Special Nap Day

Thanks to all my friends with good wishes for fast healing and advice for my bruised ribs. Thankfully I took enough pain killers last night to have a good night’s sleep after much icing of my ribs. I awoke and knew that I had to take the whole day off from manual labor, which made me a little bit crazy.

My mother came in the middle of the day to pick up her needlepoint pillow that I had finished for her and a box of pocket books Carter wasn’t able to sell. She thought she would take me out to lunch, but never told me that. I had lunch for her here because we don’t go out to lunch during a pandemic. I think she might have forgotten that I have the same pandemic here that she does up at the farm.

After mom left I went to the sunroom to read my new book club book and Shay came to snuggle with me. Between the warmth of the sun, the pain killers, and Shay I promptly fell asleep and napped for two hours. This is unheard of. I was a little annoyed by the dings of text messages coming through my phone, but I ignored them. I think I need a nap button on my phone. Not that I am planning on taking up napping. I will just use it while injured where napping is imperative to speed healing.

I am hoping that tomorrow I will feel up to resuming my manual labor job because I have a lot to do and the weather is perfect and my calendar is open. I can’t possibly take two naps in the same week, especially since I don’t have that nap button.


Just Walking Is Dangerous

Things are moving along. Four courses are done and three are back filled. This means I might be about a third done, in height, but hopefully about two thirds done in time as the prep and foundation work take the longest.

Today Russ volunteered to help lift blocks and fifty pound bags of stone for me. It was a huge help in the retaining wall project. He is fast so he was able to carry down block and place it in front of my wall and leave me to stack and level them. I spent almost four hours working on the wall today because of the forty minutes Russ put in. Four hours was probably too long for my body to do, but as I was feeling OK I just kept at it.

After my many hours I went in the garage to replace the tools and take off my garden shoes. I went in the house in my socks on my way to take a shower. It was a mistake not to take my socks off at the washer and dryer, not because they were so dirty, but because my floors are slippery when I am just wearing socks.

Before I could get all the way upstairs Carter called. I only get one call a week on Sundays, so I gave up on going to shower so I could catch up with her. On my way into the sunroom, because it is the best place to sit for a long phone call, I slipped on the slanted vestibule. I fell sideways into Shays toy basket, and slammed my side into the arm of the love seat. I threw my huge glass of tea all over the carpet, dropped my phone and lay screaming on the floor. Poor Carter, she had no idea what was going on, but knew it was not good.

Russ ran into the sun room and my big concern was for him to clean up the tea. I lay on the floor awhile assessing the damage and decided I had not broken or punctured anything.

As if I was not already sore enough from building the wall, now I am going to be bruised on my side. I called Carter back and at least got my weekly call in with her. Shay is not happy about the destruction I did to her toy basket, but I am thankful it probably slowed down my fall. At least I did not throw my big tea glass at a window and break that. I have learned the “don’t just wear socks” lesson big time.


Covid Friendly Exercise Opportunity

Have you missed going to exercise class? Is working out with your friends something you crave? Have I got an opportunity for you. It’s an easy 20 pound weight lifting and outdoor walking class, no mask required as you will social distance.

I have completed the very tedious and difficult part of building my wall, the base and leveled row and have completed two courses of the blocks. Placing the blocks is not difficult for me, but getting the blocks from the pallets in the driveway down to the wall is slow to do alone.

I am looking for any exercise desiring friends who would like to come and carry blocks for any amount of time. If you normally work out for an hour, come for an hour. Or come for half and hour. It’s not difficult work and it is way more fun when we get to talk while doing it. The bonus is I will be giving food to all block carrying volunteers who work an hour. You will get a choice when you are done to take home a quart of something yummy.

I don’t work on the wall more than three hours a day because I see no reason to kill myself doing this project. I will be working Monday morning from 9-11, Tuesday Morning from 9-12, Wednesday afternoon from 2-4. If I need to I may offer Friday hours, but I am hoping I will be close to being done by then.

Example of a non-working visitor

If you want to take advantage of this free exercise class with bonus food giveaway, contact me and let me know which hour you want to come work. Due to social distancing only one person can come each hour. If you just want to come visit, feel free to do that. I can set up a guest viewing chair. No free food for viewing. The best news is the weather is lovely for this kind of work.


May The New Year Be Better

I’m not Jewish, but my big and twin Pi Phi sisters are so I feel like I am welcome in the tribe. Tonight is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the new year in the Jewish calendar, so L’shanah Tovah to all believers.

As Russ and I are going to some friends for dinner, he is Jewish, she is not, I decided to bake some challah bread to bring as my hostess gift. At this point I am so looking forward to a better new year, and to get this one over with that I am happy to jump onto any one else’s new year.

So here’s to a happy new year for us all. Never in my life have I lived through a year that was collectively so bad for the whole world. I hope that prayers said by some tonight and this weekend can help bring healing and good luck to us all, for the whole world needs it.

Not sure if I will ever be a really good baker, but I hope my gift of challah brings good luck to my friends. Happy New Year.

I wrote this before we went to Lee and Tom’s. While we were there the terrible news of the loss of RBG came over. I am not sure how much more we can take in this horrible year, but this truly takes the cake. God speed RBG. You did your best to hold on for us as long as you could.


Women of Achievement Lunch

Some Zoom’s are better than others and today’s Women of Achievement lunch zoom was almost better than the in person event. Every year for many, many years, Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines have honored women doing great things in our communities. I was lucky enough to be an honoree due to my work for the Food Bank in 2014 and so I get invited to come to the lunch every year. The lunch gets bigger and the honorees are always interesting.

Ellen Shannon

This year the in person lunch, which normally happens in May had to be canceled, and they pivoted to this virtual event, but still gave us lunch. So I drove down to Southpoint Subaru and picked up my yummy fall chicken salad and goody bag from my magazine friends who were set up in a tent in the pouring rain. They made it easy by just making the whole thing drive through.

Once I was home I enjoyed my lunch and joined the Zoom. Ellen Shannon and Rory Gillis, the fearless women leaders ran a great show. We had two inspiring speakers. The first was Alex Zagbayou, the executive director of Student U. I first got to know Alex when she was the number two at Studentt U and I was writing a story on her. She was remarkable then as a twenty something inspiring the youth of Durham to higher Achievement, but it is no surprise that she has gone on to quadruple the impact Student U has in our community. Now she didn’t tell us any of that. She did talk about the need for self care and pacing ourselves during this time of Covid.

Rory Gillis
Alex Zagbayou

Our second speaker Esther Campi, who is a crisis communications expert who advises Health Care companies. She focused us on how to pivot in a crisis, and all of this year can be seen as a Crisis.

One theme both Alex and Esther shared in their talks were that you have to have both your head and your heart involved when you are a leader. These things are true all the time, but the heart is especially critical in 2020.

After their talks we had break out groups and that was the most fun part. We were randomly put into 2 groups and in both of mine I had friends I was happy to get to see. In my first group was one of the honorees of the day I know well, Jessica Bottesch, who along with her business partner Rhonda Williams own Empower Fitness. Congratulations to them as they are making a difference in our community.p, even as they have had to be closed for the last six months.

The part of the Zoom that made the event so fun was the chat function. I was able to have side conversations with friends that was so much easier than passing notes at the real luncheon. I know that getting to hug friends in real life is better, but since we can’t hug now, the chat was a great substitute.

So thanks to Shannon Media for producing a great event and making it feel so special. Congratulations to all the winners this year. You are in a wonderful club of diverse and smart women now. Can’t wait to see you at next year’s lunch.


Run Away Forest, Run

Dan Forest, the Republican candidate for Governor in North Carolina, uses “Run Forest Run” as his campaign slogan. Well, now we need to put the word out to Run Away from this man.

Today Forest came out with a Campaign promise to end mask mandates in North Carolina if he wins and wants to send children back to in person school without masks and no Covid fighting plan.

With all the science out there, to stand on a stage and say, “Vote for me and you won’t have to wear masks” is about the most idiotic thing I have ever heard. No where does he say a thing about how to control or end Covid. He has no plans to keep people safe, quite the opposite.

Look Forest, no one loves wearing a mask, but most of us like staying alive and healthy. The mask is what stands between us and sickness. So don’t encourage people not to wear masks.

Our current governor, Roy Cooper has done a good job at giving the people of North Carolina the scientific reasons to wear masks and social distance. We need to keep him and not have crazy politicians who don’t follow the science. Run as far away from Dan Forest as you can.


It’s Cheeper to Reform Police

The city of Louisville Kentucky reached a $12 Million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor for her wrongful death by Police. Along with the monetary settlement the city agreed to a number of changes to police reform programs to help prevent tragedies like the killing of this innocent woman sleeping in her house.

Reforming policing programs is not only good for all communities, but it has to be a lot cheeper to reform than to pay families for the wrongful deaths of their loved ones. Twelve million dollars is the most amount of money ever paid by the city of a Louisville for a wrongful death.

There is no amount of money that can make up the loss of a child to a mother, but money is how our society makes amends. Think about where twelve million could have gone to in that city to improve life for her citizens and a young women could still be alive. It is right to encourage community policing, more social workers on the front lines and better oversight of police problems before they get into the kind of trouble that costs lives and millions.

A number of years ago I did a story for Durham Magazine about a program a former police chief started where police worked with kids in the community so help them not get off on a wrong foot. It seemed like a positive way for police to get to know kids and kids to get to be friends with police. Sadly when that chief retired so did his program. Perhaps something like that could be brought back. We need to have more Andy Taylor’s so we have fewer Breonna Taylor’s.


Goat Patrol

I was looking out my back bedroom window as I was getting dressed this morning, which only looks out on overgrown forest in my back and similar forest in my neighbor’s back yard. At first I saw a rather fat white dog on my neighbor’s side of the old fence. I looked a little harder since I had never seen a dog back there and that is when I noticed that was no dog, but a goat.

Since I was naked I didn’t want to get closer to the window and possibly scare that goat to death, I quickly threw on some clothes. I went to another window and sure enough it was not one goat but many. Shay and I went outside and saw sheep and goats all over my neighbor’s back yard.

I don’t like to walk through the overgrowth back there as it is copperhead season, but my neighbor Alivia called to me from the safety of her grassy area. She told me they had 17 goats and three sheep visiting for three days to try and eat the overgrowth. She asked me if it was OK. OK, it was great.

I am not a wonderful neighbor, as a I have not seen this sweet neighbor since she had twins in the spring. I figured not spreading any of my germs to her kids was the right thing to do. I am watching her goat patrol with great interest. If they do a good job, we may need to hire them to work on our over growth. If for no other reason than to keep my forest from growing back into her yard.

If you want to see the goats and sheep come on over to my back deck and you can get a bird’s eye view of them. With so many in a small area you will have hours of fun.


Completing A Friend’s Quilt

Last week a friend of mine from Church, Carol, called and asked me if I could help her with a quilt project. She had bought a bunch of material while on a trip to Africa years ago with her husband. She hand stitched the material into Dresden Plate quilt blocks. That little project took years. That is where the potential quilt stopped. I think she told me it was over three years ago.

Now she wanted to finish the quilt, but had run out of steam. She emailed me photos of her squares and since they were so gorgeous I knew they just had to be finished into a quilt, otherwise all that hard work and good memories of her trip would be lost.

I went over to her house to collect her work. The blocks were even more beautiful in person. Carol told me she wanted them to make a queen sized quilt. I counted her blocks and told her she was short at least another whole row. There was no way she could handle making more blocks.

Carol suggested a border out of the fabric she had used for the the Dresden Plates, as she still had plenty. As a I looked at it I told her I thought a border of that type would take away from her completed squares and suggested sashing the squares (that is framing each square) with a unifying fabric that did not compete with the African fabrics. She loved my idea and left all the decisions in my hands.

I found a material I thought complimented her squares and bought enough to make the sashing and the backing. As she had sewn the squares together I had to take them apart and add the new fabric. Thankfully I was able to turn her squares into a queen sized quilt and have the proportions look right.

I finished making her quilt top today and will take it to Tina my long arm quilter tomorrow for her to quilt it. I can’t wait to talk to Tina about ideas on how to quilt this beautiful quilt that honors the hard work of hand sewn Dresden Plates.

I hope Carol likes it as much as it do. I am not used to working on other people’s projects, but this one is so special.


Come Together on 9/11

Every year on this sad day I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news about the first plane to fly into tower I. I was at church having just attended a coffee for mother’s of new students at the Westminster Pre-school. Carter was in her froggy class with the other two and a half year olds.

I walked out of the main door of the mission center and my a pastor, Haywood Holderness told me about the plane. The first thing out of my mouth was, “That Osama Bin Laden.” I don’t know exactly why I said that. Hayward was concerned about his niece who worked at the World Trade Center. Turned out she was not there that day.

I went from the coffee over to Amy Russell’s house for Garden club. Rather than have the meeting we watched her big screen TV in horror as the news was showing what was going on live. I am thankful that most of the tape of people jumping out the buildings is not shown again. Watching the second plane hit tower II was the confirmation we all needed that the world had changed.

Russ was in Northern, VA running a company called Neustar and had people working with him who saw the plane go into the Pentagon. I couldn’t get through to him on a phone and he couldn’t get home for days as he had flown up to work.

Now in the span of twenty years we have had 9/11 and Covid. We were not prepared for either of them and they both will forever be seared into our psyche. The difference between the two besides one being man made and one being nature made is how we reacted as a nation. After 9/11 we came together to all be one America. Covid has divided us into two Americas. Both had enemies. Both had to be fought. Both had casualties. Both changed the world and made us have to stay home.

On this sad day as we remember those who lost their lives in 9/11 let’s also remember those we have lost due to a Covid, who so far are almost 100 times as many we lost in 9/11. Both groups did nothing to deserve to die, both were innocent. Let’s stop having Covid divide us. Let us be selfless in our fight against the enemy. When we come together as Americans we can win.


Pintrest Envy

If all the world was like Pintrest everything would be perfect and beautiful. Ever since my friend Stephanie introduced me to Pintrest years ago I have been hooked. At first it was just great to use as an organization tool for saving internet things I had found elsewhere.

Then as I would start a new hobby, it would become my go to place to learn. My quilting obsession probably would not have taken off without Pintrest. But that was me having an idea and going to Pintrest to look for the answer.

During Covid Pintrest has turned into my inspiration and boy I have spent hours being inspired. I can go down a Pintrest hole for hours. I may not be really interested in what all the secret Netflix codes were for foreign countries, but now I have them in case I want them.

Lately I have been studying gardens, raised beds, garden walls, fenced in gardens, all things having to do with gardens. Boy do I feel inferior. There are forty days worth of beautiful garden related postings on Pintrest and I have clicked on many of them. Is my own garden wall done? Not even close. I am still digging out the footing. But I do know that my wall is not going to be Pintrest worthy.

I am wondering if there is a self help group for those who are addicted to Pintrest? I need an intervention because I already have more things pinned for me to do, make or try than I have years of life left.

Tomorrow I promise I am going to dig more and pin less.


Happy Birthday to My Virgo Girls

Today is my sister Margaret’s birthday and a week ago it was my sister Janet’s birthday. As a Taurus birthday myself, I was lucky that I got along with Virgo’s since I was surrounded. Having three girls in a family meant that someone was not getting along with someone else, but I do appreciate my sisters so much now. Happy birthday to both of them.

Turns out I have a lot of Virgo girls friends. My dear baby Chick, Lynn has her birthday on Saturday and my friend Karen has her’s next week. More reasons to celebrate great friends.

I always thought it was hard to have your birthday right at the beginning of September when you were a kid. You got a new class at school and that meant inviting people you might not know so well to your birthday parties. But here is the thing that all my Virgo girls have in common, they like most people and probably didn’t mind inviting the whole class, even perfect strangers, to their birthday.

I, on the other hand, with a May birthday had the opposite issue. I had a whole school year to get to know and dislike a segment of my class so I knew who I did and did not want to invite to my birthday and never could be dissuaded. I wonder if I would have been different if I had a September birthday? Probably not.

So happy birthday to all you Virgo girls, named and unnamed. Sorry this isn’t the year to have a party of any sort, but hopefully next year. You can invite anyone you want, even if you hardly know them.


Dreaming on Zillow

One of the favorite activities Carter and I can do long distance is look at real estate on Zillow together. Since Carter is back in Boston she has been spending her free time riding a bike. She can go down different streets and decide which ones might be good places to live in the future.

Sometimes when I can’t sleep I scroll through listings on Zillow. Boston real estate has been crazy the last few years, but Covid has changed the landscape. I have never seen so many things for rent for so long. Obviously many young people have moved out of the city as their jobs went virtual. With so many young adults going back to their parents house to save money the inventory of rentals is going up and the prices are going down.

Last year renters had to pay a rental fee of one months rent to a broker. Today most listings have no fee. Many units that have been on the market a few months have dropped their prices by ten to twenty percent. The big rental start date in Boston is Sept. 1 and now that it has come and gone it will be interesting to see what happens to prices.

Boston can not be any different than other big metro areas like NYC and San Francisco. I am wondering what will happen to the sale prices and how long the slide down will go and when the bottom will hit?

This is definitely going to be something I keep my eye on if not just because it is fun to do with Carter, but eventually she will graduate and need to find a new place to live. I am hoping the timing will be right for her.

It reminds me so much of how she and I used to walk through Sears and look at new washers and dryers when she was five years old. One evening when Russ was away on a business trip and Carter and I had gone to the mall for dinner we walked back through the very empty Sears appliance department. A bored salesman asked us as we lingered in front of a pair of cherry red washers and dryers if he could help us. Carter looked at him and said, “No, we are just dreaming.”

Zillow is our new Sears.


No More Hot Spots

Poor Shay has suffered this summer. Not with quarantine, no she loves having her Daddy home all day everyday. She has had terrible hot spots. The excessive heat and humidity had caused her skin to be irritated and thus she would bite at herself trying to relieve her pain. Her skin would bleed and it was so bad that she would not want to take walks.

She had been on pills and sprays to try and bring her relief. After months of those with no complete cure we took her back to the her vet to see what else could possibly help her.

The vet told us there were two more things we could try, a shot and a shampoo, instead of the pills and the sprays. Of course we went right to the new treatments. The only bad thing about the shampoo is that we have to wet her down, lather her up and wait fifteen minutes before rinsing. Nothing was too much trouble to try and bring her relief.

The shot seemed to do so much good. It was the first night she slept through the night with no biting. Today we did the shampoo and although she did not understand why she had to hang out in the bathtub so long she seemed very happy afterward.

Amazingly her hot spots have all disappeared in two days. The red, hairless places she had created are gone. Even her hair is grown back to the degree that I don’t see where she had been biting.

I wish I knew about this shot before. It is supposed to last four to eight weeks and hopefully the cooler weather will also help. Today she happily took a long walk with a Russ just like she always did before the hot spots. I will have to give her a bath every four days for two weeks, but that is easy compared to watching her suffer.

If your dog ever gets hot spots ask for the shot right away. It may cost a little more, but it is a miracle.


Tomato Gratin and Summer Shrimp Salad In Basil Dressing

Two good dishes I made for dinner last night that are worth memorializing in the blog so I can remember how I made them.

The first, Tomato Gratin is inspired by the Cook’s illustrated recipe of the same name. Cook’s has a pay wall, but if you want to go right to the source you can look there. I changed mine up a little and am not giving you every detail about skillets and types of tomatoes. I did make the base of this recipe a day in advance, but did not bake it. I think it makes it so much better if it can soak up all the juices. Because of making in advance before I went to bake it I did feel like it needed a bit more liquid around the edges so I drizzled a little spicy V-8 around the sides before baking and it was yummy. Tastes much better than it looks.

6 T. Olive oil

1 large french baguette – cubbed into 1/2 inch cubes

4 cloves of garlic- chopped

4 large ripe good tomatoes- chopped

3 t. Sugar

1 t. Salt

2 t. Ground black pepper

1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup spicy v-8 juice

In a big hot skillet heat 4 T. Of the olive oil and after hot add the bread, stir quickly and often and brown in the pan. Takes about five minutes. Set the bread aside.

Add the rest of the oil and the garlic and cook on medium high for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and cook on medium high for ten minutes Stirring occasionally. Take off the heat.

Put 2/3 of the bread In The pan with the tomatoes and mix everything well together and pour into a gratin pan (or any casserole dish.)

Scatter the remaining bread on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, but 24 would be better.

Preheat oven 375°. Drizzle the v-8 around the outside edge of the tomato bread. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake in oven for 50 mins with foil tenting the top.

Summer Shrimp Salad with Basil Dressing

This is the kind of salad where you just throw in whatever vegetables you have with cooked shrimp. It is the dressing that makes it.

I used Grilled corn, cherry tomatoes, grilled onions, green pepper and jalapeño peppers With the shrimp.

To make the dressing put the following in a blender or cuisinart.

Juice of one lemon and peel of that lemon

3 cloves of garlic

1 Shallot

Two big handfuls of fresh, cleaned basil leaves

1/2 c. Champagne vinegar

1/2 c. Olive oil

1 T. Honey

Big pinch of salt

Lots of black pepper

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Blend together, pour over the shrimp and veggies and let them marinate it the dressing for at least two hours.

Happy summer!


A Beautiful Night

At last if was a beautiful enough day to eat dinner outside and be comfortable. As that was the case we had our friends Dave and Sara over for a socially distant dinner. We have really missed seeing people.

I am looking forward to more cool evenings so we can have people come eat outside. There are some things I have to adjust to Covid dinners. For hors d’oeure I created little family plates of hummus, carrots and pita chips. One per family so we did not touch anything outside our own pod.

Rather than doing a buffet, as I usually would do, I just plated the whole meal in kitchen and served everyone like a restaurant. The only difference is they didn’t get to chose what they were having and they didn’t get to portion out their own things. The good thing about this is I didn’t have to put anything in serving dishes so the clean up was so much faster.

We also sat far apart at the table, Russ and I on one end our friends on the other. But we were still having dinner with friends. Conversation was excellent and the weather made it pleasant to sit outside long into the night. Shay was especially glad to see her “aunt and uncle” and was happiest when she sat on a Russ’ lap so she could be at eye level with the grown ups. I think she misses company more than any of us.

I can stand quarantine if this is what I get to do once a week. Russ will be happy because then I cook him new food. Favorite item from tonight was the tomato gratin. It was a big hit and I will post a photo of it with the recipe tomorrow. And before I forget I will write down the recipe of the shrimp and grilled corn dressing I made from the basil in the garden.

Thank you September for coming and bringing us relief from the heat and friends and something that feels normal. It was a beautiful night.


A Really Hard Lesson

Life as a college freshman is hard in a normal year, but this year it is next to impossible. At a Northeastern this week they dismissed eleven freshman for breaking the rules on gatherings without masks. These freshman were part of a program that was supposed to be held internationally. It is the same program Carter went on where she spent her first semester in Berlin.

Due to Covid travel restrictions these kids could not fulfill their dream of studying abroad. The school did the next best thing and rather than defer their admission, they created a program in a Boston, putting all the kids up at the Westin hotel for the semester. Much nicer than any college dorm. The school was very clear what the rules were. Two kids to a room and no visitors in your rooms. When out of your room wear masks and social distance.

Sadly these kids do what eighteen year olds will do and eleven of them gathered in one bed room without their masks on. They got caught and now are being sent home for the semester, losing their tuition.

I am happy I am not one of those parents getting that call saying my kid is kicked out of school before it even begins. Northeastern has set up a huge testing program, testing all people at school three times in the first five days at school and then every three days after that. So far out of 36,000 test, 17 students, 2 faculty and one contract worker have tested positive. The quick quarantining of those people and the people who came in contact with them is the only way to keep the school open.

Dismissing people who break the rules sends a loud message that the school is serious. I can’t imagine how hard this is all going to be for kids to learn to follow the rules, but it will be a lot easier than facing your parents after getting kicked out and losing your tuition.

This is what it takes to have the privilege of going to college. We have to prevent spread and keep everyone healthy. Other colleges could take note and be as strict. It’s not fun, but it’s a Pandemic.


Death By Unmasking

There used to be a time in the south when people were civil, at least at first. Those days are gone and I blame 45. Before his, “I come first and damn you” attitude became the norm people looked out for each other with good intentions.

Today I had to go to Costco. For the most part Costco has been good about enforcing correct mask wearing. That being said, sometimes a person’s mask slides down a bit and they don’t even notice, especially if they are weighing the decision to buy a very expensive Dyson vacuum or getting a Roomba.

As I was coming around the corner at the salmon case I noticed a very old and large woman dressed in her best pajama bottoms and stained T-shirt with her mask slipped down. As she approached me, leaning on her cart as if it was all that kept her from the floor I said in my most helpful voice, “I think your mask has slipped.” I honestly was worried about this woman traversing the Costco without being fully masked because she looked as if she could not withstand any infection, let alone Covid.

She let out a stream of words that no southern lady should ever hear, let alone say. Suddenly her very large husband in an amazingly even more stained T-shirt and his mask around his neck said to me, “We don’t have to wear Damn masks. Is your name Karen?” Despite my hairdo he clearly does not understand that Karen’s are anti-Vaxers.

A Costco employee was standing right near them and did not want a fight to break out, but I could not help myself when I said, “You may be OK killing yourself, but it is incredibly selfish to put this man’s life in danger because you won’t wear your mask correctly and act like it is your right.”

Ignorant selfish people. When did being stupid become a badge of pride? We are in a war against this virus. During World War II people went to great lengths to follow the rules for the good of the country. Why is now different? Because of the lack of leadership from the top?

Keeping this man President means that the idiots will just get more and more emboldened to do stupid things. They are the drunk drivers of our time who kill the innocent people they hit, but don’t die in the crash themselves.

This dirty clothed couple doesn’t deter me from reminding people about their masks. On the way out of the store a very cute old couple holding hands crossing the parking lot were not wearing their masks. I looked at them and smiled, even though they couldn’t see it behind my mask and said, “Don’t for get your masks.” The old man stopped and said, “Thanks, I hate when it get all the way to the store and have to go back to the car, you saved me some steps.” He and his wife turned around and walked back to their car. They were worth saving.


I’ve Been Management Too Long

I am clearly meant to work inside the house and not outside. Today I volunteered for the food Distribution that our church helps with at Iglesia Presbiteriana Emanuel. With kids back in school we lost the bulk of our young strong volunteers so now that means that old folks needs to do the jobs. These are not jobs made for old folks. I had what I was told was the hottest job on this day with 105° heat index. I stood in Roxboro rd; a busy four lane street and I flagged people out of one of the lanes that we closed in front of the church so that the cars full of people who need food can pull into the church driveway.

Cherrie, one of our pastors had brought a big blue and white beach umbrella for me to use as shade, but I turned it into my prop to get attention of drivers barreling up Roxboro road. I danced with that umbrella waving cars to merge from two lanes into one. You can imagine I was not very popular with that crowd.

It did not matter because right behind me I also waved cars of people needing help getting food onward to the area where other volunteers placed boxes of fresh vegetables, eggs, milk and fruit into their trunks. The people waiting for food had been lined up for hours. Another volunteered had given out 300 numbers to the cars, but the line far exceeded the numbering system. These people always gave me a smile and a wave, very appreciative of the work we were doing.

My friend Raynor had the car waving job at the other end of the street from me. Her job was in the shade, but when the actual temperature is 93° shade makes little difference. For almost two hours I directed traffic. As the second hour was about to close I started to feel the effects of standing in the sun dancing with the umbrella. I knew it would be very bad if I fell over in the street since no one would be there to wave the cars away from running over me. I signaled to Raynor and I went over to the curb and lay down in the shade.

Raynor, valiantly took over my job without a complaint. Cherrie brought me a cold wash cloth and water. It was heaven sent. Carter called me. Apparently I butt dialed her in the throws of me going down, it scared her to death. She called Russ. They both called me and demanded I stop doing this job. Eventually I was able to get up and go man Raynor’s original spot.

After we had gotten through the first 300 cars I went to the parking lot and helped bag butternut squash. The line kept coming for hours past the allotted time for pantry to run. I wasn’t able to stay the whole time. I clearly did not have the stamina for four hours in the sweltering heat.

I think I am going to have to change how I volunteer for this mission. I’m just so used to being management that I have lost the skill for being labor.


An Open Letter to my Republican Friends

Dear Friend,

As a daughter of staunch republicans I fully understand that you have probably been a republican as long as you can remember. Being loyal to your party is at your core. You may believe in smaller government. Fiscal responsibility might be one of the tenants of your beliefs. A strong America is attractive to you as is smart immigration regulation. Nothing is wrong with any of these things. I believe in some of these things too.

But what does the party of Donald Trump actually stand for this year? There was no party platform at the RNC. There was no public discussion of what Republicans want to accomplish in the next four years. Instead it was a bowing to the cult leader that Trump has created. I fear there is no real Republican Party left, just the party of Trump.

We are now a country that is more divided than we have been since the Civil war. Trump, since his inaugural address, has made it clear that he is only the President for the people who voted for him. This is something we have never seen in our country before.

The slippery slope I fear the most is if he is re-elected he no longer has any incentive to even make his own voters happy. He will have no use for any of the electorate and can do whatever he wants. You might have liked some of what he has done this term, but there is no guarantee you will be happy with the next because he has convinced the party not to create a platform.

If you have been in the least bit unhappy with the handling of Covid-19, or racial issues please consider who has been leading us through this. When the President points to protestors and says we need law and order to fix that, just remember this is happening while he is in charge. If he had any idea how to fix these things he could be doing it now.

There are two fairly well accepted sayings. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. The republicans have given Trump absolute power. Only the voters can change that. And if we want to improve our standing as far as Covid is concerned we need to do something different.

Many prominent republicans have stood up already and said they are voting for Biden because they do not believe Trump is the right person for the job. They have not said they are leaving the Republican Party. I feel like it is to the contrary, I think they are trying to save the Republican Party. All I am asking you is to please consider joining those republicans and not support this man who has not told you his plans for the next four years. I am hopeful that we can ward off the fire of a civil war Trump has been stoking. I want us to try and relearn how to compromise and all be Americans who care about each other.

One last thing. If you are a Republican who is at all embarrassed by what Trump has caused you to apologize for, you don’t have to tell anyone that you voted for Biden. In 2016 it was one thing to vote for him, but in 2020 it is a very different story. You may think you know what you are getting, but it can get worse.