Roses, Chinese Food and A Very Different Christmas.

I’m sort-of in mourning at the moment. A few days ago, our provincial government announced mandatory pandemic measure that made it illegal for families to hold indoor gatherings, under penalty of pretty severe fines.

Although the measures are “temporary” and will be revisited in three weeks’ time, the threat was made pretty clear:  If COVID numbers don’t improve in three weeks (and we’re currently suffering through a severe second wave), then the measures will be extended well into next year.

From what I can gather via social networks and newsfeeds, this is pretty much the case everywhere in the world:  Second waves caused by unlimited family gatherings, including weddings and funerals and the annual holidays we all hold dear and look forward to each year.

Even though Christmas has not been officially banned yet, we’ve held discussions amongst our immediate family members, who are flung across the country, very nearly coast to coast, and have reluctantly come to the decision that this year, we will hold Christmas in isolation.  That means my daughter and daughter-in-law and one of my sons will not be sitting at the dinner table this year.  Nor will we spend Christmas Eve with the extended family.  (And they are not gathering for Christmas this year, either.)

Hence, I’m kinda in mourning.

Although we are trying to make the best of it.  We’ve decided that Christmas Day, we will hold video calls with everyone.  And we’re taking it a step further:  We’re going to set up calls with people who we never usually hang out with on Christmas Day, but would absolutely invite to our dinner table if they happened to be in our neighbourhood.

As that list of people stretches around the globe, our calls will be scheduled from Christmas Eve to well into Boxing Day.

I’ve already posted my gifts off to the family members who won’t be joining us in person.  We’ll watch them open the gifts via video on Christmas morning, instead.

How are you celebrating the season this year?  If you’re making severe sacrifices, have you come up with some ways to compensate?  (Personally, I’m eating all the sugar and stuff and things, and screw the diet.)

Li Ziqi Channel

The stars know there’s enough distractions out there in the world, but recently I came across a YouTube channel that I found so fascinating and inspiring, that I just have to share.

Li Ziqi lives in the southwestern area of the Sichuan province (which seems to have a climate not too different from Alberta!).  She’s an orphan who moved to her grandparents’ farm, and when her grandfather died, had to support her grandmother (who often appears in the videos).

She started vlogging in 2015 and is well past nine billion views.

There is something mesmerizing about her videos.  She doesn’t speak much in the videos.  They’re all images and music, and almost Zen like.  You watch her gardening and making things (including an entire bamboo lounge set), and other crafty things using resources on her farm.

And she cooks.

Be warned, do not watch these videos if you’re hungry.  You’ll want to order in Chinese takeout!  The food is so delicious to look at–and it’s not typical westernized Chinese fare.  It’s all made from fresh ingredients that you watch her harvest, first.

For instance, one of the videos is “The Life of Roses”.  Didn’t think roses were edible?  Oh my!  Watch her plant the roses, harvest them, then spent days creating rose-enhanced dishes that make your mouth water.

You can find her YouTube channel here:

The Life of Roses video I mentioned is here:  The life of roses.玫瑰花的一生。丨Liziqi Channel.

Li Ziqi also has an official website now:

Downfall of Cornwall

A quick reminder that Downfall of Cornwall, Book 8 of the Once and Future King series, which recreates the story of King Arthur, is currently on pre-order and will be released in late December.  If you buy your copy direct from me, you get it a week early.  (Just in time for Christmas Day, in fact!)

For more details, including the blurb and an excerpt, click here.

To pre-order from your favourite retail store, click here.

Take care, stay safe and well.

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