Thursday, July 16, 2020

Quarantine Birthday

I celebrated a birthday in June, during the global pandemic.  Sadly, as the pandemic wears on, it seems likely we will all celebrate a birthday under quarantine, if not two birthdays (or three?!?).   

The day turned out lovely, and I thought I'd record it here.  Something that I have found during this time, is that what I thought I needed and wanted generally (restaurant meals, shopping, being out and about, big vacations, general consumption), are not things that I miss as much as I thought I would.  It turns out that a birthday under quarantine was calm and restorative.

To begin the day, we had pastries and coffee at home.  Instead of trying to find pastries at a bakery, I had purchased some almond croissants and cinnamon rolls at Trader Joe's in advance, and baked them up fresh in the morning.  I wanted it to feel indulgent, which is why I got two kinds (the frozen almond croissants are excellent!).  

I packed a simple picnic (crackers, cheeses, leftover cold steak, a ceramic bowl of home grown plums) and we loaded the car.  We drove to Santa Barbara and listened to music on the way.  Ken drove and I got to gaze at pretty scenery out the window.  I do love the drive into Santa Barbara.

Our first stop was Chaucer's, a bookstore in SB.  I had ordered my books a week before and they were ready and waiting for me.  Chaucer's is only open right now for curbside pickup (no entering the store or browsing), so I've been ordering either online or by phone.  The pickup process is very safe and specific.  Everyone wears a mask.  When you arrive at the store, you knock on the door and then step back behind the line (6 feet).  The person answers the door and asks for your name and whether the order is pre-paid.  Then they go back into the store, door closed, and come back out with your bag and set it on a little card table they have set up for that purpose.  After they go back inside and lock the door you may step forward and get your bag.  I appreciate this type of specificity and attention to safety!  

On this day, my birthday, I had ordered such a wonderful stack of books.  It was thrilling to browse through my stack.  Our next stop was Rocky Nook Park.  I thought of this park because it felt kind of out of the way and likely to be uncrowded.  We didn't know for sure if it would be open but we thought, "let's just play it by ear and see what happens."  Luckily, we found it open, and easily found a table in the lower part of the park that was empty and uncrowded.  We had a simple picnic under the oaks.  

After lunch, we headed to the beach at Carpinteria (Rincon Beach Park--my favorite beach).  It was open and not terribly crowded.  We felt safe.  We wore masks to walk down the path to the beach but then removed them when we found a space to set up.  Mostly , we didn't sit still.  We walked and the kids played.  I did have a chance to start one of my books from my birthday haul.  It was so nice to be at the ocean after so many months of quarantine!  Nature is so restorative.  The beach in particular has so many sensations--the feel of the sand, the coldness of the water, the white noise of the surf, the breeze, the ocean smell--all very healing and bolstering.  

After the beach, I wanted to stop by Starbucks in Carpinteria and have a nice something to sip on the way home.  It felt so festive.  Everyone got a drink and a treat.  I tried a new coffee--an oat milk iced coffee.  We ordered and paid through the app so I only had to go pick it up quickly inside the store without lingering indoors.  It went very smoothly. 

In the evening we were back at home, and I read my book some more and we ordered sushi take-out that night for dinner.  For a movie I chose I Capture the Castle because I had just finished a re-read of the book (one of my favorite books).  The movie is really not as good as the book, but the casting is excellent and I love the scenery and costumes.

And that was it!  Have  you celebrated a birthday yet under quarantine?  Our next birthday coming up is Rainer's birthday in October.  

Also, I want to thank you all for your sweet words and greetings on my last post.  I wish I had threaded comments so I could reply to you individually.  I'll try to see if I can adjust that in the settings, but I'm very bad at this (blogging) now.  Thank you so much for commenting and chiming in!


Denise said...

You made the most of it! What a beautiful day : )

I turned 50 in June, it definitely was different!

Unknown said...

I'm so glad to read your posts again! Your blog is beautiful and it gives comfort during these challenging times.

Mary Beth said...

Happy birthday Denise!

Mary Beth said...

Thank you so much! Glad you are here.