53 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 7-9-20

  1. Excited for the upcoming camping trip. Haven’t been much in years. This will be my first time using the camper we have had for twelve years or so. Interesting change from a tent. Pluses and minuses, I suppose. But whatever, it should be relaxing and fun!

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  2. Our mayor is reportedly weighing another stay-at-home move in light of skyrocketing Covid numbers. That the possibility has been publicly floated tells me it’s likely in the works, in some form or another. And that could (again) impact worship gatherings.

    Time to tally up the toilet paper rolls we have on hand.

    I remember a former editor who was an avid family camper in Yosemite musing about the transition from sleeping on the ground to sleeping “softer” in a camper. It was a pretty significant change — more comfort but it was also giving up something significant in his mind.

    My knee was very painful when I went to bed last night, which is typical. It’s much better this morning which also is typical, it’s always least painful first thing in the morning.

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  3. On Kevin’s post from yesterday: The example that was given, about feeling more intimidated by meeting one ethnicity in an alleyway than another, should prompt reflection about why we would feel more intimidated by one ethnicity over another. This is important, because that gut level response is exactly what leads to a police officer, who otherwise does not consider themselves racist, to interpret an action by one ethnicity as threatening that, in their own ethnicity, they would perceive as harmless, such as reaching for one’s wallet. It would be good to ask the question whether our perceptions are based on factual knowledge and experience or the on the learned behaviours of the surrounding culture.

    I actually would be less intimidated by large man of African origins in an alleyway than a large man of European origins. All the serial killers that have been arrested in my lifetime in Canada have been of European descent, as are the criminals I deal with in the course of my work. I grew up in a drug ridden rural area, and the drug dealers and organized criminal gangs like the Hell’s Angels were and are all of European origin. On the other hand, I was always treated with respect by the West African men I encountered, even by those who immediately offered marriage. I could walk alone in the village without being accosted, and I once traveled across the river to the city by myself and never felt in danger. The handful of African Canadian men I have known were all decent people. My personal experience has not given me any reason to have a more negative perception of those of African descent. It would only be through sinful impulses to follow the prejudices of the surrounding culture (rural Ontarians can be very intolerant of ethnic minorities) that I could learn such negative perceptions, and because I have never been part of the rural Ontario culture, due to my upbringing, I feel no inclination to adopt its prejudices concerning certain ethnicities.

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  4. There is much talk of the spike in covid cases. However if you look at a graph of deaths, it has gone way down. The curve is very low. Someone mentioned that the low number of deaths would no longer allow it to be called a pandemic. I will let the rest of you do the research.

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  5. I don’t think I’ve felt any more “fear” or intimidation when encountering a black person in a situation that might otherwise be one where caution was in order. Generally, I believe we do “size people up,” however, and an overall impression (that would include clothing, demeanor) probably will serve as outward cues to us, subconsciously, and that might then combine with our own personal experiences and impressions developed over the years.

    I grew up in an area that started out as majority “white” but transitioned to more Black and Latino over the course of only a decade or so. I worked at the local Sears store during college and was one of the few white employees in my department; because many of the Black employees and I were in the same age group, we often did things socially as a group. Our department manager also was Black as were probably a majority of our customers.

    I do think there remains a cultural barrier, though, that isn’t necessarily due to racism but is due to how we relate to those who are “different” or “other” than we are. Backgrounds, experiences and cultural references often don’t mesh exactly between different races and so there’s a sense of distance in understanding and perception that we’re conscious of.

    My Sears friends and I (and a couple other white students in the overall group) had different musical likes and connections to be sure, though it was a bit of a cultural exchange process also as we were exposed to each others’ preferences. And we usually found much common ground in those areas. I remember watching Roots together at someone’s house during those years.

    But they were part of a group and a culture that we white folks would never fully understand or be part of (and possibly that works the other way around too).

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  6. Racism definitely isn’t the only reason one might be more vigilant with one person than another. I personally am more vigilant with men than with women, and that isn’t sexism. It’s a combination of not wanting to come across as flirting and the reality that a man can potentially be a danger to me. That doesn’t mean I assess every man as dangerous, or every black man. But it does mean that (largely unconscious) assessments constantly include what factors may make this person a potential threat.

    On the trail this morning was a woman walking a pit bull, a male dog that was not her dog (when I complimented him, she said it was her neighbor’s dog). And she didn’t have very good control of it. The dog didn’t seem vicious, so I wasn’t “afraid” in the situation; nevertheless, I was aware of the need not to do anything that could cause the dog to react. (I have noticed that dogs are generally suspicious of me when I’m on the trail with a camera, because my activities aren’t what the dog perceives to be “normal.”) Wisdom requires such risk assessments. And yes, if one is traveling in a major city in America, a black male between the ages of sixteen and thirty is a greater threat than a sixty-year-old white woman is. That’s particularly true if the young man is in a group of young men. One is also more likely to be tripped by running toddlers than by young men. Being aware of the people in one’s vicinity is a good idea. Second-guessing any mental hint to be cautious around this person can leave one too vulnerable. I treat people with respect–but I also pay attention to hunches to be prudent.

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  7. We are getting better at treating it, however, and not making the bone-head mistakes we were early on like putting Covid patients into nursing homes.

    Younger people now seem to be catching it, reflecting fewer deaths as well.

    Some of the symptoms including how the virus can affect our brains and cells, however, remain a serious concern. We know more about it now but not as much as we’ll know a year from now.

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  8. And it is true, the death rate does not seem to be trending as high generally as once was thought. That’s very good news. But it doesn’t make the virus benign.

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  9. Cheryl, interesting connection with pit bulls. I stay WAY far away from them when walking my dogs or at the dog park. I feel it’s prudent based on the breed’s history and genetics.

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  10. The virus, bouncing back to the other topic, remains a very new disease and is still not well understood.

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  11. A pandemic refers to the range of infection spread, not the rate of mortality. An epidemic is an outbreak in one region, a pandemic is an outbreak in multiple areas, and this is a worldwide problem. Also, mortality rates would not be expected to rise at the same time as infection rates, as most people do not die as soon as they develop the disease. Where a rise in mortality rate would be expected is a couple of weeks after a rise in infections.

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  12. Cheryl, I do not see an analogy between people and dogs. There must be far higher ethical standards in how we treat humans than to how we treat dogs. After all, we shoot dogs who are rabid and put down dogs who are aged. We do not, and should not, treat humans the same way. I have heard advocacy for assisted dying that does make the analogy between how dogs are put down and how humans should be treated in the same circumstances and it troubles me everytime. I do not think the analogy works here either.

    We humans are not the same species as dogs, but we are the same species as humans of different ethnicities. As genetic research has shown, there is more variation within ethnic groups than between them. I have had exposure to more than one culture, and I know that there are always similarities between cultures. If there were none, we would be unable to learn each other’s languages, because language learning requires one to be able to understand gestures and body language to learn meaning. The West African culture had elements that explained historical customs Europeans had long forgotten the origin of. For example, they always throw out the last bit of water in their cup for the spirits, and learning that suddenly explained to me the old superstition of throwing salt over your shoulder for good luck; they believed that one could lose one’s spirit when they sneezed, so they would utter a blessing after sneezing to prevent losing their spirit and become ng possessed; and that explained why we say “bless you” when someone sneezes. The Inuit cultural values might have been taken from a morality book of Europeans, or the sayings of Confucius, or the Proverbs of Solomon. Oh, every person is unique and every culture is unique, but cultures are like genetics, there is more variation within one culture than there is between cultures. There are a lot of people of Anglo-Saxon/Celtic descent to whom I cannot relate at all, because they grew up completely different than how I did.

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  13. So much about being fearful of certain types of people depends on personal experience. I am probably the only one here who as a high school student walked down the school hall which was lined on both sides with black males who as I passed through them formed a circle around me. I kept my pace and they let me through their circle on the other side. That was very intimidating. I still sometimes have bad dreams about groups of black men out on the street that I have to try to walk by. But surprisingly I am not really afraid of black guys who are by themselves, and I feel tenderhearted toward young black males who are precious to their mothers (and fathers if they are in the picture) because I know how fragile and vulnerable they are. I am friends with several wonderful black ladies at church, and when I was working downtown some of my favorite friends were black. A good portion of Art’s clients are black and we all like seeing each other regularly the same as we enjoy the white or any other color clients.

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  14. That was not a comparison between people and dogs, I think rather the point she and I were making is that our natural instincts will kick in when put into a particular situation — whether or not we react with feelings of fear or something else comes out of our prior experience

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  15. And yes, pandemic refers to extent of the spread worldwide and this virus is especially contagious and efficient.

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  16. I descended into the dark world of the hair salon today and finally got my hair cut. I’ve decided to find out what color my hair is after all these years, which disappointed my hair dresser momentarily, but she decided all my walking in the sunshine will keep the darkness at bay–at least for the summer! 🙂

    I also had a lengthy conversation with the young man who lives with us this morning. It started with Hamilton–and since he’s a poli-sci major, it was lots of fun. It’s probably the longest I’ve ever spoken with him!

    That’s all. Editing, too.

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  17. Our county’s #s from today:

    Upward Trends Continue for COVID-19 Deaths and Hospitalizations

    50 New Deaths and 1,777 New Cases of Confirmed COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 50 new deaths and 1,777 new cases of COVID-19. The number of new deaths remain higher than the 7-day average of 24 deaths.

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  18. My story is this:

    25 years ago, we were home in LA from Hawai’i for a few weeks. One day we went to the shopping mall–the one north of Del Amo, DJ, where I’d never been before.

    I started feeling uncomfortable after a while, and noticed we were the only people of our particular race in the area.

    I wasn’t uncomfortable because of the race issue per se, but I recognized my uncomfortable reaction and was horrified. Had I become a racist? Why? What was wrong with ME?

    I’ve was very disturbed, wondering what had happened that I suddenly was bothered by race when I had deliberately chosen NOT to be bothered by race for most of my life.

    I got the answer a few days later.

    When we got to the airport gate (remember when you could just do that), I checked us in and looked around.

    With a big sigh and a smile, I went to stand beside a group of fellow travelers, my kids trailing behind. I started to chat with them, feeling such relief. I was back with my own kind!

    When the conversation waned, my jaw dropped and I began to laugh.

    They were Asian.

    I am not.

    But, my family had been living in Hawai’i for so long at that point, I had adopted Asians as my “rightful group.”

    It wasn’t the race I saw at the mall that troubled me, it was the fact they weren’t the race I was used to living among.

    The same thing happened several years later when, after leaving Hawai’i, we moved to a farming town in northern California. We were church shopping, and when we walked into a beautiful church, I scanned the pews, looking for anyone familiar.

    Same sigh and I immediately went to sit beside a Japanese couple. Their race had become my norm.

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  19. DJ lives in my hometown. I grew up in a mixed group of races, languages, cultures, and heritages–not to mention religious beliefs. It was a true melting pot, save for one glaring omission. When the LA City School began busing students during my junior high years, that final culture joined my community.

    When you grow up with such a mixture of cultures, and in my personal case, three different languages routinely spoken among the people I love(d), you have a choice. You either adapt yourself, or you become judgemental and close-minded.

    With such great food, festivals, and love, why would cut off your life from such richness?

    Yes, we all pause at what is new and outside our “normal,” but why stay locked away? As long as I don’t feel threatened, I join in. My life experience has been enriched in marvelous ways as a result.

    I’m so glad I grew up there.

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  20. DJ, when a person sees a dog and perceives it as a threat, based on the reputation of the breed or the actions of the animal, taking actions to protect oneself against the perceived threat is not a problem. For example, if one shoots a dog they perceived as a threat, they have only killed an animal. But God placed a special protection over human lives that he did not over animals. Even self defense in the law of Moses was a very narrow definition (Exodus 22:2-3). So, how one responds to a dog perceived as threatening based on one’s instincts and experience does not equate to how one responds to a human perceived as threatening based on one’s instincts and experience. The one is an animal, over which humans have been given dominion; the other is a human, whom God has made in his image.

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  21. Roscuro, I made no comparison between people and dogs. I made an assessment of a dog walker who was not in control of her potentially dangerous dog as an example from just today.

    I have lived in the same house or dorm room with Asian people, Hispanic people, black people, and white people and have been the minority in my neighborhood (the only white person) and in my church (fewer than 40% white, and frequently I was the only white person at prayer meeting or a women’s retreat). I have been the guest for meals and for overnight stays in homes of black people, Hispanics, and Asians. I value cross-cultural communication and friendship. Six of my relatives (two brothers and four nephews) have married cross-culturally. I have heard stories such as “driving while black” from my friends themselves, and personally know two young black men (possibly both of them still teenagers; one was definitely still a minor) who were arrested (and served time behind bars) because they were present when a crime was committed, though they had no involvement in the crime and no “record.” I’ve been on hugging terms with black men and have received kisses on the cheek from black men. My best friend from college is the adopted mother to two black young people.

    During several years of my life, I was more familiar with black culture than with white culture. My church was 60% black, but in that season nearly 100% of our children’s program was with black children. (We had just two or three white kids.) So I had one or two years when for 90 minutes each week I was in a room with a black man, a white boy, and 15 or 16 black children. I am very much in favor of getting to know people from as wide a range of the human spectrum as possible. I’ve never even understood how single people might have only single people as friends, or married people only other married people, and I’ve never confined my friendships to people within 10 years of my own age. I wanted to have my wedding party include multiple generations of people (that didn’t turn out to be possible since I wanted to include my stepdaughters and there wasn’t really room for more than four people to stand up with me, but that was my dream for 20 years).

    However, statistically it is true that a black man is at far greater risk of being killed by another black man than by a female or a white male, and it is also statistically true that a young black male is more likely to be a member of a gang, and to be armed, than a young white man. We should indeed treat all people like human beings made in the image of God–but being aware of a greater actual risk from a group of teenage black boys than from, say, a family or an elderly couple is not being racist. That was my point. In Chicago if I was getting ready to leave a store and saw six black male teenagers hanging out on the corner outside the store, I might wait 10 or 15 minutes to go outside to allow them time to move on. To chalk that up to racism is to put it in the wrong column.

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  22. Note: I have never been inside this house, nor do I know this neighbor (who lives in Boston now, I think).

    My house is considerably smaller and we dd not pay anywhere near this amount of money.

    Nowhere near this price.

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  23. Michelle, when I was in Chicago in a sense I lived in two worlds. My workplace was majority white, but my neighborhood and church were definitely majority black. At home, it was noteworthy if a white person was on my block–it was pretty rare to see a white person driving or walking on my street. Several times I got to work and noticed a white person on the street and then reminded myself this isn’t my neighborhood, and it isn’t shocking to have a white person here! (I don’t know the percentages for Chicago today, but when I went there in 1989 I read that it was 38% white, 38% black, and the rest was a mix of ethnicities. My workplace had a mix of ethnicities, too, but most of the editors were white.)

    I also went on a women’s retreat with women from my church where we stayed in a cabin someone loaned us. A bunch of us went into town one day, in a town we’d already been told was pretty substantially white. When I went into a few stores with my black friends, I was pretty conscious I was with the black people (that “us” was me and the Christian sisters, not me and the townspeople). And once I was asked to describe a friend of mine for some reason (another friend was going to be meeting her somewhere or something), and when I was asked if she was black or white, I had to stop and think. She was black, but so many of my friend and acquaintances were black or Hispanic that it wasn’t something I thought about very much. That is something I miss from my Chicago days, though I have stayed in touch with several friends I had then.

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  24. That’s a lot of wallpaper and velvet.

    Give me plaster walls and real wood floors and wood windows, a house with some history. 🙂 You know me.

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  25. Off to PT in a while. Pray this visit might offer some hope, I’m beginning to feel really discouraged and afraid I’ll never walk normally or without pain again.

    I don’t see a lot of options between PT and surgery — and the surgery has very mixed outcomes, esp for people who are older.

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  26. DJ, I know what you have is not the same as what afflicted Art. He had a fracture of a bone in the knee area and osteoarthritis. I think he was given the brace to let things heal. It was a very flexible thing made of rubber mostly. Before going with surgery, I would try to find a doctor who might try a brace. Art went to the sports clinic at Emory which is where the Hawks basketball team practices on site so they are very up-to-date. There are so many doctors who go different routes in treatment. Art’s knee is so much better but he has stenosis in his back and does not walk much because of that.

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  27. Oh, they do have a cute pedestal sink that’s just like mine though.

    But the rest of the house is pretty garish. Gold vein walls? Murals? For the nouveau riche class?

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  28. I haven’t seen a lot of mentions of braces for what’s wrong with my knee. I think the hope is to get the knee moving and mobile again to promote a natural healing. At least that’s the goal. I’m still holding out hope it works.

    I have to remind myself all the time not to walk with a stiff leg, let the knee move as naturally as possible. But it is a natural reflex to want to stiffen it up so it doesn’t move as a way of protecting it I suppose

    I’m thinking to heal a bone fracture a brace makes sense, though.

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  29. I’ve been working at my friend’s shoppe today. It is hotter than blue blazes outside…my Mom always said that…not sure where that little phrase comes from 😊
    This morning my neighbor and her husband walked by with their big old dog…they have had three huge dogs over the years and this one is the last one surviving. But as I watched them walk down the road I noticed Renee had a leash as well as her husband….she was walking a puppy St Bernard! Cutest thing you ever saw…can’t wait to meet him…or her 🐶

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  30. Home from PT, it went well, I told him I was getting discouraged so he helped me see past that, told me that we will get there, I will get past this — and my checking in with an orthopedic guy (recommended by him because of his more conservative approach) doesn’t mean I’m being “kicked loose” from PT (which is what I assumed), he said we’ll continue that, he still thinks this is what will work with me; but hoping the doctor will be able to address the swelling and inflammation, which PT guy says is causing much of my pain and knee discomfort. It also provides another specialist to take a look at the whole picture which never hurts, he said. (But he said if he recommends surgery right off, I should go find another doctor.)

    So I’ll call them tomorrow morning and see if I can get in for an appointment soon.

    For the rest of the appointment, he did the usual range of motion tests, knee manipulations and traction before I went back to the gym area to do all the exercises (which are getting easier). The guys back there who help out are a lot of fun and they’ll do the exercise with you if you look like you’re flagging. lol

    When I got off the bike (wearing a mask this whole time, remember) my glasses were totally fogged up. No wonder I couldn’t see.

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  31. And after I got home, my neighbor graciously came out as I was putting the trash in the cans and insisted on wheeling down my 3 bins to help save my knee for the evening. His wife has 2 bad knees so he’s on knee relief duty.

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  32. okay, Dj, I have said this before, but here goes. When I hurt my back years ago they gave me panadene for the pain and that was good, so I quit taking the advil. When I went back in the doctor told me I had to also take advil, because that was for the inflammation. I had to take care of the inflammation, not just the pain. So I took at least 2 advil three times a day and perhaps more to start with. I have no idea what you are doing, just throwing in my two cents.

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  33. Well, Michelle, does the furniture come with the house? Ours wouldn’t fit (Early Salvation Army) except for a 100+ year old sofa and chair belonging to Mrs L’s great grandparents. And when I saw the room with the canal going through it, I figured we’d have more issues with water in the house. And of course, the price is a little steep for my teacher’s salary. But a few other problems: It’s in California. ‘Nuf said. (No offense to the Californians here present, mind you.)

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  34. Thanks Jo — I am still taking advil but probably no more than 2-3 a day, sometimes less. I should be more steady about it. I think I just had 1 today, but will take 1-2 before going to bed. PT told me to be sure to take that, so i’ve been trying to be good about it.

    He said the swelling was down today from earlier in the week but knee is still swollen. 😦

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  35. Maybe I should be taking more — but I read once that you weren’t supposed to take a lot of that, though maybe for a short stretch it’s ok

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