the final may cocktail hour: hoping for lockdown relief

Here we are, another week of stay-at-home orders, the last Saturday in May. Welcome to my ninth cocktail hour, a virtual world where we STAY HOME and enjoy a beverage. I offer you Cheers! À votre santé!  乾杯/ Kanpai!  Saúde!  Salud! May we all remain healthy, safe, financially afloat, and hopeful despite the barrage of bad news.

Here’s my Covid-19 diary for the last week.  I’m still doing my project for May, which is to take a different walk every day, draw a map and write my thoughts for the day.  I’ll now have a resource for when I want a new place to walk. 🙂

Saturday, May 23: I finished reading a collection of short stories by Alicia Erian, The Brutal Language of Love.  I’m reading a lot more short stories this year; I bought them many years ago when I was writing a lot of stories myself.

Tonight, after listening to the sad WTF podcast by Marc Maron about the death of his girlfriend, Lynn Shelton, we searched for one of the deceased filmmaker’s movies, the 2011 Your Sister’s Sister, and enjoyed watching it after having Mike’s famous fish tacos on our screened porch. Finally, we had a sunny and warm day!


Saturday, May 23

Sunday, May 24: We listened to the Seventh Sunday of Easter church service from Holy Comforter in Vienna.  I found Jackie Thompson’s sermon calming and hopeful.  She talked about the “in-between place” we find ourselves, much like the experience of the disciples in the time between Christ ascended and Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to them. She said there were three things we could do during this “in-between time” in our lives: 1) Pray, even if you don’t feel like it, even if you think you have nothing to pray about.  Pray in communion, even if only on Zoom.  Pray for guidance, for patience, for thanksgiving for the front line workers and helpers. 2) Strip down our lives and look at what we really value. 3) Live in hope, in expectation, that better times will come.

We took a long walk around Burke Lake.  So many people were out and about, even with the cool and gloomy weather. I found myself getting annoyed by people who obliviously walked two or three abreast in large groups, pushing us off the path if we wanted to maintain social distancing.  I find many Americans are incredibly selfish; many just don’t care about other people. Sometimes I wish we could afford to get an apartment in Europe or somewhere just to escape what our country is becoming.


Sunday, May 24

Monday, May 25: Today is Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May.  It honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. It was another gloomy day in northern Virginia. It didn’t feel at all like the normal kick-off for summer.


Monday, May 25 – Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 26:  I was finally able to set up a Zoom appointment with an Ear Nose and Throat specialist for Friday morning. They insisted on the video appointment even though I told them I already tested negative for COVID-19. I think it’s a waste of time to see another doctor over Zoom as they can’t take blood tests or do a proper exam.


Tuesday, May 26

Wednesday, May 27:  Today, we had our regular Spanish class by Zoom.  It was finally warm enough that I was able to sit outside on my screened porch. For dinner, we got Mexican takeout from Anita’s.  They had refunded the amount they charged us for our botched order on Cinco de Mayo, so we felt confident in trying them again.

Since the one ENT doctor would only see me by Zoom, I called another allergist to see if I could make a face-to-face appointment with a doctor. I was informed the doctor is still staying home, but I could see a nurse practitioner.  I need to know if I do in fact have allergies, and if so, what am I allergic to?  I want to find a treatment that will work, because no treatments so far have done anything to relieve my symptoms. If I don’t in fact have allergies, I will still need to see the ENT about other possible underlying issues.

Today we passed 100,000 deaths in the U.S., higher than any other country.  The country is not united in mourning; in fact our divisions are greater than ever.  I blame our high number of deaths and our divided country on Trump and his Republican cohorts, who are doing an excellent job of Making America the Worst.


Wednesday, May 27

Thursday, May 28: Today, as The Washington Post reported the U.S. now has 100,000 dead in four months, a front page article said there was a good chance the coronavirus will never go away, even after a vaccine is discovered.  Experts say embracing that reality is crucial to the next phase of America’s pandemic response. The articles mentions there are already four endemic coronaviruses that circulate continuously, causing the common cold.  Many experts see this being the fifth – “its effects growing milder as immunity spreads and our bodies adapt to it over time.”

Today, I finally was able to see a Nurse Practitioner at an Allergist’s office. After doing about 20 tests for allergens, all that came up were: cat dander (I knew about that), grass and dust mites.  She prescribed a steroid nasal spray: ipratopium bromide nasal spray to add to my XYZAL and Flonase.  I’m skeptical because grass allergies wouldn’t have started in early March, and I know the allergy meds I’m currently taking aren’t doing anything.  But I’ll give it a try until I see her again on June 9.


Thursday, May 28

Friday, May 29: Our country is unraveling.  Since the police killing of an unarmed black man, Ahmaud Arbery, in Georgia and, later this month, of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests are erupting all over the country. Many are turning violent. Adding fuel to the fire is not only the systemic racial injustice that is built into the fiber of our society, but the out-of-control coronavirus pandemic accompanied by devastating unemployment, both of which disproportionately hurt people of color. In the White House, the criminal man-child tasked with leading our country shows zero leadership qualities, an utter lack of empathy, and a propensity to blatantly lie and spin things to cast himself in a positive light. Not only that, but for the last three and a half years, he has worked tirelessly to divide our country and to tout white supremacy.  I lay all blame at the feet of this so-called president, and to all the minions and sycophants who continue to support him.  If he is elected again, I will no longer want to be a citizen of this country.

On another note, this morning on a Zoom call, I saw an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. I told him everything I’ve been through. He said he’d have me come in for a Nasal endoscopy, a procedure to look at the nasal and sinus passages, on June 8. He honestly doesn’t think my problems are related to allergies because of the early onset. He told me not to bother to take the nasal spray but instead to take an acid reflux medicine because constant congestion can be caused by that. Again, I’m skeptical, because I haven’t had acid reflux since I was in my third trimester of pregnancy, and that was 27 years ago! He said it was possible to have the symptoms I have without having other symptoms of heartburn. I’m still holding hope that the endoscopy will reveal something.

As of today, Virginia will begin the first phase to reopen businesses and houses of worship. This phase eases previous restrictions on restaurants, fitness facilities, barbers and beauty salons, other retail businesses and houses and worship.  Movie theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment businesses remain closed. Restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries may serve dine-in customers at tables outside, at 50% of their normal indoor capacity.  Tables must be spaced 6′ apart and no more than 10 people may sit at a table. A restaurant’s indoor bar area must remain closed. Disposable menus are required and servers must wear cloth face coverings. Fitness facilities can be open for outdoor activities only, and people and equipment must be spaced 10′ apart. Exercise classes are limited to 10 people.

Beauty salons, barbers, spas, massage centers, etc. are limited to 50% of normal capacity and customers must make appointments to come in.  Customers and employees are required to wear face coverings. Businesses must keep a record of all clients served, including name, contact information, date and time of service.

Other retail businesses may open at 50% capacity and employees must wear face coverings.

Houses of worship may hold services at 50% of normal capacity. Congregants must sit six feet apart – except for families – and should strongly consider wearing face coverings. There are more details regarding every business reopening.

I’ve already made an appointment for next Monday, June 1 to have my hair straightened as it is chaotically wild and out of control. I also have scheduled a haircut for next Thursday.  I’ll be so happy to feel human again!

I was finally able to walk at Meadowlark Gardens today as they are now open, except the Visitor Center and restrooms.  It was nice to be able to walk there again.


Friday, May 29

As of May 30, the U.S. has 1,747,087 COVID-19 cases and 102,810 deaths.  Virginia has 42,533 cases and 1,358 deaths. Worldwide cases number 5,952,145 and there have been 365,437 deaths.

For June, I hope to do a daily practice (and I emphasize PRACTICE) of small watercolors.  If there are any worth sharing, I’ll share them at the end of June.  I also hope to add a bike ride each week into my exercise routine. 🙂


I love this song, “Range Life” by Pavement.  It plays in the final episode of the TV series, Flaked with Will Arnett.


In the midst of all this, what can we do to make the most of our stay-at-home orders?  I’ve created a page where I’ll share different ideas I’ve come across of ways to cope during the coronavirus.  It is here: how to make the most of a staycation... or how to cope during the coronavirus #Stayathome ordersIf you have any positive ways to get through this, I invite you to share: bits of humor, projects, what we can do to help others, how to keep our sanity, TV shows or movies to watch, books to read, exercises to do, etc.  Please feel free to express your emotions during this trying time as well.  I’m sure we can all relate to any and all emotions you are feeling.

I wish you all the best during this crisis.  Stay at home, and stay safe, healthy and always hopeful.


I’m going to write a cocktail hour/diary about this challenging time, but I’m only going to write one during the month of June, on Saturday, June 27.  I invite you to share your own experiences with what we’re going through right now, either in the comments below, or in your own blog post, which I invite you to link below.  I’ll try to keep writing this as long as we are suffering through this together.  I hope that we will get through it unscathed, sooner rather than later.

Peace and love be with you all!