Is Covid gone? Not really, but it’s definitely much, much better. There are new variants popping up: The W.H.O. says the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron is driving most cases around the world, but supposedly it isn’t going to cause much trouble. I like how the New York Times charts the pandemic: Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count. I really like that they have made their pandemic coverage free for everyone, instead of putting it behind a paywall; this is what journalism at its best looks like.
I’m a librarian at a small, private university and as of March 28, masks are only required in the Health Center, nowhere else on campus. I work from home two days a week, and the days I am on campus I tend to stay in my office as much as possible.
We went to Costco the other day and didn’t wear masks for the first time. We went at dinner time when the store is the least busy (not that it’s ever really quiet there!) but we kept away from people and felt fairly safe.
My husband and I are vulnerable, and I figure it can’t hurt so why take chances. I’m hoping that I will be more comfortable going without a mask soon. Now that we are eligible for a fourth shot, AKA second booster, once that is in the rear view maybe I’ll be able to relax for a while? I’m not rushing to get it though, but will soon.
We also did something we haven’t done for two years, almost to the day. In March of 2020, we and a group of friends attended a Swank Farm Dinner right before everything shut down due to Covid. Well, I was thrilled to be able to do so again this year! It’s all outdoors and that helped us feel safe. It was so much fun to just hang out with good friends – it felt so normal when I haven’t felt that way in so long.
Living in Florida is becoming more and more problematic. I don’t trust our governor and his state surgeon general. Our local newspaper, The Sun Sentinel, ran this editorial earlier this year: Joseph Ladapo and his contrived evasiveness must go. They are both anti-science and act like children, thumbing their noses at the CDC. In fact, the governor’s policy is to do the opposite of whatever the CDC recommends. It’s maddening and frightening and illogical. It is his base that is unvaccinated and dying.
Meanwhile, the governor’s priority is in rousing his base as he readies himself to run for president. That is not reassuring to me, to say the least. He is all about banning books, banning abortion rights, making sure our children remain ignorant and uneducated, and is hostile to the LGBTQ+ community, among others. He has his own Brownshirts, AKA the Election Police, poised and ready to intimidate voters, and you can guess the types of voters they will be intimidating. It’s all just unimaginable to me, to be living in a society like this. And even more disheartening, polls show Biden and Trump virtually tied in the next election. The only saving grace is that it is still a couple of years off. I can’t imagine what life will be like in America if Trump, or one of his disciples (like Gov. DeSatan,) gets into office. It may be April 1, but this is no joke – it is my worst nightmare.
I can’t help but wonder how much longer I will live in Florida. I love my life here – I love my job and my co-workers and my friends. But sea levels are rising – hello, climate change! My husband, who has two degrees in oceanography and marine science, fears we will be under water sooner rather than later, even though we are about 14 miles inland from the coast. Not to mention the political climate, which is becoming untenable for me. But I do love the weather here and truly hate the cold. I am uncomfortably cold when it drops below 70!
I grew up in New York but moved to Florida when I was 17 years old and went to the University of Miami. That was the year it snowed in Miami! When I lived in New York, I had terrible bouts of strep throat and bronchitis, year after year, not to mention terrible allergies. I still have allergies, but they are much milder, and haven’t had a strep throat or bronchitis since I moved down here. But my grandchild is in NY, so if I have to move, it will be somewhere a lot closer to my family there. Not sure when that will be, but eventually. Maybe. Who knows!
A Scientific Explanation for Your Urge to Sniff Old Books: Jude Stewart Breaks Down the Chemical Reactions Behind Olfactory Bibliomania (yes, I do that!)
The fantasy author Brandon Sanderson set out to raise $1 million on Kickstarter* in 30 days to self-publish four new books. He reached the goal in about 35 minutes — and has now topped $37 million.
How fiction and poetry can help you navigate a loved one’s dementia* Caretaking is one of the most difficult and demanding jobs anyone can do. Maybe this will offer a bit of relief.
The 50 Best Memoirs of the Past Fifty Years* from the New York Times, some real gems on there!
Schools nationwide are quietly removing books from their libraries*: Meet the librarians fighting bans and scrambling to preserve children’s freedom to read
Texas Library Association Forms Coalition to Battle Book Bans: The move comes as efforts to ban books, primarily books involving race or LGBTQ issue, have increased dramatically.
Idaho Republicans push bill that would fine and jail librarians for certain books. The bill, which has passed the House, would come with a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail. And my favorite part: they’re not saying which books.
Publishing Giants Are Fighting Libraries on E-Books: The Association of American Publishers filed suit to block a new Maryland law that aims to increase public libraries’ access to e-books, with support from a powerful copyright lobbying group. If you’re wondering why you have to wait three months or more to borrow a new bestseller for your Kindle, here’s why.
And finally, some good library news!
Since Pi Day, 3.14 (March 14,) fell on a Monday and it was the first day back to school after spring break, it seemed like a good day for pi. Pie, that is. Did you know that cheesecake is actually pie? And that Boston Cream Pie is actually cake? Librarians; we do the deep dive for you!
A few of my colleagues and I made pies for our student workers and staff. I made the pumpkin using a recipe based on a Paula Deen recipe that I tweaked. I upped the spices, used some brown sugar, and ditched her idea of buying pie crust for a ginger snap crust instead.
1 (8 oz) package softened cream cheese (I leave it out overnight)
1 can pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk (or 2%)
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups Ginger Snap crumbs (Trader Joes preferred!)
6 T. butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown or white sugar
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Easiest way to make the ginger snap crumps is to dump a little more than 1 1/2 cups of broken ginger snaps into the food processor and pulse until finely ground. Measure out 1 1/2 cups and remove the rest (great on ice cream or sprinkle on top of the pie.) Put the crumbs back in the food processor and add sugar and melted butter. Pulse until like wet sand. Press into deep 9” pie plate and bake for 8-10 minutes. It should barely be brown around the edges. Let cool while making pie filling.
Turn down the oven to 350°F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium high until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined with no white streaks are left. Add the sugar and salt, and beat to combine. Add the egg with the yolks, heavy cream, milk, and melted butter, and beat on low until well mixed. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and beat just to combine.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the center is set. Check it after 30 minutes and cover the pie crust if it is getting too dark. (I use this: https://amzn.to/3JXj2lq) Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate when cool. (If you look carefully at the picture, you can see that I forgot to use the deep dish pie pan when I made this, so I had extra pie filling leftover. Don’t be me!)
In exciting news from my world, my grandson recently celebrated his first birthday, and he is learning Spanish as well as English!
As always, thanks for reading and stay safe.
*Thanks to The New York Times and The Washington Post for allowing me to “gift” my readers with free access to these articles, a lovely perk for subscribers.
Where I live, in New Zealand, we are just starting to scale down our response to Covid, so masks are still a familiar sight, the thought of going out in public with a bare face is a bit nerve wracking at the moment
It is scary! I hope things are better for you soonest.