Hello Friends, it sure is a small mercy (not so small really!) that we live in an era when, despite social-distancing and self-isolation the world can stay connected via the Internet!
As we near end  of the second week of stringent restrictions here in Québec, I am truly thankful that I can still “meet” with friends and colleagues via a host of platforms and not feel so entirely alone.
It is interesting to observe how the (few!) people one meets on the street respond to each other. Living in a big city it is not the norm to say “bonjour” to total strangers yet at least half of the people I now pass when walking Thomason do exchange a greeting or at least a friendly smile. I try not to dwell on the other half who hastily cross the street, eyes averted, I presume they think the virus can be caught from 20 or 30 feet away, or maybe even by smiling at a stranger!!
I’m also enjoying the “meme” that is catching on with children and adults drawing rainbows in chalk on their front paths or posting them in their windows along with phrases like “all will be well” or with notes thanking essential services workers for remaining out on the front lines.
Yes, some good is coming out of this time and it is truly important to embrace it as having that attitude goes along way to warding off stress and panic 😊
Each day I find myself responding to enquiries from prospective host communities across Canada and also from the young people who have already submitted portions (or all) of their Team Applications.
The decision was made early in the week to postpone Crosstalk Ministries Annual General Meeting to mid-April. It will, of course, be a meeting held electronically anyway but as our President currently remains in quarantine having only returned from the UK late last week it has not been easy to make   any preparations. 
We did manage to send out our quarterly CTM Newsletter this week, which was a small triumph 😊
All other Day Camps advance preparations have come to a grinding halt. It would be most imprudent to continue cooking and baking for the Retreat besides which grocery shopping is a whole other adventure since the small organic grocer where I do ALL shopping since the demise of the local CO-OP has now closed to store traffic so all orders must be sent in via email (they tried accepting them by text message but the volume was too overwhelming!), one then receives an email back with a pick up time. Delivery has gone up to 10$ per order, way beyond my budget, and besides I still need to take Thomason for 2 long walks each day and so factor in the pick up time, dutifully outside the store until an employee wearing surgical gloves appears and places the box on the ground at a respectful distance after which I pack it in my basket and Thomason and I head home 😊.
Outside of work hours I have busied myself finishing up the pysanky and getting them all wrapped and in desperation have started cutting out a few sewing projects for Christmas gifts 😊. Next week the plan is to make some chicken awards in case they are needed this summer. Unlike real chickens, they will not eat anything if I end up needing to store them for a whole year and it is always good challenge to come up with ideas for the awards.
We still have a small amount of snow here as we received several fresh centimetres on Monday but I’m really looking forward to being able to work in the garden. I am blessed to have a good-sized house to be cooped up in and think of all the people stuck in small apartments, which must be way harder to deal with. Everyone’s mantra seems to be “one day at a time” and it is wise to live that way in normal times, let alone in the middle of a pandemic😊
I’m off now to prep some dinner and so will end with a recipe that I enjoyed a few nights ago…
Warm Israeli Couscous Salad

1 cup Israeli Couscous
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme (or a sprig of fresh)
1 tsp. salt
1 tin safe catch tuna, broken into chunks
½ cup whole pitted olives
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fennel seeds
2 tsps. ground cumin
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste 
6 cups arugula
1 sweet onion, slivered
Heat 1Tbsp. oil in a large saucepan and sauté the couscous for about 5 minutes or until golden. Add 6 cups of water, bay leaves, thyme and salt. 
Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes or until tender.  
For the dressing- in a small jar combine the remaining oil with the vinegar and salt and pepper, shake well.
Drain the couscous and combine with the tuna and half the dressing set aside.
Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes and place in a sauté pan with 1 Tbsp. oil, minced garlic, fennel seeds and cumin, cook on medium-low for approx. 30 minutes or until soft and caramelised.
Arrange a bed of arugula in a shallow serving bowl. Top with the couscous mixture and the tomatoes. Garnish with olives and onion slivers.
Serve immediately. Serves 4