I am setting a timer for five minutes. Then, I am going to write as much as I can of things I am grateful for.
I am grateful for the time with my daughter since March 1st as I get ready to move 800 plus miles away from her.
I am grateful for seagulls, sandpipers, white sand, blue water, green water, drinking water, food, shelter, clothing,
Keys, prayers, mediation, friends, family, my pink rug, my turquoise table, my happy meal toys, art, whimsical brains, colorful ideas, words, letters,
This, you, me, legs, arms, faith, fear, pain, growth, grief, joy, grace, salt, pepper, hello fresh, cake, cookies,
The dog that is coming, the love that is coming, the friends that are waiting,
My car, my health, my breath, my yard,
The rabbits, my eyes, seeing color, my art, my sense of humor, your sense of humor,
You reading this, me writing this,
The sun, the moon, the stars, the sky , clouds, rain, dark, light, full spectrum lamps,
Paint, medicine, vitamins, zoom, blue books,
Writing, music, theatre,
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate,
Seeing color, tasting flavor, feeling love, feeling warmth, suntans, flip flops, beaches, towels, umbrellas, cameras, pictures, photographs,
Education, growth, compassion, empathy, openness, teachability,
Listening, speaking, laughing, crying,
Shoes, Kate Spade.
The timer just stopped. But I am not going to. Because there is so much more. I am so glad that all I have to do is this moment. Right now. Until all of the moments add up to one day. This day. And this day is a beautiful one. Because I woke up. Still breathing. That’s a win.
It’s pandemic season. And I find it like living a marathon. I am choosing to be with me for the most part. Only seeing a few people in person and at that, with a distance between us of six feet, or, according to the screen saver at the Home Depot checkout counter, six pies.
I saw this yesterday when I went in to get packing supplies. On one side of the screen is a universal sign for “person.” Like on bathroom doors. On the other, the same image wearing the orange Home Depot apron. Between them a horizontal line with arrows on each end. Above that line, the words “six feet.” Below the line, “six pies.” I am wondering. Do people have to be 12 inch pie eaters to work at Home Depot?
Mine are more like 10 inch pies, so I will keep a seven pie distance from you. And then when you go, I will eat the pies. But I like cake right now. So how about a seven cake distance? Yes. Three yellow birthday cakes with chocolate cream cheese buttercream frosting alternating with four simple chocolate cakes with cream cheese ganache frosting. The recipes from scratch coming from Bon Appetit and my kitchen.
I have learned to like cooking since March 2020. And over ninety plus days, I have added three food groups. Cookies, cake and Hello Fresh.
I choose to not go to restaurants. I think I have had less than a dozen delivery or pick up meals in all of these weeks. Instead, I have slowed the the pace and enjoyed dinner. At the table. With my daughter. What a gift. Delicious. And the food is good too. Hello Fresh. Delivering to our door every Tuesday. A box filled with Hall of Fame recipes. All of the ingredients. No waste. Exact amounts. And colorful simple recipe cards with simple instructions. Just wash the produce, cut or slice or zest or dice. Bake or boil no trouble or toil. My daughter and I have taken turns with preparing the meals and cleaning up after.
Prior to this pandemic, I was not a fan of cooking. I have had anorexia in my history. Buying groceries, keeping them in my house, planning a menu, getting the ingredients-all have been great stressors in my past. Exhausting mentally.
But now, thanks to the pandemic state in which I reside, I have upped my game. Not just assembling food groups like a chore. With the same chicken legs and rice and tuna and salad. I did the bare minimum to nourish before and while my body’s needs were met, I was missing out on so much in my soul.
The Zen of thinly slicing scallions. Separating the white from the green. Zesting bright yellow lemon. Patting dry chicken like a mom who dries her baby’s butt. There is a nurture in meal prep. And while this may not be news to you, for me it has been a daily headline. Of Color. And texture and flavor.
That has fed my body. My soul. And my spirit. Not just by preparing. Or cleaning up. Both of which have been gifts to be grateful for as doing the task forced being in the moment . Not just for the delicious tastes that met on a plate. Orange carrots roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper, topped off with the zest of a lemon and some of its juice. No wait. There’s more! Next to this vegetable was couscous. Who knew? I didn’t! This gooey, slippery bland on its own food that looks like tapioca in the pan could take on such flavor from garlic and butter and scallions and salt. But wait. There’s more! Next to that, what was once a sad saggy breast, naked with not even skin, transformed by salt, pepper, sour cream, pancho bread crumbs, fresh shredded parmesean and smoky paprika into a lightly crusted juicy delight.
The best part of the meal?
The face across the table.
That I have gotten to see for so many dinners.
Because of the pandemic.
My silver lining dinner date.