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Jenise

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So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Wed Jul 15, 2020 5:33 pm

Today's Day 121 of our quarantine.

I'm still finding it hard to curtail the urge to rush to the store just for the one or two things that would make my meal plan "perfect"! Every time I consider any foray less than unavoidably necessary, I think about the quarantined biotech guy who left his home exactly once--went to Home Depot, fully masked, Purelle-d to the hilt--IOW did everything right going and coming--and two days later had Covid. He wasn't wearing eye protection, and an errant aerosol drop from an infected person landed in his eye. BOOM.

Cabin fever's for real even though where we live we're luckier than most--scenery's great, and the infection rate is comparatively low.

Having a hard time making myself exercise. I watch too much TV, though I am mostly seeking out things I can learn from: biographies, etc. Never been into network fare, but have always loved movies. Now more than ever, when I watch a movie I feel like I went somewhere. I crave scenery. Watched an old Rita Hayworth movie the other day just to "see" Cuba.

I'm making cocktails more often than I used to (so once a week instead of once a month).

When I do go out, I minimize the risk by choosing one place to go to. I buy everything I need there and if they don't have exactly what I wanted, I go without or buy the next best thing if there is one. I don't chase around town like I used to. I restrict my shopping to the most 'woke' places that had the highest sanitation standards in the first place and have maintained them from day one: Whole Foods, a local farm stand, Costco and my two community co-ops. Fred Meyer (Kroger), Safeway, Walmart, Grocery Outlet? Nix. Won't step foot in them.

A friend died suddenly last weekend and I'd give anything to go give her husband a hug, but I can't.

One of my cats, the 17 year old creamsicle named Jailbait, almost died in Mar-Apr. That was scary. I had to drop her off at the vet for the afternoon--I called from the parking lot, they came out and got her. We brought her home to die. If we'd had to put her down that would have been another parking lot transaction. The vet sent me home with two little pills that would ensure she left home asleep and never knew what happened. Excruciating to contemplate, for us. But it pales in the grand scheme of things to what others have gone thru with human loved ones in these Covid times.

Food's our only real entertainment. Every day I am challenged to come up with something fantastic to make isolation livable. Don't know what I'd do without the joy of cooking to keep me challenged and occupied, or the occasional dinner with the three other couples we've chosen to be socially distant with.

But it's getting repetitive.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Larry Greenly

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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Larry Greenly » Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:19 pm

My main complaint is I have no energy. I have to force myself to do anything. Right now, I'm making a Finnish bread, hiivaleipa, and pickling some red onions. Later I'm make something for dinner and then bake a coffeecake for manana. All this time, I want a nap.

Our state is now cracking down on people who won't wear masks. And the state has yanked the permits of a few restaurants that refused to close inside dining. Albuquerque also just had another restaurant that had been around for years bite the dust.

The days go by like Groundhog Day, and this will probably be known as the year that wasn't. All of this will be worth it, though, if it hastens the removal of the Orange Bonespur and his sycophants. At least it's not the Black Plague. Yet.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:52 am

Thursday, today, is Day 126. I commuted home from work on Friday March 13 knowing that would be the last one for a while. At the office still is a package of sanitizing wipes (I figured one pack is more helpful there for occasional use than in my house where it will be gobbled up long before this is all over). Also there are a half dozen bottles of decent drinkable wine, leftover from a corporate event that I helped organize, and, in the fridge, a box of cultured butter.

I live in a blue neighborhood in a blue state; masks are worn nearly universally. It is also a low-rise neighborhood so there are not great pressing crowds.

As I understand it, the science says that risk of infection has two sources: a person expelling viruses in your immediate vicinity, and A/C systems that distribute/recycle contaminated aerosols.

I don't worry about people I pass on the sidewalk because a moment later, they're gone.

I go to the store whenever it suits me, sometimes even for just one thing; but I don't linger.

I was never an exercise guy, nor, as a grown-up, much of a TV-holic. I can keep cabin fever at bay because (a) I'm still working so I don't have that many hours to fill, and (b) I know how to wring actual entertainment from the internet. I will get up and dance to music occasionally, and take walks around the neighborhood and nearby parks. But I can be quite a homebody - anyway, how long can the cook be out of the house?

Also, I had years and years of therapy and I am comfortable in my path in this life.

Jenise, you are not the first person to say to me that they very much miss being able to hug a (remote) loved one. I have very little family left and, fortunately, none of my close friends has yet suffered any great loss; demands on my emotions are few. Make of that what you will.

I find myself exercising my compassion more. I tip for anything and everything at a restaurant takeout; one place has a menu item, "Meal for an Essential Worker," which I add to my purchases. A couple times I bought chocolate for stressed-out sounding clerks, and I chat with the baristas about their hopes and plans. The other day I received a mis-delivery of two shopping bags full of organic produce and gave them to the homeless guy who lives under the BQE overpass. I am already so fortunate that I cannot let myself be miserable and mean.

"Food's our only real entertainment." Indeed. I learned that lesson while traveling for work: I go to other people's offices and spend all day indoors helping them with their computers. When I get back into control of my time, I'm in a strange town after sunset with an early appointment tomorrow. A decent dinner is the only entertainment.
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:31 am

Larry--the energy problem. You and me both! At the beginning of this we walked around the neighborhood a few times, but it's been weeks (I'm ashamed to admit) since we did that. On the rare visit to Costco or other markets, I do park on the outer perimeters which does force some exercise into the equation. Even the fact that I don't go to multiple stores now means I'm getting less exercise than I used to.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:50 am

Jeff, I envy your neighborhood shops and eateries. Would be so comforting in times like this. For us, the nearest groceries are six miles away, and decent take-out food even further.

I have found that I need to give Bob projects. Like a business meeting, we "meet" over coffee in the morning and I detail action items for him/us to accomplish that day to help insure that we have a sense of purpose about all this free time we have. He's not lazy, but he's ten years older than I and I'm sadly finding that some days he needs a little herding. A few weeks ago one of the chairs we bought last summer for the courtyard broke. I suggested he take a photograph and go to furniture/woodworker sites and share that--surely he'd get tons of advice on the best way to fix it and fortify the others. He took the pictures but has done nothing with them. Sigh. In the meantime summer's passing and we're not using the courtyard. I'm getting frustrated about that.

Today the arborist comes to treat our aphid problem in the front courtyard. The bay leaves I was going to send you last year, picked before the first such treatment, never went because they molded on me. Last week I picked some and they dried well, and today I'll pick more. A year's worth because once again this poison is going to make it unsafe for harvest. This time, I'll send some.

And today's Thursday, the day Costco has reliably had gorgeous thick fresh swordfish steaks so we'll go into town. Tonight we're going to cedar-plank BBQ them for the Picky People who love seafood but only seem to cook/eat halibut and salmon. I asked them the other day did they know about the swordfish at Costco. "No, we think we each had swordfish before we got married but we've never had it together." They've been married for 25 years. :shock: They just eat the same familiar food, over and over, all the time.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Rahsaan

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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Rahsaan » Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:39 am

I guess you're retired Jenise? I can see how that would make things feel repetitive.

In my world, lots of academics with kids complain about not having enough time to work. But for us, it's great to have a child in the house to bring a different energy (and perhaps to keep us focused). Thankfully he's also old enough to be a bit independent, so we still have plenty of time for our work. Even if work productivity is a bit less than before, in the grand scheme of things I cannot complain!

I used to swim 5 times a week and it's a real bummer not to have that option. But thankfully tennis courts stayed open and we continued to play tennis throughout the pandemic, which has been vital on many levels.

I also freaked out in March when I worried about the farmers market closing, but it made adjustments and has continued, so the quality food sources remain intact.

Lack of travel is the main downside, but again, in the grand scheme of things, our disruptions have been fairly minimal so I can't complain!
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:56 pm

Yes, lack of travel's a killer. And for us, the closing of the border cut our territorial pie of options in half. We so miss seeing our friends as well as visiting businesses that were as important to us as anything on this side.

Rahsaan, I envy you the Farmers Market. I'm not going to ours this summer, too crowded. But there are more farmstands around, so that helps a lot.

Yes, retired. I invest, and I'm up 30% for the year, so I have things to study and feel good about but that never required me to leave home so it's not a change.

Here's something I just decided to do: hire a band and throw a block party. Why the heck not? With the bars for live entertainment closed, I've got my pick of the litter. Only ten houses on our street but people will drift in from neighboring streets. Should be cool. My gift to the neighborhood!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:35 pm

Jenise wrote:I invest, and I'm up 30% for the year....

Funerary REITs?
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Rahsaan

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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Rahsaan » Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:55 pm

Jenise wrote:Rahsaan, I envy you the Farmers Market. I'm not going to ours this summer, too crowded.


No distancing measures? They spread out the stands at our market, require masks, enforce social distancing for lines, implemented a one-way traffic system for people walking through market, discourage lingering to chat, and have lots of pre-order/pick ups that limit the number of people at the market.

It's not the same as before, but the farmers are all happy to be selling food and we're all happy to have access, so the mood is pretty positive and it's still part of the anchor for my weekly schedule.

Here's something I just decided to do: hire a band and throw a block party. Why the heck not? With the bars for live entertainment closed, I've got my pick of the litter. Only ten houses on our street but people will drift in from neighboring streets. Should be cool. My gift to the neighborhood!


Good idea! These outdoor activities seem to be common around the world. And ten houses is plenty! We had a July 4th singalong with maybe 10 houses from our street. We would have rather been in Berlin being oblivious to the holiday, but it was a nice time under the circumstances!
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Pat G

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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Pat G » Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:53 pm

Day 126 here. We began shelter in place about a week before the Guv made it official.

Developed and continue to adapt a home exercise plan. Gym had lots of classes so I learned from that. Daily walks outside for now, that may change in the fall when cooler. So I wear a mask and walk indoors: Costco is an option for that.

Errands down to essentials and occasional takeout. Most of the restaurants have configured some outdoor seating as a dining alternative. We skip that. But one needs variety occasionally.

Energy level just varies. Sometimes if stir cr$$y it's greater. By end of evening, not so much. Confinement contributes to fatigue.

What has helped tremendously: a variety of interior projects that needed to be done have been done. More to follow. Decluttering and uncluttering is major focus. That accelerates prior to trash day. Are the bins full? No? Let's throw out more ancient linens.

Hard to say what I miss the most. Socializing? Travel, including wine trade conferences? I guess in one word I miss basic freedom. Which I think is normal.

Thanks for asking, Jenise.
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Robin Garr » Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:14 pm

Other than the constant low-level background stress of living through a pandemic that could possibly zap you from an unexpected place :shock: things really feel surprisingly normal for us. We both work out of home offices and tend to be introverts, so in some ways daily life hasn't changed that much. We've been careful but not really quarantined. Trips out to the grocery, gloved and masked up with hand sanitizer waiting in the car, seem less scary after we've done them a few times. (One person at a time, of course.) All of our clients for free-lancing are still with us, although our income stream has dropped a little because theirs has, but it's still workable. I've been doing restaurant takeout reviews with a focus on how the takeout and curbside pickup system works in lieu of what the atmosphere inside is like, and people seem to appreciate that, and have also been trying to review a black-owned business every fourth or fifth review, which is also going over well in this "blue" city. :) We take long walks every day, unmasked but dodging strangers, either hitting a nearby park that's about a mile and a half loop including getting there and back, or driving to other favorite local parks. I host several adult discussion groups weekly on Zoom for St. Matthew's Episcopal, which also keeps my brain exercised and acts as a sort-of alternative to getting together with a crowd over drinks and dinner for conversation. Apple Music provides a whole world of tunes, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu cover the field of movies and TV, and the local library, although the branches are closed, has over 60,000 e-books available for the free Kindle app. I haven't had my hair cut since late February, but it's not nearly as long as I had it in the '70s, and our stylist is so good that her layered scissor cut is actually growing out nicely. :mrgreen: I put off the routine dental cleaning and checkup for now but won't put it off forever. We're saving a little money from stuff we don't do, but on the whole things could be a whole lot worse. And luckily, no close friends or friends of friends have had serious Covid issues or death. May it continue so.
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by David M. Bueker » Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:39 pm

Day 141 for me, since I got a two week head start on all y'all.

Laura and I are suffering a bit of the periodic stir crazies/cooped up depression, especially if we can't go for a weekend hike. Last weekend was ruinously humid, and this weekend is supposed to be 95-100 degrees, so no hiking.

We are going to visit friends in Maine next weekend. Luckily the virus is under some degree of control both here and there, so it's OK. Still have to be careful, especially in transit, but getting away should help.

I am still cooking delicious food, and we are both still losing weight (now 84 pounds between the two of us), so while it would be great to get out, we do have each other, the cats, our health and (for now) jobs.
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Pat G » Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:03 pm

Two afterthoughts on what has helped.

1. Our library opened for curbside pickup service. Everything is free, minimum 6 week checkout, return items quarantined for 3 days. I wipe down and quarantine what they give me for 3 days, too. I was an extensive user of our great library before CV19 so this makes a big difference. Most evenings I read vs. subject myself to any visual media. Our cable provider has great music channels; I count that as just audio.

2. Doing little things for others. I am no saint but it helps to check on elderly friends, door ditch an occasional bottle of wine for a recent widow, keep in touch via text with folks, etc. This may not be a little thing, but I include here the wine purchases I made for small vintners who were especially suffering when most/all distribution was via tasting rooms (ordered closed). One vintner's wife literally sent me an e-mail thanking me for helping them to pay their bills and stay afloat. The vintner and his wife were tending to the vineyards during the daytime. At night they packed wine for shipping. I can only imagine the exhaustion; did what they had to do.

I know that many small business were impacted negatively and still are. Those I can safely support locally, I do.
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:12 pm

Rahsaan wrote:No distancing measures? They spread out the stands at our market, require masks, enforce social distancing for lines, implemented a one-way traffic system for people walking through market, discourage lingering to chat, and have lots of pre-order/pick ups that limit the number of people at the market.


You know what? I don't know. What I do know is that it was already a very crowded space with lots of food stalls and there's no way to expand the footprint. The only way to enforce distancing would be to reduce the number of vendors. And I presume that would be ridiculously hard to do.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:13 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:
Jenise wrote:I invest, and I'm up 30% for the year....

Funerary REITs?


That's CRUEL (and funny).
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:19 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
We are going to visit friends in Maine next weekend. Luckily the virus is under some degree of control both here and there, so it's OK. Still have to be careful, especially in transit, but getting away should help.

I am still cooking delicious food, and we are both still losing weight (now 84 pounds between the two of us), so while it would be great to get out, we do have each other, the cats, our health and (for now) jobs.


David, congratulations to you and Laura on the weight loss. What's your diet plan?

Yes, the Maine trip will help a lot--forget the destination, just the change in scenery will help greatly. We're going to load up the van and go sleep somewhere different, a night here and a night there, just for laughs. Can't really go on any long trips-- 17 year old cat who almost died survived, and we have an 18 year old. They're excessively needy and we wouldn't feel comfortable taking any long trips.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:22 pm

Pat G wrote:
2. Doing little things for others. I am no saint but it helps to check on elderly friends, door ditch an occasional bottle of wine for a recent widow


This is big. I have done the same. It really cheers people up to find a gift on the front porch.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:30 pm

Yesterday's Costco run made me aware of a new Covid-related shortcoming. I've become an extreme over-shopper. That I get out so little makes me kind of greedy when I do get out, so where as a rule I only buy fish the day I will use it, yesterday I bought excess swordfish (enough to make six pieces where I only needed four, though that's somewhat necessitated by Costco's oversized portions), fresh BC true cod (which is pinker in color than Alaskan or Icelandic) and fresh troll caught wild salmon.

The cod will get baked in parchment tonight. The leftover swordfish will be cooked momentarily for fish tacos, and the salmon is curing for a Sunday gravlax. So, without anything rotting on me I'll be able to use it all, but I didn't have firm plans when I made the purchase.

I just. Couldn't. Resist.

Another observation: learning to bake sourdough bread and refining a recipe that works for me has been absolutely joyous. However, in combination with my lack of exercise: bad planning!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by DanS » Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:59 pm

Jenise wrote:The cod will get baked in parchment tonight. The leftover swordfish will be cooked momentarily for fish tacos, and the salmon is curing for a Sunday gravlax. So, without anything rotting on me I'll be able to use it all, but I didn't have firm plans when I made the purchase.


Last Saturdays WSJ had a recipe for Halibut en Papillote that looked so good. I ran right out and bought a small piece for that nights dinner. It's a great cooking method and makes cleanup easy. There is so much flavor you can put into it.
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:06 pm

Dan, that's so right. My favorite method is just 1 tblsp ea olive oil and lemon juice, salt and a sprig of thyme. Other variations occur (generally different herbs), but that right there is a home run every time.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Pat G » Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:42 pm

Jenise wrote:
Pat G wrote:
2. Doing little things for others. I am no saint but it helps to check on elderly friends, door ditch an occasional bottle of wine for a recent widow


This is big. I have done the same. It really cheers people up to find a gift on the front porch.


Always a ditcher. Never a ditchee. Kinda like always a bridesmaid.... :wink:

And it's OK.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by David M. Bueker » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:17 pm

Jenise wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:
We are going to visit friends in Maine next weekend. Luckily the virus is under some degree of control both here and there, so it's OK. Still have to be careful, especially in transit, but getting away should help.

I am still cooking delicious food, and we are both still losing weight (now 84 pounds between the two of us), so while it would be great to get out, we do have each other, the cats, our health and (for now) jobs.


David, congratulations to you and Laura on the weight loss. What's your diet plan?

Yes, the Maine trip will help a lot--forget the destination, just the change in scenery will help greatly. We're going to load up the van and go sleep somewhere different, a night here and a night there, just for laughs. Can't really go on any long trips-- 17 year old cat who almost died survived, and we have an 18 year old. They're excessively needy and we wouldn't feel comfortable taking any long trips.


We're largely just eating smaller portions. It started right after my surgery, where I just could not eat much. Then it continued.

We are eating a lot less meat. I did a count for a three week span, and I averaged 16 out of 21 meals being meatless. Sometimes tuna (high end canned tuna belly) creeps in for a couple of extra meals, but that's about it. Most of the meat is chicken. I am cooking lots of vegetarian Indian food, and the recipes that used to make two meals now make three. Both of us just fill up very quickly. When we get our Friday takeout, it lasts two nights, so we have to be careful to order stuff that can be reheated and not become a mess.

Typical day is two pieces of whole wheat toast (homemade bread) for breakfast, a salad with some cheese or tuna for lunch (or alternatively a few crackers with homemade hummus which is Laura's typical lunch), and then a small dinner with lots of veggies. We snack on the fruit from the farm during the day, or a few nuts if needing a little protein.
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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Jenise » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:18 pm

Very sensible, David, especially the lower meat content. For awhile we were eating less but I noticed yesterday that we're both craving larger portions, so it's time to put a check on that.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Matilda L

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Re: So how are you all adjusting?

by Matilda L » Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:27 am

The Francophile and I went into voluntary isolation on about 16 March. I've got no idea how many days that is. Strangely, it hasn't affected our lives that much at all. True, we don't go out at the drop of a hat to pick up something from the shops any more; and we don't go out two or three times a week to music sessions or concerts; and we don't go birding; but we aren't suffering from cabin fever. Yet. The power of being introverts, I suppose :) We've found social-at-a-distance things to do, like producing online concerts for a local music group, getting used to Zoom chats, consuming hours and hours of live-streamed music. I'm feeling less guilty about spending hours in cyberspace.

Changes have included shopping at the local shops all the time instead of going further afield once a week to the big Foodland supermarket, and supplementing supplies with online orders and home delivery. Particularly from the booze shop: Dan Murphy's delivers to our door every three weeks or so.

For a while there we were ordering vegetable and fruit deliveries online too, but with things being reasonably good here at present (touch wood) we're going in person again to the local fruit & veg shop. (The deliveries were great, but every box contained a *full head* of celery. O'boy. There's only so much celery you can use in a week, being as it's winter and celery-and-cream-cheese-dip doesn't tempt in these temperatures.)

We're doing a lot more cooking together. We've always taken turns with cooking the meals but we've done more tandem cooking, and tried out a new things. (We've discovered Nat's What I Reckon cooking videos, and his recipes are very translatable.)

And we're eating out less, i.e., not at all.
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