a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Dec, 2020

This is what a funeral looks like right now

By andrea tomkins in Misc. life

I was a funeral today for Mark’s aunt. Her passing wasn’t Covid related, but Covid didn’t help matters.

I am sad, but even sadder that the novel coronavirus has changed things this much.

  • There was no indoor service, only an outdoor, graveside, service.
  • Attendees had to stand at least 6 feet away from the grave and at least 6 feet apart.
  • There was a limit to the number of people who could attend.
  • The building – and washrooms – were closed.
  • Everyone had to wear gloves and a mask, which made it challenging to recognize some extended family members.
  • There was no hugging.
  • There was no gathering after the service.

As I mentioned, the service took place outside. Fortunately it was sunny and calm. It was also -14C. My mask kept my face as warm as a scarf would. I wore long underwear under my black wool slacks. I wore a hat. I wore a wool ski sweater underneath my heaviest parka. I wore winter boots even though there wasn’t any snow on the ground; my toes were cold by the time we piled back into the car.

Aunt Joan was one of the kindest souls I’ve ver known. I know it’s pointless to wish for things that can never be, but I really wish we’d been able to honour her memory like we would have in the Before Times.

One of Joan’s daughters, who’d kept me informed about her mother’s health status these last few weeks over Facebook, told me that Joan enjoyed a glass of Zinfandel. I suggested that when this is all over we should get together and raise a glass in her memory.

I look forward to the day we will be able to hug each other at a funeral once again. In the meantime, I will light a candle for her and remember her fondly.


17 Dec, 2020

Are you a finisher, or an opener?

By andrea tomkins in Misc. life

Are you a finisher, or an opener? There’s an older post about this idea on Gretchen Rubin’s blog here.

Do you get more pleasure out of starting a new jar of peanut butter, or finishing one?

When I first saw this idea I couldn’t believe I hadn’t ever thought about myself this way before. I am a finisher, through and through. Dare I say there is joy, not to mention a weird sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing something (although, really, is simply finishing something really an achievement??) I will use a small spatula to scrape out the insides of a jar of mayonnaise. I will tip a shampoo bottle on its end and make use of the dregs for weeks. I will take a sad head of broccoli from the back of the crisper and make soup out of it. I squeeze the life out of a toothpaste tube before declaring it empty and throwing it away. It is SO SATISFYING, to be a finisher, although I admit, it also can be a burden at times. Perhaps it has something to do with wastage, which I cannot abide.

Strangely, I like to see an empty fridge. It means that leftovers have been eaten and it’s time to restock.

Lately I have sustained a lot of happiness from using up bottles and samples and jars of half-used hair/body/beauty products. My bathroom drawer, makeup bag, and that one cluttered shelf in my closet are gradually becoming tidier. And that’s a good feeling.


(Please leave your vote in the comments… ! I’m on Team Mariah, what about you?)

On the nightstand: The Outlander, by Gil Adamson

11 Dec, 2020

It’s beginning to look a lot like….

By andrea tomkins in Misc. life

… Christmas.

We actually bought our tree at the end of November. For the record, this is the earliest tree purchase in our family’s history.

Christmas 2020

We bought it at The Royal’s Christmas tree sale. (Proceeds go to patient care, yay!) It is truly a lovely tree. It’s up in the living room, but undecorated at the moment. We’re waiting until the youngest gets home. Then, we will pour out the egg nog, spin some Christmas records, and trim the tree together.

I have a feeling people are doubling down on home-based activities this holiday season. I predict more baking, more drinking, more noshing. We were walking the dog the other night and wondering if more people put lights up this year. Have the lights always been so bright and plentiful?

I get it. I’m feeling this way too, after the year we had. We are looking inward; counting our blessings.


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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


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