I am not going to lie. Monday was emotionally hard. For a number of reasons. I had deadlines that morning and started working on them immediately. The kids were running in and out of the room asking questions and looking for attention and for three hours, I waved them away. Let that sink in. For three total hours I waved them away with no explanation. I needed to tackle the to do list, my deadlines, my conference calls, and my WORK. There’s something to that “waving away” thing that got to me. I mean, by now they should already know how much this WORK means to me, right? My relationship with my work has always been a driving force. For very good and for bad. Anyway, around 11 am all of that started falling apart. My kids were rebelling (rightfully so). My kids were confused as to why I was sitting in the next room but completely unavailable to them for hours on end. So around 11 am I started to realize I was operating just as I always have by sticking to the schedule, doing all the things, and running around “all busy” because “all busy” has definitely become my norm.
(Pausing here to acknowledge that I’m extremely lucky to do work I absolutely believe in with people I genuinely care for immensely. When the “work” is actually something you care about and something that you believe is incredibly important in our community – things get even muddier. Ooooooooof. Lots of layers are peeling back during this time, which I guess is the point.)
Okay back to the first paragraph. Things broke down. There were frustrations and disappointments on full display. I put the laptop down. I gathered 15 books and got in our bed and asked them to join me and we read for an hour. My phone was dinging, but I decided to leave it in the living room rather than take it with me. Then we had quiet time. All of us. I put on a timer so I wouldn’t miss the next conference call and I was STILL for the first time in a really long time. I realized that I needed the quiet time as much as they did.
Maybe that’s the point of all this? This “Universe sending us to our room thing.” When the world was LITERALLY forced to slow down, I simply transferred my normal “too busy for anything” rat race behavior to quarantine life. But things ARE in fact different. We are operating in a completely different circumstance and my brain is slowly adjusting. The world is literally pausing and here I am rebelling. I’m in denial. Apparently, I’m also afraid to confront all the stuff attached to this reality like what it says about the world we continue to operate in and especially what it says deep down about ourselves. Double ooooooooof.
Here’s what I want to say to all of you if it is helpful: Monday was a good day because I adjusted. I was still and attentive to the kids for 2 hours of my work day. I made time for a walk. I wasn’t 100% kid-focused, 100% work-focused, or 100% me focused. I was all over the place and it was messy. It will continue to be messy. And it is okay if the ONLY thing you do right in one day is make one positive adjustment. Why? Because yesterday (Tuesday) was a total you-know-what show. I hope today will be different. It’s day-by-day at this point because there is no map for any of this.
We are all responding to this global pandemic differently. Some have their schedules down to a science. They have increased their exercise to twice a day. They are creating projects for their kids to do. I’m not that person. I’m truly figuring this out as I go. I’m eating too many Cheetos. I sometimes skip my walk just to skip it. I am checking my phone constantly and either devoting every ounce of energy to my kids or I’m absolutely ignoring them. I am learning more about myself every single day and some of it isn’t pretty.
Maya Angelou says, “When you know better, you do better.” Phew. Trying, Dr. Angelou. I’m really trying. Okay let’s weigh ALL this out with something positive, shall we?
Remember when I mentioned Chef José Andrés in my last post? Well, his video on Twitter inspired me when I needed it most. He made fried rice in 4 minutes all while listening to Hamilton soundtrack. To honor all of the work Chef José Andrés and his team are doing, here’s my own fried rice recipe COMPLETE with Jones Valley Teaching Farm purple carrots (that dyed everything purple) and Rapini. Seriously, watch Chef’s twitter video first before doing anything.
FoodRevival’s Purple Fried Rice
I think this rice kind of sums up where I am these days. I combined perfectly cooked white rice with the most delicious purple carrots I got from the Jones Valley Teaching Farm. It dyed everything purple. My eggs turned green. I think it represents my feelings these days – like, letting go of the structure and what’s supposed to be and improvise each day and let some of it GO because it still tastes good. Right? Right. This is my quarantine brain. You are welcome.
First, I cooked my rice the day before in the instant pot
1 cup of rice with 1 cup of water and a little salt
I used the rice setting
Store in the refrigerator until ready to cook
I scrambled my eggs first and put them to the side
Next up, I added some butter to my pan and sautéed the following veggies (because I had them on hand):
Purple Carrots (thanks, JVTF)
Rapini (thanks, JVTF)
I let them cook until the veggies were soft, but still had a bit of a bite. I added some leftover chickpeas (why? Because I needed to use them and why not?)
Then I added the cold rice. I cooked all of it for 10 minutes and then added some garlic powder and those scrambled eggs. I poured in a few swigs of soy sauce. Continued to cook.
I removed the pan from the heat and added 1 tsp of sesame oil and stirred. Be sure to taste it as you go. For example, I needed a little more soy sauce. Serve it up. We added some chicken we grilled the day before.
But remember, the most important part of all of this is taking the lead from Chef José Andrés and simply add whatever you have and listen to the Hamilton soundtrack while you do it.