Today's Special

UffDa! Goodness

Relationship therapist Esther Perel talked about people’s reactions to the pandemic lockdown, noting that most families don’t spend all day together. Normally, family members will be in the same place up to three hours at a time in one day before they’ll each go about their own business, like a job or a hair appointment or to meet a friend for coffee or pick up groceries or maybe a couple will meet up with others for a visit. There are endless things that individuals sharing a home go out and do on their own or with others. So, she said, not having these habitual outs created a lot of stress for those who are not accustomed to being in each others’ faces while cooped up in their homes for 24 hours, day after day.

This makes so much sense. It’s how I am normally, never mind being restricted by a lockdown. Spending all day every day with anyone, even my best beloveds, for any extended period makes me want to find a bucket of sand to stick my head into. It’s not them, it’s me.

How did you manage during the lockdown period?

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After dropping off Emil at Everett’s on Friday after work, I stopped at the library to return some books and went across the street to the post office, where this box of skin care products from UffDa Soaps was waiting to be picked up. I knew exactly what was in it — why wouldn’t I? I made the order — but still I was dying to open it. I got only this far (see below) because Scott had put a ham in the oven and I wanted to make scalloped potatoes to go with it, and you know how long that takes. It was 4:30 when I got here so I had to leave all these goodies in their box on the kitchen table, find a recipe that suited, and start preparing the ingredients.

box

Since I didn’t know how long the ham needed to roast and didn’t want to mess with the oven temperature, I decided to use the Magic Pot which cooks food quickly. I made cheese sauce in the pot, set the sauce aside and cleaned the pot, washed and peeled and sliced potatoes with the food processor Mom gave me, put them in the Wonder of Technology, and got the timer set, after much cursing and gritting of my teeth, as directed in the booklet that came with the thing.

By the time the spuds and sauce were transferred to a casserole dish, put under the broiler for a couple minutes, and brought to the table, it was 6:30. “That didn’t really save any time, did it?” laughed Smarty Pants. 

To be fair, it wasn’t the cooking time that took up nearly two hours. It was the prep time and the getting-up-to-pressure time. I was beat and cranky, sore-backed, by the time we ate. Good thing it was all delicious. 

Then I went through my box of goodies like a kid in a candy store:

box 2

Laura makes all this stuff herself, and much more. It looks like her website has been hacked so I’ve had to remove her ad from my “Helpers” page, for now. Note the two pairs of gloves. I have an “embarrassment” of gardening gloves for which I’m grateful, thanks to Laura, who always throws in something extra when sending an order.

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I seem to have a cold! It’s been so long since this has happened that I’m in a state of disbelief. Yesterday I dragged around without even going outside, and lay down for an hour before supper, and the blowing of the nose was frequent. “Better out than in,” I tell myself, and hope not to start feeling worse. 

This morning I’m washing our bedsheets and a basket of my clothes. Not going to push myself to do more when my body needs all its energy to vanquish this virus. A trip to the maple tree to fill the birdfeeders and a drive to town to chauffeur Emil home from his brother’s will have to be enough fresh air. 

I brought home covid self-test kits to use before going to see the Calgary kids when Baby#3 is born. Maybe I’ll try one today to make sure this runny nose and general malaise isn’t a symptom of something uglier. It’s not that I feel too bad; if this is a cold, it’s the mildest one I’ve ever had. But if it isn’t, I’ll take extra precautions not to spread it to someone who might develop a more severe case of it. Or to spread it, period. 

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A mere 20 miles walked in November. Tsk. And “shrug’ — it is what it is. 

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Today's Special

Things Not as They May Appear

After going to bed last night it occurred to me that readers, judging by what I’ve written in the past couple days, might be assuming I’m having a hard time at home. I’m here this morning to tell you that isn’t the case. As a matter of fact, things are going better here than ever … probably better than they have since the early days of our relationship.

It made me take notice that at times of struggle in that department, I didn’t post anything about it. And when things are going smoothly, I write in such a way that may make readers wonder.

It seems a bit weird but maybe it’s easier for me to discuss relationships generally, while not experiencing hard times, than if personal things were rough around here, which I wouldn’t be posting about because there are two of us involved, not just me.

I’m no psychiatrist, but that’s my analysis.

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I’m listening to a podcast on CBC about criminal cold cases. The CBC has been broadcasting these podcasts like “Somebody Knows Something” where the investigating journalist suggests that s/he is going to discover evidence that the police and detectives didn’t. I’ve found these podcasts all to be disappointing. They are not what is promised; they never find anything other than what the police found, except for a lot of speculation, some gossip, and what a court of law would probably call hearsay. They’ve yet to solve, as far as I know, any of the murders or disappearances. It always seems to be this simple thing: taking advantage of drama. As Scott says, they should have to air a disclaimer like “For Entertainment Purposes Only.”

In view of the shows like this that I’ve heard in the past, and how disappointing they were, the only reason I’m listening is that the mother of the suspected murderer has been a friend since we were both in our mid-twenties. I have heard the story from her point of view, and it is very different from what the mother of the murdered woman tells anyone willing to listen. I hope the journalist will talk with my friend as well. This is only the beginning of episode 1, and it sounds like he will.

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And … he didn’t. But the podcast has basically convicted my friend’s son, something the evidence presented at his trial failed to do.

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Looking Back
70 Years Ago
Kelvington Radio

November 30, 1951
Kelvington Curling Club have
received a complete set of new
matched rocks. 16 pairs in all, which
should really be appreciated by
the lovers of this pleasant winter’s
pastime.
Wadena News

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Today's Special

I Never Cared for You

AC: “Basically, Sue and I never fought, so it wasn’t anything to hide from the kids. We may ave arched our backs a few times, but we weren’t into hissing and spitting, never mind clawing.” I like your description! I wonder what happens when someone like me or your daughter gets into a relationship with someone who did witness parental conflicts and for whom such behaviour is the normal way to act with one’s family. Then we are shocked and don’t know how to cope effectively? Or it seems like the end of the world?

Our couch cushions are attached to the base, so there’s no place to attach a barrier. Also the dog’s only up there when one of us is, and he’s between us or beside Scott when I’m not there. You’d think we could grab him before he bolts, but he’s too fast or we aren’t paying close enough attention. He’s hitting the floor before you’ve realized he’s on the move. He’ll adjust; last night he seemed to be comfortable enough between Scott’s feet on a cushioned towel on the floor.

So right, Beverly. We chase knowledge and then assume we’ve improved ourselves, but that’s not the same as putting the knowledge into action in our everyday lives. It’s the practical application that gets us where we want to go, not the certificate on the wall. This is why I don’t often sign up anymore for classes and workshops to learn new methods of handling myself, when I could be practising what I already know how to do, what already works for me — when and if I do it. Now if I could find a class that showed me how to stick to my useful routines … then maybe … . Meanwhile, I’ve adopted the motto “Go deeper not wider.” It makes more sense to me than running around trying to learn everything there is to know, when I don’t consistently practise what I do know.

Another expression meaningful to me is “Less is More.” (Read Charlie Mingus’s memoir Beneath the Underdog if you want to learn something about being a great lover).

I came into Shepard’s words at a spot in the podcast where someone who’d been drinking too much was asking for advice on changing his habits but didn’t want to go to AA because of the Christian preachings that go with it. Shepard told him the point is you’re going out the door to meetings, supporting others with the same problem and they’re supporting you, and so on … in other words, you’re doing something different, not just thinking about doing things differently, and that is the seed for change to start happening.

WiseWebWoman, I do once in a while know how it feels to not feel like blogging. Usually it’s only that I don’t think anything I have to blog about is worth saying. Actually I feel that way most days. Then I sit down anyway and something comes. I still think it may not be worth saying, but I’m addicted to writing apparently.

I have never liked to be the centre of attention of a group of people, so being on a stage or being a bride for a big traditional wedding … no thank you, not for me. Even being a bridesmaid was unpleasant, walking up the aisle and back with everyone looking, standing up there in front of a bunch of people. Family funerals suck the big one for me, too, when you as family and your grief are on display for all those who attend. For public singing and musical theatre it was only the rehearsals I loved; the actual performing was an ordeal I just took a deep breath and got through and always promised myself never to sign up for (like curling — it’s too cold out there and I don’t care what they say about how rinks aren’t so cold anymore) again. Some people really do seem to love it and more power to them I guess. Me, I just don’t “get it.”

I too knew a couple who’d been together at least 10 years and then got married and were split up soon after. Each to his own; it’s simply not a commitment that I’ve felt was needed. I did it once, thinking maybe? But no. I have to remind myself not to roll my eyes visibly at the necessity some people place on these traditions. Especially nowadays. Back in the day you apparently didn’t think twice about it; it’s what was done. I agree with you, big weddings are a bunch of hoopla and too much money spent — on what? A party where you are the centre of attention? It’s not something I understand wanting. It’s a more pleasant reason to get a big family and lots of friends together than a funeral is. That must be it. I’ve always thought it might be nice to wear a super-fancy dress you looked fabulous in, but that’s as far as I got.

All those readers who’ve had big traditional weddings must be hating me right now. Those who haven’t done it yet may not be inviting me if they do. Not that I spout my opinions at the do, mind you. I’m glad to see the bride and groom enjoying themselves. That’s what matters. And then I cross my fingers for them that the years to come won’t be too disappointing, because it’s really hard to be stuck in a relationship that is disappointing and doesn’t improve no matter how hard you try and you don’t think it’s okay to find or give love elsewhere because that might mean you’ve failed or you’re a selfish person who isn’t willing to stick it out and you’d rather be miserable than have anyone judging you that way.

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Looking Back
80 Years Ago
Kelvington Radio
November 28, 1941

The toboggan slide erected on the
sports grounds is the scene of a grand
time by the kiddies. An electric light
properly placed on the post at the
corner would help to avoid accidents
at night.
Wadena News

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Today's Special

Take Actual Steps to Change

You can’t think yourself into acting different, but you can act your way into thinking different.
-Dax Shepard on the Chelsea Handler podcast, talking about successfully breaking addictive habits

That makes such good sense.

It was one of those wake-up-for-no-obvious-reason nights when I was so glad to have a multitude of options for things to listen to as I lay there.

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Looking Back
70 Years Ago
Kelvington Radio
November 30, 1951

LINTLAW: Let it rain, let it
snow, let it blow!! So say Mr. and
Mrs. Attwell Boyle when they are
delivering milk now. They have
bought themselves a nice covered-in
rig and the other day, Attwell could
be heard singing something which
sounded like “Baby it’s Cold Outside.”
Wadena News

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Today's Special

Leaping Dog, Disgusted

When the wee beastie had a painful health crisis a couple years ago, the vet advised us not to let him jump up on the couch anymore, or down off it, due to his age and the damage that could be done to his joints and back. We’ve tried valiantly to keep him from leaping down, but have been successful only in teaching him to wait till one of us lifts him up.

This week we decided not to do that anymore because no matter how closely we watch, hoping to stop him before he jumps, he moves too quickly and the jarring as he hits the floor is nerve-racking. Sometimes he wobbles afterward, as if he’s hurt himself.

We’ve been putting soft things for him to lay on next to our feet on the floor. Duckie is having a hard time understanding why he’s not allowed to snuggle with us on the loveseat. Scott can’t take it — the dog’s beseeching eyes — and will join him there on the hard surface but it’s not good enough; Kathy is out of reach and honestly if a dog’s face can be expressive, and of course it can, it looks as if his heart is broken.

Last night Scott the Softhearted arranged two puffy cushions on the floor beneath a towel; oh what a lounger that would be for Mr Doodle! he thought. But no. Duckie uncovered them, stamped on and clawed at them in a desperate attempt to make a bed to his taste, rearranged them mercilessly, moved one to the space beneath the footrest my legs were stretched upon, lay there only a moment and then stood up, stepped out, turned around and gave us a long look of contempt as if to say (and according to Scott, he really was saying it) “Thanks for fucking nothing, you two sitting there in comfort. Screw you.” And trotted off to the bedroom.

I have to admit it made sense, but we couldn’t help laughing.

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It is the great illusion of our culture that what we confess to is who we are.
-Vivian Gornick, The Odd Woman and the City

Fifty years ago you entered a closet marked ‘marriage.’ In the closet was a double set of clothes, so stiff they could stand up by themselves. A woman stepped into a dress called ‘wife’ and the man stepped into a suit called ‘husband.’ And that was it. They disappeared inside the clothes. Today, we don’t pass. We’re standing here naked. That’s all.
See above

(Both excerpts from the memoir I started reading this morning.)

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Looking Back
100 YEARS AGO
November 30, 1921

Toyland at Potts’ Drug Store will
be a place of delight for the children
of town and district for the next few
weeks. For a small investment the
children can have their ordinary
Xmas pleasures in spite of the bogy of
hard times.
Wadena News

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