Posted in current events, family, grandkids, health and wellness, loreeebee.ca, mental health

Introverts still have the advantage

photo credit to Andrea Piacquadio on pexels.com

This article was posted way back in April when the COVID pandemic lockdowns were new to us, reposted today in frustration that most of it still applies…

Introverts have such an advantage in this COVID-19 turmoil and the isolation, quarantine, and social distancing guidelines it has spawned.  So much so that I find myself wishing I was more introverted.

I never realized before just how much of an extrovert I am.  Or perhaps it’s the strict rules we have been instructed to live by that I bristle at.  I never have been good at someone telling me what I can and cannot do, or when I can do them.  I am getting lots done, things I have been procrastinating about forever, but not on my own terms.

I am missing the social interaction we take for granted that enriches our daily lives.  Whether it’s chatting with neighbours, meeting friends for lunch or coffee, or stopping into our favourite stores.  I miss the actions and all of the people that make them so special.

I miss my grandchildren so much, and their parents too of course.  The sunny smiles, hugs, and laughter from the children and the amusing anecdotes their parents share with us are what makes my world go round, usually.  My world feels like it has turned upside down, with me holding my breath until it rights itself.

Compared to others, my life is relatively good.  My family is safe and healthy. My landscaping business may get a late start this season, but my freelance writing can fill in the extra time.  And, my own gardens may get some extra TLC.

This extrovert is just impatient for this nightmare to be over.  In the meantime, perhaps I should try channeling my inner introvert so I might enjoy the few things left we are allowed to do.

As an update, my gardening business did resume in May, although I lost several clients as they were either working from home and able to tackle their gardens themselves, or had to give up my services due to budget constraints. My own gardens did indeed benefit from the extra attention as suspected, although they generated more expenses than income. I was not able to pick up as many freelance writing projects as anticipated, again mostly due to clients’ reduced budgets.

Nine months later, memories of 2020 became a poem in a recent post. Many things remain the same or have evolved, been reinvented, or reinstated, but some have changed. Some in a positive way and others not so positive.

The judgement, finger-pointing, blaming, and ugliness has ramped up to an all-time high. Family get-togethers are still taboo, especially since our immediate family members total 12. As one son stated, “he can work with his brother, but cannot have Christmas dinner with him.” Where is the logic in that?

As for the positives, a hot summer meant more time in the lake at the cottage. Socially distanced from our neighbours, it was the place to be. Family members came to visit, but not all at once.

In July, when it seemed like we had “flattened the curve,” we were able to gather for at least one birthday celebration this year when our second grandson turned one…

Introverts still have the advantage

Sadly, it was only the second time these five cuties were able to see each other since March.

Also on the positive side, we (as a family of 12) have decided that since I have been assisting our 7-year-old granddaughter with her online school and allowing our almost 3-year-old granddaughter to visit weekly to give her mom a break after the birth of their new baby, (our 5th grandchild, a celebration in itself) that we would continue this support system by allowing the grandchildren to visit. This decision was made despite the fact that Ontario residents have been told not to permit anyone outside of their household into their homes as of December 26. As a support system for my family members that are considered essential services, I feel it my duty to do whatever works for them, and I take great pleasure in the visits.

In fact, I believe my mental health and that of my precious grandchildren rely on these visits.

After all, I am still an extrovert. That will never change.

Posted in current events, education, family, health and wellness, loreeebee.wordpress.com

Covid and Kids, What are the Long-Term Effects?

I worry about the short and long term effects of this covid pandemic on our children. Social distancing does not come naturally to them. It is difficult enough for us adults, but we (most of us) can see and understand the reason behind the rules. We also do our best to explain these rules to our kids and grandkids.

When we were not allowed to hug or touch each other I would tell my grandkids that “grandma is sick and doesn’t want to make you sick.” This little white lie worked, but I could see the confusion on their sweet little faces.

The primary (pun intended) lesson learned in sending our kids to school at four years old is supposed to be the development and practice of social skills. You know, stuff like sharing, trading, empathy, taking turns and more. How can they do this if social distancing is their new norm?

What lessons are they going to learn instead? Don’t touch, don’t get too close, don’t care, and god forbid, don’t share. Will they learn anything beneficial? At what point are we doing them more harm than good?

Parents are facing a dilemma. Most families need two incomes to stay afloat financially, and cannot afford to have one parent stay home to look after young children. Single parents have even less choice. Daycares offer the same risk and discourage social skills as schools are doing.

So, what is the answer? Perhaps a Covid related, government issued benefit for a parent to stay home to care for, nurture and educate their young children. If we can pay any previously employed adults to stay home even though they could/should have returned to work, why can’t we pay parents to stay home? Of course, like a maternity/paternity leave, it would have to guarantee a job upon their return to work.

Posted in family, grandkids, loreeebee.ca

A Socially Distanced Farm Visit

I have been promising my grandchildren to take them to the farm where my mother grew up for months. I have also been promising my uncle we would visit, but due to the social distancing rules of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been putting the trip off. My uncle convinced me we could arrange a socially distanced, outdoor visit though, so I packed us a kid-friendly picnic lunch and off we went.

My uncle (my mom’s younger brother) now owns and looks after the property with his wife and daughter. They have done an awesome job renovating and keeping it thriving.  It has always been one of my favourite places to visit, although I don’t get there nearly as often as I would like to.

Enjoy this slideshow of just a few of the pictures…

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In the very last picture you can see writing in the cement where the girls are standing. My mother engraved her name (Eva) way back in 1941 when she was just twelve years old! I tried to explain the connection to the children, but they are too young to understand yet. Someday though I hope they will appreciate and marvel their great grandmother’s autograph as much as I do.

The kids loved their farm visit, in fact when my uncle told us to come back soon, my grandson said “See you tomorrow!”

Posted in food allergies, gluten-free, health and wellness, lorieb.wordpress.com

You are what you eat, I am living proof

I know this saying is old, but it has become increasingly clear to me recently.  Way back in 2011 I was diagnosed with an allergy to wheat.  Since then I have avoided anything that contained wheat.  It wasn’t easy, but I have grown accustomed to it.  So apparently has my body.

In December of 2018 my husband and I tried out the keto diet as one of our sons was doing it and we were on vacation with him and his family.  After a few weeks of experimenting with that, we altered the strict keto version to what I call a “modified keto.”  We consume lots of fats, but the good, omega 3 kind.  We don’t restrict vegetables or fruits, AKA the good carbs. We avoid processed foods that contain lots of sugar and preservatives, and consume lots of protein, but stick to the lean and non processed variety.

In March of this year, those good habits flew out the window with the arrival of COVID-19 isolation recommendations.  Feeling sorry for ourselves (missing our kids and grandkids) or bored, or both, we began the slippery slope to snacking and TV binging.

When Easter festivities were cancelled due to social distancing measures, I still cooked a big dinner and baked delicious goodies, but divvied (most of) it up and dropped off care packages and Easter baskets to our sons’ respective doorsteps for their families to enjoy.  Usually when I bake for family gatherings I include one or two gluten free varieties.  Not this year, unfortunately for me.  Instead I snacked on the wheat laden goodies, limiting myself to half a cookie per day to avoid the stomach problems associated with my wheat allergy.

Shortly after Easter the goodies were gone from our home, but the bumps on my scalp, one of the pre-wheat allergy diagnosis symptoms, were back.   As was the bloating, fatigue and general lethargy, not to mention a few extra pounds. All the things I had worked so hard to eliminate!

If that doesn’t prove “you are what you eat” I don’t know what does.

Photo by Trang Doan, via Pexels

 

 

 

Posted in current events, health and wellness, lorieb.wordpress.com

Laugh or Cry

What’s that saying again?  If you don’t laugh, you will cry….something like that.  With the exception of the true introverts that are enjoying these social distancing, quarantine or self-isolation times, the rest of us feel often feel like crying. Or pulling our hair out.

But then we find something to laugh about and it does cheer us up, if only for a short time.  These are a few of the laughter inducing pictures circulating on Facebook that  I have saved over the past few months. I hope they make you laugh too, as laughter is indeed the best medicine …

 

This one refers to our Canadian Prime Minister. When he sticks to his scripted notes, he sounds quite reasonable.  Otherwise, maybe because of the fact that he was a drama teacher before he became PM, this happens…

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And, I would be remiss if I didn’t add a few about the POTUS, as there have been lots…

 

I hope I provided a chuckle or two.  If you have other sources of laugher, please share them!

 

Feature picture (top) credit to Pexels

Posted in Canada, current events, health and wellness, lorieb.wordpress.com

Do as I Say, not as I do

Is anyone else annoyed that Justin Trudeau is spending Easter weekend at his cottage in Quebec with his wife, children, mother and staff?

The rest of us, however, have been implored to practice social distancing. To stay away from anyone that does not live with us, especially those over the age of 70,  restrict travel to essential trips, stay away from our cottages, avoid congregating in groups of more than five, and limit trips across the Ontario/Quebec border to essential ones.

With his weekend jaunt, Trudeau has broken all the rules he has imposed on us.  He crossed the Ontario/Quebec border, went to his cottage, and is spending time with those not in his immediate family, including his 71 year old mother.

In the meantime, most of us are complying to the social distancing rules. You can see it in the deserted roadways, parking lots, and parks, as well as the direction arrows and other limitations in the grocery stores.  Chats with neighbours are from the ends of our respective driveways.  Socializing with friends and family is achieved through Zoom “meetings” or Facebook video chats.  Our evening walks are eerie, like walking through a ghost town.  Not that I have experienced a ghost town, but I can imagine.

Our three sons and 4 grandchildren do not live with us so we have only seen them on videos or from a distance of 6 feet for almost a month now. This has been very confusing for the grandchildren as they don’t understand why they cannot visit, play with, snuggle and hug this Grandma or their other grandparents. We have resisted taking trips to our cottage, located in a remote area of Ontario.  We have limited our exposure to others by reducing grocery shopping to once a week and forgoing other shopping altogether.  Even my 60th birthday was regulated by social distancing rules.

Like most other residents of Canada, we have been following these recommendations AS  REQUESTED BY OUR GOVERNMENT, yet our leader is not practicing social distancing. Instead he is playing “Do as I Say and not as I do.”

This is not a good way to lead a country through turbulent times, especially if you expect us to follow the rules.

 

JT
Credit to the Toronto Sun

 

Photo credit from feature image (top of page) to Markus Spiske and Pexels

Posted in current events, family, food, lorieb.wordpress.com

Easter Dinner Doggie Bags

Due to social distancing rules, our family’s Easter Dinner came in the form of doggie (?bunny) bags this year.  My three sons all live here in Ottawa, but the rules our government has implemented prevents visitors and large gatherings.  So, instead of enjoying the meal around our dining table, I packed up three large containers with turkey, ham and all the fixings, plus a selection of desserts, and delivered to their doorsteps.

easter dinner

 

easter dinner 2

Oh, and Easter baskets for the kids.  Thankfully the Easter bunny wasn’t cancelled like everything else has been.

 

Posted in lorieb.wordpress.com

Happy Birthday to Me

While my 60th will not go down as my most exciting birthday celebration, it will be memorable.  Instead of celebrating in a traditional, non-social distancing manner with family and friends, it will be a quiet day.  As I am writing this, Mother Nature has decided to participate; it is snowing! No, No, No, snow is not invited to this party!

I do have a few wishes though, not quite as many as the candles that would have been on my cake.  Admittedly (sadly, but understandably) they are all COVID-19 related.

I wish:

  • for the safe arrival of my 5th grandchild next week (I had a dream last night that he was born on my birthday lol), that his name will have nothing to do with COVID, and that I will be able to hold him soon
  • that my family and friends continue to be symptom-free
  • that I can snuggle, hug and visit with my grandchildren soon
  • for a vaccine to eradicate COVID-19, accessible to everyone around the world.
  • that the self appointed virus police would mind their own business if the actions of others are not hurting anyone
  • that my gardening business, deemed unessential, will get back on track soon
  • that the world will learn something from these times.  Friends, family and good health are far more important than material things.  Medical staff, first responders and other  services designated as essential are the unsung (and underpaid) heroes.  Sports figures and entertainers, on the other hand, the ones who earn megabucks in comparison to essential workers, are not as essential as we (or they) think they are.

In lieu of (non-essential) birthday gifts, I have created a fundraiser to collect donations towards one of the businesses I do freelance writing for.   I realize it is a difficult time financially for many people.  If you can manage a donation, awesome, and thanks. If you cannot, grant my last wish within the list above.

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Posted in current events, health and wellness, lorieb.wordpress.com

Virus Vigilantes

Are the vigilantes coming out in this COVID-19 virus crisis driving you crazy?  They are me.  While some people are rising to the top in their creativity and helpfulness during these trying times, others are looking for ways to judge and incriminate others.

If we should practice one positive thing out of this mess, it should be to refrain from being judgemental.  Every family situation is different, often requiring a variation in coping mechanisms.  Not to mention the social distancing rules are very ambiguous, open to interpretation.

Some ridiculous examples I have heard of people calling in by-law officers to impose fines:

  • a father kicking a soccer ball around with his young son on a soccer field
  • a woman not able to celebrate her birthday whose friends and family drove down her street waving and singing happy birthday, from their cars while she stood in her doorway
  • a 14 year old boy, shooting hoops by himself.  Yes he was at the edge of a park, but well away from any play structure or other people
  • walking a dog across an empty soccer field or park

These vigilantes are getting way out of control.  As are the by-law officers that have tapped into their overbearing and controlling personalities.  Are we going to resort to beating people soon if they don’t comply to the murky social distancing rules?  In a democratic society, policing people into complying to senseless rules is not effective.

While blatant disregard for public safety is not recommended or condoned, judgemental squealers and snitch lines are over the top, sometimes unconstitutional.

Find something better and more creative to do people!