Friday, June 26, 2020

Thinking Positive and Planning Ahead

I have begun planning for the future, a time of a new normal allowing hub and I to venture outside our cocoon into an ever-widening world. Maybe it’s the season or perhaps the sun has gotten to my head, but I need a change of scenery. Planning ahead lets the optimist I am prevail over the atmosphere we currently plough through – increasing coronavirus numbers in too many states, limited contact with other humans, restrictions in our everyday lives. But slowly we emerge...

I got my hair colored and cut! Not normally a major accomplishment or worthy of note, but after over four months of neglect my mane needed professional attention. Now I can leave the house without wearing a hat to cover the mess.

I ventured inside neighborhood stores – the grocery store, and a gift shop for - what else – gifts!

But most important are future plans...

We made plans to see our son and his family on Cape Cod in August. We haven’t seen the Vermont grandkids since February. A few extra days lounging in the pristine New England countryside would be nice, but no specific plans yet. Suggestions welcome!

Our Florida granddaughter’s Bat Mitzvah, originally scheduled for April 2020, was rescheduled for October, 2020. That date was beginning to look less promising as Florida covid-19 numbers soar. So the event is postponed once again, this time on the calendar for April 2021. Hopefully it will be safe to travel and gather in groups next spring.

And on the topic of travel during the pandemic... Advisories suggest driving is a safer means of travel than flying. I am not ready to board a plane, and probably will not until a vaccine guarantees a safe, virus-free trip.

Mentioning (once again) Florida...I live in a community of snowbirds and retirees, many with Florida connections. People travel along the East coast all the time, visiting family, on vacation, staying in the Sunshine State over a weekend, a week, a month or an entire season. Florida folks visit the Jersey shore all the time for the same reason. As a result the mix of Jersey/Florida folks is constant. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut placed a 14-day quarantine on anyone arriving from states where covid-19 numbers are on the rise – Florida, Texas, Arizona, and others. I wonder if folks will self-quarantine. It is a concern for those of us beginning to feel safe in a region of decreasing numbers.

Meanwhile...e-mail and ‘real’ paper travel brochures arrive in my mailbox almost daily, and I peruse them for ideas. Where do I want to roam? Number one priority is anyplace safe, but after that I am open to going...anywhere.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Boomers Cope in Extraordinary Times

                                         Those lazy hazy crazy days of summer...
Nat King Cole

It is official. Summer arrived Saturday, June 20 at 5:43 P.M.EDT

The arrival of the sunny summer season does not magically dissolve current problems – the coronavirus pandemic, anti-racism protests, economic uncertainty, an acrimonious Presidential election. But hopefully we do not ignore a new season offering upbeat possibilities. 

This week our bloggers explore the Black Lives Matter movement, discover innovative ways to endure quarantine, and ponder when the time is right to venture out into the world again.

The Black Lives Matter protests over the past month have inspired many of us to evaluate our personal prejudices. 

In support of what's happening around the world, Jennifer, of Unfold and Begin, felt it was time to take a look at herself and uncover any racial biases she might have in order to move towards a better world. Read It's Time to Look at Myself.

Carol Cassara's blog, A Healing Spirit, is an interesting read you won't want to miss. This raw, unflinching, honest interview with a professional Black man whose courage in opening himself up and revealing himself at his most vulnerable is in every word of Carol Cassara's post, "Why Some Feel More Hope Than Ever on this Juneteenth"

We continue to cope with the coronavirus that has turned our 2020 lives upside down.
Rebecca Olkowski of interviewed two people who have used innovation in creative ways to help others during the pandemic. It’s amazing what people have come up during the time spent in isolation.
Tom at Sightings Over Sixty posts an item this week about -- what else? -- the Coronavirus. Along the way he poses an interesting theory about the psychology of why some of us are still self-isolating and wearing masks, while others are ready to jump back into normal life. So check out What Are We Doing? to see if you are a Hero, or a Do-nothing.

Venturing out in the world
all masked up!
Quarantine has meant changed plans and a lot of cancellations – events, trips, activities. 2020 is a year of lowered expectations...

Have you heard of the teacup list? Laurie Stone of Musings, Rants & Scribbles explains -- instead of the bucket list with its dramatic, “before-I-die” goals, we have the teacup list. Instead of feeling panicked you haven’t gone on that cross-country road trip or hiked Thailand or parachuted in the Gobi desert, you shrink all expectations. With this in mind, here in no particular order are the small (okay, very small) things she wishes to do this summer…

Finally, a fraud alert –

On The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist, writes about what you should do if someone applies for unemployment benefits in your name. Report it to your employer and your state employment agency and go to the FTC website to see what to do about identity theft.

Thank you for stopping by and spending a few minutes with the boomers.
Have a great week and take time to enjoy summer.

Rest is not idleness,
And to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day
Listening to the murmur of water,
Or watching the clouds float across the sky,
Is hardly a waste of time.
-       John Lubbock

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Primarily Voting from my Couch

                                         143 Days Until Election Day
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

My mailbox contained an interesting piece of correspondence yesterday, a thick envelope with a mail-in ballot for the New Jersey primary. Every registered voter in the state will receive a mail-in ballot this year because of covid-19. The primary is July 7, delayed from the original June 2 date due to coronavirus. A limited number of voting venues will be open for the convenience of individuals who want to vote in person. Rather than risk standing in line waiting to vote, I will complete the mail-in form and return it in the no-postage-required envelope.

Primaries are usually non-events in New Jersey. By the time primary day rolls around decisions are made, and this year the Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates have been chosen. However my Congressional district offers a noteworthy race.

The Congressman representing New Jersey’s second Congressional district, covering a large territory in the southern part of the state, is Republican and ex-Democrat Jefferson Van Drew, a first-term Congressman. 

Van Drew ran as a Democrat in 2018 and won. One year later he became the only House Democrat to oppose the impeachment of President Trump. In November, 2019, he publicly stated that he would remain a Democrat despite his opposition to impeachment. But in December Van Drew met with Trump and announced he was switching parties. January 7, 2020, he officially changed his party affiliation.

The local Democratic party sprang into action, seeking a candidate who would (hopefully) defeat Van Drew in the 2020 election. Five candidates vie for the nomination, one of whom, Amy Kennedy, is the wife of former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy. He is the son of former Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy.

The Congressional district is labeled a pivot district – it went for Obama in 2008 and 2012, but for Trump in 2016. A moderate Republican represented the district for 24 years before retiring. Then-Democrat Van Drew replaced him. The election promises to be a contentious one.

A combative Presidential race...a contentious Congressional contest...a Senate election. New Jersey Senator Corey Booker(D) is running for a second term. Five candidates seek the Republican nomination, but Booker’s reelection is considered secure. 

It is going to be a bumpy campaign season. After an election I normally look forward to a hiatus in political hype and propaganda. Unfortunately whatever the outcome of this year’s Presidential election, I doubt any degree of calm will descend on the political scene. On a positive note, however, maybe by November coronavirus concerns will be history and trips can be planned and travel will be safe once again. It will be time for a politically-free vacation anywhere that is possible.

Meanwhile stay sane, stay well, and enjoy safe forays back into the world.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Summer’s here and that means bathing suits

Bathing is a sport
Enjoyed by great and small
In suits of any sort
Though better none at all.

We are witnesses to history. The coronavirus has been with us for months and refuses to leave. We stay close to home, quarantine, and weigh carefully the desire to go out, socialize and do what used to be normal activities vs. the possibility of getting sick, a situation that could be dire for seniors and anyone with a compromised immune system. There is the resulting recession as millions are unemployed. There are protests against racism, an issue that has haunted our nation since the first slaves set foot in the New World centuries ago. 

But it is summer and time for a bit of light-heartedness. I dig into my closet for summer attire – light-weight shorts and capris, short sleeved and sleeveless tops, and what for me is the most hated item of clothing ever – the bathing suit.

When I was younger I did not abhor bathing suits – I wore one-piece suits, two-piece suits and bikinis at the pool, the beach, lounging in my backyard. But as the years passed I became more comfortable in loose clothing, and the idea of squeezing into a bathing suit became more and more objectionable.

Looking way, way back in history, I probably would not have liked swimming in classical times when the most popular swimming attire was none – the nude look was in. Nude bathing lasted until the 17th century in Europe. But most people back then didn’t live to be senior citizens, so I guess nude bathing wasn’t an issue for old folks.

In cultures that deemed swimming a positive pursuit, some kind of everyday wear was appropriate from the 17thcentury forward. Attire specifically for swimming became fashionable in the 19th and 20th centuries. Women’s and men’s suits were similar, outfits that initially covered arms, legs, and neck. Over the years suits became fitted, sleeveless, covered less leg, and the neckline dropped.
Late 19th century women's bathing suits.
Men's bathing suits early 20th century.
Turn of the 20th century... 
and later in the 20th century.

The 1920s saw a lot of changes in American society and fashion, one of which was the introduction of the ancestor of today’s one-piece swim suits. Controversy came with the clothes. On some beaches the beach patrol, tape measure in hand, measured the distance from the bottom of a woman’s suit to her knees. If too much skin showed, she would be fined. Or dragged off to jail. But these draconian actions did not last past the 1920s as the suits became too popular for the police or anyone else to control. 
Beach patrol measuring a woman's suit - distance from
the bottom of the suit to her knee. 

FYI – The term ‘bathing suit’ originates from our friends across the pond. The bathing suit was appropriate attire for men and women while frequenting public baths and spas in England, eventually becoming popular at pools and beaches.

These are difficult times for all of us, but take time to enjoy bright sunny skies, warm weather, and wear whatever you want at the beach, the pool, or at home!
21st century bathing suits.