Privilege Blog

I Hope You Are All Well, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:19am

I am sure that, by now you, know what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic. You’ve watched several musical hand-washing videos, and, I hope, some lovely clips of Italians singing in unison from their balconies. (Siena did it best, in my humble opinion.)

With any luck you’ve also stocked up on canned tomatoes, frozen peas, and maybe some pasta. Frozen shrimp. Onions, garlic, root vegetables. Oh, and you’re well-provided with books and movies; the people you love are nearby.

Now we wait and hope that our medical infrastructure and the remarkably optimistic and persistent American people can carry us forward into stability.

I wish you all well, and that your personal society remains comforting even in distance.

Someone on Twitter recommended we write journals, in case this does truly become an historic event and we want to remember our unique personal reactions. Well, what ho, this is a blog! Here’s my little time capsule. I cannot remain wholly lugubrious.

  • Who keeps buying all the dried beans! I had already changed out my diet, don’t I get some kind of legume loyalty points?
  • Why do I now own frozen strawberries?
  • I miss my father. On the other hand, my stepmother got him set up with FaceTime and he’s still super cute on video.
  • It’s very quiet here in the Bay Area. Automobiles, usually roaring in the background, today barely even rumble.
  • My thoughts are with my daughter, at one of the epicenters of the disease, keeping her head down and doing her job as a surgical resident.
  • My thoughts are with my son. I hope what he creates from what he observes buoys him.
  • My thoughts are with all my siblings, especially my youngest sister, who runs a school in Southern California. All those families sorting out how to cope.

My thoughts are also with all of you. I hope you and your loved ones and your communities (for we do not love everyone we know but we cannot wish them harm) are well. Shall we pretend I’m making you a strawberry smoothie? Because what else I’m going to do with those little fruits I cannot imagine.

Have a very safe weekend my dear friends.

37 Responses

  1. Check, check and check on all the provisions. My thoughts are with my sister in Manhattan who’s a specialist on swallowing and whose job at Memorial Sloan Kettering has her literally looking down patients’ throats everyday! My thoughts are with her husband who works at Mt. Sinai Hospital also on the front lines. And then there’s my 96-year old mother who just got placed last Friday in a long term care facility and which now is in lockdown with no visitors allowed – talk about bad timing! Yesterday my grandson’s school closed until April 10th. Yes, in multiply ways, all of us are experiencing our lives being upended. Please play it safe but no hoarding!

    1. @Jane, My thoughts are with your family too. How hard to have just moved your mom. I hope she is just fine. Upended is the right way to put it, IMO.

  2. I’ve taken all the recommended steps and, as an introvert, I can do social distancing quite well (ha,ha, at least for a limited time). I plan on lots of reading and sewing, maybe a closet turnout.

    1. @Cathy, Good luck to you! As an extrovert, social distancing is HARD, so you doing it natively helps us all even more.

  3. Frozen strawberries (defrosted) are very good in plain yogurt or with cottage cheese or ricotta. You can also dribble them over ice cream and/or plain cake. (Womankind does not live by smoothies alone!)

    I was scheduled to leave for ten days in Paris on Monday – well, scratched that one on Thursday afternoon! After a day of pouting, I realized that I now have an unexpected ten whole days to do all the in-house things I have been putting off until after my return, and that this is a Good Thing. So which pile of papers shall I attack first…? (And in ten days, when I would have been returning from Paris to a very disorganized, and thus depressing, house, I will instead have a neat, clean, welcoming environment in which to greet the advent of Spring!)

    “Toujours gai, cherie, toujours gai,” as Nanny used to say (or as Eloise’s nanny used to say!).

    And aren’t you glad you took that great trip to sunny SoCal when you did? Oh, those blue skies – and those cell phone towers disguised as palm trees!

    1. @Victoire, Oh, sorry your Paris trip is cancelled! I was going to be in New York this week:(. But I love your attitude about the cancellation and I am going to try to make something good out of our current housebound situation.

      Yes. I am glad I went to Southern California before this all burst open.

  4. I have often said that Italians need to teach the world how to cook. I’ve since changed my mind. Italians need to teach the world how to live

    Stay safe and healthy.

  5. We are hunkered down as you probably all are in your own way. I will still feed the birds and love on my cats.
    This morning I purchased an antique beaded pin cushion with the date “1918” on it. It will serve as a gentle reminder of how bad a pandemic can get when there are no antibiotics and little was understood about how infection spreads.
    I wish for each of you comfort and wellness.


  6. Lovely post. Wishing you wellness.

    As my friend Nan noted on FB after I said it hadn’t occurred to me to buy excess quantities of anything, we with earthquake kits tend to be used to this. When word first went round about stocking up on supplies, I looked at my stores of tinned organic beans (just beans, w/o additives) in a wide variety of types from black to red to white; my tins of wild salmon, line-caught tuna, and (always, always) sardines in olive oil; my friend’s dry and frozen pastas; our olive oil; our bags of almonds and walnuts; our water in glass; and felt I had enough on hand already. I change my stores once a year, with the previous goods going to the local food bank.

    I liked this message from an LA rabbi quoted in a Washington Post piece:

    “The very last thing we need right now is a mindset of mutual distancing,” the rabbi wrote. “We actually need to be thinking in the exact opposite way. Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to how we might help that other, should the need arise.”

    He concluded by saying: “Let’s stay safe. And let’s draw one another closer in a way that we’ve never done before.””

    I also loved Judy Woodruff’s sign-off at the end of yesterday’s PBS News Hour, posted on Twitter by PBS as well as by the estimable Yamiche Alcindor:


    1. @Katherine C. James, That rabbi’s remarks do my heart good! You know, we eat so many beans that it would be hard to stock up. This is showing me that I have let my earthquake preparedness slip and I must re-up.

  7. Thanks for taking the time to write such a lovely and comforting post. There will be (in my opinion) lots of good practices and lessons to take away after the crisis has passed, and things I hope I can integrate into my life on a daily basis.

    So much is unknown, but actually that’s how life always is….xo

  8. Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.
    Rabbi Yosef Kanesky

  9. What a lovely post and inspiring comments. Thank you Lisa and all. In England, London for work and Sussex for occasional respite. We are bracing here, stocking up enough but not too much, we don’t want panic buying, but some lentils, brown rice, pasta, frozen peas and tinned tomatoes are necessities. And bar soap. Will it soon be like Italy? Should we avoid even friends and family for fear of playing a part in transmitting too soon this new virus, none of us really know. I just hope for the best for us all, you, me and humanity. And thank you so much to the health professionals working with the very illest.

  10. Yes, it’s a time for reflection, isn’t it, and an opportunity to think about values. A gorgeous day here in Vancouver, although still quite cold (had to break the ice so the birds could drink from the fountain this morning), and we got out for a walk, stopped for lunch. Social distancing is happening here, but we’ve been waiting for this sunshine and many of us were out enjoying it, maintaining our metre apart. . . .I chatted with my g’daughter in Italy where it’s been tough for a very active Five to be on lockdown. Thank goodness there’s a small trampoline in the backyard and she lives close to the beach — a daily walk there has been permitted so far, as long as they maintain their distance from others and remember to fill out their form with the reason for leaving the house in case they’re challenged by the police. . . Tough for her Mama and Papa as well–luckily they have good will and good parenting skills, and a deep well of patience. Hope it lasts until April 3rd. . . . G’daughter showed us the poster she’d made to hang on her balcony — A giant rainbow accompanied by the words “Andra tutto bene” — All will be well! (I’ll email you a photo, Lisa, I think you’d like this). . . .I love this meme, the thousands of children across Italy who have been sharing this message from the homes to which they’ve been restricted for six days of lockdown already. If they can do it. . . .

    1. @Frances, I am keeping your granddaughter’s words in my heart. We’ve just been ordered to “shelter in place,” i.e. all businesses must close except groceries, pharmacies and gas stations. We are all asked to stay at home except for essential errands, or walks if we keep our distance from others. This is in force for at least the next three weeks.

      It’s here.

  11. I hope that you too stay well. We started stocking up two weeks ago and social distancing not long thereafter, and it turned out to be a good thing as we live right next door to New Rochelle, one of the epicenters (for now) of the epidemic. I wish your daughter all the best; she may be sorely tried these next weeks and months. Blessings to all of you.

  12. Such a great, upbeat post, Lisa, all things considered! Be safe, and enjoy those strawberry margaritas! You do have a little tequila, dont you?!

    1. @Ann Fulton, Thank you:). No tequila. Talk to me when three weeks are up, we’ve just been ordered to shelter in place until April 7 except essential errands. Tequila may count!

  13. Reply to “Cynthia” and “Ann Fulton”:

    MUCH better idea than frozen strawberries stirred into yoghurt! I am such an unimaginative Puritan …

  14. Hello Lisa, I hope all the precautions are effective and this ends soon. When you mentioned the problem of frozen strawberries my mind wandered to bai mu-er with strawberries. I have not tried this but the idea intrigues me; it would look incredible. Perhaps necessity truly is the mother of invention. I wonder if people are staying away from the Chinese groceries in California? Here of course that’s all there is (albeit currently minus all paper goods).

  15. I’ll quote Frances’ g’daughter: “Andra tutto bene”
    Stay well and safe

  16. I have been a fastidious hand washer for many years. Working in the school system taught us that we keeps germs at bay as much as possible.
    Our cupboards are pretty well stocked and we also have an earthquake kit. The only thing we won’t have is fresh cream for our coffee if we have to self isolate for weeks on end.
    We can read, watch Netflix putter in the garden and do some decluttering and deeper Spring cleaning.
    I also have a knitting project on the needles.
    Hope that you stay safe in these troubled times and enjoy your Skype time with your father.

  17. Inspiring post, and lovely comments. You have the most thoughtful readers. My thoughts are with your daughter in one of the epicenters. How have things changed? My daughter is a emergency medicine resident at Bellevue in NYC. It is concerning as that hospital is already strained during normal times. Rules, policies and procedures have been changing over the last few weeks. The next few weeks will be interesting. My trip next week to visit her is cancelled, I don’t want to get it from her! I think many health professionals will get Covid, despite protective measures. My husband and I are hanging out at home in Oregon. Trying to support her from across the country is hard. I did send her a box of sweet Ojai pixie oranges this week.

  18. YOUR list of provisions is always in my PANTRY except the frozen strawberries!MY FATHER was THE KING of those!He was a Frozen Food Broker and SOLD the MOST STRAWBERRIES when it all started with the DRISCOLL BROTHERS!!!!
    I grew up on FROZEN FOOD!!!
    SO needless to say I donot BUY it anymore except WILD BLUE BERRIES!Which I do put in a smoothie along with a banana!
    STAY WELL…………its all a bit surreal to me.

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