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:
The word of today is impatience, because I’ve had a package waiting for me at the post office since Monday and I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet. I kept making plans to go for a walk during lunches on my work at home days, but I had other things to do (naps, dishes, etc). Rather, other things to do that distracted me from remembering to go. Or, as yesterday, I was plotting my plan and then realized I’d have to get properly dressed before leaving the house, and do decided to go on another day. Today! While I’m out and about after working at work. I’m impatient now for work to be over.
Last week I was on vacation from work. I spent 2.5 days of that time sorting and organizing all my art/craft/stationary supplies. Everything was sorted at some point, but since I have accumulated more stuff, things had become unconsolidated. Now all this stuff is categorized and grouped together. For example: 3 categories of paper: paper for making into things or drawing upon; decorative paper; and printed materials that might at some point be glued onto other paper, or hung on a wall. It’s very satisfying to have things organized. Also, I know where things are if I wish to start a project. Some of the paper from the first category above has had some paint placed upon it in an artistic fashion.
I drove to work today for the first time ever in Victoria. The reason is that I have an appointment to have my hair cut after work and I need someplace to leave my stuff. The COVID-19 policy sent from the hair place specifically says to leave all extra stuff in your car. “But what if I don’t have a car?!” I asked to no one in particular. But I do have a car, I just have to move it somewhere closer to the hair place for the day (i.e. downtown) for it to be useful in this instance.
I left early because I didn’t know what the parking situation is downtown these days. It turns out that there is lots of parking and is not something I need to worry about if I choose to drive again. I have kept meaning to, on rainy days or whatever but I keep forgetting. I like my walk in.
I walked into work today. My route takes me across the front of the Legislature building, where there is a nice wide sidewalk. There is also sometimes a security guard or two to say good morning to. It is possible for me to walk across the Legislature’s lawn but I usually don’t in the morning because it is wet from dew or rain, and also because there is usually bunch of geese hanging out there and I do not want anything to do with geese. Today, however, I found them not on the lawn of the Legislature, but in the park around the Empress Hotel. Sitting like the owner the place, which they don’t. They totally stared at me as if to remind me to mind my own business, which I totally was!
I haven’t been driving my car since the pandemic started because I have nowhere to go. I run it around periodically to make sure it will still go- mostly I just drive around for half-an-hour or so, but I did a big grocery shop, too (specifically to a grocery store that was next to a liquor store that had the cider I wanted to buy). On Tuesday I had a dentist appointment and I was planning to drive to save some time and to be in contact with few people than if I would have walked. But of course, when I had to be at a place at a certain time the car wouldn’t start. All the lights came on so it wasn’t the battery. So a bit of a worry, but I had to get to my appointment. I walked to the dentist no problem, and as I had my teeth cleaned I set a plan to call my mechanic to find out what to do. When I got home I thought I’d go try and start it again and pay attention to what was going on so I could tell the mechanic, if that would even help. I don’t know. But, of course, now the car started, no problem. We went for a wee drive just because we could.
I’m at work as I write this, a move change of scenery. The above I wrote on my morning break, and now I’m on lunch. A late lunch, but I got to doing things. I often go for a walk on my lunch break, but I don’t wanna.
Oh right, the dentist. I went for a teeth cleaning. I wore my mask as soon as I entered and wore it until my hygienist had me seated, and then put it back on when the cleaning was complete. I wasn’t sure about putting it back on, but I only wore it from the doorway of the practice to the chair. (Actually I wore it for a while just outside the door for 10-15 minutes while waiting to be let inside.) My hygienist was suited up head to toe and I never saw her face. She was nice, nevertheless. I was just as chatty and charming as I usually am when I go for a cleaning so nothing new there. When my hygienist asked if I needed any supplies I asked for a selection of floss, because having a choose of flosses makes it fun (for me, at least). I got two little packs and some flossing sticks (?) which look super fun.
I’ve figured out how order groceries for delivery from Thrifty Foods. I’ll see how that goes. The online part is easy once I get over the idea of waiting a week for my order- that’s when there are delivery times available. I’m getting a cabbage! And other things. If I find this pleasing I won’t have to go to any stores unless I run out of liquor.
My office is on the corner of Fort and Cook Streets in Victoria. At street level on Fort Street there is an MLA constituency office, an H&R Block, a yoga studio and a Subway. My seat is right about the H&R Block and is currently identifiable by a number of brightly coloured hearts I have taped up in the window. When I look out said window I can see the apartment building and antique store across the street on Fort Street. I can also see the new condo/shops building on Cook Street. A restaurant or coffee place just opened this week on one of the corners of that and people have been spaciously gathered near there consuming something. I haven’t gotten close enough to see what the establishment is exactly. My co-worker looked them up and said they have smashed avocado and that’s it, so this could explain the popularity.
I took a walk along Cook Street yesterday morning (Friday, May 15) in the direction of the water and Cook St. Village. So… south. I had a tiny gift to deliver to a friend I hadn’t seen in weeks and weeks. I asked her if I could come drop it off at the doorway of her apartment building, which is just off Cook. She was fine with that. She’s been working at home for two months; we text occasionally and discuss how working at home is faring, and the contents of our delivered produce boxes, etc.
I made my delivery into her hands by both reaching my arm out and leaning back the rest of me. We had a short, well-distanced chat which was super lovely.
Later, at my lunch break, I walked in the other direction along Cook Street, up to the other village that is located on Cook Street. This was a scarier walk as the sidewalks are narrow with no grassy divider like there was in the other direction, and also there were so many people. It all made me a little grumpy. I went to get vegan ice cream from Cold Comfort, where they have set up a pick-up window, which was jolly. I got minty cocolate or something. I haven’t opened it to see how that is organized: whether it’s chocolate ice cream with mint, or minty vanilla ice cream with choco bits. Usually it’s the latter, I know, but for now it’s a mystery.
One thing I noticed while trying to line up was a cluster of young women… clustered. Not physically distancing at all. They were considering the menu, what to get. And when they decided, they all took individual spots in the line up as marked out by stripes of tape. So they went from a group, and then distanced, and then reconvened into a group and went to the park. So distancing when it was mandated, by the tape, but not otherwise. I was annoyed at them more for hanging out in a cluster by the menu and making it look like they were in line, so I got in line behind them (way behind them) but then it turned out that they were hiding the actual line with the tape markings and everything on the other side of the window. So while they were taking their time deciding, I could have gotten in line before they did!?? Stupid cluster.
I was reading my bird book today. My mum gave it to me last year last year or the year before from her collection of bird books because it’s about birds in Victoria and that’s where I live. I accepted it at the time but questioningly, as I have no interest in nature, which she knows and which I probably mentioned at the time. But I am interested in books, and it has illustrations of birds, not photos, which I find endearing and intriguing. So I have a bird book.
I also have a number of friends who, while I walk with them, will both notice birds and then identify them by type. (I was going to say that my friends “name” the birds, which sounds like they give them names in an “I’ll call you Ed” sort of way. But no.) I am always a little impressed by this, since I rarely notice birds when I’m out and about on my own (except for seagulls flying overhead) and I never know what they’re called. (I could name them though, if I wanted. For example. “Hey Ed, don’t poop on me.”) So I may have taken the book with this in mind, to learn more about birds.
It’s only sort of worked so far. I definitely notice birds now, even if I’m on my own. I’ve even stopped a few times to take a better look. I imagine at some point I will note down identifying features and run home to look them up in my book. This hasn’t happened yet. That connection is still to be made. I will notice birds. I will look at the book at random, other times. I don’t know what I’ve seen and I can identify them. It is a work in progress for me. I feel a big step was overcome when I started acknowledging the existence of nature, so I feel I deserve some sort of prize.
It has gotten warm the past couple of days. Yesterday was the day it snuck up on me and I wondered why I was sweating-doing-nothing in the late afternoon. The reason was that it was nearing 26 degrees and I was wearing heavy winter socks.
This morning I woke and it was already 24 degrees inside. I face easy, and so my apartment is heated by the the sun all morning. Conversely, my evenings are cool, and I thinks this to be a fine trade. As a bonus, I get the glare of the sunset reflected off the apartments across from me – all the light, but none of the heat.
My apartment was so warm in the afternoon yesterday that I had to escape for a while out to the balcony, which was equally warm but featured an occasional breeze. I don’t spend a lot of time on the balcony because it is quite exposed: neighbouring apartment buildings are quite close, but also I am a cool being and it’s too cold out there for most of the year. Generally I am out there only, as was the case yesterday, when the temperature is equal to or higher than it is inside.
I took a book out with me to read, and a tea poured into the right-sized travel mug so as to fit in the drink holder in my deck chair. The book wasn’t the one I’ve advertised here before (“Midnight’s Children” by Salman Rushdie), which is still on the go, but another – “Quicksilver” by Neal Stephenson, which I started last summer and never finished. I have read it several times before but I still would like to finish. It’s an easier read. It does, however, have two massive sequels, which I am debating getting on to when I am done. I was going through my bookshelves recently and I have many books I haven’t read yet, so I may conquer some of those first. Or I might get to the small stack I keep on my dresser that have bookmarks in them at various points of completion. This stack was moved from my bedside table when they got too dusty.
Yesterday, just before fully acknowledging the heat in my apartment, I prepared myself a cup of tea. It was decaffeinated English Breakfast, and I’ll provide some background on why I was so ridiculously excited to be drinking it.
About a 18 month ago, I noticed that I was getting really dizzy for no apparent reason. It would approach is a sudden wave and I would have to spend the rest of the day in bed, unable to do anything. While I am used to dizziness – it’s one of the symptoms of my dairy allergy- this was different. My usual dizziness was never do debilitating, as in, I could keep functioning with my day, if maybe taking a break from any turning exercises in dance class. Anyway, I eventually noticed that these waves of dizziness were occurring just after I consumed caffeine, and so as an experiment, I eliminated coffee, tea, and chocolate. Also, fun fact: there is still a wee bit of caffeine in decaffeinated tea, and yes, I was reacting to that as well.
Most people I chatted with about this were sad for me, but I have never been a big coffee drinker, and my tea and chocolate consumption had mostly been confined to treats on the weekend anyway, as they trigger my asthma, and I like to be able to breath during my dance classes during the week. And once gone completely, I didn’t miss the highs and lows of caffeine; that I mostly drank coffee for the masses of sugar I needed to drink it; and spending more than I should at Starbucks.
I’ve slowly been introducing myself back to chocolate for the past few months with not too bad reactions, and yesterday I had my first real, albeit decaffeinated tea in almost a year and a half. It was glorious and coated my tongue is that tea residue or whatever it is that I had forgotten about. Result: small woozy-headed reaction, but not the full on dizzy I’d experienced before. I’m pretty pleased. I’ve been enjoying no-caffeine-involved-at-all herbal teas, but they are not the same as a hearty Earl Grey or English Breakfast. I’ll try another cup later in the week or next weekend. I don’t want to overdo it and have to cut them out completely again. And I might not try the full caffeine versions for a while yet. Or ever?
I finally watched the BBC version of Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility. Look. Here are Elinor and Edward practicing physical distancing. Very responsible.
This week was the week with a headache, so I retreated to my cozy bed most evenings immediately following work. To watch the aforementioned S&S so not too bad. Oooh it was also the week where I got veggies and fruit delivered to my apartment in a box, so that was both entertaining and fulfilling. This made it so I didn’t have to go to the grocery store, so bonus.
Also, here is some ballyhoo from my facebook this evening.
I left myself many chores to do tonight after work. It is my only free evening this week, so I wanted to dedicate it to my final pack and to finish up tidying my house. I predicted I would get frantic with nervousness doing this, finding the last things to do before my trip. I leave early on Saturday so there won’t be much time for last minute dishes, etc, while I wait to go; but, thusly, I am anxious to be ready to go. I get fussy before a trip, making sure my house will be left clean: recycling out, kitchen counters wiped, bed made. These are things that I don’t care about on a day-to-day basis. But when I’m leaving for a big trip, I like to look around before I leave and know I’ve left things in order. Extra especially, I love coming home to a clean apartment.
Secret: I could have left that sentence as “I love coming home.”
This week my excitement for my trip has turned into anxiousness and a sort of pre-homesickness. It started last Friday when Susan and I were deciding where to meet for dinner. I had suggested something new, but then realized I was craving a familiar location, in anticipation of all the new places I’ll soon be visiting. And all of the situations I would have no such control over.
I wrote in my last post about how much I enjoyed spending Thanksgiving with my family, and that was part of this need for the familiar, or in this case, the hyper-familiar, the very foundation of familiarity. It was hard to leave.
I’m not sure why I’m so pre-homesick this time. I keep reminding myself that three weeks, while a longer trip than I’ve been on for a while, isn’t that long. I wrote as I was leaving for Mexico last year how homesick I felt – so it’s part of the trip, and I know it goes away. I have some ideas of why it hit me early this time:
I’ve been on three airplane trips this year! So fun! But I haven’t had enough time to forget how much waiting and impatience there is to airplane travel. I usually plan trips with more of a gap in between to fully recover. (And to save up money again…. but I’m not thinking about that part right now.)
Travelling somewhere completely foreign all by myself! Scary!
It’s October and I should be getting ready for cold-weather hibernation – I’m leaving a bit later in the month than I usually do. I’m looking around my tidy and cozy house and thinking I would be a better choice to just stay here for three weeks.
The anticipation of not having control over things while being on a tour: most days are planned with sightseeing, accommodation is pre-planned and assigned, restaurants are usually chosen by the guide. These are all things that I am happy to have organized for me, and is why I like to pay to go on a tour! But I live alone and is pretty much do as I like in normal life, so following along takes a little adjustment, even if it does make complete sense and I’m so glad to be traveling this way.
I think too much about things.
I planned to fret and pack and clean tonight, Thursday, because still have one more sleep after this before I go. My plan for Friday night is to relax and be calm.
Truth: I am only ever nervous for a trip until I get on my first form of transportation. Then a little bit just before I meet with the rest of the tour group. Then I’m fine.
My List of Thursday Evening Chores
Clean bathroom sink and toilet
Pack few remaining items
Water bottle in suitcase or carry-on?
Long or short phone charger cord?
Have a bath
Bump elbow against corner of towel bar
Weird arm-wriggly cry-dance of pain
Is lower arm paralysis a thing?
Study peeling blisters on the bottoms of my big toes
I’m going to China in 10 days. Here are some things.
A) I have to remember how to do blog posts because I haven’t written any for a year. I’ve noticed that if I want the date to show at the top of my post, I have to enter it in the section marked “title” in my template here. I have always resisted using “titles” for my blog posts due to being lazy: e.g. it’s hard to summarize a post into a few words. Also: labels, schmabels. I seem to have done it today with little to no fuss on my part. We’ll see what happens in editing.
B) I am remembering how to blog, and setting it up for people to read even though I may not be able to post anything from China due to their unique internet strategy. I may end up writing some things and then posting later.
*** Note that blog posts, however, are separate from being able to contact Mum to assure her I am safe. I have several methods to to ensure this happens.***
C) I learned today that I can ask to refill my prescriptions early so I have enough for my whole trip. It’s not that I wouldn’t be allowed at all, but the question was whether my insurance would pay. All it took was for my pharmacist to enter a code in their computer, and me signing a wee disclosure and now I am fully stocked and will be able to breathe for the duration of my trip. Speaking of breathing, I forgot to ask about getting a mask in case the pollution in Beijing is a hindrance. I’ll go in and ask about it tomorrow or the next day– I’ve been in around 6 times now asking about travel things. One thing at a time, as I think of them or remember. I know I should have made a list, and made one spectacular visit, but the pharmacy is right across the street from my workplace, and I need things to do on my breaks.
Familiar, well-travelled suitcase.
D) I’ve been packed since Saturday. Partly this is because I’ll be in Duncan over Thanksgiving weekend and I wasn’t sure I’d have time to pack next week… but more I love packing and I’m impressed I could even wait that long.
P.S. If you keep reading down my blog you’ll find my Mexico trip from a year ago. I know this isn’t made clear or obvious, but I wasn’t into using descriptive titles as much last year as I am now.
This morning Julie and I went into old town Hoi An and we’re fitted for clothing and shoes. So many choices, but we went to Yaly first, which Julie noticed was quite quality. I chose a suit made of a dark blue linen/cotton blend. Pretty basic. And a white linen/cotton tunic-type blouse. Pretty cheap. Julie has a whole bunch of dresses being made for her, an had fun designing them with her associate from the store.
It was a lovely experience at Yaly. We were there at opening (we are keeners) and we’re each claimed by an associate. Then we were taken into a room where we looked at books of tear sheets and placed bookmarks when we saw something we liked. I had a book labelled ‘suits’. Once I showed my associate (her name is Tanya) that I knew what I wanted she took me to look for fabrics.
The walls of Yaly are covered in bolts of fabric. Tanya first showed me the section with wool and cashmere, but I wanted linen so she showed me those instead. Lots of colours to choose from. I knew exactly what I wanted when I saw it and Tanya yanked it out from the wall and let me touch and explained the price. Then some cotton for my blouse (off-white because the white-white was too white). Then to the back further into the store to choose from a wall of polyester linings (cotton lining cost more – and I don’t think I’ve had a cotton lining for anything.) I chose white with blue and black stripes. I was tempter to get bright pink, but no.
I then had my picture taken against a wall with height markings. I had to stand facing front, to the side and to the back. Very scientific, or I have been very secretly arrested. Then Tanya measured me – old school, with a tape measure. Unfortunately I don’t have a regular bra with me (only sports bras) so Tanya added a bit to my chest measurement.
I have an appointment for my first fitting tomorrow at 12:30. I might need a second fitting tomorrow night, and they’ll deliver to my hotel when everything is done.
Very relaxed at Yaly. The associates are all in uniforms of an asian dress with the slit and pants beneath. They all carry a little purse with supplies.
After Yaly, we ventured into the cloth market, where I was expecting to browse, but we were picked up right away by a vendor and led deep inside to her stall. The cloth market is made up of stalls full of bolts of fabric and taylors. All the tayors want to make you things.
Our taylor sat us down and gave us wated and caught our attention by saying she had linen (caught Julie’s attention-I was still like whaaaaat’s going on??) They had books of tear sheets too, which we promptly started looking through, while the taylor bantered. There was a whole handful of swatches of linen. I found a pair of pants I wanted made of linen, and chose a colour, then since I was there, found a blouse I wanted to, and the taylor showed me some nice cotton (the non-wrinkle, washable kind). She also described how she could alter the design along the neck, and could make the sleeves quarter-length. I’ve ordered two.
Then, the friend of the taylor approached us and invited us to her shoe stall across the road from the cloth market. This was in the shoe market, I guess: there were a lot of shoe stalls. Same thing: looking through books and choosing the leather we wanted for shoes. I’m getting some red flats.
As we were leaving the shoe maker’s, another woman approached us trying to get us to buy souvenirs, or do threading, or get a tattoo. By this time, however, we needed a rest and lunch. It was kind of hard to escape.
We have a series of fittings to attend tomorrow morning. I have much less money now.