Archive | May 2020

I’m a believer — in cheese and crackers

What to Do If You Find a Baby Rabbit in Your Yard

Stay alert, stay safe.

After hitting publish on last Friday’s post, there came a “series of unfortunate events.” I went to my Gran’s bedroom to check on her. She was still sleeping. But I found her cat — normally adorable, ineffectual as a hunter, and hopelessly fluffy between the ears. And the cat had a squirrel.

There had been a similar incident with a baby bunny a couple weeks back. But I thought, “It’s one off.” Maybe Minka had chased it and, being a very young bunny, it had a heart attack. After all, there was no blood.

But this time? Minka had clearly caught, killed, and dragged the bloody body of this baby squirrel to the foot of Gran’s bed — the bed on the butternut white carpet! This was her way of saying “Thanks for the great canned food the other day.” I think.

This Magnificently Fluffy Cat Looks Part Fox - Love Meow

Me? No. Do I look like I could even hurt a fly?


The squirrel, like the bunny before it, was a quick, pick up and run to the trash before Gran even saw it. But she saw me and asked. So I told her. She sighed and went back to sleep. But can you guess who remembered and was asked to shampoo the carpet later?

Later that day, as I was vacuuming, my spring daisy nose stud somehow fell out. I didn’t notice. I didn’t feel it. I just caught sight of myself in the mirror and realised. Holy crap! I was so upset, but I got it from a local shop. There was a search, but it’s only 3mm, so I gave up. It was okay, it’s easily replaced once I’m home.

Fortunately, because I change my stud seasonally, and Memorial Day was only a few days away, I had my simple summer aquamarine ready to go. And fortunately, I was able to get it in without much trouble despite the time lapse. A friend of mine kept losing hers and she every time she had to have her nose re-pierced. She did it three times.

Rock Your Nose, in BC, but on Etsy too.

Saturday morning, Minka brought home another dead thing, a baby ground squirrel. She’s a housecat with access only to the backyard and garage, but Gran’s yard is like a wildlife nursery. This time I found her, and it, on the patio. I had cleverly blocked the cat door. She was just starting to munch on the poor thing.

It was more than I could take. I gave her some canned food as a distraction, and removed the little body. I decided to up her canned food and also to re-mow the back lawn, this time to a much shorter level, so ever little creature could see there was a giant cat heading for them.

Courting Bengal Tiger in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve – Part one ...

Signs your grass may need cutting? Hidden tigers. Can you spot both of them?

That afternoon, I heard from the son of Gran’s nextdoor neighbors, via email, that one of his folks’ cats had disappeared. He asked me to keep an eye out for it. I was hoping it just got stuck in someone’s garage over the holiday weekend. It happens. But it was probably out in the evening and a coyote got him.

Minka was very upset. Minka and Teamo were friends. They had been for years. They had an ongoing kitty coffeeklatch, every morning, at the chainlink fence beneath the orange tree. The biggest danger there was a falling orange. Teamo was a wonderful, gentle, loving soul. I often talked to him when I saw him. He will be missed.

Normally, I’d go over and offer sympathy but you know…. covid. So I had to write a note, and put it in a sympathy card, and leave in their post box. And that sucked. The following morning, Sunday, Gran’s neighbors across the street, who have lived there probably 35 years, put up a for sale sign on their lawn. Again, normally I’d go over and talk to them, but you know … covid. Another note, in a card, in a post box.

I’m sorry but, “Suck it, Covid!”

My Gran was really upset about the neighbors who are moving. They all go to the same church. Or they did, back when there was church. But in the midst this revelation, my mother showed up. That was a good distraction. Until my mother said, “if they are moving, we really need to clean up the front landscaping so they get a better price. A good neighbor would do that.”

So I planned to jump on that Monday, but decided to do some data visualization instead, see Monday’s post. And then cleaning the fridge got thrown into the mix. That would have been enough for anyone, but that afternoon Gran had blood pressure episode of some kind. She has these now and then. It gets super high, like 220/102 high.

Mutti freaked. She’s not used to seeing Gran go through these episodes. I did my best to bring it down, but it was really stubbornly high and her meds make her heart rate go way down. So then there’s that. The sad part? I kept thinking, “Thank God she was here when it happened, and she couldn’t blame me for being a bad caregiver.”

Quality v. Quantity - Pickup Please

Laundry, the only thing you should ever hang out to dry.

I didn’t want to leave my mother hung out to dry. So I spent the next two days trying to get Gran back on track. And cleaning up the front landscaping, in hellish hot weather. I can’t say I got Gran back to where she was before the episode, her pressure was still on the high side and it was having an impact on her ability to think, but she was better and not dead. Gotta count that a win.

I was supposed to leave late Weds afternoon, I like twilight driving. But out of concern for Gran, and my mother’s ability to cope, I put it off to early Thursday morning. Probably a good thing. Gran was feeling a little better (she took CDB, yes edible marijuana, the previous night) and saw me off with smiles and hugs. My mother was more tears and hugs, but so was I. I have to admit that.

I spent the first couple miles sobbing. It was okay though. It was predawn. No one could see. By the time the sun was coming up, the tears were gone and I was facing a new day, a new dawn and feeling good. Because I knew I wouldn’t be back this way for a long time, I opted to take the coast road. It adds a lot of time, but I couldn’t see wasting my one chance at a long drive on traveling through the less attractive and hotter interior.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Mojo Recipe | Food Network Kitchen | Food ...

Awesome. But what’s the vegetarian option?

By the time I reached my parents house, it was lunch time. Da was out in the backyard, doing a bit of mahi-mahi grilling. He tried to play it cool when he saw me. But, he got weepy pretty quick. He claimed it was the smoke from the grill. Then he sprinted inside to get me a “surprise.”

The surprise turned out to be Hugo, a long time friend of the family. He and my father go hiking a lot. He also loves bird watching. And he’s super handy. Because of the pandemic, Hugo had lost his job and finally his place, because he was unable to make rent for June and his landlord actually needed that rent income to live on, so…he did the honorable thing.

Da was putting him up in the studio over the garage. But really, he was living in the house and sleeping in the studio. I almost asked if Mutti knew about Hugo’s guest status. From what I understood, Mutti left on Sunday morning and Hugo began moving in on Monday But I decided I didn’t want to know.

Hugo is super tidy as well as super handy, so if this is how Da keeps the place from turning into a hoarder’s paradise? Sure. Okay. That’s better for my mother. And Hugo’s got at least three months before she asks any questions.

10 books every gentleman should have on their coffee table ...

Saddest book choice ever, or very subtle pun?

I’d forgotten how much fun I have with my father. We share a love of coffee table books — not even sure people know what those are anymore. We can chat for hours about wilderness botany, or origami, or all sorts of fantastical things my mother would consider “ridiculous.”

And I’d forgotten how my Da swears in euphemisms aka minced oaths.  “Cheese and crackers” is a favorite. It’s his version of Jesus Christ. He’s also fond of Judas Priest, not the band. For crying out loud, another fav.  Jeeze, gosh, and sometimes Jiminy Cricket also make the cut. But Mother of God is a little too far for him. Sometimes he says God! …. but then adds after a pause, have mercy on my soul.

Electrical Banana - Masters of Psychedelic Art - Sci-Fi-O-Rama

If you’re going, go all the way. And like the poster says, Love Life!

That evening, we had a Throwback Thursday 1960s retro dance party in the backyard. Which was absurd, since there was only three of us. But Hugo and Da had already hung the patio lights and psychedelic streamers in my honor of my arrival. Plus, nehru jackets and hippie fashion? I’m in.

So there was dancing, and some reasonably bad karaoke.  For my finally, I went with a gender adjusted (using  him and Der) version of I’m a Believer.  I’m hoping there’s no recording. But there probably is. Da loves blackmail. You were probably thinking Der’s penchant for songs came from his side of the family, nope. Too much time with the Andersons. We can be a corrupting influence.

25 Types of Ranunculus Buttercup Flowers & Buttercup Meanings ...

Pretty but actually quite toxic.  Not sure the Foundations knew that.

Things ended with Hugo and Da singing a great “Build me up, Buttercup.” They both got some good pipes. Our neighbors, over the fence in their own yard, applauded. It was good night all around. And not once did I have to worry, about anything, but me. Which is not to say there wasn’t some worry happening.

Before we went to bed, Da said he’d really only feel I was safe once I was back up North. Wow, Da, I’m not even home a day and you want to get rid of me? He told me Der had called him that morning and “begged me not to let your better nature cause you to delay.”

“First of all,” I said, “I don’t believe I have a better nature. Second, Really? I‘ve traveled the globe, by myself. Third, breathing is a deadly risk these days. Safe is a relative term.”  Da gave me a wink, and replied, “I didn’t make him any promises.”

Behold A Jackalope Necklace The Incredible Handmade Little image 0

My jackalope came from Pucoon Raccoon, an Etsy shop.

When I went to bed, I actually just went to bed. I didn’t have to spend an hour getting Gran from her chair to her bed, and changing her depends, and making sure she had her light and bell. I could just… go to bed. As I flopped on my bed, I noticed a tiny gift box on my nightstand.

Inside, it held a silver jackalope on silk cord. When I was young we drove across the desert and I saw a jackalope. I told my parent and instantly Mutti said that impossible, there were no jackalopes. It was probably a jackrabbit with some bush behind it that looked like horns.

I let it drop, but at the next rest stop, while Mutti was powdering her nose, my Da asked for jackalope details.  I told my father I really did see a jackalope. There were no bushes around it. He said he believed me, but we probably shouldn’t tell my mother.

He said, “It’s alright to believe the impossible. Progress only happens in the world because some rare individual believes possible what everyone else has decided is impossible.”

My Da. He’s the best. A rare individual if ever there was one.

If only we could love people of all colors as we do birds and flowers of all colors.

This morning we all went for a hike and I saw a western bluebird. Yep, finding the bluebird of happiness, even in the most impossible of times, is possible.

Oh, love song of the week?

“Anything I want?” Man, you know I’m starting a list –and a live jackalope is right at the top.

This entry was posted on May 29, 2020.

That pot at the end of the rainbow better be weed.

Explainer: Rainbows, fogbows and their eerie cousins | Science ...

Even God likes color bar charts.

Below is a simple color-coded bar chart I made of the newspaper’s Covid data, printed on Memorial Day. It charts reported deaths and cases per 100k population in a state. The information I used to make this came from the LA Times. They have great, free, covid coverage. They update their data every day as states update their information, but the info isn’t sortable so it can be hard to see trends.

I created this to see if states with similar rates of reported deaths, would have similar rates of reported cases. When I finished, I realised at how out of range the cases color bar is compared to the deaths color bar (they should match on the whole). It’s made me question the accuracy of certain states reporting of deaths or cases. You can decide for yourself what you think.

MemDay Cases1MemDay Cases2


I’ve seen variable death rates reported across nations in Europe. Different nations can be in different phases. But variation between nations that fare really well and ones that fare poorly is not as wide as what I see here between the states.

Colorado, Mississsippi and Indiana are block. These are 3 different states, in different parts of the country, with entirely different socioeconomic make ups. The 3 states responded differently, took slightly different approaches. But the virus is the same everywhere. They report similar cases and deaths per 100k. It’s what you’d expect to see.

How do I explain South Dakota reporting 527.9/100K cases and only 5.8/100k deaths? Why aren’t they reporting 30/100k deaths? That’s what you’d expect given their case rate. That’s what other states with similar levels of infection are reporting.

Nebraska, is reporting 7.7/100K deaths with 637/100k cases. But other states with a similar level of cases/100K are reporting deaths of 37 to 40/100K. A little variation? Ok. That much? Color me skeptical.

It seems as though some states are under-reporting cases — high rate of deaths with low rate of cases. This may be attributable to states choosing not to test people or lacking test kits. Others seem to be under-reporting deaths — high rate of cases with low rate of deaths. This may be attributable to an inaccurate cause of death being put on death certificates.

I look at California and I see it’s green on the deaths bar and it’s with it’s green neighbors on the cases bar. It makes sense. I’m assuming this means reporting is fairly accurate. I don’t really know what’s going on in other states.

Maybe I’ll redo this experiment in a month to see what’s changed.

9 Tricks to Cleaning Your Fridge (and Keeping It Clean)

This is the rest of my day. What fun. Thanks, Mutti! I knew I missed something. 

This entry was posted on May 26, 2020.

A Daring Escape, Ready R-Naught

This week has been a lot of prepping for my mother’s arrival on Sunday. Monday morning it rained. It was wonderful. I loved it. It made all the ground soft. Just right for pulling weeds in the afternoon. So in the morning I got to the cobwebs on the ceiling and in the afternoon the wild oats in the garden. Yeah, I’m a live and let live kind of gal.

Cumulus Clouds: Low, Puffy, Fair-weather | WhatsThisCloud

Cumulus curious? Me too.

Tuesday was quite blustery, but blue and brilliant with lovely fat cumulus clouds drifting by. In the morning, I smogged Gran’s car (it’s a 1997 Chevy, and it passed! on the first go) and got tags. She hasn’t driven in 15 years or had a licence for 5.  But she likes to think she’ll drive again. I don’t mind. It’s a back up vehicle, in case.

In the afternoon, I ordered her some summer night gowns. And an iron. I accidentally broke hers — making face masks. But let’s not mention that to her. Later that day, during 5 o clock “rush hour”, someone stole a white SUV and went on a wild tare up the freeway at 120 mph. I made myself a Mary Pickford and settled in.

If you come from So Cal and specifically around the LA region, you understand. There’s a summer tradition, that someone will steal a white SUV and drive up the freeway during rush hour. Every local news station drops everything – everything! – to cover it live, sometimes for a couple hours, via their choppers.

People are always concerned about their commutes, so it’s guaranteed high ratings. I thought, hmmmm? A “return to normal” sign. I texted a friend right away. And typical of So Cal, he replied, “No, it’s just someone got stir crazy. It’s not Friday night.” That was such a So Cal answer. Because it’s true, it is a Friday thing.

In LA, it’s critical to the stolen white SUV at rush hour tradition that it be on Friday so it gets maximum coverage and there’s maximum chance of getting caught in the typically dense traffic, which requires really wild driving. So this guy? In light traffic? On a Tuesday? Where he could easily get up to 120 mph? Sorry, no. He was just stir crazy. Not a sign of things returning to normal.

Boxes Tumble From Stolen Mercedes-Benz SUV in 100-MPH Chase – NBC ...

It was a Mercedes SUV. I’m sure it’s insured. Don’t feel bad. I can’t say the same for the blue car, upper left, that he hit as he stopped.

It made me laugh. Or maybe it was the rum. Or maybe it was the girlfriend at the end. A woman who claimed to be the driver’s girlfriend was at the scene when he got caught. “I love you! I’ll bail you out,” she yelled as he was escorted to a patrol car. Welcome to LA.

Weds I picked up Gran’s meds, and shopped to fill the cabinets with essentials so my mother wouldn’t have to for a week or so. And, at that point, sitting in a wal*mart parking lot, I stopped and looked  — for the first time since March — at my gas gauge. It was just under half full. Still.

And then I looked up and around the lot at the people and trees and I realised, I hadn’t been more than 5 miles from the house in months. And in a week’s time, I was going to get to drive for hours. I was going to see new places, new things, new people! It seemed exciting, daring, even a bit risqué.

Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks: BW26: British Village Cozy Mysteries

Good Lord, Maude, I’ve just discovered I’ve been trapped in a Covid Cozy mystery!

I spent the evening pulling out all my documents, making sure I had everything I needed to cross the border. Even that seemed filled with peril. The border closure was set to be lifted May 21, but was then extended to June 21. I know I have all the right documents, and a place to quarantine. I should be allowed to cross. But I’ve heard stories.

As a PR (permanent resident, think green card), with a place to Q it up, I qualify to cross. But if the Border service decides on the day I’m a foreign national (true), and I don’t have an essential purpose (a job, or enrolled in school, or in the medical profession, etc), then they can keep me out. I guess I’ll cross that bridge (or not), when I come to it.

Family reunification isn’t considered essential. This has upset a number of people. I understand their upset. But the government is making decisions out of an abundance of caution. People crisscrossing the border in a pandemic is crazy. Allowing crisscrossings from a country where the outbreak is the worst in the world? Oh, hell no. So I get it.

Deadly crash has closed Peace Arch border crossing - Vancouver Is ...

Peace Arch crossing. No bridge. Once across, I’ll have peace.

I woke up early Thurs in a cold sweat. Not about crossing the border. I realised when I leave, exciting as that will be, I might never see my Gran again, this side of heaven. Or my parents. Or my friends here. Before I spiraled out, I took a breath, and threw all those thoughts into File 13, the cylindrical file. It was all False Evidence Appearing Real.

I decided to meditate and then do something practical. I went out early to tend the bird feeders. Things got interesting quick. I found a long battered piece of grey-pink string in the bird bath. Then I noticed greyish strands of something once cotton-ish? Decayed coconut fiberish stuff? I watch too much The Curse of Oak Island.

Then I saw it, a tiny pristine, white, lower jawbone of a rat, with a complete set of teeth. Ok, I thought, this @ just got real. My assumption was that, because it wasn’t there yesterday, an owl had caught a rat last night and dined here. We have loads of owls around here. They love to nest in the tall palm trees. You can hear them echo locating in the night. It’s amazing. I love owls.

Palm Trees | Free Stock Photo | Tall palm trees on the beach by ...

Prime owl habit. You wouldn’t think it, would you?

I thought about keeping the jawbone, because the natural history illustrator in me loved it. It was already super clean, and had been soaked. Score! It would be easy to hide. But if my Gran caught me cleaning and preserving a rat jaw in her kitchen? I’d be one the dead in the bird bath next. So I dumped it out, regretfully.

I decided to keep with the science-based theme of the day and took the Coursera Covid-19 Contact Tracing course. I don’t want to be a contact tracer, although I’d volunteer if needed. I was interested in the process. Wow, I learned so much I didn’t know! I think every American over 12 should have to do this course before they return to school or work or “normal” life. Or at least the part on quarantine.

COVID-19 Contact Tracing | Coursera

Educate yourself. Get your R down to naught.

This morning in the bird bath I found a rat leg, R, denuded except for the pink foot, and an open packet of Mild sauce from Taco Bell. Since TB is over a mile away, I’m thinking owl sees rat eating hot sauce packet in trash and … take out?  There was also some rice in another birdbath but I’m thinking that was the crows.  They soak anything white before eating.

I’m doing this post while doing laundry. I do lots of laundry, Gran’s laundry every week — 15-20 loads. I usually do it early morning or late at night because of energy conservation rules, and we use a clothesline when it’s sunny. So getting up at dawn in summer to launch a raid on the washer? Pretty typical.

I never catch a chance to do my own laundry though. Seriously, I’m wearing jeans that haven’t been washed in a month. I keep a set of clothes for “public appearances” but they hardly get used with the pandemic, and another set for gardening. I really must prioritize that before I leave, or my mother arrives.

And speaking of priorities, I’m going to advance forecast some things for you. Feel free to stop reading and skip to the end if prognostication isn’t your thing.


Focus on what matters. All the rest is just scenery. Ask the Durrells.

I expect US schools to close again in the Fall. And that’s okay.  Children repeating a grade is not a tragedy. Children not being alive or being orphans, that’s a tragedy. The most important thing is that you and your children, and all your family members, survive the pandemic. That’s all that really matters.

One of the things science shows us is that children are the main vector for the spread of flu because they are good carriers. They have strong immune systems, but don’t tend to take basic hygiene seriously. Add to this fact that school is a daily, huge public gathering and…. outbreak.

Fall’s outbreak is going to be driven in large part by common flu, with SARS CoV2 piggybacking it, circulated by children who are back in school. I don’t think it has to be that way in the US. But steps to prevent it happening, are — in the US — not happening.

Taiwan implements effective measures to Battle Coronavirus

Kids in school in Taiwan.

I suspect a lot of Western European nations will face outbreaks, but because of better health care systems, health care for all, comprehensive, enforced policy plans, and strong testing, isolating and contact tracing that had the virus beaten back and contained before the children even started school again? I think they’ll have minor outbreaks compared to the the US.

Daily Life In Chongqing

Kids in China, back at school

We don’t train children in the US to do the needful things to avoid spreading disease the way children in Asian countries have been trained for years, because of the last SARS outbreak.  I find it really weird we don’t train children to protect themselves.

We train children to look both ways to cross a street. To say “no”  to drugs. To be on guard for “stranger danger.” How hard is it to train them not to touch their face? Or wash their hands? Or wear a mask? Or social distance? US children (all children) have to have this kind of stuff ingrained, before they ever reach a classroom.

Parents refuse to send children to school in Denmark

Pupils during lunch break in Randers, Denmark, April 15, 2020. I would point out, bags on the floor where shoe soles covered in germs walked. You don’t see that in the Asian countries classrooms.

Denmark is considered to have dealt very well, and responsibly, with the virus. I’d agree with that. Denmark has 97 cases per 1M pop. I admire Denmark. But look at the picture above. Well cared for white kids. Not overweight. Not riddled with preventable disease from lack of access to health care or quality food.

In the US we don’t a) have cases under control, b) have systems in place to get and keep cases under control, c) have a government that cares about anything but the political visuals. Nations like the US and UK  want citizens to believe that social distancing is all  you need. Because of nations like Denmark. But they aren’t Denmark.

Once the weather turns and flu season starts, lack of control, lack of PPE, lack of testing, tracing, isolation, and lack of a nationwide, science-based, coordinated response, lack of training kids? I think it’s all going to come home to roost.

Two recent surveys in the US makes the problems here more apparent. When asked, 21% and 16% said they wouldn’t take a covid vaccine if there was one. If you need a 93% to 95% vaccination rate to protect people via herd immunity, the US is never getting to herd immunity. And that means the 5% of our population under 5, who haven’t got full vaccinations done, who need you to be herd immune to protect them, …. Oh well.

I’ll be honest. I wouldn’t get the vaccine either.  And I’m pro-vaccine. I can’t trust the current FDA, run by the current administration, to approve a safe vaccine. Not that there will be one soon. Moderna’s announcement was short on hard science data proof. I suppose to it was done to give the WH cover to put Moderna execs on the WH Corona Task Force. Meanwhile, Gilead actually has a simpler to make, cheaper, actually effective drug. But no one’s talking about it.

So, what active measures can you advantage of now, in this window of calm before the storm,  to be better placed for the fall? Co-morbidities are a big factor, with obesity and diabetes being the most prevalent.  You could, this summer, lose some weight or get your diabetes under better control.

Diabetes Undone, by Wes Youngberg, was a program used at a church, with a lot of doctor members and a doctor taught the class, that some of my friends attend. They lost lots of weight and got their BP, AC1 way, way down. Plant-based diet, so….you won’t be supporting the deaths of meat packing plant workers or paying sky high prices for meat.

I was signed up to take it, even though not overweight or diabetic, but it started March 23 – the day California closed. There are videos on line. It’s relatively cheap. $99. I read my friend’s books. I’d say worth it.

8 Best Breathing Exercise Machines To Buy In 2020

Even if you’re really old, this is $5. And can increase your lung capacity if you use it regularly.

This summer, you could exercise more just to increase your lung capacity and strengthen your heart. The stronger you are when covid hits, the better the chances you survive. You could learn to mediate, and up your ability to handle stress. You could take up a hobby and build a community online so when things shut down, you’ve got a social network still. You could try to boost your happiness levels through courses like Science of Happiness (on MOOCs like

Today I Choose to Be Happy, Encouragement Rock, Affirmation Stone ...

Paint some inspiring rocks and leave them around your community.

You need to be able to open your windows for at least short periods each day, to get fresh air in this fall and winter. It’s a key to survival with SARs CoV 2. If you have windows that don’t open, get them fixed. At home, at your office, there needs to be fresh air happening. Fresh air lowers the viral load. It’s why the virus seems to disappear in summer and come back in the fall. People open windows. They go outdoors.

You probably have forced air heat. Consider buying an oil heater (electric-powered oil filled radiator). Oil heaters cost efficient to run in winter (cheap to buy in summer).  They allow you to heat a room, while airing another. Having an oil heater also allows you to shut off a room if someone does get sick. You don’t have to keep their HVAC vent open and spread stuff around.

Electric Oil Filled Heater, Radiant, Gray

This kind of thing. About $75.

Consider a small HEPA filter air purifier. If you get a sickness in your household, you can put the air purifier in the ill person’s room to minimize the viral load.  This is helpful for the people that have to care for the individual. You need to minimize exposure (time and distance) and viral loads (high v low) for the caregivers and the rest of the household.

Tending a sick person, means up close and personal. You can control the time you spend with them, but if you can control viral load as well, and throw in some PPE as well, maybe you and others in the house don’t get sick. Consider keeping some plastic sheeting around as well, to create a barrier over the doorway of a infected person’s room.

This does a 200 sq feet. Good for a bedroom. Pricey at $199.

Too many people are blase about getting SARS CoV 2. They think it’s an old people disease. In my area currently 30% of the cases are people 45-65, but 40% are 18-44. For all those under 65 who think, “Oh, I’ll be in the 80% that has no or mild symptoms.” Okay, let’s say you are. Congrats. We know nothing about the long term impacts of the virus.

Current Covid

Dead, mostly white people. Sick, mostly of working age.

I’m pretty sure if you lose your smell and taste, that the virus did something to your brain. What’s the long-term impact on your brain? How many years before we see what the damage of SARS CoV2 really is on your frontal or occipital lobes?

Brain Regions and Functions | Ask A Biologist

Your brain.

The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls important cognitive skills in humans, such as emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behaviors. It is, in essence, the “control panel” of our personality and our ability to communicate.

I dunno. Maybe you don’t need a frontal lobe? Or maybe a virus like this increases having dementia or some other crippling disease later in life? We don’t know. Want to throw the dice on that? Wouldn’t it be easier to just take basic precautions against getting the virus in the first place?

People are getting SARS CoV2 and having strokes, kidney and liver problems, organ failures, all sorts of things. Unless you think the long-term damage of those events all magically goes away the minute you get a negative test result, take a defensive position.

Memorial Day-themed photography exhibit to span 70 years of ...

These men had a visible enemy, were well trained and well equipped. They had battle-tested leaders and a solid plan. This is what the winners look like. Think about it.

You need to avoid the disease because our understanding of it, like your health care benefits package probably, is so limited. Your child gets Covid and develops a heart problem, maybe has a heart attack, that’s medical bills for you and on his record for the rest of his life as pre-existing condition, which he’ll then pay for in insurance rates for the rest of his life.

Perhaps you’re among those who, in the recent AP poll, expressed the notion that God would protect you from the virus. Um-hmm. I believe in God. If I’m standing on my rooftop with flood waters rising and a boat shows up, I’m getting in. If you will only accept a helicopter rescue, because your preconceived idea of what a rescue looks like, you get left behind to die. God did his job, you didn’t do yours.

My thinking is, God blessed me with brain, which understands science (the knowledge of nature that God has created), if I reject my god-given ability to think and the god-given revelations presented by thousands of years of science, it’s not God’s fault I end up dead. If I choose to willingly ignore revelations given, and my actions harms or costs the lives of others, I’m not loving my neighbor.

Probably a good time to avoid born-again protestant friends and hang out with atheist friends who take science-based precautions. Maybe Ron Reagan is available, you know him, not afraid to burn in hell.

Weirdly, the poll reveals theses same people believe SARS CoV2 is God’s way of telling humanity to change how it lives. But not one person said what humanity was suppose to change. So, if God is trying to tell people to change, and what you have is a very sketchy, incompetent, conservative, anti-climate, anti-humanity, republican government….. okay, you want opposite of that?

You’d think that, but no. Apparently, 43% of people still feel the POTUS and his administration is doing an good job. See the problem? The people who strongly support the administration, strongly believe God has sent a pandemic to tell them to change the administration. Pick a lane people.

The Opposite of love is not hate,It's Indifference ~ Art Quote ...

This administration has an indifference problem.

And speaking of indifference, pause and consider one of the following cities.

  • Edison, NJ
  • South Bend, IN
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Kenosha, WI
  • Vacaville, CA
  • San Angelo, TX
  • Clinton, MI
  • Vista, CA
  • Davenport, IA
  • Renton, WA

Now imagine all the people in that city are dead. They’ve been wiped out. A bomb was dropped on them. Men, women, children, young, old, farmers, lawyers, butchers, bakers, oil rig makers, all gone. You’d probably think we should retaliate against the nation that bombed that city. I wouldn’t disagree.

If I told you a US company was running a plant there, and purposefully doing so in an unsafe manner because profit was all that mattered to them, and that’s why the city was blown off the map, you’d probably want that company shuttered, all its assets seized and all its executives jailed for life. I wouldn’t disagree.

Each of these places has about 100K people, about the current US total of Covid-19 deaths. But when I say, “There’s 100K  Covid-19 deaths in the US,”  you don’t see a US city destroyed. Why? Because we tend to box numbers up in “nursing home residents/staff” or “New Yorkers” or “prisoners” or “plant workers” or some type of other-ness.

Watch] What Nagasaki Looked Like Before And After The Atom Bomb

The current administration’s SARS CoV2 “response” has killed more people than died in Nagasaki or Hiroshima. It’s now heading for a level of death above the combined deaths by atomic bomb inflicted death during a world war on  Nagasaki AND Hiroshima.

It’s not wrong that people do this. It’s a number. It’s death in the abstract. And Americans have a deep aversion to death (even old age). They don’t want to see it, talk about, think about it, they just want to avoid the whole subject. But not looking at a falling bomb doesn’t help you avoid being blown up.

When you stop and think of a whole city being suddenly wiped out, these deaths become real to you. You understand that the whole 100K died of government incompetence, and that government has to be dealt with. You know you have to stop the people who keep pressing the button that allows the bomb to drop.

Honestly, I don’t grasp how anyone can say the POTUS and this administration are doing a good job, let alone 43% of Americans. Don’t they see the mushroom clouds?

Why Did World War II End? – Page 5 – Mother Jones

Sorry, South Bend.

End on some high notes? Beside’s my Gran’s ’97 Chevy passing the smog check? Or the Storks returning after 600 years? Or the existence of Otter Cams. Okay. Sure.

This week, the NG in London acquired a  Jean-Étienne Liotard, masterpiece, and some Gainsboroughs. But I really care about the Liotard. It’s a portrait of a mother and daughter at breakfast. Curlers in hair, aprons on. Wonderful. A win for humanity.

The Lavergne Family Breakfast

This week’s love song from the Significant Other? Sway. I believe, given the number of miles between us are shrinking, the songs are now taking a turn for the passionate.

Steady on, man.  The “magic technique” is still available – but only post quarantine.


This entry was posted on May 22, 2020.

Listening to The Nightingale

9 eerily beautiful songs of night birds | MNN - Mother Nature Network

Is it the moonlight makes her sing? Or does her singing make the moon light?

This week, I went to return a couple books on Tai Chi I checked out in March, before the shelter in place order. I discovered authorities had opened a free, public, by appointment only, covid testing center at the library’s meeting room. It seemed an actively used place, so I just kept driving. I’ll keep the books for now. The library probably won’t open till 2021 anyway.

The testing center got me thinking about the testing numbers thrown around every day, everywhere. In theory, to contain the virus and stamp it out, countries begin immediately with test, isolate, contact trace. In theory. If you look at a places such as Taiwan, you’ll notice that tests are at 2.8 test per 1K people. You read that right, 2.8. Other nations that have done well, have similarly less per population testing. South Korea is at 13.8 tests per 1K. That’s  because they went on the offensive right out of the gate. If you do that, you don’t end up needing as many tests. 

Mr. Owl and the Question that Plagues Mankind | History Daily

Mr Owl, how may tests does it take to defeat SARS CoV2?


Nations that don’t get on board immediately? They need to do massive amounts of testing to try to get ahead of the virus because they’ve lost control of the horse at the start gate. The race becomes trying to get the horse back under control so the rider and horse don’t die on the course rather than your jockey (the CDC) controlling that horse to a successful finish, maybe even a win.

If your nation ends up in Lombardy situation. It gets bad, and it stays bad for a long time, because in this race, when you start late, you’ve already lost. But there are worse situations, you could live in a nation where you start late and there is no jockey. That’s the US right now.

I told you he comes out of the gate fast...... | Funny horses ...

Truly a bad start.

Our testing and reporting is so bad that whereas other nations can be reported as “people tested,” “tests performed,” or “cases tested,” for the US it’s “inconsistent units”.  When someone in the US says we’re testing X number per 1K people, sounds great. But we really have no idea what tests their talking about or who is being tested.

Here’s Covid-19 data from Washington, DC for May 12. This is actually how bald and naked the public health dept is reporting the data:

  • Total Tested Overall: 31,658
  • Total Positives: 6,584

But in Washington DC, there is the WH, and WH staff (377 people) are tested everyday. So in 10 days DC could report they’d run 31K tests, but 10% of those would be WH only tests. They’d have wasted 10% of their tests, on 377 people. DC has over 700K residents. And 10% of tests should go to 0.00005% of the population? The wealthiest, whitest part of the population, in a city that’s only 42% white.

This is where my problem lies for me, the vagueness of the data being reported. Vague data doesn’t help. If they’re retesting many of the same people over again (healthcare workers, people who tested positive and need retests to be cleared), they aren’t testing X (the population widely), which means they aren’t getting ahead of SARS CoV2 in the population. In a disease with asymptomatic spread, testing the population is your only option.

Tell me

  • how many test you did.
  • how many people were first time, never before tested,
  • how many are frontline workers being constantly retested,
  • how many are confirmed cases being repeatedly retested to get out of quarantine
  • how many are self-reported suspect Covid
  • how many are asymptomatic.
  • what’s the break down of covid tests vs. antibody tests in “tests”
  • how many tests reported no result or inconclusive results
  • how many tests got lost, contaminated, trashed
  • how many tests are backlogged

In a situation where there’s an oil spill, you don’t clean up from the middle and work out. You clean up from the edges and work in. Covid is an oil spill. To contain it, you have to  get the booms out around the edges of the problem to stop it. Continuing to test where you know the oil is spouting out is …. stupid. Yes, cap the well in the middle by taking appropriate actions, there in the middle. But save the rest of the population by testing from the uninfected areas in.

Even states that are really trying, like California, seem to be vague on testing. Here’s the report for May 12 from California‘s Covid page. Notice there is no mention of testing.

California COVID-19 by the Numbers as of May 11, 2020

Seriously, we’re a state filled with scientist, artists, and tech geniuses. We can do better.

I only found out about covid testing in our area because I drove by the active site and read the sign. If I go to my county or state Public Health Dept website? Not listed. Want to see the terrible Covid dashboard for the state? It’s pretty bad. And this is a state that’s really trying.

If you want to see great useful easy-to-understand covid data visualization, check out the CBC’s reporting for the same day, for British Columbia.  We have nothing like this here in the US, or even in my state.  You want to see what excellent CDC visualization looks like, check out BC’s CDC dashboard. It’s beautiful.

Winner of the 2019 World Data Visualization Prize, showing happiness is connected to a more free press. From Information Is Beautiful. Check out their Covid-19 #Coronavirus InfoGraphic Datapack stuff too.

Because I was already thinking about testing, I started thinking about vaccine development. I’m pro vaccine, but I question if that’s the right strategy for this disease. We know there are asymptomatic carriers. Up to 50% might be asymptomatic carriers. In other words, there are many, many people who get SARS CoV2 without developing Covid 19 (the disease the sickens/kills people). In fact, most of these people never know they have the disease.

Finding out why these human bodies are able to let SARS CoV2 pass through them without incident (much like bats) should be a top area of research. If we knew why they had this ability, we could a) figure out who is at greater risk and who can freely go about their business, but wearing a mask so as not to spread the virus and b) maybe use that knowledge to replicate it in others somehow and give the other 50% of people the ability to pass SARS CoV2 through their body without incident.

This to me seems the fastest, safest way back to some kind of normal. It might also stand us in good stead in future outbreaks.

Every nurse ought to be careful to wash her hands very frequently ...

Not exactly a new idea, but non-nurses still can get it right.

I think about how to return to some kind of normal, safely, because it’s not happening in the US. The federal government is pushing to reopen the economy without testing, without vaccines, without even basic measures to protect workers. It seems to be their agenda to convince people “life in lockdown” or “survival of the fittest” in an open economy. Both these ideas are stupid, but more to the point, politically self serving.

The GOP administration is currently literally trying to force people to go out to work and be murdered by their employers so the 1% (that donates to them) can keep making unneeded, untaxed billions. These people can’t stay home. Their GOP state governors are denying them unemployment benefits, saying they “refuse to work” because the plant is open and have therefore “quit” and so aren’t entitled to benefits.

On top of this, these “employers” (aren’t they really masters of slave labor?) want immunity for sickening and killing their employees.

Immunity. Types of Immunity. Antigens

The only types of immunity governments should be talking about now.

This desire to be granted immunity is how you know, they know, they are committing a crime. You don’t need immunity if you haven’t done something criminal. Think about it. The fact the GOP wants to give it them this immunity? Wow. I knew you were NAZIs, but welcome to Nuremberg. Talk about crimes against humanity.

If you want to know what life is like on the frontline of meat packing plant in Canada, owned by American billionare family Cargill, have a read. Think “as Sacklers are to the opioid crisis, Cargills are to MPP covid crisis.” Warning: You may find this disturbing.

23 Strange Facts That You May Find Disturbing - Wow Gallery

In the US you can add impericide. It’s when people in the government, the imperium, set about trying to kill it. The current administration, definitely into impericide as well as democide.

You’d think, if companies such as Cargill, Tyson, etc, had good leaders, they would just do the super easy to do stuff that’s super effective at stopping disease. Because doesn’t shutting down for weeks at time cost money? Doesn’t having workers get sick and die actually cost the company?

Even if you’re the worst sociopathic, godless capitalist on the planet, you should understand that hiring and training a new worker to replace one you murdered through your greed and indifference, is both a short-term and long-term problem, and more costly.

How hard is it to clean and change your ventilation/exhaust system to minimize risk to workers, require steel surfaces cleaned after every couple hours and between shifts, mandate hand washing every hour and use of company provided PPE, or have bleach pans and require stepping Wellies in bleach pans upon entry/exit of the facility and between rooms such as cafeteria, changing room, abattoir, offices, etc?

Florence Nightingale quotes: wise famous quotes, sayings and ...

Ditto, Flo!

It’s strange how PETA’s “Meat is Murder” slogan, created to mean the animals being slaughtered, can now be freely applied to the workers at MPPs. The WH calls these folks being forced to labor “warriors” for the economy. But reality? They’re cannon fodder for billionaire capitalists and their purchased representatives.

The Founders saw life as the main thing a federal government was supposed to protect. It’s “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The economy doesn’t get a mention. Life does,  its mention is primary.  No life, no economy. Yes, in times of war, lives are sacrificed for the preservation of a nation. But always as a last resort, always with an eye to minimizing loss of life, always on the understand a national debt to the people who fought is going to be owed.

The Social Contract and Its Impact on American Politics

A New Social Contract, in the 18th century.

That’s not what’s happening here. And even it were? Let’s take a step back for a moment and think about this “war” scenario. If this is a war, and workers are being drafted into it, what’s the new social contract look like? Because in war, there’s always a new type of social contract to go with the new level of sacrifice being asked for.

Consent Stock Photos, Royalty Free Consent Images | Depositphotos®

Please check one on your social contract.

What’s the GI Bill for American workers you’ve drafted and sent to “the front” to possibly die or be sickened or stuck with long-term disabilities as a result (not to mention the families and friends and people in communities they return to and expose every day) ? Are they going to get free medical care for life? If they die, do the get a free grave at Arlington? What about a free life insurance policy worth $250K so their family can be supported if they die?

Are you supplying your warriors with free food, housing, clothes, essential equipment (PPE) and medical care while they’re fighting your “war”? Are you paying your “warriors” every month, fairly and equally, despite gender or color? And after the “war” is over, do they get a year’s unemployment automatically as they try to find new work in a changed economy? Are they going to get a free education? What about low cost mortgages for buying a home or a farm?

50 Florence Nightingale quotes on Life and Nursing (2019)

So please, fill out your Census forms, register to vote, and make your voice heard, as loud and clear as the nightingale’s.

In America, even when there is a war, a declared war, and there is a upgrade to the social contract, and a recognition that people are sacrificing and as a result the nation should aid, assist, care for and compensate them and their families, communities…. America under the GOP always goes back and breaks the contract.

Last June, less than a year ago, the 9/11 responders and workers went to Capitol Hill, to fight for basic fair treatment in return for their heroic sacrifices. Some who went to speak were actively dying, but still went. And they couldn’t even get GOP lawmakers to show up and listen.

Jon Stewart Gives Speech for First Responders at Congressional ...

Jon Stewart and retired NYPD Bomb Squad Det. Louis Alvarez at the hearings. Det. Alvarez died 18 days later.

If there’s one thing GOP does well, it’s start huge disasters, take actions that make them worse but increase donor profits, and then completely turn their back on everyone they hurt by their stupid, selfish destructive actions and blame the victims for doing their jobs heroically.

And the current administration is no different. Today’s GOP administration’s response to the current crisis it created? Same old, same old. Utter incompetence. Utter depravity toward human suffering. Utterly out to just consolidate power and make money for donors and themselves.

Just this week ultra wealthy, uber trumpy-pumpy Republican Orange county, elected a man that ran on platform of two things: “Cutting taxes and”  — wait for iiiiiiiiiiit — “Cleaning up homelessness.” As if homelessness were a criminal enterprise or homeless people were criminal gang by definition.

Close to Home: Die to save the economy? Not on your life

That’s what it’s come to.

We have “right to life” white evangelical “christians” who are fine with killing the elderly, the poor, the homeless, the prisoners, the immigrants, the small children, the meat packers, anyone (but themselves) for the economy. Pretty sure that’s not what the Bible says to prioritize. But that’s how far they’ve fallen having hitched their wagon to the GOP instead of God. The sky is green and the grass is blue.

They’ll believe any lie so long as they don’t have to pull their heads out of the sand and admit they’re not doing anything Christ asked them to do. They literally prefer to slaughter themselves if it means avoiding living a life that prioritizes love and care for others. Not even “others,” their own countrymen, their own communities, their own families. Wow.

Florence Nightingale Quotes · Pictures and Images

Really, we could all do with some “fresh” air in the halls of government. The stench of rot is pretty strong.

The thing about restarting life in the US (not just the economy) that people need to understand is that when something goes really bad, you have to change leadership, upgrade the nation’s OS, and reboot. This is something you see throughout history.

Failure of leadership leads to societal injustice and inequity, which leads to economic catastrophe, which leads to new leadership (sometimes via head chopping and revolution), which leads to a new social contract, which leads to a new economy on reboot.

Luxor Egypt Deir El-madina Hinister Senedgem Tomb Painting On ...

Caring more about your tomb decor than how the living in your community fare, makes you a failed leader.

The classic version of this in the story of the Exodus. Pharaoh was a crap leader, this led to slavery, this led to an exodus, under Moses, which lead to economic collapse in Egypt, and a new society based on new ideas for the Israelites.

The thing people forget in the Exodus story is that Moses himself quickly fell at the first hurdle and became a failed leader. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Moses was raised in the Pharaoh’s household. He was trained up to be a “master,” an Egyptian prince. The 1%. He tried to recreate top-down Egyptian-style government, the only kind he knew, right out of the gate. This lead to an epic fail.


Joshua might say the same.

It should have been a short trip to Canaan. Instead, because of Moses’s quick dive into old Egyptian leadership, decades of wandering in the desert ensued. Ultimately, every man who came up out of Egypt with Moses died without reaching the promised land. (We don’t know about the women or children.) Every man except Joshua, who was born and raised a slave in Egypt. Joshua’s outlook on life, compared to Moses’s, was very different.

Some cool footage and images of old operating systems ...

I doubt you’re okay with getting left behind tech-wise. Why put up with being left behind otherwise?

At the threshold of Canaan, Israel’s reboot began. You know this is a reboot because, even though the cast and scenery changes, the plot starts out the same. It starts with the raising up of a new leader, Joshua. And then his “authentication” by God. Moses leaving Egypt via the miraculous Red Sea crossing, becomes Joshua leaving the desert via the miraculous Jordan River crossing.

Once on the other side, aka once out of Egypt, Joshua gets everyone to commit themselves to God, using their own blood and flesh, and a mass circumcision takes place. This stands in stark contrast to Moses, who committed the people to God, whilst standing all alone before God, and then handing down The Law to them.

Moses was an Egyptian prince to his core. He handed down a law and expected people to obey. The way he expected his stupid sheep to fall in line. Joshua was a leader of the people. He expected nothing. He asked people for their support. He asked them to commit themselves, and they literally sacrificed a piece of themselves.

SonicWall flags firewall upgrade opportunity

At the touch of a button….on your voting machine.

So leadership upgrade? Check. But for a reboot to work, the OS has to be upgraded as well. There’s a difference between a remake and reboot. A remake attempts to do the same story, exactly, with different people maybe a different set. A reboot requires rethinking the whole plot, upgrading it.

When you compare and contrast Moses to Joshua, it’s pretty stark. Moses had 2 sons, had been raise prince, then become a shepherd (after murdering with impunity an inferior) and was always living in mindset he was raised in — that of his own superiority and patriarchy in general. Joshua? He had 7 daughters, had been a slave, then became a warrior. Always living in a mindset of humility, family, care for others as equals.

You can see how the Joshua, who was fearless, was the perfect person to upgrade the OS Moses handed off to him, the Law. A great example of this is Joshua’s daughters, who upon maturity, seeing themselves done out of their inheritance by Moses’s Law, went to their father and made a case for social justice.

On the spot, Joshua changed the Law — to make society more fair and just for all. He didn’t see the Law as written in stone and unchanging. The Law was just a basic start point for a people newly released and needing some guidance. He didn’t see people, as Moses had, as slaves of the Law.  Joshua saw that Law as serving the needs of the people and as the people grew and changed and developed, so too must the Law.


13 Inspirational Florence Nightingale Quotes to Nurse Your Soul ...

Amen. Be not afraid. Go forward with courage and determination.

Joshua understood what Moses never did, that the Law and society both needed to keep moving toward the fair and equitable treatment of all. He wasn’t afraid to move in the direction of a Promised Land. I’m sure to elderly Egypt-born men he might have seemed wildly liberal. Women, with property?! But that’s why all those Egypt-born men had to die. They couldn’t be allowed to enter the Promised Land and taint it, hold it back from becoming all it could be, with their old backward-looking mindsets.

Those men would always want to hang on to and re-institute everything that made the world they’d left dysfunctional and ultimately had led to its collapse. They wanted to be the Egyptians, rather than the Egyptians’ slaves. But that meant, they didn’t really want to be what God intended, Isrealites a new, better, different sort of people.  Joshua wanted the world that God envisioned. So he made it.

The goal was getting to the Promised Land, not just a place on the map but a new mindset, a new and better way of living, not for the few rulers at the top, but for everyone equally. A new economy, not based on slavery A new structure of government, without kings. A new religion, not based on fear.

That’s Edith N Rogers (R Chair of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee) looking over FDR’s shoulder. Yep once upon a time, someone in the GOP passionately cared about veterans.

So I say all this, why? Because after WW2, America’s GI Bill, given to the 10% of people (men, women, minorities) who had fought the war, was basically socialism, which combined with high taxes on the rich and strict laws from the 1930s about finance and banking, worked together to make the US a better place. When people look back on the 1950s as a good period, they’re looking back on the impact of socialism and government regulation on markets.

Europe after the war took a similar route. Only they made sure their socialist changes, like national health, went to 100% of the population. Because in the war, everyone in European nations had suffered. The US said “this is just the soldiers” negating the rest of the population’s sufferings and sacrifices. But the Europeans looked around the smoldering ruble and said “Everyone suffered.” They understood nationhood as a “together we advance” mindset. And out of this came the EU.

75 Powerful Florence Nightingale Quotes On Nursing, Life & More

Yes, that’s why we’re supposed to have a plan and testing.

Europe continued to go forward, while the US and UK started pulling backwards. And here we are 2 huge economic crashes later, both caused by incompetent Republican leadership, malfeasance, and governance only on behalf of the rich. Americans tend to ignore the world-shattering impact of their action. The world does not. And some of the world is thinking:  I don’t want to do business with a county that unstable anymore.

I know this because I heard it firsthand this week. My Significant Other told me that a few weeks back his company had decided the US needed to be treated as revenue-generating only. They didn’t want US companies in their supply chain anymore. Despite his strenuously advocating for remaining in US contracts, he’d been voted down.

New partners would be found in “responsible countries,” i.e., any place that had handled the Covid-19 crisis rationally, successfully, and without criminal disregard for humanity. The US partners he’d worked with had been great partners. He felt terrible, but the constant political zigzagging, generally backward policy movement, and lack of reliably competent, humanistic national governance? All insurmountable problems to doing business.

Florence Nightingale Quotes - 34 Science Quotes - Dictionary of ...

Of course, your government has to collect and share statistical data in the first place. Apparently the US is afraid of God and his purposes.

And, though US national governance would likely change in January, and things could potentially improve, how long would that last? Maybe 8 years, but maybe 4 years, maybe only 2 years with midterms. Who could say if with this election the US would finally turn the corner into modern humane scientific reality. Everyone thought in 2008 the US was finally turning a corner. But then it turned again. The US just kept making squares instead of progress.

Since 2016’s election, it had been a long, public descent into madness. The final straw was the US covid “response” which was so idiotic, so alarming, so destructive of human life and the economy,  it was clear that America could no longer be relied upon to do the right, logical, even sensible, thing for its own people. Forget about the US attempting any sort of world leadership.

Florence-nightingale-quote-to-be-in-charge | Goalcast

And this is why we need a woman president, preferable one under 70.

Crises were certainly going to happen again in the future, but a proper response was not certain to be forthcoming from America when such crises arose. That being true, it would be folly to have American companies in the supply chain. I didn’t say anything. What was there to say? That’s how the board saw things.

In the US we look at ourselves constantly, and at others incidentally. We rarely stop and try to see how other nations see us. Europe has watched our government’s failure at every turn. Was it so surprising some European firms might feel it was better not be too involved with the US anymore? They’d left the UK when it fell prey to the same madness. 

If a nurse declines to do these... - Florence Nightingale - Quotes.Pub

That’s for your folks doing homeschooling, LiquorStoreBear. Stay away from the scissor-happy kiddo. You don’t want to lose an ear!

And while all this talk of the world may seem abstract, it wasn’t really. The unspoken undercurrent of the conversation was Der’s years of building solid relationships and contacts in the US, of getting everything up and humming, his hopes of being able to expand and take it to the next level, were now all blown to smithereens, — in his mind, by the Americans — again.

This, I suspect, was where much of the “America might as well be nuking other nations” feelings originated. He felt nuked, and he wasn’t wrong. The shift in direction meant having to forge new relationships and contracts in Canada, but perhaps as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan. It meant starting over, again, in some respects. It meant time and travel (extended by multiple quarantines), though it wasn’t said, more times of separation in the near future.

30 Greatest Florence Nightingale Quotes For Nurses - NurseBuff

Wearing a mask in public places is a practical beginning.

I said I understood because I did. In moments of upheaval, if we are very lucky, all  we must do to rise to the challenge is grow, learn, change, take new roads, maybe start from scratch. He was lucky. The company and the staff would be ok, for now.  Our adopted country would benefit from America’s losses.  His travels would be in “safe” countries.

We were lucky. Our lives would go on, for now. That’s a lot more than could be said for millions of others whose lives had been train wrecked by their government’s incompetence, or for the hundreds of thousands in deep mourning over their needlessly slain loved ones and left with cold comfort.


International Nurses Day, was May 12. But we can celebrate them every day!

He’d have to start reaching out now and follow up with travels, if restrictions allowed maybe in September. We would still have our “brilliant summer fling.” And on Labour Day, as we often do when a great time comes to an end, we’d have our last dance in the candle-lit kitchen. After that, who could say. Except perhaps, the nightingale.



Nature Studies: The decline and fall of the nightingale, poetry's ...

Available nightly this summer for live in-person concerts, but only in Europe.

This entry was posted on May 15, 2020.

In for a penny, in for a hound

Hooded Oriole -

Table for two, please!

This week on Monday, Spring done sprung. The yard is awash in mounds of pink roses and showy evening primrose. The honeysuckle on the fence is sending wafts of sweet breezes hither and yon. And the cheery cherry trees have finally started to blossom.  On Tuesday, I saw the male Hooded Oriel return, and the female Hooded Oriel showed up a moment later. After a long winter apart, their’s was a joyous reunion. A harbinger, I hope.

On Weds my job ended. Technically I was furloughed, because in California you can’t let someone go without handing them their final check. So companies avoid extra hassle in accounting by never firing anyone, instead they get furloughed and after they get the final check, they’re let go. But, when you’re from CA, you understand the drill.

The Scientific Argument for Sleeping in the Cold - InsideHook

Just let me get my 20 and I’m good.

I was just glad to be back to one job, 24/7 carer for my Gran. Even if it’s unpaid. Even if it’s way, way harder than any “real” job. I can now get extra Z’s. And I have time to clean up the house and garden to a reasonable standard before my mother arrives. On Thursday I woke up late, and actually cleaned something! And if felt sooo good.

Gran would never complain, but when every surface of the house is covered… Does she really need to? When no one is coming to the house, does it matter what the inside looks like, or even what you’re wearing? It does. But in a crisis, those things go out the window.

The last several months have been crisis mode. I admit that. My friends’ stress has been such that they have developed ulcers, vertigo, recurrence of cancer, migraines, all sorts of things. But they’ve been working, sometimes 2 or 3 jobs. And doing care giving, and homeschooling.

Albert Einstein at his desk | Citation einstein, Citations d ...

Genius require mess.

Honestly, I don’t know anyone who is dying to leave shelter in place to go out and buy clothes, see a movie, or eat at a restaurant. I don’t know anyone that’s bored. Everyone I know is just tired and stressed out and tired of being stressed out.

They just want one job that pays the bills, to be able to sleep at night without fear for the future, to go to a doctor when they need to without facing financial ruin, to have their kids well educated (preferably at some distance away) and to live in a place that is safe and well ordered.

Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations of Your Grief - Grief Inspired

These are not big unrealistic asks. These expectations shouldn’t be hard for a government to meet. But…in some countries? In countries with terrible people at the top? Even simple, basic things like these seem wildly unattainable.

I just want to go home and enter quarantine. I want to sleep and sleep and sleep. And when I wake up, I’m going to take a long, long shower, just because there’s water and I can. And if there’s clean clothes and chocolate cream pie left beside my door when I step out? Bonus points for you when I’m free!

How to Become a Notary

My hand was gloved as well.

On Thursday, I got a letter from my bank. Apparently due to lack of transactions they were thinking of escheating my meager horde. Hell no. To stop them, I had to send a notarized statement with 60 days. 60 days is donkey’s years during a pandemic.

So I found myself standing in front a total stranger, the notary, both of us with a face masks on, me holding up my ID and gloved right hand, swearing it was me. She taking $15, and okay with signing off on my attestation. Life is weird. And then it gets weirder.

I mowed the lawn and sent my mother a video of the gardens in bloom. We all love a good garden. (Yes, I was convincing her the grass was always 3″ and not 3′ high.) She called me on her coffee break, from my kitchen, to talk flowers. She wanted to send some to Gran, for mother’s day on Sunday.

Sweet Spring Lilies

I told her I could pick up now, if she called our local shop down here. And so we chatted, and eventually I did what I’m prone to do even when I’m really engaged in a conversation. I started looking at the background. I usually do that during my mother’s calls make myself feel better.  I can see my home. It’s reassuringly still there.

But I can’t ever turn off that little thing in my brain that scans for anomalous things. And there was an anomalous thing. Right on the fridge, between the “There are never enough I love yous” sign, and the “Always remember you are loved” magnet, I saw the handles had been chained and padlocked. Small chain, small TSA padlock. But still.

Refrigerator On Kitchen Locked By Chain Stock Photos, Pictures ...

Hoping they remember to leave us the key.

They say, never look a gift horse in the mouth. It’s a saying I’ve never understood. I thought the whole point was you were supposed to look, so you didn’t end up with Trojans in your city. So, I mentioned to my mother Der’s quarantine, and asked if I could send her a list of his favorite things so she could stock it up and he didn’t have to go out for the two weeks. She said no problem.

At which point, I segued to the chain on the fridge.

“Why is there a chain and padlock on the fridge, Mutti?”

“Ask your Da.” she said with a sigh, and then picked up her tablet and started walking “me” to him.

In the ranking of possible worst replies you can get to a question, an exasperated “Ask your Father” from my mother is at the top of the list. “Ask your Da” was a degree down from that. I was sure there would be a plausible reason for the chain. At least I was hoping so.

what-mom-says-go-ask-your-father | You are the father, Old quotes

That fridge was pretty new and Der spent a month deciding what features he wanted on it. If that fridge was damaged? I enjoyed the free tour of my home as she walked. As I suspected, the house was looking tidy. I felt oddly upset. I mean, glad for Der. But I felt one upped.

She carried me out to our sunroom / Der’s office. Da was working away on his computer. She set me down on a table nearby so I could talk to him while he was working. It was nice to see the sunroom and my Da.  We talked about this and that. I almost forgot about the fridge. Almost.

Finally I went over the top. I just asked straight out. “What’s up with the chain on the fridge? Mutti putting you on a diet?” Da paused in his typing and looked up. He smiled his guileless Welsh smile with an earnest cast to his eyes. Lies were about to spill forth, I knew it.

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No, he did not look the same when I left.

“Oh, ’twas nothing.” said he, which of course meant it was really quite something. He said he had trained Hastings to do a new trick. Hastings is our very intelligent but extremely food motivated dog. (And yes, there is a cat, Poirot.)

Hastings is always hungry. We have to break up his meals so he doesn’t get bloat, and cover all the trash cans tightly.  Hastings loves my Da and attaches himself to him every time he visits. Mostly because my Da gives him lots of treats, under the guise always of teaching him a new — typically annoying — trick that we then have to undo or modify.

Poor Hastings.

This time the new trick was to get my Da a beer from the fridge. But over time, Hastings came to understand that when Da wasn’t around asking for beer, he could pick up “a little something” for himself.

How to Teach a Dog to Fetch Beer | Field & Stream

All kinds of wrong. Especially when the opener is attached to his collar!

“Uh-huh.”I said. I mean it made perfect sense. Of course, what my Da didn’t notice was Hastings walking past the doorway behind him, and stop to itch himself. At which point I noticed Hastings’s stomach was not hairy and black, but pink and shaved. Hastings entered the room and sat down beside my Da, looking at me, happy.


I talked Hastings a moment, and seeing I was in no position to give him a treat, he wandered away. Exit, stage right.  He seemed okay. But I decided to pursue the matter. I asked “What little something did Hastings take from the fridge that wasn’t a beer?”

“Oh,” sighed my Da, “It was only a hamburger I was going to grill.”

I decided to just let thing drop there. Sort of. After he’d rung off, I called our vet and asked if Hastings had been in recently. I was told yes, a couple weeks back, for acute pancreatitis and emergency surgery after he at 2 kilos of hamburger, and some shards of the tupperware it had been in.

Tupperware Freezer: How to Store & Thaw Ground Beef?

Can I have that with Tupperware, please?

The bill was $1200, which my Da had paid in full. I wondered if my Da had called Der and told him. Probably not. I wondered if I should say anything. I decided to sleep on it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, take considered action. If you’re always reacting, you’re never acting with intention. You’re at the mercy of the winds. You won’t end up where you want to get.

So I slept on it. And today I woke to a new love song. Sort of.

If you ask Americans to name a people that’s known to be frugal, you’ll likely hear the Scots. But if you ask a European, you’ll likely hear the Dutch. Which is why, knowing Der to have purchased cowboy accouterments for a video (that ended up in the bin) and knowing he only had access to Luke’s considerable talents for one more week, I was almost certain my last love song from Europe would have a western theme.

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Great, now I want corn bread.

I was curious to see if last week’s Vietnam era, gritty, black and white, outlaw country was going to reappear of fall by the wayside. There many wonderful Country Western love songs, thousands, tens of thousands. But is that what he sent? Nope.

This week, he went post WWII, technicolor, musical, with a twist of Chaplin. He went Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! The Gordon MacRae version. Definitely a western theme, but I didn’t see that coming. If you don’t know  Oh What A Beautiful Morning, check it out before proceeding because they riffed on it.

native oklahoma wildflowers | Eco Landscaping

That golden haze? Wildflowers.

The version I received opened with a shot of bucketing rain coming down through a window. Definitely not “a beautiful morning.” The camera pulled back into Der’s bedroom and over to a rumpled bed where he was lying on his back on the bed, in just jeans and a cowboy hat covering his face. The pan continued to a calendar beside the bed, which had the 8th circled in red and where “home” was scrawled, and then down to an old-style alarm clock. The clock begins to ring.

The cowboy awakes super chipper and singing (lip syncing) “There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow” as thunder crashes and lighting erupts. To him, it’s a beautiful day. He’s irrepressibly happy. He proceeds to get dressed over the course of the song, but clearly nothing is going his way.

1906 dance hall girls - Some saloons even included piano players ...

Just don’t bring them home.

He discovers holes in his socks. The cylinder falls out of his gun when he opens it. His lucky coin comes up tails. The whiskey bottle is empty. His saddle bags have been robbed by his previous evening’s lady who has left nothing but her feather boa, corset, and a silk slipper. But to him it’s a beautiful morning and everything’s going his way.

He finally slaps on his slicker, throws his saddlebags over his shoulder, pops on his hat and walks to the front door. He opens it, and looks out at the rain. The camera is behind him as he stops at the threshold. Is this the moment reality will set in? The camera then cuts to the front and he’s smiling. It doesn’t bother him at all. He holds out his hat to the rain with a grin, then slaps it on his head and sings the final quite “Oh what a beautiful day.”

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Yep, beautiful.

After which he strolls blissfully out, throws his saddlebags on his bike, this is the Netherlands after all, and happily pedals away in the rain to the instrumental finish. It was absolutely impossible to see that much sheer goofy happiness and not be happy. Which made me realise, that fridge episode was between Der, Da and the dog.

And okay, too, I wanted to see if they’d cover it up, and for how long. Because by the time I get home, the dog will be healed and I’m betting the hair will be grown in pretty much. Which means, they never have to tell me. My Da would never tell. And Der….probably not.

Sure, I might find out someday, next time I went to the vet. But that could be months away. Maybe a year. Why stir the pot? And that was my thinking too. Why should I stir the pot? If I say nothing and they say nothing, I’ll always know have an Ace to play in future, should I do something equally life threateningly stupid bu accidental.

Ace up your sleeve | CSOPRO

Thanks, boys.

I’m sure my Da will tell Der. My guess? He’ll leave Der a note on the kitchen counter. Hopefully Hastings doesn’t eat it. But not my problem. He’s eaten paper before. Including an uncashed paycheck which happened to brush up against sandwich meat in the grocery bag one time. He’d be fine.

So, yeah, for I’m gonna let that puppy go bounding off into the meadow, then everyone, including myself, can have a beautiful day.

This entry was posted on May 8, 2020.

The Great Mistake

Recently we started reunification talks. It’s more complicated than it used to be. Once upon a time, I could hop on plane and be home in a few hours. Now, things are different.

Getting home is a complex, multi-phased, time-consuming affair. It’s weirdly reminiscent of the end of WWII with its logistical nightmare of getting millions of service members – spread around the world – de-mobbed and home.

New Covid cases in the Netherlands are way down from their peak, things are improving. This means Der can wrap it up and fly home, to 2 weeks in home quarantine. The day he arrives, my parents have to leave.

They will tag team the drive back to Northern California so they can be home in a day. Then they too will have to do 2 weeks home quarantine. But after that, my mother can drive down and relieve me at my post, which means I get a mom hug, after months and months.

After a few days sorting things together, I can then drive up to see my Da, and get some Da hugs. After a couple days of that, I will drive up to some friends in Washington, and kip overnight in their horse stall. Who doesn’t love the smell of hay? From there, it’s a straight shot home and into 2 weeks of home quarantine.

And then, God willing, by June, we’re reunited. Like I said, complicated.

I knew from the start the US would screw up the Covid 19 response, and badly. But I thought, 6 months max. I didn’t think when I volunteered for this that a year on there would be a second wave or maybe it’d be two years till there’s a vaccine.

That light dawned as time went by, people died, and governments (state and national) dithered. You know two months in, when you’re in one country, you’re Significant Other is in another, and your folks are in a third, things are bad. And when your love letters start to get held up because planes are grounded and everything is going by boat? Yeah, you know this is long-haul bad.

Still, you’re locked in by then. And after a certain point, you stop thinking about anything except today. You still envision a future, but it’s kind of fuzzy because you’re just keeping your head down and trying to move forward. It’s one foot in front of the other, till you finally get “there” “someday.” Even though where “there” and when “someday” is have faded from memory.

For us, the where and when was supposed to be a cabin on a lake this August. We’d put a deposit down before all this happened. By March, we didn’t know now if the cabin would be allowed to rent to us, or if there would be money to afford to rent it, or … I just stopped thinking about it. Because it didn’t seem important anymore. But that’s probably why I should have been thinking about it.

Early on, because Der was in a way different time zone (he’s +9 hrs) and working full time — really more than that, trying to save businesses and people’s jobs — and I was working and caregiving, actual conversations became a once a week, on the weekend kind of thing. Talking didn’t seem so important.

I’d write letters. Actual paper letters. I like the personal touch, and adding little cartoons. He likes the surprise of finding them in his box. He’d call my phone, while I was sleeping and it’s off, and leave a message, poem, sound of some birds in a local park, street noise outside his apartment, a picture of his stars.

Once a week, he’d send a song, a link to a youtube video usually. The very first was Michael Bublé singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” I’m a musical purist. I think Michael is great guy, but as a singer I’ve always thought “Meh.” I was surprised Der would send me that version.

But I’m open minded. I listened, really listened, and I have to say, every night since, as I fall asleep, I hear that song in my head and I feel better. It’s like a warm hug as I drift off into a peace-filled sleep. So hats off to you, Mr Bublé.

Later I was sent “Love is a wonderful thing” Michael Bolton. Then there was the “Steam Heat” ironing video.  Nat King Cole’s “Our love is here to stay” topped the charts one week. Other romantic songs of various eras by crooned by various male singers followed.

A few weeks back he sent me “Annie’s Song,” by John Denver. The lyrics list a lot of things that, looking back, Der and I actually did together. So he (a clever friend, actually) created a photo montage to go with. It was, at the time, for lack of a better term the best kind of schmaltz in the world.

But now I look back  That song, that’s when things took a bit of a turn.

The next was “I’ll be seeing you” (sung by Bing Crosby). It’s from a 1944 Christmas movie of the same name The movie is about two stranger who meet, each with a terrible secret. After which came “Everything I Do,” by Bryan Adams. The lyrics are hugely romantic and the song is a very intense declaration.

In hindsight, I should have paid more attention. I should have seen the red flags. But I didn’t notice the escalation, because it was slow, and subtle. Which brings me to The Great Mistake.

It was the weekend. Der was out in the countryside, with “Luke” the friend that helped him create the “Annie’s Song” photo montage. Luke works in marketing and is an awesome photographer in his own right. I sensed a photo montage love song was in the making for this week.

We were all talking, about the Great Escape, and being on a homeward bound trajectory at last. It was all going well. I remember there was laughter. And then, right when we were wrapping up, when I should have said “I love you.” Or maybe asked about the cabin by the lake. I said:

“I wonder what will happen in the Fall.”

It was an extemporaneous statement. Apropos of nothing. It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t the opening salvo of a discussion of future events. It was just me thinking out loud, unpremeditated.

There was a really long pause, then a burst of heated words like a sudden cold  downpour on a warm summer’s day. Not all of the words were in English. Luke was silent. I imagine he too was caught off guard. Or maybe, being Luke, he was filming some B roll.

I didn’t catch every word, but I got the gist.  The impact of America’s botched Covid 19 response on the entire world was so bad America might as well have been dropping nuclear warheads on other nations. That was the gist. There were a few other “American” things sworn about, but I won’t repeat them. You get the picture.

Now, two things of note here. In cross-national relationships there’s typically an unspoken pact. I can bash the US because I’m American. He can bash the Netherlands because he’s Dutch. But you can never bash your Significant Other’s homeland. That he threw that rule not just out but through the plate glass window? Pretty surprising.

The second thing is, anger is useful. It always tells you something you need to know. This is true of your own as well as other people’s. Der popping off to me (not at me), about something as abstract (and out of my control) as my government’s incompetence in a public health crisis being equal to malevolent total annihilation of the world? I found that weirdly interesting.

To me, the fact my country was being raked over the coals, made it feel like there was a also personal dimension involved. Somehow. And all of it together made me wonder what Der was actually so “down to his boot tips” angry about. I never got a chance to ask. He hung up on me at the end of his meltdown. No goodbye. No “I love you.” Not even a “I can’t talk now.”  Nothing. Just a short silence, then a click. And we were disconnected.

I have to confess, I was a little perturbed as well as perplexed.  I thought we were handling the long-distance thing fairly well. But clearly something was being held back from me, bottled up so tightly that when the cork popped, it flew a mile. I wasn’t blaming him, okay maybe a little. But I’m not mind reader and at 5500 miles away, he’s a cold read at best. Give a girl a clue!

I didn’t want to make things worse, so I waited. Eventually, I thought, I’d get a text or call in the night. I wasn’t sure I’d respond right away when it happened, but I expected something, a statement, explanation, maybe an apology. A day went by. A second day. A third. I started to wonder. Three business days was a long time for Der to remain incommunicado.

Because people are suddenly getting sick and dying, I sent a text to Luke, asking if they’d made it back to town ok, because I really didn’t know even that much. He sent me an email back. The subject line was “I was told to delete this.” But being a professional, who’d done a bunch of work, that was never going to happen. “This” was a black and white video featuring Der in a cowboy attire, hat and all, set to Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

The song is about lovers who parted, regretfully. They will never, in this life, get back together. But he thinks of her every evening and imagines walking hand in hand with her again “up yonder,” “in a land that knows no parting.” In the case of Luke’s film, that land was BC’s mountains and featured a montage of color pictures of Der and I, hand in hand, walking there.

So, my take away was, Positive side: love + reunion. Negative side: not in this life + Der wanted the whole projected destroyed. Of course, the destruction could have been a reasonable request. Der had just gone off on America and you can’t get more American than Willie Nelson singing a century-old country music classic. Had it been sent, it might have come off as a further, somewhat twisted, insult or even a break up video.

I didn’t see it as anything but another love song. I’d assumed when he told me about the trip to the countryside with Luke to “refresh the soul with a little beauty” that it was a euphemism for making a new video, drinking in a field of daisies, and otherwise having a bit of fun. Strange thing was, this didn’t look fun. It looked serious, kind of painful, sad even. Der looked leaner, beat down, haggard. It’s a look that works well for the song, but maybe was it reality?

He went to the Netherlands to help save the core EU business, which was shaken because of Covid 19. The North American side of things was supposed to be okay, but over time it too became shaky. He always made like it was not a big deal. Everything was fine. But, maybe when he joked about having to sell the house, closing the NA office, and contracting back to the EU, it wasn’t a joke?

So, I got over myself rather quickly, took a rash financial action, and sent Der a text, just 3 words. I have this theory that all human communication can be boiled down to 3 words. Think about it (3 words). I love you. It’ll be OK. Sure you can. Where are you? I’m so sorry. I need help. See what I mean? All 3 words. My 3 word texts are something Der and I have laughed about in the past, so I sent 3 words: Cabin rental paid.

Another day went by.  A text finally appeared, a link to  Air Supply’s “Without You.” The title makes it sound like a break-up song. It’s the exact opposite. It’s an “I can’t live, if living is without you” song. And when I heard that, it finally clicked.

It wasn’t about America’s pandemic response, per se, it was about the accumulation of loneliness, loss, homesickness, financial set backs, and watching the world you’d built collapsing in, again. All that, he could cope with. But when summer ended and fall returned, bringing SAR CoV 2 with it, we’d be ripped apart again.

He’d never stood in the way of my going in January. He’d never said, “please, don’t go.” We agreed, this was life or death, this was the practical solution. We both agreed it had to be done, and painful as it was, we had to be apart for several months. That was then. Now the world was on a mobius strip that no one was getting off, maybe for a couple years, till there was a vaccine. But we’d never talked about it.

We were busy living in the now, surviving. I’d never talked about the distant future. He’d never talked about it either. But subconsciously, he’d been talking about it for awhile, through the songs. Slowly, over time they’d changed. The hope had been going out of them. Love was a wonderful thing had become blue eyes crying in the rain.

The lake in summer had become to me a fuzzy we’ll be “there,” “sometime.” And the future to him had become so distant it was taking place “up yonder,” in the afterlife! But I wasn’t aware of that consciously. And maybe he wasn’t either until I cracked the door with an off-hand remark about the future, the Fall. Then it became real. He couldn’t stop himself saying what he truly felt. He couldn’t do this again; he couldn’t give anymore.

In a normal world, I’d have packed my bag, cleaned out my paltry bank account, and jumped on the first (possibly plague infected) plane bound for Amsterdam. But, it’s not a normal world – and I’d paid for the cabin rental in full. So I called my Da. I told him what was going on. He said in all honesty he’d had enough togetherness with Mum. They could probably use some apart time now. He was sure she’d be happy to stay with Gran, even if it meant staying till 2021.

Then I talked to my mother. She said, of course she would cover “the duration” and she was sure she’d see me and Der, at Christmas, if not Thanksgiving. (But we know Christmas, home, together, probably only in my dreams?… Cue Mr Bublé.) And really, she added, if her mother was going to die, shouldn’t she be the one there? (This where I get that ability to turn a “stroll through garden” conversation into “up the garden path” — where you get mugged — situation.)

Finally, I spoke with my Gran. She said death was out there, and you shouldn’t seek it. But life was out there too, and you should seek that. The world would continue spinning, things – good and bad – would keep happening. Don’t wait for a perfect time in a perfect world, they’ll never arrive. But you can be perfectly happy, now, despite that. Just be sure to call regularly and visit now then.

I went for a long walk quite late that night, 11 pm, to think things through. As I crossed a small bridge, I paused to look at the moon reflected on the channel of water and listen to the chorus of cheerful frogs. Then I noticed some thoughtful soul had left a paper heart, taped to the rail of the bridge. On it was handwritten 3 words: You’re not alone.

I took a picture of the note and sent it to Der. Because when someone tells you “I can’t live if living is without you,”  “You’re not alone” on a heart, on a moonlight bridge, is definitely the right answer. It was morning in the Netherlands. I thought he’d see the text when he woke up and respond later. But before I could pocket my phone, a reply came:

Arriving YVR 9th.

I felt myself smile a smile born of true happiness. Something I realised I hadn’t felt in quite a while. I guess, truth to tell, I’d been bottling up some things to gut it out as well. And as for my Great Mistake? As mistakes go, this one turned out pretty great. Yep, love is a wonderful, wonderful thing!




This entry was posted on May 2, 2020.