Gratuitously Pleasant

I am days away from saying that I’ve been in almost complete isolation for a year and a half. I see and talk to Attila face to face, he is the only person I’ve had a face to face conversation with for over a year and a half. Eleven times I’ve been to appointments, two of them to receive the Covid vaccines, two of them to be tested for Covid, two of them to have my finger growths (un)diagnosed, four to have my eyes examined, to choose glasses, to pick up my glasses, and to have my glasses adjusted, and once to pick up grain for bread. These brief encounters were overwhelmingly negative, except the visit to the optometrist, and the first and third visit to get my eyeglasses, the second visit which was to pick up my eyeglasses was unpleasant. I wonder that people can’t make an effort to be civil and polite to others. But my experience is that the majority of people just can’t manage it, as they are probably lost in their own misery.

So, when I had to call the 1 800 number for the bank yesterday it was a breath of fresh air, that Maureen answered my call. I don’t know Maureen, have never heard of her, or spoken to her before, and will probably not speak to her ever again. In fact I stumbled into the conversation with an awkward request for her to repeat her name. Within a few sentences, she had me smiling. By the end of the call we were both laughing. The call was brief, efficient, got the job done, and it makes me cry to think of it. Social pleasantness is that rare in my life. It is difficult to remember that some people are still gratuitously pleasant, when evidence is overwhelmingly the opposite.

I’ve been feeling lately that I am not doing anything. This is a misconception on my part. To ground this feeling with fact, I made a list this morning, of all the things that I planned on accomplishing before Attila arrived home from work. The list was completed as anticipated.

  • wash and hang laundry to dry on the clothes line
  • prepare Beans, brine, jars and canner, then can a batch of Dilly Beans (6 x 500 ml)
  • bake bread
  • make four liters of Switchel for Attila
  • clean and freeze two quarts of Cherry Tomatoes

Of course this list does not include preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner from scratch, making the bed, sweeping floors, and many other general day-to-day things that keep a home livable.

In addition, this evening we are doing a grocery run, in which Attila picks up the order I made yesterday, brings it home, and we wash every item with soapy water, or spray it with hydrogen peroxide. Some would regard this as over the top cautious. In fact, although Attila goes along with these measures, he would no longer take them if left to his own devices, now that we are fully vaccinated. He indulges me. Sanitizing the grocery order is something that we have down to an easy routine. It has some advantages, the produce stays fresh much, much longer for having been washed, rinsed, and air dried before storage; the sanitizing will remove cold and flu bugs; and it allows us to detect any problems with the order immediately, such as a cracked egg.

As time goes on items on my order are more frequently not available. It is difficult to tell if this is because of a general shortage, or an issue with the individuals putting together the order. We adjust to the shortage, using what we can get to best advantage.

I do find myself looking forward to entering a grocery store again. I wonder how it will be different than it was a year and a half ago, the last time I passed through their doors. I can see myself eventually shopping just for the pleasure of strolling about freely. Perhaps when this fourth wave of the Pandemic has subsided, perhaps. I am of the mind that it doesn’t pay to “jump the gun”, and that patience is a virtue, particularly in the event of a Pandemic. I don’t want to adjust my ways towards freedom just to have them crushed into another round of isolation. Perhaps by the time I am out and about again more people will have recovered from their grump.

The heat wave has been with us for about a week now, and continues relentlessly. Attila has worked all week in the heat, and is doing remarkably well all things considered. We were hoping to make a foray to the market this weekend, but he just isn’t up to it just now. We are both happy to remain here at Mist Cottage, puttering in the garden and kitchen, and just generally taking life as slowly as we can. It looks like August is going to carry on hot and humid. I wonder what September will be like!



Updated on Fri, Aug 13, 6:25 PM
29 °C
Partly cloudy
Wind 17 SW km/h
Humidity 67 %
Visibility 26 km
Sunrise 6:08 AM
Wind gust 26 km/h
Pressure 101.3 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 8:16 PM


“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
106 BC – 43 BC

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Joan Lansberry

Our last grocery store visit this Tuesday did feature a much greater percentage of masked people than the previous two visits, so people ARE getting the news about the Delta variant.
The only precaution (other than mask wearing) is to wash hands when coming into the house after the trip, and then to wash them again once all the stuff has been put away. So far, so good. You’ll never find Julia and I eating indoors in a restaurant, that’s probably done for. But when the weather is again cool (in November), we might venture eating at a restaurant on their patio, unless of course, the Delta or some other variant really turns everything to sh&t. They are saying the new covid cases, though, are mostly in the unvaccinated people. Stay well and comfy!


I find that I’m relating every little thing I’ve done in a day to Paul when he gets home, just so he knows I haven’t been stuck in this chair ALL the LIVELONG DAY!!!


Trust me, Maggie, and everyone….I have not traveled to the “twilight zone”….it has just been a weird summer. Though I may sound as if I am complaining about our weather, I am not. We could use some rain, and we have endured the “feels like” temps over 100… so far this certainly has not been a horrible summer. And ,after getting a fairly good health report back in June…I am managing to dig in the dirt several mornings every week. Taking care of the weeds, and this unbelievable vine that grows all over our fences in the back yard. Making plans for some moving/dividing plants later on. So even though this little bit of gardening wears me out…it is a good wearing out. Several people in my youngest sister’s family, have tested positive for COVID. She is also a Registered Nurse…the one we have most concern about is the 7 year old. Everyone else has been vaccinated. I really don’t know how things will be in a month or two…with the variety affecting children. We shall see. So, please know that I do watch your posts with a lot of admiration, I just haven’t had a lot to share. xxoo Margarett


At one time we contemplated having groceries delivered but then last year’s covid bubble began to recede. About that time we switched from fabric masks to Level 1 procedure masks and moved over to the cottage, so we felt comfortable doing our own shopping and have never had a problem.

I’m not sure why you would have a problem getting groceries. The only things we’ve had problems getting, besides paper products when things first started, is liquid smoke, alfredo sauce for a few weeks, and limeade for a few weeks.