Day Six, Masks: DIY are Better than Nothing


Well, maybe not this particular model.

I’ve been wanting to post something on this topic since my last shopping trip and have been gathering some reputable resources to share. This is pretty much an information dump, and hopefully for any of the handful of people who might read it, old news? If not, I’ll try to keep it simple.

Of course you should wear a mask when going out to any of our “essential service” purveyors, specifically the jam-packed grocery stores, and from now on if possible, I’m not going to go into a store with un-masked workers. Anyone who thinks about the urgings for us to cough into our elbows or a tissue knows that the healthcare community is hoping by doing so you’ll stop some of your droplets instead of spraying them freely into breathable space.

This article does a thoughtful examination of how we came to think that wearing masks would be of no avail. In a nutshell, to forestall panic-buying of an inadequate supply of an essential product, we were told that masks aren’t effective and should be saved for medical staff, the latter being absolutely true in our situation. Also, that we didn’t know how to use them properly. The unfortunate result is that many people continue to believe that other than N95, masks are useless.

Of course, because of this shortage you likely don’t have a mask at home. I’m fortunate Continue reading

Day Five: Wings


A weird thing about the whole chicken I bought yesterday. When Frank took it out of the butcher paper, it had no wings. A wingless, pink body.

I remember when I stood in front of the glass cases at Lunardi’s yesterday morning, happy to see the dozen or so lined up on the ice, that the chickens seemed both small and somehow compact, but I was more interested in getting the butcher’s attention, and actually relieved that there were fresh chickens available, than in studying poultry anatomy.

At dinner, the roasted chicken became a macabre metaphor for our current situation and lent itself to some gallows humor between Frank and me. Wings are his favorite part, and we joked how I was torturing him further to bring home a chicken with, as Dr. Seuss writes in The Sneetches, “none upon thars.” We laughed off the darker comparisons, though of course they remained. And I couldn’t help but wonder why Continue reading

Day Four: I Go to the Store


Sorry, but I need to say this first: DON’T FLUSH DISINFECTING WIPES!!! If you think staying home is hard, just try to imagine staying home and having the public sewage system backed-up. This, a warning from the State Water Resources Control Board–which I’d say goes for everywhere…

Anyway, I did hit the “time to go shopping” mark reaching the 1/4 full point on the milk carton, so, after consulting online for Lunardi’s and Whole Foods’ senior shopping hours yesterday, I completed a shopping list, planned my wardrobe–ponytail, hat, mask, gloves, easily laundered sweatshirt–and after lurching from bed at 6:45 this morning, washed down a cup of coffee and a quick bowl of cereal.

If you’re in the “senior” category, then you likely remember a TV show called “Super Market Sweep,” in which pairs of contestants are given unlimited shopping carts to fill in a limited time with the most valuable items. The camera follows the contestants, “They’re Continue reading

Day Three: Spring Came

What’s it like in your town? Here in the South Bay, voluminous clouds crowd the sky in shades of bright white to dove-gray allowing a brilliant blue to appear in patches that go on forever. Our Japanese cherry blossoms continue to unfurl, and among the barren hornbeams tip tiny flags of green. It’s the first day of spring, 2020. While so much else continues uncertain and threatening in the “world,” with no end in sight, it’s good to pay attention to that other world, the natural world in which we also live, and be reminded anew that seasons do change.

Day three has been a harder day for me so far. My husband and I actually boarded our own ShIP a week ago when 2 weeks seemed the cautionary limit, “an abundance of caution,” something no seems to be saying any more. Some sense of doom settled on me Continue reading

Day Two: Always Look for the Helpers

You knew I’d get around to Mr. Rogers before long, didn’t you?

Nope. Haven’t gone out to the stores yet. My gauge is the half-gallon milk jug in the refrigerator. Once it’s in the quarter-full (optimist’s view!) range, I’ll don my gloves and face mask and head out, probably not to Trader Joe’s, but some less-traveled market if possible. I hope to avoid lines, so if stores are still whack-o busy, I can always resort to oat milk from the pantry. After all…I bought it.

But speaking of Trader Joe’s, I don’t mean to point them out as bad guys. From all reports, they’re turning out to be one of the community helpers these days. According to a neighbor’s recent visit, seniors are being given special consideration, carts and hands are sprayed at the entrance and exit doors, plus shoppers were given a beautiful bunch of free flowers on their way out at his visit. Continue reading

Day One: Stay out of the Stores

Welcome to Day One of the Santa Clara County (aka Silicon Valley) government ordered Shelter in Place which officially began this morning at 12:01 a.m. This also marks Day One of daily blog posts, barring any nasty surprises. Also, rather unluckily, St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re looking for a vicarious view into a remote, other-worldly situation OR you’re in it with me and bored out of your mind, this is the place for you. Welcome. An obvious disclaimer: I’m nothing more than a neighbor leaning over a virtual fence. Please follow your own common sense. (rhyming couplet)

The curve-flattening edict, delivered yesterday, caught many by surprise, as did P. T.’s (he who will not be named) Friday declaration of National Emergency followed quickly by Continue reading