Who Or Whom Are We Protecting?

Who Are We Protecting? Or, Oops, Is It Whom?

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Friday night, we invited friends over for pizza. I had put an extra leaf in the table and after everyone was properly distanced and had removed their face covers the conversation turned to masks. Should they be mandatory and who, or is it whom, were we protecting anyway?

We sat and talked, two males and two females married to each other. Oops, that is not quite right. The girls were married to the guys and the guys were married to the girls. Well, you get the picture, two old white married couples. Oops, I did not mean to imply only white straight people stay married.

So, forget about gender, race, age, or sexual orientation. Four adults sat around the table talking.

“I wear a face mask to protect me.”

“Really? Doesn’t my wearing the mask protect you?”

“They should be mandatory. People in the grocery store aren’t wearing masks. I got yelled at the other day.”

“You weren’t wearing a mask? You came to our front door wearing one.”

“No, I was yelled at for wearing a mask. What about my First Amendment Rights?”

“Well, it’s hard to believe a piece of fabric really protects us. What about gargling with Listerine?”

“My mask prevents molecules from the transmission into the environment. I’m protecting you.”

“But you don’t have the virus.”

“I don’t have the virus yet.”

“Right. Your mask protects you.”

“We wash our hands. Why not wash out our mouths. We should be gargling.”

“Would public gargling be considered a First Amendment Right?”

“Why isn’t the media reporting on gargling?”

The discussion was interrupted by television coverage that a statue of Calvin Griffith, a former owner of the Minnesota Twins, was removed for racial comments he made in 1976.  Other incidents of statues being taken down flashed across the screen. Many of them not peaceful. In Seattle police questioned who, or is it whom, to protect when activists injured and killed two fellow protestors. Police across the country faced similar challenges. Who to protect?

The conversation resumed.

“So, who, or is it whom, are the police protecting?”

“They were protecting them.”

“No. The police were protecting US.”

“Shouldn’t they protect everyone?”

One of the men put his head in his hands and like the grandfather in the movie Moon Struck lamented, “I’m so confused,” and then ask, “why can’t we watch baseball?”

“It’s not on.”

So, is it who or whom?

Who is the subject of the verb and whom is the object.

In the sentence, who/whom are we protecting? The subject is we. Are is the verb. Therefore, the answer is; whom are we protecting? Oops, that is right unless it is wrong.

  . . . just saying

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Is Today Friday?

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Monday morning, as soon as I was out of bed, the day felt like a Friday. The newspaper indicated it was Monday, June 1st. But, seeing the day and date in print didn’t help. It clearly felt like a Friday.

Tuesday, the next morning, did not feel like a Saturday. Why had Monday felt like a Friday?

By Wednesday, the week seemed to be on track until, my husband said, “Boy this week is going fast.” Then Wednesday adopted a few nuances of Thursday.  

Finally, on Friday it felt like Friday, probably because we had pizza for dinner.

Has any of this ever happened to you?

I asked,  Google; Why does it feel like Friday?

 “Fridays are associated with the ending of work/school, so people are happier and go to parties, bed later, etc. See, if you associate something with the day and it doesn’t happen, it can feel like a different day.”

It is a stretch. . . But if Monday is associated with work, and I am retired, therefore, work did not happen; the day might feel like a different day. Logically, however, the different day,  should have been Saturday. I have to assume they missed my notation about pizza for dinner.

According to Google, People also ask;

  • Why does the day feel so short?
  • Why is the day dragging?
  • Why do days of the week feel different?

These are questions I frequently ask, along with other questions, i.e., What is cow tipping?

Asking the right question is more important than finding the right answer.

Why can’t every day feel like Friday?

What do you think?

. . . . just saying

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Perturbed

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     When I overheard someone say the word perturbed recently, the word danced around in my head until I put pen to paper and wrote this vignette.
 

Perturbed

The police station hugs the railroad tracks in this rural New Jersey town. I contemplate retirement most mornings and especially today, as I skip over rain puddles to the precinct door. When I climb the steps, an umbrella pokes my neck. Inside I turn around and observe a woman hiding a closed umbrella in a corner. Then she walks toward me, her hand extended and says, “I’m Dolores.”

Usually, I am not quick to shake hands, but do so automatically and introduce myself.  “Officer Hawkins. How can I help you?”

“My husband went missing last night.”

Her voice is raspy. Her long jet-black hair parted on the side, frames the opposite eye. I wish I had gotten a haircut, or at least trimmed my mustache.

I respond. “Standard procedure is to wait twenty-four hours,” then stomp my feet on a rug, “your guy will probably show up before that.”

“Officer Hawkins, it’s so unlike Steven.” Her doe like brown eyes fill with tears.

“Well, file a missing person’s report if you want.”

I walk behind my desk, and search for the appropriate form. Dolores eases into an interview chair uninvited, and slips off her raincoat, to reveal; what my ex-wife called, a sweater dress.  She trembles at the sight of the paper work, reacting as though it is a hot potato.

Reluctantly, I complete the form for her. She describes Steven as tall, dark, and handsome. Then quickly produces his wallet. The contents spill out. She gathers the singles and worn scrapes of paper with her hands and almost perfectly manicured red nails. The index finger nail is broken.

I say, “Tell me what happened last night.” Her lips purse together before she responds.

“I was perturbed.”

Her pronunciation; emphasis on the first syllable without ignoring the rest, grabs my attention. I confirm her intent. “Perturbed. . . As in annoyed, agitated, or troubled.”

“Yes,” she studies the ceiling, “so. . . I took the dog for a walk,” she pulls nervously at a sleeve, “when I got back, Steven wasn’t there.” She tugs repeatedly at the dress to cover her knees. “I was perturbed.”

I mimic what she says, “You were perturbed?”

Now her doe eyes light with anger as she contains her passion. “Yes, perturbed,” she slips into her coat and stands, “what don’t you understand? Surely you’ve been perturbed, Officer Hawkins.”

She is guilty. But of what, I do not know . . . yet.

I watch her leave the building perturbed.

. . . . just saying

 

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Mind Your Own Business

 

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Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers. The Coronavirus has changed the way we will celebrate the day.

I am fortunate. My daughter is with me. So, no one has to wear face masks, or wave from a vehicle to say, “I love you.”

My mother died last year at 96 years of age. She worked until she was 85. She had eight children; all surviving, and will be missed. The holidays centered around her even for those of us who lived miles away. I never heard her complain about changing a diaper or cooking a meal. She had a great sense of humor, but also a temper and I knew when to stay out of her way. This is one of the memories I have of her and me, or is it she and I?

Mind Your Own Business

After being told to go to my room, and think about what I had done, I ran away. I was three years old.

We lived in a Cape Cod style house in Levittown, Long Island. The bedrooms were upstairs. By the time my mother realized one of her children was missing, I was long gone.

She went looking and asked a neighbor wearing penny loafers and Bermuda shorts, “Have you seen a little girl?”

He stopped mowing his lawn. “I did,” wiped his brow with a cloth handkerchief and said, “I asked where she was going and I was told to ‘mind my own business.’ ” (Actually I said minch your own business because I had a lisp.)

My mother said, “That was her. Which way did she go?”

Mind your own business is a phrase I have used frequently during this stay at home virus. Until my daughter informed me. “Mom, it’s get off of me.”

She’s afraid I am getting old, and wants me to be on Instagram.

Shortly after, her dad, my husband stood in my way and asked. “What’s that?”

I held a legal-size paper in my hand. Befuddled by his question, I answered. “A piece of paper.”

He continued his inquiry, like an FBI agent. “What’s on it?”

He still did not move. I wondered if he had a concealed fire arm and thought he might flash a badge.

Exasperated I said, “Claire’s banana bread recipe.” Then circled behind him to file it in my baking folder.

I wanted to tell him to mind his own business, but said, “Get off of me,” in too loud a voice.

Happy Mother’s Day.,

. . . . just saying

 

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What Are You Thinking?

 

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A friend phoned to invite me out today, I declined saying I was hoping to have a thought, something to write about, as Sunday is my day to post. I had not had one yet, and explained that these days I have to jumpstart my brain, and in addition, my sister had been visiting and we had been sightseeing. The pictures above were taken at Bings Landing where we had lunch at The Captains BBQ and enjoyed the view.  

The conversation caused me to think about thinking, or my failure to. I take that back, I think but not quickly and grab paper and pencil to write down my thoughts, so I do not forget. It didn’t used to be this way.

Before turning 70 years of age, I could keep a thought or idea in my head to be retrieved later. It occurred to me that maybe there is no more room in my head for new thoughts and perhaps the reason we keep thinking old thoughts, i.e., when I was young milk was 25 cents a gallon is because we have accumulated too many thoughts, many of which are dated.

Is there a way to get rid of old thoughts? Head concussions and strokes cause memory loss although these measures would be drastic. Perhaps we can delete or compress some thoughts to make space for new thoughts by viewing old thoughts from a new perspective. For example, can stale bread be made into bread pudding?

The Daytona Beach News-Journal article, ‘Luckiest guy in the world’ reported on the 100th Birthday celebration for Howard Turner a volunteer ambassador at Daytona Beach Airport. When asked about aging he said, “I’m lucky to be walking around. I don’t have a cane. I’m not in a wheelchair, I’m the luckiest guy in the world.” Who could argue with him. He did not talk about memory loss and says he looks to the future, perhaps that is his delete button.

We know the body slows down and the mind becomes stale with aging, but should we throw the loaf of bread out or make bread pudding?

I am thinking of standing on my head, it is just a thought.

What are you thinking?

. . . . just saying

 

Bike Week ‘Jewel For Sale?’

 

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We did not go to Bike Week this year but have before. These pictures were taken ten years ago, and yes everyone was and does look younger.  We did not stay away on purpose, simply had other plans.

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We get to hear the roar of bikers sitting at home. They travel The Loop, a scenic ride along A1A down Old Dixie Highway in Ormond Beach and down Beach Street then across International Speedway bridge and back on Main Street, Daytona. There are state parks and protected acres of land along this route.  However changes will be coming to Daytona Beach. The front page headline, ‘Jewel’ For Sale? by reporter Eileen Zaffiro in the News – Journal reads, “City leaders are quietly working behind the scenes to get state restrictions on downtown riverfront property removed so they can ink deals with private developers interested in public land.”

What happened? If this is public land, how did it become private? It was Rick Scott and his Cabinet who lifted all the deed restrictions on 97 acres in Daytona, before leaving office in December of 2018.  A sneaky move, I my opinion, when the public was not looking.

Moving here I was perplexed by this mystery Floridians call, “the powers that be,” but now I get it.

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This year, the hub center for bikers was moved to Rt. 1, where The Iron Horse and many other biker bars are located, because of construction.

Brown & Brown is constructing an office building for their Insurance company in downtown Daytona. Hyatt and CiCi Brown have offered to donate 15 million dollars to beautify Riverfront Park on City Island, one of the properties who’s deed is now State unrestricted and awaiting City determination.

The historic Jackie Robinson Ball park and a county library are on the 22 acre island  public park, and if “the powers that behave their way, could be surrounded by high rise condos and hotels. It is a very beautiful spot.

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So who are these powers? They are not named in the article but City manager Jim Chisholm is quoted, “We had meetings with the City Commission when it was talked about. It was not a secret. Everybody who was paying attention knew about it.”

Residents of the area Mary Anne Jackson-Trumbull and Mary Welch who rarely miss Commission meetings say they did not know about the push to snuff out the deed restrictions. Go figure!

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The area is changing and too fast for residents to protect 97 acres from the drastic results. Please know when there is new construction here the property is stripped of all trees to lay electrical, telephone and irrigation lines underground. It is ugly and environmentally wrong.

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Mr. Wonderful says this is a great picture of me, but I am feeling very very sad.

. . . . just saying

Errands, Errants or Creative Excursions

 

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The other day after announcing I was going out to get a few things, my husband inquired, “Where are you going?” I drew upon my friend Claire’s wisdom and answered, “To do some errands,” and was out the door before he could ask, “When will you be back? Did you make a list?”

His questions were simple, and deserved simple answers, however, it seemed tedious to explain; I was going to deposit empty egg cartons and a wad of plastic bags in Publix Market’s recycling bin, then instead of having a colonoscopy was dropping a stool sample off at the lab, swinging by the hospital to leave dated issues of Southern Living Magazine in a waiting room and probably get gas, to which he would have responded, “You can’t get gas at the hospital.” 

A discussion as to why I was not discarding Styrofoam cartons, plastic and old magazines in our recycling, and why not have a colonoscopy, it had been ten years, would have been lengthy, and besides he would predict I would be back in an hour, leading to another explanation as to why that was not necessarily so. That would lead to a discussion of the differences between us, and how we manage to stay married, neither one of us knows.

Eventually, it would have come out that I might possibly check out the Hospital Gift Shop because you never know; get coffee, and walk on the beach, or stop at an antique store, a small table would be nice in the guest room. I was not just going out to do errands.

Which got me thinking about the difference in errand and errant; an errand is a task, duty, chore or job; a short trip somewhere to do something on behalf of somebody else and an errant is wandering from an intended course, not reaching an intended destination, looking for adventure; wayward, sinful, naughty, misbehaving, delinquent.

Therefore, the difference in errand and errant is bigger than d or t and in the hope of maintaining a happy marriage, now will be called a creative excursion because although my going out is task orientated I an still looking for adventure.

. . . . just saying

The Ten Year Challenge

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You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the “Ten-year Challenge” or like me, learned late in the game of the latest social media meme.

What is a meme you ask? Again, I am learning after the brou ha, ha. Merriam/Webster.com defines a meme as an element of a culture or system of behavior passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation. In other words, the latest craze or fad proliferated by social media.

Richard Dawkins, the British Scientist, first used the word in 1976 as “a unit of cultural transmission” to describe behavior. He was not talking about the flu.

The latest meme, the Ten Year Challenge, started on Facebook as a mindless past time; the craze took to Instagram and everyone jumped on the wagon, environmentalists reviewing how the past ten years have aged nature, and intellectual types, like John Dickerson of CBS News, talked about the benefits of aging on character, mind, and moral responsibility, although there was no mention of the President.

While celebrities are flaunting their good looks and comparing themselves in their twenties to their thirties, I wonder how I will look in ten years when eighty. Will I recognize myself?

The fun however, was short lived as suspicion arose that Facebook’s real purpose was for facial recognition, then lead to rumors they are colluding with Russia, and hint of a Muller investigation. The President did not comment on Twitter nor post before and after pictures on Instagram, while Sara Huckabee rolled her eyes and quietly said the rumors are unfounded and fake news.*

Investigations aside, facial recognition is becoming a scary issue for me. Life expectancy for a person my age is eighty and increases with age. My mom is ninety-five and still alive, factor in modern medicine and there is a good chance I will live another twenty-five years. Will I recognize myself?

Probably not, so I am working on a ten-year plan for Elderhood, you know like childhood when you wore diapers and had temper tantrums when told what to do.

The solution, I am going to lean in and embrace Elderhood; lose five lbs, travel more and write everyday.

 . . . . just saying.com

 

*Really fake news and not true, I made it up, unless proven otherwise

 

Make Your Bed Exercise

 

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 If we cannot change the behavior, can we change how we view the behavior?

One year ago, while struggling to make our Queen Size bed I questioned when did this bedspread become so heavy?

The task had become tedious, requiring walking around the bed about ten times to achieve a wrinkle free look, all the while complaining. I did not have the strength to flip the comforter across the bed.

I recalled working as a waitress/chambermaid at the Green Gables Hotel in Hensonville New York, how we would run upstairs after serving breakfast, to strip and remake beds, each bed taking approximately five minutes. We were back downstairs before the quest left the dining room. The year was 1964, and I was sixteen.

Bob, my husband, said, “Don’t make the bed. It’s only going to get messed up again.”

He is right, however I am a tidy person, an unmade bed was not an option. Call it a routine or habit started in childhood, you dressed and made your bed before breakfast.

I prefer the clean orderly picture a well-made bed creates and remember as a Mom of toddlers tripping over Lincoln Logs, Match Box cars, baby dolls, and diapers in the living room to find refuge in my bedroom and look at a tidy bed, knowing hospital corners were concealed under the spread.

Now, I was not only older, but weaker.

Consequently, I signed up at a gym, even hired a personal trainer, and started treating the task of making a bed a challenge.

The results were slow but steady, considering I wanted to avoid pain and think sweating is highly over rated.

However, in July, we traveled north to escape Florida’s heat for four weeks, and I was at risk of becoming a statistic, most people (80%) stop going to the gym after five months.

13ff6543-74a7-4938-811f-97e6d4c24c9a_1.db6bc136ad0b6ef50bc16d0a248f0d17Luckily, I discovered a PBS program, Classical Stretch. by instructor Miranda Esmonde-White.  Her exercise program is amazing. I even bought her book, “Aging Backwards.” my friends are sick and tired of hearing me talk about her so I have stopped.

However, just listening to her talk while she exercises gave me a new perspective on aging.

She says the notion that muscle atrophy is synonymous with aging is false. The breakdown of muscles, muscle atrophy, is not caused by aging but by lack of use, and can happen at any age, but happens more quickly as we age. She references research to support her exercise approach to counter the premises that muscle atrophy is a side effect of aging.

So making a bed is more difficult at seventy, than at sixteen years old, not because of aging, but because of less activity. Miranda says in layman’s words, muscles not being used are programed to die.

Which came first the chicken or the egg or in this case, aging or less active? It does not matter, the solution is to exercise, all six hundred and forty muscles.

Since doing Classical Stretch, a twenty-three minute program, five days a week I have stopped taking naps and can make the bed in less than five minutes.     

. . . . just saying

 

 

Gray Hair and Feeling Maudlin

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Now that the Christmas tree is back in the box it came in, and the furniture in its proper place, I am excited to start the New Year. Our grand-kids will be visiting this week and my husband, Bob, and I plan to visit Italy in the Spring. The temperature today is sixty-five, and its sunny. Life seems good when Bob mumbles something from the living room.

After forty-seven years of marriage, I am not certain if the mumbling is to annoy me, or he has forgotten I cannot hear with the water running and question what he said, “Really? Alex Trebek is going off the air because he shaved his mustache?”

Bob is watching Jeopardy, and raises his voice to shout, “No I don’t like Alex Trebek with or without his mustache.”

There is something discerning about his tone. I turn off the water, grab a dishtowel, and join him on the couch. “I thought you liked Jeopardy.”

He continues grumbling that if the show had more categories about sports, he would know every answer, and that Alex Trebek is cheap, not giving every contestant all their earnings. I agree, second and third place contestants receive $2,000 and $1,000 respectively not their final Jeopardy winnings.

Understand, Bob can be grumpy. He sports a tattoo; one of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs, Grumpy, however this seems unusual, and I ask, “Are you feeling maudlin?”

He replies emphatically, “Yes! I just don’t know what else can go wrong!”

Surprised by his reaction, I am concerned and say, “Has something happened?”

Now, Bob has had numerous medical challenges and I joke, “He has no pancreas, no spleen, no gallbladder, no thyroid and no appendix but a full head of hair and all his own teeth.” He is a healthy man. So I ask again, “What is it?”

Hesitantly he says, “Today after golf, I showered, and like I always do, combed my hair, head down over the sink, but when I stood up the sink was full of gray hair. I am losing my hair! I can’t believe something else is wrong.”

No wonder he is feeling maudlin, the salt and pepper hair makes him look younger. However, I laugh and through uncontrollable chuckles explain the gray hair is mine, combed into the sink while cleaning my hairbrush that morning, and evidently forgot to wipe up.

“So I’m not losing my hair,” he says and relieved joins me in laughter.

I am reminded of a Betty Davis quote, “Old age is not for sissies.” She is right.

                                                                        . . . . just saying