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.
These are the flowers I walk past on my way to work! They line the walkway leading to the main doors of the Empress Hotel. I love the colours! They look good as I approach, and then they look good close up too! Some of the tulips are starting to fall apart, but that adds to the chaos of colour that’s going on. Part of me wants to do a painting of it, but it is already beautiful and perfect in real life. A painting, even this photo, can’t recreate my delight of seeing these flowers every morning, in the context of the world right now.
Or maybe it can. Is that flower bed six feet across? To be considered later. Is that doorway always roped off? I think it is, but what if it wasn’t?…
Work has been happening, as regularly scheduled. I spend the first part of the week working at home, and then Thursdays and Fridays I’m in the office. This is my rotation so far – we only get a couple weeks’ worth of schedule at a time, because these are strange and unpredictable times.
Friday nights I’ve been getting take-out hamburgers for dinner on my way home. Earl’s has been good to me, but today I found that Bin 4 has a vegan dessert, so they win for now. They also have an app, so I don’t need to make a phone call* – though I did have some human interaction at the door of the establishment when I picked up my order. I think maybe I won’t be so interested in getting take-out if it’s raining, as both places I’ve gone to so far have us waiting outside.
*I don’t like making phone calls, even for burgers. However, making phone calls for burgers isn’t too bad. “I’d like to order a burger for take-out,” is how I started usually. And it went well from there.
Other things I’m thinking about:
I’m tired on the days I go into the office. My job can get physical on some days: I work with files- ordering them in to send to various requestors. These might be single files, but they might be boxes full, and moving them around for the day, or part of the day, can make for tired times. And then because I’m working at home for half the week, by the time I’m in the office there’s lots of files to organize. So it might be that I’m doing that for the whole two days. And then on top of this. I’ve been walking to and from work to avoid public transit (I totally meant to drive today but I completely forgot. It wasn’t raining, I guess? But parking has gone cheap downtown.) That’s about a 40 minute walk one-way. So I’ve been tired after work when I get home.
I keep meaning to watch Sense and Sensibility again. This BBC one. I will soon. It’s a good, meaty version. I keep finding other things to do instead of watching TV, like reading, writing, listening to podcasts, sitting and thinking, playing with my phone. New goal of trying to read book instead of playing with phone so much. Should maybe re-read Sense and Sensibility. I’m making my way through Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. It is rich like black forest cake, so I only consume a little at a time.
My stash of podcasts has dipped below 20 for the first time ever. See the proof above with the number hooked onto the orange icon there. The reason for this is theee-fold:
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately.
I’ve had to delete a lot of podcasts because they were all about COVID-19 and I only need so much information. I subscribe to several daily podcasts and they’ve been almost exclusively COVID-19 related for the past month. Also, some of those are American, and I don’t need in-depth details/stats about how things are going there when I am already overwhelmed with the details/stats I my own jurisdiction.
I’ve had to pause my subscriptions to most of the true crime podcasts I usually listen to. The graphic details included in these have been upsetting me lately, whereas before they were interesting and extreme stories.
Podcasts I’m Enjoying Lately
(these can be googled or searched for in your own podcast app):
This American Life – they’re talking about COVID-19, but in the style This American Life, that is, with cheery stories, or how everyday individuals are coping
Levar Burton Reads – Levar Burton reading short stories. At the end of each reading he reflects a bit on how the story affected him personally, which gives us permission to react to things personally, too.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – because let’s escape into a deep dive of history. I caught up on his latest episodes about the Pacific front of WW2 while making masks.
I made myself a couple of cotton masks last week just to have some and I finally tried one out today – it was the first time I’d been for groceries for a while. I do not like wearing a mask. It makes my face hot and my glasses steam up, even though I have some wire along the nose to prevent this. I got used to it, sort of, and I may just need to wear them more, but I don’t want to. But I’m having trouble remembering to cough into my sleeve, so it takes care of that. Also, I got a compliment, so that always helps.
I went for a walk yesterday morning just before sunrise. The only creatures I had to physically distance myself from were these geese. Confession: I try to physically distance myself from all geese, at all times, as geese are bastards. Beautiful and majestic, yes. Also bastards. I spotted these ones from a ways away, and considered crossing the street to avoid them. Instead, I got real close and took a photo. Correction – I was six feet away, at least. Additional information: this was next to the legislature.
As I walked (yesterday morning) the sun came up and the landscape turned pinkish. Delightful. I didn’t walk today because I woke up late and got up and did chores! such as cleaning the bathroom and washing the dishes.
I did overly good with food this week. I pre-made a bunch of food last weekend: fish-rice-beans dinner; quinoa salad for lunches at work; oatmeal for breakfasts at work; soup. And then there was leftover quinoa and rice to finish up. Upon calculation I realized that I would have to eat some of those thing at meals all week, and not have to make anything extra like macaroni and cheese. I think I managed to have some macaroni and cheese anyway??
On Wednesday night after work I meant to order and take out a burger from Earl’s- because it’s on my way home from the office and it’s a regular spot I’d like to support. This idea was quashed because I forgot my wallet at home (and I’d need the credit card in there to pay.. it took me a while to connect this fact to my plan to purchase food…) I got it on Thursday instead. Earl’s in downtown Vic has a table set up at it’s side door for take out orders.
My chest/ribs area hurt today so I thought I had a lung infection or something dire. As the hours went on, however, the pain developed and now I’m pretty sure I’ve strained my muscles doing a new Pilates exercise.
I texted with chums today. Susan and Amber, and also Mum. We are all dealing. Back in the regular times if I wanted to text someone I’d be all worried that my chosen recipient might be busy and I wouldn’t want to disturb them. And oh and fret. Not so lately. And we all commiserate.
List of things to do tomorrow:
Go to work
Do not go shopping at breaks or lunch
Come home, without stopping for groceries on the way
I stayed in bed until three today. Mostly. I got up around 10 and had some food, but by the time The Queen came on I was back. After that, I just rested for a while with my eyes closed. Not napping, just thinking of things. Story ideas. Imaginary settings and happenings. Not obsessing or panicking or being paranoid or anything (as I made sure to emphases to Mum during our Sunday evening phone call. Just relaxing and being fine. It was a nice afternoon.
I have a really cozy bed. Oh, actually, just as I was about to get up at three, Jennifer Ehle started reading her daily chapter(s) from Pride and Prejudice on Instagram, so I stayed and listened to that for a bit, and then took her out into the kitchen so I could continue to listen as I did dishes. It’s nice to have something familiar (REALLY familiar) to listen to everyday. P&P is not stressful, and the parts that might be a little stressful (an elopement! merciful heavens!) I know they are approaching and how they are resolved. I also enjoyed watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Coat (I know all the words) for the same reason. I anticipate a binge of some Marvel movies soon, and probably more Jane Austen. My comfort things.
There’s still parsley growing in the pot on my balcony! I used some (but not all) for my parsley rice at luppertime today. Mmm. Parsley makes me happy. Also: paisley.
Look I’ve reached 10 entries of COVID-musings. How long will it go? Will I run out of punctuations for the titles? Stay tuned.
I miss my routine. On Fridays for the past lots of years I should have a dance class. For a long time it was floor barre. This year and last it’s been flamenco. Friday evening at 5pm right after work is a lovely time for a dance class – especially flamenco where I can stomp my week away. (Also floor barre, which was a nice stretch for the end of the week.)
The last couple times I visited my parents house I cleared out a bunch of my old junk and brought it home with me for consideration of what to do with it next. One of the things is this little metal file box,
The stickers on it are garbage. The top one is a “not to be removed until delivered to customer” label that I think I peeled off the bottom of the folding chair I used to use at my desk. The blue Pet Shop Boys sticker was on the front of a CD. “Hunting Humans” was a show at the Duncan Fringe Festival in 1993 or 1994. Not pictured is a price label from my copy of “The Cunning Man” by Robertson Davies (a fave in my later teenage years), purchased at Book Warehouse.
The box is meant to hold 3×5 inch index cards. And so it does!
Between approximately 1991 through 2002ish I wrote the details of every book I read on an index card and kept it here. There used to be tabs of the alphabet, sorting the cards by author. And, admittedly, there were two boxes for a while, divided at the Mc/Macs because that’s a lot of card and they’re hard to flip through when they’re packed in so tight like that. And also for some reason I had two boxes- the other one was also metal but had a red plaid pattern and has currently been appropriated to collect money from the egg sales dad has set up next to the garage. I’m not sure where the alphabet cards got to.
As pictured above you can see “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood. I would include the publication date, as well, because that seems like something that should be included on an index card. On the right hand side is the genre, with a little note below noting that it’s “mine” – I own a copy. The rest of the card might sometimes be dedicated to a copy of the blurb on the back of the book, copied verbatim, occasionally edited for space, as a reminder of what the book is about. Sometimes there would be a note somewhere saying that I really liked it. I would write the date I finished each book on the back of the card– on some cards there are multiple dates. I finished “The Blind Assassin” on July 25, 2003 (although I don’t think that’s the first time I read it, because I bought it when it was published in 2000.)
It would have been super cute now if I could tell you exactly when I read “The Cunning Man” that I mentioned buying before, however, there’s no card for that so I wasn’t consistent. I can tell you that the first time I finished reading “Pride and Prejudice” was February 4, 1994. I always knew this datakeeping would come in handy some day.
Today was my first day back at work after vacation last week. “Vacation.” Just a pause from work. Today was also my first day of our COVID-19 schedule at work: two days in the office and the rest working at home. So I was in the office today, and will go back on Friday, but the middle days will be work-from-home days. It is a relief to work from home, because getting to and from work, and then being at work is awkward and confusing with having to keep 2 meters from others. But being in the office is nice because I get to chat with real life people for a full conversation – just 2 meters apart, and sometimes with cubicle glass in between, too.
I had some thoughts while trying to navigate this new reality. About walking to and from work:
Good idea to leave earlier in the morning as there are far less people to avoid
Good to wear hiking boots because a) it was raining this morning, but also b) so I can walk on the grass or in mud to create 2 meters around people.
Am I being too literal with the 2 meters thing? This is outside. Lots of people don’t seem to care– most sidewalks aren’t 6 feet across and we end up 2 or 3 feet apart. Lots of people are balancing on the very edge of the sidewalk to make space, but it’s not enough. They’d actually have to go off the side walk into the grass or on the road to do that. Which is what I do (checking for cars first) when there’s not already someone balancing on the edge of the sidewalk.
Some thoughts about being in the office (where we have it organized so enough people are working from home every day so that the office population is small):
When I’m bored, hand sanitizer. When I see someone apply hand sanitizer, I too apply hand sanitizer. When I’m afeared the skin is going to dissolve off the back of my hands: hand sanitizer followed by hand cream.
Sometimes I just have to wait for people to move if they’re in the hallway. This also applies to the grocery store. Impatience is usually followed by a nice deep breath and a hippie sort of chill. Because why do have to go to the printer (for example) so quick? I’ll get there. It’s cool.
All I’ve wanted to eat this weekend is maca-chee (macaroni and cheese). It’s my comfort food and I like it. And nothing special with broccoli or bacon. Just plain, simple macca-chee. I made a really good bowl on Saturday night and ate it all up. But on Saturday I wasn’t feeling good, so I needed something both hearty and comforting. I just had a headache, but I am now a hypochondriac, so I panicked and was taking my temperature every 10 minutes. “This is it.” I said. “What number do I have to call now that I have COVID-19?”
I felt better after eating maca-chee and generally calming down. It’s just a headache. I mean, owwie, but I get them from time to time, and not COVID-19. I took a Tylenol and went to bed with some podcasts. The moral of the story? Macca-Chee. (Is it “maca-chee” or “macca-chee? You’d think i’d know this since I made up the word…)
I watched at television show while I ate my macca-chee. It was a show I watched before because all I want to watch lately are familiar things where I know how it’s going to end.