Oregon entered into another two-week shut down from November 18 through December 2. Our Governor, Kate Brown, has collaborated with the other West Coast Governors including Jay Inslee of Washington, and Gavin Newsome of California to agree on coordinated guidance for how to deal with the pandemic. It’s a good idea because there is typically a lot of travel and overlap of jobs and families along the coast. All three state Governors decided to ask the citizens of the west coast states to limit their travel and to voluntarily self-quarantine if they do have to travel. Gov. Brown put in a caveat for people like me, who live right on the border. There is a little market in my town, but my closest grocery store is in another state. In this case I do not need to quarantine myself after a grocery trip.
In a critique that says these gestures regarding Thanksgiving holiday plans are far from enough, local paper the Portland Mercury ran an opinion piece with this awesome snarky headline: The Governors of Oregon, Washington, and California Strongly Urge You Not to Kill Your Family. As Dr. Fauci recently said, yes, this is hard, we are all sick of it, but please hang in there just a few more months. Do not go hang out at Grandma’s for Thanksgiving, even though that sucks.
I have been challenging myself to stay home as long as possible. It’s been 15 days so far. I’m actually doing fine, and I’m coming up with clever ways to use all the canned food and dry goods I already have. I mean, seriously, my cupboards are full and HOW long exactly has that can of diced tomatoes been taking up space? Why do I have three cans of coconut milk – does anyone need three cans of coconut milk? Why do I have two unopened containers of quinoa, six unopened boxes of pasta (made from seaweed, lentil, and tomato!), a bag of pearl barley, sushi nori (those sheets of seaweed for wrapping up sushi rolls), and potatoes going soft? I am just one person. There is nothing wrong with having extra stuff in my cupboards like flour and dried beans and vegetable stock…but if that stuff has been sitting there for a full year, then I need to do something with it.
Luckily I tend to crave the vegetables that last a long time: potatoes, onions, beets, cauliflower, squash, carrots. I have been drawing on these things to supplement what’s in the cabinets because my really perishable stuff ran out 10 days ago. I caramelized the last onion yesterday. I have two potatoes and one carrot left and that’s it. Oh, but I have apples! The remaining apples on the tree are still fresh and crunchy if I can get them. This requires plucking them out of the grass before the deer get them, or somehow getting them out of the very tall tree. Jumping around trying to shake them down or hit them down with other apples is not effective but it does provide exercise!
The good news is that not one, not two, not three, but many potential vaccines are looking promising. Research results are coming in from around the world, from the U.S., Japan, Thailand, and England. Even Russia’s Sputnik vaccine is looking good despite their rush to register it. Fauci has predicted that U.S. healthcare workers will be getting the vaccine by the end of December. I hope healthcare workers around the world will also be getting a vaccine soon, but of course less powerful countries will be left behind. Thankfully, equitable distribution is a topic of discussion at the G20.
Still, our last million new cases came in a single week. A million. In a week. Good reason to stay home.
Caring about others is exhausting. Worrying is exhausting. Checking on on others and helping, when you’re an introvert like me, is exhausting. Being alone for 15 days straight can be hard on the brain, and thank goodness for Racecar and my chucks that I talk to a lot of the time. I saw a therapist for about two years who always ended her sessions by asking me what I was going to do for self care. In other words, I had just spent an hour getting deeply in touch with difficult emotions, and now my job was to go make myself feel better. She was so consistent that she trained me to ask myself that question. I would begin thinking of my self-care before we even got to the end. I learned to pay better attention to what makes me happy, in case I needed it later.
I’ve got a few ideas for how to find joy in my day today. Please tell me where you will find your joy today.