COVID-19 Journal – Entry 37

It occurs to me today that, if the world was operating as normal, I would be in France or Italy right now. I had a wee plan in my head at the beginning of the year to get to get to these places and look at the art from my art history books. That would have been three weeks starting this week – I had the time booked off from work. Instead, I moved my vacation days from this week so I could have time off in May. I still have two weeks off starting next week with no plans. No worry, no fuss. This is good too. Maybe I’ll start my holiday crafts. And by “start” I mean start doing holiday crafts at all, as I haven’t ever, really.

Some places I wanted to go:

  • Paris – the louvre mostly. Other galleries I can’t remember. Just to be in Paris for a bit.
  • Avignon/Arles – Van Gogh, and to be in southern France for a bit.
  • Nice – to break up the distance between France and Italy
  • Florence – the Renaissance
  • Rome – ancient Rome – day trip to Pompeii
  • London – I like London – some shows, some lunches from M&S. The usual.

That seems like enough over three weeks. London at the end because that’s sort of like going home – because I’ve been there several times now and it’s familiar, not because it’s actually home. Home is Canada where the trees are tall.

I usually have a trip to get excited for in fall, and that helps with the evenings getting darker. It’s fun to have the distraction of packing, and getting organized to go. This year I have other fun things to distract me:

  • Waiting for my flu shot! When will they be here? When can I go?
  • I need a new lightweight black jacket for spring and fall. My current incarnation was purchased during my first trip to Spain in 2012 and it shows. The fabric is fading. It’s still pretty, though. Maybe I’ll just Sharpie over the dull areas?
  • My mum gave me her silk blouse to mend a year ago. I should get to that.
  • Kimberly invited me to a Pampered Chef party a few weeks ago and I bought a popcorn maker. I’m going to have popcorn!
  • I need to buy popcorn!
  • The colours yellow, orange, red and green, all swirled together on the same leaf.
  • Candles
  • Sweaters, when it gets cooler.
  • At work today I learned about a massive hoodie-poncho-blankie thing with a pocket. I want one.
  • I’ve started scanning my paper archive onto my computer so that I might store it on a small external hard drive instead of in six boxes stacked in the corner. Admittedly this maybe become three boxes. Or four. I have much precious paper: schoolwork, writing, journals, travel ephemera. I just found the journals/scrapbooks (paper-based!) that I kept on trips to San Francisco (2005) and Toronto/Ottawa/St. John’s (2007) that I forgot about. I used to take a paper journal with me when I traveled, and also tape so that I could attach ticket stubs and museum maps to the pages while I wrote.
  • I have to clean up my flower pots on the balcony. There are some fresh buds appearing, so I should get rid of the dried up flowers to make room.
  • This is morphing into a list of things to do during my days off.
  • Feathers and brushes
Me! In what was then my new black jacket. Admiring the evening view of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, circa March, 2012.

COVID-19 Journal *Entry 36*

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!

COVID-19 Journal Entry #35

I had some more things to discuss about travel last night, but I got sleepy.

I’ve been doing a bit of virtual travelling during the pandemic. Or it might also be called pre-planning for future trips. But in a bit of a round-about way. I was reading an old article at the Vanity Fair website about the (alleged) origin of AIDS in Africa. I have a subscription to Vanity Fair and they have their whole archive up – it’s really interesting reading old articles that are 100% based in their own time. I have to re-contextualize my brain to understand how people were thinking at the time of writing. If I read stories about female celebrities from the eighties and nineties they describe their looks and weight a way that’s pretty gross and like it’s out business to know. I notice it now, but I wouldn’t have then. Also I read an article about an actor (I can’t remember who) from 1992 or 1993 who was dating little-known actor Lisa Kudrow.

The AIDS article was from 1987, so there have been some developments in the treatment of AIDS both medically and in the media, and I certainly kept that in mind as I read. It was a bit of an adventure for the writer to visit some of the locations in remote Africa. That didn’t get me thinking about travelling there, however. First I realized that I don’t know African geography at all, and so had put the article aside to study Google maps for a bit to see where Uganda and Guinea-Bissau are located. That led me to their Wikipedia articles for a brief skim of their histories and economies. And then while I was at it, I had to find out what’s up with The Gambia.

I tried getting back to the article again, and the writer trekking through the jungle, and that’s when it occurred to me that people can visit Africa – not necessarily as journalists, but just as tourists. So I had to stop reading again to look up travel tours in Africa, and indeed one could go to Uganda, at least, along with several other neighboring countries. One would have to camp most of the time, and there’s hiking and nature, but one could definitely go – and at not too expensively, either (what with the camping). Further research on visa showed I could actually go to these countries as a Canadian. I didn’t look at airfare, but I’m guessing it’s pricy and consists of many hours of travel time.

I’ve done a similar thing lately after reading an article about Mozambique, where residents are working at adapting to weather and climate change. Again, I didn’t know where Mozambique was, and again I studied the map for a while before starting my travel plans.

This weekend I was reading about Belarus. I didn’t get the the travel plans part of my routine because while I was looking at eastern Europe I noticed that there’s a wee chunk of Russia stuck in between Poland and Lithuania. It’s called the Kaliningrad Oblast, and I didn’t know it existed until Saturday. If you want to travel there you need a Russian visa, no problem. But if you want to visit Russia proper on the same trip, be sure to get a double entry visa. You can travel there by train from the Lithuania in the east, but train lines no longer run into Poland. You can also get a ferry from St. Petersburg.

To conclude my very bad geography report, there are lots of places I still want to see in the world. It really helps knowing where they are located.

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 34

I’m feeling October. What is the feeling of October? This year it’s the evenings getting dark too soon, and cool nights. Usually in October, in the few years previous to this one, October was my travel month. Mexico in 2018, England with Susan in 2017. Last year I was already packing for China at this time even though the start of my trip was later in the month.

In 2019 I travelled a lot, so at the start of the pandemic I wasn’t too fussed with the prospect of staying at home. I’m feeling it now though: the longing for an airplane and foreign places. My plan for 2020 was for France and Italy – places I haven’t been yet! And then back to London, which I just love. I’m missing London! I’ll make due for now with following M&S on Instagram, I guess.

I’ve made a bit of a mistake. I’ve been spending my weekend going through my collections of detritus from trips past, and that has gotten me thinking about travel. I have piles of brochures and maps and misc paper from all my trips. I just got a new scanner, so some of these things and getting scanned and saved with my photos; most of if it is getting recycled after that. I’ve gotten good at not collecting so much stuff when I travel, but some things have memories.

A grocery receipt from Spain! I loved grocery shopping in Spain. I learned all the words for dairy products for reading the ingredients. I was shocked when I turned the cans of soup around and there wasn’t an English version of the label, like when we turn from the French side in Canada.

Slippers of the Day

I bought these slippers in Spain because the floors of our apartment were cold. This was me wearing them in said apartment (circa Feb, 2016). I was most pleased. They currently serve as my balcony slippers for when I water my plants.

COVID-19 Journal Entry 33

Light – Lighting / Dark – Darking / Cozy – Cozying

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.

Socks of the day

My new blankie-scarf being used as socks. Or! My new cozy being used as a cozy cozy.
Circa August, 2020.

COVID-19 Journal Entry 32

Disclosure: I’m catching up on Coronation Street while I compose this entry, so I might get distracted if anything interesting happens.

Orange

I definitely remember pressing the button on my clock radio last night to turn off the alarm, but I must have mis-pressed, and CBC radio popped on at 6:40. That’s my early wake-up time that I use on Thursdays and Fridays when I walk into the office. When I work from home, it’s set for 7… and some days I get up right away, and some I wait a little while. Some days, such as yesterday, I doze right through the radio coming on and when I notice I panic, wondering how long I haven’t noticed. I think I have to increase the volume – I’m not going to switch to the “alarm” function, because then I wake up frightened. I like the voices on CBC to wake me up. Occasionally the voices on the radio enter my dreams. That’s weird, especially if the news is on and I’m having tea with world leaders.

So woke up this morning at 6:40 and thought to myself “what am I going to do now?” The first option was to go back to sleep. However, often in the summertime if I was up too early, I’ll go for a walk, and I haven’t done that for a while because I haven’t felt well. Today I’m feeling better, and I started to get excited. I got up to look out the window to check the weather… and it’s still smoky orange outside. Boo. I can’t go out in that because of asthma. And that’s not just a precaution, I actually get hurty lungs when I go out when it’s bad, and get huffy-puffy when it’s less bad. It’s one of only a few times when I actually notice I have asthma – I have it under control usually. I haven’t been too bothered by it this week on the whole. I’m still recovering from feeling tired and week all the time, so staying inside isn’t much of a bother. Maybe a little annoying on Tuesday when it was hot out and I had to keep my windows shut all day. Maybe got a little restless yesterday when I couldn’t go for a walk during lunch at the office. Boo.

I did some exercises in my living room instead, which was fine. And something I have to get back into doing now that I feel better. Along with cleaning my apartment. I bought a printer while I was sick because it went on sale (I’d been waiting) and it was delivered, but I haven’t gotten around to setting it up yet, due to being too tired, and I have to clear away my old printer/scanner to make room for it. I might do that now. Not that I’ve printed or scanned anything much over the past five years or so. Just before COVID hit I was gazing at the corner where I have them all set up (I’ve got an old ink jet, a scanner and a wee laser printer) and wondered if I shouldn’t just get rid of them. But then the pandemic hit and I’ve started doing printer crafts again. And lately the scanner has started scanning only half-a-page instead of a-whole-page. And it’s fun to research and shop for products on the internet. So I found the printer I wanted, but didn’t want to pay as much as it was at regular price and waited for it to go on sale. And then it it and now I have a new printer!… in a box over there in the corner.

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 31

Shadows

I’ve had some long spaces of time lately where I am very still and just stare and think about things. Sometimes my eyes rest upon the screen of my phone/iPad where diverse distractions amuse me; sometimes they rest upon the screen of my computer where multiple episodes of television programs are played. Oft times, however, I just stare at the wall.

This is a corner near the door in my bedroom. I greatly enjoy the cottage-cheese texture of the ceiling, and the tidy lines that define the surfaces. That one section of wall is always in shadow. Very satisfying.
I’ve shown this phenomenon previously: the shadow of the hearts in my bedroom window appear only briefly in the afternoons on my bedroom wall. I don’t always remember to see them.
I placed some parsley seeds in a vase on the windowsill in my dining room. They make a nice shadow against the curtains.

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 30

A recent health issue

It’s *not COVID.* I’ve been tested.

For the past several weeks I’ve been experiencing fatigue – I feel weak all the time and get shaky if I do too much of anything. Just lack of energy. There have been no other symptoms except for a bit of a sore throat at the start. My doctor has diagnosed it as a virus that’s lasting longer than usual. Per him, most viruses leave after 14 days, but some can last 4-5 weeks. I’ve certainly had viruses in the past where I’m sick for a few days but don’t feel totally normal for weeks. Usually though I can get back to regular routines. This time will need some more time.

I had to have a COVID test because fatigue is a symptom and my doctor couldn’t rule it out entirely (since it’s so new and no one knows entirely how it operates). However he, and everyone else I’ve talked to recently, was pretty sure I didn’t have it. I’ve been so careful with physical distancing, so it would have been weird if I had it. Note: if you need another reason to not get COVID, the test for it involves sticking a swab up, up, up your nose until it touches the back of your throat and then wiggling it around for 10 seconds. I do not recommend.

I would like to note that all the medical people I’ve dealt with lately have been really nice. This isn’t weird, but it really helps now with a the extra nervousness around COVID. I especially appreciated how easy it was at the drive-through COVID testing site. I’m an anxious driver to start with, never mind having to do a drive-through thing when I never do drive-throughs. But I got really detailed instructions when I called to make the appointment, and there were signs and people to help guide me.

I also had to get a blood test, and my doctor called me with the results before I thought to check for myself- it was within 24 hours, and Saturday, so I was impressed. He got me to go into to the clinic so he could listen to my chest, etc. (My first visit had been over the phone since I had a symptom, but once my COVID test was negative I could go in). Since I didn’t have an appointment at the clinic, the wait at the clinic could have been up to 5 hours (!) and the front office staff couldn’t give me an estimate of how long it was really going to be. I explained how I had fatigue and couldn’t sit for very long (a little weepy) and they were able to find a treatment room where I could lie down to wait. I said thank you a lot to everyone for this, and cozied up with a podcast. The wait ended up being just over one hour. Easy. I could have made an appointment for later in the week, but I wanted this figured out sooner than later: not only in case I needed a special treatment or something (I don’t- just self care), but also so I could figure out what to do about work as soon as I could (I updated them this morning.)

Not stressing or overly anxious about things. It could be that I don’t have the energy. It makes things easier to be cheerful in my days. I’ve had some long quiet moments of thinking lately, and I mostly find myself hilarious.

No socks of the day

My morning routine right now includes lying with my feet in the sunbeam that reaches my bed. This means that my feet at warm without the use of socks!

COVID-19 Journal – Entry 29

I don’t know how long we’ll be allowed to use COVID as an excuse for abnormal behavior, but for now, I’m going to use it to explain my cravings for certain television programmes. All I want to watch lately is American shows based in the southern states. “Reba,” “Heart of Dixie,” “Any Day Now;” and the entire PBS documentary about Country Music. They all make me so happy with their soothing accents, non-life threatening subjects and catchy (theme) songs. I will neither confirm nor deny if I spent a recent day binge-watching the second season of “Heart of Dixie.”

I’d also like to use the COVID excuse to explain away a few bad habits I’ve picked up since the start of the pandemic. These are in addition, I should say, to those I had already. These have developed quite possibly due to being able to keep away from other people for many days at a time.

First is that I pick my nose a lot. Not actually a new thing, but now it’s been elevated to the status of hobby. I spent the spring with a runny nose due to allergies, and the consequence of this is, as you know, crusty boogers dried up inside my nose. At first, it was just fun to “clean these out” if you will. Now I’ve come up with the excuse that it helps me breathe to have those passages clear. Right? Ung. So gross. Yesterday I had a glob stuck on my finger and I was singing the Weird Al song “Gotta Boogie” (on my finger and I can’t shake it off).

Also, I am using the term “Noice” whenever I am impressed with something, instead of pronouncing it “nice” as a lady would. I think I picked it up from the TV show “Brooklyn Nine Nine.” A fine show, but not one upon which I need to base my everyday word choices. The last example: I dropped a container of yogurt while trying to organize the fridge and it opened upon impact with the floor and yogurt went flying. It was mostly on the floor, but I didn’t notice for a few days that globs flew up onto the rack holding fizzy beverages I have on the door. When I found out, there was a flaky layer of dried yogurt* on my ciders. “Noice” I said. Then debated with myself if I want normal times to return before I lose all sense of decorum, or if I should just accept the new me.

*I have coconut milk-based non-dairy yogurt. I have no idea if dairy-based yogurt acts like this .

COVID-19 Journal Entry 28

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.

So here.

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.