February Ain’t For Sissies
It’s February, the time of year when most of the country is ready to bid winter adieu. Those of us in central Texas keep a wary eye on the weather forecast because, if we’re going to have severe winter weather (read “ice storms”) February tends to be when it hits. All in all, February is just a downright dreary month, and with COVID restrictions, the dreariness is increased by a factor of ten. To keep my attitude from going sour, I’m looking for silver linings, bright sides, anticipated events, or lights at the end of the tunnel. Whatever I can get, actually.
One thing to look forward to this month is the upcoming limited-run series on Starz titled Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham. Don’t know about you, but spending some time with Sam Heughan, Graham McTavish, and the beautiful scenery of the Scottish countryside is just the ticket for a lady looking in need of a boost out of the late winter doldrums.
The audiobook version of G. M. Malliet’s Death of a Cozy Writer has been putting a spring in my step during my morning walks. The book is delightfully witty, the sort of thing I imagine might result if Noel Coward, Agatha Christie, and Carl Hiaasen were all thrown into a pot together. Davina Porter’s narration absolutely sparkles, much in the same manner as Jayne Entwistle’s reading of the Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley.
We splurged on a one-year subscription to MasterClass for Christmas, and that has provided some relief from the quarantine tedium. Aside from sports, we watch very little network TV, preferring to stream movies, documentaries, and series that interest us, and we find that we can watch an entire MasterClass in the course of three evenings. It’s not that I expect the classes to make me into a composer, magician, or stand-up comic. Mostly it’s just that I like learning new things and gaining new insights into the world around me. So far, we’ve watched Neil DeGrasse Tyson, David Baldacci, Penn & Teller, David Axelrod and Karl Rove, Steve Martin, Hans Zimmer, Ron Howard, and Stephen Curry. Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Ron Howard were my favorites. Surprisingly, I liked Stephen Curry’s series even though I’m not a huge basketball fan. I have about 30 more classes on my watch list. Occasionally the MasterClass folks award me a few guest passes to send out to friends and family. The caveat is that the recipient can’t be someone who has already received a pass. Once the recipient activates the link, they have seven days in which to watch whatever they’d like to watch. I currently have two such passes available and would be willing to share them with any of you who are interested. Email me through my website and specify that you are interested in one of the guest passes. If I run out of this month’s passes, I’ll send you one when I have more available.
The brightest spot of all, perhaps, is the fact that I’ve now had my first round of the COVID vaccine, so I’ll be counting the days until I get the second round in March. In my area, getting a COVID vaccine appointment is practically a full-time job. We spend hours day and night trolling all the various providers, filling out online forms for those that accept pre-registration, and trying every trick from meditation to punching pillows to relieve our frustration. When a handful of appointments became available, the glorious moment triggered a race to try to get my request in before the slots were all booked up. After I got to the final page where clicking “next” would take me to the golden moment of having my appointment confirmed, the servers were so overloaded that I had to keep clicking “next” over and over again. I sat with my laptop while we watched the Warriors trounce the Mavericks in basketball, clicking “next” every six or seven seconds so many times I was sure my laptop would rebel. It hung in there with me, though, and twenty-five minutes later (hooray), that final page saying “Your appointment is confirmed” appeared. For a moment, it was like winning the lottery! Anyway, after a long afternoon of waiting in lines, I have a slightly sore arm and a card attesting to the fact that I’ve got the first vaccination DONE.
By the time I get the second round, spring will be upon us. The redbud trees will be blooming, the sky will be incredibly blue, and we’ll be anticipating wildflower season. Armed with my vaccinations, I might be able to venture out to see those wildflowers this year. Now, THAT’S something worth anticipating!