A Christmas Carol – Food, Glorious Food!

     I’ve written before about A Christmas Carol being one of my favorite books, and in part one A Christmas Carol with Recipes, I review the Book to Table classic edition of this perennial favorite. I had expected the recipes in that book to be related to what they might have eaten in Dickens time (1843) instead of the usual modern dishes, but after staring at all those mouth-watering photos I’m hungry, so in part two, let’s discuss the food in Dickens famous novel – food, glorious food!  

From the 1967 musical Oliver Twist

There are many glorious descriptions of food in A Christmas Carol – who doesn’t remember the famous goose or the pudding singing in the copper?

The first mention comes in the introductory scene where Scrooge is nursing a head cold beside his meagre fire.

I’ve often wondered about the gruel.   Yes, I know it’s that bland watery substance that Oliver Twist got in trouble over, asking for more, but what exactly is it and what does it taste like?  According to the dictionary, gruel is “a thin liquid food of oatmeal or other meal boiled in milk or water.” It was a staple for the poor in the past, peasant food for the masses. According to Wikipedia (link) it was on the supper menu for the third class passengers on the eve of the Titanic sinking. (How about that for your last meal?) No more for me thanks, I’d rather have Quaker Oatmeal, thick like glue with raisins and brown sugar, and maybe a hot toddy for my next head cold, or one of those hot lemon drinks designed to knock you out.   

The first major description of food and drink comes in the scene with the Ghost of Christmas Past, at Old Fezziwig’s work party and will have your toe tapping and your mouth drooling over the festive spread.   

Negus is a beverage made of wine, often port, mixed with hot water, oranges or lemons, spices and sugar – an old-fashioned name for mulled wine. Yes, to that and to the cake and mince-pies too. Mince pie is another tradition which many people don’t care for anymore, along with fruitcake, but I love them both. Port is a type of fortified red wine, often blended with a spirit such as brandy, making it stronger and more shelf-stable. My father used to have a class of port with a piece of fruitcake on Christmas eve, while watching midnight mass, and sometimes I would join him, but it’s a strong drink which would send me straight to bed. A tradition inherited from his Irish ancestors, that was the only time of year the bottle was brought out, so a bottle could last for years.

You have to admire generous old Fezziwig for having an open bar for his poor overworked underpaid employees. I like to re-read this passage as I don’t recall ever having such fun at an office party myself.

The next major food section takes place with the appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Present, the big jolly guy with the cornucopia of food spread out at his feet.

I’ve always wanted to make a twelfth night cake, twelfth night being Jan 5.   An old British tradition, it’s a rich fruitcake with royal icing into which was baked a pea or a bean or in modern days a trinket. Whoever gets the piece with the lucky charm is crowned King or Queen for the Day.  I found a package one Christmas in one of those overpriced boutique stores – basically it contained a dry cake mix and a gold foil- covered coin – a gimmick for $20 and probably not worth a trip to the dentist over a broken tooth, especially in these times of COVID precautions, but it’s an intriguing idea – perhaps more suitable for a New Year’s dinner some other year.

While Scrooge is out wandering the streets, he comes upon a poulterers, home to the prize turkey, and a fruiterers shop.   

Fruit and nuts were a rarity in Dickens’ time, in much the same way as older folks remember getting an orange only at Christmas.   When I was growing up on the farm, after the dishes were done (by hand, no dishwasher with well water) and the table cleared, a bowl of fruit and a bowl of mixed nuts was set out to be nibbled at leisure, for no one was truly hungry after the main feast. The nuts were in their shells (hazelnuts, walnuts) and they required work to get at the meat. We’ve lost this old tradition, but I still have the silver nutcrackers and the slender picks. The Cratchits put a shovelful of chestnuts on the fire after their feast, but I’ve never tried roasted chestnuts before, although I’ve seen them in the grocery store this time of year. Which brings us to the grocer’s…    

Not sure I would rhapsodize about grocery shopping like this, as it’s still my least favorite essential activity, but I am grateful for the ability to buy food.

Not my grocery shopping experience….

I particularly like his descriptions of the good cheer expressed by the shoppers – I’m not sure that is still applicable today, when people pummel poor sales clerks over having to wear a mask or fight over the last Sony Playstation on the shelf.   

Scrooge pays particular attention to the dinners of the poor, for not having an oven of their own their meals would have to be conveyed to the Bakers to be cooked, and then fetched back home again.  

Some of that pixie water might come in handy….

There was much hunger and poverty in Dickens time, with poor houses and work houses being common experiences for many. The ghost warns of the dangers of Want and Ignorance in the two malnourished youths at his feet.   

It’s heart-breaking to see those long line-ups of cars at the food banks during the pandemic, many of whom have lost their jobs and have never had to use such a service before.   

The Cratchits were a “working poor” family, and of course Dickens most famous food scene is that of their Christmas dinner.

It was tradition then to have a goose for the feast, and my parents, being rural people recall having goose for Christmas dinner in their younger years. Most farms had a goose on the premises which could be sacrificed for the cause, whereas a turkey was a rarer bird.

Photo from 1920-30, sent from Seattle relatives after a visit home.

Although turkeys are mentioned in the book – the prize turkey hanging there still which the remarkable boy goes forth to purchase for Scrooge – they did not become the more popular Christmas fare until later.

And oh the pudding, born aloft in a blaze of holly and fussed over as to the quantity of flour, and Bob Cratchits compliments to the chef for pulling off such a grand feast on such a small budget. This is one tradition I do uphold but this year my plum pudding will come in a box complete with prepared sauce, although normally I would make the sauce.

And at the end of the book, a reformed Scrooge extends an invitation to his lowly clerk, Bob Cratchit, to share in a Christmas bowl of Smoking Bishop punch.

Smoking Bishop was another type of mulled wassail drink, with the lemon or orange spiked with cloves and roasted over a fire before being added to a mixture of port wine and spices. (Wikipedia link)

As Tiny Tim proclaims at the end, “God bless us every one!” 

Wherever you are and whatever you are eating this holiday season remember to give blessings for the food on the table and the company around it.  And if you happen to be home alone, as the young Scrooge was reading by the fire, then a book such as a Christmas Carol is always good company.    

PS.  Portions of this were adapted from A Christmas Carol as Applied to Modern Life – Dec 2018.

108 thoughts on “A Christmas Carol – Food, Glorious Food!

  1. Jo Shafer says:

    Truly delightful reading, Joni! Your story triggered lovely old memories, especially of a sad December after our mother died, when my sister served the two of us fruitcake and port in little crystal glasses. Her fireside was the gas heater in the beach cottage to which we had “escaped” for spell.

    The mulled wine I used to make years ago, using apple cider, because parties included guests’ children. SO good, even served cold the next day. Which reminds, I must order a bottle of port (i.e., add it to Hubby’s grocery list).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joni says:

      Jo, the port tradition must be more common than I thought. Perhaps a British isles thing? I’m glad it brought back lovely memories for you of your mom. I’ve made mulled drinks with cider too, always nice, hot or cold, esp now that I can’t drink alcohol. I made a recipe one year that was like liquid apple pie.

      Liked by 2 people

      • annieasksyou says:

        It was so poignant that you mentioned the food lines from the pandemic. We have our own MR. Scrooge in the US: his name is Mitch McConnell,

        I just wish our Scrooge would see the light at last. Lots of Americans need a much happier ending.

        Thanks for another delightful food-laden nostalgia-plus literary tour.. you do these so well!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Anne says:

    Mouthwateringly good and so beautifully presented! You are urging me on to plan our Christmas menus. There will be three of us on Christmas Day then, providing the provincial borders stay open and travelling is allowed, my daughter and her family will be joining us for a second Christmas a few days later! You have set my planning gears in motion!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Eilene Lyon says:

    What a wonderful post! This tale is so classic. I really must read it again. I’ve never had plum pudding, from a box or otherwise. Port, no thanks! And it really is sad how many people are struggling now through no fault of their own. We do have a lot of resources locally so that no one need go hungry. But homelessness is a very real problem.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Joni says:

      Oh you must try plum pudding with caramel sauce…it’s like a richer version of fruitcake, so rich that often just a small serving is enough, but it’s the sauce that makes it. Since not many people like it, I sometimes just buy the small 2 serving size from the British Shop, pricey enough as it’s imported. I was at the mall today trying to return something (I hate online shopping as nothing ever fits), and it was so crowded that I thought well people must have money and are spending it, but the invisible poor are there…..we just don’t see them. Foodbank usage is up here but people are still donating. We have a government sponsored $2000/month Emergency Wage package for those who have lost their jobs, mostly restaurant and retail workers.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Joni says:

        Ours cases are still very low in my region, but I expect they will rise over Christmas as kids come home from university and people travel. Still I felt uneasy being at the mall, and was in and out in less than half an hour. The last time I returned an online purchase through Canada Post it took 6 weeks for them to ship it one province over! But that will be it for shopping for me other than picking up a turkey.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Linda Schaub says:

    You put a lot of work into these two posts Joni – I liked learning about the fare back then. Some of it sounds good, some not so much and I agree with you, gruel would not do it for me and I would take Old-Fashioned Quaker Oats oatmeal, “thick like glue with raisins and brown sugar” just as you have yours. My mom made mincemeat tarts for years, but this was a sauce and candied fruit – she bought some type of liquor to pour into the bottle of None Such Mincemeat (the liquid version in a bottle, not dry in the box). She’d split the bottle of mincemeat mix in half and pour in a liberal amount of liquor in July and stick both bottles of mincemeat in the fridge until December. Considering my mom never drank liquor, she did love those tarts and she made tart “shells” from scratch with cream cheese, so it was a rich dessert for sure. I’m wondering if we bought rum perhaps for this purpose. I don’t know why I don’t remember, but she made tiny tarts and big ones and the smell when she opened the Tupperware, would knock your socks off.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joni says:

      It sounds wonderful, and the next time I make mincemeat I’m going to try adding some rum. When I tried to get the good brand of mincemeat in a jar, the grocery store was already sold out mid-November, so I didn’t bother going back.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, buy your mincemeat so you can pour it in and let it soak in for a good six months. My mom would save a tall jar and half the mincemeat and pour in the liquor liberally. The mixture was strong and she had the cream cheese crust – a rich but tasty desert. Yum – missing those tasty treats and I cracked open my Digestives with the milk chocolate topping … no comparison!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Linda Schaub says:

        This package got dropped somewhere (not me) and I lost about 10 which were a bit smashed, but the rest were delicious and I still have a pack with the dark chocolate tops. Yum. We never had the chocolate ones when we lived there or visited my grandmother. We had our favorite treats to buy and bring home – that was one. These are like deluxe Digestives!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I know – the dark chocolate is bitter isn’t it? I am trying hard to keep up in Reader and just can’t seem to catch up, plus I usually try to catch up on the news before I get here. I had some time during the day yesterday so read post, did responses in Word and did a whole day, but like you, three days behind. That is part of the reason, I’m going to post only 2X a week starting January.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Joni says:

        I can’t convince myself to actually like dark chocolate. I actually stayed up until 12 last night so I got caught up in Reader, but then I can sleep in in the mornings. I was outside decorating 2 or 3 hours this afternoon, so lots of fresh air but no walk. I did my evergreen baskets from scratch, using boughs from mom’s pine tree – way cheaper than paying $35 at the grocery store. Trying to get a blog done for Thurs, then I’m going to skip next weeks post and just resume in January. Not many people will be reading next week.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I stayed up way too long the last two nights and aim to get to bed after I write this comment. I find it hard to get up early if I stay up that late, then the alarm goes off and I go back for a few minutes and sometimes fall asleep … then, it’s a scramble to get out of here and run the car before I go and get home in time for work. I have three posts planned for next week, but they will all be short. I want to read over Christmas so this weekend will do something for the week of the 28th, all ideas I have planned (in my head so far but have pics already), then cut back. You are right, not many people are reading during that week. That sounds very nice. And would smell nice too. Years ago I used to make a little arrangement for the kitchen and one for my desk at work. There is a holly bush in the front and it has red berries and I’d go get two pieces of the pine tree from the neighbor’s tree (now cut down) and buy a red and white carnation for each one. The floral sponge kept it fresh for at least two weeks. I still have the mugs, but have not done that in years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I did buy eight or nine books last Fall as I had grandiose plans to read one book a month. I bought one this Summer do. I was doing well as I read one book over each long holiday the end of 2019 but it stopped there. This is a book by three authors and it is about Christmas. I normally would not buy a book just about Christmas nor three different stories. But it was on sale and my mom and I bought a lot of Fern Michaels books and liked them. So I bought it. It is “A Snowy Little Christmas” – I am sure it will be an easy read, but thought I would read one story each day of the long holiday. I would like to start back reading again in 2021 but I am practical and know that even only two posts a week, I have a lot of photos to sort thru and organize into posts. So that will take some time each weekend but more than that, I really have to get rid of some clutter upstairs and do a lot around the house. I’m behind in house chores because it was fairly good weather most of the Fall, so I got out every weekend. I figured we would have a lot of snow, so enjoy it while I could. We only got a one-inch snowfall here and there were 13 vehicle accidents and two semi-trailers ran off the road. It was starting to snow as I was walking home from walking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        It’s a snowy night here too, but pretty outside. People forget how to drive with the first snowfall. I’m currently reading a book called First Ladies, which is about the white house…..it’s interesting. It was published in 2016 so nothing about the current one though. When do you think you might be able to get a COVID vaccine, or with your allergies will you wait? They are starting to vaccinate in Toronto, but we are more likely to be summer. Our Pfizer shipments are coming from the international Belgium plant, not the one in Kalamazoo.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Linda Schaub says:

        We got about 1 1/2 inches and it was pretty heavy this morning so there was freezing rain in between. It is 40+ this weekend, so hopefully it will be melted. That book sounds interesting. I have to say I never followed as much politics as I have the past four years. I don’t have TV so I have been following the CNN highlights on Twitter every night before I come here. The talk there today is that Trump is not interested in anything that is going on – not the COVID crisis with 3,000 deaths a day, the negotiations about a stimulus package, nor that the U.S. government computer system was hacked, just how he was robbed of the election. The whole last four years has been bizarre but right now a little surreal. I would not mind to read Michelle Obama’s book – have you read that one Joni? I read a few reviews and it sounds good. As to the COVID vaccine, last week they said the general public should be able to get the Pfizer vaccine by April. By April I will be 65, so I guess I would have been on the cusp of those 65 and over being pushed ahead of the general public. But, now that the Moderna was approved today they say the general public may be getting the vaccine by February. That’s odd they don’t just ship to Canada from here since it is so close. They were worried about delivery to the East Coast due to all the snow. Hopefully your mom will be first on the list and not having to wait til Summer. I don’t think I’ll have any issues due to allergies – I heard another person had a reaction from it, but they are saying if you anticipate an allergic reaction to go to a doctor’s office or the hospital.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Joni says:

        I read Michelle Obamas book when it first came out and enjoyed it very much. I think Pfizer will not ship across the border as they want to make sure all Americans are vaccinated first. But it does seem kind of silly to send planes from Belgium to Canada when the Kalamazoo plant is so close. The snow storm in the New England states looks very bad, we got off today with just a few flurries again, and more forecast. I’ve been busy this week with art show interviews, and am behind in everything else, although I did a big grocery run today so don’t have to go back for several weeks, except for picking up the (fresh) turkey breast next Tuesday. I don’t expect any of the general public here to get the vaccine before spring, as just small quantities are coming in. Calgary got 1000 doses and 100,00 health care workers had signed up for them! It will be a slow trickle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I have heard lots of good things about it. I am going to get back to reading when retired – I am looking forward to it. This book will be easy reading. I bought a Sandra Brown book (“Outfox”) last Winter when I was gung ho on reading. It was a special sale at Meijer and I had a coupon (Meijer gives coupons for spending “X” amount of money and I had been loading in food for last Winter). It looked good and I got it. The others look good too, but since I only have one little moose up and that’s it, I’ll get into a Christmas spirit this way. Our Governor extended the restrictions on most things another month. The restaurants are livid and she allows movie theatres to open, but no concessions to be sold as you can only go to a theatre if you are wearing a mask. Our Governor was angry (me too) because the Trump administration has cut several states out of the entire order of Pfizer vaccines. We were promised a certain amount and now are not slated to receive them. She has tried to contact the White House – they do not get back with her. We are not the only state this happened to, and not the “swing states” re: the election. He did it to Massachusetts as well off the top of my head. So ultimately the roll-out will be slower here, a fact she blames on “either corruption or ineptitude”. That’s terrible with Calgary. I think it will be a slow trickle too. We have 100 deaths a day in Michigan and 11,200 deaths as of yesterday.

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      • Joni says:

        I think we’re at 4000 deaths in Ontario. I read many states got their vaccine orders cut by 40%, and yet Pfizer says that the shipments are in the warehouses ready to go when the government orders?! So bizarre, if it was just Michigan I would say retaliation, but it’s probably ineptitude. Too busy tweeting nonsense….hopefully he’ll be gone soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Your tally is much better than ours … you have a leader … we don’t and essentially he’s disappeared and not concerned with the pandemic, the computer hacking or whether they will pass a new stimulus package or shut the government down. I would say retaliation too … the Governor is not pleased with it. Now that we have a second vaccine and this one does not need the ultra-low temps, it will help get more people vaccinated. California is really in dire straits.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I saw on the National news last night a small mention of the fact that some of the shipments had to be rejected as they had gotten too cold, so that might be the problem, but it didn’t comment on whose fault it was. I guess it’s not unexpected, given the temp requirements, but a shame to waste doses, and yes the Moderna will be less complicated to ship.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I didn’t know that part about getting TOO cold – wow. But did you hear that there will be extra doses from each package of vials because Pfizer was filling the vial up to the very top to ensure nothing was lost due to spillage when opening it, so the persons administering the doses are able to “skim off” extra doses from what they did not need. Apparently it is a large amount they’ve been able to get. We have a company in Michigan that has specialized in manufacturing the very cold freezers for years and now they can’t keep them in stock due to the Pfizer vaccine … and I wonder what they’ll do with them after the second dose is administered. I heard someone on the news saying that there may be the need for a booster down the road, but it’s too early to tell. Did you hear anything on the news about Dr. Fauci giving an interview where he is telling the kids that he personally gave the COVID vaccine to Santa Claus and he is now fine to visit their house on Christmas Eve.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        That’s cute re Dr. Fauci immunizing Santa! I knew they were reassuring kids Santa was an essential worker. I knew about the extra doses, most vials have a bit of overfill anyway, although probably not that much.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Did I mention Dr. Fauci said he traveled to the North Pole. What a cute story … I was surprised kids that young were questioning it? OK, they kind of acted like this was a revelation with the extra serum in each vial. Our Governor is still protesting our lack of what we are allowed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Pfizer staff were exuberant! They made it sound like it was lots of extra doses – inflated info by the media but not calling it “fake news”. Just exuberance by everyone that a vaccine is available. However a new strain of COVID is not covered by this vaccine – how horrible is that and hopefully this is not all around the world, a second strain!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I had not heard that Linda. I know there is a new mutated strain in the UK and they are banning flights to Europe and Canada from the UK, but I thought they said on the National that the vaccine was still effective against the mutated strain, it’s just 70% more contagious so spreads more rapidly?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Don’t read it Jo – a lot of what is in the press is scare-mongering. Even if the COVID vaccine isn’t 90-95% effective, say it drops to 70% as with some flu seasons, then it will still give some protection, and if anyone gets COVID, they will get a milder case. We are still all going to have to wear masks and practice hygiene measures for the next year anyway, until they achieve herd immunity. see my comment above to Linda. Although it’s good to be informed, I find if I watch the National news before bed it’s too scary and I don’t sleep well……we are now in provincial lockdown for a month starting Dec26.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I was listening to an infectious disease specialist today and he said it was similar to the flu, in that they can only predict “X” many of the flu strains for a particular flu season and once the serum is made, distributed, some new ones could appear. This is the same situation. He said the Founders (original COVID-19 virus) should respond to the vaccine, maybe some of this new strain but they had to wait and see. But did you know this strain has been around since September in the UK Joni? That makes me wonder if Pfizer who was making vaccine in the UK and where the first persons were innoculated two weeks ago, why they wouldn’t hold up on the serum … it seems like I read that millions of vials were prepared and serum prepared even as they awaited approval. At least your leader is banning flights from the UK, but ours is not. Sigh.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Joni says:

        Linda, I’m not worried about the vaccine not being effective against the mutated strain, as the spike protein is what it’s targeting, and it’s not changed that much from what I’ve read and heard here. It’s normal to have some mutation. I think that specialist is wrong in comparing it to the flu shot though -is he trying to panic people or discourage them from getting the vaccine?
        The problem with the flu shot is having to predict what 3 or 4 strains of A or B influenza will be circulating so far in advance of the season, but even if they guess wrong, it will still give you some protection, and if you get it you will get a milder case. 90-95% effectiveness is high for a vaccine, so if the COVID ones drop to 70% or so, that’s still good, as it means a milder case of COVID too. Pfizer and Moderna both had production up and running ahead of time and ready to go so they wouldn’t lose any time when it was approved by the FDA, as time is of the essence. I think that was a smart move. And they wouldn’t hold back on the shipments, because the vaccine will offer some protection anyway even if not 90%. Even it isn’t totally effective, it’s better than nothing. We are still going to have to wear masks and be cautious for the next year anyway, until herd immunity is achieved.
        That strain may be just contained to the UK, which has the most advanced gene testing apparently. Our top doctor said they had not detected any of that strain here when they tested. Trudeau should be testing people coming into the country from the UK – he let four flights in the past few days, with no screening and is just hoping those people will quarantine. Ford says he’s going to implement testing for incoming flights into Pearson which I think is smart considering. Why are those people travelling anyway!? Anyway, I guess time will tell.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I know with Biden at the helm they will implement measures to ensure we’re safe, but we have another month before he gets in … I shudder to think what will happen in the next month Joni. I also think that I will continue to be masked up and careful even after my final vaccination. We have too many anti-vaxxers here – people who have vehemently protested taking any vaccine even if mandated to do so. Biden will not mandate it – even in Detroit with so many Black residents (with the Black population more susceptible to COVID than Whites or Latinos), it is not mandatory to get the vaccine. Yet on social media, they predict now that only half of Americans will get the vaccine. Hopefully they have changed their minds once more people get it. Like you, I don’t see this ending for a long time. I am glad I did my bulk shopping back before this latest surge as we have a serious hoarding problem once again and there are restrictions on many products. Plus, they are saying that with some products not being shipped from the UK due to this new strain, it further complicates matters. What a mess!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I agree, I think that’s more a concern with the US, such a fear of science courtesy of Trump or he’s done nothing to dispute it. A recent poll of Canadians said 89% wanted the vaccine, although some were content to wait a few months, not too many said they would refuse it altogether. Apparently you will be given a card once you receive it, and eventually businesses/theatres/workplaces etc may require people to have proof of vaccination before allowing them to enter – now that will be interesting! Tonight on the news I saw a clip of 3000 trucks lined up in the UK at Port Dover trying to get back or into Europe from the UK, and they said no one is allowed in unless they are COVID negative, so you can see the shortages evolving from that if it continues! Good thing I got my British plum pudding early! The other thing on the news tonight and I missed which company it was, Pfizer of Moderna, but a spokeman from the company said the spike protein is only 1% changed so that is encouraging news.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I heard the card, but didn’t hear how they would be doing it … so you show it, have to hand it over? There will be people here that will say it infringes on their rights … you wait and see. That is encouraging news – we don’t need anything more to happen as they expect a spike in cases/deaths, just like post-Thanksgiving. Airports were jammed yesterday and today so people aren’t following any guidelines. They said “people want to see family or have a getaway from the confines of COVID.” Maybe I’m too chicken – I just wouldn’t do any more interaction than necessary right now. Our positivity rate has gone down to 10% – it had been around 14-15% not all that long ago. Good thing you got your English plum pudding. Were the stores crowded when you went to pick up your turkey breast today?

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      • Joni says:

        PS. I thought Pfizer was making the vaccine in Belgium? I thought we got ours from there. So they may not have been aware of the mutated strain, as apparently the UK has the most advanced genetic drift detecting technology. It’s Astra-Zeneca who is working with Oxford University in the UK, but their vaccine is stalled temporarily with study problems with the dose. It’s hard to keep track of it all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I always said if Dr. Fauci gets the vaccine, so would I (when my time comes). So today he got the Moderna vaccine. I am on Twitter (mostly for the weather as my one meteorologist gives up-to-the-minute information when it is severe weather). I also like following the Twitter trending topics. So as soon as Dr. Fauci got the vaccine and indicated it was Moderna, everyone’s comments were “why not Pfizer – is this one better – surely he would get the best so it must be better!” So that was interesting to follow – perhaps that was the vaccine available to him, but people really hashed that out. It is hard to keep up with everything Joni – I agree. I don’t have TV but I listen to my AM all-news station and follow CNN on Twitter as well, to keep up with everything … still I am sure I am missing some important info.

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      • Linda Schaub says:

        That could be too … I’m sure you’re right about that. Too bad the Pfizer has to have the extreme cold temps. They have a doctor on my all-news radio station every day at 12:30 … it is different docs, different specialties, but this doctor said to count on everyone who WANTS to get the vaccine to have been innoculated with their second dose by June.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        September – that’s terrible! And now they discovered two issues of the new virus in Toronto. Yes, hopefully your mom can get it by virtue of being in that category and they should put her ahead of the 80 year olds. I am surprised they don’t have a category for over 90.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        3 different cases of the mutated Covid now in Canada, one in Vancouver and two in Ont…..all related to contact with someone from the UK. Why do people not quarantine when they are supposed to!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Sigh – I had not heard about Vancouver … they mentioned the two Toronto cases but today it’s been all about Trump deciding to sign the COVID relief package (after protesting and halting it last Tuesday in favor of larger checks). That’s all that’s been on the news all day. I don’t understand it either. People think they are invincible … that is far from the truth!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I wonder if the Democrats will succeed in increasing the amount to $2000 – it would be nice for you. A blogger I follow in the UK posted before Christmas that he had tested positive and nothing since….the strange thing is he said he’d only been out a few times, once for gas and once to the store….once is all it takes I guess if you’re near the wrong person.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        The Democrats agreed right away and now it is shot down by the Senate which is unfortunate. They will begin sending the $600.00 checks starting tomorrow they said. I think they will keep disagreeing on it. I read an article that showed that other countries have been receiving monthly checks. We got the one check months ago and nothing else since. I read today that parts of Ontario, specifically London, that gatherings are not permitted with anyone outside your immediate household … and not to visit anyone outside your household if you are single. Wow … I would think that would not apply to you since your mom is alone and you are alone and you are not going anywhere (to stores, etc.). See, that is scary to me too Joni – your UK blogger was only out a couple of times. We had the Sheriff for our County pass away before Christmas. His brother, a local police chief, contracted COVID and spent 70 days on a ventilator. So the Sheriff, age 65, was very careful. He visited no family members, no eating out, no handshakes, social distancing, sanitized everything that came into his home (mail/packages, groceries). He got COVID on 11/19, admitted to hospital a day later, then on a ventilator, and died 12/17. His family says he was very careful. He was interviewed after testing positive and said “I don’t know how this happened.” His family recalled, after his death, he had an ear infection and went to the doctor for it. That just terrifies me … I am not going to the allergist til the surges from Christmas/NY’s are over … here in Michigan, we still have Thanksgiving stats surges (from what the doctors are identifying them as). When I was there on November 23rd I said I would not be back until Spring … now I’m going to say, when I eventually go back, that I didn’t want to end up like Benny Napoleon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        That’s correct….gatherings are banned for anyone outside your immediate household, but I know people who got together with their kids and grandkids over Christmas. If you are single and live alone, you are allowed to join one other household, so that’s us. We had a monthly relief plan for COVID of $2000/month, from March until October, then it was d/c and replaced by unemployment insurance, even for those who didn’t pay into it. Do you have UI in the US? I hope all those Republican Trump supporters remember that the Republicans vetoed the increase.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Well that’s good you can get together – I didn’t know if this was a new development since you made your plans to have your dinner and plum pudding with your mom. I have no words for the States … you had a relief plan of $2,000.00/month? We each got a $1,200.00 stimulus check in the Spring … if there are kids in the family, $1,200.00 for each kid (I thought that was a little much considering adults got the same thing but that was my opinion). That was the only payment and now this one – just $600.00. I don’t think the $2,000.00 is going to fly to be honest. They will veto the increase and I don’t see the $2,000.00 happening. People are angry as so many dollars are sent to other countries to help out. I heard a story tonight – it is not bad enough the story of our sheriff who was very careful, but look how quickly this Louisiana congressman died … this is what worries me. See below. I never made it to Reader the second day in a row and I thought I was caught up here and there are about 15-18 new comments … I’ll have to resign myself I’ll not keep up anymore. It is 11:25 so heading off to bed now.
        *************
        Rep. Luke Letlow who was just elected to Congress in Louisiana, died from Covid-19. He was only 41. He was tested on December 18th, was admitted to the hospital on December 19th, and died today, December 29th. Covid killed him in 11 days.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I was just going to email you about the 41 yr. Congressman – what a waste – so young. 10-11 days seems to be the point at which you either recover or get worse. I read the list of some of the money they were sending to other countries and thought it wasteful and crazy – take care of your own people first. The people getting $2000/month here had to apply and had to have lost their jobs due to COVID. – they set it up quickly in April, as UI couldn’t handle the surge in unemployment insurance applications. Lately they said some people were approved but did not qualify and will have to pay it back, plus there was no income tax taken off it. Hope you got some sleep. I’m caught up on Reader and even got 2 drafts ahead done, so it was a productive week.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        OK, yes very scary especially since they said he was healthy … I just heard of a young man who died in his early 20s … also no health conditions. Did you hear about the employee who purposely left the vaccines out of the freezer – I heard that earlier, but now they said that some people had already received their vaccines. I understood that it was vaccines not yet unpacked … I wonder which story is true. I did not realize there were restrictions as to the $2,000.00/month allotment. I must have misunderstood that info and believed many different countries were giving substantial checks to people irregardless of whether they lost jobs or not. See here, one of the Senators balked at the $2,000.00 stimulus check saying that some people lost nothing – they simply worked from home and the only change they made was the purchase of any office furniture to accommodate working from home and some people did not own a computer and used their smartphones to access the internet and had to purchase computer equipment/modem etc. He said just give to people who lost their jobs and there was no chance of finding another one (especially if they worked in restaurants/bars, etc.) I have to agree with that thinking, however, most prices for most items have gone up and if some items were not available at the store, it meant you had to get them from somewhere else, like an Amazon, so you end up paying their marked-up price.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        The weird thing is it was a hospital pharmacist who ruined the vaccine? What possible motivation could there be for that? First they said it was an accident, now it’s deliberate. I just don’t understand the ethics of that? I think the Pfizer vaccine has to be thawed first for so many hours and then reconstituted with saline, so it seems like it’s the pharmacy departments who are storing and handling the stuff? Very bizarre.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I think that pharmacist is in jail or has been arrested. I heard that yesterday and he left it out purposely. Then there is one who gave a treatment for COVID, not the vaccine. A separate case. There is another vaccine coming out – not the Astromedica vaccine, another one soon and it has just as good efficacy, no side effects, and is given just like a flu vaccine. No special prep needed and I wonder if that means just one dose instead of two like Pfizer and Moderna? I didn’t realize all that prep had to be done to administer the vaccine … how do they have space for doing all that? I guess the U.S. is way behind the target for administering the vaccine and they say that it might behoove them to take it from CVS and Walgreen’s Pharmacies and go to a central location like a Department of Health for quicker and more efficient handling of the vaccination process.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        The thawing out one is just the Pfizer I think because it has to be frozen and colder temps. Johnson and Johnson has one in the pipeline too and they had talked about it being one dose but are still studying the efficacy. The truth is we’re probably going to need all those vaccines, not just one company. And probably yearly booster doses too. They need to get vaccinating more people faster too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        They are very slow here – of course blaming people for not getting it more organized. This morning there was a queue of cars of seniors trying to get to a Daytona Beach vaccination site … no system except show up and get vaccine if you’re over 65. We’re still on vaccinating nursing home residents. They were giving out $500.00 bonuses at one hospital to get their hospital personnel vaccinated since some rebelled. Didn’t work – some still refuse to take it … that begs the question, if you are working in a hospital, amongst COVID patients and refusing to take the vaccine, then what are their concerns – maybe we should worry about that … seems very risky to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        I’ll see if I can find you my COVID article on the different types of vaccines, which explains the different mechanisms of the different brands. From what I remember reading the Pifzer and Moderna were the newer mechanisms and more effective, whereas the Astra-Zeneca and the J&J were made by the older method, but have less efficacy. The newer method was used for the Ebola vaccine before. I find that nurses are the worst for not getting vaccines – in my hospital about 30% of the RN’s would never get the flu shot. And you couldn’t force them to, union rules, but if they got sick they were off work for two weeks. Many of them were young and healthy and never got sick so why bother. Vaccines become more important as you get older or at higher risk. Some of them refusing, might work in areas without much COVID contact. I suspect most ICU staff would be happy to get vaccinated, as they’ve seen the worst cases day after day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        You remember Carol my friend in NY … she took a two-year course in medical coding at the community college near where she lives. As part of the program, she had to go to a hospital and was required to get a flu shot. She has had issues with flu shots in the past, so asked to be excluded – “no, you take the shot, or you’re not completing the program was the answer.” I don’t understand any hospital personnel not wanting to get a COVID vaccine – too much is at stake. The ICU staff will never be able to forget what they’ve seen the last 9 months.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        And before I logged off, I turned on the news – this 41-year-old was not sworn in as Congressman, just newly elected and had no health problems. I stand by my decision not to call the plumber and to get Amazon Prime in case I need 2,111 deaths today in the U.S. and 336,000+ to date. I am content to mix and mingle with the squirrels and birds.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I believe that – like I said, I could not believe that we are still having a surge from Thanksgiving … I thought that surge was over with and we had moved onto the Christmas surge. Between the Winter weather and COVID, lots of people will be hunkering down next month.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thank you Joni – Merry Christmas to you and your mom as well. I hope you have a peaceful day and nice dinner. I am going to try to catch up here on Christmas Eve (in Reader and I have a fun Christmas Eve post), then try to step away to read and just pop in a little bit. I’ve already done a few posts for next week, so I can take a breather.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Thanks for the e-card Linda! It was so cute, I watched it 3 times! Catching up tonight….we had about 6 inches of snow, but when I got home today some kind neighbour had shoveled my driveway and front porch/sidewalk. I did the back deck, my exercise as it was too slippery to walk, and hope I don’t pay for it tomorrow. I hope you got your book read? I have nothing prepared ahead, just some ideas, but lots of time, as I won’t be going anywhere for awhile.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Wow – you got that much snow Joni! Glad you were able to watch it because there was a glitch with her sending them this time. I only sent a few, but they didn’t launch on 12/24 like they were supposed to and I had to re-send them. We were supposed to get a dusting to one inch and we got 3 1/2 inches over the two days. I finally made it to the Park this morning as it was snowing and blowing on Christmas day and yesterday I had a plumbing emergency. So today was the day to return to the Park and I was gone four hours altogether. It was cold but very peaceful there and I walked in the street when going and that was mostly packed snow, but coming home, the salt had melted the snow out of the street. I started the book and could not get into it, as it was too predictable. And that was Fern Michaels’ portion. I knew I could go to the other two authors but I knew I had seem some streaming movies and TV shows I could access for free, so I started watching Season 1 of “Mad Men” which I have always wished I could see as I used to work in an ad agency. It ran from 2007 to 2015. I have already watched 7 of the 13 episodes from Season #1 … hope to squeeze at least one in tonight, but I was later getting in the house today and getting online and there is stuff in Reader – there was not much for Christmas and Boxing Day. I thought this was a good way to get into TV for when I eventually can watch it more when retire. I worked at an ad agency when I first graduated from university, so it’s been a fun show for me, although it takes place in the 60s and I was there from June 1978 through January 1980. Hope your dinner and plum pudding turned out okay?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        A plumbing emergency on Boxing Day? Did you have to call someone in? I walked today for the first time too, but mostly on the road where the snow had melted and I was very careful with the icey parts. I should try Mad Men sometime – are you enjoying it or is it too 50ish? I hate when books are too predictable, which is why I generally avoid the romance genre. The turkey was good, but after 3 days of leftovers, Mom said she is going to make a stew out of the rest, for a turkey pie on New Years. The plum pudding we didn’t have yet, as when I took it out of the box I discovered the sauce was that white icing stuff, so today I made a quick caramel sauce, but we were too full for dessert…..will save it for New Years. We watched the movie Bombshell today, about Fox news and the harassment suit and it was good. I had heard good reviews of it and mom gets a few movie channels I don’t.
        We tried watching Foyle’s War tonight, a British detective WW2 series, but it was just okay. I miss the PBS series like Downtown Abbey and Poldark. Tomorrow I must get down to blogging again…..as I have nothing prepared except a WWed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Boxing Day was just a debacle Joni. The toilet would not flush and I took the tank lid off and nothing was amiss – there is nothing broken, nothing disconnected. After I got over my initial horror and realized it was not a water pressure issue, I now have been monitoring it and it is working but you have to get the tank to fill up with water first. I’ve not had to use a pail of water. However, that happened at 7:10 a.m. Saturday and I was pretty upset. The house was messy and cluttered and I was going to take all of Christmas long holiday off and then start the following weekend with housework/decluttering in earnest. I just needed some time to myself. So I decided before I called the plumber, I would go out and shovel, no walk, come in and “neaten up” the kitchen and bathroom, then call the plumber who gave me his cellphone number for an emergency and he would come if he was on call or get me someone. Bill, (that plumber) is the owner’s son-in-law. So I called the cellphone and got a robo-voicemail. Didn’t think much of it, but that was mid-day and he never called the rest of the day. Thought maybe he was out of town/phone turned off? I did say in the message that after my initial horror, I realized everything is working fine and nothing looks broken, so it is not an URGENT problem. He still has not called and I have put the tank lid back on and except for it filling up slowly in the tank, I don’t want anyone here due to COVID. I am the only one here, so I deal with it, but there was more that day, like …

        I went outside to shovel and into the garage to run the car as I do daily. I had snow on my lug-soled boots and didn’t want snow in the car, so stood outside the car while it was running and til the exhaust fumes cleared. So I was looking around and on top of the garage door which had “rolled back and parallel to the ceiling, I saw this huge brown mass which looked/looks like a clump of dirt, the size of my fist. I believe it is a wasp’s nest. I don’t want to pull the car out of the garage to see and not sure if they are dormant and if I should knock it down, but have to take the car out, use the ladder. I don’t like ladders and afraid I’ll whack it and they come out and I fall off the ladder … no words. I’ve not decided what to do and will be like Scarlet O’Hara and think about it for now. And, …

        Yesterday I went to the Park – a little slick but I walked in the street. I forgot there was a slope and stepped down into snow which was a bank, nothing beneath it and fell into the snow. Not great as I fell on my butt and couldn’t get up. There was a young guy fishing and I was talking to him and he said “do you want me to help you up?” Well, I wasn’t going to do that (COVID) (pride) so I said “no thank you, I’m going to sit here a few minutes, then get up. I had a difficult time getting up as the snow was in a bank, so kind of high, had my flip-finger gloves on for the camera, didn’t want to wet them, and the camera in my other hand and not amused. I may walk a lot but am not limber and had a difficult time, getting up … maybe when younger, I would have scrambled to my feet, but no I did not/could not. Finally got up with getting the camera wet and today, my hamstring muscles are sore, likely from how I got up. So, I will write about it as I don’t mind poking fun at myself but I am lucky the short wall was there blocking me from the water. The guy had put peanuts and sunflower seeds on the wall (where the graffiti is where Harry the Heron stands near) and chickadees kept coming by – I was taking photos and had brought food for the ducks and was in my glory, so was distracted, so that’s why I forgot about the slope. Yes, dumb …
        I am enjoying Mad Men but I worked in an ad agency in the Creative Department when I first got out of college, so I used to hear clips of the show highlights on a radio program I listened to and wished I could see it. At one time I thought I’d buy myself the boxed DVD set but didn’t want to spend that much money. So it is free with ads – the ads are only 1-2 minutes long about every 15 minutes … I don’t mind. It is 7 seasons long, and I’ve only seen 8 episodes. I am enjoying it and I had heard they did an incredible job on recreating the period and they did just that. The clothes, mannerisms, but oh the smoking and drinking … they smoke like chimneys, drink like fishes (women too). I probably will only watch it on weekends and that will take me to good weather I’m sure to see the entire 7 seasons. I saw Schitt’s Creek on there too – did you like that? I knew it won an Emmy and based on a Canadian family. I would like to see Grey’s Anatomy but it is not free. I have jotted down the Bombshell movie … I would like to see that. I would not have minded to watch The Crown but that is Netflix I believe. As to posts, …

        I have the next three posts longer posts drafted as I did them when I came home from walking, but not even taken the pics off the card. I am going to just two posts a week starting next Monday, so will do those three posts, three Wordless Wednesday, then start going to the photos taken in late October thru early December. That will take til Spring!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Oh you did have a bad Boxing Day! If you need to get the plumber, try and air out the house after – I opened all the windows for half an hour after I had those 5 guys in for the furnace fix-up. Not sure re the wasps nest – they do go dormant, but it could also just be a dried up one? I can’t imagine you not being able to get up Linda, you seem in such great shape, but I suspect the slope was steep and snowy. I’m very cautious re ice and falling, as we are of the age where breaking a hip could happen, and I have stairs in the house and no one to help out. I would like to try an episode of Mad Men for the fashions, but not sure I’d want all that smoking/drinking etc. It did get good reviews though, as did Schit’s Creek – although I never saw any episodes. I don’t really watch much TV – have only basic cable, 30 channels, not eve CNN. We couldn’t get into the Crown, not even mom and she grew up with the Queen. I found the continuous flashbacks in the first episodes difficult to follow – although I wouldn’t have minded seeing this season with Lady Diana. Gray’s Anatomy bored me – I watched the first season only, I guess you get used to the characters. It sounds like you have your blogging all planned out for the next few months!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I remembered your ordeal with the wasps and the thing is, it may have been up there for months. But what a place to build it. I can’t open the window in the bathroom because Jim (handyman) had to put a wire mesh over the blind as the sparrows kept flying up into the metal shutter mechanism and nesting there. So, he had to put something over the top of the blind. No one can see it as I have a tall Pyracantha bush there … so I cannot roll up the blind (nor any of the others as they are permanently frozen shut from non-use). So, I didn’t even think of having to open the window – I know your mom had the plumbing emergency during COVID. I am annoyed but keeping what I’ve got for now. Put the lid back on last night after monitoring it for a few days … it is not ideal and like going in slow motion, but it works on its own, no pails of water. But still …. It was dumb on my part as I know there is a slope there and I just walked out like it was solid and it was snow and air beneath so I consider myself very lucky. But no, I could not get up right away – the camera in one hand, and trying not to get the flip-top finger gloves wet as I use them just with the camera – I have heavier gloves when not using the camera. These camera gloves are not warm, so I bought a pair of Isotoner thinsulate gloves for underneath – they got wet, both pairs. I may walk all the time (did 4 miles today as it was sunny and could leave earlier and it was clear too) but I am not limber and once I can move like normal again, I am starting some limbering exercises like deep knee bends and haunching down, but not until I’m over these pulled. I’m not going anywhere tomorrow morning or Friday morning either if the forecast is right. Snow/freezing rain, then plain rain tonight and Thursday night. Not liking that idea at all. Yes, I’ve accumulated lots of pictures, but have to sort out some … I went to a new spot, a wildlife refuge and have been there three times and taken photos each time. But will split that into three weeks or see which of the three times comes out the best … not sure, but there are lots of photos to be winnowed down. I wanted to tell about how they created the refuge without it being boring, but it is the only natural area along the Detroit River and the forest is 300 years old. Now, …

        As to Mad Men, I am enjoying it as I worked in that field, but yes, it is over the top with the drinking and smoking … every time you see them. But the pitching of ad ideas to clients … I remember that part – client hates their ideas, so back to the drawing board … that is what happened with Lee Iacocca when we had the Chrysler-Plymouth account. We did the luxury Chrysler cars, the compact Plymouth cars and the leasing as well. Iacocca was difficult to please and the team would take ideas to his office (he would not come to our office in downtown Detroit) … he was very critical. He had another ad agency doing marine ads only and a third agency doing something else for Chrysler-Plymouth. He fired all three agencies in March 1979. We eventually got Lincoln-Mercury, but Mad Men does show what happens … if the client is fickle, the “team” works on the presentations until they are happy. Iacocca was a tough customer. Glad you told me about Gray’s Anatomy as I thought maybe it was like the show “ER” which I really liked and also “Chicago Hope” back in the day. When I had cable, I had basic cable too and we used to watch “Lifetime” channel as they had some good movies, some based on books we read, then, just before my mom passed away, they changed some channels and we had to buy a separate box, a big item that looked like a VCR, to see this channel. We ordered it and it arrived the day after my mom died. I did find the movie “Bombshell” and it is free, so I will watch that as well (when I don’t know … I should not have started watching TV because I can’t get things done due to blogging as you know!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        The wildlife refuge sounds interesting……your blogs are never boring! You’re so creative I’m sure you were a very fine Mad Women! Would I like the Mad Men series do you think? How do you watch it – on youtube?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thank you Joni! I do have a lot of photos so I know I’ll be splitting the wildlife refuge into two or three parts … one time I visited when there was a little snow. So, they have one part that is part of this 300-year-old forest and that goes along the River with some observation decks along the way. It is called the “refuge”.
        The other part of the refuge is known as the “gateway” part of this venue and there is a long walkway which crosses over some water and also what will be a visitor center after COVID is done, plus a huge pier where the fishermen gather. It took years to get this refuge open and it was delayed due to the pandemic. Well I have to tell you that there are some sleazy parts … but there were funny parts with the neighborhood women or the ad agency secretaries who gossip like a bunch of hens. Where I am, in Season #1, is just before the 1962 election as they are mentioning Kennedy running for President. I’m not sure – I would not want you to order it or have to pay for it and be disappointed in it. I am watching it on Amazon. In the early Fall, I decided to get Prime after I had the trial membership for a month. I bit the bullet only because the stats starting surging again and I would rather order anything I run out of this way as there is no charge for delivery, most is next day and you can track your package … you know when they are arriving, even to when they are in the neighborhood. They also had free music, no commercials and they have free reading content (books and magazines), so I decided I might like to try some of that as well, along with the movies/specials and/or TV shows. You could get a Prime trial subscription for a month and try some of the content that way. I would not normally do something frivolous as paying for this subscription as I am pretty frugal, but it was the pandemic that worried me most. I also wanted to order the crock pot that Diane had recommended and it was not at Macy’s, Meijer, Bed Bath & Beyond … I did not want to be going shopping/mingling anymore than necessary, plus wanted to order some recipe books for the crockpot, and a few other regular books, so decided to get it. Not sure if I’ll renew when the year is up, but thinking I may for the “entertainment” until I retire.

        Like

      • Joni says:

        Amazon will be a good deal for you Linda, as you don’t go to the library, but we have curbside pickup and I order so much stuff from them I have a hard time keeping up with it. I may try and get Madmen on DVD from the library and see if I like it. I have a friend who has an Amazon Prime membership, but I don’t even have a regular one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I got the trial membership to see what you got for the subscription and I was a little overwhelmed, simply because I don’t have cable, I have let all the magazine subscriptions lapse with the exception of AARP which has a monthly publication – and, I say that Amazon Prime has all this great reading content, but I have several years (maybe 4-5 years of AARP magazines to read … so when will I get new content read? So I perused everything, but I did decide to get the membership to avoid going to the store when I ran out of non-perishable items. I ordered the crockpot and the recipe books – I wanted the recipe books that were spiral-bound so easier to read while using them and they were all out of print but available through Amazon. I had a few other things I wanted to get – it is handy to have as free delivery and you know to the minute when stuff comes (we have porch pirates), but don’t especially like the price for the subscription. However, that said … I think if I could enjoy some first-run movies that I missed as I’ve not rented a video or been to the show in years, or enjoy their own “Amazon Prime Videos” and TV shows, it is worth it then. I would not mind the free reading content – I don’t have a Kindle, but you can download the app on your computer. Yes, see if you can get Mad Men from the library. It is interesting seeing the dress/styles of things I remember as a young girl. Right now it is 1960 and they are mentioning the upcoming election (Nixon versus Kennedy).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        How much is Amazon Prime? Amazon in Canada is different, as you have to watch where the seller is located to avoid customs duty and taxes. A few years ago I was hunting down some older Susan Branch books on Amazon and every dealer was US. I understand though with so much content why people have abandoned their cable. I probably wouldn’t use it much as I watch very little tv, but maybe I would like it. The same with Netflix – i’m afraid I’ll get sucked into this huge vortex of binge tv watching and become a couch potato. I’ve been thinking of signing up for an art appreciation course online but wonder if I would watch it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I took a two-credit hour art appreciation class as I needed it for a humanities part of my core classes and enjoyed it. A fellow blogger uses a lot of famous artists’ paintings for her blog posts. She uses WikiArt.org. I had never heard of WikiArt.org before so went and took a peek. Interesting. I wish I had more time to see everything that is out there on the web. When we first got new computers at work that had internet, our home page was set to refdesk.com. If you’ve never been there, there is everything you could imagine on that site. I could get lost in there for hours with all knowledge tidbits there. I can see how you’d get sucked into Netflix if things were available to see all the time – I guess people record the shows to binge watch or is there somewhere you go and can watch them? With Amazon Prime, all I do is go to “Prime Video” and plug in “Mad Men” Season 1 and it picked up right where I left off with the next episode, even though I jotted it down. So now I’ll be on Season 2. I did not know they did that way for Canadian Amazon subscribers … that is odd. They have something called “Amazon Prime Insider” so you can look ahead at what is available that month to put on a watch list. I learned that when I had the trial subscription, but never did it, always putting it off, then really never looked into it as I was busy with blogging when I returned from walking or all Fall was when I was loading in groceries at least one day of the weekend. So not much time. If that book had been good I would not have looked there at all – good thing it was predictable.
        I know people were complaining on Twitter that their cable station no longer carried “The Office” and they had to watch it on Peacock. Now Comcast has something to do with Peacock, but I didn’t pay attention to it as I’ve not got cable anymore. Amazon Prime is $119.00 per year (that’s why I thought long about it). But it is instant viewing too – I always thought you’d have to watch it at their time since it was part of your subscription … I figured there were strings attached. Some shows are a pay … you have to pay $1.99/show … that’s what I think it was for “Gray’s Anatomy” which I thought I’d like, but maybe not if you say it was boring. There are a lot of perks though, besides the delivery and they do have free streaming of music, whole albums, uninterrupted … another perk. I will send you a list of perks separately in case it goes to SPAM.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Thanks Linda. I think Netflix is like Amazon Prime – you just go on and watch whenever you want. With the Cable TV movie package you can rent a recorder box which allows you to record whenever and watch later, but I find so little on there we don’t bother. It’s all too time-consuming…..I figure when I’m old and in a nursing home I’ll watch all the decades of tv and shows and movies I missed!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        My mom and I had basic cable and that with regular channels was all we really needed. We taped a lot of made-for-TV movies from “Lifetime” and then they took it off basic and we had to get that special box and pay extra. Ordered it, then my mom passed away – I took it to Comcast and got a refund. But here (maybe there too), I can’t get basic TV channels (our former Channels 2, 4, 7) without cable. My TV is not equipped for modern equipment either – it is old, mid-80s I think, with the bulbous back. I’d have to get a new TV I think to be able to watch TV if I did the streaming, so I’d be better off just streaming from the computer, which you can do from Netflix as I checked about a year ago. I agree with you – in the days I watched a lot of TV with my mom, we watched some live TV, but ended up getting two identical TV and identical VCRs as in those days often 2-3 things were on at 10:00 p.m. and we liked the “movies-of-the-week” or mini series. Then we’d watch everything on Saturdays mostly and zip through them. We were always behind with TV drama shows and hoped no one told us what happened as in “spoiler alert”. But back then, there was no internet and no social media, so for us it was TV and reading for “down time”. We can catch up later when we’re not as active – I agree!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I was going to give you the link, but I’ll cut and paste it here so Amazon doesn’t bug you. Also, they just started a week or so ago, that you can get an Audiobooks account with some free titles there. I will likely keep it into the next year because I had been thinking of getting cable after retired (after I’ve decluttered the house and have more time), but may not do that and just keep this instead and consider getting a monitor to connect to the laptop so the screen is bigger, although the Windows 10 laptop screen is bigger than this one. But this laptop and my other backup laptop are Windows 7 and nothing wrong with them, so I could use them just for viewing TV/movies. Since I have not had TV/movies for over a decade, there is free content on there that I’ve never seen. I have lots to catch up on. Also in getting this for you it looks like you can sign up for HBO and Starz for a fee per month. I’m not doing that … this is enough, more than enough for now. So, here is the list, then you can just delete this comment if you want:
        *****************
        About Amazon Prime Insider & Prime Membership Benefits
        Prime Insider helps you get the most out of everything Prime has to offer – with benefit news, shopping tips, and how-to guides, plus offers and deals just for Prime members. You can stay up to date on the newest and most popular movies and TV shows available on Prime Video including the latest Amazon Original series, the most popular artists on Prime Music, the latest selection of free books and magazines on Prime Reading and more.

        You can check out the blog and listen with Alexa. Just ask, “Alexa, open Amazon Prime Insider” to enable a flash briefing for your Alexa devices and apps. Once added, just ask “Alexa, what’s my news?” to get the best of shopping and entertainment, delivered by a real human voice.

        Here are some Prime benefits included with your membership:
        Delivery benefits
        FREE Two-Day Delivery: Millions of items delivered fast and free.
        FREE One-Day Delivery: Available on more than 10 million items with no minimum purchase.
        FREE Same-Day Delivery: Available, in select areas, on over 3 million items for qualifying orders over $35. Order in the morning, typically before noon, and get your items by 9 p.m.
        FREE Ultrafast Grocery Delivery: Get free two-hour delivery on a wide selection of groceries, including meat, seafood, produce, snacks and household essentials. Check availability in your area.
        Prescription delivery and savings: Enjoy fast, FREE Two-Day Delivery on prescriptions from Amazon Pharmacy, plus exclusive savings when paying without insurance.
        FREE Release-Date Delivery: Be among the first to get new video games, books, music, movies and more. Choose Release-Date Delivery on qualified items and receive your package by 7 p.m. on that date.
        FREE No-Rush Shipping: Don’t need your Prime order right away? Select No-Rush Shipping and earn rewards for future purchases. Learn how it works.
        Amazon Day: Simply pick a day that works for you, shop with Amazon Day throughout the week, and we’ll deliver orders together on the day you choose.
        Key by Amazon: Get your packages securely delivered for free into your garage, home or vehicle with Key by Amazon. Check your eligibility.

        For more information, go to Prime Delivery Benefits.
        Streaming and digital benefits
        Prime Video: Watch exclusive Amazon Originals and thousands of popular movies and TV shows — all at no extra cost. Watch at home or on the go with practically any device.
        Prime Video Channels: Watch your favorite shows and movies from HBO, SHOWTIME and STARZ channels — no cable required, cancel anytime and no additional apps to download. $4.99–$14.99/month for Prime members.
        Amazon Music Prime: Listen to more than 2 million songs ad-free plus thousands of stations, listen on any Echo device and take your music anywhere with offline listening.
        Amazon Music Unlimited: Get unlimited access to tens of millions of songs. Listen to any song, anywhere ad-free. Prime members get discounts on plans.
        Prime Gaming: Get free games and in-game content every month, a monthly Twitch channel subscription and exclusive promotions on select pre-order video games.
        Amazon Photos: Back up and share your photos with unlimited, full-resolution photo storage. Add your photos in the free apps and view them on all your devices.
        Amazon Kids+: All-in-one subscription that gives kids access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, educational apps and games on compatible devices. Prime members get up to a 40% discount.

        Want more? Here is a guide to connecting your devices to Prime entertainment.
        Shopping benefits
        Prime Member Deals at Whole Foods Market: Exclusive discounts and offers on qualifying item(s) for Prime members in-store and online.
        Prime Day: Annual two-day shopping event exclusive for Prime members delivering incredible savings and deep discounts on over one million deals across every category.
        Prime Exclusive Deals: Enjoy deals every day on thousands of items available only to Prime members.
        Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, and at least 1% back on all other purchases.
        Amazon Prime Store Card: Earn 5% back every day on Amazon.com purchases and access exclusive promotional financing offers.
        Prime Early Access: Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com.
        Amazon Family: Save on supplies for the family. Get 20% off both diapers and baby food when you have five or more subscriptions arriving.
        Prime Wardrobe: Try on clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories from the comfort of your home, and pay only for what you keep.
        Amazon 4-star and Amazon Books Stores: Prime members pay Amazon.com prices on all products in-store.
        Amazon Reload: Earn 2% bonus when you reload your Amazon.com Gift Card Balance with a designated debit card.
        Reading benefits
        Prime Reading: Get unlimited access on any device to more than a thousand eBooks, popular magazines, comics, and more. Learn more about Prime Reading.
        Amazon First Reads: Read next month’s new releases today. Each month, Prime members can download one editors’ pick for free — before the official publication date. Downloaded titles are yours to keep.
        Discounted Print Magazine Subscriptions: Get select 4-month magazine subscriptions for only $0.99 each.
        Other benefits
        Share Your Prime Benefits: Link your account with one other adult to share shipping, streaming access to movies and TV shows, Prime Reading and more for free.
        Free Shipping at shopbop: Enjoy free two-day shipping and next day shipping at shopbop.com.
        Free Titles at Audible: Prime members are invited to start an Audible Premium Plus trial with 2 credits that can be used on any titles.
        Free Upgraded Shipping at Zappos: Get free expedited shipping on all Zappos orders.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Thanks for the info. Linda if you can get all that on Amazon Prime I would stay with that and forget cable tv period. I’m pretty sure Amazon Canada does not deliver groceries nor are they in the Rx business. I don’t think your price is bad for a year and all those perks. My mom pays $90 a month for her cable tv package, and I pay $50 for just 30 basic channels! It’s hard to get anything cheaper than that here for cable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        You’re welcome Joni. I don’t remember what I paid for internet/cable together when I had it ten years ago. I have the higher speed of internet (not gaming speed, but higher which I got for work). I think I will stay with Amazon Prime too, because if I use it for TV/movies and end up using it for free reading content (despite the books downstairs/upstairs and newer ones), it is a win-win. Since I’ve not seen any TV shows, and many movies which were once first-run movies that were released since I last rented movies, it becomes more and more worthwhile. I don’t have a Kindle to read the free content, magazines and/or books, it would even be a nice present for me to get a Kindle to read, but you can also download the Kindle app from Amazon. It seems I read the app is not all that great though. Besides, I think it would be better to use Kindle though and step away from the laptop once in a while. The Amazon groceries are through Whole Foods grocery stores – their perishable items are pricier than Meijer, but in a pinch, I guess, with free delivery you can get them, but I’ve not bought perishables since the pandemic. I partly got it as the less I go out the better right now (as to mixing/mingling – our stats are so bad … today it was announced we had 502,119 cases and 12,678 deaths in Michigan). They do have a lot of pantry items available through regular Amazon. If its still surging stats when I run out of pantry items, I’ll consider ordering through Amazon, since it’s free delivery. I ordered Cod Liver Oil pills as they are no longer available at Meijer … just Krill Oil or Fish Oil. I’ve taken it since I was a kid (Cod Liver Malt – ugh). Not sure I’d do the Rx either, but I’m not on any prescriptions right now – maybe I’d feel differently if I was. I think it is a bargain for me, though I really never told anyone til watching “Mad Men” as it seemed a bit frivolous.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        PS. If you are able to watch PBS online – they will be showing All Creatures Great and Small – a British series based on the books which I have not read, about a small village veterinarian. It starts Jan 10, Sunday nights around 8 or 9. See all the tv you have to catch up on when you retire!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I have been on PBS online … I met a woman at the River one day when I went to see a small lighthouse. She was waiting on her husband and his buddies … they were filming a special on the River from their kayaks. It was part of a series and she told me where to go and how to find it, but I had no luck finding it. I loved those books and still have some of them. I think I saw a movie based on the books, but may be wrong. I just went on PBS online and can’t tell if I can view it, but I signed up for a newsletter that tells some info about the series so I should be able to tell that way – hope so. I loved the books and read them at a time when I wanted to be a veterinarian (but my math grades were not good). Thanks for the tip Joni.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I looked and I got the first e-mail – I am not sure it will be streaming either, though I saw on the website they have podcasts – I’m not sure that one episode would be classified as a podcast though would you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Is there an email where you could contact them? The PBS station we watch is the one out of Detroit? I think podcasts might just be interviews with the actors or the directors/writers?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hi Joni – I am going to look at the e-mail newsletter they sent me over the weekend. I signed up, really for the James Herriot’s series, but will see if they say … here’s what I learned so far:

        “You may need to sign up for a free account at PBS.org, but do not need a cable television subscription to watch the programs on the web, through the PBS apps for tablets and smartphones or with add-on streaming hardware like the Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku devices.”

        I think you are right … I have to see if it is doable, but it looks like PBS is available for streaming on Amazon Prime too. That is $2.99/month but covers hundreds of programs (see below). I’d consider that after I retire. I am wondering if it might just be on YouTube?.
        https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/pbs-launching-living-streaming-service-amazons-prime-video-channels-1194054

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I don’t know anything about it but I’d better look at what they sent me … I put it into my “to read” e-mail folder … don’t ask … it is bursting at the seams. At least I am 100% caught up in Reader. Now here for a few minutes … have to write posts tomorrow, hunker down, maybe watch some TV? Afraid to get too hooked. Can’t do it during the week. (New stupid thing with WordPress. I “like” a post and as I’m commenting, it goes off … no more like.” On December 31st, my post published at 5:00 a.m., I always check to ensure it went off and also in Reader after last year’s issues. So it was in Reader, then later it was not. Wrote to HE … they evidently fixed it as it was okay later.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        We watched all the past seasons of Downtown Abbey on DVD’s from our local library. You could check Amazon after it’s over – usually there’s a lag time if it’s shown in the UK first. It said there will be 7 episodes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Funny you said that Joni – I just sent you a link which may go to your SPAM, not sure, and it did say you can stream at Amazon and you pay $2.99/month but that encompasses 100s of content. I had no idea all this was happening on Amazon. I am looking forward to catching up here more (probably not totally) and then watching more of Mad Men over the weekend. And writing a post for next Monday.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Jo Shafer says:

    Linda, in my book mincemeat isn’t real mincemeat without rum or brandy. That’s what makes mince pie so deliciously heady! Yes, I can imagine your Mother’s kitchen at Christmas when she brought out the jars for the pies and tarts.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Linda Schaub says:

    That’s right – it was quite aromatic Jo. They sure were tasty and topped off with whipped cream too. You know I think it was brandy … I don’t picture myself going to the store to buy it, but can picture a tall bottle of brandy in the house.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Jo Shafer says:

    Thank you for reassuring me, Joni. Good information and good advice. I’ve simply prayed to put myself and all my family in God’s hands. We’ve come through this health crisis thus far, already, so I’ll continue to trust in God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Jo! Here’s some distraction from all the bad news. I got this email from Victoria Mag. today with a lovely idea for decorating with blue and white dishes and a touch of evergreen for Christmas, something I had never thought of putting together, and know you have mentioned before your blue and white dishes. Here’s the link:
      https://www.victoriamag.com/blue-white-teatime/
      You can sign up for the emails without a subscription. I also like the http://www.susanbranch.com website and sign up for their emails too. Last weeks blog was esp. nice with recipes and I love her cat!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jo Shafer says:

    Thank you, Joni! I became fixated on blue and white, often blue and white with green, a long time ago in my mid-20s. My first dishes was the now-defunct Currier & Ives ironstone. After a spell of falling in love with Rose Chintz by Johnson Bros., I’m back to Blue Willow where I feel most at home. Mother’s dishes were bright yellow ironstone but she did set the table with a blue and white tablecloth. Could that have influenced my taste?

    I hopped over to your Victoria mag link, showing almost everything out at once, even a Blue Willow tablecloth like my old one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ruthsoaper says:

    The work you put into this is amazing Joni. My mom used to make fruit cake every year she and my dad loved it. Now dad makes it but mince meat has become hard to find. This year when he ordered his groceries online the store didn’t have it listed so he found a place to order some from and ended up paying $15 U.S. for a jar. That was one expensive fruit cake.
    I have never read A Christmas Carol but should add that to my to buy list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Ruth…..I did have fun putting it together. It’s a wonderfully uplifting book, and so descriptive. I’m not a big fan of Dickens books in general as I find he’s too wordy, but this one I like. I was disappointed in our store bought fruitcake, it was so dry and tasteless, that next year I think we’ll have to make one. The mincemeat sold out here as well in November, everyone must have been baking this year.

      Liked by 1 person

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