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Keeping “Community” In My Personal Economy During COVID 19

My doorstep is a source of constant ding-donging, and parcel delivery.

Wth my son’s recent acquisition of a condo, he’s ordered the domestic accoutrements that he needs to make himself feel at home. My sweetie, the only one of us who is not deemed an essential worker, has been working from home, and enjoying the freedom of not having to go out to expose himself to the virus. He’s taken to ordering the cats’ wet food to be delivered, along with miscellaneous foofurah that will make him happy.

I admit that I do order from Amazon from time to time. I’m currently waiting for datura seed that I could not find at any of our local on-line offerings.

Mostly though, I’ve been trying to order from stores that I want to see open their doors again once this quarantine/shut-down/pandemic is over. Once a week I order from one of my favourite places.

I’ve placed a couple of orders with Wonderpens. Admittedly, I’ve never attended their location before. It was a thoughtful gift of fountain pen and fine writing paper notebook that hooked me.

 

It’s their Instagram feed @wonderpensstudioshop that keeps me interested and up to date with the products that they have available.  Their products provide me with quality stationary to that makes my writing feel more like an indulgence than work. From personal notes to novel outlines, I love using their high quality offerings.

When things call for something sophisticated for the palate, I turn faithfully to Hinterland Wine Company . Find them @hinterlandwine on Instagram.

hinterland.gif

 

‘Things’ these days, include A lazy Sunday lie in with brunch at the kitchen table, or binge watching old seasons of Game of Thrones. I always believe that you should have a bottle (or two of bubbles at the back of the fridge for occasions such as these. So why not indulge in something delicious and local?  Hinterland has been a favourite of mine since they opened. This week, it will be my treat to order a few more bottles to have on hand.

I first fell in love with their bubbles on a not-so-romantic getaway with a man whose company required copious amounts of alcohol just to keep me from pushing him out of the car…but I digress.  What kept me loyal and coming back to Hinterland for a visit was the charm of Vicki Samaras when she personally delivered a case of Les Etoiles, a few months later when I was single and able to enjoy their fine fare in the peace of good company.

Years later, when I took my sweetie to Hinterland in Prince Edward County, it was a giggly surprise to learn that Jonas Newman, Vicki’s husband and business partner, used to be his neighbour in Toronto. Small world. Delicious bubbles. What more could a gal ask for?

Pizza.

Another business that I enjoy ordering from appeals to a more base instinct; hunger.  Since I live in Markham, I don’t have much of an excuse any more to make it down to Terroni to pick up my very favourite pizza; The C’t mang.

c t mang

Admittedly, I’ve only ever ordered take out twice from Terroni. I prefer to sit in, mostly solo, and enjoy the pizza with a glass or two of wine from their delicious wine list.

But maybe a downtown road trip is due. After all, my favourite spot to hang out and drink craft beer happens to be Left Field Brewery. When they were open to the public, you could take in your own food to enjoy with their brew. Tucked in a sweet little spot in the east end of Toronto, it’s a cool place to hang out. In fact, last year for Mother’s Day, that’s where I took our twenty-something kiddos to hang out for a few hours.

left field.jpg

 

My personal favourite is their Bang Bang, a dry hopped sour.  The atmosphere is great for a casual meet up with friends, but barring that ,now that we live in the age of COVID, why not order some for delivery and hang out on your own back porch in the sunshine?

And speaking of back porches, the other local haunt that always cheers me up with it’s greenery and outstanding customer service is Kim’s Nature (Instagram @kims_nature). Curb-side pick up is available for your gardening needs. And really, who couldn’t use a little earth therapy? Seriously. Gardening, getting your hands damp in rich soil, and watching the lifecycle of a flower and vegetable garden are good for the soul.

 

I’m hoping that they open their outdoor garden centre this year if business conditions allow. Why? Because out of all of the places I’ve shopped in this neighbourhood, Kim’s nature have the heartiest plants and wonderful staff.

And I can’t forget my go-to take out when I’m hunkered down at my esssential workplace. It’s Abruzzo Pizza that my tummy begs for when it’s craving carbs and deliciousness. Located a short drive from work, It’s a family-owned business that has been around for just shy of 40 years. If it’s your first time ordering, get the Abruzzo Special. Get a party size, because you’ll want seconds and thirds.  Check them out on instagram at @abruzzo_pizza

Abruzzo

 

If you’re in the GTA, I hope that these suggestions inspire you to look into some of my favourite places and direct your spare cash to indulge in some of their treats.  If you’re not in the GTA, I hope that it inspires you to think locally and support your communities.

First and foremost though, especially for those of you who may not be lucky enough to still have a pay cheque coming in and are focussed on the necessesities, I hope you are well. I hope you have a strong, connected. loving community of support.

 

 

 

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Purpose Doesn’t Need Pants

no pants 2Meh. I don’t need pants today. Not really. Or a bra.  My  first thoughts as I towel off after the shower.

These are strange days, strange days indeed.

I stepped on the scale…Crap…Stepped on it again, and again, and again… a different reading every time. I would’ve thrown it out the window, but now’s not the time to go shopping for a new one, I’ll take a two pound window of the-numbers-don’t-matter-your-pants-don’t-fit, and try not to devour any more ju-jubes today.

I’m as stress eater.  A reader. A crafter. A napper. A stressed out funeral director grasping at anything to make me feel like I have control of something during these challenging times.  A meditation student trying to let it all go.  It’s a fine balance. Chocolate helps.

Standing there in the bathroom, with my hair piled on top of my head, I wonder if maybe, trudging in to work every day is not my purpose. And then again, maybe it is. This pandemic after all, is what I’ve been trained for.

As I sit here with no pants or bra on, sipping my coffee and writing to you, I am thinking of all the people out there who are doing their best. You’re keeping yourself and others safely at a distance. And then I think about the people whom I deal with who are selfish and stupid and inconsiderate.

You can’t fix stupid. And right now, I’m not going to try.

What I am going to do is try to maintain the grace with which I handle myself day-to-day. That does not mean acquiescing to rude, ignorant people. It means  that I will state facts firmly, and maintain the directives that have been issued to me as a professional.

The rest of my energy will be directed toward maintaining calm, kindness, and a sense of purpose that we all must have at this time. Purpose: a word that self-helpers have heard a lot lately.  I like it.

During this time of fear, and stress, I urge you to explore the deep and fascinating scope of your purpose.

Just prior to stepping out of the shower and deciding that I didn’t need to wear any civilized clothing, I had a few moments under the streaming, warm water to think about my purpose.

Deciphering your purpose can be like assessing which fork-in-the-road to travel; the one smoothly paved with obstacles too far down to see, or the one with seemingly insurmountable obstacles right at the beginning.

Fear is a powerful motivator. But it’s blind sometimes. Discovering your true purpose requires you to be brave enough to keep your eyes open, while also relying on your intuition.

Purpose. May you discover it, define it, and live it during these unprecedented times…pants or no pants.

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Front-Line Obituary

stupidityIt is with profound apathy that I announce the passing of  Patience for ego-centric dickwads. It departed this world in the late afternoon. Patience is survived by it’s partners compassion and empathy who are also hanging on for dear life.

Patience began to decline with the onset of the recent pandemic of, “I just need”, “But I’m…”, and “Why Can’t I”.  Overwhelmed by the I, I, I’s and their Me, me, me partners, patience heaved one last sigh into it’s N-95 mask and departed.

That’s how I’d begin to write the obituary for my last nerve,  if I were inclined to write obituaries during my spare time.

Exposed to the public during the current pandemic, I have lost all patience for anyone who does not respect the social distancing directives and gathering maximums set out for everyone.  I have not lost my compassion or empahty for those who have experienced a loss, or people who are respectful of my life and the life of the general public.

Overwhelmingly I am confronted (yes, confronted) by people who think that somehow they are immune to the rules.

grumpy man

Overwhelmingly I also find myself thinking that it is not the COVID 19 virus that puts us at the highest risk, it is egotism (aka ignorance).  Individuals who think they are exempt from social distancing, and deserve more than essential services right now, are truly the stupidest people I’ve met…ever. And I’ve met some real idiots.

Do us all a favour. If you live with, talk to, or have occasion to stop some idiot from exposing front line workers to their childish pouting and time wasting, please do.

Front line workers are not out doing our jobs because we have time to argue with dumb-dumbs about social protocol and official directives.

If you are going to argue about your right to be anywhere right now, please, for the love of humanity, shut up and stay home. Pass it on.

 

 

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The Sanctuary of Your Car & 3 Movies that Might Save Your Sanity

car
Whoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a God. ~ARISTOTLE~

 

I wanted to start out by telling you how very fortunate I am to be able to slip into a state of zen about this whole pandemic. I wanted to charm you into believing that once I leave my workplace (as a funeral director – stressorama), that my home is a haven of peaceful solace. Instead, I offer you your vehicle as a hide-out, and your bathtub as a time machine – steamy water, candlelight, music, and memories of a delicious past….

The reality at my house (and likely the majority of others) is, that it’s a circus of emotion; sometimes gratitude is the pervading atmosphere, sometimes, tension, fear-turned-irritablility-and-anger, and sometimes happy-hour at unlikely hours. Mostly, it’s a combination of all of those things, depending on who’s in the room. Like now for instance…It’s just after 3pm, and I’m full-on gin and tonicing into the evening.

I’m trying to quietly hide in my writing/library room with a headset on (the universal signal for ‘please fuck off and don’t talk to me, I’m busy’).   Trying to get some peace and quiet (while CNN is blaring in the living room and my sweetie is passively aggressively putting away dishes because he thinks someone else should be doing it), requires new strategy.

While we mostly want to choke one another, there is one thing that has saved us all. That one thing? It’s  comedy.

My top three COVID classic comedy selections  (in no particular order) include;

The Big Lewbowski

 

lewbowski

 

Hot Tub Time Machine

 

hottubtimemachine

 

 

 

Mastermind

 

masterminds

 

Feeling helpless is clinically the worst case emotion for anyone exposed to trauma. The only thing that we can do now to act, is not to act (in other words, for the love of God and my desire to go camping this summer, stay the hell home), it’s tough to stay sane.  Maybe a good laugh will help release some stress, and get you focussed on ways, however small, that you can be of service.

 

 

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Building Pandemic Panic Resistance

squirrelSquirrels are jacked, Wish sells sex toys, and I found the perfect shade of lipstick at Sephora Canada for twenty-eight bucks.

If someone told me a month ago that I’d have the time to discover these little things, I would have told you they were mad.

Had I not been respecting this physical-distancing protocol, I never would have equated the relative muscle mass of a squirrel’s front haunches with the thick, muscular neck of a wolf, because I never would have had the time to stare out the window and wonder about something other than the demands of my own day.

I also never would have clicked on the promos from Wish, and discovered that they sell clothing, male chastity devices, as well as plastic parrot solar lights that would be fantastic for our Parrothead soirees – the lights, not the sex toys. The outline of a third book likely wouldn’t have unfolded into anything other than the outline either.

Luckily our household hasn’t been as adversely effected as others. Everyone is still working, everyone is still getting paid. Everyone is going a bit bonkers adjusting to being at home together.

Incidentally, I think that social media is going a bit bonkers right now too. Currently, it’s a five minute distraction at most for me. The same with the news. Once a day is enough to keep me informed, without making me paranoid.

After two weeks of being glued to news updates, being terrified of what I’m being exposed to at work, about a week ago I shut down the newsfeed and the unnecessary obsessing.  Now  my sweetie has fallen ill and I’ve raised my white-flag of surrender.  I will not subject myself to the massive influx of emails and private messages about COVID 19.

As always, I have a new writing project simmering, a pile of books on my desk waiting to be read (the ones I had previously designated as beach-reads for my annual Central American beach holiday), and a needlework project half finished. Perhaps it’s a Gen X thing , but I think I’ll just tuck in and ride this out, taking it day by day.

I have settled nicely into the routine of surrender.

It’s lovely to have time to sip my first and second cups of morning coffee bundled up on the patio in the fresh air. It’s blissful to have the time to  wonder about squirrel anatomy, who the wonderful guitarist is down the street, and to allow the poetic flow of words to dance in my imagination so that I can write it down on paper a little later on. Not being able to go out has been a wonderful retreat.

Next week, a new, temporary shift schedule starts at work to help adjust to the demands of our new reality. I will not be having leisurely, morning coffee save for weekends.

If you’re stuck in a rut of scrolling through social media, watching the news spool over and over, might I suggest staring out the window for a while, and noticing the little things that otherwise go unnoticed.