COVID-19 Journal *Entry 10*

I stayed in bed until three today. Mostly. I got up around 10 and had some food, but by the time The Queen came on I was back. After that, I just rested for a while with my eyes closed. Not napping, just thinking of things. Story ideas. Imaginary settings and happenings. Not obsessing or panicking or being paranoid or anything (as I made sure to emphases to Mum during our Sunday evening phone call. Just relaxing and being fine. It was a nice afternoon.

I have a really cozy bed. Oh, actually, just as I was about to get up at three, Jennifer Ehle started reading her daily chapter(s) from Pride and Prejudice on Instagram, so I stayed and listened to that for a bit, and then took her out into the kitchen so I could continue to listen as I did dishes. It’s nice to have something familiar (REALLY familiar) to listen to everyday. P&P is not stressful, and the parts that might be a little stressful (an elopement! merciful heavens!) I know they are approaching and how they are resolved. I also enjoyed watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Coat (I know all the words) for the same reason. I anticipate a binge of some Marvel movies soon, and probably more Jane Austen. My comfort things.

There’s still parsley growing in the pot on my balcony! I used some (but not all) for my parsley rice at luppertime today. Mmm. Parsley makes me happy. Also: paisley.

Look I’ve reached 10 entries of COVID-musings. How long will it go? Will I run out of punctuations for the titles? Stay tuned.

COVID-19 Journal? Entry 9

I miss my routine. On Fridays for the past lots of years I should have a dance class. For a long time it was floor barre. This year and last it’s been flamenco. Friday evening at 5pm right after work is a lovely time for a dance class – especially flamenco where I can stomp my week away. (Also floor barre, which was a nice stretch for the end of the week.)

Precious Thing.

The last couple times I visited my parents house I cleared out a bunch of my old junk and brought it home with me for consideration of what to do with it next. One of the things is this little metal file box,

The stickers on it are garbage. The top one is a “not to be removed until delivered to customer” label that I think I peeled off the bottom of the folding chair I used to use at my desk. The blue Pet Shop Boys sticker was on the front of a CD. “Hunting Humans” was a show at the Duncan Fringe Festival in 1993 or 1994. Not pictured is a price label from my copy of “The Cunning Man” by Robertson Davies (a fave in my later teenage years), purchased at Book Warehouse.

The box is meant to hold 3×5 inch index cards. And so it does!

Between approximately 1991 through 2002ish I wrote the details of every book I read on an index card and kept it here. There used to be tabs of the alphabet, sorting the cards by author. And, admittedly, there were two boxes for a while, divided at the Mc/Macs because that’s a lot of card and they’re hard to flip through when they’re packed in so tight like that. And also for some reason I had two boxes- the other one was also metal but had a red plaid pattern and has currently been appropriated to collect money from the egg sales dad has set up next to the garage. I’m not sure where the alphabet cards got to.

As pictured above you can see “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood. I would include the publication date, as well, because that seems like something that should be included on an index card. On the right hand side is the genre, with a little note below noting that it’s “mine” – I own a copy. The rest of the card might sometimes be dedicated to a copy of the blurb on the back of the book, copied verbatim, occasionally edited for space, as a reminder of what the book is about. Sometimes there would be a note somewhere saying that I really liked it. I would write the date I finished each book on the back of the card– on some cards there are multiple dates. I finished “The Blind Assassin” on July 25, 2003 (although I don’t think that’s the first time I read it, because I bought it when it was published in 2000.)

It would have been super cute now if I could tell you exactly when I read “The Cunning Man” that I mentioned buying before, however, there’s no card for that so I wasn’t consistent. I can tell you that the first time I finished reading “Pride and Prejudice” was February 4, 1994. I always knew this datakeeping would come in handy some day.

COVID-19 Journal “Entry 8”

Working from Home

Working from home is fine. I’ve been doing it once a week since last summer, so I have everything set up already. Three days in a row is a new experience, however. I have not been left alone, however, as there have been group calls with my team both yesterday and today. You know, just for fun, and also to discuss work stuff a bit.

I keep breaking down anxious today. The logical part of my brain keeps telling the anxious part to chill: there’s enough food… and what ever else that set me off before that I can’t remember anymore?! Not implying that my anxiety isn’t 100% valid, just working through it. All your anxiety is valid. I hope you’re able to work through it, or with it.

I remember. Because I got a new credit card, and for the first transaction I’ll have to sign my receipt, or maybe just enter my PIN instead of just tap? Either way, will have to take a pen, or touch the keypad? I should remember because I just got a new card a few months ago. I didn’t have to worry about it then. Just take your own pen, no big deal. Still. I might not activate it yet.

Other stuff too. A person who normally has anxiety about small things has heightened anxiety in current times. Share your things. You’ll feel better.

Socks of the day

Photo Story! I found these socks on the couch…
And I put them on my feet!

COVID-19 Journal/Entry 7

Today was my first day back at work after vacation last week. “Vacation.” Just a pause from work. Today was also my first day of our COVID-19 schedule at work: two days in the office and the rest working at home. So I was in the office today, and will go back on Friday, but the middle days will be work-from-home days. It is a relief to work from home, because getting to and from work, and then being at work is awkward and confusing with having to keep 2 meters from others. But being in the office is nice because I get to chat with real life people for a full conversation – just 2 meters apart, and sometimes with cubicle glass in between, too.

I had some thoughts while trying to navigate this new reality. About walking to and from work:

  1. Good idea to leave earlier in the morning as there are far less people to avoid
  2. Good to wear hiking boots because a) it was raining this morning, but also b) so I can walk on the grass or in mud to create 2 meters around people.

Am I being too literal with the 2 meters thing? This is outside. Lots of people don’t seem to care– most sidewalks aren’t 6 feet across and we end up 2 or 3 feet apart. Lots of people are balancing on the very edge of the sidewalk to make space, but it’s not enough. They’d actually have to go off the side walk into the grass or on the road to do that. Which is what I do (checking for cars first) when there’s not already someone balancing on the edge of the sidewalk.

Some thoughts about being in the office (where we have it organized so enough people are working from home every day so that the office population is small):

  1. When I’m bored, hand sanitizer. When I see someone apply hand sanitizer, I too apply hand sanitizer. When I’m afeared the skin is going to dissolve off the back of my hands: hand sanitizer followed by hand cream.
  2. Sometimes I just have to wait for people to move if they’re in the hallway. This also applies to the grocery store. Impatience is usually followed by a nice deep breath and a hippie sort of chill. Because why do have to go to the printer (for example) so quick? I’ll get there. It’s cool.

Socks of the Day

Some fuzzy socks layered over my Christmas red socks from the other day. I’m a big fan of this colour combination. I didn’t wear these to work – they’re far too fancy for work.

COVID-19 Journal! Entry 6

All I’ve wanted to eat this weekend is maca-chee (macaroni and cheese). It’s my comfort food and I like it. And nothing special with broccoli or bacon. Just plain, simple macca-chee. I made a really good bowl on Saturday night and ate it all up. But on Saturday I wasn’t feeling good, so I needed something both hearty and comforting. I just had a headache, but I am now a hypochondriac, so I panicked and was taking my temperature every 10 minutes. “This is it.” I said. “What number do I have to call now that I have COVID-19?”

I felt better after eating maca-chee and generally calming down. It’s just a headache. I mean, owwie, but I get them from time to time, and not COVID-19. I took a Tylenol and went to bed with some podcasts. The moral of the story? Macca-Chee. (Is it “maca-chee” or “macca-chee? You’d think i’d know this since I made up the word…)

I watched at television show while I ate my macca-chee. It was a show I watched before because all I want to watch lately are familiar things where I know how it’s going to end.

Socks of the Day

Slippers, actually. So cozy! They were gifted to me by Dad at Christmas.

COVID-19 Journal; Entry 5

“Self-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman Working at Wal-Mart”
Ball-Point pen on paper.
circa 2009

I wanted to go back to my list. Basically, I can group the entries as “things I do to create” and “things I do to keep busy so I’m not staring at my phone all day”. While it would be really nice to start a creative thing and finish it and have a product at the end, right now, I really have to work at putting my phone away. I’ve become a bit manic about checking Facebook mostly.

Busy Fun

  • Dance (still an option – doing lots of online workouts- yoga too.) Note: not really a creative outlet in this form, but an easy way to do some exercise. (Update: I tried BellyFit this morning for the first time at home. Yes! I like it!)
  • Preparing and consuming food for myself (Update: OMG I went and got groceries today. Several stressful things about this. The line to get into the store was not one of the stressful things, because everyone stretched down the sidewalk, no problem. But then in the store, everyone seemed to conglomerate in the same isle, and in the corner by the eggs *but there were no eggs*. And then fretting about potential contamination when I got home. –E.g. “What exactly have I brought home with me???!”– I washed my hands around 10 times when I got home after touching things.)
  • Colouring/Knitting/Crocheting – mostly not too much brain involved, mostly don in front of TV shows (Update: ok some creation involved in crocheting/knitting and definitely a thing at the end, but once pattern is established, a very repetitive process – at least in how I like to crochet/knit.)
  • Texting friends/Phoning Mum. (In real life this reads having dinner/lupper/breakfast for lunch with friends, and visiting Mum and Dad.) More of this. One friend has suggested snail mail, which I haven’t done in a while. (Update: not a good thing for leaving my phone alone. Consider this an exception.
  • Socks. I really like wearing socks. Preferably more than one pair at a time. Not a creative outlet, but I find I function better with warm feet. (Update: see below for socks of the day.)

Create Things

  • Writing. Here we go. (I’ll expand on this in a paragraph below.)
  • Drawing. OK “Drawing.” Whatever. Filling paper with markings.
  • Keeping a journal, sometimes. Usually there’s nothing to share– I or say there’s nothing to share but I don’t have the time/energy to keep it. Proof that there’s never nothing to share: this week’s entries.
  • I keep looking at the scissors sitting on the desk beside me and I keep wanting to put “scissors”. But at one point I did lots of scissor crafts: sewing, collage-ing, trimming, ransom notes. Good fun.

Secret: usually between the months of November and until the end of February I am miserable: depressed, and/or grumpy. Not motivated to do anything. Unhappy. Not bad enough that I miss work or dance or anything, but awful. This year, I don’t remember when, I picked up the e-pencil for my iPad and started sketching out a story. Or, rather adding to a story I already have. All point form, just getting down ideas without worrying about the final form, just trying to stay big picture about the whole thing. I’m not going to go into the story here at all for my superstitious fear that once I start talking about it too much that I will jinx myself and not want to write anymore.

BUT! I think that having this extra creative outlet going on to look forward to over the dark months have helped with my mental health. I extra-specially noticed over Christmas time**, when usually I am a mess. I kept checking in with myself, just to see what was going on, and I kept finding myself happy. Or at least content. Or just pleased with myself. It was so nice. I checked in a lot over January and in to February with the same result. Just feeling ok.

**At Christmas time, I was crediting my good mood to a Fireball and eggnog combo. But after Christmas when the drinking stopped, I still felt good. I joked about that in early January.

In conclusion, writing is ongoing already anyway. And will not be mentioned here again.

Socks of the Day

I’ve always considered these Christmas socks, but they are super cozy and I wore them today.

COVID-19 Journal. Entry 4

I went for a walk early this morning and joyfully avoided all people. It was just as the sun was rising – I was awake earlier but I don’t like to walk in the dark. Correction: walking in the dark is fine, however it’s a better idea to wait for the sun to come up. I have planned my walks a couple of times now so that I’ll be walking with my back to the glorious sunrise (so the sun doesn’t get in my eyes). Twice now it’s been overcast in the morning so no gloriousness.

My habit in the morning in usual times to to listen to a podcast or two on my way to work – a nice accompaniment to my bus ride or walk. Lately I haven’t wanted to listen to podcasts: the news podcasts I usually listen to have been all about COVID-19, and the rest of my hoard is mostly true crime, which I’m just not in the mood for.

So I was listening to music on my walk this morning, and pondering COVID-19. Trying not to think about it in a big-picture way, which freaks me out a bit, but on a wholly personal level. I have the staying at home thing figured out, and have ideas for how to control things for the two days I will be spending at my workplace starting next week. But once I’m comfortable(ish) with that, what’s next? What to do with myself with extra time at home? No matter how long it might be (1 week? 2 months?) What if there’s no dance classes, which usually occupy a lot of my spare time and provides a solid social outlet, but also basically keeps my mental health in check? is there anything else that will keep me sane? What things make me feel happy and like i’m accomplishing something?… And/But will fit into current circumstances?

Lots of things.

I continued with my walk, making a pledge to think about this at a later time before drifting off to other subjects (e.g. keeping distance around a pair of construction workers on the way to a site and taking up the whole sidewalk.

So, here.

  • Dance (still an option – doing lots of online workouts- yoga too.) Note: not really a creative outlet in this form, but an easy way to do some exercise. (“Easy”… I think I pulled all the muscles in my hips this morning…)
  • Writing. Here we go.
  • Preparing and consuming food for myself
  • Colouring/Knitting/Crocheting – mostly not too much brain involved, mostly don in front of TV shows
  • Drawing. OK “Drawing.” Whatever. Filling paper with markings.
  • Texting friends/Phoning Mum. (In real life this reads having dinner/lupper/breakfast for lunch with friends, and visiting Mum and Dad.) More of this. One friend has suggested snail mail, which I haven’t done in a while.
  • I keep looking at the scissors sitting on the desk beside me and I keep wanting to put “scissors”. But at one point I did lots of scissor crafts: sewing, collage-ing, trimming, ransom notes. Good fun.
  • Keeping a journal, sometimes. Usually there’s nothing to share– I or say there’s nothing to share but I don’t have the time/energy to keep it. Proof that there’s never nothing to share: this week’s entries.
  • Socks. I really like wearing socks. Preferably more than one pair at a time. Not a creative outlet, but I find I function better with warm feet.

I want to expand on a few of these. That will be later because I’m tired now.


COVID-19 Journal, Entry 3

It was my birthday yesterday. I didn’t leave my apartment at all. It was fine. If I was to plan a better birthday I might have gone out and bought myself presents. Actually, the best would have been going on the trip Mum and I planned to take to Campbell River, but things being as they are, this works too. I had some wine and smoked salmon. I did two online dance workouts, so I spent the later part of the day with sore legs. I watched some operas via the Metropolitan Opera. I drank some wine! Did I say that already?

(Note: I have turned on the opera for today, which is Das Rheingold, and even though I am not really following along and only giving it half my attention, the production is kind of blowing my mind. It’s crazy!)

I shared some photos on Facebook commenting on the contrast between my birthday last year and this year’s. I just remembered I wrote this just after midnight: I like to get in as much of my birthday as possible.

London was a special trip last year for my birthday (I plan to return sometime) and it marked the start of my year of travelling in 2019. I ended up not only going there, but also to Las Vegas for a weekend in September, and then China in October/November (as documented earlier in this blog). (As many many people have commented to me, I am very very lucky to have visited China when I did.)

Given all this travel in a relatively short time (for me), I was starting to feel traveled out before I even left for China. By the time I was getting back from China I was wondering to myself how long it would be before I got the travel bug back. I was exhausted from my trip, of course, but I was also tired of moving from place to place, and being in unfamiliar locations. The final straw was an eleven hour plane ride home and I was done. But, I am always “done” with travel at the end of the trip, so I don’t force myself to think about the next trip for a while. I had a loose plan to start planning my next trip around the end of November – just a couple weeks after I got back. And truthfully, this is often when I start getting excited to take another trip. But this time, it was too soon. I had gotten sick when I got back, and I had other things in my life I had to get caught up on.

I already had ideas for my next trip– the fun part of travelling for me is organizing it, and since I book far in advance, planning periods always overlap. My 2020 plan was to go to Europe – at least France and Italy, and back to England, for departure in May for 3 or 4 weeks. There are many works of art from my art history studies that I wish to look at in real life. Since I didn’t start booking in November, I decided to revisit in January. When January came and I had to submit my request for vacation days at work, May seemed too soon to be going– I didn’t even feel like booking the trip, never mind go on it. So I made my request for October instead – still a good time to visit Europe, and some time to replenish my travel savings account (not that I was going to worry about that if I really wanted to go).

Then I sort of forgot about it and sort of thought I’d think about booking things in April, if I wanted to. But now the world has shut down, so just as well I wasn’t in the right state of mind to commit to anything. Lucky, but also sad.

OK, but also, I’ve done a lot of travelling in the past few years, so really, I’m feeling pretty content about not going anywhere for a while. Here’s a list of my travels since 2012 for filler:

  • Spain
  • Vietnam/Cambodia/Thailand
  • Oregon
  • Across the Pacific on a cruise
  • Spain again
  • England
  • Mexico
  • England again
  • Las Vegas
  • China

So to sum up. I had a good birthday. No travel happening soon, obviously, but that’s OK.

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 2

Lazy day today. This is because I’m tired. I’m often tired on Saturdays due to working all week, so nothing strange going on there. But also I woke up at 4am for no good reason: I wasn’t worried or anxious or anything, at least not so as I noticed. I was just awake and trying to sleep again. So that didn’t help with my energy levels for the day.

After not being able to sleep, I got up at 7 and went for a walk around the neighbourhood. My regular route, people saying good morning as they usually do (except one or the other of us would step off the sidewalk for some distancing). Sometimes on these walks I’ll stop at the 24 hr Thrifty Foods on my way back, but I didn’t do that today. A) Thrifty’s is not currently open 24hrs. B) The early hour when I usually shop is for seniors, etc. The plus side of not shopping is I didn’t have to walk with my wallet/purse. Oh there was also a small gang of security people having a well spread out meeting in front of the Legislature! They all said hello to me. I walk by them a lot so we might be familiar to each other. And when I mention that we’re all greeting each other, that’s normal for a Saturday morning walk! At least in James Bay.

I’m bored of writing about my boring day. Here’s a billeted list of some activities I got up to today:

  • Folded laundry. A big deal because it’s only been 2 days since I washed it
  • Followed along to an on-line yoga class. The third one I’ve tried; the first one I’ve actually finished.
  • Tried and failed to put a dent in the podcasts I am hoarding. I really like downloading podcasts, and this might be the time I actually listen to some of them.
  • De-shelled some prawns. (“Tell Dad” I texted Mum.)
  • Naps. Plural, but I was awake at 4, so.

Ung. I have to stop listening to the news on CBC because it’s stressing me out. This is sad because I really like The World at Six on weekdays and The World This Weekend. However, these, along with the several news podcasts I listen to, have been 100% COVID-19 the past fees days and I guess it’s a bit much for me. The news usually has nothing to do with me.

It’s like, as a bad example, when I’m sick, I don’t like watching TV shows about people who are sick.

In another bad example, after Trump was elected, I way over-consumed media about him. It was a form of control – if something happened, I wanted to know about it and be prepared (if that makes any sense.) I’d been listening too many podcasts throughout the election, and was reading as much as I could about it. At some point around Jan or Feb of 2017 I realized I didn’t need to know as much as I did about the new American leadership and I cut myself off. I limited myself to anything I might hear by happenstance, on the aforementioned CBC news shows. It was a better balance! That’s what I need to figure out now: get the info I need, but not get overwhelmed.

Doesn’t help that I have my phone in my hand all day checking for Facebook/Instagram updates. Hm.

“Lindsie with pillow”
Digital selfie
circa March 21,2020

COVID-19 Journal: Entry 1

I’m having trouble organizing my thoughts about this. Every time I am talking about it with other people – and it’s mostly all anyone has talked about this week- I can only sum up with words that express astonishment: “it’s so crazy!” Or “such weird circumstances!” Nothing really truly expresses how unprecedented this all is. And don’t even try to get all big-picture philosophical about it because that’s impossible: how will this affect society? What are the ramifications going to be for our health? The economy? What are the ramifications going to be for me? I’ll only write what’s in front of me, right now.

My writer brain has kicked in, reminding me that I should clearly state the context of what is going on so readers who aren’t familiar aren’t left out. But that’s the thing: this affects everybody. So I’m going to skip context.

I’m still working. I was in the office this week, mostly. I’ve been working at home once a week, so that was Thursday. But going forward, those of us who can will be working at home two or three days a week, giving those in the office lots of social distancing space.

At the beginning of the week I was pissed off that we didn’t just get sent home. This was a combination of things. First there was peer pressure from social media saying we should stay home, and the feeling that I was shirking my social responsibility by going to the office and being around others. Second, I wanted a go home and not do work and still get paid. It was sort of a fifty-fifty deal there.

Social distancing, though. I decided to not use the bus, and walked to and from work all week. Lucky it has been beautiful and sunny. Then work was harder to figure out and I realize now that I have definable not been keeping a 6-foot distance from my co-workers. I only got into that today, Friday, when there were only 4 of us there. That’s been the nature of the week, however, things getting more and more serious each day.

Sunrise is Victoria, March 18. This is down the hill from my house. The Capital Park government office structure is on the right; the trees on the left are part of the Legislature grounds.

I think things really started to get to me on Wednesday night. Mum had been planning a trip for my birthday next week – just to Campbell River, just to explore a bit and eat at restaurants. I like to book my birthday week off work so I can celebrate with trips and visits. When we spoke about it last Sunday we decided not to decide anything about it until later in the week, because there was no way to tell what was going to happen! But by Wednesday I knew that it was not going to happen- mostly because the restaurants weren’t really going to be operating, but also because it seems really inappropriate right now to go flit to someone else’s community when we’re all meant to be social distancing. So the decision was made and that’s fine and it’s the right decision. Then I also decided to not even go visit my parents in Duncan, either. This was also the right decision, because there would have been too many worries for everyone if I went. But it’s sad, anyway. I think it’ll be a while before I can visit again.

Anyway, all these things happening, or in the case of all the things I had tickets for, not happening, caused me to have the mildest of anxiety attacks last night as I lay in bed. It was the “oh hey things are different” moment, and I still haven’t quite caught up yet. I was joking a couple days ago about how excited I was to be in quarantine all by myself. All the crafts, writing, and cleaning I could do. But the reality of that happening, to not have a choice, is daunting. Because, ok, secret, isolation is my bag. I love it, and have spent staycations all alone, doing my thing at home. And actually, this is what I aim for most weekends. But it’s different when it’s everybody and when it’s for a common and scary cause.

So now I have all of next week off, and I get it all to myself. I really am going to get into some crafts and writing and cleaning. (Although maybe not cleaning if I am having fun doing the other stuff! Tonight (Friday) that anxiety thing is happening some more, so I’m trying to write it out. So far it totally hasn’t worked! Sometimes I have to luxuriate in it for a while and let it burn out on its own.

More later.