Hi everyone; I’ve missed hearing from you, and I hope you are as well as possible during these times. I am relying on my American readers to play whatever big or small role you can in restoring democracy and kindness. You’ve certainly learned that every vote counts!
My biggest news is that Link has returned to NS from Toronto permanently, and will be living at home with us for the medium term. After 4 months with us in the spring and summer, Link went back to Toronto in July, hoping Covid restrictions would ease. Instead, the city is having a second wave that shows no signs of abatement. Link lives alone and the isolation was getting to be too much. Friends were, understandably, reluctant to see each other in person. Link did a lot of soul-searching about their prospects in the area and decided it wasn’t essential to be there. It isn’t easy for a younger adult to give up their independence. We’re confident we can make things work here, as long as we need to.
Link came back in early December. All 3 of us completed a two-week quarantine in plenty of time to get together with extended family at Christmas. We were allowed close social circles of up to 10 people. Since then, local Covid cases have remained very low.
Since I last blogged in August, I’ve continued to mostly work at home, but the library and its offices are open. I go in 2 or 3 days a week and have some tiny, careful in-person meetings. The rest of the time is Zoom, Zoom and more Zoom. I have stopped dreaming about spreadsheets every night so they must be background noise for me now!
Throughout the year, our family has been working on a challenge – to try every restaurant within 4 km (about 2.5 miles) of our house. We chose that distance because it is roughly the boundary of our suburb. We get weekly take-out, and sometimes go out for coffee or ice cream besides. We have visited 27 eating establishments in our neighbourhood, and my research shows there are 29 more! – of which 12 are pizza spots and 2 are fast food chains, so they were lower on our priority list. I am happy with our progress!
I have a personal challenge on the go. Nova Scotia has its own wine varietal called Tidal Bay, a white blend of NS grapes. We have a cool, coastal environment. Most of the wine ratings for Tidal Bay note its “minerality” and crispness – it is not sweet. I am working on trying a Tidal Bay from every winery. There are about 15 and I am only on #3. Anyone want to come over and help me? 😊
In my last post, I talked about hiking with my sister. Since I didn’t travel in 2020, I took a day off every week. I did 10 hikes over the summer and fall; my sister probably did 4x as many. As a result, I have irrevocably fallen in love with the forest and being outdoors. It is no exaggeration to say it has changed my life. For the last 15+ years, I have joked about my love for the Great Indoors, but now I’m an outdoor convert. The local landscapes are scenic, and it’s remarkable how many well-maintained trails are close by. Most of all, I loved the sensory elements – the fresh air, the crunching leaves, the taste of huckleberries, the rushing streams, and the smell of black earth. Back indoors, I feel the absence of all these things.
I had fun recording every new plant I saw on iNaturalist, and I ended the year with photos of about 200 vascular plants seen between July and December – so not including mosses, liverworts, fungi, lichens and seaweed (algae)! I’m already looking forward to spring so I can take photos of all the April to June plants I missed.
Our city had a drive-in shredding drop-off where you could bring loads of documents to be shredded. I cleaned out my filing cabinets and showed up with 4 large bags of papers. But there was such a huge turnout, the trucks filled up and they had to close early! I had to bring all my documents back home. I took care of them a few sheets at a time with my personal shredder. It took a good while. But it was surprisingly freeing to get rid of so many old bills and receipts and records of my past. I wish I had done it sooner.
Link brought a fair amount of belongings with them. We have space. It has been tempting in the past to say that Link’s stored items take up a lot of room in the house. When I cleared out a space for their stuff, I removed all my stuff and put it in a different room. There was a lot! I really had to acknowledge my contribution. It may take the rest of the winter to clear it up, since some items are worth listing and selling. I’m not looking forward to the process, but I will like the results.
I planned and shopped for a small bathroom renovation this year. Both bathroom sinks and both faucets, as well as the lighting fixtures, were badly corroded. They were all original to the house, age 25. After considering all options, I decided to replace the countertops. I thought about replacing the vanities entirely, but they aren’t stock sizes, so that would have called for replacing flooring and repainting. I made a point of buying everything locally, and my brother did the installation. Nice limited-scope project.
I have seen my brother, sister, nephew and parents often throughout the year. We are few enough to be in each other’s bubbles (limited social circles), and we all live close. My parents both turned 80 this fall and at least we could celebrate as a family.
To end the year, I made a new budget (lots of changes due to different Covid lifestyle!) and started a new bullet journal. I had attempted a journal last year but gave up after two weeks. I redesigned my system and it’s going well. I will blog about it!
Thanks for reading, thanks to everyone who checked in on me, and I hope to be back more often. I owe you a round-up of my 2020 grocery spending!
I would love to hear how your life is going.