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Dear Diary – Last week, Big Guy texted me to see if I had all the ingredients in a recipe. I did if you ignored the work “distilled” before vinegar. So Friday afternoon, Big Guy arrived to make pickled carrots.

I pulled out the ingredients, pots and jars, and explained how to sterilize the jars. Then I stood back and watched. He peeled, sliced, measured and boiled…I only stepped in when it was time to remove the boiled jars.Watching him trying to fish out the bottles with my tiny tongs was like watching a baby raccoon fishing in a koi pond, cute but unsuccessful.

The first batch of brine only covered one of four jars of carrots, so it made sense to triple the recipe. I don’t know how we ended up with too much brine; we just added a fifth jar of carrots.

We taste-tested them the following afternoon. They were very crunchy and tasted strongly of carrot, pepper and vinegar. Maybe, like women and fine wine, they need a little more time! While it wasn’t a smashing success, I’m tickled that he tried, and I’ll treasure the time together.

I promise…. it’s green glass jars that make the pickles look skunky.

Dear Diary – My crazy friend texted me out of the blue – could I sew 100 facemasks and deliver them 4 provinces away in 1.5 weeks? Let me see….NO!

Dear Diary – How is it that I’m approaching 50 and the prospect of having to talk to a teacher has kept me awake most of the night, and has had me tied in knots all day. Every time I’ve had to negotiate for my kid, my stomach twists and I break into a serious sweat. It even happens on parent-teacher conference night. Some might venture to say that I suffer from PTSD, and it’s true. I’ve had sat in the hot seat at more than my fair share of parent-teacher meetings! I always feel like I’m being graded as a parent and clearly, I have failed as a mother.

Courtesy of boredteachers.com

After a few emails, wherein I’m proud to say I restrained the “mama wolf” and stuck to the facts with my lawer-ly training, and waiting by the phone (i.e., literally carrying around 2 phones everywhere I went in the house for the entire day, because you know if I don’t, he’d call when I was in the loo!), we reached an agreement. My kid failed to do the work so naturally, there have to be consequences; of that we are in agreement. But as for some of the other things, “stick to the facts ma’am, just the facts”!

I hope Little Guy at least realizes that though I may not be his favourite person in the world right now, I’ve still got his back!

Dear Diary – I’m a highly suggestible person. My family knows this and sometimes takes advantage but slipping in a phrase from a song or humming a tune. Then they wait. 99% of the time I’ll start humming or singing, and then ask, out loud, “why am I singing this? Where did it come from?”…and they laugh and laugh.

Sometimes the song gets stuck for hours…or days….

Last night wasn’t the case but it’s stuck anyway. Hubby started singing a silly song and I asked him, “How old are you? That sounds like something from the thirties”. He replied sarcastically, “I’m 110”. The song? My Old Man’s a Dustman.

Dear Diary – We are once again in the “Red Zone” and, from the sounds of it, we may heading for the “twilight zone”! My region’s covid #s are climbing and I’ve heard rumours that even stricter guidelines are coming. I may not be seeing family in person this Christmas, and the prospect of staring at grey skies from my sewing “room” is dreary. But I’m trying not to borrow trouble, just stay focused on each day and look for the blessings.

Today the blessing came on my walk back from the mechanics. It’s time for oil changes and snow tires. On Sunday, we dragged Little Guy from his lair to walk around the block before the rain set in. The next day, I realized I was missing a mitten – a cozy, thick red 2012 Canada mitten. It wasn’t in the driveway or the car, so I assumed I’d lost it at the grocery store. I have the bad habit of taking my mitts off in the car and then getting out, dropping them on the ground. I don’t always notice.

When I got stopped by a red light, I decided not to be so lazy and I extended my walk home around the block. Lo! And behold! My red mitten. It was sodden and half-frozen, and the cheeriest sight on this damp day. I spent the remainder of my stroll greeting squirrels and the lady who passed on the road so I could have the sidewalk. I even walked an extra block.

God reminded me that He blesses us every day, sometimes in the smallest ways, simply because He loves us. He reminded me that I have every reason to smile, and I am supposed to share that smile with others. Even if they can’t see my smile behind a mask, they can see the crinkle of my eyes or the wave of my hand. They can read my body language. They can hear my tone. And as stressed and bummed, and emotional as I may be, there are others struggling with the same things. Or worse.

Finding my mitten may hardly seem like a marvel, but finding my joy today, that is.

Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver,  and her wages are better than gold.

Proverbs 3:13-14