Reality Check – Coronavirus (‘Rona #1)

“Where are we going Piglet?” asked Pooh.

“We need to get supplies,” said Piglet. “For the Coronavirus”

“Ahh,” said Pooh, nodding in understanding. “Things like bread, milk, cough mixture, tissues and cat litter even though we don’t have a cat?”

Piglet did a little laugh, and a sort of leap and bit of a cough. “No,” said Piglet. “No, those aren’t the sort of supplies we need at all! What we need are family sized bags of chocolate buttons, massive toblerone, jelly babies and crunchies and a freezer full of stuffed crust pizzas, and all of the Prosecco that we can possibly carry, so that when we get quarantined we won’t mind it even slightly. THOSE are supplies.”

All of a sudden, Pooh thought that the idea of coronavirus didn’t seem quite so bad, and actually, getting quarantined with Piglet and their supplies really didn’t sound such a terrible thing after all. “Oh Piglet,” said Pooh. “I really do think you are a very wise animal.”

As they walked along they spotted Eeyore stood by a stream watching the sticks float by…..

“Hello Eeyore.” Said Pooh, “we’re off to buy supplies to sit out the quarantine, would you like to come?”

“No thank you.” Said Eeyore “I’m just going to stand here, look at the stream and contemplate the Economic impact of a media induced panic that several companies are projecting folding straight out of Brexit. Also the NHS being brought to its knees by a huge panic, and the social impact of people distrusting others because they look or are associated with China. People are dumb.”

“Well that’s sad.” Said Pooh “I much prefer eating Pizza.”

“The ironic thing” smiled Eeyore “is that Panic induces the Stress Response, and the first thing the stress response does is switch off the immune system.”

“Huh.” Said Pooh. “why would the media do that.”

“I don’t know.” Said Eeyore “I just watch sticks.”
– Cass Clayton, UK,  on Facebook, March 5 –

 

All My Virus Posts are here: The Lighter Side of Covid-19.

 

A bit of practical information from a number of websites (facts will undoubtedly change as more information about the virus is discovered):

The new Coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease Covid-19) is thought to have originated in wildlife and been passed to humans via a live animal market in Wuhan, China.

Most people who are infected with the virus will have mild symptoms (dry cough, high temperature) and will recover. Tiny droplets from coughs and breathing are the most likely method of transmission. Keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing. You have to be in close contact with an infected person to be at risk.

Older people and those with other health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are most vulnerable to the new virus. The resulting symptoms (pneumonia, breathing problems) have killed a relatively small number of people.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating. To protect others, wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Also cover your mouth and nose while sneezing. Use a tissue or your elbow.

A comparison of Coronavirus to the flu:

So far, the new coronavirus has led to more than 100,000 illnesses and more than 3,000 deaths worldwide. But that’s nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths this season, according to the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? –

Update from WHO

However, there are some important differences between COVID-19 and influenza. First, COVID-19 does not transmit as efficiently as influenza, from the data we have so far. With influenza, people who are infected but not yet sick are major drivers of transmission, which does not appear to be the case for COVID-19. Evidence from China is that only 1% of reported cases do not have symptoms, and most of those cases develop symptoms within 2 days.
WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 3 March 2020

Canadian Snowbird Stories

The fountain in Fountain Hills Arizona – on St Patrick’s Day. the water is tinted green.

I’ve edited the following popular Snowbird joke that circulates in emails. I made it an Alberta/Arizona joke instead of Minneapolis/Florida (though it is rather far fetched to think someone would choose to honeymoon in Arizona…)

An Alberta couple decided to go to Arizona to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Calgary and flew to Phoenix on Thursday. His wife would fly down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her e-mail address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail since she was expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: November 18, 2004

I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
PS. Sure is freaking hot down here.
– Original Author Unknown –

Now, here is a real Canadian Snowbird story.  If you are going to run out of a prescription drug before you can get back to Canada, there could be a way you can get it refilled.

Take the remaining medication to a local Urgent Care (Primary Care Walk-in) Centre (we used the one nearest  to us, in Fountain Hills Arizona). Be sure the medication is in the original container with the label from the pharmacy that filled your prescription.

The Doctors or Nurse Practitioners will give you a similar check-up to what your doctor at home would do before renewing your prescription. There will, of course, be a fee for this service.

The prescription will be sent to a pharmacy of your choice for pick-up the next day.

This is my Crone Voice

On one of my recent ‘wanderings’ I came across the word ‘Crone’ or more specifically, the Crone Archetype. Initially, I had a not so pleasant vision of a ‘Crone’, but further reading made me realize that some might say I AM a Crone! Perhaps you are too. (If you are a man, then your corresponding Archetype would be Sage.)

If you are a woman of a certain mature age, have abandoned the need for ‘properness’, are up front, and don’t mince your words – you might be a Crone. If you are seen as a being a straight talking mentor, occasionally a trifle crabby  and perhaps even  a bit flirtatious and sassy – you might be a Crone. If you have found an inner peace and accept who you are; if you are realistic and have practical expectations – you might be a crone.

I ticked off a lot of the ‘You might be a Crone’ boxes. When I reviewed the content of my blog, my ‘Crone Voice’ was evident in so many of the posts that had defied all my attempts to corral them into a single category. This was the birth of  My Crone Voice.

That resulted in a new Facebook Page, This is My Crone Voice. I began posting links to all my favourite stories from conservative, pragmatic environmentalist, climate change realist, garden variety, common sense folks like myself.

Apparently this alarmed an algorithm or actual person at Facebook, because within  a few weeks of starting the page, I was issued a warning that ‘Limits have been placed’.

I don’t know what these limits are, nor what I have done to deserve them. I can’t find any explanation or documentation other than this:

I’ve appealed it, of course. I pointed out to Facebook that I only have one follower, a Sage called The Car Guy,  and I only get one ‘Like’ on most posts. I don’t publish spam. I publish links to posts that I agree with.  I am not being misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive – unless those are the descriptors Facebook assigns to conservative pragmatic writers…

I eventually decided to delete the page. I’m getting real close to deleting Facebook from my life…

 

Not Fueled by Chocolate

As I
slide
towards
another birthday,
I am reminded that
increasing age diminishes
my ability to shed those
extra pounds that cluster
around the part of my body
that makes me look like
a pear.

An unfortunate side effect of getting older is that it is getting harder to maintain anything remotely resembling an hour glass figure.

A brisk thirty minute walk in the morning and forty-five minutes at the gym after lunch just isn’t enough exercise to make my clothes feel ‘less snug’. I’ve been forced to cut calories too, starting with the ultimate sacrifice – no dark chocolate snacks until the pudginess is brought into submission again. For some indefinite amount of time, my blog writing will Not Be Fueled by Chocolate.’

There are any number of articles and advertisements that suggest how to lose weight (many are for bogus diets or are designed to drain your bank account), but it is only in the last few years that researchers have identified how our body fat makes us fat. With the rise in obesity and diabetes, researchers have had increased incentive to investigate how fat cells work.

It has now been suggested that the number of fat cells in our bodies increases from infancy into our early twenties. After that age, we keep the same number of fat cells throughout our lives. Gaining or losing weight does not affect the number of fat cells.

Fat cells do many good, important jobs besides being able to store a lot of energy in a small space. Unfortunately, when we take in more calories than we burn by exercise, the extra calories make the fat cells larger.

Scientists now say that our bodies have THREE kinds of fat cells: white ones, brown ones and beige ones. White fat stores extra energy. Brown and beige fat cells burn chemical energy to create heat.

Brown fat is present in most adults, but adults with more brown fat are generally slimmer than those without. (That explains that skinny friend who doesn’t exercise and can eat whatever they like.) Unfortunately, as we age, the heat production ability of brown fat cells decreases. This causes a natural increase in weight.

Beige and brown fat activation are both triggered by exercise. Combined with a decrease in calories, this is still the best way to shrink fat cells.

Scientists are hopeful, though, that they can find other ways to enhance the function of brown and beige fat cells or cause white fat to turn into brown fat. They have evidence that exposure to cold temperatures (16 degrees C) triggers beige and brown fat activation, but they continue to search for the ‘silver bullet’ that could be the game changing treatment for diabetes and obesity.

Other interesting facts about fat and weight:
– a single study published in the journal ‘Obesity’ showed that a year after liposuction removed fat, the fat came back, but not in the areas it was removed from. An increased fat appearance was observed in the upper abdomen, shoulders and the back of the arms.
– about 10 percent of your fat cells die and are replaced each year.
don’t diet – think instead about how to satisfy your hunger for fewer calories. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. (Eat less chocolate…)
exercise (aerobic and strength training) – the more you do, the more calories are burned. The largest muscles (and therefore the largest calorie burners) are in the thighs, abdomen, chest, and arms.
one size does not fit all, so to speak. Researchers are trying to understand why one person may lose weight faster or slower than another, even when they eat the same diet and do the same exercise.
– the set-point theory of metabolism may be a myth. Studies suggest that if we lose weight, our metabolism shifts to a normal rate for that new weight.
walking for 30 minutes most days of the week, is as effective as a structured exercise done three to five days a week.
“low-fat” or “fat-free” food is not necessarily low calorie food. A bunch of low-fat cookies might have more calories than one or two regular cookies.

With that, I’ll go have a carrot…

Do share – are you an hour-glass, a banana, a strawberry, an apple or a pear shaped person?

Do You Love the Skin You’re In?

Did you see the unretouched photo of actress Jamie Lee Curtis in 2002?  It was taken when she was 43 years old. Jamie insisted the photographer, Andrew Eccles,  shoot her with no makeup, no manicure, no hair styling – wearing only an exercise bra and underwear. She did not want the photo altered in any way. She said this was her contribution to stopping the Hollywood Myth of what women are supposed to look like.

Of course, it isn’t just Hollywood that contributes to the myth. There is a Beauty Industry  with products and advertising to tell us how to make our hair, skin, teeth and clothes conform to some standard of beauty;  a Weight Loss Industry that tells us we are too fat; a Cosmetic Surgery Industry to turn back the hands of time, and an Exercise Industry that is often advertised as a way to improve our looks.

How big is the  ‘Myth of Perfection’ Industry? The Global Beauty Market (hair care, skin care, cosmetics, fragrances) is expected to reach $265 billion in 2017. The Weight Loss Industry in the U.S. (New Year’s resolution gym memberships, weight-loss programs, diet food programs) takes in $60 billion per year. The Global Cosmetic Surgery industry is currently worth over $20 billion. The American Teeth Whitening Industry is $11 billion a year.

What is Body Shaming? – Are You a Victim of It? Do you do it to yourself or others?

Body-shaming (criticizing yourself or others because of some aspect of physical appearance) can lead to a vicious cycle of judgment and criticism. Messages from the media and from each other often imply that we should want to change, that we should care about looking slimmer, smaller, and tanner. And if we don’t, we worry that we are at risk of being the target of someone else’s body-shaming comments.
– Erika Vargas, MA, Walden Eating Disorders –

It’s not anyone’s place to shame a woman’s figure because it doesn’t meet their own personal (possibly unrealistic) expectations. And yet it happens, again and again, all the time. Sometimes it’s brazen, but often it’s subtle. Body-shaming might not look the way you would imagine. It’s not always as obvious as calling someone too fat or too skinny — sometimes it’s the suggestion that a certain cut of clothing isn’t “flattering” on people built like you. Regardless of the form it takes, one thing that’s for certain is that there is still far, far too much of it.
– Hannah Westmoreland Murphy, Romper, Feb 1 2016 –

Are You Really ‘Too Fat’, or are you a Victim of an Overzealous Obesity Campaign?

Conversations about Obesity often lump the Overweight class in with the Obese Classes:

The 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey says “more than 60 percent of adults were overweight or obese, with 24 percent being overweight and 37 percent obese.” The US Surgeon General says: “The crisis is obesity. It’s the fastest-growing cause of disease and death in America. And it’s completely preventable. Nearly two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese.”

When Overweight and Obese data is lumped together like that, the statistics include everyone who is a few pounds overweight to everyone who is several hundred pounds overweight. It makes the statistics on Obesity very alarming, but not very accurate.

Ewes not fat, ewes fluffy

I don’t think there is an ‘epidemic’ of Overweight people. In Canada , folks in the BMI designation of overweight (but not obese) have formed about 35% of the population since at least 1978. Remember, people in the overweight category include athletes who have more muscle mass than couch potatoes, a rapidly aging population that gains weight as their muscle mass and rate of burning calories declines, and all the women who put on a few pounds with the birth of each child and isn’t ever going to be High School slim again. I think that if it wasn’t for the Diet and Weight Loss Industries, most overweight people would think they were about as Normal as the ones in the “Normal” BMI category.

There is increasing evidence too, that Overweight people are at no more risk of disease and death than Normal weight ones. The results of a study at the University of Manitoba echoes other studies that have found little evidence to support the accusations that people in the Overweight category are unhealthy.

A Picture Story

Here are images of Women’s bodies as they correlate to BMI (Body Mass Index.)

What is your reaction to the body shapes as you look at them from left to right? Is the emaciated body on the left in a size ‘0’ a better body to own than the one on the right in a size ’28’? From a long term health perspective – if both women exercise, eat properly and make good lifestyle choices – health outcomes could be similar.  Unfortunately, the two body types won’t have the same social acceptance.

Stand in front of the mirror, with no make-up or clothing on. Do you accept and love yourself for who you are?

The Beauty Industry doesn’t let us forget that skinny is beautiful, but fat isn’t. Yet, Kathy Bates, Aretha Franklin and Oprah Winfrey are just a few of the more famous voluptuous women who don’t let weight get in the way of ‘living large’.

Living Large Cocktail: ¼ Dreams, ¼ Goals, ¼ Action, ¼ Courage
– Kerstin Wyman, EzineArticles –

Turn your focus away from what you look like and toward how you feel. For instance, you may look in the mirror and think you need to lose 15 pounds. But are you eating right? Are you taking care of your body? Are you being gentle and self-supportive? Are you healthy? If you can answer yes to these questions, consider that good enough. True health isn’t about fitting into a certain size or losing the muffin top — it’s about cultivating an internal state that supports a glowing, confident, and happy “external” you.
– Dr. Sooji Rugh, mbg, Feb 4, 2014 –

2017 Alberta Flu Bug Arrives at my Door

I shall take you to bed and have my way with you. I will make you ache, shake, and sweat until you moan and groan. I will make you beg me to stop! When I am finished you will be weak for days. Sincerely, The Flu.

I’ve been getting an Annual Flu shot since 2003, and up until now I have been flu-free. My luck ran out last Monday. I woke up feeling awful – fever, chills, whole body muscle pain,  intense fatigue, a cough, and skin so sensitive I could hardly stand to wear clothes. All these symptoms pointed to a flu virus.

The flu, in a nutshell:
At First I was afraid I was gonna die.
Now I’m afraid I won’t.
– Author Unknown –

For 3 days I shuffled from bed to couch and back to bed. By Day 4, the whole body symptoms had receded, but site specific rashes and inflammations popped up. I felt well enough, though, to get out of bed and go see the Doctor. He confirmed I had the flu. He pointed out that if I had consulted him earlier, he could have prescribed a flu medication to reduce the symptoms.  I pointed out that I would have consulted him earlier if his office had been mid way between my bed and the couch!

The very first blog post I wrote in November 2009 was about the H1N1 Flu (Swine flu), which had been declared a global flu pandemic.  The strain of influenza sweeping through Alberta this season is Influenza A H3N2, but with a twist. It was able to mutate over the course of a single flu season, which meant the effectiveness of my vaccine was decreased. The vaccine should have lessened the severity of the flu and hastened my recovery time, though. Other factors that affect the course of the flu are age, general heath, underlying medical conditions, immune system, nutrition, mental outlook and support systems.

Speaking of support systems, I have to thank The Car Guy for being Mr. Mom this past week; my Doctor, who, so far, has always erased my worst fears; and the pretty spring daffodils that are popping up in my yard… and Tim’s Iced Capps… and chocolate.

I’m also thankful this was the Alberta flu, not the Arizona flu. Or worse yet, the ‘in transit between Arizona and Alberta’ flu.

What is the difference between Bird Flu and Swine Flu?
For Bird Flu you need tweetment and for Swine Flu you need oinkment.
– SMSQuotesimage.com –

Have you ever had the flu? Do you get a flu shot?

Why and What of Vanity Sizing and Metrics

Many years and houses ago – there was an odd looking dog living near us. She was a cross between a basset hound and a shepherd. Her name was Katie. She had short shepherd legs and a broad shouldered basset body; basset ears framed a shepherd muzzle. She was social like a basset and she seemed to have inherited the less than average intelligence of that breed too.

But we soon learned that Katie only understood Chinese. Once we adapted to that, we realized that Katie was actually quite bright. Katie’s short legs, long body and broad shoulders would have caused her no end of grief if she had been a human and had to buy ready made clothing. I know that, because I am a Katie.

My body measurements would be reason enough to hate shopping for clothes, but even more despicable is the world of This Size Fits Nobody and  Vanity Sizing. Presumably on purpose, some manufacturers have changed the cut of their garments so that a women who wore a certain size of garment in high school, can still wear that size years later, even though she has put on 20 pounds and her hourglass figure is now more like a pear or an apple.

Other manufacturers, however, tell it like it is. This means the average grandma like me will visit every women’s clothing store at four malls and will eventually find two pair of pants, one pair of shorts and three shirts – that more or less fit – and they will be either a S or M or L or 10 or 12 or 14. Then she will alter eveything, because no one makes clothing for Katie bodies, and it is too late to hire someone to make these things fit by Monday.

Toonaday dog scalesThe short and the short of it (there is no long in my short world) is that most of the numbers that were once my touchstones, really aren’t all that relevant anymore.  My age, my height, even my weight, have become nonessential numbers in my life… okay, weight might be an essential number, but only if I truly want to do something to change it. If I don’t, then there is no point obsessing about it.

On the internet, social media thrives on vanity. Facebook and Twitter, just to name two, offer users the opportunity to gather friends, likes and or followers. These numbers, though they might look impressive, could be meaningless statistics, which is why they are called Vanity Metrics . This was a phrase coined by author Eric Ries and it refers to measurements that look good, but don’t actually indicate how successful something or someone is.

Here in the WordPress Blogging World, we have a Vanity Metric called ‘Followers’. This number should indicate how many people read our blog in the WordPress RSS feed reader. What it actually  means is how many people read our feed plus how many people don’t read our feed, but hope that by clicking the ‘follow’ button, we will reciprocate – thus boosting their Vanity Metric.

I have  been descended upon by a hoard of Fake Followers. These are people or bots that hope I will click the link to their blog and either buy their product or (and this is the mysterious part) click their link and find an empty blog.  Here are a couple of the more recent ones: Capture I don’t look at my followers list anymore – it is that useless. There might be some legitimate followers in there, but I really don’t have the time to try to find them. For the sake of full disclosure, I now have 956 followers –  and my best guess is that the vast majority of them are not actually readers.

If a measurement matters at all, it is because it must have some conceivable effect on decisions and behavior. If we can’t identify a decision that could be affected by a proposed measurement and how it could change those decisions, then the measurement simply has no value.
– Douglas W. Hubbard –

Now it is your turn – do you have a Vanity Number that makes you feel good, even though it might be just a tad unrealistic?

I Cut My Own Bangs

Bang (fringe) length – has little to do with beauty, and a lot to do with just being able to see! So, yes, I admit it. On occasion, I cut my own bangs. Okay, it is more than just occasionally. My hair grows very fast, so while I often let the sides and back grow two or three inches between visits to a salon, my bangs need more frequent attention.

bangs fringe cut own hair ToonadayAfter much trial and error, and close observation of how my hairdresser cuts my bangs, I have perfected my technique. I must do a pretty good job, too. My hairdresser ‘called me out’ on home bang cutting yesterday, and when I sheepishly admitted that I had, in fact, cut my own bangs she said, “You did a great job. You only missed about six or eight hairs over here on the left side…”

I don’t know what your relationship is with your hair, but I live with a head full of rebellious hairs. They curve and stick up in all the oddest places. Some years I let them all grow (except the bangs) until they are mid way down my back. Some years I have them all cut off to just a few inches. Neither style changes their nature – they still resolutely head off in a contrary direction, each marching to their own drummer.

I grew up in the days when sleek, long, straight hair was what all the cool girls had. All the tall cool girls.  All the skinny tall cool girls. Genetically, I am not a skinny, tall, straight haired girl. (The foundations for my distrust of the fashion and beauty industry were laid early, and I don’t even want to discuss why “A Good Hair Day” might mean something to me…)

But – every time I go to a hairdresser, I entertain the hope that a miracle will happen. My hairdresser will find the precise right length to cut each hair (because apparently she keeps track of the length or each and every one of them).  That perfect length will be the one where each hair nestles contentedly beside the one beside it. Not a single hair will object to the company of any of its 150,000 neighbours. I will be able to just toss my head and every hair will move into place without the touch of a comb!

Remarkably, this latest haircut seems to be as close to perfection as any I have ever had. Oh, there is still much mass confusion down at my neck, but the hairs on the side and top of my head are serene. My bangs, well, they are quite perfect and the hairdresser only had to fix the eight hairs on the left side.

Tragedy is when you cut your own finger. Comedy is when you cut your own bangs.

Do you cut your own bangs? Any horror stories about hair cuts?

 

Distorted Perceptions of Beauty – Dove Evolution of a Model (Video)

At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.
– Ann Landers (1918-2002) –

Why do you think women worry about how they look?

  • Do women tend to judge other women by how they look?
  • Are women bombarded by companies who want them to think that they don’t measure up?
  • Do women judge themselves by what is negative, not what is positive?
  • Do women pressure other women to conform to an idealized image of what is beautiful?
  • Do women equate aging to loss of beauty?
  • Do women believe beauty gives them a competitive edge in all facets of their lives?
  • Do women fear that men won’t like/love them if they are not beautiful?
  • Do women believe that beauty is of more value than intelligence?
  • Are women surrounded by media role models who are air brushed, photo shopped beauties?

An example of an Air Brushed and Photo Shopped Model:

The QuipperyHere are some other websites that discuss Distorted Perceptions of Beauty:

Real or Retouched? Distorted Perceptions of Beauty – An excellent example of very bizarre photo retouching.

Chasing Beauty: An Addict’s Memoir  by Lisa Hickey- “I want beauty not to matter.”

How much time do you spend trying to make yourself look better?

Do men worry about how they look? If so, why?