The day dawned (without me, as usual) but by the time I was up and had my coffee, the sky was a limpid blue and a soft breeze stirred the curtains. I opened all the bay windows to the balcony, and Stef and I went outside to sit and enjoy the sunshine. I started to pluck at some dead leaves on a plant, and we ended up doing all the gardening,  ripping out dead plants, cutting back the bushy plants, even planting some morning glory seeds a friend of mine gave me a couple years ago – I have been planting them each year, and each year I gather the seeds to plant anew. Each year they grow back, a riot of twining vines with huge, heart-shaped leaves and bright pink flowers. Then I moved all the flower pots and swept and vacuumed, and the balcony was gleaming and spiffy, and then of couse we went inside.

What is funny is that now Stef wants to walk the dog together. We printed up a pass, and off we went to the bakery, were Stef got us some fresh bread and the ‘pain chocolates’ I love so much. (What is not to love about puff pastry with a bar of chocolate in it?) So we stroll down the street with Auguste, and there were hardly any people around, and the restaurants and stores are closed. Only the grocery stores, pharmacy, and bakery was open today. We live just down the street from the bakery, pharmacy, and small grocery store, so I feel very lucky. We can actually walk to these places without falling foul of the quarantine laws. We live close enough. Otherwise, we’d have to drive, and only one of us could go at a time. As it is, only one of us goes in the store, the other waits outside across the street, and we use the plastic bag virus hack to open doors and push buttons.

This evening, my neighbor called me to tell me that at 8pm everyone was to go out to their balconies and windows to applaud the healthcare service. Doctors, nurses, therapists, ambulence drivers… all the people who are on the front lines of the war that President Macron has declared – people who very literally risk their health and even their lives to help others. At 8 pm we were outside, and I could hear applause coming from other buildings, so we all joined in, clapping, hooting, and shouting our thanks. After the applause died down, we spent a few moments chatting with each other, getting news, then everyone waved, wished each other good cheer, and we went back to our apartments to eat our dinner. I felt better, somehow, knowing we were all connected, somehow, by our gratitude, by proximity, knowing I have good neighbors is a blessing.

Tomorrow Stef and I have a program. It will start with a contest – who can plank the longest. (I will lose) Then we plan to do some exercises, walk the dog (together again), enjoy the sun on the newly cleaned and spiffy (where did I get that word?) balcony. I will try to get some chapters written on my new book. We will probably start cleaning out the closets one of these days – but it will not be tomorrow…

Dinner – homemade vegetable soup & fresh baguette, Greek yogurt and honey for desert.

Quarantine hack – chatting with the neighbors on the balcony and out windows at 8 pm after giving thanks to the healthcare workers. Strangly calming and comforting. Also – today was a ‘no news’ day. We managed to miss the noon and 8 pm news. I didn’t miss it a bit.

Worry of the day – I ran out of chocolate. May we always have such trivial worries. Also my joint is gone. Maybe my cousin Jack will send me another one, LOL. Ahhh memories.