Yesterday I had my (hopefully) last appointment with Dr. Aronowitz, the orthopedic surgeon who operated on my knee last month. It was the third time I visited his office in Schenectady and the experience was quite a bit different from my previous appointments.
The first thing that was unlike prior appointments was flexibility in my appointment time. Originally I scheduled this final visit for a time beyond my school day. Thinking that perhaps the office might not be as tightly booked as usual, I called and was able to move things up a bit. I’m not really comfortable not being home these days and hoped that I would be able to get in and out quickly.
I pulled into the parking lot a few minutes prior to when I was expected. Trying to minimize my time in a large waiting room, I remained in my car until just before the appointed time. Using my sleeve over my hand, I opened the door and entered the building where I was greeted by a masked medical worker. She placed gloves from a nearby box on her hands as she explained it was necessary to take my temperature before I could check in. Ok.
I was asked if I was feeling well, had I traveled recently, if I had been in NYC. She noted my responses and inserted a thermometer device in my right ear and immediately looked disturbed by the reading – 102. Looking at me and recognizing that I didn’t present as someone with a temperature that high, she double checked the findings by repeating the process in my left ear this time – 100. Hmmm. She asked if she could try an oral thermometer.
During the few seconds it took to once again attempt to correctly ascertain my temperature, my first thought was “Oh my God, how many people might I have exposed to any virus I might have?” I tried to figure out where I might have caught the virus – the grocery store? Perhaps during one of my long walks with Jeter? How come I didn’t feel sick?
This time, though, the result was normal at 99 degrees. It seems I was, in fact, fine.
I couldn’t wait to get back home.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting more than a little overwhelmed by the constant barrage of CoronaVirus related news. I’m feeling anxious and isolated and sort of cast adrift as I struggle to figure out how to do my job from home.
While I’ve been escaping with live streamed yoga classes, professional Zoom meetings and binge watching Sex and the City, it isn’t enough. For the rest of my waking hours, irregular as they may be, there are two C words beyond Corona that are occupying my time – cooking and cleaning.
Since grocery shopping is such an ordeal these days and we’re encouraged to remain at home, I’ve been trying to cook out of my pantry and my crisper drawer. Last night’s meal nicely capitalized on what I happened to have on hand – broccoli rabe, chickpeas, canned tomatoes and an open container of veggie stock.
Now, if you look at this NYT recipe you might notice that it doesn’t actually call for broccoli rabe, listing kale instead, but this is very much a recipe that one can modify according to whim or ingredients available. My take on it, after reading some of the comments on the NYT website, doubled the chickpeas and used the liquid from the canned tomatoes and veggie stock instead of water. I also tossed in a Parm rind for some added flavor and increased the crushed red pepper by a generous extra pinch.
Served with grated cheese, it was a cheap and healthy dinner with the bonus of being delicious.
Cooking the Pasta e Ceci was easy and satisfying – just like some of the recent home projects I’ve taken on. Since I frequently find myself wandering from room to room in my house, I’ve done a fair amount of organizing and weeding of items that I’m prepared to eliminate from my home. There’s been quite a bit of dusting also and I actually removed the three milk glass sconces from my bathroom light fixture and gave them a good washing. I learned that they are in fact not milk glass. They were just really dusty.
On the menu for the upcoming week – Asparagus Pork Stir fry, cleaning the ceiling fans, and moderating my news consumption. How about you?
Filed under Albany, Cooking, DelSo, Dinner, Food, ideas, News, Observations, Recipes, Recommendations, Spring, stress, upstate New York
(As in where my mind goes during a Pandemic and Quarantine)
How will we collectively and individually remember these days? What will this experience etch upon each of us?
I’ve never been so relieved to not own a small business. This must be the most challenging situation small business owners have ever imagined, must less, faced.
In this time of mandatory physical distancing, has gardening become the new intimate contact? There’s a certain satisfaction to be had from getting your heart rate up and getting a little dirty and my backyard has never looked better.
Is a pandemic a valid reason for not observing street cleaning parking regulations in Albany? I believe street parking meters fees have been suspended, but am I jerk for thinking it isn’t too much for my neighbors to move their cars for three hours on a weekday when they’re obviously home?
Can you appreciate how fortunate we are that this illness took aim at our country in spring? How much more desperate would we each be feeling if it were the onset of winter instead of the prelude to a season of growth and natural beauty?
What do you miss the most from “normal” life? What will you do when we are eventually released to resume regular programming?
Do you ever imagine that maybe these times might cause our contemporary society to reset? That we might change what we value most in our world?
Is it really ok that CEOs make millions of $ a year, while nurses, store clerks and delivery drivers earn so much less? When you consider the contributions they’re each making at this time, how do you justify the incredibly broad income gap between the top earners and the rest of the population?
What about you? What have you been thinking?
Even when the skies are grey and intermittently spitting some combination of rain and snow, one must believe that the sun will come out again and shine. It just has to.
One day we’ll reflect back on these times and what we learned from the unimagined challenges of today. I wonder how we’ll be different.
I look forward to one day remembering when…
…Andrew Cuomo became my generation’s Kennedy and the country’s hottest bachelor.
…We learned that our country was home to people who binge purchase paper products without a care about denying others the opportunity to purchase the same traditional essentials?
…Grocery store excursions became explorations as you were forced to substitute random items for those on your shopping list due to lack of availability.
…You realized that hanging out around a bonfire while in your 50s (or even 60s!) was even more fun than when you were in your teens
…The term Katie Girl was added to my vocabulary.
…Questioning “need over want” became a good way to fill the hours.
…Trying to find the balance between being industrious and curling into a ball was more mentally exhausting than any actual job.
…Honesty again became the ultimate commodity.
Flowers in bunches are beautiful. People, not so much.
Walking these days take some attention. I mean, it always demanded that we have our eyes and ears open, but walking in the midst of a pandemic requires an additional sense – as in common sense.
As Jeter and I meander our way through the street of Albany, I now have to consciously take of note of people who might cross paths with us and decide how to best evade them. Cross the street? Go wide? Make eye contact? Smile?
It can all feel a little awkward.
As I walked yesterday I considered how the act of being a contemporary pedestrian was forged into the brains and muscle memory of a lot of 80s kids. We were raised on Centipede, Frogger, Pac-Man and Asteroids. We know how to avoid shit that pops up in front of us and gets in our way. Navigating through perils was a part of our childhood.
The sunshine helps and I appreciated the feel of it on my back Saturday afternoon. Put on some warm clothes and get outside while you can. Breathe deep. Take care of yourselves and each other. Six feet away beats six feet under by miles.
Filed under Albany, beauty, Exercise, friends, Gardens, musings, Observations, Recommendations, sick, Spring, stress, upstate New York
With little else left to do, I find myself walking a lot. On the sunny days, it’s hard to not believe that eventually things will find their way to a new normal. Trees are budding and the earliest bloomers are showing off in front yards and gardens. Life continues, right?
When the skies are grey, though, it’s more difficult to project into a future that contains all the components previously taken for granted – regular schedules for schools and work, grocery stores with fully stocked shelves, hugs with those we love. All those things we never could have anticipated disappearing in a haste that is breathtaking.
It feels like it’s important to document what is happening, with words and images and I’ve been doing both. The photos here are from recent walks I’ve taken. I’ll continue posting photos over at Instagram, if you want to give me a follow over there.
For now, I need to put on some lipstick, set up my Chrome Book and read another chapter in the book I’m sharing with my students using Screencastify. Maybe listening to a book being read will provide an escape from some of what we can’t avoid seeing in print.
Mashed potatoes aside, mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food in my world. When I make it at home, I consider it an emptying-of-the-cheese -drawer exercise, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy in multiple ways. (I hate wasting food.) The randomness of the cheese selections means it may never quite taste exactly the same twice, but believe me, it’s always good.
While consistency may not be my personal strength, chef Ric Orlando has been hitting it out of the proverbial ballpark for decades. I can’t think of another person (except maybe Dimitrios at City Beer Hall) who has so successfully merged seemingly disparate cuisines into fantastic and memorable dishes. Thai and Italian? IRC’s done that. Traditional dish with an ingredients twist? Of course!
For the recently held Mac & Cheese Bake Off at Keegan Ales, Ric combined two of my favorite dishes – Peking Duck and Mac & Cheese into a dynamite skillet of deliciousness. I dropped in on Tuesday night to sample the dish and was very happy to have had the opportunity to make a meal out of this small plate which satisfied two cravings with each forkful. Three, if you count bullshitting with Nick at the bar.
Served piping hot in a cast iron vessel, the plate was a delight of creamy, crunchy goodness with lovely and tender slices of duck hidden beneath toothsome noodles, mung bean sprouts and chopped scallions. There were also swirls of hoisin (plum?) sauce and gorgeous buttery breadcrumbs, making this a perfect marriage of many flavors taken from two very different and individual cuisines.
The dish was a special Tuesday, (3/3/20), so call ahead or check NWBB’s website for availability. At $12 it was a bargain, paired with a glass of wine it was a meal. Can’t get enough of Mac and Cheese in all its glory? Here’s your chance to sample more delectable variations this weekend – and raise some $$ for a good cause.
Filed under Albany, Cooking, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, Eating, favorites, Food, Local, Recommendations, upstate New York, winter