Today is the first Sunday of Advent.
Normally, our tree would have already been decorated, and the Advent wreath, with its candles, set up.
It doesn’t look like we’ll be able to have a tree this year. The cats just seem to wait until we’re not around, then go after it. The main problem is, there’s really just one place that works well for a tree in this house, and there isn’t any way to stabilize it. At least not without making holes for hooks in places I really don’t want to put holes.
So we’re thinking of using a garland that looks like spruce branches in place of a tree, and focus more on decorating the house.
At least, up near the ceiling! 😀
As for the Advent wreath, I forgot we no longer had candles. There are supposed to be 4 of them. Three in blue or purple, one in pink. One after another is symbolically lit on each Sunday of Advent. A 5th candle, in white and representing Christ, can be included, to be lit on Christmas day.
If I’d remembered we burned away the last of our supply of these candles last year, I would have gone hunting for them long ago. I’d found them at Michael’s before, but outside of boxed sets specifically put together for Advent, it’s hard to find the right colours, this time of year. Michael’s, of course, is shut down right now, along with all the other “non essential” stores. Churches are shut down, too, so there’s another potential source no longer available.
I did have other candles, though. I have a silver candelabra my husband bought for me years ago, that holds 3 candles – and I had kept the candles from the last time we’d used it. They’re gold instead of blue or purple, and only about 4 inches long, but they’ll do. In place of the pink candle, I have a white one. For the Christ candle, I have another white one, marked with a cross, that had been included in our traditional Easter basket for blessing.
Yesterday, I helped my mother do her grocery shopping. Her building is closed off to all but residents and staff, so she had to meet me outside. She wasn’t wearing her face shield, but the surgical mask under her nose again. When I asked why, she ignored me, so I suspect she’s afraid of being hassled, even with the shield. She had to go to the bank, first and had called ahead to make an appointment the day before. She was told she could come any time during opening hours, and given instructions. They don’t allow anyone into the bank anymore. There’s a table set up in the vestibule. Only one person allowed at a time. Not that there’s room in there for more. My mother filled out what she needed, then knocked on the door. When someone came over, they couldn’t even open the door very far, because there was no room with her walker in there.
I waited outside while she sat in her walker. Some guy came by, wanting to go in. After confirming with me that my mother was not waiting in line, but had already been helped, and that I was not waiting in line, either, he read the signs while putting on his mask. He read the “one person in the vestibule at a time”, then asked, “what’s a vestibule?” 🙂 It is not a word that is commonly used out here!
Then he decided to try and get into the bank.
Yup. Went in, with my mother, and tried to open the locked inner door.
I don’t know what my mother said to him, but I heard him answering “I know that” as he left. 😀
We started chatting about the ridiculousness of it all (seriously; in that tiny space, if the virus were an issue around here, which it isn’t, it’s like they’d created the very conditions it would most likely be spread!), and he started going on about how the reason we were having so many problems was because all the kids are allowed to go to school and spread the bacteria.
Yes. He said bacteria.
Thinking he may have misspoke, I mentioned it was a virus, and he just brushed it off and kept talking about how all these asymptomatic kids are getting everyone sick by spreading the bacteria.
Thankfully, my mother was soon done and I had to help her with the doors. Because, of course, they’re not using the entry with automated doors for persons with disabilities.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, and my mother is now well stocked for a while. I made a point of bringing our folding wagon along, so while my mother unlocked the side door closer to her apartment, I loaded it up and brought it over. She then had to push her walker while pulling the wagon to get her groceries in, then bring it back. If I weren’t concerned about her being hassled, I would have gone in anyway. 😦
Since I was out with my mother yesterday, it was today that I started something for Christmas that I’ve been wanting to try for some time.
I cooked up a baking soda and cornstarch dough. My intention was to make cookie cutter ornaments with it. I have a set of cutters that are meant more for gingerbread house type dough, that make interlocking pieces. Once dry, the pieces can be put together to make a 3D tree, star or reindeer. I had another set of cookie cutters in a variety of Christmas themed shapes.
It didn’t work.
I think I might not have cooked the dough long enough or something, but I cooked it until it was so thick, I couldn’t stir it anymore, so it should have worked. Yet it was way too soft to be able to do anything after cutting the shapes I wanted. After several attempts, I gave up and offered the dough to the girls. They made a bunch of little sculptures, instead, which will take several days to dry.
I guess I’ll just stick with the orange slice decorations I was going to start on while the baking soda dough ones dried.
It’s funny. With having moved so many times over the years, and now with my husband’s mobility so reduced, there is nothing unusual about having Christmas with just the 4 of us. Since we were already living on my husband’s disability payments, we’re used to being extremely fugal. Living in relative isolation, a lot of the restrictions and regulations don’t affect us directly most of the time. Yet, the long tentacles of government overreach is affecting even us. When we do go into town, we’re not allowed to buy anything Christmas related (unless it’s for pets; you can buy all the Christmas themed pet toys you want, but you can’t buy toys for human children), nor books and magazines, most clothing, and so many other things government talking heads have decided are not “essential”. All of this is affecting everyone, as prices for basic necessities, have to go up in response. So people like us and my mother – who at least have incomes, as small as they are – are going to be having a harder time of it. Gas prices are going down again, but there is nowhere to go. Supposedly, the lock down is going to end on Dec. 11, but our premier is already saying it’s not going to be lifted much, and telling people not to get together with family for Christmas, even with the reduced restrictions.
Meanwhile, it’s our seniors in long term care in the city, surrounded by people in PPE, but no family or loved ones, and no activities to help combat cognitive decline or loneliness, that are dying. Not necessarily of the virus, but of starvation, dehydration and neglect. Meanwhile, my mother can’t even find out how her sister is doing; her niece isn’t returning her calls (not sure what’s going on there), and my mother can’t navigate the automated phone system to talk to a human being. I’m not on the list of people they’re allowed to talk to, so I can’t find out for her.
I think I’ll call, anyway, and ask them to phone my mother or something.
It’s going to be a very strange Christmas.