Fandango’s Flashback Friday (#2): One Year Ago

I am doing two FFF‘s because one was a photography post and one was a writing post. Plus I think it’s relevant to think back to my frame of mind one year ago! I noticed that I did several posts a year ago today, and I also recall taking a day trip to Woodstock, Illinois! Beginniny of the pandemic = lots of time on my hands!

So here is:

https://amoralegria.com/2020/04/02/fpq-what-will-be-our-post-covid-19-world/ .

FPQ: What Will Be Our Post-COVID-19 World?

FPQ

Fandango’s Provocative Question #63 is a very relevant one:

WHEN WE FINALLY GET THROUGH THIS COVID-19 PANDEMIC AT SOME POINT IN THE FUTURE, DO YOU THINK THE WORLD IS GOING TO CHANGE FROM WHAT IS WAS LIKE BEFORE ANYONE EVER HEARD OF CORONAVIRUS? OR WILL THINGS QUICKLY RETURN TO “BUSINESS AS USUAL”?

I am not sure about the world, but I will talk from the perspective of the United States. This is the most serious problem that requires everyone’s cooperation in our history. Both good and bad will result from it.

Like the period after 9/11, the U.S. will experience a shift that may be permanent. After 9/11, people became more fearful, and that permeated all aspects of society. That fear led to increased prejudice, which ultimately culminated in the election of Donald Trump.

What I think the pandemic will do is make it very clear the serious problems our country has – it will lay them bare as they never have been before. The silver lining of the pandemic is that Donald Trump will probably not be reelected. (Of course, I wish he would be deposed in a less destructive way. And I don’t take it for granted that he will lose, so everybody VOTE!!)

But more importantly, the deficiencies in our health care system and our economic inequality will be top priority of whoever takes office next year. We cannot ignore these things anymore. We’ve been discussing the notion of health care for all for decades. Past administrations looked the other way. When Clinton tried to make reforms, there was a backlash. While Obama did manage to pass the ACA (aka Obamacare), it ended up being watered down due to many compromises that had to be made with the Republicans. Since then, the goal of the Republicans is to repeal the ACA without anything to replace it. And that’s where we are now.

But when the crisis of this pandemic is over, ignoring the problems in our health care system will no longer be possible. The fact that we were not ready for the pandemic is partly shortsightedness of the federal government but also due to deficiencies of our health care system. Our hospitals and health care workers are being overworked and they lack basic equipment. Hospitals are filling to capacity while thousands of others aren’t able to get tested for COVID-19. When testing did become available, people were worried about how they would pay for it (and thanks to Katie Porter, it ended up being free). I think we will really have to examine the priority that health care should have over almost anything else.

Leadership and how we choose leaders may be another problem that we will look at more closely, and their readiness to handle any crisis. We generally choose leaders by charisma and showmanship, and part of the problem is that our choices are limited to two parties. And voting rates are low because many people don’t think their votes count – well, who can blame them when one candidate wins a majority of the popular vote by millions of votes, but the other candidate becomes president because of our weird “Electoral College.”  And we end up with old white men instead of energetic, idealistic younger leaders. Whether this pandemic will end up galvanizing voters, I don’t know. I hope so.

Respect for scientists, belief in them – ignoring science has become a hallmark of conservative Republicans. The governors of some southern states refused to issue stay-home orders by mid-March because they had become used to ignoring and even ridiculing science, the facts. They worried more about the effect on the economy than saving lives. As I write this, three southern states (Florida, Georgia and Mississippi) are FINALLY today issuing stay-at-home orders and acting as though they had no idea the pandemic was this severe! Because it’s become the thing to do for “real” Republicans to thumb their noses at the experts.

I read an editorial in our local paper today, in which the author calls this pandemic time the age of “pathological individualism.” Individualism is fine, but people take it to extremes so that it really becomes selfishness. Individuals think they have a right to do whatever they want without regard for others. Perhaps that was what the governors who waited too long to implement “social distancing” in their states, were thinking. How can we just tell people to stay home? Don’t we have freedom of movement? What about their jobs? This is the United States of America!

What about us, as individual Americans? We will have sacrificed for the greater cause. In times of crisis, the majority of Americans set aside their petty differences and do what they can to help others. Why can’t we be that way all the time? And even now, there are some nasty, vindictive people who are harassing Asians as if these individuals in their community are somehow responsible for manufacturing the virus.

Inequality will be the biggest problem we will have to face, and inequality and racism are intertwined. We have always had inequality, but in recent years the divide between the haves and the have-nots has grown increasingly larger. There are greedy corporate CEOs who quibble over every dollar of taxes when they have millions or billions at one end of the population, and people who cannot obey stay-at-home orders because they have no home on the other. When an analysis of the sick and the dead is completed, what will it say about those who have money and good insurance and those that don’t? Will there be more deaths among the poor? These are questions whose answers are yet to be revealed.

My husband believes that our people will become less consumerist – many things will not have the value they’ve had in the past. People will be very well-acquainted with shortages, just as they were emerging from WWI and WWII. Family and friends will become even more precious, and the desire to express our feelings will be more acute.20200402_164833
I hope he is right, but I’m afraid consumerism is hard-wired in us by now. Perhaps at the end of this pandemic, when people have jobs again, they will go on a buying frenzy. They will be exhorted to do so by the government, in order to jump-start the economy. In the meantime, online buying and delivery services are and will continue to be more ubiquitous than ever.

There will be lots of analyses of the pandemic, from scientific articles about the behavior and characteristics of the virus itself to political critiques about the response to the pandemic – was it too little, too late? Was Trump’s lack of leadership a major factor in the out-of-control number of cases and deaths? In fact, Adam Schiff is already talking about setting up a commission, like the 9/11 Commission, to research, evaluate and synthesize the entire crisis once the pandemic is over. A very large tome with small print and thin paper will be released a couple of years from now for anyone in the public who has the time and inclination to actually read it. But its main points will be publicized and talked about.

Will this lead to dialogue to deal with the very serious problems threatening our democracy? Probably, among some people. But I’m sorry to say, I think most people will return to their former lives (if they still have jobs, that is) as much as they are able – the life they knew that was comfortable. Yet, we won’t be the same. What characteristic will linger when we are all free to roam the world again? After 9/11, it was fear. Post-pandemic, it might be pathological individualism. We’ve fought the good fight, we came out of it with a shaky economy but we can get back to where we were. And now we want our individual lives back.

(All photos except the last one were downloaded from Google Images. The last photo is my own – we found hand sanitizer at Walgreens!)

L-APC: A Change of Scenery During the Pandemic

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #140 is called A Change of Scenery. This week’s host, Wandering Dawgs, says:

I have the honor of hosting this week’s Lens-Artists photo challenge. If you are able to do so, we are challenging you to get out and look for a change of scenery. You don’t have to go far from home. It can be in your neighborhood, town, or even a car ride away. Maybe there is a nearby park you haven’t been to in a while, or maybe you’ve been wanting to try a different route on your walk, run, or bike ride. If you are unable to get out right now, we’d love for you to browse through your archives to feature images from places you have visited in the past when you needed a change of scenery.

We have made a few day trips into the city of Chicago and out to the western and northern suburbs. Here are some “changes of scenery” that we experienced during the pandemic.

In April, we got into the car and just drove. We ended up in Woodstock, IL (where Groundhog Day was filmed). We turned right at this bridge to get to the town.

It was early in the pandemic and few people were out. Woodstock’s downtown has many historic buildings, including an opera house turned theater where musicals and plays are performed. This photo shows the historic town hall – the little building to the right was the original town hall!

In May and June, we visited natural wildlife areas, hoping to get some good photos of birds and other wildlife. We went to Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve twice.

We also went to Volo Bog wildlife preserve, but saw mostly frogs and some pretty flowers, including some wild irises.

In September, we drove out to the western suburbs to see a few places we had read about in the local newspaper. In Wheaton, we explored “Cantigny,” the estate of Col. Robert McCormick, named for Cantigny, France where McCormick had shown exceptional leadership and bravery during World War I. He and his wife are buried on the estate, above the scene of the gardens and pond.

The Inverness Town Hall is notable for the four silo-like towers that dwarf the building itself.

Twice in the fall we visited St. Charles for a sculpture park there. The first time it started to rain before we had seen all the sculptures, so we went back a second time. The main attraction is a sculpture of the Humpty Dumpty-like Mr. Eggwards, who sits on a stone fence alongside the park.

The Chicago Art Institute had reopened with an extended stay of a Monet exhibit, but we went on the one day of the week that it was closed! So we went to nearby Millennium Park instead, and took in the Art Institute on another day. Although it was a beautiful sunny day, we saw few people, because it was during the autumn surge of Covid-19. Most people were not venturing out in order to avoid crowds – which we avoided too, since there weren’t enough people there to be a crowd! Here is the famous “Bean,” our nickname for the Cloud Gate sculpture. Usually one can walk around and under it, but it was roped off.

Now that spring is here, we will soon be venturing out again to explore more of our environs. Since we are fully vaccinated, we may even risk a 2-3 day weekend trip!

SYW: On Partying, Pictures & Words, and Finding Waldo

It’s Monday and time for Melanie’s Share Your World. Her questions are a bit strange this week, but here goes!

QUESTIONS: 

If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be for?  (Covid considerations are suspended for this question) A carnaval party – I’ve always wanted to go to one of those (or throw one, in this case). Carnaval takes place at the beginning of Lent and ends on Ash Wednesday. It’s sort of like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but in Brazil it lasts for four days during which people party all night and sleep during the day. There are parties and samba parades, the bars are full, and there is lots of drinking and merry-making. Carnaval music is heard everywhere with its strong percussion beat and familiar tunes. Even though I’m not young enough to have the stamina to dance all night, I’d dance as much as I could, then I’d watch a show of professional samba dancers (who would be hired for the occasion), while enjoying the music and sipping caipirinhas.* Everyone would have a good time, because Brazilian parties are the best!!

Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.
Words can evoke pictures in the mind of the reader if the writer is good enough. For me, pictures and words are two separate things, but which belong together. In a blog, especially, a writer should include at least one picture. That is what people are used to nowadays, in this era of social media and non-stop visuals – selfies, memes, cute puppies or kittens, whatever. Sometimes it’s easier to post a photo, like I did above, to explain a concept instead of trying to describe it. If I just wrote “carnaval dancers” and then went on to describe what I meant in detail, most people would not read it! My blog is not a novel. So I either post my own photos, or find one on Google, as I did above, showing the colorful costumes and happiness that shows in the photo. They look like they’re having a good time and for sure, their audience appreciates their performance!! All it needs now is video and sound, but I’m not going to go that route this time.

Where IS Waldo?   (Waldo, for those unfamiliar with him, is a cartoon character featured in many “find Waldo” images and puzzles)     
You can see him in a book
You can see him by a brook
You might see him in a tree
Or on a sailing ship at sea!
You may see him in a park
You may see him on an ark
Or maybe he’ll be right next to you
On your next trip to the zoo.
You can see him in the air
You can see him anywhere!

What’s the best part of waking up?
My morning routine: tea and a banana while reading in a comfy chair in front of the fireplace (in cold weather) or enjoying the morning air on the porch, also with tea, banana, and book. ( I can’t drink any kind of coffee anymore and would never desire Folgers in my mug!)

Would you rather be covered in fur or covered in scales?   (Wee disclaimer.  I’m certainly not advocating the slaughter of creatures and the use of their skins for clothing or accessories.  No!  This question is a ‘grow your own’ type question…if you had an option of your own skin being made of fur OR scales, which would you choose?)
Definitely fur, so that people would pet me and cuddle with me. Who wants to cuddle with a snake or a fish?? Also, because of where I live, I am more in need of fur to keep me warm. Scaly animals have trouble surviving our winter climate!


*caipirinha – a Brazilian drink made with cachaca (sugar cane based alcoholic beverage), lime, ice, and sugar

GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional) 

Feel free to share your gratitude for our world!
I’m grateful for the GOOD NEWS about beating Covid-19! The American Rescue Plan has been passed, and soon Pres. Biden will sign it – this is a comprehensive bill, the biggest legislation to benefit ordinary Americans since the ACA. On the vaccination front, today in the U.S., almost 2.9 million people were vaccinated, way more than the president’s goal of 1 million per day. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are down. Sure, there is bad news too but I am very grateful for the good news, and the fact that soon we will be able to get together with small groups and families without having to wear masks, etc. My husband and I have had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and the majority of my friends have either been vaccinated or have appointments. In Des Plaines, a mass vaccination site was opened in the former K Mart building – they can vaccinate 3,500 people per day! And in Chicago, the United Center is being used to vaccinate up to 6,000 people per day.

Seattle doctor's gratitude goes far beyond the person who gave his COVID-19  vaccine; read his unusual letter | The Seattle Times

SYW: On Trust, Grudges, and Controlling Emotions

M is for Monday and also for Melanie, who has a new set of questions for Share Your World!

SHAREYOURWORLDSTARHANDS

QUESTIONS:

Is it necessary to trust someone you like?  (friends, acquaintances or co-workers with whom you have no familial ties)
I don’t know if I could like someone really untrustworthy. On the other hand, there are people who are likeable and friendly, but they can’t keep a secret. Everyone has flaws, and some people just can’t keep their mouths shut! If I had a friend or acquaintance like that, I wouldn’t confide in them about anything important. Especially at and about work – office gossip can cause serious trouble! At work, there were a lot of people that I liked – that is, I had no problem with them and they were fun to talk to in the lunch room or whatever – but not enough to really be friends with, to share confidences with.

Do you hold grudges?   What do you do when someone really irritates you?

How to manage a grudge

I don’t like to hold grudges but in fact I do, and it’s so stupid because I will probably never see any of those people again. The two people I have the strongest grudge against stabbed me in the back, and for no good reason. Other people I knew had similar complaints about these particular two individuals – they were not popular, but they were people I depended on for good reviews going forward in my career. I should stop being resentful toward them; after all, most other people didn’t like them anyway! The only other person I have a “grudge” against is a girl in high school who didn’t give me the recognition I thought she should have. This is silly really. No one remembers or cares anymore, but it hurt me that after the work I did for her, she didn’t even acknowledge it.

I don’t like to get really angry or irritated, because I tend to lose my temper and say or do something I later regret. After this happening several times when I was younger, I learned to wait before acting, so that I could calm down. I tend to back off nowadays when an argument gets really heated. Let’s keep the peace!! It’s hard though, when someone I am around a lot irritates me. I try to put that into perspective: I really care about this person, so I shouldn’t blow up at him or her. I wonder how people who live in the same household are getting along during this pandemic, having to be around family members they love, but are not used to spending most of their time with. There are things, though, that I can’t tolerate – rudeness or lack of consideration for others are the things that really get me angry.

What’s the most sensible thing you’ve heard someone say?
I hate this kind of question because I have a poor memory and can’t think of that most sensible thing! But I guess it’s what my husband always says, “Don’t let the little things get to you.” (I cleaned this up, using the word ‘things’ instead of the word he actually uses! 😉 )

Cliché, maybe, but it’s good advice.

Is crying a sign of weakness or strength in adults? 
I don’t think crying is a sign of weakness in anyone. I never have, and have never judged men, for example, for crying. Because they’ve been taught that’s not what manly men do, many men are ashamed to cry. But I think crying shows someone’s sensitivity – whether it be at the end of a movie with a poignant ending, when the person feels regret, or cries tears of happiness, or just feels homesickness. I like sensitive people. I am one, so I understand others who are sensitive.

People used to laugh at John Boehner (former Speaker of the House) because he would cry sometimes. I was no fan of Boehner, but I thought those judgmental people were mean. If you want to criticize someone, find a better reason than that!

Why crying at work is good for your health and career - Insider
Even presidents cry sometimes.

GRATITUDE SECTION  (Always Optional)

What small things were you grateful for this week?
We were told last week that we will be getting our Covid vaccinations in February – first dose on Feb. 5, the second in late February. I am grateful for that!

SYW: On Electronic Game Playing, Color Assignations, Tongues, and Fireplaces

Here are Melanie’s questions this week for Share Your World. Nothing heavy or controversial this week!

SYWMaskIssa

QUESTIONS

What would you enjoy if you could do so without someone getting annoyed with you for enjoying it?  It MUST be something you aren’t supposed to enjoy because it is “bad for you”.
Playing word games on my phone, according to my husband! I have ADHD and years ago, a therapist told me never to get a phone with lots of apps because they would distract me too much (I had a Blackberry at the time). Sure enough, he was right! I have been known to waste an entire morning playing games on my phone, and when I come back into reality, I realize I haven’t even gotten dressed yet and it’s noon!

I’ve been trying to be more mindful about this and having some success. It is “bad” for me because these games are addicting and my eyes get sore from staring at the phone screen for so long.

(I wanted to say “chocolate” but he doesn’t really get annoyed about that. My body does, though!)

Is it okay for men to wear the color pink?
Of course. This assigning of colors for boys and girls is so silly. When I was pregnant, I didn’t want to tell anyone what the sex of my child was, because I didn’t want to get lots of clothes in the same color. Since my child was a boy, it wouldn’t have been as bad as if I’d had a girl. Even so, I stayed away from “baby blue” to decorate with. Babies like BRIGHT COLORS!

Anyway, Dale’s favorite color is purple. Is that unmasculine? I’ve seen men wearing pink and they look quite spiffy!

Can you curl your tongue? 
Yes. I think it’s genetic.

What, in your opinion, is the best room to put a fireplace?
Whatever room is below the chimney!! Of course, the living room. Before central heating, people who could afford it had fireplaces in many rooms. We now have a gaslit fireplace (so no flue, no mess) that we push a button to start and stop. It’s so nice to sit in a comfy chair in front of the fireplace and read. Every house I’ve lived in that had a fireplace, it was in the living room. I wouldn’t want it in the bedroom for two reasons: there would be the danger of falling asleep while it was lit, which could lead to a disaster; second, I don’t like the bedroom to be too warm. I like being under warm covers but if the room is warm, I get hot and can’t sleep. And there’s a third reason: Santa Claus coming down into the bedroom would be unseemly and we would see his gifts before Christmas morning!

Here’s my cat, Hazel, in a state of bliss before the fire. Now that it has turned cold, our morning tradition is to sip our coffee or tea in front of the fireplace and read, and Hazel always joins us!

GRATITUDE SECTION

I’m grateful that no one I know and love has died from COVID-19. I’m grateful for being able to Zoom with friends and family. I’m grateful that we will soon have a sane president. I’m grateful that a vaccine is coming. I’m grateful for having a nice home, a good husband, and good friends.

I am truly:

This 1 Act of Gratitude Will Make Your Workplace Happier and More  Productive | Inc.com

Last Photo of November

Bushboy has a Last Photo challenge where he invites us to post the last photo we took that month. I took my last photograph in November at our most unusual Thanksgiving dinner! It was just the two of us, with the Thanksgiving meal delivered to us, just like every dinner is delivered to us since COVID-19 arrived on the scene. In the evening, though, we were able to talk and play games with part of our family via Zoom.

Dale at our forlorn Thanksgiving dinner. At least I tried to make it look nice with a fresh table cloth!

I sort of cheated…the actual last photo was of me sitting at this small table, but I didn’t actually take it – Dale did!

SYW: Of Farting Dogs, Moldy Bread, Clothes That Don’t Fit, and Gratitude Trees

SYWTHANKSGIVING2020

Here’s this week’s edition of Melanie’s Share Your World.

  1. What is worse than a dentist with bad breath?
    A dog who farts all during Thanksgiving (with a house full of people) because he gobbled up an entire pie that was left on the counter.
  2. Have you ever been rejected by someone that you liked, or been told that you were not good enough for somebody else?
    I have been rejected, but never told I wasn’t good enough for someone else.
  3. Did you ever want to have toast for breakfast, only to find that all your bread was covered in green mold?
    Yes, sort of. It is a disappointment, that’s for sure, but I just chide myself for letting the bread get neglected for so long. If the mold is just on the edges, though, I cut around it and eat it anyway.
If it looks like this, I’d find the slices that have the least mold, cut it out, and toast it.
If it looks like this, I throw it out!

4. Did you ever sneeze so hard that your whole body hurt?
I can’t recall that I have, but I have laughed so hard that I felt like I was having a heart attack or couldn’t breathe. Since it was temporary, I didn’t worry about it.

5. Did you ever buy clothing on the internet that did not fit, but you wore them anyway, since you didn’t want to pay the $5 shipping charge to send them back?
Most online vendors do not make you pay to have merchandise sent back, especially now since shopping in a real store may be hazardous for your health! If the clothes didn’t fit me, I wouldn’t wear them. If they are a little too small, I probably would keep them so I can wear them after I lose weight (I have a lot of clothes in this category right now! 😉 ). Recently, I acquired a shirt that was WAY too large for me – I don’t mind wearing clothes that are a little large, but in this case it didn’t look good at all. I have a sister who is a lot heavier than I am, and her daughter is even bigger than that. So I gave that shirt to my sister. We determined it would fit her but not her daughter. It looks very nice on my sister!

To avoid the hassle of returning items, whether it’s free or not, I usually give it away to someone else or even to a rummage sale if I hadn’t paid too much for it.

Gratitude: Our community has a “tree” (cut out from paper) and each resident got a leaf to put on the tree. We were to write something we are grateful for on the leaf and tape it to the tree. Our message said: We are grateful for all the new friends we have made since we moved here! So I will leave it at that, since we rarely get to see them now – the new surge in the coronavirus has caused most of the activities we were beginning to have again to shut down.

Sad Face Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

A HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE IN BLOGLAND!!

400+ Turkey Pictures & Images [HD] - Pixabay