Editor’s Note: This is a preview of USA TODAY’s newsletter Staying Apart, Together, a guide to help us all cope with a world changed by coronavirus. If you would like it in your inbox on Tuesdays and Saturdays, subscribe here

Another Tuesday comes around again. 

How is everyone doing? There’s been a lot of activity as we’ve entered September: Schools scrambled to restart amid the pandemic, Labor Day came and went, the anniversary of 9/11 did too, and we entered (gulp) our sixth month since life irrevocably changed. 

When there is a flurry of activity, even when it’s stressful, there can be some distraction and maybe even relief in being busy and useful. Even as we get to a new phase of “new normal,” it’s still important as to take care of ourselves. We can still take walks even when it gets chilly. We can get up from our desks every 30 minutes. We can indulge in a movie marathon or some fall baking (apple pie, anyone?) or a day off from work when we really need it. When October hits, the mad dash to the holidays will begin (and it will be more fraught than ever this year). So remember to slow down, take your time, and ask for help if you need it.

Today’s outdoorsy tips

Since the pandemic has cut off many traditional outlets for recreation and entertainment, Americans are flocking to one of the few options left: The Great Outdoors. 

But as wonderful as it can be to embrace nature and get out of our darn houses/apartments, we also need to be mindful of staying safe (not just from the pandemic), being respectful of others and being respectful of the environment. 

“We’ve seen a big increase in people using the trail,” said Morgan Steel, executive director of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association in Nevada told USA TODAY network newspaper Reno Gazette Journal. “We’re definitely seeing things like toilet paper left around, which is really disheartening and gross.”

But if you want to continue outdoor activities into fall (or, if you’re like me, you will only leave the air conditioned safety of your home in fall and spring because you’re a wimp in the heat), there are easy ways to do so responsibly. 

Pack it in, pack it out: If you brought anything into the park, including food waste, paper trash and even dog poop, you should remove it. It’s safe to use public trash cans, simply sanitize your hands after doing so. 

Know how to go when you need to go: If you’re using the bathroom, make sure you know how to do that in the backcountry. Using the restroom outside within 200 feet of waterways can contaminate lakes and streams. Land use managers also recommend going 200 feet away from established trails. 

Wear a mask: With cyclists, hikers and even equestrians all using the same trails, it can be tough to maintain six feet of distance while passing. Wearing a mask, especially while passing anyone, ensures everyone can safely pass without widening the trailer or breaking social distance.

See the full story here. And pack bug spray. 

Today’s reads

Today’s TV recommendations

September and October are usually pretty busy months to be a TV critic. New and returning TV shows on the broadcast networks, cable and streaming usually dominate my life, as does coverage of the Emmy awards. This year, though, things are different. Yes, the Emmys are Sunday (ABC, 8 EDT/5PDT), but a virtual ceremony will try to take the place of the pomp and circumstance of a Hollywood red carpet event. And there are still fall TV shows, but pandemic-induced filming shutdowns have resulted in far fewer fall premieres than ever before. 

But still, there are some TV shows coming this fall that I’ve loved while sampling advanced screeners. So instead of doing personalized suggestions in today’s newsletter, I’m sharing a wanted to share a few of the shows I’m most excited about. 

‘Monsterland’ (Hulu, Oct. 2): “Monsterland” is a disturbing, thought-provoking anthology series in which the monster isn’t always the supernatural creature lurking, but something altogether more human. It is subtler and quieter in its horror than other anthologies such as Netflix’s “Black Mirror,” which makes its best installments all the more affecting. 

‘The Good Lord Bird’ (Showtime, Oct. 4, Sundays, 9 EDT/PDT): The series follows former slave Henry (Joshua Caleb Johnson), who is freed (or maybe just kidnapped) by notorious (and violent) abolitionist John Brown, brought to life in spitting, screaming, twitchy-eyed glory by Ethan Hawke. Boisterous, action-packed and freewheeling, “Bird” is a striking period dramedy quite unlike the clichéd, white-savior Civil War dramas that often populate TV and film screens. 

‘Deaf U’ (Netflix, Oct. 9): This new docuseries, set at Gallaudet University, the prestigious deaf and hard of hearing school in Washington, D.C., has the same kind of magic that Netflix’s college-set series “Cheer” did back in January. Produced by actor and deaf activist Nyle DiMarco (“Dancing with the Stars”) the series isn’t a fluffy after-school special, nor is it exploitative of its subjects. It simply shows the very human triumphs and foibles of young people making their way in the world. 

See all seven of my picks here.

Today’s pet

It turns out I cannot feature one dog from a family without another dog from that family getting jealous!

“You featured my grand-puppy, George, a few weeks ago,” writes reader Marcia Linch. “My other grand puppy got jealous and wanted in on the action. This is Macy. She wants to welcome you to Pennsylvania. She lives in Pittsburgh and has been enjoying being at home with her family during the pandemic hanging out on the deck.  We both hope your move when well and you love your new home.”

Pennsylvania seems like an even better place to live now that I know you are here, Macy. 

Read or Share this story:

Find New & Used Cars

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member


Powered by