Friday, February 28, 2020

Being Prepared

I think we all try to be prepared as much as possible. When you reach a certain age you have exercised your preparedness muscle so that it seems to kick in instinctually. But even being prepared for the gut punch that you know is coming, does not mean you will be able to duck in time and it does not mean you will not feel it very painfully.

That little nine-year-old girl died two days ago. She was in days of drugged pain while parents sat by her bedside and held her hand. They saw it coming. It had followed a chemical respite that allowed trips to Disney World and trips to Children's House and the repainting of her bedroom to look like a Panda jungle. Now they face the weekend planning a funeral and returning on Monday to that other life that had been put on hold for months. But they were prepared, right? (no.)  They knew what was coming.

I know that death is in the future of my husband and I as we move toward our eighth decade on this planet.  One of us will probably go first and the other needs to be prepared.  I see some really strong and smart widows (at least 3) that move through their lives as if tomorrow is far in the future and the past is but a distant memory.  All three of them were leaders in their careers or society before they lost their spouse.  I am so unlike them.  I never saw myself as a homebody, but in reality, I am.  I watch each of them closely to gain some learning.  It is hard.

We all need to be prepared for this Coronavirus that is certainly a Pandemic, although the profiteers won't let the scientists call it that yet.  But this is very hard to prepare for because our diagnostic capabilities are poor, we have no idea how many people across the globe, and even in our country, who have caught the virus, survived and assumed they just had a cold and went on to spread the virus to others.  We have no idea if and when a vaccine will be created and if it will work for all of us and if we can afford it.

I am not terrified, but I have ordered the N95 virus masks so I have a small collection in the event that I need to go out and about if we are under a "shelter in place" advisory.  I have lung issues and it takes weeks for me to shake colds that move into my lungs.  I get allergies even in winter that gives me sneezing fits and coughing.  Nowadays that action can send people fleeing from your side!  I have antiseptic wipes that I carry in my purse, but I have always used these mostly in the winter to wipe down shopping cart handles and bathroom doors, etc.  I will not use public restrooms if I can help it, as the hand dryers are notorious for spewing germs (bacteria) into the air.  I have antiseptic wipes in my kitchen since we have had food infection outbreaks for years in this country and I wipe down counters and wash vegetables carefully.

I am as prepared as I can be.  I have a plan to attend a large assembly of cheer girls at a nearby convention center.  This will be at the end of March.  I also am prepared to not go and to argue with my granddaughter and daughter if I think they should stay home if the news changes dramatically in our area.  My son is taking his two nephews to a big gathering of gamers in another section of town on the same day.  I am not prepared for them getting ill, but I have the knowledge that the odds are in their favor to not get deathly ill.

I am not prepared for car crashes, airplane accidents, burglars, or a tragic slip and fall.  Life happens and I am prepared to enjoy each and every day I am given.  I have no choice.  I also find that spending one's life ducking from gut punches leaves one hunched over and staring at the ground all the time.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Where Would FB Be Without Pet Photos?

While I am allergic to cats, it does not mean that I do not like them. I just avoid them. I often find it amazing that if you enter a home where they have failed to put the cat away and you(me) avoid eye contact with the fuzzy creature, it will then rub back and forth on your ankles demanding attention and ignoring the petting of everyone else. Below is a photo of nobody's pet. It is feral in our woods but fed by well-meaning but clueless neighbors.

Above it is cruising the bird feeders! Below it is on my deck trying to catch a finch that landed on the table.

It has lovely markings and does not run from people, so I would think it would make a nice selection in the habitat house. NOw we just have to figure out how to catch it without touching it!

I have two grand-dogs in my family. One at each of my children's houses. This lovely rescue granddog came to visit this past weekend. She was adopted at about 8 months old. They do not have a history of her, but know she came through several states by van to get here and therefore, seems to have a terror of traveling in cars. She also is adjusting to being left alone. We left her behind when I took the kids shopping at our local discount store. When I returned I was greeted by this!

The other shoe was far worse! These are my go-to shoes for running outside to grab a photo and thus slip on quickly. I have owned them for years!! Oh well, now I need to shop for shoes.

She was somewhat remiss...somewhat.

Above she is ready for her walk and waiting for someone to open the gate and bring her leash. She is a lover when at rest.

While I am not crazy about pets on my furniture, I can give a little for granddogs.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Ooops wrong post!

I accidentally put my post on my other nature blog and rather than cut and paste and create a nightmare of html errors...I am sending you there with this link.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

My Weekend Review

This past weekend my husband purchased tickets to the Folger Shakespeare Theater in Washington, DC. We could not get good reservations at any of the better restaurants because it was Valentine's Eve and that meant you had to make your reservations months in advance. We instead ate at a cozy pub called the Hawk and Dove. It bills its theme as an intelligent place to argue politics since they are fairly close to the Capital/Congress. There were icons of selected Presidents on one wall, but not any of the recent ones. I ordered rib eye (since we no longer cook red meat at home) and it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I also ordered a nice Bourbon cocktail as that is the only thing I drink in a "cozy pub." Hubby had a shrimp pasta scampi meal which he devoured.  I did not take photos, but it was all brown wood and coziness.  Our meal was at 6:10 which is early and thus the place was not crowded but not empty with just the right amount of subdued friendly noise.  For us country mice it was the perfect city experience.

I get anxious at these trips to the city because it is months between times using my Uber app and I had to update my credit card with them as well.  The app is much more friendly and intuitive than it used to be.  We drove to my daughter's house and decided to take a taxi to the restaurant from my daughter's house which cost $27 and the taxi was late picking us up!  We Ubered to the theater about 4 blocks up after the meal.  We Ubered to my daughter's home after the performance and that cost $17 and we only waited 5 minutes in the bitter cold at 10:30 P.M. for the ride to show!  The app asked if we were willing to share the ride and we would be picked up sooner.  With temps in the mid 20's F and a breeze, I was cold and quickly clicked yes.  We shared with a very quiet middle-aged African American woman who only offered a friendly comment when I wished her a safe ride home as we exited first.  We are only going to Uber in the future as my daughter advised.  Cheaper and faster!

As you can see above, we got there about 10 minutes early.  It is a small theater and filled rapidly.  The play we saw was The Merry Wives of Windsor.  I do like Shakespeare while hubby not so much.  This was a perfect compromise because it was set in the 1970s and absolutely hilarious.  The beatnik costumes and hairstyles and music brought back those years warmly.  The acting was superb with enough broad body comedy to keep the pace moving.  They tried to stick to the olde English with occasional 1970's terms thrown in.  Certainly shows how universal Shakespeare was and is. Reminded me I needed to do this more often as I am getting old.

We were very fortunate as there would be only a few more weeks to see plays in this theater.  There was a two-year remodeling project in the future.  I hope they keep the character of the original architecture based on the traditional theater of Shakespeare productions.  It was funded by oil baron Henry Folger and his wife and also has a world-class library attached.  The building opened in 1932.  If you are interested in the history you can go to this page.

In the next post I will talk about some shocking news I got the following day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Waiting for the Unmasking

We are all linked together whether we like it or not.

The planet can be covered in man-made walls, but they will not make any difference because every country has different resources including the amount and types of labor and we will be forced to trade and exchange what is of value.

According to a correspondent on National Public Radio, we get most of our surgical masks from China. These are not the germicidal masks providing limited protection that you purchase in the drug store or the throw-away masks that the doctor's offices provide to protect their patients from YOUR sneezing if you are polite enough to wear them when you are ill. No. These are the tight-fitting disposable masks with two filters so that the doctor and nurse can breathe while not contaminating or getting contaminated by the germs in the operating room. Medical personnel will not operate without these masks due to lawsuits.

Most of these masks are in very limited supply in the United States now.  We get our masks from China.  China has shut down their factories.  We get most of our generic drugs from China and we also get most of the basic chemical ingredients to make such drugs elsewhere from China.  We can hope we have seen the worst of this epidemic.  (We get lots of other stuff as well, but the medical supplies are most important.)

Below is a photo of one of the American doctors that traveled with us to China as a tourist.  She has on a traveling mask with the double filter and she wore it because of the pollution in Beijing.

She and her doctor husband wore the masks during days that the pollution levels were beyond a certain point.  They checked the data on their watches each day.  Most of the rest of us did not.  One other woman had asthma and they gave her one of their masks.

The times that I saw locals wearing masks was when they went to the temples where there was lots of smoke from incense burning and smoke from the yak butter candles.  Mostly people were maskless.

China is known for shutting down its schools because of air pollution and this was bemoaned by our tourist guide who waited for the day China would have clean air regularly.  China is one of the worst polluters of the air on the planet.  Above is Tiananmen square on a fairly hazy day.  I am sure is mostly empty today.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Lost in Cathay

Dehazed and photoshopped muchly.
I have learned that the older you get and the more open you are to the differences in earth's universe and the more open you are to people who disagree with you, you realize that the globe is not all that big. We are small in this grand universe and we are closely connected in many ways. Most of us want the same things---a fair chance, honest relationships, a bit of love, and the ability to contribute to mankind in some way.  (Unfortunately, a few of us are broken beyond repair as we can see in the daily news.)

I was in China during the month of October last year (those who regularly read my blog have gotten a window into that trip already).  Therefore, I have followed the coronavirus news carefully and a few theories have come forward that the virus may have been moving through the population way back before December!  A small change in the calendar and my blog might have been written from somewhere else with much more dire news as I spent a few days in Wuhan, mostly traveling outside the city.

I fell in love with the Chinese people as they are wonderfully simple and complex.  They are really very much like us.  I worry about the people I met and those who depend on travel from other countries to fill their restaurants, fill their hotels, eat their food and buy their handicrafts.  I took many photos during my time there and I have today gone through the first three days of our trip and focused on the people to share thinking about their livelihood and health.  So come along for a quick view of Chinese outside the city. (As usual, you can click on the photos for a bit larger view.)

This is a young woman (notice the long hair) setting out fishing traps along the three gorges section of the Yangtze River.  Far from the cities and night lights.

A farm along the steep and unforgiving hillside. I cropped closer for a better look. I do not know if they live there or only work there in the day time.

There is a calm resignation about their stance.

These two men are killing time waiting for someone to rent their vehicle for the somewhat long and steep trip up the hill to the temple.  We walked, but I felt some guilt about that being the "snowflake" that I am.

Three men, two look retired, and I think one is the shop owner.  They are watching the tourists stroll up to the tall Pagoda.  I think you could get a very different quote out of each of them if you have some imagination.

Three Chinese tourists celebrating their success at reaching the top of the Pagoda.  If you can cross the bridge in three steps it means success or love.  They look just like American tourists in their joy.

Hope you have enjoyed this little vignette on the locals.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Woah...were have I been?

Hard to realize I have not posted on my blog in the past two weeks. In reality, I have had nothing to say.   !But that has not stopped me before!   My health (ear infection) seems to be improving, but I am used to improved health before a week's end and not a month's end. Part of my not posting is my depression over the State of the Union and no one wants to read about political opinions when you can get them on TV non-stop. This President has been a gold mine for cable news. I do wonder what they will hype about when he is gone. (Although he does dream about changing that Constitutional restriction for re-election like the Chinese leader did!) 

While the weather is also political, it is unusually warm here.  Days in the 50's and 60's with no snow.  It feels like northern Florida most of the time.  We do get the rare rainstorm, but it is also a little too dry for this time of year.  There have been only a few night freezes.

I realize people need good news, so a dear sweet young man I know has just received two patents for his work on cybersecurity.  He worked day and night for 5 years and he is now wealthy and it is well deserved. 

Continuing technology advances, the University of Toronto Scarborough has, for the first time, turned waste cooking oil—from the deep fryers of a local McDonald’s—into a high-resolution, biodegradable 3D printing resin.

The Pope, yes THE Pope, has given an empty Vatican palace over to the homeless.  That is something to be celebrating, certainly.  

They have discovered that putting patients in hyperbaric oxygen chambers can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's.  (Maybe Michael Jackson was smarter than we thought.)

"According to a recently published Gallup poll—the first of its kind conducted in almost two decades—Americans visited the library far more than any other cultural institution in 2019."  That bastion of learning brought in 10.5 trips a year, more than sports events and movie theaters.

So that is at least 5 things to celebrate.  Now go to my other blog for an avian laugh.