Ponderings and Musings

A Day.

I stepped out on our roof to admire the moonless sky. The stars shine so brightly here in Tucson and I find it breathtaking.

At precisely 10:00 PM a recording of “taps” began playing through the neighborhood. I suspect it was coming from a home across the wash and on the next street over. It made me think of the destruction we have in our world today. It made me think of those that have fallen in the name of peace.

A solemn moment for the end of the day.

No Angst.

I read about the childhood of LBGTQ friends and the struggles they went through, some of them absolutely horrific, and I count my blessings for my life. Either I was incredibly fortunate or blissfully naive, but I never felt too much of a struggle getting through childhood. I sometimes wonder if my parents shielded me from the rougher parts; I know they were both quite protective in some ways. There were some normal rules about what we could watch on TV and what movies I could go to as a teenager and the like. My sister was more of a rebel than I ever was. I was content in my own little world, whether it was exploring the woods behind the family house, pretending I had cash registers and computers in my bedroom, or roller skating around the basement before my Dad started building airplanes down there.

My childhood is neatly and distinctly divided in half with our living arrangement at the time: my first 9.25 years was spent in a 10×50 mobile home with an 8×40 addition my father built. The second 9.25 years were spent in a colonial four bedroom home built in a hay lot across the street from the aforementioned mobile home. When I left for college I moved out of my parents’ home and never moved back in. No regrets; they’d done a good enough job that I was able to sustain myself after failing out of college the end of my freshman year. I remember musing to my father that I made have made a mistake along the way; taking a volunteer leave from the second largest computer company at the time and ending up working for a department store chain. It’s one of the only times he gave me advice of this nature and told me to never have regrets, I’m doing fine, I’ll figure it out. That meant a lot to me. My dad didn’t say a lot but when he did I listened, even though I know to this day that my sister was his favorite (and there’s no hard feelings about that).

When we lived in the 10×50 mobile home with 8×40 addition we couldn’t all sit at the kitchen table for dinner and opening the refrigerator at the same time. The appliances were a wild 1960s blue color. The living room, which was in the addition my dad built, had windows that looked into the original living room. It was normal to have a metal wall that was the original siding of the mobile home. In the coldest of Upstate New York winters the addition was heated by two tiny electric heaters embedded in the wall. We made due with crocheted booties and blanket made by Grandma City.

When I hear what my contemporaries went through, and how some of them went through so much physical and/or mental abuse for not fitting the portrait their family wanted them painted in, I feel sad and I want to give them a hug. Our experiences make us who we are as adults.

I’m fortunate that my experiences have been mostly positive. I wish our world was headed in a more positive direction.

Art Deco.

Public buildings built in the late 1930s and early 1940s are very interesting to me. I love the architecture. There’s a certain amount of comfort in these designs; the elementary school I attended was built in 1939 and had a distinct Art Deco flair in the design. There was an impressive staircase in the middle of the school. It linked the main entrance to the second floor, with ornate metal railings and a color scheme similar to that seen in the photo above. The stairway took folks to the second floor in a split design, arriving in front of the library. It felt so solid.

The library was filled with so much wood trim. The shelves and desks were sturdy. There was a room off one end of the library designated for the Board of Education meetings. The wood appointments were heavy and it always felt like important decisions were made there.

Public buildings built after World War II don’t really interest me. Design moved from impressive to functional. Cinder blocks were painted to look like a wall. There’s a lot of brick. No columns, no ornate railings, no heavy desks.

These pre-WWII buildings are bit more rare here in the desert southwest. If I find one I can’t photograph it; I might be mistaken for a terrorist or something. Things are weird in the 21st century.


There is never any silence in our house. Someone, somewhere is watching a TikTok video or there’s music thumping in one of the rooms or there’s the snippets of bad music blasting from an Instagram feed. It’s never quiet. There’s never silence.

Yesterday it was a little chilly when I sat in the gazebo playing around on my iPad. I was reading about various subjects and occasionally the silence was broken by an airplane flying over head as they departed the local Air Force Base or the coyotes would rustle in the wash. I didn’t find these sounds distracting.

As I get older I find that I can’t manage distractions as well as I used to when I was younger. I’ve never been good at managing distractions. My ability to tune out the rest of the world is slowly dissipating with age. Others in the family don’t seem to have this impediment. Perhaps I’m focused on different things.

Riding It Out.

My husband and I went for a ride yesterday. We’d been in the house since Tuesday and really needed some fresh air, so we moved our quarantine area to include the car. We both enjoyed drive thru food, wore masks while in the drive thru, and enjoyed being out in the desert sunshine in early February. It was good to see some landscape. Our home is beautiful but with the five of us in various stages of coughing and the like, the fresh air did us some good.

I’m on the mend and feeling better. Other than the lingering cough and a few instances of feeling winded when I don’t usually feel winded, I feel like I won the battle against COVID-19. The rest of the family feels the same way. We are continuing to maintain distance from the rest of the world per the CDC guidelines. This probably means I will not be flying again this week. I don’t want to risk getting my Flight Instructor sick in the close quarters of a Cessna 172.

I’m missing flying. Even skipping one week in my training has me gazing at the clear, blue sky whenever possible. I catch a glimpse of a Tucson Airport bound flight passing to the north of the house on approach and I really look forward to getting up there again as soon as possible.

Prior to testing positive for COVID-19 I did everything I thought I could to be as safe as possible, for my family, for those around me in public, and for me. In common areas like the supermarket I wore a mask, even when it was just suggested, I maintained social distancing, and I did my best to be in unconfined areas with plenty of airflow. And yet I still contracted (presumably) the Omicron variant. As I mentioned late last week, I am very thankful for the science that brought us vaccinations against this thing because I can imagine the experience being much, much worse than it was for me or for the family.

If you’re not vaccinated, I strongly urge you to follow suit and get vaccinated. It will probably save you a hospital visit in the future.


I just finished watching this interview from 1973 of Katharine Hepburn on The Dick Cavett Show. I found Ms. Hepburn absolutely fascinating. I really enjoy her practical approach to life.


I woke up with the sniffles on Sunday morning. The sniffles and a raging headache. I figured I had one too many glasses of wine on Saturday night (drinking at home during the pandemic is so much fun, he types sarcastically) and my body was mad at me for doing this, so I had a hangover and the sniffles. I took a couple of Advil and made my way through it.

Sunday night I couldn’t sleep. I went to bed early because I was exhausted and I could just not sleep. I was hot, I was cold, I was hot, I was sweaty, the bed was soaked, and the headache was back. I took my temperature, 98.3ºF which is actually a little high for me. Historically my temperature hovers around 96ºF. I found my way to Monday morning.

The headache persisted. I felt a little bit of a cough. It didn’t feel like the flu. My mind was telling me, “this is unlike any cold you’ve had before. It just doesn’t feel like anything we’ve experienced”. I’d feel warm then cold then warm then cold. And the headache was centered on my forehead over my left eye.

Trying to sleep Monday night was a repeat performance of Sunday night. The same headache, sweats or lack thereof, no temperature above normal human levels, a bit of a cough.

Yesterday the headache continued. I decided to use one of the free COVID-19 test kits that had arrived courtesy of the U.S. Government. In fact, everyone in the house took a COVID-19 test.

I alone turned up positive. So yes, the cold that felt completely different than anything I’ve felt before is COVID.

I am vaccinated. We were vaccinated as soon as we were eligible to be vaccinated and we got our second shot right on schedule and six months and two days after that I got my booster shot. As I had to report to work after finding out I was testing positive for COVID-19, I am vaccinated x3.

I have isolated myself from everyone in the house since discovering my COVID-19 status. I shuttle between the upstairs bedroom suite and my office, wearing a mask during transit and staying out of the common areas of the kitchen, family room, and breakfast nook as much as possible. My husband insists on still sleeping with me.

Because of the vaccine my body has a road map to handling this foreign invader. I’ve worn my mask and kept my distance from others at Target, Starbucks, and the Safeway. To the chagrin of my husband, I have been purposely and completely unsocial in the world. I have done my best to maintain safe COVID practices and I’m hopeful that I haven’t spread COVID to anyone else during this time. I would feel awful about that.

The vaccine is doing its job and as of right now I’m starting to feel a little better. It comes and goes in waves. Still no fever. I feel a little winded walking up and down the stairs, but that’s probably because I’m wearing a mask while doing it. I’m sleeping when I need to sleep, I’m eating when I’m hungry and I’m drinking a heck of a lot of water.

Most importantly I want to keep my family safe by doing everything I can to not pass COVID-19 on to them. Everyone here is vaccinated x3, all right on schedule.

I will survive this, unlike too many others in the country, and I owe that all to the miracles of modern science and getting vaccinated. If you’re reading this and you’re not vaccinated, please get vaccinated.

No one deserves to die of this dreadful virus.


screen grab from the Doomsday clock website.

I dreamed about The Doomsday Clock the other night. If you’re unfamiliar with The Doomsday Clock, it is a metaphor for how close humans currently are to extinction or annihilation. The clock is currently at “100 seconds to midnight”, midnight representing doomsday. This is the closest mankind has ever been to midnight. The clock is adjusted once a year based on a number of factors; it’s been at 100 seconds to midnight since January 2020. The clock has been moved forward or backward 16 times since 1947.

There are many factors considered when scientists and scholars set the Doomsday Clock. The website has a lot of information on how this all works. The most concerning aspect is think tank types theorize human kind is the closest we’ve ever been to extinction.

That’s unsettling.

Back to my dream. I dreamed that I had input on the setting of The Doomsday Clock but didn’t know why it was being moved even closer to midnight. I then had visions of horrible effects from climate change (goodbye to Florida and the Gulf Coast) and wars being fought over Climate Change.

Luckily, being somewhat of a lucid dreamer, I was able to wake myself up from this dream without delving into the subject further. When I awoke I found myself on my way to the picture window we have in the front half of our bedroom.

I calmed myself down by looking at the darkness over the Sonoran Desert and the beauty of the Moon.

We should be aware of the message of the Doomsday Clock and everything it represents. Before it’s too late.

What’s Important.

Since its creation, I’ve spent too much time on Twitter. A couple of years ago I deleted my original Twitter account and created a couple of new ones with the intent of honing and rebuilding friends lists and dividing the focus of each account to specific topics. It did not improve my experience. In the short term things were better, but then Twitter’s algorithms figured out who I was and started throwing things into my feed to try to up my engagement. I switched to one of the third party apps to get rid of notifications and suggestions and the like. Still no good. Aside from a few folks I enjoy spending time with online, I don’t really care about Twitter that much these days.

At the first of the year I removed Instagram from my phone. My time on the app was mostly spent on weeding out requests for friendship from bots and I just got tired of it.

At the beginning of the week I removed Twitter (and its third party apps) from my phone. Banal content aside, I don’t need the distraction in my pocket and it was the next step to removing apps from my phone that provided “infinite scrolling”. If I can never get to the bottom of an app I don’t need it on my phone. This includes Instagram, Twitter, Apple News, Google News… anything that encourages mindless scrolling or even worse, doom scrolling. There’s plenty of doom in the world. I don’t need to dwell on it.

I’ve been removing data mining oriented apps for a while. I had replaced Twitter with Tweetbot, simply because it didn’t mine my data from my habits on my phone. In mid December I gave up on MyFitnessPal and went with Lose It! because MyFitnessPal was sharing its information with too many data extraction agencies (including Facebook for some reason) and while Lose It is far from perfect in that area, it’s a heck of a lot better than MyFitnessPal.

So what am I doing instead? I listen to two podcasts, “A Bit of Optimism” by Simon Sinek and “Your Undivided Attention” by Tristan Harris. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to podcasts, since we lived in Chicago in fact, simply because I was enjoying the desert beauty while out on my walks. I still enjoy that beauty, but I listen to these podcasts for an interesting perspective on the world and on life. It’s nice to step out of the chaos.

The other change I made was in my news consumption. I am now consuming news via the AllSides website. This website offers the news from different sources and viewpoints. It’s good to get out of the echo chamber of Fox News or MSNBC and see what other sources have to say. There’s a little “blue-purple-red” meter under each story and it helps one find a more balanced approach to the reporting of what’s happening in the world. I need that.

I don’t know if this is part of my ongoing personal mid-life crisis but I feel like we’re on the precipice of something big happening in the world. Maybe it’s pandemic fatigue. But I feel like I’m at a point of my life where I need to spend less time worrying about what’s appearing on my iPhone and pay more attention to the real problems of the world (climate change, political unrest, rampant idiocy being the top three concerns).

I don’t know what I can do to help make the world a better place. I hope I figure it out soon.