Posts Tagged ‘COVID-19’

An Unintentional Pandemic Journal

So in 2019, I posted my first SkillShare class, and, as part of that, I got a free year subscription, which I mostly used to take drawing and painting classes. One of the classes I took was called something like Sketch Journaling, which, as the name implied, talked about sketching your day versus straight journaling (though there were words included in the sketches).

I enjoyed the class, and bought a mixed media book and some sketching supplies, with the idea that I would sketch our vacations, as I didn’t think I could commit to journaling every day, sketching or writing or otherwise.

And so I did. In January 2020, we did a ski weekend, which I used as a test of the vacation sketch book concept. It went well, and I foresaw really getting into it when we took our Caribbean cruise in March of 2020.

Except, of course, we did not take our cruise in March of 2020. Instead, it got cancelled two days before we were supposed to board, and we ended up driving to Moab instead, where, as the week went on, hotels began to shut down, restaurants closed, and COVID numbers climbed worryingly.

And, because it directly affected our vacation, it’s all in the journal. And because we’ve done a trip every three months or so since that time period, each entry has ended up being a small time capsule of what was happening, pandemic-wise. Whether we were wearing masks or not, how safe an area felt COVID-wise, things that different locations were doing that we weren’t doing at home, and vice versa. Weird quirks that changed plans. Worries that things would be more or less dangerous than they ended up being.

As we, in theory, begin to come out of the pandemic part of COVID and move into the endemic part, it’s interesting to look back at where we were when, at the fears that ended up justified or overblown, at our mental states in different situations.

I guess it’ll keep going. The book’s only about 2/3rds of the way full. I dunno if I told you guys that we did get to go on our cruise finally, two years after we were supposed to go. Time to add that into the book, so it can continue the story.

Have you guys been tracking the pandemic somehow? Thoughts, or things you’ve noticed?

What the Heck?

Man, I am having such issues with the Changeling story. It’s like pulling teeth, and I can’t figure out why. Yes, it has problems. Lord, does it have problems. Is it more problems than usual? Bigger problems than usual?

Maybe? Not sure. Middles are often difficult but they don’t normally drag on like this one is.

It’s especially frustrating because I should just be able to push through to the end. It’s close. We should be downhill from here. But it’s not going. It’s trickling along frustratingly slowly.

I’ve been trying some tricks to see if that helps. Yesterday I loaded up my dictation program because sometimes switching how you write frees up any mental blocks that may be happening.

However, all that happened is that I discovered that my version of dictation program does not work with my version of Microsoft Word. Good times. I did try it out on a short story I’m doing in Google Drive, which worked, but it turns out I haven’t quite figured out the flow for dictation anyway.

I suppose I could try handwriting. That’s helped me out of a weird spot before.

But part of me is starting to wonder why this is going so poorly. Perhaps the story is irredeemable. Perhaps my time would be better served working on something else.

And, then, you know how your brain gets. Or how creative types’ brains get. You’re working on something, yet over here is something else shiny, something more exciting, and it’s always very tempting to switch, especially when things aren’t going well on what you are working on.

So MY brain immediately supplies me with something else to work on, providing all sorts of useful information that I will no doubt forget before I actually switch projects, even if I try to write it down.

Or…should I switch now? I don’t want to–I’d really like to have a first draft done on Changeling before November–but maybe everything is tell me I should.

Or maybe, you know, the world is falling apart and I’m not going to be able to focus on anything. Maybe I should just give up, focus on getting things ready for Nano (working on the assumption that I will be doing Nano, after last year’s success), and come back to things later.

I dunno. I feel a little untethered, like there’s so many possibilities and yet nothing concrete to do.

How are you feeling, squiders? Mentally and emotionally? Anything you’ve found helps lately?

Help! There’s Too Much Free Content!

Oh, hey, first of all, I remembered another Eurovision song that stood out to me. It’s Feker Libi by Eden Alene, representing Israel.

(Yes, Israel is allowed to participate in Eurovision despite not being in Europe. And so is Australia which…I don’t even know.)

(Also, I wrote down my favorite countries for this year, and now I cannot find the list anywhere. What the heck? It was right here on my desk and now it is MIA.)

Feker Libi by Eden Alene

But anyway.

Have you guys noticed that there’s a ton of free content floating around since everything locked down in mid-March? Webinars. Concerts. Whole plays and/or musicals. Special shows from groups like Cirque du Soleil. Classes on everything you could possibly want. Even my alma mater is doing free lectures, conveniently hosted over Zoom.

And the stuff for the small, mobile ones. Lord. Every service remotely related to learning put out a ton of stuff. Educational videos. Virtual field trips. Math and reading and art projects.

And I’ve been hoarding them. Well, not the stuff for the small, mobile ones. (Though I do still have a video from my father-in-law sitting in my inbox that I may, eventually, put on for them.) I did at first, worried about them being home and me needing to teach them. But then the virtual assignments started coming in from their teachers, and I found we didn’t really have time for any of the rest of that, in the end.

(We did do a virtual tour of the Winchester Mystery House. That was pretty good. I’ve been there a few times in person–including a flashlight tour on Halloween one year–and the virtual tour covered most of what you’d get from actually being there.)

I even made a list, right at the beginning, of things we could do to entertain ourselves. We’ve done a few–online storytime and making a blanket fort–but for the most part, they remain undone.

But even as I found that I didn’t need things for the small, mobile ones, and that I, too, have plenty to do, it hasn’t stopped me from hoarding some for me. They’re such great opportunities! I could learn so much!

Except now I have literal hours’, if not days’, worth of stuff to watch. And no real time to do so.

Are you running into this too? How do you deal with it? Do I delete the lot of it, knowing I don’t really have time? Do I ration it, a little of something every day, until I get through? How do I know from looking what is going to be worth my time versus what isn’t?

It’s kind of like downloading books cuz they’re available for free, and then never reading them.

Anyway, I’m trying to wade through my unread emails in my inbox and it is daunting.

How are you?

May is Going the Way of March

In that it feels like it’s taking a million years.

It’s the last week of school for the small, mobile ones, which is going very emotionally since they’re not getting to say goodbye in person. That’s been hard, especially since the smaller, mobile one will be going to a different school next year and may never see her school friends again.

Anyway, that’s been rough, and it’ll probably get worse before it gets better.

As part of our home curriculum, we’ve been watching Mythbusters (for Science!). Hulu has seasons 11-20 available for streaming, which is fun because the small, mobile ones really enjoy it, and because I must have stopped watching the show regularly before that, so most of the myths are new to me as well. There’s also a Mythbusters Jr. show which came out in 2019. We started with that one, and it was actually really great. But there’s only 10 episodes, so we got through that pretty dang quick.

The smaller, mobile one is also doing my drawing class with me this month. A lot of the focus of the class this month is on not being critical of yourself, and of just drawing to draw without worrying about everything being a work of art. We’re supposed to use normal paper and a pen, and she wants you to do confident lines as opposed to more sketchy lines.

It’s surprisingly hard. But fun! I have drawn some really awful things. And a couple of pretty good ones. Today we were supposed to practice drawing small things. I made the mistake of picking earphones to try and draw. The smaller, mobile one drew a bunch of adorable bees.

So, Eurovision is not happening this year, sadly, because life is cancelled, but they did put up all the songs that were in the running for the year, and have been putting up related programming on their YouTube channel (including contest shows from previous years). I was mostly underwhelmed this year (there are a lot of pretty songs, but nothing that really stood out) with the exception of what is, by far, the best Eurovision song of 2020:

Uno by Little Big, representing Russia

It is ridiculous and I love everything about it. They were robbed.

(Why is a Russian band singing in Spanish? Also, there is absolutely no substance to the song and I do not care.)

Aside from small, mobile one school drama, my month is going pretty well. I don’t have a lot of complaints thus far.

How is your May going, squiders? Is it lasting forever for you too? Did you watch the Eurovision songs for this year? Favorite?

Thoughts from Home

So, my blog posts from last week were scheduled a few weeks ahead of time (since we were supposed to be on a cruise last week), and while we did end up sneaking off to Moab before everything shut down, I still feel like, as time went on, they felt more and more disconnected.

Disconnected from reality, I mean.

A St. Patty’s post when St. Patty’s was all but cancelled. And then a post about editing and revision when everyone I know’s productivity has tanked.

Cuz, I mean, the whole thing’s inescapable, really. It’s everywhere you look. Schools closed, work changed or gone completely. Worries about paying bills or whether or not there will be enough food at the grocery store to feed your family. Fears about leaving the house, and nowhere really to go if you do leave.

(I did go out a little while ago. I ordered some toy dinosaurs from a local craft store for science experiment purposes to entertain the small, mobile ones and had received a notification that my order was ready, but by the time I got there they’d already closed for the day. And I went to my favorite coffee shop, because I want to make sure my favorite small businesses are doing okay, but it was empty and quiet and sad–they aren’t allowing more than five people in the store at one time–so now I am also sad.)

I’m sure you guys have run into this too. How…everything is different, and how routines you didn’t even know you had have been completely upended.

It’s really been hitting home the last few days. Especially now that I’ve got the small, mobile ones all the time, and I’ve somehow got to educate them enough that they’re prepared to move on to the next grade if school doesn’t actually happen again this semester.

(I mean, yes, I’m getting virtual lesson plans from their teachers, but it’s nowhere like what they’d be getting if they were actually at school. And that’s to say nothing of the missed socialization. I’m a super introvert, and even I am feeling the isolation.)

(I wrote physical letters yesterday.)

(I think the room I wrote my grandma might be a little punchy.)

I’m also not getting as much done as I would like, though I’ve quit checking the news a million times a day, at least. But it’s not all bad. I finished my drawing class for the month. The watercolors I’ve been doing in the trip journal are pretty dang good. And I finished the draft of my scifi horror novella.

Focus on the good, right?

I hope you all are doing okay, all things considered, squiders. Let’s keep our heads up as best we can.

See you on Thursday.