It was a hard day today. Came in to a couple e-mails from people demanding things, worrying about our graduate assistant (out sick with a high fever which makes me worry it's COVID) and a call out for people to cover her classes this week (I can do the Thursday afternoon lab - which also means I get stuck breaking it down and cleaning it up and I don't really need that, but....this is life now)
Found out that the HORRIFIC problems I had earlier with Connect were the fault of our new SSO login, and apparently our campus computing center was aware but didn't tell us so instead of my calling them and having them fix it within 30 seconds (as they did with the problem my student had this morning, when I asked about it), I spent like 3 hours on the phone with McGraw-Hill in August trying to get it fixed and I cried more than once over it.
Graded a batch of stuff on which I suspect, but cannot prove, cheating, feeling very worthless and useless and like what I am doing is kind of hollow and I don't know how to make things better and maybe there's no WAY to make things better.
And news elsewhere (New York and New Jersey) of cases spiking up again and holy Hell are we just going to see wave upon wave until we all go extinct?
But there's also this:
And yeah, Ms. Tega, I know. I know I can continue. I am just, so tired and so disillusioned and demoralized. I will continue because there's no other choice but I really kind of need some sign that what I'm doing isn't utterly useless.
Or some promise of joy or comfort or ease.
One thing I noticed at church - they have taken the pew pads out as well as the hymnals, so there are fewer things people can *touch* and fewer things the custodian has to clean and sanitize every Monday and it just makes it a little extra hard to get up and down out of the pew - that extra 2" and padding made it easier for me (I have been having hip bursitis issues again, even though I am trying hard to keep up with exercise and wear "good" shoes) and it does feel some times like cruelly every little comfort and ease in life has been taken away.
I was thinking this afternoon I wish there was something like Make-a-Wish for those of us who have been really alone, have been mentally suffering, have avoided a lot of the normal "fun" things we do in this, but of course now I bet Make-a-Wish isn't even operating for terminally ill kids.
What I would like? A nice long trip to some kind of a petting zoo/farm nice sort of place, somewhere with friendly alpacas and dogs you can hug and maybe a chance to pick apples or take one of those "hayrides" (where you are really sitting on bales of hay being driven around the farm). Or just, I don't know, a hot-stone massage or something. But of course none of those things is possible. I went for a walk out at Platter yesterday and when I drove home I saw an ad for a pumpkin patch and I drove past it but it was full of families and was mostly things for kids (there was a bounce house) and of course no one was masked and anway I find at those things a single adult showing up sticks out like a sore thumb and is kind of unwelcome.
One thing I did do? I had seen and loved (on someone's blog) Heather Franzen Rutten's Scaredy Cat comic and saw that she had little books of it for sale. I ordered one and it came today and it's quite nice, and I realized that my niece might want one - so I ordered one, then, on a whim, e-mailed the artist and said "I understand if you don't have the time or can't do this, but could you write on the little card that you send with the book a happy Halloween wish from her Aunt Erica? and she e-mailed me back almost immediately and said she'd be happy to...so my niece will get a really nice little Halloween thing that will kind of be like a card....it's a little wordless comic but it's very cute and nice and timeless in that way that I like.
the one thing keeping me going in this is being able to do a few little things like that. Maybe I think about knitting some gifts for people....not necessarily for Christmas but for some time.
I decided I needed a big novel to read on (almost done with the current mystery - it's a later one than the typical Golden Age ones, and so, it's actually a little more cheerless and depressing - "The Body in the Dumb River" and there are v. few sympathetic characters - the victim, possibly his mistress, and the police inspector are the only characters that don't make you go "ugh").
I thought of a book I bought eons ago, even before I moved here I think, because I remember getting it at the Barnes and Nobles in my parents' town (I may have even had them special order it): "In a Dark Wood Wandering," which is a novel of the French royal family/aristocracy in the late 1300s. (Yes, I know: plague era. There are OTHER parallels with our time).
But it seems big and atmospheric and while I'm only about 30 pages in I think I will like it. So maybe I trade off THAT and SPQR for a while now.
HOWEVER: while searching for it I found that I ALREADY had a copy of "The Proud Tower," a book I had ordered that came recently (it happens, and I REALLY need to weed my books). This is a Barbara Tuchman history of the period right before WWI. I don't feel like trying to send it back (and threw out the invoice anyway) so maybe if someone here wants a copy, I could send it? (Of course, all bets are off if we enter Lockdown II and I can't go out - can't go to the PO if we're being counseled against leaving home)
And yeah, I am worried, seeing cases go up in places that had ostensibly "beaten" the disease. Don't know if people are getting lax or if this thing is just so insidious it will keep coming in wave after wave until a lot of us have died.
It's just so hard. I miss comfortable easy human contact and I don't get that now; and as a result most of the interactions I get are me being ask/told to do things, or students complaining about something, and I get VERY little positive feedback, and it's so hard for me to keep going with that.
I don't think coupled/family people can really absorb the full horror of what it is for those of us who are very alone - most of my "contacts" are people with large extended families that naturally they "bubble" with.
(At least my mom has neighbors with similarly few contacts so she's not totally alone but....I am not really sure how much more of this I can take, I am literally going day by day at this point. This is day 207 of me being on restricted activity/being masked in public/social distancing. I cannot quite imagine 200 more days, or 400, or whatever it will be, and if I let myself think about it, I fall into despair)
I want to get back to the couple of sweaters I am working on but inertia works against me; by the time I am done with whatever work I need to do for the day I am so tired and out of brainpower that I've mostly been either knitting plain socks or working on the endless crocheted blanket. (And I admit, with that - I started it about the time my dad died, I have this magical-thinking feeling like maybe when I finally do finish it, times will get better? It's not near done yet, though, sadly, and I can only crochet so fast....)
Ironically, I probably need to force myself; I read something a psychologist wrote about how people do better making things with their hands AND having something they feel a sense of control over - and of course crochet and knitting were suggested. But I find it hard? now? like the motivation to do it is less than it once was, and I have many feelings of "what's the point in making a sweater, it's always going to be the eternal now when it's 85F out and too hot to wear one, and I have no one to see me in it any way"
I suppose the answer is to force myself. Like I need to force myself to get up and make the picadillo I was going to make for dinner tonight...
Also, what I feel more like doing these evenings now is forcing myself to get into bed comparatively early and read; I think maybe I need more rest right now. (We probably all do).