Checking In

Warning – rambling and rant-y post following with unsightly insights into a lockdown-damaged mind.

Yesterday I gave myself a day off from the blog. I just didn’t feel like writing a distraction challenge post, and I just couldn’t really think of something other to write about. I didn’t even write my diary yesterday – which I had been adding to on a daily basis since the 9th of March. Yes, there are plenty of blog projects that I could revive – like the ficlets I once used to write, or the *ooof*s, or even make another shrine, photograph it, and post it. But I have to admit – I am now three and a half weeks in a self-imposed almost-isolation. That is not as long as our Italian fan sisters, so I shouldn’t complain, but for me, the “novelty” of reducing my radius of action to my immediate surroundings, has worn off. Maybe that is also why my reaction to Richard’s tweet last night veered between disappointment and incomprehension.

It’s meant to be encouraging, I understand that. And maybe Richard is a week and a half behind me in living with a lockdown, as a natural introvert is immune to cabin fever or has never experienced loose ends in his whole life, but I kind of felt put under pressure by that quote. In my household, *I* am the one who is responsible for shopping and anything that needs out-of-home contact. My husband is a vulnerable person who must “cocoon” and stay indoors for the foreseeable future. Our daughter is visibly scared by what is going on and is more or less refusing to do the shopping with me – for fear of catching the virus and passing it on to her dad. While the morale is good in our house, I feel stressed by the whole shopping scenario – the only point of contact between me and other people. I am trying to be stoic and rational under the circumstances, but I have to admit that when I am not cooking, shopping or cleaning, reflecting on my own mental state has been taking up more of my time than usual. And while I am naturally someone who likes to craft and experiment and tinker with new experiences, I do not think that any slight hint that I might be wasting valuable time if I *don’t* attempt to write that unwritten novel that is in me, is helpful at this time. While I may be relatively stoic and mentally stable, this situation may be a big challenge for others who are either unused to being in their own company for a long time or who are struggling with mental health, anyway. Maintaining your mental health can be a full-time job, even without the pressure of self-improvement. Personally, I do *not* think I need to come out of this whole thing with a PhD thesis written, having mastered the art of creating a sour dough starter, or having created a five-million match sticks model of the Eiffel Tower. The aim is to come out of this *sane* and *healthy*, full stop. If that takes binging TV shows and not getting out of my pyjamas for three days, then that is OK. The day counts, too, if you *don’t* master a new skill or you haven’t finished Tolstoi’s War and Peace. Sorry, rant over. How are you guys dealing with the isolation? Has the lockdown left a mark on your mental well-being? How do you feel about any appeal to use this time of self-isolation for self-improvement?

Over the weekend I finally forced myself to put up some Easter decorations. My prized collection of Slavic Easter eggs (some of them a gift from darling Hariclea) is now gracing the chimney breast, and while in the garden, I had Little Miss Guylty cut a few branches from our pear tree and the neighbours ornamental cherry. I’ve moved my laptop temporarily back down to the sitting room because there I have the view you see in the photo above, when I look up from the screen. Funny, how looking at beautiful things, such as flowers, can lift the mood. Ignoring my nasty rant from above, I’ll offer you this old photo as some uplifting photographic beauty.

Any excuse to post my own pictures… right…

Some of my time yesterday was spent sewing some face masks. I am not yet convinced I have got the right material for the masks. I tried using fleece, but it felt too thick and loose. A two-layer cotton mask otoh felt too flimsy. I cut up a microfibre towel and used that as an ultra absorbent layer, but breathing through those masks is actually difficult.

 

But I did try wearing one when I went shopping today, and I made three observations. a) It didn’t feel awkward or embarrassing to wear a mask in public, as I had worried it might. The masks are becoming a more normal sight here in Ireland. b) The mask totally gave me a sense of false security, though. Granted, the supermarket was quieter than the last time I was in there. But I felt much less worried about people passing me in the narrow aisles (where the required minimum distance of 2m is definitely not possible) than before. c) I couldn’t wait to get the damn thing off again, and when I did, I didn’t quite know how to dispose of it and handle it. I ended up throwing all masks into a big pot and boiled them on my stove for 10 minutes. (I put a few drops of lavender essential oil into the ‘cauldron’, to give them a nicer scent.)

Following the news, the drop in daily increases in Italy and Spain have been very encouraging. In Ireland, we are unfortunately still seeing rising numbers. We now have just under 5,000 cases of infections, and 158 deaths. (Ireland has a population of 4.8 million.) Our health service is under strain although the population has by and large responded very well to the restrictions. (Because we *all* know that our health service here is under pressure even *without* a national emergency.) While I am not a huge fan of our  taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar has actually handled the crisis really well so far. He is a qualified doctor and comes from a family of medical professionals, and he has actually just announced that he has rejoined the medical register and will work as a doctor once a week during the crisis. Leading by example?

And now, with the rant update over, I can return to today’s chores that don’t include *any* self-improvement at all. There is the small matter of a birthday cake for Little Miss Guylty. She will turn 19 tomorrow. A bad time for a joyous occasion.

Stay well, dear all!

68 thoughts on “Checking In

  1. Oh dear, I am so sorry you feel overwhelmed and put under pressure by words that actually meant to be encouraging.
    I have depression and feared I would feel the same after short time. I cant go to work and earn money (self-employed) so I had to offer more commissions to work from home.
    Maybe my introversion is giving me some advantages here, because I feel I can spend all day doing something nice. Sometimes I actually feel I won’t have enough time to do all I want to do. Strange isn’t it.
    And pressure of not earning enough money is not as bad as I thought it would be. Not yet.

    I wish I could help you here.

    Hugs.

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    • Thank you, Ani.
      I have to clarify that I actually have no problem whatsoever finding things to do at home. Never had. I can happily stay in and just potter around with my own stuff for days. I just don’t like the implication (during this current crisis) that a day only counts if you learn a skill, improve yourself or achieve something big.
      I had totally forgotten about the money issue. I hope you are getting some more commissions. I really do think you should up the commissions that you can get on Redbubble a bit and put as much of your work on there as you can. I will promote the heck out of your work!

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      • Ah I think I understand now what you actually mean. I totally get that words like that can cause some pressure on you because you feel you have to achieve something (big) so it counts.
        But one feels watching some movies or series a whole day or just getting up is already an achievement. Simple things. And individual. We shouldn’t compare what others do on a day with what we do on a day.

        And when ranting helps you lift the mood again, then, please, rant.
        It also gives us some insight into your life, your worries, etc… and for me it is helpful to see how others deal with it or have bad days as well. Gives the feeling I am not alone.
        And You are good with words. 😀

        Thank you for your support regarding my RedBubble and art, I never thought there would be any interest-but there is 😳🙏🏻

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        • I think you have hit it on the nail with “not comparing with what others do in a day”. And just taking it one day at a time.
          For me, personally, it also helps if I can air my anger or my concerns. The discussion here on blog has helped – because I have felt that even those who disagree with me on RA’s tweet in particular, are still very understanding, encouraging and constructive. It all just goes to show that it is important to actually talk about what we are experiencing. Hearing from others that they struggle from day to day, has somehow made me feel a bit better. Not being alone in feeling inadequately equipped to deal with the situation, means I feel less guilty about it.
          I am so glad that some of my little encouragement has helped. Please keep tagging me in any new work that you put online. I am happy to give you my blanket enthusiasm 😉 – and will not hesitate to RT etc! Because it is simply great!

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  2. Hmm… not sure I find that quote helpful either. I have lots of things I could be doing and don’t really feel like doing anything. I have been gardening (the weather was lovely yesterday so that was quite a treat) but I’m sorry to say that self isolation is bringing out the laziest worst of me 🙄 Frankly Guylty, in comparison, you have already written your PhD thesis!

    What wonderfully snazzy masks. And I love your Easter decorations. I’m a bit down at the moment because we should have been in Venice now and experiencing the lead up to Easter there. But we have a lovely view from our house and the ability to walk in the fresh air, so I know we are much luckier than many people.

    Deaths are still climbing steeply here and I think we are supposed to reach the peak in about 10 days, so I am getting more nervous about shopping myself, but we still have more than 10 days to the Waitrose delivery I managed to book over a fortnight ago! So the occasional trip is necessary. It didn’t improve my state of mind to spend an hour on the phone discussing our wills this morning… but now it’s time to take the dog for a walk so that will cheer things up. Stay sane! 😘😘😘

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    • I have to say that it helped getting it off my chest in my blog post today. Suddenly, the fog has lifted a bit and I feel better. I suspect that more people feel this kind of lethargy in face of the pandemic, than is openly shared. It is totally alright to feel overwhelmed and anxious because of the pandemic. Everybody deals with the stress differently. Good on anyone who can use the enforced quiet in a creative and self-improving way. Also good on anyone who takes it day by day and manages to get through it – that’s an achievement, too.
      There is a silver lining to everything. I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying the walk in the fresh air, even though you had to cancel Venice this year. I am sure that Carlo is also a great moodlifter these days? Over here, the trees are finally growing leaves again, and in the big ash tree just across from our bedroom window, a pair of magpies have built a big nest. How lovely that we now have the time to sit by the window and watch the nest through the binoculars.
      Ugh, discussing wills is something that I have had on my list for a long time. Yes, not an uplifting topic in *any* shape or form.
      BTW, seeing that you have a vulnerable person in your household, are there no charities in your area that volunteer to organise the shopping? (In my mum’s town, the Red Cross offers to do such, for instance.) Considering the scarcity of delivery slots these days, that would be a great help for people.

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    • enjoy the dog walk 🙂 On the shopping a browse H for local food deliveries you might be able to get eggs, milk, veg and such from a local farm fingers x.More and more of the offer the delivery service since they have lost their normal catering clients.

      Re bread: https://www.hobbshousebakery.co.uk/collections/online-store do deliveries and it is v good quality so can be frozen no problem and revived in the oven. These people do dairy, maybe to your postcode too?
      https://theestatedairy.slerp.com/order/store/the-estate-dairy-the-estate-dairy-pre-order

      I saw a dry goods seller but lost the link somehow 😦 will post if i manage to find it again.
      Doesn’t solve all problems but between these various and amazon we might be able to reduce the shopping trips to stores, fingers x

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  3. I understand the sentiment, especially coming from someone who is pretty much always active and also very disciplined. I am not disciplined! I am lucky enough to be able to work from home, but it is not my favourite thing to do.Being un-disciplined I get distRActed very easily.

    As for the implications of contracting Covid 19, except for the fact that I might spread it to others, I don’t really care. I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember and, despite making great strides with therapy recently, don’t have much quality of life. I know my friends and family and especially my daughter would miss me but dying is something I am not overly bothered about. (Wow! I really know how to bring a body down, don’t I?)

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    • Depression is a horrible thing and if some of the feelings that some of us are experiencing at the mo are only a slight indication of what it is like, then I can only take my hat off to anyone who suffers from it, pandemic or not. I do worry for people like you who are in therapy – and may have their sessions curtailed by the restrictions. I am so sorry to hear how badly your depression is affecting you, Abi.

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  4. Honestly, I have no complains about Richard’s tweets (or absence of ones). What is more, I believe his yesterday’s tweet meant to encourage himself as well. I think he’s struggling as all of us.
    You are lucky you have your family with you. I’m locked down alone, my son is self-isolated in a different part of the city, and though we talk every day by phone and support each other, I miss his visits terribly and I long to hug him. I’m afraid he could get sick and I won’t be allowed to see him… I’m taking care of my father-in-law, who lives in the same apt building as myself. I visit him wearing a mask only to deliver him food and medicine. He’s quite deaf and he can’t lip read me behind the mask so I have to shout out or print important things I want him to know. And yes, I’m afraid he could get sick…
    I’ve been working from home for several years so my daily routine hasn’t changed much except that now I have a lot of free time at home (no walks in the park, no fitness club, no friends meetings etc) using it for my hobbies which are many and which I try to indulge. I’m aware that if things don’t get better by autumn I could lose my job but I will think about it if it happens. You can call me light-headed, but I just can’t dwell on bad/sad thoughts/things too long, I always try to find ‘a happy/positive thought’ to keep going on…
    Today, for the first time, I ordered a food delivery from a nearby supermarket and it worked fine. The delivery took less than 40 minutes and courier left bags at my door 👍🏻 There are many delivery services in Moscow, but some of them are overloaded these days, it takes them 2 days to deliver an order.
    We celebrated my father-in-law 91 birthday on Apr 4, I came to him (wearing a mask) with a phone and we made a video call with all his grandchildren and grand-grandchildren (my son is a youngest one, no family yet 😁). That was pretty cool and made him happy. We will celebrate together when we are free.
    So your daughter’s BD is on Apr 7? Same day as my beloved husband’s 😊 Only best people are born on this day 😉😊 Give her my best wishes, from far away Russia 😊 Wishing you all health and strength. Take care and stay safe! 🙏🏻❤️😘🤗

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    • You see, I think we all have our share to carry in these times, whether we are alone or with a partner or a family. Whether we look after someone else or just ourselves. I don’t think that any of our situations are “relative” at all. Those who are at home alone, with no duty of care to anyone but themselves, are possibly fighting other battles. Having a family around me is nice, and entertaining, sure. It is also a mental burden when someone in that family is vulnerable and you worry with every trip to the shop that you might bring the virus back – you probably feel the same about your father-in-law. It is a heartbreaking time at the moment, where grandparents cannot visit their grandchildren, and people like your father-in-law are even more restricted in their contact with the outside world than even under normal circumstances. It truly breaks my heart to hear that he now can’t even read your lips because you have to wear that mask.
      Good to hear that the delivery system still works well where you are!
      As for Richard’s tweet – well, I am glad for anyone who felt encouraged by it. In truth, it is of course vague enough for everyone to read into it what they want to. It caught me at a bad time when I am feeling somewhat anxious and overwhelmed even when I am not doing anything to “make the day count”. In short, I’d have appreciated a moment of distraction more than the suggestion “just make the most of it”. That sentiment worked for me at the beginning of this pandemic, but as time is moving on, distraction is getting harder. Escapism works better for me, and I don’t want to feel bad about spending my evening in front of the telly…
      These days I am happier than ever that we now have technology that allows us to see our loved ones. You probably can talk to your son on the phone or see him on a video call? I don’t have anything new to say to my mum, but I facetime her every day because she is alone and needs to feel close to her family. This is a hard time for all of us.
      Fingers crossed that our jobs continue on and will still be there once we are through this ordeal. Like you, I will only worry about it once we get to it. At the moment, I take it day by day. Stay safe and well. I hope your father-in-law stays healthy, too!

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  5. Look, i’m sorry to say my reaction was: oh, ffs! f* right off.
    If anyone else tells me to be productive, or gives advice about how to ‘fill the days’ or ‘kill the boredom’ or shows off their fancy breads (tho i do look at those sometimes wishing i could have a non-standard, nice loaf of bread) or tells me to exercise, eat healthy, etc etc they will get an earful. I still have to work, albeit from home, and cope with the bazillion video and phone conference calls a day, cook every day, clean and deal with an anxious elderly parent who even under normal circumstances is hard to manage and now requires 4-5 calls a day at all hours. Plus i have to worry about how i will get my groceries and household items with no means of transport and no shops in close walking distance. Went last week as had no choice and came back riddled with anxiety as it was fully of loads of people as it is big and attracts anyone with cars to carry stuff. Plus i can no longer get deliveries from any of my normal shops, because rights so other people need to take priority. And this is how it should be. Just means things that used to be manageable aren’t and require a lot of effort and planning to get done.Plus trying to balance the financial budget with all the additional costs alternative shopping creates. All the while not having the privilege of having a house or garden at my doorstep, not even a balcony to escape to.
    And i for one feel too guilty thinking about all those people in hospital, or working their asses off in shops, deliveries, transport to keep the minimum going to just go out for a wander because i can’t stand my flat anymore.
    Hundreds of people are dying out there while hundreds are risking their lives on a daily basis to keep things going and keep the sick alive.
    So, you know what, like the Queen said, all i ‘have’to do is stay inside and save lives. So that’s what i am trying to do, trying to keep it together and carry on and stay home unless i run out of an urgent thing to survive. And that is more than enough, thanks very much, i have to do naught else.
    Spare me the bs, really. Those with energy and resources to spare who feel they can do more, should do it and they will have my gratitude. But go do and leave me be, i’m doing all i humanly can at the moment.
    sigh, sorry but i had to let it out.

    And now i’m gonna go make myself some tea and watch a cat video to chill a bit until i have to call my dad again and finish work emails.
    The only thing people should feel guilty about these days is if they are going outside having a jolly unless they absolutely can’t go on without a breath of air. everyone else, just give yourselves a break, you’re doing enough with carrying on. x

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    • I admit that I had similar expletives on my tongue last night. But if I am at all honest, my reaction is more disappointment than anger, though. I find the recommendation in that handy little epithet somewhat tone deaf in this situation. Your description of your day is representative for what the majority of people are experiencing right now – trying to maintain a semblance of normality under abnormal circumstances. Those who thrive on challenges (like RA) might take this particular challenge head-on and take satisfaction from achieving things. Others are struggling with simply keeping things running. Doing the right thing (for the majority) is first and foremost – staying at home, keeping others and oneself away from risks. If there is any energy left – congratulations, that is really really great, and I welcome and do feel inspired by every little thing that I am currently seeing – the crafting community bulk-producing original work, my favourite design YouTubers continuing to post content, cakes and breads baked at home, beautiful home decor to fit the season, (fan) art and other works of art, people posting pictures from a walk, or sharing their own way of distracting themselves. Or even sharing their struggles. It all makes me focus away from my own worries and allows me to forget for one minute that these are extraordinarily challenging times.
      Personally, I just want to follow Deirdre’s advice and take this one day at a time, now. Or like Kate said, I don’t really feel that this enforced isolation is an *obligation* to achieve something. It is an opportunity to do so, nothing more. If I am honest, I’d very much like to carpe the fucking diem, too, and I probably would if I didn’t have a number of unignorable obligations on my list.

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  6. Ah bless, sorry just saw the news about daughter’s birthday! Not sure if she likes cheesecake, but this is one that definitely makes me smile 🙂 It’s childlike as it has all the naughties but tastes delicious:
    http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/recipes/chocolate-peanut-butter-cheesecake.html?utm_source=foodnetwork.com&utm_medium=domestic

    And the ingredients are easy to source, you probably have the stuff already round the house.
    Also if you install alexa on your phone (another story for a different post ;-)) there is a skill that plays the Dr Who theme when you ask it too, ie it lands the Tardis (which is how you tell it to play the sound). You don’t need a separate device, you can do it with just alexa on your phone. Made me smile yesterday, that i could have the Dr come with the Tardis in these times 🙂 Just something fun that doesn’t cost a thing and that sound always make me smile.

    Also,. what made me smile was your pic and that giant pink! rabbit! It’s at the same time totally creepy and totally funny, very nice.

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    • That peanut butter cheesecake is right up my street. Unfortunately Little Miss Guylty is not a fan of peanut butter at all, though. But I can disclose here that her cake is already in the making. In fact, I *have* given myself a little challenge with it. Her favourite cake is marble cake. But rather than a common marble bundt cake, I want to make a three-layer marble cake that will be covered in white fondant to be decorated like a roll of toilet paper. Sure, in these times, toilet rolls are currency! Let’s see whether I can pull it off. I have never covered a cake in fondant or tried sugar crafting, full stop. It could turn out as a spectacular piece of “Nailed it”. Watch this space.
      I’ll tell T about the Tardis skill tomorrow!
      PS: The pink rabbit is a piece of art, modelled on the famous Dürer hare by a German artist called Othmar Hörl. He created thousands of these for an installation. I bought mine after seeing another hare installation of his in the Albertina in Vienna in 2014. https://www.ottmar-hoerl.de/en/projects/2003/2003_2_Duerer-Hare.php

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      • Wow, so there’s a “market” for those things. And in so many colors. I’m even more impressed. I love everything in that photo, by the way. Even the variegated colors of the wall plaster. But you already knew that I love antiques and old “stuff.” My eyes just soak it up.

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        • Hehe, not sure about “market” but since I admire Dürer, this piece of appropriation was just irresistible. And pink rabbits are doubly cool.
          Do you mean the photo of my sitting room? Yeah, that is the famed wall plaster that my mum will every once in a while refer to and ask “so, you are *not* going to paint that wall…?”. No, mum. It’s been like that for 10 years.

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      • Cool hares!! And you can always switch to whipped cream if fondant is tricky 😉 i am sure she’ll love it! I love marble cake, used to be able to buy it in supermarkets here but seems to have disappeared ggr. I just don’t have any ingredients for baking at all zero flour, vanilla, cocoa, sugar as u don’t normally keep them sp as not to be tempted to bake. Now that i might consider it no practical way of carrying the stuff and can’t justify a shopping trip for it either. But of course cake is all i crave as a consequence Have a lovely family day tomorrow and happy birthday to the lovely girl and she’ll have many more great ones too! Xx

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        • Ha – and you know what? If things are the same in London as here, you might have trouble getting your hands on flour. My local Tesco is sold out of flour most days. Just about managed to get a packet yesterday. (However, I also had 1 packet already stockpiled because I always bake bread, anyway.)
          But I totally get you re. not keeping those ingredients at home in order to avoid the temptation to bake. That’s my advantage here – I can bake to my heart’s content because there are always hungry takers here.

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          • So nice that! I fancied rice pudding the other day but realised no sugar, no vanilla and no star anise so that was a bust. Ditto brownies lol so I’m dependent on my quickly dwindling stash of chocolate and bikkies

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            • Mind you – I enjoy the challenge of making something from the ingredients that I have. For the fondant of today’s birthday cake, I bought two packets of marshmallows that I ended up not using. I wonder what I can use those for… (My go-to is chefkoch.de, btw – always good for recipe ideas.)

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  7. As to masks, hm i had quite a few, bought them as i was supposed to travel to Beijing in March. But since i never used any i gave them to my NHS neighbour 2 weeks ago , especially since it was always said they are there to prevent spread rather than inhalation. But i did see the Czech health service video where it does makes sense that if everyone , but everyone wears them they do contribute. As they say ‘ i protect you’ by wearing and ‘you protect me’. But it would have to be everyone or else it’s no difference really. In any case put them on at home before you leave, so you don’t touch them with your hands until you are back and then remove them by the ear handles, don’t touch the face of the mask. Washing with soap and water like hands is enough, just make sure you don’t touch them until you’re back or else cross contamination occurs. More importantly, leave your phone home and don’t carry it with you to the shops as you’ll end up touching it somehow and then – cross -contamination.

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    • That’s the thing with the masks. I wish there was a clear announcement on whether we should all wear them or not. It feels (somewhat) pointless to wear a mask if others aren’t. But well, whatever happens, I have got a heap of them ready.
      That whole cross contamination thing is another source of worry. Somebody build me a safety air lock!!!

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  8. Amen, sister. Amen. I agree with you on every single point. Every. Single. Point. I hate it when people do that one-word sentence thing, but I decided to try it just there.

    Toothpick Eiffel Tower is a nice touch that still has me chuckling.

    Which got me curious. And Googling. Holy hell, it’s a “thing!”

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Toothpick+Eiffel+Tower&client=firefox-b-1-d&sxsrf=ALeKk01IXNmr-Qn2sYyrOKJbvpZkme1UYw:1586191435999&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjiqtrIn9ToAhWAhHIEHTv5BogQ_AUoAXoECAwQAw&biw=1552&bih=1136

    As an off-the-charts introvert (actually tested and confirmed), who has already been working from home for 20+ years, I thought “no sweat” for me. But even I hit the wall last week. And discovered two solutions.

    #1: Pay tv. Ooops, helps that it’s “new” to me the never-adopter. Won’t help most of you who have been paying for tv content for years, sorry. I re-upped the Netflix subscription and have been binge-watching tv shows. Favorite so far: Sex Education. Sexually precocious 20-something teenagers in hysterically funny situations. With just enough dollop of real life emotions here and there to keep it grounded. Highly recommended for anyone who needs a diversion.

    #2: Sleep more. Experiment with how much you actually can sleep. You think you can’t “go back to sleep,” but you may be surprised at how easy that is! Maybe you’ll join the 10-hour club with me. Also naps during the day. Just give in whenever you feel it. Actually, I’ve been telling this to friends for years. Adequate/extra sleep solves all kinds of life problems. You will find you are happier in general, and it’s free.

    F&*^ pressure to be “productive.” That’s modern world group-think bull#$%@. Just live your life.

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    • Say what you will but the “one word per sentence” thing definitely has impact! Seriously.
      Yep, those match stick models are a thing. I genuinely wouldn’t have the patience to even stick the matches from *one* box of matches together 😂.
      Pay TV – I have been a happy subscriber of Netflix for many years now. Of course, these days it has really come into its own. Thanks to my Amazon Prime subscription, I also have Prime Video. (Yep, I know all the reservations about Amazon, but I am badly compromised in that respect, anyway. Full disclosure: Amazon is my main client for my freelance work. My karma is already f*cked.) It now comes very handy that the Outlander craze totally passed me by when the show was originally aired. Hubs and I are watching two episodes per night – and with at least 4 seasons at 13 episodes to go, we still have material to lap up. So far I am enjoying it, although it appears that I am a prude and slightly uncomfortable with the gratuitous sex.
      I love your suggestion to sleep more. In fact, I find myself going to bed much earlier than usual, and sleeping in longer, too. Unfortunately the dear husband has health-related sleeping problems, so my sleep gets disturbed, but nevertheless it is more than usual.
      And yes, I opt to be productive on my own terms. One day at a time *mantra*.

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  9. Ich hab nicht alles gelesen, also hast du den Hinweis vielleicht schon bekommen:

    Die Hülle von Coronaviren besteht zu einem guten Teil aus Fett. Wenn du evt. an der Maske haftende Coronaviren also kaputt kriegen willst, wasch sie einfach per Hand mit Spülmittel aus. – Ja, manchmal sind die einfachsten Dinge *wirklich* die wirkungsvollsten.

    Dein Auskochen war auch gut. Es muss nicht mal so heiß sein, 60° heißes Wasser reicht (aber ich kann dir nicht sagen, wie lange die Temperatur gehalten werden sollte).

    Lass dich nicht unterkriegen, voll genervte Sch***tage sind erlaubt! 🙂

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    • Ah, das ist ein sehr guter Tipp. Da war ich mir nämlich nicht sicher, ob ich in meinen Hexenkessel einfach ein bisschen Spüli geben kann. Das macht die Sache noch einfacher. Das Auskochen im Topf ist sowieso eigentlich ne ganz leichte Geschichte. Ich mach mir das Wasser erst im Wasserkocher heiß, dann kommt der Pott auf den Herd. Ich hab mir gleich einen ganzen Haufen von den Masken genäht, so muss ich nicht jeden Tag neu auskochen, sondern kann alle paar Tage den ganzen Batzen auf den Herd stellen.
      “Voll genervte Scheißtage” – adäquate Beschreibung 😉👍🏻

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  10. Yeah, RA might have done better wishing people good health, but we know he’s big on being a busy bee, so it’s not surprising that he’s seeing things through this lens. I agree with you 100% on not being pressured to do big impressive stuff; I’ve had to work to let go of that pressure and give myself permission to chill. Originally I thought, “yay, time to do the needlework that I love,” but that’s just. not. happening, because it turns out I don’t have time and when I do I want to do something that requires less mental effort. I also resent the implication of RA’s post that everyone has a choice as to how to spend their time right now. My place of employment has been turned upside down by the pandemic and I’m working harder than ever to help make things work there, just via email, phone, and Zoom instead of in person. It’s been crazy-stressful, so all the more reason to chill in my downtime. Part of me is jealous of people who have more time on their hands, but I’m grateful to have a job, to have my time occupied so I’m not worrying 24/7 as I would otherwise, and to have regular social interactions. I’m flustered that I can’t do more to help my community other than by staying home. I’m pained to see the economic and racial disparities in how the outbreak is hitting the big city where I live. Personally, I’m fine. I like living alone so this is not a stretch for me. I get grocery delivery, which is tricky these days, but ultimately works. But being in a city I’m fearful of taking walks because I can’t avoid passing people no matter what time of day I go out. So I’m only getting outside twice a week and otherwise getting fresh air through an open window. Am also living in constant fear for my elderly father who’s in a retirement home far away and who’s susceptible to respiratory illnesses (he was recently hospitalized for weeks with the flu and pneumonia.) He’s taking it all in stride but I’m driving him nuts by constantly nitpicking his social distancing practices.

    Birthday wishes to your daughter, and may all of you stay safe and well!

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    • Your first sentence stopped me in my tracks, Piffle. You are right. Of course, RA is allowed to see things through *his* lens, just like I am seeing it through *mine*. Fair enough. My rant has fizzled out in the meantime. I’ll do it my way – he will do it his, and I am glad that I can be confident in looking forward to a heap of audio books recorded by him in his toilet 😉.
      “Less mental effort” is the keyword. Once I have dealt with the day-to-day business (that has suddenly become much less mundane and much more important) I just want to chill. I’d actually love to do some work (and envy the hubs who is repairing and painting every single of our 15 sash windows to keep himself busy). Alas, there are very few jobs coming in. However, I don’t envy those who have moved their work into their home office and are juggling countless calls and video conferences on top of childcare, house work etc. Any change of the routine is challenging, for anyone.
      Reading your comment “I’m flustered that I can’t do more to help my community other than by staying home.” hits home for me. This may be one of the major issues that make this situation so difficult for me. I feel a sense of powerlessness, feel condemned to passivity in this struggle against the virus. That’s not to say I envy the frontline workers, be it all the medical staff or the essential workers out there who keep everything running for us. I can’t even express how grateful I am that they are in the trenches while we sit in the hinterland. But all I can do, is passive reaction. It kind of feels unconstructive, and that is something I battle with. (I hate not being able to be proactive and constructive. It makes me feel weak and impotent.)
      But well, it shall all pass. It will. Eye on the prize. There will be summer. And we will be back out again, together.

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      • You ARE helping your community: this community of online friends who met each other because of some British actor that no one else has ever heard of. I’m enjoying your posts, and the back and forth in their comments. It’s like we’re all chatting with each other–from across the world and in different time zones. You lot are genuinely keeping me company! And isn’t it interesting how your apologetic, so-called “rant” post generates more activity than usual? Don’t hold back, girlfriend!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Spot on, Besotted. I think there is a certain need for honest expression of opinions and/or feelings. (*Especially* in this matter that is actually the great “equaliser” right now. We are *all* going through it, no matter where we are, it has reached everywhere, so we all have experience of it.) For better or worse, in the last while we have gotten out of the habit of *discussing* anything with much gusto. Or without causing unnecessary upheaval. I still believe that we can critically assess what that British actor bloke is doing and saying, without being disrespectful of him. As I said to Abby earlier today – I wouldn’t give a shit about what some actor bloke was saying if I *didn’t* like and respect the guy. But I *do* like him, and I care about what he says. Especially when I am not in agreement.

          Liked by 2 people

  11. On the radio this morning a man was complaining that he should be allowed to play his round of golf, because he met fewer people on the golf course than in the streets where he lived, he totally missed the point about the staff required to maintain and run the golf course!

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    • 😂That is spectacular tunnel vision. Especially as he also assumes that he is the only one who would like to avail of an emptier-than-usual golf course.

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  12. Thank you for your post. It helped to know that I am not alone in feeling the way I do and my reaction to the tweet. While yes, the post likely was meant as encouragement, not everyone is in the same situation to do such things. Many of us have lost jobs (trying to find ways to feed our families), lost health insurance (cannot now afford medicines), losing our homes, have loved ones with serious health conditions that bring added worries and needs, transportation problems (cannot afford to have deliveries), having to figure out how to stay safe when others aren’t even keeping the recommended distance from others…when trying to address all these things everyday then add something else that goes wrong like a broken fridge or heater, how is one to do “more” in “making the days count” when we are already exhausted in trying to survive this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kathy! It’s alway reassuring to know we are not alone in something, right? I’m with you on that whole list of adversities, even though most of it doesn’t apply to me, thankfully. A couple of weeks ago I would have argued for “distraction therapy” myself, making the most of it, taking the opportunity and all that crap. I’ve changed my tune somewhat because it all feels like an existential crisis right now, and I feel priorities have shifted. It may not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me when I know I am not alone in how I feel, and when not feeling OK and up to the most mundane of tasks is allowed, acknowledged, and accepted. New mantra: One day at a time. We will get through this.

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  13. I focused on the “don’t count the days” bit and ignored the second bit of that tweet, no idea just what RA hoped to communicate with that quote. Jenny states it perfectly, “getting through another day is all it needs to make it count.”
    As an introvert and being retired for many years, I am having little trouble getting through the days at home keeping active and busy, I’ve had lots of practice! However, it’s the emotional aspect of the lockdown that I am finding the hardest, and a day at a time has become my mantra. Not counting the days ahead. If I start to think about the future and the unknown of it all, how long it will be before we come out the other side, I start to feel despondent. I am really missing my hugs from my son and my mum.
    I worry about my mum, particularly about her emotional and mental health. Her usual active social life has now stopped. I do her shopping and stay for a cuppa – strict hygiene and social distancing all the while of course – and take her out for a walk. She lives independently, but is vision impaired and has restricted mobility, so a lot of the options for keeping occupied are not within her capabilities. This week I hope to get her started using my old iPad so that she can FaceTime with family. Easter is going to be hard this year without the usual family get together.
    Off to prepare for a Zoom session over a cuppa with my tai chi friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe ‘selective reading’ is required. I should bear that in mind. Not counting the days is indeed a good idea – although I would love to know when this all ends. It would make it easier for me to endure the days until then. But well, no one can foresee the future…
      I fully agree with you – the emotional dimension of isolation is what really creates the problems. Dealing with worries about loved ones we can’t see, wondering about the future, and the whole passivity of it all.
      I really feel for your mum – for whom it must all be even harder with communication and social contact limited, and impaired eyesight making it more difficult to entertain herself. (My mother, too, has cabin fever. She is out for walks every day – on her own of course – and is shaming me with her step count.) I hope you get Facetime working for her. It is easy enough, and in these times it is a godsend.
      Easter is definitely going to be strange this year. I have decided to send some Easter cards to cheer people up.

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  14. I was — somewhat unusually — moved by this quote, mostly because of M. Ali. I don’t know when he said this but there were two periods in his life where he was “trapped” either physically or metaphorically against his will — first, when he wasn’t able to box for several years because his refusal to serve in the US Army meant that he was stripped of his boxing license — and second, after his Parkinson’s diagnosis. Both scenarios would seem applicable in this instance, though.

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    • Just to clarify – the quote itself is inspirational, no question. Ali said it well and inspired many with his conduct. Under normal circumstances I would probably appreciate the message more than I currently can. But that might say more about my own expectations and standards than about the quote and the message intended by RA.

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  15. I expect RA is in his own personal bubble, I remarked somewhere that I hoped he was helping out his dad but someone pointed out that he may have done better to stay away than risk the danger that living in London may have brought his family.
    If he is alone, fit and healthy then he is luckier than a lot of people.

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    • With hindsight: Yes, in his own bubble. Like all of us, I guess. Which is fine and good. I’m sure he has done whatever is best for his frail father.

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  16. Although one of my favourite sayings is ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ , RA’s tweet did rile me too. I immediately felt under pressure to drop everything and produce a masterpiece. He is someone that believes strongly in the work ethic but as you say it doesn’t take into account the different ways that people have for coping and also that many parents have busy days just providing for their families. And, by no means do I want to put pressure on you, but your blogs and others have been lifelines of cheer, support and sanity and are incredibly worthwhile, far more than a matchstick Eiffel Tower.
    I am coping fine. The walls are crowding in a bit and working from home now I realise that I don’t like the merging of my work sphere and home one. Otherwise the little ball of social anxiety that I would normally have every day when facing colleagues is absent which is great.
    I love your jolly masks and they don’t have that sinister look that many of them have. My usual supermarket is well stocked but bonkers. They stagger our entrance to keep a safe distance, then the aisles are a free-for-all with people stretching over one another to reach products then we are separated three metres apart at the tills.
    Happy birthday to Miss Guylty, may she have a very happy day, despite all.

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  17. Happy B-day to young lady Guylty! I’m a clumsy, introvert housewife, proud mother of two clumsy, introvert teenagers. I’ve always felt that our way of life would made us more vulnerable during a cathastrophe. You know, not very snappy or adventurous. Strange. We stay quiet at home, conscious of our privilege – we have a home, and food, and on-line school. Feel down is ok, fear the future is ok, and eat sweets and carbs is ok. And pink hares are ok too. I say, it’s lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Introversion seems to have been a good thing to have in these times. Being content at home is definitely an advantage! But I agree with you – it is important to know that also feeling down occasionally is ok.

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  18. It is now week 4 I am at home and the third week of severe lockdown in our country. I live in a rural area and fortunately my village is very disciplined in following the rules. We have only two gocery shops and the pharmacy which are open. All other shops are closed.,the post office, too. You can’t send any package. you must have a very very good reason to go to another town, where the post office is open. I have lost my main job, most of my clients are in Germany and their restaurants are closed, the border is more or less closed, so no chance. I am losing a lot of earnings this year, I wanted to visit my brother for his birthday in Spain, so this travel is canceld,too. BUT me and my familiy we are in good health. And THAT is important. I have the scala of different feelings even behind me. It varied from jalousie of other people who could still work to depression, not any motivation to fangirling, lack of motivation to now to have time for new professional ideas and activities without bad conscience like renovating and watching old films. My husband is a vulnerable person so we must take care. I am struggling with living day to day and thinking of the near futur. Everybody is living now more in his own bubble and has to manage the new challenge. Alsace is a high risk region and Mulhouse and Strasbourg are hotspots of infected, hospitalized and dead persons. To hear the awful news which pass on only some km far away of my village make me thinking of my problems in a different way. Everything is relative. I think ranting is also necessary as laughing.
    Most important is to stay healthy.

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    • These are really tough times when jobs are being cancelled and all we can do is stay home. The financial repercussions are going to be with us for some time. I am placing some hope on the expectation that *after* all this, people will have a need to catch up on the jobs and purchases they had to avoid for now.
      But I totally get your lack of motivation – even to fangirl or to consume any kind of media. It’s that buzz of worry that is constantly in the background that keeps our thoughts in a constant whirl. It actually takes an effort to quieten those voices in the head and concentrate on something enjoyable.
      If it takes ranting to maintain mental equilibrium, then that is totally allowed, I believe. Sometimes it is simply the act of letting things out, that makes everything feel a bit easier. Stay safe!

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  19. Werde ich den Tag erleben, wo der gute Mann mal mehr als Kalenderspruch-Weisheiten zu einer ernsten Situation absondert? *Augenverdreh*
    Die Hoffnung stirbt ja bekanntlich zuletzt, aber in dem Fall fehlt mir echt der Glaube…

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    • Danke dir :-). Es geht halt auf und ab. Wie wahrscheinlich bei allen. Aber es hat mir gut getan, das mal rauszulassen. Und dann zu lesen, dass auch andere ähnlich empfinden. Geteiltes Leid…

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      • Ja, man meint immer, die anderen kriegen das viel besser hin, als man selbst, dabei geht es vielen ähnlich.
        Letztendlich muss man zwar selber Wegen finden, um nicht gaga zu werden, aber das Wissen, dass es anderen auch so geht, hilft dann dennoch ein bißchen. Hang in there ❤

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  20. I love your Easter deco!
    As for Richard, Carpe diem is what he meant, I guess. Sentiment is fine in itself in normal circumstances and for me it depends on how “making the days count” is interpreted, I didn’t take it as needing to learn a new skill or anything. I don’t have to kill boredom or need advice to fill my days, I have a family that needs some attention and I need to work – a lot – and when I have time off and veg while for instance watching and re-watching “Anne with an E” – well, that time certainly counts as time well spent for me as it has made me happy!

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    • I think the key here is “under normal circumstances”. Which doesn’t apply and hence made me feel uncomfortable with the message. Especially as most people *are* trying to make the best of it, in their own way.

      Liked by 1 person

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