thoughts in quarantine


The current stay at home recommendations are difficult in so many ways. We are used to getting out, visiting friends, going out to eat, going on trips, flowing along without much worry in our lives, and many of this normalcy came to a halt with the COVID19 pandemic.



It is a scary, uncertain and heartbreaking time. I have been working hard to acknowledge that, and also to challenge myself to look for the positives and silver linings. I believe it is a time to take inventory of what is really critical and important as we move out of this pause in our lives that has devastated and challenged so many people around the world.


I love making lists.


The Pros and Cons of a situation help put things in perspective and when you make a list, the decisions associated with that list are easier to continue to move things forward day by day.



This is my positive list: Pros


  • Quality time with family and loved ones.

  • More time at home to get organized.

  • The flowers are blooming and the yard and house are getting in order.

  • Eating better and healthier meals because my wife and daughter are competing for best meals to cook during quarantine.

  • Regular exercise, whether it is a solo ride on my bike with less traffic on the road or a restorative yoga class that is streamed through my iPad in the basement.

  • Reduced transportation costs by parking the cars and commuting online.

  • Increased video conferencing with family, friends and business networks.

  • Daily FaceTime calls with our new grandson and weekly calls with family.

  • Increased internet speed with an upgrade to our wifi and range because we have multiple devices streaming and need different parts of the house or yard.

  • Rediscovering some things and memories from the past that are fun to share around the campfire in the backyard.


These are my acknowledged losses: Cons


  • Worldwide: Loss of life, fear, isolation, loss of employment and alterations to our world as we know it.

  • Less human interaction with family, friends and business colleagues.

  • Sports and Events that bring joy and excitement to so many.

  • Traveling freely to places that we can visit. My wife had a trip cancelled to Europe with a niece and we were going to visit our youngest son in Taiwan this summer. We have family in Taiwan, Urbana, Seattle and Denver.

  • Knowing that many small businesses and restaurants that make Portland special are suffering and might not come out of this successfully.


A Perspective as we take it in stride....


One of the big decisions I made during the stay at home period was to cancel our telephone landline and increase our internet speed and expand the range around the house and yard. That's one of the biggest things we have had going on at our house in quarantine. 30 years ago, my wife and I lived in a small village in China for over a year, with rough conditions and very limited access to the outside world or home. Besides work, we stayed home most of the time. Some of our current experience is reminding us of that time, and we are realizing how good we truly have it now, even during this very difficult time. We realize how lucky we are to have everything we have, our health, our family and our safety.



Having the biggest action this quarantine be upgrading our connections to the outside world really contrasts the big efforts we had to take 30 years ago in China, even to just complete the simplest tasks like cooking food. It also has me recognizing that neither of these compare to the hardship others are facing due to the virus, the economy, and loss of employment during this time.



Spending all this time in our house has me paying more attention to my surroundings than I normally do on an average day. My wife and I find ourselves recognizing the many Chinese household items and decorations that we brought home with us from our time in Asia. We are surrounded by them in our home, but normally just go about our lives around them. Now, we take time and find ourselves reflecting on the different pieces and memories that come with them. They take us back to that time and experience. We have a 30 year old ornate Chinese wedding bed that we still sleep on. We bought this bed while living in a small village in Fujian Province as the Production Manager for a Nike contract shoe factory in Quanzhou China. We actually had it commissioned and delivered by bicycle to our home in Quanzhou.


My wife and I lived in Guangzhou China and then for a year in the outpost of Quanzhou in 1988-89. Things moved slower and we appreciated the hard work and focus to accomplish some of the simplest tasks. We came to love the culture and history and are love reflecting on those memories 30 years later.


Dragons carved into the frame of our Chinese Wedding Bed



This is a picture of our Chinese Wedding Bed that is over 30 years old and holds memories of living simply, appreciating the small things while in a small village in China. No cars, no tv, no computer connection, limited phone lines, and intermittent and unpredictable power every day.




The house we lived in at the time had intermittent electricity, water that needed to be boiled and filtered and we had to bleach our vegetables from the local market. Our western quality groceries needed to be hand carried in from stores or hotel restaurants in Guangzhou.


Perhaps the time spent at home allows you to shop locally, support organic farms and local stores and cook healthier meals by planning vs being in a rush and grabbing something to go. I have had conversations with smaller and local farmers that have fresh produce ready to feed our regional community. Some places around the USA and the world are not so lucky. Appreciate what we have locally and when we support them during this time, we should continue to look for ways to support going forward.


Rediscovering some things and memories from the past that are fun to share around the campfire in the backyard. 

How we stay connected:

ShortWave Radio 1988-89


One of the items I pulled out from a shelf that reminded me of that time in China was the short wave radio that was our only link to international news through the BBC or Voice of America. 



Zoom, Facetime, Hangouts are available 24/7




I laugh at the contrast in time and technology as my wife and I FaceTime our 3 month old grandson every morning or have a zoom birthday party for my 92 year old mother in law.
I think of the limited connection to family and friends from our home in the village of Quanzhou, China. 

We shared a party-line for international calls with the local public security bureau. There was not even dial up computer connections at that time in China. 






We will get through this, but will also learn how to manage our work and personal lives. At times like this it is always great to plan for the worst and hope for the best. The planning should include some of those skills and experiences that you already possess, but perhaps just need to refresh. We can all benefit by getting back to the fundamentals of life, but also savor in our ability to share, teach, connect and empower those that might be anxious or afraid to see a new way of doing things.




Fearless Innovation Together bringing your own personal intersections to navigate with those you live and work with to help you through this challenging time.

Reach out to me at Michael@incubatorU.com

I would love sharing my strategies to empower you.


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