Another Weapon Against COVID: Humidity!

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Earlier this month I wrote about the part Vitamin D plays in keeping the immune system healthy, and so warding off the coronavirus. You can find that post here: www.countryripples1.blog/shout-out-to=vitamin-d.

I discovered another weapon in the war against COVID-19: humidity. In the summer I’m not a fan of humidity. Hot, humid summer days knock the stuffing out of me. That changes in the winter, though, as my nose and sinuses protest against the dry, furnace-heated air. We generally have a tea kettle filled with cinnamon water on the kitchen stove, and a vaporizer steaming in the living room.

An article in Scientific American online pointed out the importance of an indoor relative humidity of 40%-60%. The researcher wrote that COVID thrives in the dry air of well-insulated homes, but raising the humidity level to that range changes the indoor environment to one not suitable for the virus. Beyond that range, however, tips the scale to a too-moist environment, setting the stage for mold to grow.

You can read the entire article here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/another-way-to-protect-against-covid-beyond-masking-and-social-distancing.

©P. Booher

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Friday Photos II–A Moment In Time

Yesterday I took an outdated pack of crackers to the back yard. The crackers probably would have been OK for me to eat, but I thought, “I want to be outside for a little while. I’ll throw the crackers out for whomever–ants, birds, or squirrels–will eat them.” So I went out back, and as I tore the crackers up and threw the bits on the ground, I stopped, soaking in the beauty and quiet of the winter woods. I walked towards the big pine tree, taking note of the patterns of the bark on the maple and cherry trees, and watching the creek as it wound its way. I thought how nature just “is”; it doesn’t have an agenda. The creek gurgled along; the deciduous and evergreen trees stood tall. As I went “sightseeing” in the back yard, the peace and quiet of that moment settled in me, and it remained there for a long time, even after I went back in the house. I could feel that peace smoothing over the rough edges of living in the tumult of man’s world.

Enjoy some “sightseeing” today! 🙂

All photos: author’s collection.

©P. Booher

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Friday Photos–Town Cat, Country Cats

Snowball was a town cat for most of his life. When we moved to the country, he came along.
Spotty was born outside, but adapted well to indoor life.
Babe was Spotty’s one and only kitten. She lived to be almost twenty years old.
We were pretty sure Mandy had lived in a house at some point, but when we first saw her, she was walking up the railroad tracks.
Shorty, “laying around and hanging out”. He was one of Mandy’s kittens.
Pumpkin was Shorty’s brother. After he got used to me, he didn’t mind getting “up close and personal”.
Tiger was another one of Mandy’s litter. He was eleven months old when he came into the house to stay. He was scared at first, but adjusted well to the indoor life.

All photos: Author’s collection.

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Long-Overdue Recognition

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

One interesting consequence of the pandemic is the way it reversed public images about people who work in the service industries–retail, health-care, maintenance, custodial, repair, and customer service fields. For years, people who worked in these fields were often looked down on or otherwise treated poorly, by either employers, customers, or both. Wages tended to be on the lower end of the scale, with few benefits such as sick-pay or health insurance. Because many of those jobs have either a physical component to them (such as moving heavy items, being on your feet all day, etc.) or a social component (coming in contact with the public means running the risk of colds, etc.) no sick-pay or health insurance is a major problem. Bonuses were unknown.

Then came COVID-19. Suddenly people working in those areas discovered that the media and the public regarded them as heroes. They were doing the same jobs they had always done, but in the eyes of the public the value of those jobs and the people who did them shot upward.

Having worked in the retail field for years, mainly as cashier or sales clerk, I am surprised and pleased at this image change. I am surprised; I never expected it to come about. I am pleased, because it’s long overdue!

Consider that “service industries” are just that–people serving other people, whether the employees are ringing up sales behind a cash register, repairing a car engine, cleaning a bathroom, taking an order over the phone, or bathing a patient. Have you ever noticed people aren’t always nice to be around, even when a person is trying to help them? Sometimes people can be impatient, rude, unkind, or even belligerent.

That’s the reason I believe the people doing the everyday, routine, sometimes dirty work of serving other people deserve special recognition, and why I’m glad they are finally getting it, at least in small part. It’s not easy to be a servant.

©P. Booher

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The Abby Chronicles–I Have A New Job!

abby-ready-to-write

Here I am, ready to write my story!

Chapter XXI

The younger human has been spending more time sitting on the couch. That’s where she was awhile ago. Knowing her lap is soft and warm I jumped onto her lap. She was talking and listening to a long device. She held one end to her ear and the other end to her mouth.

Sometimes when she was listening she sighed and seemed stressed. The older human asked if she was “on hold” (whatever “on hold” is, I don’t know). The younger human said, “Yes, I’m on hold”. I snuggled up closer to her and nudged her hand with my head. She got the message and started petting my head. I started purring. She made comments about how nice it was to pet me. I noticed her stress level went down (cats notice that kind of thing) as she continued to pet my fur. I realized I gained a new job: help the human stay calm when she’s “on hold”.

I have a lot of jobs—no wonder I need my beauty sleep! 🙂

Abby

©P. Booher, secretary

 

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Friday Photos–Water, Water, Everywhere

Rapids below Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, Canada

All photos: Author’s collection.

P. Booher

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Shout-Out to Vitamin D!

Back in 2019, I tested low on Vitamin D3. Because vitamin D3 helps regulate mood, I believe my deficiency was a factor in the depression that I was faced with then, and which I wrote about here: www.countryripples1.blog/2019/06/05-depression-a-heavy-spirit.

Vitamin D3 not only regulates mood, it also helps with processes in the muscles and nerves. It is needed to absorb calcium, which makes it important for healthy bones.

Because vitamin D3 boosts the immune system, low levels of it can promote COVID-19 infections.

Sunshine is a well-known source of Vitamin D3, but if you live in the Northern Hemisphere in the winter, (as I do), it can be hard to get enough of it. Another deterrent to getting enough D is that vitamins you take may not be easily absorbed by the body and may simply be eliminated without the body getting benefit.

Your doctor can do a simple blood test to show whether you have a deficiency or an insufficiency in the vitamin, and he or she can tell you the amount you need to take.

©P. Booher

Sources: https://vitamindforall.org/letter.html 

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From the CD Rack–The Music of the Spheres

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Mannheim Steamroller’s CD The Music of the Spheres is a space-themed project the group did in association with the Space Foundation and NASA. The CD starts off with a rousing “Escape From The Atmosphere” consisting of a space shuttle launch and a shuttle landing. Between the narration from commentators at the Kennedy Space Center and the Johnson Space Center and the music from Mannheim Steamroller, I felt as though I was riding right along!

The CD includes music from Gustav Holst’s classic “The Planets”, the theme songs from “The Outer Limits”, and “Star Trek” tv series, Richard Strauss’ “Sprach Zarathustra Op. 30 Fanfare”, and original songs from Mannheim Steamroller, such as “The 7 Stars of the Big Dipper”, so the music complements the space shuttle coverage.

With the music and the commentators’ narration, this is a good CD to listen to when you want to escape from the world for awhile!

©P. Booher

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The Abby Chronicles–Abby Has A Spa Day!

Here I am, ready to write my story!

Chapter XX

One day the younger human put my collar and leash on me and put me in the carrier. The older human told me, “You’re going to go to the kitty doctor to get your claws trimmed and mats taken out of your coat.” I thought, “Hmmm—the kitty doctor—I get treats there!”  The day promised to be more exciting. The younger human took me out to the car; she put my carrier on the back seat; and put herself in the front seat. The car said, “Vrooomm!” and off we went.

Once at the vet’s, it was the same weird routine as we’d run into before. You can read about it here if you want: The Abby Chronicles–Abby Goes to the Kitty Doctor–Round III, A Very Strange Visit The younger human talked into a very small box-like thing. She told me she hoped we didn’t have to wait as long as we had to before. Her hopes were answered as two female humans from the vet’s office came out and took me in the carrier. My human told them I liked going there because they gave me treats. One of the females from the vet’s office said, “You’ll get your treats, girlfriend!” A human called me “girlfriend”—can you imagine that! 🙂

Sometime later—I don’t know how long because we cats don’t keep track of time—the humans brought me back out to the car where my human waited. My claws were trimmed; those knotty, uncomfortable-to-lay-on mats were gone. I felt like a new cat! Oh—I had treats, too!

Abby

P. Booher, secretary

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Do One More Thing

There are days I struggle with lack of motivation. Lately, however, a phrase keeps popping up in my head: “Do one more thing”. I think this is my mind’s combination of a quote from newscaster/explorer Lowell Thomas, “Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can”, and an article from literary agent Steve Laube’s blog. The article is titled, “The Devil is in the Procrastination”. You can find the article here: https://stevelaube.com/the-devil-is-in-the-procrastination/.

Regardless of the source, that four-word phrase, “Do one more thing” helps me accomplish a little more and decrease the stress in my life.

Its practical uses are endless: from filling the tea kettle before I go to bed so the next morning goes easier; to finding one more picture for a blog post; to organizing one more manila envelope of papers, to taking time to check the car’s windshield wiper fluid level (not good to run out while I’m out and about on a wet or snowy day!)

If I told myself “I need to do this, this, this, and this after I do that” it would be self-defeating. But mentally and emotionally I can handle, “Do one more thing”.

©P. Booher

Resources: I consider Steve Laube’s blog excellent for beginning and established writers. He and his team have much info. to share on writing and publishing. (www.stevelaube.com).

Newscaster/author/explorer Lowell Thomas packed a lot of adventure into one life. If you’d like to find out more, you can go to: https://britannica.com/biography/Lowell-Thomas.

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