Moncton New Brunswick


We arrived at the Glory Guest Suites in Moncton, New Brunswick where Jim had made a reservation. We were a little early, again, but the sweet Chinese man who showed us where to park was unconcerned. He was, however, concerned about our e-bikes we had on the back of our car. Jim understood him to say something about putting them into the garage, but he couldn’t see any garage, so he assured the man they would be alright.

Once we settled into our rooms and rested for a bit, we went out in search of dinner. We found a lovely pub called the Tide and Boar where we enjoyed an delicious meal of baked, breaded fish, salad and interesting fries made from cornmeal polenta.

I wondered what kind of paint was used for these rainbow cross-walks that keeps them so vibrant.

Jim thought the tidal bore* was to happen that evening, so after dinner, we walked to the waterfront park. It was an interesting spot, but we’d missed the tidal bore.

We were both tired and ready for bed by 9:00 that night. As I was waiting for my turn in the bathroom, a knock came to our door. It was the smiling wife of our host. She explained that they were worried about our bicycles being stolen and they would really like us to put them into their garage. She said they would not sleep at night if we didn’t. We both tried to convince her they would be alright. Many necessary parts were in the trunk and there were three lock on them and the hitch. But they wouldn’t be deterred so we gave in. We both went downstairs with her and she called her husband to come help. It turned out they owned another rental house next door, where the garage was. They both beamed with joy when we had the bikes safely stored in the locked garage.

“You call me in the morning when you want to leave. My husband will help you. You are family!”  That made us smile.

True to their word, her husband was out as soon as Jim called and got the bikes out and to our car for us. We managed the rest, having loaded them many times.

Jim drove back downtown to Cora’s for a delicious breakfast of waffles with cottage cheese and an abundance of fresh fruit. There was even real maple syrup, something that’s hard to find in restaurants because of the cost of it these days.

It was there I had my second nosebleed. I was thankful it wasn’t bad compared to the first, and there were no patrons sitting anywhere near us. Being unable to eat while I tended to my problem, I asked for a take-out box for the breakfast I’d just started eating.  I got it under control quickly, but it left me feeling a little weary.

Before leaving Moncton,  Jim wanted to try again to catch the tidal bore. He parked the car within a short walk to the park we’d been in the evening before, but I just didn’t have the energy. We had seen one on our previous trip to our East Coast, so I chose to remain in the car while he walked to the river and captured  this great video.

Tidal Bore on Bay of Fundy,

When we left Moncton I slept for many miles, then enjoyed my breakfast. Our next stop was our main destination: Halifax.

*A tidal bore occurs along a coast where a river empties into an ocean or sea and the strong, twice daily ocean tide  pushes up the river, against the current creating a high wave of water.  If you ever have the chance to see one, it’s well worth seeking it out. The largest ones occur on Canada’s Bay of Fundy.

Exploring Peterborough by Bike


A couple of days ago we decided on another trail ride. This time only two of our friends were available. It was another gorgeous fall, almost summer-like day.

We’d planned to meet at the same place we began on our first excursion, on Auburn Street in East City. Since our friends had a slight delay in arriving, we nipped into our Barber who is on that street, and got our overdue haircuts while we waited. They ended up having to wait a few minutes for us!

We took the trail in the same direction as before, toward Lakefield, but this time we turned off at Trent University and crossed the bridge to tour the other side of the campus.

From there we crossed Water Street and used the sidewalk for one block, until crossing back at the next set of lights and riding through the Peterborough Zoo trail, then up the hill and across Water again at the lights to the beginning of the Parkway Trail on Cumberland Street. This is a very pretty part of the trail passing through a forested area where you forget you’re in the city. We used to live in this part of the city, and had  ridden this trail many times  on our mountain bikes. I was grateful for the electronic assist for getting up the long, gradual hill this time.

The trail took us across Hilliard Street, and continued through a greenbelt between subdivisions, across Chemong Road, through another part of the greenbelt, until it came out at Fairburn Street. Across the street was a non-maintained bit of a path that led us down into Jackson Park once again. The section was steep and rocky. We got off our bikes and walked, which isn’t too easy either when trying to hold back the weight of a 50 pound bike!

Back on the trail through the park we continued on, crossing Parkhill Road and a few other quiet city streets until we arrived in the restaurant district of downtown, where there are designated bicycle lanes on the main streets. We thought about stopping at one of eateries, but decided to carry on to the waterfront and through Millennium Park, for lunch at the Silver Bean Café.

It was busy, but spacing was regulated outside, masks required, and tables cleaned and disinfected before new patrons were allowed to sit. We let the two men go inside to place our orders. There was no seating inside the small café. Jim and I each ordered chicken and avocado sandwiches (I forgot to take a picture!) that were so huge we should have shared. We packed up most of the delicious accompanying salad to bring home for dinner.

Leaving the café, we continued on the path along Little Lake, crossing the railway bridge and cruising past the waterfront patio of the Holiday Inn.

We crossed a little wooden bridge that took us into the Marina that provides docking for the many private boats that tie up there during the summer.

Most summers it’s also where the Lift lock Cruise Boats  pick up and drop off passengers, but of course this year COVID put a stop to that.

Beyond the Marina is another waterfront restaurant at the edge of Del Crary Park,  home of the Peterborough Musicfest which, under normal circumstances brings awesome entertainment to the city twice a week, all summer long. Closer to the road a winding path leads to a bronze statue remembering fallen Peterborough firefighters, and the Peterborough Walk of Fame where bronze plaques are laid to commemorate local area residents who had contributed to the arts and entertainment life. Jim’s dad, a well-known local musician and entertainer from the latter half of the 1900s is remembered there.

From there we passed the Art Gallery on the way to the narrow path worn into the grassy area between Little Lake and Crescent Street. We admired the beautiful old homes with the amazing view.

We toured through Little Lake Cemetery.

We ended up on Lansdowne Street at the foot of the bridge that transported us back into East City. It’s a busy bridge and there was some construction going on so some of us chose to walk our bikes to the other side via the sidewalk.

Further along Lansdowne Street we took a short cut through a subdivision that led us out to Ashburnham Drive, where we caught the Trans Canada Trail, going through Ecology Park, Beavermeade Park, Trent Severn Waterway Lock #20 and Roger’s Cove beside the lake.

From there we wandered up hill, through a few quiet residential streets, past the ball field and Quaker Oats and finally got back onto the paved trail that took us back to where we had begun.

Our friends, Julie and Keith, said they’d never known so much about Peterborough and all its treasures before, and I remembered why I like that city so much in the summer time.

Have Bike will Travel!


Just when I was sinking into the depths of the doldrums, the second of the two e-bikes, mine, that we’d ordered in July,  finally arrived on Wednesday!

Today, we got together with two other couples and went on a beautiful 30 km ride.

We met in East City, an area of Peterborough, and got onto the Rotary Green Trail and headed north toward Lakefield. The sky was still cloudy and the wind was a little chilly. I was wishing that I’d put a hoodie on beneath my jacket, but before long the sun broke through and the rest of the day was filled with blue sky and sunshine.

This trail is beautiful, especially this time of year with the colours of the trees starting to turn. The bright yellows of the golden rod and the red blossoms of the sumac shone vibrant in the sun.

Once out of the city, it meandered through arches of trees and then suddenly took us beside the Old River Road to show us the glorious sparkle of the Otonabee River.

We rode along the road, past the campus of Trent University, before picking up the trail again. We made a stop at the wooden bridge that spans a little pond where Canada Geese swam, taking some pictures, before winding our way through the streets of Lakefield until we reached our destination – Shakers Diner.

We were more than ready for the big mugs of coffee and platters of home cooked breakfasts or sandwiches with fries.

I knew I was out of shape because my legs felt like rubber. If anyone thinks that you don’t pedal with an e-bike, give one a try! After lunch I was ready for a nap, but once we got going again my energy returned.

On our way back, Jim led us on a different path, through the University Campus. and gave the others some bits of history about the land where it had been built. He grew up in the area called Nassau.

We crossed back over the trestle bridge that spans the Canal and were soon back at our cars, tired but happy.

I expect to sleep well tonight! I’m looking forward to getting some more rides in before the winter weather hits.

Thanks to Julie and Jim for contributing some of the photos.

My First Job – at F.W. Woolworths


My friend Carol has just recently joined Facebook and has been discovering all kinds of things about people and places we knew when we both grew up in Brockville. She introduced me to the sites, and they have brought a lot of memories and filled in some information that I’d forgotten.

When Carol posted the question, “Who worked at Woolworths in Brockville,” I could answer “yes” but I’d worked there only for a couple of days. I still don’t know why, but now I have some names to put into my story.

When I turned sixteen my mother thought it was time for me to find a summer job, although I don’t recall her ever mentioning it to me. She just came home from shopping one day and told me that I was to go the next day to see Mrs. Shipman at the Snack Bar in Woolworths. She’d asked her to give me a job!

Now, contrary to what a lot of people thought about me, I was really very shy. But if I was told to do something, I’d do my best. So I went to see Mrs. Shipman. I filled out some forms and I showed up for work on the day she told me.

I remember only a few details about the job. The first day I spent my entire shift in the upstairs kitchen, putting together ice cream sandwiches. At the end of the day, I was given a uniform and told me to go back the next day. I took the uniform home with me, because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I’d wear it back for my next shift. She’d given me no instructions and I was too shy to ask. Later my mother got a phone call telling her that I wasn’t supposed to take it home and to make sure I took it back.

The next day I was behind the counter. I was taught how to take orders and put together lunches. I was taught how to make banana splits, and I was given a tip jar. I got to know Gloria Byrd, who helped guide me through the day. She went to my high school and lived not far from me. I don’t recall being too busy, until the lunch crowd started coming in and a whole family sat down and ordered six banana splits. I had to make them! Maybe Gloria helped me.

At the end of my shift, Mrs. Shipman gave me my tips and said she’d call me when she wanted me to come in again. I left my uniform there. I think the only call I got was to tell me to pick up my pay cheque.

For years I wondered why I never got called back, but now reminiscing, I imagine it’s because I wasn’t outgoing enough for such a job. Too bad. I think had I’d been given a chance I might have learned how to relate better and stepped out of my shell sooner.

August 11, 2020 Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


Writing anything has been a challenge for me lately, as have many things. I lack motivation. But I keep trying to set daily goals of some sort and push through.

When it comes to writing for this blog, I don’t know what I have that my readers would find interesting or helpful as they too take this journey. It’s been suggested that travel writing should be focused on local things of interest now, to entice visitors, but during this time, we’d rather not have too many visitors here in our small, virus-free community. Most of us feel a little panicky when we see out-of-towners congregating on our small beaches, or lined up at our ice-cream shop, without masks. There isn’t really much room for more than half a dozen people to observe social distancing.

So, what else can I do? This week, after a week of bouts of unspecific sadness, I’m determined to jump back into a few projects that I’ve been neglecting, two of them involving walking down memory lane.

I spent several hours over the weekend updating my Family Tree on Ancestery.ca and I found some interesting information that I knew nothing about before. I plan to post an article or two about that to my other blog site, Unfolding Our Past, one I started a few years ago, but then walked away from.

Another is work on my Memoirs, which I’ve been working on off and on for many years. If I’m ever going to get it done, now is the time. The years are slipping away too quickly.

Yesterday I decided to merge the several versions I have and try to get it together. When I found the very first draft, that I’d revised a little, I was encouraged by the  positive feedback I’d received when I’d submitted it to an online writing community that I had joined probably fifteen years ago. I’m trying to remember the name of it. I wonder if it still exists? I wonder why I dropped out? No, I know why. I went back to work, and began to travel more, and my writing focus changed, to travel blogging!

Now that we aren’t traveling, and have no idea if/when we will again, it’s time to get back to it. It’s interesting that when I was reading through what I’ve written so far, I felt a bit of an epiphany, like I was looking at my story through different eyes. The stress, that I usually feel when remembering the pain, frustration and resulting depression during the bad times, lifted. I’m not sure where this will take me, but I’m hoping to completion, whether published or not.

There are a few chapters (or beginnings) included under the Memoirs/My Memoirs Tab on this website, if you’re interested. Feedback is always welcome!

And on days that I feel I have to get out of my head for a while, I still have that quilt that I’ve not yet finished!

July 17th – Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


In the mornings of the two days that we went to see the eye doctor, I’d wakened up with a bit of a scratchy, sore throat and I was tired, so I wondered if I needed to postpone the appointments, but I was pretty sure that it was due to my allergies and extreme heat. By the time we had to leave for Peterborough, I was feeling just fine so I answered the questions at the doctor’s office honestly. But, by Thursday evening my throat was really sore and my ears were blocked. Again, under normal circumstances, I would have gone with the allergies diagnosis, but I began to worry about the slight chance that it could be COVID and I felt very concerned about having been to the Optometrist office the day before.

On Friday morning, after breakfast and allergy pills and using the netti pot, my throat was back to normal. In fact, I felt better than I had for weeks! Still I felt that I should go to the local clinic for a COVID test just to be sure. It was in the next town over from us. The info we found online wasn’t up-to-date so it took a couple of tries to find it, only to discover that it wasn’t open on Fridays! I’d have to wait until Monday, or drive further to find another clinic. It would have been nice to not worry over the weekend, but I knew I wouldn’t get the results before the next week anyway. So we kept pretty much to ourselves all weekend, going out only for an evening walk around our rural block. We don’t usually meet up with anyone we know to stop and chat. When we did see friends who were standing in line at the ice-cream shop, I kept my distance while they chatted. I’d forgotten to take a mask with me. That night my throat got really sore again. I was so disappointed.

The weather cooled down some. I slept better and regained my energy. I had no more sore throat after that. I kept doing the Self-Assessment on the phone App. I never did have any fever. By Monday I was confident that it wasn’t COVID, but I made appointments for both Jim and me to get tested anyway, to relieve everyone’s mind. We had to wait until Tuesday.

The Clinic visit was a horrible experience. I was called in first. Jim filled out the questionnaire while he waited in the car. I was expected to fill it out while also answering the verbal questions that were being fired at me from the technician! I have no idea if I filled in the written pages with all the correct answers! He finished his questions and then waited impatiently, holding a very long stick in his hand, for me to finish my form.

“Take off your mask. I’m going to put this way up your nose. Don’t cough and don’t pull away,” he said. And there it was, pushing further and further through my right nostril until tears rolled down my cheeks. I resisted the urge to pull back by holding my breath. Even after it was removed, the pain lingered. Outside, the slight breeze entering my nose increased the discomfort. I wish I had a picture of that!

“We’ll send you the results in two to three days, or you can go online to get them,” the other, female, worker said to me as she handed me a page of information. She was very pleasant.

Jim had his turn. He didn’t have to fill our questions at the same time as answering verbal questions, but he did have to endure the same pain. He was unable to resist pulling back and the fellow held his head!

I can’t imagine President Trump and his staff going through that every single day!

On Wednesday we drove to Cobourg to look at storage sheds for our new bikes, which should arrive within a month. On Thursday we went back to order one and all the materials needed to build the floor. I stayed in the car and Jim, of course, wore a mask and used hand sanitizer. We had no way of bringing it all home, but one of our neighbours offered to pick them up with a trailer when they will be going that way on Monday. We know what we’ll be doing next week to fill in some time! Assembling.

This morning, we went online to get our test results – NEGATIVE!

May 24th – Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


Another month is quickly slipping by. It’s been a better month for sure. Mothers’ day brought great comfort, with phone calls or chats with all of my children, and gifts from my step-children left at the door, with a distancing visit.

The box of paints, brushes and a canvas were meant to prompt me to try something new. I took that challenge and found an online Paint Workshop that was suggested. I didn’t join it live because the time wasn’t convenient, but I did it on my own time the next day. It turned out that was good, because I struggled at first with mixing enough paint to do big sections, in different shades of blue, but I persevered. Unlike using watercolours (which I’d tried many years ago) my mistakes could be painted over and corrected. Well, most of them, until I ran out of the very important white paint required for mixing. Then I had to improvise. The two-hour class took me most of the day to finish this one painting. But, in the end I felt  good to have completed it, and it didn’t look too bad for an amateur. I enjoyed the challenge and hope to get some more canvas to try another one, sometime.

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Another gift was a jar of sourdough starter. It brought back memories of the delicious and light sourdough muffins that I used to make. The recipe made big batches and, because the starter had to be divided up with some to feed a new starter and the rest to be used in baking, once a week (actually it seems to me it was more often) my freezer was full of frozen muffins of a variety of flavours. My son told me years later how he used to often sneak down to the freezer to grab one or two and eat them frozen. I didn’t even notice the missing ones. I had to wait a week until it was time to feed the starter before I could use some of it, but I kept those muffins in mind.

I had several days when baking was my outlet, creating another (better) lemon meringue pie and chocolate/peanut butter squares one day.

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Another day I recruited Jim to help me make a big batch of perogies, one of my favourite quick from the freezer meals, but that I’d never made myself before. They were a lot of work, and took a long time, but we worked well together.

 

When the day came to feed the sourdough I was having a major pain day, which usually causes some brain fade. That day was no exception. For one thing, the new way of measuring ingredients is by weight instead of volume. Fortunately we have a scale that we used for weighing packages when doing product shipping for our online businesses, but I had to learn the trick for adding multiply ingredients. Then I put the water in before the flour, which made mixing more difficult. I doubted that it was going to work, but the next day I saw that it had.

I made a batch of muffins, not the recipe I used to use. Seems I didn’t keep it, never expecting to be doing volume or sourdough baking again. They might have turned out good if I hadn’t been trying to do something else in the kitchen while they were baking. I somehow tuned out the sound of the timer and they got way over baked. Not burned, but rather dry. Disappointing.

Oh well, the sun came out the next day and the temperature climbed.

We had a few ukulele players over to our lawn to play some tunes one day, keeping our distance and staying no more than an hour. We limited the invitation to only five of us in total. It was a welcome change.

One Friday evening we ordered take out Fish and Chips from one of our local restaurants, a restaurant that had been closed completely for two months and just recently started doing order-ahead take outs. We invited another couple who lives in the building to join us at the twelve-foot table in the Common Room, each of us with our own orders, using our own plates and utensils, sitting at opposite ends of the table. It was nice to chat and get caught up, something we hadn’t been able to do since we’d been gone for six months.

I bought vegetable seeds and planted one of the three planter boxes that our Condo Board acquired so we could have a little community garden.

I’ve gotten used to grocery shopping. It seems to be the new normal for me now. More people are wearing masks, and so far there has been no news of CORONA-19 outbreaks in our small tri-town community. I have to admit that that might not necessarily be a good thing, only because it becomes too easy to forget that we still have to be diligent with our social distancing and mask wearing. I was shocked when, one day after I was introduced to the woman who agreed to rent us parking space for the motorhome, without thinking I reached out to shake her hand — and she reciprocated! That weighed on my mind for a long time. I sanitized my hands as soon as I got back into the car; I hoped that she did too. I didn’t sleep well that night, after that incident and after hearing the latest COVID case statistics. The curve was rising, or at least no longer falling in many places in Canada and around the world. I had another major pain day.

We sat in our car by a nearby beach and watched and listened to the peacefulness.

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This morning I woke up feeling optimistic and planning things I wanted to accomplish. It was to be another sunny day. But the first thing I saw when I opened my iPad was a message from someone who cares, warning me that “take out” food is dangerous unless we’d cooked it again at home for ten minutes at at  least 80 degrees. He’d seen Jim’s Facebook post about our sharing with neighbours. Then I opened a news app and saw huge crowds of people on beaches enjoying Memorial Day  in the US, and I thought “they are never going to get out of this virus if they continue like this.” When I opened an app with Canadian news I saw the same thing happening in a park in Toronto! There goes my optimism and respect for my fellow human beings.

At least the sun is still shining, today.

And the flowers are blooming in the beds.

And a mother robin has decided to build her nest in a corner of the building, on the ledge of our bedroom window! How beautiful is that?

PLEASE STAY SAFE! AND KEEP YOUR LOVED ONES SAFE TOO!

May 9th – Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


The weather has been crazy; spring can’t decide if it’s going to stay or not. It’s as confused as we are.

Snow on the deck, May 8, 2020

Snow on the deck, May 8, 2020

 

I’ve been having trouble working through this lately. Maybe because I haven’t set any goals to complete projects, but that’s because the projects I have now are my own and they don’t have any urgency. There is always tomorrow, right? The calendar is blank. I’ve heard others make the same observation.

Calendar

 

Each day I wake up feeling a lingering sadness, even if I have something in mind that I might do that day. Today, I realized that, after nearly three months of avoiding close contact with people, then avoiding them altogether during self-quarantining on our way home from Arizona, and then continuing upon our return, and then becoming so conscious of the danger of not constantly washing my hands, or sanitizing them when out (wearing my mask) to do grocery shopping, this has become the new normal. As much as I long to sit down at a table with friends and family, to return to playing pickleball and ukulele in a group, I have trouble imagining being able to do those things again, without fear.

I’m one of the fortunate ones. I get to stay home where it’s safe. I don’t need to worry about losing my job or not being able to pay my bills if I don’t want to go to work in one of the dangerous environment out there, without adequate protection. I don’t need to feel obligated to risk my life to help save the lives of those who have been hit with the virus, although I shed many tears for those who are brave enough to do it.

And I do feel guilty about being so privileged. This is my new normal. Who knows if it will ever change?

Thank goodness for all the beautiful, and funny, video clips that are shared through the internet! They help to lift my spirits.

I’d love to hear from people around the world. How are you working through COVID-19?

Journaling Through COVID-19 – May 1st


Wow, I can’t believe it’s May 1st. I thought that I’d be writing and posting more frequently as I intended to Journal Through COVID-19, but although I’ve done nearly daily entries in my personal, hand-written journal, I’ve managed to find several projects to keep me busy with self-imposed deadlines, so my blogging got pushed to the back burner.

What have I been doing? Well, I first decided to try making a couple of face masks for Jim and me to use when we began venturing out to the grocery store and post office.

Jim's mask with ukulele chords on it!

Jim, of course, wanted one with ukulele chords on it!

Then I heard about a number of people making cotton face masks as requested by the local hospitals to be used for non-medical staff and patients being discharged. In exchange for some elastic that I had on hand and was no longer available in any stores that were open, a friend left me some of her extra fabric so I could make some too. I made twelve of them.

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But I was a little slow to the dance. By the time I had them finished, the hospitals declared they had received enough of them. They were now requiring some made with their own specific pattern, and special fabric that they would supply.

One hospital, however, wanted cotton surgical caps and clothing bags made, as well as crochet “mask buddies” – five inch pieces with buttons on each end that the elastic of the masks could be fastened to, relieving the pressure on the tops of the ears after a long day of wear. I had no fabric left, but I had plenty of yarn.  I started making the mask buddies. I was short of buttons, but a shout out to people in my community produced an abundance. I delivered the first batch of twenty-one within a few days. Yesterday, I dropped off another batch of 30.

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I gave a few of the masks to friends before a notice on one of my Facebook pages brought interest from a friend who works at the local prison. She was happy to receive the eight that I had left, and I felt good that I could help her out.

In the meantime my Book Club has had a couple of online meetings, and I joined a meeting of a Writing Club, also online for now. It was great to make some connections with people, and get some feedback on some of my writing.

A week ago we ventured to Peterborough to stock up on supplies from Costco, so that I wouldn’t need to go into the small grocery stores so often. I know, it’s better to support local businesses, especially during these hard times, but I was finding it just too stressful to safely navigate the narrow aisles while following the direction arrows and waiting my turn to enter. I always forgot or couldn’t find something I needed and was too anxious to have to go back through the maze again.

I was nervous about going to Costco too. I’d seen stories on the internet about the  long lines of people, many of whom gave no respect to social distancing, so I had no idea just what to expect.  We were fortunate to arrive at a time when there wasn’t much of a line. The carts were outside, and a fellow was spraying them all down, presumably with disinfectant, as they were returned, so we knew that the one we took was safe. Both of us were permitted to go in together. We put on our masks and were able to navigate the wide aisles quickly, giving anyone we encountered plenty of room. We were able to backtrack to find some things that were no longer where they were when we left in the fall.

The downside was the price of things, but I just got what I needed and left behind those items that I thought I could manage without for now, and ignored the cost. What else can you do when you don’t have much choice? The bill was far higher than I’d ever spent on food in one trip. But then, it’s been a very long time since I’ve had to make three meals a day, every day, for forty plus days in a row and counting! The extra help added to our Canada Pension cheque will make up the difference.

And the cost of gas is lower than it’s been in years too!

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We didn’t need to worry about bags, because Costco never has supplied them. We put everything back into the cart and transferred them to our own bags when we got to the car.

On the way home, we stopped at a local chicken farm that has a small store, where we bought chicken and fresh frozen vegetables. Except for some fresh produce that we’ll have to replenish soon, we are good for a few weeks.

I’ve not only been doing more cooking than I’ve done in years; I’ve also been baking more. I dug out an old cookbook that used to be my stand-by many years ago and I started creating some of my old favourites, and some new.

Lemon Pie

Made with a graham cracker crust because I didn’t have ingredients to make a crust! Used a lemon brought from Arizona tree.

Banana Bread made in Coffee mugs

Banana Bread made in coffee mugs, in fifteen minutes from start to eating! I added chocolate!

I thought we’d be putting on weight, but to our surprise, we’ve both lost those extra pounds we’d put on while eating too large portions in restaurants or at pot luck parties, or the chips that come with every sandwich in the restaurants, while in Arizona!

Last weekend Jim’s daughter asked if I could make a few surgical caps for her daughter’s nursing team at the hospital. She brought me some fabric and I found a bit more. I completed and delivered four to her yesterday. I still have two more cut and ready to put together.

Now I’m anxious to get back to writing, reading and perhaps add some more photographs to my stock portfolio.

It’s amazing how much you can find to do, if you just turn off the depressing news and get creative.

Hope you are all staying well and finding positive ways to get through this crisis.

April 6, 2020 – Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic 


I began a much longer post yesterday, a walk down memory lane, my trip to Europe in 1972. But it was a much bigger project than I’d realized, because I had nothing of the trip computerized. I needed to scan photos and post cards and read through the Itinerary to jog my memory. I’m still working on it, but for now I thought I’d share my experiences and emotions from this morning.

I woke up with a feeling of dread. When I looked at my iPad to get a synopsis of what the latest news was, I couldn’t contain my tears. It all was awful. What broke me most were the articles about how manufacturers of the medical equipment that all countries need so desperately, are inflating the prices to 700, or 800 or 900 percent above the normal price, making it so difficult for hospitals and the smaller health care centres such as Long Term Care Homes, to get them, And then there are the stories of people praying on the elderly by offering to buy groceries and then absconding with the money; or offering to clean their homes with them out of them, and stealing from them. What has happened to humanity?

I dried my tears and went to the kitchen to make some breakfast. Although I wasn’t really hungry, I knew I had to eat. The fridge was nearly empty. I made toast from the last two pieces of bread, and made coffee. One thing we do still have is plenty of grapefruit, so I cut up one of those. I knew I had to go shopping.

Jim thought I should just order it again, but I wanted to be brave and not let the paranoia I was feeling control my life. I also didn’t feel it was fair to put extra burden on the stores and volunteers that are generously delivering for free. Despite my age, I’m healthy. I have a good immune system. And I wanted to keep it that way with some fresh air and exercise. So I made my list and gathered my little wagon and reusable shopping bags. I had a mask I’d made from a kerchief, and disposable gloves and hand sanitizer in my pockets. I didn’t take my phone to avoid it being exposed to anything. I took only the one card that I needed to pay for my purchases. I didn’t expect Jim to go into the store with me. He wore his gloves and went into the Post Office to pick up our mail and then waited outside for me.

When I got to the store, the parking lot was full and I almost turned back. Then I realized that many of the cars parked there were probably the ones that had usually been parked beside the old Community Centre next door. Whether they belonged to tenants somewhere, or the owners of the few businesses that were open, I don’t know, but the Community Centre had recently been torn down and Contractors were working within high fencing, cleaning up the remnants.

I took my mask and gloves out of my pockets and put them on before walking up the ramp to the store entrance. A staff member came to the door and told me that I couldn’t take my wagon or bags in with me.

wagon

I hesitated, disappointed. I felt that there was far less chance of there being any virus on my own cart and bags that had been with us in our own space for three weeks, than there was with the store carts and bags. But I couldn’t argue, under the circumstances. I took the cart and made sure she’d wiped the handle.

By now I could feel myself quivering. There weren’t very many people in the store. Some shoppers wore masks and most of them were very conscious about keeping a distance. Perhaps they were more concerned about me because of the heavy mask and gloves I was wearing. I got very warm and for a moment I thought I might faint, but removing my jacket helped. As I made my way around the store looking for the things on my list I was having trouble seeing clearly. I thought maybe my glasses were fogging up from my breathing through the mask. My quivering continued and I cursed in my head, thinking how terrible it is to be so fearful of doing grocery shopping.

At last I was finished, and through the checkout.

“Isn’t this fun?” I said to the cashier, who was one more time sanitizing the gloves she wore, behind a sheet of Plexiglas.

“I’ve had about enough of it,” she said and I agreed. “Thank you,”  we both replied.

I took off my disposable gloves and handed them to the girl at the door, who said she’d dispose of them. She was wearing gloves too. I was glad to see that the wagon was still where I left it. I breathed a sigh of relief. When I walked out into the sunshine, I reached for my sunglasses and realized I’d had them on all the time! No wonder I was having trouble seeing!

I found Jim next door watching the construction crew, of course. We walked home enjoying the sunshine.

At home I put my mask into the bathroom sink to wash. I carefully handled the groceries and bags,  putting them all away, always aware of what I was touching and wondering who else had touched them. I washed my hands many times.Oh crap! Did I remember to disinfect the counter where they sat? Nothing I used to make lunch touched that side. Is it too late?

Now we have enough food to last us for another couple of weeks. Who knows what things will be like when we need more?

I have no idea how the people who have been dealing with this daily as they do their jobs to provide health care and other essential services, have not lost their sanity. I weep some more for them.