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12 Lessons – Life in the Time of Coronavirus

A gorgeous, sunny day at the beach in Cancun, Mexico.

On Jan. 2020, I was listening to the playful sounds of water and feeling the gentle Cancun breeze when I learned about Covid. Little did I realize a maelstrom was brewing and headed my way.

I thought Covid would fizzle out like other SARS viruses. Now approaching year three of the pandemic, I’ve learned some valuable insights and coping mechanisms to lift my spirits. I hope you'll find something here that's useful or, at the very least, makes you smile.

1. No one hoards spaghetti.

Except me. I bought a TON. I figured if I ran out of sauce, a pat of butter and minced garlic was enough to make me happy. As it turned out, the grocery store never ran out. A year and a half later, and I was still working through that stash. 🍝 🤭 😔  Fortunately, spaghetti lasts forever.

2. Toilet paper is for girls.

Leave it to boys (ahem, my brothers) to wonder why people panicked over toilet paper. “You can always wash like in the old country (i.e., Philippines).” First, eeeuw. Second, try doing that several times a day. Third, huh? I don’t recall ever having to do this!

3. Hear that loud sucking sound? Beware the rabbit hole.

While life slowed down for most people, I was as busy as ever. That’s what happens when you’re self-employed and there’s this thing called the internet. So many bright shiny objects!

Have you heard of NFTs (non-fungible tokens)? Yep, Facebook/Meta/Google fed me some ads to things I didn’t know I wanted, and like a good girl, I opened my mouth wide and said, “More, please.” 😆 😆 😅  If I disappear for a while, don't call 9-1-1. Instead, call Mark Zuckerberg or his cronies. They'll know where to find me.

This NFT sold for nearly $600K. I'm not sure I get it; hence, the rabbit hole.

4. Peeuw! Watch out for the little guys.

While I still have the same non-negotiable habits (making my bed in the morning, changing out of jammies into daytime jammies – aka sweatpants 😝, exercising regularly), I’ve gotten more lax about other things like changing socks. Recently, a ladybug fell out of one of my socks. Poor thing. Nobody should go that way. I don’t know how it got there or how long it had been there. It probably died of stinky sock poisoning. 😬

5. "C" is for…

Now, now, Charlie. No four-letter words are allowed here. 🤣 😵   So there's C for Covid and Coronavirus, of course. There’s also Caution, and I’m married to him. 😷 😷 😷  He's highly determined not to play a starring role on anyone's "Meet the Victims" list. And so we never go out. Just kidding! I have to admit that I, too, am doing my best to hang on to my tastebuds. You never know! Plus, I really like the taste of garlic.

C is also for Corsi box, a highly effective DIY HEPA filter. I made one, and I’m surprised they’re not more popular. 

Here's the Corsi box I made. Decorations are optional. ☺️

6. Treat yourself. You deserve it!

Needing a break from spaghetti, I started ordering takeout food regularly. Yippee, maid’s night off!!! This year, I discovered Prime Barbecue, made in the Texas style. I don’t eat meat often, but when I do, it’s a real treat. Beef brisket? Yum! Smoked beef brisket on the fatty side? Mmmmm delicious.

7. Get outta here! 🌞 🏃🏽‍♀️

I’m not exactly an outdoorsy kind of girl (my camping days are over) but it makes me happy to be outside, especially on sunny days. Whenever someone says, “Wanna go for a walk?” you can see my tail wagging. Maybe that’s why I don’t mind working in the garage, despite the heat in summer and cold in winter. It’s as close to being outdoors as I can get while working. 

8. Zoom, zoom.

For some time now, I've been on a weekly Happy Hour Zoom call with my Bffs: two in Toronto, one in Ottawa. We laugh at everything, even at each other’s expressions, when screens freeze and voices croak from slow internet connections. Friendships endure despite distance.

The screen froze on Tineke (top right). Below, Linda on St. Patty's Day.

9. Look up at the sky.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's… why, it's my Mom! Three years ago, my lovely Mom (whom I had previously referred to as the original Energizer bunny) passed away. When she was in hospital, I found myself looking up at the sky more often – praying, hoping, bargaining with God. After she passed, I continued looking up. I feel she’s still around, in a happier place, up there somewhere. I often say, “Hi, Mom. Miss you, love you… and thank you.”

This year, I started painting more skies and clouds. They hold so much hope, promise and mystery.

10. Different is different. Sometimes, it's also better.

I started a tall, skinny series of paintings. They're a bit of a unicorn. I didn’t know if the narrow size would work out for my landscapes, but I gave it a shot anyway. Besides, I decided I was going to beat this new format into submission… and I’m happy to say it surrendered. They’re great for those narrow walls. See the series here >>

11. Youtube rocks.

When the pandemic began, my iMac crapped out. Of course! Because the Apple store was closed, I did some troubleshooting, ordered a new drive, and learned how to install it by watching Youtube videos. Heyyy, (1) It wasn’t easy (2) I wouldn’t recommend doing it yourself (3) Even if I managed to get it done. Ha! (Tip: It helps if you have four hands and good eyesight, none of which I have). I feel like I should get an award or something… 🍰 🏆 

12. Make some lemonade.

When shows got canceled, my focus pivoted to online. And when the viral blizzard hit Toronto this past Christmas, I changed plans at the last minute and stayed put in NC. Feeling disappointed, I went out and bought a big-ass prime rib roast and made all the fixings. Yom yom! Take that, Omicron.

Of course, nothing replaces in-person connections. This winter, I have to settle for people-watching while standing in line at the grocery store. It’s very sad. But my neighbors, previously more private, are now more eager to engage. That makes me happy. Some are even poking their head around my garage studio, wondering what the heck I’m up to. 

Plus, it may not feel like it yet, but days ARE getting longer. Soon, the great outdoors will give us a big warm welcome. Just hang in there a little longer. I think everything's gonna be alright. 🌞 😎 🎉 🌻 🍻

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2022 SHOW SCHEDULE

Arts in the Park, Richmond, VA
April 30 – May 1

Artsplosure, Raleigh, NC
May 21 – 22

New Elements Gallery
TBD Summer 2022

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Read my earlier post >>  Quarantine Journal #1