What I’ve learned about myself & others during the COVID-19 crises

I am going on my third week of self-quarantine. I’m perfectly fine staying by myself. I’ve always enjoyed my own company. I’ve live alone many times in my life, as a 20-something in my first apartment to the many times, married. when David was in the Mainland, when on Maui for three years and now back on the Big Island and living by myself again. So, sheltering in place is not a problem for me. However, I find that I really miss the interactions with friends. I have several groups that I regularly dance with. I have my hula hālau with 30 women. In Hawaiian style we are use to hugging and kisses each other in greeting.  When the virus first started and we werenʻt yet on restrictions, we started blowing kisses and keeping a distance when dancing. Then the classes were closed. I danced with a group of 12 called the Hula Sisters. We dance within the community. We performed at the pier for visitors coming in on the ships and we danced for tourists and locals at the Moʻoheau Bandstand. Several of us danced at luʻau and celebrations. Another group of three, Na Haʻa Wahine, danced at the Life Care Center and Hale Anuenue, care homes. Three times a week I had a line-dance class. When you spend this much time with friends on a weekly basis it’s now up to technology to keep us in contact. My phone has become my life line for messaging. I realized that though I like living alone, I don’t like giving up my dancing life. Practicing to videos is not quite as much fun as dancing with friends. I am on the board of directors of Haili Christian School and tomorrow we are having our first virtual meeting on ZOOM. That should be interesting. My church’s Kahu has his sermons on line, but it’s different then being there sitting in the church.

I have discovered how much I enjoy trying out new recipes. This afternoon I made banana crunch muffins and they were amazing…Thank you Ina Garten. They had mashed bananas, diced bananas, walnuts, granola in the batter with a crunchy granola top. I eat a lot of granola type cereal and when I’m at the end of the box, down to small bits, I throw them into the freezer. I can then put them in smoothies, grind them in a food processor and use them as a “flour”. They are good on ice cream. When I started doing this I thought to myself, “are you nuts, this is just going to take up space.” Whoda thought? Last week I made braised short ribs with a tomato/wine reduction. They were so tender, fell off the bone. I got five meals out of them. Tonight I’m having shrimp/asparagus risotto…not a new recipe but it’s my comfort food.

I have been making cloth face masks for essential workers. These, of course, aren’t suitable for doctors, nurses, etc. but are good for care givers, nurse’s aides, the general public for going shopping, etc. Making them makes me feel like I’m doing something for my community. I’ve made about 60 or 70 of them to give away. One of my neighbors gave me a stack of 100% cotton fat quarters which is perfect for the masks. I always have lots of elastic as I buy in 144 yard spools.
I find a like bartering and trading. I gave some masks to one friend and was given two laulau in exchange. She makes the very best! For those unfamiliar they are little packages of beef or pork and butterfish wrap in luau leaves and then either in ti leaves or foil. They are steamed and the luau leaves become much like steamed spinach. They are so delicious. I gave another friend some masks and she gave me some hand sanitizer along with a bottle of aloe gel for making my own. The stores no longer have any so this was a welcomed gift.

I find that I have more time to write. My blog is finding it odd that I would post more than once every month or two. I also have time to work on my book. I have been writing letters to people who haven’t voted for a time or two. It’s through Vote Forward. They send you a list of voters to tell them the reason I vote and encourage them to do the same. My first list is from Georgia. It makes me feel good that I could have a hand in turning Georgia blue. We aren’t allowed to be partisan but I think a lot of people who drop out are democrats. So, if I can urge them to go the polls, so much the better.

So, I hope you are all keeping in touch with love ones, friends and family and are finding ways to enjoy your time at home.

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