Quarantine Chronicles

The restrictions under which we are living, at least for those of us old enough to still be kept at home most of the time, are hard enough without adding dietary restrictions to the equation.

I’ve been doing well eating what I have on hand, using up all the things that have been in the refrigerator or freezer for a while, and buying mostly fruits and vegetables to round out the meals, but today I decided enough was enough. Although I usually don’t take my car out to do my few errands until Friday, today I grabbed my mask, fired up my bug and went to the grocery store. Except for employees, there were only a couple of other people in the store, so I was able to roam the aisles at my leisure looking for enticements.

I threw a small package of flour in the cart — well, I laid it softly in the cart so as not to break the package, but that doesn’t have the drama of throwing. The small package cost the same as the five-pounder, but I figure there was no sense in tormenting myself. I’ll make the biscuits and pierogi, as I planned, and then maybe I can go back to a more wholesome diet, though to be honest, the flour was the least of my splurges. I haven’t had ice cream in ages, but when I saw that a premium ice cream was on sale for less than half price, I figured that was a sign, so that, too ended up in my cart.

On the healthy side, I treated myself to a package of blueberries. I was thinking berries would be a sop to my healthy inclinations, but a small voice in the back of my head is chanting, “blueberry pancakes!”

Of course, considering how lazy I’m getting and how much work it takes to prepare anything, I might not get around to making any of those things. Maybe it will be enough to know that I could.

One thing I bought that I’m not sure I will use right away is yeast. It wasn’t on my list, but there has been a shortage of yeast on the grocery story shelves for so long that it seemed almost a sacrilege not to get it when it was offered. Depending on how disciplined I am and in which direction (ie: disciplined enough to stick to healthy foods or disciplined enough to cook what I bought) I might get ground beef and cabbage next week to make hamburger rolls (aka bierocks, runzas, or berokes).

Meantime, I still have leftovers to use up.

And thus ends this particular episode of my quarantine chronicles.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Blue on Blue

Blue on blue actually refers to the photo below, a toy VW bug on top of my VW regulation-size VW (you might have to click on the image to see the tiny car), but it can also refer to my current life. Though I don’t particularly like admitting it, I have been a bit blue lately. Healing is frustrating because it takes so darn long, but not healing is even more frustrating because . . . well because it’s frustrating. It’s hard not being able to do simple things that I used to be able to do with my hand/wrist/arm, and when I can do things, it’s not without pain. Some wrist mobility I can never get back because of the plate holding everything in place. At best, using the hand feels awkward, though I can drive and type, so that’s good

Then there is the whole financial thing, which I try not to think about because at the moment, I can do nothing about the situation. I have a new book coming out soon (Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare) and that should fix all my financial woes, right? Yeah, right. But, in a perfect world, it could happen.

And this thirty-day diet I am on that is supposed to give me energy and get rid of any inflammation seems to sap whatever energy I have. But there is just a week left, and although I hadn’t planned on deviating greatly from the diet (I do think staying away from wheat and sweeteners is a good idea, for example) I can’t help thinking of all the things I could make next week if I had the energy — made-from-scratch brownies, pierogies, bread, hamburger rolls (aka Bierocks or Runzas).

But there are other shades of blue besides the gloomy blues in my life such as the bright blue sky and the risible blue of smiles. Not much makes me smile right now, but there are some things. My current work in progress has some amusing moments that made me smile when I read it. Recently when I was out walking, I got caught in a hail storm (yep, hail in the desert!) and for some peculiar reason, despite the discomfort of being very cold and very wet, being out in that storm made me smile. A new dance I am learning makes me smile. (Actually, two new dances make me smile — an Arabian ballet from the Nutcracker and a Samoan dance to the tune of “We Know the Way” from Moana.)

And the blue toy VW made me smile. It’s one of those pull-back cars that speed along by itself, and that, too makes me smile.

So, blue on blue. Nowhere near as bad as it sounds.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.