pandemonium & pandemic

The latest: Washington State has gone completely nuts
OLYMPIA, Wash. — All bars, entertainment and recreational facilities have been ordered by the state to close across Washington and restaurants will be limited to take-out or delivery orders only, . . . Retail outlets will have reduced occupancy. Retail outlets include gas stations, banks, hardware, stores and shopping centers.

Our weekend started with the COVID-19 issues and many announcements of closures locally and State-wide. For the sorts of places where I go, these seem sensible. Generally, though, we’re not sure massive multiple closures are good decisions. An emphasis on the elderly in senior living homes and those with compromised immune systems from medical reasons are the largest “at risk” group. Yet Washington (the State) has closed schools for 6 weeks and universities are going virtual (distance learning). Nevertheless, Central Washington University is having students stay here in the dorms and apartments.

The following link will take you to a week old story about how the Seattle area got to this mess:

Life Care Center of Kirkland, WA –hot bed of COVID-19 cases

Two-thirds of the deaths in the USA are from this part of Washington State.

Monday, Feb 9

I’m starting with two special moon photos, one from today (Monday) with comparison to one from Tuesday by the same photographer, Lise McGowan. I think the juxtaposition and closeness of the moon within a 24-hour period is amazing.Top: Mt. Rainier with Super Moon by Lise McGowan, from our valley. Lower: Same with changed proximity and sun on the mountain.

I stayed home today to deal with a multitude of issues.
I finished my letter about our donation of bikes we discussed and showed photographs of in last Saturday’s blog.

Back to virus issues. Sister-in-Law, Kit, was on the cruise ship Grand Princess, which was infected. We talked to her for 6 minutes until son David called. We got a little visiting in. She had a cloth napkin, but they used cardboard containers to deliver a nice chicken dinner, with mashed potatoes and good oriental salad. They are feeding them well in their rooms on the cruise ship quarantined at sea off the west coast. They have also forgiven their charges at the gift shop, and brought more things in to give to the passengers. She received a $10 necklace tonight. They are all eligible for a free cruise ship trip in the future, but Kit nor any of her family members want any part of that offer. We think a return of their fare in cash would be more appropriate.

I’m ending today, with a striking sunset this evening, taken by my friend, Sharon, from her home in Seattle, looking west at the Olympic Mountains, with the sun setting behind the “Brothers” – the two peaks.

Background from the web (Wikipedia): The Brothers are a pair of prominent peaks in the Olympic Mountains, located in the Pacific Northwest in Washington State on the boundary between the Olympic National Park and The Brothers Wilderness.
The south peak, rising to 6,842 feet, is 192 feet higher than the north peak, and are visible from west Seattle. In 1856, surveyor George Davidson named these mountains in honor of two brothers of Eillinor Fauntleroy, his future wife. He called the southern peak Mount Edward and the northern peak Mount Arthur.
Sharon Jenson took this from her house at just the right moment.

Sharon is the bass guitar player in our Kittitas Valley Fiddlers & Friends group playing in assisted living facilities. She drives all the way over to be with us. This is quite a trek and often a white one in the winter, coming across Snoqualmie Pass through the Cascades. She occasionally takes a snow day off, but her dedication is amazing to us, and we love her presence in our group to keep us on the beat. However, all our admissions to the places are prohibited because of the COVID-19 issues. That may last through April.

Tuesday, Mar 10

More full moon shots early this morning by a different photographer.Worm Moon views from Ryegrass Hill east of Ellensburg, by Cindi Crawford Ackerlund

First thing today was my taking our voting ballots by the courthouse drop box. Washington State is almost a 100% mail or drop-box voting area.

From that stop, I went to a Senior Nutrition lunch for chicken & dumplings with carrots, fruit, and blueberry cheesecake pie, while concentrating on drinking lots of water for my blood draw.
I continued drinking my water through the Senior Advisory Commission meeting at the AAC (our City Senior Center) that began at 1:00 p.m. That meeting had a lot of discussion about precautions throughout the city and county for the COVID-19 issue. They have already started wiping with sanitizers all surfaces in the bathrooms, chairs, counters, etc., after every event (cards, exercise, coffee, computer room, & restrooms).

After that meeting, I went by the new Jackson St. KVH Medical Arts Center, named Kittitas Valley Healthcare after the original Valley Clinic adjacent to the hospital. It’s the one people recommended when I arrived in town in 1988. I called, then, about an appointment, and they wanted me to come in and pay $25 to have my medical records folder started there. I thought that was ridiculous, so I searched and found the Cle Elum Family Clinic (also part of the KVC Hospital) and started with Dr. Paul Schmitt. I remained with him until he retired a couple of years ago. He’d also accepted John as his patient.

My favorite phlebotomist, Kim, from the hospital lab has been transferred to the new KVC Medical Arts Center Lab. She was at lunch from noon to 1:00, so I waited until after my AAC meeting.

Cancellation of activities are increasing in our city and county. Our music group is cancelled from two assisted-living homes this and next week on Thursdays. More community events include: A field trip by the CWU Retirement Association members for a Brewery Tour of the CWU Craft Brewing Research Lab cancelled. The downtown St. Patrick’s Day celebration and a fundraiser for the FISH Food Bank.

I wrote Gloria Baldi asking about how we would be notified if they decided against having the Kittitas Audubon monthly meeting next Thursday night. She got back to me that today they cancelled it. Guess I was experiencing mental telepathy. Later tonight, the email came out to all the members.

Wednesday, Mar 11

Dropped off a winter hat we found in my mom’s stuff in the garage, to Carol for her grandson, as I drove by her house on Wilson Creek Road. I was on my way to play music at the FISH Food Bank Open Table lunch feed, Mon-Fri, at the Liberty Theater Annex. Six people came to entertain the folks today at the lunch, but it is now canceled for the immediate future. I carried along one of my protein drinks, but ended up having spaghetti sauce on noodles, some fruit, and a good dessert of cherry/pear cobbler. It was really quite tasty.

Today, however, we found out, beginning Monday, they will no longer have these lunches for the community, for Senior Nutrition or other community members. That means no music from us either. It’s likely to go to two months, although they will reevaluate in 2 weeks. However, by the end of this week, things have been canceled (all schools) until April 24.

While in town, I picked up 2 medication refills for John at Fred Meyer Pharmacy.
I went to the Pilot Dolorway station to fill up, paying the lowest price in town again (using a credit card, not cash), because we get 4% rebate on gasoline purchased anywhere on that Costco VISA card. Paid $2.659/gal.

It was a sunny day, but extremely cold and very windy (during the 3 hours I was out and about, the average wind speed was 30 mph and the gusts were 44 mph); hard to open doors, not be blown off course walking, and/or buffeted while driving north, with the winds blowing from the west. Our temperatures are going quite low this weekend, into the teens at night.

John’s been after me to show more of my own photos, so I shall add some today. On my way home, I took a few photos of interesting subjects.

This below is the closest to my home on Naneum Road, and this was the first time I have ever seen Bald Eagles sitting on the ground and not in a tree, maybe to get out of the wind. This was the second instance of seeing grounded eagles, driving north today. I stopped to take this photo (from my car). See below.On the left is a Bald Eagle being buffeted by the wind. My title is a Bad Hair Day. The right shows two eagles on the ground with cows and calves in the background. I thought the calving was over, but perhaps, they are still anticipating and looking for food. Views are toward the west.

Earlier, I was on several roads (Bender, Sanders, & Brickmill) getting home and will post some of those photos below.The Old Brick Mill (1879) for which the road is named, where it is.

Continuing with my photographs of barns:Top: Barn on Sanders Rd; Lower: Barn on Brickmill Rd

I left a message about the missing INR data on my records at KVC (taken Tuesday mid-day). No one knows why, but it won’t be posted on the data portal until Thursday morning at 4:57 a.m. (It made it there, finally). Lacey called me about my INR from yesterday. My INR was great (2.9)! I don’t have to go back for a month.

We no longer have to go play music on Thursdays at assisted-living homes. All are canceled (because of COVID-19) for the month of March and that probably will extend through April.

Thursday, Mar 12

About 3:30, we found some “throw-up” with a worm in it, probably a roundworm (because I assumed parasites and that was the closest to the images displayed online)–turns out it was an Earthworm! I had taken a photo, called the vet for an email to attach the photo to them, and we’re waiting for an appointment for Annie, after they showed the photo to the doctor. Dr. Dan called to say what it was. Annie digs for voles and probably that’s how she ingested the earthworm.

She also needs her nails trimmed, so it could have been a multi-purpose trip for John to deliver her. We found out about 4:30, it was not a parasite, so we’ll wait for a nail trimming appointment. (We didn’t, because we awoke to 5” of snow). Her nails have needed to be done for some time, and John has loaded a crate in his car to transport her in. Maybe Monday.

Friday, Mar 13

Five inches of snow meant a lot of time for John brushing paths around the house, to the hay barn, and to the corral to feed the animals.

I’m sending the following via email out to folks I know but posting it here in our blog for further reach to others who read the blog and may know of people’s emails I do not have in my reach.

Mis-information about coronavirus on web exists; be careful when browsing.
ALERT to those with Smart phones allowing download Aps. If you are following the web about information mapped by country of the COVID-19 details of the spread, via confirmed cases, or deaths, do NOT download & install any software to view it (via aps or anything needed to allow your computer to view). No software needs to be down-loaded to see the data!!

The best safe website is John Hopkins University & Medicine–CORONAVIRUS RESEARCH CENTER. Below is a map 3/13/20 that I captured to show the information presented, and you can find this by following the link:

John Hopkins Univ. & Medicine–Coronavirus Research Center

I retrieved this map Friday 13, 2020 but now it’s been changed on the next image by adding a link at the top for FAQ information. That decreases the amount of room to display more countries for comparison. John doesn’t care for this site, but he is a curmudgeon.Above is the newest map (retrieved 3-15-20) no longer shows data across the Atlantic Ocean with the increase in size of circles. You need to zoom in (with the + sign lower right of the map to get details and you’ll see from looking at the Pacific NW, that the data are no longer very readable. For this map above, I zoomed into the United States and part of southern Canada.
I’m sorry I sent out the link on Friday, because it’s now difficult to interpret 2 days later, except to see the confirmed cases are rapidly increasing, which everyone already knows.
The other problem is that the continent outlines don’t show up well on the initial map (until you zoom in to see the Conterminous United States). Note also, these data are changing rapidly, and the accuracy from countries around the world is questionable.

I’m going to leave this map discussion now, by showing one other map published 3-13-20 by the New York Times for the U.S. It is probably closer in accuracy (at least on Friday), to what was known, than the world map.
We’re not leaving our house today.
I managed to renew magazine subscriptions to Smithsonian until 2022, Natural History until 2021, and Discover until 2022 (check on this in a couple weeks), and put all into my magazines records folders. We have cut back on several subscriptions this year.

Regarding “Time Shares” that we once enjoyed: Today, I made contact with Stoneridge Resort in Blanchard, ID and Pend Oreille Shores Resort in Hope, ID, about signing our Deeds of property back to the resort. We no longer use these, and haven’t been able to for many years. We have also been storing unused weeks in a “space-bank” to allow trades and usage by friends. We had been sharing with many folks, but now they have slowed their travels as well. John adds that we will no longer own out-of-state property. Such things complicate estate issues. The financial burden was not overly burdensome, still it will be nice to not have to deal with these. The current ones we have spaced banked have had their maintenance agreements paid, so we will still have access to give some away. If you are reading this and can travel before May 31, 2020 and have a place to go for a week (costs to make the transfer of ownership for the week to you are ~$400 for a condo anyplace in the world!

I’m going to take a break, soak some dishes and eat a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Messages keep coming in. Today all our city activities have been suspended: includes the senior center (Adult Activity Center) and the City of Ellensburg Library. Now all the places I regularly attend are no longer in operation. With my age and health – that’s good. Also sad.

John worked a lot in the living room sorting and cleaning boxes of stuff. I need to go sort through a couple plastic bins of clothes, to separate all my seasonal stuff such as Christmas and Irish for March; none now needed – At least the St. Patrick Day green things. There’s also plenty of stuff in the washroom to clean up and sort out. More boxes to go through throughout the house and then the outbuildings. Receipts to file. The list goes on. I’m slowly getting all the upcoming bills paid, and thankfully most are already on automatic payments each month (medical/dental insurance), or some yearly, such as property taxes, car insurance, and long-term care insurance.

Saturday, Mar 14

No new snow this morning. Sun is shining.

I just started a folder in my Documents, named COVID-19 Keepers, and added a good perspective from an American in Milan, Italy received this morning from a high school friend I’m still in touch with. I spent time on Facebook this morning reading about local reactions, closures of the university, economic impacts on the community, plus mental anguish by lack of social contact, and decided I would not spend time there, and only respond to emails directly to me. I need to spend my time at home more fruitfully and organize, clean, and toss.

I called COSTCO in Union Gap to see if John could cash my rewards coupon in the Wenatchee, WA. YES! But, it is 60 miles out of his way, and there is nothing there we absolutely need, so he will not go. The idea was to go for a day of pruning at Mariposa Vineyard, and to deliver boxes of books, magazines, and other found items regarding wine to Cameron.

Amazon wanted a password – surprise! First guess wrong. Second guess was correct. John bought some collection bags for our Kenmore Vacuum canister, plus replaced a missing nozzle brush. Now the problem is the size & shape of the fine-particle filter. Seems not to be available.

Now we have snow again, big flakes, and John is napping, but we don’t have as much as yesterday when we got 5”.

I managed to wash a load of dishes, and we each had different kinds of soup for lunch, with added chicken breast meat. Mine was Chicken Noodle soup and Johns was a Progresso Lasagna soup.

John awoke from his nap, and put up the leftover soups. Now he’s fixing a piece of pecan pie (in honor of Pi day). I managed to find a special pretty large birthday card to fill out and send in plenty of time to reach our cousin, Ethel, by March 23, in Pennsylvania for her 102nd birthday celebration! It’s a big card with a cute kitten on the front, and plenty of room to write a large 102 on the inside of the card. She has macular degeneration and difficulty seeing well. But, her mind is sharp as a tack! And her health is good. We’d say she has good genes, and daughter and son-in-law to visit her.

This announcement came via email today. I am sharing with you to enjoy, especially because our own Community St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in Ellensburg, WA was canceled. Many of us have attended, and several musicians I play with were to be involved this year. Gothard Sisters St. Patrick’s Day Video–FREE on their website

We had a good 12-minute conversation with Kit at Travis AFB. She has 10 more days there. She has a large room like a motel room with TV, microwave, and kitchen, and food is delivered to the door by people in hazmat suits, masks, and gloves. When the “passengers” go out for fresh air (and she can visit friends), they have to wear masks. I did ask if it was a special mask, known as an N95 respirator, and I think she said no, it was just a plain mask. The respirator is thicker than a surgical mask. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) does not recommend the N95 respirator masks for public use, at least not at this point. They need to be reserved for medical workers with COVID-19 patients, as those masks can protect against the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Those were distributed freely in Ellensburg during our wildfires that got so close twice a few years ago.

Sunday, Mar 15

This morning I asked someone in the know if the CWU dorms were being closed, as I hear they are in universities in California. The answer for us here is: “They are keeping the dorms open. I’m guessing they will have protocols for students in the dorms, but we know nothing yet.” I’m happy to hear that, because there are many international students as well as those away from home by a significant distance. Where would they go?

Here is another related story from a person in Oxford, OH at Miami University. I had connections there in the 1960s with my computer mapping projects, via a new professor at Georgia State University who came from there to Atlanta, GA, where I was teaching, 1967-69. Here is the comment regarding COVID-19 closures: “All restaurants and pubs in Oxford and in the State of Ohio ordered by governor to close at 9 tonight. Carry out or delivery only!”

I learned of a new HOAX and Fake news report yesterday, which became rampant 3 days ago, mostly on social media. Saturday, 3/14/20 at 3:00 p.m. we received our first message, with exactly the same wording from a person we’ve known since the 1970s. I searched the web on the first sentence: (“This info is from my friend that works for CDC that passed this along to his family and friends.”)

The following link came up at the top of the list:

Hoax & Fake News: Self-Check for Coronavirus (my words)

We have done our morning chores; the sun is shining, and we have been concentrating on a letter to send to our Professor friend from our days in the 60s at the University of Cincinnati graduate program in Geography, Bruce Ryan. He lives in Australia, and was planning a trip to the United States to attend the college graduation ceremony of his grandson, in early May, and to coordinate visits with other friends and relatives across North America. We are on his list to meet him in Seattle during the time he is there May 21, 22, and 23 to have lunch and a visit with his granddaughter, a student at the University of Washington. With all the COVID-19 restrictions on travel worldwide, it sounds unlikely he will even be allowed to leave Australia. They have just announced a 2-week quarantine for getting back in, so that’s not going to help.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan