June felt like summer, but it actually starts today, Saturday, June 20th. Let’s have some fun, but what’s the risk? High, Medium, or Low? Here are 14 summer activities. Test yourself, and risk a guess.
1. A backyard gathering with another family – What’s the risk?
It ranges from low to medium, but how can you keep it as low as possible?
- Give yourself lots of room outside with a small group.
- Pick friends who’ve been social distancing.
- Don’t share food, drinks, or utensils.
- Keep the party outside.
- No alcohol for adults. It makes them forget to social distance.
- Play lawn games like croquet or cornhole.
2. Eating inside at a restaurant – What’s your risk?
It ranges from medium to high. Eating in is one of the riskier things to do, but you can still lower your risk.
- Look for tables that are spaced out, servers who wear masks, and for hand-washing stations.
- Use condiments in packages, like ketchup. Don’t use bottles.
- Don’t use self-serve areas soda fountains or buffet tables.
- Leave when you finish eating. Don’t linger.
- Best tip of all – eat outside whenever possible.
3. Attending an indoor church service – Can you risk it?
It’s high risk because lots of families are gathering together for an extended period of time. But you can lower the risk.
- Look to see if your church is doing services for 25 people or less.
- Sit at least 6 feet apart from another family so you have social distance. Wear your masks.
- Skip singing and sharing hymnals. It keeps germs from spreading.
How about spending the day at the beach or the pool? Is it worth the risk?
Yes! The risk is actually low. Water will dilute any virus, but keep an eye on these risk factors.
- Stay 6 feet away from other families on land and in the water.
- Maintain that distance in busy places like the entrance or in bathrooms.
- Keep an eye on the kids. Try to keep them with friends whose families observed social distancing.
- Go early in the morning or late afternoon when it’s less crowded. Whenever/where ever you go, don’t forget to use social distancing. BTW – it’s easier at the beach!
5. What about attending a wedding, outside, with more than 10 guests?
Events like weddings and graduation parties are medium to high risk.
6. What’s your risk for using a public restroom?
It’s actually low to medium. Modern bathrooms are designed to prevent diseases with hard surfaces that are easy to clean.
- The biggest risk is determined by how clean the bathroom is. You’re at low risk if the restroom’s clean and well stocked with paper towels, soap, and toilet paper.
- Avoid bathrooms that are small, busy, and poorly ventilated like the ones that sit beside gas stations.
- You can keep the risk low by washing your hands. If you touch other surfaces on the way out, use hand sanitizer. I keep a bottle in my purse for times like this. When in doubt, wash or use your sanitizer!
7. Do you put your family at risk by letting a friend inside to use your bathoom?
No, it’s a very small risk. This came up in March, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t let them in. Now I would.
- Anything airborn will be sucked out by the ventilation. So, turn on your fan!
- Hard surfaces are easy to clean. If you don’t have time to clean before you use your bathroom, don’t worry. Just wash your hands.
8. What’s my risk if I share a vacation house with another family?
Ready, set, go! It’s actually low! Here’s how to keep it down.
- If both families have been social distancing, you’re in good shape.
- If anyone works in a high covid exposure job, like doctors or nurses, your vacation will automatically become more dangerous.
- Pick a vacation house away from crowds. Ask about the rental company’s cleaning policies. They may be taking covid precautions already. Clean surfaces they missed when you arrive.
- Talk to your co-vacationers about social distancing 2 weeks before vacation, and what you’ll do about it once you’re there. If anyone is sick, they have to stay home.
9. What about a hotel? Will my risk be higher?
A little bit – hotels are low to medium on the risk scale.
- It’s pretty low, especially once you’re in your room. Plus you can wash your hands or use sanitizer as soon as you shut the door.
- Limit time in common areas like the lobby, gym, restaurant, and elevator. More people means more risk, but hand sanitizer will help you lower it.
- Avoid the gym and elevator, if possible.
- Ask about hotel cleaning routines. Many have new covid policies. You may want to remove the bedcover if they’re not cleaned after each guest leaves.
- Bring disinfecting wipes to use on the remote control and other surfaces you’re worried about.
- If you have to use the elevator, use your ring finger to press the buttons, or use your wipes to press the buttons.
- If you’re worried about going out to a restaurant, do room service or take-out.
10. How about getting a haircut? Is it safe?
Your risk is higher . . . it runs from medium to high.
- This is one of the riskiest things on the list because you can’t stay 6 feet away from someone cutting your hair.
- You can lower your risk if you’re both wearing masks. It’s also safer if the covid rate is low in your area.
- Cloth masks don’t work as well in places this close.
- Check to see if your shop has employees wearing protective gear and washing their hands. If they’re protected, so are you.
- Silence is golden. Chatting can put both of you at risk. Getting done as soon as possible is safer.
11. I love to shop. Can I go back to the mall?
The risk varies. It depends on your mall.
- Outdoor malls are better than indoor ones.
- Crowds make a mall riskier. Think about going during off hours, like early morning.
- Less time is better. Plan what to buy so you can get in and out. Even better – shop online, then pick it up at the store.
- Don’t forget to wear your mask, and try to stay six feet away from people outside your family.
- Bring your hand sanitizer along so you’re ready when you touch hand rails and doorknobs.
- If you have a shopping cart, put a disinfecting wipe on the handle. Your hands will stay clean while you shop. Then throw it away when you’re done.
12. Should you go to a concert or dance club?
This is another one of the riskiest activities, but why?
- Most concerts are already cancelled this summer.
- Think crowds like this. Then picture people singing along. That’s dangerous in church, and it’s dangerous here.
- People are also celebrating. It was dangerous at weddings, and it’s dangerous here. People forget about social distancing, especially if they’ve been drinking.
- With dancing, people breathe harder than usual. That means when you exhale, you might shed the virus, and no one wants to share that!
- If you want to dance, invite over a few friends who’ve been socially distancing. You’re safer having fun in your own backyard.
13. How about camping? Is it a good idea?
Go for it! Camping is pretty low risk if you’re outside with your family.
- Remember public restrooms? Use the same precautions in shared bathrooms.
- Clean your picnic table before you eat and after you’re done. Or, keep it simple with a plastic tablecloth.
- Put space between you and the camper next-door. A crowded campground is not a good thing this summer.
- Sleep in family groups. Mixing up families can spread the coronavirus.
14. Can I exercise outside? Are there any no-no’s?
It’s mostly low risk, but some sports are better than others. Think social distancing!
- Cycling, golf, and tennis are great. A few people are playing, and they’re spread apart.
- Running is great if you can keep your distance from everyone else.
- Basketball, football, and soccer are contact sports, and that brings in risk. All that breathing so close together – yikes!
- If you feel too close to others, wear a mask. Be careful with cloth ones – they can’t keep out all those viruses.
My Conclusions from Summer Fun: I think controlling corona risk boils down to:
- Stay away from crowds, whether you’re inside or out.
- Outside is better than inside.
- Wear a mask if it’s too crowded.
- Keep your hands clean.
Part 1 My Family and the Spanish Flu – This is my Grandmother and Grandfather Wilson with four of their children. From left to right, Leo, Mary, Opal Lee, and Grant. Two kids are missing – my mother and her brother Don. They weren’t born yet. Mom was born in 1935 so I’m guessing this was taken around 1930. That’s way after the Spanish Flu.
When the media started connecting the Spanish Flu to Covid 19, I realized something I would never have figured out without this pandemic.
You see, without the Spanish Flu, those kids, my cousins and me – we would not exist.
It’s crazy to think this way, but it’s true. I discovered as a teenager that my grandmother wasn’t grandpa’s first wife. He was married to another woman first. I think her name was Melinda, but I’m not sure. In any case she was expecting a baby. It was due during the time the Spanish Flu was raging through the country. She didn’t live. Neither did her baby.
As a mom now, it makes me incredibly sad that both of them died, and that I don’t know their names. I don’t have a picture of Melinda. I think it’s heartbreaking that when you die, sometimes you are just forgotten by history. If Melinda hadn’t died, my grandfather and grandmother would never have married, and my mom, my aunts and uncles would never have been born. I’m glad they’re all there, but I’m still sad for Melinda and her baby.
I also realized something else by looking at that picture. By 1937 my grandmother, Rinda, was dead. You see her name is my name. I never understood why she had to die when her kids were so little. My mom was 2. My Aunt Opal Lee was 16.
Now I do. You see my grandfather had a third wife, and she gave him a daughter. If my grandmother hadn’t died, that last daughter, my aunt wouldn’t have been born. Sometimes it’s not for us to question why. Sometimes it’s for us to do or die. (Paraphrased from Alfred, Lord Tennyson – The Charge of the Light Brigade.)
Part 2 Three Cities and the Spanish Flu – With the new pandemic I’d heard reports about two of these cities, but the third one was a total surprise.
First up – Philadelphia, home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell – By late summer of 1918, a second wave of Spanish flu hit the US. It was carried here by WWI soldiers returning home. By mid-September it was spreading through Philadelphia like wildfire, but the health director said don’t worry. It’s just those soldiers. The rest of us won’t get it. His advice – stay warm, keep your feet dry, and your bowels open. Sorry, it was in the article! Really!
September 28th, Philadelphia was celebrating with a Liberty Loan Parade to raise money for the military. Many people thought it should be cancelled, but the health director said it’ll be fine. We need to raise money for war bonds. On the 28th the parade stretched for 2 miles. It included soldiers, Boy Scouts, marching bands, and dignitaries marching down a route packed with spectators.
This is not the Liberty Loan Parade, but it gives you an idea how packed the parade route was. 72 hours or 3 days later, all 31 of Philadelphia’s hospitals were packed.
By the end of the week 2600 people were dead. A quote from the article said the “parade probably threw gasoline on the fire, but it was already cooking along pretty well.”
Next up – St. Louis, home to the Gateway Arch, our nation’s monument to western expansion – The St. Louis health commissioner went the opposite way. He put local physicians on high alert, before the first case was reported. He wanted them ready when the second wave hit.
When the flu broke out in the army barracks, he closed the schools, movie theaters, and pool halls. He banned all public gatherings. He had a network of volunteer nurses set up to treat the thousands who were infected. It flattened the curve and saved lives. A 2007 study went back and analyzed the results, St. Louis had 1/8 of Philadelphia’s worst death rates, an incredible feat for a big city!
I’m sorry to write that they weren’t so successful with the third wave that hit late winter/spring of 1919. I wonder if they got tired of lockdown and just had to get out.
Last but not least – San Francisco, home of the Golden Gate Bridge – Health officials in San Francisco put their faith in masks. If you left home without one or wore it the wrong way, you were arrested for disturbing the peace and fined $5. The officials believed they were 99% effective against the flu.
But gauze masks aren’t that effective. You can see through them, so how could they possibly stop germs? It’s more likely the low rates were caused by quarantining the naval bases before the flu arrived. Then the city closed schools, banned social gatherings, and close spaces like theaters. It sounds like they followed the St. Louis’ plan.
San Francisco believed in the masks so much they blew the whistle on November 21st. People could finally take off their masks without being arrested. A newspaper reported that the sidewalks were “strewn with the relics of a tortuous month.
Sadly their luck changed in January 1919. The third wave hit, and business and theater owners believed those masks would keep people safe. They fought and kept their buildings open. The result – San Francisco had some of the highest death rates in the US.
That same 2007 study said that if the other restrictions had held up, they could have reduced the death rate by 90%. My source for this article, with its great photos: https://history.com/news/spanish-flu-pandemic-response-cities
My conclusions as someone with two strikes (I’m old, and I’m a diabetic) dealing with the Coronavirus for its first wave, maybe more – I’ll wear my mask whenever I go out. I’ll also maintain my social distance. As this first wave ends, I’ll go out more and more, but if there’s a second wave, I’ll head back to that mask and social distancing. I love people, but I also love life! I have a granddaughter, and I want to watch her grow up. I want to dance at her wedding, even if I’m only swaying on my feet.
An Email from a Friend
I reached out to a friend for a little help with this post. Here is what she wrote:
“Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic Lunar Calendar, which is ten days shorter than the Gregorian calendar [Me – I’d forgotten our calendar has a name] so each year Ramadan is about ten days earlier that the last. [Next year – around April 14th]
The months of the lunar calendar are 29 or 30 days.
“Oh, you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was presccribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.” (Quran 2:183)
“In Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. It is not just a month to turn away from food and drink but to turn towards our Creator and serve His Creation.
During this month, Muslims pray and reflect during the day and in the evening they will break their day long fast with a meal called iftaar. This time calls on Muslims to honor the values at the very heart of Islam – compassion, peace, and service to others. This year, we will be doing this in lockdown and while practicing social distancing. This is just a pivot in the way most of us are used to engaging in Ramada, but God willing, we will find enrichment in this as well.
Wishing everyone a very blessed Ramadan – especially healthcare workers and all essential workers in the front lines – a very safe, healthy and blessed Ramadan!”
Many thanks to my friend for explaining Ramadan to me, and to you.
This year Ramadan started after sundown on April 24th, and it will end at sundown on May 23rd, but it will be different. I wanted to understand how. I found a source that looked at Prayer, Fasting, Charity, and Pilgrimage.
2. Prayer – Salat is the Muslim word for prayer. Believers pray 5 times a day, every day, facing Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Tarawih prayers are done each night during Ramadan. Tarawih and Friday prayers are usually said at the mosque in the evening. But not this year. Some mosques are using Zoom, Skype, or webcasts to bring their congregations together.
Some worry that people will miss the call to prayer this year. In Muslim countries it probably isn’t a problem. They broadcast their call with an outside speaker, but in the US the call comes from inside the mosque. I hope they’ll find a way to reach out to each member of the congregation.
2. Fasting – Sawm is part of worship during Ramadan. That’s the month that Muslims don’t eat or drink from dawn to dusk each day. As they turn away from food, they turn towards God and acts of charity.
The Quran tells people who are traveling, sick, elderly, or pregnant that they shouldn’t fast. This year people are worried that fasting will weaken their immune systems, and they’ll get the coronavirus.
But my source said there’s ‘leeway. You don’t have to do something that will hurt your health.’ I didn’t find a specific rule, but my guess is that if you have something like heart disease or diabetes, you will skip fasting and do works of charity instead.
Muslim families break their fasts at Suhoor and at Iftar. Suhoor is the pre-dawn meal before morning prayers. Iftar is the post-sunset meal.
This congregation, men only, is seated together without any social distancing. This year, 2020, Suhoor and Iftar are being done at home with social media connecting you and your mosque.
Here are 2 sources for Ramadan foods.
The pictures below are Ramadan foods I found on Pixabay.
Suhoor is the smaller sunrise meal. Health24.com said fasting required complex carbohydrates and high fiber foods. Complex carbs include whole wheats, oats, beans and rice. High fiber foods are raw fruits and vegetables. Ktchn.com went with a simpler meal – just a date and a glass of water, milk or juice. Then it’s time for morning prayer.
Iftar is the bigger meal after sunset. Health24 suggested dates and water, but advised against lots of sugars and fats. Ktchn.com went with dates and water before the evening prayer. After prayer there’d be dinner with a main dish, sides, salads, and desserts followed by the Tarawih prayers.
3. Charity – Zakat is another pillar of Islam. Donating money, food, and other resources to those in need is part of being Muslim.
Many mosques run their own food pantries year round. Members of the congregation volunteer at church and at non-profit groups. It is part of Islam ‘to care for those who are less fortunate.’ It’s especially true during Ramadan.
Many mosques provide iftar meals to their church families, but not this year – coronavirus. They’ll still pass out meals, but curb side pick up is one of the ways to use social distancing.
4. Pilgrimage – Hajj to Mecca is done during December, but there’s a shorter one during Ramadan, called Umrah.
The goal of pilgrimage is to worship at the holy Kaaba, in the center of the Great Mosque of Mecca, but that won’t happen this year either. Saudi Arabia has banned all religious gatherings, including community prayer because of the coronavirus.
There are so many things lost because of this virus, but there are gains too. You can meditate, pray, and study the Quran from home. You can donate money from a cancelled pilgrimage to charity. But best of all you have more time with family, and more time to draw closer to God.
I only get out once or twice a week now because of the Coronavirus. But when I do, I’m so happy to see people again. I never realized how much I need social interaction. Now the only place I get it – the grocery store.
I probably look a lot like these people, happy! But now at the store, I don’t see whole families. You might see a mom or a dad, but not both, and never ever, kids. They’re safe, at home.
It doesn’t matter who I meet. I smile more than I did before. Driving home I wave at people in my neighborhood. I never did that before, ever!
You’ve seen people stocking shelves in the grocery. Now they’re on the front lines, fighting this virus. Without them, the shelves would be empty, and we’d be hungry.
Those workers don’t get paid much, but they’re earning a paycheck, helping me. I smile, say hello. Sometimes they make room for me to pass by. I return the favor with a thank you. I appreciate that small kindness, but even more, I appreciate the work they do in a dangerous place – the grocery store. Who knew?
So far, my grocery store people are all safe and healthy. I’m glad! I would feel awful if someone got sick, helping me.
This picture reminds me of another grocery story. I saw a family – a toddler, a big sister, and a grandma. I love watching kids, and I miss seeing them.
The toddler put something in his mouth from the cart. No one noticed, except me. It didn’t look dangerous, unless you thought virus. I did, so I said something. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.
I love seeing people I know at the store. We used to stand a couple feet apart, like this. It was how social distancing used to work, but not anymore.
Six feet is the new recommendation. If I took 2 steps, and the other person did too, that would be about right. Just think of it as 6 steps, or two arm lengths of space between two people, but our hands would never touch.
It doesn’t feel as friendly, but it is. It keeps both of us from getting the coronavirus, colds, or even the flu. It is the kind thing to do.
Checkout is my last chance for social interaction. When I do it myself, there’s always someone ready to help, someone I can say hello to. I do! It will be another week before I’m at the grocery again.
When I’m in the checkout line, I talk when it’s my turn at the register. If someone’s ahead of me, I wait my turn, 6 steps/feet behind them, no closer. Whoever thought of using tape was a genius! It’s way easier, and more accurate than guessing.
I love to listen to the conversations around me. Sometimes I even join in. I bet that’s a surprise! I’m a writer so ideas are everywhere. But the real truth – I just love listening to people, learning from them., and it’s better than being bored.
There’s also something else involved, a Harry Potter thing. Talking to a cashier or another customer is honoring them with your attention, your respect. When you don’t talk, it says the opposite, that they aren’t worthy of your time.
That doesn’t feel kind, or friendly. J.K. wrote that you can judge someone’s character by the way they treat people below them on the social ladder. He’s right!
But for me, there’s also something else. Standing there is just plain boring. I’d rather have fun and enjoy the people around me. I hope they feel the same way about me too!
This isn’t me. I haven’t worn a mask yet, but I think it’s coming. As Ohio opens up for business again, I bet there’ll be more germs around, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. I already have 2 strikes – I’m old, and I’m a diabetic. So – I’m going to play keep away from germs. It even sounds like fun!
It also makes other people feel safer. I can’t spread my germs to them, or, pick up theirs. Being safe, being kind are good things.
Plus I can shop for masks at local shops. Imagine – finding one in every color, every pattern so my mask matches my outfit like a great accessory.
I found some spacey material to make my own mask. I hope when I finally wear it, it can advertise my debut book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM.
Maybe I can find something lakey for my next book, LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME. Here’s a sample of the cover art. A friend added the title to the front and a blurb to the back. It’s almost ready to submit to the printer. Here’s a sneak peak . . .
Passover ended today, April 16, 20 20, and today President Trump announced a plan to reopen the country. I’m four days late, but I need to write about this Easter, because of the Coronavirus. Something that was so horrible made me understand Easter in a way I never could have, without it.
The Road to Easter – Passover ran from April 9 – 16, and Easter from the 9th – 13th, but it started even earlier. This photo contains a hint. It was a day way back in February. Any guesses?
Ash Wednesday was February 26, 2020. That was when we could still go to church. If you went to Ash Wednesday service, you could choose whether your pastor, minister, or priest drew an ash cross on your forehead.
I didn’t get one this year. I don’t think I’ve ever had an ash cross, probably because Wednesday was a school night, and everything was harder back when I was teaching.
Somehow after my husband and I retired we didn’t get back to Wednesday night services. Now it’s something I want to do, next year. If you’d like to read more about Ash Wednesday, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.christianity.com/church/church-life/what-is-ash-wednesday-why-do-christians-celebrate-it.html
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It’s the trip most Christian churches, and mine, take toward Easter. As you attend each Wednesday and Sunday service, you learn a little more about the journey Jesus took to the cross. You learn a little more about what he chose to do for you and me.
But in Ohio, and at my church, everything stopped on March 25th. That’s when our governor put the state into lockdown until April 6th, but when April came, lockdown continued, now until May 1st.
No more church services, but it didn’t stop Lent. I can still go to church on TV or online. At home I can still practice my faith. If you’d like to read more about Lent, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/lent-101-honoring-the-sacrifice-of-jesus-1382259.html
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, and it’s the beginning of Holy Week. This year it should have been on Sunday, April 5th. It wasn’t. We were under lockdown orders, across most of the country.
When my kids were little, they’d march into church, waving palms while the congregation sang, “Ride on, Ride on in Majesty.” It was another way to retell Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem, the week before he died.
Imagine – Jesus riding in on a donkey with crowds cheering, waving palms, and shouting Hosannas. Palms, to symbolize the victory over death. Hosannas, to recognize a King, an earthly one, they thought. The donkey, to symbolize a king and peace.
The donkey also fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy in Zech. 9:9 that Israel’s king would arrive, riding on a donkey. It’s hard to believe a week later the king would be dead, on a cross, but Jesus knew what lay ahead.
I skipped Palm Sunday this year. I could have watched the service on TV, but I already knew my church was redoing Holy Week. No date yet – we’ll find out soon, when we make it out of lockdown. I love getting a second chance! If you’d like to read more about Lent, here’s one source, but there are many more.
Maundy Thursday came on April 9th, but it will be on the Thursday after Palm Sunday, the new one for me.
I don’t remember Thursday services. For me it was another school night, but in Sunday School I taught my preschoolers the road to Easter, but we never connected Maundy Thursday to the Last Supper.
Imagine – the disciples sitting around a table watching Jesus break bread and pass it around. He said this is my body. Eat this in remembrance of me.
Then Jesus passed a cup around. He said this is my blood. Drink this in remembrance of me. That’s my communion service, but it came from the Last Supper.
When I take communion, I always have mixed feelings – sadness for the sacrifice Jesus made, and gratitude. Because of his choices, my sins are forgiven. If you’d like to read more about Maundy Thursday, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/easter/what-is-maundy-thursday-5-things-christians-need-to-know.html
Good Friday came on April 10th, but it will be rescheduled, the day after Maundy Thursday. I attended one Good Friday, and years later, I still remember it. Vividly.
When Pastor finished, he left, slamming the door behind him. Not one person said a word as we shuffled outside. My kids even stayed quiet in the car, for a few minutes.
It was dramatic – reenacting the moment when Jesus was sealed inside a tomb, left for dead.
I taught that Easter story to my preschoolers. The trial where Jesus was condemned. The climb to Calvary carrying the cross. The nails that held him in place, and the darkness after his spirit was gone.
Jesus was taken to a tomb and sealed inside. If you’d like to read more about Good Friday, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-good-friday-p2-700773
Look at the pictures above and below. This is what most people think of when they think Easter, especially if you’re not a church goer. Easter is about bunnies and chicks. It’s spring, time for baby animals.
Kids also love the stuffed animals to cuddle or the candy ones to eat. Did you catch the bunny on the right? He’s a brand-new bunny, who’s virus-ready just for you!
It’s also time for flowers like crocuses and daffodils. But the most important thing about Easter are the eggs. I dyed them as a kid, and so did my children, usually a day or two before Easter. Then they’d sit around in the refrigerator, waiting for the big day . . . Easter!
The Easter Bunny was busy all night, scattering eggs and baskets for every kid in the family. I remember those hunts. Mine were always inside. I remember the baskets, full of chocolate bunnies and eggs. If you were lucky, it held a stuffed animal, a book, or sidewalk chalk in it.
This year families did all of these things, at home. There wasn’t one community egg hunt. I’ve helped at church and at the local museum, but with the coronavirus lurking around, the hunts were all cancelled.
Without kids at home or out in the community, I felt like I was missing something, but soon my grandgirl will be old enough to become part of the holiday, and next year the community hunts will return.
Easter came on April 11th, but it was rescheduled, the Sunday after Good Friday. I haven’t missed an Easter service since I met my husband back in 1983, till now.
When my kids were little, they came dressed in their new Easter clothes. So did everyone else. Joy filled the air. Friends called, ‘Christ has risen.’ ‘He has risen indeed.’
Imagine that first Easter – the women arriving at the tomb to find it open. And empty. Angels telling them Jesus wasn’t there. He had risen. Those women waiting days for the truth. We’re lucky – we already know – he has risen indeed.
The link for the Easter story:
With the Coronavirus I missed Easter – church services, friends and family, eggs and bunnies, but I never lost Easter. Jesus still rose from the grave, and that’s the heart of Easter.
But I also discovered something – something I would have never discovered without the virus – how alone Jesus was during his Easter journey. There were people around him, but no one, not even his disciples, understood what he was going through. Now I understand that loneliness a little better.
I could be sad, but I’m grateful. This lockdown will lift, and the world will open up just like the tomb did. In John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I can never match the Son’s example, but I hope I serve the people around me. Luke 24 is the best place to read about the resurrection. For more about Easter, here’s one source, but there are many more.
Do you recognize the story in this picture? It’s from the Bible, the story of Moses, how he led his people out of Egypt. Do you see the Red Sea? I think Moses already crossed it, and he’s leading his people to the other side, to the promised land.
My research said every year, with/without Corona, you clean out your house. For Jews this harkens back to that first Passover when they left Egypt behind. You could only take what you could carry. Imagine looking around your house and thinking what you’d take. I’d need a car and a huge trailer!
For Passover, they also cleaned all the leaven out of their houses. Leaven is probably a form of yeast, because it makes bread rise. When Moses said let’s go, the people took their bread, as is. There wasn’t time to add leaven to it.
Finally my source also said this is a good time to look at yourself. Do you have any habits that don’t belong, that you’re better without? This is a great time to try a change. It might do you good! I’m not Jewish, but I like the idea.
This is a table set for a Seder (say-der) dinner. Family and friends gather together to eat, to celebrate, to remember. Usually they gather together in homes, synagogues, hotels, and camps. Not this year!
Some people will have family, but some will be alone. You can look at what you’re missing, OR, you can look at what you’ll gain. If it’s just family, you can slow down to a family-friendly pace. If you only have adults, you can go adult speed. If you’re alone, just please yourself! There ARE opportunities!
Some will do their Seders on social media. They’ll skype, zoom, or face-time to have a family or a congregation together. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. Some observant Jews won’t be able to do this. They don’t use technology on holidays, but I’ll bet a matzah they’ll find a way to make this Passover meaningful too.
This is a kosher grocery at Passover.
A Kosher grocery means it stocks foods that are special to the Jewish religion. Other foods won’t be there because they’re forbidden, like cuts of beef that come from the backend of a cow like flank or round steak. If you’d like to read more, click on this link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-kosher#animal-products
It’s Passover time in this grocery. My proof - some foods are covered in plastic. That way customers won’t pick up the wrong ones that have leaven/yeast in them. They’re not allowed during Passover.
Back in March suppliers said the special Passover foods like Matzah would be in stock, but last week shoppers were worried that deliveries would be cancelled, or they wouldn’t be able to get in, in time with the limited number of shoppers. Passover 2020 started on April 9th, and it will end on the 16th.
This is Matzah, the most important Passover food. It’s the unleavened bread the Jews took to the promised land. A Rabbi from Senegal (a minister in Western Africa), said he would have Matzah even if he had to make it himself, starting with real wheat, the kind from a farmers’ field.
Someone from Washington, D.C. was planning to host her first Seder, but she had to cancel. She’ll still see her family through social media, but she said she’d miss the meal, not the food. She meant the part when everyone’s in the kitchen making dinner. I hope she thought of doing social networking from everyone’s kitchen. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
This is a Haggadah from the 1300’s. It’s a book, but it’s only used once a year. Its purpose – to guide you through your Seder dinner. Passover is more than just matzah, more than a meal. It’s a way to retell the story of Moses so that it will never be forgotten.
You can read the story in the Bible. Start at Exodus, and read all the way to the end of Deuteronomy. If you don’t have a Bible, just google Exodus. Your computer can pull up the pages.
The Haggadah will guide you through the ceremony’s fifteen steps. This year two sections might change. Both feature the youngest person in the room. This year, it could be a senior citizen.
Whoever it is gets to ask Four Questions, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” This year it’s possible our youngster will find himself both asking and answering those four questions. This only happens when there’s one person at the table.
In another part of the Seder the Matzah is broken in two. The larger part, the afikomen, will be hidden, and later found. If you’re all alone, you’ll have to do both jobs, but, when you find it, you won’t have to share your dessert.
This year you can look at what’s missing, celebrate what you have, or – take another option . . .
Pesach Sheni. It means – Second Passover. It started when ancient Jews were too late with their sacrifice. They needed another chance. So, if you need a do-over, save the date! May 9th, one month after the first day of Passover.
To learn more about the Seder or Passover, click on any of these links:
Do you recognize Joe Burrow in this photograph? He’s the one in the middle.
As quarterback Joe took the LSU Tigers all the way to the national championship. He won the Heisman Trophy for the nation’s best college football player. This sounds like the culmination to a great college career, but it wasn’t! It was a Cinderella season.
From High School to OSU to LSU
The Cinderella Season: So what happened? How did Joe and No.6 LSU turn 2019 into a Cinderella season? This is my third try to tell this story. I hope it’s the charm.
First up, Ranked Opponents:
- No. 9 Texas went down 45- 38 on September 7th. LSU became No.4.
- No.7 Florida lost 42-28 On October 12th. LSU moved up to No.2.
- No. 9 Auburn lost 23-20 in LSU’s closest win on October 26th. LSU holds onto No.2.
- No. 3 Alabama goes down 46-41 in the biggest game of the season. Alabama was predicted to win, Joe pulled it out, and LSU was NO. 1!
A Single-Season of Records:
- September 7th Joe passed for 471 yards in one game and takes over the No. 2 spot in LSU school history.
- September 21st Joe sets 2 records. He throws 6 touchdowns and has his 3rd game with over 350 yards.
- October 5th Joe has his 4th game with over 300 yards. It would have been 350, but he was 6 yards short.
- October 19th he scores his 32nd touchdown in one season, an LSU record.
- October 26th Joe has his 8th game with over 300 yards passing.
- November 16th, he sets the single-season record for passing yards and another one for 17 completed passes in one game.
- November 30th Joe sets the all-time single-season record for passing yards, and he ties for single-season touchdowns.
All this from the quarterback who didn’t get an offer from Nebraska, the one who was passed over at OSU 3 times. Congratulations, Joe! Persistence pays off!
The Road to the National Championship
- First up, the SEC Championship on December 7th. No. 4 Georgia went down to the Tigers 37-10. LSU was still ranked No. 1.
- On the 14th Joe won the Heisman Trophy for the best college player in America.
- Next up, the Peach Bowl on December 28th. No. 1 LSU defeated No. 4 Oklahoma 63 – 28 in the 1st game of the National Championship.
- Finally, on January 13th LSU defeated No. 3 Clemson 42-25 to win the National Championship.
- Records, yes, please! 60 passing touchdowns for the FBS* single-season record.
- 5,671 passing yards put Joe at third for all-time yards in an FBS* season.
- A passer rating* of 202.0, the highest passing efficiency in one season.
- This is a photo of Joe in the Oval Office. If you click on the link, you can see more photos of the LSU Tigers at the White House. Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/49400533066/
* FBS is the top level for college football. It used to be called Division 1-A. Either way, it’s the most competitive subdivision of college football It’s made up of the largest and most competitive schools in the NCAA. That’s a record!
* Passer rating is a formula that includes attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes, and interceptions. Click on this link if you’d like to see the math:
Up Next for Joe
The NFL draft to be held April 23 – 25, in less than a month. Many predict he’ll go first to the Cincinnati Bengals, close to home and his parents. Where ever Joe goes, I think any team will be lucky to get him.
When I look at him through my teacher/writer eyes . . .
This is what I see:
1. Persistence – Joe never gave up. When Nebraska didn’t pick him, he chose Ohio State. When OSU didn’t start him at quarterback, he tried for 3 years before moving onto LSU.
2. Initiative – When OSU didn’t pick him his sophomore year, Joe started looking at other teams. In May of 2018 he announced he’d be going to LSU.
3. Smart – Joe graduated from OSU in 3 years with a degree in consumer and family financial services. Most people take 4-5 years to graduate.
4. Coachable/Trainable – Joe went from zero to starter in 3 short months at LSU. To do that, he had to be able to work with a new coach, work with new teammates.
5. Personable – Joe learned how to fit in with his teammates in those 3 short months. “There is no I in team.” A 10 and 3 season at OSU in 2018 would have been a failure. Instead Joe used the experience to build the relationships that took LSU to the national championship.
Here’s what his OSU teammates had to say:
6. Leader - “Believe me when I say this because he was my roommate for two years,” Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones said, “you’re getting a dog in Joe. Joe’s no slouch. He’s a leader. He’s gonna take over that huddle.”
7. Work Ethic – “LSU fans should be excited because they’re getting a warrior. A true warrior,” Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell said. “Many people didn’t get to see Joe before at the highest level, but we’ve seen Joe go to work every single day. He’s a guy who didn’t say a whole lot, but is just a down and dirty competitor. Just a warrior.
From a Pair of Buckeyes:
8. Loyal – Joe never bad-mouthed the Buckeyes or Nebraska either, even when he was competing with them in the runup to that championship. When OSU played Clemson, he rooted for OSU. When Clemson won, he stil had good things to say about his old team. Me
“Joe did about everything possible to win the starting position by the end of spring camp. “Do I wish he was still with us? I do,” Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days. “I love Joe Burrow. I love his family and have great respect for him. And that’s not going to stop. That relationship will continue for many years.” It says a lot about Urban, a lot about Joe.
From his former coach, Urban Meyer
3 Quotes: https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/lsu-football/one-got-away-burrow-osu-players-lsu-fans-burrow/
Why Write about Joe?
He's an inspiration! Joe is somebody you can learn from whether you want to play football, write stories, or do anything else. My advice: compare his character to yourself. Capitalize on strengths. Pick a weakness or two and work on them. Joe wasn’t an overnight success. He worked to be successful. The same is true for you and me. Here’s to the journey of becoming your own personal best!
This is the Corona Virus. It’s been sweeping the world, and not in a good way. It’s teeny tiny. The only way you can see it is through a microscope.
Did you know there’s more than one kind of Corona Virus, but scientists are guessing the new one is about 125 nanometers long. What’s a nanometer? One billionth (10-9) of a meter. I can’t imagine dividing a meter stick into a billion pieces.
If you want to picture it, look at one strand of your hair. It’s thin, but huge compared to the virus. Your hair is 80,000 – 100,000 nanometers wide. If your hair is 80,000 nanometers wide, the tip of your hair could hold 640 teeny tiny Coronaviruses. No wonder they make you sick!
The math : 80,000 ÷ 125= 640.
Size of Virus: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/01/coronavirus-surgical-masks-china.html
Nanometer definition: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/nanometer
Its actual size: https://www.nano.gov/nanotech-101/what/nano-size
I went to this link. It says the Coronavirus has two strikes on me. One more, and I’m out. Yikes!
Strike 1 - I’m old. I’m 60 years old. But when I look at this face, I don’t feel old. I know I’m not young, but I don’t feel old either.
Strike 2 - I’m also a diabetic. I never thought you could be too sweet, but you can! I have to watch what I eat, take medicine every day for the rest of my life, but I’ve learned to live with it. There are worse things.
Now I’m discovering how to avoid the Corona Virus. I don’t want that last strike so I’m following the CDC’s instructions for the Corona Virus. I’d rather be safe than really, truly sorry.
Have you read the the CDC’s instructions? If you haven’t, I have them below because if you stay safe, you can keep me safe too. If you get sick, you can make me sick too. Let’s work together to keep everyone healthy!
Here’s the CDC guidelines for how you can protect yourself, and me too!
1. Know how it spreads. Knowledge empowers you to protect yourself, to protect me, and all the people you love.
The Coronavirus spreads when you cough or sneeze. Teeny tiny droplets spread through the air. If you stand 6 feet or less away from that cough or sneeze, you might breathe the germs into your lungs. Then you might get sick too! You might even pass it onto me, onto everyone you know. Please don’t! Read on! You can discover how to stop the Coronavirus from making one more person sick.
2. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. How long is that? It’s long enough to sing the ABC song once. Long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Long enough to count to 20. Not 1, 2, 3 . . . Instead count 1001, 1002, 1003 . . . until you get to 1020.
Why 20 seconds? It’s long enough to wash all the germs away. If you only rinse your hands, most germs stay behind. If you do less than 20 seconds, some germs are still there. But if you don’t wash at all, the germs are all there, waiting to make you sick, your mom and dad, your grandma and grandpa, and me too. Please wash your hands!
3. But what if you’re somewhere you can’t get to soap and water, what can you do? Germs are everywhere. You can never, ever, get away from them.
Get out your hand sanitizer. Always carry some with you – a little dot will do it. Rub those hands together till the liquid disappears. Make sure your sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol. Any less – you won’t kill those germs that make you and me sick.
4. Learn not to touch your face. It’s a bad habit during cough and cold season, but it’s even worse now with the Coronavirus around. If your hands are clean, it’s not a problem, but if your hands haven’t been washed for a while, they’re covered in germs and viruses.
Your eyes, nose, and mouth are the worst places to touch because that’s where germs enter your body. Touching your cheek isn’t a problem, unless you have a cut. That’s when germs have an opening to come in and make you sick.
5. Use social distancing. That’s a new word people invented for the Coronavirus. The best way – stay home as much as possible.
6. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t share your germs! If you have a sick friend, call, text, or Skype them. Keeping your germs to yourself, is a great thing, especially with the Coronavirus around.
7. If you have to go out, remember to keep your social distance. Stay 2 meters or 2 yards apart. Stretch your arms out, and look at the distance between them. That’s how far you should stay away from other people, for you and for them.
8. When you cough or sneeze, cover them with a Kleenex, or an elbow. They’ll catch those germs. If you use a Kleenex, throw it away, and wash your hands. They’re both good things.
9. Wear a mask only when you’re sick. It will keep your germs from spreading to others.
Don’t wear a mask if you’re healthy. It won’t keep out all the germs. You might feel safe, but you’re not.
10. Keep surfaces clean whether it’s the kitchen table or your cell phone. If you touch it, you should clean it, especially if it’s dirty.
If you do these simple things, you’ll stay healthy, and you’ll help everyone around you to stay healthy too.
PS- I added this to the post to help young children, and us adults too, to understand social distancing. I couldn’t find this image, but picture it, and you’ll better picture social distancing. You and your best friend reach out your hands, but don’t let them touch. This is about 2 yards, and social distancing. It helps me, when I see a friend to stay 2 arm lengths apart. I hope it helps you and your family too.
Part 1 - Who is Franklin? Why is he sitting alone?
This post started on my Facebook account as a GIF and a question, ‘What would you like me to put into a blog? I got one answer – ‘Ever wonder why Franklin is sitting all by himself?
To be honest, I didn’t know who Franklin was. I didn’t see him till the question was asked. My eyes were drawn to the right side of the picture, which is what readers are trained to do, to move their eyes from left to right. Can you tell I’m still a reading teacher
Evidently this image came from the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special from November 20, 1973. I was 14. No one thought anything about the image then, but they sure did in 2015. Here’s an article I found. I was shocked to read what was assumed about Charles Schultz. Link - https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/charlie-brown-racist-franklin/
The article proves that Charles was never a racist. In fact he put the first African American into a cartoon in June of 1968 because a retired teacher wrote him and suggested it.
The cartoon was so controversial in 1968 that his editors told him to change it. Charles said, “Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How’s that? It sounds like moral courage to me.
But, that still doesn’t explain why Franklin is sitting alone so I googled again, and I found this link -
It said that, “Patty is the real engine of the special, with Linus and Marcie as it’s moral voice. Franklin and Sally just kind of hang around and watch.” In 1973 that was pretty groundbreaking. The link had an updated version with Franklin and Sally on the same side of the table, which I liked.
As someone who’s 60, who lived through that time, I applaud this picture. It’s not perfect, but it was forward thinking for its time.
Hindsight is always 20/20. You’ll never know then what you know now. When I look at this picture, I see kids celebrating, flaws and all. I remember how much I loved those characters then, and I see how much today’s kids still love them. Best of all it gives them a peek into the past, to see how much we’ve changed in the last 50 years. In the words of the 60’s we’ve come a long way, baby! Good for all of us, and especially for today’s kids, no matter who they are.
Part 2 – Charlie Brown Trivia
1- What’s the name and breed of Charlie Brown’s dog?
Buddy is a beagle. Snoopy is a beagle.
Buddy is a foxhound. Snoopy is a foxhound.
2- When did he first appear in the Peanuts comic strip?
1948 1950 1952 1954
And the answers are . . .
1. Snoopy is a beagle, who was based on Spike, one of Schultz’s childhood dogs.
2. Snoopy first appeared on October 4th, 1950. I was born in 1959, and I don’t remember a world without him.
My source said foxhounds are bigger than beagles, and they look a lot alike, but a picture’s worth a thousand words so I searched for a pair.
Part 3 – WHICH PEANUTS CHARACTER MATCHES YOUR PERSONALITY?
When I did my research for Part 1, I ran across a web site, that matched a Peanuts Character to your personality. I changed it. I picked my favorite characters, then I checked out their traits. Sorry, I couldn’t pick just one.
The Reformer: Lucy knows what she wants and goes after it. Whether she’s picking Charlie Brown to direct the Christmas play or offering psychiatric advice, she’s a leader.
The Helper: Linus is always there to help his best friend Charlie Brown. My favorite moment is when he tells Charlie he didn’t ruin Christmas. Linus says that’s impossible, because there’s more to Christmas than trees and pageants.
The Overachiever: Schroeder is the kid who could play Beethoven in elementary school. He focused in on his music and his practice-time. The result, super-achievement!
The Individualist: Snoopy isn’t afraid to be himself whether he’s Charlie Brown’s best friend, or Joe Cool, or a WWII flying ace. He’s unforgettable, and he commands the spotlight!
The Investigator: Woodstock is Snoopy’s sidekick, and he’s up to investigate/help him in any and all adventures.
The Loyalist: Marcie is Peppermint Patty’s sidekick. She’s loyal through and through. When Patty gets into trouble for being rude at Thanksgiving Dinner, Marcie helps her to make things right again with her friends.
The Challenger: Sally challenges everyone – her big brother, his friends, even Santa Claus. She’s one determined little girl, especially with Linus who tries to ignore her, but never quite succeeds.
The Challenger: Sally challenges everyone – her big brother, his friends, even Santa Claus. She’s one determined little girl, especially with Linus who tries to ignore her, but never quite succeeds.
The Peacemaker: Charlie Brown tries to make peace, to help his friends get along, and he’s persistent about it. Sometimes he fails, but he always tries, tries again.
So who am I? I’m mostly Charlie Brown. I try to get along with people, and I’m persistent. I’m also part Snoopy. I think differently from most people. I’ve never been cool, but I’ve always wanted to be. I’m an achiever like Schroeder. I’ve always tried to do my best, to become the best. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t. Finally, I’m enthusiastic like Peppermint Patty. I throw myself into things, but never sports. My Source: https://www.filmfad.com/which-peanuts-character-matches-your-personality/
This is what happened 2 nights ago. I was packing to travel, and I started searching for a critique I needed. I thought I’d finally have time for it. It was almost midnight, but I searched for an hour before I gave up. I knew I should have quit sooner.
I tried to sleep but my thoughts ran circles through my head - it’s lost – where could it be – my fault – my husband’s – it’s lost – If I could edit this photo, that search arrow would be spinning like those thoughts.
This is what a critique looks like. It shows what a reviewer thinks can be done to improve a story.
I was searching for one from the Cleveland writing conference for a manuscript that’s moving closer to publication. I have someone who’s interested in the story, with changes of course.
I felt like my critique was irreplaceable. I wanted to sob, but I was too tired.
I tried talking to myself. I backtracked through all the places I’d been, the things I’d done with that critique. I came up with 2 new places to check and a backup plan, just in case it was truly gone.
The last time I remember seeing the critique was in Texas. I went to my grandgirl’s shower. I checked with my daughter-in-law. It wasn’t there.
After Texas we stopped at the lake, and I unloaded a bag. I checked it. No critique so I gave up, at least for a TV break. I turned it on . . .
AND I FOUND IT – beside the remote control, right where I’d left it, Forgotten. Minds and memories work like that. It’s sad but true.
But finding it, that was a Hallmark movie moment! Perfect like this photo! I had my critique. I could work on my manuscript, and life was good! I wish Hallmark moments lasted longer, but I savor them as long as possible!
My husband told me I’d find my critique, and he was right. He loves hearing that!
Tomorrow I have another story that’s lost – devastated – found – grateful! My husband was right again!
This is an aquamarine. It’s the March birthstone. I have an aquamarine ring, not this big of course. Mine is much, much smaller, but it’s precious to me.
I lost a baby when I was pregnant. I’d only known about it for a couple weeks, but it was devastating.
It took a year to recover, and by that time I was pregnant again with my daughter. She was due the same time as the baby I lost. Both babies were due in March. 26 years later, it feels like a Godwink moment from a Hallmark movie.
About a month ago, I lost the ring. I looked everywhere, in all the usual spots. I was sad, but not devastated because my husband said, once again, you’ll find it.
And once again he was right. I found the ring a couple days later when I stopped looking. It was laying downstairs close to the laundry room. This is how I felt, like I was starring in a summer Hallmark movie!
I’d laid it there when I was doing laundry. I wanted to put it in a safe place. I did! An unusually safe place. So safe even I couldn’t find it.
My advice – when something is lost – search carefully by backtracking through all the places you remember being. Search again, like once a day. Also search your memory, maybe you’ll remember a place you’d forgotten. You’ll look, and there it will be.
Another tip – pray. I do. I pray that it will be found, and if it isn’t,that it will find its way to someone who needs it, like the ring. But if it’s like the manuscript, I pray for another way to recover it. I did have another plan, to email the conference for another copy of the critique.
Finally I try to learn from my mistakes. With my critique, I’d make another copy, put it in a special folder so it would be easier to find. Good luck to you and to me, because eventually we all lose things, and hopefully we won’t lose ‘it’ either. We’ll keep our cool and make the best of a disappointing/devastating situation!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!