Sunday, January 31, 2021

the probable last covid post and sweet peas

As I expected, the second covid test came up negative and the whatever it was is gone. Now I'm just biding my time til I get the second dose of the vaccine on February 11th.

You may have noticed I haven't done a covid post since December 28
th. The following week the attempted insurrection happened and then all the details coming out and then finally Biden and Harris being inaugurated pretty much absorbed me and then once Biden was in the pressure to find the real info and share it eased off since now the adults and scientists are back in charge, we've rejoined the WHO, and the facts are finally being shared by our new administration. While we were all preoccupied with the insurrection et al, infections continued to climb because people couldn't be bothered to refrain from big Christmas gatherings for one lousy year and daily deaths started topping 4,000 and I think that is still holding, over 4,000 dead a day. The infection rate has started to decline again now and decline in deaths usually follow, especially since vaccines are starting to be distributed now that Biden is in charge with an aggressive plan to get it done. Biden also issued a federal mask mandate, reinstalled the pandemic response team, and has a plan for a national vaccination program. The CDC issued an order that everyone using any form of public transport must wear a mask. One out of every 500 people in South Dakota has died from covid. New, more infectious, mutations are occurring, the newest from South Africa but the vaccines seem, for the most part, to work against them. It is still a heinous disease that attacks all our organs and even those who had mild symptoms are facing health problems associated with hearts, lungs, kidneys, and re the Guardian "covid linked to brain disorders and mental illness", so please, continue to protect yourself and others. One easy way is to start taking a vitamin D supplement as a preventative as those with vitamin D deficiencies tended to get sicker and have a greater chance of dying, also from the Guardian, while a guy I talked to at the dermatologist's office in the waiting room who had it and whose doctor prescribed large doses of D, zinc, and C and who said he felt much better after just two days and was over it soon after. 

This will probably be my last post mainly about covid. Hard to believe it's been a year since it first entered our consciousness and nearly a year since we started our self-quarantining in mid-March. Hopefully by summer enough people will be vaccinated and we will have returned to some form of normal. I'm curious how this time of restricted activity will influence life after the pandemic.

Current US statistics as of today 1/31/21, 21:40 GMT:
cases – 26,736,283; deaths – 451,540. Texas is still #2 for infections and dropped to #3 in deaths.


The predicted rain never materialized yesterday and it's a windy blue sky day today. Warm in the sun and out of the wind but that wind is chilly. My little sweet pea sprouts are 2” - 3” and I ended up with 15, I think, in all. My goal today was to go ahead and get them in the ground and maybe move the white butterfly ginger as it's just not doing well where it is. I did get the sweet peas in the ground but first I tied a piece of hog wire to the fence section and put some corrugated plastic sheeting between the two to help keep the weeds from the other side from encroaching and also to protect the plants when my neighbor sprays herbicide in that area, then I had to dig up the grass and weeds in front, add in the landscaper's mix to improve the under layer, bordered it in bricks from the planters that used to be inside the studio room in the house (you might remember I had them taken out after the flood), filled in with potting soil/composted peat/fertilizer and planted the sweet peas.

I also finally hung the other bird feeder that I repaired the perches on and so far the little birds have found it but no squirrels have made an attempt that I've seen but it looks to me like it's pretty much squirrel proof. They may climb on it but I don't think they can get the seed out. It may also be cardinal proof too as I haven't seen any of them on it and I'm not happy about where it's hanging but I need a teenage fearless tree climbing boy to get it where I want it.

Addendum to the pink blush of spring...

After I published the post, I saw this rare pink 10 petal anemone

and I while I picked a different viola, there is this little pink one. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

another test and the first blush of spring

I'm writing this part Thursday evening and as of Thursday evening, the whatever it is on my hands and feet has resolved itself and it has pretty much cleared up. Tuesday was probably the worst day. Even so, there was a bit of drama going on here this afternoon. We got a phone message from one of my readers expressing her concern (for which I am grateful) and suggested I look up covid toes and wished me to be well. That had not occurred to me this whole time so I did, it strikes the toes and fingers, hands and feet, palms and soles and the redness and swelling and sometimes lumps so it was sounding too possible. Also said it can be mistaken for chilblains. I did read about chilblains as it had come up in my searches and it described it perfectly but I discounted it since, one , it doesn't get that cold here and two, it had been warm the week I broke out.

I called my, this happened. Call your doctor, call your dermatologist and see what they say. So I called both but only got a call back by the dermatologist so far. So, this happened, I told her, and what did she think since she hadn't seem to know right off oh this is...whatever. She's waiting to see the results of my blood work and wants to rule out a few things but she did bring up that covid toes is similar to chilblains and we talked about that. Mainly that chilblains is a vascular thing, and maybe stress, and as such, I guess not limited to cold triggers. OK, that's logical. But, she says, it's entirely possible that you could be infected. She suggested getting tested again.

I had already tried to register at the local CVS which does free testing or I could wait for the once a week free countywide testing that changes location from city to city and I had just missed it here last Tuesday. I didn't qualify at CVS because my symptom wasn't listed and I don't think I have been exposed. So the dermatologist called the CVS to see if they would accept a 'script from her for the test. No, I would have to register online. But her symptom isn't on the online list. Just have her select something. So, I lied and I'm getting tested Friday. I really don't think I have covid. Covid toes with zero other symptoms or likely exposure seems very unlikely (and a call back from my PCP's office this Friday morning confirmed that it is rare but go get tested). I think the most likely reason is chilblains. But we'll see.

So much for the latest installment of, as Mary Moon calls it, how it is for old people.


This Friday morning the sun rose on a clear blue sky which didn't even last a half hour before it started clouding over and now it is completely overcast. The bird feeder was empty again, they empty it in a day, the birds and the squirrels. I'm seeing all the usual...sparrows, goldfinches which I expect will continue their migration soon, a house finch or two, cardinals, chickadees, titmice, white wing doves, inca doves, I think maybe the little warblers that winter over here are gone, hard to tell through the screen and dirty window.

And now the sun has won out burning away the overcast though still a little hazy, temperatures in the high 50˚s heading for the mid 60˚s. The red shouldered hawks are out calling for mates during a stroll around the yard in which spring is emerging pinkly.

The various roses,

these so vibrant that even in the shade the camera can't pick up the detail in the flowers,

another small chinese fringe flower tree in bloom,

the blooming maple tree,

the first open blooms of the woodland petal pink, invasive little things that they are,

it's not all pink out there as the anemones are also showing off. 

And the pansies and violas, the only thing blooming until a few days ago during the short winter.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

fingers and toes, palms and soles

This weird rash is getting better even as it continues to spread though I think it has stopped spreading now. Maybe. I don't even know if 'rash' is the right word. A small sore spot that becomes a hard spot that becomes more painful and bigger and red on the surface with a whitish spot in the middle, sometimes a bump, that burns and itches but not the whole time, just once or twice a day that is near impossible to resist, sometimes I can, sometimes not and I scratch and rub until it no longer provides any relief, becomes a throbbing numbness, and then it subsides. Mostly just painful when any pressure is applied which, yesterday, made it hard to walk as it had spread to my left foot as well and hard to type or grasp things so I took Linda Sue's advice and stayed off my feet as much as possible yesterday reading, napping, much to the dog's dismay as no walk happened.

I've been using the ointment mostly on my feet and on my hands only before bed because it is a greasy ointment, then socks, then some slip on soft soled shoes which more or less immobilize my toes which is good because it helps keep them from getting stimulated and itching like mad. The first spots that appeared are mostly gone now, fingertips no longer sore but fingers and palm on my right hand are stiff, can't make a good fist. I think a couple more days and it will be over.

My daughter's no nonsense response to my less than optimal report one after another was “Yeah, I’m gonna need you to pull it together.”

Meanwhile spring is springing along. Today would be a good day to work out in the yard except...hands and feet. And wind, it's a bit windy out there but the woodland violets are blooming all over the yard,

the 10 petal anemones are getting in gear, new growth is showing on everything that froze down, easter lilies are growing well and the climbing rose in the crepe myrtle and oak is starting to bloom, the fringe flower tree outside my window is blooming,

the yellow trumpet flower surprised me by giving me one more bloom

and of course the bluebonnet giving flower #2.

I had the door open Monday and a little wren flew in with nest material in its beak, got alarmed, dropped the dry grass and flew out. Another one flew in later and perched on the edge of the cardboard box with the last of the cracked pecans in it, checked it out and then flew back out. I love the little wrens who often come in the house in the spring and fall when I have the doors open. Curious little birds.

I'm still hesitant to take all the plants back outside and out of the garage as it is still just January and we have at least one more month for a freeze to surprise us.

I nearly finished my book yesterday, have about a dozen or so pages left so gonna do that and then a trip to the library.


Monday, January 25, 2021

now really, this is getting ridiculous

I did something I rarely do. I replied to all the comments I got on my last post. Thanks for all the support and suggestions. I already have acquired two pair of wrap around sunglasses (do I still need to wear them on overcast days?) and the AREDS-2 eye vitamins. I had to get the chewable, and thank the gods they have a chewable version, because even the “new smaller size” gel cap picture on the box looked borderline on my ability to swallow it. I can swallow food just fine. Pills beyond a certain size just don't want to go down.

The days have been trending warm but heavy fog and overcast skies and drizzle and drippy and wet everything have not inspired me to do any work outside. So Saturday I did a little weeding but it was too wet and got one errand accomplished and spent the rest of the day reading. Didn't do much else Sunday, still overcast but not drippy. Did my yoga, filled the bird feeder which is already half empty, did the dishes and the once a week baking soda/vinegar drain cleaning, swept the in house studio room which also functions as a big mud room since both back doors open into it, not mud so much as leaves and dirt that gets blown and tracked in. Took a shower, walked the dog, settled on the couch and read some more.

But bodily ailments, it seems, are still not done with me and I have just about had enough. Saturday morning I woke up with a sore spot on the pad of my right foot just below the pinkie toe, felt like it does when you pick up a little thorn without noticing and the next day it hurts. Another similar sore spot on my heel right at the callous line which I attributed then to needing to scrape down the callous. By midday, the tips of two fingers on my left hand were red and sore, by the end of the day it had spread to the tips of two fingers on my right hand and the spots on my foot became more painful. Saturday night my foot itched something terrible and yes, I rubbed the hell out of it. Sunday morning it had spread further on my foot including a couple of toes. By Sunday evening it appeared on the base of my left palm and under the middle finger of my right hand and the spots on my foot were increasing and more painful. And when I say appeared, that was the first time I could actually see something, a small red bump, besides redness and maybe a little swelling. During the night, hands and feet itched like crazy and today the spots have crept down my four fingers and now my left foot has a sore spot on the callous line at my heel. What! The! Fuck!

Fortunately, I had a follow up appointment with the dermatologist this morning. Unfortunately, she didn't know what was going on with my hands and feet but she did prescribe an ointment. Unfortunately the pharmacy where she sent it didn't have it, but fortunately another pharmacy in town did. Also fortunately, the original sore spot I noticed Saturday morning seems to be already getting better Monday late afternoon even without the ointment. 'Seems' being the operative word.

I admit, my optimism and good humor deserted me today. This crazy 'rash' would be easier to deal with if I could point to a cause but I haven't been working out in the yard or doing anything I haven't been doing the past year. The only thing I can think of is getting my eyes dilated on Friday but I haven't been able to find where an allergic reaction to that would cause a crazy affliction on my hands and feet.

I'd ask, at this point, what the fuck el... but I know better than to invoke the gods.

Friday, January 22, 2021

the body, imploding it is

Biden has been President for a day and a half and already Hannity of Fox has declared Biden's first week a disaster, the new Q-Anon Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has filed articles of impeachment against Biden, Texas AG Ken Paxton is gonna sue to stop Biden's administration's 'lawlessness', and the 'rules don't apply to me' new Representative Lauren Boebert has introduced legislation to reverse the federal mask mandate, Ted Cruz is babbling about Biden caring more for Parisians than the citizens of Pittsburg (the very people whose votes he tried to dismiss) by rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and McConnell is already whining and demanding that the new Senate give precedence to the minority's concerns (you know like he did for the last 10 years...not). Well, the Wacky Right may not be happy but the majority of Americans are very happy. Not just happy, relieved, weightless.

And then I went to get my eyes examined today.

The last time I had an eye exam was five years ago and I got glasses in order to pass the eye test to get my driver's license renewed which glasses I lost two years later during the flood and never replaced simply going back to drugstore cheaters. I have felt that in the last year, my eyesight improved. I know longer needed the magnifiers to be able to read my book. Today, the eye doctor confirmed that, my eyesight has indeed improved. But not for any good reason. I have cataracts forming and that's what cataracts do, improve your eyesight until the day your eyesight crashes. Left eye worse than the right eye. I could go ahead and get the left eye done but since they prefer to do both eyes a month apart, I should wait til fall, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist and plan to have cataract surgery next December/January. I kind of expected the cataract news as my sister had hers done when she was about the age I am now and there have been a few times when I have detected a faint gray smudge when looking at a bright sky or a well lit white ceiling. If that was the only problem, not that big a deal.


I also have macular degeneration. Fortunately not the kind that hits and deteriorates quickly so that you have to get shots in your eyes every month. Apparently, my last eye exam a faint spot or two had started to show up in my right eye (I don't remember being informed of this) and now 5 years later my left eye has caught up to where the right eye was then and my right eye has gotten a little worse. This form is a slow degeneration and he figures that it will be 15 years or so at this rate before my vision is seriously affected. Good news is that he thinks by then they will have treatment for it as it's something researchers are working on. And there are steps I can take; wearing a hat and wrap around sunglasses every time I'm outside, eat dark leafy greens every day preferably a cup's worth, and avoid smoke of all kinds. Folks, I like dark leafy greens...mustard, collard, spinach, even beet greens...and we eat them often but if I have to eat a cup's worth every single day for the next 10 or 15 years, that's gonna get old fast.

So three years ago, afib and flutter. This year my blood sugar is pre-diabetic, my teeth are crumbling, and now my eyes are crapping out on me.

Update on the teeth. The broken pieces from two of my front teeth weren't bits of my teeth but old fillings that failed though I don't remember the original restorations. The tooth in between had some decay and a veneer that no longer covered the tooth completely due to receding gums but didn't need a crown, however, if I did all three in a row now he could get rid of the gap that had developed between my two front teeth. So vanity won the day and three and a half hours later I left with three temporary crowns. When I get the permanent ones I will have a total of 14 crowns with at least one more in the future.

They weren't kidding when they said getting old ain't for sissies.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

and the sweating has begun January. It got up to the low 70˚s yesterday and since the birds and the spring weeds and the freeze damaged shrubs are convinced it's January...I decided to go ahead and move the hibiscus to its new location, something I wasn't going to do til next month. I moved it from the circular bed where it was crowded by the plumbago on one side and the confederate rose on the other where it wasn't doing well to the corner of the long daylily bed behind the barn next to the concrete apron in the back. 

It will get plenty of sun there and the most brutal kind, from noon to late afternoon summer sun. I had already pulled the cosmos out so first I had to improve the soil which precipitated a trip to the feed store for dirt and compost and fertilizer and work the compost in before I could replant it. The next thing along in that flower bed is the pink angel trumpet and it does not like that late summer sun but it's probably too big to move.

I also cut back both confederate rose bushes as they were already showing a bit of new growth and then cut up the branches to make a tidy pile. So Tuesday started out nice enough and then just as I was finishing lunch two small chunks broke off one of my front teeth. About two weeks ago, a bigger chunk of one of my other front teeth broke off but on the backside. My teeth are a mess from an accident at 16 that killed all 4 bottom front teeth and damaged the rest. Over the years I've acquired 11 crowns, other cosmetic repairs, and I forget how many root canals. I had an appointment with the new dentist for the second opinion next week but now with this second tooth breaking apart, I called my regular dentist and they can see me today. The second opinion on those other teeth can wait.

And then two  
of the crystals broke that I bought at the Thieves Market in Portugal when I accidently knocked them off my desk.  I had them out contemplating whether to hang them from hooks in the window or  use them to make a mobile so that along with my teeth pretty much ruined what was left of the day.

I spent over an hour this morning on twitter reading the news and people's relief that Trump is gone, a man who ruined his life and lost everything because he couldn't take a joke when Seth Meyers and Barack Obama roasted him at a White House Correspondents Dinner, and a pitiful leaving it was if anyone could ever find it in themselves to pity him. Not me. The military refused to give him the traditional send-off and he and Melania left the White House at 8 AM for the send-off he planned for himself that apparently only his family and a handful of staffers could be bothered to attend.

In just an hour from now, Biden and Harris will be sworn in and the nightmare of the last four years will be over, the promised violent protest to Biden's inauguration folding like a cheap tent with the FBI actively arresting them and Trump started throwing them under the bus. Of course the 25,000 armed national guard troops minus the 12 with links to the far right white supremacy on site might have had something to do with that. Where's all those militias with their big talk of a new civil war? And Q-anon folks who have spent the last two weeks buying up CB radios and stocking up food are mystified and incredulous that they got played, that Trump didn't issue the call.

Biden and Harris have such a big job ahead of them and hopefully they will get some cooperation from Republicans. McConnell, soon to be minority leader of the Senate, came right out and blamed the attempted insurrection on Trump but of course they aren't all giving up as new Senator Hawley has already objected to a quick pass for Biden's DHS pick because Biden wants to allow our undocumented citizens a path to citizenship.


It's done. We resisted and survived the last four years, our democracy has prevailed. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are in the house!

Monday, January 18, 2021

the promise of spring in more than one way

The grackles showed up Saturday as they do about twice a year, swarming, eating, squawking, pooping everywhere.

The woodpecker has been hammering away on something trying to attract a mate.

The crop duster was out this weekend. I could hear his plane swooping back and forth but I never saw him. I don't know what it is he sprays this time of year.

I did a little work out in the yard Saturday as it finally warmed up enough from the latest cold front and the wind died down enough. I pulled out the rest of the dead orange cosmos from the long flower bed at the end of the barn, pruned back the red and blue/black salvia, and wired an old metal trellis to one of the wrought iron fence sections my grandson and I put up between my neighbor's and my property at the back because he was infringing on my side when he sprayed poison to keep the weeds and grass down around the storage buildings. Same property that the bitch, his widow, is now in charge of with the container. Anyway, I took the pot bound bougainvillea and planted it at the bottom of the trellis. It will only get morning sun because...container but I think it will do all right and when it gets big will help to camouflage her rude spray painted sign, in the summer at least.

I pulled out all the rest of the cosmos Sunday in the other long flower bed on the other side of the yard as all the seeds had either been eaten or scattered and did some weeding. Then I got a knife and cut down the five banana trees that bloomed this year though only two of them made bananas. They die after they bloom and two of them had already fallen over. 

The knife worked well enough to cut through the trunks but once on the ground it wasn't working very efficiently for cutting them up so I fetched the machete and whack whack whack cut them up into pieces about 2' long, like cutting through butter. Then I loaded it all up in the truck along with the dead cosmos and dumped it on the burn pile along with the accumulated fallen branches. It will interesting to see how it burns, or if it burns, as those banana trees are full of water.

The yard is still winter brown, well, except for the spring weeds, and like everything else it's early for clearing out but the signs of the coming spring are unmistakable. The flower beds are still sleeping but the baby blue eyes, love-in-a-mist, poppies, rocket larkspur, and woodland petal pinks are all sprouted and growing getting ready. Even so, the only color in the yard is the violas and pansies and the shrimp plant.

Those grassy looking leaves that the stems of the shrimp plant are laying in belong to the woodland petal pink.

My plans for today are more work outside (maybe, it's become overcast and windy after nearly a week of glorious blue sky days) and preparing a contribution to tonight's dinner for Meatless Monday. We have other meatless meals during the week but always on Monday. I'm going to attempt to fix the butternut squash/apple saute that Boud at Field and Fen
 showed us last week. And of course yoga class tonight.


Two more days and the FBI and the military are so concerned about threats from the inside to Biden and Harris that they are vetting every single one of the 25,000 national guard troops. And still a core of the Republicans are clamoring to not convict Trump in the Senate when the articles of impeachment are sent over because it will cause a large segment to leave the party. Well, if the Republicans want to save their party then that's exactly what needs to happen. Let the crazies splinter off and form their own party to die a slow death because whether they realize it or not, Trump is done. He owes more money than he has and the only bank that would lend him money has cut him off, he and his family have become pariahs (the swanky country club on the island where Ivanka and Jared plonked down $30M for some land declined to accept their application to join), NY has canceled all it's contracts with Trump businesses, he's been banned from just about every social media site except the far right wing and crazies, big money donors have stopped giving money to Republicans who support him and the Big Lie, and he will be facing a lot of lawsuits after Wednesday and hopefully actual arrest even as he has spent his last several weeks trying to get as many loyalists in the government he's leaving behind as he can. I wonder what it is he expects them to do and if they will still be in place and how loyal they will be a year from now.

And so, on his way out, Trump is planning 100 or more pardons in the next two days. Rich felons are paying thousands of dollars to Trump aides to lobby him for a pardon. He plans to leave early Wednesday morning for Mar A Lago, his last use of Air Force One. He's also planning his own sendoff at Andrews Air Force Base the morning of the inauguration, every invited guest allowed to bring up to five others with them, since the Pentagon declined to give him the military send off it has done for previous presidents. It should come as no surprise that he and Melania won't attend Biden's inauguration unlike every other outgoing president for the last hundred years. Just one more example of how classless they are regardless of how wealthy. They will not be welcoming Joe and Jill the way the Obamas welcomed them.

Just goes to show you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.


Friday, January 15, 2021

getting the shot, more soup, and birds

I had an unexpected chance to get the first shot of the vaccine yesterday and much closer to home. Wednesday, there was a post on the local chat FB page about vaccines being available for the over 65 crowd in El Campo (15 minutes away), administered by the hospital at the Civic Center. Since I had my appointment coming up on Saturday about a 40 minute drive away weather and road construction permitting, I told Marc to call them and see if he can get an appointment. I think it's El Campo only, he says. Call anyway, I told him. And I left for yoga. When I got back he had called and had an appointment at 2:10 the next day!

So, this morning, they called early and moved his time up to 12:10 as they were shutting down at 1 PM. Ask him if I can come, I hollered from the other room. So he did and after asking a couple of questions, yes I could come. We left here at 11:30 wanting plenty of time to get there and find the Civic Center but as it turned out we needn't have worried. The place was a madhouse. A quiet 65+ old madhouse but a madhouse. We walked in the lobby full of people, maybe about 40 all standing around, some seated in the few chairs, a few trying to practice social distancing but there really wasn't room, a handwritten sign taped to the end of a table...vaccine with an arrow pointing to another room. Someone came out with forms that needed to be filled out (I had downloaded them from the hospital website so we already had them filled out). Every 10 minutes or so someone would call out a time and the appropriate people would go in the room where you were directed where to sit, then sent to a table where you got your shot and the info. Once in the actual room it was still a sort of madhouse but a controlled efficient madhouse. When we got to the table the woman administering the shots stopped to fill up a vial full of syringes. I looked at those 2" long needles...holy cow, I exclaimed. She knew exactly what I was talking about. I won't stick the whole thing in she tells me. Good, I told her, because I was starting to backpedal here. Why were the needles so long I asked. We use what they send us she said. Later Marc surmised that it might be because of all the fat people, it needs to be that long to get to the muscle. Seems legit.

Anyway, after the shot we were asked to stay for 15 minutes to see if there would be any immediate reaction (not immediate but so far only a sore arm) and then we were on our way. I did ask if the second shot was guaranteed in three weeks and she said yes. I assume it will be the same set-up.

I canceled my other two appointments when we got home and made more soup after lunch, potato leek soup this time which I usually make every winter. I probably would have waited a couple of weeks since I had just made cauliflower soup but I had a leek left over and it was buy three more and make the potato soup or throw it away since soup is the only thing I use leeks for.

So believe it or not, I'm getting closer to doing some actual artwork. My printer was out of black ink and it's impossible to get it here in this podunk town so I have to order it online or drive through the construction gauntlet to the shopping mecca so I ordered it online, only this time I tried one of the recycled refilled cartridge inks. The four colors were so cheap like less than $10 and they had a lot of great reviews. So the ink arrived and I switched out the Epson cartridge with the new one, hit 'proceed', it whirred and then told me this cartridge was unrecognizable. I hit proceed again, it whirred and then told me this wasn't an authorized cartridge. I hit proceed again, it whirred and asked me did I really want to use this ink. Holy fucking cow, yes! I hit proceed again and it finally printed out the picture. I wonder how many people are fooled by that first message and go out and plonk down nearly $50 for the Epson ink. Well, so far so good.

The only other thing of note in this Trump free post is that we've continued to see the robin and goldfinches and yesterday the cedar waxwings were migrating through. The only reason I noticed is because they were making a commotion mobbing a hollow in one of the limbs of the big tallow and it attracted my attention. I don't know what was in there but it looked like they were eating something, maybe tree seeds had fallen in.

There are only 8 in this picture though about 2 dozen were spread further out and in constant motion.

And then there's this...

in January. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

minor accomplishments and republican malfeasance

Other things have been going on despite my near total absorption in the coup attempt and aftermath.

I finally made the cauliflower soup and while I know it doesn't sound that great it really is good. Sauteing the onions and leeks...

the finished soup and no I didn't eat out of the pan. That's the leftover cheddar cheese for a garnish so I just tossed it in before putting away the rest.

The first bird of paradise flower finally opened

and the last angel trumpet flower.

The weather turned really cold on Saturday and parts of Texas 2 - 3 hours north of here got snow. Saturday night low 30˚s, last night down to freezing and even colder tonight with highs in the 40˚s but after that it should start to warm up.

Sunday was my sister's appointment for her first vaccine shot (mine's next Saturday) and since her car battery was dead I drove her in through very cold temps, wind, and rain. Took considerably longer than it should have but we left with plenty of time to spare. We had to sit in the car for 20 minutes and then I sat in the car for about a half hour before she returned. All OK though, I came prepared with blankets and a book. She said they have it down like clockwork with someone at every stage directing you what to do, what to read, where to sit, they make you stay for 15 minutes after to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction, and they make your appointment for the second shot before you leave and it was the Moderna vaccine which we suspected it would be.

Marc and I managed to get the kitchen sink to drain more freely. I had several recommendations to attempt to clear it; one, grease and soap eating bacteria which I searched for online, two, baking soda and vinegar, and three, our own snake (which we have tried in the past with zero results). Since baking soda and vinegar was easily obtained I started with that. So after three applications of boiling water, baking soda, vinegar, more boiling water, and a plunger, we got it to flow freely...until the next day when it started backing up again. Two more applications and it was running freely again and the next morning, backing up again but at least taking longer. Now we have freezing weather so we've been running the water sparsely. I'm waiting for it to warm up a bit today to have another go at it. But I'm confident continued applications will eventually get it running free and then just do it on a regular schedule.

I've been keeping the bird feeder filled and the other day I thought I saw a robin but it was too far away and in the photinia to be sure and then it flew away. Later in the day Marc and I both saw it on the bird bath in front and then he saw it or another one the next day. This wouldn't be such a remarkable event if it weren't for the fact that this is the first robin we have seen out here since we bought this place 13 years ago while we had them year round in the yard of the city house just an hour away.

I'd just as soon not have to go out today but I have to do a grocery store run and while I'm out, I may as well take the recycling that has mounted up.

As for the insurrection and attempted coup, remember Trump replaced Esper at the DoD right after he lost the election, prompting the generals to write a letter saying they would not be drawn into election disputes but apparently Trump thought he could succeed anyway and the new Trump loyalist did his job in preventing the National Guard from being deployed or supplying the Capitol Police with equipment as per the
Business Insider, also read that 600 (? unsure of the number) capitol police were told not to come in that day, one reason there were so few and easily overwhelmed. Also remember Barr unexpectedly stepped down after the election and everyone wondered why. Well, the new Trump loyalist in charge of the DoJ has now stated that there will be no charges against Trump and his co-conspirators. Apparently the planned coup was a step too far for even Barr. And now, of course, as if anyone expected anything less from Republicans, their nice little speeches on the 6th and the 7th were meaningless. With few exceptions, Republicans are against another impeachment and invoking the 25th amendment claiming that doing either will further divide the country (as if that's even possible) and goes against Biden's calls for unity. In other words, they don't want Trump or their co-conspirator members to be punished for trying to overthrow the government and install Trump. Only 5 people died and none of them were members of Congress even though that was the plan so, of course, they just want to move on to healing and unity but without punishment or retracting their lies about the election. What they don't understand is that there will be no healing or unity without punishment to deter any future attempts at insurrection.

Well, I expect Biden's DoJ will do the job right. I do fear,  
though, for Biden's and Harris' lives. This country has a history of assassination of presidents and we are overdue for one and the insurrectionists are planning more action before and during the inauguration.

Saturday, January 9, 2021


Reports are coming out that the insurgents had inside help from the White House and DoD re preventing the police and National Guard from preparing for and responding to the attack on the Capitol and that some of the insurgents were in touch with the White House during the attack and that they were aided by people in the capitol giving them directions to Schumer's and Pelosi's offices as well as the Parliamentarian’s office.

Journalists were physically assaulted.

Off duty cops and members of the military participated in the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol.

From an NBC report: Several dozen are roaming through the halls, yelling, “Where are they?”

They were very clear in their own words what their goal was, to capture and kill, especially Pence.

Trump was reportedly enthusiastic about the Capitol insurrection but disappointed in the 'aesthetic' look of it, didn't like how "low class" his supporters looked.

It has been reported that some of these 'patriots' shit in the halls of the Capitol and smeared feces on the walls.

Trump has no intention of resigning, thinks he did nothing wrong, according to three White House advisors.

White House officials report that Trump was “excited” and “delighted” by the attack on the Capitol and was “confused” as to why others weren't so excited.

Republican Kevin McCarthy, who called Trump while he was cowering in the Capitol, asked him to call off the riot and Trump told him no, now thinks that impeaching Trump would just further divide the nation.

In a turn around so quick he must have gotten whiplash, Lindsey Graham, after being confronted in the airport by Trump supporters who called him names, is now back to supporting Trump and says impeachment would do more harm than good.

One of the men charged during the Capitol siege told the judge he is a federal employee.

From a government source who received an open source meeting - "Every aspect of it, including which rooms to go into and how to break the windows, were planned."

They had maps of the tunnels underneath and the layout of the building.

A sitting West Virginia delegate filmed himself participating in the attempt to overthrow the election. He was arrested today.

Trump Justice Dept says there will be no investigation into Wednesday's events or into any of the speakers. MSNBC.

The man filmed sitting at Pelosi's desk and who took a piece of her mail has been arrested and charged with three federal crimes.

Along with the pipe bombs, a truck full of guns and ammunition, Molotov cocktails, crowbars, sledge hammers, and other weapons, the FBI also found a van with napalm.

Despite the lies from the far right media and Trump's goons, the US justice department says there is no evidence antifa was involved.

Trump has been permanently banned from Twitter and other social media platforms for refusing to stop violating their rules.

Trump is now saying he regrets being talked into giving that 'concession' speech where he admitted Biden would be sworn in and there would be a peaceful transfer of power. See, we knew he didn't mean it.

Republican supporters of Trump don't think the perpetrators need to be punished.

The FBI is slowly, methodically, identifying people and arresting them.

It appears that the man who leads the group that organized the attack on the Capitol is the Attorney General for Alabama, Steve Marshal.

Two Russians aligned with the GOP were among those arrested one of which did not speak English.

Many computers were left on and active when the capitol was evacuated.

Cabinet members have been resigning to avoid having to weigh in on the 25th amendment and those that haven't resigned are staying silent. Instead a sort of silent 25th seems to be happening with senior officials acting as if Trump is not president, ignoring him and staying away from the West Wing.

Trump made calls to certain Republican senators during the siege demanding they overturn the election.

The Republican Attorneys General Association sent out robocalls the day before urging people to attend the march on the capitol.

In one set of photos released by the FBI for identification, six of them are republican lawmakers.

The capitol police officer that died protecting the Capitol was beat in the head with a fire extinguisher by MAGAts.

The House is moving ahead with impeachment and McConnell is doing what he always does...stonewalling. He has said he won't bring the articles of impeachment to the floor of the Senate for a vote until the 19th. So much for his speech to Congress before they resumed the vote certification.

Seattle Police have let it be known that two of their officers participated in the attempted coup.

I could keep going with this as more and more details come out but I'll stop here.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

January 6, 2021

warning: this is long, part record, part resignation, part rant, part maybe hope

As I'm sure you can imagine, I've been pretty much glued to the TV and Twitter since Wednesday morning. So many people are shocked at what happened. I expected violence but I didn't expect the goal was to breach and occupy the capitol building. I expected violence because Trump's followers have been telling us for weeks that there would be violence, the new civil war! As the day unfolded, seeing the videos, it was obvious that the capitol police were being very lenient in their opposition to these protesters. We were told at first that the capitol police were overwhelmed. How is that possible. Where were the batons bashing heads, the tear gas, the flash bangs, the rubber bullets, the riot gear, the fucking tanks that showed up at the BLM protests this summer. Some members of the capitol police, by some accounts, were complicit, in fact there is video showing them removing the barrier and letting the rioters, the insurgents, into the capitol building. And the storming of the capitol building was not spontaneous but planned, all over Parler and Instagram and FB and other social media venues. Trump even tweeted, show up on the 6th, it's going to be "wild". He knew. He not only knew, he exhorted his followers to head for the Capitol during his speech. Rudy Giuliani even called for trial by combat in his speech.

Some speculate that someone or ones were tasked with finding and taking the electoral votes. Only the quick thinking of some of the staffers who gathered them up when the chamber was evacuated prevented them from being taken, even though those are not the only copies. One guy was photographed leaping over something, clutching a handful of zip ties, pipe bombs were found outside DNC and RNC offices, a truck full of weapons and ammunition was found, a guy was discovered with nearly a dozen Molotov cocktails, a group of them destroyed one news agency's equipment, they erected a gallows with a noose, some guy climbed a scaffolding and threw down the American flag and replaced it with a Trump flag.

When it started looking dicey, Pelosi and the mayor of DC requested deployment of the National Guard and the DoD refused! Trump issued an order that they were not to be deployed. Now we know why Esper was replaced. This had been in the planning for a while. Congress was evacuated and safe while these insurgents roamed the capitol going door to door looking for people, destroying property and looting, they broke into Pelosi's office. They trashed the office of the Senate Parliamentarian, apparently expecting that to be where the electoral votes would be kept but aid was requested from other police departments, the FBI, the ATF, and other agencies with police forces, a 6 PM curfew was put in place, the National Guard did finally show up and the people were allowed to just stroll out all triumphant and go home. Finally some republicans started issuing statements disavowing the attempt to obstruct the democratic process, their outrage sounding insincere as they tried to separate themselves from the thing they have supported for four years. The senate republican twitter account claiming that that is not who we are when it is exactly who they are.

Biden made the first public statement, condemned the actions of the insurgents in no uncertain terms and exhorted Trump to do the same before Trump could be bothered to comment at all and when he did it was such a soft ball saying basically I appreciate what you did but, you know, go home now, I love you, you're fine people. Meanwhile he was in some secure location near chortling with glee according to some inside reports. Of course he was.

The Capitol building was cleared and Congress was back in session by 8 PM. We watched the first little while, McConnell's and Schumer's opening comments before getting the business in hand underway. We also listened to the first challenge, Arizona I think, maybe more before tuning in something else. They had fewer Senators and Representatives after the interruption than before willing to go along with the challenges and in the end, when I woke up this morning business had been completed and Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20th. Pence and even Lindsey Graham, have taken their turn at trying to redeem something finally. It's all too little too late as far as I'm concerned. It took the storming of the Capitol while they were there for them to finally find that step too far from Trump with only 14 days to go. How very brave of them to stand up to Trump, finally. If they think they can weasel out now they are sorely mistaken. We know who they are and what they supported for four years, refusing to get rid of him when they could a year ago.

Today revealed 5  deaths, 54 arrests and the FBI is very interested in help identifying everyone on video. Just because arrests haven't been made yet doesn't mean they won't get made they say, so the FBI, at least is taking this seriously. A lot of Congress, not a majority and mostly Democrats but some Republicans, as well as the sane members of the general public, are making demands that Trump be immediately cashiered either by the 25th amendment or impeachment. Pence has refused a call from Pelosi and Schumer so they went public to tell him if he didn't invoke the 25th amendment, they would be entertaining articles of impeachment on Monday. Meanwhile, while the world all goes crazy analyzing who, what, where, when, and how, as if any of that is really in question, Twitter, FB, Instagram, and some other social media platforms have suspended his account (though I'm sure he's venting his spleen on all the right wing conspiracy theory sites as they are the only ones who will have him) and the White House Press Secretary stands there and lies her little head off that everyone in the White House is devastated and refusing to take questions while people are abandoning ship left and right. Again, 14 days people. Where was your outrage a year ago?

Meanwhile, Parler is all about January 19th. They aren't cowed. They got away with it. Because, ya know, it wasn't them that did all that bad stuff, it was Antifa masquerading as them. Yeah, that's right, that's the ticket.

How on earth would antifa benefit, if it even existed as an organization, from doing this. Quite frankly, we won. All we need do is wait 14 days and Trump is gone. This is just more misdirection from people who clamor for freedom, as if they are being oppressed, but refuse to take responsibility for, to own, their own supposed anger. What the fuck! Trump doesn't need our help to look bad. He does that all by himself

Edit:  Finally, last night Trump gave what some are calling a concession speech, admitting that a new administration would be sworn in on the 20th and condemning the actions of people he had previously called patriots. This was not a speech he made willingly, reading from the teleprompter, but was forced to give through gritted teeth as one  tweeter put it, and his tone was anything but presidential, more like having to give the worst news of his life and we all know he didn't mean a word of it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

two busy days

Too busy days. I lost track of how many days in a row I have skipped my morning yoga routine, five at least, possibly more, probably more, and by Monday I could tell. Worked more in the barn Monday raking and sweeping and my arms were tired before I even got started good. But I persevered and got the entire barn emptied and raked and dirt and cobwebs (the ones I could reach with the broom) swept.

Weeks ago one of the storms that swept through blew down one of the trunks from one of the red tip photinias in the front and Marc was out there Monday morning with the chainsaw, the dull chainsaw, trying to get it cut up and got about halfway through when the motor started smoking. Well, it lasted about 12 years or so. I wanted to get all the trash metal to the recycler Monday so I tossed what I could of the photinia on top of the other branches and limbs that had been accumulating (four pecan trees, three tallows, and two oaks provide a constant supply of dropped limbs and branches) and dumped all that on the burn pile so I could load all the metal trash in the truck. Which I did 

but before I left Marc asked me if I was throwing away the pieces of sheet metal that he had cut to fit to finish the siding on the far end of the barn.

see at the top there above the open end

How many years has it been since you built the barn, I asked (It's been 10 years). If you haven't done it by now, you aren't going to do it.

Well, I'm not, he says, but somebody might.

Then somebody can just buy new sheet metal, besides, it's all rusty.

By the time I got to the recyclers after lunch they were closed for the day so when I got back I told him he had one more chance to get the sheet metal and put it up. He just laughed. Then I sorted through my pots...keep/get rid of...and stacked them neatly.

Yesterday morning went to the metal recycler. Had to wait my turn as there were two trucks ahead of me then I spent the rest of the day starting my organizing/putting things back. Cut a 1x4 and nailed it up and hung most of my gardening tools, 

got a table from over at the shop to put my pots on and put the buckets underneath, temporarily because it isn't big enough or the right height so I'm going to have to build a table/bench in there for that purpose but at least everything is off the floor.

Yoga class started up again after the holidays and I was glad to go Monday night and I even did my routine yesterday morning!


Woke up this morning to glorious news. Both the Georgia runoff races went to the Democrat candidates. We have the Senate! We have the Presidency, the House, and the Senate. McConnell can go suck rocks. Majority Leader Schumer is ready for action.