I tried to shake off the feeling that I was about to be injected with a vaccine that had a spotty track record and was much too close to its best before date.

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

My cellphone lit up with yet another email from a friend containing the same urgent message, “You can get an appointment for the AstraZeneca. Go online and register.” The email then went on to set out the name of the pharmacy and a location.

My partner and I started working our phones in a frenzied effort to book appointments. Everything I had read or heard about the…


Toronto’s brutal winter, long lockdown, and the lack of vaccines are wearing away the resolve of Torontonians to take care of one another

(My Partner on a Typical February Day, in Toronto)

It is -12C (10.4F) in Toronto today but people in this city are feeling hot under the collars of their puffies. We have been in unremitting lockdown since November 23, our paltry vaccine supplies were exhausted weeks ago and the promised shipments are still days if not weeks away. To add to our frustrations, the escape hatches from our frozen country are battened down to keep out the marauding new strains of the corona virus.

Since lockdown apparently comes in fifty shades of grey, I should add that Toronto’s ongoing lockdown is night shade. Stores are limited to curb side…


The Story of Two Young Lovers Who Meet on a Train

Helen saw him running down the embankment through the grey November morning toward the train, clutching a briefcase to his chest, his overcoat flying out behind him. Over the din of the engines and the chattering passengers, she heard the conductor’s announcement that the train was about to leave the station. It was incredible that he never missed the train. He always cut it so close.

The train from Tilehurst to Paddington was jammed at this time of the morning with men and women heading off to their jobs…


A hospital sign reading “Stay At Home”
A hospital sign reading “Stay At Home”
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

When the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic reached Ontario in late March, 2020, Ron Howard was told that his volunteer gig, driving cancer patients for treatment, was being temporarily suspended. But Ron didn’t stop driving.

Because chemotherapy suppresses the body’s immune response, cancer patients were thought to be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The Canadian Cancer Society decided that the risk to a cancer patient of riding in a van driven by a volunteer, was simply too high. This decision was not surprising. The government of Ontario had declared a state of emergency and the economy was in lockdown.

Ron knew that there were a lot of cancer patients who had no way of getting to the hospital on a regular basis. These people depended on him. So, Ron decided to go “independent” and offer his…

Alexandra Raphael

Former Finance Lawyer, current pandemic recluse, spending too much time at home in the annex neighbourhood of Toronto, with my partner, Darrel and my dog Moses

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