This week Amy introduced the theme on Colors of Autumn.
Every autumn we enjoy the beauty of the brilliant colors. The mixture of red, purple, orange and yellow results from chemical processes that take place in the tree as the seasons change from summer to winter.
During the spring and summer, the leaves absorb the sunlight to transform the energy into the green color. But in the autumn, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their autumn splendor. Other chemical changes may occur which form additional colors through the development of red pigments. Some mixtures give rise to the reddish and purplish autumn colors of trees such as dogwoods and sumacs, while others give the sugar maple its brilliant orange.
Autumn is a great time for restaurants and stores to decorate their front with pumpkins and straw figures.
Families take their kids to the pumpkin farms and pick out their favorite pumpkins for Halloween carving or decoration.
My older granddaughter’s name is Autumn. Here are the colors of my granddaughter Autumn. She just turned four. Hubby and I went to her birthday celebration which took place last Saturday, a few days before her actual birthday.
When I talked about Autumn, I mostly talked about her reading. It’s just fair to show some photos of her doing other activities. My daughter Mercy and her hubby are aware of Autumn’s interest in reading. They want her to have a well-rounded development. Autumn is excellent in outdoor activities. She could hike for two miles. Before she turned three, she climbed rocks at the rock-climbing gym by herself, and zipped her hike up and down the slopped driveways on both sides of the street. It scared me when I watched the video my son-in-law took. I’m not opposed to little girls playing dressed-up and other girl’s activities. From the very beginning the kids’ lives, my daughter and son-in-law don’t want to limit the girls into a stenotype of development. I think Autumn can do whatever a boy could do, and more.
She just learned doing paddle boarding by herself since July this year. The background sound is Autumn’s baby sister Nora getting tired and fussing. I took the video in August when I went to Bend, Oregon and a national park with my daughter’s family.
Linda G. Hill at Life in progress posted the SoCS prompt on Friday, “Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘my.’ Start your post with the word ‘My.’ Bonus points if you end your post with ‘yours.’ Enjoy!“
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
My granddaughter Autumn will turn four on September 28, 2021. It’s amazing to watch how she learned during this young age.
As a teacher, I paid more attention to her reading development. My daughter Mercy and her husband, Will, started reading bedtime stories to her as soon as baby Autumn came home from the hospital. They wanted to establish the habit of reading to her. Books made with cloth or plastic are part of her toys. It turned out that Autumn developed the love of reading at a very young age. Before she turned two, she seemed to prefer books rather than the manipulative toys. Mercy had age-appropriate toys around for her, but she picked up books to flip the pages more often than to press the buttons for the musical toys. Her favorite books when she was around one year old were a set of ten nursery rhyme 2”x2” books. They were the right size for her small hands. She picked out the books one at a time, brought it to us, turned around and set on our laps. We sang the nursery rhymes to her as we flipped the pages. When we read her the picture books, she had her favorite pictures such as ball, apple, ducks, or dog. After we turned the pages further into the book, she flipped the pages back and pointed to the pictures to say the names. She seemed to focus on the details of the pictures and looked at them with intensity.
Autumn has kept up her interest in books. By three years old, she had a long attention span to listen to books with over 1,000 words. Even though she didn’t understand the concept or meaning of all the sentences, she picked up some simple meaning and words she could relate to. When we repeated reading the same book, she would interact by saying the names of the characters or actions corresponding to the illustrations. As we repeated reading the same book, she remembered more details.
The thematic books she enjoyed and found them funny were the Magic School Bus books. During one visit several months ago (when she was three and a half), she flipped through the Magic School Bus book on dinosaurs. She could name all the dinosaurs. The book made learning fun by inventing funny names with illustrations. One picture has a sock as the head and a body of a dinosaur and named it Sockasaurus. Another picture has a banana head and names Bananasaurus. We made it fun by inventing our own, such as named the fingers, Fingerasaurus.
My daughter takes her to the library to check out books. They checked out as many books as the library tote bag could hold. It’s about twenty-five books. We read at least half of them as soon as we came home. When we go somewhere in the car, she wants to have an entire bag of books available to read. I remember when she was around three years old, before we used book bags, she insisted to bring many books to the car. We tried to tell her to bring just a few, but she picked out a stack of about ten large size books and carried them, walking from the house to the car on her little feet. Well, how can we discourage her from the love of books?
The books are her lullaby. She would read until she falls asleep.
For a short while, I worried that she would only read books but not keeping a balance between books and other activities and social skills. But my worries puffed away when I watched her playing well with friends, enjoys hiking, rock climbing, biking, camping, swimming and other adventurous activities.
I saved boxes of books from my teaching days. I go through the books and bring the interest and vocabulary appropriate books to her on my visits to her. She knows I have something for her every time. She would ask, “What is in your bag, Grandma?” I would take out the books and say, “These books are yours.”
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The US President Biden announced on Thursday, July 29, 2021, that people will get $100 in payment to get vaccinated! Here’s the story leading up to the current news.
The Covid-19 Devastation
The first announcement of pandemic and lockdown in California was March 2020. In the following nine months, Covid cases and deaths throughout the nation spread like a plague. The entire world was in a helpless and desperate state as the scientist wasted in no time to find a solution. I developed a spreadsheet to track the numbers and paid attention to the cities, states, and countries where I have family and friends.
I canceled my trip in March 2020 to be with my daughter for the birth of my younger granddaughter, Nora. My husband and I didn’t go to my niece’s wedding in October 2020 in Hong Kong. We didn’t go to my husband’s niece’s wedding in November 2020 in New York.
We watched the news and waited. Then Pfizer and BioNTech announced on December 11, 2020, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of the mRNA vaccine against Covid-19. The authorizations of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were issued early in 2021. The news highlighted President Biden and Vice-president Harris received the vaccines.
People lined up for miles waiting to get the vaccination. Some even drove from New York to Florida to get their shots. In the months to come, individuals and organizations volunteered to make appointments for the folks who couldn’t get through the busy phone lines. Again, individuals and car rentals stepped up to give rides for many to the vaccination sites. Mobile clinics delivered vaccines to some hard-to-reach neighborhoods.
After the spring break for schools in 2021, the cases and deaths declined steadily, showing a sign of recovery in the society. There was such a relief of hope that life will become normal again. President Biden promised that there would be a July 4th Independent Day celebration. There was!
We watched the Washington D.C. spectacular fireworks with such excitement. I made up the lost time in visiting my daughter’s family. We have visited them and enjoyed the granddaughters in March, May, and June 2021, and have scheduled at least the next trips in August and September. Our church met in person on June 20. The adult fellowship and women’s groups scheduled different small group gatherings. I’ve attended almost two meetings a week. I also attended my chorale rehearsal held in a member’s backyard.
The month of July has seen Covid-19 cases in the United States increase at the fastest pace since last winter, marking the start of the latest wave of infections to afflict the nation. A new STAT analysis of Covid-19 case data reveals this new wave is already outpacing the spring and summer waves of 2020.
“The current COVID-19 surge in the U.S. – fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant – will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now.
“In that scenario, at the peak in mid-October, there would be around 60,000 cases and around 850 deaths each day. Each scenario also includes a range of how bad things could get – the very worst end of the range for the most likely scenario shows about 240,000 people getting infected and 4,000 people dying each day at the October peak, which would be almost as bad as last winter,” says Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina.
Lessler notes that there’s a lot of uncertainty in these projections and that how things play out depends on lots of factors.
Rochelle P. Walensky, Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out that the new surge became a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The outbreaks of cases in parts of the country are higher because of the high percentage of unvaccinated people who are at risk. And the communities that are fully vaccinated are generally doing well. The news reports showing that those being hospitalized or dying of covid-19 are overwhelmingly unvaccinated.
NPR reported that the vaccine rollout reached a critical stage in which most adults who wanted the vaccine have gotten it, but many others were holding out. There were 12 influential social media users have impacted the outcome. These 12 individuals are well known to both researchers and the social networks. They include anti-vaccine activists, alternative health entrepreneurs and physicians. Some of them run multiple accounts across the different platforms.
As of July 28, 2021, at least 189,494,180 people or 58% of the population have received at least one dose. Overall, 163,588,042 people or 50% of the population have been fully vaccinated.
On Thursday, July 29, President Biden called on state and local governments to use funds from his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to offer $100 payment to individuals as incentive to get vaccinated. The payments would be offered to newly vaccinated Americans.
Do incentives work? Yes… and no. Some people are motivated by cash incentive but some are not.
On May 27, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom launched the $116.5 million vaccine incentive program – the biggest in the nation – to boost vaccinations as California prepares to fully reopen the economy June 15, $100 million in $50 prepaid or grocery cards for the next two million newly vaccinated people, and $16.5 million in cash prizes for all vaccinated Californians.
Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery program, which offered $1-million prizes and full-ride four-year college scholarships to vaccinated people. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests lottery incentive programs do not increase the likelihood that individuals will become vaccinated.
Vaccination Mandate from Employers
President Biden announced Thursday a strict new vaccine requirement for US federal workers, the nation’s largest workforce with some two million people. The order requires employees to show proof of vaccination or be subjected to mandatory testing and masking. “This is an American tragedy. People are dying, and will die, who don’t have to die,” Biden said in the East Room of the White House.
After months of encouraging employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19, companies are beginning to roll out mandates – a dramatic escalation of Corporate America’s approach to halting the spread of the virus.
Here are the companies that have announced Covid-19 vaccine requirements for at least some of their employees:
Google, Facebook, Twitter (TWTR), Netflix, BlackRock (BAAPX), Morgan Stanley (MS), Delta, Disney, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Washington Post, Ascension Health, Lyft, and Uber. The list is growing.
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What do you think about vaccination?
Do I enjoy being poked by the needles? No, I don’t. I’m allergic to some unknown medications to me and my doctors. The allergic reaction caused inflammation to my entire body and I ended up in the hospital in March 2018 and November 2019. Yet, I signed up on three scheduling sites to line up for vaccination. I only got a sore arm from the first shot and a mild rash from the second shot.
My son-in-law is one who fears needles since a kid. My daughter and he signed up to fill the spots when individuals failed to show up for the vaccine. At the time they signed up, only the folks 65 and above were eligible. They received notification for the availability and went from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington to receive the vaccine. I was there visiting them when they had the second shot. My son-in-law rode his bike for more than an hour from his home to the clinic to take his mind off the fear of the needle.
During the sixteen months lockdown, the one frequently asked question was, “When can I go see my grandchildren?” I asked the same question many times. I only visited my granddaughters twice during the first twelve months of pandemic. My daughter and I had several discussions on this matter. We had the same understanding that I might be at risk of virus and could pass it on to the babies. For the benefit and well-being of everyone in the family, it was not wise for me to go.
Going to visit my granddaughters became my motivation to get vaccinated. I was so excited to receive the second vaccine several days before my trip to Nora’s first birthday. I had an allergic reaction after the second shot, but my daughter said one of her friends also had rash. After taking ibuprofen for several days, my rash went away.
Some people do not take the vaccine for medical reasons. A long-time friend suffered from the collapse of both lungs. One lung is nonfunctioning, and the other lung has 22% breathing capacity. The doctor didn’t recommend him to take the vaccine in case he had an allergic reaction which might worsen his breathing.
The vaccine incentive may not motivate all the unvaccinated people to take the vaccines. I hope that when large companies step up to require their employees to prove the vaccination status to return to work. This mandate plays a heavier weight on motivating people to take the vaccines even though it’s not their preference.
In the meantime, I wear the mask when going out to protect myself and others. Stay safe, my friends!
This week, Tina would like us to think about the various ways we create the images and show the same subject captured using different approaches.
I love visiting my daughter’s family in Portland, Oregon, especially during spring and autumn seasons. During my previous visit in May, my daughter and I went on walks once or twice a day. It was amazing to see the beautiful blooms in the neighborhood. I especially admired the rhododendrons and irises. The rhododendrons in my California neighborhood are bushes, whereas in Portland, they grow into trees as high as a two-story home.
The first photo is a close-up of the flower. As we walked further away from the plant, I took the view of the entire plant.
My other favorite flowers are irises of all kinds of colors. I gravitated toward darker purple and lilac colors. The name of this purple iris is Eleanor Roosevelt. The first photo is a single flower and the second shot is the patch of irises.
In my teaching days, I only went to the zoo on field trips for the students. My daughter and her friends have annual passes and take their kids to the zoo often. One of my favorite animals is giraffe. I took several shots following the giraffes as the three of them roamed around in their areas. I only captured the two that seemed to stay together.
There is an elementary school with a playground right across from my daughter’s house. Playgrounds are open to the public after school hours. Autumn’s favorite is climbing the net climber. It’s interesting to watch her trying to climb to the top and down when some ropes are close and some further apart. Autumn is an enthusiastic climber.
Nora is a good helper to her dad in gardening and mowing the lawn. She mowed the entire lawn by herself!
I visited my daughter’s family in Portland, Oregon for six days and had a wonderful time with my granddaughters. I asked my daughter and her hubby to take a short getaway to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Even though they didn’t go on an overnight trip, they took a day trip to a river for paddle boarding. Nora takes a nap every two hours. I got to spend time to watch The Little Mermaid with Autumn in the morning and did a project with her in the afternoon before their mommy and daddy returned.
On June 22, I flew home and expected to arrive in the early evening.
“Do we have any doctors or nurses on board? We need medical assistance.” A flight attendant announced on the speaker. The passengers in front of my row turned their heads around and kept looking. Apparently, something happened.
A slim, tall, middle-aged gentleman from the first-class section walked past my row and said, “I’m a doctor.” He continued to walk toward the back of the plane.
A few minutes went by, and he didn’t return to his seat. My curiosity nudged me to have a glimpse of what caused the commotion. I got up from my aisle seat to go to the restroom in the back of the plane.
The doctor stood in the aisle three rows behind mine, slightly leaned forward, looking at the woman in the middle seat. Behind the mask, the woman’s face was as pale as a piece of white paper. A flight attendant approached from the back, carrying a gray cylinder of oxygen tank. At the foot of the doctor, there was a red briefcase size first aid kit.
I walked slowly toward the restroom. The concern, questions, worries, and prayer came simultaneously to my head.
What a bad timing for this woman to be sick.
What kind of illness does she have?
Can the doctor and the flight attendant have enough resources to help this woman?
What if she has a serious condition that requires emergency landing?
God, help this woman to hang in there for a couple of hours so that we could reach our destination without delay.
The doctor and the flight attendant were in the middle of the aisle to leave me not too much room to squeeze through back to my seat. I stopped and leaned against an empty aisle seat. The woman’s white mask was replaced with the yellow mask connected to the oxygen tank. With a violently trembling hand, the woman held the mask covering her nose and mouth but lifted it up from the mouth a little to answer the doctor’s question. The flight attendant was holding a chart, and the doctor took a quick look and said something to her. Another flight attendant gave something and a cup of water to the woman. They then stopped and waited to see how she responded. I thought it would be a good time for me to return to my seat.
Shortly after that, the voice came from the speaker again. “Thank you for your patience when we had a medical situation. We will serve the snacks and beverage shortly.”
When the snacks and beverage cart came by, the woman at the window seat in my row said to the flight attendant, “I’m a nurse. If you need any help to follow up on that lady, I can help.”
“Thank you. She was afraid of heights. She had a vertigo and vomiting. With the doctor’s help, we gave her some medicine, and she seemed to do better. Her son is with her, and she handled it very well.”
“It’s good to know she is doing better,” the lady at the window seat said.
Ann-Christine’s Photo Challenge this week is Spots and Dots. She wants us to have fun with it! But, also recognize and enjoy the different interpretations, meanings and importance of these two little words. Spots and Dots. Because even if they are small…they can make a big difference.
I came back from a delightful Mother’s Day week visiting my daughter and the grandkids. My daughter Mercy talked with Autumn about Mother’s Day celebration and Autumn understood the relationship of mothers. She said, “My mommy is a mommy. You’re a mommy and you’re my mommy’s mommy. I’m not a mommy.”
Autumn loves to have the undivided attention of grandma. She has a huge appetite for books. On the days when she didn’t go to school, I read about ten books to her after breakfast. Then she played for a little while. Her latest favorite was building a fort with tunnels. She took out all the cushions from the couches to build the formation and covered them with blankets. She didn’t want my help but wanted me to watch (with attention).
Apparently, she has nap time at school, but she doesn’t take naps at home. Mercy wants her to have quiet time when Nora takes a nap. It’s also the time when Mercy takes a nap. It takes a lot of energy to care for a toddler and a baby.
There are boxes of books from my teaching days. I pick the age-appropriate books with me on each trip.
After the quiet time, I read another ten books to Autumn. She likes to listen to the same books over and over again, especially the books with longer text. She picks up more details of the stories from each repetition of reading.
The day is getting longer, and the sun doesn’t go down until about 8:00 p.m. We take the kids to a school playground across the street from the house. The neighbor next to the school has a home farm with chickens and six or seven goats. Many kids love to feed the goats.
After the walk or playground time, we read several more bedtime books to Autumn. She would ask to read “one more,” but we must be firm, otherwise, we’d be reading all night long.
In the afternoon on Mother’s Day, my daughter’s family, joined by another family went to the zoo. Autumn wanted to see the Polar Bear and carried the white stuffed bear with her. The Polar Bear was in the water under the cave for a long time but swam outside for a little while. I was glad that Autumn was not disappointed.
Nora turned one-year-old in March, so she is learning to climb the stairs and playing with different toys. She loves to follow her big sister and does the same thing. During the several days of my visit, she learned to do new things. It’s amazing to see the kids making so much progress at these ages.
There are many small dots of progress in the child development but in a long run there’s a huge impact in one’s life these small dots make. Research shows the first two years of a human life make the fastest and most growth within the shortest period compared to the remaining life span. As parents and careers, we could facilitate and make the small dots and spots colorful ones in the kids’ lives.
This is Autumn at the zoo. How many dots and spots can you see?
Nora was fascinating to watch all the spots and dots flowing in different directions. She was trying to catch some of them.
Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful week ahead!
The host for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #140 is Beth at https://wanderingdawgs.com and the theme is A Change of Scenery. We want to thank you, Beth.
A change of scenery can happen in a short distance such as from room to room, from outdoor to indoor or from indoor to around the neighborhood. But last week we changed a scenery from state to state.
Before leaving town, I took a few photos of the spring blossom in my garden. The Freesia was in full bloom. The plum trees just started blooming. It looks like we’d have a promising harvest this summer.
The scenery changed from sunny to rainy in the weather but our hearts are warmer.
My husband and I landed in Portland, Oregon last Thursday from California. We came for a week to spend time with our granddaughters. Our younger granddaughter Nora’s first birthday was Sunday, March 22. My daughter Mercy planned a party on Saturday in a park close to home. We had a wonderful time warming up with our granddaughters Autumn and Nora on the first two days. We had not seen them since October 2020. We canceled our trips for Thanksgiving and Christmas because of Covid.
It was pouring on Saturday early morning. Mercy changed the location to a school site with a covered area. We didn’t know how many people would show up. An hour before we left the house, the rain stopped.
Many families with kids came to the party. The school has a large playground for the kids. It was the first time some friends got together since Covid started. Both the grown-ups and kids had a wonderful time.
Later in the afternoon, the sky turned dark and it was pouring again. We were thankful that the rain stopped for a few hours so we could have a great party.
A friend made three dozen cupcakes for everyone. Mercy bought a small birthday cake for Nora. It was Nora’s first time to have cakes, and she sure loved it.