❄🎉📜Welcome To 2021👋🏽…..

It never feels different from the day before, but hey we’re here. I’m happy and feeling blessed that I made it through 2020. I’m happy that you made it through too, Happy New Year!

This has been one of the only business that has maintained and stayed open during this pandemic. A good handful have closed for good, or have closed and are being replaced by a franchise, or are now closed until further government announcements. It’s a shame. The mainstream news continues to emphasize our more on our troubles to come, but not on what we should do to cope. No “expert” guests or doctors, providing tips on how to eat healthier, or tips to improve our immune system. I will be sharing my own personal eating healthier/how to cut back tips in another blog. This year I’ll be sharing more in general, and I’m excited to do so!

Salute to all the local markets who have made it to 2021, despite the shutdown. As more and more of the city seems to perish, I must express my gratitude. They’ve been a life saver for me, and of course a money saver! I wouldn’t have been able to make it residing in this area without them. I took this photo outside of the produce market, while shopping on the evening of Jan 1st. It was in the midst of blowing snow, but you could never tell by the picture. I don’t mind trekking out in the windy snow to run some errands, I need the exercise and the weather has been very reasonable. No crazy snowfalls, we’ve been blessed considering the current climate. Ironic the weather is good, and we’re not supposed to go outside.

I’d like to share a little story about how much the new norm has had an affect on me, more than realized:

I went on road earlier than usual, before my shift, because I was in desperate need of a portable heater. As I walked quickly, weaving in and out of the crowd, I came face to face with an elderly woman, with a walker. As I tried to quickly pivot around her, I thought she was trying to social distance. I notice many elderly folks have an air of worry, which is understandable. I felt guilty that maybe I had tripped her up, so I stepped aside of the crowd. The lady rolled up to me, keeping her distance, and politely asked me for the time. I felt very silly, because I didn’t realize that she was actually trying to approach me the whole time! I assumed that I was in her way, and also was trying not to make her uncomfortable, by keeping my distance! As she said Thank you, I told her have a nice day. I walked away feeling odd, I realized how this social distancing thing has really got to me!

This year is definitely going to full of new “New Norms”, and I’m doing my best to prepare.

Take Care, Stay safe, and Stay tuned.

Love and Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

Those Holiday Expectations 🙄🎄⏳💭…

Christmas day was exactly what I expected it to be. I had worked the night before, and was exhausted the next, and slightly anxious. I wasn’t sure that I would see my family, even though my beastie cousin invited me to Christmas dinner. I assumed she would be doing the majority of the cooking, organizing the house, and dropping off/picking up family. I assumed that she would be too tired, or run out of time, by evening. I assumed she’d run out of steam, and not be able to trek all the way to midtown and pick me up. I was right. I wasn’t mad or upset about it, just a little disappointed. It was one of my only days off in a extremely grueling work week. I truly wanted to spend my off day with my extended family, I miss them more than ever.

My intuition told me that she was probably had burned out, and was exhausted. Come to find out, I was right. I went the whole day and didn’t address it, I was too tired. By night, I texted her to check in, and let her know that I wasn’t quite sure what the day would bring, because I didn’t hear from her all day. She promptly replied, in broken text, that she was out all day, didn’t sleep well, and wasn’t feeling well, but it was NOT the virus. She added “SMH” and that her “body said no mo”. I knew she was tired ASF. I hoped she would get some quality rest, and would feel better by the next time we talked.

So, Christmas was exactly what expected, but Thankfully, I don’t get caught up in holiday expectations. What are holiday expectations you ask? Well you didn’t ask, but in case you don’t know, I will explain. Holiday Expectations, are those elements that are associated with the holiday season: Putting up a Christmas tree, Christmas lights, purchasing and receiving gifts, buying fruit cake and or making rum cake, Christmas bun, gathering with all of my relatives, buying chocolate, buying candy, buying cookies, buying and/or receiving Christmas cards, time off of work/vacation time, kindness and or understanding from others, a big holiday budget…I don’t get caught up with Holiday Expectations. I stopped that way of thinking a loooong time ago.

Growing up I was blessed with having the most amazing Christmas’s, even at the worst of times. My mother (RIP)made sure to make our Christmas magical, and I truly enjoyed the time I spent with my five other siblings. I feel very, very blessed to have those memories. It’s good enough for me! I don’t need anything but food and a roof over my head, in order to enjoy my holidays. Some folks still don’t understand that about me.

This year has come with a whirlwind of unpleasant surprises, and making through is a blessing. I don’t need people to give me anything, spending money and energy they need to preserve. It always saddened me to hear about the stats of folks going through depression during winter and the holiday season. I told myself I would not allow myself to get caught up in that, regardless of what’s going on in my life.

I took this photo on my daily brisk walk home, weeks ago before the snow. I was surprised to see such a large artificial tree, put up in this little parking lot. It looked a little out of place to me. It’s cool that they put up this humongous tree in the parking lot. It’s cool they can afford the energy cost to keep it lighted, but, Aren’t we going through a pandemic??? Which business had this tree put here? Is it from the city? (Shrugs)

I will continue on this subject in another blog. In case I don’t post before then, Have a safe and blessed start to your New Year. Don’t sweat the extras, just appreciate that you made it through the holidays, to 2021.

Take Care, Stay safe, and Stay tuned.

Love and Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

I Meant To Post on ☀ 🙏🏼 Sunday🕒…..

I apologize for the delay, I meant to post this on Sunday…..

It almost doesn’t feel like a Sunday, or the weekend for that matter. Days of the week haven’t been the same. It feels as though I’m operating on different clock then the world around me. It feels as though I’m in a fish bowl all by myself. From the inside looking out, feeling as though I’m missing out on life, yet strangely peaceful on my own. Loved ones check in by phone, but can’t touch. Still I am grateful. I hope this week Christmas, I can spend some quality time with them, that’s the plan. It definitely hasn’t been easy being far away from them, in addition to the shutdown. Still I am grateful.

Thankfully I’ve been occupied with work, which help the weeks go by, regardless of how hectic. It’s been incredibly hectic, and a little stressful because the volume has went up, by eighty percent, and unfortunately we’re one man short. I’ve been taking it in stride, pacing myself to avoid cramped fingers, or premature carpal tunnel. We barely take breaks and management checks in and asks, if we’re okay, knowing that we’re not. I grab a snack in between and I don’t complain, I’m grateful that I have food.

My very small virtual team, has been awesome, through the roller coaster ride of changes. We ‘re one man down and we’ ve adapted very well to the eighty percent increase in traffic. We look out for one another as much as we can, as there’s only a few of us.

I stopped to take this photo the other day on walk from home from shopping. I thought to myself, how lovely… It’s nice that this shop decorated these little bushes. Very pretty.

As of today the province wide “full” lock down, has been announced. I’m speechless. Well, actually I’m not speechless, I just don’t feel the need to share my two cents on it. If I did, my two cents will amount to two dollars!

Talk to you soon.

Take Care, Stay safe, and Stay tuned.

Love and Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

Just Some Thoughts 🤔:⌚They Say A Dark Winter ⛄ is Coming…..

They say a dark winter is coming, and we should prepare for the worst! These words echo all over mainstream media and out of politician’s mouths. If you live in a climate that receives the gift of winter, you probably aren’t keen on it coming early. There are so many fears and changes we all are trying to prepare for. Way too many. We already had our first major snow, but none after that. They say it’s going to be a cold and harsh winter, in addition to a “dark winter”. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that, and the first time I heard it, it threw me off. I thought it was very negative and unnecessary to say. Folks get depressed as winter hits as it is, Why do they keep repeating this??? Oh, I know why, more conditioning for the mind, on a negative tip.

On one of my days off, I woke up and I didn’t want to get out of bed. The air felt chiller than usual. I had some errands to run, and usually I like to get my day started early, but I just couldn’t budge. I was warm under the covers, and, I didn’t want to get up from under the warm covers. I was very reluctant to go outside, even though I really wanted to get some fresh air. I caught up on my sleep and allowed myself to sleep in past noon. I felt guilty, because I like to make the most in the day, no matter the weather. This winter, I feel as though I don’t want to deal with it, I intend on avoiding it at all costs. The shutdown and “dark winter” mantra, ain’t making it any better. Everytime I hit the road and walk past a newly closed business, with boarded up graffiti cover, I feel a hit of the winter blues. I had to stop and take this photo, although my fingers were cold. This place is changing slowly yet drastically, day to day. It feels like a lucid dream.

I will not allow the media to influence my mood, or alter my state of mind, regardless of how much they say life supposedly “sucks”. I count my blessings times ten, and I will not have a dark winter, no matter what they say.

Take Care, Stay safe, and Stay tuned.

Love and Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

Welcome🍃To December❄: Please Rid Yourself Of Unnecessary😟 Stress…..

This goes out to all of the folks who celebrate or acknowledge Christmas and the holiday season. If you can not afford to deck your house with boughs of holly, don’t worry. If you can not access the Christmas merchandise that you would usually purchase, don’t worry. Please don’t worry about what you can not afford to buy at this time. Please don’t worry about keeping up with your usual start of December routine.

First off, majority of stores province wide do not consider Christmas decorations “essential needs” and those stores/sections in the store, have been yellow taped! You are not allowed to buy those things, in some of these stores, minus a handful of the franchise stores that you ARE allowed to. As a matter of fact, you can buy pretty much ANYTHING in those stores. The local and provincial news has been covering stories about “small business owners” speaking out about the unfair double standard. I have been following these stories religiously, and all of this blows me away.

I felt compelled to stop and take a photo of this local “non-essential” business in my neighborhood the other night. I don’t why, but something about this shop, closed down, abandoned , shutdown , yet still well lit. It truly touched my spirit…

It’s all beginning to feel like we’re trapped in a dark comedy movie. I truly feel that way. Day to day we are forced to watch the daily news, waiting for an insufferable press conference, for new updates.

The other day my friend texted saying that she’s really been feeling down, before I could respond, she said she felt bad for not being able to start putting up Xmas decorations. I had to tell her to not be too hard on herself, but allow her feelings to come through. I also reminded her that the second shutdown has thrown all of us OFF. Even me, who honestly saw it coming a mile away.

In the meantime, please do yourself not be hard on yourself, don’t add to the stress that by default, has being inflicted on us. Try to look out for your friends and family, especially the ones who are hip to the game.

I’ll leave it at that for now. Have a good night.

Take Care, Stay safe, and Stay tuned.

Love and Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

In The Meantime:🙄Prepare To💝 Share&👀Look Out…..

I’ve been working on this blog for about a week, before my birthday that just passed on November 15th. I intended on posting some of my thoughts, but I was busy and my heart was too heavy on that day. So I will share about the significance of my 2020 birthday in another blog.

Let’s go back in time to before that week…..

“Have a good night buddy! And stay warm!”, I heard a dude tell another dude as I turned the corner to go home. They were sitting outside eating at the restaurant on the corner, the one with the lovely fire lamps. Hearing those words bothered me, because we had just come out of a 20 degree weather week! The unseasonably warm weather has reverted back to regular autumn weather. So now we’re in that borderline “winter-ish” part of autumn, the anticipation of real winter is kicking in. NOT Good. Folks are literally being left out OUT IN THE COLD. No more indoor dining allowed, and awkward lines on the streets again. More businesses closing, and the open ones have twice the restrictions. I was pleasantly surprised to see the larger local gym open last night, with a sprinkle of people in it. Now the second lock down has been announced, and it’s confirmed, for Monday.

There’s no more time to figure out what we should all already know. Conspiracy theories aside, as I’ve said before, a lot about this situation doesn’t make sense. My heart hurts for the locals who have been forced to shut down, yet again. They were following the rules perfectly and so were we. As annoying as this all has been since March, I felt more of a connection in the community since the first shutdown. People going out of their way to respect each other’s space, as much as possible, doubly distancing. Now, (allegedly) over one hundred restaurants have been forced to close, and it’s not even December. We are all shaking our heads and asking questions, while complying.

Last week, a gentleman and I had a five minute conversation, debating if we should go inside the restaurant and who should go first. As I saw him approach the door, I let him go first, but he stopped and told me to go first. There was about a line of five people inside and I thought that was way too many. I didn’t want to risk getting kicked out by an employee, so I decided to wait outside. I was not in a rush. As I waited outside the door, customers quickly exited, so the wait wasn’t that long. That same gentleman spoke kindly and made a few jokes with the employees behind the glass. He even made a joke about him being an “old man” and them being young, and not to worry about rushing his order. We all agreed that he was not at all an “old man”, and he chuckled and said, “That’s a good thing” about the mask. It hides my face/my age!

His lighthearted attitude was much appreciated. He was sure to Thank the employees, and even Thanked me, for allowing him to go first in the door. A little thing, simply Torontonian manners, but for some reason it meant more.

That was just a week or so ago, but now things have changed drastically…..again. We had our first major snow fall, one day after the second major shutdown was announced. I will continue in another blog.

Take Care, Stay safe, and Stay tuned.

Love and Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

Just Some Thoughts 🤔: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense 🔐⬇🚫❓…..

A few weeks back…There was a dude sitting by himself drinking a beer, on a chilly, windy autumn night. He looked as out of place, as the tables that were set up in the road. It just doesn’t make sense, beyond the new rules, public drinking is against the law. That’s probably why it looks so odd to me, to see a person drinking a beer in the road. This is a sight that a year ago would be unheard of. Patrons are no more “social distanced” than they would be, if they were sitting inside the little bar. It just doesn’t make sense.

The waitstaff are forced to walk outside, in weather that’s a few degrees above zero, wiggling around the patrons AND pedestrians. It just doesn’t make sense. The chefs are wearing a mask for the majority of their shift, while slaving over an open fire. I can’t help but feel for them, I have worked in a tiny restaurant that was hot as hell before. I couldn’t imagine not being able to properly breathe through my mouth AND nose for 8 hours in the heat. It just doesn’t make sense.

So, the approved inside dining with extra restrictions, went back into affect, the day before yesterday, I think…I’m not quite sure, because overnight the rules have changed AGAIN. Apparently, we’re now in the new stage of “Red rules/restrictions”. Winter has not officially hit us, and we are already being fed some very bad news. The threat of another full lock down looms over us, and this time it’s even more confusing and weird. I understand that there is a lot of censorship being enforced all over the world wide web, so I am choosing to choose my words wisely.

I value this area for sentimental reasons, it’s a part of my childhood that nothing, and nobody can sully. The local pizza shop has not been open since the start of the shutdown and it’s very sad. I’m not a big pizza eater, but I liked their pizza, and amazing service with a personal touch. You could call them even 15 minutes to closing, and the owner would still take your order. It saddens me that the folks who make this neighborhood special, have to close down for good. Everything that they built, pretty much over, and in a matter of months.

The confusion and contradictory rules are the worst part. Even the mainstream news titles their stories, emphasizing this.

It all doesn’t make sense, but yet and still I follow the rules, follow protocol, and do my best to stay as healthy as possible. I have more to say, but I’ll save it for another post.

Take Care, Stay safe, and Stay tuned.

Love and Respect,

~Dawn Lovely