Here I am, like most of you, at home. Taking care of my family and keeping us out of trouble, as best we can.
I have been acutely aware that this is an excellent time to blog and photograph. Let my creative juices flow! But guess what? They aren’t flowing! They are backed up, dried up, plugged up! If I actually considered myself a writer, I would call it writer’s block. Maybe its “amateur blogger’s block?” At any rate, I thought this newsletter update might be a safe and simple way to stay connected while I stew on “what to write about next.”
It seems we are all in a bit of a primitive mode. Down to basics. What are you eating? Are you sleeping? How are you staying fit and healthy? And above all, what are you binge watching?
This is a little about my household. Tell us about yours!
We are eating really well! Having two more mouths to feed and more time to cook has upped my game considerably. I am trying recipes, taking risks, and still eating as healthy as we always have…mostly. As many of you may know, planning the day to day dinners is typically not my thing. I like to pretend I am a New Yorker or European, and shop daily at my neighborhood grocery, get inspired, and cook on the fly. Since that is not really possible right now, I am forced to feed the clan in a different way. How, you may ask?
1. We are not going to stores at all. It was a group decision early on not to put anyone at risk by going to a store. And not to put the family at risk when the shopper returns home. SO, following a few colossal Trader Joe’s and Safeway shopping adventures, we stopped venturing out about four or five weeks ago. This means delivery only. The services we have used are Instacart and Mercato. We have had food and drink delivered from Raley’s/Nob Hill, Target, Safeway, Bev Mo, and our local Dan’s Produce. After weeks of sometimes getting what we ordered, and often times not, we finally have a better system. We literally ended up with 104 eggs, (not kidding) and 10 avocados that all ripened at the same moment. We use the big bad Amazon for random, one-time items and household stuff, and now just use Raley’s for the weekly big shop. More delivery times seem to be available recently. I find if we order on a Tuesday or Wednesday, we can get a delivery by the following Monday. The shopper drops the bags on the porch and we unpack and sanitize there, before anything enters the house.
2. I ask the family for menu ideas for five nights per week. Some favorites are on repeat and some are experimental. Some are based on what we have in the fridge and freezer, but when we are really organized, we make sure we order what we need for special recipes. For instance, Pad Thai is a new family fav, so I now have a supply of fish sauce, tamarind paste, and rice noodles at the ready! Some of us need gluten free and dairy free, so be on the lookout for some upcoming baking surprises!
3. Two nights per week we are supporting local restaurants by ordering in with delivery by Door Dash or Postmates. Some of our favorite local spots are not doing well with the to-go scene. Several times, our orders have been mixed up, and we have been a little disappointed. However, we are not giving up on them! Every place is running on the bare minimum of staff and trying to stay afloat. I think it is important to be patient with them as they figure this out. One night we even sent burritos to the staff at our local hospital. That was a win-win. Support our local heroes and local businesses at the same time!
Are we? Yes. Is it as rigorous as previously? Probably not. But my husband and I walk an hour per day early in the morning to avoid a lot of foot traffic. Luckily, we live in one of the most spectacular places in the country, which makes it easy to find beautiful trails, pretty views, and quiet neighborhoods. By the way, we wear our masks and are sure to pull them up when people walk, jog, or bike by. Many people do not do the same, however. I am very curious about why some people are leaving their houses without face masks. Thoughts? Let me know how you are handling this issue.
My girls and I also do YouTube workout classes daily, as well. Some are better than others, but we keep trying new ones to mix it up. Check out Pop Sugar. They tend to have a lot of fun and motivational teachers. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBINFWq52ShSgUFEoynfSwg
Keeping our lungs and bodies strong is super important right now! Luckily, my dance class community has a weekly Zoom lesson with our beloved teachers and that really warms up my body and my soul!
Any help in this department is welcome! What are you reading? What are you watching? I am finding it difficult to concentrate on books for very long. You? Do you find yourself binging on CNN? For me, reading the NY Times is enough to rev up the ole anxiety each morning. That being said, sometimes I feel a little out of touch and want a visual reminder of what is actually happening out there, so I turn on the news and immediately feel a sense of overwhelm. Regarding nightly entertainment, we struggle with some different tastes in the house. It is often difficult to find the thing we all want to watch. Some of us love action, some crime drama, some rom com. Consequently, we are watching a wide range of stuff, from Homeland to Royal Pains. Movies, series, documentaries? We are open to your suggestions! Please help with your “something the whole family will enjoy” ideas.
It sounds counter intuitive, but it is hard to have music playing in a house with a musician. So, we are working on playlists that don’t trigger any discord! Obviously, I will ALWAYS recommend listening to any Dann Zinn album. All are found on Spotify, Pandora, etc.
This is a gorgeous piece by our dear friend, drummer/composer Alan Hall, featuring musician friends from around the world. Look for Dann Zinn on flute! Shelter In Place
My brother and family created a fun list, In The Time of the Virus, with titles apropos to the quarantine; All By Myself, Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Stayin Alive…You get the idea!
And, last but not least, my darling daughter made me a great playlist! A Cup of Decaf Quarantunes playlist. Check it out! A great variety of easy listening, quaranteed to relax you!
The list is long and growing. We had some serious plans just before the Q to paint all the baseboards and doors, reupholster the living room chairs, new window coverings, and my favorite; a new front door! We did get some new blinds, but that is all we accomplished before March 13! Hmm, any bets on when, or if, the other projects get done?
I am extremely proud, however, of a huge photo album accomplishment! With the help of my girls, and Amazon, I dismantled approximately 25 old photo albums and sorted through six boxes of old photos. I threw away thousands of pictures. Some were just terrible shots, some of people nobody knows, or scenery nobody cares about. Then we placed all the save-worthy pics into lovely, white linen albums. We even bought a handy label maker! The tasteful new albums now live on shelves in my home office. I can peek up from my Zoom meetings and feel like I am living in a Crate and Barrel advertisement! It is fabulous!
I am heading into the yard this weekend. All the pots and beds need serious attention. I will be ordering seeds and maybe try a drive by pick up or delivery from our local nursery. Have you been planting? Where do you buy your flowers and vegetables? I know my east coast friends and family have been starting to put things in the ground, so I have no excuse with the perfect weather here in Alameda!
Dare to Dream
You know I try to live from one trip to the next. So, it has been hard not to imagine where we may be flying to. Therefore, I am re-living some past trips. Going through the digital photos, posting on Instagram, and daydreaming about future adventures. Please follow me on IG. I promise to share my travel daydreams with you. We all can use a little glimpse into the future.
I am picturing a domestic trip. One that supports travel and commerce in our country, and doesn’t require airports and planes! A Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, national park kind of tour. Sound good? Stay tuned! The last time I was at the El Tovar on the rim of The Grand Canyon, I was about 23 years old! Time to return. And this time, with the family in tow!
Thanks for reading. Share your news below or on IG @cupofdecaf.
Stay safe, enjoy your decaf, and be well.