5 Simple Joys: Quarantine Edition

Well, that was a title I never thought I’d type. But here we are, sheltering-in-place, social distancing, and generally trying to feel productive and purposeful while also trying not to freak out.

Just today, I realized that I am wasting wide swaths of time scrolling through Instagram: something I’m certainly going to address, in a heartless Marie-Kondo fashion if this carries on indefinitely (unless I “lean in”) …

So my new strategy in these early days is to divvy up my day à la Hugh Grant in About a Boy: “I find the key is to think of a day as units of time, each unit consisting of no more than thirty minutes. Full hours can be a little bit intimidating and most activities take about half an hour.” Why this bit of dialogue stuck with me is for another day, but I have set the time on my phone, and attacked email for one unit, Duolingo (in a never-ending attempt to learn French) for one unit, and so on. At the same time, I’m still making lists, still being curious, still discovering. As such, here are 5 simple joys I’m passing along in hopes that they will lend one of your daily “units” a bit more cheer.

1. TV   Curb may be ending, but thankfully, season two of My Brilliant Friend has just begun and I find it mesmerizing. Magnificent casting/costumes/scenery. And a stressful storyline — which frees my brain to worry about somebody else!

2. Books/Reading  I don’t know about you, but my attention span is NOT what it used to be. Most weeks, I’m just happy to get through the New Yorker before the next issue arrives. That said, I recently purchased the new edition of Gertrude Stein’s “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”, beautifully illustrated by Maira Kalman, and plan to read it. Find a title that speaks to you and do the same.

3. Stationery  No parties, no weddings, no reasons to leave the house allowed, but still, I found Strawberry Sorbet online and am dreaming of (2021?) parties to come. (Marcella, Madeleine, and Felicity are favorites.)

4. The Hospitality Industry  trying to do my part, responsibly ordering take out to supporting my local sandwich shop, I’m also thinking about ordering a couple of Talbott & Arding’s beyond-delicious fruit and nut loafs.  One for me; one to leave on my parents’ front stoop. **

5. Goats   pure escapism: the Instagram site bringing me the most joy these days is Bracken Oaks Farm, and their delightful baby Nigerian dwarf goats, who jostle and jump and vamp for the camera while adorably playing king-of-the-tree stump.

if you’ve made it this far, apologies for the run-on sentences and the rambling … and please, add your quarantine recommendations in the comments!

** just ordered. sent to my parents’ house. i will pick up the second loaf from THEIR stoop. #thinking


  1. Ruth
    March 19, 2020 / Permalink

    This is so lovely. Thank you. I feel so lucky to be able to see what you share. Felicity is my fave and now I want a piece of that loaf and if someone gave me a goat I would jump over the moon. Thanks for the gift of your eye, wit and generosity.❤️

  2. March 30, 2020 / Permalink

    It’s always so nice to hear your “voice.”

    My sister sends me Instagram videos of baby goats. Their hopping!

  3. Jane
    April 2, 2020 / Permalink

    Glad to see you back. I was thinking of doing the same. We will see. Stay healthy!