What are you doing now?

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There is definitely a downside to self-isolation.

I am into my seventh week and am not any worse for wear – except for the consequences of my spectacular baking and cooking achievements. I have limited my wondrous culinary exploits to only the weekends because my daily 15 minutes of robust isometrics just couldn’t keep up.

I stopped baking almost completely, although I did bake cookies for the gentleman who collects the garbage and a banana cream pie – I had to make it to not waste bananas. Yeah, I know.

While I am thinking of it, I will share an expensive lesson I learned. Never, ever use cheap parchment paper. I lost two sheets of chocolate chip and pecan cookies because the paper caused the bottoms to burn and also caught fire filling the house with smoke. Once I shut off the smoke detectors and aired out the house, I continued with the same cookie dough, 350 degrees for eight to 10 minutes, but without the paper and everything worked beautifully.

When the crazy weather settled down some and I could throw the windows open allowing refreshing breezes to waft through the house I felt more like spring cleaning. Well, sort of. One room a day works for me so I started with the bathroom. It’s the smallest room in the house. After washing down the walls and woodwork and scouring the fixtures (that’s fancy for sink, toilet and tub) to a high polished shine, it was time to do the floor. I know, from my mother and grandmothers, nothing gets really clean without a good scrubbing so I got down on my hands and knees.

Half way through I realized this might not have been my wisest decision but I forged on. Upon arriving in the hallway outside the bathroom door I sat, hurting and laughing. It took me five minutes to get up off the floor. The whirly gig mop and bucket will have to do from now on. It started raining again so I get a few days to recuperate before I tackle another room.

With people all over the world staying home our atmosphere and air quality has shown amazing improvement. The sky and mountains are again visible in some countries and skylines and horizons can be seen in others. Satellites have shown our world from the heavens and we can again see the continents and oceans clearly and distinctly. It’s a remarkable and welcome side effect of the global shut down.

The noise pollution has also abated and scientists say the world is quieter and calmer. That’s a good thing but I think, even though the plane, train and automobile noises have decreased we will become a nation of yellers. Those who are a bit hard of hearing or those of us from larger families who learned early on if you want to be heard you better speak up, will now be joined with everyone else who has to converse from six feet away. The days of the quiet, demure or gentle, soft voice will be replaced with loud, brash, bold, declarative speech. “Stop yelling,” will be replaced with, “Huh?” “Whadya say?” “Can’t hear ya,” “Whaaat?” and “Speak up.”

Just to keep us up on new words here are a few more terms I learned on CNN.

Sensorium: sensory apparatus or faculties considered as a whole; the parts of the brain or mind concerned with the reception and interpretation of sensory stimuli.

Tranche: a portion of something especially money.

Wet market: an open air market, usually in China and Asia, where fresh produce such as vegetables, fruits, meat and fish are sold, unlike dry markets which sell non-perishable items such as fabric, seeds, grains, etc. The term ‘wet’ refers to the floors which are always wet from melting ice or spraying to preserve the fresh food or the constant hosing down the floors of the meat and seafood stalls. (Doesn’t sound nearly as bad as what is first conjured up in our minds when we heard ‘wet market,’ is it?)

Keep smiling.