Situation summary:

A year ago, the first cases of a mystery virus that would come to be known as Covid-19 were reported in Wuhan, China. Since then, 1.8 million people across the world have lost their lives in the ensuing pandemic. December 2020 has been the nation’s deadliest month since the Covid-19 pandemic’s start — with more than 63,000 Americans lost to the virus in the past 26 days. The US set a Covid-19 daily death record on December 30th, and by some estimates, another 80,000 people could die in the next three weeks as the consequences of holiday travel and gathering for the holidays set in.

December 1 – The Louisiana Department of Health reports 5,326 new COVID19 cases with the total number of cases reported to the state is 237,740. 97% of the cases reported to the state today were community spread. There have been 35 deaths reported to the state since yesterday bringing the current total death count to 6455. The Alabama Public Health Department reports 252,900 total cases with 3638 deaths.

Drove myself the rest of the way home and had a long, hot bath in my tub after my zoom IWO board meeting.

December 2

I was supposed to get my new title from the Office of Motor Vehicles today but I got a message that the office was closed for 14 days. I guess someone was positive for COVID. I tried to go to another office but they said the paperwork from the car dealership was at the office I originally had the appointment at and they couldn’t do anything for me. I made another appointment for the week after next.

December 4

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (@JHSPH_CHS) tweeted at 1:46 PM on Fri, Dec 04, 2020:
US #COVID19 cases:

1st case to 1M – 96 days
1 to 2M- 44 days
2 to 3M- 27 days
3 to 4M – 15 days
4 to 5M – 17 days
5 to 6M – 22 days
6 to 7M – 25 days
7 to 8M – 21 days
8 to 9M – 14 days
9 to 10M- 10 days
10 to 11M- 7 days
11 to 12M- 5 days
12 to 13M- 7 days
13 to 14M – 5 days

December 5 

Run off election day in Louisiana. I voted against the anti-library ballot measure and for judges and the district attorney. A local educator who is LGBTQ and Latinx won against a homophobe for school board so we were celebrating that love wins!

December 6

Drove to St. Louis, MO as my friend Jennie’s husband had heart bypass surgery on Wednesday and wasn’t recovering as fast as expected. She had just had hernia surgery so needed bit of help.

The drive is a straight shot of 669 miles up I-55, going through Jackson, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee on the way to St. Louis. It being Sunday in the time of COVID19, very few restaurants were open so I just picked up drive thru and got gas at the pumps and kept going and arrived before dark.

December 7 – Alabama Public Health reports 272,229 cases with 3892 deaths. Louisiana Public Health reports 252,136 cases with 6607 deaths.

Brian’s numbers weren’t good enough for him to be released so Jennie and I went and got them a Christmas tree. A local church buys a bunch of them after Thanksgiving and they were almost out by the time we arrived. We left it outside with some water to come back to life.

December 8

Pulled all their holiday decorations out of storage and I carried them upstairs. We also did grocery shopping for meals for the rest of the week. The grocery store here was super safe with a long line of plexi between cashier and everyone, one way in and one way out and everyone being masked and distant.

We also picked up our Penzey’s spice order – I can’t believe they have two in the St. Louis, MO area and none in the Greater New Orleans area. They packed the order and placed it outside at the time we specified. Safe and it meant I can make a huge batch of salt free Creole Seasoning to leave with them when I go home. My recipe for it is here.

December 9

Brian was released today, so we got the house ready for him and his walker by picking up rugs and things like that. I made him lamb kebabs for dinner using Newman’s Own light dressing as the marinade and cutting up bell pepper, onion and skewering the meat, veg and mushrooms to cook outside on the grill.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court demanding that all the votes of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — 10.4 million votes in total — be thrown out completely. It was signed by the Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (who didn’t notice Louisiana was spelled wrong) and, then, by 106 Republican members of Congress (including all but one member of the Louisiana GOP delegation who is quarantined with COVID19). It is breathtaking how against Democracy these folks are – with no proof of fraud but with an election that went against them, they want to silence the voice of the voters. And, that’s all voters – Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc.

December 10 – More Americans have died of covid-19 in a single day than were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield has now acknowledged that he expects to see tolls that large regularly for the next two or three months. The nation’s total of deaths climbed past 291,800 on Thursday — for the first time surpassing the number of U.S. service members who died fighting World War II.

I finished the puzzle they had been struggling with for a month, except for 5 pieces I left for Brian to finish when he feels up to it.

I grilled a chicken for dinner (recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/lemon-herbes-de-provence-roast-chicken/) and roasted some potatoes.

December 11 – US cases 15,747,923 cases with 293,864 deaths.

CDC published a Winter Holidays guide for staying safe – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/winter.html

Went to the grocery store for tonight’s dinner of salmon and to make sure that Jennie and Brian are well set for supplies for when I head out on Sunday. Again, I’m impressed with how well they’re handling the Covid-19 situation up here with signs about not putting stuff on the conveyor until the previous customer is done and other measures to keep everyone socially distant and safe.

December 12 –via the CDC COVID Data Tracker – Missouri total cases 334,704 with 4,450 deaths. Alabama total cases 284,922 with 4034 deaths. Louisiana total cases is 261,329 with 6,724 deaths

Had to make another grocery store run as they were out of sandwich meat and running low on toilet paper. I also picked up some snacks for the drive back.

Did a shrimp ettouffee for dinner. Recipe here.

December 13 – As of today, the United States has more than 16 million confirmed coronavirus infections, with more than 200,000 new cases being diagnosed every day, and with almost 300,000 deaths from Covid-19.

Drove back to New Orleans. It was 37 degrees when I left St. Louis and 73 when I reached the New Orleans area.

December 15

Got my new (old) tag for my new (old) car! Great customer service at the OMV today – the dealer had sent over all the paperwork, so they just needed a few things from me and, as I brought the license plate from my previous car, after a phone call to Baton Rouge, I was able to use it.

Got some groceries so I’ll be able to make panettone beginning tomorrow (it is a 3 day process). I used some of my sourdough starter discard to make a caraway loaf. Here is the recipe.

December 16 – Alabama Public Health reports 305,640 total cases with 4,198 deaths. Louisiana has 275,545 cases with 6933 deaths

Did the dough for the panettone using my sourdough starter and then had an 8 hour rise before I added in the golden raisins and chopped bittersweet chocolate. I left it to rise again overnight.

December 17 – US has 17,068,357 cases with 308,908 deaths

The dough hadn’t risen as much as I expected but divided it into the buttered pans and left it to rise for 8-12 hours. I will try baking it this evening.

Ron and his guys came over to work on the issues of the house including my fence (part of which blew down in all the hurricanes this year), fixing the stairs and porch and insulating the water pipes under the house. He took a check for $2000 and will come back on Saturday to finish the front porch.

No joy on the panettone. I’m going to try letting it rise again overnight.

December 18 – Today saw more than 250,000 new infections in a single day. More than 315,000 have died, including 3,611 on Wednesday. More than 128,000 Americans have received the vaccine.

I went ahead to try baking the panettone but it just slumped and became a gluey mess in the pans. I will try again next year.

December 19

I grilled ribs and Charlotte and Thomas came over for dinner. We were much more diligant about our masks and wore them except when eating.

December 20

I drove to my parents where I will stay until the New Year. Dish and CBS are fighting so I hooked Dad’s laptop up to the TV with a HDMI cable so we could stream the Saints game. Dem boys didn’t look good in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

December 21 – As of tonight, more than 18 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, and at least 319,000 have died.

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis (https://coronavirus.house.gov) that is investigating the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic released documents showing that Trump appointees in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tried to “alter or block” at least 13 of the reports written by CDC scientists. Appointees messed around with the CDC’s traditional “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports” and edited reports on the use of masks, the dangers of Covid-19 in children, and the spread of the disease. They also tried to delete emails revealing political interference in scientific assessments. Some of the emails from science adviser Paul Alexander calling for the administration to speed the spread of coronavirus in order to achieve herd immunity have sparked outrage.

My parent’s old next door neighbor let me pick all the remaining satsumas from his tree as well as all the Meyer lemons. I juiced the satsumas and drank down at least a quart before putting the rest in the fridge.

December 22 – Alabama reports 329,811 cases of Covid-19 with 4452 deaths. Louisiana reports 290,960 cases with 7158 deaths.

I zested and juiced the Meyer lemons and set up a pint jar of preserved lemons and a put a sizable quantity of the zest in a quart jar (with a bottle of Everclear) to make Limoncello. I then will save the rest of the juice to make a lemon pie for the neighbor (recipe here) and pound cakes for us.

December 23

From the New Orleans Mayor’s office – Average new cases of COVID-19 are hovering around 130 per day, which is significantly higher than the stable trends seen over multiple months this fall when daily cases were under 50. Deaths are also on the rise both locally and around the state. On Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reported 65 COVID-19 deaths statewide, which is the highest number of deaths reported in a single day since July 29.

The CDC announced today that more than a million Americans have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, a significant milestone but far below the 20 million goal the administration had aimed for. Currently, the nation is averaging more than 200,000 new cases a day.

I made Lemon Creole Cream Cheese Poundcake. So good. Recipe here.

December 24

Finished the round eagle puzzle. This one was a challenge.

December 25

Merry Christmas

December 26

My sister, her husband and her two daughters came by for a visit after Christmas. Wayne showed off his new gun and Kate worked on a puzzle with Dad and I while Kathy, Kim and Mom smoked on the porch.

December 27

Made lemon meltaway cookies using the NY Times recipe (here).

December 28 – As of today, 7,336 Louisianians have been lost to COVID-19. That is greater than the populations of 391 of the state’s 473 cities, towns and villages.

Mom and I drove to the credit union, grocery store and post office. She stayed in the car while I ran the errands.

December 29 – as of today 675 New Orleanians have died from COVID-19

Dad helped me finish a puzzle of Central Park that I got from Jennie and Brian.

December 30  – Louisiana reported 6,754 new COVID-19 cases today, the highest single day case increase since the increase since the pandemic began with 51 new deaths. The total number of cases in Louisiana is 311,229 with 7448 total deaths. Alabama has 356,820 reported cases with 4,774 deaths.

Went to my folks house to give a barrister’s glass fronted bookcase to the refinisher to work on. He agreed to do my Dad’s desk (which belonged to his grandfather). The cleaners ripped one of the drawers off trying to get it opened and the sides and back are in bad shape. He will get to it once he finishes with the bookcase.

Came home by way of Walmart to pick up beer and supplies to get us through the rest of the week.

December 31 – Globally 82,891,737 reported cases with 1,808,450 deaths. The US has 19,763,768 cases with 342,634 deaths

Made crab imperial for the last day of the year. Recipe here. I think one of the biggest things I’ll miss about my folks old house will be having crab traps off the dock all summer. I haven’t had to buy lump crab meat in more than a decade!

At 11:59pm I opened the back door to let the old year out. At the first stroke of midnight I opened the front door to welcome the new year in.