Post 75: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

Today’s topic: If you were ________, how would you have handled the pandemic?

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 75.

Blindfold or Mouth Gag?

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Oh, how this pandemic has shown the true colors of many people around the world, be they leaders, politicians, corporate thieves, humanitarians, educators, first responders, medical staff, or simple normal people.

In hindsight, it is always easy to criticize and claim there was a better way to do things. But when one is in a massively difficult decision-making position, weighing all the options and visualizing all the scenarios is awfully difficult.

Unless you are the Idiot in Chief and you are more worried about your Twitter image than displaying true leadership. So, if I were the President of the United States —a country I love and miss terribly—I would have done 8 things:

  1. Listened to the warnings coming out of China in December and begun a real assessment of where this might lead my country and acted on it.
  2. Hired a team of experts to take over the daily management of the Pandemic, giving them total autonomy and authority to act as needed for the greater good.
  3. Closed the borders immediately, but also would have opened refugee camps for those who have nowhere to go.
  4. Teamed up with international leaders to create a policy that will save the fragile economies worldwide.
  5. Supported the World Health Organization more than usual so that they can manage the chaos and give better guidance.
  6. I would not have used the Pandemic as a campaigning platform to toot my own horn.
  7. I would not accuse others of my wrongdoings.
  8. I would have worn a mask.
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If I were Any World Leader Today…

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

I think this is the first of many pandemics and today’s world leaders need to start making plans for living in a Pandemic World.

Why do I think we’re going to be binge-experiencing pandemics? Several possible reasons. One, years of covering the news taught me that events come in clusters. There was a time when plane hijackings were regular news fodder. Don’t hear about those much anymore. 9/11 brought on a spate of smaller terrorist attacks. Not so much of that happening now, except if you live in the Middle East, of course. Mass shootings? If there are any, the news isn’t covering them. Now we’ve got a pandemic. If news history repeats itself, we’ve got a few more lockdowns ahead of us.

But it’s more than history repeating itself that says world leaders need to have national and international plans for dealing with rogue viruses. Personally, I think bioterrorists and bioterrorist nations are seeing just how unprepared the world is for dealing with a pandemic—whether a pandemic created by Mother Nature, who thinks the human species needs to be brought down a peg or two for its cavalier attitude towards her; or by certain countries flexing their power; or by a consortium of individuals who stand to profit from the demise of our current economic system.

World leaders and their publics—i.e., us—need to get ready for a new world plagued by plagues. This particular pandemic may be over soon, but there are going to be more. And next time we may be battling more than one or two simultaneously. There won’t be enough labs in the world to create all the vaccines we need.

My personal solution…I’m going to start eating some dirt. Build up my body’s immune system. No more pampering my body with gluten-avoidance. Being a GMO fraidy-cat. So precious with myself I can only eat organic. No. I want a body that can take on all comers. I want a body that will make any virus say “calf rope” when it tries to infect me. (“Calf rope,” BTW, is Texan for, “I give up.”)

If I Were the #Coronavirus

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Heh, heh, I sure showed you, world! I bet you wish you hadn’t taken so much for granted! You thought it was normal to slaughter animals in the open-air markets…you thought it was normal to live your lives of privilege without a care for the environment or your fellow humans. You thought you were immune to everything.

Well, I brought you to your knees! I brought your world economies, your health care systems, and your stock markets to a standstill. I defeated your fake power structures; I exposed your false social narratives. My crown trumps – with a lower-case t – your missiles any day.

And I’ll be back. Even if you find a vaccine, I’ll be back, and stronger. You know why? Because I’ve been studying you humans for millennia. I’ve learned that you don’t learn. Your leaders are simultaneously empty suits and full of hot air. Mask, no mask; gloves, no gloves; social distancing or not. Go ahead and hug, gather, and claim to love each other in your houses of worship. I’ve exposed so many of you for what you are, you bigots; I’ve made you show your true colors, you racists. I see you going back to your “normal,” selfish behavior; your manmade borders, your enslavement of others, your xenophobia. I see that disregard for human life – unless it’s feeding your agenda and coffers – is part of your holy grail.

I’m the great equalizer: poor, downtrodden versus rich and famous; I’ll strike you at my will. I’ve proven that all you claim to stand for is nothing when confronted with my thorny crown. Your willingness to destroy everything around you for the sake of a few bright, shiny coins makes me stronger. Your own false sense of power makes me, Corona, invincible.

And so I’ll strike again. And again.

Photo by Mick Haupt. Retrieved from

If I Were a Leader…

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

If I were able to be anyone I wanted, I probably would pick the person who could have nipped this pandemic in the bud at its onset, China’s President Xi Jinping. The Chinese government is no stranger to flu pandemics, having experienced three in the last decade alone.

I finally understand why the Asian population has been wearing masks in all public places for the past few years. They know how quickly these flu symptoms spread and are not taking chances. Now the whole world is following suit.

So if I were the Chinese President, I would have responded immediately. As soon the first reports emerged from the hospitals indicating a surge of flu-related admissions, I would have isolated those patients and immediately contacted the World Health Organization.

I would not have delayed the announcement, nor would I have imprisoned doctors raising alarms for “rumor mongering.”

Photo of Dr. Li Wenliang, whistleblower. RIP.
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Actually, if I were the president of any country, I would emanate confidence in my government and my citizens. There is so much ambiguity when it comes to the truth. We must lean on the experts and consider what they have to say. If people are afraid to speak up because they may be fired or imprisoned, then there is a problem in the system. Knowing what we know now, there should be no excuses about a straightforward handling of any epidemic/pandemic.

But in all fairness, if I were the president of China, I would also remind the world that our final death toll was approximately 4,630 to our population of 1.4 billion.

Thank you for reading our blog! We welcome all feedback.

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Post 73: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

Today’s topic: What has the next generation learned from this pandemic?

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 73.

Generation Gap

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

We humans are all different, and yet we are made the same. Other than the color of our skin, we are all made of the same organs and limbs. It’s our world circumstances and the way our brain deals with them that affect us as we grow. Therefore, it’s quite impossible to pontificate about the next generation as a whole. Even if I just focus on the US, it would be impossible to make a generalization.

I am most concerned about the younger generation who witnessed their parents losing their jobs and living in fear of hunger and homelessness. And those whose parents were front-liners separated from their families. What about those who witnessed the death of a loved one from this virus?

Granted, they are not the children of war-torn countries, but #trauma is trauma, and it manifests itself both physically and mentally. And we must help prepare a coping mechanism for their future.

The one thing that the next generation all experienced together was when schools closed their doors and education came to a halt. Then the sudden frenzy to normalize remote education. Special-needs students did not have access to their resources and parents were forced to become educators.

So now I narrow this topic down further to Middle-Class America.

To the entitled generation of “Snow Flakes”: Maybe I’m being harsh, but my kids are part of that generation. We helicopter-parented them and protected them from the “bad world.” You know you did. Now many are graduating this year and they need to stand on their own feet and face their uncertain future.

Created in Typorama

Honestly, I think this #coronavirus is going to have a positive impact on this Gen-Z. They have been given a chance to stop and reassess everything they took for granted. Many have used their time creatively, from raps and videos to writing or baking with the blessed TikTok by their side. (FYI it too emerged from China).

These Gen-Zs have grown up thinking that life has revolved around them. Hopefully after they emerge from feeling sorry for themselves, they will rise because of this creativity. And let’s face it, the best lesson they have learnt is adaptability and resilience.

Poor Learners

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

Heard some next-generation folks saying they want to turn “birding” into a Pokemon Go kind of game. Since they can no longer run around the commercial countryside looking for Pokemon sightings, they want to charge around the wilderness turning “birding” into the new Pokemon Go.

So, what do I think the next generation has learned from the pandemic? A fat load of nothing.

A Teenager’s Take

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

I have my own opinions on what the next generation SHOULD learn from this pandemic…but that might be because I’m an opinionated mom. I decided to go to one of my sources of truth, an expert on the next generation: my 16-year-old son, Ramsey. He writes:

“Quarantine has been a long few months of stress, fear, and stupidity. The global COVID-19 pandemic has driven people to break laws, riot, and tweet unnecessary soundbites. With poor leadership throughout most of the world, we have reached approximately 5.5 million cases and 348,000 deaths globally. Since the first case in December 2019, the world has fallen apart into a near-dystopian nightmare.

As the world finally starts to gain some sanity, many governments have initiated lockdowns, some going as extreme as having tanks in the streets; however most lockdowns are not fully enforced. As people slowly lose common sense, all social distancing has been ignored and they are rapidly returning to beaches, parties, and packed crowds. Protests in Michigan have gotten violent, and in the more southern states, the blood of Jesus is apparently the only cure.

That being said, I have learned that society is not prepared for everything. I have also learned not to take regular things for granted – such as school, work, friends, family, etc. – as those are the things that keep us sane.”

Boomer and Alpha

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

It’s 2035. Joe, a seasoned baby boomer, is chatting with a Generation Alpha teenager, Mira. Joe begins with the positive things that happened because he didn’t want to dampen Mira’s hopeful eyes with the negatives yet. He told her stories about Bernie Sanders, AOC, Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Edward Snowden. The, Mira asked him, “what about the Pandemic of 2020, what was that like?”

Joe went into a soliloquy that he couldn’t stop. It was as though he had been waiting 15 years for this moment.

“Mira, what I want you to focus on about that time is that no one should be at the mercy of any bigger entity, not a corporation, not big pharma, not Gates or Bezos, and not a government.

The Pandemic showed us how much inequality there was, not only on the economic level. Listen to the science and make sure that what you do is not motivated by political and financial advantage. There should always be a safety net for people, and no group or government should get excessive power. But during the Pandemic, we also saw so much help for the disadvantaged, homeless, poor, immigrants from good folk. This is something we had lost somewhere along the way at the turn of the century.

If you take anything from this conversation today, Mira, it is that your generation should be ready for future pandemics, as they might happen more often – this is due to my generation’s abuse of nature. You should have a system in place, just like we did when we grappled with nuclear war preparation when I was your age. This is the biggest threat that you will face.”

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Post 71: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

Today we’re free-form writing.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 71.

Day 71!

Photo by Bich Tran on

We have been blogging every day since March 15, one day after #Spain went into lockdown. Originally, RJD, Tina F., and I wanted to chronicle our quarantine experiences, but we had no idea they would extend over such a long period. Since we started blogging about our CoronaDays, we have added team members. I’m so happy that Charlie, Norma, and Wayne have become more or less regular contributors. The bigger the team, the more diverse the opinions! We don’t always agree politically, but I believe we have a common interest in humanity.

Today it’s free-form Sunday, and we have really interesting and controversial topics: #religion, #gratitude, #friendship, #humanity, #economics, and #justice.

I hope you enjoy the posts! I’ll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, #EidMubarak to all those who celebrate it!

RafifJ, #Malaga, Spain

Don’t bite

Wayne Wallace, McLean, #Virginia

I don’t understand. If God is everywhere and we can speak directly to Him, how can any government regulation stop anyone from worshiping? The latest round of insanity confuses me.

The current guidance is that people should not gather in large groups. That’s not limited to churches, synagogues, and mosques. It’s everywhere and applies to everyone. Not just Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists. Presidential rhetoric aside, nobody’s rights are being violated. Christians can still worship, just not in a large, dangerous group. Today is still Eid; it just needs to be celebrated responsibly. And for many, yesterday was the Sabbath, regardless of the locks on temple doors.

This is another quirk of the so-called right that I find irksome. The same group that says, “just because the government doesn’t pay for it doesn’t mean a right is being denied,” when it comes to healthcare or other entitlement is now screaming bloody murder that religious practice is somehow being infringed.

Color me cynical, but this is so clearly yet another example of #theRealDonaldTrump trying to divide the country in order to secure his reelection. That he has managed to somehow turn the science-based response to a major threat to the health, life, and safety of every American into a culture war is disgusting. We shouldn’t bite (and most right-thinking people will not). It’s not only ugly, it’s un-American.


Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

Being in lockdown has nudged me to re-read Anne Frank, the Diary of a Young Girl. Now there was a lockdown. We’re free-range chickens compared to what Anne Frank and her family and friends endured in their close quarters. We’ve got wifi, the Internet, Zoom, FaceTime, our computers, iPads, and mobiles. And no one’s likely to take out firearms on us if we go for a walk or run outside.

Having a bad day dealing with the inconveniences of our lockdown? You can always turn to a tele-therapist to talk you off the ledge. Admittedly, the supermarket lines could be long, but we have Instacart to carter to our culinary necessities. And pizza is only a phone call away. Not sure the Franks had that option when they had a hankering for some fast food.

I’ve got a full freezer of food. Lots of friends to Zoom with. I’m using the lockdown time to finish a book and retool my business. And when I get peckish from being corralled inside for too long, I hop in my car and go to the C&O Canal to enjoy a stroll near the Potomac. This is hardly a hardship lockdown.

With a little help from my friends

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

It is difficult – there is no getting around that. 

The world is opening up in different ways around the world, but getting through this time is still difficult. More for others, I know. It’s strange to go to a store and have people in masks behind a shield. It’s difficult to not hug the person you haven’t seen for awhile. Even more so, it’s tough to not hug a person who has experienced a loss. There are no words that can help – a hug does, but we can’t give it. Virtual hugs only go so far. We have to figure out what we can do so that that person doesn’t feel alone. 

Isn’t that true of all of us, we don’t want to feel alone? 

How can we not feel alone when we can’t be physically together? This blog is helping me. FaceTime and Zoom help me. Today I went to church via the Internet. I know, churches are allowed, even mandated by our president. I am glad my church is going to continue having services via the Internet until it is safe to be physically together. The doors of our church may be closed but the hearts are always open. I want to feel that my home is the same. I haven’t had anyone in my home in over two months – my heart has always been open. So have those of my neighbors and friends. 

Yesterday, a friend came over and power-washed my fence. Another neighbor is going to stain it. They can do these things for me and maintain their 6-foot distancing. Still another friend is coming over to help with putting flowers around my fence after it is painted, and they’ll do the heavy trimming. I am definitely on the receiving end of all this help, and I am so grateful. I try to be helpful and do what I can. I may not be able to dig out a big bush, but I did plant the herbs I wrote about the other day.

The feeling of accomplishment when I did what I could, helps me get through the day.  Even if it is a little accomplishment, it feels good.

I have received a lot of help and I like to be able to help others; that’s also good for me.

I must tell how I helped someone this morning and they were so grateful. My family will not believe this – but it is true. A friend called, I helped them with a computer problem. Since I am technically challenged and call my son for IT support, neither he nor anyone else in the family will believe me.  However, it’s true. I helped someone and it made me feel good. 

Keeping my heart open is what keeps me going through the pandemic.

Enough is enough

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

This past Easter, church bells rang but no one was in church. No happiness, joy, pastel colors, spring or Easter egg hunts. Ramadan passed in a somber mood worldwide. And Eid El Fitr is here, quietly trying to emerge between all the lockdowns and restrictions.

To those celebrating today, I hope we never have another holiday, ever, that is this painful. To those who feel that they have a right to go celebrate en masse and with no social distancing, please be wary.

Not because I care what you personally do, but in Lebanon today more than 80 Bangladeshi workers have been put in isolation due to a high infection rate of Covid-19 and because of lack of adherence to lockdowns/social distancing and so on.

These Bangladeshi workers left their country and their families to come to Lebanon to work as trash collectors and street sweepers. They left their home country to earn not more than $200 per month. They are living in old buildings that need renovations badly, that have no heating/cooling, no plumbing, no real beds or kitchens, and no proper ventilation. They are living 15 people to a room. And we wonder why their residential complex became a corona cesspool?

Moreover, they are no longer collecting their salaries because they need their money in greenbacks, which we do have access to, in order to transfer to their families. The companies they work for cannot pay them except in Lebanese Pounds, and not at the market rate but at the official rate. Meaning their salaries are now worth about $50 per month.

How can we strive to make their lives any more miserable than this?

Here I am, speaking on behalf of the Bangladeshi community. What about the Filipino community, Ethiopian, Sri Lankan, Eritrean, Malagasy, Ghanaian or Togolese? We have more than 250,000 foreign workers in Lebanon (under the Kafala system – which sucks) that are either under paid, not paid, abused or victimized and we have more than 60% unemployment in our own population.

I can’t say more today…Happy Eid.

Excited for sports?

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

As we wind down from the #coronavirus, it’s time to open up all aspects of life again.

Especially missed are the sporting events. They are negotiating how to safely open up stadiums and addressing the logistics of how to quarantine if a player experiences an outbreak during the season.

I saw the Premiere League (UK’s top tier soccer teams) had announced to play televised games without any spectators in an attempt to finish their season. I watched part of a game with my son and it was rather dull. Fans screaming and cheering in the stands provide a totally different atmosphere. It elevates the excitement of the game. So it’s no wonder that the players themselves are refusing to play in empty stadiums. There is no such thing as home team advantage anymore.

The funniest excuse for refusing to play came from the team playing Manchester City claiming that MC would have an advantage because they are used to playing in empty stadiums.

While the world is negotiating the start of all sports, the fans are excited for a return to normal.

Teams, managers, and players are still working in the background, trading players and signing on new ones for millions of dollars. That’s unbelievable! A quarterback received $60,000,000 at signing and a $34,000,000 salary. And the fans – such as my son – applaud this because they want their teams to win.

Wait, did you count those zeros? Do you realize this is an obscene amount of money? My son was justifying their salary based on how hard they work behind the scenes in order to perform so well. “They get up early and train. They don’t have any days off. They have to watch their weight and their diet. It’s hard, Mom!!!”

Hmmm, yes…and what about the trash worker who picks up your garbage? He has to get up early and be fit enough to haul heavy, stinky trash in order to provide food for his family. He makes $34,000.

Do you notice the three missing zeros?

OK, I’m not becoming a Communist or trying to take from the rich to give to the poor (although that would be an honorable thing to do). I am just saying that making obscene amounts of money for playing with a ball is despicable.

I get that this is the country of free enterprise. But after 2 months of watching “front line” workers, trash collectors among them, going to work and doing a great job for $12 and hour, I can’t help but ask the question:

How the heck did we get here?

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Thank you for reading our blog! We welcome all feedback.

If you’d like to contribute a post, please get in touch! Send me an email, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment here.

Post 70: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

Today we’re free-form writing.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 70.

Do People Ever Really Change?

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

I held on to the notion that the lockdown would alter some of our less attractive behaviors. Oh, how naive I was!

This week I ventured out to go to a doctor’s appointment. It’s not the first such trip I’ve made during lockdown. Typically, the highways have been pretty abandoned. But on this day, it was almost traffic as usual for 10 AM on a weekday. However, it wasn’t driving as usual. The folks on the road were INSANE!! More than they ever were before lockdown. Driving like they were competing in NASCAR. Swooping in and out between small spaces, between other cars, where tailgating was being observed. There were at least 10 near-collisions. It was as though everyone thought any minor lifting of the lockdown entitled them to revert to the behaviors of 2-year-olds.

I dropped in at a Trader Joe’s on the way home and the shoppers acted like they were members of some exalted royal family. It was a scene of entitlement on steroids.

Apparently, at least in DC, the lockdown hasn’t humbled or changed the population at all. In fact, it’s ramped up their hubris quotient.

Was there color when you were little?

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

One day, years ago, my kids ran up to me, wanting to discuss something. They were about 4 and 6 years old at the time, and they had clearly been discussing something serious among themselves.

“Mommy, was there color when you were little?”

Photo by Kaboompics .com on

At the time, I *think* I resisted the urge to laugh. I gathered them close and we talked about how blue skies, green grass, and bright flowers had been around forever. We talked about crayons and black-and-white versus color TV. We talked about how the world had changed since I was a little girl growing up in New York City. We talked about pizza and mac & cheese and ice cream. We talked about getting sick and going to the doctor and eventually being all right. We talked about how the universe took care of us and how everything always worked out the way it was meant to work out.

My kids were eventually satisfied my answers and ran off to play a new game. Every time I remember this conversation, I smile at their innocence but worry about how the world has changed for us all.

What questions will future generations will ask? Will history be kind to us?

Jeff and I are like Trump and Xi

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I buy almost everything I need from Jeff’s Amazon. This has been the norm for more than 15 years because in Beirut, I can’t find everything I need. I used to be in love with Jeff’s Amazon. Select, add to cart, checkout, two weeks later I receive my order.

It was an amorous relationship full of flirting, romance, jealousy, and sometimes arguments (when items were not available on Prime!)

And then the Lebanese financial crisis began. Banks closed, more and more items disappeared off our grocery store shelves…then came Covid-19 and lockdowns and supplies dwindled in Beirut, in the US, and worldwide.

What to do? Our spoilt lifestyle came to a halt. Going to a Dean and Delucca-style store became a thing of the past; buying organic Scottish smoked salmon became a memory; finding gluten-free baking flour became a major search on all the local store sites. Yes, serious first-world problems. Luckily, I had loads of toilet paper! So, I order much of what we are missing from Jeff’s Amazon.

That brings me why I am finally falling out of love with Jeff’s Amazon. Just like the Idiot in Chief (INC) was in love with Xi Jinping when he invited him to Mar-A-Lago at the beginning of his doomed presidency, he also fell out of love…but he tends to do that way more than I do.

I am having a love-hate relationship with Jeff’s Amazon (the one with the INC is a permanent hate-hate relationship) because of how Jeff treats his employees, especially when it came to precautions during the pandemic. The way he feels it’s his right to not provide them with a good working environment, doesn’t pay them if they call in sick because they contract Corona, lack of job security/protection from Corona, healthcare benefits, and decent pay among many of their grievances.

To put it in numbers:

  • Jeff Bezos is worth $147.3 billion.
  • The US Government is worth $123 trillion.
  • The Chinese Government is worth $63.8 billion.
  • Xi Jinping is worth $12.5 billion.
  • Donald Trump is worth $2.1 billion.

Jeff commissions Chinese products made by Chinese sweatshop workers who get an average of $3.37/day; the products are shipped to the US for Jeff’s warehouse workers to pack them for us at $15/hour. Then Jeff gets tax breaks (up until 2019), so that leaves the majority of what I pay going to Jeff.

In any idiot’s mind, the numbers are outlandish.

In a smart person’s mind, I buy from Jeff, who buys from China, who now pays taxes to the US and Chinese governments, and the two presidents fight with one another over COVID-19 among many other issues. Five entities gain, the other 2 get paid pennies. So just like Trump and Xi are having a trade war, I am going to declare my personal war with Jeff.

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If you’d like to contribute a post, please get in touch! Send me an email, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment here.

Post 69: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on how to handle a bad day.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 69.

Note: We don’t claim to be mental health professionals, and any advice or tips we offer are based on personal experience only.

Are bad days here to stay?

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

The good days have been fewer and fewer these past few weeks here in Lebanon. The political, economic, financial, and Covid-19 crises are playing out badly on a daily basis.

So, when I wake up in the morning, I get this heavy, sinking feeling as I wonder what the day will bring. How will it be? As the day evolves and more bad news emerges on the local and international scenes, I begin to feel this heaviness getting bigger and wider.

Unfortunately, a lot of what is going on here affects us on a daily basis: what price is the lollar at? Will we be able to get money out of the bank? How long is the wait at the bank? What rate is the bank providing today on withdrawals in US Dollars? Will we find the groceries we are used to purchasing? Will there be road closures? And last but not least, which of our ruling class will punch each other in the face during a meeting? It is endless…so one anticipates all the bad before one can see a shred of good.

My new policy is to NOT watch the news, nor read any, at the start of the day. I have removed all push notifications except for one site. I scroll through it when I have the time or feel like it. I have switched my phone to silent so I don’t get phone calls at other people’s whim. I answer text messages when it is convenient for me. I am no longer at the mercy of everyone and my device.

This has helped reduce some of the stress and anxiety that make me have a bad day.

Sadly, bad days are going to become more of the normal than we expect, at least in the short run. We might have to go through several more lockdowns until herd immunity takes over, we are going to pay a heavy price for the economic and financial depression that we are facing and we will be more on edge in general.

For now, on the really bad days I try to find humor, keep myself busy, and vent it out. Alas, oh for the days when one used to wake up in the morning and feel like it’s a new day!

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Turning a bad day, sad face, or frown into a good day, smile, or a happy face

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

Whether the bad day is due to the isolation, lockdown, or just a personal bad day, there are things that can be done. I have thought of simply standing on my head to make the sad face into a happy face – but since I am 76 and don’t have as good of a balance on my feet as I used to – I’m not sure I could balance on my head, so decided not to try it.

During the Covid-19 shutdown I have found that sticking to a morning routine helps tremendously. I get up and before coffee, I do a Tai Chi warmup and the Eight Pieces of Brocade. I do other exercises, depending on what type of exercise I expect to do during the day, and how much time I have. I have breakfast and do chores around the house. My family has a FaceTime call, so I try to look halfway decent for them. I am usually dressed by then. It makes my day!!!!

Whether or not we are in lockdown – there are always ups and downs in living life. I think of the triggers that might give me a down day. For me they are the holidays, special birthdays, anniversaries, and special events I did with my husband, who passed away two years ago. I plan for those days and make sure I am busy with activities. Again, I am so fortunate for my family. They make sure that I am looked after in some way and included in their days (whether it be in person, FaceTime, a call, or chocolate-covered strawberries). I am so fortunate to have such a supportive family. My local friends also treat me like family and do something special, drop off some cookies, or give me a call. I am so grateful.

What about those unexpected bad days where everything goes wrong, what do you do? Yesterday, my afternoon started off like that. My homeowners association (HOA) sent me a notice that my fence is not up to code. I must paint my fence. Again, my neighbors and friends are helping me. However, I have to buy the stain. I went to the paint store – without the correct measurements, and worse yet, I forgot my wallet. No, money was not the problem, I could go home and get that. However, I had to drive home, knowing I didn’t have my license with me. I knew there was a policeman on every corner waiting to give me a ticket. My technique for handling “bad” day situations like this is:

  1. I am not the first person to forget my license – in the worst case, I get fined if caught.
  2. It isn’t the end of the world if I don’t have the right measurements – I can remeasure.
  3. Take a deep breath – drive carefully and do the best you can.
  4. Fix what you can in a bad situation, know what is beyond your control: STOP, BREATHE, and THINK.

Do this not that

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

Having a bad day? Define bad. My days have been good and bad and interchangeable. Granted, we are all experiencing some level of anxiety at this time, but how does one get out of the funk?

A few days ago I was feeling much better about my life. Quarantine was over, the shutdown was coming to an end, and I had a new found energy about my life. So what happened? How did I go from that feeling to having a complete shit day? The type of day that leaves me with a throbbing headache and a pit in my stomach. 

I know it’s stress-related, but for some reason I cannot shake it off. I’m digging deep and tapping into all my self-affirmation resources. I may experience relief for 30 minutes and then it’s back. The more desperate I am to “fix” the issue, the worse it gets.

Does that happen to you? The time when you desperately need to deal with a bad day and you cannot find the solution? It is more common that you think.

What I have learned is that during that stressful moments, the best thing you can do for yourself is to journal and identify the source of the trigger. It is not the time to come up with a game plan. The best time to rationally deal with a bad emotion is when you are feeling good. It is then that you can see the situation and solutions more clearly.

I was attending an online class called The Neuroscience of Change and I learned that emotions are passed down to the next generation. Scientists had conducted an experiment on mice where they introduced a sound and then shocked them. These mice would respond with the same anxiety level every time they heard the sound. When the next generation of mice came along, they too responded in a similar fashion when subjected to the same sound, even though no shock was administered. It is therefore possible to inherit emotions too. So am I carrying the horrors of my ancestors? Shouldn’t the same theory apply to happiness then? The answers are yes and yes. 

In my class I also learned that “We operate on a memorized set of behaviors, emotional reactions and unconscious habits.” It is during the cognitive analysis that we can make changes and “Replace old programming.” We must remember to not berate ourselves and be kind to ourselves. Learn new ways of giving and receiving love, and always remember to acknowledge your accomplishments.  

What’s wrong with having a bad day?

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

You’re having a bad day. SO WHAT?

Let me explain my perspective before I get accused of being super-insensitive.

Of course, I have bad days just like everyone else. I find ways to get over them – a walk on the beach, a phone call with a special friend, a joke – but here’s the bottom line: bad days are good for you. How else would you recognize the good days?

Here’s a little perspective: if you’re not a refugee, in a war zone, at risk of starvation, or mourning the loss of multiple members of your family, you’re in pretty good shape.

But you don’t have to suffer calamities to have a bad day, and the old expression, “my headache is worse than yours” is relevant. It may be a good idea to think through your bad day, figure out what’s really bothering you, and acknowledge it. Like Judith Viorst’s Alexander, who had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, sometimes we just have bad days and have to learn to deal with them.

Besides exercising or a brisk walk or reaching out to a friend? I know! I could sing to you, and that would have you in tears of laughter.

Or try doing something nice for someone else. The Helper Therapy Principle applies, especially during anxiety-ridden times like, oh, a pandemic. You could pick up groceries for someone who cannot, offer a hot meal to a homeless person, or spend some Zoom time with a kid who is driving his or her parents nuts.

Sometimes, just gaining a little more perspective on how not-bad your life actually is can help you turn your bad day into a better one. And remember, today will eventually end, and tomorrow is an opportunity to have a much better day. Make it a good one!

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Post 66: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on how to get along with your spouse during lockdown.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 66.

Meditating through marriage in lockdown

Tokyo Boom Boom Ciao*, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Really, meditation and yoga have been my one and only saviors during the lockdown here in Lebanon.

You realize things during quarantine about your husband. Sure, you marry for love and it’s romantic and you actually love your companion, but we were all used to spending a small amount of time together in those old days before Corona.

But in no one’s life are you with your husband every day, every minute, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week! You leave for work, he leaves for work, you are out of each others’ lives and whatnot from 6 pm until 10 pm, you have dinner, bath time, and homework if you have kids, watch a Netflix movie together…literally, it’s absurd to spend this much time with anyone.

And one other thing I am going to rant about: you guys are dirty. I never realized how you manage until now. You burp, and you think we don’t hear it? Your butt crack hangs out of your pants and you think we don’t see it? You lay all over furniture with your sweat, you think we don’t smell it and deodorize it when you are not around? You don’t wash your hands after you eat and you eat all day! I didn’t know that until we started living quarantine lives. And you go to the toilet with the door open, who does that?

I am not living with my husband anymore; I am living with a college roommate all over again!

Alright, I am exhausted from this quarantine and have no solutions except the need to go back to work regularly and not live with my husband all day long for the rest of my life. Until then, ughhhhhh…..I will go meditate and practice yoga again.

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* Pseudonym to protect the innocent

Co-existence for dummies

RJD, Beirut, Lebanon

When I speak to my friends locally and internationally, I hear the same about coexistence: I am going to kill my partner if these lockdowns continue!

Yes, we are all under duress, we are all anxious and worried, and we are all getting on each others’ nerves. Thirty to forty percent of the world population will go through a depression or anxiety-related issues in the coming few months.

So how do we coexist? Here is my list:

  1. Socially distance yourself. Bathrooms are great places for that. Wait for your partner to finish daily bathroom needs and spend as much time in the bathroom as you can. You can do a self-care ritual, you can sit and read, listen to music, message and talk to friends in private and complain about your partner!
  2. Create time zones. Take a fake nap in the afternoon, watch a movie or series alone, or just meditate more often! Transport yourself to a different time zone for an hour or two each day while your partner is awake.
  3. Sing. Sing badly in a loud voice around your home, hum or whistle. Usually, your partner will get fed up and move to a different space!
  4. Consider the best-case scenario.  What would you love to do on your own right now? Travel? Watch a YouTube trip to somewhere you love, pretend you are there. Get drunk with your friends, host a party (in the bathroom), make a drink, and cheer each other.
  5. Encourage your partners’ friends to stay more in touch.
  6. Create a man/woman cave for them.
  7. If all else fails, have a fake fit! It does calm things down!!!!

The lockdowns will end one day, but you don’t want to end up in a situation where you are permanently alone (or do ya?!), so make the effort and apply co-existence for dummies ideas to get by for a few more days…weeks… months…it will end one day.

Found during an extensive Internet search.
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Knickers in a twist

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

There is a saying in Arabic for when two people have been spending a lot of time together. We say “tizein bil bas.” Translated it means “two asses in an underwear.”

Usually the saying is used when the two are getting along with one another. But after spending so much time together in such close proximity, it’s inevitable that the underwear becomes way too tight and nerves/threads start to fray. And they basically can get their knickers in a twist.

I must admit that my husband and I are finally dealing with this constant oneness quite well. We have decided that we are each entitled to feel the way we want. We are also allowing each other to be as productive or as lazy as we want.

Do you see the common thread? Allowing the other person to live as an individual is key to a lasting relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, we still have our moments. For instance, I dread hearing him call my name when he is sitting in his home office at his computer. A sure sign that he has a technical questions. It maybe the fifth time he has asked about this issue and this is the fifth time I give him the solution. I take a deep breath and bite my tongue… haha, anyone who knows me knows I would never bite my tongue, but rather I bite his head off!

Sometimes I feel especially angry and want to go and lock all the controls on electrical appliances and watch his baffled face as he tries to warm something in the microwave.

What? I’ve never done that! I was just thinking about it…

Anyway, back to the positive interactions. We go on walks together a lot, we eat and drink together a lot too. But if I am truly honest, the key to success is this: Live independently but not selfishly. Share in the chores and never expect things to get done without asking for them first.

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Post 65: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

on skills we’ve developed or improved.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 65.

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Let me tell you a true story. Once, when I was about 9, I baked a cake on my own and set it on the counter to cool. The family dog, Boots, managed to jump high enough to grab it. That’s it. I mean, literally that’s it – Boots didn’t even eat it. The cake was THAT awful.

While I don’t think that incident scarred me for life, I must say that cooking and baking have never, ever been on my priority list. Throughout the years, I’ve gotten away with ordering takeout or delivery, dining out, or – and this is the best – getting others to cook for me. “Others” have included friends, family members, my ex-husband, and my kids.

[Another true story: I once hosted a dinner party and couldn’t order the food, so I ended up serving my guests Pop Tarts and cereal.]

With the lockdown in Malaga, going out was no longer an option. The number of carryout places was severely limited. Delivery was pretty limited, too, and outrageously expensive.

So I started to make a few simple things. Adam made helpful comments like “too much salt” and “would it be okay if I microwaved this?” But I didn’t give up. Once I mastered basic dinner recipes, I quickly moved on to baking.

My first disaster was when the blueberries in my mutant blueberry muffin/cake exploded in the oven. But I kept trying.

Since my encounter with the blueberries, I have been baking something every day. I’m happy to say I have finally conquered crumpets and vanquished biscuits. Tomorrow I’ll move on to the subjugation of scones. And I’ve spent way more on flour and baking supplies than if I had just ordered the damn delivery. BUT I DID IT.

Practice makes perfect

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I love seeing how creative people have been during the shutdown period of the #coronavirus.

I have a list of skills and interests that I was hoping to hone in on and improve now that I had all the time in the world. Surely I would find something off this long list, which includes photography, Photoshop, cooking, crafting, speaking fluent Italian, and gardening.

So which skill have I focused on and improved? Well none of the above! And the first was quite by accident.

Writing has played a major part of getting me through each confused and bewildered day during shutdown. Until this blog, I hardly wrote nor voiced my opinion in writing. So after 60-plus days of daily blogging, I hope I have developed a style that I can be proud of and maybe even worthy of a following.

The second skill has emerged because of necessity. I’m a sprouting mixologist!!! Not because I plan on getting a job as a bartender when this is all over, but because “happy hour” cocktails have become a crucial pastime and an event to look forward to during shutdown.

I have become creatively experimenting in fun new drinks, or sometimes just putting a twist on a classic. For example, you take the Moscow Mule, which we all know is vodka, lime, and ginger beer. That can be adapted to an Italian mule by adding limoncello. Or a Bombay mule by infusing the vodka with cardamom and adding real ginger and simple syrup. Viola! I’m a mixologist.

Practice makes perfect, so I keep trying to improve daily. I still believe in Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule, which claims that you need 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill.

If I count the 2 hours a day writing and making drinks, then I’m on hour 124 of skill mastery. Only 99,876 hours to go!

Cheers to a better tomorrow!

Discovering the kitchen

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Back in my 20s (like yesterday, ok?!), I had a flair for cooking and baking. I used to live in an apartment complex where many of my college friends resided, and on Sundays, we all had lunch together over a Lebanese meal from the Mloukhieh (Jew’s Mallow) to the Fatteh (chickpeas, pita bread, yoghurt, garlic, and ghee-fried pine nuts sprinkled with paprika and chopped parsley.) 

I also used to love baking and decorating cakes, and became very good at it. I even considered it as a business at one point.

Fast-forward to living alone in Beirut in my 30s (um, also like yesterday), I survived on takeout and my cooking/baking flair was all but a distant memory.

Fast-forward again to being locked down in the wonderful world of Coronoia (I am still in my 40s, duh…) I needed to remain busy, so one day I asked our housekeeper for permission to use her kitchen, under her supervision. She reluctantly accepted while looking at me with a bewildered look, because since she started living with my husband and me, my trips to the kitchen have entailed making espresso!

And I rediscovered the joys of cooking with passion and love, albeit with a few burnt attempts!!! From making wonderful salad dressings to baking gluten-free cakes and pies (my husband is gluten-intolerant). Oh wow, what an experience it has been. The only gratitude I have for the lockdowns!

I now look forward to being in the kitchen, researching my recipes, and preparing them. But the biggest joy of all is when my husband has a taste, and as I look at him in anticipation, he says “mmmmm, this is good!” Problem is, he always looks so surprised at my newly found talents!

First attempt at pecan pie!

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If you’d like to contribute a post, please get in touch! Send me an email, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment here.