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Tired of COVID-19

Tired of COVID-19

Who isn’t tired of COVID-19?

The World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic on March 11. My home province, Alberta, declared a state of emergency on March 17.

Stores closed. Schools and daycares closed. People started working from home. Non-essential surgeries were cancelled—partly to prevent the spread of the virus and partly to be sure that ventilators would be available if symptoms got that bad.

People were encouraged to wear masks if they had to go out for groceries. And most grocery stores would deliver. Even Staples will deliver free of charge because if you are working from your home office, you need ink.

The local drugstore has arrows to direct the flow of traffic down aisles and thus ensure social distancing. Same for Safeway. I like stores that have that “flow of traffic” figured out.

And now, finally, the curve has indeed “flattened” and some restrictions are being lifted. At least, in most of the province. Calgary and Brooks are a little late since these two cities have had a higher number of cases.

I walk on the path by the river in the morning. People maintain the 2-metre “social distancing” and wave as we pass each other. They are all team players.

Earlier this year, I was one of the lucky ones. I got my “non-essential” surgery done on January 28. A new hip. For me, most of February was a blur as I rotated ice packs, did my exercises, and slowly recovered.

When March came, I was looking forward to getting out into the world again. But then, COVID-19.

At first, the stay-at-home was not too hard to follow. I’m an introvert, after all. So you would think I’d be getting a lot of writing done with this social distancing.

But, not so much. It’s hard to stop thinking about COVID-19.COVID-19 keyboard

And, I find that I miss people. Now my favourite café, Friends, has sort of reopened, with take-out service.

There’s Plexiglas at the service counter, and masks and gloves for the staff, and visibly marked-out social distance areas. Using the front and side doors, a one-way flow of traffic has been created. And there’s a brand new “tap” for the credit/debit machine.

They even have curbside pickup.

This morning, two of my writer friends and I met at “Friends”. We got our take-out coffees. (Also, I picked up one of the “Heat & Eat” lasagnas for tonight’s supper.) Then we headed back to one friend’s balcony where we could sit apart but be together. We could have made coffee but it’s just not the same as going to Friends. (friendscappuccinobar.ca)

Zoom has been great, and my writing groups have made good use of it. But I have definitely missed my Friends.

How are you coping? Are you tired of COVID-19? Do you love Zoom?

Mask from Bigstockphotos 351136352
Keyboard from Depositphotos_361140466_l-2015
Friends Cappuccino Bar image from Friends Cappuccino Bar

The Asparagus Festival

The Asparagus Festival

Last Sunday (June 9, 2019), the Annual Asparagus Festival was held at Edgar Farms near Innisfail, Alberta.

Who knew such an event existed?

The Asparagus Festival

Edgar Farms is a sixth generation family farm established in 1907. From a diversification experiment in 1986, the farm now cultivates 50 acres of asparagus. As well as asparagus, the farm grows green and yellow beans, rhubarb and peas. They also raise grass-fed Angus beef which is hormone and antibiotic free.
asparagus field
The asparagus has a short growing season, usually only May and June. After that, the asparagus is allowed to grow into a fern so the plant can store nutrients for the winter.
Over the growing season, the asparagus is picked every day. If there’s rain, the field might need to be picked more than once. The little spears grow that fast.
Thanks to the cool Alberta climate, this asparagus is sweet and tender. It’s available fresh onsite at the Edgar Farms General Store and also at Farmers Markets from Edmonton to Calgary. Soups and pies from Edgar Farms can also be found in the frozen section of some grocery stores.
You might like to know that asparagus is a good source of Vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, zinc and many other trace nutrients. It is also an excellent source of dietary fibre.
wagon ride
The festival offered wagon ride tours of the farm and viewing windows for a glimpse of the kitchen. Children visited farm animals, pumped water, and played in the activity centres.
And, Aspara-Gussy was on site providing treats and photo-ops.
The festival also hosted an Artisan Market with everything from chocolate, nuts and honey to pottery, woodworking and mini donuts.  
We purchased meat pies, fruit pies, pickled beets and a huge bag of asparagus. I’ve already tasted the Saskatoon rhubarb pie and it’s the best on the planet.
I will definitely be at the Festival next year and will most likely stop by the General Store the next time I’m in the area.
Have you ever been to an Asparagus Festival?
Out like a lamb . . .

Out like a lamb . . .

In Calgary, Canada, we have left winter behind. (I hope.)

March came in like a lion following on the tails of Calgary’s coldest February since 1979. And now with just a few days left in the month, it seems as if March will go out like a lamb.

And so, for you, some lamb cupcakes.

Cupcakes from bigstockphoto.com #82754852

February’s End

February’s End

It’s the end of February, the coldest month of winter. Also, the snowiest month.

Today, we have a “warm” day. It’s only minus 5 Celsius (23 F). However, tomorrow we are back to minus 17 Celsius (1 F) and more snow, so March will come in like a lion.

I had not realized how much I use skiing for getting outside in the winter. This winter, I have not been able to ski and I’m feeling very cooped up.

For a long time, I’ve noticed this pain in my hip and I’ve written it off as a pulled muscle. But, last summer, while walking up a hill at Whistler, I was having major difficulty.

After vacation, my doctor sent me for an X-ray, and it turns out I have osteoarthritis. In fact, I have a lot of it. So much so, that I will need a new hip. It’s amazing what they can fix.

Here I am hobbling around in the mountain town of Canmore, Alberta.

By the way, this is where THE THURSTON HEIRLOOM is set.

I can still drive and I have one of those parking passes so I can park in the handicap spots. In the house, I get around with just a cane, but outside in the snow, I feel more secure with crutches.

These past few months, I’ve been amazed by how kind people are. They are always holding doors open for me. I go to Starbucks for a latte and people ask if they can carry my drink to my table. One barista even offered to bring my drink out to my car.

At the bank, I’ve had an employee offer to bring me a chair while I waited in line, and I’ve had a customer send me ahead of him in the line.

While Christmas shopping, I was carrying my bags out to the parking lot when a lady offered her help. She carried all my stuff to my car for me.

So, thank you, world. You’ve been a great help!

There’s a fairly long wait to get this operation and in the meantime, I need to stay active. That means walking in the water and doing Aquafit. I also do yoga. And yesterday, I tried a stationary bike for the first time. I think I’ll like that exercise.

In other news…

Fortunately, my arms still work because I am a grandmother again.

Isn’t she sweet?

She makes me count my blessings.

Calendar from bigstockphoto.com #275300788

Writing to your Future Self

Writing to your Future Self

So it’s already the second week of January, and I remain resolution-less. 

I could be making a list and I know all the usual suspects: write more, read more, eat healthy food, drink lots of water. The exercise component has shifted to yoga and floor exercises since I can’t do walking/skiing/line dancing now. Turns out my hip has severe osteoarthritis. I’d really like a new hip but time will tell.

Since I started this blog, I’ve had various approaches to the New Year’s Resolution:

  • In the beginning, 2012, I simply listed my resolutions and hoped for the best. New Year’s Resolutions.
  • In 2013, I talked about what Smart Goals are, and I made an “Un-Resolution List”.
  • For 2014, it was Setting Intentions.
  • And then in 2015, although it was not specifically about Resolutions, I looked up the Stages of Exercise.
  • I listed some . . . things to do in the New Year . . . for 2016. It was a pretty laissez-faire approach but it seemed to work as well as anything specific.
  • The next year, I think I gave up.
  • By 2018, I had found A different take on Goal Setting which is to simply not talk about it. The idea is that by stating your goal to the world, you actually decrease your chances of achieving it. The STATING gives you all kinds of approbation before you actually do anything. So, go ahead and make that goal, but don’t announce it. Not until you’ve achieved it.

This year, I’ve found a new approach. Instead of simply making that list, you talk to yourself about what you’d like to do in this new year. Then answer yourself at a later date. At that time, you might get a nudge from your Future Self to try again, or, you might see progress. Often we do make progress, but we don’t notice it because the progression is glacially slow.

Incidentally, my school of nursing motto was Persistent in Progress.

Hamilton and District School of Nursing crest

Hamilton and District School of Nursing crest


One way to talk to yourself is to journal.

That’s an ongoing thing and sometimes we don’t take the time to go back and see what we wrote. The progress, if there is any, does not stand out.

Another way to talk to yourself is to write yourself a letter.

And have it delivered to you next January. Or maybe on June 30 at that halfway point of the year. Or maybe even on this date next month.

Of course, there is an app for this. It’s called future me.

You can sign up for free. There’s also a premium option for $3 per year if you don’t want to see ads.

I think I wrote a letter to Me sometime in December. I’m pretty sure I scheduled it to send sometime in January. I wonder what I will be telling Me?

Are you a resolution maker? Do you start off with new optimism each January? Or, do you prefer to remain resolution-less? Do you think a letter from You to You might be motivating, reassuring or even slightly interesting? Will you give it a try?

little girl writing a letter to her future self from Depositphotos #59092059


Hello October!

Hello October!

Calgary is welcoming October with periods of snow and temperatures at freezing.

October weather

It should only be for a couple of days, and then we can get back to Autumn.

The trees have changed colour. Here in Alberta, the colours are mainly shades of yellow and orange. One of these years, I want to fly east in the autumn to see the fiery red maples. At any rate, even though the leaves are yellow, they have yet to fall. Hopefully, we can look forward to some mild days later in the month for leaf raking. October is for leaf raking.

October is also for ripening berries. Our mountain ash out front is loaded with berries. They will stay for much of the winter providing lots of food for the visiting Bohemian Waxwings.

Mountain ash berries for a centrepiece.

Of course, October is the time for pumpkins and pumpkin spice lattes.

pumpkin spice latte

October is for pumpkin spice lattes.

October is also time for apples. My friend’s daughter harvested local apples and made this apple cake and apple juice. It’s amazing how good freshly picked ingredients taste.

apple cake and apple juice – made from freshly harvested local apples

October is also the setting for my latest novel, WEDDING BELL BLUES. Actually, it starts in September and ends in October. A couple of days ago, the book got its first review:

I know, small print. You can read the review here. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. 🙂

WEDDING BELL BLUES is available in Print and Ebook at Amazon. It’s also available in Print at ChaptersIndigo in Canada. (Hmmm, I wonder if Chapters has put up an image for the book yet . . .)

As the cold weather approaches, I’m thinking about winter. The long, cold Calgary winter. And I’m thinking about maybe heading south this winter for a short break. I’m saving for that trip.

Here’s my Cinderella Castle piggy bank.

Cinderella’s piggy bank

Cinderella’s piggy bank

Canadian Thanksgiving is next Monday. Always the second Monday of October. Most people do Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday and then have leftovers on the Monday. I’m not quite sure what we are doing, but I can guarantee there will be pumpkin pie. And probably whipped cream.
yum!What’s your favourite part of October? Are you having turkey next Sunday or Monday? Is it snowing where you are?

pumpkin pie from Bigstockphoto #159829412