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  • Writer's picture Jana

What a Difference A Week Makes! Coronavirus Update - Day 165 and Counting...

As my post aptly stated on Wednesday, "What a Week!" We have officially moved on to a new week (thank goodness) and I still stand by that post.

A week ago today, we were at our friend's house in Ventura for one of our only socially distanced visits we have had as a family since we went into quarantine in March. Whether quarantined alone, with roommates, friends, family, or young children I think all of us have felt isolated and cut off from those we love. Those "others" we love I should say.

For me, there are so many friends that I have not seen that I miss - friends that I saw regularly, who brought a feeling of completion and joy to my life. I think our kids feel that way too. They were used to seeing friends, classmates, and teachers in school. Now they only see those people remotely over computer screens. It wears on all of us, as we approach six months of this oppressive life.

Last Sunday was a joyous day, as we spent the afternoon and evening at our friend's beach house in Ventura. These are neighbors that live just down the street from us. We were used to seeing that at community events all the time in Hidden Hills. We were regularity invited to their beautiful home for their children's birthday parties. Eniko and I celebrated our birhtdays together each year (only days apart) with a special lunch out. Those special occasions have all ceased to exist.

That is why last Sunday was special for so many reasons. First, it was only our second time at the beach this summer. Going to the beach is always one of our favorite summer outings, so not being able to go this summer has been sad. The kids also missed our summer barbeques in Hidden Hills, which took place weekly, for the entirety of the summer, before the pandemic. I loved that I didn't have to cook each Thursday night and the kids loved the food, activities, and seeing all the other kids from our neighborhood there. Each week they had a themed activity for the kids to partake. Not only did the kids have fun with each other, but the activity had the added benefit of keeping them busy so the parents could visit with each other and enjoy a frothy margarita if they so desired.

Last Sunday we had the rare opportunity to be on the beach, me with my friend Eniko, and our kids altogether, enjoying a gorgeous beach day. After swimming for hours and playing in the sand, Eniko prepared us a scrumptious dinner, which she served on two separate patios (one for each family). She also served the food on individual plates instead of family-style at one table, as would have been normal before (and a lot less work for her). Her lovely daughters, Sydney and Samantha, helped her serve each plate, one-by-one and clean up.

Eniko served a delicious steak-house-worthy wedge salad to start (with bacon bits, of course), which my kids gobbled up. She followed that by delicious grilled sausages (cooked by her master griller husband, Max) that she had purchased at a local family butcher she discovered in Ventura, with beans on the side. Yummy!

We had two desserts because that's what you deserve in a pandemic, isn't it? First, we had a homemade Peach Nectar Bundt Cake with homemade whipped cream on the side, that the kids and I had prepared the evening before. Eniko wisely cut the cake in slices and put a candle each on Catherine and Graham's slices, so we could all sing an early happy birthday to them. That was followed by not one, but four flavor choices of ice cream that Eniko had purchased at a locally owned and run boutique ice cream store. We got to choose from chocolate, mint chip, banana-honeycomb, or vanilla. Between the five of us (The Lieblichs), we tried all of them and they were delicious.

After dinner, Eniko and I spent more time on the patio, socially distanced, of course, commiserating about life during the pandemic. The kids wandered back on to the beach (their house sits right on the sand) and played. We wandered down, as the sun was starting the set and all the kids were wading again in the waves in their clothes. It was such a beautiful sight, to see all seven of them (her three and my four) frolicking and carefree in the warm summer ocean.

Last Sunday will remain in my heart for a long time. It is something I might have taken for granted, to some extent, in the past. Of course, I would have been appreciative of the good food, gorgeous setting, wonderful company, and congenial hospitality. However, all of those things meant so much more to me now, since they have been in short supply. What would have felt normal before, felt extraordinarily special in these trying times.

I am even more grateful for that perfect evening, knowing the week I had upcoming ( colonoscopy prep on Monday and a procedure on Tuesday; kids starting distance-learning on Wednesday and the twin's birthday on Thursday). Ports in the storm are what we are all grateful for these days!

The Gold's beautiful summer home on the beach.

Miles and Graham enjoying themselves at the beach in their own unique ways.

Garin building a sand castle and Catheirne and Samantha boogie boarding to their hearts' contnent. Both of them love the water and are fearless.

The kids enjoying their Wedge Salad. Thank you Eniko for a new menu idea. I never knew my kids liked a a wedge salad.

The twins enjoying their birtday serenade.

A litte wave from their patio an ours. There is nothing like a gorgeous beach sunset to melt away your worries.

The kids frolicking in the ocean before we left. A cacaphony of laughs and joy. The pandeic was the furthest thing from any of our minds, at least for that moment.

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