It’s probably a true-ism that we become more of who we are in a crisis.
So
I am catching up with friends from near and far and conversations take as long as they should.
I am taking gloriously unhurried walks.
I am enjoying reading history –Simon Schama’s The Story of the Jews – Finding the Words: 550 pages that I never ever had time for.
I am hosting dinner parties with no dinner, no party and no washing up .
I am brushing up on Yiddish – a language I love and tackling it at VCE level.
I am playing games and reading on computer with my grandchildren.
I am singing  with a group of people once a week – thank goodness we are muted.
I am finally getting to watch Years and Years. Presciently compelling.
I am playing backgammon and Bananagrams and am now officially addicted.
I am NOT making sourdough bread or poppyseed cake (recipe below) because you can’t bake only two slices ..
AND
I am sleeping in- no longer leaping out of bed early for gym before the working day starts.
I am wearing the same clothes over and over and loving elasticised waists.
I am getting through ALL the weekend papers on the same weekend!
I am not dealing with peak hour traffic and parking.
But I am going to concerts and lectures, enjoying ballet performances and experiencing art in museums throughout the world.
And yes I am awed by that rich and valiant arts community that continues to nourish our souls and I wonder who nourishes them?
But why in the midst so much pleasure in the midst of so much pain am I NOT feeling guilty?
My late and much beloved mother always used to say to me…. SLOW DOWN..
I never did. And now I have – and have to admit to the fact that I am so enjoying the pace.
It has taken a perfidious, pervasive plague for me to finally listen to her properly.
But now I worry I won’t be able to deal with being on the “other side” facing a strange new real world with all its sadly inevitable manic energy and mayhem.
So perhaps finally I understand why I am not feeling guilty.
I have simply traded up- from low level guilt to high level anxiety.
Now that plagues me too.

Do stay safe and let the rhythm of your own days comfort you.

I am including a poppy seed recipe below for those of you with more will power than me:
POPPY SEED CAKE

Ingredients:

250 gm ground poppy seed
6 eggs separated
200 gm castor sugar
1 finely grated Granny  Smith apple
1 tblsp milk
60 gm melted butter
Juice of half a lemon

Method:

Beat egg whites and sugar till stiff
In second bowl combine other ingredients
Add beaten whites
Grease and line 25cm tin with baking paper
Bake 180 C  for approx. 35 minutes or until skewer comes out clean
When cool coat with chocolate ganache (melted Lindt chocolate with cream – optional) OR sprinkle with icing sugar
Double quantities for larger rectangular baking dish.
Enjoy.

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Leah Justin
When not preoccupied with her 8 grandchildren Leah Justin is the Community Education coordinator at the Jewish Museum of Australia. She is also the cofounder of the Justin Art House Museum.

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