The Luck in Life

A good friend commented on my last blog about the way she handles those creepy crawlers, and after reading her response, I haven’t seen one again. So I go around knocking on wood that things will stay that way.

But what is the purpose of knocking on wood? Ancient folklore says that we knock on wood to make a sound that prevents the evil spirits from listening in when we boast about our luck, thereby preventing a reversal of fortune.

There are so many different things we think will bring us luck. Why is a four-leaf clover considered lucky? The four-leaf clover has always been considered a symbol of good luck in the Irish culture. According to the legend, the leaves of a four-leaf clover represent hope, faith, love, and a fourth for good luck.

Ever carried a rabbit’s foot? (They were a big hit as key-chains a long, long time ago.) Why? Because In some cultures, the foot of a rabbit is carried as an amulet believed to bring good luck. 

Many people who play the lottery use a mix of numbers that are significant to them – birthdays, anniversaries, ages, etc. They truly believe that using these numbers will eventually bring them luck, and they never change them no matter how often they don’t win.

And apparently, we can also bring bad luck upon ourselves. Walk under a ladder, have a black cat cross your path, break a mirror.

Then there are all of those things that, if we did them, would cause bad circumstances. Sit too close to the TV and you’ll go cross-eyed. Step on a crack (in the sidewalk) and you’ll break your mother’s back. Swallow watermelon seeds and they’ll grow into new watermelons in your stomach. And always said to the boys, “If you play with yourself it will cause blindness”.

The thing is, luck is described as: success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

The logical part of our brains tells us that these are just old folk tales or wives tales. (Neither of my brothers ever went blind!) And yet, to perhaps incur good luck or to side-step bad luck, we still practice many of them. I still knock on wood (although fiberboard and metal are around me more than actual wood). I very seldom play the lottery, but when I did, however sporadic, I always had numbers that were significant to me that I used, and probably would still use.

The thing of it is, if we believe that these things will be what brings us luck, why do we WORK at bringing good things into our lives? It’s because we know that, as charming as these symbols of good or bad luck are, they aren’t going to really fix anything for us that matters. Sure, maybe someone WILL win the lottery with special numbers, but then again, people who had the machines pick the numbers for them have also won the lottery. The PA Dutch have a tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day to bring them a year of good luck. I’ve had pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day plenty of times, but there are also just as many times I’ve not had it on New Year’s Day. And to be honest, I haven’t seen a change in my luck with or without!

Good luck on your travels! Good luck on your test! Good luck on your new married life! Good luck with your surgery! There isn’t a thing I’ve just mentioned that can be achieved with just luck. Why do we bother saying these things when we know, rationally, that it’s going to take something other than luck to bring success?

By definition, luck is something that happens randomly. It is nothing that results from anything we do or say to bring it about. All that rubbing of that rabbit’s foot didn’t change anything for me, nor the pork and sauerkraut eaten on New Year’s Day. I may participate in some of the rituals for good luck, because they cause no one, including me, any harm. As long as we practice them with that understanding – that our luck will NOT change because of them – then no harm, no foul. May God be kind on the soul who truly believes that s/he just needs luck to change his/her life!

Random Stuff

They’re back: When I first moved here, I found that spring and autumn brought out something I was later told were ‘water bugs’ and that they were harmless. Sorry, I know that insects have some necessary reason to exist, but I don’t like them…. from the smallest gnat and up. Water bugs are uglier than ugly and come from the roach family. I went to the local hardware store to look for something to help kill them. While they may be from the roach family, roach traps didn’t help. Bug sprays killed them if I drowned the suckers in it, but it didn’t keep them away. When the neighbor upstairs started getting them too, the landlord had someone come out and spray around the outside borders of the building. I bought one of those pest repellants that you plug in, which stays plugged in 365 days a year. This spring, they seem to be returning en masse. The first two I found, one each day, were already dead or almost dead, lying on their backs. I scooped them up on my trusty flyswatter and flushed them down the toilet. The third day, I found one sitting just as proud as can be on the floor. I stomped that bugger hard and it also got flushed. The next day, I found one inside my bathroom trash can. Luckily for me, it was empty of trash so I just turned it upside down over the toilet, shook it until the bug fell into the bowl and flushed. Now I’m going to go another season unwilling to walk anywhere without sturdy shoes on my feet so I can squish them!

Uglier than ugly, right?

They’re here: I forget from year to year how much I like malted milk balls until Robin Eggs come out as part of the Easter candy line-up. I stumbled across them in a big-box store and grabbed two bags. I had plans to make small Easter baskets for my five neighbors in my building, and thought they’d be a great addition to what I’d already pulled together. And they would have been…. if they hadn’t gotten consumed by me before it was time to put together the baskets. No problem, though – I found some at my grocery store and picked them up as a replacement. They didn’t last until it was time to put the baskets together, either. Fortunately, I had plenty of goodies for the baskets and no one but me (and now you) knows that something was missing. I decided to go out to the big-box store when it opened the day after Easter to see if I could score more Robin Eggs, determined I was buying all they had whether they had been marked down or not. All of the Easter candy had been removed from the section where it had been displayed and I didn’t find it anywhere else in the store. Again, no problem – I’d go to the grocery store and get more. The employee was putting all of the leftover candy on a table up front marked at 50% off, but there were no Robin eggs! He said they’d sold out of them before Easter!

What’s a girl to do? Come home and go onto the Amazon web site, of course! (DUH!). Plenty of options there. I looked at ounces versus cost. In the end – DON’T JUDGE ME HERE! – I ended up buying a bulk package of 5 pounds of Robin eggs! When it comes to things to snack on, I go through spells – I buy something and then end up losing my desire for it and giving what I don’t eat away. I’ve chomped down at least a pound of these things already, so I don’t know if that’s going to happen here! Meanwhile, my mouth is a happy camper noshing away!

5 delicious pounds and they’re mine, all mine!

It won’t go away: I thought I was on my way to making the final decision about Medicare. I looked at every single plan my advisor said I was eligible for, and narrowed it down to just two. During my conversation with him over those two, I chose one. Unfortunately, it was a small company, one that only serves customers in my state, and one he doesn’t work with. So, he gave me the web site link and wished me luck. First red flag – the web site was as plain and simple as could be, offering only the phone numbers for Medicare and Medicaid with which to sign up. (In other words, no agents working on their behalf.) I’ve always preferred to work one-on-one whenever possible, because I’ve dealt with customer service stuff where I call, talk to a person, get information, call back, talk to another person, tell them that person #1 said such-and-such, and get an apology that person #1 was incorrect and what person #2 is telling me is the correct information. That’s the same reason I don’t go to big hair and/or nail salons – I want the same person to work with me each time so that they know what I want/need without having to guess and not give me what I want/need.

I decided to look at my original option #2 for Medicare plan B, and thought I’d also look at its web site ahead of time. Well, as it turns out, the web site tells me different information about premiums, co-pays, etc. than what the material my advisor sent to me has. So, now I’ve had to set up yet another phone appointment (my advisor does work with this company, at least) to discuss this. Meanwhile, I feel like I’m starting back at the beginning…

I feel like I’m starting over!

What makes it worse: My Medicare advisor asked me when we first started working together about using Zoom to interact. I told him that my technology understanding was nothing more than an engine sputtering and stuck in first gear, and that I had no idea how to make it go zoom. Now, with this latest situation, he wants our next meeting to be done via Zoom so he can get someone on the line with us from the actual insurance company to answer my questions.

First off, I always despise being in front of a camera at any time (I get sweaty palms just having my driver’s license photo taken!). Secondly, I’ve heard my voice recorded and how other people hear it, and it sounds so much worse than how I hear it inside my head. Third, I don’t know how much the camera will capture of my surroundings, so I feel like the entire area around me should be neat and clean and tidy. All of that is in addition to my having to study tutorials on how to actually use this thing called Zoom and hope I don’t look more stupid than I feel about it when the time comes!

Say NO to Zoom!

Can’t stop the clock: And, of course, on top of all of this, I can’t stop the clock from ticking away the seconds and the minutes to push me closer to that number 65 in chronological age.

Argggghhhh!

Now that I’m saddened by recounting all of this again, I think I’ll go stuff my mouth with some Robin eggs!

If I had a dollar….

If I had a dollar for every new draft of a post I’ve started in the past 60 days that I ended up trashing before getting them finished, I could, at the very least, buy a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

Well, I could, except that the local McDonald’s, the only fast food restaurant in our little borough, is taking down the building in their current location and building a new one. When I say take down, we are not talking a wrecking ball. Each and every section of material is being removed methodically, and sorted into piles based on what the material is. So, there won’t be any Happy Meal in my near future.

Of course, at the rate I’m going, I may have enough ‘dollars’ stacked up to buy an adult meal before the new one is built and open for business. Rumor has it that the target date is July 30th.

I’ve had two major stressors in my life lately. One is wandering my way through all things Medicare without pulling out my hair or going back to starting to drink again. I am finally about 95% of the way through. Just one more call (I hope) with my Medicare agent, one call directly to make certain that I’m reading the letter from my current insurance to make sure I understand how to cancel it, and one to Medicare to opt out of Plan D for prescriptions since I’m choosing a plan that includes prescription coverage. I’ve already located a family medicine practice that accepts Medicare, since my current one does not. I’ve been unhappy with my services at the current facility but I didn’t want to create waves over complaining about it, especially when I was pretty sure it wouldn’t change anything. So now I have an “excuse” to leave, and I’m happy about that!

My second stressor is much more personal and has to do with someone who treated me very rudely. I said nothing but a few other people called him out on it, and he agreed with them that it was a mistake on his part. This is something I’ve tried to write about here twice since it happened about 10 days ago and ended up trashing. My position is that the person who did it needs to offer me an apology. He continues to let other people speak on his behalf about it, but hasn’t said a thing about it to me directly, and I’m miffed!

Oh crap, and now Word Press is being funky! I have no idea why that capital M is super big and I can’t change it back. Actually, I like it and would like to use it in every paragraph!

And now it feels like this is another post that belongs in the trash can. Apologies to those of you who bothered to read it!

Catechism

After writing my post about “holy water” and thinking afterwards about how ‘holy water’ is used for events like baptisms, I began thinking about the religious rites of different faiths, and for me, I remember that catechism was the the next rite following baptism. If you’d have asked me weeks ago, I’d have told you that I believed that catechism was the time in an (older) child’s life when that child was now old enough to understand the concept of the vows that were made on his/her behalf at baptism and was now making an individual and independent decision to continue on that spiritual journey. I took catechism classes. I graduated from those classes. I don’t remember a single thing that was taught during those classes. In fact, my biggest memory is of catechism Sunday and waiting for my name to be called to step up to the altar to receive said graduation acknowledgement, and as another of the girl’s name was called and she started up the aisle, I remember the whisper of one female church member to another sitting in the pew behind me about how this girl’s dress seemed indecently short, especially for church. It was my first eye-opening to the fact that some of my church members were hypocrites and what eventually led me away from ‘organized’ religion.

So, I decided to use the dictionary to find out what catechism really means. According to good old Merriam-Webster, “a catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts. Catechisms are doctrinal manuals – often in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorized – a format that has been used in non-religious or secular contexts as well. According to Norman DeWitt, the early Christians appropriated this practice from the Epicureans, a school whose founder Epicurus had instructed to keep summaries of the teachings for easy learning. The term catechumen refers to the designated recipient of the catechetical work or instruction.”

If there were actual diplomas given out at catechism graduation, I’d feel compelled to return mine immediately. If I learned – or as the definition states, memorized this information – it went into my short-term memory banks and was quickly erased to make room for other short-term memory. I mean… I call myself spiritual, but not religious, I believe in the Holy Trinity and the teachings of the Bible in principle, I do my best to follow the Ten Commandments, but beyond that?

I remember to this day what a friend from high school called me the one time we talked about religion. I told him what it was I believed and all of the places my life wasn’t lived in a God-like manner, and he told me that I was a “heaven hippie”. He said that, because I believed in John 3:16, and tried to live morally (success not always guaranteed) and certainly went out of my way NOT to hurt others, that heaven would have a place for me, but my path to get there would be at the beat of my own drum. I’m glad to have that to hold on to, because if all of these doctrines and teachings from catechism class are what will get me into heaven, then…. all I can say is “send ice, it’s hot down here!”

Who else took catechism classes? What, if anything, do you remember from them?

Holy Water

The song, “Holy Water” was sung by the duo Big & Rich and was released in 2004. It was written on behalf of both Big Kenny’s and John Rich’s sisters, who were both victims of abuse. According to Big & Rich’s own website, “Big & Rich wrote ‘Holy Water’ as a personal prayer of love and support for their sisters, and for the countless women who have suffered from and survived domestic violence.” However, any girl/woman who has experienced a traumatic abuse of any kind can relate to the words.

Ironically, I heard this song when it was released and because it climbed to #15 on the charts, heard it often enough to be able to sing along with most of the words to it. Even more ironic is that, while I liked the song, it never climbed into me and claimed me as other songs had, even though I was a girl who was subjected to traumatic abuse.

I heard it again, recently, while searching out another song by this duo, and POW! – I finally really understood the words’ meaning. I even understood that the words “holy water” were not speaking in religious/ spiritual terms, but in the sense of being fully cleansed from the pain by drowning in a clean, healing water. Because of the power of these lyrics, I feel compelled to share them with the hope that they will empower any of my readers who relate!

Somewhere there’s a stolen halo
I used to watch her wear it well.
Everything would shine,
Wherever she would go
But lookin’ at her now, you’ll never tell

Someone ran away with her innocence
A memory she can’t get out of her head
And I can only imagine what she’s feelin’ when she’s prayin’
Kneelin’ at the edge of her bed

And she says take me away
Then take me farther
Surround me now
And hold, hold, hold me
Like Holy Water
Holy Water

She wants someone to call her angel
Someone to put the light back in her eyes
She’s lookin’ through the faces and unfamiliar places
She needs someone to hear her when she cries

When she says take me away
Then take me farther
Surround me now
And hold, hold, hold me
Like Holy Water
She just needs a little help

To wash away the pain she’s felt

She wants to feel the healin’ hands of someone who understands
And she says take me away
Then take me farther

Surround me now
And hold, hold, hold me
She says take me away
Then take me farther
Surround me now
And hold, hold, hold me
Like Holy Water
Like Holy Water
Like Holy Water
Like Holy Water.

Becoming “Official”

It is this year – 2021 – in which I will “officially” become a senior citizen. That’s right, the magic chronological age of 65 will become my status in a few months. Unlike many, I’ve never had trouble stating my age, never complained about growing older. Something from a purer place inside me always acknowledges the marking of another year gone and another year here as a badge of sorts, making me proud that I’ve somehow survived yet another revolution around the sun and am living to talk about it.

Thinking about this upcoming chronological number is, however, a bit more murky for me. Physically, I feel (most times) a few years older than what I think 65 should feel like. Mentally, I feel sharp enough in thought and intelligence to feel as though I’ve not been affected by any chronological number. Yes, occasionally, I’ve had moments where a word is “on the tip of my tongue” but I can’t grasp what the word is, but merely consider that happening as a result of having so much information stored in my brain that the dots take longer to connect until my brain finds what I want to say. Emotionally, I’m not sure how old I am. I’m still naive about a lot of things, but I’m also more cynical about a lot of things.

I had the honor and privilege of recently hearing a yet-released original composition called “Water’s Edge” by Dom LaFerlita. Dom is a 25-year old Australian man, who has been educationally investing himself it music personally and professionally for the past 10 years. He will soon be receiving his Masters in (I forget the exact title but something in music teaching). He studied classical music throughout much of his education, but has recently forayed into all different genres of music. He also had three years of vocal lessons, and his voice – especially his range – is wonderful. I consider Dom not only to be an amazing musical talent but also a dear friend.

The first time I heard “Water’s Edge”, it was played for a group of us just to get a feel of if we liked it or not. Although he’s released two albums of all original instrumental music, this was his first foray into making originals adding his voice. More recently, he provided a link where it could be listened to in it’s “unreleased” version via Soundcloud. This time, I got to listen to it without the distraction of other people, and it hit me really hard (yes, there were tears I couldn’t stop from falling!)! For whatever reason, it smacked my brain with the realization of my own mortality, and that, unless God wants me to live until I’m 130 (I don’t think that’s going to happen!), more than half of my life is over. I got stuck with not so much living with regrets for things I’d done or said, but coming to grasps with the realization that I haven’t done nearly as much good for my fellow man and Mother Earth as I would have liked to. I’ve done good – I’m not doubting myself for that – but with a little more energy, a little more commitment, I could have done more than I have. For someone who has always said that, without children to leave behind as my legacy to the world, the positive impact I have made on people is what I can leave behind as my legacy. There is a line in this song that says, “…to be the best person I can be…” and it pricks my soul. I’m physically feeling my age, as I said earlier, and I know I do not have the strength to go back and rewrite the script of all of the times I could have given more but didn’t. And yet, that same recognition of my age makes me understand that I will not have nearly the same amount of opportunities to do/say/give more. In fact, if I am 100% honest, I have to admit that I haven’t done/said/given more because I was being selfish with my energy. And that was back when I had energy, at least a lot more than I do now. Suddenly, the realization of turning 65 makes me understand that I can’t rewrite my path to this point, and I can’t do much to change my path from this point on.

When I remove myself from the lyrics of this song and just think about the composer of the song, tears still fall, though they are both happy and sad. I know that this was a song written after (and perhaps sparked by) a dark period of thought. How to I not shed tears of sadness that someone dear to me should be in pain? And yet, there is hope in this song as well, if nothing more than hope that this time is just a stumbling block to be moved from, and so there are tears of happiness that this dear person will (has) come back from that place with a better understanding.

So, all around, this song doesn’t get into just my heart, but it gets into my soul.

Back to turning 65 this year. It is my opinion that nothing about Medicare is easy!!!!! It feels like there are a thousand ‘agents’ out there vying for your business, and I swear, my TV commercials (what little I watch) are about about 5 to 1 Medicare versus any other product/service. I mean, we all know that Big Brother is tracking us on social media so it knows what ads to provide, but TV too???? Meanwhile, those of us out there who have no clue where to start probably don’t want to work with someone who cold calls you from showing interest in Medicare through any social media (I learned this the hard way when I got 19 calls within a 2-day period offering help in signing up for Medicare). It feels like a knife fight between agents to get this business – if only people fought as hard for the senior citizens for other reasons. I did watch a webinar so I do have a basic understanding of the different plans and what each covers. Plan A is hospital stuff, and it is provided at no charge (all of those Medicare taxes that were deducted from your paycheck all those years). The rest of the plans – B, C, D, G – are add-ons for any other medical needs like doctors, prescriptions, lab tests, specialists, etc. and if you opt for any of those, you get $148.50/month deducted from your Social Security and then you pick from several supplemental or Medicare advantage and there may or may not be a cost, depending upon what you choose.

Exactly what it feels like!

Maybe once I finally break through this mire, I’ll be more relaxed about this official birth year? One can only hope!

P.S. Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. (My mentor told me that years ago!). With that in mind, I’m adding the link for anyone who wants to hear “Water’s Edge”. If you have Spotify, Apple Music, etc., you can hear all 14 of his released instrumental originals! You can also order CDs of this music through his website at: www.domlaferlita.com.au

Water’s Edge by Dom La Ferlita | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Third Person Perspective

What I want to share with you is something that I know about myself that I think is very weird and unique. I think I’m hoping to hear a lot of my readers comment and say, “Me, too!” because my intellect says that it’s weird and unique.

I dream in third person. I often, when I visualize memories, see them in third person. If you have no idea what I’m trying to say, imagine it this way – – you are behind a camera filming something happening on a stage in front of you. While you are filming, you are simultaneously on the stage as a part of whatever is happening there.

According to the definition, this classifies as an out-of-body experience, but I’m not certain it qualifies. According to my research on out-of-body experiences, they can happen in dreams, but also in real time. To my knowledge, I’ve never experienced it in real-time, though maybe when it’s happening then, you only experience one of the other – that is, the person in the subconscious or the person in the conscious.

I can accept that there are times when being in a ‘third person’ state is important and protective. Survival of severe trauma is one such case, when it allows us to remove ourselves from what it happening even though we are present. Psychology refers to this as a ‘dissociative disorder’, but again, because it never happens to me in real time, I’m lax about using that term. And while I understand the need to remove ourselves when confronted by traumatic memories or dreams, I do it each and every time that I experience a memory or have a dream. I’ve tried looking at memories of happy experiences in my mind, and I still see each of them rolling through my memory like a video, but I’m still standing above and outside of the actual occurrence while partaking in it. I seldom have what I’d classify as “bad” dreams, and the last time I remember having a dream that even caused me some angst upon awakening was easily 20 or more years ago, and it was a one-time, not reoccurring, dream. I can still remember quite a bit of the dream, but I feel nothing good or bad when I think about what I remember.

I am a pretty emotional person. I get teary-eyed quickly, and when something exciting happens for someone I care about, my heart quickly fills and swells with that happiness. I don’t shy away from my emotions – to me, they are badges I’m proud to show because they speak the depth of my heart. But I wonder… is my subconscious afraid of emotions? Is that why it removes me in some way from what is happening, so that it doesn’t have to feel, to deal, with the emotions that my conscious being has? And, if so, then WHY?

I have so many good memories, exacerbated in their goodness by photographs of people near and dear to my heart. I have a photo of my mom doing her “happy cat” face (you had to be there to understand!) and when I look at it, the memory in that moment makes me smile. But even as I look at that photo, which I took, when I think about the when and where of taking that photo, I immediately revert to seeing myself taking it from that ‘other place’. I have no memory of what I saw when I looked through the lens, what I was thinking or feeling at the time.

I only ever confronted a memory ‘in real time’ as happening then and not seeing myself watching it, but acutely aware of what was happening and what I could see in my field of vision from that place. It took a lot of therapeutic work to get me into that memory so that it felt real, and as it was a traumatic event, I remember gasping loudly and quickly opening my eyes, tears running down my cheeks, and repeating the word “No” over and over again. Therapeutically, I had to go into that event and somehow alter it from what it was to what I wish it had been, and I understand now that my inability to say “No” was what was holding me back from healing the hurt it had caused. I don’t even want to have that experience of being a part of that again in my life, but I understand and appreciate the necessity of going back there.

What confuses me, though, is that I can find memories of things that happened before that time, and I still see them in third person as well! Was I ever equipped to experience memories when I was just present in them?

I’m confused! And maybe we all do what I do, which will at least help me feel like I’m not missing out on something everyone else gets to experience. The memories I have are stacked in the favor of “good ones” over “bad ones”, and I think I’m willing to risk feeling the bad ones in exchange for feeling the good.

Because of the year-old pandemic, I get to see my beloved brother even less than I usually do with our 2-hours’ apart geography. And because he gives the best hugs and makes me feel safe and protected when he hugs me, I am very present in those moments and feeling all of the emotions of it strongly. And I can picture easily the memory of the hug the last time I saw him, but guess what? Yep, I see it in this weird third-person way and have no real sense of the emotions of it happening. I mean, I know intellectually what those feelings were, but I don’t feel them!

And that sucks!!!!!

#MusicMonday: Travelling Waters by Dom La Ferlita @PianoManDom #TravellingWaters #DomLaFerlita #PianoManDom #TwitchStreamer #ClassicalMusic

I am also a huge fan of this musician! I hope you take a listrn!

Over The Rainbow Book Blog

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another Music Monday. Today I’m featuring Travelling Waters by Dom La Ferlita a twitch streamer and musician from Melbourne Australia. Dom’s streams are always great fun and hugely entertaining to watch. He does a wide variety of covers my favourite of which is his wonderful rendition of Music Of The Night, which I have featured below.

His streams have some very cool effects to them where you can change the camera angel and some very cute alerts involving penguins (you’ll have to watch the stream to see what I mean. If you’d like to watch Dom on twitch via the link below.

https://www.twitch.tv/pianomandom?sr=a

Traveling Waters:

Traveling Waters in the new EP from Dom and features 4 absolutely beautiful piano originals that always help to relax me after a hard day. This EP features:

Dom’s youtube channel also includes a lot of stream highlights and…

View original post 67 more words

If I Had a Nickel…

If I had a nickel for every time a blog idea has come to me lately when I’m either in the middle of something (like cooking and needing to stir) or driving or have no quick access to paper and pen to jot the idea down….. Well, since I’m only talking in nickels, I’d probably only have enough for a small cup of coffee at the local convenience store, but still… So I’m going to start writing about something that’s been on my mind lately and see where it takes me….

Can you believe it’s been a year now since we were “officially” told that our country was in a pandemic? Remember back in those initial days when we were all struggling to find out what was going on, and when fear made people hoard toilet paper(I still haven’t figured out why that item!) and we faced shortages? Remember when disposable cleaning wipes then became out-of-stock as well (that one makes sense to me). Remember when we were at 100% lockdown except for basic needs companies? Our local Dollar Tree was permitted to remain open because they have about 5 feet of OTC medicines on shelves in the entire store! Convenience stores that also sold gasoline were allowed to remain open and you can sure bet that people also bought milk, soda, prepared hot foods, snacks and cigarettes at the same time. I could still go to see my chiropractor because that was considered essential. I think, if we hadn’t been so afraid and panicked, that we might have found better ways to decide what were and were not essential businesses, or limit those who had some essential products to be allowed to sell only those. In the meantime, employees of essential businesses were expected to go to work every day and take chances with their health, but owners/operators of businesses who only have one customer in the building at a time were closed because their services were considered non-essential. Yet, we wanted those 25 or 30 or 50 or more employees in the grocery stores at the same time plus customers and that was less risky somehow?

And now, we have vaccines and even a simple mind like me understands that a vaccine isn’t a cure, doesn’t make you immune to the virus. I don’t even want to go into that rant!

And now the United States has had over 500,000 deaths as a result of this virus or complications from it. Based on the fact that the last count of people living in the US (2019) was over 328 million, some people consider that “sad” but in comparison to the number of residents living in the country, a relatively low number. I want to ask them this hypothetically: “If you had 328 million in investments and someone swindled you out of 500,000 of those investments, are you likely to think to yourself, ‘oh hey, that’s sad, but I still have plenty of money left so it’s no big deal?'” Yea, I think not!

And we have Trump and DeJoy to thank for what is still happening with the Postal Service because of removing and trashing sorting machines in order to delay mail-in votes (in case they were for Biden). I posted on another social media platform recently that 3 of my 4 recent Priority Mail boxes were not delivered in the time promised and which I paid for! I actually drove 15 minutes out of my way to ship something UPS, which cost me more than the USPS, because of this! I’m not so much angry about the delays, because I realize the USPS is doing the best it can, but if they can’t deliver in the promised time for which I paid, I think some sort of refund should be issued! And now there is talk about privatizing the Postal Service and taking it out of the hands of the executive branch of the federal government. Just think about – imagine – the rise of charges when it is corporation-run and the corporation wants, of course, to make a profit from owning it! We all complain each time the price of stamps rises by a few cents each – imagine the services you are currently receiving are cut in half and the prices for the services we do still offered are doubled. I believe that part of the reason the USPS is in the red is because we all have technology on our side to make getting a message to someone instantaneous! Send a text, send an email… Of course, in another 20 years’ time, no one will even know how to write or use a pen or pencil!

So here we are – a year into the pandemic and honestly, the only thing that’s greatly improved is that you can now once again buy toilet paper!!! The news on the horizon about these new variants of the virus doesn’t look promising for the near future and I’ve read reports that we need to be prepared to still be wearing masks into 2022. When the vaccines first came out, a lot of us were sure we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think we were all naive and that light we see is actually the headlight beam of an oncoming train…