Silver Linings

Every morning over breakfast, I read the news. I look at CNN, Yahoo and to see the latest. And as we all know, the news is fairly grim. It can be a real challenge not to let the news completely ruin your day. I have found that I purposely read articles about things that are unrelated to Coronavirus – or at the very least would be considered silver linings. So that’s what today’s post is going to be about… things that I am grateful for. And for those of you who were waiting for a real estate tour of Carmel, that will be the next post.


I can’t ever remember having so much free time and it’s been great getting to do so many things that I enjoy. I’m not really cooking or baking down here at my mom’s so I’ve had plenty of time to do more jigsaw puzzles:

Also, the last couple of days have been beautiful so I’ve been taking long walks around town. It’s been wonderful to see so many people out and about – couples walking together, families out for bike rides, people enjoying the beach. And everyone is doing their part to stay one zebra length away from one another.

I downloaded my very first audio book from the library to keep me entertained while walking – Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I actually read this book when it was first published but it’s wonderful listening to Neil read it to me. For those of you not familiar with Neil Gaiman, he is an English fantasy writer and one of my favorite authors. He wrote The Sandman (one of the most amazing graphic novels ever), Coraline, Stardust, Good Omens (brilliantly hilarious adaptation available on Amazon Prime), American Gods, Fortunately The Milk and so many other great stories that I’ve lost track. Since I know you all have lots of time on your hands, check him out – you won’t be disappointed!

Even walking Juno in the morning has proven to be more enjoyable than usual. I don’t mind if he wants to sniff something for a long time since I’m no longer in a hurry. This has lead to me noticing more on our strolls – check out the banana slug I saw the other day:

I had never seen a banana slug in person until now. Maybe I’ll see a mountain lion before I head back to Oakland next week – sightings are rare but there are some in the area. I’ve always wondered that if I’m allergic to cats, would I also be allergic to lions? Mind you, if I did see a mountain lion, I wouldn’t try to pet it. I should also mention that I didn’t pet the banana slug either.


I have been heartened by all the articles I’ve read about how clear the skies are in large cities since there are fewer cars on the road creating less exhaust, fewer planes taking off, etc. These pictures of Los Angeles are just incredible:

I grew up in LA and can tell you that I was NEVER able to see Catalina Island from Griffith Park. Last week, there was an article about Venice, Italy and how the water has cleared up enough that you can actually see fish in the canals.

And on a related note, it seems that all the wildlife are also taking advantage of people staying at home. People who live in Yosemite report seeing 4X the number of bears right now. I even saw a video of two coyotes howling in the streets of San Francisco.

Who knows whether the global shutdown will have a long term impact on global warming but this can’t be a bad thing. Oh – and you shouldn’t pet coyotes either. They are dangerous.


Being right makes me happy. I was reading an article the other day about the shortage of yeast and I did a little fist pump. For those of you who remember my first post, it was all about the shortage of yeast and the lengths I went to to procure some. When I was at Whole Foods in Monterey earlier this week, they were totally out of yeast and had almost no flour. So see – it’s not just me/ not just the Bay Area. The funniest part about this article was the comment that all up until recently, everyone was all about being gluten-free. Now everyone is baking bread. I’ve even seen a few articles about people sharing sourdough starter in San Francisco – or just leaving it on street poles in the Bernal Heights neighborhood. I think this is awesome. And for the record, I was never gluten-free. Gluten is good.

Proving my mom wrong also makes me happy. For example, she was very kind to get me a 1,000 piece Carmel-themed jigsaw puzzle featuring a hand-painted map of the town, as well as local businesses and local dogs (sadly Juno wasn’t included). I told her on Tuesday afternoon that I would have it finished by EOD yesterday. She said no way – we even made a bet that if I was right, she would buy dinner. If she was right, I’d buy dinner. Guess who was right????

Let me tell you, the reuben sandwich that I “won” last night for dinner was friggin delicious. I was equally happy when I was right about who the killer was in The Valhalla Murders. Side note: I liked the series a lot though the plot was somewhat similar to V for Vendetta.

I am not a Polyanna

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not exactly a “glass is half-full” kind of person. I think of myself as a realist with a side of snark. I know how lucky I am that I have my health, a beautiful place to stay, a can of yeast and a large supply of toilet paper at my disposal. Of course I am nervous about money and I’m hopeful that by the time my taxes are due in July, I’ll be back at work. Of course, I know that once I am back at work, I’ll miss having the time to bake bread, look for banana slugs and do jigsaw puzzles.

It’s overcast and drizzly here today so it’s a good day for a run – I’m going to head out shortly. But before I do, I will leave you with a link to Kevin Durant’s house which just hit the market. No, it’s not in Carmel – it’s in the Oakland Hills. And while I have never been a Warriors fan (let’s go Lakers!), I wouldn’t mind sheltering-in-place at Kevin’s house:

Shout out to Belgium!

One of the things I like to do to kill time during the day is to check my stats on WordPress. I am able to track how many visitors and views I’ve had on a daily basis – there’s also information on where people are when reading my blog. The majority of the visitors to SnugandBee are, not surprisingly, based here in the USA. But what I find really interesting is that people from other countries have somehow happened upon my blog.

Australia is a no-brainer as I have some friends there (and I lived in Sydney once upon a time). And England – again, I know a few peeps there. Canada? Okay… I mean we share a border so I guess it makes sense. But I’ve seen traffic come in from Germany – and this morning someone from Japan happened to stumble onto my blog. But Belgium has been the big surprise. I have never been to Belgium, nor do I know anyone in Belgium. In fact the closest I’ve come to Belgium was seeing the movie In Bruges several years ago. Yet several people over the last few days have been on SnugandBee. So I’m giving a special shout out to all the cool kids in Belgium… And by the way, you make the best cookies ever:

Best cookies ever

I’ve come to realize that one of the silver linings about sheltering-in-place is having the time to catch up with people. This blog wouldn’t even exist if I hadn’t had a long talk with my friend Tom. Over the past month, I’ve finally had time to connect with friends who I hadn’t been in touch with in ages. So the theme of today’s post is communication!

Of course the challenging thing about catching up with everyone is finding things to talk about that don’t have to do with Coronavirus. My friend Rebecca and I had a long Viber video call last weekend (I’ve totally given up on Skype) and we managed to talk for a solid 10 minutes about the trainwreck that has become Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. And I promised my friend Jerry that I would share this crazy video about a guy in Tokyo who lives in Manga Kissa:

In case you are in need of things to discuss when conversing with your friends and family, here’s a list of topics to keep everyone engaged:

  • What ride do you start with when going to Disneyland? (Actually there should be no debate on this – it’s Pirates of the Caribbean)
  • Star Trek vs Star Wars
  • Why LeBron James is the GOAT and not Michael Jordan
  • The god-awful last season of Game of Thrones and will George Martin ever finish writing the last two books?
  • Why See’s Candy isn’t considered an essential business?
  • Best Harry Potter book/movie
  • How Cate Blanchett was robbed of Best Actress for her role in Elizabeth by Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Crunchy peanut butter vs smooth – which is better and why
  • Who Joe Biden will choose as a running mate
  • Chocolate vs Vanilla
  • If you could time travel, where would you go – future or past?
  • And in honor of Easter, who you would want at your “last supper” and what would you eat?

See? There are lots of things that you can talk about that have nothing to do with Coronavirus. Communication really is key right now… even if it’s just getting/sending a quick text, it makes you feel less isolated. So reach out and touch someone! But don’t actually touch anyone. See Michael – I told you all that hugging was dangerous…

I think my next post will be a virtual walking tour of Carmel, complete with pictures of homes for sale. Because there’s nothing like shopping for a multi-million dollar home while waiting for my $1,200 stimulus check to arrive!

Shelter in (Another) Place

I abandoned West Oakland two days ago and drove down to my mom’s vacation house in Carmel. Technically Carmel-by-the-Sea. Yes, this is the place where Clint Eastwood was once Mayor. But that was a long time ago – before my mom had this house. And yes, I did see Clint once – we were both shopping at the Whole Foods in Monterey. He was alone and no one bothered him. I was also alone and no one bothered me. Clint and I have a lot in common.

As much as I love my loft, there’s something to be said about being here in Carmel. The town is small and quiet and so it’s much easier to be out, go for walks, etc. My plan is to be here for a couple of weeks and hang with my mom (she drove up yesterday). Last night we celebrated the first night of Passover and did a little Seder.

My mom was camera ready. I was not

Anyway, I was re-reading my last post and I may have given the impression that I haven’t been watching that much TV over the past few weeks. This is not the case at all. A few shows I’ve totally binge watched – others I would take my time with, watching over a few days. And amazingly enough, there have even been a few days where I haven’t turned on the TV at all! For the record, I don’t have cable – but between Netflix, Amazon Prime and Showtime, I have more than enough options.

Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve watched – I may have missed one or two shows. And I will not apologize for any of my choices – who doesn’t love trashy reality shows now and then?

  • Love is Blind
  • Making the Cut (still watching)
  • The Stranger
  • The Mandalorian (did the 7-day free trial on Disney+ just for this show)
  • Fleabag
  • The Circle
  • Inside Out
  • Monsters University
  • Jumanji: The Next Level
  • Ford vs Ferrari (this was a rewatch)
  • The Kitchen
  • Kidding (Jim Carrey is soooooo good!!)
  • Tiger King

Tiger King was the last show I watched and I have to say, I hate every single one of these people. There is no “hero” – they are all horrible individuals who treat animals in the worst way. And then I made the mistake of going online after the show to find out what’s happening now with all these animals – and things got even darker. I was on the PETA site and saw a video with one of these f*&kers with a baby bear. Needless to say, I cried. And then I held Juno and told him how much I love him. Because I didn’t know what else to do. It’s hard to un-see that kind of thing. But I really really hope that there’s a special place in hell for these people. I will now jump off my pedestal.

Moving on to happier topics, today is my birthday. I am celebrating the 20th anniversary of my 29th birthday… (thank you Roberta!) I woke up with Juno’s feet in my face so not a bad way to start the day. We took a nice stroll and then I went for a long run. I always run on my birthday – it’s a tradition. A leisurely breakfast followed – here’s Juno enjoying a nice mug of tea:

Snug with mug

No big plans for the day though cake will be consumed. My mom brought the cake up from Hansen’s – this is my absolute favorite cake in the world. I think we’ve been ordering this cake for close to 40 years. It’s marble cake with chocolate chip filling and white icing. Here’s the link to their site if you’d like to drool: To be honest, I started on the cake last night. But I was well within my rights… Why? Because I was born on the first night of Passover. So according to the Jewish calendar, my birthday was yesterday. Hence the eating of the cake. Which was not Passover-friendly. Here’s what it looked like before I cut into it:

For those of you who are unaware, QWNBEE is my license plate. It is my mother’s nickname for me – she usually just calls me Bee. If she calls me Jill, it’s because I’m in trouble. So now you know.

It’s almost noon now so I’m going to wrap up this post – it’s almost time for lunch and I bet you can guess what I’ll be having… But before I go, here’s a PSA on following my blog – when you go onto the site, there should be a little pop-up in the lower right corner that says “Follow.” If you enter your email, you will receive notification when I post something. Or you can bookmark the site. Or not.

“What is a weekend?”

For those of you who were fans of Downton Abbey, “What is a ‘weekend?'” was one of the best lines uttered by Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (played brilliantly by Dame Maggie Smith). For someone whose days were spent having tea, writing letters, taking a turn about the grounds and dressing for dinner, Violet had no idea of what a weekend was. Here’s a clip I found on You Tube:

So why am I referencing this quote on today’s post? Because I have become Violet. I have completely lost track of the days and therefore weekends have become irrelevant. While I’m certainly not dressing for dinner, I do have lots of time to do things like drink tea, write my blog, and run on the treadmill. And now that I think about it, I did wear gloves when I was grocery shopping the other week. Not the glamorous long gloves that the ladies of Downton wear but gloves nonetheless.

But here’s what’s interesting… I find that even though I’m doing very little, I still like to have a schedule. Here’s today’s schedule:

  • Wake up – 6:30am
  • Walk Juno – 6:35am – 7:20am
  • Breakfast/News/Email – 7:30am
  • Brush teeth/Get Dressed – 9:30am
  • Run Errands – 10:30am – 12:30pm
  • Lunch/Email – 1:00pm
  • Start Bread – 2:00pm
  • General Nonsense – 2:30 – 5:00pm
  • Bake Bread – 5:00pm
  • Walk Juno – 6:00pm
  • Dinner/News – 6:30pm
  • Nightly Activities (movie/TV/phone calls) – 7:00pm
  • Bedtime – 10:00pm

Mind you, this isn’t my schedule every day. Sometimes I don’t run errands which means no getting dressed and possibly no teeth brushing. And sometimes General Nonsense starts earlier in the day. Sometimes I substitute puzzles in for baking bread. Last night I called an audible and made birthday brownies for Yas, one of my colleagues at PavĂ©.

When you have lost track of the days, I find that having some kind of schedule to be helpful. Quick shout-out to my friend Priya who has been doing livestream cooking classes on Saturday morning the last couple of weeks. There is a fee but all the money is being donated to a worthy cause. Added bonus – it’s something to put on the schedule. Plus she’s an amazing cook and now I’m learning all her secrets…

In terms of other accomplishments over the last couple of days, I completed another jigsaw puzzle. This time it was candy wrappers. And again, there were several candies that were unknown to me… Curly Wurly? 3 Chubbies? Candy Dogs? And an unfortunate candy called Plopp.

I need to space out my puzzles. What I like about doing puzzles is that I do them on the island in my kitchen. This means I stand the entire time. This is a good thing. Sitting for hours is no bueno. I think my next post will be about home fitness. Either that or the Netflix show Tiger King. (Side note: I am VERY worried that COVID-19 has been found in one of the tigers at The Bronx Zoo.)

Oh! And if anyone from General Mills read my previous post, I wouldn’t say no to an early delivery of the Halloween trifecta. Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Franken Berry. That would definitely make my day. I would do a whole post about Halloween cereal, which I think is even better than Halloween candy!

And speaking of Franken Berry, I’d like to end this post with something else that I find troubling, outside of the tigers getting sick… the real Frankenstein. Frankenstein was NOT the monster, Victor Frankenstein was the scientist who created the monster. Yet, Frankenstein has always been thought of as the creature with the big head, ragged scars and bolts coming out of his neck. Normally I’d don’t have time to think about Frankenstein and his creature but today, I allowed myself 2.5 hours to engage in General Nonsense. And this is the result.

Couch Couture

In my last post on personal hygiene (or rather non-hygiene), I mentioned that I would do a follow up post on quarantine fashion since it seems like the two go hand-in-(please wash your)hand. Because let’s face it, when you’re barely showering, why would you bother putting on clean clothes on a daily basis?

I actually did laundry earlier this week. This was the first time I’d done laundry in almost three weeks. Mind you, I generally average two loads about every 10 days. One load of lights and one load of darks – this doesn’t include sheets and towels which are on a different schedule. So yeah, I finally did laundry and it was only one load. This is due to the fact that I am wearing the same clothes over and over and over again. I’d say I’m averaging 3-4 days per “outfit” (can I call it that?) I do have exceptions – anything worn while running/working out – gets tossed in the laundry after being worn only once. Plus I have a “thing” about wearing socks more than one day in a row. But everything else is fair game to be worn day in and day out. Let me give you a quick rundown on my couch couture:

Three pairs of sweatpants – two are flannel from Uniquo and one pair of ancient Lululemon

Three sweatshirts – one has a rainbow, one is from “Voldemort Day” from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the final one says KALE in the same font that YALE is written in

One snuggly terry zip-up from Uniqlo

That’s pretty much all I’m wearing these days. If I do happen to go out, I might sub out the sweat pants for a pair of running tights but that’s just so I don’t have to change into workout gear later. As far as footwear, here’s a snap of what I wear regardless of whether I go out or stay in:

(Un)Fashionable Footwear

I realized today that I’m actually starting to miss wearing my stylish shoes. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a thing for shoes – and clothes – and bags… I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a clothes horse. Here’s a snap of some of the shoes that I’m sad not to be wearing:

My beloved shoes

It was announced that the shelter-at-home order has been extended through May 3rd here in the Bay Area so it’s going to be at least another month before any of these shoes see the light of day. I’m probably going to need new Uggs soon – mine are starting to look and feel a bit gross from overwear.

The upside to all of these is conserving water and energy by not doing as much laundry – or bathing. Not really sure what the downside is. Well, other than getting Covid-19 and then having to stay home anyway wearing fugly sweats.

In other news, I completed my second 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle! This one took about a day and a half. I did a puzzle swap with my friend Marlene – the swap definitely went in my favor as I got four new puzzles and she got two. This puzzle was of General Mills cereal boxes and was missing a few pieces but I was stoked to get some new puzzles. You can see my handiwork here:

Do you know all of these cereals?

I have to admit that some of these cereals are suspect… I was pleased to see my Halloween faves like Count Chocula and Boo Berry included. But two versions of Fruity Yummy Mummy? I’ve never heard of this. And Fruit Brute? WTF? French Toast Crunch? Berry Lucky Charms? Please enlighten me if you have personal experience with any of these random cereals.

What cracked me up the most about this puzzle was the lone box of Fiber One. This is the only cereal where sugar isn’t in the top three ingredients. Maybe. Bottom line – General Mills seems to make (or made) a lot of really insanely sugary cereals. But that won’t stop me from buying Count Chocula this October, assuming I’m allowed to leave my house by then.

BTW – if you’re trying to figure out exactly how much six feet of space is for social distancing, here’s a handy pictorial provided by my friend Sonja. One zebra – or approximately two Snugs.

Stay healthy and have a good weekend!

To Bathe or Not to Bathe

That really is the question, isn’t it? So it’s Tuesday evening and guess what… I’m back in my robe again. But that’s only because I took a shower a couple of hours ago and it seemed silly to put on clothes. But before I get into today’s topic – personal hygiene – I’d like to close the loop on the previous post regarding the yeast.

I did make a fresh loaf of bread yesterday using my fancy Italian yeast AND this special High Performer flour which is recommended for breads. This flour has maximum gluten so you know it’s gotta be good. Anyway, it was looking a little dicey at first – wasn’t sure how much yeast to use given that it didn’t need to be hydrated in water. Then I had to learn Italian to translate the website. Then I had to convert metric to American. After all of this, the dough doesn’t seem to be rising with the same gusto as last week’s loaf. I’m telling you – it was a rough afternoon and my kitchen was a mess. But when all was said and done, the bread was absolutely frickin’ perfect. And breakfast this morning – green tea and toasted French bread with butter and apricot jam – was just heavenly. Note to Donatella – I may consider local delivery of homemade goodies… stay tuned!

So let’s get to the crux of the biscuit… personal hygiene. I’m going to admit that I’m starting to slip. Well “starting” isn’t really accurate. I’m pretty far down the rabbit hole at this point. As mentioned in my first post, brushing my teeth has become a real chore on days when I don’t leave home. I will at the very least brush before bed and floss too. Now for the record, I’ve never had a cavity in my life so I’m not too worried. On days when I leave home, I will brush my teeth after breakfast as well. It’s really a good thing we’re all keeping our distance from one another.

Showering has also become optional. I took one tonight because I went running and I don’t want to get into bed all sweaty and gross. Yes, even I have limits. But if I hadn’t run, there would have been no need. And even when I do shower, it’s 50/50 as to whether I bother washing my hair. And then when I get out, I don’t comb my hair. I like to think of this as saving good hair product since funds are somewhat limited but really, it’s just laziness. And my hair pretty much looks the same whether I comb it or not. So there.

Shaving and all the other beauty stuff? Snort. Why bother? Part of the reason why I refuse to post any recent pix is because my eyebrows are scary. I am a fan of “threading” which is not something you can do to yourself. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to keep things somewhat in check with tweezers but it’s like trying to hold back the tide with a sieve. I am proud to say that I did cut my fingernails and toenails last week but I did it over the bathtub. And then I forgot to wash them down the drain. Then I took a bath and was trying to figure out what all the weird pokey things were that I was sitting in… Yes yes, I’m a moron. I also made an effort to get my hair colored but my colorist is also at home so the blue is fading and the roots are three inches long. I’m starting to look like a combination Yeti/ Wicked Witch of the West.

But I do have one area where things are always squeaky clean. I am fortunate enough to have a Toto toilet with the built-in bidet. Let me tell you – this thing is awesome. Clean in the front – clean in the back – there’s even a dryer so minimal TP usage to boot. Boom!

So that’s it. Too much information? I feel like honesty is the best policy. Bottom line is if I’m literally sitting around doing nothing, bathing seems like a waste. But I can assure you that if I’m going out, I’ll do my best to clean up… I think my next post will be on quarantine fashion since I feel like these two topics go hand in hand. And speaking of hands, don’t forget to wash yours at least 10 times a day. Maybe 20. If I do end up doing local homemade treat delivery, rest assured that while my hair may not be fabulous, my hands are squeaky clean.

Final note – I streamlined my blog so the most recent post is the first thing you’ll see when you come to the site. No need to click around. You’re welcome.

The Hardest Thing to Find is ???

Welcome to my new quarantine blog! Here in the Bay Area, we’ve been under “shelter at home” orders for almost two weeks. And since jewelry is a non-essential business, I’ve been furloughed (a nice way of saying laid off) from work. The only times I’m allowed to leave home are to go grocery shopping, to see a doctor and to walk Juno. So I’ve got a LOT of time on my hands. And what better way to spend my time than by writing about all the ways I’m spending my waking hours. The dream blog is still in development but includes a dream about driving up a very steep hill, one about baby Yoda and another where I’m screaming at someone.

Okay, it’s just after noon and I’m sitting on my couch wearing sweats, a robe and wool socks. I haven’t showered and haven’t brushed my teeth. So basically a typical Sunday. There’s no chance you’re going to see me looking like this so…*

Right. So now that you’ve stopped imagining me looking like “who did it and ran”, I figured I’d kick off my blog with a few tidbits about the last week…

Of course, we all know that toilet paper is really really really hard to find. I was at Target last week and the TP aisle was completely bare. There was a horde of people standing by the loading doors complaining to an employee that according to the Target website, toilet paper was in stock at the Emeryville location. Some even held up their phones to prove their point. The employee told the horde that everything was on the floor so if there was no TP, that meant they were sold out. Again.

But here’s the thing, the reason I went to Target wasn’t for toilet paper… it was for yeast! And they were completely sold out. And this wasn’t the first place I went. Berkeley Bowl – which is where I shop for groceries – was out of yeast as well. I managed to snag a few packets of quick rise but regular dry active yeast was sold out. I guess everyone decided to bust out their bread makers since flour was also in short supply. Then I went to Market Hall in the hopes that they would have it. Amazingly, they had some in stock. It’s Italian, comes in a can and cost me $5.50. All I can say is this yeast had better be good. I’m going to make a fresh loaf of bread tomorrow and I’ll report back.

Expensive Italian yeast

BTW – Target was also out of Mexican Coke. This was a real bummer as it’s one of my favorite treats. And no, regular Coke is not an adequate substitute. It’s Mexican Coke or nada. Also, I know my friend Scares hasn’t been able to find tofu. If there’s anything random that you’ve been unable to get, let me know!

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen last week. I made a frittata, baked fresh bread, made potato leek soup, baked French macarons and also a batch of lemon squares. Pictures of some of my culinary masterpieces can be found right here, along with the jigsaw puzzle that took me one day to complete (I should have gotten the 5,000 piece puzzle).

A quick note on the first image on the home page. In reading about how Coronavirus has literally ravaged the entire planet, a recurring image kept appearing in my mind – Earth with a “Closed” sign across it. Because that’s basically where we’re at at this stage.

I don’t want to drag this post out too much longer as I really should brush my teeth. My plan for this blog is to post every couple of days and create themes for each post. Topics could include but are not limited to: home fitness, personal hygiene, quarantine fashion, maximizing couch time, creating a manageable schedule, communication, binge watching (pros/cons) and the joys of a good nap. And here’s a picture of Juno doing what he does best…

Bottom line is we’re all in this together, even though we’re six feet apart.

*Here is a picture taken of my nephew Aaron and me just two months ago before seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can clean up nicely, but right now I’m choosing not to!