Currently is a monthly post to check in and chat about life.
Hi! 👋🏼 How are you? A loaded question these days.
We’re okay, I guess. Scared one minute. Over it the next. Tired. Weird… Mostly weird.
Personally speaking, I’m grateful for our circumstances. I struggle daily with the notion of having children, but for now at least, I’m very glad I don’t have the burden of being a parent. All of my friends with kids are struggling to keep it together and I don’t envy them one bit. My dog has been nuisance enough – we’ll be holding a meeting later this afternoon to discuss all of the barking that’s been going on.
I started painting that pineapple at the very beginning of quarantine and have since repainted the body so many times that the paper is starting to pill. Will I ever get it right? Depends how much longer we’re in lock-down. I wish I could just press an undo button a hundred times and go back to the previous version, but it’s a stark reminder of life in the non-digital world. There is no undo button.
Art has been great therapy for us. It’s an escape from the mundane and a way to express complicated emotions without words. Cooking counts as art, too. In our weekly paint sessions we’ve determined that Chaser has a real knack for drawing composition and spacial awareness while I excel at color. It’s reflective of our unique yin and yang as a couple. He creates the structure and I make it come alive.
I hope you’ve settled into these strange times as best you can. Here’s what I have for ya this month:
Passing the Time
- Crafting Cocktails – Cocktail hour is alive and well in the Gaffney household. We don’t normally drink every day, but in quarantine, all bets are off. Tired of mixing boring drinks, last week I loaded our bar up with lots of different spirits courtesy of our AWESOME local liquor store that actually delivers to the dark abyss that is my neighborhood. What I’m trying to tell you is that, hey! I’m a mixologist now.
A few of the drinks we’ve been making, like Pisco Sours and Gin Fizzes, call for a raw egg whites, which is problematic for many reasons. As an alternative, I started messing around with something called aquafaba, which is actually just a fancy word for bean juice… you know, the thick liquid that comes in a can of chick peas. Yes, the same liquid I always insist you drain and rinse off of the beans before using them in a recipe.
Aquafaba is often used as a vegan replacement for egg whites, and I’m here to tell you that it works wonders in cocktails. It froths up just like an egg, only without the salmonella risk and leftover yolks. I promise it does not make your drink taste likes beans and is probably the best thing that’s happened to me all week, which tells you a lot about my week but also speaks volumes about how great this stuff is. Don’t throw away your bean water!
- An Epic Game of Rummy – On the nights we don’t feel like watching TV or doing art, we play cards and listen to music. It’s a really simple activity that, in normal times, we rarely ever engage in, but it’s been really fun having this ongoing card game that we can pick up whenever we feel like disengaging from the world.
- Gardening – I know I talked about this last time, but now is the best time EVER to start a garden. Not only are we all stuck at home with extra time on our hands, needing fresh produce is one of the biggest reasons for making trips to the grocery store. The more you can grow at home, the better. Even just a simple herb garden can add depth to your cooking and save you lots of money.
- Dance Yourself Clean – Daily dance parties (mostly solo) have become a thing. It’s cathartic cardio and always boots my mood. Also, yeah, I’m on TikTok now, along with lots of other 30-something dweebs. It’s stupid and I love it. Because with all of the doom and gloom that seems inescapable anymore, it’s really nice to have something to tune into that’s strictly immature comedy and corny dance routines.
Knock it all you want, but it’s been a huge source of sanity for me this past month. Have I made a few TikTok videos myself? Yep. Are they all terrible? Yep. Is the Chinese app collecting my data and spying on me? Probably. Do I care at all? Not one bit.
- Cooking For The ‘Gram – I started cooking a lot more on my Instagram stories and on Instagram Live, so give me a follow if you’re not already! I’m trying to film what I cook as much as I can so please let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see me make.
- I think what’s been most helpful during this pandemic has been the clear, consistent, honest, straightforward messaging from our elected leaders and trusted media sources: PSA: HERE’S WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD BE DOING RIGHT NOW! (Facebook)
- Nothing like a death sentence to remind you what living actually is: Dancing with My Mortality – I’ve been dying for a long time. Here’s what I’ve learned about how it’s done. (The New York Times)
- Personally, my jeans are tight and I’m having a hard time grappling with this new normal: It’s OK to Eat More and Exercise Less During Quarantine. (Outside)
- Trying to get back into a regular workout routine has resulted in a lot of sore muscles, but this stuff has been a GAME CHANGER: Bloom CBD Relief Balm. (Bloom Hemp – Use promo code CO15 to get 15% off your order!)
- Why not treat yourself to an at home facial? How to Give Yourself a Nice Little Facial at Home. (The Cut)
- Learning to groom my own dog has been unbelievably challenging and I have a newfound respect for the professionals, but this woman gives me hope: A woman put peanut butter on her forehead to cut her dog’s nails, and it actually worked. (Insider)
- Maybe this is what we need: My Mom’s Pot Brownies Were Legendary During the AIDS Epidemic. This Is Her Recipe. (Bon Appetit)
Have a Listen
I have no idea how to describe this playlist other than that it’s the music getting me through life right now. It’s my usual mashup of old and new, featuring some exciting new stuff from the Strokes and Fiona Apple plus a few quarantine-themed songs for good measure: Covid Vibes – A Very Pandemic Playlist.
What I’m watching
- If you read these posts regularly you already know that we love Survivor, BUT this season has been one of the best ever and I really do hope they add some extra episodes, because WHY NOT: Why Survivor: Winners At War Needs To Add More Episodes. (Cinemablend)
- The humble new comedy we didn’t know we needed: Dave (Hulu)
- Also worth mentioning that Parks and Rec is airing a reunion special tonight on NBC at 8:30 and I, for one, am here for it: A Parks and Recreation Reunion Episode Was Off the Table. Then a Pandemic Hit. (Vulture)
What I’m cooking
- What would we do without Deb? I agree with just about everything on this list: How I Stock the Smitten Kitchen. (Smitten Kitchen)
- Perhaps a fish taco for Cinco de Mayo next week? I highly recommend this one: Life Changing Crispy Baked Fish Tacos (Gimme Some Oven)
- A gentle suggestion for what to serve on the side: Cheesy Corn + Poblano Rice Casserole. (Coley Cooks)
- Anyone else as excited as I am for spring produce? Rhubarb Almond Cake with Bourbon Whipped Cream. (Coley Cooks)
- Made this on a whim and loved it so much more than I ever expected: Belizian Inspired Honey Garlic Butter Shrimp. (Half Baked Harvest)
- I’ve been making this recipe on repeat lately. It’s a lot easier than it looks: Peruvian Grilled Chicken with Spicy Green Sauce, Sweet Potato Wedges and Cucumber Avocado Salad. (Coley Cooks)
- Keep with the theme and mix up a South American inspired cocktail (and swap out the egg yolks for a little aquafaba): Pisco Sours. (Food and Wine)
“I am happy today, right now in my life. I hope the inevitable death each of us will go through is painless and filled with love. But meanwhile, I hope its shadow reminds us all to be as alive as possible, even as we sit — as a world — alone on our couches.” – Joselin Linder (from the New York Times article linked above)
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