Right now... (an occasional (mostly monthly) meme, alternating from time to time with "The Current"). (Explanation of how this started & my inspirations in my first "Right now" post, here. Also my first "The Current" post, here.)
September was Full Month #6 (going on 7) of life in the age of COVID-19. Unfortunately, it looks like the second wave is upon us: daily new case rates are skyrocketing. :( The Prime Minister has advised that “It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for [Canadian] Thanksgiving [ = not this weekend but the next], but we still have a shot at Christmas.” (Needless to say, I'm not confident. :( -- see "Planning," below.)
On top of dh's usual weekly forays to the supermarket for groceries and for takeout dinners on Saturday nights, we made four trips to the bookstore this month (one to return a book I'd bought -- only to realize it was already on my shelves...!), two trips to the drugstore, one trip to Staples, and two trips to Canadian Tire (which has household goods, electronics and hardware-type stuff, as well as automotive-related goods). (Yesterday was a BIG day: Staples, Canadian Tire, the bookstore AND the drugstore!) We got haircuts (our third ones since salons reopened earlier this summer) and also went to the supermarket in the same plaza while we were there. We also went to BIL's (& saw Great-Nephew) twice. Otherwise, we've continued to stay close to home.
*** *** ***
Reading: I read 2 books in September (both reviewed on this blog & tagged “2020 books”):
- "Jane of Lantern Hill" by L.M. Montgomery (a re-read along with my L.M. Montgomery Readathon Facebook group)
- "So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know" by Retta (for the Gateway Women online book club)
- "Rage" by Bob Woodward
- "Hoax" by Brian Stelter
- "Amberwell" by D.E. Stevenson (read on my own last month, now reading along & discussing with my DES online group)
- "The Blue Castle" by L.M. Montgomery (read & reviewed on my own last month, now reading along & discussing with my L.M. Montgomery Readathon group on Facebook)
A few recently purchased titles (in both digital and paper formats):
- "Convenience Store Woman" by Sayaka Murata (our next Gateway Women book club pick)
- "Anxious People" by Fredrik Backman
- "American Rule" by Jared Yates Sexton
- "More Than a Woman" by Caitlin Moran. (If you have never read anything by her, she is seriously hilarious -- and we could all use some humour right about now, right??)
Watching: The second season of "Jann" on CTV (starring Jann Arden) just started, with Jann playing an exaggerated/semi-fictional/less successful version of herself. The first episode ended memorably with a front-lawn catfight between Jann & Sarah McLachlan. ;) Over a scrunchie!
We did NOT watch the U.S. presidential debate!! (The highlights later are quite enough, lol.) I did follow some of the commentary on Twitter. Much wittier. ;)
Listening: The summer reruns of classic episodes of "The Vinyl Cafe" ended on the September long weekend. :( Missing it all over again! Now trying to get caught up (at least a little bit) on some of my podcasts...
Looking forward: To seeing Elton John (again) with SIL in February 2022! -- the concert that we had tickets to in March (which was postponed -- because, COVID...) has (finally) been rescheduled, and the tickets I bought (almost a year ago now!) will still be honoured. Still more than a year away -- and at this point, the idea of gathering in an arena with thousands of other people still seems pretty unfathomable -- but I guess we'll see what happens. Elton will be almost 75 by then (!) but he assures his fans he's in great shape and raring to go. :) (Paul McCartney was 76 when I saw him in fall 2018 and he still put on a great show, so...)
Following: (This could also go under "Reading.") E-mail newsletters seem to be becoming as ubiquitous as podcasts and as blogs once were...! and I thought I'd share a few of my favourites with you. (I also follow all these women on Twitter.):
- Heather Cox Richardson, a history professor at Boston College, publishes "Letters from an American," a nightly summary & analysis of the day's political news in the U.S. No matter how awful the events of the day have been, I always somehow come away with a clearer sense of what happened -- and a calmer feeling about it all.
- Anne Helen Petersen's newsletter is "Culture Study." Paid subscribers get more content. (I'm still on the freebie list.)
- Jill Filipovic's (untitled) newsletter can be found here.
- Lyz Lenz, author of "God Land" and "Belaboured" (both reviewed on this blog in recent weeks) recently started a newsletter with a great title: "Men Yell at Me," lol.
- Amanda Marcotte of Salon has started doing a bi-weekly newsletter on politics, "Standing Room Only."
Eating/Drinking: Takeout dinners this month have included our usual rotisserie chicken and wood-oven pizzas, as well as pizza slices from the supermarket (which we normally would get for lunch, and are also really good!). (Also: see "Trying," below.)
Planning: A menu for our (Canadian) Thanksgiving dinner (not this weekend, but the next one). This is actually something I've wanted to do for a LONG time, but when FIL was still alive, dh felt obligated to wait & see if his dad wanted us to come there (even if the invitation arrived on the morning of the feast!). In recent years, we've sometimes been invited to dine at BIL's, along with the nephews and sometimes members of SIL's family. But this year, with COVID-19 and tightened limits on small gatherings (maximum 10), we know we're definitely on our own. And since we're not comfortable heading up north to a resort to take in the fall colours (which was always my preferred Thanksgiving Plan B), we'll be cooking our own Thanksgiving dinner. And since it's increasingly likely that we'll be in the same situation for Christmas :( we're taking the opportunity to use Thanksgiving as a trial run. ;) COVID has deprived me of a lot of things this year -- but I refuse to let it deprive me of turkey, lol. It won't be my mom's excellent turkey & stuffing & gravy, or even SIL's -- and it won't be a whole turkey at all (just doesn't seem logical to cook a whole turkey for just two people -- I plan to look for a turkey breast) -- and it won't be quite the elaborate spread we're used to -- but I'm determined to make it at least a little bit special and festive.
Buying (besides books, lol): Not much! I bought ANOTHER bracelet (& matching earrings) from my favourite sterling silver jewelry maker. Just too tempting, lol. ;)
Another great buy (albeit less glamorous, lol) this month: on the recommendation of @gocleanco on Instagram, I picked up a bottle of Bar Keeper's Friend when we were at Canadian Tire. (It's one of their go-to products that they're always using on their cleaning videos.) We have two bathrooms in our condo, and the finish on sink (& on the metal drain stopper) in one of them has been driving me crazy for the 4 & 1/2 years we've lived here -- all mottled & rough, instead of shiny & smooth. I wasn't sure whether it was from the previous owners or careless workers from when the unit was being finished or even a factory quality control miss. It looked like hard water spots, but I thought it might also be some kind of residue that hadn't been cleaned up properly during construction. I've scrubbed it with baking soda & other cleaners without success, so I thought I would give BKF a try when I was cleaning a couple of weeks ago. I squirted some onto the surface of the sink, wiped it all over with a microfibre cloth, let it sit for a minute, gave it a good rubdown and then rinsed it off.
Dh heard me exclaim, "OH MY GOD!" & came running, thinking something was wrong... but something was very right instead! I was agog. The results were amazing. I wish I had taken a "before" photo. There was still a small area at the back of the sink & around the drain that wasn't quite perfect, but I tried again the next time I was cleaning the bathroom, and honestly, it looks as good as new. I just couldn't believe the results. A definite "thumbs up" recommendation from me!
Among our purchases on our shopping spree yesterday (see intro to this post): a new cordless phone set (two handsets), ink cartridges for the printer, a meat thermometer and a baster (for the Thanksgiving turkey breast, lol). And some Lindor chocolate!
Wearing: The arrival of cooler fall weather means I've put away my shorts & capris for the season in favour of long jeans. :( I've been wearing capri-length yoga pants around the house, but I think I'll have to go for full-length there soon too. :( And I've had to put on slippers a few times too. I'm sure it's all concrete under the laminate flooring, and my feet are already freezing! (Back to wearing socks around the house soon too...!)
Trying: Some new recipes from the Table for Two blog (which someone here recommended to me -- I can't remember who?? -- thank you, whoever you are...!), including Holy Yum Chicken (with a dijon mustard & maple syrup glaze) and Honey Soy Chicken.... both fast, easy and very tasty. I like that you can adjust the serving size/quantities up or down within the recipe on the site. I debated whether to use the measurements for four servings, in order to get some extra sauce (even though I was using just two pieces of chicken), but in both cases, following the recipe exactly for two servings yielded plenty of extra sauce. Both recipes call for chicken thighs, but I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts (and a slightly shorter baking time), and they turned out fine.
Wanting: As I said last month, nothing much in the way of material things right now. It would be nice to be able to spend more time with Little Great-Nephew, but I think if anything, we'll probably be seeing him less often over the next while, with the second wave of COVID-19 upon us... :(
Loving: The beautiful fall colours that are showing themselves more & more right now. Peak time hereabouts should come about a week or two from now.
Feeling: Enjoying the lovely fall colours and cooler temperatures -- but starting to dread the onset of the darkness and chill of winter (especially with COVID-19 still hanging around and no chance of a sunspot escape...!). Apprehensive when I look at the rising daily new case rates.