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Finding the Silver Linings During a Pandemic

a young boy with a blue solo cup

COVID has wreaked havoc on families, jobs, mental health, vacations and the economy. It’s given us a new appreciation for toilet paper along with umpteen inconveniences. I don’t need to list those inconveniences; I don’t need to remind you because we are all living it, and we all have stories to tell.

This post is not my sad story of a vacation cancelled or countless food tour ticket refunds. It’s my story of making the most of quarantine, and not letting a business shutdown get me down. Rather than spending my days frustrated with the restrictions, I used my time to play with my grandson, perfect my cooking skills, whittle away some extra weight and hit the refresh button on my food tour.

Finding the Silver Linings During COVID

I learned to be flexible like Gumby!

I’m a planner, I’m organized, and I don’t like last minute changes. Keep this in mind as you read this story.

How many times have we all yearned for a day to do nothing? Suddenly, it looked like I would have many, many days of nothing after my last public food tour on Saturday, March 14. And then the phone rings on Sunday, March 15.

My son and daughter-in-law called from Dallas. They’d been instructed to work from home, daycare was closed and they had a brilliant idea! They would drive 20 hours to West Palm Beach, so I could assume the role of Granny Nanny while they worked. My visions of lazy days were quickly dashed, but honestly, I’m not great at sitting still.

Granny Nanny duties begin, and Maddox and I spent hours at the park, pool and beach…swinging, splashing, digging and playing. It was pretty much perfect Mimi (aka Granny) and Maddox time until our parks, pool and beaches closed after just a few days of fun.

Maddox loved being outdoors, so we made our own fun with a blue solo cup and a fountain under a shade tree, with chalk scribbles on the sidewalk and a fort made with a big diaper box. And some days, we just sat by the water and watched the birds. Never underestimate the free fun that can be found with a blue solo cup, a box and some birds.

Tumeric, Coriander and Cumin are Comforting Aromas

I love to bake! In fact, whenever I have free time, whenever I have company or whenever a friend is celebrating a birthday, you’ll find me baking my famous carrot cake or a batch of my self-proclaimed world’s best chocolate chip cookies.

BANG…Coronavirus hits, and I have lots of free time AND houseguests AND dessert is my ultimate comfort food. Do I need to tell you what happened to the number on the scale??? The quarantine 15 weight gain is real, very real.

I must admit that I thought quarantine would only last a couple of weeks, so after a month of baking and indulging, it was time to halt. I decided to trade the sweets for savory and specifically learning to cook Indian food. Dal is my new favorite, and tonight I’m attempting to make Tahdig – a crispy Persian rice recipe shared by a friend. It’s been delicious fun and the quarantine 15 have vanished!

Mastering a new savory recipe is almost as much fun as baking a decadent dessert, but I do miss licking the beaters.

Forrest Gump Really Did Know Best

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t simply shed my quarantine 15 by just switching from daily baking projects to cooking projects. Exercise was involved, lots of exercise.

With our gym closed, walking seemed like the best option. My body told me years ago that it was time to stop running, and I listened because I never liked running anyway. In my book, the only merit to running is it’s a quick workout. Unfortunately, a 30 minute walk is not equivalent to a 30 minute run, but I have time, lots of time, so Forrest Gump I became logging 7 miles a day on the beautiful Palm Beach Lake Trail.

Sabbaticals Aren’t Just for Professors and Priests

Sabbatical is defined as a break from work, but it is certainly not a vacation. It’s an opportunity continue learning, to continue to get paid and sabbaticals are typically taken in another part of the world.

In a sense, my forced break from operating West Palm Beach Food Tours has felt like a sabbatical although I didn’t get paid and my sabbatical didn’t involve a change of scenery…it was spent right here, in my condo, in downtown West Palm Beach.

Exchanging ideas during weekly webinars with fellow food tour operators from around the world has been like hitting the refresh button.

When West Palm Beach Food Tours is fully operational again, I can assure you that I’ll be in great shape physically, my house will be spotless, my to-do list tackled and I’ll be refreshed!

I look forward to shopping without a mask, hugging Christian each time our tour visits Pistache, going to the movies and never, ever attending a virtual event again!

Cheers to real experiences!