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Crazier and Crazier

I thought last week was pretty crazy, but this week entered the scene and announced, “Hold my beer!”

For starters, that ole weather thing is still cuckoo. The coldest winters I’ve experienced have all been in warm, sunny climes near the beach! Years ago I lived in an apartment in Long Beach a few blocks from the ocean, and I was soo cold in the winter time. It was ages before I figured out that the buildings were made of cardboard without insulation, and that’s why they were always glacial. Likewise here: folks adore the Cypriot beaches but right now it’s just chilly. Not only is it chilly, but it’s been raining incessantly (as I mentioned last week). We’re still thinking of building an ark.

This week, it has been chilly and raining AND we have had windstorms and even a hailstorm for pete’s sake. But that’s not all! Check this out: at 3AM on Thursday morning we were hit by a 6.6 earthquake.

Let me hasten to say: We are fine!

Here’s the story: I was up wayyy too late working on the computer in bed with Robin conked out alongside me. At first I thought he was shaking the bed! I couldn't figure out what the heck he was doing or why. “Why are you shaking the bed, honey?” It took me a while to realize the whole room was shaking!

It was like being aboard a raft in slightly turbulent water, floating gently (but definitely) up, down, and around.

It was nothing like some of the kicks and punches I've felt during much milder L.A. earthquakes, or even the 1994 Northridge quake (that was a horrible 6.7 quake). Even the cat (who was also on the bed) was un-fazed. It went on for a looonnngggg time. Finally I woke Robin up because I was afraid it might end with a dreadful kick or the house might fall down on us. But no! Only gentle shaking that eventually stopped.

I was pretty worked up by the whole event and stayed up to read reports about Cyprus and check in with the Facebook community. While it was a 6.6, apparently Cyprus was nearly unscathed. Ay-mazing!

In the image shown above, Robin and I are located by the blue dot; the quake was in the ocean where the red dot is, about 40 miles away from us. There were tsunami warnings, but fortunately they came to naught.

This week we tried some new ways of scoring our booster shot. We had emailed the government requesting them before and were ignored, but we tried again—and our wish was granted! They sent us some paperwork that allowed us to proceed. So on Friday we trundled back to the hospital for the third time and got in line. Remember, third time’s a charm!

Magically, the government paperwork succeeded and we got our jabs!

We were fortunate to be given Moderna boosters—Robin did some research and discovered it was the most effective for us since we had AstraZeneca shots previously. From an article in the British Medical Journal: “...[for] those primed with two doses of AstraZeneca, antibody levels were 32 higher after the Moderna booster…” which is much higher than any other combination. (Source:

We were elated to achieve this milestone! Robin printed out vaccination “passports” for us, and we are hoping this will help grant us safe passage when we head for France in another month or so…

BUT. Be careful what you wish for.

Sometime in the afternoon I started feeling yucky, and eventually I fell into a fitful sleep. I woke up thirsty as anything and drank half a bottle of water. Then I fell back asleep… and you know what happened next! I had to use the toilet! So that was my miserable pattern for the next 40 hours or so: sleep, wake, drink, sleep, wake, pee, sleep. Worse, my left bicep feels like I got punched by the bionic man—owwww!

My symptoms matched what that article also described: “Reactions to all seven booster vaccines were similar, with fatigue, headache, and injection site pain most often reported.” Yep – check, check, check!

Robin was in much the same state (the downside of having our shots at the same time). Frankly, it’s depressing when the prevention of the virus is so unpleasant. I hope we can bounce back soon: I’ve got work to do!

Given all this madness, we haven’t done one iota of sightseeing (grr).

While we’ve been huddling against the crazy weather, we’ve had the company of these two adorable cats. This is the lovely lady we’re caring for—a 13-year-old, slightly neurotic ginger cat named Lucy.

You will notice she’s missing an eye. Yes.

Apparently the owners engaged a house-sitter previously, who did not care well for the two cats. Neighbors say he was never around.

I guess he contacted the owners at one point and said Lucy had been in a cat fight and her eye looked bad... That fight was two days previous. The owners arranged for somebody to come in and take Lucy to the vet to receive proper medical attention. The vet sadly reported he could not save her eye. A relative took her home and cared for her until the owners returned. For two whole days that sitter ignored her injury!

We are hoping the sitter was blacklisted from the Housesitters site. Such treatment is simply unconscionable! We cannot imagine this ever happening on our watch. Shame, shame on that man.

Speaking of eyes, Robin picked up his new reading glasses from the optometrist and is ecstatic about being able to read with them. He’s been using a generic pair from the drugstore, but these are prescription lenses, and his computer screen appears focused at last.

Robin tried a new beverage: Zivania, which is a Cypriot specialty distilled from grape pomace (seeds, skins, pulp, and stalks). It’s colorless and highly alcoholic (between 45% to 60% by volume). Although it has a pleasant raisin aroma, Robin reported that the flavor was how he imagined dirty toenail clippings would taste!

It seems to be close to moonshine in its makeup, and has even been illegal on occasion in the country. But the medicinal properties are such (as a topical anyway), that medical professionals approve using it to disinfect wounds.

Some other good news to report is that the homeowners’ vehicle has been repaired and we were able to return the rental car at last… Let’s just hope there are no more mechanical issues for the rest of our stay…

And that’s how our January is going so far! Perhaps we will turn a corner this week and next week will unfold with a bit more delight. Stay tuned, and I will let you know.

Ciao for now!

warmly, -Dr. Vicky Jo

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