Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #45, March 14, 2021

 Hi all,

Did you see it?  Today, the sunset was one hour and one minute later than it was yesterday!  So much is changing these days, it's almost hard to keep up.  There's also so much to celebrate!  Luke and I got our second dose of the vaccine on Friday, and it feels amazing!  We're not going to change too much about our lifestyle yet, given all the uncertainty around the variants of the virus and the possibility of passing it on even if we're protected ourselves, but the idea of being able to see even a few family members or friends is so unbelievably exciting.

It's also Women's History Month (more to come on this throughout the month!), Pi Day, a few days away from St. Patrick's Day, and Daylight Savings Time, which heralds the coming of spring.  To me, spring is always so full of hope and beauty - I'm grateful for every sunset, every ray of sunshine, every bud on the trees, every bird chirping outside the window.  Green peeps out all over the place, and chores like walking the dog or taking out the trash become an excuse to linger in the yard for a moment.  Boots go in the closet, and sandals come out, and stores carry flowy, floral dresses (actually my favorite garments in my closet, even if I haven't worn them in well over a year).  Even the quality of the light streaming through the windows feels healthier and brighter.

One year ago, we all collectively lost our spring.  Just as we were poised to enter this beautiful time of the year, everything ground to a halt, and for so many of us cooped up in cities, even springtime walks became an impossible memory.  What should have been a time of blossoming, of emerging from cold, dark nights into bright, warm sunshine was instead a season of hunkering down, of wearing sweatpants and sneakers day in and day out, and of avoiding the outdoors as though it were the zombie apocalypse (which, let's face it, it kinda was).  But now, with over 20% of New Yorkers vaccinated (and 10% nationwide), with all the adjustments we've made to transform our home lives, and with another chance at springtime, we're ready for it.  It's about time that we emerge into a bright new world and get ready to be grateful for every moment of it.

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


Women's History Month: It doesn't seem possible to fully do justice to this in the Digest.  There's no amount of research that's going to make me feel like I'm giving you a complete view of the resources available to celebrate women.  Here is just a smattering, with more to come each week, but one of the most moving tributes I've seen has been the wave of social media posts from so many people I know celebrating the most important women in their own lives, from LinkedIn posts about mentors and role models to husbands posting about their wives (Jeremy, yours made me smile and cry all at once - I love and admire Erin, too!).  So before you jump into any of these resources, be sure to take a step back and look around you - you might just find your best inspiration standing right next to you.
  • Looking to inspire the little girls in your life?  I love giving books with a message.  Try a personalized book from Put Me in the Story or I See Me! (I've given this one as a baby gift time and time again).  I also love the book Rosie Revere, Engineer (who now has friends like Ada Twist, Scientist and Sofia Valdez, Future Prez!) - it features a girl as a brilliant and creative inventor who understands that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
  • The Constitution Center has an upcoming event called The Agitators and the Women's Fight, a conversation between two authors of books celebrating heroes in the women's rights and abolition movements, and the relationship between them.
  • Any time I get a chance to talk about copyright, I take it.  Check out this post from the Copyright Office about women as creators, and this earlier post discussing the first work ever formally registered by a woman (Olive G. Pettis) in the U.S.
  • Check out these stories from the Metropolitan Museum of Art about 10 women that have shaped their collections.
  • If you haven't already seen it, this powerful performance features Mexican women joining their powerful voices in a song of defiance against femicide in Northern Mexico, "Canción Sin Miedo" (Song Without Fear).  (Thank you for sharing this with me, Jeff!)

St. Patrick's Day
  • What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than by eating Irish food?
    • Sur La Table is offering this festive cooking class, complete with Irish soda bread and chocolate whiskey cake.  (Tangent: I believe that recipe means cake with both chocolate and whiskey in it, but I discovered this chocolate whiskey two years ago and actually, unironically, love it.  Also looks like you can have it shipped these days...)
    • Try these recipes for cooking with kids - if you scroll down past the silly but obligatory green foods, there are some traditional Irish recipes. 
    • Or try these recipes for adults - I've been subscribed to Bon Appetit since I was a teenager and they've never let me down (anyone remember the Sweet 16 cake I baked for myself, or the 4th of July cake made with 3 lbs. of white chocolate?).
    • Baldor's is offering this Irish feast, delivered to your door.
  • Sing your heart out!  Check out these traditional Irish songs to get you in the mood to celebrate.
  • Check out these suggestions for ways to celebrate at home this year, courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens.  Seriously, though, if that didn't make you click, what if I told you that there's such a thing as a leprechaun trap to build with your kids (inner children included)?!
  • Build a leprechaun trap!  Seriously, it's worth repeating, because these are so darn cute.  Also, here's an explanation for why leprechauns are always coming up on St. Patrick's Day.
  • Ever ask why it's called St. Patrick's Day?  Read this article about St. Patrick, and why we have a holiday named for him (spoiler alert: he wasn't Irish, and his name wasn't actually Patrick).
General Entertainment
  • NJPAC has been offering a wide variety of online entertainment throughout the quarantine, and this Wednesday that includes a free West African dance class via Zoom.  According to their newsletter, this virtual class is designed to evoke the joyful experience of an in-person class shared with a vibrant African dance community. All ages and levels of movers welcome.
  • Fully vaccinated?  Read the CDC guidelines for vaccinated people about what that actually means with respect to what it's safe to do.  Remember that you still need to take precautions in most situations, and that you're not protected until a couple weeks after your final dose (it differs by vaccine, so check when you know which variety you're receiving).
  • The NYCB is concluding a look at the Three Sides of Balanchine, including a virtual coaching session and performance stream of Stravinsky Violin Concerto, an Inside NYCB presentation featuring two women who have performed the leading female in that same piece, and a number of articles and podcasts.  All of that content is available to view until Thursday, March 18 at 8 PM, on YouTube and the NYCB website.
  • Of the many oh-my-g-d-it's-been-a-whole-year moments I've seen this week, I really appreciated 92Y's artistic tribute to the quarantine, which they commissioned to create a collaborative performance merging poetry, visual art, and dance.  The piece is a six-minute film, Between Darkness and Light, for which Shantell Martin, a visual artist, and Shamel Pitts, 92Y Harkness Dancer in Residence, created original work in response to a poem by Paul Tran, a winner of 92Y's Discovery poetry prize.
  • Pie for Pi Day!  (If this is not your second day celebrating pie this year so far, you're doing it wrong.)
    • Blueberry Crumb Pie: I made this one last year (Quarantine Baking, anyone?  First pie ever!) and it was ridiculously good.  Stir 6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, ⅔ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup cornstarch, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and 1 tbsp lemon juice together in a bowl; set aside.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Pour filling into pie crust; dot with 1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces.  Combine ½ cup packed brown sugar (light or dark both work), 1 tsp cinnamon, ¾ cup flour, and ⅓ cup unsalted butter in a bowl, then sprinkle crumble topping over the pie (be generous!).  Bake for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees F, wrap the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent too much browning, and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes (you should be able to see the filling bubbling gently for at least the last 5 minutes).  Allow to cool and thicken for 3 hours at room temperature before serving.
    • Chocolate Sin Pie is not something I've tried yet, but it's obviously in the baking queue...
    • Or order delivery pie (it's not too late).
  • St. Patrick's Day recipes for kids and for adults (repeat from above, if you already clicked)
  • One week left to sign up for the next round of Christina Tosi's baking class!

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