Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Q: Quarantine, Quiet Days, Q-Anon, Queue, Q Titles

 

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Q

Quarantine, Quiet Days, Q-Anon, Queue, Q Titles

It was hard to go without mentioning quarantine, one of the words of the year 2020. I cannot remember hearing the word more than once in any given year. Here is history of quarantines that occurred as a result of past epidemics and pandemics. It was one of the things that made me panic upon hearing.

Having to stay home after the quarantine was ordered led to many quiet days, with very little to do. While at home, one of the things I did was watch a lot of Youtube videos, and on one such day, came across these two songs about quarantine. (I will be talking more about these and other song parodies in a couple days).






And these are just two of many such quarantine parody songs. These I liked the most. Do a search for more. These are hilarious.


As I have said, I still get DVDs from Netflix and one of the things I looked at day after day was to see what movies I had in my queue. One that had been in the queue for some time was a little-known miniseries version of Little Women from 1978.  I bring this up because the first disc (it is a two-disc series) arrived during the last full week of March after quarantine began and there is a quarantine storyline of sorts in the series: Amy forced to stay with the girls' dreaded great-aunt when Beth comes down with scarlet fever, so that Amy won't get the scarlet fever, too. Meg and Jo had both already had it. 

I honestly did not want to talk about Q-Anon, but it's one of the things I could not escape hearing once the riot broke out in the Capitol in January. The name just sounded weird to me. And it started with Q, one of the tricky letters of the alphabet. And that's all I'm going to say for this one 🙂

Every year I have done the A to Z reading challenge and once the library was shutdown, I had to search the Overdrive digital library for a title beginning with Q. I then remembered hearing about this title and looked it up. I had to wait, but at least it wasn't one of the titles that a had six-month wait. It arrived on the last day of March and I finished it ithat day. For this year's A to Z reading, I read this book. I believe I saw  it at the library early last year before the shutdown, but didn't pick it up then. I guess I thought I had enough time, not knowing what lay ahead. When I borrowed the above mentioned e-book title, the library had just shutdown and it looked like I was going to have to rely on e-books. I still had a Z title to find as well (more on that when we get to Z, of course) and had already gotten an X book (again, more when we get to that one!) All this was before curbside pickup began. FYI, because these letters are so tricky, the letter can be found anywhere in the title.




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Ending for today.

Monday, April 19, 2021

P: Pandemic, Prozac, Panicking, Politics, Protests, Pasta, President

 

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter P


Pandemic, Prozac, Panicking, Politics, Protests, Pasta, President

Last year having been a presidential election year, news about politics was everywhere this year. For the first time since 1992, an incumbent president did not win reelection. And was I ever glad for that! Our former president did nothing in the way of the pandemic, one of the scariest words that was heard in 2020. He tried to deny that the pandemic was real. "Trump hating" will be in an upcoming A to Z post.

This was the first major pandemic in more than a century, and the first in the lifetimes of many of us who are alive today. Remove the middle letters of "pandemic" and you get the word "panic," something I did a lot this year, once the virus was discovered and even more when it was declared a pandemic. Going to the store and other essential public places was panic-inducing. 




Despite warnings not to gather in large groups in order to slow the spreading of the virus, murders this past year led people to protest. "Black Lives Matter" became a phrase of the past year. 


Despite what you see in this photo, there were reports of people protesting without masks on. And of course, the protests were large crowds, and no one stayed six feet apart. I panicked at the thought of Covid rates going up because of this. 

One such protest occurred in my hometown, commencing at the high school. I drove by that morning to see people line up. As much as the subject of the protest mattered, I could not put myself at risk by joining, and I couldn't help thinking why others would do just that. People seemed to think that protesting was safe in the middle of a global pandemic, and that Trump rallies were safe as well (more on this in a few days).

And the BLM protests led to food makers removing logos they found to be racist. I get what they were trying to do, but people should have been more worried about the virus. 


Once again, it was panic-inducing when having to go to the store, and in the beginning when store shelves were nearly empty. Along with the needed toilet paper and hand sanitizer, another item that was scarce for the first few weeks of the pandemic was pasta. I like to get the Knorr packets, which include rice and pasta. I had to go without these things for a while during shutdown. Some have said that pasta is a comfort food, hence the reason it was out at the stores. But it wasn't too long before pasta returned to store shelves. I was soon able to make my lemon pasta with chicken and later make the Italian Chicken Penne Pasta recipe. Shortages of items in stores was caused by panic buying. 


This past year marked five years since I began on Prozac. I now had to talk to the telepsychiatrist by phone (more on this to come) and am now taking the stuff at night, something I'm still adjusting to. It was easier to do in the morning. I've
never been ashamed to admit to being on Prozac, and never will be.
 


And on the subject of Prozac, the author of Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzelpassed away in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit. She did not get to see her alma mater, Harvard, not open for classes for the first time in its nearly 400-year history. What would she have thought about that, and everything else that happened this year? I can only imagine. She had started writing another memoir, which will likely never come to be. RIP.



I have read all her books and last year reread More, Now, Again, followed by a reread of Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women at the beginning of this year.






I am still hoping to send out my memoir of Prozac again, This was something I lagged on in 2020, too depressed by the events of the year to even think of doing this. I did send it and my other manuscript out in early 2020, pre-pandemic. I will be telling more about this later.

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And that's it for today.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

O: Online Shopping, Outside to Read, Old Habits, Orange, Ornaments, Outbreak

 

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter O


Online Shopping, Outside to Read, Old Habits, Orange, Ornaments, Outbreak

Being forced to stay home increased my online shopping habit, though I wasn't too greedy. Though right now, I've only gotten stuff from Lane Bryant and from Amazon. No desire not get groceries online. It's easier to decide food and other grocery store items I need to get when you can see them. Years ago, I got a costume from buycostumes.com, but it's been years since I've even looked at that site. It remains to be seen what other sites I might shop from later. A lot of people I know use wish.com. I glanced at that one once, but didn't find anything of interest. Don't know if I'll be back again. And I'm still trying to decided on a car cover, since the ones on Amazon are cheaper than those at the auto parts store nearby me. Also still trying to decide if I want to get a lounge chair, with summer looming and warm weather already setting in.





One reason I'd been considering a lounge chair for outside was that when it's warm, especially in summer, I like to go outside to read. I already have a wooden folding chair in the driveway, but I have found myself wanting to lie down sometimes. I'd also like to be able to adjust the height at which I sit. The only thing keeping me from possibly getting a chair is deciding where to keep it overnight. Not really an outside person, but siting outside, whether to read or not, is good and I try to do it when I can.


I could not stand caring the word "orange" last year when it was in reference to our former president. One name I heard was the "Orange Menace."  And someone I know said "Orange Orangutan." Trump-hating will be in another A-Z post.

It seems nothing is immune from becoming a Christmas ornament, and items related to 2020 were made as ornaments. I have not had a Christmas tree in years. And if I did, I would not put on ornaments of checkered flags, pizza slices or cheeseburgers, let alone any of these:










As I have said, having to stay home most of the time didn't cause me to change some habits like showering. And even before Covid, I didn't always immediately watch my Netflix DVDs once they arrived. Another old habit that stayed in place even with all the time off.

And one last thing before I go today: hearing the word "outbreak" is always scary, but even more scary this past year was what we heard in mid-March about the coronavirus. One of my words for my P Post on Monday.

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And that's all for today. See you Monday.

Friday, April 16, 2021

N: No Events, Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go, Naps, Netflix, News

 

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter N


No Events, Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go, Naps, Netflix, News

Those first three statements basically summed up the year. In order to slow the spread of Covid, major events had to be cancelled the world over, many for the first time since World War II, some for the first time ever. Near me, we saw the Garlic Festival in Gilroy and the Northern California Renaissance Faire each get cancelled for the first time ever. I've only ever been to either of these once. Flea markets in nearby Moss Landing and San Juan Bautista were also called off. As I have said before, the stage company in my county put on one show, California Suite, in February 2020, and had just cast its next show, Beauty and the Beast, Jr., to be performed in the spring. And the high school was going to be performing Grease in March. I got to see California Suite and was hoping to see the other plays as well. And then it happened. 

And we couldn't go anywhere but the store, the post office and other essential businesses. I was still going to the center for work on the Monday after the pandemic declaration. It wasn't until a day later that we closed down. Two long months of no work and no activities. It really felt like nothing to do. As I have said, I envisioned myself doing more writing or artwork, but only doing a little. Reading was what I did the most. And going online nearly all day long until  just before I decided to go to bed.




As I said yesterday, I still get DVDs from Netflix. Even with more time to watch them, I didn't always do so right away. This was true before Covid, and some habits just don't change. I often become too tired or worry about getting sleepy while watching the movie, and that still held true. And one of the first DVDs I got after lockdown began came from a far-off facility (in Santa Ana, California; most of my DVDs come from the facility in San Jose), meaning it took extra long to arrive. This one I did watch immediately after going the mail as I was bored and needed something to pass the time. It was a two-disc series, and the second one did not arrive until the following Saturday, but I didn't get around to watching that part until the following Monday.  I'm not always in a hurry to watch DVDs I get, but I'm glad to have the option to pass the time.

Ever since my cousin put my mom on her Netflix account, we've been able to watch original series and movies this way. Though Mom does most of the watching this way. No binge watching for me. A habit I just couldn't get into. But I did get to see the Halloween specials "Hubie Halloween" with Adam Sandler, and "A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting." (Side note: I read the book that that last one is based on first, and I did not like how they changed some of the characters).



Whether or not to watch the news was always a decision I had to make each night, and there were times when I did not bother. When Mom had CNN on, I sometimes felt no need to turn on NBC Nightly News or the local 6PM newscast. Endless reports on the virus and on the politics--virtually nothing new that I hadn't already heard. If I did turn on the 6 o'clock news it was just to have something on. And sometimes, I just plain forget to turn the news on at 6, eventually turning it on before Jeopardy! at 7PM. I'm usually in bed before 10PM, so watching the 11PM news is rare, unless there is a time when I can't sleep then. And what am I going to find out then that I didn't already hear at 6? And here are some reasons not to watch the news.


I have been trying not to nap during the day so as to not mess up my sleep patterns at night. But often I will get sleepy during the day while reading or watching a DVD. I have to make sure I have enough energy to watch a movie so as to avoid this happening. One reason I'm not always in a hurry to watch one as soon as it arrives. I may just have to follow this advice.


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End of today's post.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

M: Masks, Mail, Money Handling, Mixed-Up Days, "More to Come", Murder Hornets

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter M

 

Masks, Mail, Money Handling, Mixed-Up Days, "More to Come", Murder Hornets

Masks--need I say more? We all got used to having to wear them in public and were quick to remove them once we got into our cars after going to the store. They made people look like surgeons in regular clothes. Some people took selfies in masks for their Facebook profile pictures, but I'm not tempted to do such a thing. And there were humorous photos like these:






 And as Halloween neared:





And these were another thing that was hard to locate in stores at first, forcing some (including me) to make their own out of cloth, once the mandate was set in place. 

Breathing was hard for some in masks, especially in the summer time. And recently doubling them made me feel even more out of breath, like I was about to have a panic attack. Which I nearly did all year long. More on panicking to come.


I was always used to reaching into my wallet for my forms of payment. But once the pandemic hit, I began putting my Safeway card and whatever method of payment I chose for the store or for fast food, including cash when stores were able to accept it and when I could give the exact amount (when there was a coin shortage). And it did feel weird asking people to put my change in a plastic bag when I getting money legally. And going into the bank to deposit money. I always try to prepare my money-handling bag before going into the store or going to the drive-thru at a restaurant. I hadn't seen very many "exact change only" signs lately and was surprised to see one the other day. This meant digging out extra coins (I had already placed two dollar bills in my plastic bag), which I thankfully had. I also got into the habit of sanitizing my cards and cash after leaving the stores. 
I never got more excited about getting the mail until now. I still get Netflix DVDs (don't judge, please!) and like everyone else, was eager to receive my stimulus checks last year. And then there were the books I ordered from Amazon and through the library's Zip Books program, and clothes from Lane Bryant. And I got a free book from participating in the Birth Year Reading Challenge (which is not occurring this year). Most of the Zip Books came in the mail, though at least two came by UPS. I've never gotten anything via Fed Ex and am not an Amazon Prime user, though I did see plenty of those trucks roaming around town. I still pay bills by mail and I chose to file my unemployment claims through mail as well, so as to keep the mail service working. And there were plenty of people at the post office each time my mom and I went to mail our bills, some mailing or receiving packages. 





The days, weeks and months seemed to blur together once the shelter-in-place orders began. There were times I asked, "Is it really (month) already?" I had to remember when it was Thursday, since our garbage gets picked up on Fridays. And what night it was, so I would know when the shows I watch are on. Yet, even I still got mixed up as far as days. Forgetting it was Memorial Day and seeing the 
pharmacy at Safeway closed was one such mixup. Every day was feeling like an extra Sunday, not just the legal holidays. It didn't help that the 4th of July was on a Saturday. I didn't aways forget what day it was, though it was often confusing.




Didn't it seem like there was always more stuff to come? As if the coronavirus wasn't enough, murders took place, causing subsequent protests, and forcing outdated produced logos that seemed racist to be changed. And suddenly there was something called murder hornets. Hearing that freaked me out a little at first, as the year was already seeing apocalyptic because of Covid. Now an insect was invading the earth, making the current state of the world seem even more dystopian. Yet, this is what seemed to happen:


I never saw any murder hornets, did any of you?

There certainly was "more to come," starting with the protests (more on this to come). And in my neck of the woods, there were the fires and the heatwaves (see previous posts on these). And what more can there be now?

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Concluding for today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

L: Loner, Lockdown, Library, Lane Bryant, Laundry, Long Days, Lysol

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter L

 

Loner, Lockdown, Library, Lane Bryant, Laundry, Long Days, Lysol


Even though I want to be out sometimes and I missed seeing others at the center when we were closed, I must admit I am more of a loner. Many times when I need to do something, I do it even if it's by myself. I was pretty much a loner growing up and can still be that way. One of the others at the center went with me to see a play in the fall of 2019, but she was unable to do so again in February 2020. Even so, I wasn't about to back out of seeing the play. I was glad not to have missed it, as it was the last play the stage company was able to put on to date.

One might think being a loner would make lockdown easier to take. In some ways it did, but the days were longer with nothing to do all day. Days seemed especially long in the spring and summer when it stays light until about 8PM. This is true in any year, but in 2020, the long days seemed even longer than usual. The longer the days, the more I had to time to pass. 

Hearing the term "lockdown" seemed a little scary, as it means to stay where you are. In this case, going to only essential places, like grocery stores. This made going to the store anxiety-producing, especially after learning how empty stores were. I panicked, thinking, I would not be able to find stuff I needed. Most of the time I did, however.



At the beginning of the year, I had been in and out of the library regularly, not know what lay ahead. Friday the 13th of March, 2020 as the very last time I set foot in our public library.  I had borrowed several books earlier that week and went in on that day to return them all, without checking out any other books. The timing was good on that, because the library was shutdown beginning the following Monday around 2PM. It remained closed but began the the curbside pickup in June. I was excited for that to happen and have been taking advantage of it ever since. But before that happened, I had to settle on books I had at home and e-books, as well as ordering books from the library's Zip books program. I had to hold on to them until the curbside pickup began. I accumulated about six books this way. When I go to pick up or return books, I can see the inside and wonder when I'll ever be able to go inside again. I also miss the free movies the library was having on Saturday afternoons. The last one was in March of 2020, on the Saturday before the pandemic declaration. They showed Frozen 2 that day.



One of the last places I shopped at in person before the virus was declared a pandemic was Lane Bryant, going to their semi-annual intimates sale in January. The sale was nearly over by then, and I then  hoped to take advantage of the next such sale in June. Another plan that got derailed by shutdown. But since I had the option of shopping online, I did just that. More than once over the year. One of the things I got online was the shirt seen above. This is the only other site besides Amazon from which I have been shopping. The message on the shirt felt true this past year. In March this year, I got to visit the store in person for the first time in nearly a year. 

For the first weeks of shutdown, I had more than enough time to do laundry. We still use our clothesline to dry our laundry, and I'm glad we have one, since we don't have a dryer. The laundry dries  faster in the warm weather, and the first days of April last year were such warm days. I liked getting the laundry done in one day. Especially on the long summer days. 



Yet another item that was hard to find in stores initially in 2020 was Lysol spray.  I hated seeing commercials for the stuff. Even now it still seems hard to find, unlike most of the other items that were equally scarce at the begging of the pandemic. It was hard to find any spray disinfectants at first, but a least now the generic ones at Dollar Tree (seen above) are easier to find now. We have currently have some of these at home. And some from the newly opened Dollar General. These work just fine.

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Ending for today. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

K: Killing Time, Karen, Kids at Home, Kamala Harris


#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter K


Killing Time, Karen, Kids at Home, Kamala Harris

Every day last year was an endless cycle of trying to find ways to kill time. We all had too much of it while as we were forced to be holed up in our houses. Every morning, I'd wake up wondering what I would be doing that day. Waiting until 10AM or later to take a shower, Internet surfing almost  all day long and deciding when to watch a Netflix DVD when it came, or just watching the news when I really didn't want to. Playing Facebook games. Watching videos on YouTube, many more than once. And trying to write, but not getting a lot done, except one piece. There were also times when I tried to find something to put on the blog, but came up blank. I avoided Tik Toks, and could not bake bread since I do not have a working oven. Walking is just not my thing, and was hesitant about doing it during the pandemic. I could have pulled out DVDs to watch, but just didn't do it much. Reading was my best way to kill time, the one I did the most.

One thing I was glad not have to deal with was kids. My cousin next door has a 17-year-old son, but my mom and I mainly saw him at night, after his "school hours" were over for the day. He and others at the county's schools were each assigned a Chromebook for their schoolwork. It was weird not seeing kids walking to and from school. Especially when I live behind one of our town's elementary schools and not far from our two middle schools (one of them was the site where my vaccine was administered).  I was used to seeing kids walking home from those schools as well as the high school, staring into their phones like zombies. It's now been a whole year of not seeing such things, and seeing empty school yards while driving around town. One of the things that made my hometown seem like ghost town this past year. And seeing these signs, without having to worry.



Now elementary and middle school kids in our neighborhood are starting to go back into the classrooms starting today, with the high schoolers set to do so next week. I go to work at 10AM and leave at 12PM, so I most likely won't see kids walking around then, but on my days off, I now have to prepared for the "zombies on their phones." And now I have to worry about those signs again.

Growing up, I kind of hated my name because so few others at school shared it. It was hard growing up among kids with more common names, like Jennifer, Lisa, Michelle or Karen. They would always find their names on pencils, keychains, cups and such, but I almost never saw mine on these things. But this past year, I was glad not to have had that last one. And at the same time, wondered how girls named Karen have been feeling about their name being used to mean as a pejorative term for a woman seeming to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is normal. "Karen" was depicted as a wig and costume for Halloween, as seen below (I was glad not to be see anyone dressed like this):





The origin of this term is seen in this video:


This brought to mind the 1989 film, Heathers. I had to wonder how real-life girls named Heather (another name I heard more than my own) felt about this, or if the movie led to a decrease in the use of the name. I have also often wondered how Jason has remained such a popular boy name after its use as the name of the killer in the Friday the 13th films. Does this current meme seal the fate of the name Karen, or has it already declined in use? I used to see the name in my parents' yearbooks all the time, and as I said, I heard it a lot as child myself. The video says it is low-ranked in current name popularity lists.



But there was a name that I did enjoy hearing this past year. Kamala Harris may not have had a popular name either, but she did make history becoming the first female Vice President of the United States, as well as the first of woman color to hold that office. This history-making event came 100 years after women were given the right to vote. She is a former senator from my home state of California. Earlier this year, I read her memoir The Truths We Holdwhich I enjoyed. I loved seeing this cartoon, one of the ways The Simpsons is thought to have predicted the future:








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End of today's post.