Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Pandemic Playlist

You know how some songs just resonate with you at a given time based on whatever’s going on in your life? Maybe it’s a song you’ve heard a million times before, but a lyric just jumps out at you in a different way because of where you are at the time you hear it?

Since the pandemic started, I’ve actually gotten (a little bit) back into running. You may recall that after a decade long (very) amateur half marathon running career, I stopped because I sprained my ankle, which led to (excruciating) hip bursitis, and even after my hip got better, I never went back to running because my ankle never fully healed and I’ve been terrified of getting hip bursitis again. Well, not being able to play hockey or go to the gym was making my antsy. I’m doing at home workouts, which are good for me physically, but I don’t think have the same mental health benefits as my usual exercises, especially since I’m doing them in the same place where I now spend my entire workday, my evenings, my weekends…. So I decided to give running a try again. Just to see how my ankle feels. And not super long distances. And really paying attention to my form so I don’t overcompensate and put stress on my hip again. And did I mention not for super long distances?

Anyhoo, getting back into running means I’ve been listening to my Zombie Running app – which is still really great storytelling, but I have to say that listening to a story where you are a character running missions during a zombie apocalypse was maybe not the best choice in the early days of living in a viral apocalypse – and interspersed through the story you listen to music from your playlist. And as I listened to these songs that I used to listen to on the regular, but haven’t listened to in more than three years, more than a few of them jumped out at me with a new resonance. (There have also been a few things I’ve heard listening to the radio or to various Spotify playlists that have had similar effect). And so I give to you, in no particular order, my pandemic playlist (I reserve the right to add to this list later as the pandemic is ongoing).

Evacuate the Dancefloor by Cascada:

Untouched by the Veronicas:

Contagious by Avril Lavinge:

Poison by Groove Coverage1 (particularly the line “your lips are venomous poison”)

Don’t Stand So Close to Me by the Police2:

Break My Heart by Dua Lipa (particularly the line “I should have stayed at home):

  1. Yes, I know this song is originally by Alice Cooper. But I have the Groove Coverage cover on my playlist. []
  2. Props to Cath for point this one out []

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Cyberbaking – It’s Not Just for Christmas Anymore!

As you may recall, my family and I love to bake. And sometimes at Christmas, if I’m not in Ontario visiting, we cyberbake: I bake in my kitchen in BC and my mom and my sister bake in my sister’s kitchen in Toronto and we videochat while we do said baking1.

Well, I’m really missing my family while everyone is isolating in our own homes during the pandemic. I know it’s kind of silly, because I often only see my family at Christmastime anyway, but (a) before the pandemic hit, I was planning to go to a conference in Ottawa in June and was planning to see my family then (but of course that is now not going to happen), and (b) it’s different when you don’t have a *choice*. Back in the old timey days where we could just hop on a plane whenever we wanted to, I at least had the option to go see my family. Now, since non-essential travel is a no-no, that choice is taken away, so it feels harder. I know it’s important that we all hunker down at this point to manage this pandemic, but I’m still acutely aware of missing my family. AnywayI digress…

A few days ago, I suggested that we all get on our webcams and bake together today. My mom in her house, my sister and her family in their house, and me in my condo. It really is fun to just chit chat and bake and be “together” even though we are apart.

My sister made cinnamon rolls and two loaves of bread shaped like turtles. She also taught my about “parbaking” – where you bake bread to about 80% of the way done and then freeze it. When you want to eat it, you bake it the rest of the way. So that’s a pretty great idea for when you have the urge to bake a bunch of stuff but you are stuck in a condo with just two people who shouldn’t each several loaves of bread in a day. I also realized that since “parbaking” means “partway baking”, that “parboiling” just means “partway boiling”. I would face palm, but touching one’s face is frowned upon these days.

My niece made snickerdoodles and my nephew made chocolate chip cookies. Last Christmas I gave my nephew a “virtual reality” baking set because I knew he likes baking and apparently he only wants to use the measuring cups from his set when he bakes. So nice to see that he likes his present!

My mom made a modified shepherd’s pie, using up some things she had around the house.

I decided to make carrot cake. I’ve never made carrot cake before, so it counts towards my goal of making 20 new foods this year). Plus I have a giant bag of carrots from the last time we went to Costco, so it seemed like a good way to use some of them up! I got my mom to send me my Uncle Stephen’s carrot cake recipe and I have to say, it is delicious.

I posted that before I made the cream cheese icing. Mmmm, cream cheese icing!

As always, the down side of cyberbaking is that you can’t taste what each other are baking! Fortunately, I have a bunch of carrot cake with which to console myself.

  1. As aside: this past December was so busy that I didn’t do any Christmas baking at all. None! That’s the first time in my life that I can remember not doing Christmas baking. I think maybe I upset the balance of the universe and that caused our current apocalypse. If so, sorry about that! []