It’s COVID-19 USA 13-14-April-2020.

April 13: My daughter’s birthday. That’s cause to celebrate.

At her request, I don’t publish a lot about her. Suffice it to say that she has always amazed me, and I know she always will.


Before meditation, I check my phone for the weather. I want to be sure I can get a walk in after, and wind and rain storms are predicted.

Oh, joy. Two incredibly annoying messages pop up. One is from Mr. Barbados on Facebook. “Are you back yet?”

I find this using Facebook messenger to check in with someone when you are too freaking lazy to just go to the page and read the status updates to be rage-making. Irrational on my part, I know. But we all have our irrationalities. I’ve learned to not let this into my head for more than a minute. I debate about responding, “check my page.” Or even, “I find it supremely annoying that you are acting like you care about me when if you did care, you’d bother to check my stupid page, and if you really cared, you’d read the blog.”

I choose option 3: No response. Easy, breezy, done.

The second text demands a little more care. It’s a relative who I’m pretty sure is a Trumpeter. I’m very fond of him. He’s also not on FB, and I don’t expect him to be a loyal subscriber. But when the text says, “Are you back in democratic totalitarianism?”….well, I feel that deserves a crafted response.

So I write, “I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean. But yes, I have returned to the land of corporate welfare with a president who has endangered an entire demographic by referring to the ‘Chinese virus.’ ” I add a smiley face. Emojis: Passive Aggression Rendered Super Cute, and Ever MORE Passive Aggressive.

I love my family. If they want to seriously discuss what I believe politically, which has been arrived at following a lot of research and travel and talking to people across a big swath of humanity, I’m all in.

But….are you baiting me? Stop that.


Well, he wasn’t. Proven by the fact that I quickly receive a call. We have a fine chat in which I find out his politics are quite different than I thought. They’re not hugely in line with mine, but we can definitely talk.

I realize I’ve grown hyper defensive politically, like most of the people I know. Maybe, if we’d just listen and take the time to actually talk rather than go back and forth in increasingly heated texts or social media posts, we’d have a different and better world.

Who am I kidding? No maybe about it.

I’m glad he called. Very grown-up, that youngster, which helps me remember that I need to be as well.

Pantry Food

I find a recipe for a mostly pantry pasta. It was supposed to have asparagus, but blow me down if I didn’t waltz into Country Market and plumb forget it. However, broccoli and kale are on hand, as well as leftover “tabbouleh,” which is really a cauliflower salad that went with Mortification Chicken.

I’ve added the recipe, which is super easy, to the recipe section of the blog. I hadn’t planned to be adding a lot more cooking stuff, but today it feels right. So this link goes to Pantry Pasta Provençal. You can seriously throw anything into it, except Mortification Chicken. Which I heartily reco be donated to any scavenging critters round your place. With any luck, they’ll never come back.

pantry pasta provençal

What About the Children?

I decide to usher in my first distance learning class effort. In addition to my niece in Michigan and her 3 kids, I get my niece in San Francisco and her one kid on board. The SF kid—the last time we hung out, he told me he was from Fran-ya-cisco, though I’m sure he’d be utterly humiliated to hear this at the ripe old age of 7—wants to additionally organize a Friday online dance party with his distant cousins, so I promise him to do what I can.

I do a quick face time with the two groups. Their assignment for the day: Take a 5-minute walk around their respective houses, though in SF Kid’s case, he’ll be stepping out on his back deck. Notice things.

I remember a Simpsons episode where, with the family struggling for money, Marge says, “I’ll give piano lessons!” Her daughter Lisa says, “Mom, you don’t play the piano.” Marge replies, “I just have to stay one lesson ahead of the kids!” Pretty much my attitude.

From the Ridiculously Simple to the Sublime.

I work out. I have shoes AND don’t have to worry about bugging downstairs neighbors. It’s also a lot easier to work out in a 68 degree living room than in an 80 degree/high humidity bedroom. Small things. Amazing.

And then I get a ballet fix, courtesy of the Royal. There can never be too much Prokofiev in the world.

Bill Cunningham makes me happy. These unpublished Easter parade photos are worth several delightful minutes, longer if you choose.

Bill Cunningham photo; source, see link above

Next Day

April 14: I ask Steve that we reinstate coffee time. I come out from meditation and he’s hauled out our automatic coffee maker. I am so happy. As we’ve gone back to vacuum press and our espresso machine, I’ve missed our Mr. Coffee from Peru like crazy. When you have these tiny little moments of being perfectly in sync with your partner, it’s pretty awesome.

Mid-morning, I do my first multiple child teaching session. The youngest is a little slap happy to distance teach—kindergarten teachers, how do you do it?—and the oldest gets tired of being stuck with his younger sibs.

But my first grade pupil and I have a ball. It helps that my niece has an absolutely gorgeous globe, the kind made of polished stones. I’m as mesmerized as my great-niece as she slowly spins it and walks her fingers over the enormous deep blue ocean to Hawaii. We end up talking about what “do unto others” means and about what the earth is made of for over an hour and half. It’s a better conversation than I’ve had at many a cocktail party.

I get my next session planned with Mr. Fran-ya-cisco for tomorrow. One kid should be a piece of cake.

Shopping. Again.

I promise my son to make him a meatloaf. I absolutely do not want to go back to Country Market; I’m starting to habituate myself to staying in. But I go, only to find zero ground turkey or chicken at the store. Neither he or I wants to eat beef, and I pretty much promised my daughter I wouldn’t touch it. She worked on a cruelty-free cattle farm for a number of months. We went to visit her, and, well, once you’ve been around cows, it’s hard to imagine eating them any more than you’d eat a horse. I’m sure this is true for pretty much any animal, which is why I avoid cruelty-free pig farms. But….they’ll be the next thing I cut, I’m sure.

My son feeds a young rescue calf. The adult female cows have to be trained to nurse young calves because many of them have only been machine milked, so the calves need to supplement their diets with bottle feedings. I have beautiful pix of my son and daughter together, but, as I promised her, I keep them just for us.

Then again, the meat’s there; we’re not saving a cow by not eating it. Still, given the toll cattle farming takes on the environment, and remembering the big eyes of the gentle cattle, I can’t do it. I tell my son he’ll have to make do with beans. He too would rather eat beans than cows. Consequences be however noisy they will.


Teaching has worn me out. I finish up my post and decide, hell with it. Grilled tuna sandwiches for dinner, because honestly, they rock.

The Marcus Aurelius Moment* of April 13 and 14

From my daughter, that love is wild and unpredictable. You can’t chase it. That it takes tremendous courage. That it’s worth it. And that in the most difficult of times, music saves.

*In the first part of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman ruler details what various people in his life have taught him. To read the full intro to why I care about Marcus Aurelius, click here.