Coronavirus, Where is Spring? and Keeping Motivated

April 6, 2020

by Kathy Larson

It is snowing. Again. I am so tired of snow. Of winter. I want Spring to come. To see trees budding, grass growing and flowers peeking out from cool earth. This has been a long, cold season, made that much worse by this coronavirus that has gripped the world.

For the past few weeks I, like millions of others, have been glued to the news, following the ever-climbing numbers associated with this virus. Numbers of infected, of tested, of deaths. Numbers of unemployed, of businesses closed, of personal debt predictions. Numbers related to health care — those who are working to help others, those who are helping others who have themselves become infected, and the constant call for masks, respirators and other ppe.

Watching and listening to this news became an obsession. I felt that if I wasn’t paying attention 24-7 then I might miss something critically important. In doing my part by staying home and only leaving the house when absolutely necessary (and for a daily walk to get some fresh air) I had come to think that staying tuned to the news ALL THE TIME was my obligation and responsibility.

I see now that this was an unhealthy, though understandable, reaction to the crisis our country, and the world is facing. So, yesterday, I took the day off. I didn’t watch the news even once. We made some phone calls, placed a couple of video calls just to check in with family, and then I turned it all off for the day.

Instead of drowning in bad news and despairing numbers I soaked in a bath of epsom salts and lavender scented bubbles. I treated myself to a lovely refreshing coconut face mask, gave myself a mini-manicure and then immersed myself in feel-good music in a room all by myself. I allowed myself to think of other things and not feel guilty about ignoring the pandemic. When I emerged from my happy little bubble a couple of hours later I felt much, much better.

The hardest thing about this period of mandatory isolation is staying motivated. Though I have all this time on my hands I can’t seem to do much with it. I try, I really do, but more often than not, I fail to accomplish much of anything.

You’d think I’d have written a novel by now, with all this uninterrupted time. But how can I write anything when I’m glued to the television and my brain is preoccupied by thoughts of impending doom and the coming apocalypse?

I could have crocheted a couple of afghans in this surfeit of spare time, but all I have to show is a couple of produce bags and a rather large shopping tote. They’ll come in handy once the ban on plastic bags is reinstated — if it’s reinstated.

There is a roll of wallpaper I bought over a month ago sitting on top of the cupboard I bought it for that stares forlornly at me every time I walk by. Yeah, yeah, I see you, I answer silently each time, I’ll get around to you, just give me time.

Maybe. This week. We’ll see.

I know this much: the television is staying off this week. At least until the evening news.

Just sittin’ around doin’ nothin’

by Kathy Larson

March 10, 2020

All those apostrophes are rather annoying, now that I see them when I look up from the screen. Ah, well, too bad. There they will stay.

I’m in a funny mood today. Not bored, exactly, not blue, either, just sort of blah or bleck. Don’t know how else to say it — other than my mood matches the day, which is grey and a bit windy with ice slowly melting from the eaves.

I took a night-time Aleve last night when I went to bed because I had an incredibly sore right shoulder and arm and I wound up sleeping til 9 o’clock this morning. Never a good start to the day for me. I like to be up between 7 and 7:30 — it gives me the illusion of feeling PRODUCTIVE. Though, mostly, I’m not.

I may get a little writing in. I may go for a walk. I may plan what we’re going to have for supper. I may write a letter to someone. I may text one of my sisters, or call my mom. I may decide to have lunch with my husband or go do a little grocery shopping. The possibilities are absolutely endless.

As I sit here typing this I’m also thinking about our upcoming trip home. We will leave tomorrow night and make the 5 hour drive home to Bon Accord. I’m looking forward to possibly seeing my son and his family — though chances are they’ll be busy. We were expecting company for the weekend, but the coronavirus and unpredictability of March weather has put an end to that. So, it will be a quiet weekend, most likely spent watching hockey. Go Canucks!

This back and forth between Fort Mac and Bon Accord has been going on for five years and I am ready for it to be over. I want to live in one place — my home in Bon Accord. I want to watch the snow melt from my gardens, I want to sit in the spring sunshine on my deck and enjoy an early morning coffee with home-made Irish cream generously poured. I want to wake to the sounds of magpies and blue jays fighting in the big pine outside my bedroom window. I want to see the crocus in bloom, I want to hear the frogs creaking and croaking from the lagoon across the road. I want to hear the beautiful, soul stirring sound of the sand hill cranes as they wing their way northward as I toil in the cool, moist earth of my gardens.

I want, I want, I want.

I guess that’s why I’m feeling as I do today.

April 24th – Spring has sprung!

I just got back from my daily walk. It is a beautiful, although extremely windy, day here in Fort McMurray.

The amount of dirt in the air is incredible. Thank God I wear glasses! And further thanks that I’m going to the pool tonight. That’ll get the grime gone for sure.

Here are a few pictures from the day. As you can see the river hasn’t quite broken up yet. It is actually looking pretty ugly. Up close and along the banks the water is like mud. The melting snow is black and sludgy.  I’m not sure, but I think the water level has risen a tiny bit.

Further downstream, near the bridge things are looking a little better, but not by much.

We need a good, cleansing rain to freshen things up. And start the trees budding.

A good community clean-up is in order, too. I’m going to check the municipality’s website and see if there’s one scheduled.

 

 

 

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Other than garbage this is all the colour we’ve got right now.

 

 

Wow! Finally a really nice day.

As I said before I am going to post pictures of the Clearwater River that runs behind the apartment building Tim and I currently live in.

Here are pics from April 14th and 15th.

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The first and third pictures are from April 14th, the second and fourth from the 15th. It doesn’t look much difference, but trust me there is.

Today it was so nice that I wound up taking my jacket off and walking in just my t-shirt. Feeling the sun and the soft breeze on my skin was wonderful.

Here’s a few impressions from my walk today. I walked down to a place called Waterways. It’s in a rather precarious spot if you ask me – really close to two rivers, but it is quite a lovely walk.

First, I spotted two ducks! A mated pair checking out the ditches. I tried to get a picture but they spooked and flew off.

Then, a teeny black bug flew into my glasses.  Completely startled me.

Next, a little boy with a big rock. He was under the bridge with his parents. I’d heard someone tossing rocks as I approached the bridge and wondered who it was.  Seeing  this little guy struggling to carry his rock, then stopping every few feet while he contemplated throwing it, only to change his mind and grapple it back up into his arms, then toddle off after his calling parents just made me smile. A sure sign of Spring.

Then there was the disheartening sight of all the garbage covering the ground that the melting snow has revealed. Ah, Spring!

And, lastly, the one sign of Spring that I could do without – the gagging smell of thawing dog shit.  I love dogs, I really, really do. I just wish they had better owners.

 

Numbah 99!

Holy cannolli, one more day to go!

Today’s post is going to be a short one. The last three days have been uneventful. I’ve continued on with internal purging, done some reading, contemplated signing up for a ‘free’ online workshop that promised to pinpoint my ‘blockers to success’, and done some actual, physical purging, as well.

So, a good three days, in my opinion.

Spring is taking her ever-loving time in arriving in our province this year.  Especially up here in Fort Mac. It’s mid-April and still not a blade of grass is to be seen. The trees are just barely starting to bud. The river is still frozen, though the surface is unstable and you can see  wet patches once the sun is high.

I have never seen Spring break-up, so I am very curious about it. Fort McMurray puts out public service announcements regarding the break up of winter ice on the rivers, warning of the dangers of flooding and how to prepare for an emergency situation. It’s really quite something. Until I witness it for myself, though, I guess I just won’t understand.

I’m planning to take pictures every day as the river changes. I’ll post some of them here. Here’s the first:

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April 13th. From our 7th floor balcony looking out at the Clearwater River.

There are five rivers that run through Fort Mac – the Athabasca, the Clearwater, and Horse, Hangingstone and Christina Rivers.  That’s a lot of water to be surrounded by.

This could get interesting.

Sunday, March 23rd and apart from the sunshine you wouldn’t know it’s Spring

I know that I tend to gripe about the cold.  I can’t help it.  Despite having lived my entire life in places where winter is the longest season, I just can’t get over it.

Friday was the first official day of Spring, and the forecast for next week?  Expect January-like temperatures.  The projected high for Tuesday is supposed to be a balmy -18 degrees Celsius.  Yay.  Can hardly wait.

I’ve been keeping my bedroom window open at night in the misguided belief that it’s NOT THAT COLD, and THE FRESH AIR WILL DO US GOOD.  What I got for my troubles was a sore throat and a sinus cold.  Yay, Again.

We had a good lot of snow this winter and last week most of it melted.  Creating lovely, goopy, slimy mud pits everywhere.  The street I live on in my idyllic little rural community are not paved.  They are gravelled.  But, I was happy that the snow was gone out of my driveway, and that at least I could see the gravel again.  But, then, the local idiots decided that tearing up and down our side street and four-wheel driving through the muck in their Mazda hatch-back and sore-excuse for a sports-truck would be fun.  They made a grand mess of the road and the boulevard.

Yet another sign that Spring has arrived.  And, here’s another. . .

The husband took matters into his own hands and went after one of them.  Talked to a dad of one of the boys and told him the police would be called next time it happened.  Barricades went up the next day.  Hope the two are related.  The traffic has been a lot more sedate since, however.

Now things are frozen again.  I guess we’ll see what happens when Spring decides to stick around.

I can’t wait for Spring to really arrive.  I’m thinking it might be for real somewhere around Easter.  Until then I’ve got Pinterest.

 

May 1st

Day 122 — May 1st.  It hit a balmy 12 degrees today.  Still, I’d rather that than what we had on Monday.  I know that Spring is truly here now.  I saw and heard a massive flock of cranes today.  I was on a short walk in Morinville and suddenly I heard their beautiful, soft trilling overhead.  I looked up.   And nearly cried.  They are so amazing to watch and listen to.  Spring really is here now.  It really is.

April 29th

Day 120 — Okay, I’m going to try and be as positive as I possibly can about today.  But it’s gonna be tough.  Because we were hit with yet another blizzard today!  Seriously, enough is enough.  Here’s my positive spin — at least there will be more moisture in the ground when and if it ever gets warm enough for things to start growing.  There!