I’ve been breathing really well lately. Nice, deep, satisfying breaths. Something to treasure as an asthmatic. Also especially in a time of dangerous respiratory illness I take deep breaths when I read articles about symptoms to reassure myself that I’m not sick, and also to help me calm down.
On that note, sort of, I have a new doctor- as in, I now have access to regular medical practitioners and not just a favourite walk-in clinic. It’s good timing, but also has been necessary for a long time. During my first appointment, the nurse practitioner was a little dismayed about all the questions I had never been asked about my prescriptions. But we’ve amended some things, and I’m happy.
Some of the intake questions, along with my general medical history, asked if I experience, or have ever experienced, domestic violence. I could say “no” but I am glad they asked. I also got to identify myself as female, and was also pleased to be asked. Maybe these aren’t new questions!? I’ve never done an intake interview for a new doctor before! Oh and the intake interview and prescriptions conversation were different appointments, and were over the phone.
Socks of the Day
I’m not wearing any socks right now because my apartment is warm this morning. I will still wear heavy warm wooly socks in the evening even though it is July…
I drove to work today for the first time ever in Victoria. The reason is that I have an appointment to have my hair cut after work and I need someplace to leave my stuff. The COVID-19 policy sent from the hair place specifically says to leave all extra stuff in your car. “But what if I don’t have a car?!” I asked to no one in particular. But I do have a car, I just have to move it somewhere closer to the hair place for the day (i.e. downtown) for it to be useful in this instance.
I left early because I didn’t know what the parking situation is downtown these days. It turns out that there is lots of parking and is not something I need to worry about if I choose to drive again. I have kept meaning to, on rainy days or whatever but I keep forgetting. I like my walk in.
I walked into work today. My route takes me across the front of the Legislature building, where there is a nice wide sidewalk. There is also sometimes a security guard or two to say good morning to. It is possible for me to walk across the Legislature’s lawn but I usually don’t in the morning because it is wet from dew or rain, and also because there is usually bunch of geese hanging out there and I do not want anything to do with geese. Today, however, I found them not on the lawn of the Legislature, but in the park around the Empress Hotel. Sitting like the owner the place, which they don’t. They totally stared at me as if to remind me to mind my own business, which I totally was!
I haven’t been driving my car since the pandemic started because I have nowhere to go. I run it around periodically to make sure it will still go- mostly I just drive around for half-an-hour or so, but I did a big grocery shop, too (specifically to a grocery store that was next to a liquor store that had the cider I wanted to buy). On Tuesday I had a dentist appointment and I was planning to drive to save some time and to be in contact with few people than if I would have walked. But of course, when I had to be at a place at a certain time the car wouldn’t start. All the lights came on so it wasn’t the battery. So a bit of a worry, but I had to get to my appointment. I walked to the dentist no problem, and as I had my teeth cleaned I set a plan to call my mechanic to find out what to do. When I got home I thought I’d go try and start it again and pay attention to what was going on so I could tell the mechanic, if that would even help. I don’t know. But, of course, now the car started, no problem. We went for a wee drive just because we could.
I’m at work as I write this, a move change of scenery. The above I wrote on my morning break, and now I’m on lunch. A late lunch, but I got to doing things. I often go for a walk on my lunch break, but I don’t wanna.
Oh right, the dentist. I went for a teeth cleaning. I wore my mask as soon as I entered and wore it until my hygienist had me seated, and then put it back on when the cleaning was complete. I wasn’t sure about putting it back on, but I only wore it from the doorway of the practice to the chair. (Actually I wore it for a while just outside the door for 10-15 minutes while waiting to be let inside.) My hygienist was suited up head to toe and I never saw her face. She was nice, nevertheless. I was just as chatty and charming as I usually am when I go for a cleaning so nothing new there. When my hygienist asked if I needed any supplies I asked for a selection of floss, because having a choose of flosses makes it fun (for me, at least). I got two little packs and some flossing sticks (?) which look super fun.
I’ve figured out how order groceries for delivery from Thrifty Foods. I’ll see how that goes. The online part is easy once I get over the idea of waiting a week for my order- that’s when there are delivery times available. I’m getting a cabbage! And other things. If I find this pleasing I won’t have to go to any stores unless I run out of liquor.
My office is on the corner of Fort and Cook Streets in Victoria. At street level on Fort Street there is an MLA constituency office, an H&R Block, a yoga studio and a Subway. My seat is right about the H&R Block and is currently identifiable by a number of brightly coloured hearts I have taped up in the window. When I look out said window I can see the apartment building and antique store across the street on Fort Street. I can also see the new condo/shops building on Cook Street. A restaurant or coffee place just opened this week on one of the corners of that and people have been spaciously gathered near there consuming something. I haven’t gotten close enough to see what the establishment is exactly. My co-worker looked them up and said they have smashed avocado and that’s it, so this could explain the popularity.
I took a walk along Cook Street yesterday morning (Friday, May 15) in the direction of the water and Cook St. Village. So… south. I had a tiny gift to deliver to a friend I hadn’t seen in weeks and weeks. I asked her if I could come drop it off at the doorway of her apartment building, which is just off Cook. She was fine with that. She’s been working at home for two months; we text occasionally and discuss how working at home is faring, and the contents of our delivered produce boxes, etc.
I made my delivery into her hands by both reaching my arm out and leaning back the rest of me. We had a short, well-distanced chat which was super lovely.
Later, at my lunch break, I walked in the other direction along Cook Street, up to the other village that is located on Cook Street. This was a scarier walk as the sidewalks are narrow with no grassy divider like there was in the other direction, and also there were so many people. It all made me a little grumpy. I went to get vegan ice cream from Cold Comfort, where they have set up a pick-up window, which was jolly. I got minty cocolate or something. I haven’t opened it to see how that is organized: whether it’s chocolate ice cream with mint, or minty vanilla ice cream with choco bits. Usually it’s the latter, I know, but for now it’s a mystery.
One thing I noticed while trying to line up was a cluster of young women… clustered. Not physically distancing at all. They were considering the menu, what to get. And when they decided, they all took individual spots in the line up as marked out by stripes of tape. So they went from a group, and then distanced, and then reconvened into a group and went to the park. So distancing when it was mandated, by the tape, but not otherwise. I was annoyed at them more for hanging out in a cluster by the menu and making it look like they were in line, so I got in line behind them (way behind them) but then it turned out that they were hiding the actual line with the tape markings and everything on the other side of the window. So while they were taking their time deciding, I could have gotten in line before they did!?? Stupid cluster.
I was reading my bird book today. My mum gave it to me last year last year or the year before from her collection of bird books because it’s about birds in Victoria and that’s where I live. I accepted it at the time but questioningly, as I have no interest in nature, which she knows and which I probably mentioned at the time. But I am interested in books, and it has illustrations of birds, not photos, which I find endearing and intriguing. So I have a bird book.
I also have a number of friends who, while I walk with them, will both notice birds and then identify them by type. (I was going to say that my friends “name” the birds, which sounds like they give them names in an “I’ll call you Ed” sort of way. But no.) I am always a little impressed by this, since I rarely notice birds when I’m out and about on my own (except for seagulls flying overhead) and I never know what they’re called. (I could name them though, if I wanted. For example. “Hey Ed, don’t poop on me.”) So I may have taken the book with this in mind, to learn more about birds.
It’s only sort of worked so far. I definitely notice birds now, even if I’m on my own. I’ve even stopped a few times to take a better look. I imagine at some point I will note down identifying features and run home to look them up in my book. This hasn’t happened yet. That connection is still to be made. I will notice birds. I will look at the book at random, other times. I don’t know what I’ve seen and I can identify them. It is a work in progress for me. I feel a big step was overcome when I started acknowledging the existence of nature, so I feel I deserve some sort of prize.
I may have mentioned that I’ve started ordering boxes of produce that is delivered to my door (rather, the front door of my building). I can say “boxes” now as I have ordered 2 – in different weeks. They are set boxes so I can’t pick and choose to may my own combination of produce. Well, I could maybe email if I had a true aversion or allergy to something and get them to leave it out, but I am more keen on getting lots of stuff and trying it out.
Example. The first box I got had a half pound of mushrooms included. They came in a nice paper bag. I don’t traditionally like mushrooms. Ever since I was a little girl they were on my list of foods I don’t like. But as an adult I make an effort to try different foods, including those that I have never liked. This is sometimes to not make a fuss since I have to make a fuss already if there’s dairy involved, but also to see if maybe I like a food thing now that I’m an adult. It would be shameful if there was something I did like, but thought I didn’t and didn’t give it a chance.
Lately, being an adult, I’ve learned to not mind mushrooms on pizza or in spaghetti sauce, where they’re good an camouflaged. I’ve even bought them, but only 4 at a time – enough to cover a pizza in a loose layer and that’s all.
So this bag of mushrooms. I surveyed several mushroom-eating people of my acquaintance to find out what to do with them. The suggestions were stir-fry or on toast with cheese. Toast with cheese was ok once I put on both mayonaise and ketchup. I used up most of them by chopping them up real small, frying them with tomatoes and green peppers for pasta sause. Some of them I used on pizza. I did a stir fry with peas and quinoa (I think? I don’t remember) but that didn’t go over so well.
After using them up for a good part of a week and a half, my body started rejecting the thought of more mushrooms. I get a weird bitter feeling all over when I think about them. Too many mushrooms.
There were no mushrooms in the second box I got, which was delivered on Sunday. It’s a good box this week. The only thing I don’t know how to use is the sweet potatoes, which, like normal potatoes, I don’t really ever consider. So far I’ve made a sweet potato porridge (No.) and a sweet potato with pasta dish (Yes.) “Sweet Potato Fries!” you are saying. But those involve frying and hot oil is scary and I will not. There might be some roasted sweet potato happening if I remember I have them before they get old and soft. Or whatever it is that sweet potatoes do when they get old. Disintegrate. Spontaneously combust.
It has gotten warm the past couple of days. Yesterday was the day it snuck up on me and I wondered why I was sweating-doing-nothing in the late afternoon. The reason was that it was nearing 26 degrees and I was wearing heavy winter socks.
This morning I woke and it was already 24 degrees inside. I face easy, and so my apartment is heated by the the sun all morning. Conversely, my evenings are cool, and I thinks this to be a fine trade. As a bonus, I get the glare of the sunset reflected off the apartments across from me – all the light, but none of the heat.
My apartment was so warm in the afternoon yesterday that I had to escape for a while out to the balcony, which was equally warm but featured an occasional breeze. I don’t spend a lot of time on the balcony because it is quite exposed: neighbouring apartment buildings are quite close, but also I am a cool being and it’s too cold out there for most of the year. Generally I am out there only, as was the case yesterday, when the temperature is equal to or higher than it is inside.
I took a book out with me to read, and a tea poured into the right-sized travel mug so as to fit in the drink holder in my deck chair. The book wasn’t the one I’ve advertised here before (“Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie), which is still on the go, but another – “Quicksilver” by Neal Stephenson, which I started last summer and never finished. I have read it several times before but I still would like to finish. It’s an easier read. It does, however, have two massive sequels, which I am debating getting on to when I am done. I was going through my bookshelves recently and I have many books I haven’t read yet, so I may conquer some of those first. Or I might get to the small stack I keep on my dresser that have bookmarks in them at various points of completion. This stack was moved from my bedside table when they got too dusty.
Yesterday, just before fully acknowledging the heat in my apartment, I prepared myself a cup of tea. It was decaffeinated English Breakfast, and I’ll provide some background on why I was so ridiculously excited to be drinking it.
About a 18 month ago, I noticed that I was getting really dizzy for no apparent reason. It would approach is a sudden wave and I would have to spend the rest of the day in bed, unable to do anything. While I am used to dizziness – it’s one of the symptoms of my dairy allergy- this was different. My usual dizziness was never do debilitating, as in, I could keep functioning with my day, if maybe taking a break from any turning exercises in dance class. Anyway, I eventually noticed that these waves of dizziness were occurring just after I consumed caffeine, and so as an experiment, I eliminated coffee, tea, and chocolate. Also, fun fact: there is still a wee bit of caffeine in decaffeinated tea, and yes, I was reacting to that as well.
Most people I chatted with about this were sad for me, but I have never been a big coffee drinker, and my tea and chocolate consumption had mostly been confined to treats on the weekend anyway, as they trigger my asthma, and I like to be able to breath during my dance classes during the week. And once gone completely, I didn’t miss the highs and lows of caffeine; that I mostly drank coffee for the masses of sugar I needed to drink it; and spending more than I should at Starbucks.
I’ve slowly been introducing myself back to chocolate for the past few months with not too bad reactions, and yesterday I had my first real, albeit decaffeinated tea in almost a year and a half. It was glorious and coated my tongue is that tea residue or whatever it is that I had forgotten about. Result: small woozy-headed reaction, but not the full on dizzy I’d experienced before. I’m pretty pleased. I’ve been enjoying no-caffeine-involved-at-all herbal teas, but they are not the same as a hearty Earl Grey or English Breakfast. I’ll try another cup later in the week or next weekend. I don’t want to overdo it and have to cut them out completely again. And I might not try the full caffeine versions for a while yet. Or ever?
I finally watched the BBC version of Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility. Look. Here are Elinor and Edward practicing physical distancing. Very responsible.
This week was the week with a headache, so I retreated to my cozy bed most evenings immediately following work. To watch the aforementioned S&S so not too bad. Oooh it was also the week where I got veggies and fruit delivered to my apartment in a box, so that was both entertaining and fulfilling. This made it so I didn’t have to go to the grocery store, so bonus.
Also, here is some ballyhoo from my facebook this evening.
These are the flowers I walk past on my way to work! They line the walkway leading to the main doors of the Empress Hotel. I love the colours! They look good as I approach, and then they look good close up too! Some of the tulips are starting to fall apart, but that adds to the chaos of colour that’s going on. Part of me wants to do a painting of it, but it is already beautiful and perfect in real life. A painting, even this photo, can’t recreate my delight of seeing these flowers every morning, in the context of the world right now.
Or maybe it can. Is that flower bed six feet across? To be considered later. Is that doorway always roped off? I think it is, but what if it wasn’t?…
Work has been happening, as regularly scheduled. I spend the first part of the week working at home, and then Thursdays and Fridays I’m in the office. This is my rotation so far – we only get a couple weeks’ worth of schedule at a time, because these are strange and unpredictable times.
Friday nights I’ve been getting take-out hamburgers for dinner on my way home. Earl’s has been good to me, but today I found that Bin 4 has a vegan dessert, so they win for now. They also have an app, so I don’t need to make a phone call* – though I did have some human interaction at the door of the establishment when I picked up my order. I think maybe I won’t be so interested in getting take-out if it’s raining, as both places I’ve gone to so far have us waiting outside.
*I don’t like making phone calls, even for burgers. However, making phone calls for burgers isn’t too bad. “I’d like to order a burger for take-out,” is how I started usually. And it went well from there.
Other things I’m thinking about:
I’m tired on the days I go into the office. My job can get physical on some days: I work with files- ordering them in to send to various requestors. These might be single files, but they might be boxes full, and moving them around for the day, or part of the day, can make for tired times. And then because I’m working at home for half the week, by the time I’m in the office there’s lots of files to organize. So it might be that I’m doing that for the whole two days. And then on top of this. I’ve been walking to and from work to avoid public transit (I totally meant to drive today but I completely forgot. It wasn’t raining, I guess? But parking has gone cheap downtown.) That’s about a 40 minute walk one-way. So I’ve been tired after work when I get home.
I keep meaning to watch Sense and Sensibility again. This BBC one. I will soon. It’s a good, meaty version. I keep finding other things to do instead of watching TV, like reading, writing, listening to podcasts, sitting and thinking, playing with my phone. New goal of trying to read book instead of playing with phone so much. Should maybe re-read Sense and Sensibility. I’m making my way through Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. It is rich like black forest cake, so I only consume a little at a time.
My stash of podcasts has dipped below 20 for the first time ever. See the proof above with the number hooked onto the orange icon there. The reason for this is theee-fold:
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately.
I’ve had to delete a lot of podcasts because they were all about COVID-19 and I only need so much information. I subscribe to several daily podcasts and they’ve been almost exclusively COVID-19 related for the past month. Also, some of those are American, and I don’t need in-depth details/stats about how things are going there when I am already overwhelmed with the details/stats I my own jurisdiction.
I’ve had to pause my subscriptions to most of the true crime podcasts I usually listen to. The graphic details included in these have been upsetting me lately, whereas before they were interesting and extreme stories.
Podcasts I’m Enjoying Lately
(these can be googled or searched for in your own podcast app):
This American Life – they’re talking about COVID-19, but in the style This American Life, that is, with cheery stories, or how everyday individuals are coping
Levar Burton Reads – Levar Burton reading short stories. At the end of each reading he reflects a bit on how the story affected him personally, which gives us permission to react to things personally, too.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – because let’s escape into a deep dive of history. I caught up on his latest episodes about the Pacific front of WW2 while making masks.
I made myself a couple of cotton masks last week just to have some and I finally tried one out today – it was the first time I’d been for groceries for a while. I do not like wearing a mask. It makes my face hot and my glasses steam up, even though I have some wire along the nose to prevent this. I got used to it, sort of, and I may just need to wear them more, but I don’t want to. But I’m having trouble remembering to cough into my sleeve, so it takes care of that. Also, I got a compliment, so that always helps.