2020 I just don’t know what to say

#RIP 2020
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The year that will live in infamy for years to come is finally nearing its end.  2020 might only have au couple days left, but the lingering impacts it’s leaving us with will hang around for a while I’m afraid.  Leading up to New Year’s Eve, I’ve been listening to others do their year-in-reviews, and I held off on doing my own until now, because quite frankly, I just really didn’t know what to say.

It isn’t really true that this has been a year unlike any other, a truth that anyone who had to live through the combined effects of WWI, and the 1918 Flu outbreak can attest to. In fact, that era had always been a fascination of mine, as I would marvel at all those people had to endure. Well, I guess I don’t have to wonder about how they managed it anymore, now do I?

In retrospect, we have to admit we’ve been exceptionally lucky up till now. Time and time again we dodged one bullet after another (SARS, MERS, EBOLA).  Our luck was bound to run out eventually, and when I think back on What happened once it did, I must admit that….


Why did we manage it all so badly? Why did we ALL have to freak out in the middle of it, and insist on taking care of so many other social issues right then and there, instead of focusing everything we had on stopping this thing? Why the hell haven’t we grown up enough as a species yet, to be able to recognize that there are some things you just need to get done, and as an adult you just shut your whiney little ass up, and do it because you have to? Keep in mind that I’m not saying you have to like it, nor that you can’t complain, or even try and make changes later on.  I am saying we had our priorities screwed up right now though.  Why can’t we collectively be better than what we’ve been over the last year?


As it stands now, the damage has been done.  For example, I used to love going to the movies when I was young, and despite not being able to go as often when I got older, I love it still.  I never imagined that I would see the demise of the movie theater industry in my lifetime, and yet here we are.

I freely admit that such losses haven’t helped anyone cope with this situation any better.  It feels like every time I turn around, all I see is that the things/places/events/experiences that used to be a major part of my aren’t there anymore.  To be fair, they’re not really all gone. Physically, most are still where they’ve always been, but they have become inaccessible.  So, almost everything that I used to do to relax and enjoy life, I can’t do.  The bigger concern that hides in the back of my mind is will I ever be able to do these things again in the future?  With the way life is changing, and the suggestion that many of these changes might become permanent…


There in lies the concern. That nagging fear of “will life ever be the same,” especially after of all the chaos that 2020 brought with it? Sadly, I do know the answer to that one….


If history has taught us anything, it’s that things do change after events such as these.   Some changes we will undoubtedly hate, some we’ll learn to live with, and others we might even love.  Here’s hoping that 2021 brings us more of that last one. After the year we’ve had, I think we could all use a break, don’t you?

Happy New Year Everyone.


Remembering #GivingTuesday

It may sound strange to be sending out a reminder about a thing that everyone will be talking about over the next couple of days, but oddly enough, that’s why it needs to be done. We can get so used to hearing about it that it just begins to blend in with all the other background noise. However, unlike all the other stuff, this really does matter. It always has of course, but especially so this year, with the economy in the state it’s in, everyone and everything seems to need help.

The complication this year is that more and more people can’t afford to contribute like they once did. Just like in the Great Recession, nonprofits are watching their donations disappear, only this time people often can’t safely volunteer their time either.

So, what’s there to do? Simply put, you do what you can. Even if it’s a single dollar, well that’s one dollar more than they had before you gave it. If enough of us do the same, then it can become enough in the end. We all just have to care enough to try. So, reflect on your situation, see what you can do, and participate in this year’s #GivingTuesday …. even if you have to wait till Friday when you get paid to do it, no one will stop you from giving if you’re just a little late. Pitch in folks.

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Not all voting booths are made equal

i voted sticker lot
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There are now only a few more days left in this election (thank God). That means anyone who hasn’t submitted their ballot yet really needs to hop to it. However, as if this year wasn’t complicated enough, now you have to also deal with fake ballot boxes too. That’s right folks, this year not all ballot boxes are legit.

This has come about for a variety of reasons, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. Some were set up possibly out of malice, while others were done out of what might have been a real attempt to help (like a “Ballot party” I was recently invited to). Whatever the reason, legally their existence is dubious at best.

In this final weekend of voting, legitimate pop-up locations are being opened around the country. Although they are meant to make voting easier, for some they might just make it more confusing. The one sure way to know if the site/box you’re about to go to is for real, is to ask. Look up the Registrar of Voters for your county, and see if it’s listed on their website. Still not sure? Wait until Monday, and call them to hear it directly from the horse’s mouth.  Then sign up to get updates on the status of your ballot, the registrar’s office should be able to tell you how to do that as well. Now that you have your game plan, go find that ballot of yours, and finally fill it out! 🤗

Coastal Cleanup Day still on in 2020

(Image courtesy of California Coastal Commission)

Good new Eco-wariors, this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day 2020 is still on, but with Covid-19 necessary adjustments.  Each state will of course decide how to best make these adjustments, but here in California, the event is being spread out over several Saturdays instead of just one, and the number of locations has been increased to allow for more social distancing.

Each year people come together to help clean our beaches, parks, shorelines, and coastal shallows.  With an ever increasing amount of plastics, and other garbage, entering the oceans every year, this endeavor is more important that ever.  Luckily, even the Coronavirus can’t stop dedicated individuals from doing their part, especially now that there won’t be the danger of large groups congregating together while they do it.

For details about how your local Coastal Clean Up is going to work this year, just do a search for what’s going on in your state, if you live in California though, you can just look here for the California website.

Has Coronavirus exposed Big Brother?

Yet again the current administration has quietly put through another order meant to hinder the spread of information regarding something of vital importance.  This time it was the Coronavirus.

According to a just published article on the NY Times website, the White House has now sent out instructions to hospitals that all Covid data is to be pushed through to a central office in DC, and not to the CDC, as it normally would be.  Will future data at least be shared with the CDC in its entirety?  Only time will tell.  (Use the link below to read what they found in the NY Times article).  When you start to think about other similar steps that have been take at various other times when those actions mostly benefit someone’s re-election campaign, this all becomes even more concerning, especially since it seems to have been done so covertly.

Considering what’s at stake, this can’t be allowed to stand as is.  Sadly it seems that there might have been a useful side to Coronavirus after all, as it might turn out to be one of the only things powerful enough to actually pull back that curtain, and expose the current location of Big Brother for us all to see.  The question now is will enough people even bother to look.


Pondering the oddity of our Covid19 days

white and tan english bulldog lying on black rug
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Ask anyone (including your dog), and they’ll tell you that we’re living in strange times.  A world-wide pandemic, protests, locust swarms on multiple continents, and a massive dust cloud are sadly but a few of the issues we’re all facing right now.  Social isolation is the key we’re told, to group survival; and to be fair, past pandemics have proven this to be true.  Yet, the oddest thing of all, is that with all of our technology we started out thinking we wouldn’t truly be isolated at all.

A couple of months was all it took to show us the falseness of that techno promise, but hey, it’s not the computer’s fault that zooming just isn’t the same as hanging out.   We’re now being reminded of how much real connections matter.

Things will, no doubt, continue to rapidly change over the next several months.  What legacy this pandemic will leave us with is anyone’s guess, but one thing that is odder still, is that one thing it apparently won’t leave is a song.

Oh, I know various artist are already writing up a storm about life during Corona, but what I’m talking about is the childrens’ songs that past pandemic have inspired.  For example, the Spanish Flu had a jump roping song about “a bird named Enza,” and as they opened the door “in flew enza.”.  Even the Black Death inspired a song.  You may have heard of it, it was called “Ring around the Rosie.”

However, here we are, several months into this ‘experience,’ and not so much as a hummed tune yet to be heard.  Is it just too soon?  Will later reflection show that a song did come about after all?  I guess we’ll see, but until then, go play with your dog.  This whole Covid thing is so stressful for him too, now that it turns out dogs and cats can catch it as well.  Man, what a weird disease, what ever will the future lyrics even sound like I wonder?

Stay safe everyone.

Congrats Grads, may your future always be green!

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020, both the high school and college versions.  Seriously, congratulations!  This may not be the event you all had imaged just a few short months ago, but it’s still a monumental achievement worth noting.  So take the pictures wearing your cap and gown anyway, as this is something that someday you Will want to look back on.

Now, as you move forward with you life onto the next stage, remember that in many ways the hard work has just begun.  It’s time to be a full participant in the world in which you live.  Time to learn to do your own taxes, clean up your own space without being reminded, and some day even take care of kids of your own.  Most importantly though, it is time to walk to walk.  All those Friday Protest for the Planet were cute and all, but other than getting some attention for the cause, lets face it, not too many of the participants were really doing anything other than ditching school.  Now it’s time to truly show you dedication to the environment, by choosing to live your adult life as green a way as you possibly can.

Growing up you’ve all heard about how this is supposed to work, and now is your chance to actually make those decisions that will hopefully help to make the world a better place.  So welcome to the future 2020 Grads.  In time this whole Corona thing will come under control, and once it does you will hopefully step out into the world again, ready to help in the fight we all must be part of, to fix all those other problems that still need your skills.  To those of you still willing to be part of this movement, with or without the benefit of skipping class, welcome to the fight.  We’ve can’t wait to see what you achieve while your here.

Earth Day even in a pandemic

ball shaped blur close up focus
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This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  2020 should have been a wonderful year, with the anniversary serving as a way to re-energize the public’s awareness of the importance of this day.  Instead, all public events have been canceled, and many online events have been trying to garner attention in amid the chaos of the anti-shutdown protests, and the Covid-19 related deaths. Despite the fact that is day needs to continue being important to us all, this year it may seem impossible to focus on what is needed.  Perhaps that is the very reason why we all should try to do it despite it all.

Most of what we all normally do to live green has been thrown out of whack, but perhaps the awareness of that can help us to refocus, and try to get things back on track as soon as possible. At least one good thing is coming from all this though, nature is getting a bit of a break.  If this shutdown helps to show that our behavior does leave a mark on the word, then perhaps this can serve as proof that conservation efforts should be increased.  Only time will tell if enough people are listening.  In the meantime, Happy Earth Day, Week, and Month to you all.

10 best ways to utilize your Coronavirus staycation

white and tan english bulldog lying on black rug
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With the exception of a few centenarians, this week’s events surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak are probably rather new for most people. This will undoubtedly change the way we all live our lives for the at least the near future, and just like pandemics before it, Corona will most likely leave a lasting impression on various aspects of the world in which we all interact.  The best thing to do right now is to remain calm, and remember that this will eventually run its course (evidence is that it’s already on the decline in China and South Korea).  In the meantime many of us are suddenly finding yourself on an unexpected Coronavirus staycation.  Once you get over the annoyance, and craziness of it all (try transitioning 5 college classes onto an online format in a week, and you too will be feeling frantic), you will then find yourself with at least a little bit of free time, if only because you won’t be spending so much time commuting to work.

So what do you do with yourself during this time to avoid succumbing to cabin fever?  Here are 10 suggestions for the best ways to take advantage of this time at home.  The first half have to do with practical things you NEED to do, and the second half is the dessert, that you’ll WANT to do.  If you have any other suggestions not listed below, please feel free to add a comment, after all, we’re all in this together.

Adulting 101 – Covid-19 style:

1) Do your Taxes!  That’s right folks,  taxes are one of the two things that are guaranteed.  Despite politicians talking about possibly postponing that April 15th deadline, so far it hasn’t happened.  So, make sure to get a jump on this, especially if your worried you might get Corona, as you really won’t want to be looking for your W-2’s once you have a fever.

2) Take stock of your life.  I don’t mean from a metaphysical standpoint.  I’m referring to the practical things, like do you, or your spouse know what to do if one of you gets sick?  Howe about your parents, what are their wishes?  Even if you’re single, plan now for what will happen to your pets if you wind up in the hospital.  It’s the type of stuff we never want to think about, but like it or not, now’s the time to get your affairs in order!

3) Take stock of your cupboards.  Hopefully the panic buying will end soon, but just in case, make sure you know what you absolutely need, and what you can hold off on buying.  With greater focus you can better seek out where to find what you still need, because you’ll know what part of the store to hit first, or perhaps what you can find through online retailers instead. Also, you’re not prepping for war people, fresh fruits and vegetables should still be part of what you buy!

close up of fruits in bowl
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4) Take stock of your medicine cabinet.  With the weird run on paper towels, it seems that most people for some reason have forgotten about the medicines that they might need even more.  Check on your prescriptions, and over-the-counter type meds (cough syrup, etc.), and then check with your doctor or pharmacy about the possibility of getting them mailed to you instead.

5) Catch up with those you care about.  Haven’t talked to your old college buddy in a while, or e-mailed your cousin since their last birthday?  Now’s a good time to check on everyone, especially anyone that you may have inadvertently lost contact with.  This can be especially important for elderly relatives that might need help.  With more and more people potentially finding themselves isolated for longer periods than they’ve ever experienced before, reaching out via phone, e-mail, skype, or even text can make a world of difference.

Now for the fun stuff! – Even if you’re still working on 1-5, make sure to occasionally take a break, and de-stress.

photo of woman holding book
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6) Finally read that book you’ve been trying to fit in.  We all have that novel, mystery, or romance that we’ve got sitting near our beds.  Find it, dust it off, and finally crack that spine.  If you can’t get out into the real world, you might as well escape into a fictional one.

7) Stream to your hearts content.  What, you got something better to do.  Well, ok, maybe you’re still working on numbers 1-5, but everyone needs a break now and then. This is especially true with all that is going on right now.  Take a night off, ignore the news, and just binge watch your favorite movies or TV shows.  A little innocent fun never hurt anyone.  All you need to do is try to remember what that pesky password is.

8) Start to plan how your garden will grow.  Even in the warmest states, it’s a bit too soon to actually plant a garden, but it’s actually the perfect time to prep for, and plan one out. No one says you can’t go out into your own yard, or patio/balcony.  So it’s totally ok to start clear out the old plants (if you haven’t already), scrub out pots, pull any new weeds, and add soil nutrients as needed.  Don’t forget that even if the outside weather isn’t optimal for planting, you can always start some of your garden inside by planting seeds.  Watching them sprout can also give you, and your family, something to look forward to.  Nothing reminds you that life goes on better than watching something grow.


9) Learn something new.  There are so many ways to do this, especially with the help of online resources.  DIY resources abound (ex: need to patch up something in your house, YouTube examples of how-to). You can also take free classes on topics you’ve always been interested in.  Check out your local library’s website for some free options they might offer (many have free online programs to help you learn a new language, such as Mango or Babble).  You can also check out Coursera online directly for their list of free classes, or just do a google search for anything you might want to learn (such as a craft or skill).

10) Enjoy your world, virtually.  You can do this via video games of course, including the intellectually based one like Lumosity.  However, do to so many people having to self quarantine around the world, several institutions that have been made to close their doors, are now inviting the public into their virtual spaces instead.  Many major museums around the world already had some virtual tours online, but many more are going online right now.  Even some music options are opening up online, as some tours get canceled the groups are choosing to interact with their fans online via free virtual concerts.  Even a major philharmonic in Germany has now opened their performances for free viewing online.  Most of these institutions, or groups, are waiving their normal subscription fees until at least the end of March.  Just because you’re stuck inside physically, doesn’t mean your mind can’t take a journey of discovery instead.

Which ever choices you make to fill your time, good luck everyone, and please stay safe!

cooking hands handwashing health
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Facemasks: CoronaVirus shield or not?

With the current worry about the Corona Virus showing up in more and more countries, it is important to educate yourself about what is truly useful health advise, and what is not.  The best option is to always turn to the experts if you can.  However, if you can’t speak to your local doctor right away, there is always the CDC’s website, which has a dedicated section just for the Corona virus (aka COVID-19).  Since most people here in the US aren’t currently dealing with actual infections yet, most people will probably be most concerned with the page on “Prevention & Treatment.”

One of the most relevant parts of the site, for anyone who is currently trying to prepare  by purchasing facemasks, would probably be this section:

Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

The run on supplies that recently took place in China, sadly seems to have been made up of mostly useless purchases.  True, it probably makes people feel better to be wearing a mask, but if they’ve purchased a standard dust-mask, it most likely won’t do them much good.  Remember that COVID-19 is a virus, not a bacteria.  Don’t get tricked into buying anything (especially on-line) that claims to block all diseases, because that claim is most likely inaccurate, or outright false.  Also, please don’t think that it will grant you immunity, or act as an impenetrable shield.  Nothing is foolproof, least of all a thin paper/cloth mask.

As stated on the CDC’s website, there is a valid reason to use them, but it’s mostly to help prevent you from spreading the disease to others;  not to help you avoid getting it from them.  If you fear you might find yourself in a situation where you risk exposure, sure, having a mask on can’t hurt.  However, the better option would probably be to avoid that situation instead, if at all possible that is.

Plus, no matter what, its always a good idea to regularly wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes.  No need to actually deliver the virus to your own face, if you can help it.   For updates, and more info on the Virus, please make sure to check the CDC’s website.  With any luck, this thing will burn itself out soon, and we can all go back to worrying about our taxes instead.  Hey, no one said being an adult would be fun.