Dear Quarantine Diary – Week 21

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Dear Diary – We made it to week 21, the legal drinking age back in the ’70’s. But I don’t need to reach for alcohol to have a good time. I just have to watch the birds.

This morning I watched a happy robin skip up the belly of my upside-down wheelbarrow and hop on the wheel…which immediately started turning, literally scaring the crap out of the bird as it squawked rudely and it’s wings and legs flailed wildly in all directions. Once composed on the ground, intact and with attitude it strolled into the garden, where it could hide in shame amongst the lilacs.

Totally what I would do.

If I’d only had my camera ready…

Dear Diary – Friday I made my way to a hospital I haven’t been to in over a decade, for my bi-annual mammogram and ultrasound. The first challenge was finding a parking spot. I found one fairly quickly but it required me to carefully wedge my small car between a huge SUV crowding the line on the right, and a concrete post on the front left corner. Next, I had to hobble my way in from the wilderness and stand in a cue for clearance to enter the building. With the fresh yellow mask that was 2 sizes too big for my nanohead, I began wandering the halls to find the elevator level one. Level one was not the floor on which I entered the building. That was the ground level. I had been instructed to follow the green lines on the floor and I did. I really did…until I got off the elevator and the green lines were non-existant. I found them again, after wandering the wrong direction and being redirected by an unamused receptionist at the other imaging desk.

Once I arrived, I was quickly processed, stripped, gowned, and watching a newscaster discuss monkey pox on the television. Yes, it’s a real thing!

One comedian described preparing for a mammogram and this was my favourite:

Visit your garage at 3 a.m. when the temperature of the cement floor is just perfect. Take off all your clothes and lie comfortably on the floor sideways with one breast wedged under the rear tire of the car. Ask a friend to slowly back the car up until your breast is sufficiently flattened and chilled. Switch sides, and repeat for the other breast.

The only thing they forgot to add is shallow breaths…which, when your tender bits are being crushed, is all you can do!

I have an irrational fear when it comes to mammograms. I can handle the discomfort of baring my breasts to a stranger and having my body twisted and manhandled into a torturous device. It’s a necessary evil and I will do it rather than risk the consequences of not. Medicine rocks! It’s the fear of being trapped in said device. I once read a story, probably an urban legend, that a fire alarm went off during one woman’s mammogram, and in her panic, the technician ran off, leaving this poor woman trapped in the machine. There is no fail-safe release lever for the patient in the event of an emergency, and being so severely squished, this poor woman could not inhale sufficiently to call for help. Eventually she was released and compensated for her trauma, but that mental image is forever burned in my brain.

My doctor called me this week to say that for the most part, everything looks great. Except for a tiny cyst that the clinic would like to view next year.

Dear Diary – Do you remember last week when I posted a photo of my pickle castor to see if I would get more likes than a posting of a deviled egg plate? The deviled eggs were more popular than my blog, by a huge margin.

Dear Diary – I was watching a nuthatch enjoying our breakfast bar on the back porch. Normally, nuthatches don’t like to share, but there did appear to be another bird on the other side. After I looked out the other window, I realized with horror that there was another bird but…it was stuck inside the bird feeder. I have NO idea how this little twerp found his way inside since the openings are less than half an inch high and three inches wide. Fortunately, the roof of the house-shaped bird feeder lifts up. Unfortunately, I’m way too short to reach it!

I dragged a lawn chair closer and precariously perched on the edges of said chair, knowing full well that if I stood in the centre I was going to fall right through. Lifting the roof, I released little twerp, who flew immediately to the lilac tree and a great discourse ensued over this harrowing experience.

Maybe they were playing angry birds and overshot the ledge!

Dear Diary – Youngest Son is officially taller than Hubby!

Hubby is not amused!

Dear Diary – Eldest Son sent me a realty listing for a property near him. It was over $4 million. I told him he could the $4 million and I’d cover the rest…

Dear Diary – This Saturday we experienced an incredible storm, which now has its own Wikipedia page. Merriam-Webster defines a derecho as “a large fast-moving complex of thunderstorms with powerful straight-line winds that cause widespread destruction”.

I was washing windows on this beautiful, sunny, breezy afternoon when the alert from Environment Canada blared on our cell phones. Hubby was watching a gentleman inspect our air conditioner outside. Within 15 minutes, the house was as dark as it is by dinnertime in the winter and the wind was tossing the trees. Hubby and the furnace guy hustled inside as the rain started. In the blink of an eye, the lilac tree was kissing the ground and the rain flew by sideways in misty white furls. Hubby and furnace guy had just started to inspect the furnace when the power went out. Furnace Guy decided he’d return another day despite our offers to stay until the storm had passed, and we watched him twist his way down the street around the path of large branches littering our street.

As quickly as it started, the storm was over and we were more fortunate than many of our neighbours. Eldest Son’s friends who live literally blocks from us, were without power for 18 hours. At least one EF2 tornado has been confirmed in a neighbouring town, and my father-in-law, who is about 6 hours away, may still be without power.

That evening we drove to McDonald’s for ice cream and to survey some of the damage. Large trees had taken down fences and roofs had been stripped of more than just shingles. Even a safety bar at the train crossing had been ripped off. The line up at McDonald’s was long so we just came home.

I wondered how Youngest Son was…since he was camping in a field at a youth event. (He was – just some broken tent poles and soggy sleeping bags. All part of the adventure!)

I wondered if Eldest Son was going to be working long hours to clean up the storm damage around hydro lines. (He was long into the early morning hours).

On Sunday morning, we went to visit Eldest Son. It’s been at least 3-4 years, partly thanks to covid, since I’ve been to his place, and despite assurances that he has cleaned from time to time, I was still dubious. I had every right to be! We tidied and sorted and cleaned together for hours. More importantly, I got to meet his girlfriend. She’s pretty and sweet, and I’m so happy for him!

We left early in the evening so they could have some time alone. I entertained myself by taking photos out the window.

Scenery
Airplanes

Buildings

And I watched the sun set in a glorious array of gold.

I live in constant anticipation of good stuff. It’s not being ‘Pollyanna’ about things, but most stories don’t have the ending we would give them right away. The better endings come later.

Bob Goff

Dear Quarantine Diary – Week 20

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Dear Diary – Sometimes there are things I’d rather be doing. Like this morning, for instance. I would rather have been catching you up on my week than shopping for a friend’s very personal hygiene items. But –

A friend loves at all times.

Proverbs 17:17

I received a call early this morning (between breakfast and getting dressed) from an out-of-breath friend asking me to come over right away because she needed help. She’s normally obstinate and independent, so when she asks for help, it’s serious. I dropped everything, tossed on some clothes and headed out.

Everything is not OK, but it’s better. I’m “on call” at home and will check in later. Her friend in her building will check in too. I’m not “tooting my own horn”. I just think there’s a lot of me-firstness in the world, and if we don’t take care of each other, the me-firstness will grow. I want to nourish kindness in the world for furture generations.

Even if it involves shopping for someone else’s very personal hygiene products, way too early in the morning! 😉

Dear Diary – A recent study in the US found that 6 in 10 people claim hitting the snooze button improves their relationships because they’re getting more sleep. Another study suggest that hitting the snooze button is actually bad for your health because it interrupts REM sleep, which is the restorative sleep stage. What both studies agree on is that we don’t get enough quality sleep. In fact, for an extra hour of sleep, between 24-33% of people would give up eating with a knife or spoon, give up attending a concert or game forever, abandoning their favourite streaming service for a year, sleeping on the floor for a month, or wearing uncomfortable shoes for a week.

I’m a snooze bar hitter. I will purposefully set my alarm so I can hit snooze once or twice before I have to get up. So all I can say is, “10 more minutes, please”.

Youngst Son and I recently saw an ad for a Sleep Tracker App. It records your sleep activity: when you roll over, when you talk, when you snore, when you fart… Seriously! Why do I need to know I let one rip at 3:30 a.m.? How is that going to improve the quality or quantity of my life?

Youngest Son joked that my folks shouldn’t use it. They both argue that they don’t snore, even though we’ve all heard them. I wonder if it measures “breathing”? Hubby doesn’t snore all that much, but he BREATHES and it keeps me awake. That’s why we’re “sleep divorced”. We’ve slept in separate rooms for most of our married life. I think it’s a key factor to how we survived together this long without killing each other. Better sleep = better attitude and less stupid fights. It’s been better to miss out on pillow talk than to stop talking altogether. Most people disagree with our decision, but then, they don’t have to live with us!

Dear Diary – My neighbours built a new castle in their backyard last weekend. Their yard is cluttered with other things that will probably never get used…like the old plastic castle, a hammock frame, a fire pit, a broken hot tub, and a yellow slide. But I shouldn’t cast stones. My own yard is also cluttered with things we don’t use: a wheelbarrow, a ladder, an odd pile of lumber, and the railings from our front steps. We might need one or all of those things…someday!

Dear Diary – A local and prestigious university is offering a new course in September…on Taylor Swift. Yeah, THAT will prepare us for the future.

Dear Diary – Sometimes the smallest things can have the greatest impact. On Sunday, despite the sudden onset of deep summer temperatures, I went for a walk, around the block! I have struggled just to walk to the fridge for the last 3 months, so I saw this as a personal victory.

I was called in suddenly by my GP last week after a chest xray and bloodwork, and found out my lungs are overinflating. It’s the only part of me right now that is “hyperactive”. So while I’m currently still not taking the heavy-duty medication that likely contributed to me contracting the Death Flu, I’ve had an inhaler added to my “pharmacy”. And it does feel like a pharmacy! I have pills for this and cream for that. I have doled out tylenol, immodium, and lactaid from my purse, like a seniors’ dealer. And when I travel I have to pack a separate bag for it all. I used to marvel at how much “old people” talked about their ailments, medications, and doctor’s appointments. I’m beginning to understand…

Dear Diary – Last week, someone’s photo of a deviled egg dish got more likes on Facebook than my blog. So as a test, I’m posting a photo of my pickle castor just to see what happens.

Dear Diary – My parents made an impromptu visit ealier this week, but since I’m still hobbling and wheezing, my Mom taught me some of the ins and outs of online shopping. It’s a whole new world! The next day we made a quick trip to the local mall and I couldn’t believe how much it’s changed. But then, it has been the better part of 2 years since I’ve been there. I tried on several sundresses, mostly because the only sizes they had were small or large, or XXL. Thankfully, for now, XXL is still too big for me! Now that I have an idea how things are fitting (case in point, I have several pairs of jeans ranging from size 3-12), I can shop ’til I drop…on the couch for a nap.

I wish I had a pair of skinny genes.

In My Garden: Tulips 2022

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Here are the tulips, budded and full-blown,
their swoops and dips, their gloss and poses, the satin of their darks

Margaret Atwood, Dearly

A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower. 

Marianne Williamson

What’s In My Cup: Citrus Burst

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I’m still recovering from the Death Flu (not covid, thank goodness), and it kinda stole my taste for tea. I’m sure it will come back, and it’s not all bad because it has cut my caffeine consumption considerably. I’m replacing it with plain old water, and the occasional cup of orange juice for the vitamin C.

Vitamin C is a natural diuretic, and is known for its cleansing properties. It’s vital to healing and as an antioxidant, protects cells against heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Vitamin C helps your body absorb and store iron, and is a  necessity for the formation of blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in bones.

Citrus Burst, from T.Kettle, may not be high in Vitamin C, but it is lower in caffeine. It contains oolong tea, apple, grapefruit, hibiscus, pineapple, rose petals, papaya, and cornflower petals.

The colour was a bright yellow and the strongest aroma was grapefruit. I found it bright and invigorating, with the tart and slightly bitterness of citrus fruit, and in this particular case, grapefruit! I don’t like teas that taste like soap or perfume, but this had a lovel, light floral note that enhanced the citrus flavours. The second cup I made was steeped for a very long time (I got busy and forgot about it), so it was quite bitter, so maybe don’t do that unless you like your grapefruit strong and sour.

This tea was enjoyable both as hot and an iced tea (and I tried it as an iced tea, not just as the cold tea I left on the counter)! I think it will be quite refreshing in the summer months.

This tea was gifted to me by a sweet friend (actually, her Hubby shopped for it and he has excellent taste in tea…and women)! It reminds me of Tetley’s Citrus Kiss, which was lemon and grapefuit with a green tea base. Both were delicious but I think I prefer the unique pairing of grapefruit and floral with an oolong base because it had more depth to the tea overall. Plus none of the grassy notes that can come through in green tea, or the bitterness from oversteeping green tea.

Spring arrived while I was sleeping, but I’m wide awake now and soaking in the sunshine. At least I did this weekend. It’s raining today. Citrus Burst is definitely going in my summer favs list as my tastebuds turn to all-things fruity and fun! Happy Monday!

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone to lighten up

Sheryl Crow, Soak Up the Sun

Dear Quarantine Diary – Week #18 & 19

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I’ve been away, walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Ok, that’s alittle extreme, but I have been very sick for the past week or more. I don’t know the cause except to say that it was not covid. Hubby took me for testing. It could have been a form of Death Flu or an Intrepid Infection. Or it could have been an adverse reaction to my new medication which compromises my immunity even more severely than before, and could have led to the contraction of a Death Flu or Intrepid Infection. In any event, I’m going to live!

Thank you to those who sent hugs and well-wishes to my 2 Facebook status posts, typed in the few moments of lucidity that I had. I needed them desperately. Hubby popped in my bedroom door now and then, masked and hugging the door like a long-lost relative; otherwise I went days without any human touch (except the EMT who was way too personal! But I’ll get to that).

My birthday was overshadowed by nausea on the last Friday of April. I assumed it might food poisoning because Youngest Son cooked dinner and I wasn’t sure I had preheated the oven to the right temperature. The day was a quiet one. I watched figure skating from the Olympics, played Minecraft with Youngest Son during his lunch period, and Overwatch with Oldest Son before dinner. Oldest Son ubered me a Cora’s chocolate and strawberry crepe for brunch. I had worship rehearsal so took homemade chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream icing to share with my team. I finally got to open my gifts at 10 p.m. before settling into bed.

By Monday afternoon, I had an epic sinus headache and felt tired, but I often feel tired when I’ve been up really early and leading worship on Sunday morning. The headache continued on Tuesday so I took a Tylenol and carried on. By Tuesday evening, I knew it was no use. I probably had a sinus infection. On Wednesday morning, feeling worse by the minute, I feared Covid. I slept all day. Hubby picked up a thermometer and RAT kit on his way home from work. He also brought work home with him because he couldn’t go in if I did have covid.

The RAT was negative.

Hubby stayed home on Thursday so he could take me to the covid clinic, which I booked as soon as they opened. At High Noon, he dropped me by the wooden gangplank leading to the clinic, and I stood waiting for my turn… in an empty room. I hoped that if I dropped on the spot, someone would notice. But the lobotomizing PCR test came back negative as well. I was advised by the nurse to call my rheumatologist and she wished me a “great day”.

I made it back to the car without passing out. “Great day” accomplished.

My rheumatologist’s assistant was thorough and sweet, and within an hour I had my answer: stop taking the medication and if I still have the fever in 2 days, to seek medical help. Awesome! And just when the medication was starting to work. Oh, I wasn’t ready to dance a jig, but I was nearly back to “normal”.

Hubby ran me a bath Thursday afternoon. I vaguely remember requesting it, or did I just say I was going to and he jumped in to help? I didn’t have to imagine the pervasive funk that followed me; I could also see the growing pile of sodden jammies and blankets I had sweat through, especially at night. I don’t understand why, lying still and sleeping, my weary body would work so hard to squeeze every last drop of liquid from my person.

Friday evening, Hubby arrived with flowers and Gatorade! Shortly after, Youngest Son brought in a bag of chocolate covered almonds and a bag with 4 O Henry’s (O Henry!) and laid them on the floor by my 2L bottle of gingerale.

Ah! My Mother’s Day gifts?

My Hero!!

By Saturday evening, my bed was a complete disaster. I had 3 different blankets rolled in to balls, each a different thickness. I slept with the thermometer, my iPad, a half box of Cheerios, a package of crackers, and a portable DVD player, loaded with the 1970’s British t.v. series, Upstairs Downstairs. I listened to several of them when I was too tired to watch. My nightstand was cluttered with am assortment of oddities and the gingerale, gatorade, and chocolate were still on the floor. Hubby brought me a Tim’s tea that morning, but I still had no interest in tea.

Yes! I was that sick!

I will never forget this past Mother’s Day!

I called telehealth Sunday morning for advice since I still had a fever, and I explained my sorry tale three times. I still can’t grasp what really happened, but before I knew it I had consented to an ambulance. I think they heard “some chest pain” in my list of symptoms and latched onto it like I was dying. I was transferred to the 911 disbatcher, and when she put me on hold, I started hollering for Hubby. This was his fault.

I’m sure the shocked look on his face mirrored my own.

I could hear the sirens in the distance and dropped my head in my hands. As if a shiny blue and white ambulance showing up in my driveway wasn’t going to be enough of a spectacle for the neighbours, did they have to announce themselves too?

Only it wasn’t an ambulance. It was a shiny red fire engine!

Most nosey neighbours seeing or hearing an ambulance outside watch discreetly from the window so as not to invade anyone’s privacy. (I’m aware of the irony in that statement. Plus that’s what I do). But isn’t there something about shiny red fire engines that draws people out more? Certainly when there IS a fire, the street becomes a block party! I started imagining folks hovering on their front porches and little children lining the street.

As 2 firefighters clambored into my room, I blurted out, rather mortified, “I’m not dying! I only called for advice”. I was told to stay calm and was asked a bunch of questions about my symptoms, my personal information, and my medications (with a lot of Ma’ams I might add), and he wrote it all on his glove. As he was writing I could hear Party Number 2’s sirens singing in the distance…and ever closer.

Now I really was disturbing the peace.

The firefighters were summarily dismissed by the EMT and he apologized. Firefighters are only supposed to come if I weren’t conscious, which I clearly was!

I never thought a simple phonecall…on Mother’s Day…would result in hot firefighters in my bedroom, or worse, a man in a hazmat suit unbuttoning my nightie and handling my boob (for an ekg). It was the first physical touch I had experienced in days, having been cloistered in my tower for the better part of 5 days. It was far from titillating, and I muttered sarcastically under my breath, “Happy Mother’s Day”. He apologized several times. I just smiled and assured him “it was fine” and to “just do what you need to do”. Afterall, he was there to keep me alive should a serious problem exist. He was also kind and compassionate, not wanting to add to my distress. It is something for which to be noted and admired in most of our healthcare professionals, not overlooked or dismissed in favour of budgets, schedules or our own feelings because it sometimes takes so long.

He confirmed my heart was not in distress, and Hubby and I decided not to detain him any longer. I signed the waiver, and with a wave, he told me to “feel better soon”.

Our neighbour came knocking 10 minutes later to find out what was going on, and what could she do to help?

I didn’t want to leave the house ever again except under cover of darkness.

That afternoon, my friend helped me connect with a clinic that would book me a phone appointment. The doctor called me 2 hours earlier than expected, and after answering his questions, he asked me if I could come in right away. I’d have to leave the house in broad daylight.

It was a short journey and a short appointment, but I was exhausted when I got home. Hubby ordered our celebratory Mother’s Day meal while I went to book a bloodwork appointment. Normally, appointments have to be booked weeks in advance, or would require a long wait in a poorly lit, very uncomfortable room filled with the “masses”. To my astonishment, God blessed me with one opening! I snagged it.

The Chinese food was meh, but the company was wonderful. I was “allowed” to eat downstairs with my family.

Both bloodwork and x-rays were accomplished Monday morning. I already had an appointment with my GP on Tuesday, so I called to see if I could do it by phone, knowing I’d be too weak to drive into the city. I was politely rebuffed and rebooked for June 1st.

Why not? I had survived this long.

I’m on the mend. This week I’ve focused on small jobs between long rests. At least until yesterday afternoon, when my GP called with my test results. I have to see her first thing this morning. I feel like I’ve been called to the principal’s office.

The internet obliged me with all sorts of information on horrible, life-limiting things these results could mean…assuming I remembered correctly what she said (it’s kind of a blur), so with trepidition, I will arise early and venture forth into the city. In rush hour. It would seem I’m still caught in an ocean of wave upon wave of jolly good health news and I had better hurry up and learn to surf.

On the plus side, Spring arrived while I was sleeping. At the beginning of last week, between my drawn curtains, I noticed little red buds on the maple trees out front. By Friday, those buds had changed to yellow blossoms, and Hubby reported tiny pops of yellow and red in the front flower bed. Passersby have traded their winter coats for exposed white (so white!) flesh. Now I can sweat through my clothes, outside of bed too.

Welcome…allergy season!

If you’re allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if that thing is a cat.

Unknown

Peanut Butter Bread (1932 vs 2022)

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If you can’t control your peanut butter, you can’t control your life.

BIll Watterson

Eldest Son introduced me to the videos (and recipes) of B. Dylan Hollis. He’s a social media star who began his “career” just having a little fun posting humourous, monologue-driven cooking vidoes on Tik-Tok. What made him stand out from all the rest is that:

a) he is not a chef or a cook, but rather a jazz musician

b) he uses only vintage recipes.

On Good Friday, Eldest Son and his girlfriend followed Dylan’s recipe and made peanut butter bread – the 1932 version!

This Great Depression recipe is a simple recipe that doesn’t use any eggs or butter. Butter was a prized staple and needed to prepare dinner, not to be used on something as frivilous as dessert. In the city especially, dairy and fresh produce were extremely coveted. However, peanut butter was often a pantry staple because of its long shelf life. It provided the fat needed in baked goods, as well as flavour.

“I tell you, a door hinge could make this recipe”

B. Dylan Hollis

This peanut butter bread looked like a dense loaf, but it was surprisingly light with a subtle peanut butter flavour. It was delicious warmed with butter and honey and paired with hot tea, for an indulgent bedtime snack.

Dylan also tried a 1945 recipe, which used less milk but more salt, sugar and peanut butter. The cooking time was almost cut in half, but that’s because the temperature was much higher. And instead of mixing it all together, this recipe required hands on work, as in working the peanut butter into the flour mixture with your hands.

A week later, back in my kitchen, Eldest Son and I attemped peanut butter bread using Dylan’s recipe (after all of his failed experiments…6 to be exact). His recipe employed a slighty different method to incorporate all the ingredients. He also used less baking powder (to reduce the bitter flavour from too much), and added a room-temperature egg and sweetened applesauce. He noted that this recipe doesn’t work with natural or organic peanut butter because they don’t contain emulsifiers.

I let Eldest Son do most of the work…

But, since the peanut butter had to be mixed in using fingertips much like scones, just like with every jack-o-lantern we ever carved together, I had to get involved because Eldest Son didn’t want to get all sticky. Come to think of it, Youngest Son was the same way. No guts – no glory! Or in October, no jack-o-lantern!

I explained that we had to shag the dough, which led to all kinds of sensual sounds and slightly naughty jokes…

I couldn’t help myself…

We didn’t have any plain sweetened applesauce, so we used unsweetened pear applesauce, and we added chocolate chips. Dylan advised avoiding vanilla extract or spices like cinnamon because they tend to steal some of the peanut butter flavour. And quite frankly, when you’re baking peanut butter bread, you want to taste peanut butter!

We’ve become very spoiled in terms of sweetness. Dylan says this recipe created more of a “dessert bread” than the 1932 recipe. In 1932, the bread was meant to be buttered or jammed, and could be included as part of the meal rather than a sweet at the end. I’d have to agree. The texture of his bread was more cake-like than the 1932 version, and a little heavier and more “roasty”. Of course, the addition of chocolate chips also made it more “dessert-like”.

But who’s complaining?

Both recipes were easy and didn’t require unusual ingredients. I hate reading recipes that require something exotic and expensive, especially when I have to buy a jar, for like 1/4 tsp. And honestly, both loaves tasted great with a cup of tea.

I’m posting the link to the tik tok video on youtube below, for your amusement…or to get the recipes. It’s about 15 minutes, and not as quirky as some of his other videos, but if you’re looking for some inspiration, why not look to the past? Not everything new is “golden”.

I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer
than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.

Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

Happy Monday!

Dear Quarantine Diary – Week 17

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Dear Diary – I was sitting on the toilet the other day and something in the floor started snapping. My only thought was “please God, I know I’ve gained weight. Please don’t let it drop through the floor”.

Dear Diary – After all the stressing about jury duty, all the paperwork and waiting and praying to hear if my request for exemption was granted (which it was), I received an email the morning of my summons that my jury duty panel was cancelled.

Dear Diary – On April 27, 2021, I wrote on Facebook:

In the last 26 hours, I’ve driven to the ER, J’s car blew up, my grocery order got lost twice, the sewer backed up, we’re out of milk, and my credit card is blocked.

Fortunately, I posted an update the very next day:

We’re going to survive! The day is almost over! Everyone is healthy, the sewage is fixed (smells bad tho), I showered, and we’re full of leftovers and hashbrowns! Hopefully #3 grocery reservation won’t get lost tomorrow and the locusts will be delayed until next week! Thx for the thoughts, prayers and laughs.

It was quite a couple of days! In comparison, today was downright boring.

I’m so glad.

Dear Diary – After we found the bank in town closed due to covid absences, Eldest son put in a mobile order for pick-up at Tim Horton’s, but the website was so bad, we ended up waiting for it to process for over 10 minutes in the Tim Horton’s parking lot.

On the way home from my folks last Friday, I made a quick pit stop at Tim Horton’s at the halfway mark. FIrst, the bathroom was filthy, with t.p. strewn all over the floors. Then, after three teenage girls told me to go ahead to order, there was no cashier. I waited for over 5 minutes there while the workers visited with the girls behind me. And finally, even if I wanted to order food, there was virtually none in the display case. Rather than getting loud, I just left and went through the drive-thru, which miraculously, was still serving customers.

Tim Horton’s sent me a friendly email to ask about my recent experience. They may regret it.

Dear Diary – The boys and I went for long overdue haircuts last week. Youngest Son’s was the greatest transformation (You’ll have to trust me on that since he won’t allow photos). In fact, it made him look even taller!

I had seriously considered going short, really short! But then I remembered I have a nano-head and short hair just accentuates it, so I went less radical.

I was told I had to post a post-haircut photo.

See…not radical. Boring. This time.

Dear Diary – Eldest Son arrived at Easter with homemade butter tarts and homemade peanut butter bread. He’d been baking with his girlfriend! (aw…) It was light in texture and delicate in flavour, which I did not expect in such a large and strong-smelling loaf.

Last weekend, we tried an alternate recipe for Peanut Butter Bread in my kitchen. And we added chocolate chips. I’ll be sharing more about it on Monday (with the photos I found on my camera after thinking I had accidentally deleted them from my cell phone…because old people and technology…and memory). It goes great with a hot cup of tea!

Dear Diary – A lovely woman at church (whose name I don’t know) keeps passing me fabric she’s found in her closet and no longer needs. The first bag contained cherry red corduroy. I thew it in a dark load in the washer but I tossed in a few extra white undies…You know where this is going.

My undies aren’t white anymore.

At the bottom of the latest bag was a cool piece of black fabric with sparkles. Not thinking, I threw it in the washer on the weekend. Now everything, from t-shirts and pants, to socks and briefs, are covered in gold sparkles. To make it worse, someone left a tissue in his pocket too!

Dear Diary – Someone posted a photo of “Little House on the Prairie” dresses at Target with the caption “I’ve had enough of Target and these blessed be the fruit clothes”. They purchased a couple and then took photos of the guys around the farm in these dresses. They were hilarious! My favourites were the demure guy holding eggs in his apron; he was sporting a lovely bushy beard, and the other was a balding guy climbing the turnstyle. He showed a little ankle (gasp!). I told Eldest Son, “we should totally do that”.

Eldest Son is a good sport. I pulled out the pioneer dress my Grandmother made to commemorate Canada’s centennial. My Mom wore this dress when she volunteered at a working museum. She even wore it when she was pregnant with me; I wore it at the same place, when I was pregnant with Eldest Son.

Since it was raining (and the dress was way too tight over his broad shoulders), we only took one photo.

One is enough!

He showed a little ankle too.

You are a saucy little thing, aren’t you?

Simon Cowell

Elena’s “What’s in My Cup”?

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It’s the last Monday of the month and time to share a cuppa with my friend, Elena. She is a talented bassoonist, incredible singer, and a great mom to two busy boys (three if you count her husband). Her great sense of humour and crazy-good storytelling make her a delight to hang out with. We usually hang out together at the church in worship and ladies’ craft and chat. She usually chats. But she has many artistic abilities, including cartoon family portraits!

Let’s hear a cheer for Elena!

(you can do better than that!)

***

I confess I am not a true tea connoisseur; coffee has always had a starring role in the hierarchy of my caffeine addiction. I do enjoy a black or green tea paired with the right meal, or as an after-dinner cup with company. But herbal teas are my everyday go-to. They keep me toasty on a cold afternoon, act as a warm and steamy balm for a dry throat, or as a method of surviving a dastardly cold. While I am always open to trying new things, I mainly enjoy simple flavours like peppermint, or Earl Grey.  I do not recommend the “Mom Special” I recently enjoyed where, upon looking down into the last dregs of my coffee, I discovered this morning’s mint tea bag (I thought it tasted off, though in my defense I was enjoying a mint-chocolate chip cookie as I imbibed). 

But today, my cup is filled with one of the only blends I enjoy partaking in regularly: Celestial’s Sleepytime tea with its characteristic sleeping bear on the box, cozied up by the fire with tea and scones nearby.  It’s a combination of chamomile and spearmint with just a dash of lemongrass.  I must say lemongrass is not something I usually enjoy, though it doesn’t stand out in this blend for which I am thankful. The spearmint fills out the flowery chamomile, and well, it pairs well with honey, I find this tea to be just sweet enough to forgo any add-ons. The chamomile serves to soften and round out the mint, taking away that dry aftertaste that can accompany it when left to its own devices.

Of course how one enjoys their tea is often just as much a part of the comfort of the beverage.  I recommend a fancy tea cup if the mood is right, or in a comfy, oversized mug! Today, I offer to you my most unique mug in my collection.  It was gifted to me from a lovely little cafe/community art gallery out in Edmonton called The Carrot.  The blue dipped glaze is best appreciated in the sunlight, so as to reflect its many shades, and the thick walls do well to keep the tea steamy.  Most unusually, it is built to be an on-the-go mug, with its rim rolling in at the top and sealed in the middle with a large, rough cut cork.  Three small holes adorn either side of the rim for sipping, and the indented thumb hold on the handle allows for this mug to be comfortably held in either the right or left hand! A well built handle is an often overlooked, but wonderfully key feature in any good mug.

And so, may your tea experience today be one of steam, good flavour, and a comfy handle to boot!

Dear Quarantine Diary – Week #16


Dear Diary – Aw…sweet 16! The age when you think you know everything and you know nothing. It’s kind of the same way for 2022. We’re 4 months in and while we may confidently think we know how this year is going to play out, we really still know nothing!

Dear Diary – With the new squirrel-proof bird feeder demolished, Hubby hung the old faithful one back up, but in a new spot…in the centre of the back porch ceiling. All 3 squirrels (3 black and 1 red) spent the next several days circling it like sharks. Eventually Red figured out he could climb the brick wall and fly through space, the other two jealously looking on. But I fear, it is only a matter of time…

Dear Diary – Youngest Son keeps asserting that he can’t sleep in the car, and yet on the last few road trips to the folks, he seems pretty asleep to me. This week’s holiday road trip to the homestead for Easter was no exception. Within the first hour, his head started bobbing like a happy duck in a parking lot puddle.

It wasn’t a fun trip. With extra vehicles on the road, and no one driving anywhere near the speed limit, cars quickly lined up like a runaway train in an effort to pass slower vehicles. But they refused to leave some space in front of them, and I was trapped in a weird, hours-long game of chicken. Red brake lights flashed on and off, with cars veering into the median in an effort to avoid contact as traffic jammed or a lunatic squeezed into a space that simply wasn’t large enough. Youngest Son’s head bobbed along with every start and stop. I was worried he was going to suffer whiplash before we arrived.

Eldest Son arrived two days later and our holiday really began. We spent a large part of the week gnoshing, caffeinating, and generally being lazy. I wasted an entire day binge-watching a season of the Great British Sewing Bee. Mom thought one contestant looked like Bradley Cooper…until he smiled. Then he looked more like Mr. Ed.

Of course, there was also tea, a special gift from some very special, new friends.

Eldest Son spent did part of a day taking down an old tv aerial.

We also spent an afternoon rearranging furniture. Youngest son’s bed was dismantled and tucked in the basement. My antique bed was dismantled and reassembled in his room on the other side of the house. I’m not sure I like the change. Instead of being woken by the neighbour’s lawn mower, I risk being woken by people snoring. It’s closer to the bathroom…but so close I can hear pretty much everything. I definitely need to run the white noise machine.

The birds start at 5:30.

Once that was done, rested and full of pizza, the guys moved a couch from the basement to my old room…by carrying it outside, around the side of the house. It was barely installed in the room, when it started to rain. Excellent timing! Youngest son quickly brought up the tv and Xbox, and he’s very happy with his new set-up. Too bad the Xbox power cord was fried in the flood. The hunt for a replacement part is already underway.

Again, excellent timing because we woke up to this:

We are not amused.

Sure, we live in Canada. And, sure, it’s not that uncommon to see snow in April. Our A/C unit was installed in the snow in early May over 20 years ago. Still, the flurries prompted a flurry of photos and expletives on Facebook. As a nation, we may be divided on many issues, but we are united in this: We are done with winter!

Dear Diary – I went with Eldest son to the bank this week. It was closed because they had too many covid-related absences. It was possible to book an appointment, but no phone number was posted. Helpful!

Dear Diary – Yesterday was Hubby’s first official mandatory day back in the office (despite the uptick in covid cases). Within the first hour, his building lost power. Power was quickly restored, but not the ventilation system.

Masks are mandatory except when at your desk, but since the office is one big room of cubicles, will it really reduce the spread? Especially with no air circulation? It feels like all our efforts to be so careful we’re pointless.

Dear Diary – The main reason I purchased new glasses was because I didn’t want to squint through another summer with no sunglasses. I lost my clip-ons in 2020. I searched everywhere but to no avail. This weekend, Dad found them under his car seat.

Murphy’s Law.

Dear Diary – Today the boys and I are going for long-overdue haircuts, and as always, I have no idea what I want. Marie-Claire posted 2022’s summer hair trends, which included things like 80’s curly bobs like Meg Ryan, 60’s flipped ends like Drew Barrymore, long “mermaid” messes like Darryl Hannah, and lots of 70’s volume! I certainly have lots of volume…

…and if I hate the end result, I always have the option of shaving it off and starting all over again.

A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.

Coco Chanel