Subject: four questions, April 15
Date: Cc: Ben Werdmüller Bcc:

Answers to four questions, as suggested by Ben Werd for keeping a concrete record of life during an exceptional time.

  1. What did you do today?

Woke up, late -- forgot to set the little alarm clock. Looked at my phone, but didn't stress too much about it. Ground the coffee (the grinder a gift from Haley and Eric), boiled the water (the new electric kettle a gift from Jamie), made coffee (I think Brooks first introduced me to the Aeropress) and ate the last piece of oatmeal cake (Mom's recipe, out of Granddad's old recipe box and baked in one of his casserole dishes). Read emails and RSS feeds and wrote out my small list for the day. Showered and dressed: important steps, I'm finding. Caught up on emails about contact tracing protocols and then had a short videoconference with Deirdre -- possible teaching options, commiserating about the strange fluctuations in moods from day to day, UC Berkeley's financial challenges. Had leftover rajma masala, with spinach and broccoli, for lunch. Called Granddad briefly. Sat on a cushion on the bedroom floor and listened to a short guided meditation on loving kindness. Sent emails and social media posts advocating for local "slow streets" so that it'll be easier and safer to walk and bike at a safe distance during the pandemic. Picked up the compost bin. Got bundled up in coat, scarf and facemask and walked to pick up a burrito and then to Orchard Park to see how the garden plot was doing. Walked home and watched TV on the couch with Jamie, read the news on my phone again but didn't stress too much about it.

a moist peace of oatmeal cake, with almond topping.a handful of kale seedlings in a row, with scattered weeds, rocks and wood.

  1. What did you enjoy?

That oatmeal cake. Baking a comforting cake for myself has been such a highlight of the last couple days. Seeing the community garden plots. TV on the couch with Jamie.

  1. What did you find difficult?

Granddad sounds lonely and pessimistic, but tells me that we just need to be good to each other. It's sad to keep telling him that I'm not able to visit, not allowed to visit, and won't be able to any time soon.

  1. What has changed?

From yesterday, I'm feeling so much less hopeless, so much less angry in the sense of raging at a cloud of unfairness and stewing in that unfairness and how unfair it is. I don't know what caused that different reaction from yesterday morning, it just feels like a random choice is made for me each day. From before the March primary, life feels less packed with urgent reaction, anger and mistrust, but I'm also now less certain of what to do or what life will be like next month or next year; less urgent but more aimless. I feel like there's still so many things to do, but I'm less sure of what or how I should contribute. Since a couple of weeks ago, maybe I'm also less scared, less unsteady on my feet. Jamie's work situation seems much less actively dangerous; social distancing measures have been implemented and mostly accepted; I wear a mask whenever I go outside and spend less time worrying about whether I should be doing something differently.