Dispatches from Furlough, Day Five

First, here’s a little something I recorded last weekend, before my furlough even started.  We had a massive hailstorm, which lasted about 15 minutes, and covered the back yard in snow.  Some of it was still around in the morning, too.  This was from my bedroom window on the second floor, and you can see Kikyo on her perch watching.

Today, the real Day Five, I ventured out to the grocery store for orange juice and some other stuff (did you know that the Wuhan Coronavirus is causing a leap in the price of orange juice futures?).  I used to like going grocery shopping, but now it is a chore, uncomfortable and, they say, potentially deadly if you get too close to another person.

When I got home, I did some of my always-favorite activity, reading my Wall Street Journal.  See who keeps me company.

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Yeah, she’s sitting on my just-washed jeans.

I will now vent.  I deserve to, having been idled for a week.

WAAAAHHHH!!!  I WANT MY PRINT SHOP SOFTWARE BACK!!!!  Software MacKiev still has not released a Catalina-compatible version of The Print Shop, my favorite program on my computer, which I have been using since I got my very first computer in 1993.  They say it will be released “soon”, but I am beginning to wonder what their definition of “soon” is.  I make all sorts of projects with that software, including address labels and signs.

I did 25+ minutes on the rowing machine today, still adding one minute per day until I get to 30.  I’m way behind on my Rush Limbaugh podcasts, and listening to the podcast makes the rowing less boring.

And, our “stay-home” edict has now been extended all through the month of April.  It suddenly occurred to me that my nail salon is closed, and I am going to need a pedicure long before the end of April.  I am really not looking forward to having to cut my own toenails again. I’m really bad at it, and my nails are thick and ugly due to psoriasis.  Ugh.

Bye!

Dispatches from Furlough, a continuing series

Today is officially Day Four of my two-week furlough from work, due to the economic effects of the Wuhan Coronavirus.  Last Friday just before noon, we were told that our aerospace manufacturing factory was shutting down for two weeks, due to a falloff in business, including customers pushing out and cancelling orders.  For the purposes of this continuing series, I will only be counting weekdays as part of the furlough.  I have ample vacation time saved up, so this will mostly be a forced vacation.

I have opted into the company’s text-messaging service, so I have heard via text that two employees in our factory have contracted the COVID-19 illness, and they both work in the same area of the factory.  It is interesting that this particular area is almost completely enclosed to separate it from the rest of the factory (due to machine noise and fumes).  My work area is on the opposite side of the building.  Even before the factory shutdown, many office employees, including the majority of our department, were working from home.  But I was going in to work every day, because my particular job involves carrying things to the shipping and receiving departments, and I really didn’t want to be working from home while my husband was already working from home.  I did like the relative quiet, which made it easier for me to do my job.  Our entire state of Washington is under a “shelter in place” order from our stupid governor, so my furlough promised to be uncomfortable confinement.

Being the incendiary person I am, I defied that shelter-in-place order on Sunday.  It was a nice day, so I got in my car and drove up to the Skagit Valley to check out the tulips.  Every year in the month of April, they have the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which normally draws thousands of flower-viewers, who clog up all the 2-lane roads in the valley, stopping by the side of the road to take pictures of the flowers in the fields.  Not so this year, since the Festival has been cancelled, due to the “social-distancing” edict from the all-powerful State.  The group who runs the Festival has added insult to injury, by turning off the Tulip Cams, so we shut-ins can’t even view the flowers on the Web! Please note that the header on my blog is a picture of those Skagit Valley Tulips from a previous year.  I enjoyed my drive, and when I got there, the traffic was pretty light, but NOT totally gone.  There is a roadside farm stand, Snow Goose Produce, and they were mercifully open!  I didn’t stop there, but there were some shoppers.  In my drive among the fields, it became apparent that it was still a bit early for the tulips to be in full bloom, and I didn’t get any tulip pictures.  But, I did get one picture.

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I do believe these are blueberries, and they are not ready yet.  I did not get out of the car, but just turned around and drove back home.  On the way, I noticed a few things.  The Walmart and Home Depot were open.  And the big Outlet Mall at Tulalip was closed. I wish I had taken a picture of their empty parking lot, which on any weekend is crammed with cars, many from British Columbia.

Monday was the start of the real furlough.  I had decided that I was not going to waste my time off, and made my plan to get some exercise every day.  In my bedroom resides my Concept 2 indoor rowing machine, and I vowed to use it every day.  I started with 20 minutes, and I am increasing my time by one minute every day.  Today, I did 24 minutes; when I reach 30 minutes, I’ll do 30 per day each day.  Most of my time has been spent reading, my very favorite activity.  I am always behind on my Wall Street Journals, so I am catching up this week.  I’m also spending some time on Ricochet.com, both posting and reading.  Ricochet members are very smart, and very diverse, so I always learn something.  Since many of us have to stay home, our Ricochet Birders group is getting lots of action, with members describing which birds they see from their windows.

Hubby and I have gotten out to do some allowed activities, like grocery shopping.  I have always liked going to the grocery store, and I appreciate those trips even more now.  I also made a Costco run on Tuesday, to pick up a prescription, and get gas in the car.  Wow, the price of gas is sure down!  My car uses premium gas, and this week’s price was over $0.35 lower than last time.  And the Costco parking lot was half empty.

Owing to the rapidly-sinking stock market, I was able to call Vanguard, who manages my investments, and cancel this year’s Required Minimum Distribution from my Regular IRA account.  I am glad that the Feds allowed me to cancel this year’s distribution, since the amount is based on my balance on December 31, which was a great deal higher than it is today.  I really don’t need the money, since I am still working (I hope I will have a job to go back to).

Both Hubby and I are in the over-60 high-risk group, and so far both of us are well.  We’d better be!

Welcome to Seattle, where police respond to name-calling…

But not to burglary or assaults in progress.  Thanks to Todd Herman of Radio Station KTTH for bringing this story to our attention.  This link takes you to the story on MyNorthwest.com, where you can listen to the 911 calls, and read about the new initiative on the part of  a local media figure, and the (Black, Female) Police Chief, to stop Hate in Seattle.

The Police in Seattle are already seriously understaffed, and have basically stopped responding to most property crimes.  Officers know that the city government basically thinks of them as Pigs, city government being run by 1960s radicals.  No wonder that the city can’t keep police, and more resign than are hired.

I feel sorry for the citizens of Seattle, who are basically on their own in protecting themselves.  The last gun shop left the city last year, when the government imposed onerous taxes on their businesses and their merchandise.  Sad, really sad.

Looking for a refuge from the Wuhan Coronavirus?

Looking for a refuge from the Wuhan Coronavirus?

…and all its attendant ills, both physical and psychological?  Are you looking for a place to go to relax, where the pesky virus will not intrude on your mellow?

Well, I have just the place for you.

Hie yourself on over to WizardingWorld.com, and dive right into the Harry Potter Universe!  The site is the former Pottermore, with all the features you have come to love. The elves behind Wizarding World will entertain you with quizzes, features, and news from the world of Harry Potter.  Eventually they intend to bring back the “explore the story” feature that those of us who really got into the old Pottermore came to love and lose ourselves in.  Personally, that’s the part I miss the most about the former site.

Now, though, the additional Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise adds new and fun areas to the site.  For anyone who has never checked out Wizarding World should go over there right now!  Even now, you can register, get sorted into your House at both Hogwarts, and Ilvermorny (the US school of magic); find out your Wand and your Patronus, and get ready to have fun!

You will not find ANY mention of that Muggle virus at Wizarding World, so you can just relax and explore.  You can also go to the Apple App Store and download the app, and do quizzes and read about features on your phone!

So, do it today!  You will not regret it for one minute.

Thinking about the “Novel Coronavirus” epidemic [Updated]*Dictators Beware

Thinking about the “Novel Coronavirus” epidemic [Updated]*Dictators Beware

The news has been pretty grim regarding the new virus making the rounds of most of the world this year, wreaking havoc on China, where it originated, and spreading quickly to other countries, including the United States.  It is fortunate that so far the US has very few cases, but that could change rapidly.

Now, China is a Communist country, and the way its leaders are handling the crisis reflects that.  Tyrannies tend to lie about any conditions that could make them look bad to the rest of the world, and this communicable disease is a perfect example of that.  They took weeks to disclose the original outbreak, and it’s pretty well known that even now their statistics do not accurately reflect the numbers of infections and deaths there. My take?  To Xi Jinping: I hope that he is afraid, VERY afraid.  This is an enemy that he has no defense against.  Even the Dictator of China is not immune to this novel virus that some say might have been deliberately created in his country.

To Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei: I hope he is also VERY afraid, seeing that his Deputy Health Minister has tested positive for the virus.  Even the Supreme Leader of Iran, who is famous for oppressing his people, is not immune to this deadly infection.  Cases are multiplying rapidly in Iran, and I wonder if it takes a very tiny snippet of RNA to bring down the nuclear-weapon-seeking “Islamic Republic” of Iran?  [Edit March 3] Here is a link to a news story about the virus spreading in Iran, and at the top ranks of clerics and Parliament.  Will this weaken the regime? We can only hope.

And to Dictator Kim Jong-Un of North Korea: His country shares a border with China, but we hear very little about what is going on there with the virus.  It is well known that the health of the average North Korean has always been borderline starving, and those whose bodies are already in marginal health will likely succumb to this kind of disease much faster than healthier, better-nourished people.I pray that this evil dictator, who murders his own relatives, is VERY afraid today.  This tiny piece of living thing is a bigger threat to himself and his country than perhaps anything that he has previously encountered.

All of the above countries have some important things in common that will prevent them from adequately addressing, and protecting their people from, the new virus.  All three places are basically still Third-World countries, with medical systems that are much less advanced than the rest of the developed world, and are somewhat closed to outside influences.  Even relatively-advanced China has a countryside populated with poor peasants, who have lesser access to hospitals.  One other characteristic of all three countries is that tyrannies care little for the individual person, over and above their ability to do work, and have less interest in saving their lives.

I feel very sorry for the majority of the people who live under dictators and communist regimes, because their futures are most likely to include a greater degree of suffering than citizens of advanced economies.

Although, we citizens of an advanced economy in the US have watched the stock market plummet this week, losing 1,000 points today alone.  That is “panic” territory, with many people selling much of their portfolios. This picture says a lot.

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I’m not panicking yet, but I think we should all be concerned, watch the news, and take the advice of health authorities about what precautions to take.

One last thing.  The first US case of the virus was a man who lives in my general neck of the woods, and he has recovered and returned to his home.

Spotted at Costco, of all places

This is one of the benefits of owning a smartphone.  When you come across something unusual you think your friends and blog followers might like, you just whip out your phone and take a picture.  What do you think of this new item on the shelf in Costco’s booze department?

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A most unusual item.  I’m guessing that 25% of the cost is in the bottle!

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Whew!  And it comes in its own nice display case.  Once you finish the brandy, the bottle is its own exhibit.

Thought Experiment

SOTU2020

What would happen if, with my magic wand (pine wood with unicorn hair, rigid flexibility), I caused the hair color of every woman in this picture to revert to its natural color?  Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Kamala Harris…  Wouldn’t it be just sweet to see every woman with her natural color, just like me (I love my silver locks, all-natural)?  Just a thought on a lazy Saturday night.