Yes Ma’am, We Will Prevail.

From a regent who first broadcast her support for those separated from loved ones in 1940, comes this message of hope. I like to think that the Britons’s “self-discipline, quiet good-humoured resolve and fellow feeling” is matched by our American spirit of can-do, and our ability to band together to prevail against seemingly impossible odds. Look at the companies that have re-tooled to pump out gowns, masks, and ventilator parts. Look at the super-human efforts of our first responders. Take your cues from them. Do what you can, when you can. Even if it’s just dropping a line to distant friends or waving at neighbors. We’re all in this together.

We may be invariably late to the party, but when the chips are down the world has always counted on us to rise up and do the right thing. Yes, this is a tough time, but it’s been a tough fight since this country was founded, and we’re more than up to the struggle. Let’s not forget that America. Together we win.

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The Scarf and the New Rules of Dressing During the Pandemic

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing. Source: CDC

Those of you who have followed me for a long time or have read a copy of my book know that I’m a huge fan of scarves. In these dress-down days, they throw a little personality and color into the casual world. They also make great travel gear as you can use them for everything from staying warm to an impromptu picnic blanket.

These days they may become even more useful. The shemagh, or keffiyeh, worn below was brought back for me from Bahrain by my brother-in-law after a tour there during the last war. I was reminded of it when Mrs. E., my mom and I took the children to Israel and Jordan last summer. They are the traditional Bedouin head-covering and were much in evidence. Unfortunately, outside of the Middle East, or at least here in Central Virginia, they can arouse suspicion when worn covering the mouth and nose. I just shook up my neighbor when I looked over the back fence.

Never thought I’d need to use this…

The concept is a good one though, so if you’re going to take a step past the bandana, remember that a lightweight scarf is a welcome addition to the world.

Here’s a nice looking one from The Rake’s Values line. As a neighbor shouted to me the other day, stay safe, sanitized and sane. And remember to have a little fun.

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Little Luxuries and Morale

That might be about it for this one.

I’m wearing a t-shirt. A graphic t-shirt. Which is a switch for me. But I do plan on working out and taking the dogs for a long walk here shortly (we still can walk the dogs here in the States), so let’s say this t-shirt is athletic wear. It depicts an older Charles Brown and Snoopy on patrol post- apocalypse. I’m a huge Peanuts fan. Which explains part of its appeal to me. Charlie Brown is the most optimistic character in the strip. Good inspiration.

My brother-in-law, the former Recon Marine and post-graduate mathematics professor is one of the smartest men I’ve ever known and one of the toughest, if you didn’t twig to that with the whole “Ph.D/Recon Marine” thing. He once told me that Ranger School was one of the hardest things he’d done.

Ask anyone who has gone through Ranger School about important kit to have to hand during trying times, and you’ll get some answers you’d expect – a good knife, maps, compass, water, clean socks, etc. — and maybe one or two that you hadn’t. A toothbrush and travel toothpaste for instance. Personal hygiene is important and after drinking gallons of purified swamp water, brushing your teeth must feel pretty damned good. Studies say that it boosts morale by 4%. Compound that with a few little luxuries and things might not seem so bad.

So, let’s brainstorm a few little luxuries to help keep morale up during our pandemic.

My neighbors, an Argentinian and a French woman, have some of their family staying with them for the duration. During nice days, they set the table, fire up the grill and have lunch outside. A lovely tradition and relaxing.

Our street has a tradition of porch parties. While we don’t gather in large groups, we as a couple, will bring a bottle and hang about at the foot of a neighbor’s porch or ask someone to drop by to chat for a while during happy hour.

And then there is the question of what to wear. One of the big chains has said that searches for dress shirts are up, while those for trousers have decreased. Well, the camera only picks up your top half. I hope you’re still wearing trousers.

You may have seen my FB mention that BSquared has ramped up production, not of button-downs, suits and ties, but of masks and gowns and expects to be producing 150,000 a day in the very near future! I renewed my commitment to buy two new oxford cloth button-downs when I read that (and frankly, looking at the image above…) I’m all for comfort, and when I’ve had to travel long-distances, spend the night in the hospital or spend long hours in front of the computer, I’ve reached for my uniform: a pair of full-cut khakis or cords (All American or Bill’s) and a broken-in, unstarched, pressed Brooks Brothers OCBD. Slippers, Belgian Shoes, and a cardigan or cashmere crewneck also make appearances. That’s what I wore to stay with Mrs. E. when the kids were born. I can sleep in a chair in those clothes and remain fairly presentable.

Lastly, my Instapot has been seeing a lot of action. A homemade bone broth, braised chicken, or beans and greens are all comfort foods for me and fairly healthy. And the Instapot makes quick work of frozen ingredients as I don’t plan meals too far in advance.

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