Fence Straddling – Coping with Pandemic Concerns

Oft-times I ‘bury my head in the sand’.  I’m not quiet about this – I make no apologies for it.  This is my thing.  I avoid information and futz about in my own world, making pleasant thoughts and activities my norm, keeping out the clutter of (insert paranoia/drama/unknown reality here) what’s happening in the world at large.

It’s a cognitive bias of my own making, and I’m quite aware of that.  It is also conducive to my mental health, as I am overly devout at researching information from multiple online sources once my attention is piqued.  My work over the years has included the thorough research of regulations as they apply to workplaces in order to assist in compliance.  I have some history in this arena – while not a professional, I am experienced.

And so we arrive at the global announcement of pandemic.

Awareness seeped in to my consciousness in early January.  I poked around a bit, just enough to see the initial news reports and rebuffs, the blame and blame shift, and then the acknowledgements.

In February, I began a more thorough approach to my information gathering.  I’ve read news media, government regulations, pubmed reports over several years, and radiology and autopsy reports, genetic structuring, zoonotic diseases, RNA and ACE2 proteins.

I consider myself educated enough for my own satisfaction, but likely missing details for a thorough discourse of the whole situation.

**Strong Disclaimer:  I am not an authority on any medical, political, protocol or other issue **

Thus said, I am straddling the fence on what to say, how to act, shows of empathy, assistance to needy, and generally how to feel about those who I feel are making extreme errors in judgement calls.

So what I’ve decided to address here is the basics, a focus on being a prepared individual in any given circumstance, and how an overarching practice of empathy and sound rationalizations and judgement could be the world’s best approach.

COVID-19

Borders do not define or confine the situation currently in play.

The standard protocols of ‘herd immunity’ are for known virus strains, and this is an unknown – reports show that recovered patients have relapsed and become ill again (some instances, not all).

This virus originated with bats, a specific bat, in a specific area.  But the transfer from bat to (variable) to human was unknown when I last checked.  Similar to MERs or SARs, the bats host the virus and transfer.  How that transfer occurs is also unknown, but it is possible that it is via guano, making a possible case for a fungal virus.  How do you treat fungi in the lungs?  Not easily, and certainly not viably if your lungs are already damaged.

Children do not appear to succumb to the virus.  However, they may be carriers, shedding virus cells while toddling around appearing to be well – or negative for the strain.

Social and Geographic

The media, both social and news, have bordered on the ridiculous in the downplay of attention on the new virus.  Ridicule for preparations, ridicule for regulations, ridicule for responses, ridicule for origination – what does ridicule solve??  When has ridicule been the overall answer to a problem??  Does verbal lashing at people you cannot see face to face make one feel like a better person??

I challenge every person to focus instead on empathy, on a bigger picture than what you feel, or what you think, or what you may be afraid of.  I challenge you to focus on how to wake up every day and resolve to do the best you can today.  On whatever level you need to improve — except improving your tongue-lashing and witty cutting remarks.  Leave those behind and level up, make your voice a mature and informed one.  Make your actions reflect what you might profess as your personal code of ethics, and be the decent human beings we all have the ability to be.

Regulations and Preparations

With national declarations being made, education and self-regulating are a good approach to ensuring your personal comfort.

Seriously, would you rather limit your personal encounters to avoid contracting or spreading the virus (or the flu, since that’s being touted as a more pressing disaster)?  Or would you prefer going about as normal and awaiting the Command to Cease and Desist?  Be aware that the declaration has made such a command an imminent reaction, should the peoples not comply on their own.

With any oncoming storm, any perceived large situation, it is always wise to prepare.  Some people are naturals at this – having been extremely poor, I have been known to take a depression-era styled approach to keeping my family supplied.  I’ve had bare cupboards, bare refrigerator, been on a substandard and college style diet while raising a child.  I know duress.  Those in this situation may run out at an alarm situation and purchase items in abundance and without a cohesive plan.  Have you walked in their shoes?  No? Then shut up about how they act.

Back to prepare – as you are able, continue to purchase a few extra items at each trip to the market.  Get yourself prepared to isolate.  The storm is coming.  Panic will only put you in stress mode, making your immune system more susceptible to anything floating around – you don’t need the flu while you’re preparing for COVID-19.  Be safe, be calm, be logical.  What will you and your family eat?  Don’t purchase what you hate.  There’s no need to spend your bare resources on things that will not be used.  Breathe.  Make a list.  Make a plan.  Do it now and not later.

Think about the people around you, your family members and those unable to access resources.  Make a plan to assist them.  Talk to them and see what they may have already planned.  Communicate and calmly determine what needs to be done and what does not.

There may be a need to isolate and self-care for up to 30 days.  Know your resources, calculate your needs, and plan.

Summary

Be a decent human being

Stop bashing what others think, feel, say and do.  Unity in caring for personal needs should be your focus, not what others are or are not doing.  Accept that we are not all going to think, feel, act the same – but we are all living beings.

Prepare for changes.  Be flexible enough to change some things, to know when you are still under your own self-regulating scope, and when that scope will shift.  Know that the scope may shift.

Breathe.  Find your calm.  There is no need for stress-inducing panic, your body needs to be strong to handle the changes.

Peace out, y’all!

Boundaries Redefined

There are times when it’s best not to publicize what’s going on.  Sometimes there aren’t words.  Sometimes the words would not accurately depict, they would just be an oozing of figurative ink – a blot, a blob, confusion.

I’ve just come through a stretch of such time.

Emotional haunts from time gone by will occasionally grasp our heart and soul with such force that we’ve no recourse but to submit, lay victim, and wait out the predatory-like clutch to release the hold on our seemingly lifeless remains.

Escaping from a seemingly skeletal and soul paining clasp, I’ve taken cleansing gulps of fresh air and perspective to find myself somewhat purged of what I had unwittingly stuffed into the dark forgotten crevices of memory.  Shaken those haunts out, I have.

One of the things that I believe, as a strictly Torah person, is that there is no hell except what we live through or else what we choose to accept in our lives.

Sometimes we choose our hell from a perspective of worthlessness; sometimes we are running furiously far away from all sense of authority, taking our own damn control and creating our hell by consequence of our own rebellious actions.  Sometimes we are born into a hell from which we don’t know enough to escape – or else we are able to glimpse outside of that hell and slowly build ourselves a new environment.

Many people know at least one of these variations of hell.  It’s the survivors of such who will understand me and mine.

I was born into an environment that was quickly erected by two hell survivors, a variant and much weakened form of hell in its own mutated form of normalcy – foundered with good intent, but lacking quality materials.  As a young adult, I ran gleefully and furiously from the control I perceived, and quickly defined a new hell for myself.  My construct was a chameleon hell – it would change structure depending on the variables presented and the characters introduced or dismissed.  I am thankful to say that I was able to lock in on a variation that was truly a functional and sturdy place, no hell perceived.

The final and most damage inducing hell was my own self-perception; what I had attached as my title, my label, stamped in the dark recesses – the center of my own personal value – my soul.  It would simmer in those recesses as I continued on in my new seemingly hell-less structure, quietly burbling and bubbling like an unsettling miasma of discord, raising its ugly head whenever trauma or drama arose and shucked me back into a repressed or depressed emotional state.

This is the hell that I forced myself to come to terms with over the past six months.  It is the hell that has bounced me in and out of perpetual shame and discontent for most of my life.  It was something that I had to uncover, discover, acknowledge, reach down deep and wrench out of myself, piece by ugly piece.  It was hard, it was emotional, and it was painful.

It was not depression.  It was different.  There was not the fog, the inability to express, the disconnect with routines and normalcy, the uncaring.  This was not an overlay, it was part of my construct.  It was f’ugly.

So – I’m back.  Moving slowly, and assessing damage.  Addressing the reality of me – who I am and what I am.  Solidly placing my feet on the ground, planting my resolve, defining and enforcing my boundaries.

Working from an inherent acceptance of being ‘less than’, I had resigned myself to relationship terms that healthy people would quickly assess and reject.  I became easily taken advantage of, taken for granted because I allowed such.

Stating boundaries and enforcing them causes some damage, some rifts, some kicked shins, so to speak.  At work I get surprised looks, but general acceptance.  At home, there have been tense moments at times, but things get talked out, worked out.  Boundary enforcement with friends runs the risk of severed ties, to this I can readily attest.  One of my relationships may not recover – it is one of my longest friendships, forged in the midst of my chameleon hell.

It all comes back to my acceptance of or rejection of the hell to which I had succumbed.

I choose to live to love myself, to value who and what I am, and to live life outside of the hell that I have unknowingly known.

I am ever so thankful for choices, one of the gifts of Almighty.

The Tapestry of Meaning

Fear of aging, fear of economy and country, fear of the unknown, fear of those who don’t look like or think like us… the drivers of fear keep our consumerism fed, our resources hungrily gobbled and maintain wedges between us that are easily manipulated and used for purposes that do not represent us – not us as a whole.

Humanity is not represented by those fear drivers.  We’re not the sum of the strife that gets drummed up by power hungry, or newsworthy or even news hungry people – no, we’re something entirely different.

We’re more.  We’re better.

We may suck at times – but we should give ourselves permission to suck.  That’s freedom.  Not being constrained by what we’re told is normal, who or what we’re told to be.

I had a bout of what I think feeds this yesterday, as I continued to be a vegetable through the evening. I wondered if I were wasting life, what was I doing that had any meaning.

It’s really easy to inspect that in a small sphere, and forget about the whole makeup of you. Yes, yesterday and for the past two weeks, I have been wasting life, doing not much to count for anything in my home.

Surviving.

But dang – sometimes that’s just what we need after being buffeted by sustained winds.

Stop.

Listen to the silence.

Soak up the nothingness.

Veg out.

The point I came to is that we’re trained to forget that lives in general are a tapestry of worth.  When you closely inspect a slow segment of time, the threads look so similarly woven and predicable that it’s hard to see the artwork, the beauty, the joy, the meaning. But those threads connect the whole and without them, there would be no continuum.

Why do we think we have to be so gosh darn important all the friggin’ time?

Aging spurs an impetus, a drive to do something that matters – when the truth is that we mattered already.  I think that’s where many unhappy people are now – evaluating value, and wanting to find importance in life.

We need to remember things we taught others in the past that threaded through their lives and helped others find little successes with that learning.

We need to remember kind things we’ve done, and kindnesses extended to us.

People we’ve touched, and people who’ve touched us.

Accomplishments, tiny though they may seem in the looking back – but how huge the ripples in the whole.  Those threads.  What matters.

No use looking for the pot of gold…  It’s been found finely threaded through our tapestry of life.

We need to be able to stop and visualize it… and be content with just being.

 

Fringe Benefits: Fall Splendor

Although I have the pleasure of working for a business with a full nursery and garden center, I rarely take the time to get what my coworkers call “my horticultural therapy”.

Yesterday, I took some time just to see the fall colors.  Here’s what I found:

And here is my artistic representation of some of those found shots:

R & R Observations

Finally, time in the garden and the urge to record.  Snapshots of the new home’s garden before and after.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Cleared corner, prepped for the build
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Path and beds laid and planted – then came the rains…
Bed of hungarian peppers, rhubarb, choke berry, asparagus and heather
Inset path of ajuga, plantain and sorrel, etc
Beet greens and chard, etc
Heather

Pathway corner with ajuga
Creeping thyme from pathway
View under the rhubarb
Much awaited rainbow chard
Hungarian wax peppers
Cat in the carrot patch
View to the side garden
Plantain path between planters
Garden visitors

Ah, my favorite spaces.

 

Mid-Life: Crisis or Crux

Once again I find myself addressing the void, the lack of posts, the unspoken pieces.

There has been a lot of activity in the last year or so; so much to excuse the silence.   A lot of accomplishments, a lot of hard work, a lot of necessary doings – and a lot of deep thinking.

We often hear about mid-life crises – those defining moments when a person in their advancing years puts in a hearty attempt to stop the clock, to return to their youth in defiance of the advance.  I’ve witnessed this phenom, multiple times.  I’ve also dabbled with it off and on myself, when surrounded by youthful coworkers.

I’ve decided, however, that this is a thinly woven cover-up for the reality of mid-life.

Reality?  Mid-life is a crisis, a crux – a very poignant step where you find yourself staring at hard truths.

Who am I under all of this detritus?  Now that I’ve forged a path, albeit paved with a mish-mash variety of materials that ramble hither and thither with only the thread of staid peoples flowing constantly through, I stand at this juncture looking around and find…  myself.  That’s not what I went looking for long ago – in fact, I can assure you that I was actually running furiously from self.  Surprise!   And the best part?  I like me.  Who-da-thunk?

What are my priorities?  Having accomplished minimal security, in the paid-off home and accouterments, I am now free to look around and find that family is once again at the top of the list.  Except that I find myself pulled in both directions – toward adult children and their families and toward my remaining parent in his advanced years.  I’ve been in similar circumstance, while raising the children and caring for my handicapped mother.  But I had the understated stake on youth at that point, and was able to keep multiple plates spinning with nary a drop.

Where do we go from here?  Youth is gone.  There’s no recapture of the strength and stamina – and we will simply ignore the elephant in the room, ol’ beauty and the beast who now peers back from the glass.  The priorities are going to take a toll on us, that’s just a fact we’ll have to accept – and we’re not yet in a position to leave the work world, to free up time to better fit all of the pieces.

So my synopsis is that a mid-life crisis is not as we’ve always presumed.  Truly, it’s a point in life where we find ourselves split in three directions, filling three positions, nurturing three households.  We are the crux, the point between the past and the future.

Our goal?  To persevere.  And to do it well enough that our future selves may look back with fond memories, and peer out to see no longer ourselves, but the results of our hard work, our future generations.

 

Settling In

It’s been a while since we moved to a new home, a new lawn, a new town.  I mourned the loss of the gardens I’d built, the soil that had formed from the years of tending.  Until I could once again focus my efforts on that building, I was in limbo, unsettled you might say.

Well, we’re finally settling in.  The ancillary gardens are coming along quite nicely, and the garden proper is now defined.  The working and waiting and tending and watching will begin in earnest.

Today, I enjoyed.  Here are a few of the items that were brought over from the old home.

Coneflowers, coreopsis and blueberry transplants
Golden currant and sage transplants
Rhubarb, aster and sage transplants
Solomon’s seal and ajuga transplants

 

The other plants you saw in these photos are new, or were here when we moved in and have been transplanted to where I prefer them.

These shots are new things added, to create new spaces and sights.

Potted beauties
Gramma’s hippie garden
Lovely salvia

 

Bits and pieces as we settle in.  🙂

Shabbat shalom.

Trisha R

Pass

The beautiful nearly full moon was visible as I drove to work yesterday morning, reminding me of the natural illumination that the Hebrews had on their exit from bondage.

Perfectly timed, as all things truly governed by Almighty always are.

We tend to think we know when or how or why something should occur, but we’re really quite clueless, I think.

Today, a de-leavening must occur in my home.  I am saving it for late afternoon, so that the visitors who do not observe unleavened bread are able to snack on any pieces of leaven still in the home.  That certainly marks me.  I am not Jewish, nor do I practice Judaism.  I don’t even live with anyone who believes as I do – so by the absolutes of talmud, I do not pass muster.

No problem.  I am not one of them.   Perhaps they are not even one of the people of the book.  If the paternal lines were ignored, and only maternal mattered, is it possible that the lineage has been completely changed?  I don’t know, and it’s not up to me to know.   Thankfully, the lineage that matters most, that of the priests, has been preserved as a paternal lineage.  Praise YHVH!

Pass over.  A term used in negative form in the world of work.  A truly life saving term in the world governed by Almighty.  We really don’t know, do we?

Will we pass?

Deep thinking today – not really cohesive thoughts – mere ramblings from a mere Hebrew.

Chag Sameach Ha’Matzot.

Trisha R

 

 

Spring Challenged With Puzzled Daze

Who’s with me on the quest for warmer days, for spring sunshine and thawed soils?  South is the direction, I’m told – perhaps there is loamy soil that is thawing not terribly far away?

Longing deeply for longer days and physical purpose, I have lolled to such extreme that I don’t recognize my body parts when I glance down.  I’ve assembled nine puzzles in the last four weeks, and now have assembly down to a science of sorts:  outside frame first, then sort by color and assemble smallest sections first, then work up to the largest section and sort by shape.

Puzzling keeps me from surf-shopping, or lingering too long on social media.  These I find detrimental to either my financial or mental well-being, so work diligently to avoid them.

I’ve enjoyed fringe social media involvement for many years, grasping in the early days of the game that I could use settings to filter out or censor unwanted information.  I set up groups before it became an easy thing to do, and custom posted to my set groups many times over the years.  I understand the basic underpinnings of such outlets.

Lately though, there is too much filtering to do – I would have to censor nearly every ‘friend’, family, friend or acquaintance to maintain my sense of well-being.  So I reduce my time online, and diligently search for other activities to occupy my mind and fill my time.  This was not a conscious thing in years past.  It’s new.

Finally, I fully understand why there are some who pose the question “are we part of a simulation”?  It all seems contrived lately, manipulated and overdone – like life has turned into some horrible version of reality show mixed with soap opera.  I don’t want to be a cast member, I didn’t sign a contract for this – and the pay is horrible.

So, I dream a little dream of loamy soil, and sunshine on my back, and bird sounds and insect wings – and hang tightly onto the dangled offer to join one of my teammates in the greenhouse next week.

 

 

Stripping Away Cultural Inheritance

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