30 March, 2020


I've been making wild predictions all along. It's in my nature. Now that the whole world is guessing about the nature of our new mutual enemy and how to treat it, I'm going to share a few with you.

1. The US has at least 12 months of this kind of insanity before the end will be in sight. I've said that before.

2. Online learning will remain an educational mainstay. Now that schools are forced into it, I think it will not simply vanish into the ether. It will become a viable alternative for many families.

3. The next world-wide crisis will be a water shortage. Many parts of the world suffer from water shortage, but the US and Europe are fairly well protected from that concept. I suspect that many of you diligent, 20-second hand-washers leave the water running that entire 20 seconds, don't you?

Cut it out! Wet your hands, turn off the water, soap up, scrub for 20 seconds, turn it back on and rinse. Unless you are in a public restroom, of course. 20 seconds of water running down an almost infinite number of drains 20 times a day will take its toll, believe me!

4. Just like after September 11th, world travel will be changed. I've already been through several international terminals where your temperature is checked before you are allowed to progress to the immigration desk. I predict that will be a regular part of all travel in the future. 

That's just a few things I've predicted in the last month. Care to weigh in?

28 March, 2020

Blogging from A to Z in April - Theme?

I'm late to the game, but I'm in.

I missed the big "theme reveal" day, but that's okay. It will vary from day-to-day.

When I first thought I might do this again this year, I thought it would be a good way to write out my grief. (Anyone new to this blog, this will be elaborated during the month. Or catch up in these two posts: Sept and January.) Then Covid-19 came. I mean, living in Vietnam, I've already been in the Covid game for a while. But it finally arrived in the US, and so more of my friends and family members are - slowly, so so slowly - beginning to realize this is a SERIOUS DISEASE. So now that they have opened that conversation, it's a little easier to talk about.

I expect my #AtoZChallenge will be part grief and death, part Covid-19 observations.

I hope these posts will be full of hope and light, and healing. For myself, and for anyone who chooses to read them.

Is that a theme? Maybe "Light In the Darkness"? But I have doubts about my ability to keep the snarkiness out of my tone. We shall see!

27 March, 2020

On the Verge

I've been thinking I might as well sign up for the AtoZ challenge, since I'm blogging so much these last few days. (Well, it feels like I've been blogging a lot.)

Wednesday I didn't because we had no power all day.

Thursday, I was going to announce my AtoZ non-theme, and went over to the AtoZ blog, but hesitated. 

I'm on the verge. 

It just seems like a big commitment. And I know, what else am I doing right now? But really, social distancing and self-isolation doesn't really change my life. I'm writing most days - well I was, before life fell apart on me - and when I'm not, I'm studying language or reading books, or doing other indoor activities.

So my time has already been allocated.
Sort of. 

Except that I've been moving very slowly in my first review of last fall's Nanowrimo book. So really, I'm not writing much, so why not do AtoZ?

Maybe it will jump-start me.

That's it. 
I'm doing it.
Next post will be a sort of a theme reveal. YAY for decisions!

24 March, 2020

Smart People Being Idiots

I just can't with my family right now.

Good grief.

I'd like to apologize on behalf of my State-side family members. It's not a valid apology, because they don't even seem to realize the danger they are to others and themselves, but I'm apologizing all the same.

I'm sorry about my parents - 79 and 80 - who are only now stopping going to their "Strength for Seniors" fitness class at the Y... because their governor finally declared a ban on non-essential travel. And truthfully, if they hadn't gotten a message from the Y stating that "due to the ban" the class will be cancelled, they'd probably still go. 
I just can't.

They are currently caring for my nieces, too - 8 and 11. My brother is a single dad in the National Guard, and works as a driver during most days. He is, at least, trying to keep his kids safe by not bringing germs home to them. I bet he didn't expect our parents to be part of the problem!

I'm sorry about my sister, who took both of her sons - 18 and 10 - down to 18's college to clear out his dorm room now that his spring break is turning into... distance learning? Summer vacation? Not sure on details. Imagine dorms clearing out. I hope the school was smart enough not to force all students to clear out on the same day. Still. 18 has a car. A nice, snazzy, vintage Mustang. Couldn't he have done his own moving out? 
I just can't.

I know my sister is smart. There must have been a reason she had to go down... and bring her younger son along. But I can't imagine what could be more important than protecting your family right now.

I don't have a bead on my older brother's situation, but I've just tasked my niece (22) with urging her parents to stay in. He's a school administrator, and when I spoke to him last week, they'd had a meeting - trying to keep some distance between each other - and afterward he had asked an upset teacher if she would accept a hug. He didn't have a problem with it. Thank God she did! 
I just can't. 

I know they are trying to get SIL's mom to stay in, though - what is it with that generation! They have a lot going on without even thinking about a pandemic. 

[After finding their son's dead body in the attic, they have finally moved back into their house, which they can't sell until they finish the renovation to the kitchen that had started before his death. So... life is hard to begin with, and I know - from words of my SIL - that there's a bit of a "what's the worst that can happen? The worst has already happened," mentality in that family. It's heart-breaking.]

It's also heart-breaking to think that they might be cavalier about social distancing, and I might lose my big brother because he just doesn't care anymore! (Just messaged him. He says he's trying not to die, so... okay?)

{UPDATE: Just talked to him, and they are doing what they can, running over to MIL's house everyday, and feel like the country is better than I think, because there are way fewer cars on the road.}

My only living sister can't be around me for more than a day without screaming at me, and my younger brother doesn't talk to me. Not to be mean, but now that Big Sis died, if Big Bro died too, I might as well not have a family at all.

We're not stupid! I swear!
I come from a high-IQ family. I know we are all intelligent human beings. But poor choices are not relegated to idiots. In fact, maybe it's a case of doing the math and playing the odds. 

Except for the fact that the numbers are skewed by the fact that NO ONE knows much about this virus, and frankly, the American media does not seem to help. 
(We watch American news. We also watch international news. Try it sometime.)

Stay safe, people.
Stay home.
It's the only way to end this.

23 March, 2020

Timing Is Everything

I've been doing some math.

China went into an extreme, strongly enforced lockdown in January. About three months later, they are finally allowing some non-essential businesses to open, but people are still forced to stay inside and school is still online. 


Covid-19 is just now hitting a stride in the US to the point where most people (it sounds like) are beginning to recognize it's an actual threat and that they need to stay inside. But from the people I've talked to in the US and the people I was talking to in China, American "social isolation" is an extremely relaxed version of staying inside. 

Even if the US was strictly locked down on a communist level next month, you would still have a long summer ahead. And it won't be locked down that fast. 

I imagine that the US has a long year or 18 months ahead. Probably the world does too, to be honest, but most of the world is ahead of the US in terms of taking this disease seriously.

I think. 
These are just the observations of an American living in Vietnam. But all the statistics show the US escalating at a much faster rate than any other country.

For my part, as safe as we feel Vietnam is, we are staying in. No point in making anything worse. Tourists come through and break their quarantine and we might not hear about it until the next day.

Our biggest worry is that the laws are changing quickly. Especially regarding foreigners. 
So while you in the western world are trying to stock up as much as you can, I am letting myself run completely out of shampoo or peanut butter before buying more... because there is every possibility that our visa will not be renewed in May and we'll have to leave. No point stocking up on things I won't have time to use!

I hope you are all well.
I hope you are all STAYING INSIDE! 
I hope you are able to access help when you need it, but I hope you won't need it.

I hope we won't have to move.