Category Archives: Health

Observations Tied by a Single Strand of RNA

We all hear wrenching COVID stories. This column isn’t about that. Though important, we’re not discussing that today. Today we laugh, as able.

Regarding what humanity is doing to defend itself against this nasty l’il microvarmint, there’s an expression that applies: “We’re building the plane while flying it.” Worldwide, we’ve been trying things out on the fly, not knowing if some step we take will send passengers down the chute, eject the pilot, or blow the plane up entirely. One thing, however, we do have control over. That is isolating our masked selves, and continue reducing the spread. I know: yawn. It’s inhuman.

While I understand crawling the walls, going out of your skin, and pulling your hair out, not necessarily in that order, try to remember that someone somewhere has things way worse than you. Sure, I’d love to go to the library, gym, movies, church, concerts, sporting events, get a hair job. Who wouldn’t? I tell people I tried something new: I dyed my roots white. Like it? Me neither.

But as for whackos protesting for their “rights” to have these businesses open (I can and must get my massage! Your church must open!), what about the right of others to stay alive? Suck it up and tough it out, man. If you don’t care, then you don’t know anyone who’s died. You will—this isn’t magically going away next week. Stay home and amuse yourself. Unless you’re being beaten or belittled by a deranged housemate – then yes, get the heck out. Just open the door and run.

I’ve often joked about survivalists stockpiling canned goods and ammo. Well, look who’s laughing now…all the way to the bunker.  Here now some other deep thots stockpiled from the nutters I call friends. Feel free to submit your own.

Randolph: I know I’m on a roller coaster, but I’m learning to lean so I don’t throw up.

Florida: What does your jigsaw puzzle say about you?

Upstate NY:  Face Timing with parents over 80 includes no visuals beyond foreheads.

Tewksbury MA:   And the hour-plus getting them set up to Facetime or Zoom.

Maryland: I’m letting my eyebrows grow wild and I’m starting to look mannish, yo.

Middlebury:  Spending all this time at home is too much togetherness for couples or families.   Every time I turn around, my spouse is there. Outside, people coming towards us don’t move over to maintain 6 feet.  Then there are the idiots in grocery stores who won’t follow the required one-way pattern in the aisles. I hold my breath.

D.C.: Finally know what enough sleep feels like! But I’d give it back to feel safe and secure.

Cape Cod:  While dog walking, the empty nip bottles along my route now replaced by discarded latex gloves is depressing. However, nearly everyone I pass smiles. People acknowledge that we need friendliness to get us through. Refreshing! People distance-gather at Falmouth harbor at sunset. We call it The Ha-ba Ba(think: Boston accent).

Reading: Mankind should use this incarceration wisely, because when it ends, we’re going to go NUTS working and frolicking and there will be NO time for introspection, thank GOD.

Contoocook: If a hairdresser wants to open her shop, no problem. Just sign forms that say you and your customers are refusing medical care if you get sick. You’re on your own.

Bethel: With sport facilities closed, the shooting range is ACTIVE – and louder, with less traffic drowning it out. Wait. I hear silence. Did they shut it down?

N. Carolina: I’m relishing the time at home with my 7 YO – I got my buddy back!

SoRo: My old lady hair is coming in. I’ve hated the pollution, time and expense of coloring it, so now I’ll see…it’s a weird gift that we can all try out going Natural at the same time.

Braintree:  The courses should all open. In golf, you’re allowed to touch only your own balls.

Pets looking at us, all Why you home every day…and why ain’t I gettin’ more grub as a result?

Boston: Our area was expecting 75 mph winds. Authorities said to “secure loose objects” outside, and to buy ice and candles. I’m like, wow, should I pick up a scalpel in case I need to unexpectedly perform surgery? The real answer: maybe. Anything seems possible now.

Well! Thank you, nutters. I end with a lovely sentiment from a friend in New York City who is a veteran of The Moth and has survived so many cinema-worthy escapades I call him Steve McQueen.

“I was a guest lecturer for the School of Visual Arts before the shutdown. They wanted someone who could speak about the connection between storytelling and design and somehow they found me. I told them that for the first time in human history, hundreds of millions of people are going to bed and waking up with exactly the same set of worries at exactly the same time and that we need to find a way to bond over this experience because we are proving what is possible once we act together.”

Yes! Act together, though apart. End global bickering. Unite! Good day.

 

hazmat dog link.

To Consider: COVID-19 is Not Just by Chance

Parts of this made me bawl, as likely they will you. Worth pondering for 5 minutes. At the least, it will take you places you can’t go right now.

If You Listen to One (calming!) How-to on COVID Precautions….

…this is the one. Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell. If you’ve been putting it off, watch now.

I dare you to stop watching before it’s over. The Q&A very good at end.

https://vimeo.com/399733860

 

I Buy Used Medical Supplies on eBay

IMG_9663At least I used to joke that I did. Until by mistake it really happened.

I recently ordered on eBay an “open box” of eyeball moisture drops — the disposable kind. Not only was the box open, every single vial was, and empty.   So I kind of bought someone’s recycling. Otherwise known as garbage.

The Way Life Should Be Part of the Time

Maine The-Way-Life-Should-BeIn Maine, a getaway state for Vermont’s Upper Valley, a sign says as you cross the border, “Welcome to MAINE. The Way Life Should Be.” Which is only true if you’re vacationing there. Because if you live there, Maine is pretty much life as usual. Meaning: generous servings of aggravation, taxes, family ordeals, automotive hassles, and work. Lots of work.

Also lots of hosting because if you live in a vacation state like Vermont or Maine, your friends and fam want their vacation…at your house. And really, since when is vacation “the way life should be?” It’s supposed to be just a lot of reading, recreating, sleeping, gabbing, rampant spending, and overeating? Isn’t that what vacation’s for? But I digress.

I took a vacation recently and, due to the burdensome stressors of Modern Tymes, I overanalyzed the hell out of the vacation nearly to the point of its ruination. You know, catastrophizing and messing with time, from the moment of walking in the door thinking, “Only 5 nights left!”; then, “Ugh, down to 4 nights,”; “Oh no, 3 nights, it’s dwindling!!” Et cetera. Bringing so many provisions to save on dining-out costs that it takes an hour to load and unload the car. Not really that relaxing.

Once someone told me anything shorter than a 2-week vacation is a waste because it takes the first week to unravel. But this was 30 years ago when employers could offer free dental, eyeglasses, and ample time off. Who can take two weeks off now, when precious vacation days are used moving, moving people you know, or recovering from moving and moving people you know?

enhanced-buzz-20075-1366228772-16.buzzfeed.comWith pressing thoughts of work so debilitating it occurred to me more than once to just drive home and deal with the work issues instead of spending a bankload in paradise to worry about them without being able to solve them, I often wasn’t in paradise at all. But it was unrefundable and I wasn’t insane. So I stayed and endeavored to stifle thoughts about work, global warming, contagion, invasive species, vanishing species, and the shifting, buckling tectonic and oceanic plates that will cause much of the west coast to crumble into oatmeal before it’s hit with a debris-filled tsunami of epic proportions. I tried not think about these things. Fishing helped.fish

Many Vermonters do the stay-cation in our short summer. Why go anywhere else, they ask? Because it’s not much of a vacation when you’re running into your neighbor who for the thousandth time lets his dog way too close to the family jewels. I want a change of scenery, a change of neighbors, a menu or at least a grill whose knobs I’m unfamiliar with. I want newness. Newness keeps one’s mind occupied from thoughts of global contagion.

lakeSo does sleeping on a lake in the woods. For 13 years I’ve lived in areas rather noisy by Vermont standards. When you are exploring uncharted regions, marinating in newness and hearing no noise at night, you can unravel enough for your mind to enter new territory. It can go forward in time, where you imagine the future – of you, your peeps, or your planet. We mostly went back in time, discussing our childhoods and childhood vacations. Back then vacation was all taken care of for us so we simply benefitted, sure, but it was different in other ways, too. In the 60s and 70s, average families could not only afford a house on one salary, but also a modest lake- or sea-side cabin – and time to actually go to the place.

I shan’t candycoat those trips, now comical, wherein multiple flat tires and bursting radiators caused the parents to nuke and the dog situated in the middle of the back seat (or “way back” of the Country Squire) was tortured by your brother, your indignant outcries ignored or ridiculed by bickering parents in a roasting, A/C-less, metal prison clouded by mom’s burning Kents. But the destination was ever worth the journey. Frolicking in the woods. Spinning in inner tubes with the nozzle jabbing your thigh, your cousins’ reckless antics unmonitored by drinking adults out of earshot. Skinnydipping with your aunt under the stars. Burgers and dogs. Great freedoms, great times.burger dog foodnetwork.com

We were lucky to have been young then. And you can be lucky now. By going on a real va-cation when prices plummet. Go. Ignore global threats, eat, rest, float your body in the now-warm water. Bask in nature and pleasant childhood memories. The cosmic soup demands your happiness. Do it. With love. Good day.

Provocative Autofill of the Month:

When Why does your bladder…is entered in the search box, Google autofills with:

  • Hurt
  • Have to be full for a sonogram
  • Drop
  • Leak

Send ideas to uppervalleygirl@gmail.com. Twitter handle: @uvgvt.  … ann.aikens.7 on Facebook.

Love is a Many Splendoured Thing

auflagen…when you can find it…which is rare…and it can lead to other things. Like marriage, a baby carriage, and auflagen. Lots and lots of auflagen*. So be sure that’s what you want.

 

 

Maybe this is a safer way to play it:  sanitizer

 

 

*If you can guess what this is, you get a prize.

Corporate Bullshit Generator

CBGGeez, if only mankind would stop picking the low-hanging fruit and kicking the can down the road in granular, bricks-and-clicks efforts at synergetic pushback 24/365, just think how far we’d have gotten by now!

If you don’t work in a a corporate environment, you won’t find that to be annoying, or even English. You may have been mercifully unexposed to unintelligibly strung-together words that sound important yet have no meaning.

But if you do, and haven’t, the sites below will transfix you…or should I say, their robust, outcomes-based, multi-tiered platforms will integrate your scalable branding:

Here click on MORE BS, PLEASE! for a fresh batch of lifelike BS.

On this gem hit MAKE BS and watch it pull from three Parts of Speech columns.

This is pretty, but will make you insane.

A Brit one offers “A random piece of business bullshit every time you visit this site.” You can even submit!

Happily, some people make corporate jargon Bingo cards before meetings and see who gets Bingo first based upon hearing their words in the meeting. Not sure what the prize is. The last link offers a delicious twist that makes me wish I still attended such meetings. Click Bingo tab at top.

Making Hay (lit. and fig.) While the Sun Shines

Susan M. Carter Flikr.com

With last week’s cosmic Soopermoon and unexpected low humidity, Vermonters were feeling their oats—a horsey expression referring to “hot” feeds such as oats that provide extra equine energy. Carbo-loading for ponies.

We’ve been flat-out frolicking. As we bike, swim, and tool about our gorgeous state via horse, cycle, and golf cart, we inhale gnats and drink in the astounding natural beauty of the Land. No matter our troubles, her scenic landscape’s backdrop to our drama grows, flows, and enchants mightily. The Creatures of the Land also sparkle. Musicians strum, hummingbirds hum, and stories fill out ears with delight. Campfires! Charades! Laffs!

forktender.wordpress.com

forktender.wordpress.com

Deliriously happy, we pack on summer blubber by way of chips and macaroni salads (hot feeds), with dripping cones, toasted marshmallows and extra mayo all around. Chomping chewing gum with the ferocity of a jungle cat, I wear a bikini as a disturbing incentive to avoid the snack bar lakeside. Unsightly, but y’all don’t look that slender, either. As a friend’s father happily observed, “There are no Beautiful People at Silver Lake.” It’s Vermont. We just don’t care.

With little rain, the long and sunny days demand movement. Soopermovement. Early we rise, to tend gardens and hit balls, knowing that pacing oneself now is not an option. For soon the air will grow cold, leaves will float down the brooks, and the Tunbridge World’s Fair will be upon us. Is this year’s theme The Year of the Insect?? Giant horseflies take meaty chunks from us daily. I hope they are having a good time.

The tourists are. As they cram our roads with Corvette Clubs, motorcycle brigades, and kayak-lidded vehicles, they stuff our coffers with (hopefully) enough wampum to get us through what friend Sassy calls “the dark months.” While we lament oftentimes the physical and financial hardships of Vermont, visitors envy our visual bounty from the windows of inns and restaurants. Let us see, as they do, that the grass is in fact greener here. There’s a heck of a lot more of it.

With all our rivers, woods, and contradancing, we get physical without pricey gym memberships. Fishing and tennis are almost no-cost, and you can’t live here without knowing someone with a canoe or bike to borrow. We get our ya-ya’s out for next to contranothing. People everywhere need to get their ya-ya’s out because life in Modern Tymes is vexing. Tech nuisances drive us batty, our free time devoured by the modern bane that is overcommunication. Which disPinterested, Twitterless, Linked Out Facebidiots like me don’t do much of, yet it’s still exhausting. Many here lack—or shun—the [devil’s!] tools needed to overcommunicate, a source of ruin. Good for them. It seems to me that the more we communicate, the more we worry. More people to worry about, I guess. More worrisome details shared. Just. More. Worrying.

I told my friend Kay I was glad in some ways I have no kids, so in our “sandwich generation” years I am open-faced, with only parents to be concerned about. Her reply:

“One thing better about parenting elders than parenting kids is that people are not competitive about their aging parents.  Imagine if they were.  ‘My mother got into Green Mountain Golden Years Assisted Living.  It was her reach facility, but she got in!  Her safeties were Maple Heritage and Mellow Manor Northeast Kingdom.’   ‘Well, my mother was sent to prison and it’s not costing me a dime. Free dental!” We could brag about who has lasted the longest without a walker.  That would be like lettering in track.   Blood test results as SAT scores…’My dad’s combined LDL and HDL were under 250!’  ‘Wow, you must be so proud.  I’m going to make my dad take it again. Surely he can improve over last time.’ I feel a Roz Chast cartoon coming on… ”

A toast to Green Mountain splendour, hay-makers, canoe-loaners, tech-shunners, shenaniganers, parenters, summer fatties, and sooperfriends who supply laffs. Thank you all. Good day.

 

The Sane Need Not Apply

reb schubMy neighbor Rebecca, a no-nonsense Iron Woman tuffie, once emerged from her apartment with cuts and bruises like she’d lost a round with a threshing machine. No, she said, it was the Death Race. She’d been asleep for two days.

One of Vermont’s crazier offerings, the upcoming Death Race is a twisted, punishing exercise in x-treme sport nutterness. For one thing, particpants are not told until the last minute when it will actually begin. Articles detailing it appear here and here.  Its competitors mystify regular folk; they also entertain. Thank you, nutters.

I say: know when to give up.  Also: barbed wire is not your friend. Good luck!

Total nutter.

Total nutter.

The Devil is in the DEETails

greenbaywi.gov

Litterbug, per greenbaywi.gov

A normally wry friend recently told me how his ex had pointed out his faults on her way out the door. This had made him especially dejected. I asked, “What faults?” and he explained. “You know, the disorganization, the forgetfulness, the keen desire to have my picture taken with political celebrities. . . .” I replied, “Those aren’t faults. Those are endearing traits, charming to those who love you.”

It’s been said that what attracts you to someone is what later drives you nuts. Likewise, qualities you have that delighted someone can devolve into vile faults demanding extirpation. But it’s a puzzle when someone who is leaving you feels obligated to express exactly why you’re not good enough. Why do that? Isn’t it bad enough they’re abandoning you? I once received a 13-page Dear Jane letter, detailing all I had done wrong. I see, I thought. Yes, it’s clear now. Thanks so much.

What became clear? My shortcomings? No. That the devil is alive and well. He enters people and makes them romance you, leave you, and tell you how you failed. The devil was in the details: in this case elaborately illustrated criticisms. The devil also invented call waiting, data mining, and other vexing details of modern life designed to make us willing to swap with him our souls, for just a few moments of blessed peace.

He also recruits Litterbugs. When I’m behind someone that throws a cigarette or Big Gulp out a car window, I become possessed. I honk, flash my lights, and make impolite gestures. I know this is wrong, and both Litterbug and I could rightfully say (nod to Flip Wilson), “The devil made me do it.”

Discussing this in church, a wry southern friend says with vehemence, “I want to know. What does a litterbug look like?” I know precisely what they look like but the words I’d use to describe one cannot be said in church. We work ourselves into a lather over it. Then, pews away, I hear a Vermonter of many years (90+?) say to her companion, “It always takes me by surprise, spring. It’s such a lovely transformation, especially after a hard winter.” That this woman could still be awed by how our area is like a different planet in spring, after nearly 100 of them, drives the devil right out of me.

mud from N

Gone fishin’.

I give a wry friend a candy bar named Chocolate Interlude which she promptly renames Chocolate Intervention. Then I think how in these blasted modern tymes how they add an “e” to things (e-billing, e-commerce) and how we can add our own e’s for the heck of it, to our e-underwear and our e-moxy and our e-breath. And how a wry Vermont friend said in Connecticut, “They call these pot holes?” And how nude season is nigh, and the mighty Goliath of mud has been subjugated by gravity and slender blades of grass, and nothing but nothing smells like flowering trees.

sugarandspicedkitchen.com

sugarandspicedkitchen.com

Then I attend, despite this column’s deadline, the local Legislative Breakfast. Our state senators and representatives articulatewith intelligence and fairness issues that are ridiculously complex, e.g., the GMO labeling bill just passed—and how VT will be sued by corporations. That the Governor’s so-called “Food Fight Fund” is being established, smartly, with the help of non-Vermonters, is cheering. Someone half my age pays me a compliment. I spot a granny on a riding mower. Finally—get this—technology proves heartening. I choose truelove as a password and it is denied for being “too common.” That its selection as a password is too common says something huge about humankind.

Yes, there is plenty of hard evidence of the devil’s existence, including but not limited to black flies, BP, and the Disgraceful Home Printer Ink Scandal of Modern Tymes, wherein (pricey!) ink tanks mysteriously dry up and your (infernal!) printer won’t even scan without ink. Sometimes we choose between two devils, say, black flies and DEET. A Mainer I know says you can’t go fishing without it. I use it when the biters are so vicious I don’t care if it shuts down my brain, bladder, and kidneys, though I know DEET to be compressed devil in a can.

Some days, the devil’s around every corner, seems like. Yet somehow, with an overheard “lovely transformation” and a too-common password and grannies riding mowers and a posse of wry friends, we remain eHopeful. We soldier on. If you feel disheartened, I’ll give you part of my heart, that as yet unaffected as yet by DEET and other devilment. Good luck. Good day.

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