Tag Archives: covid 19

And Just Like that……Everything Changes!

These days, my blog just seems to write itself. Experiences and new ways of accomplishing almost everything, from washing clothes to shopping, are the norm. But as humans, it takes an exceptionally long time to change our ways so that all our new activities feel stiff and unfamiliar. Take for example, shopping, my passion! Here in Napa County, we are in Phase Two A of the process. That means many retail locations can reopen, except ones that involve person-to-person contact like salons, nail parlors, gyms, and spas.

About a week ago, my husband and I went to the University of California San Francisco hospital, where he had a follow-up appointment for a recent health scare. Since no one is allowed in the hospital other than the patient, I had to occupy myself with walking around nearby.

UCSF is in Mission Bay, as is the beautiful new Chase Center Warriors and concert arena. This venue opened in September 2019 at a cost of half a billion dollars. Besides the 18,000-seat arena, the project boasts 580,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Additionally, a new light rail system connecting the arena to downtown is also proposed, at a cost of $1.0 billion. The MANICA designed arena opened with a Metallica concert playing to a sold-out crowd.

Huge investment full of vision and promise. A community gathering space that would be alive at least 250 nights each year. The one and only first-class arena for concerts in San Francisco. A new space for artists to add to their tour routes! We attended the Sara Bareilles concert in January and though the house was set in the concert-configuration at 10,000-capacity, it seemed like we were onstage with her.

Here is what it looks like now:

Eerie. A boarded-up ghost town cordoned off to all seeking to visit. The many restaurants were either not yet operational when the Pandemic began or closed now because of it. A special favorite of Northern Californians is Gotts, a local hamburger and milk shake joint that now offers sushi and other fancy stuff. I almost cried when I saw this:

   

How could this happen? Who could have predicted this devastating blow to a brand-new entertainment venue in one of the best entertainment regions in the world?

And just like that, everything changed again! Last week, stores were allowed to open in Napa County, where I live. I was thrilled. It was advertised that the Napa Premium Outlets were not yet open, but that the Vacaville Premium Outlets were (both Simon Properties). I drove the 35 minutes to the Outlets and was greeted by a very spotty opening sequence. Most stores were still closed, and signs disclosed they would be open next week or the week after. The few stores that were open look like this:

One or two customers in each shop.  The stock was plentiful because it has been sitting in a warehouse for two or three months, awaiting opening of the stores . I felt particularly sorry for a new William Sonoma Factory store that just opened for the first time, with no customers in its beautiful store:

I have PTSD from trying to keep up with the world. It’s like when you have your first baby, or worse yet, your second baby, and just when you think you have it nailed, their behavior changes, they start sleeping less or more; they don’t like the food today that they loved yesterday; they cry endlessly for no reason, and you want to run away. But of course, you don’t, except for maybe a minute or two when you lock yourself in the bathroom and sob for, which is all the time you are allowed to yourself as a new parent. That is what I feel like today. I want certainty; I want routine; I want to get on a plane and go on my summer vacation; I want to see my grandbabies; I want to kiss my kids! I will just keep muddling along, as I imagine we all will. And I will keep writing blogs that someday may seem like the poetry you wrote when you were a stoned college kid.

What are you doing to stay sane? Share with us your tips for slogging through your days.

Notes from the Underground – An Update on How We’re Doing

Are you as sick of washing your hands and your shelter-in-place roommate, husband, family, extended family as I am? I am ready to go ballistic if my husband puts one more item away that I just took out to use! We are all getting on each other’s nerves, and I don’t care how emotionally even you are (I am not!) or how much you promise yourself you will be calm, cool and collected, we are all experiencing cabin-fever and long for the days when we could go into Starbucks to get the morning cup of Joe.

Well, I have no answer for you.  Surprised?  You thought I’d give you four coping strategies.  But I have none. However, I can share some things that work for me.

 

  1. I have found that walking my dog with or without my husband, helps bring me back into the moment.  My dog, however, is tuckered and runs away when I bring out his leash.

 

  1. Playing the guitar and writing music helps. Now that is REALLY challenging when I feel completely uninspired and dried up, creatively speaking. It’s a real chore and maybe I will look back on these works someday, like you did when you wrote a poem when you were stoned and say to yourself, “what was I thinking?!”

 

  1. Writing blogs (which now seem like “Dear Diary” entries) and just simply going about the requisite chores have helped me stay sane.

 

  1. Each evening, making a list of the tasks for the next day. I never thought “order dinner from _____” (insert name of your favorite restaurant) would make it onto a to do list.  Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time available).

 

  1. Also, the new-old sharing/visiting apps, ZOOM or Facetime, or Skype (does anyone use that anymore?) are actually very soothing and helpful. It is uplifting just to hear what my friends and family are experiencing, see their faces, giggle at something not really funny, or just share stories of our days.

We had an online Seder on Sunday, with many of my family members on both coasts, something we couldn’t do before because who travels cross-country for a Seder?  It was wonderful to connect with the extended family, Jewish and gentile, and drink red wine (not Manischewitz, some lovely Santa Rosa Cabernet, because, hey, it’s the local offering)

  1. We are planting our summer vegetables including tomatoes and zucchini. Have I ever done that before? Have we met? No, that’s Charley’s job, ‘cause he is from Indiana.

 

  1. Shopping online for spring and summer dresses. That might just be me, probably doesn’t help most people.  But I’ve gotten some really great stuff that fits perfectly, which doesn’t happen very often!  My favorite website for this is VICI.com.  Really airy, adorable comfortable dresses.  Retail is my vocation and avocation.

So that’s it for now.  Let us know how you are coping. Sharing is caring in this new world!  I feel better already!

What Will the World Look like in 2025? Five Things to Know for the Future

 

It’s a question on everyone’s mind.  In times of uncertainty, we look to the past, we look to the future, because we just can’t understand what’s going on right now!

In my world (and probably yours), I am working digitally.  That’s nothing new for me.  But right now, I have a profound sense of loneliness.  I miss the sights and sounds of movies, shopping, visiting with my grandkids, even going to doctor’s appointments!  I miss the gym (well maybe not too much) and I miss going out to dinner!!

In these quiet moments, I’ve been thinking about how our world will change in the next five years.  Here are five of my predictions about what we will be doing and how we will be doing it in 2025.

  1. People have short memories. That’s a good thing.  If it were not so, no one would ever have a second child!  One of my major prognostications is that the gathering spots all over the nation will be teeming with people and activity.  But it will be different.  Visitors will “keep their distance”, be more polite, and leave space for their fellows both in front and back.  This new behavior will change necessary planning factors for public assembly.  Our current “order-of-magnitude” space requirements for various entertainment and attraction venues – theme parks, movies, museums, convention/conference centers and retail spaces – are all planned this way.  We will need new numbers, and that will put pressure on the size of many of our social institutions and facilities.  This will make them bigger, and thus likely more expensive to build.

 

  1. Consumers will pivot spending from big ticket items to more affordable choices.  Theme parks and cinemas are considered recession-proof.  That’s not true, but they are much more sustainable than expensive cars, hotels, high-priced vacations and restaurants during and after a recession.

As a corollary, Millennials who are the darlings of advertisers and the future of our country’s spending, will keep on the same consumption track, preferring experiences to things. But the experiences will be closer to home and without as much adventure as before.

These Millennial consumers are:

    •  Born between 1980 – 1994
    • Number 72 Million
    • Ages: 25-39
    • Forming Families Now
    • 29% of Adults in the U.S.
    • Ethnically Diverse
    • Tech Savvy
    • Multi-Taskers
    • Prefer Experiences to Things (So important to keep in mind for retailers!)
    • Prefer Health to Wealth
    • Prefer Mobile/Digital Communication
    • Responsible for $14 billion in consumption expenditure

More fascinating though is the amount spent by Generation X, those consumers born from 1965 to 1980, and aged 40 to 55.  These are the most prolific spenders, accounting for $24 billion in annual expenditure.  Why we aren’t planning for and paying more attention to these mid-life consumers is beyond my understanding!  (In fact, a comparison of the average annual expenditure on Entertainment by cohort shows GenXers spending $3,231 per household, followed by Boomers at $3,286 per household and finally the younger Millennial Generation at $2,186 per household.  Average for the nation is about $2,800.)

These expenditures will likely be at the same in 2025 as they are today.  But smart owners and developers will target the groups that spend the most.

  1. New entertainment-infused projects that continue planning and development during this relatively short period of confinement will come out on top. These projects will be first to market.  If planners/owners develop well thought out, well designed, well executed projects with rational business plans, they will reap the benefits of a surge in demand immediately following the downturn and thereafter.

 

  1. Cultural entities such as museums and live theaters will present content that is relevant, easily understood and fundable. They will likely lag behind the uptick in commercial entertainment activity.  This is because spending for nonprofit activities are seen as more discretionary than other forms of entertainment.  In fact, for the past 20 years, expenditures on cultural attractions have been slipping. Why?  Baby Boomer parents did not do a good job of educating their children on the value of theater and art.  That’s the number one factor in propensity to spend on the arts:  exposure as a child.  Our institutions will reflect the society and cultural needs of a diverse population.  Many of our older institutions were born in a homogeneous America that no longer exists.

 

  1. We will return to a simpler time, albeit with sophisticated tech all around us. Everything old will become new. Consumption of just plain fun with some silliness will be the norm!

While living abroad for a year, I experienced this uncomplicated world that offered          simpler and enduring fun.

I went to the mountains with my friends:

I attended Oktoberfest in Munich:

I attended  opera at La Scala and the Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze. I went to formal            dances:

And I lightened up, became a kid again, upped my joie de vivre:

What are your thoughts about the world after Covid-19?  Write us and let us know.  We want to keep connecting with our friends during this time.