Let's take a look at what's going on in my neck of the woods -- Southern California, sometimes referred to as SoCal. Then, we'll briefly move across the pond which has prompted a personal memory of my modest, rather inconsequential but thoroughly enjoyable, occasionally hammy in dramatic terms, life.
Pandemically speaking, Delta+ infections, especially among the unvaccinated and younger people, soar in Los Angeles County, as reported in our local newspaper, Claremont Courier, by reporter Steven Felschundneff. "The vaccination rate has stalled at 64% of the eligible population" in our town, he reports.
I continue to mask whenever I go out, even to drive thrus and for pickups as I had been doing, even when that requirement had been relaxed. Frankly, I don't see the situation changing anytime soon and current news reports suggest October may see a peak. But this virus and variants wickedly change so I recommend you regularly check reliable news health sources you have both nationally, as with Dr. Fauci, M.D., NIAID (National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases) Director, I respect, and your local sources.
***Late insert: I just read this from my daughter: "Very frustrating and unsettling when your unvaccinated teammate comes to work sick and apparently has been for the past 2 weeks, then doesn’t bother to take a covid test because they think they couldn’t possibly have covid and then tests positive for covid thereby exposing the entire team plus surely countless others."
She has been vaccinated and has continued to mask when her employer required the team start coming back into the office a couple days a week which none of them wanted to do. Their work remotely has been as productive or even more so during the time they've worked remotely and there is no reason why they could not continue doing so. Now, of course, she will have to be home for two weeks. Hopefully, remote working for the team will resume at the end of that time. I don't know if the ill person has been unvaccinated, or not, but they certainly are creating problems for all as well as themselves.
Back to My So Cal up date.....We're experiencing increased drought conditions this year. Recently we've been asked to voluntarily reduce our water usage by 15%. Avoiding cutbacks or complete loss of power has resulted in the electric utility company requesting periods when we limit our use of appliances and other electronic devices during certain daily hours.
We're sometimes asked throughout the year to not use our fireplaces burning wood if air pollution issues are of increased concern. But that's another matter relative to our environment, air quality, to which smoke from any forest fires would also contribute.
Temperatures have been hot and higher in the three digits more frequently this year than previous years. Fire risk is elevated in our mountainside forests exacerbated by dry undergrowth but, hopefully, all will be spared should flames arise, and homeowners won't have to evacuate, much less lose their homes, possessions, animals or even lives.
The creatures living in the mountains are feeling these climate change effects impacting their lives, food sources and comfort. Consequently, some animals, including coyotes who have previously established packs in some towns like my own, are venturing more into our foothill neighborhood communities.
The numbers of bears frequenting human environments in our foothill communities as they've done for years seem to have increased. Bears have been sighted in our town again this year, probably only a mile or so from my neighborhood. Given that my next door neighbors have a pool, plus a large community pool for subscribers in a limited area also exists at the end of our street about which I hope the bears don't find out.
Here's a short 14 sec. video of a bear taken last year in our town followed by a 2:48 min. video in another community of a mama bear and her cub cavorting in a family's pool they have been regularly visiting this summer -- after the pool is cleaned, of course.
Earlier this month the bears who generally visit primarily the night before, or in early morning hours when residents have set out at the curb their garbage cans for pick-up, have expanded their talents. We, in my neighborhood, have been spared that bear "raiding the garbage can" activity so far.
As if human porch pirates of packages isn't enough, now the bears are getting in on the action. In LaVerne, the community next to mine, a family discovered a bear had chosen one of their Amazon-delivered packages, the one full of chocolate, naturally, to take right off their front porch in this ABC7 youtube video:
Moving across the pond, more familiarly known as the Atlantic Ocean, I was intrigued earlier this spring when I read popular crime writer Agatha Christie's play, "The Mousetrap" was going to resume London performances after having been shut down due to the pandemic. This play had been running continuously for over 60 years!
As I may have mentioned previously, I was bitten by the acting bug whose juices have remained in my soul -- but resulted in overt expression by being in plays when I was young and single. The juices effects subsequently dissolved into the background of my life when I worked in TV and after I married, then had children. This occurred because, the traditional way of staging a play as I knew it required setting aside at least four weeks of my free time just for preparation, learning lines if acting, and rehearsals. The commitment continued for however long performances to a live audience were scheduled.
I just didn't think I could do justice to a play, my children, husband, coupled with the demands of the rest of my life, retain my sanity, if I became involved in theatre. My husband had pressures of his own so would have difficulty trying to pick up any slack for our family my being away from home so much would have caused.
Through the years I sometimes have felt nostalgia for this theatrical part of my life. However, when I was still single, there had been a period of time when I had even seriously been debating between moving to NYC to audition for acceptance to train in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts or applying to the Pasadena Playhouse on the West Coast -- from which I still have the application form I requested but never submitted. No doubt I am just one of many who had similar thoughts but never acted on them -- one of the differences between those who succeed in the business and those who don't.
London's West End Theatre's "Mousetrap" re-opening announcement news triggered memories for me immediately, as I recalled those years in my mid-twenties when I was very active in amateur little theatre. The passion I developed never left me after the very first play I was in during high school -- a drama I had strongly urged we present, "Drums of Death." In retrospect, perhaps a different type play might have been a more wise choice for our high school group and audience -- something light-hearted. I think I still have a copy of my play book. Perhaps I can sell it since it's now out of print, but I see one paperback being offered on the internet for $30.
When I entered college, I enrolled in an elective one hour credit course called "Stagecraft" with drama activities and plays. These soon became my primary focus over and above all of my other coursework designed to prepare me for a career to become a Medical Technologist. I wisely changed majors at the end of the term.
My studies the rest of my undergraduate college years included a certain number of theatre focused classes along with my extra-curricular involvement in lots of plays as well as broadcasting on our campus radio station with my music program, "Jo's Jukebox". My last year I was thrilled to be chosen as the only female character in a live one-act play in a relatively new entertainment media then, television, on a nearby commercial TV station. I was becoming aware of some of the potentials for a possible future career.
After graduation, returning to my native state, I enthusiastically joined a local little theatre group, Foothill Players, which filled all my free time after work for the few years I lived in that town. Primarily, I acted in, and/or directed plays, including a couple of Agatha Christie's -- "Witness For The Prosecution" and "The Mousetrap"; produced and directed with friends another successful, including monetarily, children's play, with an adult cast, "Winnie The Pooh".
We encountered racism initially in our effort to use the theatre stage to mount this play, "Pooh" through the Players group, to which most of us belonged, for the public but overcame that challenge. The theatre group which has successfully grown and expanded now has since readily taken credit for our production just as they accepted the small profit we made over and above the expenses using the theatre for which we paid them, then donated our profits to them. We had paid out of our own pockets to stage "Pooh", making our costumes thanks to a talented artistic non-member of the theatre group who hadn't been allowed to join.
"The Mousetrap" which I directed proved to be a very demanding undertaking when our leading actress had a miscarriage early in her pregnancy during the week before the play was to open. I visited her in the hospital and in my young inexperience-in-such-aspects-of-life hardly knew what to say or do, but concerned for her welfare, wondering what to do about the play.
Our "Mousetrap" cast later gathered with other theatre leaders. The consensus was the old show biz cliche', "the show must go on", since the publicity was out there, some tickets sold, and it was so close to opening night. Furthermore, much to my concern and it certainly hadn't been my suggestion, all concluded I was most familiar with the play, all the characters lines, therefore I should play the lead. I, extremely hesitant, very reluctant, finally agreed.
I spent every free moment in the few days we had before the weekend opening, reviewing and memorizing my character's lines with cues, especially key since there was not to be time for a rehearsal, but I knew the stage blocking, having designed that myself as director. I had real reservations I might have to depend on off-stage prompts for some lines which in all my other acting performances I had never needed to utilize.
I'm quite sure this was one more experience greatly contributing to a skill I had reason to have to use in most every work position afterward that I describe as needing to "fly by the seat of my pants" -- unexpected situations developing to which I would generally readily adapt with relative calm while maintaining my sanity.
To my great relief the day before our play was to open our leading lady said her doctor had decided she was well enough to perform safely, if she wanted to, that, in fact, the activity might even be good for her.
Sitting in the audience, as I usually did during plays performances that I directed, I hoped and expected all would go well. No reason for me to stay backstage since everybody knew what they were to do and now it was up to them to do it! I would only be in the way -- especially if anything went awry they would need to focus all their energies on adapting with no distractions from others telling them what to do. I did have a slight bit of apprehension that in case there was a problem with our leading lady that I better be prepared to go on stage after a short break to assume the role. Happily, all went well!