Live in the time of Coronavirus, Pt 7–I’ll Drink to That

“U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages were up 55 percent in the week ending March 21, according to Nielsen. Spirits sales were up 75 percent in the same period, wine sales were up 66 percent, beer sales up 42 percent,” reports Cyril Penn on “What’s more, Nielsen said online sales of beer wine and spirits were up 243 percent versus the same week the year before.”

In Virginia, libraries, schools/universities, courts, and the DMV are all closed indefinitely. However, the states’ Alcohol Beverage Control  (ABC) stores are considered essential along with grocery stores,  pharmacies, laundries and dry cleaners, gas stations, etc.  I guess the state has to make money somehow.

Virginia, a former blue law state, has loosened the requirements on who can offer take-out liquor–breweries can now offer deliveries, many wineries are offering free shipping, and restaurants can sell their bottles of wine to go at discounted prices.

One the other hand, many distilleries have switched from making spirits to hand sanitizers.

Corona Virus--liquor shores

Corona Virus-Possible Drinking Problem

Is your wine cellar or beer stash still intact?  What is your favorite tipple during the pandemic

Corona Virus--Alcohol (2)


Live in the Time of Coronavirus, Pt 6–Changing Grocery Store Culture

The social separation in Virginia changed yesterday from recommended to mandatory.   One exception to the mandatory stay at home includes

  • Obtaining food, beverages, goods, or services as permitted in Executive Order 53

So going to the grocery store has become one of our ways to reduce cabin fever.

Charlottesville has several grocery stores. We’ve been trying new ones as a legal way to break up the monotony.

1. Kroeger  is our ‘home’ grocery store.  It’s big, competitively priced, and the closest major grocery store.  Other than being out of toilet paper for about a month (I found a few 4-roll packs of generic toilet paper today), it has remained reasonably stocked and staffed.  The only major changes in business was a temporary availability of hand sanitizer (have not seen that in about a week) and placing large blue circles at least 6 feet apart so the customers in the checkout lines know far apart to stand.

Kroegers Where to stand markers

2. Wegmans completely disinfects the conveyor strip at each cash register before allowing the next person to advance to the register. (There is a line 6 feet from the end of the cash register island where you would normally begin placing your groceries while waiting for the preceding person to be checked out.)  Once the conveyor belt is disinfected, you are invited to put your groceries upon it.  You do not step up to the cashier until all of the groceries have been rung up and bagged.  Then you face the cashier and pay for your groceries.

Wegman’s :

  • Increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitation in our stores, distribution centers, and offices
  • Added additional hand sanitizer stations
  • Implemented cashier guidelines for front-end processes and register cleaning and sanitation
  • Social distancing – all stores have visual indicators on the front end and in the pharmacy to limit exposure while customers wait
  • Over the next several weeks, plexiglass shields are being installed at our pharmacies and front-end registers

3. Trader Joe has a sign that that says that only 30 customers are allowed in the store at one time but when I got there an employee said the limit was  20 customers at one time.

About a dozen of us stood 6-10 feet apart in a light drizzle awaiting our turn to get in the store.  The lady in front of me wearing a face mask and plastic gloves on both hands pointedly walked towards some flowers when she thought I was getting too close.  To relieve her anxiety, I deliberately maintained a distance of at least 10 feet.

She had brought two heavy-duty paper bags with her to use for her groceries.  The employee explained that she would have to place them at the bottom of her cart and could fill them either at a special stand-alone table after the groceries had been rung up or back in her car.

The carts and baskets were disinfected as soon as one customer left the shop and the next one in line was admitted.

The masked lady from the line, steered her basket down the middle of each aisle making it difficult for anyone else to use that aisle and still maintain social distancing.

Another lady wore  yellow rain boots and a motorcycle helmet with a mask.  I wondered if this was an impromptu attempt at personal protective equipment until I saw her mount her small motorscooter in the parking lot.

Three different grocery stores each had a different approach to the Coronavirus mandates.



Live in the Time of Coronavirus, Pt 5: Signs of Hope?

President Trump did not want the cure to be worse than the disease, expressing hope that the country can get back to work or a more normal existence by Easter.

My church has canceled in-person services until after Easter.  (For Easter, this church normally adds an extra early morning service to meet the demand of the parishioners)  So who do you believe?

According to the New York Times, “Families are decking the halls to bring light in a dark time.”   Christmas is close to the Winter Solstice when the amount of daylight is at a minimum.  We are now past the Vernal Equinox when most places in the Northern Hemisphere are getting more than 12 hours of daylight (and increasing daily until June 20, 2020 ).  So the darkness is more symbolic of hard times with an unknown future than the amount of daylight.

Christmas lights against a dark sky and wrapped around bare tree limbs is a wonderful, glowing gift to passersby.   To me, Christmas lights competing with sunset and burgeoning leaves and flowers do not have the same impact. (Bah, humbug!)


On the plus side, I saw people walking out of Wegman’s with large packs of toilet paper. When I went back today, there were only single rolls left. However, this was the second store in a week that had toilet paper. (I  have not seen any store have it in about  three weeks.)

toilet paper at Wegman's

Adult incontinence supplies and feminine hygiene products and were also being rationed.  So are flu and pain medicines.


Do you think that things are getting better or will they continue to get worse for at least a few more weeks?  What  things cheer you up these days?

Taking Books to the People, Part XIII–National Emergency Library

Internet archivesWith most  libraries closed, did you know that the  Internet Archive is offering one compelling alternative: a “National Emergency Library?

The Emergency Library is a digital collection of 1.4 million books. Until June 30th, or the end of the national emergency in the United States (“whichever is later”), anyone, anywhere in the world, can check books out of this library—for free.

Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt IV, Hunkering Down

home sweet home hamster

Time is a malleable commodity.:

  • Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock with relentless precision as measured by the clock.
  • Too fast or too slow as measured by human perception

More places close and permissible group size shrinks in direct proportion to the viral spread of COVID-19.    Many of us have reached the whiney kid stage, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”  Other than drawing some hopeful inferences about what is happening in China and Japan, no one knows when There is and what There will look like.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the countless people that were in hiding during WWII.  Their enforced confinement was harsher than most of us will have to endure–insufficient clothing/food/heat and death or concentration camps if discovered.  The volunteers that aided them were in danger of imprisonment at best.

Compared to that, staying at home with access to sufficient food and water, heat and air conditioning, books, computers, television, Internet, radio, music, and streaming services, doesn’t seem so bad.  If anyone has literally died of boredom, I’m not aware of it.

In an attempt to keep some perspective, I tried to find a downloadable copy of The Diary of Anne Frank at my local library.  No such luck.  Then I typed the title into the Internet, expecting to be taken to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  I found a link to a PDF of  The  Diary of a Yong Girl: Definitive Edition,  edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler, translated by Susan Massotty.

So, when does time pass too slowly?  (This is a personal opinion.)

  1.  Listening to pundits debate what will happen next.
  2.  Watching an official brag or complain about how good/bad things are.
  3.  Wondering how good or bad the economy will be when this too shall pass.
  4.  Avoiding chores I should be doing.

When does time pass too quickly?

  1.  Listening to an audio book.
  2. Time away from home.
  3. Thinking of and writing my next blog post.
  4. Sleeping at night.

What is your perspective on mandated social distancing?


Home sweet home squirrel

Musings during the Coronavirus

Monkey scratching his headHave you ever met somebody who exceeds your expectations, no matter how low you keep moving the bar?

Can you get PTSD from self-isolation during the Coronavirus?

For a respiratory virus, why is there a run on toilet paper?

At the local Krogers, why are they also rationing adult incontinence products and feminine hygiene supplies ? Now lack of those things does cause a run…

With all of this self quarantining, will we have a population explosion in nine months?

The babies born in 9 months will be called Coronials…and then in 13 years they’ll change the names to Quaranteenagers.

With most professional, collegiate, and high school sports canceled, the local sportscasters are reduced to talking about high school stars that have signed to play for UVA and the professional prospects for past collegiate stars.

Change, these days seems constant.

Social Distancing–Spread the word, not the virus.

Whether dealing with the virus or politicians:  The situation “brings to mind the words, borrowed from Oliver Cromwell, that British Conservative backbencher Leo Amery used in 1940 to bring down Neville Chamberlain, a prime minister of his own party: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

Does grab and go refer to the toilet paper aisle or restaurants that can only offer take out?

Are all of those ads for free delivery of online food or goods,  a case of viral marketing?

In the future will BC stand for Before Coronavirus if we are going to be reshaped as dramatically as some pundits are predicting?

Live in the Time of Coronavirus, Pt 3, Someone Didn’t Get the Word

I have met the uninformed and it is us.

Tuesday was the last almost normal day.  Movies, schools and universities, libraries, and most public parks and attractions had already closed.

My husband took his car to the dealership for its annual inspection.  The person at the dealership flunked his car because one of the rear license plate lights was out.  When my husband checked it himself, both lights were burning.  When he mentioned it to the cashier, she told him that sometimes the LED lights were intermittent–$100 for the light and $20 for someone to replace the light.  Come back on Thursday because the light has to be ordered.

Coronavirus grab and go Greenberry's coffee

He texted me when he left the dealership and I met him for breakfast at  First  Watch at our neighborhood shopping center.  We were the only people in the restaurant beside the staff until another couple came in about the time we were leaving.  Social distancing was not a problem because of the lack of crowd in this popular breakfast/lunch place.

That night I had an inkling that the DMV might be closed because I needed to get something renewed.   Sure enough, the DMV had closed that day for about two weeks (at least for now).

On Wednesday, my husband got a phone call that the light bulb had been received and was scheduled for an appointment on Thursday morning–now it was drop off only.  I offered to follow him to the dealership so I could pick him up and we could go out to breakfast.

When we got to First Watch,  the owner apologized that now it was Grab and Go only.  He would take our order and bring it out to the car, but we could not wait in the restaurant.  Fortunately, it was a nice day so waiting outside the restaurant was not an issue.

My husband picked up his car and owed another $20.  Before he left it at the dealership he confirmed that the license plate LED was still burning.

That afternoon we went for a ride and decided to stop at our favorite winery to buy a bottle of wine and split s dessert while overlooking the lake from their large spacious porch.  The winery was closed and unable to sell us anything.  They did let us enjoy the view on the porch.

Today, there is more misinformation.

Many Millenials and gen Z-ers think they can not get the virus and if they do, they will not pass it on.  WRONG.

There are some medicines that will shortly be available to help treat the Coronavirus.  At some point but not SOON!

Picture of the empty shelves of a  San Diego Vons Market taken by Bonnie Brown on 20 March 2020

Vons empty shelves during the Coronavirus pandemic 20200320



Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Part II, Batten Down the Hatches

batten down the hatches

In the past two days, life in the United States has changed dramatically.  Many things are canceled or postponed.

    1.  Most of our major professional and collegiate sporting events are canceled or on hiatus.
      1. No March Madness, which means no collegiate playoffs for basketball.
      2. Suspension of all NBA (National Basketball Association), NHL (National Hockey League), MLB (Major League Baseball), or MLS (Major League Soccer) games for the foreseeable future.
    2.   Disneyland, Disney World and many Disney venues in Europe are closed.
    3.    Broadway is dark.  Many television talk shows are filming without live audiences.
    4. Colleges and now public schools (K-12) are closed for a couple of weeks or until further notice.
    5. Church services are canceled.
    6. Some businesses are closing except for online stores.  Where possible, many are instituting working from home.
    7. The federal government which had been reviewing its teleworking programs for many departments has had to do an abrupt about-face and is now increasing who may work from home.

States and municipalities have had to step up since the federal government has not been as prepared as many citizens would expect or prefer.  More than half of the states have declared states of emergency as of Friday the 13th.  There seems to be no central source for the actual number of people who are infected–this number is hampered by the continued lack of enough Coronavirus test kit availability.

An excellent, nonpartisan site for  the latest on international Coronavirus information is