Archive | May 2021

Don’t You Know?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midori Animal Journal & Midori Star Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One hit wonders, are still wonderful.

This entry was posted on May 28, 2021.

Good Vibrations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then come back and we can talk about mental health.

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

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

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

Extra points if you knew it uses an Electro Theremin

This entry was posted on May 21, 2021.

Just the Way You Are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week’s love song.

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

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

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

Yep, it is a wonderful world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, still love you humans.

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

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

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

This entry was posted on May 14, 2021.

Still the One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the after.

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

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

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

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

This entry was posted on May 7, 2021.