Monday, November 29, 2021

Back in the Proverbial New York Groove

I just got back to New York around 11PM last night (heading to work, rather than home), and already my vacation seems like a dream.  Looking back over last week, I realize that I accomplished a lot.  Mom was able to get her booster shot at a drugstore in Alabama (there being a paucity of vaccines in her Virginia environs).  I got to see my nieces taking riding lessons and help out their friends at the stables.  I got to hear my nephew practice singing for his upcoming Christmas recital.  I got slobbered on by a very large dog on several occasions.  I set up a Thanksgiving Zoom that all of my siblings and most of my nieces and nephews were able to participate in.  After driving my mom back to her home, I was able to catch up with another nephew and meet his girlfriend (who in retrospect comes across as someone I've known for years), and tried out a great Uyghur restaurant not far from Mom's house.

The ride from Virginia to New York was surprisingly uneventful, given the travel day I picked.  I left Mom's house after 5PM, aiming to cross the mighty Hudson in plenty of time to work the midnight shift.  I honestly think at aiming to be at one's destination at an off-hour was the key to my success... I mean, who in their right mind wants to arrive at midnight?  The shift itself wasn't bad, I had taken a nap the prior afternoon.  At any rate, it was nice to see Ginger.  I got home in time to say good morning to my upstairs neighbor, who was getting ready to take the kids to school, and slept most of the day away.

As I said, last week already seems a bit unreal.  I'm already in 'Long Winter' mode- the deal I made with my coworker was that he'd work Thanksgiving (a London boy, it's not a holiday that resonates with him) and I will work Christmas so he can spend the day with his family.  I'm back in the New York groove, I just hope that, with a new COVID variant, it won't be a New York rut.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Second Leg of the Return Trip

Today, my plan is to leave Mom's house in northern Virginia and drive straight to work the midnight shift in New York's lower Hudson Valley.  Before hitting the road, I am planning on meeting Boy B, my eldest nephew, son of my sister, for lunch.  He's currently in the Space Force (no joke) and traveled from Cape Canaveral to Washington DC to spend the holiday with his girlfriend.  I'm looking forward to meeting her, she was brave enough to participate in a Thanksgiving Zoom with various aunts, uncles, and cousins, and seems like a sweet young lady.  She's currently in grad school for political science, so she's a bright gal, too.

Timing the departure is the difficult part, because traffic will probably be heavy.  The fact that I am hoping to reach my destination at an odd hour should work in my favor.  I won't be in any hurry for lunch to end.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

First Leg of the Return Trip

Today, I tackle the first leg of the return trip, post-Thanksgiving.  We'll be leaving soon, heading out at the same time my nieces leave for their horse riding lessons... there's no urgency to leave, and we want to maximize our time together.  

Mom and I spent a good chunk of Wednesday watching the girls ride, and more importantly, of watching them help their friends out- they ride horses owned by other riders, many of whom have nine-to-five jobs, and are trusted to exercise these animals.  I also watched, with pride, the girls helping an older friend, a recent college grad, load a balky horse onto a travel trailer, using a companion horse to reassure the reluctant one to enter.  They are smart, kind kids, and I just love spending time with them.  I'm a bit bummed that we don't really have time to see them in action for another day.

Yeah, there's no urgency to leave, no 7AM start to adhere to. Mom and I are going to stick to the winning formula of our trip down- a light breakfast, supplemented by occasional snacking on the drive.  The goal is to avoid stops as much as possible while we are traversing what Charles Portis dubbed 'pelagic America'. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Fuzzy Buddies, 'Bama Style

I just wanted to put up a quick post after a long day of hanging out, goofing off, and eating leftovers.  First, I wanted to post a picture of Trick or Treat, a perfect Halloween cat.  I first met 'Tricky' as a kitten, when I visited my brother and the family in Italy while he was stationed there.  This tiny little black kitten was sleeping in the middle of the bed that had been prepared for me in the guest bedroom.  He's bigger now, a solid 18 pounds, and as I said, a perfect Halloween cat:


And then there's Lupin, my goddaughter's 90 pound Belgian shepherd.  She wanted to get as 'wolfy' a dog as she could find in the shelter, and Lupin fit the bill:


As soon as he saw me, he went berserk, jumping up on me and covering me with slobber.  Tonight, before we went out to a nice restaurant to celebrate Vin's birthday, he coated my entire head in slobber, despite my telling him, "If you want to kiss me on the lips, you'd better buy me dinner!"  So far, he only stole one of my socks, once... I honestly feel flattered that he finds me so fragrant.  Honest.  He's a goofball, and very popular in the neighborhood, among both two and four-legged inhabitants.  I met a bunch of his friends as I tagged along on walks with this dog.  My goddaughter chose wisely, though I know she really wanted a dragon, and had to settle on a dog, albeit a wolfy one.  Oh, well, we're still working on our unholy plan to genetically engineer dire wolf/corgi hybrids to unleash an army of terrifying dire corgis on an unsuspecting world.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

Here's wishing my American readers a happy Thanksgiving, and all of my other readers a great Thursday.  I am particularly happy to be spending the holiday with family for the first time in a couple of years.  I'm even more thankful that we all get along. I know family relationships can be stressful, even fraught, for many people, and that makes me a bit sad.

Anyway, here's a fun little Thanksgiving-appropriate song by droll Australian songwriter Courtney Barnett:

I hope your list is long... and thanks for all of your support over the years.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Hunting Season Peril

The annual deer hunting season is starting in many US states, and in true pandemic era fashion, it's probably going to be fraught with peril... the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been found in deer throughout the country.  This is disconcerting, because this zoonotic virus now has new, common hosts in which it can mutate into new strains which might infect human hosts.

The immediate danger is that hunters will be exposed to the virus while field dressing the deer they kill.  It might very well be a case of who's culling whom?  Well, those hunters are in danger of overpopulation, anyway.

Post written and scheduled pre road trip.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Non COVID-19 Death Rates

One interesting side narrative to the pandemic horror show that has dominated the news for almost two years is that COVID-19 vaccine recipients have lower non-COVID mortality rates than the unvaccinated:

After standardizing mortality rates by age and sex, this study found that COVID-19 vaccine recipients had lower non–COVID-19 mortality than did unvaccinated persons.

I don't know why this is true, but I have a hunch- I suspect that vaccinated persons are more risk-averse than the unvaccinated.  I know that I have been more careful since the pandemic started, less inclined to go through yellow traffic signals, less likely to take shortcuts in routine tasks.  Simply put, I don't want to end up in a hospital emergency room when resources are scarce and pathogens are high.  Additionally, vaccinated persons aren't taking dangerous off-the-wall 'remedies' for COVID symptoms, as unvaccinated persons are.

Post written and set up before my road trip.