Are We There Yet, Mommy? Are We There Yet, Daddy?

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Are We There Yet, Mommy?

Are We There Yet, Daddy?

As every parent knows, the most annoying question bar none is, “are we there yet?”

How many of us have had to sit in the car and listen to that question ad nauseum from their children?

Okay my turn…Are we there yet, is COVID gone?

I am sooo over this whole hanging-in-the-house thing. I’ve been patient, stayed put watching Netflix, ate healthy and took walks.

Now I’ve morphed into shoveling in chocolate chip cookies and popcorn and spend more time flipping channels than watching programs.

Although I know the vaccine will be here in October, what will that mean?

The older generation won’t be running out to get stuck until they watch to see if anyone drops dead.

We’re too old to be guinea pigs and we’d rather watch from the sidelines than jump into the game. Besides jumping isn’t an option when you need a walker or cane and are still doing physical therapy for your new knee or hip.

So how will we ever get back to normal?

Aha! That’s the rub because even when we get out of lockdown, captivity or self-imposed quarantine the world we once knew is no longer there.

I feel like Burgess Meredith in the Twilight Zone episode when after a nuclear war he finally had all the time in the world to read his books unencumbered and he broke his glasses.

The pre-COVID world was a different place and especially senior citizens will have to accept that the world they knew is gone.

So what will replace the old world?

Well, COVID is not the lynchpin that created the changes, it only intensified what was already transforming.

Ever since 9/11 we’ve had to face the fact that the freedom of movement we’ve always enjoyed since the advent of air travel has been severely restricted.

Terrorism impeded our ability to run amuck along with our own aging bodies.

Sure we figured out a way to get that new hip, but we haven’t figured out a way to see London Bridge without a lunatic running up and stabbing people. Or walking through a German Christmas market without crazies attacking, attending a concert or sightseeing in Madrid or Nice or any number of insane events we’ve witnessed.

I haven’t mentioned Israel because terrorism is a way of life for them and something one accepts when they head there for a visit.

Yet impediments aside we’ve grabbed our passports, packed our carry on and bitten the bullet. We’ve become the “oh-well-what-will-be-will-be” generation and decided that our priority was to live, travel and see the world despite the obvious risks.

So what’s changed? Plenty.

We once believed that after those trips to London, Rome, Vienna or Prague, visits to Singapore, China or Viet Nam we’d return home to our safe perch in America.

Sure, crime existed, but we felt safe and secure in front of our televisions watching baseball and munching on chips and guacamole while running outside to check the ribs on the grill.

Guess that’s over. America is not the same country now.

After COVID most assume we’ll just go back to business as usual, unscathed and unafraid.

Sorry, we need a reality check here. Cities are burning, law and order is in flux and familiar sights and sounds in our communities are gone.

Neighbors who once disagreed over which football team would prevail now refuse to talk to one another over politics.

Families have separated, friendships been destroyed, cities are in chaos, favorite businesses closed, entire sections of communities burned and boarded up.

It’s like walking out of your house after a nuclear holocaust and into a city in ruins.

Am I exaggerating? Actually I’m not sure, but I hope I am. I’m also from Detroit where it took 53 years to bring back a city torn to shreds and resembling London after the blitz, so there’s that.

So many people I know have said they are through traveling and will be staying closer to home.

Yes, cocooning is the new norm. People will entertain in their houses, man caves and she sheds will become palatial and so well appointed the Four Seasons will pale by comparison.

Media rooms will be enhanced and back yards will feature the same elements as the most fabulous five star resorts.

Lush landscaping, pools and recreational games will fill what once was a grass-filled area.

In case anyone doubts that things have changed just do an attitude check on your own friends.

Everybody is just a little bit crankier than they were four months ago. Oh sure everyone is trying to be so brave and double chins up (that would be as a result of the COVID 15 pound gain) but we all know we’re totally over this and ready to break out.

Actually, that’s the irony. After the initial run outside to our cars, faster than a racer at the Indy 500 I’m sure, and that visit or two to the mall, lunch with friends and dinner out on Saturday night, one news story about a rise in crime and we’ll all be hanging in the man cave watching football and sucking down beers like it’s Superbowl Sunday every weekend.

I’ve promised myself I’ll travel more and have my destinations all picked out, but will my will be diminished by a new terrorist attack or perhaps a few new cases of the virus popping up? Or maybe by China unleashing some new plague from some bat they’ve been harboring in a lab somewhere?

The world has changed dramatically and although we all want to believe that once we can hit the ground running we will, our habits have changed and we may not.

We now order Amazon and watch Netflix on that new 80-inch smart TV, we love that new patio furniture and those plans for an outdoor kitchen like our best friends just installed.

Whether we’ve realized it or not we’re now conditioned to staying close to home where we feel safe and secure against an onslaught of insanity that permeates the outside world.

When the virus is gone, that will be gone, but it won’t take with it the other tragic changes we’ve witnessed in our communities and that is what will ultimately define our new lifestyles.

Are we there yet? Perhaps soon, but where we’ll be when we get there, now that remains to be seen.

   Champagne Grape and Almond Chicken

4 chicken breasts or boneless thighs

flour for dusting

½ cup of champagne

½ cup seedless red grapes

½ cup seedless green grapes

½ cup sliced almonds

½ cup of chopped celery or bok choy

1 ½ cups of heavy cream

½ teaspoon of tarragon

salt and pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper and dust with flour

Sauté chicken in a mix of butter and oil until done

Add celery or bok choy or both and sauté for a few minutes, but keep the crunch in the vegetables

Remove chicken and set aside

Add champagne and deglaze pan then add cream, grapes, tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.

Lower heat and simmer until cream coats back of a spoon. High heat will break the cream and ruin the dish. Always thicken cream sauces on a low heat and never boil.

Add back chicken and reheat then serve immediately with almonds on the top.

 

 

 

 

 

Is COVID a Scary Glimpse Into and Preparation For The Future?

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Is COVID a Scary Glimpse Into and Preparation For The Future?

Cocooning: staying inside one’s home insulated from perceived danger.

Faith Popcorn, the trends and futurist guru coined the term cocooning in 1981 predicting a trend toward staying at home in lieu of interacting with an increasingly uncertain world. I always thought her theories were fascinating and right on, this one has to be not merely predictive, but downright psychic.

So what does this mean to us as individuals if we prefer to stay inside and interact less with what transpires outside our domain? Will it create a world of hermits living in fur-lined, customized caves? How will it affect what we manufacture, purchase, create and invent? Especially the way we communicate with one another.

Or can we let go of others and forego human interaction for that great new series on Netflix?

According to Popcorn, the places we live will become more minimal with movable multi-use furniture. We won’t even need television screens any longer thanks to Microsoft’s Hololens and other new ways of delivering images directly to our brain. Sales of tiny houses in the US are up 67% already and designers are building new and more interactive homes every day.

The last phase Popcorn mentions is the regenerative phase of cocooning or living in a pod that is wired to anticipate our needs. It’s transportable and can be taken with us wherever we go. Mercedes has already envisioned a live/work space that takes us from location to location guided by a robot.

She predicts 50% of work will be freelance and your robotic kitchen will cater to your nutritional and dietary needs. Your bathroom fixtures and mirror will scan your health and transmit it to your medi-bot to make the required changes in your diet or meds. And what if I still want that Sander’s Hot Fudge? Will I have to battle my robot for a sundae?  Is Big Brother my doctor?

Alexa will be there to listen when you’ve had a rough day and provide a robotic shoulder to cry on. Houses will float on water or be underground as rising sea levels affect millions whose homes will be underwater in high tide. Does that mean ocean front property will be selling super cheap?

I could continue but I suggest you read Popcorn’s report at faithpopcorn.com as it is a fascinating, albeit sometimes scary peak into the not-to-distant future.

Yes, I believe these new technologies and inventions exist, but recent events seem to point otherwise. I may not be an expert on trends, but human nature I know something about. After my last blog I received so many responses from people saying how much they treasure their early memories and having others to share them.

So if human beings are so happy to share and interact with others, why are we going out of our way to create a world where we do neither? I’ve always been under the impression there are two kinds of people; those who love wide-open spaces and the second type that enjoys urban living. My generation, once married seemed to gravitate toward homes with large lots and spacious yards for playing, entertaining and creating a comfortable distance with one’s neighbors. Yet, not too far as there seemed to be a genuine need to have other children for playing and parents with whom to socialize.

It seems incredibly foreign to me after being locked in captivity the last three months that this would become a permanent way of life. I certainly don’t see anyone enjoying the solitude and whoever can is running outside faster than Coyote chasing Roadrunner toward that cliff.

Was Barbra wrong when she sang, “people who need people are the luckiest people in the world?”

Or is this a world that will only exist in the memories of those still alive to remember the good old days, when people socialized and interacted with one another?

Recalling a time when we stood in line at crowded movie theaters and at restaurants to dine. When we watched a television show together as a family on that great new, big screen Dad brought home for himself for Mother’s Day?

When we look back it does seem that life has truly changed greatly in the last 75 years since World War II, but the changes to come that are really revolutionary are not that far away now. Tech is moving so quickly one day we’ll blink and that new “modern” kitchen will be as outdated as a Model T Ford.

So I have to ask myself, technology is evolving at warp speed but is mankind? Is there something in all those new gadgets that will alter a human’s need for love, caring and affection? Can we be satisfied with Alexa’s shoulder to lean on when a dream dies, a romance falls apart or we feel hopeless and vulnerable? Is this the way man will evolve, a creature controlled by artificial intelligence sitting in a tiny pod (guess they cure claustrophobia in the future) and having a movie programmed through his brain?

Yipes! I imagine humans will adapt to this new form of existence although I’m glad I won’t have to. I prefer sharing memories with friends, hugging my kids and grandchildren, walking in a beautiful garden and enjoying a meal I’ve prepared with someone special. The future seems awfully lonely and we’ve recently glimpsed into it Zooming, Skyping and Amazoning through today.

I for one will be glad to get out into that scary, unpredictable world once more, because as frightening as it may seem, it beats cocooning, seeking solace from a robot or hiding away forever.

The following is a recipe from a dear friend no longer here. It’s still one of the yummiest. ENJOY!

Malka B’s Strudel

Strudel dough

2 cups flour

½ pound of cream cheese

½ pound butter

½ cup of honey mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

Cream butter and cream cheese and add flour. Knead well

Chill several hours or overnight

Divide into six portions, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate about half and hour before rolling out to 14 or 16 inches.

 

Fillings

1 18 oz jar of apricot preserves

1 small package of sweetened coconut

1 small package of walnuts

1 small package of raisins

1 cup of graham cracker crumbs

 

You can also use fresh apple slices, raisins walnuts and cinnamon and sugar as a filling and for a new kick add some caramel to the mix.

 

Preheat oven to 350

 

Roll out one portion of dough and brush on a thin layer of honey and water mixture

Spread on a layer of preserves

Sprinkle on a light layer of graham cracker crumbs

Add coconut raisins and walnuts and begin rolling from the bottom up. Seal top together with honey water mixture.

 

Score the top into eight pieces and place on a parchment covered cookie sheet.

 

Bake about 45 minutes until lightly browned.

Cut into pieces and sprinkle with powdered sugar when cooled before serving.