I Don’t Even Know Where My Lipstick Is…..

Well, actually, I found it pretty quickly, in my purse that I rarely use anymore. Lipstick isn’t really needed, since it just comes off on the inside of my assortment of masks. The purse sits on a shelf, abandoned in favor of something called a wrist pocket, which holds my ID, some cash, my ATM card, and my electronic car key. Chapstick is stashed in the car and and in about 5 convenient places around the house. Since my eyes aren’t covered over, I’ve discovered that I should perk them up a little with a little eyebrow pencil at least, and perhaps a dab of eyelid color and mascara for dressier excursions, like to the grocery store, so I can express the smile that can’t be seen behind the mask, better with my eyes.

Really, our life hasn’t been so bad here in Tahoe, other than not being able to see family. Our annual family reunion was canceled for the end of June, and we only see family faces on FaceTime, or on organized Zoom calls on Wednesdays at 7.

I get my exercise doing gardening around our condo complex, and will put on my mask if someone who comes over to talk to me is a “close talker”. My husband has decided that he will be the “water boy”, and give a couple of sections a day a little extra water with our new hose, since it’s warmer out now, and the plants are at the peak of the growing season.

We get to swim in the pool that is close by our door most days, trying to get out there before 11 a.m., to avoid sharing the pool with anyone, especially vacation renters that may have come up from the Bay Area and may be carrying the virus. The pool deck is hosed off every morning, and all the surfaces that might be touched are sanitized then. The pool furniture was never put out, so folks just bring their own beach or camp chairs to be as comfortable as they can. Unfortunately, only the front of you gets tanned that way, but we figure it’s a “sacrifice” we can make.

Since my husband broke his arm in May, the pool has been a wonderful way for him to work on getting his range of motion back. His physical therapy appointments are done in a Zoom-type call, with me being the “videographer”, carrying the computer around and pointing it at him so he can perform the exercises for the PT guy. It’s working out pretty well.

Others aren’t having as easy a time as we are. My good friend, a stroke patient, lives in the California Veteran’s Home in Yountville. He lives in a dorm-style room, by himself, and normally he would be able to eat in the dining hall, or do what he most loves to do, “toodling” around town in his wheelchair. Even though he’s paralyzed on his right side and has aphasia, he’s always been known to travel by bus or train to go to festivals, or just to explore the different neighborhoods of San Francisco. He even loved to go to SFO to people watch and to watch the planes.

That’s all changed for him. A lot. At the beginning of the pandemic, the vets were quarantined mostly in their rooms, and meals were delivered, Meals On Wheels style.Things loosened up for a while, and he’d do a little toodling around Yountville, wearing his mask, but the last time I talked to him, he said there were 2 cases in the adjoining hospital, and now one had died. That was about 2 weeks ago. “Virus man! Four months!”, he says, sounding very frustrated and lonely. In the meantime, I feel guilty for having such a nice life while others are suffering. We of course can’t go to visit him, even if we happened to be passing by. I feel that he might feel he’s in jail, even though I also know that he is well liked and cared for. They do their best for him.

I do know someone who is actually in jail, in San Quentin, of all places. My neighbor’s son was sentenced to six years there, last year, which seemed like a harsh punishment. Since the Covid infection, prisoners were transferred from another prison without being recently tested. They weren’t isolated at all. San Quentin was virus-free until then, and then, I suppose 14 days later prisoners tested positive, and now at least 15 inmates have died. Some of them were on death row, but they didn’t have to wait for their turn in the death chamber or a possible reprieve..

Many prisoners have been released, if they had almost served their time. They’ve had to go to their parent’s house, or somewhere, I believe to wear an ankle bracelet for the rest of their sentence. My friend’s son didn’t fall into that category, so he’s still there with the possibility of getting infected, and with his parents continuing to worry about him.

In the meantime, I’m sitting here in my condo with a view of the forest, and am about to bake some chocolate chip cookies. I’ll go around later to deliver some of them to grateful neighbors, after hermetically sealing them in zip loc bags, while wearing my mask. That way we don’t eat so many of them ourselves.

On the national front, Trump has hired his “toady”, Louis DeJoy, a major donor of his to be the US Postmaster General. He promptly has cut back the time and services of the post office, threatening the on-time delivery of the mail-in votes cast by November 3rd.

Our President has also argued that Kamala Harris isn’t qualified to be Vice President. Oh well. He’s wrong, since she was born in Oakland, California, albeit from immigrant parents. They were both professors at Cal and Stanford, and raised a very intelligent and seemingly kind daughter, and one who can hold her own, with all that she’ll have to put up with in the next couple of months.

Back on our home front, we live a few blocks from Lake Tahoe, but have only been close to the shore this season one time, just for a little picnic. It’s been just too crowded with people that love to come here from the Bay Area. Most folks wear their masks in stores and some while walking along the sidewalk, but when they get to the beach, forget about it. We were longing today to be able to go for a boat ride, but any of the big boats that do tours, they say, have too many people on them, not social distancing. Maybe next year, Matey. Boo hoo….poor us.

We drove over an hour today to Coleville to attend mass, and see our favorite Irish priest. He’s retired, but we check with him each week to see if he’s saying mass anywhere, and then follow him like a groupie, now that he’s not just saying mass online. He reserves a spot for us, and everyone sits far apart, wearing masks. We seem to need his uplifting explanations of the gospel, and his friendship, especially during this uncertain time. We think he appreciates us too, since he lives alone and had a hard time the first few months of the pandemic, not being able to be around people at all.

Doug and I have each other, and luckily like each other’s company. That’s something we give thanks for every day.

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