Wednesday, March 3
In one week it will be one whole year since the reality of the pandemic finally set in for us Canadians. At least according to my pandemic diary and last year’s calendar. On March 3 last year I had lunch with two friends at the new coffee bar here in Manotick. We washed our hands assiduously and then sat and ate and talked. I remember stopping at the drugstore to try to buy hand sanitiser on the way home.
Two days later I went shopping at Nordstrom. Liz’s brother was in town from Italy. He had been really helpful to Hubby and me when we were planning our Italy trip so I was anxious to meet him. Liz introduced us and we chatted about the state of things at home for him. I asked him about the coronavirus, for of course we’d been hearing about an outbreak in Italy. He didn’t seem worried. I bought a Vince navy V-neck cashmere sweater and a pair of Frame high-rise straight leg jeans with an unfinished hem. My spring wardrobe was sorted. Ha. I should have bought new sweatpants, but I didn’t know that Ottawa and the world would shut down in a week.
After I left Liz, I met my friend Susan at the Nordstrom restaurant for lunch. I washed my hands assiduously, in the new way we’d all learned, used my new purse-size bottle of hand sanitizer, and then sat beside her on the banquet and ate and talked. How odd that seems now. I would have savoured the meal even more if I’d known that it would be my last restaurant food until an outdoor lunch on a terrace in late July.
How times have changed. Today I was excited about going to Home Hardware to buy a new electric kettle. I’m telling you folks, that’s the second most exciting thing in my pandemic diary this week. At least I had a chance to wear my favourite navy cashmere turtleneck and this old scarf, which I love. And I also had a lovely chat with the cashier who has recently let her hair go grey. She looks amazing, and I told her so, even if I did get a couple of grumpy looks from people in the line behind me. I wanted to turn around and snap, “Just spreading some joy to a hard-working front-line worker, people. You might want to try it.” But I refrained.
Thursday, March 4
I have been walking up a storm. And I mean that metaphorically. Ha. I don’t want to conjure up any storms. Yesterday, I strode down the paved verge on the main road in the sunshine. Still cold, but in the sun it was glorious. I am so so happy that we finally had our road paved. And that the government saw fit to give us a paved shoulder on the road. Now I can safely walk all winter, if I choose. The plow pushes most of the snow back off the shoulder and the remnants soon melt in the sun.
My goal for weekly cardio is usually 300 minutes, but lately I’ve been averaging about an hour a day, with one day off, and one weight work-out a week. The difference is that most of this winter, besides sitting on my exercise bike, I am getting at least one good ski in a week. And at least two brisk, heart-pumping walks. I like my solitary walks the best of all. I listen to my audio-book and keep my own pace. Hubby says I walk too fast for him. That it’s because my legs are so long. And I say it’s because he spends too much time peering around at the trail and the bush… is that a pileated woodpecker, wonder where that trail leads, oh look there’s a mushroom… kind of thing. Of course, on skis I can’t keep up with him.
Today, I tried a few outfits with my new green cashmere hoodie from Club Monaco, waltzed around the sunroom, and took photos for a blog post. Then I sat on the exercise bike for an hour talking to my sister Carolyn about Mum, and clothes, and Carolyn’s newly retired state.
Friday, March 5
Today the weather is brutal. BRUTAL. -22 °C with the wind chill. I cancelled walking with Linsey and curled up in the sunroom with my book. I am boycotting reading anything that is not gentle. And this week I am indulging my guilty (or not guilty) pleasure of reading old books. Old gentle books set in Scotland and which frequently digress into descriptions of gushing burns, and sheep on beautiful but lonely hillsides. I can’t help it. And, in fact, I don’t want to help it. We all need something to get us through these last months (hopefully) of isolation. We’re all different. I’m a bit like Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. Mrs. Wiggs “was a philosopher, and the sum and substance of her philosophy lay in keeping the dust off her rose-coloured spectacles.” When I told Hubby that, he just grinned and nodded.
So to that end, and at Jill’s prompting in a comment a while back, I’ve returned to the books of D.E. Stevenson. Thanks, Jill. I started with Winter and Rough Weather as you suggested. Loved it. It was just what the doldrum doctor ordered. Then I went back and read the two earlier books in the series, Vittoria Cottage and Music in the Hills. And I’m currently reading Anna and Her Daughters. Life is getting rosier with each book.
This morning I spent quite a bit of frustrating time on the phone and on the internet trying to get information about when Mum might get her COVID shot. Then this afternoon I had a long talk with the social worker in New Brunswick who oversees Mum’s homecare. What a lovely young man he is. So kind, and he always has good ideas. Plus he and Mum get along like a house on fire. So we will see what we can do about increasing her care hours without disturbing the parts of her care-puzzle that work. Plus he says Mum’s age group are up next in priority and that the government plans to give seniors over 80 their two shots in quick succession. Not making them wait for the second shot like the rest of us. I felt a ton better after I spoke to him.
Back to my book now. So happy that Hubby built me the lectern on my exercise bike. I can read and pedal at the same time. Then a weight work-out and I will feel that my day has been well spent.
Saturday, March 6
Today is blogging day. I always write a blog post on Saturday. I get up, strip the bed, put a load of laundry in the washer, and sit down at the computer.
Midafternoon I pedalled and chatted to my sister again. She said she’d been talking to Mum. She told Mum that we’d both been concerned about her, especially about her COVID shot, and that I was planning on making some calls. Mum responded, “Tell Susie not for the love of god to call the premier.” “The premier?” said Carolyn. And Mum quipped, “You know how she gets when she gets onto something.” I laughed so hard at that. I guess Mum thinks that I might move heaven and earth to get stuff done. Ha. Good to know.
Tonight was Zoom book club. I wolfed down my supper and poured a second glass of wine so I could log on. We discussed The Power by Naomi Alderman. A compelling page turner, if a bit silly, in my opinion. A book based around an interesting idea that could have been explored in a more subtle way, and would have benefited enormously from more subtlety. We all assumed that Alderman is a novice writer. Turns out she’s in her late forties, so youth and inexperience cannot be blamed.
Note to self: Never explore the Zoom filters when one is in the middle of a discussion. The meeting definitely deteriorated after that. Ha.
Sunday, March 7
Great walk today. The wind was cold, so I was glad to have my neck-warmer on, the one I can pull up over my face and tuck under my sunglasses. I am listening to the new Denise Mina The Less Dead. She is a great writer, and I usually love her work. But this book is too bleak for me this week. I am going to have to abandon it for now.
Talked to Mum this afternoon. Reiterated everything that the social worker and I discussed. He will either call or visit her this week. I told her that Blaine said hello. “Blaine?” Took her a minute, then she laughed. Blaine Higgs is the premier of New Brunswick.
Monday, March 8
Cleaning day. Hubby went skiing and I CLEANED. You can’t tell, but I have written that word with extreme derision. I hate cleaning. Had to jettison the Denise Mina book today. I couldn’t handle a bleak book and clean at the same time. So I downloaded the last in a series that I have been enjoying for a while. Cherringham is a cosy mystery series written by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards and read by Neil Dudgeon (of Midsomer Murders fame.) Each mystery is only a couple of hours of listening. I love them. Neil Dudgeon reads so well. And they’re set in the Cotswolds, and everything always turns out all right in the end. Perfect non-brain-taxing, gentle listening.
Tonight is “mud mountain truckers” night. I’ll try to explain. I mean, if I can. For I find it utterly inexplicable that Hubby and I are addicted to this foolish reality TV show about a bunch of loggers in British Columbia cutting and hauling logs.
A few weeks ago when I went to bed early with my chamomile tea and my book, Hubby watched this show for the first time. The next week, he asked if I wanted to watch a bit. “Su-re,” I said, and just in case I settled my book in my lap, and only kept one eye on the TV. Soon, my book tossed aside, I was engrossed in how the heck the Le Beau brothers were going to get that loader up the hillside where it had rolled and crashed, so the loader could load, and the trucks could haul before the spring road restrictions began. The suspense, I’m telling you.
Ever since, Monday is popcorn and mud truckers night. I can only explain my enthusiasm by referring to my childhood forays in the drill rig with my big brother and the ongoing pandemic. Ha.
Although I do have to confess that I have always wanted to drive a big truck. Just once.
Tuesday, March 9
Blogging day. I have no idea what I will write about today. I have been doing nothing. Or nothing interesting. Reading, walking, dreaming of spring, pedaling my exercise bike, talking on the phone, discussing dinner with Hubby, eating dinner, discussing how great dinner was, watching TV. That’s about it.
Oh, and this morning I ordered two lovely bright pink shirts for Mum. Hope she likes them. Hope they fit. And I hope they make her feel as if spring is just around the corner. Now I have to find a bright pink shirt for myself. But that can wait. The sun is shining. The temperature is above zero. Six degrees above zero in fact. And I am going walking. Walking is just about the most exciting event in my pandemic diary. This week… and most weeks. Certainly the most healthy. Today I have my cosy mystery to listen to while I stride up the road. I do try to set a fast pace. And then I have a cosy book to read with my lunch when I get back. I can’t complain.
Then I guess I’ll sit down and try and write something.
What’s your pandemic diary been looking like this week, my friends?
P.S. The book links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.