Monday, December 28, 2020

Happy Weird Week--and waiting for V-Day

 


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN
:  Since we said goodbye to 2020 in a blog here last week--and I understand why that feels so urgent!--that means now we’re in this weird interregnum week.

 I always forget about these days, you know? December 26 through 30.  The five days of between. The weird week. 

On one hand, it’s great. I have to say weird week is when I finish doing holiday cards, and rationalize that this is still the holidays and NOT LATE and it’s only “late” on Jan 2. And there’s a lot of leeway with covid, right? 

Weird week is still holiday enough that the cookies and fudge are still covered by the holiday rules, meaning they have no calories and won’t until January 2.

And also, even though we are all on this bizarre enforced “vacation,” to use the term loosely, it does feel more vacationy. This week especially, since the real date of the holiday is over, and what didn’t get done for that day -well, too late now. There’s a relief in that. 


So maybe weird week is when we start counting toward V-day.
  Vaccination day. I’m calculating about April for me, and maybe even March for Jonathan. Talk about weird.  

When do you think you and your family will get vaccinations? Have they already? There's a chart in the Times that lets you calculate:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/12/03/opinion/covid-19-vaccine-timeline.html

(There was an article in the paper today about the polio vaccine--and how people cried with joy when it was finally available, and kids lined up at school to get it.  I have absolutely no memory of that. Do you?)

JENN MCKINLAY: I used to love this week as a gear up for the new and improved me that was going to emerge like a butterfly. I’d declutter, stock up on healthy food, get a new hair style, etc. This year I am chained to my keyboard trying to finish a book for a deadline that’s already been extended, which I’ve never needed before. For me, this is a fitting end to a year of chaos. I am hoping that if i can turn the book in on time-ish, then the new year can start off on the right foot. Wish me luck!

Oh, and I don’t remember the polio vaccine but am very grateful for it! I have a feeling I’m on the bottom of the list for the Covid vaccine and that’s okay. Get the higher risk people to safety first.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: You know I always love this weird in-between week. It sort of feels like a week out of time, where you might catch up on all the things you meant to do before Christmas and didn't get to, and you might actually manage to reflect a bit on the year past, and make some goals for the coming year. Or at least switch over to a new calendar…

As for the vaccinations, I'm just hoping sometime in the spring, maybe March or April. But the way this last year has gone, who knows? In the meantime, we'll just keep on trying to stay safe.

LUCY BURDETTE: This IS a weird week Hank. I finished the cards yesterday and we are still eating cookies. And I’m working on copyedits and maybe the beginning of another Key West mystery. (More on that later…)

And yes, we are thinking a lot about V-Day. It’s so complicated figuring out who should go ahead of whom. And how are we going to be notified that it’s our turn? And is it possible to get overlooked? Does the squeaky wheel get vaccinated first or should we shut up and wait?

Yay, Molly!

We are so so so thrilled that our daughter Molly (an ER doc) and our nephew David (ditto) both got their first doses last week. They are in LA where the hospitals are overrun and the staff exhausted. Oh I cannot wait for all this to be over...

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I always love this week, since I work from home anyway and, back in the day, Ross and the kids had the whole week off from school. It’s always been our Christmas week, when, as Hank says, everything has been done (or not, but you don’t have to think about it anymore) and holiday rules apply - leftovers, movies in the middle of the day, and bad breakfast choices (to paraphrase Jenn!)

As to V Day, I suspect I’m in the back of the pack along with Jenn, since I’m under 60 and have no comorbidities. Maybe I should try to pack on a few more pandemic pounds to change my status?

 I’m hoping the Maine Millennial will get the shot early on, however, as she’s now working at an oncology treatment center, which I think slots her in along with other health care workers. Obviously, she’s not a nurse or a technician, but she’s dealing with cancer patients, in person, every day.

The other people I’m waiting to see vaccinated are friend of the Reds Celia Wakefield and her husband Victor. They've been walled up like medieval anchorites since last February due to Victor’s age (he’s a WWII vet!) and it would be wonderful for them to be able to finally get out and about again.

HALLIE EPHRON: Yes, it’s always a weird week. Betwixt and between. 

V-DAY! I look forward to it. I’m guessing in the spring, too. My husband maybe a bit earlier since he’s a tad older than me. 

I do remember getting the polio vaccine. I was in elementary school, and I remember being lined up and herded through the nurse’s office. I was so humiliated because I’d worn a dress and they had to unbutton it and pull it down off one shoulder to administer the shot. HUMILIATING! I don’t think I had the slightest idea about polio. 

That vaccine came too late from one of my dearest college friends, Linda Laubenstein, who got polio when she was 6. In an iron lung for months. I can’t even imagine it. In a wheelchair until she died in her 40s, as so many who got polio have. She persevered, went to medical school and became a hematologist, widely credited as one of the first doctors to recognize AIDS and raise the alarm with Larry Kramer who wrote a play, The Normal Heart, in which one of the main characters is based on her.

RHYS BOWEN: This is usually the week when I take a deep breath, clean up the wrapping paper left by zillions of presents, strip six beds after family has departed, John makes huge turkey curry. But this year, after a Christmas day a deux and a simple meal for two there is not much to be done.


 We have played with the new espresso machine, learning how much milk to put in the frother before it spills over the top and scalds us. We have Zoomed with family and friends--so great. And I confess to feeling a glimmer of optimism for the first time in months.

My daughter and son in law received their first dose of vaccine. John should be soon in line with me soon after. 

 And I do remember the polio vaccine well. Polio was a big scare when I was about ten. I was forbidden to go to the swimming pool but I went over to my friend’s house and we snuck out to swim from there. Thank God my parents never knew! Anyway a nurse came to our school and we lined up for vaccine. I remember we had a netball match the next day and so many groans from sore arms. Let’s hope this new vaccine makes the same difference that that one did.

HANK: Yes, absolutely! And I have a pal whose uncle, a hospital doctor but not front line, was given the vaccine. He tried to defer, and give it to a younger person, but they said nope: You get it when it's your turn.

What do you think, Reds and readers? Is this a weird week for you? Anyone you know get the vaccine yet? Have you calculated your timing?



104 comments:

  1. Weird week indeed . . . . When the children were in school, we always had this week to ourselves; now they’re all locked in their houses with their own children . . . .
    I don’t remember getting a polio shot [which I’m certain I did], but I do remember the polio vaccine on the sugar cubes . . . .
    As nearly as I can figure, most of the country is in line ahead of me and I’m anticipating it will be spring before it’s my turn for the vaccination . . . .

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    1. that's what I remember Joan, the sugar cube...

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    2. Oh, right right right! I had forgotten about that. I don’t think I ever saw though… I must’ve been what, five?

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    3. We had sugar cubes, unfortunately my sister developed polio after her initial dose.

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  2. It always feels like a weird week. It's even weirder for me this week since I'm only working two days, but I have to be very focused and productive those two days. Still, I'm thinking that is going to be a major problem for me. We'll see how I do.

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    1. You can do it! Think how happy you’ll be when you succeed!

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  3. This whole month has been weird! As for the polio shot, I remember getting mine at the doctor’s office. I’ve got the scar to prove it. Didn’t we get booster shots annually too? They hurt. I probably danced with joy when the oral vaccine on a sugar cube was available. Now that one was given at school after class was over.
    I’m guessing March or April for the covid vaccine. And I wonder if our medical offices will let us know or if we’ll have to line up at CVS. I know Frank will be leaning on the VA hospital too to see when he can get scheduled.

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    1. Yes, I have never read anything about how they’ll figure it out. It would be crazy to do it without appointments, though, right?

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  4. It's kind of a weird week for me. I have a sick day left to get rid of but because I have stuff to do at work, I'm taking a few hours off on Monday through Wednesday instead of just one whole day off. I'm trying to finish work there, plus I have inventory on Thursday.

    I have reading and reviewing to get done. And I have to write up my Top 10 Mysteries and Thrillers list too. So it's weird AND busy.

    And I looked at that thing to determine when I might be able to get the shot. It's going to be a while.

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    1. Yes, it can be daunting to see how far away it is – – but that means you are healthy and young! And as other people get them, it will become safer, too. And wow, it is always fun to see your list!

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  5. The week after Christmas is one of my favorite. Our daughter was born on Dec. 26th, and we had gone through so much to finally have our sweet first baby. Then, husband's birthday is on the Dec. 30th. So, New Year's Eve follows quickly, and Bob's your uncle, it's a New Year. Of course, this year the dinners out for the two birthdays and cake after can't happen, but the presents still happened yesterday and will happen on Wednesday.

    I absolutely remember getting the polio vaccine, but I got the sugar cube with the medicine on it. I remember a table being set up on my elementary school stage, and going in a line to the table to get our sugar cube in the paper cup. I also remember going to Coney Island (the one in Cincinnati) one summer when I guess polio was threatening, and my mother wouldn't let us to to the pool there or drink from the water fountains. There was a girl who lived down the street from us who was my brother's age, and she had had polio before they moved in. We car pooled to school, and I can still see her getting in the car with the brace on her leg.

    Since I'm 66, will be 67 in February, I expect to get the COVID vaccine in the spring. My husband will be 68 on Wednesday, and he's going to be on a training exercise at Ft. Leavenworth the end of January. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets the vaccine while he's out there.

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    1. Oh Kathy, what stories! – – you have such a terrific memory! and that’s interesting about your husband – – I wonder!

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    2. So you can start celebrating at Winter Solstice and just party your way on down through New Year's Day? What fun!

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  6. HANK: Yes the week after Christmas is a weird transition time for me. Normally, our BIG celebration is on January 1 (Japanese New Year) not Christmas. But because of the pandemic and new lockdown in Ontario, I did the opposite. A more elaborate solo Christmas dinner ordered in and plenty of yummy baking and cooking.

    New Year 2021 will be a more subdued, laid-back affair. No multi-course all-day feasting and sake drinking this time with my dad in Toronto. Instead, thanks to author Tori Eldridge sharing her recipe and full video, I am going to cook an Asian crispy roasted duck and eat it with hoisin-scallion pancakes. This is a meal I normally would eat in a Chinese restaurant with friends but I can do this solo, and have plenty of leftovers, yum.

    As for V-day for me, I am at the back of the line with the general population since I am under 65 and have no medical conditions. Canada is estimating that everyone who wants to get a vaccine will get it by SEPTEMBER 2021. I actually want to get it a bit sooner since I am registered to attend BOUCHERCON 2021 in NOLA in late August.

    Fingers crossed both will happen, as scheduled!

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    1. wow Grace, we'd love to join you for the crispy duck and scallion pancakes!!

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    2. Lucy, I will definitely post the finished duck on my FB feed.
      And I can send you Tori's recipe, if you're interested (it's a PDF file) & video links.

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    3. Oh my goodness! Crispy duck and hoisin pancakes! I am swooning! I can’t tell you how marvelous that sounds. With scallions, right?

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    4. HANK: Yes, definitely with SCALLIONS. Remember you gave that tip to plant scallion ends in the spring? The same scallions I planted in June are still growing inside my apartment.

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    5. Grace, I was just thinking last night that it would be so great to be able to go out and eat--I'm craving Asian food of any variety! Unfortunately, any good restaurant with take-out is a far drive from where I live.

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    6. Lucy/Roberta: I figured out how to send you Tori's recipe to your FB page. You can probably view the 3 step-by-step videos from Tori's page too but I think you can make the duck just by following the recipe.

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    7. Flora, sorry about your difficulty in getting good Asian food. My local neighbourhood has an eclectic mix of restaurants, but not a good Chinese restaurant that serves duck! So it's easier for me to make it myself rather than trek out to our Chinatown district which is a too far from home.

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  7. This week is very different once nobody in the family was associated directly with a school. Still, it's a relief to have Christmas behind us and new books to read. I'm a bit behind schedule on my WIP, but am giving myself most of the day off today to go for a walk in the woods with my son and d-i-l, and to pass along their gifts. It's going to be a balmy 45!

    I suppose my V-Day will be in spring. As well as being over 65, I have a bit of asthma, but I wouldn't want to bump anyone who needs it.

    The Women's Club in our town ran the polio vaccine in a sugar cube event at our town library. My mother's cousin got the disease as a young adult, just after she'd had her first baby, and slept in an iron lung thereafter. Still, she became an early handicapped-rights activist and lobbied the state of California for curb cuts and other accommodations. And I have a friend my leg with a gimpy polio leg, which has not stopped her from being an international consultant. Now she's on a four-year trip to every state in the union in her bus-sized RV, alone!

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    1. (a friend my AGE, not my leg...)

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    2. It’s interesting, I don’t think we are going to be able to decide whether or not we want it… I think it sounds like it’s going to be this is your time, take it or leave it. That’s probably for the best. Otherwise, can you imagine the paperwork, especially since you have to get two shots?

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  8. When I was in elementary school the scourge of polio was the fear of every parent. I had friends who had it, and one whose brother died, knew lots of children who were survivors and wore braces on their legs. The March of Dimes was a big deal, and I remember posters of children in iron lungs, which was my greatest fear of all time. Swimming was prohibited, at least at public pools, but I don't recall any other precautions. It just "was."

    Sometime in the mid fifties the vaccine became available on a very limited basis. Our family doctor received enough to vaccinate six children. He made a big decision. He had two kids. His nurse had three. And then there was me. We got the vaccinations, but it had to be kept secret as he didn't want to be accused of favoritism, which of course it was. Yet how could he choose from the hundreds of families who were his patients.

    To this day I remember keeping that secret, watching friends fall ill, knowing I was safe. I felt guilty. And grateful.

    As for the covid vaccine, I've either had it or I haven't. I'm part of the Jannsen (Johnson & Johnson) trials. I'm also in the next wave of those who will be eligible. If and when the vaccine is offered, I am to call the study. Then I will be "unblinded" and given the choice to either accept Moderna or Pfizer or get the Jannsen. Unless I've already had it! I will still remain in the study no matter which I chose.

    Please don't pass up the opportunity to get vaccinated against covid. And here's to a better year to come for everyone.

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    1. Oh, that is fascinating! I just interviewed a woman who was part of a study, too… I understand the companies are trying to make sure the trial participants are given the vaccine as soon as possible. . Did you have any side effects?

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    2. And wow, that is a truly haunting story about that doctor.

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    3. Ann, how long with they do follow-up/monitor you for the J&J trials? Months or maybe years, I am assuming.

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    4. 24 months follow up, Grace.
      Hank, I had not side effects so am guessing I got the placebo. It’s a double blind study, so the nurses giving it don’t know either. It’s all stored in some cloud somewhere!

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    5. Yes, that is what my interview subject said as well. She got a sore arm, and felt bad for a day. so maybe… You are right. Or maybe you just didn’t get side effects!

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  9. Hank: I call mine New Year's cards, so, technically, I'm ahead of the game if I get them in them in the mail this week.

    As for the vaccine, at almost 61, I'll likely have to wait until the spring or later; I'll roll up my sleeve as soon as it's my turn. I hope to be able to see my mum at our cottage for our usual July holiday (which was cancelled this year, of course). Here's hoping...

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    1. Perfect idea! I have New Year’s cards too! Brilliant.

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    2. Amanda, you are way more optimistic than I am about when Canada's general population will get the vaccine. Early summer would be great, and I would lineup the soonest I can but I am just hoping for August so I have some protection to travel down to NOLA/Bouchercon.

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    3. Grace: I do tend towards optimism and my fingers are crossed, but I'm not holding my breath. The logistics of getting vaccine out into country and organizing clinics for the shots is truly daunting. I think it's good that people with military credentials are leading the roll-out! They must be well familiar with such planning and implementation...

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    4. Amanda, I totally agree with you that the vaccine roll-out being led by the military is a good thing. But that's only the first step. It's up to the provincial/local health authorities to get it ready and contact us to put in our arms (maybe twice). That roll-out capacity will vary from province to province as already been shown this past Christmas weekend.

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  10. I love this week. I usually have a week of vacation to burn (because I have no carry-over) so I wind up off. This year it's from 12/24 to 1/1. I won't go back to work until 1/4. I shall spend the time reading (I got THE TUSCAN CHILD as a gift in my SinC book exchange) and writing. I finished the red-line edits on THE STORIES WE TELL (Homefront Mysteries #2 out February 9). I need to do a final polish on HARM NOT THE EARTH (Laurel Highlands #4, out August 2021). And I'll write my year-end story for my newsletter.

    I am too young to remember the polio vaccine. I'm not sure where I'll end up on the vaccine list. On one hand, I'm under 50 with none of the listed health risks. On the other hand, I'm immuno-compromised because of the medication I take for my MS. I guess my neurologist will tell me (I hope).

    Friends of ours and their son, who are all nurses, have already gotten their first doses.

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    1. Isn’t it such a relief to hear that they got it? Wow.
      And hooray for your books! I know we will hear about them right here. xxx

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  11. Weird week? I have never thought of it that way, Hank. First of all, it sometimes is still Hanukkah, depending on the Hebrew calendar. So, thinking of that holiday, back through time, with our kids, and back to living with my own parents, it was always a special vacation. When I was really young, we spent it in Manhattan with my grandmother (Mom was New Yorker) and did all kinds of fun NY things, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall. (sigh)

    Irwin always saved vacation days so he wouldn't have to go to work the last couple weeks in December. The longer he worked at that company, the more vacation time he had until he was pretty much at home all of December. (Training for retirement, I recognize that now.) Rachel, Irwin's daughter from his first marriage, six years older than Jonathan, whom I met when she was 3, would spend at least part of the vacation here with us and that always brought the activity and fun level in the house up a bit. We would skate and ski and go to movies and have her school pals over. But since the kids have been out of the house, this week has been mostly just the two of us for a long time.

    I remember the polio scare in Connecticut one summer in the early 1950's. I'd been taking swimming lessons and that ended as soon as the alarm went out. Parents were terrified. My mother, who at age 27 had become crippled with rheumatoid arthritis, was ready to lock us away until the summer ended. Sometime that winter, we knew about the vaccine. They lined us up in the hallway of the elementary school and gave us the first shots. We were tiny, first grade, I think. My friend was hysterical because she said it hurt so much. I remember thinking that I barely felt it and comforting her. The sugar cube vaccine came along years later, although maybe it wasn't that much time, just kid's perception of time.

    Irwin will be 75 in January. I just turned 73. He will be eligible asap, but when they will give it to him, I don't know. Neither of us has a reason to jump the line. We know that our doctors are just getting it now. When we do get it, we'll post it here.

    I love the tales you are all telling today about weird week. Stay well everyone. Stay safe!

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    1. I am very impressed about how they are making it difficult to get a vaccine out of turn – – I hope that continues. It would make things so much easier if people just did it when it was their turn, right? And I can’t get over how amazing it is that they came up with them!

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  12. My sister works at a hospital and has had the first shot. I think they're required to get it at her workplace. I work in a nursing home and it's supposed to get here within the next couple weeks but very few have signed up to get it. Most of us would rather wait and see.

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    1. That is so interesting! What state are you in?

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    2. Iowa for me. My sister is in Minnesota.

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  13. Ann,that is very interesting about your doctor giving you the polio vaccine. Wonder why he got such a small supply.

    I don't remember getting the polio shot but I do remember polio being around; a friend and her father both had it and recovered. I knew a boy who had to wear braces on his legs forever. Once he was grown he moved to a warmer climate which helped him, or at least he thought it did.

    Living in a rural county we got all of of medical things at school: physicals, shots, even our teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist. (And she must have been the one who decided I needed to have a tooth out when I was in fifth grade. I remember coming home and getting the mail one day. There was a postcard from a local dentist. I saw the word "extraction" and looked it up, hoping it didn't mean what I thought it meant. Of course it did.Not soon after I had a pass to walk down to the dentist's office and have it taken care of. All on my own, which horrifies the mother in me now.)

    As for getting this new vaccine I am behind 1800 other people in my county. But I'm wondering, too, how will they let us know when it is our turn? Somewhere there must be a huge master list of not only our ages but all of our conditions. Or is it up to our own doctors to let the health department know? Then there are a lot of people who don't have doctors. I know there must be many people working on all of these issues and I am so grateful for them.

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    1. Poor little thing, going to the dentist. Aww. That is a very Norman Rockwell moment, isn’t it?

      And we got letters from the hospital where our doctors are, telling us they would let us know when there was a vaccine for us. But yes, I agree, it is quite the complicated organizational challenge.

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    2. It was such a different world then, Judi! I organized, and paid for, a tooth extraction when I was in tenth grade, 15 years old. I can't imagine my tenth grade grandson doing any such thing!

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  14. I never considered this week as weird because the big get-together with gifts is at New Year in my family. So, usually it is a preparation's week. This year is very calm because lockdown and no celebrations.
    I remember receiving the polio vaccine at school, I still have the scar. It was very important for my father as his brother had been left handicapped because of the polio.
    In Quebec, we have a list of priorities for the vaccine but no dates attached because we ignore the rhythm of the availability of the doses. I don't know when but I'll be there when it will be my turn.

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    1. Time will go by very quickly, right? We have learned that, during this, that’s for sure! xxxx

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    2. And Jenn, I wish you the luck you're waiting for in 2021.

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  15. We do celebrate Twelfth Night, so the week after Christmas has always been a vacation. Lots of places in England close down or have restricted business so even after we set up permanent home in the USA, we made sure to save vacation for Christmas week. As for working on Boxing Day, I don't think so. But as for the vaccine, first thank you Julia for your shout out for Victor and me. Though I fear it may take longer than hoped. The latest news in our local paper, Portland Press Herald (where ' The Smithy' or the Maine Millennial' writes a weekly column), was that we were very short handed here in Maine, with no federal funds to cover staffing vaccination centers so volunteer professionals were being called up to cover not only delivering the shot, but providing the necessary greeting, admin and even watchdog services. I did fill Victors data in the NYT article as to how soon one might get the shot. Even at his age he was not near the front of the line. Still we are blessed family and friends who are supporting our lockdown with shopping services etc. As for the polio V, I think I got it as an adult. But I do remember girls at my boarding school getting sick with polio and dying too. So sad.

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    1. But it's reassuring that as more people get it, the less dangerous it should become for those who are still waiting. Right?

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  16. Here in the St. John Valley of Maine we call spring cleaning the Grand Menage. I've always thought of this week as the mental menage. It's when I clear out the cobwebs of the old year and make plans for the new. Sometimes God laughs. Like 2020. Other times, God indulges.

    I remember both the Salk and the Sabin vaccines. Salk was the shot. I was young when it came out and I remember we went to a school auditorium to receive it. In fact, it's the first injection I recall. The Sabin vaccine was given on sugar cubes. There were two doses. We received it at school when entire classes were marched into the gym. I intend to get the COVID vaccine as soon as I can. I figure that will be in the spring. My husband is taking a wait and see attitude. He wants to have more data on the vaccine before he takes it and will be speaking with our primary care physician after the new year.

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    1. Kait: I love the 'Grand Menage' and really love this week as 'Mental Menage'. I am going to adopt this!

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    2. Kait, I agree with Amanda. I will also use "Grand Menage" and "Mental Menage" this week while stuck in lockdown and cleaning the junk around my apt.

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    3. Love that! After the grande folie of last year. And as for "wait and see"--health care workers are getting it like mad, so there will be many data points.

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  17. The week between Christmas and New Year's was always Freedom Week for me. No school. Later on, no work. I could read or write or sleep or do whatever I needed to do.

    Often, when I was a kid, the week was spent at my grandmother's house. Mom, my aunt, and my grandmother would pack a year's worth of gossip and cooking and reconnecting into that week. We'd have a really hard jigsaw puzzle to work as a family, fueled by bowls of cheddar popcorn from the popcorn factory a few blocks away. And I would read Dickens.

    My family has a long, possibly mythical, connection to Dickens, and my grandmother had a complete set of the novels. She frowned on me spending all my time reading, but when I was a reclusive teenager the noise and chaos of the whole family packed into grandma's small house could get overwhelming. I discovered that, if I was reading Dickens, grandma would approve, and leave me alone. I got through Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, and a big chunk of Bleak House that way. I still get the urge to read Dickens this time of year.

    This time I may opt for watching the new version of David Copperfield, which is either "funny and uplifting" (five stars) or horrible ("Uriah Heep's hair isn't red! One Star!) depending on how much of purist you are. It's got dishy Dev Patel in the lead, so I'm not planning to be a purist.

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    1. I remember both getting the polio shot in my doctor's office, and lining up at school for the booster in the sugar cube. When it comes to the covid vaccine, I'm back a ways in the line: under 65, with only fat and asthma to move me up a bit. It will probably be late summer or fall before I get mine.

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    2. Oh, let us know how it is! I have heard mixed reviews, too. But such a good story! We read part of A Christmas Carol on First Chapter Fun, and it is so brilliantly written.

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  18. Polio is still a concern in parts of the world. When we were preparing for our trip to Tanzania several years ago both of us had to have polio booster shots. As kids we had the sugar cube version, which was the Sabin vaccine that came out later, 1963, I think. Amazingly, Steve knew that the Salk vaccine came out in 1955. Sometimes he astonishes me.

    Did you know that March of Dimes, originally called Mother's March of Dimes, was created to raise money for polio research? I can remember collecting dimes for it, back in the sixties when I was in grade school.

    My mother was so traumatized by the polio scare that she forced us to take naps every day in the summer, which I had to do until 1965, when I was in high school. And I didn't learn to swim until high school because she wouldn't take us to the pool. Geez, Mom!

    The end of December has always been a quiet time here. When I had a mail order business I rarely had orders past the early part of the month, and we just mostly did family stuff with the kids.

    I'm 69, Steve's 71, but neither of us, knock wood, have comorbidities, so unless our doctors insist we're waiting for our turn. My oldest daughter is probably higher in priority, since she's a health professional, but as she has mostly been working from home she thinks it will be awhile for her, too. The daughter now living in Kenya will most likely be the first in our family, even though she's only 33. She says people not wearing masks are arrested there, by the way.

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    1. Karen, thanks for sharing that history about the March of Dimes. March of Dimes has a Canadian branch which participated in the 1950s polio research fundraising effort you mentioned. And I also know that some of the polio vaccine was produced at the Connaught Labs (now called Sanofi Pasteur) in Toronto. I passed by the lab building everyday when I worked at nearby Environment Canada HQ for over 15 years.

      And yes, it may not seem unfair that the polio scare affected your childhood fun but good parents were being uber cautious in trying to protect their children however they thought best.

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    2. Yes, I remember that, too. We put dimes in our penny loafers, and then donated. I remember my mom being upset, too, really--more than I remember the shot.

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  19. U Cincinnati will control vaccine distribution for this part of Ohio. Nursing home and front line workers first, then people with chronic conditions, then the medicare set. Hamilton County has several warehouses prepped with freezer storage.

    I remember standing in line for the sugar cube vaccine after church on Sunday.

    I love this week, when the kids are free to sleep in, watch daytime TV, roam the neighborhood, sledding, skateboarding, or shooting hoops. Our kids gave us a firestick and Netflix for Christmas. We watched Queen's Gambit and now The Irishman, both great entertainment. And then there's non-stop BPL soccer. No stress, no urgency, lots of leftovers. Thinking about my accomplishments and goals.

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    1. WOW, firestick AND netflix. Total TV deluxe. Love that!

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  20. This week between is an odd time but good time to finish things off. I will be taking a last load to the Thrift Store (at least last for this year). I already have my collards and black-eyed peas for New Years' Day but need to get my corn bread muffins made and take some to a friend with whom we used to spend New Years' Eve and Day at our mountain home. We sold that home and it will close tomorrow so that tradition is gone but I will still take her food as cooking was never her strong point.
    I well remember the polio shot (the Salk vaccine) and the sugar cube (the Sabin vaccine). I was in grammar school for both and we lined up and got them. My husband got polio when he was three and has worn braces on his legs ever since. When I met him, he just limped but walked well and could go for miles. We hiked all over Prague. With time he went to a cane and now sadly he is on a walker. There is something called Post-Polio Syndrome and it affects the sufferers in different ways. He gets tired more easily and cannot handle stress as well. He had to retire early. He is losing mobility. At our age (74) we will be somewhere in the line but not so early. Our doctor and nurse nephews have had the first shots and for that we are thankful. We have much to be thankful for.. We stay in and can afford to do so. We are very thankful for the internet and Zoom and Google Meet.

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    1. We do, thankfully, live in an age that makes it very easy to talk with people from the safety and comfort of our own homes, don't we?

      I've heard of Post-Polio Syndrome, Atlanta, and it makes me wonder what sort of Post-Covid Syndrome we might see in the decades to come. People who poo-poohed the disease as "no worse than the flu" may find otherwise as they age.

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    2. What a wonderful team you are! It beings tears to my eyes. SO wonderful that you are here with us...

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    3. My sister developed polio from the vaccine, which may seem horrible, but this was the live virus vaccine (1963ish) and our paternal grandfather had problems vaccines too. My sister had Post Polio Syndrome in her late twenties, which was the late 1980s. She basically learned to walk three times in her life. Once as a toddler, once as a polio survivor and once as a post polio syndrome survivor. She has very little tactile feelings now. For years she wore long, artificial nails, reasoning that she could smell them burning when was doing things that involved heat around her hands. She also still tends slaps her feet when she walks, she can hear her feet hit the ground but can't always feel them on the ground. I will say one thing - when she was sent to Children's Hospital, in San Francisco, no one said it was for polio, she was sent there for an extremely high grade fever that lasted for many days. (her permanent teeth have fever scars from that time). Our old GP (who was granddad's GP) took one look at her, once she was home, one foot dragging a little and said she had polio. The post polio was not diagnosed until well after my sister left the hospital. A friend saw an article about people, of an older generation, on the east coast having post polio syndrome, mentioned it to mom, word was passed on the my sister and her new MD who said that she did have all the systems of post polio.. the hospital never mentioned it at the time. She has other medical issues, some are from the post polio.... but everyone is different.

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  21. I was looking forward to a quiet week of cleaning my office, but instead I’ll be (happily!) working on the priority list for my department’s 3,000 employees to get the vaccine. So happy to get that protection for our front-line employees who have continued cleaning homeless encampments, picking up trash, and collecting and treating wastewater all these months.

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    1. That is amazing work, Lisa. I'm glad to hear they're at the front of the line. Please thank them for their service.

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    2. That is wonderful! What a joy, and what a lovely (but important!) responsibility. And you all are heroes.

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  22. Definitely a weird week made even weirder by this weird year. I suspect I'll be near the end of the line for the vaccine. I guess I should be grateful that I'm not in a high-risk category, but I'm still terrified and can't wait until it's finally my turn. My husband will be ahead of me because he's on that list of essential workers, although low risk. As for this week, I feel like I'm coasting. Two of my three deadlines have been met. The last one is looming but I'm within easy reach of making it. I'd like to declutter my workspace before New Year, just to feel like I'm starting fresh. Like Rhys, I feel a glimmer of hope for the first time in ages.

    And yes, I remember the polio vaccine. I was young and mostly unaware of what it meant at the time. But I do remember my mom's relief that it was available.

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    1. Annette, you and the others who use this week to declutter and plan for the next year are inspiring me. Today is going to be chewed up by a trip back to the University of Maine, but the rest of the week is pretty free for me. I'm imagining the look of utter amazement on my accountant's face is I turn in my spreadsheet and documents on time this year...

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    2. Yes, it's such a limbo time! Decluttering, that's a great idea. xoxoo

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  23. I've always liked this week. When I was a young professional, I loved spending it closing out one year and getting everything organized and ready to start the new year strong. Then I had a family and once my son was school age, I started taking this week off and relishing the family time. This year, with my baby being 27 years old, I decided to do a mash up. I scheduled myself to work only Tuesday and Wednesday for the express purpose of cleaning both my home office and my office at work (where I normally go two days a week now) and organizing for the new year.

    Most of those close to me who are front-line healthcare workers have already been vaccinated -- a respiratory therapist, two nurses working in hospitals, and two doctors. I am 62 and healthy, with no comorbidities, so I count myself blessed and will patiently wait my turn -- though I will go immediately when it is offered to me. Bob just had his 65th birthday, so he may get his just a bit before me. But then again, he works 100% from home now, so maybe we will rank about the same. Who knows.

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    1. Who knows is the big question, Susan. I suspect it's a lot easier to focus when those getting the vaccine are front line health care workers and elderly folks in nursing homes (the two priorities here in Maine.) By the time we've dropped to the vast "everyone else" category, we may be assigning vaccine numbers by lottery!

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    2. Yup--we're not old enough of sick enough--so count blessings and hang on!

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    3. It is my understanding each health care provider will allocate the vaccine according to their protocols and state law, My husband is an executive for a large health care company and will get the vaccine next week. He is designated as an essential worker, but he isn’t really. He is a supply chain director, so again distribution will vary depending on your health insurance. I’m too young and fit, I’m sure I will be at the end of the line getting the vaccine next fall or later.

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  24. I was about 8 when the polio vaccine was being widely tested, and though I don't remember anything else about polio, I do remember that.I was indignant my mother gave permission for me to have a shot when I wasn't even sick! And I remember being told we were Polio Pioneers.And I do remember my mother going out on the Mother's March night for March of Dimes (fund raising for ending polio). I don't remember the widespread fear of polio or knowing anyone who had it - later in life I did know people who had it in those last years before the vaccine.As for covid vaccine? Big question mark as husband and I are both on borderline for age and co-morbidity (not actively ill but post-treatment) so it is wait-and-see for now. Some optimism at last. Wishing you all a better New Year!

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    1. Triss, I'm of a generation where the polio vaccine was just one of several things that we got dosed with, but my mother, born in 1939, would tell me about the summers when kids were kept at home (or sent to relatives in the country) and pools and playgrounds would shut down. It must have been utterly terrifying for parents in those days.

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  25. I'm skipping to the bottom and sending my comment now because I have to get to work. Today is only the fourth day of Christmas, so your cards aren't late until January 6, Mom always had cards with Wise Men so they were sent during the correct season. I vaguely remember my getting vaccine for polio, it was in a sugar cube. Julia: I'm sure your daughter is now on the fast track because of her employment, I'm on fast track too even though I'm not in a hospital. After a week of trying to get my appointment, through the company's computerized system, I finally got my appointment so I'm getting poked in the arm today. I have a short sleeved top on so nothing to be be mortified about there, though I do have to find the location of my inoculation. It's at PVH, in Petaluma. I don't spend lot of time in Petaluma so I'm going to need a little time to get lost....

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    1. I cling to Jan 6th as the final day of Christmas :)

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    2. YAY! KLt us know how it goes--that's GREAT! xxx

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    3. All went well, didn't get lost, worst part (embarrassing) was not knowing my employee ID number. My picture ID is so old, it just wasn't not included and I don't use it except for annual education courses. My arm is a little sore but I'll be just fine.

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  26. I remember getting vaccinated at school in the nurse's office, in a line with my classmates. All of us. No parental dissenters. Not sure when I'll be in line for the covid vaccine, but will definitely be there. First up, second shots for pneumonia and shingles.

    Have always loved this week, my dad's birthday was New Year's Eve, so a double celebration (with chocolate cream pie, his favorite, baked by my Aunt Mary, instead of cake). It was always a time to relax, enjoy leftovers, work a puzzle, read, gossip with all the aunties who came to visit. Low-key this year, but sharing of visits over the phone and facebook and photos.

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    1. Awww, that's so nice, Flora! (and exactly--everyone got it!) (And yeah, do NOT skip that shingles shot!) xxx

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  27. I wrote a long response that disappeared. I hope that doesn’t mean I’m in Blogger jail again! I’m not going to try to recreate it. I mentioned that I do remember getting the last couple of doses of polio vaccine at school. Polio was a problem in our neighborhood, with many families having a child who came down with it.

    I think I may be eligible for the Covid vaccine by May. That’s roughly when I plan to have knee replacement surgery, and I hope to have the vaccine out of the way by then.

    I hope this shorter response will post!

    DebRo

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    1. Blogger is SO cranky! And whew, you are not in blogger jail. oxxo. May, huh? ANd let us know about your surgery! xx

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  28. I was just talking to my best friend since elementary school. We remember getting the Sabin sugar cube, administered at the local high school. If I had the Salk vaccine, I was too young to remember. I don't know how the Covid vaccines are going to be administered here in Texas. I'm registered with CVS and they are sending regular vaccine updates, so I'm hoping they'll notify me when I'm eligible. I guess I should check with my primary care doctor, too, but I don't think I'll be getting the vaccine anytime soon.

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  29. Well, imagine my surprise when, as a newcomer to this book writing gig, I sat down today all ready to eke out my 1,000 words and fire off all sorts of overdue emails to agent, editor, publicist, etc. (because the holiday was over, right? and it was time to get back to work, right?) only to discover that book publishing shuts down for two weeks (!) over the holidays. How great is that?! This did not happen in the corporate world, let me tell you. Which is why, now that I think about it, I left the corporate world.

    So now I have time to finish (okay, start) the holiday cards and begin worrying about what to make for New Year's Eve that won't shoot down all my resolutions before they even get off the ground.

    V-day looms large in my dreams for a better 2021. It will be well over a year since we have seen our son who lives in Singapore and more than six months since a brief visit with our other son in Philadelphia. So I plan to wear a party hat when my turn comes to get in that vaccination conga line!

    I do remember lining up in the Yardley Community Center for the sugar cube polio vaccine, but mostly because until that moment I didn't know that such a thing as a sugar cube existed. I would have lined up every day for another one. So imagine my delight when I discovered a few years later that your mom could buy them at the Acme -- no vaccine required.

    Here's to a happier New Year to all!

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    1. Yup, no one out there in publishing is doing anything--my editor, eager for my new words, said: Send 'em Jan 4. xxxx

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    2. And that's so funny about the sugar cubes--a pivotal moment!

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  30. Wonder of wonders! My healthcare system just emailed me, inviting me to schedule covid shot #1 since I am over 65. Yay! January 8 is the magic day.

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  31. Why, I wonder, aren't there other vaccines that you can take orally/on a sugar cube? LOVE the idea of a vaccine conga line.

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    1. Yeah, the reasons for that must be interesting-how it works, maybe? And these are so temperature-sensitive.

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  32. According to the NYT chart you thoughtfully linked here, I have quite a wait for my vaccine. Just talked to a friend who got hers yesterday. Her husband is a health care worker and they gave her one, too. It was the highlight of her week! My husband's not a doc, but he is a tad older, so maybe I'll be able to sneak in sooner with him, too. As for me, keeping busy with last minute end-of-year newsletter and book promotion. Like everyone, I'm counting the hours until the year turns. Cannot wait to boot this one out the door!

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    1. Exactly. GOOD RIDDANCE. And that's great about your pals. SO wonderful. And so agree, it'll be interesting to see how this gets organized.

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  33. I was one that got both polio vaccines-the shot & the sugar cube. Our daughter who works in hospital & has type 1 diabetes got her shot on Wednesday! What a relief for us.I will be right in line to get my vaccine. My husband is a immunologist and he will get his shot too! He keeps reading all the scientific research and says they’ve done great research & testing on these vaccines. I don’t get why people are refusing to get it.

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  34. Testing to see if blogger will let me post

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