Winter nesting during the pandemic

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I am a homebody and an especially unadventurous one during this pandemic.

With winter here and the holidays almost done, I would hibernate between January 2nd and March 20th if I could.

How about you?

I love my humble home aka le petit apartment. I don’t love having to share a communal laundry room that is constantly unkempt and vandalized by n’er-do-wells. I have written another firm email to our landlord contacts about this months-long frustration.

I am drafting my 2021 goals and updating my five year plan. One item that is becoming more of a priority is to move to a cleaner, secure rental. Ten years since the last move, I will once again use a methodical project management approach. I don’t know how possible travel will be in the next couple of years so I think we can afford the move.

Finding an affordable, secure rental is nearly impossible these days. You’re looking at nearly $2,000 per month for a decent place to accommodate two or three people AND include laundry facilities en suite. I do not want to purchase a condo or house because they come with responsibilities, maintenance and added expenses.

During the extended holiday weekend, I sifted through a few shelves, boxes and file folders in my bedroom. It was a tedious, dusty task done in a relaxed manner, with me retaining the items that held some importance, then shredding, recycling or tossing those that did not.

In the New Year, I will take down the wee Christmas tree, lights and decorations, to place them into their tidy storage bins.

But what about those Christmas cards? Do you keep them for years and years? I will likely bundle them with their envelopes and label with “Christmas 2020” then stuff them into a shoe box with others. Part of me seems to think they will have archival significance in 50 years. I will likely acquiesce to let go of them during the final sweep before the big move.

Just a couple of the bookcases stuffed with books and other things

Enjoy this essay and audio clip from CBC radio’s Tapestry : How we’ve nested in our homes through the pandemic — and why it might be good for us

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/tapestry/making-your-home-and-the-holidays-special-in-a-pandemic-1.5842263/how-we-ve-nested-in-our-homes-through-the-pandemic-and-why-it-might-be-good-for-us-1.5842274

I don’t have a label maker but I make use of old sticky labels and colourful postits to identify contents of boxes 🙂 I refuse to buy more shelving units to hold excess belongings. According to one of the experts, I should do something about those topless baskets 😀

Thanks for dropping by. What are you up to during the holidays while preparing for a hopeful, healthy 2021?

T

Using art therapy to enhance staycation activities

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Nine months into this COVID-19 pandemic and we’re hanging on relatively well here in Eastern Ontario.

Most of the people I know have been abiding by the advice of public health officials with wearing masks, distancing and keeping within small social bubbles.

I am fortunate to still have the work from home option. The cat (aka The Home Office Supervisor) tolerates my constant presence, is enjoying frequent tummy rubs on the couch and “comb comb” sessions in her window box. She’s like photogenic putty afterwards.

Relaxed Tabby Cat after a combing session

Some days the best you can do is go through the motions while staying healthy and safe. Most days you say a little prayer of thanks, gratitude that you have shelter, food, health and social connections. Thank you, Internet and the good ole telephone line.

My youngest Millennial came to stay with me for the winter. I am relieved that I get to see one of my adult children on a regular basis but am reliving memories of habits from his earlier years. It could be worse.

Since I was encountering disappointment and frustration with the working life, I was relieved when I started a much-needed vacation week. I survived another anniversary of my life altering experience at the hands of my now ex-spouse. I see it as traumatic and liberating in that our children were finally free of his controlling, stifling grip.

Practising art therapy and allowing in happy thoughts, I decided to let loose my inner child that week, to express and create art. I also read one of my favourite novels again.

I pulled out a Koi compact watercolour kit that my daughter gifted me five years ago. I remember attempting to do flower paintings once a month but that inspiration wilted after three.

I felt pleased with my rough watercolour copy of Starry Night by one of my favourite, misunderstood artists.

Watercolour rendition of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night
Watercolour recreation of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night

Being a fan of the Golden Ratio, I made a few magic marker and water colour versions of the Fibonacci Spiral.

I did a watercolour version of The Tree of Life, one of my favourite objects in mythology and spirituality.

Watercolour Tree of Life 2020

My stage of life could be represented by the squawking, flapping ninny in the upper left – or the tired-out old bird dropping what may be seeds of wisdom. Who knows where they will fall and eventually sprout?

That Monet “bridge over lily pond” attempt is taking longer than anticipated. I hope I can finish it before the end of vacation weekend. I want to finish writing Christmas cards and put up our wee artificial tree.

It’s good to have plans for the short term and long term. I look forward to finishing that part-time college program by the end of 2022. Not sure what I can to with that diploma but at least the courses are keeping my mind busy and allowing for social connections with classmates if only online these days.

As usual, I refrained from Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping sprees, cringing still at the abuse of our natural resources and persistent use of plastic in toys and other consumer goods. There is nothing outstanding that I need. My children are old enough to appreciate money as gifts so they can buy the things they need, they want – or to pay off bills.

I may lead a quiet and boring life but I’m just happy to be alive and to know that those in my sacred circle of loved ones are too.

Thank you for dropping by. What have you been doing to keep safe and mentally sound during this pandemic?

T

Using humour to get through the rough times

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First, I hope followers and readers are safe and healthy.

I am thinking of folks adapting to pandemic protocols, political uncertainty in the south, forest fires in the west, tornadoes in the middle and hurricanes in the east.

Then there’s the rest of the world where I feel I have little control of events except through donations to humanitarian causes.

Doodle – I accept that I don’t have control of everything

When you’re surrounded by chaos and uncertainty, it helps to take a few minutes a day to sit in quiet, to meditate and if anything, just count the breaths.

I am still grateful to have a job and flexibility to work from home. I am still hopeful for a future career by starting school last week, now as an online course in the part-time program. It’s nice to hear familiar voices, to see familiar faces although pixelated, and to discipline myself into focused learning again.

I am grateful to see one of my offspring in person every few weeks. I feel satisfied to hear and see other loved ones over the phone, video chats and during physically distanced picnics in the park. It has been over a year since I have travelled to visit my grandchildren. Heartbroken, I still compensate by sending them birthday cards and small gifts through the mail. My heart skips a happy beat when their parents send me an email or text message. It seems like so long since I have received a barely legible letter from my oldest granddaughter.

The used bookshop where I would volunteer on weekends has been closed since March. I miss it. I think about the library staff, the regular patrons, the Seniors, the socially and economically challenged who rely on these services.

I spend my lonely nights watching TV, movies and doodling. I seek out comedies to help with the release of belly laughs.

COVIDdoodle One Day at a Time

Hop on over to the Tabby Cat’s blog to see some doodles I did to get me through the blur of days and weeks in the past six months.

Pushing for Friday

I invite you to read this quickly sketched comic, a humorous depiction of a typical day working from home.

Humour: Going through the motions of remote work during isolation

Thanks for dropping by. What are you doing to cope during these trying times?

COVIDdoodle – This too shall pass

Otherwise, stay safe. Take care of yourself and each other.

T