Brave New World

I hope that my American friends had a Happy 4th of July! I did not do a weekly reads post this week as I was celebrating on the 4th and, on the third, was busy prepping for the 4th. I’ll cover two weeks in my next update post.

Anyway, since I last wrote, Oregon is now “open for business,” meaning that all COVID restrictions are lifted. While I ended my “Dispatches from the Distancing” series back when masks were no longer mandated by the CDC for vaccinated individuals, I did want to do a new update on what our world looks like now.

Pat and I have been tiptoeing into the world of the unmasked. Masks have been fading from Costco for some time, but we finally went in without ones ourselves. Probably only about 30% of the people there (and about 5% of the employees) wore masks and it was…fine. Our Costco has been good about COVID protocols (and was even the scene of an infamous “Karen” video), so I felt okay with that. After our Costco trip, we headed over to New Seasons, which is an upscale grocery store in our area where I like to check out the produce. They carry a lot of local crops and varieties we don’t find in our grocery store. There, mask use was still pretty prevalent, but we were fine without it. As for my local Fred Meyer, they still have their MASKS ARE REQUIRED sign up, but added a sticker saying that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear them. There were still some masks–and there were a number of kids who were old enough to wear masks but not old enough to be vaccinated running around without masks, but what can you do? If Chris were to come with me to the store, I would make sure that he wore a mask.

The big news is that WE ARE BACK AT CHURCH! For those of you who are Facebook Friends or follow my personal private Instagram account, you have seen me post pictures of our zoom church every week. The kids were, how should I put this?, not always engaged in church when we were up in our bonus room! However, we were finally able to go back to our beloved little church! We still wear masks to protect those who are not vaccinated (which was only Chris on Sunday). While I will be glad to ditch the mask for worship, I’m happy to wear it while people feel it is still necessary. The kids did great…Chris was far more attentive than he was back in March 2020 when the church shut down! Next week will be a test as Lillie will be an Acolyte and she’s not sure if she remembers what to do (she will have an adult Lay Leader helping her). We did have to do an emergency run to the Sacristy to find a robe that would fit her as she’s a bit taller and leaner than she was in March 2020!

I think the one who had the hardest time adjusting to in-person church was Alice! She headed up to the Bonus room right before we left as if we were going to log in and then, when we returned, she was waiting for us at the door and was not happy! She had gotten so used to being a part of Church that the insult was too great when we left her behind!

As for the 4th, we had no fireworks–which was quite a sacrifice to Pat, but I was more than happy with it (as was Alice!) This had nothing to do with COVID or quarantine, but with the fact that it is so dry here that the fire danger was too high. Many areas around us banned fireworks, but our county only “strongly discouraged” them. I noticed that the stores (Costco and Fred Meyer) stopped selling fireworks, but the fundraising stand in the Fred Meyer parking lot remained. Some of the neighbors had some small fireworks and invited the kids out to watch, but neither Lillie nor Chris seemed into it.

However, the rest of the county may not have gotten the memo…

Other than that, we had a friend come to share the day with us–it was her first 4th as a US Citizen, so that was fun. She also brought a huge bowl of fruit salad, almost all of which went into Lillie’s tummy! And then, instead of blowing up fireworks, we chatted about books and blew up each other’s TBR’s.

So, that is our life at the moment. Pat took some much needed time off this week, but I don’t think we’ll be doing much. Chris started a Minecraft writing class today and has swim lessons and Lillie was invited to do an accelerated math course this summer so she can bypass advanced 7th grade math and go right into advanced 8th grade math/Algebra in the fall. This will put her a year ahead of the accelerated math program through high school and she can start taking college level math her Junior year. We are incredibly proud of her and Lillie is pretty thrilled with herself over this! I was afraid she’d turn her nose up at the idea of 5 weeks of online summer school, but she was pretty excited about it Anyway, as for Pat’s time off, we may head up to Mt. St. Helens after Lillie’s math class tomorrow , but other than that we’ll probably just hang around and, hopefully, I’ll get a lot of reading done!

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