a peek inside the fishbowl

20 Aug, 2020

my pandemic birthday

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|Oh! Things!|Ottawa|Recipes and Food

I’m officially 48.

My mantra this year is “48 is great.” Because it is. I feel… taller somehow.


I realized that for me, having a birthday during a global pandemic is almost the same as having a non-pandemic birthday. My perfect birthday essentially involves sharing good food with the ones I love, and I’m pleased to report that’s exactly what I got.

My alarm clock goes off at 6 a.m. every day. It’s not because I have a long commute, but I have a long list of things that I want to achieve every morning. That list includes a power walk, which takes about an hour. On my birthday I treated myself to a way to one of my favourite spots along the Ottawa River. (More about that later.)

Breakfast was bacon and eggs, after which point I got started on the day’s work. (Let the record show that I wish I had taken the day off! Next year, for sure.)

As I mentioned, a food tends to be a focal point of my birthdays. And as such, Mark bought me my favourite takeout lunch from Pure Kitchen in Westboro. The Liberty Wrap has deep fried cauliflower, buffalo sauce, ranch, pickles, tomatoes, carrots, greens, flour tortilla. The youngest ordered one as well (hold the carrots) and the eldest got a veggie burger.

Cauliflower wrap from Pure Kitchen Westboro

On impulse I also added their peanut butter cups to our order. If you like chocolatey things, you will love these.

I opened cards and gifts after lunch. The girls have always made their own cards, letters really, and I treasure each one so much. The youngest bought me a pretty pot from Ikea and a new plant from Plant & Curio.

New plant in da house!

(Please check out their Instagram account and see how pretty it is. I can’t wait to go there in person! Some day, right???)

The eldest gave me a new bird feeder for our window.

Window trough for the birds

Mark bought a very sturdy and serious-minded Bird Feeding SystemTM from Wild Birds Unlimited and set it up. He ALSO cleaned the family room window in the process. BONUS.

New bird feeders are officially installed

Big lunches tend to make me sleepy around 3 p.m. so to help me fight off the urge to nap at my desk, Mark brought me a shot of espresso. That guy is a keeper, eh?

Espresso in a pretty cup

When I finally clocked out for the day, the girls and I hopped in the car and went to fulfil a desire that was decidedly non-essential. We bought plant pots at Homesense and Piper got a new toy.

Piper is happy with her new toy

On the trip home we stopped at Canadian Tire to buy soil. They were sold out of regular potting soil so we had to pony up and buy fancy dirt. I guess we haven’t been the only ones expanding our indoor gardens!

I couldn’t help myself and bought another plant for myself, an unusual Alocasia with pretty red stems. (One of which I broke off on the way to the register. Boo.)

The tall plant is the new plant

For dinner we placed a giant order from MHK Sushi here in Westboro, my favourite sushi place in Ottawa. Mark bought wine. It was a feast.

Sushi from MHK. Mmmmmmm

After dinner the four of us went on a long walk with Piper to Hampton Park. The sun was setting and as the park darkened it took on a chill. It’s amazing how much cooler it is there on a warm day.

Dessert was waiting for us when we arrived back at home. Mark and the eldest had picked up donuts from SuzyQ. We were almost (almost!) too full to eat them. I picked a s’mores donut and got to blow on a candle and make a wish. I thought about how fortunate I am to have all of this, I made my wish, and blew.

2 Responses to "my pandemic birthday"

1 | JInjer

August 22nd, 2020 at 2:13 pm


Happy Birthday! Sounds like a wonderful and TASTY birthday!

Is the cup with the cat on it yours and if so where did you get it? Sorry, couldn’t tell if you were drinking that at home or at a cafe or somewhere. SO cute!!!!

2 | Lynn

August 31st, 2020 at 3:19 pm


Looks like an amazing day! A great day to spend with family and so many delicious things!

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  • Jinjer: I am sobbing reading this post. And you're right, companion is not enough. Little furry treasured gifts that they are. Thanks for sharing cutie-pi
  • Karen: Dear Andrea, Mark and your daughters I am so very sad for your family xxx Piper was/is my favourite Instagram post. You shared with us so intimately

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 offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). 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, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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