Wow – you know you’re getting old when you share your vaccination information online! In this 2021 COVID world though, it really feels like a badge of honor. Fortunately Steve (DOS) and I never got infected with COVID, and recently received our second vaccines, so technically we are fully vaccinated! A huge HORRAY!
As I write this approximately 25% of the US has been vaccinated with one of the three vaccines approved by the FDA/CDC. DOS and I got the two shot Moderna vaccine, (30 days between the first and second shot) and had no issues other than we felt a bit blah the day after the second vaccine, but no chills, fever etc, like some people have complained about.
We can tell the world is opening up more each day as more planes are flying overhead, people are outside socializing more, and like us, planning trips for the near future. Cruise lines are still not sailing in the US, and with the exception of a few in Europe hardly anywhere worldwide. Yet. Hopefully this will change soon as millions of people are getting vaccinated every day worldwide.
We voluntarily registered on the CDC that tracks people’s symptoms and health since taking the vaccine. We get a daily check-in text which consists of a few short questions; i.e. “How are you feeling” with smiley face icons, any symptoms such as chills, nausea etc, which hopefully will assist the general public if there are later similar issues.
Although I haven’t written as much since the COVID epidemic has been going on, it has been nice being home for a change, and we have gotten into a sort of normal routine, which is something we couldn’t do when we were both traveling all the time for work. As we leave the Christmas lights on the house year round (but turned off except during the holidays) we were home to set the Easter lights with a pastel color this year, as well as green for St. Patrick’s Day.
On Wednesday nights we have dinner at Dominick’s Italian Restaurant in Winter Springs. We started going to Dominick’s as our “Young at Heart” luncheons are held there each month (next paragraph), but we enjoyed the food and atmosphere so much we started going every Wednesday, and sometimes Friday as well if one of our favorite bands is playing.
Dominick’s has a huge outdoor patio, complete with ceiling fans, and heaters (although hardly ever needed in Florida) as well as a live band with our kind of oldies music; i.e. usually 70s/80s. The staff is wonderful and it is an authentic family Italian restaurant, with the owner himself Dominick always stopping by to chat with us. Wednesday night is also half-price house wine bottle night, and it’s become a tradition for us as it’s a fun mid-week getaway.
This week we also had our monthly “Young at Heart” (YAH) luncheon at Dominick’s. As the YAH group is for 55 and up, most everyone there had already been vaccinated, and hardly anybody was wearing a mask now, although it was a luncheon after all.
This month the speaker was Amy Sweezy, a former on-air Meterologist for WESH channel 2 in Orlando. The theme for the luncheon was appropriately “April Showers” and it showed up at each diner’s place-setting with a rain-poncho, and later for dessert a cupcake with a an umbrella attached!
Amy gave a fun and energetic great presentation about how she got into the meteorology business and her long stint at channel two. While she left the TV weather a year ago (she had been getting up early day at 2:30am for her start of work day at 4:30am – wow why even go to bed! LOL!), she now writes children’s books and works for a company called “Growing Bolder” which is keyed towards the fifty and up crowd – just like us! Amy took lots of questions after her presentation which left everyone with a much more appreciative view of the weatherman. Oops, (intentional oops) she said over 80% of the meteorologists are men, and she worked very hard as a woman breaking into the male dominated business.
After the luncheon, we bought her children’s book about weather, and she graciously signed it for us. Thanks Amy – you were a fantastic speaker and we wish you well!
For Thursday nights, DOS and I go to the “HE-Brews” group, a play on words referring to the book of the Bible Hebrews, but with a “brew” meeting place. He-Brews is a Bible study/social group for men as organized by our Methodist Church, and actually meets at a local brewery! A group of us sit in the outdoor seating area, and yes have a brew, pretzel, socialize, and then read the weekly devotional/scripture via an App on our cell phones. Who said you can’t have a little fun at a Bible Study!
DOS and I also stay after He-Brews ends at 9pm, and have a late dinner of their delicious brick oven pizza!
We ALSO recently joined the Tuscawilla Country Club, and have been going there a couple days a week for lunch, and occasionally dinner. We’re not golfers anymore, (and I still don’t have full motion of my neck due to my broken neck a year ago) so at least initially we joined with the social membership, which still includes the gym, pool, restaurant, and activities. We will be going out of town next week, and will miss a couple of the activities that looked like fun; wine and paint night, and a wine tasting event. Hopefully they will have these activities again in May.
On the home front, we replaced our outdoor pool furniture, and the yard guys have updated our spring landscaping a bit. Right now in April, the temperatures have been in the 80s here in Orlando, and it’s been mostly delightful without the dreaded summer humidity or daily thunderstorms.
I also added a couple tiki torches to the pool area, which I decorated with really bright florescent paint, as well as a couple of old planter pots I had as well. It gives the pool a bit of a Key West color scheme!
Meanwhile, DOS has been busy booking trips for next year, including a major two month trip to Australia next Spring. We will (hopefully – who knows with COVID) be in Oz for a month or so, and then sail back to the States for another month instead of flying back.
We’ve booked the one-way flight to Perth and have a rough itinerary planned, and then part of the trip will be a five night cruise from Adelaide to Melbourne, and then at the end of the trip, we will sail home Princess for 28 days back to San Francisco, with stops along the way in New Zealand, Fiji, Bora Bora, and Hawaii.
We still have two international trips still booked for this year, while our third was a September Alaska Cruise which was canceled. Canada closed down their ports until February 2022 due to COVID, which I believe was a bit premature on their part considering how quickly people are being vaccinated. By closing the ports, this automatically cancels all of the Alaska cruises, as well as the Fall New England cruises, as by US law the cruise ships must stop at a foreign port under the archaic Jones Law. I’ve written and called my Senators and Congresswoman that this law should be either rescinded or amended as it drastically affects the Alaskan residents as well as tourists and the travel industry as well. There has been talk of doing this, but doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen any tie soon.
The two international trips are to France for a late July AMA River Cruise thru Bordeaux, and a tour of Israel and Nile Cruise in Egypt in November. While Israel has one of the best vaccination records in the world, Egypt has not, and it’s still uncertain if Israel will allow tourists in November. So we are standby waiting on both trips.
On Monday, we are leaving for a three week domestic trip up to Virginia. We are driving this trip, and taking our time along the way, now that we have been fully vaccinated. We are making several two or three night stay-overs along the way in Amelia Island, St. Mary’s Georgia, Savanah, Charleston, Charlotte, Charlottesville, and ultimately Roanoke. My brother and sister are still settling Mom and Dad’s estate, and are looking to finish cleaning out their house and putting it on the market, as houses in that area are selling super fast.
So on this Saturday, we are enjoying the beautiful Florida weather in between packing for our trip on Monday and lunch at home while I write this. Next week we will be back in the travel mode, and I’ll write more about our travels along the way. It feels great to finally be vaccinated, and able to travel a bit more freely (at least domestically) without all the COVID worries.