Happiness. Remember That?

. It seems a little whack-job-Pollyanna to be burbling about happiness in the middle of a plague that’s killing thousands. I can do the right-now-in-this-moment-I-am-happy bit and still do, but underneath it all is that pervasive dread of what’s coming next, a future which all experts assure us is going to be worse. And then it will get better. And then worse again. And then better. And two years from now, we’ll all be fine again. Except for the economy. And . . .

Okay, first of all, turn off the fucking news.

I’m pretty sure most everybody on here has already gotten the message that this is not a hoax and it’s not going to be just fine by Easter so for the love of god, stay home and wash your hands. And don’t touch your face. After that . . . well, no, that’s pretty much it. Unless you’re part of the medical profession or another necessary job–and thank you from the bottom of my heart for working through this–the best we can do is get out of other people’s way.

And now we’re home so we clean house and get rid of everything we don’t need and feel lighter for it. And we work on that TBR pile because if there was ever a time to escape to another world, it’s now, and we discover a lot of new authors and new worlds. And we go online and learn things we’ve always meant to learn, like French and yoga and the ukulele. And we call people we haven’t talked to in years, just to say, “Are you okay? I want you to be okay.” These are good things.

There are other good things: Pollution is easing in heavily populated areas because cars are off the road. Neighbors are stepping up to help others, regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation because in desperate times, people are just people and good people help each other. Politically, the importance of the safety net has never been more clear, and our hopelessly divided government is working out bipartisan legislation to help. Those things might change when the emergency eases, but I don’t think they’ll go back to the old ways completely. This is going to change us, and there’s a good bet that a lot of the change will be for the better.

So good things will come out of this, which doesn’t negate the fact that thousands will die, but the thousands of deaths don’t negate the good things, either.

So this week, without dismissing the harrowing times we’re in, let’s focus on the good stuff, sparse though it may be. Civilization is not going to fall, it’s just going to change. Same with us. You telling us things that made you happy this week is not you being a whack-job-Pollyanna. It’s you flexing a survival skill.

What made you happy this week?

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71 thoughts on “Happiness. Remember That?

  1. Maybe this is a the wrong thing to share in a happiness post, but I really appreciated this article

    That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief

    https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

    It kind of gave me permission to take a little time to get emotional and sad, even though no one I love is in immediate risk and my life is so much better and so much more secure than so many (always, but that is put in stark relief now). I tried not to wallow in it, but letting myself feel it helped.

    I went running yesterday morning and it was drizzly and cloudy, but it felt nice out temperature wise and I made it through the whole thing without my knees or shins aching.

    My younger son and I decluttered his book shelves and I was proud of him to be mature enough to let go of books he had outgrown. Plus, I pointed out that just means there is room for more books! He’s done it a little bit with his toys too, but of course, mean moms like me are always ready to get rid of more 😉

    This is the week that the cherry blossoms start to fall and the little green leaves start peeping out. I usually feel a bit wistful about that, but then I remind myself there’s always one morning when I wake up and the treelined streets are a tunnel of bright explosive green and it surprises me and delights me every spring. And now I know that morning is not too faraway.

    1. I have that same delightful feeling of surprise each year with the green explosion. Very soon (as my itchy eyes are telling me), this will happen to the trees behind our house. In the course of about three days, we’ll go from tiny buds to mid-bloom to full-on green canopy! I will up my antihistamines and enjoy the spectacular show :-).

    2. Maybe he should keep one or two that he particularly liked – even though he doesn’t read them anymore. My husband (birthday today -78) had a great nostalgia hit when he discovered some of his childhood books cleaning out his mom’s house. Of course, they were totally trashed since there were 3 younger siblings who also read them. And if you have a First Edition Harry Potter you might want to keep it to enrich your great grandchildren. Just imagine if you had a 1st(1865 – 23 exist it was withdrawn @ $3 million), 2nd (1866 -first edition not withdrawn @ $100,000) of Alice in Wonderland. It would be a nice income bonus.

  2. So much!
    ArghInk makes me happy.
    We’ve spent 5 days at home together and it’s not terrible (our ultimate covid19 isolation goal: no murder)
    Baking. So much baking. And walking, the whole neighbourhood is out walking, with polite 2m distances when passing.
    Ticket to Ride Europe, great game!
    So many brilliant online resources.
    Time to cook and try new recipes.
    None of that Sunday morning angst because we should be doing something with our weekend (year, life…where did it all go wrong? NB it hasn’t gone wrong).
    Living in a house with a garden, in a walkable neighbourhood, with internet and devices and games, activities, books, plenty of food. So lucky. So grateful.

    This v short film about high diving giraffes. https://youtu.be/nPrWo5pEvyk

    1. Not sure how many people you’re playing with, but one of my best friends and I are Ticket to Ride obsessed. So much so that we’ve played America, Europe, the expansion sets for both, Nordic countries, Switzerland, India, the Himalayas, France, & Germany, all multiple times (except for France, which was so confusing that I’ve never mustered the willingness to try again.) I highly recommend Nordic countries for three players or less. Switzerland is also for three players or less, and I like that one, too, but Nordic countries is definitely my favorite.

      1. We have both Ticket to Ride Europe and a game called Rail Baron. My husband much prefers Rail Baron. Although we have been playing Wingspan during the isolation period. And doing jigsaw puzzles, we received 7 for christmas.

      2. Right now, we’re playing with 3, about to try with 4. It’s a good one.

        We also love Dixit, which is shorter. I’m a big Catan fan, with extensions, but thought Ticket to Ride would be a better fit with the kids and so far so good.

  3. Our neighborhood came up with a “bear hunt” (from the book “Going on a Bear Hunt”), where folks put stuffed animals of all sorts in the windows for the kids to find. We started on Thursday after the rain, and will finish that piece up today. It was hopefully a fun activity for them.

    1. Our neighborhood is doing that too. My kids and I loved that book when it read first published. I’m happy it’s still popular.

  4. My ridiculous little guitar/ukelele hybrid is making my fingertips sore on my left hand from the strings, but I have learned six or seven chords, and it sounds so nice!

  5. Three sunny, warm days in a row made me really happy. I sat in the garden for breakfast and lunch, and just to read and soak up the sun. I got my raised beds made just before the lockdown – keeping a careful distance from first the handyman, then the soil delivery. Then planted the one at the back (can’t get the plants for the front at the moment).

    Went for a walk – the sun was uplighting the bare trees in a magical way. Talked to various friends. My niece rang to say she and her partner (great guy) have just got engaged. And my seedlings are thriving.

    I’ve got a mild under-the-weather feeling, so am not leaving the house, just in case. Hope they’ll vanish very soon, so I only need to restrict myself for a week. I really doubt it’s the virus, but can’t be certain. Really happy I’m settled in my new home, with colour and books and materials for creativity all around (although no extra spare time so far).

    1. I’m so glad you found that place. You went through hell to get it, but you’re making it such a great home. Makes me feel good to hear about it.

    2. I should start some seedlings. I don’t think of it simply because my raised beds are still under a couple feet of snow (which then dogs have been kind enough to pack down in the entire yard, so I’m thinking June before it all melts), but it is warmer every day, and there’s hope that it is melting.

  6. I have a cool happy this week – or, rather, my parents do. Someone bought their groceries for them! They went to town to stock up and just before my mom went to pay, this man stopped her and asked if he could pay for them. She was so shocked at first she didn’t understand what he wanted but finally she said yes. It was just over $100 so it was a nice savings for them. He told them, from a safe distance of course, that his church encourages people to do nice things for one another and he just decided to help them.

    I have been limiting myself to 2 news checks a day (and no reading stories that will make me mad) and 1-2 checks of the Alberta government website tracking the cases by geographic region/hospital reporting the case. So far no confirmed cases in my town but 6 where my parents are.

    Also making me happy are my goofy beasts, Argh people, and chewy lime vanilla cookies. I’m loving seeing pictures of the gardens of people in warmer climates, even if I am jealous. My garden is still under 3-4 feet of snow and more on the way. It makes it easier to stay inside when the weather is crumby.

    I am making a conscious effort to appreciate the time spent with a cat or 2 on my lap and absolutely no pressure to be anywhere or do anything.

    1. Reading quickly, I saw “my goofy breasts” and stopped for a closer look. Glad it was just your cats!

  7. I live in a camper van and when the pandemic really hit the news, I was in the middle of a cross-country journey, planning roughly to spend March in Texas, April in California, May in Oregon. I wound up coming straight to California and “camping” in the street outside of a friend’s house, but quarantined/isolated, until theoretically I wouldn’t be contagious. Yesterday was the end of my isolation and I got to take my first real shower in 19 days. Happiness is hot water!

    1. Sarah, I’m not sure if you would already know but a bunch of your books are on sale at Amazon right now, across multiple countries. I just picked up A Lonely Magic and A Gift of Grace.

      For anyone who hasn’t read A Gift of Ghosts yet, it looks like it’s currently free in the US. I can highly recommend it, and I know others here enjoyed it as well.

  8. Last night’s happy was calling my middle sister Sarah (with whom I have an occasionally tricky relationship) to check on her, and having my younger sister Becky call her five minutes later via cell. So Sarah put the house phone and the cell phone on speaker, and the three of us chatted for an hour! It was an unexpected bonus, even if we were mostly talking about the coronavirus and where everyone was at. (All good for the moment, although worries about jobs and money.) We all decided that we enjoyed it so much, we would do it on purpose next time, via Zoom, although Sarah made us agree not to activate the video part. Sigh.

    Yesterday my handyman (who is a semi-hermit woodworker who self-isolates even during normal times) came to plant some new shrubs and a tree I’d bought to (eventually) replace the large pines the town road crew came through and decimated right before this all hit. We stayed 6 feet apart for most of it, plus it started raining so I went inside after a while. But there are now three spindly little elderberry bushes, an even spindlier poplar (I was looking for things that would grow fast and bush out sideways, to fill in the ugly naked space) out front, along with four volunteer rhododendrons he dug up from an existing bush. Hopefully they’ll get settled in and the deer won’t get them, but it makes me happy to have something new growing there.

  9. My concentration and patience are shot, so I can’t focus on reading, and I’m yelling at my cats for doing cat things instead of just rolling my eyes at their antics. The closest to a happy I’ve got is that I’ve been making surgical masks with the folks at makemasksnow.org The mask-making is distracting and is so easy I don’t need concentration or patience, and the folks in the group (they have a Slack account) are very much like the Argh community. I’ve been helping, not just with the masks, but also with the sewing beginners who have sewing questions. It’s really encouraging to hear from folks who have never done much more than mend clothes with their machines, and yet they’re willing to tackle the mass-production of surgical masks to help out the health care providers and others (like nursing home aides and social workers doing home visits) who aren’t necessarily going to be exposed to COVID19 but are at risk of both transmitting and receiving the virus.

  10. What made me happy this week: I live in a small-ish town, and the elementary principal has a new job at a different school. Friday was his last day. (Schools have been closed since sometime last week). So, of course, he wasn’t able to say goodbye to his kids. So, he and some of the teachers got together & made a parade of cars–with signs in the windows–and they drove around through neighborhoods & he waved goodbye to the students. This brings me to tears. I love a small town. 🙂

  11. Well, I admit Happy was replacing my phone so I can drive around to nowhere and have private check-ins with friends. Also a zoom with friends in CT, and then a long long talk with my BFF in Seattle. Refreshing. Also some bright sunny days were great. We’re changing our hand towels, etc. every day, and we use a clothes line, so sunny days are great for that!

  12. My happy is that the cough with which I lived for several months is finally completely gone. Completely. That means any new cough may be a harbinger of the China Syndrome (yes, I’m calling it that.)

    It’s Sunday, and once again the dotter and I can’t go out to dinner, and neither of us want to – but both of us need groceries, so we might brave the wilds of a grocery store.

    On the other front, I’ve finished book 20 of Danger Cove Mysteries and I’m 31 chapters into If I Never Met You (IINMY). When I one-clicked IINMY, I accidentally bought the paperback – went back and one-clicked the Kindle version, but got distracted and didn’t cancel the other, so IINMY is now on my desk, but I did pick it up when I went to contemplate my bathroom decor.

    I have a “new” Heinlein to be read, waiting in the wings.

    1. I know it’s a movie reference, and I totally understand why we all need humor during this moment in time. I also think that right now, referring to anything about this virus/epidemic as being Chinese is really problematic.

      Pandemics have a long and nasty history of increasing discrimination against minorities and marginalized groups. There’s been a surge in reported hate crimes in Asian communities in the US, the UK, and doubtless other places over the last month+, fueled by pandemic-related racism & xenophobia. And in the US, we have an administration that basically rose to power using proto-fascist rhetoric that depicts immigrants and foreigners as being dirty “others.”

      It’s not an accident that Trump (and fellow right-wing xenophobes) have been insisting on calling this the “Chinese Virus,” or the “Kung Flu.” Using this language, instead of actual scientific terminology, is meant to inflame hatred and shift the blame from an infectious virus (the thing we should be fighting), to the people who were first infected. This language & xenophobia is fueling really bad public policy, which ultimately harms us all…but in the meantime, particularly harms those Asian people & communities, who have been experiencing violence, intimidation, threats, and fear as a direct result of this kind of rhetoric. Looking ahead, I am concerned about worse to come.

      To be clear, I don’t think that your language is intended the same way at all. But context matters, and right now, the context for using language that depicts this as a Chinese disease is really, really bad. So I hope you’ll reconsider.

  13. My dog is very happy. Her humans are home all the time and they only go out to take her for walks. This is a good year for pets.

    1. Until laid off workers run out of money to feed them. Then the numbers of abandoned animals will soar. It always does when times are tough. Donate to the animal rescues if you have a spare buck or two.

  14. DH and I went for a 3 mile walk in the sun and wind, and made it home before the sun was completely gone.

    Above mentioned wind took out our power, but the generator kicked right in and laundry day continued without a hitch.

    Got some groceries yesterday, so have nice things to eat, and a couple of good re-read ideas tempting me to a lazy afternoon.

  15. Hi-lo week of happiness. More high than low. I’m cooking more, stews, other recipes I haven’t made in years. Baking again. So out of practise. First banana loaf was a complete disaster. Too much butter, loaf pan was wrong size and still under cooked after cooking longer than recommended.

    Cherry trees are blooming. Roses and lilac tree leafing out.

    Daily plan for each day this week. Must have a guideline otherwise I’d read too much and snack too much.

  16. Got out in the garden today and planted seeds and a few plants and our elephant ear bulbs that we dug up at the beginning of last winter, we are running out of places to put them, dang those things put out the babies. I’m actually feeling much better today. I’ve worked from home for years so my job hasn’t changed any, and was crazy busy the first two weeks of the US coronovirus, slowed down a bit Thursday and Friday. Hubby repairs construction lasers and instruments and hasn’t slowed down a bit. MIL fell and we found her Saturday night a week ago, that has been beyond crazy. Can’t go in the hospital to see her, she has alzheimers and a UTI and it’s been so hard on them trying to make decisions without being able to even evaluate how she is really doing. Finally able to talk to a nurse that was actually caring for her and at her recommendation had her transfered to rehab. We can’t take anything to her not even her phone or clothes as the rehab is on lockdown, nothing in, nothing out.

  17. This week was a mixed bag, with my state going into lockdown on Wednesday. Our governor is a Republican but – I never thought I’d say this – I’m beginning to like him. He seems reasonably intelligent, he listens to the experts, and he talks about his concerns for the people, not the corporations. And he ordered the lockdown early enough it might actually do some good.

    In altogether happy news, I have baby lettuce, kale, beets and snap peas sprouting in my garden, and tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse. It’s spring!!

    I am trying hard to take time for self-care every day. The last few days I’ve been working on a long delayed woodworking project. Amazing how much better that makes me feel.

    Stay safe everyone.

  18. My happy is that since the library is closed they are allowing patrons to check out up to 50 kindle books and to put holds on 20! As soon as I finish a book, I hit the Return to Library function so someone else can have it. And I am trying to limit my check outs to less than 15 at a time.

  19. Happy that the 3 humans and the dog in my house got through week two successfully, except for a few grumbles about technology. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home. Despite it being very busy last week, I’m making sure I get out every day for a walk with my dog. I’ve been checking in with friends via text and managed FT with a friend in another province (as an extrovert, she’s having a much harder time than my introverted self). Focusing on the small things: grocery store had re-stocked DS’s favourite frozen pizza; chatted with DS about international oil prices as we drove to pick up drive-through A&W; and binge-watched “Virgin River” (Netflix series based on Robin Carr’s books) in bed.

  20. My niece is camera shy, so when we what’s apped her mother, my father and I had to laugh, when her mother when trying get her to say good bye inadvertently had to play hide and seek all over the house, then we saw her laughing as she disappeared behind her mother, her way of playing hide and seek with us.

  21. I’d love to stay home and finish the book I’m in the midst of writing, and the synopsis for my agent, but… I have to work. Liquor stores have been deemed necessary by NY, and thus we are open. I can walk there as it’s a minute away.

    A cleaning clients wants me to go and clean for him tomorrow, so into Manhattan I have to go.

    I also take care of the garbage and recycling for five buildings for my landlord. These people are pigs. They don’t follow guidelines, and they dump it when they feel like it, instead of trying to help ease the risk to the people taking care of their crap.

    For the love of everything, if you happen to be in an apartment building, please look up when pick up for garbage and recycling and put it down there on the day, by the curb if you see it there already. And put recycling in clear plastic bags. I risk my life almost daily trying to sort that mess. And no doubt so do many others.

    The only good this is I am healthy, so far. I live in a big apartment (entire ground floor). Upside is: only one roommate. Downside is: only one roommate. All airbnb cancelled for one room, and the girl subletting the other cut her trip short by three months because of the virus. So, I join the vast majority of NYC in how can I pay rent.

    But ultimately, the good part is talking with family in Australia and friends and staying healthy as you can.

    Also, my daily dose of Cuomo is making me and others feel good. So there’s that.

    Take care, everyone. And wash your hands.

  22. Well, I am finding a lot to do. I’m really enjoying the Arne and Carlos knitalong. I’m finding live shows to stream at night. I signed up for some classes/lectures, including two storytelling classes in April. I’m addicted to Pick-A-Card tarot readings on YouTube right now, all of which have came out very positive. If y’all need to find distractions, I’m posting stuff I find at fullmoon.typepad.com/whirlwind.

    The karaoke DJ did a trial run of karaoke via Zoom with me yesterday, so I have hopes that we’ll figure something out with that. And today I started a Virtual Readers Theater doing Midsummer Night’s Dream (I’m playing the wall, will make a cardboard one for this), so that was fun. And finally, my old director did get people to sign up for putting the show we would have done this spring as a Readers Theater. I’m really thrilled about that. Rehearsal starts Tuesday. My mom texted me to be all “not much happened today, what about you?” and I was all, I did a ton of stuff!

    As for the few friends/coworkers who are sick, they seem to be in a minor sense of the word, so no you-know-what yet.

    So, other than the agoraphobia, not wanting to exercise, random spontaneous crying and depression and my job being mostly its usual amount of stress and my missing the crush, who people keep asking me about how he’s doing and all I can say is “he’s not saying much to me these days” and I just kind of feel like I should leave him alone until this is over because there’s no point now…. Well, other than that shit, I am doing pretty well. At times. You know? How are you defining fine, exactly?

  23. Made my boss (and his manager) happy on Monday by telling him during our over-due one-on-one that instead of retiring this coming Wednesday as planned, I would like to stay on for another two months so that I could finish up my current projects and do some cross-training. My reason for retiring was to get out of the house, join a gym, do some volunteer work, spend more time with my granddaughter and reduce stress – none of which is possible right now. We all work from home and are working on some very tight deadlines. I did negotiate a reduction in stress by getting off of the on-call rotation.

    Moments of happiness in our house-
    – Thursday morning: husband heads downstairs to his studio/office followed by “his” cat while I headed upstairs followed by “my” cat.
    – Face-timing with daughter and three year old granddaughter every other evening; it used to be once every three weeks or so.
    – Long whatsapp (complete with video) conversation with our first exchange student, who is now living in Spain. Seeing her kids run around in their garden and the beautiful weather they are having there (they are locked down too).
    – Also had a nice (though shorter) call with a friend and his family in Kenya.

    Waving at the neighbors; reconnecting with distant friends.

  24. I am happy that my job is considered to be in an essential occupation so I still have a pay check coming in. The really nice thing is that my employer just announced that, in order to reduce stress among the employees, beginning this week, all employees will only work a 4 day work week. They are giving us all a paid day off to help us decompress. We do not have to use our personal/vacation leave for this either. So, for the next two weeks (so far) I can plan on a shorter work week. Maybe, just maybe I will feel motivated to start spring cleaning on my extra day off!

  25. I guess you don’t care too much for more coronavirus stuff, but something that has made me really happy for the last few days is the extent of help that we get concerning our social center. We had to close it due to government restrictions (no arguing here, it totally makes sense) but worried about what might happen to the 140 or so families that regularly receive food once a month.

    Well, not only did we find a while group of volunteers who fetch, pack, and deliver bags of food to these people, we also receive donations to buy more. Usually, we pick up a lot of things from local stores when the “best before” date is running out or they give us surplus amounts of fruit and vegetables, but when the hoarding began, these donations really faded out. Now we will be able to keep up the service as long as we need to, while our second hand shops – a major part of our earnings – stay closed.

    Of course this will not really make up for the loss of human relations that people would find in our café, but at least they do not have to pay an additional price for the problems this crisis has caused.

  26. My daffodils are blooming; they’re one of my favorites. Also a couple of primroses.

    I walk Tantaka every morning and will be trying to get out in the afternoon, weather permitting.

    We had our first thunderstorm this morning so I guess Spring really is here.

    I should be cleaning/decluttering, but I just don’t feel it. So, I’m not doing it.

  27. This has been a tough week for me. My blood sugar is not cooperating so I’m hungry. Hungry = grouchy. Plus, for the first time in so many years, I’m resenting being alone. I love being alone, y’all. I can always find things to do. But this enforced aloneness is irritating. Possibly because I’m also hungry!

    However, Daughter #2 came home for the weekend so I wouldn’t be alone all the time. She is sheltering in place at her dad’s house (better internet for school) and they are also working from home so the risk of her going back and forth seems minimal.

    I’m thinking of spending my stimulus money on a serger. Does that seem irresponsible? Should I only buy food and TP? I dream of the kind of seams a serger could give me.

  28. My happiness this week is getting another bookcase in my bedroom. My husband started a decluttering downsizing project and gave me one of his that matches one I already had. All my paperbacks were double and triple shelved in one so I was able to put them all in alphabetical order by author so now I can easily find the ones I want and I can see what I have. Previously I had to practically unpack the whole bookcase to find anything. I filled up the entire new bookcase with my existing books. It is just so satisfying that I smile every time I see it. This in spite of being surrounded by all the chaos the rest of the house is in during the sorting and staging of his keep or discard project. It makes me ridiculously happy as does reading everyone else’s comments here. Stay safe!

  29. I, too, am not suffering much during the lockdown. Walks around my trailer park chatting with everyone else doing the same, Zooming with my stitching group, sorting out all my sewing stuff, reading, doing free online art classes, catching up on all the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me podcasts I’ve missed over the years, cooking, baking, weeding. And working from home, which is my norm anyway.
    Ordering takeout now and then but it doesnt seem terribly safe – how many kitchen workers were within 6ft of my food as it was made?
    Just signed up for a fruit and veg CSA box delivery to cut down on trips to the store made me happy.
    Thinking about where Lily might go makes me smile. And my goofy cat Loki.
    And Argh, of course.

  30. I’m actually enjoying being able to put aside the frantic running around trying to fulfil commitments and get my boys where they need to be. It’s given me the space to chill a little, figure out what I really want, and hopefully make a few positive changes. I’m mostly ignoring the constant background panic in my head, and cutting way back on the news. It just makes me want to scream.

  31. My happiness this week came from solidarity, care, and collective action. This is often true, but it feels especially stabilizing now. There are a lot of reasons to feel powerless, but there is also a lot we can do locally, and I’m grateful to have that capacity.

    Also birds. The osprey couple down the street just arrived back in town, and wasted no time in rebuilding their nest. They aren’t brooding yet, but are instead spending their time chasing each other around the sky…so, I think eggs may be not too far away.

    Meanwhile, the great horned owl pair in my nearby cemetery is off their nest entirely. I’m pretty sure this means it’s another year where they will not be hatching any chicks (third year in a row…they keep ditching the nest when early spring snowstorms happen, and then the eggs freeze). But they are busy hooting, swooping, and generally being magnificent, so I appreciate them deeply.

    Local farmers have set up a ‘virtual’ farmers market (online shopping, door-to-door delivery), so my to-do list for this week includes figuring out how to order eggs, bread, pie, and anything else I “need” to help support folks. I am starting seeds for my own garden too. More connections that feel sustaining, basically, which are my little anchor points for some degree of personal balance.

  32. I’m not appreciating the lockdown at all. Both at work and in my social life, we’re in the frustrating stage of trying to get everyone together for video chats. Has everyone got a camera on their PC? No? Can you figure out how to use zoom etc on your phone? Is zoom okay for with people who’re really worried about privacy? No? Are you sure? What can we do instead?

    This too will pass. By next week we’ll have it sorted and hopefully still be talking to each other.

    Biggest small happiness: doing online dance sessions as a followup from the retreat I’ve just been on. They wouldn’t have happened if not for the virus.

    And I’ve done some exercise every day for the last 4. That’s better than I mostly manage and I’m feeling rather pleased with myself. Work’s got a chat channel going to motivate each other and that’s cool.

  33. My husband has only 3 working days left. The isolation hasn’t helped the handover but what can you do. He started cleaning out his office at the first rumors of working from home.
    I signed up for Fenders free three month trial of online guitar lessons. Maybe I’ll actually get with it.

  34. Routines are making me happy. I kind of drifted this week – too much time looking at the news, and at Twitter, but DH and I resolved to put ourselves on more of a schedule, and it’s working so far.

    And Call the Midwife starts tonight – talk about comfort TV!

  35. A good friend is going through a nasty separation on the other side of the country, and her ex told her last week that she wouldn’t be getting the girls back for school holidays because of COVID19. He lives with his parents and his father has prostate cancer, so I understand that he is very high risk and they are afraid of him being exposed, but if they were that afraid the ex wouldn’t still be going to work and seeing his girlfriend every damn day.

    In light of this, another friend and I finally convinced our girl to talk to a lawyer. She told the ex that she was seeking legal advice and lo and behold she gets the girls back for two weeks starting today! This made us all VERY HAPPY INDEED.

    Also, I am allowed to leave the house again on Thursday afternoon and I can hardly wait!

  36. My biggest happy this week was hearing from Nourene. I hadn’t been able to reach her for 3 weeks and was imagining the worst. She was in a rehab unit at a nursing home and when she called me to catch up she sounded better than almost any time since her stroke. And she says that her walking is more secure, too. I’m going to try to call her every other day, just to try to break up the monotony.

    My only problem is that between that and trying to talk to my therapist once a week, I don’t know if I have enough minutes. There is supposed to be a system that enables us to talk for free over the internet, but they still haven’t taught either of us how to use it. I think they are waiting until the quarantine is over because then I won’t need it.

    1. There are quite a few apps/systems that enable you to make free phone (or video) calls over the internet. The mobile phone signal is hopeless in my house, so I use internet calls when the other person doesn’t have a landline. Usually What’s App, or else FaceTime (if the other person has an iPhone, iPad or Mac, like me) or Skype. Most people are familiar with one or more of these, and could help you get started. Don’t waste your mobile minutes when you could be chatting for free!

      1. Zoom’s popular too, and free. And it works over either a computer or phone. It’s at zoom.us , give it a go.

  37. I’m happy to have learned, just now, that my neighbor tested negative. He was tested as he had a putrid sore throat and felt rotten, AND his father-in-law, who lives across the street, is well into his eighties and scheduled for surgery shortly, so my neighbor really needs to know if he’s going to be of any use to the in-laws. It took the lab eleven days to return the results — of course they’re swamped — instead of three or four, but still.

    I’ve been researching the Greek ancestry of my cousin’s children, and that has been interesting. I had been putting it off since I don’t really read Greek, and it’s not like Eastern Europe where church records are in Latin, which I can cope with. But someone else has been researching one side of this family, and it may be like some other languages — I may not read them, but if I can assemble a vocabulary of two dozen words (Born, Married, Died, Buried, Godfather, Godmother) I can probably work my way through parish records. I’m comfortable with the accuracy of what I’ve been able to do so far, which is the main thing.

  38. My happiness has been working from home as much as possible over the last two weeks. That equals more time with my kids.

    And, now that Spring Break is officially over, the kids aren’t going back to school, so I get to spend more time with them.

    1. There’s a big tree a couple of gardens away which is a favourite hang-out for crows – mainly jackdaws, I think; usually in pairs, but there can be a couple of dozen altogether. The first thing I do when I get up is to check the tree for them (it dominates the view from my bathroom window).

  39. All in all things have not been too bad. People are still hoarding toilet paper (???) and sanitizer but mostly food is not a problem. Still wondering where in the world are they PUTTING all that TP? We went last week to our trainer’s for a couple of days. Basically isolated the whole time. It was only us and her, we brought our trailer with live in quarters and our own food, my husband tacked and took care of his horses and she gave instructions from the edge of the riding arena. There was no one else there. Then back to our own ranch where we have been using this time to get things back in shape through spring. We did actually go for hamburgers one day and I know they are encouraging people to do that and I know the restaurant industry has rigorous standards already for hygiene but I was a little nervous about it. Best hamburger in a while, though! We still have people who are determined to gather, though and I keep reading about some of the mega churches having large congregations each Sunday.

    I’ve been also been reading about no one wanting to take cash because of concerns of contamination. We use a fair amount of cash, so I gathered all of it up and washed it! Sounds silly but if there was a chance I do not want to pass it on. So far only one person has told me I am paranoid :).

    Hoping everyone here keeps safe. We will get through this and be talking about “remember when” soon!

    1. I’m glad you had a good time, but I’d really avoid restaurants and other social places if I were you. Sounds like your area’s very laid-back about the threat, but this thing’s so contagious, and can be so nasty – especially if you have any underlying health problems – I think it’s best to be extremely cautious.

      It’s striking how suddenly we all took it seriously in the UK when the government finally nerved itself for a lock-down.

      1. Our President, after saying this was no big thing and the cases would soon be down to zero, is now the head of a government forecasting a quarter of a million deaths and a shutdown until June. Sigh.

        People here are taking it seriously. I had to go to Walmart for a prescription and everybody was doing the distancing thing. The nice thing was, everybody was smiling, almost like they were saying, “Sorry about this, how are you doing?” I got in and got out, but it was vaguely cheering.

  40. Spring flowers and sunshine make me happy. My youngest gleefully beating me at board games. Kids getting all kinds of creative with their time at home. Cats being ridiculous. Accomplishing projects around the house/yard. Books, books, books. The creative types taking to the internet to read stories and poems and sing songs. What makes me probably happiest is that I don’t think I need to leave the house for a month other than going to the drive-through pharmacy for regular prescription refills.

  41. Our kids stopped by yesterday, texted us to come to the door, and then stood about 10 feet away from us in the yard and we visited. It was wondrous to see them and Grandboy and I agreed it was hard not to race to each other for a hug. They hung out for about a half hour and we shared news, but mostly just stared at each other and grinned. How lovely! This morning DIL popped by and left a bag of groceries at our door that included healthy stuff and two bags of M&Ms. What a sweetie pie! I’m starting the new novel and working on editing gigs for clients, knitting and binge-watching THE GOOD WIFE on Prime, walking and pulling weeds in our new gardens. Fun to watch what’s coming up–each new plant is a surprise. Stay well, everyone!

    1. How lovely for you.

      Son and wife texted me to go outside, there might be something on my bench. They left us two servings of homemade pasta and a big serving of stew. Great surprise and so delicious. We had our weekly happy hour via FaceTime an hour later. Our new normal.

      Hard for us not to be able to hug grandchildren and children.

  42. There’s been much hilarity as DH and I try to coax our non-tech writer and artists groups into virtual meetings. So far the winner is the lady who kept showing her ceiling…tried to tap buttons to change her camera view…and ended up calling in a second time, so now we had TWO pictures of her ceiling.

    I’ve also kept a watercolor pad at my desk, with a primitive sketch of a group of trees. Whenever I feel like checking the news, instead I pick up the brush and add a few colors. It’s good for me, and good for the painting.

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