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My Mobile Home Gourmet Blog

Sunday 2020.3.29

Week Two

We are now in week two of this California directive to stay safe at home. Except for important necessities, such as shopping for food, filling prescriptions, or visits to the doctor's office, we're supposed to stay home. Not everyone does so.

One of my neighbors, a young man, sometimes walks down the street bouncing a basketball. He probably heads to a local park where people often play ball. Basketball is a contact sport. I worry. Then there is my neighbor who, with the help of her son, visits garbage dumpsters in the area to collect bottles and cans, which they bring home. I'm all for recycling. I'm careful to recycle my own discards. But those neighbors don't know the dangers, or don't care.

As of yesterday evening there are now 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19 here in the county. Some are right here in the town where I live. Costco is still a very popular shopping site and I have no doubts that the local store is one of the breeding grounds for local infections. I was in the store myself a few weeks ago and the crowds were alarming. I haven't been to Costco since then.

The number of sick here is low, very low, compared to other places like New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, any maybe most of Florida. However, we're a small town. What happens if during the next few weeks the number climbs to more than 1,000? It could happen.

Vietnam

I feel a little like I remember feeling during the time of the Vietnam war. I was of draft age. At age 18 I duly registered for the draft. I remember my mother crying. There was a lottery system back then. Every date of the year was randomly selected, like at a bingo game, and registered young men were called up for active duty per their birth date. I am thankful that my brother and I (we're twins) were not called. Our lottery number was too high.

The same sort of dread haunts me now. I try to be careful. I went shopping early last week and wore disposable rubber gloves. When I arrived home, I discarded the gloves in the trash and I still washed my hands.

A Frightening Development

Yesterday afternoon an ambulance took a neighbor's son to the hospital. She's the one I mentioned above, the one who goes out with her son to salvage bottles and cans for recycling. He has Down Syndrome; so there is no reason to expect him to know about proper personal hygiene. The two of them never wear protection when they go out. They bring back a shopping cart with their haul and she sorts them, never wearing gloves.

I don't know that he has COVID-19. Maybe not. But the risk is there and now I believe all the more that I am doing the right thing by staying away from that home. If he tests positive, she won't be far behind him. And if he does test positive, I can almost guarantee she won't comply with any self-quarantine order.

We Could Use a Little Comedy

Thoughts of Vietnam brought back memories of one of the popular TV shows of the time, Laugh-In. We needed some comic relief during that periode. I have many of the episodes on DVD. Maybe it's time to start watching them again, or maybe some of my favorite old movies like Harvey and Arsenic and Old Lace. I have quite a library of movies. TV shows too, like the complete set of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Laughter is good medicine for both the body and soul.

Chatting With Friends

Yesterday we enjoyed another meeting of our news discussion group, this time meeting in a video conferencing web site. The difference is amusing. Without restaurant patrons around us, we can speak more freely. And I'll say it again: It feels good to associate with friends while remaining safe at home.

And, Finally…

This week I recorded and uploaded another Kitchen Vlog, my second one about staying home amid this pandemic crisis. You can watch it with this link:

Or CLICK HERE.

And I did more cooking to put foods in the freezer. I made a pot of Clam Chowder, which I portioned and froze. I also made a large pot of Split Pea Soup using some of the serrano ham I have in the freezer. This week I'll probably use the last of the steaks in the freezer to make more Texas Beef Chili. And I have some frozen scallops in the freezer too. I'm thinking of using them to make Scallop Chowder. I might as well use up what I have.

I'm prepared to hunker down in my home for quite a while if necessary.

Wednesday 2020.3.25

Finally!

Costco finally decided to join other stores and offer special shopping hours for seniors. They didn't go as far at the others, but they did something. The senior hours are on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:00 to 9:00. It's better than nothing, and maybe Costco will offer more days later. Smart & Final opens for seniors every morning from 7:30 to 8:00.

However, I drove to Costco yesterday morning to see what the line outside the door would be like. It was huge! There had to be at least 200 people in the line as it snaked back and forth through the parking lot. And that was at 7:45, 15 minutes before opening. I didn't stop. I just kept driving and went home. At Smart & Final, the other store with senior shopping time, there was no line. And at Albertson's, another store where I shop, there were very few people in the store early in the morning.

I think Costco will be off limits for me until this pandemic thing slows down.

Chatting

I mentioned in Sunday's blog the chat room that was set up for us to meet. Using our computers with web cam and microphone, we can go into a web site that hosts the room for free. Up to four of us can meet. We can talk through our microphones and see one another on the screen. It's a convenient way to meet and chat during this time of social isolation.

Like anything, it has its occasional growing pains. One of the participants likes to host meetings for the others, but he has a job that sometimes keeps him really busy from early in the morning until late in the evening. There was a minor squabble over availability and too many interruptions that, thankfully, I wasn't a part of.

I get busy too. I was up early this morning writing this blog. However, when I'm busy I don't announce to the others that I will be in the chat room. Sometimes I don't even answer my phone when it rings. I know who is calling and if it's someone who likes to talk for an hour, I ignore the phone.

Phones

I started thinking about cell phones this morning. What was life like before cell phones? We had a "land line," meaning it was based in the house and connected to the phone company through a wire that was typically buried underground. We weren't available when we were shopping or at church or working out in the yard.

These days, however, everyone has a cell phone. We're expected to be available to others 24/7. I've heard the complaints. Someone says they tried to call and the other person says they went to the store and didn't have their phone with them. "Why didn't you bring your phone? I was trying to reach you?"

Sometimes I need to remind someone, "What would you have done 30 years ago when we were all using regular telephones?" I think the same might be true of this internet chat room thing. Because we all have computers and the internet, are we supposed to be available all day every day for conversation when someone has nothing to do and feels like chatting?

If I put the word out about wanting to chat, I'm thinking of saying something like, "I won't be busy this afternoon. I'll be available to chat for an hour starting around 2:00." I said to one person, "We need some boundaries." We love all this technology — cell phones, smart TVs, computers, the internet — but some of us love our privacy and quiet time too.

Finally

You might be wondering about that pineapple plant I was trying to root. I think it failed. The leaves all turned brown and I didn't see any additional root growth. There is a little green around the base, but that's it. I'll wait a little longer, but I think that plant will go into the trash. Oh well. It didn't cost anything to try.

Sunday 2020.3.22

COVID-19

Things changed here on Thursday evening. California Governor Gavin Newsom directed all Californians to stay home until further notice. Other than vital errands — shopping for food or going to the doctor, etc. — we're supposed to "shelter in place" at home.

The term shelter in place is being avoided in some places in the media because it is supposed to be reserved for emergency situations, such as a gunman in the neighborhood. I've been hearing stay safe at home occasionally.

I shot a new Kitchen Vlog video his week, in which I try to describe my situation here in Southern California dealing with the pandemic. You can view it with this graphic link:

Or CLICK HERE.

I'm thinking of doing these vlogs weekly, such as "Week 2 Avoiding COVID-19 at Home." Maybe I can talk about what I am doing to keep myself occupied and in a positive mood.

The directive from the governor changed things quite a bit. Now with everyone working from home (if they can) or just being at home more, everyday will be like a Saturday or Sunday when shopping. I will need to take advantage of those stores that offer special shopping times for seniors. The local Smart & Final store, where I do most of my shopping, set aside half an hour in the morning for seniors only. I wish Costco would do the same, although I shop there less often.

With the local university shut down and students advised to go home and study from there, the student population has gone down considerably. That will also make shopping easier. The student population, when classes are in session, adds more than 20,000 to the local residents.

Paranoia

I'm not sure how paranoid I'm supposed to be. People are asking how long the coronavirus lives on things like paper and cardboard. Should I wear gloves when I go get my mail? How long should I leave the mail in a safe place, maybe outdoors, before I handle it? I'm not that worried, but some of the reporting has me thinking about it.

The Silver Lining

It seems there is almost always a bright side to some of these darker events. I noticed an increase in the number of views my Mobile Home Gourmet videos are getting on YouTube. Check out this graph from this morning's analytics:

The gray area on the graph is my "typical" traffic during the week. The blue line is the actual number of views, now above average. Most of my views are from YouTube recommending my videos and nearly all of those views are non-subscribers. I imagine all content creators on YouTube are experiencing the same trending because with so many people staying home, they are probably spending more time on YouTube and other diversions.

Face Time

Yesterday was an excellent day. During the afternoon three of us were able to "meet" in the Chrome internet browser using a web site called whereby.com. It only took a few clicks and each of us was in a video window but all on the same page. We all have a web cam and microphone on our computers; so communicating was free and easy. And it was even better because if one of us wants a glass of water, we only need to walk into our own kitchen.

I was probably the least informed about this kind of communication. I never used Skype, let alone this odd web site I never heard of. I didn't even know my Logietech web cam has its own microphone. After I figured it all out, it was easy and pleasant to meet with my friends to discuss the news.

Normally, yesterday was not our Saturday to meet. We met last week and we were not scheduled to meet again until March 28. However, after the governor directed all California residents to stay home, we wondered how we might meet again. So yesterday we experimented with our computers to see if it might be possible to meet online. It is.

Sheltering safely at home, it's easy to feel isolated, especially when we live alone. It felt good to be connected yesterday.

Wednesday 2020.3.18

Shopping

As I mentioned in Sunday's blog, I try to shop early or late to avoid the crowds, even though there are no cases of COVID-19 here in Santa Barbara. Shopping is nonetheless an adventure. I've never seen the upper shelves at Costco so empty, and many of the lower shelves too. One store where I shopped this week is limiting packages of chicken and ground beef to one per customer. Many of their shelves were empty too.

Fortunately, I'm easy. I can buy one large flat of boneless chicken thighs and portion it for keto friendly meals. Frozen, the pieces last for weeks. I already have portioned lamb in the freezer. On Monday I took three steaks out to thaw for making Real Texas Chili.

Thankfully, no one is panic buying broccoli and Brussels sprouts — both of which I really like and eat a lot of. And as for toilet paper, I order those really large 9-inch rolls you see in public restrooms. A carton of 12 rolls will last 18 months. There are eight rolls in the cupboard.

A friend of mine went to the store at 6:30 in the morning to avoid the crowds, and the store was crowded. Some shelves were empty. I heard on the news that some stores in the country are setting aside shopping periods for seniors only. I'm hoping to see that here.

We're halfway through March. The Spring Equinox is Friday. In another six weeks we will be well into springtime. If COVID-19 fades like seasonal flu as we transition into summer, shopping will be much easier.

Domestic Projects

Spending more time at home, even though self-quarantine isn't necessary, can be a good time to do some of those household projects we've been putting off. One of my jobs is buttons. I bought six winter shirts at Costco several months ago. I noticed the buttons were not fastened in place securely. One fell off while I was with friends. Thankfully, I saw it and saved it. Now I am working through those shirts, securing the buttons.

It's also a good time to give my home another deep cleaning, not just the typical dusting and vacuuming. When we get some dry weather (it's been raining a lot lately) I might shampoo the carpets again.

And on good days I can always work outside in the yard. There are gophers to deal with and I need to start another set of flats of Dymondia clippings rooting.

As planned, yesterday I made a large pot of Texas Beef Chili. I was going to use my Instant Pot, but it's too small. Thankfully I still have my very excellent Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker. After making the chili I portioned it and put it in the freezer.

And something that might seem a little weird: I bought a 20-link package of Italian sausages at Costco. I rolled each link in a small piece of plastic wrap and then re-packaged them in ziplock bags. I use the sausage, half a link at a time, for my No-Crust Pizza. In case you haven't already figured it out, the idea is to stock my freezer with foods I can use for cooking in case it becomes even more important to shelter in place.

The Stock Market

Although I am not heavily invested in stocks and I do not have an IRA (or whatever it is that goes up and down with the market), I like to watch the market, especially in an election year. On Monday the Dow lost nearly 3,000 points, losing nearly 13% of its value — in one day! It recovered part of that loss yesterday. Today it is currently down by more than 1,000 points.

It is no secret that I hope to see Trump defeated in the election in November. When the economy is healthy, the incumbent has a good probability of re-election. The opposite is true when the economy is in decline. If the current trends continue, Joe Biden will likely be our president next year.

Honey

With all the rain we've been enjoying lately it was only a matter of time before ants moved indoors again. I saw them yesterday in my kitchen. I set up my usual bait of scrambled egg and boric acid powder. They didn't seem interested. Hmm. Could they be sugar ants this time, rather than protein? I made up a little tray of honey mixed with boric acid and placed it in a cupboard near their trail. They swarmed to it. Aha! The ants were gone this morning.

Sunday 2020.3.15

More Roots?

It appears my pineapple plant is starting to develop. The lighting for the following photograph wasn't good; it was a cloudy day, reducing contrast. However, after several attempts I was able to get a decent shot.

What I am hoping is that those threads are not simply fibers separating from the base of the plant but roots growing. I'll know more in coming weeks. I want to see them getting longer, and more of them.

More Cooking

Do you like crackers? I really like crackers, although I try my best not to eat them because they are all carbs and almost no nutrients. They are definitely not keto friendly. However, I'd like to know how to make them, good ones, at home. There must be a way.

Of course, I spent some time on YouTube looking at videos. I tried some.

First of all, I can eliminate the recipes that use baking powder. I can taste it. The crackers have a chemical flavor. I prefer using yeast. The formulas vary quite a bit among videos. Some are quite simple — flour, salt, leavening, and salt. Others a more complicated, using ingredients like pasta flour and cream of tartar.

I want to do something a little more special. How about cheese crackers? Think Cheez-Its. I ordered cheddar cheese powder from Amazon. Again, there are YouTube videos for similar crackers, some using real cheddar cheese. As I will be spending a lot of time inside my home, trying to avoid social gatherings, it might be a good time to experiment — not only with crackers but with some of the recipes in my cookbooks.

COVID-19

So far, there are no reported cases of coronavirus in the county where I live. A local web site says there were 15 people tested. Six of the tests came back negative. The results of the other nine are expected soon.

I don't mind staying in my home. I rarely feel "cabin fever." There is no need to self-quarantine because I am not ill. However, by staying away from people as much as possible — shopping for food early in the morning or late in the evening, avoiding crowded areas, even eating outside when I join a friend for lunch (weather permitting) — I hope to protect myself as much as possible. I now carry hand sanitizer with me when I do leave my home.

I'm not worried or afraid (and I didn't stock up on toilet paper). I prefer the word concern. It makes me feel diligent about washing my hands when I come home from the store and using hand sanitizer when I'm out with friends. You've seen it in my blogs before: I'll be 70 in about a year and a half. Thankfully, I don't have any underlying health issues, but I do feel the need for concern, lest I let my good hygiene habits slip.

I try to stay informed, but the TV news is not very helpful. Too many journalists seem to be more interested in sensationizing the virus rather than being informative about it. They interview "specialists" that like to recommend a 100% shutdown of the entire nation within seven days or millions of people will be dying outside of overcrowded hospitals. I don't know what would work best. I'm not an epidemiologist. I'm just a blogger who does cooking videos. However, I'd prefer helpful information rather than panic inducing sensationalism. Not all the news shows are bad. The best are those that bring in doctors to answer questions from viewers live on air.

Wednesday 2020.3.11

Are Those Roots?

Here is what I am watching on my potential pineapple plant:

I'm keeping an eye on those three little threads that appear to be developing on the base of the plant. It has been only 11 days since I stuck this thing in water. Some directions say to change the water regularly to help prevent mold from forming. Twice I drained the jar when the water started to look cloudy. I gave the jar and the plant a good rinse, and then filled the jar again with clean water.

My first milestone will be April 1st. If a decent root system has developed by then, I'll transplant the pineapple top to soil. Otherwise, I'll wait a little longer. There is no hurry.

This reminds me of a scene in my all-time favorite film, Harold and Maude. Maude and Harold are strolling through a greenhouse, admiring the plants. Maude says, "I like to watch things grow."

If you're not familiar with the movie, I highly recommend it. Harold has a fixation on death and stages suicides for his mother to discover. She mostly ignores him. When asked by his therapist, "Were they all done for your mother's benefit?" Harold responds, "No. No. I would not say benefit." At a funeral he meets Maude and the two become friends.

I watched it again this week.

And Speaking of Roots…

On Sunday afternoon I prepared for the rain predicted for this week (which started late Sunday evening). I planted the Dymondia I had started rooting several weeks ago. Only about half rooted, which proved that rooting hormone is a waste of time and money. I had better success without it.

I like to plant the ground cover before rain. I believe it gives it a good chance to take hold and thrive in my yard. There are supposed to be several days of rain or showers, right through the weekend. Next week, if it's sunny, I'll trim more of the Dymondia overgrowth from other parts of my yard and start more clippings rooting.

Meanwhile, I brought my deck chair indoors, even though it's under an awning, because this storm is supposed to be windy. The latest Rainfall and Reservoir Summary reported uneven rain in the region, from half and inch in some areas to nearly three inches in others. We are currently at 63% of our normal rainfall for the season. The seven-day forecast is predicting more rain next week. We'll take it.

Cloudburst

Yesterday was not a disappointment when it came to rain. During the noon hour there were periods when it rained cats and dogs. The downpour drummed on the roof and overspilled the gutters. I opened my drapes to watch the rain. My Dymondia received more than enough irrigation. And all the while I smiled, thinking, "This is why I enjoy retirement. I'm home, I'm warm, I'm dry, and I'm still receiving a monthly pension."

How About Something Trump-thetical?

Yesterday Trump floated the idea of 0% payroll taxes through the end of the year. Who does that help? It helps people who are working. What about those who have been laid off from the airline industry, ocean cruises, hospitality (hotels and restaurants), retail stores that depend upon tourism, etc.? How does it help people with no paid leave? So, who does it really help? It helps Trump (he always thinks of himself first) by buying him votes in November (he hopes).

More people are affected than he might realize. The man across the street owns a small tree triming business. When the economy goes down, fewer people call tree trimmers. He only pays his workers when there are jobs. When there is no work, his workers look for jobs elsewhere and if they find permanent employment, they won't return to the tree trimming business. So the neighbor must build his business all over again, hoping to find new qualified trimmers.

And, Finally, Yesterday's Mini-Super Tuesday

Early in the evening the speculators on TV were projecting Trump would win all six states. I stayed up as long as I could to watch the returns, but by the time I finally went to bed only three of the states were called in Biden's favor.

Another four critical states will be holding their primaries next week — Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio. Although there are three more months of primaries to observe, it appears Biden is now the presumptive winner of the Democratic nomination. Meanwhile, what will Bernie do? Will he concede, throwing his support behind Biden, or will he repeat his performance of 2016 and stay in the race, holding his supporters, until the last possible minute (costing Biden some potentially important voters)?

All eyes will turn to November to see if Biden can defeat Trump in the eletion. And if he does, then what? Will Trump go quietly or will he demand recount after recount before turning to the courts to fight the outcome of the election?

Sunday 2020.3.8

Happy Daylight Saving Time

Hopefully you remembered to spring forward this morning. I like this time of year. I suppose it comes from my childhood in New England when Daylight Saving Time meant another hour to play outdoors in the evening.

It even helps now when I occasionally do a cooking video. Although I don't spend as much time doing food photography, the extra daylight gives me more time to do photography using natural lighting.

Another Book Read

The books are coming out faster than I can read them. Sometimes it seems logarithmic — for each book about the White House I read, two more are published.

This past week I finished reading Sinking in the Swamp by Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng.

It's amusing at times, about the "minions and misfits" connected with the Trump White House. The authors claim their book is based upon interviews with 174 of the lesser luminaries, big and small, orbiting (past and present) the nation's president.

What's next? I acquired two new books: Code Red by E.J. Dionne Jr. (from the local library) and Dark Towers by David Enrich (from the internet).

I have a little to say about Code Red. I like e-books. I like having them in my e-book library. I probably won't read most of these books ever again, but they're handy when I want to look up something I read earlier. With an e-book I can do a word search.

So I scanned the pages of the Code Red book, passed it through an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) app, then imported the text into Sigil, where I build my own e-books. The project is nearly finishyed. Reading is as much proofreading because OCR software isn't perfect. So far, so good. There are a few errors to correct, but not many.

How is the Pineapple Plant Doing?

Compared to an early photograph (see my March 1 blog entry below), not well, maybe. The leaves are a lot browner now. There is some green, but compared to that earlier photograph, the plant might be dying. Or, maybe not. There looks like the beginning of a few roots forming. I'll know more in a week or two, and then maybe I can take another photograph. Keep in touch.

And, Finally, Some Weather, Finally

It hasn't rained in weeks here, and February is supposed to be our month for the most rain. However, starting today and continuing through Wednesday there is rain predicted. Then a few days of sunshine and possibly rain again my next weekend. My landscaping really needs it.

Wednesday 2020.3.4

Shellfish Chowder

A friend of mine called me with an idea for chowder. He saw fresh cockles and mussels in Costco and thought we should add them to my original recipe for Clam Chowder. He does these things often, but usually by the next day (or within an hour or so) he forgets or gets distracted by something else; so I don't make plans.

He called me the next day to say he bought the shellfish. So, now I'm committed. I went to Costco and bought shrimp and scallops.

On Monday morning I started the project well before he arrived (he's never on time). There was the BBQ grill to set up because he wanted to grill some of the shellfish. There was also some prep work to be done — chopping potatoes, onions, scallops, shrimp, etc. I started the chowder before he arrived, all while shooting the video of the project.

All went well. It was a delicious soup, very satisfying. And I am very pleased with the recipe. I doubt it will be popular on YouTube or this web site, but I believe it makes a good addition to my body of work. Would I make the chowder again? No. I prefer my original clam chowder.

I did enjoy one bowl. He wanted some to take home for his girlfriend. I told him to take as much as he wanted. He took nearly all of it. There was a little broth and only one piece of seafood left in the bottom of the pot; so I dumped it down the garbage disposal.

If you're interested in seeing the video, here is the link:

Or CLICK HERE.

It is currently unlisted on YouTube, but you can watch it now with the link above. On Sunday it will be published to the public.

Super Tuesday

The voting yesterday was a pleasant surprise. I, like many, was concerned that Bernie Sanders might run away with the nomination. I believe he cannot win against Trump and therefore that would guarantee Trump another four years in the White House. There was some reporting that the Russians were trying to help Sanders win, expecting it would help Trump in November.

It's still early, but this week appears to give Biden the momentum he needs to win the nomination. I believe he can defeat Trump. If you've read my blogs for a while, you know that I don't really care who wins the nomination as long as it is someone who can win in November. I think Biden is in the best position to do that.

Some takeaways from yesterday:

Elizabeth Warren couldn't win in her home state of Massachusetts. How much longer before she drops out? There is no path for victory for her. This morning there was a news report saying she is re-assessing her campaign.

Texas is turning blue. I stayed awake long enough to see Texas called for Biden, which happened at about 10:45 in the evening here. Could he win Texas in November? I don't think so. The number of voters who showed up to primary for Trump exceeded those who voted for Democrats, and probably many Texas Republicans stayed home, knowing Trump would be the clear winner. They'll show up in November.

Sanders will win California after all the votes are counted, which could take a week. However, Biden might come out with a slim majority of delegates going into next week's primaries.

And then this morning I learned Bloomberg dropped out after spending half a billion dollars. He's backing Biden now, which gives me confidence.

February Google Search Results

How did this website do in February? Air Fryer Marinated Chicken was again the most popular recipe, but not as popular as last month.

Finally, Coronavirus

It's getting closer. Two days ago there was a report that 30 people were quarantined in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. No positive tests yet, but I don't know if that is because they didn't test positive or there are no accurate test kits available in those counties.

Sunday 2020.3.1

So, How Are Your Stocks Doing?

It was a bearish week for the stock markets last week, and I suspect it ain't over yet. I'm not heavily invested in stocks. I have a small Fidelity account that has been there since I had a job. There is enough in there to buy a decent car; it won't make my heirs rich when the time comes.

Last week I had two real-time stock windows open on my computer as I watched the Dow Jones Industrials plummet day by day. There were periods of hopefulness. 26,000 seemed to be a trigger one of those days. It was followed by a short frenzy of buying. There were other green sweeps upward as some investors took advantage of the lower prices, but those gains were typically wiped out by the end of the day.

What does it portend, if anything?

First, the coronavirus concern isn't going away soon. The virus is too new. People don't know what it will do, other than infect more and more people. Will it be a winter thing like the flu and cold season? Or will it spread more rapidly during the summer heat? As it continues to spread, it will affect the world economy in increasing ways because of reductions in travel — both tourism and business travel. That will have a ripple effect in areas that depend on tourism for their economy — hotels, restaurants, airlines etc.

The swings in the stock market might settle down some, but I suspect the market will remain lower, and keep getting lower, as the virus impacts world economies. A vaccine might be at least a year to 18 months away; so look for the impact to remain in place during the 2020 election cycle.

And Speaking of Coronavirus…

I took out my bottle of Purell hand sanitizer. It was tucked away in the dark for a very long time. The expiration date on the bottom is August, 2000. I'm not sure how potent it might still be; so I added a little isopropyl alcohol to fortify it.

I have a little list of items where I keep my keys, wallet, etc. that reminds me of the items I want with me before I leave the house. I added Purell to the list this week. We don't need it yet here. There are currently no reported cases of coronavirus in this part of California (although I saw people wearing masks in Costco yesterday), but it's only a matter of time; so it's good to start thinking about carrying hand sanitizer eventually.

I also located my face mask. An N95 is recommended. Mine is an N100, purchased back when there was a lot of smoke in the air from a local fire. An N100 is supposed to filter out 99.97% of particulate matter in the air. Someone at our news discussion group yesterday said it is a single-use mask. "Read the instructions," he said. I read the instructions. There is nothing that says it can be used only one time. I'll risk using it again.

How might the virus affect the election this fall? The incumbent has a favorable probability of being re-elected when the economy is strong. However, when the markets are in decline, the challenger has better odds of being elected. The down-ballot races are affected as well. The Democrats could hold their majority in the House of Representatives and might win a majority in the Senate if the economy remains weak. It's too early to know.

Who Knew? (I didn't.)

A neighbor of mine occasionally gets more free food than she can use. She gives the extra away, sometimes to me. It's not always welcome, but I graciously accept it because she means well.

On Friday morning she brought over a bag of produce. After she left I waited until I heard the trash pickup truck coming around the corner. Then I threw most of the food in the bin because it was well past its prime. However, I kept the pineapple.

Did you know they're easy to grow? I didn't. When I was looking online for how to determine when a pineapple is ripe (they don't ripen after they're picked, and mine was quite green), I saw some information about growing them. I went onto YouTube and watched a few videos.

Some of the videos made the process look challenging; others made it look very simple. Although having a home-grown pineapple might be fun, I like the tropical look of the long green leaves. I thought it might make a pleasant addition to the pots on my deck, all of which are currently growing herbs. I already have a good pot, plenty large enough for a pineapple plant. So I followed the directions I saw in the video and placed the green top in water.

Supposedly it will develop roots in a few weeks and then can be planted in soil. Some directions say to just stick the pineapple top in moist soil, but I want to see roots grow before I transplant it.