Nothing much to do today I think I’ll do my hair today Can’t do a thing with it, look at it, this way and that.. Then we’re on the phone, hear the news It’s all grief and gloom! Yes, things are bad, really bad We’re clearly immune We lead charmed lives
Charmed Lives, Boomtown Rats (songwriter: Bob Geldof)
Been doing a bit of binge-listening to The Boomtown Rats lately. “Charmed Lives” was written in 1982, so is in no way is commenting on the world of 2020–21. But the lyrics certainly struck me in a differently than they had previously. Here we are, all empty social calendars and overgrown hair and terrible news, and yet…
… On our way to immunity, and all the charms that can bring.
I recently received my second dose of the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine. I won’t get into why this is so, but I did qualify for it, no lying or cheating. The timing of both my doses made me something of an outlier at the vaccine clinic. First visit, it was me and a bunch of 80 year olds. Second visit, I was a second dose person in a first dose world: Agreeing to complete a post-vaccine survey only to find I didn’t qualify for it, because my first dose was too long ago. Having to stop the person checking me out from booking me for yet another vaccine appointment, 16 weeks hence.
For what’s it’s worth, I do agree with the delayed second dose strategy, but also wish they’d get a bit more of a move on now in doling them out to those who qualify (like frontline healthcare workers) and in offering them sooner to more people, notably those over 80. Still, it really looks as though enough supply is on the way that few will actually have to wait a full 16 weeks for dose 2. Most will likely get it within 3 months—which studies are indicating is actually better than getting it after only 3 weeks.
In the meantime, what difference does being fully vaccinated make to me? Well, mentally it’s nice, knowing that I’m building even better immunity and becoming less likely to infect others. But otherwise, not much has changed. I still can’t go to a restaurant, salon, movie theatre, or concert hall, because none of those places are open yet. Travel’s not really a practical option, either. And any indoor spaces that are open, masks are still mandatory for all.
So, I’m not relating to all those American articles on the challenges of rejoining society. (Though for the record, when the time comes, I won’t have to adapt to brushing my teeth and taking showers again, or to wearing jeans and other zippered pants and shirts with buttons, because I never stopped doing those things, and can’t really comprehend why anyone else would have…?!? I even kept up with makeup most days—that one, I’ll admit is bizarre—but it’s fun for me, and I don’t care that it doesn’t impress my cats much. On the other hand, wearing shoes with heels, or wearing any sort of fancy dress at all, is something of a distant memory…)
But you know, I agree with the slow reopening, because I want this one to stick. What’s true now is what’s been true all pandemic: no one can beat this thing alone. There’s little benefit to being vaccinated if everyone else around keeps getting ill. It’s a group effort. And fortunately, it’s going well.
Saturday we went to a fundraiser for the Cambridge Fashion History Museum. They were holding a Tango Tea, and type of event popular in the 1910s. This was a high tea at which people would do the popular dances of the day—including, but hardly limited to, the tango. They encouraged us to dress in outfits reminiscent of that time. I didn’t have exactly that, but wore a tango dress with a fashion hat—I looked at pictures, and everyone wore hats then.
Me with a Givenchy that was part of the exhibits
Jean wore a fetching pinstripe suit and his Dad’s fedora; unfortunately, the person we got to take Jean’s picture didn’t press the camera button all the way down, so his outfit is lost to the mist.
Another friend took a picture!
They brought in a Stanford professor who specializes in dance history. He did a few classes in the morning that we didn’t attend, but during the tea also did some demos and shorter lessons on the basics of the one-step, the grizzly dance, and other popular dances of the time. Our ballroom dance instructor wouldn’t have approved of the techniques (or lack thereof), but it was fun learning and seeing these dances that did evolve into today’s waltz, tango, quickstep, foxtrot, and samba.
The Sufragettes were active in the 1910s, and through some educational (but fun!) games, we learned more about them. We were also invited to join the movement.
The two ladies in the centre made these dresses themselves
In Canada, most women earned the right to vote in federal and Ontario elections in 1917. Asian women were excluded until after the Second World War, and Native women earned the right only in 1960.
In 2018, Canada has a feminist Prime Minister who insists on a gender-balanced cabinet (though parliament remains far from balanced). In Ontario, we have a ridiculous, unqualified Premier who beat several far more qualified women on the way to power.
So, the fight’s not really over.
Premier Ford is currently pretty busy throwing Toronto’s municipal election into chaos for no reason while trying take away their right to free speech as quickly as possible, so when Greenpeace added to his pile of lawsuits for not doing the legally mandated consulting before cancelling cap and trade, he capitulated (to some degree) and opened a one-month opportunity to comment online. You can find it here: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-3738. Just click Submit a comment.
Not sure what to say? Well, in case it helps, this is what I submitted. (And no, I don’t think it will make a difference, but at least I’ll be able to say I tried.)
Me: Why do you say that? Because my Dad buys them?
Jean: And my Grandmother. She always had a bowl of those out.
Me: Come to think of it, my Grandmother always had mints like these around, too.
But would your Grandmother buy shoes like these?
(Or allow shoes on the couch?)
So the mission here was to get another pair of comfy shoes that weren’t sandals (as it seemed, at the time, that Fall weather was coming). And I did succeed at that:
But then I saw these other shoes, and they were so cute.
The truth is, outside of ballroom dancing—which requires special dance shoes—I have few opportunities to wear heeled shoes. At work I do the stand-up desk thing, and you can’t do that in heels.
But still…. Pretty cute. And on sale!
I have managed to wear them to one party that was mostly a sit-down affair, and have worn them at work as well, for the sit-down parts of the day. For heeled shoes, they’re pretty comfortable: despite the point, they don’t squish the toes, and the back strap doesn’t dig in. And with so few occasions to actually wear them, they should last for years, right?
Anyone want to borrow a T-shirt?
It’s possible I have a T-shirt problem.
The above were all acquired this summer, in Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, and right here in Waterloo. And it’s not as though I didn’t have any T-shirts to start with.
A double shot
We came home from one vacation to find that the drip coffeemaker was no longer working. A fuse or something, I guess—you’d press the button and nothing would happen. That was a Delonghi dual espresso / regular coffee maker that I’d received as a work gift. Only, the espresso part broke down within weeks. It looked impressive, but for years had supplied only regular coffee, and now couldn’t even do that.
Still, when we put it out with the trash, someone took it away within minutes. Good luck to them in trying to make it useful again.
Meanwhile, we were doing Bodum coffee, which is very good, but presented a timing issue. Jean is more of a morning person that I am. He’d get up and make enough coffee for both of us, but by the time I was up and ready to drink it, it was often more lukewarm than hot.
We started by tasting a single-origin coffee to determine which cheap machine was most acceptable to discerning coffee drinkers, then ran the panel a second time with preground Dunkin’ Donuts house blend from the corner store. The Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker (46201) swept both rounds of testing. It placed second to the Oxo [9-cup coffee maker, a $200 US coffee maker] in Round 1 and actually beat the Oxo during the Dunkin’ round.
That Hamilton Beach unit was more widely available in the US than in Canada, but Amazon could ship it to us from an outfit called Moto Liquidation that warned would be “like new” but “show signs of handling/unpacking and usages, boxes have damage.”
That proved pretty accurate—box was somewhat battered but unit looked new. Only the first day we tried it, we found that we only got about half the amount of coffee requested—the rest of the water spilled out all over the counter.
We contacted Moto Liqidation who said that we could either get a refund, or they would send us another coffeemaker. Either way, they said, we could keep the one we had. And hence:
Unit 2 has a slight wobble, but not one that interferes with coffee making. And if any of the parts ever break or fail, well, we can pillage them from unit 1.
It does make really good coffee.
TV in the kitchen
I believe it’s not so unusual now, but when we got our kitchen renovated 15 or so years ago, our designer considered it very odd that we wanted space for a TV in there. Still, she penciled one in, above the stove top, plenty big enough for TVs of the time.
Fast forward, and the space is just barely big enough for the smallest of today’s TVs. And there’s absolutely nowhere else in the kitchen a TV could go (short of doing another renovation).
Furthermore, at some point I decided I also wanted the option of listening to music in the kitchen, and I don’t mean over headphones. So we got a Sonos Play 5, with the idea that when we bought a small digital TV to replace the old tube one, we could hook it up as the TV speaker.
But the Sonos 5 is large, and trying to find a spot for it near the TV was a challenge. Not just in having enough room, but also in the fact that anything near the stove top gets totally coated in disgusting grease, and I didn’t want that to happen to my nice speaker.
Then Sonos came out with a new speaker that was exactly what we needed. The Playbase is a wide, flat TV (and music) speaker that the TV is meant to sit on. It’s sized to exactly fit in the limited space we have available. The sound quality, by all accounts, incredible. The only problem? It’s a pricey sucker.
[All Sonos Playbase reviews, summarized: Woah, that sounds awesome. … Wait, you want how much for it?]
So I kept dawdling on it til the the September long weekend, when I just decided to go for it.
The only available TV spot in the kitchen is… not wide, and at risk of grease
A better view of the Sonos playbase. The other little box is the Rogers digital adapter.
The new TV took two tries, as the first one had a cracked screen. Figuring out just how to get the cable through was trickier than expected (tip: even it’s a digital TV, you still need a digital adapter to decipher the channels).
But the Sonos was problem-free in hooking into our network of other Sonos units. And it does sound great. And having the Chromecast on the TV opens up new viewing and listening possibilities: Netflix, YouTube, Spotify (even if not paying for Premium), SoundCloud app.
(The neighbourhood scavengers, by the way, had no interest in the tube TV beyond the power cord. But no worries, we properly e-cycled it.)
As for the grease, we’re trying to minimize its effects by using the back burners more. It’s making that back corner kind of gross, but so far so good on keeping the speaker clean.
So I was happy. Until the following Tuesday (i.e. the next business day) when Sonos decided it was time to offer me 15% off a new Playbase. As long as I hadn’t already bought one, of course…
Bah. Good thing I saved money with the on-sale shoes and the cheap coffee maker, eh?
It’s past 8:00 pm and it’s still over 30C, and humid. It’s been like this for days. It’s officially a heat wave.
I must admit I don’t suffer that terribly during these. Fact is, I leave my air-conditioned house for my air-conditioned car, then drive to my air-conditioned office.
But also, I’ve been wearing dresses all week.
People, there is no better hot-weather garment in the world than the dress. Naturally, I do not mean the uncomfortable, bedazzled type of dress one might wear, say, when getting married.
Not this kind of dress! (Also, hadn’t realized that “pink wedding dress” was a thing.)
I mean the plainer, looser type of garment that rests on your shoulders and just flows down from there, making a natural breeze as you walk.
OK, this one might not make a breeze when you walk. But you get the idea. It’s a very simple dress.
Obviously, the dress must be worn without any hose. Nylons would absolutely ruin the whole thing, in every way. No longer comfortable, no longer cool.
But just the dress, with some little sandals (and some undergarments, one assumes, but that’s really your business) is the next best thing you can wear in the heat. There’s a reason people in warm climes wear robes.
So pity the poor men-folk among us, who must make do with shorts–if their workplace even allows those, that is. Shorts are just not as good. They are a recipe for sweaty inner thighs. Who wants that?
The ability to wear dresses in summer is one of the very few advantages our society offers women over men.
And yet, I observe, not that many women take advantage.
Some, I suppose, may fear the air conditioning– that this outfit so perfect for the 33C degree, 40C humidex weather outside will only leave them shivering with cold while inside. A not unfounded fear (I actually sometimes bring in a sweater (!) just in case).
But an awful lot more, I think, either don’t realize how comfortable a dress can be (maybe they haven’t worn one since the prom?) or simply don’t feel comfortable in such a feminine garment. It’s undeniable that there’s nothing much more girly than a dress—even a simple dress—and girly just doesn’t sit well on every woman.
Fortunately, I am a lipstick feminist, totally in touch with my girly side. (And no fan of sweaty thighs.)