granny tea and loving it

sunrise over cordoned off playground on the Barwon estuary

Like everyone else, during these pandemic days, we experience everyday sameness. For us a beautiful sameness. We don't take our good fortune for granted; we are undoubtedly blessed with safety and security, at least as much as anyone can be. Micky Smith says things worth remembering are best done with a photograph or a scar. I hope our collective scars heal and make us stronger. This post is another word picture (photograph) for me to remember this worth-remembering-groundhog-day-season by.

Things that shape our days:
  • Morning routines. I wake up about 5.30 every morning and snooze until I get up about 6.15. After some ol' man yoga I get to the beach before sunrise when the sky is bright orange, pink, purple, golden yellow (or grey!) and jump start my metabolism with a (sans wetsuit) body surf / frolic in the cold salt water with a bunch of other crazies (we've been staggering our shifts to maintain physical distancing). The post-swim coffee has become a tad more social in the last couple of weeks but we are looking forward to being able to congregate inside again. By the time I get home Maria is usually already out walking Winnie, typically doing the the river beach circuit up to the Heads and back. After my thawing shower, breakfast in front of the TV news (a new COVID thing), after which I grab a black tea and head up into my office to start the work day while Maria rolls out the yoga mat.
  • What a fabulous thing not to have to commute! I've eaten a lot of fruit cake, typically with another cuppa at morning tea, or maybe a slice of Woollies' rich and spicy fruit toast with Symons butter. (I long for year 'round Lion's fruitcake.)
  • Zoom zoom. (no not Mazda)
  • Lunch is leftovers or bread and salad ... and we are getting hungry at 12 noon. Let's eat.
  • Zoom zoom.
  • Which is why we start cooking dinner at 5.30. Why not they say? And we've eaten so well. Early on we packed our chest freezer with goodies, including a lot of stuff harvested from our own garden (tomatoes, broad beans ...). Pre-pandemic we never, I mean never, ate in front of the TV. That changed when in the early days we were keen to keep up with what was going on with the responses to the health and economic crises, and we've kept it going. But because we're eating so early, dinner is with Ellen Fanning or Julia Baird (The Drum).
  • Jobs around the house. I reckon we've done two years worth of irregular routine domestic jobs in two months. We've cleaned the oven and oiled the decks and outdoor furniture. We've polished cars and pressure cleaned the driveway and courtyard. We've painted and stained bits of balcony and a decent length of the side fence. We've cleaned windows and vacuumed ducted heating returns and outlets. We've planted veggies and plants. We've had a new concrete path laid and pressure cleaned the weatherboards. We've tidied and cleaned nooks and crannies. Maria has completed countless mosaic stepping stone for the community garden and sealed a large piece of mosaic artwork. Schmick.
  • In the evenings we do our own thing in front of our computers or the TV. For me, I've enjoyed mindless drama punctuated by straight negroni nips. Maria has, among other stuff, been in a reading season. And on a kindle for the first time.
  • Open fires. We stocked up on wood in March and have made more use of the fireplace than is usual ... why not when we're sitting at home and it's wintery outside. 
  • I've upgraded computer and phone ... 'been nervous about the reliability of both bits of old hardware for a while, so what better time to start from scratch and do some clean builds rather than restores. More schmickness.
  • Anticipation and big family stuff. Zac and Jan have bought a house during this strangeness ... the one in which they have been living (renting) for a few years. Johanna and Luke's baby is due mid July and we are soooo happy that we think we'll be able to be with them in northern NSW. Heidi & Alex's bub is due early Oct, so we'll be back south in Sept if not before.
baked figs (thanks to my iceberging friend Pam) with honey and vinegar

Is daily sameness healthy? Sometimes it feels a tad boring, but if I'm honest it has been all kinds of fabulous. I will grieve the loss of the simplicity. I am looking forward to face to face, but not as much as I might have thought. Perhaps because I get to socialise every morning and now that restrictions are easing, family and friends in our home is starting to happen again.

But I do feel some guilt. It's simply not fair that Maria and I can experience such pleasantness when so many are struggling. In Australia, so many have missed out (from where I sit, unfairly) on the government support packages. Large parts of our community are suffering from food insecurity and threats to their physical safety. The mental health strain is dramatic for millions. Internationally, I can't begin to image the trauma of what it must have been (and is) like to live through what Brazil, Italy, Spain, Russia, USA and the UK have had to and are having to. Africa is frightening.

We will be living with the implications of the pandemic forever. Yes, we will see the economy recover and assuming an effective vaccine is developed, then we'll see a return to life without physical distancing. But we will be scarred and different. Normal has been bumped sideways. While developed with reference to the ongoing trauma experienced by first nations people post European settlement (in particular North Americans), I suspect there may be lessons for us in the work of Dr Larry Gross. (Postapocalyptic Stress Syndrome, PASS)

Work for me these days is focussed on (what we've called) the Better Normal Labs. The new normal won't be better without big effort.


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