With this extended concept of lockdown or restricted movement, social distancing, quarantine, whatever you call it, I’ve lost sense of the days of the week and everything has become one big blur. I honestly have to look at my calendar to figure out what day it is. Gone are my regular anchors of fixed appointments that structured my week and social contact and it all seems to be bubbling in a large cauldron.
It’s been five days since I last wrote a blog, much to my horror and embarrassment, simply because I can feel the self-discipline slipping away. But hear me out – my lack of writing cannot in any way be chalked up to idleness – on the contrary. I’ve been engrossed in three major activities that kept me glued and focused. Sort of.
I’m no longer at the bottom of the barrel but rather glued to the bottom of the pot – a cooking pot, that is. The jam and marmalade making but bit me, and bit me hard. What began as a tentative experiment just to reconcile with the ghosts of my pasts, the strawberry jam, metamorphosed into a production adventure that had my daughter going back and forth to the supermarket for ingredients. From strawberry I ventured onwards into kiwi-rum jam, lemon marmalade with cinnamon and cardamom, and orange & clementine marmalade with ginger. I talked myself into making jams that were quirky and not the simple run-of-the-mill type. My father and mother-in-law would be raising both eyebrows at me, and then some, by the adventurous combination of ingredients. Nevertheless, it has all been successful and I achieved the intense fruit flavour and consistency I wanted. I have a wonderful stock of jam jars ready for the next adventures, so I’m ready to roll!
Then I re-visted an old childhood favourite of mine, Mexican bolillos, which are the typical bread rolls you can find in every corner shop in Mexico. As per my grandfather’s golden rule I followed the recipe the first time to the tee, didn’t quite achieve the original bolillo shape, but what the heck. The texture and taste wereperfect and that’s what mattered! The second time around (i.e. the next day) I did it my way and made what my daughter called cuadrillos – because I made rectangular-shaped rolls. Hmmm… I must be more German than I thought… when I opt for something square and practical instead of pointy and round.
It’s been a very windy and rainy week here in Berlin, they type of weather where you experience all four seasons in one day. Yesterday, for example we began with clouds and gentle rain, then moved on to sunshine, wind and partial clouds, but a few minutes later it turn dark and grey and next thing we knew it was snowing! The sun came out again, followed by hail. In spite of all that, my planters are filled with newly planted cheerful daisies and brightly coloured carnations. I discovered a few more chestnut trees growing in the various pots, so now I have a veritable mini biosphere on my balcony. Planting and giving my potted children much needed love and affection was long overdue. In preparation for the coming ever so brief hot weather beginning tomorrow, I turned my apartment into an urban jungle, re-arrnging some large overgrown plants here and there. I love the effect and the feel now, it’s incredibly comforting and uplifting in a way, but soothing and serene. Everywhere you look or turn there is a plant waiting to greet me, and some decided to bless me with more surprises. Olaf has a another magical bloom, another one of my orchids is about to burst in bloom, so it feels good to be surrounded by so much greenery. It also re-affirms why I dislike cut flowers more and more the older I get. Without the luxury of a large garden, the treasures of small flowering pots that last a few months brings so much more joy and presence.
Lastly, I also got engrossed in more photography video projects, and I’m getting the hang of it now. Here are two of the latest productions:
There is much to be grateful for this week, and my take-away this time is that the life-changing moments need not always involve large noise events that cause a spectacle. It’s the simple pleasures in life.