Corona Diary #1: Work, projects, food, socializing, exercising

“Shelter-in-place” snippets and snapshots

March 29, 2020

As the first month of the COVID-19 crisis is drawing to a close, it’s difficult for me not to focus exclusively on the world-wide human tragedies, government and corporate missteps, and economic fallout yet to come. And how lucky we, personally, are to have so far escaped much of that. And how unpredictable and unfair life can be. Such events do provide rare opportunities for rich reflection.

But today I decided to use this “terrible opportunity” to start a modest project to reflect and record on a more mundane level: a journal of events, thoughts, and pictures about what we’ve been doing on a day-to-day basis to stay safe, healthy, and in touch with those we love, as the pandemic swirls around us.

I hope you forgive, enjoy, and participate in my humble efforts. Please consider sharing your own thoughts in whatever medium suits you; if you share them with me, and you don’t mind, I’ll include them in the follow-on blogs I plan to write.

When it became real for me

Magenta flowers along Terra Bella Ave, Mountain View, California
Magenta flowers along Terra Bella Ave, Mountain View, California

For me the virus and pandemic “became real” one day in early March after I did my usual lunchtime walk along Terra Bella Avenue near the new MoveWorks office complex, admiring the spring flowers along the way. By the time I got back, we had our first workplace instructions that have now morphed into “get out and stay out of the office until further notice.” My first thought was,”Can they do that?” And my second was, “Of course they can,” and they did.

Professional projects to keep us busy

Luckily I was already working part of my contracting hours offsite, and I adjusted relatively quickly to being completely “remote.” Dick and I have both filled in with other professional projects that we can do anywhere, as long as wifi and Internet are functioning (so far, so good!). For example, he’s been writing Python scripts on behalf of our “Building bot-ready knowledge bases” project. You might say, “What an odd project!” and you would be right, but we are odd people in many ways.

Dick's Python-based integration with the Telegram app
Dick’s Python-based integration with the Telegram app


Macaroni and cheese, one of our few home-cooked meals
Macaroni and cheese, one of our few home-cooked meals

In recent years our usual pattern has been to dine out for our main meal in the middle of the day.  However, for several weeks now most restaurants within walking or driving distance are closed – except for take out! We tried cooking at home (above is “Anna’s” mac and cheese), but our hearts aren’t in it, so we’re assembling a list of phone numbers and menus of places still willing to accommodate patrons like ourselves. Not what we would hope for, but better than TV dinners!

Socializing while observing the “6-foot apart” rule

Three of the Livengoods leaving the Los Alamitos trail parking lot
Three of the Livengoods leaving the Los Alamitos trail parking lot

What a treat it has been (twice, now) to meet the Livengoods for a chat while we walked the Los Alamitos Creek trail in the Almaden Valley! Matthew participated too, because the Giants’ Dugout store where he worked has closed. Miranda didn’t because Armadillo Willy’s (BBQ restaurant), where she works, is still open for takeout. (After our walk we stopped to see Miranda and get a hamburger, fries, Willy beans, and peanut slaw – it was delicious!)

Speaking of exercise…

Before the pandemic we had started increasing our weekly mileage so we could participate in future 5Ks (as of now, a thing of the past), and we’ve kept that going to try to keep our lungs and limbs healthy and germ-free. We’re lucky to still be able to do that at our advanced ages, and we keep at it every day. Here are photos taken on our very own Guadalupe River levee trail and at Rancho San Antonio County Park.

Dick on the levee trail across the river from Levi's Stadium
Dick on the levee trail across the river from Levi’s Stadium
Hiking at Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve
Hiking at Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve

Other ways we try to stay amused

  • Frequent calls to and from our Blomquist family in Minnesota (they have a new puppy – more about that in future posts)
  • Taking advantage of “senior hour” (just before the general opening) at the grocery store
  • Messages to/from friends and family we haven’t heard from in a while
  • Discovering new “cousins” through our genealogy projects
  • Reading good books (Dick says he recommends the Simenon and Maigret mystery series)
  • Watching good programs on TV – our current favorite is “Anne with an ‘E'” on Netflix, but we also are fond of any and all nature programs

Dick watches more TV than I do, and he favors mysteries (the “Vera” and “Shetland” series), “Antiques Road Show,” and educational programs like one he just finished on the languages of the world.

Please stay safe, healthy, and in touch!