Tag Archives: COVID-19

Open? Closed?

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Open? Closed?

When I talk to my friends in Canada I feel like I live in a completely different world. Yes we still have Covid here but we have a lot more freedom. I enjoy a quality of life far superior to what I’d experience if I were back in Winnipeg.

I know we’re far from out of the woods yet. However it is encouraging to hear that 80% of seniors in the USA have been vaccinated. And almost 30% of Americans have been vaccinated. Perhaps herd immunity is on the horizon.

Traveling is once again on my mind. In April I enjoyed a couple of short trips in Washington state. And I’m planning two more short trips within the state in May.

But my plans do not include travel to Canada at this time.

My American friends are appalled at what they read about forced hotel quarantines. “Just let them try that here” they tell me.

I’m not a big fan of FOX News, but I have to agree when they refer to the hotel quarantines as forced internment camps. There is no excuse for this violation of human rights and the deplorable conditions Canadian citizens are forced to endure.

Canadians were quick to condemn Trump for the mishandling of the Covid crisis. I think it’s time Canadians took a long, hard look at their own country and the disaster that has been created by Trudeau.

I not only worry about my family and friends in Canada, but I actually fear for them. There is something very wrong when sufficient vaccines are unavailable by appointment in Winnipeg, and here in Washington state people are encouraged to come by clinics as drop-ins to be vaccinated.

As much as I long to see my children and my granddaughter, I won’t be traveling to Canada under the current circumstances.

Rant Rant Rant

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Rant Rant Rant

These are my golden years. These are my retirement years. These are times meant to be spent with family. These are times meant to be spent pursuing interests that never fit in with working years. The reality is that these are now Covid years instead.

A year ago the madness had just begun. There was a frenzy of tourists flocking back to their native countries. There was fear among those who found themselves stranded in foreign countries. Cancelled flights and border closings became the norm.

I was in Mexico when all this started. And I still haven’t made it back to Canada yet. I wonder if I ever will. I never thought I’d say that I feel safer in the USA but I feel that way now. I also enjoy a lot more freedom and have a better quality of life.

Canada can best be described as a complete gong show in terms of the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inefficiency of the distribution of vaccines. The ambiguities surrounding the quarantine and subsequent restrictions serve to only increase confusion and promote unnecessary fear. And don’t even get me started on the mental health issues associated with all the negativity resulting from shutting the economy down.

The CDC issued a Level 4 travel advisory this week. DO NOT TRAVEL TO CANADA. Is this merely a retaliatory tactic against Trudeau’s policy of protecting Canadians from being infected by their southern neighbors by keeping the land borders closed?

The way things are right now, the Americans are doing amazingly better in terms of vaccinations. Perhaps the Americans should be concerned that the Canadians are the ones who pose the real danger until Canada gets its act together.

If it were up to me, I’d open up the borders and eliminate the quarantine. I want to travel to Canada to see my family who live in two different provinces. My Canadian friends accuse me of becoming a rebel like the Americans. But this Canadian prefers to be a rebel living in the USA right now rather than a sheep up in Canada.

Still Searching

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Still Searching

Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth has captured my heart. Plop it down in Mexico and it would be called a pueblo magico, a magic town.

The downtown area along Front Street is especially charming. It’s easy to forget you’re in the USA. Instead it’s like being transported to a quaint Bavarian village with an incredible mountain view as a backdrop.

The gazebo. Fond memories of hearing amazing musicians such as Alpenfolk. During the accordion festival the parade of accordionists ended here with a gala performance. Maifest and Octoberfest celebrations. And so much more. But it now stands eerily quiet as though it too were infected with Covid.

Bears are everywhere here. I admit I prefer these ones to the real ones whose favorite pastimes seem to be coming into the town to raid the trash cans.

This sign in front of one of the many restaurants caught my eye.

What appeals most to me is small town life. It’s more relaxing and people are friendlier. If Leavenworth were in Canada this nomad would seriously consider settling down permanently.

Only One Dream

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Only One Dream

The word “dream” usually conjures up images and sensations felt while sleeping. Good or bad, some of these dreams are more memorable than others. We often delve into them to find a deeper meaning in our lives.

Years ago I took courses in interpreting dreams. I recall vividly waking myself so that I could scribble down a few words in the middle of the night in the hope that I could achieve further vision into the somewhat meaningful experience of a particular dream.

But I stopped after several months. While it was interesting to reflect upon these nocturnal visitations in an attempt to analyze them, it was also detrimental to fully focusing on the present and appreciating what was right there in front of me. Another benefit was avoiding being stuck in the past. Memories triggered by dreams are not always pleasant.

The older I get, the more I prefer to focus on other dreams. By this, I refer to my wishes and hopes for the future. Combining these with my present circumstances provides for a fascinating and challenging walk through life.

Fifteen years ago I was trapped in a boring and unfulfilling life. Ten years ago I was just beginning to timidly crawl out of that mundane but comfortable life. Five years ago my confidence had grown substantially and this made pursuing new dreams more positive and exciting.

Today there are no end to the dreams that come to mind. But there is only one dream that truly stands out from all the others in this crazy Covid world we live in. I only hope that this dream will come true sooner than later. It’s been merely a virtual reality for far too long.

My dream is to hug my kids and grandkids again, in person.

Two Down And Done

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Two Down And Done

Yesterday I had my second dose of the vaccine. Now to wait another couple of weeks until it’s fully effective.

A year ago today I was in Aguascalientes. Masks were not yet mandatory. Restaurants and parks were open. There were no temperature checks or health survey forms. Schools were open.

I wonder what life will be like one year from now. Will masks still be part of our wardrobe?

We went to Sage Hills Church in Wenatchee on Sunday. It reminds me of Church of the Rock in Winnipeg. But Washingtonians are rebels so no masks or physical distancing in this huge sanctuary.

Costco was a zoo on Sunday. However masks are required. Limited menu in the food area and no sauerkraut or onions for the hot dogs.

Now that I’ve been vaccinated I feel more comfortable about traveling again. I’m not used to staying in one place for such a long period of time. Last year I was in Aguascalientes for 11 months with only one side trip to Culiacan. In another week I’ll have been in Washington state for 6 months.

It’s a wait and see game as to when I’ll leave here and where I’ll go. I’d like to go to Canada before returning to Mexico in the fall. But with all the quarantine and other restrictions it doesn’t really appeal.

My Canadian friends envy me because I have been vaccinated already. They still have a long wait ahead of them.

I remember when the vaccines first came out. I was reluctant to be vaccinated. But I travel a lot, and it’s only a matter of time before airlines will require proof of vaccination for international travel.

Two down and done.

Two Countries Two Different Worlds

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Two Countries Two Different Worlds

When I talk to my friends in Winnipeg, it sounds like we live in two completely different worlds, despite the fact that the USA and Canada share a border.

Friday night we went out for dinner to Wok About, a Mongolian Barbecue style restaurant. We bumped into my friend who was there with her two grandchildren. And we all sat at a table together to have dinner. Four different households at one table. A buffet style restaurant. And in Winnipeg if you want to share a table you need to produce ID to prove you actually reside at the same address.

Let’s talk church. They’ve been open here for a while now. And even when they weren’t supposed to be open they were open. Masks are optional in several churches. Attempts at physical distancing aren’t always successful either.

Then there is the other extreme here in Washington state. Masks are required on public transit. Masks are required to enter most stores although Safeway tends to look the other way.

I met with my immigration attorney earlier in the week. He took my temperature and I had to sign a health form. And masks were mandatory throughout the two hour meeting. I almost felt like I was in Canada.

Walking through downtown Leavenworth on the weekend I’ve noticed that the majority of people wear masks. Until they sit down at all the outdoor tables that line the main street. Lots of restaurant seating when the streets are closed to vehicular traffic.

Texas leads the way in doing away with masks and other restrictions. And I thought Washingtonians were rebels.

When I tell my friends here what’s going on back in Winnipeg and the rest of Canada in terms of quarantine and other restrictions, they don’t believe it. Until I show them the newspaper articles and other news reports. Their response is always “They could never do that here in the USA. We wouldn’t stand for it.”

Please don’t even get me started on the quarantine cash grab issue in Canada right now. This is yet another example of the disorganization and inefficiency of the way Canada is mishandling this pandemic.

For the time being, I intend to mask up when necessary and maintain physical distancing when possible. And I’m looking forward to getting my second shot on Tuesday, months ahead of when I’d be vaccinated if I were in Canada.

I’m So Tired Of

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I’m So Tired Of

It seems like no matter where I go or who I’m with, the conversation always evolves into “I’m so tired of Covid.”

It’s been almost a year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. We’ve endured months of lockdowns and closures. We’ve experienced openings that were short lived and retreated backwards into more restrictions.

I’m Canadian but am in no hurry to return to Canada. I just shake my head at all the disorganization and inconsistencies that have become the norm. Here in the USA I enjoy a lot more freedom. And I was also able to be vaccinated months ahead of my friends who are in Canada.

I had a video call with my granddaughter Madeline in Kelowna. She had her third birthday yesterday and excitedly showed me some of the gifts she received. She walks around with the phone from room to room in her house. Yes, she takes grandma to see her toys or into the kitchen to eat a snack. After all, grandma lives in the phone. While I enjoy the video calls, I’m so tired of being unable to hold her in my arms and read her a story. I’m so tired of the virtual hugs and kisses.

I’m so tired of all this physical distancing. Linda and I went out for coffee to O’Grady’s yesterday afternoon. While it was a beautiful sunny day and we enjoyed sitting outside, first there was the line to order and then the line to pick up before finding a table outside. I feel for all the restaurants who are able to open with only 25% occupancy.

I’m so tired of hearing about all the small businesses and restaurants who haven’t survived and have declared bankruptcy and are permanently closed.

I’m so tired of being unable to travel freely. While less than 2% of all spread can be attributed to travel, ridiculous restrictions are being enforced. The repercussions of reduced tourism have resulted in job losses and hotel closures. I want to be traveling around Mexico in the winter, not trudging through snow.

I’m so tired of wearing masks. The importance of body language cannot be overstated and being unable to observe facial expression is detrimental to good communication.

I’m so tired of exercising to videos. I want to attend classes again with my friends.

I’m so tired of watching Netflix. I want to go to a real movie theater.

I’m so tired of ranting in blog posts. That’s why my last post was about leprechauns, a frivolous topic far removed from real life.

Ok. I’m done. My goal for today is not to say “I’m so tired of” for the rest of the day.

Enjoy your Sunday!

One Down One To Go

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One Down One To Go

I was vaccinated yesterday. The first shot went well and I will have the second shot in three weeks. I thank God that I am in a country where the vaccine is available now and that I don’t have to wait several months. God Bless The USA!

Wind back the clock to September 2020. It was now possible to leave Mexico and head up north. The pandemic was raging throughout the world and travel was greatly discouraged.

I’m Canadian. Returning to Winnipeg from where I was in Mexico involved three flights on three different airlines and a minimum of two days of travel through four airports.

My other option was to come to Leavenworth. Only three airports. A flight to Dallas with a connecting flight to Seattle. I left Mexico in the morning and arrived in Seattle in the afternoon. Only about a two and a half hour drive to Leavenworth. Definitely a better option.

Leavenworth is home to me. I may only be here a few months a year but this is where my friends and my support system are. This is where my life is. I usually spend the summer and fall doing volunteer work so my time this year has been spent very differently. It’s winter and Covid is still around.

In Washington state the vaccine distribution program is working well. Appointments are made on the internet. I made mine on Sunday. Yesterday, Tuesday, my friend Linda drove me to Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, a designated mass vaccination site. I didn’t even have to get out of the car. A symptom check and the actual vaccination took under five minutes. I did have to wait thirty minutes after instead of fifteen as I have a shellfish allergy.

I was given a card with my appointment for the second shot. I had received an email reminder yesterday about today’s appointment. By the time I got back to Leavenworth I had received another email congratulating me on being vaccinated and it also included my patient record.

I also registered for the follow-up program. I receive a text daily inquiring about my health and any symptoms I might be experiencing. Very reassuring.

Thank you Washington state for your efficient handling of the vaccination process.

This Week In February.

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This Week In February.

February is a short month, and this past week has not been the greatest. The groundhog saw his shadow back on February 2nd, so maybe that explains all the snow we’re getting now. It may also account for the temperatures that have plummeted from the forties down to the teens.

But I’m not complaining too loudly. When I talk to friends back in Winnipeg I hear stories of extreme windchills and cars not starting. That’s a typical winter on the Canadian prairies.

A friend in Winnipeg is back in the hospital as they still try to determine the cause of an infection. Another friend just lost her brother to cancer. More friends in Mexico are struggling with Covid and one has died.

While Canada is imposing even stricter restrictions, here in Washington state things are opening up. I must admit that I’m confused by church gatherings with no masks and dine-in restaurants open in some towns but not in others. So much for state mandated rules.

Today is Valentine’s Day. Last year on this day I was in Aguascalientes at the park coloring and visiting with a friend. Today I’m coloring inside at home, glancing out the window at the falling snow.

The highlight of this past week is undoubtedly the three video calls I received from my eleven-year-old grandson in Culiacan. He usually calls me twice a week, so the extra call was truly a blessing. He tells me what he is studying in his online classes. He reads me stories he’s written. He tells me about his favorite videogames. Occasionally we talk about Covid.

I hope next week will be a better one. I’m tired of hearing about illness and death and quarantine.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yesterday

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Yesterday

Yesterday was February 9th. My dad died on February 9th, 1977. That was forty- four years ago but sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday. I have learned to live without his physical presence and that is sometimes quite painful. After all, he never even met his grandchildren and has not been by my side throughout most of my life.

My dad had a heart condition. Back then there were no stints or even angioplasty. What gave us all more time together was that he was able to escape to a warmer climate in the winter. San Diego was far removed from the harsh winters on the Canadian prairies.

We are currently in the midst of a global pandemic. Travel is being strongly discouraged and in many cases is all but prohibitive. And I wonder what the quality of life would have been like in those final years if my dad were alive today.

From a mental health perspective, the suicide rate has skyrocketed during the past year. Quarantine and isolation are dangerous. Depression and anxiety have become more prevalent. Far too many people are living in fear while being sequestered in their homes. Isolation is detrimental to our health and well-being.

Domestic violence has escalated. While some families feel ties have been strengthened in their households, others have felt nothing but increased stress and faltering relationships. Zoom and other types of video calls lost their charm months ago when it comes to extended family relationships and keeping in contact with friends.

Some areas have more restrictions than others causing people to reevaluate whether the trip to the grocery store is really necessary. Standing outside in long lines in frigid temperatures just does not appeal. Nor does juggling fast food on our laps after going through a drive-thru when we’d much rather be sitting inside a restaurant with healthier food choices.

More than ever I cherish the memories of the freedom I once took for granted. As much as I miss my dad, I am thankful that he is not here now to experience the travesty of living during this pandemic.