How are we all doing?
In years to come, our grandchildren (or our grandchildren’s children) may ask, “What did you do in the pandemic, Grandma?
Tell us a COVID-19 story, Grandpa.” The coronavirus has swept into our lives like an avalanche, a force majeure, and
changed everything. Here’s what a few of us are doing to cope in these unprecedented times.
It was a really good plan – an old Spanish market, bourbon and beignets, a close group of family and friends. This was the wedding that was supposed to happen before COVID- 19 crashed the party. Our son and his fiancé had planned to get married on March 20 in New Orleans, now one of the worst hot spots in the U.S.
Reluctantly, yet with grace and honesty, they postponed until late fall and spoke with every guest. One of many disappointments to befall our time. It does, however, give everyone more time to practice their dance moves and prepare to double-down on the celebration when it finally happens.
Carol MacLauchlan and Watson Gale
My Seriously No Name book club had a decision to make: to meet or not? Escalating restrictions plus barely-contained fears quickly overtook the question.
The club‘s current focus on immigration hadn’t yielded many laughs. That fact, coupled with self-isolation and bad news, could have derailed discussion of Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, a relentless poetic exposé of our country’s shameful treatment of Japanese Canadians. But no! Having weathered 20+ years together, group members embraced the technology of the moment. Without glitches, its nine women on ZOOM screen succeeded in reviewing the novel before turning to challenges of the day. Seeing each other face-to-face-to-face gave them a much-needed respite and boost. The main downside? Only one person could speak at a time!
I am a self-employed mother of three married to a civil servant who is working long hours from home. Some might think: “You’ve got this, you are already working at home and balancing kids and a career.” The thing is, I’m an extrovert who now has to be anti-social. I have to look after the kids on my own so my husband can work, cook healthy meals and homeschool kids at different levels of learning. Sometimes I wish I’d get COVID-19 just to get a break from it all! Luckily, that’s a fleeting thought, and I am simply thankful we are still healthy.
Mother of Three (name withheld)
Glebe neighbours! Appreciate COVID-19 frontline workers by making some joyful noise Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Get out your pots, pans, tambourines! Come out to your front doors, windows, balconies, porches and let’s celebrate together, at a safe distance!
Zoom is a good platform for virtual gatherings. So far I have used it to host a book club meeting and an extended family dinner with all of us in our own homes eating the same thing – macaroni. There is a 40-minute time limit for gatherings of three or more, but you can schedule another meeting immediately after. Go to zoom. us and click Sign up for free. Follow the instructions to create an account and schedule a new meeting. Most of the default options are fine, but be sure to turn on Host and Participant Video (the default is off). When you click Save, the auto-generated email to participants includes a meeting link. For first timers, clicking the link will trigger a download of the Zoom app. By the way, our book this month was Antoine St. Exupéry’s The Little Prince.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit, Oresta Korbutiak had to close Oresta, her organic skin-care confectionery in the Glebe, and her two other locations in Hintonburg and New Edinburgh. But Oresta got right back to business – she decided to do something good for our community. For 14 consecutive days, she ran an online auction on her Facebook page and Instagram to help agencies that support vulnerable groups. Each day, Oresta donated some of the wonderful esthetics products she sells. Bidders were told which agency would receive the money raised that particular day. You could bid every day, or you could bid just to support the agency of your choice. In total, $4,650 was raised to help 14 charities, including local food banks, homeless shelters and centres aiding women and children. One day, Oresta’s husband, artist Christopher Griffin, offered one of his paintings for the auction. Christopher will be continuing his support by auctioning a painting every Thursday on his Facebook page. The money raised will go to the Ottawa Food Bank. His auction can be accessed at @griffinartstudio. Kudos to Oresta and Christopher for doing so much to help!
I am knitting my very first pair of socks, something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. All good until the pattern instruction “shape instep.” After doing and undoing it a few times, I googled a YouTube video and, working along with the hands on the screen, conquered the shaping of the instep! Hurray!
The voice behind the hands explained that it was easier for her to move from left to right for a particular operation, maybe because she was right handed, or, she said with a chuckle, “maybe because I’m American and I like to see things move from left to right.” Politics and knitting? I wonder if Trump got a pair of her socks.
Today I start the “instep decrease.” Wish me luck.
Glebe soldiers fought in the two World Wars. Glebe healthcare workers are now fighting on the frontlines against COVID-19. Us “civilians” are being asked to stay home with family, food and Netflix. Not much of a sacrifice, really. So let’s adopt a new motto: “On My Couch For My Country.”
In this time of crisis, I thank Bhat Boy for his Glebe jigsaw puzzle. A Christmas present a few years back, it was slowly assembled on a small table in our dining room. We took it to Norway when we moved there for a few years, thinking it would be fun to do during the long winter nights. That never happened, and it came back with us last year, long dormant in its box. Until coronavirus and self isolation. The puzzle is once again out of its box and back on that same table. And a good thing too. Our youngest daughter, Sophie, self isolated for 14 days after returning from Greenland and Denmark, eating room-service dinners in her third-floor bedroom while hooked up with the rest of the family via a WhatsApp video link. Once liberated, the puzzle didn’t stand a chance. But she’s had to contend for space with her parents who are addicted to hovering over the multi-coloured pieces until – aha! – another one bites the dust. It’s a challenge to manage physical distancing as we rush in to triumphantly insert another piece!
My husband John has decided to listen to all of his CD and vinyl collection, from Abba to Zevon. He’s in the B’s now and has rediscovered some gems and some “why did I ever buy that” selections. I’d guess we’re on CD 30 of about 300, and he has even more LPs. With all that great sound, the time was right to pull out the amazing “Glebe by Bhat Boy” jigsaw puzzle from a few Christmases ago. And I have been desperately missing yoga practice at Adi Shesha – I am so grateful that one of our wonderful teachers has videotaped two very Zen sessions and promises more.