What’s working?

Let’s be realistic: these next two months are going to be tough. Growing Covid numbers, lockdown measures, freezing temperatures and snow, boredom and fatigue are enough to make us anxious and depressed.

What are you doing to help yourself through January and February? Are you phoning friends, meditating, praying, reading mystery novels, cooking, playing virtual Scrabble, exercising online, taking a course, sleeping in and taking naps?

Let’s share and pull each other through until the sunshine returns. Please send What’s Working for you to patriciadavies@rogers.com or phone 416-389-6611 and Pat Davies will write a little news snippet for you. A photo would be good.

Your news

Peggy Irwin has found that frequent conversations with her two sisters Jane and Mary (see photo) are her mainstay during pandemic isolation. “I appreciate my sisters more than ever during this strange time when we can’t visit,” she says. Peggy recounts a recent call with Jane who lives in the village of Navan, near Ottawa. “It was a beautiful sunny day and Jane described the scene outside her sunroom window. Then she suggested her description provided fodder for me to write a poem, as she knows I am wont to do. A few minutes later I texted her this: 
In Winter Sunshine

Sparrows flit, alight on branches

that shiver snowflakes loose,

which drift, and the still air

shimmers in sunbeams. 


“I am also knitting (see photo), reading, walking, reflecting, writing, texting, planning and executing the next nutritious meal, and  allowing myself to rest during this difficult time.”

Peggy’s sister

Mary Anne Lemm, husband Sandy and sons Eric and Trevor (both home because of COVID restrictions) have been focussing on food. Their family collaborations include new recipes for calzone, sushi, and cheese-making (“easier than you think,” Mary Anne says).  She is also working on her sourdough bread skills and making marmalade from their indoor clementine tree. Once a week the family puts together a loaf of sandwiches for their neighbourhood pod of Sandwich Sisters, a Toronto group supplying food to charities and shelters during the pandemic. “It’s such a small thing but a reminder of just how lucky we are,” she says. “We have a home, we have food, we’re healthy and, most importantly, we have each other.”

“What is working for me is taking long walks on the boardwalk for exercise and being out in nature and fresh air, either alone or with a friend,” reports Britta Barnes. “Zoom is my friend for exercise classes, meditation and educational events. I play bridge online with friends from the bridge club and have reconnected with high school friends in this way. The comic jokes flying around in emails help me to keep smiling. The active squirrels nesting outside my window are fun to watch. And sunny days always help!”

Lisa Flood is an avid knitter (you may have seen her quietly working on a project during worship). Here’s her latest Covid knitting story. “I have three very close friends (all used to attend BUC) who I convinced  to do a KAL (Knit A Long) last April (we had been Zooming weekly to support one another). I’m the one who knits every day, and the rest have varying degrees of experience, from ‘almost none’ to ‘off and on’ over the past 20 years.  I shared some wool from my stash, helped them buy some more, put together little kits with needles and cast on the project for them. We finished at different times throughout the year, and I’m happy to announce we’re now all done, as the photos I took last Sunday show. I’m so blessed to have these amazing women in my life! Next weekend we’re casting on our next KAL: a shawl called ‘Choose Love’.”

Pat Buchanan has begun work on a history book about her grandfather’s side of her family: the Waters. “Covid has given me the time to do this and I am finding each new discovery leads to something else,” she says. Pat has been reaching out to many far-flung cousins, and is very pleased with everyone’s responses. “They are all going into their photos and resources to help me.” This is her 20th book cataloguing family history, trips and adventures, and her research is uncovering many new Beach connections beyond her East York roots. Currently she is looking for a photo of greenhouses at the corner of Elmer and Norway Avenues that she has discovered her great-great-grandfather owned. Can anyone help? 

A 1918 picture of my great grandfather, Herbert Waters Florist at 2004 Queen St East in the Beach 

or my grandfather’s store, Percy Waters at 445 Danforth Avenue 1939 in Riverdale.

Marney and Jim Winn have donated the stained glass piece (below) to Journey Home Hospice, the only hospice in Toronto for the vulnerably housed and homeless. Marney volunteers there and feels it is a privilege to be part of the organization. “My weekly time there is deeply nurturing in this challenging time,” she says.The glass is from the skylight at the former Bellefair United Church, one of the founding congregations of Beach United Church. Journey Home has recently moved into a renovated space where it will be displayed.