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Pandemic Predicament

Barbara here….

The Covid-19 quarantine that rang in shortly after the new decade has presented a challenge for many of us. We are social people. So, what do we do with ourselves when we are suddenly faced with free time, but at home?

Real estate and writing have remained a passion for me. They’re still happening. But what about socializing?

Suddenly my crammed calendar has blank days or large gaps. I finally have free time that I’ve been craving, but now, way too much of it. No more shopping (gasp!), lunches, happy hours, and dinner with friends, no theatre, movies, or concerts.

And the biggie? No traveling!

So, after canceling trips to a writer’s workshop in Wyoming, Dad’s 95th birthday party in Maryland, and a sister’s trip to Israel (boy, is that an eclectic itinerary), I pulled myself up from my pity-party and decided to do something about it.

The first thing I did was buy bird feeders and seed since I had this new-found fascination with our feathered friends. As I read the morning paper in the backyard, I not only listen to their cheery chirpings; I contribute to their well-being. It is so enjoyable to watch the sunrise while observing the interactions of doves, quail, and hummingbirds. I refer to a bird book to determine the species of random fowl that visit the feeding stations.

Next, I took up gardening. It was enlightening to see all the beautiful flowers that emerged with the spring! I learned to use a hose, watering can, and pruning shears to manicure nature’s works of art. Feeling confident and exhilarated, I tentatively tried my hand at vegetables. I started with the seeds of tomatoes and peppers, wrapping them in wet paper towels for a few days. And to my surprise, they sprouted! I was like a little kid with a science project. I got a raised garden bed and soil and planted corn, green beans, basil, and onions. And they too sprouted and grew, along with cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and an avocado.

Who says you can’t shop? I rediscovered Target.com, Costco.com, and InstaCart for essentials, along with Amazon, EBay, and Etsy. My fashion discussions now center on cute masks to wear when venturing out.

Instead of random walks when time permits, my girlfriend and I now walk every single morning. After all, we have no excuses to skip exercise. We meet at 6:30 a.m. at the park, where we trudge along for five miles. We have become regulars and are known as the “Fillies” in our cowboy hats and bandanas. We know not only the walkers’ names, but also those of their dogs. And we’ve discovered new breeds, such as Sheepdoodles, a cross between an Old English Sheep Dog and Standard Poodle, and an Australian Cobberdog, which is an emotional support pure breed Labradoodle from Australia. The monotony of walking in huge circles like a caged hamster is broken by the thrill of the treasure hunt. We find lovely painted rocks hidden in all sorts of nooks and crannies of nature.

And I’ve taken up baking. Who says you can’t eat raw eggs? The Doubletree Chocolate Chip cookie dough is absolutely delicious! Disclaimer: Eat at your own risk! I’ve provided the recipe of the cooked version for your reference.

I read now during the day, a luxury I never allowed myself. My Kindle and my library shelves are a source of endless joy as I travel into the wonderland of fiction. And I’m still working on my Blue trilogy with heroine Bellissimma and hero Benjamin. My goal is to self-publish in the near future.

ZOOM! A verb formerly reserved for sports cars…. I Zoom for real estate meetings and classes, Romance Writers meetings, and to keep up with friends and family. Social distancing at its finest!

I’ve turned off the news and turned on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’ve newly discovered sitcoms, documentaries, and English period dramas. Another diversion during these crazy times.

Of course, when all else fails and you find yourself pacing in boredom, it might be time for a nap. Beauty rest rejuvenates the soul and revives the mood. I am guilty of catching a little mid-day shut-eye every now and then. Ah hem….

I can’t neglect to mention what Ernie is doing in his spare time. “Pooling and grilling!” What’s that, you ask? Why, it’s his new toys, our swimming pool, spa, and fancy-shmancy built-in grill. When he’s not skimming the pool and showing me the scary insects and critters that met an untimely demise, he is floating along in the sunshine, music blaring, in contented bliss! And later he grills out burgers, steaks, chicken, and seafood. 

Stay healthy, happy, and safe. And spread kindness in your travels, even if your travels do not go past your front door.