Frances Berriman

Week 463

I mean, just when you think things couldn't be more miserable, eh?

The last week has been particularly intense, with the news cycle being what it is. On an extremely personal and selfish level, the worst part for me is that my normally-only-mildly right-wing mother-in-law shows up to be extra mean and unsympathetic to the needs of people in this country. It's mentally very exhausting and it feels like this week has been a sampler for how it'sgoing to be from now until the November election here.

Alex apologised to me about that factor of our lives, but I said it's important to know and see first hand what people outside of our bubble think and how they react to the awful things happening in the US right now, and know how they actually live and react and speak. It's somewhat easier to empathise with their standpoint, even though I could never agree with it.

The rest of this year is going to be even more brutal, though.

I closed down my instagram this week. It's the second time I've done so - the first being when facebook first bought them (when I still had my phae handle) - but when I moved abroad I really missed being able to see folks' lives back home, so I gave in and opened a new account. The lines were drawn a long time ago, but certain companies have started to step onto the sides they wish to align with, and Facebook have made the choice extremely simple for me.

Anyway.

Since my last update, I haven't done a lot of new things. Let's see...

Week 459 / Still here

We're on monthly updates now, because a month is about the right amount of time to feel anything happening. San Francisco is still in shelter in place through May. I have been nowhere and done nothing.

This last month:

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Week 345 / Sheltering in Place

I mean, I think it’s 345. Honestly, I have lost all sense of time and believe I could be off by a week. Let’s just say I’ve survived March and April began at some point recently and I’m still inside my house.

I don’t have anything exciting to report - just after my last week notes, SF declared “shelter in place” for 3 weeks and the State followed suit. SF extended shelter in place until May 3rd for now, but who knows, I am expecting it to extend again. I do gather from the data (from people who tweet that data) that us all being cooped up has flattened our local curve, so that’s nice to know.

I’ve been filling the weeks with nothing particularly extraordinary. A little work here and there, but not enough to really force a proper routine - so I’ll be honest that I’ve not been setting morning alarms most days and that’s meant I’ve been up out of bed late, and therefore going to sleep late. I’ve not really been sleeping well and I’ve been on the melatonin, with mixed results and crazy dreams. I’m a bit untethered, but that’s the worst of it.

Here’s some things that I’ve been consuming, though:

I don’t have anything else to inform anyone. I’m worried sometimes and I’m pretty sure I’m constantly low-key stressed, but who isn’t?

Week 341/342 / Housebound

Week 341 was destroyed by jetlag after getting back from Japan. I just could not get into the grove of the timezone at all that week. Fortunately, I had some early morning Public Digital client meetings that forced the issue. I started to make plans for week 342, but I had to cancel a couple of social engagements and evening class, since I picked up a cough and didn’t want to risk it (especially just coming back from Japan).

But, since then the general advice has gone from “stay home if you feel sick” to just “stay home”, so that’s what Alex and I have been doing.

Alex works from home 4 out of 5 days most weeks, anyway, and I work from home most of the time, too, so it’s not a huge change for us. I’m definitely one of those introvert meme illustrations of “Oh no, I have to stay home? Quelle horreur!” But even I usually have reasons to leave the house, like work client visits or appointments or evening classes, but that’s all stopped for now. I should have been in Sacramento at the time I’m writing this, and a trip to NY in two weeks is postponed and another trip to London at the start of April is cancelled.

So, the week was pretty empty. I again had some early morning work video meetings, but not a lot else. I cleaned up the garage emergency preparedness stuff we have (we were already prepped, because it’s earthquake country and I sort of love doing it) and itemized foodstuffs in a new spreadsheet. I also did a bit of painting and a couple of friend video chats which have been nice for a bit of venting and sanity (I’m especially anxious about the UK’s current approach to the virus, and worried for friends and family back home who are likely to suffer for it).

I’ve also been making a point to sit outside on the back deck for at least some portion of the day (I’ve been teaching the scrub jays to come to a bowl in my hand for peanuts) and I’m back on Nintendo Switch Fitness Boxing for some physical activity. I’ve got about half a dozen 75% complete craft projects around the house that I might try and get to completion this week coming.

We’ve really got no reason to have to leave the house, so we won’t be. So, I suppose this will be the diary of a homebody for a while. Stay safe, everyone.

New normal? Virtual hangouts with Dana.
New normal? Virtual hangouts with Dana.

Week 340 / Japan

Just got back from 2 weeks in Japan. In week 339, we (Dana and I) were supposed to be attending the Ikenobo World Seminar with 4 days of classes, but it was cancelled due to Coronavirus outbreak, which is fair enough. We already had our Kyoto airbnb and flights booked, so we thought heck... let's go anyway.

It was very cold in Hiroshima
It was very cold in Hiroshima

Kyoto was lovely and much less busy than usual (both because lower season and little travel out of China) so we visited some of the more high-traffic temples that we'd have skipped before. We also took a day trip out to Hiroshima and a trip out to Nara (I petted a lot of deer!) and Osaka (fried food on sticks!). The JR railpass really is a good motivator to get out and about.

If you bow at a Nara deer, it bows back in exchange for a treat
If you bow at a Nara deer, it bows back in exchange for a treat

Second week was just me and Alex in Tokyo. He worked some of it. That was a much less busy week, mostly eating and shopping. We're thinking about doing 6 weeks in Tokyo this year or next, so we wanted to scope the new location for his office (they just moved) and get a sense of that neighbourhood, in case we decided we wanted to stay longer-term near there.

Tateyama from the castle
Tateyama from the castle

I took a day trip down to Tateyama by the sea, and visited one of our flower gang's homes there, as well as the castle and pier. It's very cute and highway buses are great.

Fuji-san on the train to Tokyo
Fuji-san on the train to Tokyo