Just Give Me a Shot!

The Chair is eligible for a COVID vaccine and, after many, many, many MANY tries, finally got an appointment for the first shot on Monday.  This is no small thing for someone who lives in Los Angeles, the national epicenter for COVID infection during the month of January. 

screams internally

There are good things and bad things about being eligible right now to get the shot.

1. Bad: You are, for the most part, in a very high-risk group of getting infected and perhaps dying from the disease.

2. Good:  There IS a vaccine and, with any luck, soon everyone will get one.  So in essence, it’s all good.

But LUCK is the key word. 

Another is PRIVILEGE.

JUST DON’T SAY OLD!

Still another is comedy of errors, if one can find humor in such things.

And if one were REALLY cynical (Note: And at this point, who isn’t?) one might also add key words and phrases like:

  1. Herculean, near impossible, challenge
  2. Severe disorganization
  3. Sheer, near criminal, incompetence of the prior Administration, or
  4. Sheer, purposeful and actual criminal indifference (Note: And perhaps willing passive genocide of the masses) by the prior Administration in order to open up the economy (Note: Admittedly a hair-brained scheme and one that didn’t work) in order to remain in power

Still, I digress.

Catharsis

It is not lost on anyone sane (Note: which eliminates at least two newly elected U.S. congresswomen) that after less than two weeks of a Biden-Harris Administration there is now a national vaccination plan by the federal government and a seemingly miraculous surge of shots in arms. (#MiracleORMedicine?)

That is, if you can figure out how to get one in a nation of 328 million people.

This is where luck AND ingenuity comes in.

Not entirely incorrect

It might be strangely reassuring to some that many wealthy, privileged and even famous people are having as much trouble booking an appointment at this point as the next guy or gal.

Except Cher.  I’m sure Cher has gotten one.  And frankly, she deserves it for making it this far. 

Please, the COVID vaccine WANTS Cher! #queen

Though on second thought, I doubt even COVID would have had a chance of stopping either her or, say, Keith Richards.  Nevertheless, pandemic past as prologue best not to tempt fate.                       

Which brings us back to ingenuity and luck, something those two know something about.

(Note:  Those are random names that came to mind.  Please feel free to substitute anyone you know OR don’t know but have feelings about, even yourself).

SHOTS FOR DAMES!

Among the people I know in my COVID vaccine eligible group, which is many, I’m one of the last, if not THE last, to procure an appointment. 

I registered at the county site, emailed doctors, stayed in touch with a hospital I’ve had other shots and procedures at, scoured social media and even begged friends to give me their secret. 

Bupkus.

No appointments, no openings in your area…

NOOOOO

Well, at one point there was something at a sketchy clinic I never heard of in an area I was unfamiliar with.  And after living in L.A. for almost four decades, that’s really saying something.  But even there, I was told I could get one shot but for the second I was on my own.

That means the clock would start ticking every day for 21 days after getting that first injection and the Hunger Games shoot for the next vaccine would start all over again.

He knows it’s true

I figured the stress of that could do me in sooner than COVID given my personality type so I decided, um, no. Thank you, next.

Then two people in a row I knew booked, then another, then three more.

Chair, I told you to type in the place I just signed up at.  They HAVE appointments!!!

No, they f-n don,’t, I replied.  It says, no appointments are available, check back later.  I’m not an idiot!

Nor am I lucky.  OR ingenious.  That’s even less debatable than the Jewish Space Laser aimed at California that caused the wildfires several months ago.

Meanwhile, parents of acquaintances, Facebook friends of friends I didn’t know who lived nearby, even some people I heard about who weren’t sure they wanted a shot to begin with but just figured, ah the heck with it, , I guess if they’re offering, were posting photos with their names, first vaccine date verified, and second appointment confirmed, everywhere I looked.

Meanwhile, I have now not used my car in two weeks, a near impossible feat in a town in the City of Dreams.  Or, well, former dreams.

Though, where would I be going anyway during this surge upon a surge where no one of my age or medical condition can drive or walk down the street without someone shaking their head in pity.

Excuuuuuuuuse me?

But here’s the good news.  Again.  I wasn’t sick.  Or dead.  Yet.

But nor was I as smart as I thought I was.  Perhaps I was no longer smart AT ALL.  And NEVER WAS.

What I can say I’ve always been is determined and relentless.  Meaning in a new burst of energy, I was now checking the county and hospital websites at least five times a day (Note: Okay, maybe six or eight),  I was even getting more positive thinking.  I KNEW I’d get that little sucker of an appointment soon.  It was just a matter of perseverance.  Hell, I’d eked out a Hollywood writing career by mostly not giving up.  This would be a piece of cake compared to that.

MOVE

Or so I told myself.

Which is why this week I almost lost it.  After checking the online site that very morning I drove (Note: Finally!) to a medical appointment with my urologist (Note: Over share, I know) and while I was in the exam room waiting for my doctor,  I got a text from a close friend  saying she had LITERALLY JUST REGISTERED for a shot at THIS PLACE and to DO IT NOW!

Me, all week

Well, I had already given my sample, so I figured, oh, who cares, if a nurse comes in wanting something else they’ll understand.   I start typing on my phone but you know about Internet signals in medical buildings, right?

 But why had I just received my friend’s text and now couldn’t….

Oh, screw this sideways and backwards.  And this time I mean it.

I put my phone away, swearing I’d now NEVER get the vaccine, out of spite.

Of course, that didn’t happen because as soon as you give up on something a door opens (Note: Especially when you don’t care anymore.  I should have remembered this from all the bad relationships I had in my twenties). This weekend my sister texted me that a guy posted on Twitter that CSUN (California State University at Northridge) had just opened a number of appointments.

I type in my zip code.  Nothing.  Then I thought to type in the Northridge zip code.  Something.

Well hello Chair, choose your date and time!!  Pfizer or Moderna?

Cut to me singing Age of Aquarius

All this is to say, it’s not you.  It’s THEM.  And no, it shouldn’t have to be this hard.

Until then my best advice is this:

Fight every battle like you’re Cicely Tyson in the sixties and seventies.

She was a goddess.  I had to.

RIP MS. TYSON (1924-2021)

Cast of Hamilton – “My Shot”

When in Doubt… Pizza

THE EQUIPMENT:

1 pizza stone (any size or shape – it doesn’t matter. I have a square one. It looks like a one-inch thick big ceramic square). Keep it in the oven at all times. But measure your oven prior to buying it to make sure it will fit!

1 pizza peel – that’s the wood plank thing with a handle you assemble the pizza on, slide it onto the stone with and then use to pull it out of the oven.

1-2 sheets of parchment paper – it looks like wax paper but it isn’t waxy and you can get it at ANY grocery store (usually next to aluminum foil). You put it on top of the pizza peel when you assemble the pizza dough/ingredients and then slide the paper/pizza via the peel into the oven when the pizza bakes so the pizza dough won’t stick to the stone.

1 pizza cutter – That round wheel cutter thing with a small handle on the end. You’ve seen it at every pizza place on EARTH and can buy it at any grocery store inexpensively. But if you don’t have one, just use a knife.

But DEFINITELY NO FORKS! #sosowrong

THE INGREDIENTS:

1 pack Trader Joe’s pizza dough (wheat or plain)

1/4  jar of Mario Batali’s tomato basil sauce warmed up slightly

A few handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese  (I often used Trader Joe’s organic low-fat mozzarella or FRESH mozzarella cheese from any grocery – or sometimes a combination of both)

A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes in different colors cut in half

A few handfuls of fresh mushrooms (I prefer crimini but regular button mushrooms work)

1 – 1 1/2 pre-cooked turkey/chicken sausages (Most markets like Trader Joe’s Whole Foods, Gelsons, etc. carry them) sliced

1/2 to one full cup of fresh basil leaves

1-2 tablespoons of oregano

You can assemble and cook this pizza A LOT quicker than you can get it delivered and it will taste twice as good.

  1. Crank up your oven as HIGH as it goes. For most HOME ovens this is 450-500 degrees plus. Depending on your oven this could take up to 10-15 mins. (Note: The higher the heat the crispier the crust).

USE CAUTION #obviously

  1. At the same time, take the dough out of the refrigerator.   You can keep the Trader Joe’s dough in the fridge for a few days prior to cooking and they sell it all the time. You can also buy fresh or frozen dough at many supermarkets ( e.g. Whole Foods) these days.
  2. Now take out the pizza peel and put 1-2 pieces of parchment paper on top of it that covers its flat section (mine is wood but they also come in metal).
  3. After 10-15 mins. resting out of the fridge, the dough will be more malleable. Begin to move the dough back and forth in your hands so it widens a bit to a bigger circle. Then place it on the parchment paper and with your fingers slowly widen it as much as you can to cover the paper. You can even use a rolling pin to spread it further even though veteran pizza cookers HATE when I say this. But screw them. (Note: You can rub some olive oil on parchment paper prior to laying the dough on it to make it less sticky. But you don’t need to. Once the paper is in the oven it usually releases the dough).

If you can’t press the olives yourself, store bought is fine. #barefootcontessarules

  1. Once the dough looks like a raw pizza pie, ladle or slowly pour the sauce onto the dough. Then spread it around with a ladle or spoon. You might not need ¼ or a jar but I like it saucy (no surprise there). Yes, you can make your own sauce but you will NOT do better that Mario’s. And it keeps in the refrigerator for at least several weeks after using it –so you can make another pie.

or if you’re in the mood for a cocktail #um #sure

  1. Now sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the dough. If you’re using fresh you can place small pieces of it in various spots and it will spread. I don’t like it overly cheesy (pizza, that is) but do it to YOUR taste.
  2. Now place/sprinkle on the shrooms, tomatoes and sausage. Try to alternate the ingredients around the pie so each slice gets you a bit of each. No, you don’ t have to use all three. It’s YOUR pizza. This is what I do. Or feel free to add other ingredients. But please, No PINEAPPLE chunks! I can’t even…

JUST SAY NO

  1. Now place fresh basil leaves between the ingredients all over the pie. It will look festive!
  2. Now sprinkle dry oregano over the pie. It’s the final touch.
  3. Okay – don’t be afraid. Just pick up the pizza peel that has the pie on it. Walk to the oven. Open the oven. Then quickly, with a thrusting motion, slide the parchment paper with the pizza on top onto the pizza stone and quickly close the oven door.

Is it ready yet???

  1. If you’re using wheat pizza dough it should take about 10-11 mins. With plain dough it’s usually between 7-8 mins. But EVERY oven is different. So periodically check to make sure it’s not burning. But DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN CONSTANTLY. This lets the heat out and the pie will get screwed up.

It’s happening

  1. Okay – when time’s up, open the oven door wearing an oven mitt. Hold the pizza peel and slide it under the pizza or the parchment paper and when it’s securely on the peel, pull that sucker out of the oven.
  2. Give it a minute and then slice. Oh, and turn off the oven and give it an hour to cool down before you touch anything.

Serve with green salad and lots of red wine. Or not.

Often pizza is enough.

Wear a bib!

This might look like a lot of steps but is incredibly simple.

DO NOT ORDER FROM PIZZA HUT.

NEVER STOP THERE AGAIN.

DON’T EVEN LOOK AT THE SIGN.

You’re welcome.

Dean Martin – “That’s Amore”