Irony

So Much Information

imagesI keep hearing these folks talk about reading books and learning a new skill during this quarantine and all I can think of is who has the time for that. I don’t know about you but I’m drowning in information. I’m reading about how this is a thinly veiled attempt to screw up the election in November or a way to take away American’s rights in the name of the greater good.  I’ve read about the President and governors clashing over states’ rights, which feels an awful lot like the arguments states made for slavery right before the Civil War.  I’ve read about Dr. Fauci and Dr. Shiva and how both think we should be fighting this virus. I’ve read about how we need to take this opportunity to figure out what’s important to us and when the world gets back to normal we all need to work like hell to make it happen. I’ve read other things that say the political and media machine is going to do their best to get us to forget how broken everything is and try to get us back into our normal patterns of spending to get our economy back on track. And, this is just a small slice of what I’ve been reading and hearing.

There is so much information out there – some of which builds on another while others not so much. It’s hard to know what to believe or what to take to heart – to separate what has merit and what is just pissing in the wind. If you’re anything like me you vacillate between wondering if this is the apocalypse or a giant world event, sort of like World War II. You know, I always thought the thing that would bring us together and at the same time rip us apart would be a war, not a virus. For many years I thought there would another be an all about civil war of sorts here in America but never for one moment did I think a virus might kick it off.  Illegal immigration, inequality, race relations, politics – those are the things I thought would start a war from within.

All I know is most days I wake up with a nagging worry that things won’t ever go back to “normal”.

On a completely unrelated and happier note, Phyllis and George are back. I think she’s looking to nest again, that is if ducks nest more than once a season. If not, then they are just having a jolly old time in my backyard eating, pooping and screwing.

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Irony

No Duck

img_1207If you read last week’s blog you’ll know our yard has a couple of new residents – George and Phyllis, Phyllis’s eggs and Fred. Much like this virus quarantine, Mother Nature/the Universe/Life has thrown those ducks a real curveball.

I have not seen Phyllis since sometime last week. Nor have I visited her nest since last week, until today. Apparently, an animal has gotten to the nest. One egg is completely gone. It appears one egg is open either hatching or attack and the final one had egg remnants in it. Fred and George continue to visit our pool for a swim and to quack. I can only assume they are quacking for Phyllis or some other friends but no one else shows up. They usually fly off within 15 minutes of landing.  There are no more all day eat, swim, nap sessions.  I am so disappointed by the egg situation. It was so exciting to think we might see little ducklings either hanging around our yard or in our pool.  Yeah, their poop everywhere is not ideal but it’s also a cool window to nature

It feels like this whole egg thing is a look at life right now metaphorically speaking.  The unknown has completely upended life. We don’t know much about this unknown and yet it is a threat. We don’t know when things will get back to normal or what normal will look like.  And, much like Fred and George, all we can do is sit there and quack (talk) hoping something will happen to make life normal again.

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Irony

Spring Break Irony

img_1123Last week, I wrote the following to be published today, Wednesday, March 18.
“Right now I’m up to my armpits in family time. When I get back home we will have driven over 2,500 miles, eaten way too many fast food meals and will be sick of all this togetherness.  But, we are making memories that will last a lifetime.”

Until last Thursday night around 8 p.m., we were scheduled to leave the following day for Florida to visit family and hit up House of Mouse. Obviously, that didn’t happen. We are now self quarantined. No, no one is sick (knock wood) but we are trying to flatten the curve and stay well.

And, we aren’t all totally sick of one another yet.  We have lots of projects we’ve been procrastinating about doing that we now suddenly have time to do. And, there’s always Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.  I keep saying I’m going to start a journal just to document this unfolding situation.  We, my friends, are watching history unfold. Our children’s children will learn about this in school.  Books will be written, armchair quarterbacking how this virus should have been handled. It’s an interesting albeit stressful time to be alive.

I know I’m not alone when I say my mind is a jumble of random things.  From important things like job security and money but also things like the upcoming election and what’s next for the virus to what should I do for the next three hours that doesn’t involve mindless snacking or watching tv. I want to stay informed yet I don’t want to drown in information. I want to be productive but I can’t stop worrying about what will happen next. I’m trying to stay positive and not be an alarmist but it’s hard.  There’s so much unknown.

My creative flow tends to tank like when I’m stressed. That probably happens to most people. When I get overwhelmed I tend to retreat into myself and think – sometimes that’s not a good thing.  We’ll see how all this plays out. I may not post as much or I may post a lot. It just depends on how exciting it gets around here. Let’s just hope the excitement is good. Stay positive folks and enjoy this picture of a bluebonnet.

 

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Irony, Musing

Made in China

photo of man wearing maskThe whole world has heard of the Coronavirus and how half of China is under quarantine.  Over the last couple of weeks, it’s been announced Disneyland in Shanghai and Hong Kong are both closed indefinitely.  Apple has said they will lose money this quarter because factories are shut down in quarantined cities. Last week there was a report on my local news station about how many wedding and quinceanera dresses are made from fabric from China.  The factories haven’t been sending shipments since the quarantine and that means no dresses.  What most people fail to realize is these things are only the tip of the iceberg. It sounds like I’m fearmongering but I’m not.

Many years ago, I read a book called A Year Without Made in China by Sara Bongiorni.  The book follows a family who decided to forgo buying anything made in China for a whole year.  It started out as sort of a social experiment but it became more than that. The family found it virtually impossible to buy certain things not made in China.  In some cases, the things they needed (parts to repair something) were only made in China.  There was no other alternative. After reading this book I began taking stock of where the things I bought were made. I noticed a fair bit of China as well as other Asian countries and India with a few other places scattered here and there. At the time that I read the book, I just thought it was a sign of the times that American factories were dead. It never occurred to me how a disruption in the manufacturing of goods in another country could affect day to day life in our country, yet here we are. I’ll be honest I don’t remember if that was even touched on in the book.

This virus induced disruption of goods is definitely a wake up call. It throws into sharp relief how dependent we all are on other countries and how interconnected we have become.  I wonder if this disruption will be the catalyst for bringing manufacturing back to America. For decades, America has all but outsourced the manufacture of most everything to other countries. A few years back there was a new push to “Buy American” but if there’s anything American’s love it’s cheap crapola and American made products aren’t cheap. After all, American made products have to be made by Americans who need to have a living wage which means the factories can’t run sweatshops and sell cheap goods. However, if we can’t get the goods from cheap labor places what is the alternative?  You know what they say, “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.”  Maybe it’s time we did it ourselves or maybe we’ll just find a cure for the virus.  The sad truth of it is this probably won’t be a catalyst to ‘do it ourselves’ again because the start up time for a new factory would be years. We no longer have the capability, facilities and manpower to do it ourselves. We’ve essentially outsourced the things we don’t want to do which is another topic for another day.

NOTE: If you are looking for a new read, I highly suggest reading A Year Without Made in China.  It really is quite fascinating. Click on the title about to go directly to Amazon or you can be cheap and get it for free at the library.  

 

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Irony, Musing

Work it out

exercise female fitness foot

My exercise of choice is walking.  I can walk 50 miles just don’t ask me to run one mile. And, don’t ask me to go over a 15 minute mile unless wild animals are after me.  When I walk I usually listen to a podcast or an audiobook but occasionally it’s just me and a playlist. I honestly don’t know why I bother with a playlist. My mind always wanders to the most random and absurd things and I end up not listening to my playlist, only my inner voice.  I do all my deep, philosophical thinking whilst walking, showering or driving long distances.  Today, as I enjoyed the lovely, warm spring day I was reminded of a scene in Back to the Future 3.  See what I mean about random and absurd?

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  It’s highly unlikely that Back to the Future 3 would feature anything relevant but stick with me while I set it up.  If you don’t remember or never saw the movie, Back to the Future 3 takes place during the old west.  The scene I’m talking about features several people sitting around in a saloon and someone says something about running and how one day people will run for fun. Everyone laughs at the idea and proceeds to ask why anyone would want to run for fun – like this is the most absurd thing in the universe. And quite frankly for the time, it is the most absurd thing in the universe.  Day to day life was exercise. From hauling water to chopping wood to wrangling animals, every facet of daily life involved physical labor. No one exercised for health. They exercised because they had to do it to get the job done.

So, as I speed walked down the tree lined trails in my town, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the absurdity of it all.  Here I was wearing clothing and shoes especially purchased for exercising, listening to a tiny box which doubles as a phone walking down a paved path almost big enough for a car all in the name of health.  I was struck by how much life has changed in a mere 100 years.  I’m always astounded how technology, better health care, and basic personal rights have completely changed our lives.  It always leads me to wonder what’s next.  I can’t even fathom what our future holds.  Truth be told, as a child, I totally believed we’d be using flying cars by now.  Boy, do I feel cheated.  Actually, with the way most people drive, I’m glad we aren’t using flying cars.  But seriously, I can’t even begin to imagine what’s next. The only thing that even remotely comes to mind is VR and 3-D printing but those are already in use. I wonder how these technologies will affect us in 20 years?  Dear reader, do you have any ideas? Thrill me with your creativity.

P.S. If we don’t have Jetson’s flying cars or Rosie robots by the time I’m 80 I’m going to riot.

P.P.S. This is a free, stock photo, not me. My thighs have never been that skinny.

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Irony, Uncategorized

Roots

For years I’ve wanted to do one of those DNA tests that tell you where you’re from. Like most people, I had a vague idea of my heritage but when it all came down to it I had no real idea.  My recent ancestors were poor and didn’t keep good records.  All I truly had was a handful of dates, larger than life stories and my mother’s eyes.  This past Christmas I received a 23 and Me kit.  I recently got back the results and these results have created more questions than answers. It confirmed there was a good deal of Irish and English blood flowing through my veins. It didn’t confirm the American Indian, which had always been part of the family lore.  But, it showed Scandinavian, German and Ashkenazi Jewish, which was a surprise but not the biggest.

The biggest surprise was my DNA relatives. Most of these DNA tests link you up with people who have similar DNA as yourself. These people range from parents, siblings and first cousins all the way to very distant cousins. None of the surnames of my supposed relatives matched the surnames I knew. I immediately began to panic and started calling all of my living relatives to get to the bottom of this matter. My maternal aunt and uncle assured me they didn’t know anything.  I just knew I was dealing with mixed up DNA or an outside kid. What if I was the outside kid? My mother was pretty and she loved men.  It could be possible.  Human interest stories are cropping up almost weekly about some guy that met his long lost twin through one of these DNA tests.  Hell, the DNA companies are starting to hire counselors for the express purpose of talking people down when they find out their Uncle is really their Daddy.

Just when I was starting to entertain all the possibilities an email showed up from one of my DNA matches.  Apparently, her dad was adopted sometime in the 1930s. Her father’s birth surname was the same as my paternal grandmother’s surname, meaning he was the child of my grandmother (unlikely since she would have been exceptionally young at that time) or one of her six brothers and sisters. The phone call to my father regarding this revelation was like something out of Abbot and Costell’s Who’s on First skit.

Me: Dad, do you know if anyone on Grandmother’s side ever gave a kid up for adoption?
Dad: No, no one in our family is adopted.
Me: No Dad, not was adopted ever gave a child up for adoption.
Dad: Nope, no one was ever adopted.  Well, there was that one uncle on Papa’s side.  He was adopted.
Me: No Dad this isn’t on that side of the family. It’s on your Mom’s side.
Dad: Oh, okay. Well, no one was adopted on that side.
Me: (Sighing and trying to retain my calm) No Dad, like given up. I mean it was the Depression. People were poor. They sometimes gave their kids away because they couldn’t afford to feed them.  And, there is always the out of wedlock thing. I mean it was the 1930s.
Dad: Well, our family didn’t do that.
Me: How do you know?! This was at least 10 years before you were born, probably more like 12.
Dad: No one ever mentioned it.
Me: (Filled with incredulity) Dad, it’s not exactly something people generally talk about. I just thought you might have overheard the adults talking.
Dad: Nope, no one in our family was ever adopted.

That is where I gave up. God bless him it was like talking to a brick wall.  And, God bless this long lost cousin’s family because I have nothing but a few random dates and names to help them in their search. I have to admit I have zero desire to be friends with these people. I have enough family scattered around the country as it is. I don’t need a new set of relatives to have to visit at least once a year. But, it’s sort of interesting to think what a vial of spit can tell about a person.  FYI if you ever do these tests it takes 85,000 years to collect all that spit. You may think you have a lot of spit but you don’t.  And, your mouth will feel so dry after coughing up all that spit you’ll think your throat is the Sahara.  You’ve been warned.

 

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Irony, Musing

January Sucks

appointment black calendar countdownSo, this article about why next Monday, January 21st will be the worst, popped up in my news feed today.  Hand to heaven, I rolled my eyes and screamed at my screen, “I talked about this last year people!” The proof is here.  I’m over here like ‘where were you last year and why did you pay this clown to write this article when I practically said the same thing for free. You coulda paid me instead, idiots.

But seriously, isn’t January the worst? Ugh.  And, is it just me or does this whole government shut down and recent mega snowstorm that did not come near me only make it all worse? Forget free government provided birth control pills can we all just get some mood enhancement pills and maybe something that will help us shed that holiday 15?  Am I truly asking for too much?  I don’t think so. Remember back in the 80s, Equal sent those little gumballs made out of Equal to every address in America?  The feds could do the same thing. Just send a few happy pills to every address and boom maybe people wouldn’t be a bunch of miserable cows.

P.S.  If you’re thinking ‘damn, she phoned this post in’ you aren’t wrong.  January sucks and I’m trying really hard but damn if it doesn’t still suck. This opportunity sort of presented itself and I latched on.

 

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