Messages from Quarantine

Darkness across the world with COVID-19 continues to flood the newsfeeds. Staying home, knowing that inaction is the only way to support the brave medical personnel, grocery and food service folks, and transportation service can be daunting.

“Home” Schooling

Suddenly trying to support my kids’ teachers’ efforts to continue the curricula from home has been a challenging affair. T and I have found our groove by doing academic activities for fifteen minutes followed by ten minutes of play time.

D and I have struggled a little more. We’ve tried to play a lot of games, but every time I try to put an academic bent on a game…well, let’s just say we’ve not seen much success. I haven’t given up, though.

We try to spend some backyard or front yard time if the weather is good, but today with the rain, I opted for a session of Coach Joe’s PE class on Youtube. If you’re old enough to actually do it, it’s a great workout. If you’re an excitable preschooler and his older sister, however, your mom will probably yell at you to stop bouncing on the sofa instead of actually doing the jumping jacks. I enjoyed the workout and plan to follow along, but I’m going to have to track something else down for the children’s physical activity.

Artistically, we also try to do some drawing based on a Youtube tutorial or just free drawing.

The kids have also discovered the joys of Super Mario Brothers. Their dad encourages them (and helps them actually clear the boards…) and I escape to get some quiet time writing or reading. It’s amazing how a single block of time while they stare at a screen now results in another few hundred words.

T and I drew Princess Peach from a Youtube tutorial.

Culinary Efforts

It comes as no surprise that I have a sweet tooth. My sweet MIL offered to cook lunch and dinner for all of us as long as I kept the kids from harassing her all day long, so I’ve gotten to focus on sweets, like these delicious chocolate cups. I filled them with peanut butter, homemade marmalade, or homemade chocolate blackberry jam. This must be my third or fourth batch of these since I found the recipe—they come together so quickly and use ingredients I always have in the pantry.

Chocolate Cups

I also made rasmalai, which was a huge hit and tasted way better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant. My mom’s recipe finally came out right using the toaster oven rather than my somewhat moody regular oven. This is a two-part dessert, one part a ricotta cheese bake and the other a half-and-half syrup cooked way down.

I’m also looking forward to testing out some handed-down family recipes in the coming days. We tracked down all the necessary ingredients in the recesses of the pantry, so I’m about to give it a try. Unlike the cakes and cookies I’m used to, Indian desserts are usually made with syrups and involve a lot of stove-top cooking. The ones I’ve made usually take full-fat milk and lots of sugar, then cook off all the liquid. The flavor profile usually includes saffron and cardamom. Nuts, especially pistachios, can be used as garnish or may be a main ingredient. Coconut is another popular addition. The recipe I have on hand takes a mix of nuts and coconut…I’ll let you know how it goes.

Also, to avoid a complete breakdown of the hard work I’ve done, between working out and intermittent fasting, trying to lose weight, I enjoy my desserts but move the majority of them to the freezer so I can enjoy them when the mood strikes instead of eating them mindlessly just because they are available.


Well, I caught a bit of a Star Wars marathon while getting all my ironing done, and I’m watching Wonder Woman while I write this post.

Honestly, I’ve gotten my fill of COVID-19 coverage, and I’m trying to stay positive in the face of the heartbreaking news from Italy and elsewhere. Watching more sobering coverage while unable to get a change of scenery seems like a difficult mental health challenge.

I haven’t started any new shows, and the reading I’ve done has largely been lighthearted. I have also kept up with my language lessons on DuoLingo, which I think is the easiest way to learn a new language or three…

Stay safe and stay home, everyone. Wash your hands, and reach out to family and friends through the amazing bits of technology at our disposal. Together, we can flatten the curve.

Types of Love Shown by Disney’s Princesses

Reading up on the types of love has helped me understand what I like and dislike about the different Disney princesses.

When you think about how a Disney princess exemplifies love, the relationships for many of the early princesses—Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora—appear to be focused on eros, at least as far as the princes are concerned. Mulan’s interest in Shang starts with eros, but her feelings evolve into respect and admiration for his character, not just his eight-pack. Even Ariel only demonstrates eros for Eric, whom she does not know at all except by sight.

Image result for cinderella dancing

As much as I adore The Little Mermaid, her relationship with Eric is extremely superficial and borders on mania. I mean, she gave up her voice for a man. Rapunzel also shows mania, given her determination to see the floating lanterns.

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As far as ludus, Belle, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Anna, and Tiana show the building of their relationships through romance. To a much lesser degree, Mulan and Shang flirt, but they snip at each other more than anything else.

Image result for belle snowball fight

Of the princesses demonstrating philia, the most obvious is Mulan, who saves first her entire troop on the mountain and then the emperor through the end of the movie. Anna demonstrates this in Frozen 2 when she awakens the mountain trolls.

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By the time Frozen 2 rolls around, Anna and Kristoff have reached as close to pragma as any Disney princess can through the short duration of the films. The best example I can offer is Mulan’s parents (who actually survive the story!) and the sorrow they share when her father is preparing to leave. Rapunzel’s parents also appear to share pragma in their grief and hope for finding their missing daughter.

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While Snow White, Aurora, and Ariel appears to share storge for the fairies, dwarves, and King Triton respectively, Cinderella doesn’t really have a loving relationship with anyone except her animal friends. Rapunzel even shows storge for Mother Gothel, despite the abusive control she exhibits to her adopted daughter. Mulan goes to war out of storge, because she doesn’t want her father to die. Similarly, Belle sacrifices herself as a prisoner to the Beast for her father. There is also obvious love between the sultan and Jasmine, as well as between Tiana and her family. The storge of Anna for Elsa forms the crux of both Frozen plots, and Elsa eventually shows the same deep-rooted affection for her sister by the end of the first movie. More heartbreaking is the storge Moana has for her family, especially her grandmother.

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Philautia is a little harder to observe, but Belle refuses Gaston because she knows she deserves better. Jasmine also appears to express her self-worth as she tells Aladdin and Jafar off for imagining they know her life better. Tiana knows her worth, too. She has a plan to run her own business, and she knows she has the skills needed to succeed. The rest of the princesses seem to significantly lack any sense of self-worth. In the case of Mulan, this is unfortunate, since the historical character went on to become a decorated commander. She would not have been so successful had she lacked faith in herself, which Disney reinforced through the song “Reflection” as well as her botched matchmaker visit.

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Finally, we come to agape. The first example that comes to mind is Moana, who is willing to sacrifice everything to save her people and is even able to find empathy for Te Ka, who is actively trying to kill her. Anna also exemplifies agape. She runs off to find her sister in Frozen to save all the people of her land from the endless winter Elsa has unleashed. The lesson of agape comes to Elsa a little later, but she goes into the unknown past to save a bunch of strangers who have been trapped by weird magic, and then, after her sister breaks the dam, races to rescue Arendelle from the coming wave that would have destroyed the homes of all her people.

Image result for moana fighting teka

Largely because of the way they demonstrate different forms of love, Anna, Elsa, Moana, and Mulan present as more heroic and far less hollow than their fellow princesses.

Image result for anna hugging elsa frozen 2

Obviously I don’t own any of these Disney characters. They make a good resource for study because of everyone’s familiarity with their stories. I also chose to leave  Pocahontas out of this analysis to avoid conflating the Disney character with the historic one.