift idea – simply upload a photo and order online at piczzle.com) and I helped her out a bit and found it fun. The store shelves were empty of puzzles after Christmas, but I managed to snag one on sale at the bookstore.  It’s the kind of mindless activity which is meditative and addictive at the same time….you sit down to do a few pieces and soon an hour has passed.

Speaking of paintings, her art exhibit comes down mid-April.  It’s been up for five months, but the museum has been closed for 3 ½ of those, so very few people had the opportunity to see it, which is a shame as it was such a nice display.  Another museum called last week and asked if we wanted to do a show this year as they will be re-opening soon, but I think I’d rather wait until next spring. I really can’t see going to all the work of setting up another show, until we climb out of this mess.  

Winter’s Swansong

Winter is over and spring, my favorite season, is here. I don’t want to miss it this year, so the blogging schedule may be a bit erratic.  This past month has been pleasant walking weather, with the grass greening and flowers popping up all over.  The robins are back, bringing with them the promise of warmer days ahead…..after Thursdays snowstorm!   

They are playing this song every time a COVID patient is discharged from the hospital.

87 thoughts on “The Winter of Our Discontent – The Corona Diaries – Part Four

    • Joni says:

      Anne….have they started vaccines in your area? I was wondering with the variants which one they were using? My mother got the Pfizer brand, but today they cancelled her second dose, until 4 months from now, with no date defined now.

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      • Anne says:

        We will believe the roll out of vaccines for ordinary citizens when we actually feel the prick of them. There is talk now of us getting vaccines from the Chinese … not a popular move as you can imagine.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Oh no Anne! That’s why we’re in such short supply here. Our Prime Minister Trudeau tried to source vaccine from China at the very beginning, probably thinking they would have a head start on things, and then wasted 4 months as they ultimately decided not to cooperate, so then when he ordered Pfizer/Moderna we were way down on the list of countries! It was a stupid move as relations between Canada and China were already strained because of a woman the US wanted extradited to the US to face charges, so in retaliation China arrested two Canadian citizens over there who have just been tried in a sham court for spying. They’ve tried diplomatic measures with no success and are now trading insults. Joe Biden is now trying to intercede as we were stuck in the middle between US and China, just trying to follow the rule of law, but diplomatic measures seem hopeless.

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    • Joni says:

      Thanks Alison! I’m enjoying hearing the spring frogs – I noticed them the other day, croaking up a storm! You Brits are way ahead of us in terms of immunizing….we have about 10% of the population having had their first shot.

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    • annieasksyou says:

      So sorry you’re having such a rocky vaccine situation.

      We’re finally in good hands, and things are progressing—while at the same time new spikes are occurring due to people’s willfulness or carelessness. It’s unclear whether our gains will continue.

      So enjoyed your mom’s pictures. Does she agree with you about the wait?

      Anyway, enjoy the spring. We have cheery daffodils poking up through our rocky soil.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Joni says:

        Yes, she thinks we should wait until next spring for another show. Our premier put the whole province in lockdown for 4 weeks starting April 3, so we’re not climbing out of this anytime soon. Most of my daffodils are up and out on the south side of the house already – it’s early for here! And they do look cheery – even covered with snow this morning! I’m 5 days behind in Reader this week, but will get caught up hopefully this weekend.

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  1. ruthsoaper says:

    I’ve never read that book but it sounds like one I would enjoy. I didn’t find this winter any worse than most. We did enjoy a small family gathering (kids and grand kids) at Christmas and even though it was against what was being advised it was what we all needed and I don’t regret it. I have been delivering my dad’s groceries to him and this is something that would have happened even without covid since he decided he should no longer be driving last February before covid came about. Most of the winter we had decent weather so I didn’t have to worry much when I had to go out but even without covid restrictions I normally don’t go out in public a lot. A few weeks ago one of my daughters got covid. Her symptoms which prmarily involved severe body aches and a low grade fever only lasted about 5 days then for a few days her energy level was low. She is fully recovered and back to normal activities – Thank God. While I feel for those who have suffered from the virus and those who have suffered from restrictions my personal experience has not been bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Ruth. I’m glad your daughter recovered fully. It’s a scary thing, not knowing if you will be one of the sicker ones and end up in the ICU. I feel like we’ve gotten off rather lightly here too, even though I’m growing weary of staying home, I know it’s the safe thing to do for now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Eilene Lyon says:

    Joni, I’m sad to hear how badly the vaccination process is going there. Our county is really far along. We got our second Moderna doses a couple weeks ago. My aunt (in Oregon) was able to visit my mom in Memory Care yesterday. I’m thinking of going up to visit family in a month or so. In the meantime, my brother and I have weekly Zoom visits with Mom. On moms: I especially like the first turtle painting. I hope she gets to do a show next year.

    My husband is thinking of taking up jigsaw puzzles. I’ve never seen him do one before!

    Desserts sound like a good way to avoid too much winter discontent. I’ll have to check out the Steinbeck book – sounds interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Eilene! If my mother had been in a nursing home she would have had her two shots already. Today we were notified that all the booked second appointments for the over 90 group for April have been cancelled and moved back 4 months as well, so I’m not very happy about that. It seems risky for that age group. The turtle paintings are a couple of years old, but suited the topic. I looked through the Steinbeck book and it didn’t seem very good, the best part is the title I think, probably made a better movie, but I don’t remember it either.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. brilliantviewpoint says:

    Hi Joni – I always enjoy your posts… and your Mom’s artwork, so special. My goodness, she’s done a lot and the puzzle is really detailed. Liked your pie and the home made jam. I just heard that Europe seems to be on major lockdown again. Sigh… 4 years for the Spanish Flu? Well for sure this is going to December, maybe next year too, let’s see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      She probably has close to 300 paintings….we’ve been trying to sort through them as we’re running out of storage space. I think it was you who had the puzzle of the beach cottage which I really liked? If so, where did you buy it? I don’t see us here climbing out of this anytime soon, unless we get more vaccine supply. Now they are seeing younger people in the ICU’s, they seem to be getting sicker from the UK variant. It’s depressing, when we thought things would improve sooner. Oh well, we have nice weather to look forward to….

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  4. Ally Bean says:

    I never read The Winter of Our Discontent nor did I see the movie. I am amazed by how young Donald Sutherland looks, but wasn’t he in the movie M*A*S*H when he was even younger? Not relevant, but my mind drifts. Like your snow. Your puzzle is pretty and your freezer jam looks delicious. When stuck at home you have to make the best of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Ally! I never watched Mash so don’t remember….I think I was away at school at the time and didn’t have a tv. I’m tired of making the best of it…..My mother’s second vaccine dose was cancelled today and moved to 4 months as I suspected they would. And my age category has been delayed further while they shift focus and try to do larger congregate settings like teachers and manufacturing plants as they feel it is spreading. I wish they’d make up their minds!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda Schaub says:

    I never read the Steinbeck novel but wish I had. I’ve enjoyed his other works like “The Grapes of Wrath” and “The Red Pony” and I never saw the movie. I just searched for it on Amazon Prime and it kept pointing me to “Gone with the Wind” so I’ll have to try another time. I really enjoy seeing your mom’s paintings and how you use them for your blog post. I think it is terrible it is taking so long to roll out the vaccine to everyone there. We are getting a large shipment to Michigan in the near future because we are second behind New York in cases (6,000 new cases yesterday). Your pie looks good as does your freezer jam. You definitely have a streak of Ma Ingalls in your blood! My mom loved doing jigsaw puzzles and I have some that I saved that she did and I liked (not difficult ones … she liked the real challenging ones) and some others she didn’t get to. I always ensured she had a supply as it was an enjoyable pastime for her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Linda…..we’ve been sorting through her 300 or so paintings, as I have to make more storage room when the current exhibit is returned mid-April. Her second covid appointment was cancelled today….postponed indefinitely, not even able to rebook until June until the government figures out how to schedule one dose visits…..not sure what they will do when J&J comes out? Very disappointed about that, esp. as I have not yet been vaccinated, and nothing in sight. The whole province is in lockdown for the month of April now, and they’ve shifted focus from trying to protect the older folks, to vaccinating larger congregate settings like teachers and food and car plants etc, as they now thing workplaces are the driver behind the transmission. Wish they would make up their minds! Wasn’t happy with the snow today either, but it quickly melted, although too cold to walk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That is just wrong taking that long to reschedule the next appointment – I hope that the part 2 shot will still help to boost the part 1 shot. That makes no sense to me at all Joni. It also does not make sense to me to vaccinate the teachers … they keep stressing sending teachers back to in-seat learning here as well. They did remote learning for a year now and it has worked well enough and school is out in in 8-10 weeks anyway. That makes no sense. I hope the U.S. can help out soon – a huge batch of J&J vaccines were spoiled due to human error and had to be thrown away. I got caught in the snow squall yesterday – left the house and it was fine, blue sky, puffy clouds, but a gray cloud passed overhead and it started getting horribly gusty, snow squall and ice pellets. Twenty minutes later it was over. I walked today – it was better, with no snow thankfully. I had a reaction from my shot 8 days after it was administered. I had heard a story on WWJ news station the day about a syndrome called “COVID arm” post shot, ONLY with Moderna vaccine. Then a rash at the injection site, followed by redness, swelling and warm to the touch. So I heard that news story ahead of time. My friend Carol in NY got her first COVID shot yesterday and she had already had a hives issue the day before – she is very sick today with flu-like symptoms.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        That’s weird, I’d never heard of Covid arm, so I just googled it. Some of the photos were severely red and large rashes. They don’t seem too concerned about it and said it would go away on it’s on. Article said more common with Moderna but can happen with all three? This was an article on Yahoo and one I think from the Cleveland Clinic. How did the batch of J&J get ruined by human error? I thought it was 15 million doses of one of them that got discarded due to a quality problem but I can’t remember which one. Our teachers/kids went back to class end of Feb – Ford gave in as the parents were complaining they couldn’t work at home, so now Covid has spread through school transmission. We’re just starting Spring break here next week, (they moved it back as they didn’t want people going south), so by the time they get all the teachers vaccinated it will be June and they’ll be out then anyway. I was a wimp and didn’t walk yesterday during the snow – it was too miserable out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        What I heard about the contamination was that the facility was making vaccines for two different vaccines and a person combined the ingredients from the other vaccines with the J&J vaccine. So it all had to be discarded. What a waste when they are trying to speed ahead with the schedule and originally J&J had said they could promise deliver, then said they couldn’t – now this. I think they should have left everyone remote … I get that people said they couldn’t work from home and deal with their kids’ online learning, but I am sure they had distractions in the workplace as well and if they working at their own pace, with the exception of meetings, I would think it would be easier than risking contamination by kids’ in-seat learning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Wow, that’s bizarre…what a major and costly mistake. I wonder too with them trying to rush too much. I worry about “the cold chain” too, the storage etc. We had to be very strict with our temp. checks and document and send the forms into the health unit for the flu shots. If you missed one check then you got cutoff from supply. We’ve had an outbreak here in one of the nursing homes, 18 patients and 2 staff, but the patients were all immunized back in Feb, with two doses…so now I’m wondering if the cold chain had been broken, or is it just that they are elderly and don’t mount a good immune response to vaccines, which is well documented. No deaths so far, so hopefully they will just have mild cases. I will read your ecard when I come home tonight. Happy Easter Linda!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        After I wrote the comment to you, I later heard that Biden is not going to use this company again as it came to light they had made errors in the past. (Didn’t they vet them properly?) I sent you a comment with a link about a story that was trending on Twitter about Canadian’s dissatisfaction with the vaccine rollout over there that appeared in “The Toronto Star” … good there are no deaths. We had 8,400 new cases and 57 deaths yesterday (though some are deaths from a records review). So far 4.5 million vaccine doses administered to date in Michigan. Still on the fence re: the dentist appointment on the 19th and return for part 2 of Moderna shot on the 20th. They say one shot (Moderna or Pfizer) and you are 80% protected, as early as two weeks afterward, so I’d be 80% this Tuesday. I want to cancel, but the variant issue scares me more.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I saw on the National news tonight that Michigan is opening shots up to age 16 and older as of Monday…..meanwhile we’re still at 70 and older. None of the special groups high risk groups have even started. I think my age will be pushed back to May now, if I’m lucky. Hard to know with the dentist. I have a dentist appointment that week too, which I pushed back from Feb, and will now push back to June I think, as I have zero protection. Now I wish I had kept it in Feb, and also the vision one, as there weren’t as many variants then. Thanks for the e-card Linda! Happy Easter to you too – I hope you had some chocolate! I didn’t get any Reader done tonight, and now it’s 12:30…..oh well, I got caught up until Friday

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, they opened that classification today … they still want vaccines available to everyone by May and in Detroit (which suddenly has surging stats), they are offering walk-up clinics, no registration needed and even free bus rides to get there. As to the dentist I had thought about putting it over to July, like I did last year, but Dr. Fauci today said that we can’t count on a decline in cases due to warm weather this year due to the variants. Great. I still haven’t cancelled it … like you, I think it will be worse later. It’s bad enough here. Today we had more cases than the surge just after Thanksgiving: 10,293 new COVID-19 infections reported today alone. Glad you liked the e-card Joni – her cards are so cute. I did buy myself a small dark chocolate bunny. Had the ears last night. Did you get some chocolate for yourself too? I stayed up and got caught up in Reader last night, but just looked and there are a ton of new things in Reader. I’m just going to finish Comments and go to bed. I have my first allergist shot tomorrow morning at 8:10, then grocery shopping and get gas. Triple angst with the mixing and mingling out of my comfort zone of home and Park.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Wow 10,000 cases is a lot of cases. I think Ont has about 3,000 a day which they are panicking over, but again tonight on the news John Tory the TO mayor was imploring people to sign up for their shots as spaces are available? I just don’t get it. I know Toronto thinks they’re the centre of the universe, but geez give some of rural folks the vaccine if they don’t want it! I did buy mom and I both a small milk chocolate Lindt bunny, and we ate the one – I ate the ears! I know dark chocolate is better for you but I don’t care for it. I stupidly stayed up late and did Reader last night until 1:30 and am caught up, but was so tired today that I had to take a nap after supper, so now I’m not tired and won’t go to bed early. It gets lighter early in the am, so I need to get my hours switched around. Good luck with your allergy shots/groceries/errands…..at least you know now that you have some protection. The variants worry me too, esp the Brazil one which is spreading in B.C and Alberta.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, it is really scary how the stats are rising here … in Detroit, they were doing so well and were mentioned on the national news just a month ago for getting the first mass immunization underway, but they have a poor vaccination rate – they are there and ready, but no one is signing up (Detroiters). They now have some local sports celebrities giving pep talks, hoping to encourage Detroiters to get the shot. I find dark chocolate bitter … this was not bitter thankfully, but I prefer milk chocolate. Do they still have “Jersey Milk” chocolate bars? I didn’t get to eat candy growing up, except as a rare treat, when we had Jersey Milk bars and I can picture the wrapper. Later, I liked Aero milk chocolate and Coffee Krisp better. I am worn out … it seems every time I go out, I am whipped by the end of the end of the day, but I got up earlier than usual as I had to leave by 7:45 a.m. But, got those three things done – I go back next Tuesday for more allergy shots. They gave me such a low dose today that I didn’t even get a bump on either arm. I come home sometimes with a big bump that looks like a goose egg and it is warm and red. It goes away in 24 hours. Nothing this time since they diluted the shot. I’ve been nodding off all day … well I race around to get shopping done, got gas, put away the car, hook it up, put away groceries, grab something to eat … I told my boss I’d be a few minutes late. What happened to the shopping excursions from back in the day? Come from from shopping at the mall and had to try everything on and decide what to wear with it. Sigh. Those days are long gone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        They still make Jersey Milk – that was my favorite chocolate bar. I used to go with my dad to the variety store at the gas station and he would let me either get a Jersey Milk, a chocolate milk or an orange crush pop and it was hard to decide! My siblings were in school so it was my treat. I remember those days, when you shopped, came home, tried on and saw what else it went with in your closet, and what you could accessorize it with. Fun times….I have been planning a blog about shopping sometimes this spring. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can register for a vaccine tomorrow as Doug Ford announced some health units may decrease the age to 50 or 60 tomorrow, but I don’t know if it includes us. I’m sitting here watching the late National news and there was just a clip of a little 9 year old Mexican boy abandoned at the border, crying and scared – just heart-wrenching. He wasn’t with his parents but the group he was traveling with abandoned him and left him behind. What a sad world we live in. I bet many seeing that kid would adopt him and now he’s stuck in a camp with 19,000 other kids.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That was a nice moment you had with your Dad, just you and him and makes for nice memories. There seemed to be boundless energy when shopping, then to come home and try everything on to accessorize. Fun times and my mom and I went shopping a lot together. I do miss those nice times. I have clothes downstairs from our last shopping expedition in the Fall of 2008. I put the clothes away to keep for Spring … then suddenly I was not working anymore. I can’t think about those clothes or those times … it makes me sad and it seems like a lifetime ago. Are you still getting the “Click on Americana” weekly e-mail Joni? I looked through today’s really quickly and I remember so many things from it – today was sewing machines, though mine was a mini sewing machine where you had to thread the needle – I don’t think it had a bobbin though. But they usually always have vintage clothing that I remember (guess I am vintage myself then). I heard about the little migrant boy at the border on the early news but they just gave a recap as he spoke Spanish, so when I got online I Googled the story and saw the video with subtitles. Very sad – who does such a thing, leaving him to fend for himself? I wonder if people will adopt him because he is all alone – I hope so. I hope you did get the chance to get registered for the vaccine today.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I used to shop every Saturday, even after working all week and sleeping in, I always had the energy for that. Mom and I used to shop together too, and we still do/did when the stores were open, as I’m her driver now. We went into total provincial lockdown today, all the malls and stores are open, except for curbside pickup. This time they closed off the aisles in Cosco and Walmart and limited it to groceries and pharmacy items, as the small businesses were complaining it wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t. I’ll email you re the vaccine fiasco. I think the little Spanish boy had parents, but they paid smugglers to send him with a migrant group – yea, who does that? He seemed well dressed, but very skinny. God knows how long they had been traveling. Apparently it is common for the smugglers to take the money and then abandon them? I do still get the vintage email, but don’t always read it – I have a hard time keeping up with emails and Reader. Trying not to get a week behind again. I’m finding this week too HOT – it’s too much of a chance, and not a refreshing one. It was 82 yesterday and muggg/humid.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        I’m no fan of how hot it got either Joni and of course, along with the heat spike, came the chance for volatile weather. They predicted storms yesterday – they weren’t bad, but tonight and then tomorrow night especially more storms. I usually just click through “Click on Americana” but truthfully don’t read it, just look at the photos. When I have more time, when retired, I will read it because every time I open the e-mail I find myself saying “I remember doing/eating/drinking/wearing that!” So it is a fun lookback. I am having trouble keeping up in Reader too and missing one night isn’t bad, then it’s two nights and pretty soon, it’s out of control. I’m doing comments tonight, then if no storms, will go to watch my two episodes. A break from the computer, though it’s on the computer, but stepping away from the typing … maybe that is a better way to put it. I did the extra post last week to keep the posts about the Refuge/Humbug Marsh in the same week, then it was the Easter post. I purposely caught up on Reader and put off my own post (the Spring Reflections one). That’s kind of crazy. No Reader tonight – if it storms, I’ll shut off Mad Men and go to bed early. I loved going shopping back in the day and my mom and I would make a day of it. We’d often look through apparel catalogs together too … nice memories. It is sad what happened with this little boy … on the news they said it cost the U.S. $775.00 a day for managing the immigrants … guards, staff and the like.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I have two more episodes in Season 4, so I figure if I only see two episodes each Friday, 13 episodes per season, it will be mid-September until I finish. I could see three each Friday night if I skipped WP … it was tempting to be honest. It is good I have stepped back a little from WP … I was spending way too much time sitting, between work, reading news on social media, etc and blogging. But I am always behind in Reader which is not so good. Today, we were supposed to get storms and tomorrow will be a rainy day, so likely not going out, so wanted to do my two posts for next week today and work in the house tomorrow. I finished them, but here I am … later than I wanted to be.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        I caught up last night as I wanted to work in the house when I came home today. Finished this week’s stuff and not too much in Reader tonight. I hate being behind days and days. I resolve to stay caught up, then slowly get behind again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        No problem Joni – I wrote two long posts this past week, a Wordless Wednesday and tomorrow I’ll do the Easter post to go with the photos. I wanted to do the Wildlife Refuge/Humbug Marsh posts together and next time I go, I won’t write as much about them. I will go back to two a week – not sure about whether just a WW post or not, but definitely not returning to three posts per week again, unless I do after I’m retired, then do shorter ones. I caught up last night, but tonight I’m finishing up Comments and watching my show.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I’m really enjoying it – I did stuff in the house today and made dinner in the crockpot, did laundry and had not done my Easter post so got here very late tonight. I am doing Comments, but no Reader and walked five miles, so my eyes have been at half-mast. I had to re-read all my comments to make sure I didn’t do what I did one time when commenting on a post by Ruth and trailed off and left gobbledy-gook and she thought I had a medical emergency and was worried. I felt badly about that.

        Like

  6. Dave says:

    Joni, would you still recommend the Steinbeck novel or do you think it would be dated? I looked for the Hallmark movie but I’m not sure it’s easily found without a purchase on Amazon. The story is intriguing, even with just the brief description you provided. I’ve never read Steinbeck but perhaps now is a good time to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Dave, I think it would be dated, maybe not the storyline, as written in 1961 in the first wave of post-WW2 prosperity, it would still be applicable today, as we have become such a have and have not society, but more for the dialogue. I skimmed through the first few pages and thought the dialogue very stilted. The only other Steinbeck book I’ve read was The Grapes of Wrath, equally dated probably, although I don’t remember much about it, it was set in the Depression I think. I adapted the story description from the blurb on the back of the book. I’d probably give it a pass.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Linda Schaub says:
    • Joni says:

      It’s true. I know of some snowbirds who flew down to Florida to get their vaccines back in February when they started vaccinating there. I guess if you own property there you could get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I think if they flew to the States and back, with no 14-day quarantine but driving was a no-no. I guess the 14-day quarantine would be worth it to get the shot(s). Then, in February, only the two-shot vaccines were available, but okay if they spent the entire Winter there in the States.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. indianeskitchen says:

    I think we all have had enough of these viruses! Your mother’s paintings look like so much fun to do. I feel very lucky to not be in lockdown but I don’t really go anywhere. I get my last vaccine shot Wednesday then after two weeks I will feel better about going out…with my mask! It’s great you are able to go 2-3 weeks before getting groceries, less exposure for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Diane! I’m envious of your vaccine status! They’ve moved priority groups like teachers and large workplaces up on the list, so my 60-69 group got bumped out to the Astra brand soon to be available at pharmacies although no one has had an shipments yet. I’m not sure I want that brand because of the blood clot issue, and the US hasn’t even approved it. It’s all a mess here, poor planning all around. Our freezer is well stocked, and when I go for my big grocery run I really stock up on non-perishables, so it’s on the lettuce/bananas etc that we run low on. But soon I’ll be planting lettuce in the garden!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Linda Schaub says:

    Heard this story earlier today … you feel badly as you have no idea when you’ll get your shot … don’t feel so badly. In our state there were 246 fully-vaccinated people who STILL contracted COVID. And three died. The three that died were over 65. As I near the age of 65, that gives me no great comfort. I will wear my mask forever – no kidding.
    https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/04/06/vaccinated-covid-19-contract-virus-coronavirus/7101678002/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      That’s scary Linda. That’s my concern with what we are doing here in Canada making us including the elderly, wait 4 months for the second dose. So you’ll have the majority of people sub-optimally vaccinated, esp the elderly, who will then succumb to the more virulent variants.

      Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        It sure is — I don’t like hearing that at all. I heard an infectious disease doc in an interview today and he said “no worries … if you’ve had both vaccines, the likelihood of being hospitalized due to COVID is slim to none; you’ll have manageable symptoms” … great, but you’ll still have symptoms and today my friend Carol in NY was saying she still had symptoms from the first shot a week later and someone commented that her friend had to go to the doctor for swollen glands that she’s had since her second shot. Not looking forward to the second shot on April 20th. This specialist said if a booster comes out, it will likely be within nine months from now. It’s wrong to make the elderly wait four months, when it’s supposed to be just three weeks later. Good thing your mom has you to do her shopping and errands. I’m thinking her eye specialist appointment will be rescheduled again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Tonight on the news they were saying the first shot is only 60-80% effective and to still be cautious as we’re only getting the one dose! First time I heard 60% mentioned but that’s probably for the elderly. What brand did your friend Carol get? In my pharmacy website updates there was an article re not scheduling routine mammograms until 6 weeks after your COVID vaccine, as the radiologists were noting swollen lymph nodes in the axillary/underarm area in about 10% of patients, mostly with Moderna I think. They said it is a normal sign of your immune system revving up, and not to be concerned as long as it goes away, but I don’t remember seeing that with other vaccines? Also tonight, we may be facing another vaccine 2 week shortage where our shipments may be cut back, probably to target the Toronto hot-spots. The federal govnt says we’ve received 10 million doses, but only 7 million have been given, and the other 30% is in storage?? But the provinces complain about supply issues. Someone isn’t telling the truth!

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I am certain she had the Moderna vaccine … I asked her after she had the side effects and she didn’t answer, but I recall her saying … well you know David (husband) and I are like oil and water sometimes, we don’t even have the same jabs. (Something to that effect.) But she has issues with hives all the time and she had to stay for longer than 15 minutes and be monitored before going home. And she had her husband drove her and her sister there just in case of a problem and he might have to drive Carol to the E.R. (and sister Mary Beth cannot be left alone as she has some mental and physical issues). I was on Twitter this afternoon for a break and they have “trending news” and I saw Canada/Trudeau trending and clicked it and send you the paragraph of info I saw … that is hopeful news. I still haven’t cancelled that dentist appointment … like you cancelling your February visit, I worry it will get worse here before it gets better. We have 18% positivity today. Governor gave a press conference but did not issue any Orders or restrictions, just “asked nicely” if people could get vaccinated, stay masked up, don’t eat inside restaurants and no sports activities for high school and 100% remote learning … the latter three items are for the next two weeks. We are the worst state in the U.S.. I’ll be glad to get the second shot as after two weeks you are considered fully vaccinated (from what I understand in a recent article), but I will still mask up and will not take any chances. Allergist appointments, COVID shot, grocery store … that’s it. Unless I do the dentist. I cut my hair last Sunday – cut it a lot shorter and it needs a professional cut and I need to decide about the highlighting as well, but that’s not going to happen for a few months either. Staying clear of everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Good idea Linda! I went to the grocery store for the 2 week grocery run, but went at 5pm and it was okay in both stores, not busy at all as the supper hour. I did finally get an appointment for a few weeks from now, but it took 3 hours, 3 attempts on the provincial booking site and a lot of frustration! I’ll email you about it sometime. I’m undecided what to do about my echo and dentist as I have them both the same week, but won’t be protected. Will probably cancel the dentist, the echo I don’t know….but it’s a small closet like room in an old building with bad ventilation that blows on you head and feet and takes 45min-1hr, so I’m not feeling too safe about that one. Wish I could have gotten a sooner date, but at least I will have some protection for May when I take Mom to the eye clinic. It amazes me that so many people in the US don’t seem concerned re the variants.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Well I “liked” that you got an appointment finally and I hope they schedule the follow-up shot so you know you have a second shot reserved for you. That was/is my worry that they would schedule the follow-up then no vaccine is available. I’m still wavering on the dentist, but given that the U.S. is so bad due to the variant and we are considered on the brink of a fourth wave, I’m thinking I’ll just do it but, like last time, will feel like a lamb led to slaughter. I’ll wait on the eye doctor until late Summer/early Fall. I would reschedule the echo due to the ventilation issues. When our Governor ASKED, not ordered the people to not dine in restaurants and suspend school sports and in-seat learning, there was backlash even for that. Some high school basketball finals went on as scheduled today and a few school systems refuse to have remote learning. On the news stories I read on social media, I am amazed at just how many people believe it is nothing more than a flu … well you know who put the “bad flu” idea into their head – Trump. I’ve heard interviews given by people who were in excellent physical condition and got COVID and lived, but were hospitalized for months on end and had to go to rehab because they were so weak and had muscle atrophy and could barely stand. These people who had COVID weren’t making up the stories so why do people just disparage what doctors and others say and continue to say it is nothing?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Yes I have my second shot scheduled for Aug, (they make you pick a date on the computer within a two week window), but mom does not as they have to figure out how to fit those people in in June which they cancelled in April I think a lot of people just don’t watch/read the news….how else to explain it? When you see interviews of people in the ICU’s or the ones who like you said took months to recover, well it’s scary.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s good, then they will definitely reserve it for you. It is wrong making the time period too long … the four months did not make sense to me. Here they are doing public service announcements to convince people to get the shot … first it was local sports celebrities and now it is actors like Morgan Freeman and LeVar Burton to convince minorities to get the shot as they are apprehensive about it. The newest scam here in the U.S. is DIY vaccination cards. You can apparently go to various websites to make your own, or go to a site like Etsy and they will craft a genuine-looking vaccination card, complete with a CDC emblem on it, for you to flash if you get on a plane or to enter a stadium. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Yes I read that too….and the cards were cheap too – $12! Well they will reserve the date, Aug for me, but that means nothing, although I suspect we will have more supply by then. Now our big vaccination clinic is only running 4 days a week instead of 6!

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        All the way to August – sigh. Why are they having such a difficult time getting/administering the vaccine Joni? That kind of messes up your Summer for activities where there is any kind of crowd. I know you like to take trips to the beach sometimes and take pictures. I didn’t know the price of those cards … yes $12.00 is a song for people who want to scam and say they got the shot(s) and lots of people will do that. I think that the government should issue a card with some type of computer chip that identifies you legitimately after you’ve gotten the shot. Of course, there are not enough computer chips for cars right now, so less computer chips for something like this. They should have figured the anti-vaxxers would do this. Today the CDC said that Michigan, if they cannot get the extra vaccines they have been begging the Biden administration for, then perhaps Michigan should go into lockdown mode. Now the Governor, who has been ultra-strict with her rules and regs since day 1, says “Michiganders can do this … we just isolated ourselves for so long that now mingling with others causes a lot of the issues.” People say this is because she is running for re-election next year and does not want to make her constituents madder than they already are. Again I weigh the dentist appointment with our stats. This is the story:
        https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2021/04/12/cdc-director-michigan-surge-close-things-down/7189360002/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        They can’t get supply Linda because we obtain our supply from Pfizer’s plant in Belgium, and Astra from India which is rationing now too for their own people. The US Pfizer supply is for US only, part of the US first policy. There are so many different countries competing for the European supply that even if you have contracts, they can’t fulfill them, and so the delays. Tonight they announced a delay in both Pfizer and Moderna. Moderna is coming from the US though I think. I suppose part of it is production problems too. I read an article about many third world countries who have had no supply at all of any brand. So Canada decided that instead of doing the 2 shots 3 or 4 weeks apart, they would try and give all Canadians one shot by June in an attempt to develop herd immunity. You get 80% of your immunity from the first shot, except in elderly people. This is a gamble and I know of no other country that is doing this, other than the UK. We have no manufacturing facilities for vaccines of our own here in Canada, and so are dependent on the outside supply chain. I can’t see us going out much anywhere this summer anyway as most summer activities (art shows/theatre/fairs) have been cancelled for another year and we are in strict lockdown now for a month, and if the variants spread that will continue for longer, until they can get more people immunized. BC and Alberta have the Brazil variant which is deadly and more contagious. Do they test for the variants in Michigan?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Well I hope they know what they are doing … most of our events are cancelled though they are having scaled-down versions of the Traverse City Cherry Festival and Tulip Festival, which surprised me, but they are big tourist attractions and bring in revenue for those cities. Yes, they routinely test for variants – we have five variants they have discovered.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        PS. I’m not worried about the August date – that was for the second dose, which is 4 months later. I’m worried about not getting my first dose next week! When you book online through the government computer it makes you select two dates, four months apart, that’s so they already have your second dose scheduled when it is due, otherwise it would be a logistic nightmare.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        You have some protection so might be better to get it over with. I’m going for my echo next week, (as I can’t reschedule it without great difficulty), but cancelled my dentist as I haven’t even had my first shot yet. Rebooked it for May. Your Michigan stats are bad…..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I think you’re right – just bite the bullet. I’ll feel like a lamb led to slaughter but if our stats continue to surge and it happens nationwide, things could get worse than they are now. The concern now is the people who were afraid, rather than just anti-vaxxers for other reasons, will really be afraid to get any vaccine now. People’s trust has been diminished a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Linda, I read the link/article this morning, but I think she’s out of luck with getting more J&J as CDC and FDA is recommending a pause due to the blood clot reports. only 1 in a million but enough to cause a halt I guess. Weird, as it is made the same way as the A-Z one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I thought of you when I heard the J&J story and had just commented to you, then heard it on the 7:00 p.m. news. Yes, just 1 in a million but they’ll do a review tomorrow and Biden has assured people that he ordered enough Pfizer and Moderna shots so that we could discontinue J&J if need be … they had all the J&J on hand as they were trying to vaccinate all the college kids with it before they left for the Summer and conducting vaccination clinics for younger school kids as well. They interviewed an infectious disease doc and an epidemiologist today on my radio station – both suggested more restrictions be put in place immediately for our state as the vaccinations are not the answer as they take 5 weeks (Pfizer) and 6 weeks (Moderna) respectively. Neither one mentioned J&J so maybe they think people are not going to want to have the J&J jab now.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. J P says:

    We were able to get our second shot (Pfizer) 2 weeks ago today. We both suffered extreme fatigue for the following 2 days, so it was good that we scheduled them for late on a Friday. I have many gripes about the Healthcare/insurance complex in the US but in this instance it’s working quite well. I am sorry to hear that you are having such difficulty getting vaccinated.

    I generally like Steinbeck but have not read the one from whence your title comes. But I have lots of experience with puzzles – all my life my mother would put a card table in the living room for a big puzzle at least once every winter. Puzzles were one activity she continued to enjoy well into her struggles with dementia, when they became a daily activity. We had many to donate when she was no longer able to do them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Good to hear you got your vaccines. I have hear that re the second shot being very fatiguing and more side effects. I did manage to get an appointment as they opened up the over 60’s group on Wed – but it took me 3 hours and 3 attempts on the provincial website, each with a 40 minute virtual wait, before I succeeded with a date still several weeks away, and a second dose in August. It was worse than trying to buy concert tickets online! But then yesterday the local health unit was saying the shipments have been cut back again. I’ll believe it when the needle goes in my arm. Our province has messed up the roll-out big time, and they can’t even agree who should be in the priority-groups – age, hot spots, essential workers – like I said it changes with the tides. The whole province is back in total lock-down again as of yestereday, for the 3rd time, so I’m weary of it….but we just have to hang in there a bit longer.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Linda Schaub says:

    I saw this on Twitter – it was tweeted by your PM at 3:30 today:

    The latest on vaccines: We’ve delivered over 10.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the provinces and territories – and more are on the way. Throughout May, we’ll receive a million doses a week of Pfizer’s vaccine. That’ll increase to almost 2 million doses a week in June.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Yes, he’s always talking about how many doses we’re going to get in May and June. The problem is we need them now! as the variants are spreading out of control. About 12% -17% of the population has received their one shot, depending on what source you hear.

      Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        That’s too bad – I thought I was sharing some exceptional news “hot off the press” to give you some hope. I heard today on the news that 20% of Americans are fully vaccinated. They will ramp up vaccinations for younger people, since it is now hitting them hard after school sports and in-seat learning (which they shouldn’t have done in my opinion). Today I heard the vaccines are only effective for six months, then a booster is needed. I thought that was interesting as it was just nine months a few days ago. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      PS. It sounds like a lot, but a million doses split between 10 provinces and territories, is 100,000 each, split between 34 health units in Ont. is about 3000 each/week which is all we’re doing here in my area of 125,000 people. And TO with 6 million people…..a drop in the bucket….getting more. We get less Moderna here, and have had some Astra the US doesn’t want and has not approved….that’s the one with the blood clots. It’s only approved for over 55-69 here due to that. I thought I heard Dr. Fauci say the US doesn’t need the Astra, so maybe it will never get approved there? That’s the one that is being distributed through pharmacies (only 3 here with a very small supply) and doctors offices (none have it so far except a few trial clinics).

      Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Well at least you are the right age for Astra Z vaccine. Today I heard there were some reactions to the J&J vaccine … some were immediate and some were the expected side effects, but intensified in some people. That’s good if Dr. Fauci said we don’t need the Astra A … I know we discussed before that Biden was supposed to share some vaccine with Canada. Hope that happens.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I myself don’t want Astra-Zeneca…it would be my 4th choice. The arena here is using Pfizer. I booked in for the arena. The mobile clinics have Moderna. I don’t believe the blood clots just magically don’t happen because you’re 55-64! A lot of people don’t want it here, but some who don’t follow the news don’t know about it or don’t care as the side effect is rare.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        No, I wouldn’t want A-Z either. Ilene finally admitted to me that is why she won’t get a vaccine … worries about blood clots. I said “that makes sense – you had two brain bleeds and the episode a month ago where you blacked out and slid out of the chair and were not lucid and the doctor does not know why.” But your doctor can possibly write you for a script for a different vaccine, or you wait until you know a venue not using A-Z.” “No, maybe I’ll get the nose spray.” Today our governor said “I’m hopeful by mid-Summer, maybe even 4th of July, we can have 70% of people vaccinated – that’s all that is required for herd immunity.” I remember Dr. Fauci saying 70% but also saying 70% is good, but more is better.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I heard about that with the J&J – some unexpected SE’s like nausea and immediately felt sick – wonder if it was a bad lot, as J&J has had production problems too. I think there were 18 cases in the one clinic, which is too high to be random?

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, all same clinic – I wondered if they stored it improperly or mishandled it, even though J&J does not need special storage? I had wished for the J&J to get it one-and-done plus it countered the newer variants, but they said don’t cherry pick – take what you are offered. That would scare me, the immediate nausea, sick feeling and there was dizziness too. I wonder if there will be side effects with the booster we get in six + months?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I hear more complaints re the second shot, esp with Moderna, not to scare you Linda, but can you take a day off the next day if you feel tired/fatigued. Did you see Kate’s post – she had to take to her bed for a day, (so her cats blogged for her), and JP commented that both him and his wife were glad they had scheduled their shots for a Friday afternoon, as they had the weekend to recover then. It was a second shot for both of them

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I am hearing more little side effects from Moderna than Pfizer shots – I did see what Kate wrote and I asked her what shot because she was so tired. I was tired when I got the first one … it hit me that night, but worse the next day. I will take off if I feel badly – I had thought if I was sick as in flu-like symptoms for sure … the fatigue sounds bad. Right now, since he returned from vacation three weeks ago, I’ve not had anything meaningful to do that I could not drop though. (He’d probably expect me to do something later that evening though if it was important.) He/his wife got their 1st and 2nd shots on Friday afternoon. I was so happy to get the call from Meijer, I never thought about asking for a Friday/weekend date. I wanted to get the process started ASAP. I didn’t know about JP’s encounter. I’m worried about the flu-like symptoms.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        What brand did Kate get? Most people here have had Pfizer, and all I’ve heard is a sore arm and some people a tiny bit of fatigue. I only know of one person who took to her bed, and that was Moderna as she got hers from the mobile unit that went into retirement homes.

        Like

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