2020 Life Logs, Day 325: Praises for Technology

2020 Life Logs, Day 325: Praises for Technology
Date: Saturday, November 21, 2020
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 63, Low 40 Degrees
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

This afternoon I had a Skype video call with Justin and family. We do this at least once a month and sometimes more often. So when I went to write down the thing I am most thankful for today, it was the technology that allows me to see Ziggy and Coco in action and have long, wonderful conversations with Justin and Jo. We can talk on the telephone but seeing them on video helps me feel like I am right there with them. Technology comes with all kinds of issues, but I love and appreciate this aspect.

I didn’t do a lot today. I feel no worse or no better than yesterday, but I am just trying to rest and get rid of whatever it is I have. I am convinced that I do not have Covid. Rather, I think it is a sinus issue that was probably started by the yard work I was doing last weekend. Dumping lawn mower bag after lawn mower bag of leaves probably started the problem and it just came to a head on Thursday. I still have a scratchy throat but otherwise feel okay. I’ll be anxious to get the results of the Covid test to eliminate that possibility. In the meantime, I continue to walk with Shadow, read, and rest. Not a bad life, just not my usual, active normal.

2020 Life Logs, Day 324: Interesting 24 Hours

2020 Life Logs, Day 324: Interesting 24 Hours
Date: Friday, November 20, 2020
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 59, Low 48 Degrees
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

I wrote last night’s log early in the evening, and things went downhill after that. I had a full evening of ‘watching’ lined up, starting with a 7 pm Zoom presented by the Woods Hole Historical Museum with the title, “Getting History Right: Telling Our Story from the Wampanoag Perspective.” A local Wampanoag led the conversation retelling the story of the first Thanksgiving from the Wampanoag point of view. I really enjoyed the presentation but was so glad that I could choose not to be on video and have my audio muted as I was buried in tissues by the end of the hour. No, I wasn’t crying. My nose started running and just wouldn’t stop. And I was sneezing and felt chilled. I took a couple of Sudafed to try to stop the runny nose and continued with my watching. The Sudafed helped, but while I watched an interview with President Obama from 10 to 11 pm, I stared to panic. Was I getting a cold or was it Covid? It was midnight when I convinced myself that I was okay, so I went to bed and slept just fine. I got up with Shadow at 6:00 am and went right back to bed. But I was encouraged as there was no runny nose. I got up at 9 am, took a shower, and felt okay, but I coughed a couple of times. I took Shadow for his morning mile-long walk and felt a heaviness in my chest. But I had no temperature, I certainly hadn’t lost my sense of smell or taste, and I really felt fine. What to do? It’s bad enough to get a cold just before Thanksgiving, but Covid?? My primary care is with Community Health Center of Cape Cod and on Tuesday I received an email update on Covid testing from them. I looked up the email and called the number. I got a real nurse and she told me that I would need to have a Zoom meeting with a physician’s assistant to okay the testing, but since it was Friday, she would go ahead and schedule an appointment time for a test. It had to be approved by the PA, but she was sure it would be. An hour or so later, the PA approved the test but agreed with me that I probably had either a cold or an allergy-related issue. She told me to take an Allegra once a day, use Flonase nasal spray at night, and suck on dark chocolate to stop any coughing. I asked her repeat that last bit of advice. I had never heard of using dark chocolate instead of cough drops. She explained that dark chocolate contains a natural cough depressant named theobromine that is much more effective than cough drops. The theobromine comes from the cacao bean and is in all chocolate, just more of it is in dark chocolate. I told her that my grandsons would love this advice. Fast forward to later in the afternoon when I went for the testing. That was easy. You drive up to a parking space marked for Covid testing, a real doctor comes out to greet you and check your photo id, then he administers the test while you sit in your car. The hard part is the time it takes to get the results, somewhere between two to five days. But hopefully I will get Negative results by Wednesday so I can have Thanksgiving with the Goldstones. Or if I am fine tomorrow morning, maybe we will just chalk this up to another strange instant cold and life will go on as normal. Whatever happens, this has been an interesting 24 hours. I hope the next 24 hours are much more normal. Or is there such a thing as ‘normal’ anymore?

2020 Life Logs, Day 323:  Shame Be Upon Us

2020 Life Logs, Day 323:  Shame Be Upon Us
Date:  Thursday, November 19, 2020
Weather:  Partly Cloudy, Warming; High 50, Low 47 Degrees
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Mark’s maternal grandmother was a devout Methodist who loved to read Shakespeare, so his mother was reared in that tradition.  His mother, Jeannette Bryant, married a devout Catholic, Dan Handley.  She eventually converted to Catholicism, but she never gave up her love of martinis.  When she had one too many, she often made statements that sounded very biblical, sometimes Shakespearian, or a combination of the two.  I can still hear her saying to me, “Shame be upon you,” when I bested her in a game of bridge.  So tonight, when I was thinking about our current situation in this country, I found myself using my mother-in-law’s language.  I was thinking, “Shame be upon us as a nation that we are all just standing by and watching our democratic form of government being trashed by one man and his team of henchmen.”  So now I am saying it out loud and seriously wondering what we as citizens need to be doing.  I was absolutely aghast tonight to find that Trump has summoned the Republican heads of the state of Michigan’s Senate and House to the White House this weekend, just prior to the final certification of the election in Michigan on Monday.  And he trying to strong arm Republicans in Pennsylvania to get the results of the election there overturned so the Republican legislature can change the will of the  voters.  Why is no one sounding the alarm?  Everyone is talking about it, but no one is taking action.  No one, no one, in this country should be allowed to carry on like this.  Michelle Obama said it best, “This is not a game.”  But it is being played that way.  So those of us who value our democracy need to get smarter about our next moves.  With people like Sidney Powell, member of Trump’s legal team, saying on Fox Legal News today that the results of this election should simply be overturned, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and simply say that this, too, shall pass.  I fear it might not if we don’t make our voices heard . . . LOUDLY.

Then there is the fact that today the first Coronavirus Task Force press conference in five months was held.   No Trump, no questions answered, but at least there was a statement that we all need to be wearing masks, using physical distancing, and only gathering with those we live with for Thanksgiving.  How can we live with ourselves knowing that we have allowed the leadership of this country to simply ignore the fact that we are experiencing the worst pandemic in over a hundred years?  I need to take a deep breath, go to bed, and wake up in the morning learning that all of this was just a bad dream.  Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.

2020 Life Logs, Day 322: What a Difference a Year Makes

2020 Life Logs, Day 322: What a Difference a Year Makes
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Weather: Overcast and Cold; High 38, Low 23 Degrees
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

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What a difference a year makes. That is obvious when looking at a photo of Shadow with the Goldpebbles on Shadow’s first day with me last November. All the boys look a year older, but only Shadow tripled his size. It was one year yesterday when I brought him home. When I look back at how tiny he was, I simply can’t understand how I failed to do a good job of behavior training. He was so easy to house train, but the sit and stay commands were not so easy—are still not so easy, but better. The real problem is jumping up on people. Jumping up on me and other people was not so bad when he weighed 8 pounds, but now that he weighs 26 pounds, it is just not safe. And nothing I try works. I can keep him from jumping up on me, but his exuberance takes over when other people come into the picture. I hope “it’s never too late” applies in this case. I shall persist because I don’t know what I would do without him. He is my constant companion, my best buddy. We walk, we cuddle, we play ball, and then we walk and cuddle some more. Long walks are much more interesting with a dog. And there’s nothing nicer than cuddling up with Shadow while reading a book. Life is good with my Shadow.

I am constantly searching for a homemade salad dressing that I love. For a long time, I made Heather’s honey mustard dressing. I love it, but recently it has fallen out of favor with me as it is too acidic. I have tried so many recipes and none have stuck. But today I tried a new recipe that I LOVE, so I am going to list the ingredients here. You just put all the ingredients in a blender and puree until very smooth. I included every ingredient, even those listed as optional, but I didn’t have miso or kelp granules. It was fine without those, but will be tastier with the miso.

Caesar Dressing from the Food Revolution Network
¼ cup water (or more to thin as desired)
¼ cup raw cashews (or raw sunflower seeds)
? cup raw sesame seeds (or pine nuts)
3 tbsp lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, cold-pressed (or water for oil-free)—I used avocado oil.
1 medium garlic clove (chopped)
1 tsp organic miso (mellow white or chickpea)
½ tsp salt (optional)
½ tsp kelp granules (optional)
½ tsp ground black pepper (optional or to taste)
½ tsp pure maple syrup (optional or to taste)

2020 Life Logs, Day 321: Adding a New Newcomers Activity

2020 Life Logs, Day 321: Adding a New Newcomers Activity
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Turning Colder; High 49, Low 29 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

I’ve added a new Newcomers activity to my life and I attended the first meeting on Zoom late this afternoon. I am actually not sure if the name of the group is Social Policy or Public Policy in Turbulent Times. Maybe the latter was just the name for today’s session, but I think that is the name for the group. Either way, you get the idea. I was not able to attend the first meeting on immigration policies, but there was a time change for today that allowed me attend. Someone in the group volunteers to lead a meeting, names the topic, and sends out readings on that topic. Today’s meeting focused on the role of journalism in the political process. It was led by Jerry Lanson who has been a journalist and taught journalism at the college level. He did a skillful job of leading the discussion. We met for an hour and 45 minutes, but that is certainly not enough time to even begin to scratch the surface of this topic. Still, it was interesting and I do hope to be able to attend some future meetings. But even if I can’t, I will enjoy reading the articles and thinking about the topics on my own. Otherwise, I didn’t do much today except to prepare for the meeting. I had read the articles, but I reread them today. I had a chiropractor appointment, took a couple of walks with Shadow, and covered some perennial plants with leaves to protect them from tonight’s freeze. It’s going to be a cold one.

2020 Life Logs, Day 320: Walk, Walk, and Walk Some More

2020 Life Logs, Day 320: Walk, Walk, and Walk Some More
Date: Monday, November 16, 2020
Weather: Sunny and Windy; High 60, Low 36 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

My day can be summed up in one word—walking. I got up at 6:30 am and walked with Shadow. We went back to bed and when we got up for the day, we walked again.
Then I went for a walk on the cranberry bogs with friend Jane Wooden. It was after 1 pm when I got home. I went for a short potty break walk with Shadow, had lunch, and started prepping the vegetables for making and canning ratatouille. Then I went to pick Ollie up after school. I did a little shopping on the way home, so it was almost dark when I got here. I took Shadow for his last long walk of the day and then returned to making the ratatouille. From the garden, I used rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano, and the last of the tomatoes. I picked the tomatoes last week, but they were still fine. Tomorrow night the temperature is supposed to be 29 degrees F and the following night, 25 degrees F. The thyme and oregano will make it through the winter, but the rosemary has to come inside tomorrow and the parsley will probably be frozen. Sometimes it makes it through temps in the 20’s. But I will spend time tomorrow bringing some things inside and putting the garden to bed for the winter.

Tonight, I canned the ratatouille while watching the news from the kitchen. I was horrified to hear that Lindsey Graham actually called the Secretary of State of Georgia to inquire about the possibility of discounting certain legal votes. The conservative Republican Secretary of State of Georgia reported this, but Lindsey Graham said he was surprised to hear that the Secretary of State had taken offense to what he called a ‘good’ phone call. He says he was just inquiring. “Just inquiring” to get legal votes thrown out when you are the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is not okay. It is interfering with the democratic process. And then there is Scott Atlas who is currently leading President Trump’s Covid team. In a Tweet he told people to stand up to restrictions state governors are imposing to control Covid. In response to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s restrictions, he tweeted, “The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.” As President Elect Biden said today, “What’s wrong with these people?” When, and more importantly, HOW does this end?