I Survived COVID-19 (so far)

For me, COVID-19 started when I noticed mayhem in the toilet paper aisle of the supermarket, and I wondered what was happening. I didn’t need toilet rolls, so didn’t buy any. More fool me because I didn’t see any more for six weeks. And then, I had to leave home at 6.45 am to ensure I got some (happily, I did), but it was another four weeks or so before I managed to get any more. During that time, my husband struck gold when he managed to get his hands on an industrial roll, but that got us through those tough weeks.

By the time we got used to seeing no toilet paper anywhere, other items had started to become rare commodities. Things like soap, sanitizer, flour, pasta, rice, long-life milk, cereal, oats, canned goods, and then fresh meat disappeared from the shelves as people started to stockpile. The hoarders left nothing for anyone else. Mass panic seemed to take hold. Suddenly store owners imposed limits to these sort after products. Some people turned nasty and actually threw punches over toilet rolls. Can you believe it? It was a scary time, yet my husband and I managed to eat proper meals every day. We improvised. We tried new products. But above all else, we continued to only buy what we needed.

For the world, we are told that COVID-19 started at a wet market in China. Something about cross-contamination of animals that should never be near each other and are not in the real world.

And the conspiracists believe something about worldwide population control. But I won’t go into that.

COVID-19 has changed the world. In general terms, the whole world went into lockdown. And within countries, some of its people were forced to stay within their district. While in other countries, people were confined to their own homes.

Suddenly we could not travel overseas. We were not allowed to congregate in large numbers. Family members could not visit each other, let alone their elderly relatives in nursing homes or care facilities, or hospitals. Weddings had to be postponed, while only ten people could attend funerals. Businesses closed their doors, leaving thousands of people jobless or stood down until further notice (actually, I think I could say millions here). If we went for a walk and found ourselves standing admiring the view, we were at risk of receiving a fine for loitering.

Due to an emergency eye test, I visited a shopping centre in the middle of a weekday. A majority of the shops were closed, and it felt dark and eerie walking through the deserted complex alone.

Everywhere we went (and still go) we were expected to stay one and a half metres from the people around us. And sanitizer was (and still is) thrust at us before we could step into a shop, a business, or anywhere else we want to go.

Governments asked us to do these things to stop the spread of the virus and to stop the death toll from rising.

To date, there have been over 7M confirmed cases worldwide, with over 400,000 deaths.

In Australia, where I live, we’ve been lucky. We acted quickly. One day everything was normal, the next we were working from home. We were asked only to leave our homes for essential purposes only, such as buying food and for medical reasons, and to go to work if we couldn’t work from home. Believe me, most people quickly found a way to convert an area in their home to a workspace. Children sat on one side of the room, doing their school work digitally. Meanwhile, their parents sat on the other side of the room, conducting Skype meetings and performing work duties electronically. We adapted. Fast.

To date, there have been just over 7,000 confirmed cases in Australia and 102 deaths.

For some, working from home has been a challenge, especially for those living alone. They report feeling isolated and lonely. For me, I loved working from home and would be happy to continue doing it indefinitely. I work harder, and I’m more focused. There’s less stress. But we’re all different.

In Australia, the restrictions are slowly lifting. On Saturday, I went to a shopping centre again and, this time, I found the number of people to be confronting. I felt the social distancing requirement was not adhered to and, to be honest, I couldn’t wait to leave the complex and get away from the mass of people. I worry that we’ll become complacent and end up with a second way of the virus that is more devastating than the first.

I believe we have had other harmful viruses. I also think there has been a toilet roll shortage once before in our history. But regardless of that, 2020 has been a year like no other. Part of me feels as if we are transitioning between what we know (the old) and something totally new. Part of me worries that life will never entirely be like it was. That may not be a bad thing, but it will depend on how the future shapes up. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

For now, I find myself hoping that the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 soon disappears from the world, never to return. Only then will we be able to start living our new normal. Fingers crossed that the new normal isn’t a bad one.

A Bit of Fitness

I describe myself as a nerd. And, in my opinion, nerds don’t do sport. In fact, I can safely say that I hate sport. I hate doing it. I hate watching it. I hate talking about it. I hate everything about it. Always have.

Yet, strangely, I bought a Fitbit with my Christmas money. Crazy, I know. I cannot get my head around that, but I’ve wanted one for over 18 months. Maybe it’s just a fad. We’ll see.

Anyway, after taking some time to set it up, I placed it on my wrist and did my normal thing. I’m always pottering about, so I guessed my numbers would be high. Not 10,000 steps high, but close to it.

I got a shock.

My numbers were very, VERY low.

Nerd or not, I was not impressed with myself and immediately set a goal to improve my activity level. I started out slow and steady (because that’s how I do things) and gradually turned the dial up. Now, six weeks later, I am proud to say that I am hitting 10,000 steps every day. That may sound silly or trivial to you, but for me, it’s a big step up (excuse the pun).

Yesterday, I did another crazy thing. I dragged out a piece of gym equipment that hasn’t seen the light of day for five years. After getting the dirt and cobwebs off it, I set another goal. This one is to strengthen my arms and legs because I’m weak as a newborn kitten.

I still hate sport, but I do realise that I need to take care of myself and be fit if I want to stay strong and healthy in my senior years, which are steadily approaching.

Why I Write

Everyone is different. Everyone finds peace and tranquility in different ways. Some like to go fishing, bush walking or jogging. Others like to surround themselves with friends and go to parties, picnics, or out clubbing. And then there are those who prefer to meditate, read, or sew. Me? I like to write.

I started writing to escape the real world. That’s why I started out writing fantasy stories. I could go somewhere nobody would ever find me. I could experience anything my imagination was brave enough to conjure. As a result, I wrote for me alone. No one, ever, was ever meant to discover my worlds and find me.

But then I no longer had to escape. The real world became a good place to be, so I no longer had the desire to “disappear”. As a result, I stopped writing.

Yet, once I had started, I found it difficult to give up. The necessity was gone, but the desire remained. And I also discovered that I wanted to share my worlds. The written word called to me. It was easy to respond and return to writing.

It wasn’t an easy journey. Writer’s block caught hold of me, or so I thought. In fact, difficult and sometimes horrible events in my life disguised themselves as writer’s block. The pain and grief I felt took me over, leaving me feeling exhausted and worthless. It took me a while to recognise the true “block” was of my own doing. And when I acknowledged that, and accepted it, I began writing once again.

Someone once asked me if I wrote to become rich and famous? Even now I laugh at that. Very few writers become rich and famous authors. Very few indeed.

I want neither fame nor fortune. You scoff at that, I know, but it is true. However, I do want people to read my books and enjoy them. It would be nice to earn enough money from my writing to live comfortably. But I am a reserved person, who enjoys not being “seen” and I honestly do not feel I would cope well with fame. The fortune would never go astray, of course. But you cannot have one without the other. And I enjoy being alone too much, so I do not want fame.

Why do I write? I write to share words, worlds, ideas and characters. I invite the reader into my worlds, hoping they find something they like. And although I no longer feel the need to escape this world, sometimes it is still fun to wander into other worlds and live a life that would never be possible here. Besides, as a reserved person, writing allows me to be braver, louder, and more outgoing than I would ever be in real life.

Why do you write?

Website issues under investigation

It started out on the weekend (or that’s when I discovered the problem). At first, the checkout page refused to populate. Then, before I had time to work out why, some links stopped working.

Now it’s got to the stage that I’ve disabled the store and most of the plugins, yet the website is running slow and an odd “forbidden” notice turns up every so often.

The problem is beyond me, but I’m at the stage where I want to dump the database and start again. Extreme, but I won’t rule that option out just yet.

Until the issue is fixed, the store is closed. If you want to purchase one (or all) of my books :D, please go to your favourite online book store to make a purchase. Thank you.

First Draft: The Lion Gods is Finished

Over recent weeks I’ve been doing some tweaks to the website and I saw a notification saying that The Lion Gods was due for release in 2014. Here we are in 2018 and that still hasn’t happened.

In my own defense, a lot has happened since I wrote that notification — my father passed away, my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I took on the primary carer role for my mum and moved house and job location, my own house flooded leaving damage that made the house uninhabitable (it had to be sold), G’s dad passed away, his mum was diagnosed with dementia, he moved in with her and became her primary carer, G had a burst aneurysm and a stroke and lost his memory for three months, mum went into permanent care, I moved and relocated my job again, and I took on the primary role of carer for G. During that time I moved house three times and I had to clear out my mother’s home of 40 years and G’s mum’s home as well. As you can see the list is all major, stressful stuff, not little things. I’m glad to report now that G is doing well and is improving each month, mum is extremely happy in residential care and wishes she went there earlier and G’s mum is now living with his sister and also doing well. G and I have our own place at last, and we are now married. All good.

Over the last few months, since everything has settled down to a more normal way of living, I have been writing again. And I am so happy right now, because I can finally say that The Lions Gods has been completed. It might only be the first draft, but that is beside the point. I rediscovered the urge to write and the story has been written. I’m ecstatic.

I would dance on my desk if it wasn’t totally covered with my writing stuff (and if I were 100% sure it wouldn’t collapse). 😀

I intend to put the manuscript aside for a few days and then start the editing stage. I’ve decided that for the first round, I am going to use a generated voice read it to me as I take notes and make minor corrections. I’ve never done this before but feel it might be useful. I’ll let you know what I get from it after that phase is done.

Right now it’s time to party…or at least go make myself a cuppa!

Just Married

White roseToday, 7 January 2018, G and I were married after 18 years together. We decided it was about time and both of us are extremely happy. We had a lovely, intimate wedding at a church, followed by High Tea at a local, old manor house. It was a perfect day. And now we are Mr and Mrs. Couldn’t be happier.

Happy 2018

Welcome to the New Year. Last year wasn’t the best for us, but 2018 is going to be so much better. G’s health WILL improve, I will continue to write and will publish the third and final book in The Miu Series, and life in general will provide us with reasons for laughter, love and happiness. This year is going to be great!

We saw the New Year in, however reluctant it may have been at the time (I really needed to go to bed, I was so tired). This morning I am heavy eyed, but the birds are singing and the world out there is sunny and otherwise quiet. Blue sky, warm sun, peace and quiet – the year has started well.

I have two New Year Resolutions that must be said “out loud”:

  1. This one has two parts: I will continue to write. I have been writing regularly for a few months now. Sometimes it is only a few hundred words, sometimes a few thousand. I put no pressure on myself and the manuscript is growing steadily. I’m pleased with the outcome so far. And, even better, I am approaching the end. The second part of this resolution is that, this year, I will publish book 3 of The Land of Miu, The Lions Gods.
  2. Due to the circumstances around G’s health, for the first time in my life I turned to emotional eating and have put on weight. This year, starting immediately, I will stop the emotional eating and I will lose the weight I’ve gained. I need to loose 10 kilo.

With that said, I would like to wish you a very happy New Year. I truly hope that 2018 is good to you and your family and that your life is happy, healthy and that you are surrounded by love and laughter.