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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I worked from home today. I didn’t work at home yesterday as it was my flex day. I am making fun of myself for remembering to not work on my flex day this week, as there was one recent flex day that I did work, despite there being at least three clues to tip me off. I noticed eventually what day it was, but it was in the mid-afternoon, so there was really no point in stopping. To be fair, it was the very first day after my sick leave, and that was the day after Labor Day Monday, which was confusing, as my flex day for that week was on the Tuesday in loo. I was just excited to get back into my routine.
Yes. “In loo.” That’s how I spell it. It’s funny.
My routine includes some exercise again, now that I can do some. This is both a relief and a nuisance, since I would rather not do any exercise. My default is “lazy” and I got into the habit of physical fitness through practice and personal nagging. I also got into the habit by investing much money and commitment into dance classes, which I am not participating in this year. In usual times, dance class provides regular dates and times for physical movement, in addition to the progressive advancement through the year that means it’s better to not miss any pre-arranged classes for fear of missing out on fun technique, chunks of choreography, or prime placement in a dance routine.
Do I miss dance class? A bit. Do I miss exercise? No. Do I have to remember to do some exercise anyway? Yes. And this week I have. It was only last week that I could do anything for a sustained amount of time after being sick, so that felt good, but the novelty has already worn off! I tried leaving my yoga mat out on my living room floor so I might be encouraged to plop down and do some stretching, but it just got leaves all over it (I don’t know where the leaves came from, or why they were all over my yoga mat. There were no leaves anywhere else). All I wanted to do all weekend was watch West Wing and colour in my colouring book.
Ooooh I also wanted to eat. I had some minty chocolate chip ice cream, and also big bowls of food all weekend. I have to stop eating so much. Not just because I’m plumping up from eating a lot and not moving, but also because I keep eating way too much at a meal and then feeling bleh afterwards. Smaller portions! For now. I tried this today and I feel better.
One of my favourite words is “plump.” I named a doll Plump when I was little, which I find hilarious now, but at the time I thought it was the most beautiful name. I was four. Four-ish. Or three. However old and three-quarters because I got plump for Christmas. She has short, super straight blond hair and blinky-eyes.
I also like the word “loo.” It can also be spelled “Lieu” but that’s for fancy people who maybe don’t want it to seem like they are referencing a bathroom. It sounds the same, fancy people!
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.
The other day I wrote about forgetting ideas that come into my head at random moments, and then remembering them; and then trying to record ideas instead so I don’t forget them.
Since writing that entry, I’ve developed a new system of capturing these ideas: I started a new Note in the Notes app on my phone with the title “Blog Ideas”. While setting that up, I found an idea I wrote a year or so ago that was meant to go up on Facebook, or here, but never made it.
Egg Salad Sandwishes
September 7, 2019
Usually when I want an egg salad sandwich, I think of Subway, and then talk myself out of going there because I usually have eggs at home so I can make my own. And usually I don’t want to do that so I go without. But not today!
P.S. My home made egg salad sandwiches are much better than Subway’s due to the 50/50 egg to parsley ratio.
It’s been a while since I’ve kept a regular journal like this. I was looking back in my archive the other day (looking for evidence of the last time I read Mrs. Dalloway – there was none) and I was reminded that I used to practice my journal writing on a far more regular basis than I do now. It wasn’t daily, but it was frequent. It reads like I was writing for an audience of me – my voice and sass is clear. I still try to intill my entries with these, but I also try to make them intelligible to other readers – maybe not so many inside jokes – that is, jokes that are only jokes inside of my own head.
Writing a regular journal of my daily life is different than writing a journal when I’m travelling. With travel journaling I can fall back on just expanding my daily itinerary if I can’t think of anything else. Or just describe the scene around me. Everything is interesting when I’m on adventure.
At the beginning of COVID, when we had all just gone into lockdown, we were all on an adventure. Lots of new experiences to reflect upon. Now as I settle into the new normal, it’s less an adventure (ok, “adventure”) and more routine – and routine was what I didn’t want to be writing about when I stopped journaling. Routine isn’t interesting. I’d be writing the same thing everyday. Ironic maybe that I have even less to write about now that I’m at home most of the time, and yet here I am still writing about it (with, admittedly, some breaks). It’s like phone calls with my mum. We decided to up our weekly phone calls to twice a week, and we make fun of how we shouldn’t have anything to talk about since we aren’t doing anything. But one weekly one-hour call has turned into 2 two-hour calls per week. We still manage to find things to talk about.
Since I’m writing more regularly now, I’ve remembered some habits I should be following. I don’t know if I’m just older now and forgetful, or if i’m just way out of practice, but a really god habit I need to reintroduce is to write down any idea that comes to me right away. I keep thinking of really good ideas and then forgetting them, but not forgetting that I had an idea, just what it was. Then I get that hollow weird brain feeling where I know I’m missing something but can’t remember what.
I did this last week during lunch break during one of my office days. I was walking back along Cook Street after buying ice cream and had the greatest idea for a journal entry.
“This would make a good journal entry,” I thought to myself, and started composing. But then I was distracted by walk signals, and navigating around people on the sidewalk. I was even distracted by my organizing the rest of my work day – should I write said journal entry during my break later or save it for after work?
By the time I was back at the office, and stored my ice cream in the freezer, the idea was gone. I was back at my desk for a while before I remembered that I’d had an idea. But what was it? Nope. Gone.
I never do this, but I totally retraced my thoughts back to try and retrieve it. It was just that good of an idea. I had it before I approached the intersection with Pandora Street. Then I passed the man with the beard, turned my head away from him because the sidewalk was narrow and there was traffic. I crossed Pandora even though the light was flashing don’t walk, but I made it ok, and it’s a one-way street so no one was turning right. Then just a short wait for the next light to turn – I stared over a the bus stop and that’s when I decided I had a good idea for a journal entry. When I crossed Cook Street, a truck had to wait while I crossed – if I hadn’t crossed at the last minute across Pandora he wouldn’t have had to wait. There was fencing up around the grass along the parkway along Pandora. Was this where people had been camping at the start of lockdown? I hadn’t been over here to see. Then passing another pedestrian, but the sidewalk got wider along side the new condo building. There’s a new daycare on the lower level of that – I think that’s the one I read about because the residents of the condo are annoyed that the daycare kids can use their outdoor common area upstairs. Should I work of my journal now when I get back? I might have five minutes left of my lunch break. Or I could use my 15 minutes now instead of later…
I think by that point I had stopped thinking about the idea and then lost it. And I still had that feeling of a vacancy in my memory. (That’s a better way of expressing a “hole in my head” isn’t it?) I replayed my steps a few times. Was I thinking about it before my approach to Pandora? What was I thinking as I left the ice cream store? As I rounded the corner back on to Cook? When had I started thinking about it?
And the *POP* there it was. My fully formed idea. I typed it into the notes on my phone with an exclamation mark! I plan to write about it soon.
I accidentally got up at 5 AM is morning. I do sometimes get up at 5 to go for a walk, but today I forgot that I was up until 1:30 last night watching my new favorite TV show (“Hart of Dixie”). As I progressed on my walk I wondered to myself why I felt so sleepy, since the cool morning air and exercise peps me up early in the morning, and I then I recalled my scant hours of sleep. So. I truncated my walk slightly, walking only 1/3 of the way around James Bay, instead of my usual full circumnavigation, and came home to do some sleepy stretches in my living room. I had breakfast, read one online Vanity Fair article, some headlines on Google news, and then napped for two hours, from 8:15 to 10:15 exactly. I now have CBC Music’s “In Concert” on (in the Mountain time zone feed) and was wandering around my sunny apartment trying to decided what to do next when I started to compose this blog entry. Ta da!
I had a week off last week (not this week just past, but the one before that, the one with Canada Day in it) and as a consequence, I was away from my job office for almost two weeks. When I got back I eventually noticed that some bird has left a creative expression on the window by my desk…
Otherwise, I had a fine couple of days in the office this week. On Friday I went to Subway to collect my supper. I’ve timed it so that instead of going after work at 4:30, when it can be busy, I slip down around 3 or 3:30 on my break, when there is no one there, not even a server. They are usually working in the back and notice me after a few minutes, giving me some time to decide what I want. Or finalize what I’ve already decided on getting. Subway is right under our office, so I don’t worry to much about time. This week I was still scanning the menu and trying to decide when the worker came out – and the fans were loud and from behind the tables they have in front of the ingredients display it’s hard to hear so I think our conversation went like this: