Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Our Escape Pod

Members from our USA Dive Club made arrangements for a day trip to the keys to paddle kayaks around the mangroves. Sounds like fun, let's go! We decided to make a trip out of it, put some food, clothes and computers in the camper and took off a couple days before the kayak day. It's only 2 hours from our house to the Tavernier Elks lodge that has RV hookups. We've been there before and loved it.

Mostly, I felt the need for scenery to photograph. I'm getting tired of Iguana photos around our neighborhood, and there's just not that much of interest to photograph around the house. Sunset did not disappoint!

We are just so comfy in our little RV, our Escape Pod. We've missed it. We also worry about it a bit. It's not good for it to sit for months on end, who knows what will stop working during its sequester? We were quite happy to learn that the air conditioning worked great! It's a good thing - I don't think we could have survived the 100 degree heat otherwise. 

The Elks lodge was open for food and drink, so we took advantage. Jim was happy to get a couple nights off from cooking duty. They were requiring masks, and it was not crowded, so we felt quite safe.

They even had decent Wi-Fi, so we sat out in the porch area for our Friday morning zoom meeting.

Saturday was kayaking day. We stopped at Florida Bay Outfitters to check in and pick out our rental kayak. We had reserved a tandem kayak, thinking it would be more relaxing to have both of us in one boat - relaxing for me anyway. I could let Jim paddle while I sat back and took pictures. Well, it didn't work out that way. It was a big, wide, stable kayak with foot peddles as well as paddles. Not the best choice for the kind of kayaking thru the mangroves. It acted more like a barge than a boat. Jim's foot peddles were broken, and it just didn't move well enough to make do with just the paddles, so I was peddling AND paddling most of the time just to barely keep up. Then, we started down a narrow path thru the mangroves that turned out to be a dead end. We had to paddle backwards all the way back to the opening because there was no amount of 3-point, 4-point, or even 5-point turns that could get that barge to go the other way.
Are we having fun yet?!
Oh yeah! We were outside, we were on the water, we were with friends, we were getting exercise. We even had a bit of a challenge. It doesn't get any better. We stopped in the shade for lunch and had lots of conversation and laughs. It was a great day. Thank you Ryan for making this happen!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

#StayHome day 86-95 - week 13 the novelty wears off

It's getting quieter around here. Just not much to talk about. We always used to discuss where were going next and what had to be done to prepare. It's been over 3 months now that we've been shut in. The novelty is wearing off and the reality is weighing me down. 
I'm still eating well though! Jim asks me, what do you want for breakfast and I jokingly say, "French toast with strawberries." Here's what I get.

It's hard to get motivated for my work. I have spent a few days working on my book, and we held 2 workshops on Google Photos over Zoom. The workshops were good. Real teaching - just 6 people in a class. That's what I really love to do. I hope this is just the beginning of a new way for me to do my teaching. 

Feeling low?
Talk to a friend, listen to music. It helped me. Then I got a good night's sleep and I felt better the next day. 

Black Lives Matter too
I love the word that Elliott Masie is using in his Friday zoom concerts - Empathy. I think about it a lot. I grew up in a segregated society. I think there was one black person in my grade school, and not that many more in school or work ever since. I've never had a close black friend. Some acquaintances, sure, but no one close. I know that I don't understand what it's like to be black in our society, but I try to empathize. This video of Amber Ruffin, a black woman on Seth Meyers show, relaying some stories is instructional. We all need to be learning. 
Trevor Noah - in the Daily Show has also been very eloquent. In this episode Black Americans in the Workplace he shows a study: if you have a black sounding name on your resume, you are 50% less likely to get a call back. "Racism never takes a day off."  "Black people are asking for equality, not charity. They're not asking for companies to hire black people just because they're black, they're asking for companies to stop not-hiring black people just because they're black."
All lives matter? Duh, of course all lives matter, but when someone says that, what I hear is that they believe it is unfair to say that Black lives matter when that leaves white people out. Of course All lives matter - that's just the point. When black people are perceived as equally valuable to whites, then ALL lives will matter. Here's a page that explains it more clearly than I can. We need empathy.

Progress is being made. For example, after the George Floyd murder by a police officer kneeling on his neck, Minnesota has banned chokeholds by police. While this is a step in the right direction, even massive policy changes won't fix the problem. The problem is that racism is baked in to our culture and,  "Culture eats Policy for breakfast". Only when we change the culture will we have hope. There are signs of hope these days.

Bad news
Sun 6-14 US cases: 2.13 million Deaths 117,000
Tue 6-16 US cases: 2.18 million Deaths 119,000
Thu 6-18 cases: 2.22 million Deaths 120,000
Fri 6-19 cases: 2.26 million Deaths: 121,000

Wed 6-24 US cases: 2.43 million Deaths: 124,000

Good news
We're getting the RV ready to roll. Just for a couple days. We're going to the keys, renting a kayak and joining a few of our Dive club members to paddle around. 


Saturday, June 13, 2020

#StayHome Days 81-85 Learning Empathy

I'm a happy person living in an unhappy time. We're in a global pandemic, thousands are marching in the streets, risking their lives, to bring our attention to systemic racism. And, oh yeah, the country is in lockdown which deprives hundreds of thousands of people from earning a living. It is a depressing time.
I'm semi-retired, I have Medicare, I collect social security as does my husband, and we earn an income doing work we love online with our website and a community of paying members. We are both white, with all the privilege that entails. Life is good. We understand that others do not have the same lives as we do, but how do we relate?
I've been watching
I've been reading
Dessa Rose a novel depicting realities of being a slave
Give People Money making the case for a Universal Basic Income to lessen the gap between haves and have nots

Bad News
Mon 6/8 US cases: 2 million Deaths: 113,000
Tue 6/9 US cases 2.02 million Deaths: 114,000
We'd 6/10 US cases: 2.04 million Deaths 115,000
Thu 6/11 US cases: 2.06 million Deaths 115,000 DOW -1,500
Fri 6/12 US cases: 2.09 million Deaths 116,000

Saturday, June 06, 2020

#StayHome days 74-78 Blackout week

Blackout Tuesday is an initiative to go silent on social media, reflect on recent events, and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. With day after day of protests, deepening awareness of our systemic racism, police brutality, and rising death toll from the virus, it felt more like blackout week to me. I have bad-news fatigue.

We did all our normal things this week. Walked around the neighborhood most every day, 2 Toastmaster meetings via Zoom, one mastermind meeting via zoom, no happy hours this week. Still working on book, sent out our June newsletter. Finished reading Give People Money - some kind of Universal Basic Income system makes so much sense to me. It was a very well researched book, and surprisingly readable. 

Bad News
6/1 Mon US Covid-19 cases: 1.82 million Deaths: 106,000
6/2 Tue cases: 1.87 million, Deaths: 108,000
6/4 Wed cases: 1.88 million, Death: 109,000
6/5 Fri cases: 1.93 million  , Deaths: 110,000

Good News
NFL On Kneeling Players' Protests: 'We Were Wrong ... - NPR