How Serious is the Corona Virus

My daughter asked me what precautions I was taking for the Corona Virus. During our small group study at church, the conversation turned to the unavailability of face masks. The Corona Virus is the dominant topic on the news, including dominating the front and editorial pages of our small local newspaper. At my doctor appointment we talked about the Virus.

It is true that most people might be temporarily sick, and then recover. The population of New Castle is a little over 22,000. This means that if everyone got the Virus, 400 people would die. While the sickness has its grip on New Castle, PA it would put a strain on the local hospital.

This number does not include the people in the immediate surrounding area. Nor the range that this population travels. Pittsburgh is frequent destination for the local population, as is Ohio, and with the airport near by, we are within reach of the world.

But how bad will it really be?

How bad the virus will hit us will depend upon us, all of us. We know how to prevent viruses from spreading.

  • We know to wash our hands.
  • We know to avoid handles and light switches.
  • We know to cover our cough.
  • We know to stay home when we are sick.

Wait! What?

We know not everyone washes their hands every time we go to the bathroom. Every public bathroom has posted that employees must wash their hands before returning to work. This same rule should be followed by us, because everything we touch can carry a contagion. Most of these we are resistant to, but we have no resistance to the new virus.

Wipes are available at many grocery stores so that customers can wipe buggy or cart handles so you are protected. Anything you need to touch, that also other people touch, are potential points of contracting something new. Avoid touching buttons and knobs where you can, and clean your hands as quickly as possible.

We have all seen other people cough or sneeze without covering their cough. Or, cough or sneeze in their hand and then shake hands with someone. Coughing in your elbow may be a good emergency measure, but a tissue you can discard is best.

These are all good ways to protect ourselves from getting sick. If you would like to get some direction from a real doctor, visit here. To protect others from being sick we need to stay home and stay away from others.

We have all been in the company of someone with a bad cough, sneeze, and need to blow their nose. Instead of one person sick, you and a whole room full of people can be sick.

All of us tend to think we are needed. No, we think we are essential. We take pride in assuming our responsibilities, and being reliable, dependable. We are needed, but it is the very action of meeting that need that allows us to spread disease to others. When we are sick, our greatest responsibility is to protect others and keep to our sick room and take care of ourselves.

Like me, I am sure you will keep track of the Corona Virus, and make plans to take care of yourself, and even be prepared for isolation. My daughter has stock piled three gallons of water. Sorry kids, that means Mom and the pups will be okay for a day or so.

Not My Same Old Blog

This feature, the Drop Cap reminded me of Illuminated manuscripts and sent me scurrying across the internet to see precisely what the difference is. Illuminated uses a Drop Cap, a larger initial letter, with an illustration within the letter. The letter itself is often very elaborate. I guess WordPress still has room for growth. I think I’ll have fun with this flourish.

The block feature is interesting. I’ve been trying to use it, and must say I am not really sure about it. I was comfortable with the old way. I can see the potential. I’m just not sure I will ever use it to advantage, because I basically just plain write. But this feature may entice me to change the look of my blog and my approach to my writing. I’m thinking glossy magazine vs. black and white newsprint.

I may have to upgrade my media, but that should be easy with Pixel, and all the great open-stock materials. I actually gave away my Rebel Camera, and my video camera to my grandchildren. My phone and tablet make it so easy to take photo, and I still have my bin of photographs. For today, enjoy me pictures of Shadow, with a glimpse of Blue eating in the background.

I was worried I’d come back and would have forgotten everything, but no worries, as long as I can think of something to write about.

Where I’ve Been

future sign
Photo by Tomas Ryant on

Surprise dear followers.  Greeting friends and readers.  It’s been awhile.  I’m not the first blogger to burnout and disappear.  My burnout occurred shortly after Hubby’s health issues came to light.  

I’ve received some unexpected encouragement to write from a new friend who read my blog, so let us see if I can still remember how to do this.  

Hubby’s health problems have been a series of ups and downs.  A case of pneumonia was really scary.  When we left for urgent care Hubby felt bad.  We were sent on to the hospital, and by the time we got there, Hubby couldn’t give his name.

Doctors played ping pong with him, pointing to each other to give us answers.  Finally we changed pulmonologists.  A year after the pneumonia, Hubby was healthy enough for a lung biopsy.  The result, Hubby does have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Plus, he still has COPD, specifically Emphysema.  He is now on one of the two very expensive medicines to treat IPF, nintedanib (OFEV).  This is not a cure.

Fortunately for us, our copay for OFEV is covered by a foundation.  Meaning, no co-pay charge for us.  Thank you to all of you who have ever donated to the Lung Association.  There are a number of side effects, but Hubby is tolerating it well so far.  Life has settled into a manageable routine.

It has been a time of coming to term with our new reality, somber conversations, and  putting things in order.  There has been a lot of stress and anxiety.  I didn’t want my blog to be just an IPF blog, (not the worst thing, but a different audience).  Nor a series of rants of all the other things in life that have added to stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety are major health issue by themselves.  My immune system has taken a hit.  Suddenly I am dealing with canker sores, colds, rashes, and broken/peeling nails.  Also, I am eating a ton, with the predictable results (I wonder if I can find some of those clothes I donated a year or so ago to Goodwill).  These are small problems in life.

The future isn’t clear, but in the present we are living with these challenges.  Our emphasis is on our life, not the inevitable end that all of us eventually face.  That end will come to us all, but until then, why borrow trouble.

My Sister and I

My sister and I are very different.  To begin with, I am older, the first-born, while she is 6 years younger.  I was often the one to hold her hand when she was small, to keep her from wondering, or touching things she shouldn’t.  I was also the one put in charge, when Mom and Dad were not there.  (Not their best idea, but everyone survived.)

She watched me as an emotional teen, fight with my parents about such things as the morality of the Vietnam War, and the horrors of discrimination against African-Americans.  (That was before we called them black, as we are white, and now they are just Americans.)  She also saw me argue about everything I wanted to do as I struggled to get permission for everything from shaving to staying out all night for prom.  I was the break-in kid.

My sister learned it was easier to get forgiveness than permission for small things.  She didn’t argue about politics and issues of the day with Mom and Dad.  She saw it didn’t get me anywhere, but upset and crying, so she just kept her own counsel.

We had another sister between us.  Karen got killed by a drunk driver when she was just 21.  I was 24, my sister 18.  I was married, expecting my second child, and I lived out of state.  My birth family, my parents, sister and brother became a unit.  I belonged to a separate unit.  The course of the family changed.  My stay at home parents became outgoing, for my brother and sister, getting involved in sporting activities with them, and traveling the country with their new friends and parents to sporting events.

I had children young, went to college as a returning adult student, lived in several states.  My sister went to college straight out of high school, got married after college, therefore having children at a later age, and lived close to our parents and brother.

I’ve been thinking about these differences the past few days.  We have a political situation that is affecting children.  I am upset and rather than posting blogs, I’ve been posting my concern for these children, and concern about the political situation that has caused this crisis on Facebook.  My sister has been taking care of her grand-babies, who are babies. My grandchildren are from age 1 to 17.

I haven’t just posted on Facebook.  I have written to my Congressman and Senator.  I can’t wrap my brain around what is happening in my own country.  Because politics is so upsetting to me, I had cut back on my news viewing, and even stopped responding to political social media posts.  But now I am upset and following this story every day.  My friends probably know how I feel, but I am keeping it out there.  I shared personal information that should show them why I feel so strongly about the current situation.

My sister’s page is silent.  She is dealing with an infant granddaughter whose breast feeding mother just had to return to work.  She is remaining friends with everyone, and quietly talking in the background, gently, when she thinks she will be heard.  When she posts, it will be pictures of her dogs and the babies.

My sister’s voice may prove to be the most effective.



Program Your Phone with This Number

Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are familiar to many of us, and we never would have suspected that they suffered from depression, yet they both lost their battle with their demons.  Success is no protection.

Some facts I find interesting about suicide:  Women experience depression twice as much as men, and attempt suicide three times more than men, yet men die by suicide four times more than women.  It appears guns, the favored method of men, is more effective than the women’s go to method of poisoning.  More than half of all who kill themselves have no known mental health issues.  Suicide is on the rise nation wide.

When you are depressed, you may think you are handling everything just fine, until that time when you aren’t.  If you think you might be depressed, you don’t have to tell your boss, the people you work with, or your family, get help.  If you think about dying once in awhile, get help.  If you think others might get along better without you, get help.

You don’t know where to start?

Call: 1 (800) 273-8255  If you think you are okay now, just put the number where you can easily find it.  I have it programmed on my phone.




Summer is finally here, well effectively here.  Graduations have been happening all around the area.  Quiet neighborhoods are being run by children.

This is the time I remember most fondly from childhood.  These summer days of freedom to just go and have fun in the neighborhood.  Play equipment in every yard was being used. We knew where to find the sensitive plants and blackberries (which we watched for signs of ripeness).  Collecting stones and following bugs were favorite pastimes.  Watching clouds and dreaming in the shade followed bicycle rides and jumping backyard fences.

We would run home for lunch and be called in for dinner.  We felt free.  We felt unsupervised, but all the neighbors kept their eyes on the kids in the neighborhood.  We couldn’t get away with anything.  If you stepped out of line, you got a quick reprimand, and you got it again when you got home.

We had no cell phones in our pockets, yet our parents always knew what was going on and where we were.  It was our job to keep them informed of exactly where we were going.  Outside was playing in the neighborhood, taking our bikes meant riding up and down the street and around the block, the playground was over at the school where a variety of summer activities took place, including baseball.

Now I’m going to sound like a little old lady.  Today’s kids don’t have this sense of complete freedom.  Their parents are working, and don’t want to impose on the neighbors to watch their children.  I don’t know what their memories of childhood will be like.  They play video games.  They visit grandma (which is the best). They are also free from homework every night so I imagine they feel the sense of freedom.

I knew I had entered the adult world when I was still expected to go to work after “the kids” got out of school for the summer.  Work was no longer an option, but a commitment.  If you were one of the lucky ones, you got a week or two of vacation.  There are different reward to adulthood, and if you handle it right, you still feel free.

The Psychic Fair

Near my home in New Castle, Pennsylvania, is a place known as the
Haunted Hill View Manor.  The sign at the end of the driveway said, “Psychic Fair”  with another sign, “Free Admission.”

I’ve heard it was previously an old age home, but the promotional material makes it sound much more ominous than the locals I have talked to, but they are allowed.  It would be very boring without an interesting back story.

There were many psychics on hand to tell your fortune, read your aura, palm, tea leaves or whatever.  These people are the real deal.  You can tell they are real by the $30 to $40 charged for a reading.  The speakers were free, and we got there just as a man talking about how to access the astral plain was getting started.  As you may imagine, meditation is key, with the possible addition of mind altering substances.

There were also many vendors selling jewelry, symbols, candles etc. If you find my description lacking I must apologize.  I walked through, but could not linger.  The mold level inside the building was quite high.  I did complain to the person in charge and was referred to their waiver, which excludes them from any responsibility for any thing that may cause you injury or harm, up to and including death.  And what did I expect, “It’s an old building.”

Today, I sent this email:

Greetings,  I attended your Psychic Fair on Saturday, June 2.  I could not linger and had to quickly leave due to asthma and the mold in your facility.  I said something to the person in charge, who referred me to the Waiver, which basically says you are not responsible for anything at all, ever, under any circumstances. While I can see that is of great benefit to you, it does nothing to inform me of the dangers involved.  Any other attraction open to the public has large signs warning of dangers to specific people with a higher than average risk.  At the hotel hot tub, “Not recommended for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, pregnant, or children under the age of 10.”  Similar signs are found at amusement parks.  Even the TSA warns people with pacemakers to inform the agent.  Especially for events, open to the public, you need a warning posted that those with respiratory issues should not enter due to mold.  I believe your waiver still leaves you open to liability, but I am not a lawyer, so what do I really know.  Being an old building doesn’t let you off the hook, as many old building have had mold remediation. But once again, I am not a lawyer.                          I  wish I could have enjoyed your Psychic Fair, but I couldn’t and shall not return, nor recommend a visit to your facility.

So now all of you know what I expect.  Any lawyers who might be reading, perhaps you would like to weigh in on the level the waiver protects them.

I do apologize if you find my tone dismissive of the psychic realm.  I assure you, that is not the case, but when it comes to psychics, there is no licensing board.  I myself have toyed with the idea of hanging out my shingle, and quietly advertising.  Charlatan?  That depends on your beliefs.


What to do When You Don’t Know What to do

You say you’re stressed, distressed, and don’t know what to do next?  Are you filled with anxiety, grief, doubt, depression and confusion?  For your own mental health, this is the time to get out an old-fashioned pen or pencil, a pad of paper, and write, long hand, as much as you can.  Long, stream of consciousness, totally uncensored writing, raw with every misspelling, grammatical mistake, and rule ignored.

Most writers are familiar with this process, because that is how we make sense of the world.  We just write.

Don’t even read what you wrote for a while.  Just write, day after day, for days, weeks, even months.  At some point you will want to go back and read what you wrote, but not until you have enough written that you will be able to see the full arc of your thoughts and feelings.

Don’t let anyone else read your journal either, or you will find yourself writing to your audience, which means you will edit yourself.  You can always share what you wrote at some later date.

When should you write?  First thing in the morning, while you are still groggy with sleep is a good time to write, as you are then unlikely to edit yourself.  Write anything.  Write how stupid it is to write when you have nothing to say.  Write about your cat getting in your way of writing, because she wants to  be in your lap.  Write about your frustrations, fears, hopes and dreams.

Some people recommend writing with your less dominant hand, resulting in a childish scrawl, and it is said, childish feelings and memories.  Write any time you are filled with strong emotion that overcomes your inclination to hold back.

As I go along, I will put a mark next to information that I consider really important to key on later.  Right now, I am looking for problems and their solutions.  Why not just make a list?  I would if I knew what problems I had.

Things reveal themselves in a very subtle way in a journal.  You might not even know how really annoyed you are with all the clutter the family leaves around your work-space, until you see you have mentioned it here and there.  This is something fixable.  That thing waking you up every night at 3 a.m. might not be under your control to fix, but maybe you can find a way to help the situation.

You will learn how you really feel about things.  Don’t jump to the conclusion that you already know.  People are notorious for discounting or minimizing their feelings.  How can you address an issue without really admitting the depth of feeling you have.

Even if you never read over what you have written, your writing will have helped to clarify your feelings and thinking.  This is why mental health professionals recommend writing in a journal.  But rather than toss it out, give it a read.  You are bound to be surprised by something you wrote.


Good News


We were out at the house today, which is ready for the rough in inspection, which means the electric and water lines are run.  It is a beautiful day here in eastern Pennsylvania.  Sunny and temperatures in the 70’s made spring cleanup of the yard a pleasant task.  Hubby even planted some early spring seeds:  radishes, lettuce, peas.

On the way home we stopped at a sandwich shop.  Hubby’s sandwich came wrapped in this “newspaper.”  The news is all from Sunday, November 19,1989.  The news is all actual new from this day in history.  Take a good look at the picture. (I hope you can read it.)

What do you notice about these actual news events?  I can’t  wait any more.  ‘lt is all good news: The first Women in Space, Remarkable Upset in Olympic History, Titanic Found,  The Berlin Wall Falls, plus the hot movie was E.T. – The Extra-terrestrial.

We hear about how horrible, and bad news is.  Lately, we hear news called fake when the powers that be don’t like their coverage.  Back in 1989, the press was called biased, but jjournalists were believed honest, hard working people.

There was plenty of bad news in 1989, but there was also good news.  It was good to be reminded of this really terrific good news.  I bet if we stop focusing on our divisions,  we will be able to see some really good news today.

I challenge you to look for the good news today.





Busy? Not so Much.

A Ramble.

It is a snowy, blustery day, but warm enough that there is no accumulation on the ground.  Terrific.

I have swept and mopped, dusted and polished, scrubbed and scrapped, fluffed and folded.  I have also watched a bunch of TV, checked everyone on Facebook, deleted a bunch of emails, and sat with my little Shadow on my lap.  Just the mention of my sweet black cat brings a smile to my lips.  Me and my Shadow.  You would never know I have another cat, Blue, and a Boston Terrier named Brutus Buckeye who does accompany me on walks.

While doing these things my head was a buzz with ideas.  These are the same ideas that keep me from a good nights sleep.  Ideas that sound really great, until I actually give them attention.

Today those ideas include a family saga that my Dad thought I should write.  Not just the random pieces I heard growing up, but a real story, based upon actual events, that I really know very little about.  All of the people who could tell me details have passed.  A large historical family saga seems completely beyond my abilities.

The house, the one that caught fire, had to be gutted, and has been sitting empty since mid December, finally is ready for inspection of its new wiring.  When you buy a house from someone who thinks they can do everything themselves, and codes are only for other people.

Some very creative solutions, that are illegal, and possibly dangerous, were found within our walls.  Such dangers as bare wires inside a wall with just a little electrical tape to keep things together, or faux grounded outlets (outlets lacking any grounding) near areas of water usage.  The new wiring is ready for inspection and will meet all codes.  Codes which really are for our protection.

I can hear someone thinking that communities can really get picky with their codes, especially when the exterior is concerned.  Live in a historic district and you will really know the pressure code can exert on a homeowner can be worse than the pickiest of homeowner associations, but these codes ensure the maintenance of historically valuable architecture.  Fortunately, I live in the country.  Nobody cares about historical accuracy and general cosmetic stuff, but safety is the concern.

There were also at least ten blog ideas that flitted through my brain, but those are gone.  I live most of my life in the comfort of my own brain, full of stories, and ideas that I just can’t get out to share with anyone else.  There is too much going on.  As I jump from one thing to the next, ideas disappear into the hidden corners of my mind.

Write it down you say?  Ever find those notes later and ask yourself, “What?  What ever possessed me to think that’s a good idea? Nobody cares what I think about that!

Politics?  I don’t even want to hear about politics, why would anyone care what I think.  CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CBS, PBS… all have better sources and, people more politically educated than I.  Recently, I stick to the major local networks, and PBS.  I just want the news.  I can make my own political determination about it, and so can you!

Our house?  It is coming along, agonizingly slowly.  I do not want to bore you with counter choices and flooring.  I like it.  I will share pictures as available.  I can’t wait to see the results of all this planning.  It has been emotionally trying at times.  Repeated moves, make me feel like a couch surfer.  Sleep disruptions, general anxiety, and overall stress is the rule of the day.   We are in a nice place, and have what we need, but I am plagued by stress over my own klutziness and worry over pets and the damage we may cause.

Interpersonal conflict.  No.  Either to personal, or to mundane.

I could just write about my cat.  Shadow is curled up on her stand in the window.  Just a warm little body who plants herself on my lap whenever I make myself available.  Her silky fur, and gentle purr are soothing.

Give your pet, or someone you love, a little attention.  It is a great stress reliever.

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