Monthly Archives: May 2021

Covid never ends in Seattle

I don’t know why the ongoing Covid restrictions make me so crazy.  Their impact is not that great.  I think it’s just that I KNOW that half the people in this country are living their lives as normal, while in Washington, that’s still far from the case.  Ongoing restrictions, large and small.  Mostly small, but seriously annoying in many cases:

  • Capacity, indoors and out, is generally restricted to 50%.  As an example, since highs here are generally in the 50s or 60s, I wanted to let Bri sit in the hot tub for a few minutes after swim.  She is often so cold she cannot even put on her own sandals.  But the hot tub is not large enough for the post-swim demand with the 50% restriction, so they’ve closed it completely at that time.  My solution is to no longer have Bri attend swim unless the high is at least 65.  I’m not sure it was that warm on any day this week, though I’m hoping it’ll get warmer soon.
  • 2/3 of local libraries are closed.  Our nearest library that is open is a 30 minute drive away.  Libraries are only open one hour at a time, followed by an hour being completely closed for cleaning.  Typically, the few that are open are open only three or four hours a day.  What exactly are they cleaning?  And why are they still quarantining books?  Because of the 72 hour book quarantine requirement, our local library, which is never open for entry, only accepts books returns during very limited hours.  (That enables them to ensure the full quarantine period for the books.)
  • I could not pick up my daughter’s glasses without setting up an appointment in advance so they could insure that my 2 minute entry to pick up the glasses (which I’d already paid for – literally just needed someone to hand me the bag) would not push the optometrist over their 50% capacity limit.
  • Masks are still required in most locations, including outdoors.  For example, masks are required at the pool, and based on e-mails from the pool, will be required all summer to “protect the children.”  Never mind that in most cases, the children are in the pool, not wearing masks, obvs, while the adults are all on the pool deck waiting for swim lessons or swim team or whatever to finish.  I’m not sure what magic powder they’ve put in the pool to make it safe for the kids to be mask-free, but it must be pretty special!  More than 85% of adults in my area have had at least one shot, and 70% are fully vaccinated.  And we’re OUTDOORS.
  • King County, where I live, still requires masks at pretty much all times, except when running or cycling alone, or for SMALL private gatherings at which 100% of people are fully vaccinated.  Needless to say, if you were to enter, say, a grocery store without a mask, you’d be shot dead on the spot.  Or surrounded by taunting shoppers who believe you’re a pro-Trump, anti-vax, Covomaniac.
  • If any member of our family leaves the state for any reason (say to visit my MIL, who’s dealing with serious health issues), our kids have to miss the next two weeks of school.  To comply with state guidelines (which we would merrily ignore), our entire family would need to get tested for Covid and quarantine for seven days – no grocery shopping, no running, no contact with other humans of any kind.  Or for ten days if we didn’t get tested.  That’s even if we set foot in Oregon or Idaho.  Insane!  This is true even for Jonathan and I, who are fully vaccinated.  We still have a month of school left, and Jonathan is obligated to spend a certain number of weeks in California every year for work.  As it stands now, those are all going to have to happen in the summer.

The local newspapers take?

This isn’t normal. Not yet. It is the necessary middle step to get to that long-awaited destination, though. Mask up and be patient. Every vaccination brings the end of the pandemic closer.

OoooKaaaay.   Last time I checked, vaccination worked.  Either open up now, or mandate vaccination.  One or the other.  And if 85% vaccination isn’t sufficient, what the heck is?


little kid activities

A little piano duet with the Bri-ster.  Gotta love her facial expressions!  We are working on the “B” book from Alfred, and it’s going well, though lessons can be challenging at times to say the least.  My kids’ teachers tell us they are little angels, but that is certainly not what we see at home.

Swim team has started, and both girls are swimming this year.  Initially, I didn’t think Bri was ready.  I watched the last swim lesson before swim team started, and she just didn’t seem like she was swimming well enough to me.  However, we had fantastic weather that weekend, so we decided to go to the pool (which is heated).  I swam with Bri, and she was actually considerably better at swimming that I’d thought, so I e-mailed the coach and asked what level of skill he was looking for.  Answer: 25 yd of free and back, and minimal ability at breast and butter.  Bri would drown quickly if she had to use butterfly to stay afloat, but otherwise I thought she met the criteria.  The coach said she could show up and see how things go, so I sent her on Monday.  Unfortunately, it was in the 50s and drizzly.  I watched her a little bit, and she seemed slower than the other kids and also younger than most of them.  What made me decide to skip it, though, was that she was crying at the end of practice because was cold.  I e-mailed the coach and told him we’d decided not to do it, and he e-mailed me back and said she’d done great and should come back and it was likely the cold weather that made it hard.  I ended up sending her back on Wednesday (with her full buy-in) with her sister’s deck coat and a spring suit.  She did great!  Since then, I’ve been sending her to most of the practices (which are every day) and just skipping if it’s unusually cold, and she’s been having a great time.  Deck coats are the best thing ever, by the way, at least if you live in the chilly Pacific NW.  Their first “meet” (which is only a quasi meet due to ongoing ridiculous Covid restrictions) is June 12th.  I’m excited for her!


I read an interesting article in the WSJ about the outsize impact of clothes-buying on the environment.  Apparently, the average American purchases 54 articles of clothing a year.  54!  Some quotes:

Wardrobes take a much smaller share of the household purse than they used to. U.S. consumers spend just 3% of their disposable income on clothing, down from 10% in the 1960s, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The downside is that readier access to inexpensive garments encourages shoppers to buy in greater quantities.

 Of the roughly 100 billion items of clothing produced each year, more than 50 billion are thrown away and subsequently burned or landfilled within 12 months of being made, according to a recent UBS report.

The fashion sector’s long supply chain cuts across multiple countries and sectors, including petrochemicals for fibre manufacturing, making it more complex for governments to rein in. That is despite the fact that the fashion industry contributes up to 10% of global carbon emissions. By comparison, commercial aviation generates just 2% to 3%, according to Citi analysts.

Reducing the amount of clothing sold globally will become an even bigger challenge as consumers in emerging countries develop a taste for fast fashion. In 2006, Chinese shoppers bought 14 items of apparel every year, but this number had more than doubled by 2019, according to UBS. Americans’ purchases also increased over the period, but not by as much—from 48 to 54 items a year.

So, how many articles of clothing did YOU purchase in the last year?  I bought probably more than usual because the year started with me 6 months out from pregnancy and giving birth, but also less, because, like most people, I wasn’t going out as much.  Since I track all my expenses for budgetary reasons, it wasn’t that hard to look this up.

  • 5/11/21 – Gap shorts $36
  • 4/21/21 – JCrew socks $10
  • 2/5/21 – Gaiter $11
  • 2/11/21 – Running shoes $143
  • 1/10/21 – Running socks $15
  • 1/7/21 – Socks $20
  • 1/4/21 – Outdoor Voices Sports bra $26
  • 12/30/20 – Lululemon tights $100
  • 12/30/20 – Lulu sports bra $44
  • 12/19/20 – Camisoles (4) $43
  • 12/8/20 – Running shoes $121
  • 12/4/20 – Amazon shirts (2) $44
  • 12/1/20 – Eddie Bauer shirt $33
  • 11/28/20 – Pink button shirt $18
  • 10/15/20 – Sneakers $94
  • 7/17/20 – Sandals $77
  • 7/6/20 – JCrew shirt $26
  • 7/3/20 – Boden shirt $41
  • 5/31/20 Running shoes $132

So, I bought 23 articles of clothing if you count shoes, 18 if you don’t.  If you exclude socks as well, I’m down to 15.  Not bad, until you consider how unfashionably I dress.

How many garments did you buy last year?

If I were in a shopping mood . . .

If I had more money than I knew what to do with, I’d buy . . .

1.) Lots of Cafe Du Cycliste stuff.  Like these flowery bib shorts.

2.) 28″ Fast and Free tights from Lululemon

3.) Lots of Jellycat stuffies for all the babies and small children in my life

4.) A Garmin Edge 530 so I could get turn-by-turn directions while cycling

5.) A fancy mattress topper

6.) White button-fly shorts from JCrew

More JCrew linen T-shirts.  So comfortable!

All the cute kid and baby clothes from Tea Collection.  Now that S is almost 2, I can theoretically buy things in threes so all three of the kids can be matchy-matchy.  Given that L will likely put her foot down on this sooner rather than later, there’s clearly no time to waste.

This dress, or this one, from Anthro.  Not that I have anywhere to wear a dress.




running and biking budget

One thing helps you do is track costs per mile with your equipment.  I get about 500 miles out of a pair of running shoes, so if I pay $125 for the shoes, that’s about 25 cents per mile.  It takes me about 10 minutes to run a mile, so that’s a cost of $1.50 per hour of recreation in the shoes.

I spent about $750 on my road bike.  I didn’t take notes, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t include tax, so the actual cost was more like $825.  I’ve cycled about 1700 miles on my road bike so far, and I *hope* to get about 5000 miles out of it.  My bike was an entry level Specialized, which means it’s probably made well, but the components are about as cheap as you can get for a “brand name” bike.  So we’ll see if 5000 miles is really realistic.  In any case, if I do get 5000 miles, that’ll be $0.17 per mile.  I can ride about 12 miles per hour, so that works out to about $2 per hour – only slightly more expensive than running.

However, biking has a lot of extra costs.  The only thing I’ve spent much money on other than shoes for running is my GPS watch – $500 (!) – and running clothes aren’t super expensive and last a very long time.  My running shirts, for example, I’ve had about five years, and they are in great shape despite probably a thousand miles of use in each of them.  I probably paid $40 to $60 per shirt.  For biking, bibs and jerseys cost A LOT more.  You can definitely go budget on jerseys, or just wear a T-shirt, but I had major issues with chafing and a sore butt (sorry for TMI) when I started cycling.  After wasting money on a couple pairs of budget bib shorts, I ended up spending about $200 for my current bib shorts, and they won’t last forever.  I’m already contemplating getting a second pair.  I replaced the pedals on my bike with clipless pedals ($40) plus the tool to install them ($12) plus shoes to go with them ($160).  I bought a couple of bottle holders ($10) plus bottles ($35).  An extra bright bike light ($40).  A helmet ($40) and a replacement helmet after I crashed wearing the first one ($70).  Tubes for my tires (for flats) ($40).   A book on bike maintenance ($20).  A patch kit ($7).  A bike pump ($40).  And probably a bunch more stuff.  Honestly, it’s crazy to add it all up.

I give myself a weekly budget to spend on whatever I need or want from clothes to hobbies.  When I’m not biking, I find it reasonably doable to stay on budget.  When I AM biking, I instantly start feeling budget pressure.

after the vaccine

Jonathan got his second shot yesterday.  This is him under pretty much every blanket we have in the house, dealing with chills.  He was about as sick as I have seen him in the last few years, which is mostly a reflection of the fact that he pretty much never gets sick.  Hopefully the reaction means that the vaccine was extremely effective!

I was very happy to see the new CDC guidelines yesterday.  It’s hard to take “the science” seriously when it doesn’t make any sense.  Sadly, Washington seems in no hurry to actually follow the guidelines.  I getting particularly tired of performative *outdoor* masking.  We had a meeting about L’s swim team last night, and masks must be worn pretty much all the time, unless you’re actually in the water.  Further (and worse), no parents on the deck, VIRTUAL swim meets, etc.  It’s making me crazy.  One dose of Pfizer or Moderna is HIGHLY effective, and if you haven’t gotten a vaccine dose yet, I find it hard to feel sorry for you if you get sick.  I am totally on board with continued masking in medical settings, but can I please watch my daughter swim the 50 free in a swim meet?  Is that really too much to ask?


The rate of vaccination in the US has slowed dramatically, and it’s really concerning.  Based on Israel’s data, if we get to 60% of adults (16+) vaccinated, we’ll be golden.  But we’re not trending towards that any time soon.

Looking at the plot, you can see that the rate of vaccination (slope) for Israel was much steeper at 45% than in the US.  Similarly, the slope was steeper in the UK at 45% vaccinated, though perhaps not as dramatically.  The UK appears to have hit a knee in the curve at 45 to 50% as well.  Israel, by contrast got to 55% before demand dropped off dramatically.  Looking at Israel, you can see that once demand drops, it REALLY drops.  At this rate, the US will be lucky to get to 55% this month.

From this plot, you can see that the running average of daily doses per 100 people has dropped by nearly 40% since its peak three weeks ago, and all indications of the trend are that it will continue to drop steadily.

What can we do?

  • Pay people.  $100 to anyone under 50 to get the vax, and $200 to anyone under 35.  Including kids.
  • Mandate vaccines for people who work in nursing homes and in hospitals with patients, or outpatient medical facilities with vulnerable people (eg cancer patients)
  • Nursing home residents should also be mandated to get vaccinated
  • Help employers set up onsite vaccinations for employees
  • Employers should incentivize employees to get vaccinated, preferably financially
  • Lift mask mandates indoors for anyone vaccinated once 50% of state population is fully vaccinated (outside of medical facilities)
  • Lift mask mandate for children of vaccinated parents in school once 50% of state population is fully vaccinated
  • Offer vaccines at ball games and other public venues
  • Offer vaccines at churches.  Have the pastor pitch it during mass / service
  • Go door-to-door vaccinating people over [75].  Some people are housebound and may not be able to get out to get vaccinated.
  • Mandate vaccination in order to fly (except for residents of communities that can only be accessed by air).  Or make nonvaccinated people buy two adjacent seats.  Or even a whole row.
  • All doctors should offer vaccines at EVERY in-person appointment.

In general, I’d like to see people like Fauci and Biden express a little more confidence in the vaccine.  It is *not* necessary to wear a mask outdoors “just to be safe” if you’re vaccinated.  Fauci can go to the movies.  Fence-sitters need to see leaders believing that vaccines actually work.  This isn’t as bad as Trump refusing to wear a mask, but it’s not good.

What else?