Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas 2020

 It is Christmas 2020. A different one in many ways. Or is it? So often times caught up in the hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget what is truly important in this life. We run races that we will never finish. We love conditionally, we are quick to judge unconditionally. We spend as if that is going to buy us more admiration and respect, and we receive sometimes without true gratitude. Christmas this year is a reminder of roots as human beings, as children of God. We are forced to slow down, to  celebrate at home with those most important to us, to remember what it is to love, to live, to be humble in these trying times. To not take for granted those who are dear to us whether in the room with us, present by our ever evolving technology. Life is precious. Life is still good. There are  overwhelming opportunities to practice kindness, to show love, to offer forgiveness, and to accept forgiveness in our lives. Isn’t this truly what Christmas is about, and has been from that very first day when a tiny infant lay in a bed of straw in a stable, adored by Kings, loved by a young mother, protected by a Father, warmed by the breath of animals, celebrated by shepherds, and marked by the rising of a Christmas star?

Wishing everyone a happy and holy Christmas with love.

Covid Chronicles Summer Edition

 Alrighty, welcome to my pre-work quarantine self isolation thing. Fourteen days of doing....nothing much in a two bedroom 24th floor condo with a microchip balcony. Oh these lazy hazy days of summer.

Day 1. It is mid afternoon as I write this, and like many days even when not locked in, I am still in the night gown. But I was productive yesterday. I managed a freezer inventory which saw me toss a couple of unidentifiable substances that were once food, and move some older more recognizable stuff to the front of the freezer, or into the fridge for a slow thaw. Today I tried the thawed Lilydale sliced turkey breast at lunch. An unappealing shade of beige-off white that I wouldn’t even find suitable for the walls. And the flavour was just as appealing as the description. Checked the package...expired sometime in 2019. Bye bye, birdie!

A freezer dump dinner had been languishing as well, waiting to be slow cooked into oblivion. So into the pot that went....and bye, bye, birdie, the second act. Smells awful, looks like something your cat would barf up, but I did taste it. I may need some wine or beer or something to kill the after taste. I knew better...but I wanted to say I had tried. Thirteen more days to go. Plus the rest of today. Woo hoo.

Oh and three new cook books ordered from Amazon. I read them like novels.....expensive novels...

To the shower...

Day 2. Dweebs live. It isn’t like I don’t have limitless time right now, for small things. Say that second cup of coffee in the morning. Never wanting to wait for anything, while needing to heed nature’s call, I put that second cup o joe in the Keurig to brew during my time out. And forgot to put the cup under the spout....of course I have all the time in the world to clean up...

Day 3. Nursey Judy pickled a bunch of hot hot peppers, but how many pickled peppers can Nursey Judy eat? If Nursey Judy ate all those jars of pickled peppers, well you can bet yer arse she would using up all the toilet paper Costco can offer, that’s what. 

Day 4. Another Netflix binge completed. Another wasted day. Maybe I will shave my legs, or something. Or try to identify all the fish on the Roku aquarium screen saver. Drink wine on the balcony. Now there is something worthwhile.

Day 5. Noticing that my housecoat and assorted night shirts are sporting enough food to feed a small village on a daily basis. It may be time to get dressed early in the day, and actually eat at the table. Think of the money I will save on laundry. Maybe tomorrow.

Thought maybe I would go on a nature walk, be all outdoorsy and such. Apparently so did the rest of Ontario. I checked the local conservation areas, you need to preregister. All the daytime was taken. Not feeling like a dusky hike, I went to the local lake front promenade. Spent an hour of teeth gnashing and suppressed swear words (it was Sunday, after all) trying to get out of the parking lot. Without getting out of my car. Because people In their vehicles were stacked like dogs in a show ring, waiting for that one family with a half dozen kids in car seats, and all the regalia they need including portable gazebos full sized refrigerators, and strollers so big they looked like motorcycles, to pack up the car and leave. Only to be given a wave. They were not leaving. All I wanted to do was leave. No walk. At least I killed a couple of hours with the drive, and because it was still Sunday, didn’t  kill any people. 

Day 6. Found a wee oasis in the middle of an industrial zone close to home. A storm water catchment pond, with a park like setting built around, and a 1 km marked paved trail around. In spite of the sound of trucks, jack hammers, and regular traffic, this place sported Canada geese taking off and landing, gold finches feasting on thistle seeds, assorted ducks and a couple of unidentifiable wading birds. If this pandemic shows us nothing else, it is that we need more green space built into our urban settings. It makes no sense to drive somewhere, fight for parking, and battle with myriads of people on a trail on a regular basis. Said as I watch a hawk soaring effortlessly by my window....

Day 7.  Millions of onions, onions for me. Bought a ten pound bag for little old me, really for the purposes of cooking for the north. Two bags of soup bases sautéed and bagged in the freezer. Only 8 pounds to go...

Day 8. Met a dude through the exit to the underground, wielding a shopping cart full, and I mean FULL, of CDs/DVDs. He is somewhere in his sixties. Very jovial, had a very short, socially distanced conversation while I held the door for him. New to the building, he was moving in, and was in a hurry, his wife was coming in an hour. He needed to get all those DVDs up and hidden before she arrived, and please, don’t say anything to her if I meet her. Been awhile since I laughed so hard. Mothers and wives are still able to strike fear in mere mortal men.

Day 9. My cup runneth over. Thanks to Wacoal and a rather, um, ample, bosom, I can fit a wallet, a Oneplus 6T McLaren, and my key fob in me bra. And my sunglasses and/or readers right down the middle by an arm. Saved myself several hundred dollars on an Italian leather purse.

Day 10. Many times while driving, I will pray a rosary instead of listening to the some times drivel that passes for talk radio. I have a feeling neither God nor Mother Mary appreciated the f-sharp when I missed my exit which caused me to go way out of my way, on the toll highway, no less. When I found myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary came to me, and spoke these words of wisdom “WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT WITH SOAP!!!!!“ And God saw that it was good...

Day 10. When I was a kid taking the bus to high school, I had a driver who would wait for me as I did the mad dash across the street to catch it, always a few minutes late. If he had not waited I certainly would have been late for school. This cultivated a fine respect for our public transit drivers, so long before we were required to do so, I would pause and let them in from the bus stop when I was driving my car, or my Dad’s car, as folks in their own cars were generally much too concerned about themselves to let someone ahead even in those days. This would almost always garner a wave, or a blink of lights or something from the bus driver. I realized that every time I let a bus in nowadays, no one ever gives you a wave or even a finger. Nada.These are behemoth articulated monsters. I don’t expect a wave from everybody, of course now we are required to yield as much as possible, but the odd thanks in a sometimes graceless society would be nice.

Day 11. Home made food isn’t considered gourmet unless a knife injury is involved.

Day 12. I had bought an outdoor hibiscus plant earlier in the season, and enjoyed it for exactly two weeks as the dinner plate sized crimson blossoms brightened my days. Lovingly watered. And then I went to to visit Eunice at the cottage fro a few days. I thought I timed it carefully, we had lots of rain, and it was rainy the day I left, was to drizzle the day after, and I was going to be home two days after that. I came home to a mostly dead plant. Blossoms fried, leaves fried, but stalks/stems still green. Tried to resurrect it. I could be arrested for attempted herbicide. 

Day 13. So memorable I couldn’t write about it. And then forgot.

Day 14. I have had two weeks to clean up and get my place ship shape before I leave tomorrow.And I procrastinate until 6 PM the night before I leave and grumble and grinch the whole time. Nothing like bed time to realize that your wet blanket is sitting in the washer waiting it’s turn in the dryer. Only to realize you didn’t turn on the dryer for the nursing uniforms occupying it now (because you never run those appliances when you go to the store for those last minute fresh items you desperately need for your travels that you could have purchased the day before, or the day before that). Where is that last glass of wine anyways...?

Day 15. Not a quarantine day technically, but realized that my limo was not coming because I forgot to press send last night. Called the company, they could still accommodate me. You know, service is sadly not the best at times. We were to gather as nurses at a hotel for bussing to a charter terminal for our flight. I was driven to the main entrance, but I asked the driver to please wait before taking my luggage and cooler out as I wasn’t sure if this was the right area to be dropped off at. It wasn’t, there was the entrance to the convention rooms around the. Back. And I found all my stuff out on the sidewalk. Fortunately he had not left yet. He told me I could walk. There was a hill to go back down and a bit of a walk with all of my stuff. Two trips for sure if I walked and lugged. I asked him him nicely to please take me, that I wasn’t quite at my final destination. Grudgingly he he replaced my stuff, and took me to where I needed to go. I was so very tempted to not tip. I always know that Karma gets me if I am not nice in any way. So he still received my usual tip. In covid times with so little travel he was so very apologetic and extremely grateful.  It pays to be nice even when you don’t want to be. The rewards are more immense than the satisfaction of revenge. Sometimes, at least.

My friends, mask up, wash up, distance yourselves and be safe. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Only In The North

1. If The Shoe Fits : My favourite foot wear is a pair, or should I say, was, a pair of black Croc flops. I wore them all the time. Neither rain nor sleet nor ice (verifiable by my hair stylist who will comment on flop-less feet) would keep me from my Crocs. While in the GWN, either the flip or the flop went missing while sitting in the vestibule of the nursing residence. I thought perhaps it had been errantly dragged out by a passing suitcase or cooler. I searched outside and inside, but the mate could not be found. The remaining flop lived on the shoe rack, for over a year, even though I go to different places to work. No one thought to toss it, not even me on subsequent visits.

Imagine my absolute joy in finding the flip of the flop languishing in the hidden recesses of a closet in a unit I don’t stay in very often. My feet were happy once again. And then it happened, 24 hours later. That piece that fits between the toes broke on one while I was walking in it. I almost flipped over that flop. Not even twenty four hours after finding it. And my feet are very sad indeed.

2. I Fell Into a Burning Ring: Who knew that knocking a little old light source off a counter in the dark room would have resulted in bright flashing lights, sparks, flames, exposed films, a sore leg and an f-sharp heard to Winnipeg and back?

3. Are you Jeff Goldblum?: Nothing like trying to smack a dim witted fly in a dimly lit room that has brown floors and a brown quilt on the bed. Except the dim wit trying to smack it.

4. Northern One Liners (who knew doctors could be so funny): a) “The Shoppers Drug Mart there should be open...” b) “Hook him up to a blood warmer!”  Okay, maybe you have to be here to get these, but trust me, they are worth the giggles.

5. On Top of Spaghetti: A plate fit for a queen. Lovingly simply seared scallops atop a bed of al dente buttered pasta. I grabbed the plate of pasta with the right hand and turned toward the stove on the left, swinging my right arm over. Forked a scallop to ease on the ...wait...what? Not a single pasta strand remained on the plate but instead was adorning the counter, and the floor (freshly washed too), aided by the silken slipperiness of the butter. I am sure the nurse next door will request that I don’t inhabit the unit beside her anymore, the next time I am here. There has been so much weeping and gnashing of teeth lately.

6. The Return of the Fly: At 2 AM. Another f-sharp and arse hauled out of bed. Turned the lights out in the bedroom, turned the hall lights on, and sat up for a bit. Went back to bed and prayed. Today is Sunday, and he is going to meet his Maker if it kills me.

Better late than never. I have neglected my postings, my Spanish lessons, and myself. No more. And please, as always, feel free to share!