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Things to Do While Sheltering in Place!
Below is a collection of ideas, activities, or places to go “virtually” and other things to do while sheltering in place. The end of the list has ideas that don’t require an internet connection or computer. For the online items listed, we’ve done our best to make sure the links work. But if they don’t, we suggest you Google the name of the place or activity to get to the site. Most of these activities are free, and most are not time-sensitive (although a few have a minimal charge or a deadline).

We will review the list weekly to keep it up to date, and as new suggestions are brought to our attention. Don’t forget to look back at the prior updates and the original list.  Lots of things you may have missed! You might even want to print out the PDF version of this list just to refresh your memory of everything listed.

NEW ADDITIONS: May 25th, 2020

ART Online
Art and more art, curated by Google Arts & Culture

Sausalito Library’s Virtual Art Gallery celebrates Sausalito artists

Theater, Music, Operas, Movies Online
Now through Thursday, May 28: NT Live is streaming Streetcar Named Desire with the amazing Gillian Anderson. Free.

May 28 through June 4: NT Live is will stream This House, an excellent production with still timely insight into British politics. Small donation required (your choice: $5, $20, or “other”) as this is a fundraiser. 

Berkeley Rep has joined Play at Home, a nationwide theater project that provides micro commissions to playwrights to create short plays you can perform at home!

Other theater options listed here.

Live with Carnegie Hall is a new series of performances you can watch live-streamed or on-demand. A wide variety of performers and music. Free.

Musical comfort from YoYo Ma. Free. 

Over 100 students and alumni created Bolero Julliard

It’s NEVER too late to put on your dancing shoes. And maybe enter a contest.

Courses, Talks, Podcasts, Games, Comedy
Thursday, May 28, at 4:00 pm. The Asian Art Museum’s Head of Contemporary Art, Abby Chen, leads a conversation with artists Jas Charanjiva, Chanel Miller, and Jenifer Wofford who share how the COVID-19 lockdown and the rise in anti-Asian racism have impacted their practices. They offer insights into how creativity can nurture positive social change and self-transformation. Tickets start at $5 (plus a small fee to cover credit card charges). 

OLLI summer classes online are now available for registration. No membership required. The cost is $25 per lecture.

The Soldiers, by Uncivil, is a podcast from 2017 that describes the hidden history of women who fought in the Civil War. Available at the link above, or from Apple podcasts or Spotify. More podcasts of all sorts on The Moth

Armchair Travel
Check out this website which provides you with any number of ways to travel, and places to go, around the world from your armchair at home! 

The beautiful Dutch garden Keukenhof photographed (without people!) by Albert Dros, a wonderful Dutch photographer. 

Journey to the Edge of the Universe, a documentary. A journey through time and space! 

Exercise and Yoga
The Corte Madera Intergenerational Center Online hosts several exercise and yoga classes via Zoom.

Crazy, Interesting or Cute Stories or Videos Online

The “Working from Home Zoom Suit” 

Silly satire of various competing issues and memes related to the coronavirus put in the context of a horse race.

Olive and Mabel, episode 4. A Zoom meeting with two labradors: Olive and Mabel. Put together by Andrew Cotter, Scottish sports commentator, who obviously has too much time on his hands! This is the 4th episode. 

Prior Olive and Mabel episodes can be found at the following URLs on YouTube:
Episode 1 
Episode 2 
Episode 3

Offline Activities

Don’t forget to create and contribute a poem or two or three to our Marin Villages poetry book project. No experience necessary. The only criteria are that the poem is written by you during this shelter-in-place time and submitted to us by June 30. Send poems to Cherie Sorokin,

Re-read one of your favorites. Or how about one of these? Alice in Wonderland, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Don Quixote, A Tale of Two Cities, The Great Gatsby, My Antonia, almost anything by Jane Austen.

Jigsaw Puzzles
If you don’t have one at home, you can order them from Book Passage. Book Passage is now open and can arrange to mail books and puzzles from their store to your home.

Answers are below but try not to peek!

  1. What has to be broken before you can use it?
  2. What’s always in front of you but can’t be seen?
  3. What question can you never answer “Yes” to?
  4. What goes up, but never comes down?


  1. An egg.
  2. The future
  3. Are you asleep?
  4. Your age.

NEW ADDITIONS: May 17th, 2020

Theater, Music, Operas, Movies Online

Garsington Opera outside of London has posted Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. No subtitles, but glorious singing.

How about listening to a theater piece? Try Playing On Air, which records one-act theatrical pieces.

Virtual choirs are becoming quite a thing on the internet. Here are a few of interest:

Down to the River – Virtual Choir. Lovely voices of women from Southern CA and elsewhere

You’ll Never Walk Alone—singers and musicians from all around the world

How Can I Keep from Singing? NYC Virtual Choir and Orchestra

Not exactly music, but interesting! Check out the sound sanctuary.

Courses, Talks, Podcasts, Games, Comedy

National Theatre in London is offering an online quiz using famous actors as the questioners. The quiz is sort of a trivia game; it covers a whole variety of topics, general knowledge, sports, and England’s National Theatre. It’s hard! But even if you don’t know the answers, it’s a treat to have Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan, among other actors, as the hosts, and to get a peek into their homes!   

Comedy Night Online. Free, but RSVP required and space is limited. Mostly Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, but check the website.

For other online comedy, check out this website. Programs are free but donations encouraged.

NPR has lots of interesting podcasts! Check out these from its Modern Love podcast. Modern Love features top actors performing true stories of love, loss, and redemption. It has included performances by Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, Angela Bassett, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sterling K. Brown, and more. A recent episode is called Alone in a Pandemic, and features stories from people living alone in the pandemic and how they are doing.

OLLI summer classes online are now available for registration. No membership required. The cost is $25 per lecture.

Armchair Travel

Check out Rick Steves’ website. 

Visit our National Parks virtually

Japanese Garden Walk

Exercise and Yoga

The Corte Madera Intergenerational Center Online hosts several exercise and yoga classes via Zoom.

Crazy, Interesting or Cute Stories or Videos Online

Is paper dead?

Offline Activities


Contribute a poem or two or three for our Marin Villages poetry book project. No experience necessary. The only criteria are that the poem is written by you during this shelter-in-place time and submitted to us by June 30. Send poems to Cherie Sorokin,

Here an old, reliable, and delicious recipe for roasting a chicken.

  1.  3 ½ pound whole chicken

2½ teaspoon kosher salt (or sea salt)

  1. teaspoons black pepper
  2. Small bunch of mixed fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and sage.

Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least an hour, or overnight.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan or large ovenproof skillet. Stuff cavity with fresh herbs. (Or you can sprinkle dry herbs inside if you don’t have fresh ones.)

Roast 50 minutes, then baste the chicken with pan juices. Continue roasting until the chicken’s juices run clear when the skin is pierced with a knife, 5 or 10 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.

Answers are below but try not to peek! 

  1. What makes this number unique? ---8,549,176,320
  2. A sundial has the fewest moving parts of any timepiece. Which has the most?
  3. What belongs to you, but everyone else uses it more?
  4. Many people have heard me, but none have seen me. I will not speak until spoken to. What am I?


  1. It contains each number, zero through nine, in alphabetical order.
  2. An hourglass with thousands of grains of sand.
  3. Your name.
  4. An echo

NEW ADDITIONS: May 11th, 2020

Zoo Tours
Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Otter Live-Cam

Theater, Music, Operas, Movies Online
A lovely concert by the Westminster Boys’ Choir. The nephew (in-law) of Colin Crawford, one of our great volunteers, is the final smiling face at the end of this video!

Living room concerts features Broadway actors and singers performing from home. 
Los Angeles Symphony –celebrated artists sharing their music and reflections during this time of quarantine.  

Antony and Cleopatra from England’s National Theater --NT Live-- is playing this week until the 14th. 

Courses, Talks, Podcasts, Games
The Smithsonian offers daily classes and programs. Topics vary.  

The first round of Buck Institute Lectures on Covid-19 has ended. These were a series of conversations with scientists on the coronavirus and Covid-19.  They were recorded and you can watch the recordings for free on the Buck website. Two are particularly interesting: Dr. Jon Newman on May 4th and Dr. Larry Brilliant on May 27th. 
Armchair Travel
Google Arts and Culture has also teamed up with other national parks for additional tours. Check them all out with this link.

Crazy, Interesting or Cute Stories or Videos Online
Hairstyling during the Pandemic:

Not sure whether to list these under Videos or Exercise. Check out these musical entries and sing or dance along! 
Jailhouse Rock
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Tutti Frutti
Let’s Twist Again
Jive Bunny, Let’s Swing Again
Sing, Sing, Sing

Offline Activities

Contribute a poem or two or three for our Marin Villages poetry book project. No experience necessary. The only criteria are that the poem is written by you during this shelter in place time and submitted to us by June 30. Send poems to Cherie Sorokin,

Answers are below but try not to peek!
  1. What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years? 
  2. You see a boat filled with people. It has not capsized, but when you look again you don't see a single person on the boat. Why? 
  3. What is special about these words: job, polish, herb?
  1. The letter "M."
  2. Everyone on the boat is married. 
  3. They are pronounced differently when the first letter is capitalized

NEW ADDITIONS: May 5th, 2020

Museum Virtual Tours
More museums to visit virtually

Theater, Music, Operas, Movies Online
This site has a wealth of documentaries on all sorts of subjects.

SF Symphony short performance videos with SF Symphony musicians.   

The Marin Symphony continues weekly talks with and online performances by Marin Symphony artists. 

Courses, Talks, Podcasts, Games
Book Passage’s Live Interviews with authors—Saturdays and Sundays at 4. Free but registration required. Recordings of prior interviews are also available on the Book Passage web page.  

Amazing Ted Talks

Increase your vocabulary with this great compilation of new words related to the coronavirus! 

Armchair Travel
Wonderful road trips around the world!

Conde Nast’s compilation of armchair travel options.

Junket’s 45 ideas for travel without leaving home. 

Crazy, Interesting or Cute Stories or Videos Online
Understanding the COVID-19 Rules:  

Redwoods Residents get in the spirit of social distancing!

This is a repeat from last week, but well worth checking out again. Qigong exercises to strengthen the lungs—in light of the fact that the coronavirus frequently seems to target the lungs

Offline Activities
Comfort Food!

Sardines on Toast
This recipe can be easily varied by adding tomatoes or changing the sauce with which the sardines are tinned. Sardines can be heated or served cold.

1 tin sardines—either plain or in tomato sauce

1 tablespoon mayo
Juice of ½ lemon (optional)
Parsley or lettuce strips (optional)
Minced onion (optional)
Two slices of toast 

Mash up the sardines (mostly drained if using plain sardines in oil, without draining if using sardines in tomato sauce). Sardines can be heated before you mash them up, or mashed up straight from the can.

Mix in mayo and juice of the lemon. Mix in minced onion (cooked or raw). Top toast with sardine mixture and top with parsley or lettuce strips.
Note: alternatively, don’t mash up the sardines, but serve whole on toast covered with mayo and rings of raw or cooked onion and parsley or lettuce.

This week’s brainteasers
Answers are below but try not to peek!

  1. The names of three countries start with H. Can you name all three?

  2. The Yankees have the highest number of World Series wins (27). Can you name the team with the second-highest number of wins?

  3. There is one word, according to Google, that Californians seem to always have trouble spelling. Can you name it?

Answers to the above

  1. Hungary, Honduras, Haiti
  2. The St. Louise Cardinals (11)
  3. Beautiful (and we live in such a beautiful state!!!)


Museum Virtual Tours
We have mentioned virtual museum tours before, but here’s a reminder of a few offerings by far-away museums we might not otherwise have a chance to visit in the next year or so.

The Louvre in Paris

The National Gallery in Washington DC

The Courtauld Museum in London

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

Theater, Music, Operas, Movies Online
Lincoln Center world-class artists, on your computer screen! Lincoln Center at Home hosts daily pop-up classrooms for families and regularly updates videos of performances—archival, home-made, documentary, or previously broadcast—by our organizations across the campus. at home.

Classical music lovers, check out these online offerings from the Royal Stockholm Orchestra. Plus additional offerings from the Orchestra’s Conductor Pablo Heras Casado

A beautiful rendition of I left My Heart in San Francisco by SF Adler Fellows and the SF Opera Chorus last week.

Two new movies that would have been released in theaters, absent the current quarantine orders, are now streaming on Amazon and/or Amazon Prime:  Selah and the Spades and To the Stars.  Not exactly happy fare, but both recommended by the New Yorker movie critic. If you have Amazon, check them out!

Courses, Talks, Podcasts, Games
Your chance for an Ivy League education!  Harvard offers a whole array of short courses online for free

Not actually a course, but could be. Check out photos, videos, news releases, and articles about our universe from Hubble of our universe.  Puts life on earth in perspective!

Slate Magazine has posted a very interesting article featuring stories of survivors of other pandemics

Marin Symphony Music Director Alasdair Neale interviews Mill Valley resident and Marin Symphony principal violist, Jenny Douglass.

Crazy, Interesting or Cute Stories or Videos Online
Understanding the COVID-19 Rules

Foreseeing the future a month ago

Try these Qigong exercises to strengthen the lungs—in light of the fact that the coronavirus frequently seems to target the lungs.

Offline Activities
This week’s brainteaser. Answers are below, but try not to peek!

  1. Name two things you can never eat for breakfast.
  2. No matter how smart you are, you always overlook this. 
  3. Name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
  4. Two men are playing chess. They play five games and each wins three.  How is that possible? 
  5. Forward I am heavy, backward I am not.  What am I? 
  6. How can you add (addition only) 8s to get to the number 1000? 
  7. You throw me away to use me and bring me back when you are done. What am I? 
  8. A man left home running.  He ran a while then turned left and ran the same distance, and then turned left and ran the same distance again. He did the same one more time. When he arrived home, two masked men were waiting for him.  Who were they? 
  9. Always old, sometimes new; never sad, sometimes blue; never empty, sometimes full; never pushes, always pulls. What am I? 
  10. The more you take of these, the more you leave behind. What are they? 

Answers to the above

  1. Lunch and dinner
  2. Your nose
  3. Yesterday, today and tomorrow
  4. They aren’t playing with each other
  5. The word Ton
  6. 888+88+8+8+8=1000
  7. An anchor
  8. The umpire and the catcher
  9. The moon
  10. Footsteps

Comfort Food!

Easy Spaghetti with Tuna
Flavorful and a bit different—about 10 minutes cooking time


  • 1/2 package spaghetti (or bucatini)—cook for about 3 minutes less than package directions
  • Good olive oil, and lots of it
  • 1-pint cherry or grape tomatoes of whatever colors are at hand. Cut in half
  • 2 or 3 good-sized cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can tuna packed in olive oil, not drained, opened, (packed in water ok, but not as good)
  • A couple of generous handfuls of spinach leaves with stems pulled off
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon,
  • Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • A good Parmesan or Romano cheese (Optional—use sparingly)

Boil water for the pasta and begin to cook it.

Heat skillet with a generous portion of olive oil—don’t skimp. Sauté tomatoes and then add garlic when the tomatoes start to soften. Add the tuna with oil (or if using tuna in water—drain most of the water first). Stir and let simmer a few minutes. 

When the pasta is ready (remember cook about 3 minutes less than package directions), use tongs to add it to the skillet, along with about 2 ladles of the pasta water. Add lemon juice and spinach leaves. Simmer a bit more and add salt and pepper to taste.

Theater, Music, Operas, Movies Online

San José Opera is streaming a production of Mozart’s Idomeneo.

WE Players’ actors read from What Alice Found There, an audio presentation of their adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. Check out Wonder Story Time with Alice and Friends.

The same We Players site also has a five-episode Odyssey Audio Drama

Playing on Air offers readings of great short theater pieces from contemporary playwrights.

Like Piano Music? Check out the grand piano series online.

Classical concert lovers, check out this listing of concerts available via live streaming.

There are lots of sites that offer free movies, though you might have to set up an account or subscribe: check out;;; (Sony pictures);; YouTube; There are also free movies on Amazon if you are already an Amazon Prime member.

The Show Must Go On—YouTube presents excerpts of Andrew Lloyd Weber shows every Friday. Some videos on this link are excerpts, some are full-length shows. Some are free, some require purchase.

Courses, Talks, Podcasts, Games

Marin Symphony’s Maestro Alasdair Neale interviews world-renowned violinist Vadim Gluzman

From The Rush Center for Excellence in Aging (CEA), Schaalman Senior Voices honors the guidance and legacy of interfaith leader Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman, celebrating his 100 years of crossing boundaries, posing challenging questions and promoting greater welfare for countless lives and communities. This series aims to strengthen the well-being of older adults and their communities. Lots to listen to and watch. Check out “Aging and Saging” in the Archives section in particular! (Note, you can make the videos and film full-screen size by clicking on the little white square at the bottom right as you move your cursor or finger over the small video screen.) 

Celebrate Earth Day (April 22nd) at home with NASA  or Visit Earth Day

Kim Churches, CEO of AAUW (American Association of University Women), interviews NPR host Diane Rehm on her newest book When My Time Comes which focuses on end-of-life issues

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me podcasts are a fun way to test your brainpower and knowledge of current events. They are available for free. Lots of similar fun podcasts from NPR are also listed on this page.

The NY Times just made one of its popular games, Spelling Bee, available for free online.

Crazy, Interesting or Cute Stories or Videos Online

Different ways to protect yourself while shopping. Don’t recommend copying any of these, but they are creative!

Quarantine Through Art is a video that highlights through relevant art examples the practices and impact of sheltering-in-place. 

Corona Virus lyrics to a Les Miz favorite “One Day More”. 

Amazon Echo for Seniors. Funny Saturday Night Live video about smart speakers designed for “the greatest generation.” 

SF Ballet artists put together this fun “ballet” with a chain of single dancers.

Not to be outdone, the Paris Opera Ballet created a video of their dancers doing what they do best and must miss, but at home and occasionally with some pretty cute kids joining in! 

Online Exercise

Fitness Blender Total Body Chair Workout

Fifteen Minute Sample Exercise Routine for Older Adults

Offline Activities

Sing-a-long. Try your private sing-along to records—maybe dance along as well! Or for the brave among you turn up the volume and open your door to see if you can get your neighbors to join in the fun.

Howl! Join the Mill Valley or San Anselmo Howl at 8:00 pm, or start a Howl in your neighborhood. Stand outside (6 feet from others!) and howl like a coyote. Highly therapeutic!

Another Brain Teaser. Try this brain teaser—don’t peek at the answers until you’ve answered the questions!

See if you can figure out what these seven words all have in common?

  1. Banana
  2. Dresser
  3. Grammar 
  4. Potato 
  5. Revive
  6. Uneven
  7. Assess

No, it is not that they all have at least 2 double letters...Answer below, but don’t peek!


Answer: In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word, and then spell the word backwards, it will be the same word.


Theater, Music, Operas, Movies Online

The Kennedy Center is offering a wide variety of excerpts from some great Kennedy Center performances. Free.  

LA Theater Works is offering a variety of free and for-purchase theater shows from their archives, including some free science-based or themed theater. 

SF Symphony “Keeping Score” documentaries are a great way to learn about some wonderful composers and their lives. Nine 2-hour shows and concerts featuring nine different composers. Free.

World Concert Hall offers free live broadcasts from concert halls and opera houses around the world. 

Courses, Talks, Podcasts, Games
Starting Wednesday, April 15th, join The Buck Institute for a series of live online sessions with leaders in health care, epidemiology, and molecular biology as they bring an array of perspectives to our ongoing global health crisis. Or view the video archive of every session, wherever and whenever you want. These sessions will be informed, evidence-based perspectives about the COVID-19 pandemic from scientists at the Buck Institute and other leaders in health care.  Free. Registration is required. 

Open Culture is an amazing one-stop-shop for free online classes, movies, e-books, audiobooks, and language lessons. 

Crazy or Cute Stories or Videos Online

M*A*S*H and the Corona Virus is a compilation of some great M*A*S*H excerpts dealing with handwashing, touching your face, social distancing, TP scarcity, among other things. Very funny. Free. 

Do Re Mi re-envisioned! Not so great on social distancing, but otherwise cute video re-writing Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music to reflect practices to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Free. 

A Cloud a Day: The sky may be blue here, but it isn’t everywhere. This site lets you watch clouds—different ones every day. Not quite the same as lying on the beach or in the grass and looking up at the sky, but interesting nonetheless. Free.

Check out Marin County’s own lively video on protecting yourself and others from the coronavirus—featuring a number of Marin County residents.  

Offline Activities

Try this brain teaser—don’t peek at the answers until you’ve answered the questions!


  1. Johnny's mother had three children.  The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child's name?
  2. There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall and he wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?
  3. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?
  4. How much dirt is there in a hole... that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?
  5. What word in the English Language... is always spelled incorrectly?
  6. Billy was born on December 28th, yet his birthday is always in the summer. How is this possible?
  7. In California, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?
  8. What was the President's 1975?
  9. If you were running a race, and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?
  10. Which is correct to say, "The yolk of the egg are white" or "The yolk of the egg is white"?
  11. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in a third field? 


  1. Johnny
  2. Meat
  3. Mt. Everest; it just wasn't discovered yet
  4. There is no dirt in a hole
  5. Incorrectly
  6. Billy lives in the Southern Hemisphere
  7. You can't take pictures with a wooden leg. You need a camera to take pictures
  8. Same as is it now: Donald Trump
  9. You would be in 2nd place. Well, you passed the person in second place, not first
  10. Neither, the yolk of the egg is yellow
  11. One. If he combines all of his haystacks, they all become one big one


Museum Virtual Tours
The Asian Art Museum of SF has a Museum from Home website that includes browsing their collection and exhibits, as well as meditative art videos designed to help you find some peace during this stressful time.

SF MOMA is offering a variety of online videos and articles from around the museum.

Presentation by the De Young Museum’s Distinguished Senior Curator and Curator-in-Charge of American Art, Timothy Anglin Burgard on the Chiura Obata exhibition. Chiura Obata (1885–1975) was one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most influential, respected, and beloved artists. Throughout his life, and particularly in times of great adversity, he found inspiration in what he termed “Great Nature” (Dai Shizen). Wednesday, April 8th from 1:30-2:00 on Facebook. You do not have to be a member of Facebook to attend.

Theater, Music, Operas, Movies Online
Marin Theater Company is streaming Love until April 12 for a $35 e-ticket price. 

SF Opera is offering a series of daily arias by Merola students under the title Odes to Joy.  Some wonderful young singers to listen to, plus lots of other free content on the SF Opera website.

Meet the SF Symphony musicians: a series of videos with individual members of the SF Symphony about their music, instruments and, their lives. It starts with the cellist, Barbara Bogatin. Free.

The Lark Theater in Larkspur is making available films you can stream on your computer for the price of an e-thicket.

The Rafael Theater in San Rafael is making available films you can stream on your computer for the price of an e-ticket.  

Variety’s new initiative for virtual conversations and events. May Program will be Docklands Documentary Film Festival Showcase, May 3 at 4:00 pm. Free.

Check out Jan Wahl’s suggestions for fun, happy movies to watch at home:

  • 1982’s “My Favorite Year”
  • 1997’s “In & Out”
  • 1976’s “Murder by Death”
  • 1982’s “Victor/Victoria”
  • 1974’s “Blazing Saddles”
  • 1967’s “The Producers”
  • 1959’s “Some Like It Hot”

Documentaries also recommended:

  • 2019’s Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound  “It stars a lot of Bay Area people, a lot of Marin, too. Fantastic.”
  • 2019’s Gay Chorus Deep South “It’s about the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus going to the South and what happens to them there.”

These are available on Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, and other streaming services at a minimal cost.

Courses, Talks, Podcasts, Games
Book Passage’s Conversations with Authors: Live sessions with writers and thinkers. 4:00 pm, Saturdays, and Sundays only. Free but registration required.   

Conversation with Bill Bailey, seriously famous and amateur naturalist –the topic is owls! 

Crazy or Cute Stories or Videos Online
Check out the Canadian Hair Freezing Contest.
Weird things people celebrate. 
A collection of miscellaneous and weird facts from Readers Digest.

Online Exercise
Body Kinetics in Mill Valley is offering a variety of free classes via Zoom (the online video app that you can download for free).  

If you are looking for something offline…

Pay attention to what you are eating!  Try cooking up some comfort food that is also good for you, or try out something more challenging that you’ve been meaning to test out—maybe a souffle? Depending on the recipe, you can make a batch just for now, or make more and freeze some for later!

Here are three easy recipes:
Italian Chicken: Chicken thighs (two-four), 1 can stewed tomatoes, some oregano or thyme, or Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Place chicken in an ovenproof dish, cover with tomatoes and seasoning, Bake uncovered at 350 until done (40 to 60 minutes depending on your oven). Serve as is, or with rice or pasta. 

Pasta primavera: Spaghetti or fettuccine, or any kind of pasta. Make according to box directions. We add a bit of olive oil and top with cooked vegetables of your choice—cooked fresh or leftovers, e.g., tomatoes, spinach, peas, broccoli, bell peppers, etc. 

Easy sandwich on toast: Spark up any sandwich (melted cheese, avocado, egg or, tuna salad) by toasting the bread and adding tomato slices, cooked bacon, and lettuce or a red cabbage leaf.


Museum Virtual Tours
American Museum of Natural History: Explore three virtual exhibits at this New York City institution (yes, the one featured in Night At the Museum!). The exhibit “Highlights from the American Museum of Natural History,” shows off many of the museum’s most famous features. 

The Art Institute of Chicago: A large catalog of pieces is available for virtual viewing at this world-renowned art museum, hosted by Google Arts and Culture, which has grouped the works by the style of art. 

Detroit Institute of Arts: This art museum has four different online exhibits, including two focused on feminist icon Frida Kahlo. 

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: Explore six virtual exhibits at this Santa Fe-based museum, which preserves Georgia O’Keeffe’s artistic legacy.

High Museum of Art: Explore four exhibits — including an awe-inspiring Civil Rights Photography show — at this Atlanta museum.

Hockey Hall of Fame: Learn about hockey’s finest players, moments and, artifacts with a 3-D tour of this Toronto museum. Don’t stop until you find the Stanley Cup!

Getty Museum: Travel through two different virtual exhibits from this Los Angeles landmark with Google Arts and Culture. 

The Louvre: Take a quick trip to Paris with virtual tours of three stunning exhibits at this world-renowned museum. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Explore 26 online exhibits at this famous New York City icon. A 360 degree peek behind the scenes of The Costume Institute Conversation Lab (the world’s largest costume collection) is a must-see.

MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art): Viewers can go on a virtual tour of the New York City-based museum’s exhibit of Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Embrace your artistic side with 16 virtual exhibits. Fashionistas, in particular, will fall head over high heels for their 21st Century Designer Fashion and 20th and 21st Century Fashion Accessories exhibits.

Smithsonian: Explore a self-guided tour of the D.C. museum’s National Museum of Natural History.

The Vatican Museum: Explore the New Wing, Sistine Chapel and, more with 360-degree virtual tours.

Aquarium and Zoo Virtual Tours
Atlanta Zoo: This Georgia institution has a dedicated panda cam sure to put a smile on kids’ — and grown-ups’ — faces.

Cincinnati Zoo: Every day, this zoo is hosting “Home Safari Facebook Lives” showcasing one of their animals and offering a fun, educational activity you can do at home. Pull up the zoo’s Facebook page every day at 3 p.m. EST. All of the safaris will also be posted to the zoo’s website and on their YouTube page for later viewing.

Georgia Aquarium: Have a soothing look under the sea with live cams of beluga whales, African penguins, jellyfish and, more.

Houston Zoo: This Texas zoo has webcams focused on gorillas, giraffes, rhinos, elephants, leafcutter ants and, more for your viewing pleasure. 

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Dive underwater with live streams of sharks, sea otters, jellyfish, and turtles. A live cam of the crashing waves in the Monterey Bay itself is particularly calming.

National Aquarium: Explore winding, sea life-filled floors with this virtual tour of the Baltimore-based aquarium.  

Oregon Zoo: This zoo is sharing daily video updates on their Facebook page of different animals during their temporary closure. 

San Diego Zoo: This zoo has several different live cams monitoring their furry and feathered friends, including penguins, pandas, koalas, and elephants. 

International Landmark Tours
Buckingham Palace, England: Flights to the U.K. may be canceled, but you can still visit Buckingham Palace thanks to the official Royal website, which offers a virtual tour of the Queen’s official residence. 

Doge’s Palace, Italy: Google Arts and Culture offer a virtual tour of one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks — a 14th-century palace — complete with views of the canals that surround it. 

Galapagos Islands: Embark on a guided video tour of the incredible wildlife and culture of the Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia: Swim through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with the help of several David Attenborough-narrated videos and an educational, interactive map. 

Great Wall of China: Take a virtual tour of one of the Seven Wonders of the World with The China Guide and explore its most visited sections.

Hang Son Doong, Vietnam: Take a 360-degree adventure through the world’s largest cave, located in Vietnam, with National Geographic.

Johnson Space Center, USA: Boeing and Discovery Education take viewers on a virtual field trip through this innovative, Houston-based space center.

National Parks, USA: 113 virtual tours of National Park Service locations are available on Google Arts and Culture. Some favorites include Yellowstone National Park (for miles and miles of beautiful views), Kenai Fjords National Park (for an icy adventure), and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (for lots of lava).

Tower Bridge, England: This famous London bridge isn’t going down anytime soon — and you can explore it virtually (by boat!).

White House, USA: No need to look your best for this trip to the White House in Washington, D.C.! Google Arts and Culture has virtual tours of several of the Presidential spaces.

The Gardens of Versailles, France: Choose your adventure and virtually explore the famously over-the-top royal gardens of King Louis XIV.

Theater, Music and Operas Online
BroadwayHD: This site has streamed favorite Broadway shows — like Cats, Kinky Boots, and Phantom of the Opera — straight from New York and London for years, but they’re currently offering a one-week free trial before their $8.99 monthly subscription fee kicks in. 

Aurora Connects: An experiment in weekly online conversations with Berkeley’s Aurora Theater staff and artists. Live every Friday night and replays available until the next Friday. Free. 

National Theater Live (NT Live): NT Live (Theatrical productions from the National Theater in London, England) has announced they will begin free live streaming select NT Live productions starting April 2 at noon Pacific Time via their YouTube Channel. Each production will be available for viewing on YouTube for a week. The first show is One Man Two Governors, a hilarious production starring James Cordon. Free.  

ABS at Home: Every day, American Bach Soloists is providing "a short musical work -- something beautiful or fun or lively or calming -- in the hope that it will be a welcome and warming contribution to your day." You can access the music on their website, or sign up to have links emailed to you, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Free. 

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: This New York-based chamber music ensemble is currently streaming several recorded performances. Free.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra: This Australian symphony is live-streaming their performances on Youtube while they are closed to the public through April 13. The shows will then be saved to the Youtube channel for later viewing.

Seattle Symphony:  Live performances.

SF Jazz: Fridays at Five. For a $5 a month membership you will have access to an hour-long digital concert between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm  Fridays. The website has a playlist.

Metropolitan Opera: Every night beginning at 4:30 Pacific time, New York City’s Metropolitan Opera will be streaming a live in HD opera performance, which will then be viewable for 20 hours. Free.

OperaVision: This website offers free streaming of several recorded opera performances from famous opera houses across Europe and beyond, including the Royal Swedish Opera, Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma and National Theatre Prague.

YouTube Music: YouTube has many offerings of musical performances, including some produced only recently in light of in-person concert cancellations.  Here’s a good example of that—the Rotterdam Orchestra plays Ode to Joy as musicians shelter in place. Click here and enter your search terms!

Books Online
Library Books Online: Marin Libraries: If you have a library card in Marin, most local libraries allow you to “check out” books online and download them to your smartphone, iPad or, computer. Google your local library to see how the program operates. They vary somewhat.

The Internet Archive Library: Check out this link for free books of all sorts including 1.3 million modern e-books available for free once you open an account.  Available until June 30th or until the end of the National Emergency. 

Want to listen to books instead of reading? Try one of these sites.

Audible: Amazon's platform stands out for its extensive library, but requires a monthly paid subscription.

Kobo Audiobooks: This is a somewhat more affordable audiobook subscription platform.

Google Audiobooks: This site lets you buy premium audiobooks without being locked into a subscription.

Librivox Digitalbook These are free audiobook sites that make available books in the public domain. No current best-sellers, but many great classics.

Good for the Soul
Spirit Rock Meditation Center: All retreats online now and free until April 15th.

Courses, Talks, Podcasts, Radio and Games
Yale University: Yale is offering a free online course called, The Science of Well-Being.  It focuses on how to be happier and is one of the most popular undergraduate courses at Yale. Free registration opened on March 29. 

Ted Talks: These shows (available on YouTube or the TedTalk Website) offer some really interesting talks on a whole variety of topics. They have a special series now on the coronavirus situation, including a very recent interview with Bill Gates on the work his foundation is doing to help. 

Stanford: Stanford Online offers more than 100 free courses online.

OLLI (Osher Life-Long Learning) at Dominican: OLLI is planning on live streaming several classes and lectures. They are offering these mainly to OLLI members who previously signed up to attend these in person.  Check the OLLI at Dominican Website. Coursera allows you to audit online courses at several universities for free.

If you’ve never listened to a podcast, now might be the time.  Test out RadioLab, or The Daily, or The Happiness Lab, or Revisionist History. Just google the names. These are free short (usually ½ hour) shows that you can listen to whenever the mood strikes you.  There are tons of free offerings online. You can listen on your smartphone or your computer. Check out podcasts on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

If you are looking for something offline

KDFC: This is the Bay Area’s classical music station. 24 hours of free classical music on your radio or live-streamed on your computer, with very few interruptions. Turn to 90.3 or 104.9 on your FM dial, depending on which part of the county you live in, or google 

KQED Radio and TV: KQED stations are well known in the Bay Area and offer a wide variety of programs and solid news reporting.  88.5 FM or, or Comcast TV Channels 9, 22, and 28.

Online Word Games: There are hundreds! If you have internet access google “Word Connect.” The page that comes up will lead you to the Word Connect game and to lots of other fun word games. Or check out the iTunes App Store for even more games. Some are solo games, and some you can play with friends online.

Set Game:  Games like Set, Quiddler and, Karma, and all free!

Comcast On Demand (free with your TV cable) or Netflix (by paid subscription):  Pull up some funny shows from the past. Seinfeld; Curb Your Enthusiasm; Veep. Look for things to make you laugh! Old Movies are good too but look for fun ones:  Roman Holiday, Adams Rib, Solid Gold Cadillac, eg.

Games and other things to do, Online or Not, By Yourself, or Not
Word Games: Below are three are simple word games—no internet needed—the sort we used to play as kids or with our own kids, plus a fourth listing of an internet site where you can download lots of different word games to play on your smartphone or computer.

Animal Alphabet
Start with the letter A
Write the name of an animal that starts with A
Next, you or another player if you are playing with more that one person, write the name of an animal that starts with the LAST letter of the previous animal.
Continue until you, or others you are playing with can’t name an animal starting with the last letter of the prior animal name.
You can start again using a different animal as the first-named one, and see if you get further through the animal kingdom and alphabet!

20 Questions—you need a friend to play this with—but can be by phone or Facetime
Think of a person, place, or thing.
The other person has to guess what it is using Yes or No questions only in 20 tries.
The game I Spy is an alternative—but they think you are thinking of has to be an object you can actually see.

Naming Game--Name something that starts with the first letter of your last name that is appropriate to the word listed below (e.g, if your last name starts with S, every word you list must start with S).
Do it once with “obvious” choices, then do again and try for a more esoteric or maybe funny vocabulary choice! Play it alone, or with a friend.

Something to wear
Something to drink
A place
A food
An animal
A girl’s name
A boy’s name
A profession
A word to describe someone
Something in your home
A body part
Your last name

Online Word GamesThere are hundreds! If you have internet access google “Word Connect.” The page that comes up will lead you to the Word Connect game and to lots of other fun word games. Or check out the iTunes App Store for even more games. Some are solo games, and some you can play with friends online.

Writing, Painting, Drawing, Doodling
Poetry—Poetry can be helpful to read in difficult times, but also both challenging and fun to write anytime.  How about trying to write some Haiku, or maybe a limerick, if lengthy serious poetry is not your thing. Haiku is just three lines 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively, evoking images or objects, and frequently with a twist or surprise.  No rhyming! Haikus can be serious or funny. Here are two examples: 

Today reminds me
I need you so much closer
Than six feet apart
     Attribution: Kwekwaxawe (pseudonym)
First autumn morning
the mirror I stare into
shows my father's face.
    Attribution: Murakami Kijo

 Or how about a limerick?

Limericks are five-line poems, or a series of verses, with a rhyme scheme of AABBA. The meter is lilting with the first, second and, fifth lines having 8-9 syllables, and the third and fourth having 5-6 syllables. Limericks have a reputation for being off-color, but they don’t have to be! E.G.

I used to get out every day
Now staying at home is my way
Sheltering in place
Putting on a good face
But wishing to be out on the Bay

Drawing and Painting: Bring out your inner artist. Here’s an activity suggested by the Fine Arts Museums of SF:  Take a tour of your home, studying the views from each of your windows. With each view, quietly consider: what do you notice, what shapes do you see, and how do these shapes layer and intersect? Select the window that appeals most to you. Using pencil and paper, create a contour drawing—a drawing consisting only of outlines. When creating your drawing, give your eye time to study the shapes that you see, then investigate how the shapes layer upon one another. Experiment with different thicknesses of line, as Diebenkorn did.

The museums want to showcase your creativity! Send a photo of your drawing to Please include your full name, city of residence, and a sentence or two about your work. But Hurry! Deadline for submission: April 3, 2020.

Not comfortable with representational art drawing? Try doodling and filling in your doodles with colored ink or pencil. 

Journaling—a useful way to keep track of feelings or how you are spending your day. Who knows, it might turn into a novel someday! You don’t have to do it every day, but try it at least once a week on the same day and more or less the same time. You’ll enjoy looking back at it at some point in the future.

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4340 Redwood Highway, Suite F-142 San Rafael, CA 94903
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