Self Isolation Day 4

….or And Then It Snowed.

Spring snow.

Sure makes it a lot easier to self isolate when there is snow on the ground. In Newfoundland they call a late spring snow, one around Paddy’s day, Sheila’s Brush. Wait, is it spring yet? What month is it anyway? IT’S ONLY MARCH! Have we had Easter yet? Did I miss it when we were migrating? And can someone explain to me how they pick the dates for Easter anyway. I’m so confused.

Today’s perch, watching the traffic. There is no traffic. A dark day in Milton.

So you might wonder what I am doing with my time. First off, I should say that self-isolation is no real hardship for me. Our property in Nova Scotia is like a teeny tiny park on the river and it is enough to just step outside onto the deck and watch the mallards courting and to take a deep breath of that clean crisp Northern air to feel revitalized. And I get my exercise going up and down the stairs looking for stuff. Seriously, I spent half the day looking for stuff: a can of collard greens that I am sure I packed to bring home (collards are as yummy as turnip tops and are the perfect pairing for barbecue ribs, thank you Lance for making barbecue ribs. Sadly we had to have them with something other than collards. Life is cruel.), my recipe for pastry which I took from its spot hanging on the fridge last fall to photocopy so I wouldn’t have to go a winter without it, (yes, I checked the photocopier), my winter boots – do I even own winter boots any more? Sigh. Otherwise the isolation is going smoothly. I have a raft of hobbies (which I am not doing), I am writing a book (on which I am not working), I have two unfinished acrylic paintings (on which I am not painting), and tools for woodcarving and strips for mat hooking and fabric for sewing and quilts for quilting and on and on.

Nope, I can’t find the focus for any of that. What am I doing? Streaming reality shows. Survivor (Not Yul!!!! Please find your way back Yul. If you can’t find your way back, please run for president.) and Lego Masters. Competitive Lego, now that’s reality tv worth watching. I am also texting with my friends and family for a large part of the day. Yesterday I was texting four people at the same time. That’s a recipe for disaster folks. I accidentally texted all my base and caustic Survivor comments to the wrong person, to a friend who doesn’t watch it. She may never look at me the same way again. Next thing you know I’ll be signing up for Facebook. (I’ve heard that reality TV is a gateway to Facebook, tell me it isn’t so ) And there’s always cooking, baking and eating. Mostly eating.

Blueberry isolation flips. What they lack in finesse they make up in flavour.

What special treats make your social isolation more tolerable?

© Judy Parsons 2020

Self Isolation Day 3

….or Nothing to See Here

By day three we were rested and caught up on caffeine and puttering about the house organizing things. We’d had eggs delivered and, many thanks to Gail, lacked for nothing. But after reading the news I got to worrying about the virus again and wished for a roll of caution tape to wrap around the house. After all, the virus could be out there sunbathing on our doorknob or our railings. I would wipe them down but as I said earlier, we didn’t buy Lysol wipes. Wonder if a good swabbing with a pickled artichoke heart would work. Anyhow, after reading a quote online I got inspired and posted this on the front door:

Well said, Hugh Laurie, well said.

I regret the all-caps of staying apart, it kind of reeks of STAY AWAY and I’m really not that pushy, but I don’t want anyone to suffer at my expense either. So far we are both fine but you never know. I have read several stories about vigilant travelers who still caught the bug. Well, not so much “caught” as I believe that word shows intent. “Came in contact with” would seem a better description or “picked up” like a nasty little hitch-hiker who hops aboard your car when you pull over to get a lemon drop from the glove box. Speaking of reading about the virus, this Maclean’s article reflects a lot of my own experience and makes some excellent points.

Otherwise day 3 was relatively unremarkable. Now excuse me, I have to watch this Youtube video called “How to Cut Your Own Hair.”

© Judy Parsons 2020

Self Isolation Day 2

…..or News From Camp-Covid

Day one of self isolation wasn’t worth writing about. It entailed a lot of sleep and unpacking and then some more sleep. By day two I had partially regained some of my mojo and so reorganized the kitchen cupboards to accommodate the hunker-down stores I brought back from Florida. Thankfully Vienna sausages stack well.

In the cupboards I found the usual array of outdated canned goods, stale crackers, baking chocolate gone white (reminiscent of a long forgotten Easter egg) and old cake mixes that will never enjoy the hot interior of the oven. There were also a few surprises. Did you know that if you leave it long enough, Carnation milk will solidify in the can. I wonder if it tastes like cream then. Shudder.

The Vet once told us that feeding this to our cat was like feeding it McDonald’s meals every night.

I also found a partial bag of cat food. It’s been at least two years since we have been in the service of cats. And please tell me

does this bag of Meow Mix expire on Oct 14, 2016 or Oct 16, 2014? Moot point I s’pose. Into the compost it goes.

Two little custard birds sitting on the shelf. Fly away Wanda, fly away Wilf.

And what’s with all the custard powder? I’ve had this so long it predates the concept of expiry dates. Somewhere in there they redesigned the can. And when was the last time I made custard? I dunno, my recall doesn’t go back that far but it is possible it came across with me from Newfoundland when I moved back in 1988. Do they still even make it? Anybody want some? I have two slightly used cans going real cheap. I’d even take a couple of rolls of toilet paper in trade.

I think there is over a hundred calories in a kiss candy. Kissing burns 6 calories so it would take at least 16 and a half kisses to cancel them out. How do you give half a kiss? Do you just use one lip?

I also found no less than 4 bags of Purity candy. I was excited about the kisses because you knows we all needs more kisses what with the new six foot rule and all.

Banana and molasses: my most and least favourite kisses.

I couldn’t find an expiry date on the bag anywhere. Oh what the heck, it can’t hurt to try one. I picked

Mmmm. rum. Mmmm, butter.

It neither tasted of rum nor butter. But it wasn’t bad. It was just nothing. I had feared it being rancid or rock hard but the texture was well preserved. I’d have to say the closest thing the flavour came to was blancmange which was short on vanilla. I’m working up to trying the banana but I think I’ll skip the coconut ones. They had an odd sort of brown juice about them.

Oh, nuts.

I didn’t know if these peanuts were left-over from last year’s Pad Thai or if I bought them for a summer party in nineteen eighty-something but things went so well with the candy kisses that I thought I’d give them a try. I implore you folks, don’t try the old peanuts. Please don’t try the old peanuts. It took four Purity kisses to get the bad taste out of my mouth and that works out to over four hundred more calories and thus minimum sixty-six kisses to work that off and, well, Lance and I aren’t getting any younger. Just sayin’. Feed them to the pigeons.

Til tomorrow

© Judy Parsons 2020

Taking Flight

… ..or ♪ It’s a Long Way to River Mersey ♫

They were testing positive just down the road in Tampa when we hunkered down to wait it out until the end of May, best case scenario, and worse case the end of June. After two weeks of self-imposed isolation our plan was looking a little sketchy so we decided to pack up the camper and drive home. Then we decided to leave the camper behind because it would really slow us down. And then, like the Israelites, we fled. Not from persecution of course, but from the dreaded Covid19. Like the Clampetts, we loaded up the truck and moved to Canadie.

And when I say loaded, I mean loaded. No, no, there wasn’t a kitchen sink but there was a breadbox (of standard breadbox size if you want to be comparing anything to it.) It’s hard to pack up all of your accoutrements and tools and a winter’s work in a hurry and I am left wondering now about some of my choices. Why for example, did I bring these?

Toilet paper? Candy eyeballs? Which one would you rather do without?

At the last get-go I was just stuffing things into cracks like a hoarder I saw last month at a storage facility. She had been standing there with the corrugated roll-up door three quarters of the way up, attempting to stuff articles of clothing into the non-existent chinks of a wall of bags and bins and loose clothing that was packed so tightly that it looked like it had been pressed into a cube by a scrap car compactor. I now understand that look on her face; panic on the verge of becoming despair because there is just too much stuff. You see, a week before we left we made a Costco run to purchase hunker-down supplies. Now, I question some of those choices as well. When the people around me were filling their carts with toilet paper and Lysol wipes I was loading up on macadamia nuts and artichoke hearts. And by the Lord Lightning, I wasn’t going to be going into the Coronavirus Apocalypse without a good stock of Vienna sausages. Anyhow, by the end of it I was cramming the truck with loose rolls of toilet paper and random pairs of socks and blue glass candy dishes Whaaat? Doesn’t everyone use a blue glass candy dish to serve their Vienna sausages? Do they know in Vienna that we named these weird tubular animal byproduct morsels after them? I digress.

We left our winter home at 5:30 in the morning on Friday. Just over 2000 miles (3219 km) later we pulled into the driveway of our summer home at 1:30 on Sunday morning (tho it felt more like late Saturday night). We had one seven hour siesta with family outside Washington DC and the remainder was driving from one gas station to the next. I’ll just share a few details of that journey:

Traffic was bizarre. In the Southern states there was just long-haul truckers, us, and eight and a half billion Quebecers driving motor homes. Once we outran the motorhomes it was smooth sailing and by the time we got to New York it was, well, just us. Later, we were the only car in the line-up at the border crossing and oh believe me, there is a God, and she whispered in that Border Agent’s ear “Please don’t make those poor people unload their vehicle, please don’t make those poor people unload their vehicle, please don’t…….”

Approaching New York City during what should have been weekend rush hour. It was downright eerie.

You have to use a lot of public washrooms between Florida and here. I shudder still to think of it. Maybe that’s why there are so many Quebecers with motorhomes – their toilets go right along with them. Too much information alert: even now at home I am having difficulty breaking the habit of hovering.

Our supply of boiled eggs (Costco size packages) could have given the proverbial loaves and fishes a run for their money. The eggs were a nice side for our egg salad sandwiches and our ham and egg breakfast sandwiches. (Thanks Mr. Mike for the breakfast sandwich maker. It came in right handy)

I will be writing a letter to Anna Burns to thank her for writing Milkman. That particular audiobook kept us entertained for many a mile. She be brilliant. Haven’t been so excited about a book since I discovered Faulkner in my first year of university. It was my lowest point when the book ran out and I had to switch to Of Mice and Men. Not a lot of humour in that one.

Some days the Canadian flag is the most beautiful sight on the planet even if it is tearing itself to shreds in thirty below zero temperatures in gale force winds. I’m not kidding, I’m sure it was that cold at the Big Stop Irving in Salisbury, New Brunswick. I’m serious. It was so cold that the politicians had their hands in their OWN pockets.

A very pleasant site, our old house in the wee hours of Sunday morning and even better, stepping inside to find the heat and lights on and the fridge stocked. Gail, you just added a few new stars to your crown. I hope we can find a way to adequately thank you.

Self-isolation trials and tribulations to follow. In the meantime, keep your fingers out of your noses and carry a six foot stick for marking your territory.

© Judy Parsons 2020

And Meanwhile Back Home…

Sean Panting says it all. Or sings it all as the case may be:

Way to sing it Sean. Snowmageddon indeed. Now, down here in my other home there is not a snowflake in sight but there is a bit of a problem with falling iguanas. Happy winter folks, thank heavens it only comes once a year.

On the 13th Day of Christmas

….. my true love gave to me:

What’s that you say, there is no thirteenth day of Christmas? No wonder I couldn’t come up with what happened on the 13th day. But tomorrow is Old Christmas day and isn’t that the last day of Christmas? No, I knows for sure that January seventh is the last day of Christmas – back in Newfoundland it was the last day for mummering and you could get rid of the last scraps of Christmas cake by giving it to the Mummers with their drink. That’s when we’d take the tree down and put Christmas back in the box. I’m so confused. Excuse me while I go off and consult Father Google, I’ve had more than enough of Christmas anyhow – in the middle of the night I opened my eyes to see that the drummers were piping, one of the nine dancing ladies was dancing with Keith Partridge to a square dance tune by one of the calling birds and a leaping lord was holding up a French hen. Guess that makes him a lifting Lord now.


© Judy Parsons 2020

p.s. Old Christmas Day has nothing to do with the 12 days of Christmas. Leave it to the Newfoundlanders to stretch Christmas out so’s they could have fourteen days of partying: from one Christmas Day to the next as it were.

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