Featured Entries

Each week, we post a few journal entries that participants have given us permission to share anonymously.

In your journal, you can write whatever you want, however you want. When we feature posts, we want to protect confidentiality. Here's our policy:

  • We won't post any photos that include faces (even with masks!) or names.
  • We won't post audio that includes names or more than one voice.
  • We might edit text entries slightly to remove proper names – but this won't change anything you've written in your journal.
Many of us are living with restrictions on movement and social contact. Talk about any restrictions that have affected you and your ability to go about your life.

This is the sketchbook that I picked up back in 2017, ironically, at the same time Congress was trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act which would affect the health care of 20 million Americans...(at least). They were not successful in doing this. Yet. (SCOTUS will rule on the "legality" of the ACA in 2021.). During that anxious time, the book gave me an opportunity to practice looking, and drawing what I see. Which was soothing then, and still is.

It's been a great little book to have now, to record my inside little world and observations, as our country nears 300,000 Covid deaths. (December, 13, 2020) I should have posted this as my first photo, so it's possible to see the actual sketchbook, before the sketches.

But here it is now.

Awfully glad I have it, and glad it breaks down sketches to just one per day. Although, I can do more than one per day.It's a helpful way to avoid reading the news also.

Many of us are living with restrictions on movement and social contact. Talk about any restrictions that have affected you and your ability to go about your life.

Before the coronavirus, I used to go to the park to exercise and journal it helps me release stress. In addition, I would go to my friend's house before the pandemic but at the moment people do not wants visitors in their house due to the situation. For the most part, we have to change our hobbies activities from outdoors to indoors.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Where. To. Start! The terrorists in my country forcing their way into the U.S. Capitol Building is nearly unspeakable because so many thoughts and feelings flood to mind/body that it's the ultimate traffic jam. Many knew the threat. Those in leadership either requested support which was denied or supported the threat. Residents in this country are split among those who are surprised (white folk) and those who aren't (BIPOC). Credible threats are mounting for Inauguration Day. Good god, please don't let another tragedy happen. No doubt our national leadership will try to move forward and past rather than pause to reflect, fix/heal, and then move onward. I fear what will come from that. For a moment, pandemic news has taken a backseat, but there has been no respite from anxiety, only trading the cause.

I was registered for a grad course this spring semester. I dropped it just hours ago. I will not take a course this semester. I see so many things cluttered, unfinished, in need of attention in, around, and about my house. I feel bad enough that I've been working from home for 10 months now and accomplished little on a long-standing and lengthy to-do list. I know the spring will bring added yard work. If I feel this bad now, I worry what I'll feel like at the end of the pandemic if I don't accomplish substantially more. So, I am putting grad school on hold for a semester (at most, I hope, but I promise myself nothing), and I will commit myself to spending non-work time one of two ways: regaining an exercise routine which was lost due to my inability to easily pivot since the onset of the pandemic, and accomplishing all the long-standing items on my household to-do list.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

The coronavirus is affecting me right now because I still have to work during this pandemic which is a risk of me getting infected or infecting people of high risks. Because of the pandemic, you cannot visit your loved ones and socializing has changed. When I go outside I have to dealt with people who do not wear masks and my glasses get foggy from the glasses. I just cannot wait for this pandemic to be over.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Yesterday afternoon I received a permission form to sign for my disabled brother, for whom I am a legal guardian, to receive the Covid vaccine. He has been sequestered in his care home residence since last March, seeing no family except on Zoom (every week) during all that time. Six hours after I'd had the good news about the vaccine, with me opening our weekly call from Perth in Scotland and chatting to my aunt in Virgina, while we waited for my brother to join the call from Philadelphia, the phone rang - it was one of the nurses at his residence telling us that he had just tested positive for coronavirus. NINE MONTHS of heartrending caution, the good news about the vaccine, and then - hours later - the news that he'd tested positive.

Honestly, this indifferent impersonal web diary is no medium to convey the level of irony - my brother's terrible head injury in a car accident over forty years ago, his inability to move or communicate except by pointing at letters on a board, his intact sense of humour and his memory of life before the accident, his six-month battle with pneumonia two years ago, our weekly skype and zoom calls over the past five years despite the 3500 miles between us, and now this?

He is asymptomatic at the moment. Discouraged and afraid, I went flying with my husband in a Cessna 172 this evening. He and I are both licensed private pilots. The small airport where we hire planes shut down at 5 p.m. this evening for Christmas, and will remain closed for the hard lockdown beginning on 26 December 2020 in the UK, and when it opens again it will be after Brexit, when our European licenses will no longer be valid because there is no plan in place for pilots' licensing. Our flight was the last of the day, of the year, of an era.

I nearly didn't want to come - but I am so glad I did. It was SO BEAUTIFUL! The sky was clear but wreathed with wisps of cloud; the sun went down in flaming reds; the lights came on in our own beautiful city as we came home. We flew from Perth to Dundee, crossed the Kingdom of Fife at St. Andrew's, crossed the Firth of Forth and flew over Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, and then back across the Forth where the three beautiful bridges of three centuries come together. And so back to Perth. And it was impossible to feel anything other than lucky, fortunate, blessed, to be able to see this beauty in a time of crisis and sadness, to have the gift of flight at my fingertips.

This is what you get, I tell myself. Be glad for what you get. You are so much more fortunate than so many others.

My poor brother. I am daring to hope for good news, but waiting for a blow.

[The photo is of the Tay, looking west from Dundee, at 3.41 p.m. on 22 December 2020.]

Let's talk about racism. Have you seen any messages or memes about the COVID pandemic that you found racist or offensive? If so, talk about what you've seen or heard.

I'm choosing to write about this issue because this is the first time I'm hearing that there's a racist component to discourse about COVID! I suppose I shouldn't be shocked because so many things are interpreted through a racist lens when it comes to medicine as well as so many other issues. Living in France where no one talks overtly about race, though, has kept me in a bubble--and I would say that here, at least in the media and public discourse, race is really not at all discussed as playing any role in the pandemic, beyond the context of socio-economic disparity (e.g. the virus spreading more quickly in the banlieue where large families live in close proximity to one another; the children in those areas being worse affected by school closing/online learning)--which, of course, often correlates with race. The only connection to race that I've heard has come from the Indian community, where people are speculating about a magic/mythic South Asian gene that can help protect against catching the virus or mitigate its effects.

Additional Material

March 29, 2020 Two sketches

Photo sketch #1: Caption: Brown bananas

Photo sketch #2: Caption: Mask that I wear to go outside and grocery shop.

Some outside shopping was necessary. I drew the mask because I wanted to remember what these days were like, when I look back.

Additional Material

Quite a photo, eh?

Stumbled on this controversial piece of art in an article in the Guardian about an exhibition in Budapest. Quite an image to contemplate on 1/7/21, as the U.S. reels from yesterday's failed coup attempt and the rest of the world watches.

Budapest Black Lives Matter artwork sparks rightwing backlash

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/05/budapest-black-lives-matter-artwork-rightwing-backlash

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I slept quite badly this week. The siege on our nation's capital by Trump's army made me feel both ticked off AND scared. Where was the extra security? D.C. knew there were idiots planning some kind of protest, siege. I'm still concerned for Biden/Harris now with the inauguarion coming up on the 20th.

Are you in touch with family or friends in other parts of the country, or other parts of the world? If so, talk about how the pandemic has been affecting them.

We are in touch with family and friends throughout the country. Our grandson who moved to Seattle limits himself to his small pod of friends rather than exploring this new area. Our grandson in Denver is able to enjoy hiking or skiing, but he limits his exposure to others. Happily he has made some friends from work. Our friend in Texas has just received the vaccine. As a person who lives alone, she has learned during pandemic self-isolation that she wants to move from her home to a senior community for more opportunity for social interaction. She has been unable to explore options due to COVID restrictions. Our friends in Georgia feel excited by a drive-thru trip to Starbucks. Our grandchildren in Virginia have not been in school since March; they've added a pandemic puppy to their lives. Our friends with a second home on Block Island have been limiting their visits due to COVID restrictions and frightening infection rates.

The list can go on, but the theme remains the same. Friends and family have stepped back from all that was 'normal' in order to protect themselves and others. Life has been put on hold. We're somewhat like the movie Groundhog Day - each day is the same as the one before and will continue to be the same tomorrow. Acute became chronic, and chronic is not fun. Vaccines offer hope, and hope is what we need.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

The first week of the new year, and I am feeling in general more positive I suppose. There is always the feeling of turning the page and beginning anew that comes with the new year, and now there is the hope of an eventual improvement with the vaccine, although it won't be quick. At the same time, the political violence and uncertainty in the US is unsettling; again, I give thanks for so many reasons that I'm not living there at this particular time in history, but am worrying anew about family who are stuck in red states there. So am also looking forward to turning the political page and hopefully moving to better control the virus and finally see those statistics change for the better.

Think about the people closest to you. Tell us about how the coronavirus has affected them, and their life.

I’m thinking about my kids. My daughter just graduated from college, and my son is a college junior. Both live in an apartment about 12 min from our house with one other roommate. My son’s girlfriend also lives nearby. My son & his GF did not have classes this fall (they did online internships associated with their college), and will be taking online classes this spring. I wonder how they’ll adjust to being college students again. Will it be hard to fit into campus life after being on their own? Will they have drifted apart from their friends? And my daughter - how will this interlude affect her post-college life? She’s working delivering meals on wheels in the mornings, and babysitting in the afternoon. Good work that she enjoys, but not the experience she was hoping for. They seem happy enough right now, and their well-being is a high priority for me. I feel it would be easy for them to begrudge this situation.

If you feel your mental health has changed since the pandemic started, tell us a bit about why you think that is.

I am usually a positive and empathetic person. While the pandemic has not made me depressed, it has affected my mental health. I feel frustration with the constant changes at work and the unknown future. I understand that things will never go back to the way they were and I am okay with that, but I’m not sure I trust the government to do what’s best for us, the environment and the world as a whole.

We the people have to work together and take on the responsibility of improving our lives and our world.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

In the first part of the year 2020, before Corona Virus affected as many as it did today, my father in law passed away. In April, my son and his wife were furloughed and had to move back to Texas from their posh jobs at hotels in Phoenix. My son's wife was pregnant and it concerned both of them if they would make it financially so they moved in with her family for 8 months. The baby was born in July of the pandemic. I could not see the boy until he was 6 weeks old. My son and daughter neither had jobs but my son and a friend opened up a handyman business doing odd jobs. It didn't do too well but broke even for the first few months. Now he and his family have moved into a new townhome. Another son was considered essential so his job continued. Then, his mother in law died. Later that summer, his father in law passed. My husband was furloughed for one job, rehired, furloughed again. He is now unemployed. He is a chef and restaurants have been shut to 50% in our area still. Cutbacks had to made. He suffers even more because he is disabled. His mother died from Corona in December. My job has send me home to work online, and then brought me back to work, then back home and then back to work. I am set to go back 1/11/2021. I am awaiting if that changes. One thing I have noticed is that my allergies and asthma have not been quite as bad in 2020. I think this is due to the masks and distances we must keep as well as the cleanliness of businesses and schools.

What are you doing for fun right now, and how has that changed since the pandemic began?

I took up a new instrument! Learning the mountain dulcimer. Zoom workshops are so much fun!! Also I dance to music nearly everyday!! I hope everyone finds some fun everyday!!

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Thursday, January 7, 2021 – What.The.F**k.Was.That?! That’s a post I saw in reference to yesterday’s extraordinary events when Trump egged his supporters on to literally trash the Capitol building as both houses were meeting to certify the election results in favor of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. It was the most insane thing I had ever seen in US politics and I’m sixty as of last December 21 so I’ve seen Watergate, Iran-Contra, the End of the Cold War, 9/11, and the 2003 American invasion of Iraq. Not since 9/11 has the country been so completely rattled.

I’m working on my syllabus during the AM yesterday, aware the certification was going to happen, also fully aware that Trump supporters were planning to rally in DC. I’d been reading about their plans to converge on the capital to support Trump and to disrupt the certification process because of his egregious lies about having won the election. Talk about living in an alternative reality! I’d also read articles that quoted the DC law enforcement saying they were ready for the protests. And R texted that AM that DC stores were once again boarding up in anticipation of riots and violence.

But I wasn’t too worried as the certification was a foregone conclusion, even with the Dirty Dozen senators planning to challenge various state certifications, along with their cowardly, traitorous allies in the House. The Dems had the votes in both houses to override those ridiculous objections (even before the 2 Dems won the run-off elections in Georgia – YAY!!). And the military (ie: all former defense secretaries) had indicated last week they would not get involved, said the time to question the election was passed, and expected a peaceful transition of power to Biden. Big business had also come out in support of the election results and an orderly transition. And I read an article from church and BLM leaders the day before who had decided not to come out in force to confront the protesters out of fear of more violence and it getting out of hand. So I wasn’t too worried about the certification process or the protests. I figured the Trump crazies would spend the day blowing off steam, while the extremists among them like the Proud Boys would pick fights with unlucky passer-byers at night as is their MO. But collectively they wouldn’t be able to overturn what had been a fair and equitable election that the major institutions of the country supported, that is, the will of the people.

I was right that they couldn’t stop it, but they sure did try and what a disaster! B. had the CNN news coverage of the rally and the certification on his Ipad and I just happened to walk into the study to ask him something around 2PM when all hell started breaking loose at the Capital. After that we were glued to our TV sets surfing from channel to channel, as were all our friends as we were all texting back and forth frantically shocked and appalled at what we were seeing. The Capital building was under attack by a rampaging mob of Trump supporters who broke through the barriers around the building, swarmed up the steps on all sides like the insects, broke through doors and windows and rampaged their way to the very doors of the Senate and House chambers. There congressional members were suddenly sheltering in place, lying on floors, cowering behind chairs, praying, crying, told to put on gas masks and finally ushered out the safety by armed guards while other guards tried to keep the crazies at bay until they had been evacuated. The Trump assholes then proceeded to wander all around the chambers smashing things, broke into congressional offices – one ass even decided to sit in Pelosi’s chair and leave her a nasty note -- and generally vandalized the place!

The outrage on every channel which was covering all this was palpable. Sedition, an attempted coup, insurrection – just about every channel, even Fox News, was using language like that because they were as shocked and appalled as we were. Members of the Senate and House that could be reached by phone were clearly rattled, having been cleared out to an “unknown location” for their safety. And even members of the Republican party were outraged that the president had encouraged all this just to stay in power after an election he so clearly lost. Speaker after speaker on all the networks blamed him regardless of their party affiliation and called for something to be done – not just to stop the protestors but to remove him from office before the inauguration in 14 days for his traitorous acts. And talk of restarting impeachment articles or invoking the 25th so his cabinet could remove him from office before January 20th began to circulate before the evening was over.

And where the hell were the police? That was what we all kept asking and texting one another. We watched in horror for almost 2 hours before a sizeable police presence began to materialize, and even then they stood mainly on the sidelines, waiting until dusk to gently move the rioters back. Comparisons between the police's egregious treatment of BLM protesters and their gentle treatment of Trump protesters were circulating within an hour on social media. The contrast was stark – heavily militarized police presence over the Summer for BLM but Trump supporters get calmly and kindly escorted down the f**king steps. Just writing about it is making me outraged all over again!

And why hadn’t there been more police and law enforcement to begin with? Everyone – us, texting and FBing with friends, every talking-head on the TV -- was asking that. I mean these were the same idiots who earlier in 2020 had attacked the Wisconsin state house and tried to kidnap the Michigan Governor! So why wouldn’t the police know by now just how dangerous some of these guys could be when whipped into a frenzy by their pig-God leader. And many of his supporters had been pretty clear in all the newspaper accounts I read that they were planning to actively disrupt the proceedings so where was the police presence? It came out during this time that it was Pence, not Trump, who finally called out the National Guard – but I mean WTF again?? Where was Trump during all this? He made a brief video post at one point saying he loved the rioters, it was time to go home, but then he immediately repeated the falsehood that the election was rigged and he was really the winner. Twitter unilaterally decided to suspend his account for 12 hours to prevent him from inciting them any further violence so we have no idea what was going on in the White House or in his senile head during this time. A reporter on CNN with good connections to the White House staff was told “he’s really lost it.”

But then how could Pence even legally take charge and call in the National Guard? Who the hell was in charge at that point? I suspect it was Pence, McConnell and Pelosi (bless her!!) in consultation with one another and other congressional leaders in whatever respective bunkers they’d been herded that made the call to lead without him. Pence had already said the week earlier that he was going to uphold the constitution and the election certification, and of course the first thing Trump and his followers did was label him a traitor and call for his head on a stick. McConnell also turned against the President last week, telling the Senate Republicans to stop all the nonsense and abide by their oath to the Constitution. So I suspect they were finally on the same page with Dems that the orange asshole had FINALLY gone too far (you think?!), was totally out of control and had to be stopped. Given much of the military leadership probably already knew how crazy Trump is, I suspect they were more than happy to listen to Pence for a change. As J said, though, what about the frigging nuclear codes?

But even when the police and national guard did show up, it was infuriating to watch them f**king gently usher those assholes down the Capital steps and away from the building. Most peaceful protests are met with egregious violence -- the George Floyd protests during the Summer were met with a heavy militarized presence, rubber bullets and batons. Yet in this instance, a bunch of crazed white people in Trump hats carrying confederate flags not only were allowed to take over the Capital and lounge like idiots in the Senate President’s chair, but they were gently helped out and pushed back by the police that finally did show up. I’ve since heard that many of the police were on the side of the seditionists, taking selfies with them and so on. I hope they all lose their damn jobs the racist f**ks!

But I do take some satisfaction in knowing that our institutions held in the end – Congressional leaders were doubly committed to getting back into the chambers that night in order to certify the election. By 8PM the building had been secured and the proceedings began, which we watched on CNN, in between watching the commentary outrage on various stations about what had just happened. Many of the Dirty Dozen were mollified now that they had been terrorized by Trump’s goons and thugs themselves. I mean the police even found a pipe-bomb at the RNC headquarters (also the DNC but you’d expect that from these right-wing racist goons), so Republicans are being targeted quite directly by these loons now. That means civil war is breaking out among the Republicans now, between the loons and the sane, which is just fine as far as I am concerned. There was also a lot of pressure that night from their own party leaders to stop f**king around and support the goddamn constitution!

Some still engaged in sedition, however, like Joshua Hawley, Ted Cruz and a bunch of House members who tried to challenge the results from particular states, like Georgia and Pennsylvania. Not even their own states mind you, but ones where they were convinced Trump should have won even though in reality he didn’t. In all those cases, election officials followed the letter of the law, there were no irregularities and court after court after court (most of them with Republican appointed justices) confirmed that no, no, no – there was absolutely no evidence of electoral tampering. But these jerks would disenfranchise vast swarths of American voters just to stay in power. They are the worst kind of human beings as are their rabid followers and supporters. Thankfully they did not have the votes to actually change anything so the certification of Biden/Harris’ election was completed at 3:45AM! YAY!!

Sunday, 1/10/2021 – The fall-out from last week’s riot has been tremendous, more than I had ever hoped for (as someone who has known what a terrible choice Trump was from the beginning)! Twitter suspended Trump’s account indefinitely, other social media platforms have followed suit – also shutting down sites for things like “Hang Mike Pence” because he is now seen as the ultimate traitor to Trump, their pig-God. Trump’s cabinet has been hemorrhaging members (though I suspect its not because they suddenly saw the light but to avoid having to invoke and participate in the 25th). Dems and some Republicans are looking to introduce Articles of Impeachment this coming week (yes please!). The rioters are being tracked down and arrested because most of them were foolish enough to post everything they were doing on social media (and then tried to take it all down the next day when they realized how much trouble they were in!). The Chief of the Capital Police has already resigned, more to come I’m sure, including some purging of Trump loyalists in the military and throughout different areas of the federal government.

The seditionists in Congress have also become pariahs being punished in various ways– that f**king Nazi Josh Hawley has lost book deals, political mentors and friends and hopefully Ted Cruz is next. Large corporations have put moratoriums on their campaign contributions, sometimes to both parties but most have focused on the seditionists. And while I thought of it as a riot that got stoked up by Trump’s rhetoric and out of hand due to mob mentality (so tended to think the term “coup” was hyperbole), there is increasing evidence that some of the rioters really did intend to take members of congress hostage, complete with zip ties and nooses! Of course, not everyone who participated in the storming of the Capital building intended that, but the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have found evidence of a real plot among some segment of the rioters. Combine that with the slow response of the military, and increasing evidence that Trump supporters within their ranks may have purposefully slowed that response, and calling it an attempt coup may not be hyperbole after all. That is scary as hell!

But it is really gratifying to see these guys on the run after 5 years -- I count the campaign year leading up to Trump’s win as part of their terror campaign for anyone who was tuned in and bothering to notice what a demagogue Trump is. Now much of the media is all like, “oh, how could this happen?” and “how outrageous that they say these things” and I think, where the f**k was your outrage 5 years ago when journalists where being threatened with hanging at all of Trump’s rallies? It’s not like any of these idiots ever tried to hide their sedition and hatred for Democracy, people of color, Libtards and anyone who didn’t think exactly the way they did. They’ve also been talking sedition since day 1 so, while it’s great to finally see them get what they deserve, it also feels pretty late in the game to grow a conscience.

Still it feels good to be so clearly on the right side of history and to have nothing to apologize for in that regard. I keep thinking back to the conversation I had with A down at the pond in 2016, when he asserted that if Hilary won our democracy would be in big trouble. I replied that I thought the opposite was the case, that it was Trump’s election that would threaten our democracy. And then all the FB conversations with Trump supporters after the election who kept saying how great it was going to be, how he was going to fix everything, that we just had to wait and see – soooo frustrating to deal when it was so obviously not true. For us Dems, it was so clear that he was an evil, evil man who didn’t deserve the public trust, was a threat to our democracy and nation and should never have been in office. It’s nice to be so clearly vindicated on that score – he is now being referred to in all quarters as the worst President in American history and I’m pretty sure that is going to stick.

Sadly he still has lots of clueless supporters and the RNC is still officially backing him. Reading about his supporters in detail often makes me very angry – the stupid, nasty, racists ones in it for the attention, right-wing fame and violence. But sometimes it makes me sad. Many of them are seem like decent people who desperately wanted a social network and found it in these right-wing social media forums. For these people, it was meant to be a fun gathering of like-minded friends, not an attempted coup, but they are now tarnished by the actions of others. I read about a Republican consultant who held a focus group with Trump supporters the day after the riots and he said he was shocked. Normally they are nice to one another but they were now split into three factions – those who think he lost the election and needs to move one, those who think he won the election but needs to move on, and those who think he won and should continue to fight. He said he had never seen such nasty disagreement among Republicans before which does not bode well for party unity. Again its not the dems who did that to them – the Republicans have only themselves to blame for this.

Monday, January 11, 2021 -- In more personal news, K. is closing in on an apartment in NYC, in Morningside Heights near the University. She went down twice last week and we submitted all the paperwork for her applications (including my info as her guarantor). Classes start again for her tomorrow (online) but I expect if all the paperwork goes through then we will be moving her down to NYC in the next two weeks. That’s left me sad and a bit rattled. At least living here I can be sure she is relatively safe from exposure to COVID and safe in general. I can’t keep her safe once she is in the city and her chances of being exposed to the virus will increase.

Meanwhile the numbers continue to go up – our positivity rate is fluctuating between 6 and 9, New York’s is similar (though NYC may be higher) – so I’m scared to go out and worried about her exposure once she moves. Those are worse than during the summer but much better than many other states – as of today Idaho is 56.6! LA is currently a health crisis mess. And roll-out of the vaccine has been very slow. CT is one of the better states to be on track for administering it, other states are a mess. Hopefully Biden can get this on track once in office since he likes to, you know, actually lead and run the government! But its scary to think of moving her to a place where exposure to more people, including whomever her roommate meets, in inevitable. And what do we do when she wants to come home for a weekend? Dad thinks he will be able to get the vaccine in February given his age and COPD and I’m hoping and praying he will be able to – it will be a huge relief to me once he is vaccinated.

Meanwhile I’m hoping we’ll get it sometime late Spring – maybe that is too optimistic and it won’t be available to the general public until July or later but I think I will literally go stir crazy being unable to see Dad or Mom or my friends on a regular basis. We did do a “Gathering of the Firepits” the night before New Year’s Eve, everyone brings their portable firepit and wood, we arrange them in a circle along with our camping chairs and our own food and drink, so we can catch up and play stupid games. It worked really well until it started raining about midnight, right in the middle of our second game of Werewolf, and I was knocked out for two days after it due to the cold. I’m very bundled up and warm during the evening but the cold just takes a toll on me and I end up being super fatigued afterwards. I so miss the casualness of dropping by to see someone in the warm over a hot cup of coffee, or going shopping or out to eat and the movies. And traveling was always what I had to look forward to before Covid. Now ISA Las Vegas is online and I never leave the house because there is no where to go and its so cold outside. No wonder I’m fatigued all the time and sleeping crazy long hours!

FYI-- a friend texted yesterday to say that her husband had a positive case of Covid. No details on how he contracted it, just that his symptoms are mild and they were trying to isolate from one another in their house. Wow, she is someone with underlying conditions so not good at all.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Right now the coronavirus is having a pretty big impact in my life. My dads coworker tested positive for COVID and we are all isolating ourselves right now. As of now my dad.mom,and I are all experiencing cold like symptoms and are waiting to get tested tomorrow since all testing sites were completely full in LA. I really do miss physical interaction with my friends and boyfriend. I definlty feel like this last semester has been the hardest for me mentally I could not find any motivation for school.

Think about the people closest to you. Tell us about how the coronavirus has affected them, and their life.

The coronavirus is something that has affected everyone by now. Friends close to me are working fine and the other half got no jobs or when back to their native country to stay with their family members. However, there are a lot of friends of mine who lost members of their family they care and love because of the coronavirus which is heartbreaking.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Right now the pandemic seems like normality. The thing most on my mind is the state of the government...On Wednesday there was an attack on the Capitol and it has left me really shaken. I am more worried about the political situation right now than the pandemic. This country is so divided and people are so angry and believing all kinds of lies and propaganda it makes me sick and scared. I am trying to block it out of my mind and avoid being consumed by the news, but I can't help but be anxious about what could happen.

What has changed most about the world since the coronavirus pandemic began?

What's changed for me and my relationship to the world during the pandemic? I'm trying to train myself to look at things closely in a way I wouldn't if there weren't a pandemic.

April 1, 2020: Photo 1 Sketch Caption:

What we used to take for granted... Covid 19 Days: This head of broccoli with its curly-permed tips is always a staple but even more of a delicacy, now that it's hard to shop for food. Food items are more unique, highlighted because they're hard to get.

April 3, 2020 Photo 2 Sketch Caption:

Aloe plant has had a good windowsill winter...and ready to go outside soon.

Covid days

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Well, it's been a while since I have made an entry on here. I just realised today that it has nearly been a year since I made my first post- how crazy is that? It's just endless. How has it been a year? How has it nearly been a year since my friends mum passed away from this? I do not think any of us imagine to be in a possible worse position then what we were back in March. It makes me feel angry and sad that we still are not at where we want to be and it frightens me how many (even some of my friends) are not being complaint with rules as they just do not care anymore. We all need to do our bit and not put our spin on the rules. But, I am just absolutely baffled at how badly we have dealt with this here in the UK. Why did we never completely shut down in the first place? Being in lockdown but keeping boarders and flights open is like trying to fill a bucket with water that has a gaping hole in it; it does not work.

I got sad today as I was chatting to my Nan. She was saying how she misses going shopping and seeing people and it hit me again how the simple pleasure of socialising is really important. It got me thinking as well that, not that my nan is very old but, is this really how they're going to live the years they have left? Locked away? It's horrible to think that basically everyone is isolated in some way and all their plans and ambitions have just been swiped away underneath them. I know that sounds dramatic and of course we are all still getting on with things and people are still studying/working/doing stuff etc... but this is not a way of living that we all expected to have.

It's weird to think that when this started I was a student finishing my degree and now I work in the NHS during this pandemic. It's like I have seen the pandemic through 2 different eyes: back when I was a student and had nothing to do from March to starting my job gave me time to slow down and appreciate and enjoy the simple things. Nowworking in the NHS (whilst enjoyable) is very stressful to hear all the grief people have endured over the last year and to see the inside of healthcare during this pandemic and all the pressures it faces. I'm petrified that it feels like only a matter of time before someone I know is to get it. It almost feels like sometimes that will we ever get out of this?

Despite this I am really enjoying being a Podiatrist finally. I got my vaccine just before xmas as well! I almost felt teary when I received it as it felt like such a huge part of history. I just wish people would stop being selfish and follow the rules and hopefully the vaccine will start to do its job.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

My sister got her first dose of vaccine - so I am feeling relieved. She's a nurse. Now I get to worry less about her safety. So that is happy.

On the other hand we had the Capitol breached by far right intruders with 3 of the people next in line to take over as President if something happened to Trump in the building. Scary times we live in. I would never have thought it possible here and the response by peace keepers was horrible. So the pandemic took back seat to that horror even while hospitals in many states are at their max. These are not happy times for the world.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

5 January. COVID hits home.

Sadness: S.'s brother, my brother-in-law, died this morning in Illinois after a rapid decline over the past two weeks. He was in a memory unit for the past two years, where he seemed happy until the last few weeks when he had incidents of aggressive behavior, and this past week began to refuse food and drink. The COVID restrictions had increasingly isolated residents, for a time they were confined to their rooms, entertainment activities were essentially suspended. Quality of life and mental health stimulation was sharply reduced as probably is the case in nursing homes across the country during the pandemic. He was a newspaper man for the Danville Commercial News most of his working life: doing layout and doing the rounds of advertisers, he got to know many of the workers in the town. He was a history buff, music collector (vinyl records, tapes, casettes), occasional thespian, Mason, participated in an American Revolution re-enactment group that traveled the Mid-west, and collector. It was just his flair to show up one day in the post office, his meds in his hands asking for help. The bank staff knew him -- virtues of a small town -- called help and with a day he was resettled in the nursing home, where he seemed relieved and happy. My fantasy is that he was simply saying he was done with his house and living alone. He never asked about the house, his car, or much else, except for some favorite Bing Crosby tunes. In the beginning he would simply say his collection of music had fallen through the floor and was gone. S. has spent the last two years taking care of all that needed doing, visiting when that was possible, along with the help of her niece and husband. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, like all nursing and long-term facilities, this one on the outskirts of a small town, went into quarantine mode, preventing anyone but staff from coming in and out. That made visiting impossible; but a judge still required S. to appear in person for him to grant her becoming his legal guardian -- an anxiety filled flight to Chicago and three-hour drive. Virus free for many months, eventually the virus found its way in and infected staff and residents including J., as noted in the Dec. 26 entry. So a combination of the dementia and COVID. It is strange not being able to go for a funeral or the internment, but S. made all arrangements (again small town, knows the funeral home, run by the son of the man who buried her parents), and they will tape the internment for us. Will have to do something with her niece and her family when the pandemic wanes. S. has been so involved with the care taking day by day, it’s going to leave a sudden emptiness; the end came quickly. She was still able this morning to talk to him by FaceTime, though unclear what if anything he heard. I last talked to him on Face Time a couple of days ago as he sat in chair with indiscernible if any responsiveness.

COVID ANXIETY. Our weekly Tuesday call today focused on the new variant of the virus which seems much more infectious, if not more deadly foreshadowing further overwhelming of the medial facilities. It seems detection of the variant itself has been a lucky fluke: only one of the testing kits picked up the "S" gene drop; none of the many others do. There seem to be 14-17 mutations. What this means for the effectivity of the current vaccines is unclear. Already in Los Angeles, a friend, an intensivist physician, reports all ICU beds are full, and patients are being handled in other rooms, so far at standard of care. He notes that traditional barriers between departments and even hospitals have broken down, and that at least efficiency and appropriateness of care is increased. Another physician friend who runs a big cancer hospital in Miami says his hospital is now also filling with COVID patients.

ANXIETY. We go to bed reasonably assured that the Reverend Raphael Gamaliel Warnock has won the Senate race in Georgia ousting the "piece of work" Kelly Loeffler (robotic repeater of right-wing nonsense, the richest member of the Senate trying to represent herself as an ordinary farm girl — her family, beneficiary of among largest US agricultural subsidies; she herself a corporate executive and married to the Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange — and spokesperson for "the people", read white elites). Jon Ossoff also has a lead over almost equally disingenuous David Perdue (who has spent his single term Senate career on his cell phone sending orders to his broker, and using insider information, has little to his credit, except earlier being a consummate corporate exporter of American jobs to lower wage foreign countries, and having a well-placed cousin, Sonny Perdue, the Trump Commerce Secretary, to get him into politics. Later at night, it is confirmed that Jon Ossoff does in fact win, and McConnell will thankfully no longer be Majority Leader in the Senate and block to any useful legislative action.

6 January. OUTRAGE & SUPER SPREADER EVENT amidst the counting of the Electoral College votes.

The world stands agape as white right-wing followers of Trump storm the Capitol and with ease enter the building, smashing windows, enter the floor of the House and Senate and offices of the Speaker and others. Most were not wearing protective masks (which has become a pro-Trump political badge) and there is a good likelihood that they are creating a new super-spreader COVID event. This assault comes in the midst of a joint session of Congress counting the Electoral College certified votes from the states, which had to be suspended for several hours, until it was continued at 8pm until 4am. None of this deterred Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley from objecting to the affidavits from Arizona and Pennsylvania or some hundred Representatives from trying to object to Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada, all not accepted because there was no Senator co-signer. Cruz invokes the 1877 Compromise as a model for a commission to look into irregularities in voting: for blacks this is further insult and evidence of racism since that Compromise led to the destruction of Reconstruction and the establishment of Jim Crow. T had addressed the crowd in the morning, urged them to march on the capitol, suggesting he might join them (he didn't). When finally there were more and more calls by Republicans for T to call his people off, he made a video merely saying, "We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special." Two pipe bombs were found, and there are four dead, including a Capitol policeman, injured but able to go home then to the hospital where he died, and a white woman shot by a Capitol Policeman as she attempted to climb through a smashed window (Ashli Babbit, 35, Air Force veteran of fourteen years, who had become a virulent pro-Trump and Qanon supporter, vowing that the Storm was coming to set off a civil war (Storm, has echoes of Nazi Die Sturmer). There is now a video clip of Trump and family celebrating to party music while watching the events at the Capitol, both Don Jr and wife face the camer, Kimberly Guilfoyle dances, Don smiles broadly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXM6h9elyTY

Jake Angeli, known by followers as the QAnon Shaman showed up in face paint of the flag, fur hat with horns, bare chest and arms tattooed with brick-like patterns, hands in black gloves, and an axe head tatoo on his stomach, posing for pictures with a spear and American flag, and a bullhorn at his waist. In the picture in the NYT, a boy by his side in red Trump hat helds a Trump flag to make it symmetrical with the American flag in Jake's right hand, since his left hand was occupied over his upper chest (heart?). Nick Ochs, founder of Proud Boys Hawaii, and recent GOP nominee for state representative (district 22) which race he lost, was in the crowd [Enrique Tarrio, the 36 year-old Cuban-American leader of the Proud Boys was not among them, having been arrested two days ago.] Richard "Bigo" Barnett, 60, outdid Jake Angeli for visual prominence in a picture snapped by Agence France-Press, by lounging in "Nancy Pelosi's" desk chair, putting his left boot up on her desk (not actually her desk), then boasted to the NYT's Matthew Rosenberg that “I wrote her a nasty note ["Nancy, Bigo was here you bitch.”], put my feet up on her desk and scratched my balls.” As Monica Hesse of the WP notes, the picture and others were arresting for the smugness, the gleeful entitlement on individual faces. Indeed I was stunned at the end of the evening when the protesters were finally being gently pushed back, with some small doses of tear gas to clear the steps and lower balcony, how they slowly walked past police lines waving at the police. It is a bit like the white youth in Kenosha (Kyle Rittenhouse) who shot two people to death and walked by a police car with his rifle saying I just shot somebody, and they waved back at him. (He was arrested two days later due to the uproar.). Black news commentators are not shy in pointing out that had this been a black crowd, the handling of the crowd would have been very different.

Former members of the Capitol police express astonishment that aid offered ahead of time by the FBI, DoD (for the National Guard), and Maryland and Virginia police had been declined by the Capitol police, since such back up is normal procedure for big demonstrations, and not even a perimeter had been set up. The Chief of the Capitol police has resigned, but this smells like the infiltration of police forces across the country by white supremacists.

How could the Capitol have been so unprotected? More intense calls now for invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump. It is reported that when D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser asked for help from the National Guard -- because DC is not a state the request has to go up through DoD to the President -- T refused ("resisted") is the word the press used, but it was Mike Pence who signed off, and it was reported that it was Mike Pence who was in communication with DoD through-out the day and siege, which optimists interpreted as a kind of invocation of the 25th A.; but on 7 January morning Pence refused to come to the phone when Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were on line (put on hold for 25 minutes) to urge him to invoke the 25th Amendment, and let it be known he was opposed to doing that. Members of the judiciary committee in the House are drawing up articles of impeachment. Finally only today, Jan 7, have some four thousand plus political appointees been asked for their routine resignations in advance of a new administration. Two cabinet members have also resigned, probably to avoid any possibility of being asked to help invoke the 25th Amendment to declare Trump unfit and remove him: Elain Chow, the Commerce Secretary and wife of Mitch McConnell; and Betsy DeVois, Education Secretary and sister of mercenary, former SEAL, Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater (renamed Xe and now Academi) saying she was upset by the violence. (The British Empire is now a clothing store; Academi is a mercenary force of military veterans for hire.)

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I think I am settling in to this new normal. We had a surprisingly wonderful time using Zoom to chat and play games remotely with friends and family we usually gather with on New Year’s Day. I feel like I’m really hitting my stride working from home and getting the hang of how to continue to focus on building and maintaining relationships and networks nearly as well as I did in person in the office.

Frankly, being isolated at home physically has helped me to mentally and emotionally escape a bit into a bubble too—despite previously commuting to downtown Washington DC nearly every day (the last time I stopped in for computer equipment the windows were boarded up and the street in front was a police staging area) I’ve been lucky to have plenty of remote work and home improvement activities to keep me from completely freaking out over insurrection at our capital and endlessly wondering if that was a disgusting isolated event or the beginning of a terrifying and tragic new chapter for our country... but hey who has time to worry about democracy when the cabinet organizers have arrived and there are dishes to endlessly move from shelf to shelf and back again?

Are you in touch with family or friends in other parts of the country, or other parts of the world? If so, talk about how the pandemic has been affecting them.

I have friends and/or family in LA and SF and it has been hard this year - first the fires and then the pandemic. Two of my old friends in LA that I used to work with when I lived there got COVID but both recovered thank goodness. One of them lost her father to the disease and that was very sad. My stepmom (90 years young) is in IL living with her son and his wife - they are fine. Also have a friend in Tucson - she's fine. My son and his family live in VT and they are OK - quite rural where they live. His father, my ex, lives in NM in rural area and is ok. My sister and her husband are in ME and she got her first dose of the vaccine this week. She's a nurse at a longterm care facility. Stepson and partner in OR are OK and stepdaughter is now in CT but splits time between CT and NY - she may need to return to OK for the coming semester unless it's still remote classes. Also have good friends in PA - they are OK and in France, Ecuador, and Britain - they all seem ok so far. I think about the toll all the quarantining is taking on our mental health and social selves.

I sometimes wonder how I will interact with others in person again after this is all over. It's been so long.

What I miss most is being able to see my grand girls and their parents and giving them hugs and doing stuff with them... hoping for summer but it's not a sure thing yet. This is the longest I've gone without seeing them in person - we do virtual but it's not the same thing. Last time in person was in August.

Re grad students (our other "children") - we have one in China - he's pretty much stuck there, but the upside is that his Chinese is improving and he got a dog for company. Another was going to go to India for her dissertation research, but Fulbright shut that down for now - maybe in the summer 2021 - she's doing what she can online. This whole thing is taking a year from all those who have MA or PhD plans for research abroad - UConn has extended times to graduate for them thank goodness.

So, I really miss the ability to see my family and friends in person.