Friday, April 3, 2020

Creativity with Covid: opening minds, reflecting, adjusting, changing

A well played Scrabble board includes a pair of "xs" and four blanks instead of the traditional two. Scrabble aficionados
know tiny "x" words, including "xi," the fourteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. Fun diversion. ("Yar," you bet, bottom line.)
 In the absence of her Jazzercise classes, and with partner Bruce Keller
unable to continue his building projects, the two work out on the
internet to Jazzercise on Demand. Facebook features live Jazzercise.  



MY GRANDMOTHER always looked for the proverbial silver lining -- and found it.
In times of distress or crisis, she'd say, "Let's put a positive spin on this, shall we Cookie?"
Cookie's neighborhood walks find beauty. It's there.
So wee Cookie learned at a young age to make lemons from lemonade.
I had no idea there'd be so much citrus in my life.
This latest crisis -- the Covid19 pandemic -- affects all of us, so it's a global problem, not just one with which I alone am dealing.
The absence of individual routines
brings a couple together in fun ways,
here lifting weights to live Jazzercise.

THE SILVER lining for many of us these past few weeks is learning to appreciate the small things we completely took for granted -- time with  cherished theater pals or book-reading friends, Coping with a changing world
Cookie's missing their usual 3 or 4
plays and concerts a week, so she
makes her own music for the couple.
visits with a neighbor, trips to enlarge our world view. Without the opportunity to see an exciting play and share the experience with like minded theater lovers, we've found it comforting to continue our theater fix at home. We watch vintage movies and favorite TV shows ("Matlock," "Lucy," "The Honeymooners," "Columbo"), binge on "The Crown," play piano, sing Broadway musical scores.
With stores closed comes an opportunity
to improvise, create new habits, rituals.

 WE MISS casual chats with fellow shoppers, those one-or-two line conversations with strangers in line at the check stand. Now we stand six feet apart on taped markings, most of us in masks. No hugs, little conversation.
We miss "being human," sharing a laugh or a gasp at a first-run movie, stopping to chat with a friend at the post office, rising in a standing ovation at the end of a fabulous play. On and on.
We usually have Friday date night at a favorite restaurant. For the first couple of lock down weeks, we could still obtain take-out.  Now, even that has been curtailed.
Redecorating the living room included hanging a painting
of Nick and Nora, the couple's beloved Yorkies, in a frame 
Keller crafted while on lockdown. Nick survives Nora.
WE'VE FRAMED paintings and photos we'd set aside.  We printed favorite travel photos from past trips to remind us we'll travel again. Keller is sorting through boxes of tools in his workshop, using screw guns, sandpaper, oils and long forgotten wood to fashion picture frames and create beautiful shelves.
Dressing for dinner cheers us up,
and brings memories of happy dinners
on cruises and in favorite bistros.
We dressed up for dinner last night as if we were on a cruise.  We're inventing new ways to amuse ourselves.
Cookie and Keller and thousands of fellow travelers found
travel plans on hold, with cruising and air trips out of the
 question now. So they printed trip photos and hung them. 
Here they are on a sunny day in Lisbon, Portugal.
WITH MY beloved Jazzercise studios closed, no book club, no piano gigs and Keller home while his engineering and contracting projects are on hold, we're  grateful for Jazzercise on Demand and Carmel Valley Jazzercise's live feeds on Facebook. We're dancing to Cole Porter, biking  and exercising. I'm playing the piano, writing my own songs with no concerts to catch.
Cookie rejoices in a wine delivery, along with specialty
items, veggies, fruit, fish and chicken in the cooler bags.
Each afternoon for the past week, we soak up the late sun with a garage Scrabble game. We wave at our diverse neighbors and enjoy snatches of their conversations.  In one afternoon we heard Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Japanese, Farsi and Arabic.

Our neighbors keep social distance, but smile and wave as they, too, adjust, try to keep fit.
Before the complete "stay home" edict, Keller  helped several neighbors with house repair projects they couldn't accomplish themselves.
WE ORDER in wine and produce, thanks to Keller's infinite patience.  Getting a slot to open for delivery has been his greatest challenge, but his persistence pays off. We've used Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods to stock the frig and cupboards, including nice wines and beautiful meats and produce.  We have braved  outings a couple times simply to get in the car and go somewhere. And we're cooking up a storm. (More about that next week.)
Be safe, use caution, keep fit, stay optimistic. And we'll try to do the same.

  A bounty of beautiful produce is ready for tonight's dinner as this Italian
shopper chooses from the offerings at this shop in Naples. We'll take you 

there, and share a typical day in our self-distancing lives the next few weeks.
UP NEXTWith no way to travel and no plays, concerts or dinners with friends, readers have asked what we do in a typical day. So we'll share our world through things that provide pleasure and activity -- even in the isolation of Covid19. We'll bike the hood, play Scrabble, cook, catch up with old friends and beloved family.  Then we'll bring you a pair of exciting food columns, with suggestions on connecting yourselves to the world through favorite meals.  We'll take you grocery shopping in foreign ports, then showcase favorite meals and include a simple recipe, with ideas for making the best of this rotten isolated situation -- through food.  Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us  Fridays for a fresh spin on travel, dining, nature and the arts:  


  1. Important to find humor and calm in the mayhem of the virus. Thanks.

  2. You guys really do make lemonade from the lousy citrus of Covid19. Bravo, brava.

  3. Denver drama buffsApril 7, 2020 at 4:01 PM

    Happy to see this and grateful for your sense of fun amidst the darkness and gloom. We must carry in with humor.