Not a fun week

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I have to say this week was particularly not fun. I am saddened by the passing of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her seat on the court can be filled but she can not ever be replaced.

We passed a milestone this week with over 200K Coronavirus deaths in the US. We lead the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

Last weekend I watched “The Social Dilemma”  on Netflix. It explains how social media manipulates us and how we are not customers but we are the product.

I don’t spend much time on Facebook but have decided to stay away from it until after the election.

Last week while I was looking for a link to some voter information I kept landing on ads paid for by one of the presidential candidates. As a result, I have stopped using Google. I am still experimenting with search engines and haven’t decided which one is the best.

There was one bright spot this week. My absentee ballot came and I voted yesterday. I waited in line to drop it off at the county election office. I was happy to see the long line of voters.

If you are using an absentee ballot in Minnesota be sure to follow the instructions. The ballot has to go in the privacy envelope first (brown envelope) and then in the signature envelope which needs to be filled out and signed and sealed and then into the envelope that goes into the mail. There is a signature blank for a witness. Witnesses are not needed for this election.

I have the smallest glimmer of hope for our democracy. Please vote.

Taken during the before time

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Last year at this time I was enjoying a vacation up along the north shore of lake superior. In many ways, it was a happier time. We had no idea what was coming. It is like the face mask wasn’t even invented. We stayed in a hotel and ate in crowded restaurants.

It seems like there was a lot less to worry about way back then.

Sunrise over lake superior

Here is a picture that I took in 2018, the same location

Duluth - superior
A lake Superior dawn

I took this one in 2017.

Sunrise on Lake Superior

Something to look forward to in 2021 or 2022? It probably looks about the same but still . . . .

Fake Fall Ending Soon

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Mother nature gave us a bit of a scare this week. In case you missed we had frost warnings. It feels so wrong to turn on the furnace when it is still summer but I did because my feet were cold.

Real fall will arrive in a few weeks and it will be a special fall without a traditional Halloween or Thanksgiving and probably no real school either.

This past week was just a drill to help us get ready and an opportunity to test the heating system and to make sure the windows still close. It is still summer and we can expect temperatures in the 80’s next week.

We will know when it is really Fall because the leaves will change color and the days will be shorter.

This is what a real fall looks like:

Downtown Taken from Indian Mounds Park – with downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis in the background.
Fall - park
Late October – Harriet Island Park

Today is also the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed 2977 people. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing and a whole lot of other things about that day.

What I did on my summer vacation?

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun and it is still summer but Monday is Labor day.

I have not had a vacation this year other than a few imagination vacations and some lovely evenings spent on the front porch reading.

As I look back on the last six months I realize I have learned a lot. Too many things to cover in one blog post. One of the highlights of my summer has been my experiment with staw bail gardening.

I had my regular garden and the experimental garden that I planted in four straw bales, two of which turned out to be mostly hay while the other two were mostly straw.

The straw bails are easy to weed and there isn’t any digging involved and not much weeding. They needed to be seasoned for about ten days by getting them wet and adding some fertilizer until they started to decompose.

Once they cool down a bit it is time to start planting. There are many web pages dedicated to straw bale gardening. Ask Google for more detailed instructions.

My cucumbers were huge, my tomatoes were late, the beets are still smallish but they can definitely be grown in a straw bale. My peppers did well and are very hot and I grew the largest rosemary plant I have ever grown. I grew some marigolds in the bales for some color and one nasturtium which was almost impossible to keep alive.

The bales require less care than a regular garden. They need water and plant food. I also fed the plant coffee grounds and leftover coffee and tea.

I’ll do it again next year but I am going to see if I can find better straw.


Cats with computer access

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. We have all heard that story about the cat that got the absentee ballot in the mail. If you haven’t heard about it

cat in bag

the cat belongs to a “friend” who is never named.

Here in Minnesota, the only way that cat could get a ballot is if it requested the ballot as a registered voter or if someone else ordered a ballot for the cat. The cat would need a social security number or a Minnesota driver’s license number.

I have asked for information about the owner of the cat but that is always a closely guarded secret. We are just supposed to believe the story. We never find out if the cat’s voted or if the ballot was counted. We never find out who the cat voted for.

If a cat did vote that would be voter fraud. The people who are outraged by the fraud are totally unwilling to turn the cat but they instead protect the cat’s identity.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that the story about the cat is made up.

Voter suppression is a much bigger problem than voter fraud is. For the 2020 election Please put your plan in place for voting.

Consider early in-person voting or using an absentee ballot and dropping it off at your county election office or mail it back by Mid-October and track it to make sure it is counted. Personally, I can tell you that neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night nor fascism can stop me from voting.

Vote like your life depends upon it and if you happen to hear about that cat get a name and address.

Health experts are everywhere

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. The novel coronavirus isn’t something to make fun of. It is drop-dead serious. Making fun of the non-medical professionals who give us health care advice is fair game.

I haven’t been sanitizing my groceries as per the famous YouTube video. Even experts do not agree on how dangerous our groceries are. I bring the groceries home and wash my hands after I take them out of my car. Then I put them away and then I wash my hands. You can handle your groceries any way you like I won’t be giving you advice.

The whole “high-risk group” thing is getting on my nerves. According to some the virus knows are old we are. People who are 64 years and 363 days old are in a lower risk group than those who are 65 years and two days old.

Medical experts like my personal hero Doctor Fauci say that underlying medical conditions can put people who are under 65 in a high-risk group. High blood pressure, also called hypertension a condition he has specifically mentioned.

Hypertension is also called the silent killer because some people who have it don’t know it. To me, that means anyone I meet could be in a “high-risk” group. I will never tell anyone they are or are not in a “high-risk” group that is way outside of my licensure as a real estate broker.

I hear people talking about who is and who isn’t in a high-risk group. I have had these non-medical experts tell me that I am in such a group while others tell me I am not.  I just smile and nod and go about my business.

There is a lot of disagreement about wearing a mask when outside and exercising. I like to ride my bike and do not wear a mask while riding because I need as much air as possible when I exert myself.

I stay at least 12 feet away from other human beings and try to stay 20 feet away.

There is conflicting information about masks. Is it others who are protected when I wear my mask or am I protected too? Doesn’t really matter. I wear my mask because the signs on the doors say that I need to wear a mask.

When I am outside I stay as far away from people who are not wearing masks as possible. In any situation where I can’t stay at least 6 feet away, I wear a mask.

Some folks wear their mask over their mouths but not over their noses. I just give them an extra 20 feet of space and cross my fingers.

I am not listening to the advice from non-medical professionals and most days I struggle to believe the conflicting advice that comes from the pros. I’ll follow the rules to the best of my ability knowing that even the pros are learning and that is all I got.