Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) changed the designation of the COVID-19 outbreak to a pandemic. Also, today, I received notice that a health conference I was going to attend in Dallas in April is off. The conference is the first cancellation that has impacted me directly. I watched the news, and there are closures and cancellations all over the country. (Before posting this, I received an e-mail that a writer’s festival where I was going to present canceled. Two significant events off). I’m sure the impact on others is even more severe.

I can tell that even though I am far from panicking, I am at a high level of stress. I usually get up very early and then have to take a nap about an hour after my morning medications.  (No, I’m not lazy, medicine can make different people respond differently, and mine happen to make me tired in a way I never was before going on them). Anyway, I’m not waking up early at all. I am sleeping until almost nine o’clock. Of course, with the time change recently, it is like sleeping until eight o’clock because my body is still on the winter schedule. But seriously, even sleeping until eight o’clock is late for me. A friend of mine said that it is probably stress and the body’s need to heal that is causing me to sleep more. I happen to agree.

One of my neighbors came over for coffee yesterday. I told her that my husband and I would be willing to run errands (mostly get groceries) for anyone in our building that was, or is, fearful of going out. I saw that there was a recommendation for those over sixty to stay home as much as possible. Most of my neighbors are over sixty.

It is our twenty-first wedding anniversary this weekend (it is our twenty-first and our twenty-second as we were married two times). My husband asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate. Last year, we had a party at a restaurant and ordered a wedding cake (oh my gosh, it was the best cake I have ever tasted), and invited about twenty of our family members and friends. On many anniversaries we have traveled back to Las Vegas where our legal marriage took place, or we have gone to a resort somewhere. This year, I want to stay home.

As a gift, my husband said he would buy me subscriptions to several magazines (which I love because it is research for my writing on where to publish and what is currently popular). I asked if the two of us could stay home and make a vegetarian chili together, possibly a soup, cinnamon rolls, and maybe some kind of bread or biscuits. I would also like to take a long walk and work on a book idea I have that my husband can work on with me.

None of this may sound romantic or special to you, but all of it will make me happy.