On My Mind: April 2020

Monday Author:  Susanne Skinner

On My Mind, Susanne Skinner, April 2020We all have Covid-19 on our minds. The U.S., China, and Italy have the highest number of cases worldwide.Switzerland has the highest per capita with 1,340 cases per million, followed by Spain and Italy. The U.S. is lower at 210 people per million.

There are three million confirmed cases worldwide.The Coronavirus death toll will surpass the highest projected numbers for the flu.

People live in quarantine and only essential businesses remain open. The Red Cross identifies loneliness as a related health epidemic.Though not as well publicized, it has overwhelming mental health implications.

We are in a hard place.

#staystrong — On My Mind 2020

People will find new ways to get through. The internet keeps us informed and my friend Brad Pitt urges us to filter what is real from what is nonsense. We’re smart people; we’ve got this.

Many of us are entering our third month of sheltering in place. Please continue to #stayhome so we can flatten the curve and reduce the risk.

April 2020 is ending, leaving me time on my hands and more than a few things on my mind.

In Other News

In other news, there is Some Good News. Actor John Krasinski’s You Tube show is all about good news. He asked his Twitter followers to share feel good stories, then posted them in videos that will make you smile.

In Other NewsThe spirit of kindness stands strong. Here are 33 examples of people helping people, proving good prevails. Be that person and pass it on.

The Atlantic tells us bad times create good changes “by forcing many of us to slow down, to spend more time in personal reflection, away from the noise and heave of the world. With more quiet time, more privacy, more stillness, we have an opportunity to think about who we are, as individuals and as a society.”

Need a face mask? This thirty-second video shows you how to make one with something everyone has — a sports sock. I followed along even though it’s in Spanish!

Planet Fitness is offering free 20-minute in-home workouts – keep that body moving.

Pluto Living is miniature schnauzer wisdom at its best! Pluto speaks his truth to the two leggeds, dispensing advice for everything from self-care to social distancing. Use your cookie voice, not the peed-on-the-carpet voice.

In the Kitchen with Suze

Shopping and stocking up has taken on a new meaning during the pandemic.  Quarantine cooking invites us to rediscover sit-around-the-table meals. It’s also a good time to try new recipes, working with what’s on hand.

Fifties Kitchen, In the Kitchen with SuzeOnce full, grocery shelves are uncharacteristically empty. Basics like flour and yeast are especially scarce.

I’m continuing work on a family cookbook, testing and tweaking old and new favorites.  While we’re sheltered, I’m focusing on minimalist, easy-to-find ingredients for daily meals.

The New York Times uses brown butter and sea salt to transform Rice Krispy Bars into a new addiction for grown-ups. You absolutely cannot eat just one.

Rationing your flour? These flourless chocolate cookies make a small batch, hitting all the right notes.

If you’re looking for a simple marinara, Marcella Hazan’s four-ingredient sauce is the one. I’m betting you have all the ingredients on hand.

We’re all about innovation in a time of scarcity and re-purposing. Here are five vegetables you can regrow. Water and sunlight are all you need.

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Audiobooks are a new normal. We can’t go out, so we’re inside watching, reading and listening. Many of these services offer extended free trials.

Watch

Watch Read Listen, On My Mind February 2019, Susanne SkinnerSince we’re stuck inside, we’re watching more TV. Three options worth the couch time include Designated Survivor on Netflix and Prime’s Blow the Man Down and Goliath.  All offer fine acting and good story lines although (IMO) Designated Survivor jumps the shark in Season 3.

This short Footloose Mash-up has the moves and movies for some feel good foot taping.

Read

Our book club meets virtually and we’re reading The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides. It’s a psych murder mystery with creepy plot twists. The book received mixed reviews. Those who love it can’t put it down. Critics claim it’s a screenplay with a predictable ending done better by other authors. I’m on the fence.

Alicia Berenson commits an unspeakable act of violence when she shoots her husband Gabriel five times in the head, then slits her wrists. She’s stuck in two prisons. One is a mental institution and the other is in her mind. She has not spoken a word for six years.  Theo Faber is the criminal psychotherapist with issues of his own. He tells the story, combining excerpts from Alicia’s diary with his observations. 

Listen

Feeling all the feels. Lady Gaga raised close to $128M for Covid-19 by curating the Global Citizen’s One World: Together at Home concert. Bringing together pianist Lan Lang and vocalists Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli and John Legend in remote performances, they join her to sing The Prayer. A moment of beauty for a world in pain. #globalcitizen

 Good Prevai

Good News gets lost in bad times, but it is still out there.  This link inspires us with stories about good people doing good things.  Watch it with your morning covfefe.  Raise a cup to all the people working the front lines.

  • Do your little bit of good wherever you are. It is those little bits of good put all together that overwhelm the world.. Desmond TutuHeartfelt thanks to dedicated healthcare workers and first responders
  • Kudos to those who are essential – you make it possible for me to buy groceries, get mail, fill up my car (nowhere to go) and purchase alcohol
  • Shout outs to companies temporarily reassigning employees rather than letting them go.
  • Thank you to local residents using restaurant take-out service
  • Appreciation for parents working from home and home schooling

Social connections are even more important during social distancing. Facebook groups, Zoom and social media keep the conversation going. Reach out, check in, and check on those you love. We’ll get through this by sticking together.

Be well, be safe, and stay positive.

 

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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