Photos by Jenn Stone
Like most of us in Canada are supposed to be doing, The Doc and I have been socially isolating or physically distancing or whatever the latest name for staying home and keeping your friends and family safe is. It has been over a week since I have been out in the big bad world and that was for a necessary appointment. Oh I have been out. I have been walking in my neighbourhood almost daily. I have seen more of my neighbours walking than ever before. I have seen more of my neighbour’s dogs being walked than ever before. I have not been close enough to shake hands or pet dogs though. We smile, say hello and sometimes chat from a distance. It is all very friendly and quite nice. I am sure that everyone is as happy as I am that the weather has been cooperating and been looking like we may have an early spring. This would be a very good year to have an early spring.
We live in a small and, in my opinion, very beautiful bedroom community. There are no grocery stores or services here so we do have to take trips into town for food and other supplies. The Doc was in several days ago to pick up a few things. One of us will need to go again in th next few days because we are running out of vegetables and garbage bags. I do not want to run out of garbage bags. To me, they are more important than toilet paper. No offense, but I can always find a substitution for toilet paper. I own wash cloths and a washing machine. That’s what our mothers used when we were all in diapers. As an environmentalist, it is what I used when JT was in his cloth diapers. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I used disposable wipes and disposable diapers. However, I have no such substitution for garbage bags.
We are staying surprisingly sane. I am particularly proud of how sane I currently am, given that my mental-health need to get out of my quiet house on a regular basis has not been fulfilled for a couple of weeks. But as I mentioned in a previous blog post, finding what would keep me sane was important and I put things in place to do just that. The puzzle table I ordered arrived damaged so did not get set up. As I await the replacement, which, due to current circumstances will take longer than the first one, I set the damaged tabletop on top of a couple of small blue recycle bins strategically placed on my dining table. Then angled it slightly by tucking a 1.5 inch level under the top at one end. It wasn’t perfect, but it allowed me to satisfy my addiction.
Other things that fill my days are Yoga with Adriene on You Tube (https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene) every morning before breakfast. Then there are those pleasant neighbourhood walks, I mentioned above. Sometime in the afternoon, I may wander to the living room sofa and pick up the sweater I started knitting ages ago. This has turned into a long-and-drawn-out winter project that I thought I would be wearing by now. Looks like it is not going to make it into my wardrobe until next fall. After twelve to twenty-four rows, I usually have had enough of knitting and move on to something else.
Something else is often cooking. The Doc and I have been making ourselves some of our favourite meals. Barbeque beef tenderloin with mushrooms and onions and baked-stuffed potatoes. The weather on that day was beautiful and blue. It may have been cold but still allowed us to use the BBQ. The Doc makes delicious spicy chicken fajitas and can also throw together a pretty tasty stir fry. Chicken wings and home-made Caesar salad is another of our favourite meals. And you just can’t beat a roast of pork, mashed potatoes and gravy with roasted candied parsnips on the side. Traditional Nova Scotia blueberry grunt made it on our menu last week. I often make it for company, but rarely for just the two of us. But hey, if we are going to be in isolation, we may as well eat things we enjoy. We may as well eat like we may never see a restaurant again. There is a whole internet of recipes out there to tantalize one’s taste buds. If you are looking for something a little different to make, check out the blog of Mapleleaf Blondie (https://mapleleafblondie.wordpress.com/). She makes her own donair sauce. We Nova Scotians love our donairs.
Sometimes a little background music is in order so I listen to Jazz on https://www.jazzradio.com. This site has 40 different Jazz streams to choose from. All I have to do is plug my iPad into the headphone jack of our old stereo, set in TV/Theatre mode, and it is like being at a concert. Nothing can lift your spirits and make you want to dance around your kitchen or living room like great Jazz.
We haven’t let the delay of baseball season dampen our evenings. We stream Netflix and CBC for nightly entertainment with the wood stove stoked to keep our family room cozy. Plus I always have an ebook on the go in order to end my evening propped up in bed reading. When I finish one, I just download another. I have a penchant for Canadian authors who are amazingly talented but get paid very little. Book marketing funds in Canada are very limited. Ebooks actually pay authors a higher percentage in royalties. Right now, there are several Canadian book publishers who are offering great deals on ebooks to help their authors. Here are some of them:
Invisible Publishing https://invisiblepublishing.com/
Signature Editions http://www.signature-editions.com/
Book•hug Press https://bookhugpress.ca/
Pottersfield Press https://www.pottersfieldpress.com/
These are fairly small publishers. There are oodles and oodles and oodles more Canadian authors who’s books are available online. Eden Robinson, Michael Crummey, Richard Wagamese, Megan Gail Coles, Craig Davidson, Esi Edugyan, André Alexis, Michael Ondaatje, Lynn Coady, Rohinton Mistry, Miriam Toews. I could go on and on. My book shelf and iPad store an abundance of great Canadian books.
Through all this, we talk to friends and family on a regular basis so we are not feeling as isolated as one would think. As a matter of fact, we are feeling lucky. We have it pretty easy. While we get to stay healthy and safe at home and enjoy quiet time, we are thinking about those who don’t have the luxury to do what we are doing. From healthcare workers, to grocery store employees, to truck drivers and others working in the supply chain, saying thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough. Your dedication leaves us speechless. You have our utmost respect.
Thanks for reading.