It’s (Quarantine) Monday! What Are You Reading? (March 23, 2020)

Well, friends, we have one week (and some change) of social distancing behind us.  How are you holding up?  I know we’re all under different strictures – depending on geography, some of my friends are under strict shelter-in-place orders, and others have just their own social consciences to go on, but it’s clear that staying home is the right thing to do right now – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Steve and I worked from home all week, and the kids were knocking around the house, too; their school is closed until at least April 13.  (I’m guessing it will be longer, and Steve and I have started to wonder aloud to each other whether we will still be on the hook for tuition if we get to June and the school hasn’t reopened.)  I can’t say I had a very productive week, work-wise, although I did my best.  For the time being, Steve and I are working in shifts – he has the morning and I have the afternoon.  The non-working parent is in charge of the kiddos.  They’re nominally on “spring break” – they have distance learning packets to do, but the school has asked that we not start those until March 30, so I’m following a slightly looser schedule in the mornings and just trying to do some workbook pages and some enrichment activities, and otherwise let them spend a lot of time on art projects, which is what they prefer to do.  We’ll tighten it up once distance learning begins, but we’re just easing in for now.

That was my week – stressful, for sure.  I have some thoughts about the pressures of this quarantine, so stay tuned for a post in the next couple of weeks.  Anyway – the weekend was welcome, when it came.  Not because it was all that different from the week, but it was a relief to me not to have to juggle the kids and work.  Steve put in several hours on both Saturday and Sunday, and I mostly just kid-wrangled.  I did go out twice – on Saturday, I drove down to Wegmans to pick up some of the food we were running low on (most critically, coffee and ovaltine), and on Sunday we headed out for a family hike.  The trails were more crowded than I was expecting, and I ended up feeling guilty for going, even though I really needed a nature release.  Steve and I agreed that if we hike again during this quarantine, we are going to have to go somewhere much more remote.  I really hope I don’t have to give up hiking, since it’s such an important mental health activity for me.  I’d rather go quietly insane indoors than get COVID-19, but still.

Reading.  ‘Twas a pretty active reading week, which was to be expected (even without commuting).  On Monday, I finished The Mitford Murders, which was predictable but fun.  Moved on to Girl, Woman, Other, because it was a two-week book at the library – I couldn’t have predicted that before I finished it, the library would shut down completely and extend everyone’s deadlines to April 20th.  Oh, well – I finished it anyway, and it was astonishing.  Definitely not the comfort reading that I’m craving at the moment, but a really remarkable achievement and well worthy of the Booker Prize (and much better than The Testaments, which I admittedly liked very much).  Anyway, between quarantining and Girl, Woman, Other, I really needed my next book to be something that was going to make me feel good – Jane Austen to the rescue.  I read Sanditon, which is on my classics club list, so you can look out for a review in the next few weeks.  Fourth and final book of the week is Lucia in London, also from the classics club list, and just the kind of lighthearted romp that I so badly need right now.

Watching.  Lots of the kids’ choices, as usual – way too much of The Lion Guard, but more satisfactorily, Inside Out and Moana.  (This quarantine is brought to you by Disney+ and Pastabilities dinosaur mac ‘n cheese.)  On a more grown-up note, somewhat tragically, Steve and I are on the last episode of the current season of The Great British Bake-Off.  There are still the holiday episodes to get through, so we have that.  Once those are done, I will have to fight against my current overwhelming desire to go back to the beginning and start all over again.  Emma is calling my name, and I have a long queue of episodes of Rock the Park, and I’m not done with Grantchester, and I want to explore the National Geographic Channel section on Disney+, and it’s long past time for a Parks and Recreation re-watch, but I’m just going to watch Bake-Off over and over and over.

Listening.  The latest episode of Shedunnit, on romance in crime fiction, was the highlight of the week.  Not much listening other than that – I put on a bit of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for Nugget while he was building with Lincoln Logs one morning, and spent a little time with The Book Riot Podcast playing in the background as I baked pomodori al forno and sourdough crackers over the weekend, but that’s about it.

Making.  Right, so about that – not much over the course of the week; just some work product and a lot of yelling.  But I had a very soothing afternoon in the kitchen on Sunday.  I made a batch of pomodori al forno – slow-roasted Roma tomatoes, recipe courtesy of my mom’s BFF, Denise.  A double batch of my “Impossibly good bolognese” – vegan bolognese sauce with Impossible burger ground.  A batch of tangy sourdough crackers (not as crunchy as I’d like, but definitely edible and the recipe uses discard sourdough starter, so I’ll basically forgive all faults).  Several containers of sliced cucumbers and peppers for crunching during the week.  And a cleaned-out fridge, so it’s abundantly clear what we have in there.  No one is allowed to complain that there’s nothing to eat.

Blogging.  Book review on Wednesday, for the Classics Club (I’m on FIRE lately, people).  And a recap of our Sunday hike is coming on Friday.  I still feel a bit guilty about it, but I took a lot of good pictures and it seems like a waste to not show them to you.

Loving.  If you’re in need of a new hand-washing song, Nugget made up a good one.  Write this down: “Happy birthday to me, I’m one hundred and three, I smell like a monkey and I look like a donkey.”  (Note that it’s one hundred, not hundred, and if you sing it wrong he WILL correct you.)  Repeat twice.  You’re welcome.  WASH YOUR HANDS, PEOPLE.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?  And how are you staying sane in the quarantine?

2 thoughts on “It’s (Quarantine) Monday! What Are You Reading? (March 23, 2020)

  1. “I’d rather go quietly insane indoors than get COVID-19, but still.”

    Same here. We’ve been home since March 10th. Our schools are set to reopen on March 30th, but I suspect the governor will push it back. We’ve been spending a lot of time cooking, baking, reading, and gardening. We’ve also been going for walks. So far, it isn’t been too hard to stay more than 6 feet away from other people, but as the weather improves and more people go outside, that may change.

  2. Pingback: Reflections on One Year of Pandemic Shutdowns – covered in flour

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