Fuzzy Head Day

Well, I’m not sure what happened to this morning – there was much sleepiness and fuzzy electric brain fog, so we roused briefly and then collapsed for a few more hours on the sofa. I now have coffee, a small amount of chocolate, and the balcony door open to pass a breeze through the room.

I’ve been trying to keep to relatively work-normal sleep patterns, but my body and brain obviously decided that was not to be today. On the plus side there’s still enough food and drink in the house to not have to go and do battle with the supermarket or anywhere else at least until payday next week so as long as I can continue to resist buying things online then we’re all good.

That said I have been tempted by some of the Kickstarter campaigns, especially those where their deadlines are after payday – and I may have backed some things that I think will be helpful both as prompts for the tabletop gaming, but also as writing hooks. That reminds me – I have story dice knocking around in the other room, I really must break those out while I actually have some spare time.

So in retrospect, I really must have needed that extra sleep because my brain, just in the course of writing this, has switched over into creativity buzz mode. I finished the envelopes of nice things for the DDC last night but have missed the limited post office opening hours locally so will have to dive out first thing on Monday to get those out. I think therefore that there may have to be some writing perpetrated.

Being a Listening Ear

My counsellor is the first to tell me that I have a tendency to want to help people and put their problems above my own – and she usually says so when I’ve spent a long time talking about my concerns about a friend, or someone I work with. So this extended period of lockdown and general stress has been an exercise in closely managing my own mental reserves so that I stay boundaried in the sense of maintaining my own safety while still being present for people.

Its not easy. It can be quite seductive a call to throw grand dramatic gestures. Everyone wants to be a hero after all, but keeping the slow and steady drip of checking in on people – listening when they do or do not respond, or sending the odd off-colour joke without expecting a reply – seems to be a middle ground that is allowing me to not over extend myself or to feel that I’m abandoning people.

Its hard when there’s that little voice wanting to leap down the phone and hug someone who is clearly in distress, but that little voice doesn’t take into account other people’s wants, needs, or support networks – that’s where it becomes unhealthy in trying to impose itself.

That’s the point where it becomes about me, not about them.

I am glad to bale to report that I amvery lucky with the support networks that I do have, and with the friends that can and do ping in and out of sight on various platforms. I’m doing my best to be a reliable generally positive part of their networks, rather than a burden on their time or the cause of a heavy sigh.

So, silly memes and reimaginings of scenes with disney characters, songs and daft videos – all of these and more will continue to flow as distractions. I might even get some work done in between them all too.

Data Cleansing and Inner Calm

We’ve been able to enable access to some work systems using Citrix recently, so now have a useful tool for calming the mind and feeling that I’m doing something useful at the same time: data cleansing.

Specifically we’re going through records to find where a remark has been left on an account and not removed in a timely manner. For the most part this is an oversight and is actually relatively rare, so I’m either removing the outdated remark or marking an entry on the shared report as checked and moving on.

Not only am I currently averaging a library a day at the moment, but I’m finding it a good way to occupy the spider-monkeys in my brain as they look for breaks in patterns and flag what needs further investigation – and as there’s no real deadline to work to I can move at a steady pace and coordinate with my peers who are also involved in doing it.

So that’s today’s path to inner calm: repetitive data work. Later I shall be doing something creative to let the spider-monkeys off the leash.

Morning All

Well its a glorious sunny morning and we’ve all the windows open to let a gentle breeze through the flat. The sound of birdsong is mingling with the chattering of children being walked around the estate and the dull roar of the M3, and an enormous bluebottle flying round the living room trying to find the open windows in front of it.

I have coffee, all is well

Okay, the windows being open may be partially to dispel some of the lingering smells of the after effects of the rather chilli-heavy mince dish Lady M cooked last night but thats purely coincidental.

We had another Cards Against Humanity game last night, this time factoring in Doctor Who and Harry Potter among the standard decks, and because there was no one on an absolute roll the scores were pretty even – making for a game that at one point I’m sure we began to think might never end. (We were playing first to twenty with seven of us in the game.)

So having a quiet day of officially not working is good timing as far as I’m concerned. I may do some more prep work for the D&D at some point today, but otherwise sitting and reading, and continuing to chat and be nonsensical with the DDC and anyone else who happens virtually along is the entirety of my plan.

Retail Support Therapy

We’ve all been looking in the DDC for ways to brighten each other up during the lockdown. I mean, we’ve been looking at ways of making life easier as much as possible for as many people as possible too, but in particular we’ve been rallying round to help each other. I think it was brewing anyway, but as Lady B had her birthday recently it prompted a move to send presents that has since expanded across the whole group.

For the most part its sporadic – little things like postcards or small gifts made on a whimsy – but it is a wonderful little spike of pleasure when there’s something unexpected in the mailbox. While this is a thing that could happen at any time, I think the enforced isolation has made the effort more appreciated and more meaningful for both sender and receiver. If so, then I take it as an example of people rising to support each other in adversity – through a series of acts that you could be forgiven for thinking had been a thing long in the past. Now all our various communications channels are sprinkled with little remarks like “Oh I showed x what I’ve made for you”, or “Oh, reminds me I must get to the post office” – and each time I get a little glow in my chest that is almost certainly not heartburn.

It doesn’t make us any better or worse than anyone else just because we’re choosing to reach out to support our friends and partners at this time rather than engaging in some grand gesture to help the world at large. Instead, I hope that it is a trend of rediscovering contact that has been denatured by the immediacy of social media. There is no immediate gratification of a notification on a phone or laptop – its merely something that appears at some point in the letterbox, and is all the more precious for it. I hope its something that catches on among friend and family circles as a rediscovery of a slower way of showing you care. Its less ephemeral that social media, and goes alongside the other ways of showing we care that we already use on a daily basis. I feel incredibly lucky.

Silver linings and all that

Out of Isolation

Yay! Its officially been two weeks of self-isolation and it’s over as of today – I can go out and – oh, wait… Well then everyone, um…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty much a hermit at the best of times, but today has been an exercise in trying to post out some supplies and eBay sales to people so I’ve had the fun experience of turning up to a couple of post offices that claim to be open on their websites, but actually aren’t.

In the end I resorted to putting out a plea on the local Facebook group and someone was able to identify somewhere in Lower Sunbury that wasn’t lying – mission accomplished!

It does mean that I’ve finally been able to pass on a couple of things for myr s and the cub – an antlered headband I commissioned for them for the delayed Red Dragon 6 Convention, and a 3D-printed Disney-style nameplate for the cub – and some paperwork – so that’s a relief to be able to get those out at least. So now I’m back home, watching a Barry Lewis livestream and sipping a fresh coffee. There are worse ways to spend a lunchtime.

Adventures in Time and Space

I’m trying not to climb the walls, mostly because I don’t have any energy and my eyes are hurting all the time. Last night sleep was broken so that hasn’t helped the lethargy today either.

For the most part I’ve been reading and trying to write and draw, but my heart hasn’t been in it. Instead I’ve been drawing together a wide selection of fellow geeks and oddballs so we can support each other online. A discord server is up and running, and we’re planning an online game of Cards Against Humanity for this evening. Even if that doesn’t go to plan, we now have a lively chat group all reaching out and supporting each other.

Good deed for the day, I feel. I’m currently deciding how apocalyptic I want to start dressing. It’s a bit damp and wet out there for full Mad Max-style leather and studs, but I’m thinking something a bit steampunk and dramatic.

This should do for checking the mailbox

Self Isolating

Well this morning started with a slight breathlessness and tickle in the chest and a bit of a dry cough – and the news that both Lady M and myr s aren’t feeling great either, so we’ve gone into isolation.

Lady M can work from home, and while my job is mostly public facing I can at least access email remotely to keep in touch. I had a long conversation with my boss and a co-manager to arrange immediate issues and then stayed in and posted a note to our local FB group for the estate. It’s lovely to be able to report that the messages of support have been heartening.

The hope, obviously, is that these are just colds, or if we do have covid that it’s mild enough that we can just get through and back to to normality – whatever that is. The local shops have imposed rationing in the face of widespread panic-buying so I guess we’ll see how we go.

Between my diabetes and Lady M’s asthma we’ve been mentally prepared to lock down but there is still a sense of things being out of joint. In the other household, myr s is concerned about their father and brother – both of whom have health issues – as well as the cub. Fortunately Lady J is in robust health, but has concerns for her mother who lives locally.

I’ve just woken from sleeping a while this afternoon. Lady M is asleep on the sofa as I write. We’re both trying to vary our days and activities so we limit how much walk climbing we do. I plan to adopt some of my freelancer days routines to break the day up in the process.

Fortunately I largely live as a hermit anyway so the mental shift isn’t too great. I’m mostly just struggling with a sense of guilt that I’m not out there working and helping people, even though I know that this is the sensible thing to do that minimises hurting anyone else.

Oh well. I now have no excuse for not writing something every day at least.