Tag Archives: California

Quarantine in Huntington Beach, California–COVID-19 Report

Saturday, April 4, 2020–I’ve been here for over three weeks. Jacob and I have been in quarantine since Sunday, March 29. We will be free on Sunday, April 12. That is, if we continue to show no coronavirus symptoms. So far, so good. How and why?

This virus is spreading like wildfire. Much closer than six degrees of separation. More like, one or two degrees of separation. Let’s just say that someone close to us may have been exposed. May have is the operative word here. The one who may have been the transmitter showed suspected symptoms but fully recovered after a three-day series of antibiotics. Is it coronavirus? Who knows? They weren’t going to waste a test on the 12-year old without him presenting with severe respiratory breathing difficulties.

Wetlands walk, temporary mask. Others making a wide berth around me.

Meanwhile, we aren’t taking any chances, so we are in isolation, me and Jacob, the someone close to us, and the other someones close to this person.

Let’s go back to What does free on Sunday, April 12 mean? Just in time for Easter? Despite misguided national direction, not science, services for the masses inside a church are just not going to happen. Just in time for Passover? Not around a Seder table in real time, for sure.

Paid 5x retail to get one. Kinsa. Our daily morning temps read normal.

I have begged my son to be let out to make a quick sweep through Ralph’s supermarket or CVS Pharmacy, just for the social connection [before we went into quarantine]. No, mom, he said. I am obedient. And, I know how to grouse. Please note: This is not a bird.

For now, my interaction is virtual. Likely yours is, too. I’m visiting with: Ralph’s. Amazon. INDIO for incense. MINNA for home goods. Office Depot. eBay. QVC. The Sock Maker by Melanie Koenig. Face masks from Hikawa Studio LLC. Hi, how are you doing today?

Cozy hand-knit socks from The Sock Maker, Melanie Koenig

I need FOOD. The delivery of FOOD to the front door. Perishables (like steak and cottage cheese and almond yogurt and lettuce. Yes, God, please, something green.) A book: Bless Me, Ultima. A Leonard Baskin Haggadah (we will use rice crackers for matzo, salsa for charoset). A microwave oven to replace the one I broke on Day Four with fastest delivery from QVC. A printer for mailing labels. Fitbit batteries. Jewelry making supplies (stay tuned).

And, of course, to improve the aesthetic of a bachelor pad, cozy sofa pillows and a faux wicker side table for the deck (ordered with bachelor review and agreement, lest his mother take over).

Bailey Hikawa making a face mask

On-line, I’m making donations to restaurant workers’ relief funds, immigrant hunger programs, and Chiapas human rights.

My North Carolina girlfriends are having a standing weekly cocktail hour. In the age of social distancing, we are learning a new form of relationship, five of us on-screen, each a minuscule square, drink in hand, each taking a turn at the wheel, so to speak. (I’m rationing my mezcal.)

Sometimes, it feels like we need a moderator! It’s never like that in real life. But this is real time, if not real life. The rules of social engagement are changing. We are learning how to navigate a virtual world that is pioneering. En masse, we yearn for burgers together at Alley 26 and ramen at Dashi.

Content to be with Great White Egrets

What are we learning from this?

For me, being on-screen with friends and family is a privilege, a luxury, because we have access to technology. But, it does not substitute for human, face-to-face interaction, a hug or a kiss, the comfort of being close.

What do you think? How are you coping with isolation and distancing? How will this change us?

Back to, What does free on Sunday, April 12 mean? We are practicing the ritual of isolation. I am getting used to it now. Not much will change. Jacob will return to seeing his girlfriend. I may buy a plane ticket soon to get to North Carolina in mid-May — if, the virus outbreak there has flattened like it has here in California because of early social distancing and face covering mandates. Thank you, Governor Newsom!

One can only hope!

California coast wetlands trail. Distant horizon.

Social Distancing, Life on the Screen, House Arrest and Oaxaca

Mostly written Saturday, March 21, 2020 — We are all likely in the same circumstances. If we aren’t, well, we should be. Physical isolation is necessary … and difficult. Here, in Southern California, where I’ve been for over a week with my son, I have no real time social contact other than with him, an occasional visit with his girlfriend Shelley (who is clean), and a weekly invitation from her mother Holly to come to dinner. Holly has had no contact with anyone other than Shelley this week. I have to assume she is clean, too. Yes?

Can seasonal allergies be provoked by this?

Governor Gavin Newsome was the first to order Stay at Home. This is why I’m happy to be in California now. There is strong leadership here. When I arrived, my plan was to continue on to Durham, NC, for a while. Life changes fast.

Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Huntington Beach, California

Today, I went for a 10K step walk in the wetlands along the Pacific Ocean. The trails were busier than last weekend. I actually had to stop and ask people to maintain a six-foot distance from me, move into single file. I moved off the trail regularly so others could pass. No one did the same for me. One guy joked that he was only five feet away. I said, Not funny. Next time, earlier and not on weekends!

Self-portrait on a wetlands walk by the Pacific Ocean

Saturday, March 21, 2020, my friend Winn is reporting from Oaxaca:

“Oaxaca grows quieter every day. Yesterday, I strolled my ‘hood’ just to get out of my house for a while, to see who’s still out and about, which restaurants, stores, and coffee spots remain open. Lo and behold, a wedding in the church! The same vendors awaiting the wedding party with tamales and jugos [juice]. The city officials have mandated no gatherings, and police will politely ask any groups to simply go home. I’ll go to the park tomorrow morning, but don’t expect to find my tai chi pals there. I do my 10-second breath test and check my temperature every day, and check in with neighbor and friends also holed up at home. This quiet solitude is both welcome and nerve-wracking. Even if I decided to just go home [to New Mexico], the travel itself is now a big obstacle. Thank goodness for WhatsApp calls, Netflix, and eBooks. Just finished bingeing Money Heist, and started a good book.”

I’m looking for Reporters from Oaxaca to include a personal take on what you observe. Contact me at norma.schafer@icloud.com

Bolsa Chica Wetlands, the Pacific and Catalina Island

We went to the market. That is, Jacob went food shopping and I waited at the far end of the parking lot on a bench, face to the sun waiting for the 10 a.m. pharmacy opening. But, I needed to pick up an Rx transferred from NC, plus, you know: blue shampoo for my platinum hair, Biotin, Tylenol PM, soap-free face wash, toothpaste. Usually I ride in the car where I wait. Like being on House Arrest. He’s protective. He won’t let me go in.

What many of us are doing …
What some of us are doing, and where to get the next pedicure?

At home, I sprayed all this with isopropyl alcohol, along with six wine bottles, two lemonade jugs, three jars of pasta sauce, bags of pretzels and chips, cleaning sponges, olive oil and ground ginger. Everything someone else would have touched. All the fresh fruit and vegetables soaked for 30-minutes in Microdyne colloidal silver. [Read HERE about disinfecting food. It’s not just for Mexico anymore.] There still was no TP. We are getting close to using paper napkins and reverting to disposal Mexican style — in a receptacle by the side of the toilet.

The estate sale out back

Across the back parking lot, the neighbors are on Day Two of a three-day estate sale. There are estates here, just not in this neighborhood. It’s Orange County, which only recently turned Blue, sort of. Lots of Trumpets live here who still believe the world is flat. Looking out the dining room window I see a push lawn mower, discolored upholstery foam, spindly lamps with gold fringed shades a la Marie Antoinette, a lonely black office chair with sunken seat cushion, plastic storage bins that need a good 409 cleaning, a turkey fryer, assorted boxes of used clothes. I didn’t see anyone pull out their hand sanitizer.

The chicken soup is on the stove, simmering. Jacob went to Shelley’s on an overnight. I’m feeding the cat and will figure out the Direct TV wand to either watch a movie or get more news. I’m certain I will hear a regurgitation of the lack of Washington leadership. Did I say it? We still have no toilet paper.

Every time I cough, I wonder. I’m hoping my sniffles and occasional cough are seasonal allergies. There are no thermometers to be had. So far, no fever.

Jacob and I have talked about which hospital to take me to if I get sick. He researched it and sent me a link. We all need an Contingency Plan.

How are we coping? Living online. Using Zoom. A daily ritual with my sister.

Our social connection is the Internet. In addition to Zoom, I’m using FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and email (last resort).

What some in my WhatsApp group are doing: Variation on a theme.

Thirty years ago, I started following Sherry Turkle, sociologist and psychologist, when she got her MIT computer science department appointment to study and teach about the human factors of technology.

Here’s a article in Politico about our dystopian world and what all this social isolation translates to how we live our lives next, in which Sherry Turkle is one of the experts quoted.

We are all concerned with how we will feed ourselves

Get out and walk!

Sunday Morning News Flash: Jacob just walked in with a 12-pack of Cottonelle he bought at Target. Gold. Un milagro!

Yes, I sprayed it with isopropyl alcohol.

Love in the Time of Corona Virus

These are strange and perilous times. There lurks a deadly disease for some of us who are older than age 60, that is compounded by any underlying health issues that suppress immune systems.

I am in almost self-imposed isolation, sequestered with my 46-year old son Jacob in his Huntington Beach, California, one-bedroom apartment. He is generous. I get his bed. He’s on the blow-up in the LR. I am practicing how to be a good guest (this is like yoga, the more you do it, the better you get) and he is a loving off-spring.

Yikes. Do I have it? Here is a helpful guide from Hollie T. in NC

How do we pass the time together? Respecting quiet. Working from home. Watching Netflix. Talking (a novel idea) about life and feelings. Just being.

Elbow bumps — love in the time of corona virus

We were invited to dinner at Holly’s house in Long Beach last night. Holly is Shelley’s mom. Shelley is Jacob’s girlfriend. The date was set several weeks ago. (Sidebar: After a 30-minute discussion about whether to go out to dinner at a restaurant on Saturday night, we decided to hunker down and cook at home. Social distancing is driving our lives.)

So, the opportunity to go to Long Beach is a welcome one and we go. I think I’m the only one who is the potential hot-potato, since I flew on an airplane last Thursday! But Holly went shopping at Ralph’s, so who knows.

We greet each other as if all was almost normal. No hugs. Elbow bumps and big smiles. (I absented to wash my hands in the bathroom several times taking extra precautions and counting to 20 twice.) Gin and tonics around the coffee table, nibbles of steamed shrimp and dipping sauce (except we are learning to take a spoon and put the sauce on a plate instead of dipping and re-dipping — but what about that pesky common spoon handle?).

A pretend fight over the toilet paper

Settling in with a good drink and leaning back on the cozy sofa, Holly presents each of us with a gift in honor of St. Patrick’s Day: a roll of toilet paper tied with a green bow. Now, this is love!

We eat corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes. We drink wine. We talk about future travel. I bring my favorite gluten-free dessert made earlier in the day: nicuatole. All seems almost normal.

I am scheduled to fly to North Carolina on March 24, but as we know all things are fluid and changing minute-by-minute. Perhaps I’ll stay here a while longer. Who knows?

Stay healthy. Stay safe.

P.S. Yesterday, the California governor officially declared all bars closed. So happy I brought three bottles of mezcal with me from Oaxaca. Jacob is doing a beer run later and will work from home. We are cozy.

Whoever thought a roll of TP would be so valuable — best expression of love

P.P.S. This is allergy season. I’m monitoring every sniffle and cough. I touch my forehead. Do I have a fever? Do I have it or is this a normal reaction to spring? I imagine you may be out there doing the same thing.

The Latino Comics Expo @Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California

After hiking the wetlands trails of Bolsa Chica (little purse) Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach along the Pacific Ocean, my son decided we should take in some local culture at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in nearby Long Beach. What’s there? The Latino Comics Expo to celebrate it’s 5th anniversary at MOLAA, age 20.

Lucha Libre is a popular Latino comic book subject

Lucha Libre is a popular Latino comic book subject

The Expo was created by Javier Hernandez and Ricardo Padilla. They started it at the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum in 2011. This is their second time at MOLAA. They mounted the first expo there in 2013.

As a lover of Oaxaca graphic arts, it’s not a stretch for me to consider that comics are a natural extension of the great Mexican tradition of illustrator Jose Guadelupe Posada. In fact, there are Posada illustrations on exhibit at this museum, too.

Jose Guadalupe Posada original illustration

Jose Guadalupe Posada original illustration, a poke at the bourgeoisie

After all, Posada is Diego Rivera’s hero and he features him prominently, and fondly, in the mural Dream on a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Park (Mexico City). Muralists Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siquieros  form the second and third legs of the Mexican Muralist Movement stool. They used caricature, too, as prominent artistic expression in their work.

Artist Ramiro Gomez Magazine series, commentary on who does the work

In artist Ramiro Gomez’ Magazine series, he comments on who does the work

The Latino comics tradition of Los Angeles is rooted in these antecedents. Illustrators used and continue to use political parody in their work, just as Posada, Rivera, Orozco and Siquieros did one hundred years ago to poke at their adversaries.

Do you think they use pesticides? Who is harvesting? What is health risk?

Do you think they use pesticides? Who is harvesting? What is health risk?

In the permanent exhibition, Ramiro Gomez, son of Mexican immigrants, reflects his experiences and stories growing up in a working class family. His art (above) focuses on class difference and the people behind a socially constructed representation of luxury. He tears out advertisements from upscale magazines and superimposes domestic workers into the composition.

The Trump High Five, by Raul The Third

The Trump High Five, by Lalo Alcarez

The Latino Comics Expo was a two-day event, August 6 and 7. There were about 50 illustrators there demonstrating their work, selling books, posters, postcards, t-shirts, ball caps and pins. Some works were prints, silkscreen, engravings and hand-illustrated with colored pen.

Lowriders at the Center of the Earth, illustrated by Raul The Third

Lowriders at the Center of the Earth, illustrated by Raul The Third

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, illustrated by Raul the Third, grabbed my attention. So did the lowrider on the cover, an integral part of my growing-up years in the San Fernando Valley when young Latinos/Chicanos altered their Chevys, Fords and Chryslers. Tuck and roll leather seats. Raked front ends. Flashing lights. Flames. The more elaborate, the better.

Illustrator Raul The Third. Note his version of Melania.

Illustrator Lalo Alcarez. Political & social justice commentary, too. Plus a little pin-up.

The t-shirt Lalo Alcarez (above) wears, Hecho en California, speaks to the strong influences of Latino culture in the second largest city of America.

As I looked around at the posters and books, I thought, this is great art, just like what I’m used to seeing at the Oaxaca printmaking studios of Fernando Sandoval and La Chicharra. I walked away with an autographed book copy of Lowriders.

Hand-colored illustration of the Conquest. With codices footnotes.

Hand-colored illustration of the Conquest. With codices footnotes.

Then, my son tells me, mom, he’s pretty famous. He’s published in L.A. Weekly. What do I know?

Zapotec poet Natalia Toledo, in featured museum video

Zapotec poet Natalia Toledo, in featured museum video

As I turned the corner to go through the regular exhibition, there was a video interview with Oaxaca poet Natalia Toledo talking about the importance of literacy and preserving Zapotec culture. Natalia also designs extraordinary jewelry (available for sale at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca gift shop). Versatile like her father, Francisco Toledo.

Untitled, by Rodolfo Morales, Oaxaca painter

Untitled, by Rodolfo Morales, Oaxaca painter

Show Me Your Papers by Raul The Third

Show Me Your Papers! by illustrator Lalo Alcaraz

Comic book art/illustration defines the culture and sub-culture, makes a political, social commentary and moral observation about the world that can be humorous, biting and truth-telling. What if Native Americans had asked immigrating English, French and Spanish for their papers?

Uncle Sam wants YOU! Who else will clean homes, harvest food?

Uncle Sam wants YOU! Who else will clean homes, harvest food?

After over a wonderful, satisfying month visiting family and friends, I’m back home in quiet, calm Oaxaca. No freeway congestion or the lure of mall shopping, over-priced lunches and dinners, blustering television pundits that I admit had me addicted to the next adrenaline fix. My wi-fi service is now reconnected and it’s raining. What could be better? Now for a bit of sopa de pollo con limon (chicken with lime soup).

Come! It’s safe.

Comic book series, The Hand of Destiny

Comic book series, The Hand of Destiny

 

Travel Day: Santa Cruz, California to Mexico City

This was an experiment. It seemed easy enough and the cost was far less: take a Southwest Airlines (WNA) flight from San Jose (SJC), California. Connect in Orange County (SNA) and fly directly from there to Mexico City. Arrive in time for an afternoon nap and settle in. Easy.

Santa Cruz Pier & Amusement ParkExcept that even by arriving at the airport by 5 a.m., the hour-and-a-half line to get through security meant that I missed my flight by two minutes. Along with about 40 other people. We stood in another line for an hour to get rebooked. And, with few options, I have a six-hour delay plus the hop-hop-hop flight plan that Southwest is famous for, going first to Las Vegas, then Houston, then Mexico City.  Ah, the vagaries of travel during peak season (after Thanksgiving) wtih a high security alert on top of that.

 

So, here’s the good news. I’m in the SJC airport editing photographs that I took on my new mirrorless Olympus OMD M5 Mark II camera in Santa Cruz. It weighs a fraction of my Nikon D7000 when I use the 17-55mm Nikkor lens, which is a big plus! I did a lot of research before I bought this one, so here is hoping.

 

The verdict is still out on whether the photo quality matches up. But, I’m inclined to consider that the convenience could outweigh any negatives.  I’m still learning the settings, so we shall see.

 

This post includes experimental photos I took with my sister and son in Santa Cruz on West Cliff Drive overlooking the famous area where surfers, runners and strollers convene. The perfect beach life, even at the end of November.

This was a great last day in California, perfect for focusing out onto the horizon.

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View of Monterey Bay from West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California