Morsels of Gratitude, part 1

Finding the positive in a dark world where negative is more comfortable

I’ve been experiencing depression for several years. I thought it was manageable but I was wrong and the pandemic has exacerbated it. It’s been building up for several years and is now a massive problem. This is not depression out of the blue, it’s linked to specific events and practical issues. The events of the past tend to fade with time but the practical reasons are always there and have, in fact, increased dramatically in recent years.

Then came the virus to put a real cap on things. Suicide, often on my mind, is not really an option but forging on seems impossible. So I’m stuck in a demotivated nightmarish rut.

Fight or flight? I have to choose fight but it’s easier said than done because negative has become too comfy. My therapist has urged me to keep a gratitude journal because apparently it really WORKS!! So, here goes. This is very difficult for me to do because I find it super-cheesy and reminiscent of Oprah-type clichés, but I’ll give it my best shot.

I wanted a special blog for this but I’m struggling with the newfangled functions of WordPress that have popped up since I created this very simple format years ago. I’ll work on it and then transfer posts, but for now this will do.

  • Grateful that my friend Michael has survived his hideous ordeal with Covid-19 and can be discharged from hospital as soon as his husband can get his hands on some oxygen for use at home. I’ve not met Michael in person, he lives in another city, but we have mutual friends and a few years ago he sent me a very gracious and old-fashioned friend request which I happily accepted. I’ve never regretted it because he’s wonderful. I can’t wait to meet him one day. We’ll drink exotic tea and eat fancy little cakes.
  • Grateful that my lung capacity has improved slightly. I was apprehensive to go for a check-up this week because no-one wants to visit doctors or hospitals these days, but it was necessary and I wanted to find out how my lungs are doing. I’ve had bad days lately so I thought my COPD might have worsened, but it turned out there’s a slight improvement and my ‘bad days’ are normal.
  • Grateful to have had a little brainwave that might lead me to earn a living again, while we wait for tourism to revive itself. Watch this space!
Photo by Hiu1ebfu Hou00e0ng on – Because these Gratitude entries are different to the normal things I post, I’ll use free WordPress stock photos.

Hail to the shop assistants!

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic healthcare workers have been lauded, for doing their job. Okay so they didn’t sign up for a pandemic but they did sign up for sickness and risk, and they are trained professionals. I applaud them for the continued efforts, for not giving up, for going back into the field even when exhausted or after recovering from the virus themselves.

But supermarket staff? They didn’t sign up for anything dangerous. In South Africa they are not even paid a living wage. One supermarket chain pays its workers so badly it one 290 years to earn what her boss was paid in a month.

With the exception of some high-end stores, most shop assistants in this country are surly, rude, and not ever likely to do anything for you beyond roughly swiping your groceries along the scanner. Who can blame them for not being thrilled with their lot in life? What do they actually have to be happy about? Nothing. They work very long hours, earn peanuts, receive very little in the way of benefits, and most of them live so far from their place of work that they can easily spend 2 hours in disgusting dangerous public transport to reach their work. And when they get home there is no help for them to guide kids with homework, to prepare supper, to do the laundry, and in many instances to endure domestic violence.

They’ve worked throughout the pandemic so that we could have food and other consumables. Lucky for us, the people who work in the retail stores have continued to be there. I’m not referring to the owners of the stores, those who take the profit, but the poor sods who ring up your stuff and get nothing extra for working in a pandemic, except droplets of virus from the customers.

No-one clapped for them. No one arranged videos and public outpourings of gratitude.

How else would we have eaten for 10 months? Who stacked the shelves full of toilet paper that we suddenly needed in massive quantities? Who loaded and unloaded the delivery trucks and shelves and warehouses? Millions and millions of retail workers, that’s who!

Thank you to anyone who works in retail, especially those who come into contact with the public and their droplets and bad attitude. And a special thank you to those who were not always empowered by their companies to enforce the safety protocols to safeguard them.

Thank you to all supermarket staff, and especially my local surly ladies at Checkers!

Only one photo today. The lovely Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens with agapanthus in the foreground.

Ending off as usual, with a link to my crowdfunding campaign. Thanks in advance for any contributions.

Overdosing in the time of Corona

Day 11 of South Africa’s lockdown and we have not reached the peak of this pandemic. People are speaking of halfway marks and planning post-lockdown activities but I suspect this is very premature.

Stats:  Officially, 1655 infections and 11 deaths, which proves my point that we are not peaking or even halfway there. These stats aren’t accurate at all but give a general idea.

Between my fears and concerns which are pretty much the same as everyone else, and my abnormal but usual high levels of anxiety, I am a wreck at the moment and have started taking a tranquiliser every morning instead of only when I feel stress coming on.

The title of this entry relates to yesterday’s kitchen activity. My son decided to bake a cake and make some bread known as ‘dinner rolls’, because we ran out of bread 2 days ago. We have no yeast so after searching all over the internet I settled on what appeared to be a simple recipe without yeast. I started helping him, i.e. supervising and annoying him, but that was clearly not a good idea so I went back to my laptop and Homeland.

He made a mistake with the sugar quantities in the cake icing and the result was a delicious but sickeningly sweet cake.  The rolls, which were made in a miniature muffin pan, had an error in the recipe so the salt was excessive.  They had the most wonderful texture and consistency and we’ve scoffed them all. And most of the cake.

Result? A bad night, a very very bad night. Now I know what it means to overdose on both sugar and salt in the same day. I have no one to blame but myself.

Tomorrow is grocery shopping. We hope to find some yeast but not holding our breath. Let the record show that we have lasted 2 weeks with the last grocery shop and there are 3 of us, and the freezer is very small and not empty yet. So I don’t understand people who feel the need to go out all the time. You can do without most of what you are buying between the big shopping trips. I bought milk and bread to freeze, we don’t eat meat every day, we don’t snack, and we plan meals according to what there is.


The mini rolls. Will definitely be repeated but with less salt.


This is what’s left of the cake. A simple sponge cake with a killer sweet never-to-be-repeated icing.


And in other news, this is what lockdown means for a normally vibrant city full of people who love the outdoors.

And last, my sweet little Vida who has been deprived of a walk for so long, trying to hide in my flowerbed.




A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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