Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Plague Diary Season 3 Week 15

Day 14+7+78, November 24. 215 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and Midcentral; none on the South Island. 71% of population and 84% over 12 double-jabbed. Rule changes pertaining to the national border, to commence next year, were announced. The daily "live" updates on Covid matters on Radio NZ stopped yesterday. If all goes to plan, this week will be the last full week under Covid Alert Levels, as we are scheduled to move onto the Traffic Light system on December 3. 
I had a bad reaction to white flour in the frozen croissant from the supermarket. This happens about a quarter of the time we eat them. I kept getting up, doing something, and going back to bed, until I gave up and stayed in bed and read about my current conundrum of turned Summer & Winter weave. There isn't much on the subject. And I forgot to put in "I stayed home" on the Covid App.
Day 14+7+79, November 25. 178 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and Midcentral; none on the South Island. Another death at Auckland hospital. 71% of population and 84% over 12 double-jabbed; no changes here %wise.
I rang the 0800 Covid Vax pass number again. They installed one of those, "Press x if..." messages which was not there on Tuesday, or maybe it was too busy I didn't even reach that stage. I had to go through two levels of answers, so they knew I was calling to get the pass to prove I've had two jabs, but for ten+ minutes I had to listen to some stupid vax Q&As, ones intended to persuade you to get vaxed. The music in between Qs were definitely for young people, but I would rather have listened to that.
When I finally got a nice young human, she asked the obligatory ID questions, and because I had my NHI number on hand, the whole transaction took all of 90 seconds. That included: her explaining the International Travel Certificate, (valid for 12 months, and considering I have a 91-year-old mom, I'll have that, too, thank you;) "No, instructions we're given is you don't need a new certificate when you get your booster;" her emailing me a six-digit number for each certificate, my reading them to her, and her emailing me each certificate in PDFs. I'd say the phone conversation was easy, but I do wonder how the elderly or less-connected cope. (Although "elderly" aren't necessarily less able than me by any means.) I didn't even know I couldn't do this myself without a NZ passport or a driver's license until Ben told me. And the lovely human said I could print if I have a printer, but download on phone if I prefer. Say what??   

I'm still looking up what the traffic light system means, but short of getting two jabs and walking around with my newly obtained (domestic) pass that says so, rules I'm meant to follow are murky. I did find instructions to follow in the event Ben or I test positive and must isolate at home, and at least these were clearer, so I printed them out just in case.

Day 14+7+80, November 26. 173 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes; none on the South Island. 71% of population and 85% over 12 double-jabbed. From the Ministry: "From today, you now also have the option to receive your pass through the post and you will also be able to go to pharmacies to request your pass. Almost 400 pharmacies around the country that are currently providing COVID-19 vaccinations will now also be able to help people get their vaccine pass." Phew, on behalf of oldies who may or may not be more tech savvy than me. 
If all goes to plan, we'll be out of Levels and into Traffic Light color in a week. 
For nearly a week, I had a metaphorical pebble in my weaving shoe; it wasn't big enough to stop me, but annoying enough I couldn't ignore it. Reading, sampling in the software, and even writing about it to see to which point I understood, I reached the logical answer that was, ummm, counterintuitive. But an old friend and a far learned weaver Cally convinced me the logical answer I reached was indeed the answer. So there is even more scope of study and experimentation in the future, as usual. As for the pebble, it's still there, wedged somewhere between the hallux and the index toe, in the pocket under the neck, but I can keep walking this road with just an occasional reminder it's there.  
Day 14+7+81, November 27. 145 in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and one in Christchurch, South Island. One death in hospital. The Christchurch case is a household contact of a previous case and is already self-isolating, although a couple of locations of interest were added. Still 71% of population and 85% over 12 double-jabbed.
I've been rereading about the Traffic Light system over and over. I've understood the words from the first sheet I printed out a while back; it told me to get jabbed twice, carry a Vax pass, and maybe wear a mask. Rules/practices around masks here have been murky from the start, so although Ben and I always have them when we leave home, in town it's a hit-or-more-likely-miss affair regarding humans around us. The new system relies on even more individual responsibility, i.e. government has washed its hands of us, almost, more or less, in a manner of speaking. Some are predicting upwards of 1600 cases/week, and when it happens Jacinda et al. will say we're on the projected path. I feel a huge gray something descending on us that, to tell the truth, I never really felt immediately around us in these two Plague years. 
And then, Omicron. Besides it's potential danger, Oh-My-Cron? To Japanese ears, it sounds diminutive, mangaesque.
Day 14+7+82, November 28. 144 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay; none on the South Island. Another death in the hospital. 72% of population and 85% over 12 double-jabbed. Last night, Aotearoa NZ joined the travel ban of non-Kiwis from nine African countries starting midnight tonight. Overnight the world is given a rewritten scenario. But anything helps to reduce the numbers having to go into our managed quarantine facilities or hospitals.
It was rainy and cold and miserable at Chez B&M, and we spent the morning reading descriptions, comparing, and online-shopping five-layer mask inserts that goes inside pockets in homemade cotton masks. Didn't know such things existed before today, and Ben was suggesting we use coffee filters, which, as you can imagine, we have in all sizes, shapes, and two colors. We also printed our vax passes. Ben uses the phone in the main, but he surprised me by printing one just in case the phone failed; that's so my MO. We wasted a lot of paper and ink, and halfway through, since it's only the QR code that matters, it occurred to me we could have printed them grayscale. Also, I wonder if I'll get in trouble because I cut mine 2mm shorter, so folded in half it's the size of a credit card.
 Day 14+7+83, November 29. 182 in Auckland, Waikato, and Northland. We learned in the morning there is a case in Nelson, to be included tomorrow, but not much details yet; locations of interest came out at 6PM. 72% of population and 85% over 12 double-jabbed. Boosters started today, but there have been comparatively little media coverage. There have been, though, more attention to jabbed people who can't get the passes by themselves.
Last night I read a border case was in Canterbury. Neither the government's Unite Against Covid-19 Facebook page nor public-funded Radio NZ covered this, but I found it on stuff.co.nz, a website aggregating articles from newspapers from around the country, (as well as Radio NZ?). A child, presumably with adults, flew from London to Doha to Auckland, arriving on the 18th; they did their seven days managed isolation and went home to Canterbury (Christchurch?) to continue home quarantine, but their ninth day test came out positive. Today there were two new border cases in Christchurch. 
With the Traffic Light system coming in on Friday, red/orange designation was announced this afternoon. There will be no border restrictions between regions. These designations will be reviewed fortnightly. 
Omicron is causing havoc with what the government night have thought a relatively smooth transition to the new system. I watched the 4PM announcement, a first in what feels like many weeks, but my eyes and ears glazed over because a whole lot of it sounded like disingenuous spin, praising their past achievements. According to Bloomfield, home-isolation is working well; two folks dying in their own homes positive test results were just a glitch in the system. 
A few days ago I started thinking about my current project a little more seriously, as they must be finished by early/mid-February. My source has a distinct lack of really red cottons in 20/2 as well as blues/navies and, oh, grays. I ordered seven colors, 20/2 and 60/2, roughly in the that neighborhood on the color wheel. They are a little more varied than appears in the pic, but gee, I need to rethink reds to proceed.
Day 14+7+84, November 30. 134 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty. Two more in Nelson, which makes three, all close contacts; because of a "technical glitch" these two will be counted tomorrow. All cases in Aotearoa NZ are still Delta. 72% of population and 86% over 12 double-jabbed.
I had it all figured out. "We're going into a new system and we're learning to live with Covid..." How uneasy I feel; how we expect a bunch of cases to visit Nelson this summer; how I'll continue to have plenty to complain about, blah, blah. Except we are suddenly really living with it. Everybody knew it was a matter of time, but after having lived completely normally, (other than scanning and no overseas travel,) from August to August, it's still a shock. I honestly didn't expect Nelson to have cases until mid/late December when travel started.
First thing this morning, we discovered we know someone, who was a close contact of a person, who was at a location of interest at exactly the same time as the first case. We haven't seen them since August, but this was as close to Covid as we'd gotten. Then while we were at the supermarket, there were more locations of interest added, including that very supermarket. 
Ben plans to work from home until the end of the year. But I feel we need to rethink how to organize our life in a fundamental way. For now I don't know where to start, so I read so much about the Traffic Lift system, "What to Do When..." kind of info, about Omicron, the latest on how to protect oneself; and while these allow me to concentrate and not rush towards despair, I'm not even sure whether to read so much, or ignore and do only "normal" things. 
One of the normal things is eating, of course, and we thought we'd try to live a little healthier, and we know what we should do in that department. So this was today.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Turned Summer & Winter - a Segway

Realizing I know nothing about turning Summer & Winter drafts, but having flippantly mentioned it, I descended into a wee rabbit hole for a few days. So far, I understand the logic, but not to my satisfaction, (more on that,) and decided for now I don't want to waste any more time on this as it doesn't directly impact the current project. But for the record... 
These are examples of an almost standard Summer & Winter draft; almost because the usual instruction is to use the same size threads for warp and tabby weft, and a thicker thread for pattern, but I use the same size for warp and pattern, and one-third the size for tabby. Warp is white, tabby is red, and pattern is black.
My software, Fiberworks, turned the draft for me automagically. 
If you remember way, way back, my first entry into Summer & Winter was to make maximum use of the number of shafts in creating larger designs, and yet weave cloths with structural integrity. Looking at the turned draft, my reaction was, "It's straight forward, but must we waste two pattern shafts for every block, while in the original draft, one P shaft takes care of one block?" I thought I wasn't seeing something obvious and missing the point of turning, so I asked for advice on Facebook. And Cally Booker came to my rescue. 
"Yes, sadly, we do. If you think about what the pattern weft looks like in the cloth, when it is woven 'normally' you get that brickwork effect because the pattern weft is tied down in one place on one row and offset from that on the alternate row. When the structure is turned, the tie-down happens in the weft on the alternating pattern picks. So one pattern pick has to tie down half the pattern warp and the next pattern pick has to tie down the other half - and that only works if the pattern warp is threaded on two different shafts. We can't economise on the ground warp, either, because we still need to make the plain weave base. Like most descriptions of weaving, that sounds like complete gibberish when spelt out in detail... I hope it isn't as bad as that."
Right, makes sense, but for me, unsatisfactory in that it's... wasteful. Although there is scope for experimenting with one tie-weaves. 
"... Maybe someone will pop up and tell us we're both wrong! If you just used the one shaft per block, so that all the ties were in sync with the same weft pick, what would that mean for the rest of the structure? I feel the urge to go and doodle in Fiberworks..."

Cally also recommended "Supplementary Warp Patterning: Turned Drafts, Embellishments & Motifs" by Barbafa J Walker. I found it on Lulu.com, but I haven't heard back from Lulu whether books ordered from aud-store.lulu.com is shipped from Australia or the US, (aud=Australian Dollars,) because the US postal system stopped sending stuff to NZ or Australia a while back, and it's still effective as of November 19. Never mind, not vital for the current project, just a very interesting subject. 
And it's great to reconnect with old friends. 

Back to sampling.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Plague Diary Season 3 Week 14

Day 14+7+71, November 17. 194 new in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, and Lakes District. And to be included in tomorrow's number, one in Christchurch; someone attended a tangi/funeral in Auckland and showed symptom after returning. Another person passed away in hospital in Auckland. 69% of population and 82% over 12 double-jabbed. 
The whole country is moving to the traffic light system on or after November 29 together, but red or orange depends on the district's vax rate, and the system is not finalized yet. Vax pass became available today, but everybody tried to access the system and  not many seemed to have been successful. I couldn't even get to the Sing Up screen. Auckland will be "freed" on December 15; Aucklanders can conditionally travel out of the region and the rest of us can get in. 
It must be summer. I was a little tired and unmotivated after finishing housework, but with just a little bit left to do on the patio, I went out at 4PM and finished the job. Among other things, I moved one of these guys into another pot of the same size/style. And... I can get back to wilderness of my choice tomorrow. Oh joy.  
Day 14+7+72, November 18. 167 new in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and Christchurch as mentioned yesterday; another in Christchurch who will be counted tomorrow is a household contact. We are now really "living with" Covid in Aotearoa, and over the summer it's expected to spread all around the country, but you knew that. Many cases have been found in wastewater first, so at least that's working. Two more deaths in hospitals. 69% of population and 82% over 12 double-jabbed. 
Ben got to see his vaccination passport last night. We'll work on mine at a ridiculous hour on the weekend when it's easier to access the website, but I'm going to carry a printed version because I already know I'm going to fumble at some crucial moment.  
A friend was asked at a job interview to list three words to describe her; I've always hated these gimmicky questions because I'm the kind of person who don't think before blurting out whatever comes to mind, and just like that, I thought to myself, "Short, fat, angry." So, my reaction time was excellent, but what a sad state of mind!
I've been angry/despondent/frustrated/going-out-of-my-mind about the weeds. Now, I'll be the last to tell you I'm a keen gardener, but over the years we tried, let's see, plastic weed mats, newspaper, cardboard, wool carpets, bought and homemade bark/tree mulching, organic solutions of every description, and cancer juice, but nothing has given us much reprieve, and it's gotten progressively worse as I get older and slower. I work carefully and diligently when I'm out there, digging to about 30cm to get the weed roots out, but the convovs have been thinking, too, and now their roots are even deeper. I'm an indoors person, and while I feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a couple of hours, or five of work outside, it's the same sense of accomplishment I get from cleaning the house; I just don't want to spend every waking minute just to keep our place looking... normal... OK... acceptable... not horrible... just a little horrible... OK, horrible but cute.
So, yeah, today I'm weaving/sampling. I also ordered some yearns for the project proper for which I've been sampling. And I'm trying not to feel too bad about it... Yikes...     
Day 14+7+73, November 19. 198 new in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Wairarapa, Midcentral, (those are all over the North Island,) and Canterbury/Christchurch for which links are yet unknown. And a suspected case in Wellington. 69% of population and 82% over 12 double-jabbed. Many districts are nearing or have achieved 90% of qualified folks being double jabbed. Nelson Marlborough had a spectacular start, staying at the top of the list for a while, but slowed down this side of 70%-ish and is now at 81% of qualified folks. We need 677 arms to get the second jab to reach 90%.  (Not sure how current these numbers are.) 

Yesterday we discovered a local ice cream maker could not export their product, (due to Auckland lockdown?) and announced a sale on their Facebook page. I thought their coffee ice cream is among our top three favorites, but looking at the umber of containers we are reusing all over the house, it must be our top choice. So my morning started with cleaning out our tiny freezer, throwing out a couple of things, downloading some others to the fridge, and thawing a few ingredients for dinner. And kneading sourdough.   
During Ben's "lunch" break, we exited our Nelson/Tahunanui cocoon for the first time since the January Wellington trip, (or the second time after a lovely picnic by the river with friends?) Bravely we made our way to Stoke, which is actually closer to our house than the center of Nelson. The ladies at the factory shop greeted us, apologizing, "Sorry, we only have two flavors left, coffee and..." "Say no more," I interrupted, "We're here for coffee."
On our way home, Ben asked, "Since these are not the usual size but smaller tubs, does it mean we get one tub each?" Ahahahahaha. Dream on, Mate. They're 470ml tubs; label says there's 4.7 servings per tub; so, no! 
I also got in touch with two of my favorite humans, both of who (whom??) had big things happen in their lives. I feel comforted sharing stories about aging parents with folks around my age. I treasure learning things from young people so I can live in this century.          
Day 14+7+74, November 20. 178 new; 0 South Island, but in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and Wellington. 70% of population and 83% over 12 double-jabbed.
This morning I was so tired I half wondered if the moon changed earth's gravity last night. I couldn't stay standing long enough to wash the dishes, so I ended up doing not a whole heck of a lot. I didn't even nap. But I can forgive myself because I took care of a lot of little things around the house last week. 
Later in the afternoon I wanted to check a few things related to weaving terminology and technique, which always lead to new possibilities and trying things in the software and making notes not directly related to immediate question. 
I'll have to look for answers tomorrow, but the dishes have been washed. And the ribs I marinated yesterday were tasty. 
Day 14+7+75, November 21. 149 new in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, again from travels to the North Island but no other detail; also one in Hawkes Bay to be included tomorrow. 70% of population and 83% over 12 double-jabbed.   
I had been thinking for a couple of weeks hey fever is not bad this year, easing up early. Until, wham, came yesterday. Although it's raining today, it takes my system a whole day to respond to the weather so... A-chooooo!! Excuse me. With the cycle of rain followed by sun/wind, our place needed this rain, and cold use a couple of more days of it, but it's a one-day only deal this time.
We went to Mega hardware store for the first time in months; Ben went to drive-by pick-up on the last day of Level 3, so that's 9 weeks ago, but me, I can't remember. Regardless, it's a big gap because this time of year we're usually there every weekend late in the afternoon. But with elaborate routes marked inside the store, yet shoppers not keeping distance, we didn't feel relaxed and didn't linger. We also went to the supermarket afterwards, but I saw a teenager, and Ben saw a young couple, sans masks. They may have valid reasons, but then they may not. I started singing "Covid Nineteen's Coming to Town" inside my head and now I can't switch it off. 
Edmonds provides us with anything baking-related, but more importantly their cookbook, (or cookery book) is the NZ standard. I don't cook from it because there are no pictures, :-D, but I can't count the times I read it when Kiwis mention a dish or a method unfamiliar to us. When we were new here, some confectionery shops and bakeries even told us "It's in the book," with details on their variations. 
A staff or customer did a nice job of display yesterday; I prefer to think it was intentional.
Day 14+7+76, November 22. 205 new in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Lakes/Taupo, Midcentral, and Bay of Plenty; 0 South Island. One death in hospital; this brings total Covid-related death in Aotearoa NZ to 40. 70% of population and 83% over 12 double-jabbed. The country will switch to the traffic light system starting December 3, (i.e. everybody has to organize their vax passes by then,) but whether a region starts at red or orange depends on, I think, vax rate. Barbers and hair dressers can operate by traffic light rules a week earlier.
As of today we've been NZ permanent residents for 25 years. But because we are not citizens, (Japan does not allow dual citizenship,) we are on Japanese passports, (which is linked to our residency states,) and because I don't drive and do not have a driver's license, I will be carrying a paper vax passport. While I don't mind, I wonder why my NHI# isn't sufficient. Ben thinks District Health Board is in charge of NHI# while Vax passport is issued by the government, but vax process used NHI, from memory, and now the government needs a person to answer my 0800 call, check my records, and post me that piece of paper.
My current project has been... well, yikes. Experiments are not going the way I expect, options that makes no sense are turning out "pretty", there are just so darned many varied aesthetic/editorial decisions I didn't expect to have to make, and I can't find technical information in books. Usually this is the best part and once all is set and I'm actually waving, I've emotionally moved on to the next project, but this one, this one has been disorienting. And that's an unfamiliar place after all these years.   
Day 14+7+77, November 23. 215 in Auckland, Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and Midcentral; none on the South Island. A weak positive case appeared in Nelson yesterday, but repeat test was negative, so they suspect it was historical. This never made Radio NZ; there must be many more similar instances in other regions as well. One person passed away in hospital in Auckland. 70% of population and 84% over 12 double-jabbed.
I saw my pelagoniums through the patterned glass on our front door this morning. I didn't get much sleep last night and didn't want to weed, but I sowed a bunch of thyme seeds, and moved rose "sticks" into individual containers; I'm also going to see if capsicum and tomato seeds I collected from veg we ate will germinate. 

I also tried calling the 0800 number for a couple of hours to get my vax pass, but no luck; maybe tomorrow.