Another week of quarantine has passed and when I woke up this morning I found a message or rather a picture from my brother on my phone. The picture looks across Lake Washington at the Bellevue city skyline with the Cascade Mountains in the background. It is a beautiful day and I know exactly where it was taken, sigh…Seward Park. I hadn’t yet had breakfast and sent back a simple reply, “looks beautiful,” to which he replied, “it’s ok.” I felt the tone was a bit blah. He and his wife, whom I adore had taken a walk around the park. My answer to his reply instead became a bit snarky. “How nice, I get to walk to the market today.”Anyway, a few more messages were sent back and forth and I finally admitted to being in a foul mood, better for me to just get on with my day, It was around midnight in Seattle, “goodnight.” It was at that moment I realized I needed an attitude adjustment.
In sitting down and simply writing this, I think this is going to be part one of two posts. I have so many thoughts fluttering through my head these days and it is hard to put them into words. Life right now is a bit manic. The days run into one another without much variation, I am worried about people I know who are dear to me and I feel very sad about the state of the world in general. The world is a giant, amazing place but right now, for most of us (at least in Italy), the world is very small. Not being able to move more that 600 feet from home is very unnerving to me and pretty much everyone I talk with. It is purely psychological but it’s like being caged. This is why my brother’s message was so frustrating to me. Sometimes, for a few hours I manage to escape enough and really enjoy the moment, whether it’s laughing with my family, watching a film or reading something light. I do a lot of gardening, cooking and cleaning projects that I’ve been meaning to do for years. I try and feel like I mostly fail at homeschooling my 13 year old. I think this range of feelings is the new normal for many of us to a greater or lesser degree. How are you feeling about life right now?
I know so many many people are worried about not being able to pay their bills and rent or mortgages, worried about their health or about someone they love. At least here in Italy we don’t worry about losing our life savings if we end up in the hospital. I am also a guide to the core of my being and is it hard not being able to do what I love. Again, much of it is psychological, guides aren’t used to being still, but another worrying factor is that there is no job stability. Guiding is one of the first jobs to disappear whenever there is a political, financial, or health crisis, as is the case right now. I am a saver and have been doing this for 22 years so I won’t be out on the street tomorrow, but it is unsettling and I feel helpless. I have given what I can to charities but don’t want to become a charity case myself. Fortunately my husband still works. I would be happy to go and volunteer somewhere, assist in delivering groceries to those in need, as a friend of mine is doing, physically doing something that might make a difference, but don’t feel that would be responsible as a parent. Respecting the rules of the quarantine is my contribution so we can all get back to life. This sense of exasperation will pass, and I am reminded daily by messages, email and phone calls from family, friends and past tour members. At the end of every day, I know there are many wonderful people in all our lives, so let’s move on to something useful.
To adjust my attitude I took to the kitchen. Food = Love so once again I will share my amateur video skills, make a minor fool of myself and if you are game, give you something to try making at home. Today’s recipe is a simple vegetable pasta and the quantity should feed six normal people.
Here are the ingredients:
1 Lb. Pasta any shape is fine, I prefer short shapes for this recipe.
2 Tbs Extra Virgin olive oil
1 medium to large onion, yellow or white, your choice.
2 medium sized zucchine
2 medium sized carrots
1/2 cup of dry white wine
4 Tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs. I used parsley and marjoram, basil is also good.
1/2 cup of freshly grated Reggiano Parmigiano
Salt and pepper to taste.
Put a large pot water on to boil for your pasta. I usually add around 2 teaspoons of course salt right before it boils.
Slice the onions and saute them in a large frying pan with the olive oil on low heat until soft, 15-20 minutes.
Slice the carrots and zucchine while your onions are cooking. I do a large julienne but you can just cut them into rounds if you prefer. Add the carrots to the onions and cook for about five minutes before adding the zucchine. Turn up the heat to medium, add the white wine, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for another 6-10 minutes. My family likes the veggies nice and soft in this dish but if you prefer a bit of crunch just shorten the cooking time.
Cook your pasta and throw it in the pan with the veggies. Add a couple more tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, the Parmesan, mix well and serve. I am lazy about doing dishes so I served it straight from the pan. If you are entertaining, warm a serving dish before you add the hot pasta. Buon appetito!
P.S. You should know that clicking on the green links above will take you to my Amazon.com store. The price you pay is the same, but they share a bit of the profits with me.