Celebrating Anniversaries During COVID-19

We would have traveled to Seattle to watch an MLB game, sample some hoppy brews and walked around one of our favourite cities.

Or perhaps we would have taken the ferry to Powell River to explore hiking trails and amazing eats in our extended backyard on the Sunshine Coast.

Our anniversary weekend is about breaking a bit of the routine, basking in the warmer temperatures of spring and getting away from the chore list at home.

But for the first time in seven years of marriage, we celebrated our anniversary at home.

It would be easy to delay the celebration. It would be easy to add it to the list of things we want to do once the national travel restrictions and personal self-isolation comes to an end.

But it would also get lost in post-COVID-19 world. It would get lost in what will be the new normalcy. It would be lost as something special just for the two of us.

My husband and I blocked off our day and set the “out of home office” responder for work emails; taking the day off from chores and to-do lists.

2013

Our wedding in 2013 was a morning wedding with a pancake feed reception. To bring that beautiful moment back to life, I rose early to create a bistro table for two for our pancake breakfast.

We went for long walks through our hometown of Gibsons and hung out on the patio of Chateau Sachtjen, the name we gave to change up our own home.

The two of us ordered takeout pizza from a local restaurant and put it on plates to dress up our fancy dinner in. We topped it off with homemade vegan cupcakes with ganache (which we made into truffles with the leftovers!).

2020

Celebrations don’t have to be big parties, involve travel or the purchase of lavish gifts. Sometimes the best way to make a day special is to spend time with one another, with the person close enough to you that you are self-isolating with them. Shake up the routine. Do something new.

Celebrate the birthdays and anniversaries as they happen.


Friday Treats Continue Through COVID-19 Lockdown

During this self-isolation period, we have continued the Friday Treats tradition in our house.

Every Friday morning, I rise early to make donuts, monkey bread, mini-loaves or scones as a way of singling the end to another week. It’s a sweet start to our Friday and reminds us to slow down to the speed of life going into the weekend.

While our days, in general, have slowed down due to COVID-19 self-isolation and I am currently not doing farmers’ markets, the tradition continues. I think for a sense of normalcy but also it gives us something to look forward to each week.

So, here are a few of our favourite Friday treats:

Vegan Monkey Bread

This is a quick recipe that can be done the morning of with just a bit of rising time.
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/cinnamon-sugar-monkey-bread/

Cinnamon Sugar Vegan Monkey Bread

Coffee Cake Donuts

These donuts are amazing and my husband’s favourite baked treat. Don’t have a donut pan? You can make one with tin-foil or turn them into muffins. https://bakerbynature.com/coffee-cake-donuts-with-vanilla-glaze/

Homemade Pop Tarts

Yes. We make our own pop tarts and our own jam. Here is a simple recipe for this amazing treat!
https://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking-and-desserts/recipe/frosted-strawberry-pastry-tarts

Happy Friday Treats!

COVID-19 & My Social Anxiety

I was working the early morning shift on September 11, 2001. I was there when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and for the next 16 hours.

When news happens, the entire station goes into breaking news mode. We are geared to push through tiredness, hunger and even our anxiety with the goal of getting information, news and data to the people who need it. To the people who want it.

However, with the bigger news, there is an event. The long days become a bit shorter as the information, updates become a bit less frequent. The topics shift to the stories of those impacted and to recovery.

It doesn’t remain at this heightened sense of urgency.

Coronavirus hovered in the peripheral of the news for a bit before stepping into the spotlight. It has captured the world’s awareness and has added a bit of urgency to all of our lives.

It has been a major factor in my life since early March. At least a month. I haven’t had a huge event and it hasn’t transitioned. In fact, our little community is hearing the rumble before the storm. We haven’t had any cases (other than travel-related) and there has been no community spread.

But that doesn’t alleviate the anxiety but rather increases it within me.

I feel like my body’s already over-reactive alert system has been in overdrive. I am overly concerned with physical distancing or even casual run-ins while on my daily walk. My nerves are tight when I have to go into a grocery store or put on my mask to drop off my recycling.

I have always suffered from social anxiety or the fear of doing something wrong or embarrassing in public and the fear of spreading a virus that I don’t have but maybe don’t know it is taking that anxiety to a whole new level.

Add to that is the fact that the information and data coming from health officials was changing daily for the first couple of weeks. The list of don’t grew as new information was processed. What worked one day was not allowed the next. The information we get today will change how we interacted yesterday and will be outdated by tomorrow.

You would think I would be a puddle on the floor.

However, there is one thing that gives me a sense of calm. There is one thing that makes it easier for me to go about my essential tasks and trips to the grocery store.

“We are all doing the best we can.” It’s a lesson I learned from author Brene Brown in her book “Rising Strong.”

By believing we are all doing the best we can, and that includes me, it means I don’t have to know everything right now. It means that things will change and I will make decisions and choices based upon this new information. It means that I trust myself to be able to make good choices.

Anxiety is only alleviated by action. By making the hard decisions and living with the choices. By stepping up and doing the best we can.

I can do this. We can do this. Together . . . . and six feet apart. Wash your hands.

Update: Husband’s A Badass Bass Player (almost!)

Staying home means more time for our passions and creative endeavors without the guilt of needing to be productive or social.

My husband picked up the bass guitar about a month ago. With the physical distancing and more time at home (thank you, COVID-19), here’s about a minute of his progress!

He has a few restarts, but check out the joy on his face!

Wait Out the Entire Storm

I was once in the eye of a category four hurricane. It was the most beautiful and most dangerous thing I have ever done.

Late 1990s, I was living in North Carolina with relatives while I attended an art school for film. It was the hot, muggy summers where you didn’t want to step outside the door unless you had a deodorant stick taped under your pits. Wilmington is a hotbed for hurricanes. There’s something about the little coastal town that attracts Mother Nature’s biggest storms.

Hurricanes start out slowly. A gust of wind that gets stronger and more sustained. Leaves and small bits of debris swirl around the front yard. The branches of trees bend in one direction only to sway and bend the other direction, like some weird toy in a toddler’s hand. The sound of birds fade. Other than the sound of the wind, which is starting to sound like ocean waves hitting the beach, it is quiet outside. The skies fill with clouds and then darkness falls over the land. It feels like midnight at 3 pm. There’s a pitter-patter of drops as the rain starts to fall. The pitter-patter upgrades to what sounds like a faucet left on. This changes, drastically to a whooshing sound, as if your house has been relocated to a plot of land next to a raging waterfall.

It was in the middle of the raging waterfall downpour, tree bending wind gusts and dark as night when the most unusual thing happens. When things were at their peak, their darkest, the eye of the storm passed over our house. In the middle of the chaos, there is light. There are no winds. I heard the birds chirping. Even with the neighbour’s outdoor fridge floating by in the lake we once called our cul de sac, I had a glimpse that there was a touch of normalcy heading our way.

The few minutes I was outside, my whole body was on alert. This little break was not the end of the storm. The other side of the eye was fast approaching. We would not have the gentle build-up to the raging water, tree bending wind gusts and pitch-black skies. In fact, we would be thrust back into over 100 miles/hour winds in a blink of an eye.

I could see the trees in the distance start to radically bend right or left as the swirling mass made its way our way. The deafening roar of the storm gave the impression that a freight train was headed for our small apartment – and so was I. I made it inside, locked the door and felt when the category 4 hurricane slammed into the wooden panel behind me with enough force to knock dishes off the table and picture frames off the shelves.

It’s easy for us on the Coast to be lulled into a sense of false security. We are only feeling the gusts and pitter-patter of light rain as the hurricane slowly makes its way to our slice of paradise. It would be easy for us to be lulled into the idea that COVID-19 won’t come here. We may even step out in the middle of the storm, thinking that it is all clear. That freight train has passed.

We will miss the signs that it is about to hit us harder than we know.

Take time to admire the beauty and splurge in the downtime the storm offers us. A chance to connect with family or work on projects around the house. Use this time to learn a new language, watch opera or take a virtual museum tour being offered online.

There is beauty in our world, even in the darkest hours. And wait out the entire storm.