Perpetual Sunday

From Stephanie Booth, Le dimanche perpétuel:

Je viens de faire un petit tour dans le quartier avec mes jambes et mes bâtons. Peu de monde, beaucoup de calme. J’ai toujours aimé les dimanches et les jours fériés, ici, où tout est fermé et rien ne bouge.

Cette période c’est comme un dimanche, mais tous les jours.

C’est trompeur, pourtant. En fait, cette crise n’est pas également distribuée. Elle nous touche tous, nous bouleverse tous, mais alors que certains se trouvent ralentis voire arrêtés, d’autres ne savent plus où donner de la tête. Je pense aux soignants évidemment, mais aussi aux parents télétravailleurs, aux employés des supermarchés, aux profs qui doivent du jour au lendemain apprendre à enseigner à distance (si possible autrement que “je donne des exercices, ils font, je corriger”), à tous ceux dont le revenu est en train de s’évaporer et qui doivent dare-dare trouver des solutions pour payer les employés et les charges, ou simplement remplir le frigo.

On commence à le lire, femmes et hommes ne sont pas non plus frappés équitablement. Les femmes assument la plus grande part des soins et de l’aide à autrui. (Oui je sais qu’il y a des hommes aidants, mais regardons les choses à l’échelle de la population.)

It does feel like perpetual Sunday, these pandemic days, and the particular kind of Sunday is different for every person, every family.

Conquer Anxiety and Nervousness” Adult Anxiety Program

Our family was helped greatly by the Strongest Families program in 2017, and emerged as believers in their tele-mental-health approach that allowed us to receive coaching, as a family together, at home.

If you’re an adult experiencing anxiety and nervousness, you may want to look into the Conquer Anxiety and Nervousness program that Strongest Families now offers:

This program educates adults about anxiety and guides them as they learn skills to overcome their anxiety, excessive worry and how to cope with major life stressors. This program provides adults with a manual or access to a secure website, videos, relaxation audio clips, daily anxiety tracker, a supporter guide, and weekly telephone support from a coach. Adults can receive weekly telephone coaching support through either one on one coaching, or through our group-based program with other adults who share similar challenges. This program is effective at decreasing anxiety and stress; and increasing confidence and independence.

You can self-refer, and the program seems tailor made for these times of both increased anxiety and social distancing.

Emergency Pickled Onions

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

On Saturday Oliver announced his expectation that our regular smoked salmon bagel routine be hewed to. I was able to scrounge almost everything I needed from items on hand, except for pickled onions.

What to do?

Make pickled onions!

I’d been under the impression that this would take weeks. It does not. Here is my easy recipe:

  • Put the kettle on.
  • Slice up some onions. I didn’t have any onions, so I sliced up some shallots.
  • Put the sliced onions in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let sit for a minute or two.
  • Prepare a mixture of apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt. I had no sugar, so I used molasses.
  • Put the onions in the vinegar mix and put in the fridge until cool.

Now you have pickled onions. Or, in my case, molasses-pickled shallots. And a happy child.

Bonus song to sing while making pickled onions:

Oh Oliver, you’re a funny one, with a face like a pickled onion and a nose like a fat tomato, but we still love you…

Repeat for every person in the room.

Thanks to my fellow YMCA summer day camp councillors for the memory.

Dystopian Grocery Store

Mindful of Dr. Heather Morrison’s guidance, I have avoided grocery shopping as much as possible, and had not been out to Sobeys in the last 10 days. But our staples were running low, and Oliver slept in, so I let him sleep and dashed out this morning to refill the pantry.

The first change I noticed was a disinfection station for carts and a handwashing station for people at the entrance; I did my duty and scrubbed the cart and my hands well. And then turned the “do not touch your face” dial in my brain up to maximum.

Shopping in a store with 8 foot aisles under a “stay 6 feet away from anyone” regime was tricky, but I mostly pulled it off. That I hadn’t eaten breakfast, and that I was in a heightened state of “I might not shop again for weeks” anxiety led me to buy things like a pint of winter strawberries and a bag of hemp hearts, things I normally wouldn’t. But I was generally rational otherwise. Oh, also, the tzatziki-flavoured Triscuits.

I kept my distance at the cash, and let the person in front of me check out completely before unloading my cart. Sobeys, sensibly, isn’t bagging into bags you bring yourself, so there was something of a mad dash to unload and then load. I got to scan my own Airmiles card on the big scanner; that was a thrill.

When I got home I was uncertain as to whether I needed to disinfect every package I unpacked, so I made a stab at doing so, focusing on the things most likely to have been fondled by others.

I did not buy any tempeh.

And so now we’re set at least until the first week of April.

Oliver, meanwhile, has developed what seems to be a sinus infection; if avoiding COVID-19 means he needs to sample from a buffet of non-fatal illnesses, I’m not happy, but I’ll live with it.

I appear to be on a bereaved-widower plan at our family doctor’s, as they’ve been putting me through to talk to the nurse on the phone, which has never happened before. While I’m not without parenting skills, suddenly occupying all of the family’s C-level offices means that I lack the comfort of someone else to double-check with, so I’ll take all the help I can get.