Home, and Hunkered Down

Social distancing can help flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Well, that escalated quickly…

It’s amazing how rapidly things can change.

When we left for Mexico ten days ago, life here was still pretty normal. We’d checked the situation there and learned there had been very few cases of COVID-19 in Mexico, and none in the area we were planning to visit. We felt perfectly safe while visiting, and were able to avoid close crowds, even at the concert we attended.

We were cautious while traveling, washed hands often, wiped down surfaces, and seem to have remained healthy. (Though le Monsieur is still recovering from a bit of severe sunburn on his legs.) We were VERY lucky returning home on Saturday, and didn’t encounter any hours-long bottlenecks going through Immigration and Customs that were reported in other airports. (And we have Global Entry, so avoided the usual line.)

Social distancing is the new black…

In order to minimize both our own and others’ risk, we’re going to be staying home for the next several weeks. We’ve canceled our 25th Anniversary trip to Las Vegas, and I’ll be postponing my London/Paris trip until the fall. Other than as necessary for food and medications, we will avoid going out as much as possible for the next few weeks.

We’re in a position to be able to do this without substantial hardship, but I worry about people who are dependent on an hourly wage and who will be hit hard by store, school, office, and other closures. I really hope companies will step up and take care of their people, and will be making a point to support those who do.

This Washington Post article explains very clearly the concept of “flattening the curve” by social distancing.

Colorful & cozy at home

Susan B of une femme d'un certain age wears a Kettlewell Colours sweatshirt, Athleta Brooklyn pants, and Paul Green slip-on sneakers.

I like to be comfortable while hanging out at home, but am too Type A to spend the day in pajamas. It’s reassuring to feel that I could run an errand, or answer the door for a delivery at any time. I LOVE this Supersoft Sweatshirt (gifted) from Kettlewell. It really is very soft and light, but still warm. I’m wearing the Small. Several other colors available, too!

I’ve been wanting to try the Brooklyn pants from Athleta for ages! But it seemed that every time I visited the website, my size was on backorder for weeks or even months. My timing was finally good, and I’m wearing them here.

I can see why people like these pants. They’re comfortable, lightweight, feel silky, and don’t wrinkle*. The side stripe is a nice detail that adds visual interest and makes them look a bit more polished. When we eventually start traveling again, I’d definitely consider these for a travel wardrobe. Available in Regular, Tall and Petite lengths.

Necklace is French Kande, shoes are Paul Green.

*Fabric is recycled poly, made from plastic bottles.

Have you changed your daily routine in light of COVID-19? Are you practicing social distancing?

Stay in touch.

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42 Comments

  1. March 16, 2020 / 1:05 am

    Yes it is amazing how quickly the world can change. Sorry not to see you this Spring. We will not be going to France next week as planned and as I fall into the “at risk older age category” will have to self isolate shortly. Will still go for my walks in the park otherwise I would go stir crazy. My daughter is in lock down as her husband has type 1 diabetes and is very anxious. I will miss seeing my grand sons. Keep save. Josephine

  2. Robyn
    March 16, 2020 / 3:01 am

    We did from Thursday till today. I received an email from work, I’m a teacher, over the weekend that we had to come in for a meeting today to launch Google classroom and clean our rooms. Go figure.

  3. March 16, 2020 / 3:19 am

    Well I’m in the UK (York) which is not , as yet , doing too badly and the expression ‘social distancing’ has not caught on . (I’m sure it will do !) . My Tai Chi & Spanish classes , both in Leeds , have been cancelled until after Easter so I don’t have to travel there . This may be partly because they both use venues used by others which increases the risk of course . My French classes have not but they are in York where as of last night we only had 4 cases compared to 19 in Leeds . I have not noticed less people on pavements , in ‘buses , at our local swimming pool or in Waitrose .
    Social distancing sounds horribly cold and unfriendly . What about social media ? Was that not supposed to hail a new world order of connectivity ?

  4. cindy daily
    March 16, 2020 / 4:28 am

    LOVE the Brooklyn pants!

  5. March 16, 2020 / 4:47 am

    OK I will cancel the hotel in Paris as well.
    This colour sweater is sooo good on you.
    Greetje

  6. Karen
    March 16, 2020 / 5:09 am

    As you have probably read, New York has essentially shut down. Everything. The only things open are grocery stores and takeout and the parks.

    • Susan
      March 16, 2020 / 7:45 am

      Granddaughter doing research at Columbia Medical Center, NYC,, finally got word to work at home Mon ,Tues. Eliminates her 30 min ride on subway, which is some relief. Not sure what rest of week will look like. Her mother and I have cancelled trip to visit her before taking ship from Brooklyn to Southampton then a stay in Cornwall. Such a years-long anticipated trip!

  7. Ellen
    March 16, 2020 / 5:12 am

    We spent the last two weeks cancelling trips, one to California which wasto include the tennis tournament wheich was canceled, the other one was to be a river cruise in the Netherlands in early May. It takes a long time to cancel these things (the latter one has been rescheduled for a year from now). And now we are hunkering down for awhile, with the thought that if things calm down and travel seems safer once again, we will choose a destination with the the United Staes or perhaps Canada. In my community, pretty much everything is being canceled anyway; I have no problem filling my days at home, but my husband may drive me crazy!

  8. Mary Alice Ahlgren
    March 16, 2020 / 5:14 am

    I wore the Brooklyn pants on flights to Tanzania and back. Super comfortable and kept me just right in warm and cooler temperatures. I recommend them!

  9. Jeanette
    March 16, 2020 / 6:15 am

    Love my Athleta Brooklyn pants!

  10. Stephanie
    March 16, 2020 / 6:31 am

    I have been keeping a low profile for the last couple of weeks already. A weekly trip into town to stock up and then retreating back home to hunker down. I take ace inhibitors which put me at increased risk due to the way it changes my cells and my son has a myriad of health concerns due to long term cancer treatment as a young child. My friends and family think Im being overly cautious but I am worried. Also the financial costs involved. I have to pay the first 7 thousand dollars of any medical treatment for myself. If myself and my son end up needing care our max out of pocket is 14 thousand. That would be a dreadful debt to incur, and debt it would be as I cannot afford to pay it.

    • Elizabeth
      March 16, 2020 / 12:41 pm

      I don’t think you’re being overly cautious at all. In fact, I wonder why your friends aren’t taking your special circumstances into consideration. Sending you wishes for safety in this crisis.

  11. March 16, 2020 / 6:37 am

    Social distancing is the order of the day (week and month) here in Canada. There is so much information out there about “flattening the curve” of new infections, that I think people have the message. Hopefully they have the message.
    I’m reading, reading reading, and cleaning out closets and organizing my spring wardrobe, even though at the moment I may just be wearing it on our deck. Ha.

  12. Rose-Marie Patev
    March 16, 2020 / 6:37 am

    I begin three weeks of teaching online through Google Classroom. I realized I am VERY active at school, and being seated before a computer is very hard! I’ve decided to break it up into 1.5 hour increments. So I am able to exercise, catch up on emails, have a cup of tea, throw in a load of laundry, etc. between each session. We all need to adapt, right? By the way, I am wearing a very similar outfit to yours today!

  13. Jane2
    March 16, 2020 / 6:38 am

    That sweatshirt is really nice! Maybe I need to do some online browsing while I am at home for the duration.

  14. Nancy
    March 16, 2020 / 6:43 am

    The whole state of Illinois is shutting down. After tonight all bars and restaurants will be closed to dining in. Store shelves are bare.

    I love the color of your sweatshirt!

  15. Juti
    March 16, 2020 / 7:50 am

    As of right now, our school *says* we’re holding normal classes this week, then transitioning to all-online after that. But I’ll bet you a nickel that by the end of today this will change. Either way, my world will become even busier at the same moment that we’re all supposed to distance ourselves, literally.

    Meanwhile, it’s jeans and a sweater for this girl, and that’s probably what I’ll live in for a while in this brave new world.

  16. Susanne
    March 16, 2020 / 8:01 am

    The athleta pants are great for travel. If you need to rinse them out, they dry very quickly.

  17. Diane Horn
    March 16, 2020 / 8:06 am

    Thank you Susan for providing a platform for social interaction during these days of physical distancing.
    Reading your posts helps me feel connected with others. I will be using this time to clean out closets which desperately need to be done. A question about the Brooklyn pants. I am just 5’ 1ish. Sometimes petite ankle pants are too short. Are you wearing petite or regular? Many thanks!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 16, 2020 / 8:07 am

      Hi Diane, thanks! These are the Petite size.

  18. Eileen
    March 16, 2020 / 8:09 am

    Closures in the Sacramento area of California, are mixed so far, some of the gyms where I work and take exercise classes are closed, some are open… so far. Some stores have reduced hours, some are closed. I am officially off work until April 1st, so far…and as I am healthy, but over 65, I am voluntarily isolating myself. I haven’t canceled my hair or dentist appointment yet, but I’m considering it, anyone have thoughts on that? Thanks for your post, it helps us get through this.

    • Leslie
      March 17, 2020 / 8:20 pm

      You may find that your dentist office will close. I live in southern California and our dentist notified me today that all nonessential appointments are cancelled until mid-April. Kaiser just cancelled my yoga classes and all possible doctor’s appointments have been changed to telephone appointments.

  19. March 16, 2020 / 8:48 am

    I just cancelled my trip to London next month. Unfortunately, I got a really good price when I bought the ticket in November, but that resulted in my getting a rather small refund when I cancelled. I’d reschedule but I have no idea when we can go again. 🙁

  20. Rondi
    March 16, 2020 / 9:11 am

    Things are changing fast. So many things are cancelled and shelves are bare in the stores but they do restock. I am glad stores are limiting the number of certain items you can buy. I hope people will only buy what they need so there is enough for all. I will be working from home as much as possible and avoiding crowds and restaurants. It is inconvenient but I believe it is for the greater good. I plan on getting some projects done around the house too. I love your sweatshirt. It looks so soft and comfortable.

  21. Karen
    March 16, 2020 / 9:20 am

    I did cancel my accommodations in Paris and Bordeaux for early May. I have not done anything with the airline ticket yet because there is no reason to change now when the airlines are busy with people who need to come home now. I am hoping that by later in May I will still be able to do the Greece part of the trip.
    I work in a manufacturing facility so we are still working although Wisconsin schools are closed as of today.

  22. March 16, 2020 / 9:42 am

    I really feel for anyone employed in the hospitality industry, also young people in the gig economy. My daughter works in TV show production which has pretty much shut down. She is doing research for future episodes from home but that won’t last long. We will not see the impact until summer, when there are no new shows, but I worry about the long term impact to her career.

  23. DK
    March 16, 2020 / 10:33 am

    We had already decided to hunker down and stay home as much as possible. Live in SF Bay Area in a county with cases, and next county has most cases in California. Luckily started ordering extra stuff from amazon about 10 days ago. both DH are over 65 with preexisting conditions ( heart disease and Diabetes T2). Trying instacart for first time this week. Hope to actually go to local produce market to get some fresh food tomorrow, but if we can’t, we have plenty of food to eat. Had trips planned to Hawaii ( late April) and Europe ( including a week on a ship) in May. Have started cancelling hotels, ship for Europe.
    Hope you continue your blog! Oh I don’t own any jeans anymore, so have been living in sweatpants with tee shirts and sweaters on top.

  24. Kathy Ludgate
    March 16, 2020 / 10:37 am

    Hunkered down in Washington State. Fortunately, I have books, yarn and a 6 month old kitten. Miss my water aerobics, but take a walk everyday.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      March 18, 2020 / 2:49 pm

      Adolescent kitty will definitely keep you active!

  25. Angela in NZ
    March 16, 2020 / 12:07 pm

    Here in New Zealand with a small population of 5 million we are a country very intent on keeping people safe. Arrivals have to self isolate for 14 days, schools are still open but that may change. Public transport is the big question mark. I was intending to travel by bus to my dentist in the city tomorrow but now will have my husband chauffeur me and take a picnic with him to while away the 2 hour appointment. Disappointingly our extensive overseas travel is in the process of being cancelled. Our retirement investment fund is being eroded. Upside, we have a stocked pantry, a topped up wine supply and will concentrate on keeping safe and well at home after getting our pneumonia shots today. Stay safe everyone.

  26. Kay
    March 16, 2020 / 12:21 pm

    I’m looking at this as an opportunity to get things done. I am going to clean and garden and organize. Since I always tend to put off some of these things, I now have no excuse.

  27. Linda B
    March 16, 2020 / 12:27 pm

    We are practicing self-isolation, as of yesterday. There are only 4 cases of COVID-19 as of an hour or so ago in Pima County, AZ (Tucson’s location.) My husband has chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and we are over 60, so it is important! At least we are now retired. I already have been trying to practice dressing consciously for home life–not an easy thing to learn, actually. Not that I stayed in my pajamas ever! But taking just that bit more care to be casual in a “put together” sort of way. . .

    Not everyone we know gets the need for self-isolation. I think that the Washington Post article you linked to really shows the importance of the self-isolation. Here is another good piece to see; Mike Osterholm is someone we have great respect for, as former Minnesotans:

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/03/11/infectious_disease_medical_detective_michael_osterholm_coronavirus_is_going_to_unfold_for_months_to_come.html

  28. Jill Ann
    March 16, 2020 / 4:47 pm

    Love those Brooklyn pants! I’m not super tall (5’7”), but ordered the Tall size, because the regular ones seemed quite short to me. But they’re great.

    We luckily don’t have any trips planned until October. Since we’ve retired, we don’t have work concerns, and so far are still playing golf & tennis (cautiously). Our city has just today announced closures of bars, and restaurants are pickup or delivery only. Am concerned about my kids of course. Hope this is over sooner rather than later

  29. Carol
    March 16, 2020 / 5:50 pm

    Life can turn on a dime. I am retired but I work as a part-time seasonal employee in the elections office for county government. We have been busy and we will continue to be busy through the end of this year. Nevertheless, I thought it prudent for me to take a hiatus from my job for the next month, maybe longer, to minimize my chances of contracting COVID-19. During this period of social distancing, I will declutter, organize and do spring cleaning. I have an older sibling who is intellectually-challenged, but he lives independently. Unfortunately, the activities that he normally participates in have all been cancelled for the foreseeable future. So, I will be checking in on him more often and ensuring that he has extra food, water, and supplies. I had a few medical and dental appointments scheduled for the next couple of weeks and the providers have contacted me to reschedule because they are temporarily closing their offices. I had also enrolled in Yoga and Essentrics classes and both have been cancelled. Depending on the direction of this global crisis, I may consider traveling at the end of this year or early 2021. I am hoping and praying that we will return to some sense of normalcy and until then I’ll go with the flow.

  30. Jan Whichard
    March 16, 2020 / 7:28 pm

    I’m In Sacramento and businesses have backed way down, shelves are empty of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, schools are closed and the mood is a cross between dazed and mini panic. My worry is, like some other responders here, the financial piece for the hourly workers and for all of us who are either retired or, who like me, planned retirement this year. This is a real exercise in becoming comfortable living with what you cannot control.
    We are scheduled to leave for Romania in July to tour for a week and then hop on a Tauck tour on the Danube to Budapest. Hoping it won’t cancel and that by July things will be calmer.
    I’m going to the dentist Friday. The courts are closed so I will just hunker down in my office….properly dressed of course (thanks Susan).
    I wish you all stay healthy.

  31. Susan WH
    March 16, 2020 / 9:09 pm

    If you ran into a family with a blonde Mom and 2 red-headed boys, it was my niece and her family just back from Puerto Vallarta. Unfortunately the boys can’t go visit their grandma, my sister, who is in a very high risk category.

    Here in Santa Clara County we just got the order to shelter in place. I decided that I would start wearing my nice things–the things I save for best–because who knows? I guess I’ll wear some of my nice jewelry too!

    I’m glad you had a good trip. Please keep blogging–we need your great advice to get us through the next few weeks.

    I’m going to rewatch your scarf-tying videos, and when this is over, I am going to know how to tie a really cool silk scarf knot!

  32. Wendy
    March 17, 2020 / 12:21 am

    We have been self-isolating for a week now in No. California. Had been eagerly anticipating a trip to the grocery store today, but we got some snow and lost electricity, so another day of staying home.
    I’m worried about small businesses and the self-employed. My husband and I are retired and will be saving money on gas, travel (an upcoming trip canceled) and dining out during this period, so I’m aiming to make regular donations to food banks and a local facility for the homeless. I’ve also placed a couple of orders from craftswomen I know in Portland, Oregon. If you, like me, will miss attending local craft shows, consider looking up favorite vendors and placing an order on their website or Etsy. We need to support the people who brighten our lives with art!

  33. Deborah
    March 17, 2020 / 4:39 am

    Like many have had to put holiday plans on hold but read a brilliant suggestion on line. Get out photos, souvenirs,guide books from a memorable trip and visualise what you did. Many museums and art galleries have virtual tours now. Or plan your next trip, you have plenty of time to do thorough research so your next trip will be wonderful!

  34. Anne
    March 18, 2020 / 2:30 am

    Hi Susan! Social distancing and working from home has been the order of the day here in Oslo, Norway for the last week and a half. Only out for groceries and a walk round the block.
    I make an effort to dress even if it’s just jeans and sweatshirt. Now social media comes into its own ! Last night a group from work joined up for a beer and a Kahoot – quiz on google hangouts and mobile. Great fun and lovely to see familiar faces ! Stay safe

  35. Maria
    March 18, 2020 / 3:27 am

    Well that was quite an about turn – one minute you’re enjoying a holiday in Mexico and the next you’re socially distancing from home. Everything changes in the blink of an eye. I’ll keep blinking in the hope that the world will change back to the simpler, less anxiety inducing place it was two months ago. Your outfit is lovely and puts my yoga pants and t-shirt to shame. I did do some yoga in the garden earlier and I’d change to run errands, which are as few and as far between as I can make them.

  36. Wendelah
    March 19, 2020 / 2:15 pm

    I’m a retired RN so truth be told, I’ve been freaking out since the middle of January. I’ve had two weeks of food in the house (and water, and yes, toilet paper and alcohol hand cleanser) for years because of earthquake preparedness. I’m praying constantly. This disease is not going away soon. Since we’re about ten days behind Italy, I predict it is going to get very, very bad here for our hospitals and their workers. Many lives will be lost. This kind of pandemic has been predicted for years and years. I am beyond frustrated at how unprepared our country is for what’s coming. If I could go back to work to help, I would, but I am disabled and let my license lapse a couple of years ago.

    At my house, we’ve been practicing social distancing since before Thanksgiving because my husband was diagnosed with throat cancer, and went through seven weeks of weekly chemo+daily radiation. I bought gloves and masks and hospital quality cleansers back in December because his immune system was so suppressed. We spent Thanksgiving at home, Christmas at home, etc. Our concert tickets went unused, opera tickets given away. He’s well enough now that we could go out–but of course, we can’t. Everything is cancelled.

    This June is our 40th anniversary. There will be no celebration, no vacations, for sure, and no dinners out for the foreseeable future since the restaurants are closed. I’m worried about the economy. I’m worried about my son who has to go to work everyday–he’s a 9-1-1 operator for LAPD and that’s not a work from home type job. I’m worried about everyone, particularly people who don’t have the financial resources that we do.

    We are going to support small businesses by ordering restaurant takeout a couple of times a week, buy gift certificates to use for in person dining later on. I’m going to send the money I would be spending on vacations to homeless shelters, food banks, World Vision. There are a couple of small, size-inclusive clothing retailers that have closed their stores but are still selling online that I will purchase a few things (that I don’t really need) from: Ace and Jig and Universal Standard. I really, really don’t want them to go out of business. Sari Bari employs women in Kolkata, India who have been rescued from human trafficking and I will continue to support them with money and small purchases. We had been in the middle of house renovations when my husband fell ill. Since we can’t have anyone in the house, we won’t resume that but maybe we’ll have some new landscaping put in? I’m definitely buying new lawn furniture–and hiring someone else to put it together. I’m not a clean freak but I’m cleaning doorknobs, etc. daily as advised by the CDC, and washing my hands even more than usual. I’ve been spending time video-chatting with friends I can’t see in person. Oh, and my book group is moving online next month.

  37. Sf-dre
    March 19, 2020 / 9:36 pm

    San Francisco has had shelter in place since Tuesday as cases increased, size of gatherings decreased, events cancelled and schools and libraries closed. Am keeping the morning walk routine going, a quick stop at a local cafe for coffee (still open though fewer hours, takeout only) and plan to support other local restaurants for lunch or dinner.

    I already work from home, most of the rest of my company is doing so now. I have been buying a little extra at the grocery stores each week for over a month, to replenish the earthquake stash and try not to freak out over retirement account losses. The wine inventory needs to be updated!

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