A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? Was it a strange week for you? I assume so because it’s been a strange week everywhere. This is unlike anything that has happened in our life times and it’s hard to know what to expect and how to properly react.

I’m going to jump right into links. Here are a few things I’ve been wanting to share with you. And I should tell you now, the vast majority are coronavirus related — some serious, some light-hearted, some calming, some infuriating, some very funny:

-Things change so fast. Last night President Macron spoke and cancelled all schools in France until further notice. (Pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, universities. ALL schools.) That of course includes the school my children attend.

-How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart.

-The Internet is not working for women and girls.

-“Soap-all sorts of it: liquid, solid, honeysuckle-scented, the versions inexplicably only marketed to men or women-is a badass, and even more routinely effective than hand sanitizer. We should be excited to use it, as much as possible.”

-Are your hands getting thrashed from all the hand-washing? Here’s a luxe hand lotion I originally found at Tail of the Yak in Berkeley — though it’s made in France. I keep the Rose Geranium on my nightstand. For something more sturdy and healing, I use Mom’s Stuff Piñon Salve.

The Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors. There are now simply too many patients for each one of them to receive adequate care.

-Hah. How To Work From Home Most Chaotically.

-You’ve probably seen jokes about how a quarantine period will mean a baby bump nine months down the road. Here’s something no one is joking about: The past few weeks have coincided with a surge in domestic violence.

-“I want to die young as late as possible,” writes Mary Pipher. “I don’t want to live beyond my energy level. I don’t want to suffer dementia or lie helpless in a hospital. I want to die while I still believe that others love me and that I am useful.”

-Hah! Check out these travel posters by Subpar Parks — they are cheeky illustrations of real one-star reviews of US National Parks. One dissatisfied visitor said of Zion National Park: “scenery is distant and impersonal”.

-Ugh. Ugh. An NPR Source says Trump blocked coronavirus testing in January to aid his reelection chances by keeping U.S. infection figures low.

-A disease specialist in Seattle had the ability (and instinct) to test for coronavirus as early as January. Officials told her she wasn’t allowed to test. She did it anyway and found a bunch of cases. So what happened? They told her to stop.

-When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t.

-Russia’s parliament voted Wednesday — 383 to 0 — to change the constitution so Putin can hold on to the presidency until 2036. That is to say, until he is in his 83rd year of life and 36th year in power.

-What if your partner wants fewer kids than you?

Here are some tweets I saved for you:

I relate to this SO MUCH.

-Because the president thought it would hurt his re-election.

-A thread on what experts are predicting since we haven’t even been able to, or allowed to, test for the virus.

-In comparison, here’s how the U.S. dealt with H1N1 timing-wise.

-On the bizarre travel ban that experts agree will likely do more harm than good. (More about the travel ban, reported by the NYTimes.)

-What to do when half the population is being brainwashed?

-Thinking about all the parents out there who don’t yet know how they will manage an unexpected, extended school break.

-Hahahaha. “I will not let it prevent you from learning quantum mechanics.”

-Having to explain to the kids that though it may seem like a school vacation, all the fun things that people like to do during vacation will be closed down too.

This is beautiful. I hope I’ll be able to notice and appreciate the moments of beauty that happen in reaction to the pandemic.

-When we’re frustrated with closures, let’s remember that this is an act of solidarity.

-Rita Wilson is crowd-sourcing a list of Quarantunes.

-So glad to see people remember that kids need to be fed, with or without school. When you see announcements like this in your area, please spread the word.

-I’m not a drinker, but I love the idea of people sharing the knowledge they have for things big and small. What knowledge could you share?

-Not everyone is safe when being stuck at home. “Home” is a place of violence for a whole lot of people — especially women and children.

-Little ways you can take care of yourself today.

-Love this! Let’s look for ways to be resourceful and creative — and share examples when we see them.


-Responses with books to read and shows to watch while self-quarantined.

-Hah! CoronaMojis.

-France has SUCH a hand-shaking, cheek-kissing greeting culture, that I imagine the whole country is feeling this loss.

-How to explain the importance of hand-washing to children.

I hope you have a healthy, calm weekend. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


13 thoughts on “A Few Things”

  1. so thankful for all the information you share! i am in the seattle area, and it feels surreal to experience everything — runs on all the paper products, soaps, non-perishables. and all the questions from my children who now will be at home until the end of april. but then i read all the links you share, and i tear up knowing how beautiful and funny humanity can be in times of crisis. the italian link was everything!

    1. I’m in Seattle too. I think the rest of the country is catching up. This has all been so surreal! (And I am totally going to the Canlis burger drive thru.)

  2. That POV expressed by Mary Pipher is so gross and sad. “I want to die while I still know that I am loved and useful.” Ugh. What kind of message does this send the abused and disabled–of all ages? I feel strongly that anyone who feels this way needs therapy ASAP. Someone’s worth is absolutely not bound up in who loves them or whether they are “useful” but in the bare fact that they are human. Doesn’t matter if they are alone in a nursing home or struggling with dementia or not. Such a disturbing worldview.

    1. I agree that everyone has value and use – but I think Mary’s opinion piece isn’t gross (by definition) or sad – it sounds as if she’s seriously contemplated death and what it means to her. I hope you read the full article – even if you disagree with her idea of death she has beautiful ideas about how to live (AND die) intentionally. She’s experienced the loss of others – who she surely would have loved to have around for as long as possible.To be fair, yes, I have watched people who were expected to die shortly live many years and see their children married and have grandchildren – and if they had left (died intentionally) when the pain was intense they would have missed out on the beauty of all of that. But I have also seen people suffer agonizingly while their loved ones were near death for months and practically but not quite comatose with drugs that are keeping them pain free, alive, and a shell of their former selves. She’s also not saying that her decision is for everyone, it is literally an opinion piece. It’s possible she’ll even change her mind one day. Thank goodness for agency, when we have access to it. I feel strongly that anyone who is very concerned about someone else’s choice that doesn’t affect them needs some introspection to see why they feel so uncomfortable. Meanwhile, I also feel strongly that almost EVERYONE needs therapy (not just people whose worldview i disagree with); it is wonderful and healing and a perfect opportunity to think through perspectives we don’t normally delve into. I love going to therapy!

  3. I’m really feeling for people in my little corner of the world. They have spent over a month of school holiday break shut inside with hazardous air quality from bush fire smoke, public events cancelled, shops and all manner of public and workplaces closed because smoke gets into buildings. We followed that up with an incredibly destructive storm late January. It’s had a marked effect on the collective psyche. The normal rhythm of summer holiday routines went out the window. No one started the year feeling refreshed. Kids were locked inside with closed windows during heat waves. And weeks later, tens of thousands of people are still dealing with insurance claims and repairs. A couple hours drive away whole towns were lost in the fires, so I can’t even imagine what their day to day life is.
    I want to see the caution and wise response to this new threat, and to see that we can flatten the curve, not overrun the medical systems and protect those most vulnerable. But it is hard to start another round of cancelling events and contemplating shutting ourselves off from everyone again. It’s such a strange time world wide, but things have been unusual here since December. I’m just hoping unusual doesn’t become the new normal.

  4. Thank you for these links!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the neighbors on that street in Italy who sang to each other! Man, that caught me in the heart!

    and 10 points to that teacher! Just wow, what an illustration!

  5. I’m in Seattle too. 2 new Covid-19 cases in West Seattle – less than 1 mile from my house. I have 2 kids out of school for at least 6 weeks. We are on day 2 and it’s been exhausting- my husband and I can work from home but also need to put in full time hours.

    I’m so FURIOUS the CDC stopped Dr. Chu from testing existing samples from the Seattle Flu Study – the study started last fall, so it would have been so easy to test the samples. I’m glad she did it anyway, even though they again told her to stop.

    Without the flu study researchers, and the genome sequencers at Fred Hutch, Washington would have been blindsided. Now, other state governments are sending samples to the clinical laboratory at University of Washington Virology for testing because the CDC labs are too slow. Fred Hutch and UW received a grant from the Gates Foundation to speed up testing and genome sequencing. Kaiser Permanente in Seattle has also announced a vaccine study/trial for people to join. Vaccine is still about a year away, but it might just developed here in Seattle…

    And, while it’s hard to be at home 6 weeks with a 1st grader and 7th grader out of school, both my husband and I can work from home. I have to remember that most people can’t. It’s hard on families who are low income, single earners, service employees. Families and kids who are food insecure will struggle. And sick people will go to work because they don’t have sick leave and they have to pay rent and buy groceries.

    Maybe it takes something like this for everyone to realize that a social safety net is not just a good idea, it can help save society. Paid sick leave. Free health care. It will make all the difference.

  6. I’m a small business owner in San Diego. During the past two weeks, one employee was out ill a few days – once for his toddler, and then a day for himself. He has employer-sponsored health insurance, but instead of going to the doctor here in the States ($50 co-pay for his visit), he decided to clock out early (docked pay) and drive to Tijuana to see a doctor (and later told me it took him five hours – so he returned home late, which I’m sure was a strain on his family at home). Another employee came into work yesterday with a cold, and while she told me she didn’t have a fever, I still had to ask her to go home, so she only worked one of her eight hours (and in this same pay period, she used two planned days off – more PTO being used).

    All our employees earn PTO (paid time off, which includes sick pay), but I get the feeling most employees aren’t saving those hours for days like these. I emailed my CPA/payroll guy about giving people extra paid hours, as needed (for being out sick, how that would be “proved” I wasn’t sure) but the response was that it could be portrayed as discrimination. There were more details involved, but the short answer was giving extra paid time off to anyone who’s been sick lately is not in my (employer’s) best interest. How messed up – I cannot help my employees!

    For me, the biggest thing is I want my employees to know we will take care of them – yes, we’re a small shop, but my key employees have been with us 20 and 15 years. And honestly, while they make a decent hourly wage (even for San Diego), I still think many people live paycheck-to-paycheck. I’m thinking as I type, but maybe when we all get out of this situation, I’ll just issue bonus checks to everyone. Just a check to say, this has been hard, and we all need this, especially if you had to take off time. I feel like I have to do something extra, and I have the means to do so.

  7. That domestic violence link expresses a worry that I’m finding hard to find outlet for. I keep thinking of people at home with abusive family members and the lack of support that getting out for school or work can provide. Or about kids whose only meals come from school lunch programs. Kids left home without supervision for long periods of time because their parents are working.

  8. Looking for ideas on how to homeschool my Spanish immersion kids. I’m not great at Spanish, but the oldest is 14 so she will be a big help to her 6 year old brother. They have schoolwork from their teachers, and I want to incorporate a lot of time for fun and special art projects.

    1. Duo lingo all the way! I have my immersion kids do a half hour a day. It’s free and the lessons are short and simple (a few minutes each) and the graphics are cute. Download the app on any device, or your computer. Also, your oldest could do CLEP practice tests. CLEP exams give you college credit, and high schoolers are eligible. Kind of like the AP exam, but bonus – no AP class is necessary! Also, if you don’t get a passing grade it’s not held against you. You just retake when ready. Actually … maybe all high schoolers should be taking practice tests over the next few weeks …

      1. Thank you for the resources Sarah – especially for the CLEP exams – my oldest is excited to try a practice test

  9. I was wary of more COVID news, but your collection was refreshing. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels like I’m both under and over reacting constantly. I’m very grateful fot the things that were able to happen recently- for you, ALT, for me visiting my best friend in another state.
    Thanks for the list. Stay well

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