Pandemic Journal: Mud-wrestling with Pigs and a Pandemic Rainbow

Pandemic pig.jpg

My Hoosier step-father used to have a slew of wonderful sayings, but one of his favorites was:

Never mud-wrestle with a pig. You can’t win. You get dirty. The pig enjoys it and the spectators can’t tell the difference.

We used to call this time of year “the dog days of summer” but right now, I’m calling it the “mud-wrestling season.” Pretty much everyone is miserable one way or another. I’m afraid this will extend throughout 2020. I don’t know, but that certainly looks like a possibility.

I started the Pandemic Journal series of articles for a couple of reasons. Initially, to inform, then to discuss in the context of what our ancestors went through. I expected the Covid experience to be relatively short-lived, a couple of months that seemed like years, and these journal articles to be short-lived as well. I thought we would all isolate and wear masks and get this monster under control. But that’s unfortunately very clearly not what has happened.

And now, school in person in a few days? Oy!

Pandemic Fatigue

pandemic fatigue

The sheer magnitude of this monster Covid-storm that has overwashed us, combined with the length of time and some degree of hopelessness has combined to create what I’m referring to as pandemic fatigue. I don’t know if that’s a real word or not, but it should be.

Not only are we actually physically exhausted because of the constant emotional upheaval of pandemic+politics, the second of which I’m not going to touch on at all, but we’re tired of being at home. We are grieving our “former lives,” not to mention all of life’s stressors that still occur but may be exacerbated by job loss, income loss, insurance loss, and of course, the virus itself.

It’s like normal life is still trying to take place under the unrelenting cloud of Covid. For example, people are marrying, graduating from school, having babies, and dying.

My cat is dying too, slowly, making our family extremely sad. Layers of grief on layers of grief. Still, we distance, trying to clutch as much of pre-pandemic life as possible while staying safe. For example, when the time comes, probably in a few days, we won’t be able to be with our beloved Phoenix when she crosses the rainbow bridge, assisted by our kind vet. There’s no need to expose him or us, no matter how much we want to be in the room with her. I can’t help but think of all of the Covid victims dying alone too, and their families.

Some people aren’t continuing to distance and are paying a hefty price. Many are taking chances that really aren’t necessary.

My methodology for making these decisions is really simple. What’s the worst that can happen?

  • If I wear and mask or stay home when I didn’t need to, nothing truly bad happens. Am I happy? No. Am I at risk? No. Am I risking anyone else’s health? No.
  • If I don’t mask and distance and get Covid, I can spread it to friends and family, I can die, kill others, or live with horrid debility and/or incur massive bills. We still don’t understand the extent of what this virus does to human bodies or long-term effects. My friend went to the ER for Covid symptoms, tested positive, was not admitted, went home only to receive a 12K medical bill a month later. The Covid test itself was free, but the rest was not. She had already lost her job and has no insurance. How is she supposed to pay that bill?

For me, the decision pretty much makes itself. The gray area is introduced when defining “necessary” and that line-in-the-sand is different for everyone, or at least different in every state with so many disparate and inconsistent levels of “rules” about what can and cannot be done.

Not to mention, “can” and “should” are vastly different things.

pandemic garden.jpg

Thankfully, I can go outside and sit on the deck and walk around my yard, but those aren’t options for everyone.

However, it’s still difficult for me, sitting by myself, seeing photos of places I’d like to be and people I’d like to see – but I can’t. Especially if they are seeing each other and I’m the odd man out. I can’t help but think, “just this once,” but that’s exactly how this disease is spread. You only get to be wrong once.

pandemic wildflower garden

Try not to think about what you’re missing. Try to be positive. Take a deep breath. Try not to cry, again. Here, have another garden picture.

My situation is better than a lot of people who don’t have a deck to sit on or a yard to walk in. They live in multi-generational households where they can’t distance or in apartment buildings. Some people are exposed because their family members are essential workers.

Some people are exposed because they are cautiously optimistic and venture out when they probably shouldn’t. Some have simply thrown caution to the wind. In a pandemic, everyone’s decisions affect everyone else. Six degrees of separation on steroids.

For some time, people on social media were saying that they didn’t even know anyone who had contracted Covid, so it didn’t exist where they lived or was being exaggerated. I don’t really hear that much anymore. I have cousins who have died. One is in intensive care as I type this. Close friends have it and others have had it. Yet another friend’s mother died. One of the places I obtained carry-out is now closed due to an employee testing positive this week. It’s killing people in the nursing homes here as well. There’s no doubt, it’s every single place in America now. No one is safe or exempt.

By now, Covid has directly affected almost everyone, and I’m not referring to financially through shutdowns and job loss which some would argue were political in nature. (I’m not touching that topic either.) I’m referring to the virus itself.

And anyone who is looking clearly understands what’s coming. Our only prayer is if by some miracle everyone magically starts to wear masks and stay home. And indeed, I mean everyone, because only “some” people wearing masks didn’t work before and is why we are where we are right now – with an epidemic spiraling out of control.

And yes, a vaccine, IF it works, and IF it arrives by year-end will help immensely, but we all have to survive that long. Many won’t. We’re at 153,314 deaths from Covid today and most models have us hitting 200K within a month. I’m afraid to look at the projection by year-end.

Oh yea, and because pandemic stress wasn’t enough, we’re now having pandemic+politics+hurricanes too. In Florida of all places, already a Covid hotspot, with Hurricane Isaias projected to make landfall today with high tides making things even worse there and up the east coast over the next few days. Batten down the hatches.

2020 promises to be the year we all want to forget.

The Common Thread

There is one common thread in all of this though – and that is that everyone is super stressed. If you just thought to yourself, “that’s an understatement,” you’re right.

pandemic contrails.jpg

We are all looking up at the contrails of planes in the sky and thinking about what we aren’t doing that we want to do. Where we were planning to go, but now can’t. Activities we want to do or events we want to attend, but can’t. Who we long to see, but can’t. Who has died and we’ll never see again. We can’t even attend funerals.

There’s a lot of loss, for sure.

I’m hoping that I can do some of these things in the after-time, and that there will be an after-time. Some days, gratitude to be alive and hope for the future is all we have.

As a result, people have more time for social media, are commenting more, and are “less nice.” Yes, I know that’s an understatement too. Everyone seems to have their knickers in a knot just now.

“Less nice” often translates into hurtful commentary to or about others, when no comments would suffice. When a “negativity leader” emerges, more people pile on. Of course, that just raises the stress level of everyone involved, especially the person being bullied. Adrenaline and stress hormones flood bodies, causing people who feel they are under attack to have a “flight or fight” response – and in an electronic world, that means either disengage and go for a walk or “fight” online as a keyboard warrior.

No one wins and the exchange is simply ugly and hurtful. Have another flower picture.

Pandemic phlox

Take a deep breath and count to 10. Have some lilies.

pandemic lily.jpg

Now we’re at the point where my Dad’s mud-wrestling with a pig commentary comes into play.

Seriously, no one is going to even consider anyone’s point of view because they are too busy “talking and typing,” to listen, even if they had once been inclined. And that’s assuming there isn’t any other agenda or issue in the mix. Yea, more flowers…

pandemic red lily

Maintaining an Even Keel

When people are stressed, especially for a long period of time, like pandemic fatigue, it seems to bring out either the worst or the best in people. It also dramatically affects mental health. Here are some thoughts and ideas, aside from flower pictures, that you may find helpful. I try to think of these when I see people reacting, and when I consider my health and behavior as well.

  • People who already suffer from depression or other mental health issues may need to have their medications adjusted.
  • People who never previously suffered from depression may be suffering from it now. Here’s a list of symptoms to watch for. If this might apply to you, make sure to exercise, get enough sunshine and disengage from triggers, like social media if that’s affecting you negatively.
  • People who had borderline mental health issues pre-pandemic may have crossed over the edge due to any number of stressors and need medical assistance now. You may be viewing the results of that on social media, or seeing it in the behavior of family members.
  • Doomscrolling. I didn’t even know this was a “thing,” but apparently it is, related to the consumption of news which is almost entirely negative (what news isn’t negative today,) and I’m guilty of it to some extent. You can read about doomscrolling and its effects, especially during the pandemic, here.
  • To address doomscrolling and negativity, I’ve done a number of things:
    1. Unfriended or unfollowed people who bring pain or unpleasantness into my life. Unfortunately, there have been more than I would have anticipated and some that were shocking. I will discuss any topic. I will not tolerate attacks, disrespect, condescension, or hatefulness, directed toward me or others. If there’s any good news to this part of the equation, it’s that the pandemic has unmasked many people for their real selves, many of whom I’ve found very disheartening and disappointing. That discovery adds another level of grief, but their removal from my social media feed removes the chronic negativity issue.
    2. Focusing on people who are positive by nature. That does not mean they are Pollyannas, irresponsible, or unconcerned about the pandemic, but it does mean they are not pushing conspiracy theories or constant negativity by default. I don’t mind seeing some negative things, because that is our reality right now, but I also want to see pictures of your kids, your cats, your lunch, a flower, your family tree, your new t-shirt, your Amazon order, something, anything that feels “normal.”
    3. Find ways to support others, to the best of my ability. You already know I made masks, and have a few more to make over the weekend. I also make care quilts, but right now, there is no way to make them fast enough. I’ve also been making quilts to keep for myself, because they make me feel good, and right now, I’m important too.
    4. I do feel that as a responsible adult, I need to stay current with what is occurring. However, I’ve located a couple of non-inflammatory daily summary sources and I have specific times of the day that I check social media.
  • I’m limiting my work time because my “default” is to work more and more and sit in front of my computer longer and longer each day. Unfortunately, at this point, I can never catch up, so that just makes things worse. I receive hundreds of emails every day, many asking questions that the sender thinks will “only take a minute,” which is a compliment, but nonetheless incorrect. (I do offer Quick Consults, here.)
  • People with addiction issues are relapsing. Addiction doesn’t only mean alcohol or drugs but includes other compulsive self-medicating comfort disorders. Eating comes to mind, but there are many more. Counselors and support groups are available online – just google. Is buying quilt fabric an addictive behavior? Asking for a friend😊
  • People with mental health issues are really struggling, and they are not always who you think they might be. When you observe someone acting hateful or awful towards someone else, it’s one of a few things – an active choice meaning their real personality is showing through, a really bad day (that excuse doesn’t work for repeated incidents) or a mental health issue. Regardless of which it is, you don’t need to engage with or tolerate their behavior. Some days my mantra is “just keep on scrolling.”
  • Sometimes when people are silent, it’s not because they can’t or don’t want to “defend themselves.” It’s because they’ve chosen to be kind and not act hatefully or hurtfully. Attempting to hurt someone else is never beneficial and “winning” in that manner doesn’t make someone a good person or a winner. I always remember who behaved that way. Silence does not equate to “losing.” Losing one’s composure publicly is rarely a good thing.
  • Develop a self-imposed embargo policy. When I’m angry, my personal rule is that I don’t reply for 24 hours. If I’m still angry, it’s 48 hours. By then, it seldom matters. This has saved me a lot of grief over the years and probably a lot of embarrassment too. An embargo doesn’t mean I’m silent to my family or close friends, it just means publicly.
  • People don’t have to engage in every fight they’re invited to. There’s no requirement to take the bait. Generally, bait is a sure-fire sign of danger. Ask any fish!
  • Each of us chooses how to behave, both on and offline. Choose to be kind, or silent. You never have to regret that choice.
  • Sometimes, kindness is simply keeping my mouth shut. Having said that, I do feel from time to time that I have a moral imperative to speak truth to power, understanding that it will likely cause me to become a target. Still, I always say what I have to say respectfully. I will not engage in the “nasty girls” game. There is a fundamental difference between a difference of opinion, a movement for change and a war. If people choose to target me after I speak truthfully, so be it – it’s probably a sign of effectiveness. Still, it takes courage to speak, knowing what will likely be forthcoming. I’m grateful to people like John Lewis, John McCain, William Tully Brown and Rosa Parks for their courage and inspiration. One day I’ll write about attending Rosa’s funeral visitation. John and Rosa peacefully spoke, stood their ground and have inspired me repeatedly over the years, especially when I’m frightened. If or when we are attacked, we can always choose to be kind and be silent, taking into consideration the situation. Silence is sometimes more powerful than words. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Words, however, can cut like a knife, so choose wisely. People are already hurting.
  • On the bright side, when speaking truth-to-power, you immediately discover who your friends are and who are fair-weather acquaintances of convenience. That holds true as well for when bad things happen in your life and you need help. Those who step-up are gold! The rest weren’t really your friends and culled themselves. Be grateful.
  • I always weigh my behavior based on how I would feel if a potential employer or my granddaughters as adults saw what I said. Am I being my best self? How would I feel if one of my granddaughters posted what I was about to say? How would I counsel them?

In other words, never mud-wrestle with a pig. You can’t win. You get dirty. The pig enjoys it. The spectators can’t tell the difference.

Besides that, if I do perish in this pandemic, I don’t want to be remembered for being hateful. I may not be able to control this pandemic, or what others say or do, but I surely can control the substance of my own legacy.

Pandemic Rainbow

When will the Pandemic Journal series end?

Truthfully, I don’t know. This might be the last article in the series, because this seems to have become a way of life, not a temporary glitch.

Of course, by now, I thought I would have already written the “victory” “we’re free again and it’s over” article. I thought I’d be going to genealogy conferences and quilt retreats, but I’m not and everything this fall and much of winter has already canceled or simply wasn’t scheduled.

I don’t know if or when this plague will ever end. As we enter into the days of diminishing light, the fall and winter in the northern hemisphere, I expect the pandemic to worsen, along with its associated challenges.

I don’t want to write negative articles or those that only serve to depress already depressed people.

One positive aspect that I’m seeing is that some people’s obsession is genealogy and with more time, they are really focusing on uncovering those ancestors. This is one kind of addictive behavior I heartily endorse!! I’ve been the recent beneficiary and I’ve been able to gift others as well.

I hope that you think about the life and times of your ancestors, the situations they encountered, the decisions they made, and how plagues and pestilences influenced, affected or ended their lives. Perhaps fear of a viral enemy that seems to be overpowering us sheds light on their lives before the days of modern medical care.

Now you can understand the ever-tightening fingers of fear that clutched their hearts as the Bubonic Plague, also known as the Black Death because of what it did to the bodies of its victims, engulfed their world. Ironic, isn’t it, that Plague doctors wore masks then, thinking that the beak filled with aromatics would filter out the offending disease particles present in “bad air.”

Today, we know masks work and greatly improve the chances of staying well, yet not everyone wears them.

pandemic plague doctor

I hope your ancestors bring you comfort, in their presence or their absence that causes you to have to search for them. Perhaps we can think of this grey and difficult time, retrospectively, after the storm has passed and the sun sets on this chapter of our lives as the time of great genealogy breakthroughs. Perhaps our ancestors will serve as a pandemic rainbow.

pandemic rainbow.jpg

Partial double rainbow beneath storm clouds with the sunset reflecting off of the clouds, taken from the center of the labyrinth.

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54 thoughts on “Pandemic Journal: Mud-wrestling with Pigs and a Pandemic Rainbow

  1. I’m so sorry about your beloved cat. In normal times it is difficult to let go of our sweet companions. In this strange time it is even harder. Doing right by your sweet one shows your love. Take care.

  2. I’m so sorry about your kitty, Roberta. No matter how long they are with us, it’s never long enough. I’m thankful for my dogs. They are my only family within five hundred miles and the only “people” that I have seen, except for the cashier at the grocery store, for months. I couldn’t get through this without them. I’m fortunate that I don’t know anyone who has had Covid-19 and I’m sorry that you have had so much of it in your life. Your flower pictures are beatiful, as is your attitude.

  3. A 78yr old vet, retired guys response.
    Make what they call in Lincoln, Neb.”A Frosty.”
    Put a glass beer mug in the freezer and later take it out and wait for the frost to form inside and out and then pour a cool one into it. Ahhhhhh.
    Call me insensitive.
    It’s what we do.
    After all, that one pig is clearly smiling.
    Probably a boar.

    You can tell of one who boozes, by the company he chooses.
    And the pig got up and slowly walked away.

  4. Thank you, Roberta. I believe you and I were raised, similarly. I am either encouraging or silent but, never ever harmful. The world is hard enough. P. S. I am a genealogy fanatic and enjoy your posts!

  5. I’m sorry about your cat, most especially about not being there for her passing.

    I’m trying to take a break from politics. It seems like it’s a big game to some politicians and some media people, when actually real people bear the consequences. My current hot button is the attack on law enforcement…I just need to turn it off or unfollow it.

    Studying history, especially our ancestor’s role in history, puts it all in perspective. They went through difficult times, also, and survived. They didn’t have social or government safety nets, either. Of course, delving deeper into their lives sometimes does reveal dark events, things that would not have been passed down as family stories.

    Thank you for your blog. I’ve learned so much from you.

  6. You are always thoughtful in your words. I am so sorry you are going to lose your beloved cat – I know how much that hurts. I can feel your grief for your pet, yourself and family and for your country. I find it shocking in that such a rich country as the USA does not have universal health care to even cover things like your friend’s ER visit for a test. From a distance (Australia) it explains a lot about how the pandemic is unable to be contained in the US. We are now having our own problems in one state but more so due to the selfish nature of people (with weird conspiracy theories and totally thinking only of themselves). The culture of “me” as the only important thing is now too widespread amongst western civilisations. My husband recently saw his newly born first grandchild, he wearing a mask and staying socially distanced – it would have been so nice for him to hold her, but he didn’t because that can wait till times are a little more certain and the risk is lower. We have become so fearful of catching (or unknowingly spreading) that we don’t even want to go to my niece’s wedding next month – which is a permitted gathering of a certain size – we want to be joyful for her but are now conditioned to think of all risks first. The new normal. Still, there are beautiful flowers blossoming and the winter weather is quickly giving over to spring.

  7. So sorry about the kitty. They are so precious, and they don’t deserve pain. Our pain over their loss never goes away.

  8. Things we took for granted… children playing in the park, going to the movies! This is what hope can look like for you for now. I went to see a movie for the first time since March this week : wearing a mask, greeted by a squirt of gel, one of the lucky 50 that was admitted in a theatre that could seat 500, but with yellow tape, the kind used in crime scenes, blocking most of them off.

    And there are people protesting in the streets that the mask is infringing on their freedom!

    And I live in paradise, I mean Canada.

    Your only hope of crossing the border to the north is if you drive a truck carrying essential goods. Getting married on the Internet is not recognized at the border.

    Hang in there! Some are slower at getting the message but eventually will when it hits someone dear to them.

    • Sometimes I go out in the yard when the neighbor’s kids are playing basketball just to hear them. They laugh. The ball bounces and it sounds normal. I miss all those things we didn’t even notice.

  9. If you want a smile several times a week, check out the YouTube channel ‘Pluto Living’. Pluto Living is the creation of world un-reknowned wildlife photographer, NJ Wight, a very funny Canadian – or in Pluto-speak, from the Canada-lands. Pluto is a Mini-Schnauzer with attitude and a wicked wit. And she just brightens my day.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCka_xmcWVhvq3006pnIDmFA

  10. So very sorry about your cat. We have had a rescue for the past 2 years and right now she is the bright spot for us. Not being able to see the grands is difficult but in time and with prayers that should change. Your article is right on and I appreciate it very much. Such a long year this is turning out to be. Thank you.

    • I will certainly write about DNA and the 52 Ancestors series. It’s just the Pandemic Journal series that is questionable.

      • Listening to a psychologist on the radio this morning, he said that talking (and I think writing) about a problem does not make it disappear but it makes the pain more bearable. The demons need to be acknowledged if not befriended.

        You are writing on behalf of many who feel the same way as you do and can identify their feelings in reading yours.

        You probably cannot imagine the good you do. I think of it as a virtual quilt…

          • I absolutely agree – your perspective and thoughts about the pandemic are uplifting and therapeutic. I’m very happy to read them during these dark times. Thank you!

    • I’m not engaging so I’m not wrestling with anyone. Can’t win. I’d get dirty. That’s what they want. Spectators can’t tell the difference. Not going there. 😁

  11. Sorry about your kitty. Sorry about your cousins, and friends. This is so heartbreaking to go through. This pandemic is so awful.

    Thank you for this article. As usual, you have said things that need to be said. I like your flowers.

    I had to say something here because my maiden name was Pigg, but I do not mud wrestle. Some of my family changed their surname in the past, which makes genealogy research difficult. My family still has THAT NAME, but I married out of it. Pigg advice helped me become a stronger person when I was very young. The kids who snickered or tried to bully me were not worth my time. My dad told me to ignore them. My surname sorted out people. Those people enjoy other people’s pain, but if you show no pain, they do not get whatever cruel satisfaction they hoped for. Dad’s Pigg advice has helped me in many situations. Stay out of the mud, except in the garden.

    When situations cannot be ignored, considerable thought and reflection is necessary, maybe more than 48 hours. This does not necessarily mean taking sides in an issue, because there are often too many gray areas in life for clear black and white, yes or no decisions. People are not computers. But, sometimes a person must take a stand. Every person does have a right to their own thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and a right to be who they are. There are always conflicts. This goes for in a family as well as other social situations, and in social media. During this pandemic, we all have less diversions, and more time for reflections, and perhaps logical thinking, rather than reacting. In the face of our own mortality, we are becoming more ourselves, for good or bad. Yes, some people are falling apart mentally for different reasons. Those who cannot ignore “situations” need to realistically decide what small or large thing they can do as an individual, to correct a bad situation, and to pick their battle or battles carefully.

    I am not sure what one small grandma who is socially distancing can do. I was getting mad when I read the news, or social posts, or had family conflicts, or saw bad genealogy research, so I would divert my thoughts by concentrating on a few quick games of computer solitaire to clear my mind. My computer solitaire game developed a glitch this week. There is no more diverting of situations.

  12. Thank you, Roberta. For your kindness, for your good sense, for your eloquent writing, and for your humor. All are helpful just now.

  13. Thank You Roberta, You’ve helped my frame of reference on a conspiracy theorist in my life. “This little piggy did not click Reply” Take care. This too shall pass. ?;<}

  14. Thank you Roberta. You make perfect sense. I cope by slightly adjusting my normal living pattern. First, I don’t open any non-personal email, nor news blogs, nor tv news, nor Youtube, nor any social media more than three times a week. It’s depressing. There isn’t anything that I can do about it immediately that cannot wait a day or two, and it really is effective in maintaining my PMA. (I did watch John Lewis’ funeral which I found uplifting. And my telephone alerts me to any weather issues that need immediate attention.) So I am on a negative news diet. Next, I make sure that I keep up my daily commitment to myself – to learn something new every day, find something to laugh about every day, and find something beautiful to appreciate every day. And I pray. So thank you also for the beautiful flowers to enjoy. 🙂

  15. Roberta,

    Many of us turn to ancestry as a catharsis to deal with loss and as a way to feel connected to family and those who have come before us. So, ancestry purging these suspected and often accurate DNA matches is causing many of us to feel a sense of loss all over again, and then when you combine this with the fear and stress and sense of loss during this pandemic, the timing could not be worse.

    Also, many of us may adopt a cherished pet at a time of loss as well, we adopted a dog after the death of my father. He died of old age a month before my mother passed away and it was a lot to bear. I am sorry you are having to experience such a loss at this time.

    • Thank you for this. I hadn’t really recognized Ancestry’s actions as another loss to be grieved, but you’re exactly right. And it’s just one more thing and it’s unnecessary.

  16. Thanks for the joy of your flowers.
    Knowing of your interest in quilting, I thought you and some of your followers might enjoy seeing the coverage of this quilting exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum (Rosie Lee Tompkins). Go to: bampfa/program/virtual/rosie-lee-tompkins

  17. Sad to hear for your kitty (they’re always kitties, regardless of their actual age xD), we know from the start we will outlive them, but still we would wish them eternal and healthy. And to be unable to stay with them for their last moments, to top an already heart wrenching situation…

    So many lovely flowers! My garden wasn’t so generous with me this year. Even the lilac didn’t bloom, which it never fail to (cold spring and little rain after that). Plus, I’m having trouble with the wisteria, my backyard is definitely too cold for it to thrive. I’m crazy for trying to make a Japanese garden in Quebec City, I’m in hardiness zone 4 and Kyoto is hardiness zone 9, you see the uphill battle. And I don’t have the fighting spirit to withstand the doubts this year. -__-

    Talking of Kyoto, I was supposed to walk around the historic gardens of the old city last May, that will wait for another year.

    On the covid front, I don’t know anyone who officially got it. A friend in Sao Paulo probably did, as his roommate definitely had it and he don’t see how he could have avoided it. I could have had it myself, I had a weird fever late March. It was over within 24 hours, but it didn’t feel like the usual gastro. Why can’t this disease have distinctive symptoms, it’s so hard to tell unless one gets the extreme version.

    As for school, we opened the for a few weeks in May and June, then we had day camps this summer, so far so good with the grade schoolers. My 15 years old niece was working there, she said the rules weren’t too strictly enforced, but still not much cluster occurred. Most of them will be in school this fall, unless they themselves or close ones have health problems. Teenagers on the other hand can be problematic, both with their biology and their attitude, they won’t have regular school this fall. Although, we can try these strategies here in Canada (or in Danemark, or in Taiwan) because we have universal health care, but to try this in the United State where one’s never know which child have proper health insurance and which one doesn’t, this spell like disaster…

    I have all but left the social media, I only check over for private messages. There’s too many negativity, even with close friends bickering between themselves whether we opened up too soon or too late, whether [insert the remedy du jour] will solve everything or it’s just another snake oil. Oh and conspiracies, of course, always conspiracies. I don’t need this poison.

    Sorry for the depressing rant.

    On the bright side, genealogy is doing well. And we finally had the right to do private parties in our home last June, so my friends and I could resume our in person Dungeons & Dragons Star Wars edition games. We sit 6 feet apart, everyone brings their own food and glass, with cleaning wipes in the guest bathroom to kill the virus.

    Before we could have guests indoor, I invited a friend over in my backyard, dressed a 6 feet folding table and had both of us sit at each ends with tea, scones and stuff. Alice in the Wonderland like. A good way to catch up while staying at a good distance.

    The rules for outdoor parties are: no more than 10 persons, if possible from 3 household or less, stay 6 feet apart, wear a mask when people from different households need to get closer than 6 feet.

    From my experience, the trick is to have an activity where everyone has a seat and stay there. People don’t move around when they play Dungeons or drink tea. In your case, since you have a roomy backyard, I would go for a picnic with every household assign to their safely distanced blanket. Or if you want to pimp up the formula, a “dîner en blanc” (although not as crowded, with only up to 3 households).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%AEner_en_Blanc

    Another possibility for you would be to invite over a quilting sister and do the parts you can work with outside (my mother, grand-mother and aunt do quilt from time to time, but I don’t quite know the steps, I’m more into historical clothing, but maybe cutting the fabric would at least be possible outside). You stay at safe distance and don’t exchange tools.

    Keep up your spirits, at one point, your compatriots will be feed up to be the only developed country who can’t get it right and will make it a question of national pride.

  18. Thank you for putting into words what many of us feel. Who would have thought 2020 would roll out and then this virus would continue damaging/destroying everything in it’s path! I am blessed to be able to stay in mostly and mask up when I am out. Yes, it is lonely, but lonely is better than dead. I’m cleaning up my genealogy databases, went through old paper files and filled up recycling bins and with time to focus, I’ve actually resolved some long standing tree branch problems. We will make it through if we stay in and mask up when outside.

  19. It may not be a good choice to wrestle with a pig, but please take every chance to explain to others, why you judge it to be a pig and the importance of getting it out of your house again!

  20. I love your posts! Thanks for taking the time to be so eloquent and thoughtful. I could share my photos of lilies, they are gorgeous, aren’t they? Quick question, what do you think of this company CRI Genetics and their DNA testing? Thanks!

  21. Roberta – Thanks so much for this post. Lots of good food for thought. My hubby and I basically stay in. We were doing the grocery delivery thing for awhile but now we visit a local store that’s basically a fruit and veggie place along with a meat market and deli items. Due to the virus they have added some staples like pasta noodles, peanut butter and such so that has worked out well for us. And we always were our masks.

    I’m so sorry about you kitty. It is so hard to say goodbye to them. My oldest cat is now 16 years old and doing great but I know we will be facing the same thing with her eventually.

    We are making our first trip to our cottage near Clare, Michigan on Wednesday. My brother and niece live down the road and he’s been keeping the grass cut. Normally we’d have been there often since spring.

    I learn so much reading your postings. And what you’ve learned about your ancestors is so interesting. I had planned a genealogy to Sweden at the end of September to visit ancestral places. I have to see if we can set something up for next summer if the virus allows it.

    Take care of yourself.

  22. I think you have been in my head Roberta. All of these ideas have been there. Your words are comforting = I am no alone and I am no crazy. Good advice about pig wrestling. Keep the journal going as we will survive

      • Jerry is doing much better. Now able to go to dining room for some meals with distancing. His wife Maxine is about the same. I am doing well.

          • No. I live in Texas. Jerry and Maxine in Virginia. I stay at home. Have made masks. Stopped counting. Group of quilters in my neighborhood just sent 890 masks to two counties on the border with Mexico which is hot spot here in TX.

          • I knew you didn’t live in the same place. Stay safe. You’re right, it’s a huge hotspot down there.

  23. I always enjoy your writing and this article about the pandemic is very uplifting. I was in a very dark mood but after reading your words I feel encouraged, and inspired to get some work done. There are many things I’ve been wanting to do, related to genealogy and DNA, but I can’t seem to get going – I wish I were productive when stressed.
    I feel bad about your kitty. So sad at the best of times but now during these bad times the added grief is so difficult. My rescue kitty (age 7) has some minor health issues and they worry me more now than they normally would.
    I am still seeing friends all over the country posting photos of going places with their grandkids, unmasked, and it still seems many are unaware of or untouched by this pandemic. I don’t get it.
    But I think I have finally learned to stop wrestling the pig.
    Thanks for your encouraging heartfelt words, and all the great photos, too!

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