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.
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.
I wanted to go back to my list. Basically, I can group the entries as “things I do to create” and “things I do to keep busy so I’m not staring at my phone all day”. While it would be really nice to start a creative thing and finish it and have a product at the end, right now, I really have to work at putting my phone away. I’ve become a bit manic about checking Facebook mostly.
Dance (still an option – doing lots of online workouts- yoga too.) Note: not really a creative outlet in this form, but an easy way to do some exercise. (Update: I tried BellyFit this morning for the first time at home. Yes! I like it!)
Preparing and consuming food for myself (Update: OMG I went and got groceries today. Several stressful things about this. The line to get into the store was not one of the stressful things, because everyone stretched down the sidewalk, no problem. But then in the store, everyone seemed to conglomerate in the same isle, and in the corner by the eggs *but there were no eggs*. And then fretting about potential contamination when I got home. –E.g. “What exactly have I brought home with me???!”– I washed my hands around 10 times when I got home after touching things.)
Colouring/Knitting/Crocheting – mostly not too much brain involved, mostly don in front of TV shows (Update: ok some creation involved in crocheting/knitting and definitely a thing at the end, but once pattern is established, a very repetitive process – at least in how I like to crochet/knit.)
Texting friends/Phoning Mum. (In real life this reads having dinner/lupper/breakfast for lunch with friends, and visiting Mum and Dad.) More of this. One friend has suggested snail mail, which I haven’t done in a while. (Update: not a good thing for leaving my phone alone. Consider this an exception.
Socks. I really like wearing socks. Preferably more than one pair at a time. Not a creative outlet, but I find I function better with warm feet. (Update: see below for socks of the day.)
Writing. Here we go. (I’ll expand on this in a paragraph below.)
Drawing. OK “Drawing.” Whatever. Filling paper with markings.
Keeping a journal, sometimes. Usually there’s nothing to share– I or say there’s nothing to share but I don’t have the time/energy to keep it. Proof that there’s never nothing to share: this week’s entries.
I keep looking at the scissors sitting on the desk beside me and I keep wanting to put “scissors”. But at one point I did lots of scissor crafts: sewing, collage-ing, trimming, ransom notes. Good fun.
Secret: usually between the months of November and until the end of February I am miserable: depressed, and/or grumpy. Not motivated to do anything. Unhappy. Not bad enough that I miss work or dance or anything, but awful. This year, I don’t remember when, I picked up the e-pencil for my iPad and started sketching out a story. Or, rather adding to a story I already have. All point form, just getting down ideas without worrying about the final form, just trying to stay big picture about the whole thing. I’m not going to go into the story here at all for my superstitious fear that once I start talking about it too much that I will jinx myself and not want to write anymore.
BUT! I think that having this extra creative outlet going on to look forward to over the dark months have helped with my mental health. I extra-specially noticed over Christmas time**, when usually I am a mess. I kept checking in with myself, just to see what was going on, and I kept finding myself happy. Or at least content. Or just pleased with myself. It was so nice. I checked in a lot over January and in to February with the same result. Just feeling ok.
**At Christmas time, I was crediting my good mood to a Fireball and eggnog combo. But after Christmas when the drinking stopped, I still felt good. I joked about that in early January.
In conclusion, writing is ongoing already anyway. And will not be mentioned here again.
It was my birthday yesterday. I didn’t leave my apartment at all. It was fine. If I was to plan a better birthday I might have gone out and bought myself presents. Actually, the best would have been going on the trip Mum and I planned to take to Campbell River, but things being as they are, this works too. I had some wine and smoked salmon. I did two online dance workouts, so I spent the later part of the day with sore legs. I watched some operas via the Metropolitan Opera. I drank some wine! Did I say that already?
(Note: I have turned on the opera for today, which is Das Rheingold, and even though I am not really following along and only giving it half my attention, the production is kind of blowing my mind. It’s crazy!)
I shared some photos on Facebook commenting on the contrast between my birthday last year and this year’s. I just remembered I wrote this just after midnight: I like to get in as much of my birthday as possible.
London was a special trip last year for my birthday (I plan to return sometime) and it marked the start of my year of travelling in 2019. I ended up not only going there, but also to Las Vegas for a weekend in September, and then China in October/November (as documented earlier in this blog). (As many many people have commented to me, I am very very lucky to have visited China when I did.)
Given all this travel in a relatively short time (for me), I was starting to feel traveled out before I even left for China. By the time I was getting back from China I was wondering to myself how long it would be before I got the travel bug back. I was exhausted from my trip, of course, but I was also tired of moving from place to place, and being in unfamiliar locations. The final straw was an eleven hour plane ride home and I was done. But, I am always “done” with travel at the end of the trip, so I don’t force myself to think about the next trip for a while. I had a loose plan to start planning my next trip around the end of November – just a couple weeks after I got back. And truthfully, this is often when I start getting excited to take another trip. But this time, it was too soon. I had gotten sick when I got back, and I had other things in my life I had to get caught up on.
I already had ideas for my next trip– the fun part of travelling for me is organizing it, and since I book far in advance, planning periods always overlap. My 2020 plan was to go to Europe – at least France and Italy, and back to England, for departure in May for 3 or 4 weeks. There are many works of art from my art history studies that I wish to look at in real life. Since I didn’t start booking in November, I decided to revisit in January. When January came and I had to submit my request for vacation days at work, May seemed too soon to be going– I didn’t even feel like booking the trip, never mind go on it. So I made my request for October instead – still a good time to visit Europe, and some time to replenish my travel savings account (not that I was going to worry about that if I really wanted to go).
Then I sort of forgot about it and sort of thought I’d think about booking things in April, if I wanted to. But now the world has shut down, so just as well I wasn’t in the right state of mind to commit to anything. Lucky, but also sad.
OK, but also, I’ve done a lot of travelling in the past few years, so really, I’m feeling pretty content about not going anywhere for a while. Here’s a list of my travels since 2012 for filler:
Across the Pacific on a cruise
So to sum up. I had a good birthday. No travel happening soon, obviously, but that’s OK.
Lazy day today. This is because I’m tired. I’m often tired on Saturdays due to working all week, so nothing strange going on there. But also I woke up at 4am for no good reason: I wasn’t worried or anxious or anything, at least not so as I noticed. I was just awake and trying to sleep again. So that didn’t help with my energy levels for the day.
After not being able to sleep, I got up at 7 and went for a walk around the neighbourhood. My regular route, people saying good morning as they usually do (except one or the other of us would step off the sidewalk for some distancing). Sometimes on these walks I’ll stop at the 24 hr Thrifty Foods on my way back, but I didn’t do that today. A) Thrifty’s is not currently open 24hrs. B) The early hour when I usually shop is for seniors, etc. The plus side of not shopping is I didn’t have to walk with my wallet/purse. Oh there was also a small gang of security people having a well spread out meeting in front of the Legislature! They all said hello to me. I walk by them a lot so we might be familiar to each other. And when I mention that we’re all greeting each other, that’s normal for a Saturday morning walk! At least in James Bay.
I’m bored of writing about my boring day. Here’s a billeted list of some activities I got up to today:
Folded laundry. A big deal because it’s only been 2 days since I washed it
Followed along to an on-line yoga class. The third one I’ve tried; the first one I’ve actually finished.
Tried and failed to put a dent in the podcasts I am hoarding. I really like downloading podcasts, and this might be the time I actually listen to some of them.
De-shelled some prawns. (“Tell Dad” I texted Mum.)
Naps. Plural, but I was awake at 4, so.
Ung. I have to stop listening to the news on CBC because it’s stressing me out. This is sad because I really like The World at Six on weekdays and The World This Weekend. However, these, along with the several news podcasts I listen to, have been 100% COVID-19 the past fees days and I guess it’s a bit much for me. The news usually has nothing to do with me.
It’s like, as a bad example, when I’m sick, I don’t like watching TV shows about people who are sick.
In another bad example, after Trump was elected, I way over-consumed media about him. It was a form of control – if something happened, I wanted to know about it and be prepared (if that makes any sense.) I’d been listening too many podcasts throughout the election, and was reading as much as I could about it. At some point around Jan or Feb of 2017 I realized I didn’t need to know as much as I did about the new American leadership and I cut myself off. I limited myself to anything I might hear by happenstance, on the aforementioned CBC news shows. It was a better balance! That’s what I need to figure out now: get the info I need, but not get overwhelmed.
Doesn’t help that I have my phone in my hand all day checking for Facebook/Instagram updates. Hm.
I’m having trouble organizing my thoughts about this. Every time I am talking about it with other people – and it’s mostly all anyone has talked about this week- I can only sum up with words that express astonishment: “it’s so crazy!” Or “such weird circumstances!” Nothing really truly expresses how unprecedented this all is. And don’t even try to get all big-picture philosophical about it because that’s impossible: how will this affect society? What are the ramifications going to be for our health? The economy? What are the ramifications going to be for me? I’ll only write what’s in front of me, right now.
My writer brain has kicked in, reminding me that I should clearly state the context of what is going on so readers who aren’t familiar aren’t left out. But that’s the thing: this affects everybody. So I’m going to skip context.
I’m still working. I was in the office this week, mostly. I’ve been working at home once a week, so that was Thursday. But going forward, those of us who can will be working at home two or three days a week, giving those in the office lots of social distancing space.
At the beginning of the week I was pissed off that we didn’t just get sent home. This was a combination of things. First there was peer pressure from social media saying we should stay home, and the feeling that I was shirking my social responsibility by going to the office and being around others. Second, I wanted a go home and not do work and still get paid. It was sort of a fifty-fifty deal there.
Social distancing, though. I decided to not use the bus, and walked to and from work all week. Lucky it has been beautiful and sunny. Then work was harder to figure out and I realize now that I have definable not been keeping a 6-foot distance from my co-workers. I only got into that today, Friday, when there were only 4 of us there. That’s been the nature of the week, however, things getting more and more serious each day.
I think things really started to get to me on Wednesday night. Mum had been planning a trip for my birthday next week – just to Campbell River, just to explore a bit and eat at restaurants. I like to book my birthday week off work so I can celebrate with trips and visits. When we spoke about it last Sunday we decided not to decide anything about it until later in the week, because there was no way to tell what was going to happen! But by Wednesday I knew that it was not going to happen- mostly because the restaurants weren’t really going to be operating, but also because it seems really inappropriate right now to go flit to someone else’s community when we’re all meant to be social distancing. So the decision was made and that’s fine and it’s the right decision. Then I also decided to not even go visit my parents in Duncan, either. This was also the right decision, because there would have been too many worries for everyone if I went. But it’s sad, anyway. I think it’ll be a while before I can visit again.
Anyway, all these things happening, or in the case of all the things I had tickets for, not happening, caused me to have the mildest of anxiety attacks last night as I lay in bed. It was the “oh hey things are different” moment, and I still haven’t quite caught up yet. I was joking a couple days ago about how excited I was to be in quarantine all by myself. All the crafts, writing, and cleaning I could do. But the reality of that happening, to not have a choice, is daunting. Because, ok, secret, isolation is my bag. I love it, and have spent staycations all alone, doing my thing at home. And actually, this is what I aim for most weekends. But it’s different when it’s everybody and when it’s for a common and scary cause.
So now I have all of next week off, and I get it all to myself. I really am going to get into some crafts and writing and cleaning. (Although maybe not cleaning if I am having fun doing the other stuff! Tonight (Friday) that anxiety thing is happening some more, so I’m trying to write it out. So far it totally hasn’t worked! Sometimes I have to luxuriate in it for a while and let it burn out on its own.