Thursday, April 16, 2020

Pandemic Diary Entry #6

Hi all,
A neighbor's weeping cherry, definitely in better shape than ours!
Sunday, April 12

I took the weekend off from keeping this real-time diary. From what I remember, on Saturday, April 11, I cleaned our family room, where we spend most of our waking hours. It really needed it. And my husband helped by moving furniture, so we could do a thorough job.

Burgers for dinner. Two episodes of Anne with an E on Netflix.

Sunday, April 12, of course, was Easter. Definitely the strangest Easter ever! Talked to both of our sons and also called my mother. We're trying to stay cheerful, but it's getting more difficult all the time.

We took a walk in the afternoon.

Still lovely everywhere, although the magnolias are losing their blossoms, and even some neighbors' daffodils are drooping and turning brown. Hey, it happens every spring, even though it's especially poignant this year. Ours are still going strong since they bloomed later than everyone else's.

Chicken legs on the grill for dinner. It's what we had on hand (hey, I ordered a ham on April 6th but that food delivery won't be here until April 18th!). Convention goes out the window during a pandemic.

My friend Jason (the record store owner -- @ElectricAvenueMusicWC) posted on FB a link to a scholarly article about the 1918 flu pandemic. What I found fascinating: Hemingway and Fitzgerald both lived through that pandemic, yet it didn't enter their subsequent writing.

Monday, April 13 (Day 33): Woke up with not only an aching jaw but a raging headache.

It was raining hard. Storms and wind all day. This is actually the first headache I've experienced since starting this diary. Headaches used to be the norm for me, especially before both of my brain aneurysm ruptures, and for a while before and after my brain surgery to repair my third aneurysm last May. Thankfully, they've been better these last six or eight months. Until today.

It's hard to photograph rain, isn't it? This is our deck.

This was definitely an atmospheric pressure headache. My husband jokes that I'm a human barometer. Resting with an ice pack on my forehead helped. Couldn't read all day. For me, a day without reading is like a day without eating. I watched some mindless TV.  I looked out the window a lot.

Do you ever feel like you're in a Demolition Derby and you're one of the cars being squashed? That's how I felt today.

Didn't accomplish anything all day. Headache was gone by late afternoon, thank goodness!

Leftovers for dinner.

Attended my first virtual book launch this evening, for my friend Ilene Wong (who writes YA novels under I.W. Gregorio) on Facebook (via Zoom), sponsored by Children's Book World in Haverford, PA.  It was fun! It was actually energizing. And I got to ask a question! I can't wait to read THIS IS MY BRAIN IN LOVE, which I pre-ordered way back in February. Hope it arrives soon!

Tuesday, April 14 (Day 34): No headache or aching jaw today, yay! Read for a while, did laundry and paid a few bills. Sounds boring, right?

Beginning to realize I've really lowered my expectations during this sheltering-in-place. If I accomplish ONE thing a day, I'm satisfied. If I accomplish two or three things, I'm ecstatic! And they're little things. One load of laundry? Check! Paid two bills? Check! Cooked dinner? Check! I feel like standing on a mountain top, shouting, "I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED MIRACLES!"

If you're a vegetarian, feel free to skip this next bit and go right to Wednesday.

Yes, this is what Spam looks like right out of the can.
Ugh, right? Believe me, it smells worse.
Neither of us have eaten Spam since we were children. From what I recall way back then, it was pretty disgusting stuff. But eaten with four different kinds of beans, doctored up with ketchup, brown sugar, a little maple syrup, vinegar, and dry mustard (my husband's aunt's recipe) it wasn't half bad. Sort of a cross between ham and a hot dog. Soft as a hot dog, anyway. It's only icky if you think about it too much!

Before cooking in the oven for an hour. Yes, it still looks disgusting.

The late Terry Jones of Monty Python fame (from

Why did we eat this tonight? Because I'm saving the shrimp for tomorrow and I still have one small package of chicken thighs in the freezer, which I'll take out for Thursday or Friday. By Saturday, we should have plenty of food again! I hope. (Don't worry, we're not starving -- still have eggs, cheese, peanut butter, crackers, six cans of tuna and at least eight cans of soup, plus seven or eight cans of vegetables. I've never been fond of canned vegetables, but if I'm hungry enough, I'll eat them!)

Isn't it fascinating that during a pandemic, food is close to all we think about? The procuring of food, the storing of food, the preparing of food, not simply the eating of food. And just think, I'm only trying to feed two people! My heart goes out to all of you with families at home, especially when you're both trying to work from home and the kids are going to school online. You are all heroes!

Wednesday, April 15 (Day 35):  Which also happens to be my birthday. And normally, if you're an American, you'd have had to file your income taxes by today, but this year you get a reprieve until July 15th.

A cold but sunny day after some morning rain. Undoubtedly the strangest birthday I've ever experienced, and those of you who've already had pandemic birthdays can understand why. Normally on my birthday we go to Longwood Gardens for the day, and then out to a nice restaurant for dinner. Not this year! Instead, my husband cooked us both eggs for breakfast. I read quite a bit this morning, talked to my mother and my sister on the phone this afternoon, and then we took a walk.

A neighbor's tree. Can anyone tell me what kind it is? I have no clue.

Another neighbor's front yard. I think this pink tree is an Eastern Redbud,
but I'm not sure. Still wish we had one, though. It's lovely.

For dinner, my husband cooked shrimp and pineapple on the grill. Yes, it was delicious!

And after dinner, we had a video call with both sons. It was wonderful to see their faces. I was trying not to cry, seeing them and hearing their voices at the same time. They both look healthy, and sound positive, and they not only wished me a happy birthday, but we talked for over half an hour.

They sent me e-gifts this morning, including an e-gift card to a local restaurant, for whenever we can get out of the house again and actually go out to eat. I love supporting local businesses. And they also generously donated to Feeding America in my name.

My sons are such inspiring young men!

UPDATE: My mother's lifecare facility reported zero new cases of coronavirus today! They're holding it steady at 24 cases. This is excellent news. Extreme measures do work!

COVID-19 STATS (from the WHO) as of April 15:

Countries affected: 213
Confirmed cases: 1,954,724
Confirmed deaths:  126,140

What about you? Are you holding up okay? Have enough food and supplies?


  1. I'm glad you had a good birthday. Your husband and sons all sound like good men.

    I resonated with this paragraph: "Isn't it fascinating that during a pandemic, food is close to all we think about? The procuring of food, the storing of food, the preparing of food, not simply the eating of food. And just think, I'm only trying to feed two people! My heart goes out to all of you with families at home, especially when you're both trying to work from home and the kids are going to school online. You are all heroes!"

    This is our situation, and someone is always at the refrigerator door, peering inside either hopefully or mournfully, depending on person and/or mood.

    1. Thank you, Michael! And that's exactly why I'm keeping this journal, although someone like you, with kids at home, should keep one too! You probably don't have a lot of time on your hands, though. Stay safe!

  2. Surviving here in Maine. Going for a walk with my son in a bit. Happy belated Birthday!!!

  3. Happy birthday! I'm glad you managed to have an alright birthday in spite of everything that's going on! Also, it's great that you're managing to make the most of the food you have on hand! And I love the pictures of all of the pink trees—I wish some more of the trees were blooming where I am! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    1. Thanks, Completely! We're blessed to live in a neighborhood with so many flowering trees. Also blessed to have enough food when so many people are struggling to feed their families.

  4. Seeing and talking to your kids is the best, but I really miss hugs. I'll bet you do too. Beautiful pictures of flowers and flowering trees. Glad you are doing so well. Stay well.

    1. Thanks, Rosi! Again, so sorry I missed your comment the first time around. It usually goes to my email for my approval. Don't know how yours slipped through. You miss hugs too. I'll bet! I've made only one TO DO list for the rest of 2020: 1) Survive the virus, and 2) Hug my kids!


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