Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Around OakMeadows

 




Something is blooming and has set my allergies off. I’m taking a non-sedating antihistamine and ibuprofen and never getting more than 2 feet from a box of tissues. It has been so beautiful outside with much improved temperatures so that I just cannot stay inside. I would rather deal with allergies than stay inside.

I’m reading a couple of really interesting books. Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham is about the 1986 nuclear power plant disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine and the response by the Soviet government. Fascinating. I’m also going back and re-reading some old Agatha Christie mysteries starting with The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

The election is just 28 days away. JMM and I voted by mail as we always do. I can’t stand to listen/watch/read all the negative campaign ads nor can I stand any of the Presidential or Vice Presidential debates. I hope will be glad when it is finally over and hopefully Joe Biden is inaugurated January 22, 2021. 

The pandemic continues. 211,544 Americans have died of it. The President and many of the people around him are infected. So far JMM and I remain quarantined and healthy. Being an introverted homebody makes it mentally less challenging for me than for people who are more outgoing. Between housekeeping, cooking, reading, quilting, all the creatures, I am always busy with mostly pleasant activities.

That’s about all for now. Hope everyone has a good week. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Nothing to Fear by Adam Cohen

 

Nothing to Fear by Adam Cohen


If this had been the usual book about the Hundred Days bringing about the alphabet soup of programs, the CCC, WPA, NIRA, etc., it would have been a dreary book indeed. Fortunately, the author focused on the people who dreamed and imagined and crafted the policies that resulted in the alphabet soup of agencies whose purpose was, as Frances Perkins said, “to take the edge of human misery.”  If you don’t know Raymond Moley, Harry Hopkins, Henry Wallace, Frances Perkins, and others, you will find this a most engaging book. It has certainly spurred my interest in learning even more about these people and this time in America. Not just a good read, an excellent read.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Around OakMeadows

 



Today the Generac whole house generator was installed. They have to come back one more time actually turn it on and show us how it operates. It is a great relief to know that when the next hurricane blows through, we will have power/air conditioning during and especially in the days afterward. 


We had to have someone come out and repair the garage door opener. Somehow the heavy spring  broke. I am so old that I remember when you had to get out of car, unlock the garage door, and lift it open, then you would drive in  before closing it by pulling it down. 

The wildfires are blazing in California. 2 million acres have burned and several of the fires are completely uncontained. Completely to be expected with climate change. 

55 days until the election. 155 days until the inauguration. I hope I never see or hear anything ever again about the Orange one.

190K deaths from Covid-19. No end in sight. A vaccine may be available in the spring, 2021. We shall see.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Uplifting, Inspiring, Goodness

   

Henry and Tigger

I’ve been so uplifted by the speeches at the virtual Democratic National Convention. Michele Obama, Barak Obama, Joe Biden, and others were inspiring and a reminder of the goodness of America. It was refreshing and hopeful. I’ve done my best to avoid hearing negative responses. 


We have a tropical storm heading our way. So far it looks like it will be a Category 1 at landfall on Tuesday afternoon. Of course with any storm, it could stall and strengthen or it could go somewhere else altogether.  If it does come as a Category 1, it will bring some much needed rain. I am so hoping that we will have our generator installed before we have a serious storm. Stay tuned.

Today is our Friday for Texas Roadhouse curbside pickup. I miss going into the restaurant but am very thankful we can do the curbside pickup. I refer to JMM as our Uber Eats Guy. Angie loves to go with him and greet the person who brings the food to the van.  Of course, she loves bites of my kebabs even more.  

According to the NYT website, 174,361 Americans have died of Covid-19. It is just incredible. Never would it have entered my mind that this could happen in my America. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Poetry for a pandemic

To be of use

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Around OakMeadows

Carolina Wren


We are getting a whole house generator. I have wanted to get one for several years. It is not so much for the occasional power outage but for the power outage that follows a hurricane. I am convinced that climate change will mean more hurricanes and more severe weather in general. We spent a miserable 3 days without power after Hurricane Ike even though we had a gasoline generator to keep fans and the refrigerator going. We are now 12 years older and less able to cope with the heat and humidity. I have 2 companies coming out next week to give us estimates. 

The Covid-19 pandemic continues. Google says 137,000 Americans have died from Covid-19; the NYT says 135,324. It is just hard to comprehend so many deaths. We are in the middle of a surge of cases with the daily death toll climbing.  From what I have read, the sequelae in recovery can be both long and serious. Joe and I remain in self quarantine.

It is very pleasant to sit outside under the trees in the mornings and read and watch the birds come to the various feeders. On a typical day, we see
Birds
     Doves
     Blackbirds (Grackles and Red-Winged Blackbirds)
     Woodpecker
     Cardinals
     Carolina Wrens
     Mockingbirds 
     Crows
     Carolina Wrens
     Chickadees 
     Blue Jays 
     Cattle Egrets 
     Hummingbirds 
Insects
      Little Sulphurs 
      Giant Swallowtail 
      Monarchs 
      Gulf Fritillary 
Mammals
      Squirrels 
      Raccoons 
      Occasionally a deer
I find watching the Wildlife very helpful in dealing with the isolation of the pandemic. And, of course, my two cats, Tigger and Henry, and my dog, Angie, do their part to keep the circus going.

I just started reading Walter Isaacson’s very entertaining and informative biography of Benjamin Franklin. More on Old Ben later.
      

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Covid-19 Update


Covid-19 is certainly running rampant here in Texas. ICUs here in the Houston area are at 97% occupancy.  I am not really surprised because many people have assumed that since businesses, parks, and beaches were open, the virus was gone and life could return to pre-pandemic states. Wrong. The virus is still here and we still have no immunity to it, no vaccine, and no miracle treatment for it. JMM and I have been under no illusions about it and have remained quarantined.  Covid-19 may be with us for a long time before a safe and effective vaccine is available. 

The economic damage this virus is costing is just incalculable. Unemployment is at Great Depression levels and as federal and state unemployment money runs out, people will become homeless as they are evicted because they don’t have the money for mortgages or rent. Very few people have the savings to live without a steady income for very long.