I’m Still Here

I’m Still Here

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a post. I guess that’s because there hasn’t been too much to do here during the long lockdown and frankly I’ve become a little lazy. However that has changed a lot in the past month. First of all I’ve been vaccinated with two shots of Pfizer and the second one just under two weeks ago so I’m as immune as I’ll ever be. Even after the first shot I had a huge feeling of relief and now I’m almost giddy. I go out of the house almost every day for some errand or another. I do most of the grocery shopping since I really like doing it and I do it in the morning when the supermarkets and specialty stores (baked goods, butcher shop) are open. The first shot had almost no ill effect but the second laid me low but only for a day. Laura had her first shot of AstraZeneca about 2 weeks ago and had a reaction to it that lasted a couple of days. Her second shot is in July since they’ve found that a longer interval between shots works best for that vaccine. Still she is reasonably protected against serious illness during the interval between shots.

I’ve been cooking a lot since I’ve always liked to cook and when you stay at home most of the time there’s a lot of free time. Lately I’ve been cooking American stuff, especially chocolate chunk cookies and chili. Chocolate chunk because while they have chocolate chips here there’s pretty small and also because I like more dense chocolate. I use 90% which I find really too bitter to eat alone but in the cookies which have a lot of sugar it works out well. I’ve settled on a recipe that’s a hybrid between Italian and American ones. For chili I wind up using an Italian one with minor variations. As you might imagine “chili powder” doesn’t exist here but the Italian recipe has an equivalent with available spices which works well. I’ve never seen hot chili peppers like jalapeno either. In any case I also make cornbread with my cast iron skillet to go along with it.

Taralli and chocolate chunk cookies

Cornbread and chili

As the lockown is finally easing here I can restart my volunteer work at the library – (Scioglilingua) . My first day for that is next Tuesday. We’ll be outside and wearing masks but if my conversation partner is vaccinated we’ll probably go unmasked for our 45 minutes together. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of my regulars. I’m also going to start inviting people out for lunch, possibly at our house. Of course we’ll need to tidy things up a bit.

Ah yes, sometime this summer, hopefully in June or July I will be having a much more serious encounter with the national health service (SSN – Servizio Sanitario Nazionale). I will be having a hip replacement. I’ve had to use a cane if I walk more than a short distance and should be able to be back to “normal”. The date is not yet fixed but my orthopedist says that surely by July at the latest I can get it done.

I’ve done some other things that I’ve been putting off for months; a haircut and a dental appointment. I’m keeping my hair long and want it a bit longer but it’s definitely in better shape now. Sometimes I put in a ponytail and other time just let it go wild.

Plans for the relatively near future include a day trip to the beach. I’m not a huge beach fan but Laura is so I’ll take a book to read and maybe even rent a beach chair.

I’ve been envious of all of the people that I know in the U.S. that have been fully vaccinated for a couple of months or more and the situation in the U.S. is getting a lot better but it’s really hard for me to understand why so many people are refusing the vaccine. If you compare the risk of the vaccine (which is so low there are a lot of zeros after the decimal point of a percentage number) to that of getting infected with Covid; well to me it’s inconceivable that people refuse a shot.

And now two little saying from Baci. Both seem appropriate for nearing the end of the pandemic.

Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.
Ogni tramonte porta la promessa di una nuova alba.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.
Quello che il bruco chiama fine del mondo, il resto del mondo chiama farfalla.

Lao Tze

2 Responses to “I’m Still Here”

  1. Joy O’Neal Says:

    It is great to hear from you and know what is going on with you! I am glad that you have your shots and that Laura will have her two shots by the summer. I had my two Pfizer shots in February, and Colin and Elisa finished their two shots in April.

    I am doing my own grocery shopping for the first time in a year, rather than curbside. I love grocery shopping because it has always been fun to see all of the choices I have. It is always amazing to me that there are so many different brands and sizes of flour and corn tortillas. It is a side effect of living in Texas I think. When I have traveled to other places, I always go in a grocery store to see what they have. The lack of or small number of tortilla choices surprised me.

    For Mother’s day Colin and Elisa and Finn gave me a hydration bottle. Electronic tech is an amazing thing. The stainless steel bottle works with an app on my phone to track my water consumption. I am supposed to consume 72 oz daily according to my neurologist. Following a series of random fainting spells, I went through a battery of heart testing and then neurological testing. Everything was within normal limits, and my neurologist figured out that I was dehydrated, thus the 72 oz suggestion. I have done well this week.

    Along the same lines, Casey paid for a month of vegan dinners through a company called Purple Carrot. My food boxes begin next week on Wednesday. They will send the ingredients for three dinners for two each week. I prepare them. It sounds like fun and will add a huge variety to the plant based food I am currently eating. Breakfast and lunch are also available, but the dinners for two will be perfect for me…I am looking forward to a new variety of vegan meals!

    I hope your hip surgery goes really well. Let us know when it is as the time gets closer. Love to you and Laura, Joy

  2. Joe Says:

    It’s good to hear from you. I love grocery shopping especially in a really good store. A regular supermarket is ‘OK’ but I really like those that are a bit more specialized. The best thing here is the Mercato Delle Erbe. A lot of small venders of cheese fruit, meat, fish, and almost anything else that you can think of that’s edible. The quality si fantastic and people are friendly. In both of those aspects it’s much better than the supermarkets although the supermarkets here can be MUCH better than those in the U.S. I didn’t know that you were vegan (or even vegetarian). Vegetarian I can imagine for myself, well maybe pescaterian. I really like fish. But I don’t really understand vegan. I don’t think that I really would want to live without eggs and milk products (cheese!). In any case, yes, it’s great to having things open up again and I will start doing more shopping at the mercato delle erbe when my hip will allow it. At least I have little fear of taking a bus now – that was the scariest thing when I was unvaccinated and the pandemic was roaring.

    Yes, I’ll definitely do a blog post about the operation. That will be a real immersion in the medical system here.

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