My Pandemic Year II: February 2021

February 2, 2021 – Groundhog Day, Sir Capt. Tom Moore, Officer Sicknick

  • WA cases 314,692 / deaths 4,316
  • US cases 26,431,145 (113,620 since yesterday)
  • US deaths 446,744 (3,383 of us died today)
  • Yet another mutation has evolved that may be resistant to the vaccines. A new surge is expected.

It’s Groundhog Day today, although someone on Twitter commented that it’s been Groundhog Day every day since March 2020.

COVID-19 appointments are ridiculous; 3500 spots filled in 30 minutes at 9 AM today in Pierce County (Tacoma area). There aren’t any appointments available in North Seattle at all.

Hal Holbrook died today. Sir Capt. Tom Moore, the elder who raised $33 million by doing laps in his garden with his rocker, an action which was recognized with a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth, also died at age 100 from COVID-19. Jeff Bezos steps down as Amazon CEO and takes a seat on their executive board.

The cremated remains of Officer Sicknick lies in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, near where he lost his life on January 6. Biden met the guard at the door. Officer Sicknick will lie in honor for 12 hours, and his funeral will be paid for as a result of that honor.

Personal accounts have started to surface, mostly from the women of Congress who thought they were going to die on January 6. They were texting their husbands with the locations of their will, and hiding under their desks with baseball bats while agitators pounded on their office doors. Over 200 staffers have written a letter to the Senate, requesting that Trump be held accountable.

February 3, 2021

  • US cases 26,554,216 (123,071 new) /deaths 450,680 (3,936 of us died today)

There are no vaccines available until February 9-11 for top tier people (1A/1B) and none are expected to be available to the general public before summer/fall. The good news is that some vaccines (AstraZeneca) appear to reduce transmission as well as protect from severe symptoms, though AstraZeneca has not been approved in the US yet.

Ben Carson resigned today over the January 6 incident, apparently unaware that his term ended January 20.

February 4, 2021

  • US cases 26,676,608 (122,392 new) / deaths 455,735 (5,055 of us died today)
  • Washington State is receiving 100,000 doses per week, demand is 300,000 per week.

There’s now a shortage of garden seeds for home gardeners. It’s the worst shortage since Y2K. Demand is up 5-6 times above normal and is reportedly impacting commercial growers as well.

Canada declares the Proud Boys as a terrorist group. A Proud Boy in Auburn, WA has been arrested for leading a group into the Capitol on January 6, and faces 30 years if convicted on all charges. Marjorie Taylor Greene is removed from her committee assignments in the House, but faces NO consequences from the leadership of her party for her QAnon conspiracies and death threats against her colleagues. Meanwhile, Morgan Wallen, a country western singer, is dropped from his record label and 100 radio stations after using a racial slur off-stage. Justice continues to be off-balance.

Trump resigns from the Screen Actor’s Guild, pre-empting a potential expulsion for spreading misinformation that endangered journalists (who are members of the guild). SAG simply responded with “Thank You.” He is invited to his impeachment trial but refuses the offer. It’s not clear if he will be subpoenaed.

February 5, 2021

  • Global cases 105,346,199 / deaths 2,296,700
  • US cases 26,804,927 (128,319 new) /deaths 459,278 (3,843 of us died today)
  • One year ago today, the first COVID-19 death was documented in the US.

Johnson & Johnson applies for emergency authorization for their single dose vaccine. It’s 66% effective against severe symptoms, and I may settle for a less effective vaccine just to get ANYTHING. Though I suspect those vaccines, once approved, will go to more rural areas where the needs of the Pfizer vaccine have complicated distribution.

Winter storms are now delaying mass vaccination sites in several cities, including Kennewick, WA. The Pentagon deploys active duty troops to assist with mass vaccination sites, and 1,000 are on their way to California. Biden invokes the Defense Production Act to increase manufacture of vaccines (which should have happened months ago). Pharmacies and grocery stores are now offering vaccines but all of them in this area are booked for the entire month. Vicki and I refuse to go outside of the area for the sake of a vaccine when we live 10 minutes away from several pharmacies, and a 5 minute walk away from a UW vaccination site. We decide to wait, but are now looking at March/April, so it won’t be long.

Downtown Seattle has had an 80% drop in office space occupancy. It’s still a ghost town, except for those areas that are now homeless tent encampments (Pioneer Square and Third Avenue near Seneca). Seattle’s cruise season risks cancellation because Canada has extended the border closure due to COVID-19.

Iowa and Wisconsin repeal their mask and social distancing mandates effective on Super Bowl Sunday. I now expect those indoor parties to become the next surge of super-spreader events.

Lunacy continues in US Congress as well. Marjorie Taylor Greene says “Laser Beams From Space” is a Jewish conspiracy that started the California wildfires… she’s now insulting both McConnell and McCarthy, is happy because “committees are a waste of my time” and plans to use her time to support other far right candidates for the 2022 mid-terms.

Christopher Plummer dies, age 91.

I am sad and reminiscent today, recounting losses from this year which include the 20th anniversary of my business, and my sabbatical which will roll over into next year. I clear a dead bouquet off my desk today, and am reminded of the milestone birthdays missed this year (both mine and my mom). A sunset walk at The Rez is a treat. Sleep tonight is fitful. At 12:30 AM, both cats go nuts, fully bristled and growling and at the sewing room window in guard-dog mode. I can’t see anything but they remain tense for the next hour. I have a sense that someone else is in my apartment and feel the pressure of a hand on my shoulder around 2 AM. I can’t get back to sleep after that.

February 6, 2021

The FBI has now arrested 235 insurrectionists across 40 states, many have been arrested on minor charges, with more serious charges being added as intelligence comes in. The January 6 case now involves 56 FBI officers. The DOJ investigation may be one of the largest since 9/11. Presidents continue to receive security briefings after they leave office, but Biden requests that those briefings stop for Trump due to his erratic behavior.Fox News cancels Lou Dobbs, under pressure from the Dominion voting machine lawsuit.

Leon Spinks, the boxer who bested Muhammed Ali, dies of cancer at age 67.

Sunset is now past 5 PM, and the sky is a beautiful blend of grey with orange clouds. I should be finishing hats but turn to my Director’s Cuts of my original travelogs. I guess I need to work on something today that I know I will successfully finish.

February 7, 2021

  • US cases 27,004,716 (199,789 new)/deaths – 463,437 (4,149 since February 5)
  • 31.9 million Americans are now vaccinated, 9.6% of our population.
  • AstraZenica is found mostly ineffective against the South Africa variant and distribution has stopped there. It is not effective against mild/moderate symptoms but is still effective against severe symptoms.

George Shultz, former secretary of state, died today, age 100.

February 8, 2021

  • US cases 27,083,808 (79,092 new) / deaths 464,840 (1,403 died today)
  • WA cases 323,214 (723 new) / deaths 4,451 (35 new)
  • 32.6 million have now been vaccinated, 9.8% of the total population
  • New variants are the UK (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351) and Brazil (P.1)

25,000 shots have now been administered at 4 mass vaccination sites in Spokane, Kennewick, and Wenatchee. Amazon did 2,500 in a 2 hour stint last month. Appointments in North Seattle are still nearly impossible to find. Fauci says the vaccine supply should improve by March. He also says we will need to upgrade the current vaccines to address mutations, especially if one of them (the B.1.351) becomes dominant. If that happens, there will be a higher level of infections, but still a lower level of severe sickness and death. He does not address a potential increase in long haulers.

12 million fake 3M-N95 masks have been seized by US Customs since the start of the pandemic. 115 hospitals in Washington State have spent $5-8 million on 2 million of those masks. 3M is sending 1 million real masks to replace some of those counterfeits. Testing for COVID-19 among medical staff has found no increase in infection rates, so it was just a money-maker for the scammers.

Isolation in hospitals and WFH’ers who can now care for their parents at home has prompted a surge in “hospice at home” and an increase in COVID-19 deaths outside of hospital settings. COVID-19 has also resulted in 2.2 million people in Washington state being food insecure (about a third of our state population).

Ron White (R-VA) died today, age 67, from COVID-19. He had been hospitalized in September for lung cancer. He is the first sitting member of Congress to die of COVID-19. Luke Letlow, (R-LA) died at age 41 in December, before he could be sworn in.

Biden returns the US to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Microsoft joins the list of corporations who are suspending donations to congress members who impeded the Electoral College certification on January 6. A 6th Seattle police officer has been found to have participated in the January 6 insurrection in DC. SPD says that officers who attended the rally are OK, but any who participated in the break-in will be fired. The cost to secure the Capitol from January 6-March 15 is $438 million, just for the National Guard. Georgia DA’s office starts an inquiry into Trump’s election interference.

I am screaming mad today, as short tempered as I have ever been. Every single thing results in expletive-laced shouting. Anger at everything seems to be the new normal.

February 9, 2021 – Impeachment trial begins

  • US cases 27,189,761 (105,953 new) / deaths 468,103 (3,263 of us died today)
  • 33.3 million are now vaccinated, 10% of our population. We need 75% for herd immunity.
  • 41% of Americans now have a COVID-19 induced anxiety disorder, up from 34% in May 2020.

COVID-19 variants may now cause a 4th surge as states continue to drop their mask mandates and COVID-19 fatigue sets in. New terms include “coronaphobia” (a fear of getting COVID-19) and “coronawall” (describing January as the 13th month of 2020).

“Easter became Memorial Day became Labor Day became next year became…maybe 2022” – The Pandemic Wall

The Washington Post

Even being vaccinated, very little will change. Businesses are still closed, travel to most countries is still off-limits for Americans, precautions will remain in place to protect those not yet vaccinated, and as precaution against the variants.

Chick Corea, jazz musician, dies today, age 79.

Impeachment trial begins today, YouTube takes down the opening session as being in violation of something. I try to stay off the news, as my stress level is high today.

I have woken up the last two nights under very heavy weight – like the board and stones presses that were used to extort confessions from women during the Salem Witch Trials. I’m still feeling like someone is in my apartment. Vicki says the tenant in the apartment directly above me committed suicide before I moved in. She’s been seeing him lately as well. That probably explains the “hand on shoulder” sensation I had a few nights ago. I hope he finds his way out of the building soon. I’d like to get some sleep.

February 10, 2021

  • WA State cases 324, 706 (1,228 new) / deaths 4,603 (43 died today)
  • US cases 27,284,458 (64,697 new) / deaths 471,377 (3,274 of us died today)
  • 34.4 million have now been vaccinated, 10.4% of our population

King County launches a plan to vaccinate 70% of our population by October 2021, or early 2022, depending on vaccine supply. That timeframe is Way. Too. Long…. Vicki is up at 1 AM searching for vaccination sites but is coming up empty. Social media is full of people doing the same thing, with the same results. We’re receiving less than 30% of the vaccines we need, just for the 1A/1B (over 65 and designated front line workers).

I’m trying to steer away from impeachment trial news, but the videos the Trial Managers are presenting are pretty compelling. The GOP is going to look really bad if they don’t take some form of meaningful action (short of impeachment and conviction).

February 11, 2021 – The Dems rest their case in the impeachment trial

  • US cases 27,390,465 (106,007 new) / deaths 475,291 (3,914 of us died today)
  • Global cases – 107,767,935
  • 35.4 million Americans are vaccinated, 10.7% of our population.

It’s 2 AM. I cannot sleep. Again. So I’m watching recaps of the impeachment trial. The models presented by the impeachment management team show how physically close the mob was to congressional members and the VP and his family. The GOP were in just as much danger as their Democratic colleagues and yet they persist in treating this proceeding as a waste of their time. Unbelievable.

Thomas Caldwell, a former FBI agent and Naval Intel officer, may have organized the assault on the Capitol and trained militia groups for several weeks prior to January 6. Trump likely knew the danger Pence was in, just by the timing of his tweets and phone calls to senators. It shook a few but may not have changed enough minds. The trial is important from a historical documentation standpoint, but it is extremely frustrating to watch, knowing that the chance of a Senate conviction is near zero.

Biden promises vaccines for 300 million Americans by August 1. CNN discloses today that Trump’s doctors were considering putting him on a ventilator when he was hospitalized for COVID-19 last year. His oxygen level dropped to the low 80’s and there were infiltrates in his lungs.

Six starlings arrive at my feeder this afternoon, the first I’ve ever had. Snow starts to fall, about an inch so far, very fine, like rain. A tooth is starting to go bad, I am terrified of seeing a dentist right now. I hope I can get my first vaccine pretty soon.

The day ends with the impeachment management team resting their case, and telling the Senate that Trump remains a threat. Trump’s own lawyer says the DOJ should arrest Trump, rather than deal with this as an impeachment. Twenty GOP senators gathered on a ZOOM call today to discuss forming a new party (center-right, pro-rule of law, anti-Trump).

February 12, 2021

My submission of a NFS hat to the Gallery for the RAGS art show is accepted, but I’m declined from the active selling side. I will now stop applying to both the Bowen Awards and the RAGS shows since I’ve now been rejected from those shows as many times as I can stand.

Downtown Seattle has seen 160 businesses close due to increased violence, drug dealing and homeless living on the streets. “No one is minding the store.” It is highly unlikely that Durkin will be re-elected as mayor, if she even decides to run again.

It is reported that the mob on January 6 was within 100 feet of the aide that was carrying Pence’s nuclear football. There are safeguards in place to prevent a nuclear launch from a single football, but anyone in possession of it can share the nuclear launch codes. And yet, even that doesn’t seem to be compelling to the GOP who stand against impeachment. The Dem’s concern isn’t Trump-centric. It’s about the precedent for those who follow. “A smarter person would have succeeded,” according to Nikki Haley.

Trump’s legal team starts today, the trial is now expected to end tomorrow instead of Tuesday. Out of 16 hours of allotted time for their opening arguements, they expect to use 4-8 hours. His lawyers, Castor and Schoen remain a laughing stock ahead of their opening arguments and may or may not have viable careers afterwards. The Dems are still short of the votes they need so impeachment is expected to fail. But the GOP see this second impeachment trial as the barrier that will prevent the party from nominating Trump as their candidate in 2024. They will vote that the process is unconstitutional, and argue that the court system should take it from here. IMHO it’s a coward’s stance.

February 13, 2021 – Lunar New Year and Trump’s acquittal

I forget to harvest the COVID-19 case and death numbers today, but trends are heading downwards as people get their 2nd dose (which in turn is preventing some of us from getting our 1st dose). 37.4 million are now partially vaccinated, 11.3% of the total population. I call Walgreen’s today but give up after being put on hold. The world seems to evolve around people with unlimited time and cell phone minutes.

It’s very cold this morning. I used Imperfect insulation bags to cover my patio plants though I don’t know if they will be protected enough. Snow is drifting onto my patio and the freshly plowed drive / road is already covered again. At 9 AM, it’s 26 degrees, we have 6″ of snow so far. I discover thread-bare sections of my Italian Ren over-gown that I’ve been living in for the past year. I’m surprised it has taken this long to wear through.

Eugene Goodman, the Capitol police officer credited with leading the mob away from the Senate chamber on January 6, receives the Congressional Medal of Honor. The impeachment trial resumes. Herrara Beutler (R-WA) was allowed to have her statement read into the minutes, abruptly ending the Dems attempt to subpoena witnesses and documents. Greene reportedly threatened Beutler, and the GOP’s threatened to not confirm Biden’s cabinet nominations if the impeachment trial was prolonged.

At 1 PM I break away from watching the snow, and turn to watch virtual New Year via ZOOM from the Wing Luke Museum. It offered behind-the-scenes looks at where the lion heads are stored, and the kids that are being trained as the next generation of lion dancers. I was also introduced to Shishima – the Japanese version which is performed by a solo actor rather than a team, and reminded me of Kabuki. Alexa Manila did a great story about the multi-culturalism of Chinese New Year among Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and Hopi. Like Dia de los Muertos, I had watched Carnivale in Rio earlier this month, and am really enjoying the virtual festivals, especially those that I would not be able to attend else wise.

The Senate acquits Trump at 2 PM in a vote of 57-43, short of the 2/3 majority we needed. I’m now waiting for both Trump and Greene to start their targeting campaigns. McConnell delivers a speech saying that Trump was responsible for inciting the January 6 insurrection, but the issues was a constitutional technicality of voting to impeach a president who had already left office. He could have steered his party to convict, but chose not to. His oratory will not compensate for his lack of action. The Senate decided to not call witnesses because a) there was fatigue with the process, and b) people wanted to get home for Valentine’s Day. WHAT A CROCK.

February 15, 2021

  • Global cases as of 9 AM 108,969,896 / deaths 2,402,969
  • US cases 27,645,547 / deaths 485,414
  • 38.7 million vaccinated, 11.6% of the US population

WaPo reports on the historic ties between pandemics and extremism (both left and right), on a global stage. “One thing causes the other thing” list including social isolation and a need for self expression during that isolation, and a loss of confidence in institutions. All fingers point to leaders (US, Brazil especially) who labeled COVID-19 as a hoax and refused to take action to curb the spread. 2020 is being hailed as a perfect storm. “Plagues lead to apocalyptic thinking.”

Auckland is back on lockdown. Seoul is starting free testing on pets. The South African variant is now re-infecting Israel, and has been found in 32 other countries. It is still considered the most lethal variant to date. It’s something I will be mindful of the next time I make travel plans, which I expect is at least another year away.

We had 8″ of snow by noon yesterday; I have 3 times that much blocking my walkway from the wall created by the snow plow. It’s down to 3″ today but very slick. Normally I would have taken a walk, but I am so fearful of falling now that I won’t venture out until it melts completely away. I have new fears and phobias now…

The GOP continues to fracture from the impeachment trial and general state of the party post-Trump. The 9/11 Commission may now become the 1/6 Commission. The FBI and DOJ are starting investigations into Trump, as well as several state AG’s. Media reports that he will be facing court cases for the rest of his life.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is now confirmed as the 1st woman, 1st black woman, and 1st US citizen to lead the WTO. That’s a pretty big deal.

February 16, 2021

  • US cases 27,753,823 (108,276 new) / deaths 487,927 (2,513 died today)
  • WA State 890,282 are vaccinated, 3.9% are fully vaccinated (both shots).
  • WaPo says we are months away from getting a 1A /1B elders vaccinated. 39.9 million are vaccinated, 12% of the total population BUT only 4.6% have both shots.

SeaTac Airport received a foot of snow over the weekend, breaking a 52-year record. A salmonella outbreak in the wild bird population results in a request to take feeders down, or to clean them with bleach. I will clean mine rather than taking feeders down during the snowstorm.

Nordstrom lost 9 display windows last night valued at $50-70,000 each, destroyed by some crazy person with a hammer whom they have not caught. It will be blamed on the nightly BLM marches which still continue through the downtown core.

In today’s science news, 1-3 cups of coffee a day can reduce the chance of heart failure. Good news for me! The American Society for Testing and Materials publishes their first national standard for consumer face masks. ELEVEN MONTHS into this pandemic. We are now instructed to look for “ASTM F3502” labels. I continue to double-up with a surgical mask under my 3 layer cloth ones, and still mostly don’t leave my house.

My new phobias have names: “FORO – a fear of running out.” “Physiopedia – a fear of falling while walking.” I feel like I’m 100 years old. The timeline for vaccine availability keeps shifting. Fauci says May/June, Biden says end of July with a return to ‘mostly normal’ by Christmas. I still cannot get an appointment, nor a call back from any of the 5 wait-lists I’m now on. In addition to new phobias, I also have vaccine envy, and have stopped checking Facebook. I have zero bandwidth for most social things right now.

February 17, 2021

  • WA State cases 329,746 (579 new) / deaths 4,704 (34 died in the state today)
  • US cases 27,824,608 (70,785 new) / deaths 490,444 (2,517 of us died today)
  • 41.4 million vaccinated, 34% partial, 12.5% total. About 290 million more to go.
  • There are now 9 cases of the UK variant in King County.
  • Vaccines are now thought to limit the spread of variants, so the race is on…

Someone finally developed an “Open Table” style of vaccine locator, though it looks the same as the WA State version and there are still zero vaccines in North Seattle. My doctor’s office is now putting patient names into a random generator as the most equitable way to distribute their limited vaccine supply.

WaPo reports millions of jobs are not returning because of changes to business models as a result of the pandemic – more people WFH, and there is less travel and more automation. Bill Gates says 1/2 of business travel and 30% of days worked in physical offices, won’t ever come back. McKinsey Global Institute says 20% of global travel is gone due to WFH orders and virtual meetings, which has affected the HRI sector and some factories.

Texas winter storms have killed 14 people and Colorado City has been without power for 24 hours and 3.3 million Texans have no power. Pipes are bursting and are now flooding homes. Water mains have blown out so there’s no water and people are hauling buckets of snow in order to flush their toilets. People are also being told to boil what water they have, I wonder how you do that when you don’t have power. Maybe on BBQs if your propane tank hasn’t run out? As usual, poor people are hit the hardest. Zoos in affected states are seeing significant animal deaths.

The Texas power grid has frozen and even their alternative energy sources aren’t working. They are separate from the national power grid because they don’t want to be subject to “big government.” Their city mayor (Boyd?) resigns after telling people to fend for themselves, and that “lazy people are a product of socialist government.” IMHO those who are elected to govern, should actually do the job of governing.

Rush Limbaugh dies today at age 70.

5,000 National Guard remain on active duty in DC through mid-March due to QAnon chatter about March 4. I don’t know what that is yet.

February 18, 2021 – The March 4 Inauguration Theory

  • Global cases 110,286,670 / deaths 2,441,084
  • US cases 27,895,780 / deaths 493,082 (2,638 of us died today)
  • 42 million Americans are vaccinated, 34.8% of priorities, 12.8% total.

Vaccines are delayed in WA State due to winter storms in the east. Our cases are down by 19%, hospitalizations are down by 23%, but deaths are up 38% over last week. WA State case counts are still 9 times higher than our target. 11.4% of Washingtonians have received their 1st shot, 3.7% are fully vaccinated. I still cannot find a vaccine anywhere near this area and refuse to drive to another county to stand in line for a shot, twice. This is getting stupid.

Austin, TX is now evacuating 300 critical care patients from hospitals due to the water shortage. People are now burning their fences and their kids wooden toys in an effort to stay warm. Their death toll is now 47. The state power grid was reportedly ‘within minutes’ of catastrophic failure. Reading the news today is like reading a script for a multiple-disaster movie.

Six Capitol police are now suspended with pay for their roles on January 6. One of them was wearing a MAGA hat and was directing the mob through the building. The March 4 conspiracy theory comes from “the sovereign citizen movement passed a secret law in 1871 which turned the US into a corporation, and as a result, all presidents beyond Ulysses S. Grant (who was inaugurated March 4) are illegitimate.” This “SovCit” group does not address why Trump would be immune from that ruling. March 4 is reputedly when Trump will become the legitimate 19th president. Trump Hotel in DC has tripled their room rates for March 3-4, though no other downtown property has done so. Some media sources are suggesting that the GOP senators who requested the fencing be removed from around the Capitol before that date, are part of this plan.

Perseverence Rover lands on Mars today.

February 19, 2021

  • US cases 28,004,311 (108,531 new) / deaths – 495,693 (2,611 of us died today)
  • 42.3 million now vaccinated, 12.7% of total population

Selected GOP state legislations are trying to pass legislation to suppress voting in order to placate Trump supporters. Yet another assault on American democracy but this time at the state level.

February 21, 2021 – 500,000 makes headlines, as do the OathKeepers

The COVID-19 fatality number is at the top of every newspaper. It’s more people than are buried at Arlington Cemetery although we actually passed that number (93,000) at noon on January 19. We’re not at 500,000 yet according to the John’s Hopkins website, but it’s still a grim reminder of where we are, and a dark way to start a Sunday morning. CNN forecasts another 60,000 deaths by June 1. Variant B.1.1.7 will dominate by March and cases are expected to increase again by April. There’s now chatter that we won’t reach herd immunity before winter, and maybe people should skip the second dose to make more vaccine available to the rest of us. I wonder how we are going to handle this now that it probably needs to be an annual vaccine.

Fauci says we may need to wear masks into 2022, but that a significant degree of normalcy will return by the end of this year. I wish I was so optimistic. Vaccine distribution is reportedly ramping up, but I still get really mad every time I walk by the UW at NW Hospital and see their “Vaccines Here” signs and I STILL cannot get onto their wait list. I’ve tried 5 times. The vaccine trackers are still showing zero availability in this area. It should not be this difficult.

It’s John Lewis’ birthday today, and the anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X.

OathKeepers, led by Jessica Watkins, a vet from the Afghan War, were reportedly hired as security for the speakers at Trump’s rally on the Ellipse January 6. They were under the impression that Trump was going to invoke the Insurrection Act to use the military to overturn a fraudulent election and that they would have a role in that. They were “the stack” of militia that marched in formation up the stairs to the Capitol that day. Their court defense is that they were ‘following legal orders.” They claim “tens of thousands” of members from both present and former law enforcement and military; anti-gov radicals who claim to be protecting the Constitution against a government who is stripping Americans from their liberties.

Texans now suffer from Arctic cold, water shortages, flooded homes, and now electrical bills between $3-7,000. I should be grateful for my condition. I don’t have any of these problems and yet I am constantly stressed, depressed and under-motivated. I need to find my discipline soon. Vicki comments on how productive I am but I’m nowhere near my normal level and haven’t been for months. Everything moves at a snail’s pace.

I keep forgetting to do routine things like pay bills and balance my checkbook. Walking usually makes me feel better, but not today. I make progress on a hat order, and end my night reading obits for kids lost to COVID-19 on the eve of 500,000.

“Time does not heal. It just teaches you how to handle the pain.”

February 22, 2021We pass 500,000 at 1:45 PM

  • At 9 AM the death count is 499,209
  • At 1:45 PM we reach 500, 071
  • US cases are now 28,185,469
  • Global cases are now 111,697,446
  • WA state gained 509 new cases and lost 35 people today.

Biden hosts a candle ceremony and a moment of silence tonight at sundown (5:44 PM Pacific), to honor the 500,000. He orders flags to be flown at half-mast over federal buildings for the next five days. He delivers 10 minutes of remarks before stepping out to the front of the White House, which is illuminated with 500 candles lining the steps, balcony and portico. President and Dr. Jill, Harris and First Husband are all in black. I shut off the sound when the military band starts to play Amazing Grace. It’s 3:30 here and I take the rest of the day off because I cannot stop crying.

Trump’s taxes are released after he loses his final court appeal. He has lost every case twice, at every level including SCOTUS, who released a one sentence order declining his last appeal. The NYC Manhattan DA will proceed with their grand jury investigation into tax fraud and other charges, some of which are reported to be felonies. Trump is really peeved, especially given that 1/3 of the justices who ruled against him, were the ones he hand-picked to be there. Not one of them dissented.

I light five luminaries on the empty chair on my patio at sunset. I finally stop crying about an hour later. I try watching the news but even the newscasters are breaking down. I input blogs until midnight. The ‘hood is really noisy tonight with yelling and sirens. I expect another short and sleepless night.

February 23, 2021

  • US cases 28,259,488 (74,019 new) / deaths – 502,594 (2,418 of us died today)
  • 44.5 million are now vaccinated, 13.4% of our total population.

Cumulative loss. It’s the two staff who have left the firm. It’s Mom. It’s the 500,000. It’s nearing a full year lost. It’s recognizing how being mostly confined to my 750 sq/ft apartment with limited options on outside activities has altered my general outlook. I understand now the changes I watched Mom go through in the 18 months she was in a nursing home, morphing from sunny, to angry, to resignation. In her last 2 months, it was hard to convince her to even leave the building. A rocky morning finally develops into a reasonable day. I get out for an hour-long walk. It’s snowing in Everett.

The South African variant B.1.135 arrives in King County. It is not more lethal but is not as responsive to current vaccines. I try again to find an appointment but give up after an hour. The vaccine finder is really misleading, and clicking on the “Vaccine available” button lands you on a “sorry, no vaccines here” page. Vicki looks for hours inn the middle of the night. We are both tired of looking and will just ride things out until there’s so much vaccine that they can’t find enough people to give it to.

February 24, 2021

  • US cases 28,335,264 (75,776 new) / deaths 505,803 (2,909 of us died today)
  • In spite of cases being down, trajectory on the Hopkins website remains slightly up for both cases and deaths in the US.

Congress holds a candle lighting ceremony today on the steps of the Capitol to honor the 500,000 we have lost to COVID-19.

Biden lifts Seattle’s “anarchistic jurisdiction” label. Mayor Durkin says: [We] no longer have to face the insanity of a president who governs by Twitter or political threats.” Biden also adds 3 members to the USPS Board of Directors in a move to fire LeJoy. Mail is still taking twice as long as normal, and Chicago reports no mail service at all for 3 week stretches. Biden is also addressing gaps in our supply chain to reduce our dependence on China.

February 25, 2021

  • WA State cases 337,653 (1117 new) / deaths 4,942 (30 new)
  • WA hospitalizations 19,224 (an increase of about 3,000)
  • Seattle remains in Phase B for the next 2 weeks.
  • US cases 28,410,917 (75,653 new) / deaths 508,127 (2,324 of us died today)

Vicki and I stop by a QFC to talk to a pharmacist after having zero success by phone. “No vaccines are available for 1st doses for the next 2 weeks. The best times to check are Sunday and Monday morning, starting the 2nd week of March.” OK then. At least that’s a starting point.

Europe braces for a 3rd surge as COVID-19 deaths decline but infection rates start to rise again. Variants are in the US and vaccination efforts are still stalled due to bad weather and hiccups in manufacture.

The White House releases a report which places the blame for the Khashoggi murder squarely on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Biden is only speaking to the King regarding the matter. I what, if anything, comes of it.

The Senate and House are now deeply divided and distrustful of each other over the January 6 insurrection. The floors evolve into shouting matches and revenge calls for full votes on lesser consequential bills.

“I look forward to rebuilding a relationship, but also a legitimate conservative party instead of the batshit crazy fascist conspiracy theory [group] that too much of the GOP and conservative movement have become.”

Adam Smith (D-WA)

There’s new chatter about an assault on the Capitol during Biden’s 1st Joint Address to Congress. No date has been calendared for that yet. It is reported that 10,000 people came to the Capitol grounds on January 6, and that 800 actually broke in. The last arrest report I saw was for about 264. I’m furious every time I see the arrest numbers, or rather, the lack of them.

The US launched an air strike in Syria today.

February 28, 2021
The Jefferson Davis Highway was renamed this week to “Emancipation Highway.” NASA renamed its DC headquarters after Mary Jackson – one of the “Hidden Figures” scientists, and NASA’s 1st African American female engineer.

I finally got some things done today. It feels weird to be productive.

Published by August-Phoenix-Mercantile

I'm a self taught hat maker, working in rescued textiles and found objects. My designs are inspired by my travels and historical studies. Learn more about me and my hats at

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