"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Sunday Salon -- Quarantine edition

Quarantine days: busy but separate.

Weather: a messy weather system full of wind and rain moved into our area on Friday. That night we lost power around 10:30 PM and it was out until 5:30 AM or so. The wasp nest was on the grass waiting for our close inspection the morning after the storm. Not sure where it was before it landed in our yard. Don attempted to pick it up, when a wasp emerged so he changed his plan and got a plastic bag to seal up the nest to avoid getting stung. We are assured the weather will improve this coming week.
Paper wasp nest

Quarantine: On Monday we learned that our young grandson, Jamie, had tested positive for COVID. We were with him and his family just the day before during church and afterwards at our house. We also had been with his family frequently the previous week as my sister and daughter were visiting for the double birthday party and other gatherings. A chain reaction of quarantine and testing followed:

  • It is likely that the disease came to my daughter's family via a cousin who attended the birthday party. He had a runny nose at the party and had relatives on his mother's side who had COVID, which we didn't know at the time of the party.
  • My daughter, a teacher, had to inform her school and get a substitute. She has since tested positive and will be out of school for at least ten days.
  • Daycare, where Jamie goes, had to close for two weeks. All the parents who have children there had to find alternative care for those two weeks.
  • Preschool, where brother Ian went on his first day of school, had to close. I'm not sure for how long. Ian also tested positive.
  • My sister tested negative, but worried that she had brought the virus home with her and transferred it to our mother, who is 92-years-old.
  • Our younger daughter, who traveled back to California after spending less than a week with us, also tested negative, but had to go through a big hassle to get the testing done.
  • Jamie was the only human not wearing a mask at church last Sunday. Several people sitting near us have tested. One couple let me know they tested negative. The pastor and another couple are still waiting for their results.
  • All the children and their parents who attended the double birthday party had to be informed and they had to start their own quarantine time awaiting testing results.
  • Don and I tested on Friday, five days after our last (but not first) exposure. In the meantime we have been quarantining. I had to cancel a dental appointment, reschedule book club, and we had to miss a concert we were looking forward to attending. We should get our results on Monday or Tuesday. Every cough, headache, or achy muscle becomes suspicious. Are we sick? So far, the answer is no.
  • After the bad news of Jamie's diagnosis, my daughter and her whole family have tested positive for COVID. The adults were vaccinated and the children had very mild symptoms. No one has been very sick or not for very long anyway. Thank goodness.
  • Jamie's other grandparents did get COVID, perhaps at the party or a few days before. But they seem to be on the road to recovery, thank goodness.

If you are unvaccinated and think it is no big deal if you don't get the vaccine, check out the list above. Look at all the ramifications and people affected by one little kid sent to a birthday party even though others in his family were positive for COVID. You are not an island unto yourself. Your decision to not vaccinate has and will cause a big hassle for dozens or hundreds of people, at best, and could cause serious illness or death at worst. Do it. Do it for your children's or grandchildren's friends and their families, if you are unwilling to do it for your family. Help by being part of the solution!

Quarantining means eating what we call "Covid meals." These are meals made from ingredients we already have around the house without a trip to the store, even if the meal components don't match.  Sometimes the meals end up delicious, like last night when I made a pot of soup from ingredients found in the cupboards and the fridge. It was a stormy night, just right for the first soup of the season.

Split Pea Soup with Indian Spices, Vegetarian
Ingredients: 1 bag split peas, rinsed; 4 cups vegetable broth; 1/2 onion, chopped; 1-2 cups carrots, scraped and sliced; 1/2 cup Basmati rice, uncooked; 1 T. curry; 1 tsp. cumin; 1/2 tsp. black pepper; 1-2 tsp. salt, to taste.

After rinsing split peas add them to 4 cups water and 4 cups broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for a at least an hour or until split peas are soft. Stir occasionally. When soft, use a stick blender to blend the soup into a puree, or transfer a portion of the soup to a blender and puree it there. This is an optional step, the soup will taste the same if you don't do it. Soften the vegetables in a fry pan with a bit of butter or oil. Once they are nearly soft, add the curry to the pan. This allows for the aromatics in the curry to rise and it gives off a wonderful scent. Add the curried vegetables into the pureed soup and add other spices and the rice. Cover the pot and cook on simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Adjust spices. Serve with a slice of naan or whatever you have on hand.

Shopping made easy: We actually did some grocery shopping on-line for pick up at the store this week. It was the first time we've shopped this way since the pandemic began and it was painless.

Anti-vaxxers: I was home all week and found myself jumping down rabbit holes of information about anti-vaxxers -- how to talk to them, why they do it, and a likely and sad outcome. Here are a few things I found to share:

  • "Changing Your Mind About Vaccines; People Can Do It, For a Number of Reasons" (Salon)
    • Why won't some people get the vaccine when it would help them and others?And is there anything we can say or do to help move them in the direction toward vaccines?

      The answer lies in psychology. Part of the problem is that people will contort logic in seemingly absurd ways to maintain a high opinion of themselves. According to cognitive dissonance theory, humans instinctively need their beliefs to be in harmony with one another, and will work to correct perceived "dissonance" (inconsistencies) in their beliefs. Since most prefer to avoid lowering their self-regard, people are more likely to come up with elaborate rationalizations to maintain a current position than acknowledge that view may be in error. This is especially true when the position is important to them, such as the millions of Americans who view being anti-vaccination as crucial to their identity. ../

      • Experts say that it is important to de-escalate the intense emotions that can arise during conversations about touchy subjects. When people are stressed, they are more likely to dig in their heels for neurological reasons. As neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor told Salon in June, "When we dig our heels into something that we are emphatic and passionate about, we are using our limbic system, our emotional system." To change someone's mind, you have to do so in a way that does not crash into these psychological impulses. "When trying to change the mind of someone who is stressed, we actually need to do one of two things: either reduce the stress hormone in the brain by making a connection and reducing negative emotion first or slow down the process delivering ideas in very short bursts that the brain can slowly process." This is why, quite often, the people who change their minds tell stories in which they did so at their own pace and in a supportive environment.
      • I found the whole article very helpful and recommend you read the whole thing. 

  • I also learned the stubborness with health directives we are experiencing is not new. Check out these two visuals. The first is from a newspaper printed during the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic. The second image relates to smallpox vaccine hesitancy in the 1930's, from a series called 'Health in Pictures'. (I checked for authenticity here and here.)

  • Sorry Anti-Vaxxer--- a website dedicated to education about the horrors of COVID infections. Many of the people listed on the site decided too late to get the covid vaccine and went to their graves sorry.
  • A student named Hillary put up a Tik Tok video and she did some quick calculations to show the value of getting vaccinated. Undoubtedly, it’s not perfect. It is simplified and nobody denies that.  However, it is reasonable and gives us a quick look and overview of the value of getting vaccinated. TikTok video. Watch it!

Quarantine days countdown: My daughter has to keep two young children happy and busy. She posts a quarantine day count every day with a photo or video of the day's activities. One day she and Ian played with a feature on her phone and made a little video. (See photo below) It makes me laugh every time I see it. They bake, do art projects, go for walks or bike rides. She also posts videos of Jamie and whatever he is doing or learning to do. The still shot is taken from a video of Jamie who has just learned to climb up on the couch crawling toward the remote control.

Goofing around with Mom

Learning a new skill: climbing onto couch.

Reading and blogging during quarantine: I've surprised myself at how little I feel like reading these days but I've caught up on quite a bit of blogging.

  • Finished this week:
    •  Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis. The second book in the Chronicles of Naria series.
    • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. A past Pulitzer Prize winner.
  • Currently reading:
    • We Begin At the End by Chris Whitaker. Audiobook. 10%. Potential book club selection.
    • The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. E-Book. 5%. Another potential book club option.
    • The Hours by Michael Cunningham. Print. 75%. A past Pulitzer Prize winner.

Random funny thoughts:

My sister sent me this because my dog has mastered 'the look.' In fact, he could be the model for it.

The hypocrisy is what gets me.


George posing in front of the TV again this week. Notice the cat art on the wall behind him. Fred must have been too busy inspecting the printer to stop and pose for a photo.

Unrelated to quarantine--Good news:

  • Listening to stories or music can synchronize the heart beats of the listeners. If you wonder if reading aloud to your children is important, here you go! (Good News Network)
  • Cows in Germany are being potty-trained to help save the planet. For real! (Good News Network)
  • I dare you not to laugh when you look at the finalists for the Comedy Wildlife Photos. I can't decide which one is the funniest. I think it is a toss-up between the racoon kids, the dragonfly, and the seal. which one do you like best?  (Goodnews Network)

Good News: It is Sunday Morning and my husband and I just heard from the lab. We both tested negative for COVID. Quarantine over!



  1. Yikes sorry about the covid chain reaction and the quarantine. Seems like you are being responsible trying to limit others' exposure. Delta seems rampant right now. Take care & glad everyone is all right.

  2. So sorry about the exposure. And I much appreciate you sharing the overall ramifications that starts with one positive case. This is what bothers me. We're not asked to quarantine or mask up for our protection alone. It's for the whole community and the whole system. And, we don't know who may have a particularly bad case of it. Is it worth finding out? Ugh. Our local school and city boards are battlegrounds and community FB groups are constant battlegrounds now. I wonder what brought us here? Combination of the last four years and also the ease with which one can chat online now and not have to be nice? It's exhausting when the quality of your life is so tightly dependent on others' personal beliefs (and it's not just covid in this bucket sadly).

    Anyways, I hope all of you recover well and those who are awaiting test results test negative. Sending positive thoughts and vibes your way!

  3. That is scary how easily and fast Covid spreads. Hope you'll be OK for Book Club but understand if you can't.

  4. Oh my goodness, that time line was crazy. My entire family has managed ( knock on wood ) so far to not have contracted COVID. I hope everyone is feeling well and no one has horrible symptoms

    Here is my link:

    1. I think complacency sets in a bit when you are vaccinated and so are most of your family and friends. That was us for sure. Why worry about a little boys birthday party being a spreader event?

  5. I'm so sorry for your daughter's family. That timeline you included is eye-opening, too few people are considering the consequences of their actions these days. My uncle has covid and my dad quarantined for 12 days to be safe. I wish everyone would mask up :(

    1. I keep thinking that more people need to talk about, where ever they have a forum, the ways that covid has disrupted their lives. The Sorry Anit-Vaxxers website is eye-pooping. People continue posting anti vaccine information even after a loved one dies. They just can't let go of their ideology and admit they are wrong.

  6. Ok. Your COVID post is perfect. It shows the impact of those who aren't vaccinated or who don't pay enough attention and the ramifications for others. Thank goodness those in your family who tested positive only have mild symptoms. I attended/worked at a high school reunion last week that was held outdoors so I (stupidly) didn't wear a mask. Turns out 3 people at least are COVID positive and I spent intense time with them. Thankfully, my test came back negative.

    1. Oh boy, now you and I both know something we'd prefer to not know...that people can't be relied upon to tell the truth.

  7. Oh I love your influenza graphics! Brilliant!

    Yes... one positive test does have one massive ripple effect. Especially with schools and children.

    Good luck to you and your family in this time.

    Have a good week ahead and happy reading!

    Elza Reads

    1. I felt the same when I saw those two graphics from earlier pandemics and about stupid people denying doing the right thing. Ugh.

  8. When I lived in the country our electric went out often from hurricanes. The longest was about 3 weeks. I learned to be prepared. I live in town now and it still goes out but is back on the next day or so.

    So sorry about the positive COVID tests. I hope everyone is better soon! It's bad everywhere, my daughter, my daughter in laws brothers and their family, my sister, and a bunch of people at work all had it. None of them were bad enough to go to the hospital and everyone is better now. So glad you and your husband tested negative!

    LOVE the photos of the kids. LOL!

    I'm going to check out the links to the Goodnews Network!

    1. Normally, it is in the dead of winter when we are freezing that we really care if the power goes out. We just went to bed and woke up when it came back on. Ha!

  9. Sorry to hear about you family's experience with Covid. My BIL's fully-vaccinated niece (40 yrs old, with underlying autoimmune disease) is being taken off a ventilator today and her family is saying their good-byes. This is all so sad and frustrating. The anti-vaxers are making it impossible to control/contain this virus.

    1. I am so sorry to hear about you Brother-in-law's niece. It is especially maddening when vaccinated people die of covid, probably infected by an unvaccinated person. Sad, sad news. Thanks for dropping by my blog.

  10. Anne, how awful - talk about COVID's ripple effect. I hope your loved ones all recover quickly and that you remain COVID-free.

    1. I know. Ripple effect indeed. I didn't even mention that one of the parents at the party is a teacher, too, so she also had to quarantine and get a substitute. Anyone that thinks the vaccine is a personal decision isn't thinking about the people they may come in contact with and the people those people come n contact with.

  11. I just got lost down the rabbit hole that is Sorry Anti-Vaxxer, so much needless loss, and breathtaking ignorance. I hope you & your family avoid any serious consequences.

    Wishing you a great reading week, and good health.

    1. I jumped down that rabbit hole, too. I kept thinking how awful most of these people sounded.

  12. I am so deeply sorry to hear about your extended family and the problems that developed because one person did not step back and do the right thing. I have a brother and two friends who refuse to get vaccinated, and it's become something we can't talk about. I worry about all three because they are high risk folks. I will read the article you shared in hopes that I will find out a way to speak to them.
    And I am terribly glad to hear that you and your husband tested negative.

    Narnia! I wish someone would do a readalong with Narnia. It would be wonderful to make the reading of the books a rich experience. I wonder if my sister might like to do something like that.

    1. It is heart-breaking what this virus and misinformation is doing to families. I hope you find the article helpful in talking to yours.

  13. I read through and saw your comment about being negative. Hurrah! My daughter was sick as a dog by week three at college and had to test. She is vaxxed too but not everyone at the school is although they did ask for students to be vaxxed or show a negative test at move in. Hers was negative but she was still out for a week waiting for results. A week of classes missed. What you said about ramifications is very true. I have been very busy covering for leaders at my church who are out with COVID or have been exposed to it. Wear the damn mask and get the vax. Please. I am losing patience.


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