Around the house Diversions

A week of mugs

I was trying to think of how to separate the days – if you don’t know we’re not only not going into the office but we’re also not at home. The bathrooms in our house are being renovated and it’s basically impossible to live there so we’re all (two adults, one 9-year-old and two cats) living with my parents in a 2-bedroom condo. Toby, Q and I moved out of our house on January 5. We were in a rental for 9 or 10 weeks, then we moved in here.

Then Covid-19 hit.

So I wanted a fun way to separate the days. So I started sharing my mom’s ginormous collection of mugs on FB and instagram 🙂 So here’s the first week of photos:

Do you remember Dominions? Now they’re all called Metro. They started in Toronto in 1919 and were bought and sold a bunch of times it seems. Anyway, this mug was made for Dominions.

Sweet bunny!

The mug on the left reminds me so much of my dad – it’s silly and actually looks a little like him. And comes with a mustache protector. The one on the right is creepy I think. My folks got it in PEI – I think it was meant to look like my dad too but I don’t think so lol

My mom and dad used to give out “loot bags” after their big parties – this would have been filled with chocolate and candy canes and I am sure I tied metres and metres of ribbon around them at the time. (my mom’s name is kinda blacked out – it’s a long-standing joke between her and I; she’s fine, still my mom, still married to my dad, since 1968!)

Just a lovely music mug

A souvenir mug from the PanAm games – when 10s of 1,000s of visitors came to Toronto. Sigh.
Diversions Toronto

Tourist in my home town – Grange Park

NOTE: I took these pictures in October 2019. I thought they would be good to share now during physical distancing so we can remember what’s waiting for us all when we’re done.

Tucked away behind the Art Gallery of Ontario and OCAD University is the most lovely little oasis.

At one time it was basically the back yard for The Grange (which was the original home of the AGO and has it’s own long history) and now it’s a lovely spot to wander, listen to kids playing on the playground, or water gurgling through the splash pad (in summer) or from the fountain:

(there was a person who was obviously quite fond of the fountain hanging around it and every time I went to take a picture would try and move into the shot. I’m not sure if they wanted to be in the picture or just stop me from taking it but I eventually got this photo)

I really love the way Toronto can pull off nature in the middle of the city!

And of course, the love affair with Henry Moore continues:

Large Two Forms - Henry Moore
Large Two Forms – Henry Moore

The Henry Moore Sculpture Centre in the AGO is the largest public collection of Henry Moore’s work – and he gave most of it to the gallery.



I don’t remember the last time I gave blood. My donor card from Canadian Blood Services says it was 2014. I know I tried a couple of times after that but I’m always borderline on the hemoglobin scale (apparently you need 125 g/L and I’ve been refused at 120 and 123 so I guess they’re pretty strict about it; don’t worry though 120 g/L is the low end of “normal” – just not enough for them to let me donate). Anyway, the last time I tried to give I had a rather matronly reception nurse try and give me all sorts of rules to bring my iron up – as if I had never heard it all before and I was definitely made to feel as though I were wasting her time for even bothering to show up. I was off by a point or two! Sigh.

So I stopped going. And then, with all the hospitalizations going on right now I realised that was nothing but selfish of me really. So I tried to make an appointment online. It turns out the King St West clinic in Toronto just shut down because they couldn’t keep people the appropriate physical distance apart. So I made an appointment to go to the College St. location. Still close enough that I can walk and avoid public transit – I don’t need to take it so I will leave the space for the people who can.

Appropriately enough for me, my appointment was on April 1, 2020. Yep, April Fools’ Day.

 April Fools Day by is licensed under CC BY 4.0

I did my best – I ate broccoli, we had steak on Sunday, I had smoked oysters. And on the flip side, my period started Monday. So, what happened yesterday?

I drank lots of water all day yesterday and today and made sure to leave enough time to take a slow walk to the clinic. Everything was taped out as to where to stand and wait and there was hand sanitizer to use at multiple points.

The College St clinic is housed in the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children. It’s got such a great history – It was built in 1892 and was where Pablum was invented, and incorporated x-rays in 1896.

I was about 10 minutes early so I had to wait until my time. Apparently they have a capacity of 82 donations and they almost hit 90 today! I have O+ blood – which I think is helpful for all + blood types. But whatever you have you should donate.

Anyway, my hemoglobin was a whopping 141 g/L! Woohoo!

Next time I will not plan on walking 2.5 km home again. I was wiped out and I even made sure to walk home slowly. My folks ordered pizza for dinner so I had a couple of large glasses of water and a couple slices of pizza and headed to bed!

Diversions Reading

Thoughts on books from other voices.

Reading words from other voices

Not written for me but eavesdropping

Not understanding but witnessing,

sympathizing, empathizing,

above all learning.

Diversions Get Crafty Health Reading

Trying to focus

How do you pick what you want to focus on? I mean, seriously – there are so many things I want to do, and help Q with, and I have no idea how to fit it all in.

Right now I’m trying to fit in – in addition to working-from-home-mostly-full-time:

  1. improving my French – mostly this involves the Duolingo app. My French is pretty abysmal for someone who took it for 13 or so years through elementary and high school;
  2. reading more – like actual books. I’m doing the Toronto Public Library’s reading challenge again this year and while I’m doing okay, I’d like to be more consistent with it. For example, I haven’t read anything not work related in the last two weeks. I’d like to work it in;
  3. cross-stitching – it’s fun and calming. Mostly it’s calming. I found an awesome group on facebook to stitch with and they have little games and competitions and while that helps me stitch more it also sometimes ups my anxiety. Thankfully they’re pretty laid back and chill and if I have to drop out of something there is no problem. I’m also VERY careful to follow through on the ones that actually require preparation and participation though;
  4. helping Q learn Morse Code – I’m not sure how much he wants to do this but we’ve worked our way up to E (and also SOS and the letter T);
  5. 2 x 10 minutes of my mindfulness app a day – why twice a day? The app is Calm and it has a “daily calm” of about 10 minutes on a different topic each day. Then it has different series that you can work through – right now I’m listening to a series called “relationship with self.”
  6. moving more – hard to do when we’re in a state of emergency I think; but we’ll try.

One of the benefits of not being at home right now is I can at least ignore most of the “housekeeping” stuff – no cleaning, no yard work etc. I am still doing laundry but less really. Also no piano to make me feel guilty for not practising!

So let’s see:

  • 10-20 minutes for Duolingo;
  • 20-30 minutes for Calm;
  • 30-60 minutes for reading;
  • 30-60 minutes of cross-stitching;
  • 30-60 minutes of moving more;
  • 30-60 minutes of helping Q with school, games, Morse Code etc
  • 6.5 hours of work (M – F)
  • 7 hours of sleep (ideally)

At the high end of everything and assuming some buffer for changing activities and that equals 19 hours. Plus eating and showering. I’m gonna try this schedule for this week or two. It has the decided benefit of being easily marked down as “yes or no” – isn’t that the hallmark of a “SMART” goal?

  • Specific – yes
  • Measurable – yes  
  • Attainable – not sure
  • Relevant – well, relevant to me
  • Time-bound – trying for a week, hopefully two and then I’ll see how I’m feeling about it all.

Wish me luck!

What are you choosing to focus on? One or two things or 50bazillion like I’m trying to do?