COVID-19 has irreversibly changed the world as we know it. Gone are simple pleasures and entitlements we took for granted – daily trips to the store, happy hours, dinner parties at home, dinners at our favorite restaurants, movies at Landmark 57, a performance at Lincoln Center, a gallery exhibit …

For me, things starting feeling serious March 12, the day Broadway went dark.

March 16 was the final bar crawl, with last champagne toast at Pocket Bar before the shutdown.

I spent the next week and a half being sensible, but also pretending a false sense of security and mimicking normal habits. I met friends for drinks on the sidewalk on W49th St (while following social distancing guidelines), thanks to several bars including Back Pocket offering take-out (they’re now closed, but Anejo is open for take-away margaritas!).

I also spent every free moment of the first week and a half at Mud Matters pottery studio, intent on staying positive and focusing on creating … until that, too, had to close as “non-essential” (even though it was essential to me).

For the past three weeks, I have been posting a daily COVID-19 song selection on Facebook (having fun with the eclectic mix spanning six decades).

It’s also been almost three weeks since my last trip to the grocery store. I spent that weekend cooking and freezing healthy soups and sauces. I also froze an extra loaf of bread and stocked up on dry goods (think lentils … lots of lentils). I have a constant supply of fresh ginger/lemon infusion cooking all day on the stove.

So now, how am I taking care of myself? As bad as this is, I remind myself that I am one of the lucky ones. My trick to staying mentally sane is to accept (not to be confused with liking) the situation. Adapt and Find Routine.

I start cocktail hour a bit later these days, so I can pour my first drink … to coincide with a call to my father, who is stuck in California.

I still get up early and take a morning shower (but now I wash my knickers in the shower since going to the corner laundromat is a thing of the past). Maybe when it’s time for an afternoon break, I’ll wash some T-shirts in the kitchen sink. I always eat breakfast before working a couple of hours in my “home office.” Breakfast is ideally yogurt and fruit, but soon there was no more fruit, followed by no yogurt. Then the eggs were gone. How about choking down some steel cut oats without any milk?! Maybe it’s time to rethink that grocery run …

Mid-morning, I have my daily coffee date with a neighbor on the sidewalk outside the Jolly Goat Coffee Shop (one at a time allowed inside for take-away). It’s a nice opportunity to get outside and see some regulars (now we are wearing masks, which sometimes makes it harder to recognize one another, and also harder to drink coffee, but we still manage). Murat, the owner, must have heard of my breakfast woes – he now sells eggs and yogurt! (Maybe I can make it a whole month without going to the grocery store).

I start cocktail hour a bit later these days, so I can pour my first drink (limiting myself to two as part of austerity measures … and also so I don’t become a stay-at-home derelict) to coincide with a call to my father, who is stuck in California until he can safely come back east.

And, despite the horrors of the virus, it is still spring. In anticipation of us all getting through this, I have planted seedlings and am enjoying nurturing them and watching them grow. All you need are some seeds, potting soil (readily available from the local hardware store), take-out food container with holes poked for drainage, a lamp, and a window sill (soon these seedlings will need to be transplanted to larger pots and taken to the roof or the back yard if you’re lucky to have one). And if this goes on longer than we expect, I’ll have cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, lettuce, herbs and peppers in a couple of months!

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