I've heard and read a lot of things in the last 14 days about having a safety plan, filling the car with gas, having cash. We've got two pounds of coffee , 12 rolls of toilet paper and some flour.

We'll either be fine or we won't. Given everything of the last few years, I have little confidence any aciton I could have taken would have had any impact.

The fence is now too high to jump and I will just lie here, on the electrified half of the floor, helpless. 



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11/2
 

Ok, all I can think about right now is election day, which will begin with Ms. Toad's Wild Ride (go to Gettysburg, get kid so he can vote), continue with standing next to my son as he votes in his first election ever (when it's time to go big or go home, we never go home ...) and end hopefully with returning him safely to his dorm sans whatever fresh hell erupts once the results start coming in.

As disruptive as this all is, the drama is exciting. Like the Women's March in Washington (yes, we were there), except more virus. Eek.

And you'd think that by mailing in his absentee ballot application on Oct 6, he would have received his ballot by now. Mail in PA usually takes three days at the most to be delivered to other places in PA. Usually it arrives the day after you send it. The Dept of Elections got his app on Oct 21, then they mailed his ballot to him ... also in PA ... still hasn't arrived. Insanity.

Here is a riddle.

Where is the one place in the United States where the mail is being delivered on time?

Answer: Mudville.

Why?

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10/30
 

My research of Mason-Dixon markers on the Delaware Border. All of which I plan to go see in the near(ish) future.




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At the northwest corner of Delaware, where it meets Pennslyvania & Maryland, is the “Tri-State Marker”. It was first located by Mason and Dixon back in 1765, though the marker was placed later, in 1849. I learned pretty much everything I know about it from this newspaper article from 2015: https://www.newarkpostonline.com/news/new-trail-provides-first-public-access-to-mason-dixon-tri-state-marker/article_a5ec3a04-fe1a-58d4-a317-93c3e887c863.html

I’ve hiked to the marker twice this year, from Delaware's White Clay Creek State Park starting at the Chambers House Nature Center parking lot. It’s about a 3.5 mile roundtrip, meaning an hour and a half walk for me. I walk slow, and stop to look at things a lot. I had the path mostly to myself when I hiked it Friday afternoon, saw just 6 others in the 1.5 hours I was walking.

I understand you can also walk to the monument through other shorter pathways, but I haven’t done so. That’s an adventure for another time.

Note: The Chambers House nature center is also the location of one of the Selfie spots for the Delaware State Parks passport program. It's still closed due to COVID, but I saw some staff heading in to work. They arehoping to repoen in January. They gave me a map, and seemed to think the walk to the monument was "far". 

Trip start

OUTBOUND

Trail is mostly wooded trees, but it does open up to a field or two upon occasion. You cross from Delaware to Pennsylvania pretty early in the hike. And yeah, I bough hiking boots (Merrells). Last time I hiked this in the Spring, I had just bought hiking sandles (Tevas), which I love. But it's getting too crisp for sandles.

THE MONUMENT

I later learned (from reading that article above) that the monument has no D because in Mason-Dixon's time, Delaware was still part of Pennsylvania. Hence 2 P’s , 2 M’s no D.

THE WAY BACK

On the way back you cross into Delaware, then back into Pennsylvania, then back into Delaware.  Also, there is a peace love & happiness tree (Yo peeps: don't graffiti trees, even with nice sentiments). I understand there is a CAVE near one of these PA/DE borders, on the PA side. Something to look for next time.

So, pretty easy hike, cool historical marker, not crowded. Recommended.

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A beautiful day for hiking. If you ever lack things to look for, https://www.geocaching.com has thousands, including https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1EN31 in White Clay Creek State Park.
I just today learned about letterboxing. Which sounds like fancy geocaching... I might give that a try
Ursula Sadiq 10/30edited
Yeah, letterboxing long predates the practice of "using multi-million dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods".
 

Today feels like a day for despair.

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10/27
 

We get a farm food box every Saturday. It's a good price for what's in it, and also supports a non-profit that gives food to folks who can't pay for it. So that's cool. Anyway, sometimes we get a bunch of cilantro, so I make pesto. Here's the recipe!

  • About a quarter cup of almonds. Maybe third cup? Into the food processor.
  • About a tablespoon of sea salt. That's too much. But it's pesto so who cares.
  • A teaspoon-ish of assorted dried "italian" herbs because I'm lazy.
  • Okay chop that up for a bit until it looks like breadcrumbs?
  • Now put in the cilantro. As much as will fit.
  • Chop that up until it packs down.
  • The rest of the cilantro now. Yes, all of it.
  • Chop chop chop chop.
  • Add like a quarter cup of olive oil?
  • And a tablespoon of lemon juice, or lime if you got it.
  • Whir it up for a while until it holds together.
  • OH YEAH don't forget a tablespoon or so of minced garlic or like 4-6 cloves.
  • Pulse and scrape down and pulse until it looks like pesto.

Remember don't lick the sharp thing.

Everyone's got their own recipe I guess.

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This is a charming recipe.
It never occurred to me to make pesto out of cilantro. (I loooooove cilantro!) Regular basil pesto is... fine, but I have the feeling I would put your cilantro pesto (especially if it's made with lime! *gasp!*) on evvvveryyythiiiiiing.

Thank you for this recipe! It sounds glorious!
This is the kind of pesto where your partner sniffs your skin much later and says "you smell funny" and you say "i bet it was the pesto" and they sniff you again and say, "yeah!"
This made me audibly chuckle.

Also: "I bet it was the pesto" has such a fun cadence! I just said it out loud a bunch of times. :-)
I love cilantro but I'm not sure I'd like it as pesto.
 

Chicago's s 7-day average positivity rate is up 29% in the past week, now at 5.4%, and COVID-19 hospitalizations in the city  have risen 25% since late September. Region 8 (where my parents are--about 20-25 miles from my house in the City) recently surpassed 8% average positivity rates. The highest positivity rate in Illinois is over 11% in Region 1 where Illinois borders Iowa and Wisconsin.

I'm anxious, bored, angry, and tense. I fear the week of November 3 and all of November. I fear that November will bring quiet chaos of empty grocery shelves, but I'm afraid to do any stocking up. Both for fear of looking foolish and also because the grocery store is scary.

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10/25
 

I take myself out and about to expand my horizons on a fairly regular basis. I'm retired, and mom only 50% of the time. Meaning even after house keeping, I have a lot of free time. In this year of not-leaving-the-country, and not willing to risk getting on a domesticc flight, I've been learning about things to do within driving distance.

I've been thinking of my trips as Quests or Missions. These are the ones I'm currently working on:

1. Delaware State Park Passport Quest. One goes to each of 19 state parks, take a self at a designated location in each park, and submit the photos to the park system via an online form. I think you get a free pass for next year if you complete it. I've been to 13, 6 to go!  https://destateparks.com/Passport

2. Delaware Tourism has 5 "Trails" you can complete.

  • Delware on Tap, (I'd be 11/34th done if I'd know about this earlier)
  • Delaware Discoveries (3/9th done!),
  • Delaware History,
  • Delaware Outdoor, and
  • Delaware Culinary trail.

Frankly, I just learned that there were 5 of them. Like, today. I've been working on the Delaware Discoveries one, but now I think I'll work on all of them. At once! Yeah! https://www.visitdelaware.com/things-to-do/trails/

3. The Mason-Dixon markers: Ok, I made this one up. But there is the Tri-State Marker in White Clay Creek park (been there! twice!), a Mason-dixon crownstone marker across from a gas station in MaryDel, and a Middle Point Marker on Delaware's southern border near Delmar.  There may be another crownstone 10 miles north of the Marydel stone. It's a bit of a scavenger hunt. There is a site that documents all of the PA-MD stones, but not the Delaware ones.

4. For beyond Delaware: I found out last month that the National Park system has a Passport book. Like a real booklet that is setup for you to collect stamps. I have 4 stamps already! https://americasnationalparks.org/passport-to-your-national-parks/

Are there more quests? I'm sure there are. But theses are the ones I'm keen on just now. 

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I've been wanting to make a project of getting to the 4 extreme points of the continental US for a while. I've only been to the northwesternmost point (cape flattery in WA) so far, but key west seems nice. and I'll be going to Maine with Ellynne pretty regularly for years to come, so I'm sure we can collect Grand Isle pretty easily. so then there's just Lompoc CA to work out.
CM Adams 10/25
That sounds like an awesome quest.
 

In the Before, I used to travel for work a couple of times a month: airports, hotels, getting food in restaurants sometimes. Bus rides and long days in the war room. 1/Now, I mostly stay a few feet from my bed. I wear a mask to go out in the hall, fret about the cost of supporting local restaurants with takeout once a week. /1

I went to the condo gym every day. Most days I used equipment: machines or free weights. 2/I exercise in the same space I use as my makeshift office, with a floor mat and occasionally a dumbbell or two. /2

I rehearsed music with my choir every week: sixty people sitting and standing together, building music for performance, in a small room in a church, with lively social time. 3/I have Zoom sessions for two choirs, preparing to record a total of three songs in November for sound engineers to assemble with others' submissions for December. Online meetings are tiring. /3

I walked all over, pretty much every day. Spaced errands and shopping throughout the week. 4/I get food and other items delivered when I can. I'm supporting local farmers. Baked goods come in the mail. /4

Weekends were for galleries, museums, cultural and community events. It was great to be in crowds, people watching. 5/I stay indoors most days. Sometimes I will walk on the crowded streets, wearing my mask, following public health orders. /5

I volunteered, working in close proximity to people I had something in common with. 6/I don't spend much time around people in "real" spaces. It reminds me of being trapped in isolation long ago, not even seeing friends. /6


I want to move forward to a time after the pandemic. I have to live through now to get there. 13/

It's hard. My health is not superb. I can't make it stop on my own. I have to rely on our community and our leaders. 14/

Please stay as safe as you can. Help us all be safe. 15/15

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Here's to community and leaders, wherever we may find them.
The community around me includes hundreds of people who like to gather in large, tightly packed crowds and shout about how they're oppressed and aren't gonna wear no goddam masks. And also, as I was reminded last night, gay white people who don't want any space given to QTBIPOC stories LALALAICANTHEARYOUANDIMTAKINGMYBALLYOUCANTMAKEMESUBMITTOLISTENING.
This captures it pretty well.
 

I've seen some folks mocking the Northwestern students who rampaged through the aspirational suburb where the campus is to demand removal of the university police. I admit ignorance about jurisdictional authority (and about the Evanston Police Department) but at both the Evanston campus the Chicago campus (where my offices are), the university contracts with the local police departments, for any large gathering, like a protest or a football game.

So I don't know whether NU's campus police in Evanston are "police" or police. But I know the campus demographics at NU. 50% white, coming from families with a median income of 88k.

It seems that the mocking is aimed at kids like this, marching past Whole Foods, protesting campus cops because they are white kids, with rich parents, at college next door to a Whole Foods.

None of which invalidates their point that we should not have universities contracting with police and maybe should not have police at all.

As far as I can tell. they weren't muscling in on the work of abolitionists in Chicago (or even in Evanston). They were not co-opting a message or a movement. They were looking in their own backyard and saying something could be better.

I wonder what bit of news about the protest I'm missing?


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10/20