Tonight's debate was quite memorable.
I studied the scene before the candidates came "on stage". Two podiums and a desk for the moderator. It didn't look that different, except for the chairs, spaced apart.
I got no photos of the family members as they entered. The Trump family promptly took off masks as soon as they were seated.
Trump and Biden came on stage. No handshakes, as planned. All looked somewhat normal for moment.
What I witnessed for the next 90 minutes was astonishing. Trump refused to condemn white nationalism and to commit to a peaceful transition of power.
Trump bullied Biden about his son and avoided questions about the pandemic. Mostly he interrupted constantly. I was furious, but Biden never lost his temper. Biden did however call the president a clown and told him to shut up. It was stressful to watch, but I felt our president's real character was revealed. I needed to watch.
I snapped a pic at the end. I wish I could have seen Chris Wallace's face. I'm sure he was stunned. He needed a gavel or a mute button. I was glad to see Jill Biden walk up with a mask... although I would have liked to have seen her smile.
I saw this recently on the internet. I wonder who the artist is, who created this little gem.
I don't imagine Van Gogh ever sat still too long. If he'd been forced to quarantine, he'd have been fine if he'd had enough paint and canvases.
I'm jealous of a couple of my artist friends, who have been making good use their time at home, during these Covid months. I so wish I could paint... and create!
Actually. I did get out the brush (and roller) the other day. I painted the room where my computer sits, a few feet from my childhood bed. Painting the ugly walls was actually really good therapy.
Back in April, I painted my son's old bedroom. I listened to Italian language tapes... because I thought we'd still be going to Italy in October. And I smiled to think Scott and Chali would be surprised when they came for Christmas, to see the fresh walls.
Well, the kids aren't coming for Christmas and and we definitely are not going to Italy now. But this room is brighter and happier and so am I. Someday the kids will get back to this house for a visit and someday grandkids will see this little bed! That's a mighty fun thought!
Sometimes the free local newspapers are a little annoying. We don't ask for them, but they show up in our yard. They usually end up in the recycling bin.
But I opened this one, that came a few days ago. I totally forgot it was the time of year, when we should be having the County Fair. It's also Homecoming time. I guess some celebrations have actually taken place.
I paused to absorb the photos. What a sad reminder of where we are right now. But it was also pretty sweet, to see these young women, standing graciously in gowns and masks. I'm sure they did not want to wear those masks, but they were willing to adapt.
If these young people can do what's right, you'd think our president could!
Crowds in the Garden
Today, Trump announced his Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, in the Rose Garden.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg died just a week ago. The election is just over a month away. This seems wrong. But it also seems wrong to have so many people jammed together for this ceremony... during Covid.
I caught a few glimpses of the ceremony later, on the news. Why are these people all so close?
Why are so few wearing masks? These are different people than the crowds we see at the rallies. Aren't these smart people?
And what's with all this hugging? People have been refraining from hugging their elderly relatives for months. Children have been told to stay apart in school. Why is this okay?
RBG at the U.S. Capital
Once again, I was drawn to the TV for something, sobering and historic.
The late justice's casket was escorted by Sergeants at Arms, for a private ceremony in Statuary Hall.
The ceremony was attended by Justice Ginsberg's family and lawmakers... who all looked the same in black clothing and masks. I recognized a few. The Trumps and Pences were not there.
I studied the uniforms... the guests, spaced far apart... and the statues, watching over.
After a while, the quiet space was filled with the voice of mezzo-soprano, Denyce Graves. FBG loved opera and it seemed so fitting for this special ceremony. RBG was a political trailblazer. Now she has become the first woman to lie in state at the U.S. Capital.
Mostly I ignore the chatter on my Neighborhood Facebook Group. Lots of bored people whining about stupid things. But this sad image caught my eye. This was worth fretting over.
How can this be? Why would someone be wise enough to wear a disposable mask and stupid enough to let it become litter? Thoughts of this poor duck haunted me.
I've taken some different routes on my walks and runs. I hoped to find the duck, but I found other things. I saw the middle school with it's flag at half-mast for Justice Ginsberg. I saw the marquee, with words for the students, who are still doing school from home.
I saw stuffed animals in trees. That was funny. Someone is trying to amuse the kids, I guess.
And I saw signs at Pecan Park, that made me think a bit.
It was sad to see the red sign near the playground, reminding folks about Covid-19. "Use at your own risk" I was a little amused by the sign that reminded us that we will be fined if we use sticks against the pecan trees.
I haven't spotted the duck yet, but I did see a few people gathering pecans... without using sticks.
One More Funeral
It seems like I've been watching funerals for months. George Floyd and John Lewis and now Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
It was sobering to watch these former law clerks, carrying her casket.
Then, I spotted the president on the screen. He stepped out with Melania and received some boos from the crowds on the street. That seems disrespectful. But it's also disrespectful to be talking about replacing Justice Ginsberg, the day she died.
I hate it that I can't just watch and absorb this ceremony, without feeling anger. I hate the way politics is interfering. I want to feel sad about the loss, without feeling worry about what will happen, now that she's gone.
So I mourned in my own way. I created my own little shrine for RBG in the kitchen. Silly, I know. I have amused myself often during these pandemic months, with whimsical decorating. But today I found a little peace, with my Patriotic Chair... decorated with donkeys and Ruth.
I tried to turn on my computer this morning and it wouldn't.
Luckily my son-in-law works for Apple and he is the kindest, most patient soul! We got it back on, but just enough to back it up. New Mac is ordered! It could take a couple weeks to get it.
Using My Phone!
I am incredibly lucky to have a good cell phone. But I am an old person and using my phone like a computer is already driving me crazy! Today I did a Zoom Training, on my phone!
I trained and then I passed my quiz, to be on the TX Volunteer Texting Team. I want to help encourage voter turnout.
I wasted hours at this. I am not exaggerating. I went in circles. I was supposed to get a list of 300 numbers to text. I have been beating my self up over my tech incompetence. I just want to help in some way and I am fumbling and failing.
Whew! I just heard from my friend who is also training. She has given up. It's NOT just me, it's something with the system. That makes me feel only a little better. But, I still need to find a way to be productive and helpful, during these unsettling times!
Hurricane Beta is the 9th storm to make landfall in the US, this year!
This blasting alert came on our TV. Hopefully we won't have to evacuate like we did 3 years ago.
I'm not actually worried about floods right now. It's the fires in the west that are terrifying.
Over 5 million acres have burned in California, Oregon and Washington so far. Our kids in CA and OR are dealing with so many worries concerning smoke and fire.
There is no end to the worries of 2020.
Don and I are at the cabin for 2 nights. The weather is lovely, but all seems oddly quiet. Don mowed and grilled and I read and ran.
This morning, the sky was eerily hazy. Was it the smoke from fires in the west? Surely not?
Maybe it really isn't quieter than usual. Maybe it's me. Don and I are used to spending time here, just the 2 of us. But I keep wondering when our kids (now living in CA & OR) will ever be able to spend time in this cabin, again.
Pandemics make me moody.
Covid Baby Shower
Drive-By Celebrations are odd. But I was actually thrilled to be invited to Leigh Anne's Drive-By Shower, in Austin. Don and I headed off this morning, with some wrapped gifts and a sign to hang out the window.
We pulled up to the obvious yard and rolled down the window... grinning behind our masks. Lauren spotted us in the window and got the attention of her pregnant sister.
We've know these sisters since they were 2 and 4 and lived across the street and played with our kids. There were lots of emotions shared through that window. Leigh Anne hadn't expected to see us and she began to cry... which got me crying and laughing. We talked about how excited we were that Leigh and Heidi were both expecting baby girls.
There was a ZOOM present opening later. It was fun to see Heidi joining the Zoom celebration from Oregon. I had dropped off gifts from her as well, but she missed out on the yummy cookies, that I got to eat.
I so wish the 2 girls were still living in the same town and could enjoy their pregnancies together. But in some ways the pandemic has at least made the distance closer. There would have been no Baby-Shower-Zooming, without Covid. Zooms and Drive-bys can be odd and awkward, but I'm glad we have them.
Half Mast For RGB
On our drive from Sugar Land to the cabin, I kept an eye out for flags. Most were at the top of the pole.
I'm always a little unclear about the rules for lowering flags. I was glad to see 2 lowered in Bastrop, TX.
Justice Ginsberg is worthy of a lowered flag. I was hope to see more in the next few days.
Today I learned from a text, that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died.
I turned on the TV and stared. My cell phone lit up with texts from the kids and my siblings. We all seemed equally stunned by the sudden news. I think all of us have been in denial about her cancer. She seemed too strong to ever leave us.
Only in this last year have I truly begun to appreciate this remarkable icon. We need her now more than ever. She's gone and the news seems so heavy.
This feels so heavy right now. Why do we keep losing good people?
My mood lifted for a moment, when my sister-in-law texted some photos of my brother, with RBG. I've never seen these! I never knew my brother spent time in recent years, with Justice Ginsberg.
These photos make me smile.
Today I headed off for my doc appointment. I don't mind getting blood work done every 4 months. It's nice to be reassured that all is good, when I get my results.
I was a lot more relaxed heading into the building than I was 4+ months ago. There were so many unknowns in April. Back then, I wasn't sure if I was actually safe, going inside. But this time, it all seemed easy.
I joked with the new nurse when she struggled with my "rolling veins". She apologized when she had to start over and poke me again. I just have difficult veins.
It was good to see the doctor in person. He stayed away from me, even in his mask and face shield. He laughed at my paperwork and asked how I'd managed to lose weight during a pandemic. Then he decided he wanted to do more blood work since my potassium is sometimes elevated. Dang. The poor nurse cringed when she saw me walk back in the door. She gave me a new color bandage.
My arm looked fine this morning. No big bruise like I expected. But my upper arm is still sore from my flu shot. I decided I would treat myself with a yummy breakfast.
While my drop biscuits baked, I went out in the front to see any bees were still in our yard. Ed the Bee Wrangler, took them away yesterday, but a few were still buzzing around. I reach to pick up a twig and got a zapping sting on my middle finger! I was insulted! That really hurt!
I pulled out the stinger and iced my finger. I grumbled about my battered left arm... 4 needle pokes and a bee sting, all on the left. Then I opened the jar of honey that our evil bees had created and I felt much better!
Yesterday, I talked about the guy in the backyard, putting his life at risk to trim our palm fronds.
Today, Ed the Bee Wrangler, got on a ladder in the front yard. He put his own life at risk, tackling a huge bee issue under the roof.
Ed was making me pretty nervous at first. High ladder. Cowboy hat and no netting or gloves.
He came down and told me that our bees were the most aggressive, feistiest bees he'd dealt with in a long time! After a couple stings, he put on some gear.
It took Ed nearly 10 hours to remove the bees and seal up the part of our house, that bees love.
I dared to take a few photos, but I was quick. The whole front yard was swarming.
I still can't believe how long and hard Ed worked out there. I can't relax when people are on ladders in my yard... when it's swarming with bees.
Ed was exhausted, but chatty when he finished. I'm so glad the bees are moving to his bee farm and I'm thrilled that he gave us a jar of the honey, made right here at the house!
Every year, these palms grow taller and the job gets higher.
Every year we hire this team to trim the fronds. It's always very entertaining... and worrisome. I'm not sure how that bandana was helping this guy, but I know the rope offered no protection, when as he climbed up!
I have become such a worrier in these past months. Today I didn't worry about masks and pandemics and fires. I worried about these guys without helmets and gloves.
But as far as pandemic window entertainment, this show rated pretty high up there.
Social Time in the Yard
Today we invited our dear friends over, for a little pool time. This was the first time, Don and I have socialized, except with our adult kids.
It's easier in many ways to just continue in our safe bubble with no socializing at all. But this is a family we trust and care about. When they arrived in back, we all greeted with elbow bumps... no hugs this time.
Good For All
The kids were so enthused and appreciative. They must have thanked us 10 times for having them over.
It felt good to watch kids having fun in the pool... and out of the pool! Reading with a cookie, waiting!
It was fun for our friends to have a pool break. But it was pretty great for Don and me, to enjoy others for a change. I guess I didn't realize how much we needed this ourselves, until they were here. What a treat!
It's September and I have fall birthdays coming up... then Christmas. I'm so sick of online shopping. I'm tired of the problems and glitches from shopping without actually seeing and touching items.
Santa Fe Shopping
I'm not a huge shopper, actually. But Santa Fe is the kind of town that makes people like me, enjoy shopping.
We stopped there on the way back from Oregon. Oh how I wish I could have felt comfortable meandering through shops. I did enjoy a little window shopping, though.
Don took one look at the cowgirl in the window and said, "This is how we Santa Fe!" She certainly was rockin' her mask and jewelry!
A week earlier, we missed an opportunity to shop in another good shopping town. We were spending a week with our kids at an Airbnb, outside of Ashland. We decided to venture in, to see the town.
After months of staying out of stores, it was tempting to step inside a few boutique shops, but kept our wandering outside. We were attempting the safest "reunion" possible and that meant no shopping and dining out.
Sadly, Ashland is now in the midst of fighting fires. It's sad to think how much worse off these businesses will soon be.
Dreaming of Santa Fe
Now, I'm sitting at my computer, sending emails to Amazon to get my money back from the seller who sent a counterfeit item. The frustration makes me dream of strolling through these artsy towns and buying unique gifts from creative artists and vendors.
The shops inside our Santa Fe hotel, could have used our business. They were so quiet.
Palace of the Governors
The saddest part of our visit, was seeing the empty market place.
It was a Friday afternoon and the streets were quiet. Just a year ago, I bought earrings from these talented vendors, sitting along that very building.
Maybe I need to go back to the computer and do some online shopping that benefits these vendors.
Sad 19th Anniversary
19 years ago, I rushed to turn on the TV, after Mom called me from St. Louis. Today, I stared once again, at the very same spot in my family room. It was a different TV and different kind of sad.
This is not an anniversary that anyone looks forward to. It's sad, every single year. This year it seemed heavier. The masks and the distancing, couldn't be ignored.
So many of us are remembering how our country came together after 9/11. Oh how I wish we could all come together again.
Maybe we did, for just a moment during the moment of silence today.
Worries in the West
Just over a week ago, Don and I enjoyed a long and safe visit with our kids in California and Oregon.
Now we study the TV and text the kids for updates. More than 3 million acres have burned in California. Wildfires are destroying hundreds of homes in Oregon. The house that our daughter and husband just bought, is very near one of the worst fires.
I study the air quality on the weather app.
The air got worse in both places after I took these screen shots. "Hazardous" air in both places. On the news, they said Portland had the worst air quality in the entire world.
I spend a lot of time worrying over things I can't fix. These fires are out of control... which means they are totally out of my control.
I feel like we're back in March, finding ways to calm nerves and be positive. Don and I took coffee up to the porch. We haven't done that in a while.
I was not happy to see the Prayer Flags, hanging by a thread. I put them up months ago. I know the fading and weathering is supposed to be a positive thing. But if they fly away, I'm going to have to get worried about what that means!
Today I had a double health outing. I had my teeth cleaned and I got a flu shot.
Would I recognize my hygienist in her gear? I've heard about all the PPE the dental workers must wear now. Some offices are charging extra fees, to cover those costs.
I wore my mask into the building and had my temperature taken. Then everything felt pretty much the same. My hygienist entered in a mask, but I'm used to seeing staff in masks. When she put on a shield that didn't even seem odd. Maybe she's worn one before? But it did feel strange to suddenly open my unmasked mouth, to her hands.
Then it was the same old thing... carrying on a conversation with my masked hygienist, while her hands were in my mouth. But my teeth are clean now and they feel wonderful.
Walgreens for Flu Shot
I decided to make it an extra fun day and headed straight to Walgreens for a flu shot.
I had my temperature taken and went into a little room, where I studied the "Triangle of Safety" sign.
"What does that actually mean?" I asked the young woman giving me a shot. She mumbled something behind her mask. She clearly did not want to make small talk in that small room. That makes sense.
I walked out of Walgreens, feeling extra good. Clean teeth and hopefully no flu, as I move into this pandemic fall season.
I passed the trash can and noticed a sign that needed no interpretation. I guess I'm not the only person who has been annoyed to discover trashed masks and gloves in parking lots.
Sadly the people who do that, probably don't care about signs.
Tour de France
The Tour de France has been a nice distraction on TV.
I watched Don in bike races, 40 years ago in California. Now I watch Don relaxing in front of the TV, enjoying something so far away from our current worries, of Covid, politics and fires!
The races are exciting to watch and the scenery is stunning. You can forget about the pandemic, until you see bikes crowding like this. But I guess there's a much bigger chance that these guys will die of a bike crash than Covid.
No Podium Girls
All sports have had to adjust to the pandemic. Cycling is the only one I know of, that had to stop the tradition of Podium Girls.
It's about time! That was a tradition that needed to go. Yes, it was kind of cute seeing the lovely girls putting the awards around the winner's neck and handing him flowers and stuffed animals.
Then again, this podium just looks silly.
Now on the podium, they have a guy and girl, wearing yellow masks. The winner stands in the middle, awkwardly holding his flowers and lion.
There are still medals and flowers and now we have masks, on the podium.
As always, I'm glad that athletes are making statements with masks. (even if they don't have a choice) However, it's kind of sad that I can't see the winner's expression at all. For all I know, he might be pouting because he didn't get kisses from the Podium Girls.
No. I'm going to say, he's grinning behind that fabric!
Labor Day Today
Today is Labor Day. When I was a kid, it marked the last day of summer. Most kids across the U.S., are back to virtual learning, this fall. School is extra complicated for so many, right now.
First Grade in Staten Island 1963
My school worries were pretty simple back in the day. We moved a lot, so I do remember many first day nerves... in schools, where I knew no one.
But there were no pandemics. School seemed like a pretty safe and simple place.
On This Day, in 1971
Some kids had a different kind of worry on September 7, 49 years ago. Busing had begun, as a way to achieve desegregation in schools.
Some kids were nervous about traveling to a different school. My brother was one of those kids, but I don't remember him complaining. Many adults were angry, but my parents supported the plan. Mom volunteered at the school and her enthusiasm helped make my brother's transition a positive one. I think Mom would have been a good Pandemic Parent.
There have been so many brave students in history, from little Ruby Bridges to the young students at Little Rock.
And this fall, there are brave kids as well, dealing with frustrations and fears of learning from home... or walking into a school, full of masks and rigid rules.
I will be cheering on all the kids and teachers tomorrow! Staff and parents as well!
U.S. Open Tennis
So many sports have been adjusting and adapting!
I don't like the feel of an empty stadium and I'm just watching from home. There's a ghostly sound of air moving, without crowds. Do the players hear that?
It's almost spooky to see the players emerge with their masks, before the match. I'll bet some are happy to hide their nerves behind those masks.
Some are letting their masks help share a message.
The players get to remove their masks, but the ball-kids and judges, keep theirs on.
The ball kids aren't allowed to hand the towels to the players now. I'll bet that's a relief for some. Our daughter was a ball kid once and got reprimanded by Andy Roddick, because of how she handled the towel. I can only imagine how extra stressed the tennis players are these days.
I'm glad the ball kids can keep their distance!
Derby in September
It's very strange watching the Kentucky Derby in the fall, instead of spring.
It's even more odd, seeing jockeys in masks. It's good. They are following rules, I'm sure. But they're also setting a good example.
I miss seeing faces, though.
There was also no rain and no mud. And there were no big crowds and no big hats. Well maybe a few. But it felt very different.
The jockeys started the race with masks on. I was surprised. Most athletes are un-masked, in other sports.
I cheered for "South Bend", since I was born in South Bend, Indiana.
"Authetnic" won the race. I briefly got to see the face of Jockey John Velazquez! I'm glad we got to see his smile.
Cancer to Covid
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 17, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me.
Coronavirus and Cancer! Both are evil, but neither can totally get me down... if I vent! I hope with Covid, I run out of complaints before 200!