Thursday, April 23, 2020

We're all grieving

What kind of emotions are hitting you as you shelter in place?

The world is changing so fast I have whiplash. It feels like the month of Forevuary (the days just melt into one another) and though it's temporary I know things will never be the same. There was BC (before coronavirus) and there will be AD (after the devastation [of Covid-19]). 

Everyone keeps saying things like, "When life goes back to normal," and "After all this is over," but I don't think there will be such thing. Normal is never coming back. Just like going to the airport was forever changed after 9/11. 

When sheltering in place is lifted, I will think twice about putting my teenage kid on the subway. I will wonder how many germs are circulating in the coffee shop where I'm writing. I will weigh the pros and cons of attending a concert, going to the farmers market, eating in a crowded restaurant, getting on a plane.    

This is hitting me and I am grieving.

But life cannot and should not go back to the way it was. This is a wake up call. This is our chance to make change. We need to do better because it hasn't been good for a lot of people way before coronavirus.     

Where do we go from here? The experts say grief happens in stages, with acceptance being the last step in the process. This is happening. I have to figure out how to proceed. "Acceptance, as you might imagine, is where the power lies. We find control in acceptance," says David Kessler, the world's foremost expert on grief, in an interview with Harvard Business Review.

I'm not quite there yet but I have faith I will get to a place of acceptance and forward movement. For today, I acknowledge that I'm sad and anxious and nostalgic for simpler days. 


That discomfort you're feeling is grief. (Harvard Business Review)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

What I miss

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Thank God she's back

Fiona Apple is back and unbound. Praise the Lord!

My favorite lines from her single, "Fetch the Bolt Cutters":

I listened because
I hadn't found my own voice yet
So all I could hear was the noise that
People make when they don't know shit
But I didn't know that yet

I grew up in the shoes they told me I could fill

Shoes that were not made for running up that hill
And I need to run up that hill, I need to run up that hill
I will, I will, I will, I will, I will

Fiona Apple's art of radical sensitivity. (The New Yorker)

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Spring in full bloom

Something dies but something new is born - which is why the chaos of our times is, in a strange way, a sign of hope; something new is being born within. Out of chaos, a star is born. Breakdown can be break through if we recognize a new pattern of life struggling to emerge.
-Ilia Delio, Franciscan sister and scientist

New York sees signs of hope. (ABC News)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Covid-19 resume

I think I need to follow to Matthew's lead and update my resume. 

"I'm scared to go to work." (Business Insider)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

God is

[Rise up] O sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.
Rise up, work of my hands, for you were created in my image.
Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you.
Together ... we cannot be separated!

(Adapted from an ancient Christian homily, Day of the Lord: Easter Triduum, Liturgical Press: 1993)

How to do Easter during coronavirus. (The Atlantic)

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Evening glow at Mono Lake (Chiura Obata)

We won't be able to see Chiura Obata's stunning retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum any time soon (sigh), but we can learn about the Japanese American artist and appreciate his work from home.

I read this fantastic article about Obata and learned some fascinating things:

  • He was a prodigy, the son of a painter and drawing instructor from Okayama, Japan
  • He ran away from home to study art in Tokyo at age 14
  • By 17, he won his first major award and was being solicited to paint for magazines and books
  • He wanted to break out of what he felt was a constrained existence and immigrated to the US in 1903, knowing no one and having no work
  • In San Francisco, he found room and board as a domestic helper and began the learn English and take art classes
  • He was painting a streetscape and was jeered and spit on by a group of construction workers; he fought back and was arrested for hitting one of the workers over the head with a piece of iron; the judge, who thought it wasn't a fair fight, declared Obata not guilty of attempted murder
  • He began meeting other Japanese American artists and founded the East West Art Society in 1921
  • His prints demonstrate his painstaking perfectionism and signature style of blending American and Japanese traditions
  • His love of the Sierra Nevadas was first kindled during a six-week visit to Yosemite, during which he created some 150 watercolor sketches
  • He was among the 120,000 to be imprisoned in squalid incarceration camps during World War II
  • His wife and three of his four children were sent to live in the stables at the Tanforan Racetrack in San Bruno, California; his family was forced to give up art stores and a studio they owned in Berkeley and Oakland
  • He opened an art school and created some 350 paintings during his time in internment, including "Examination Time," which depicted the drudgery and humiliations endured by the prisoners
  • His paintings during internment were his way of showing gratitude to nature and a way of keeping himself grounded in hope, "If I hadn't gone to that kind of place I wouldn't have realized the beauty that exists in that enormous bleakness."

Read the entire Smithsonian article here.

Considering the role of art in a pandemic. (Artforum)

Friday, April 10, 2020

Grocery shopping during the time of coronavirus

Going out for food runs has become an event. It's often the only time we go outside, unless we're out for family walks, and now takes the place of things we enjoyed pre-pandemic: eating at restaurants, going to the movies, visiting museums, taking the kids to the park.

Every time we enter a grocery store or our neighborhood bodega, I say a prayer of thanks. I'm grateful we're able to buy food and that the shelves are always fully stocked (except for the toilet paper - six weeks into the pandemic and how are people still hoarding the TP?). I'm grateful to the grocery store workers who show up every day and risk their health so I can shop. 

We've got our errand-running down to a system: our favorite grocery store in Chinatown for produce and specialty Asian items, Trader Joe's for frozen meals, Whole Foods for bratty things like Justin's Peanut Butter and soy-free vegan mayo and butter, the bodega for one-off items like OJ or eggs or laundry detergent, and the new neighborhood market for paper products (they always have toilet paper and I'm not telling you where!).

I've got my shopping list up on my phone, yet I find myself browsing the beauty and health sections of the store. Looking at scented lotions and lipsticks and bath salts. I have no use for these things in my life right now. Yet I'm drawn to them. Maybe to feel some sort of normalcy? 

How about you? Has grocery shopping become an eventful occasion? Or perhaps something you dread?

Diary of a grocery store worker during the pandemic. (NPR)

Thursday, April 9, 2020


Tonight's quarantine cocktail. Be safe and find moments to relax, my friends. 

Ina's happy hour for the win. (Grub Street)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Daily walks with masks

We now wear masks when go out for our daily walks. Not gonna lie, I hate it. But it's necessary and we must do it (everyone must!) in order to stay safe and protect others.

One positive thing about this mad, mad world is slowing down and getting to know our surrounding neighborhoods intimately. We take our time because these days we have more than a New York minute. 

I notice little shops - ones I've passed a hundred times - and tuck them away in my mind for a future visit. I say a little prayer for these mom-and-pops, that they will survive this economic devastation and re-open after the pandemic is over. 

I love you, New York.

Rules for using the sidewalk during coronavirus. (NYT)