Friday, December 1, 2023

Right now

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.)

Pandemic diary/update: November was month #44 (3.5+ years) since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We remain covid-free (knocking wood, loudly...), and continue to mask in most stores and other public places, especially where there are a lot of people. 

But we continue to hear about others -- including friends & relatives, and friends & relatives of friends & relatives -- who have recently tested positive, many of them for the first time, 3.5 years later...!  -- my sister among them!  :(  (Better November than Christmas, I guess, but...!)  There was an article in the Toronto Star last weekend (and I hope that link isn't behind a paywall -- no gift link option, unfortunately...) noting that both Ontario's covid wastewater signal and hospitalizations nationally are the highest they've been in a year. Quote: "Your chance of being exposed is very high."  

November was increasingly grey, gloomy & chilly, especially once the time changed (which had me considering dusting off the "I hate November" label, lol). It also flew by pretty quickly! -- both a good thing and a bad thing, considering how little Christmas shopping & prep I'd done until this week...!  

Among other things this month, we: 
  • Had our HVAC unit/fan coil inspected and cleaned on Nov. 3rd -- for the first time since we moved here, (gulp!) 7+ years ago, and probably for the first time since the building was constructed, a year or two before that!  All was well, and the two young guys who showed up (one a trainee) called when they were running late, knew their stuff, and were very polite. Despite the rigamarole to get them here, I'd have them back in the future. 
  • Dropped a bundle at the drugstore (Nov. 3rd)(holy cow, stuff is expensive now... and of course, nothing that I needed was on sale at that moment...!).  
  • Got badly needed haircuts on Nov. 4th, after which we headed to BIL's house. All the kids & grandkids -- and the dog! :)  -- were there for the afternoon (except for Older Nephew's wife, who was working). (The guys were changing their car tires to winter tires -- they store them in BIL's garage.) 
  • Drove to a community about an hour north of here on Sunday, Nov. 5th, for a fun afternoon with some of dh's cousins. :) One cousin's two adult (mid-20s) sons have set up a virtual/simulated golf business, and they invited us all to come try it out for a few hours. (Balls provided, bring your own clubs.) There are no employees; bookings, building access, etc., are all done virtually.  I do not golf, but even I took a few whacks with dh's long-neglected clubs, although I spent most of my time socializing. :)  
  • Went shopping for the great-niblings at ToysRUs and Carters on Nov. 8th. Also popped into Kitchen Stuff Plus, and the postal outlet at the drugstore to buy a box to return my old TV receiver in. Returned on Nov. 13th to ship the receiver back to the telecomm company. 
  • Spent an hour with our personal banker on Nov. 9th, opening a RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) for Little Great-Niece, same as we did for Little Great-Nephew. Stopped by Younger Nephew's house briefly right afterward to have his wife (LGNiece's mom) sign some forms, then went back to the bank to return them. (And had to return to the bank the next day to sign one more form...!)  It certainly won't be enough to pay for all of their post-secondary schooling or training, but it will help...!  I only wish we could have done the same for the nephews/their dads when they were younger. (Of course, we thought we'd have our own children to educate then...) 
  • Had to call in a plumber on Nov. 10th, when our kitchen sink refused to drain (despite repeated doses of baking soda & vinegar, then Liquid Plum-r, and plunging) -- and then started leaking into the cupboard underneath and onto the kitchen floor...!  He snaked the pipes to clear the clog (eww....) and replaced the drain basket (?).  We cleaned the kitchen thoroughly after he left, including mopping the floors (on top of doing the regular weekly housecleaning)... by mid-afternoon, we were both beat!   
  • Drove with BIL & SIL up to Older Nephew's house on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 12th.  BIL & dh spent the afternoon in the back yard, helping ON build a skating rink for Little Great-Nephew. It's been WAY too mild for ice to form (I've heard rumblings about whether the backyard skating rink -- I learned to skate on one myself -- is doomed, (no) thanks to climate change...) -- but when the colder weather comes (as it surely will!), the rink will be ready! 
  • Returned to Older Nephew's with BIL & SIL on Saturday, Nov. 18th, to celebrate Little Great-Nephew's 4th (!) birthday!  :)  Younger Nephew, his wife and Little Great-Niece were there, as well as Older Nephew's Wife's mom & her partner. We had such a good time -- and even got big hugs from LGN before we went home!  :)  
  • Made a joint trip to the supermarket on Nov. 20th. 
  • Headed into midtown Toronto for our regular 6-month dental cleanings and checkups on Nov. 23rd. (No cavities!)  
    • Also dropped by our optometrist's office (same neighbourhood) to pick up a couple more containers of the lid wipes he recommended I use. 
  • Spent a couple of hours at BIL & SIL's house on Sunday (Nov. 26th):  Older Nephew & his wife were attending a fundraiser at a nearby banquet hall and left Little Great-Nephew with his grandparents. 
    • Stopped at the supermarket on our way home to pick up a few things, including some takeout soup for dinner.  
  • Went Christmas shopping at a nearby mall on Tuesday (Nov. 28th). (Unmasked while having an early -- 11:30 a.m. -- lunch in the food court.)
  • More Christmas shopping on Wednesday (Nov. 29th), locally, at Chapters (mega-bookstore), Best Buy, Mark's Work Wearhouse, Reitmans (women's wear) & Carters/Oshkosh. 
25 years ago, in November 1998,  I was supposed to have been giving birth to a baby girl. It didn't happen; she was stillborn in early August.  Instead of being on maternity leave, I was back at work, enduring the frantic year-end season (something I'd gleefully thought I was going to get to avoid that year...).  In 2008, I marked her due date (the first of several in November I was given, actually) with this post:   
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Also right now:  

Reading: I finished 4 books in  November (reviewed on this blog, as well as Goodreads & StoryGraph, & tagged "2023 books").  
This brings me to 44 books read to date in 2023,  98% of my 2023 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 45 books. :)  I am currently (for the moment, anyway...!) 3 books ahead of schedule to meet my goal. (I also started the month at 3 books ahead of schedule.)  

Current read(s): 
Coming up: Most of my book groups have their next reads plotted out for a few months in advance -- and listing them here helps me keep track of what I should be reading next. ;)  
A few recently purchased titles (mostly in digital format, mostly discounted ($5-10 or less) or purchased with points):  

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  • Season 2 of "World on Fire" on PBS (just 6 episodes total), which began airing on Oct. 15th and wrapped up on Nov. 19th.  
  • The 110th Grey Cup (the championship game of the Canadian Football League) on Nov. 19th, played this year in Hamilton, Ontario -- the one football game I will happily watch every year (eat your heart out, Super Bowl! lol).  
  • This holiday ad -- my favourite that I've seen so far! (Even if it is for Amazon, lol.)  
  • To some Christmas music on the car radio, late in the month. :)  
  • To Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos of Silent Sorority, who was Christine Erickson's guest on the New Legacy Radio podcast earlier in the month, discussing "When the Personal is Political What is our Responsibility?"
  • To (a heavily abridged version of) "Miss Buncle's Book" by D.E. Stevenson -- perhaps her best-known work -- on BBC. (Since it's heavily abridged, I'm not counting it as another book read.) Episodes are being broadcast live nightly at 22:45 GMT, but you can listen to all 10 14-minute episodes online until Dec. 17th.  (I'll admit I'm not wild about the narration, but the story is fun.) From the website:  
As ripples from the Great Depression reach a cosy English village, Barbara Buncle finds an inventive way to supplement her meagre income. Life in Silverstream will never be the same once her thinly fictionalised novel has laid bare the life, loves and eccentricities of her neighbours.
Scottish author D.E. Stevenson was a prolific name in the light romantic fiction genre, topping best seller lists from the 1930s to the 1960s. MISS BUNCLE’S BOOK, her best-known publication, is a delight; funny, engaging and well worth rediscovering 50 years after the author’s death.

To Heardle Decades: Stats as of Nov. 30th:   
  • Heardle 60s:  77.1% (330/428, 146 on first guess), about the same as last month. Max. streak: 15. 
  • Heardle 70s:  81.2% (138/170, 82 on the first guess), up from last month. Max. streak: 18. (Can you tell what decade I grew up in??  lol) 
  • Heardle 80s:  44.9% (22/49,  10 on the first guess), up several points from last month. Max. streak: 4. 
  • Heardle 90s: 33.5% (55/164, 13 on the first guess), down from last month. Max. streak: 4. 
Following: The progress of my DNA sample, online, via Ancestry (which arrived on Nov. 12th, after my mom's arrived about two weeks earlier).  Since then, I've been checking in every day to see if we have any new matches (they've mostly been distant cousins, estimated 5th to 8th cousins), and continuing to try to figure out how all these people are related to us. 

Connecting (so far!):  With my second cousin, once removed, on my dad's side (his mother -- still here, at 101! -- and my grandmother were first cousins) -- he knows my dad & his siblings, but we've never met -- as well as a fourth cousin in Australia on my maternal grandfather's branch (his great-great grandfather and my great-great grandmother were siblings).  

Eating/Drinking:  Takeout dinners this month included chicken souvlaki, rotisserie chicken and rice bowls. Lots of takeout soups and pizza slices for lunch, too!  

Little Great-Nephew's birthday dinner included rigatoni with alfredo sauce for me (tomato/meat sauce for everyone else), sausages, fried potatos, rapini and salad, as well as birthday cake, of course. (LGN's mom is an excellent cook!)  

As I mentioned here, I got a recipe for a really tasty butternut squash quinoa salad from dh's cousin's wife, and made it for dh & me. It served as lunch for both of us for four straight days! (plus a side dish at dinner one night). 

Buying (besides books, lol):  An Ancestry DNA test for dh (whose curiosity was piqued by my & my mom's results!). (See "Following," above.)  

I ordered my Christmas cards from Chapters/Indigo online during a sale early in the month (30% off with my membership card)(along with some books, of course, lol...). Now to get them actually done and mailed...!  

Stocked up on the products I use regularly from Clinique during a pre-Black Friday sale. 

Ordered "I'm With the Banned" (as in books, lol) T-shirts for me AND for my sister's Christmas stocking from an Etsy dealer.  And two mugs (ditto) from a local Winnipeg small business emblazoned with a phrase used by Winnipeg-born ob-gyn Dr. Jen Gunter in dealing with an online troll:  "Bitch, I'm from Winnipeg."  LOL!!  (Mug photo & story here and here -- there are T-shirts too, but they were sold out when I went to order.) 

I bought several T-shirts for myself on sale at Old Navy -- several of which I will need to exchange/return, since I misjudged the sizes I'd need. :p  (One too small and the others too big!)  

Wearing: Reluctantly made the switch over to long yoga pants, long-sleeved T-shirts and socks (and sometimes slippers and/or a cardigan too) around the house. Mid-month, I dusted off my holiday-themed PJ tops from Old Navy. :)  By the end of the month, I had pulled my down-filled "puffer" jacket from the closet. (Brrr!)     

Noticing:  How much darker (since the time change) and chillier it's become...! (and drier, in the house -- low 30s%, some mornings -- started up the Dyson humidifier/purifier again...) (So far, so good -- which is good, because the one-year warranty expired in October...!)   

Enjoying: How quiet it was on my social media feeds and in my email inbox over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday!  lol  I was able to scan those very quickly, and focus on my book instead!  :)  

Trying:  Not to panic over how little time is left before we head west for Christmas...!  (eeeekkkkk....) 

Appreciating:  The sun, when it deigns to show up...!  :p  

Wanting:  I honestly can't think of too much right now that I desperately want. And that's probably a good thing.  :)  (Although it makes dh's Christmas shopping a lot harder, lol.) 

Wondering:  Whether we will be invited to Little Great-Nephew's school Christmas concert/pageant??  (It's a Catholic school, so it definitely won't be a "holiday" concert -- something that drives my very Catholic SIL up the wall...!)  I think it would be hilarious. 

Prioritizing: Christmas preparations! 

Anticipating:  The third Childless Collective Virtual Summit, which starts TOMORROW and runs for four days!  All sessions will be available online for FREE for 24 hours -- and you can purchase a pass that will give you access to all the presentations for a full year, so you can watch and re-watch them at your leisure. (The price will increase when the summit starts, though, so if you're interested, TODAY is the time to get one!) 

Hoping:  To stay healthy until we head west for Christmas in a few weeks' time (and while we're there too!).  

Counting down:  Until we leave!  :) 

Loving:  I was in the local mega-bookstore this week, and they were playing Elton John's "Step into Christmas" on the sound system -- and I actually started smiling, and feeling some of the Christmas spirit descending on me, for the first time this season!  :)  Hoping this bodes well for December!  

Feeling: Slightly panicky over the rapidly approaching Christmas holidays (so much to do, so little time...!) -- but also looking forward to it, and to being "home" with my parents and sister.  :)  


  1. It's always nice to catch up on what you are doing in your Right Now posts. Like you, I'm feeling a bit stressed about Christmas as its hard to believe it is December already. Where did October and November go??? And oh dear, I completely forgot about the Childless Collective Summit. Oops. lol Maybe there's still time to get a subscription to watch the sessions later.

    1. I think you can still purchase a Pace Yourself Pace, albeit at a slightly higher price than before the summit began. I only got to watch one session today (Jody Day's) -- the rest will have to wait for another day...! (They're all very good, though!)

  2. PS. I meant to send hugs for the anniversary of Katie's due date. 25 years, and always top of mind for you, even when you are healed, those scars will still ache.