Weekend Dispatch

Monday, April 13, 2020

Today marks the first day of our second month of coronavirus quarantine. We've had 4 full weeks of working from home, schooling from home, working out from home, and learning to love being home. Who thought we'd say that life is stranger than fiction? Honestly though, this is the stuff a good fictional novel is made of.

Each week is starting to feel weirder than the one before, but oddly normal as well. We've fallen into a sort of routine, but this week the girls have spring break, and I'm a bit worried about boredom setting in without school work and any outside activities to do. I'm still trying to find an indoor workout routine that I love. I miss my gym and the routine I had there, and finding something that clicks here at home has been a struggle. Last week, I started running outside instead of walking. It was an adjustment and quite a struggle initially as I only run on treadmills in ideal indoor temperatures. But I still need an alternative for colder or rainy days.

Anyway, here's what I've been enjoying:

Calling all Taylor Swift fans! Last week I watched Miss Americana, a documentary that follows singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and her life over the course of several years of her career. It includes highs and lows, trials and triumphs, and everything in between. Before watching, I liked some of Swift's music, but I wouldn't have considered myself a fan girl. Now that I've watched, I have a whole new appreciation for her talent, hard work, and music.

Last week I made a list of some of the movies I've never seen. After texting with a few friends, I was surprised to learn that almost everyone (except me) has seen Jaws. So, on my list this week is to watch Jaws, especially because I've read that there are a lot of parallels between how authorities handled informing the general public about the threat of the shark and how authorities informed the public of the threat of COVID-19. Also on my list to watch are Casablanca and The Graduate.

Being quarantined has been a constant struggle to balance reality with a little escape. My escape has been in the form of the Office Ladies podcast. The Office co-stars and best friends IRL, Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela), are doing the ultimate The Office re-watch podcast for you. Each week Jenna and Angela will break down an episode of The Office and give exclusive behind the scene stories and commentary that only two people who were there, can tell you. This podcast is truly the next best thing to watching the episode. I've been listening to the podcast and then re-watching the episode that is discussed.

I've also listened to Sugar Calling, a recently debuted podcast hosted by Cheryl Strayed and brought to us by The New York Times. In these moments of uncertainty, Strayed shares conversations with some people who have inspired and encouraged her throughout her lifetime in hopes that it will do a little of the same to her audience. The conversations are easy flowing and full of thoughtful wisdom.

 If you're more into music to calm you during these trying times, check out this Stay Home playlist on Spotify by Ashley Kane. It's has so many relevantly-titled songs for staying home, and it's inspired me to create my own quarantine playlist, which I'll share next week!

I know a lot of people in the restaurant business. From owners to servers to chefs, they are suffering greatly during this Great Pause. I don't know the first thing about running a restaurant, but I do know that this pandemic is making it difficult for small restaurants (and small businesses) to thrive...and survive. When a friend (who is in the industry) shared this article with me, I knew it would be a good and insightful read. Written by David Chang, a renowned restauranteur who has opened more than a dozen restaurants worldwide. If you love a small local restaurant, if you know people who work in small restaurants, or if you've every worked in one, you'll appreciate this article and the uphill battle this industry is facing right now.

The first two weeks of quarantine, I filled some of my free time with baking. I made bread, muffins, cakes, and cookies. The next two weeks, I tried a few new recipes for dinner. I made pastas, soups, and stews. For the next two weeks, I'm trying a few new side dish and salad recipes. This vegan pineapple fried rice looks so good and super easy to make. I love cold spicy peanut sesame noodles but usually buy them already prepared. Definitely going to make these this week. For something lighter, these kale salad recipes from Cooking Light look like a healthy and delicious alternative basic salads.

So, tell me. What have you been doing a month into self-quarantine? Please share what you've been reading, watching, eating, listening to, and doing!

Stay safe and well, friends! xx

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