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Here we are, entering the sixth month of a global pandemic, and in many places, conditions are getting worse rather than better. I don’t think anyone wants to have another shutdown of businesses, factories and services; I certainly don’t. What will it take to get this thing under control? My brain says: “Everyone just needs to be smart and do their part.”
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Hanging around grandkids gives us reasons (or excuses!) to enjoy doing some of the things we haven’t done since our own kids were little, or maybe since we were children ourselves. Things like: • catching fireflies; • running through a sprinkler; • letting your toes squish through mud; • swinging so high you feel like you could touch the sky; • standing in the rain and catching raindrops on your tongue; • waiting anxiously for a parade with a plastic bag to fill with candy; • making soap bubbles, trying to see who can make the biggest or the most in one slow-blow; • watching a caterpillar crawl, and not worrying about what you really “should” be doing; • squatting by a stream to catch minnows or watch a spinning bug; • reading stories at bedtime, and then being tucked in and kissed goodnight.
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Holeymoley. I’m so old.

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Well, I’ve gone and done it. I was asleep at the wheel when it happened, of course, but last week my life’s odometer flipped to another number. A bigger number. An older number. And because of that, I’ve elected to start receiving that monthly paycheck from Uncle Sam. It’s actually my money anyway—money that I’ve been tucking away in a government account, withheld from every paycheck, from every job I’ve ever had, all of my livelong, adult days. It would be more exciting if it wasn’t just one more reminder of how old I am.
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Imagine a world where you had to pay a royalty fee every time you sing the “Happy Birthday” song. We actually lived in that world, up until 2016. And who knew? To be clear, the copyright issue actually pertained to “public performances” of the song, not those sung around your dining room table when candles are a’blazing. Even so, the most recognized song in the English language (according to Guinness World Records) went through quite a squabble for many years, all about money.
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To say the Class of 2020 got gypped out of their Senior year experience is an understatement as well as an overstatement. Everyone knows it. Everyone agrees. Everyone has said it a million times. Everyone feels so bad for the graduates. Everyone went from feeling sad to being straight up mad. In my family, our senior granddaughter in Cheney, a Cardinal cheerleader, first cried her eyes out that State Basketball was halted. I imagine there were tears in Stockton, too, especially since the Tigers had just upset the No. 1 seed and were on a roll. Then came the news that schools were closed down across the state, and the tears flowed again—rivers of tears—thinking about no Prom, no track season, no graduation, no everything.
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I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that it is July. In some ways, it’s hard to believe we’re halfway through 2020, even though the coronavirus seemed to put us in slow motion; at least it did early on in the pandemic. Now it seems like everything and everyone is going full-speed ahead, as if the “re-opening” of many places and activities has been like a race to make up for lost time.
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Country singer Thomas Rhett says he wrote the song, “Be A Light,” last year in response to the negativity and sadness he was seeing in the world. It wasn’t due to be released until sometime next year, but at the urging of Rhett to his label team, the song released March 30, just as the nation was really starting to feel the effects of the coronavirus. The song quickly hit the prestigious Billboard Hot 100 List, landing at No. 71 on April 18.
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Right now the back of my right hand looks like something terrible happened to me, but it was just that Charley nailed me with her paw and claws that need to be trimmed. The scratch didn’t break the skin; there was no blood—at least not visible on the outside. But on the inside, underneath the skin, is where the injury is visible. As I look at the mark I feel like I’m looking at my grandmother’s hands. I remember her hands and arms being marked like this frequently, although she rarely remembered what had happened to cause it. But she was OLD when her skin looked like this. She had crepe-thin skin that showed every vein, liver spots, scars, and yes, bruises of blood under the skin. Just like mine looks now. And it’s not the first time it’s happened; but I remember the first time it happened, and my thought was… How can it be that I am old enough to have my grandmother’s hands?
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Last September, on Labor Day weekend, we adopted a little girl, and we named her Charley. Even though it’s a name usually reserved for boys, my husband and I both had the name in mind; and anytime we can agree on something, we need to go with it. So our little girl is Charley. She was such a sweet little thing, a snuggler, and of course very playful. She used to love to play with balls and noisemakers of just about any kind. I say, “used to,” because she doesn’t get to have squeaky toys anymore. It became a particular goal of hers to see just how quickly she could find and remove the squeaker in any toy. If I say we’ve gone through more than $100 in balls and toys, with or without squeakers, I would not be exaggerating at all. We thought we had outsmarted her when we realized there was a “chew rating” on many of the toys, and we started buying only toys rated at least an 8 or higher, for “aggressive chewers.” If I say she could ruin a chew toy rated #8 or higher in less than five minutes, I would not be exaggerating there, either. She has also chewed on the carpet, rugs, furniture and every bed/blanket/towel that we’ve tried to use in her kennel.