COVID-19 Journal Entry #53

I had to keep my windows closed for a few weeks this spring.

The reason was because when I had them open, I sneezed all day; my eyes watered; and my nose was snuffy. Allergies. But if I kept my windows closed, I was fine! There were some warm days at home as a result of this, but I don’t mind the warm.

A consequence of this, the allergy-isolation, along with the not going anywhere due to the COVID thing still happening, I actually had a new experience when I was able to open the windows again.

Does anyone else notice when they visit a new city that it smells different? And that you can only smell it for a few minutes, or a while at least, before you get used to it, or just stop paying attention to the newness of it.

  • The smell of Vancouver. Or, rather, Tsawwassen when I just get off the ferry.
  • Beijing, late at night (can’t describe. Too new to me).
  • Cancun (steam)
  • Jerez (garbage)
  • Walking around Vegas at night when it’s cooled down, but it’s still hot.

I opened my window one evening and could smell Victoria.

Now, usually when I say I can smell Victoria it’s the very middle of summer, or after an overdue rain shower, and downtown smells like pee and Seagull poo, and pot. Gross things that are exacerbated by the weather. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I could smell the air, and an tinge of the sea, and freshness. Like what someone who has just walked off the seaplane at the harbour can smell, if they take the time to notice. Like I’d just come back from a really long trip.

COVID-19 Journal Entry #52

Vaccination

I got the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday (May 18, 2021). I wasn’t impatient to get it, but also I was “hurry up” because let’s get things moving. I was impressed with the set up of the vaccination venue. I went to the Victoria Convention Centre: there are two reasons I chose this site (I had a choice of two) 1) It’s real close to my home; and 2) I think it’s fancy. While it is indeed close to my home, it is not actually that fancy. But I was impressed with the set up of the place. It’s basically the same as going to the airport: follow the signs, smile at the workers, check in, follow more signs, wait in a line up. Get directed to your vaccination spot (following the airport analogy, this was similar to going through security). Then wait. Then leave. Just the same.

My reaction to the vaccine was prominent and annoying. I started feeling off just after I got home. Nothing major, just off. My appointment was at 10:30 am and I just went home and got back on my computer and finished my work day fine. The next day I was still off, but more so? Nothing that needed medical attention (I’m pretty sure. I don’t remember where I put the sheet they gave me with the symptoms to watch for.) Just really uncomfortable and tired. I took the day off work.

I was in the office the the next day (Thurs) with some worry about how the day would go (would I have to go home part way through?) but I was fine. I gave into my craving for a roast beef sandwich for lunch and got a big subway, which made me feel better. Also, there were reports that some co-workers who also had the shot on Tuesday had to take time off on Wednesday with similar symptoms, so that also made me feel better – I mean, not because they felt bad, but at least I’m not the only one. Go team.

I’m having a very quiet holiday weekend, which I just remembered is a holiday. Happy Birthday, Dead Queen Victoria.

I’ve started reading all of Jane Austen’s works in the order they were written, starting with her early works. There are some from when she was a teenager before she wrote her big, famous books. One of her very early novels, The Beautiful Cassandra, is 12 chapters of one sentence each. I highly recommend.

COVID-19 Journal: Entry #51

I have two things to remember today

COVID Thing I (Don’t) Want to Remember

Five.

One thing about COVID I don’t want to remember, but will document anyway is the feeling I get whenever there’s an announcement about new restrictions, like there was yesterday. I’d forgotten about this one. I was trying to classify the feeling: it’s sortof a mix of anxiety, sadness and panic. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that way but I think it’s been a while since we’ve had such a big change to things, or at least a change to things that affects me. Or at least, I haven’t been paying attention to the announcements as much anymore as I did during the first few months last year.

I spent some weepy time: first while watching Bonnie Henry announce them, and then after I shut her off I did laps of my apartment with my arms folded letting it digest. It’s not that I’m mad, or really upset. It’s just. Figuring things out for myself. And yesterday part of it was thinking that I was over reacting like this, since it’s been going on so long and I’ve been through it again. Maybe a little disappointment that more restrictions have to be enacted at this point. Maybe a little relieved? Annoyed for sure. But also resigned to follow along.

Circuit Breaker: temporary restrictions that prevent people from doing things to help help break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. It was two weeks before, now it’s three weeks. Two weeks is how long it takes to notice if someone has COVID? So making people stop seeing each other makes it so no one can pass it on. (I don’t feel like writing this better. If someone else wants to I’ll edit.) Numbers, hopefully, will go down.

COVID Thing I want to remember

Six.

There is still a woman banging a drum every night at 7 to celebrate essential medical workers in my neighbourhood. I finally saw her last night after near to a year she’s been doing it. She’s in the building diagonal from me. I’ve never seen her before and I don’t know why! It hasn’t been a year, but from last summer for sure. Sometimes she’s been joined by someone with a cow bell. Lately there’s been a rattle. On good nights they’re joined by a local dog barking along.

It’s glorious. And coincides with when I call Mum on Sundays and Wednesdays (or Thursdays if she has tap class).

I just know that at some point it’s just going to stop and I’m not even going to notice because I’ll start being out in the evening: going to plays, to dance class, out to dinner. I’m going to be at home one night, quiet and between things, and something will be missing, and I’m not going to know what it is.

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 50

Entry 50!

Pandemic Thing I want to Remember

4. I have a shoebox on my dresser where I keep my masks. I put it there early on, almost a year ago now, as soon as I I had a number of masks in my mask collection. “What am I going to do with these?” I asked myself. “Oh here’s a shoebox.”

Sometimes my masks are tidy and folded. Sometimes they are all just sort of there, but at least they have a spot. For a while they were all packaged in individual zip-lock bags. Now there are sortof bags stuffed in there for if if need one.

Clean masks only in the box. I have one I don’t clean every time hanging on a hook on the bathroom door. This is the yellow on that Kimberly made for me (or… made and then decided I should have and sent it to me!). It has a sturdy wire over the nose and is the only mask I have that doesn’t make my glasses foggy. I keep it separate to use around the apartment building for if I have to take out the garbage, or to fetch the mail or do my laundry, or go get something from the car. You know. Things around the apartment building. I should note there is a distinction between doing things around the apartment building and doing things everywhere else. When I go out anywhere- which is to say to the office or for groceries, I will stick in my contact lenses. This is because foggy glasses make me angry. Like, ragey angry, (and they have ever since I was a little girl). Contacts just eliminate the problem.

I’ve been hand washing my masks right when I get home. I wash my hands and then wash my mask right then.

I have a little laundry bag that I use for if I put them in the wash.

Writing this I notice that I’m bored of masks. But I will appreciate these details later.

I didn’t write about all the places I have to wear a mask (everywhere) (everywhere indoors, that is) (everywhere indoors that’s a public place grawwwwwwwwk). Today it was in dance class (noticeable and weird for the first few classes, but now, not so much- I found one that fits well so I don’t fidget with it the whole time.)

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 49

During my couple of weeks vacation last October I was sorting through my paper archive and making them into a digital archive. That was discussed here, in Entry 39! I’m on holiday again now, so it has occurred to me to follow up with that project and perhaps finish it. Maybe? I don’t know. The external hard drive I got to store said archive on BROKE, so that was concerning, and not conducive to encouraging me to digitize more. (I was able to save my digital archive before it crapped out so at least there’s that, I suppose.)

As I was going through all of my old papers and notes and things, I realized that I never really took the time to sit back and reflect on everything I learned at university. For example, I spent a great deal of my university years (ages 19 through 24 approx) reflecting on my teen years and childhood, both as a part of leaving them behind as I became an adult, but also mining them for story ideas as I completed my degree in creative writing. I needed lots of ideas on a regular schedule, and those years were at hand for inspiration and as the obvious “write what you know” paradigm.

But what I’ve come to realize is that after university, I was off to the races. I looked more to where I was at the time, and to the future, and what I should do with my life. I looked less to the past. I mean, I totally carried what I learned in university with me: that is definitely my base of knowledge and the perspective through which I view the world. Maybe if I had gone into a more creative career I would have needed to mine it more, but as it turned out, I used only what I needed to keep myself happy creatively, with no pressure to produce.


It could be, too, that at I had a lot of one thing after another through my 20s. I jumped from one educational program to the next, trying to figure out what I should do and what I should be, until I realized/decided that I should be someone who makes money and jumped at a chance to do that.

Nothing is wasted, I’m not saying that, and I’m not regretting anything. It’s interesting looking back, and recalling this chunk of time I’ve never reflected upon before. I’m inspired by what I’ve been through and who I was then, and who I’ve become because of those experiences and that person.

***

One of my favourite parts of looking through old schoolwork is that it documents clearly the development of my writing technique, craft, and voice. Looking at writing in first year and second year is fine. Not great, but fine. can see what I’m attempting. I’m playing around with the format of fiction. There’s some things that are really starting to work.

Then in third year, everything just sucks. I don’t know if maybe I was out partying more, or just hanging out with friends in residence and not working so much on my school work. Or it could be that I was thinking too much: at that point where I’ve figured some stuff out, am getting a grasp on the rules, and just loose some of that natural voice I had before. All my stories from this year seem forced and un-genuine. Looking at them now, because I took care to save even the crap, I wonder what I was thinking, why I even bothered. Holy cow. So bad. I’m surprised I didn’t quit – but the. I probably didn’t notice how atrocious things were.

Fourth year was a bit of a different time for me. I had to learn how to focus. I had a lot going on so I had to get organized exactly what I was focused on and when. I had a job working in wardrobe at the Phoenix theatre on campus, and that took some hours, and in the spring I did a technical internship at the Belfry, which took even more. In between those I was finishing my degree.

While I asked my self why I bothered in third year, looking at writing from fourth year makes my say ahh. This is why. Especially in the second term, I found my voice. And I remember noticing at the time that something was different. I had more confidence, and I knew what I wanted to say, and what I wanted to accomplish with my craft. I spoke up I my workshop classes, because I had things to say about others works, too, where before I was shy. I was published in the student anthology, and read my pice out loud at its launch. (Ok that last one was only after being cornered by the editor in the photocopy shop after not responding to her emails…) Things started to make sense. And I still have the documentation that shows all that. It’s glorious.

Looking at my old schoolwork, I wonder why I didn’t just do this, or that, the answer being so obvious to me now. I start editing my work. It would have worked better in such-and-such a way. But of course I didn’t know then what I know now. That’s why I was in school. Thank goodness that’s something I did.

COVID-19 Journal Entry 48

I did something yesterday that I don’t usually do. It went thusly:

I was all ready to walk to work with my running shoes and backpack, but as soon as I stepped outside I discovered it was raining. This was despite me looking out the window before I left the apartment and seeing no rain. (In the rain’s defence, it was still a little dark out, and none of the puddles I use as a gauge for rain has not yet formed). So not wanting to put up with this, I got in my car and drove instead.

As I drive I predicted that the rain would stop as soon as I parked. I was right.

What I don’t usually do is drive to work since it only takes about 5 min and it’s just as worthwhile to walk. Also, if there is any way of talking myself out of driving, I will. But it was raining big *plop plop* rain so I felt encouraged to not walk.

Lindsie’s policy in regards to her commute.

  • Walk most days, unless:
    1. It’s raining and I don’t want to walk, or
    2. I’m tired and I don’t want to walk, or
    3. I have to transport something heavy and I don’t want to carry it, or
    4. My feel hurt, or
    5. I feel like driving
  • Policy is subject to change when I feel comfortable taking the bus again

I’m on my annual birthday holiday for two weeks now. In the scheme of things where I travel somewhere fancy for my birthday every other year, I should be on my way to London or Mexico right now. This isn’t a very well established scheme since it’s only happened once, but I had vague plans to do it again. In true COVID fashion, I have instead purchased three flavours of coconut-based frozen dessert … that’s not even a little bit the same thing! There are such glorious vegan desserts in London I could be sampling.

Vegan Dessert, circa March 23, 2019

COVID-19 Journal Entry 47

My mental health coping mechanism throughout the winter months has been to write something every day. Almost every evening since November 1 I’ve written 700 or 1000 or 1300 words of a continuous narrative. The content of this is less important* than the fine sense of accomplishment I had every day having completed a little chunk of story. It’s been nice to have something to focus on, think about, construct. I did it if I was in a good mood, or a bad mood, or too tired.

It’s been mostly a free-writing, get to the next plot point, just get in those words kind of writing. I like doing this at night because I’m less likely to think about what I’m doing too much. I’ve been cozied up on my chair with my big light on, listening to CBC Music (although at first I tried having Corronation St. on at the same time. This was pure folly).

At the beginning of March I decided to keep writing until March 19, which is a Friday. On March 20 I will try reading what I’ve written because I haven’t done that yet and I’ve forgotten what I did in November. Spring time might be a time for editing, but it might be a time for putting it away to pull out later because it suuuuuuuuuuucks and writing is hard and I don’t know why I bother**.

I’m looking forward to reading it. I enjoy reading my own work. I can be quite clever sometimes.

* “content isn’t important” means it’s not fit for human consumption

**This is a stage of the writing process. I don’t mind admitting that I’m really good, and well practiced at this part.

Things I Want to Remember about the Pandemic

(A mostly truthful numbered list of memories)

Number Three: A contant stash of Daiya Cheese Shreds.

A year ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, I bought Daiya Cheese Shreds as “a treat”. I don’t usually buy cheese shreds because I can grate my own cheese. But it’s weird times! Let’s live it up a little. I decided this weekend on the way home from getting another couple of packages during my grocery run that a year of getting a thing doesn’t really constitute a treat anymore and that I don’t really need to buy them anymore. Probably.

Sublist: things I’ve learned about Daiya Cheese Shreds:

  • They have a higher melting point than the cheese I usually use, but do melt eventually
  • They are coated in an oily film. This is extremely apparent when you get near the end of the bag
  • Taste good
  • Taste good on pizza
  • Taste good in macca-chee (though I combine with my usual cheese)
  • Resealable bag it’s packaged in doesn’t stand up in the fridge and flop all over the place.
  • Go on sale a lot
  • Dry out into wee sticks if dropped on the floor and forgotten.
  • Good on a “melt” style sandwich.

COVID-19 Journal Entry 46

I find that thinking about how it’s been a year is overwhelming. The 100% cure for this is to not think about it. Thus, the inspiration for the following chant:

Ice Cream!
ICE CREAM NOW!
And spoon.

Things I Want to Remember about the Pandemic

(The second thing in a list that may or may not be numbered)

Item 2: Going to the liquor store and stocking up with big bottles. I know lots of people have always gone done this, but not me. Especially not with the big bottles. Have I drunk exponentially more than I did before the pandemic? Yes, however this means that I have a wee bit o’ gin in my fizzy water everyday*, maybe a bottle of wine over the weekend. So way more than usual. Do I have a cup o’ wine next to me now? Yes I do. And also ice cream. (Note: ice cream consumption has not changed)

*everyday last spring for sure when it was all treats during the pandemic, and then in to the summer. Around Christmas I decided this wasn’t actually sustainable or healthy so now it’s less.

**Does the topic of my pandemic remembrance topic for the day help with the aforementioned not thinking about the pandemic? No. It makes me think about it more, and in more creative ways.

COVID-19 Journal Entry 45

I stopped writing here for a while because winter was kindof gloomy and my daily routine was kindof repetitive and boring. But spring is here again! My routine is still repetitive and boring but now I feel like sharing it.

Tulips Mean It’s Springtime (growing in my apt. circa Late Feb, 2021)

I have a newish habit of going shopping for my groceries every single Saturday morning around 8am. The time isn’t new for me – I like being into town and out again before there’s any traffic, but I never went every week. I go mostly so I as sure to be driving my car somewhere at least one time every week. I’ve driven to work a few times, just for fun, or just when it’s rainy, but that’s hard to do when it starts to get sunny and bright in the morning. This week was sunny and cold, which is my favorite combination. Sunglasses and mittens!

This week’s groceries afforded me ice cream and celery, which I will not be consuming in combination, but I am excited about each individually. Ice cream, just because it’s ice cream. I sort of forgot about celery? But, if I remember to eat it before it gets droopy, it’s good with hummus. I also bought some grocery-store-sushi, which tasted like grocery-store-sushi, and led to the composition of a new song:

SUSHI FOR BREAKFAST!
SUSHI FOR BREAKFAST!
TRALALALALALALALALALA!
LALALA!


Things I Want to Remember about the Pandemic

(The first in an ongoing, and possibly numbered list)

Number 1: As I may have mentioned five or six times already, since the start of the pandemic (or near the start) I have been working from home at the beginning of the week, and then going into the office on Thursdays and Fridays. Lovely. Since around the end of November, whenever I go into the office I get an email at the start of the day that asks me “Are you sure you don’t got the COVID?” There are then voting buttons where I can select either “Yes! I don’t have the COVID!” or “No! I got symptoms and I’m going home!” Presumably I might have noticed if I had symptoms before I set out for work in the morning, but one never knows how these things work. While I do greatly enjoy clicking the little voting button each day, I’m not sure I’d feel the need to go into the office to click “No.” Note that I still get the email when I’m working at home, but I don’t have to answer it and take great delight in deleting it outright.

COVID-19 Journal Entry 44

Sunday Morning

I’m awake early on a Sunday morning. This is because I was awake early on all the days preceding and so my body is not trained to keep sleeping. On the weekends where I have a flex Monday I can sometimes sleep in a bit, but not much. It’s ok because it’s nice to be up early and start things and have things achieved by noon. Also, early weekend mornings are conducive to afternoon naps.

Today I have ginger turmeric tea steeping. Ginger because my tummy is grumbly; turmeric because it’s part of the tea. It’s too hot to drink so far but I may have to removed the bag before long because the ginger will get too strong. This tea might also be good with some honey – but that’s all the way over in the kitchen and I don’t want to get up.

I’m in my big comfy chair with my feet up. My feet art hurty today, and I have employed my two-socks-per-foot trick to make them feel better. I don’t know if this is a scientific cure, but now their complaints are muffled so I can work in peace.

My feet are sore due to a combination of the following:

  1. My running shoes are likely getting old and not supporting my feet properly anymore. I have been wearing my running shoes instead of either of the two pairs of hiking boots because it wasn’t raining this week when I walked to work
  2. Contemporary dance class in a real studio on Friday evening. My feet aren’t used to being barefoot on a hard floor. My feet always complain after dance class. And during class. Not before class, though, because I don’t tell them I’m going. They don’t get any say on the matter. I’ve been craving a dance class on Friday nights right after work, because I’ve 100% had a dance class at that time for years. I was open to anything but am so happy that it’s contemporary because I can just go and relax (mentally, anyway). This week, unfortunatly, I stomped on my own foot during one exercise. The foot that was stopmed on was all like “Heeeey.” And the other foot was all like “Hehehehe…. I don’t think that’s where I was supposed to go…..”
  3. I went for a walk with Susan on Saturday morning all around and about her neighbourhood. She tour-guided me all around MacAuley Point park, pointing out wildlife and plants, and sharing history. A good walk and a a good visit with Susan, who I haven’t seen in person for a long time.

Admittedly, much of 2 and 3 could have been mitigated by paying more attention to 1. But it doesn’t matter because I have plans to rest today. In my comfy chair. I have a few issues of Vanity Fair (the magazine) to catch up on. I thought I’d read them all, but then I found a hidden cache, most likely set aside when I was tidying. I’m working on September’s issue. Alternating with articles from that, I’ve started reading Outlander, the first in the Outlander series that everyone else has already read or watched (or in among the first? I don’t know if there are prequels, as sometimes occurs with serieses). I’ve heard about it for years, and know the gist of what it’s about, but here I am reading it now. It will be the second book I’ve read this year, and, should I finish, I will be well on my way to breaking my 4-books-in-a-year record I set last year.

Reading Material, circa Jan 17, 2021.

One of my favorite Sunday morning things is the CBC radio show In Concert, which is four hours of classical music. It’s usually themed, and the host will provide history or context of the music in between works, or do readings. It works well to have on while I am reading or writing. I also like to listen to it online and from a different time zone so instead of listening to it from 11am-3pm (pacific, and it’s proper broadcast time) it’s on from 8 until noon (from the Ontario time zone). I don’t know what the theme is today, or if there is one, because I haven’t been paying attention.