It’s a New Me

On April 7, 2020, I changed my profile photo on all my social media accounts.

We were 2 weeks into this global crisis called corona virus, and quite frankly I was worried.

Nay – I was afraid.

I had reason to be.

I am married to a man who has spent the past 30ish years of his career in the field of testing for cancers and infectious diseases. I call him Mr Science for a reason. This stuff is his passion.

Science-y stuff makes my eyes glaze over at the best of times, but I had gleaned enough over the years to know we were going to be in this for a long while.

A profile photo showing my covered face was a deliberate statement on my part. I intended this photo to remain my profile until I was comfortable that we were winning this battle.

So, here I am 451 days later, prepared to finally declare ‘yes, we are winning’.

It is now one week since I received my second vaccination shot.

In our province, we are slowly reopening again. My home city of Toronto has been in lockdown since the end of November … seven very long months. It hasn’t been fun, but as a city, province, country we have been enthusiastically embracing vaccination.

And now our lives are slowly starting to move towards something that looks more ‘normal’.

In fact, Gilles and I actually went out to a restaurant this week to celebrate his birthday.

Yes – masks and physical distancing are still very much a reality … but I feel both hope and optimism. Enough, in fact, to finally change my profile picture.

Hello World. It’s me. I’m back!

125 comments

  1. While I’m a bit late to the party, it is nice to read this positive, uplifting post about a positive, uplifting you! Wonderful smile! We have both been vaccinated since early May but are still cautious (wearing masks inside and practicing social distancing where possible) and a bit worried about the variants. Let’s hope the majority of humans gets vaccinated soon!

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    • Hi Ju-Lyn – nice to hear from you. Glad to hear you’ve had your double vax. Some people are behaving like they’re invincible now, but I prefer to stay on the side of caution … but it sure is nice to finally be out of the long, long lockdown!

      Like

  2. Well, hello to you in your completeness! How nice ro read this on a day that masks have just be re-mandated here. πŸ˜• It’s always encouraging to see progress wherever it is. I hope things continue to improve for you, Joanne. 😊

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    • I’ve been following how things aren’t going so well in your world. This little gift just seems to keep on giving πŸ˜•

      We’ve haven’t given up on masks … yet … but the Idiot-in-Chief (our provincial premier) is sure to eliminate the need for those in the foreseeable future. Why not – he’s taken every possible wrong decision up to now.
      The good news though is that Ontarians have been flocking in droves to get vaccinated and our infection numbers have been plummeting. There is hope for us in spite of his fumbling.

      Stay well, Heather. This is one of those scenarios where we really aren’t done until EVERYONE is safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We’re back in lockdown again. πŸ™ As usual, because someone did the wrong thing. πŸ™„ Our vaccine roll-out has been appalling which is not helping matters. (The problem is supply not demand.) I had my first AstraZenica shot about a month ago. A week later they announced under 60s should have the Pfizer. Not that there’s enough for the people under 50. 😏 I’ll go ahead with the second AZ shot when the time comes. It’s worth the risk.
        Hope you all stay safe and that the vaccine keeps the numbers heading downward.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Joanne, I have missed your blog posts. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to go to a restaurant, and to gather with small groups of friends and family again? Since restrictions started lifting here in BC, we have enjoyed a number of BBQs and dinner parties, and my writing groups and yoga class are meeting in person again (outdoors). β€œSee” you soon.

    Jude

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  4. Welcome back Joanne, based on the number of comments on this post I’d say you’ve been missed. I like the new look. You look positively radiant!

    We have been getting out and about since early March, (when we received our vaccines) and I haven’t worn a mask regularly since May. We took an eighteen-day road trip and we’ve had a couple of weekend get-a-ways recently. Things are different in the hospitality industry, but it still felt great to be traveling and we felt almost normal. I suspect some things will remain ‘changed forever’ (like wearing a mask during flu season) which is probably a good idea anyway.

    Take care.

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    • Thanks Suzanne for the lovely compliment πŸ™‚

      I agree with you that some things are likely not going to change for a long time – like hand sanitizer. I think most of us are far more conscious of germs, and how they are spread. This is not a bad thing thing at all.

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  5. The new profile pic says it all. Having things to smile about sure feels good doesn’t it?
    Our restrictions were a little tougher than yours, with the night-time curfew and all, but getting back to some semblance of normal makes the sacrifice worth it.
    We’re both fully vaccinated but we’re still not ready yet for indoor restaurant dining or large indoor gatherings. I’m going need to see multiple consecutive days of single digit case numbers before I go anywhere near a large group of people again. The good news is that we do seem to be heading in the right direction.
    Keep staying safe and Happy Birthday to Gilles πŸ™‚

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    • I hear you about large gatherings. I was never comfortable in crowded places to begin with, and Covid certainly doesn’t help matters.

      Your curfew was definitely tough-love, but it appears to have worked … not that it would have impacted an old buzzard like me who prefers the safety of home to begin with πŸ˜‰

      For a while your situation in Quebec is so much dire than ours and yet now you are further ahead. We still have a long way to go before we come near single digits, but those scary days of 4500+ cases per day are hopefully long behind us now.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s been a crazy 451 days, hasn’t it? Loving seeing your smile & the curls! Fingers crossed we are heading in a more positive light in the coming days, safely making our way back to be being able to do all of the things we are all so missing. Perhaps a catch up lunch is in order very soon, Happy belated to Gilles!πŸ₯³πŸŽ‰

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    • It has indeed been a crazy period in our lives. I hope the bubbling joy I’ve been feeling lately is a case of well-placed optimism about our recovery going forward.

      The curls were a nice surprise. They’re one of those unexpected discoveries from having hair salons shut down for 7 months πŸ™‚

      Yes, a catchup is long overdue!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How lovely to see your smiling face again Jo, and love the new hair style too! Hope this means you will return to blogging soon too. Going out for a meal was a highlight of our year too when we braved going away for a week at the end of May when restaurants were just beginning to open indoors. We are still staying away from crowds though and that means staying at home as Cornwall is busy, busy, busy with holidaymakers already and going to get worse come the school holidays.

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    • I don’t know if this post is signalling a return to regular blogging or not … but I’d like to think of it as a start πŸ™‚

      I know you don’t like crowds at the best of times, but are you more concerned this summer compared to last year? We hear that numbers are climbing again in Britain, and with all the holiday travellers flocking to your area, that can’t make you feel thrilled to see them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The numbers are rocketing Jo, but our government is determined to relax all the rules come July 19th so I guess we just have to live with it and hope the virus doesn’t mutate to such an extent that invalidates the vaccines. We tend to stay close to home during the school holidays anyhow, but my daughter and granddaughters are visiting for a few days so I guess they’ll persuade me to head to one or other of the beaches!

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  8. What a delight it is to have you visit again!! I just love your new profile picture and the reason the mask is off. You have a beautiful smile and now your eyes are sparkling!

    Belated Happy Birthday greetings to your husband Giles. I also want to thank him for his years of working in the field of cancer testing and infectious diseases. I, for one, appreciate the dedication people like Giles have to keeping all of us safe. What a stupendous celebration it will be to have your loved ones together.

    So looking forward to your next visit, whenever that may be. Don’t knock. Door is unlocked. Just come on in! πŸ€—
    Ginger

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    • Awww – thanks, Ginger! It’s actually really touching to hear that people have missed me over the past year. It’s been a strange time and we’ve all tried to cope the best way we can. Maybe I’ll actually feel like I have something to post about in the months ahead πŸ™‚

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  9. Hello Joanne! I remember yours was the first (and only for a good long while) avatar that was ‘masked’…What a great way to celebrate your ‘unmasking’!
    All that to say, I am always armed with a mask, wipes, sanitizer at the ready – for those times when I feel uncomfortable being ‘unmasked’. I guess you could call me a fully vaxxed ‘crossover’.
    Happy unmasked day to you!

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  10. We did take out the other day — that’s the closest we have come to eating out. Only our second take out of the pandemic so that was a nice break. I feel, like you, that we are finally on the other side but in certain situations I intend to still wear a mask. Plus I am not going to any large gatherings no matter that we can. But we had 6 friends for supper the other night and while we didn’t hug it was still wonderful to sit around the table and chat! Glad to see your smiling face back as we turn that corner.

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    • Small gatherings with friends has been the best. We’re meeting outdoors, but that doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm (after all, it is summer in Canada … that miraculous but short season we can’t seem to get enough of!). I hope I don’t stop being so grateful and appreciative any time soon!

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  11. Hey Joanne! So great to see your smiling face one way or another. And yes it does show a definite turn toward the optimism that most all of us are feeling. And then to have Gilles (Mr. Science) out celebrating his birthday. Thank you for encouraging me and all of us a bit more and may your optimism continue to spread and grow in the coming days. Oh, and you look very gorgeous and happy too. ~Kathy

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    • Thanks Kathy. Isn’t it amazing the difference in our attitude and level of optimism?! Let’s hope it’s not misplaced and things just continue to get better.

      Now I have my fingers crossed for you that the border opens up soon and your well-anticipated travels go smoothly!

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      • Thank you very much, Joanne. You might know that sadly South Africa’s “third wave” of the pandemic is spiraling upwards with no end in sight yet. We’ve had many friends and family sick, hospitalised and, most awfully also lost some to the disease. It has been a trying time, which probably is also true for most other countries in the world, and that day when we can show our mask-less faces again will be a very happy one indeed!

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  12. Welcome back! Is the roll out of the vaccination in Toronto slow? For those that want to get vaccinated in the lower 48 vaccines have been available for awhile. Thank your hubby as we thank all of the first line healthcare workers for their contributions in helping to save lives and getting this pandemic under control!

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    • Hi Gordon – nice to hear from you πŸ™‚

      Yes, our vaccine rollout throughout Canada was very slow to start because of availability. We don’t do any of the manufacturing here so we’ve had to rely on getting supplies from Europe. It wasn’t until April when large numbers of the vaccine started to reach Canada that our vaccination rates started to climb. I’ve been very encouraged by it.

      I should clarify that Gilles isn’t a front line worker. He works well behind the supply chain that does the development and manufacturing of the diagnostic kits for a wide variety of diseases. It just so happens that covid has made them extraordinarily busy over the past 15 months!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Good to see you again. I totally understand how you feel. Restrictions have been quite strict in Quebec as well and we are quite relieved to be fully vaccinated (it has been three weeks for us…) and we are hoping borders will start opening again so we can continue exploring where we left off last March…Take care. (Suzanne)

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    • You have been under some very strict rules in Quebec – but it’s worked … you are well ahead of us in recovery!

      I don’t know when we will start travelling again, but in the meantime I’m thrilled to be able to shop in person 😏

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      • Strangely enough, despite our stricter rules than in Ontario, shops have been opened in Quebec except for a 3-week period around Christmas and in a few zones who had high level of cases but in Montreal I have been able to shop, get my hair cut, and a few other things. Schools have stayed opened in person for most kids except around Christmas. Gyms, restaurants, bars were closed for 8 months, etc. It is interesting how each province decided on different measures. You would have thought that they would have been able to learn from each other and adopt the best practices.

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  14. Welcome back. You’ve been missed. My husband still doesn’t feel comfortable eating out, although if we went somewhere with outdoor seating he might. I’ve started wearing my mask again because of the Delta variant because even though I’m not terribly worried (as we’re all fully vaccinated), my husband still worries about it, so I do it for him. πŸ™‚

    janet

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    • I think I empathize with your husband. We each have our own comfort level, and although I have confidence in the vaccine process, I wouldn’t want to give up my mask in public any time soon. I’ve always avoided crowds, so that part isn’t going to change 😏

      Liked by 1 person

  15. A warm, welcome back, Joanne! Although, I feel as if you never really left. A pause in the life of your blog.

    Unfortunately, yes, β€œin this for a long while.” Yes, β€œβ€¦seven very long months” for many people.

    A great profile picture. It is the smile and the sparkle in your eyes that are a highlight to my day! ❀️

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  16. Welcome back. Looks like you survived prison okay. I can’t imagine 7 months of lockdown. Well, actually I can, but we’re recalling our governor for it. I guess we’re winning the battle, but it will be awhile before all the dust settles.

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  17. Good for you, Joanne! So glad you got your second shot and were able to go out for dinner. In the US, vaccinations have been happening more rapidly (for those who don’t think the virus a hoax), and my husband and I went out to dinner about a month ago. What a great feeling! Almost normal. We’re still cautious, but as our state cautiously opens, we’re thrilled. Lovely to see you, my friend. Have an amazing summer. πŸ™‚

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    • Indoor dining is still closed here, but sitting on a patio enjoying a meal felt so wonderful! I think we’re all appreciating the small things that we once took for granted. I hope we don’t lose that any time soon!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Judy. I missed all of you too. I feel like a bear emerging into the world again after a long hard winter. Maybe I’ll even find something to talk about πŸ™‚

      Unlike the US, our vaccine rollout was very slow to start, but I’m greatly encouraged by the enthusiastic response since vaccine availability has increased. I hope it continues because I think it’s inevitable that booster shots will be on the horizon.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Cautiously optimistic’ is a good way to put it. I’m not going to hurry out any time soon where there are big crowds, but I’ve always been uncomfortable in crowds so that part will be normal πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • We have made great strides – and I hope we continue to do so!!

      Today we get together with all my guys to celebrate Gilles birthday. I consider us lucky to have weathered the past 15 months healthy and well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We aren’t at single digits yet, but it’s a vast improvement over the scary infection rates we were seeing just a few months ago.

      I don’t anticipate our mask requirements to lift any time soon. I’ve never been comfortable in crowds, so I’ll likely hold onto my mask for a long time. I’m long past the stage where I feel like a bandit πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ontario has bungled its response to the pandemic more than a few times over the past year, and now the province is being overly cautious in spite of our vaccination targets having been exceeded. We are all very weary and ready to embrace our family and friends again.

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  18. Welcome Back Joanne! We are finally getting closer to what was normal here in California too. We have gotten our vaccines (have had since March in fact) and I am more comfortable out and about, although I still wear a mask in the stores. I don’t when I’m walking the dog around the neighborhood. It feels nice. Great picture of you!

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    • We were off to a slow start with the vaccine rollout because of very limited supply, but now I’m encouraged by our strong numbers. It’s going to be a while before we see ‘normal’ again, but I’m ready to embrace it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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