Giving voices to our pets…

October 18, 2020

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote –

“The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”  (Jane Goodall)

Jack went on to write about Jane’s long career of understanding and giving voice to the Chimpanzees that she loved. Most of us don’t spend our lived living in the jungle with Chimps, but many of us may have pets that we give voices to on a daily basis.

Our dogs, cats and birds seldom talk back (well maybe some of the birds do), but it is a way to try to express what we think they that may be thinking or what they might say, if they could talk. For some it’s a way to have a conversation with ourselves, by using the pet as a surrogate other self. That can get as spooky as the movies about conversations between the ventriloquists and their dummies.

I’ve noticed that many people tend to slip into a kind of baby talk when talking to or for their pets. I suppose that there is a certain cuteness factor to that, but it does tend to limit the intellectual content of the conversation. Wouldn’t it be more interesting if the pet talked in an educated adult voice? Maybe you’d even learn something from the discussions.

The toughest discussion to have for them is when they are obviously not feeling well or have been hurt. We try to express their pain or discomfort but find it frustrating that we really don’t understand what they are feeling or why. Maybe at those times we should have them just blurt out, ”take me to the vet you big dummy.”

Sometime our pets serve the purpose of being a good listener. Since they can’t talk back, they just sit there patiently listening to us drone on about our problems or perhaps they are just happy that we are petting them or giving them treats while we talk. They are usually ready to give us a big wet kiss if we need it, too.

The efforts that we may make to calm them also work to calm us and that’s a good thing. It also gives us “someone” that we can share our pains and disappointments with who will never judge us based upon what we tell them. So, perhaps it isn’t all that bad that we talk for and to our pets. That provides a voice to them that we sometimes need to hear to keep ourselves sane.

Well, I’ve got to go, now. My dog Sadie wants to have a talk with me about the things that happened yesterday and plan out what we are going to do together today. She can be quite talkative, but sometimes I think I may bore her in our conversations. She’s a good listener, even if she does sometimes snore during our conversations.


Those with no boat at all…

October 12, 2020

“Although we are in different boats, you in your boat and we in our canoe, we share the same river of life.”  (Chief Oren Lyons)

That was the quote from a Native American in today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog. It is easy to conjure up mental images of boats of all type, sizes and color floating or motoring along the vast river of life. One can even imagine clusters of people floating along on inner tubes (perhaps those are the retirees). But it’s harder to imagine being swept along by the river with nothing, no canoe or boat, not even an inner tube; but, that is the fate of the homeless. They are still there, in the river that the rest of us are on, but with no support at all. Perhaps they are just floating on the surface or maybe frantically dog paddling to keep afloat.

There is a tendency to try to ignore those people, lumping them in with the debris that we may also see floating in the river; however, we really can’t ignore the fact that, “there but for the grace of God go I.” They are other human beings; members of our tribe of humans who need and deserve our help. We cannot sweep them under the rug or pretend that they are not there, in the river with us. There may not be room in your boat for another rider; but perhaps there is a spare life vest in your boat that you could toss to them to help. If you look, you may find that there are programs already in place in your area to provide some assistance and help to the homeless. If so, maybe you can volunteer in those programs or at least contribute to them.

There are others floating along the river of life in vessels that are sinking. They may be depressed or suffering other mental issues or perhaps trapped in abusive relationships. Perhaps they have sent up flares of distress for other to see. Again, it is easy to try to look the other way, ignore their calls for help and by-pass their sinking boat, but it is not the right things to do. Hold out your hand and pull them back up as they sink. Sometimes just encouraging them to abandon that abusive, sinking ship is enough

The river of life that we are all on is not always a calm, peaceful stream. It has rough patches, like the rapids in real rivers. There are dangerous rocks and even waterfalls that we must navigate from time to time. Those times test our boats and us. If we have a boat with a strong keel, we have a better chance at survival. The best keel of all for life’s boats is a strong faith in God. That faith will not only keep our boat afloat, but it will also provide us with a rudder of compassion that will guide us to help those that we see along the way who don’t even have a boat.

In the Bible we read – But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17). Therefore, the message is to thank God for the strong boat that he has provided for you in order to enjoy life’s ride down life’s river and to be ready to offer help to others whose boat may be sinking or who don’t even have a boat.

We maybe be all ON the river of life, but there are those who are IN the river and need our help. Be ready to throw a lifeline.


Durable Goods?

September 8, 2020

I grew up with a definition of “Durable Goods” in mind that apparently no longer includes many of the items that used to fall in to that category, especially home appliances. A durable home appliance, at least in my mind, lasts for many years, as in 10 or more. Not so for many of today’s appliances. My KitchenAid side-by-side refrigerator stopped working over the weekend. It is about 5-6 years old, which in my mind is not a long time for a major appliance. When I Googled best long lasting refrigerator, one of the sites that came up had a telling graphic that showed an old 50’s style refrigerator with “lasts an average of 20 years” written across the picture and a picture of modern stainless steel, side by side with the words “lasts an average of 7 years” emblazoned across it . That really tells it all.

Yet when I started reading things about repairing appliances on the internet not only is that apparently a typical lifespan for a refrigerator, but trying to repair them is a futile effort. We have become a throwaway society, even for our “durable goods”. I think it was the wholesale use of plastic in appliances that used to be made of metal that lead to this sorry state of affairs, The more that I read reviews from irate customers the more it became apparently theta the relentless drive to save money by the manufactures has led to great looking, but very fragile appliances in almost every category. So, now I have a great looking stainless steel hulk sitting in my kitchen, instead of that trusty and long lasting harvest gold antique that was still working fine the day that I upgraded to my fancy new fridge.

Trying to get a repair person out to look at it is another story. I called around and sometime (indeterminate) in the next week or two was the best reply that I got. While reading reviews of the various appliance repair companies that I found on Google it became clear that dealing with most of them is a crap-shoot. I suspect that the customers had higher expectations of the appliances being repaired than is warranted by the quality of modern appliances. We have been conditioned over time to just throw them away and buy another. It’s good for the economy, don’t you know.

So, I started looking on-line for a replacement. We decided to try to buy a refrigerator only this time, since we have a couple of freezers that can provide sufficient freezer space for us. Try looking for refrigerators without freezers some time. There aren’t many and virtually none are kept on the showroom floor of the local appliance retailers. Apparently, one has to order on-line, based solely on the pictures that are there. At one appliance store asked if I could return a refrigerator that I ordered that way and was told, “sure, as long as you refuse it at delivery.” I guess if I said, “no, take it back” before it was unboxed and installed I could return it; however, once the delivery and set-up has been done it is mine, with no return. I think not.

The other disturbing thing that one discovers when doing some on-line due diligence research is that many of the new refrigerators have a very high rate of failure within first two to three years and that most refrigerators come only with a one year manufacturer’s warranty. There were post after post of unhappy customers complaining also about multiple failures, even after the units were repaired under warranty. Several quoted the repair technicians as stating that the appliance companies saved money on “Energy Star” rated appliances by putting in compressors that are too small, but which used less energy when running. The trouble is that they have to run more and work harder to keep the unit cold; and thus they fail quicker. It came as no surprise that the answer to a customer question about where most of the various brands are manufactured came back with China as he answer. We tend to have some left over and unwarranted brand loyalty for certain brands; however the truth is that are only a very few companies that own all of those brands and they are all made in China, even if the brand is  Whirlpool or RCA or GE or Frigidaire or Kitchenaid.

So I guess I have to go find a new durable goods refrigerator with the expectation that it will really only last a few years. That is hardly durable in my mind, especially for something that cost as much or more than my phone. But then again, who would have thought that I would be paying north of $1,000 for a phone. And don’t even get me started about the cable/internet bill.

Rant over!  You may return to your regularly scheduled blog reading. The normal Norm’s Milford Blog posts will return tomorrow.


Don’t quit now.

August 17, 2020

I’ve opined here before about the American public’s lack of patience and persistence as afar as the steps needed to defeat the Corona Virus are concerned. Today’s quote in the Jack’s Winning Words blog just reinforces that thought – “There’s no such thing as failure, there’s just giving up too soon.”  (Jonas Salk)

Jack wrote that it took Salk 2 ½ years to develop the vaccine for polio. These days we are starting to hear about a vaccine for COVIUD-19 possibly becoming available in less than a year.

As Jack pointed out in his post, one of the hallmarks of successful people is that they don’t give up. Almost every successful person has spoken about the setbacks and trials that they had to overcome in order to reach their success. There’s a reason that you don’t see stories about those who gave up – they weren’t successful.

Almost nightly we see stories on the newscasts about outbreaks of the virus being caused by people ignoring the guidelines and doing stupid things, like going to large parties or gathering in groups on the beach. Certainly, stupidity comes into play, but the root cause was giving up. They just got tired of doing what is necessary and gave up on mask wearing and social distancing.  

All of the healthcare experts caution that it is too early to stop those precautions. In fact many ae now calling for a nationwide mandate on mask wearing – a call that sets off the “it’s my right not to wear a mask” cretins. They make up a sort of “Right to Die” fringe group; which is ironic, since many are also “Right to Life” zealots. Some even claim that God gave them the right not to wear a mask. Many have tried to point out to these people that wearing a mask is not so much to protect them as it is a way that they can show concern for others, since it prevents the viruses that they may have from spreading to others. Their reply is most often F#@% Them.

So, as we see and hear the nightly news casts about the failure in America to contain the virus, just remember that is was not that we failed; it was that too many gave up too soon or that too many just don’t care enough about anyone but themselves to make any sacrifices for the common good. Of course, if you mention he “common good” they go off on rants about Socialism, so be careful with the use of that term. Their rants often include yelling, which spreads the virus even further.

For the majority of us, who do care about the health and well-being of others, there is still social distancing and I’d recommend distancing yourself from those who refuse to take even the simplest of precautions. Perhaps you should consider adding them to your prayers, since they obviously need God’s help.

So, don’t give up now – Mask up America!


Don’t become a zombie…

August 9, 2020

A quote that I saw recently seemed to resonate today –  “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.” Dalai Lama

It is unfortunate and an unhealthy waste of your time to spend your day lamenting things in your past or worrying about things that are yet to come.

Perhaps if you start each day by focusing upon what you can do today and not on what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow, you can actually get something done.

My wife almost every day asks me “What have you got for today?” It’s a way of syncing our calendars, so that she can plan for the things that she does for me each day and so that we can see if there is time for us to do something together. We almost always find that time.

Some days there may be 2-3 entries already in my phone calendar, but some days start out with a blank calendar. I view those as opportunity days – time to get around to things that have been on my to-do list for some time or which fall into that class, “I’ve been meaning to…”

If you must spend any time reflecting upon the past, at least use it as a learning experience and not as a time to beat yourself up about a bad decision or an unfortunate outcome. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from that?”, instead of wallowing in self-pity or remorse. If you find yourself thinking about the future, make that time a planning session and not an anxiety-filled time of fear of imagined problems. In either case, try to make that time spent as short as possible and get back to the day at hand – lived in the present.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”  Buddha.

A key word in that little quote is the last word – earnestly. One cannot live in the moment earnestly if on is focused on the past or the future. If you do not earnestly experience the things that are happening today, you will miss all of the nuances that are there for you to enjoy and from which to learn.

Allowing yourself to be consumed by worry about the past or the future turns you into a zombie for today. Live in the moment. The past is over and dome and the future will take care of itself.  

Don’t become a zombie.


What is your goal?

July 28, 2020

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote by Lori Deschene, author of the Tiny Buddha blog.

“The goal is to die with memories, not dreams.”  (Tiny Buddha) 

Perhaps one could put that thought  some other ways:

The goal is to die thinking I’m glad I did, rather than thinking I wish I would have.

The goal is to die knowing there is a God, rather than wondering if there is a God.

The goal is to die content with the life that you lived rather than saying I coulda, woulda, shoulda.

The goal is to die having loved and been loved and not having been consumed by hate.

The goal is to have made a positive difference in the lives of others and not to have just been a by-stander.

I don’t think anyone would end up being concerned about how many things they had or how much money they were worth.

As you think about your life, what are your goals at the end?

Now, what can you do today to achieve that goal?


What we should have learned…

May 10, 2020

While change is a constant part of life; big changes often come about due to some extraordinary event – a natural disaster, a man-made disaster or something like a pandemic. Consider how life changed after 9/11. Organizations like the TSA didn’t even exist before that man-made disaster and air travel has never been the same since. Events like Hurricane Katrina forever changed the lives of people in the New Orleans area. The COVID-19 disaster is one such a big change and life will never quite be the same. A consist factor in all of these disasters was the lack of any planning on how to deal with them.

As the nation slowly finds a way to reopen, even in the face of a sure increase in the disease, we need to try to learn from the experience of having lived through this disaster, so far. Several things are fairly evident:

  1. Government at all levels was very unprepared for an event of this magnitude. A  good deal of Monday morning quarterbacking will need to be done, once we have time to analyze and reflect on the data that has been collected. It was apparent as events unfolded that there was no plan for Federal and state cooperation in place for large-scale disasters like this.
  2. The American medical system was ill prepared to deal with such an emergency and reacted poorly in terms of decision making about what resources to commit to fight the disease and how to keep the rest of the system working while dealing with the crisis.
  3. The American public was initially cooperative out of fear and then began to suffer a split of opinions on the steps taken by governments to try to deal with the spread of the virus. The ugly head of selfishness prevailed for a significant portion of the population
  4. The economic impact of the preventative steps that were taken by state governments was hugely underestimated. The relative frailty of the economy was exposed. No state government was prepared for the impact of the loss of tax revenues.

What are some of the takeaways that should cause further change?

For one, there needs to be a strengthening  of the CDC and it’s leadership role in dealing with pandemics like this, or a new agency created.  Just as the Federal government  created the TSA  to deal with the terrorist threats to our society, a strengthened and more unified organization, led by the CDC, needs to be envisioned. This was not a situation where a thrown-together White House Task force had the authority or the resources needed to effect real change.

The role of government at the state and federal levels in stocking and dispensing emergency supplies, like PPE and ventilators will need to be revisited. The “strategic supply” on hand at the start of this disaster was totally inadequate and the dispersal of that stock was chaotic. The messaging at the federal level  during the crisis was inconsistent and indicative of the lack of a plan. Clearly there was a huge federal role when this pandemic started crossing state lines and “leaving it up to the Governors of each state” was a ridiculous response.

There must be a way to continue to provide for other medical services while dealing with a future pandemic. The medical community needs to have a coordinated plan in place that will allow some hospitals to be quickly dedicated to the fight against a future pandemic, while others are allowed to continue to function in their normal roles. A plan like that will initially have to rely on an agreed upon triage process to identify and segregate the patients with the disease from those that are not impacted. As we learned in this crisis, the development of testing tools and procedures and a much quicker test results will be required. This may also require a provision for funding those hospitals that are designated to become treatment centers for a future pandemic, in order to off-set their financial loss from other services that they must suspend.

A detailed review and assessment of the treatment regiments that were implemented in hospitals also needs to be done. It was reported that up to 80% of patients who were put on respirators ended up dying. If that is the case, then that course of treatment, or some part of it,was probably not the best response. A critical look back at what was done and how that worked out should lead to different recommendations for treatments in future disasters.

There was a very large difference between the impact in urban areas and that in more rural or sparsely populated areas; however; most state government responses did not take that into consideration. The result was a quick rise in resentment and frustration on those less impacted areas to being subjected to the same restrictions or requirements as were applied to urban areas. This turned many who feared the economic impact of the forced shutdown more than the disease itself against their own governments. A much more localized and targeted response will be needed in the future.

There was also a noticeable difference in the impact of the pandemic on certain ethic or socio-economic groups within our society. That needs to be studied and understood, so that changes to the planned response are created for future pandemics. The population of the nation’s nursing homes was particularly hard hit and a review of policies, staffing and procedures for those homes needs to be done and changes implemented. The differences in impact on the black and Hispanic communities also needs to be studied, with causes and changes in mind.

There is always a completely different path that could have been followed. We need to look at the experience of Sweden and see how their decision not to enforce any shutdown worked out. The Swedish death toll pf 291 per million of population is higher than the U.S. toll of 219 per million and their economy has still taken a hit as a result of citizens taking their own precautions and staying at home. Doing nothing also proved costly in terms of lives lost in some starts in the U.S.

There will be no return to the old normal, just adjustments to the new normal that we must  adopt to live with the virus. Watch what the politions say during the upcoming election campaigning and see if anything they say really makes sense. Did they learn from this crisis and what do they say that they will do better to get ready for the next one? And, there will be a next one.

There will be a huge amount of data available for analysis after this is over; let’s hope we used that data to learn something that will help make next time better.


An implausible explanation

April 22, 2020

It is amazing to me the level of gullibility that a portion of the public displays during crisis like the one that we are in today. One doesn’t know whether to be amused or alarmed at the reports that some believe that the virus is caused by cell phone towers that have implemented the new Gen 5 phone communications standard. There were even reported attempts to burn down the towers by people who believed that rumor.  I also saw on our nightly news that some Chinese news outlets are now saying that the virus was created in the U.S. by our intelligence community and loosed on China by them.

With tongue firmly in cheek, I decided to try my hand at creating an explanation that, while still ludicrous, might tie a few things together logically and appeal to the cell phone tower fringe.

I postulated that the COVID-19 virus is actually a computer virus that was created by U.S. cyber forces to combat Chinese interference with the 2020 election. That computer virus, I theorized, was injected into selected Chinese computers in approximately May or June of 2019, at sites that the U.S. cyber forces had identified as sources of disinformation and disruption concerning the 2020 election. 

The original intent was to have the virus monitor the activities of those groups and report back. However, built into the virus was the ability to effectively render the computers useless, if it was remotely ordered to do so. The virus was designed to learn and intelligently find ways to infect other computers that might be in close proximity on the network – say within 6 feet.  

My theory was that all was gong according to plan until the virus became intelligent enough to find a way to escape the confines of the computers and networks that is was originally designed to live within.

It has been well documented, Chinese chip foundries that supply many of the circuit boards, components and chips for use within modern computers had for years been adding potentially malicious circuits to the designs that they were given to produce – See MALICIOUS COMPONENT FOUND ON SERVER MOTHERBOARDS SUPPLIED TO NUMEROUS COMPANIES.

Less well known, and certainly not admitted to by the Chinese government, was the possibility that the Chinese had developed secret coating  to put on computer touch screen membranes. This coating was designed to act as an RNA sensor to human DNA. (NOTE: RNA – ribonucleic acid, a nucleic acid present in all living cells. Its principal role is to act as a messenger carrying instructions from DNA for controlling the synthesis of proteins, although in some viruses RNA rather than DNA carries the genetic information.)

When combined with the secret circuits that they had embedded in the screen’s video controller, the RNA sensor sent the DNA pattern of the user to the computer. Just touching the screen provides enough DNA from the user’s fingertip to allow this system to identify the user. This coating allowed the Chinese internal security spies to identify users, just by them touching the screen. Basically, it “learned” and remembered their DNA sequence. The Chinese internal security forces found that to be a very important tool for them to identify any wayward or suspect citizens.

It turned out that the screen coating and the controlling circuits were not just one-way avenues for collecting data, but rather were capable of allowing communications back through the touch screen to the DNA of the user. An obscure fact that scientists have known for a long time is that human brains actually contain snippets of an ancient virus that facilitates our thoughts and intelligence – see  An Ancient Virus May Be Responsible for Human Consciousness .

The virus injected into the Chinese computers discovered this route to the outside world and set about trying to exploit it, as it was designed to do.  After months of pattern analysis and failed attempts, in November of 2019, the injected computer virus succeeded in sequencing itself into the DNA of a Chinese user through the RNA touchscreen of his computer. He became the first officially reported case of the COVID-19 virus. The virus has used its human hosts to replicate and spread itself ever since.

Somewhere in the process a small mutation in the some of the new human viruses caused it to turn on the destructive code that had been embedded  within it, which caused it to attack its host. That mutation only occurred in a subset of the viruses that where circulating at the time, thus explaining the differences in human reaction to the virus – some becoming very sick and some displaying almost no symptoms.

Is this explanation any more farfetched than the rumors about it being caused by Gen5 cell towers? No. In fact it is much more believable, because we have all been pre-conditioned by fantasy and sci-fi movies to believe science-based and computer-based explanations, no matter how off-the-wall they may be. Do you remember the TRON movies? How about the Matrix series of movies? And, remember that in the movie The Lawnmower Man, the evil cyber-being that escaped into the Internet at the last second said that it would be back. Just throw in a couple of scientific articles from the Internet as supporting “proof” and you have a great explanation that will appeal to the cell-tower crowd.

Now, you won’t have to sound like a fool by repeating the ridiculous story about cell towers spreading the COVID-19 virus. Now, you know a better explanation – that it is a computer virus gone awry.

Medical scientists are working on treatments for the disease and a vaccine for humans while computer scientists at McAfee, Norton and Total AV are working together on a new anti-virus tool that will scan and remove it from the world’s computers.

In the meantime, wash your hands, don’t touch your face and don’t touch your computer screen.

You saw it on the Internet, so it must be true.


It’s all good news…

April 10, 2020

Pastor Jack Freed today posted this quote in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words.

“Yeah, it’s Good Friday, but Easter Sunday is coming!”  (Unknown)

Jack when on to write about the Bad News, Good News aspect that many see in the events of Holy week – the crucifixion(bad news) and the resurrection of Christ (good news).

In reality, it was all good news, because the prophets had foretold the life and death of Jesus. Over and over again in his ministry Jesus referred to the events that he was a living as being part of what had been written about by Jewish prophets. He knew what the end would be and, though he asked God to take the cup of death from him in his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane, he accepted that he must die on the cross to complete the fulfillment of the prophesies

Matthew 26 – 42 “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”

So the good news in Good Friday is that the prophesies from the Old Testament had been fulfilled and the Messiah had died for the forgiveness of our sins, as had been foretold.

The even better news occurred on the third day, when he defeated death and rose from the dead, thus assuring us of everlasting life through Him. Easter celebrates the fulfillment of the final prophesy that the Messiah would rise from the dead on the third day after his death.

Most Christians tend to observe Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as serious and somber days within the Holy Week. They focus on the pain and suffering that Jesus went through; when, in reality, they should be seen as joyous occasions.

We were given the new commandment to, “love one another as I have loved you”, and taught how to celebrate communion with God on Maudy Thursday. Then Christ died to forgive our sins on Good Friday. Now we await his rising from the dead on Easter to demonstrate to us the eternal life that is ahead. There is no bad news in any of that for us.

Let us joyously celebrate the entire Holy Week.

It’s all good news.


It’s time for that courage…

March 24, 2020

Some time ago, pastor Freed used this quote ion his blog Jack’s Winning Words

“Sometimes it takes courage not to be discouraged.”  (Ben Ferenze) 

That quote seems very appropriate right now, as we enter day two of our state’s lockdown order (I count yesterday as Day 1, even though the Governor’s Executive Order didn’t technically go into effect until Midnight). The events of the last 2-3 weeks have been like shoes dropping – you just kept waiting for the next one to drop. They were dropping so often and so fast that it began to sound like a tap dance number from a Broadway musical.

Now, we’ve all become virtual prisoners of the virus, confined to our homes. As I wrote a few days ago, that does not mean that we allow ourselves to become victims. We must summon up the courage not to be discouraged. One way to do that is to keep busy in positive and constructive ways. We may have been forced into situations that could seem to be boring, but it does not have to be. A good number of us have to try to work from home. All of us have those small projects or jobs around the house that we have been putting off. One of our church members has reported that she finally has the time to do the cleaning and pantry organizing that she has been putting off. I know that my workbench is a mess. I better get on that.

Most of us probably have family or friends that we’ve been meaning to talk with or write a letter to, if only there was time. Well, guess what? Now you have nothing but time. Get busy and knock out those projects and jobs, write those letters or make those calls. You will be surprised how welcome your letter or call is and good it makes yo feel to finally get around to doing it.

For those who don’t have a lots of the things listed above to keep them occupied, I would recommend creating some for yourself. If you belong to a church, organize a calling circle among the congregation members to keep in touch with and check up on fellow members. If you are a tech-savvy person , use Skype to make calls to other tech-savvy people. There is something uplifting about seeing and interacting with another person that way, even if it is on-line. There are groups that write letters to troops stationed in war zones – find a group in your area and start writing.

If you are well and able, volunteer for charity groups like Meals on Wheels or other groups that deliver goods to shut-ins. Even though you may have to talk to them through a closed door as a precaution, it is better than just sitting at home and talking to yourself. I’m assuming that Meals on Wheels is exempt from the shelter in place order – it certainly should be. I’m sure that there are otgher volunteer organizations that could use your help – if you are well and able to help.

For some this may be the opportunity to try something new that you’ve been putting off. I have an app that I bought over a year ago that I’ve just not taken the time to learn. Now is that time. If you’ve read this blog and thought to yourself that you might like to try blogging, if you had the time – now is the time.  There are all sorts of good advice blogs on how to write a blog.

Almost any of the ideas here will be more satisfying than sitting and mindlessly watching TV or playing endless games of solitaire. Many involve interacting with others, even if electronically or through a letter. Some just involve the self-gratification of finally accomplishing something that you have had in the back of your mind. None of them involve sitting around feeling sorry for yourself or seeing yourself as a victim.

Have the courage not to be discouraged and get busy! You’ve got things to do, people to talk to or write and maybe places to go. You don’t have time to be discouraged.