Consideration of those we love

In 2014, the family got in a vehicle and drove cross country. We picked up a flu bug from a budget hotel in Iowa. It was pretty bad. When we got to Massachusetts, some of us were unable to do anything but lie around in my uncle’s guestroom and sleep in between the nausea. 

We made hard decisions not to visit our elderly loved ones and our not-so-elderly loved ones. While we missed out on some face time, we felt better not to have shared that severe flu. Most of us were in decent health and it knocked us over. Can’t imagine what it would have done to my 90-something great aunt who I really wanted to see. My aunt is still living, fortunately, in part perhaps because she agreed with taking precautions at the time. We talked it over back then, and I don’t regret missing the visit. I prefer to be temporarily sad about missing a face-to-face visit than being sad for the rest of my life for being the one who might have killed her.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

As I was writing her a Christmas card today, it reminded me that consideration for others and caring for others’ well-being is not new. Hopefully more folks will understand this nowadays.

If anything sticks after this challenging year of closures and cancellations, I hope that considering how your own actions affect your loved ones endures. Viruses spread. So does foolishness.

I’m hopeful that knowledge, compassion, and reasonable action spreads just as vigorously. All it takes is a willingness to be aware of what you are doing and how your actions affect someone else. Peace

Strange Times in Cootieville

Today was an odd day.

My spouse and I decided to go for a walk to the mailbox about half a mile from our place. Instead of cutting through the parks and walking the greenbelt, we decided to walk along the main road in our neighborhood.

It was a nice day, blue skies, not too cold, windy, or anything extreme. Just a nice day, generally.

We don’t wear masks when we are outside. Mainly because, well, science? There were no ther humans on the street within a quarter mile or so.

Until we saw the kid. But he wasn’t really a kid. Maybe late 20s. Dark hair, grocery bags in hand from the local Nugget grocery store. And a super large mask.

It wasn’t surprising to us to see someone wearing a mask as they walked outdoors, alone. Or to see masks on drivers in theri own cars, with no one else in the vehicle. We typically just shake our heads and wonder how much the person actually knows about immunology and the transmission of viruses.

What WAS unusual was how the kid-not-really-a-kid reacted to us. We were walking toward him on the sidewalk. When he saw us he stopped dead on the sidewalk then half ran onto the driveway of someone’s house. He was clearly terrified.

The last time I saw someone react like that to others was when we played a tag game in kindergarten and the person who was “it” had “cooties.”

But here was an adult male, twitching and obviously in distress.

I couldn’t have scared him more unless I ran towards him waving my arms and shouting ooga-booga! (For the record, I did not do this.)

Meanwhile, both the spouse and I were puzzled and somewhat concerned about this person’s reaction.

I can assure you we take the spread of infection seriously and would have provided this person more than six feet in a courteous passing of each other on the road.

I’m just wondering how much that person knows about science. Obviously, not very much.

I suppose there will be those who will read this commentary and assume I’m being flip. I’m not.

We were, however, more concerned about that person’s mental health than anything else. It must be hell living in a world where everyone has cooties and even though you have lots of options such as handwashing, Vitamin D, rest, and other immune system supports, you think the mask is your only option and that even thought you are wearing a mask, it’s not enough.

I wonder how people handled flu season every year, before this year? Flu isn’t magical.

You should have been washing your hands last year too.

Photo by Burst on

I’m hoping that the scientists and the armchair policy people realize what they’re doing to anxious people out here. It isn’t good.

Oh, and the new phrase for Californians now is no longer “Have a nice day.” It’s “Be safe.” Sometimes it includes a “Be well.”

No one cares about having a nice day anymore. Just make sure you don’t breathe on that guy in the street. He might have a heart attack.

Be safe out there. For real.

Are you superstitious?

It’s Friday the 13th, again, in 2020, with crows.

Any film buff will tell you that Friday the 13th is not an auspicious day for college students—or women in general. There’s a whole load of horror films on the topic.

On the other hand, ask any Wiccan and they might say Friday the 13th is actually a holy day, for a number of reasons.

And just lately, we’ve been adopted by two crows. Every time I leave the house to go for a walk, there are a pair of crows on the lawn in front. I’ve not been quick enough to capture them by photo, but they are definitely new neighbors. We didn’t have crows before, well, yesterday.

These fellow are distant relatives of my new neighbor crows.

As to the day being portentous, I think of Friday the 13th as definitely a significant day this year. Friday the 13th, for my town, was when my local area started making huge plans to shut things down, cancel large events, and initiate some closure procedures for the anticipated COVID-19 onslaught.

Hard to believe we’ve been on quarantine/restrictive procedures for eight months now. It’s uncertain when the new normal will become tolerable.

But, back to the crows.

I remember a saying from when I was a kid. I had to look it up. The significance of crows showing up and roosting at your home has a long history. People have written poems about it. I include a graphic below. At least it isn’t only one crow. (One for sorrow.) I was pleased that there were two.

Maybe this Friday the 13th is a bookend for a bookshelf of days that were littered with delays, fearmongering, illness, and business failures.

I’m ready for the COVID story to end. Looking forward with some hope.

Those two crows were a sign. Two crows for joy. I’ll take it, however I can.

I hope wherever you are, you’re getting ready to experience joy. I hope it lands on your roof, and enters your home.

Be blessed, all.

Sending you joy.

Troubling Times

Well, we had to take a trip to COVID Central, aka Kaiser South ER tonight. I was there last about 5 years ago, with a family member. In the age of COVID it is utterly disheartening to be in that space. Entry to the ER is through a metal detector. TSA on steroids. Single patients spaced in separate chairs in the waiting room. I watched as a very elderly African American couple were separated because she couldn’t go in with him–thank you, COVID. An older Asian female who couldn’t remember her name. A mother there, with her crying baby. No one could comfort that little one. Lots of folks, from all cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds, with the common denominator of poverty and illness.

I guess if we have one thing that unites us, it’s pain. I hope that these extreme precautions actually have some benefit. Separating family during these times is heartbreaking. For the record, we had to leave our family member there for the time being. This is not a world I recognize. I can’t say I like it very much, at the moment.

Praying for healing. For my family. For you. For them. For all of us.

Red Cross worker
Photo by Matthias Zomer on

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