Red, like many people, is concerned that between coronavirus fatigue, the desire to open things up, and the emergency approval of vaccines, people are becoming less diligent and more careless. Too many people are acting as if the worst is behind us although the experts are telling us that the worst is still to come. It reminds her of the children's story, "The Tortoise and the Hare." The idea that slow and steady wins the race.

Black, who in her corporate life used to crunch numbers to prove a point, recognizes that having good data is critical. Yes, everyone's excited about the new vaccines, but that's not an overnight solution. And testing remains critical. Until a large portion of the population has been vaccinated, Increases in the number of cases due to increased testing may continue. As long as the percentage of people who test positive is decreasing, then we're making progress, but that you still need to watch the hospitalization rates. It's also important to note where the increases occur. If they're in places where social distancing is extremely difficult (such as nursing homes, food-processing plants, and correctional facilities) then that skews the numbers, but stresses the ongoing need to test-trace-isolate.

Knowing that Red's eyes tend to glaze over when Black starts talking numbers, ratios, and statistics, she points out to Red that the decision-makers need to have "circuit breakers" in place. That way, if the numbers go in the "wrong" direction, appropriate action, and restrictions, are automatically implemented.

Red doesn't disagree, but points out the obvious …

Black's the pragmatic one and the data geek, not me.I'm a mom and concerned about my family, and all I want to know is how long we'll be on the COVID-19 roller coaster – we're opening up, then shutting down again, never knowing what's around the next curve.
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Red's Head

I can't believe that Halloween's almost here, and the house isn't already decorated. Can I use the fact this is the first year I'm an empty nester as an excuse?

Black's Head Black

Does that mean that you are not going to decorate?

Red's Head

No! But without Sawyer home asking about it or prodding me by pulling the decorations out of the garage, it's still just sitting on my "to do" list. But fall is my favorite time of year, and I love seeing the house with all the Halloween decorations, so it will happen.

Black's Head Black

I would think you could just put out the inflatables and be done with it.
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Image by Arseniy45 on iStock

Red's Head Red

I know Columbus Day is a federal holiday, so banks are closed, but otherwise, it's barely celebrated. Growing up, it seemed like it was an important part of fall, not only because we had off from school, but because I can still remember (yes, those straight-A student school memories) learning about America being discovered by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Especially since he was trying to find a new way to get to the "riches" of Asia (without having to sail around Africa) and found the Americas instead! I still recall hearing that some people thought the earth was flat and his ships would fall off, and although it may not have been many people – it still made a lasting impression. Regardless, he became one of the most famous explorers in history.

I love history, so I loved everything about the holiday and even remember the names of the three ships, Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, all these decades later. And although I've long forgotten most dates in history (after knowing them for the test, of course), the year 1492 is etched on my memory, as I suspect it is for many people.

Black's Head Black

Obviously, Red needs to "update" her history on Christopher Columbus, and I am not talking about "obscure facts" like that might not have been his real name. Information has been discovered (pun intended, although this is a serious situation), leading to significant discussion and controversy about Columbus "the person" versus the romanticized hero originally depicted in history books.

As you would expect from any explorer traveling the world, there would be encounters with indigenous people. However, historians now believe Columbus' interactions were despicable (my word, not theirs) due to his use of violence and slavery, and forcing people to become Christians. In addition, he exposed the New World to diseases and other complications in what is now referred to as the "Columbian Exchange."

So, in keeping with the spirit of today being a holiday to celebrate, a "replacement" holiday, Indigenous People's Day, was created. And, although technically not a federal holiday, it does fall on one and hopefully will help us all refocus. In fact, this past Friday, President Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day, stating,

"For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures. Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples' resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society."
Stock photo on iStock

It all started with a visit to Dunkin' (Donuts), which isn't an unusual event for me as I come from New York, and it has always been a part of my life (and explains why I struggle to call it by its "new" name). Even before I was old enough to drink coffee, I loved their donuts, and one of my favorite childhood memories is my dad coming home with a box of a dozen Dunkin' donuts (his favorite was the chocolate glaze and mine the Boston cream).

Now, fast forward to my recent visit to Dunkin', which didn't go as expected – on several fronts. But it had nothing to do with donuts. Rather, with coffee, which I drink all day long, although I'm very particular about how it's prepared. (I admit, that's an understatement.)

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