This Pandemic Is For The Birds

We are moving into the sixth month of this pandemic. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. Exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally and intellectually – thank goodness not hygienically.

Many people are spending more time at home – whether that’s working remotely, practicing self isolation, quarantining or just being bored.

I’ve returned to the Center, but my wife has been working remotely since March. Susan’s home office looks out over our yard and garden. We have a pollinator garden as well as more than 100 vegetable and herb plants. There’s plenty of options to attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

A recent addition to our slice of paradise are the hummingbird feeders I installed in July. This week, I learned that hummingbirds are naturally territorial and aggressive. If you have a hummingbird feeder – or several, like we have – you can get one bird who acts as though the feeder area is his private domain.

We have one humming-bully, and we’ve named him Greg. He attacks all the other birds that attempt to visit the feeders, often crashing into them to drive them off. He must be the reincarnated form of many of the antimask people I meet. Selfish. Reckless. Endangering the lives of others. A bully.

We don’t like Greg. He’s a birdbrain.

Bully hummingbirds usually stake out a spot that gives them a good vantage point of their territory so they can easily defend it. We considered cutting down the tree limb he sits on and surveys his feeder landscape, but it is 25 feet in the air, so that’s not happening.

We moved the feeders closer together, creating an all-you-can-eat avian sugar-water buffet. Greg just sat in the tree, observed, waited and attacked.

Once again – the same behavior I see from people who ignore COVID-related scientific facts and logic, citing freedom as their only excuse. I’m not going to change Greg’s mind any more than I can change the belief system of antimaskers. But more and more stores and municipalities are implementing mask mandates, which gives us additional safe options to explore. I don’t know where people opposed to wearing masks shop; I just know they aren’t around my family.

OK – back to the birds. My wife thought her window into nature would bring her joy and peace. Instead, she’s been eaten up with anxiety. She feeds the birds to draw closer to the environment and to fill her heart with bliss. Greg was taking away my wife’s joy.

Bullies only have the power you give them. Susan wasn’t going to give Greg any more authority to bully the other birds. At first I thought her solution was a tennis racket, so I was relieved when we moved the feeders to different sides of the house. This way we hoped Greg would get too tired, and our plan worked. He was fatigued, gave up and let everyone eat in peace.

Six months into this pandemic, I know one thing – people, for the most point, have made up their minds. Last month I wrote, “Wearing a mask; not wearing a mask. Public safety. Personal freedom. I will get sick. I won’t get sick. CDC statistics. My cousin Steve’s statistics. The debate continues.”

You do not have to agree with me. It is my opinion. My belief system. My personal creed. My anti-COVID pledge. And by keeping myself safe, I keep you – our members – safe.

My friend Robyn told me recently that, “You care deeply about people – especially older adults. Your principles will not be compromised, and people know where you stand.”

She’s right. I stand with the CDC. With Dr. Dart. With Dr. Fauci.

Wear a mask. Save a life.

And stay tuned. October’s column will follow my squirrel situation. Susan wants me to build small picnic tables that I can affix to our trees for these cute rodents to eat their meals. Welcome to my own private pandemic zoo experience. If only I were kidding. …

Senior Center Offers Virtual Programming: Connect, Learn, Engage And Be Active

The BA Senior Center is offering new ways for members to connect, learn, engage and be active through a number of virtual program offerings beginning in September. These new programming opportunities are being offered on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Yoga Classes Streaming Live

Each of the Center’s yoga classes are now live streamed on the Center’s Facebook page. The July newsletter offered a description of each of our yoga classes taught by the Center’s certified yoga instructor, Tiffany Tran. Tune in and have access to all the sessions, live, at home on the day and hour they are offered:

  • Yin yoga – Mondays, 11 a.m. to noon
  • Soft yoga – Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Chair yoga – Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • Power yoga – Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

To learn more about the Center’s yoga classes, refer to the July newsletter on the Center’s website at www.baseniors.org.

 

Friday, Sept. 4, 7 p.m.

Meet the Author – Jacqueline Woodson

Join the conversation and expand the experience by participating in the community-wide reading initiative focusing on Jacqueline Woodson’s novel, “Red at the Bone.” Tulsa City-County Library system is hosting Woodson as she discusses her book. Copies of the book are available at your local Tulsa City-County Library.  Register to receive the Zoom link at https://events.tulsalibrary.org/event/4481286.

 

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 10 a.m.

ABC or XYZ – Making Sense of Medicare

If hearing about Medicare parts A, B, C and D makes about as much sense as XYZ, you could probably benefit from learning about how Medicare works. Join this session and discover the ins and outs of Medicare, including available insurance options. Just what is the difference between an advantage plan and supplemental insurance plans? How do you determine what choice is best for you? What about prescription coverage? Dealing with making decisions about health insurance can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Save yourself some time, and end the worries about making those health care coverage decisions by becoming informed. This education-only session presented by Chris Crawford with Humana will answer your questions using easy-to-understand language. Email ami@ baseniors.org for Zoom connection details and to register.

 

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 1 p.m.

Dolphins – Live from the Lagoon

Join lagoon-side at the Dolphin Research Center for an exciting and interactive session all about dolphins. A dolphin trainer will be chatting with you while conducting a training session with a dolphin. Be inspired by these magnificent marine mammals. Participants will be able to offer questions in the chat function to the trainer during and after the session. Email ami@baseniors.org for Zoom connection details and to register.

 

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m.

“Writing a Memory” – National Museum of Toys and Miniatures Toys can hold some of our most cherished memories. Join Kelly Burns, museum educator at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, as she shares the story of the Nettie Wells dollhouse and the special memories held by its items. Come to this session with a memory to share. The museum educates, inspires and delights adults and children through its collection and preservation of toys and miniatures. Located in Kansas City, Missouri, it contains the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures and one of the nation’s largest antique toy collections on public display. Email ami@baseniors.org for Zoom connection details and to register.

 

Thursday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m.

Virtual services through the Tulsa City-County Library

You may not be able to open the door to your local library right now, but the Tulsa City-County Library system continues to provide a wide variety of community resources on health, entertainment and learning for all ages. Join Tracy Scott with the library and discover the vast array of services and resources available online. From ebooks to homework help to story times to career preparation and more are available virtually with your library card at tulsalibrary.org. Email ami@baseniors.org for Zoom connection details and to register.

Coming To BASC? Review And Renew Our Commitment To Health And Safety

If you are planning on coming to the Center, we want you to know that our commitment to following safety protocols as established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local entities have remained steadfast. There is nothing more important during these challenging months than the health and safety of our members, staff and others who come to the Center.

Center staff recently met with board members, volunteers and activity leaders of programs being currently offered. We discussed and reviewed the importance

of the strict observance of Center policies and renewing commitments to following our Oath of Responsibility provided to members coming to the Center. The “Take the Pledge” document on page 10 more fully outlines our commitment to safety as we move forward. We are asking you to make the same commitment. Members coming to the Center will be asked to sign the pledge and take a copy home as a reminder to uphold the pledge every day.

The safety considerations for members, volunteers and staff continue to be the focus as we offer programming on the BA Senior Center campus. Here is what to expect when coming to the Center:

  • Parking is available in the back (west) parking lot to enter through the back door of the Center. This is the only available entry into the building.
  • The door will be unlocked 15 minutes before a class begins. Entry will not be permitted after an activity is scheduled to start.
  • Following social distancing guidelines is mandatory while entering the building, walking to the activity room, before, during and after class in the activity room and exiting the campus.
  • Wearing a mask is mandatory to enter and exit the building – car to car. Wearing a mask during exercise is up to the discretion of the exercise activity leader. Masks must be worn while waiting for the class to begin and immediately after the exercise activity has concluded. Masks must be worn during all other activities offered.
  • Temperature checks are completed as you enter the building and must be below 100.4 degrees to enter.
  • Sign in for classes at the station located near Centennial. The touch screens will not be in use.
  • Some classes require waiting in Heritage (lunchroom) until the previous class concludes. While waiting, social distancing guidelines must be followed.
  • When an exercise class concludes, exit immediately through the north doors that are down the steps in Centennial. If the activity is meeting in Heritage (lunchroom), exit through the north alcove doors. Wearing your mask and following social distancing guidelines during this time is mandatory.

Safety Is Our Most Important Concern At The Center

The BA Senior Center’s policies follow the same basic principles that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention touts:

  • Wear a mask;
  • Social distance;
  • Wash your hands;
  • Be smart about crowds.

“The safety of our members and staff is our highest priority. We are taking several precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Executive Director Sean Simpson. “We have limited the number of participants per group to 30 maximum per class, members are encouraged to bring their own water, snacks and hand sanitizer, and indoor access to use the restrooms is limited to two people at one time.”

“COVID-19 is a serious concern,” Simpson added. “This is a global pandemic and a public health crisis. We have 2,400 older adults that we’re responsible for every day. The fact that 96% of COVID-related fatalities in Oklahoma are over the age of 50 requires absolute adherence to create a safe environment.”

Circle Of Readers Discussion Group Schedules Upcoming Meetings

Join the Circle of Readers discussion group this fall, which will delve into the following books and topics:

  • Monday, Sept. 14: “A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the Spy Who Helped to Win WWII,” by Sonia  Purnell • nonfiction;
  • Monday, Sept. 28: Stay connected and discuss books recently read;
  • Monday, Oct. 5: “Mudbound,” by Hillary Jordan • historical fiction. The author will join this discussion;
  • Monday, Oct. 19: Stay connected and discuss books recently read;
  • Monday, Nov. 2: “Before We Were Yours,” by Lisa Wingate • historical fiction;
  • Monday, Dec. 7: “Before and After,” by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate • nonfiction;

All discussions are held on Zoom. If you are interested in joining the Circle of Readers group, send an email to the group’s leader, Dorothy Minor, at dorothyminor10@gmail.com.