COVID-19 Journal Entry 41

It was a beautiful day today. The evidence: during my walk home, at every intersection where a car had to stop to let me cross, the driver would smile. Also, it was almost sunny during said walk. Also, I stopped and bought a burger for dinner.

I got Fanta with my burger. Fanta reminds me of Europe: specifically, Finland, 1998. (Which included Finland-Germany-Austria-Hungary on the train.) North America didn’t have Fanta at the time, and there’s nothing better than finding a thing that you like that is in Europe and not in North America. At least, while you are in Europe. When you get home it’s a bit of a drag because you can’t get it anymore. I did take a small stash home with me, which I savoured.

I went to the fabric store today at my lunch break. Interesting: Most other stores if I need help, I do not ask for it. This is not the case at the fabric store.

“Can you help me?” I asked of the store helper person at the front of the store who just seconds before had indicated that I could, in face, enter the store. I had followed the COVID-protocols listed on the sign just inside the door.

“Yes!” said the store helper person

“I need lightweight, fusible interfacing,” I said, making sure to include both terms “lightweight” and “fusible” or else the interfacing in question was to be of no use to me.

The store helper knew just what I was talking about. Of course! She works in a fabric store!

She showed me the options, I made my choice and she cut off a chunk for me. She then asked me if I was ready to go or if I wanted to look around some more. Luckily for me, I was on my lunch break and didn’t have the time, or else I would have found some lovely brocade or something that I have no plans for. As it was, I was in and out in about 3 or 5 minutes. Think of that! 3 or 5 minutes in a fabric store.

COVID-19 Journal Entry #40

Adventure to Rexall

I went to Rexall today to get my flu shot, and it was an adventure, let me tell you. I walked there, and then I walked back. Whoo. There are some more details to relate that might make this tale marginally less boring. I had an appointment for a flu shot, for one. I booked it Sunday or Monday online, and I went on Friday. I took the first spot that was available, which coincidently, is the same time I like to go to Rexall – in the late afternoon. So it was mostly not very busy. I shopped at Rexall during the 5 or ten minutes I have to spend after getting a flu shot to make sure I don’t pass out. I didn’t pass out. I bought deoderant and razors and a wart-blasting kit. I needed aaa batteries, too, for my fake candles, but I wasn’t in the mood to pay $21.83 for eight, so I left those there. I need nine, so I was doubly discouraged. After Rexall I did a flit to Shoppers to see if they had batteries for cheaper, but no. After Shoppers I went to Winners, because it exists and wasn’t busy, where I found a massive bag of chia seeds for $10. I don’t know if you’ve tried to buy chia seeds before, but a big bag is never that cheap. It filled my container at home to the brim, so I’m pleased.

As I was leaving Winners, the Beep-Beep went off and I had to rummage through my bag to figure out what set it off for the benefit of the store associate. I got to show off my wart-blast kit, which had an activated taggy thing. Best adventure ever.

I took note of some amendments going on at the legislature on my way home.

I usually walk down this driveway. I don’t feel very encouraged to do that right now. I walk along the grass to the side with the roses instead (that’s sort of alongside the bus you can see there because I don’t realy show the roses here – you can sort of see them still surviving behind the fencing).
The new “ditch” feature on the legislature lawn, alongside the (currently empty) flower beds.
The legislature. While I took photos of keep out signs and ditches, most other people were taking photos of this. It’s nice, too. I’m impatient for their Christmas lights to go up. Fun fact: if I ever talk about walking downtown, I’ve probably walked past this, as it is in the way between my house and the rest of Victoria. I can avoid it, if needed, but it’s the shortest way.

COVID-19 Journal Entry 39

I’m on holiday this week and next so I should be sharing all my adventures, right? Yesterday I not only had a cup of decaffeinated coffee, but I also recieved a delivery of groceries. Oooooh. No wait, the groceries were on Tuesday. The days, it seems, are running together.

This morning, in an act of holidaying, I remained in bed until 10:30. I wasn’t even asleep! I just lay there for a few hours, contemplating and such. It was splendid but at 10:30 it was too much: too much lying in bed and too much contemplating. I sometimes have a hard time coming home out of my fantasy world. Today there was nothing to stop me from staying there, except that I was ready to proceed with my day. It hung on for a while, and I distracted myself by getting dressed and having breakfast. Or lunch, actually by the time I got around to eating.

My thoughts for the rest of the day were in 1997 and 1998 and then 2001 and 2002 as I scan paper mementos into my computer. I’m slowly organizing my history into digital folders on my hard drive, which is fine. I’m blessed/taxed with an extensive paper archive, just because I write so much. Then there’s school work, which is paper (why didn’t I get rid of more of this long ago). I’m having some trouble sorting out stories and poems that were for personal use away from those that were school assignments. Not really that much trouble, more fun/agony reading things I forgot I wrote. Note that I have mostly kept school work from art and writing classes – where I would have produced a creative work. Noticeably absent are English, Anthropology, Journalism and other classes that I have no recollection of taking because I got rid of the notes. But what would they contain? Interpretations. (I suppose that’s the reason.) I remember I really liked my anthropology text book from the one anthropology class I took during my first year of post-secondary education. That was at Malaspina College (now VIU). Good class. I found a rock for one assignment and said it could be used as a manicure tool – nail file and cuticle pusher. I can’t remember the point of that assignment. I should have kept the notes.

Tomorrow: adventure to Rexall Drugstore.

P.S. Mum told me her recipe for red cabbage last night. I made it today and it’s gooooooood. Even though I didn’t have any cloves – just a little bit stuck at the bottom of the container. Still good.

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 38

Sounds

Over the summer, people in my neighbourhood had get togethers in their apartments and parties in their yards. General merryment: talking and laughing, and sometimes music. Nice. I had my windows open all summer, so I could hear them, and I liked it. Some people, I know, are all “grrrr, who’s having fun within my hearing grrrr.” But that’s not me. I’m like, “where does that chatter originate?” and often it’s my direct neighbours, in the house next to my apartment building (i’m on the corner of the building, so tecnically they’re my closest neighbour on that side. And often there were groups of people on their balcony’s in the building across from me – and they’re across two parking lots, so I would be impressed that their voices carried. It’s nice to be in a neighbourhood where people are doing things.

Once in a while over the summer I could hear piano music, but it was just too far away for me to tell if it was someone playing a piano, or if it was a recording. Either way, it was nice.

Also, there are still a few people nearby who are celebrating pandemic workers at 7pm – there’s a drum and something that clangs on most nights. I heard it yesterday- my windows are mostly closed by then each day now so there may be more noises that I don’t hear. Also, I’m busy or have the TV on I don’t always hear them anymore. Some commitment going, there. They’ve been doing it since the last week of March and all through the summer.

Another sound that maybe doesn’t delight me as much, is my loud upstairs neighbour, who is full of mysterious bangs and thumps. He doesn’t enrage me or anything. At the very most, if I’m not paying attention and there’s a sudden noise, I am put in mind of living at home back in the day when I’d hear a thump upstairs of my brother launching, closely followed by his loud descent down the stairs, followed closely by his finding me wherever I was and punching me. So I might get a little apprehensive now, out of an old habit, followed by some brief confusion (where am I? where are stairs?), and then relief, since no one is going to beat me. Once there was enough stomping I hoped maybe he’d taken up flamenco , but, wrong rhythm.

Today I was distracted by the sound of rain. Lots of rain! And then wind. And then wind and rain! I was pleased I didn’t have to leave the house today. I was thinking of going on a jaunt to Staples and Whole Foods for supplies. I decided to order groceries for delivery instead. New pandemic habits fitting in well with old habits of laziness and not wanting to go out into the rain. Or not wanting to go anywhere.

Going somewhere didn’t fit in today. When I got home from Duncan yesterday (I was there overnight Sunday for Thanksgiving) I had time enough to unpack all my turkey leftovers before HEADACHE set it. It wasn’t even just HEADACHE, though. It was extreme sleepiness, followed by headache? and then HEADACHE. So I “decided” to spend the afternoon in bed. I was a little impatient with that, and with myself. But I reminded myself I sometimes need to rest a little more than usual. So I opened the window in my bedroom (it wasn’t raining out yesterday – it was sunny) and made myself into a cocoon, and wind came in and cooled my head. I alternated between watching TV, and then sleeping, and then lying awake with my eyes closed and making up stories. I tried putting on podcasts, too, but I’d just sleep through them. Not in a podcast mood yesterday. I got up at six, but wasn’t really into major accomplishments.

I feel better today. I went through more of my personal paperwork that I’m sorting through and scanning, which I find fun. Also, it’s turkey week and I’ve made soup, which, just as a timing thing, I had for breakfast. Then leftover turkey dinner at lunch time. Then no turkey for dinner, although a turkey sandwich seemed tempting. Turkey week.

Cozy of the Day

I still have this yellow cardigan. This is a photo from circa 2002 and also features my first sculpture project at Camosun. I kept this cardigan in my cubby in the sculpture hut (I think – it was kept somewhere at school for sure because I remember finding it smushed up and dusty at the back of a locker or something. So maybe I left it there on purpose, or maybe I forgot it one day and then just thought it was handy to keep there.) (Photo from my personal archive – I’ve forgotten who took the photo.)

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 37

It occurs to me today that, if the world was operating as normal, I would be in France or Italy right now. I had a wee plan in my head at the beginning of the year to get to get to these places and look at the art from my art history books. That would have been three weeks starting this week – I had the time booked off from work. Instead, I moved my vacation days from this week so I could have time off in May. I still have two weeks off starting next week with no plans. No worry, no fuss. This is good too. Maybe I’ll start my holiday crafts. And by “start” I mean start doing holiday crafts at all, as I haven’t ever, really.

Some places I wanted to go:

  • Paris – the louvre mostly. Other galleries I can’t remember. Just to be in Paris for a bit.
  • Avignon/Arles – Van Gogh, and to be in southern France for a bit.
  • Nice – to break up the distance between France and Italy
  • Florence – the Renaissance
  • Rome – ancient Rome – day trip to Pompeii
  • London – I like London – some shows, some lunches from M&S. The usual.

That seems like enough over three weeks. London at the end because that’s sort of like going home – because I’ve been there several times now and it’s familiar, not because it’s actually home. Home is Canada where the trees are tall.

I usually have a trip to get excited for in fall, and that helps with the evenings getting darker. It’s fun to have the distraction of packing, and getting organized to go. This year I have other fun things to distract me:

  • Waiting for my flu shot! When will they be here? When can I go?
  • I need a new lightweight black jacket for spring and fall. My current incarnation was purchased during my first trip to Spain in 2012 and it shows. The fabric is fading. It’s still pretty, though. Maybe I’ll just Sharpie over the dull areas?
  • My mum gave me her silk blouse to mend a year ago. I should get to that.
  • Kimberly invited me to a Pampered Chef party a few weeks ago and I bought a popcorn maker. I’m going to have popcorn!
  • I need to buy popcorn!
  • The colours yellow, orange, red and green, all swirled together on the same leaf.
  • Candles
  • Sweaters, when it gets cooler.
  • At work today I learned about a massive hoodie-poncho-blankie thing with a pocket. I want one.
  • I’ve started scanning my paper archive onto my computer so that I might store it on a small external hard drive instead of in six boxes stacked in the corner. Admittedly this maybe become three boxes. Or four. I have much precious paper: schoolwork, writing, journals, travel ephemera. I just found the journals/scrapbooks (paper-based!) that I kept on trips to San Francisco (2005) and Toronto/Ottawa/St. John’s (2007) that I forgot about. I used to take a paper journal with me when I traveled, and also tape so that I could attach ticket stubs and museum maps to the pages while I wrote.
  • I have to clean up my flower pots on the balcony. There are some fresh buds appearing, so I should get rid of the dried up flowers to make room.
  • This is morphing into a list of things to do during my days off.
  • Feathers and brushes
Me! In what was then my new black jacket. Admiring the evening view of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, circa March, 2012.

COVID-19 Journal Entry #35

I had some more things to discuss about travel last night, but I got sleepy.

I’ve been doing a bit of virtual travelling during the pandemic. Or it might also be called pre-planning for future trips. But in a bit of a round-about way. I was reading an old article at the Vanity Fair website about the (alleged) origin of AIDS in Africa. I have a subscription to Vanity Fair and they have their whole archive up – it’s really interesting reading old articles that are 100% based in their own time. I have to re-contextualize my brain to understand how people were thinking at the time of writing. If I read stories about female celebrities from the eighties and nineties they describe their looks and weight a way that’s pretty gross and like it’s out business to know. I notice it now, but I wouldn’t have then. Also I read an article about an actor (I can’t remember who) from 1992 or 1993 who was dating little-known actor Lisa Kudrow.

The AIDS article was from 1987, so there have been some developments in the treatment of AIDS both medically and in the media, and I certainly kept that in mind as I read. It was a bit of an adventure for the writer to visit some of the locations in remote Africa. That didn’t get me thinking about travelling there, however. First I realized that I don’t know African geography at all, and so had put the article aside to study Google maps for a bit to see where Uganda and Guinea-Bissau are located. That led me to their Wikipedia articles for a brief skim of their histories and economies. And then while I was at it, I had to find out what’s up with The Gambia.

I tried getting back to the article again, and the writer trekking through the jungle, and that’s when it occurred to me that people can visit Africa – not necessarily as journalists, but just as tourists. So I had to stop reading again to look up travel tours in Africa, and indeed one could go to Uganda, at least, along with several other neighboring countries. One would have to camp most of the time, and there’s hiking and nature, but one could definitely go – and at not too expensively, either (what with the camping). Further research on visa showed I could actually go to these countries as a Canadian. I didn’t look at airfare, but I’m guessing it’s pricy and consists of many hours of travel time.

I’ve done a similar thing lately after reading an article about Mozambique, where residents are working at adapting to weather and climate change. Again, I didn’t know where Mozambique was, and again I studied the map for a while before starting my travel plans.

This weekend I was reading about Belarus. I didn’t get the the travel plans part of my routine because while I was looking at eastern Europe I noticed that there’s a wee chunk of Russia stuck in between Poland and Lithuania. It’s called the Kaliningrad Oblast, and I didn’t know it existed until Saturday. If you want to travel there you need a Russian visa, no problem. But if you want to visit Russia proper on the same trip, be sure to get a double entry visa. You can travel there by train from the Lithuania in the east, but train lines no longer run into Poland. You can also get a ferry from St. Petersburg.

To conclude my very bad geography report, there are lots of places I still want to see in the world. It really helps knowing where they are located.

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 34

I’m feeling October. What is the feeling of October? This year it’s the evenings getting dark too soon, and cool nights. Usually in October, in the few years previous to this one, October was my travel month. Mexico in 2018, England with Susan in 2017. Last year I was already packing for China at this time even though the start of my trip was later in the month.

In 2019 I travelled a lot, so at the start of the pandemic I wasn’t too fussed with the prospect of staying at home. I’m feeling it now though: the longing for an airplane and foreign places. My plan for 2020 was for France and Italy – places I haven’t been yet! And then back to London, which I just love. I’m missing London! I’ll make due for now with following M&S on Instagram, I guess.

I’ve made a bit of a mistake. I’ve been spending my weekend going through my collections of detritus from trips past, and that has gotten me thinking about travel. I have piles of brochures and maps and misc paper from all my trips. I just got a new scanner, so some of these things and getting scanned and saved with my photos; most of if it is getting recycled after that. I’ve gotten good at not collecting so much stuff when I travel, but some things have memories.

A grocery receipt from Spain! I loved grocery shopping in Spain. I learned all the words for dairy products for reading the ingredients. I was shocked when I turned the cans of soup around and there wasn’t an English version of the label, like when we turn from the French side in Canada.

Slippers of the Day

I bought these slippers in Spain because the floors of our apartment were cold. This was me wearing them in said apartment (circa Feb, 2016). I was most pleased. They currently serve as my balcony slippers for when I water my plants.

COVID-19 Journal Entry 33

Light – Lighting / Dark – Darking / Cozy – Cozying

I went shopping today. At the physical location of stores. I visited Whole Foods for groceries, which was fine. I’d been a few times in the summer and they were early adopters of asking all customers to wear masks. Also I go right at the opening time, so there are just a few people, and they are all in masks. Also, in the summertime I would buy many many cartons of dairy-free ice creams. I didn’t feel like ice cream today, but I got some bread and yogurts (that’s right, many yogurts.)

Next I ventured to Canadian Tire at Hillside, which was also fine. They don’t ask that everyone wear a mask, but it was early and there were just a few people. Only one spot of bother when a gang of a family blocked my way at the end of the lightbulb aisle. Not just so I couldn’t keep my distance from them, I just really couldn’t get by. They were really excited about lightbulbs. Luckily I am adept (adept!) at driving a shopping cart so I turned it right around and left via the other end of the aisle. I know, “excuse me excuse me please” would have worked too but they didn’t look interested in keeping their chatty breath six feet away from me so whatever.

I treated/bribed myself with a Starbucks. Not only my first Starbucks of the pandemic, but my first (decaf) coffee beverage in nearly two years. It was tasty. I’ve said this before: the coffee part is nice, but what I really like are the pumps of sweet syrups that are used to make the coffee a product suitable to consumption. Sugar is my addiction, not caffeine. I know this because I went over a year without caffeine, no problem. But sugar, I think of you every day.

Canadian Tire! I needed a new floor lamp as my old one wore out. I wondered to myself if I really need a light source in my living room, and then the sun went down. I might not have needed one in July, but today I do. I had to track down a Canadian Tire sales associate because the box didn’t say if a lightbulb was included, or what kind to get if one was needed. According to her beepy thing, I needed a 40 watt LED lightbulb (quoted here because I committed it to memory). But when I got home and looked for a place to put said 40 watt LED lightbulb, there was none! In place of a light bulb there is sort of a circuit board that glows, or something? And I only know there’s a circuit board (or something) because I ripped off the shade part of the light that I guess wasn’t supposed to be removed? Because there’s no lightbulb needed… Magic?? I suppose. (The shade part fit back where it was supposed to go, BTW. I didn’t break my new lamp or anything.)

I also got some toilet paper while at Canadian Tire, because it exists there, and some cleaning supplies. And some hangers with clips.

I had to get hangers with clips because I recently invested in rain pants and I don’t know where to keep them.

I recently invested in rain pants because I plan to walk to work during the fall and winter months, and I expect rain. I can drive if it’s raining too hard. I did that on Friday, but it wasn’t raining as hard as I thought and it’s far more satisfying to arrive at work after a walk. Also, I had to pay for parking in a location that is about a seven minute drive from my house. Also, won’t everyone be impressed when I arrive at work after walking in the rain? I bet they will.

**

I put up my Christmas tree a couple of weekends ago, when the evening light started disappearing with the end of summer. Don’t judge. It was just the tree with lights for a while because the lights are the best part, and also because the decorations are kept in another box that takes a little more digging to access in my storage space. So I got those out today, along with my fall swearers and now I have sparkly-light and cozy warm.

Note: I have for some reason started calling any sweater/hoody/warm garment a “Cozy.” E.g. “Where is my cozy?” –> I said this today with nothing particular in mind, but I was cold and I found a sweater to put on. It’s a basic summoning, I suppose, of any item that might be around that will keep me warm. Like a tea cozy. A Lindsie Cozy. Whatever. A scarf, maybe, or a blanket.

When Susan and I travelled to England three years ago, I bought us blankie-scarves to take with us. We wore them on the plane, and I remember draping mine over me as a napping blanking in our AirBnb in York. They might also have been effective as scarves in the cool English autumn, but I don’t remember. They were definitely soft and cozy.

My mum bought me a new blankie scarf for my birthday this year. It’s a big woven square, and it’s got both navy and light blues, with yellow. Lightweight if spread out, but warm if scrunched up around my neck. It’s very soft. I didn’t get it until some weeks after my birthday due to the pandemic starting and all that. It didn’t matter, because Mum said it would be a nice scarf for the fall. And indeed it would have been if I hadn’t immediately adopted it as my item of comfort over the spring and summer. It’s a perfect weight for a summertime nap blanket, and is just big enough to cover me when I’m curled up. When folded in half (either lengthwise, or on the diagonal) it’s a cozy shawl, nice for cool mornings while working from home. I folded it up and put it on my chest to prop up my iPad while I was sick; also during this time I rolled it up and propped up my head to be more comfortable while watching streaming things on my laptop in bed. It will probably even make it into use as a scarf now that fall is here.

Socks of the day

My new blankie-scarf being used as socks. Or! My new cozy being used as a cozy cozy.
Circa August, 2020.

COVID-19 Journal Entry 32

Disclosure: I’m catching up on Coronation Street while I compose this entry, so I might get distracted if anything interesting happens.

Orange

I definitely remember pressing the button on my clock radio last night to turn off the alarm, but I must have mis-pressed, and CBC radio popped on at 6:40. That’s my early wake-up time that I use on Thursdays and Fridays when I walk into the office. When I work from home, it’s set for 7… and some days I get up right away, and some I wait a little while. Some days, such as yesterday, I doze right through the radio coming on and when I notice I panic, wondering how long I haven’t noticed. I think I have to increase the volume – I’m not going to switch to the “alarm” function, because then I wake up frightened. I like the voices on CBC to wake me up. Occasionally the voices on the radio enter my dreams. That’s weird, especially if the news is on and I’m having tea with world leaders.

So woke up this morning at 6:40 and thought to myself “what am I going to do now?” The first option was to go back to sleep. However, often in the summertime if I was up too early, I’ll go for a walk, and I haven’t done that for a while because I haven’t felt well. Today I’m feeling better, and I started to get excited. I got up to look out the window to check the weather… and it’s still smoky orange outside. Boo. I can’t go out in that because of asthma. And that’s not just a precaution, I actually get hurty lungs when I go out when it’s bad, and get huffy-puffy when it’s less bad. It’s one of only a few times when I actually notice I have asthma – I have it under control usually. I haven’t been too bothered by it this week on the whole. I’m still recovering from feeling tired and week all the time, so staying inside isn’t much of a bother. Maybe a little annoying on Tuesday when it was hot out and I had to keep my windows shut all day. Maybe got a little restless yesterday when I couldn’t go for a walk during lunch at the office. Boo.

I did some exercises in my living room instead, which was fine. And something I have to get back into doing now that I feel better. Along with cleaning my apartment. I bought a printer while I was sick because it went on sale (I’d been waiting) and it was delivered, but I haven’t gotten around to setting it up yet, due to being too tired, and I have to clear away my old printer/scanner to make room for it. I might do that now. Not that I’ve printed or scanned anything much over the past five years or so. Just before COVID hit I was gazing at the corner where I have them all set up (I’ve got an old ink jet, a scanner and a wee laser printer) and wondered if I shouldn’t just get rid of them. But then the pandemic hit and I’ve started doing printer crafts again. And lately the scanner has started scanning only half-a-page instead of a-whole-page. And it’s fun to research and shop for products on the internet. So I found the printer I wanted, but didn’t want to pay as much as it was at regular price and waited for it to go on sale. And then it it and now I have a new printer!… in a box over there in the corner.

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 31

Shadows

I’ve had some long spaces of time lately where I am very still and just stare and think about things. Sometimes my eyes rest upon the screen of my phone/iPad where diverse distractions amuse me; sometimes they rest upon the screen of my computer where multiple episodes of television programs are played. Oft times, however, I just stare at the wall.

This is a corner near the door in my bedroom. I greatly enjoy the cottage-cheese texture of the ceiling, and the tidy lines that define the surfaces. That one section of wall is always in shadow. Very satisfying.
I’ve shown this phenomenon previously: the shadow of the hearts in my bedroom window appear only briefly in the afternoons on my bedroom wall. I don’t always remember to see them.
I placed some parsley seeds in a vase on the windowsill in my dining room. They make a nice shadow against the curtains.