Category Archives: COVID -19

DAY 16: Celebrating in the Covid-19 quarantine

“Life is patchwork-here and there, scraps of pleasure and despair. Joined together, hit or miss.”

-Anne Bronaugh

Birthdays at home

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Even in these unprecendented times, life goes on; babies are born, birthdays arrive, surgeries need to be done, and the Czech calendar shows it’s my name day today.

This morning, I wished a happy birthday and name day to our daughter Doc Emma, who works on the frontlines in France. Usually, she is surrounded by friends, not this time. The grandkids wished me a happy name day.

My nephew George welcomed baby Victoria into the world on April 1. Congratulations.

For my name day, I get a spring bouquet, but not this year. No one is going out to shop for flowers. That’s okay too, because I delight in my beautiful gardens year round. Instead of flowers, I got a trail mix. I will use it on my next trail walk.

Fellow Michigan author Darla Jean Davis of Holland posted this morning on Facebook that neighbors who could not open their usual farm stand dropped off a huge bouquet of daffodils. How thoughtful of them, they made my name day happier.

Giant daffodil bouquet given to fellow Michigan author Darla Jean Davis. The neighbors couldn’t open their usual farm stand.

A walk on the old rail bed converted into a trail under the finicky April sun refreshed my spirits. The trail is 10 feet wide, so we could still social distance of six feet with fellow trail lovers.

We also got some manure from the Hidden Creek Stables on Belding Road for our garden and my roses.

In the meantime, the news continues to stream in at fast pace. Gov. Whitmer is expected to announce the extension of the stay-at-home executive order in Michigan by the end of this week.

And Easter is upon us starting with Holy Thursday, followed by Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. All these services will be celebrated without an audience for the first time in history.

There has been a lot of firsts in March and April.

I will color our Easter eggs in onion skins, since we had no time to buy dyes, let alone to buy a leg of lamb.

“You’re not going to drop of some lamb at my doorstep?” mom Ella asked.

“No, I won’t. We will have to do without lamb,” I said.

More scary news: a friend couldn’t get into the hospital for a critical surgery.

Local dairy farmers report they will have to dump milk because their main customers are closed.

Silver lining: the nature is awakening regardless the COVID-19 horrors around the globe.

And better times are sure to come, said Queen Elizabeth in a rare special address.

Stay tuned for day by day COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan coverage.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

DAY 15: Covid-19 quarantine

Finicky spring sun offers hope, ushers in Easter

By Emma Palova

“Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul- and sings the tune without the words – and never stops at all.”

                                                            -Emily Dickinson

Lowell, MI – In spite of the grim daily statistics that more than 3,200 people have died from COVID-19 in NYC surpassing the number of people killed on Sept. 11, 2001, spring and Easter are just around the corner.

I walked to the fish pond in the back of the garden this morning and I found some koi fish left that the heron hadn’t devoured in the fall. The pussy willow showed off its silvery and yellowish catkins, while the forsythia shrub was splashed with golden blooms.

Encouraging signs in our community.

This year, I appreciate spring and the gardens more than ever. I can walk outside the house, work in the garden and bathe in the sun, before it hides under the next cloud.

I learned this morning in meditation that when the top layer of the active mind, that constantly thinks and feels, gets fixated on anxiety, alarm, dread, and uncertainty, it cannot pull itself out of its own spiral.

“Mental activity becomes useless to heal itself, just as a runaway car cannot apply its own brakes.”

-Deepak Chopra

I’ve been down on energy for the entire length of the quarantine boggled down also with physical sciatica nerve pain, that just refused to go away much like the coronavirus outbreak.

I forgot to call my amazing Malaysian friend Zurina Ariffin; she had to remind me of her existence.

We talked about cooking, which is our common hobby among others. I immediately felt better. Zurina was making cashew chicken, as she announced that the Kent District Library (KDL) will probably be closed until May.

I felt like I was getting some reprieve today as I watched the fishermen on Murray Lake with the sun glistening on the water.

I worked on the front matter for the upcoming Greenwich Meridian Memoir. It went well, although I have to regain my focus.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 14: COVID-19 quarantine brings us back to home farming

Uncertain food supply raises need for self-sustainability

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- Since farmer’s markets and greenhouses may not open until the COVID-19 quarantine is lifted, many are turning back to home farming and small garden plots are popping up around the neighborhood.

Altough farmers like Visser Farms are getting creative selling online and packaged fruits and vegetables for a standard price of $5 a bag to prevent direct contact.

We’re lucky enough that we each own at least three acres in Vergennes Township. Coming from Europe, we’ve always had our own veggie gardens due to the constant shortage of fresh produce on the markets. See excerpt below from the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.”

We’ve staked our small garden approximately 15 years ago. It started out first as as an herb garden, inspired by my friend herbalist Betty Dickinson of Ionia. Whenever I walk into the garden, especially after rain, the herbs smell of a thousand fragrances. Later, we added cherry tomatoes, peppers, squash and melons.

Last year, we planted cucumbers to can our own sweet and sour pickles aka “Znojemske okurky.” We take pride in this product that reminds us of our Czech homeland. I also love my ever bearing strawberries and currant bushes. I use the red and black currant to make pies.

But it is getting late to start growing plants from seeds. My favorite Snow Avenue Greenhouse usually opens around April 20 and sells decent size plants that can go directly into the garden.

COVID-19 quarantine brings us back to home farming.

Tips

If you live in an apartment, you can still do container gardening. Many seeds on the market are specifically good for containers.

Excerpt from Greenwich Meridian Memoir

Self-sustainability in Czech villages

Other homemade products included sausages and smoked meat. The butchering of the family pig usually took place in winter and before the holidays, so there was plenty of meat on the table. Socialism with its chronic lack of basic goods, drove the need for self-sufficiency specifically in the villages and craftsmanship as well. People were forced to be more creative in many different ways. They grew their own produce; everything from onions, carrots to cabbage and cucumbers. Then they made saurkraut from the cabbage, that went well with the pork and the sausages. Cucumbers were used to make the famous “Znojemsky pickles” aka “Znojemske okurky.”

Many households in villages and towns were self-sufficient with everything homemade or home grown. National artist Joseph Lada illustrated the traditional festivities: The Feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6, the butchering of the family pig in the yard with onlookers, Christmas by the tall tiled stoves, autumn campfires with fire-roasted potatoes and summer fun by the ponds with the willows.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the coronavirus crisis and quarantine in the U.S.

Today the death toll reached a grim 10,000 milestone.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 13: Holy Week in the time of COVID-19 quarantine

Reality sinks in

By Emma Palova

Today is Palm Sunday. Bishop David Walkowiak served the mass with palm branches in the empty St. Andrews Cathedral in Grand Rapids to the recorded Hosanna, commemorating Jerusalem greeting Jesus. This was the fourth Sunday broadcast without an audience, but with a 300 percent increase in TV spectators. The Pope served the Palm Sunday mass in an empty St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican. Queen Elizabeth gave a special address for the fourth time only in her 68-year long reign.

This will be a Holy Week filled with tragedy as the numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths are expected to rise again. The clergy prayed for the deadly pandemic to end.

I also watched a Czech mass on Zoom from Velehrad, California, broadcast from the Czech missionary priest’s home. There were only 23 Czech and Slovak participants from the entire world.

The surgeon general warned that the upcoming week will be our “Pearl Harbor” moment and “9/11” moment.

“Do not leave your house unless you absolutely have to,” warnings rezonated all over the TV.

The year that Easter didn’t come

Eerie Woodland Mall on Sunday.

We’re only a week away from Easter Sunday. There will be no public egg hunts or girls wearing pretty spring dresses with laces and ribbons due to the Coronavirus quarantine. There will be no Easter specials as the malls are closed. More than half of the world’s population is under a stay-at-home order.

However, a glimmer of good news arrived from the pandemic epicenter NYC that the number of coronavirus deaths has dipped.

Exploring nature, finally

Walking the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail.

Earlier in the day we went for a walk on the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail that almost abuts to our front yard. Only a gravel road separates us from the trail that connects Lowell to Belding.

Chalk art on the trail: Be Brave.

For years, the trail group worked hard to convert the old railroad bed into trail for public use. Recently, the trail has been surfaced with crushed asphalt. It took the Coronavirus quarantine for people to discover this treasure.

As I delighted at the new trail bridges, I discovered a rock with chalk art. Someone left a message of encouragement: Be brave.

Since my husband Ludek had to pick up some groceries in Grand Rapids, we stopped at an eerie scene.

The usually year round busy Woodland Mall looked like a ghost town with vast empty parking lots stretching from nowhere to nowhere.

All this was happening under the deceiving April sun. My daffodils are ready to open their yellow beauty to the world, oblivious to the coronavirus horrors.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

DAY 12: COVID -19 Czech video airs on cnn encourages to wear masks

CDC recommends wearing cloth masks in public

By Emma Palova

As the number of Coronavirus cases continues to skyrocket and health workers are facing a daily suicide mission, the Center for Disease Control recommended on Friday that all Americans wear basic cloth masks to prevent the spread of the disease.

However, this does not replace social distancing of six feet or washing hands. The U.S. has reached a new daily high of 1,100 deaths and a total of 273,000 cases on Friday.

Get your sewing machine out and make a mask for yourself and loved ones, or go bigger as you make it a community project.

The coronavirus crisis has brought out the best around the world. Play your part today. Make a mask.

#Masks4All

I continue to delight in the beauty of my sunroom plants, because it’s kind of dreary outside.

I am also scheduling my book tour 2020. Stay tuned for details.

So far, I am planning on launching my upcoming book “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” at the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon on July 3 and July 4.

The book is now on pre-order at:https://www.amazon.com/Greenwich-Meridian-Memoir-Emma-Palova-ebook/dp/B085DD2ZR3/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Greenwich+Meridian+Memoir&qid=1586018567&s=digital-text&sr=1-2

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the Coronavirus crisis in the U.S.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 11: COVID-19 quarantine gives time to enjoy nature’s gifts

First walk to the Franciscans

The nature oblivious to the Coronavirus horrors is waking up from its winter’s sleep.

I enjoyed nature’s gifts during my first walk to the The Franciscan Life Process Center: daffodils getting ready to burst open, birds singing and frogs croaking in the swamp off the gravel road.

Just under two miles, the walk covers a variety of terrain and vegetation enhanced by the beautiful landscape at the Franciscan campus outside of Lowell.

The ornamental grasses were neatly trimmed and the colors of the meadow were changing from yellowish to green. I walked past the vacant parking lot to the St. Mary’s Rosary Walk.

On normal days, the center is busy with arts and music programming. People from far and near enjoy the Franciscans’ offerings: everything from painting au plain air, music instruction, community gardening, trails to retreats in the yurts or the San Pietro house.

The gardening team is usually busy with their landscaping tasks.

But today it was quiet as the silence pierced my ears and only an occasional robin broke the spell.

I spent some quiet time on St. Mary’s Plazza as one of the sisters, who was walking her mutt Pico, greeted me.

“What a beautiful day,” she said.

“Yes, it’s gorgeous.”

At that moment I realized how fortunate we were to enjoy the beautiful Friday afternoon far away from the nation’s Coronavirus hot spots.

“What is your name?” the sister asked.

“I am Emma,” I answered. “And yours?”

“I am sister Mary Paula,” she said.

There has never been a need for social distancing outside the buildings at the center surrounded by open space. I walked the way of the cross several times and I have never encountered a single soul. The same goes for the trails on the 230-acre campus, where you immerse yourself in serenity.

When I got home, my husband Ludek was cleaning up around the outdoors furnace after a long winter.

“Let’s go somewhere, it’s Friday afternoon,” I said.

“There’s nowhere to go,” he said.

There is still nature left and its bountiful gifts for us to enjoy in the times of the Coronavirus.

Tips: Consider the COVID-19 quarantine as your personal retreat away from the society’s hustle and bustle. Let it transform you.

Featured photo: the retreat yurts at the Franciscan Life Process Center.

Stay tuned for continued day by day coverage of the Coronavirus crisis.

Visit the Franciscans at: https://lifeprocesscenter.org/

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Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 9: COVID-19 as Catalyst

Coronavirus brings us closer together

“When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, what we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go from darkness into darkness.”

Maya Angelou

Lowell, MI- Together we can accomplish anything. We will get through this together. Each one of us has a part to play.

How many times do we get to chat simultaneously with people from Florida, Oklahoma , Minnesota and Michigan?

I did for the first time earlier in the day via video chat Zoo room app. I connected with familiar faces, and I am so grateful for technology with all its whims.

https://zooroom.chat/

Today marks the beginning of Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s a great platform to start or finish your writing projects.

https://nanowrimo.org/what-is-camp-nanowrimo

Coronavirus quarantine survival tips

How many times in the past have you complained, that you don’t have time for anything? Now you do.

Ludek Pala works on isolating and putting up drywall in the laundry room.

Find a home improvement project. Finish what you have started years ago.

Learn something new: cooking, baking, writing poetry, painting.

Go outside and take pictures of spring arriving.

Offer to help others with their struggles; it will ease your own.

Keep a journal.

Live, love and laugh.

Copyright (c)2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 8: COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan

Glimmers of hope

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the social distancing measures appear to be working.

The daily increases in Coronavirus cases may be slowing down as a result of mitigation efforts on all fronts. However, the Coronavirus pandemic remains very serious as close to 300 people have died in Michigan.

Going into the eighth day of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan, the news of a possible slowdown of the spread of the virus comes at the right time. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to announce whether the schools will reopen on Thursday.

I have only 30 more pages to correct in the Greenwich Meridian Memoir manuscript.

My parents should have arrived back in Michigan this evening.

My husband will be putting up the drywall in the laundry tomorrow.

I have a virtual meeting scheduled for Wednesday. I am signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow.

From my Taurus horoscope:

Keep your cool as you put one foot in front of the other, taking small but impactful steps that move the needle forward.

Things are looking up. Spread hope around you.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 7: COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan

By Emma Palova

Facing the possible extension of social distancing until April 30 per CDC guidelines, I continue to plug along on making the corrections to the Greenwich Meridian Memoir manuscript. I am on page 201.

I have also signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo starting April 1. Try it; it’s a good platform that keeps you on track with your writing and publishing projects.

https://nanowrimo.org/what-is-camp-nanowrimo

While fine tuning the manuscript, I came across some interesting paragraphs about waiting which I consider relevant during this time of Coronavirus shutdown.

But most importantly, I want to offer hope based on what I have learned in this morning’s meditation about “Hope in Uncertain Times” by Oprah & Deepak Chopra.

Hope increases with gratitude. List five things you’re grateful for today. These are my five things that I am grateful for today:

1- time to write 2- chicken burrito from Taco Bell 3- a story about museum intern Darcy Stubbs for Fallasburg Today 4- my parents’ arrival in Elizabethtown, KY from Florida 5- my blood pressure finally came down after three weeks

https://fallasburgtoday.org/

Excerpt from Greenwich Meridian Memoir:

Waiting in socialist Czechoslovakia

You spent a lot of time waiting around for anything and everything, quite often it was in lines for desirable items like bananas or meat.

 The grocery stores were small with only a limited amount of shopping baskets, so you waited for the shopping basket, then you waited inside the store at the dairy counter for cheese, and at the meat counter for meat, you waited in a line for the cash register and you waited for the bus to get home with your groceries. There you waited for the elevator to get to your apartment.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 6: COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan

Stay at home, save lives

By Emma Palova

On the fifth Sunday of Lent, I watched the mass broadcast on TV from the empty St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Grand Rapids due to the Coronavirus quarantine.

Televised mass without an audience from St. Andrew’s Cathedral Cathedral in Grand Rapids.

I do my daily Lenten readings from The Little Black Book 6-minute meditations and in shock I came across this reading for March 28, that I somehow missed.

The bubonic plague in Oberammergau

When an outbreak of the bubonic plague began to spread in the 17th century, the people of Oberammergau prayed to be spared. They vowed that the whole community would, every 10 years, stage a massive production presenting the story of Christ’s death and resurrection to the world. The town was spared from the plague, and the tradition of the Oberammergau Passion Play was born. It’s first performance was in 1634.

The Passion Play is scheduled for this year from May 16 to Oct. 4. It is performed on an open stage with seating for nearly 5,000 spectators. Members of the 1,700 cast must be Oberammergau natives, or have lived there for 10 years. The play lasts a whole day, with a three-hour break for lunch. The play is performed five times a week for several months.

But, on Thursday, the organizers of the play- which has a cast of some 2,500 and can feature 900 people on stage at once- announced they were canceling this years edition, because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The first of the 103 daylong performances had been scheduled for May 16.

Historically, the human kind has been plagued by diseases from the bubonic plague, tuberculosis, Spanish influenza to Coronavirus, to name just a few.

The least we can do is to quarantine ourselves to protect others from the spread of the virus.

Tips:

Learn something new. It’s Sunday, cook up a storm.

Join a video chat room at:

Zoo room

You can also participate in #StayHomeWrimo creative initiative by the National Novel Writing Month organizers.

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