Quarantine Diaries – Day 57

As the days grow longer, my hope for any return to normalcy dwindles further. I sit here at my desk, staring at the lush greenery beyond my window and silently despair that the Earth, sweet beautiful Gaia, will move on without us – and, perhaps, it is better that way.

Just kidding.

While I know a return to “normalcy,” or what we used to consider normal, or anything close to resembling our old normal, is still far off, I am far from despair. I know most of my optimism and fortitude come from my privileged situation – middle class, cisgendered, white, office worker, with a stable living situation, loving partner, and mildly psychotic cat. But the green leaves of the tree outside my window, the sun rising a little earlier every day, and not being in CNY where it keeps fucking SNOWING in MAY, help keep me mildly hopeful in my pragmatism. There are moments of despair – sobbing in the shower, anxiety dreams, and moments of chest crushing waking anxiety – but I do try to focus on the positive and the humorous. Not because I am an optimist, but because it is what keeps me placing one foot in front of another.

So, this past week!

Tuesday, I had a socially distanced lunch date. My friend biked over to my apartment and we stood awkwardly six feet apart on the sidewalk and talked. This was the second time I had done this with her and this time it was planned under the pretense of a food exchange. She saw my delightful pastéis pictures and wanted to try. I threw in a couple of pierogi as a bonus. In order to make it a fair exchange, she said she would bring me some homemade sourdough bread – oh, and did you want some sourdough starter? Immediately, I refused the starter. The bread sounded great, but a starter? Those things were a lot of work and upkeep from what I had heard.

So I went outside with my bag of frozen food and a stick, and waited. Right on time she pedaled up and dismounted in all her toned bicyclist glory. My little marshmallow self was definitely impressed. I brandished my stick and told her I had brought it so we could exchange food at a safe distance. She rolled her eyes fondly and pulled her bread and a small jar out of her bicycle pack and handed them to me. I tucked my stick under my arm and took the proffered good, holding out mine in return. I didn’t give the plastic-wrapped jar much thought (maybe it was a special homemade butter) and we chatted for a bit. Then she told me that the jar did not in fact hold herby butter, but it was a sourdough starter.

Well, shit.

Now I have an unnamed sourdough starter (No, Brazilian Helicopter Pilot, we are not naming it Larry or Gary) sitting on my counter and I think I might have killed it and then revived. How did that happen, you ask? I read the directions wrong and completely sealed the jar in which I put the sourdough start, effectively suffocating the sourdough starter. I then, after realizing my mistake and determined not to fail, continued to feed it and kept the lid on loosely this time. As a result, I have about half a jar of dead sourdough starter and an inch of zombie sourdough starter. So, if there is no blog post next week, it’s because my zombie sourdough starter got loose and ate my brain in the middle of the night.

In other food news, I made pudim de leite condensado a.k.a. flan. All  you flan haters shut your mouths right now and sente-se. I do not have time to educate you on the delight and wonder that is pudim so just know that you are wrong and feel disappointed in yourself.

Honestly, making the pudim was both easier and harder than I expected. Easier in that it was not rocket science, nor was it as complicated as making something like croissants. You melt the sugar, you add water, you melt the sugar again, pour the melted sugar into the pan, you blend the remaining ingredients, pour them over the sugar, and then cook it for an hour and a half. The hard part was that apparently you aren’t supposed to stir the sugar when you are melting it. Thus, I stood at the stove for about twenty minutes stirring my sugar and wondering why it wasn’t melting. I finally wised up and searched the internet and stopped stirring the sugar. The hardest part though was just trying to get the buggers out of the pan. It took me three tries and only one came out perfectly. I include the only perfect pudim below.

A small perfectly formed flan on a plate.

All day Saturday was spent working on my D&D campaign. Yes, I am a nerd. I realized there were a lot of things I take issue with regarding 5E’s magic rules so I am now cobbling together my own homebrew/house rules for magic. Yeah, I’m that nerd.

But speaking of nerds…

I watched Revenge of the Sith on Sunday. I will not retract any of my previous comments about the prequels, but I will relent and say that I am not going to judge anyone who enjoys Episode III. I think one of the main failings of the prequels is that they tried to cram a story that spanned thirteen years into three movies. There was a lot of potential in the story underlying these movies, but that potential was never achieved. Obi Wan was the best part. And the musical score.

Until next time! May the Force be with you.

(All Catholics echo, “And also with you.”)

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