The Tao and the Why

I’m writing this post because writing helps me step out of “Crisis Mode” — at least for awhile anyway. So feel free not to read this and just check back in the Fall.

TBT: Handling Difficult Times: Why You SHOULD be in Crisis Mode — Eklund  Consulting

It’s almost 10PM on Friday night, as a live band, some 1/4 mile away blares out an off-key, probably drunken, truly awful rendition of “I heard it through the grapevine.” To be fair, they’ve been playing for at least 3 hours now with only a couple 5 min breaks. Their audience is the graduating class of 2021 at the local high school. I don’t begrudge the graduates their “big do.” Those kids have been through a lot. They should cut loose, a bit. Besides, we have noise ordinances that kick in at 10.

So I’m just waiting, along with the owls, for a bit of peace and quite. I’m slapping on my Bose headphones and some Chopin. There is nothing so good for quieting the spirit and getting on with relaxing doings as Chopin nocturnes. I wouldn’t be posting now, normally, because I’d be home, asleep, with the SO and the cats and the dogs. But, life is tricksy sometimes and for now, I’m still at my Gran’s house.

Mutti is fast asleep in the guest bedroom. The SO is passed out on the couch. I’m going to sleep in Gran’s lift recliner, which stretches flat out as a bed. Gran is in the hospital. The SO and I could sleep in Gran’s bed, but it’d be too weird. Besides I spent hours washing bedding and cleaning, getting her room ready for her to come home today. But she didn’t, again. My hopes were dashed. For 4th day in a row. I consider it a miracle I haven’t lost patience to the point of dashing off a letter to the hospital CEO, but….his day will come.

Chopin, of course.

All went well as far as transitioning Gran to Mutti’s care June 2. I went to the local pharmacy after Mutti arrived and had a PCR test done. I wanted to make sure I had a result, as well as my vaccine card, before I crossed the border. It can take a couple days to get results, especially with a lot more people traveling a lot more now. That evening I journeyed on to Da’s. I was pretty confident I’d get a negative test result by Friday afternoon and cross over Friday for dinner with the SO. But, hey, Saturday morning….. at the latest. But, you know, Best laid plans.

I got my negative result Sat afternoon, but by then it was too late. Sat morning Mutti called and said “Gran is breathing funny.” Uh, okay. And you want me to …. what? But I knew what. So then the dilemma became cross the border and be locked down in a needless quarantine for 2 weeks, unable to go back to help Gran and Mutti when they might really, really need me. Or, call the SO and disappoint him, yet again. I called Gran’s homecare nurse and asked her for advice. We conferenced called with Mutti.

The nurse went over all Gran’s vitals. She said things didn’t seem that bad, but she’d check with us again on Sunday morning or we could call her or text at any time her if things seemed to be getting worse. Sigh. I could not cross over. The water was too wide. I called the SO. He took it surprisingly well. He likes, as a first line of defense, to take a problem-solving approach when life throws up seemingly impossible conundrums. I like to have a cry (1 min max), catastrophize (1 min max), and then meditate while taking deep breaths (15m max – or I might pass out).

Summer Solstice 2021: Celebrate the First Day of Summer | The Old Farmer's  Almanac

I don’t disagree with his #1 choice. But it shouldn’t become a lifestyle. And that’s a conversation we had recently. About post-pandemically changing. About leaving behind crisis mode. I said I wanted to change completely. He said, “Do you want to leave me?” I said, “No. Of course not.” He said, “Do you want to leave our home?” I said “No. Of course not.” He said, “Do you understand the word completely?” I said, “Do you understand the word hyperbole?” He said, “Completely.”

I heard his fingers tapping away on his laptop. In short order, he’d arranged everything. My Da and I would go back to Seattle, a couple hours south, to a nice hotel. In the morning, if I still needed to go, I was booked on the first flight to SF. My Da could take a day to rest at the hotel and then start the drive back to home Monday. To be honest, @ing scary to be on a plane. But SeaTac to SFO? That’s only a a 2.5 hr flight. And I knew I’d be with mostly normal people, people who were vaccinated, and who knew how to behave themselves.

I shouldn’t say this, as a So Cal gal, but I wouldn’t want to be on a plane into or out of LAX. Sorry. I love Angelinos, but not right now, not in a confined space at 30K feet, not for any amount of time. Too many people are having breakdowns, or violent drug/alcohol induced rage fits. I don’t need that. Anyway, the plan was to have Hugh would leave Gran’s 97 Chevy at the airport, from whence I could pick it up and drive the 5 hrs down to Gran’s from there. Easy peasey. I love a good plan. And the Chevy was already back from the tune up at the shop and ready to go. Love that car! Lots of heart.

When does summer start in the UK? And why are there two start dates?

So that’s what happened. When I reached Gran’s Sunday, I found Mutti was right. Gran was breathing on the order of 30 breaths a minute. For the record, 15-20 is normal. But nothing else was wrong. Her BP was good. No fever or cough or anything that might indicate illness of any kind. It was really weird. Gran sounded like she’d run a marathon. It was labored breathing. But her nose sounded really stuffed up. I gave her a nebulizer treatment and some Delsym. Her O2 stats came up from 93 to 97 and held. I put her on her O2 concentrator and put her to bed. But I could hear her breathing 20 ft away.

It was worrying. I got up a couple times in the night. Finally I texted her nurse at 6 am Monday. Then I got Gran sitting up, on O2, and eating breakfast. God bless, her nurse, she was over by 9. She agreed her state was strange. She called Gran’s doctor. The doctor called back a few hours later and said we needed to go to the ER because if it was pneumonia or something like that, Gran could crash easily. Better she was at the ER. So at 1pm, on Monday, off to the ER we went. Only one person could go with Gran into the hospital, me of course. It was the logical decision.

I want to say, before I continue on, same hospital as back in Sept. It’s a good hospital. It’s a level 1 regional trauma center. People consider it the Taj Mahal of hospitals. It’s oozing with high quality private rooms with thick wood doors, giant flat screens, and ambience. But frankly speaking, everyone there is way overworked and over stretched. Brilliant staff, but just over taxed on patient load. I wish the board spent less on drapes and more on adequate staff levels.

The Taj Mahal is wasting away, and it may soon hit the point of no return

Anyway, we went to the ER, which was way more crowded than last time because in our county people are back to getting care for normal things again. They aren’t putting stuff off. And good news, there wasn’t one [known] covid case in the whole hospital. That was a relief. And everyone was way more into following the covid protocols this time. There was no one wandering around coughing, with a mask around his neck. Still hate that guy. He lives in infamy. In my mind.

The triage duty doctor of the ER said, “Huh, sounds like heart failure. But she has no other symptoms.” “Yeah, I know doc, that’s why we’re here!” They ordered bloodwork, a chest x-ray, and an EKG. Thus began Gran’s long strange journey. When we went in the back to the blood draw room, which was like being in a MASH hospital there were so many people in there getting blood drawn, I overheard the following conversation.

  • Phlebotemist: “Do you remember giving the presentation on Zoom?”
  • Mrs X: “No.”
  • P: “Do you remember breakfast?”
  • X: ‘No.”
  • P: “Do you know who this is?
  • X: “She’s my daughter.”
  • Daughter x: “She did an interview on Zoom. When we went into her office and asked her how it went, she couldn’t remember anything about that day.”
M.A.S.H. Alan Alda and cast pose in front of M.A.S.H sign Portrait 24X36  Poster at Amazon's Entertainment Collectibles Store

I have to admit. It made Gran’s problem seem pretty minor. Although, I have to wonder, what the heck went on in the interview? Did the person being interviewed know something was wrong with her but was not able to call anyone’s attention? Is that person wondering, “Gee, I guess maybe that’s just her. I wonder, will I be getting a call back or a job?” Not knowing she can’t remember doing the interview. I kinda felt sorry for the interviewee. As well as X and her daughter.

Anyway, we then went back to the busy ER waiting room. My Irish friends would call it “hiving.” There were people sitting there on IVs, and oxygen, and literally weeping from the pain — but still answering questions about their insurance. We were there about 2 hours. I didn’t see anyone go back into the ER itself. We were all in a holding pattern for some reason. At some point, there was a call on the PA, very calmly as if ordering a pizza: “We have a Code Stroke in the lobby now.” Needless to say, the ER sent people over right way. Leaving no one to treat the rest of us.

After a bit a Physician’s Assistant came out to talk to the couple beside us a few feet away. Nice young couple. The PA starts telling the young woman, in public, in front of everyone in the ER lobby, about 30 people, she’s possibly had a miscarriage. Um? What? HIPPA? Patient privacy….remember any of that? He went into great detail. Dear God. Then, as if things can’t get worse, the PA speaker says, “Code STEMI in the lobby.” [A STEMI (ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction) is the most severe type of heart attack.] What the heck is going on in that lobby?

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After the young couple left, an older couple arrived to take their place. The gent in the khaki shorts told the intake lady he’d had an accident with a dog. The lady asked, “Did it bite you?” Mr Y said, “No.” Apparently in his haste to turn, to run from a dog that seemed vicious, he tore his knee ligaments. So, you couldn’t run, and the dog still didn’t bite you? It was hard not to laugh. I sucked it up and tried my best. But then there was a whole awkward conversation about how the woman he was with wasn’t his wife, just a friend. And he lived in New Jersey, but he was staying with her. Um….Ok, Mr Y, Ok.

About 4pm we were actually allowed into the ER. The Dr said it looked like she had slight pneumonia on her lungs. But because her kidney values were high and she was dehydrated, they couldn’t do a CT with contrast dye. They would have to do some old school “breathe in radioactive mist” test. A VQ Scan. WTF? They were looking for an embolism. But before Gran could breathe into their ancient equipment, she had to do a rapid covid test. That took over an hour. During that hour, we found ourselves next to Mrs X and her daughter again.

It turned out Mrs X eventually remembered early that morning. And everything about her husband and his current state, which I think was a little precarious. He’d just had a ankle operation or something. But she recalled nothing of her Zoom adventures, or even being on Zoom. She also was able to recall she’d had a stroke in 1987. So…back again? She seemed in very good spirits. She was talking a bout praying the rosary. Catholic Solidarity. I prayed for her. She seemed nice, and her daughter too. As nice as they were, Mr Z behind the curtain on the other side was just, well….pathos filled? I think that’s the best description.

Whisky and Cigar Bachelor Party | Full Up Speakeasy & Cabaret Club

Apparently Mr Z had had a heart attack. Possibly he was the the code stroke from the lobby? It didn’t seem major. He was talking. I heard the nurse say, “Well, you are 40lbs overweight.” Uh… ok. And Mr Z said convivially, “Yeah, I know. And it doesn’t help I finish each day with a cigar and a glass of brandy.”

Um… sorry, who are you? Hugh Heffner? What year are you living in? I’m guessing the unspoken part of that sentence conveyed a certain lifestyle and habits that had to do with watching porn and playing online poker. He repeated the brandy and cigar line multiple times. I think he was trying to impress the young male nurse with how rich he was that he could afford these things. (Or maybe his short-term memory was shot) It just came off as sad he had no life or wife.

Thankfully about that time, Gran’s rapid covid test came back negative. Because they were short on staff, I became a de facto assistant in the tech’s lab, holding the mask over Gran’s face as it spewed radioactive mist. It was fun watching her lungs light up the screen like radium on a watch dial. No embolus. That was good. And the radiologist thanked me bunches for helping out. This happened over and over again. People were so grateful for help. Like I said, they are way understaffed. But you know, it’s So Cal. Style is more important than substance.

They sent Gran up to a room at 6:30p. The nurse shift change was at 7. They asked if I could stay to give the night nurse Gran’s history. Uh, sure. Did we need anything? Socks, and maybe something to eat? Gran hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink since 7 am. The kitchen was closed. So it was chocolate pudding and 2 packets of saltines for Gran. Which I fed her. I got nothing. They forgot the socks. I had to bring some from home the next day. The night nurse came in at 7:17p and said she’d be back as soon as she finished her rounds. Ok.

Lullaby High Res Stock Images | Shutterstock

Weirdly, every once in awhile, throughout the whole hospital, we’d hear Brahm’s Wiegenlied playing. It was strange. Did they do that every time a baby was born I wondered? The night nurse was back at 8:47p. I asked her about it. They played it whenever a member of staff at the hospital announced she was pregnant. I’m just going to say it, a lot of life-affirming sex must have been going just after the end of the winter wave of the pandemic among the hospital staff. I’ve heard at least 9 Wiegenlied in 4 days. Anyways, I didn’t leave till 9:20p.

The Dr said they’d just keep Gran overnight, possibly till Weds. They had other tests to run. Gran did have early pneumonia, bronchitis they thought. Also, she had high kidney values. They still need to ultrasound her kidneys and abdomen, and do a 2D echocardiogram on her heart. They still couldn’t explain the breathing. But they gave her respiratory therapy every 4 hrs, and a drip of Piperacillin and tazobactam, and IV fluids. Unfortunately they put the IV in the arm on which she likes to lay at night. I warned them not to do it. But … they did. So she kept setting off the “occluded line” alarm.

At that point I was burnt out and I left. I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I was getting hangry. My texting fingers were hurting because I was trying to keep Mutti in the loop. By the time I got home, I just wanted to flop. But I knew Minka would be all upset Gran was missing. Minka herself had just be diagnosed with 2 stage renal failure a few weeks before, so… she needed extra hugs (to help get her through her diet change). I think the best things about Monday were getting Gran help she needed, getting a hug from my mom, a snuggle with Minka, and text from the SO saying that since he was going to quarantine with me whenever I returned, he saw no upside to staying in Vancouver.

The Tao of Pooh: HOFF, BENJAMIN: 9780525244585: Amazon.com: Books

Translation? He was making a “business” trip to LA, Weds. And he’d be staying with me till the Gran situation was sorted out. Then we could cruise up the West Coast, a little mini va-cay, till we got back to BC. (BC by June 21/21?) I thought that was awesome. And the idea he wanted to cruise up the coast in a ’97 Chevy Cavalier? Imagine a young bear falling into a trash can and getting stuck. That’s him in the Chevy. But if he’s game, so am I. Let’s hope the Chevy is too.

Anyway, returning to all things hospitable ….. By Tuesday, they hadn’t finished the tests. They were backed up. Then I developed Strep throat, from being in the hospital. Weds they decided to put Gran on Norvasc, a different blood pressure med. Ok. And, even though Gran’s test orders were marked STAT, the techs were still backed up, and the test still hadn’t happened. I sat and re-read Benjamin Hoff’s Tao of Pooh. It has lots of good advice. I read it every few years. He’s a little anti-academia. Ben, not Pooh. But I like Pooh, or Pu.

By Thursday afternoon, even Pooh and his Tao could not save me. I tried very hard to be polite and float, but my patience had become exhausted, much like my body. The last straw was a man from Pharmacy coming up to me and asking if Gran still took…and he read off temporary medications I never told them she was taking, things doctors had given her 10 years ago post operatively. Like Xarelto! How were they still on her record now? I repeatedly told people what she was on. I stayed till 9:30pm with telling her nurse? Are you telling me you still gave her these old meds? I want a list of everything you’ve given her. Now.

I saw the pharmacist, who was standing, physically shrink and step back, as if I were Smaug with a his treasure. And I was sitting down, just looking over my reading glasses, talking calmly. But that’s the thing, people always know I’m roiling angry, no matter how hard I try to contain it. It apparently smokes out my nostrils and gleams from my eyes anyway.

He left the room and went straight to Gran’s nurse. The nurse came straight to me to ask what he could do to help me. Because I do all the crap work that takes time and which the overburdened nurses don’t want to to do, like feed or change Gran, they always take my side. They help me out with the doctor when things get off track. So I explained and said, “If this isn’t resolved, I’m checking Gran out against medical advice. I’m her guardian. I’m the medical power of attorney. You need to listen to me. By law.” Translation, I leave, this hospital gets a black mark from Medicare.

Welcome to American hospital healthcare hardball. I apologized to the nurse for scaring the pharma tech. I said “I just need you all to listen when I speak, and tell me what you are doing. I need to know what drugs you give her, and what is the state of the differential, what still needed doing, I’m responsible. Tell me where in the “line” was Gran for her 2D echo. I mean, Stat means now, not in 72 hrs. Right?” The nurse agreed and went out fast. He got the doctor. She told me all I wanted and needed to know. It was amicable-ish. As much as it can be with a dragon.

I guess word got around though. Later a hospital admin manager came in, with a checklist form, and asked if I was happy with how Gran was treated and I was treated. I told them yes. I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble. It was not any of the staff’s fault their system had flaws. The hospital should be hiring more staff. They were treating people like they were in hotel. When they’re a hospital. Besides, the hospital will send a questionnaire after discharge. They always do. I’ll send them back a detailed honest assessment. I always do.

green leafed plant near white concrete post photo – Free Pool Image on  Unsplash

Actually, most of this just comes down to US healthcare. How it’s done as a system here, is just insane. But what can you expect from a country that says all travel for business during a plague is fine, but travel to be with your family? No, no, no. That’s banned. Or a country that has bipartisan support for UFOs (space aliens), but only 1-party support for universal healthcare, securing voting rights, and stopping gun violence? I know no country is perfect, but it’s time the US government ditched the porn and poker, and the cigars and whiskey, got off its butt, out of its velour tracksuit, and started to whipping its democracy back in shape – before it has a stroke and dies.

So, anyway, they finally did the 2D Echo test late Thursday night. Thankfully. And of course, Gran’s heart was “great for her age.” Yeah, yeah. Back to square one. If it’s all so great, why is she still breathing like a cart horse in winter? No answer. I thought for sure Friday they’d let Gran go. But no. Her kidney values, which had recovered after being treated, were now worse than when she arrived at the ER. Apparently, after they took her off the IV fluids on Weds morning, they slowly crept up again. No duh, because she wasn’t drinking stuff like at home.

So now her Dr wants to see if– after a day on IV fluids — her kidney values recover. Also the Dr wants to consult a nephrologist, in case she missed something. If Gran gets better values on her labs Saturday, which is now today cause it’s 2 am, it’s just dehydration causing the kidney values to be off and they’ll release her. She’ll come home with multiple drugs, antibiotics, nebulizer meds, BP meds, and an order for home health care, and RN, HH Aide, and PT. Which is all good and I can help Mutti set it all up so it can tick over. But of course, if the values are still bad… why, who knows?

UFOs: how to calculate the odds that an alien spaceship has been spotted

And, the thing Gran went in for? The rapid breathing? That’s still happening — intermittently. And no one has any idea why. I pointed that out to people, the RN and the RT and the DR. And the reaction was, as long as Gran’s O2 stats are steady at a good number, it’s not a problem. Uh…really? Cause it seems like a problem. (Pro tip – always talk to the lowest person in the food chain. They know the real skinny on things). When Gran’s CNA, Mo, came in to do Gran’s vitals, I chatted with her. Mo had been on duty the day Gran was admitted.

Mo said, “Gee her breathing is still rapid.” I said, “I know. But they keep saying it’s not a problem now.” Mo looked at me and said quietly, “You know, I’ve got 3 other patients on the cardiac ward with the same thing.” There it was. Something was happening. At this point it doesn’t have a name, but clearly there is some form of bacteria going around. And let’s do that maths. Gran has been fully vaxed against covid and pneumonia. But still, something attacked her lungs, to the point she had to be hospitalized and treated with antibacterial drugs.

I guess I feel better knowing other people have it too. That it’s bacterial. That antibiotics treat it. That she is getting better. So….yeah, light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s kind of scary to think there’s something moving through the population here causing this kind of damage. And again, Gran is heart healthy, covid and pneumonia vaxed. She should have been fine. But, she’s in hospital. Imagine people who aren’t vaxed with underlying conditions. Maybe the stroke and the Stemi in the lobby were both victims of whatever this bacteria is?

The Nurse Is The Real Hero - NEW Paint By Numbers - Numeral Paint

Okay, so now a couple other things before I wind down. In talking to the RT, he made a really interesting point. The news has been hammering deaths from covid from day one, which is good, to help people understand they need to take precautions and the vaccine. The ship is sinking. Vaccines are the last lifeboat. When the Delta variant takes over? Those 160M still unvaxed Americans? They’re going down. People really need to be scared straight.

However, what the news doesn’t cover is that while 600K have died, about 3.5 Million (I’m estimating 7% of people get sick enough to end up in hospital) were saved at hospital because of dedicated nurses, and doctors, and CNAs, and respiratory therapists, techs, radiologists, etc. When we talk about these workers being heros, we never praise them for all the lives they have saved. But that’s what they want to hear from us. From the news. Not the count they lost. The count they saved. That to them is the mark of their heroism. That they saved 80% of the people who entered their hospital doors.

So I wanted to put that out there, for them, if anyone in the news is listening. Because these folks been deeply traumatized by what they’ve gone through. The best way we can help them heal is to get vaxed so there is no next covid wave and to publically praise them for all the lives they have saved. It’s what they want and need, but also what they deserve from us, from a grateful nation. They are heros. They deserved to not only to be honored for their sacrificial service but also to be commended for their amazing achievement in saving millions.

Jeopardy! guest host Mayim Bialik on 'dream job,' Alex Trebek's legacy

On other related topics? I have thoroughly enjoyed Mayim Bailak’s hosting stint on Jeopardy. I’m a long time fan of hers but no joke, she’d be a great permanent host. Also, her Breakthrough podcast is awesome. I highly recommend it. I binge listen to it on my road trips. In a similar vein, but if you have teens or kids, check out Dr David Brumbaugh’s interview on PBS. Wow. Every US parent needs to hear it. Ditto the On our Minds podcast, the It’s Ok Not to Be Ok episode from June 2nd. People aren’t listening to kids and their pandemic cry for mental health.

Circling back to Mayim, she’s got a PhD in neuroscience. You might well ask, why isn’t she pursuing research to advance US understanding of the brain? Or teaching the next gen of US of innovative researchers? I’ll tell you why. Because, according to her, acting gives her and her children access to healthcare. Yep. When people ask how lack of universal US health care harms the US, this is how. Being an actor comes with healthcare. Being a scientist doesn’t. The US used to be a science powerhouse on all fronts of science, now… And science is a big driver of the economy.

And speaking of health and science, the SO, because he was going to have to delay getting his 2nd Astrazenca shot due to US travel and then Canadian quarantine, went ahead and got a Pfizer shot when he landed at LAX. So he’s mixed vax, but at least he has some good 2nd shot protection. When he gets a chance, he’ll says he get the 2nd AZ (or Pfizer) shot in Canada later. I’m not sure how triple vaxing works? But I support his desire to be as protected as he reasonably can be.

Tigger 8 Inch x10 Inch Photograph Winnie the Pooh Character Chasing Red  Balloon kn at Amazon's Entertainment Collectibles Store

Okay, I’m truly, deeply, madly done with posting for the summer. I’m going to live my Pu. Be in the Tao. And not sweat the whys too much.

TTFN!

This entry was posted on June 12, 2021.

Don’t You Know?

Colorful Glass Butter Dish for your Kitchen/Home image 0
There is more than one dish. Etsy.

Long time ago, when I was about 9, my parents had a huge fight … over butter. I refer to it as the “Bitter better butter battle.” It happened like this. My Da and I were sitting at the breakfast table. Mutti was making coffee. My Da opened the butter dish and scrapped up the short horizontal slick, that represented the very last of the butter, to put on his toast. Mutti saw this and went to the freezer to get a fresh stick. She opened the door, looked in and the pulled out the entire box. Her face turned somewhat demonic, rather like an Oni.

The butter, picked up at the store by my Da, which we’d been using for over a week, was salted. Mutti likes unsalted. There were accusations made. Da brought up the fact that he likes to cut vertical square pats of butter from the ends of the stick, which becomes impossible if Mutti is always taking long horizontal scraps of butter off the top. Seriously, this was the fight. After much rage and recrimination, a detente was reached. Mostly because Mutti had to go change or she’d be late, but partly because they came to an understanding.

Going forward (meaning Mutti was going to the store that day for new butter), they would buy unsalted butter only, and they only cut pats off the ends. Win-win? Mutti vanished upstairs. I looked at my Da, and asked “Couldn’t you just buy a second butter dish?” He smiled and replied. “All good relationships require compromise.” I guess. Then he said, “Your mother actually sacrificed more than me. I can always salt the butter.” True. And he finished it up with, “She really is the kindest most loving person I know, jelly bean.” Uh…did we just see the same person? The one who flipped out over butter?

I think about this episode now and then. I think it’s actually informed a lot of my thinking on relationships, economics, even politics. The Significant Other and I each have a personal shelf in our fridge as well as communal shelves. We can take from each other’s shelf, but, in general, what’s on the shelves is the stuff I like and he doesn’t or vice versa. So, while we don’t have two butter dishes, we do acknowledge we are different people. It’s a different approach. It’s compromise on the big things, but not on the small ones. I think my parents’ approach is the opposite.

Part of why we do this, is because we’re a different generation. But part of it is also because can, economically. We aren’t cash strapped. We aren’t forced to decide on only one butter. He can have Romaine while I eat iceberg. I can use pot holders, while he uses oven mitts. He can spread brie on French bread, while I use the Philadelphia cream cheese ( which he calls “an abomination, and abuse of the word ‘cheese.’ “) on a Nut-thin. I don’t think it damages our relationship. And when we do cross-over now and then, it’s fun and exciting rather then a forced compromise, the result of a hot fight.

I’ve thought a lot about the BBBB this week. After posting last week, I had breakfast, and I found myself scraping the butter, like my mother (does whenever my father is out of town. He buys salted butter when she’s away). I realised I’d made an egregious relational mistake. I called the SO an idiot (I even used the Dutch, idioot, so no mistaking that). And my Da was right, Mutti is a wonderful mother, I’m lucky to have her, she really cares. I needed to mend some fences there. But … I also kept wondering why the SO had spent 3 days at his folks’ if all he did was faint from hypoglycemia. Sounded more TIA cover-up to me.

Health, physical and mental, are dicey subjects. They’re private subjects. If someone, even a loved one, doesn’t want to tell you what’s going on, you don’t really have a right to pry. If a person is in your care, that’s different. But someone like the SO? Or Mutti? Can’t really go there, just have to be there. At least that was the post-breakfast conclusion. So I called the SO, and I told him I was sorry for calling him an idioot. I was just happy he hadn’t fallen off his bike during his ride, or while he was out walking the dogs, or worse, driving the car in traffic. Long pause at the other end. Possible confession? Nope. He did however say he was sorry too, and he really had been an idiot.

I left it there. Next week, I’ll call the Cheese Friends and see if he’s ordered anything recently. He wouldn’t cut back on cheese unless a doctor ordered him to. I moved on to the SO’s folks. I called La Mère. I thanked her for taking such good care of the SO, and expressed how glad I was that he fainted while with them, and they had taken him to the ER to get checked out, and they had all taken the 1st available vax shot so they were safe. (It’s weird but in parts of Canada, there are people making vax appointments, showing up, and then refusing to take the Moderna shot! They reschedule instead, in hopes of getting Pfizer. Holy heck, people! You’re putting off 80% protecting yourself from death within 2 weeks, over a 1% difference in efficacy?!)

Anyway, I asked her how she and Le Pape were doing. Because, I imagine, it must be terrifying to see your son collapse in front of you, knowing your husband has been through multiple cardiac events. She said it was very upsetting for them, and she cried a little, and then trailed off a bit into advanced French words beyond my understanding for a bit. But she seemed to appreciate that I considered their feelings. No mention of anything beyond the hypoglycemia. So maybe I was wrong to be suspicious. I imagine the SO would stay with his parents, to make them feel better and make sure they were ok after such a shock.

FANCY FEAST Gourmet Naturals Pate Variety Pack Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case  of 12 - Chewy.com
Minka’s latest addiction. Pate only, please. I’m not a savage.

On the back of two wins, I decided to go for broke. I called my Da and left a message on his work phone saying I was calling Mutti about upsetting stuff. A heads up is always appreciated. Then I called Mutti’s VM, because it wasn’t really a conversation I wanted to have voz a voz. I told her I loved her, I appreciated her, and I knew how concerned she was about Gran. That I was concerned too. I gave her the number of the RN managing her case. So she could talk/text her. Then I told her that she must be under terrible stress to have snapped at me and called me lazy. That she would never talk to someone she worked with that way.

I told her I was sorry I couldn’t stop Gran from aging, or dying. I have limited tricks up my sleeve. But maybe she needed to talk to someone (she’s been in therapy before), to help her deal with stuff now, to be able to be happy and make the most of the time she has left with Gran, and so when she does eventually hire someone to take care of Gran, she doesn’t have that person quit over misdirected emotions that take the form of employee verbal abuse. Yeah, I went there. Because when you love someone, sometimes you have to put on your asbestos suit and brave the dragon’s flames.

I usually hear from Mutti everyday. She calls to check on Gran and talk to Gran via the Portal. No call Friday. But that was ok. I didn’t think I’d hear from her then. I didn’t hear from her all weekend either. But that was ok too. Saturday I had to take Minka to the vet and get her shots updated, and have her blood drawn for an annual panel, and get her Rx for food. Getting in a 3 month supply of Minka’s food and flea stuff and marking the calendar makes certain Minka keeps getting her stuff she likes and gets her flea treatments on time (very important in summer).

It was kind of surreal. The vet does curbside only. Pets are taken from the car and then you get a phone call.

The vet said something really interesting. That dogs are getting anxious as owners return to work now. But that in beginning of the pandemic, it was the cats who were anxious. They didn’t like their needy owners around all the time. I’m not sure that’s true of Minka, Gran is always around. She’d be upset if I were to be on a “work” schedule I think. Although she does spend time outside everyday, for a little break from the needy people. And at night she does like to sleep on my pillow (it’s extra long). I hope she’s not running experiments on my brain. But, they are a superior species.

On Sunday, a friend who does geological and land surveys with drones came by. I wanted to know, from a bird’s eye view, what the tree in the back looked like to try and understand scientifically what was going on, why were the crows killing themselves there. I had gone up on the roof with binos, but it was hard to see. Her drone made it clear — love me some LIDAR! To the crows, there looked like a clear opening, but it was very shadowed. As they flew, full speed, thinking they could pass through, they impacted head-first on a large branch. I couldn’t really put up a reflector, to scare them off, so I decided to leave the dead crow.

On Monday, the PT lady came out to evaluate Gran. She was very positive. Though she thought Gran might need anti-anxiety meds because she was so afraid of falling, she could barely walk. I texted Mutti her number so they could touch base, since she’d be seeing Mutti next week and not me. I have a last doctor appointment Tuesday, to check on the iron situation and see if the lactoferrin is doing its job. The plan is for Mutti to arrive Weds am and me to leave for NoCal Weds pm — after all the holiday traffic has died off. I thought I’d get at least an emoji response. Nope. Nothing. No response. After PT left, I laid down on the couch for an hour and woke up to the sound of barking dogs and car doors slamming out front.

I looked out to see a large black towncar. Possibly a limo. Impressive. Very FBI meets… prom night? Which neighbor was getting fancy visitors? Turns out it was us. It was my parents, walking up the driveway. Uh….color me confused. My first thought was, Has the SO died? And they came to tell me in person? (Catastrophizing is a go-to I really need to jettison post-pandemic.) Then I realised, they would still drive themselves down. In their own car. They cannot afford, nor would they pay for, a town car. Did their car break down on the way? And what, AAA sent a limo? No, no, no. Why didn’t they drive down themselves?

I opened the door, and my parents were both smiling. Good sign? My mother said she loved me, that I was “the best” and then went to see my Gran in her bedroom. Uh….okay. I went to the kitchen with my Da to make some tea and find out what the H, E, double toothpicks, was going on. Turns out Mutti had taken my call to heart, and called her old therapist. She’d already done a couple sessions. She was feeling much better. Apparently. Gran’s nurse told her I was so contentious, she thought I was a nurse. And PT said I was great with getting Gran to do things even PT thought was not possible. All this did not explain the black limo/towncar with the bespoke driver.

Turned out an old client of my Da’s called him. Now, this fellow was rich years ago, when Da did a project for him. But he was just the worst to work with. Da never worked for him again (though this fellow did ask now and then, Da always referred him to other people claiming to be too busy). Da was entirely relieved when “the rich dude” moved out of state about 3 yrs after. That was maybe 7 years ago. But last week TRD called and begged him to come out and consult. Because of the pandemic, a project that got started went sideways, and now it was up a certain poopy creek.

Da said no. He was busy. TRD countered with “just come for a few days and tell me if it’s salvageable.” Da said he didn’t want to fly, all the hassle of testing and people beating each other up on planes. TRD said he’d send his private jet. Da said there were family problems, and Mutti really needed to see me. TRD said they’d make a layover at our local airport 7 miles away, for a couple hours, and send a town car for them to take them wherever, if he wanted. Da was running out of excuses. It’s not like Da got hurt badly by the pandemic, but hard to say no to that kind of money being offered for a consult. Especially on the heels of fight with Mutti, about money, because Da cosigned a loan for Hugh – without telling her.

Also, turned out TRD, in the interim, had married, divorced, married again, and now had a couple kids. Mutti felt that might have changed TRD and his wife would have made TRD less of a thorn. Also in the interim, TRD became even richer. Like 1% rich. It’s hard for Da to pass up “money is no object” projects and private jets. He said yes, but just a consult for week, all expenses paid, 5-star accommodation, on the Big Island. Just a consult? Sure, Da. Sure. No way Mutti let’s him turn “the project” down. Whatever “the project” is. But Da has other projects on, in progress, including Hugh’s. I’m guessing he’ll spend the summer ping-ponging across the Pacific via private jet. And Hugh will have the house to himself.

Hugh apparently not only got his old job back, he retooled his skills and landed an IT job. Good benefits, room to grow, a whole new career. Which is fortuitous because he put a bid on foreclosure 2-bed, 2 bath, condo last summer, when the economy went south. He did it as “a radical act of blind hope.” And it paid off. He was shocked when the bank accepted his offer. It was a knock down price. His new place, which will be the first home he’s ever owned, is in an “up and coming” (sketchy? gentrifying?) neighborhood. And the fire damage (meth lab?) was “mostly” (not at all?) cosmetic, only minorly (totally?) structural.

Because of Hugh’s new employment picture and lack of debt or any evictions on his record, the bank was willing to do the deal, if he had a cosigner. Enter my Da. Who is entirely convinced that by Sept, with under $25K investment, the property will be all set for occupancy and worth triple what Hugh paid. “Can’t lose proposition,” Da said.

The Best Beaches in Hawaii
Maybe, I’ll be jealous later. For now, I’m happy for them.

So, post-pandemic life begins with a bang. Or bagpipes. The local pipers were back at it Monday night. Hadn’t heard them in over a year. It was very moving. I’m kind of sad to be leaving now, just as life is about to re-start. BC is on a 4-phase plan to fully reopen — in Sept. Which means, I miss California’s full re-start by 1 week, and then I miss BC’s full re-start as well. But, you know, good news anyway. Things will be reopened when I get to California in Sept. Fingers crossed. At least for a month or two. We’ll see what happens when school starts and cold weather forces people indoors.

People often say they believe in personal responsibility but living in a group, a nation means shared responsibility. It’s bitter better butter battle. In the US it’s often pitted politically as 100% personal responsibility vs 100% shared responsibility. But it should be 50% personal + 50% shared = 100% responsibility. You do what you can, I do what I can, and together we do what we can to build a good society for all. It’s that simple. I help you do what you can, you help me do what I can, we help each other do what we can. There is, still, a vast scope of societal and personal good yet undone, and it’s all 100% possible. So let’s start with vaccinations, for all, please?

I hope by July 4th we really do get the US to 70% fully vaxed. But given the way Canada is vaxing, I’m guessing they’ll beat us to 70% with 1 dose and 20% fully, even though they started vaxing months behind us. There is way more sense of shared responsibility there (the people of Toronto rejecting Moderna vaccines aside). It’s amazing. They don’t even produce vaccine, like the US does. They’ve really had to work to get vaccine, and they are busting guts getting those vaccines they do have into the community. Meanwhile, in the US, people are rejecting a surfeit of local, easy to get life-saving vaccines with a shoulder shrug and a sigh. It’s heart-breaking.

Midori Animal Journal & Midori Star Journal

This Tuesday I looked at my planner. Hmm. Do I want to continue? Planning. No not really. But the new Midori journals kinda make me want to start doing some summer journaling. I think it can help with de-stressing. One of the things where women and men differ is post-stress. Men will have heart attacks in a stressful situation. Women will have them after the situation is over. It’s a bio-safeguard. Women make sure the children are safe, then collapse. I expect to see more cardiac disease Dx and cardiac events among women particularly as the US reopening picks up. I dont’ want to be one of either.

Weds I saw the super flower blood moon. Awesome. While I was sitting in the dark, alone, in the wee hours, I had an inspiration. I called my Da’s people in the UK. They were up and having lunch. It was fun. I laughed and laughed, while on the rooftop, in the dark. Thankfully no on e called the police. And because I was up early, I got a jump on the garden and the shopping. While I was out, I went to AAA to pay some car registration fees. It was nice to see it abuzz with happy people planning trips. To be able to think about taking a trip again, here or abroad, is a huge boon. Though I’m not sure the Earth thinks the same.

Since the pandemic there has been a baby boom at reserves in Africa. That fact has fascinated me. It means, despite our best efforts to minimize human impact, it’s clear now that having people “see” that animals at a “safe” distance, isn’t actually good for the animals. That a factor in their decline in numbers is not resources based, but as a direct result of negative interaction with humans (poaching) and encroachment stress (tourism) depressing birth rates caused by humans. There’s a PhD study waiting to be written. It might up end everything we now do to preserve endangered animals.

Other things I thought about this week? The deepening of the social divide via paid media. That is, having people with more disposable income on netflix, hulu, disney+, HBOMax, CBS all access, etc. While people with less, have only free channels. It’s interesting to listen to awards shows, pundits, talk shows, etc, always referencing back to (ie, puffing, often their parent channels) pay-to-watch streams. There are many social divides, but I feel like this one is super significant.

Going back to the fridge, it’s my shelf, your shelf and a shared shelf, all of which are visible and accessible to all. In paid media access, it’s my shelf that you can’t see or access. Your shelf that I can’t see or access. And only a shared lesser, not so relevant or important shelf we can both see and access. I’m not opposed to individuals watching what they want. It’s the exclusionary nature of the paywall. It’s another example of systemic capitalism’s divisive negative impact on culture. I think a lot about systemic capitalism. About how that directly, divisively, negatively impacts education, or religion, or politics in the US, and how it’s really out of control.

It’s not an economic concept that stays in the marketplace. It’s a concept that turns everything, including ideas, into products to be marketed in society, which is no longer an actual society or an actual culture, it’s simply a marketplace. And markets are inherently both unstable and irrational. I think we have to move away from systemic capitalism. We have to regard it as we do systemic racism, sexism, inequality. It’s something we added to society, but it’s something we can remove from it.

Colorful People Wallpapers - Top Free Colorful People Backgrounds -  WallpaperAccess
Colorful world, colorful people. I like it.

Something else I thought about is something a lot of news agencies missed. A couple weeks ago when voter suppression laws were being proposed, and voted on, there was discussion about an organization that was helping draft these laws. It’s called Heritage Action. No one mentioned that in 1952, the GOP, in an attempt to develop their base started to form “heritage groups” among white Christian right-leaning immigrants from Post-WWII Europe. They had names such as “the Hungarian heritage group.”

On the surface, these were about promoting culture. But they were, in reality, promoting the right-wing political view of (post-Nazi era) white supremacy. When you see a place with a name like “Western Heritage Museum” that talks about the pioneers, notice that it only talks about white pioneers. No one else. It’s very selective. And that was on purpose. When you hear the Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank, consider what “heritage” means in this context. When you hear the Heritage Action group drafted the voter suppression laws, it should be no surprise to you.

People think the GOP somehow fell accidentally into authoritarianism via white supremacy. Or that this is a recent wrong turn into a very bad place. But this is incorrect. The GOP chose this course, deliberately. It’s been on this course for many modern-era decades. The trajectory of the party has intentionally been a long game of deceiving supporters into thinking their ultimate end was anything but it actual is: the betrayal of American values and the overthrow of democracy. Any claims Trump and 1/6/20 Insurrection were aberrations and it over, it all ended there, there’s no need for a commission, is simply lying to your face. The Big Lie, voter suppression, all of it, it’s the same train, still on the same track, still intent on sending democracy off a cliff.

Out Of Track stock illustration. Illustration of rail - 36881714
It doesn’t end well.

Ok, that was a little dark (sorry) and this post was little long (not sorry). Next Friday, about this time, I’ll be on the road, probably somewhere outside Eugene, OR, heading north. So, consider this extended edition a season finale. I’m signing off for the summer. I may be back in mid September. But life. You never know. We’ll see what happens.

I’m sure I’ll pop up on twitter and WP weekly and comment on stuff. But at-home time is precious. You may be tired of being trapped at home, I’m tired of being trapped away from home. As always, I wish you all a wonderful (fully vaxed) summer filled with parties with friends and hugs with family and laughter, and joy, and good times, and baseball, and travel. Make the most of your life!

And now, I leave you with the SO’s Friday love song. Somewhat butter related. Extra points to him for the band’s total obscurity (except in the UK and Japan). Don’t you know? Can’t wait to cross the border and say “Hello. Hello!”

One hit wonders, are still wonderful.

This entry was posted on May 28, 2021.

Good Vibrations

The Hippies Were Right: It's All about Vibrations, Man! - Scientific  American Blog Network
Hippie-dippy science, man. Gotta love it.

My grandfather, the German engineer, the man always on a quest for new scientific discoveries, was also a devout Catholic. He went to 6am Mass every day. Every day. He was also a Mason. So, you know, secrets. One of the most secret things about my grandfather? After his mother died, he sought out spiritualists. I guess there were unresolved issues? Things left unsaid? I dunno.

As a scientist, he wanted to know if it was possible to contact the dead. Religiously, it was sketchy territory, biblical injunctions against necromancy abound. I guess science won out over religion when driven by personal grief and need? But he eventually stopped, after all, good Germans don’t pay good money for hokum and bunk. You might think he put all his eggs back in the Catholic basket, with heavy rotation of Sacred Heart devotion. (Good backup plan, right?) And it was true-ish.

Later in life, when his child (my mother’s actual parent, my actual grandparent) and that child’s spouse perished (that’s the word they always use, perished, no idea why), he did a second round of spiritualism. I don’t know much about it. Maybe he got some satisfaction from the first round? I really don’t know. I wasn’t alive then and this whole topic (the perished grandparents) is long in the past. It’s not that it’s verboten. They’re just not talked about and I’ve never even seen pictures of them.

How to Make Change Happen: A Foot In Two Worlds | Thats Life!
A foot in 2 worlds requires good balance and a lot of faith.

Anyway, I say all this to say, I’m considered by family to be a lot like my grandfather. A foot in two worlds at all times. In my case, literally, with the BC/CA tours of duty. But also on the spiritual/intellectual plane. I boldly go places in quest of knowledge and understanding. I believe things, am open to things, that other people with more rigid or religious worldviews might run from. Not everyone understands, but I always feel God does and I always ask him along for the journey.

I’ve long believed that other civilizations exist on other planets in other universes. It’s just basic math. I don’t think they fear us. They’re too advanced. I think they fear we’ll destroy our planet. I’m not sure they care if we destroy each other. Maybe. But, do peoples exists elsewhere in our universe? Sure. I ponder questions such as “Is the Earth sentient?” or “Is the universe sentient?” Sounds weird, but bacteria and viruses and even fleas or lice might live on a person. Maybe people are just fleas on the pimple of the Earth, on the buttocks of a sentient universe? Maybe all the dark matter is alive, in some sense?

I think the barriers between dimensions, worlds, people, planes of existence, are much thinner than we imagine. By this point, you might think I’m really nerdy and weird. That’s ok. Buckle up, it’s going to get much stranger. One of the reasons I think these things is the stuff that happens, on a quite regular basis, in my own life. I remember one time sitting at a stop light thinking, I’d really like to have a French cross covered in flowers. Literally, one day later, a friend said she had something for me, and gave me a large (2.75″ tall) gold French cross pendant covered in flowers. Fit for a queen. I never said anything to her, or anyone. It was just a thought.

Vintage National Gallery of Art NGA Floral Repose Cross Brooch image 0
National Gallery of Art. Available on Etsy.

Then there was this time I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pay my student loan. I didn’t know what I was going to do that month. The next day, in the mail, a letter arrived from the loan company saying they had received my request to put the loan payments on hold for 6 months. I never contacted them. I never filled out any paperwork. I never even said anything to anyone about being strapped for cash or struggling with making the student loan payment. It just happened, by itself, miraculously.

I have a lot of interesting dreams as well. And that’s always been true. Some of them tell the future, never my own, never anything useful (lottery numbers), or anything I can do anything about. But I find those far less strange than my “normal” dreams. I’m almost never me in my dreams. I’m an observer, who sees me, but the me I see, is almost always (99.9% of the time), not actually me. I’m not always female or even white, in my dreams. Identity is one of those fluid things, in dreams, I guess.

I very rarely dream about my own life or real people and places in my real life. However, I always end up in world I know very well, filled with familiar places, populated with people I know very well, by name. It’s super strange. That world, seems so much more real, in terms of familiarity, than the one I actually live in now. It’s the one thing that makes me wonder if reincarnation, in some form, is real. Even my dreams that feature the real world, and the real me, are off by a factor of 10 in strangeness.

When I started doing the White Tara thangka, about a month in, I had a dream in which the Dalai Lama appeared. I’ve seen HH in person, speaking. That’s the full extent of my knowing him. He was sitting in one chair, I was sitting opposite on a slightly lower chair. We were alone. I don’t know where. And he began by telling me of his great concern for the health of one of his translators, a man named Erick. He emphasized the name ended with a k. He was suffering some illness. HH didn’t say what. It was weird. I don’t know anything about HH’s translators. I don’t know anyone named Erick or Erik.

Then the conversation took a turn, to me, and I asked HH how he felt about my WT project. He laughed and said it was fine. He approved. Then he touched my cheek. Which is a type of blessing. And the dream ended and I woke up. Now, I could understand if the dream had been about me and WT. But why does HH share his concern for the health of his translator? A translator I don’t know and can’t do anything about? Except maybe say a prayer for or do a practice for. But, if HH is concerned, I mean, HH’s prayers and practice have way more weight than mine, I should think. Who am I to think anyone will listen to me?

Okay so, circling back, to this week, and why I’m talking about this stuff, last Friday a friend called me. I hadn’t heard from her in a while. We texted a few times in the past year, but she and her husband have been really locked down by covid (he has heart issues, she has diabetes) and really busy with a move (their house went underwater in 2007 with the crash, they managed to hang on to it, by skin of teeth and HARP, but now, 2020, prices went through the roof, so they sold up, paid off debt, made a profit and moved). You should know. She’s a witch.

Twelve-inch single - Wikipedia
This has an other side. Time? I don’t think so.

Sorry, wiccan. Literally, she calls herself a witch. Anyway, she called and told me “someone from the other side was trying to contact you.” She’s never done that before. I said, ok. Given the space-time continuum has no “side”, a bit perplexing. But I understood. And I figured, if it was anyone, it was my grandfather. The next day I went out and lifted the canopy of the trees in the backyard, so it would be lighter and brighter and have more summer breeze. Mutti has claustrophobia (she wants to be cremated because she doesn’t want to be in a box in the ground). So, it was an important to-do before she arrives in June.

In the midst of lifting the trees, I looked at Gran’s Easter iris. Still there, air dried in perpetuity courtesy of Santa Ana winds. But there. Then I looked up into the tree, to cut a hanging branch, and there was a dead crow again, in the same spot where a dead crow had been removed during the tree trimming a couple months back. It was weird. It was in the same position. In the same spot. It was like the crow flew into the tree head first, wings open, and just died. Totally strange. I didn’t dwell on it. But this kind of thing reminded me of some of the loop dreams, dreams that happen repeatedly, I’d had in the past.

The next day, another friend, a work friend I hadn’t heard from in over two years, called me. She has a sideline of reading tarot cards and runes at local fairs on the weekends. She said, “Someone is trying to reach you. Can I do a card reading for you?” Uh….well…My friends and I used to go the Renaissance Faire and have readings done just to laugh later about how wildly off they were. I’m not saying my work friend was in that class, she’d never read for me, I didn’t know. But I wanted to apply some science to the situation, and some religion. So, I silently asked God to join me on the journey, then set out my conditions for her.

Because I didn’t want her doing a shuffle and read at her end, meaning only she touched the cards, I said would pick a website, that randomly generated tarot cards. And I would pick the type of spread. And I would not tell her what was going on in my life or what the question was I had in mind till after she did the reading. She was fine with all that. So I went to this site called serennu. I shuffled the deck a few times, then picked a Celtic Cross because, I’m a Celt, and I believe in the Cross. I have to say, as a person who has had useless readings immemorial (but lots of laughs), this was really spot on.

I don’t think everyone would be happy with the outcome card I turned (Four of Swords). But for me, it was just the answer I wanted to hear. It’s the card of rest. It’s the knight in repose in his tomb, in the chapel, at peace, sword down, hands in prayer/meditation. I cannot tell how much more having that outcome means to me, after almost 2 years of covid shit, than riches, fame, wealth, love, knowledge or…anything else at this point. So, props to my friend, and I told her so. I also know she’s a cash-strapped widow, so yes, I sent her money for the reading even though she said there was no charge.

Thus fortified in spirit, I woke up the next day, Monday, to Gran with a bedsore – despite the EHOB inflated mattress I bought and put her on. Gran has been spending less time walking, more time sitting and laying down the last few months. It’s abuse if I make her get up, it’s neglect if I don’t. I can’t really win. Mutti was livid. I mean, livid. Because bedsores can be a real difficulty to heal. And Mutti’s already on a tightrope when she’s with Gran, trying to help her while continuing to do her own work. This looked to her like an epic fail on my part and dumping a lot of cleanup work on her because I was “lazy.”

Join the WAC now! – Vintagraph Prints
Yes! I’m also a crack shot and fly planes. Frontline me, please.

Um, … yeah. This is my 3rd Tour of Duty. I’m kind of used to this. I get it. Mutti is really stressed out. Gran is getting quite elderly. Honestly, she might pass by the end of the year. Hopefully not while I’m there. I know that my mother wants to be with her, it’s important to her to be there. I’m guessing because of that “perish” event we don’t talk about it. But it can be rough. I care about Gran too. But again, caught between 2 worlds, or a rock and hard place.

I have my Da asking me to make a list or repairs or upgrades, while I’m here this ToD, and asking me to do an inventory of things that could be sold to finance the repairs on my next, and final, ToD. And I have Mutti yelling at me about bedsores now, while asking me to reach out to my RN friends in Sept, to see if we can find an RN wanting a post covid break, and happy to take a stipend, and free room and board, while caring for Gran. Which you know, why not? Do an online BSN, regroup, go back to nursing, or take time, re-eval, move on.

You would think, that would be plenty enough. But no. I called Gran’s doctor about the bedsore. Now we are getting homecare. An LVN to check on the wound, and PT to try and get Gran walking. Because my Hoyer lifting her out of/into bed into/out of her wheelchair is a big project and not really one Mutti will be up for. I’m trying to organize all the homecare, and make some good progress with Gran before Mutti gets here so she doesn’t have to do so much. The doctor recommended a new homecare company we had never used before. I’m like, sure, ok, let’s give it a go.

Shirofugen late season - Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Vancouver Cherry  Blossom Festival
I won’t live anywhere the cherry trees won’t. Just missed the BC festival, again!

Tuesday, the RN they sent out to do Gran’s eval was Filipina. My grandfather was a big presence in the local Filipino community. Shared love of family, hard work, the Catholic faith and pork. I have lots of Filipino friends. Then the nurse told me that she’d too, like me, owned a chow-chow. Uh….hmmm. Coincidence? Or, the universe strikes again. That same day, the Japanese shirofugen cherry trees blossomed. Canada declared plastics a toxin! Trudeau is talking about opening the border. And I ordered a PURAP wheelchair cushion for Gran. Needless to say, I felt pretty good about the new trajectory of things. Honestly, I think the bedsores were a blessing.

Weds the SO told me he plans to work from home or just take off the 2 weeks of my quarantine, so we can be together – with the cats! Yes! Even though only 3% of BC is fully vaccinated, and I’ll be one of those, because I’m entering from the US, I have to quarantine. I’m ok with that. So basically, I’m going from California, with a mask mandate, to BC, with a mask mandate. I’m not sure what the state of things will be when I return in Sept. At this point, 65% of people 16+ have 1 dose in the home county, and 53% are fully vaxed. And we’re still vaxing the crap out of people, and lowering the age to 12.

I expect when I return I’ll be wearing a mask, again. By then Gran will be 6 months post her Moderna. As far as I know, Moderna data at this point, says good for 6 months. My hope is that more data will come in, and she’s good for a year. But if not, I’ll get her revaxed with Pfizer, or if they have a booster, get her that. Not sure what the options will be by then. I have to say, if I were staying in SoCal, I’d continue to wear a mask till 70% were fully vaxed or, honestly, till next Spring. I know that sounds extreme, but I’ve looked at the data and the science, and our family situation as well as the California and US situations.

Here’s the math, as I see it. If 100M people are fully vaxed with Pfizer, at least 5M will get breakthrough infections. Pfizer is 95% effective. Of those 5M, most will be asymptomatic. And even though the CDC claims vaxed people, who are asymptotic covid carriers, can’t pass on the virus? The situation with the Yankees screams otherwise. The truth is, the CDC is not testing daily or weekly a large group of asymptomatic vaccinated people. The CDC has no idea how much spread is happening with vaxed, asymptomatically infected people. As a result, I don’t want to be responsible for infecting a child or immuno-compromised person who can’t get a vaccine.

Of the 5M breakthrough infections, I’d expect about 10%, 500K to be mildly symptomatic. These people, because they become symptomatic, start spreading covid the moment they are infected. They have to quarantine. They have to contact trace with people they saw 2-3 days before they had symptoms. They put others at risk. With so many people unvaxed, at this point 2/3 of the US, I don’t want my mild infection to turn into an unvaxed someone else’s death sentence. I understand you can’t wait forever for other people to “do the right thing.” And, at some point, a lot of people will just get sick, get long covid, die because of their ignorance, but, for now, I’m not going to be an added factor.

Finally, and I think this is important to note, fully vaxed people, who get breakthrough infections, can end up seriously ill, can end up with long haul covid, can end up dead. I would reckon (I have no data) maybe 1% of symptomatic breakthrough infections will end up this way. So, 5K people out of 100M. My take on that is, I don’t want that to be me. Ever. So, I’m waiting for herd immunity through vaccination. And I’m waiting till the end of the 4th, spring wave in 2022. I know that sounds depressing, but I’d rather face the truth and prepare for it, than … bury my head in the sand or stick my fingers in my ear and lalalalalala, and get sick and/or die.

I’m just asking, would you eat something that’s 75% “off”?

Okay so, regarding other things I thought about this week. And yes, this is a bit long, but it’s my penultimate post for this ToD. Live with it. I found Liz Cheney’s ouster interesting because 74% voted looney tunes, and 25% of the House GOP voted Liz Cheney. That means Liz now has the mantel of “true conservative.” I have a feeling all these extremist abortions bills suddenly appearing just after her ouster are a way for the GOP to try to hold on to what they view now as the Cheney Republicans. It’s a bit knee-jerk and not very well thought out. They think white evangelical conservatives will vote for them because of this one issue.

To be fair, some WEC’s will vote that way because they simplistically, and un-scripturally, believe God punishes the entire US for women having abortion access. Uh…yeah. But I think a lot of WEC pastors and women who follow Christ have realised this is putting out a match by starting a forest fire. It benefits no one. I also think that as Democrats continue to publicize what the Democrats alone (GOP votes agains evertyhing) have accomplished for the people, all that should change. People, specifically women, and people of color, demand a better democracy. And so should we all.

Not to be unkind, but the GOP has literally nothing to offer. It does nothing. It stands for nothing. AZ’s GOP is the epitome of the crazy level. When I see people like Gov De Santis grooming himself for 2024 not by expounding his policies, but by gaining weight, dressing and combing his hair like the former president, getting a spray tan? Uh, yeah. Not good. The GOP has PR, but no policy game. The Dems have policy, but no PR game. In a media-driven environment, you gotta have a strong PR game informing people of policy wins that positively impact their lives. At this point, the GOP has a strong PR game on imaginary wins, or even Dem wins.

Mental Health Month | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
May is Mental Health Awareness month. It’s OK to say, “I’m not OK.”

Moving on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to shake my head at people talking about mental health in the news in the last few weeks. Not because there’s no need. There is a desperate need. But “you need mental health help” is such white, male answer. It undercuts looking at actual needs, and meeting those. People need actual help. Food, homes, jobs, health care, child care, elder care, community safety infrastructure, education, political access, clean water, air, green spaces, etc, etc, ad infinitum. When human beings don’t get those things — in general because you’re a human that’s female, a person of color, or “poor” — humans get stressed, and then those humans get slapped in the face with a white male “you need mental health.”

White men get the actual help they need. Because white men in govt grasp, see, empathize, understand with their needs. But if you’re not a white man? It’s a tough row to hoe to get anyone to see your real need. No one needs mental health, if they aren’t stressed out. No one is depressed, if they can see hope. But if a govt does everything to stress people out, to take away hope, and yeah, create mental health issues through crappy govt policies? Dear God, please shut up about “mental health” until you’ve embraced the fact that the appalling white male govt policies and propaganda of the previous administration, and of every GOP legislature and governor still across the country, has denied the majority of the US population’s reality, gas-lit them, and driven them to the brink.

Then come back and we can talk about mental health.

Sorry, that that took a turn. I’m still fuming a bit today. Yesterday, I found out, from La Mère that all the extra love songs I got last week, and the few days the SO missed our virtual catch-up lunches, was not because he was busy. But because a) he felt unwell and fainted, b) he had to go to the ER and then c) he was at their condo eating Omelette de la mère Poulard and “dormir comme une marmotte” afterwards, for a couple days just to be sure he was okay. He said it was low blood sugar. I was told I shouldn’t be concerned. Really? His father had his first heart attack at 35.

When I asked him when and where he fainted and who was with him, apparently it happened at his folks. He’d been helping them re-arrange furniture. This was after a long bike ride, and a full day of work, sustained by only a breakfast granola bar, and a lunch of coffee and a grilled cheese, because he knew he’d be eating a big dinner at his parents’ place. I expect a normal person in normal times would fly to their SO’s side. But, not a normal person. Not normal times. I’m actually more concerned he might develop covid having been in the ER, and end up giving it to his parents.

I know it’s all kinds of wrong, but I don’t want to leave Gran’s only to arrive home to find everyone has covid and now I’ve got to spend my “down time” nursing them through it, and hoping no one dies or ends up with long-haul covid. So, yeah. This sort of stuff is why I’m pro-mask for vaccinated people, still. And this is why I’m pro-vax for everyone, still, even though my state and county is doing well, comparatively speaking. I literally have to spend the next 10 days praying everyone is spared the guillotine. Four of Swords? Oh please, mercy, yes.

Extra points if you knew it uses an Electro Theremin

This entry was posted on May 21, 2021.

Just the Way You Are

Dogs and cats living together: Joe Biden says feline will join White House  pets | Joe Biden | The Guardian
Just to be clear, she is smarter than you. Where’s the cat, Mr Biden?

Ok, last week was a little fever-driven. Or maybe not. Anyway, better now. I had mild migraine-like headache which I stopped with a Tylenol, a little nausea that was fixed with some crackers, and some muscle aches. The fever went up to 100.3. All in all, not really bad. I spent Saturday on the couch watching curling matches and in between, did a little birding for the Global Big Day. Sunday I felt better and got the last 2 old AC units pulled. By Monday I was fine.

So my advice for those working M-F 9-5 that don’t want to miss work because of the 2nd covid shot? Try to get that 2nd shot as late as possible Thursday night. You’ll probably have to leave work Friday afternoon, so a half day lost, but you’ll be back Monday. I really think they should have 24/7 covid vax sites. It just makes sense in a world where things run 24/7. Working people, busy parents, everyone just gotta have that option. In my humble opinion.

In news from the North, the vax campaign and demi-lockdowns in BC are finally showing fruit. The curve is bending. Yea! Public Health recently said they’d be ok with people getting Pfizer as their second shot, after getting AZ for the first. The SO said he’d be fine with that. I think a lot of western countries are backing off AZ and J&J, which is too bad. Used responsibly, appropriately, they’re great vaccines. On the other hand, I’m sure a lot of other nations around the world would welcome any AZ or J&J vaccines the west didn’t want.

Cocktails and Mocktails in a Bar in Hotel Management!
I take my vax the way I take my drinks, mixed, please!

I’m concerned about the precipitous falling off of US vax rates. In BC, the Brasilian P1 and UK B117 variants drove the sudden outbreak among the unvaxed. Eventually, the Indian B617 variant is going to wash around the world. We’re already seeing it spread through Asia. It’s 4x as transmissible as the original, and double that of the UK variant. If people aren’t vaccinated, the local surges in states with low vax rates are going to be as dramatic as in India.

Eventually, even with travel restrictions, B617 will become dominant in the Americas just because it’s already traveled here. There are so many people unvaxed in the Americas it’s scary. For the US, we’ll probably see more Michigan style outbreaks. Localized, but overwhelming the care systems wherever they happen due to super-high transmissibility. Starting this summer, I imagine B617 will grow, but we probably won’t see the real impact till Fall and Winter when cold weather, lifted restrictions, and indoor gatherings all collide.

Gotta be honest here, I’m not throwing out my mask. I plan to wear it except when exercising outdoors in the wide open. I don’t plan on attending any large indoor or closely packed outdoor gatherings until April next year. I respect the US CDC. But I know pandemic history. I can’t base my actions on the CDC’s thoughts because Dr Fauci is only as scientific as the current administration he serves allows him to be. And I understand the whys of that. So I prefer to look at all the science, the studies, the latest data, and the long history of pandemics and vaccines, and make my own decisions. It’s my life after all.

The Mask of Zorro / Characters - TV Tropes
I’m keeping the mask. And the sword. And the hat. And the cape. I’m sorry the So won’t let me keep the Zorro.

Ok, moving on. I did get the 2 new bedroom AC units installed. As soon as the old units were pulled out, Gran improved. Dramatically. She’s been taking claritin and other allergy or cold medicines for several years. Since I pulled the old units out, nope. Not so much as a sniffle. All her allergies stopped. Her allergies are real, but they were to the mold and dust coming from the AC units, even when the units weren’t “in action” blowing. Now we have the new units, all is well.

I am a little scared of the new units. The old ones had freeon in them, which was bad for the planet. The new ones contain some weird flamable substance, which is ecologically safe but apparently so dangerous it warrants multiple large stickers. It’s concerning, because CA is a fire-prone area. I don’t want Gran’s house blowing up because a fire nears an AC unit. But…I did what I had to do for Gran for now. And I did the right thing for the planet too.

I reduced, reused, recycled. I cleaned out both old bedroom AC units. I gave away the working kitchen Frigidaire and one of the bedroom Kenmores to people who needed them. I did do a complete cleaning and mold kill off on the units I gave away. But honestly, they never bothered me, only Gran. So they weren’t unsafe, just unsafe for someone with mold allergies or asthma. I wouldn’t have given them away if they were unsafe. I also kept a Kenmore as a back up, because Gran still has one bedroom without a window AC unit. Who knows if she’ll want/need another there.

Ironically, the weather turned cold this week. It might even drizzle today. But I’m okay with that. I know California. The hot weather is coming. Mutti said she was super grateful for changing out the AC. She’d thought they were unsafe but….Gran. So, new AC was her Mother’s Day as well as Gran’s. I’m not sure why Mutti has so much trouble getting Gran to do things that are clearly the “right” thing to do. I guess it’s all in the backstory, which I’m neither one talks about it, so I don’t bring it up. Silence is golden.

Tag rehearsing the end scene of Shakesbear’s Roam-eo and Juliet.

In political news, I spent a good deal of time laughing this week at the governor’s most prominent Republican challenger. He’s running an advert that’s supposed to be riff on the classic fairy tale, Beauty and Beast. And this is the first source of amusement. The fact he thinks voters are so stupid he needs to treat them like children. Second, he’s selling a fairy tale. Third, he casts the Governor as Beauty and himself as Beast. Um, Beauty is the good smart one, the hero. Beast is the bad evil cursed one.

The advert comes off as homoerotic. The old white Republican male casts himself as Beast and his younger white Democratic male opponent as Beauty. I can’t help wonder if Mr Cox is super deep in the closet. I don’t mind a gay governor, but if someone can’t openly face his own identity, and styles his campaign as a total fairy tale, how is that person able to openly face real life, and its real world problems? My other issue is, as a Christian, when a person casts himself as “the Beast,” I think, “Wow. Have you read the Book of Revelation? Do you know you’re actively claiming to work for Satan?”

Anyway, I’m not sure who the advert’s intended audience might be. Old, white, latently homosexual, Republican male Satanists? But I’m voting Beauty all the way. I also have to add, I feel sorry for Tag (the Kodiak Brown bear is an actor just trying to make a living) who acts in the commercial and gets dragged to the GOP challenger’s live “Meet the Beast” events. Tag’s use shows a total disrespect for wildlife. And treating our beloved state symbol as your personal political prop? Yuck. On the other side? Gov Newsom, standing at a podium the declaring California is “roaring back.” Uh…ok. More bear metaphors, but at least respectful ones. No actual bears demeaned or politicized or involved.

Roaring ,but not for everyone. (Charles Phelps Cushing/Getty Images)

Other things I’ve been thinking about this week? A few states are now creating laws that allows people run over protestors with impunity. The intent is to take out BLM protestors and union organizers I assume. But a law is a law. So, that means people can legally run over a group of anti-abortionists blocking roads outside clinics now? And white supremacists? And Trump supporters? I mean, they all protest too. I’m not sure anyone thought these laws through. I don’t even think these laws are legal. Americans have a Constitutional right to freely assemble and protest.

I’ve been thinking about Liz Cheney’s statement on doing everything she can to keep the former president out of office. And yet, she’s opposing HR1. I mean, if you really want to keep crazy people out office, you need the voice/votes of the majority to do it. If she actually believed what she says, she’d come out for HR1 and be actively splitting apart the Senate pro-democracy and pro-authoritarian “I am the state” GOP members. I don’t know if that will ever happen. Most purportedly pro-democracy “It’ll last my time at least” GOP members seem to be abandoning America, with their cushy pensions and health plans in tact.

Something else I’ve been pondering this week is chatter about how great the US is doing compared to the EU and the world. The claim is US GDP will grow more the EU GDP this year was particularly galling. Um, yeah, probably true. But EU GDP didn’t crash as hard to begin with because of effective governance and strong economic response to help people, who already had national health and lots of benefits Americans don’t, during the pandemic; didn’t have as much unemployment because of same; and let’s be super clear here…did not wilfully murder 600K of their own people for fun and politics. So all in all, l’d rather have less GDP this year and more Americans still alive.

This week’s love song.

I find the world reopening exactly as was kind of … disappointing really. The differences between the 1918 pandemic and the 2019 pandemic in terms of human and government response to the pandemic itself, and resulting post-pandemic human and government behavior is pretty much nil. It’s just history repeating itself. Pro and anti maskers. Bad govt response, ethnic blame (“Spanish” flu originated in Kansas and spread to the world). Post pandemic boom in local and foreign travel, boom home buying, and boom in violence (Bugsy Siegel, Bonny and Clyde, etc 1920s). I’m waiting for the explosion of drug use, sex and partying. The cratering of birth rates.

Nobody talks about it, but post 1918 pandemic, People v. Sanger (1918), US birth rates fell off a cliff. They continued down in the 1930s due to the Great Depression, and were further depressed in the 1940s by WWII, when women started going to work and war. My feeling here is, American women, especially young women, can now see modern American policy is both anti-woman and really anti-woman with children. Nothing about our national polices is pro-woman or pro-woman with child. Why would any rational woman want to have children after seeing what happened to women with children this past couple years?

To be honest, a hard dip in birth rates is a good thing, for women, for children, for the world really. One only has to watch 5 minutes of any climate change discussion to realise humans are very locked into irrational self-destructive patterns. It takes big events to change thinking or actions. Almost no one in climate change will honestly address the population crisis. In 1961 there were 3B people, 60 years later is 7.26B. It took millions of years to get to 3B. It took 60 to double down. People keep saying they care about the planet, but economists insist “lack of population increase” is a bad for the economy. Can I just say, that’s only true if your economy is a Ponzi scheme?

Yep, it is a wonderful world.

If you really think the world is in an ecological crisis (climate is just a part of the overall ecologic crisis), be honest. It’s going to take more than clean energy. That doesn’t fix a host of other problems driven by a consumer society in which more and more resources are consumed by exponentially increasing consumers. That’s the definition of unsustainable. In a sustainable society, everyone has value, everyone gets care, gets education, gets what they need to be a contributor to the high quality of life everyone shares in that society.

I’m unclear why it’s obvious to people when there’s too many elephants or elk on the land, but mention people in that way and ….. Ka-boom. Hysteria sets in. And I’m not being a racist Malthusian here. I think every country, every major people group, needs to figure out how to halve its population over the next generation or two, to create a healthy ecologically sustainable planet that maintains a high-quality life for all. It’s a project for all nations, races, creeds, etc. Otherwise, all “climate change” action is just a band-aid over a time bomb.

I find the politics of ecological crisis in the US something akin to two dogs fighting so viciously over a bone (let’s call it GDP, corporate profits, or political power) they don’t notice the world around them is being wholly consumed in flames and their very tails are on fire. I’m not a pessimist, I think humans can pull up out of the death spiral. But not if we don’t face reality. Just look at the pandemic. It didn’t have to happen. China took control of the situation and showed the world how to do it. But Western “leaders,” specifically delusional authoritarians . . . .

Urine Marking in Cats | ASPCA
I don’t understand, human. What do you mean my brother is “a different color”? Are you taking a piss?

As the pandemic showed, bad leadership anywhere, hurts everyone everywhere. Quality of leadership matters, the truth matters, facing reality matters. Ecological “pandemic” is already happening. Without people speaking truth to each other, to corporate, government, and global leadership, without real change it’s hard to imagine the world in 60 years. People have to make serious choices. Just like in the pandemic. If you tackle serious stuff early, you’ll have less problems. Transition can be gradual. If you don’t, shut downs, chaos, profits for a few, death for many.

We can choose a new path now. Eventually, like the pandemic, if we do nothing, or continue to make band-aid choices about water systems, air quality, forests, etc, that road becomes pretty awful. There will be awful consequences. Anyone celebrating the fact the US has 580K dead, and 350+ people a day still dying of covid, and 35K new cases a day happening? People’s financial lives were/are still ruined (again mostly women, and women with children). It’s still a slow-moving disaster. Just because middle aged white men who never lost their jobs, health care, or homes are okay, doesn’t mean it’s all ok.

Think about the new US Space Force for a moment. Space was an untouched sphere, it was that spot for research, discovery, and dreams of better things. Now, a short 60 years since the moon landing, we, (humanity), has cluttered it with dangerous junk and spend our time and money militarizing it, thinking how we can financially exploit it. This is how humans treat things, this is a species-wide problem. Given the state of the earth? a Space Force, to continue on this same path, is just crackers-level waste of time and money. How about a Space Force and and Earth Force, dedicated to moving the planet from ecological crisis to ecological stability? Let’s save our home world and the space around it.

Yeah, still love you humans.

I think this, as a species, we need to breakout and advance right now. It’s hard to do when old mindsets hold us back. Consider racism as an old mindset for a moment. Racism harms everyone. We all know racism to be bad. But no one ever says “Racism is an old human mental construct.” By that I mean, for example, cats (past and present) don’t care about the color of other cats. They don’t make assumptions about other cats based on coat pattern. Yet, people, who are supposedly the most advanced Earth species, can’t see past skin color. Human thinking is full of bad, really deadly to the species, ideas.

I’m not down on ideas. Ideas are great. But we need to frequently reassess our ideas in light of new facts. This can be scary, but survival depends on it. If you live in a time when everyone walks, and few people have horses, a crosswalk seems a stupid idea. But then a car is developed and a large car can hit and kill you. So a crosswalk seems a good idea. It’s that level of basic rationality people need right now. A vaccine will save you and the world. If it’s possible for you to get a vaccine, save yourself and the world. It’s always possible for people to grow, to advance, to change.

People are great, even if they are far less advanced than cats. But people need to start excelling at basic humanity. A lot of commonly accepted human thought is simply out of touch with reality or even common sense logic. War is not a public good. Hate is not a public good. Violence is not a public good. Racism. Sexism. Nationalism. All the -isms really, are not public goods. It’s not doing us any good to hold on to destructive personal or public ideas. But it’s always a good to hold on to each other. To lift each other up. To support each other. Value each other. Love each other. From the moment we are born, to the last breath we take, we need to hold on to each other.

This entry was posted on May 14, 2021.

Still the One

Girl Shows On White Background Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty-free)  8508739 | Shutterstock
V for Vaccine Victory!

Fair warning! I had my second Pfizer shot last night. I’m expecting any serious side effects to kick in in about 4-6 hrs. But I do feel a little feverish (99.3F), so cut me some slack today. Two weeks from now, I’m 100% vaxed! But I’m keeping up the vigilance because I read a study this week on post-vax covid cases. The vast majority of them were attributed to people relaxing their safety protocols before the 2 weeks post-vax was up. Gotta say, I hear this mistake happen a lot. So sad, to get that close to dodging covid and fall on the last hurdle.

For anyone still not vaxed? At this point, our county is walk-in everywhere. So no appointments needed, no excuse not to give it a whirl. Mother’s day is coming up. If you get the first dose then, you can get the second dose on Father’s day. Do it for the folks! Or, if you’re graduating high school or college soon, maybe get the first dose in June and then the second on the 4th of July and celebrate being a patriotic adult. If you’re moving this summer or if travel interstate (or even overseas is) on your hit list, do it now and by Memorial day, you’re all set.

In some interesting vax news, Mutti got a text from My Turn, California’s vax website, telling her she needed to schedule her 2nd dose. Huh? She’d had her 2nd dose a week ago. So weird. I think there might be a glitch in the system. Which would mean there’s a lot more people who are getting second doses in California, but the system is failing to record it. I would have thought the pharmacy she went to would have reported her getting the 2nd dose, as a crosscheck, to My Turn. But….whatever. I told her to report it to My Turn and to the county public health office.

Large Coffee Mug Pottery Soup Mug Stoneware Coffee Mug | Etsy
Oh yeah, 2 of these is a lot of coffee. Etsy.

This week is ending well, I got my vax. And today new AC units are arriving at the house! Yippee. I wouldn’t have imagined this positive outcome based on how the week started. On Saturday, I gave Gran toast and coffee in bed. She didn’t seem herself. But I went out to the front yard, while it was coolish, and started working on the summer trim, tidy and weed pull. After a grueling hour and half in the sun, I came in. I checked on Gran, she said she wanted to get up, but she seemed out of it. I got her dressed and up and wheeled her out to the living room, whereupon, she began to have a seizure.

Or, it seemed like a seizure. I wondered if I should call 911, but she has a DNR. Mutti? At which point, she vomited up all the coffee all over herself – 2 large mugs worth. Usually she has 1 but today….yeah 2. Then a lot of snot came pouring out of her nose like a fountain, and then she hawked up the a phlegm glob the size of a golf ball. Uh…..”Are you ok, Gran?” “Yes, I think so.” I cleaned her up a little and I went back to her bedroom for a moment, to compose myself. I thought about calling the Cal Hope helpline. But I didn’t need hope. I needed help.

I picked up the phone (yep, still got landlines here), and called my friend (who is fully vaxed), who helps Mutti with laundry when she’s with Gran. She was very gracious and took a couple of the 7 loads off my hands. I went back to Gran and found that it wasn’t just one end stuff came out of. Yep, watery diarrhea everywhere. I girded my loins, took Gran back to the bedroom and started the process of clean up. It was a long day. Really long. I eventually flopped on the couch and passed out while the LTG Women’s World Curling Championships played.

Canada's Einarson extends win streak to four games in world curling play
Team Canada, I love you, and have faith you’ll bring home a gold next Olympics.

When I woke up an hour later, I realised I was watching a game from Friday, and not Saturday’s live game. WTF? I checked my tv. Nope, this was not what was supposed to be on. I had to go online to find a press release. Apparently 3 members of the CBC team covering the event came down with covid Sat. This resulted in a total coverage blackout Sunday. Then more people tested positive, 7. And the total blackout was extended. Games were still played but no one could watch them. At this point, they hope to have coverage restored by this evening.

It’s 10-day event. We’ve missed 6 days of the bonspiel. WTF Canadian Broadcast Company?! You couldn’t ask LA or NYC to send you a team of FULLY VACCINATED people to run the frigging cameras? I’m sorry but, this event is the apex of play. It determines who gets an automatic spot at the Olympics. What kind of action plan did you have in place? I mean, you did have an action plan, right? In case someone got covid? You knew it could happen and you’d need a back up plan, right? Or did you just not give a crap because, you know, it’s only women playing and they’re just not that important?

Like my friend Pietro says, “First world problems.” I get it. I admit that. I do try to keep perspective. But as the SO wisely says (at least to my face), “We live in the first world, so these are our problems.” I’ve been hanging on by a thread this time round. After back-breaking hand weeding in the heat, then coming in to be vomited and shit upon, and facing piles of filth and laundry, as well as life’s knotty questions and vicissitudes, alone, again, was a little respite of watching ladies curling so much to ask? Apparently so. Okay I’m done “sweeping hard” on the CBC.

Jerry-built' vs. 'Jury-rigged' vs. 'Jerry-rigged' | Merriam-Webster
I dunno. Does this look fixed to you?

Things went on like that, Sunday. Monday it got hot. So I turned on the AC in the kitchen. I was literally hit in the face with a chunk of mold. Um, yeah. Gran has allergy induced asthma. But she’s had the same AC units in her windows for over 20 years. I just lost it. In terms of me losing it, you know it’s happening when I go deathly silent and then walk outside. You need to stay at least 20 ft back and not speak. Better yet leave the neighborhood for an hour. Let me talk it out with the dogs or cats first. I’ll get back to you.

You have to understand, Gran has been saying she’ll be dead by 70, since she’s 40. And dead next year, since she’s 70. And now she’s 90+…. She uses that as an excuse not to fix things. Her house had sprinklers. Instead of repair them, she just shut them off. The guest toilet that I use? It’s had a intermittent leak from the tank for 15 yrs. I’m not allowed to replace it. A bowl under the tank for the occasional leak is “good enough.” The garbage disposal rusted over, so the second sink in the kitchen now doesn’t drain. Not allowed to fix that. “There’s still a good sink.”

Now, as the queen of the jerry rigging — Jerry is a term for German, and we consider that term a source of pride. It means we can make anything work, but probably in not very correct way — I do admire a good Jerry rigging. I love Jerry rigging stuff. When you grow up without a lot of money, jerry rigging keeps things going till you can get stuff fixed properly. It’s a useful talent. But the implication is you’re doing temporary creative fixes till you can actually fix stuff properly. That’s not Gran. I don’t know if she’s got some weird, reverse Winchester House syndrome, going on or what.

Barry Shabaka Henley - Bob Hearts Abishola Cast Member
The fabulous Barry Shabaka Henley, currently starring as Uncle Tunde in Bob Hearts Abishola.

My grandfather, the engineer, always made sure any household fixes were correct and legal. The right tools. A job done right. He tinkered a lot for sure, but always in the garage, not with household daily use items. And if he couldn’t do a job, he got a professional in. Sure, he’d buy the garbage disposal himself, but he’d get a qualified plumber to install it. And I’m sure that time he blew up the garage as a teen and was almost arrested by the govt for messing with radio waves left an impact in his “do-it-right” column.

After getting hit in the face with mold….yeah. I cooled off a bit. I thought about an episode of Bob Hearts Abishola (S2Ep15 Tunde’s Loving Care). That was totally my grandfather. You weren’t a man if you didn’t fix your own stuff. This applied to women too. Self-sufficiency tied up with thrift (and wrapped in sexism). Anyway, I thought, well, Gran won’t ever let me replace it, so I’ll have to take it apart and clean it. And there’s probably a video on youtube about it. God bless The Fixer, he had exactly Gran’s model!…..So, there I was doing AC cleaning.

I’d like to say it all went wonderfully well. But, that was not this week. I did get the 90lb unit out of the window, bounced onto a lawn chair, then slid onto a dolly. Minimal bruising. No blood. I did get it apart, cleaned, and put back together in working order. I could have kept it. But I made an executive decision. My Gran’s house needed a new unit. And while I was at it, the 2 smaller bedroom units? They were going too. My Gran and Mutti needed to be healthy and comfortable this summer, and next fall, I wasn’t getting stuck inside with old AC units while outside was burning like Rome under Nero.

This is the before. See the mold covered wheel and insulation?

I told Gran, “Biden gave you $1400 to stimulate the economy. We’re going to get new AC units, or I walk out that door.” Surprisingly, that ultimatum worked. Probably because I rarely use ultimatums, but when I do, I always follow through. I put the old unit on the curb, with a sign saying Free, Works! It took 48hrs, but it vanished. And that saved us a “bulky item” collection fee. I feel good about that. It got recycled. It didn’t go to a landfill. Maybe somebody is enjoying it who could not have afforded AC otherwise. Or they’re doing a further clean and selling it on. Either way, win-win.

I got a new 12K BTU unit at Home Depot. A Toshiba. It was 71bs. So, with a 1-minute assist lift from Pietro, it was up and in Tuesday by 5:30pm. I realised Weds, however, it was at the wrong angle and wouldn’t drain unless I fixed it. So I had to re-do the angle, but Huzzah! got it done. I bought a couple smaller 5K BTU and 6K BTU Toshiba units at HD for the bedrooms Thursday morning. I got as far as removing the old Kenmore from my bedroom window, and putting the new unit up in it’s place when I had a sudden and awful epiphany. The cleanable screen wasn’t accessed by pulling the front panel outward. It was a tiny screen one had to pull from the left side. The left side was up against the window casements.

Ugh. There was no way to know this at HD because there were no floor models out. I was pretty pissed off. And more bruised. I boxed up the unit and took them both back that night. They both had the same problem. I got full refund. Not even charged restocking fee. I went home and ordered new units from HD online. I’m getting the front-cleaning, 5K and 6K Frigidaires today. They’ll be in on Saturday, barring post-vax sickness. And one week and $1k later, I’ll be delightfully cool and watching curling, like it all never happened. Thankfully, it was cool Thurs and it’s supposed to cooling further through Mother’s day. I’m guessing God looked down Tues and thought “Yeah, she looks like she need a break.”

This is the after.

I still have to decide if I’m going to clean the Kenmores before I put them on the curb. I suppose I could just leave a note with the link to The Fixer’s video. I can always call for a bulky item pick up but I’d rather not. I really want to recycle the unit into the hands of someone that can use it or benefit from it somehow. I think my grandfather would say try to clean them, as an act of kindness. Maybe after I’ve had some chocolate, things will look different. Might take at least 2 full Cadbury bars, with almonds, though.

At this point, life here is a bit like I’m on a crab boat. Except, instead of chocolate, cigarettes, and coffee, I’m running on potatoes, Pedialyte and protein drinks. In no way is this healthy lifestyle. But like I said, this week was a quite (first-world) challenging. And I have A/C fin cuts on my hands, bruises on my arms, muscle pain in my back and sunburn on my legs to prove it. (word tot he wise, A/C fin tools? Forgetaboutit. They suck. A kitchen knife or scalpel works just as well. Yes, I own a scalpel. Don’t ask.)

My hope is that the new AC units in the house, sans mold, will be life-changing for Gran, and that in itself will make Mutti’s life way easier. As for me, I just need to change my life, and in a few weeks I will have that opportunity. I’ll be breezing up the freeway back to BC with my windows all the way down and my radio all the way up. Definitely this week’s love song from the SO will be on my road-trip mix tape. Love me the Orleans. Feelings about the SO? Still the one.

Have some 100% fresh and fully vaccinated fun this week!

This entry was posted on May 7, 2021.

It’s a Good Day

Summer weather is here at last. We’re officially in “Severe Drought” according to the US Drought Monitor. Multiple days over 85F, which meant opening the AC units and cleaning out the black mold and dirt that had collected since they were closed for winter. Waking up to fire engines screaming and checking the FD’s PulsePoint list of active calls to see if I have to make preparations.

Yep, summer is here. I love-hate summer. If it weren’t for the heat and constant sunshine, it’d be nice. But I do like seasonal change. Hearing and seeing new birds. A female Bullock’s Oriel appeared at our feeder, indicating a least one breeding pair is back in the palm trees. Huzzah! Baby bunnies are everywhere, which means there aren’t many rats this year. The California poppies and lilacs are still in bloom. The bonica roses are about to pop. There’s a lot happening.

This week our local library decided it was time to open to browsing, just on Wednesdays and Fridays, all day, and Sunday afternoons. And only a limited number of people in at a time — which sucks a bit because a lot of people use the library as free AC in summer. But it makes me really happy. I’m a total browser. I don’t like algorithms trying to find me stuff I’ll like, because I like a lot of different stuff. And I can’t discover new stuff I like, unless I stumble upon it. So…browsing? Being able to brows again? Awesome.

This week on Tuesday Mutti got her 2nd Pfizer shot. She had very few symptoms. She took a couple Tylenol and “powered through.” I’m hoping when I get my second shot, I’ll land closer to her reaction than Da’s. Of course he refused to take Tylenol, right when the first symptoms appeared. So, maybe he wouldn’t have had such a strong reaction if he’d done that. Also, Mutti took magnesium and B6 the night she got her shot. Those are used in a lot of migraine formulas. So, maybe that helped her too?

I’m feeling pretty positive about our county, and CA in general, right now. Our county has a transmission R of .8. We’ve administered vaccine 1st doses to 60% of the 16+ group. And 40% of the 16+ group is fully vaxed now. In CA overall, 46% have had 1 dose, and 30% are fully vaxed. It seems like, reviewing various data, 30% is a tipping point. Once you get there, you begin the downward trajectory (if you keep going with the vaxing and masking till the positivity rate collapses). Our county positivity is at 2.4 new cases per 100K right now.

By contrast, BC’s got some places with 20+ cases per 100K. Overall, provincial cases are starting to fall, because of changing personal behaviors (ie, restrictions) and vaccinations. They’re at 31% with 1 dose of vax. It’s a great start (only 1.7% are fully vaxed). But hot spots remain. In BC they’ve decided to surge vaccination in places with high transmission. It’s a strategy they used successfully in smaller places, but it remains to be seen what will happen at scale. The SO did his part and got vaxed this week. He’s very happy. I got an ironing-dance video (set to It’s a Good Day).

COVID-19 in B.C.
BC Centre for Disease Controls Map

Canada joined the UK, Germany and other countries in banning flights from India. About 1.8% of travelers to Canada were testing positive (they test everyone arriving by air and send them to hotels — even if not positive — for 2 wks). Of the positive cases, half were coming from India. A temporary ban seemed advisable. The Canadian ban applies to Pakistan and India. I spoke to my doctor this week (I don’t have hemochromatosis. I have been eating way too much iron). She’s from India. She agrees with the ban. She said rich Indians will just fly to other countries. A $30K ticket to Dubai? That’s nothing. So a ban is the only way to stop that behavior.

Her practice partner, also a woman, is also Indian. She’s lost 6 family members. They’re pretty angry. They called India “an unbelievably corrupt nation.” Wow. That’s saying something. They really dislike Modi. They think the only way out is mass vaccinations. I’d 100% agree with that. But in a nation with a billion people, getting to 30% is 300 million just in 1st shots. They’re currently at 8% with 1 dose vaccination and 1.8% fully vaxed. We need to ship them the ingredients to make vaccines they need and all the the J&J one dose and the AZ we can.

I don’t think people have any idea how important India is in the global economy. A lot of US prescription drugs come from India. If they’re not manufacturing, good luck getting your meds. India makes 40-50% of all the US’s generic drugs. Not just that, India is a major covid vax manufacturing center. If India goes down, it takes much of the world’s supply of AZ Covishield with it. Much as I’m against helping ethno-religious nationalist authoritarians, the world really does need to save the Indian people. Even if you don’t care about the Indian people (which I do), you should care at least because you care about your own self.

Learn the Right Way to Water Your Lawn | DIY
The only kind of back and forth I’m interested in.

For anyone who cares about US politics? Nope. I did not watch the SOTU address. I watered the lawn instead. I voted for Biden so I didn’t have to listen to political people talk anymore. So I could be reasonably sure there’d be competent, intelligent, trained people in office who were largely dedicated to doing the humane, sane, right thing. Not perfect people with perfect plans that I agreed with 100%. Just normal American people, who cherish having a normal democracy.

The whole Cyber Ninja fiasco happening in AZ is a perfect example of why I voted for Biden. Just read the Bangladeshi LinkedIn bio for the founder of the company. A company that didn’t exists until 3 months ago. This is not a “company” that should be anywhere near a US ballot audit. I could never vote for a party that thought this organization was fit to touch a voter’s ballot or perform an election audit. I guess it’s all just uv lights and monitors to keep their base donating money, and thinking that something is happening.

Well, it’s getting late, even though I know it’s still really early. I need to go watch the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship, which starts this morning. The German team is in limbo after a couple people tested positive for covid. I’m sad about that. But everyone else is going to be able to play. And I really just watch for Sweden, Canada, and the US. Even though it will be 89F today, minimum, I can at least imagine I’m sitting in the cool dark stands. I’ll adjust the blinds, have a little iced lemonade, and use a lot of AC. Yeah, I can make it work. And, If I start to feel hot, I guess I’ll try adding a tinfoil hat.

Have yourself a good day!
This entry was posted on April 30, 2021.

Mr Blue Sky

Sleeveless Maxi Dress Indian Cotton Maxi Dress Traditional image 0
Yes, Gran. It is what I’m wearing. Available at Etsy, of course.

In an attempt to start my departure from what Frankl would call the “provisional life” of the pandemic, For the first time in over a year, I made an extra trip (to Sprout’s, midafternoon when it’s slow) – on an impulse. Ooooo, unplanned extra trip to a public place! And I went in a 2-ply cloth mask, lined with a Bounty sheet (tri-folded) which was covered by a sheet of Kleenex. Ooooo, out without the N-95 mask!

It felt daring, like those languorous summer days in So Cal when you wear a colorful, thin, Indian cotton dress, sans unmentionables, to the 8 am Mass because you know it will be 95 degrees when you get out and you just want your butt cheeks to chill for an hour on that wooden pew. Gran calls that look, where you’re dressed up and covered up, but really something else is going on, “California Catholic” or “SoCal Classic” Neither pronouncement is technically complimentary.

At some point though, you do need to start making your way out of the pandemic life. This week seemed a good time. In mid March, our county’s Rt value was .6 As we eased the breaks, it went up as high as .85 last week. But this week, .81 in the county and down to .7 in the state. The state is airing “Vacation in California” ads, to keep dollars and people at home. A friend that works for the local school district said all graduations are going to be in person (not drive-by) on June 11 (June 15 is CA’s full re-open date).

Write your representatives. Let them know your Pro vaccine sharing.

With over 50% of people eligible vaxed, we are cracking the back of covid. For now. I’m always keeping a weather eye out. People are still dying. One of my friends told me her aunt died, April 5. But they can’t have a funeral till May 15 because the mortuaries are still so backed up. And as a country? Yeah, still over 700 people a day dying. I feel like we’re still, as a nation, on pace to hit 750K deaths from covid. But, vaccines are working, and I’m cautiously optimistic.

I’m also slightly baffled by people who are buying fake vaccine cards. It’s so easy to get a vaccine, for free, which comes with a card, for free. Why on earth would anyone bother to pay money for a fake vax card? Just one of many pandemic mysteries I think about. For instance, a recent poll showed only 48% of Republicans want to take the vaccine, but 58% want to stockpile it and not give it to other countries. This is a really interesting set of stats.

It means that there’s a percentage of Republicans who actually want the vaccine, even though they say they don’t want to take it. Because you don’t need to stockpile something you don’t ever want to use. I think this stat is a hopeful thing for US vaccination rates. It means the real problem is getting Reps to understand the longer you don’t take a vaccine, the more the virus has a chance to mutate. And then the vax you stockpiled might have no efficacy. It’s a true case of use it (now) or lose it (forever).

What If You Jump Out Of A Plane Without A Parachute?
It’s jump now, with a vax-chute, or …

Not getting and not using the vaccine, just stockpiling, is the worst possible choice for you and the world. The virus can only be stopped, and stopped from mutating, by getting as many people taking the vaccine now, while the vaccine works. I hope the “Stockpile” anti-vax Republicans can be enlightened. It will not only help them, it will help the whole country, and the whole world. As for 52% that say they never want the vaccine? If you really don’t want your vaccine, that your taxes paid for, it should be given to other around the world that do, right now. Then your sickness or death won’t be totally in vain.

In news from the North, this week the SO booked his covid vax appt. It’s happening! He said he’s getting the AZ Covishield, same has his parents. I thought he’d be getting Pfizer or Moderna, but apparently that’s not the way things turned out. It’s all based on supply in Canada. Canada is not a country that manufactures vaccine. They’re completely dependent on other nations making vaccines and shipping them to Canada. Problems arise when the manufacturing countries have new virus surges and decided not ship but use it at home. Capitalism, epic fail.

Anyway, the So said he’d rather have what his parents got since they had no problems with it. I can understand that. I’m just so happy he’s getting something. That his odds of serious illness and death are going to be reduced to virtually nothing. I try to temper that happiness though. BC is in the midst of a third surge, restrictions are coming back. And I understand their concerns and panic, at the same time, it’s a bit hard. Their surge is 47 cases per 100K. California is opening up and considered a national US success story with a mere 43 cases per 100K.

Is the glass half empty or half full? - Wikipedia
Half full or half empty? Hard to tell

It’s a mystery how I’m supposed to respond anymore. I guess it’s good that the SO is no longer worried about me, since his situation is “worse” relatively speaking? I should be worried for him, and I am, but…I’m kind of not. The Canadians are doing a way better job of disease management now because they did so from the start. The US lost a full year. I know the Canadians will continue use science to work through the issues. They’re all over the clot problem. And while they may have some hiccups along the way, like unseasonably warm weather sending everyone outside, they’ll do way better than the US overall. As they’ve been doing from the start.

One of the other mysteries of the pandemic I’ve been thinking about is, why, if we’ve lost 560K to covid, allowing 65K refugees into the US this year is a problem. Just to get back to where we were before the current Republican mass murder spree started last year, we’d have to allow 140K immigrants and refugees in a year, for the next 5 years. I know Republicans have a thing about “replacement” but they did effectively kill off old American citizens and create this perfect void for new American citizens to fill. Just saying.

And speaking of replacement, I feel the need to remind people that this isn’t a concept that started with Republicans. It’s been a part of the Christian church from the start. And it’s still pervasive. Have a look at this April 7th press release. The upshot is women are just wombs that belong to men, and children always grow up to be whatever faith their father want them to be. Eye roll. This is modern Catholic thought. And it’s totally at odds with Jesus’s teachings. The church grows when we live as Christ did and share the faith with adult others, who then themselves might value and wish to live Christ’s teachings.

Quoll Farm, you need to see it. Wonderful!

Other pandemic mysteries I though of this week, while the neighbors put on a new roof and banging of hammers and thwacking of nail guns was incessant from 7am to 5pm every day? Why are there never any cat food tins in the shops? Not even in PetCo? It’s been harder to get wet cat food than wipes, TP, or paper towels. And I have no idea what’s going on. How many cat adoptions have happened this past year?

Minka is very much over Fancy Feast kitten food, which is all I can find. She now spends most days hunting bunnies, mice, squirrels and alligator lizards. By hunt I mean sits and looks at. She’s an ambush style hunter. But she refuses to sit under a bush. It’s embarrassing. Speaking of mice though, the Universe was right. There were only 42 mice in Gran’s garage. The scratching sound I heard last week was an alligator lizard going after the spiders. Black widows and brown recluses are common here, so, I’m okay with it.

Less ok? The crows have taken to leaving parts of alligator lizards, and bread from the High School, to soak in the bird baths. The collared doves have started harassing the crows over their water polluting way. But it’s not really a problem I have to fix. Horus and Harriet love eating collared doves. So, invasive species, collared doves, get picked off. Native species, Cooper’s hawks, are sustained, and / or return, mourning doves coming back. Natural balance is restored.

Earth Day is every day here, and always very down to earth.

For my final mystery, that I’ve been thinking about for more than a year. I’m going to talk about the George Floyd case. Not the Derrick Chauvin case that just wrapped up with a just conclusion. The actual involving Mr Floyd closed with Mr Floyd’s murder, so I was left with questions. I don’t know what came up in the news or the trial about the precipitating events. Once I saw another innocent Black American murdered in front of a cloud of witnesses, what more was there to say? I supported the prosecution, but I didn’t watch the trial.

As for the news? I can’t say the precipitating events got covered that much. The national conversation quickly became about policing in America, as it should have long ago. It became about the murder, and about simply existing in America as a Black citizen. And I totally get that. So, I’m admitting, the following thoughts are based on how I understand the precipitating event case facts, and if I’m wrong in any point about anything that happened, I apologize.

My understanding is Mr Floyd and his girlfriend went into a local convince store, Cup Foods. Mr Floyd attempted to purchase something(s), but the clerk at the register noticed the bill Mr Floyd presented was a fake (aka a counterfeit) $20. I’m going to his pause here. Because this is where first things go off the rails for me. I don’t use money very often. I wouldn’t know a fake $20 if I was handed it. Would you? It really upsets me that Mr Floyd was immediately considered a perpetrator by the clerk.

Biden Administration to Expedite New Tubman $20
The $20 Tubman. It’s time people.

As a white person, I’d expect to be told by a clerk, “Hey, that bill is fake. You should call the police and tell them where you got it.” I would be seen as a victim. I know this because as a white person, who worked retail, and used to have to identify fake bills back in the day, that’s exactly what I did when a customer per chance presented one. The presumption was always that the person was a victim themselves, not a perpetrator.

Ok, unpause. My understanding is that the clerk was told by his boss that if he took a counterfeit bill, it would come out of his paycheck. And, lest we forget, minimum wage in Minnesota is $8.15 an hour. So if the clerk takes a fake $20, it takes him 2.5 hrs of work to “repay” his boss. I’m sorry, why does this Cup Food’s boss assume his clerk is part of some criminal conspiracy to take fake cash? Um, sorry, that sounds totally illegal. Neither I, nor any of my fellow employees, was ever docked for accidentally taking a bad bill.

Ok, after Mr Floyd leaves the store, the store owner requires the clerk to call the police, and then leave the store to follow Mr Floyd. In what world is an employee required to do that? I’m sorry but again, it seems totally illegal to ask an employee to follow and / or attempt to detain a person suspected of anything. I wouldn’t ask someone to do that. What the @?

Signpost with four arrows - lost concept (puzzled, confused, unsure, lost).  Stock Illustration | Adobe Stock
I am … where?

And let’s repeat Mr Floyd was suspected of attempting to pass a single fake bill. No bill was actually passed. The clerk stopped him. There was no way for anyone to know if Mr Floyd was anything but a victim of being passed a bad bill himself. Weirdly, the one statement I read, from the MPD, said the crime Mr Floyd was suspected of was forgery. That’s with checks. Using counterfeit money is a totally different crime, I thought.

There just seems to be a series of actions (that don’t seem to be legal actions, but do seem to be racially biased) by the store management that leads up to the arrival of the MPD. Once the police arrive, apparently they are told Mr Floyd was outside sitting on his car hood. So, he’s not fleeing the scene in anyway. When the police go out, they find Mr Floyd in his car. Nothing wrong with a citizen sitting in his car.

But I’m going to take another pause here. Is there some huge counterfeit ring operating in Minneapolis? That this is such a priority? Is there a US Dept of Treasury taskforce there that’s been actively tracing violent counterfeiters? I’m guessing not. So why is this one bill, that never even made it across the store counter, such a big deal? Why are the MPD allowed to use violent force on a citizen for a call involving non-violent crime? In a case where the person being attacked by them is actually a probably victim and potentially a witness who could help them trace the funny money further back to its source?

Friends, family of man who died in MPD custody remember 'Big Floyd' | MPR  News
Justice for George Floyd. Delivered. Thank you, Darnella Fraizer.

Anyway, I’ve spent a year thinking about this. About how this would never have happened if Mr Floyd had been white. I know the trial of Mr Chauvin didn’t mention race. And that’s fine. Mr Chauvin was convicted. But there really can’t be any doubt that at every step, from the moment Mr Floyd entered the Cup Foods shop, his race was the reason this story began and ended as it did.

The future is coming. No one can escape it. But society doesn’t have to drag it’s old ills into that new day. There are solutions. We can create a better future for everyone. We can revolutionize life. We can set people free. There can be blue skies, for all people. I hope the US Senate (89% white) will make a start and pass the legislation our nation (40% POC) desperately needs if it ever hopes to have its better days.

An eyewitness is just a bystander who speaks up. Be a witness in life.
This entry was posted on April 23, 2021.

Up, Up and Away

Appearance - Cooper's Hawk - Accipiter cooperii - Birds of the World
Cooper’s Hawk, Birds of the World.

This week on Days of Squirrel Lives… things got a little tense. Horus, son of Harriet, has come of age. He dropped through the yard, on awkward wing, and made a play for Selma, daughter of Squirrleen, sister of Septimus, Sirius, Squirt, and Sandy. Selma ducked with a “What the what?” look on her face then went on eating. Horus landed on a pepper tree branch so badly he nearly fell off.

Cooper’s Hawks mainly eat small birds. I felt the need to remind of him that by walking out there and giving him the stink eye till he got the message and flew off. Granted I’d be upset about the small birds too, but far less so. Unless he nicked a lark sparrow. A few of them have decided to stay on apparently. Horus was punching above his adolescent weight trying for a small squirrel. He likely would have been hurt. Selma is one tough little cookie.

The next day, I looked out to see Horus flapping awkwardly in a tangle of branches, possibly with something in his talons, but I couldn’t see for the fence covering his lower body. Corwin, son of Corva, was there less than a foot away shrieking at him. The crows guard the yard from the hawks and coyotes, and have a symbiotic relationship with the squirrels (a portion of whose food they eat in return for protection services – it’s very mobbed up). Brothers Corrigan and Cormac then flew in and the 3 of them harried Horus away.

Amazon.com: Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy Movie Poster Don't Panic 24x36:  Prints: Posters & Prints
HG2G, all the Fun facts.

The yard was very quite and small bird and squirrel free that day. I later saw Corwin at the bird bath, soaking and then swallowing a leg of something. I was worried it was a squirrel. But the following day, a quick head count suggested not a squirrel. I’m guessing maybe one of the 40 mice. The mouse removal is up to 42. It went quite for days after that. I thought maybe the HG2G was right, 42 was the ultimate answer. But yesterday I heard 43 scrambling about in the garage, so the mouse hunt continues.

In vaccine news, my Da got his second Pfizer shot. 16 hrs later he started to have symptoms. The headache, eye pain, and nausea lasted the longest. He was still having those 48 hrs after the shot. I’m hoping his strong immune response bodes well for him on the protection scale. Mutti, interestingly enough, had no reaction to her first shot till this week. On day 8, she developed itchiness at the injection site. On day 9 she woke up with a large red crescent shape rash around part of the injection site. It was gone by Day 10.

In vaccine news of the north, the SO told me he looked into it and I have to still do the covid tests and 14 day quarantine, even if I’m fully vaxed when I go home. I’m fine with that. His parents get their second AZ dose in 3 or 4 months. So I guess that’s good. They can go back to Netherlands fully vaxed in the Fall, which makes their flight less scary. The SO can register to get notified for an appointment on Monday. Yippee. He’ll be getting Pfizer or Moderna, because in BC, AZ is for 55+ age groups only.

Bhutan what tourists need to know: Six Senses luxury hotel | escape.com.au
Definitely an “on the button” destination.

In BC, they have a system where you register once your age eligible, then you get notified by text, email or phone call that you can make an appointment, then you make an appointment. I think it’s a good system. But it does overlook people who are homeless or don’t have tech access, or phone access. The same sort of problems we ran into in California really. You have to at some point take the vax to the people if you want to reach everyone.

By the way kudos to Bhutan! 93% of adults vaxed in 2 weeks! Amazing. And by the way, they used AZ vaccine (called Covishield, made in India) for everyone. I really think the US should just release all its AZ stock to the nations that want it. Biden already said the US has enough Pfizer and Moderna to take care of everyone. Why horde AZ? Or J&J. If the US doesn’t want to use them, send them to places that do. It’s literally crazy not to do so. It’s in the US’s interest to get the world vaxed as fast as possible.

La Mere pointed out to me this week that they actually make part of the J&J vax in the Netherlands. Since AZ and J&J, which are the same kind of vaccines, I think there was some national pride involved in her and Le Pape getting the AZ vax. It was their way of saying “Hey, our country makes a safe, quality product and I’m taking it just to prove it.” I of course agreed. They are both safe, quality products. Nevertheless, I explained I was limited to getting Pfizer or Moderna now.

Detail from View of Delft by Johannes Vermeer
Vermeer’s View of Delft. Dated per a Texas astronomer.

This week on Weds, one of Gran’s “young” friends (she’s 78), called in a panic. Her caregiver had a family emergency. Gloria was due to have Joan take her to get her vax shot but now had no one to take her. Gloria was among the vax hesitant. But the “older” ladies of her Mahjong circle said they were restarting their game, in person, and if she wasn’t fully vaxed, like they all were, she couldn’t come back. They’d replace her till she could get vaxed. Yikes!

Thus motivated, Gloria had signed up. She asked Gran if she could borrow me, and Gran’s wheelchair. Gloria broke her tibia last month and was on a walker. It was difficult getting around. So off I went that afternoon to madame whisk her to the pharmacy. When we got there, turned out Gloria was the last appointment of the day. The store was deserted. The pharmacist looked at me and said “We have Pfizer vaccine leftover. You want a Pfizer shot?” I said “You bet.” Thus it was, one day ahead of being eligible to sign up, I got a shot! And then she booked me to get a 2nd. So, thanks Gloria!

I video called the SO, and said “Guess what?” He looked concerned. I don’t generally video call him during business hours because I know he’s working. I quick showed him my band-aided shoulder. At which point, he McConaugheyd me. There was a long pause, he leaned back a little, and drawled, “Well, alright, alright, alright.” That’s his way of not flipping out like a 3-year-old on a sugar high and looking “un-cool.” Of course when his Texas drawl is more Delft than Dallas, I can tell his excitement level is super high. He went straight to the fridge and pulled out a champagne bottle.

It was good day.

Chaos at the Heart of Orion | NASA
Chaos at the Heart of Orion. NASA photo.

Alright, last week I was on about how keeping one’s eyes on the big pillars of your government (like, equality) make it easier to sort out lesser issues (like, health care). If you didn’t get that from last week, sorry. This week I was thinking of that same thing but on the personal level (as well as about the BOSS Great Wall, but that’s for another day). The secret to keeping your personal head stable (while others are losing theirs) is the same: focus on your topline values. Who you are at the core of your being.

One of Gran’s neighbors said to me this week, “Oh, we’re finally getting to stuff we put off because of ….” It was “I’ll deal with it after the crisis” thinking. And there’s definitely a place for that in life. Someone gets sick, you have to exist in that “will they, won’t they” period. But a natural world crisis is a short-term thing. You’re a zebra. You see a lion. So, you run. You can’t run forever. You’ll die of exhaustion, or starvation. It’s not how you were designed.

Humans have turned crisis into a day-in day-out multi-decade endless state. Politics, business, many religions. It’s just crisis mode all the time. And while some crises exist in the world, there’s a world of influencers telling people the wrong clothes, or hair, or car, or job, or whatever is a crisis. People stop thinking – for themselves. People forget who they, as individuals, are and what they, as individuals, need or want. This is dangerous. This is substituting surrender to external “fate” (what turns up in your feed) which kills motivation for self-directed autonomous thought and action that moves you along your path.

Viggo Mortensen's Advice to Young Aragorn Actor | IndieWire
You may see a peasant. Aragorn knows different.

Ultimately, you need to be who you truly are. You can’t be anyone else. It’s not that people can’t change, grow, become. People have a child. They become who they are – as a parent. But they are their own version of a parent. They stay true to themselves. They find their way. And I don’t say that lightly or that it’s easy. It’s just, life isn’t always easy to begin with. Why make it even harder? If you lose yourself, you lose your way. Strider wandered, but he was never lost. Because he knew who he was.

A lot of people right now feel lost. But I think it’s a case know thyself, and returning to who you are to get going again. Recognizing that life isn’t supposed to be continually putting out fires, is a good first step. Now and then lives get burned, sometimes to the ground. But you can recover. On the other hand, sometimes there are fire starters in our lives. They keep burning us down. They live on your attention, that’s their oxygen. Just walk away. Who cares what they think. What’s important to you?

This week I spent some time revisiting Man’s Search for Meaning. It actually has a lot of interesting thing to say about dealing well with long-term uncertainty. What I came away with was something I already knew really, while I can’t control everything around me, I can still control me. And this is always true. Daunting though it seems, you can always be you. You can rise to any moment, by simply holding true to who you are, to what you value. You being you can give you a surprisingly high tolerance for external chaos. And it can help you unlock a lot of your hidden potential to meet those challenges that fate may bring your way as you walk your path in life.

I think Mel Weitsman, a Zen teacher, had some good advice as well,

From this small corner of the circular world, let us set an example for those around us. Please remember to make the best of this present situation and don’t get caught wondering when it will be over. The characteristic of our practice is to find our uprightness in our present topsy-turvy situation, moment by moment. If you find your balance in this moment, you can find it in the next. As Adam said to Buddha, “Here am I.”

Sojun Roshi, of the SF Zen Center. (italics added by me)

No one can find your uprightness for you. No one can find your balance for you. It’s in you. You alone can find it. You can find it in this moment. You can find it in the next. You decide the level of importance you give things or people or whatever in your life. You decide if you want to live your life for your reasons, or fake live someone else’s life for their reasons. Mentally detoxing other’s thoughts, beliefs, politics, concerns, woes, goals, etc might be a helpful first step in rediscovering who you are.

Most people have a clue who they are, deep down. What they think, deep down. What path they want to take. They might be afraid to be or express or follow who they are. But it’s actually the easier path, the more productive and satisfying one. We waste a lot of time, energy, and resources trying to be people were aren’t. It’s draining. And in the end, it’s unhelpful. As much as you need to be the real you, the world needs you to be real you more. You’re unique. You have something unique to contribute. Pick that wonderful self up, dust that set-on-the-shelf self off, and start being you all over again.

This Friday morning SO’s love song was decidedly upbeat. Of his many worries, my wandering about in California’s covid hotspots has been the worst. I understand. It’s a terrible uncertainty he chose to live with, for my sake. Now I’ve been vaxed, he feels relieved. I feel just the same. I don’t think the chaos or uncertainty bothered me as much. Death in Tehran thinking? Maybe.

Well, whatever. Hot air ballooning is now definitely on my list of things to do this summer. Binos will be polished. Champers will be chilled. Not sure I can fondue using balloon burners, but…. I’ll figure it out, once I’m up there. Nothing is more thrilling than living, loving or learning on the fly.

This entry was posted on April 16, 2021.

Vax Populi, extra edition

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Read all about it!

Given the whole Johnson & Johnson pause in the US, I felt an extra edition was required this week. I love the US. But I know we don’t always pay much attention to the rest of the world. Sometimes it’s as if it didn’t happen here first, it never happened at all. It’s a bit crackers. Anyway, here’s a short worldview on the vax pause, which you may not realise is out there, that may help you.

There are 2 types of Covid vax. The m-RNA type, which is Pfizer and Moderna (2 doses of 0.5ml each). And the modified adenovirus type, which is AstraZeneca (2 doses of 0.5ml each) and Johnson & Johnson (1 dose, 0.3ml). The adeonvirus type can, in extremely rare cases, cause blood clots that can lead to death.

The rest of the world has been using AZ (and other adenovirus types vaxes). And the rest of the world noticed the blood clot issue, before J&J was really up and going and released in the US. So, yes, the CDC could have reasonably, logically assumed there might be a similar blood clot problem with the J&J once there was wider release. I assumed that and I’m not even a scientist.

The COVID vaccine challenges that lie ahead
Risk v Benefit

Keep in mind, it’s a risk vs benefits scenario though. It’s an Emergency Use Authorization based on the deadly, fast-moving, worldwide pandemic. So, right to release J&J in the US? Yes. Right to watch for blood clots? Yes. Should the CDC have warned doctors and people getting J&J about the clot signs of symptoms before releasing J&J? Yes, just in case. It could have saved lives.

Other nations who use the AZ hit pause, re-evaluted and decided to give this type of vax to people over 50. In Canada, you can get this vax if you’re over 50, otherwise it’s Pfizer or Moderna. I expect the US CDC to do the same. Could the US CDC have done this beforehand? Yep. Why didn’t the CDC do this? I’m guessing, again, Public Health Emergency, they weren’t sure J&J might do this, and maybe they didn’t want unnecessarily to put off those willing to get a shot, but only 1 shot.

Anyway, there is a possible upside to all this. There was a pharmacist accident abroad with the AZ vax, wherein a group of people only got 1/2 a dose, or 0.25ml, instead of a full dose of AZ. Turns out, those folks had less symptoms and higher rates of vax effectiveness. There is some supposition that the AZ vax is actually too strong and that’s what causes the rare incidence of clot problem as well as the lower effectiveness for preventing mild and moderate illness.

COVID-19 Vaccines | RealTime Labs
Know your vaccines.

They are are now conducting a study to see if using 1/2 doses of AZ is actually a better way to vax people. If it turns out to be so, that automatically improves safety (everyone could get it without fear of clots) and the world’s supply of AZ vaccine would double overnight. Good News, indeed. But what might this mean for J&J? It could mean the answer there is as simple as cutting the dose in 1/2 and making it a 2-dose vaccine.

If I were the CDC, I’d be trialing 2 J&J does of 0.15ml each. Maybe 28 days apart. I’d be starting that trial now, today. It wouldn’t double the world supply of J&J, but it could improve safety and allow expanded use, which would be a huge win for the world. And it could also really up the effectiveness against mild to moderate covid infections. And that would be a huge win for the world.

The AZ and J&J vaxes are great, wonderful things. They keep people out of hospital. They keep us out of hospital debt. They keep us alive. Yes, there’s a small chance someone could get infected with covid and experience a moderate sickness. But it’s not going to be a life-threatening sickness. That’s the choice here. Life and death. That’s why these very safe, very useful vaxes were approved for emergency use in a worldwide pandemic.

Comparing Vaccines, From Healthy Debate, Canada. Worth reading.

Would I get the AZ or J&J? If that’s all my country offered, yes I would. If I were in charge of a country, would I approve them for use? Yes in heart beat. I would also offer them to people over 18, with a sheet telling them about the clot signs and symptoms. If people want to choose that vaccine, after being informed of the very small risk and what to do if they have symptoms, I’m ok with that.

But like I said, I think the CDC will just do the 50+ as Canada and other nations are doing. And that’s great too. Lots of people over 50 still need a vaccine. And if J&J 1 dose is what they want, is all they will take, sure…give it to them. Please, just get yourself vaxed populi. Let’s stick it to Covid any way we can.

Ok. That’s all folks.

That's all, folks
This entry was posted on April 14, 2021.

Right Place, Wrong Time

Well known, in grey areas. Not for Grey Aliens. The SO denies all knowledge.

It’s probably an ethical grey zone, but I’ve been running genetic experiments on my family. I keep a spreadsheet of who got what type of vaccine and what their reactions were. Since I have extended family spread out across the world, I feel like I can learn about our gene pool and use that info to help me make the best decision about which vaccine I want when my time comes.

Mutti had her 1st Pfizer shot Monday, no reactions other than a mild soreness about 10hrs after, which went away after an hour. Da had the same shot with mild soreness and then muscle spasms in his arm for 16 hours. I attribute the spasms to the shot hitting in his muscle awkwardly, not the vaccine. Gran had Moderna and got covid arm. Not a big deal, it’s common because the Moderna first dose is so high. Pfizer is the winner so far. It’s what I’ll make an appointment to get next week when I become eligible.

In California, you get to pick which vaccine type you want. Most places, you can’t do that. I think having a choice of vaccines actually helps. I think more Californians decided to get vaccinated because they could decide what they put in their bodies. It gives people a feeling of control. Which is true, they do have control. But it’s also illusory to some extent. The choice is high risk of death from covid vs 100% no risk of death with any type vaccine. But, hey, whatever gets people to get vaxed? I’m for it.

The Significant Other’s parents got the AstraZeneca vaccine this week. It’s what the EU was using, but stopped over blood clot concerns. It’s what Canada has been and still uses. I’d get it, personally. I asked them if they had concerns. They said “Only not to be vaccinated.” They were happy they could get it. Had they still been in the Netherlands, where the govt shut AZ vaxing down, they think they’d still be unvaxed.

I can’t wait for the SO to get it. Neither can he. BC is getting hit with a third wave, driven largely by being hit with 3 variants (Brasil, UK, and So Africa) arriving at the same time, and slightly relaxed rules. They’re being advised to stay at home once again. The growth rate is exponential. Despite Canadians doing the really hard work of following prevention measures. It’s not like it’s Florida or Michigan. The SO said absolutely don’t come home until I’m fully vaccinated. He’s hoping in 7 weeks it’ll be better there. But I’m going home, once vaxed, better or not. Period.

I wish Pres. Biden would release all the US-held AZ vaccines to Canada and Mexico, where they’ve already approved the AZ vax for use. Those folks both really need and want those doses. They can use them today. When our border partner countries are safer, the US is safer. If you want to stop variant spread and new variant developments hitting the US, stopping this kind of 3-card monte toxic stew in the north would be a good way to do it. (If you want more info on this, @TrevorTombe)

No one likes to talk about it, but with all 3 of the world’s most powerful variants partying together….a 4th super-variant might well be born. No one wants that. Already we’re seeing people who had original, wild covid, get covid second time because the new variants can elude the original wild covid immune response. Vaccinated people will not be hit as hard. But if you thought “Oh I had covid already, I’m gonna be fine vaxed or not.” My answer is this “No, honey. You’re not gonna be fine.”

Take the help you’re offered. Get the vaccine.

I think it’s interesting to see how the virus mutates. As it’s blocked off by vaccine from older victims, it’s becoming more refined to easily target younger ones. But also, as it gets blocked, it simultaneously finds ways to go around those blocks. The longer this virus goes on, in the whole world, the more years were all going to spend having to get booster shots — and watching people die. It’s super scary when you understand the basic science.

I worry about So Cal getting hit again because the LA film industry does a lot of back and forth to shoot shows in Vancouver. I think we’re more protected because we’re more vaccinated and vaccinating at a record pace. But there’s lots of people who are still waiting for their turn to get a vaccine. And of course, there’s the hesitant. I had an hour long conversation with an elderly neighbor of Gran’s who isn’t getting the vaccine because her children don’t think she should get it.

I didn’t try to persuade her. I just laid out the position she was in. Her husband was frail with health issues and already vaccinated. She wasn’t so she could get it and die, and he’d be alone. If she needed in-home care for him, she’d be relying on those folks coming into her home to be vaccinated and not infect her. She’d already had bronchitis every year for years. So she was vulnerable to lung diseases. And on top of all that, she was going to be banned from seeing her friends in the nursing home because they require visitors be vaxed.

The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten 1906 Ready to pounce Poster Print by Oliver  Herford (24 x 36) - Walmart.com - Walmart.com
I see you seeing me. From the Persian Kitten Rubaiyat.

I left it at, “Even if you make an appointment for a week from now, you can cancel it on the day if you decide you don’t want to get the vaccine then.” It was all I could do. When I went back inside and told Gran, she just sighed and said, “You can lead a horse to water.” What was really sad, was it was her children visiting that gave her husband covid. Some of her children are vaccinated –because they work as RNs and are required to be. They live in HI, an island in the middle of nowhere, that has 100% control over their borders and covid. And they’re telling her not to get vaccinated. Really?

I shouldn’t be surprised I guess. A lot of Americans these days don’t really operate with a full deck of logic. Not trying to be mean here. It’s just I’ve noticed more and more that Americans have become excessively reactive and emotional these days, way more so than in times past. We used to think deeply about things. We used to be creative thinkers and problem solvers. American ingenuity. American gumption. Now? Not so much.

Everyday, I see people do irrational stuff. Not just personally, but writ large in the public sphere. I mean what rational person spends $3 million to try and recall a governor who has done a great job managing the state through a once in a 100 yrs pandemic? It’s crackers. And the people doing the recall accuse the governor of mismanagement. Really? It’s going to cost the state $120m to run a pointless special election. That’s money that could have gone into helping people, businesses and schools get back to normal. That’s mismanagement. That’s you taking money out of the public purse.

A rational person would just wait till the 2022 election. They wouldn’t force an election in Nov 2021. Talk about stupid. And you want me to vote for you? Oh…. not you? But a GOP candidate you support. And the candidate you want to run for the job in place of our tried and true Governor? A TV personality, and political know-nothing with a degree in PE, you say? MS Caitlyn Jenner, who is being supported by Trump’s wife-beater buddy Brad Parscale? I gotta say, the only thing I’m recalling here is why the GOP stopped being a viable rational political party.

I’d vote for an octopus. They are as smart as the highest 1% of creatures of the earth. Don’t eat them.

So much of American civil life these days is tainted by irrational even hysterical thinking. Consider the trial of Derek Chauvin. There’s only one question here, and it’s scientifically verifiable. How long does it take to put a healthy person of Mr Floyd’s size into a life-threatening state (when being sat upon by 2 large men, and a third man putting his body weight on his knee on the healthy person’s windpipe and carotid artery)? I’m not being flippant here. This is a fact you know via a safe, controlled, medically monitored science experiment.

If Mr Chauvin’s position is anyone in good health could have survived, then Mr Chauvin should be allowed to lay on the ground and be sat upon and have a knee placed on his windpipe to prove it. Me personally, if I was hinging my defense on that kind of thing, I’d throw myself on the ground and let the science begin. I’d want to show that scientific proof that backs me up. Not conjecture. But no one is doing that. No one is even attempting to do that. It’s all he said, he said. And it’s not that helpful.

Why testify that this is deadly force and leave it open to anyone’s opinion (even an expert’s) when you can safely scientifically prove it was deadly force? And after that is sorted, then you can have the discussion about intent. Manslaughter, accidental no intent to kill. Negligent homicide, where actions could reasonably be construed to cause death. Or actual homicide, with intent to kill. Personally, when the optics of the situation are most easily compared to a 19th-century safari hunt picture, and multiple bystanders are repeatedly begging the accused to stop his irrational, inhumane, homicidal actions, I think this is a homicide.

I see this kind of irrational hysteria in the new Georgia election laws. It’s not a question of suppression or expansion. It’s a question of equality. Either all voters are being treated equally, or they are not. If absentee voting, or Sunday voting, or early voting, or ID law disproportionally affect a group of voters ability to vote, that’s not equality in voting. It’s also a math equality question. Per every 1K voters, how many polling places? how many ballot drop boxes? how many polling place staff? how many polling place machines? how many feet of space venue? how accessible? how many minutes wait? how many miles from the furthest voter residence in a precinct to a polling place?

This applies to other things too. For instance, abortion laws. It’s not about pro or anti. It’s about equality. The laws says you can’t discriminate against women or people that are pregnant. But in fact, laws that make a common medical procedure (abortion) difficult to access for women, who are pregnant, is a double case of discrimination. These laws harm a 2 protected classes, women and the pregnant. They deny equal access to reasonable safe medically approved health care on the sole basis of them being women and pregnant.

Suppose the law made it so there was only one place a man could get a prostate removal in a state. Even though it’s a common medical procedure. But suddenly he had to cross through picket lines, and then have counseling, and then an ultrasound so he could see his prostate. It all sounds ridiculous. But that’s the equivalent. If only men with prostate issues were subject to these laws, it would be creating a class that was discriminated against with respect to obtaining healthcare. The same thing goes for these anti gender-affirming care laws. These laws create a class of people being discriminated against, preventing them access to common reasonable safe medical care.

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Ok? or Not Okay?

And the kicker is, every day, Christians turn down vaccines because of “aborted fetal tissue.” And that’s ok. They’re allowed to reject safe, reasonable, medically approved health care and take less safe, less reasonable, alternative care, just because it doesn’t coincide with their personal beliefs. So, some personal beliefs are okay to take into medical consideration, but other personal beliefs are not. That’s discrimination. And in the case of children seeking gender-affirming care, it’s even worse because the children didn’t even get to choose their belief the way Christians (and other faiths) get to choose their beliefs.

Children are assigned a gender at birth. They have no say over that. The state does that. A nurse or doctor writes it on a birth certificate, for the state. But the child, whose body and life it is, has no say in that process. Every day we let people choose everything, what they eate, wear, read, do, think. It’s a fundamentally American freedom. People of all ages get to do it. Even in a divorce, children are asked which parent they’d prefer to live with. But somehow children aren’t asked what gender they are? They aren’t allowed to express the gender they believe they are? And be treated accordingly?

Like I said, it’s irrational, and it strikes at a pillar of our democracy, equality. And speaking of democracy… Burma. People keep saying Burma is a democracy. And it’s tragic what is happening there. Tragic? Yes. Democracy? No. It was a military dictatorship, it became a Buddhist dictatorship, with multiple levels of citizenship. But let us never forget, it kicked the Muslim Rohingya to the curb. It denied their citizenship. It burned them off their lands. It killed them, murdered them, raped them. And as the Burmese military did this, the Burmese Buddhists in govt, including Aung San Suu Kyi, were totally fine with it.

But now that the military has turned on the Buddhists? And the Buddhists are going through what the Rohingya have endured?

Would it really be so bad that the “pro-democracy” folks that cheered on killing the Rohingya end up in the same refugee camps with those Rohingya they tormented? Maybe the “pro-democracy” group needs to actually learn what real democracy is? Democracy is unifying the people of your country. All the people. Not just those you like or share a religion with. Maybe they could start by asking the Rohingya for help fighting back the military, and promise to restore their lands and citizenship and then compensate them once they have Burma back?

The idea that the US or the UN should help one dictatorship over another is kind of nuts. When I look back at how the US saved the “good Germans” from Hitler’s Nazis, while all the while managing to overlook the sufferings, loss of property, etc the Jewish people who fled rather than be murdered by those Germans … like still to this day. (I can say this stuff, being half German.) I think it’s important the US not to keep making the same mistakes.

Save Burma’s Buddhist “pro-democracy” dictatorship from it’s own military dictatorship? Okay, but what’s Burma going to do for the Rohingya once they have Burma again? To me it’s all the same problem, history repeating. I’d rather save the Rohingya. Rationally speaking, we were blessed in saving the Jews we did during WWII. But we all know, we should have save more. We should have opened our doors. I think we should learn from that mistake too, and open doors for the Rohingya. It’s the rational thing to do in the situation.

A Road Sign With Good Choice Bad Choice Words On Sky Background Stock  Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 29996584.
Making the same mistake repeatedly is a bad choice.

Ok, on to far less important matters. The mouse removal topped out at 40. I still have a trap set up, to catch any stragglers, but I think I may have achieved victory there. On the other hand, I failed to notice 40 mice. I may be delusional about the victory.

The lilacs are about to bloom. They missed Easter but I don’t mind. A sprig of fragrant lilac in a vase makes for the definition of spring, even as we go into yet another drought. Also the cherry blossom trees will bloom in a week or two. So, for now, the world is green with life. It is enough.

I spent my poetry week reading Tagore, Rumi, Hafiz, Khayyam, and the 1904 Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten written and illustrated by Oliver Herford. Since I’ve got that part of the world covered for now, I’ll be I’m moving on to female poets of Africa and So America next week.

My Bender bender at Easter got replaced with March Madness – of the Canadian kind. It’s time for the 2021 World’s Curling Championships (men’s division). Going on in Calgary right now. They mostly just show the US team games on US TV, and they typically don’t play well. They quite playing Canada after 3 ends (it was 10-1). They didn’t even stick it out and play to the finish. Ugh. Awful. But I do get to see the top-flight Canadian, Swedish, and Swiss teams too sometimes. And Youtube has all the games. The women’s WCC games start April 30, so… Good News, everyone!

Obviously last week I was a little ragged, so I blipped on a couple things pertaining to Resident Alien. Skip over this section if you want to avoid potential spoilers. One of the most fascinating things you’ll never hear talked about is how much the RA’s obsessional behavior around food, and scuttling toward/away from others, is actually quite octopus-like. If you watch the series, and you’re looking for an excuse to re-watch episodes. I invite you to watch a few PBS documentaries on octopus and then check out RA.

I’ll also mention that the finale episode implies that the RA could actually get stuck being human eventually. And therefore subject to human vicissitudes, such as the common cold. Maybe down the road, when the series ends, there’s a choice to be made? One of the other things that struck me was the possibility of human mental break down. In a previous episode, the RA imaginarily talked to Dr Harry’s corpse, but only while in a state of drug and alcohol fueled delirium. This was not the case in the finale. No drugs. No alcohol.

I’m hard pressed to explain this beyond severe mental stress. In watching the RA cry for the first time, to experience deep emotions that were foreign to his race, his first rejection, abandonment, love all at once, was a bit like a mental breakdown. It may be also that molecular mimicry another gives one access to stronger memories stored in the molecularly mimicked brain. That seemed to be the case when Isabelle sang Nature Boy. But what’s the long-term effect of that? I can only guess.

Classic octopus behavior.

Anywho, I think I’m done for now. I’m certainly done with Resident Alien thoughts. You’re definitely up to speed on all my thoughts on current events. As always, you are free to reject my points of view. I’ll still like you and respect you. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to report I have a time and place for my 1st covid vax shot. Oh, glorious day! At last I’ll be – at least partially – out of the topsy-turvy pandemic constant state of feeling like I’m in the right place, at the wrong time and wonderin’ which way do I go, to get on outta here.

Thanks for the good medicine, Dr John.

This entry was posted on April 9, 2021.