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wnylib's Journal
wnylib's Journal
December 28, 2021

New Year - Remember when 2020 was so bad?

We looked forward to 2021. Had to be better. Couldn't get worse. We had elected a Dem president. We had vaccines.

But then - an insurrection attack on Congress right off the bat in January. Vaccines were distributed after a slow start. Masks were discarded. Everything opened up again.

But then - the delta variant. By mid summer it was taking over as the dominant strain. A least twice as infectious as the previous variant. We needed masks again but state governors made vaccine and mask mandates illegal. Magats refused both vaccinations and masks. Vaccine efficacy was wearing off after 6 months. Boosters were approved. For sure the boosters would help those who wanted help.

But then, omicron. It breaks through vaccines. Even more infectious than delta. Maybe not as severe. And that's where we're at.

Should we look forward to 2022? I'm almost afraid to.

December 12, 2021

Brownie for breakfast? Why not?

They looked so tempting to me this morning. Already made. No need to scramble eggs, mix up pancake or waffle batter and cook. No need to even fill a bowl with cereal and milk. Just grab a brownie and eat. Mmm.

Full of nutitrious ingredients, too. Eggs for protein and biotin. Mono and poly unsaturated oil. Walnuts for omega 3. Chocolate for BP. Add a dollop of Greek vanilla yogurt and it's a healthy breakfast, right?

December 5, 2021

Ember the cat watched my town's Christmas super spreader event tonight. She did not approve.

The Christmas parade route goes past my apartment building. So, instead of joining the unmasked, shoulder to shoulder hordes on the sidewalk, I watched from a window, with Ember on the windowsill in front of me. She spends a lot of time looking out that window, so she knows the difference between a real car and colorful sparkly light monsters. Real cars have small white lights in front and little red ones in back. Sparkly monsters have many lights all over them in multiple colors, especially red and green. She was not fooled. She growled feline warnings at them.

They made musical sounds, but again, Ember was not fooled. She knows that real music comes from radios, telephones, and movies. She growled. "Back off! I am a guard cat."

Ember knows that people walk the sidewalks by themselves or in small groups. She stretched her neck back and forth to see the big crowds swarming the sidewalks. Oh no! What were they doing out there with sparkly light monsters rolling down the streets? She growled. "Look out you silly fools. The monsters will get you."

Ember loves children. She watched them run up to the sparkly monsters who threw little wrapped up things at the kids. She growled fiercely. "Hurt those little kiddies and you'll have me to answer to!"

She did her best to protect the neighborhood and our home. Eventually, it worked. The monsters moved down the street and no more of them came along. The crowds dispersed. Mission accomplished. Ember jumped to the floor and groomed herself with great pride.

November 24, 2021

Erie County mask mandate for everyone began on Monday.

The Erie County infection rate is among the highest in the state at 9.5 currently, but fluctuates between 9 and 10.

Hospitals are at full capacity or nearly full - before the holidays even begin.

All people in any indoor place must wear a mask to try to bring down the infection rate. If it does not work, then curfews and shutdowns might be next.

Buffalo is a blue city, but there are red suburbs and rural areas around it. Contributing to the rising infection rate is the fact that, after the vaccines came out and the CDC lifted its mask guidelines, people abandoned masks and social distancing completely. At the same time, theaters, concerts, football games, restaurants, spas, and beauty parlors all opened up.

Within weeks, the delta variant arrived, but almost nobody returned to masks and social distancing. So now it is mandatory.

November 20, 2021

Got my Moderna booster on Wednesday morning.

This is the first time since then that I feel well enough to post anything, or to DO anything besides just lying around. I had a milder reaction to the initial shots. This time, my arm, shoulder, and back muscles really, really ached. Felt tired, sluggish, and blah. Did nothing but sleep and watch movies since a few hours after the shot. No fever, but achiness, fatigue, and sore throat did me in.

I had a Moderna arm rash about a week after the second shot so I'll be watching for it this time, too.

November 9, 2021

Looking for a forum to discuss current non fiction

Maybe it exists on DU and I'm just not finding it. There is this forum on fiction and a non fiction forum for American history, but what about current (not historical) non fiction?

October 25, 2021

What iconic photos of events are imprinted in your memory?

I was thinking this morning of the power of pictures to capture not just events, but our feelings about those events. Today that could include videos or photos by amateurs in the right place and time, and not just professional photographers.

The ones that come to mind from the past for me are the Vietnamese girl running naked through the streets, the firefighter holding a toddler's lifeless body from the Oklahoma City bombing, Jackie Kennedy in her blood-stained suit standing next to LBJ as he was sworn in, John Jr. saluting his father's casket.

They can be happy photos and memories, too, like Barack and Michelle on stage after the election results in 2008. I was at our city's Dem election headquarters that night, along with other local campaign volunteers. That photo, or videos of that moment, remind me of the teen volunteers with us who ran into the streets to tell passing cars that Obama had won. They were singing "We Are the Champions." A 15 year old standing next to me said, with great relief, "We saved ourselves." Weary of the Bush terms, I said, "I have waited 8 years for this moment." An elderly Black woman said to me, "I have waited a lifetime."

What photos or video moments are imprinted in your mind forever?

October 16, 2021

Now that Halloween is getting closer,

I've been thinking about Halloween memories. What was your funniest Halloween experience? What was your scariest one?

My funniest memory:

I grew up with 2 older brothers and a younger sister. The oldest brother was responsible for taking us on our trick or treating rounds. Our religious denomination had no objections to traditional Halloween celebrations, but the pastor of our specific church did. He preached against it in his sermon the Sunday before Halloween when I was around 8 years old.

He lived 5 blocks away from us. So after taking my younger sister home, my brothers said I could go with them for one last stop IF I promised never to talk about it.

We went to the pastor's house and rang the bell. No answer. The drapes were closed and the lights were off but we could hear the TV inside. So my brother mumbled, "OK, you asked for it." He waxed the word "boo" on the porch windows. Meantime, the other brother strung toilet paper on the porch railing, the posts, and the shrubs in front of the house. Then one brother and I hid behind a tree in the park across the street while the other one pushed a thumbtack into the doorbell to make it ring continuously. He ran to join us behind the tree. When the pastor came out to remove the tack, we giggled so much that I was afraid he would hear us.

We kept straight faces the following Sunday in church and no one besides us ever knew.

September 30, 2021

OMG! It's possible to overdo the mask thing.

I had a dermatology appointment this morning. My father had melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer, and it is hereditary. About 3 years ago, I had a precancerous lesion removed from my right arm. It would have developed into squamous cell carcinoma, not melanoma.

So I went for a head to toe skin checkup today, a yearly exam due to my and my father's medical histories. I am fully vaccinated but due to age and health issues, I always wear a mask around other people. A sign at the medical office said that masks were required at all times unless requested by staff to remove it.

So I declined to remove my mask during the exam, even though the PA said that all staff were vaccinated. There were no worrisome moles on my face. The rough skin patch on my wrist is worthy of observation but not suspicious - yet. Clean bill of skin health. Good.

Just before I was ready to get dressed to leave, the PA reminded me that frequent itching of a spot is a symptom and I remembered scratching the side of my nose lately. So, I thought, why not let her take a peak? We're both vaccinated. I pulled down the mask. Sure enough. The itchy spot is the same kind of precancerous lesion that I had a few years ago on my arm.

Damn good thing I removed the mask. She sprayed it with liquid nitrogen and I go back in 8 weeks to make sure that it worked and the skin is healing.

Almost overdid the mask thing.

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