I’ve admitted to a quirkier sense of humor in the past. Still, I always assumed my observations of humor were mostly in-bounds. I’m marginally morbid. Hardly ever profane. Rarely inappropriate. Never crude.
Yet, one of my coworkers admitted to her reassuring the others on the interviewing panel that I was being funny. She understood, but wasn’t certain they did.
Clearly, since I’m now writing about this, I’m stupefied. Bemused. Disconcerted! How long have others not understood that I meant what I said to be taken lightly? How often does this happen?
Am I funny?
I find myself funny…
I guess I should’ve listened when my mother described my sense of humor as ‘strange.’ Or, when a few blogging friends admitted surprise at my ‘wit.’
Have you had this happen? What did you conclude? Have you started attending Amusers Anonymous meetings as a result?
I didn’t think I’d have much to report on Coronavirus so soon. Utah surprised me, however, in announcing a removal of the statewide mask mandate two days ago. Governor Cox apprised us of this plan back on April 1 ….but, not even considering the date of said announcement, I expected he and the other lawmakers would change their minds.
Yet, here we are, mask-less. What do I think? I haven’t tried my freedom. Personally, and contrary to the friends I have left after writing about political issues on Twofacebook, I’m in favor of covering up. I think many fields that benefit from potentially-sick peoples blocking their breathing, sneezing, coughing, spreading still need that requirement in place -namely, the food services industry.
True -not everyone gets to have a naked face. Our international airport retains the mandate. So do many performing arts venues and public gathering places like the zoo. The Salt Lake Tribune posted a more comprehensive list on April 8.
Most importantly, the public school system must remain half-obscured till June 15. How do I know this? I work in the public school system as a ‘nutrition assistant.’ Because of that and having children who attend in the public school system, I have been receiving a small number of e-mails on the subject. Last night’s was the most interesting: a clearly-hastily-texted message from our school’s director advising teachers and staff what to do in the case of non-compliance. He warned about a concerted effort to send children to school without masks today, an effort I was aware of because of Twofacebook. He says we are not allowed to tie the offenders up and force face coverings; instead, we must remind them of the law to which we are bound, then send them home if they continue to refuse a mask.
Laws are interesting things. I’ve refrained from writing about my job on this blog besides announcing I had it. I’m a strong believer in maintaining a business’ privacy standards. Even if some event occurs worth writing about, I keep to generals and not specifics. In light of that, I will say that “the law to which we are bound” comes up quite often in working in a school cafeteria. I MUST serve so much of this and so much of that. The children MUST take a milk with their lunch. We MUST throw out any extra food, including when it is pans and pans because too many children were out on quarantine…
Such facts shocked me at first but I’ve learned this is the standard for all food services. I bring it up because it shocked me, and because those and other rules seem to shock parents who call in to ask why their Little Darling only received the amount of food s/he did (true story).
But, I digress. We were talking about Coronavirus. Utah’s numbers look good. The number of people getting vaccinated is astounding -the last update on that was that everyone may arrange her/his shot using the online scheduling system.
…Sorry. I got distracted by the Vaccine Distribution Counter. It refreshes whenever the page does.
Like I said, our numbers look really good. At the moment.
The numbers most certainly look better than those hazy days between November and January.
I hope things continue to look up. I hope people are responsible, as our gov’nuh wishes. For, as he clarified, “[M]ask mandates does not mean no masks. I think that’s a mistake we make. So we still encourage people even when the mask mandate goes away to be safe and wear masks, get vaccinated and then we can’t wait for all of us to get rid of our masks soon” (Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune).
On March 13, 2020, our family officially went into lockdown. We’d read the news of Coronavirus’ spread, heard about the first case in Utah, purchased some toilet paper and water, and been told that everyone in the world would be sitting tight for two weeks. I remember those two weeks-three weeks-four weeks; my …finger-wagging-type friends kept internet-shaming anyone they saw outside. They kept admonishing that, if everyone would simply pull together for those few weeks, we’d be back to normal within the month.
Months dragged by. Here, in my introverted world, I felt lost. Sure, I had texting. I had movies. I had my family. Plus, I had writing with my blogging community. The problem was that I had no desire to write. Did anyone else feel that way?
I felt reality knocking, peering, prying into my safe existence. A horrible plague might sneak through our door in the guise of a well-meaning relative or an Amazon package or a container of baby cereal. I had nightmares of said plague in every breath my three-month-old baby took. I pictured each of my children in a hospital bed, gasping for life inside a solid building I wouldn’t even be able to enter.
At first, I allayed my panic by handling what I could. I reached out to others via text or e-mail. We learned about Zoom. And, I loved reading my friends’ blog posts about conditions where they lived. It was morbidly fascinating to be experiencing the exact same, horrid thing everywhere. I shared what was happening in Utah as well.
I also took pictures. I still do. Someday, I’ll compile them; maybe I’ll print a book for my children. I’ve captured signs warning about masks and distancing. I’ve taken phone photos of plastic dividers; ‘samples’ at Costco; bulk goods now pre-bagged; and the absence of cleaning products, water, and toilet paper. What I wish I could photograph, above all, are all the people in masks. Masks at the store; in cars; at school. It’s alien.
Which leads me to current news. The Utah Department of Health says it has dosed 936,681 people with the COVID-19 vaccine. Gov’nuh Cox is pushing to extend our statewide mask mandate beyond the projected April 10 date, based mainly on his insistence that we get more people vaccinated. At the middle school where I work, we were told that masks would be required in schools till July 4. We may, however, be considering moving back to traditional delivery of school lunch -i.e., serving on plates and trays instead of handing out Styrofoam clamshells.
The numbers are dropping.
The verbal rain check I gave my oldest for his birthday party last year just might happen this time around. Maybe we’ll go on a vacation somewhere without cows. And maybe, just maybe, we can walk into a grocery store without a face covering -all of us- fully smile at a friend we see, and even hug them.
Food is an integral part of every living thing’s existence. We humans, given our great intelligence, have taken the ol’ hunt/gather/farm approach to greater and greater heights. Not only have we crafted tools beyond a pointed stick to spear our wooly mammoth dinner; we’ve gone on to mix that mammoth meat with grassland herbs, treetop seeds, and a pinch of some black powder Grog produced with his Smashy Rock.
What always gets me is wondering who first decided to make a cake. I know! I’ll crack open this white orb what fell from this flapping animal without much sense. Ah, yes! something yellow and goopy! Now, I’ll try mooshing that with this rock-smashed white stuff I got from the tan plants near Poo Mound. Excellent! Hmmm… what about some mammoth fat? Ooh! And, now, bake for 350º F in these flat rocks that I’ve suddenly decided to call an “oven…”
I’m getting off-topic, though. What I’m really interested in talking about today are fruits and vegetables. Those most common to we European-descent Americans surrounded by a few tropical areas include: apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, berries, apricots, peaches, squashes, carrots, corn (oh, my goodness! so much corn!), lettuce, beans, peas, and potatoes. With the exception of the oranges, I can grow any of those in my backyard. I find them in the grocery store year-round.
These fruits and veggies are so common and prevalent that they slip into phrases (“that’s like comparing apples to oranges”). They are the staple of tradition (“as American as apple pie”). They even show up in nursery rhymes (“Peter, Peter, Pumpkin-Eater”).
Not until I watched a Curious George television cartoon with my son did it occur to me that life was not a piece of fruitcake. The episode responsible for this enlightenment centered around George the monkey (yes, yes; he’s actually an ape) meeting new neighbors from an Asian country. They’d opened a restaurant and store, and introduced George and his yellow-hatted friend to a variety of new dishes made from fruits the two had never seen before.
Forget George; I’d never seen them before.
Shortly before that point, I had learned that everything is not America where crops are concerned. Barbara Kingsolver snuck that fact in to her The Poisonwood Bible, when Nathan Price tries to cultivate the seeds they brought from home in the African Congo. Spoiler alert: they all fail because the local pollinators don’t know what to do with a squash plant.
I’m intrigued. What is a fruit or vegetable that you can grow near you, that I do not have here in the western part of America? What does it taste like? Further, what is one I have or that you’ve heard I have, that you wonder about?
How do you like them apples?
All right. I’m finished with the puns and idioms. Go ahead and check out what I wrote:
Thursday, February 18: Asked everyone about common meals where they live.
There’s a special place in my heart for food; especially, as my efforts to lose my post-pregnancy weight can attest, for sweet foods. Really, though, I’m only picky about quality. Because of that and the number of children I sired, I make almost all of my own meals.
Where am I going with this? To the kitchen, of course! Let’s say that it’s time to start the oven for dinner. Looks like I’m making tuna on toast tonight, a budget-friendly concoction of a white tuna sauce with peas served over broken-up bits of toasted bread. The rest of next week will be pizza, broccoli cheese soup, baked chicken with mashed potatoes and rolls, cottage pie, tempura vegetables over rice, hash browns and eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, chicken à la king…. This means I’m currently organized enough to have a meal plan, and that I’m an American of mostly-British descent.
I have go-to meals and favorites. Further, I have a full kitchen, seasonings and spices, food storage, and a stocked fridge. I know what to do with a whisk.
But, what about you? What are you planning tonight? Tomorrow? Next week? What are some of your favorite foods to make or have made? Have you all the latest appliances and gadgets? What about that whisk?
Hungry stomachs want to know…
Here’s about what I wrote/posted for the past week:
Wednesday, February 10: Re-blogged Gregory Joel‘s excellent observations of humanity.
America has a plethora of snack foods and desserts -or, so I have been told. My world traveling is nonexistent, so I feel inadequate at venturing an expert opinion. I have my suspicions whenever I shop, however. The section of Oreo cookies, alone, attests to …an unhealthy trend.
Which leads to a topic that’s niggled at my curiosity (and appetite) for quite some time: what sorts of candy, sweets, and junk foods are ubiquitous, and which are unique to their area?
If I went to the store right now in the morning, I would see candy bars that include: Kit Kat, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey’s, Snickers, M&Ms, York Peppermint Patty, Whatchamacalit, Heath, Baby Ruth, Almond Joy, Butterfinger, Three Musketeers, Milky Way, Crunch bar, Mr. Goodbar, Caramello, 100 Grand, Mounds, Rolo, Twix, Payday, Dove…
Besides those listed, the candy aisle sells gums, candies, and chocolates. Snack aisles feature cookies, chips, crisps, nuts, crackers, and pretzels. I feel inundated with options, so much so that I don’t know which might be unique to mention.
Do you have Cornnuts where you live?
What about chocolate-covered cinnamon bears? Peanut butter-filled pretzels? Caramel popcorn drizzled in white and milk chocolate? Gummy candies that look like a mouth but taste like wax?
This requires some serious thought.
So, what is a snack or junk food you’ve heard I might have? What’s a snack or junk food you only have around you?
I’ve not kept up on this, so here are my writings for the past week:
Friday, January 22: Why, a poem addressing my writer’s block.
Awhile ago, I took a clickbait internet quiz to see where I was from based on how I spoke. Did I say, “Coke” or “soda” or “pop” for a sugary, carbonated beverage? “Ay-pri-cot” or “a-pri-cot” to describe a fuzzy fruit? “Rooooof” or “ruhf;” “crick” or “creek;” “malk” or “melk” or “milk…”
The neat thing about this highly-scientific and accurate test was that the designers included a map with a target-type graphic. Every answer I gave sent the reticule to one location or another around the United States. And, believe me, mine was flying all over. My saying one thing suggested East Coast; another said somewhere in the ocean; perhaps the program was trying for England? I felt a bit proud that I couldn’t be placed -probably a relic of my younger years when I really wanted to be a secret agent.
Recently, however, my friend corrected how I said, “Appalachian.” I’d learned to say the ‘a’ before the ‘chian’ with a long vowel sound: “A-ppa- lay-shan.” “How’d you say that?” she demanded. “It’s ‘A-ppa-lah-shan.'” I thought to correct her. This had to be an accent thing since she’s from The South. Then, I used my ol’ phonetic skills and thought, Ya know; I think she’s right…
Still, I’ve heard how the newscasters have been throwing around, “Ne-vah-da” and “Or-eh-gone” lately. I can be smug in knowing those are “Ne-va-da” and “Or-eh-gun.” Right?
It’s true that certain regions pronounce certain locations a certain way. There’s good reason for that know-how with some of those. For example, I have no idea how to say, ‘Worcestershire.’ Of course, visitors to Utah are sure to butcher ‘Mantua’ or ‘Tooele.’ Do you know how to say them?
Besides honing my spy skills further, I’m curious: what are some strange names of cities or landmarks near you? What are some odd ways your community pronounces some everyday words?
Here’s my postings for the past week: Monday, December 28: Wrote “Re-Resolution” in the early morning hours, then posted a quote that might be by Mother Teresa.
Tuesday, December 29: Shared “We-Resolution” to encourage more humorous limericks.
I’ve not written about Coronavirus updates in awhile, I’ve thought for a few weeks. As I sat to type one up just now, I realized this is the last day of the dreaded year 2020. How appropriate.
Like many, many others, I reflect back on this year. Truth be told, today is not the only day I have reflected. Even before Coronavirus, I marveled at where I had come in only a year’s time; for, if you are a follower of my blog, you know that I learned I was pregnant in April of 2019 whilst attending ‘school’ whilst maintaining a few blogs whilst helping our family side business to run.
COVID-19 changed many things. At this point, however, it’s only a factor for us in how it’s affected our children’s school experience and our family’s vacationing and visiting abilities. My pregnancy resulted in a sweet, healthy boy who is now a year old. I barely keep up on any blogging. The side business is BOOMING to the point that we were 1700 orders behind on Etsy at one point…
I guess there’s something to be said for marrying a computer programmer and producing a family of introverts. We’re healthy homebodies.
Local news-wise, Utah’s Coronavirus daily infection numbers are similar to other states. I think. They reached an all-time high of 4611 on November 19 but yesterday’s report (December 30) was a mere 2602.
I don’t know what experience others are having but the COVID Climate here is somewhat casual. We still mask in public. I have the children change their clothes and wash their hands after school. There are no samples at Costco, no free candy baskets at the bank, no free popcorn or soda at the oil change store, no handshakes at business deals, and no Charmin toilet paper or Clorox wipes or pure almond extract at the store.
You know times are tough when a person can’t even get almond extract.
I do not like these measures, especially when I drop my children off at school and watch tiny Kindergarteners heading in past their tiny playground with a giant mask obscuring their tiny face. I feel Coronavirus to be a skulking shadow. It’s like the cancer eating away at a close relative of ours; something we know is there, something we need to be constantly aware of, something to FEAR to the point that you do not help that old lady load her groceries or that man who dropped his wallet or that child who needs a hand to hold to search for his mommy in the grocery store…
My fearful Twofacebook friends post worrisome statistics about spread and new strains, but also happy news about the new vaccine -some have even gotten it. My over-it Twofacebook friends post family pictures and occasional articles on the virus’ restrictions affecting our mental health, but also warning news about the new vaccine -they will not get it if they can help it.
Still political. Still divided.
But, it’s the holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I didn’t make my traditional plate of cookies for my neighbors this year. I opted for a neat luminary tin full of Polish chocolates I found at a European Market store in Salt Lake City. To my surprise, several neighbors and friends did gift us homemade items. We received bread, chocolates, brittles, and peppermint bark.
The best gift of all? A container of Clorox wipes. Don’t tell; I don’t want to get raided.
There is FEAR and a good reason to FEAR, if you are being reasonable about it. At the start, I shared the feelings of paranoia that many still feel. I told my children not to answer the door or touch the incoming packages and mail. I left them home with Kevin when I went shopping –if I went shopping.
Now, I am simply careful. I do not lick shopping carts or gas pumps. I wear my mask in public areas. I also shared Christmas with my parents, sister, and her family. We ate together and visited and *gasp* hugged. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
So, be careful. But, be reasonable. If you’re healthy and haven’t had someone lick you lately, you’re probably fine to hug a grandchild. And if that gives you the heebie-geebies, wash your clothes afterwards. And your hands. But, as Clorox advises on their website, don’t start drinking bleach…
What’s daily life like for you? Are you fine sticking around? Heading out now and then? Hugging anyone?
If you don’t know what heinous sin this is, ‘Karen’ is a name people apply to busybodies, do-gooders, and -basically- annoying types who butt in to ensure you’re doing something correctly. If you look lost on the street, Karen might walk over (uninvited) to tell you not to loiter and exactly what destination you must see. Standing in the wrong place at checkout? Karen will set you straight.
Apparently, many do not enjoy this setting-straightness. They’d rather be left alone to their pitfalls and foibles and misconducts without helpful advice. Many even consider this meddling to be unhelpful. Can you believe that?
This is Reason One why I may be a Karen: I relate to the idea of ‘helping.’ I like the idea of correcting an incorrect world. I have, for example, added the necessary change to a teacher’s whiteboard lesson when she wrote their instead of they’re. When I took some classes toward college last year, the couple running the group mentioned how they will miss my “helping us to know the correct way to do things.” Ouch.
Reason Two for why I might fit this category is that I’ve noticed that I notice errors. I’m critical. I’m observant about defects or problems. In fact, I worked for a couple years as a Quality Control Technician. When reading something, my eyes are drawn to grammar or spelling errors. Yes; I am one of those people.
The good news is that I do not fit Reason Three: my being named Karen. My name is, honestly, Chelsea. My parents were not even going to consider naming me ‘Karen;’ more to the point, my mother thought I was a boy because I attached so much lower than my older sister…
I try to mask my Karenness. I will my expression to remain neutral at misspeakings or misspellings. When in public, I refrain from ‘helping.’ I genuinely care for people and mean well, though; so, what’s so bad about being Karen?
Wouldn’t you want one around?
It’s been a while since I’ve done this, so here’s a bit of what I did over the last week: Monday, December 7: Shared a quote by Muhammad Ali.