Early morning air has the effervescence of freshly open champagne while the damp earth can smell like the must of freshly pressed grapes.
Green leaves, backlit by a barely risen sun, seem translucent like a white wine bottle.
As the sun rises, its light enriches from the pale straw of a chenin blanc to the richer hues of an oaked chardonnay before washing the late afternoon earth in the rich gold of a sauterne dessert wine.
Leaves turn the color of merlot purple, oak cork brown, aged riesling yellow, tawny port orange, pinot noir copper.
I’ll sit outside to soak up the sun and warmth so that I can play it back in my mind to warm myself during the dark and cold of winter grey skies.
My husband and I are at an age where going to the hospital for tests is an occupational hazard of growing old. From blood work to emergency room visits, we have waited anywhere from chairs perched along the walls of busy emergency room hallways, where we dodge patient-filled guerneys and phalanxes of medical staff to private waiting rooms with a television and light refreshments. These are part of the experience within the University of Virginia medical complex.
Then came COVID…
If the patient is having a procedure which requires anesthesia, he or she may be permitted to have someone accompany them into the hospital. Otherwise you can drop the patient off or wait outside on a bench.
Today, I waited on a bench. Fortunately it was a lovely fall day, about 70 degrees with a light breeze. There were benches in both shady and sunny areas. I don’t know what the answer is if somebody has to go to the bathroom while they are waiting. Fortunately after a two hour wait, we left before I had to find out .
I was wearing my mask which meant my glasses kept getting fogged. I could not read very long through the foggy lenses which meant most of my entertainment was taking off my glasses to watch them defog then putting them on again and try to read an email before they once again got too cloudy.
Occasionally I would get up and walk around the front of the hospital and the building across the street. No smoking signs are prominently displayed every where on the hospital campus including the parking garages. I smelled cigarette smoke on the stair of the parking garage and saw stamped out stubs on the cement between the parked cars. One 200+ pound woman was lighting up while sitting on a bench beneath two large Smoking Prohibited signs. While she was smoking, she obviously was not wearing a mask.
The shuttle between the hospital and a nearby medical park runs every twenty minutes as does the JAUNT bus which offers point to point service for people with mobility or vision issues.
Valet parking has been replaced with electric golf carts that will take people to/from the parking garage and between the hospital and the Emily Couric Cancer Center across the street. Hospital staff in scrubs walk back and forth between the two buildings to go to the cafeteria, take a break, or carryout missions that are not discernible to the idle watcher.
I am old enough to remember past election days when there were concerns about the candidates’ religion, marital status, age, and race. Many of the fears from those other elections proved to be irrelevant, but at the time, they were real concerns for some voters. (Alibi–these are my recollections and may or may not be accurate.)
“I am not the Catholic candidate for President.”
Religion. John F. Kennedy was not only the youngest man elected as President, he was also the first Roman Catholic candidate. Many voters were concerned about the Pope calling the shots if he won the Presidency. Kenndy had to address that issue during the campaign. Mitt Romney face similar questions about being Mormon when he ran as a Presidential candidate in 2012.
Divorce. Gerald Ford ran for re-election in 1976, following his first term where he became president upon the resignation of Richard Nixon in…
I like coffee but am essentially a coffee wuss. I get the Blonde Coffee at Starbucks to put it in some perspective.
French press coffee usually reminds me of waste water. If the coffee is strong enough to take the enamel off of your teeth or so dark that cream and sugar can not touch it , then I usually order hot tea.
Most restaurants are much more likely to offer you a refill on coffee than they are to remember that you had asked for more hot water so you can make a second cup of tea.
If they are reluctant to provide additional hot water, why do they bring you a single, undersized tiny pitcher of hot water that will not fill your mug.
In the 1990’s I worked at the Ft Myer Library on Ft Myer in Arlington, Virginia. The library was part of Recreation Division, that included Arts & Crafts, Automotive Arts & Crafts, Outdoor Recreation, Gyms, and the Community Center.
One of the Arts and Crafts instructors was a marvelous artist. He was also a husband and father, African-American, a civil servant , and US Army vet with a substance abuse problem. He always referred to himself as disabled vet because that was how he saw himself, despite the other terms he could have selected.
Labels can be self-defeating.
Most of us have more than one label we could use to self-identify and other characteristics that we treat as less important such as
a) body size
c) physical attributes like height or hair color
d) perceived impediments like wealth, opportunity, or physical challenges
e) political or religious affiliation
f) marital and/or parental status
g) profession or lack thereof
h) socio-economic level
How do you self-identify? Are you defined by your race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, political affiliation, profession? How you self-identify may tell us more about how you perceive yourself than anything else.
In Fairfax, Virginia, some Trump supporters held a demonstration outside an early voting place on Friday. A silver haired woman said, “We’re demonstrating because we don’t want America to become Marxist.”
What if Democrats demonstrated at a Trump rally, saying they wanted to keep America from becoming Fascist or totalitarian or a dictatorship? His supporters would be livid and say this was not true.
Both sides are widely separated on how they view the other side aka the Enemy or at best the opposition.
Let’s at least try to retain a modicum of logic when referring to the other political party.
Constitution Day commemorates the day in September 17, 1787, that “the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history, the United States Constitution. This document established the framework of our government and the rights and freedoms that “We the People” enjoy today.”
Many of us believe that today the Constitution is under assault. Use today to reflect that all of our elected leaders, military, and civil servants take an oath to uphold the Constitution. We do not promise loyalty to any person or political party.
I took that oath in November 1981 when I first became a civil servant. My husband and father both took that oath when they joined the military. My husband took it again when he became a civil servant following retirement. Our president took that oath on January 20, 2017.
According to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, a President’s term of office begins at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on January 20th of the year following an election. In order to assume his or her duties, the President-elect must recite the Oath of Office. The Oath is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The President-elect places the left hand on the Bible, raises the right hand, and takes the Oath as directed by the Chief Justice. The Oath, as stated in Article II, Section I, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, is as follows:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Do you think he has kept that promise?
Test your knowledge of the US Constitution with this relatively easy 10 question quiz.
I got 9 out of 10 and over thought the question I missed.
In Central Virginia, we have had a rainy August and September. The grass looks spring-time green while some of the tree leaves are yellowed and too weary to hang on for October’s spectacular burst of color.
The temps and humidity have both faded from a blast furnace like slap to a gentle caress. The 90s have sullenly slipped away leaving a mixture of low 80s and full range of 70s in their wake. The dew point has followed from the tropical realms to a more comfortable 50 to 60 percent.
Fall mums are replacing impatiens and begonias in front yard pots and farm stands. The local news has advertised the first corn maze at a pumpkin farm. Pumpkin signs are everywhere from pumpkin flavored lattes at Starbucks to pumpkin infused pancakes at First Watch. The first house in our neighborhood put out it’s ceramic jack-o-lantern.
The season of peaches is waning while the apple and cider season is waxing strongly. Carter’s Mountain, a local orchard, has just implemented a ticket reservation system (with charges for Friday- Sunday) to control the crowds who come to pick apples, drink cider or wine, catch the view, or shop in the country store.
The few remaining cornfields are brown and withered with most ears already picked.
The deer are coming out earlier as twilight emerges sooner each day. Dawn is also later as we burn less day light each day. Soon the rut will begin and unfortunately, car struck deer will provide easy meals for the raptors that soar overhead on the autumn currents coming off the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The dogwood leaves look crinkled and weary as the blight continues to assault each native tree. The red dogwood berries shining glossily on many trees, despite the lichen covered bark and tattered remains of desiccated leaves trembling on each fragile branch.
The local economy seems to be picking up as the students return bringing a spike in our COVID rate with them. How long UVA can continue to hold smaller, more socially distant in-person classes is a close hold secret. The administration has not shared what the threshold might be that could trigger a switch to only online learning.
COVID fatigue has set in long ago with the added stress of the upcoming flu season and the unlikelihood of being able to continue the outdoors dining and meeting space that have been the norm since last Spring.
This has been the first fall in a long time where I have had or taken the time to notice summer’s passing and the slow arrival of fall on September sighs.
The number 256 is distinct to programmers. Represented by an eight-bit byte 256 equals 2 to the eighth power. This digit makes it the highest power of two that is less than 365. When translated to binary code, the day reads 1 0000 0000.
Way back in the 7th grade, I got my only D on a report card in math. We were studying Base 6 that quarter and I could not get my heard wrapped around Base 6 or even what the significance of Base 10 (which is out normal way of counting) was. I eventually learned Base 6 and Base 2 (which is binary).
Flash forward a decade and a half to library school. I took my first computer class where the professor tried to drill the binary system (a computer is either off-0 or on-1). Because of my 7th grade D, I was the only one in the class that understood what he was talking about. I became a systems librarian and while never a programmer, I had a reasonably easy time understanding the theory behind how computers worked. Sometimes you initial failures can be the source of your later triumphs.
Hopefully still the Home of the Brave, but now the Land of the Me.
AmerICAN. Does this mean I CAN do whatever I want whether it benefits me or anyone else?
We heard two old men talking loudly in an Indian restaurant about the health benefits of being vegan. Guess it does not help with hearing or cognitive awareness because one of the old gentlemen walked into the ladies’ room and left the seat up after he was finished. (At least he was tidy.)
The Federal government was making serious attempts to curb telework in 2019 and before March 2020. Funny how COVID can prove that government employees (for the most part) can easily and successfully work from home.
Susan B. Anthony is one Trump pardon that most people can easily support .
If the Right were wrong and the Left were right -then would up be down?
From the-ancient-world-teemed-with-birds-now-we-think-with-them?: Aristophanes takes the bird-as-metaphor to comic extremes. In The Birds, there is an outbreak of ornithomania (bird madness) in Athens, and everyone wants to take on bird names, sing bird songs, buy wings and join the birds in their kingdom in the sky (which was called Cloud Cuckoo Land – that’s where that phrase comes from). Are we for the bird now? Did one fly over the White House?
The next president will be a 70 something white man who has previously run for public office.
Big Pharma has been in the news for jacking up prices on drugs. According to USA Today on August 10, the Federal Government has spent more than $9 billion spread among 7 pharmaceutical companies to come up with a vaccine. Trump has tried to promise a vaccine before a “special day” if we know what he means… It’s a pleasant surprise to see 9 pharmaceutical companies sign a pact that they will not sell the vaccine before it is safe and follows CDC guidelines. These companies are