Wednesday Bag o’ Prevention

plastic-bag-maskWe’re upping our face mask game. We’ve been wearing those blue disposable masks when we go out. We have a few washable cloth masks as well, some hand-made and a few store-brought, but they don’t have filters, just two or three layers of cloth, and probably wouldn’t filter out anything smaller than dust particles. With the highly infectious strains of COVID-19 coming our way we’ve been looking for something more effective. N95 masks are the gold standard, but they’re hard to get. Today I learned the Chinese KN95 masks they sell on Amazon are not to be trusted (there are some good ones, but good luck finding them). What we can get, and which are more effective than anything we have now, are cloth masks with insertable PM2.5 filters. I ordered some this morning. There’s some good info on masks here, if you’re considering upping your own game.

I’ve been busy with homeowners’ association stuff. Not nearly as busy as Donna, though, who’s been straightening out the treasury records, getting access to the bank accounts, and putting together the HOA’s annual budget. My big job was organizing and chairing the annual membership meeting, which we held via Webex Monday evening. Ours is a small HOA, 33 households in all, and I was worried we wouldn’t get the 51% (17 members) we needed for a quorum, online meetings still being new to a lot of folks. Hey, though, we got 18, and the meeting went off well.

There’s a gotcha to these online meetings, however, and it got us. One of our HOA board members had access to a Webex work account and set up the meeting. Since I was going to chair it, he sent me the login link and password. I in turn forwarded the link and password to all the homeowners a few days ahead of the meeting. The thing is, you can click on a Webex (or Zoom, or whatever) login link ahead of time. It’ll take you to a page announcing the time and date of the meeting, and since unbeknownst to me the neighbor with the Webex account was in California for work, the time on the Webex page was an hour off. In my announcement to HOA members, I said the meeting would start at 7 PM. Of course that’s 8 PM California time, so some of the residents who’d clicked the link early out of curiosity wound up checking in after the meeting was over. Oops. We’ll know better next time.

We woke to snow yesterday, a rare treat for southern Arizona. This was our view, shortly after sunrise. Look at that line of demarcation!


When we lived in Alaska, the first snowfall on the lower elevations of mountains (most of which keep snow on top all year round) was called termination dust: the signal that the summer construction season was over, time for contract workers to go back to the lower 48 for the winter.

A couple of hours after I took that photo, termination dust got down to our level.

Those big fat flakes built up quickly, and the accumulation on our neighbor’s roof looked to be two inches deep. Then the clouds passed, the sun came out, and the snow was gone in 20 minutes. The snow line on the Santa Catalinas to the north retreated to a higher level, and by this morning only the peaks are still covered … the foothills, which is what you see in the top photo (the peaks were in the clouds), are brown again. That may have been our winter, although with February still to come it’s possible we’ll get a second dusting of snow. I don’t want to jinx it … two snow days in a single Tucson winter is almost unheard of.

I cut the MAGAts (a category into which I lump trumpites, racists, anti-Semites, QAnon cultists, and most Republicans) out of my personal life and social media feeds a few years ago, but since the raid on the US Capitol on January 6th and Biden’s inauguration on the 20th, they’ve doubled and even tripled down on toxic comments to friends’ Facebook and Twitter posts. Never has the dictum been truer: don’t read the comments!

They’re shit people and they aren’t going to change, ever. If you haven’t cut them out of your lives, I have to ask what are you waiting for? There is no reasoning with these types. There is no unity. The best we can do is banish them politically and socially; let them stew in their Ameristan conclaves and make damn sure we keep voting in every election, local state and national, because they’ll always be outnumbered when we do. We didn’t turn out to keep them in their places in 2016 and look what happened. Take the pledge: never again!

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