Weekend Dispatch

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Today marks the beginning of our third week being self-quarantined. It's a surreal feeling. One moment everything feels normal, and the next moment you are painfully aware of how different life has become. Here in New Jersey, things are getting intense as our number of cases and deaths escalates. I feel like this sickness is closing in on me, and it's not a good feeling. I'm trying to remain positive and keep in mind that the safest place right now is in our homes. Since we will most likely be doing this for at least another month, and quite possibly, longer, I've decided to beef up the Weekend Dispatch posts. So, here we go. I'll be including things I've watched, ate, read, listen to, etc. as well as some suggestions and/or what's on my list for the week ahead.

These days I don't have much of an attention span. I sit down to read, only to read for 10 minutes and move on to a game of Solitaire on my phone. I start a movie, watch 15 minutes of it, and then fold a load of laundry or troll news sites (I know, not a good idea). This week, I am trying a new approach and limiting my time on my phone. I already have social media timers set up, but lately I've been ignoring them. This week, I'm trying really hard to just ignore my phone unless it's a call or a text that requires answering. I'm hoping it helps lengthen my short attention span.

In the rare times when I've made it through a movie, I've watched A Rising Tide, a story about a New Jersey restauranteur who makes a comeback after he fails to succeed in New York City and after Hurricane Sandy wipes out his father's restaurant. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this movie as much as I did. It starred Tim Daly, who I adore, so he was the big draw for me. But I liked that it was a story of triumph and that it was set locally at the Jersey shore. I also watched Playing It Cool, which stars Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan as two friends who walk the fine line between friendship and romance. Although a bit cliché, this movie was cute, and I liked seeing Chris Evans outside of Marvel movies. Both movies are on Amazon Prime Video.

It seems everyone is watching Tiger King. I haven't watched it. I'm a cat lover, and I'm not sure this show is for me. But I've heard it it just such a good train wreck and is more about the hot messes than the big cats themselves. So, I may give it a go this week. I also really want to watch The Gentlemen, but it's $13 on Prime Video and with so many good stuff out there for free, I don't want to spend the money.

In case you missed it, John Krasinski, best known fro playing Jim Halpert on The Office, has launched an online YouTube channel dedicated to sharing good news. Some Good News will bring you a dose of some good stuff (which, let's admit, is much needed right now). Krasinski brings us heartwarming stories of people doing good, people supporting those who are doing good, and people appreciating those doing good and selfless acts. If you need something to make you restore your faith in humanity, watch SNG with John Krasinski.

For the past 3 weeks I've been more or less glued to my phone obsessively checking social media for Coronavirus and COVID-19 updates. I finally realized that's not productive and turned my attention to getting my information from a handful of sources, one of which is The Daily, a short but informative podcast from The New York Times. I've been a longtime listener, but lately the podcast topic has revolved around Coronavirus and relaying factual and educational updates to listeners, which is much more helpful than reading everything you find on the internet.

Switching gears quite a bit here, Joe Exotic: Tiger King is a podcast based on the popular reality series on Netflix. It includes exclusive interviews with and details about the outlandish characters from the show. I'm a cat lover, so I've been hesitant to watch the show. But I can tolerate the podcast much better than watching the show, even though I hear the show is much more about the hot messes that star in the show than on the exotic cats.

Music has been a great escape for me during quarantine. Just in time, Pearl Jam's latest release dropped on March 27th, and it's giving me all the '90s feels. Eddie Vedder and the gang have returned to their roots once again. The music I loved and defined the '90s grunge-rock era is back with an updated sound for the new millenial. Listen to it here on Spotify.

It's at times like these that it may be difficult to keep your drinking in check. One glass of wine turns into two, and that quickly becomes three and so on. Before you start sliding down that downward spiral, set some limits. Enjoy a mocktail at your next virtual happy hour. Here's a list of 15 tasty mocktails that taste so good, you won't miss or notice the alcohol is missing.

We've been doing a lot of baking and cooking over here. We've made no-knead bread, chocolate chip banana muffins, vegan tortilla soup, broccoli and bow tie pastaclassic Rice Krispies treats, and copycat Olive Garden minestrone. I'm going to try to use this time at home as a chance to try at least two new recipes a week in hopes of finding a few to add to my rotation. Here are a few I have on my list for the next week or so: brown butter white chocolate brownies, snickerdoodle smoothie, and cinnamon granola.

So, tell me. What do you have planned for the next week at home?

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