Category Archives: culture

Trapped in the House

Are you reading this in your pajamas? The sales of pajamas have tripled in the last five months, and the sales of business wear have decreased. Maybe you are wearing an old T-shirt and sweatpants? Boxer shorts? Or naked?

happy women smiling
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

When was the last time you woke up before 9:00 a.m.? When was the last time you went out on a date? To lunch or dinner with a group of friends?
People are working from home and attending meetings with Zoom. No one sees what you are wearing on the bottom. You could be dressed in business attire and wearing your underwear. Who would know?
I haven’t dressed up since the beginning of March. I only wear makeup if I have a Zoom meeting.

woman wearing mask in supermarket
The only place I go is to the supermarket. I follow the arrows leading in one direction down each aisle, wait my turn six feet behind the person in front of me and use the self-checkout lane. I want to get out as soon as possible, so I don’t get any unwanted germs. As soon as I enter the car, I squirt some hand sanitizer and rub as hard as possible. I can’t remember a time when I thought everything was dirty and too dangerous to touch.

I never thought I wouldn’t be able to hug or shake hands with a friend in the supermarket or at the park. I never thought I wouldn’t be able to eat in a restaurant.

chloe
I live alone with my Cocker Spaniel. We communicate in short sentences. “Want to go to the park?” ” Have to go potty?” Her brown eyelashes bat up and down as she leans her left ear my way and wags her stub of a tail.

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My social hour is in the morning from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. before the sun comes up, and the temperature reaches 100F.
COVID19 confined me to my home for five months, and hibernation continues as a necessity because of the intense heat outside. The temperature reached 115F yesterday in Phoenix, Arizona.

books
I read two hours a day, search for news four hours a day, clean the house once a week, and write one hour a day. I should spend more time writing, but I am not inspired.
I travel to write. I like to explore other countries and cultures and write about them. I haven’t been out of the country for more than nine months. I had plans to go to Israel in May and my daughter’s graduation from her MBA program in Ohio. COVID19 canceled these plans.

happy friends on camper van roof
I see people on Facebook posting pictures of traveling in RVs across the USA. I am jealous. Vacationing in mini campers became very popular this summer. You don’t have to worry about clean linen on the bed in your hotel room. Has the hotel room been cleaned? How often is it cleaned? Questions we never asked before unless you were a germaphobe. RVs and mini campers allow you to travel without these worries.

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We can’t travel to Europe because Americans are not wanted. Canada has issued warnings for travelers trying to get into Canada on their way to Alaska. Mexico doesn’t want us either. I have never been barred from a country before.
I know that I should not complain. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and I am retired. I don’t need to find a job.
What I do need is a vacation. A date with my friends and museums and other attractions to open.
I am optimistic and have hope that things will get better soon when I can plan a trip to Europe, visit my daughter in Oklahoma, and feel free again.
The future is unclear. Will we be able to travel as much? Will we be able to feel friendly again? Not be afraid of others?
I like to smile. I love it when people smile at me. We can’t see anyone smile when we are wearing masks. I can be angry with someone, but they wouldn’t know. I don’t know if someone is angry with me. I walk in the park, and some people walk out about 12 ft away. I feel like I have some disease. They assume I do.
Americans are known for their friendliness. That has changed. Our reputation around the world has changed from admiration to pity. We are the ones who are being attacked in the streets by unknown troops sent by the President. There are those Americans who don’t want to wear masks and attack others who do by spitting on them or cursing them. The government of the USA does not offer equal health care, equal housing, or equal education to all of its citizens.
I hope that everything will work out and we can have peace.

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Thanks for reading, and now you can get a drink and stay in your pajamas.

No one will ever know.

A Quest for Milk

I reach into the dairy case at Safeway and grab my one-half gallon of Vitamin D whole milk. A five-year-old little boy with big brown eyes and curly black hair sits in the grocery cart. His dad reaches in and pulls out a half-gallon of 2% milk. “Where does milk come from?” asks the little boy. His father answers, “From cows.”

I don’t know if this little boy has ever come into contact with cows. I never did until I was about eight years old. My cousins lived on a farm in Nebraska, and we went to visit them every year in the summer. My cousin, Joe, decided that this city chick needed to know how to milk a cow. He took me out to the barn and led me to the cows. His daily chore was to milk a dozen cows before he went to school or played with his friends. The barn smelled like cow poop, and I held my nose as we walked in. The cows were mooing and munching on their cud, and I thought they were filthy. They needed baths. I felt there was no way I was going to touch their tits.

Joe reached up to the second shelf in the barn and brought down a tin bucket and led me to the first cow we were going to milk. He showed me how to gently pinch the tit of the cow to get the milk to come out. He held the nipple in his hand and squeezed. Milk came out and streamed into the pail. Now, it was my turn. I pressed the tit, and nothing came out. He laughed. “Not so hard, he said.” I squeezed with less gusto, and still, nothing came out.  I was getting frustrated. Why doesn’t the milk squirt out as it did for my cousin? Joe finally gave up and told me I would never be able to exist on a farm. That was ok with me. I didn’t plan on living on a farm. After all, I was a city chick.

When I was five, more than sixty years ago, the milk arrived on the front doorstep in glass bottles. My mother would put the empty bottles out, and the milkman would come around and put six fresh ones. He would do this once a week. There was only one choice of milk. The dairy section today includes whole milk, whole milk with vitamin D, skim milk, 2% reduced-fat milk, and 1% low-fat milk.

Milk is a drink that has been around for thousands of years. Humans and animals nurse their babies from birth to about three years. Humans began to drink the milk of other mammals when they became domesticated during the Neolithic Revolution and the development of agriculture from 9000-7000BC in Mesopotamia and 3500-3000 BC in the Americas.

Humans use milk not only for drinking but for making ice cream, shakes, poured on their cereal, yogurt, and smoothies. Milk is more prevalent in some cultures than others. Japanese are not milk drinkers. Many of them are lactose intolerant or don’t like the taste. My Japanese husband didn’t like milk. Our daughter is not a great fan of milk and says that it doesn’t sit well with her. Many others are lactose intolerant, and now we have options such as almond milk, oatmeal milk, coconut milk, and rice milk. It was hard enough getting milk to come from a tit I can’t imagine how to get milk from an almond. How do you milk oatmeal?

I am a fan of thick milk. I remember the milk that came out of the cow in Nebraska. My cousins would pour it on their cereal without sterilizing it. The taste was warm, and my tongue couldn’t bring the sweet taste to my brain the way I had imagined.

I went to Switzerland in search of real milk. I hiked five miles with my writing group when we came to a small farm in the Swiss Alps of Murren. The portly mother cows were lying on the thick green grass with their calves surrounded by wildflowers, their natural food.

swiss cows

We approached the tin roof farmhouse. The owners came out and greeted us. They operated a small restaurant that served fondue. We could get a sample of fresh milk for $4 a cup. I paid and picked up my dixie cup size of milk and brought it to my lips. I hoped it would taste better than the milk in Nebraska. The creamy white liquid was smooth and sweet. It was so different than anything I had eaten in the states.

My quest for where milk came from ended in Switzerland.

7 Things to see in Bath, England

Get your comfy shoes on and head out the door of your hotel as soon as possible. Bath is a small UNESCO designated town. It is visited by world visitors and gets crowded on the weekends.

I highly recommend taking a tour by The Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides. The tours are free. They don’t accept tips. Our tour was three hours long and had eight people. Our guide gave us information I would not have known if I were walking around alone.

Bath has restaurants of many cuisines. Thai, Indian, Pub, and American. There are coffee and tea shops. I must admit I never had high tea because it is for two. If you travel alone, grab someone to share high tea with you. I gazed at the desserts every time I walked by one of the shops.

Bath Abby

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Bath Abby Entrance

River Avon

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River Avon

Avon is the word for river. The name of this is River River.

The River Avon is an English river in the south west of the country. To distinguish it from a number of other rivers of the same name, this river is often also known as the Bristol Avon. The name “Avon” is a cognate of the Welsh word afon, “river”.The Avon rises just north of the village of Acton Turville in South Gloucestershire, before flowing through Wiltshire. In its lower reaches from Bath to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth near Bristol, the river is navigable and known as the Avon Navigation.The Avon is the 19th longest river in the UK at although there are just as the crow flies between the source and its mouth in the Severn Estuary. The catchment area is.EtymologyThe name “Avon” is a cognate of the Welsh word afon “river”, both being derived from the Common Brittonic, “river”. “River Avon”, therefore, literally means “River River”; several other English and Scottish rivers share the name. The County of Avon that existed from 1974 to 1996 was named after the river, and covered Bristol, Bath, and the lower Avon valley

Royal Mineral Water Hospital

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Royal Mineral Water Hospital

The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (Royal Mineral Water Hospital) is a national specialist hospital in central Bath. It has been treating patients from across the country since 1742. The hospital has an international reputation for research, and expertise in complex rheumatology and rehabilitation. Adult and adolescent services include rheumatology, chronic pain management, neuro rehabilitation and chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, plus endoscopy (diagnostic investigation) and bone density services. The hospital prides itself on high standards of patient care and consistently meets national quality performance targets, has rigorous polices for infection control and scores highly in surveys of patient satisfaction. Share this page

Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (Royal Mineral Water Hospital) is managed by Royal United Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Art at the Heart of the RUH)

Pulteney Bridge

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Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge crosses the River Avon in Bath, England. It was completed by 1774, and connected the city with the land of the Pulteney family which they wished to develop. Designed by Robert Adam in a Palladian style, it is exceptional in having shops built across its full span on both sides.

Within 20 years of its construction, alterations were made that expanded the shops and changed the façades. By the end of the 18th century it had been damaged by floods, but it was rebuilt to a similar design. Over the next century alterations to the shops included cantilevered extensions on the bridge’s north face. In the 20th century several schemes were carried out to preserve the bridge and partially return it to its original appearance, enhancing its appeal as a tourist attraction.

The bridge is now 45 metres (148 ft) long and 18 metres (58 ft) wide. Although there have been plans to pedestrianise the bridge, it is still used by buses and taxis. The much photographed bridge and the weir below are close to the centre of the city, which is a World Heritage Site largely because of its Georgian architecture.

Circus in Bath

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Circus Apartments

The word circus means circle. That is why the circus we know is in a circle formation.

The Circus in Bath is a unique Georgian achievement in urban planning.

The ‘London’ Bath Bun

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Sally Lunn Bun

The Back Door

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The Back Door

This back door was used for servants to empty the trash and the “piss pots” before there were indoor bathrooms.