The Plague - One Year On

One year ago today, New Zealand identified the first Covid 19 positive case. I've kept a timeline of dates pertinent to me, because it's become hard to remember, and from time to time we forget the Plague still exists beyond our borders. Then from time to time we have been pulled back into reality when community cases emerge in Auckland and the rest of us must also return to a mild alert level.   
Very roughly: 
After two days of Alert Level 2 and three of 3, during which time virtually nobody had had time to learn of these levels and rules were still being revised, we entered Alert Level 4 restrictions on March 26, which lasted 33 days. This was followed by Level 3, (which in the greater scheme of things, is 4-lite, the main difference being domestic travels,) for 16  days. 

On May 14, we moved to Level 2, the hardest to pinpoint and from observations easiest to ignore, for 26 days. On June 9, we moved to Level 1, which is life back to normal within the borders, except the common-sensical precautions such as washing hands, recording your whereabouts, and staying home when sick. My days/numbers may be a little off, but all and all we spent 75 days in an out-of-the-ordinary way. 

In August a community transmission case was discovered in Auckland, putting them in Level 3, then 2.5 then 2, while the rest of us in Level 2 for 39 days. This month there was another community transmission cluster in Auckland, placing them in Level 3 and then 2, while the rest of us were in Level 2 for 3 days. The latest Auckland cluster is still alive, with one of the new strains, but there is better understanding and tracking, faster and greater/flexible testing, management is more incremental/local, so we have not been unnecessarily placed in dire levels.
Ben went back to work on January 11. (Then he took a Monday off at the end of the month; two Mondays that followed were public holidays; then came the February Level 3 a week later.) Somewhere between January 11 and the last couple of weeks, we've really come to realize our Year of a Plague was truly over. We still pay attention to the government announcements and daily numbers, (we have a few at the border every week,) but feel so far removed from it all. 
My life has adopted a new rhythm, too; utterly unrushed, much fewer items on the to do list if I have one for the day/week, but somehow getting a couple of things done most days, and projects being finished eventually. It's not exciting, weeks go by without a denouemont, but if this is the new pattern, I can live with it. 
One thing I noticed is more so than last year, I'm getting the years confused, regarding things we did and places we went in 2018 and 2019, the only surety being we didn't do/go them in 2020.

Shots arrived this week, from memory, and border workers including those who service the hotels used as quarantine facilities were among the first to receive them, with other essential workers next in line. My nemesis the Top Doc, Jacinda, and others in suits await their tern, but Jacinda may do it on camera to appeal the safety of the shots. I have no idea when we'll get ours, but everybody who is in New Zealand regardless of their immigration status will get it, free, so sooner or later our turn will come. But at the same time, the necessity for these shots don't feel so dire. 

There is one other thing I wanted to record: in speaking to many of my friends, I've discovered I was not the only person who enjoyed the lockdown. Older women, (I hope it's OK to categorize them all as such,) still working or retired, in general enjoyed very much just staying home, cooking, reading, tidying or getting stuck into projects, and "not having to be somewhere," is a phrase I heard repeatedly. Some learned to Skype/zoom, others discovered other new things on the Internet. I don't know if their lives reverted to how it was, and I can't tell you about me because I've lived a Level 2.5 life for the last several years.

This is where it's at for me on this first anniversary. We still scan, I have to wash my hands the Plague way once a week so as not to forget. Ben carries a mask often. But this week we even used up the last of the dried garbanzo beans we stocked a year ago, leaving us with no more lockdown purchases. 
Take care of yourselves and yours.
EDIT: after I wrote this post, last night Jacinda announced Auckland would go back to Level 3 starting 6AM this morning, the rest of us Level 2, for seven days, due to new cases from the February cluster. At least some folks tested negative multiple times before testing positive; the origin and the strain is still unknown but suspected to be one of the new ones; a high school and now a polytechnic are involved, the high school principal showing exemplary cooperation; there may be rules non-compliance increasing spread and complicating tracing; some folks work near or in connection to the airport; and folks are angry with what one media personality gleefully calls "yoyoing". We are still in this game.


January and February

Goodness, this year is nearly 1/6 finished! What have I been doing? 
I successfully weaned myself off of news after the US election and resumed reading printed books, but that only lasted until the Georgia Runoff. I'm OK, though. I was so disgusted after the second non-Impeachment I'm back to reading books. I'm sure I'll follow the trials with glee, or not, but I'm good. Not only am I enjoying a whole bunch of Young Adult novels, and a chaotic selection of audiobooks, but have a mental list of what else to read for the next several months: the list in my head, the books all over the house.
The big loom downstairs look exactly the same as the previous post because I haven't touched it. When I have a threaded loom upstairs, why bother going downstiars, is what I tell myself, but the truth is, I still can't decide what to do with it. Eventually one day, rather suddenly, I'll go downstairs and resume weaving, and either I'll persist, or decide it won't do and cut it off. But I know what I'm weaving next; it'll be one of the two cotton projects. 
I finished the warp on Ashford with lukewarm results and the pieces have sat sitting on the couch. I'll tell you more about them after I've completed them. 
Last night I finished threading a short warp on the Ashford, 100% cashmere in, ahem, "nude" pantyhose colors. Mom and I are not brown or green people, so I don't know why she had so many browns, but a while ago I made two short warps and I put the milder one on. It'll be pretty when it's done, but so far the tasks has been excruciatingly boring. It's threaded in the usual on-a-whim undulating twill, and I can't decide whether to use another light brown or a pale gray in the weft. My notes says it's a 210cm warp, but I'll be lucky if I can get a 150cm piece. 
This is the other warp and it includes Mom's handspun cashmere. The tension is going to be all over and it will be another spontaneous undulating twill, but I wonder if I can do something interesting with the weft. 
I enjoyed weaving the S&W piece, but I had no way of knowing how much I would come to love the result, which sat on the stairway to be viewed from different angles since I finished it. I put on another warp, this one mainly yellow, (a little less saturated than the pic in real life,) after our January trip to Wellington. First I was going for 10 inches wide on the loom, but I got tired and had done enough for 6, and it was time to get dinner started, so I stopped there. On the loom, though, it looks sad-narrow, so next time I shall make it at least 8. This, too, will be threaded and woven as I please: the warp is 4m and a bit so two 150cm+ pieces?? I think at the moment this style of S&W is my favorite way of weaving. 
I had to tidy the stash room this week. I'm still concentrating on finishing gazillion projects and reducing stash, rather than reorganizing comprehensively at this stage, but it was becoming too crazy/unsafe, so I moved things around and vacuumed dead bugs. I also pulled out these I did in 2014 because I've wanted to put them up. I'm quite fond of these, I find them joyous, plus I used cheap, student watercolor paint, so they are going to fade badly, so they might as well fade after being enjoyed by me, yes?
Arthritis comes and goes. It's less predictable than I imagined, and one thing I learned is this is not going to come back once in a great while, but rather often when I least expect it. I should go see a doctor and learn more about it at some point, but turmeric is doing its job for now; even I don't smell or taste it it my stiff drinks any more.
I have weeded a couple of times, but not often, mainly because it's been often hot/sunny or windy and completely dry.  I pull out something and dirt crumble down our slopes like sand, as is usual this time of the year. As the light turns gentler and days start to cool down, though, I've been keen to get out again. We finally had some rain this week and can expect more next week, so here's hoping.
Ah, our January trip to Wellington. It just happened. Esther said some time ago, out of the blue, we should go to Christchurch to see the van Gogh projection show. I was thrilled because I thought we missed the chance while it was in Wellington during one of the milder levels of lockdown, and I didn't expect it to return/resume. We had early Feb in Christchurch in mind, until suddenly Esther said we should go to Wellington because the city is more interesting, and suddenly in late January we were there! We have our usual accommodation, which happened to be on the same street as hers, but when we looked for an AirBnB with two rooms and found a spectacular one. Van Gogh was good, not scholarly or meaningful, more amusement park entertainment, but still we did see huge brushstrokes and even few paintings I don't think I'd seen before. Used bookshops were fun, and Te Papa, our national art gallery, had revamped how they show their permanent collection and we reveled in it for the first time in many years. 
But the best part was food; Esther and we are serious about good food; she is a superb cook. We chose good places, had no bad meals the entire trip; she took us to her usual tea leaf place, where Ben got superb woolong tea leaves; and we took her to our regular stop, a wholesale/retail supermarket. It was a splendid trip.