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Showing posts from March, 2020

The Time and Place for Love and Care

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For three weeks now, the Cooley household of two has been in strict, self-imposed isolation.As we isolate, I strive to maintain my sense of place in the world.That place has changed a bit lately.
What I do and decide affects others.I think about that.JS normally cleans our house once a month, but I decided not now – not until the pandemic is over.So I texted her (that’s her preferred mode of communication) to ask if she was okay and if she needed money; I said I could pay in advance for cleaning to be done next Fall or whenever.She texted back that she is good, no worries.
A friend later told me that JS is more concerned about being able to stay away from the virus than she is about money.She was frightened when she saw careless people still vacationing on Captiva.I will check back with her again soon.
I was concerned about my younger brother who lives alone in Tampa, because I had not heard from him or seen activity by him on Facebook for several days.So I called him about a week ago.Tu…

From the Front Lines to Peaceful Isolation

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The coronavirus pandemic makes me think of the Great Blizzard of 1978.  With this pandemic, my husband Tom and I are doing our part by maintaining a strict isolation.  We are staying at home, as far from the problem as possible, so that those on the front lines – the people who work in health care – are not hindered by us.
With the Great Blizzard, I was much closer to the front lines.Although my employer, The Ohio State University, shut down and cancelled classes for the first time in its history, the Student Health Center (along with the university hospitals) was the exception.We, the health center employees, were told to report to work because an outbreak of influenza had begun on campus, and sick students were coming to the center in spite of the horrible wintry weather.  I was a student as well, working to put myself through college.
The worst of the storm in Columbus happened overnight, as I recall.My neighbors and I woke up to about another foot of snow on the ground, on top of…

On Orchids: Musings by a non-expert

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I am not an expert in orchids.  Nor do I want to be.

My husband, Tom, started buying orchids many years ago, mostly from the garden center at the home improvement supply store.  He would bring these green friends home, and we would enjoy their company for a while.  But neither one of us would do much to care for them.  When we left for summer travels, we put the orchids out in the trees and wished them luck.  Almost all of them died.

Then we moved to a different house, in a different neighborhood.  I discovered that the pool cage at the new place is ideal for orchids.  This discovery was accidental, since I am not an expert in orchids.


Although they look good at first, the orchids from the home improvement store are poorly potted.  In the pool cage, the pots collected rainwater because they had no drain holes!  The orchids were drowning after every rain.  Inside the drainless pots, the orchids were crammed into cheap plastic pots that did have drain holes but were ugly and surely unco…

A step on the path to zero-emission electricity

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The Cooley household just received its ballot for voting on trustees for the Lee County Electric Cooperative board.  To my surprise, there is a contest on the ballot; two people are running for one seat.  That usually does not happen; these elections are generally uncontested.

The incumbent has a background in real estate and development with a B.S. degree in business administration from the University of Florida.  He has served on the LCEC board of trustees for 23 years.

The other candidate for the position is an electrical engineer, with experience in directing municipal utilities.  He's taught at Brown University, Northeastern University, Boston University, the Florida Institute of Technology, and more.  He has a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Alexandria University, and both master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Northeastern University, according to the bio that accompanied the ballot.

Being a science writer who worked for a research insti…

A Brilliant Idea

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On our islands, we love to complain about the electric company because of inexplicable or unexpected, but generally brief, power outages.But complain as we do, we are actually fortunate to have the electric company that we do, because we, the consumers, own it:the Lee County Electric Cooperative, or LCEC.
Some people have to buy their electricity from a big corporation, and some have to buy it from their local government.We buy from ourselves, essentially.It is true that LCEC buys almost all of its power from Florida Power and Light (FPL).But there is a tiny percentage generated by solar panels on homes and businesses within the 5-county LCEC service area.
That’s right – five counties.LCEC started in 1940 when a citrus grower in North Fort Myers sold his power plant to the first co-op members in the North Fort Myers area.Since then, the service area has steadily grown to include parts of Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Collier, and Broward counties.
I was one of several Sanibel leaders who …