Life got a bit mad and away from me so the Covid-19 quarantine diaries are kind of gone for now – it’s not that nothing happened, but a whole lot of it is repetitive. So instead, this time, I’m opting for a snapshot – less detail, more of the important stuff. Because believe me, you don’t need to know about the million Pokemon characters I’ve been learning about of late…
So, Life in Quarantine Ireland, A Snapshot of Summer 2020.
I’ve been kept sane listening to The Creep Dive and Redhanded over the last while, as well as copious amounts of You’re Wrong About. Initially during the quarantine lockdown stage I had been listening to a lot of news-based things, but since a lot of the Covid-19 based material had soundscapes of Intensive Care units, I found it a bit too close to the bone so I’ve tuned out for the most part.
I have however listened to two audiobooks that I’ve absolutely ADORED. The first was Jessica Simpson’s biography, Open Book, which tells her story, through her own words. This one isn’t one I thought I would have gone for but after You’re Wrong About did a deep dive, I was really intrigued and am now Super Team Jessica. The childhood growing up in a religious southern family, the process to the Mickey Mouse club, being made to feel ashamed about her body at a ridiculously young age… all of that, and then the Nick Lachay years, the John Mayer years and her realisation that she had become an alcoholic. It’s honest, and really well written, and I would HIGHLY recommend listening to it being read by the author as it makes it all the more special.
The second audiobook that properly caught my attention recently is Hamilton: A Revolution, written by Lin Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. It’s the story of the development of the stage musical, from the roots inside Lin’s head all those years ago, to the opening night on Broadway in 2016. I’ve had “You’ll be Back” stuck in my head since watching it on Disney+ so I was super intrigued to hear more about the development process and my attention was held throughout. Even better, it was narrated by Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson from Law and Order SVU), one of my personal faves.
I’ve been watching Scott and Bailey, an old ITV female led police procedural, and really enjoying it. I like Suranne Jones work, even back from her Coronation St days, so it’s a good pick for me. I was a bit gutted to finish it and am now left yearning for another bathroom gossip catch up with the ladies from Syndicate Nine!
Like most people (it seems), I’ve also developed a penchant for watching Brad Mondo’s Hairdresser Reacts videos on Youtube – I have learned SO much about how not to fuck up bleaching your hair at home in the process! Highly recommend for both a giggle and an educational watch.
Similarly for educational value, I would recommend Mama Doctor Jones, an ob-gyn doctor and mother to four who talks all things obstetrics and gynaecology with diversity in mind. She similarly does a “Ob-gyn reacts” series to things like “I didn’t know I was Pregnant” which I’ve also found really interesting!
Adventuring, Quarantine Style
This year is the year of the staycation, it has been made clear. To be honest, I’ll be happy if we get to stay outside of our 5km zone, but hoping to keep the country-wide travel as I truly missed seeing my family during the full on quarantine. As big as Cork is, and I appreciate others couldn’t go as far, it simply isn’t the same to not be able to cross the county border to see the people I love after the year we’ve had so far.
We went adventuring to Howth a few weekends back, staying in the Crowne Plaza in Santry and driving out there. If you’ve got low blood pressure that needs to be spiked, I’d highly recommend the car park experience of the cliff walk on a Sunday. Probably not my finest idea. However, the views were beautiful and I would like to go back on a day where perhaps the rest of the country hasn’t had the same idea. During our visit, we also enjoyed wandering around Santry Park, which was gorgeous on a sunny evening!
During quarantine, we also ventured to Gougane Barra, in our very own Cork, where I had never been before. It is BEAUTIFUL. I kept exclaiming “Oh my god how have we never come here” every few minutes, which I’m sure got old fairly fast, but it just felt like such a magical place. However, Gougane Barra is also home to some insects (we don’t know what) that ate Dillen alive and gave him bites that he was allergic to, so he was suffering for a good while after. Next time, we’ll be getting dipped in a vat of bug repellent first. It is a totally wonderful gem which I know isn’t exactly a hidden one, but I would love to go back soon.
Looking Forward To
A vaccine? 2021? I don’t know, it’s been that kind of a year.
Quarantine Reading List
Aside from audiobooks, I haven’t done very much reading since Dad died. I just haven’t been able to concentrate. However, the fantastic Sophie White released a follow up to her bestselling “Filter This” this Summer called “Unfiltered” and I devoured both books. First was a re-read of Filter This, and then straight into the adventures of Ali and her crazy Instagram life in Unfiltered. I haven’t felt so sad to leave a character behind in a long time as I was closing the pages on Unfiltered, which I read in a single night.
Word of warning; both Filter This and Unfiltered deal with themes of death and grief- they’re not the main plot but they do feature heavily as a main character is dealing with a longterm illness and death of a relative within Book 1 and the aftermath in Book 2. While thankfully it didn’t add to my grief-stress-state, I know it’s something I was glad to know going in so that if it would affect me, I could avoid.
The humming and hawing about school, and homeschooling, and whether there is school. I’m currently out of work since April, and finding it difficult to plan for the months ahead without knowing where we’ll be from a childcare point of view. Also, the last few months have shown me just how NOT cut out for primary school teaching (and homeschooling in general) I truly am. This is absolutely not a jibe at teachers or any of that “oh the teachers don’t want to go in” bollox. It isn’t. Teachers are amazing and they are having to do their best, while having little to no information from the Department of Education who sincerely need to get the finger out and TELL THEM, and then perhaps let us know?
And mask wearing. Lads, wear the fecking masks. We’re not asking you to wear a Hazmat suit, we’re not asking you to wear N95’s to pop into Supervalu for a pint of milk. It’s a face covering to protect others from germs you may not realise that you’re harbouring yourself. I understand that there are SOME conditions that make people exempt from wearing them. However, the vast majority of people can throw on the mask, OVER THEIR NOSE AND MOUTH, for the little while they’re in the shop without any health issues.
Talk of an anti-mask activist lobby makes my blood pressure go sky high. Selfish is literally the only word I can say about that, well, the only word that would be considered okay for something my grandmother might read. It is not ABOUT YOU. It is about protecting ALL OF US. I’ve already ranted about the things we didn’t get to do around the death of my Dad in March as a result of quarantine lockdown, so there’s no point in repeating myself here, but it feels like people who aren’t taking the precautions really don’t give a damn about the rest of us and the sacrifices that have been made to get us this far.
That the *whispers* sun has finally come out. It’s glorious. Costa Del Cork, and all that. It certainly helps to lift the mood while I’m praying they don’t clamp down on quarantine again.
Fruity Cous Cous and Club Milks. Not together, but probably in similar amounts. Nobody said quarantine diets had to make sense.
I am LIVING in my FitPink leggings. I have really painful hip flexors, on top of everything else going on, and months ago, my lovely friend Riona suggested that perhaps the jeans I was wearing may have been part of the issue as they were tight. At the time, I lived in a uniform of skinny jeans, boots and whatever nice top I could find for work, so brushed it off. Enter quarantine and some ads for these leggings on Instagram. Lads, they are the most comfortable, nicest leggings I have ever owned, and I now have a pair for nearly every day of the week, in black, purple and pink. I have no idea how I am going to cope if I ever have to go back to a workplace that doesn’t allow me to wear sports leggings.
My hip flexors are thanking me for it, as is my self confidence, as I seem to be TWO sizes smaller in them than I am in some pairs of jeans I own. And I get the smug feeling of having bought Irish, supporting local, all that jazz. The ones I have are the sports leggings with the deep pockets, so I can leave the house with my keys in one pocket, and my phone and AirPods in the other. Now that nowhere needs cash and everywhere takes Apple Pay, I’m literally ready to go like that.
However, I am on the search for hoodies that fit bigger boobs. If anyone has any recommendations, please send them my way.
Guess who has discovered she has even more wrong with her back than previously thought? This girl.
I’ve had a pain in my neck, which radiated into my shoulder and down the arm for the last few weeks. After saying it to my physio, she suggested letting my GP know, who sent me for an MRI. The MRI showed a decent amount of wear and tear, which always sounds strange to me as someone in her late twenties, but this isn’t my first rodeo, and some impinging on nerves. Off to pain management I went. The plan is to do some radio frequency ablation of the nerves between the vertebrae in question. This is to stop the pain and to get to a place where I can physio my way out of this. There’s no reverse, there’s no fix, it’s all management.
One thing my pain management doctor (my knight in shining PPE, as I have been calling him) said is that because I’m a chronic pain patient my prognosis is probably better than someone who isn’t used to all of this – I know what pains are normal for me, and which ones are the “Oh shite, best get things done quickly” type, which means things haven’t gotten worse in the interim. This doesn’t make it any less shite that within a month of each other this Autumn, I’ll be getting two pain management procedures on my back, but hey ho, that’s the life you sign up for when you get a wallop of a car at 22. Or so it seems… (this may have needed to go in the frustration column, but that felt rather full).
So, that’s me. July 2020. Hoping we don’t get locked down again, masked up, leggings on. How has YOUR quarantine been?
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