Creativity

I fell in love with origami during the big long lockdown last winter. I started making birds and then they took over my wall.

I love how relaxing it is to fold paper until it transforms into something recognisable. I’m prolific, but not big on variety- I’ve only recently taught myself a third type of origami after I got a bit sick of birds and flowers.

My current place is too nice to stick things on the wall, so I had to think a bit differently.

I’ve also got into gel pen drawings, although once again my scope is limited. I worked out the triangle technique and then haven’t found any other style that looks as good.

Being creative has allowed me to accept not being perfect, and that not everything has to be of a high standard. It’s allowed me to embrace fun. I’ve always liked coming up with new ideas at work, and this has only helped me in that regard.

Vaccines

I’m upset that the ATAGI has changed their advice regarding covid vaccines, so now those in the 50 – 60 range are being discouraged from getting the AstraZenixa vaccine.

Out of the 3.6 million doses administered in Australia, two people have died. While any death is obviously heartbreaking, the flow-on effects of this decision will lead to far more deaths and suffering.

We’re going to see a significant uptake in vaccine hesitancy. I’ve already seen quite a few people say they won’t take the vaccine now. Trust is one of the most important parts of a health campaign, and this is going to damage people’s trust in vaccines. While I strongly believe that people should still take whatever vaccines are offered to them, I also don’t want to judge anyone for being scared.

I don’t pretend to be a scientist, a medical professional, or an epidemiologist, but this seems like one of Australia’s worst pandemic decisions. As Hassan Vally explains, the risk of a fatal outcome from the AstraZeneca vaccine is still very tiny.

Vally, H. (2021, June 21). Concerned about the latest AstraZeneca news? These 3 graphics help you make sense of the risk. The Conversation

Is it really worth it, ATAGI? Couldn’t there have been another way?

Our vaccine rollout will stretch out even longer, since we don’t have enough supplies of alternative vaccines. It’s not simply about reducing the risk of covid anymore, although we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it is a nasty, highly infectious illness. It’s also about what’s going to continue for a longer time. Victoria’s already gone through one painful lockdown this winter, and I’m scared it we’ll have another. It’s about the businesses that are struggling. The industries that are at breaking point. The higher education sector. The tourism sector. The impact on everyone’s mental health, because living through a pandemic is exhausting. We’re going to keep struggling until we’re vaccinated.

The French have it right. The only way we can live a life without fear, a life where we can recover, a life where we are free, is through vaccinating as much as we can.

Dispatches from 1997

Well, I’ve had a bit of a whirlwind of a day, after losing the internet for 20 hours. I had to scramble around to find an old wifi dongle, and then had many issues trying to recharge it. Once I managed to get that connected, I spent the rest of the day being extra conscious of how much bandwidth I was using. I missed one meeting that I’d been looking forward to. I had to call my boss on my mobile, and then to add extra hilarity, someone started mowing right outside so I had to sit on the floor in my spare room to finish the conversation.

I did think of going into work, but given last time I did that I ended up having to do mandatory quarantine, I was naturally a little nervous. Sitting outside my work or local library wasn’t an option given it’s winter in Melbourne. Reason #876 I wish I could drive.

Even now I’m not sure my internet is fully restored, and every moment I keep expecting to get an error message.

It was a good reminder of the digital divide and once again how important libraries are as a physical space. For me, this was one day of annoyance. For many others, the library is the only place they can get online or even use a computer. It’s a safe space, a place they can concentrate, a place to be protected from the elements. I worry about how many students left higher education courses last year because it was too hard to get online. How many put themselves at greater risk of covid because they couldn’t study at home.

Reflections on quarantine – gratitude

I’ve spoken before about my mixed feelings about gratitude- it can be used as both a useful tool to increase optimism and it can be used to blame people for their distress. You can’t positive thought your way out of serious problems. No job, no financial support, housing stress, feeling depressed? The last thing you need to hear is “but focus on the good! Write down three good things that happened today”.

Having said that, I do find gratitude a useful tool – for me. Not for anyone else. I like to remind myself that there is a lot of good in my life and that I’m very fortunate.

I am grateful that I got through my two week quarantine without too much pain. I am grateful that I had the following:

  • An incredibly supportive workplace, from leadership all the way down.
  • All the colleagues who reached out and offered help.
  • A group of people in the same situation. While I’d never wish for anyone to go through the same thing, the camaraderie did help.
  • A nice place to isolate. A backyard with fresh air and greenery. Beautiful views outside. An easy spot for deliveries (and deliveries were timely, too!).
  • Two cute cats who stayed healthy. This cannot be emphasised enough. Frankie had gone through a major medical crisis just before all this and I’d been scared I might have to say goodbye.
  • A parent who could help out as they lived nearby.
  • Friends and family who gave me lots of emotional support and were happy to chat.
  • The ability to work from home and continue to financially support myself.

I hope anyone who needs to isolate is as fortunate as me.

Scenes from today

I went for a walk.

It was cold and foggy. The only people I saw were heavily rugged up and masked. It was not the type of weather that lent itself to sitting in the sunshine or even stopping to look at flowers.

Freedom.

I love the lake. As you can guess from my username, I am rather fond of ducks. They weren’t bothered by the chilly atmosphere.

I somehow – in my covidtime – lockdown- quarantine daze – forgotten that it was the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. This means an extra day to not be at work. I’ve spent a lot of time lately at home, so it would nice to go out, but then there’s the very real chance somewhere I go will pop up on the list of covid exposure sites. Might have to simply brave the weather with more sojourns outside, I think.

Dispatches from quarantine no more

As of 10:44 am this morning, I am officially free from quarantine!

As of 11:59 pm tonight, Melbourne’s lockdown will lift.

Here is what I have done with my own exciting freedom:

  • Bring my bin in.

Here is what I plan to do with the greater freedom:

  • Get vaccinated (I booked as soon as I was eligible, but then mandatory isolation happened). This will involve human contact as I can’t drive, and the vaccine centre also isn’t drive through for some reason.
  • Go for walks.
  • Hug my dad.

Dispatches from quarantine – the encore!

I was enjoying being in isolation so much that I asked if it could be extended. Or, that’s my excuse for how I had to go get yet another test and am still in mandatory isolation.

Choose your own reason for this:

  • Government conspiracy involving mafia, bikies, and pretend falls down stairs.
  • They lost my test.
  • I had a few mild symptoms that are probably hay-fever.
  • I needed an excuse to get out of a wedding.
  • It’s related to all those websites going down yesterday.

Today was interesting. The army and Department of Health turned up again, this time while I was in an important meeting with someone. It’s hard to maintain that veneer of professionalism when you forget to turn off your audio and then have a loud conversation about your isolation requirements.

The internet went out when the storm hit my suburb. I was lucky: my power was still on. I don’t think it would have been pleasant to have no heating this afternoon. I made the most of it and had some screen-free couch time. Thank you, past me, for buying all those word and number puzzles at the newsagent a while back.

One of my lovely work buddies bought me some groceries to tide me over, and people have continued to check in, so this extension hasn’t been so bad. I hope it doesn’t go on indefinitely, of course. I’m assuming at some point it will be so long since my exposure that I will be free regardless of anything else.

“Quarantine sounds like torture”

No.

TW: Human rights abuse, children in pain, dehumanisation

Torture is being a three year old girl spending ten days in pain from a blood infection before the government finally flies you to hospital.

Being a little girl who has spent most of her life in an island prison that is not fit for anyone to live in. A prison her family were put in for daring to seek a safer life for themselves, away from persecution and the threat of death.

Torture is what our government is doing to this family and so many more.

Bring them home. Let them live in Australia, in safety, with all their needs met.

https://www.hometobilo.com/

Dispatches from quarantine – last day

RESULT: COVID-19 virus was NOT DETECTED

I’m negative, baby! All being well, this will be my last day in quarantine.

I’m looking forward to going on a nice walk tomorrow, no matter what the weather is. It’s hard to tell if the wet, cold, and generally miserable conditions have made it easier or harder. For me on a personal level, it probably helped, but for Melbourne as a whole it likely made it worse.

I tried to get a vaccine appointment to make up for the one I had to cancel, but no luck. I may be going to a walk-in centre with a work buddy on Friday as we try our luck. The idea of being around so many people is a little frightening, to be honest. Ironic, isn’t it? I wonder how many people are too scared to get the vaccine because it means they might be around other people who could infect them with the very virus they’re getting vaccinated against. It doesn’t seem like a huge risk, since just today a vaccine centre was only listed as a Tier 3 (low risk) due to all the Personal Protective Equipment used in those places.

Dispatches from quarantine- the last test (we hope)

Today was day 13 test day. I know my numbering is a bit all over the place, and that’s because I’ve been numbering from the day I started quarantine, which was a few days after the actual exposure date that the government uses.

The walk to the COVID pop-up test centre was much like Thursday’s- eerie and almost a bit frightening. It felt so very wrong to be out in public. Luckily, Melbournians in winter lockdown are a respectful lot, and no one tried to approach me. It helped that I was wearing my big headphones and listening to a podcast (One Foot in the Podcast, highly recommended for any Meldrew fans).

While waiting in line I discovered that we had 11 cases overnight. This was terrifying, and I think there was a collective panic in the city. The government later confirmed these were all linked cases (very good) and nearly all had been in isolation their whole infectious period (even better). This demonstrates precisely why they make you do a full fourteen days of quarantine. It also shows the dangers of “too much and yet too little information” from the Department of Health.

Speaking of the government and communications, I feel almost a sense of pride whenever the Testing Commander, Health Minister, or other person at the presser thanks all of those in Tier 1 isolation. I’m doing it easy, though. It doesn’t feel like a burden anymore. As long as my cats stay healthy and I know I can’t infect anyone, I’m fine. Feeling for others in this situation who are having a harder time.

The whole time I’ve been writing this, I’ve been constantly checking my phone for the text that will tell me I’m negative and thus will leave quarantine on Wednesday. I was hoping to give the good news in this entry. I certainly hope I’m not giving far worse news tomorrow and being one of the scary numbers tomorrow.

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