Five Things Friday Vol.40

Five Things Friday: just five things I’m thinking about or things that made my week, or things that I otherwise feel like sharing.

I went on my (still bi-weekly) grocery run this morning and there were an alarming number of people in the stores without masks. I know, I know, the mask mandate has been lifted – basically everywhere -, but with the caveat that mask-wearing in most indoor settings is still strongly recommended. And for some reason, it speaks volumes to me that so many people feel that public health recommendations don’t apply to them.

On my way back from Europe, the guy next to me on the plane wore his mask diligently. I give him that, but he wore it diligently under his chin. The flight attendant reminded passengers multiple times that mask-wearing was mandatory on the flight. Why do some people still feel that mandatory means “optional” for them? And why do we lift public health mandates and replace them with recommendations when some people can’t even comply when it’s mandatory? I get it, we’re all tired of wearing masks, but in public settings where many, many people cross paths every day, it still very much makes sense to me.

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Speaking of the grocery store, I’ve been appreciating Suzanne’s grocery store reports recently and I can commiserate with her on the ludicrous price hikes over the last year, but especially recently. Are you feeling the inflation? I’ve been keeping a grocery price sheet for almost 1.5 years now and the increases are staggering. It feels like I’ve been adjusting the prices constantly. Sometimes it’s just a few cents, but sometimes it’s a lot more. I’ve lamented about how expensive food is in California and talked about the balance one has to find in trying to save at the grocery store and not compromise one’s values when it comes to feeding yourself, but it’s definitely a challenge. Sadly, our income has not really kept up with these increases and I am not in a position to negotiate salary.

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Remember my blog hosting woes a couple of months back? Well, after what felt like weeks of harassment to get me to upgrade to a more expensive hosting plan and threatening me with shutting down my blog, they apparently finally gave up.

I’d been told that my (tiny, personal) blog was exceeding shared hosting resources but they wouldn’t tell me what was causing this or help me fix the problem. I continued to refuse to upgrade and they finally gave me some recommendations on how to optimize my site. I implemented everything they suggested, but they kept saying that my blog was still causing problems (although I never experienced any problems when I accessed my blog URL or the backside, did you?). I threatened back that I was going to take my business elsewhere if they didn’t help me get to the bottom of this, or explain what is causing the resource usage. And well, I haven’t heard anything since and as far as I can tell, my blog is still here (and functional). Makes me wonder if that was just a bad “sales tactic” that didn’t work on me?

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If you know me a little bit by now, you know that I love spreadsheets. Excel and Google Sheets are my best buddies. I use Excel for work quite a bit and I have a gazillion spreadsheets for my personal stuff. I love formulas and a nice pie or line chart. Do you know what I don’t love? When the formulas and calculations get so complex that computing takes freakin’ forever because the dataset that I am working on (which, in fairness, happens only at work) is so huge. I consider myself pretty proficient in Excel, but any Excel wizards out there with some tips?

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Lastly, I don’t want you to think that I don’t have an opinion on what’s currently on the forefront of the news in the US. Earlier this week, Politico published a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, which would overturn Roe v. Wade. If you’re not in the US and don’t know what that means, Roe v. Wade was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

The official release is expected by early summer and the opinion could change, but if the court’s final opinion holds, abortion rights would be handed over to each state which would then decide whether and in which cases, if any, abortions would be legal. And it would make abortion illegal in many, many states. This is frightening stuff and it’s been a constant topic of conversation in our house in the last few days. There are a lot of people who have put together more coherent thoughts on this matter than I can at this moment (I alternate between frustration, anger, and outrage). You should definitely read Gabrielle’s aka DesignMom’s Twitter thread about abortion, or this one about women being blamed for unwanted pregnancies, or this thread about stupid decisions made by men (please read this one, it’s so spot on! Because where’s the man’s responsibility?). I also find that Steph also pretty much sums up what’s going on in my head (and she also shares some great resources to turn your anger into action).

Maybe I’ll write more about this sometime, maybe I won’t, but please know that this is something that has been on my mind all week and the bottom line is: this is not about babies. If it was, we would be having conversations about sex ed, access to birth control, maternity leave, and free health care and childcare.

To end with the words of George Carlin: “Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t wanna know about you. They don’t wanna hear from you. No neonatal care, no daycare, no Head Start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re pre-born, you’re fine, if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.”

TGIF! And to all the mothers out there, have a great Mother’s Day Weekend!

  1. It’s so upsetting to hear the news about rights to a safe abortion. I just cannot believe that this is where we are at, in 2022.

    I also cannot believe the escalation of food prices! I noticed this week that at Costco, butter is now $4.99 when it was $3.99 just last month, and a bag of avocados is $13.99, up from $8.99 last month. Isn’t that crazy? There are other things I noticed but those stand out as the biggest jumps in things that I purchase regularly.

    1. Yeah, I can’t believe we’re in 2022 and we have to worry about wars, abortion rights, and climate change and all the other things going on in the world. You’d think people would be smarter. This is the future after all.

  2. I just can’t believe how much everything is going up in price, but my paycheck is absolutely not going up. I’m considering taking a job that pays less to avoid some of the stress of my current job, but I honestly don’t know how our family budget will be able to handle that since the costs of everything are just creeping up. It’s hard out here.

    1. Yeah, that’s a dilemma. Work-life balance is so important, but so is the paycheck and that unfortunately has to be a consideration. I have no negotiating power where I am at (only through official promotions, which are also not that easy to come by).

  3. I was really bummed that the mask mandates on flights/public transportation was lifted the week of my work trip. Barely anyone wore masks on the flight but I did. Which means I was more so protecting others from getting what I potentially might have had v being protected from what others had. I have done some covid tests since then and it appears I did not get the virus but I was wishing I’d gotten my prophylactic antibody injections further ahead of the flight so I would have been more protected!

    Phil does all of our grocery shopping so I don’t get much insight into how prices have increased. He will comment on it sometimes, though. I feel bad for those who are living at the margins. We can handle the price increases but there are so many who can’t. :(

    1. I understand your frustration. While I am not dropping the mask anytime soon, I realize that I am more protecting others by doing that than protecting myself.. but I still thinks it’s better than going maskless.

  4. Well, Trump said he was going to take down Roe v. Wade and he meant it- a$$hole.
    Here in Florida most people have not been wearing masks for a while now. It seems like recently there’s been more Covid cases, but mostly people are saying it’s just like a cold. Maybe we’re at the end of this? Or at least at the end of “pandemic” and entering “endemic” phase. I hope so.

  5. It’s so hard to wrap my mind about Roe being overturned. And the way that can set a precedent for so many OTHER things to be overturned, not to mention the right to contraception, how it will affect IVF, etc. What world are we living in?! It’s frightening.

    I don’t know how families who were struggling BEFORE the inflation got so bad are doing now. Between the insane grocery prices and gas prices, it has to be so difficult for them. I am grateful that I can manage the uptick for now. I just hope some help comes soon.

  6. OMG, the mask not-wearing guy would have seriously tested me. I admire your restraint at not, I don’t know, forcing it up over his face. Sheesh.

    And thank you for giving voice to my thoughts about Roe v. Wade. I just… I’m so angry and horrified and disgusted and unfortunately not shocked. I can’t believe my nieces have fewer choices than i did at their age. I can, unfortunately, believe this is our country. Time to join together and fight back. Dammit.

    I can’t even get into prices, but yes. So. So. Hard. for so many. :(

  7. I was at the IKEA yesterday and there were a total of 4 people wearing mask. Two were the husband and I. So yes I get your frustration and a the anxiety. It git real great when the person behind me at the cashier was so close that he could look at me putting in the pin at the register. I mean WTF…. Thats not even cool without a pandemic. I feel like here in Germany Covid is over. Its annoying. But than, when is the right time to get used to not going crazy, wearing masks, desinfection. Its a fine line between being careful and being overcareful?!.

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