Pandemic Mother’s Day and Panic; Eight Weeks In

I had to physically go to my calendar and count, because it seemed wrong today; eight weeks? This is the ninth week now? The calendar has reassured me that yes, those are the numbers we are working with today. Eight weeks in quarantine, or, semi-quarantine, I guess. Can you say you’re in quarantine if you are the designated grocery shopper and prescription picker-upper? In any case, we have just completed our eighth week of *gestures widely* all this.

You may have been in lockdown mode for a while when you start having serious kitchen dance parties with a carrot.

You may also have been in lockdown mode for a while when you start reorganizing and cleaning your spice cupboard, when you decide that you must move all the living room furniture to clean underneath it where the Roomba can’t go, and when you go into an incredible panic spiral when baking powder becomes unavailable.

Here’s the thing: I have baking powder. I buy it at Costco and so I always have backup. But for some reason, the lack of baking powder on the shelves, even though I do not currently need baking powder and in fact it will be a while before I do actually run out of baking powder, has me completely Panicking At The Disco. The Carrot Disco, if you will. I started to search up substitutions for baking powder and discovered cream of tartar, mixed with baking soda, can be effectively used, and so I started adding cream of tartar to Every Online Shopping Order. At one point, my husband asked me to please stop, we surely have enough cream of tartar, which – prior to the Pandemic At The Disco – I only ever used to make play dough. It has been a while, dear reader, since I made play dough.

I felt powerless to stop my quest for baking powder. I came across this article – What a Starvation Experiment Reveals About 2020 Food Insecurity – and it is fascinating. I had read about that experiment before, in terms of how food restriction permanently shifts your brain chemistry and behaviour, and it is fascinating to think that one day in the far future, we might still be trolling aisles and grabbing desperately for yeast and flour and toilet paper and – in my case – baking powder. What is this Pandemic doing to our brains and behaviour patterns? The economist in me will be interested in future studies, but meanwhile, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the kitchen mixing 3/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

Another thing that has been absent from grocery shelves for weeks is sauerkraut. This is not something that affects me personally as I am not a fan of sauerkraut in the least, but my husband and younger son enjoy it, and one of the lunches they have been making recently is corned beef Reuben sandwiches. They were down to their last forkful of sauerkraut, and at that time it had been completely unavailable for three weeks, but my darling friend Denise – HI DENISE – came through and gave us a jar.

How was your Mother’s Day? After a few weeks of gorgeous weather, it turned cold and snowed a bit, so naturally I went to the garden centre Sunday morning to buy a few plants. I figured there would be very few people there and I was right. Traditionally this is my Mother’s Day gift – plants – but the boys also surprised me with popcorn and a viewing of my favourite movie, When Harry Met Sally, on Saturday night. We had a barbeque Sunday, and a nice family walk, and altogether it was a lovely, if cold, day.

Pandemic Reading

This is the sequel to Lives of the Saints, and I read it shortly after studying Lives of the Saints in first year university. I must have blocked it out. It’s a very dreary book and very sad; if you are in the market for a lot of brooding and a quest for belonging, then this is the book for you.

I read this for my long-defunct book club back in 2003, and it’s still a really wonderful read; a lovely celebration of womanhood and sisterhood. I really enjoy reading books that delve into a female point of view of a traditionally male story; this is a Biblical re-imagining around the story of Jacob and Joseph.

I loved this book when it first came out and I can see why: it’s a fascinating story about the Russian pairs skaters Gordeeva and Grinkov. There is a lot of detail about how the Soviets identified and trained young athletes, and then how lives changed with the breakup of the USSR. It’s a love story, of course, but if you are interested in figure skating, it is fascinating from that point of view.

I have been reading one Mary Oliver poem a day, just before I start my yoga practice. I limit myself to just one poem and then I think about it all day; her poetry is beautiful and uplifting.

Pandemic Fitness

It’s been a good week for walks and runs, and I bought some new running shoes, curbside, from The Tech Shop. They were having an insanely good sale, and while it was a bit disappointing that the only colour they had in the shoes that I like was exactly the same as my old shoes, the new ones are so nice and cushy.

I hope you all are still well. Stay safe! xo


  1. I enjoy the visual of you dancing with your two-legged carrot. Ha. Good to know your baking powder tip, and I hope you don’t run out. I am surprised to learn there is a run on sauerkraut. That is not a grocery staple for my eaters, but I am starting to believe EVERY other food item is indeed a staple for them.

    The weather here was cold and really rainy yesterday. I managed to get my 5 mile walk in between rain storms, hooray. Coach made carne asada – one of my favorite dinners, and a new breakfast hash-brown/cheese casserole which was delish and decadent. I was hoping for a bit more commitment to cleaning up the house, but I will just address that with my traditional to-to lists/assignments. With college kids being done, they should be able to pitch in a bit more around the house. Fingers crossed.

    I finished reading a 500 page manuscript someone from my book club invited us to read in hopes of getting feedback. It was good, but I am excited to read something on my personal list next.

    Glad you enjoyed a week of weather that allowed outdoor workouts. I find it helps INFINITELY.

  2. That article about the Starvation Experiment was fascinating! Yes, I think we are all going to be changed by this crisis in one way or another.

  3. bibliomama2 says

    I read a book about Jesus’s forty days in the desert that was from his viewpoint but also other people who were there at the same time, some of them women, that was fascinating. Unfortunately, I was three months pregnant with Angus at the time and had a Moroccan dinner that didn’t sit well, and the book kept mentioning preserved lemons and olives and the memory of it is tinged with nausea for me now. But it was a really good book. I had not counted the weeks, and I’m not sure how I feel about knowing the actual amount of time that has passed. Angus came home on March 17 (happy saint fucking patrick’s day) so he’s been home for almost exactly two months, with no clue when he can go back or see his girlfriend who’s on the other side of the border (their one-year anniversary is on the 15th. Man. This sucks).

  4. When I grew carrots I used to get a lot of disco dancing ones; that tells you they must be organic.
    The starvation Experiment is crazy; I hope we can get over this without too much mental stuff affecting us.
    I loved The Red Tent; worth reading more than once for sure.
    Your Mother’s day sounds perfect!

  5. Nicole I traded that sauerkraut for a delicious bottle of red….so it wasn’t that difficult of a choice. Best pandemic trade yet.

  6. Tofu is the thing we can rarely find and we are a big tofu-eating family. That and whole-wheat pasta. I once grew a carrot that had split in two and then the two strands twisted around each other like a braid.

  7. I understand the baking powder panic completely. Every time I go to the store and something on my list is missing — this week, it was limeade — I get All Freaked Out, when really, in The Time Before, it probably happened all the time, that something was out of stock. It just didn’t rise to the level of panic when I could easily stop back by the grocery store two days later. Now, it feels like I Will Never Drink Limeade Again.

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