If We Were Having Coffee…Corona Virus Edition

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If we were having coffee today, April 26th, things would be different. In this time of social distancing we would visit virtually, so go grab your cup of coffee and settle in. I’ll wait as I nibble on this skillet cornbread I made this morning.

We’ve been cooking nonstop while we’ve been cooped up in the house. My husband, a chef, prepares most of the meals but I made dinner the other night – polpette and a Sicilian orange salad. I haven’t made this dish in years but I had a nagging need to fill the house with the aroma of my childhood. I used my grandmother’s recipe and one bite brought me back to her kitchen and all the memories that come with it. It’s the ultimate comfort food. My mother just reminded me that today is my grandmother’s birthday. I think the fact that she’s been on my mind so much lately was her way of visiting me. Happy Birthday, Grandma.

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We’ve also made doughnuts and puddings and pizza and cakes. I wonder if somehow, subconsciously, we believe these treats can chase away the anxiety that has become our constant companion. My mother has been making loaves of bread and bagels on a daily basis. She divvies up each batch and then she and my dad deliver them to my sisters and I. We meet them in the driveway, donning our masks while trying to maintain six feet and fighting all the rituals that define us as a family. No hugs, no coming inside, no visiting for hours. It’s a strange new world and I don’t like it one bit. My husband and I have been visiting with the grandchildren through video chats. That helps. Sometimes the laughter of children is the perfect medicine.

We’ve been trying to adjust. I was working from home until I got furloughed a week ago. My husband and I go for long walks when weather permits. Yesterday we set up the patio and sat outside, afraid to go to the parks because it was the first nice day in a while. We knew all the walking trails would be packed and it would not be safe to go where there were so many people. Again, the struggle to make sense of this new way of living lingers like a fog over even a sunny day.

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I confess I am a news junkie, favoring CNN or MSNBC over sitcoms or the like on television, but I have become oversaturated. My husband and I like to watch Cuomo’s daily news briefs but even that has become too much. Lately, the tv has been turned off, replaced by soothing playlists or even glorious silence. We’ve started watching movies at night and have been on a cooking theme. We watched Julie and Julia and A Journey of a Hundred Feet and another movie I won’t mention because it was awful. I’ve also been reading a lot, alternating between hardcover books and ones on Audible.

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My writing has come in fits and spurts. I’m participating in NaPoWriMo – 30 poems in 30 days, but for the first time in years, I haven’t posted each day during the event. There were days when family obligations took precedence and others when the muse was in a separate quarantine. One time, my son wasn’t feeling well (not related to Covid-19) and I spent 3 ½ hours waiting for him in the parking lot of the walk-in clinic. Another time, my husband drove around for hours just to get out of the house. Nothing is usual and the usual has disappeared and I’m trying to be ok with that.

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How are you, my friend? How are you managing your way through this difficult time? I hope you and those you love are healthy and safe. We’ll get through this somehow. For now, we wait and I’m grateful for the chance to connect as we share our virtual cup of coffee. Stay well!

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