The Pandemic: schedules, lock-down, e-readers, no internet, photography, book club — a mish-mash post.

Days Sheltered in Place

As of today, April 7th, I’ve been sheltered in place at home for 22 days.

Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

No Internet? Live like a Victorian

I keep reading that people are relieved to have the internet during a pandemic. Can you imagine, they ask, a quarantine without the internet?! And Netflix! No Netflix. They shudder. I laughed because if this were Victorian times, we’d basically be doing life as usual. At least, that’s how I imagine it. So, just for fun I’m sharing the schedule I made and have been following to create order and adjusted it to imagine what I’d be doing if I were a Victorian lady. I’m not an expert in Victorian ladies, so I may be off the mark on some of these.

  • 9:00 – 10:30AM
    • Me: eat breakfast, drink coffee, read the news, and play an online jigsaw puzzle.
    • Victorian Lady: morning tea, the daily newspaper, a game of whist.
  • 10:30 – 11:00AM
  • 11:00 – 12:00PM
    • Me: reading comments on my blog and blog hopping.
    • Victorian Lady: letter writing, making sure to use the proper quality of paper, color of ink, and pondering the correct salutation.
  • 12:00 – 1:00PM
    • Me: homework for the continuing education course.
    • Victorian Lady: work on accomplishments by practicing the piano to provide discipline and diversion.
  • 1:00 – 2:00PM
    • Me: lunch and television.
    • Victorian Lady: Change clothing with assistance for elevenses (two hours too late) and then people-watching on the veranda, far enough back to avoid catching disease.
  • 2:00 – 3:00PM
    • Me: listen to audiobook.
    • Victorian Lady: change clothing with assistance and force children to read Charles Dickens’s A Child’s History of England aloud for personal entertainment.
  • 3:00 – 4:00PM
    • Me: work training (typically a webinar).
    • Victorian Lady: balance house account, choose dinner selections, and order maid to arrange flowers around house.
  • 4:00 – 5:00PM
    • Me: read a novel.
    • Victorian Lady: read the latest installment of a serialized novel.
  • 5:00 – 6:30PM
    • Me: cook and eat dinner.
    • Victorian Lady: change clothes with assistance to ready for dinner. Feel relief that the neighbor and his wife can’t come over to join you thanks to the quarantine. After all, the wife is a bit too coy.
  • 6:30 – 7:30PM
    • Me: free time, whateves.
    • Victorian Lady: work on needlepoint to donate to the local charity bazaar.
  • 7:30 – 8:00PM
    • Me: watch Jeopardy! of course, though I hate the potpourri category.
    • Victorian Lady: make potpourri by dipping dried flowers into perfume.
  • 8:00 – 9:00PM
    • Me: exercise, typically YouTube yoga or Leslie Sansone.
    • Victorian Lady: play croquet in the garden, though be sure to not use too much energy from the reproductive organs.
  • 9:00 – 9:30PM
    • Me: dillydally.
    • Victorian Lady: stare into fireplace.
  • 9:30 – 10:00PM
    • Me: read aloud to spouse while he packs lunches or folds laundry then go to bed.
    • Victorian Lady: change clothes with assistance and get into bed, which is of course in a separate room from her spouse.

Jump on board with an e-reader

Many readers don’t want to go digital; there’s just something about holding a book, even if it is gross. But with the pandemic forcing us to stay home, a e-reader can be your saving grace when the library is closed and companies are shipping things very slowly (hello, new Samantha Irby book, where are you??). Anne @ I’ve Read This asked me which device I recommend. I would not suggest an e-reader that limits you to a certain vendor — the Kindle, the Nook, etc. Nor would I recommend an iPad for the cost alone (hint-hint, it’s expensive). Both my spouse and I have the Samsung Galaxy Tab A (8 inch, 32 GB). In the U.S., this will set you back $150. To compare, an iPad with 32GB and 8 inches is $330. Download any app, just like a smart phone, plus access the internet using a Google Chrone browser. You can download all the apps for all the digital books (at least I haven’t run into problems) that you want:

  • Nook
  • Kindle
  • Google books
  • Libby/Overdrive
  • Hoopla
  • the WordPress app, of course!
  • Goodreads app, etc.

Are You Still Doing a Book Club?

I hadn’t been doing any book clubs, actually, but when I learned that the library I patronize was going to host an online book club that would meet every other day, I got nervous. I mean, I am an introvert, and even promises to see people online scare me.

However, I’ve gotten used to the group. There are about 7-8 of us, including the librarian who leads the discussion. To save money, the library chose a license with a book that can be accessed on Hoopla, which, to my knowledge, lets the library loan the book to as many people as want it, so no one is shut out of the book club because they can’t get a copy.

We’re reading Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun (spoiler, this is not a good book), and it’s interesting to hear people from the Boomer, X, and Millennial generations talk about what Gen X women experience. We use Google Meet, which is free and pretty intuitive. Recommendation: have rules for your online book club, especially one asking people turn off their mic when they’re not speaking.

Quarantine Stories Can Be Funny and Lovely

Thanks to Amal @ Misfortune of Knowing, I learned about an L.M. Montgomery short story entitled “Quarantine at Alexander Abraham’s,” which is about a forty-something unmarried woman who goes to see why one of her Sunday school students stopped showing up. She’s a confirmed man-hater and cat-lover, and her student just happens to be working for a bachelor who is a certified woman-hater and dog-lover. Due to a smallpox outbreak, these opposites must live together. Check out this wonderful story.

“All the nurses in town who will take smallpox cases are overbusy now, for the epidemic is still raging there. . . . I will nurse Mr. Bennett. . . It is my duty and, thank Heaven, I never shirk my duty. He is a man and he has smallpox and he keeps a vile dog, but I’m not going to see him die for want of attendance for all that.”

Pandemic Photo Album

Lastly, without thinking about it too much, I started a pandemic photo album. Each day I take a photo of my cat in her bed. That’s how it started. I figured I could keep track of the days by counting the Kitty pics. But then I started photographing small things I noticed: a hoof print in the mud, the way a tree branch scraped the ground, my husband’s “office” set up in the living room. I moved on to some photos of people that are sent to me: my nieces and nephew, my parents when they were on vacation (alone in a truck, alone on a motorcycle, alone in a cabin) in New Mexico, a few of Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku from when we were texting.

There are so few human photos in my album, but I’m not alone because I have you all. If you are okay sharing, please send me a photo of you to grabthelapels@gmail.com. I am not sharing these photos anywhere online, but simply sticking them in my own album to document this weird time. This is me listening to The Song of Achilles and walking around:

56 comments

  1. A Victorian lady with children looking for a husband. I hope she’s a widow. And in that case who is she seeping separately from. Probably also you should swap the whist and the croquet. You are obviously staying safe, hope you are staying occupied.

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  2. Ah, I loved the comparison of your current schedule with a Victorian Lady’s! Hilarious. 🙂 I’m really enjoying seeing posts about what people are doing and how they’re adapting to life during a pandemic. Weirdly, other than stress levels, my day-to-day life hasn’t changed much, other than running fewer errands!

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    • “Other than stress levels”? That’s a big difference! You poor dear. How are you handling stress levels? What helps you? I know my remedies — do online jigsaw puzzles and walk around while dragging a stick — are not going to work for everyone. 😐

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve mainly been coping by trying to stick to my pre-pandemic schedules and not giving myself time to dwell on the stress. Of course it sneaks in anyway, but keeping my mind busy helps, which is where the ongoing Women’s Prize has been very handy! I’m also the cat caretaker on my family’s farm, and having those certain times of day when I have to feed them and make sure they’re all present and well also helps (they’re barn cats, so I always have to hunt them down around the farm), and gives me a chance to get some fresh air and “socialize” a couple times a day, lol.

        I’m torn between laughing at the stick-dragging image and finding it worrisome; I hope you’re hanging in there too!

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        • I made up a schedule that I then printed; it’s a good comfort to cross off things on the list as the clock ticks by. I find it helpful to always know what to be doing. I’ve never heard of anyone socializing barn cats. I always see them just running around then running to the food bowl. I love picturing you chasing around cats — shall we say it’s about as easy as herding cats? Hahaha.

          Okay, I’ve convinced three people so far that stick dragging is great. Think about it: you did it when you were a kid, your dog does it, and even Tom Robbins did it in college. Don’t be worried; I have this tendency to go with whatever I feel like doing, even if it doesn’t seem very adult-ish. Give it some time and maybe stick dragging will be just as popular as adult coloring books.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That sounds like a good plan- I definitely find that sticking to a routine helps. And lol, it probably doesn’t look as silly as it seems, my chasing the barn cats! I’ve been at it for a few years now and they’re mostly quite tame. Probably too tame to be honest, they’d rather socialize with me at this point than catch the mice, oops! The only challenge is that they don’t all get along with each other and have their own hiding places around the farm, so it’s more of a hide and seek game than a proper chase, ha!

            I’m glad the stick dragging is a helpful coping mechanism! This is definitely a time of “anything goes” if it helps us get through the pandemic. Perhaps after the longlist ceases to be a distraction for me I’ll develop some interesting habits of my own.

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  3. What a great post! I’m finally back to reading and commenting on blog posts now – hopefully I can stay caught up. I love your schedule & the Victorian ladies schedule – too fun!
    I was wondering if your library was open! We’ve been shelter in place for about 3 weeks now, but I’m still having to go to work as I work for an essential business, so my schedule hasn’t really changed much.
    That LM Montgomery short story was the premise for an episode on Road to Avonlea, a Canadian TV series that aired on the Disney channel as “Avonlea” in the 90s that is based on Montgomery’s stories. It’s one of my favorite TV shows! That particular episode was quite fun, although I don’t remember how closely it resembles the story.
    Glad to hear you’re keeping your sense of humor during all of this!

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    • The Montgomery story isn’t terribly long, so if you have time to read it, please do! It’s got her classic humor. I think I’ve heard of the Avonlea show but have never seen it. I’m so glad you’re back; my heart was exciting to see that you are around!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the Victorian Lady schedule! I have been struggling to read much and watching a lot of Netflix. And calling it watching is debatable.

    I’d love to send a quarantine pic! I’ll try to dig a good one up.

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  5. Ha, love this! I do a photo a day and have been for seven years or something. I have been making extra effort to get good interesting and arty shots at the moment, after a friend said she really looks out for them being posted on Facebook!

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  6. I LOVE the comparison with the Victorian lady’s schedule! And I chuckled when even “dillydally” was on it. I feel that that was basically my whole quarantine. I found that once I removed work and classes from my schedule, all my habits fell apart, apart from reading and blogging. Also, that short story looks delightful—might check it out.

    I’ll try to send in a picture—I realized I haven’t taken one this whole time, except for 1-2 pics of Cat. Perhaps I can send that instead to keep Kitty virtual company. 😁

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    • Hahaha, Kitty is being a massive jerk. She’s either sleeping, throwing up, or biting me. This is not normal Kitty. I think she’s stressed out because my husband set up an office space in the living room, and for her it might look like we’re packing/moving.

      I’d love if you sent me a pic! Most of the photos I’ve received are silly, and everyone looks a little bit like a shrub because they can’t get to their hair salon or shaving tools, etc. Thank you so much, Gil 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love your Victorian Lady schedule! I’m going to start thinking about myself as a Victorian Lady at home, rather than someone stuck at home! If only I could force my children to read Dickens aloud to me…

    A book club that meets every other day sounds overly intense to me but I’m curious about the book. Is it primarily about Gen X women? My older brother helpfully tells me I’m now middle-aged but I’m not quite convinced.

    I’ve been taking lots of pictures but I’m in very few of them. Maybe I can wrangle the girls to take a picture together and send it to you!

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    • If I remember correctly, Pearl is a budding photographer! I would love a picture of you for me album 🙂

      The book club that was meeting (we’re now done) every other day was nice because we weren’t reading very much at a time, and we could also just chat like friends. Actually, I really miss it. The book Why We Can’t Sleep was only about Gen X women. The years for that generation are typically 1965-1980, so that makes me a millennial. People in my family have children right around age 20, so we are weirdly straddling many generations. My dad was born in 61 (almost Gen X), my brother in 81 (almost Gen X)…so that’s weird!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s so interesting that both your dad and brother are almost in the same generation. Makes sense, but still seems strange. I’m an old millennial myself but I always feel like there’s a big divide within millennial. I grew up without internet at home and social media wasn’t a thing until I was in university. Whereas my husband’s youngest siblings are also millennials but don’t really remember a time before there was a computer in the home. Their teenage years were really different, even within the same family. Peter and I were recently talking about whether the current pandemic will eventually be seen as another generational divide, the way the world wars were. (Also because we predict a general baby boom in about 9 months!)

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        • My dad got married when he was 19 and brother was born when my dad was 21, so yep, almost both Gen X! Almost. I think the thing with Millennials is something about a cut-off with who remembers 9/11? I’m not sure. I was also wondering what would be the break with the next generation. I was reading something about a Pew Study and how they are calculating the generation after Z and and why Gen Z developed. It was actually quite interesting! It’s more about what defines society and less about making arbitrary breaks in age.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your take on the Victorian lady. Is she on a diet – hence why she never gets to eat breakfast, just a drink of tea? or partakes in the ritual of afternoon tea. In the morning she would withdraw to the morning room to write her letters and to discuss the day’s menu with the cook.

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  9. I’m so glad you liked The Quarantine of Alexander Abraham! It’s such an amusing story. My quarantine schedule isn’t much different from my pre-quarantine schedule, except I don’t have a commute. There are too many webinars and Zoom meetings, though.

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    • I love the way Montgomery uses the dog and cat to say more about the man and woman without outright saying it. I think Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku is having the same issue as you: too many Zoom meetings. She was saying the other day she wasn’t even getting a chance to eat without doing so during a meeting! 😦

      Is it hard trying to work with your daughters home, too?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It isn’t easy to work from home with the kids in the house, but mine are largely independent. My almost-nine-year-old needs more attention than her twelve-year-old sisters do, but it’s nothing compared to what it would be like to have toddlers. The hardest part about my day is having to feed everyone. I try to schedule a two-hour period in the middle of the day to cook and eat lunch (because it really takes that long!), but there’s often a Zoom meeting scheduled. The norm is to use the camera, making it impossible to multitask.

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        • One trick I’ve stuck to is to try and pretend I’m still going to work, so I eat those same foods, which are simple: PBJ, a yogurt, and some carrots. Maybe your girls could still pack lunch the night before?

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  10. I loved hearing about your quarantine schedule (and your Victorian lady’s). My schedule has been pretty disrupted by the pandemic, partly because I’m now working at home but also because of the drastic increase in workload – lots of my colleagues have been recalled into full-time clinical practice, my students need much more support on placement, and of course most of my colleagues have kids so I am picking up their work too. I’m currently on Easter break, though, and I am being very strict about taking my holiday in full, because this whole situation is exhausting and I’m way behind on reading!

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    • Lou! Hello! I’m not sure why, but I thought you would have been placed in a medical facility right away. You’re a trained nurse, yes? In the U.S., they’re taking people who aren’t even fully trained because they’re so short staffed. I’m doing my part by staying home. Today is 28 days. Oof.

      I’m glad you’re taking a break and relishing it. I know a few bloggers have said working from home is so hard because there is no work/home separation, so it’s like coworkers always think they’re “on.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m a nurse, but (most) nurse education in the UK can only be delivered by RNs, and nurse education is still being treated as an essential industry for a few reasons. Partly, if two years down the line there were no newly-qualified nurses, that would be another disaster for the NHS – it would suddenly be thousands of staff short as people retired. The other thing is that our senior students have been called into clinical practice full-time and won’t be counted as supernumerary, so they won’t be getting close supervision like they would normally. That makes it all the more important that they get long-arm supervision from registrants so they are safe and supported – I can supervise 35 students, but can only be one nurse myself.

        I did volunteer when my workplace was putting together a team to send to the local hospitals, but I’m not an adult nurse and I’ve got limited ITU, so I’m better off picking up work from colleagues with those skills so they can return instead of me.

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        • Thanks for explaining — that makes sense. You’re helping in the best way: one that helps so many others! I have no clue what the system in the U.S. is, but I remember feeling nervy when I heard that half-trained individuals would be going to hospitals. I’m just hoping I misheard.

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  11. I like reading on my kindle oasis especially at night because the screen is different from the color screen of a tablet or phone and doesn’t put the same strain on my eyes. I don’t read on my tablet or phone (books) unless I’m in a very boring and desperate situation. I am glad I can still get books from my library with e-books or audiobooks too.

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    • I looked up the Kindle Oasis, and it looks nice. I’ve had some issue getting the library app downloaded on the Kindle Oasis when helping patrons in the library, but I also cannot speak to the year/condition of the device. You never know. I had a patron bring in a tablet that her daughter bought in Germany and then gave to her. That was fun to figure out!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Most libraries have Kindle download / send to device options but I can’t say they all do. My mom gave me the device, before that I had a kindle Paperwhite which I liked too for the same reason. Not to mention the battery life is outstanding too. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Haha! Very amusing! I do think it’s good we have internet now so we can keep getting books, movies, games, etc. However, I find being on a computer all day tiring. I appreciate all the craft videos and story times and such happening online, but so very often I find I would rather unplug and just do a craft or read a story by myself.

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