Monthly Archives: January 2021

January 2021: Life in the COVID-19 era

January 1, 2021

Happy New Year!  I’m hoping this will be a happy news year with lots of good news about treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. 

Lynn and I have been watching the Netflix series Bridgerton at night the last couple of nights.  We’ve seen five of the eight episodes thus far.  It is about life in the British aristocracy in the early 1800’s where debutants are presented at court in the hopes of finding marriage.  Of all the series Lynn and I have watched during this pandemic this is the one I have liked the least.  For one, I miss some of the lines because of the British accent.  But the main reason is that I have absolutely no interest in the life and lifestyles of those at this socioeconomic level.  Even in modern news, whenever something about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle comes on I turn my ears off.  I’d much rather hear about the life of someone like my brother, George Stephanopolous, Jimmy Carter, Anthony Fauci, or Francis Collins.

To be honest, when I was trying to think of people to include in that last sentence I had a hard time.  There are just very few people beyond my immediate family that I highly admire.  I am not proud of this; I wish there were more people that I want to emulate.  I think that I struggled to find admirable people because I don’t look for them.  It is much easier to blast Donald Trump for his failings than to find someone to praise for their honorable deeds.  I like people who do their jobs well without seeking public adulation.  This includes people like my former employees Nevin Diener and Oskar Scheikl, my childhood minister Jerry Conner, our car mechanics Tom and Brian Simmons, former principal Charles Huffman, and colleague Harold Randall.

It is also very fair to say that the person I admire the highest is Lynn.  She is undoubtedly the most talented, intelligent, big-hearted, selfless, and thoughtful person I have ever known.  I’m beginning 2021 with renewed appreciation of her companionship.

For fun, I looked up how many games of Whirly Word and Solitaire I have now played.  On April 20, 2020, I started this blog, I had played 18,820 and 8,311 of each of those games, respectively.  This morning I was at 21,010 games of Whirly Word and 9,963 games of Solitaire.  That means that I have averaged over 12 games of Whirly Word and 6 games of Solitaire for each of the 258 consecutive days I have written about life in the COVID-19 era.  That alone says something about my lifestyle in the past nine months.

Lynn and I were able to walk two miles yesterday but not today.  Today’s weather was an awful cold rain with sleet mixed in.  It was a good day to stay indoors though both of us were bored.  Tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be much better so we’ve planned to go for a walk tomorrow at a place I’ve been looking forward to seeing—the Crozet tunnel under Afton Mountain which is now open to the public.

We got our $1,200 stimulus check today electronically deposited into our checking account.  The irony is that until the pandemic is over we won’t be spending much of it.  Once we’re vaccinated our vehicles will be loaded with suitcases and we’ll try to make up for lost ground in the spending category.

Lynn taught a lesson today via Facetime—she showed Georgia how to knit.  She had given Georgia a knitting kit for Christmas.  Georgia had asked for this after watching her teacher knit while teaching.  So today Lynn taught her how it is done.  Later Kay sent us a video showing Georgia knitting while watching tv!

We also talked with Mary K. today.  She sent us a couple of pictures of her new grandson Den.  And we chatted with Butch who told us how he had Facetimed with Georgia who sold him some Girl Scout cookies.  I told him it must have been because her Scout Leader was pushy (her Mom).

Here are the coronavirus statistics for the first day of 2021:

January 1            Infected                   Died

World               84,261,867           1,833,046

US                     20,567,957              355,918

Virginia               354,766                  5,081

Augusta County       3,365                       29

            Vaccinated

            Virginia                       75,288                       

            Augusta County              541

So Virginia administered almost 1,000 vaccines today.  That might sound good but with a population of 8,600,000, at this rate it will take 8,600 days or 24 years to vaccinate all of us.  We still have way under 1% of the population vaccinated after half a month of vaccinating.  Augusta County’s total is 7/10ths of 1% of the population.  This is totally unacceptable. 

The semifinals in the NCAA football playoff were today.  I watched some of each game:  Alabama vs Notre Dame then Clemson vs Ohio State.  Alabama dominated Notre Dame in the first game then I watched the second one in bed.

January 2, 2021

WVU had a basketball game today against Oklahoma at Oklahoma.  It was a typical WVU loss—terrible play, awful shooting, a glimpse of hope, followed by disappointment at the end.  They shot 23% in the first half and got down by 18 points.  Then, they played like they are capable of and came back and tied the game with 8 minutes left.  But down the stretch they let it go and lost, 75 – 71.  It is so hard to be a WVU fan—you have to get used to disappointment.  But I will be one forever.

Today’s weather was nicer than it had been for days.  Lynn placed a pickup order at Michael’s in Charlottesville so we drove there around lunch time to pick it up.  Our plan was to get that order then head for the newly opened Afton Mountain tunnel for a nice walk.  Unfortunately, many other people had the same plans.  When we got there, cars were parked all over the place.  We waited for a spot but that didn’t happen.  Finally, we gave up and came home.  We figured the tunnel would have been crowded anyway with such a throng of people there and this is no time to be in a crowd.  It was disappointing.  We came home and walked our two mile neighborhood walk.

Earlier in the day I had made a trash run including a stop at Ann’s house to get theirs.  I’m driving the back roads now because Jim’s truck has an expired inspection sticker.  I suppose I’ll make arrangements to get it inspected this coming week.  Jim’s plan is to apply for antique plates for it since it is now 25 years old.  With antique plates you don’t have to have your vehicle inspected.  But technically it doesn’t turn 25 until March so I’m thinking I’ll have to get it inspected one more time.

Lynn placed a pickup order at Walmart for today, too.  We’re both trying hard to stay out of indoor establishments for a while.  COVID-19 is just too rampant now.  Looking at the statistics, in the US one out of every sixteen persons has it.  In Virginia that number is something like one out of every twenty four and in Augusta County it is one out of every twenty two. 

Here are today’s figures:

January 2            Infected                   Died

World               84,925,992           1,842,647

US                     20,867,714              358,485

Virginia               358,755                  5,117

Augusta County       3,389                       29

            Vaccinated

            Virginia                 81,770                 

            Augusta County        570

There have been almost 400,000 doses of vaccine distributed thus far.  Why have only 20% of them been administered?  I am getting increasingly impatient with how poorly the vaccinations are happening.  

Here is data from the Washington Post about Virginia:  At least 90,011 doses have been administered, covering 1.9% of the prioritized population and 0.7% of the state’s population.  Virginia has been allocated 486,275 doses, enough to vaccinate 15.0% of the prioritized population and 5.7% of the state’s population.  

Meanwhile, in West Virginia, At least 49,827 doses have been administered, covering 4.1% of the prioritized population and 2.2% of the state’s population. West Virginia has been allocated 109,700 doses, enough to vaccinate 11.0% of the prioritized population and 6.1% of the state’s population. 

I don’t know why the Washington Post has more people vaccinated in Virginia than the VDH website says but even with its increased numbers, under 1% of the state’s population is vaccinated whereas West Virginia is at 2.2%.  And, how has West Virginia been able to get almost 50% of its vaccines administered whereas Virginia is at 20%.  Makes no sense.

CNN reported that nationwide, 125,379 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 on Thursday, more than any other day of the pandemic, according to the Covid Tracking Project.  The number of patients topped 125,000 on Friday as well. The US has now remained above 100,000 hospitalizations for 31 straight days. Augusta County has 78 people currently hospitalized.

January 3, 2021

This was a typical Sunday for us—not much to do and nowhere to go.  We did go to Central this morning and picked up the monthly communion serving which was given streetside along with soup from Millie Brown and Connie Davis.  We also got a box of food for Elizabeth’s family and drove it to them.  Elizabeth reported that Gilberto is making slow improvement and, of course, is stil at UVA.

I got a lesson from Lynn today about Hispanic families’ last names.  I’ve been using the last name Jiminez for Elizabeth and her family.  Actually Jiminez is her last name which she keeps, as do most Hispanic couples.  Gilberto’s last name is Aguirre.  Thus Emily and Nathan have the last name of Aguirre – Jiminez which many people (including me) incorrectly shorten to Jiminez.  If anything, it is the Jiminez that should be dropped when reporting their last name if only one name is to be given.  Lynn had undoubtedly explained that to me earlier but I had forgotten.  In many previous posts I incorrectly listed Gilbeto’s last name as Jiminez.

This afternoon I rode with Lynn to Michael’s in Harrisonburg to pick up an order which she had placed for curbside pickup.  We really are trying to limit our in-store appearances.

Today, I learned of two more cases of COVID-19 in our church, one of which turned out to be fatal.  An elderly lady, Barbara Berry, passed away due to its complications.  She was 89 years old and lived at a nursing home.  Another person, Sarah Melton, has come down with the virus and, according to Pastor Won, is having lots of its adverse symptoms.  I do not believe she is hospitalized.  Furthermore, Won said he thought Susan Obaugh was being released from the hospital.  Still, these are just more cases of COVID-19 affecting people closer and closer to our lives.  Won said that Sarah’s son Shawn also has it.

As we drove to Elizabeth’s house between 11:00 and noon today we passed several churches.  The differences were stark.  At some, the parking lots were empty as services had been called off due to COVID-19.  At others, the parking lots were full, even at churches with obviously small sanctuaries where inside social distancing would have been impossible.  I cannot believe that God expects us to ignore the advice of scientific experts like Francis Collins and fill our churches up at a time when this virus is spreading rampantly.  At our church, for example, the only cars there were those of Won, Millie, Connie, and Yi-Peng Chen who led a Zoom hymn sing.  At Mount Pisgah UMC near our house, the main parking lot was completely full and the overflow lot across the street was over half full.  Their sanctuary is much smaller than ours.

Today’s big news on CNN is that they were given by the Washington Post an audio tape of a phone call Donald Trump made on Saturday to the Republican Georgia Secretary of State demanding that he “find 11,780 votes” and still claiming that he won the election.  They played the tape over and over on the air.  He even threatened the Secretary that if he didn’t immediately act then he would be guilty of an offense.  As Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, tweeted to Ted Cruz who has been singing Trump’s songs of election malfeasance, “You want to investigate election fraud?  Start with this…”

Today’s COVID-19 data is no different from the past:

January 3            Infected                   Died

World               85,455,394           1,850,112

US                     21,080,607              360,027

Virginia               363,765                  5,124

Augusta County       3,498                       29

            Vaccinated

            Virginia                 87,618                 

            Augusta County        608

Disappointment, as usual.  Virginia had over 5,000 new cases in just one day.  Augusta County had 109 new cases and has 81 people hospitalized.  We barely have 1% of the Virginia population vaccinated and have used slightly over 20% of the vaccines we’ve received.  Augusta County vaccinated only 38 people today.  I wish I had better news to report and each time I report this kind of information I get more irritated about the state’s ineptitude to get people vaccinated.  ABC tonight reported that Israel had already vaccinated 12% of its population.

There have been 50,000 American deaths in the past 20 days according to ABC news.  Despite the warnings from all medical experts, there is still a segment of the population which is acting like nothing has happened.  ABC had video clips of throngs of people on the beach and at parties, all unmasked and standing side by side. 

Some good news is that Moderna says it can reduce the size of the dosage in its vaccinations by ½, thereby doubling the number of vaccinations available.  The CDC hasn’t approved this yet.

January 4, 2021

I’m still ticked about the rate at which vaccinations are deployed.  So today I did this math after it was pointed out on the news that some people are getting their second vaccination meaning that it has been 21 days since this process was begun.  If Virginia has vaccinated 87,618 people in 21 days, it will take 5.6 years to vaccinate its population at that rate.  Now tell me that is satisfactory…

Knowing it will be a while before I get my vaccination, I canceled a dentist appointment I had next week and plan to cancel a doctor’s appointment I have in February.  I did go in to Central this morning to do the weekly deposit in QuickBooks but I was by myself in the library most of the time. 

The news media is still hopping about that recorded phone call of Trump’s on Sunday.  Some are calling for him to be indicted as violating Georgia law and pointing out that he can’t pardon himself from state laws, only federal.  The news should be about the pandemic and vaccinations but instead it is still about this worthless excuse of a President we have. 

Lynn had her two Cheryl friends over this morning while I was at Central.  Before I left, I set up the patio heater for her.  We had issues with it on Sunday, Dec. 28, when the grandchildren were here but today it worked flawlessly.  I think the issue on the 28th was that it was too windy and the excessive wind kept extinguishing it.  Today it wasn’t windy and the heater worked well for Lynn and her friends.

Our week has very few events scheduled.  Lynn was supposed to have a Zoom IEP meeting with a family in Rockingham County but it was canceled.  She’s supposed to have another one tomorrow, too.

I started reading a book today that Butch had recommended called Being Mortal.  It is by a medical doctor, Dr. Atul Gawande, who grew up where Butch lives in Athens Ohio and is about aging and dying.  It describes how modern medicine has mishandled both of these inevitable stages of life.  The book’s subtitle is “Medicine and What Matters in the End.”

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 4            Infected                   Died

World               85,968,273           1,858,631

US                     21,258,720              361,485

Virginia               367,536                  5,132

Augusta County       3,639                       29

            Vaccinated

            Virginia                 89,326                 

            Augusta County        608

Virginia’s numbers were a little better today with only 8 new deaths.  Augusta County, on the other hand, had 141 new cases in the past 24 hours.  And the vaccination page showed ZERO new vaccinations in Augusta County.  I hope this is just a reporting error.  My temper is about to explode.  If Virginia expects to have everyone vaccinated by June 30, the state needs to do 48,000 vaccinations EVERY DAY between now and then.  Can you see how badly we’re doing at this?

Here’s my solution—give the vaccinations to McDonald’s to administer.  According to an article I found from USA Today from 2019, McDonald’s sells 140 million hamburgers every day in the US.  If they were to do vaccinations instead of burgers, it would take two and a half days to vaccinate everyone in America.  After all, doesn’t it take longer to cook a hamburger than it does to stick a needle in someone’s arm?

Seriously, whomever is in charge of vaccinations in Virginia is doing an awful job.  The Wall Street Journal webpage which tracks vaccinations says that Virginia has given 108,861 vaccinations thus far which is 1.3% of the population.  But it has over 486,000 doses on hand.  What good do these vaccinations do when they’re sitting in a refrigerator somewhere??

January 5, 2021

With housekeeper Connie coming this morning Lynn and I wanted to get out of the house.  But since we didn’t want to go into any other buildings, where could we go?  We came up with a great plan:  we drove to the Crozet Tunnel on Afton Mountain which we had tried to see on Saturday but gave up when we discovered it was too busy for us to even park.  Today, with the temperature around 30o when we left home at 8:30, we knew that wouldn’t be the case today. 

We were right about that.  We had bundled up before we left home including long underwear.  We drove to the East side of the tunnel which is in the small town of Afton.  It was a half mile walk to the East end of the tunnel and nearly a mile through the tunnel.  Actually we walked to the 1.5 mile mark on the newly developed trail then turned around and came back.  It was a great three mile walk. 

The tunnel is long but straight so you can see a pinhole of light at the other end when you enter it.  Flashlights are a must and we had ours.  We’ve had lots of rain this season so there were places where the water was still dripping down but we did not walk anywhere in the mud.  The folks who have re-opened this tunnel and the trails to it have done a great job.  I took 42 pictures which I posted to my website when we got back.

On the way back home we made two stops.  First we went to Aldi’s where Lynn got some groceries.  Then we went to Smiley’s for an ice cream lunch.  Again, we were trying to stay away from home while Connie was here so what better place to go than Smiley’s?

I’m about halfway through the book I began reading yesterday, Being Mortal.  Much in this book is about how elderly people can live a happy, self-fulfilling life, not just a safe and medically treated life even though the book is by a doctor.  The examples in the book very much remind me of my parents and grandparents as well as Lynn’s parents.  It talks about how decisions about where elderly people live are made by their children, not the elderly themselves.  It talks about how people want for themselves to have lots of freedom but their loved ones to be safe.

Tonight we’ve kept glued to the news to see how the Georgia elections are going since the Senate’s control is so dependent on the two runoff elections there today.  Tomorrow we’ll be likewise watching with great interest as Congress is supposed to affirm the results of the Electoral College and declare Joe Biden President-Elect despite Trump’s intention to intervene.  As ABC news said it, Trump on Monday had made clear to Pence privately that he expects him to use his role as president of the Senate to deny Biden the presidency during the joint session of Congress, in which both houses will count each state’s electoral votes and reaffirm Biden’s win, according to a person familiar with their conversation.  Of course, Pence has absolutely no authority to do that.

Of course, the news tonight was still awful regarding COVID-19.  Here are today’s statistics:

January 5            Infected                   Died

World               86,776,758           1,873,844

US                     21,553,196              365,184

Virginia               371,913                  5,191

Augusta County       3,677                       29

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               104,083                 

            Augusta County        671

The vaccinations listed here are from the Virginia Department of Health website.  Here are the statistics from the Washington Post:  At least 126,363 doses have been administered, covering 3.9% of the prioritized population and 1.5% of the state’s population.  Virginia has been allocated 587,575 doses, enough to vaccinate 18.0% of the prioritized population and 6.9% of the state’s population.

I don’t care which is more accurate—VDH or Washington Post.  The numbers provided in each are woefully behind where we should be at this point and cause people like me to worry even more.

January 6, 2021

The news is abuzz today about the wins by the two Democrats in the runoff election in Georgia.  Both Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated the incumbent Republican Senators in the special election.  Democrats now have a majority in both the House and Senate which will make it much easier for Biden to get his agenda enacted.  That is really good news.

But that news was quickly eclipsed by the siege that was made on the Capitol building today by Trump supporters.  This was a day for history, for sure.  All the while, Trump kept claiming that the election was stolen from him and then inciting his followers to riot.  After the four-hour occupation of the Capitol by these thugs, Trump complimented them as “patriots.”  Facebook broke out in many, many calls for the 25th amendment to be invoked whereby he is removed from office.  Reporters, politicians, both Democrat and Republican, and nearly everyone else all placed the blame for this insurrection squarely on Trump.  Trump was hell bent on disrupting the meeting of Congress whereby Biden would formally be given the title of President-Elect.  He succeeded, for sure.  But his legacy will forever be as a madman who became a sore loser.  One reporter I listened to tonight called him a psychopath and a narcissist. 

All of this happened while I went to Central to do some beginning-of-the-month tasks.  I was actually very successful in the three hours I worked there, getting all seven accounts (three credit card and four bank accounts) reconciled with no issues.  I’ve still got lots more to do, especially since tax forms will be soon due.

After CUMC, I went to Kroger where I waited entirely too long just to find out my prescription wasn’t ready.  I had to hustle to pick up some groceries Lynn had asked me to get then get home in time for us to go to Bridgewater to pick up Jim’s truck where it had its state inspection.  Surprisingly, the 25 year old truck passed inspection with flying colors.  It will never have to be inspected again because after 25 years a vehicle can be classified as an antique which doesn’t require inspection. 

There were so many developments in Washington today in addition to the riot.  For one, Trump broke off with his most loyal best bud Mike Pence because Pence insisted on doing what he was required to do by the Constitution instead of what Trump wanted him to do.  Tonight, Twitter cut off Trump’s account until tomorrow and threatened to cut him off for good.  Even Melania’s chief of staff quit because of the insurrection. 

At least the news today wasn’t about COVID-19.  Unfortunately, the virus didn’t take a day off while all of this was going on.  Here are today’s statistics:

January 6            Infected                   Died

World               87,578,754           1,888,966

US                     21,822,396              369,448

Virginia               377,300                  5,226

Augusta County       3,759                       29

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               116,247                 

            Augusta County        690

What?  Augusta County vaccinated a total of 19 people today?  What in the heck is going on?  Rockingham County has already vaccinated almost twice as many as Augusta.  Albemarle has nearly three times as many already vaccinated.

I’ve passed the 400 page mark in this blog.  That’s a lot of bologna! 

I did something today I rarely do—I finished reading a book.  It took me only two full days to read Being Mortal.  There were some good lessons in that book on how everyone should prepare for their own finality on this earth and how they should help loved ones who are facing it.

January 7, 2021

It’s a good thing I am on blood pressure medicine because I know my blood would otherwise be boiling today.  I am upset about so much which is happening.  As I’ve been expressing, I am distraught over the turtle-like speed at which vaccines are being administered.  I sent an e-mail today to Dr. Laura Kornegay who is the Director of the Central Shenandoah Health District with an office in Staunton.  Here is the content of that e-mail:

Dr. Kornegay,
I am a 70 year old resident of Augusta County.  I am greatly distressed at the rate at which residents like me are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  According to the VDH website, yesterday Augusta County vaccinated 19 people.  At that rate, it will take 3,977 days, or 10.9 years, to vaccinate all of Augusta’s 75,558 residents.  This is totally unacceptable.  The VDH website shows that Virginia has thus far been issued 481,550 vaccines but only administered 116,247 of them. What good do vaccines do sitting in refrigerators?
If I heard the news correctly this morning, the next group vaccinated in Virginia will be those age 75 and over which, of course, I am not.
I have compromising medical conditions and take Symbicort twice daily.  I have called the office of my Pulmonologist, Dr. Aklilu Degene, at Sentara Pulmonary in Harrisonburg but was told they do not have vaccinations to distribute.  

I’m sure you can understand my frustration.  My question is simple:  what can I do to get vaccinated?
It is so ironic that there are many in our country who can get the vaccine and choose to not take it while others, like me, anxiously await it and can’t get it.
Thank you for listening,

Joe Hill

296 Leaport Road

Mount Sidney VA

540-292-0237

I also called the Carilion office of my personal physician, Dr. James Lagrua, and inquired if they would be giving vaccinations.  I was told that they had no vaccines and probably wouldn’t be getting any. 

In the meantime, there’s all this bs going on regarding the siege yesterday by Trump’s supporters.  Yet I find comments on Facebook suggesting that it was Antifa or BLM proponents who instigated the insurrection.  The videos all over the television tell a different story.  Ordinarily one who doesn’t comment much on Facebook, I couldn’t sit back and keep my mouth shut.  So I made comments on two places.  First, son-in-law Andy Foy had made a very well written post calling for Trump to be impeached and for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to have him immediately removed from office.  I added this comment:

In addition to getting rid of Trump, I’d also propose that Ben Cline, Bob Good, and Morgan Griffith of Virginia also be removed from Congress for objecting to certifying Biden’s win.  Their actions, like those of the rioters were un-American.  Their votes came AFTER they witnessed the siege.

Then, a cousin of mine, Lansing Hill, had made a post about the riot in DC yesterday which said “In my 60 years, I’ve seen a lot.  Nothing compares to this.  Nothing.  I’m sickened and disgusted.  There is no justification for what’s happening.”  Yet some had responded to his post suggesting that Antifa and BLM were responsible for the violence.  I just couldn’t let that go, either, so I responded:

To those quick to point out other riots in America involving members of Antifa or BLM, I say that it is wrong to riot and destroy property no matter which group you are part of, including Trump supporters.  And, those who incite such destruction, such as a President who lies and pours gasoline on the fires of sedition, deserve to be held accountable for it.

Further, there was a post from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph saying that Northram planned to get all Virginians vaccinated by June.  To that I posted:

A lofty goal given that, according to the VDH website, yesterday Augusta County vaccinated 19 people.  At that rate, it will take 3,977 days, or 10.9 years, to vaccinate all of Augusta’s 75,558 residents.  Why is this progressing so slowly?

At this point I don’t know what will happen to Trump or what will happen in the next 13 days before Biden takes over.  I do know that we’re in a mess now, both with Trump and COVID-19.

Lynn has been asked to test some children in Rockingham County this spring.  She rightfully told those in charge of testing that she would be glad to do it if she could get vaccinated.  Supposedly, teachers are going to be in the next group to get vaccinated along with those 75 and older so perhaps she will be able to get hers that way.  She had previously called the School Board Office and asked to be put on the vaccination list.

A Facebook friend of Lynn’s made a suggestion that I followed up with today; I called the  Central Shenandoah Health District office to see if they had a waiting list for COVID-19 vaccinations.  I was told they did not but that they would send me some information via e-mail. I did not receive that e-mail and likewise did not receive a reply from Dr. Kornegay. More high blood pressure…

This morning I took down all of our exterior Christmas decorations, boxed everything up, the put them above the garage.  So 296 Leaport Road is back to normal viewing from the outside now with no extra lights.

More wackiness today from Washington:  many, including Tim Kaine, Chuck Shumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and even a Republic Congressman, Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, are calling for Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare Trump unfit to hold office.  One of his Cabinet members, Mitch McConnell’s wife who was Secretary of Transportation, along with many staffers resigned today.  Question:  why did it take people so long to realize that Trump’s an idiot?

This afternoon I had to go back to Kroger to get my prescription.  I was forced to wait indoors for 15 minutes while the ten people in front of me in line got theirs.  I was very uncomfortable doing this but had no choice since this is the steroid, Symbicort, that I take twice per day for my asthma.  For a 60 day prescription, my cost was $393.00.  This is because I have a $450 deductible policy so the next five times I get this filled it won’t cost nearly that much.

COVID-19 didn’t pause during all the Trump theatrics.  According to ABC news, there were a record 3,865 new deaths from COVID-19 registered in the United States on Wednesday, marking the deadliest day since the start of the pandemic, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.  It’s the second straight day that the country has logged a record number of fatalities from the disease within a 24-hour reporting period. Wednesday’s count tops the previous day’s peak of 3,775 deaths, Johns Hopkins data shows.  Meanwhile, 253,145 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed nationwide on Wednesday, marking the second consecutive day that the country has reported more than 200,000 newly confirmed infections. Wednesday’s tally is less than the all-time high of 297,491 new cases, which the country logged the previous day, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Here are the statistics from worldometers.org and the Virginia Department of Health:

January 7            Infected                   Died

World               88,388,598           1,904,287

US                     22,070,748              373,274

Virginia               382,679                  5,275

Augusta County       3,800                       29

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               135,863                 

            Augusta County        869

Virginia had 5,300 new cases.  That is unheard of. 

According to Northram’s plan, those getting vaccinated now are in Group 1A which includes health care providers and residents of nursing homes.  Group 1B will include those over 75 plus teachers, and “frontline workers” such as EMS workers, policemen, firemen, postal workers, grocery workers, manufacturing workers, childcare workers, etc.  Group 1C is for those over 65 plus those with underlying health conditions.  I’m in that group.  God knows when we’ll get ours, if we live that long.   

I’m thinking again about my foxhole analogy.  Tonight I feel like the enemy is so close I can see their bayonets while my reinforcements are miles away and moving ever so slowly.  And when they come my foxhole will be one of the last they find.

January 8, 2021

There was a lot going on today and I missed much of it.  I worked at Central from 8:00 am straight through until 4:30 pm.  I had to pay federal and state taxes for the 4th quarter, then learn how to produce and file W2 forms for six employees (four current and two former).  By early afternoon I had done both.  I followed the examples by the forms submitted the past two years and got them OK, I think.  But then I ran into a problem.  I needed to set up payroll for the January 15 paychecks.  I got into a section of QuickBooks that I couldn’t exit from.  I found an online chat with a support person on the Intuit site but it took hours to adequately connect with him and have him help me with the issue.  By late afternoon we had the January 15 payroll set up OK.  It was very frustrating, though, and I was exhausted by the time this was done.

I wish I could say there’s nothing more to do with QuickBooks but there’s still more work to do.  I can probably wait until Monday to do the rest since I’ll have a deposit to make then.

At first I thought that leaving at 4:30 was a good time to leave but as soon as I got to the car I realized that Gus and Henry had basketball games tonight that were being livestreamed starting at 5:45.  I was supposed to take Lynn to the Old School food truck for our traditional Friday hamburgers but I got home too late for that.  Needless to say, she wasn’t very happy with me.  I just plain forgot about the ball games until it was too late.

This was the first basketball games of the season so it was our first experience with livestreaming.  We paid around $10 for the first month of this service but I’m not sure we’ll get our money’s worth.  The streaming was anything but smooth.  It frequently froze and buffered making it very frustrating to try to watch the game.

Gus didn’t get to play much at all in his JV game and his team got blown out.  They lost by 32 points, 54 – 22.  Their guards were terrible at being able to handle the ball and for some reason the coach didn’t play him until the 4th quarter.  There’s no way he would have done worse than the kids in there the first three quarters.

Henry’s varsity game was a different story.  He didn’t start but played a lot.  He scored 4 points on 2 for 2 shooting from the field.  He played good defense and got some rebounds as Fort beat Buffalo Gap 54 – 48.  Some of the game streamed just fine but we hardly could see any of the crucial 4th quarter.  I was not happy with the streaming but happy he played well and the team won.

The national news today was more of the same:  just about everyone anxious to get rid of Trump while the coronavirus runs rampant.   Trump has been banned from both Facebook and Twitter now.  He produced a video last night where he said the protesters shouldn’t have broken into the Capitol building and been violent but supposedly he later expressed to his close friends that he wished he hadn’t made that video because it angered some of his supporters.  Actually, most people think he made the video to perhaps keep his Cabinet from enacting the 25th Amendment on him and/or Congress impeaching him.  Supposedly, he’s also told others he plans to pardon himself before January 20.

Trump announced that he wouldn’t be coming to the January 20 inauguration.  I’m guessing everyone breathed a sigh of relief at that, especially Joe Biden.  What an embarrassment he has been to the nation and to his party.

ABC news didn’t forget about COVID-19 despite the Trump hoopla:  While millions were focused on Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, and the aftermath, the nation’s COVID-19 death toll soared to new heights.  Thursday, the third consecutive day of record U.S. deaths, was the deadliest so far, with 4,085 COVID-19 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. had never before surpassed 4,000.  With a seven-day average of 2,758 deaths by Friday, at least 365,882 Americans have died from the virus, according to JHU, which equals 1 in every 905.

Here are today’s statistics:

January 8            Infected                   Died

World               89,355,919           1,922,052

US                     22,456,902              378,149

Virginia               387,917                  5,312

Augusta County       3,864                       29

            Vaccinated

            Virginia                      148.909                      

            Augusta County        911

Virginia’s vaccinated numbers are actually lower:  142,061 have received at least one dose.  The higher numbers include those who have gotten both shots.  Augusta County got 42 people vaccinated today.  HORRIBLE!  Our health department is so inept—I haven’t even received an e-mail from them despite e-mailing the director asking her what I could do, calling the department and being told they would e-mail me information.  They’ve done nothing, not even sent an e-mail.  I sent the director another e-mail tonight.

January 9, 2021

The day didn’t start out good for me because Lynn was still seething over my coming home too late last night for us to get the hamburgers she wanted.  I honestly just forgot about the basketball games and actually thought that by leaving Central at 4:30 my timing was good for getting the burgers.  But I had forgotten that Gus’ game started at 5:45 so there just wasn’t any time to get them.  I can’t blame her for being angry at me.  I just get so consumed in work that I forget about everything else that is going on.

My memory is clearly not what it used to be.  I don’t think I have serious mental health issues but I just forget things too easily.  Yesterday when I was paying the 4th quarter taxes I remembered to take screen shots at each step so I could put the directions into the manual I’d written for the next CUMC treasurer.  But later in the day I discovered that I had taken the screen shots and put them in the manual when I did the 3rd quarter taxes.  I just didn’t remember having done it.  I paid our Costco bill twice last month because I didn’t remember paying it the first time. 

I think I’ve got lots of safeguards to help me with these issues.  One of them is writing this blog.  So when I forget, for example, the name of someone or someplace I’ve seen recently I can look it up here.  I’ve done that many times over the past ten months.  Lynn and I keep an accurate shared calendar which should help me remember what’s upcoming.  The basketball games were not on that calendar but I confess that I did not stop my work yesterday at CUMC to look at my calendar (or my phone, my e-mail, or my text messages, either).  Again, I just get so consumed in my work…

I also know that I’ve repeated myself in this blog at various times.  But I’ve always been a repeater—one who tells and retells the same story.  I think that’s attributable to my life as a math teacher where repetition is valued and important.  At least that’s my excuse!

For decades I’ve remembered this line about giving a lecture or talk, “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.”  Yes, repetition is built into my psyche, for sure.  Can you tell?

I made an exciting discovery today.  The NFHS network which is where the basketball games are streamed through, archives the games.  And, they have an iPad app which I downloaded.  I then was able to view last night’s games again and they played smoothly with no buffering or freezing.  We were finally able to see some of the 4th quarter which we could not last night.  And, the iPad can Air Play to our televisions as well.  This is really good news.  It was fun watching Henry score again and again (you can rewind and fast forward the recording).

A somewhat humorous Facebook post the other day caught my eye.  It said that finally with a Democratic President, Democratic Senate, and Democratic Congress, Trump had succeeded in “Making America Great Again.”  MAGA!

Dr. Kornegay finally replied to my e-mails this morning.  She sent me a link to a survey.  I quickly sent her a polite thank you for replying.  Then I clicked on the link.  It was a survey strictly for employers and organizations, not for individuals.  It said “This form is only for essential employers to notify the Health Department of your workplace specifics and how many public facing staff you have that would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19…This is not for individuals to fill out. You must be an employer responding on behalf of your organization.”  So I wrote her again (4th time), this time telling her that the survey she sent me to was clearly not for me; it was to determine which organizations should get their employees vaccinated.  I asked her if vaccinations were only intended for organizations or those who are employed….   She did send back an apology but this just shows how disorganized vaccine distributions are in the state.  There is no plan to gather information from or schedule vaccinations for individuals like me.  Lynn did hear from her Albemarle school rep, where she does the Migrant Education program, that all Albemarle employees are to be vaccinated so maybe she’ll get hers that way. 

This afternoon I watched the WVU – Texas basketball game.  Texas came into the game ranked 4th nationally; WVU was 14th.   West Virginia played a good first half and led 40 – 36 at that point.  The Mounties led the entire second half until 1 second to go when Texas hit a three pointer and took a 72 – 70 lead and the game.  WVU had just missed its previous three free throws.  Typical West Virginia—they can always find a way to lose.

Lynn and I bought our lottery tickets today.  The MegaMillions jackpot is now approaching $600 million; the drawing is next Tuesday night.  The Powerball jackpot is now $470 million; its drawing is tonight.  We bought two tickets for each. 

I honestly think that winning such an amount would bring a person more problems than luxuries.  I can’t imagine all the issues that would come from instantly having that much money.  What would I do if I won?  I’d begin by setting up trust funds for each of my eight grandchildren.  Maybe next I’d hire an accountant for Central so I wouldn’t have to spend too long there and get Lynn so mad at me.

Ann and Josh decided to come to our basement tonight with Freddie and Gus to use our streaming setup to watch basketball.  I thought they were coming over to watch Henry and Gus’ games from last night.  But it turns out that Gus had a JV game rescheduled to tonight at Wilson Memorial High School.  So they watched his game instead.  The streaming worked OK but not perfectly.  And, like last night, Gus only saw a couple of minutes of play.  I feel sorry for him; it would be different if he were on a fine team but the team is now 0 – 2.  He is 6’ 3” and would do well under the basket but the offense that FDHS runs has all of the players on the perimeter so frequently he is 20 feet from the basket when someone shoots.  So he has little chance to rebound and score.  I’ve disliked this offense for years; Henry’s JV team ran the same plays.  Plus, the Fort JV guards cannot handle the ball at all.  Lynn and I haven’t watched the game from tonight (we’ll watch it tomorrow or later) but last night the team must have had 30 turnovers.  Hard to watch… 

The COVID situation has no positive news again tonight.  Here are today’s statistics:

January 9            Infected                   Died

World               90,043,283           1,933,457

US                     22,688,965              381,367

Virginia               393,715                  5,381

Augusta County       3,942                       31

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               167,452 (11,023 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        1011

Augusta County vaccinated 100 people today.  Yet Augusta County also had 78 new cases.  Virginia administered 3,895 doses today but the state had 5,798 new cases!  Is this staying ahead of the game?   I think not.  Why are we not vaccinating people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?  COVID is infecting people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Virginia is still only at 33% of all of the doses it has received have gotten into someone’s arm.  The other 67% have only gotten into some refrigerator.

The other news tonight is that there are an increasing number of politicians calling for the impeachment (again!) of Donald Trump.  It will likely happen in the House next week though the Senate won’t be convening until one day before Joe Biden is inaugurated.  Who knows what will happen in the next 11 days.  Actually, the impeachment may continue after Biden takes over.  We’ll just have to see how this works out.  One Facebook post I read said “if we can approve a Supreme Court Justice in one week then we can impeach him in one week.”  Of course, that reference was to the way the Republicans pushed through the nomination of Trump’s nominee Amy Comey Barrett to the Supreme Court.  Stay tuned!

January 10, 2021

Lynn got a phone call from our neighbor Debra Sheffer this morning.  Debra told her how she had been walking by a house where Lynn and I have walked scores of times, the Michael’s house which is about 8/10ths of a mile from our house.  This is the house that has the pig, Winnie, that actually lives inside the house.  They also have a couple of dogs which are usually tied up but sometimes not.  One of the dogs is named Remy which we learned from its owner, Lacey.  Remy has always growled at us but whenever we’d say “Remy Go Home!” it would not come close.  Others had told us that the dog had intimidated them.  Well, Debra relayed that when she walked by there yesterday the dog bit her so badly she had to be taken to the emergency room for stitches. 

The house is on the walk that we have made almost daily except for when Lynn broke her foot or the weather was bad.  So this incident will definitely change our walking habits in the near future.  The Sheffers called Animal Control so we’re not sure what will come of Remy.  I would be very happy to learn that the dog is no longer at the house.

Debra later let Lynn know that Animal Control had taken the dog so we knew it was safe to walk past the house again.  So this afternoon we bundled up and did our standard two mile walk.

There wasn’t much else going on today—lots of news about impeaching Trump.  One interesting idea I saw one Democratic Congressman propose was to impeach him in the House immediately next week but wait until Biden had been in office for 100 days before passing it on to the Senate.  That would give Biden time to get his Cabinet appointed and other priorities going because once the Senate takes up the impeachment everything else will grind to a halt.  Personally, I like this plan because it will still accomplish the mission of making Trump ineligible to hold federal office again and will make Trump sweat for 100 days.  One interesting comment I heard one reporter pass on was that in a normal hearing, witnesses certainly are not allowed to be in the jury but in the case of this impeachment every Senator was a witness to the riot.

It took the White House until today to lower their flag to half mast in respect to the policeman who lost his life in the siege.  And that only happened after lots of bad publicity came about.  Supposedly, the only thing Trump is sorry for is making his one video in which he condemned violence. 

Supposedly, those in group 1B are to start receiving vaccinations very soon.  That includes educators, front line workers, and those over age 75.  So there’s a chance Lynn will be getting hers in this group.  She got an e-mail from Rockingham County Schools Superintendent Oskar Scheikl who told them the vaccinations were coming though he didn’t have a date yet.  Supposedly, the school system is going to put out a survey to find out who does and does not want to be vaccinated.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 10          Infected                   Died

World               90,638,389           1,942,107

US                     22,900,907              383,186

Virginia               398,856                  5,383

Augusta County       3,996                       31

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               177,945 (12,747 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        1097

Augusta County is still proceeding at an unacceptable slow rate of vaccinations.  Only 86 people were vaccinated today.  Do the math:  there are over 75,000 people in Augusta County.  We’ve been averaging many fewer than 100 vaccinations per day.  At 100 per day it will take over 6 years to get everyone vaccinated. 

January 11, 2021

This being Monday, my first job today was to go to Central UMC for the weekly deposit.  I also had several items left from last Friday to finish since the new year was starting.  I was able to get right to the tasks and got everything done that I had planned by 10:30 AM.  I did bring some work home with me on a USB stick; I had taken lots of screen shots when I did the tax work on Friday and wanted to update my QuickBooks manual to include these screenshots with the directions. 

I was able to work on the basement iMac in the afternoon and get the directions put in for the federal tax section.  I’ll do the state another day.  That manual is already pushing 100 pages in length.

It was too cold to walk today; Lynn and I had walked yesterday but decided to not go out today.  The next few days look very promising for walking, though.

Lynn had a Zoom meeting this morning and worked in the afternoon on getting her teacher recertification application finished.  She has to submit it to her former principal, Kenny Boyers at Cub Run Elementary, and hopes to get that done soon.  This will give her ten more years of teaching, if she wants.  Of course, she only does it part time now.

The news today, as it has been for nearly a week now, was all about impeaching Trump.  A proposal to do so was introduced to the House today; they are supposed to vote on it on Wednesday.  With a big Democratic majority in the House, it will likely pass but then what?  The Senate wouldn’t take it up until January 19 at the earliest.  He leaves office on January 20.  I still like the idea I wrote about yesterday where they hold off delivering it to the Senate until after Biden has gotten his agenda and Cabinet in place, perhaps about 100 days into his Presidency.

For dinner tonight, we went to Vito’s Pizza Pie in Penn Laird and brought home a Soprano pizza.  We had called it in on the way there which worked well.  That pizza is so good!  We ate less than half of it for dinner tonight so we’ll be eating well tomorrow night, too.

Henry had a basketball game tonight at Waynesboro.  The JV game had been postponed, supposedly because the Waynesboro JV team had an outbreak of COVID-19.  So the varsity game was moved to 6:00 which made for a convenient time for Lynn and me to watch it, especially since I had plans to watch the NCAA football championship game between Alabama and Ohio State at 9:00.

The game’s video stream from Waynesboro High was another strange one.  For some reason, on all games we’ve watched there is no person doing the play-by-play.  On Henry’s last game there was a running score across the bottom of the screen though it was almost never accurate.  For the game tonight, there was nothing.  So we had video, no announcer, and no score.  I had to keep up with the score on my computer.  It would seem to me that some high school kid would have fun doing the play-by-play announcing.  It might even lead to some future career.   A high school kid from this area would have a much higher chance to have a career as a tv announcer than the kids on the floor have at being a professional basketball player.

Before the game, Waynesboro introduced its senior players (Fort Defiance had done the same at its first game last week).  They had seven seniors out of the eleven boys who dressed—that’s a lot.  One of them was a transfer from Fort Defiance over the summer.   They appeared to be much taller than Fort’s team.

Henry didn’t start but was inserted pretty early in the first quarter and played much of it.  Ryan Cook is a very good guard for FDHS.  He scored all 12 of Fort’s points in the first quarter.  The score was 12 – 12 then.  In the second quarter, FDHS did well, moving the lead out to 30 – 18 at the half.  Poor Waynesboro is huge but they can’t shoot worth a lick.  Reminds me of WVU!  Henry got in near the end of the quarter and played well though he didn’t have a chance to score. 

In the third quarter, Fort kept its lead despite Ryan’s nose getting bloodied and having to sit out for a while.  Henry got two points on a nice fast break layup.  He didn’t play much in the 4th quarter; FDHS didn’t need him as they cruised to a 56 – 44 win despite shooting horribly from the free throw line.  Fort is 2-0 for the season!  I’d have to say that Waynesboro’s team is very poor, especially for a school which has a good basketball tradition.

The US is averaging more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths per day.  Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 11          Infected                   Died

World               91,252,121           1,951,508

US                     23,109,737              384,947

Virginia               403,386                  5,393

Augusta County       4,031                       31

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               189,283  (15,130 of whom got 2nd dose)  

            Augusta County        1,178

Virginia had another 4,500 new cases in the past 24 hours.  Augusta County got only 81 more people vaccinated today.  The only good news for me is that I got three e-mails from the Central Shenandoah Health Department today about the vaccine.  Two were just informational but one was from a man, Jordan Good, whose title was COVID-19 Vaccine Coordinator who said he’d be sure to get me on the list though my group wasn’t scheduled to be vaccinated yet.  I have a feeling I’m going to be e-mailing this man again expressing my disdain…

January 12, 2021

This morning I got an e-mail from the Central Shenandoah Health Department inviting me to fill in an online form regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.  I did and so did Lynn.  The form didn’t have anything significant in it and, of course, provided no new information as to when vaccines would be available.

Later in the morning, I learned that the CDC made a change to its recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations.  Here is what CNBC said: 

The Trump administration on Tuesday will issue new guidelines that expand coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone age 65 and older, a senior official told CNBC.  The states’ focus on vaccinating health-care workers and nursing homes has created a bottleneck, the administration official said. “The states are being told immediately they need to expand to 65-plus as well as those under 65 with comorbid conditions,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in advance of the formal announcement.  The administration will also stop holding back millions of doses reserved for the second round of shots of  Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines, the official said, adding they released doses that had been held in reserve on Sunday.

I immediately sent two e-mails to our local health department asking them if that means that people in my age group, 65-74, would now be moved into the priority group 1B instead of 1C.  Right now, supposedly they are finishing vaccinating people in group 1A, those on the front line of health care.  I didn’t pull back any punches in my e-mail, writing: 

My wife and I have both completed the survey.  However, given the news today that the CDC is revising its recommendations to states to now prioritize those 65 and over, will Group 1B now include those 65 and over instead of 75 and over?  If so, what are your plans to expedite this process?  

Plus, Augusta County vaccinated 81, 86, 100, 42, 179, 19, and 63 people in the past week according to the VDH site.  That’s a total of 570 vaccinations.  There are nearly 76,000 residents in the county.  Surely you know that if this rate continues it will take many years, not a few months, to get everyone vaccinated.  Can this not be sped up?  You need to have 24/7 vaccination clinics.

Then, I pasted in the CNBC article about ages 65 and over to confirm what I had written about in the first paragraph.

I didn’t really expect a reply though I did get back an auto-reply that said “Due to increased volume of requests from the community, you may experience a delay in our response to your email.”

Poor Lynn spent most of the day doing an online First Aid class she was required to finish in order to get her teaching certificate renewed.  It was not fun for her at all—it was boring and forced her to do lots of fake hands-on activities.  I told her that, having completed it, she should be considered as a First Responder and thus be eligible for her COVID-19 vaccination in group 1A.

I spent a lot of time this morning working on my QuickBooks manual.  Yesterday I got the sections done about doing the quarterly Federal 941 forms and the annual chore of doing the Federal W-2 forms.  Today I completed the section for the State W-2 and VA-6 forms.  I only have a little to do to finish the manual—the section about what needs to be done to start a new year.  I’ve done those tasks for 2021 but didn’t make screen shots so I’ll re-trace my steps and take the screen shots sometime in the near future.  There aren’t many tasks that need to be done.

The weather was as nice today as it is going to be in mid-January with lots of sun and highs in the mid to high 40’s.  We were able to get in a walk after Lynn finished her long online class.  It was actually very pleasant outside.  I can tell I’m not in the shape I was months ago—walking two miles now tires me a bit.  But it still felt good to be outside.  Actually, we didn’t walk until I made a phone call to Augusta County Animal Control.  I wanted to know if the dog that had bitten Debra Sheffer had been returned to the owners.  They said no and it would not be which meant that it was safe for us to walk our normal hike.

Freddie was back in regular school today and his bus brought him here this afternoon.  Josh was here to pick him up.   It was nice to get back to that routine, even if it is only for two days each week.  Freddie was happy that his teacher is back now after a maternity leave.  I pitched a football with him for a while and was very pleased at how well he threw and caught it.

Tonight was the third basketball game for both Henry and Gus.  The two came into their games with opposite early experiences.  Gus’ JV squad is 0 – 2 and he has gotten to play very little.  Henry’s varsity team is 2 – 0 and he has played roughly 50% of the time.  Both played Riverheads. 

In Gus’ game, he didn’t get to play the entire first quarter.  His teammates played poorly and fell behind 7 – 2 at the end of the quarter.  After a couple of minutes into the second quarter, Gus got to play.  His team made a good comeback and went ahead 16 – 13 at half.  Gus didn’t score but rebounded and played defense well.  To start the third quarter, he was back on the bench.  Shortly thereafter, Riverheads went up 17 – 16.  Then Fort got hot and took a 27 – 19 lead at the end of the third quarter.  Gus saw some action near the end of the quarter.   He stayed in to start the 4th quarter and continued to do well, hitting a nice baseline jumper to add to the lead.  He got several rebounds but the coach took him out when he picked up his third foul.  The JV’s won their first game of the season, 32 – 21.

Henry doesn’t start on the varsity team though I think he should.  Of course, he’s only a sophomore.  He got in after about four minutes and quickly hit a nice left hander then buried a three pointer.  The Indians were down 10 – 8 at the end of the quarter and he had 5 of the 8 points.  See what I mean that he should be starting?  He scored again in the second quarter and Fort narrowly clung to a 20 – 19 lead at half.  He was 3 – 3 from the field in the half.  But the third quarter was disastrous for them.  Cold shooting led to a 38 – 30 lead for Riverheads.  Henry played some but definitely not enough.  When he was in, he rebounded and passed well.  I can’t understand why the coach takes him out and puts in players that have no chance of scoring and don’t play good defense.  Henry got back in with 5:38 to go but they were down 42 – 32 by then.  Fort hit two three pointers, the second with 1:44 left, after being down 9 which made it 47 – 44.  They had the ball twice more and missed a shot that would have tied it but then fumbled it away on a few other possessions in the last minute.  They lost 50 – 47. Henry had 9 points.  Fort’s star player Ryan Cook had an off game. 

I’ve watched a lot of CNN over the past week since the news has been so hot lately.  Today’s news was about the impending impeachment of the President.  And, it included a clip of him getting ready to go to Texas to visit the border wall he built (with US taxpayer funds, not Mexico’s).  Before he left, he said that his comments right before the riot were “appropriate” and claimed he had been told that by others.  I don’t know what others he is talking about because everyone in the news including plenty of people from both sides of the political aisle, have called his comments seditious. 

In today’s COVID-19 report:

January 12          Infected                   Died

World               91,972,691           1,968,351

US                     23,358,156              389,424

Virginia               407,947                  5,477

Augusta County       4,060                       34

            Vaccinated

            Virginia                     200, 402 (19,086 of whom got 2nd dose)        

            Augusta County        1,321 (130 of whom got 2nd dose)

Augusta County had 3 more people die of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and currently has 93 people hospitalized with it.  Though the vaccinated numbers picked up a little with 143 vaccinated, still less than 2% of Augusta County’s population has received even one shot.  If we expect herd immunity at some time, then we’ve got to get the number vaccinated much higher than those newly infected. 

January 13, 2021

The video streaming service broadcasts of the boys’ basketball games isn’t perfect though the last couple of games have worked better for us.  We’ve learned that the best way to stream the games is through my iPad which we then use AirPlay to transfer to our large TV downstairs.  The service hasn’t figured out yet how to sync their broadcast with the score so I’ve just maintained my own scorebook.  Regardless of these minor problems, it is still turning out to be a very nice way for us to see Henry and Gus play.  We don’t have to travel or pay entrance fees.  We can lounge in the comfort of our family room and even play the games over and over if we want.  Lynn called FDHS yesterday to thank them for the service and to let them know we’d like for them to get the clock and scoreboard synced better.  The Athletic Director said they were working on the issue.  The next games will be Friday night.

Lynn has been working on getting all of her recertification papers together so she can remain as a licensed teacher.  She needs to do that in order to keep her position with Rockingham County as a part-time ELL testing person.  If it is approved, she will be re-licensed for ten more years which is all she’ll ever need.  She has them all ready to turn in to her former principal, Kenny Boyers at Cub Run.  I suggested that she should scan them so she’d retain a copy of all she submits.  Today I took them all to the basement where our HP printer/scanner is.  The process worked great!  She had the papers separated into five or six paper-clipped sections, each with 8 – 12 pages in them.  I scanned them to a USB drive in these sections, feeding through the document feeder.  It worked very, very well.  I transferred the documents to her computer and the downstairs iMac so she now has a good backup of everything she’s submitting.  Instead of having a big manila file folder of information, it is all now combined into five or six PDF documents.  That printer/scanner has served us well.

By the way, my licensure to teach in Virginia expired in 2020.  I have no plans of trying to get it renewed.  I do think I’d enjoy teaching again, perhaps a FDHS course, but I’m not about to go through the tedium she’s done to get her recertification.

Today’s weather was even better than yesterday’s.  Lynn had made arrangements to walk with Ginny Bauman in the afternoon.  She walked two miles with her then later walked 1 ½ more with me. 

While Lynn was walking with Ginny they talked to Lacey, the owner of the dog that bit Debra Sheffer.  She told Lynn that the dog had been put down.  I’m not too sorry to hear that.

I spent too much time today listening to the impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives.  The speeches, usually one or two minutes in length, went on and on.  They were quite repetitious.  I really can’t believe the blind manner in which many Republicans still follow their deranged leader.  Yet the vote was 231 – 197 to impeach Trump with 10 Republicans siding with all of the Democrats who voted to impeach him.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 13          Infected                   Died

World               92,678,975           1,984,316

US                     23,573,585              393,251

Virginia               412,545                  5,552

Augusta County       4,151                       36

            Vaccinated

            Virginia                     216, 257 (22,985 of whom got 2nd dose)        

            Augusta County        1,390 (164 of whom got 2nd dose)

I keep looking for good news here but there is none.  Augusta County only vaccinated 79 more people in the past 24 hours.  Yet five more have died in the past two days.  There were 91 new cases.  So they can’t even vaccinate more people than those who get infected each day.   And did I get a reply from my two e-mails asking if I would be moved to category 1B?  Of course not.  I guess they were too busy vaccinating people – NOT.   And look at where the vaccines are going:  Virginia has received 904,400 vaccines but only administered 216,257 of them.  They’re going to refrigerators, not people.

I’m going to have to start cutting back on eating.  This morning I got on the scales for the first time in weeks and found that I have gained a little over six pounds since the start of the pandemic.  But lately the food has been so good!  Tonight Lynn made delicious Spanish Rice and we had leftover Vito’s pizza.  Plus, she made some new cakes from a recipe Ann gave her involving grapefruit juice.  They are really good, too.

For fun, after dinner tonight we went to the 7 – 11 in Verona and bought two MegaMillions and Powerball tickets.  Don’t ask me what we’d do if we won $550,000,000!

January 14, 2021

We got some good news last night from Elizabeth Jiminez.  Her husband Gilberto Aguirre is doing much better, is taking rehab now, and will be released to come home soon.  He still can’t have visitors yet, though.  She also confided with Lynn that a few weeks ago she received a phone call from the hospital that his lungs had collapsed and she should arrange to say her last good-bye to him.  Understandably, Elizabeth gives high praise to God for his recovery.  This is another example of prayers answered.

Well, we didn’t win the Powerball lottery last night but neither did anyone else.  So now the jackpot for the next draw is $650,000,000.  What in the world would you do if you won that?  You’d have to assume a new identity somewhere like those in witness protection.

I’m trying to keep up the pressure on those who are working with COVID-19 vaccinations.  Last night, in his State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Northram said “They authorized states to go ahead and start vaccinating people age 65 and up. We’ll be moving forward with that quickly—I’ll be talking to local health directors and hospitals tomorrow about how we make this happen.”  So today I called the Virginia Department of Health number to ask why their website still has people in the 65+ age category in Group 1C whereas those in the 75+ category are in 1B.  I was on hold for a long time before I finally got through to someone. 

Actually I had been transferred to 211-Virginia.  A nice lady came on the line and was fully aware of what the Governor had said and the changes from the CDC.  She told me that people in my age group should be moved into group 1B just as I had asked.  She said the website would likely reflect that tomorrow.  I’ll believe that when I see it.  Of course, Augusta County is still vaccinating people only in the 1A group.  I’m going to continue my pressure until I have a sore arm from the shot.

This afternoon Governor Northram had a press conference about COVID-19.  He said just what I wanted him to say—that people in age 65 and older would be moved to group 1B and that the state had to do a better job of getting vaccines into arms.  He also said that every vaccine that had been received in the state had been delivered to the localities.  In other words, we know for sure where the fault lies now—our local health department which only vaccinates about 75 people each day. 

Freddie came on the bus again today, as he will likely do the rest of the year unless Augusta County Schools changes its program.  The weather was really nice outside for January 14 so we shot basketball until Josh came.  I enjoy his company!

Lynn and I also walked two miles today.  It felt good.  This weather has been unseasonably nice but, unfortunately, according to the forecast today is to be our last warm day.  The upcoming week isn’t supposed to be frigid, just seasonable meaning the highs will be in the 40’s.  Today it neared 50.

Lynn’s Cheryl friends came over this morning so I went to Central.  I got my entire QuickBooks manual finished, printed, and inserted into the notebook.  Whenever it is time for me to give up my treasurer’s duties, the next person should have a guide to learn from.  The document is 96 pages long.

I called my sister today to check on her.  She sounded better on the phone today than she has in years.  She was alert, witty, and said she felt fine.  She is so happy to have that new grandson.  Speaking of him, we got a nice text from Vic today thanking us for the blanket Lynn made for him plus the books we sent.  He sent along a picture of little Denny wrapped in the blanket.

Lynn had read somewhere that vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc are all a preventative from adverse reactions to COVID-19.  So for the past ten days or so I’ve been taking one of her multi-vitamins which contains vitamin C and zinc plus a vitamin D pill.  She’s been taking them daily for years.  I figured they couldn’t hurt.

Tonight Jim send a text message to our Family group that he was registered to be vaccinated for COVID on January 20.  I’m jealous! 

Here are today’s statistics:

January 14          Infected                   Died

World               93,455,201           2,000,349

US                     23,811,054              397,347

Virginia               417,839                  5,626

Augusta County       4,195                       39

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               242,530 (27,429 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        1,591 (224 of whom got 2nd dose)

The news above is really bad.  Virginia had over 5,000 new cases and 74 new deaths.  Augusta County had three more deaths and 96 currently hospitalized.  Staunton City has 42 deaths thus far with less than 2,000 cases.  Rockingham County has almost 5,000 cases total and 57 dead.  Harrisonburg has almost 5,000 cases and 50 dead.  The only bright spot is that Augusta County finally vaccinated more than 200 people in one day. 

Lynn got word today that her uncle B. B. Hanger died yesterday.  He was living at The Legacy with his wife, Jo Lee.  He was the last of the Hanger family to go.  We had traveled to Alaska with him and Jo Lee back in 2006.

What has our country come to?  There are more troops now surrounding the Capitol in DC than the number of soldiers in Afghanistan.  By next week, in addition to thousands of policemen where are supposed to be 20,000 National Guard.  Many Congressmen are going back home fearing for their lives.  City leaders throughout the US have been told to brace for violence.  Trump has still not taken any responsibility for the violence on January 6.  You have to wonder when, not if, there will be someone in power killed by one of the thousands of wild people like those who lay siege to the Capitol.  Guns are so easy to get and, apparently, minds are so easy to be warped.

January 15, 2021

I got one piece of news I’d been looking for this morning:  the Virginia Department of Health changed its website so that people age 65 and over are now in Group 1B.  Our health department is still vaccinating people in group 1A but other sections of Virginia are already in Group 1B—that’s why Jim got his appointment.  Teachers are in 1B. 

The medical experts say that those who are vaccinated not only have a 95% chance of not getting COVID-19 but even if they do get it their case will likely be very mild.  Maybe the reinforcements are getting nearer to my foxhole.  But the enemy is, too—ABC said this morning that the number of deaths this past week due to coronavirus are 25% higher than they have been at any time during this pandemic.

Lynn and I went to Costco during senior hour this morning.  We had several things to get and Central UMC had given me a rather long list of items they wanted.  We were successful in getting everything and the store wasn’t crowded.

Afterwards we went by The Legacy and left a flower nnd card for Jo Lee Hanger.  B.B.’s obituary was on the Coffman Funeral Home site; he was 96 years old.  All of that family lived a long time! 

We then stopped by Central and dropped off all of the items we had purchased.  All were for the custodian, Janet.

Gus and Henry each were scheduled to play basketball tonight at Stuarts Draft High School but the NFHS site, the streaming site, didn’t list their games though it did list lots of others.  Lynn called the school and was told that the games were still scheduled and the lady who took her call said she’d notify the Athletic Director.  We didn’t want to miss one second of their games!  Finally they showed up online.

I’m not sure why but the price of gasoline has risen significantly over the past week.  We’d been paying around $1.95 per gallon but Costco’s price today was $2.33.  I’m sure the Republicans will say that’s the result of electing Biden.  If this is so, then it was worth it.

It was chilly today and rainy in the late afternoon.  But before the rain got here Lynn and I got in our two mile walk.  We were bundled up well and it wasn’t too bad. 

Today was Friday so we returned to our tradition of getting hamburgers from the Old School food truck at Valley Pike.  We ate early since we wanted to watch Gus’ game which started at 5:45.

After we ate, Ann, Josh, and Freddie came over to watch the games.  We had a setup where Ann connected to the game on her phone then projected it to the downstairs television via AirPlay.  She did so through our WiFi.  Meanwhile, Lynn and I connected to the network using Verizon on my iPad.  I had turned WiFi off on the iPad so we wouldn’t be competing for bandwidth with Ann.  The only drawback was that we couldn’t use AirPlay to connect to our tv upstairs since we had turned WiFi off.  So, Lynn and I didn’t get the benefit of a big screen through we were able to see the games OK on the iPad.  This way, we were able to keep socially distant yet still both families could see the games.

The JV game was hard to watch.  Fort led the entire first half and built up a 38 – 31 lead with about 4 minutes left.  Gus had played a good bit, scored four points, and got lots of rebounds.  But at the 4 minute juncture of the game he had been taken out.  Over the last four minutes, with Gus on the bench, Stuarts Draft scored 14 points and Fort didn’t score.  The Fort guards threw the ball away, then threw it away, then threw it away.  Over and over again they turned the ball over.  Gus later said it was six consecutive times they turned it over.  They are just poorly taught and coached.  Gus should feel good about his play.

In the Varsity game, Henry didn’t start though I think he should.  Henry has been the second highest scorer in two of their three games yet he didn’t play a second of the first quarter.  Explain that.  At least Fort was up 16 – 10 at the end of the first.  He played most of the second quarter, scored two points, and Fort grabbed a 26 – 19 lead at the half.  At the end of the third, Fort had moved out to a 42 – 30 lead and Henry had 8 points.  The final score was 54 – 36.  Henry had 10—his first time in double digits.  Not bad at all for a sophomore! Fort is 3 – 1 now.

When I think about it, it is amazing that the boys are able to play interscholastic basketball with COVID-19 so rampant.  So many other things have been canceled.  They play in a large gymnasium with only 20 – 25 fans present. 

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 15          Infected                   Died

World               94,245,418           2,016,069

US                     24,076,290              401,469

Virginia               422,634                  5,656

Augusta County       4,225                       39

            Vaccinated

            Virginia             268,4430 (30,475 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        1,647 (233 of whom got 2nd dose)

Augusta County vaccinated 56 people today.  Terrible!!  Lynn did get an e-mail from Rockingham County Schools with details about when those employees, including her, would be vaccinated starting January 27.   They’re going to do all of the vaccinations at the four high schools, one per week, on Wednesdays, starting at Spotswood High School.  So it seems that Rockingham has some plans.  Apparently Augusta does not.

January 16, 2021

The morning took an unexpected frantic turn when, while we were taking food to Lynn’s student Juan Pablo in Waynesboro, I got an e-mail from Bill Bushman with directions for signing up for the COVID-19 vaccine at Augusta Health.  He said it was legitimate and that he and Martha had signed up and gotten their confirmations.  While coming home I got a similar text from Jim Printy saying to sign up quickly; spots were going fast.  I drove home faster than I should have then put my typing skills to good use.  Lynn and I immediately signed up for next Friday, the 22nd, at 8:20 AM. 

The site says this will be the Pfizer vaccine.  We had to fill in various information on the online form then we got to pick our time.  The earliest available on Friday was the 8:20 slot.  We then forwarded the e-mail to everyone we thought would be interested.  The form said it was only for 75 and over but we were told by others to ignore that so we did.  Other friends said they signed up for times on Wednesday and Thursday so I guess we’ll find out if there’s anything not Kosher with this before our time comes.

I sure hope this is legitimate!  Lots of our friends also signed up.  Then I had another moment of euphoria—I read that the Pfizer 2nd dose is 21 days after the first.  If we get our first dose on January 22 then our follow up would be February 12.  From February 15 – 18 we are booked at the Greenbrier.  We made these reservations back in December, hoping that by then we would have at least one of our vaccination shots.  But if we can actually get them both prior that will make for one enjoyable week at the Greenbrier.

Today I also discovered that the Waynesboro News-Virginian had online coverage of local high school basketball just like all newspapers used to.  There was a nice article about the FDHS game last night, complete with pictures, some of Henry.  I immediately completed the online subscription for a year—it was only $26.00.  The digital version also had articles for the previous games, some with box scores.  The only downer to this was when we were in Waynesboro we bought a print copy of today’s News-Virginian expecting to see the article in print form but it was not there. 

WHSV had videos from last night’s game, too.  Henry was mentioned by name on the news as it showed him scoring off an in-bounds play.  It took me a while but I found out how to download the video which I then uploaded to my Vimeo account.  But before I posted it so others could see it I wrote to the WHSV reporter who posted it and asked for his permission.  I just wanted to do this right.

Here’s why I am hesitant to believe we really will be vaccinated next Friday:  today I got an e-mail from the Central Shenandoah Health Department, the place that’s supposed to be coordinating all of the vaccinations in our part of Virginia.  In part, it said, “Beginning, Monday, January 18th, the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) will make available closed “point of dispensing” (POD) COVID-19 vaccination clinics specifically for “Phase 1b” priority groups…. CSHD is also working with our healthcare partners such as hospital systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s), and 10 local pharmacies throughout the district to start vaccinating persons aged 65 and up. More details about these PODs for persons 65 and up will be available soon.”  It’s almost like they didn’t know that Augusta Health was already scheduling vaccinations.  The right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing!

I do know that the number of spots posted for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday filled up.  Lynn’s sister Kay waited until this evening to try to sign up but found that there were no spots available.  She has already had COVID-19 so she wasn’t too upset, figuring that she had an immunity already. 

With cautious optimism, Lynn and I celebrated tonight.  After our dinner, we went to Smiley’s for ice cream.   We’re going to try to be especially careful this coming week.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Virginia is just awful:  6,757 new cases in just one day:

January 16          Infected                   Died

World               94,899,870           2,029,380

US                     24,292,811              405,177

Virginia               429,391                  5,706

Augusta County       4,297                       41

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               295,202 (32,059 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        1,769 (234 of whom got 2nd dose)

Augusta County did a little better than normal, vaccinating 122 more people.  Assuming the Augusta Health schedule is correct, that number will increase.  The schedule we signed up for on Friday, January 22, had 3-4 people scheduled every 5 minutes, 8:00 – 12:00 and 1:00 – 5:00, for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Augusta County currently has 99 people hospitalized with coronavirus.  Tonight I’m feeling mighty lucky to have been able to avoid it for the past ten months.  If only I can make it one more week to get that first vaccination, followed by dose #2 three weeks later!

Nineteen states now have evidence of the United Kingdom mutation of COVID-19.  Virginia is not currently one of them.

Lynn’s back is still not healed.  Almost every afternoon she lies down to rest it.  She says she no longer gets the sharp pangs of pain but it just gets tired and hurts after she has sat in a hard chair for any period of time.  When she is in bed, she can’t lie on her back long.  So one of the things she wants to do once she has been vaccinated is to have a doctor check it out.   She also is supposed to get a bone density test which she has put off until after the vaccination.

Today’s weather was not pretty.  It was cold, windy, and we had blowing snow for parts of the day.  Ann was out shopping during one squall and told us the roads were quite slick.  Thankfully she got home OK.   Before then, I did a trash run which was slowed a little because I had to jump the truck to get it started.  I’ll probably need to get its battery replaced sometime this coming week.

The MegaMillions jackot is now $850 million and the Powerball jackpot is $650 million.  The Powerball drawing is tonight and the MegaMillions is on Tuesday.  We have our tickets for both!  Of course, this is just for fun. 

In tonight’s news, Trump wants his exit from the White House on Wednesday morning to be an elaborate military ceremony with red carpet and “Hail to the Chief.”  I’d think handcuffs would be more in order.   He’s going to in Florida by the time the Inauguration starts.

The news also said by Inauguration Day on Wednesday Washington would have more than 25,000 troops, five times the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  ABC said some of the rioters arrested for the January 6 siege were asking for a pardon from Trump, saying they were just following his orders. 

January 17, 2021

I knew it was too good to be true.  This morning the Staunton newspaper had an article about COVID-19 vaccinations in our area.  It says clearly that the vaccinations to begin on January 21 are for ages 75 and up.  Now I am very upset:  did I by signing up yesterday take someone else’s place?  Why would the site allow someone not eligible to register?  I looked back at the e-mail Bill Bushman had forwarded.  There were two people besides him who had written that the 75 and over requirement had been changed to 65 and over.  Many of our friends who registered are under 75.  I guess we’ll find out on Wednesday when they go for their vaccine if they are turned away or not.

I have a fairly strong sense of right and wrong.  Yesterday, when I first read the notice from Denise Moran, Governance & Executive Office Coordinator at Augusta Health and saw that it said 75 and over, I tried to call her office since her phone number was listed on the letter.  Lynn and I must have tried the number five or six times.  I wanted to see if the 75 and over sentence was wrong in light of the changes at CDC and VDH.  There was no answer.  And when we both saw that others had said that the 75 and over had been changed to 65 and over, we both went ahead and registered.

The CDC changed its guidelines to 65; the Virginia Department of Health lowered its requirements for Group 1B to 65 and over.  So it makes sense that we should believe that we were eligible for this vaccination.  The newspaper article today made it sound like the Health Department had decided to begin with those 75 and over.  So now I am in a quandary.

If we have to cancel our appointments I will be enraged.  The Health Department has bungled this from the beginning as I’ve written about for days.  If we’re not forced to cancel, are we wrong in taking a spot that someone 75 and over should have?  This should not be an either-or problem; vaccines should be for everyone and everyone as soon as they can be administered.  As I wrote before, Augusta Health and the Central Shenandoah Valley Health Department should be doing vaccinations seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

If they are only going to vaccinate those 75 and over, then the e-mail from Denise Moran should have made it clear that there was another plan for those between 65 and 75.  Her e-mail did specifically say that those dates were for 75 and over but keep in mind that it was just on Friday morning that VDH changed their website to say that people 65 and over were in Group 1B.  Her e-mail was originally dated on Friday, the same day these changes were made.

Today was Lynn’s uncle B.B. Hanger’s funeral.  It was a family graveside service at Mount Tabor Lutheran’s cemetery.  We went but kept our distance.  The weather was quite cold but there were still around 30 people there, mostly family.  The Hanger family is such a good family.  There are no bad eggs in the Hanger basket.

At the funeral, Donna Morris gave Lynn her binding system which allows you to bind papers together with a plastic spline.  Lynn had asked for it because I had scanned newspaper articles from her Dad’s young days as a baseball and basketball star plus his days in the service during World War II.  She wanted to give copies to all of her siblings plus Donna and our three children.  So this afternoon I printed eight copies of the scanned documents.  Lynn will be binding them together sometime this week, I suppose.

Lynn heard from some of her friends who also had registered for the COVID-19 vaccines and, like us, are under 75 years old.  One friend, who resides in Albemarle County, was called today and told because she lived outside the area and was under 75 they were cancelling her appointment.  Throughout the day Lynn and I awaited our phone call telling us that ours, too, would be canceled but the call didn’t come—yet.  I know I’ll be writing about this all week.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 17          Infected                   Died

World               95,430,206           2,038,575

US                     24,458,082              407,050

Virginia               439,305                  5,729

Augusta County       4,323                       41

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               316,812 (33,470 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        1,879 (239 of whom got 2nd dose)

Virginia had almost 10,000 new cases in just one day!  Augusta County now has 100 people hospitalized yet only 2.4% of its population vaccinated.  As a comparison, Albemarle County has a population of 109,000 yet they have vaccinated 5,275 people.  Augusta County has a population of 76,000 yet only 1,879 have been vaccinated.  When (If) I do get that phone call telling me that my appointment has been canceled I’m going to unload on the person on the other end of the line.

I gathered some statistics tonight which clearly show Augusta County is doing a lousy job even in comparison to our nearest neighbors:

AugustaAlbemarleRockinghamRockbridge
Population           76,000      109,000        82,000        22,600
Vaccinated as of 1/17             1,879          5,275          2,531          1,018
Daily Rate                  63             176               84               34
Percent vaccinated2.5%4.8%3.1%4.5%
COVID-19 Cases             4,323          3,518          4,995880

January 18, 2021

Lynn and I worked on binding her Dad’s newspaper clippings this morning.  We had some trouble with the binder that she had borrowed from Donna.  The binder part of the machine quit working though it did punch the holes correctly.  She ended up attaching the plastic comb by hand to the last several copies.

I am bothered when I call or e-mail someone asking for a response and get none.  This has happened to me several times recently.  I e-mailed the Central Shenandoah Health District’s COVID-19 Vaccine Coordinator asking him to verify that those 65 and over were moved to Group 1-B shortly after Northram’s report last week.  No response.  I e-mailed the reporter from WHSV asking for his permission to keep a copy of his video about Henry’s basketball game.  No response. 

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day so all school events were canceled, the post office won’t deliver mail, etc.  In other words—boring day!  We drove to Staunton in the morning to return the binder to Donna and drop off copies of the document to her, Kay, and Bill.

Throughout the day we’ve gotten word via phone, e-mail, or Facebook that friends of ours who signed up when we did for the Augusta Health vaccinations this coming Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are being told that their appointments are being canceled because they are not 75 or over.  Waiting on that phone call has just infuriated me all the more.  Truthfully, my blood pressure is surely much higher than it should be over this.  Instead of spending all day making calls telling people that their appointments are canceled they should have been on the phone lining up more people and locations for the vaccinations to be administered.  As you can tell from the statistics I listed last night, getting people vaccinated is not the priority in Augusta County as it is elsewhere. 

I’ve had to work hard at not snapping at Lynn today for surely nothing she has done has angered me.  But thinking about Donald Trump and COVID-19 vaccinations has just put me in a bad mood.  Poor Lynn!  When I consider the big picture—I’ve not had COVID-19, am healthy and financially secure, with a wonderful family, I really have much more to be thankful for than to complain about.

Today was a cold, windy day with blowing snow at times.  I saw in front of the fireplace with our gas insert on much of the day.  Lynn actually went walking with Ginny Bauman at 1:30 when the weather was posted as 36o with a feel-like temperature of 28o

The call came around 4:15.  Lynn got hers about five minutes later.  She was a lot nicer to the lady on the other end of the phone than I.  Lynn asked when she could expect to be rescheduled; she was told they were only planning to vaccinate those 75 or over now.  She asked to speak to a supervisor who said that Augusta Health didn’t have enough vaccines.  Yet on the VDH website it says that The Virginia Department of Health says Virginia has been given 943,400 vaccinations yet only 324,965 have been administered.   The Governor said that all of the vaccinations had been distributed to localities.  Someone is not telling the truth….

I’m more than bothered by the fact that our local health department chose to ignore that 65 and over were moved into group 1-B.  Northram himself said that 80% of those who have died due to COVID have been in the 65 and over age group. 

I updated the spreadsheet I posted last evening with tonight’s numbers but the conclusion was the same:  Augusta County is doing a lousy job of vaccinating its residents.  I sent this spreadsheet to a number of my friends along with a rant similar to what I’ve written here.  All of them responded that the rant was justified.

After dinner tonight we went back to Smiley’s because they had a new flavor Lynn wanted to try out.  It was called Turtle Cheesecake.  She really liked her milkshake.  No surprise, I had a cone of salted caramel chocolate chunk.

The next few days are going to be interesting in Washington.  We’ve got a rather busy schedule ourselves including three nights of basketball over the next four nights.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 18          Infected                   Died

World               95,973,555           2,048,256

US                     24,614,695              408,502

Virginia               446,550                  5,739

Augusta County       4,360                       41

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               324,965 (34,407 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        1,963 (241 of whom got 2nd dose)

What more can I say?  The enemy is almost to my foxhole and my reinforcements have apparently stopped to play cards.

Jim texted to our Family group a picture of a maze he built for the hamster that Coen and Faron apparently have.  It was really well made.  No surprise… 

Tomorrow is Coen’s 4th birthday.  Lynn ordered a present for him which is supposed to arrive tomorrow and today I made him a card.  I don’t know when we’ll get them to him.

With all my complaining, perhaps I should take Martin Luther King, Jr.’s advice.  Here’s a quote of his that definitely applies to me today:  “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

January 19, 2021

It calmed me a little this morning when I learned from Sam Richardson that he tried to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccination this coming Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and was told there were no more open spots.  He is definitely over 75.  I feel badly for him that our local health department is so unprepared.

I did my usual Monday morning QuickBooks work at Central today then came back home mid-morning.  The QuickBooks work doesn’t take me as long as it originally did, partly because I have finished the manual.  I’m going to continue doing the Treasurer’s job at least until I am vaccinated.  That might be a long time…

Both Staunton and Harrisonburg newspapers this morning had an article saying that the Central Shenandoah Health District was now vaccinating people in Group 1-B which makes it sound like I’ll be getting mine soon.  Not true…

From the inside, today looked like a nice day for late January.  The temperature was in the low 40’s.  But when you stepped outside you were greeted with a cold, strong wind that made it miserable out there.  Lynn and Ginny Bauman still managed to get in their two mile walk but I stayed in.

This pandemic has made me learn to live with boredom.  I’m not proud of myself sometimes when I’ve got little to do.  I play Whirly Word.  I refresh the Facebook page.  I play Solitaire.  I check obituaries in Bluefield and Morgantown.  I refresh the Facebook page.  I check the hourly forecast.  I look at the news on cnn.com.  I refresh the Facebook page.  I check out the news on the ABC news website.  I play Whirly Word.  I refresh the Facebook page.  I look at my pictures as they randomly come on my laptop screen.  I watch the news on CNN.  I refresh the Facebook page.

I’m not the only one who is upset with the speed at which we’re getting vaccinating.  I ran into this news story today from WWBT Channel 12 in Richmond:  While the Virginia Department of Health says its top priority is ‘getting shots into arms’ – Virginia is lagging behind just about every other state in getting it done.  Virginia has used about 34 percent of all available vaccine doses that have been distributed throughout the Commonwealth.  That puts the state in the bottom five of all 50 states. Over the next two weeks, the federal government will consider how quickly states are giving out the vaccine when it comes to the next allotment of available doses. Virginia’s low ranking could affect that.

This afternoon another glimmer of hope broke through.  Lynn found out from Cheryl Kent that Food Pantry volunteers are considered to be essential workers and are classified as 1-A in the vaccination scheme.  Cheryl contacted Caroline Jones who is in charge of Central’s Food Pantry who is pursuing this with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank who are very supportive of this, I understand.  The volunteers include the truck drivers.  So perhaps I’ll have a route to a vaccine after all.  I’m not going to get my hopes up, though. 

Tonight Lynn made the best supper.  On a cold day like today, there’s nothing better than soup.  She made chicken noodle soup that was delicious!  I ate three bowls of it.  She made plenty so I’ll have it for days plus we froze some for another time.  It was the best soup I’ve had in ages.

Since today was Coen’s 4th birthday but we couldn’t be there, we Zoomed with Jim and Coen this afternoon.  He showed us the new skates he had just gotten as well as his bike which he rode (with training wheels).  Then Jim quickly set up their driveway tennis net.  Jim stood on one side of the net and Coen was on the other side with this racket ready.  Ball after ball Coen hit over the net!  He was really good.  We’re going to Roanoke this Saturday to drop off his present and card.

Henry had a basketball game tonight against Wilson Memorial.  As always, the game was livestreamed and we enjoyed watching it.  The JV game was postponed so Gus didn’t play.  Wilson Memorial came into the game with a 4 – 1 record; Fort was 3 – 1.  Again, Henry didn’t start though I still think he should.  WMHS hit their first four shots from the field and went up 9 – 0 before Henry got in.  Soon it was 11 – 11 including two from Henry.  The quarter ended 16 – 15 in favor of WMHS.  After a good second quarter, Fort led 31 – 26 at the half.  FDHS had a good third quarter including two nice jumpers by Henry to take a 46 – 37 lead going into the last quarter.  Fort built up an 11 point lead then took Henry out.  I don’t need to tell you what happened next.  Soon it was 59 – 58 WMHS.  Fort scored to take a 60 – 59 lead with 18 seconds left.  With six seconds to go Fort fouled and WMHS hit both to take a 61 – 60 lead.  With Henry still on the bench they missed their last shot and lost.  No excuse.  The coach lost it.  Henry was 3 – 3 from the field and should have been on the court in the 4th quarter.

Here are today’s COVID-19 facts:

January 19          Infected                   Died

World               96,566,791           2,063,310

US                     24,783,941              411,027

Virginia               451,076                  5,798

Augusta County       4,410                       42

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               341,388 (36,826 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        1,991 (243 of whom got 2nd dose)

Another disappointing day.  Only 28 new people were vaccinated in Augusta County.  Awful!  Another 4,500 infected in Virginia.  The US is approaching 25,000,000 infected and has over 400,000 deaths.

January 20, 2021

Today was a monumental day for America in which we tossed out the worst President of my lifetime, Donald Trump, and ushered in Joe Biden.  We can only hope that the flames of discord that Trump fanned will turn to ashes.  It will take a long time for the US to get over such division, such selfishness, such neglect for the truth. 

It was a good day for Jim, too.  He got his first COVID-19 vaccination shot thanks to Roanoke City Schools.  It is somewhat ironic that the youngest member of our immediate family is the first to be inoculated but I’m very glad he has his first of two shots.  He posted a picture on Facebook holding his vaccination card and wearing a “I’ve been vaccinated” sticker.

I got an e-mail late last night, as did plenty of others, informing me of the same thing that the phone call had, that my appointment for a vaccine on Friday was canceled.  Although it was undoubtedly a mass e-mail, I couldn’t help but reply to it.  Here is what I wrote:

I understand that 75 and over people need the vaccination before I do.  But I want you to be aware of how far Augusta County is compared to our neighboring counties.  In the chart below, updated with today’s numbers, note that if Augusta continues at its current rate (only 28 people vaccinated today, for example), it will take 3.1 years to get everyone vaccinated.  Compare Augusta to Albemarle:  they have 2,000 more vaccinated than they have infected.  Augusta has fewer than ½ as many vaccinated as infected.  All of the other counties have a higher percentage of their population vaccinated.  WE NEED 24/7 VACCINATION CLINICS so that you’ll be calling people to get vaccinated, not calling them to cancel their appointments because you’re refused to include 65 and over in group 1-B like Governor Northram recommended.  80% of those who have died are in the 65 and over age group.  This is the most important task the Health Department has taken on in decades—you need to do a much better job with it.

And note this news from WWBT Channel 12 in Richmond:  While the Virginia Department of Health says its top priority is ‘getting shots into arms’ – Virginia is lagging behind just about every other state in getting it done.  Virginia has used about 34 percent of all available vaccine doses that have been distributed throughout the Commonwealth.  That puts the state in the bottom five of all 50 states. Over the next two weeks, the federal government will consider how quickly states are giving out the vaccine when it comes to the next allotment of available doses. Virginia’s low ranking could affect that.

What are you doing about this??  (besides calling and e-mailing people that their appointments have been canceled)

Joe Hill

540-292-0237

I’m probably going to get myself blacklisted for my e-mails.  I just can’t keep all of this to myself. 

I’m also going to have to figure out how to calmly get over let downs on the basketball court.  West Virginia lost to 4th ranked Texas on January 9 after leading the entire game but giving up a game-winning shot at the last second.  On January 15, Gus’ JV team was ahead by double digits with four minutes to go in the game when he was taken out; Stuarts Draft scored the next 14 points and won.  Then last night, as I wrote, Henry was taken out with 2:21 left and Fort holding a 57 – 48 lead.  Wilson Memorial then outscored Fort 13 – 3 to win, 61 – 60.  Lynn has told me literally hundreds of times, “It’s only a game!”  Maybe so, but this kind of disappointment hits me hard.  Fort does not have a championship JV or varsity team.  They will lose other games but I hope they only lose games to superior teams, not when their own coaches screw up.

Henry’s good play wasn’t just noticed by his family.  The Waynesboro paper had an article about the game including the paragraph:  Fort Defiance sophomore Henry Guttershall showed off his fancy footwork in the post as he made all three of his shot attempts to help extend the Indians’ lead to nine going into the fourth quarter.  They misspelled his name but got the rest right.  I would hope that the coaching staff would notice this, too.

I watched a lot of the inauguration events today, before, during and after.  Lady Gaga performed a monumental version of the national anthem.  Biden’s speech was one of unity; he didn’t mention Trump’s name.  Afterward there was a fairly good sense of peace and unity in the nation, especially compared to what it’s been like for the past four years.  At least that’s the sense I got from the news media and Facebook.  All of the events in Washington were safe and incident-free.

Lynn called in an order to Kroger today and we stopped by Aldi’s on the way there.  Then we picked up dinner at Chicano Boy to celebrate the change in national leadership.

It was a very boring day—too cold and windy to walk.  Lynn had two interpreting sessions in the morning for Rockingham County Public Schools.

My brother sent a sobering text today.  He had received a statement for Ann’s medical expenses:  $1,228,374.66.  He said that they paid $1,737, thanks to their insurance.  He commented about how events like this force those without good insurance to file for bankruptcy.  So true.

We did have more basketball to watch tonight.  Both JV and Varsity played Waynesboro.  Waynesboro’s JV’s were terrible, perhaps the worst JV team I’ve seen in all my days of watching/playing basketball. Gus got in with a little over two minutes to go in the first quarter and immediately scored then grabbed a couple of rebounds.  At the end of the quarter the score was Fort 9, Waynesboro 0.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a team go the entire quarter without scoring.  At the end of the half the score was 22 – 2.  And it wasn’t that the Fort team was playing great—quite the opposite.  They were playing down to their level of competition.  Fort’s coaching in this game was inexplicable.  With a lead of 26 – 2 in the third quarter, the coach still had his starters in and was pressing.  He finally substituted a few players in, but not Gus.  He finally got in with two minutes to go in the quarter and the score 33 – 6.  He went 2 – 2 from the free throw line to give them a 37 – 10 lead at the end of the third quarter.   He played a little more than half of the 4th quarter as Fort cruised to a 54 – 17 easy win. 

This was the first time this year that FDHS had played Waynesboro’s JV’s but the varsity teams played on January 11 with Fort winning 56 – 44.  Again Henry didn’t start.  He got in with 4:35 to go in the first quarter and the score 4 – 3 Waynesboro.  He made a nice steal and turned it into a two-pointer to pull the Indians within two at 9-7.  That’s the way the quarter ended.  Ryan Cook did not have a good shooting quarter and Fort made numerous turnovers.  At least the coach kept Henry in to start the 2nd quarter but then took him out after only 45 seconds.  I know I see the players through very biased eyes, but from where I view the game he is clearly the best forward FDHS has and should be playing lots, lots more.  He did get back in with 3:45 to go in the half.  Fort played better in the 2nd quarter and led 21 – 16 at the half.  Josh, who was at the game texting us, called it an “ugly game.”  I didn’t disagree.

In the second half, Henry saw action with about four minutes to go in the third quarter.  Uncharacteristically, he missed two free throws.  But he played good defense including a steal and drawing a charge.  Then he hit 2 – 2 from the free throw line to put the Indians up by 10, 35 – 25.  By this time, Fort was in control and led 41 – 29 by the end of the quarter.  He got to play more in the fourth quarter; by that time the Indians led comfortably.  He drew another charge on a good defensive play.  Fort got the win, 53 – 35, but it wasn’t a pretty win.  That makes them 4 – 2 for the season with a game against Staunton this coming Friday night.

Here are today’s coronavirus numbers:

January 20          Infected                   Died

World               97,237,493           2,080,402

US                     24,973,059              415,038

Virginia               455,591                  5,861

Augusta County       4,443                       42

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               360,051 (39,458 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        2,045 (250 of whom got 2nd dose)

Today was the first of the three big days of vaccinating Augusta County residents 75 and over.  Yet this report only shows Augusta’s number increasing by 54.  I know that there were residents of Staunton and Waynesboro also vaccinated at Augusta Health today but still this number seems way too low.  And note that Augusta’s number of infected is still more than twice its number vaccinated.

January 21, 2021

I talked to Caroline Jones this morning about getting a COVID-19 vaccination through our connection with the Central Food Pantry.  She seemed optimistic about it though she had not heard back from the lady at the Central Virginia Food Bank about how this is to be done.  She, like Lynn and me, had signed up for the vaccinations this week only to have been called and told our appointments were canceled because we weren’t 75 or over.

I had a very fruitful morning at Central today.  I first recorded my Congregational Prayer for this coming Sunday, posted it to my Google Drive, and shared it with Yi-Ping Chen who assembles the various files for the Sunday morning service.  I did something interesting with this prayer:  during part of it I played a recording I had made on my piano last night of Hymn 142:  If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee.  While the recording of hymn was playing, I read its words.  In other words, my MacBook was both playing one recording (using Quicktime) while making another one (using Photo Booth).  I had verified last night that this was possible so today I did the recording in the sanctuary. 

After making that recording, I paid three bills and updated the records in QuickBooks of our major endowment.  That endowment really did well this last quarter.  Despite paying out almost $10,000 to Central, as it does every quarter, it still gained in value from $836,000 to $916,000.  Wow, a $80,000 increase!   As I have known for many years, this really points out that the way to be rich is to start rich.  Those who are lucky enough to have huge portfolios make great monies through their unearned income like this.  There is absolutely no way to work yourself rich; the only way to get rich is to have investments, i.e., unearned income.

I was happy to see that the stock market did not crash, as Trump predicted it would, when Biden took over.  In fact, it closed considerably higher yesterday thanks to his inauguration.

I will probably have much less to write about now that Trump is out of office.  No longer will I have absurd tweets or quotes to react to.  No longer will there be a plethora of lies to denounce.  No longer will crooks and family members be put in charge of important tasks of our government.  What will I write about?  Ha!

Alas, more disappointment.  Later in the day Caroline Jones forwarded an e-mail from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank saying that Food Pantry workers were classified as 1-B, not 1-A.  Nonetheless, her e-mail said to register for this.  But the VDH registration site didn’t work…no surprise.  More disappointment, more anger.

Butch was able to get vaccinated today, thanks in part to his friendship with a local pharmacist, I believe.  I’m jealous!  We kiddingly tried to get him to talk the pharmacist into adding us.  Lynn said she’d make English Muffins for both Butch and the pharmacist.  He actually did check with his friend but was told that the vaccines were only for Ohio residents.   More disappointment…

Butch was able to get vaccinated because the pharmacy had a few excess doses.  He said that they clearly were going to end up wasting some today since the shelf life is limited after they come out of the freezer.  Such a shame…

The weather was nice enough for Lynn and I to do our two mile walk this afternoon.  It looks like tomorrow’s weather will be similar.  I need to keep walking.  I know I’ve picked up a few pounds.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 21          Infected                   Died

World               98,026,535           2,097,653

US                     25,173,637              419,729

Virginia               459,604                  5,940

Augusta County       4,476                       43

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               399,317 (45,074 of whom got 2nd dose)   

            Augusta County        2,350  (288 of whom got 2nd dose)

Augusta County finally vaccinated 305 people in one day—much more than they’ve been doing.  This needs to be repeated over and over and over. 

January 22, 2021

After a few minutes of inactivity, my MacBook launches a screensaver which displays several randomly chosen pictures from my Favorite Pictures folder.  Each picture stays on for a few seconds then more are loaded.  I spend a lot of time watching these photos pop up.  They remind me of happy times, times which aren’t happening now:  weddings, vacations, family gatherings, kids swimming or playing in our backyard, eating together, reunions, travels, awards, and sports events.  There are pictures from the 70’s, those of family members no longer alive, babies, and spectacular places we’ve visited.  The pictures bring back sweet memories but they also bring on sadness.  I wonder what pictures, if any, I’ll be able to add to this folder.  Will we be able to travel uninhibited again?  Will our families be able to gather together for a meal?  Will there be graduation ceremonies, ball games, or weddings we can attend?  These aren’t pictures of people being socially distant and wearing masks—they’re pictures of family members hugging, laughing, visiting, and showing their love through proximity—none of which are happening now.

Today’s news may not be much about Trump but it sure is depressing:  more mutations of the virus, less availability of the vaccine, and record deaths.  Biden said today that the 400,000+ who have died from COVID-19 in the US is more than the number who died in World War II. 

I didn’t get any closer to getting vaccinated today.  I got a boiler-plate e-mail from the local health department just because I had signed up to be on the list of those who want a vaccine.  It offered little, if any hope, that this will happen soon.  In the evening I got a second e-mail with the same information in it.  I’m tired of being told to wear masks, stay socially distant, wash my hands, and be patient waiting on my turn to be vaccinated.

The Congregational Prayer I recorded for this Sunday was an attempt at looking for hope in tough times.  Perhaps I need to listen to my own words.  I’m not feeling very hopeful today.

While Lynn had her Cheryl friends over this morning I took Jim’s truck to AutoZone and had a new battery installed.  It needed it—I had to put my battery charger on the old one for a couple of hours before I started it.  There was an issue the installer ran into when the hood was shut—it wouldn’t latch properly.  Jim said he’d take a look at it the next time he’s here.  I put a bungee cord on it just to make sure it didn’t fly open as I drove home.  Jim later texted me that he thought he could fix this; he had replaced the hood a few years ago.

This morning on the WHSV news it was announced that Page County was vaccinating residents 65 and older at Page County High School from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm today.  They suggested that people with last names A to D should arrive at 9 a.m.; E to H at 10; I to P at 11; and Q to Z at noon.  Is there any surprise that at the noon news they reported that cars were lined up for miles outside the high school?  This just points out again how unprepared the health departments are. 

Late this afternoon Lynn got the e-mail from Superintendent Oskar Scheikl that she has anxiously been awaiting.  She will be vaccinated next Wednesday, January 27, at Spotswood High School.  Rockingham County Public Schools will start their vaccinations on January 27 and will continue on subsequent Wednesdays.  Ann will get hers on one of the subsequent Wednesdays.  She will receive her time in an upcoming e-mail.  She was overjoyed, to say the least.

Well, we bought our lottery tickets for the MegaMillions drawing tonight.  The jackpot is $1 billion.  I’m not going to waste time thinking about what I’d do if I won….

Our friends Paul and Sandy Porterfield in North Carolina relayed that they are scheduled to get their first shot on Wednesday, the 27th.  Our friends Hal and Diane Koerner have a summer home in Colorado and a winter one in Arizona.  Colorado elected to administer its vaccinations to 65 and over via a lottery.  Hal was chosen for the lottery, Diane wasn’t.  As a result, Hal drove for ten hours from their current home in Arizona to get his first shot.  Diane Koerner has hers scheduled February 12 in Arizona.  Hers is scheduled at 2:42 am because they are doing their vaccinations 24/7.  And how about us in Virginia?  You know the answer. 

A Facebook post told how Mossy Creek Presbyterian Church in Mount Solon is raising money for the Elizabeth and Gilberto Aguirre family.  Lynn posted that she knew the family well and how much they were deserving.  She then got a Facebook message from Carolyn Houff saying that the Houffs wanted to donate and asked Lynn to meet them this afternoon so they could give her the check to give to the church.  It was a $2,000 check!  To be honest, Carolyn Houff is an ardent Trump supporter who posts lots of offensive messages but apparently her heart is still mighty good.  Lynn made arrangements to drop the check off on Monday.  Pastor Won also sent a check for $100 from our Samaritan Fund for the family.  We have some cash we’ll give them, too.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 22          Infected                   Died

World               98,675,645           2,113,875

US                     25,359,980              423,590

Virginia               463,751                  6,002

Augusta County       4,527                       43

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               424,857  (48,034 of whom got 2nd dose)  

            Augusta County        2,592  (302 of whom got 2nd dose)

I’m not sure why I post these statistics anymore.  I hope that I show up as a statistic in the last line, not elsewhere in that chart.

Tonight was another basketball night:  Fort Defiance vs Staunton.  The JV game was first, as always.  Gus got in with one minute to go in the quarter and Fort ahead 9 – 6.   Staunton closed to 9 – 8 then Gus put Fort up 11 – 8 at the quarter with nice short jumper.  Staunton took off in the second quarter, building an 20 – 13 lead thanks to multiple turnovers by FDHS.  It is so hard to watch kids play basketball who can’t dribble or pass.  Gus did fine—no turnovers, couple of rebounds, and 1 – 1 from the field.   Unfortunately for Fort, Staunton outscored them 19 – 2 in the second quarter and took a 27 – 13 lead at the half.  It was a miserable quarter for Fort.

The third quarter was no better.  Gus got in after a couple minutes but they were down 30 – 13 by that time.  The onslaught continued though Gus did hit a jumper for two of the few points Fort could muster.  The quarter ended with Staunton ahead 47 – 17.  If you were counting Fort turnovers you’d need a legal pad.  Gus didn’t play any in the 4th quarter.  The final score was Staunton JV 56, Fort JV 23. 

In the varsity game, Fort hung in for the first quarter.  Henry didn’t get in until one minute to go in the quarter.  Staunton led 11 – 10 at the end of the first.   Henry played about half of the second quarter as the lead seesawed back and forth.  Then Staunton went on a 9 – 0 run and ended up ahead 24 – 18 at the half. 

I hate Fort’s offense.  Henry’s job is to set a screen, then set another screen, then set another screen.  The opponent’s defense doesn’t take him out of scoring possibilities—Fort’s offense does!  In the first half Henry took only one shot.  Fort’s Ryan Cook could probably beat any defender put on him but the offense gives him no clear-out opportunities.  Even in the old days when I played when the opponent was in a man-to-man defense there were set plays when the other four players on our team would, by design, take their defenders to the left side of the court which meant the right side was open for me (or whomever else had the ball) to drive in and score. 

The third quarter saw Staunton increase its lead to 31 – 22 before Fort hit five in a row to make it 31 – 27.  Henry got in but all didn’t touch the ball.  Meanwhile, the Fort guards exploded while Staunton went cold.  Fort scored the last nine points of the quarter to go up 36 – 31.   Henry got in midway through the 4th quarter as Fort clung to a 40 – 36 lead.  But Staunton scored then Fort threw it away for an easy Staunton score and it was tied with 2:04 to go.  Henry scored to give Fort the lead, 42 – 40 and with 1:15 to go they rebounded a miss and had a two point lead and possession.  Henry was fouled and calmly hit them both FDHS a 4 point lead.  But Staunton scored again then Fort threw it away again.  With the score 44 – 42 Staunton fouled Ryan Cook who hit them both.  Staunton scored to make it 46 – 44 with 14 seconds left.  They immediately fouled Ryan again who missed his one and one.  Staunton drove down and the player was fouled with six seconds to go, Fort on top 46 – 44.  But the ball was knocked loose and Henry picked it up and was fouled.  He missed his first then drained the second for a 47 – 44 lead with 1.6 seconds to go.  Staunton missed its desperation heave so FDHS was victorious!  Henry was interviewed on Channel 3 after the game.  After all, he was the one who scored 5 of their last 7 points.  YIPPEE!!

As much as I’ve fretted over COVID-19 and its vaccinations, watching the ball game tonight temporarily took away that sting.  What a joy it was to watch Henry shine and to realize that I may not be vaccinated but I’ve been blessed.  I’m blessed to have such a good family and blessed to be able to watch them grow and excel.  Praise the Lord.

January 23, 2021

I learned from our Family text last night that both Kay and Jim had seen the game.  That is so cool—perhaps the only positive thing that has come out of this pandemic.  This morning I was able to capture the TV 3 interview and posted it to my Vimeo site which is linked to my homepage.  Henry did a good job with the interview just as he had done during the game.

I know I’m prejudiced but I’m not the only one who thinks highly of Henry’s basketball play.  This is from today’s Wayhnesboro newspaper:

Off the backs of a huge third quarter and strong play down the stretch from sophomore Henry Gutshall, the Indians overcame a halftime deficit to scrape by the Staunton Storm 47-44 on Friday night in a tight Shenandoah District boys basketball contest… Gutshall began his clutch performance when he was fouled with 1:14 remaining as he hit two crucial free throws to give the Indians a two-point advantage. Cook also sank two free throws with 28.2 seconds left to give the Indians a 46-42 advantage. Staunton guard Jamal Brown responded with an impressive pass to Cabell, and after a missed free throw on a one-and-one by Cook, the Storm had the ball with 5.4 seconds left and down by two points.  Cabell received the ball in the paint, where he had been strong all game, and Gutshall swiped the ball from him and was promptly fouled. He sank 1-of-2 to give the Indians the 47-44 lead they would never relinquish…  “He’s got a lot of confidence in himself and his teammates have a lot of confidence in him,” Fulk said of Gutshall. “He’s just a sophomore, so I’m excited to see where he can go. Those are gigantic plays.”

Unlike most recent days, today was a very busy one.  It began with a trip to the dump.  Then, we went to Central to pick up soup and other food for both Juan Pablo and the Aguirre family.  We took Juan Pablo’s food to Waynesboro then brought the Aguirre’s back here so we could take it to them tomorrow.

Soon thereafter we were on our way to Roanoke.  We took Coen’s birthday present and card to him.  We stayed there about two hours, all outside.  It was good to see those little boys.  Both have bikes with training wheels and love to ride.  It would be so nice if they could ride here on our tennis court but they haven’t been here in well over a year.

As I noted on a previous day, Jim already has his first COVID-19 vaccination.  So does Morgan.  Roanoke is so far ahead of Augusta in getting the vaccines out, as are nearly all places in Virginia.

We got back from Jim’s in time to see the WVU – Kansas State basketball game.  WVU hadn’t played in two weeks due to some COVID-19 infections.  But, Kansas State wasn’t much competition.  The Mounties rolled to an easy win, 69 – 47.  The game wasn’t much fun to watch.

We ate dinner at halftime and after the game we went to Smiley’s for ice cream.  Yum!

Here are today’s coronavirus stats:

January 23          Infected                   Died

World               99,256,293           2,127,855

US                     25,540,219              427,091

Virginia               468,655                  6,069

Augusta County       4,578                       45

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               443,760  (50,147 of whom got 2nd dose)  

            Augusta County        2,681  (306 of whom got 2nd dose)

The United States’ infection rate appears to have slowed but not the Virginia one.  Augusta still doesn’t have 4% of its population inoculated with even the first dose. 

More disappointment tonight.  One of Lynn’s Cheryl friends texted her that she had gotten a call from the Health Department scheduling her for her vaccination on Monday.  She said she got the call because she had filled out the survey and we should expect our call soon because we all filled it out at a similar time.  Alas, no phone call. 

January 24, 2021

I had more disappointment this morning.  First, Lynn and I both awoke in the middle of the night.  She looked at her text from Cheryl Wright about signing up for the vaccination.  Cheryl had forwarded to her a note from someone else about calling an Augusta Health hotline in order to secure a vaccination time.  I called that number at 3:37 am.  Of course, I got a recording and left my name, phone number, and age.  The recording said I’d get a call back.  Alas, no phone call.

Then this morning, during our Zoom Sunday School, Caroline Jones said that although she had registered the Central Food Pantry in order to qualify for group 1-B, she had gotten an e-mail confirmation which said that because of the shortage of vaccines it would likely not be until March that this group got served.

Also during that time period, Lynn got a Facebook Messenger call.  It was Elizabeth and Gilberto!  She was at her brother’s house in Staunton and he was (likely) in the Rehab location in Charlottesville.  He sounded and looked good.  Multiple times he thanked Lynn and me for helping his family out. 

And help them out we did again today.  We had two boxes of food we had picked up from Central’s Food Pantry yesterday that we took to Elizabeth.  We also gave them some cash.  I have a saying I like to recall when making a donation like that:  we have never missed money that we’ve donated to a worthy cause.  Today was no exception to that rule.

We made a few other quick stops on the way to dropping off the food including a stop at Aldi’s.  As usual, I stayed in the car while Lynn went in.  With her first vaccination coming on Wednesday, it is so important for her to avoid the chance of catching COVID-19 between now and then.  She was very safe at the stops.

I wrote all of the above prior to the experience I then received:

Mid-afternoon, as I was writing this downstairs sulking in self-pity, Lynn got a phone call which delivered WONDERFUL NEWS.   The call was from Augusta Health offering her the vaccine tomorrow.  She initially told them she was already signed up with Rockingham County Public Schools but would like to get me registered.  She passed her phone to me.  After I answered a few questions, here’s the e-mail I received:

Henry J Hill 
This message is to confirm that Henry J Hill is scheduled for a vaccination appointment at: 
Venue/Location: Augusta Health – Dose 1Pfizer 
Address: 107 Sports Medicine Drive, Fishersville, VA, 22939 
Date: 01/25/2021 
Time: 12:45 pm 

As I was signing up, Lynn changed her mind about getting it through Rockingham County Schools so she could go with me tomorrow so she, also, answered the questions and registered.  She’s registered for 12:50 pm tomorrow.  YIPPEE!!  WE ARE BOTH ELATED.  I AM A DIFFERENT PERSON NOW! 

We immediately notified all of our family and friends.  This means we will get our second dose before we leave for the Greenbrier on February 15.  That timing couldn’t be better.

To top off such a good day, Lynn made great tasting chili and cornbread tonight for dinner.  It was a fine meal and one we’ll have for at least one more night.

I’m going to continue to post to this blog at least until after I’ve gotten both of my shots.  I do feel like the reinforcements have spotted my foxhole just in the nick of time.  Here are today’s statistics:

January 24          Infected                   Died

World               99,723,603           2,137,780

US                     25,686,142              429,257

Virginia               472,447                  6,078

Augusta County       4,596                       44

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               474,979  (58,779 of whom got 2nd dose)  

            Augusta County        3,069  (374 of whom got 2nd dose)

Augusta County has 112 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.  I’ve been so afraid that I would be joining them.  I guess I’m still not out of the woods.  It is good to finally see that Virginia has given more shots than there are infections.  Augusta still lags in this statistic.  In the US, there are still more infections than vaccinations. 

I wrote earlier about tiny Page County giving mass vaccinations on Friday.  It turns out that they administered over 1,400 vaccines in just six hours.  In other words, in one day they gave almost half as many as Augusta has done in the past six weeks.

The down side to our getting scheduled for the COVID vaccination is that not all of our friends have had the same luck.  For example, Cheryl Kent hasn’t received the phone call yet.  I don’t really know why Lynn was called.  The really curious thing is that the person had her Rockingham County, not her Google, e-mail address.  I’m about 99% sure that when she filled in all of the forms I also filled in she used her Google e-mail address.  Strange….but we’ll take it!

January 25, 2021

This morning Lynn and I discussed specific days that had been life-changing for us.  We quickly named:  the day we met, our wedding day, the births of our three children, the deaths of our four parents, and the births of our eight grandchildren.  I’m sure there were other big days in our 44 ½ years of marriage.  But today, January 25, 2021, would have to be another significant day because at 12:45 pm today each of us received the first dose of our Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.  Furthermore, we scheduled our second dose for Monday, February 15, at 12:15 pm.

It is very interesting that our entire COVID experience will end up having the Greenbrier as bookends.  We had just come back from the Greenbrier on March 9 – 12, 2020, when all of the sheltering in place started.  The Friday of that week, March 12, we watched Henry’s FDHS soccer team play its season opener against Nelson County.  It turned out to be the last game of the season.  Now, this year, on February 15 we are returning to the Greenbrier to again see Paul and Sandy Porterfield.  They will also have gotten their vaccinations by that time.  Technically, Lynn and I won’t be completely safe by then because it takes a week or so after the second dose until you’re supposedly 95% safe from COVID-19. 

The process was fairly quick and efficient.  We got to Augusta Health around 12:20 and though our appointments weren’t until 12:45 we were able to go straight in.  The clinic was set up on one of the indoor tennis courts at Augusta Health and Fitness Center.  After checking in, we waited no more than 5 minutes until both of us were taken to one of the eight nurses stations and received our shots.  Then we had to wait the mandatory 15 minutes to make sure neither of us had a bad reaction to the vaccine.  While we were waiting, one of the Augusta Health folks interviewed us to set up our return appointment for the second dose.  Then we checked out and were done.  Hurrah!

When I got home I sent the Director of the Central Shenandoah Health District and the Vaccine Coordinator a thank you e-mail.  I had been rather harsh in my earlier e-mails to them so I thought I owed them a thanks for finally making this happen.

We won’t change any of our habits for the next three weeks, of course.  And we won’t take any foolish chances.  This vaccine is so important to us!

We had plenty of time to drive to the bank in Bridgewater then stop at Smiley’s for a celebratory ice cream on the way home.  We had to be back by 3:00 because Lynn had a Zoom interpreting session for one of the Rockingham County Schools.  We got back home with plenty of time to spare.

Earlier in the morning I had done my weekly counting and depositing for Central UMC.  Afterwards, I had some checks to write and started looking over some of the monthly reports.  It then hit me that I had been paying our secretary, Savannah, too little.  Her payroll is set up as an hourly employee and she works 26 hours each week.  We pay twice per month.  Yet all six of her paychecks since she started work were for 26 hours of work when they were supposed to be for 52.  My mistake!  She hadn’t caught that but was very understanding when I told her.  I proposed to her that we fix the error by paying her for 78 hours of work for the six pay periods which would be her correct 52 hours plus 26 more for each of the six pay periods.

I wrote on the first day of this blog, April 20, that I felt like I was reporting on a baseball game that was in progress but didn’t know what inning the game was in.  I feel like Lynn and I both hit home runs today.  I’m not about to say that the game is over.  Even after our second vaccination there are questions about mutations of the virus being undeterred by this vaccine.  I’ll certainly be breathing easier a month from today, though.

On April 20, 2020 Augusta County had 22 cases of COVID-19 and 0 deaths due to it.  Today the County has almost 5,000 cases and 44 deaths.   On the first day of my blog the world had 2.4 million cases.  Today there are over 100 million.  On April 20 the US had 770,564 cases and 41,114 deaths.  Today it has 25,783,869 cases and 430,324 deaths.  On the other hand, on April 20 there are no vaccinations and today Lynn and I just got the first dose of ours.

Poor Cheryl Kent!  She had a setting on her phone to block unknown callers.  This afternoon she apparently got a call from Augusta Health to schedule her vaccination but her phone didn’t ring because of the setting.  She’s tried to call them back but has had no luck thus far.  She has been so anxious to get this call that she said she even took her phone with her when she went to the bathroom.  Yet the call came and she didn’t know it because of her phone’s settings.

On December 28 I mailed calendars to Jim, Butch, and Mary K.  Here we are, a month later, and they still do not have them.  January’s calendar featured Coen since it was his birthday but by the time Jim gets his it will be February.  Grrrrr…

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 25          Infected                   Died

World             100,198,968           2,147,373

US                     25,824,525              431,028

Virginia               478,619                  6,081

Augusta County       4,623                       44

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               522,853  (64,381 of whom got 2nd dose)  

            Augusta County        3,320  (440 of whom got 2nd dose)

The website says it was updated today.  So I guess that means that Lynn and I are among the 3,320 Augusta County residents who received a vaccine.  Yabbadabbadoo!

Tonight was supposed to have been a basketball night.  Gus had a JV game against Waynesboro.  The first time they played, I labeled Waynesboro as the worst JV team I’d ever watched.  As usual, Gus didn’t start but he’s only an 8th grader.  Gus got in very early, though, thanks to a couple of fouls on one of the Fort boys.  He missed a jumper and two free throws but rebounded well.  Then he got pulled out.  At the end of the first quarter, Waynesboro led 14 – 7.  Fort’s shooting and ball handling was even worse than Waynesboro’s.  Strangely, at the end of the quarter the game was postponed and the players sent home because of icy roads.  At the time the temperature was 31o with freezing rain.  I had never seen that happen before.

January 26, 2021

Physically I felt no different today than I have any other day for the past ten months.  But emotionally I was much better off now that I’ve got that first vaccine in my arm.  Many of our friends are finding ways to get vaccinated now, too.  Some are going to Augusta Health as we did but some are going as far as Roanoke to get an appointment.  The Augusta County teachers are going to be vaccinated over the next couple of days just as the Rockingham County teachers are going to get theirs on successive Wednesdays this month and next.

I spent four hours today at Central working on QuickBooks.  Much of it was frustrating.  My plan was to contact the QuickBooks support people and have them walk me through voiding the payroll I had setup on Friday so I could change Savannah’s hours from 26 to 78.  By doing this it would correct the error in the first payroll of January; she was supposed to have been paid for 52 hours each two weeks and we’ve only been paying her for 26.  There is no phone number to call Intuit but on my Mac I found a link that told me if I clicked it and entered my phone number they would call me.  That worked surprisingly well; in less than two minutes my phone rang.  I explained what I wanted the person to do and she said it would be no problem.  Then she asked to whom she was speaking.  I told her and she said that I was not listed as the contac person for QuickBooks so they couldn’t help me.  She said I’d have to have the official Central contact person get in touch with them to request that I be named that contact.  At first she wouldn’t even tell me who that person was but I knew it must be Sarah Russell, Jeff DeLong, or Jim Clemmer.  She finally admitted that it was Jim after I asked her how I could have a person contact them if I didn’t know who that person was?  She told me to have him call the phone number I had been dialed on so I immediately called him at home and asked him to do so.  He was very willing to help and said he’d call me back when it was done.  About twenty minutes later he said he never did talk to a person and that he’d come to Central so we could call together.  We did so, using the same technique as before, and were finally told that we’d have to submit numerous documents including scans of our drivers’ licenses and two letters requesting this.  It took most of the morning to get all of this done.  The last lady was kind enough to help me do what I originally called about so in the end everything worked out OK.  Savannah should get a check this Friday which will help compensate her for the shortage we’d been paying her.  I’ll continue to list her as having 78 hours for the next four pay cycles to make up for November and December.  She is fine with this plan and I should be able to do it OK without calling them—thank goodness!

This afternoon I had a Zoom Finance Committee meeting for CUMC.  I had prepared a bunch of documents to share with them.  Two were of particular interest to me:  one was a quick study I had done computing the percent of income Central received each year from its membership versus other sources.  The data showed a clear and interesting trend:  In 2003, 82% of the $232,081 income had come from members’ envelope giving.  In 2020, only 41% of the $292,527 income came from members’ envelope giving.  We have become very dependent on our endowments, grants, rents, and special funds such as Kitchen or Food Pantry.  The other interesting statistic I shared with the committee was how well our endowments have done.  The parsonage endowment began 2020 at $388,053 and ended the year at $432,218.  The Schwab General endowment began 2020 at $158,166 and ended the year at $181,528.  The FirstBank endowment began the year at $843,712 and ended 2020 at $914,838.  And, each of these endowments paid out money during the year.  For example, the FirstBank endowment paid out around $40,000 to Central during the year for expenses.  Without these endowments our church would be in financial trouble.  And yet they collectively increased in value over $100,000 during the year.  Wow!

Lynn and I were able to do our two mile walk this afternoon.  We may get to walk tomorrow but the next several days after it look to be very cold.

Tonight was double duty for me.  Henry had a varsity basketball game at Buffalo Gap that we watched on our downstairs TV.  Well, I watched the first quarter as the game was late in starting, then I went upstairs to participate in Central’s Administrative Council meeting.  I couldn’t very well opt out of it since I am the secretary.  After the Council meeting I was able to view the rest of the basketball game since the games are archived on the NFHS network.

Henry still didn’t start.  I don’t know what more he has to do for the coach to see that he should be in the game from the get-go.  Buffalo Gap only had eight players dressed.  Fort’s starting five included two players who should be there, Ryan Cook and Josh Jones.  But it also included a post player who hasn’t scored ten points all season and two sophomore guards who are good defenders but are very careless handling the basketball.  Henry didn’t get in until there was 1:21 to go in the quarter though Fort had built up a 20 – 10 lead by that point.  They led 22 – 12 at the end of the quarter.  Henry scored off a nice spin move to make the score 24 – 14 then made a good assist to Josh for a three point play to put Fort up 27 – 14.  Henry was pulled out after Fort ran the lead to 31 – 14 in the 2nd quarter.   The half ended with Fort in charge, 38 – 20.  Ryan Cook had 21 of the 38 FDHS first half points.

The second half had some bizarre moments including several technical fouls and the refs sending the wrong players to shoot the fouls during one of them.  With Henry out, Gap seemed to score at will underneath but Fort answered each time and built up a 49 – 28 lead with 4:41 to go in the quarter.  Fort led 53 – 28 with 2:57 left in the quarter when Henry finally got back in.  He grabbed several rebounds but didn’t touch the ball on the offensive side of the court because his teammates threw it away multiple times.  Still, Fort led 55 – 32 going into the 4th quarter with Henry sitting down again.  He did get back in with 6:11 to go thanks to Josh picking up another foul.  Gap went on a mini-run, scoring ten in a row to make it 55 – 42.  Fort then extended the lead to 63 – 46.  Then came a technical foul on Ryan.  Fort cleared the bench with 1:16 to go.  The final score was Fort 68, Gap 51. 

It was not a great game but a good win for Fort.  Their record is now 5 – 2 in the Shenandoah District.  I still can’t get over how many turnovers the Fort guards have.  Some football quarterbacks have better completion rates on their passes than a couple of the Fort boys do.  Oh well, it was a win.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 26          Infected                   Died

World             100,809,748           2,165,081

US                     26,008,789              435,387

Virginia               483,326                  6,174

Augusta County       4,653                       44

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               569,040  (71,459 of whom got 2nd dose)  

            Augusta County        3,492  (491 of whom got 2nd dose)

For sure, Lynn and I are two of the 3,492!  The nationwide trend is that infections and hospitalizations are down somewhat despite the fact that a new hybrid of COVID-19 has been found in half of the states that spreads easier than the original.  I’m sure vaccinations are contributing to this.  But January is already the deadliest month of the pandemic. 

January 27, 2021

One problem with not having a lot to do thanks to retirement, COVID-19, and winter, is that I want to sit around and eat all the time.  I know I’ve gained a few pounds because it is so easy to grab snacks and, of course, they are addicting.  I’ve been fixing a Keurig cup of coffee each afternoon to satisfy that extra snack desire since the coffee has few calories. 

Today I did some typical jobs I do when I am bored:  checked the heating oil level in our tank, updated Central’s website, cleaned up my computer folders, etc.  I guess boredom is a blessing—beats putting out fires.

During one time in which I was somewhat looking for something to do, I decided to look at the Bramwell WV website.  I hadn’t looked at it for a long time.  It was created in 1999 and went for a while without any updates.  I pleasantly discovered that lots had been added including tributes to Bramwell pioneers which included information about my great-great grandfather and great-great grandmother, great-grandfather and great-grandmother, grandfather, grandmother, father, and mother.  Yes, the previous four generations of Hills lived in or near Bramwell.  I suspect cousin Bev Aker sent in that info.  It included pictures of each along with obituaries, death certificates, etc.  That was a good find.

Today was warm enough for Lynn and me to walk.  We did our usual two mile walk.  She later repeated that with Ginny Bauman.  The next few days look to be very cold.

I wrote yesterday that several of our friends were planning to drive to Roanoke to be vaccinated.  It turns out that later last evening Pastor Won sent us an e-mail with links to vaccinations available from Augusta Health.  Lynn forwarded that to many of our friends; some who had appointments in Roanoke were able to cancel there and reschedule at Fishersville.  Several, including her sister Kay, happily got their vaccines there today. 

The entire way that vaccinations have been scheduled has been strange.  Instead of having one website, one phone number for people to use to schedule their vaccine, there have been multiple links and phone numbers we’ve seen.  I honestly believe that we got ours on Monday not because we had done all we should have includign registering on all the sites, calling the supplied phone numbers plus our doctors’ offices, etc., but rather because of luck. 

Tonight we made an efficient trip to Harrisonburg.  First we stopped at Michael’s where Lynn had placed a curbside pickup order.  After our order was brought out to us, we went to the drive-thru ATM at the bank to take out some cash for Elizabeth and family, then picked up the pizza we had called in at Vito’s Pizza Pie in Penn Laird.  As always, it was delicious!

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 27          Infected                   Died

World             101,357,859           2,180,939

US                     26,133,923              438,541

Virginia               488,553                  6,228

Augusta County       4,671                       44

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               602,983  (78,261 of whom got 2nd dose)  

            Augusta County        3,778  (529 of whom got 2nd dose)

The number of cases in the US is definitely down.  And Augusta and Virginia are both doing better in getting people vaccinated though Augusta still has more people with cases than vaccinated.

Ann, Josh, and Freddie came over to watch tonight’s basketball game against Staunton.  We’re still not joining them in a room yet so Lynn and I watched on my iPad in our bedroom while the Gutshalls watched downstairs on our television using Airplay from their phone.

Staunton’s JV’s are the team that put a big whooping on Fort the first time they played.  The game started out like that was going to continue.  Staunton led 12 – 3 at the end of the first quarter as Fort managed to make only one basket the entire quarter, a three pointer.  Gus was put in late in the quarter and got to start the 2nd quarter.  He promptly hit a nice jumper to help the Fort cause though Staunton continued to lead.  FDHS made it respectable, 16 – 10, with Gus doing a good job on the boards.  The halftime score was 20 – 13.  Gus did fine; 1 – 1 from the field, two or three rebounds, no fouls, and zero turnovers.  His teammates, unfortunately, were not so good.  Several boys had picked up two fouls early on and the turnovers are always too many to count.

Gus got in midway through the third quarter with Staunton up to a 25 – 14 lead.  The Fort guards make so many fundamental mistakes:  bad passes, walks, double dribbles, stopping their dribble in corners, etc.  And all that Gus apparently has been told to do is to set screens, giving him virtually no chance to score.  He needs to be more aggressive on offense, too, because as it is now he rarely touches the ball.   His only opportunity to score were two missed free throws as Staunton built a commanding 39 – 16 lead.  The final was 41 – 22. 

Coming into the varsity game, Staunton had a 3 – 3 Shenandoah District record, 4 – 4 overall.  FDHS was 4 – 2 in the District, tied for first place, and 6 – 2 overall.  The Fort coach has wised up and is now starting two sophomores, Tyreek Veney and Kaden Johnson.  There’s another sophomore ne needs to be starting—Henry Gutshall.  Henry didn’t get in until 2:43 was left in the quarter.  The score at the end of the quarter was Ryan Cook 5, Staunton 4.  And Ryan missed several shots.  Fort was lucky to still be ahead.  Soon it was Ryan 9, Staunton 4.  Two three-pointers by Tyreek helped give FDHS a 15 – 11 lead midway through the 2nd quarter but Staunton hit two in a row plus a free throw to take a 16 – 15 lead while Henry was on the bench.  Henry got back in and the team traded baskets.  Henry made a nice jumper to give FDHS a 19 – 18 lead then another Fort kid hit a basket at the end of the half to make it FDHS 21, Staunton 18 at the break.

With Henry not in, Staunton scored the first four points of the second half to take a 22 – 21 lead.   The teams traded baskets until Ryan made a free throw to make it 24 – 22, FDHS, with three minutes to go as Henry finally got in.  He banked one in with 50 seconds to go in the quarter but then Staunton hit a three pointer to take a 29 – 27 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter.  Staunton scored first in the 4th so FDHS found themselves down by 4 for the first time, 31 – 27.  Fort had numerous opportunities to tie the game when the score was 34 – 32 but couldn’t get it to drop. At least the coach had Henry in during this time.  He drew one charge.  But Staunton scored again then held the ball a lot in the final three minutes.  They ended up getting another field goal and free throw to seal the win.  The fourth quarter was disastrous for Fort as SHS outscored them 13 – 5 to take a 42 – 32 win. 

January 28, 2021

Today I looked some more at the Bramwell WV website, particularly the pages which had my family tree on it.  That got me interested in genealogy and I spent several hours today trying to trace my ancestors back using information that other people have posted on the web.  I’m not sure I did it correctly, but I THINK I was able to trace back twelve generations to my relatives in England.  Before I list them all here, I’m going to try to verify some of this with my cousin Bev Aker who is our family genealogist.  If I’m right, I found some very interesting characters!

I also spent part of the day doing math.  Ann texted me that Henry was stuck on some math problems.  I texted him and he sent me a picture of his worksheet—26 problems involving math a little above Algebra II.  I taught that course (sometimes called Math Analysis, Pre-Calculus, or Algebra III) just about every year I taught school.  So for me this was fun—I doubt Henry would have called it such.  I worked all of his problems, scanned them as a .pdf, then e-mailed my solutions to him with directions for him to give me a call tonight so I could explain what I did on some of the problems.  He did so and we spent about 30 minutes going over them.  He said he had several more worksheets to do tomorrow so I invited him to send them to me, too.  I may be doing math all day tomorrow but that would be a lot of fun.

Today was bitterly cold, especially with the wind.  I didn’t venture outside the house for one second.  Lynn went to get ice cream with Ginny Bauman but I stayed bundled up here.  Brr…..

My post is short tonight:  besides math and genealogy, I didn’t do anything productive today.  We had leftover pizza for dinner so that was easy.   Lynn was the one bringing home the bacon today:  she had three separate Zoom interpreting sessions involving Rockingham County schools and Hispanic families.

She and I did spend some time planning a possible get-away in March, March 10 – 12, when our vaccinations are complete.  We’re looking at going to part of North Carolina we’ve never visited around Boone including Grandfather Mountain and Blowing Rock.  We found several things of interest to do there and went ahead and made hotel reservations though we can certainly change our mind.

Here are today’s coronavirus numbers:

January 28          Infected                   Died

World             102,034,768           2,200,910

US                     26,338,607              443,769

Virginia               493,674                  6,308

Augusta County       4,688                       44

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               641,873  (88,410 of whom got 2nd dose)  

            Augusta County        4,246  (579 of whom got 2nd dose)

Once again, the US numbers are down somewhat, Virginia’s remain up, and Augusta County still has more infected people than vaccinated people.

January 29, 2021

Today was another blustery cold day so we didn’t do a lot.  Lynn had a long Zoom meeting about her student Juan Pablo.  Earlier we took a fast trip to Aldi to get some groceries. 

I once again spent some time playing with the genealogy resources that I could find for free online.  There are several paid services, such as ancestry.com, but I was able to find all I needed without joining them.  In fact, today I made a very fun discovery:

Lynn Hanger Hill and Joe Hill son of

Katherine Cook Hill and Herman Hill son of

Blanche Williamson Hill and Wiley McMillon Hill son of

Felix Shelton Hill and Nancy Dixon Hill daughter of

Alfred Dixon and Narcessa McMillon Dixon daughter of

James McMillon and Thursa Gambill daughter of

Captain Martin Gambill and Nancy Nall Gambill daughter of

Captain William Nall and Rebecca Holloway Nall daughter of

Frances Holloway and David Holloway, Jr. son of

David Holloway, Sr. and Elizabeth Frances Mathews Holloway daughter of

Elizabeth Matthews and Captain John Mathews son of

Commonwealth Governor Samuel Mathews and unknown wife

This is about Gov. Samuel Mathews from Wikipedia:
Samuel Mathews (1630–1660), of Warwick County in the English Colony of Virginia, was a member of the House of Burgesses, the Governor’s Council, and served as Commonwealth Governor of Virginia from 1656 to 1660. There was no Royal Governorship at this time, and the Governor technically answered to the Cromwellian Parliament, although Royalist sentiment was prevalent in the colony of Virginia at this time.

Later I did another search up the genealogy tree, this time trying to go through the Cook family.  Here’s what I found:

Lynn Hanger Hill (b. 1952) and Joe Hill (b. 1950) son of

Herman Wiley Hill (1912 – 1993) and Katherine Cook Hill (1914 – 1980)  daughter of

Joseph Sans Cook (1894 – 1961) and Frankie Lee Penland Cook (1895 – 1985) daughter of

Joseph D. Cook (1853 – 1909) and Norah Jane Goodson Cook (1874 – 1963) daughter of

Amanda Malvina Goodson and James Tazwell Goodson (1852 – 1928) son of

Julia Ann Goodson (b. 1817) and James Crawford Goodson (1818 – 1860) son of

Mary Goodson (1790  – 1844) and Thomas Goodson III (1791 – 1838) son of

Elizabeth Goodson (1761 – 1837) and Major Thomas Goodson (1755 – 1837) son of

Keziah Goodson (1735 – 1755) and Thomas Goodson (1735 – 1815) son of

Elza Goodson (b. 1705) and William Goodson (1705 – 1746) son of

Unknown mother and William Goodson (b. 1680) son of

Sarah Goodson (1655 – 1707) and John Goodson* (1647 – 1727) son of

William Goodson (b. 1607) son of

Thomas Goodson (b. 1585) son of

Thomas Goodson (b. 1550)

John was the first English physician to come under Penn’s charter., arriving shortly before William Penn. He is found noted as “chirurgeon” and Elder in Philadelphia Friends. He married twice, first to Sarah Pococke in 1671, record attached, and mother to his eldest children. After her passing, in 1711, he married Cicely Tittery in Philadelphia.

The last three Goodsons above lived in England.  It seems that every time I am able to trace my ancestry it ends up in England.

I invited Henry to send me some more math problems today and he said he’d do so if he got stuck on any of them but apparently he didn’t have any issues.  That’s a good thing, I suppose.  I enjoyed doing the problems from yesterday.  It is interesting how easily I forget some things—earlier today I couldn’t think of the name of the mobile device Lynn and I have taken many tours on (Segway)—but I can still remember how to factor, add, subtract, multiply, and divide polynomials.  Later I couldn’t remember the name of the store Valley Pike.

The mail has gotten to be so slow and unpredictable.  Yesterday Jim sent a photo of his calendar which had just arrived, over a month after I had sent it to him.  Butch finally got his today; Mary Katherine still haven’t gotten hers, sent at the same time.  Today Lynn and I waited until well past 3:00 to get our mail delivery at home.  Yet Amazon continues to get packages to us in just a day or two using UPS or FedEx.  I commented to Lynn today that we’re certifiably old now that we sit around and wait on the mail to come.

Tonight was hamburger night—Friday.  We got our usual burgers (Lynn got a bacon jalepeño burger and I got a Philly cheese one) from the Old School food truck at Valley Pike.

We’ve been making some plans for our Greenbrier trip which will be from February 15 – 18.  Joining us there will be Paul and Sandy Porterfield, their daughter Emily, and John and Ginny Bauman.  Today Lynn called and made dinner reservations for us.  The issue is that the restaurants have limited seating now (50%) so we were lucky to grab what reservations were available for dinner:  8:30 on the 15th at The Forum (Italian) and 5:00 on the 16th at Draper’s (our favorite).  On the 17th we’re planning to go to Food and Friends in Lewisburg.

Paul and Sandy have their second vaccination shot on February 19.  John has his on February 18.  Ginny has already received both of hers.  Of course, Lynn and I have ours on the 15th

In the news, Johnson and Johnson are about ready to release their vaccine.  They say it is 66% effective compared to Pfizer and Moderna’s 95% effective though it has been shown to be 100% effective to prevent serious cases.  And, it requires only one dose and doesn’t have to be refrigerated.  It is also cheaper to produce.  Perhaps that is the vaccine our grandchildren will be receiving soon.

Here are today’s statistics:

January 29          Infected                   Died

World             102,554,416           2,213,589

US                     26,477,368              446,692

Virginia               497,912                  6,379

Augusta County       4,714                       45

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               697,914  (98,485 of whom got 2nd dose)  

            Augusta County        4,733  (648 of whom got 2nd dose)

Finally, Augusta County has more people vaccinated than infected. 

Tonight was another FDHS basketball game, this time against Riverheads for both JV and Varsity.  Last time they played, Fort JV team won but the varsity lost.  Tonight, Fort’s JV’s took an early10 – 2 lead and were up 12 – 6 at the end of the quarter.  Gus didn’t see any action.  He finally got in with 5:38 to go in the 2nd quarter.  He got to play the rest of the quarter.  He didn’t take any shots but had some nice passes and zero turnovers.  At the break they were ahead 22 – 12.  With Gus on the bench until a few seconds left in the quarter, the JV’s continued to dominate and led 33 – 19 going into the 4th quarter.  Gus had a chance to make two free throws in the 4th quarter but he missed both.  The game was never close; the final score was 36 – 26.

Ann’s family came to our house to watch the game so Lynn and I again watched it on my iPad in our bedroom using our Verizon signal while Ann’s used the WiFi on her phone and projected it to the downstairs TV using Airplay.

Henry started tonight for the first time.  Riverheads started out on fire while Fort was cold.  Soon it was 8 – 2 Riverheads.  But Fort whittled at the lead and even took a 10 – 9 lead at the end of the quarter.  Henry played about half the quarter.  He didn’t start the 2nd quarter and Riverheads hit the first eight points.  Henry then got in and made a nice move to close the score to 17 – 12.  Another FDHS turnover and Riverheads 3-pointer and the score was 20 – 12.  Ryan Cook really struggled throughout the half, missing everything he shot, and Riverheads took a 25 – 19 lead at the half. 

With Henry starting the second half, FDHS scored the first seven points to lead by one, 26 – 25.  A Tyreek 3-pointer then a steal and two pointer by Ryan made it 31 – 25 Fort before Riverheads scored a three point play.  Now it was Riverheads’ time to surge and they took a 33 – 32 lead before Tyreek hit a three pointer than a two pointer.  Ryan then hit one of two free throws on a technical foul.  Henry didn’t shoot as well as he usually does in this game.  He missed a few close in and was 1 – 2 from the free throw line.  Ryan hit two free throws with 15 seconds to go in the quarter to give FDHS a 43 – 39 lead but then Kaden Johnson fouled a player shooting a three pointer and he made two of his three free throws so the score going into the 4th quarter was Fort 43, Riverheads 41.  A Riverheads 3-pointer gave them the lead before Ryan drove to give FDHS the lead again, 45 – 44.  Tyreek then made a 3-point play followed by a Ryan layup to give FDHS a 50 – 44 lead but Riverheads came back with two easy layups to pull within two with 4:30 to go.  Henry went back in at this point.  Tyreek fired in another 3-pointer then Riverheads threw it away.  Tyreek was hot as a firecracker and hit another three to give Fort a 56 – 48 lead.  Josh Jones scored on a drive and was fouled.  His free throw gave FDHS a commanding 59 – 48 lead.  Riverheads scored with 1:53 to make it 59 – 50.  A Fort turnover followed by a Riverheads three pointer made it more interesting, 59 – 53 with 1:33 to go.  Josh hit a free throw then Riverheads hit another three pointer to make the score 60 – 56 with 1:08 to go.  Ryan missed the front end of a one and one with 54 seconds to go.  Tyreek then missed the first of two free throws before hitting the second.  After a Riverheads miss, Ryan hit one of two free throws but Fort rebounded the second miss.  His free throws with 16 seconds left iced the game 64 – 56.  It was a good revenge win for Fort though they have played better.  Tyreek Veney had a good game including the last two free throws of the game.  Final score, 66 – 56 FDHS.

January 30, 2021

The forecast is for a fairly major snowfall to hit us over the next 24 hours so today was spent taking care of things that we needed to do to prepare.  We started the morning by going to Dollar Tree in Staunton so Lynn could get a few items.  Then we were off to Central to pick up food for the Aguirre family.  While we were there I went in to check to see if there were any bills or other QuickBooks work that needed to be done.  I only had to update some information for two of our endowments so that didn’t take too long.  Then we went to Kroger for a 10:00 order pickup.  Then we drove to Elizabeth’s house to drop the food off.  The next stop was at the bank in Bridgewater to pick up cash for Gus’s 14th birthday which happens on Tuesday.  After returning home for lunch, I went to the dump with a stop at the Gutshall’s for their trash.

When we were at Elizabeth’s house she told us that Gilberto was coming home this week, perhaps on Monday if the roads were OK.  That was excellent news!

The Waynesboro newspaper has been good about having stories of the local high school basketball games in its online edition.  Today’s story about last night’s game had two pictures with the article and both had Henry in both of them.  It think it was significant that the coach started him last night and I hope he’ll recognize that when he is on the floor the team does better.  Henry doesn’t make the stupid mistakes some of his teammates makes.  He rebounded and played defense well last night.

Last night there was nothing good on television so Lynn and I turned to Netflix and watched a movie called Like Father.  It was fair, not worth paying money to see.  But we have enjoyed the Netflix option during this pandemic.  It’s one of the nice discoveries we’ve made during these tough times.

I got two e-mails back from Bev Aker about the genealogy information I sent to her.  She had a minor correction for one of the ancestors I listed but said she’d spend more time reviewing it.  She said of the lineage that I presented which went back to the Governor of Virginia that I had actually gone a few steps beyond what she had found.

I had time today to work on a couple of computer projects before the WVU – Florida basketball game came on.  It was a good game but the Mountaineers let it slip away in the last two minutes.  They lost 85 – 80. 

Lynn fixed a big dinner tonight including a chicken casserole, a corn casserole, and a salad.  She fixed enough for us to eat it for at least one more day if not more.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

January 30          Infected                   Died

World             103,072,832           2,226,564

US                     26,635,116              449,918

Virginia               502,221                  6,449

Augusta County       4,741                       48

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               758,477  (109,465 of whom got 2nd dose)

            Augusta County        5,380  (699 of whom got 2nd dose)

A statistic I’ve kept up with for months is what percent of local cases are fatal.  Today, for the first time in ages, that percent crept above 1%.  The other trends are unchanged with the US number of infections dropping but Virginia’s remaining high.  Mutations of COVID-19 are popping up in many states.  The only positive is that the Johnson and Johnson will apply for emergency authorization for its vaccination next week and they have millions of doses ready to be shipped.  More than 90,000 lives were lost in the month of January to the virus, the highest of any month yet.

The evening forecast is for us to receive 4” – 8” of snow plus a glazing of ice starting overnight.  Tomorrow travel will be near impossible.  Thankfully, as far as I know, we won’t need to leave home.

January 31, 2021

Our snowfall was the most of the season, around 6 inches.  But we were warm, well fed, and had nowhere to go so it was just a day of staying inside.

Being house-bound is nothing new in this era, of course.  The pandemic has taught me how to spent, i.e. waste, my time.  I’ve got my standbys:  Sudoku, Whirly Word, Solitaire, Facebook, etc.  I tune to CNN and hear the news over and over.  And I write this blog…

Lynn kept busy today baking and washing clothes.  She is not a person to sit around.  She has always had an excellent work ethic.  She puts me to shame.

Lynn ordered a bird feeder from Amazon last week.  Yesterday I moved a metal flower pot hanger to a place in our backyard that is easily visible for her to hang the bird feeder from.  Also, while we were out yesterday, we bought some bird seed.  So now we have a feeder set up but, so far, I’ve not seen a single bird take advantage of it.  Her mother was always a real friend of the birds; it seems like Lynn is now following in her footsteps.  Today she put her boots on and cleaned the snow off the feeder so the birds could eat but still the feeder has had no business.

One habit I’ve gotten into for the past couple of months is to drink a cup of coffee, courtesy of my Keurig, mid-afternoon.  This keeps me from snacking all afternoon and it is a very low calorie treat.  Lynn hates the smell of coffee so I make it in the garage and drink it in the basement, usually. 

I got my exercise this afternoon—shoveled snow for over an hour.  Wonderful neighbor Bee Myers plowed the main stretch of our driveway so I finished it off and did all of the sidewalks.  This snow wasn’t a real heavy snow but there was about 6” of it.  By shoveling the layer of snow off it early like this the rest will melt thanks to the sun’s radiance. 

Lynn got word that the church that was doing a fundraiser for Emily and Gilberto had been extremely successful—over $10,000 for them.  That is so great and shows that not everyone in this section of Virginia is a far right immigrant-hater. 

Mary K. got her calendar yesterday.  We also had mailed one to Lynn’s sister Jane who is in Florida but we haven’t heard if she got hers or not.  It took over a month for the three to get to my family members.

Today we lost our Dish network.  When I checked, the receiver was covered in snow and I wasn’t about to climb on the roof to clean it off.  My initial thoughts were that we’d just have to wait until it melts and that could be a while given the forecast.  In the meantime, our internet connection is still steady and, if we had to get a tv connection, I verified that the antenna on top of our house still works so I could connect a tv to it for local channels.  The DVR still works and Lynn has a ton of things recorded so I knew we’d be fine.  Strangely, Dish worked all through the storm and didn’t go out until this afternoon after the storm had passed.

After living without a working television for a few hours, I decided to see if I could fix the situation and came up with a plan.  I used duct tape to attach a long stick to the end of a broom, making about a 10 foot long broom.  Then I opened the window in Lynn’s sewing room, stuck my contraption outside and found I could just reach the dish.  I was able to clean the snow away and, amazingly, our tv’s returned to normal. 

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the US dipped below 100,000 for the first time in two months.  Maybe the vacinations are starting to make a difference.  Almost 30,000,000 have been administered in the US (including two in this household!).   Here are today’s numbers:

January 31          Infected                   Died

World             103,507,287           2,236,975

US                     26,767,229              452,225

Virginia               504,779                  6,464

Augusta County       4,754                       48

            Vaccinated

            Virginia               805,695  (117,134 of whom got 2nd dose)

            Augusta County        5,939  (743 of whom got 2nd dose)

Over the past several years I have constructed treasure hunts for Ann’s kids on their birthdays.  The end of the hunt, of course, is the present Lynn and I have gotten for each of them.  Years ago I started connecting the treasure hunt to math problems so each would have to solve some problem in order to find the next clue.  Earlier in this blog I mentioned that for Henry’s birthday this year it was a Spanish treasure hunt instead of a math one.  But with Gus’ 14th birthday coming up this Tuesday, I knew it would be best to make him a math hunt.  The problem is that the kids haven’t really spent time in our house since COVID-19 so an inside treasure hunt is out of the picture.  And, the snow and cold weather will prevent us from having an outside hunt like we did for Betsy, Freddie, and Henry.  So I came up with the idea of hiding his present in the garage then sending him a math worksheet to complete before he comes this week.  The answers to the worksheet will enable him to decode the location of the present using a decoder sheet I’ll give him when he comes.  I verified with him that he was currently in Algebra I class so I made his problems appropriate for that level.  I hope it works out OK for him.  He’s a good kid! And I’m a crazy grandfather for making him do math problems in order to get his present….