I don’t have much to say about “the situation” that others haven’t already said, and said well.* We’ve all developed different coping mechanisms for life in captivity. When all of this began, I couldn’t concentrate on books or TV. Like so many of us, I focused on the one thing over which I could exert at least some control: the kitchen. I binged on baking bread and making stew and soup and stashing half of each meal in the freezer, just in case. (That photo, by the way, is my most successful loaf of rye to date. But that’s a discussion for another day.)
After a few weeks, though, the frenzy quieted, and I started to feel more settled in. I picked up the two books I had going and finished both. And then we were back to enjoying TV. The new season of Call the Midwife kicked off. At about the same time, we cycled through Jonny Harris’s Still Standing, as I mentioned in the last post. And then one day, because I wanted to share a funny video clip with Hubby, I pointed out that he could watch it on the big screen.
Uh-oh. Did I unleash a monster! In a flash, Hubby was all in. He started cruising, big time. And there, somewhere amongst the sweet clips of Newfoundland puppies, unusual sea creatures (one of his particular fascinations), and great moments in college wrestling, he found Gina, the Italian Grandma whose You Tube Channel is known as Buon-A-Petitti. We have been watching (and learning from) this delightful woman ever since.
Gina came to New Jersey with her family in middle age. In her early shows, she’s conscious of her accent, but you can see her confidence grow as the shows progress. She crosses herself before she sets dough to rise, then tucks it into a corner of her couch, swaddling it with afghans to keep it warm. She bursts a cappella into her favorite Italian hymns while she’s making fresh pasta, bread, or typical Italian-American favorites (often in their original Italian versions). She proclaims, “God bless America!” and indulges her grandchildren by making separate batches of goodies that cater to their individual tastes. She uses five pounds of flour for just about every pasta, bread, or cookie recipe, then manipulates that massive quantity of dough with strength and ease. And, when it comes to basic seasonings, like black or red pepper, she says simply, “Somebody no like-a, you no put.”
God bless joyful, grateful, guileless Gina, our first “quarantine crush.” What’s not to love?
Then there is crush #2, John Krasinski. Be assured that the numbers only reflect order of discovery, not rank. I just loved Krasinski in The Office and still watch reruns from time to time. Since the beloved series ended in 2013, he’s morphed from Jim, your favorite boy next door, into Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, quite a horse of a different color. But if you haven’t been watching his do-it-yourself show, Some Good News, you’re missing out on a perfect dose of quarantine therapy. This guy has such a huge, huge heart. I love the way he’s demonstrating how to extract joy, in tiny bits or huge measure, from both worldwide acts of kindness and gratitude and plenty of good humor and his own invention… making us laugh, sometimes through our tears. He and wife Emily Blunt have two little girls, and that obviously influences Krasinski’s laser sharp focus on kids, whose childhood and adolescence will be forever marked by this strange episode in our history.
We’re five episodes into SGN as I write this, and I’m already fretting that it will come to end when we’re back to “normal,” whatever that turns out to be. If you haven’t seen SGN, you need to. Use the link above and watch all five—they are guaranteed to give you just the right lift on what is here, yet again, a rainy day in quarantine.
* For a particularly brilliant piece, see Roberta Estes’ post on the blog DNA Explained – Genetic Genealogy.