Alameda County cases: 267,361; deaths: 1,820; overall vaccination rate: 84.2%
U.S. cases: 83,712,000+; deaths: 1,001,000+; overall vaccination rate: 66.6%
Over 1 million deaths from COVID was passed this week in the U.S.
Things had been going pretty well. April was a pretty stable month for COVID. But it's been ticking up again throughout May. A couple weeks ago Alameda county crossed into the "medium community transmission" category (from "low") per the CDC monitoring.
The Lab has renewed its strong recommendation that employees wear N-95 or KN-95 masks when meeting together, but hasn't moved to a requirement.
We got an exposure notification for Heather almost every day during the week her class was practicing for the play.
The girls became eligible for a booster shot this week and we did that on Thursday afternoon. They felt kind of lousy on Friday morning, so they stayed home from school. But by dinner time they were fine.
Tonight was open house at the girls' school. The campus full of families and kids excited to show off all the neat projects they've been working on.
Walking across the blacktop thinking there's nowhere to go if someone started shooting. Walking into the girls' classrooms thinking there's nowhere to hide if someone stood at the windows.
Looking around the room and noticing that the teacher has the blinds drawn and a poster blocking the door's window--almost certainly a security measure to protect her students. Her students. My daughter. Our world.
Looking at the artwork on the walls and recognizing that a classroom just like this one is still covered in blood from the bodies of the children murdered there two days ago.
An open house to celebrate their school year.
A unspoken vigil for the victims that didn't get to finish theirs.
At the end of March we started playing the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set which contains 5 pre-generated characters, a slimmed-down rule book, and the adventure "The Lost Mine of Phandelver." Heather is playing as Zulak, a human fighter. Jess and Corinne are playing Riswynn, a dwarf cleric. And our friends are Zorien, another human fighter; Ara, an elf wizard; and Reedawn, a halfling rogue. I'm the Dungeon Master.
To make the experience more engaging and fun I used Hero Forge to design and purchase custom miniatures which match each character's detail. Each miniature has the character name, real name, and the year on the bottom and they'll keep them as souvenirs when we're done. I hadn't purchased anything from Hero Forge before and wasn't sure what to expect. I ordered the "standard" quality miniatures and I'm really pleased with them. If this is the "standard" quality, the high-quality/high-resolution versions must be really impressive.
Each miniature was $20. Which is a little pricey if you were trying to make an army, but is quite reasonable for a one-off special character at this quality level and customizability (and they are crazily customizable). The Hero Forge UI for customizing the characters is an impressive feat by itself and that you can then have that custom character 3-D printed and shipped to you is really cool.
I probably won't paint them--maybe I'll get around to the one's for Heather and Corinne--but I suggested perhaps we could have a painting party during which each person could choose 2 or 3 parts of the character to paint and provide some pop. I don't know if that will happen or not though.
I'm quite pleased with them and now I can happily and heartily recommend Hero Forge for custom miniatures.
After returning from our impromptu trip to Utah we poured our remaining energy into getting ready for Christmas morning.
As evening fell we drank hot chocolate, ate cheese fondue, read stories, the girls danced while Jess sang "The Twelve Days of Christmas," they opened their presents for each other, and then we ushered them off to bed.
After several hours of wrapping presents and rearranging furniture the house was ready for Christmas morning and Jess and I were ready to catch a few hours of sleep in the meantime.
Christmas morning the girls, amazingly, were not up until ~6:45. And then the party began. I set up a video call with Mom and Mollie so they could join our festivities since Mom's house was rather quiet that morning.
And the following several days have been filled with recuperating, game playing, house cleaning, book reading, and wishing that vacation would last a little longer.