Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another Book, Body Storage, and a New Project

I have just finished rereading Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. Admittedly, it was for a class, and I've read it more times than I can count, but this time I did something a little different because we were using an audiotape. Sometimes listening while reading makes me slow down and pay attention to things in the reading that I have not noticed before. That was true this time as well. Hemingway's economy of dialogue and ability to convey meaning without elaborate diction and syntax choices are always impressive, but I tend to overlook the pinpoint accuracy of his descriptions. This time through, I truly experienced being "at sea" with Santiago.

I have also begun another of the knitting projects on my "to do" list for the year--the Kiri shawl from KnitPicks Shimmer in the Turquoise Splendor colorway. This appears to be really bright, but since my working wardrobe (which is pretty much the same as my church/social wardrobe) tends to consist of black skirts and black pants, enlivened with bright bursts of gray, navy blue, and an occasional all-brown outfit, I thought I should have something that "pops." (Thanks, HGTV). I finished the first chart last night. I think I started it 4 or 5 times, including the time I had to frog after being on the next-to-last pattern row. However, the experience was valuable because I am not good at reading lace, and now I at last get the pattern. Part of the problem was that I couldn't find my package of lifeline dental floss. I replaced it yesterday, using the gift card to Dollar General that I received from participating in a pandemic flu survey.

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a survey that I think was government sponsored but was carried out by the nearest medical school. I was interested because my mother was a survivor of the 1918 epidemic--she was a child at the time. Her older sister went into premature labor and lost her first baby--she was in the prime age group that was hit so hard. I had heard stories all my life about how tough it was, so I was curious. The teacher next door had been having students do a research project that involved showing a film about that epidemic, so we both went.

The experience was interesting. The purpose was to discover how much people in rural areas know about a pandemic. The questions were pretty much of the "What would you do if?" variety: What would you do if you were isolated in your home for three weeks because someone in your family has the disease? What would you do if you were isolated in your home for three weeks because no one in your family has the disease, but others do? How much difficulty would you have living without electric service for three weeks? Do you have a three week supply of food for your family? Do you have a three week supply of water? Would you attempt to leave the community and go to a city? (They were pretty clear that this was a BAD idea.) Are you aware of planning for a pandemic in your community? In your school system? And the real kicker--In case of a pandemic and a member of your family dying at home (They were also clear that medical services were pretty pointless.) with mortuary services unavailable, could you store the body safely until it could be disposed of properly? Fortunately, I am a reader of mystery stories. . . .

I now have double the supply of food that I had been keeping in my pantry. I hadn't been keeping too much since I no longer have a family at home. I also am keeping an eye on the stock of firewood, and I've checked into recommended ways to store water. I feel kind of stupid doing this. I have not, however, bought body bags.

2 comments:

Carrie said...

You don't need the body bags with the backyard the way it is right now....

Windansea said...

Wow - we get all the earthquake preparedness advice out here, but nothing on pandemics so far. Now I can be paranoid about that...