Day 1: Tracking the Covid-19 shutdown

Fighting fear, anxiety and boredom during the three-week shutdown

Note from Emma Palova:

I will be tracking the COVID -19 shutdown in Michigan for the next three weeks in this series, in order to offset people’s, and my own worries about unemployment, boredom and anxiety by providing resources and tips. The good news is that spring is here inspite of the Coronavirus shutdown of 43 percent of population in the U.S.

Day 0: Monday, March 23, 2020

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a stay-at-home executive order on Monday at 11 a.m. for the next three weeks effective at midnight on March 24.

In the evening, we watched Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion.” Released in 2011, the movie tracks exactly what we’re experiencing now with the Coronavirus outbreak.

At times, I did not know if I was watching the movie or the news on TV.

Heeding all the warnings of the worsening Coronavirus pandemic, I am staying at home and making the final corrections to the upcoming book “ Greenwich Meridian Memoir.”

Thanks, to editor Carol Briggs, for editing the manuscript that covers more than 50 years of the Konecny family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia to the U.S.

There has been a wave of cancellations of shows and events including the West Michigan Women’s Expo, Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce Expo and the upcoming Spring into the Past historic tour in early May.

I fear for my parents who have decided to travel from Florida back to Michigan this Sunday. It’s a 1,500 mile trip across four states.

I fear for my daughter Emma, who is a practicing ER doctor in France, where the spread of the Coronavirus is as bad as in the USA.

One member of our extended family has already been diagnosed with the Coronavirus.

In face of these challenges, I found consolation and strength in several things; the televised mass from the St. Andrews Cathedral sponsored by the Grand Rapids Diocese. Bishop David Walkowiak served in an empty church.

Deepak Chopra released his “Hope in Uncertain Times yesterday.” The link to the free meditation is https://chopracentermeditation.com/store/product/156/hope_in_uncertain_times_streaming

Ludek painted our basement in warm earthy tones on his fist day on unemployment due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

The COVID-19 Unemployment website is:

http://www.michigan.gov/uia

We will be making our own homemade hand sanitizer. Watch for recipe.

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

Stay-at-home order issued by Michigan Governor Whitmer

Governor Whitmer Signs “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order 

Governor directs all non-critical businesses to temporarily close, all Michiganders to stay home or six feet away from others during COVID-19 crisis .

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

LANSING, Mich. —  Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21), directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The order also directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.  

Effective at 12:01 am on March 24, 2020, for at least the next three weeks, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances. 

“In just 13 days, we’ve gone from 0 to over 1,000 COVID-19 cases,” said Governor Whitmer. “This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities. The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.” 

“Taking aggressive action to protect our communities is the most important thing we can do to mitigate further spread of COVID-19,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “If we do this now, we can make sure our hospitals and healthcare workers are prepared to take care of the sickest people. It is crucial that people do the right thing by staying home and staying safe.” 

Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations. Businesses and operations are to designate the workers that meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that necessary in-person work. 

Workers that are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, and more. For a full list of these critical infrastructure workers, click the link to Executive Order 2020-21 at the bottom of this page. 

Additionally, under Executive Order 2020-21, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household are temporarily prohibited. People may leave the house to perform for limited, necessary purposes, and may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders. 

Michigan is currently in the top five states in the nation in number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Several governors across the country have taken similar steps to protect their communities from the spread of COVID-19, including governors Mike DeWine (R-OH), Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), J.B. Pritzker (D-IL), Tom Wolf (D-PA), Gavin Newsom (D-CA), John Bel Edwards (D-LA), Phil Murphy (D-NJ), and Ned Lamont (D-CT). 

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:    

  • Fever       
  • Cough       
  • Shortness of breath       

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is:  

  • If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.       
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.         
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.         
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.         
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.         
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.        
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.       

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus   

For those who have questions about the state’s actions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8AM – 5PM daily.   

Michiganders can apply for unemployment benefits if they have left work or taken a leave of absence because of self-isolation or self-quarantine in response to elevated risk from COVID-19 due to being immunocompromised, displaying the symptoms of COVID-19, having contact in the last 14 days with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, the need to care for someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, or a family care responsibility as a result of a government directive. Those temporarily laid off from work should apply for unemployment benefits online at www.michigan.gov/UIA or 1-866-500-0017.  

Governor Whitmer is working to ensure that children who rely on the food provided by schools will have the resources they need. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has developed an online map for families to find meals. Families can access the map at: https://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/schoolnutrition/

On March 19, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the governor’s request for a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration, opening the opportunity to small businesses to access low-interest loans from the SBA. The application for disaster loan assistance is available at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. For businesses looking for more information on how to apply for an SBA EIDL loan or whether it is something they should consider, visit michiganbusiness.org/covid19. 

To view executive order 2020-21, click the link below:   

Executive Order 2020-21This press release will be translated and made available in Arabic and Spanish at www.michigan.gov/whitmer 

Source: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s press release on March 23, 2020

Excerpt from greenwich meridian memoir- Shortage of toilet paper

After having a second show- the West Michigan Women’s Expo – canceled due to the coronavirus threat and reading the posts about the shortage of toilet paper, this excerpt seems like a great fit.

The Haves and the Have Nots

The useless feeling never went away; it intensified with time until it became a monster. I watched this happen between my mom, Ella, and her younger sister, Anna, over the years before 1968 and after my parents’ immigration to the U.S.A. 

In 2018, Time published a special edition:1968 The Year That Shaped a Generation with introduction: “Like a knife blade, the year severed past from future.” 

Before 1968, the two sisters were like regular siblings with occasional hard and soft feelings for each other. They even went together on vacations with their spouses to the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. Aunt Anna is also my godmother as was the custom in the old country for the closest relatives to be the Godparents. 

Their parents treated them equally as any parent would. They had similar hopes and dreams. Neither one of them made a lot of money. 

Life before the 1968 “Socialism with a human face” movement started by Alexander Dubcek and the Velvet Revolution in 1989 was simple.

People enjoyed both the advantages and the disadvantages of socialism; everyone had the right to work. There was no such thing as unemployment. If you were unemployed for more than six weeks, you went to jail. Since the economy was regulated and planned, there was always work, whatever work and any work at any given time. If you wanted a good job, you needed connections or my mom’s long arm.

That was balanced out by having to stand in long lines for basic items such as toilet paper. However, college education was free, along with healthcare for all and free daycare. 

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

Great Lakes Writers @Expo

The show is on

Great Lakes Writers at the West Michigan Women’s Expo

Grand Rapids, MI- The Great Lakes Writers group will be at the 22nd West Michigan’s Women’s Expo at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids on March 13-15. They will be located in booth 976 inside the Exhibitors Hall.

Stop by and chat with authors, who have been sweeping the shores of the Great Lakes with the renaissance independent author movement. Join our @Michigan Authors group at http://michiganauthors.com/welcome/

The West Michigan Women’s Expo will feature over 350 exhibits, seminars, shopping and fun that aim to provide a weekend of entertainment, education, and enjoyment tailored to women and their families. 

“This year the 22 nd annual West MichiganWomen’s Expo will be larger.We are pleased to have you join us in the largest 2020 event for women in the West Michigan area,” said author/organizer Janet Vormittag.

Pictured authors below from left to right, top row and left to right bottom row:

Janet Vormittag, Joan Young, Robert Muladore, Emma Palova, Jean Davis, Melanie Hooyenga, Norma Lewis and Judith Wade.

Vormittag is an author, publisher and animal advocate. She is the founder and publisher of Cats and Dogs, a Magazine Devoted to Companion Animals, a free publication distributed in Western Michigan that promotes pet adoption and spay/neuter.

Most recently, the group expanded to the Lansing Women’s Expo held in February.

Following are the participating writers:

Great Lakes Writers
Sherry A. Burton
Jean Davis
Ellen Murray
Laura Holmes
Judith Wade
Norma Lewis
Christina Lonski
Kimberly Mocini
Robert Muladore
Nancy Sanders Pokerwinski  (Friday – sharing with Melanie)
Melanie Hooyenga (Saturday and Sunday – sharing with Nancy)
Kathy Spohn
Wendy Thomson
Janet Vormittag
Joan Young (Friday and Saturday –sharing with J.R. Armstrong)
J.R. Armstrong (Sunday – sharing with Joan Young)
Emma Palova

The Great Lakes Writers on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/976991479041183/about/

PUBLIC SHOW HOURS:
Friday, March 13 – 10:00am – 6:00pm, Saturday, March 14 – 10:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday, March 15 – 11:00am – 4:00pm
DeVos Place
303 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503

Authors @West Michigan Women’s Expo

Included is a list of authors who will be present at the 22nd West Michigan Women’s Expo at Devos Hall from March 13 -March 15. The Great Lakes Writers booth is 976.

PUBLIC SHOW HOURS:
Friday, March 13 – 10:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday, March 14 – 10:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday, March 15 – 11:00am – 4:00pm
DeVos Place
303 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503

Great Lakes Writers
Sherry A. Burton
Jean Davis
Ellen Murray
Laura Holmes
Judith Wade
Norma Lewis
Christina Lonski
Kimberly Mocini
Robert Muladore
Nancy Sanders Pokerwinski  (Friday – sharing with Melanie)
Melanie Hooyenga (Saturday and Sunday – sharing with Nancy)
Kathy Spohn
Wendy Thomson
Janet Vormittag
Joan Young (Friday and Saturday –sharing with J.R. Armstrong)
J.R. Armstrong (Sunday – sharing with Joan Young)
Emma Palova

Set-up info

Load-in is Thursday at 5:30 p.m. We’re the last ones to load in. Last year load-in was running behind. When I arrived, our tables weren’t setup yet. I’ll be down there Thursday and you’re welcome to load-in then, but you can easily come early Friday morning.
We’ll be the first to load out on Sunday. They’ll want us out a few minutes before closing. This is because our space is where they pull in vehicles.
I put in everyone’s names for Badges. If you come Thursday afternoon, look for the Exhibitors table and ask for your badge. We’re under Great Lakes Writers. If you come early Friday, the Exhibitors entrance is next to the main entrance to the hall. They’ll have badges there.

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

Greenwich Meridian memoir preorder

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Happy Monday to all. This has been one of my happiest Mondays ever. I have just submitted my third book “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” for preorder on kindle Amazon. I will be offering tips on both my EW Emma’s Writings blog and on Facebook, on how to write a memoir. The cover was designed by graphic artist Jeanne Boss of Rockford. We selected a collage of memorabilia including my mother’s Sudanese driving license, the Czech coat-of-arms and postcards.

Greenwich Meridian Memoir is an epic tale of love and immigration spanning three continents and two generations. The story takes place on the backdrop of two major historical events in former Czechoslovakia: Prague Spring 1968 and Velvet Revolution 1989. The two events have propelled the major characters into unpredictable action as they journeyed into the unknown. Inspite of the trials and tribulations, Ella and Vaclav have never lost their passion for each other. The next generation Emma and Ludek followed in their footsteps.

The manuscript is being edited by Carol Briggs of Lowell. It has been one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life and that includes surviving the recession of 2007 and two major historic events in former Czechoslovakia. I would like to thank all my friends, family and #NaNoWriMo for the support and keeping me on track.Check out my Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Emma-Palova/e/B0711XJ6GY

Author’s events

West Michigan Women’s Expo, Devos Place, Grand Rapids

I will be at the West Michigan Women’s Expo on March 13- March 15 at Devos Place with my previous books from the Shifting Sands Short Stories series, and with the preorder for the memoir.

There will be other @Michigan Authors present.

Stop by our authors’ area and meet your next favorite book.

Venice Book Fair, Blalock Park

I will be in Venice, FL on Saturday, March 21 for the 9th annual Venice Book Fair in Blalock Park from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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

Happy

It’s Feb. 25th 3 p.m., and I am watching an ice fisherman sitting in a green jacket in the middle of Murray Lake that is thawing. He doesn’t have a shanty, only a sled with gear. I can see already water by the shore. Everyone else has left but him. He has no care but for his bluegills. And another one is just trekking across the dangerous waters to his spot.

I call this passion or craziness. Sometimes, I feel the same way about writing. You’re always treading unknown waters.

I have just uploaded the final Greenwich Meridian Memoir manuscript to editor Carol Briggs. Thank you Carol for your tremendous help. What a relief.

And I think we have resolved the book cover with graphic artist Jeanne Boss. I would not be able to do this without the help of others; direct and indirect.

Indirect help was in the form of encouragement and inspiration from others, as well as the interest in our immigration story from former Czechoslovakia to the U.S.

“You have a responsibility to write this,” said Richie, my parents’ neighbor at their 60th wedding anniversary in August, 2019 in Big Rapids. The memoir is dedicated to them: Ella & Vaclav Konecny. They braved three continents including Africa, and they never lost their passion for each other.

The book is slated for publication this summer. The kindle version will be available for pre-order on Amazon.

See you at the West Michigan Women’s Expo from March 13 through March 15, in Venice, FL on March 21.

Greenwich Meridian Memoir

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

West Michigan Women’s Expo

I am really looking forward to this first event of the book tour season 2020. I still haven’t come up with a name for my book tour.

I am readying the third book “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” for the market. It will be available for pre-order on kindle Amazon. It is going to the editor Carol Briggs this week.Greenwich Meridian Excerpt

The cover was designed by graphic designer Jeanne Boss, editor emeritus of the Lowell Ledger.

Greenwich Meridian Excerpt

Life was a lot like living in a shoebox next to another shoebox, while the shoeboxes were stacked on top of each other with the imminent danger of collapsing in those infamous megacomplexes. 

There was not much one could do because of the constant scrutiny by jealous neighbors, bosses, other employees or the police. The police were called public safety for propaganda purposes to protect us.  

Jealousy was the ruling emotion or feeling. No one was safe from this monster. It also had many different forms and ugly faces. Like a Medusa, they reared their heads at any given time.   

Family members were not immune either from any of this. On the contrary, jealousy was magnified among siblings. Some had more, some had less. It was the communist version of Hemingway’s “The Haves and the Have Nots.”  

Resentment over the 1968 Soviet occupation and massive exodus into the Western world never really went away. It still lingered in households. There was animosity between those who left the country during the Soviet occupation and those who stayed. That is the expatriates were despised, and the freedom fighters who stayed, were jailed but honored.  

It was like being the only child for a long time, and then a younger sibling is born. One can’t help but be resentful over what was before and after everything had changed.  

Greenwich Meridian Memoir cover designed by Jeanne Boss.

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