Sweet Sixteen and One Week In

Today is my older son’s 16th birthday and, coincidentally, our 18th wedding anniversary! We are obviously not celebrating the way we thought we would – in Mexico, with our friends, their son being my son’s birthday twin and one of his best friends – but it’s okay. Everything is okay. We are going to barbeque tonight – steak for the guys, mushrooms for me – with roasted sweet potatoes and homemade Caesar salad, plus a strawberry cake for dessert. It’s Monday night and we aren’t having pasta! A special day indeed.

I think the thing about having kids this age is that I can really clearly remember what it was like to be 16. I also feel like if this had happened when I was 16, I would not be quite as positive and cheerful about it as my kids have been. We talk a lot about kids being online too much but honestly, it’s great that they can still “see” their friends via Facetime and group chats. Maybe all this phone activity was just preparing them for social distancing and isolation.

My husband took my son out for his first driving lesson last night at the mall parking lot, thinking it would be very quiet since nothing is open in the mall, and also it was Sunday night. It turns out many people had that idea. There were lots of parents there with teens driving around in circles. It just reinforces that although we are all separate, we are all together too.

How are you all doing? We have had some good news this week, as regards the schools. Technically we are on spring break right now, but as of next week, online lessons will start for the kids; I was concerned that my younger son wasn’t going to have any direction in that regard and would start high school behind, but that looks like it will not be the case.

Here are the things we have been doing for this first week of isolation:

All Caught Up On Groceries

I did go out for groceries and prescriptions last week; I’m all stocked up. I wasn’t accounting for my husband to be eating lunches at home, so I had to buy quite a bit extra to make up for that. In the good old days – two weeks ago – he would just buy lunch downtown. Well, I’m all caught up now. I think that I will be able to just go out once weekly to get fresh produce and a few other things. It looks like grocery stores are marking the aisles to make it easy to keep your cart away from others and installing “sneeze shields” around their employees, like at a buffet. Also, with the initial rush of panic buying over, I feel like the stores will be quieter this week. It’s really interesting to me to see what has been cleared out of the shelves. First it was toilet paper and hand sanitizer, then I started noticing things like bread, eggs, and milk clearing out. Last week I noticed that the pasta, canned soup, and flour shelves were absolutely decimated. Fresh produce, though, is plentiful.


I managed to snag an appointment at the local grooming place for Barkley. Normally at this time of year he gets groomed at the boarding kennel at the end of spring break. I was lucky to get an appointment as they are closing temporarily very soon. He was as matted and fuzzy as can be; he is now nice and clean – although it is a bit chilly still for him to have such short hair.

Extreme makeover!

Yoga Classes Online

I taught my first yoga class online and I’m setting up a series of YouTube videos for Gentle Yoga. It’s strange teaching to a laptop, but I’m visualizing all my regular students, which makes it fun.

I’m Walking, Yes Indeed

I was concerned about curtailing my usual physical activities. Keeping active is very important to me, not just physically, but mentally. However, with nothing but time on my hands, it’s pretty easy to get a LOT of exercise. Between my elliptical machine and taking lots of walks, I averaged over 17,000 steps per day last week. According to my Garmin, I walked 25.6 miles.

Don’t worry! Even though I have never seen so many people out walking in my neighbourhood, it is very easy to Social Distance. We all are stepping way out of the way when another person approaches and when I see someone I know, we talk from at least six feet away.


I’m doing a lot of reading. Fortunately I have several bookshelves full of good things to read.

I love short stories and I love Alice Munro. This is a really great collection, with a very interesting novella about Sophia Kovalevsky, a noted Russian mathematician in a time when women were not noted for being mathematicians.

Olive, Again was the last book I got from the library before it closed and I highly recommend it. It was, in my opinion, even better than Olive Kitteridge. Elizabeth Strout is an incredibly talented writer.

I’ve mentioned this many times before, but it never fails to make me laugh until I cry. Especially now, Stepping Out speaks to me.

As I mentioned before, my son is studying this in school and so I refreshed myself to have conversations with him about it. One of my favourites, I was able to talk to him about the character arc of Aunt Alexandra, who is one of the most interesting characters in the book.

If you have any books from your childhood lying around, I recommend you pick them up and read them. It is so interesting to reread childhood favourites – such a different perspective as an adult!

How are you all doing? Lots of love to you all. xo


  1. So many more people are out walking! There’s a big playing field near my house where my dog and I go multiple times a week, and usually it’s deserted during the day. Not today! Thankfully it was still very easy to keep a good distance apart. On our way home I spotted my friend and her family having a picnic and we chatted from a few metres away – my dog hates strangers and is scared of children, so he very effectively enforces social distancing on my behalf.

    Speaking of dogs, Barkley doesn’t even look like the same dog in those two photos. He is an astounding and adorable shape shifter.

  2. Happy birthday! How wild that he was born on your anniversary AND thst his buddy has the same bday! So fun. When my kids were little they each had a best friend whose first name was their middle name. Seriously, ended up that way for the first 4 kids. Reg’s actual middle name is Seamus- so the trend ended there. Curly also has a unique middle name. Game over.

    Barkley is so cute and QUITE the transformation.

    I appreciate the book recommendations. I just finished reading ‘News of the World’ by Paulette Jiles. I really enjoyed it once I grew accustomed to the style. Think ‘True Grit’ dialogue.

    I do miss the health club but since I am not babysitting I am finding more time to workout and tailoring it to what works for me. Using my hearth as a stepper and one set up 10 lb weights and a band. I am sure your viewers appreciate your online classes.

    Stay well! Happy Anniversary.

  3. Oh and I meant to say how grateful I am that we got Reggie a phone just a few weeks ago. We usually wait for high school but he was being left out of social gatherings (my older kids did not deal with this as their friends always made sure to include them and Reggie’s class of kids is not the greatest group. Can’t wait for high school with more kids to befriend). Anyway, he is now able to connect with kids- especially some great guys from his travel bball team, none of whom go to his school. I think he would have been climbing the walls otherwise.

  4. Happy birthday to your son and happy anniversary to you and your honey. I’m so sorry your trip to Mexico had to be cancelled, but knowing you, the BBQ will be a nice celebration.
    Barkley is transformed! I love it.
    I love how much excercise you are getting and you have inspired me to step up my game.
    Take care

  5. Happy anniversary! And happy sweet sixteen to your boy! Please also pass on a “what a handsome boy” to Barkley on my behalf.

  6. bibliomama2 says

    Barkley! Who’s a pretty boy? Happy birthday! Happy anniversary! I wish you were drinking a guava margarita. I was walking yesterday and saw a big truck driving around blasting tunes and came hold and told Angus he could drive the Rav around and blast out tunes to feel like he was getting out of the house. He was squat-lifting the tv bench at the time, so he really might need to get out at some point. I’m going to sign up for your yoga classes and then have Eve photographing my yoga fails to send to you for your amusement. Think of it as an anniversary gift.

  7. Happy birthday and happy anniversary!!

    A thought regarding the driving lessons – here we have a very large apartment complex, laid out with “streets;” which is where I started teaching mine to drive (after, of course, giving him basic lessons in an empty parking lot) to give him the feel for what real roads are like. Alternatively, I learned to drive in a cemetery, which also has “streets” of a sort.

  8. Anna Braun says

    Happy Birthday to your son and Happy Anniversary! Love all the reading choices and this is a great opportunity for exercise and yoga! Look forward to the gentle yoga!

  9. You almost walked a marathon!

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