Don’t it always seem to go …

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got
Till it’s gone?”
– Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

This post was written in response to daily prompts provided by Jibber Jabber with Sue for May  9th (time), May 7th (create) and May 5th (celebrate)

There was a time, just eight weeks ago, when I could get into my car and drive to work. I could go to the movies or to a restaurant or to any of my favourite stores.  I could get together with friends for dinner, brunch or whenever our little hearts desired.  And then one day in March, that all changed.

I could (and do) feel sorry for myself (on a regular basis) for all the things that are absent in my life. And those things go beyond shopping and eating out. My mother is in a nursing home and we haven’t been allowed to visit since lock down. It’s a worry because the situation in nursing homes here in Quebec is bad. Very bad. COVID-19 is roaring through some of them like wild fire and striking down our most vulnerable. I could go on, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is quite the opposite.

“You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone” is a phrase we’ve all heard. But  COVID-19 really rammed its meaning home because it stole so many things we take for granted from us. Some days, though,  I want to stand up to COVID-19 in my own, small way. So I try to create a state of mind where I celebrate the many things I do have. Because now in the back of my mind always lurks the question:  Will they still be there in 8 weeks? 10? A year?

It won’t be easy, and I won’t succeed every day, but here in no particular order are some things I am grateful for:

  • My entire family is healthy and, to date, there are no cases of the coronavirus in my mother’s nursing home.
  • I am not alone; my husband and I are going through this together. And while this forced quarantine has huge potential for creating conflict for many couples and families, it’s done the opposite. It’s brought us closer.
  • I still have a home and my fridge is still fully stocked.
  • I am working from home and so grateful to have a job to keep my mind busy.
  • All my friends are healthy and we connect via Zoom, Facebook in entirely different and creative ways

Are you in a place where you can feel grateful? Or are you in the angry, frustrated stage? Both are fine and normal, or so I’m told.

National Chocolate Day and other silly but fun days

I was so excited when I came across a Facebook post that said today was National Chocolate Day! I am not a big junk food lover but I do have two serious weaknesses:
1) Potato chips – plain only please! Don’t mess with a good thing by adding vinegar, ketchup, BBQ seasonings or anything else. Potato chips are delicious just the way they are.
2) CHOCOLATE! Same deal. Don’t add raisins, nuts or flavouring. Chocolate is perfect just the way it is.

It’s silly, I know, to get excited about a day dedicated to chocolate. But there are so many other silly “national days” out there that a day about chocolate seems perfectly normal. Here are a few:

National Rubber Ducky Day (January 13th)
According to Sesame Street, January 13th marks the birthday of Rubber Ducky, Ernie’s bathtub toy. 

Spunky Old Broad’s Day (February 1st) I kind of like this one!
This day exists to give all Spunky Old Broads (S.O.B.) a day to recognize their importance, and to celebrate themselves and their accomplishments.

Something on a Stick Day (March 28th)
This day celebrates foods we love to eat – that just happen to come on a stick. Okay … if you say so …

National No Housework Day (April 7th) I can get behind this one!
Absolutely no sweeping, dusting, laundry, dishes and all the other items that fall into the housework category are to be done on this day.

National Lumpy Rug Day (May 3rd)
Really? That’s all I have to say.

National Selfie Day (June 21st)
Isn’t every day selfie day?

Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day (July 27th)
It’s a real thing. Honest.

National Wiggle Your Toes Day (August 6th)
This is supposed to be an excellent day to let your tootsies see the daylight and indulge in some public wiggling adventures.  I call that summer.

National Ampersand Day (September 8th)
I have no words …

Plush Animals Day (October 28th)
If you have stuffed animals, today is the day to show them some love.

National Men Make Dinner Day (1st Thursday in November)
Why didn’t I know about this before?

Humbug Day (December 21st)
Stress of the holidays already getting to you? This is your day to let your inner Scrooge out.

Honour, Remember, Celebrate

Yesterday was beautiful, hot and sunny, but without the humidity that has clung to the air like a clammy, unwanted shroud for weeks. It was the first day of my summer vacation and everything looked clear and sharp.  It felt like the best day ever.

I met up with a very good friend and we meandered down the streets of a local village. We browsed and poked through shops, admiring some of the beautiful things. We also laughed at silly things like greeting cards, cushions and signs for the home with sayings like “This wine is making me awesome!” Or, “You had me at Merlot.” They say laughter is the best medicine.

We stopped at a café and bought espresso coffees, with frothy, steamed milk and chocolate sprinkles on top. Then we really splurged, because why not? We bought a slice of coffee cake each. Hers was chocolate chip, mine cranberry orange. No cake or coffee ever tasted so good.

We took our treats to the green space by the lake and sat at a picnic table to eat, drink and catch up. The sun covered the lake like a blanket of shimmering crystals and we both sat on the same side of the table in the shade of a big, beautiful tree so we could see it. It was the most beautiful sight.

Yesterday, I made a conscious effort to appreciate all the good things in my life because I never know when I might be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like the victims of the latest mass shootings in Ohio and Texas were.  I know it’s not a state of mind that I can sustain. Time has slowly eroded tragedies like Colombine, the Dawson College shooting in Montreal, the Bataclan and Charlie Hebdo in France, Christchurch in New Zealand, even 911, from our collective memories. Until it happens again or until media plucks them out again at milestone anniversaries.

Yesterday the company of a good friend and Mother Nature smiling benevolently down on us made it easy for me to be thankful.  I can’t change gun control, cure mental illness or eradicate hate from anyone’s heart. But until I figure out what, if anything, I can do,  yesterday I chose to honour those whose lives were cut short by celebrating mine.