👋 well, it sure has been a while. In some ways, it seems just yesterday that Jimmy Fallon and others were joking that after just a few “short” weeks of lockdown, it already felt like years of being cooped up. As states — including Colorado — now begin to re-open, we’re left reflecting on the last 10 weeks of Coronavirus-induced quarantine, and lives spent mostly indoors.
James previously wrote about Stoicism in regards to Harry Potter, but since comparisons to the Spanish Influenza quarantine of 1918 have abounded, there’s this quote from Marcus Aurelius (in reflecting on the past few generations of Romans) that seems particularly apt:
People doing the exact same things: marrying, raising children, getting sick, dying, waging war, throwing parties, doing business, farming, flattering, boasting, distrusting, plotting, hoping others will die, complaining, falling in love, saving money, seeking higher office and power
Much has changed since Pax Romana; indeed, much has changed since 1918. Yet in all the most important ways, life has remain unchanged for thousands of years. We’re all on this little globe trying to stay happy, fulfilled, and healthy. Here’s to hoping that your quarantine has proven to be all of those things.
We have played it very safe over the past two months. We scarcely leave the house except to buy groceries or to do socially-distant walks. We started the year with a huge list of travel plans (as noted in Sheila’s 2020 Vision), including James’s friend’s wedding in Hawaii and Sheila’s sister’s graduation in New Hampshire, college reunion in upstate New York, James’s sister getting married… all of which have lamentably gone by the wayside. Instead we were lucky to be present for Sheila’s cousin’s second birthday party. Celebrating little Olivia arriving at 2 years old with masks on is about as much social excitement as we’ve been able to partake of. It was a blast!
In the blink of an eye, June is upon us. This time last year we were starting our month in Switzerland, which included biking around Luzern, swimming in lakes, climbing mountains, and hopping between the houses of our friends. It was also the month we got engaged! And so, things look a little different this June but we wouldn’t say that our days are any less full, they’re just full of different things!
Since it’s been a little while since we’ve posted, we wanted to make a list of some of the things we’ve done, created, watched, and thought about over the past few months. Some may surprise you and some you’ll have already guessed…
Our favorite creations:
- Flautas: We make these babies almost every week! We got our recipe from the Thug Kitchen cookbook and have since adapted it based on what we have in the fridge/pantry. Don’t know what they are? Think baked taquitos.
- Sprouted kamut bread: We bulk ordered kamut a few weeks (was it months?) back and have used it for bread as well as a buckeye rendition (traditionally with millet). Kamut is tasty & nutritious! Check out the recipe James wrote up for the bread here!
- Buckeyes: These are one of our fave desserts. It’s a Midwest treat, made by toasting millet (the same way you would pop corn), combining with peanut butter, and covering with a healthy layer of dark chocolate. These puppies are served straight out of the freezer. We most recently sent Sheila’s cousin & wife off with a few of them for their anniversary!
- Refreshing mint elixir: While we were visiting with Rich & Maryne, we listened to a podcast extolling the values of the … persistent … mint plant, which in addition to choking out all other comers in the plant-fight arena makes for an extremely refreshing summertime cooler — we use our blender to mix together ice, mint sprigs, perhaps a touch of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and water to create a calming, hydrating masterpiece.
New activities we’ve picked up:
- Watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. Won’t say too much about it here other than 10/10 recommend! Check it out on Netflix for wholesome fun. James watched it many years ago and loved it, and we’ve been having good fun with the surprisingly mature plot from this Nickelodeon classic.
- A Saturday morning ritual: Each Saturday Sheila has been teaching a 20 minute yoga flow on Instagram Live and afterwards we make pancakes! Typically, as weather has been so nice, we sit outside with our cakes & coffee and we make that our gateway into the weekend. Usually we end up Facetiming with Sheila’s sister, Erin, and the pets in New Hampshire during this time too.
- “Pet watching”: As we’ve been spending so much time at home, we’re more attentive than ever to the animals in our neighborhood. We love watching the cats in the area chase butterflies and climb fences. Sheila especially loves calling out to James if an especially nice dog walks by the window.
- Sheila is Wag’s newest dogwalker, providing exemplary walks to dogs in the Sloan’s Lake and Highlands area.
- Weekly Friday night bingo with Sheila’s family. Ever since they cancelled bingo at the residence Sheila’s grandparents live in, the whole family joins a weekly zoom call to play bingo and catch up. It’s always a good way to close out the week!
Our favorite things to listen to / watch:
- Próxima Parada — perfect way to start a weekend morning
- Maggie Rogers — never a bad time to listen to her tear it up
- End of May Flow — ****playlist for Sheila’s end of the month yoga classes
- The birds, including our new friend that has been hanging around the porch all morning today!
- Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show At Home Edition
- Binging With Babish — since it would be a bad idea to eat that much grilled cheese yourself.
- Vulpeck’s killer song & video of “Grandma” **— **watch this! It’s an incredible studio session recording of an amazing song
What we miss:
- Family dinners! We love our social distanced walks with Sheila’s family down the street but look forward to the day we can all feel comfortable walking in and out of one another’s house. No one could be more confused than Olivia, though, who we have to keep at an arms distance even as we try and play and give her treats from our kitchen.
- Looking forward to trips. Not going to lie, even though time spent in our new apartment has been nice, we miss being able to plan and anticipate trips to visit friends and see new places.
- The pets! (Maybe you can tell this is one of the themes of this post …) We would have been home for Mango’s 15th birthday, and find ourselves daydreaming about what Mango’s doing, where Quil is napping (is he on the couch? Sleeping with one foot hanging off of the high chairs in the kitchen??), and what kind of trouble Tiki’s gotten into lately. After a few months spent a home in Bow, we often joked about what visitors must think, with so much attention lavished on these three huge pet personalities each day.
What we’ve grown to appreciate more of:
- Apartment minimalism & “waste not” mentality. Moving into an apartment during quarantine caused us to think hard about each piece we added to our apartment because you don’t just run out to the store, easily drop by a neighbor’s house to check out furniture, or ship things (as shipping as been a bit of a mess these days). This ended up being a blessing because we slowly added to our apartment and have tried not to fill it with “stuff.” We also have been avid composters & recyclers, so our trash bin takes a few weeks to fill.
- The simple things in life. There’s rarely a night more satisfying than the one that’s to be found where we get to just hang out, drink tea, perhaps enjoy a nice dessert, and then get to bed early. With no social engagements to speak of, we’ve largely opted to turn-in and rise with the sun.
- Good dental hygiene! But really. These days we are committed to brushing, flossing, tongue scraping (sound gross but if you know, you know), and using mouth wash. Three cheers to finally getting this down after 20 - 30 years of life!