Water for Tea

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.

This is the how full the tiny metal pitcher of hot water was able to fill my mug. I could have used the tea bag again but nobody asked me if I wanted anymore water. Would a larger metal pitcher be too much to hope for?

The coffee and tea cost the same price

To receive the same cupful would also be nice.

How Do You Self-Identify?

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.

Are you old/young or fat/thin or handsome/ugly or
happen to be some of those things?

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

b) race

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.

Reality to America, Come in Please

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.


Blinded by lies

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.

Lament for Ruth

JeanMarie is my friend and a North Carolina based poet. IMHO this one of her finest poems yet–timely, poignant and worthy of being shared. It is written from the heart.

This Breaking News has broken
my heart, my hope.

Justice, my grief is suspended in fear.

What is to become of the poor, the abused, and the desperate
with overburdened wombs?

What is to become of the immigrants and the asylum seekers
caught in wire nets?

Read the rest on JeanMarie’s page.

September 17-Constitution Day

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.”

<a href="<p style="font-size: 0.9rem;font-style: italic;"><img style="display: block;" src="https://live.staticflickr.com/191/498309798_8c38532db8_b.jpg&quot; alt="US Constitution"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/69356033@N00/498309798">"US Constitution"</a><span> by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/69356033@N00">Jonathan Thorne CC</a></span> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/?ref=ccsearch&atype=html&quot; style="margin-right: 5px;">CC BY-NC 2.0</a><a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/?ref=ccsearch&atype=html&quot; target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="display: inline-block;white-space: none;margin-top: 2px;margin-left: 3px;height: 22px !important;"><img style="height: inherit;margin-right: 3px;display: inline-block;" src="https://search.creativecommons.org/static/img/cc_icon.svg&quot; /><img style="height: inherit;margin-right: 3px;display: inline-block;" src="https://search.creativecommons.org/static/img/cc-by_icon.svg&quot; /><img style="height: inherit;margin-right: 3px;display: inline-block;" src="https://search.creativecommons.org/static/img/cc-nc_icon.svg&quot; /></a>

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.

From Ben’s Guide

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.

The Harpist in the Glen

​As soon as Eve plucked the first string
the leaves began to whisper overhead
ripples of pleasure rustling from branch to twig.

Butterflies drifted from flower to flower weaving a melody only they could hear

When the music paused so did the leaves.

The birds began chirping to fill the quiet

Eve paused to spin to folk tale while a newly spun spider web vibrated in the ripples when she resumed playing.

The cicadas and one elderly lady in purple accompanied her with their voices.

Summer Slipping away on September Sighs of Covid Exhaustion

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.

I feel as weary as the yellowed leaves

but still hanging on to see

if tomorrow will bring a better day.

Happy Programmer Day, September 12

September 12 is the 256th day of the year so it is celebrated as International Programmer Day.

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.

http://”Binary” by mikecogh is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Now to count to 10 in binary

01

10

11

110

111

1000

1001

1010

1011

1 0000

What is 11?

Ponderings

 

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

  • Pfizer
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Merck
  • Novavax
  • Sanofi
  • Moderna
  • AstraZenica
  • BioNTech

 

Blog Themes DO Matter

blog themesWe each have our own theme preference.  Normally, I try not to judge someone’s blog theme,  however when:

  • Your graphics interfere with my ability to read the print of your blog post.  Splattering your portrait repeatedly is even more obnoxious than the selected graphics to highlight what you are writing about,  yet obscure the words you write.
  • Your blog automatically zooms to the top when I’m trying to read or write a comment.
  • Your blog will not allow me to go to the spot that the click here might indicate.

I have to really like your blog to want to bother with the inconvenience of navigating it .

Blog posts that are difficult to read or navigate are ranking up there with people who blog so frequently within a single day that they have become inadvertent spammers.

Please don’t be that person!

A New Way for WordPress to Make More Money from Us

Like many of you, I have just tried the new Gutenberg Editor and like most of you, I hate it.

I Googled how to revert to the old classic editor and because I am old, I printed out the directions. What the instructions fail to mention, is that you need to be at least at the Business Level ($300/year) before you are allowed to install Plug-ins which would include the Classic editor.


If I am missing something obvious, someone PLEASE tell me. I may be slow but normally I’m educable.

National Food Bank Day–September 4

St. Mary’s Food Bank founded National Food Bank Day to recognize the outstanding contributions of food banks around the country and to commemorate the establishment of St. Mary’s Food Bank by its founder John van Hengel in 1967. John van Hengel came up with the idea of grocery rescue and food banking and the idea spread throughout the country making St. Mary’s Food Bank the very first in the world!

Be a Hunger Heroe

The Coronavirus epidemic has created an increase in the euphemistically called “Food  Insecurity”.

Feeding America provides the following statistics:

1. From the beginning of March through the end of June, food banks nationwide distributed more than 1.9 billion meals to people facing hunger in the United States. In March alone, food banks gave out 20 percent more food than an average month.

2. If people continue to visit food banks at this rate, we will provide an incredible six billion meals this year

3. As a result of the pandemic, Feeding America estimates 1 in 6 Americans could face hunger.

4. Two-thirds of Feeding America food banks across the country are accepting volunteers.  

Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and need to rely on their local food banks and other hunger relief organizations for support.

The Well’s Gone Dry

 

Bentonville--Well for of leaves at Cool SpringIt slaked the thirst of passersby

But now no longer,

the well’s gone dry.

In these  days of toil and strife

we still need hope,

the water of life.

If that wellspring also runs dry,

many will shrivel

up and die.

We need the living waters

to flourish and thrive

keeping ourselves and our hopes alive.

 

Happy 75th Anniversary celebrating the end of World War II.

 

September Days to Celebrate

September (from Latin septem, “seven”) was originally the seventh of ten months in the oldest known Roman calendar, the calendar of Romulus c. 750 BC, with March (Latin Martius) the first month of the year until perhaps as late as 451 BC.[2] After the calendar reform that added January and February to the beginning of the year, September became the ninth month but retained its name. It had 29 days until the Julian reform, which added a day.

Fall--Multi-colored leavesSeptember was called “harvest month” in Charlemagne’s calendar. September corresponds partly to the Fructidor and partly to the Vendémiaire of the first French republic.[3] On Usenet, it is said that September 1993 (Eternal September) never ended. September is called Herbstmonat, harvest month, in Switzerland.[3] The Anglo-Saxons

It is the start of meteorological autumn. The astronomical seasons are based on the position of Earth in relation to the sun, whereas the meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle.

Library card Sign up MonthSeptember is Library Card Sign-up Month.  From ALA

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. During the month, the American Library Association and libraries unite in a national effort to ensure every child signs-up for their own library card.

Throughout the school year, public librarians and library staff will assist parents and caregivers with saving hundreds of dollars on educational resources and services for students. From free access to STEAM programs/activities, educational apps, in-person and virtual homework help, technology workshops to the expertise of librarians, a library card is one of the most cost effective back to school supplies available.

Read a Book Dayis September 6.

National Read a Book Day

NATIONAL READ A BOOK DAY

National Read A Book Day is observed annually on September 6th.  On August 9th, we all celebrated National Book Lovers Day.  While these bookish days may seem similar, National Read a Book Day invites us ALL to grab a book we might enjoy and spend the day reading.

What book will you read?

Teddy Bear Day is September 9.

In 1902, American President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear cub while hunting in Mississippi. The incident made national news. Clifford Berryman published a cartoon of the event in the Washington Post on November 16th, 1902, and the caricature became an instant classic.

This cartoon by Clifford Berryman's publish in a 1902 Wiashington Post inspired the Teddy bear.

Hispanic Heritage Month  is September 15 through October 15.

Hispanic Heritage MonthThis year’s theme – Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving Our Nation – invites us to reflect on Hispanic Americans‘ service and contributions to the history of our Nation. The Hispanic Heritage observance began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

Many Hispanic Americans trace their roots to the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas — including the Arawaks (Puerto Rico), the Aztecs (Mexico), the Incas (South America), the Maya (Central America), and the Tainos (in Cuba, Puerto Rico and other places).

Some trace their roots to the Spanish explorers — who in the 1400s set out to find an easier and less costly way to trade with the Indies. Other Latinos trace their roots to the Africans who were brought as slaves to the New World.

For purposes of the U.S. Census, Hispanic Americans today are identified according to the parts of the world that they or their ancestors came from, including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spain, or the nations of Central or South America.

Autumnal equinox falls on Tuesday, September  22 at 9:30 EDT.

Fall-pumpkins from Blue Mountain

Banned Book Week is September 27- October 3.

Banned Books Week was launched in the 1980s, a time of increased challenges, organized protests, and the Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case, which ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.

Banned Book Week BookcartBanned books were showcased at the 1982 American Booksellers Association (ABA) BookExpo America trade show in Anaheim, California. At the entrance to the convention center towered large, padlocked metal cages, with some 500 challenged books stacked inside and a large overhead sign cautioning that some people considered these books dangerous.

Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019–How many have you read?

Find more shareable statistics on the Free Downloads webpage.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 377 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2019. Of the 566 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”
  2. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased
  3. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
    Reasons: Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning
  4. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate”
  5. Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
    Reasons: Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint
  6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”
  8. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”
  9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
    Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals
  10. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole
    Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content

I’ve read the Handmaid’s Tale and the Harry Potter series.

Leaving a Footprint on the Sands of Time

I have never thought of myself as one who has left a permanent footprint in the sands of life, and it would be nice to know if I reached at least this one goal so that after I am gone, someone might look at that photograph and still say “wow”.–Rural Iowegian Mark Cooper ; MSgt/USAF Aka; The Rural Iowegian

 

Footsteps on La Jolla Shores Beach--Human and bird
Bird and Human footprints overlap at La Jolla Shores

I came to this blog via another post I read, “It’s about Living in the Present”.  The Rural Iowegian writes this as possibly his last post. He is celebrating his 63 birthday and has some ominous cancer probabilities.

Have you ever wondered if you will leave a footprint on the sands of time?  If you have children, you probably will leave some mark as least as long as you have descendants. It’s knowing what those descendants might do that can cause such a wrinkle in the science fiction world of Time Travel–what you change today will affect  the  future.

Most of us will not become famous, but we can make a difference.  Will it  be what we write, draw, or say?  Will we start a movement, set up a charity, change somebody’s life? It could be a smile at the right moment or a friendly greeting,  paying it forward at some restaurant, giving an extra generous tip, letting somebody else go first or merge into traffic.

two walking at sunset

We might like a Wow moment where someone remembers what we did that really impressed them;  we can always have a Now moment where we do something unexpected and practice Random Acts of Kindness.  Our Now moment could be somebody’s Wow moment because we gave them something neither of us realized at the time was needed.

Couple and dog walking at sunset

 

Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt 18, What is Return to Normal? Eight Things to Ponder

rush to return to normal

When we return to ‘normal’ what will it look like?

  1. Will we wear a mask and then remember we no longer need it? Will we toss it in the air like seniors tossing their hats in the air at graduation?
  2. Will the anti-vaxxers prolong this epidemic because they don’t want the new vaccine (assuming there is a safe one that works)?
  3. How long will it take us to lose our COVID-19?
  4. Will you have cast what  is probably one of the most important votes in our lifetime? Did you vote in person or by mail?
  5. Are principals or platforms more important to you?
  6. When you can do or go anywhere you want, what will you do?  Where will you go?
  7. What do you miss the most from your old (pre-COVID) life?  What do you want  to do differently?
  8. Are there any COVID lessons you will retain for your new normal?