Thursday, October 29, 2020

As Halloween creeps closer...

  • Halloween is now just a few days away, and I am so enjoying the spooky season thus far!  I only have a few movies left on my list to watch, and I shouldn't have any trouble getting them done by the end of the day Saturday.  I have my Halloween outfits planned for both tomorrow and Saturday.  My treat bags are all ready and I have a plan in mind for setting up outside safely for the trick-or-treaters. If anything, I almost feel a little bit sad that it's soon going to be over!

  • At this moment, I am MOST excited about tomorrow evening.  Have I mentioned one of the few perks of Covid is never having plans?  I've learned that I really love never having having plans for a Friday night lol.  So my Mat Night plan is to make homemade pizza, cozy up, and watch at least two of the movies left on my Scary Movie list.  I'm thinking Doctor Sleep and Beetlejuice.  I might even throw in the Disney version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow if time permits.  I have snacks and I have a giant bowl of "extra" Halloween candy, hot chocolate, pumpkin scented candles, crocheting projects to keep me awake... perfect Friday night in my books!!

  • It is kind of wild to me to think that in two weeks time, I'll be decorating for Christmas.  Almost unbelievable.  And no, I don't have to decorate for Christmas that early, but I LOVE having it done, I love how cozy my home feels when it is decorated and the only light in the room is the glow of the Christmas tree, and I love being able to enjoy it extra-long.  The weekend of Nov. 13-14-15 is circled for decorating, and it will be here before I know it.  Just crazy!!!
  • I had an evening earlier this week where I felt kind of blue.  Not depths-of-despair like I felt in the spring, or even super-anxious like I felt for most of the summer... just a little tinge of sadness, as this pandemic stretches on and is starting to feel like it might never end.  Truly, I have become quite comfortable with this less-busy, no-plans, no-events life we are now leading.  But our PM said in a press conference that as Christmas draws nearer, it is looking less and less likely we'll be able to gather with our families.  That is honestly the element of all of this that bothers me most: not being able to be with my family, and feel safe, all under one roof.  I don't know yet how we are going to be dealing with this, and I guess we have to wait and see what restrictions and rules might be imposed, but my one greatest wish for this Christmas is to be able to gather at my mom's for our Christmas Eve games and snacks and fun, to open gifts together Christmas morning, and share our Christmas meal together.  I'll sacrifice everything else, if I can just have that.  Please, God.
  • On the bright side... It isn't even Halloween yet, and I am almost done Christmas shopping!  I still need to get stocking stuffers, and tie up some loose ends, but for the most part... DONE!  Now I just need all the parcels to start rolling in...
  • OK... this wasn't intended to be a Christmas post.  Or a Covid post.  Back on track, Jill!!  
  • Remember in my last post, I told you all I got an Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer?  I think I told you about it, anyways.  Well, guess where it is.  STILL in the box on the floor in my kitchen.  I keep reading up on it, storing away tips and recipes, and I can just picture all the fun I am going to have with this appliance in the winter, trying out soups and chili and mac & cheese, air frying everything possible, maybe even a whole chicken?? I'm excited.  Really, I am.  I just have to get it out of the damn box first...

  • As I get older, I am realizing just how important sleep is to me.  I mean, I'm a pretty solid sleeper, I get between 7-8 hours every night, and I usually sleep quite well.  Last night, I stayed up to watch the finale of Big Brother (which ended exactly the way I wanted it to!!!) - and it was on from 9-11 pm.  A good hour after I usually pack it in for the night.  I decided to stay up anyways, because I was afraid I'd hear who won on Twitter or somewhere else before getting to watch it myself on the PVR.  This morning, I literally felt hung over. Groggy, tired, fuzzy-headed... when my alarm went off, I was like, "Are you KIDDING ME??"  And I stayed up ONE HOUR later than usual.  Oy vey!!  
  • I feel like I did a really good job curating a scary, but not too scary, list of movies for myself this year.  So far, I've been able to sleep without trouble, and while I've had a few good jumps and gasps, nothing that has REALLY bothered me.  The Haunting of Bly Manor was probably my favourite (and I was so happy to have a real "binge", finishing it all within one weekend).  I was also really glad I finally watched Friday the 13th, and it was scarier than I expected...It probably didn't help that much of the movie involves teens running around in a thunderstorm, and then a thunderstorm actually started while I was watching it last Friday night!  I thoroughly enjoyed Scary Movie Marathon last Saturday, which included The Nun (insane craziness), The Exorcist (I had never watched the whole thing, and I admit I still haven't as I slept through parts of it), Premonition (I had already seen it, and it's not really scary, but suspenseful for sure), and Contagion (again, not classic scary, but considering our current state of affairs...)  The movie that probably bothered me most was Annabelle.  Apparently I really do not like possessed dolls... And of course, I always love those fun ones sprinkled in, like Hocus Pocus and Casper!!  It has been a fun season of spooky movie watching for me!

  • As we sink further and further into this cozy, hygge time of year, I am really relishing it.  I can't wait to make a macaroni & tomato casserole, and try out a few new soup recipes.  I plan to rake leaves next week when the weather is a touch warmer, and I'm so glad the grass cutting is done for another year.  I have so many crochet projects in mind.  I just LOVE being cozy and soaking up this time of year!!!
Well, I think that's it for today, friends.  I hope you are all gearing up for Halloween, however you choose to celebrate it this year.  Enjoy it!! Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Random Thoughts: On Halloween and other things

  • I know I've talked about this many times before, but my gosh, I love a dark and rainy day like this one we're having today.  I just adore this time of year.  Don't get me wrong, I love sunshine and heat and swimming as much as the next guy.  But these dark mornings?  Puddles?  Leaves collecting along the sides of the street?  Bare arms of trees reaching spookily across the grey sky? I get a little thrill of excitement from it, for SURE!
  • Of course, the only thing that would make today even better would be if it was a Saturday lol.  These perfect rainy days never seem to fall on weekends!  On the radio this morning they said it was the kind of day you should "play sick" - but during a pandemic, "playing sick" doesn't seem appropriate.  Besides, my parents instilled in me a moral code that hasn't allowed me to "play sick" since I was a kid.  It never feels right and I never do it. 
  • However, IF I was at home... I'd be preparing my Halloween treat bags, watching scary movies, reading my book, crocheting, sipping hot chocolate, eating popcorn, curled up and cozy under a blanket.  Which, let's face it, is what I have been doing every evening and weekend for the past month anyways, so I'm really not deprived.  It's just fun to daydream sometimes!
  • The months seem to fly by lately, and October has been no different, yet at the same time, I'm loving that there's still a week and a half before Halloween.  I still have quite a few scary movies/specials to watch, and there's still so much time!  Halloween being on a Saturday definitely helps.  That WHOLE day to enjoy it... I love it!  And this coming Saturday is Scary Movie Marathon, so that will knock a few off the list right there.  
  • So far this year, none of my scary viewings have bothered me much...except one.  This past Saturday, during the afternoon when it was still bright and  cheerful out, I watched Annabelle for the first time. And this is the movie that has done it. That frigging doll... traumatizing!! Ugh!! 
  • So for Halloween, my mom and I have gone back and forth on what to do.  As of right now, our province is allowing trick-or-treating, with precautions.  So my current plan is to set up a table in the garage with our treats (pre-packaged), and hand sanitizer available.  We will wear face masks, and put the treats in their bags with tongs.  One family at the table at a time.  My mom hates the cold, so I expect she'll mostly stay inside and pop out once in a while to check out the costumes.  I don't know if we'll have as many trick-or-treaters (we never have a ton of them anyways, usually around 30) as families may be choosing to celebrate in other ways this year, but I'm glad that for those who DO want to trick-or-treat, the option is available.  As I said, with it being a Saturday, I still anticipate it being a fun day - scary movies and snacks, a few hours with Mom in the evening handing out treats... it will still be a great day!
  • So, Amazon Prime Days were held recently, and I decided to make a big purchase just for me.  Is it something I needed?  No.  Was it a must-have?  Definitely not.  In fact, I still have no idea where I am going to put the damn thing because it's much bigger than I expected.  But... I bought myself an Instant Pot Duo Crisp!  It's the two-in-one model - both instant pot & air fryer.  I have had my eye on an air fryer for a while now, and then a bunch of my friends kind of talked me into thinking I need an instant pot.  As of right now, it is still sitting in the box on my kitchen floor. lol!  Like I said - it is BIG and it is heavy, and I have no idea where it's going to go.  I also have no idea what I want to try making first.  Decisions, decisions!
  • Getting this thing home from the post office was quite an ordeal.  Jess at the post office warned me it was heavy and recommended I get my car, but I live two doors down.  Tough guy Jill says, "Oh, I think I can handle it.".  She opened the doors for me so I could get out, and then I start trotting home... about halfway there, my arms start to ache and wobble and all I can think is, "Please God, don't let me drop this, don't let me drop this..."  I made it to my house, pushed open the front door, and promptly dropped the box on the floor.  Then I saw the warning on the box that said in big black letters: DO NOT DROP.  Well holy mother trucker, how are you supposed to NOT drop it?!?!    I pray when I finally do get this thing out of the box that it works!!
Well, that's about all for today.  Hope you are all doing well, friends! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Life Lately...

Here's a "life lately" update, live from the Red Zone!!
  • That's right.  On Sunday, the MRC I live in was moved to the "Red Zone".  Our province has a colour-coded alert system with varying restrictions, and due to rising case numbers in our area, we were Red Zone'd on Sunday.  Truly, it doesn't affect me all that much.  This level of alert means indoor dining rooms, bars, gyms, conference centres have to close... I haven't done anything but take-out since this all started, and we all know I don't go to a gym. ha!  It also means no private gatherings, but it does allow for people who live alone to have one visitor - so my mom and I are still good.  That has always been my main concern.
  • Being in the Red Zone meant a much smaller Thanksgiving this year, but we had already kind of planned on that anyways.  Mom still insisted on cooking a turkey, but we did not have the whole family around the table as usual.  Instead, we settled for an outdoor socially-distanced visit on Monday.  And I keep marveling at how far I've come since last spring.  6 months ago, this would have devastated me.  Now, I'm okay with it.  I can handle it.  I just hope we don't have to repeat these "very different holiday celebrations" for much longer.  

  • I managed to wound myself on Sunday. And, as usual for me, it is one of the most mysterious injuries ever.  Normal injuries don't happen to me, only weird ones.  I literally did nothing.  I was sitting almost all day.  Maybe that was the problem?  I don't know, but late afternoon, I developed a very sore leg.  Specifically behind my right knee, like it was tight and pulling, making walking difficult.  By Monday, it was almost impossible to put weight on that leg.  I was hobbling pretty badly.  And of course, my worry was growing.  I really don't want to have to go to a hospital right now.  Tuesday was still pretty bad, but yesterday seemed to be a bit better, and by last night, I felt like I was almost able to walk normally again.  Today, the tightness is still there behind the knee, but it's not terrible pain anymore.  I also seem to have a stiff and sore calf muscle, but again, not as bad as yesterday, and I'm able to put full weight on it now without feeling like it might give out.  It's still a big mystery to me, but I'm just glad it's getting better!
  • If this had happened after one of the few times lately that I'VE FALLEN THROUGH MY GARAGE FLOOR lately, I might understand.  Yes, you read that right.  I keep falling through my garage floor.  sigh.  Back in the spring, I had a groundhog burrowing into my garage.  He was eventually caught in a live trap and re-located, and his holes into my garage were filled, but apparently he left tunnels under the dirt floor unbeknownst to me.  Why am I falling through them now? Why has this taken months?  Have I suddenly put on weight?? I do not know.  But let's just say I'm stepping very gingerly in there these days!!
  • I so enjoyed my 3-day holiday weekend.  I feel like it was much-needed.  I did a quick house-cleaning on Friday when I got home so that I would be free to just enjoy the downtime.  I made homemade pizza and settled in to enjoy a weekend of crocheting, binging The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix, snacking, and resting.  I did make more pumpkin bread and I also made pumpkin fudge, whipped up a spinach dip because I'd been craving it, changed my bedding to my "winter" bedroom outfit... and just a lot of lounging, Netflixing, and enjoying.  It was wonderful!
  • As for Bly Manor - I made it through the whole thing, and I really enjoyed it!!  I didn't find this one quite as scary as Hill House, but that's okay in my books.  There were enough jump scares and gasps for my liking.  Without giving too much away, I find both series kind of tied up in a "happy ending" of sorts, which apparently pisses off true horror fans, but works quite nicely for me!  I very rarely get to truly "binge" a series, so getting through all 9 episodes in 3 days felt like a victory!!

  • The final season of Schitts Creek hit Netflix late last week too, and I've been dying to see it.  This TV show has been one of my greatest joys this year.  After hearing about it for years, I finally started watching it just before the pandemic hit, and those first five seasons brought me much-needed smiles and laughter during some very dark days.  I was so excited to see how the show wrapped up, plus it provided some light and fun viewing in between the creepy Bly Manor episodes.  I finished it up last night, and while I'm so sad that it is over, I am just so happy they went out on a high note and on their own terms.  I'm already looking forward to watching the whole thing again!

  • I finally - FINALLY - finished crocheting pumpkins this past Sunday.  DONE with pumpkins for another year!!  I was so happy to sell a bunch of sets this year, and I'm so grateful that people seemed to like them and want them!  But after a solid month of crocheting pumpkins, I was super pumped to be done with them. lol!  On to the next project! A while back, my friend Lindsay showed me a few photos of a cute little crocheted toque she wanted for her little girl (and my god-daughter) Lainey.  She asked if I thought I could make it, and I said sure!  I really had no idea if I could do it or not, but I found a pattern and it sounded simple enough.  I tried it out on Monday, and I was SO happy with the results!!  Even better, Lindsay - and Lainey! - like it  too. How cute is she?! :)

  • Yesterday, my nephew - the one who made me an auntie - turned 15.  How can this be?!  I remember the events of the day of his birth vividly.  I can recall his adorable little boy moments as if they happened yesterday.  I honestly cannot believe how fast the time flies... I was sad to be missing out on his birthday celebrations this year, but when I heard he requested shepherds pie for his birthday supper, then I didn't mind missing it so much. hahaha!!!  Not his auntie's favourite supper!! ;)

  • This coming weekend is, of course, another quiet one on deck.  I might try to get the grass cut one last time for the year.  And since Bly Manor occupied most of my viewing time last weekend, I do have a lot of scary movies still to get through with ample time to do so.  I'm working on crocheted Christmas gifts now, so I'll have lots of time for that, and I think I'll get a pot of spaghetti sauce finally made for the freezer.  Covid sucks but I do so enjoy these quiet, low-key weekends!
I hope you are all doing well and staying safe.  Take care folks! :)

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

My favourite time of year, in Covid times...

Over the past month, we have had a few frosts, the leaves have changed colour and started to fall, and the cozy autumn feeling has enveloped me... My favourite time of year is here!

And yet, how can I really enjoy - truly embrace - my favourite time of year during these stressful pandemic times?  Everything is just a little off these days, tinged with fear, worry, and anxiety.  We are well into the "second wave" they have been warning us about all summer, and so far, it appears to be just as bad as it was in the spring, if not worse.  Yesterday, my province broke the record for most cases in one 24-hour period.  The case count in my area continues to climb, after we remained mostly unscathed in the spring.  The restrictions are increasing, the feeling of doom is impending...

And yet, it is still my favourite time of year, and my mood is remarkably different than how I felt in the spring.  When I step outside, I take a deep breath of that earthy autumn air and I smile at the colours, the cool air, the crunch of the leaves beneath my feet.  I have things I am looking forward to:  watching scary movies, binging The Haunting of Bly Manor, working on crochet projects, baking pumpkin bread and making spaghetti sauce.  Hunkering down and hibernating is something I am good at, and while back in the spring I grew terrified of it, I am now relishing it.

I guess back in March and April, everything was still so "unknown".  We now have almost 7 months of Covid life under our belts now, and while things are still scary, I have a little better understanding of what to expect.  Back then, I was most terrified of being isolated from my mother (we both live alone), hence, why I moved in with her at the time.  But now I am quite comfortable in knowing that even if things get really really bad and we are moved to the "red zone", I think I would still be allowed to visit her.

For now, I am keeping my bubble as tight as possible.  I go to work every day, of course, so I am exposed to folks in the office.  But other than that, I go to my house and my mom's house.  I have been around my brother and his kids.  And that's about it.  I only go to the store when absolutely necessary, and last week I stocked  up on groceries that should see me through til at least the end of October.

And truthfully, I have enough to keep me busy for a while.  I have a number of orders for crocheted items to complete, and as I mentioned, a lengthy list of spooky movies to watch.  I am also enjoying cooking and baking - last weekend I made pumpkin bread, meatballs, and scalloped potatoes.  This weekend, I'd like to try pumpkin fudge and maybe make that pot of sauce I picked up the ingredients to make.

Honestly, while I'm sad all of the fun fall things have been cancelled, I'm kind of soaking up all the spare time to just relax.  There's less running, less trying to cram everything in, less stress in that respect.  My sadness is mostly over the fact that this would normally be a time when we would celebrate Thanksgiving and my nephew Caden's birthday, and that likely won't be happening, at least not in our traditional way.  Yet I still anticipate that we will figure out a way to making this coming weekend special, and I'm hoping for at least a little outdoor visit with my sister's family (we haven't seen them much since school started, and boy do I miss them.)

Overall, I am in a much better place mentally that I was when the first wave hit, and as we come up to the time when we think of all we are thankful for, I am most grateful for that.  I hope that I can continue this way, and keep my spirits up.  And every day, I continue to hope for some good news... The numbers going down, maybe some kind of scientific break-through, news on a vaccine... anything that gives us hope that "normal times" might come again.  I have to have faith that this isn't going to last forever.