Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive!

“Just go ahead and go.”

I love this line from Jerry Mcguire, that Dorothy’s young son says as they’re dropping Jerry off at the airport. “Just go ahead and go.” His Dad died, he’s dealt with abandonment, his Mom’s getting involved with Jerry, he’s getting attached to this new guy and he uses this phrase to protect his young and tender heart. It’s “I’ll hurt you before you can hurt me.” Adults do this too, when they are moving on, detaching from a person or place; they typically pick fights to make a breakup easier.

I think we all would like to say: Just go ahead and go to 2020. What started off looking like a typical year, turned out to be the weirdest one ever. The word that keeps getting repeated to describe 2020 is unprecendented and it is certainly that. But I’ve been thinking of another word, as one thing after another just keeps coming in the Fall of this year and that word is amazing. Amazing is an excellent word, because something can be amazingly good or amazingly bad, so it’s a word that does double duty.

So before we give 2020 the big kiss-off, let us pause and reflect on what an absolutely amazing year this has been.

I, for one, am grateful for…

  • My garden and yard never looked so good.
  • I now really appreciate things I once took for granted- meals out at a restaurant, getting a mani-pedi, getting my hair cut, hugging and kissing people, shaking hands, playing tennis, doing yoga in a room filled with fellow yogis, going to the movies at a theatre, having and attending parties and traveling wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
  • My house- drawers, closets and rooms- got organized. (the garage never did, however)
  • Our family spent a lot of quality time together.
  • We tried take-out from restaurants we wouldn’t have normally tried.
  • I successfully made homemade pizza dough, foccacia, yeast rolls and Sour Dough bread.
  • I learned the recipes for Disney World’s Pineapple Whip and McDonald’s Egg Mcmuffin.
  • I read some good books, watched some captivating Netflix shows and discovered new podcasts to listen to. (MFM, Desert Island Discs)
  • I had Zoom Happy Hours with friends and Zoom everything else. Zoom, while not the same as meeting in-person, is definitely more convenient. And you can wear your pajama bottoms.
  • We bought a boat!
  • I had Socially Distanced Dinners, Parties and Book Club Meetings.
  • I saw a lot of great sunsets down in the Keys during my month of quarantine.
  • Zeke and I took a lot of walks together, something we’ve continued doing.
  • I found myself reaching out to friends more and trying to connect in different ways; it forced me to be creative and think outside the box.

Most of all, I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with Zeke and the girls. When, again in the history of our lives, are we going to be forced to spend quality time with each other? Puzzles, homemade meals, Tiger King, it’s all a distant memory, now that we’re all in separate places and I will treasure those months together.

Stayin’ Alive, staying’ alive!

As I was on the tennis court playing in my first USTA match of the new season (and we won!), I was just so happy to be there, in the sun and on the clay at Deering Bay. I saw a lady I hadn’t seen in ages and asked how she was.

“I’m fine,” she said,” How are you?”

“I’m alive,” I said.

Yes my belly’s bigger, I’ve drank more than I can recall, but I’m alive and that, in and of itself, is something to celebrate this year.

Tennis was different than pre-pandemic, with hand wipes, Clorox and hand sanitizer sharing spots with our tennis bags and balls. We were told to put our bags apart from each other (6 feet) and only one person in the match is allowed to change the score. A lady on a nearby court asked for her ball that landed in our court and when I went to grab it, she told me to just kick it back to her. No touchy-touch! I was not that paranoid- I feel fuzzy tennis balls aren’t the easiest surface to transfer germs on. And, besides that, Coronavirus isn’t typically transferred by surfaces, but by droplets in the air from talking, singing, breathing, sneezing, coughing etc… not by a fomite. Fomite- for some reason I love that word! Another positive from the Pandemic- my vocabulary has improved.

We haven’t been watching much on TV other than the usual suspects (Chopped, DDD), as our Amazon and Netflix has been acting up in the Family room. I’ve heard Love Fraud and Fargo (with Chris Rock!) being recommended, so I’d like to check them out. And obviously, Schitt’s Creek swept the Emmy’s, so we’ve been watching that.

We’ve been on a bit of Hanger Steak kick, as it’s a delicious and reliable meat that we usually get at Wild Fork. I’m very pleased with the quality of the meat at Wild Fork and they have a wide variety of items to choose from that you don’t normally find at your local Publix. I decided to try the pre-marinated Hanger Steak at Trader Joe’s, but unlike most of the products at Trader Joe’s, I didn’t love it. The marinade made the meat mushy and the flavoring made the steak taste like baloney, so no muy bueno.

The not so psychic Trader Joe’s cashier.

There was no line at Trader Joe’s, for the first time since the Pandemic, another cause for celebration. Some people in La La Land are still not cognizant of the directional arrows on the floor, but at least everyone had their masks on. I had to do some shopping for the baby shower I threw for Courtney, and as I checked out, I asked my cashier, a tall blonde guy, when they were going to let us start bringing our own reusable bags again.

“I hope they never do,” he said. “The bags people bring in are nasty, disgusting, with food hanging off them. Just gross. The only people who take good care of their bags are Europeans- like Germans or Swiss- because they’re used to it in their culture.”

Trader Joe’s Cashier

He then started talking about different cultures that he’s encountered, Haitians and Jamaicans when he lived in North Miami and how they have a different outlook on life. He asked me if I ever got out of my zip code because “most people from Pinecrest just stay here.” I told him I wasn’t from Pinecrest and that I also had a place in Key Largo.

“Now that’s where we should have a store,” he said. “They have a good vibe there.”

He was big into the vibe of things and I could tell he wasn’t from Miami. When I asked him where he was from, he said: “Some state you don’t know.” I told him I’d seen all 50 states but three, so I may, indeed, have been to his state, which turned out to be South Dakota. I’ve been to South Dakota twice and had actually been to the city he’s from (Rapid City) last summer with my friend Susie. When I relayed this story at the baby shower, we all agreed he seemed like a “very un-Trader Joe’s-type” employee. I usually go in there to get a boost of happiness along with my shopping experience, but not this time. Bad vibes, man.

A Case of Hoarding.

The Baby Shower was a big success- there were just nine of us- (more on it later) but on Sunday, Zeke and I went to my friend Tami’s house to check out her pool as we’re re-doing ours and she and her hubby used to be in the pool business. She sent me a text later, by mistake, about picking up some old clothes. I sent ? and she said she was getting rid of her husband (who’s in North Carolina) Dan’s old clothes. I asked her if this was with his blessing, or was she pulling a Lucy Ricardo? I love Lucy and that episode where she’s trying to get rid of Ricky’s old clothes (including his University of Havana letterman sweater) is hysterical. But Tami said it was with Dan’s blessing, that he’d been saving all his old clothes from 30 and 40 years ago for his son Walker, who’s in his twenties.

“Walker doesn’t want to wear Dan’s old clothes,” Tami said.

“From the 70’s and 80’s,” I noted.

We laughed, then Tami sent me a GIF of John Travolta dancing from Saturday Night Fever, which is how the song “Stayin’ Alive” got stuck in my head. Zeke calls me a Hoarder, which isn’t technically true, but I do get attached to sentimental items, which actually came in handy at the baby shower Saturday. I gave Courtney Christopher’s baby blanket that I wrapped him up in when he came home from the hospital, thirty one years ago. I’ve also been saving empty toilet paper rolls (no sentimental value there), which drives Zeke crazy.

“Get rid of these toilet paper rolls!” he said the other day.

“I’m saving them in case Wyatt has a project,” I replied.

“Wyatt’s never going to have a project with toilet paper rolls!” Zeke said.

We’ll see.

Apparently there’s a thing now called COVID face, brought about by the seven months of eating, drinking, being stressed out and the toll it’s taken on our countenances. Every month during the Pandemic lockdown equals about a normal year, I would guess, so so we’re seven years in. While some people were busy learning a second language, planting a Victory garden or perfecting their sour dough bread during the pandemic, the rest of us were going to pot. Sometimes, when I’m in the car and catch a glimpse of myself with my mask around my neck, it reminds me of The Christmas Story and Ebenzer Scrooge’s partner, Jacob Marley, who had a scarf wrapped around his jaw to keep it from dropping. Now, that’s a COVID face for you!

The other story I’ve been thinking about is Rip Van Winkle and how he fell asleep for 20 years, only to wake up to find the world a completely different place. Imagine falling asleep at the beginning of March 2020 and waking up in September of this year? The world’s in the midst of the Pandemic, rising cases, a raging death toll, crazy climate change and civil unrest? A mere six months later (not twenty) and everything we once knew about life has changed dramatically. We’ve changed dramatically, as the human race as well. Personally, I’d like to just fast forward past November 3rd and the Presidential election, so I don’t have to listen to any more disastrous debates, mudslinging commercials and constantly ringing robocalls. Enough already! Last time, in 2016, we left for Spain the day after the election. Not happening this year. As my friend Martha said:

No one wants us.

Fa la la la la!

In good news, I got my hair cut and colored for the first time in months, for the baby shower. My hairstylist has a little room off her house where she works, so it’s safe and private. But in really good news, we’re getting our boat delivered Friday to the boatyard at our condo! Yay! Finally. The name will be ‘Bout Time. And it really is!

Keep washing your hands, staying six feet apart and Stayin’ Alive, people.

Up Next: Baby Shower Recipes

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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