Monday, June 14, 2021

Are YOU A Prairie Dog?



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  So, how are you doing? Are you…venturing out?


I feel kind of like a little prairie dog, poking my head up out over my burrow and saying…
what’s going on out there? It’s strange--I’ve been fully vaccinated for several months now, and still I'm full of apprehensiveness venturing out.



We went to a friend's house for dinner, inside, all good.


And the grocery store and the hardware store, the dry cleaners and the doctor and things like that. Still, it feels that every once-ordinary activity is fraught with who knows what.


Well, I guess we do know what.


I was reading the other day that there are people called re-entry coaches, who are experts in counseling people on how to get back into the world.  The coaches emphasize doing “intentional activities.” Which I guess means no more doom-scrolling or roaming randomly around Instagram. 


There are special  coaches for kids, too. One suggested taking your child on a walk in the park  first, so they got acclimated to being around other people. Then gradually doing more things, like going to a museum, where they were actually inside with people.


Isn’t that even strange? 


But on so many levels it’s unsettling. Plus,  I have no idea what to wear. And if I did know what to wear,  I wouldn’t have that. 


It seems like the rules, whatever the rules are, are different, and we are all trying to figure out what they are. Do we just go back to how we were before? Exactly how we were before? Just forget everything happened and forget we lost an entire year and a half?


And what about  the people who have completely different life than I do? I’m a solitary person professionally, a writer, privileged enough to be able to stay home. That haunts me. 


I keep having this vision of the good witch in the Wizard of Oz, played by Billie Burke, right? Tapping her wand on the trembling munchkins and singing” come out come out...” 



How about you Reds and readers? Are you feeling like trembling munchkins?  Or champing at the bit? And..do you know what to wear?


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I feel like I know what to wear, but I seem to have completely forgotten how to put on lipstick. Every time I wear it out of the house it feels like I’m doing it wrong. 


I’m feeling very confident in the vaccine and more importantly, in its ability to keep me from accidentally spreading Covid-19 to others, so I’m in “going with the flow” mode. I always have a mask or two with me; if a place of business asks to use it, I’ll pop it on. If I’m going somewhere new, I’ll wear a mask until I see the lay of the land. My church is fully reopened but is asking everyone to wear masks for the sake of the children, who of course don’t have an approved vaccine yet. That makes good sense to me, and I’ll continue to mask up if I’m going to be around under-16s. 


But I’m looking forward to summer theater, and baseball games, and restaurants, so put me in the champing at the bit category!


JENN McKINLAY: I’m out and about. I’ve even flown across the country. Hub is a professional musician, so he’s been gigging hard for a couple of months now (once his vaccine kicked in) and I go to his shows when I can as i’m also fully vaccinated. People do seem a bit more keyed up and we’ve watched some seriously cray-cray behavior. Roaring 20’s, anyone?


I always have a mask just in case I come across someone who’d be more comfortable if I wore one, but otherwise...what pandemic? 


HALLIE EPHRON: I’ll still wear my mask, thanks very much. And eat outdoors at restaurants if I go at all. After so many months with not so much as a cold or flu or even a sneeze that wasn’t inspired by pollen, I feel completely vulnerable (even if not to Covid). Nope. I need another few weeks… maybe even months to feel assured that this thing isn’t going to come around and bite us in our collective asses.


LUCY BURDETTE: I would say that I fall somewhere in the middle of Jenn and Hallie. We have loved being able to go out a little, see friends who are vaccinated without feeling terrified. But I always have a mask with me and wear it when I’m inside shops and stores, such as the grocery store, the local bookstore, the hardware store. Like Hallie, I’m not convinced we’ve seen the end of this plague.


And I do like not having been sick this year. And certainly when we travel, which we’ve done a little of and plan to do more, I will absolutely wear a mask and bath in hand sanitizer while enroute. John’s family has a reunion this summer, and I do worry about the kids. Hopefully a vaccine that is safe for children will come along soon!


DEBORAH CROMBIE: We are getting out and about. I’ve had lunch/brunch several times with my daughter, but I have to admit the one time it was inside AND crowded I was not very comfortable. Much better with open patios! I wear a mask in stores, but not at outside events like the farmer’s market. Still lots of hand washing and sanitizers. I’m not convinced we won’t see vaccine resistant variants, and I have loved not having had so much as a sniffle this last year and a half. I’ll be so happy when the five-year-old granddaughter can get her vaccine, too.


I’m beginning to figure out what to wear, but the first couple of months back in the world were a real struggle!



RHYS BOWEN:  I think we are lucky that we have a solitary profession so our lives weren’t so different, apart from being fearful when we went out.

I live in a county that has the highest vaccination percentage in California so I feel quite safe. We have had friends to dinner, taken a trip to Monterey and stayed in a B and B, been to an art exhibit and will be hosting a brunch for graduating grandson here ( outside in our patio). But we have been cautious about dining indoors and still wear masks in stores. 

 

I hear you about deciding what to wear. I am so used to choosing a nice top, knowing that nobody can see the shorts beneath it. 

 

HANK: Isn’t that crazy? And all my shoes, lined up on the shelves, wondering why I haven’t worn them for 15 months. Are we going back to heels? The New York Times says yes. 

 

And the mask thing is so strange. The mask is so YOU don’t give covid to someone else.  If we know we don’t have it, why are WE wearing them? To encourage the unvaccinated to do so?

 

How about you, Reds and readers? Are you feeling prairie dog?


99 comments:

  1. It’s a bit of a strange feeling, but both of us are fully vaccinated so we haven’t hesitated to visit children and grandchildren . . . we’re off to Colorado next month. I’ve figured out what to wear . . . we’ve been to the grocery store, we eat out occasionally . . . . It’s been nice not being sick, but getting out and about is a priority around here . . . being cooped up for so long has been HARD . . . .

    I’m good with not wearing a mask if the place we’re going doesn’t require it, but I always have one with me so that I am prepared either way. I worry a bit about the variants, but I need to set all the worrying aside, so I'll be cautious, but I'm also taking advantage of being able to be out . . . .

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    1. It sounds like you are going step-by-step! That’s great!

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  2. To tell the truth, I'm not sure how I feel. I've been fully vaccinated for two months, and my husband has been for a little longer than that. We've been out to eat a couple of times, inside, and we went when it wouldn't be crowded, so that felt okay. I don't think I'm ready to do any long-term traveling, and I know I'm not ready to get on a plane, but we are planning to go see our son and stay in a hotel (for the first time in probably 18 months). Our son and his girlfriend came to visit for a couple of days, and we've been with our daughter and her family multiple times. However, we can't just plan anything with my daughter and her family because eleven-year-old granddaughter Izzy isn't vaccinated, and we want to keep her safe. And, I don't have any desire to be in a large crowd anywhere yet, so I'm going to cancel my Bouchercon registration for August. I'm just not ready. LCC next year for sure though.

    I wear a mask if required, but I am going without a mask some, too, if it's not required. That means I've had to put makeup on a few times, after getting used to going without it for over a year. I, too, am going to have to start finding clothes I can wear out, which after putting on more weight over the time stuck inside, is going to be challenging.

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    1. Don’t you think it’s interesting that we each have our own rules? Very very intriguing…

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    2. Hank it is interesting. We are each feeling our way around according to our individual situations.

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  3. I'm as out and about as my life normally is. I'm not a very social creature to begin with, so in some ways life hasn't changed. Church is meeting outside under a tent, but I suspect we will be going inside again soon. It was HOT this morning, and it's only the middle of June.

    I am still working from home, and I don't want that to change. I have discovered I LOVE working from home, and I will be very disappointment when we have to go back to the office, probably sometime this fall.

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    1. Yes, that is going to be quite the transition!

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    2. Mark, I think many people have discovered advantages to working at home, and I'm hoping that employers have found the advantages of that situation for them, too. Because work situations had to change so drastically during the last year and a half, maybe employers can come up with a plan for a work-from-home choice. Do you think your job will be a must-be-on-site one now?

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  4. I'm still very much a prairie dog when it comes to being around people I don't know. Like Kathy, I'm not getting on an airplane, not going to Bouchercon. It's very strange to go inside stores and find people not wearing masks. Clothes? Meh. My "author clothes" still fit, mostly, for when I need them, and so do my t-shirts and shorts for summer.

    But where I don't hold back is hugging and visiting with friends and family mask-free. SUCH a delight. Quaker Meeting is back in person (although masked, for now). We're driving (two hours) out to western Mass to spend a weekend with my son and his wife - sleepover, yay! And the best news is that my younger son is coming from Puerto Rico at the end of July and bringing his sweetheart of six months, whom I've only met on video calls.

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    1. This is exactly what I am wondering about! What is the difference between getting on an airplane and going somewhere, and having someone come to you? Why are we wearing masks? Seriously, I’m asking.
      Why is a crowd at Quaker meeting okay but not at a convention? This is exactly why I brought up this topic today…

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    2. We at Amesbury Friends are not exactly a crowd. If we didn't welcome the public, we wouldn't need masks, as all twenty regulars are fully vaccinated. But since we do welcome newcomers (two appeared yesterday), we want them to feel safe.

      For me it comes down to being around people I know and trust and those I don't. I will continue to mask up when I can't avoid being around those I don't know. Plus the discomfort of wearing a mask for the umpteen hours it would take for me to reach a safe hotel room in California, say? Not interested.

      As with Ann, I have been in medical offices and hospitals off and on for nine months, always masked, but it felt so risky. Still, what better time to get my hand fixed (twice) than during a time I didn't have to be anywhere?

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    3. Logically, you are right, Hank. There may be a higher percentage of vaccinated people at Bouchercon than at the local grocery store. It just FEELS scarier.

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  5. Half prairie dog here, and half I don't know what. We have already flown across the country once, and are planning to fly to Nairobi in a month. Which will be at least four times as harrowing, because of plane changes, being squashed into coach on six flights, layovers, and international/overnight flights. But once in Kenya masks are mandatory, period. You can be arrested for going outside one's own home without being masked. And they still have a curfew. Outside dining is very common, anyway, so that is also not a big issue. How odd, to think we might actually feel safer there.

    My husband's high school friends have gotten together for a golf game and dinner for at least 20 years now. The annual event was last week. I was talking to one guy, a retired eye surgeon and presumably smart man, who was appalled at our impending trip. ("Africa" is a big scary word.) I looked around at the 100 or so in the room, none masked, all sitting close to one another and hugging when appropriate, and realized that odds were good that at least 5% of those people had not been vaccinated.

    Which is the problem with dropping the mask requirements, except for the unvaccinated. Those who refuse to get the shots are often the same people who refuse to wear masks, and there is no way to tell. It's so frustrating.

    And I desperately need to refresh my summer wardrobe a little. So many things have changed in the retail world that I hardly know where to shop any more, let alone how.

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    1. We went out to dinner last week with friends, and I have to say that we felt very safe. All the restaurants here have erected barriers--usually Plexiglas--between tables, and servers are all masked. They've removed tables, too, to make dining areas less congested.

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    2. I'm so glad that you are going to Nairobi.

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    3. Thank you, Dru. We are equal parts excited and terrified!

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    4. That is an adventure! You must report back EVERYTHING! Kenya has been on my list FOREVER.

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    5. Exactly! From what I understand, wearing a mask means you are not vaccinated. But the only people who are not wearing masks are people who don’t want to be vaccinated, and railed against it from the beginning. So there’s no way to know.
      Many people who are vaccinated are wearing masks! And that’s what I’m wondering about too,
      There are just so many contradictions everywhere…

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    6. Karen, our neighbor works for a non-profit that supports orphanages in Africa and she has been flying back and forth since she was vaccinated in March.

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    7. So have my daughter and son-in-law, Debs. But it's comforting to know about your neighbor, too. Thank you.

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  6. We flew to Houston to meet our new grandson. Airports require masks. Airplanes require masks. I carried a small shopping bag of sandwiches and snacks, which we consumed in a people-free area before boarding. We have outdoor summer opera tix, sitting in lawn chairs in our assigned pods on the grass. Fourth of July fireworks will be in socially distanced pods. It's going to take me all summer to emerge into the world. If the cicadas can do it, so can I.

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  7. I've been a little of both, so I'm ready to get out and about. I went to a restaurant last week and they had plexiglass and table separation and the staff wore masks. Went to dentist and they were all masked and again, plexiglass separated the chairs. Traveling by the bus is good but I won't get on the subway - too many dangerous incidents have happened their.

    Because I'm still be monitored health wise, I can't wait to travel to New Orleans and then after that, I'm going to visit my family.

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  8. I go out and about to the places I need to go to. But I'm still wearing my mask despite being fully vaccinated. I figure at least half the people walking around places like the grocery store without a mask are not vaccinated like they claim to be. People are such big fat liars that I wouldn't trust them to tell me the sky is blue. Plus those people that I know seem to think I haven't seen the paranoid delusional posts they've been putting on Facebook the past year.

    What do I wear? Come on Hank, I wear what I always wear. I don't change other than for seasonal accomodations. I've gone from pants and T-shirts to shorts and T-shirts.

    I have not gone to concerts. I have ticket for a concert that was supposed to be held on April 4th last year. Then it was moved to October 30th of last year. Now it looks like it is going to be held on August 28th of this year. I'm not sure if I'm going to eat the cost of the ticket and not go. I'll wait to see how things progress as I've got a couple of months left before the show. One thing that is on the "risk it and go" side of the ledger is that I found out this really smoking hot rocker "chick" said she's going to be there and I haven't seen her since well before the pandemic started. It would be cool to hang out with her again if only for the length of the show as it usually is. But I'm still only 50-50 on that.

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    1. Is it an outside venue? I’ve been going to Hub’s outdoor gigs but inside…still a bit dicey so I get the hesitation.

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    2. Is it an outside venue? I’ve been going to Hub’s outdoor gigs but inside…still a bit dicey so I get the hesitation.

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    3. I think we will know a lot more by August, don’t you?

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    4. Jenn, the concert (Kix, the rockers out of Maryland)is an indoor gig. Which is why I'm only considering going as opposed to definitely going to avoid having to eat the cost of the ticket.

      Hank, yes things will definitely come more into focus in the next couple of months. I'd love to be able to go back to concerts because a whole boatload of bands I'd like to see have announced tours. I'm not really planning on going to many other than the one I mentioned. But there are other events that I'd like to go to (a comic convention will have the guy who does all the artwork for Iron Maiden as a guest in November).

      But I really don't hold out hope that the stupid people will suddenly get an injection of intelligence so I'm thinking everything I'm hoping for will likely go by the wayside.

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  9. I feel like my whole life now is a halfway house. It seems like my body and brain are finding it difficult to let go of a year and a half of judging my every move on some kind of internal risk thermometer, so I'm re-introducing them to "normal" life slowly in case they panic. I'm judging my success by how many times I forget to take my mask with me when I get out of the car and then have to go back for it. Twice this week, up from once last week. Progress.

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    1. Yes, I think a year and a half of semi quarantine has made it be a habit… And habits are hard to break.

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  10. I am only one-shot vaccinated (second shoot booked for July 5) and we are still living with restrictions here in Manitoba. While we are now allowed up to five people for an outside visit, masks remain mandatory most everywhere.

    For me, the masking or not masking is the most confusing part of opening up -- we can be carriers (and asymptomatic) even when vaccinated, I understand, so wearing a mask should continue to be the norm until herd immunity is reached, shouldn't it? I would welcome clarity on this one point, then I would feel more clear about things.

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    1. I'm of the masked indoors with unknown quantities, unmasked outdoors in open spaces. And know the vaccination status of your friends and family before you kiss them!

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    2. I think the CDC has said people who are vaccinated cannot be carriers. That seems like a big step. And I hope it’s true. But I really don’t think anyone knows, and I agree with you, that is the dilemma.

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  11. Interesting thoughts and how varied. We went out to lunch last week, spent much of the days prior deciding what to wear. (I wore white pants and a navy top, shoes to match. And a bit of makeup. Tres chic not!

    We took but didn't wear masks, saw friends for the first time since I can't remember when, hugged and kissed and all that sort of thing. The restaurant has always had a huge outside area beside the Erie Canal. I have never eaten inside, so this was no different. No one was masked except the servers.

    What with a couple of trips to the operating room and ankle doctor under my belt, I suspect I've already been exposed to some poor soul who is positive for Covid. I'm depending on my vaccination to protect me from the plague, including variants. So far the science tells me so.

    For the first time in almost two years, I had an in person visit to my internist. Let me say I adore him. When he came into the exam room, he took off his mask, asked me to do the same, and we hugged and kissed like long lost siblings. I started to say lovers, but he has one of those, Joe.

    His wise words that we were in a wait-and=see mode now. He has confidence in the vaccine if not in the idiots who are refusing it. He's concerned about the effect on our immune systems if we wear masks ad infinitum, but for right now we should continue when in close contact inside with unknowns.

    I'll live without going to the movies, concerts, opera. Later this month we are having a weekend getaway to a local spa, celebrating 25 years of living in sin. And in August we go to Raleigh to meet my great grandson. We won't be traveling any farther afield, except to Canada the moment we can. My wise doctor pointed out something to me about leaving the country. There's still a possibility that we will close our borders again, which could make coming home difficult. It's happened before you know. I hadn't thought of that, but it's worth pondering.

    Be safe everyone. Wear those heels, Hank. Lord knows most of the rest of us won't! And remember, when you are out and masked, the reason no one is smiling back is because our smiles are hidden for now. It's not personal.

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    1. What a fascinating point from your internist, Ann, about the effect on our immune systems of prolonged mask wearing...

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    2. Eek, on the potential for closed borders!

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    3. Ann, my neurologist had the same thing to say about wearing masks ad infinitum. I guess the immune system needs to be poked every now and then to stay reactive.

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    4. I think we must be very careful about always masking although the Japanese have worn them forever, seemingly without problem.

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    5. How long mask wearing? I don’t know about that….. I mean, we don’t wear masks all the time, at home, or outside.

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    6. He says mask in public indoors thru the wintry and re-evaluate in the spring.

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    7. Thanks, Ann, that's very helpful.

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    8. Eeek, Ann, I so badly want to go to England (when they will let Americans in!), maybe in the fall, but I hadn't really thought about not being able to come home. That should have occurred to me, as it's already happened to me twice. The first time was 9/11, the second when the Icelandic volcano blew up and grounded air travel.

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  12. I'm fully vaccinated, have been for a month now, and I'm only just getting my first post COVID haircut today. I still wear a mask in stores and always have one with me when I leave the house. Like Hallie, I don't think we've seen the end of this pandemic and I am concerned that the next variant will find a way around the vaccine.

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  13. I am also one-shot vaccinated. Ontario entered Phase 1 of its reopening plan after a 2-month stay-at-home lockdown, so not much has changed in terms of pandemic restrictions. Still no travel, not even crossing the bridge into Quebec since interprovincial travel is not permitted. And the mandatory government hotel quarantine does discourage any air travel outside Canada. Those were the two reasons why I cancelled my NOLA Bouchercon attendance.

    Since only @10% of Ontarians (and Canadians) are fully vaccinated, there is no change to guidelines and rules about masking or social distancing. I agree with Amanda that our government needs to provide more clarity about these rules, as more of the country is slowly opening up.

    I always do my grocery shopping in person since delivery options are pretty much non-existent after the temporary services that popped during spring 2020 stopped. And I never changed my daily wardrobe during the pandemic so what I wear remains the same.

    The one positive step with Phase 1 reopening was that outdoor group exercise (with up to 10 people) are now allowed, so my walking group has resumed. So with my wonky vision, I went on a group walk on Saturday and it was great.

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    1. Grace, I just don't understand why the government's directives are sooooo vague. Although, I suppose if I were to apply a political lens I might better understand. But from a pure public health communication perspective, the instructions to us should be clear and simple: do this, don't do that -- and spell it out. don't keep referring to the 'public health orders' as if we have each committed each new iteration to memory! Grrrrr....gets my goat!

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    2. So happy you got your operation, Grace! How are your eyes now? And how wonderful to be back walking… I know you love that.

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    3. HANK: The cataract for my weaker eye (right) was removed last Thursday (during your FCF broadcast!). The left eye operation is on July 13, so I have a month of lopsided vision, not wearing my glasses at all. So my distance vision is coping with the fixed eye taking over but I can't read or watch anything on a laptop for long.

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    4. Glad you are doing well, Grace. I had my eyes done a week apart, so that reduced the awkward phase.

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  14. We have dined inside restaurants several times since becoming fully vaccinated. At first, tables were separated by plastic shields and were farther apart, but Connecticut went back to full capacity in May. Now, inside looks much like prepandemic seating.

    I wear a mask inside stores and I still disinfect or wash my grocery items. We are planning a big trip in November. Rachel and John will drive to meet us with their kids, even though the kids won't be vaccinated yet. Jonathan and Cristina are more cautious and probably won't come along because the 4 year old won't be vaccinated yet. Everyone gets to choose (or have) his own comfort level. If more people were vaccinated, life would be easier for those of us whose kids cannot get the vaccine yet. I blame the past administration for all of the failures surrounding the horrible scope this pandemic. (I'll stop here.)

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    1. Again, this is so fascinating! We all made our own rules.

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  15. Not very prairie-dog here. I have a mask with me in case I go into somewhere where they want me to wear it, but otherwise, I don't. I actually attended an in-person meeting of my critique group yesterday, the first since March of 2020. Many hugs were exchanged. My employer has been giving us regular updates and talks from immunologists and infectious-disease experts, so I'm pretty confident in the vaccine. And they started a study with health-care workers who were tested daily after receiving the vaccine; it seems that once you're vaccinated, you don't pass the virus. I forget the technical term, but your body comes into contact with it, kills it, and the chain stops. So all good news.

    But I'm with you on choosing clothes. I had to wipe a good quarter-inch of dust off all my shoes. I've been living in leggings and yoga pants for over a year, so when The Hubby and I went somewhere recently, I had to ask, "I should wear jeans, yes?" And makeup? What's that? LOL

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    1. That’s the news I wanted to hear, Liz. I’ve been worried about carrying the virus to anyone vulnerable. Thanks for sharing that!

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    2. That’s the news I wanted to hear, Liz. I’ve been worried about carrying the virus to anyone vulnerable. Thanks for sharing that!

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    3. Yes, the CDC said that recently. Very clearly, that people who are vaccinated could not be carriers. I do hope that is true… That is a big moment.

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    4. I’m relieved to hear that, Liz. I’ve been worried that I could be a carrier even after being vaccinated. I’ve been worried about children that I might encounter at church and elsewhere.

      DebRo

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    5. Yes, Hank - I saw the CDC announcement. So that means a) we're pretty safe from unvaccinated people and b) as Deb Romano said, we're not spreading it to those vulnerable folks, like kids. That is HUGE.

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  16. About clothes, most clothes still fit. I brought up all of my summer sandals, heels and flats. I don't wear much of a heel anymore, my balance is not that good since I cannot do many core exercises. My usual days are spent in jeans or shorts or sundresses in the summer. I have plenty of nice clothes to wear "out" (some of them quite old but classic lines last.)

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    1. Yes, classic is good! And have you seen some of the “new” clothes? Right out of the 60s.

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    2. Hank, I read in the New York Times yesterday that anything goes!

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    3. Yes, Debs, and I feel that way too!

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  17. I have largely resumed going out and about without a mask, though I always have one in case a store requires it or someone else indicates they prefer I wear it. Eating outdoors was ALWAYS my preference, even pre-covid, so that is mostly what we do. But I have dined indoors a few times now. If I should get on a plane (not planned at this point) I would DEFINITELY wear a mask throughout the travel experience.

    I agree on the clothes thing, though. We were meeting some other couples to dine and listen to a band on the patio of a local golf club, and I told my husband I have completely forgotten how to do this!

    On the topics of heels and makeup, I had begun to wean myself off of heels pre-covid, so I continue to stick with flats or lower wedges. And the one big maybe-permanent change from covid for me is makeup. Throughout the pandemic, I wore mascara and nothing else. Since masks have been removed, I added lipstick. I have tentatively decided to stick with that minimalist approach. (We'll see if I stick to that if I find myself feeling less polished than the women around me in professional situations. But I think I can do it!)

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    1. Never mind heels vs flats... I've become very attached to bedroom slippers and shoes that slip on/off. So not ready for prime time.

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    2. I wasn't wearing heels pre-pandemic, so getting back into them is not on my agenda! Torture!

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    3. Like Deborah no heels pre-pandemic, as I switched to preferring comfortable feet to toe pinching heels years ago. And some time before that stopped wearing makeup. Vision problems and too much time to get it on “right” on the way to work. So when the vision problems were solved and retirement came, never started again.

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    4. I agree, wearing regular make up seems very garish right now. I wonder if it is all part of the process ..

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  18. I am mostly maskless unless required as it is when I get my hair cut, which surprised me until it was explained that they cannot be 6 feet apart. Of course, why did I need that pointed out to me? Julia, about lipstick - I can't seem to remember to put it on. I didn't wear any with the masks and now without masks I do feel I need it and just don't remember to do it.

    I do have one worry though and that is the people I care about who will not get vaccinated! I think they are misguided although I have heard their concerns and even understand them (unknown consequences far down the road) but it is useless to argue with these people. And yes, these people go around maskless because now they can.

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    1. Exactly, Judi. There is no arguing—Because it does not make sense, it is just some gut feeling or some idea that has been drummed into them. And why? You know?, why?

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  19. Bit by bit. We never 100% isolated - there were a few things I had to do, and did them, masked, gloved, hand-sanitized.Now we are starting to socialize on a small scale again, restaurants, went to a museum.I have certainly forgotten how to dress! And lots of clothes don't fit now so it's always a surprise as I dress. The big step? Bouchercon in NOLA. Plane, hotel, meetings. Yikes. But I am excited too.

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    1. Yes, Triss! There are some things I am terrified to try on… I know they’ll fit, but the whole thing is weird.

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  20. Sometimes I feel as though I am engaging in some sort of social experiment. I go grocery shopping and to church regularly now that I have been vaccinated, and always wear a mask. About a week and a half ago I begin eating inside at a restaurant, but it’s a restaurant where I trust the staff to take the proper precautions. I’ve been in there several times and I’m very very impressed with the way they’re handling things.

    Whenever I leave the house I wear a mask around my neck. As soon as I walk into a building I’ll pull it up. I sometimes walk without my mask, but I do feel uncomfortable when taking a walk without a mask. After I was vaccinated I was in the habit of keeping the mask around my neck when taking a walk, and then pulling it up if I came across any other pedestrians.

    I am not fully relaxed yet about being out in public, which is kind of unusual because I really hate staying home. I’m going to start all over again tomorrow, because tomorrow I am having knee replacement surgery and then I’m going to be laid up at home for a little while. One of the reasons I’ve been so cautious the last couple of weeks is that I didn’t want to come down with anything at all that might postpone my surgery; there are colds going around here.

    DebRo

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    1. Deb, do let us know how you're doing post op! Sending you lots of good recovery wishes!

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    2. Fingers crossed for a successful surgery and rehab, DebRo!

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    3. Keep us posted, darling ‘DebRo!

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  21. I'm so grateful that all of my family have been even more cautious than I on masks. I confess, Ican't conjure any generous thoughts toward people who could but refuse to get vaccinated.

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    1. I'm with you on that 100%, Hallie. So much of the world cannot get the vaccine because it's unavailable to them, and some spoiled Americans have the gall to view it as a political statement to refuse one.

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    2. I actually heard someone say that we were living in a vaccine dictatorship. That is so gaspingly nutty. And I’ve got a wonder, what is a super big will happen to them?

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  22. I socialized for the first time in forever Saturday night. Our neighbors had a barbecue for their older son's graduation and family and various friends and neighbors attended. It was nice and casual, no masks, no social distancing, held inside and outdoors. It was strange to be chitchatting with people I didn't know, weird to be at a party again, but not uncomfortable. I haven't driven out to see my sister yet but I asked if she was hosting guests again and she has a friend coming in from Utah in a couple of weeks. So I guess that means I can invite myself sometime. Many of the stores here still require masks so I carry one on me. If it's optional I leave it off. I've no problem with either situation. I actually went to TJ Maxx the other day. Found a couple of pairs of pants I wanted to try on. Guess what? The dressing rooms are still closed. No trying on, no sale. I left.

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    1. Oh, Pat. Even before COVID, I’d stopped trying clothes on…claustrophobia, intrusive sales people, and the thoughts of other folks’ bodies in the clothes. You are one brave woman in my book! May you be able to enjoy shopping soon.

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    2. Again, this is so fascinating! People just making their own rules about what feels right.

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    3. I'm laughing Elisabeth. I haven't shopped in a store that had real live sales ladies that wait on you in years! I usually shop online because I just don't enjoy shopping. But once in a blue moon I'll pop into a Marshall's or TJMaxx if I'm in the neighborhood. But not while their dressing rooms are closed!

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  23. No. No, no, no. The pandemic isn't over, over a quarter of adults aren't vaccinated, even if I am, and I'm staying home and only go out for the most necessary purposes (groceries, medical), double masked. Paranoid? Yes. Safe? Yes.

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    1. I agree! So the reason the vaccinated people are fearful, though, is what? That the vaccine won’t work? I guess that’s the only answer, otherwise will be all casual about it.

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  24. I've been out and about as usual, since I'm not in a job lucky enough to be about to stay home. My state didn't have mask requirements and restaurants and most places were open. Plus I live in such a small town in the middle of nowhere most of us have going about business as usual, with no big outbreaks. The hard part was the neighboring state that was totally opposite. Masks required, one week restaurants are open, next week they've had to close again. Since I live right at the border (literally within walking distance) and major grocery stores are closer in the next state than my own, you never knew what you'd run into for changes this time. They've now opened everything up and no masks, but several restaurants are having trouble finding workers.

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    1. Alicia, that is so interesting! As if a virus would know about state boundaries …

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  25. Have found my self out during the last few weeks and suddenly unmasked, inside, in a crowded space — like when I went in to the rest room from eating out on the dock at the restaurant yesterday. Feeling NAKED and worrying about the baby on the changing table as I ducked into the stall. Or a week ago, when my mask fell off as I ordered lunch at the counter, even though I’d just hugged an acquaintance (fully masked) on the side walk. Fully vaxed since March 26, maskwhen shopping inside, inside the Uber (I don’t drive), and at the bank. No mask to walk for exercise and pleasure or in the car with family. Like so many of you always have a mask with me and, depending on where I’m heading, around my neck or in my pocket. The mantra still works: “we will get through this.”

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  26. I headed out of the house yesterday for my critique group's first in-person meeting in a year...and almost forgot to put on real pants! As for shoes? I had to wipe off a layer of dust. But I am getting out and about and loving every beautiful moment. I carry a mask in my pocket in case I go in someplace that requires them. I watch the local newspaper's report on daily cases and will revert to being more cautious if they start to rise, which they haven't (single digit daily cases in my county).

    However, I confess, I've had my first head cold in quite some time since lightening up. Hubby brought it home from work and gave it to me. But what a relief to know it was ONLY a head cold. Without the vaccine, I'd have been running to get tested.

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    1. Oh, so different to have a cold now, you are so right! I remember taking my temperature every day, about this time last year. Wow.

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  27. I still wear my mask when in public. Since I'm fully vaccinated I don't have to worry about seeing friends but I almost always do that at church or a restaurant so have the mask on at least part of the time. I just heard a lady say on TV that there should be no vaccine mandates. With her kind of thinking, we would still have smallpox, polio, and many other diseases. ARRRGH! Stay safe and well.

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    1. I have to shake my head at that. ARRGH is right. I do wish I could understand what she's really thinking. And why. xx

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  28. Great post! I thought I commented this morning then I see this is a new post! I was very tired today.

    Definitely wearing my mask everywhere even though I am fully vaccinated. Only time I take off my mask is when I am around fully vaccinated people.

    Diana

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  29. So interesting to hear all the different perspectives. I found the habit of wearing a mask was extremely easy to drop once I was vaccinated. And I have also had to force myself to wear more than mascara when I go out. I live alone and I like my family and my friends and I refuse to live in fear. I have known many many more people that have died this last year and not one of them from covid. So I'm trying to enjoy life as best I can. Although I don't like huge crowds I will go to restaurants and stores. I was thinking Bouchercon this year might be really fun until I saw it was in NOLA in August! Sorry not going to Louisiana in August! Too hot and humid. Just a fan here, and I really admire and enjoy the Reds!

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  30. Becky Sue EpsteinJune 15, 2021 at 10:02 AM

    I'm with Deborah and Hallie!

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  31. I love the prairie dog analogy! We've been poking our heads out for a couple of weeks. I'm still trying to remember how to dress. Thank goodness my clothes still fit, though it takes forever to put things together. The few times we've ventured out with close friends, it has been absolutely joyous, just to be celebrating life.

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