DIY Amari and Vermouth

Self-Isolation Week Two

posted in: Personal Essay | 0

Here it is: week two of self-isolation out of who knows how many.

Work was still fairly chaotic at the beginning of the week, but things seemed to settle down toward the end. We’ve been working on getting services in place to help faculty and students be able to do what they need to do the rest of the semester so there has been a lot to figure out.

Temple University announced that the first summer session will be all online as well. Although I would hope things will be reverting back to something like normal by then, it’s good to know that we have a extra few weeks just in case.

Working from home all the time has been a big adjustment. I do like being at home and love working at home with Holly. But we don’t have the best set-up for a home office. Basically, we’re either sitting at our kitchen table or sitting on our sofa with our laptops. When we both have online meetings, one of us has to go into the bedroom and either sit on the bed or stand at the window sill.

None of these options are ergonomically ideal, but at least I can get up and stretch whenever I need to which is not the case in our more open office layout at work. I did order a lap desk which I hope will make things a little more comfortable.

On a side note, I’ve been revisiting some Jacques Tati films over the weekend and realized that our new work environment is rather Tati-esque, especially regarding the office scene from Play Time.

Anyway, between Zoom, Slack, and email, I feel like I’m still fairly well-connected with my colleagues. I set-up an informal Zoom coffee hour with my staff on Monday mornings. This Monday is the first one, and I’m hoping it will help ease everyone’s sense of isolation.

Part of the reason my work life was less chaotic the second half of last week was we were supposed to lave for our Solvang trip on Wednesday. I had blocked off my calendar for it so even after we canceled, my calendar remained mostly free allowing me to catch up on some things.

Needless to say, we’re disappointed we had to cancel the trip. We have tentatively re-scheduled for September, but we’ll have to see how things go.

Although I said before we had a well-stocked kitchen, we did spend some time this week either getting to a couple of stores or ordering things online to make sure we have everything we need. I think we’re in pretty good shape, but I’m sure we’ll think of other things we need as time goes by.

We’re still enjoying cooking at home. I don’t see any reason that will change. I doubt we’ll get tired of it. Between simple options, leftovers, and the occasional take out, we’ll have enough break from more serious cooking.

We will try to continue supporting our local restaurants many of whom have pivoted nicely to take-out and delivery. The city has mandated that food needs to be pre-ordered so no one is lingering in the restaurant. Now, you have to call or order online and pay ahead so when you go to pick-up, they just hand you a bag with your food. Most places don’t even let you inside. They just hand it through the door or a window. Contact is that minimal.

In addition to trying to support local restaurants, we have both given money to local charities.

Three weeks ago, I had started a batch of Rite of Spring amaro based on the recipe from Brad Parson’s Amaro book. It was time earlier this week to strain it, add the simple syrup, and now let it sit another couple of weeks.

I also have a small batch of my own design that’s nearly a week behind, and I was able to strain that the following Sunday.

Little did I know when I started these amari that I would really appreciate a couple of DIY projects. They weren’t self-isolation projects at the time but are now.

In addition, Holly started a batch of homemade vermouth.

DIY Amari and Vermouth
DIY Amari and Vermouth

 We’ve been able to get out of the apartment often enough to stave off any feelings of getting stir crazy. In addition to the occasional food pick-up, we’ve gone out for walks around the neighborhood.

One walk involved trying out a new camera. I’ve been trying to be more judicious about buying or not buying cameras. I’ve been interested in getting a Minolta X-700 for a while and had one sitting in my Etsy cart. I noticed it was on sale one day and then saw they take Etsy gift certificates. Holly had gotten me a gift certificate for Christmas, but I hadn’t seen any place that accepted it. Between the camera being on sale and the discount of the gift certificate, I couldn’t resist.

It came with a flash which I don’t have for any of my cameras. It also came with a leather case and all the original documentation, as well as a Minolta strap.

I took about fifteen photos. Unfortunately, I went out before looking at the manual and made faulty assumptions about its settings. I thought the “A” setting was “Auto” and “P” was priority as in aperture priority. That is not the case. “A” is aperture priority and “P” is a program mode that seems to work more like shutter priority. It will be a while until I see how they turn out, but I’m guessing that they didn’t turn out all that well.

I also took some macro photos which I’ll blog about later. I haven’t had a chance yet to look at and edit them.

In an effort to vary my pictures out our window, I took a post-storm time lapse of clouds (taken with my Samsung Galaxy S9+)

As with last week, other than posting here, I worked on some story revisions. I need to think about what I might want to focus on now that it looks like our self-isolation will last a few weeks.

Last week, I mentioned some things I feel lucky about. I’ll add to that list that I feel luck that I live in a city that is taking the pandemic seriously and is working to enforce social distancing and preparing for when things escalate. They say we are about two weeks behind New York so things will be getting a lot worse before they get better.

Our personal situation is going well, but there’s no way to avoid general anxiety about all that’s going on.

I should have started documenting this last week, but as of Friday, March 27, 2020, there were, according to the CDC, 85,356 cases in the U.S. and 1,246 deaths. Last week, there were 18,747 cases.

Locally, there have been 1,687 cases and 16 deaths in Pennsylvania. The Atlantic has an online tool for checking your state.

Obviously, we all hope that this thing doesn’t get as bad as it could. Maybe by summer, our lives will start getting back to something like normal.

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