Halloween Costume Recommendations for the COVID Era

Halloween costumes have had masks for decades. The traditional plastic masks do not cover the nose and mouth. However these costumes do include the nose and mouth recommendations.

Ninja

Cowboy/rustler

Medical staff

Mummy

Belly dancer with veil

Firefighter

When All Else Fails….

Email the company.

Last weekend my sisters were in town which meant that our dishes for two, suddenly doubled to dishes for four.

They were good company and helped rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. That is wear the trouble started.

Our two Calphalon sauce pans somehow got forcefully nested in the dishwasher and when we took them out, we could not get them apart.

My attempts:

  • Trying to pull them apart using the handles
  • Banging on a handle to jar them apart
  • Leaving them for my husband

His attempts:

  • Greater brute force on pulling them apart
  • Greater brute force on jarring them apart by using a hammer on the handle
  • Putting them back in the dishwasher and taking them out when both were hot

My sister recommended that we email the company which I did. After I describe our attempts at separation I finished the comment “We are neither stupid or kidding.”

I got an immediate auto-reply from the company saying that would get back to us in a few days but email was currently backed up.

After a few days of no reply from the company, we started looking for replacements pots, but Walmart was out of Calphalon saucepans and only had Calphalon frying pans.

We got home and got a very helpful email reply from the Company,

Hi Patricia,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Calphalon. We apologize if there has been a delay in our reply since we have experienced a backlog of emails. We are working diligently to respond as quickly as possible.


We’re sorry about what happened to your pots. Hope this advise will help.

  1. Fill your sink with hot water. Place the stopper in the bottom of the sink.
  2. Set the stuck pans in the sink, just covering the bottom pan with the hot water.
  3. Place a handful of ice cubes in the upper pot. Wait five to 10 minutes. 
  4. Twist the pots in opposite directions. For instance, you could choose to twist the bottom pot counterclockwise while twisting the top pot clockwise, or vice versa.

To help us make Calphalon the best it can be, we would like to ask for your feedback. A brief survey may be sent on your email to rate the service you were provided. Please take a moment and let us know how we are doing.

We wish all the best for you and stay safe. Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

My husband tried that but could not get enough contrast between hot water in the bottom pan and ice cubes in the upper pan. He decided to very carefully heat the bottom pan on the stove, being careful not to get the burner too hot. SUCCESS! The pots are now separated

I sent the company an email back telling them their advice was perfect and thanks for getting back to me.

Neat Info

From an email

JUST PLAIN NEAT INFORMATIONS ☺

Glass takes one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times!

Gold is the only metal that doesn’t rust, even if it’s buried in the ground for thousands of years.

Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end.

If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. When a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.

Zero is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals.

Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.

The song Auld Lang Syne is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year.

Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61 percent. Drinking a glass of water before you eat may help digestion and curb appetite.

Peanut oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn’t smoke unless it’s heated above 450F.

The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.

Nine out of every 10 living things live in the ocean.

The banana cannot reproduce itself. It can be propagated only by the hand of man.

Airports at higher altitudes require a longer airstrip due to lower air density.

The University of Alaska spans four time zones.

The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.

In ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it meant she accepted.

Warner Communications paid 28 million for the copyright to the song Happy Birthday, which was written in 1935!

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

A comet’s tail always points away from the sun.

The Swine Flu vaccine in 1976 caused more death and illness than the disease it was intended to prevent.

Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other painkillers, that is why it is found in some medicines.

The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised their visors to reveal their identity.

If you get into the bottom of a well or a tall chimney and look up, you can see stars, even in the middle of the day.

When a person dies, hearing is the last sense to go. The first sense lost is sight.

In ancient times strangers shook hands to show that they were unarmed.

Strawberries and cashews are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside.

Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.

The moon moves about two inches away from the Earth each year.

The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust.

Due to earth’s gravity it is impossible for mountains to be higher than 15,000 meters.

Mickey Mouse is known as “Topolino” in Italy.

Soldiers do not march in step when going across bridges because they could set up a vibration which could be sufficient to knock the bridge down.

Everything weighs one percent less at the equator.

For every extra kilogram carried on a space flight, 530 kg of excess fuel are needed at lift-off.

The letter J does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of the elements.

And last but not least:

Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there .

COVID-19 What We Knew in June that We Didn’t Know in February

A professor of pharmacy at U of Toronto sent this clearly worded update to his family.

For this pandemic there’s a greater chance of survival for those getting infected 3 months later like June 2020 than those who got infected 3 months earlier say February 2020. The reason for this is that Doctors and scientists know more about Covid-19 now than 3 months ago and hence are able to treat patients better. I will list 5 important things that we know now that we didn’t know in February 2020 for your understanding. 

1. COVID-19 was initially thought to cause deaths due to pneumonia – a lung infection and so Ventilators were thought to be the best way to treat sick patients who couldn’t breathe. Now we are realizing that the virus causes blood clots in the blood vessels of the lungs and other parts of the body and this causes the reduced oxygenation . Now we know that just providing oxygen by ventilators will not help but we have to prevent and dissolve the micro clots in the lungs. This is why we are using drugs like Aspirin and Heparin ( blood thinners that prevents clotting) as protocol in treatment regimens in June 2020.

2. Previously patients used to drop dead on the road or even before reaching a hospital due to reduced oxygen in their blood – OXYGEN SATURATION. This was because of HAPPY HYPOXIA where even though the oxygen saturation was gradually reducing the COVID-19 patients did not have symptoms until it became critically less, like sometimes even 70%. Normally we become breathless if oxygen saturation reduces below 90%. This breathlessness is not triggered in Covid patients and so we were getting the sick patients very late to the hospitals in February 2020. Now since knowing about happy hypoxia we are monitoring oxygen saturation of all Covid patients with a simple home use pulse oximeter and getting them to hospital if their oxygen saturation drops to 93% or less. This gives more time for doctors to correct the oxygen deficiency in the blood and a better survival chance in June 2020.

3. We did not have drugs to fight the corona virus in February 2020.  We were only treating the complications caused by it… hypoxia. Hence most patients became severely infected. Now we have 2 important medicines FAVIPIRAVIR & REMDESIVIR … These are ANTIVIRALS that can kill the corona virus. By using these two medicines we can prevent patients from becoming severely infected and therefore cure them BEFORE THEY GO TO HYPOXIA. This knowledge we have in JUNE 2020… not in February 2020.

4. Many Covid-19 patients die not just because of the virus but also due the patient’s own immune system responding in an exaggerated manner called CYTOKINE STORM. This stormy strong immune response not only kills the virus but also kills the patients. In February 2020 we didn’t know how to prevent it from happening. Now in June 2020, we know that easily available medicines called Steroids, that doctors around the world have been using for almost 80 years can be used to prevent the cytokine storm in some patients.

5. Now we also know that people with hypoxia became better just by making them lie down on their belly – known as prone position. Apart from this a few days ago Israeli scientists have discovered that a chemical known as Alpha Defensin produced by the patients White blood cells can cause the micro clots in blood vessels of the lungs and this could possibly be prevented by a drug called Colchicine used over many decades in the treatment of Gout. So now we know for sure that patients have a better chance at surviving the COVID-19 infection in June 2020 than in February 2020, for sure.

Going forward there’s nothing to panic about Covid-19 if we remember that a person who gets infected later has a better chance at survival than one who got infected early. Let’s continue to follow precautions, wear masks and practice social distancing. Please distribute this message, as we all need some positive news…

Spearphishing–Pt 2

Comment  from my friend Bonnie:

In the past two months, I have received three emails from friends asking for help with gift cards for a nephew/relative. In all three instances, I called the friend, and sure enough, they had been scammed. One friend said that I was the 15th caller to report it, and one friend completely deleted her email account and started a new one.

A few months I received such an email from an acquaintance.  The email exchange went something like this:

Her:  Can you do me a quick favor?  Do you have an Amazon account?

Me:  I have an Amazon account but do not use it to purchase anything.

Her:  I’m having some trouble with my credit card.  I would like to buy my favorite niece a $200  Sephora gift card for her birthday.

Me:  I’m sorry if I gave you the impression that I would purchase anything.

Her:  Can you buy a Sephora gift card at a grocery store?

Me:  I don’t know.

Her:  Would you try to buy her a card so I can give her your email address and she can tell you where to send it?  I’ll pay you back as soon as my credit card is straightened out.

Me:  I’m sorry, I can’t help you.

Although I did not spend any money, for two months I was annoyed at this woman who I had considered an acquaintance but not a close enough friend to lend money so she could buy a niece’s birthday gift.  I kept thinking if it were my niece I’d send her a nice email wishing her a happy birthday and say I’d buy her a gift as soon as circumstances permitted.

Because I was not aware of this scam until I read Bonnie’s comment, it did not occur to me to email the woman and ask if the email was really from her.

I did send her an email today. She responded that said she had been bothered by an aggressive scammer and had had to make changes to her computer and her email passwords. Some other friends had gotten similar spam emails and had responded but their detection systems had caught the email before they had lost any money.  She also has no niece and her credit cards are fine.

Lesson learned and now shared.

 

 

 

 

Spearphishing

Spear phishing is an email or electronic communications scam targeted towards a specific individual, organization or business. Although often intended to steal data for malicious purposes, cybercriminals may also intend to install malware on a targeted user’s computer.

 

In the past month, I have had one spearphishing attempt by email and one by phone (where they actually left a voice mail.) I have found that most phone spammers will not leave a voicemail.

The email was clumsily fashioned as an inquiry from one of my credit card providers saying that someone had attempted to use my credit card from an unrecognized device.  They offered a button on the email if I felt such an attempt had occurred.  Since I have heard from this credit card provider many times for just such an event (usually me from a different computer or tablet),  I knew that the font in the email was wrong as well as the language in the email.  Plus this credit card company has never offered a button within an email.

The phone call was equally suspect.  The caller on the voice mail never identified which company they represented, they used a local non 1-800 number, and they were vague about using Apple devices without knowing which Apple devices I do or do not use.

So far, this has only required a bit of commonsense and not responding immediately to an email or voicemail.

Both my father in law and my stepmother have or  had dementia.  This inability to pause before responding to a voicemail or an email is an early sign of dementia

I am not vain enough to say that I will never be caught by a spearfisher or even fake news, but pausing  to see:

  • Does this pass the commonsense test
  • Do I know this person or provider
  • If I do know this  person or provider, does it resemble normal communications
  • For email, has my malware and security systems vetted  the email
  • Am I able to vet  the information from a second source or by checking with  Snopes or another urban legend source
  • Does the URL match the actual organization link or is the logo authentic

Can make a difference in taking the bait and getting hooked or not.

 

M-A-S-K-S

 

Mutually

Assured

Safe

Keeping

System.

The Rhythm of the Sea, Hiccups, and Falling Asleep

beach sunset
Monk doing rhythmic motions at sunset  on Mission Beach

The recurring hiccups were as relentless as the waves.  No matter how long I held my breath, they just would not stop.  Drinking water did not help.  I did not have access to a spoonful of sugar.  Breathing into a paper bag did not help either.

diaphragmFinally, I visualized my diaphragm, which is mainly a long flat muscle under your ribs, floating horizontally on a still blue sea.  To my delight, the hiccups settled down like the bobbing raft, I envisioned.

A few nights ago, I could not get my mind to settle down.  As I was breathing in trying to count my breaths, I realized that the sounds resembled a gentle tide flowing up on the beach, only to retreat before returning with the next breath. When I inhaled, the water rippled up the sand.  The exhale was the ocean ebbing.  As I got into listening for the inhales and the exhales my mind quieted and I  fell peacefully asleep.

 

Happy National Fudge Day, June 16

 

For years, I got invited to my cousin Carol’s house for Christmas dinner.  Her only request was that I bring my homemade fudge.  Although I used the Fantasy Fudge recipe on the back of the Kraft  Marshmallow Creme jar, she said that nobody could make it like I do.  (When I make fudge, I’m old-school and use the soft ball method of determining when the substance has cooked long enough to harden properly when cooled.)

National Fudge Day

Fudge lends itself to experimentation when it comes to flavors. Blending favorites or even a moment of inspiration will create a new delicious kind of fudge. Adding bits of candy, nuts or sprinkles can bring just the right celebratory burst of excitement to an old favorite.

In the late 19th century, some shops on Mackinac Island, Michigan, began to produce similar products as the Vassar College fudge and sold it to summer vacationers. Fudge is still made in some of the original shops located on the famous island.

Three other fudge holidays entice us to celebration, too. Check out May 12th to celebrate all those nutty fudges. July 22nd marks Penuche Fudge Day. Finally, on November 20th Peanut Butter Fudge Day is celebrated.

Fantasy Fudge Recipe

3 cups of sugar

3/4 cup of  butter

1-small can (5 oz)  of evaporated milk

Mix together in a pan, keep stirring so the mixture does not stick or burn. (I use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture).  Cook for at least 5 minutes after the mixture comes to a complete, rolling boil.

Soft-ball stage refers to a specific temperature range when cooking sugar syrups, occurring between 235 and 245 F. In addition to using a candy thermometer, this stage can be determined by dropping a spoonful of hot syrup into a bowl of very cold water.

After the mixture reaches the softball stage, add the following:

1 12oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1-7 oz jar of marshmallow creme

1 tablespoon of vanilla

Stir in one 12-oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels (you can use peanut butter morsels or butterscotch morsels is you prefer that flavor of fudge.)

Once the chocolate is thoroughly melted, add 1-7oz jar of marshmallow creme.  Continue stirring constantly because the marshmallow creme will take longer to blend into the easily melted chocolate.

Add the vanilla. (Sometimes instead of adding vanilla, I will add Gran Marnier to give the chocolate a lovely orange overtone.)

Add ground pecans or walnuts if desired.

When everything is thoroughly mixed, pour into a buttered pan and let sit until hard.

If your conscience permits, lick the bowl and spoon before washing them out.

 

June 10 is National Iced Tea Day

Our air conditioner is dying a slow and painful death.  The company can not replace it until Tuesday, June 16.  Meanwhile, we are going old school

  • fans
  • iced tea

It does make me wonder how people managed in the days before electricity when they also wore a lot more clothes than we do today.

From National Today.Com  Tea has been around forever, but iced tea didn’t burst onto the scene and win over America’s hearts and minds until 1904. In that year, visitors to the St. Louis World’s Fair were greeted by exceedingly hot weather. Tea plantation owner and merchant Richard Blechynden, who was present at the fair, took advantage of the situation by selling chilled tea drinks (instead of hot tea) as a cold refreshment. The rest is history. On June 10, we fill our glasses with iced tea (sweetened or unsweetened—that’s your call) and celebrate National Iced Tea Day.

On hot days, one of my favorite things to make is sun tea.

According to  Simple Recipes

Put 4 to 8 tea bags into a clean 2 quart or gallon glass container (4 teabags for a 2 quart container, 8 tea bags for a gallon container). Fill with water and cap. Place outside where the sunlight can strike the container for about 3 to 5 hours. Move the container if necessary to keep it in the sun. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove from sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may or may not want to remove the tea bags at this point. I usually don’t.

I’ve found that the tea can brew in the shade if the temperature is warm enough. Although I like to make Tazo’s Green Ginger Tea, any type of tea bags will work.

 

Giving Yourself Permission to Write

writing editing

When I lived in San Diego,  I used to take writing classes almost every quarter from the University of  California, San Diego Extension program because it was:

  1. Fun
  2. Convenient
  3. Had great teachers
  4. Offered a variety of classes
  5. Gave me a reason to permit myself to write

That is correct.  Unless I had a paper to write or a work assignment, I never gave myself permission to write just because I enjoyed doing it.

I had forgotten about that until Teagan R. Geneviene of  Teagan’s Books.,commented that

I let myself buy all sorts of paints and some canvases when I first moved, wanting to get back into that (after a decade long break), and I haven’t even done that. I’m “working on” allowing myself time for creativity and relaxation… working on it.

That was exactly how I felt about allowing myself time to write.

Fortunately, one of the last classes I took at UCSD Extension was a blog writing class–three years later, I’m still blogging.

It has become addictive and unless I have written something every day, the day feels unfinished, almost wasted.

On the plus side, I think that my writing has improved and it is easy to come up with  new topics (even before the ready made topic of Coronavirus).  I am old enough to have something to say and hopefully something worth sharing.

On the negative side, because writing is so easy for me, I know I do not push myself hard enough to improve. (I’m relying too much on the idea that practice makes, if not perfect, at least improvement.)

Do you enjoy doing something that you do not  give yourself permission to do?  Why are we like that?  Do we feel that we do not deserve to do something just because we enjoy it?

Reblog: Advice I Would Give My Younger Self

Tony’s Bologna offers stand up, tongue in cheek observations.  Sometime his unique point of view is right on point .  IMHO this post is one of his best.

To bait the hook:

Figure out What You Want to Do and Double Down

I’ve been like a freshly caught fish, flip-flopping on the shore of choice. Some days I want to do this, so I flop over here. Other days I want to do that, so I flop over there. Listen, choose one thing you want to go for and go all in. Think about what excites you and do that. Your work should ideally be confused for your play. Although it’s more comfortable to ease into the pool of life, how you get to the other shore quicker is diving in and swimming confidently, hence the double down.

To read more, click here.

Coronavirus Light–Humor to Lighten the Load

From my friend and fellow retired NDU Librarian, Alta Linthicum

I hate when a couple argues in public, and I missed the beginning and don’t know whose side I’m on.

When someone asks what I did over the weekend, I squint and ask, “Why, what did you hear?”

I don’t remember much from last night, but the fact that I needed sunglasses to open the fridge this morning tells me it was awesome.

When you do squats, are your knees supposed to sound like a goat chewing on an aluminum can stuffed with celery?

I don’t mean to interrupt people. I just randomly remember things and get really excited.

When I ask for directions, please don’t use words like “east.”

It’s the start of a brand new day, and I’m off like a herd of turtles.

Don’t bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Spend 30 seconds in my head. That’ll freak you right out.

That moment when you walk into a spider web suddenly turns you into a karate master.

Sometimes, someone unexpected comes into your life outta nowhere, makes your heart race, and changes you forever. We call those people cops.

The older I get, the earlier it gets late.

My luck is like a bald guy who just won a comb.

When I say, “The other day,” I could be referring to any time between yesterday and 15 years ago.

Interviewer: “So, tell me about yourself.”    Me: “I’d rather not. I kinda want this job.”

Cop: “Please step out of the car.” Me: “I’m too drunk. You get in.”

I remember being able to get up without making sound effects.

I had my patience tested. I’m negative.

Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn’t fit any of your containers.

If you’re sitting in public and a stranger takes the seat next to you, just stare straight ahead and say “Did you bring the money?”

When you ask me what I am doing today, and I say “nothing,” it does not mean I am free. It means I am doing nothing.

Age 60 might be the new 40, but 9:00 is new midnight.

I finally got eight hours of sleep. It took me three days, but whatever.

I run like the winded.

Live in the Time of Coronavus, Pt 8–In the Zone

I found this wonderful meme on the Expatting in a COVID-19  World:  Log Entry 3 from Latitude Adjustment Blog.

Corona Virus zone

 

Which zone are you in? Some of our leaders are unfortunately still in the Denial Zone–which is somewhere left of the Fear Zone.

By reading some of the international blogs about how their lives have changed, it gives me some perspective and a feeling that we truly are all in this together.  I know what my husband and I are going through and feel I have a decent grasp of what my state and region are going through. As to what is going on in the United States, it depends upon who is giving the briefing and which news outlet you chose to believe.  Depending upon your point of view, the other side has a tenuous grip on reality.  (I just hope that Dr. Fauci is allowed to continue serving until this crisis has passed.)

Spring makes me hopeful and I’ll take any positivity I can find.  I personally find that I need at least one planned activity a day–some days it’s taking the trash out and getting the mail.  Going to the grocery store is a real treat.  Manage your expectations and learn to adapt.

Laughter can be the best medicine and it’s a nice change to be amused rather than confused or abused.  Does your mind feel contused?

We can mask our faces but not our realities.

 

 

Tomorrow is the Start of National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996.

Things you can do to celebrate National Poetry Month (suggestions from the Academy of American Poets)

My recommendation (and one I will once again try to accomplish), write a poem a day.writer with quill pen

Some will be better

Some will be worse

But no one will know

‘Til you write the danged verse

 

Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Part II, Batten Down the Hatches

batten down the hatches

In the past two days, life in the United States has changed dramatically.  Many things are canceled or postponed.

    1.  Most of our major professional and collegiate sporting events are canceled or on hiatus.
      1. No March Madness, which means no collegiate playoffs for basketball.
      2. Suspension of all NBA (National Basketball Association), NHL (National Hockey League), MLB (Major League Baseball), or MLS (Major League Soccer) games for the foreseeable future.
    2.   Disneyland, Disney World and many Disney venues in Europe are closed.
    3.    Broadway is dark.  Many television talk shows are filming without live audiences.
    4. Colleges and now public schools (K-12) are closed for a couple of weeks or until further notice.
    5. Church services are canceled.
    6. Some businesses are closing except for online stores.  Where possible, many are instituting working from home.
    7. The federal government which had been reviewing its teleworking programs for many departments has had to do an abrupt about-face and is now increasing who may work from home.

States and municipalities have had to step up since the federal government has not been as prepared as many citizens would expect or prefer.  More than half of the states have declared states of emergency as of Friday the 13th.  There seems to be no central source for the actual number of people who are infected–this number is hampered by the continued lack of enough Coronavirus test kit availability.

An excellent, nonpartisan site for  the latest on international Coronavirus information is

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html