Another shelter in place Sunday

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AI see the sun shining outside but I’m trying to make the most of my Sunday morning in bed. I slept at probably around 2am, yet I woke up at 6:30am. I got up and answered the call of nature and went back under the sheets. Sleepcast to try and help me get back to sleep from my meditation app didn’t help. I thought an Etsy webinar would, but even as I was proven correct it was not really free and just a pitch for another course, I managed to stay awake all throughout.

Now I have a headache.

I’m already planning my nap. I am still trying to make my mind up about breakfast. My tummy is arguing with my head because my headache is telling me to go for the banana bread I baked last week, and my tummy is reminding me I got some asparagus for my Sunday brunch omelette. Or I can even go for a ham omelette ..Hmmm..
My Sunday

Not exactly a picture perfect asparagus and cheese omelette, but my tummy was happy

Pending the decision about what sustenance I will take before drinking my headache drug of choice, I have at least made up my mind the laundry will have to wait. (Maybe tomorrow or Tuesday.). Or maybe not. I think the lack of sleep is making me jump from one idea to the next. No, the body wins. I’m taking it easy this Sunday.

I guess that’s one reason I decided to write here, just to help sort the fuzziness in my head. Writing has always been a source of clarity.

I’ve been working on several mask patterns from various sources. I’ve donated my sewingforlives masks and now I want to make masks for myself. I went out yesterday wearing one as I walked to the corner to do errands in 70 degree temps. It was a beautiful day but the mask was hot.

It took some adjusting like always, and I needed to vent the mask by giving it more space between the cloth and my face every once in a while, but I managed. For all the different patterns I’m trying, it all comes down to comfort. Breathability is important or your mask will do you more harm than good. It has to be something you can stand wearing for an extended period of time. I’n writing a separate series of posts on the masks and will share the resources I’ve found, along with tweaks to the pattens I have done.

One of those patterns actually kept me up last night, but I am happy I finished it. While one might think a mask is a mask, I’ve found that there are different nuances in each pattern that can be used together to tweak certain features of a face covering.  This particular pattern looked a little wonky to me when I saw it online, but working on the actual mask showed me a new way to sew the front and back pieces together.

Post coming soon on this mask

So I stitched and unstitched and stitched again, and came up with my first prototype of this pattern, and it might yet turn out to be one of my favorites.

I’m trying to steer clear of the sewing for portions of my day when there is some free time to do the things I want to do. “Me time” has been confined to mostly sewing the past couple of weeks. My art journal has been set aside for the whole month of April, and I will try to do an entry today before May totally slips by. My beads and tools are also waiting for me. I know I had promised to create some pieces in the last week or so, but there was work, and the masks.

So as you can see, I’ve been very focused on creating face coverings and finding one (or two or three) actual mask that I like, and producing enough for me to use when I get back to work. Whenever that may be. Still experimenting..

I realize now that I have to stop stressing about returning to work, and part of that is easing up on my focus on the face coverings. This whole business of sheltering in place and the presence of the threat of corona hanging over my head has been a heavy burden. We try to cope as best we can, and I think I have been doing well for the most part, but I am only human. There’s always that part of us that suffers through the stress no matter how good we get at coping from day to day.

This Sunday, I’m going to work on at least one jewelry piece, and maybe even come up with one item or two for the shop. I already know which section of my art journal I will work on. I don’t really want to plan beyond that, because all I can think of right now he’s wanting to go back to sleep. And after everything I have written here, I still haven’t made up my mind about breakfast.

My headache has also not abated. It seems to be intent on keeping me company today. I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet, and I’m already planning my nap.

Sundays should not be so complicated. So let’s begin with my asparagus Omelette. Progress. At least breakfast is taken care of, and that’s one less decision to make today.

Dinner saw me baking a small batch of Pao de Quiejo using a different recipe from my first attempt a couple of weeks back. Simple enough. Headache crept away midday but I just didn’t have the energy for much.

My Sunday

I hope your Sunday went as well as mine. I hope that like me, you will take time to do something that you like doing, and find the time to just pause and breathe.

Another weekend sheltering in place– grateful to be safe at home and getting ready for the week ahead.

Mother’s Day in the time of Corona in NYC

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I have one son. And he means the world to me. 17 years ago, he was born the Saturday before Mother’s Day, and I celebrated my first Mother’s Day all achy and tired but holding this precious little breathing human being in my arms. It was the best gift ever and continues to be the best gift ever every time this day comes along.

We usually celebrate with a fancy dinner, just the two of us — and I always look forward to the card he gives me, whether store bought or handmade. This year, I think I’ll give him a pass but I wouldn’t mind one even if delayed.

He has always had a gift for words. I loved the scribbling, and the attempts at art. I look at him and I am filled with a different kind of bliss beyond words.

These days he sleeps until noon, or a little later — when I let him. Online learning has been on a modular basis, so he can log on and watch videos and receive homework with a deadline for submission. He and his friends meet “online” playing video games after dinner, staying up until the wee hours. Iused to get concerned with the unhealthy sleeping hours, but I’ve learned to live with it and just define limits. He can stay up as late as he wants, as long as he wakes up by noon and eats breakfast or brunch, and does his daily attendance and any work required from school. I have learned to pick my battles and respect that he, too, is dealing with this whole new normal and I have to help him do it in a way that works for him, not just for me.

So we had dinner with just us again, but this time at home. No surprise flowers or cards. Or maybe I might get a surprise yet. Just being with him here is gift enough. Having him for a son makes it all worth it. Having him, period. That’s what makes this day special.

I already video chatted with my own mom as Mother’s Day hit Manila 12 hours earlier. In the midst of their own quarantine, only my sister is with my Mom, so we pulled in my brothers. The physical therapist is living in the hospital, social distancing to ensure the he doesn’t bring any possible infection home. The other brother is with his family in another part of town.

Like most families these days, we communicate via video chat, sometimes as a family or just separately. I try to check in with them daily, even if mom is hard of hearing. She sees me, I see her, and we say hello or goodnight — it reassures me as much as it must reassure her that we are okay on both sides of the world.

The cemeteries opened to allow those who want to visit their moms a chance to pay their respects. It’s a bittersweet day because there are many mothers, both young and old, who perished in the current pandemic. Some of them may not have even had the chance to have a proper funeral. These days, even the business of laying our dead to rest has become complicated by the fears of contamination.

And so we all celebrate a different way, but we celebrate all the same.

Happy Mother’s Day..

Social responsibility

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I was actually planning to venture out today and do some chores and errands. I had gotten used to a two week cycle for doing the laundry, for one. Since the boy and I have been staying home, that has been reduced drastically. No pressing need to do it right now, really. I wanted to try and go to the local grocery as well. It’s been three weeks since I ventured out there.

I finally found a good window to do the laundry Thursday evening between the morning showers and the rain that was forecast for the evening, I only need to walk a hundred steps or less to get to the laundry room, but it was a source of anxiety for me. It’s a keycard entry structure but it’s accessible to the 400 or so units in the area. I came in wearing my mask and my gloves, I didn’t use the communal trays and instead, I put my laundry bag in a plastic garbage bag I brought and let it rest there as I unloaded. Was I being overly cautious? Even before corona virus became real to us, I always made it a practice to load and unload my laundry between the wash, the dryer and hauling them back home straight into the totes I carry. Those trays thane been touched by other people’s dirty clothes!

That done, I had to decide whether or not I will venture to the corner and do some grocery shopping. I will postpone that to Saturday.

My grocery delivery has stepped up and has been keeping me stocked for the most part. I really don’t have any reason to venture out, but there are certain staples that are now available only in store and not online. And there are meat selections that are better bought after actual viewing and inspection,

The last time I was at the local grocery, they had instituted entry controls and social distancing while waiting in line. Thankfully, they had someone controlling the crowd — not that there were that many people around, but it helped. It meant spending some time just waiting for my turn to go in, but I appreciated the effort of the store to enforce social distancing. I imagine that with the recent mandate from the Governor, we will now be required to wear face covering to enter. Again, I am relieved.

Social distancing

You’d think I live in a relatively corona free area, but the way the virus has spread, I don’t think there is any place that can claim to be corona free in New York anymore.

I take comfort in the thought that it seems that despite the continuing high numbers, our statistics appear to show that whatever steps we are taking, they are working and stemming the rise of infections. There are still at least 400 people dying per day, but steadily declining from a high of 799 just 2 weeks ago. People who are going into the hospitals on a daily basis are still well over 2000, but there are also more people leaving and surviving the virus. While we await mass testing and the all important vaccine which is at least a year and a half away, life seems to have started to slow down. But the danger is far from over — the virus is still very much present. New York continues to be the epicenter in the US. New York City, of which Queens, where I live, is one of the five boroughs, is still the hardest hit.

Despite the alarming numbers of the recent weeks, a lot of my neighbors still seem oblivious to the perils of exposing themselves and others to the dangers of infection. The reality of it is, you cannot really control what others do, but can only make sure you do your part. I’ve been social distancing and trying to minimize having to go out as much as I can, not just for my personal safety, but more importantly, for my son’s.

I know of people living in my community who have tested positive for the virus (worked for an essential service that required the testing), gotten sick as confirmed by his own wife, and gotten better — lucky guy! But I have also seen the same person going around without any effort to self quarantine (14 days required, per the experts), nor even try to put on some form of face covering, whether while hanging out at their stoop or walking their dog.

I get it that their stoop is literally “their home”, but the air outside their door is public domain. They may have survived the onslaught of Covid19, but there are several senior citizens living in our community, and even a pregnant neighbor. I’d be alarmed, but the pregnant neighbor doesn’t seem to mind — and again, I can only do so much for myself. What they do is their own choice.

The indifference just seems so irresponsible in light of the suffering of others beyond my otherwise quiet neighborhood. Families here are generally not hard hit — we live in a relatively economically stable cluster of a good mix of socio-economic backgrounds, gravitating towards the middle class. The school zone is one of those sought after, which tended to bump up real estate value. Although we are not totally untouched, you won’t see any food pantries in this side of town. We do have two schools in the vicinity distributing food for the children and anyone who is hungry, but you will not find the non-profit groups trooping to our side of the borough to distribute relief goods. But that is a situation that is so real in areas not too far from where we are.

And yet the fact that we are still being asked to shelter in place for the next 4 weeks means that the health threat has not disappeared. Where there are many who have managed to battle the disease like a bout of flu, there are still hundreds fighting for their lives.

So I don’t apologize for feeling a sense of indignation when I see people walking around, nonchalantly ignoring the mandate for face covering, I want to tell them to remember the frontline workers who are battling the disease. How people are risking their lives to help those fighting for theirs. How other people are hungry because the economy has ground to a halt to keep the disease from spreading. I feel gravely offended that my lucky neighbor survived the disease but is NOT quarantining, I feel a sense of pity for the ignorance of those who think we are all positive for the virus already anyway, so why bother trying to stem the spread of the infection. Translated: I can walk my dog or go about my day without a face cover.

True, wearing a mask will not effectively stem the spread of the disease, and neither will it protect you. But in some measure, it is a form of social courtesy that we all need to be conscious of because of the gravity of the situation.

And if we are one of those who are fortunate to survive this disease, we have a social responsibility NOT to spread the infection. Stay home.

Making the Stay at home situation work

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It’s the 6th weekend since we started this shelter in place / stay at home / but not a lockdown (because the Governor doesn’t like to call it that) new normal for New York City. Again, I’m not complaining, but of course, I long for what we had before March.

I don’t even want to think of going back to that, because I know that the reality of it is, this whole situation will change how we move forward, even after we are allowed to go back to a semblance of normalcy. I don’t know how soon or how far off that is — except that it won’t happen before May 15. Our state authorities have said as much. The way that New York City has suffered through the pandemic, it will be harder and a longer journey for us to try and reopen the city as we knew it.

Not that I’ve gotten used to this new way of doing things — but I think I’ve managed to adapt myself to this new way of living. It’s not just about adjusting to the “home office” situation, but more importantly, I’ve had to make some adjustments as part of trying to stay healthy and avoiding getting exposed to germs.

I washed my hands as much as I could — and the first two weeks, I developed a rash on the back of my left hand. It wasn’t anything alarming or painful, but it was uncomfortable and started to itch. Fortunately, I had my ointments from previous dermatological conditions. In a week, my hand was back to normal.

You just have to be conscious of how you do things, more so when you’re outside.

I live in a second floor unit with a common doorway with my first floor neighbor. We are in a u-shaped courtyard. It’s a residential community with minimal foot traffic, and my laundry and garbage bins are just a stone’s throw away from my doorstep. Still, I’ve tried to avoid going out as much as I can by doing things at home differently.

(1) Entryway essentials

– A Box of disposable gloves: so that it’s within easy reach for when I have chores to do outside.

– A trash bin with a disposable trash bag for discarded gloves and mail.

– A pair of scissors to open the mail or deliveries with

When I go outside to pick up the mail or a delivery, I open everything just inside my door instead of bringing everything up. That way, I can dispose of the wrappers or fold away the boxes right there for disposal.

(2) Develop the habit of sorting even your regular trash. I normally threw all the garbage in my huge 13-gallon garbage bin in the kitchen, but I have now reserved this for “wet” garbage. Paper and other “dry” garbage goes into regular or smaller trash bins. I can consolidate these later into a bigger bag, or tie together. Even when I cook, I consciously put away the wrappers with the dry garbage, and I collect the vegetable and fruit peels and containers separately. This will prevent the garbage bin from filling up and minimizing the trips to the garbage bin.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to others who have regular garbage pick up, or who live in buildings where there is a garbage chute. But speaking from experience, consciously disposing of garbage at a time when you don’t want to be taking too many trips outside your door has helped me keep things in order.

(3) Set regular office hours. If you’re one of those who have had to start working from home like me, it’s very important that you delineate your office hours — and be disciplined enough to observe them.

Begin your work day as if you were working in the office. I think I’ve gotten down to a manageable level of “busy” by pacing myself better now. The office closure didn’t really mean a slow down for our office, so I have had to adapt to the work-from-home routine and make a lot of adjustments beyond the smaller laptop screen, and only one screen instead of the two I had back in the office. Some days have been truly exhausting.

– Observe a lunch hour. This is important whether or not you grab a bite. The thing is to observe an actual break, get up from your desk, and pause. Literally.

Aim to finish your tasks for the day and send out the last e-mail the same time you would normally be walking out of the office. One thing that working from home robs us of is the urge to stop and get up to leave when we were actually in the office. We have buses and trains to catch, actual travel time to hurdle before getting home, and we need to be mindful of this even when we are in the “comfort of our own home”. Otherwise, you will find yourself working longer hours and exhausting yourself needlessly.

If you use audio alerts for email and meetings reminders, turn them on and off according to your office hours. My phone emits a sound when I receive an email in my work mailbox — I turn that off. My boss has her own text ringtone and I figure that it was urgent enough for her to reach me after office hours, she will text. So to the rest of my colleagues, there’s tomorrow. This last habit has helped me to keep myself focused on family and home when my office hours end. It has given me the chance to breathe and recharge.

– Shut down or log off your work system at the end of your work day. My personal and work email are both on my phone, but I’ve tried to make it a habit not to look at work emails after I’ve logged out of the network and turned my laptop off. All it takes is the discipline to literally watch the clock.

(4) Find a hobby or passion that you can pursue/continue even within the confines of home. For the first part of my stay-at-home journey, I focused on my art journal. I paused for a week or so, and I’m ready to continue. I’ve started sewing again, but it’s been in stops and starts because I am often too tired to do this at the end of the workday.

Not surprisingly, a lot of my colleagues at work who know I do jewelry were presuming that I’ve had more time to pick up my beads and pliers. The truth of it is, save for that one attempt at crocheting a necklace of glass crystals, the only other time I picked up my tools was earlier this week to restring a favorite necklace of gorgeous pink agate. I am going to try to do something about that in the at least 4 weeks more of this.

It can work if you choose to make it work. It doesn’t have to drive you crazy. When it does, you should find a way to get over the stress of being in this new normal.

I’ve started to cook and even bake. But that’s another blog post. I hope that sharing these things that have made this current way of life easier or more livable will help someone out there. We will get through this — we just need to hang in there and do our part.

Picking up my tools again

Home for a month now

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AWeek 4, a birthday via video chat, and working from home like it was just any other day. But it isn’t any other day.

It’s been a month since I last sat at my desk in the office. I’ve managed to make working from home “work”. I’ve secured enough food for my son and I even if we didn’t go out for three to four weeks. And I am almost relieved that the daily briefings have become briefer and less dire sounding. There is hope.

Working from home

The work from home situation: Week 4. I’d be lying if I say that I am all settled with working from home. I still wake up on a set schedule, just an hour or so later. I get ready and log on to the network with coffee mug in hand between 8:30-9am, which is right about the same time that I actually walk into my building back when I was at the office. I try to stop around noon to grab a bite. And at around 5pm, I start getting ready with my daily wrap up — something necessitated by the fact that I can no longer hand the boss her next day packet with her prereads and briefing materials. I usually hit “send” on that by, or just after, 6pm. So in essence, my daily schedule hasn’t changed. It’s still a long day, but I do it in the comfort of my home, and I am no longer dressing up and commuting to Manhattan.

The meetings have not really abated, so I still spend a huge chunk of my day trying to set her calendar straight, or organizing meetings for and on the boss’s behalf. With such an intense atmosphere at the moment, I have tried not to overload the calendar and give her and me time to pause and breathe. There is, after all, only so much that the body and soul can take.

And we are besieged from various fronts, both professional and personal. I am personally just grateful that I have a lot on my plate, instead of nothing. Many people, like the cafeteria and catering staff who were employees of our contractor, must be falling in line in the job centers and unemployment lines to get assistance. I am blessed to still have a paycheck coming in.

Hunkering down with a plan. I don’t like to liken the current situation to the apocalyptic scenarios that many of our movies have brought to the screen, but it does make me worry. Enough that I haven’t really been sleeping well. I try not to worry about my son and I, or the family back in Manila.

But I do.

I used to plan our meals on a week to week basis, and the weekends every other. As it dawned on me that going out would be more and more difficult, and how my grocery delivery service started falling short on the items I wanted to get but ended up not getting, I took stock of my pantry and made a plan.

Hoard, I do not. I am truly baffled why there was such a mad dash for toilet paper, and why every other aisle gets restocked and stays stocked, except the toilet paper aisle. Well, at the start, the bread aisle was a sorry sight. But the bakeries churn out enough to make sure that everyone gets their bread. But really now — toilet paper? Even before the mad dash, I have always had a healthy supply of paper goods, but only because I have found it more economical to buy in bulk, since I have them delivered to my home. Other than a huge pack of paper towels and toilet paper say, every 2 months or even longer, I don’t really consume that much. Again, there’s only my son and I. So you can get my allocation. The local grocery is now implementing a two-pack maximum for purchases.

I have been thinking of purchasing some the next go around, because I saw a feature story about someone providing it as “gratuity” for service providers like delivery people. But for my own personal use, we are covered at home. Literally and figuratively.

I have taken to putting in a small container of hand sanitizer with my tip. I also try to put in a note of thanks. These days, the customary tip of 10-15% just doesn’t feel like it’s enough, but I can only do so much.

I don’t want to get used to this because it is anything BUT normal. I try to look forward and get ready for the day when we will be slowly getting back to what we were before this invisible enemy crept up from behind us and took us over. There is hope. There is ALWAYS hope.

So in the meantime, I’m gearing up for week 5. Stay home, everyone.

Waking up to a new normal

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It’s been almost two weeks since I started working from home and waking up to the new reality of living the corona virus pandemic. It’s been an experience I’ve wanted to write about since day 1, but first, real work interfered. Thanks to technology, the company I work for was well positioned to operate remotely. My position, assisting one of the chief somethings of a Fortune 500 company, has always been set up to be able to work from home. It wasn’t so much preparedness for a situation like the one we are in right now, but more for those instances when working beyond the regular office hours became necessary.

I’ve been meaning to write, but I know that the stress of the current situation has made it more difficult in terms of getting the words out. But after going full steam into adjusting to the situation, I think I’ve gotten a better grip and have somehow steadied my gait.

I log on to the company system and begin work — dealing with the stream of emails absent the usual calls. Because of the prevailing situation worldwide, work has been busy and my first week was exhausting. You’d think working from home was such a perk, but it takes real effort when you’re trying to do your normal office routine.

I’ve been working off of a smaller laptop screen, and trying to resist working via a regular keyboard. I’ve been vacillating between hooking up an old monitor here at home or ordering a new one. Both options seem to be surrendering to the fact that this is not going to be a situation for the short term, which is probably why I have been resisting it. However, I might soon have to succumb to the reality that my eyes are not taking too kindly to the smaller screen. Just part of the adjustment to the new home office situation.

I’ve been to the grocery three times since — and I’ve had several deliveries from online shopping. Although we keep getting reassured that there is no shortage of basic necessities, there have been empty shelves and less options — but it is heartening to see that the local grocery has been restocking.

Corona Diaries

Still, there are many items which have remained out of stock. I fell in line for hand sanitizers in Bath & Body works days before New York Governor Cuomo urged offices in NYC to reduce their office workforce. Their bins were empty when I visited, but I got the tip from the store clerks that a delivery was coming in the following morning. So I went in before heading to the office and I saw the line snaking several times within the store. It took more than half an hour for me to reach the counter. The hand sanitizers retailed for $1.95 but was available for a promo sale of 5 for $8 but only for the first 10 pieces. After that, you had to buy the 11th piece on for regular retail.

I have my own opinion about that whole set up, but I’d rather save it for another post. Like most everyone else, I got more than the 10 pieces — I’m guilty of having bought maybe around 30. I had promised a friend at work I’d grab her 5 if I ever got the chance to.

Corona Diaries

I have a small Keyfood nearby and a Walgreens. Like I said, I’ve gone there probably three times — going there once a week like I would on any normal weekend. I went with disposable gloves, making sure not to touch my face. The toilet paper shelves were empty — but I am pretty good with that for a bit. The fresh produce was well-stocked. It was the meat and poultry section, as well as the bread which was nearing empty. They did restock, but selectively. The grocery shelves, for the most part, didn’t exactly scream normal. It was a stark reminder that things were disappearing from the shelves even if they were being restocked.

My grocery delivery, Freshdirect, has not delivered any meat or poultry that I have ordered the last two times. That’s basically the reason I’ve stepped out to get other things from the local grocery. Despite being a delivery pass member which is supposed to mean I get priority in reserving a delivery slot, the delivery slots have been pushed further and there aren’t really that many choices available. Items that are “available” to put in my “shopping cart” also disappear by the time I check out. I’d like to think that it’s the sheer volume of orders they are receiving that’s caused this, and not exactly because their stocks are running low.

While online retailers continue to be open, most basic stocks have been reduced to being available in store only because of high demand. So cereal is a hit or miss, and even your regular Mac n’ cheese. Forget about bottled water. I am trying not to get too stressed about it but it’s taking a bit of an adjustment. People seem to walk around normally — but there’s a bigger group of people wearing masks now. I didn’t wear any last week, but the numbers have jumped high enough to even make me sew my own masks in that same vein of getting ready, “just in case’.

A friend had procured two n-95 masks for my son and I before we stopped working at the office. I somehow managed to misplace mine but my son’s is here. He hasn’t really been going out except to be with his Dad. I have tried to minimize his being outdoors to the point that I haven’t asked him to do chores — I prefer that I be the one going out, receiving the deliveries and throwing the trash.

Fortunately, there’s only my 15 year old son and I. I am well stocked for his staples, but there’s this nagging feeling that makes me want to keep the stocks I have at this level. So as we consume the food, I feel like I want to keep the pantry stocked as they are. I really have no reason to worry for myself — I have always eaten light, and I have always been dieting one way or the other. I can adjust to what I have on hand. It’s a different thing for my Uber picky teen. So I made sure my rice is stocked, even requesting his father to get us an extra bag of rice when he got one for himself. My son really has a very limited repertoire so I just need to make sure I’m covered for more than two weeks.

So our tiny apartment has been our literal refuge the last two weeks, and from the looks of it, will be our literal four corners for more weeks to come. I am grateful that the New York School systems and his high school in particular, has successfully rolled out online learning. Not quite your usual classes, but there have been videos to watch, school work to read and download and submit. It hasn’t been a total standstill on that front.

When the offices and shops decided to shutter their operations, leaving only essential services open, I couldn’t help but think of the families who depended on the breakfast and lunch offered for free in New York City schools. Governor Cuomo made it known that was one huge consideration in not suspending classes. Fortunately, that has been solved and children are now able to pick up bags with their meals from the schools. I thought of the workers who relied on hourly wages which meant no work, no pay.

I have had difficulty getting to sleep even when the workday saw me drained and exhausted when I finally logged off. I would sometimes end up napping in front of the TV at the end of the day, but when I lay my head to sleep, I would find myself awake well past midnight.

Staying connected with friends and family overseas has been a blessing. I FaceTime with my 80 year old mother more now. We say I love you. I tell her she needs to stay indoors. My son and I were actually planning a weeklong trip home to celebrate her 80th birthday on March 9. We were planning to fly out on March 5 and return on March 15. I kept postponing booking the flight home despite the bargains because the Philippine president was threatening to cut off every avenue I was planning to take to get to and from Manila, and self quarantining was becoming a thing on this side of the world. The biggest threat was being cut off if travel was somehow curtailed between Manila and New York. It turned out to be a good decision to hold off. We will just celebrate whenever we can make it to Manila again, even if it means celebrating in December.

Governor Cuomo’s daily press conferences have been a staple in my calendar. I watch the White House press conferences only because I wait for the reassuring presence of Dr. Fauci. The numbers can be alarming but the truth of it is, other than hunkering down, I really can’t do anything. I am hoping that the other families around me are doing the same, staying home. I’ve seen countless video online of physicians and artists banding together commending the great humanitarian effort from all sides of the world to save as many people as possible. And they fight on, with a simple request from those of us who don’t as yet, need their care — that we stay home.

So I’m trying to do my part. I’m staying home. I’m hoping to ride out this crisis with my fingers crossed and all the prayers sent to heaven, that if we do get affected by it, that it be in a way where we will not need any medical care. That we will be able to ride it out as if it were just a regular cold or bout of flu. I wish.

I’ve rambled on long enough. There are more stories to tell. I am hoping I can keep writing. For now, I have to do my Sunday chores, get ready for the week ahead, and maybe sew another mask or two. I think I’ll have a glass of wine, and maybe have a salad for dinner.

I was thinking of going to the grocery. But I don’t really need to. Not until I see what Freshdirect delivers tomorrow evening. Fingers crossed.. yet again.