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Here I am in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., where the weather is beautiful, but the feeling in the air is of tense anticipation--about the election, the response by the losing side to the vote, and the virus.  

 

As for the election, I prefer to vote on the date of an election, so that I feel connected to my fellow citizens.  This year, I voted early, mostly to avoid a big wait, but also because of the war of words about counting all the votes.  Several days ago, the number of early voters in Texas exceeded all of the voters in the last election.  I am not sure what that says.  The Democrats think every new vote is going to them, but I am not sure they are right.  But they might be.  I guess we'll see.

 

As for the response to the election, I have been shocked by the civic unrest and violence this year and decided, for the first time in my life, to buy a gun for home defense, which I am sure surprises many of you.  Fear not, there is no proper gun for me to find.  I consulted with my friends, all of whom recommended a pump action shotgun (just the sound of chambering the round would probably make someone breaking into my house run away) and there are none to be found.  The newspapers are reporting that first-time gun ownership is way up and one of my more gun-focused friends (really, any of my friends is more gun-focused than I am) said that it was panic buying.  I live in a very safe neighborhood, so it is my hope that this is nothing I need to worry about since there's nothing I can do about it.  But I do think it says something about the atmosphere of fear here.

 

As for the virus, I do not know what to think.  The issue has become so politicized here that I can reliably predict someone's political views based on their terror of or indifference to the virus.  I'm cautious, but not terrified.  I wear a mask all the time, but I've worn masks during flu seasons all on my own.  And I wash my hands a lot, but I've always done that, too.  I am still planning to have Thanksgiving at my house (fewer than 10 people) and even made my turkey stock today.  And I have decided to go to the Galapagos over Christmas.  I went to get shots from The Travel Doctor and she said she thought it would be fine.  These are my optimistic steps in the face of a very daunting time.

 

I don't really want this to get political.  I have MORE than enough of that in my life.  I have essentially quit checking Facebook because people launch into the ugliest of diatribes or post non-stop memes.  It's like being force-fed bumper stickers.  And I won't discuss politics with anyone, mostly because there's only one thing I can do, I have done it, and all that's left is talking about it, thereby ratcheting up my anxiety level.  So I don't engage.   But I thought I'd report in for those of you watching from other places.  We are all on edge. 

 

 

 

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It's good to see you Binker. I'm sorry you feel the need to have a gun, I'm sure that wasn't an easy decision for you to make. I'm fed up with the election and will be grateful when it's over. As for Coronavirus : England has just been put into full lockdown to last until 2 December and we wait to see if our leader will follow suit. I predicted full lockdown a fortnight ago and everybody here in Blighty is suitably alarmed and insecure. We in Scotland are a little better off because our leader is clearer about what she's doing and why. As a result there's less confusion but in Glasgow, I'm sad to say, there are many illegal house parties being broken up by police as much as possible.

 

On a personal level I have had my influenza immunisation, my brother had his - he doesn't normally, I do - but my father hasn't had his and I'm a touch worried about this as he is in the vulnerable age group. We don't go out much or very far so I comfort myself with that. Piranesi is the fiftieth book I've read this year and I have spent an astonishing 176 hours playing with my jigsaw app, I'm still crocheting and our house is cleaner than it ever has been. The weather is atrocious and TV rubbish , as is usual about now.  My father's health has improved since I talked him into keeping himself hydrated but the three of us have gone overboard with over-eating, so something serious will have to be done. Thank goodness for internet and TV (however atrocious).

Edited by lunababymoonchild
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Good to see yiu posting Binker and Luna.  

 

Binker, I find myself worrying about the US election as I keep hearing mention of civil unrest.  I hope that the States will get through this time without a surge of violence.  I have to confess I had a bit of a grin when you mentioned the noise of chambering a round in the shotgun.  I think the noise would might alarm the shooter as much as the criminal.  Anyway i wish you a safe and incident free election.  The remarks and responses being posted on Facebook get a bit raw so I chide myself when I get caught up in some of the exchanges,  put it down to curiosity and amazement.

 

Luna, glad you are getting to keep busy and glad your father is well.  Stay healthy ,

stay safe everyone. 

 

 

 

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The noise would not alarm me at all.  In the end, there was no gun to be had, but I do have bear spray.  That's probably better for me anyway.  I don't hunt, but I do hike in areas that have bears and they always recommend bringing bear spray.  I never knew where to find it.  My foray into shopping for a gun informed me on that count.

 

I always get a flu shot and have gotten it this year.  I had the flu once and I never want to be that sick again.

 

I guess we will see how this turns out.  

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Belgium went in an almost full lockdown over the weekend: tele-working is imperative, only essential shops (food, pharmacist, etc) are allowed to be open, etc. I really start to miss just getting in a car and drive through Europe. Book a hotel on the cell-phone depending on where we are at... But we will get through this I guess.

 

Meanwhile, there is some mild fear for violence in Europe following the attacks in France (Paris and Nice) and now Vienna. But down here, in Brussels, that is still very moderate.

 

Wish you all the best and courage for the coming weeks.

 

Tom 

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We're in full lockdown too in France. During the first lockdown there was a lot of surprise at how willing the French were to obey the rules, I don't think this time there's going to be anything like so much willing compliance. What's allowed to stay open and what isn't is weird. Bookshops are closd, though they are allowed to do click and collect, but alternative therapists such as reflexologists are able to stay open.  You can't go more than a km from your home when exercising - doesn't matter for me who lives in the depths of the vines but doesn't seem logical for people in towns who may be a little more than 1 km from the nearest open space and so have to tramp the streets instead.

 

There's already a lot of grumbling and some protests (remember they're very adept at protesting here).

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So we are still all on tenterhooks because once again, the pollsters were wrong.  Last time, everyone said it was because they underestimated the hostility to Hillary Clinton, but that's obviously not the case here.  I think Trump is such a repulsive personality that people who generally like his views just won't acknowledge that they are going to vote for him. Or something.  I don't know.  It felt a lot like the last election when I suddenly realized he was going to win and was shocked.  Back then, I blamed myself for telling a hotel-keeper in Croatia that "there is no way Donald Trump will be the President of the United States," thereby jinxing the entire country.  But I've been very careful here, so won't accept the blame this time.

 

I think the Democrats overestimate their appeal to most people and are especially condescending to minority groups.  My African-American friends (who don't love the term "African-American") have long complained that the Democrats see them as monolithic and that's even more true with the Hispanic community (which hates the term "Latinx," used solely by woke white people and some politicians, and simply tolerates "Hispanic" as the lesser of the various evils).  Many of the Hispanics in the United States are here because of the chaos caused in their countries by intensive governmental involvement in the economy and so have a strong negative reaction to all of the programs the Democrats insist are for their benefit.  I grew up in Miami and I know that's true of the Cuban community and think it's also true of Venezuelans.  But I could be wrong. I'm not very interested in politics and so don't follow things closely.

 

But we are very divided here and it makes me sad.  My IRL book club, which I didn't really want to join anyway, has fractured with hostile emails back and forth.  A bunch of old bookworms behaving badly.  If we can't act sane, then how can we expect non-readers to?

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I find American politics totally confusing. I might understand it if I tried harder but have other things on my plate, at the moment. 
 

Binker, I see that Thanksgiving is coming up and know that it's your favourite holiday. I hope that you can celebrate it in safety the way you want to this year.

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We will see.  The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the advice about having Thanksgiving dinner, but i have faith that that will work out.  I've already made my turkey stock and done a test run with a maple cheesecake, which was delicious and will probably replace several desserts I've gotten tired of making.

 

I never understand the politics of other countries or try very hard to figure them out, either.

 

  

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I read an article that said that Trump is so fundamentally lazy that he will probably just hole himself up in Mar-a-Lago and try to make money with various TV shows.  "Everyone knows" that the reason Melania didn't move to the White House right away is that she was re-negotiating her pre-nup, so I bet she's thrilled that she can get going sooner rather than later.  Also, it is being reported that both Melania and Jared are pushing him to let go.  But I think Trump marches to the beat of his own drummer.

 

The count took so long and it became so clear that Biden was going to win that I think it took the surprise and fight out of most of his supporters, so I am a lot less worried about civil unrest than I was.  But I could be wrong.

 

There are 3 branches of federal government in the U.S.:  Executive (the President, et al), the Senate, and the House of Representatives.  There are all supposed to be equal and in function they are.  In attention paid, they obviously are not.  I am happiest when they are divided, which prevents either side from getting their most extreme measures passed.  Right now the Democrats control the House and the Executive, which means I hope that the open races for the Senate in Georgia go Republican.  An unpopular stance with my friends.

 

Note that the Supreme Court is not a part of the government, which even Americans forget all the time.  The Supreme Court certainly sees itself as independent and governed by a completely different set of rules, including one against overturning old law.  So I am not as terrified by the new Justice's personal opposition to abortion.  Again, I could be wrong.  And I'm totally opposed to court packing, which just imposes politics on a group that should not be political at all and rarely actually functions that way.  It drives me crazy when people are surprised that a "Republican" or "Democrat" judge votes a particular way.  That's just not how they see themselves or how they function.  

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  • 1 month later...

Just stopping by to wish everyone all the very best of the Christmas season and hope that 2021 brings all of us respite from the unhappiness and worry of 2020.  It has been a bit of a bumpy year for us with regard to health but we are managing.  Dave spent a few weeks in hospital after a number of falls.  He gets physio exercises at home and exercises to try to get his left foot working properly.  He has some nerve infringement which causes his foot to drag and upsets his balance.  I have had some vertigo problems but take meds for it.

 

We have a new family member, Marcus, the cat.  He is a rescue cat, about  a year old, and is fitting in well, He is not allowed out but has the run of the house.  He has adopted Sheila and stays with her most of the time when she’s not at work.  She is a manager at a restaurant which is only selling take - out meals at the moment, the seating area is closed during lockdown.

 

wishing us all a happier and virus free 2021 - stay safe! 🌲️.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gosh, it's a long time since I popped in here! I guess nothing much seems to happen that seems worth posting about - mostly more gardening.

 I did have a significant birthday during the summer, and the family bought me a two seater arbour for the garden, which meant a bit of a re-organise of the mostly neglected border at the far end. 

Neglected because I don't grow vegetables there, but it is the place where I had planted all my 'memory' plants from my old garden - not just memories of that place, but memories of loved places and people from years back. They all had to be dug up - in August!. They went into pots, with added mycorrhizal  fungi granules to give them a helping hand, and seem to have survived. I have gradually been re-planting them around the arbour, so almost in the same place, with lots of spring bulbs and more nectar-rich flowers. With the seasons all messed about as they are, and it being particularly mild here at the moment, there have been signs if re-growth from many of them.. I am looking forward to the 'real' spring.

 

 

 

The other news is the arrival of a new grandbaby in October. A massive 5kg boy! He was quite poorly after delivery, and had to be mechanically ventilated and was on some pretty powerful drugs, but was able to come home after two weeks and has been thriving since. Je had is six week check0up last week, and all was as it should be. His big (3yr old) brother dotes on him.

Sadly we have not been able to see him yet, but that's another reason to look forward to the spring.

 

One of our daughters-in-law Covid 19 quite badly in March, and is still suffering from Long Covid symptoms, but fortunately none of the rest of the family caught it, in spite of her being nursed through it at home. She is now at work, part time, but struggling.

 

I have been living mostly under the rules of the first lockdown, with the addition of bit of garden visiting from family members during the summer months. Mr meg has been a bit more  adventurous, so I'm just praying he doesn't bring any viruses home.  

We are really missing our church community, and especially the singing. Just having to make do with a "live-streamed" sermon.

 

 We will be 'home alone' for Christmas. We were invited to lunch with the family, but the thought if sitting at table, elbow to elbow and face to face, indoors, with five other people for as long as it takes to eat a whole Christmas dinner, followed by the gift unwrapping ceremonies, was daunting, so we declined.

They re intending to bring our Christmas dinner down to us, which is a bit embarrassing. Our larder and freezer are well stocked  and I tried to refuse, but really couldn't insist. 

 

Good to hear your news momac. I hope the physio helps Dave, and tere are no more falls.  I get vertigo as a variation of my migraine, so i know how unpleasant that can be. I hope the medication keeps it under control for you.

Best wishes to you, and all the BGO members, for a safe, healthy, and more sociable 2021

 

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We have just moved down a tier from 3 to 4 and that means we can go out farther than when we were in tier 4. My father hasn't been well enough to go out but he might improve now that we are allowed. 
 

I have gone back to my first love and done a little paper crafting and I've read more this year than last. As Meg says, nothing really to report. It's been raining a lot here so we can't really get out into the garden (or anywhere else) and my father feels permanently cold. 
 

We are having Christmas this year because my brother wants it, so token gestures all round. Some hanging decorations, I bought my own present from my father and we'll get the food we need soon. 
 

Congratulations, Meg on your new grandchild.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I very much enjoyed reading aloud the last two poems on the poetry thread - Heraclitus and Julius Caesar - to my father this morning. I'm not sure he enjoyed it quite as much, if at all, but indulged me this one time. Cementing my belief that poetry should be read aloud
 

Thank you Heather and jfp.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I went to the Galapagos islands over Christmas and it was the best trip ever.  I had to take multiple COVID tests before going and then self-isolated and tested again after i got back.  I wore a mask and some really unflattering goggles during the flights down and back.  The only place I was nervous about was the Miami airport, which i knew would be chaotic and it was.  The flights were packed, which surprised me a bit.  But due to my goggle/mask get up and efforts to distance from others, it was fine.

 

The tourism industry has been non-existent over the last several months.  I had a day in Quito with a guide and driver. I don't think they realized how much I understood Spanish and so were casually talking about how much weight they had lost because they couldn't afford to buy food!  Quito is a beautiful city.

 

But that meant that the Galapagos were even more magical.  Because of the limited tourism, no one had been there for some time and the animals were completely unstressed and in profusion.  I don't think I could go back at a better time.  We snorkeled every day, sometimes twice a day, and on one excursion, I had a young female sea lion come up and play with me. She came up in front of me, made eye contact, then whipped behind me.  I whipped around to see her (meaning that I lumbered awkwardly around) and then as soon as we saw each other, she'd do the same thing.  We did a few other playful things and I could hear myself laughing through my snorkel.  Another person in our group got a great picture of us together, but I haven't gotten it yet.  The photographer had an extension trip into the Amazon, so I am letting him get back and get settled.  We'll see if I get it.

 

Book related, I did try to read Origin of Species, but scientific discoveries have come so far since 1859 that it was almost unreadable.  He was arguing by analogy to selective breeding of domesticated animals without any knowledge of genetics, so he spent a LOT of time on pigeon breeding, which is not interesting to me at all.  So I gave up.

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It was the trip of the lifetime.  I posted a few pictures of me on FB and people kept saying, "you look so happy."  They were right.  I was extremely happy.  Things have been bad in the U.S. for a while and it was wonderful to get away.   I am cautiously hopeful for the future.

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I just took delivery of The Children's War and boy is it a big book! 
 

It seems fitting to me that when I joined BGO everybody was discussing this book and how Meg had cut it up because she couldn't hold it and now, when BGO is finishing it's the book I've just taken delivery of. I won't be cutting it up but I will have to be careful with it, it's 1,168 pages long so I'll have to get creative in how I handle it when I want to read it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Has anyone heard from Binker recently? I am concerned about the weather over there - there have been reports of rolling power outages as the grid can't cope with the extra demand and, in some parts of the state, of people burning their furniture to keep warm.

I've also heard that there is one area where the pipes from the water treatment plant froze so there was no water supply.

 

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So all of what you have heard is true, but I wasn't very badly affected.  I did deal with rolling black outs and by the second day of that, my house got terribly cold as soon as the power went off, so I went and stayed with one of my friends (from my IRL book club).  Her house is on a protected grid (near a power plant) and so she never lost power.  She picked me up because I don't drive in this stuff (I've never really lived where it snowed--she's from Kansas City, where it's miserable every winter).  It was sort of like a slumber party where one is anxious about something the whole time.  I just came back today.  My house seems to be okay, although I won't know for sure until the pipes all thaw out. 

 

Some of my friends further south (so REALLY never get winter) got hit hard and their water supply was knocked out.  I'm not quite sure why that happens, but I know it's miserable when it does.  On FB, I follow a naturalist who lives in Brownsville, Texas (at the very southern tip of Texas) and THEY were very cold.  All the tropical plants were badly affected.

 

Tomorrow, it is supposed to get above freezing, so that will be better, but that's probably when all the broken pipes will reveal themselves.  

 

Thank you for your concern. 

 

 

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