Two weeks ago, I took part in a challenge on Twitter.
Specifically, the “life in lockdown photo challenge”.
One photo a day of some aspect of your life during the COVID-19 pandemic for seven days, with no explanation of the bigger story behind each image.
While I enjoy the occasional in-the-moment Twitter challenge, I often fail to complete those that run for multiple days. I tend to either lose interest or run out of ideas for what to post.
However, this challenge came to me during my ninth week of being in lockdown, at which time it occurred to me that I might want to document my experience of COVID-19.
I haven’t really been doing so in any other form. It occasionally comes up in my daily bullet journaling practice, but not in a fulsome way (it is called “bullet” journaling).
I’ve created a “COVID-19” tag for my blog posts during this time, under which I’ve discussed some of the noteworthy things I’ve been doing (making aesthetics for my WIP and sharing recommendations for relaxing music).
But from a day-to-day perspective, my life in lockdown has gone largely unrecorded.
Using the same images I posted for the challenge, here are the explanations of my life locked down at home during the pandemic that I wasn’t permitted on Twitter:
May 12, 2020 (Day 1)
I’ve written before about my ugly, worn-out running shoes—the only pair of runners I currently have. That and my ironic misfortune of being stuck with them during a pandemic since I’ve been trying to maintain my fitness by road running given that all gyms are closed.
The only thing I hate more than running outside on the torturous pavement is running outside in the rain, something which, by some Vancouver (aka Raincouver) miracle, I’ve only had to do three times in the eight weeks prior to this picture.
This pic was taken on one such rainy running day, upon my return. The runners are soaking wet, hence the newspaper stuffed in tightly all the way to the toes.
I learned this trick from the early-1990s sitcom Home Improvement, and it really works! Let the shoes sit overnight and then remove the newspaper. It will have absorbed all the water, and you can even let the paper balls dry out and use them again.
In essence, this picture reveals two very important aspects of my personality. One, my love of (and really, need for) physical fitness, to the point that I’ll subject myself to a form of it that I utterly despise.
And two, my love of (and need for) routine, as shown by the fact that I run in the rain at all, never deviating from my running schedule no matter what’s in the weather forecast.
May 13, 2020 (Day 2)
When the order to go into lockdown came, like many other office workers who were lucky to retain their jobs, I began working from home full-time.
Prior to this, I’d only ever worked from home one day a week (Wednesdays; again, I’m a creature of habit), for which my existing furniture suited me just fine.
My “desk”, as it were, is properly my dining room table. Except when I’m writing; then my “desk” is a pillow on my lap while I sit up in bed.
At the dining table, my usual seat is a wooden chair with just a thin chair pad.
Which I learned very quickly is absolutely not a comfortable setup for full-time working from home.
None of my furniture is anywhere near comfortable enough for WFH life 😖 pic.twitter.com/xxlNp4DtDV
— Janna G. Noelle (@jgnoelle) March 25, 2020
That is to say, my ass was killing me.
I was fortunate to have one of my colleagues bring me my desk chair from our office. We were all told that this was allowed, but having no personal vehicle (I’m a carshare member, but definitely didn’t want to drive a communal vehicle during a pandemic), I had no way to transport my chair to my apartment.
She delivered the chair right to my doorstep, and we even got to enjoy a nice social distance visit in the process.
May 14, 2020 (Day 3)
Purity Flour, a Canadian brand, was first milled in 1905. Trying to find more information about it has proven surprisingly difficult, but the Purity Cookbook was a mainstay in my mother’s kitchen when I was growing up.
The book was first printed in 1917, with subsequent reprintings in 1945, 1967, and many more times beyond (it’s twelfth printing, the version pictured, was in 2003).
My mom used her copy so much in my youth, it was in tatters. She wanted a replacement copy, but in the days before online shopping, wasn’t able to find it anywhere.
I was unexpectedly able to assist in 2004 while living and working at Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. The Visitor’s Centre was selling the book, so I bought two copies—one for her and one for me.
I’ve used the book regularly in the intervening years, although generally for the same handful of recipes, some of which I’ve altered to better suit my tastes.
In particular during lockdown, I’ve been baking quite a lot of tea biscuits, such as I did on this particular day. I’ve also use the white bread recipe to make pizza dough. And fried flatbread, a significant (and tasty!) alteration of the recipe in response to yeast shortages.
May 15, 2020 (Day 4)
Another way in which I’m a creature of habit—and another way in which my past life in Newfoundland still affects me in the present—is that I enjoy an afternoon snack of homemade trail mix.
While working at the park, my colleagues and I used to compete with each other to see who could create the most unique and enjoyable gorp to share during our workday—especially when our work took us into the backcountry.
“Gorp” stands for “good old raisins and peanuts”, but is basically slang for trail mix of any sort, peanuts and raisins optional.
To this day, I keep a large Ziplock bag of trail snacks in my fridge that I steadily nibble on over the course of a week. My current go-to ingredients include mixed salted nuts, flax chips, Goldfish pretzels, and Goldfish Grahams.
Early in the lockdown, I ran out of flax chips, and rather than venture to the special grocery store where I get them, opted for rice snacks from my regular grocery store instead. These were normally available in the self-serve bulk section, but now are pre-bagged for health and safety.
It’s an excellent substitute for the crunch of the flax chips, and adds a different flavour profile that I think could have won me the prize for best gorp back in Newfoundland.
(To be continued…)
(Images: J.G. Noelle)