Thursday, January 21, 2021

RELIEF -- UNFINISHED NATION -- FEELING GOOD

       "The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history."


Inauguration Date:   January 20, 2021

President:          Joseph Biden

Vice-President:  Kamala Harris


Amanda Gorman, Inaugural Poet, National Youth Poet Laureate  -- CNBC YouTube Video

Her words:

"A Nation that isn't broken, simply unfinished."

"But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.                            In this truth, in this faith, we trust"

 




Nina Simone -- Feeling Good

Sunday, January 17, 2021

INAUGURATION -- VACCINATIONS -- FREEDOM FLYING

"The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history." 

Countdown dates:

Sometime before Jan. 20th:     Lame Duck President reportedly will exit White House.  Moving vans observed .

January 20, 2021 at noon:         President Joseph Biden is inaugurated.


POV 

-- I continue to be constantly amazed at our LDP's supporters and enablers who persist in denying the truth, ignore his words and actions that document his lies for which he must be accountable.   People died!

-- Acts occurred designed to usurp our democratic republic and void "...the most secure election in the history of America" based solely on lies reported as facts that could not be documented for the simple reason that they were untrue!

-- Enablers denying those truths they know but persisting in spreading the lies are even more reprehensible.

-- Inability or unwillingness of LDP's supporters or enablers to recognize violent individuals as domestic terrorists when they were encountered or observed is alarming!

-- Believers of such fallacies and deniers of truth are truly exhibiting cult-like behavior when they cease to be capable of critically thinking, using logic to assess facts, resist doing so by exercising even common sense.


CORONAVIRUS IN SO-CAL

The coronavirus surges on in SoCal.  The first U.S county with over a million residents in Los Angeles County alone have been infected in the past year.   The new highly contagious variant is now here, also.   Hospitals in L.A. County are at the brink of having to adopt triage techniques if infection numbers, need for more beds in ICU increases.  Only now are the possible effects developing from those who ignored safety precautions over the Christmas holidays.  

Our California Governor has declared all those age 65 and older can now begin receiving vaccinations which is occurring in most counties.  Unfortunately,  L.A. County has had a slower roll out of the vaccine and medical personnel are still inoculating health care workers and patients in skilled nursing settings per Phase 1A.

Probably all individuals 75 years and older will begin to be able to receive the vaccination around the beginning of February we were originally told, but the newer Governor's declaration of age 65 and older automatically covers that age group -- once L.A. County moves to Phase 1B, greatly enlarging the group that will all be seeking  a vaccination at the same time.  Where the inoculations will be administered is not yet specified -- possibly in our General Practitioner's office and or other sites TBA.

There is concern now as to whether or not there will be adequate vaccines throughout the United States, including to be able to provide the second vaccine injection at the designated time.  Seems our LDP's administration has lied to the American people saying they had a vaccine supply in reserve for the required second injection when, in fact, it was all distributed earlier.  Apparently the vaccine was factored into current distribution efforts by those receiving it under the erroneous belief the Federal Government had the second injection reserve yet to release.   

Whatever happens, I expect to continue observing safety precautions, including staying at home, for some time to come -- even for a period after I would receive whatever vaccination injections I may eventually be given, whenever.


ENVIRONMENTAL

We're having a Southern California mini-heat wave -- temperatures breaking records across the area into the 80'sF, pushing 90 degrees, in the midst of our very dry winter.  We're so far behind on rain we can only hope the rainy weather predicted for next weekend arrives.  


FREEDOM FLYING -- The U. S. National Symbol -- The American Bald Eagle

I was all set to share exciting news that the Big Bear Bald Eagle pair whose activities I've written about here the past two years were readying to start a family in 2021.  I had virtually visited their nest at Big Bear Lake nestled near the top of a Jeffrey pine tree about 120 feet high off the ground in December 2020.  Cougar Jackie and Shadow I observed affectionately beaking one another as they refurbished their nest with more sticks and a little fluff.  

There is a streaming live action solar powered camera which has been upgraded focused on their infrared lit nest 24/7 so we can view their activities without disturbing the eagles, thanks to the Friends of Big Bear Valley, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the 15-mile valley.  

Needing sone respite from the January 6th D.C. Capitol events, I paid another virtual visit to the Bald Eagle family later that day to discover Jackie had laid an egg.  Their first egg last year was laid in early January, a few days later she laid a second egg, but unlike the previous year, neither hatched later for unknown reasons.

I checked back the next day to see Jackie standing over the nest with the one egg very visible.  She seemed anxious, so referencing the chat I learned from the regular watchers there, Shadow had not yet returned to the nest so did not know they had an egg.  This was worrisome because he wasn't around now to relieve Jackie of egg incubating duties, or even feed her at times.  Ravens and crows could be heard cawing their sounds nearby then quieted.  Jackie flew away briefly only to return, then uttering long loud calls, possibly for Shadow, but there was no response.  Finally, she flew away again.

Soon the Ravens could be heard drawing closer to the nest, eventually entering it when they received no signs of resistance to their presence.  Shortly the dominate Raven began pecking at the egg, eventually penetrating it to consume the contents which the other Raven was finally able to share, too.  Soon after they finished eating, they made a hasty retreat as Jackie returned, saw the egg was gone with only a shell bit left off to one nest side.  

A few days later when I virtually visited again I read Jackie had laid a second egg but it broke when she was in labor.   In another few days Jackie laid a third egg.  Shadow had returned brought her a coot to eat, took turns sitting on the nest to incubate the egg.  This third egg was frequently left exposed by both birds which was thought might be an accepted technique to delay the eggs development.  This can be done up to a point as Jackie was initially thought to have been awaiting formation of a fourth egg which would be a viable second egg in the current nest had she laid one -- but she didn't.   

These Bald Eagles behavior has seemed focused elsewhere for reasons we may never know.  But as time passed both parental birds seemed to stay away more from the nest.  So that last egg was eaten by the ravens, too.  Maybe J & S just decided to forego continuing with this clutch.  The question is, will they try again with another clutch in this nest later this year?  Maybe in February?

Live cam URL:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWEgPK13Ttl

Checking in on Jackie and Shadow periodically will be of special interest to me during this nesting season as the pandemic has me staying safe at home, especially as we're being told to do during this latest infection surge.  Unlike we humans activities hampered by the Covid-19 virus, its variations, these creatures are free as the birds they are to go about their lives as usual.  The mystery of whatever is going on in their world now, seems even they are having to adapt to what appears to be different from their expected routine.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

DEMOCRACY SURVIVES WHITE HOUSE BETRAYAL

        "The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history."


Covid-19 in Los Angeles County, California,  is continuing to surge as those who may have contracted the virus during the Christmas season holidays begin to experience the infection, needing to seek medical care.   Medical "triage officers" have been established in the event beds, doctors, nurses, staff are inundated to the extend service cannot be provided to all patients as needed.  


Countdown dates:                         2020 Presidential Election - Nov. 3rd 

January 6, 2021                U.S. Electoral College vote finalized, accepted in Congressional joint session -- as truth, law and order finally prevailed following sedition/coup attempt.

   ? ? ?                                Current Lame Duck President Exits the White House following unsuccessful sedition/coup attempt in Capitol. 

January 20, 2021 at noon:  President Joseph Biden is inaugurated.


Personal POV

I feel compelled to express my thoughts and opinions about the dangerous assault on our democratic republic January 6, 2021.   Be forewarned in the event you want to avoid reading what I have to say.  Likely you have had more than your share of feelings and thoughts about this situation, too, and may feel overloaded with it all.

I was repulsed, angered and saddened by the criminal actions evolving from the phony protest march turned mob in Washington D.C. that I viewed on television news coverage this past week. Our Congress was conducting their constitutionally required business when they were violently disrupted.  

Knowing how democracies are weakened, witnessing how this now Lame Duck President (LDP) for four years has been following steps to subvert our government to an autocracy, history has shown a violent coup event could be a very predictable possibility at some point.  I did not want to believe such would actually ever occur in my United States of America.  

I am heart-broken that our nation has been so dishonored by some misguided individuals who violated the very values they claim to be defending.  In fact, their violent actions served to undermine our democratic republic.   Perhaps some were seduced to act with extremist groups dedicated to destroying our form of government.  This now LDP promised years ago he intended to change our form of government, but did not some of his cult-like followers understand what this meant, or do they truly not believe in our democratic republic?   

These extremist groups care nothing about those mislead citizen's values if they were in fact seduced into their mob.  All continued to be incited by actions and words of our LDP.   His chaotic methods  have intentionally and systematically been  designed to position himself to become an autocratic leader who they blindly support.  

There are others who must share blame for the violence that occurred.  All those who the past four years enabled this now LDP are accountable for the Capitol Hill events Wednesday, January 6, 2021 and also have blood on their hands including for five people who died in this melee.  Voters should, at the very least, see that these enablers are not returned to serve in our government come election day, if not sooner.  

Regrettably, one political party in particular must bear the brunt of responsibility for not having reined in this LDP.   Too many of them failed to present as a needed trusted, respectable group, clearly not fulfilling their oath of office to protect our democracy and the best interests of the American people.   

Deserving to be removed from office are those who put forth LDP's repeated lies, false conspiracy theories, knowing they weren't true.  Some even continued to propagate those same lies that night after the failed coup attempt, as some legislative leaders persisted in debating acceptance of some certified votes for President-elect Joseph Biden's and Vice-President Kamala Harris' election.

Surely, the cult-like followers of this LDP must now realize he does not offer a democratic form of government, represent true patriotism, support our constitution or law and order.  Even in this LDP's current rhetoric about cooperation for transition to the newly elected administration his words are false.  

His promises to continue a drive toward authoritarianism is semi-disguised in a false claim that he is supporting our democracy and constitution.   If this LDP's four years of efforts to undermine American citizens trust in our system of government so we would turn to him as our savior was his expectation, he has failed this time.  Even if he doesn't return to try again later, there will be others who may be much more subtly adept at doing so in the future so we must be on guard.

Countries around the world have witnessed the strength of the majority of our people to preserve our values, democracy, republic, constitution, freedoms and way of life.  They have also seen first-hand our government's weaknesses which we are now especially challenged to rectify.

Those autocratic governments who oppose democracies will attempt to continue belittling and undermining our own.  Surely we have learned we must take much greater care in the future about who we vote into Congress and the White House to represent our nation's values.  We need to monitor well those we vote into governmental offices beginning at our local, county, state, national levels.  We must hold them accountable once in office.

Democracy is fragile as has been dramatically revealed by the end result of this LDP's actions and that of the mob he cultivated for four years.  He has periodically incited, then finally ignited them into an act of insurrection, sedition, a coup attempt.  While he did not succeed, the monied forces behind this leader, using him and he using them, including even those claiming to be religious people of god acting with the atheists, can be expected to continue their efforts to acquire power.

The intent to take over our government persists, to form into their mold in the years ahead -- ultimately jeopardizing individual rights and freedoms as occurs with all authoritarian governments such as Russia, China, North Korea, Iran (theocracy), Saudi Arabia (monarchy), Turkey,  numerous others including various European nations.  History shows us, too, how democracies devolve into autocracies such as occurred in the 1930's culminating in WWII necessitating a desperate but successful effort to preserve some freedom in the world.  

Americans dedicated in actions as well as words to following our constitution as a nation of laws and order in a democratic republic must exercise our responsibility to ensure we keep this system.  We do this by how we conduct our individual lives, tolerate and respect our differences.  None of the authoritarian governments have the individual freedoms we do.  I don't believe any Americans want to give up our freedoms but that would be the result of losing our democracy to such extremists as those who attempted the January 6th coup attempt.

We need to support The Fourth Estate -- our Press -- discern those who follow high journalistic standards to keep us informed with truth, facts.  This means exercising critical thinking to eliminate attending to those who pander in undocumented gossip, conspiracy theories, disinformation, alternate facts, fail to differentiate opinion from actual fact.

We would be wise to take as a grain of salt all we read or hear on social media sites as it is little more than gossip one might hear on any street corner or over the backyard fence -- a mix of fact and fiction, often warped and distorted, that must be later verified for viability through reliable respectable documented sources.  To do otherwise leads to wasting time and effort, confusion, anxiety and false beliefs, often leading some users to ill health from needless worry.  If we choose to focus on such sites with information disseminated unchecked, we do so at our own risk of being misinformed or worse.

Perhaps the day will come when these social media sites claiming they simply offer free speech will become more responsible purveyors of allowing primarily factual truthful information rather than mostly being exploiters of users to enhance their company's bottom line.  These social media sites do seem to have finally made some effort since the Jan. 6th assault on our nation to recognize they bear some responsibility for moderating what is allowed to be dispensed given the influence and power of the medium.  

We must recognize some of us, more than I ever imagined could possibly exist in this country, hold extremist views contrary to the values, beliefs, hopes and goals of our constitution and the majority of American citizens.  We must be ever more vigilant in the years ahead to protecting our democratic freedoms.  To preserve this nation and our rights we must continue to educate ourselves, then vote -- instill in the generations coming after us the critical importance they do the same.

Questions I ask myself and you probably have some of your own .....

--will those responsible for actions and enabling efforts to cripple or to destroy our democratic republic be held accountable?

--will we prevent such horrendous events in the future?

I believe our nation is poised for a golden opportunity to renew our nation's promise with our core ideals for self-government with liberty and equality for all as we seek happiness.  



Sunday, January 03, 2021

NEW YEAR'S OUTLOOK -- MEMORY MIX-UP

             "The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history."

This is a significant week in the continuing procedural steps following our 2020 Presidential election.

Countdown Dates.....

January 5, 2021:     Georgia runoff election for 2 seats determines U.S. Senate control.

January 6, 2021 at 1 pm:    U.S. Electoral College vote finalized, certified in Congressional joint session -- if truth, law and order prevail.

   ?  ?  ?                     Current Lame Duck President exits the White House

January 20, 2021 at noon:   President Biden is inaugurated.


SO-CAL

The first seasonal snow-covered mountains rising above my city attracted many to travel up the 2-lane road in vehicle lines that took drivers three hours to arrive where sledding was active on Mt. Baldy.  Late afternoon was time to return downhill but several hundred people became stranded overnight in their vehicles on the twisting turning mountain road since it was taking so long,  unable to safely descend back to the valley after sunset, partly because thawed snow had turned to black ice.

Meanwhile, in Southern California we are experiencing the beginning of significantly increased numbers of people testing positive for the coronavirus.  This is attributed primarily to viral spreading as a result of the actions of those who chose to ignore taking safety precautions as recommended by health officials during these recent holidays.  Hospital services here in Los Angeles County are on the verge of being impacted, jeopardizing delivery of patient care for all, coupled with possible staff shortages.

Vaccinations are beginning but at a much slower rate than has been expected.  Continued need to minimize further viral spread will persist in the weeks and months ahead.  


COVID-19 RISK ASSESSMENT

For whatever value it might be,  here's a possible tool for COVID-19 risk assessment that was reported to me  as being useful at microcovid.org. that I found interesting.

My research revealed Berkley Advanced Media Institute featuring this and some other visual reference tools that can be used for COVID-19 risk assessment.  The authors state:         

"As coronavirus case numbers continue to rise across the globe, we take a look at how COVID risk is being visualized.  Calculate your potential risk, see how coronavirus is spread indoors, and the impact of wearing masks."

"In this tool we state our best estimate based on available evidence, even when that evidence is not conclusive" as noted in their disclaimer.

I did use the calculator method to assess my risk of Covid -19 infection meeting with one workman outdoors, both of us masked.  Though I reside in high risk Los Angles County, California, USA, my risk assessment in that situation was low as I had thought it would be.  Perhaps results like this determined prior to an indoor or outdoor interaction with an individual(s), groups in various situations could be helpful.  This could be a tool along with other common sense considerations, including also using our best judgment about whether or not to meet with others, go to various businesses, a grocery store, a religious gathering, enter into other situations.


MEMORY MIX-UP

Losing track of time almost put a fly in the ointment of my planning for my Christmas dinner.  This is nothing new, first occurred to me when my children were young after they started school.  Anytime there would be special school days off for various reasons and my children would be home on a weekday the rest of the week often seemed like we had just had a weekend and my recollection of the actual day was thrown off.  Some of my friends said they had that experience, too, which we would laugh about, feeling relieved to know we weren't really losing our minds.

A work schedule always kept the days, holidays, well in perspective, too, but once I retired, regularly scheduled activities were altered.  There could be consecutive days which sometimes seemed quite alike, one after the other.  For whatever the reasons, apparently the week before Christmas I had it in my mind that holiday was on a Wednesday which was quite a different form of mix-up.  Having completed my Christmas gift ordering and shipping arrangements, my final preparation was to order delivery of the dinner I had decided to treat myself to having.  The order completed, I felt quite pleased with myself, ready for Christmas almost a week ahead of time.  

A few days later, I don't recall what occurred, it suddenly dawned on me that Christmas wasn't until Friday as I finally double-checked the calendar which I should have done sooner.  I was able to reschedule my dinner delivery date for Thursday afternoon instead of Tuesday to save the day.  The moral of this story is that I better reference a calendar more and not depend so much on my memory as I try to do to keep it honed and sharp.  I wonder if others get their days mixed up sometimes depending solely on their memories?  


Sunday, December 27, 2020

REMEMBERING RONNI. ----- KWANZAA ----- NEW YEAR

                            HAPPY NEW YEAR ---- 2021  ! ! !    Friday

        "The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history."

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas as this holiday weekend ends, we begin to celebrate Kwanzaa and we ready for New Year's Day.  Soon to follow are these significant countdown date facts augmented by my point of view .....

January 5, 2021:    Georgia runoff election for 2 seats determines U.S. Senate control.

January 6, 2021 at 1 p.m.:     U.S. Electoral College vote finalized,                                              certified in Congressional joint session -- if law and order prevails.

   ? ? ? ? ?                Current Lame Duck President exits the White House as he continues his desperate efforts to undermine our democracy, damaging this nation.

January 20, 2021 at noon:    President Biden is inaugurated.                                                                    

Another exciting week at my house as I continue to follow the Stay At Home admonition from health authorities as being necessary to limit Covid-19's spread and to avoid becoming infected.  

FaceTime proved to be the means by which our family virtual interaction was enjoyed Christmas Day with expanded participant contact expected in the week ahead, but probably on Zoom due to technical compatibility issues.  Additionally, I received videos of selected packages being opened to augment  the holiday fun.   Given the three hour time difference I could view the recorded action on a delayed basis allowing me to avoid having to arise at the young one's early-rising hour in their home.  

As this year comes to an end I have been reminded of how few holiday greeting cards with personal notes I wrote for mailing with equally few received.  I was made aware the already diminished number of friends and family decreased even further this year.    Additionally, I'm reminded of a virtual friend about whom I said no more than to announce her untimely departure when I learned of it several days after her death.

A tribute to this lady, Ronni Bennett, who created her "Time Goes By" blog is very much overdue.  For anyone reading this who is unfamiliar with her, I recommend you explore her blog.  Her writings, other features, can be accessed in the blog's archives under a variety of topics.  The blog will continue with her dear friend, Autumn, writing there.  

I recall with nostalgia my entry into the blogosphere years ago, first only reading, eventually cautiously commenting on TGB when I was simultaneously learning how to use a computer and discovered the Internet.  Ronni encouraged me in email correspondence to write, then later completely surprised me by asking me to be a TGB guest blogger on one occasion.  My response to her was one of incredulity, "You must be crazy!" as I did not perceive myself writing anything worthy of publication on her blog.  I did finally write  a piece for TGB, then ultimately started this blog, though my Internet blog launching was quite accidental.

I've shared Ronni's interest in presenting the life of elders as it really is.  I've enjoyed engaging in terminology discussions she fostered at TGB including our questioning the use of "senior" as applied to older people, but no one could come up with a better word.  She also wrote her somewhat controversial use of the word "elder" as meaning in the sense that it refers to those in generally older generations, whose years of experience can provide ideas worthy of being listened to by others, with respect.  She focused on overcoming the decades old practice of age discrimination which she had experienced first hand and persists today.  These are only a few issues she addressed.

Ronni's writing hallmark was truth and honesty.  She provided factual information supported by documentation on matters of vital importance, especially to those 50 years and older on topics including Medicare, Social Security and more.  Age discrimination, language used to characterize older people were issues of significant interest as she wanted to see that negative practice overcome, one to which she had been subjected.   

She pinpointed governmental actions, or lack thereof, that had bearing on elder generations, ultimately all citizens sooner or later -- everyone becomes old, if they live long enough.  She expressed her point of view on many topics, political and other.  Ronni clearly noted when what she wrote was her opinion versus a known fact as any responsible journalist would do.  She used an alter ego, Crabby Lady, on occasion to express her dissatisfaction, downright anger at any manner of injustice she perceived.  

Ronni entertained us with her good humor, sometimes stimulated our feelings of sadness as well as happiness, also arranged to provide some musical pleasure on her blog.  She demanded civility on TGB, did not allow comments designed to elicit free advertising and promotions, set a standard of quality influencing how others administered their blogs.  

I've hardly scratched the surface of what Ronni's "Time Goes By" blog, information provided there and commentary has contributed on the blogosphere and to all those who visited there.  Her influence went well beyond the blog with writings, media and technology conference appearances.   I haven't even touched on her professional career prior to starting this blog which can be sourced on TGB.

"Time Goes By" will continue, reincarnated by her dear friend, Autumn, as mentioned earlier, in whatever form she may choose which I will look forward to visiting.  I will miss Ronni Bennett, but will always remember her with high regard, respect and affection.  


                           H A P P Y    N E W     Y E A R   ! ! !

Sunday, December 20, 2020

PHISHING, PHONINESS, MOSTLY MERRY CHRISTMAS

 MERRY CHRISTMAS ... Friday, Dec. 25th ! 

"The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history."

PHISHING SCAMS ALERT ...

T'is the season to be especially careful avoiding those who phish and scam.                                              I've had two just this past few weeks.

The first phishing on my laptop was a sudden pop-up of smaller screens, 3 overlaying one another allowing partial reading of content, claiming to be from Apple, looking very legitimate.  They alerted my computer was locked and anything I did would basically only make everything worse, especially if I tried to shut down the computer,  I would lose everything.   The reality was I no longer had control of my cursor, it had disappeared from my screen, so I couldn't do anything.  

This was a very aggressive attack my tech guru son thought when I contacted him.  He concluded the message was not from Apple and probably was a phishing expedition.  He determined some action we could take, so after considerable inconvenience, time and effort, with his assistance I regained full use of my computer without losing anything.   We subsequently ran some malware determining all was clear.

My son recounted the experience of someone he knew who received a similar popup, had accepted it as legitimate so contacted the perpetrators per the instructions who offered  help as purportedly from Apple.  They reportedly were in an English-speaking country very tech-savvy.  They offered to troubleshoot his problem for a fee to release his computer from this lockup preventing all the disaster that could happen.  This person purchased their service revealing personal financial information in the process.

Fortunately, my son learned of this soon after so intervention was quickly initiated to block the bank payment.  However, all of this person's bank accounts and previously arranged automatic bill payments had to be cancelled, reprogrammed with new bank accounts opened -- a time-consuming activity to insure his funds future bank safety.  

The second phishing scam has come in an email; set up like a business form.  It starts out like this:

"This tracking update has been requested by:                                                                                   Company Name:     xxxxxx Pecan Co. (I've removed co name)                                                       Name:                      Shipping Dept.                                                                                                 E mail:                     "Not Provided By Requestor"

"Reference Information Includes:"                                                                                                     An  Invoice Number and a long list of items including what says it is a FedEx number, highlighted  for me to click on which, of course, I did not do.

(Please note the actual form did not have indentations, but Blogger insisted on altering the accurate form from each line aligned on the left, one under the other as I typed it to reproduce  for publication so you could see exactly what it looked like.)

Independently in  Google Search I found xxxxxx Pecan Co. on the internet appearing to be a legitimate company, but I didn't click on it either.

PANDEMIC HEALTH UPDATE IN SO-CAL -- L.A. COUNTY -- MY CITY

COVID-19 infections rage on with no indication of slowing.  L.A. County ICU hospital beds available for coronavirus patients have declined to 0% at last report.  

One hospital in our east next door community and county continues to report: "we are in internal disaster mode."   

The hospital immediately adjacent west of our city and the one I served for a time period years ago before I associated with a local retirement community has continued to have ICU beds available, unlike many L.A County hospitals reportedly.  Our Claremont Courier newspaper's Steven Feischundneff reported:

"Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said during a news conference on Wednesday:

Hospitals adapt and surge.  They add staff,  they clear out beds.  They discharge patients whenever they can.  They cancel surgeries, they cancel procedures that can wait.  They flex their staffing resources.  These actions, while critical, cannot continue indefinitely.  There are simply not enough trained staff to care for the volume of patients that is projected to come," Dr. Ghaly said."  

Referring to my local area hospital she said: "Outpatient elective surgeries and procedures continue being performed, but a need for post-operative admission to my area hospital prevents all elective surgeries and procedures requiring that service."  The hospital "...is prepared to further expand its surge capacity should it continue to experience increases in COVID-19 patient admissions."  

Vaccine:   A phone call to the hospital as I write this confirms "selective hospital personnel are receiving the Covid-19  vaccine."    

This has become very personal for me as someone I care about (not a family member) who lives in a different SoCal county has been coping with a potentially life-threatening medical problem, plus now also needs surgery to minimize, even eliminate a new  risk from a just diagnosed cancer, yet unknown whether spread to lymph nodes.   Ironic, we joke in dark humor about the poor timing that these medical problems should emerge now.  Doubtless there are many across the country, around the world even who are faced with a similar or worse situation during this pandemic. 

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS

I will be home, alone, celebrating virtually via FaceTime with children and grandchildren from their different locations across the country.   My holiday dinner with adequate quantity to allow leftovers which I favor is being delivered the day before for microwave reheating.   Free time will allow me to indulge in whatever gives me pleasure at the time -- perhaps some Christmas music including "Silent Night", "The Christmas Song", "Blue Christmas", "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas", "Sleigh Ride" to name a few.

Another family celebrates Christmas ... old friends with whom I have contact with mostly at just this time of year report she and husband are donning Hazmat suits to fly east to spend Christmas with family.   

While all is in limbo for so many of us, we adapt, accommodate, cope in many ways, often turning to humor of all kinds.  So .....

I try to keep up with the latest health information.  In these days of ruptured truth it's sometimes difficult to recognize fact from fiction, but here's the latest notice you'll want to know about -- keep in mind phoniness, alternate truths are frequently the order of the day:

Did you receive the latest health alert?

Tonight at 10 pm local time                                                                                                                   a medical satellite is  flying over earth                                                                                                to take everybody's temperature.                                                                                                         Please stand naked outside your door                                                                                                  and wave your Medicare or other insurance card.

(Another staggering of the lines done automatically by Blogger, not at all as I set it up but cannot be corrected.)

I confess.  I cannot lie.  I purloined and edited the above health alert from a cartoon where I often get my humor fix to release those healing endorphins at Oddball Observations. 

I wish each of you a Merry Christmas ...

     Stay Well, 

           Count Your Blessings, 

                  Wishing You Peace and Joy


Diana Krall sings "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep"

                                                              


Sunday, December 13, 2020

SIGNIFICANT DATES, VACCINE, NON-PROFIT NEWSPAPERS

 LESS THAN A COUPLE WEEKS UNTIL CHRISTMAS 2020

The U.S. Government Election Officials report:

"The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history."

Significant Past Date .....

December 8, 2020:  Safe Harbor Deadline -- States had to choose electors to be accepted by Congress; voting disputes had to be resolved.

Personal POV .....

The present White House occupant still continues his efforts which very much resemble those of someone trying to stage a coup in his desperate attempt to stay in office as U.S. President for another four years in any way possible, legal or otherwise, despite having lost both the popular and electoral college votes.

Just when it seems he could sink no lower in the tactics he would employ to achieve such a travesty of justice, he descends even deeper into the morass of his behavioral cesspool to establish himself in what appears to be an effort to convert our nation to an autocracy, thus destroying our democratic republic, betraying his oath of office and the U.S. constitution.

Tragically for our nation in this effort many of his cult-like supporters have mindlessly accepted his falsehoods, fear of socialism, other bizarre conspiracy tales as fact -- apparently so confused they are no longer able to discern truth from fiction.

Other Significant Countdown Dates Reminder .....

December 14, 2020:     Electors Convene and Vote in D.C.         Be alert for possible efforts to coerce Congress to alter electors legal votes.

January 5, 2021:        Georgia runoff election for 2 Senate seats -- results will determine control of the U. S. Senate

January 6, 2021 at 1 pm: The vote will be finalized and certified in a joint session of Congress.

January 30 20, 2021 at noon: The President is inaugurated.

Pandemic:

--My city's Covid-19 infection reached the fourth highest new case rate in Los Angeles County this past Friday                            -- L.A. County ICU hospital beds available are continuing to dip down, currently at 5.3% as I write this Saturday night 12/12.                --for those with other medical requirements including from surgeries  beds may not be accessible.

--One nearby local hospital official reports in our local Courier newspaper,"we are in internal disaster mode."

Pfizer Covid-19 first shipment to Los Angeles County of 327,000 vaccines will occur Sunday, 12/13.                                     --The first hospital to receive the vaccine is Cedar-Sinai prepared to store in their required deep freezer.                                  --One-half dozen hospitals will receive the Pfizer vaccine.            --Vaccinations will be administered to health care personnel and residents in long term care facilities. 

--The first shots are expected to be given Monday, 12/14.              --A second shot will be required in the future to complete virus antibody resistance.                                                   --Anti-body immunity development will take several weeks after both shots received.                           

-- Long Term Care facilities in my city will be among the first including the one I had most recently served who report expecting to receive the vaccine and begin inoculations Monday, 12/14.

Local newspapers going out of business in cities are a concern I've previously written about. They are referred to as legacy media in the net lingo of today.  The term means media that is considered "old" which newspapers are considered to be as are radio, and television; also applies to Web sites using outdated technology.  Netlingo says: "With legacy media, the receiver does not contribute or interact with the content and remains totally passive."

Newspapers are important because they tell us what is going on in our town.  Local reporters also keep us informed about our local government and what officials are doing affecting all of us.  This can be positive actions officials take, reveal information we might want to change, and even be a deterrent to instances of official corruption.

Also, Pewtrusts.org reports: "Covid-19 is crushing Newspapers, Worsening Hunger for Accurate Information."

A year ago Salt Lake City's Tribune became the first legacy newspaper to adopt a nonprofit status as described in this NPR article in an effort to adapt and survive which has been successful to date.  

My city's local newspaper, Claremont Courier, has been struggling to survive also.  I've maintained my subscription which is now only weekly, also receive their Net highlights.  The Facebook page I prefer to not access but is available which my adult children can appreciate who live in other states.  The original publisher's son who was in the newspaper business on the east coast became the editor some years ago but his parents are now deceased.

Peter Weinberger, who is that publisher is in the process of sustaining our Courier's life by converting our newspaper to nonprofit status much like the Salt Lake paper has done.  The Courier is three months away from adoption of this transition if the IRS accepts their application.  They expect to accomplish this reinvention by Spring 2021 which pleases me immensely.  I also learned in the recent update my neighbor is intimately involved through a tech company he founded in aiding with this process.

Do you have a local newspaper where you live, perhaps one that didn't survive or has adapted to the Net so you can keep your finger on the pulse of your community?  

I think this is vitally important to insure good government starting at the local level, a critical element in our democracy.  Maybe your life is such that you have less focus on these matters which may need to occur for some of us, especially in our aging years.  What do you think and how do you learn about what's going on where you live or are you caught up with other matters in your life? 


                                                                  



Sunday, December 06, 2020

COLDNESS RELATIVE IN AGING AND IN PEOPLE

A song lyric from "Young At Heart" keeps popping into my mind as I think about what has been happening in my life this past week.  Michael Buble's words refer to love but they also have a different meaning for me presently as I apologize to lyricist Carolyn Leigh for changing the second line here:   

"Life gets more exciting with each passing day, 

  And problems can occur or are on their way" 


Only in mid-November I wrote:

"My furnace stopped working -- the penalty of having a long-lasting piece of equipment is manufacturers stop making parts so that if you need one, it's not readily available, but if you do get one it's very expensive.  Is that what is meant when they say, you can't win for losing?  Fortunately, that part of my furnace, though determined to be at risk for malfunction, is still operating but who knows what the future may bring."

I found out what the future would bring and how quickly, a week ago, when I awoke one morning to colder than usual temperatures in my bedroom.  Of course, such problems usually occur outside normal repair company working days, instead on weekends and holidays.  I was fortunate I thought since this was a Thursday, and my always accommodating service company was able to respond the next day.

There was bad news then when the serviceman determined that motor part "at risk for malfunction" had permanently gone kaput (my technical term), would need replacement.   The other choice was installing new furnace/AC units, no inexpensive undertaking.  In any event,  I had to go through the weekend without heat before further resolution could begin to occur.  Considering my present units were 28 years old, that they had survived considerably past their life expectancy with few repair problems, I used the time to determine new units seemed the best choice.

A week later was the earliest new units' installation could occur and as luck would have it, outdoor and inside temperatures only became colder during that time period.  Keep in mind "cold" is a relative term, depending on the climate where we each live as I didn't experience even freezing temperatures.  Nevertheless, wearing thermal socks, using a heating pad on my feet, attiring myself in fleece-lined lounge wear, wrapping myself in a flannel bed sheet became the order of the day.  My fingers were also constantly cold requiring I frequently warm them, prompting me a few days later to order fingerless gloves on the internet since I expected to have to use them writing this blog piece.

I couldn't help feeling like a pantywaist as these temperatures when I lived in snow country years ago would have been considered a delightfully warm fall/winter day, but my body had acclimated to a warm clime long ago -- plus aging may have altered my body thermostat's efficient operation, too, or maybe my blood circulation is sluggish -- whatever -- I was cold.  At least, I'll be better prepared for cold in the future should the need arise.  

My wonderful service company was able to install my new units at the end of that first week instead of the following Mon., so I've enjoyed comfortable warmth this weekend as I type this.  Naturally, the weather is warming up outside now.   I was probably lucky this didn't happen earlier, too, as my service company man said they had contracted the virus which slowly swept through their staff.  So, they had just shut down the company for three weeks and only recently resumed business.  Yes, they masked when they came into my house as did I, also I wiped down knobs and various areas after they left, just in case.  Who knows what areas I may have missed.

On a broader note, Covid-19 infections continue to increase across the nation.  California residents have been severely impacted with our state plan for coping now being divided into 5 geographic regions.  ICU bed unit % of availability determines if a Regional Stay Home Order (click on link) becomes effective in each of the regions you can read about on the link.  For regions with under 15% ICU bed unit availability, the order goes into effect Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

Los Angeles County were I live has already had the number of available ICU hospital beds decrease to under 15% triggering us to be the second region needing to follow the Stay Home Order.  Nowhere in the entire U.S.A. have we begun yet to see the numbers of the possible increase in infected patients from Thanksgiving when so many people traveled or gathered in groups conceivably risking exposure to contracting Covid-19.

Lock-down conditions pretty much prevail now for those of us in Los Angeles County.  Basic safety care needs to continue -- including washing our hands, staying in our homes, wearing masks, avoiding others than those living with us and taking care even with them.  Businesses are faced with increased challenges trying to survive as many have to temporarily close.

You may want to avoid reading the remainder of this opinionated commentary ..... 
I feel compelled to say the failure of some citizens in this country to recognize the need to simply wear a mask beyond intelligent comprehension for understanding.  

I am a now retired health care worker who sometimes had to use personal protection equipment (PPE) such as mask, gown, gloves through those years.   I suffered no ill effects from having to do so even on those occasions when all I needed was a mask so wearers need not fear personal health damage.  I encountered patients needing to be protected from potential germs unknowingly carried.  I rehabilitated other patients with contagious diseases that might have infected me.  Some patients were on ventilators, many needing to be safely weaned off them to eat and speak if if they were to begin partial or complete recovery.  Should we health care workers protest the inconvenience of wearing masks, etc. by refusing to do so, too?

I think the reasons given by some in the public for choosing to not wear a mask to be the height of ridiculousness, and stupidity, not to mention dangerous, uncaring of others as well as themselves,  to put it mildly.  Religious groups refusing to do so are adopting a position 100% contrary to what they claim to believe about caring for humanity.

I shudder to think what those people would have belly-ached about had they been asked to sacrifice as people did in WWII for not just a year or two but several years.  I wonder how that attitude and behavior would have adversely impacted that war effort, lives of American troops dedicated to saving the world from fascism -- incidentally and coincidentally much as it threatens our nation and others in the world today.  

What has happened to the common sense, intelligent critical thinking and humanity of so many people in this nation, or did it never exist to the degree I thought it did?

Sunday, November 29, 2020

THANKS -- DANCIN' -- CHILDREN'S CHALLENGE

Thanksgiving has passed -- another day home alone for many of us, but I have much for which I give thanks.    I enjoyed a delicious traditional turkey dinner delivered a couple days earlier that required my only re-heating the food in my microwave oven.  I ordered small quantities of turkey, dressing, gravy, yams with pineapple, various vegetables, cranberries and two pieces of my favorite pumpkin pie.  

I intentionally wanted to have leftovers from this nearby family-owned deli.   I was glad they had  decided to keep  their deli open after having to close their long-time independent grocery a few years ago.  They always featured quality meat and fresh seasonal locally produced fruits and vegetables but couldn't survive the competition from newly opened Sprouts and Trader Joe's just a few blocks down Route 66 from their city location.  Farmer's markets are the sole source of such produce now.  Wolfe's deli has thrived and I've occasionally purchased select items there before but only a full dinner once before.    I think I will order meals for Christmas, later New Year's Day, some different food items from their varied menu offerings since everything was so tasty.  

FaceTime calls with my children and grandchildren interspersed with videos of them preparing  food highlighted my day.  Other times internet videos of their playing games and crazy antics came across the miles as they enjoyed time together in pleasantly warm outdoor weather.  They took care to maintain distance from each other, wore masks.  I felt almost as if I was there in person for a long overdue family gathering -- maybe another time after this coronavirus is relegated to history.  

Then, to bring me even more pleasure one of my PBS stations aired the most entertaining, exciting, colorful, energy-filled showing of the 1981 Tony award-winning Broadway musical "42nd Street" filmed at London's Drury Theatre.  The next day this spectacular tap dancing production aired an encore for me to view once more to my great delight.  The show apparently is only available in SoCal streaming on PBS Passport as part of their membership benefits but was aired specially for all this holiday.  There are numerous YouTube video excerpts and here are a few for any tap aficionados like me.


Here's another excerpt.....


A final excerpt.....


Our city's restaurants are expected to contest, possibly even violate, despite $$$ fines, the recent admonition they've been given to reduce even further to 20% occupancy outdoor customer seating capacity continuing with daily closing hours recently set at 10 p.m.  Owners believe these new requirements shouldn't apply to our town since Covid19 infection percentages are below the overall level of our County, Los Angeles, that dictated the criteria specified to have necessitated this change.

However, the total numbers of people with the coronavirus in our county have increased in alarming numbers.  We haven't even seen what may occur in a couple weeks following this holiday, since many people travelled rather than staying at home as recommended.  Small businesses income in our town has been severely impacted.  Local Claremont Colleges (5 undergraduate, 2 graduate) have been offering virtual classes only, so most students are not presently living on campus or in our city to patronize them either.

Pity the children told Santa's coming but are having to wait for what must seem like an eternity, since advertisers started talking about Christmas in October this year, the earliest ever, I think. When I was a child Christmas wasn't promoted until after Thanksgiving.  Those weeks until Christmas seemed to me to last forever, but the time has been much longer now for little ones to have to wait since advertising and promotion started even before Halloween this year.

Ordinarily I would rail about this commercialization starting so early, but it may make sense this year given the pandemic.  Predictions have been there would be so much shipping of items as to overload our system so we should start early.  So kiddies ..... delayed satisfaction has likely stressed the patience of all adults in our culture even more, since so many expect instant gratification under the most ordinary circumstances.  

Our little ones may not understand at all and will just have to accept this seemingly never-ending wait for Santa in their world.   I appreciate the adults have wanted something to feel happy about so decided to rush Christmas.  Maybe it's just a matter of how all is presented to the wee ones.  My children adjusted to what they thought were lucky neighbor friends celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah.   Now, more outdoor lights and decorations are going up in my neighborhood which all ages can enjoy, though some elsewhere started decorating before Thanksgiving -- but maybe avoiding mentioning Santa until after Thanksgiving is a good idea any year.  

I hope all are having a pleasant long Thanksgiving weekend.  No doubt, you too, are making whatever preparations may be needed for our next upcoming holidays.  I don't think I'll write a holiday letter again this year to mail.  I have only a few greeting cards to address as the number of family and friends still living has continued to dwindle, so will likely restrict myself to just the personal messages I ordinarily write.   I don't expect to mail packages and will instead have items shipped directly to recipients from wherever I purchase them, or maybe I'll just send a check for them to select what they want.

How was your Thanksgiving?   

Are you making plans now for Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's, other holidays?  

What do you remember about the wait for Christmas or other seasonal holidays when you were young?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

L.A. UPDATE -- AUTO POWER -- THANKSGIVING

Day after day our local TV news features photos of traffic lines that appear to have no end as people line up in their autos, waiting for hours well into the night at the Dodgers baseball team stadium for drive through free Coronavirus testing.

Most of California is now under a voluntary 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. curfew due to escalating coronavirus infection numbers that if they continue increasing may lead to institution of a lockdown.

Viewing the vehicle lineup reminds me of hydrogen-powered cars which have long appealed to me as a possible preference over electric and gas autos.  Now it seems Lancaster, California has become the first U.S. hydrogen city and is reaching out to Japan for this purpose.   Here's how you drive a hydrogen powered car HERE.

Also, here's what some auto manufacturers are doing to explore hydrogen-powered cars:

Driving, whether a gasoline combustion engine, electric or hydrogen vehicle, they especially matter now as a means for shopping for picking up our purchases from stores and using drive thru services.  

When I lived in the Great Lakes midwest a popular fast food drive thru restaurant there was White Castle -- for what are now referred to as "sliders" -- tiny little hamburger/cheeseburger sandwiches.  My husband said as a boy he used to be invited with other classmates to the owner's home to celebrate their son's birthday who was their friend.  Each attendee received a gift far more expensive than they could afford to give the birthday boy he still recalled from so many years ago.

Many years later as adults when we moved to California a very popular drive thru here was a family-owned fast food restaurant famed for the high grade meat quality as were other ingredients, plus their excellent service, called In 'N Out Burger.  They continue to gradually expand into other states.


Through the years tragic family owner deaths gave rise to customers wary speculation the business would be sold with the expectation any new owners would sacrifice quality.  The business did finally stay in the family under the guidance of a granddaughter reassuring customers product quality would be retained.

Whenever I frequently drive by the nearby business on ol' Route 66, sometimes stopping in myself,  there are always waiting lines at each of the two drive thru windows, but outdoor seating only -- perfect for coronavirus business today.  Even after my children became adults, moved out of state, when they return home for a visit, sooner or later they want to make a run to In 'N Out for burgers, shakes and fries.  We were not frequent customers so our children considered going there a treat. 

  

Efforts to undermine citizen trust in our democratic system of government continues to be the focus of our U.S. lame duck President.  So far, his efforts to invalidate the popular vote or to hijack the  Electoral College votes have not succeeded.  State and national election officials declare this has been the most secure election in American history but the current President continues making claims otherwise with no supporting evidence.  

Transition efforts normally in progress by now continue to be blocked forcing the newly elected President to prepare to take office without such cooperation potentially jeopardizing the safety of the American people and our nation.  A reminder of important timelines to track:

December 8, 2020:         Safe Harbor Deadline -- States must choose electors that will be accepted  by Congress; voting disputes must be resolved.   

December 14, 2020:        Electors Convene and Vote in D.C.

January 6, 2020 at 1 pm:  The vote will be finalized and certified in a joint session of Congress.

January 20, 2021 at noon: The President is inaugurated.

***
So what vehicle powering system do you prefer, or is there some other type about which you might fantasize, i.e., solar, to take you to what favored drive thru in your area?

***
Wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving this coming Thursday!