It’s not like I was planning on traveling far during this long-anticipated vacation.
I wasn’t planning on flying anywhere, not even taking a train. I am usually satisfied with doing things around town like lunching with friends, visiting art galleries, museums and local parks.
We can’t do any of that anymore except through video conferencing platforms, virtual gallery tours and… walking through parks without stopping to smell the flowers or sit on a bench. Geesh!
I am disappointed that the COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled a visit from one of my sisters. Mellowing out on Friday, I made my list of vacation week activities, many which can be accomplished while isolated at home. I even separated activities into “Fun and Creative” and “Responsible and Healthy”.
Spring vacation 2020 list of planned activities
I make efforts to write in my wellness journal and my diary, recording how I am feeling, what I have been doing to cope, who I have been communicating with, and any deeper thoughts. Apparently, this activity is encouraged by historians and psychologists.
This should be titled “Lessons RE-learned after the storm”
But first… What storm? you ask.
I’m talking about the SIX tornadoes that touched down in the Ottawa Valley and neighbouring regions on September 21, 2018. One of them smacked the Hydro station serving thousands of customers in Nepean.
tornadoes cause mass outages
‘We’ve pretty much lost everything’: Homes destroyed as Ottawa-Gatineau
It was quite the event. My area of the city lost electricity for 50 hours.
How about you? Were you greatly affected?
We are grateful that it was only electricity that we lost and not our roof, our shelter, our home. Other parts of the region were not so lucky.
If you live in Ottawa and survived the ice storm of ’98, you should have been prepared at least with an emergency preparedness kit : candles. matches, battery powered / wind-up radio, dry goods, water – something to hold you over for the first day or two.
Prior to the tornadoes hitting our region, we received those annoying alarms on our cell phones. I received them on both my personal cell and work phone.
Land line hold-out still has communication
I was able to communicate by telephone with family who had power at their end of the city, and with two of my adult children who called to check in on me from other provinces.
My cell phone service was working fine – as long as the battery held out.
I was able to follow status updates by listening to the battery powered radio and checking for updates on Twitter and local news websites on my cell.
One valuable lesson I learned was not to procrastinate with laundry and homework.
The previous weekend was so hot and humid that I couldn’t muster the energy to do laundry. After assessing my closet contents, I figured I had sufficient work wardrobe items to last the next week. It did but my plan of doing laundry on the next weekend was foiled by the loss of power on September 21st.
Luckily, on the Sunday, a kind family member let me do a load at his home, to shower, recharge devices, plus enjoy a hot meal!
As for the homework for the online course I am taking this semester, I should have applied myself to the readings and not gone to see The Bookshop mid-week. I had good intentions to do homework on the weekend of September 22nd.
Well, I couldn’t. I had no power, no home internet to access the required reading. Again, thanks for family and friends, I was able to use their WiFi to access the reading for that week’s lesson. I also sent an email to the course facilitator, asking for an extension. She was understanding and extended the deadline for the entire class by a couple of days.
A quiet, powerless Caturday September 22nd
The cats were oblivious to the lack of electricity. I knew they’d be okay in the dark because of their night vision.
One annoyance during those two darkened nights was that the old boy would wander and meow from dark corners in the apartment. I had fun getting out of bed to shuffle around, to find that black b@stard and shush him.
On the Saturday night, early Sunday morning, the little b@stard knocked my little flashlight off of my dresser, causing me to crawl on the floor on my hands and knees, feeling around for the thing in the dark.
On the Sunday, I got back into my morning routine of going for a walk around the neighbourhood. The sunrise was colourful but eerie, illuminating the darkened streets.
Sunday Morning Sunrise Sept 23
Will we be ready for the next time?
Environmentalists and climatologists predict that due to climate change, we can expect more of these powerful storms travelling down our valley.
Last weekend I attended the Capital Ukrainian Festival.
I was looking forward to music, cultural crafts and … perogies.
I was also challenging my aversion to crowds, spending hours in the hot sun and lining up for food.
Capital Ukrainian Festival – dancers
The musicians and dancers certainly entertained the visitors in the hot afternoon sun. There were all kinds of vendor tents and scheduled tours of the church.
Capital Ukrainian Festival
I abandoned my quest for perogies and other tasty treats due to the long lineups in the hot sun. The shaded merchant tent was more appealing for my delicate complexion and conducive to locating inexpensive, practical items. I found some colourful, blank greeting cards for sending to family and friends. Yes, I’m one of the people who still do that.
I was attracted to the watches displayed by one of the merchants. I was also curious about the symbols on the watch face.
It was the Tryzub Cross. I was curious to learn more. The Tryzub Cross is simply a cross-bar on the middle tine of a tryzub.
But what is a ‘tryzub’? And why should it have a cross-bar? ‘Tryzub’ (тризуб) is Ukrainian for “trident” and is one of Christianity’s earliest symbols. A trident with a Cross is associated with St. Vladimir the Great (980–1015).
The merchant explained the history and practices of the watch manufacturer plus let me try on a couple of the ladies’ models. I didn’t commit to purchasing one right away yet accepted the brochure for something to look at while I digested the price! If you have the means and time to learn more about these beautiful watches, you can visit the vendor’s web site at http://kleynodwatches.com/
Eventually during my wanderings, I came across plenty of Ukrainian Easter eggs.
Did you know…?The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.