Fibro Flares · Jewy goodness · Just the two of us · love and marriage · The COVID files

Day 407: Netflix and Chills

As many people warned me, today I felt pretty icky in the aftermath of my COVID shot. The good news is that my immune system is doing its job. The bad news is that I felt fluish and everything hurt—which I thought wouldn’t be a big deal since I’m used to everything hurting, but this pain was sharper and just… more, somehow.

We still managed to have a pretty nice evening, the Mr. and I. I popped Advil and Tylenol and then snuggled on the couch with Mr. December to watch On the Basis of Sex, the film about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

On the one hand, it was really nice to watch a movie about a Jewish woman as the hero of the story. On the other hand… would it have killed the writers and producers to let her say “L’chaim” instead of “Cheers” as she and her husband toasted her new job? Or for her husband to refer to her mom as “Bubbie” instead of “Grandma” when telling their daughter about her?

But I’m quibbling over minutiae. The bottom line is that we had a lovely date night of Netflix and chills. (That is what the kids call it nowadays, right?)

Just the two of us · love and marriage · The COVID files

Day 406: Shots, Dinner, and a Movie

I got shot today.

Mr. December and I shot up together today.

Shoot me now.

The Mr. and I got our COVID vaccines today (AstraZenica, just like everyone else in our age bracket.) Getting shots is not as much fun as doing shots, but it was still more fun to do together than it would have been alone. It’s also easier to get a good angle on the obligatory vaccination selfie. The pharmacist assured me that the vaccine works just as well if you don’t take a selfie and post it online, but I’m not taking any chances. Can’t hurt, might help. Right?

Image description: a woman with brown hair, green glasses, a tie-dye face mask, and a green sweater. Her left shoulder is exposed and she is getting an injection.

Tonight we (as in, just the two of us) watched A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. So now I have the friendliest earworm stuck in my head (“Please won’t you be my neighbour?”) and am thinking that my kids haven’t seen nearly enough Mr. Rogers.

It’s late and my arm is achy, but I’m thankful for the vaccine and for Mr. December. There’s nobody I’d rather do get shots with.

family fun · Homeschool · Kids · The COVID files

Day 405: I might be too chicken…

I’ve been googling some strange things lately. Like “chicken diapers.” Yup, that’s a thing.

It started with a bit of a “field trip” to play with some baby chickens that had just hatched. Needless to say, the chicks were adorable and the kids were enthralled. I was, too. When the kids asked whether we could hatch some chicks, too, I told them that if they did the research and presented a proposal to us, we’d seriously consider it.

We’ve talked about having backyard chickens before. It’s legal in our part of the city and there are farms that will rent you chickens for the summer and take them back when it gets too cold outside (if you don’t want to have to heat a coop and so on.) And we do like eggs for breakfast. Anyhow, this isn’t a sudden whim—just like with homeschooling, it’s been percolating for quite a few years and could become reality with the help of a small catalyst (like, say, some close encounters with cute chicks.)

My “sister from another mister” (you know who you are) put me in touch with a friend of hers who has backyard chickens and lives near me. She has invited us to come see the chickens and their coop (COVID restrictions permitting, of course.)

So nothing has been decided, but—like with homeschooling—small things are nudging us in the direction of having some feathered pets this summer. Would it be cruel to name them Curry, Schnitzel, and Drumstick?

blogging · Fibro Flares · The COVID files

Day 404: Not Found

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. How often do I get to write the number 404?

What actually was found today is a vaccination appointment at my local pharmacy. I’m scheduled for Friday afternoon. It turns out they actually do call people on the waiting list. That’s a relief. And I don’t have to drive out of the city to get it.

Yesterday I felt almost normal. Today, not so much. I was feeling awful just after lunch and ended up actually sleeping an hour or so (often I just lie down to rest but don’t fall asleep.) I rallied a bit by dinnertime, and had a nice time sitting on the front porch with Mr. December, but soon afterwards the kids were tucking me up in the hammock and offering to bring me popsicles. To make up for my lack of ability to engage in anything remotely physical, I spent the evening reading aloud from the hammock: the second Percy Jackson book for R, Jewish folk tales for E, and for N and K, No Coins, Please by Gordon Korman.

Mr. December is in meetings for work. I’m headed up to bed now, hoping that tomorrow is a better day. It has to be—I’ll be getting my computer back, at the very least.

DIY · family fun · Kids · The COVID files

Day 403: Is it haircut day already?

“Eema, will you cut my hair?” R asked. “I want it shorter.”

So I did what any parent does in these locked-down times: I sent her for my hair-cutting scissors, thinning shears, and a comb.

I chatted as I worked. It sounded a bit like this:

“Okay, you wanted it just past your shoulders? Here. That’s how long it’ll be.”

“Hmmm… I think the left side is shorter than the right. I’d better straighten it out.”

“Um, R? You’d better have a look in the mirror before I keep going.”

I held my breath as she ran inside (we cut hair on the front porch) to check my work. She emerged from the bathroom smiling. “It’s perfect!” she enthused as she posed for the obligatory post-cut pictures.

Then K approached me and said, “Actually, I was wondering if you could just cut the back of mine. It’s too long and it’s annoying me.”

“Just the back?” I confirmed. “Sure. Have a seat.”

I have to say, I’m pleased with the results. I’m also pleased with how we managed to fill an evening without screens.


Speaking of evenings without screens, I’m without my computer for the next day and a half. Mine kept dying on us while warning me that “battery requires service.” So I took it in to the geniuses at Apple. Is it just me, or does calling it the “genius bar” kind of dilute the meaning of “genius”? I’m sure there are bona-fide geniuses working for apple—I know a couple personally—but mostly as programmers rather than storefront employees.

Anyhow, they ran some tests and the only thing wrong with my laptop is the battery. Apparently they consider this a “quality” issue, so they’re replacing it for free… which takes up to 48 hours. Looks like I have some free time in my immediate future.

Fibro Flares · The COVID files · whine and cheese

Day 402: I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot

It’s been a week since our provincial government decided to allow people ages 40-55 to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. I’ve seen selfies of one friend after another getting their first shot. Meanwhile, I’m on four (maybe five?) waiting lists for an appointment. We’re not in a hot spot, so I can’t just head over to those clinics; at this point I think I’m going to have to phone every pharmacy every morning until a spot becomes available.

Is this really the best we can do? There has got to be a more sensible way to distribute vaccines. Like, literally any other way. I’m having a hard time imagining a worse system.

I also wonder how many people there are like me—who aren’t bedridden or in a high-risk category—but still don’t have the stamina or strength to go stand in line for two hours outside an arena in hopes of getting one of the day’s coveted 1000 doses. I mean, I guess I could do it, but it would mean worse fibro symptoms for days afterwards with no guarantee of a shot. Doesn’t seem very practical, does it?


In good news, my legs hurt a lot less today and my energy was up. I can also proudly say that I got quite a lot of school done with the kids this afternoon and they actually produced some good writing work. I finished arranging the piano part for our new ensemble piece, and started teaching E how to read music. Vaccine annoyance notwithstanding, today was just fine.

family fun · Fibro Flares · Homeschool · The COVID files

Day 390: The End of an Era

We bought a TV this week—the very first one we’ve bought in almost 17 years of marriage.

Mr. December and I assembled the wall mount and set up the TV, then sat back to “test-watch” a few videos.

I felt vaguely dirty. After all, for a long, long time I’ve prided myself on the fact that we didn’t have a TV. And I still long for the days before we even had a family computer, when the kids played together for hours with things like legos and train sets. I long for the days before “Can I go on a screen?” became the most-asked question in my home.

If COVID hadn’t happened, maybe we wouldn’t have bothered with a TV. But there’s nowhere to go, and not much to do, and crowding around a 23″ computer monitor to watch videos was getting old. We also use screens a lot more often than we used to: Mr. December is using a biochemistry course that relies on lesson videos and I often use short videos that relate to what the kids are learning with me. It just didn’t make sense not to have a TV anymore.

I’m warming up to some of the possibilities that come with this TV, though. Things like being able to lie on the comfy couch and binge-watch Netflix during a fibro flare instead of turning two slipper chairs into a makeshift bed in front of my computer. The TV is also two floors below the bedrooms, so it’s possible that Mr. December and I could even have a date night down there after the kids’ bedtime. When I consider how much money we used to spend each time we went out to a movie together, well, it appears that the TV may have been a good investment, however little I wanted it.

bikes planes and automobiles · family fun · Kids · The COVID files · waxing philosophical

Day 382: Siblings and Friends

One of the greatest gifts the pandemic has given us, I often think, is that the kids relate to each other as friends. Sibling rivalry doesn’t seem to be much of a thing anymore (although it could just be in the last week or so; My memory for such things doesn’t go much farther back than that.) Instead I’ll glimpse moments where they’re encouraging, comforting, entertaining, and supporting each other—moments that are so sweet they take my breath away (or maybe I just need to use my blue puffer. Not sure about that one.)

Today we went on a family bike ride, the first one where E has ridden her own bicycle instead of being on a tandem trailer behind mine. She’s still a bit wobbly, but she rode three kilometres before we stopped to play at the park (and a final kilometre to get back home.) As the rear guard, I got to watch as R cycled alongside E, shouting encouragement and advice as they went.

“You can do it, E! We’re almost there!”

At the park R immediately climbed up a freestanding rock wall and then called to E to try it. As I spotted E from below, R called out pointers and persuaded E to keep trying when she wanted to quit. Eventually E made it to the top where R congratulated her and showed her the most secure place to sit up there.

After dinner I refused to give E more screen time. “Go do something else!” I instructed before sticking my nose back in my book. She came to me some minutes later with a dominoes game, asking how to play, when K sauntered into the room. I offhandedly suggested that K could play with E; after telling them the basic rules I went back to my reading. I thought K would play maybe one round with E—but they played four or five games before deciding to do something else. K spoke softly, patiently, and she treated E as an equal.

I store up these moments in my mind and in my phone, greedily, against the day when they go their separate ways, each with their own peer group. I often comment that it’s wonderful being married to my best friend; it’s pretty wonderful that the kids get to grow up as close friends, too.

blogging · family fun · The COVID files

Day 365: It’s day 365.

A year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred and sixty-five days. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes (if Rent is to be believed.) We made it.

I made it. I blogged every single day (with three exceptions because I was unable to) for a year. I’m amazed at myself.

Oh yeah, and our family survived a year of lockdowns and thrived.

It’s been a year since our children walked out of school for the last time, and we’re still glad to be rid of it.

It’s been a year since I’ve hugged my friends, my cousins, and my in-laws. Since I’ve been at a party. Since I’ve eaten inside a restaurant.

It’s been one heck of a year.


Today was almost magical. The sun was shining and it was warm for a change, so the kids spent almost the entire day out on the trampoline. Mr. December and I sat down in the middle of the afternoon and played two full games of Wingspan, uninterrupted. I went for a walk in the ravine. And just when it seemed the day couldn’t get any better, Mr. December announced that we were having ice cream for dinner.

Yes, ice cream dinner, followed by an hour at the park. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Image description: four kids and two adults crowded together, all holding/eating ice cream.
family fun · love and marriage · The COVID files

Day 364: Like Father, Like Daughter

Tonight R asked me to braid her hair before bed. She might have just been looking for a reason to watch The Simpsons, but I’ll take that over her dreadlocks any day. Since they were all sitting side-by-side I braided R’s hair, then E’s, and then I started working on Mr. December. He’s such a good sport.

Guys with ponytails are old news, and now we have the man bun… how long before French braids become the new trend for men with COVID hair?