On assignment

Before travelling to a country with some security issues, like Egypt, Turkey, Russia,  I  obsessively check out https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories before I go.  I never dreamed I would see this message:

A much anticipated trip to Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende and Oaxoca was cancelled, but not before I had researched and drafted the history and background for several blog posts.  The great big world I love to explore has shrunk down to the size of my living room.  So, in the interests of giving me a project and you a diversion, I stand at the ready for your research assignment.  We may not be able to physically travel, but we can open up the world again in virtual imaginings.


 So let me know that city or region in the world you’ve always wanted to explore, or perhaps a trip you were planning that was cancelled in the current situation.  If I’ve been there, I’ll repost old posts, if not, I’ll give you all the special little snippets I can find, and all the background that I usually do on the arts, music, food and culture of the place, accompanied by interesting links and downloaded images.  Perhaps next year we’ll have learned enough to know exactly where we want to fly to next.  And that trip to Mexico?  It’s been postponed to 2021, so I will save those posts until then.


This site could also act as a link in these dark times.  If there is a need, post it here, maybe one of us can meet that need.  For example,

Rosie the Riveter?



Remember when women stepped up to the plate in Canada during the second world war?  There are opportunities for women (or anyone who sews) to step up to the plate for our front line workers during the pandemic.  Some U.S. hospitals have called for “anyone with a sewing machine at home” to make face masks.  You could help your local hospitals now, before the hospital situation becomes dire.  There are patterns and detailed instructions available online.


N95-style mask here:


and here:


Home-style face mask here:


Art & Inspiration

Or use this space for inspiration or suggestions.  For example, here’s Jane Goodall’s inspirational message:

Munro’s Books is offering a $5 flat-rate delivery fee across BC during COVID.  


What very long or challenging books do you finally have time to pick up?  (Or let us know about any favourite.)

You can stream those wonderful Exhibition on Screen films you missed when they were in cinemas, for 1.99 pounds here:


Reminisce about your visits to Paris here:


Amsterdam museums bring their  stunning collections into your living room, van Gogh here:


The Rijks here:


This courtesy of Margaret:


Let’s stay in touch!






13 thoughts on “On assignment

  1. Aloha Jan: SO good to hear from you. Thank you for the articles on making masks as I just received an email from my sewing teacher asking folks to make masks but no instructions. I want to go to Mexico with you next year! Possible? Always wanted to but not alone and traveling with you, my woman of all seasons would be an amazing adventure. Stay safe. Much love, Candy

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Thank you Jan – what a wonderful idea.

    I vote for a virtual trip to India. Not somewhere I want to physically go to, but somewhere I would be interested to know more about. It has an ancient culture and spiritual practices, interesting food and music, and a brush with British colonization.


  3. Dear Jan
    You have done it again!
    Given me another reason to love you and love having you for a friend.
    My June trip was canceled. I will send the places on the itinerary later.
    Wonderful idea.


    Please update the info you have on file for me!
    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Wow, thank you for this.
    Love the poem, and lots of beautiful things to think about.
    My wish list: Copenhagen (any season or Christmastime), south of Italy, south of France, Pompeii, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, British Isles, walk/cycle/hike across England, Amsterdam (realizing I will re-read your blog set there during this ‘downtime), Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador, Haida Gwaii, and, Antarctica!
    Right now there is a wee bit of sun and a lovely breeze out front, that will be enough for today!
    Best to everyone!
    Thanks again for this, Jan, just lovely. Xo, Bonnie

  5. TY for the lovely comments. Yes Candy of course you can join us in Mexico! Seems like the face mask project is taking off, thanks to Margaret for the info about the fabric. India will be a fun place to research and a trip I plan on doing one day. Joan is sending me more ideas. Take care in the coming week!

  6. Hi Jan, Thanks for including me on your email. What a great idea! Thank heavens we both did a lot of travelling before we were broadsided by this pandemic. It is still hard to believe that this is reality. Are you working from home? What about the rest of the office? Laura and Jamie have set up home offices. Adam and Brigitte have turned the cafe into serving take out only and Brigitte is screening her massage therapy clients before she accepts them for treatment. What are Bonnie and Chris and the kids doing? I know Sam was going to do some travelling. I hope he is home. We have established a good daily routine that involves yoga, a daily walk, a mind game, playing the piano, writing, reading and don’t ask me why, but a 1,000 piece puzzle. Take care and I look forward to reading your blog. Hugs, Beverly

    Sent from my iPad


  7. Hey, Jan I am not sure if this reply will find it’s way to you, but here goes. Thank you for the Jane Goodall video, gives us hope that some good may come out of all this. i.e. emissions might drop, who knows!

    My May plans to visit Japan and Taiwan are on hold, but I have been reading about our little oasis here. I discovered that one fine summer morning in 1862, Victoria citizens awoke and saw Bactrians walking along the main road between Victoria and Esquimalt. They were brought here from California to pack miners’ supplies in the Cariboo. If time travel was possible, I would go back to that particular day!

    stay safe and whenever possible, stay home xxoo shirley

  8. I had to look up Bactrian 🙂 that is a delightful image of Victoria! I am working from home so I’m here to stay. Right now we have lots of work but if this goes on for a long time we are going to bump up against courthouse closures and not taking filings, so we won’t have work forever. Right now a lot of lawyers are scrambling to give their ministries legal advice on Covid. You sound like you’re doing well, take care!

  9. You’ve put a lot of thought into this Jan. Lots of great suggestions. Thank you 😘😘😘🍷🍷🍷💞💞💞🌷🌷🌷🌞🌞🌞 Joyce

    Sent from my iPad


  10. Hi Jan, I am taking you up on this offer and might even get inspired myself to do some research. Here are the countries and cities. Fly into TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN Then the next day start our tour of TAJIKISTAN Cities: Khojand Penjikent Penjikent Seven Lakes(Haft-Kul) of Marguzor. Fan Mountains Dushanbe Kalai-Khum Khorog Yamg Langar Murghab Travel over the Khargush Pass at 4,344m (14,252’) Then into KYRGYZSTAN Cities: Osh Lake Toktogul Bishkek Fly out of here. Each day lists lots of sites to see around each city. However, I didn’t want to push my luck and overwhelm you. I am hoping you will get so interested in this that you will decide to come with me. The High Pamirs are the mountain range we will be driving through.


    Joan.McNeely@outlook.com sent via the Windows 10 Mail app

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