Doubling Down

By Sir Manny of Chester, via Wikimedia Commons

As COVID19 cases start to double up in a serious and scary way, we are all faced with doubling down on our social distancing.

Feeling Doubtful?

Folks, take a look at Italy. We do NOT want to experience this pandemic they way they have. Our huge population and state-to-state response, especially in the face of inconsistent and belated leadership at the national level, we are already in for some of this. But it is not too late for each and every one of us to make drastic and immediate changes in the way we live. We CAN make a difference.

Thanks to the New York Times for providing free coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Support the heroism of our journalists with a subscription!

Feeling Rebellious?

That’s how Philadelphia felt in September 1918. They went ahead and held a parade hosting 200,000 ten days into the flu pandemic. Then they experienced the worst spike and the most deaths of ANY city in the US. At least they got all that death over with in the first two months. San Francisco successfully ‘flattened the peak’ in the first six weeks, then relaxed restrictions and had ranked sixth amongst cities for number of deaths in a 24-month period. You can read about it for free with Apple News, but I suggest going straight to the source and supporting them with a subscription today.

How Some Cities ‘Flattened the Curve’ During the 1918 Flu Pandemic – National Geographic

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Yes, that’s right. Twenty-four weeks. THREE MONTHS. Our lives are not going to be the same for three to six months and maybe even up to a year, until a reliable and safe vaccine can be developed, produced and distributed. So hunker down and don’t forget to smile, treasure your family, get outside, create something new, do something you’ve always wanted to do, and laugh out loud!

We are gonna do this together.

Chris Mann from The Voice does a parody of Adele’s ‘Hello’ – CAUTION: Language, man in underwear

To Quarantine or Not to Quarantine

Do we really need these drastic measures?

Why is this even a question??? I was never more grateful than when Governor Newsom declared statewide quarantine throughout California last Thursday. Why? Because coronavirus is here, and we know how it’s going to go, unless we take aggressive and collaborative action immediately.

Spread good ideas, not germs.

Why should I follow these strict self-quarantine guidelines?

Here’s the math and science behind the need to start social distancing right away, and why our leaders and law enforcement shouldn’t have to force us to comply. Because it’s okay to be smart.

How exponential growth works to spread a virus pandemic

What about going outside? What about parks? What about SPRING?

Still dithering? I get it. A week ago that was me. Can I take my kids to a park (click to see a report from CNN on this topic)? If we’re at the park, can they go on a play structure? What about the beach? Should I be cleaning every high-touch surface in my house? Every day? Every hour? Is it okay for my 72-year old mother to be going out? Trust me, better minds than ours are thinking about all this. In the age of information, it’s easy to imagine that each one of us has all the answers. But the truth is, we ARE a herd. We each have different roles to play. Our scientists are doing their jobs. Our grocery store clerks are doing their jobs. If we don’t do our jobs and circle up, we will lose those we care about.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Here’s what the Italians have to say about that.

Now that the six-county San Francisco Bay Area shelter-in-place order has been extended statewide, I don’t have to make every decision by myself. Rather than making me feel like my freedom is restricted (my freedom IS restricted, by me – I am choosing to comply with these orders), I feel relieved and reassured. Not just because I don’t have to think about every little panic that rolls its way through the internet. But because we are working together. Scientists, lawmakers, administrators, retailers and everyday citizens are all working together to get through this pandemic as safely as we can.

And working together is how humans do things best.

A Candle for Emily

Photo courtesy of akosolov, Creative Commons

February 2nd–Imbolc

Three years ago, the year I turned forty and my father died, I began this blog to document just one thing–my resolution to begin walking every day of my remaining days, first thing in the morning. As I suspected at the time, this one change began a transformative process that continues right into this year. The transformations cycle backward and forward, at different times invisible, exhilarating, frustrating, terrifying and satisfying. Mostly, I write here about how I grapple with changes I have chosen: to get married, become a parent, leave the professional world of teaching for the world of homemaking, pursue my ambition to write books for children, and carry my inner child forward in healing.

Today, I learned about a mom who has spent the last few years grappling with changes she did NOT choose: the loss of an eight-month old child to SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), subsequent miscarriages and just last week, a stillborn child. You can read more from Emily on her blog Sweet Ezra, and you can support her efforts to raise funds for SMA education and research through the organization she started after her son’s death, Hearts for Ezra.

But I think what Emily may need more than anything right now is your love. Today is Imbolc, an old Gaelic holiday marking the beginning of spring and now celebrated as part of the pagan Wheel of the Year. Traditionally, the Goddess Brigid presides over this holiday, a time to welcome in the new year, a time to light candles in the dark. Witches believe that through intention we can accomplish magic that will transform ourselves and the world. We believe in the power of intention. Some might call this the power of prayer.

For Imbolc, we invoke the triple aspects of the Goddess Brigid:

Brigid the Poet, who teaches us to speak our truth, with beauty,

Early Christians incorporated Brigid, the Celtic goddess of Imbolc, into St. Brigid of Kildare

Brigid of the Forge, who grants us the spark and the fire we use to transform the old into the new, to smith the tools we need from the materials at hand, and

Image by Gita Rau, Flickr Creative Commons

Brigid of the Well, who heals all wounds and tends the waters of the world.

Signs of spring 2 by James Jordan, via Flickr

Signs of spring 2 by James Jordan, via Flickr

I light a candle for Emily this Imbolc, that words may offer her solace and a path through grief, that the spark of her family and her hope continue to burn bright, and that she be held and healed.

To Emily, I offer gratitude for the blaze she tends in the world, the lighted path of her words. When you read them, you too will be warmed by the fire of Her bright spirit. Blessed be.

A Remembrance for Samhain

Photo by Jean-Raphaël Guillaumin, Creative Commons

Samhain: the pagan New Year, the time when witches say that the veil between the worlds thins. We set up altars, we light candles, we lay out bread and wine for our Beloved Dead. It is the darkest time of year, when fields lie fallow and frost sharpens the remaining leaves. A time to remember those we have lost, a time to remember the power we have to shape our lives and our world, a time to remember the sleeping seeds, which soon will stretch to new, hidden life under our feet. Blessed be!

On Senior Porn and Going Grey

Photo by Miss Leatherchrissy

Photo by Miss Leatherchrissy

Warning: This piece contains explicit and direct material about the human body.

Why aren’t there any porn sites featuring aging people? Well, there are actually more than you’d think, all of them decades more unrealistic than their younger counterparts. I’m only forty, and already can tell you that the comfort of any given sexual position or activity is its most aphrodisiac property. I’m not truly interested in senior sex, but I do wish the daily onslaught of media images included at least the occasional unclothed octogenarian. It would give me some advance warning about what to expect from my own body as I get older. Some people have finally figured out that puberty shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to teenagers—that it might be a good idea to give young people a heads up about what to expect. Books have been written with shiny blue covers and technical language, to be shared awkwardly at the appropriate time. But where is my guidebook for peri-menopause? For perpetually sore knees? For going grey? The books may be out there, but who’s going to read them to me? Continue reading