Brace yourselves, a retrospective is coming. Last year, I wrote this piece describing what time had been like in our home after two months of "lock down." As it turns out, I'm home again although for a different reason. For the last month I've been on leave, taking care of my child who is recovering from a major surgery. (Everything is going great! Thanks for asking!) This time at home has been much different and has given me ample time to think about what we've endured and how a year of living mostly away from everyone has affected our lives.
I miss my family.
The holidays came and went and were a bit of a letdown. There are usually at least ten people crammed into my home on Thanksgiving; this year, there were four. This is a day that should be loud with spills, crowds, someone a little too drunk, someone a little too sober, and windows open because it's gotten uncomfortably warm. This year was quiet, the relish tray kept in its cabinet. Sweet potatoes went down like a bitter pill. I cannot wait until we can have indoor, messy meals again.
Cookbooks kept me sane.
If you've read my other blogs, you'll know I mostly quit drinking a couple of years ago and I replaced my love of wine with a love of cooking. The library's huge collection of cookbooks, along with a new subscription to the NYT Cooking app, and my gorgeous Le Creuset pot I bought from Weavers have inspired some great food (if I do say so myself) but also it seems....
I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Seriously, body? Maybe focusing on French cooking with its puddles of butter wasn't the best idea. But it's a PANDEMIC. We are in QUARANTINE. Butter is my family now since my real family can't come over. Sadly, I must occasionally give butter a break, and when that happens, I cook from these. Is the Dash diet exciting? No. Let's not sugar coat it. Also, apparently, sugar is bad for you too. How many chicken soups, chicken breasts, chicken on-top-of-a-boring-bed-of-vegetables can one tolerate? However, if your rude doctor has told you to cut back on the cholesterol and fat, we can help you with that. And even though I found out my blood was made of 90% butter...
I took better care of myself and went to the doctor for the first time in a while (begrudgingly).
Getting old is not for the weak. I'll be 45 in a couple of months and I was feeling it. What's that pain? Why can't I sleep? Someone hand me the Werther's. My freezer vodka has been replaced by fish oil capsules and the only pills I take are for the aforementioned blood pressure. This was quite an introspective year and I needed to do some maintenance so I can hopefully be around for several more. I'm not sure I would have listened so closely to what I needed if I hadn't been forced to be alone with myself for hours on end. This bod and I have had some tough conversations lately. Another conversation we've had lately is to rein in the Amazon shopping because...
Shopping locally became more important to me than ever.
The idea of losing our local places because they couldn't compete with Amazon and big box stores terrified me. I have not been able to cut myself off completely from every chain store but I have made a concerted effort to shop at local places whenever I can. Thanks to Weaver's for the Dutch oven, The Raven for multiple books, Checkers for the great produce, Bodytruth Soap Apothecary for the soaps and bath bombs, and to 1313 Mockingbird for these Gremlins air fresheners.
Kanopy is a treasure trove.
Cook a saltless meal for yourself from one of the books above and then feast your eyes on some food for your brain. Kanopy offers over 25,000 indie films and documentaries. I've been on a real French film kick lately-- (It goes so well with the French cooking!) the most recent being Monsieur and Madam Adelman which is worth watching for the old-age makeup alone. There are movies for everyone on Kanopy, though. I also recently checked out 2017's Best Picture winner, Moonlight. I can't believe I waited so long to sit down with this film. It was incredible. And not at all French.
In my post last year, I discussed my family's inability to complete a jigsaw puzzle after 51 days of being home. I guess there is something that hasn't changed about me this year-- I haven't gotten another puzzle out since.
-Sarah Mathews is an Accounts Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.