A Shot In The Arm.


Speaking of getting vaccinated. . . 

Top Cat’s two kids in California worked the phones for weeks, and yesterday they finally got us an appointment for the Covid-19  vaccination here in New York state!

It was a same-day appointment so, at 5 o’clock in the evening, we bundled up and trudged through a foot of snow to a hospital in Queens and by 6:30 PM we were shot and half-way to being corona-proof, and sorry that Long Island is still in lock-down mode and we couldn’t go out for a celebratory dinner, or drink. We were that giddy.

The rule is that you have to hang around the hospital for 15 minutes after you get shot (or “jabbed”, as they say in the UK but, interestingly, not in Australia, where they, like us, say “shot”, and where they also call a tight Speedo a “budgie smuggler” and I’ve been laughing all day about that one). The nurses want to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction to the vaccine, so as I presented my paperwork to the attending health care professional in the waiting area, she looked at my form and asked me to say my name.

“Vivian”, I said, wondering if this was part of the screening. You see, Top Cat and I are in the official Old Farts category of vaccine recipients, so maybe the young lady wanted to make sure I still had my marbles, you know, in that I could remember my name and not bore her with stories about the price of bread in 1977.

It was 32 cents! A loaf of Wonder bread was 32 cents!!

Anyway, I tell her my name and she exclaims, “That’s so pretty!” She says, “I’ve never heard of this name before. I didn’t know how to pronounce it.”

This is not the usual reaction to my name. Six times in my life I’ve been asked, about my full moniker, Vivian Swift, “Is that your real name?” Fewer times than that — exactly twice — I’ve had someone say, about “Vivian”, “That’s my name too!” 

It’s a rule. When two Vivians meet, you have to get all excited and become best friends.

That’s because there aren’t a lot of Vivians out there in the  world, but I would have expected a full-grown woman of what looked to me European descent would have come across “Vivian” at least once in her life. So, that was weird.

P.S. My twin sister goes by a nickname that is rather unusual and no one has ever asked her if that’s her real name, although one guy did go, “That’s my dog’s name!” Her name is Elizabeth, but everyone calls her Buffy. 

During registration for the vaccine at the hospital, I was asked “What is your ethnicity?” and I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever been asked that. I had to think hard. Scottish-American? White? Anglo? From the gene pool that made Appalachia great?

I went with “Caucasian,” but I didn’t feel good about it. The woman questioning me was African-American and I’m 75% sure that word doesn’t have a whole lot of positive connotations for her.

She also asked me about my religion. I briefly considered saying “None,” but decided to be more pro-active. I said, “Atheist.”

So, that was weird, too. Top Cat and I assume that these questions were for statistical purposes, and not a way to make the experience of getting a longed-for vaccination in the middle of a pandemic even more bizarre than it had to be. Because it was bizarre.

Here’s the surprising thing: The hospital, in the heart of Queens, New York, was practically empty. It was almost creepy. Although there was a loooong line of chairs looping around the enormous lobby, all appropriately socially distanced, there was no one sitting in them.  There was no waiting at all, and we’ve been trying to register on-line for a month. It was Top Cat’s daughter who called this hospital from Los Angeles, got a top administrator on the phone. explained our situation, and got us these coveted slots for vaccination. Go figure.

Once we did the registration, we went immediately into the vaccination tent (it’s indoors, isolated from the rest of the hospital; technically, the tent was set up in the atrium) and signed more paperwork, and then we were seated in another screened-in area with a nurse. We didn’t get shot together. The nurse-to-patient ratio is strictly one-to-one.

BTW, The hospital was giving two vaccines: the Pfizer and the Moderna, and it was random that we got Pfizer but Top Cat says that’s the one he wanted anyway.

I hate shots like crazy, so the most anxious time for me was sitting with the nurse, waiting for the vaccine to be made up. It seems that each syringe is made individually, and it was 5 minutes or so before mine came, sealed in a plastic envelope, delivered on a tray. 

“This will be a little cold,” the nurse said, and I’m thinking that I’m about to get shot with fluid that was, until 5 minutes ago, being stored at -80 degrees centigrade (-176 degrees Fahrenheit), and I began to sweat. Turns out she was talking about the alcohol swab that she rubbed my arm with. It was cold. I flinched.

The shot itself lasts less than a second, and I managed to jump at that, too. “Ha ha,” the nurse said, “You very nervous!” (She was of Asian ethnicity.) Another nurse, passing by, said to me, “How does it feel? Pretty good, right?” I said, “It does feel good!”, and she said, “Congratulations!”

My arm didn’t hurt right away, but it aches this morning. It’s not like I’m injured or anything, it’s more like the ache you get from thinking you can start doing multiple dead-lifts on your first day of weight training and the next day your body says,  “Don’t pull that shit again.” I speak from personal experience.

We get our second shots on March 4. We’re going to plan something awesome to celebrate what, for us, finally feels like The Beginning Of The End.

Meanwhile, in another news this week, it bears to be repeated:

And this happened, when the MSNBC news commentator, Rachel Maddow, was sued by the network that broadcast the My Pillow guy’s two-hour video filled with baseless conspiracy theories about the election being rigged and placed blame on electronic voting system companies Dominion and Smartmatic:

And a reminder of how different it is to not live in Trump’s America anymore:


And another Republican who thought Covid was just like the flu had a little rendezvous with karma on February 7:

Meanwhile, the House of Representative sent their Impeachment managers over to the Senate to begin presenting their case that Donald Trump should be found guilty of denigrating his path of office:



The Republicans, who want to avoid dealing with the merits of the case, are trying to hide behind procedural arguments, such as the one about it not being constitutional to hold a trial for an ex-president:

And this:









This is to get you all in the Weekend Mood:





From Kitten to Cat photos:

He started out a rescue, and now he’s a beautiful boy.



It’s the same tie.




Have a great weekend, everyone! We’ll meet here next Friday and vent about how the Republicans have let Donald Trump get away with inciting sedition, bandwe’ll do it together so we don’t have to scream into the void alone. 

Don’t spend too much time googling for photos of “budgie smugglers”, because before you know it, it’s early afternoon and your blog is late and you are regretting all your life choices that did not make you Australian. I speak from personal experience. 


10 Comments, RSS

  1. Congrats on getting half-vaccinated! I got my first dose earlier this month via a mass vaccination clinic hosted by the National Guard at our county fairgrounds. It was drive-through service, and took just 25 minutes including the 15-minute post-shot wait. Whew!

  2. Megan

    Congratulations on your vaccination. I think we need Top Cat’s daughter to do many more things, she seems unstoppable and the list of things that need to be achieved is long. I am strange I guess, but I don’t think it is a bad thing to give a dog a ‘people’ name. Dogs are nice and I bet the people that have a dog named Buffy love her very much. I hope your sister is a dog lover. So nice to get such a nice reaction to Vivian, unusual that she hadn’t come upon another Vivian, I went to school with a girl named Vivianne in the 1970s it was unusual then, then I worked with a Vivianna in the 1990s. Thanks for the cat photos. One thing about not being Australian… buffoon prime minister who refuses to live in the real world and make proper decisions, maybe you dodged a bullet there?

  3. The only Vivian I know personally — anyway the only one that I can think of — is around 10 years old and is called Vivi. She’s very cute and perky. Or was back last year when I could see any people whatsoever.

    be safe… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  4. Kirra

    Congratulations on your first vaccinations Vivian and Top Cat! My relatives in the UK are getting them too which is good. We haven’t started yet here in Australia but we’re living pretty freely generally.

    I’m glad you’ve discovered the joy of the Aussie phrase ‘budgie smugglers’ it really is one of our best as it’s always funny.

    You do have a rather unique name, as a teacher of 15 years I haven’t taught a Vivian yet. My twin sister is Rosanna but called Rosie for short and she’s sometimes met people who have called their dog Rosie too. Your twin sisters name Buffy is pretty cool!

    I’m so glad you can enjoy sanity in your federal politics now. I said to someone it’s a relief seeing intelligent people talking from the White House on the news! It will be stupid if the Republicans don’t impeach Trump, it was so obvious to the entire world, it will not be a good look for the US….

    Love the kitten/cat photos!

  5. Rachel Scott

    Vivian, great, you are not “safe,” well, sort of. Remember to still wear 2 masks because they really don’t know about the variants, especially the ones from Africa. Don is fully inoculated, and I am still waiting….being young, beautiful, and healthy…..ok, younger and somewhat healthy. I am on 4 lists now and nothing yet! Boo! Hiss!! Love your kitten to cat photos and have sent my pen pal to your site to have a look. She had one elderly cat who passed, and then got two kittens, who now look grown. She sends the sweetest photos….frame worthy. We are having an ice storm…..limbs and shrubs down to the point that no one could get from the sidewalk to the front door and I was very careful zigzagging down the driveway earlier today for fear of bring a limb crashing down on us. We didn’t go out yesterday, but needed to today and found the roada dry…..thank goodness….people do NOT know how to drive on slippery roads here. Sunday and Monday, snow showers, Tuesday early morning -1 degree, Wednesday, wintry mix. Back to normal Friday/Saturday. So, we are actually having a winter, but this is not normal…..hasn’t happened in 30 years. Just hoping the electricity stays on or we are going to turn into popsicles. Guess we will have to sleep with the dogs….ha!! Rachel

  6. Love, love, the kitten-to-cat pix. Big smiles this morning!

    Congratulations on the shot! I know what you mean about being giddy — when I got my appointment, first I cried. Then I sent an email to everyone I knew! My shot was at a Walgreen’s, which is odd. And then sitting in the chair for 15 minutes. Since I never go out, after I could leave I spent $70 at Walgreens. Besides a pair of fleecy sox, a small overpriced thing of Talenti and some soda and kleenex, I have no idea what else I bought. It just felt exciting to be in a store and out of the house.

    I get my second one next week. I know it’s not a “get out of jail free” card. We’ll still be wearing masks and keeping space and all that — but boy. What a huge relief to have a little more freedom. Well done!

  7. I’m glad you got your vaccine, but sheesh, what an ordeal to make an appointment! Why are so many of these online appointment platforms so worthless? I’ve heard this story from people all across the country!

    I love those kitten-to-cat photos — particularly the bedraggled rescue kitten who became the “beautiful boy.”

  8. Barbara Ann

    The kitten to cat photos made my day!

    Remember a time, a long time ago (pre 2016) when one could be proud to be an American? What must the world think of us now? If only the Republicans had spines…oh and brain cells…oh and a tad of morals…

  9. Love the picture in the dentist office.
    I get the same reaction from my name and can almost guess that the person that has the same name is in my age range. I have to explain my name is the same as Marilyn Monroe (who?)
    Today is the first day I quality in Oregon to sign up for a vaccination. The website hasn’t opened up an appointment for me until later in the day, then when I went to sign up for it they didn’t like that I didn’t put dashes between my birthday day, month, and year. They made me go back and start again and then there weren’t any appointments except for today. Today we happened to be stuck at home with the remnants of an ice and snow storm, so not driving for me. Now I start tomorrow looking again for an appointment.

  10. Mary Pell

    My granddaughter, who lives in the Bay Area, is Vivian. I assumed she would be the only one in her kindergarten class, but we’ve met several other little Vivians on playground visits. Maybe you’re having a comeback.

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