an april fools’ day cocktail hour: foolishness unadvised

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Here we are, another week of stay-at-home orders, on April Fools Day, 2020. I’m sure you’re all doing what I’m doing – trying not to be a fool, by staying hunkered down and hopeful.  Welcome to my second cocktail hour, a virtual world where we STAY HOME and drink. 🙂  Drink plenty of water at the very least. Or gargle with saltwater or drink orange juice, grape juice or hot apple cider. Or imbibe in coffee, tea, wine, beer, or even something harder. Fluids will help, or so they say.  So let’s pour them down.

Though you may not feel it deep inside, I offer you Cheers! À votre santé!  乾杯/ Kanpai!  Saúde!  Salud! May we all remain healthy, safe, financially afloat, and hopeful.

Here’s my last week’s diary.

Wednesday, March 25: I read in the news that panicked crowds swarmed Denver, Colorado liquor stores and cannabis dispensaries, so the mayor reversed his order to close both liquor stores and recreational pot dispensaries.  It only took three hours for the city of Denver to change course on listing liquor stores and recreational dispensaries as “non-essential.”

I talked to my dear friend Jayne in Jersey, England.  She has lost her job as a dental hygienist and doesn’t know how she will pay her rent. Her son in California is stockpiling guns.  Both of her sons have been laid off.

Our president is telling everyone that we’ll all be in church together by Easter (obviously directed at his Evangelical followers).

Thursday, March 26: Last week saw the biggest jump in new jobless claims in history, surpassing the prior record of 695,000 set in 1982, as the United States shut down much of the economy to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

I still have congestion and a bit of difficulty breathing, but I’ve had it since March 5, so I decided to go out for a walk since it was a beautiful day. I keep trying different meds; today I took a decongestant. My son was drinking tons of grape juice in the months he was here; I hate grape juice but he left a lot behind, so I looked up the benefits.  It seems there are many health benefits, so I started drinking a glass every day.


mulch waiting to be spread

Friday, March 27:  I had a virtual visit with my doctor about the congestion and slight difficulty breathing that I’ve had nonstop since March 5.  She told me she’d treated me for seasonal allergies before and she said this year’s allergies have been particularly bad. Besides, I don’t have fever or cough, symptoms that would indicate I should be tested for coronavirus. Thus I’m to take Allegra or Claritin, Flonase, and an inhaler because of my shortness of breath.

Saturday, March 28:  I chatted by text with all three of my children and my stepmother, Shirley.  Everyone is doing okay.  My youngest is in Costa Rica, staying in a very nice, and huge, cabin on a beach for $190/month; he has found “his people.”  He sent videos of the cabin and his people sitting around a picnic table eating watermelon, playing guitar and singing.  It all seemed very mellow and laid back.  Costa Rica today has 263 cases, so he’s better off being there than here.

My oldest son is still going to work each day at Oliver’s Meat Market in Denver.  He said they’ve been sanitizing like crazy, but only today did his boss agree to establish a six foot perimeter around the counter to meet social-distancing guidelines.  He said he’s missing his billiard hall/bowling alley, a new place he and his girlfriend had found to hang out in Denver; he is feeling cabin fever being cooped up with three people in their tiny house.

My daughter is starting to collect unemployment and spending her time trying to isolate.  She said at least she’s not spending money by going out to restaurants and going on Target shopping sprees. She goes from feeling hopeful to feeling hopeless, as many of us do.

My father’s wife said they’re doing okay, but they don’t go out much anyway. She said some relatives came over to visit and they all sat outside in the garage, spaced six feet apart.

Today we got take-out from the Vienna Inn, where they offered curbside service, but mostly we cooked in.  I’d like to try to support a local restaurant by ordering take-out at least once a week.

Sunday, March 29: Ever since I walked the Camino de Santiago in the fall of 2018, I’ve wanted to find a spiritual community. I explored several different churches, mostly Catholic, Episcopalian and Unitarian churches, and we ended up returning to Church of the Holy Comforter in January, after not going to church for some fifteen years. This is the church in which we got married in 1988 and in which our children were baptized. It’s a shame the church has had to close due to the coronavirus, but they’re doing a great job of televising worship services and uniting us in this time of isolation.

This morning we watched the 5th Sunday of Lent service at Church of the Holy Comforter. We ate our breakfast, got our coffee, and got back in bed to watch on our laptop. In her sermon, Rev. Ann Gillespie tied together the Gospel reading about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, a “zombie apocalypse,” toilet paper, and the idea of “apocalypse” as a kind of revealing, followed by a releasing of what is revealed into the world.  I found it enlightening and encouraging, and at times, humorous.

If you’d like to hear the sermon, you can check it out on YouTube: Church of the Holy Comforter, Holy Eucharist for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 29, 2020. The Gospel reading starts at 14:16, and the sermon at 19:50.

We went on a drive just to get out of the house, looking for signs of hope in what seems to be nearly a ghost town.  I am still feeling a lot of congestion and am having difficulty breathing, but still no cough or fever. The traffic in the area is greatly reduced, but we did see a lot of people riding bicycles and walking on the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) bike trail in Vienna.


Look for the Helpers


sign at Vienna Community Center


sign at Vienna Presbyterian Church


pretty house in Vienna


together we are stronger


trees all abloom

Monday, March 30:  Today, Governor Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order for the state of Virginia as our cases continue to grow exponentially.  We’re to be locked down until June 10!  Northam said people should only leave their homes to obtain food, supplies or medical care, or for exercise. All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned. According to The Hill: “As of Monday afternoon, Virginia has documented 1,020 confirmed cases of coronavirus, leading to 136 hospitalizations and 25 deaths. The state has tested more than 12,000 people.”

The extended dateline of our lockdown is utterly depressing, but I’m hoping it will slow the numbers of cases so that we can get back to some semblance of normalcy earlier than we would otherwise.  Apparently people were packing onto beaches this past weekend, and that was what prompted the governor’s shut-down order.

I read an article in National Geographic that said measures similar to our current “social distancing” were taken during the 1918 flu pandemic, so these times are not unprecedented.

Tuesday, March 31: Today, the number of deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. surpassed the numbers of those killed in the initial attacks of 9/11/2001.

Wednesday, April 1: I had a Zoom Spanish class; it worked out fine. We have four more classes through the end of April to finish up level 100.  All my efforts to learn Spanish will go in vain for this year; I’d hoped to use it when I went to Ecuador in July, but it seems unlikely any of us will be able to travel.

As of today, we have 189,633 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., with 3,921 deaths. There is so much conspiracy and right-wing misinformation circulating out there that it’s mind-boggling. Even our idiotic president is guilty of circulating this information.  I won’t repeat any of it here, as I refuse to give it any credence.

“What fools we mortals are to think that the plans we make are anything more than a soap bubble blown against a hurricane, a frail and fleeting wish destined to burst.”
Barbara Nickless, Ambush


So, in the midst of all this, what can we do to make the most of our stay-at-home orders?

Here are a few ways I will try to make the most of this time:

  1. STAY HOME as much as possible.  Minimize trips to grocery stores or any other essential places.
  2. Enjoy a virtual cocktail hour either weekly or bi-weekly where everyone is invited to share experiences, hopes and fears.
  3. Call and text family and friends often.  Have Zoom gatherings.
  4. Play games virtually.  One example is playing Hey Robot (the game isn’t available yet but you can use random words in a jar) using Alexa as seen here with Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey (at 22:20 on the video): Playing Alexa with Fallon and Fey.
  5. Get together with a few friends outdoors on a lawn, properly spaced.
  6. Try to get out and walk in the neighborhood or in a park, keeping the required distance of six feet.
  7. Listen to online sermons from church.
  8. Cook creative and healthy meals. Drink lots of water.
  9. Continue to meditate daily.  My goal is to increase to 15-minute daily meditations beginning April 1. Here is a link for free meditations I found via Robin at Breezes at Dawn: Withdraw:
    1. Accepting this Moment Meditation Series by Davidji
  10. Find humor where possible, and try to keep laughing.
  11. Set up a home retreat.  I got this also from Robin at Breezes at Dawn: Withdraw:
    1. Creating a Home Retreat: Finding Freedom Wherever You Are (Tara Brach)
  12. Keep working on my travel blog, and keep dreaming of future travel destinations.
  13. Read a lot!  Current books in my pipeline for April:
    1. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
    2. The Girl in the Photograph by Gabrielle Donnelly
    3. Juniper Tree Burning by Goldberry Long
    4. Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade
    5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
    6. Hand-Drawn Maps: A Guide for Creatives by Helen Cann
    7. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
    8. Writing Abroad: A Guide for Travelers by Peter Chilson
  14. Watch shows and movies on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Our current favorites:
    1. Homeland
    2. Nashville
    3. Virgin River
    4. Ramy
    5. My Brilliant Friend
    6. Breeders
    7. The Crown
    8. Bonus Family
    9. This Is Us
    10. Four Weddings & a Funeral
  15. Read books about staycations, staying at home, or doing nothing:
    1. This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick
    2. Adventures in Stillness: The Art of Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer
    3. Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving by Celeste Headlee
  16. Donate to restaurants or buy take-out.
  17. Keep a diary of this challenging time, online or in a journal.  Make artistic journal spreads.
  18. Make up a fictional character and keep a diary in his/her voice.
  19. Start delving into your genealogy.
  20. Paint. Write stories. Write poetry. Dream. Make collages. Make origami. LOVE. 🙂

I wish you all the best during this crisis.  Stay at home, and stay safe, healthy and always hopeful.


I’m going to write a cocktail hour/diary about this challenging time either weekly or bi-weekly on Wednesdays, depending on how much I have to share.  I invite you to share your own experiences with what we’re going through right now, either in the comments below, or in your own blog post, which I invite you to link below.  I’ll try to keep writing this as long as we are suffering through this together.  I hope that we will get through it unscathed, sooner rather than later.

Also, if you have any positive ways to get through this, I invite you to share: bits of humor, projects, what we can do to help others, how to keep our sanity, TV shows or movies to watch, books to read, exercises to do, etc.

Peace and love be with you all!