A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How are you? What a hard and weird week it’s been. So many people trying to grasp that our world is fundamentally changed, that we really have no idea when calls for self-isolation will end, that we don’t know when our kids will return to school (and many experts say it likely won’t happen this school year), that we can’t quite comprehend what’s coming.

I am mostly okay. I have kids to whom I can direct my attention, and who are an essential reason to remain calm and collected. I have work to occupy my mind. It’s easy for me to find things to be grateful for — like consistent electricity and internet even in the midst of a global pandemic. But still, I find myself sometimes overcome with sadness and discouragement and have to just sit for a minute and breath through it. I’m aware I’m not alone in this.

Sometimes we go to sleep here in France and wake up to major news in the U.S. that we missed while we slept. Today was one of those days. The first headlines I read were about Senators Burr and Loeffler selling off millions of dollars of stocks just before the market crashed, while publicly assuring Americans that everything was fine. I am so angry I can hardly form words about it. (And weirdly I’m grateful for the anger because it’s a great distraction from fear?)

I don’t know if we’ll be able to make it feel like a weekend at our house, but I hope we can. Because for a week where it feels like we didn’t do much, the whole family seems exhausted. I need to figure out a way to make the next couple days restful and restorative so that we can make it through another week of this.

Here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you. I tried hard to find a good mix of stuff so I won’t depress you. : )

Mass Panic Is Unlikely, Even During a Pandemic. “Sociologists found again and again and again and again that people are mostly pro-social in a disaster and they don’t panic. They help each other, they seek out information.”

-Despite what you may have read this week, the World Health Organization is NOT warning people against taking ibuprofen.

-“Outbreaks of disease often have gendered impacts…News reports and public health analysis suggest that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting women in a number of ways.”

-I’m Pinning All My Hopes On The Free Penguins In Chicago.

-The first coronavirus case in the U.S. and South Korea was detected on the same day. By late January, Seoul had medical companies starting to work on a diagnostic test — one was approved a week later. Today, the U.S. isn’t even close to meeting test demand.

– Feeling antsy at home? I find any work using a power-washer is helpful and satisfying. Or, we’ve been doing a lot of wallpaper peeling with a steamer.

-Senators push to let every American vote by mail as coronavirus keeps people home.

-Letting kids stay up as late as they want, as long as they are reading.

Here are a whole bunch of tweets I saved for you:

-A tweet calling for the “most fun books“.

-Yes please Queen Margrethe.


-Keeping occupied during lockdown.

Something to think about if you’ve signed anything lately that has a “force majeure” clause.

-A masterful thread about totwaffles.

Who are the key workers?

-A “let’s circle back” guy. Hahaha.

Maybe it should make coffee at home instead of stopping at Starbucks.

Related. Should Boeing be nationalized?

-Do you have access to a 3D printer? Maybe you can help.



-Important thread on bailing out giant corporations.

-It’s okay to feel disappointed.

-“…not pressuring myself to complete everything.” Hahahaha.

-This is a scary time for so many people in so many ways.

-A helpful thread if you need to connect with your neighbors who maybe you don’t know very well.

-“Almost as if it’s the people at the bottom who create wealth.”

I hope you have a restful weekend — whatever “weekend” looks like to you these days. I’ll meet you back here on Monday. I miss you already.


P.S. — Here are a bunch of tweets and links about the Republican insider trading news, in case you’re in the mood to feel angry.

Loeffler also purchased between $100,000 and $250,000 in Citrix, which offers popular teleworking software and has actually seen a slight bump in its stock price.


27 thoughts on “A Few Things”

    1. Thank you for all you do!!! I am a nurse and we also feel a little unappreciated. More like a “this is the job you chose so deal with it” attitude. Thanks to all who keep America running during this unsettling time. YOU ARE ALL APPRECIATED!!

      1. Julie, you definitely deserve more appreciation! It seems like every person working in healthcare through this pandemic needs some kind of national medal of bravery (and a big pay increase!).

        1. As someone sending a pediatrician off to work every day to try and ensure his patients have access to healthcare, thank you for saying this. He stood in the kitchen last night while I tried to keep tears at bay watching the national news and put his hand on mine and said “I’m going to do what I can for my patients and no matter what happens it’s going to be ok”. This from a man who has two …TWO masks he has to try and use over and over to keep some semblance of safety for himself and his patients.

    2. For sure! Go Librarians! Thank you!!

      And I’d love to hear what your work is like these days. My closest friend here in France works at our local library (it’s called the Mediateque). The doors are closed, and she’s been told she has to work from home — very challenging! What’s it like for you at the moment?

    3. Yes! Thank God for all the librarians and nurses around the world — we need to read…we actually need to read MORE to have an educated, kind society! We need nurses or the medical system would collapse. Thank yall for everything you do day in and day out!

  1. Thanks for all of the good shares. I am married to Mr. “Let’s skip the small talk and keep this meeting short, because I want to go for a run before the next round of rain”. He is the same person in every situation. I hope you find ways to make your weekend a weekend.

  2. I hear you: Burr and Loeffler’s greed literally took my breath away when I heard what they’d done. “Let them eat cake,” indeed.

  3. There’s also a Democrat (Feinstein) who was found to have done insider trading. Not just Republicans. Trying my best to be bi-partisan :) We will eventually get to the truth of all this.

    1. Jaclyn, I included a tweet that says if any Republicans OR Democrats benefitted financially while putting Americans at risk, they need to go.

      I’ve been following these stories, and the latest updates say that it doesn’t appear Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her husband did anything unethical or illegal — selling stock at its low point. But again, by all means, investigate her along with the three GOP senators who dumped their stocks. Investigate them all. The light disinfects.

      I think we’ve all seen the Democrats don’t hesitate investigating fellow Democrats — they want corruption rooted out across the board.

      On Burr and Loeffler there is no need to wait to “eventually get to the truth of all this.” They should resign immediately. Period. Then they can be investigated and if/when their corruption is proven, they’ll go to prison. They should not be allowed to continue “serving the public” in the meantime.

      I mean good lord Loeffler’s husband is the NYSE CEO. Did you see what she was tweeting out while simultaneously dumping her stocks? It’s blood curdling. She has ruined lives and deaths from covid-19 on her hands.

      1. Actually, Feinstein has her stocks in a blind trust, so she was not privy of what was being sold or not. ALL politicians should have their money and investments in blind trusts. It is the only honest way they should be allowed to have investments and make money while in office.

  4. We are in Rome and well into our social distancing. I have decided that we are celebrating ALL of the holidays. Pi day, the Ides of March, Artichoke day, St Patrick’s Day, Persian New Year, and Ravioli day. It gives us something to learn about and something new to do. So far so good. Tutto andro bene.

  5. Thank you for acknowledging the moments of sadness. Today I woke up feeling the weight, feeling so sad. We’ve been in our house isolated for a week and homeschool/work from home is going fine. I wish there could be less focus on that stuff (I know the people posting lists of things to do with kids or your “time off” mean well) and more on how to process the emotion.
    For me, the grief is the hardest part and it’s harmful to hear the message over and over that I’m failing by not staying optimistic.

  6. Interesting times, for sure. A note from National Geographic — the dolphins in Venice and the drunk elephants are not real images. I mention this because I currently teach a Photoshop class to 7th & 8th grade students and almost every class someone is awed and saying “woah!” at how images can be manipulated.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that! I’d been meaning to show my kids later, and I still will but with a different emphasis for sure!

  7. Thanks for all the links, Gabrielle. It has been such a weird week on so many levels–my head is spinning and my heart is breaking for all the unrest and grief and anxiety that is seeping into every corner of our human experience.

    As a flip side– this article from the WP talks about how men are dying at a much higher rate than women from COVID-19.

  8. Also, I came across this article that discusses a hypothetical pandemic situation that started being studied in the Bush administration–specifically, though, experts began a hypothetical spread test of a virus that originated in China and measured its spread beginning January of 2019, during the Trump administration. TRUMP KNEW. (more white hot anger) And did zilch, except proposed cuts to the CDC’s budget and eliminated the office that worked on pandemic prep.
    Here’s the article.

  9. You omitted one senator!!
    “Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California reported selling off stocks worth millions of dollars in the days before the coronavirus”

    1. Are you joking, Brittany? Is this supposed to be a gotcha comment? Here’s my exasperated response:

      1) This has already been covered in the comments. There aren’t that many comments, so it should have been easy to find.

      2) I didn’t “omit one senator”, I omitted three of them. 5 Senators were accused — 4 Republicans and 1 Democrat. But if you actually read the stories and not just the headlines, you’ll find (as I did) that two of the accusations are super serious — Burr and Loeffler — and the other 3 are much less serious and possibly not serious at all. Which is why I only mentioned Burr and Loeffler, and not the other 3 accusations (even though 2 are Republican — and your assumption is that I’m out to get Republicans.)

      3) If this is some sort of contest, which you seem to think it is, then it’s good news that a Democrat was accused. Because Democrats have a history of not hesitating to kick out one of their own if they are breaking the law. So if Feinstein did something wrong, Democrats won’t stand by her. But watch: Republicans will absolutely stand by Burr & Loeffler — even though their corruption is black and white and very clear. Republicans have shown over and over again that they are fine with corruption as long as it allows them to retain power.

      If Burr & Loeffler were Democrats, they would already have been pressured to resign. They would be gone. In contrast, Republicans have put zero pressure on Burr & Loeffler to resign. They aren’t even talking about this story and trying to deflect by blaming China for Trump’s horrific response to the covid-19 pandemic.

      Don’t believe me? Then explain to me how Jim Jordan is still a Republican Senator when dozens of students have verified that he KNEW about the wrestling sexual abuse and chose to do nothing about it. And then contrast that with how quickly Democrats kicked out Al Franken.

      I’m not out to get Republicans. There’s no need because they’ve effed things up all on their own. The current Republican party has lost any morals it once had. And it’s not me that’s saying that, it’s life-long Republicans — there are essays written about this in conservative publications regularly. If you’re out here defending the Republican party as it stands right now, or trying to act like what Burr & Loeffler did is fine by throwing Feinstein’s name around, that’s just gross.

  10. We live in extraordinary times. I am not seeing the overwhelming surge of human kindness that was apparent here in Australia during the recent bushfire crisis. There are people fighting over toilet paper in supermarkets aisles. Its nuts!

    It must be very hard to be separated from your children in this way Gabby but at least the French health system is in good shape.

  11. I’m still laughing about the link to let kids stay up as long as they want, as long as they are reading. Very timely, and I love it! Currently, my 14 year old is pretty mad at me because I won’t let her stay up all night on her phone. Worst mom ever right now. Thank you so much for sharing!

  12. I chuckled at your comment about consistent electricity and internet. We had snow at our house last Sunday (only three inches) but because the oak trees had already leafed out, a lot of trees came down. We lost power for about a day and a half. Self-isolating is definitely easier with electricity and internet!

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