Changing Mindsets; Forty-Seven Weeks In

I was at Costco a couple of weeks ago and something happened that hasn’t happened since February 2020. As I tried to decide if I needed two or three bags of a particular staple, I went with two, thinking I will be back here in a few weeks, I can get more next time. Did you hear me? I said I can get more next time! Rather than frantically fill up my cart with every staple I could possibly need, I went with a still-substantial, but not crazy amount.

A similar thing happened with olive oil and coffee, COFFEE, as I live and breathe. I went to pick up one of each and thought, no. No. I have two in backup at home and if, for some reason I go through all of that in the three weeks between Costco trips, I can pick it up at the local Co-Op. There is no shortage of coffee nor of olive oil. It will be okay.

I hope I didn’t just jinx things. If there happens to be a shortage of coffee now that I’ve said that, my god, I am sorry. Coffee is not merely a staple item in this house, it’s more like a if-we-run-out-someone-is-going-to-get-stabbed item.

It’s really hard, Really Hard, to change the Pandemic Shopping Mindset. There aren’t – and haven’t been – any shortages of things lately, not that I have noticed, and so there is really NO NEED to have triples and quadruples of staple items in backup. I am trying Very Hard to get to the point where I was, pre-pandemic, comfortable with just one backup of each staple item. Do I need 25 cans of chickpeas in my pantry? No, I do not.

I only need 24.

Well, I SAY there has been no shortage of things but for the last two weeks whole-wheat linguine has been mysteriously absent from Superstore shelves. Every other kind of whole-wheat pasta has been there, filling the shelves and on sale, even, but not linguine. Why? Is there an actual linguine shortage, are people desperately making linguine dishes while eschewing fusilli and penne? I was able, while peeking behind the massive spaghettini display, where the linguine was supposed to be, find one box. It felt like a Real Accomplishment. I mean, I certainly could have done with a different pasta – pasta is pasta – but the moment I discovered I couldn’t have linguine was the exact moment that I NEEDED linguine, so the effects of the pandemic shopping experience are still in my brain.

Speaking of changing mindsets and accomplishing things, when I was reading The Heroine’s Journey, I came across a passage about the way a traditional Native American tribe views menstruation. Very similar to that detailed in The Red Tent, the idea is that menstruation is a time of cleansing, intuition, creativity, and rest. When a woman is pregnant, that energy goes into creating life, and when a woman achieves menopause, it goes into creating wisdom.

Contrast that with our western ideas of The Curse.

I started to wonder if, maybe, we changed our mindset about our periods, would things be different? If, instead of thinking about our periods as a painful and emotional curse, we thought about it as a celebration of womanhood and a time to reflect and care for ourselves? Maybe, just maybe, when we feel exhausted or starving or like we could push our own grandmas out of the way to eat something salty, maybe we could honour that? Maybe instead of pushing through like a machine and crossing things off the to-do list left and right, maybe we could say, hey, I’m really tired, I am going to REST and then I will eat this jar of pickled asparagus because that is what my body wants. Maybe when we feel like stabbing our loved ones for breathing too loud or making chewing noises, we could take that as a sign that it is our magical, special time and we could focus inwards. Maybe instead of constantly doing things for other people while on the emotional pre-menstrual roller coaster, we should take that time to do things for ourselves, self-care and rest.

It’s worth a try, anyway.

I feel like I will be able to report back shortly, as I burst into tears in the car while singing along to Carly Simon’s Anticipation – These are the good old days – and also when I saw a photo of my husband’s cousin’s brand new granddaughter being held by her two-year-old sister. May they grow up to be the best of friends I typed and then cried.

So it might indeed be time for me to practice self-care and rest, and also maybe sample some of the Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Strawberry Lindors that I picked up in anticipation of Galentine’s Day.

Outfit of the Week

It was just a matter of time! A massive cold front hit and, as I write this it is minus 28. That’s WITHOUT windchill! Brr. But before the cold front hit we had a beautiful, mild-for-us winter day, and I spent as much time as I could outside.

I know I’ve talked a lot about bum warmers, but damn, they work a charm. Plus, upcycled, buy local, etc. I’m wearing my OG set with mittens, plus long lulu savasana socks and sweater, yoga tights, a few layers underneath, cozy faux-fur boots and my long Eddie Bauer coat that feels new but I think I bought it at least six years ago. Funny how that happens.

Also, update from the quinzhee, pictured behind me! It will probably be there until next winter, who knows. We got some fresh snow, which gave it a nice new layer and also covered up the dog-mess and scattered spruce needles in our backyard.

Pandemic Reading

Suzanne (HI SUZANNE) recommended this book, and I’m glad she did because I likely would never have picked it up otherwise. I knew next to nothing about Jessica Simpson; I vaguely remembered that she was in that Dukes of Hazzard reboot, but that was pretty much it. Not only is she an accomplished musical artist, with several movies under her belt, she was on one of the first reality TV shows ever, and she has a billion-dollar clothing line, that is affordable and accessible for all women. She has a really great story, and reading this book made me like and admire her a lot, for overcoming many obstacles and being true to herself.

Stay warm, everyone! Have a great week – perhaps with some extra chocolates involved! xo


  1. Everything I read about grocery shopping on people’s blogs makes me glad I’m not the main shopper in my family. I used to be the designated mid-week we’ve-run-out-of-something shopper, but mostly now if we run out of something, we wait. I so rarely go to the Co-op these days that when I did recently, I’d forgotten our member number.

    Here’s the brownie recipe you asked for. I lost the one I’d been using since I was a teenager and I found this one online. It’s pretty close, but I left out the peppermint extract because the creme de menthe makes them plenty minty. Also, I used a different brownie recipe, but I’m sure you have your own favorite vegan one.

  2. Laughing at pushing over grandma to get to the salty snacks. It would be something to not be secretive about a period while powering through as though our body was not begging for a break. One can only hope. You do look cozy in the cold but even if it were mild out I’d be perfectly content to curl up on the couch with a couple blankets.

  3. Hey, a girl can never have too many cans of chickpeas… Or can she? 24 haha. I nearly spit out my coffee (but I didn’t because it’s too precious to waste a drop. I’m with you there.)
    All for a bit more self-care and pampering if it involves locking myself in a room with a bubble bath and supersize choc bar and telling everyone to leave me alone if they know what’s good for them. But ‘magical’? Nope, that word will never sit in the same sentence as menstruation as long as I’m a fertile being ;P

  4. I too am having trouble breaking the pandemic-supplies mindset. We might just ALWAYS be kind of like this, like the people in my grandparents’ generation who after The War never stopped saving potpie tins and string and so forth.

  5. Actually, I just (just! More like a couple of months ago, is more like it) read something about particular types of pasta (not angel hair but I can’t remember the name) being in short supply. It had something to do with the companies ramping up the supply of the more popular types. Melba toast and oolong tea are still in very short supply here – I can’t come up with an explanation for why though.

    And I agree with Swistle, our thinking may have been altered forever after all of this.

  6. I adore your ideas on how to handle the ‘curse’. So, am I going to start feeling/imparting lots of wisdom since I’m about done with the curse part? Lets hope!
    You make winter look good!

  7. I am VERY impressed with your carefree “I’ll pick it up next time” attitude. I still have to Reason With myself over every extra can of chickpeas or bag of flour.

    SO GLAD you like the Jessica Simpson book! I already liked her but that book made me really admire her, too.

  8. I hadn’t even really noticed that I am doing more normal grocery shopping – although I tend to go fewer times a week than I did in the before time – rather than panicky pandemic shopping, so thanks for the reminder to be happy about that. Honestly, the admonition (not from you, from literature) to think of a period as a celebration of womanhood and wisdom makes me just as cranky as the sense that we should think of it as a curse. Resting is definitely good, but I don’t feel creative or wise, just achy and unwell, and bitter that I lose so many days of productivity and normalcy out of every month. I know some people feel great, though, and I’m happy for them.
    I always thought Jessica Simpson seemed pretty down to earth and relatable. Maybe Hannah can read that biography next instead of the boring Prince Philip one. 🙂

  9. No more periods is the (only) joy of getting older! My top tip for menopause is giving up dairy and drinking soya milk. I wasn’t completely vegan, cheese is too much of a pull, but I did my best, and had no hot flushes etc. Might be I was just lucky, but I definitely recommend it to anyone who reads your comments, and who isn’t already vegan, like you Nicole. Redefining your mindset towards menstruation has to be a positive idea. I not only have a pandemic supply of chickpeas, I Aldi bought two packets of dried chickpeas, just in case, why? The thought of running out of coffee makes me hyperventilate …

    • Right? No coffee means DISASTER. Interesting about the non-dairy thing! I don’t think I have bad periods really at all, maybe that’s a factor? It will be interesting to see as I start cycling towards menopause.

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