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

 

Live in the time of Corona–Pt 1 Storm Clouds on the Horizon

I live in Central Virginia, where so far as I know as of 3:01 pm on March 11, there is no confirmed or probable cases of Corona Virus any closer than Fredericksburg which is about 55 miles away.

Corona Virus map

I have lived here for almost three years.  Our seasons are strongly tied to the University of Virginia’s academic schedule so I have been here through Spring Break, Final Exercises (Graduation anywhere else), Summer School, Move-in Weekend and beginning of the Academic Year, Fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas breaks.

The weather this week has been almost April like with daily temperatures in the 60s and the varying trees, bushes, and flowers racing each other to bloom earlier and more prolifically.

Today when I drove around Grounds, used the gym, stopped at Barnes and Noble for a chai latte, and drove to the local library, I have never seen the UVA  vicinity so devoid of pedestrians and traffic.

You can sense the Corona Virus storm clouds gathering.

Church Notices:

  • Last week, the Rector “strongly encouraged parishioners to refrain from shaking hands during the peace for the time being. Instead, wave to your fellow worshipper or do a fist-bump. If you do shake someone’s hand during the peace, please make sure to use hand sanitizer before coming up for Holy Communion.
  • We have put small bottles of hand sanitizer in each pew rack for your convenience.”  He also encouraged people not to use intinction (dipping the wafer into the chalice)  because it “actually tends to spread pathogens more easily than drinking from the cup. “
  • This week, “in consultation with medical professionals and staff” the Rector ” has decided to cancel all church activities this week and next.   This will also include all church services. “

University of Virginia Notice:

I write to share an update on our response to the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and our plans for the remainder of the Spring semester.

To begin with the basic and important news:

  • We will be moving our classes online.  We will not be holding classes on Grounds for the foreseeable future, quite possibly through the end of the semester.  We will reassess after April 5th at the earliest and periodically after that date.
  • Students on Grounds and in Charlottesville are strongly encouraged to return home by this weekend.
  • University events with more than 100 people are prohibited for the foreseeable future and should be postponed, cancelled, or offered virtually.

This is partially based upon the impact of so many bodies on the UVA Health system and surrounding community.

UBER notice:

  • Supporting public health authorities
    We have a team available 24/7 to support public health authorities in their response to the epidemic. Working with them, we may temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. We’re also consulting with an epidemiologist to make sure our efforts as a company are grounded in medical advice.
  • Helping to keep cars clean
    We are working to provide drivers with disinfectants to help them keep their cars clean. Supplies are very limited, but we’re partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible. We’ll be prioritizing distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need.
  • Giving you options for food delivery
    We understand that you may be relying more on food delivery right now. If you prefer, you can leave a note in the Uber Eats app to ask your delivery person to leave your food at the door.

We will have to see if these plans help slow the spread of the Virus and how much our lives will change in the next several weeks and months.

Wash your hands, cover your coughs, do not touch your T-zone (eyes, nose, and mouth)  Avoid crowds as much as possible and we’ll compare notes when we get to the other side of this crisis whether it’s an epidemic or pandemic.

Stay healthy!

 

 

National Day of Unplugging

National Day of Unplugging 2020
The National Day of Unplugging (NDU) will take place from sundown-to-sundown, Friday, March 6 to Saturday, March 7, 2020. The event has been at the forefront of the movement to educate people about the dangers involved with over-reliance on technology, especially as it pertains to handheld devices. The day to digitally detox is entering its 11th year.

cellphone during a mealHow often have you seen couples go out to dinner and rather than talk to each other at the table, they are each texting, reading their email or surfing the ‘Net?

Raise your cellphone laden hand if this applies to you

How about teens sitting on a couch next to each other while texting rather than talking cellphone use on a couchto each other?  Are people capable of making conversation anymore?  In 200 hundred years will we have evolved into having oversized thumbs and permanently slumped posture?

David Katznelson, Reboot’s Executive Director and CEO says: “Technology is both one of the most helpful and potentially troubling modern-day advances – making communication easier as a global community, but also feeding addictive behaviours that often supersede human interaction.”

If you were to take the Unplug pledge what will you do?

  1. Read,  meditate, or go for a walk
  2. Host a digitally unplugged event such as a night of board games or cards
  3. Talk to a friend or neighbor
  4. Write a letter or a blog post in longhand
  5. Journal your experiences unplugged
  6. Knit, crochet, paint, quilt, garden or some other infrequent arts or craft
  7. Take a class
  8. Play the piano or some other unplugged instrument
  9. Look at old photos or organize them in a scrap book
  10. Clean out your junk drawer or closet
  11. Go for a ride in the countryside
  12. Visit a local attracdtion you’ve always been meaning to see

Five Gym-Related Signs You May Be a Geezer or Geezerette

  1. elder fitnessYou argue with your body that it really can do that 30 minutes on the reclining bike.  Your leg begins to mutter about 10 minutes in and by 20 minutes, it complains loudly that the effort is too much (even though you have not increased the resistance past level 1.)  It was able to do up to level 4 two days ago and it has not been injured or abused. You ignore the leg cramp and sigh heavily when the clock shows that 30 minutes have trickled away.
  2. Your body does not want to get down on the floor for stretches (and you don’t woman kneelingwant to let gravity help you get down there more swiftly.) You grab the exercise mat and lie it on the floor, staring at it resentfully.  You know all of the grumbling parts will feel better once they are stretched, but they show no interest in making that happen.  So you bend at the waist (fortunately the hamstrings still cooperate, even if the knees are sulky), touch the floor and walk them forward until you can drop your knees to the mat.  It ain’t purty, but it serves a need.
  3. A new body part joins in the argument about which part is aching the most.  Usually, it’s the knees that complain, but today the right hip feels entitled to join in.  Nothing makes it happy.  Talk about a whiner.
  4. Any piece of equipment in a pinch.  Once the stretches, leg lifts, and the world’sGlute Ham machine. briefest plank position hold have been accomplished, you have to stand back up.  Fortunately, you are next to the Glute Ham developer so it allows you to pull/push yourself up from a kneeling position.

5.  Doing the actual exercises is the easy part.  Getting situated in the machine and adjusting the seat and weight are the hard parts.  Getting out is almost as difficult as getting in.

hip abductor machine
This is one of the most difficult to navigate getting in and out.

January Days to Celebrate

janusJanuary is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the first of seven months to have a length of 31 days. The first day of the month is known as New Year’s Day. It is, on average, the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of winter) and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern Hemisphere (where it is the second month of summer). In the Southern hemisphere, January is the seasonal equivalent of July in the Northern hemisphere and vice versa.

January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology.[1]

January 1 is New Year’s Day. For many people. it is a time to make (and usually break) New Year’s resolutions.

happy new year

January 2 is National Science Fiction Day. While not an official holiday,
“the date was actually chosen to correspond with the official birth date of famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s.”
Goodreads best science fiction 2019 titles include:

  • Recusion by Blake Crouch
  • Dark Age by Pierce Brown
  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  • This is Hos You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar
  • The Deep by Rivers Solomon

January 6 is Epiphany.  It is also the 12th day of Christmas.  The Armenia celebrates Christmas on January 6.

It  observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ

Magi

national sticker dayJanuary 13 is National Sticker Day. 

National Sticker Day is January 13 in honor of R. Stanton Avery, who was born on that day in 1907. Avery was the original creator of the adhesive label with a removable backing.
I’m not sure why ALA is celebrating on January 20.

January 16 is Appreciate a Dragon Day.  Although the two most common types of dragons are the European and the Chinese versions, “Researchers think that ideas about dragons developed independently of each other in different parts of the world, rather than in just one place or with just one person. Scientists believe that people’s ideas and stories about dragons were inspired by real animals, such as dinosaurs, crocodiles, whales, or large lizards, and the dragon was born! ”  To read more about dragons, click  https://study.com/academy/lesson/european-dragon-vs-chinese-dragon-lesson-for-kids.html.dragon

Appreciate a Dragon Day began when Donita K. Paul wanted to celebrate the publishing of her first fantasy novel “Dragonspell”, part of the five-volume series, The DragonKeeper Chronicles.

martin luther king I have a dreamJanuary 20 is Martin Luther King Jr Day. Each year on the third Monday of January, America honors the birth, life, and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From https://www.officeholidays.com/holidays/usa/martin-luther-king-jr-day
Dr. King was an American clergyman and civil-rights leader. He became minister of the Dexter Ave. Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama in 1954. He led the black boycott of segregated city bus lines in 1956 and gained a major victory as a civil-rights leader when Montgomery buses began to operate on a desegregated basis.

King organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which provided a base to pursue further civil-rights activities, in the South and later nationwide. His philosophy of nonviolent resistance resulted in his arrest on numerous occasions in the 1950s and 60s. His 1963 protest in Birmingham, Alabama earned him worldwide attention. He brought together more than 200,000 people on the March on Washington in August 1963 where he delivered his famous “ I Have a Dream” speech. In 1964, at the age of 35, he was the youngest man and the third black man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

January 28 is National  Data Privacy Day.

data privacy dayData Privacy Day is an international holiday, which purpose is to raise awareness and promote data privacy education. It is celebrated in the United States, Canada, and 27 European countries. Data Privacy Day’s educational initiative originally focused on raising awareness among teens and young adults about the importance of protecting the privacy of their personal information online, particularly in the context of social networking. The educational focus has expanded over the past four years to include families, consumers, and businesses.

What  are you doing to protect  your Data?

 

December Holidays to Celebrate–Part 1

rosa parks in her busDecember (Dec.) is the 12th and last month of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 31 days, coming between November (of the same year) and January (of the following year). With the name of the month coming from the Latin decem for “ten”, it was the tenth month of the year before January and February were added to the Roman calendar.

December 1 is Rosa Parks Day in Ohio and Oregon because it is the day she was arrested, It is celebrated in California and Missouri on her birthday,  February 4.

In 1955, Parks completed a course in “Race Relations” at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee where nonviolent civil disobedience had been discussed as a tactic. On December 1, 1955, Parks was sitting in the frontmost row for black people. When a Caucasian man boarded the bus, the bus driver told everyone in her row to move back. At that moment, Parks realized that she was again on a bus driven by Blake. While all of the other black people in her row complied, Parks refused, and was arrested[8] for failing to obey the driver’s seat assignments, as city ordinances did not explicitly mandate segregation but did give the bus driver authority to assign seats. Found guilty on December 5,[9] Parks was fined $10 plus a court cost of $4[10], but she appealed.

NinjaInternational Ninja Day is celebrated on December 5.  According to Nationaltoday.com, “(b)ack in 2003, Ninja Burger created International Ninja Day on December 5 as a way to celebrate the Ninja “speed” with which their burgers are delivered”  Dress up like a Ninja and take to the streets after watching a ninja movie.

To truly understand the history of International Ninja Day, one must first understand the history of the Ninja. The original Ninja were warriors of the Iga Province of Japan during the Sengoku period. These warriors were raised from the basic people of the countryside, without access to proper armor, weapons, or training to use them.

December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day, marking the entrance of the United States into World War II.  The Japanese launched a surprise attack against  the United States Pacific Fleet about  0755 local  time, killing 2,403 Americans, and injuring 1,178 others. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four others. It also damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged.

December 10 is Dewey Decimal System  Day.  It falls on the birthday of Melvyl Dewey, founder of the most  widely used library classification system.

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) or Dewey Decimal System has been in use since 1876 when American Librarian Melvil Dewey developed and established it. Divided into ten main categories, the numerical system arranges mostly non-fiction publications.

Since its inception, the system has been maintained and kept pace with modern technologies. A schedule of expansions and revisions help keep the system current and progressive.

National Cocoa Day is December 13.  If you are an adult, you might want to put Gran Marnier, honey rye or brandy in your hot chocolate or cocoa.

Hot cocoa is a warm beverage made with cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar.  The terms hot chocolate and hot cocoa are often used interchangeably by Americans causing a bit of confusion.  To make hot chocolate, we use ground chocolate which contains cocoa butter.  It’s mixed with hot milk and is actually a drinking chocolate.

 

Reblog: UVA’s Miller Center has Resources on America’s Four Impeachments

The center is home to the nation’s longest-running presidential oral history program, including oral histories of every White House from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama. Its Presidential Recordings Program – also known as “the secret White House tapes” – makes once-secret tapes from thousands of White House meetings and telephone conversations between 1940 and 1973 accessible to the public.

As lawmakers, witnesses and White House officials sort out those questions in Congress, faculty members at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs are tackling questions of impeachment from an academic perspective, drawing on the center’s unparalleled expertise in the American presidency.

MIller Center Scripps Library front

In Praise of Weekday Mornings

I’ve always been an early bird.  Even in retirement, my husband and I still get up around 6 am.

Weekday mornings are a pleasure for  the retired.  While the rest of the world hurries off to work or school, retirees often have the luxury of waiting until rush hour passes.  Then we often have the road, the stores, and the restaurants to ourselves.

If you go to a popular restaurant for lunch on a Monday through  Thursday,  you often see gray haired couples, or ladies who lunch.  Sometimes a bridge club will be holding its meeting and playing bridge at the same time.   Imagine going into a Barnes and Noble cafeteria where you don’t have to wait in line for your Starbucks beverage and there is table available where you can read your book or get on your computer.

The gym is also less crowded.  It’s easier to take a class, find an open piece of cardio equipment, or an open lane in the pool.  There are fewer people competing for the benches of the weight lifting equipment so they can read their emails or texts. The locker room is not crowded with ten of your brand new BFFs.

While students and 9-to-5 ers countdown to the weekend, retirees countdown the hours until Monday morning–when the rest of you go back to your classroom, your office, or your factory.

Once or twice a month I drive to DC or Northern Virginia.  If I time my drive right, I can get to Fairfax County from Charlottesville in about 2 hours.  Otherwise, it can take 3 hours (if there are no traffic accidents or road construction).  Along the way, there is seldom a line for gas or the McDonald’s drive-through if I need a break.

Summer can mean more teens and children around, but what you gain in kids, you lose in school bus traffic.

In addition to less people and less traffic, early mornngs have fresher air. In the summer,  temperatures are cooler and  plants are more refreshed. Birds sing and animals may be out and about. In the winter, retirees often have the luxury of waiting for the sun to melt the frost on their windshields so they don’t have to scrape.

Don’t pity us.  It does suck to get old, but we have weekday mornings to enjoy.

Three Reasons to Celebrate Not Your Birthday

happy unbirthay cakeWhen I turned 50, my husband took me to dinner and an overnight stay at the Inn at Little Washington,  in Washington, Virginia.  It was a wonderful experience–personalized menu, doting wait staff, private tea in the garden, and an over the top room with yards of lush floral fabric everywhere.  (My birthday was during the week in October so the restaurant was busy, but not ovewhelmed by people clamouring for food or attention.)

When my husband turned 50, I made reservations a year in advance at the Inn at Little Washington.  He has one of those party day birthdays like New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, or St. Patrick’s Day.  His birthday also fell on a Saturday that year.  There was no personalized menu, the staff was attentive but hurried and harried, no one had the time to explain the intricacies of the menu.  The food was still excellent and our room was still lovely, but the personal touches from our previous visit were just not possible when the  venue was that crowded and busy.

That was when we decided to celebrate Not Your Birthday so that he could enjoy the same level of personal attention that most of us expect on our birthday.

Why celebrate Not Your Birthday:

1) Your special day is celebrated the way you would like it.  There is no obligation to make a reservation so that your special someone can also enjoy the party holiday.

2) If you tell the restaurant or resort that it is your birthday on a day they are less rushed, they are more likely to give you a special dessert, maybe a complimentary glass of champagne to celebrate, or can comply with a request for a special table or wait staff.

3)  You can chose the date or time of the year in which to celebrate Not Your Birthday.  If you like summer vacations, but are born in in the winter, celebrate Not Your Birthday when it is warm and you can enjoy the type of meal or actvity that you really want.

happy unbirthday to you

Caution:  Don’t do this multiple times a year.  You become the stereotype of someone trying to game the system.  Businesses want to gain your repeat business, but they do not want to be stiffed.  If they do something nice to help you celebrate, appreciate but do not do it again three months later.

 

January Days to Celebrate

Today is still New Year’s Day (at least in the Eastern Time Zone ) where I live.  Most of us are familiar with Martin Luther King, Jr Day on January 21.  Dr. King was actually born on  January 15th.  He would have been 90 this year, if he were still alive.  He was a noted civil right leader.  He is probably most famous for his “I have a Dream” speech delivered on  August 28, 1963.

 

dragon.pngJanuary 16 is Appreciate a Dragon Day.  Donita K. Paul began it in 2004 as a way for libraries and museums to appreciate dragons in words and movies.  Famous dragons include Puff the Magic Dragon,  Desolation of Smaug (one of the Hobbit movies), the lady dragon from Shrek, St. George and his defeated dragon, and the folklore dragons from China, Japan, Korea, and Poland.

hugging pandas

January 21 is also National Hug Day.  It began in Clio, Michigan by Kevin Zaborney on January 21,  1986.

 

 

squirrels ground

Squirrel Appreciation Day is also January 21.  It was created by  Christy Hargrove,  in North Carolina.  There are three different groups of squirrels:  tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and gliding squirrels (who have flaps of skin between their legs.

 

 

Resource List of Veteran’s Info and Freebies

president commemorates veterans day
Veterans Benefits and Resources:

https://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veterans-benefits-explained.html

https://go.govloop.com/veterans-resources.html

Veteran’s Day Freebies:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/11/09/veterans-day-deals-starbucks-dunkin-and-others-offer-freebies

https://militarybenefits.info/veterans-day-discounts-sales-deals-free-meals/

https://themilitarywallet.com/veterans-day-retail-discounts/

https://www.sun-sentinel.com/features/deals-shopping/fl-bz-veterans-day-freebies-dining-deals-20181109-story.html

GovLoop

govlooplogo

Govloop.com  provides many resources for government workers, veterans, and retirees.

From their about page:

GovLoop’s mission is simple: connect government to improve government. We aim to inspire public sector professionals to better service by acting as the knowledge network for government.

GovLoop serves a community of more than 280,000 government leaders by helping them to foster collaboration, learn from each other, solve problems and advance in their government careers.

We do this through a variety of mechanisms, including:

  • In-depth editorial reporting and research about topics at the intersection of management and technology
  • News coverage of issues and events that are pertinent to the government community
  • Weekly online trainings and self-paced courses
  • Speaking engagements
  • Leadership programs, and more

GovLoop also works with top industry partners, such as ESRI, HP, Microsoft and IBM, to provide resources and tools, such as infographics, market trend reports and educational events for public-sector professionals.

They offer downloads such as Your Guide to Veterans Resources.

They also offer quizzes (such as how many state flags do you know), free online classes, articles,  periodic invitations to become a featured blogger, a section on jobs which includes job openings, a perdiem calculator and salary calculator, career advice, and many IT resources.  It’s free and definitely worth taking a look at.

Why Do You Read?

Zat Rana makes a provocative argument that people read to memorize or critique in his short essay on “There are Two Ways to Read–One of Them Is Wrong.”  People learn either of these two reasons in school.

This works in school, and it teaches in its own way, but unfortunately, when reading in the real world, this kind of mindset cheats us out of knowledge

Perspective is needed to achieve the real joy of reading. “The only filter worth having is the one that distinguishes between what is relevant and what is not; what matters and what doesn’t.”

Now, having the focus to absorb what you need is critical and so is having a filter in place to detect if what you’re reading is factually wrong.

That said, anytime you read something with the mindset that you are there to extract what is right and what is wrong, you are by default limiting how much you can get out of a particular piece of writing. You’re boxing an experience that has many dimensions into just two.

Reading puts you into a different mode of reality.

By diving into the minds of some of the greatest thinkers and storytellers, it moves us into realms of reality that would otherwise stay unknown to us. We often walk out a good book with a new pair of eyes, and we can then use these eyes to create a better world around us, if we so choose.

Zat Rana makes the argument that civilization only progressed because things have been written down. Each generation does not have to start from scratch because previous generations wrote down things they had learned and passed them on to future generations.  He ignores civilizations with strong oral histories. Early Greek and Roman, Indian, and Native American cultures all had a strong oral history tradition of passing on information.

He also does not address that some people like to read because they find it enjoyable.  They don’t read for knowledge or because it’s a classic or a best seller.  The story is reason enough to pick up the book and finish it.

Guest Post: Job Seeker Poem

Kally has very generously published a semi-biographical poem about an older job seeker. Check out her wonderful and informative blog for job tips, tips on how to be a freelancer (she is a very successful one), and inspirational messages.

MiddleMe

One of my regular reader, Pat has contributed an amazing and beautifully penned poem about the pains of job hunting. We’ve all been there, charting the unknown waters and feeling despondent. Pat has perfectly put those emotions into words.

I hope you enjoy it and drop by https://equipsblog.wordpress.com/.


If the sky is the limit,

Then why am I blue?

I’ve got my degree

Plus a masters or two.

I’ve had many jobs

As I moved through the ranks

When I’ve left for the next one

They’ve usually said thanks.

“For the energy and vision

You’ve brought to each task

If we offered more money

Would you stay?” they might ask.

But those days are behind me.

The market is colder.

I’m still the same person

Except I’ve grown older.

I’m still trying

To market my brand.

My future employer

May be close at hand.

I’m a very hard worker…

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