A COVID-19 Parents’ Guide to Wellness
OR How to Keep your Sanity until “Back to School”… Whenever that Is - theHumm August 2020

A COVID-19 Parents’ Guide to Wellness
OR How to Keep your Sanity until “Back to School”… Whenever that Is - theHumm August 2020

By Sarah Kerr

I don’t know how all of you parents are holding up, but my anxiety has gotten to the level of needing to quit coffee. I LOVE coffee, and have never had to experience JOMO (as Craig and Amber at Equator Coffee Roasters call it) — the Joy of Missing Out — aka decaf. But I’ve let myself get so worked up about the implications of this pandemic on families that I’ve had to temporarily give up my caffeine fix and find my JOMO.

I’ve also always been pretty a spontaneous gal. But after 20 weeks of homeschooling (well, it’s now more like no-schooling) I’m craving a plan — any plan — as we wait, and wait, for information on what “back to school” is going to look like for our kids. And let’s be honest — there is no easy answer. I mean, one easy answer is: let’s talk about school before bars, yes?!

But really, the conversations parents are having are heavy. Moms in our community have lost their jobs as their employers re-open yet they have no childcare, taking us back to 1990 in terms of equality in the work force (according to RBC). Others have had to close their home businesses to protect their senior parents or vulnerable kids who they care for. Parents are being informed that they are losing supports for their special needs kids this fall, making it impossible to send them back to school at all. Parents who are teachers are trying to predict how to line up multiple school schedules of alternating days or weeks for them and their kids. One mom is considering setting up an impromptu outdoor school for the kids in her neighbourhood. All of which, everyone has said, “is fine”.

And yes, it’s all fine, and some families are even finding cool and creative alternatives and making it work. I’m astounded by the resiliency of the families in our community, holding it all together with a smile and a rainbow walkway. But I worry about what happens when relationships can’t hold up under all the stress. When single moms end up without access to income and credit. I worry that family courts might close again, and strained relationships leave kids unable to see a parent, as many experienced this spring. This doesn’t seem “fine”. We do need policymakers to acknowledge that parents, particularly moms, are starting to crack under the COVID weight. I mean we’ve had the “stay at home parent” and “working parent” roles, but now we have “working parent who has the same work responsibilities but also has to look after kids all day” and expect that to just continue? No, no, no…

If reading this is tweaking your own anxiety or making you scream into your pillow (because you can’t wake the napping toddler), then I want you to know that there are so many of us who appreciate what you’re going through. Your mental and physical health matter too. And there are so many amazing people in our community who want to help. Below are a few simple sanity suggestions which we’re calling the COVID Parents’ Guide to Wellness (or How to Keep Your Sanity) while we await the verdict of back to school.

And as much as we have been stressing the importance of calling our elders and senior neighbours, which we should continue to do, please also consider offering to watch any kids that you’re bubbled with for an hour, a morning, or a whole day if you can find the time. We’ve all heard it takes a village. And right now the village is shut down.

Need to talk to a professional?Mental health resources:

Lanark County — Mental Health Pandemic Help-line 1–833–283–9979 www.lanarkmentalhealth.com

Renfrew Country — Mental Health Crisis Line (ages 16+) 1–866–996–0991 www.rcdhu.com/healthy-living/mental-health

Reach out to your local church — most offer free or subsidized counselling

Book a Grief Counselling session by phone — grief is so much more than death. Losing a job or expectations of how life was going to play out is grief. Barbara Carroll barbaracarroll493@gmail.com is my recommendation for easy chats by phone

Need a Wellness Check?Healing and Wellness Centres:

Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre, Carp – offers health retreats, naturopath and more ecowellness.com

Aruma: A Place for Health & Happiness, Lanark – offers health treatments, counselling and stand up paddleboard yoga on the lake aruma.ca

Hands on Healing, Almonte – offers chiropractic, massage and acupuncture handsonhealing.ca

Need to move your body?Try distanced yoga or hit the gym & pool:

Surya Daya, Almonte — “Yoga under the oak” (5–6pm on August 5, 12, 26, and September 2) suryadayayoga.ca

Hamsa Yoga, Carleton Place — re-opens August 4 and is hosting yoga in the park hamsayogastudio.ca

Yoga & Tea Studio, Carp — online classes Mon-Fri at 9am yogaandtea.com

Perth & District Indoor Pool — reduced capacity, but you can book a lane swim or class online

Heritage Community Fitness & Rehabilitation Center, Carleton Place — now open again, and offering FREE Fresh Air Fitness classes on Saturdays throughout August heritagefitness.ca

Ultimate Fitness Gyms, Arnprior & Renfrew — now open ufgyms.com

Need some silence?Meditation and spa treatments:

Check out “Sitting on Sundays: A Virtual Practice of Mindfulness” at Big Stone House, Almonte bigstonehouse.ca

Book at treatment at Mahogany Salon and Spa, Carleton Place mahoganysalonandspa.com

Take a road-trip to Chelsea Quebec for a day of rest at Nordik Nature Spa chelsea.lenordik.com

Need kid-free time with a partner or friend?Book a neighbour or bubbled friend to watch the kids so you can:

Go for a coffee date at your favourite local spot

Visit Kin Vineyards for a tour — I recommend Friday from 3–8pm when they have a food truck on-site for distanced dates in the winery kinvineyards.com

Check out Cartwright Springs Brewery, Pakenham — open every day except Monday. Book a time for group tastings and check out Smiley’s Smokehouse on-site. csbeer.ca


Colleen Gray — Indigenous Artist, Strong Woman, Good Human - theHumm August 2020

By Sally Hansen

In June of 2019, Colleen Gray received the Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers “for her role in supporting art exploration through access to art supplies and creative art programs in Canadian remote Indigenous schools through the Art for Aid Project”. Gray is the founder and indefatigable driving force of the project that: “…works to support Canadian First Nations, Inuit and Métis art education programs through......


Scotland in the Yard
Richard Gill’s 2020 Show,with Guest Artist Jack Stekelenburg
- theHumm August 2020

Since 1972, Burnstown sculptor Richard Gill has conceived and created a thematic body of work for his annual show every fall. When the pandemic hit, he and his wife Cheryl Babineau(the owner of Bittersweet Gallery) decided that the show must go on.

Since it is much safer to gather outdoors and since Richard’s work is weather-worthy, they are making good use of the gallery grounds to enable a safe environment for patrons to view the works in person while maintaining social distance.

The inspi......


MMLT Festival of the Wild Child
Special Scavenger Hunt Edition for 2020!
- theHumm August 2020

This year, the Festival of the Wild Child will see a change in activities that will focus on your safety while encouraging you and your children to fall in love with creative outdoor learning and play. Come out on Saturday, August 29 for a day of woodland fun — a fantastic opportunity for families and “social bubbles” to participate in nature-inspired scavenger hunts.

This event is offered by the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) and will provide thematic scavenger hunts a......


A COVID-19 Parents’ Guide to Wellness
OR How to Keep your Sanity until “Back to School”… Whenever that Is
- theHumm August 2020

By Sarah Kerr

I don’t know how all of you parents are holding up, but my anxiety has gotten to the level of needing to quit coffee. I LOVE coffee, and have never had to experience JOMO (as Craig and Amber at Equator Coffee Roasters call it) — the Joy of Missing Out — aka decaf. But I’ve let myself get so worked up about the implications of this pandemic on families that I’ve had to temporarily give up my caffeine fix and find my JOMO.

I’ve also always been pretty a spontaneous gal. But after 20 weeks of homesc......


Empty Bowls are Back! - theHumm August 2020

By Hinda Goldberg

Looking for a way to support local food security programs, and get something beautiful and useful as well? Come to the Riverguild Fine Crafts at 51 Gore Street East in Perth and get an Empty Bowl or two.

Empty Bowls Perth is part of an international grassroots effort to fight hunger in our communities. For those new to Empty Bowls, the basic premise is simple: potters create handcrafted bowls. Usually the community is invited to enjoy a meal of soup and bread at the Festival of the Maples in ......


Lanark County Letters
An Interview with Sarah Reside
- theHumm August 2020

theHumm has been reaching out to members of our Ottawa Valley community to ask how they are finding ways to use their gifts and skills in these challenging times. Sarah Reside is a young woman who grew up in Almonte and is now the administrator of the Facebook group “Lanark County Letters”. We contacted her to find out about this new initiative in active democracy.

theHumm: Can you describe how the group works for readers who may not be familiar with it?

Sarah Reside: “Lanark County Lette......


Ally Is a Verb - theHumm August 2020

By Sarah Reside

On Saturday, July 18, approximately 700 people attended a walk in Almonte to support a resident who was experiencing racism and share messages of love and anti-racism. There was a huge turnout and so much love! It was really inspiring to see, but this is just the beginning. Here are some suggestions and resources for white folks to explore how to be an ally:

Being an ally is a practice, one action after another that becomes a pattern of allyship. Because the system was built......


AGH Run/Walk for Women’s Health — Virtual Version - theHumm August 2020

Walkers and runners of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in this year’s virtual Run for AGH, sponsored by Almonte’s Shoppers Drug Mart and taking place from Saturday, September 12 at 6am to Sunday the 13th at 6pm. In order to ensure everyone’s safety, participants can complete their run or walk anytime during the weekend, choosing either one of the mapped-out routes or using their own planned route.

Known for six years as the Mississippi Mills River Walk and Run, this late......


Seamus Cowan and The Cove Inn:Saving the Live Music Scene - theHumm August 2020

Seamus Cowan is the second generation of Cowans to run The Cove Inn in beautiful Westport, Ontario coveinn.com . We contacted him to find out how he has been able to almost single-handedly repopulate theHumm’s music calendar listings.

theHumm: First of all, how have you and the Cove been faring since COVID hit?

Seamus Cowan: It has been an engaging, all-consuming time. Home with family was wond......


A Beautiful Box of Fabulous Food
- theHumm August 2020

By Rob Riendeau

Here’s why more people should bring us food: when it happened recently it was absolutely phenomenal! Anna Lianga, co-founder of the brand new venture Bouffage bouffage.ca contacted us to introduce her business and to inquire if we might like to be on the receiving end of the delivery of a gourmet meal. Not being completely daft, we said “um, yes, absolutely!”

And so in the middle of July we were the lucky recipients of The Love Box: Taco Edition......


Speaking Volumes: A Chat With Ben Seaman from Riverwood Acoustics - theHumm August 2020

By Kris Riendeau

Ben Seaman is the Co-founder and CEO of Riverwood Acoustics in Renfrew riverwoodacoustics.com . We contacted him to find out how the pandemic has affected his relatively new business, and why he is so passionate about the #BuyLocal movement.

theHumm: Your business is built on a fascinating premise: dredging up century-old wood that ended up on the bottom of the Ottawa River during logging drives, and turnin......


How are You Coping?
Community Groups Seek Resident Feedback with COVID Community Check-In Survey
- theHumm August 2020

Lanark Country residents: how have you been doing since the pandemic arrived?

That’s the main question behind a survey that’s been launched on behalf of nearly two dozen community service agencies from across Lanark County in an effort to gain insight and identify gaps when it comes to community services and programming.The Table Community Food Centre, North Lanark Community Health Centre, and the Lanark County Situation Table are conducting the survey on behalf of an informal group of community se......


Libraries Reopen! - theHumm August 2020

By Amanda Robinson is the CEO at Lanark Highlands Public Library

At long last, public libraries are reopening their doors to the public! Here at the Lanark Highlands Public Library we are offering computer usage, book browsing/checkout, TD Summer Reading Club and our Interlibrary Loan service. Over the next several months we will slowly reintroduce additional services and extend our hours of operation. Please always check online at lanarklibrary.ca for our current hours of operation.

The health and safety of our patrons and staff continues to be our priority and measures including physical di......


MidSummer Herbfest – Virtual Edition - theHumm August 2020

From Sunday, July 26 to August 9, join right from the comfort of home to take part in the 25th annual MidSummer Herbfest — a virtual celebration of healthy living and initiatives. You’ll find demonstrations, music, kids’ crafts and activities, as well as all your favourite vendors — with links to see and shop their swag! This year’s Herb of the Year is Brambles (also called Rubus) — a variety of your favourite yummy berries.

Because the event is virtual, from July 26 to August 9 everyone is......


Safe Decadence in Westport - theHumm August 2020

By Rona Fraser

After several months staying close to home (ok, mainly at home), Facebook Memories had me dreaming of summers past. But I was still fine with quarantining, until I saw one photo that brought it all rushing back…

That frisson of anticipation… that “where have you been all my life?!”… that glorious melding of calm coolness and warm coziness all in one. I am referring, of course, to the most heavenly of the summer hot chocolates (or possibly the only summer hot chocolate):......


The BlueHappiness Jacket - theHumm August 2020

By Glenda Jones

Back in March when my winter jacket was grey and grotty, I gave in to spring fever and luxuriated in the rainbow that is Judy Joannou’s shop on Mill Street in Almonte. Racks of alluring summer wear in greens, pinks, and swirls of oceanic and floral designs, sang of a season in the sun. I pictured drinks on the patio, swanning through flower gardens, summer hats, and anything but slushy sidewalks and grey skies. Every piece conjured the coming months of summer.

It was a true “dreaming ......


Friday Night Films in Perth - theHumm August 2020

It’s curtain time again! The wonderful volunteers at Perth Studio Theatre have been working hard to safely re-open for Friday night movie screenings. The first took place on July 31, and others are planned for August. Only 50 tickets will be sold for each night, to allow for safe distancing in the audience. Visit studiotheatreperth.com for up-to-date details and to reserve your spot!

If you want to be sure to get a ticket, you can also reserve over the phone. Just call 267–7469, leave a message on the answering machine wit......


Solstice Gathering and Pipe Ceremony - theHumm August 2020

By Andy Fisher

Something powerful happened on the Summer Solstice this year at the Perth Healing Forest Memorial. Elder Francine Desjardins led a gathering and pipe ceremony that both celebrated the Solstice and witnessed the systemic violence experienced in Canada by Indigenous and Black peoples. The event honoured Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & Two Spirit People, and the Black Lives Matter movement. With demonstrations circling the globe in this moment against racial violence and police brutality, it was an important time to stand together in ceremonial space here in unceded Algonq......