Good Monday morning. I hope everyone had a good weekend. I did. I worked a bit on my WIP, then did some coloring and quilting. This is a panel for the quilt I’m making for my granddaughter.
The center piece is from one of her t-shirts, and the two side pieces I made from material with patterns related to Harry Potter that I bought. The center piece is bigger than any of the other t-shirts, so this will be the focal point of the quilt. I wish the side pieces were big enough that you could read the newspaper. LOL
I wasn’t planning to do a Monday blog this week. I’d rather be working some more on the quilt, or be coloring in some new books I just got, but then I saw how the number of cases of COVID 19 keeps growing, especially in the U.S. While checking out some news stories related to that, I came across this article in The Atlantic by Yascha Mounk
Mounk states that he was hoping to write a story with a different focus, a more positive focus, but things have changed so dramatically in the two weeks he’s been working on the piece, the news is not so positive.
Like Mounk, I was hoping for good news at this point, too. Remember back in March and April when we thought we’d all be safe by June?
Well here we are folks, and we are not safe, despite what the White House and some pundits would like us to believe.
It is not safe to gather in large crowds. I pity the folks who plan to attend upcoming political rallies, as well as the GOP national convention, which is so totally not necessary and such a public health risk.
It is not safe to be out dining and dancing, no matter how many “Girls just like to have fun.”
And sadly, it is not safe to be with family, or travel to see family, or embrace when we do see each other.
Mounk is of the opinion that because the pandemic is not a top news priority, pushed aside by the murder of George Floyd and the aftermath of that tragedy, people are no longer as worried about their health as they were three weeks ago. Not that the murder didn’t warrant being front page news. It certainly did. Just as the aftermath of the murder deserves all the coverage it gets. It’s just unfortunate that those issues couldn’t share space on the front pages with the latest about the virus.
Some of the facts worth noting:
A second wave is coming.
The virus is not going away in the heat of the summer.
A vaccine is still months away.
The virus lives the longest in the air. It can linger for hours, especially in enclosed areas.
Older citizens and high-risk individuals need to continue to practice safeguards, that especially means avoiding crowds.
What will happen as more states open is very uncertain. But even if government officials on the local, state, and federal levels don’t require certain safety measures, we can use our own common sense. I urge you to do that.
For more facts about the corona virus visit the Coronavirus Resource Center.
Some quotes from Mounk’s article:
If the virus wins, it is because the World Health Organization downplayed the threat for far too long.
If the virus wins, it is because Donald Trump was more interested in hushing up bad news that might hurt the economy than in saving American lives.
If the virus wins, it is because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, created to deal with just this kind of emergency, has proved to be too bureaucratic and incompetent to do its job.
If the virus wins, it is because the White House did not even attempt to put a test-and-trace regime into place at the federal level.
If the virus does win, then, it is because American elites, experts, and institutions have fallen short—and continue to fall short—of the grave responsibility with which they are entrusted in ways too innumerable to list.
That’s all from me for today folks. I hope you have a safe and productive and happy week.
First, Happy Friday everyone. It’s good to be at the end of this week, which has not been one of the better weeks I’ve had recently, and I’m looking forward to a restful weekend. Then, “Come Monday, it’ll be all right.” If I listen to that song enough times, it might come true. Plus, I really like it. Thank you, Jimmy Buffett.
If you’re looking for some bargain books to add to your Kindle, check out this online Book Fair. There are lots of books to chose from in several genres; romance, mystery, thriller, and paranormal. I’m participating with Open Season, the first book in the Seasons Mystery Series, and I do hope you will consider adding that title to your Kindle.
On my Kindle, I’ve been reading The Mudlark Orphan by Rosie Darling and enjoying the story very much.
Eight year old Maise Clegg was plucked from the workhouse by the Rynotts to work on the banks of the Thames seeking treasures as a Mudlark.
Abandoned as a baby Maise never gave up hope that one day her mother would return to claim her as her own, but as she stood in the dirty river water that dream soon washed away. She soon learnt that life was like the river; dark, fast moving and dangerous.
Life would teach her lessons she had never wanted to learn, but would fate mend what had been broken, before she succumbed to the Thames as so many had before her?
This is going to be a short review as I haven’t finished the book yet. I’m about three-quarters into the story that is harsh at times and relentless in depicting the hardships that orphans experienced at the hands of others. While the story is fiction, the reality of what children like Maise dealt with could be a documentary.
From our positions of comfort, even the most meager of comforts, it’s hard to imagine what that life was like. What atrocities so many children faced throughout history, and my heart ached for Maise as one hope for a better life after another was washed away.
I’m at a point in the story where her life might take a turn for the good, and I so desperately hope it does. Making a reader care that much is the mark of a good storyteller, so I give Rosie Darling five stars for drawing me so deeply into Maise’s story.
Now, here’s my friend, Slim Randles with a short essay to remind us of the small pleasures in life that bring large doses of joy.
It’s the heat that defines us this month. It greets us at daybreak with its promise, but in an hour or so, it bears down on our shoulders and makes us dream of shade and something cold to drink.
The best thing about our hot season, however, are evenings when most of the earth cools, and that breeze slides in off the mesa and caresses our cheeks. Then it’s time to sit, and laugh, and tell stories and just be with someone we love. Then is the culmination of a day we can be proud of.
Inside each of us, we silently and privately applaud ourselves, because the hot day tried us, but we did it. All day. We made it through the heat today. Made it with our hands today. Made it through to another precious June evening when we can sit on the patio with something cold and someone sweet.
So it gets hot in the daytime. Okay. But just don’t forget to give us these evenings, these blessed evenings when we can recall what cooler weather felt like.
Without these evenings, it would just be another hot summer day.
Because Slim always has a sponsor line, here’s the one for this week’s column:
Brought to you to honor all the doctors and nurses and hospital workers. Real heroes in our lives.
How has your week been? Have there been joys you want to share? What about plans for the weekend? I’m going to work on a quilt and try to get some coloring in. I’ve found coloring quite restful and peaceful. What do you do for peace in these crazy times?
Saturday was the official graduation day for my youngest granddaughter in Austin Texas. She’s the last of the grandkids to graduate from high school, and her graduation is so different on so many levels from her cousins.
First of all, there was no traditional ceremony in an auditorium where all the kids gathered to sweat out the hours together. Which was kind of odd because the kids all got their caps and gowns a couple of months ago. I guess in case they wanted to save them for posterity.
I wonder how many people keep their caps and gowns and for how long?
When I graduated high school, we didn’t purchase caps and gowns. We rented them. Which made sense considering that so few people actually kept theirs. I did hang on to my gold honors tassel for quite a long time, but I don’t remember what happened to that after all these intervening years. I would never have purposely thrown it away. I worked too damn hard to get it.
But, back to my granddaughter, Kat, who also graduated with honors in the top 5% of her class.
She said she was just fine with not having a ceremony. Sitting for hours in a cap and gown was not an activity high on her list of fun things to do, but that did mean that she, and her classmates, missed that important element of “finishing.”
Important milestones in life need to be marked somehow, not just melt into the ordinariness, or not ordinariness of life as we know it this June of 2020.
There was no party, no gathering of friends and family, although her mom and dad decorated the house and made it all festive. They also set up a zoom party where grandma’s and aunts and uncles and cousins could all come in and wish her well. It was fun to see everybody, and to at least be able to share that kind of celebration with her, but it definitely was not a party.
I don’t know if she was disappointed, probably on some level she was since her older sister had a very nice gathering of friends and family when she graduated high school a couple of years ago, but Kat is not the jealous type. She’s never begrudged her older sister for anything, and I’m sure that when the sun set on Saturday Kat was just fine.
Although, if she hadn’t decided what she wanted for dinner that evening she may have had to have leftovers for her graduation meal. How memorable is that?
Actually. Kind of memorable if you think about it, and in an atmosphere of total fun, I bet she’d like that.
The type of celebration that my granddaughter and her peers are having is not the only thing that’s so dramatically different for high school seniors this year. So are the plans, or the lack of plans, that they have been able to make for the future.
College is on hold. Any summer jobs are on hold. It seems like our whole lives are on hold because of this COVID 19.
But again, the impact the virus is having is not something that’s of all-consuming concern for Kat. She seems to be adapting incredibly well to whatever comes her way and perhaps one day she will be telling her kids and grandkids about the very bizarre high school graduation she had.
In the meantime, this proud grandma wishes her well for whatever comes next in her life. I know she will accept it with as much grace as she has everything in her life, and good things lie ahead. She is smart. She is strong. She is… Kat.
Have you had a not-your-ordinary graduation in your family this year? Want to give a shout out to a kid or grandkid you’re proud of? Go ahead and leave a comment and we will celebrate all.
And in case you haven’t seen the nationwide online celebration to celebrate all graduates, here’s a link to the YouTube video.
Okay folks. This isn’t an easy blog post to write. I’m going to be honest about my failings as a white woman in America when it comes to issues of bigotry and racism.
I was inspired to write in part by this awesome painting by my daughter, Anjanette. She created this a couple of days after the murder of George Floyd, and it has such a powerful statement.
When I saw the photo of the painting on Facebook, I cried. Just like I cried the day I saw the video of George Floyd being murdered by cops in Minneapolis. I cried, as I have almost every day since, when I see pictures and videos of the chaos and violence in so many cities across the country.
But let me go back to the beginning of my journey toward those tears.
In July 1967, I lived in Detroit and clearly recall every day and every hour of the race riots there. I remember my husband slept downstairs for three days with the shotgun at his side after we heard that people were coming to the Tank Arsenal and the General Motors complex next to it. Both were frightfully close to the apartment complex where we lived.
I will be honest and admit I really didn’t understand why people were rioting. Even though I’d been active in Civil Rights efforts a few years prior, life issues had pulled me away from finding out any more about the disparity between the way I lived my life and the way black people lived their lives.
Sure, we had a shared history of poverty, and I experienced some discrimination because of where I’d lived when I was growing up. It was a poor neighborhood, but all white. And, as a good friend pointed out many years after 1967 while holding her brown arm next to mine, “Nobody will ever know about the discrimination of your past. Mine is indelibly marked in the color of my skin.”
Still, it took the passage of many more years and lots of reading about the black experience and racism and bigotry to gain even a smidgen of an understanding of the depth of the problems in our society. A society that has been dominated and controlled by white Americans who have stepped on the backs of black Americans to keep them down.
I even had the audacity to write a book about bigotry Coping with a Bigoted Parent, which is thankfully out of print. I say “thankfully” because I didn’t know shit about the topic back then. And I really thought we’d solved the major issues of racism with changes that came out of the Civil Rights Movement. But we didn’t do enough. Not nearly enough.
More recently, I’ve listened to podcasts like Throughline and Code Switch that often tackle topics of racism, offering the listener a different perspective – that of a person of color. And I’ve watched videos on YouTube, like ones from LeRon L. Barton, and really see some of what has brought us to this point of cities burning.
It’s the pent-up anger, exhaustion, and fear experienced by black, brown, and indigenous people facing structural racism and systemic disparities between the way white and black people are treated.
A common term to describe those differences is White Privilege.
In September 2017, Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Editor in Chief of Good Black News responded to a friend who was asking for clarification of what White Privilege means. Jason, a white man, was confused about the concept, never having it pointed out to him in specifics. So, Lori did that pointing in a terrific article that was originally published in Good Black News and was reprinted later in Yes Magazine. Here are just a few of her answers to Jason:
What this past week of listening, of reading, of really paying attention to the messages of black people has taught me is that White Privilege is having the luxury of going to bed and forgetting about the problems of being black.
White Privilege is being able to move into a “nice” neighborhood and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of vandalism and hostility.
If you’ve never had a defining moment in your childhood or your life where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have White Privilege.
If you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it,” you have White Privilege.
If no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, you have White Privilege.
Instead of forgetting, I’m going to remember what has happened in recent days and find one way that one old lady can make a difference. Enough is Enough and Black Lives Matter need to be more than just a hashtag.
Have your thoughts about racism changed in light of the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and riots?
First, I want to take a moment to remember and honor those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy here in the United States.
There will be few gatherings or picnics or barbecues today, and my anger toward the Corona Virus that has impacted our lives in so many ways is growing. People should be able to come together as family and friends to share memories of those they have lost to wars. That is such an important part of grieving; crying together, laughing together, and telling stories together.
My heart is sad for them.
Now for some news items that have caught my attention over the past few days.
The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is home to a military prison that is often referred to as Gitmo. Indefinite detention without trial and torture have been the hallmarks of this prison since it was established in 2002 by President George W. Bush’s administration.
I hadn’t thought much about Gitmo in recent years, but a report on NPR’s Up First on Friday brought it to mind again. More about that later, but first some facts.
It costs $380 million a year to run the U.S. military court and prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, despite the fact that there are only 40 detainees there now. That number is down from the approximately 780 that have been arrested and taken there over the years. According to Guantanamo By The Numbers, an article on the ACLU website, 86% of those detained have been turned over to coalition forces as a result of a bounty system that has paid out millions of dollars.
The prison was established by President George W. Bush’s administration in 2002 during the War on Terror.
Throughout his terms of office, President Obama tried to get the prison closed and prisoners released to their own country, or brought to the U.S. to stand trial. Although his efforts to get the prison closed failed, due to strong bipartisan opposition from Congress, the number of detainees was reduced to 41.
In January 2018, President Trump signed an executive order to keep the detention camp open indefinitely, and the following May a prisoner was transferred out of the prison, reducing the number to 40. The ones remaining are people rounded up after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
After so many years and so many scandals, I wonder why we are still in the same place, just with fewer detainees. And still costing the taxpayers millions of dollars that could go elsewhere, especially now with the pandemic creating such havoc.
The NPR news segment was about the fact that the 9/11 trial which was to start next January has been postponed indefinitely.
Why has it taken so long to bring detainees to trial? I know the wheels of justice grind slowly, but this slowly? Are they rolling backwards?
Military spending is the highest yearly budget item, and the President’s budget request of $705.4 billion for fiscal year 2021 is $1 billion higher than last year. If Gitmo was closed, that would eliminate the need for a third of that extra billion.
On another note, I had an interesting exchange with a friend on Facebook about how tired we are of all things political. It seems the recent primary has lasted for years and we are still months away from the election. My friend pointed out that the campaigning did start earlier this time around, and Trump started campaigning right after he was elected in 2016.
That made me wonder who controls the election cycles? Who determines when candidates can make their campaigns official?
There’s lots of information on elections and voting available on the internet, but I didn’t find anything specific as to when a candidate can announce, prior to the first primary, that he or she is running for office and start the campaign ball rolling.
Party leadership has the authority to determine According to Article I, Section 4, of the United States Constitution, the authority to regulate the time, place, and manner of federal elections is up to each State, unless Congress legislates otherwise.
Just for fun, here are a few of the winning entries in the Washington Post’s annual neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.
1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
The Post’s Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
A few of the winners are:
Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
I encourage you to click on this blogpost at Bytes to read all the winning entries. Quite a clever and fun list.
That’s all for me for today folks. Whatever you’re doing this Memorial Day, be safe. Be well. Be happy.