Category Archives: Health

Dirt and COVID

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I am getting a tiny bit less rigid about having no contact with others  than I was in the beginning, way back almost a year ago when this coronovirus hit. Hard to believe I’ve been almost totally in my apartment – literally not going to the store, ever; not having anyone over, rarely; wearing a mask when anyone delivers a package or food, and so on – for this long. Good thing I love my apartment.

One thing i am noticing is dirt that’s collecting more aggressively on the rug in the spots where I sit all day. What, you may ask, am I doing sitting all day? Cruising the web, writing stuff, getting up and down for tea, snacks, meals, bathroom breaks, exercise.

Speaking of exercise, I missed my step and zumba classes terribly.  So for the first several months I worked out fairly vigorously to videos on YouTube. Found some rockin’ music and followed along, pretending I was in the class with them. Eventually, this wore thin. You need real people in class to give you the motivation.

These days, I read my Kindle propped on a stand while I step side-to-side on a thick rubber kitchen mat. On the days I do it at all. My FitBit Charge 3 tells me I’m getting steps and achieving “active minutes,” so who am I to argue?

Back to the dirt. I began to notice the rug was starting to look a little disheveled. I worried the crumbs and loose hairs were clogging up the fibers of the rug and would undoubtedly hasten the end of its best foot forward.

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash
Dirt can take many forms, some much easier to see.
Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

I normally get some help with housework but for several months, I didn’t want anyone in my house and many folks had no interest in going into other people’s homes.

Unfortunately, my closet is so jammed  that it’s hard to drag the vacuum out. Early on, I bought a nice hand-vac that I’d use to suck up the obvious chunks of debris on the rugs and on the other hard-surface floors like in the kitchen and bath. But it has limited ability to suck up embedded stuff, so eventually the dirt started to taunt me.

One day I got down on my knees – a serious commitment since getting up these days is a project. I’d already energetically applied the hand-vac and now I used a brush. Wow, who knew I’d been molting! And of course my hairs are extra long these days, with no hairdresser assistance, and I was shocked to find many of them somehow weaving themselves into the fibers of the rug. Reminds me of one of the many reasons I don’t have a dog. Then I started noticing them woven into my hoodies and other upper body coverings.

New helper comes now, and she vacuums well. It looks better, But having been down on my knees playing dirt snoop, I know it’s time. Anybody know of a good area rug cleaning company…that will also move furniture? I’ve got my double mask ready.

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What to make of this time in our lives

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Friends through it all

Difficult. Lonely. Scary. Frustrating. Whatever your choice of adjectives for it all, taken together, this pandemic, the increasing instances of natural disaster,  the pervasive injustice of racism and sexism, and our severely divisive political situation are making it hard for many die-hard optimists of any age to keep their stance.

How are you coping with life these days?

Before all this, many of us Chicagoans were carefree frequent consumers – partly a function of living in the heart of this big, vibrant city. The hope is we will go at least partly back to those times, but that’s not going to be fast or easy. So much uncertainty and instability.

Still, like grass and weeds that relentlessly creep up among building ruins and through cracks in abandoned playgrounds, roads and parking lots, the human race will rise again. But let us also fervently hope that we will find some meaning in all that we have been and are still going through. Perhaps we’ll learn to listen more carefully  to our fellow humans. Perhaps we’ll find new reasons to be gentle with ourselves and with others, however egregious the transgressions.

“Be kinder than necessary
because everyone you meet
is fighting some kind of battle.”

― J. M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan)

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Essential workers keep the world going ’round – even in pandemic

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Essential workers without PPE – Photo by Remy Gieling on Unsplash

This strange time in history has me reading and listening to the news more than I ever have. Saw something this morning that got me wondering; Latino workers in essential jobs tend to suffer more infectious outbreaks of COVID-19. So where are these “essential jobs” and what do we know about them?

The Economic Policy Institute conducts extensive studies and recently compiled their 2019 data into tables of demographics about the 55+million workers deemed essential in our country. Those people going to work every day during the COVID pandemic…taking care of our needs despite the danger to themselves and their families. The industries that employ 60+% of essential workers are:

  • Health care – 30.2% of all essential workers
  • Agriculture and food – 20.6%
  • Industrial, commercial, residential facilities and services – 12.3%

All the rest of the industries deemed essential are in single-digit percentages of that 55+ million workers. If you’ve got the time to review, these tables reveal some fascinating facts.

News sources report that many  of these essential workers don’t have adequate access to effective PPE (personal protective equipment like masks and gloves) and are not able to keep proper distancing while working in close quarters. Unsurprisingly, then, they get infected in greater numbers with the coronavirus.

Imagine a world without enough people to work these jobs…with limited access to the services these workers provide.

Say thank you to these folks when you see them they do their thing: Treat your sciatica. Repair your vehicle. Cook your meal. Drop off your package. Fill your tooth. Deliver your food. PIck up your garbage. Take your temperature. Do your laundry. Drive you home.

And if you have any ability to affect such things, stand up for their right to be protected during this pandemic. Thank you, people.

P.S. Oh, and check out the wages table. The average gap between male and female pay in many industries looks to be ~$2 to $4/hour. Yep, really.

 

 

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Thank you to those who continue to serve in these perilous times

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Coronavirus looks like it’s going to be around for quite a while. Thank you to the scientists who are working assiduously to find a vaccine and/or a viable treatment. Thank you to the brave people who continue to work in critical industries – health, food, utilities and so on – despite the threat. May they remain healthy and their work bear fruit soon.

We are all of us being called upon now to meet challenges unheard-of in the lifetimes of any of us alive today. We can try to support the industries most threatened – restaurants, theaters, etc. – to the best of our abilities (e.g., here’s a link to donate to help the 130 now-out-of-work staffers at Carnivale Restaurant).  We can live in our newly curtailed worlds – thank God for the Internet – and we need not let fear take us over.

Indo Pacific barrier reef

Nothing is or ever will be the same. To help you find solace and peacefulness as you re-imagine your life, here’s a link to your own personal fish tank – the Georgia Aquarium’s live cam feed of the Indo-Pacific barrier reef.

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Book review: Prediabetes: A complete Guide

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Book review. Prediabetes: A complete Guide, by Joy Bauer, MS, RDN. If you’re well over 55, even if you’ve mostly eaten relatively healthy during your life, your body may try to double-cross you in the area of insulin resistance – which is the cause of Type II diabetes. Even people who have long eaten lots of veggies and tried to avoid empty carbs and added sugars may become susceptible to this physiological change. The thing is, diabetes is a brutal disease that affects every part of your life and can ravage your body. And worse yet, it’s very hard to keep in check. But there’s hope if you’re not there yet.

if you and your doctor watch your sugar, you may catch this bodily rebellion early – in what’s known as the “prediabetes” stage. This is a time when your body is warning you of impending problems that can easily lead to the full-blown disease condition. But it’s also a time when you can change the course of your “golden” years. This book, written by a nurse who’s also a registered dietitian, is like a map you can follow that’ll lead to the better health that can reverse the rising-blood-sugar situation and keep you from having to live forever with the much-feared-and-for-good-reason Type II Diabetes demon.

There are recipes in the book, but more than that, it’s a guide for changing the way you buy, prepare and consume food. She gives you small steps to take first – because you do have a little time before prediabetes goes over the edge to a permanent state – that will start getting you used to eating food with less sodium and fat yet more nutrition. And then she gives additional ways to ramp up the nutrition and dial back the bad stuff without feeling like you’re suffering. So when you start changing things like cheese dip to quacamole, onion dip to hummus, and bagels to English muffins or bagel thins, you won’t be in so much confusion about what’s good for you. This is a good guide as to what changes you need to make. Diabetes is nasty. Read this book carefully and learn to protect yourself.

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