Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pandemic Diary Entry #3

Yes, this is 8-year-old me, preparing for a future quarantine
 in which I'm forced to stay inside and read!

Pandemic Diary Entry #3

April 2, 2020

Hope everyone is staying healthy!

Monday, March 30: We received our first grocery delivery to our home. It was due to arrive between 6 and 9 pm (I had put in my order the Thursday before!), and the driver didn't drop off the bags in our garage until 10:45 pm! Which is normally about a half hour after my bedtime. We got more than I expected, though. We're going to try to eke it out for two weeks before we do any kind of shopping again. When we start to run out of food, there's always this (my husband bought it weeks ago!):

Cue the Spam Song!

Tuesday March 31:  I still miss my sons terribly, but I'm managing to find plenty to do. Walking (when it's not raining!), watching movies, cooking -- oh, and cleaning. Still cleaning. I try to clean one thing a day, not necessarily an entire room. One cabinet, or one closet, or a bathroom. Mostly, of course, these days, I'm reading.

Plus, I've learned a new skill: making dinner out of leftovers from several different meals, which often results in odd combinations, but occasionally delights us. I used to hate leftovers, but now I embrace them. Ask me about the stir fry dinner I made from half a boneless pork chop, sliced into tiny pieces, leftover pasta, and leftover peas, with a generous dollop of low-sodium soy sauce.

Wednesday, April 1: (Strangest April Fool's Day ever!) On our walk today, I couldn't help feeling our flowers are a little lacking compared to everyone else's. Yes, this is our sad flower bed in the front of the house. It's nearly empty for a reason: my husband removed all the overgrown hosta last year because it was a gourmet salad for the huge herds of deer that roam through our neighborhood, eating whatever they want. Bullies! Of course, they also eat hyacinths, so he's been spraying them with something this year. Don't ask.

As you can see, our daffodils aren't blooming yet. (Deer don't eat daffodils! That's why everyone in our neighborhood has them.) Our daffodils seem to bloom later than everyone else's, though. They always have. We suspect it's because when we planted the bulbs years ago, we followed the directions. Planted them six inches deep.

Thursday, April 2:

FINALLY, I finished reading The Overstory by Richard Powers, published in 2018 by W.W. Norton. It won the Pulitzer in 2019. What a stunning novel! Written in third person, it's long and sprawling and multi-layered, with multiple protagonists.

What's it about? In a word, trees! It's environmental fiction and it spans many decades, from the 1940s to the present.

Most of us realize we are connected with every living thing, but I'm afraid most of us think only of animals when we say "living things".  Like the polar bears and butterflies in my upcoming novel.

However, we are also connected to every plant, especially trees. Did you know they communicate with each other? That they help each other, as well as us? This novel is fascinating, even if keeping the many characters straight was a juggling act for me (since I read so slowly now). The story really takes off in Part 2 ("Trunk" -- Part 1 is "Roots", Part 3 is "Branches") when several of the characters from Part 1 meet up to protest logging companies that want to cut down old-growth forests.

This book has many quotable lines, but here's one of my favorites (from p. 443):  "You and the tree in your backyard come from a common ancestor. A billion and a half years ago, the two of you parted ways. But even now, after an immense journey in separate directions, that tree and you still share a quarter of your genes."

What have you read this week?

Have you learned any new skills this week?

Finally, a favor: If you can afford to do so, please donate some money to your local food bank. You can do this online. Not everyone can pay for groceries at a time like this.

COVID-19 STATS for April 2, 2020 (from WHO):

Countries affected: 206
Confirmed cases: 900,306
Confirmed deaths: 45,693

And if you're in the US and you're interested in seeing the predictions for the peak in your state, go here.

"It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics." George Bernard Shaw


  1. I'm still reading the same book The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith and playing way too much scrabble.

    1. Hi, Marcy. Scrabble is good for your brain! And it took me nearly a month to read The Overstory.

  2. Thank you for this diary. I finished a book called Olga's Story, about a woman who escaped the Soviets and then the Chinese Communists, and it made me wonder how on earth my Russian grandparents, contemporaries of this Olga, managed to make it out alive.
    Thanks also for the link to Covid. If Oregon is lucky, we will have comparatively few Covid deaths--hoping that our commitment to social distancing holds!

    1. Michael, Olga's Story sounds fascinating. And I'm intrigued about your Russian grandparents.

      You're welcome. Hoping Oregon avoids the worst. Keep up with that social distancing!

  3. I've heard about The Overstory, and I love the quote you mentioned; I had no idea how genetically similar I am to a tree! (Good timing to find out; I'll definitely remember that fact walking around the neighborhood as my main leave-the-house activity!) I love your idea for a stir-fry made out of leftovers! Also, I haven't learned any new skills this week (unless putting up with the glitches of Skype counts as a skill)! Thanks so much for the great post—good luck through all of this!

    1. I don't think anyone realizes how genetically similar we are to trees! Glad you walk around your neighborhood too. Thanks for your kind words, and good luck to you too! Stay healthy. (And someday, I hope you'll tell us your name!)


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