* Some years back I referred to this week (which some Brits have dubbed "Twixtmas") as "the quiet week at the bottom of the year" and I meant it positively. But those were happier times; both my parents were alive and were in reasonably good health; I was up there for the break; there were places to go and fun things to do.
This year? It's kind of a nothing week. I've done my grocery run (this time: a pick up from Wal-mart because there were a couple things I wanted that Pruett's does not sell) for the week so....
I went in and worked for a couple hours on data analysis and writing a crummy first draft of the Methods and part of the Results section for the paper (more likely a Note - smaller, less important) based on the past year's research. But it is kind of disheartening; this is my "time off" but I feel like I can't go and do any of the things I would do in a normal year.
* So I did go in and work a bit today, because what else am I going to do? Sitting at home palls after a while. I'll probably go in tomorrow and Wednesday, then stay home New Year's Eve (we are supposed to get slightly wintry weather, and it's cold in my office, and if the roads get bad it's better to be home)
* I also took my shillelagh home with me; I could have maybe used it last evening. I was putting my trash down to the curb and a huge dog came running from the house across the street on the corner - across two lawns - snarling and barking.
I've said before that I am afraid of dogs that seem unfriendly. I had bad experiences as a kid with a couple people who had watchdogs that were trained to be unfriendly. And I've heard a couple news stories here of people attacked by dogs - two of whom died of their injuries. And anyway, the middle of a pandemic is NOT the time to have to go to the hospital.
Anyway, I started to back away slowly, wondering what on earth I could do (I should have hung on to the cart, could have got it between the dog and me). The owner did run after it, cursing it and yelling at me "DON'T RUN, HE'LL ATTACK YOU IF YOU RUN" and I was standing there (did not say, but thought): "Woman, then what? I stand still and let him attack?"
My neighbor across the street saw it and called me after to be sure I was okay, and said she'd called police and animal control on the dog a couple times - apparently it menaced their small well-behaved dog so now when her husband walks it, he takes a big stick with him.
So okay: big stick. I have one of those. So I guess now I just keep the shillelagh by the front door and grab it when I am going out if it looks like any dogs are loose. I could use it to nudge a dog away from me, or try to get it between the dog's jaws, or, in extremis, hit the dog hard with the heavy knob on the top.
I also found (through mail order) a citronella spray which I think would be less harmful to a dog - and less risky for me if it's windy - than pepper spray would. And again - I'll carry it with me when I'm outside on a day when dogs seem to be about. I HATE that I have to do this but I know someone who was bitten by a dog right here in town and while nothing much came of that (the dog had been vaccinated and it was not a deep wound), still.. I don't like it.
But I hate that I have to do this. And the woman kind of brushed it off when I said I had bad dog experiences and aggressive dogs scared me. This is the second person in the neighborhood to do this (the first, mercifully, seems to have moved away). But it does feel very isolating to be told "your fear is foolish" shortly after basically being told "yes my dog will attack"
No, I'm not calling Animal Control; they seem pretty useless, frankly. It will probably take an actual child getting mauled for anyone to care.
Responsible dog owners I have met hold their dog back, or (especially when the dog is panting and wagging its tail and looks eager) tell me the dog is friendly if I want to pet it. And I know how to approach a dog like that - you offer your knuckles first for them to sniff, and if they seem to continue to be friendly you gently go to pet the head or shoulders. I don't HATE dogs - I really like the friendly ones (like Maggie, my chair's Golden retriever) but I don't like it when dogs are poorly socialized and act like you are prey.
* I read an article the other day talking about how a lot of people, even pretty hard-core introverts, have noticed that the loss of "small" interactions - chatting with someone at the coffee shop, seeing colleagues at work - is distressing and I notice that a lot. I am pretty strictly staying home, and even when I am out, the interactions are very constrained - everyone is masked, we are standing 6' apart, and it's hard to really interact when you are so concerned about distancing and getting out of a place fast.
And of course these few days I've gone in to campus I've been the only one there; campus is officially closed until the 4th. So I don't even see people there.
I don't know. I hope those interactions come back when - if - this is over. I admit some days in this I had to stop and think to remember what day it was or even which city I was in. I don't like that. My brain feels like it's slipping - it's probably isolation but I hope it's nothing worse.
But I am worried based on what I've read about the "new more infective" variant. I fully suspect it's here and we're just not doing enough or the right kind of testing to find it. So no JoAnn's, no bookstore, not even (maybe) the little local quilt store until vaccines are more widespread.
honestly I would not be surprised if a last-minute decision were made to open up all online for a while. It would stink, but I don't know that there's much of a choice.
I know more and more people who have, or have had, COVID. Right now a couple former church members (moved away) are in the hospital; one member of the couple is on a ventilator, which is not good. And a long-time friend of the family is in the hospital with it; he is a leukemia survivor so it's a little concerning.
* I really have no plans for new year's eve. I mean, I never do, really - I don't like staying up late, I am not a partier, so I guess in a way it's less of a disappointment than Christmas alone was. I did buy a bottle of sparkling cider (one of the reasons I did pick up from Walmart - they carry Martinelli's, which is probably the best brand) and I got some fancy cheese and I might make deviled eggs? But other than that, no real plans.
I guess - if this is how we are to live now - I have to find some way of making fun, all alone, by myself, in my house. But right now my creativity is at a low ebb. I suppose I will go to bed early after dinner and read.
Hopefully this time next year will be better? But "better" seems so very far off right now.
And it doesn't help that the big human interaction I had most recently was so unpleasant.