Monday, March 16, 2020

Grounded! Betcha can't not touch your face...

Hallie Ephron: It’s been a rough few weeks and no end in sight.... The cancellation of Left Coast Crime at the last minute left so many in our community stranded. Our vehement get-well wishes go out to anyone who’s got COVID-19 or thinks they do. Since it’s been nearly impossible to get tested unless you’re Tom Hanks and working in Australia.


Yes, things have changed. Our local schools are closing for at least six weeks. So scary. Let’s not talk about how many times a day I check the stock market. Or how many times each minute I try to stop myself from touching my face. 

I always work at home, often in my PJs, so that’s not new. But now, going to the supermarket, first thing I do is grab a wipe and use it to wipe down my shopping cart. Head straight to the produce department where I grab two plastic bags to wear over my hands before I touch a single honey crisp apple or baby tangerine. One minute, the end cap at my local Stop ‘n’ Shop is chockablock with antibacterial products; a few hours later they’ve sold out.


Since I’ve stopped going to my fitness center, I’m giving my exercise bike (for so long it’s been a coat rack but fortunately my husband wouldn’t let me give it away) a workout and sadly I’m running out of The Great British Baking Show episodes to watch while I pedal. Spring has come early, so I’m out raking. 

Online shopping is still a GO, and I’m thinking about buying these. Exercise, clean, and try not to go stir crazy.



What are you up to... or not?


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I just got back from Palm Beach where I did a wonderful book event--but let me tell you, I was happy to be on that plane heading home. And no more trips for me anytime soon. The airport was WEIRD, although the plane was full. And everyone with wipes. And so strange--at some point, I realized that no one was laughing. In the airport, on the plane, nothing. Once you notice it, it’s so disconcerting.

I feel so awful for all the convention planners--they have spent so much time and brainpower only to be hit by this. It’s so unsettling and scary. I said to Jonathan last night--I fear the locusts are next. And then--in the paper this morning--I read that deadly locusts in Africa are threatening to wipe out the crops.

Also, I am putting a limit (Jonathan doesn't know this yet) on CNN-watching. 

But I can make you laugh.

In the Uber on the way to the Palm Beach event: 
My young Uber driver says: “How about that corona?”
Me: “Yeah.”
Driver: “I’m not worried too much about myself, but I do worry about elderly people like you.”


RHYS BOWEN:  I was so sad to cancel Left Coast Crime but I’ve had sniffly stuffy allergies and thought I’d be more vulnerable to what was out there, also John is high risk. I was so relieved when the state made the convention cancel as they would not now lose their shirts. I’m about to cancel an upcoming cruise and doing a lot of wiping and washing 

But how can anyone actually keep safe? The mailman coughs on my letter. The waitress touches my plate? The man handing out communion in church uses hand sanitizer then holds the handrail down from the altar!


I am in Arizona with very few cases. How about banning travel of more than 20 miles? 
Stay safe everyone and order books online from your favorite bookstore!


DEBORAH CROMBIE: We are in for at least a week of rain and thunderstorms here, and while the unappealing weather may help keep people home, it does nothing for the general state of gloom! I’m trying to bring back my winter hygge in full force--hot tea, puzzles, a fire, and lots of uninterrupted time to work.

While NOT touching my face! The more I think about it, the more my nose itches!

In the meantime, I’m lucky enough to have a netgalley of Lucy’s THE KEY LIME CRIME, and am very grateful for a dose of Key West and fabulous food.

Rhys, I am washing my hands thoroughly after opening the mail and throwing away the outer envelopes. There is so much to be mindful about.


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I hadn’t thought about the mail! Holy cow, it just goes to show how hard it is to keep track of everything someone might have touched. 


I’m prepping this week to move the last seven weeks of my community college course online. Since I can barely use the online gradebooks, I’m going to be relying heavily on the tech helpers to walk me through it. The final project divides students into small groups to research and write a recommendation paper. That part will be easy to transfer online, but I’m at a loss how they’re going to do the oral presentation to the class that caps the semester! Any suggestions are welcome.


My own college kid is NOT coming home - she has an “operations-necessary” work-study job they want her to keep doing, so she’s taking over a cheap apartment from a friend. Since her courses will also move online, she’ll be able to triple her weekly work hours, so she may come out well ahead in this crisis! Of course, it helps to be 19 and healthy as a horse…


JENN McKINLAY: I was at Left Coast Crime, drinking a coco pina margarita, when the convention was canceled. While it wasn’t completely unexpected, it was still weird to be at an event and have the plug pulled right as it got underway. The rain was also relentless, which added to the feeling of
doom.

I am now back home in the frat house and the hooligans are off from school for the next two weeks while I am on deadline, so this should be fun. Also, I am not a hoarder and go to the grocery store every day because I never know what I want for dinner until that day, so we have no food and only four rolls of toilet paper. Save me!

LUCY BURDETTE: It’s such a bizarre time isn’t it? And cancelling all events is going to make us feel even more isolated and worried, even though it’s the right thing to do. FINALLY, the city of Key West has banned cruise ships landing in our port for the next 30 days. It’s our busy season so we often have 2 or 3 a day--all those people pouring off ships...scary!

I’ve checked my freezer. Here’s what was on one shelf! 

We were expecting two different groups of visitors (both cancelled), so I’d stocked up. I hope to make one more run to the grocery store tomorrow morning. I’ve got meat and pasta and sauce and rice and beans, but I’m very low on vegetables and fruit.

HALLIE: So are you all ‘sheltering in place’ and staying hydrated? 

Here’s a final word from Sergeant Esterhaus in Hill Street Blues.


82 comments:

  1. Scary, frustrating, worrisome . . . I’m staying home and trying not to watch the news. I’m good with being home, but now they’re talking about a state-wide curfew and I’m wondering if that’s really necessary since everything’s already closed. Suddenly panic mode seems to be the norm and for once I’m happy to have a teetering to-be-read pile of books . . . .

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    1. BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! Eye-ing my pile as well, and there's the eReader with the world's literature at our fingertips.

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    2. STOP WATCHING the news. I have put Jonathan on news rationing. Two hours a day. That's it. And preferably not in a row.

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  2. What a crazy worrisome world. My spring had gotten over-busy with in-person events and I'm a little relieved to stay home (with only one quiet 70-something housemate...) and meet my deadlines. At least it's spring, farmers are growing things, chickens are laying, and I'm about to plant greens in my raised box. Plus takeout from local restaurants (they also recommend buying gift certificates online from your favorite places so you can eat out once this has all passed).

    Reds who traveled, glad you got home safely.

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    1. Seems like a good time to rerun Crockett's Victory Garden. Being self sufficient has a nice ring to it about now.

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  3. Hallie, I WANT those slippers!!!

    It has occurred to me that while I work from home and am a die-hard introvert, the fact that I'm being told I CAN'T go out, CAN'T dine out a restaurant, CAN'T mingle with friends is what makes me freak out. If staying isolated is MY idea, fine. I just don't like to be told I have to.

    And I was stuck with my husband at home for six months last year after he had shoulder surgery. If his plant closes down and he's forced to stay home with me again? Please, no. I love him dearly, but not 24/7.

    Hank, I still think that Uber driver needs to die a slow and painful death in your next book.

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    1. Ah, the husband... mine retired in June so at least I've had a few months to get used to him underfoot 24/7. For friends and family: thank goodness for the phone and email and... this blog! Staying connected!!

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    2. Annette, I'm an introvert too and I feel just like you about being told what I can't do

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    3. Same introvert reaction here! I rarely go out on the weekend, and I didn’t this weekend but I sure wanted to!

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    4. Samantha Stephens would twitch her nose and turn that Uber driver into an old man. LOL. Understandable about disliking being told what to do, Annette. Social distancing is really tough, though necessary in these trying times!

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  4. I am not sheltering in place. I have to go to work or I don't get paid. If I don't get paid, I don't have a home for people to wonder if I'm sheltering place to begin with.

    This past weekend, I had no plans to go out and do much of anything because I paid a bunch of bills and was mostly broke. So I was home and away from people anyway.

    With the new restrictions in place, I won't be going to my Thursday night trivia for 3 weeks (at least) because bars and restaurants are now take out or delivery only. That's going to be hard on all the waitresses I know, including the object of my completely unrequited affections.

    With no gatherings over 25 allowed, it would appear that the Joanna Schaffhausen book signing and the Kix concert I was going to are going to be cancelled (though it hasn't technically been made official yet).

    Oddly enough, the one thing I'm sure hasn't been affected is the upcoming doctor's appointment I have had scheduled for a while now. So getting to go somewhere where there's guaranteed to be a lot of SICK PEOPLE is apparently okay.

    I have food and I have toilet paper so I'm okay so far.

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    1. I cancelled my dental checkup. Just saying... if it's not urgent, why risk it?

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    2. I have a little less than 3 weeks before the appointment so I'm holding off for right now. It's just a follow up thing so I might end up cancelling. I was just pointing out the absurdity of this particular situation as it relates to me and the things I was SUPPOSED to be doing.

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    3. Our health coop has cancelled all routine checkups, they only take emergencies and only if you have no symptoms like fever and coughing. Anyone having Covid-19 symptoms has to go to specified place.

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  5. Oh, dear, I'm with Annette on the Uber kid! LOL

    Julia, my oldest got her Masters in Diabetes Management Education from Columbia remotely. She had to give several oral presentations online (very stressful, since she was the only nurse in the program--everyone else were doctors). I'll ask her how they managed it. I remember her son and husband having to stay away from the part of the house where she was giving her talk on camera.

    We are sheltering in place, as of Friday. I keep a stocked pantry at all times, anyway, after losing power as long as a week several times. I made a big fresh food buy last week, and with the venison in the freezer, I think we can make it for as long as three weeks. By then, the lettuce in the garden should be up, and we could go another couple weeks. Milk and bananas for my husband's cereal, and maybe wine, will be about all we'll need.

    I was just taking stock of what we have to keep us busy for the next few weeks: a couple hundred books, Netflix, Acorn, Starz, Prime, and the Internet. Clean out the garage and install shelves. Put together more garden beds and plant them. Clean out the basement. Plus organize my sewing stuff finally. I don't think we'll get bored. Plus, our neighbors are also sheltering in place, and in self-isolation for the next week (they had traveled). Once we have gotten through the two-week isolation, we can start socializing with them over the side fence, and even have meals together. Heck, they might even have some wine.

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    1. I've got my eye on several storage boxes of old papers in my basement.

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  6. I'm with Annette -- I love time at home, but when it's enforced it feels quite different than when it's chosen. Our minds are odd things!

    Students at my college are off campus this week on an enforced unexpected 'study break', which I fully I anticipate will be extended. Instructors and staff are on campus this week; who knows what the next edict will bring...

    Julia: For presentations, we are going to look at our students doing any of the following -- using Skype or Zoom or some other online meeting option -- lots out there and most offer free options; recording themselves doing the presentation and uploading the file to the college's learning management system (they'll know how to do that, even if you (or I) don't); doing a voice-over on their PowerPoint file. Consider it accelerate professional development! I'm trying for that mind-set.

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    1. We're gearing up to do some teaching/Facetiming with our granddaughter. First grader. She's in a NYC public school, and we were relieved when they finally decided to shut down.

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    2. Oh right - Facetime, of course. That could work well for one-on-one student meetings. And one of my colleagues is setting up a private Facebook group for her class to continue on that platform. Amazing!

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  7. We have a stocked pantry always, but Julie's added some extra bags of beans and rice. She plans to go out still for produce, fresh milk, etc. We also have planned for our neighbor, Judy. What a sad situation that is. Her husband died two weeks ago today, and now she's so isolated. Except for us. I figure that after four months of home hospice, we share the same biome. Other than Judy, we are having no one come in the house. I'm old as dirt and had pneumonia twice last summer. I have a target on my back.

    I've cancelled the one doctor's appointment I had, was only to check on the healing progress of my broken fibula. It doesn't hurt and I can walk, so going into the petri dish didn't seem necessary.

    We are both reading the new Hilary Mantel, THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT. At nearly 800 pages, that should keep us occupied for a bit. I have a couple more books going, THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE, by Eric Larsen, and THE GOLDEN TRESSES OF THE DEAD, by Alan Bradley. Variety is the spice of life.

    "We were too careful during the epidemic" said no one ever.

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    1. I think we may be finding out just how many of our doctor's appointments are unnecessary.

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    2. Ann, I love your quote. I'm going to be repeating that!!

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    3. Thanks Debs! Those of us who live with someone, a partner, spouse, even a roommate, are very fortunate. We have human companionship. I’m concerned for those who are isolated during this scary time.

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  8. We walk the dogs...three times a day, with all the other dog walkers happy to escape the house and CNN doom and gloom. Hubs will telecommute and research grocery store supply chains. I'm deep in revisions.

    Julia, I watch Zoom writing workshop presentations all the time, including Sisters in Crime, which has them archived. DP Lyle's recent forensic talk was memorable: how do you kill with an ice pick? So many ways.

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    1. "research grocery store supply chains" - tell us more!

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  9. Julia, have your students post the presentations as PowerPoint files; they cab even include a voice-over. My campus uses Blackboard so my students post their Presentations in the Discussion Board. For that week's discussion they are required to read at least six of their classmates' presentations and comment what they learned, what surprised them, etc.

    Email directly if you want to cathyaj at icloud dot com.

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  10. My life isn't much more different than it has ever been. Living in a rather secluded area there aren't many people to mingle with and I have always been a homebody. I wouldn't call me a hoarder but I do have a good stock of food, including pet food, and paper products. Around here it pays to be prepared at all times. I didn't want to worry about being snowed in and not be able to go out for necessities.
    I had already thought about the mail perhaps being contaminated so I have decided it is best not to send my elderly aunt a card for her birthday next week. I think she would rather have a phone call anyway.
    Just now I canceled my mammogram appointment because just thinking about sitting in the waiting room with other people was freaking me out a little bit.
    So happy to be able to mingle and chat with all of you without worrying. Such a great way to start my day!

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  11. Lucy, you have well supplied with the most important thing. LOL

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  12. I'm working remotely for the next few weeks, which I generally don't mind, except that I'm definitely missing my dual monitor large screen displays for spreadsheet work.
    Julia - I have to transfer my courses to online work as well. I see others have recommended Zoom and most of my work has been in that medium. My experience, however, has been that my students are light years ahead of me in terms of tech. Can you give them the parameters of the presentation (Length, number or lack of slides, etc.) and just ask them to record on a saveable, shareable medium and send it to you (or the group)?. Some of the best videos I've seen students submit lately have been your standard cellphone video upload. Zoom's record function is also freakishly easy. Just start a meeting, hit record to the cloud (or to the machine) and go. The quality isn't ideal but it gets the job done.

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  13. The Girl is finishing the semester at the University of Pittsburgh online. They sent all the on-campus kids home (only those who cannot return home were allowed to stay). What irritates her (and me) are the kids returning from Philly and NYC who were there partying for two weeks, but they live in off-campus housing so the University can't keep them away. She is staying at her off-campus apartment (where she lives by herself) and the only person she plans to interact with face-to-face for the foreseeable future (aside from us) is her boyfriend, who is a student at Duquesne, where they are also doing online classes.

    The Boy's school has gone online for the next two weeks (Governor Wolf ordered all K-12 schools to go online, but the Diocese had already made that decision). He's MISERABLE because he's an extrovert. "I don't want to graduate online. More people have died from the flu. Why can't I go see my friends?" Because we're trying to keep it that way, bud.

    I already work from home. We did a slightly-bigger-than-normal grocery run yesterday and our normal Sam's Club run a little early. We're still good on paper products. We stocked The Girl up, too since this would be bigger than her normal grocery budget. We're good for the next at least two weeks except for milk and other perishables like produce. But nobody was hoarding green beans. :) Oh, we stocked up on food for the pooch, too. Amazon is there for anything we need and I'll pay for grocery delivery if necessary.

    Allegheny County has urged all non-essential business (everything except grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations) close, but I think Gov. Wolf announced this morning that it's mandatory. Restaurants that offer take-out or delivery are allowed to continue.

    The Hubby is still working. I'm allowed to go into the office, but if there are more than half a dozen people there today I'd be shocked. The company did announce that all meetings of more than 20 people should be moved to virtual meetings and has shut down all non-essential plane/train domestic travel.

    And I've gotten very good at itching my nose on my sleeve.

    Hank, I think that Uber driver has to be in a book. LOL

    Stay safe everyone. At least we'll have a good reason to work on our TBR piles!

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    1. Oh, and we've imposed a news ban in the house. One check a day.

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    2. Great idea on the news ban, Liz. Constant checking is making me nuts.

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    3. I probably check a couple times a day but mainly for the weather forecast these days. It's annoying to hear EVERYTHING tied to the virus. So I skip what I can.

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  14. I feel better being retired and living in the country. I walk and read. As many of my activities are cancelled , I will have to tackle my tax reports and things that I postponed .

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    1. Right, no one can say they didn't have enough time to do their taxes. Not unless they're in health care. Or mail delivery.

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    2. I woke up this morning thinking exactly that - taxes. Bleh.

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    3. I still have to find someone to do my taxes. My tax lady retired and I haven't been able to replace her yet. And I don't do my own.

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  15. The Dallas Winds has opted to reschedule our March concert and will surely do the same with the April lineup, assuming we can find a compatible date with our guest artists. My boss wants us all to come into the office anyway, since he doesn't do well working at home and thinks the rest of us are just as likely to slack off. I see working at home as an opportunity to finish a couple of grant proposals and all of next year's program notes in peace, so I'll be arguing for that pretty hard.

    I went out on Saturday and Sunday, to the grocery store and one a volunteer visit I'd committed to. The grocery store was nearly empty of people, but still had lots of food and stuff. They'd been mobbed on Friday, but got another shipment in on Friday night and were expecting more Saturday night. Lots of wiping and washing and sanitizing, but it wasn't bad. Ditto the volunteer thing on Sunday. Three people, not 50, and we all bowed to each other and didn't touch anything. So far, so good, although I'll try to limit that going forward.

    No tip for that Uber driver, Hank! But seriously, it's hard to think of myself as part of the "vulnerable population," even though I certainly qualify. Be well, everybody!

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  16. So on disinfecting mail... wouldn't it be nice if those mail fulfillment services STOPPED sending out batches and batches of junk mail? It would make it a lot easier on the mail carriers.

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  17. Hallie, I also want those slippers!
    Deb, enjoy Key Lime Crime. I can hardly wait for that one. If the rain lets up a bit, put on your raingear and head out for a stretch!
    Julia, my women's org is using Zoom for meetings with people around the country. If it will work for them, with many people coming into the meetings, then it should work for your class. I have not tried it yet.
    Roberta/Lucy, doesn't the strawberry ice cream count as fruits and vegetables? Just saying.
    Hank, your Uber driver was a cheeky little b.....d. Switch to Lyft. Oh, and as Liz suggested, put him in a book!
    I have always been really careful handling the mail ever since the "white powder" episodes of the '80's, '90's. Also, I always wash after handling cash!
    My wish for all of you is to stay safe and stay sane. It is terrifying to read the percentage of people my age who succumb if infected. We went to a restaurant on Friday evening because we so want it to still be there when this ends. But now, I don't know if we're going to risk it again.

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    1. Counting fruits and veggies! Can we say Raisin Bran has fruit? And could you subsist on veggie burgers and not get scurvy?

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    2. Judy, a lot of restaurants here are starting pick-up meals. Hopefully that will help. I just go an email that our local Pei Wei has gone to pick up and delivery only, not in store dining.

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  18. What Annette said about the Uber driver! Although it was kind of sweet that he was concerned about other people. Can't take that away from him.

    I have worked from home remotely for the past 15 years so this is nothing new, and of course writing is a from home second career! It is funny though that my office has long threatened to do away with my work from home status as being against the company culture. Need I say I resisted. On Friday, my company declared the office that I am attached to as closed and made arrangements for everyone to work remotely. I'm hoping that it will open the door to a more flexible attitude as many of my colleagues have expressed a desire to work remotely, and frankly, it makes sense.

    I had long planned to be on vacation this week, but I'm fielding calls from co-workers about how to manage the remote system.

    I was in the store early this weekend - shelves are empty and there is an air of panic. This is hurricane country so we are accustomed to having a supply for those times when everything is closed, but this is different. As my husband pointed out, following a hurricane, we rely on unaffected areas to pick up the supply chain. This time there is no backup supply chain, everyone is affected. Gave me pause.

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    1. I think we're all on pause... good description, as the chips fall.

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  19. I have a bank errand that can't be done via the drive-thru and an appointment with the tax accountant tomorrow -- I'm planning to do both of those tasks (unless things get closed) but other than that, I'm home for quite a while. The pantry and the freezer are pretty well stocked, as is the supply of cat food and litter (almost more important than food and toilet paper!). I made a quick trip to the library on Saturday for books and DVDs, despite the fact that I have piles of unread books and a Kindle with lots of unread titles, but, God forbid I should run out of reading material! And the library is closed as of today so I'm glad I went.

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    1. And thank heaven for the Internet!

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    2. We stocked up on pet food and litter a couple of weeks ago. Whew.

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  20. Julia, one of the classes I teach is a Business Presentation class, and I’m also trying to figure out the best way to handle presentations. I really wanted to have them present live in front of other students via Zoom or some other program, but now that most of them are headed home I probably won’t be able to do that. Several exchange students are in the class and they are (currently) planning to go home so I will have students in time zones around the world! My new thought is divide them into groups, and let them practice and get feedback from each other, then record and upload their presentation so I can grade it. Not a single student asked how to record and upload— I agree with others here that the students are way more comfortable with technology than I/we are!

    And to go along with Hank’s Uber ride— of course I’ve had tons of emails from students the last few days as we try to sort everything out. Everyone of them has ended the email with something along the lines of “I hope you’re staying in and staying safe!” Which is very sweet and touching. And then it dawned on me that this means they think I’m old! Which I am, but still . . .

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    1. Ha ha ha! Right. Not ready to be "old" here, either. Sort of drives it home.

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  21. I was at Left Coast as well, and it had a weird vibe. Almost a relief when it was cancelled, to be honest. I could go home and not feel guilty.

    I work at Princess Cruises. You may have heard of us in the news in relation to all of this in the last few weeks. Yeah, work has been crazy. And I'm heading into the office today to box up my desk top and monitors so I can work from home. That will be interesting because it will be crazy busy again for month end. At least we are off normal quarters, so this isn't quarter end for us. That was last month.

    Church was on line yesterday. It was good, but it was weird as well.

    With work happening at home, my life won't change that much. Expect now I definitely won't talk to anyone since I live alone. I won't have that much extra in my day since my commute isn't that long to begin with. Still got plenty of reading to do. Now, to finish up my audio book before it is due back at the library. I usually listen while driving, and it is a digital audio book, so I will need to return it by the due date even with the libraries closed.

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    1. Thanks for your update, Mark - it's great that you can still work.

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  22. Ouch. Not sure who comprises the vulnerable population. If it’s age-related shoot me now! Normally I’m content to stay home and my antsy husband is happy to run around on errands. He hit the grocery yesterday for supplies. He never checks to see what we have so that frequently results in a glut of certain items. We had a glut of ketchup one year. Now it’s frozen biscuits.
    My granddaughter did not fly back here last night because of an ear infection. I do not know if that means she stays home now until the next culinary term starts in ten weeks or what. As of yesterday the school is still open. My son is waiting on a Dept of the Army announcement later today. He was supposed to be off to boot camp today. Husband Frank was told not to fly back to Midland tomorrow. Some interviews he can conduct by phone so that’s good. He is supposed to do some of the chores around here he’s been putting off forever.
    We walk the dog and see neighbors doing the same. Go to places where we can sit outdoors. Have wine on the porch with a neighbor. I’m wondering now about a wedding next month we’re supposed to go to. I heard something about not assembling in groups of 50 or more.

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    1. Oh I feel so terrible for anyone whose wedding plans this upends.
      And a surplus of frozen biscuits is much more useful than a glut of ketchup.

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  23. I was at Left Coast Crime as well, though I did leave before the conference was cancelled. I seem to have this knack of getting sick in hotels so I planned on only one night anyway. It was raining on Wednesday morning and I did my happy dance because we NEED rain in California. A friend, who lives in San Diego, apologized for not being able to show me the Old Town because of the rain. We sat in the Hospitality Room and chatted until it was time to go to the airport.

    Hank, I have a funny joke for you. It is not really funny though I laughed when she told me about her experiences as a Uber driver. She always informs her passengers that she is Deaf. Her facial expression showed their look of panic when informed that she is Deaf. Then they are surprised that she is a good driver. She said sometimes a passenger will say they know the Fingerspelling alphabet. When I laughed, people in the Hospitality room turned around to look at us. LOL

    At the San Diego airport, there were many people. I was worried before I left for SD on Tuesday that the flight would be suspended due to the coronavirus. Surprised the conference still went ahead. Flight to SD was uneventful. Surprised the room was ready before the 4p.m. check in. On Wednesday morning, I saw a few people at the conference wearing face masks. TSA only checked my left shoulder and stopped. Did not do the full check. I wondered why.

    After I got home, I saw that a college friend posted in her IG stories that the SFO airport was empty on Thursday morning!

    Trying to stay healthy and eating smaller portions so the food lasts longer and will not need to go food shopping for a while. Drinking lots of green tea and turmeric tea. Taking emergen-c too.

    Reading lots of good books! I got lots of FREE books at the conference :-)

    Thinking about how vulnerable many of us are to the coronavirus. So far I am not showing any symptoms. I am hoping that I am NOT infected. I wiped my plane seat, wiped everything and was careful. Once I got home, I threw all of my clothes into the washing machine and took a hot shower!

    Diana

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    1. Diana, take good care of yourself!

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    2. Diana you are my role model: "Trying to stay healthy and eating smaller portions..." (I may be finding out whether it's possible to subsist on popcorn alone.)

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    3. Hallie, I am trying, though not sure if I will succeed. We will find out... I saved half of my breakfast omelette for tomorrow.

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    4. Diana, the x-ray thing shows where they have to check. And yes, it's not-funny-funny. I am ready to laugh at anything, though.

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    5. Hank, thanks! I did tell her that she could write a novel about her experiences. LOL. I just cannot believe that despite Sesame Street with Linda the Librarian and many Girl Scouts / Boy Scouts knowing Sign Language when I was a kid, that this kind of thing still happens.

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  24. Shalom Reds and fans. I don’t do well during these state of emergencies. Several years back, our whole community was without electricity for 5 days. It felt like 5 weeks. This closing of everything “non-essential” is what I imagine rationing and blackout nights in England must have been like.

    Of course, having broadband internet and working computer, smartphone and tablet is a comfort.

    Hank, I had no problem with being deemed a senior, when I applied for my Septa Senior Fare Key Card. However, being deemed “elderly with underlying health deficits” is definitely strange.

    Thankfully, I know most of my neighbors and we often sit outside in good weather and chat.

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    1. LOL! Yes, the senior discount card for the subway was so much more pleasant than this.

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  25. I'm doing more of what I love to do, requiring no outside contact (well, one little thing that I'll get to in a minute). That is reading and promoting books and authors. I usually post notices of new books and author info on my FB page, and now I've ramped that up even more. I just posted a review of Rhys' amazing Above the Bay of Angels on my Reading Room blog, and I have another review ready to go. Hopefully, later today, tomorrow at the latest, I'll have a blog post up about new books I'm reading and looking forward to. And, I've decided to do a blog post on some past books, too, that would be great reading during this period of isolation. The one thing that I am being careful of with my reading, which Debs mentioned, is handling my reading mail (and all mail). After opening my book mail, I wash my hands and then wipe down the books with a wipe, then wash my hands again. I had an ARC of British author Lesley Thomson arrive the other day from the UK, and that got a good wipe down. I wonder if international mail delivery is going to be affected soon. There was some sort of label on the UK package about limited mail something or other. Of course, I'm being careful with other mail, too.

    Oh, and Hank, as I commented on your FB page, that Uber driver obviously has vision problems. And, Hallie, I'm just not going to check the stock market if I can avoid it. Way too depressing.

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    1. Thank you! Do you read ebooks? I am terrified to go to the post office right now.. I am going to call tomorrow and see if I can get some pre-paid shipping stuff.

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    2. I occasionally read ebooks, Hank, and it's certainly something to consider now.

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    3. Yes, I think that's what's going to start happening--all the publishing people are working from home. And shipping depts are in flux. We shall see! If I can make a dal with my friendly post office, that'd be good. I'll keep you posted!

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    4. You can put books in sunlight for a few minutes. UVA and UVB kill the virus,

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  26. Lucy, that photo is why, when my neighbor called to ask what I might need from the store, I asked for ice cream. I seem to have become the recipient of "check on your elderly neighbors." My library has extended all book checkouts to 4/15, so I'll be reading, eating ice cream, and doing taxes. ;-)

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  27. My hero Dr. Fauci says: "If people think you're overreacting, that's GOOD."

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  28. Wonderful to read all the comments today, keeping us all connected to our world.Yes, sheltering in place, more or less. Quick walks to supermarket as needed. Our daughter and family rent our first floor separate apartment, so we have 2 grand girls, 6 and 4, in and out. No school for them, work from home for their parents, pretty much all outside events cancelled except dr visits. Streets seem weirdly quiet. And this is just the beginning. It's hard to remember that my age does put me in the vulnerable population. I was ready to hop on the subway plus train to NJ to help other daughter (mobility problems and has a very active 3 year old, day care closed) and my family objected to that idea! I personally am finding it hard to focus on, oh, what's that thing we do? Write.

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    1. Sonoma county must not be sheltering in place like six of the Bay Area counties. Everything except grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations have to close fir three weeks. Luckily, all my
      Family is able to work from home. They are saying this could last six to nine months.

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    2. Last I heard we (Sonoma County) were not part of the six counties sheltering in place, neither is Napa.

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  29. So far this really hasn't had much impact on me besides make me jealous of everyone who gets to stay home. I have a lot I could get done but unfortunately still have to go to work. I heard the area clinics have a tent outside so people can drive up to get tested so as not to expose the whole waiting room in the unlikely event they would have something. Bet that's quite the traffic jam.

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  30. I wash my hands a lot but not touching my face isn't going to happen. I've done it forever, and since I live alone, there is no one to point out when I'm doing it. However, hardly anyone has been in my house but me, does it matter?

    I'll be reading, watching TV, on the computer, and out in the garden. So happy that I can reach out by text, e-mail, and Facebook, and I already started calling more people. Hey, don't have to worry if they'll be home now.

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  31. There is a nice little market around the corner from my place. I can walk there with my empty bag. Once in the store I fill up the bag as I go, once it is heavy, I stop, pay and walk home. So far they haven't run out of things you might need if confined to your home. I have to be at work until they decide they have no choice and send us home. The home health business doesn't stop seeing patients and I'm one of the two people who add new patients to staff schedules. If there were enough laptops for the office staff, the powers that be could send people to work from home, but that is currently not an option. If they decide to reduce the daily office work force, I could stay home. I have enough stored paid time off hours for a month, my counterpart hasn't been here six months yet. The only problem would be having someone to answer the phones. I'm the third back up.
    Keep those positive thoughts flowing, check on your elderly neighbors and take a minute for yourselves.


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  32. Not that I was short on reading material, but as an addendum to my post earlier today, I just received four ARCs to review for Mystery Scene!

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  33. Julia, you could have your students present their oral report with a power point that sets out their recommendations, sources, etc. Obviously it loses the impact of an in-person report, but it can satisfy some of the work requirement. Be sure to require them to document at the end who contributed what components of the report. Best to you.

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