5 things – Monday, March 9, 2020

It’s been a funny old week – and by funny I don’t mean funny haha I mean funny weird. And by weird I don’t mean peculiar weird I mean unprocessable and deeply sad weird. You see, my mother-in-law passed away on Thursday afternoon after a relatively (and blessedly) short illness. Is illness even the right word to use for cancer? I really don’t know. I certainly can’t call it a battle because the war was over before anyone knew that it needed to be fought. It was three weeks today when she went into the hospital and was diagnosed – in that order.

I don’t know how to process it yet, none of us do, all we know how to do at the moment is to do stuff and organise things – practical things. For me that means writing about it, it means writing about her – not that I’ll be sharing that here, but I am writing about it for the service next week.

To be honest I’m glad that things are so incredibly busy at the moment. I am, as far as possible, juggling things and doing things and planning things – all the things that I do when things get too much. A very dear friend told me that this can be good in that in occasions such as these, there’s so much that’s not able to be controlled so you take your controllable things when and where you can. I get that, but at the same time, my brain is so full that I’m scared that if I take my eye off even one of those balls that are in the air the whole lot will come tumbling down.

So, even though I really don’t feel like it, I’m forcing myself to keep to my usual blogging, working, walking, writing routine as far as possible. Which, of course, as trite as it sounds, means that while there was a lot last week that made my eyes leak, there were also things that made me smile or think or wonder. Besides, it’s at times like these when the things that make you smile, think or wonder, somehow seem clearer and more worthy of appreciation and gratitude – and there’s nothing trite about that. Here are five of them.


This episode of How To Fail. I didn’t think I could love either this podcast or Marian Keyes more and then I heard this episode. There was so much I nodded along with. You have to give it a listen. Then read her latest book, Grown Ups.

Or for something completely different, how about the Coronavirus playlist. Yes, folks, there’s a playlist. In case you don’t know how to wash your hands properly, health experts are telling us that we should wash them for 20 seconds – or about the length of time that it takes to sing happy birthday to you. If, however, you’re bored of happy birthday to you, here are some other suggestions.

2.  Reading

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes. You knew this was coming, didn’t you? At 656 pages long I dithered a tad – I’m not great with commitment – but was so glad that I took the plunge. I’m awestruck at her storytelling and as I read I hear her voice. Apparently, the audiobook is narrated by her so if you prefer your books in your ears instead of your hands this would be a good one.

Also, this article about romance writing and how it’s about time we stopped dissing romance and give it the respect it deserves. So what if men tend not to write it…oh wait, that came out loud.

4. Watching

Stateless on the ABC. This is brave TV and the type of program that you want to look away from but know that you can’t.

On a lighter vein, Sarah is currently addicted to TikTok and constantly showing me videos of Patrick the Alpaca…and corgis. What is it with videos of corgis at the moment? I’m thinking that my parent’s corgi is missing his moment in the limelight.

4. Yay for

The massive crowd for the final of the women’s T20 cricket at the MCG last night. Almost 90,000 and almost a world record for women’s sport anywhere in the world. (If you’re interested the record is just over 90,000 for a women’s soccer game between USA and China.) Well done Melbourne, well done. 

What I love the most is that sports-loving men like my husband are watching it not from a point of tokenism or anything pervy, but because the game is good and the quality is high. He says he’s not watching women’s sport, he’s watching sport – and that’s exactly as it should be.

5. Foodie stuff

It’s my birthday on Thursday (hello 53!) and because we’ll be in Canberra and doing non-birthday things, I got my pressie early – a real ice-cream maker. You’ll need to wait until Saturday for the recipe, but this was what I made first up. There really is nothing like some measuring, chopping and stirring when you’re feeling stressed.

This pic was taken the day after I made it so the ice cream looks a tad icier than it actually was. #excuses

This recipe for Turkish-style meatballs – a little mid-week comfort food. The pic is not mine.

pic from Delicious magazine

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

15 thoughts

  1. I’m sorry for your loss, Jo. I’m thinking of you and your family. I hope you have a Happy birthday. The ice cream looks very pro and tempting. #lifethisweek

  2. Sorry to hear your sad news Jo, take care of each other at this time, although be aware it might hit you sometime down the track.

    I can’t believe there is a playlist for coronavirus but I’m popping over to take a look! Wasn’t the cricket an amazing effort? Happy birthday for Thursday and I’m glad you celebrated early with your special ice cream maker. Take care, thinking of you over the coming days 🙂

  3. Jo
    I am so sorry for your and your husband’s loss. Take care. Each day at a time.

    You are right, though, keeping busy helps a great deal at times like this.

    SSG xxx

  4. Oh boy Jo – what a rollercoaster of a week and of a blog post! Firstly I’m so sorry for your family and the passing of your MIL who I’m sure you all loved dearly. It’s hard to know whether to be glad that she didn’t linger and suffer, or to be sad that there wasn’t longer to come to terms with it before you were all thrown in the deep end. I hope it all goes well and I’m sure your words at the funeral will be greatly appreciated.
    On the other end of the spectrum, happy almost-birthday and enjoy all that icecream you’ll be eating over the weeks ahead xx

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss Jo. I can understand the sadness you’re feeling just now. I think keeping busy is a good thing for now. You will probably find that you feel like sitting and reflecting after the funeral. I will definitely check out the pidcast

  6. Thank you for sharing…for your honesty and vulnerability during this time which teaches us so much about the beauty and fragility of life. So very sorry for your loss.

  7. Happy Birthday for Thursday Jo. Saying goodbye to a parent is an expected though sad event and Les said goodbye to both his parents within four months last year. It takes time, and in a way, they were blessed that they reached 86+ years.

    What better way to celebrate than with ice cream, yummy!

  8. I’ve been thinking of you and so sorry for your loss – I think a short illness is a double edged sword, mercifully short so that the loved one doesn’t suffer too long but not always long enough for their loved ones to get their heads round things. I know you will do her proud at the service though, you have such a way with words. I’ll be thinking of you and the family over the coming days and of course, on your special day on Thursday x

  9. Oh Jo. I am so sorry to read this news about your Mother-in-law. Sudden and sad. That is awful. Sending my love and condolences to Grant, Sarah, you and of course all who knew and loved her.

    So…a Happy Birthday present in advance..why not? Loved the photo of the choccie icecream.

    Thinking of you all.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is: 11/51 My Neighbourhood 16.3.2020. Hope to see you there too. Denyse.

  10. I am so sorry about the loss of your mother-in-law. Sending long distance prayers and good thoughts halfway around the world to you, Jo.

    The ice cream maker sounds like a wonderful present. The chocolate looks absolutely delicious!

  11. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law’s death. It can’t be easy for you all. My thoughts are with you x
    And belated birthday wishes – must be bittersweet. How good was the cricket?! I loved every moment of that match and the two games I watched live earlier in the tournament. Hope you have a good week ahead

  12. Joanne, I am very, very sorry to hear about your Mother-in-law. Wow, three weeks. Happy Birthday wishes, although a few days late. I hope you feel the virtual hugs and love going your way.xx

  13. I think the busyness after the loss of a loved one helps us to keep going. And then once the business of death is resolved, we can catch our breath and grieve. Thankful your MIL didn’t suffer long.

    Downloading How to Fail as I type. Thank you for the recommendation.

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