Ontario Lockdown May Update

The covid pandemic is now well into year 2 & its grip has tightened despite various lockdown restrictions & even the fairly rapid distribution of various vaccines, while the distribution of conspiracy theories has been even faster. Is there an end in sight? That depends on the profit margins, right.

Not only do the living have to bury the dead but they have to shoulder the burden of the cost – a burden that increases as the tax base shrinks thanks to covid deaths & lockdown bankruptcies.  Like poverty, the pandemic will stick around as long as someone is making big bucks off it – I should have invested in pharmaceuticals when I had the chance 🙂 Or undertakers.

Emotionally I have remained relatively even-keeled. Sharing my house means my social bubble has never been one of total isolation. Zoom has been a boon for recovery meetings & I generally log on to six a week. Each with a slightly different format & different people. I am one of those doesn’t go on camera & usual I minimize to audio only to spare my wifi connection. Not seeing all those faces eating, pulling at split ends, playing with pets lets me focus on the sharing.

I have maintained an active social bubble within the stipulated limits. Socially distant walks with a couple of recovery friends has been important. Also sending time with some non-recovery buddies has kept them for being too isolated. I’ve had a a good friend drop over a few times to help with the garden. 

Blogging & taking pictures have been vital to maintaining emotional & spiritual balance. Sharing things about various aspects of my life with complete strangers around world, most of whom I’ll never meet, makes me feel more connected. 

Major purging has given me a sense of accomplishment – one of the benefits of a house is that I have things to purge 🙂 I’ve suggested to a couple of friends maybe they should clear out their apartment storage spaces rather than gripe about not being able to do things. The purge also stepped into my writing archive – unearthing artifacts that go back to high school days. Poetry, short stories, plays, even a couple of novels. Inputting them & getting the paper into the recycle bin. 

I sure hope this lockdown paranoia soon has an end in sight though. My basement is clean enough, thanks.

Ballad of a Translucent Man

I would be happy

if someone greeted & invited me

as opposed to a nod

from the group clumped together

at their noisy chatty table 

drinks all around

guys slipping outside

in two or threes

for a quick smoke of bonding

<>

I remain unbondable

I’m not sure what underlies 

all that camaraderie 

I have never penetrated it

never been apart of an inner circle

a pal amongst pals

but I no longer seek that

content in this cool distance

<>

doubt if that’ll change at any time

won’t work at changing that

won’t make my words invite 

any more than they do

in fact I take a somewhat 

more challenging stance

a gentle fuck you

<>

no one there 

I need approval from

don’t have to please anyone but myself

the audience will respond regardless

in fact it seems 

the more indifferent I am to them

the more they listen

<>

though this sense of apartness

is something everyone carries

perhaps I am as much of this scene

as they are

as much of the under structure 

as any of them are

each of us looking for attention

for acceptance without 

wanting to surrender 

much of the self to get it

to get it for the self

for whatever that means 

to anyone else

bored and distant warm 

and in the middle of things

<>

each piece has a place 

in how things work

how things continue to work

fellowship is that the word

friendship maybe

companionship championship

a steady climb up some little ladder 

to a bugger bigger stage

the wow of applause

then the stride of celebration

that leads to 

who does he think he is

who was that translucent man

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Covid Pandemic Confusion

I’m dismayed at the eagerness of people to seize on any excuse to avoid covid vaccines but I do understand it to a degree. One of them is safe in some countries but ‘banned’ for use in others. Risk statistics are presented without any comparative information – i.e. are the side effects any worse than those for the regular flu shot? Which is worse – covid or any of said side effects?

In the States some religious factions refuse the shots as being against God’s will, protecting ourselves & others is seen as us playing God to decide who lives or dies. We cannot interfere with His plan as laid out in the scriptures – fundamentalists take it for granted that His plan also included conflicting translations of those scriptures. But if they chose to go unprotected I’ll keep my mask on while I wave a socially distant bye-bye at their funerals.

Here in Ontario the blame game has made people dizzy with constantly shifting lockdown rules, a vaccine supply chain that appears to be broke, vaccines that aren’t used before their expiry dates because there aren’t people in certain age brackets registered to get them – the mess goes on to provide fodder for excuses & finger pointing. Non-essentials are cordoned off in big box stores – but who decided what those non-essentials are? Thank God Tim Horton’s is still open, as are all the pot dispensaries.

I’ve had my first shot, I wear my mask on public transit & in stores. What more can I do? I’ve reduced my social bubble. I don’t look at airplanes that fly overhead just in case the vapour trail is spreading variants flown into the country by international flights. Maybe all this confusion has led to exhaustion & any excuse to remain isolated in my social bubble.

rough draft sample

from Ap2008 archive

Dreamland

there is something underlying everything

that I can sense 

but can’t figure out

I didn’t want to slip into

some paranoid fear

that whatever this is 

it’s against me 

but it clearly is not for me

I’m at harm’s length 

no matter close I get

there’s no way in for me

not matter how present

or how persistent I am was

I am edged away from the centre

the uncomfortable outsider

I can do without you anyway

but just keep coming around

to remind you I am here 

and remind myself 

not to slip though 

as an accepted part 

of things

I’m not hungry enough

age does that

it dulls the appetite

for certain thing

sharpens it for others

comfort becomes more important 

than information

sleep is more important

than another two hours 

of waiting around 

for something that hasn’t happened yet

dreams are more fulfilling than reality

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Roadblocks

Will there be roadblocks in & out of the Golden Horseshoe while it remains in phase one as the rest of Ontario moves on to phase two? How else can the rest of the province be protect from possible contagion? If I go to, say Cambridge, will I have to spend 14 days in quarantine before I can even get out of the car? At least I’m not worried about getting a hair cut 🙂

I have used Zoom this past week more than usual by attending the launch for Heather Babcock’s Dirty Sugar. The launch was smoothly run & well-attended. I’ll wait for the eBook before ordering it though. (https://www.inanna.ca/product/filthy-sugar/) Purging books the past month has reinforced my desire for empty shelves & to simplify 🙂

I have been attending recovery meetings via Zoom & enjoy them more now that I’ve learned how to ‘control’ Zoom. At first I loved seeing all those faces but I quickly became distracted by people’s actions while they were listening to others share. Not that they were deliberately distracting but their eating, grooming, stretching etc isn’t what I’m there for. So I minimize Zoom to audio.

I also only turn my camera on if I’m participating, the same with sound. No one needs to hear the TV, the kids, the dogs in the other room while someone is sharing. Maybe I have control issues but the sounds of people shuffling pages, cutting fingernails or humming to themselves is annoying. Some groups only allow mikes on when participating – which does cut down on that extraneous sound. Zoom Etiquette ebooks on their way 🙂

I’ve been posting a photo series of Ghosts. Places that have closed but some trace of them remains, usually the outline of a store name. Walking along the Danforth I’ve been many ghosts of the future. Restaurants with new ‘for lease’ signs in the window. At least one that had started to change to a fast-food chain back in February now changing to different fast-food chain. I guess takeout hasn’t created sufficient cash flow – though only doing take-out between 4 – 7 may not be that profitable. I’m have my camera eye on you ghosts of the future.

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Postcards From The Covid Edge

Ontario’s State of Emergency has been extended to June 30 -m that gives me threes to finish my covid cleaning frenzy. Thanks to rainy mornings I’ve been fairly focused though I only manage ninety minutes each morning it is getting thing done. This past week it was the front porch. The space is long & not too wide so I have to move things to one end, do that area move things back, move more things move them back etc. 

As with other rooms discoveries are made as I sift the site for artifacts lost in the dust. Bags filled with stuff that hasn’t been used, or seen for decades. Rubic’s cube? You go to the curb. Sorting through my postcard collection & I find cards going back to 1966! Cards from around the world from people whose names mean nothing to me saying how much they wished I was with them.

Most will be kept. I may do another sort into countries, states, provinces & maybe year – if I can make out the post mark. I even found a Father’s Day  card that I gave my Dad! Must have something my sister found in his pile of things after he died. No, I don’t remember buying it but I do recognize my handwriting.

Next step in porch cleaning will be the windows on Friday. The we get back to the garden next week. Social isolation is working out is ways I didn’t anticipate so I may end up with a couple of new habits around the house. Though the next round of cleaning probably would result in as much purging. Are ashtrays now collectables I wonder?

No real news on the covid front. The number of new cases per day is dropping even with increased testing. More stores are opening but with new safety protocols. Masks & gloves become ordinary. More places are producing their branded wear so I expect to see happy meal masks by the end of June. No mask postcards, yet.

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Welcome To Covid Gardens

Covid Gardens – sounds like the name for an old folks home.

Ontario’s State of Emergency has been extended another week rather than another month – I suppose that is encouraging news. Masks have gradually become more stylish & also more frequently worn though seeing people wearing them constantly makes me feel some haven’t fully understood the message. Or maybe I got it wrong – I only wear mine when in transit or in a store or if I have to pass a line up at the beer/wine stores.

The US Presidents mocks reports wearing masks, while shoppers hound a woman shopping without her mask up, store owners get attacked for refusing to let people without masks into their shops, while the mayor of TO ignored social distancing & mask to ask why someone is ignoring social distancing. It is mighty confusing.

I was dismayed by the recent sunny park crowd scenes & was amused by the almost sanctimonious response to it. It certainly gave many an opportunity to indulge their ethical/moral superiority over the covidiots in the park. The fact that many of us are willing to live within the recommended restrictions doesn’t make us saints, or make those that don’t into demons. It’s been 3 months now for people to get the basic message – social distancing & masks make a difference, washing your hands makes a difference. This is not a deliberate infringement on one’s social freedoms but a new way of living to keep ourselves alive.

My social isolation has been gardening now that the weather has warmed up enough. Wedding, trimming & planting. I repotted geraniums that had survived the winter. Bought flowers to create my own hanging baskets. Planted herbs, sweet peas & morning glories. Enough for one week. 

Even managed some more housecleaning & purging. I can’t describe my satisfaction in seeing the garbage men drag away bags of VHS tapes. Better yet seeing some things disappear even before the garbage guys come. I dragged some things stored in our basement by people who have since moved on. Bye bye anodizer, oscilloscope I hope you found better homes while I enjoy my better gardens.

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All pics of the garden – back steps with fresh herbs; various hostas that I planted several years again. Lilacs fresh from my garden earlier this week.

Covid #Cleaning

I love the American spirit of independence – no one is going to tell them act to do & some of them say ‘fuck your’ social distancing even if it kills them & everyone around them. They want to die with their work boots on so don’t get in their way, you pussy, cowardly, snowflakes. Is civil war war brewing?

 

I haven’t been following the news that closely though, what I know comes from the headlines that can’t be avoided when checking the weather. I do check to see what new social restrictions I should be aware of but that’s it. As a result I am sleeping as well as I always do. But I haven’t been taking my morning walks as I usually do. 

I’ve been devoting that 90 minutes to housework. Cleaning, purging, raking, uprooting. Mon Wed Fri mornings are my covid cleaning mornings. I was hoping to alternate, one week inside, the other week outside. But this past week as been too chilly (for me) for yard work so it’s been two week of vacuuming & purging. Book shelves have gotten a more in-depth dusting than usual. Tops of window frames too. I have enough house for at least another two weeks of this & by then the curve will have planked. If not there’s always the …. shudder …. basement to be purged of those bits of wood that never did come in handy after ten years.

 

The ‘stress’ of social distancing hasn’t been bad at all. Social isolation has been easy enough as well. I have met with some recovery friends (one at a time, on different days) for social distant walks & talks. Zoom recovery meetings have been good – at least I don’t have to step back to avoid holding hands at the end of the meeting 🙂

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New Era Of Butch

I haven’t been totally socially isolated this past week. On Sunday I went for a social distant walk with a friend in recovery. We walked one of the routes I often take on Saturday going to our morning meeting. Zoom is good but even distant face to face is better. Tim’s was open too. Recovery with coffee is the best 🙂 

Rain makes social isolation much easier. So this week I remind housebound Mon Wed Fri mornings to do spring cleaning & tossing. You know those note pads, envelopes, rough drafts you thought would come in handy – out they go. If I haven’t looked at, used them over 10 years bye bye. Rough drafts of the novel’s I’ve blogged already aren’t worth the space they take. Those cables I don’t remember ever having seen for something I don’t own anymore bye bye.

The biggest release was of books I’ve read but have no one to pass them on to. Mailing them isn’t worth the expense. Carting them around hoping to find a ‘free library’ to stuff them into is more work than I’m willing to put. So into the recycle bin.

The Artist’s Way talks about letting go of things that hold us down. This stuff doesn’t have any emotional hold on me so why litter my spaces with it any more. Also I feel more focused without that layer of dust too. Cleaning & purging takes more time than just dusting 🙂 I do look through things & make quick keep or toss decisions. Donate isn’t fast enough for me. I’d rather have empty space.

Healthy wise both of us are not sneezing or coughing. I am wearing bandana or neck warmer masks when I go out, I pull them up when near people. I’ve started to give them a little squirt of cologne too just to make them a bit more e pleasant, for me. In fact I’ve scented whatever hankie I’m using for blowing my nose too. The new era of butch has arrived.

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Mortality

 

I’ve seen so many frenzied crowds battling for food & pillaged stores in movies that the covid crisis felt a little unreal. I didn’t expect to see the end of the world – not that I think it’s going to come to a dry coughing end now – but there are endless doomsayers moaning & pointing the finger of blame.

The dystopian future has unexpectedly become a reality. All those irrational actions & reactions in films weren’t just dramatic licence, they were reflecting real human responses – people pulling guns at Costco over toilet paper. Toilet paper! Lining up for the latest game release rather than consider social distancing. Will there be a new iPhone?

I had a lunch plan with a buddy who may cancel because he doesn’t want to take public transit – if we get together it will be take out (as many restaurants, coffee chains, aren’t doing dine in) so we can keep that 6 foot distance between us. It got too complex so we cancelled.

Worry about the transit system running smoothly now becomes will I take transit at all. I’m one of the ‘lucky’ one without a job to deal with. The few things I took transit for have been closed until April 5. Many of the recovery meetings I go to are in community centres or churches – now closed until further notice. So I’m already engaged deeply in social isolation.

I’ve done a few things as a result of the crisis. I’ve bumped up my Vitamin C & spread it out over the day as the body can only aboard so much at a time. I’ve added zinc to my pill intake as it boosts the immune system. I downloaded a set of “Solfeggio Frequencies: Activate Qi Flow and Healing Energy.” I can leave this playing in the background when I’m doing chores around the house. 

What are you doing to prepare for the dry cough end of the world?

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