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Dear Diary – Midnight arrived and some of us cheered. Others chose to go to bed early. Because after all, it didn’t feel like there was a lot worth celebrating in 2021. It was a tough year, filled with moments of intense loneliness, frustration, anger and grief. I felt it too. But often, when I felt overwhelmed, God’s graciously reminded me that He is in control and He is still at work. In those times, He filled me with enough joy and hope to smile and soldier on. Sometimes, I even laughed. Out loud. From my toes. Not usually when I was standing on the bathroom scales or offering my family burnt offerings, but still…He supplied more than I needed and I am thankful.

My holiday got extended because Hubby came in contact with someone who called two days later to say “hey! guess what? I’m positive with covid”. So I got my booster shot yesterday. I feel crummy today. Good thing I spent the whole dreary afternoon on Sunday re-reading diary posts because I’m not up to catching up this week. Not that much has happened. I meant to just review the Monday What’s In My Cup segments, but I kept reading. I was amazed at just how much laughter and silliness there can be in a year, even if it didn’t always feel like it at the time…

In January, having spent Christmas apart from my folks, I rang in the New Year with pizza and white wine. By mid-January, the province had declared a state of emergency. I was having my own emergencies at home. I started shopping online for fabric and food. My “sewing business” slowed down, and so did the 50 year old sewing machine! On the phone with my Dad, he talked me through how to take it apart. I felt like I was defusing a bomb. Then my last needle broke. So did my patience. I baked macarons which were an epic failure. Crispy portughese custard tarts and unicorn poop soon followed. On the plus side, my sanctuary was coming together. I was going to need it!

In February, I talked some Facebook Friends into joining my revolution and we declared February 12 “PJ
Day”. We shared our photos.


I attempted to make pillow covers, which was an assortment of trials, error, and tears. For Valentine’s Day, Big Guy suprised us with drinks and cookies from Tim Horton’s. I made pastitio for dinner, with a bechamel sauce that refused to thicken. It tasted good anyway. I also tied myself in knots making pretzels. I cleaned the bathroom cupboard under the sink and discovered 5 bottles of men’s body wash. I’ve been smelling like spruce and pine trees ever since. My friend died of cancer, and made a bleak month stretch longer.

It was time to smarten up in March and I began preparing healthier food: eggplant parmigiana (which I hated), chicken pie (the pastry was sooo good) and a pumpkin spice roll (is pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable?).

My hobbies include eating and complaining that I’m fat!

I stopped putting off that tooth that had been complaining and went to the dentist. I had the best laugh when he asked me if I was stressed. He fit me with a mouth guard. I’m still “…afraid of choking and drowning on my spit in my sleep. When I said I wanted to die peacefully in my sleep, this isn’t quite what I had in mind”. Hubby was the first to brave a covid test. He was negative and for the first time in a very, very long time, he could smell his coffee. I participated in Evil Squirrel’s 8th contest of whatever but I didn’t win. And I got shot, a cortisone shot, that is. I spoke too soon when I said, “that wasn’t so bad”!

I started physio torture therapy in April just as the province issued a stay-at-home order, essentially “cancelling” Easter. Bur miracles still happened: Hubby let me help him purge his closet. I baked hot cross buns, a tear-away cake shaped like an ice-cream sundae, mini chocolate swiss rolls, and a pretty, but tasteless purple birthday cake. Big Guy helped me celebrate with an ubered “breakfast in bed” from Cora’s. With stress already running high as people panicked to book vaccinations, everything going wrong in a 27 hour stretch almost pushed me over the edge. Good thing I started an 8 week comedy course online to help me cope. I wrote my first song, Queen of the Latrine, which seemed to be a big hit.

I finally got shot on Mother’s Day! Gatherings were still limited to 10 people but I was fine. I worked on 3 original songs: Teen from the Batcave, The Gamer Song, and In Too Deep. Spring had sprung and I took lots of time to wander my backyard enjoying lilacs, tulips, and apple blossoms. I managed to plant seeds despite our back door being patrolled by a stubborn carpenter bee.

June started with snow. Patios opened and restrictions lifted, and people were people: “restless, housebound natives behaved like teenagers when Mom and Dad are away, and partied hard with their friends”. I googled how to deal with bad hair. One suggestion was to wear a low cut blouse. Big Guy ubered McDonald’s for Father’s Day, and we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary at the end of the month with Italian food, and a unique photo session with Little Guy. We dressed up and posed with Halo reproduction guns, zombie axes, and face masks. Why? Because 25 years without killing each other was worth celebrating. And we couldn’t go to Italy.

I got shot again on July 1st – Canada Day. I had a greater reaction and lost a day. My basil was finally growing and it was really happy. Little Guy and I spent some time at my parents. On morning, we woke up to jet engine in the back yard and a giant blue fireball. They were venting gas line for repairs. The busiest week was Vacation Bible Camp, where I spent 5 mornings out of bed before 7 and taught kids in character. That character was Ima Victor, a spunky, nerdy, spastic eight-year old with a serious lisp. It was exhilerating and exhausting!

August brought my baby home after months apart. Big Guy helped me purchase a new xbox controller to improve Halo Night. While he was visiting, I accidentally thawed (and consequently had to cook) 24 burgers. I didn’t enjoy it. I got my first hair cut in almost 2 years. I celebrated Mom’s birthday with lunch at O’Connor House, and I baked a lemon cake. Little Guy and I fought with bugs in the evenings, and I fought with a “simple” japanese knot bag pattern during the day. I shared a magical evening watching the
meteor shower with Little Guy.

September started a week holiday at my parents with the boys. We played games, had a water fight (that ended badly) and a haunted walk. Big Guy taught Little Guy how to climb trees, and I accidentally flashed a trucker grocery shopping. One evening we drove around town looking at houses for sale. It’s fun to dream. I savoured homegrown watermelon and made homemade salsa. My alarm clock went psycho, and we finally got some sewer issues repaired. They aren’t all fixed…I’m still queen of the latrine.

I should know by now that nothing is simple but crap doodle, I keep hoping!

Jenn, jennsmidlifecrisis

Thanksgiving was celebrated with my folks but only 1 boy. We got stuck in traffic coming home, but I managed to “hold it” until we got to the service centre…where I had to go looking for service in Tim Horton’s. I baked a lentil pie and visited 2 friends in the garden. It was good for the soul…the visits, not the pie! As an old dog, I’m still required to learn new tricks and this month included setting up and using a new worship tracks app. It was terrifying. I also went shopping for glasses for Hubby and was totally ignored by the female staff. Some thing never change!

I spent a week with Mom while Dad was hunting and it was some firsts for me: first time in a Mall since the world shut down and the first meal in a restaurant. Fortunately my “covid passport” worked! I baked
pumpkin pecan muffins that were so greasy, they almost slipped out of our hands. I also baked louisiana hand pies and white bean and leek stew. I spoke to a group of ladies, something I have missed. Purolator also missed, delivering my package to the wrong house and starting a whole mess for me to sort out. I enjoyed an impromptu visit with my parents in my sanctuary. They were delivering Little Guy’s birthday. He insists that I give him a new name here.

Finally December arrived and I dove into Christmas preparations: shopping, wrapping, and baking. In addition to the usual squares and cookies, I tried hazelnut toffee, chocolate babka, German stollen, and a yule log. I also fought with squirrels at the feeder and gnomes. Best of all, I made it home for Christmas, where I will spend the first week of January because Hubby was in contact with someone who, two days later, called to say he was positive with covid. Happy New Year!

My “word” for 2020 was “finish line“. In 2021 I embraced “Be Faithful” because no matter what was happening in my world, I was still responsible for what was happening in my heart. I’m not sure what my “word” will be for 2022, but I’m sensing that I need to lean into “joy”. Joy is more than laughter or warm fuzzy feelings. It goes beyond feeling happy, excited or content. It isn’t based on my circumstances or my actions, but is a gracious gift and a lasting state of the heart and mind that overflows from my Heavenly Father. I believe my joy in Him will be my strength.

Let Year 3 begin…after my nap!