20 April 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not


Dear Diary,

My sister-in-love, Kim, asked our fam the other night what’s saving our minds and hearts and sanity right now, and ever since I find things throughout the day that bring me back to center or settle my spotty anxiety or soothe my soul enough to get to the next minute or the next hour or the next day.

Here, in no particular order, are some of them.

1. The total weirdos I live with.

2. These baby monsters:

3. This book series which I loved for years before it came to TV:

I’m currently reading Book 5 in the series — The Fiery Cross — because I’m a chicken and I can’t watch Season 5 of the TV show until I remind myself what’s going to happen. SO MUCH STRESS and TENSION and BEAUTY and TERROR. Speaking of which…

4. Outlander, the TV series.

I’m really very rarely/almost never a fan of books-to-TV or books-to-movies. I watched the first two Harry Potter movies, for example, and they were fine depictions but I still loved reading them more, so I ditched the remaining films. I was wary of Outlander on a screen, therefore, but IT’S MY FAVORITE and I LOVE IT. Greg and I started Season 5 last night — it took my brain a while in Pandemic Mode to be able to read again, my focus was shot for a few weeks, but now that I’m more than halfway through rereading Book 5, I figured we were safe to start watching. 

5. Sunshine.

Look, I know I’m not supposed to be happy about Climate Change, and I promise I would choose Rain over Sun to Save the Planet if that was an option for me, but I DO love sunny April days in Oregon. We didn’t always have them, there’s likely (hopefully) loads of rain to come in the next few months, but this reprieve from dreary days and, instead, getting to sit in a vat of Vitamin D is good for my brain. Definitely a sanity saver.

6. Blackhead extraction videos on YouTube. 

[Not including a photo here. You’re welcome.]

I don’t know why they’re so soothing, but they are. Right now I’m making my way through all of the Loan Nguyen Acne Treatment videos. Greg and my mother both assure me this is an objectively disgusting thing to watch. I feel sad for them that they can’t experience this level of joy. 

7. Homemade bread and yogurt.

Honestly, I know NO ONE ON PLANET EARTH wants to hear ANY MORE about sourdough, but it’s giving my days a rhythm, and that in turn is giving me life.

8. Did I mention dogs?

Because dogs.

9. Little puffs of fairy magic spilled all over my lawn.

I know, I know; like the zit videos, I’m supposed to dislike these. They’re messy. But I love them. I wish on them. I blow their seeds into the wind. I create more dandelion puff babies. 

And, hey, the leaves and flowers are edible SO WHO’S SMART ENOUGH TO HAVE AN EDIBLE LAWN DURING THE APOCALYPSE? This girl. 

10. Also, dogs. And OH, I said this was in no particular order BUT I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST because my adult humans are moving home in exactly 26 days AND THEY’RE HAVING A BABY.

A little puppy baby AND LOOK AT THAT FACE. Diary, meet HonoLulu. Lou for short. LouLou. Louie.

This is his baby picture:


I’d carry a hard copy in my wallet and show it to EVERYONE like EVERY proud grandma EVER, except we’re socially distancing right now, so please prepare yourself, Diary, to be the repository of All the Puppy Pics in the meantime. It’ll be an onslaught. A barrage. A deluge. 

I. Can’t. Wait.

With love,




P.S. Pretty please tell me what’s giving you life and sanity right now. Both to check in and because we can all use ideas. 

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13 responses to “20 April 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not”

  1. Chocolate. Naps. A new puppy (yes, even with the potty and crate training). Taekwondo class over Zoom. Quarantinis with my sister. Having time to call/text friends and doing so.

  2. Yoga with Adriene. BOOKS. Chocolate. My wonderful, loving family. Fresh pasta. Tea and coffee and wine and water and fruit. These diary entries 🙂

  3. My hammock. Cherry Blossoms. Fiona Apple’s new music while taking a literal hike around the neighborhood. Glen Hansard’s live instagram concert celebrating his 50th birthday. Your blog.

  4. Hymns, watching my son become obsessed with reading, K-dramas, and nesting like mad. I’m all “I know you’re thinking the due date is mid June, and you have plenty of time. But that’s just a rough idea. Many babies come earlier. None of my babies have made it to their due date. This baby is allowed to come in ONE MONTH people! Get it together!” And they’re all “LADY! Cool your jets!!!!” I don’t think they understand the urgency here. One month is obviously the blink of an eye. Am I right?

    Okay. Maybe I’m not staying entirely sane.

  5. My cats, chickens, bees and garden have been great. Seeing my students on Zoom. Doing pretend yoga in my pajamas with no underwear or a bra on and not caring if folks see of if it is being done correctly. Having my husband, my kid and their girlfriend at the house to amuse me and gibe me something tangible to fuss over and take care of since I can not fuss over and take care of the world right now. Also, naps and America’s Next Top Model and Great British Baking Show. Oh, and I started reading the Harry Potter series. I am an introverted and diverse human 🙂

  6. Painting. I paint the same things over and over, and now I have a humongous stack of silly little paintings, but it’s the #1 thing keeping me sane. Also, BBC crime dramas.

  7. Ironically, there is joy at trimming my own bangs; (my mom was a hairdresser, so I have some knowledge) without butchering my look. I know there’ll be a big queue for my hairdresser and my gray roots are becoming prominent. Mascara to the rescue. THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS.
    Oh – and I changed my facebook page pictures to that of a big Dandy WIsher.

  8. Watching ladybugs with my 5years old, coloring the letters of his name with my 3 years old, helping my 18month old with the stairs. Also, what’s keeping me sane: watching my husband walk out with all the kids, knowing I will have silence for the next 40 min.

  9. Reading books (not, not the news), sewing, doing my back exercises, drinking 3 big glasses of water a day (and buckets of tea), walks, scheduled chats on the phone instead of just texting, arranging WhatsApp playdates for my 6yo, sort of supervising 6yo while reading my book.
    Whether that will get me through the next (who knows how many) months, I don’t know, but it’s helping this month.
    Waving back. Xo

  10. I’d be a mess without my meditation app. Who am I kidding? I’m still a mess, but I’d be an even bigger one without it. Meditation is a powerful tool, but I can rarely do it independently. I need a guide.

    There are several apps out there. I use Insight Timer. I successfully used the free version for a long time but opted for the paid version in January. It’s some of the best money I’ve spent this year, though the free version is still really good. I found this article that lists several app options with descriptions. Hope it helps someone!


  11. Dandelions help the bees so you are helping the bees, you bee-helper, you! I am chatting with friends when we can; virtually babysitting the littles of friends to hopefully provide the kids something new and their parents 30 minutes to poop in peace; working remotely with a student who I miss so very much; watching my husband connect with his people over MST3K watch parties; and my daughter giving herself faux bangs cleverly with a barrette and headband. And all the podcasts and beloved blogs! Your waving is so needed, so, thank you for continuing as you are able.

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