COVID-19 Journal < Entry 18

Cook Street

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.

Birds

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.

Some colouring.

COVID-19 Journal ~ Entry 16

Socks of the Day

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?

COVID-19 Journal Entry 15

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.

October 17 – Two more sleeps

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:

  1. 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.)
  2. Travelling somewhere completely foreign all by myself! Scary!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  • Do dishes
  • 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?
  • Cut nails
  • Study peeling blisters on the bottoms of my big toes
  • Bandage new blister on back of right heel
  • Have maccachee for dinner
  • Finish yogurt
  • Write for Puddlelillies.com
  • “Chores”

October 9, 2019 – China in Ten Days

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.

I'm not taking the basket. Also I think you can see my underpants.

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.

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.

Today.
1) woke up in Halong Bay
2) 4 hour ride back to Hanoi. I napped and listened to music
3)short stint as rice planter. Muddy feet.
4)Much time time spent wandering streets of Hanoi
5)Shopping
6)electic car tour (big golf cart) of streets of Hanoi
5) Water puppet theatre/nap
6) night market
7) packing for tomorrow evening’s overnight train to Hue
8)too tired to write in paragraphs
9)good night.

I have no idea what time it is right now. This is kindof a lie, since I just looked at the in-flight navigator that the passenger in front of me and to the left has up on their monitor (making it so I don’t have to turn on mine.) It’s 12:30 in the night in Taipei, and 9:30 of the morning at home. Currently I’m somewhere over Japan and trying to sleep. Also it’s Wednesday now, so I got a little bit of Tuesday, but otherwise it’s a day that didn’t exist. I wonder what the Lindsie in a parallel universe did on that day. Did it exist for her? Am I the Lindsie in the parallel universe? Probably.

I’ve slept 3 or 4 hours (can’t tell how long. Time is calculated different here.) which is the usual for me on a plane. I would love to sleep longer since it’s a 12 hour flight and time goes faster when you’re asleep.

Musings on having only three days left before my trip to Vietnam.

Today was my last day at work before my trip. It didn’t really hit me, however,  until about ten minutes before I left, when I had a feeling of “now things are starting!”

The day went surprisingly quick for the kind of day it was. I kept finding things to do. Also, people kept coming by to wish me a good time. I feel I deserve points for not only remembering to change the message on my voice-mail, but actually recording it, which is one of my least favorite things to do ever. I deserve extra points for listening to it when I was done to make sure it was audible and sensible. I doubly hate listening to myself. (For assistance, I wrote myself a script a few weeks ago AND set a reminder so I had no excuse whatsoever. Except maybe if I didn’t want to.) I especially enjoyed writing on the vacation board that I won’t be returning until August 11, exactly one month from today.

This evening I started packing and re-packing and generally editing my bags. It was in a bit of a manic fashion so I thought it would be best to leave the house so I’ve come to the studio to watch a bellydance show. This is the group is was in a show with last year, and I didn’t really get to see them, but what I saw- the finale, from a weird angle behind a lot of people- looked interesting. I can’t really pack until I do laundry tomorrow, anyway.

Edit: bellydance-circus fusion.