The Three P’s — Pandemic, Protests, Problems

Pandemic

On Saturday, March 14th, our local news announced the governor had declared a state of emergency and we were faced with a pandemic. At our ages, it was suggested we “stay at home” and/or “shelter in place.” So began our isolation. 

It’s been four months since we assumed our place in the pandemic. Like good citizens, we’ve stayed at home with the exception of driving to our grocery store to pick up our grocery orders. Otherwise, church services, choir practices, committee meetings, doctor’s appointments have been held using Zoom. 

Oregon is now a part of the pandemic surge with daily numbers rising more than they did during the previous three months. Why won’t people wear masks? 

Needless to say, we’re growing a bit weary of the inability to mix with friends and family. Yet, we understand that what we do will help someone else be safe and healthy. The compassion shown for our neighbors is a good thing, something our world is quickly growing away from. After this pandemic is over, perhaps compassion will have taken a front seat again.

Protests

On May 25th, the national news announced the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. The saddest part of that news is that George Floyd was murdered by a white police officer using his knee on Floyd’s neck to detain him. The officer’s knee was on Floyd’s neck for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds, at which time Floyd expired.

It was no surprise when protests started the next day in Minneapolis. Protesters support those seeking justice for George Floyd and the wider #BlackLivesMatter movement. As of today, protests have been ongoing in many cities and towns in all 50 states and five permanently inhabited territories as well as 60 other countries. In my home state of Oregon, the protests have been continuous from May 26th through and including July 14th.

In most areas, the protests have been for the most part peaceful. There have, however, been some fringe groups taking advantage of the larger protests and creating riots that have included some police brutality, fires, looting, and property damages. 

Historically, we have witnessed similar demonstrations with respect to the systemic injustice and racism prevalent in our country. My hope is that this time perhaps we’ll get it right and those of us living with white privilege will grasp an understanding of what is needed to change the climate surrounding the issues raised by these our brothers and sisters. Many cities and states are discussing police reforms already.

Problems

Maybe things look somewhat different around here. And they are. You see, this is where the problems entered my life. Something happened with the theme I had been using for my site. The problems couldn’t be resolved. So, I went in search of something new. At every turn, there seemed to be a problem.

I began to think my laptop might be infected with a virus. Likely not COVID-19, but still. After a thorough virus scan by Norton, that was not the case. I kept digging. It felt like an archeologist must feel when on the BIG DIG.

Finally, success was found with this theme, and I went through all the motions to get my preferences and settings re-established. Not as big a crisis as the other two P’s, but a crisis inside my bubble nonetheless.

Lesson

The problem with my computer became a great distraction. There was no allowing in the daily news blurbs on the pandemic nor the situation in downtown Portland every afternoon and on into the morning hours of the next day.

I had a job to get done — my “business” had come crashing down and I had to find the cause and rebuild. Every minute of every day was needed to complete this unforgiving task. This showed me that the focus that I feel I have lost is still there. It must depend on what I’m attempting to shine my focus.

Next up, I need to sort out a way to shine my focus back on my writing.

Does anyone want to join me?

focus, darkness, light, Aristotle, quote
Attributed to Bliss Quotes

Featured Image Attributed to Sweet Pea Gardens

 

Cool June Days

I dedicate this post to Rev. Joshua Dunham, our former Associate Pastor and Youth Leader. Joshua brought light and understanding to the words of Micah 6:8 in a sermon a few years ago. Since then, I have read it, studied it, and prayed on it. God bless you, Joshua!


These are cool June days.

First thing each morning, our black Bombay kitty, Ignatz aka Iggy, cries to go outside. He doesn’t like being indoors, but he complies with our nightly wishes to stay in. Depending on the weather, he may change his mind.

Today and for the lasts few days the morning air is cool, the sky gray. Occasionally, a beam of light slips between these tall trees, and then it’s gone. Continue reading “Cool June Days”

What I’ve Learned, So Far, in the Time of COVID-19

I may be older now than the little one pictured above, but I was once that young. Despite the differences in our ages, she and I are both learning. Hopefully, she is still learning about the wonders of the outdoors. The things I’m learning I hope she never has the chance of learning.

This last weekend I attended a writing workshop on the literary essay. It was time well spent. Writing prompts were available in huge numbers, and the words “pandemic” and “quarantine” came up more than once.

One more event via Zoom. The word “together” was used in opening statements from the facilitator. One participant spoke up to say that showing up on each other’s computer screens did not constitute “together.” I have to agree with her. At coffee and lunch breaks, we could not interact and get to know each other.

At one point, our facilitator noted that list-making was one way to prompt the mind as you start writing. I chose to list some things I’ve learned during this pandemic. I’m sure my list will continue to grow, and as it does, I’ll share it with you.

What I’ve Learned So Far

  • Sadly, it is possible for state governments to take the lead in managing a pandemic, especially when there is no master plan at the federal level.
  • You can purchase a new car on December 31, 2019, and drive it only once each week or two.
  • I can read five books at a time. Maybe more — we’re not out of the woods yet in my county in Oregon.
  • It is possible to get along without replacing the overhead light fixture in your laundry room if it’s not possible to go to Home Depot to get a replacement. 
  • Online grocery shopping is not so bad. I may like it so well that when we’re past this quarantine I’ll continue on.
  • Someone else is capable of selecting my produce and meat while at the same time pleasing me. Of course, I knew Bob could do this but he can’t go to the grocery either.
  • We’re accomplishing a great deal that wouldn’t have gotten done if we hadn’t been forced to slow down and stay home.
  • Now I appreciate how much I miss our participation in the music culture of Portland.
  • Worship continues on in this pandemic world thanks to today’s technology in live-streaming, Zoom, and many other methods. 
  • There are things I can live without.
  • I can go much longer than I thought without a haircut. Currently, I’m at month three today.
  • Sadly, I’ve learned how quickly a virus can increase the population in hospitals and the number of deaths in a city or state or country.
  • And I’ve learned how many people ignore the boundaries and guidelines for protecting each other against a virus. We are all in this together, aren’t we?

What Is There Still to Learn?

I don’t know for certain, but I can assure you I believe there will be something. And when I find out, it will be time to update the above list and I will.

And What Have You Learned, My Friend?

Stop below and leave one, or two, or more things you’ve learned thus far in the pandemic. If you’d like to be anonymous, email them to me via my Contact Page.

And a message from Mr. Rogers in honor of all those working on the front lines of this pandemic, whether nurse, doctor, maintenance and janitorial staff, cafeteria workers in hospitals, ambulance drivers, and first responders, and volunteers working food banks and in other areas.

Mr. Rogers, Fred Rogers, helpers, frontline in pandemic, remember

 

Featured Image Attribution: Photo by John Wilhelm

What Does a Calendar in Covid Time Look Like?

The sun sets, and the sun rises, bringing us a new day.
 
“Where’s your calendar?”
 
Those words request a coming together to check and synchronize our calendars. Three separate calendars need complete synchronicity. There’s the kitchen calendar, Bob’s little black book calendar, and the calendar I carry with me. Neither of us is willing to trust our important engagements to a digital calendar. I do use Google calendar for writing deadlines.
 
Yet, our habit is in the throes of slow death, and it is dying because our calendars are bare. There is nothing to synchronize.
 
Pure white is the color of the squares on the kitchen calendar. Appointments and engagements scheduled pre-pandemic have lines drawn through them. Some are marked “CANCELED;” others “RESCHEDULED.” 
 
Usually, Bob is away from home three nights a week for rehearsals with his bands and church choir. Not now. We marked those plans off our calendars.
 
Once or twice or three times each month we have a concert on our schedules. They all now fall under the categories “canceled” and “rescheduled.”
 
Our major outings are trips to the grocery store, bank, and postal box. We don’t shop in the store; we go there only to pick up what I’ve ordered online. This calls for a short ride to and from the store parking lot. The return trip can take a bit longer depending on the route Bob selects.
 
When banking is needed, Bob makes a short trip to the bank. Likewise, if we need to mail bill payments, Bob gets in the car and drives a short distance to a postal box. Needless to say, we’re saving money on fuel.
 
Our church services live-stream on Facebook on Sunday mornings. Other church-related activities take place via Zoom. I participate in a couple of writing-related Zoom events. One on Saturday mornings for a “coffee gathering.” The other is a workshop on the lyric essay this coming weekend.
 
I text our next-door neighbor to see how they’re doing. Phone calls or texts check on two out-of-town friends. Emails catch up with another out-of-town friend. Social media, primarily Facebook, keeps me on top of family happenings. There is something positive about the Internet and technology after all.
 
I’m hopeful your calendar(s) look busier than ours. Under the current circumstances, I’m uncertain how that could be. When you hear or read the news, the pace seems the same for us all.
 
My purpose in all this rambling? I wanted to commit it to our family history for posterity’s sake to prove it actually happened. When you consider how busy we are, it’s unthinkable that someone would have a blank calendar. Not to mention three!
 

COVID calendar, blank calendar, too busy, lesson learned