Hiding from the Virus: Living the New Normal

by on March 30, 2020 · 14 comments

in Health, San Diego

By Richard Riehl / Riehl World / March 30, 2020

It’s Day 16 of our lockdown in the Château Lake San Marcos retirement community. None of our 140 residents have been diagnosed with COVID 19.

Yesterday, according to Public Health Services, there were 519 cases and seven three deaths reported in San Diego County, including 4 cases in San Marcos, 20 in Carlsbad, 18 in Encinitas, 11 in Oceanside, 9 in Escondido, and 10 in Vista.

We pass our time cocooning with the same daily schedule we had before the virus got here.

Awakening at 5 am, we watch the morning news, beginning with BBC America, since our son lives in London with his wife and our 13-year-old granddaughter. Thanks to our weekly Skype video calls, we stay connected with them during their own lockdown.

BBC America has also become our favorite channel to maintain our mental health. Yesterday morning we watched the weekly meeting of the House of Commons, called Questions to the Prime Minister, when Boris Johnson was called upon by members of Parliament to answer questions about his government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The questions from members of Parliament were the same as those we hear in President Trump’s press briefings. Why are there shortages of personal protective equipment for hospital medical staff? What will be done to help low income families survive the hardship of unemployment? All questions accused the Prime Minister’s government of doing too little too late.

While the subject matter was the same as ours, the civility was not. Unlike press briefings, the questions to the Prime Minister are presided over by the Speaker of the House of Commons, who gives permission to a member to ask a question upon rising from their seat.

The questions address the Prime Minister in the third person, not directly, as “Can the Prime Minister tell us why the government is not responding to the crisis quickly enough?”

The PM’s reply is phrased accordingly. “The Honorable Member apparently doesn’t know about the many steps we’ve taken.”

Compare that to the response to a polite question NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander asked President Trump at his recent press briefing.

“What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?” Trump’s response? “I say that you’re a terrible reporter.”

Those press briefings have brought us more anger and anxiety than information, so we’ve stopped watching them.

After breakfast it’s on to our respective writing projects, Karen is working on another novel, as well as planning how she can transform an earlier one into a short musical play, suitable for production with a cast chosen from our retirement community neighbors.

At 11:30 we call the dining room with our lunch order. Within about 30 minutes, our server will arrive, pounding on the door before placing on our doorstep the bagful of disposable, recyclable containers carrying our food, fresh from the oven. The server doesn’t wait around for a thank you, but races off to maintain the social distancing required of employees.

Following lunch it’s time for a 30-minute nap, after which we reserve ten minutes to meditate, employing our virtual personal assistant, giving the command, “Alexa! Sound ocean waves.”

Following meditation we take the first of our two 15-minute daily walks around the grounds, calling out, “Hi, how are you?” to others seeking fresh air and exercise, putting lots of distance between us.

After our walk we practice singing the songs we plan to perform in our 3:00 daily guitar-accompanied duet from our opened front door.

Late afternoons are reserved for sipping a glass of wine, while watching mourning doves and finches fight over the seeds in our platform feeders, as hummingbirds compete for the crimson nectar in their feeder, just a few feet away.

We can watch the avian action through the glass doors to our patio from the comfort of our couch, while we enjoy Netflix and Amazon Prime Video streaming films.

A few days ago we treated ourselves to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Seeing Tracy and Hepburn in action was comfort food for our spirits.

So, all is well with us, here in our COVID-19 cocoon. We appreciate the free room service, choosing from a splendidly varied daily menu. Yesterday we had chicken cordon bleu for lunch, our main meal each day. The day before, we enjoyed the blackened salmon.

I’m not kidding. The food here is that good.

The Riehl World

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Donnie Taylor March 30, 2020 at 11:11 pm

It is truly disappointing how woefully unprepared Gavin Newsom was for this situation.
If only he could take a strong stance like NY’s Cuomo and become a leader.
He remains a glorified fa boy for the Hollywood elites, taking every opportunity to snap pics with the latest starlets.
151,000 homeless?
Heck, we’ll deal with it tomorrow.
Well, tomorrow has come and this is coming back to haunt us.
The SD Convention center is STILL waiting to be vacated (only for men) and Golden Hills only have cots lined up in front of the building.
Priorities First, Mr Gavin.

Truly shameless.

Be well all, stay safe, keep those hands washed!

We Shall Get Through This!


Frank Gormlie March 31, 2020 at 12:05 pm

“Six Bay Area counties were first in the country to adopt aggressive tactics with an enforceable March 16 order requiring residents to stay at home. Gov. Gavin Newsom quickly followed with a statewide order three days later restricting the state’s 40 million residents from all but essential activities.” See latest post.


Debbie March 31, 2020 at 2:10 pm

Donnie, how do you feel about the President’s performance?


Donnie Taylor March 31, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Debbie –
Here you have it. National surveys agree.
1 Governor Cuomo A-
2 President Trump C+
3 Gavin Newsome. D-

Be well, be safe.


Debbie April 1, 2020 at 4:18 am

What survey? And Who surveyed? And what did they survey and when?


sealintheSelkirks April 1, 2020 at 6:03 pm

Yeah, what ‘survey?’ I ain’t seen no stinking survey!

And Cuomo is number one? Are you kidding me? The guy who has been chopping medical services and funding FOR YEARS? I guess nobody is paying attention to his actual gubernatorial history, are they?



Donnie Taylor April 1, 2020 at 9:07 pm

Gallup’s polls indicated the trend I was referencing.

Be well, be safe.



sealintheSelkirks April 2, 2020 at 10:04 am

Trump was informed of this virus Dec. 22nd, 2019. He did nothing.
And a month later he said:

Jan. 22: “We have it totally under control”
Feb. 28: “This is their new hoax”
Mar. 9: “Last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. Think about that!”
Mar. 13: “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
Mar. 16: “You were surprised. We were all surprised.”
March 17: “I’ve felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
March 18: “It snuck up on us.”

Today is the day after April Fool’s Day. So the only reason he is #2 in this ‘poll’ (they didn’t talk to me or anybody I know) is what, people are just plain stupid?

Carl Sagan: “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

Don’t listen to the mind sick. Or those showing obvious signs of Dementia (and I know about this because I was the only family member willing to take care of my maternal grandfather his last months on this planet, but he had ‘nice gentle man’ dementia rather than Biden’s form or raving lunatic style like Trump.



Donnie Taylor April 2, 2020 at 11:40 pm

We are all in this one together, my friend.
Not the time to point fingers.
I believe President Trump ceased flights from China a month prior, which saved thousands of lives according to Dr Fauci. He was then called a bike racist.

This a GLOBAL pandemic.
Let’s not make this about ourselves and embrace eachothers difference for one and we can get through this one.

Be well, be safe, be blessed.

Peace and love.



sealintheSelkirks April 6, 2020 at 3:53 am

I thoroughly agree that we most certainly are all in this together. Our species history of Pandemics is well known in scientific circles even though not taught much to the general public/workers, but it is pretty stark reading.

Unless, of course, you are wealthy and in your bunker. Does anyone else find it a bit strange that the Senate and Congress thinks this is a good time to take a vacation after some of them (Republicans) dumped millions in stock after a secret government meeting about SARS/CvD II?

Oh wait, it’s not the time to point fingers? Did you even read the timeline of Trump quotes in my previous post? So when do you think WOULD BE a good time? A half hour past probably never? Please continue reading and remember the timeline.

On 10 March 2020 U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters in reference to the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), “It will go away, just stay calm.” He added, “It’s really working
out. And a lot of good things are going to happen.” When soon it became clear that things were not “working out” and “good things” were definitely not happening, he denied any responsibility. “I don’t take any responsibility at all” and proceeded to blame the previous administration of Barack Obama.

EXCUSE ME? That to me sounds like some pretty serious finger-pointing, Donnie, from the Donnie you are protecting. Are you actually listening to this “stable genius” and remembering what you heard back a couple months ago? There is no ‘come together’ in Trump. We know his behavior pattern. He threw paper towels out to house-less starving refugees of Hurricane Maria. That’s buffoonish. And cruel.
And then there is this:

Saying Quiet Part Very Loud, Trump Admits “You’d Never Have a Republican Elected in This Country Again” If Voting Access Expanded

This morning on live television, the president of the United States admitted he is opposed to laws that would make it easier for Americans to vote because that would hurt Republicans: “The things they had in there were crazy,” Trump said of the voter protection and expansion proposals in the bill. “They had things—levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”


All in this together, eh?

Donnie: “No time to point fingers?” I’ll break this down a bit more for you.

Trump was informed of the unfolding Pandemic on Dec. 22, 2019. Documented fact. I apologize for not putting this at the start of the Trump quotes in my previous post. Maybe that will clear up any gray areas you might have about Trump’s complete and total on-going failures not including cutting all the science and medical budgets. Just like NY’s Gov. Cuomo has been doing for YEARS.

Three months later he is quoted saying “It snuck up on us.” And that is AFTER the Pentagon TOLD him two months ago that this was a Pandemic. Be well, be safe, be blessed? But don’t be in a country that the US Elite started another war with like Iran because worldwide Pandemics are a perfect time to squeeze more illegal war economic ‘sanctions;’ war crimes by any other measure.

Well, maybe Trump will throw toilet paper from THEIR federal supplies this time, eh? You going to be there to catch your roll?

As for the good Doctor, maybe this cartoon will elicit a chuckle out of you:


Remember who he works for and gets his orders from. In this country, who pays you owns you. Haven’t you figured that out yet?

Embracing people like Trump is most likely to get you pocket picked. Haven’t you figured that out yet?

You aren’t blessed, and it isn’t peace and love. I grew up in that era and the neoliberal greedy RNC/DNC just plumb f**king killed it, and on purpose for their own profits.



Donnie Taylor April 13, 2020 at 7:46 pm

Excuse me, Mr sealintheSelkirks, but I happen to be a proud American who spent two years in Vietnam to allow you your freedoms.
Also, a lifelong Democrat who advised and campaigned campaigned for Tulsi Gabbard.
She is smart as a whip, unabashedly honest and reports to NOBODY but the American people.
She ALSO happens to be a young, female POC.

But our three major contenders ended up being three white millionaires, everything we have informed our base to DESPISE.
Apparently we don’t learn from our own mistakes, now do we sir?
I am humiliated our country is represented by President Trump. I just am wise enough to see our errors. And hypocrisy.
Now he have a man who cannot complete a sentence, in the early stages of dementia and will be a disaster on the national debate stage.

And Trump will win again. Only his ego will bury him at this point.
The writing is on the wall and it is unbelievably disturbing.
Please so not attempt to dress me down again, as I do not suffer blowhards.
I’d swap Cuomo for Biden in a New York minute.

Good day sir.


Peter from South O April 13, 2020 at 9:16 pm

Oh, this should be GREAT!


sealintheSelkirks April 14, 2020 at 6:50 pm

No Peter South O, not great. Another person who should really have listened to what George Carlin was saying in his social commentary comedy skits. And read far more history from the likes of Howard Zinn and other eyes-open historians, not the censored government MIC versions so often taught to children to keep them uninformed and pliable.

Unlike my Uncle Kenny who wrote explicit letters home to his oldest sister my stepmom. The most intelligent and honestly brutal were sent from Bangkok or the Philippines etc on R&R so they weren’t heavily censored by the Army.

At least Donnie Taylor came home alive.

Donnie Taylor: Proud to be an American and you fought in Viet Nam to ‘allow’ my freedoms? Well, that begs the question of just what part of being an American one should be proud of? It is such an open-ended undefined comment that it really doesn’t mean anything.

Can you give me specific instances that you are proud of? Since we’re all bored unable to do anything but yell at the cat, watch tv (which I haven’t owned or watched since 1993) or go paddle out at the Pier (or me go hiking for a bit of snowsurfing) due to this very scary and serious emergency Pandemic…as we watch our meager cash savings (if we had any) disappear like the fog off Southside of the Pier on a hot summer morning.

So to help relieve some of that boredom, if you’d care to write one you could post a reply to Peter from South O a list that we can all discuss.

I would suggest to delve deeper into the instances you put down before posting it, though. Look for blowback, government lies, military lies, stuff that will undermine your talking points on that list. And perhaps dig into what and how and who led up to those parts of this country’s history you are proud of? I find that always helps crystallize my thoughts on a subject I’m writing on. Context and background are important.

Hey, at least it isn’t tv and maybe as you write it you can go past the myths and see the underlying structure of the society we actually live in.

Just one suggested bit of reading before you start that list. My 15×18″ paperback copy is only 66 pages long, very short read, but it’s the one with a segment of ‘The Horror Of It’ published 1932 which is the ‘Camera records of War’s Gruesome Glories’ that was included to make the point after you finished the book below. Used it was $6 and shipping from Powells.com. Please read this before you reply.

Marine Brig. General Smedley D. Butler’s little book ‘War is a Racket’ pub. 1935.

I sent a bunch of them out for Winter Solstice presents in 2002 when Wbush was threatening to invade Iraq. Nobody was amused but that wasn’t my point anyway, and a couple actually got politically active after that which was the point.

My Uncle Kenny wrote all those letters before he got blown up in transport driving those huge trucks with a .30 on top running supplies. The only picture I have of him is standing in front of the one that hit the mine. He looks so young and scared. In those letters he talked about killing people, seeing his friends get blown up, having to pick up pieces to put in the bags… At least those letters not grabbed by the Army Censors. He did not want me to go over there for any reason and told his sister to get me to Canada if I got drafted which was in my future.

But I guess he was fighting for those freedoms…that were blatantly stolen from his big sister (my stepmom) and his other much-older siblings that were all born in San Francisco. US Citizens, educated in US schools. That was all before the US government decided that 120,000 American citizens were NOT covered by the Bill of Rights and kidnapped them from their homes and chucked them into US concentration camps in 1942.

Then the local government stole their house for non-payment of property taxes. Since they were in prison and unable to send a check I guess that was perfectly ‘legal’ to do, too. And the gov took their car. And their bank accounts. And everything else that was in the house except one suitcase of stuff they were allowed to take to prison. Then 4 1/2 years later they were tossed out on the street with NOTHING. A big fat F**K YOU was more like it. Those freedoms, yes?

Uncle Kenny was you, but his big sister never saw him again. So exactly who’s freedoms was Uncle Kenny fighting for? Certainly not his own since as an Asian POC he was drafted to go kill people who looked like the face he saw in the mirror. And had no choice in the matter whatsoever. Prison or military is NOT a choice.

History is so uncomfortable, isn’t it?

FACT: The War on Viet Nam was a disgrace. It was a War Crime as defined by the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles. Period. But powerful countries never pay attention to those little documents anyway. Viet Nam was a completely lie from start to finish which is why JFK was talking about withdrawing troops in 1963. Just before he got assassinated by…persons on the grassy knoll.

I’m sorry that you were sent there. There was nothing I could do to change that as I was just a bit too young and had no political power whatsoever. Sort of like now I guess except for the young part! As you said, our three major contenders for the puppet throne election in November…

That country you were sent to was fighting the occupier/colonial power France when the Japanese invaded in WWII, so the Vietnamese fought the Japanese by themselves the entire war. If they hadn’t fought them there would have been tens of thousands more frontline Japanese troops in the Pacific to kill far more US soldiers; my grandfathers.

Viet Nam’s gov ASKED the US government for assistance in writing a Constitution based on our own at the end of WWII because they beat the Japanese and were one people again. And what did our proud government do? Turned them down and helped France re-occupy the country right back to pretty much slave owners on plantations level. War of liberation re-commenced. I cannot be proud of that. Impossible.

Donnie, you really need to watch some of George Carlin. His writing was so spot-on it was scary. It is too accurate. The skit I’m thinking of is the one where he talks about people crying about their rights, the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Maybe the ‘Life is Worth Living’ and ‘You Are All Diseased’ HBO specials would be good for you. And really listen and process the words/meanings he speaks of. He was a writer who performed his own words.

Those freedoms, using the example of 1942, are only a Bill of Temporary Privileges because they can be taken away at any moment by any capricious government that wants to.

Have you actually read any of the so-called PATRIOT Act of Cheney’s signed into law by the grandson of a WWII Nazi supporter our illustrious Wbush? Don’t feel bad, neither did any of our so-called Congressmen before they voted on it! Pretty much the German ‘Enabling Act’ in content. Have you read Wbush’s Military Commissions Act of 2006? Have you read into the provisions hidden in neoliberal Democrat Obama’s National Defense Authorization Act? Did you ever read Bill Clinton’s Effective Death Penalty & Terrorism act of…1996(I think)?

We United States’ers don’t like to think about the babies still being born diseased and deformed from Agent Orange, or the denuded blown-up and poisoned dead zones of Viet Nam. Nor do we worry ourselves with thinking about how the US corporations have invaded with sweatshops in that country now. 4 million dead Vietnamese and 50,000 US soldiers one of which was my uncle. Yeah Capitalism, looks like we won that war after all. Or at least the corporations did. Which was the entire point, wealth & power. Not for you, not for them. Just certain people deserve to ‘win.’

Nor do we think about all the babies still being born diseased and deformed from all the highly radioactive Depleted Uranium dumped all over Iraq. Has anybody else looked this up? The pictures are gruesome. We don’t remember Wbush saying on television that “god told me to invade Iraq.” We don’t pay attention to Obama when he says that he “admires” Ronald Reagan and proudly proclaims himself the father of the new explosion in oil drilling and new pipelines crisscrossing in the US. Forty freaking years of browbeating propaganda dumped on the US population and, to generalize, we are even more ignorant than we ever have been before in our own history. But everybody has cell phones and look what new APP they got today… What are the three branches of government? Why is there a delegate count that supersedes the vote of the people effectively negating it completely? Why can’t we just have ONE house of Congress to deal with? Why is Wyoming, with 250,000 total population, even a State when Puerto Rico isn’t? Oh my hell.

Nor do we remember Reagan for all the horrible acts of violence and death that he perpetuated around the world and here in this country, the raids and police violence, and the insanity of public announcements of “trees cause air pollution” because he had Alzheimer’s dontyaknow, but he had no business holding car keys much less being president. Just like Dementia-affected ‘Sleepy’ Joe Biden and Dementia-affected ‘raging violent 3 yr old’ Donald Trump.

Trump is nothing more than the end result of Ronald Reaganism. This is the…tenth Reagan administration in a row by my counting. Especially considering the Military Empire-style foreign policy and economics that always favor the wealthy who own the corporations. Ain’t voting grand? Of course we only get to vote for whomever the wealthy powerful neoliberal Dems and wealthy powerful neocon Repubs put up as our ‘choices.’ How can they say they hate each other so much when a majority of their policies are so alike? Maybe to confuse the situation perhaps? A few identity politics aside, they are far more alike than not. Horribly so.

Big sigh. There are things that I am proud of that this country has done. But I cannot in good conscience throw a blanket over all the incredibly horrible violence and awful crap that the rulers of this country have done in 200 years both political/military/business. Done to all of us and the rest of the world. It boggles the mind how many wars we have started, influenced, or armed across the world. Unelected-selected by SCOTUS president Wbush has caused the death of well over a million people in Iraq since 2003, and they are still dying. And his Defense Sec Rumsfeld had his picture taken shaking hands with Saddam that he wished had never been found and published. How’s all this go again? Oh wait, Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld were BOTH in Richard Nixon’s government. Richard Nixon, you remember him I’m sure.

Tangled webs the powerful spin no doubt, eh?

And Donnie, I consider myself extremely lucky because my parents didn’t have sex until early 1954…so when that ‘report for physical’ notice showed up I of course had already moved after being forced to sign up for the draft at the threat of being jailed if I didn’t… How’s that freedom thing go again? But then the draft ended in 1973 before they found me again and I could breathe a huge sigh of relief and never had to go for that physical which I’m sure would have shown me in tip-top surfer shape, prime IA meat for the grinder.

I had older surfer friends that went since surfers were generally in very good shape and couldn’t fail the physicals unlike Mr. Bone Spurs, and they came back like my Grandpa Merle did in 1919 from the trenches of WWI France. Shell-shocked. Grandpa M lived through the Pandemic of 1918-1920, too, by the way, trying to care for his dying friends coughing their lungs out in the trenches and hospitals after the war ended because he had immunity. They finally sent him home in 1919 to marry my granny. I still have her 1919 engagement ring which is an odd thing. Diamonds on a gold band.

Both my other step-grandpops were in the Pacific in WWII, Dewey a combat Army Sgt. and Harold in the Seabee building airstrips, both in the front line through the entire war not coming home in 365 that the military invented for the next bunch of wars. Anybody wonder why the US military did that? I suspect their reasoning…

And both those grandpas stayed shell-shocked the rest of their lives, Grandpa Harold much worse than Dewey, though. Just like Grandpa Merle from WWI.

But, as George Carlin put so succinctly, for those two it was called ‘Combat Fatigue.’ Doesn’t sound so bad, just a little tired is all. My father was Army in the Korean War, Cpl., and he pretty much drank himself to death, too, with ‘Operational Exhaustion.’ Those Viet Nam vet friends? They all had the same symptoms but it’s been called ‘Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome’ after Korea and many used a lot of heroin and alcohol both. Same difference.

100 years of modern, technological, industrial-size wars, and four new names for exactly the same result in the soldier-survivors. And those ultimately in charge (and responsible) still don’t care. Obviously, because the rulers keep doing the same thing over and over.

I took all of my Uncle Kenny’s letters that my stepmom let me read to heart, Donnie Taylor. She didn’t let me read all of them, and some were too intensely personal for a young teen most likely. My stepmom was a SDSU student activist in the Peace & Freedom Party back then, against the War on Viet Nam where her brother died.

Every ‘Nam vet I know around here, and there are a lot that migrated to these mountains long ago I found out when I moved here, all pretty much say the same thing that my friends that came home to OB and MB said back in the late 60/70s said. Though some still use the words you replied with, they all said that they fought for the guys next to them. I imagine, I hope, that’s what you are proud of. Of keeping some of those people around you alive when they never should have been there in the first place.




Peter from South O April 15, 2020 at 3:36 am

You misinterpreted my comment, Seal . . . I was looking forward to your Donnie reply with glee ;-)


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