Not Getting the War Analogy

For the past year we’ve been told we’re all making huge sacrifices and are in a similar situation as those at war.  I was raised by people who lived through the second world war and I have to say, I’m not understanding that analogy at all.  When my grandparents talked about bombs falling on them, the race to the bomb shelter and the lack of food, none of that reminds me of the past year here in Kelowna.

Because I love hanging around at home I’ve barely noticed anything different going on, so if this is war, I’ll take it.  It’s politically incorrect to point out the odds of catching Covid are extremely low, so I would just say our chances of staying alive compared to those in a country at war are pretty good.

And when we hear about “all the sacrifices we’ve made” I beg people to question if that’s true.  We know healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, bus drivers and many others have made sacrifices given their exposure to the virus, however the rest of us have gone on living pretty trouble-free lives.

Pity the poor woman stuck at home with an imbecile who beats her up, kids who only eat if schools are open, or who can’t get home schooled due to lack of Internet access.  Think of the retail store or restaurant owners who put their entire life savings into the business only to see it closed and then fail entirely.

I’m just suggesting a bit of gratitude would go a long way at this point in time.  So while we’re told there’s pent-up demand for buying stuff, why not give that money to charities who can do something good with it?  As you may have guessed, I’m a monthly contributor to the SPCA and whenever there’s a huge dog seizure and they need extra money for the poor animals, I send it.

Here’s what can put a person off giving.  I was putting my cart away at Superstore when a young man around 20 years of age approached me and I said to him, “Do you want money?”  He looked terrible, and so I asked if he had a place to live and he said he did.

I opened my wallet and unzipped the coin compartment and grabbed all the change in there, which was maybe three toonies, a couple of loonies and some other change, so maybe around $8.00 to $10.00 in total.  Unfortunately the bill compartment was visible to the kid, who said “Can you give me a twenty?”

I said “no, I can’t, sorry.”  I thought wow, that’s a true millennial for ya, eh?  I don’t want to disparage them, however I have two of my very own so I’m familiar with their modus operandi.  It usually involves some type of an attack on Boomers and all the mess we’ve made of everything, including the price of houses.  It ends when I shrug and walk away.

I did spend money on a new fridge as the one I have requires a bowl to catch the water that drips out of the freezer, so I feel it’s okay to get a new one.  Meat tastes a bit funky given I don’t think it’s ever solidly frozen, so it’ll be a treat not to risk salmonella at every meal.

So maybe I am at war, only with the junk that I own.

Fab Winter for Walking

The best thing about covid has been the people I walk with, and thanks to the mild winter the amount of walking has been great.  Today it’s sunny and warm and gives one the feeling spring truly is about to arrive like a tuxedo cat after a low-flying bird.

Justin turned one and is just taking his first few steps.  Actually the very first steps on his own were this past weekend as they went to visit his great grandmother.  Mom has the ability to coax excellent performances out of anyone.  Even a baby.

People I’ve kept up with thanks to walking include Marie, Kathy, Margaret, Patricia and Sharon.  Shopping at thrift has given me the opportunity to spend time with dear Elsa.  So I pretty much haven’t noticed any mental illness from covid isolation.  Some mental illness, yes, but not from that.

Another fab thing I’ve done is reconnect with people I lost track of over the years, such as Helen Jmaeff who used to live beside my grandparents’ house.  We both loved the Beatles and I remember going over there and hanging out while we listened to 45’s.  Look it up, young people.

I continue to clean out mom’s house every two weeks when I go with her food, and last weekend Luke and Jan went and loaded up the back of his truck with garbage from the garage.  The only sad part of that is Luke’s take on it, to him anything old is garbage.  He proudly said he’d thrown out a bunch of tools.

But we’re soldiering on as mom has an awful lot of stuff in her house.  She says she’s lived in the house for 76 years and has never thrown anything out, and she’s right.  I took out an enormous pile of knitting and crocheting magazines from the 1960’s and ‘70’s.  Now I’m a hoarder as they’re pristine and it seems a shame to give them to thrift as they could well throw them out.

Luke wants the hide-a-bed out of the basement so mom said go ahead, fill your boots.  He’ll need a chain saw to cut it in half and then somehow get it up the basement stairs as the door it came through 40 years ago has been permanently shut.  The stairs are hilariously steep and very narrow as they were built before people gave a damn about broken necks.

I’ve got a few seedlings growing in trays on the windowsill, and they’ll go into the greenhouse next month when nighttime temperatures warrant it.  Last fall I planted a whole bed full of garlic so I’m hoping I get a good crop this year.  I’ve enjoyed having the frozen tomatoes because last year’s crop was particularly tasty which is now a rarity among tomatoes.

Iris is minding her own business on a kitchen chair as I type and now George has come onto the table and slapped down at her until she had to disturb her afternoon nap.  My cats have always regarded a table just as though it was a bed, couch or chair, which is disconcerting to some people.  My reply?  Don’t come to my house if you don’t like cats on a table.

Another benefit of covid – people don’t come over to see how eccentrically I live.

Unusual Things People Do

I’m still without a cell phone which causes many people to raise their eyebrows in alarm as it’s so unusual.  But I continue to monitor those around me and find their behaviour turns me off the devices.  One friend has the phone beside her at all times and though she tries to act like we’re interacting she’s not able to pry her eyes off it as I catch her in sideways glances.

Another friend cannot stop photographing each and every step we take, every bite we eat, every drink, and these are immediately sent out to whoever.  Then another friend likes to talk on the phone so even if we’re shopping and it rings, she answers it and speaks at length.

Here’s more unusual behaviour.  Denis has sold his house two blocks from the lake in Kelowna, and has bought a small old dump of a house in the town of Midway, population five hundred.  He’s going to move about a hundred miles from here at the end of April ha, and has a one-year-old grandson, so who does that?

And you may recall Luke and Jan are residing in his grotty basement, so they’re moving, and guess where?  If you said Hall Road, you’d be close, as they’ve decided to move in with my mom in Osoyoos.  It seems both children cannot live on their own and must bunk down with a parent or grandparent.

Mom’s pretty much over the moon with joy and excitement about Luke’s plans as she’s turning 96 in two weeks so she’s looking forward to the security of having people there.  I think it’ll be a wonderful experiment to see who drives who nuts first.  Both Jan and mom have been known to have a stubborn streak.

Another unusual choice was the white couch I bought for the living room, and which immediately got paw prints on it when Frieda decided to jump up with muddy feet.  As my luck with thrift stores would have it, I found the perfect light brown sofa cover and now I can enjoy the couch plus the four pets.

As you may recall I got Frieda last year and she was finally spayed two days ago.  My vet is so nice and such a competent person the dog came home in great shape, however she said don’t let the dog jump onto furniture or go up or down stairs for four days.  Unfortunately, it being Frieda, by Day Two she was on everything, refusing to listen to my commands to get and stay down.

To kill time the other day I thought why not go through the bathroom drawers and cull things I don’t use.  I was amazed by the amount of products I own, and how I really don’t need to buy another lotion, toner, cleanser or moisturizer for years.  As with gifts, it’s always best for me to shop in my own home whenever I think I need anything.

And of course, cleaning out is the theme at mom’s as she prepares for Luke and Jan’s arrival.  Every time I go we clean out another bunch of drawers and I take masses of things to thrift, and of course some has to go to the dump.  Mom’s so hilarious in that she says everything should go to thrift, at which point I explain a stained table cloth or a moth-eaten sweater aren’t going to sell well when new items are dirt cheap.  It’s a learning curve for all.

Dry Anything Doesn’t Work For Me

I admire friends and family members who do Dry November, and now Dry January, but for me it simply doesn’t work.  My great worry is that life might end some day, and I’ll have wasted my time on temperance when I could’ve had a much more pleasant time.  With this stupid Covid stuff as well as the normal boredom of a Canadian winter, alcohol is pretty much de rigueur.

In a normal year, Margaret and I would be ga ga over our impending trip to the Yucatan, but this year we’re left with riots, impeachments and pandemics to placate us.  It’s better than nothing, and I thank God we live in the age of the Internet for instant news.

Last week I went to the hairdresser and told her to cut the hair short, which she did.  I now have hair about four inches in length.  It’s a lot better regarding the curl, but I do that funny double take every time I catch sight of my mannish head whenever I pass a mirror.  Boredom leads to strange things.

Won’t you be surprised when I finally announce I have well water?  I have the well, but now I need the pipes to connect it to the house and to my irrigation box.  Thinking about it gives me the Willies because my place is covered in ghastly asphalt (done decades ago before people knew it was an environmental blight) and I imagine the trenching that’s going to occur.

However one interesting way I’ve found to deal with thoughts like that, besides the cocktails, is watching You Tube documentaries about us all being in a computer simulation.  Actually these programs work best in conjunction: cocktail plus You Tube = some minding-blowing stuff that you forget by the next morning.

Did you love Lady Gaga at Biden’s Inauguration?  I was absolutely crazy for her performance because I love that kind of drama when she sang ‘and the flag was still there’ pointing to the American flag.  It makes a Canadian sniffle from that old fashioned US sentimentality.

Like much of the world I yearn for that old US sentimentality, but it seems to be a fight for them to keep their democracy at this point.  Say what you will, I believe our system works best because we don’t have a two-party system.  Remember when the Conservatives were reduced to two seats?  That’d never happen in the US which is a pity.

I ordered a fridge from Rona in August and was told it’d come in November due to delays from, guess what, Covid.  Then they called in November and said it’d be here in February.  I phoned today and they said oopsies, that fridge has been discontinued.  I said why on Earth didn’t someone let me know?  Needless to say, I cancelled the order and will shop elsewhere.

I e mail mom every morning and she then phones to say she’s alive.  Then I phone around 4:00 to see how she is, and these calls can go on.  If I didn’t have a Caesar in my hand for these calls, I simply wouldn’t be able to handle them.  And because they go on November, January or whenever, you can clearly see how my life and the dry life just aren’t a good match.

Thank God for U.S. Politics

If you’re interested in politics, I bet like me, you thought oh no, once Biden’s elected that’s it for anything of note to occur in the U.S.  Aren’t we all laughing at ourselves now?  I’ve become one of those news-consuming zombies roving from You Tube clip to You Tube clip, searching for the juiciest piece of meat I can find. 

And thank God for that as there’s not an awful lot to do.  Yesterday I raked pine needles blown down from a windstorm and thought, wow, that was a busy day.  Even though there’s not a hint of winter here, I mostly stay inside pretending because it’s January, that’s fine.

I got a nice colouring book and set of felt pens for Christmas so have been spending hours a day at it, choosing colour combos and trying hard to stay within the lines.  The life of the retired person, during a pandemic, in winter is a toughie to embellish.

Last week when I visited mom she asked me to go downstairs to check and see if everything was okay.  I went down and noticed the root cellar door was open and there was the sound of water running.  I turned on the light and saw a tap that was left in the on position, dumping water down the dirt wall causing a minor mudslide.

This disgusting and grotty room has freaked me out since childhood, and I really wish mom would find a way of getting rid of it.  She likes to patiently explain that seventy years ago she had no fridge, so that’s why it was there.  And I usually reply but now that we actually have a fridge, must we also have this dirt sided room in the house?

And it being Osoyoos and all, for some reason the exterior irrigation system’s pipes are turned off inside this room.  How someone deemed this to be a sensible idea I do not know, but we’re kind of stuck with it, probably for another seventy years.

Last fall I ordered some giant dahlias from Ferncliff Gardens in Mission so that’s something positive upon which to focus.  As well the people who’ll do the piping from my well to the house are coming tomorrow to measure and figure it all out, so that’ll be exciting as the new season begins.

Today I had some fun in that I watched baby Justin while his mom went out and his dad was busy with work.  He’s now 11 months old and so adorable and funny.  But my God that’s an easy baby compared to my own two.  I’d given him a few pieces of orange in his high chair and was making myself some toast when I turned to see he’d fallen asleep.

I carried him downstairs and put him into his crib and he didn’t move a muscle.  People often say skipping straight to grandparenthood would probably be best, but it just doesn’t work.

You may recall I was hoping to get a standard dachshund puppy, but they’re now $2800 so I decided if I love the breed so much I should give back and adopt an adult that’s been rejected.  God knows I’ve had difficult dogs who I raised from puppyhood, so how much worse could it be?

Hoping for a Better Year Ahead

A lot of interesting things happened to me in 2020, aside from the usual pandemic.  As you may recall I was hit by a flying truck tire, many things such as the washing machine and built-in vacuum broke, and I got Frieda the menacing dachshund.  My only sibling died and I became a grandmother for the first time.  It’ll be a while before we forget 2020.

But that’s last year, and so I want to focus on what wonderful things may occur in this new one.  Because of how traumatizing each month of last year was, I haven’t bothered with a single resolution because life has a way of slapping those out of our hands.

Sadly I ate like a horse over the holidays and so that’s one area that needs correcting.  Right now I’m staring at a half-eaten bag of chips and recalling last night’s entire box of After Eight mints.  And all this after watching a program about the dangers of sugar to the old liver.

One area of tremendous joy has been a sewing project.  I bought two curtain panels for $4.00 each at Value Village the other month but they were about six inches too short.  Recently I found a complimentary fabric and decided to lengthen the panels by sewing a border onto the bottom.

To make everything look all bespoke-ish and not like I lengthened too short curtains, I covered some throw pillows and the seat of a bamboo chair with the same fabric and it looks ritzy and nice.  The joy of accomplishment.

On Monday Denis is coming to take down the outside Christmas lights and I’ll get rid of the tree.  On Thursday Leon’s Furniture is delivering a couch I ordered a couple of months ago.  It was adorable as they kept phoning and wondering when I’d like to take possession of it.

In a call about a month ago, the poor woman asked in a plaintive voice, “Is it because of Christmas you don’t want it delivered?” and I said yes plainly it was.  In fact I recall telling the woman receiving the couch at this time would push me right over the edge.  It being the Year of Covid, she didn’t flinch and said fine, no problem.

However a few days ago when they called they did the old “Your couch is sitting in our warehouse” IE implying it’s in their way, so I said fine, deliver it.  Once the tree’s out, that’s exactly where the couch will go, right under the large windows.  I’m quite excited about it now.

It’s kind of an off-white which is a bit dangerous with the animals, so I figure when I’m here alone (99% of the time) I can covered it with a blanket.  But I also want to get throw pillows to tie into the existing rattan couch, so that’ll be an excellent project as I scour the thrift stores for either the pillows ready made, or a fabric to cover them with.

And that folks is how tiny my life is after the shocks of 2020.  I think it might be best to think small, and if nothing bad happens, hey, it’s an excellent year.  Margaret and I are heartbroken not to be off to the Yucatan as we love to do, but that’s okay.  Once we’re all released from this we’ll enjoy it all the more, just as I will do when the couch arrives.

Almost Christmas

Because I’ve learned the hard way, I never enter a room prior to turning on the light.  When you own small dogs, that kind of reckless choice can mean a foot caked in dog feces, or a wet sock.  Neither is nice.  I just mention this as I very nearly went into my guest bedroom for something without turning on the light, and went whoa, better be safe with Frieda living in this house.

Margaret came over for dinner last night and I said to her ya know, I’m gonna miss covid.  Next year if I don’t want to do something, what can I say, covid?  And the person will go but with the vaccine it’s all safe to do.  Then what?  I won’t have the convenience of replying to things I don’t want to do, “um ya know, covid”, and they nod in agreement.

Now that Christmas is very nearly upon us, I’ve discovered that I wasted an awful lot of time and now have to shop in desperation for the last few things, and also start baking.  Yes, start.  Most people have completed all their baking, but not here.  Why?  Covid.

Kidding.  I’m just a lazy, procrastinating slob.  But speaking of lazy, Nicky said he wanted used cross country skis, so I went on-line and researched and found a pair with boots that might work, however the person said you really must try them on.  I told Nicky who said he found it unnecessary to try this stuff on, and said to forget it!

The family’s certainly setting new low bars for covidness.  I think the kid blew it, as he could’ve said “covid” as the reason he couldn’t possibly take the time to try on the boots and skis.  I still would’ve been mad, but maybe less so.

Do you see how we’ll miss covid next year?  Every single thing we won’t want to do will involve thinking of some convoluted reason.  Life will be harder.

Louie had surgery on his anus to have a small tumour removed and is in good spirits as a result.  I was worried about the anaesthesia as on two prior occasions, albeit with a different vet, he came home a dishrag and remained like that for five days.  This time he came home feeling great so I was quite relieved.

The cats have insisted on bringing large rats into the house, sometimes dead, sometimes not.  The other morning one was hiding behind the piano which I then moved and snap crackle pop brave old Louie had grabbed the rat and bit and shook it to death.  It was too large to pick up with a paper towel as I would’ve vomited, so needed to get a shovel from outside.

More racket ensured as Frieda was hell bent on knocking down all the plants to get behind the credenza in the entrance.  I kept telling her to stop it saying there’s nothing there as I thought she was just smelling the old dead rat but no.  Soon after there was screaming and a cacophony of noise and plop, another dead rat thanks to our hero Louie.

You’ll recall I had the dead Stellar’s Jay sitting in my toilet a few months ago, and now the rats, so I hope the cats will move on to a new, smaller target for their nightly fun.  Now besides turning on lights to avoid dog messes, I have to be wary of rat carcasses.  Oh well, it’s all part and parcel of 2020 isn’t it?  Have a Merry rat free Christmas!

More Tense Times

It’s quite the year, isn’t it?  Now the American president is refusing to accept the election results, and the rest of the world is left scratching their heads.  We thought the election was the end of the idiocy, but nopers, this guy just keeps on coming with stupid remarks.

But of course we all secretly thank him because he, along with bright moments like Season Four of The Crown, and egg nog showing up in the stores, is what’s keeping our brains from drying up completely during this pandemic.  We may all rail against Trump and his autocratic musings, but hey, in January we’ll be back to observing a steady hand at the wheel, and where’s the fun in that?

Today of all days I’m trying particularly hard to remain in the present moment, as tomorrow Louie has to have surgery on his anus.  A sensitive area, to be sure.  The vet examined him and said a small tumour there has to come out, so I’ve had to make my peace with the fact the dog’s going to have a bad day or two.

The worst of it will be in the morning when there’s no food, a most shocking outcome for a dachshund.  After that comes the terror of being dropped at a busy vet hospital on an empty stomach, his mother nowhere in sight.  That’s the part that I have to try to remain calm about.

It seems 2020 wants to keep handing out the bad news until the very last day.  But compared to poor people who’ve lost their businesses or their elderly family due to covid, it’s not a lot to complain about.  Imagine those who couldn’t be with a family member at the end of their lives; it’d be unconscionable for me to carry on over the dog.

And yet.  Fortunately I’ll have Frieda and the cats to hang with, and my pal Marie’s coming over with her guitar and we’re going to set up the microphone I bought but was too afraid to try.  It comes in a box, and may need some batteries or something else even more scary so I’ve just left it alone, waiting for someone brave to come and help.

Because we live in a low covid zone, our lives don’t seem as affected as those in the Lower Mainland, which is lucky.  Today I went to Value Village as it’s 30% off for seniors on Tuesdays, and it was pretty full.  It was a great day, as I got some curtains for my bedroom for $8.00 for the pair.

I figured since we’re all running around with masks anyway, this’d be the perfect time to get Invisalign to straighten my lower teeth.  Have you noticed Rudy Guiliani’s lower teeth?  Mine aren’t quite that bad, but why wait until they are?  It’ll cost a fortune, but what the hell, I’m not going to Mexico in February.  Sob.

I can report I’ve written 18 pages of my memoir of the fruitcake business, and man, is it ever hard.  Did you know a memoir has to be written in scenes, just like a novel?  Me neither, but I’m learning a lot about writing scenes and hope I can master them as allegedly one needs about 60 of them.  My God.

Being the lazy slob that I am, days go by when I don’t go anywhere near it, and then to make myself feel better I say it’s fine, we’re in a pandemic and we have to take it easy on ourselves.  It works like a damn whenever I want to feel fine with doing nothing.

Tense Times

One week from tomorrow is the American election, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ga ga with anticipation and hope for a happy result.  In Canada when there’s a huge early voter turnout it means the public is voicing their displeasure at the current government and a change is coming.  Let’s hope that’s what the early voting in the USA means, too.

In the meantime, the year 2020 continues to surprise.  On Friday we had heavy snow, which is the earliest I’ve ever seen in my thirty years at this house.  I had to get Nicky to haul the fig tree into the garage in a blizzard which must be a shock to a Mediterranean plant.

My fridge is old and ready to break so I ordered a new one at Rona about a month ago and they said delivery would occur around November third.  Today some nice person phoned to say nopers, it’s now coming February third.  I said to him, ya know, given all that’s occurring this year, I’m neither upset nor surprised.

The City has now phoned three times regarding the water meter they want to install, and I keep telling them one day I’ll get a well.  Now that it’s snowed I contacted the drilling company and if they can’t do it until spring (why am I not shocked at that) then the City will just have to wait.

A few days ago I spent an hour and a half clowning around with baby Justin who’s now just over eight months old, so he’s crawling and pulling himself up to standing whenever and wherever he can.  Of course he’s brilliant and adorable, so it’s a nice way to spend time in the Covid, snowy, no-product-delivery days we’re in.

I performed all of my fall rituals: I put ripe figs into jars with brandy syrup, took out the dahlias for winter storage and planted early tulips.  I filled an entire bed in the vegetable garden with garlic cloves, so I’m hoping for a bounty next July.  Less fun was hauling the hoses into the garden shed and pulling out the muddy stakes I used for the tomatoes.

On the good news side of things, I decided to make a very serious attempt at writing the memoir of my time in the fruitcake business.  I found old notes of when I tried to do this in the past, so it’s obviously something I must do.  I’m fortunate I have all my blogs from those years as well as the newspaper and magazine articles, all of which will be needed to jog my memory.

Yesterday Margaret and I went to the farmer’s market held at the East Kelowna Community Hall.  A nice woman had cards laid out, and we could pick one to get some advice about our futures.  My card said “New Career” and she explained it means any new project, and I said oh my God that’s so wonderful because I’ve just started writing my memoir.

Steve MacNaull, a super nice journalist formerly of the Kelowna Daily Courier, wrote such a nice post about me three years ago mentioning my blogsite which I somehow had missed.  I copied and pasted it into my Nuttier than a Fruitcake Facebook page so you can read it there.  In any case, you need to watch that space for news of the memoir’s progress, should there by any.

Prepping for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanks to having my car returned to me after nearly seven weeks, I’m independent once again.  I spent the last few days picking up those Thanksgiving items one needs such as Brussels sprouts and yams, and I found a nice small ten-pound turkey.

I’m making the usual pumpkin pie but I wanted chocolate as well and found some decent items to add to our dinner.  One can never consume too much sugar at a family event. 

My favourite thing to do in the evenings as I watch TV is to slam back pounds of keto chocolate delights I make for myself.  Just now I made keto peanut butter cups and those will be one of the highlights of this evening’s activities.

These activities include making cocktails and watching shows like Modern Family and Schitt’s Creek.  I’ve recently started colouring again.  In other words, a very good use of my time.

Another excellent use is baking and cooking, which I do every day.  I had my group of women, which I call The Crones over the other day for a birthday party, and they were happy with my efforts.  I didn’t tell them, but I tried making an angel food cake with gluten-free flour and it was a mess which I had to throw out, and then thank God I had an angel food cake mix in the pantry.

I’m still waiting to see if I can actually get a well, so in the meantime I just have to wait as there’s not a thing I can do about it.  As I said in the last blog, we’re waiting for the shorter truck to become available given the area where I can drill is so small.

Most people are very perplexed as to why a person would disconnect from the City of Kelowna’s water system and pay to have a well installed.  I just have this crazy dream wherein water is so expensive people stop watering, and yet here it’ll be a verdant oasis where I can grow masses of dahlias and garlic and run barefoot throughout, dogs in tow.

In the meantime my hanging basket is looking great, as are the containers of snap dragons which I grew from seed.  Now I have so many ripe figs it’s not possible to eat them all so I have to figure out what else one does with them.  Fun!

I realize without tap dancing or singing lessons I have to make my own fun this fall and winter, so feel very glad I began the habit of meeting friends for hour-long walks and talks.  That’s been such a nice aspect of Covid.  Once the smoke cleared October was really sunny and warm so that’s made walking pleasant and appealing.

Marie figured out the mall is unlocked before regular hours for mall walkers, so that’ll be a great destination for truly cold and snowy days.  I found a couch at Leon’s Furniture which I bought, so walking in the mall can be a bit of a danger as well.  Just so you’re aware.

It should be an interesting Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow evening with Denis and the kids, as Luke decided he and Jan should sell the condo and move in with Denis.  They’ll be coming over here after a full day of packing and unpacking so the moods of all will be fascinating to observe.